The night after her sleepover with Percy, Natalie smiled as she laid down in bed. She had spent her entire Sunday catching up on school work and was relieved to finally lay down.
“So?” Lavender said from the bed next to Natalie. She propped herself up on her elbows and was smiling at Natalie.
“So what?” Natalie asked.
Parvati giggled. “So, what’d you do with Percy last night?!” Lavender asked. Word had gotten around that Natalie was seeing Percy, mainly by Ron, who still couldn’t fathom why it was happening.
“Just went to Fred and George’s,” she answered, not thinking anything of it.
Even Hermione stifled a laugh. “And?” Parvati pressed.
“And what?” Natalie retorted, confused as to why they were interested.
“Did you guys do it?!” Lavender finally blurted out.
“What!?” Natalie exclaimed. “No! Why would you even think that!?”
“Well,” Lavender said, wrinkling her nose. She couldn’t understand why Natalie was confused. “You guys have been seeing each other for a while, and you spent the night together!”
“I haven’t even known him that long!” Natalie exclaimed. Parvati rolled her eyes, and Natalie was worried that they weren’t going to believe her.
Hermione apparently read Natalie’s thoughts, because she said, “Just because you sleep with everyone who looks your way, doesn’t mean everyone does!” Parvati stifled a laugh while Lavender’s cheeks turned bright read. She didn’t say another word before hastily closing her bed hangings and going to sleep.
Two weeks after Natalie snuck into Hogsmeade, the entire school crammed, all bundled up, into the stands at the Quidditch pitch. It was the day that Gryffindor played Slytherin. Natalie perched anxiously on the edge of the cold, wooden bleacher next to Hermione. The girls looked at each other nervously, butterflies floating around in their stomachs. The surrounding Gryffindors cheered loudly as the team took their places in the air in the pitch, but Natalie and Hermione knew how much the game meant, and how sour of a mood both Harry and Ron would be in if they lost. Gryffindor had beat Hufflepuff already, and Slytherin had recently beat Ravenclaw, making the tension stronger.
The girls finally stood up as Madam Hooch threw the Quaffle into the air. It was grabbed by Ginny and she raced down towards the Slytherin Keeper. A greasy Slytherin Chaser zoomed towards Ginny and almost got the chance to steal the Quaffle, until a Bludger knocked him in the arm. The Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws all cheered as Ginny sent the Quaffle soaring through the center Slytherin hoop. Harry raised his hands in the air and cheered, thinking that the game might not be so bad anyway.
Another quick goal by Ginny raised the morale of not just the team, but the majority of the onlookers. Hermione smiled meekly as Ron pulled a quick barrel roll on his broom, excited for his sister.
That’s when it happened. Natalie felt like the world started moving in slow motion. The Gryffindor team was still cheering Ginny’s goal when Natalie saw a flash of white out of the corner of her eye. Draco Malfoy catapulted toward the ground across the pitch from where Natalie was sitting. At first, she though he lost control of his broom and was going down, but even from across the field she could see the determination in his eyes.
It was over in seconds. Draco rose victoriously into the air, his arm outreached over his head, his long, pale fingers gripping the Snitch. He made sure to fly directly in front of Harry before joining the rest of the Slytherins. The bleachers fell silent, minus the Slytherins, as everybody processed what had happened. Natalie looked at Harry, and her heart broke when she saw his face. The sparkle disappeared from his eyes and the smile from his face. He hung solemnly in the air on his broom, defeated.
The teams all began to land on the ground, and the crowds headed down from the bleachers. Hermione hurried down, weaving through the other students, to get to Ron quickly. Natalie stayed seated on the bench, though, choosing to wait until the stairs were clear.
Instead of landing, Harry flew towards Natalie and sat down next to her. He dropped his broom, and it rolled down a few steps on the bleachers with a loud clanking. He was silent, so Natalie reached over she took his hand. She had no idea what to say, so she didn’t say anyhing.
They say quietly for almost an hour. Natalie was uncomfortable, just because she didn’t know what to say to make Harry feel better.
“I can’t believe I blew it,” he finally said. He gently let go of Natalie’s hand to run both of his hands through his hair. He rubbed his eyes slowly, and it made Natalie even more uncomfortable. He looked extremely stressed.
“You didn’t blow it,” she replied quietly.
“Yes I did,” he said.
“No,” she repeated. “Come on,” she said, grabbing his hand again and pulling him to his feet.
“I don’t wanna go inside yet,” he said. He wasn’t ready to face everyone telling him “not to worry about it” and that “Gryffindor will get them next time.”
“Harry,” Natalie protested. The sky was getting dark, partly because it was getting late, partly because it was getting cloudy. The air was crisp and it was as if they could smell the snow that was about to come. “Come on, it’s getting colder, we don’t have to go to the common room.” Harry just nodded and followed her down the bleachers to the stairs, grabbing his broom on the way.
They spent the rest of the night in the room of requirement, which completely amazed Natalie. “I wish we had a room like this at Beauxbatons!” she exclaimed when they opened the doors, finding a scene somewhat like the Gryffindor common room. Plush couches surrounded a marble fireplace. Large pillows and warm, fuzzy blankets were draped over the couches, and a table stood in the middle of the grouping laden with bottles of butterbeer.
Natalie snuck out around eight to grab two plates of food. The Great Hall was packed as usual, but the Gryffindors seemed to understand what was going on, and didn’t ask Natalie about anything.
Natalie brought the food back up to Harry, and for some reason was nervous. She tried to think of how Percy would feel if he could see her, eating alone in the Room of Requirement with Harry, even though she was just trying to cheer him up. She shrugged it off, though. They were just friends after all.