The “Enhancement Idea” earned Lily the worst torment she had yet experienced from her roommates. Rebecca would tell anyone who would listen that she thought Lily had stuffed a couple of bludgers down her shirt. The sight of Sharpe Zabini still caused her to blush profusely, but at least she had managed to speak to him once or twice. Scorpius, or Scor as she now called him, remained silent on the issue. She had expected his usual taunts, but he seemed to have forgotten the whole thing. After humiliating herself so completely, Lily wondered if she would ever manage to redeem herself in the eyes of her peers. The chance to do just that came sooner than she expected.
One evening, after enduring an unusual amount of teasing from Scorpius, she returned to the common room in a huff to find a new notice pinned to the board. Curious, she read the words that would guarantee her immediate rise in the Slytherin’s estimation and the entire school’s for that matter. Quiddich tryouts were being held this Saturday. One thing Lily knew better than any other was Quiddich. She had members of her family who had played every position. Uncle Fred and George had been beaters, Uncle Ron played keeper, Grampa James had been a chaser, and her own father was the best seeker in the world. If genetics alone weren’t enough to clinch her success, she had years of experience. Standing there in front of the notice, she imagined her green and silver Quiddich robes rippling around her in the wind, her broom shooting ahead of James’s, her hand closing over the snitch, everyone cheering boosting her into the air, but a derisive laugh shattered the spectacular scene.
“What do you find so humorous now, Scor?” His eyes twinkled mischievously.
“Just thinking that you would be an excellent beater. You’ve had plenty of practice on me already.” She convulsed into a fit of giggles.
“I should list that as one of my recommendations!”
“Should I show up as confirmation?” He lifted his shirt a bit to show her the latest bruise on his side.
“Wow, I didn’t know you bruised so easily!” She touched the purple bruise making him jerk away quickly. “Sorry, I wasn’t really trying to leave evidence!”
He pulled his shirt back down quickly. “I’m planning on trying out for chaser. Think I might have a shot?”
“You must be pretty fast. You manage to steal my things away quite often.”
“What position are you going for, then?”
“All of them.”
“What, seeker, chaser, and beater?”
“Yeah. I’ve played them all. They can just put me where they think I’ll be best.” Scorpius’s incredulous look rankled her.
“Umm…you know first years don’t usually make the teams, right?”
“My father did. He was a seeker, and he didn’t even have any experience!” Scorpius still looked incredulous.
“You’ll see, Rebecca will have to change her tune once I’m on the Quidditch team.” Scorpius just raised an eyebrow in response.
Saturday dawned bright and breezy. Lily ate her breakfast, calmly replaying complex Quiddich moves in her mind and wondering which would best display her skill. After second helpings of bacon she slid out of her seat and made her way out of the hall and down to the pitch. The air felt crisp thrilling her senses. She couldn’t wait to feel it streaming past her. When she arrived she saw a group of boys dressed in the Slytherin Quiddich robes. Various others were making their way onto the pitch, brooms in hand. Lily felt a jolt of panic as she realized her broom was packed away in her closet miles from here.
“Okay, line up,” a tall brown-haired Slytherin, obviously the captain, snarled at the candidates. Lily noticed for the first time that she was the only girl on the pitch. Several Slytherin girls sat in the stands giggling and simpering at the boys, but none of them came forward at the captain’s call.
“Lily,” she corrected.
“Whatever. We don’t take first years or girls.” One of the other team members snickered appreciatively.
The captain looked confused. “What do you mean why?” he responded as though it were obvious.
“What’s wrong with letting girls play?”
“This is a sport. It’s no place for a girl. Why don’t you go try out for the Gobstones club.” More snickers erupted.
Lily crossed her arms over her chest her temperature rising. “I bet I can beat any one of you in any position!”
“Ooooh…,” a tall dirty-blond haired boy with watery blue eyes smirked at her. “I’d like to see that, Warrington. Let her try, she wins we let her play, she loses, she cleans the locker rooms until Christmas.”
A twisted grin appeared on the captain’s face. “Alright then, who wants to go against her?” A small lean black boy with deep chocolate eyes stepped forward out of the line of candidates.
“What’s your name,” Warrington snarled.
“Alright Thomas mount up. First one to the snitch wins.”
Thomas climbed aboard his broom. Someone shoved a broom into Lily’s hand and she climbed onto it, too distracted to notice her benefactor. They both kicked off and hovered above the ground. The sleek broom moved whichever way she wanted as though it anticipated her. She felt something etched into the handle and decided to take a closer look later. Her confidence increased as she watched Warrington pull the golden snitch out of the box. He released it and counted to twenty, then blew the whistle signaling them to begin.
Lily shot upward and started circling the pitch. Remembering her father’s advice she made sure to procure a clear vantage point. She noticed Warrington begin trying out the chasers below, probably trying to simulate the chaos of a real game. She briefly wondered if Scor was doing well before a glint of gold caught her eye. She shot off toward the other side of the field, but a well aimed bludger (stupid Warrington) made her change paths, and she lost sight of the tiny ball. She circled down closer to the other players staying clear of the beaters trying out and noticed a hint of gold near the ground by one of the tall hoops. Trying to avoid drawing attention to herself, she circled lower hoping to give the impression of still searching, but to her shock Thomas had noticed the golden ball.
He tore off along the ground just as she went into a steep dive. He was closer, but she could feel herself gaining momentum. The snitch loomed ever closer like a magnet drawing her in. She could see Thomas closing in from the corner of her eye. She stretched her hand out in front of her anticipating the feel of the cold metal. Almost there! Almost there! The whole world seemed to disappear and then a shadow obscured the golden light, her hand closed on vapor, and a great expanse of green replaced the gold. She pulled up on the broom handle as hard as she could and tumbled onto the ground several feet from the broom facing the traitorous blue sky.
Cheers and shouts rose up around her. She moved her head a bit and saw from a distance, the group of boys hoisting Thomas onto their shoulders. She turned away, tears already prickling at the back of her eyelids. A shadow fell over her face.
“It was a nice try anyway.” Scorpius stood holding his hand out to her, but she didn’t take it. Lily rolled onto her side and pushed herself to a sitting position. A few tears escaped their bonds and went cascading down her cheeks, meeting their end with a swift swipe of Lily’s hand. She wanted to melt into the ground, to hide, to be alone. “Come on, it’s not that bad. That was some excellent flying, for a girl.” But Scorpius had said the wrong thing. Tears now flowing in earnest, she ran, putting as much distance between herself and the pitch as possible, thinking of one who would comfort her in her humiliation, one who would not berate her for her gender, one who would understand. Tom.