Chapter 31 : Surprise Visitor
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"You're going to be fine, James," Albus assured his brother at breakfast a few mornings later. James was sitting across from him, but wasn't eating anything. With the exception of James, everyone else at the Gryffindor table was in high spirits. Exams were over, and it was the last Quidditch match of the year. The only one besides James who wasn't eating anything was Matt, and considering that the full moon was that night, it wasn't surprising.
"James, you've got to eat something," Samantha Meyers had appeared behind James and was pouring him a glass of pumpkin juice, "At least drink this." James nodded and took the goblet, but he only drank a few sips. He glanced nervously at Albus, and then looked up at the staff table.
Albus turned and looked as well. Harry wasn't there. The past few days, Harry had been away from Hogwarts more than he had been there. He had been spending a lot of time at the Ministry, organizing the search for Washburn and both Willinsons. "He'll be there, James. He said he would. You know he wouldn't miss the match for the world."
"Ok, team, let's go!" Samantha stood up and beckoned her team to follow her. James followed the rest of the team, with one last glance at the staff table. As they left, the entire Gryffindor table stood up and cheered.
A few minutes later, Albus and his friends walked down to the pitch. "Last Quidditch match of the year," Albus sighed.
"Yeah, just hope we win!" John shouted.
"Hope so, too. But Ravenclaw will be hard to beat. They've got a good team," Albus replied.
"At least the weather's good," John pointed out, "I don't think we've played in better conditions than this the whole year." John was right about that. It was warm, hardly windy at all, and there was just enough cloud cover to mask the glare from the sun.
"I hope it's a quick match," Matt yawned as they climbed into the stands.
"It probably won't be," Albus said, "We're pretty evenly matched with Ravenclaw."
Matt groaned, "Maybe James will spot the Snitch early."
"Wouldn't count on it," Albus responded, "James told me that in order to win the Cup, we've got to be at least 40 points up before he catches the Snitch. Otherwise, we'll win the match, but Ravenclaw will get the Cup. And Samantha has made it clear she wants the Cup. It's her only chance. She's only been captain for this year. Before her, it was Teddy."
"Maybe you should've stayed in the castle," Rose said sympathetically.
"And miss Quidditch?" Matt stared at her like she had three heads.
Rose sighed. "I don't know what's with you guys and Quidditch," she muttered.
"It's a good game!" Amanda grinned, "Way better than football."
"Doesn't take much for something to be more interesting than football," John laughed, "I mean, honestly, what were the Muggles thinking? How can a game be exciting with one ball?"
Albus laughed. He had to agree. He had been to one football match before. It was a community league, and Harry had taken him and James to see if they had been interesting in playing it. Throughout the whole match, both Albus and James had commented on how much better Quidditch was.
Albus watched the stands fill up, hoping to catch a glimpse of his dad. He looked at the part of the stands where the staff sat, but the seat next to Neville that Harry usually occupied during Quidditch matches remained empty. Where was he? The match was about to start. He promised James that he would be there.
"Welcome, Hogwarts students and staff to the Quidditch Final!" Todd Smith's voice boomed over the crowd. "Today's match is between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw! And here come the teams!
"First is Ravenclaw. Captain Tyler Pike, followed by Dan Burke, Natalie Cable, Allie Davies, Damien Waverly, Kate Waverly, and Zack Valentino!" Seven players in blue robes walked out onto the field, with their brooms over their shoulders.
"Next we have Gryffindor! Captain Samantha Meyers, followed by Ryan O'Malley, James Potter, Bradley Weasley, Fred Weasley, Georgia Weasley, and Heather Weasley!" The Gryffindor team marched onto the field and stopped in front of the Ravneclaws.
"Professor Oteski steps onto the field. Captains Meyers and Pike shake hands, and the teams are off!"
Albus watched as both teams soared into the air. Heather immediately took control of the Quaffle, passing it back and forth between Fred and Samantha. They flew down the pitch, dodging Bludgers sent by Valentino and Davies.
"Gryffindor scores the first goal of the game!" Todd shouted out, once Heather managed to get the Quaffle past Kate Waverly. "Ravenclaw in possession now. Waverly passes to Burke, and then back to Waverly."
Albus turned around at the sound of his name. Harry had appeared behind him and was climbing over the seats in order to sit down. Albus moved over so Harry could sit in between him and Matt. "Dad, you made it!"
"'Course I did! I said I would," Harry replied as he sat down, "Did I miss anything?"
"Heather just scored the first goal of the game," Albus grinned.
"Awesome! She's got some arm, let me tell you. Even as a baby. I remember once, she threw one of her toys at me. Gave me a black eye," Harry laughed.
"Why are you sitting here?" Albus asked, "You usually sit with the rest of the staff."
"To be honest, it's more fun sitting here," Harry grinned, "I don't have to control my excitement when Gryffindor scores."
At that moment, Samantha scored a goal, and all the Gryffindors jumped up, screaming and hollering with joy. Harry screamed the loudest of them all.
"See what I mean?" Harry grinned, "The staff always has to contain their excitement, in order not to play favorites."
For the next hour, the game continued with both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw scoring goal after goal. After the first initial goals, Ravenclaw caught up quickly and tied the match. Both teams showed exceptional skill, and there had still not been any glimpse of the Snitch.
"Now, this is Quidditch," Harry grinned and looked at Albus. "This could be another for the record books."
Albus agreed, "Yeah, we've just got to hope that we can somehow get 40 points ahead."
"That could take a while," Harry said.
"Cable of Ravenclaw has scored!" Todd shouted, "110-100 Ravenclaw!"
"Merlin!" Albus shouted. Albus looked out over the pitch. Heather was in possession of the Quaffle again. Valentino was flying directly behind her and hit a Bludger towards her head. Luckily, she ducked at that very moment and the Bludger wound up hitting Damien Waverly instead. Waverly slipped off his broom, but managed to hold on with one hand. He got back on the broom and sent a nasty look towards Valentino. In the meantime, Heather managed to score another goal.
It became clear within the next half hour of the game, that the Damien Waverly had been injured by the Bludger. His coordination was all off, and he was having problems catching the Quaffle. This, of course, worked to Gryffindor's advantage, and soon enough the score was 120-150 Gryffindor.
"Just one more goal," Albus said, "One more and James can catch the Snitch."
"It'll be hard to keep up that 40 point lead, though," Harry pointed out. "He'll have to find the Snitch soon after the goal is scored."
"I hope he does," Rose said, "I don't think Matt can take much more of this."
Albus looked over at his friend and felt bad that he had become so absorbed in the game, that he hadn't noticed how bad Matt looked. Matt appeared to have fallen asleep and was leaning his head on Harry's shoulder. He was wincing every once and a while, much like he had been during the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin game. Why did they always schedule Quidditch matches around the full moon?
Harry nudged Matt gently until he woke up, "Wha's going on?" Matt asked sleepily.
"You fell asleep," Harry said gently, "You're welcome to lean on me, but I wasn't sure if you wanted to miss the match."
"I don't, thanks," Matt replied, blushing a little, "It's bad enough having Malfoy see me fall asleep in class, but during Quidditch...."
"I don't think he can see you here," Albus said quietly, "He's on the other side of the stands."
"Good," Matt responded. "But I still don't want to miss the match."
Albus turned his attention back to the match. It seemed to be getting harder and harder for Ravenclaw to to score goals with only two chasers. Damien Waverly was flying more erratically by the minute and his teammates had long since stopped trying to throw him the Quaffle. However, despite the difficulties, Ravenclaw was putting up a good fight. Their other two chasers were superb.
"Burke scores!" Todd shouted out over the crowd, "Making the score 130-150 Gryffindor! C'mon, you can do it, Gryffindor! Just two more goals and catch the Snitch!"
"Darn," Albus sighed, "So much for one more goal."
"It's all right, Al, two goals won't be hard," Harry shifted awkwardly to turn towards his son. Matt had fallen asleep on his shoulder again. "Madam Pomfrey didn't even want him to go to the match," Harry gestured to Matt. "But I convinced her to let him."
"Thanks," Albus smiled, "He didn't want to miss it, even if he is asleep during half of it."
"Well, Madam Pomfrey worries a lot," Harry told him, "Frankly, she wasn't too keen on James playing, either. Said he'd just recovered from his duel with those Slytherins and he ought to be resting. But I insisted that he could play."
"He seems to be doing fine," Albus said as he glanced out over the pitch. James was currently circling above the rest of the players. The Ravenclaw Seeker, Tyler Pike, was doing the same.
"He is," Harry agreed, "Staying out of the way, that's the best strategy for a Seeker."
"Gryffindor scores!" Todd exclaimed, "Captain Meyers has scored!"
"See, Al, now it's just one more goal, again," Harry said.
The game was now entering it's third hour. There was still no sign of the Snitch, which was good for Gryffindor, since they still needed to score one more goal before James could catch it. About ten minutes after Samantha scored, Heather managed to score as well.
"Yes!" Albus jumped up in his seat and shouted out in excitement. Now, James could catch the Snitch.
"As long as Gryffindor can keep their forty point lead, and catch the Snitch, they will win the Cup!" Todd shouted.
Albus watched as James started picking up speed and fly around the pitch, looking for the Snitch. But in the meantime, Dan Burke was once again storming up the pitch with the Quaffle. He flew straight towards the Gryffindor goals and managed to score another goal.
"Damn!" Todd shouted.
"Language, Smith!" Patil shouted next to him.
"Sorry, Professor," Todd said, "Now, Gryffindor must score another goal in order to gain back the forty point lead. And they might be doing that now! Fred Weasley has gained possession of the Quaffle. He passes to Meyers and then Meyers passes it back. Fred aims the Quaffle, and score! Gryffindor has the forty point lead again!"
The Gryffindors were all on their feet now, shouting in excitement and chanting 'Go, James, go! All of them except Matt and Harry. Somehow, Matt was managing to sleep through everything, and Harry continued to let him lean on his shoulder. Luckily, no one seemed to notice, besides Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda. They kept glancing worried looks at Matt, but eventually, they got sucked up into the emotion of the game and watched James's search for the Snitch.
"And I think he's seen it!" Todd screamed, "Yes, Potter has seen the Snitch! He's flying directly towards the ground. Pike has noticed it as well, but he is all the way at the other end of the pitch. I don't think he'll get there in time. No, he definitely won't!"
Albus watched as James flew closer and closer to the ground. Albus was sure he would crash into it, and watched nervously as James finally pulled out of the dive, just in time. He flew back up a few feet, holding the struggling Snitch in his hand. Albus turned to his dad. "We've won! We've got the Cup!"
"Gryffindor wins! With 320 points, Gryffindor has not only won the match, but they've won the Cup as well! Congratulations, Gryffindor!" Todd's voice rang out over the crowd.
"Matt, wake up!" John nudged his friend awake, "We've won, wake up!"
"Wha'?" Matt slowly lifted his head off Harry's shoulder and looked at all the excitement around him. "Oh, right. Awesome!"
Harry stood up, grinning, "I'm going to go congratulate James. I'll see you later. I'll probably stop by the common room, for the party."
Albus gave his dad a hug before he left, "All right. See you later."
"Let's get back to the common room," Rose suggested as she watched Matt rub his head, "We'll see James there."
"Ok," Albus agreed. He knew Matt had no desire to join the mob of Gryffindors currently storming the pitch.
Despite their slow walk back to the castle and up to the seventh floor, Albus and his friends made it back to the common room before most of the other Gryffindors. In fact, the only other people there were a few older students Albus didn't know, Amy, Victoire, and someone Albus definitely didn't expect to see.
"Teddy!" Albus shouted as he spotted Teddy sitting next to Victoire on one of the couches. "What are you doing here?"
"Came to see the match. James did brilliantly! They couldn't have found a better Seeker to replace me," he grinned, "And came to see Vicky's graduation, of course." He smiled at Victoire and giggled.
"Oh, right," Albus grinned, "Glad you came!"
"Yeah, it's great to be back here," Teddy grinned, "Well, I think I might go to Hogsmeade and pick up some supplies for the party."
"Great!" Albus said, "See you in a bit."
"You, too," Teddy stood up. He gave Victoire a quick kiss and exited the common room. It was really starting to fill up now, although the team had yet to arrive.
"Are you going to stay for the party?" Albus quietly asked Matt.
"I don't think so," Matt yawned, "Think I might take a nap."
"Ok," Albus responded. Matt left the group and made his way through the crowd to the dormitories.
"It's so unfair," Rose said softly as he left. Albus, John, and Amanda nodded in agreement, but no one said anything else on the subject.
The group found seats at their usual table and shortly after they sat down, James and the rest of the team came into the room.
"We've got it!" Samantha Meyers was the first to burst into the room, holding the Quidditch Cup above her head. "We did it!" She was positively beaming. The rest of the team climbed in behind her, all of them grinning from ear to ear. The entire common room burst into applause as soon as they were all inside.
"Thank you, everyone!" Samantha shouted over the crowd, "I just want to say a few words." She waited until everyone was silent. "First, I just want to thank the whole team. We couldn't have done this without any of you. We've got a fantastic team here, and I'm definitely going to miss all of you next year. I especially want to congratulate James," she turned to James, who was clearly basking in the glory, "You have done an outstanding job this whole year. Coming in as Seeker, right after Teddy Lupin, who was one of the best Seekers this house has ever had. That, and being expected to live up to your dad's reputation. Well, all I can say is you have lived up to that expectation. And I think you are definitely going to rival Teddy as far as seeking skill goes-"
"Ah, Samantha!" Teddy came bursting back into the common room, "Am I missing you rambling on about my brilliance on the Quidditch pitch?"
"Actually, no, Teddy," Samantha laughed, "I was just saying how James could give you a run for your money when it comes to seeking."
"Well, that's no surprise, since it was Yours Truly who trained him," Teddy joked.
"Oh, shut it, Teddy!" Samantha replied.
"And I get no credit at all?" Harry had come into the common room and was standing behind Teddy.
"Harry!" Teddy turned around, grinning, "Glad you could come to the party! I've just gotten back from getting supplies."
"Good," Samantha grinned, grabbing one of the bags and pulling out Butterbeers, "Then let's get this party started!"
The party proceeded much like the one following the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match had, only even more boisterous. Teddy had not only bought stuff from Honeydukes, but from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes as well. Teddy treated everyone to a display of Everlasting Fireworks, which took the shape of Gryffindor lions, Snitches, and broomsticks. Albus and his friends quite enjoyed it, and they also played round after round of Exploding Snap. Just like the previous party, no one left for dinner. Teddy had bought enough food that no one needed to. Even Harry stayed well into the evening.
"You know, Rose," John said after what must have been their tenth game of Exploding Snap, "I don't think I've ever seen you without a book before."
Albus looked over at Rose, who was indeed without any sort of book. "Well, exams are over now," Rose laughed, "I do take a break from studying every once and a while."
"It's just sort of shocking," John grinned, "Rose without a book."
"Don't worry," Albus laughed, "I guarantee you she'll be back to studying within two weeks of going back home."
"Oh, shut it, Albus," Rose grinned.
"Hey, guys," James was standing next to their table, his grin still as big as when he first came into the room.
"Oh, hi, James!" Albus replied, "Congratulations on the match! You did brilliantly."
"Yeah, it was awesome!" John agreed.
"Great job!" Amanda said.
"It was great!," Rose said.
"Thanks," James replied, "You're trying out next year, right Albus?"
"Yeah, definitely," Albus answered, "But I don't know if I'll make it. I mean, the only position open will be Samantha's."
"I'm sure you'll make it," James assured him, "You're a great Chaser."
"Thanks," Albus said quietly, his cheeks turning a bit crimson.
"Great party, huh?" James said, "But where's Matt?"
"He, er, doesn't feel good. He's in the dormitory, sleeping," Albus answered.
"Oh, I hope he feels better soon. He didn't look too good this morning," James responded, "Well, I'd better get back to the team. See you later."
Albus waved as James left and was absorbed back into the huge crowd in the room. It seemed as if every Gryffindor was in the common room. With Harry and Teddy there as well, there was hardly room to move. Albus kind of liked it though. He wasn't a huge fan of large crowds of people, but as long as everyone wasn't focusing on him, he was ok with it. And now, the attention was definitely on James and the rest of the Quidditch team. Albus glanced around the room and saw that the entire team was right at the center of things, along with Teddy and Harry.
"Oh, hi, Matt," Rose said quietly. Albus turned his head away from the Quidditch team and saw that Matt had come down from the dormitory. He was leaning on the table and looking very tired.
"Hi," he mumbled quietly, "I've got to go now. I'll see you tomorrow, probably."
"Yeah, tomorrow," Albus agreed. During the past few months, Albus and the others had started visiting Matt the day after every full moon. Ever since the first time they had done that, Matt had started getting more and more comfortable with the idea of his friends seeing him so soon after a transformation. But Albus and the others had not visited him so early in the morning since. They now visited in the late afternoon, after classes were done for the day.
"Want me to go with you?" John asked.
"No, it's ok, Amy's going to," Matt replied
"Ready?" Amy appeared next to Matt.
"Yeah, I guess, let's go," Matt turned and started to walk towards the portrait hole. Amy followed closely behind.
"Last one here, until September," Rose commented after they'd left.
"Wonder what it's like at home?" John mused.
"Dunno, but I don't think we should ask," Albus said quietly.
"No, probably not," John agreed.
Albus and his friends stayed up late into the night, playing games of chess and Exploding Snap. Harry spent most of the evening in the common room, but he left around 9 pm. However, the party continued well into the wee hours of the morning. It probably would have lasted much longer, but Neville came in around 1 am, and told them they had to go to bed. Apparently, the noise had carried into other parts of the castle and some of the other professors wanted to get some sleep. After Neville left, Albus dragged himself up to his dormitory. He was completely exhausted from staying up so late and fell asleep the moment his head hit the pillow.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks also to BKL8008, inkheart, Moonylupin, and XDNLxtlz99 for their reviews! There are only a few chapters left in this story, just to let everyone know.
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