Chapter 28 : Homecoming
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A/N: Okay, so since this is the actual end, another long author's note!
I can't believe we made it. It seems so surreal that I've finally finished my first story. I feel a huge rush of pride and at the same time immense humility. I'd like to thank every single person who's made it all the way 'til the end with me, coming back even after the outrageous cliffhangers and the horrendous drama! :D It means so much to me, I just can't tell you!
Thanks to all of the friends I've made here and on the forums for all the support you've given me! I can never thank you guys enough! I love you all to bits!
Thanks to a very close personal friend of mine for all her encouragement and for rushing to my room the second I finished to congratulate me. She remains, until now, the only person besides myself to have read this epilogue.
There will be a sequel, as I said before. The name of the sequel is... drumroll please... A Time For Us.
I'm rather looking forward to it! The first chapter will probably be up either on my birthday, the 26th of April. Or on the 30th of April if I have writer's block :D
Anyway, here's to the end! Signing off! Hope you like it :D
“And they’re off once again, ladies and gentlemen! Look at them go! I can’t get over how well the Gryffindor team is flying together! Their captain, Aidan Briars, has certainly done all those who have held the position before her proud! She’s the first female captain Gryffindor has had in a over a decade and she’s proved that a girl can handle the responsibility just as well as a bloke can!” commented Lorcan Scamander-Lovegood as we ripped past the commentator’s booth.
“A woman who can hold her own in a male dominated sport really is a dream come true, mate! Not to mention she’s easy on the eyes!” Asserted Lysander suggestively.
The crowd cheered wildly at his words, and I couldn’t help but grin as I weaved through the Slytherin players, Quaffle tucked under my arm as I flew with Hugo and our new beater (one of Hugo’s friends), Andy Sloper, flanking me.
I feinted to the right and passed underhand to Rose. The beaters immediately left my side to cover her next since the Slytherins had been fairly vicious so far, but Hugo and Andy needn’t have bothered; Scorpius would kill any member of his team that dared to hurt a hair on Rosie’s head. It was this knowledge that made me relax a little and slow down to watch Rose make her way to the goal posts.
“I think Lysander’s quite taken with you!” joked Kristy Kirke, our new chaser, as she nodded towards the commentator’s booth.
I glanced over at the booth in question. Lorcan was commentating as Lysander, who was surveying the game, caught my eye. He grinned before blowing me a kiss. I rolled my eyes, swatting the kiss away lazily. Lysander dramatically held up a hand to his wounded heart, lower lip quivering, and I couldn’t help but laugh. He gave up the act and laughed with me before he turned his attention back to the game.
“He’s a complete spaz.” I said with a grin as I turned to Kristy. “But he’s a lovable one.”
“That he is… but there’s something about Lorcan that’s just…” Kristy trailed off as she fixed her gaze on Lorcan Scamander-Lovegood.
The blonde boy had just let Lysander take over the commentary about the seekers when he realized that someone was watching him. He and Kristy locked gazes for a few seconds before both turned away, blushes creeping up their cheeks.
A smirk slowly formed on my lips as I raised an eyebrow at Kristy. “I think someone has a crush.” I said in a sing-song voice.
Kristy looked bewildered but didn’t have the chance to defend herself as I flew off since Rose had just scored her goal and needed someone to pull off the next play with her. Kristy soon followed me but I noticed that the blush didn’t fade and that she kept glancing at the commentator’s booth.
We were about to put the Quaffle into play again when Scorpius called a time out for his team. Coach Wood blew his whistle and all the Slytherins flew down to the pitch. I decided that we might as well make use of the time.
“Alright, team, get down here!” I called as I flew down to the pitch, my feet touching down on the springy green grass, the others following suit.
The boys headed straight to the refreshments table, emptying bottles of water over their heads in an attempt to cool off. It was an unseasonably warm day, and the heat was a little tedious. Lily and Kristy both started gulping down water quickly.
“Ahoy, captain!” called Al before he walked over to me, raven hair dripping wet.
I grinned at him and he grinned back. He had grown a bit taller over the summer and had filled out a little more; a fact that was clearly noticeable while he wore his scarlet and gold uniform, which I could have sworn was looser the year before. His glasses were sitting a little crookedly on his nose, emerald eyes twinkling behind them, as he came over and shook out his hair, sending water droplets flying everywhere.
“Ahoy, Head Boy!” I replied as he slung his arm around my shoulders and kissed my temple.
“Quite a turn out, this!” he stated, looking around the pitch at the cheering crowd. He waved at the Gryffindor side of the bleachers, setting off a bunch of screaming and applause from his numerous female fans.
“I think all this attention is getting to you.” I commented with a smirk and he shrugged, grinning the entire time.
“Hey, we’re seventh years! I might as well make the most of what I’m getting now! Real life won’t be this nice to me when we graduate!”
And I supposed it also had something to do with the fact that he was single now and could actually enjoy the attention without feeling guilty. It had been the talk of Hogwarts when Christine and Al broke up barely 3 days into the school year. Neither was too cut up about it. Although none of us had realized it, they had been drifting apart for months and they eventually decided that it just wasn’t working out. But Christine remained a good friend and could be seen even now sitting on the scarlet side of the bleachers with Mona, donning Al’s old Gryffindor scarf.
“Keep making your excuses, Potter. No one’s buying them!” said Rose, snapping me out of my thoughts as she walked over to us, water bottle in hand.
“You’re just jealous that you don’t get this kind of applause, Weasley!” remarked Al with a smirk.
Rose raised an eyebrow at the challenge. She tossed her hair over her shoulder before turning to face the crowd. She very slowly kissed the tips of her fingers before she blew the kiss out to no one in particular. The crowd starting cheering wildly and many members of the male persuasion cat called and whooped.
“Marry me, Rose!” yelled out some 3rd year Gryffindors.
Rose laughed before turning back to Al with an expression worthy of Cleopatra. “You were saying?”
“Nothing at all, your majesty.” Joked Al, pulling Rose to him so that he had one of us on either side of him. “But Scorpius doesn’t look too happy with your little fan club.”
Al nodded towards the other side of the pitch where the Slytherins were huddled together, discussing strategy. Scorpius was briefing his team, giving clear instructions to them but none of us missed his frequent glares towards the bleachers, perhaps at the third years that made their feelings for Rose so very clear.
Word to the wise?
Hitting on Scorpius Malfoy’s girlfriend?
Especially when he was around.
Not only did they not stand a chance against a guy like Scorpius but they also ran the possibility of looking like complete idiots in front of Rose, who would probably laugh in their faces if they tried to declare their undying love for her. Well, maybe not if they were third years. Rose was rather tactful when it came to younger students.
“Scorpius can handle himself just fine.” stated Rose but she winked at Scorpius and blew him a small kiss to appease him.
One didn’t need to be Dumbledore to figure out that the move had worked because Scorpius gave her the smallest of smiles in return, something he rarely did when he had a match against us. He must have noticed Al and me smirking at him because he immediately averted his eyes back to his team, the slightest hint of pink tingeing his cheeks.
“Is Scorpius blushing over on that end?” asked Lily incredulously as she came and stood next to Rose.
“Yup.” Responded Al, smirk growing wider.
“If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.” I said sincerely, looking across Al’s lean torso at Rose, whose skin was beginning to match her hair.
“Oh, shut it you lot.” She mumbled and we all started laughing.
It was a rare thing indeed, Rose Weasley blushing like that.
“We’re doing well so far, aren’t we?” asked Hugo as he also came to join our small huddle, Andy Sloper not far behind.
“210-60 is pretty good for a newly formed team, mate.” I assured him with a smile.
“Now why don’t you just seal the deal by catching that damned Snitch, brother of mine? My hair is frizzing because of how much I’m sweating in this heat!” complained Lily as she fanned herself with her keeper’s glove. I did sympathize with her for having the heaviest Quidditch kit.
“Oh, yeah, Lily; I’ll catch the snitch only because your hair is getting ruined.” said Al sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
Lily shrugged at him. “It’s as good a reason to catch the snitch as any.”
“Fair point that.” Agreed Kristy and Rose.
“In what world?” asked Andy with a grin.
“Says the boy who spent 30 minutes in the locker room fixing his hair.” Retorted Lily.
“That’s because some of us can manage our hair, Potter!” shot back Andy with a smirk.
“I’m sorry, were you referring to that haystack on your head as hair?” mocked Kristy.
As my team launched into an argument, I watched them fondly. They may have argued until kingdom come (Lily and Andy literally fought during practices like cats and dogs) but there was no finer team in Hogwarts this year. Somehow, with the help of Rose and Al, I had found the perfect people to complete the team.
Kristy, despite being 2 years younger than Rose and I, got on with us just as well as Lily did. She listened to instructions but knew when to throw caution to the wind to make a play work. Andy, despite his habit of flirting with any girl within a 100 meter radius, worked well with Hugo and was just as focused when it came to the game. Most importantly, the two of them loved the game, and had a passion for it, something that shone through in their try-outs.
I had been so nervous to take over as captain and I was pretty scared that no one would respect my authority. But I soon found I had nothing to worry about. It was shocking what my captain’s badge could do to people who usually mouthed off to me. And I supposed having the Heads as best friends didn’t hurt either.
So far, Al, Rose and I pretty much ruled Gryffindor tower.
Not that we ever abused our power.
We never did that.
Well, Rose did… and sometimes Al did if he was bored… and there was that time when I wanted a snack and sent a second year to the great hall to grab me a bite… but those were just privileges we earned with our seniority. We never abused it in a major way.
Coach Wood blew his whistle, calling the time out to an end, and my teammates immediately stopped their banter. They drained the rest of their water before tossing aside the bottles and immediately mounted their brooms. They all stood by patiently until I mounted mine.
“After you, captain!” called Hugo with a grin. I winked at him before I kicked off.
We took our positions amidst the loudest cheering I’d ever witnessed for the first match of the year. As we waited for the Slytherins to take to the sky, the Gryffindors started stomping their feet against the wooden bleachers and broke into a chorus of “We will rock you”. Rose and I exchanged grins as Al held up his hand to his ear, pretending that he couldn’t hear them, making them chant and yell even louder.
As soon as the Slytherins faced off against us, having possession of the Quaffle, Coach Wood blew the whistle again and the game commenced. I immediately gave chase to Pucey who took the Quaffle forward while Rose and Kristy tailed Grant and, the new chaser, Martina Mennick.
“And Chaser Pucey takes the Quaffle forward, Gryffindor captain Briars right on his tail! He’s trying to make his way through the Gryffindor beaters. Pucey passes to Mennick and- there’s a bludger from Sloper and she drops it, right into the hands of Kristy Kirke, the newest chaser on the Gryffindor side!” exclaimed Lysander.
“She’s rather pretty, isn’t she?” asked Lorcan, voice taking on a dreamy quality.
The statement solicited all sorts of cat calling from everyone. Kristy nearly dropped the Quaffle in surprise but she kept her head and zoomed towards the Slytherin goal posts.
“Al!” I admonished since he was also busy jeering at Lorcan.
He gave me a sheepish grin before he started surveying the skies for that little golden ball that could put an end to this game.
I flew off, speeding towards Kristy and trying to get Grant off of my tail as I weaved through the Slytherin beaters. Kristy feinted left and was about to shoot but she spotted me and passed the Quaffle in a quick overhand (one of the qualities that Rose and I were impressed with during her try out. It’s pretty hard to make an overhand pass just as fast as an underhand one). I tossed the Quaffle into the air and whipped my broom around, smacking the Quaffle towards the center hoop with a satisfying ‘thwack’.
The Quaffle sailed through, Montague’s fingers not even close to reaching it. I felt a rush of adrenaline as the crowd cheered for me. I flew over to Kristy and we cheerfully exchanged high fives as we flew back to our side of the pitch.
“Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter streaking across the pitch! I think they’ve seen the snitch!” cried Lorcan excitedly.
“They have indeed! There’s that gleam of gold, folks! This could all be over some time in the next few minutes! That’s Seeker Malfoy in the lead!” yelled Lysander.
I turned around to watch the action so quickly that I cricked my neck. Scorpius was in the lead? I couldn’t remember the last time that had happened. I did some quick calculations before I glanced at the scoreboard. I breathed a sigh of relief. The score was 220-60 in our favor. Even if Scorpius caught the snitch, Slytherin wouldn’t win. But Al’s ego would take a massive beating. He’d never missed the snitch before.
“And they’re diving down to the pitch, ladies and gentlemen! They’re barely 60 feet away from that grass! Let’s hope that the snitch has mercy on them and doesn’t make them crash into that hard ground!” commented Lorcan loudly.
“And look at them zip past! I don’t remember them being that fast!” marveled Lysander. “No, really! It looks like they’ve both been practicing straight through the sum–”
Lysander stopped speaking abruptly and I wondered briefly whether something was wrong but couldn’t bring myself to look away from Scorpius and Al. Unless my eyesight was failing me, which it wasn’t, Al was gaining on Scorpius.
“Uh, and Albus Potter is catching up to the Slytherin seeker.” Lorcan continued from where his brother left off, trying to mask the confusion in his voice. “There’s barely 20 feet left between them and the ground! Now 15 feet… and the snitch veers off, flying upwards! That’s not a sharp enough turn from seeker Malfoy and Potter takes the lead!”
I cheered inwardly as I watched Al and Scorpius swerving this way and that, trying to match the erratic movements of the snitch, which seemed much more temperamental than usual. I willed Al to bank left.
“Ladies and gents,” started Lysander, recovering his voice. “I do believe that royalty has just arrived to watch the finish of this match!”
I furrowed my brow with confusion as I watched Al shoot off to the left.
“What is he on about?” muttered Kristy.
“I think he’s finally lost it.” Mused Rose, eyes trained on Scorpius and Al.
“Yes, indeed!” continued Lysander enthusiastically. “Hogwartsians, do yourselves a favor and turn your eyes towards the Head booth to see who has graced us with their presence!”
A curious murmur went up in the crowd as people looked this way and that, craning their necks to see just who Lysander was talking about. There were many gasps of recognition. Meanwhile, Al was mere inches away from the snitch.
“Oh!” That was Lorcan and he seemed to have cottoned on to what Lysander meant. “Everyone, please welcome one of the newest members to join the pantheon of Quidditch gods! He has set 3 new records throughout the duration of the Quidditch Premier League this past summer, securing the top position in the league for his team!” Lorcan sounded like he was about to piss his pants.
“Please give a warm welcome to one of our very own! James Potter, chaser for the Tutshill Tornadoes!” yelled Lysander.
The applause was deafening and Rose literally had to cover her ears but a wide grin formed on her mouth. Even Al seemed to have surged forward in his happiness, fingers closing around the golden snitch.
“He’s just in time, too! GRYFFINDOR WINS!” roared Lorcan.
People stood as they cheered, sending off golden sparks into the air. I barely heard any of it as I whipped around, my eyes searching the Head booth. He was sitting next to Professor Wanless, smiling sheepishly at having been caught.
My eyes connected with his hazel ones and, without even realizing what I was doing, I leaned forwards, ripping away with reckless speed towards the Head booth. I didn’t care that I’d left my team behind. They would understand, I knew.
It barely took me ten seconds to reach. The teachers let out small cries of surprise as I braked and vaulted over the railing into the booth. My feet made their way over to him without any conscious command from me.
He stood up as I got to him, smile no longer playing on his lips but eyes sparkling with mirth at my impulsive actions.
“Hey.” I said, heart pounding just by being near him.
“Hey.” He tucked the hair that had escaped from my ponytail behind my ear. “Miss me?”
“You have no idea.” I whispered.
The corner of his mouth pulled upwards to form that irresistible grin of his.
I let my hand fist itself in his shirt and yanked him forward. If he was surprised, he didn’t show it. I brought my lips up to meet his, letting my other hand tangle itself in his hair.
It was amongst a shower of gold falling from the sky and my heart beating rapidly against my chest that I kissed my boyfriend, welcoming him home.
A/N: I'm sorry for any errors but I didn't let the lovely emmapotter beta this because it was a surprise! Hope you were surprised, love :D
Do leave a review, you guys! I'd love to hear from you! And feel free to drop by my Meet the Author page if you have any questions!
Peace out! (I've always wanted to say that :D)