A/N: Hence follows Chapter 11, which took forever for me to get up, sooooorrry about that everyone! Hope you all enjoy, and remember to leave a review at the end!
It was Petunia’s game day; the football game that Lily had oh-so-pretentiously invited me to. Brilliant…
I walked downstairs to see the three Evans girls already in the kitchen. Mrs. Evans was reading the newspaper, Lily was asleep with her head on the table, and Petunia was dancing like a spritely pixie around the room: to the refrigerator, to the tea pot, to the toaster, and back to her seat.
She was in some strange…outfit, I suppose. It must have been her football uniform, but it was very strange to me. It was neon, and baggy everywhere, with tight knee high socks. Something hard, like a plate, was on her shins. Those must have been the shin guards that Lily had spoken of. Despite her strange outfit, all I could do when I walked in was to stare at her. She was happy and glowing, and she was humming softly under her breath. Her head twitched up, and when she met my gaze I saw a jubilant twinkle in her eye. She smiled at me without saying anything, and went back to what she was doing before.
At that moment, Lily snored like a lumberjack. The noise knocked Mrs. Evans out of her reading trance, and it woke up Lily herself, who looked around with bleary eyes, in a morning time daze. “Whazzgoinon?” She mumbled, brushing a fiery curl behind her ear. I couldn’t help but smile at her antics. She really was cute when she just woke up. However, those sorts of thoughts sent me immediately into a spiral of guilt, so I tried to stay away from them.
“It’s Petunia’s football game today. We have to leave in fifteen minutes,” Mrs. Evans answered. “You’re coming to watch, right James? Oh honey, take some breakfast please, you’re a growing boy.”
“Absolutely, Mrs. Evans,” I answered her with a grin. “And yes, I will attend if you don’t mind me taking up some space in the car. I’m quite fascinated to watch the game, and see how it’s played.”
“Oh good,” she replied, already turning back to the paper.
I walked over to the stove with my plate, which also happened to be where Petunia was at that moment. “Eggs, James? Scrambled or fried?” She asked loudly. After I responded with the affirmative and stated my preference, Petunia lowered her tone to indicate that the following words were for my ears alone. “I’m glad you’re coming, James.” Her eyes flickered away from the pan with the eggs and up to mine for a brief, flickering moment. “I am. And listen, about last night—”
“Stop,” I interrupted her, putting out my hand briefly to brush hers on the pot handle. I quickly drew it back and stuffed it in my pocket where it should have been all along. “Don’t make excuses. You don’t need to.” I saw a rueful smile cross her delicate face, although this time she didn’t move up her head.
She made a move to lift the pan and as she turned to me, I saw a mischievous glint in her eye. "I hope you’re wearing contacts today James,” she said, in a louder voice than before. “You’ll need them, because I’m a blur on that field, you won’t see else wise.” Petunia giggled and a snort came from the table, from a Lily who was actually paying attention. I cracked a smile and turned toward the table, sitting next to Lily and trying not to stiffen as a felt her hand rub my knee, and noticed Petunia’s eyes fixate there.
Fifteen minutes passed in no time, and soon we were in the car, in the same seats as last time. Thankfully, the ride wasn’t nearly as long: it had to have been five at the most. We piled out of the car and ambled toward the empty field. Lily turned toward me, her eyes on fire. “Tuney what is this? Don’t tell me you got the day wrong?”
“Of course I didn’t, I’m not an imbecile,” I answered assuredly, flipping a blonde curl over my shoulder. “We’re here early. Only fifteen minutes before we’re supposed to be.” I reached into the back, and lifted out the football I had stuck in there five minutes before leaving. Without warning, I threw it at James and he caught it with ease, not even flinching. “I want to practice a little.”
As I ran off toward the field, I heard several noises behind me. “You aren’t really?” That was Lily, talking to James, I assumed. The only answer I heard her get was a disapproving noise from my mother, whether towards my actions or Lily’s argument, I didn’t know. It wasn’t long before I heard a second set of footsteps quickly catch up with mine.
“So that’s a yes?” I asked, turning around to see James rubbing the back of his neck in a self-conscious manner.
“Think fast,” he said, dropping the ball and shooting it toward me.
I stopped it beneath my foot and shook my head. “I thought I already told you, James. I am lightening on this field.”
“Had to see for myself,” he whispered, a twinkle in his eye. I was mesmerized for a moment, until I heard a thud on the metal bleachers which was Lily setting down her purse. She would never go down on the field and get all dirty, not even for James it seemed.
“Then I hope I don’t disappoint.” This scrimmage was far different from the prior one we’d had. The main difference being: it didn’t end up with me on the grass straddling him.
However when we were playing, it was still just me and him in our separate world. I didn’t even notice that more people had funneled into the bleachers and onto the field until I heard my coach yell my name. “Evans!” He called again, motioning me over. I shot a sidewise glance at James and ran toward Coach, feeling James catch up to me. Coach surveyed us for a second, and then grinned. “Finally got yourself a scrimmage partner who can push you, did you Evans?”
I let out a sigh of relief and traded a smile with James. “This is James Potter,” I introduced him. “He’s staying with us this summer. He…goes to school with my sister.” I told the twisted truth without looking at James, though I could feel his intense stare focusing on me.
“You on your school team, Potter?” Coach asked, raising a thick eyebrow.
James adopted a cocky grin, and leaned back, throwing his chest out slightly. I wanted to roll my eyes at his antics. No wonder it took so long for Lily to get past this attitude. “Absolutely sir,” he said, holding out his hand to shake that of Coach. James threw a wink in my direction. “I live for sports.”
“What about any summer leagues?”
“Nah,” said James with a shrug. “We don’t have one of those for students…where I’m from.”
“Where the hell you from, boy?” Coach said with a wide grin.
“It’s a ways away, admittedly.” James threw another grin at me before turning back to Coach.
“Well if you ever spend another summer in these here parts, I’d be glad to have you on my team. Tryouts would be a breeze for you, if you’re consistent with what I’ve seen here today, Potter.”
“I’d like that very much, sir.” With that, Coach walked away. James looked like he was about to say something when something abruptly hit me from behind and hoisted me into the air.
I let out a little shriek, which was greeted by laughter. “Stevie!” I shouted, pounding on the big man’s shoulder. He looked like he should be part of the defensive line on our team, but he was my right forward. He was a year older than me, but he looked like he could be at least five with the scruff on his face and his shoulders which spread for miles. I turned to grin at James but he was gone, walking away with a visible huff in his step. I frowned at his childish antics, and squirmed some more until Steve let me down.
“Looks like I scared your little friend off,” Steve boomed, his baritone echoing across the stadium. He turned to me with a cheeky grin, followed by a pouting lip. “Good. I can’t share you, Tuney. There isn’t enough to go around.”
I knocked him on the shoulder, but couldn’t help but grin at him and after a moment, I tackled his side, not moving him a measly centimeter, but taking the arm he thrust around my shoulders as consequence anyways.
I didn’t get much chance to look at the stands during the first quarter, but I could tell James was still glowering. It was pathetic, how one little thing like that could set him off. He was dating my sodding sister, for goodness sake!
The game was going good, but it was tight: 2-1, in our favor. It was two minutes into the second quarter and if we kept it up at this rate, we would win…with a lot of work. Stevie and I were dominating, just as we always did. We were quite a formidable team, the dynamic duo: the big hulking man who barreled through everything in his way, and the quicksilver girl who dodged between players at the speed of light.
It wasn’t even a minute later when Stevie fell, hard. He had gotten a metal cleat to the soft spot on the back of his calf, and he took out at least a half dozen people during his fall. I watched him stumble in slow motion, his crooked descent ending with a sickening, ominous crack!
I rushed to his side, pushing people away as I went, and I was able to hear his cries of pain from ten meters away. I came to a stop by his head, and as my eyes rushed to survey the damage done to him, I felt bile rise in my throat, and I had to turn my head away.
There were the cleat gashes, which were nothing special. We all got those in our games. The sickening part was the half inch of bone piercing through the muscle and skin on the side of his lower leg. Now that wasn’t something that happened every day.
The ref ran over, thrusting a red card in the face of the man who had slide tackled Stevie. The man took it, with a little ceremonial grumbling. But the damage to Stevie had been purposeful and it had massive consequences. I saw various other people nursing minor wounds from what had turned into something akin to a ten car pile-up. I groaned internally as I saw one of our players try to walk on what must have been a sprained ankle only to have it give out and let her crumple to the ground.
I walked up to her as the medics did triage on Stevie. I was trying not to think about what this meant for his future; the wound had looked too awful to heal seamlessly. “Ster,” I said, wrapping my arm around her as she stood again. She was heavy on my shoulder and could only take a step by laying almost all of her weight on me. “Oh, Sterling.” I shot a glance over to the one alternate on the bench and held back a sigh. We had two people who couldn’t play, and only one alternate who was present today. That meant a forfeit, and we had been on a championship path. Stevie was surely out for the season anyways, and I couldn’t work off of anyone’s moves like I could work off his.
“Don’t fuss, Silver,” she said with a crooked grin. She, and the rest of the team, thought it was hilarious to call me quicksilver. Only Sterling took special glee from using it, finding hilarity in her own first name. “I can play fine; I just have to walk it off.” As if to prove her point, she broke off from my support and after a step, immediately fell to her knees. She looked up at me hesitantly, as if afraid of my reaction. Everyone acted the same when they had bad news to give concerning the team: Stevie and I were leaders, as captains and in skill. There wasn’t anybody who didn’t want to impress us.
“Sit down, Ster,” I told her, easing her onto the bench. I pointed at the alternate and then out onto the field. “Arnold, go stand in Sterling’s spot until the game is called. Left midfield.” I smiled wistfully at Sterling before I turned and began to walk back to where Stevie was still on the ground.
Before I could get there and see how he was, Coach intercepted my path, and put a hand on my shoulder. “Can’t win without Stevie,” Coach said, seemingly absentmindedly.
“We could,” I argued. “We have grit and resolve and that’s all you really need.”
Coach gave me a sideways glance. “But you can’t play with any of the alts as well as you can with Stevie, Quicksilver.” Oi, now even Coach had taken up calling me that.
“I could try. If we had an alternate, that is. Sterling can’t walk; I had to send in Arnold for her. We’re out of alts, we have to…forfeit.” I spat out the last word like it was something dirty, which is was.
Coach looked at me silently for a second, and then his gaze drifted out over the bleachers. “I’ve only seen you play like that with one other person.”
I followed his gaze, up to the top tier of the bleachers, where James sat with my mother and sister. “No Coach,” I said, shaking my head. “James can’t—”
“Like hell,” Coach said with a chuckle. “He said he’s here all summer. He likes the sport! And you need a partner that you can work well with. Steve is out this season at least, maybe even next. We need that boy.” One look at Coach told me that any argument would be lost on him. He had a strong will, and he would have James.
“Hang on,” I grumbled, running up the stands. From behind me, I heard Coach mutter something about a uniform, and I turned around to see him jog off to his car. Hopefully he wasn’t seeing the error of his line of thought, and deciding to run away.
I reached the top bleacher, and looked at James meaningfully. “Stevie’s out,” I said aloud, so that the people around us could all hear. “No alts. Coach is calling you in James, long term.” Straight and to the point…perfect. Lily’s fingers tightened on James’, and every head that heard me speak turned to stare at him and see his reaction.
He was gaping at me like a fish out of water. “I—I can’t! I just learned…I mean, I can’t be on a team!”
I nodded understandingly, and looked down at the ground. “Seven wins away from the championship too,” I said ruefully, turning on my heel. “I’ll just go and tell Coach that you said ‘no’.” I walked down slowly, hearing someone mutter something about ‘that boy’.
As I was almost at the bottom, I heard the clang of feet on the bleachers, and soon James was at my shoulder. “Damn it, Petunia,” he told me, shaking his head. It only took a second for him to grin cockily. “You’re lucky I’m a natural.”
We walked over together to Coach, who was back on the field, jersey in hand. He thrust it at James and nodded. Welcome to the team, Potter,” he said shortly. “You’ve been delegated for the right half of the dynamic duo. Think you can live up to Stevie?”
James looked ahead icily, his gaze softening considerably when he saw the big man being carried off on a gurney. “I can damn well try my best, sir.”
Coach nodded approvingly, before turning back toward the ref to get things sorted out. “Then put that uniform on, Potter. And welcome to the team.” James cast off his former shirt, and I glanced away for the second that his bare chest was exposed. He slipped the other shirt over his head, and followed me over to our positions.
“I didn’t play like this before,” he said, worry evident in his tone. “Not organized. It was just you and me. I don’t know how—”
“Shh,” I quieted him sharply with a look. “You do know. I’ve seen you. You’ve played with me, and I can feel the sport in your blood. I’ve never been able to play with anyone but Stevie; you’re the first one who I’ve thought I might be able to do well with. On this team James, I am captain. I call the shots, and I am the leader. Now that Steve is gone it’s me and only me. So you listen to me now, okay? Get to your position, and play off of me like you did before the game. Football doesn’t work unless the forwards can anticipate the other’s moves, and assist each other in every way. Kendall has the left; it’s you and me that have to work the hardest. Let me cover her, you just cover me. You can do it James. So don’t damn well say you can’t again, or you’re sitting on the damn bench next game, when we have another alternate.”
James looked at me openmouthed for a few moments, in shock. Suddenly, a smile crept onto his face. He had been Quidditch Captain, I knew. He knew the mode in which people in our position had to slip to get motivation from their charges. “Aye aye, Cap’n,” he said to me with a mock salute. “Merlin, you ever try making the dead rise with that speech? I think you probably could, you know.”
I laughed, out of Captain Mode, and as myself once again. “Anyone you’d like me to try it on?” I said with a grin. Just then, the ref called us all to attention and set the ball in front of me: a penalty kick. It was no problem getting it in, but then again, most penalty kicks made it into the goal if they were headed in the right direction.
We lined up on the middle of the field, James to my right and Kendall to my left. I shot the other girl a self-assured grin, and then turned to James. “What now?” He whispered, just loud enough for me to hear. Unfortunately, that meant the opposition across the way could hear as well, and someone there gave James a weird look.
“Now we play,” I whispered back, feeling satisfied when the other players turned away, suddenly disinterested. “For real. Don’t hold back, James. Because I know that they won’t.” As I finished my last words, the whistle blew, and the other team began the kickoff.
A/N: How'd you guys like it? Reviews are always amazing!