Chapter 1 : Catch Me If You Can
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Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. Plot and OCs belong to me.
Because I knew he was going to be an insufferable, idiotic, overprotective moron over the entire situation, I decided it would be best not to tell him.
Not that I was lying. Because I wasn’t, really, it just so happened to turn out that practically everyone in the school besides him knew about it. And that’s his fault, you see, for being overly oblivious as well.
I’m sure people have said something to him in passing, and he’s just so terribly caught up in writing up plays as Cap’n that he ignores them. Or maybe the whole of Hogwarts just fancies seeing James Potter piss his pants when he sees his little sister try out for his Quidditch team.
Either way, it’s set.
I’m trying out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team – exactly what my eldest brother told me not to do. Git.
It’s not even for a good reason, either! He’s not conflicted over my being his sister, making his choice in picking a new Seeker reasonably difficult. We don’t want anybody claiming nepotism over my being a superb flier and simply better then their sorry arses at Quidditch. That would be understandable, not enough to make me drop out of tryouts mind you, but I suppose I’d empathize with the situation.
But James is the epitome of unreasonable, and he has responded to my queries of why I cannot try out for his team with one simple answer:
“You aren’t tough enough for it, Lils.”
I'd like to force feed him a pair of Aunt Hermione's really poorly knitted winter mittens until he admitted he's wrong! I am too bloody tough enough for Quidditch, and he very well knows it!
He’s just too much of an overbearing twat to admit that I’m good enough, tough enough, and I very well beat his fat head into the ground at this year’s annual Potter-Weasley Quidditch Match Spectacular.
Yes, we do have one of those. We’ve never been your average prying, temperamental, annoyingly famous family of enormous proportions.
Heck, I’ve even told Albus! He’s generally a much calmer, less spastic version of James, who attempted playing the protective older brother card once, but failed miserably once he found out that he rather liked all the males I was acquainted with.
The only time the protective older brother thing worked for Al was when he just so happened to catch me and his best mate, Scorpius, under the mistletoe one Christmas. He did completely erupt a bit on that particular day.
But, gods, kissing under the mistletoe is practically a holiday rule! I was nine, and it was on the cheek. Did Al really expect us to go ahead and elope before I hit puberty?
But really, that was the only time that Al got stupendously miffed at me. Otherwise, he’s a regular ‘ol kid with a head of hair that’s much crazier than he is.
Which is why I told him, a Chaser on the team, and made him – much to the dismay of him and his manly dignity – quadruple pinky promise me with a super-secret sign-off that he wouldn’t breathe a word to James.
And he didn’t. So I’ve promoted him to the much nicer, all-around-more-likeable, better brother position. Take that, James Potter numero dos!
But all in all, here I am, sitting in the Gryffindor common room on a Saturday morning, talking to myself as I contemplate what I’m going to say to the arse-of-all-brothers, James Potter, when he sees me show up at his precious tryouts.
“Lily,” a voice says. It sounds far away, and I pay it no mind as I continue to fascinate myself with mental pictures of James turning an unhealthy shade of purple as he fumes at me for going against his ‘orders.’ Bah!
“…Lily?” the voice says again, getting rather annoying as it attempts to interrupt my daydreaming. I try to block it out, but it’s very persistent, and before long there is a sharp, jabbing pain in my forehead.
“WHAT?!” I find myself shrieking, scaring the voice’s owner so badly that they fall very unceremoniously onto their bottom in the middle of the common room.
There is a whimpering that I recognize, and I look to the floor, meeting the eyes of the best all-around bloke in the entire flippin’ world: Jacob Wood.
“All I did was poke you,” he whines, sitting up and giving me his best ‘I’m-a-wounded-puppy-and-it’s-all-your-fault’ look.
I’m so livid at James that I really couldn’t care very much had I even wanted to. Jacob’s been my partner in crime since first year, paying witness to my wrath and easily ignitable temper, inherited from my mum. He should be used to my rants and unpredictable bursts of anger.
“Righto,” I tell him, scooting over as he squeezes onto one of the really wonderfully comfy chairs with me, “Jake-o, we have a problem.”
He gasps quite femininely, putting a hand over his mouth.
“Are you breaking up with me?!” he whales, looking horror-struck. I pick up a pillow, effectively smacking him directly in the face.
“Stop trying to embrace your sad, sad dream of being an actor and listen to me for a moment!” I yelped, fixing him with my angry glare.
His face drooped comically, “You wound me, Potter.”
I ignore him, as per usual.
“I’ve realized something -”
“Good, Lily, that means you were think – OW!”
“Anyhow,” I say, annoyed, “What happens if when I do tryout, James cuts me for the sole reason of The Really, Really Stupid Issue?”
Jacob looks somewhat perplexed as he stares at me with a pair of mossy-green eyes. They’re rather spectacular, his eyes, I like them almost as much as my dad’s.
“…The Really, Really Stupid Issue,” he repeats slowly. I can practically hear the gears in his head turning, hurriedly trying to figure out what I mean.
It takes him about four and a half minutes.
“Oh!” he exclaims triumphantly, “Do you mean the fact that you’re really quite vertically challenged and all-around microscopic-like? James' evidence for your not being 'tough' enough?”
My mouth drops open, and Jacob grins, patting me happily on the head. Had I not been utterly dumbfounded and quite speechless, I’d assume there would be some very colorful language flying.
“I’m not that short! Or un-tough! I'm menacing!”
“You’re five foot two inches tall.”
"As if that constitutes not being menacing! Grrrr, Jacob, grrr!"
Jacob stares at me, as though I've just turned a peculiar shade of green. I haven't, and the way he's staring me down is starting to give me goose-bumps of the 'Holy-Moly-Jacob-You're-Thoroughly-Creeping-Me-The-Heck-Out' variety.
It could be because I just attempted to growl at the boy, but really, he should be used to out-of-the-ordinary activities by now. I don't know what's wrong with him.
"You...just...growled at me," he chokes out, "Growled,Lily. As in, you, tiny little thing making a noise that is generally reserved for horrendous beasts that frighten me to the point where I have to pull out Blanky to make me feel better."
“Shut up!" I yelp, "Seekers are supposed to be light and all-around compact! I’d be an asset to the team, you toad! Now, answer my question!”
Jacob rolls his very nice eyes, "You just said so much in the past five seconds that I've forgotten entirely what the question was."
"Don't get smart with me, Jacob."
"Don't be my mum, Lily."
We stare at each other for a bit, brown into green, unblinking, until Jacob's eyes begin to water and he loses our unspoken glaring contest. Ha. Victory.
"I wouldn't put it past him," he says, "I'd assume James would rack up as many ridiculous reasons to keep you off the team as he could."
And even though Jacob is hardly ever right - except when it comes to Quidditch facts, he a rather brilliant Beater himself - I agree with him on the spot, and start to fume. The smoke-out-of-ears, red-eyed, fang-sprouting kind of fuming.
I swear by the Marauder's map I stole from Albus last week, that if James does this to me I'm going to bat bogey hex him so hard (thanks, mum!) that he won't come to until next week.
And all Jacob really does, because he's plain lovely and knows how to treat me when I'm in one of my little I-hate-James-Potter moods, he smothers me in a perfect hug that only he can give for about seven minutes. And then, when those seven minutes end, he screams a shrill, little shriek that makes me embarrassed to be in his presence.
"OH, PISS! WE'RE LATE TO TRYOUTS!"
We arrive most unceremoniously at the Quidditch pitch, dressed in rumpled muggle sweat-clothes, panting from the run down from the Gryffindor tower.
Thank you, Godric, for building the sodding common room at the highest point in the school. No, really, it's even higher than the astronomy tower. I've measured.
"Oh, no, no, no," Jacob groans, hurrying as quickly as he can towards the changing rooms, aforementioned meeting place of the team known as the Gryffies.
They're there, of course, huddled oh-so team spirited-like outside the door. There's a helluva lot of people coming to tryout, despite the two open spots. There's also a shite-load lot of people in the stands. Brilliant, of course, as it adds to the amount of witnesses for when James throws his hissy-fit at seeing me at his beloved tryouts.
Leaving me and his dignity behind, Jacob runs forward and elbows a rather enormous boy in the ribcage in order to get within hearing-distance of James. It's strange, I think, that people actually listen to him. I've never done it before; such a foreign idea.
"Alright everyone, I’m James Potter, Cap’n," James says amongst the murmurs of the huddle-people. They quiet down the moment he speaks, and I'm mildly impressed. Very, very mildly. "And it looks as though we've got a fair turnout, so I'd like to take the time to welcome all of you to the tryouts for the Gryffindor House Quidditch Team!"
A round of applause nearly ruptures my eardrums, and James looks pleased. He grins all-too cheesy for his public, before putting his 'I'm-A-Really-Disciplined-Quidditch-Player' face on. The tosser.
"We've got two spots open: Beater and Seeker. We’re currently the holders of the Quidditch Cup, and we want it again this year as well, so it’s going to be tough. Now, since we’ve got so many of you, we’re going to split you up into groups for the position you’re trying out for,” he declares, “Beaters – go with Veridian, Potter and Cooper. Seekers – stand over their and I’ll be there in a moment.”
A disorganized, chaotic scuffle to the appropriate spots later, the group of around thirty people has separated into three groups. James, oblivious of course, has yet to spot me. Not that he could. I’m thoroughly decked out in my muggle attire – hood and sunglasses to boot. I nicked the stuff from my mum’s closet before start of term. I assume they’d be from her early ‘I’m-Running-From-The-Wizard-Media’ days.
“Alright – get started!”
Jacob catches my eye from where he stands with James’ best mate, Simon, who orders them to fly a few laps. He grins as he mounts his broom, wishing me luck as James walks over, wearing his ridiculous Quidditch Mode face.
“’Lo,” he greets us, and I don’t know whether I should be excited that I’m such a master of disguising myself or utterly insulted that my own brother – no matter how oblivious – can’t tell it’s me. “Now, the position of Seeker goes way back to the times where the Golden Snitch was actually a...”
I can’t handle his trying to be professional or serious or whatever the heck he’s trying to be. Even though I shouldn’t, I snort, trying very hard not to burst out laughing in his face. His eyes flicker over to my face.
“Problem?” he asks, “Mr…?”
I decide not to be insulted that I look like a bloke with all this junk on. The clothes are rather baggy and mum’s glasses do sort of cover my entire face. Large things, they are. So instead of taking offense, I freeze, never having been good at thinking on the spot. A train of random thoughts spin into my mind all at once, and I’ve nothing to do but string them together.
“Erm…Sly,” I blurt, “Sly…ah…Koala.”
James’ eyebrows shoot to his hairline, the first years snorting laughing sounding from the side of me. It takes every fiber of my being to keep myself from face-palming right there. Sly Koala. Really? I sound like some sort of undercover marsupial.
“Yes,” I lie, “Sly Koala.”
“Well, then,” James says, losing his train of thought, “Now that we’re all acquainted with – quite possibly – the most uniquely named person in school, I say we get started.”
Moments later, we were in the air, hovering steadily above the pitch. Two first years had been cut already, having looked at their broomsticks as though they’d never seen them before when asked to mount. I sigh in exasperation.
“Alright, new kids, being a Seeker means flying bloody fast, got it?” James calls, balancing on his broomstick, “So let’s see how fast you can go.”
James rolls the eyes he so liked to describe as ‘intense hazel.’ He flies back over to us, lining himself up and taking a deep, exasperated breath. “We’re racing.”
“What?!” someone squawked, “How are we supposed to be faster than you, Jamesie?”
I turned my hood-clad head, blinking in disbelief at the voice that belonged to a leggy blond girl, practically swooning on her broomstick. Gross. And besides, the name Jamesie is strictly prohibited by use of anyone that isn’t part of the Potter-Weasey clan.
“I’m a Chaser, you’re the Seeker. You’re supposed to be faster.”
Blondie McLeggyLegs goes ashen, blinking her enormous blue eyes in horror. Her ensemble, I notice, consists of a very thin piece of fabric stretched across her rather…prominent chest-al region. It seemed to be some sort of substitution for proper sport attire. James, thank god, was looking the opposite way.
“Alright, here we go,” he interjected, “I think it’s only fair if whoever gets a lap around the pitch, over the Black Lake, to the edge of the Forbidden Forest and back rightfully gets the Seeker spot.”
My hands tighten around the broomstick, adrenaline pulsing through me. Blondie McLeggyLegs looks more concerned with seducing my brother than she does with winning. I think I’m going to vomit. James ignores her.
“Everybody ready?” he calls, looking at the ten of us. We nod in confirmation, steadying ourselves and leaning forward, setting ourselves up to the start.
“On your marks…”
A guttural sort of snarl sounds from the person next to me, and I turn the slightest bit to see a rather ferocious looking girl eyeing me with contempt.
A second later, she takes a great gulp and spits, narrowing her eyes at me. I think she’s going to try to kill me, actually. There seems to be a flicker of red in her eyes.
And I’m off like a bullet; half because I want to win, half because I want to get the heck away from the terrifying broomstick girl. I can hear her grunt of anger behind me, and so I tuck my head down and accelerate, easily making it to the front of the group with three others.
The first lap around the pitch finishes quickly, with the slower seven falling behind. Blondie McLeggyLegs and Terrifying Broomstick Girl are among them. Phew.
James is a good ten feet in front of us remaining three, and I growl in annoyance. It isn’t though I can’t beat him – because I can! I have – it’s the mere thought of not making the team that’s eating at me, slowing me down mentally.
“C’mon!” I yell at myself, pushing myself forward on the broomstick. I edge closer to the front of the pack, putting myself in front of one of the two.
I can see the other players as we cut across the pitch to the Black Lake. Jacob is looking up at me, grinning like an idiot as he smacks a Bludger towards Simon’s head. A fraction of an inch, and I’m in second place – after James.
I’ve never seen James move this quickly on a broom. I’ve always know he was fast – he had to be good at something in life, didn’t he? But even when we play in the yard during the holidays, he’s never gone this fast. Never has he been this much better than me. But, of course, me being me, I’m not going to stand for it.
In a strange, burst of random energy, I’m too far ahead of the others for them to catch up, just at the back end of my brother’s broom. He notices the sudden company, turning his head around to look at the visitor. He blinks.
“Sly Koala?” he breathes, turning back around, “Well done!”
But I don’t thank him, because all I can think about is how he wouldn’t be telling me Well done or Good job if he knew that I wasn’t Sly Koala; if he knew that it was me, his little sister, he’d be yelling at me to get off the pitch.
I streak forward as we start back across the Black Lake, towards the Forbidden Forest. James has about a foot on me, and I hiss in frustration. We’re nearly over the lake, and it’s just us, the rest having fallen to far behind us to catch up. I lean forward on my broom, effectively closing the gap between us.
“Nice job, Koala,” he says, “Almost as fast as me.”
Then every semblance of anger I hold for my brother and his overbearing, prying, idiotic ways turns into energy and I’m jetting forward ahead of him. My hair whips wildly around me as I turn sharply away from the edge of the forest, the shock on James’ face still embedded in my mind.
“Let’s see you try to catch me!” I shout, and there’s no response, only the sound of the air as I slice through it, heading towards the pitch.
I’m touching down on the ground before long, earning several looks of absolute amazement from the onlookers. Al, the better brother, is grinning as a body plows into me, knocking me off my feet. “Harrumph!”
“You – were – bloody – brilliant!” Jacob tells me, smothering me most unceremoniously in a hug that crushes my ribs, “We all stopped to watch you!”
“Gosh, you’re fast!”
“That was fantastic!”
The crowd erupts into cheers, and I turn every shade of red possible. Jacob grins down at me, still squeezing me against him. It’s quite the lovely moment.
The silence that falls in the wake of James’ ‘I’m-angry-right-now’ voice is rather intimidating, and I flinch as I turn towards the sound. He’s standing not fifteen feet away, hair disheveled (more so than usual), and eyes ablaze. Livid.
I blink, stunned, confused to no end as to how he knew it was me. I start to walk towards him, and his expression only darkens.
“Don’t wear a hood when you fly,” he says, “They tend to fall off.”
I sigh as the wind blows a curtain of red tendrils into my face, effectively letting me know that Sly Koala’s ingenious disguise was no more. Well, piss.
“James, I know you’re mad – for stupid reasons, mind you – but I think that-”
“Don’t even,” James hisses, staring at me, “I told you not to come here.”
I’ve never seen him this infuriated. James Sirius Potter has never been anything but irrational, corny and hysterically spastic his entire life. Seeing him like this, serious, is – quite honestly – messing with my head. And yet, the raging anger pulses through me again and I practically spit acid at him.
“Why?” I seethe, “Why should I possibly listen to you? What sufficient reason could there be for keeping me off the team?!”
“For God’s sake, Lily!” he erupts, “It isn’t about that!”
“Then what, James, what?! I want a reason!”
“You’re my little sister, Lily!”
“Don’t even start with the ‘you’re-not-tough-enough’ shite!”
James blanches, staring at me in disbelief. He looks like a fish at the moment, and I want nothing more but to kick dirt into his gaping mouth.
“God, Lily, do you think I want to see you out there-”
“Obviously not!” I interrupt, blazing mad.
“-see you out there, riding around at outrageous speeds, reaching enormous heights, dodging players who couldn’t care less about your safety and Bludgers that could kill you if aimed correctly?! Do you think I want to see my baby sister hurt?!”
There another tense, thunderous silence in the air. The whooping spectators have even calmed down, despite their not being able to hear us. The players are looking on, concerned, as James covers his face with his hands, groaning.
I blink in shock, feeling the impact of my brother’s words. A surge of something other than adrenaline or anger pulses through me.
“Don’t you know?” he says quietly, “That I think you’re a great player, Lily? That you’d be an asset to the team?”
“No, I…I didn’t know that.”
James’ head whips up to me, eyes particularly blazing. He takes a deep breath, similar to the yoga breathing mum does during the afternoons, and runs a hand through his already terribly messy hair.
“I’m scared you’ll get hurt.”
The whole world seems to stop in the instance, the actual reason for James’ overprotective tendencies made known. I flounder for the right words.
“I won’t, James! I’ll-”
He shakes his head. “Injuries are a part of the sport. They’re unavoidable.”
“Fine, then,” I respond, “I’ll just have to work through it.”
James looks agonized as he watches me, “Lily…you’re my baby sister…I can’t…watching you getting hurt would be like…”
“I can do this.”
There must be something in my voice, something so desperate and raw that James lifts his head to actually look at me. He pauses for a moment, staring into the eyes I inherited from our mum, before he speaks again.
“I’ll announce the names in a half hour.”
And then he’s walking away, broom in his hands, towards the changing rooms. His teammates flock to his side, stepping in unison. Jacob scoots up to my side and I can do nothing more than watch him go, at a loss for words.
It’s been a half hour on non-stop pacing across the pitch, getting my trainers muddy and grass-stained. I’ve been waffling on about nothing in particular, and Jacob had been sitting like the best friend he is, nodding and agreeing with me at all the appropriate times.
“Alright,” a voice shouts from the changing rooms, “Come here, you lot – it’s time!”
Jacob very nearly throws me over his shoulder, yanking me across the pitch and to the door. I can see the newbies, Blondie McLeggyLegs and the Terrifying Broomstick Girl among them, congregated around the team.
Then I see it, the piece of parchment that James clutches in his fist as his eyes flicker over us. Add to the suspense, why don’t you, King of All Things
“Blah blah blah blah blah,” James’ words fall on deaf ears, as I’m not paying particular attention to anything that doesn’t sound like ‘Lily Potter’ or ‘Seeker.’
Jacob is practically squeezing my hand off as he clutches in for support, leaning in towards the sound of James’ voice calling out names and positions.
“Beater – Wood.”
Jacob emits a shriek so high-pitched and shrill that I’m fairly certain no one but canines within a five mile radius – and I – hear it. He, thankfully, relinquishes his hold on my hand and bounds forward like an overly-energetic puppy, thrusting his hand into James’ and shaking with all too much vigor.
“Brilliant,” I mumble when he returns to me, draping his arm around me once more, “I’d be happy for you, Jake-o, but you know I don’t handle suspense or disappointment very well…”
“’Nuff said,” he assures me.
Once the Beater-wannabes filed, quite glumly, out of the changing rooms, James’ eyes swept over us once more, hesitating on mine for the briefest of seconds.
His mouth opens to utter my fate, and I close my eyes in sheer desperation. I want to play Quidditch – I’ve got to play it; it’s to the point where I’ll do anything to be on a bloody house team. Heck – I’ll make an appeal to Headmaster Dribble to switch me into Slytherin or summat if I can’t be a Gryffie. I do look rather ravishing in classic shades of green, if I do say so myself. Which I do.
“This decision took a while,” James yammers on, “And I really think, despite the difficulty choosing, that I’ve made not only a good choice – but the right choice…”
My mind rewinds like a video, replaying various scenes of Quidditch-y joy in my head. Pickup Quidditch with my brothers, flying laps around the house, dad presenting me with his very first caught Snitch. I need this.
He shuts his mouth again, rubbing the side of his face as though his next few words are terribly uncomfortable to say, and he closes his eyes as he speaks:
“Seeker - Potter.”
Our eyes snap open at the same exact moment.
And without hesitation, without thinking of how utterly oblivious, moronic, stupid, overprotective, nosy, prying or anything else he is, I launch myself at James and crush him into a hug.
“Thank you,” I whisper, arms around his neck.
He pats me on the back, laughing quietly.
“Be careful,” he says.
I, Lily Potter, have just made it onto the Gryffindor House Quidditch team – which my insufferable, irrational, overprotective, wonderful, lovable eldest brother is Cap’n. He could have done everything in his power to keep me off, and yet, he didn’t.
There is snickering, laughter and the uncomfortable sound of water hitting something. And then I’m sopping wet, drenched in ice cold water that turns my blood into ice blocks and makes my teeth chatter.
I swivel around on my heel, noticing Jacob is sopping as well, and I stare at the rest of the team. They’re having difficulties keeping straight faces.
“Welcome to the team!” they all cheer, pumping their fists into the air and clapping for me. I don’t care though; I’m only looking at one person.
James stands near the door, holding his broomstick and laughing freely.
“C’mon, little sister, just try to catch me!”
James Potter may be my older brother, my new Cap’n, more understanding than I would have ever imagined, afraid of seeing me hurt and considerate…
But he’s still a right git.