Chapter 5 : Quidditch Practice
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The Joker and Her
'How I've found myself in freezing cold weather watching people throw a ball about I don't know.'
Brienne was waiting outside the Changing Hut in the sweeping school grounds. She was pulling a thick coat firmly around her as the chilling breeze blew through her hair, taking the falling leaves with them. Fred and George had pulled her into joining them for the first Quidditch practice for the Gryffindor team of the season, and Brienne had reluctantly agreed, not having known then how early she had to get up. Sleep was hard to come by as it was.
Within a few more minutes, Fred, and George emerged from the hut with Angelina Johnson – a pretty girl who was another member of the team. Angelina was laughing at something that Fred had said. George grinned at Brienne as Fred and Angelina, brooms in hand trudged ahead to the Quidditch stadium.
"Tired?" George asked as Brienne yawned, lifting her dainty fingers to cover her wide mouth. George's hazel eyes glittered as Brienne gave a 'what gave you that impression?' face and pulled her coat around herself tightly. He smiled, and Brienne turned slightly pink and looked away.
"Why do we have to be up so early?" Brienne asked, keeping her eyes on the damp ground as she and George trudged up to the Quidditch field. "Could you not practice when it's a little bit warmer?"
"Morning sun gives energy and all that," George replied, nodding at Oliver- the captain of the team- as he strode past, "or it's something to do with crushing the Slytherin team."
Brienne rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath, rubbing her eyes. She used French when she didn't want the others to know what she was saying and found it an excellent way to badmouth something without getting in trouble. George laughed quietly to himself – for he had noticed this habit but didn't understand it – and joined the rest of the team at the gates for the field. Brienne walked next to a small group of fellow onlookers as Oliver unlocked the gates.
- - -
Two weeks later, there had been many, many Quidditch practices; most of which Brienne had attended out of need for distraction. The team had a fresh new spirit which was fuelled because Oliver Wood was in his final year at Hogwarts, and he had not yet won the Quidditch House Cup whilst he was captain.
Brienne didn't mind. It was something to look forward to for her friends, and it kept their sparky energy to an appropriate level, something which she appreciated.
It was a cold October evening, and Brienne, Fred, George and some of the other teammates were sitting around a table in the common room, discussing – what else? -- Quidditch. Angelina Johnson, the Chaser who was sitting two seats away from Brienne, asked her which team she supported.
"I have no idea," Brienne replied. "I can't tell broom nor breeze which team is which. Who do you support?"
"The Holyhead Harpies!" exclaimed Angelina, which was met with agreements from the other Chasers, Alicia and Katie. Some of them laughed, before moving onto another subject.
There was a sudden, loud yowl that sounded as if it came from a cat, and George was suddenly out of his seat and on the floor, his arms outstretched as the small tiger-like cat he had failed to catch scampered out of sight. Some other students jumped out of their seats as the cat snarled; one of these students knocked a bottle of multi-coloured ink onto George’s head, which immediately began to leak. Brienne burst out laughing for the first time in months, rolling around in her seat and wiping tears from her eyes, as some of the others were doing.
George looked up at Brienne, surprised. Brienne stopped laughing, noticing the look on George's face and suddenly realising what she had done. George was smirking, the ink dripping down his face and making him resemble something of a clown. She sat back down as Fred- who was also smiling- caught her eye. She stared back at him before George got back into his seat. The Twins both grinned widely at her, as Alicia tried to siphon some of the ink off of George’s face with her wand.
However, the smiles soon died down, and the conversation started up again, this time turning to brands of broomsticks and whether they could afford an upgrade. Brienne kept out of the talks, mainly because she didn't know anything about the subject, but partially because she was pleased that she had finally let go and enjoyed herself, something that hadn't happened for what felt like a long, long time.
- - -
Later on that night, when the common room was emptying and the lights had dimmed, Brienne, the Twins, and the Chasers from the team were still sitting around the table. Brienne had bonded with Angelina in particular and they were all giggling at the twins, who were both sporting huge noses after an attempt at a duel, right there in the common room.
"You idiots!" Alicia yelled, laughing,
"What were you thinking of?" said Katie, shaking her head shamefully,
Fred and George sat there, glaring at them with the abnormally large noses obscuring their faces.
"Right then," George said, looking at each of them in turn and finally looking at his brother, "what do you reckon, Gred?"
"I reckon, Forge," Fred replied, "that we go and have a kip."
"Excellent notion, old chap."
And without another word, the twins stood up and disappeared up their staircase, leaving the girls wondering if they had upset them. The Chasers turned to Brienne, who was sitting in the middle of them.
"So," Angelina began breezily, "you and George. When did it happen?"
"What?" Brienne asked, completely at a loss to what she was asking her.
Alicia piped up, "It's obvious! There's been sparks flying all night. Tell us what's going on!"
"What do you mean?" asked Brienne truthfully, "There's nothing going on!"
"A little hand touch here, knee contact there," Katie joined in. "He's got the hots for you; it's almost painful, it’s so obvious."
Brienne sat back, shaking her head. She was unaware of any such thing; the concept seemed simply too bizarre. The Chasers descended into a fit of giggles and shook their heads at each other disapprovingly, whilst Brienne looked at them as if they were extremely perplexing.
Suddenly, a gush of water landed on them out of nowhere. The Chasers and Brienne reared back, yelling out in shock and outrage. Fred and George emerged from the boys' staircase, laughing, wands in hand. Brienne stood, her sopping hair clinging to her face.
"What are you playing at?!" Katie asked, her mascara running. Alicia and Katie were furious, but Angelina and Brienne immediately grinned, deciding that they deserved it. They got their own respective wands out and they began a water fight.
"Aguamenti!" Fred, George, Angelina and Brienne all cast at the same time, and jets of water blasted out from all four wands. Katie and Alicia went to bed, which went mostly unnoticed. Brienne was shooting water at Fred, whilst Angelina shot some into Brienne's face. George jumped on Angelina from behind, getting a mouthful of water for her trouble.
They fought for a long while, but when both George and Fred were on the floor, defeated, Brienne and Angelina were announced the winners.
All four went to bed, drying off and talking to each other over the night at their own respective dormitories through the curtains in their four-poster beds. When Angelina fell asleep, Brienne lay awake. The dark pink curtains of her bed outlined her gaze. Before long, they were swimming before her, and Brienne bit down on her pillow to avoid waking her friend with her guilty sobs.
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