Chapter 1 : Quidditch Final
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Everything you recognize is property of JKR. Everything you don't recognize is property of me. Stealing is bad for your conscience.
It was raining on the day of the Quidditch final. The two teams had been playing for hours. The sun was beginning to disappear behind the horizon, and it became more difficult for the players to see as they zoomed in between raindrops. The rain pelting down on their helmets drowned out the sound of the cheering voices of the crowd, braving the nasty weather to support their house.
Louis’s robes had started out a bright golden color when the game had begun. The rain had soaked into every fiber and he had had a few collisions with the muddy ground so now his robes were dirty mustard.
The Snitch, however, was always pristine and bright, making it easier for him to fulfill his duties as Seeker. No matter how dark it was outside, the Snitch always seemed to be glowing brightly enough for Louis to keep his eyes on it.
He had been following it for the past ten minutes, but it flew up into the cloudy sky and Louis lost sight of it. With Bludgers being knocked past his ear and Chasers zinging by him, Louis hovered still in the air, looking over his shoulders for the bright yellow ball.
In those few moments, he thought of how shameful it would be to lose to Slytherin in the Quidditch final. If he lost this game, he would never hear the end of it from his family and friends. “You let a Malfoy beat you?” Uncle Ron would say. “If you had lost to anyone else, Lou…” And he would shake his head and sigh. Louis’s cousins, having heard hearsay from their parents about the rivalry, would also be disappointed in him, though they wouldn’t quite know why. But it wouldn’t matter why. Louis couldn’t stomach the feeling of being a regret.
Not to mention the Hufflepuff Quidditch team. Not to mention the Hufflepuff house. And everyone else who was rooting for him to beat Slytherin.
Being his final year at Hogwarts, Louis wanted more than anything to leave the school with a bang. He would hardly be remembered for his academic achievements, but Quidditch was the place in which he excelled. When he was on the pitch, he became someone that people in the stands wanted to be. He became somebody. If he couldn’t win his final match, he would turn back into nobody.
A streak of gold flashed past him. He saw it briefly out of the corner of his left eye. There it was. The Snitch, flying top speed toward the stands. It was going clear on the other end of the pitch, through Chasers brawling for the Quaffle and Beaters whacking Bludgers at opposing teammates. Louis took off, keeping tunnel-vision on that golden dot.
He swished past oncoming teammates and opponents, took huge, sloppy raindrops to the face. He squinted through the darkness and the rain, focusing only on that tiny dot of hope.
From behind him, another player whizzed past him, traveling at an unthinkable speed. Garbed in dirty green robes, Scorpius Malfoy was taking center stage.
As he watched Scorpius’s body get smaller and smaller, he realized that Scorpius would be the winner of this match. There was just no way Louis could keep up with Scorpius’s speed; his broomstick was far too advanced. It was impossible.
In a few seconds of blind rage, Louis hoped a Bludger would knock Scorpius clean off his broomstick.
He immediately took it back.
Though he knew it was a lost cause, Louis followed Scorpius toward the ever-flying Snitch. He wanted to make it look like he was trying his best until the end.
Then the Snitch stopped abruptly, and right before Scorpius could clasp his fingers around it, it zoomed straight upward. Scorpius followed it again, straight up, into the sky that was blanketed by dark clouds.
Louis followed, too, but he hung back, knowing his broomstick wouldn’t be able to last at the ninety-degree-angle for long
The Snitch took a sharp turn and Scorpius followed almost instantly. Louis’s broom wasn’t capable of making turns at that angle, so he had to go wider and then come back. They were flying high, now. Louis couldn’t hear anything of the crowd below. It was like they were in a different world up there. Not only was it dark and raining, the lights were far below them.
As he watched the back of Scorpius’s broom continue to fly without any sign of it stopping, Louis felt something fall in the pit of his stomach. Something was wrong.
Then he remembered. He stopped short, picturing the long, thick flag pole that protruded from the tower Scorpius was following into the sky. A flag pole that sported the Slytherin emblem that ran parallel with the ground. Knowing Scorpius, Louis was sure that Scorpius had no idea it was there.
In that moment, he forgot everything about the Malfoys. He forgot that his friends and family viewed them as rivals. He forgot that he was on the Hufflepuff team and Scorpius was on the Slytherin team. He forgot everything that separated them.
Not knowing what to do, Louis screeched, “Scorpius!”
Out of instinct, Scorpius looked back at Louis. Their eyes met for a moment. The pole was quickly coming closer into view, pushing the clouds out of the way. Scorpius showed no sign of slowing down. All Louis could do was point and scream, “Look out!” but it wasn’t enough.
Scorpius faced forward at the last possible second before colliding with the pole. It caught him straight in his middle, and he doubled over it. His broom kept flying for a few feet before falling to the ground. Scorpius started plummeting to the ground at full speed. He was just dead weight.
Louis darted after him as fast as his hand-me-down broom would take him, but there was no way he could keep up with the force of gravity. As they got closer to the pitch, the crowd came back into view. Their cheers turned into collective gasps and screams, but there was nothing anyone could do.
Madam Hooch’s whistle pierced through the night air, and all the players stopped playing. She pointed her wand at Scorpius and slowed his body from falling, stopping it before it hit the ground. Louis couldn’t watch when the professors would gather around him and Madam Pomfrey would announce him dead.
And they did. The professors rushed onto the field, and Madam Pomfrey pushed through the crowd of Quidditch players and students and teachers. Before Louis could hear anything, he snuck off the pitch, while everyone was focusing on Scorpius.
It was a long walk to the nearest bathroom. Louis’s ears were ringing. His heart was beating out of his chest. He thought his palms were on fire. He couldn’t see through his wet goggles, but he didn’t bother taking them off.
When he found a bathroom, he closed the door and put a spell on it to lock it from the inside. The last thing he needed was for someone to barge in on him at this time.
The silence was what got to him first. There was nothing going on in this bathroom, save for the guilt-fest that was clawing at his insides. Beyond the walls that held him in silence was a huge throng of people weeping and mourning for a boy that Louis had essentially killed.
But the bathroom was silent.
Louis ripped off his gloves and dropped them on the floor. He looked at his hands, remembering the pointed finger he had given to Scorpius to warn him. That’s what killed him.
He shuffled his feet toward the sinks, finding it difficult to keep his balance. His knees quaked. Louis took off his goggles and dropped them on the floor as well. He could see clearly now, free of the water droplets that kept him in the world of Quidditch. He had just shed the memory of seeing Scorpius for the last time through those goggles. It was like he was free now, though he knew he didn’t deserve to be.
Louis nearly collapsed at the sink. Leaning all his weight on the basin, he wept.
How long would it be before someone blamed Louis? After all, he was clearly the last one to come in contact with Scorpius before his awful death. Who’s to say Louis was innocent? How long would it be before a search party was sent through the school? How long before that bathroom door is blasted open and Louis is found, guilty and crying?
Louis knew that if he had any self-respect, he would wipe his tears, and face his fate like a man. He would have to present himself to the crowd of people and tell them the truth. It was because of him that Scorpius was dead.
It was because of him.
Scorpius was dead.
The thoughts made him nauseous.
His quaking fingers flipped the cold water tap. Louis splashed his face with icy water and kept his fingers covering his face, hiding himself from his reflection with dirt-encrusted fingernails.
Finally he lowered his fingers and faced himself in the mirror. He had never seen himself so pale and sickly. There were dark circles beneath his red eyes, and it was clear that he had been crying. There was no color to his cheeks, despite just coming inside from the cold weather.
He blinked his eyes a few times and then let his head hang in shame.
“How does it feel to be a clean-handed killer?”
Louis whipped around, feeling his pocket for his wand. There was no one there.
“Over here,” the voice said from behind him. Louis spun around the other way, and no one was there either.
Louis’s stomach fell. Slowly, he turned his head to face his reflection.
“Atta boy,” said Louis’s face in the mirror.
Louis stumbled back in disbelief and fear. “Wh-Who are you?”
“I’m your reflection. Who do I look like?”
“B-but… Y-you can’t…”
“N-n-no…. Y-you can’t…”
The reflection chuckled. “Not very articulate for a murderer, are you?”
Louis got to his feet, becoming oddly comfortable with speaking to himself.
“I’m not a murderer.” The words came out punctuated and deliberate.
“No? Explain the corpse outside.”
“It was an accident.”
“Of course. Because if he had been facing forward, he would have hit it too.”
Louis was silent.
“Face it, Lou. You killed him.”
“I didn’t kill anyone.”
“Yes, you did. If you hadn’t distracted Scorpius from watching where he was going, he would still be alive right now.”
“That’s not true.”
“Sure, he might have won and you would have lost, but that’s no reason to kill him.”
“I didn’t kill him!”
“Then what do you call it? Accidental homicide?”
“I didn’t mean to – I was only trying to…”
“Only trying to help?” The reflection laughed. “That’s rich! Sweet, innocent Louis trying to cover his tracks by claiming he was doing a good deed! I hope you get away with that one, kid. That’ll be good.”
Louis closed his fists around the basin. “Shut up.”
“You should have stuck to your gut and stayed enemies.”
“Psst! Here’s a secret. He was on the other team!”
Louis clenched his eyes closed, hoping his reflection would go away.
“I know there’s that little rivalry between your families but isn’t that buried with time by now? You don’t even know why you hate the guy and you had to go and kill him? That’s a new low, champ.”
“I didn’t kill him!”
“Right. It was an accident.”
“I know!” The reflection rolled his eyes.
Louis let out a scream at the top of his lungs and brandished his wand, pointing it directly at the other man’s nose.
The other man did the same.
He laughed. “Are you going to kill me, too, Louis?”
Louis didn’t respond. He tried to keep his outstretched arm from shaking.
“I’m only trying to help,” said the other man.
“Lower your wand.”
“I will if you do.”
The two were in a stand-off then, neither of them making a move. But as Louis heaved deep breaths through his nose, so did his reflection. The eyes of the other man gleamed bright blue in the pale light of the lonely bathroom, and his skin looked white. This man was heartless as a killer.
A switch snapped inside of Louis and he could no longer control himself. It was like he had lost himself to a stronger, more powerful being. “Avada Kedavra!”
The green light zoomed straight for the other man, who looked positively pleased with himself. Did he not know the fate that was zeroing in on him?
The spell hit the mirror and bounced back, heading straight for Louis. Before it hit him, he had a chance to look at the other man. His pale eyes lit up with green flame, and the last thing Louis saw was the shocked expression etched on the face of the man in the mirror.