Chapter 42 : Quidditch
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I swallowed hard and tried to ignore the need to throw up that swept over me. I glanced around in the room we were all in and realized that I wasn't the only one who was nervous. It was the day of the big game, a Saturday, and we'd all just changed in to our Quidditch robes and were waiting in the changing room for the game to start. Draco was going through everything with us once more. It was fairly simple, and we'd heard it all before. We needed to get control over the game from start and we needed to play our best. If what Amber had been telling us were correct, that they would dive a lot to distract them, then Hannah and I would dive, too. Dean wouldn't – he'd be staying far up and only help if necessary. That way we'd have players covering all sides field and not be as vulnerable as we would be if we stayed close to each other. Like we'd heard that they would – attack as a group. As much as we were a team, we liked to play with long throws and much space. It was more fun for us, so being a tight group would only mess our team up.
Neville looked sickly green and his eyes flickered around the room nervously. Dean's foot was tapping impatiently. Hannah had her eyes closed and I think she was actually praying. Ernie stared blankly ahead. Draco was going through our strategies once more while pacing. Blaise stared at his friend with an amused look on his face. I ran my fingers through my hair and tried to force myself to calm down. Nothing good could come out of me being nervous as hell on a broom. I opened the door and was heard the people cheering from the pitch, I closed it quickly. It sounded like there were many people out there, just waiting for the game to start – just like we were.
There was a clock on the wall and we all stared at it and then I heard Draco take a deep breath.
“Grab your brooms everyone,” he said and tossed me mine. He smiled at me and I tried to smile back, even though it felt like I was incapable of it. “And remember – don't try to cheat. The worst thing for us would be find ourselves disqualified after all this work.”
Draco had looked right at Blaise when he spoke and Blaise rolled his eyes, but he nodded none the less. I guess he understood that this was an important game for all of us. Draco opened the door once more and we all followed after him. With our brooms in our hands, we walked out on the pitch. We were met by a full crowd – they were being very loud, as well. Families, friends, and graduated students were there. All cheering and clapping their hands as we entered.
Once on there, Blaise joked and said that he hoped that Draco wouldn't catch the Snitch too soon. Blaise wanted to have some fun before it was over. Neville sent a small glare at Blaise and looked pleadingly at Draco. I laughed a bit and the nervousness faded somewhat. I tried to focus more on the task at hand than how I felt and I think that helped. Having these people around was just as helpful. The other team, the United Unicorns (their name still caused Blaise to giggle like a little girl) walked in on the pitch, as well. We all tried to hide our smiles as they glared at us, Blaise had begun to laugh and apparently they understood why.
I looked at the other team, and noticed that Lavender was looking at the crowd and a small smile spread across her face. I followed her glance and sure enough, I spotted Ron there. He was sitting next to Harry. My whole body turned warm as I saw George, Ginny and Mr and Mrs Weasley as well. Harry saw that I was looking at him and waved, I only smiled. I wasn't sure if he saw that I did. I hadn't had the chance to talk to them before the game, but I would do so afterwards.
The United Unicorns wore their light blue Quidditch robes and they looked very determined to win this game. I glanced around at my own team and was pleased to see that every single one was sending determined glares at the other team. Even Neville looked as if he'd rather fall of the broom and die before he lost this game. I smiled wider. I glanced over at McGonagall, who was standing by Luna, who was doing the commentary for the game– well, it wasn't as if I'd be paying attention to what she was saying, anyway. I'd be far too busy.
Madam Hooch motioned for us to gather around her and she looked at us sternly and told us that we had to play fair and that she wouldn't tolerate any cheating. We all nodded and I felt my heart began to beat twice as fast as I mounted my broom, like the others. She signalled that the match had begun with her whistle. We kicked off, and we were in the air.
Dean and Boot both raced towards the Quaffle, Boot caught it first, however. Ernie sped up and was protecting the hoops within seconds. Boot gave a nod towards the hoops and Smith picked up his speed as Boot passed the Quaffle to him. I sped up and found myself flying next to Smith, bumping in to him to distract him and then I quickly turned my broom as Neville sent a Bludger our way, and it was a good thing I did, for it was only inches away from hitting Smith in the head.
I could easily take the Quaffle and the game took a turn as we moved in the other direction. I dropped the Quaffle to Hannah, who were flying lower than me – it was a risky pass, but it had also been unexpected, so we were fine. She dodged a Bludger as she sped up and headed towards the hoops.
She began to fly higher and, we'd practised this many times. As she was close to the hoops, Dean flew by her and she handed over the Quaffle to him and he threw the Quaffle against the hoop to the left. Finch-Fletchley was faster than we'd expected, however and saved it easily. The crowd grew louder as we almost scored and then Boot got a hold of the Quaffle and he dived quickly – just like Amber had told us that they'd do. I did my part, I dove after him and chased him, getting closer to him every second. However, the others stayed up there as I chased him. They'd failed at getting us to play their game, and as Boot began to fly higher, I sped up further and annoyed him by flying in front of him, and thus slowing him down in order to not cause a collusion. Of course, my intention hadn't been a collusion – that would've been against the rules.
A Bludger came my way and I dodged it quickly, Corner had sent it my way, I was sure of it. Blaise in his turn, sent a Bludger in Boots direction and it brushed past his shoulder. Perhaps it even hit it a bit, for he groaned and the Quaffle fell out of his hand and Dean caught it easily and we turned it around once more. Smith set off after Dean and as they chased each other, both trying to get the Quaffle, I glanced over at Draco who was hovering and staring ahead of him, he'd obviously seen something. But he didn't set off after it, so I assumed that he'd lost sight of the Snitch again. His eyes began to search for it again, and I looked away. Neville was trying to send a Bludger at Smith, but instead he almost hit Finch-Fletchley with it, who got distracted for a split second.
It was all we needed, Dean forced his broom to go faster and then he did what he does best – he passed the Quaffle from far away to Hannah, who easily caught it and threw it against the hoop in the middle. A roar was heard from the crowd as she scored and I flew up to her and gave her a pat on the back, Blaise was beaming at her and Neville just stared at her, amazed.
“Good job,” shouted Draco from a distance. He had a smile on his lips, too. And then it began again. The short moment of complete joy almost forgotten as the chasing began once more. Smith was still furious with me for taking the Quaffle from him earlier, and he followed me constantly, not so much caring about where the Quaffle was. He seemed more interested in annoying me.
I couldn't have cared less, actually. He seemed distracted and that could only be a good thing for us. Smith sped up and flew right beside me and before I knew it he'd reached over and tried to get me off course. I knew that was against the rules and apparently I hadn't been the only one who saw it. The crowd was yelling and Blaise was screaming at Hooch.
“That was Blurting!” He screamed and she gave a nod.
“Penalty shot for Hogwarts Howlers,” said Luna fascinated and naturally, Dean took it. He was the best of us, so we didn't mind. Unfortunately, he missed and the game continued.
Boot had the Quaffle, he passed it to Smith(who had realized that it was unwise to follow me like a shadow), Smith passed it to Lavender who sped up and Ernie did a miraculous save. My breathing had stopped for a minute, but Ernie was a good Keeper, he'd proved that time and again. Dean got a hold of the Quaffle, but Seamus send a Bludger his way, however Blaise quickly covered for Dean who could continue towards the hoops that Finch-Fletchley was protecting. Lavender hadn't really done much in the game, I had a feeling that Quidditch wasn't really her thing, but now she went after Dean and we were all surprised as she actually turned the game around.
She flew fast and passed the Quaffle to Smith who scored for the United Unicorns and I gritted my teeth. Blaise was glaring at Smith and if looks could kill, then Smith would've been falling to the ground. Draco was upset, but he kept his focus on finding the Snitch. I saw Cho on the other side of the pitch, she searched the area quickly, but so far, she didn't seem to be on to something.
Blaise sent a Bludger against Smith, even though he wasn't anywhere near the Quaffle and I hated to think it, but Blaise seemed very upset with Smith because of what he did earlier. I looked to my right just in time to see the Quaffle coming my way and I sped up towards Finch-Fletchley, I dodged the Bludger that Corner sent my way and was happy to see that Neville swung his bat and sent the Bludger right back at Corner. Just as I was about to score, I had to stop.
“Penalty to United Unicorns,” Luna said indifferent.
Smith flew up to me and gave me a small smirk as he took the Quaffle from me. I glanced around wondering what had happened just now, and then I saw Draco shouting at Blaise. I flew up to them and demanded to know what had happened.
“He flew right in to Smith,” snapped Draco and glared at Blaise who looked as if it wasn't a big deal at all. “A clear Blatching.”
“A foul for a foul,” shrugged Blaise and flew away to watch Smith try to goal against Ernie. I, myself, turned my attention that way too and groaned loudly as Ernie failed to catch it. Smith had scored, and it was all Blaise's fault.
“If we lose this game, I'll blame him,” muttered Draco before turning his attention back to finding the Golden Snitch. I shook my head slightly before I flew away from him and the chasing began once more.
After twenty minutes, the scoring was 50-30, to the United Unicorns and I became more and more annoyed as I had yet to score. Dean had scored twice and Hannah once. Whereas I had only been close to scoring once, and Blaise had messed it all up. I had to agree with Draco, if we lost, I'd blame Blaise. However, if Draco caught the snitch now, we'd win. Funny how something so close could seem so far away.
Dean had the Quaffle and he was nearly hit with a Bludger as his friend, Seamus, tried to keep him from getting closer to the hoops. Hannah caught the Quaffle as Dean threw it to her and then she did a quick dive only to pass the Quaffle to me. However, a Bludger came my way and in order not to get hit with a Bludger in the head, I had to turn to my left instead of catching it. Lavender caught the Quaffle instead and I turned my broom around and flew after her. I'd be damned if she scored once more. However, I had to play nicely – we couldn't afford another penalty.
I zig-zagged through the air, making Lavender nervous and as she turned her head to see where I was – I could easily take the Quaffle from her while she was distracted. I almost laughed out loud as I dove around her and hurried towards the hoops on the other side. I dodged the two Bludgers that had been sent my way, Blaise was right behind me and beat one of the Bludgers towards Smith, who had to move quickly in order to protect himself from it. Neville took care of the other Bludger, and despite trying, he didn't really manage to get it where he'd wanted it.
Not really paying attention to the Beaters, I focused on Finch-Fletchley who was prepared for me to throw the Quaffle any second. He seemed to think that I would throw to the far left hoop, so I made a motion indicating that I would throw right, but tricked him and threw the Quaffle in the middle. I almost closed my eyes, as I was afraid to see if he saved it or now. He reached for it, but he missed and the Quaffle went through the hoop. My heart skipped a beat as the crowd cheered. I blushed as Blaise flew up to me and looked as if he could've attacked me with a hug up in the air. My goal turned the game around and we gained control of the game, even if we were still 10 points behind.
Ernie did two amazing saves, and he seemed to be gaining confidence the longer we played. Smith was really the best player on the other team, but he was also the one who played the dirtiest. He'd grabbed my broom one more time, but he'd done so discretely as to avoid another penalty. Hooch hadn't noticed a thing, nor had any other player. I'd glared at him and quickly dove around him and tried to avoid being close to him, as I feared that I might push him off his broom if he kept this up. And that would be bad for our team.
Michael Corner was another good player on the other team. He was a good Beater and he always sent the Bludger my way, whereas Seamus targeted Dean more. Hannah was fairly save as long as she didn't have the Quaffle, then they both tried to hit her with it. That's what happened just now as she sped up towards the hoops with the Quaffle in her hand. She dodged one speeding Bludger, but she didn't see the other one. Fortunately, Neville did and he chased the other Bludger and beat if furiously towards Zacharias Smith. Smith was almost hit by it, and he glared at Neville before he set off after Hannah. I followed him and tried to get his attention off her, so that she could score. However, something happened as the crowd stood up and their cheering was overwhelming.
“Hogwarts Howlers Seeker, Draco Malfoy, has caught the Snitch!” commented Luna happily.
I spun around and surely enough, Draco was on his way to the ground, holding the Snitch in his hand. I dove quickly and the others did the same. When safely on the ground, I threw myself at Draco and he lifted me up and spun me around, and I couldn't stop laughing.
“Hogwarts Howlers win by 190-50!”
The others joined us and we all looked at each other with wide grins on our faces. None of us could really believe it. We'd done it. Draco and Neville shook hands and Draco told Neville that he'd done a great job – Neville turned bright red. Hannah tapped on his shoulder and as he turned around, she leaned up and pressed her lips against his. He turned even more red and Blaise laughed at him and turned to Draco.
“Told you we'd win,” he grinned and Draco smacked him across the head. Still somewhat upset by the foul, although he was smiling. Draco turned to look at me and his hand found mine and he gave a tight squeeze.
“Look,” he said and nodded towards the crowd. I followed his glance and saw Narcissa and Lucius, they were both standing up and clapped their hands. Obviously proud of their son. They didn't sit too far away from the Weasley's, so I glanced over at them as well. I smiled even wider. This feeling was unlike anything I had ever felt, and I finally understood why people liked Quidditch so much. This was amazing.
I turned to face Draco again and found that he was already looking at me. He leaned down and captured my lips and I threw my hands around his neck and returned the kiss. I had never been happier.
“... and even though we had a horrible Captain, we managed to win anyway!” Blaise joked as he held a little speech at the Three Broomsticks the same evening. Draco rolled his eyes and everyone laughed. “No, in all fairness. He did a good job, even though he pushed us far too hard at times and I know some of you hate him for it, he should be thanked for putting up with us and being as patient as he was.”
We all agreed and a light flush appeared on Draco's pale cheeks. Indeed he had pushed us hard, but at the same time – he'd taken the time to teach Neville and myself from scratch. Neither of us had been able to play before this, and Draco had been very patient and helpful. Even with Neville.
“Shut up now,” Draco mumbled to Blaise who chuckled but raised his glass as if to end the speech.
“To Hogwarts Howlers!” he said and everyone repeated his words and drank from their Butterbeers.
Someone tapped on my shoulder, and as I turned around – there was Harry. We hadn't had a chance to talk, I'd been far too busy. I'd changed out of the Quidditch robes, met up with Draco's parents briefly, gone back to the common room to change for the evening and then the team had decided to go to Hogsmeade to celebrate. It was a bit of a shock to see him at first but then I quickly got over the shock as he pulled me in to a hug.
“You were great up there,” he said as we parted and I thanked him with a wide smile on my lips. Harry was pushed aside and I was staring in to Georges eyes and he was grinning.
“Didn't know you were that good, or we would've used you back when I was on the team.”
I rolled my eyes, “I'm not that good. I'm just decent.”
George rolled his eyes at my reply and then he went to greet the rest of the team, as he pretty much knew them all. I noticed that Ron was standing there with a Butterbeer in his hand and he gave me a nod.
“You did a good job,” he said, and it sounded a bit awkward. I noticed that Draco inched closer to me and I could only imagine how he was glaring at Ron. I thanked Ron, but that was about it. We didn't really have anything else to say to each other. But at least we were being civil towards each other. That was improvement.
I noticed that Draco was all tense, which wasn't good. He'd told me that he hated Ron, and why, and just how much, so I knew this wasn't easy for him. It wasn't particularly easy for me either, to be honest. I was glad that Draco didn't say anything to Ron, though. The last thing we needed was to cause a scene in the middle of us celebrating.
“Are Neville and Hannah together?”
My head snapped to my left and noticed that Ginny was standing right next to me and she had been the one who had spoken. I nodded quickly. “Yeah, they are.”
“How...?” she asked out loud and Draco laughed at the question. He'd often asked the same thing. As she looked at him, he quickly stopped laughing and I tried hard to keep from smiling. Someone put their hands on my shoulders and then Blaises head popped up between Draco and I.
“Sorry to interrupt, sweethearts. Have you guys seen Amber?”
Both Draco and I shook our heads. It was odd, she'd said that she'd be here. She just had some things to take care off first, but she wouldn't tell us what it was. Blaise groaned and hung his head. Draco's eyebrows furrowed for a second but then he seemed to shake whatever thought he'd had off his mind.
“Fashionably late?” I offered and earned myself a small glare from Blaise. “No?”
“Nah, I don't know. I'll wait for a while and then I'll go look for her.”
“Blaise, look. She's fine, okay? She'll be here. Stop worrying, you're getting wrinkles.”
Blaise pretended to be horrified by Draco's words at first, but then he just rolled his eyes and walked away to go get himself another Butterbeer. Draco's eyes met mine and I have a feeling that we were thinking along the same lines. 'Where is Amber?'
Ginny had been listening in on the conversation, and I knew very well that she didn't like Amber. I didn't like the small smile that played on her lip, so I looked away from her quickly and pulled Draco with me towards our team, who were all laughing and having a good time. Some people from the other team was there as well, Seamus and Lavender(who had just grabbed Rons hand and was beaming up at him). They didn't seem bothered by the fact that we'd won. Well, Seamus wasn't thrilled, but he was glad for his friend.
“I swear, I thought we were going to lose after Blaise messed up,” Dean said and Blaise smiled a bit, obviously too worried about Amber to really care what they said. “But really, I don't blame him. A foul for a foul.”
“Smith was horrible,” I said as I sat down by the table next to Hannah. Draco took a seat next to Blaise instead, who sat opposite of me. “I don't know if you guys saw it, but he was really trying to piss me off.”
“What did he do?” Neville asked and sipped his Butterbeer.
“He kept grabbing my broom, he did it twice,” I said, still annoyed by his actions. “I was close to knocking him off his broom, but I managed to control myself.”
They all laughed, except Draco and Blaise, who were having a serious conversation with each other. They were whispering, so I couldn't make out the words. Harry, Ron, Ginny and Lavender joined the table. It was weird, really weird having my new friends and my old friends gathered at the same place. I looked over at Draco who, by the looks of it, was trying to calm Blaise down.
Seamus grinned at me. “You annoyed Zacharias too, you know. He told me you snatched the Quaffle from him early in the game. The bloke has some serious issues with his pride.”
I smiled at his words, and then a felt a hand grab mine from across the table and looked up to see Draco. I smiled wider. He offered a small smile of his own.
“We're going to go look for Amber, okay?” he said in a low voice. I nodded.
“Should I come?” I asked quickly as he stood up and Blaise did the same. Blaise shook his head, though. Draco glanced from Blaise to me.
“You stay here with your friends and catch up, we'll hurry,” Draco said. He gave my hand a squeeze, and I squeezed back before he let go and Blaise and him walked away. I couldn't help but to bite my lip nervously. I was worried about Amber, as well, especially with Laura the lunatic walking around in the castle. I hoped that she just took longer than expected to get ready.
“What was that about?” asked Harry suddenly and I shrugged. I wasn't entirely sure how to explain it to him. He hadn't been around after all, so he wasn't up to speed with what was going on here. With Laura and everything.
“Blaise's girlfriend should've been here by now, they're just going to check up on her.”
“Amber's not here?” Neville asked and looked confused. Apparently a bit upset with himself for not noticing until now. I shook my head and sighed. “Oh... Laura.”
“Yeah, Laura. Let's just not think like that, okay? I'm sure she just... can't choose what to wear.”
A small silence fell upon us until George began to talk about Quidditch again, I gave him small 'thank you' smile, which he returned. Within seconds, everyone was talking about the game again, since it was the most eventful thing that had happened in ages.
Harry, who sat next to me, leaned in closer to me. “Who is Laura?”
“Pansy's sidekick,” I said and then I changed my mind. “Actually, Pansy's puppet. She's been threatening to poison Blaise and whatnot. And now Amber's not here, and Blaise can't help but to think that...” I trailed off and sighed.
“Want me to have a word with McGonagall?” Harry offered and I stared at him wide eyed.
“About what?” I asked hesitantly, already knowing where he was getting at. He was an Auror now, and he could probably have Laura expelled if he pulled some strings. “I don't know, Harry...”
“Why not?” he furrowed his eyebrows. “Obviously, this is bothering you. And if she's threatened you guys about something like that, and you take it seriously... I mean, why not?”
“Because it's wrong,” I sighed. “And as much as I hate her, it's not long until we graduate and we don't ever have to see her again. I think we can put up with her for a few more days.”
Harry smiled and gave me a nod. “I see that spending time with Slytherins haven't changed you completely. You still know what's right and wrong, it seems.”
I shook my head at his words with a small smile. I wanted to tell him that my Slytherins knew right from wrong as well, but settled with a 'thanks, I guess' as I realized how wrong it sounded to say my Slytherins.
Half an hour later, the door to the Three Broomsticks swung open and Draco walked in first, followed by Blaise and Amber, who were holding hands and laughing. Looking slightly annoyed, Draco sat down opposite of me and rolled his eyes at the couple who seated themselves next to him. Everyone had been laughing before they came in, but they'd all silenced.
Draco sighed, “She'd fallen asleep.”
Everyone burst out laughing, out of relief and because it was to typical. Amber blushed furiously and rolled her eyes.
“It could happen to anyone,” she quipped to which Blaise shook his head and mouthed 'no, it couldn't.' Luckily for him, she didn't notice.
I glanced at my wristwatch and found that it was three minutes until Midnight. I took a hold of Draco's hand and asked him if I could borrow him for a little while. I had something I needed to tell him – confused, but rather happy about getting some alone-time, he nodded.
We excused ourselves from the group and walked outside. It was rather dark outside, but it wasn't cold. It was June, after all. I bumped in to him and he put his arm around my shoulder as we walked. There weren't many people walking around in Hogsmeade at this time. He kissed the top of my head and asked me what I wanted to say.
“You know what time it is?” I asked and he shrugged. “It's Midnight.”
He looked confused as I glanced up at him. We came to a halt and I reached up and planted a kiss on his lips. He smiled against my lips. “Yeah?” he mumbled softly. “So?”
“Happy Birthday,” I whispered. Draco's smile grew wider and he put his hands on each side of my face and pressed his lips against mine.
[Yay, update. Also, do you like the new banner? I think it fits this story rather perfectly and I don't think that I'll ever change it again :) I've got good news and bad news - good news: the next, and final chapter is just about done and will be up soon. I just need to edit it a bit and go through it over and over. Bad news: the story will be over very shortly.
Anyhow, back to this chapter. The Quidditch scene was so much fun to write, did you like it? Did I do a good job with it? How about the characters and the chapter over all, how was it? :) Thanks for reviewing, it means a lot. I'd love to hear what you thought about this chapter, so please leave a review :) thanks, Cathy
october 5th: The next chapter is finished and I know I should've updated by now, but I'm having some internet problems. But I will have the last chapter up as soon as possible. I'm reallyreally sorry for the wait :( ]
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