Chapter 11 : A Hogwarts Outcast
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”Effie? You should really get up,”
I flipped over, groaned loudly and tried to suffocate myself with my pillow, only to fail with the latter. Lily tugged at my blanket but let out a defeating sigh when I showed no emotions or sign of getting up.
“Classes starts in 20 minutes, I can’t lie to the professors when they question your absence, I’m head girl,” She wouldn’t have lied even if she was just a normal student with no prefect or head girl status, but for my own safety I remained quiet.
“Please, Effie. It will only get worse if you show your fear, it’s like meeting a bear in a forest, don’t show fear, but don’t attack it either,” She pulled my arms this time, but I grabbed a bedpost to stop myself from falling off the bed.
“I can’t,” I breathed as she continued to pull my arm. I wondered if it would grow longer or if it would just fall off – and which option I preferred.
“Because, I have let everyone down, and I don’t want to see their faces,” I managed to wrench out of Lily’s grip and now sat upright in the opposite corner of my bed as far away from her as possible without getting out of the bed.
“Get up, Eleanor!” She crossed her arms and threw my uniform on my bed “I’ll save you breakfast, but if you don’t show up for transfiguration I will tell professor McGonagall you skipped class to curl your hair,”
I chuckled because no one would believe it, and then frowned when I realized everyone believed Lily.
18 minutes later I ran into the classroom and found my usual seat next to Lily. She gave me a napkin wrapped muffin and an apple, smirking the whole time. “Oh shut it,”
Professor McGonagall emerged a few minutes later with a stack of papers in her arms and a deep frown across her face. When she reached the front desk and dropped the papers she gave me a quick glance and let out a sigh.
That was the only proof I needed. I was a rubbish Quidditch captain and my entire future had gone from glory and success to gloomy and failure in only a few months. I didn’t know if McGonagall’s sigh was because of the lost game or because of my lost future, she probably remember our counselling meeting at the end of fifth year. She had asked what I wanted to become after Hogwarts and my sole answer had been ‘Professional Quidditch player and preferable Montrose Magpies Captain by the time I’m 25’. I had been determined and even McGonagall’s speech about the difficulties in succeeding could deter me from my dream, which in the end was the most logical as all I only barely passed my subjects.
Now I had failed in the only thing I was good at and would probably end up as a janitor at the ministry, or worse, a muggle. Not that I have anything against muggles, but I don’t know how I could survive without using magic for the rest of my life – I need magic.
“Effie,” Lily whispered and shook my out of my thoughts. McGonagall had passed out the papers and to my horror they had been a pop quiz. She really did hate me.
McGonagall was soon joined by most Gryffindors who also held a grudge against me for losing the match. A 3rd year had even started verbally abusing me, which I normally would have ignored but this time I felt my ego was hurting. If the younger students lose respect for you, you are in deep shit to be frank.
During lunch I sat down with Lily in the deserted end of the table closest to the teacher and before lunch had ended we were joined by the rest of the Quidditch team who seemed to be the only ones not angry or disappointed with me.
“We can still win,” Gareth reassured the team when the silence seemed to get too heavy.
“What are the chances that Hufflepuff beat Slytherin?” Addens spat out, nodding towards the Hufflepuff table.
“But if Ravenclaw win over Slytherin and Hufflepuff win over Ravenclaw, and we don’t lose another match then we have fairly good chances,” Gareth gave us a confident smile, which was only returned by Lily who’s knowledge in Quidditch only included what she had picked up from my occasional rambles.
“He’s right. Cheer up, I’m sure Hufflepuff have improved since last year,” Lily gave me a pat on the back, but her comment about Hufflepuff only made me feel less confident about victory. Hufflepuff had lost the previous Quidditch Cup with over 400 points.
“You are not helping, Lily,” I sneered “Besides, Aron Wood is Captain for Ravenclaw this year and he is really good,”
“I think he is better than good actually, he’s a genius,” Catherine groaned and followed my eyes that had found the curly haired Ravenclaw. If Aron Wood hadn’t been a ‘sworn enemy’, I would have considered him a nice guy; he even had the looks to go with it, which just made me hate him even more. The guy was the image of perfection – he had the looks, the personality, the Quidditch skills, the grades and not to mention the muscular body only a Quidditch player could possess. Wood had every teacher wrapped around his fingers and I had even overheard McGonagall tell Slughorn how she wished he had been sorted into Gryffindor, ofcourse she used other words but the meaning was the same. Wood caught me looking and flashed his teeth as he gave his signature smile, which I had dreams of whipping of his face even though I had nothing else against him than him being a captain. “We are doomed,”
After lunch I realized my day wasn’t going to get any better when Miranda and Griselda cornered me on my way towards the common room to enjoy my free period before Defence. It was the beginning of December and I wasn’t wearing a coat or even a scarf so I wasn’t quite pleased with the location when they dragged me away from the heated castle and out in the courtyard, but had willingly followed them.
“The team didn’t do so well last Saturday,” understatement of the year, we epic failed.
Miranda had trailed off and seemed to have problems formulation what she wanted to say, so Griselda took over. “… and we partly feel it was our fault,”
“Oh no,” I interrupted as the reason for the conversation became clear, “Did James put you up to this?” Both girls eagerly shook their heads. “Did Sirius?”
“We are not here because someone asked us to leave the team, we made that decision ourselves,” Something in Griselda’s voice made it sound like she was convincing me that they were capable of thinking for themselves, which I never doubted, their decision was just ludicrous.
“Don’t be silly, you are not leaving the team. We lost because we weren’t prepared, not because of you two, you are both amazing players,” I reassured them. A small part of me wasn’t entirely sure if it was the truth because we had had time to practice and we should have been prepared.
“But we lost because of two reasons …” Miranda said and raised one finger to start counting “one: The Slytherins were able to score 26 times, while we only scored 8,”
“That could be down to the Chasers,”
“Two,” She ignored my comment and raised a second finger “The Slytherin got the snitch even though I was closer to it than Wilkes,”
“You got hit by a bludger; anyone would have focused more on their pain than catching the snitch,” I realized I had raised my voice slightly at the end and quickly apologized for it to Miranda who seemed almost frightened of me. “Girls, please reconsider staying on the team. Even if you suck - which you don’t - we will have better chance at winning with a full team instead of being two short,”
“What? Won’t James and Sirius rejoin if we leave?” Griselda asked, looking very confused.
“That would be asking them a favour, which would be like making a deal with the devil. So no,” I bended the truth a bit, refraining from telling them that my pride wouldn’t allow me to kneel down and admit I was wrong, I also didn’t feel like begging them. I knew what the reaction would be if I asked James to come back to the team, he would laugh and then with a smirk ask what I would do in return. I would end up screaming something embarrassing in front of the whole school or agree to go out with Severus Snape, who didn’t look like he ever showered or saw the sun.
Sirius would be a little bit nicer but I still suspected that he tried to set Remus and I up, which would never lead anywhere.
Ever since Remus rejected me I had speculated about why, but I never got any closer to the truth because all my leads led to something unrealistic. I had even considered him being a secret agent or a superhero, the last one was partly Lily, she had needed to explain the term before I drew connections. But unless Remus could shoot cobweb through his knuckles the idea was absurd.
“I might have to find someone else, but seeing as all the talented Quidditch players are already on the team or don’t want to be on the team, it’s a lost cause,”
“That seems wrong to me,” Griselda began “As a captain shouldn’t you do what is best for the team?”
“Well, yeah .. but…”
“And if Sirius and James are much better players, with much more experience in team matches, shouldn’t they be on the team instead of us,” It wasn’t meant as a question.
“No offence Anderson, but shouldn’t you leave the captaining to the captain,” I said, annoyed that she had tried to lecture me.
“I’m sorry, but that my opinion,”
“As much as I would like to throw you off the team, that decision is up to Professor McGonagall – but she’ll give the same answer as I. The last thing we need is to change players in the middle of the season,”
I heard Griselda mumble “fine,” before turning around in her heels and storming off towards the castle with Miranda closely behind.
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