Chapter 1 : Sorting.
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I have to admit, the summer before seventh year did eventually turn out to be one of the best. Perhaps just because it was right before a large crash of disappointment or just because of the news I received right before the crash of disappointment.
I know getting your hopes up is completely taboo when it comes to achievements – you’re supposed to expect the worst possible outcome and then, when you are successful, you are pleasantly surprised as well as honoured and it all becomes one of those moments you never want to forget.
Well, I decided, that summer, to try not getting my hopes up – but I failed miserably, as I almost expected to be made Quidditch Captain, and therefore lost any shred of dignity I once had by racing to collect the mail whenever an owl appeared at the window of our London townhouse and tearing through the parchments like some kind of starved paper-eating monster.
Quidditch Captain might sound like not that big of a deal and it wasn’t in its entirety. I had been Gryffindor Quidditch Captain all of sixth year, and we had come second, which I suppose was always not as bad as third. I had put my team through the toughest training regime, whipped them all into shape and managed to keep the morale high whilst I did it.
So when it was announced cruelly at the very last minute that there was going to be a mini Quidditch World Cup involving Hogwarts and two other wizarding schools I felt certain I would be put in charge of the team, I felt certain that I was the right one to lead the Hogwarts Dragons to victory. So, as you see, my hopes were stuck up rather loftily in the air…
Towards the end of summer, after receiving her Hogwarts letters and having the obligatory shopping spree in Diagon Alley, Rose began to worry that no news of the captaincy would come at all. Awful thoughts came to her, as they always do when one is nervous about something. Maybe she wasn’t captain after all, maybe the whole competition had been cancelled, and maybe she had done something wrong and had been banned from Quidditch all together…
These worries tore her apart as two halves of her, one panicky and one hopeful seemed to wrestle with each other, making her miserable to the point of not enjoying summer time fun at all. Eventually, though, on the very last day of the holiday, an envelope bearing the Hogwarts crest. Almost tearing the letter inside in her excitement Rose ripped it open, and squealed with joy and relief as a small, glittering badge fell out onto her hand.
“I’ve got it, I’ve got it!” She babbled happily, as her mother, Hermione, walked in the kitchen to see what all the commotion was about. “I’m Captain!”
Immediately, Rose pinned the Hogwarts shield to her breast pocket. She ran to the old grandfather clock and looked at her reflection in the glass, fingering the small word ‘captain’ under the Hogwarts emblem.
“You won’t have to go abroad, will you?’ Asked Hermione, wrapping her arms around her daughters shoulders from behind and looking at her reflection also. “You know I worry.”
“Only if we win the first game. We play Durmstrang, the Krakens, first, at Hogwarts,” started Rose excitedly, her eyes glazing over as she pictured the swooping figures of Quidditch players on the green pitch, the crowds cheering. “And then the Beauxbatons Unicorns play the Krakens in Bulgaria. Then we play the Unicorns at Hogwarts, and the final is held in France.”
“What if the Unicorns aren’t in the final?”
“They’ll be in the final. Some people in their team are already professional players. I really want the Dragons to win, and we really could, but, in all honesty,” she shrugged, “it’s just a contest for second place.”
“Well, we’re used to second place by now,” drawled Hugo, who had been eavesdropping on the last part of their conversation. He now stalked into the room, looking utterly miserable.
“Shut up, Hugo.”
“Oh, give me a break, Rose. I wasn’t having a go at you. Gryffindor came second last year, remember? I certainly do,” he snapped. Suddenly, quite out of place in his role as annoying little brother, he got a glass of cold coke and brought it to Rose. She looked at him suspiciously.
“Why are you being so nice to me, what do you want?”
“Can I have a place on the Dragons? Please?? It wasn’t my fault we lost last year,” he looked at her livid expression and hurriedly added, “It wasn’t your fault either. You were a great Captain.”
“You can try out and if you’re the best then you’re on the team. If you suck, you’re not. Simple as that.” Rose handed the coke back to him and turned to look in the mirror again. Hugo left the room, grumbling.
“Really, Rose, you aught to give him a spot on the team,” Hermione said, absentmindedly picking up the letter that came with the badge; out of habit, she began to read it.
“It just doesn’t work that way, mum.”
Something in her mothers tone made Rose switch immediately back to panic mode.
‘What? What is it?”
“You might want to read this.” Hermione said, handing the letter to Rose carefully, as though it might explode. Rose sat down on the bench and read.
Congratulations! You are Captain of the Hogwarts Dragons along with Scorpius Malfoy. The first match will be held on the 20th of December. It is up to you and your co-captain to organise try-outs and training schedules. I wish you all the best of luck!
Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Rose looked up angrily.
She paced the halls of the Weasleys’ London Georgian townhouse all day like an old crone, muttering to herself madly. Eventually, Hermione forced her to go to bed, promising that she could sort it all out at school tomorrow.
I was nervous when I arrived at Platform 9 3/4 ,almost as nervous as I had been on my first time on the Hogwarts Express. I kept glancing down at my badge, almost as if it would disappear. A small part of me hoped the letter had been some sort of prank and that I was the only Captain.
That glimmer of hope was like a candle flickering feebly in a dark room that was running out of air. And pretty much as soon as I stepped on the train, the candle of hope was firmly blown out.
Scorpius Malfoy was standing in the aisle, his burly, tall form making him immediately stand out as he easily carried his heavy trunk above his head, heading towards the other end of the train. As he turned to talk to a friend behind him, Rose saw the flash of a badge on his shirt. A Hogwarts Captains badge.
As he caught her eye, his bright, easy going expression immediately turned into a snarl. He motioned with his head for her to follow him as he pushed his way through the crowd, heading towards the compartments in the last train carriage.
Rose followed him into an empty compartment, where he lifted his trunk easily into the overhead shelf. Without a word, he lifted her heavy trunk onto the shelf as well. He sat down, his expression stony. Rose, quite scared at this point, sat down opposite him.
“Did your parents pay to get you that badge or something?” He asked angrily.
“What?” Rose replied, completely taken aback. This wasn’t what she expected at all. “No!”
“How did you get it then? Because I seem to recall the score of the Grand Final last year being 300 to 150 to Slytherin.” He was now breathing heavily, glaring at her.
“I suppose I got it because I was a great captain, my players were all brought up to a standard previously unseen at Hogwarts, my training methods-”
“Lost the cup. Your team lost the cup. I don’t understand why I should have to put up with this, I earned the Captaincy, I deserve it, and you don’t!”
Rose felt tears pricking her eyes. She hated the idea of sharing, too, especially with Scorpius. But he was just being unfair.
“Your team partied every night and never trained! I couldn’t imagine a more irresponsible Captain! I don’t understand why they would give you the badge in the first place to be honest!”
Scorpius stood up in fury and Rose stood up with him, holding his glance.
“I got in there and played hard and we won the game with ease. Your stupid tactics and tricks just got in the way.” Scorpius hissed at her. “You were a slave-driver bitch who was despised by your team!”
“That’s enough!” Rose shouted at him, not willing to take anymore. She stormed out to find her friends, and heard Scorpius punch the wall in anger behind her.
Rose found her way back to her best friends Amy and Sophie, and her other roommates Jess and Emma. They asked her what was wrong but she just shook her head – she didn’t know where to start. The usual reveal of the Hogwarts Castle dominating the night sky as the carriages rolled up the hill was overshadowed by her argument with Scorpius. He really had hurt her feelings – she felt like crying again as everyone filed into the Great Hall.
Sitting at the Gryffindor table, Rose smiled and waved at a few of her old teammates. They all waved back but only a couple returned the smile. Rose began to wonder if Scorpius had been right – if she had pushed her team too hard, and now they all hated her.
“What’s up with you?” Amy asked, her brown eyes darkening with worry. “Why are you so put-out?”
“Do you think all the Quidditch players hate me, because I made them train so much?”
Amy just shrugged.
“Who cares? A good Captain’s a tough Captain.”
“I thought so too, but-”
“Look, Rose,” Sophie interrupted, flipping her blonde hair over her shoulder. “You already have plenty of friends. You don’t need your underlings to worship you.”
“Underlings?” Rose’s eyebrows shot up almost to her hairline. “I didn’t treat them like they were beneath me, did I?”
It was Sophie’s turn to shrug and adopt a ‘who cares’ expression. Rose was going to continue asking questions when she was interrupted by Professor Sprout bringing out the Sorting Hat and the three legged stool. The first years walked up the aisle nervously, staring at the mangy old hat, unsure what was going on or what they had to do.
The Sorting Hat opened its brim mouth and began to sing:
Have no fear,
Hogwarts is safe,
No danger here.
It’s a fun time,
There is no crime,
They earn to chime!
You may be new,
And very few,
You may be old,
And nearly through,
Within these walls,
In these Great Halls,
Magic will roam,
As dreaming calls.
Some will reach,
Some will teach,
All will enjoy,
Life’s a beach.
Soon we’ll eat,
Put up our feet,
Have a drink
And friends we’ll meet.
Everyone clapped, though Rose and her friends rolled their eyes at each other; yet another short ‘everything’s peachy!’ song from the Sorting Hat – they all felt it was losing its touch, but it was still reassuring to know that, at least according to the hat, no evil was about.
The Sorting then took place, beginning with “Adams, Evie” who went into Gryffindor and ending with “Wilder, Preshanti” who was placed into Slytherin.
A hush fell over the Hall as Headmaster Neville Longbottom walked up the podium to make the traditional welcoming speech.
“Welcome to Hogwarts, new students, and welcome back, old, but still beloved students and teachers. Another year at Hogwarts!” He smiled widely as the congregation erupted with applause. “And this year is going to be quite eventful! We are having a Quidditch Cup! I’d like to congratulate our two Captains, Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy!”
Rose smiled at the Gryffindor table who were clapping politely in her direction. On the other side of the hall, Scorpius had rose to his feet in a roar of cheering from the Slytherins. He held out his arms to either side as if basking in his own glory. Rose rolled her eyes.
“We will be competing against Durmstrang and Beauxbatons,” a small number of boos and heckles came out of the crowd as he mentioned the rival Wizarding schools. “I’m sure try outs won’t be too far away! Apart from that, our regular Quidditch season will be going on too, and I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate our four new House Quidditch Captains!”
Another round of applause.
“Yes, it will be a very Quidditch-ey year, but for those who’d rather keep their feet on the ground, we have the Gobstones Christmas Clash, a nine-hour Gobstones playing marathon with only one winner!” He mimed throwing a Gobstone as the Gobstones fanatics in the crowd cheered loudly. “Also, the Hogwarts Chess team will be travelling to China this year to compete in the International Chess Tournament!”
And yet more applause.
“Now, I think it’s time to eat, don’t you?” This statement received the largest applause of all, as the food appeared magically on the tables before them.
Whilst they were eating, Professor Longbottom approached both Rose and Scorpius, inviting them to join him in his office after the feast to discuss his decision-making re the Captaincy.
Rose and Scorpius walked silently to the Headmasters Office, through the Transfiguration Courtyard, not even looking at each other. Professor Longbottom met them at the door, and held it open for them, gesturing for them to enter. They sat down on one side of the desk facing the Headmasters Chair, still not looking at each other. Rose spoke first.
“I guess what we both want to know, Professor Longbottom, is why. Why did you do this?” Rose asked, trying to sound polite and hide her hostility.
“Because,” Neville started, sitting down in the Headmasters chair to face them, “Put quite simply, you both have what each other needs. Malfoy, you’re able to instil a sense of pride and camaraderie in your team, and team spirit is so important in Quidditch. But your method lacks structure.”
He glanced over at Rose.
“And that’s where Miss Weasley comes in. She’s a disciplinarian who can organise a training schedule and exercises to better the team. She works the team hard, and gets fantastic results. She knows all the game plays and tactics in the book.” He leaned back, linking his hands behind his head. “You need each other. Work together. Learn from each other. Win this contest, bring Hogwarts to victory. I believe you can do it.”
Rose and Scorpius glared at each other out of the corners of their eyes. Clearly, they didn’t agree.
That night, as I lay on my comfy four-poster bed, I thought about what both Scorpius and Professor Longbottom had said. Random thoughts whirled through my head, such as: Did my team really hate me?? Was I too hard on them? But Longbottom said that was a good thing…
And then I began thinking of training schedules leading up to the first game, and how easy it would be if I didn’t have to clear everything with Scorpius first. Urgh. I really hated Scorpius. Work with him? Learn from him? Professor Longbottom must have been crazy, I thought. Malfoy was the enemy, the competition, last year. Would we really be able to work as team members? As Co-Captains?
It took a very long time to fall asleep that night.