”Welcome to the first game of the season, Slytherin versus Gryffindor,” The commentator, a fifth year Hufflepuff, roared trying to drown out the crowd who was still finding their seats.
The 27th November had finally arrived and though I hadn’t gotten much sleep the previous night, I had spent the time making tactics that I presented to the team over breakfast, much to Lily’s annoyance as she kept telling me to eat something and seemed quite wound up when I grab Matthew by the arm and dragged him out of the Great Hall as she was wishing him good luck. I had made a mental note of apologizing for my behaviour later but my number one concern was winning the game with all team members’ limps intact.
“Remember to guard Avery and ignore …”
“ … ‘his attempts to distract us’, we know,” Addens said and rolled his eyes.
“You have told us sixteen times,” Matthew finished.
The match was only 10 minutes away and I had gathered the team for a last minute lecture, which turned out to be problematic. Addens and Catherine had gone public with their relationship and were sitting next to each other, they had trouble keeping their hands to themselves and every 20 second I found them gently brushing their fingers along the other’s arm. The first few times I had scowled at them but after they decided to ignore my outburst I did likewise.
“I do not care if we win with 300 points or 20, as long as we win,” I said and clenched my fits dramatically. Regulus Black and I had had another ‘captain-to-captain’ talk the previous day and my determination to shove a victory in his face had increased. “So, I want to see every single one of you do your best, and Miranda, ignore the crowd,”
Miranda held tightly onto her broom and had eyes at the size of a house elf. Everyone who had seen her fly knew she could catch the snitch faster than Slytherin Seeker Wilkes, but she was so nervous that I was worried if she could even control her broom. The young girl gave a nod just as Lily peeked through the door.
“It is time,”
I hurried outside as the first, and caught Lily stealing a kiss from Matthew when they thought I wasn’t looking.
“If you feel like throwing up, don’t,” I advised Miranda as the commentator introduced the team.
“The Gryffindor team, everyone! Captain Effie Pottinger is leading the way toward the pitch. Behind her is the new seeker who is replacing legendary James Potter …” I snorted and wondered how much James had paid the Hufflepuff for that sentence “Miranda Turpin!”
Miranda gave a slight wave and tried to smile without opening her mouth, afraid that she would vomit.
“Keeper Griselda Anderson made the team after a little misunderstanding between Pottinger and last year’s keeper Sirius Black,” Misunderstanding?
“This year’s Beaters are Matthew Cunningham and Fred Addens, the latter is dating Chaser Catherine Morgan who is joined by Gareth Wallace this year and Captain Effie Pottinger!”
I had anticipated a round of applause but it seemed that most people were booing, which I took a bad sign, especially as most of the applauses came from the Slytherin stand.
The Slytherin team had already been introduced and I found myself face to face with a smug looking Regulus Black as Madam Hooch instructed us about the rules. I couldn’t help but notice Black rolling his eyes at the mention of ‘no cheating’.
“Mount your brooms,” Madam Hooch told us and blew her whistle.
“Vaisey has the quaffle … he is cut off by a direct hit made by Cunningham … damn, he threw the quaffle to Pucey who scores … 0 – 10 to Slytherin,”
Gareth had the quaffle and managed to escape a bludger sent by Slytherin Beater Lestrange, he passed the ball to Catherine right before the goal rings but she was hit in the stomach before catching it.
“It’s not looking good for the Gryffindor team, their attempts to fool the Slytherin continues to fail – I guess you can’t trick those cunning snakes,”
Avery tried to pass the ball but right before Pucey caught it, Addens had sent a bludger towards him and I caught the quaffle instead. I could hear the crowd cheer me on in the distance as I flew towards Deemer who looked confident as he guarded the rings.
“Look out,” Gareth shouted as a bludger headed towards me, I ducked and missed the collision. I gave Deemer one final smirk as I shot the quaffle his way.
“Gryffindor makes their first score! 10-10 … Ouch, Pottinger was just hit by a bludger thrown by Black,” I felt an instant pain in the back of my head and had to rebalance myself.
“Better watch out, doll,” Black roared my way as he flew past me. I gave him a murderous glare and had to restrain myself from blatching into him and raced to the other side where Pucey was scoring.
The next 30 minutes Gryffindor continued to lose the quaffle every time we had it, much to everyone’s annoyance. Catherine had been the ultimate target for the Slytherin beaters, and her left arm was 3 times the size of her right, but she had refused to be taken out of the game though I kept asking her to.
“Another score for Slytherin. They are still in the lead with 180-50,” The commentator called out boringly.
I let out a groan and made a dive when Vaisey dropped the quaffle after a bludger hit his broom sending it out of its course. Lestrange was fast to get hold of a bludger and shot it towards me, it smacked into my back, Avery caught the quaffle and Slytherin made another score.
I located Miranda and found her trailing after Wilkes. If she caught the snitch before Slytherin scored again we would still win by 10 points, but neither of the seekers seemed to have seen the snitch yet and before I knew it, the commentator announced that the score was 200-50.
Slytherin continued to score and when it was declared 15 minutes later that Wilkes had spotted the snitch, Slytherin was still in the lead with 260-80.
Everyone’s eyes had drifted to the two seekers who were racing against each other towards the snitch that was flying just inches above the ground. Miranda sped up and flew next to Wilkes. Just before she grasped the snitch, Black hit her with a bludger. She landed square faced onto the grass and Wilkes caught the snitch.
“Wilkes has caught the snitch! Slytherin has won 410-80,” The commentator announced in his microphone, “May I remind you that Slytherin haven’t won a game against Gryffindor in 16 years and never have they won with over 300 points,”
I watched the crowd leave the pitch, feeling only self-reproach. The Slytherin team had left as the first, almost carried away by their supporters, who had composed a song in my honour and was chanting it as they left. The other houses left soon after, followed by the Gryffindor team who seemed to share a great deal of the same guilt as I. Gareth had been comforting Griselda who hadn’t stopped crying since the match ended and Catherine had been yelling foul names at the Slytherins as she was being carried to the hospital wing by Addens. Miranda had been taken to the hospital wing as well with a broken nose, but she had remained mum and had refused to look anyone in the eyes.
Somehow I had landed on the ground, carried my broom to the cupboard and gotten dressed, because before I knew it I was standing outside the locker room, trying to escape the rain with my hands. The match had taken a few hours and I knew it wasn’t later than 4 in the afternoon, but it had gotten dark and I wouldn’t have been able to see the castle if it hadn’t been lid up.
When I as the last person left the pitch, a dark figure was waiting for me.
“Hi,” James said as he approached me. I stopped walking and gave him a wondering look.
“What are you doing here?”
“I watched the game. And realized you could use a friend, so I wanted to apologize,” He gave me a crooked smile.
“Apologize? Potter, I don’t need your pity, so please go apologize to someone who cares,” I raged and began walking towards the castle again.
“What’s your problem?” James questioned and caught up with me, though I was walking as fast as I could without breaking into a run. “I know you just lost a match, but I was apologizing because it was the right thing to do, not because I pity you,”
“Oh please,” I groaned and sped up trying to shake him off “You could have apologized before the match or yesterday, but you waited until I would be vulnerable enough to forgive and forget,”
James snorted “Obviously that failed”
I stopped and spun around to look at him “Well, I’m sorry if ‘the legendary James Potter’ doesn’t always gets what he wants. Leave me alone, I’m not in the mood to argue, least of all with you,” I broke into a run and ran the rest of the distance to the castle, without looking behind to see if James would follow. I hoped he didn’t.
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