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Chapter 3 : Quidditch
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NEWT year was the most important part of our Hogwarts career. The classes were a thousand times harder, there was homework given in every class each night, and all of the teachers had a stick up their arse. I was definiely not ready for seventh year.
My pink hair was way too vibrant for how I felt this morning; I was sluggish and tired since I barely got any sleep the night before. I was half asleep at the Gryffindor table, with my elbow practically on my buttered toast, when a loud bang! made me jump about three feet in the air.
I looked up and narrowed my eyes. Black smiled charmingly at me as he picked up his spoon and threw it into his bowl again and again, making a terrible racket, just for me.
"Sorry, McKinnon, did I wake you?" he grinned.
"If I had the energy, I'd punch you in the face," I grumbled. Obviously I was not a morning person, and Black knew this.
"Knock it off, Sirius," sighed Remus, who was sitting next to him. "Would it kill you to act your age?"
"Would it kill you to loosen up?" said Black.
"Enough, Padfoot," said James, sitting on Black's other side. He looked very serious, and I think I knew why. Quidditch. "We've got to focus. Quidditch tryouts are this week. Your spot is practically guaranteed, since you're the best beater in the school, but you've still got to try out."
"I know, I know," said Black carelessly. It didn't seem to bother him much, since his best friend was captian of the Gryffindor team.
"Letta," said James suddenly, "Lily told me you were a fair Beater."
I glared at Lily, who was a bit pink in the face. I couldn't tell if it was because of my anger or because she had been caught talking to Potter. "Yeah, I guess so. I practice during the summer; my aunt's cottage is in the middle of nowhere."
I ignored Black as he snorted into his third plate of eggs. He was about to say something, but James cut him off. "I think you should try out for the team."
"What?" I said blankly, at the same time Black said, "You've got to be joking."
"I'm not joking," James went on. "It'd be nice to have another female team mate. Gina's on her own in that department." Gina Wilson played Chaser, and she was the only girl on the team. For now.
"That's a good one, Prongs," chuckled Black. "McKinnon on the Quidditch team? Albus Dumbledore will retire before that happens."
"You know what, James?" I said, completely ignoring the idiot sitting next to him. "I think I'll do it." I did love playing Quidditch, especially as Beater. It really got my anger out when I smacked the bludger around. Plus, I knew it would annoy Black to no end if I made the team. I looked over at him and he glowered back.
"I doubt you'll make it," he said, his expression suddenly clearing. He'd realized that his last hope was the tryouts. If I sucked, then obviously I wouldn't make the team. I wasn't convinced that I was as good as any of the other players, and Lily probably made me sound better than I actually was, but it was worth a shot. "I don't think you have what it takes, McKinnon," Black rambled on.
"Oh, Sirius, don't get her riled up," Willow complained from the seat next to me. I knew from her tone of voice that my hair was turning red with his words.
I was just as good as Black in Quidditch – probably better. I'd show him at the tryouts. I'd wipe that smug grin right off his stupid face. "That's it then, isn't it?" I smiled sweetly. "I'm trying out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team."
I was sitting in my favorite squishy armchair during my free period when Lily and Lo came hurrying over, giggling like little girls and talking a hundred miles per hour. I could only make out a few words of their excited sentences, like "masks," and "dresses," and "dancing."
"What are you on about?" I shouted over them.
"There's going to be a Halloween Masquerade Ball!" exclaimed Lo.
"Oh," I said flatly. A Ball? Has Dumbledore lost his marbles? Now, I was always up for a good party, but I never said I could waltz. The term 'ball' sounded so...formal. Was it really necessary to go out and buy a dress? Really, a cute top and a mini-skirt would be sufficient.
"Oh, don't give us that look, Letta, it'll be fun!" Lily laughed. "We've come up with ideas for our hair and makeup, and there's a Hogsmeade trip scheduled next weekend so we can get our dresses, and – "
"We?" I said cautiously.
"Yes, Violetta, we. As in you, Lo and I." Lily frowned prettily. "You're not getting out of this, so don't even try. You are coming to this ball." I was afraid of that.
I guess it was nice that we were doing something other than the feast Hogwarts hosted every year, but...well, I hated shopping. No, I despised shopping. I loved to get new clothes, but I hated actually going out to Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade and trying things on. It was a nightmare.
"Can't you lot just go and get my dress for me?" I tried half-heartedly.
"Letta," said Lo sharply. Normally Willow was the peacemaker, but when it came to shopping, she was a bloody tyrant. Lily, too. She looked all sweet and innocent, but underneath all her rainbows and smiles, she was a tiger ready to attack.
I looked back and forth between the two of them. "Fine," I sighed, knowing I couldn't get out of it. "But can we go after the Quidditch tryouts? I don't think my nerves can handle it."
It was Saturday, the day of the tryouts, and I was wreck. It wasn't because I was nervous, really. It was just because Black kept trying to psych me out by annoying me to no end. He pranked me all morning; my hair had been flickering between purple and red for hours.
"Letta, you're going to do fine," said Lo as we walked down to the Qudditch pitch after lunch. I had refused to eat anything. Like I said, I wasn't nervous, but I thought I'd fly better if I didn't have anything weighing me down.
"Thanks," I said easily. I could do this; I flew at my Aunt Mina's all the time, and I'd ordered a set of bludgers from a Quidditch magazine, so I definitely knew a thing or two about playing Beater. Black better watch out.
"Oi, Letta!" I heard James calling me from across the pitch.
"I'll see you later, guys." I waved at my friends and hurried across the pitch where Potter was pacing anxiously.
"Great turn out this year," he grinned. He was right; there had to be at least fifty people trying out for the team. James was going to have his hands full as captain. "Everyone who's trying out for Chaser, over here!" he called out, gesturing. "Seekers, over there! Keepers, by the goal posts and Beaters, by the benches!"
James gave me a thumbs up as I headed toward several benches set up on the sidelines of the pitch. I smiled as I sat down. I liked that kid; he had charisma. Lily needed to just go out with him already.
I was snapped out of my thoughts by someone yanking at my purple locks of hair. "Black," I muttered angrily.
"Don't mess up, McKinnon," he smirked.
I didn't bother to answer as we waited for the tryouts to start. I guess Black was concentrating on his plays because he didn't bother me until it was our turn to head out onto the pitch. The Beaters went last, but many people stayed to watch the rest of the tryouts, not to mention the people coming down from the castle. All together, we had a pretty fair crowd.
"Alright," shouted James as the potential Beaters mounted their brooms, "I want you all to do a couple of laps round the pitch, just to see how you fly."
I kicked off from the ground and raced toward the goal posts on the other end of the long field. I was kind of a speed demon, but it had its advantages. As soon as I was up in the air, my worries about everything, the tryouts, Black, the Halloween Ball...they just floated away. It was time to kick some Quidditch arse.
I lined up with the other Beaters when everyone was finished with their laps. I saw James dismiss some of the second years, who weren't the best fliers. It amused me greatly that some of the worst players would actually consider trying out for the team.
"Now, I'm going to let some bludgers loose on each of you individually," James called over to us. I want to see how you aim and how hard you hit. Form a line, please. Smith, you're up first." I watched as a brown-haired fourth year moved forward on his broom.
James watched each of us carefully, even his best friend. Black was pretty good, I'll give him that. He smacked the bludger all the way across the field and into one of the goal posts.
Finally, it was my turn. I hovered next to James as a bludger came barreling down the field, straight at my head. I was trying to focus when suddenly, I heard Black talking.
He was more than halfway down the field, but he was shouting out comments so that I could hear, trying to break my concentration. "I'd move away from her if I were you, Prongs," he bellowed. "The Ice Bitch might contaminate you. You never know when she might murder someone."
I knew he was making jokes about my mother again, and suddenly, red hair was flying in my face instead of purple. I didn't have time to yell back, because the bludger was coming up fast. I swung my bat with all my might and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was aiming for Black.
There was a loud crack! as the bludger was smacked through the air with the force of the Hogwarts Express going at full speed.
The large ball was heading straight for Black, but he was too busy laughing at his lame insults to notice. When he finally saw the speeding bludger coming at him, he tried to move out of the way, but it was too late.
The bludger slammed into his stomach. He grabbed at the ball to divert some of the force from cracking his ribs, and almost fell off his broom. He managed to grab onto the handle at the last second and maneuver the broom to the ground, with the struggling bludger in his arms.
Everyone landed immediately to make sure Black was alright. Girls on the sidelines were practically crying.
"Padfoot, mate, are you okay?" James asked quickly.
"Yeah," said Black dazedly. He stretched his back to see if his ribs were intact. Unfortunately, nothing was broken, but I guess you can't have everything. "I'm alright," he said, trying to shrug it off. Then he turned and glared at me.
I didn't feel guilty at all for hitting him with a speeding bludger. In fact, I took one look at his dazed, angry face and started hysterically laughing. It was just too funny to resist. There were tears in my eyes from laughing so hard, but I couldn't control it.
I was finally calming down when I noticed that Lily and Lo had come down from the stands and were grinning at me. Well, they were trying not to grin out of respect for Black, but it was obvious they thought it was hysterical.
James turned to look at me, and I was suddenly worried that he wouldn't give me a spot on the team because I'd injured a fellow player...and then laughed about it. But what he said to me was really the cherry on top of a perfect day.
"Nice shot, Letta!" The look of shock and outrage on Black's face sent me into fresh peals of laughter once again.
Sooo I know having a Halloween ball is a little corny/cliche/whatever you wanna call it...but don't worry, it won't turn out that way ;D Review and let me know what you think!
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