Chapter 6 : Whack ‘em with a Broomstick!
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Tabby and the other OC's are mine, as is this storyline.
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“They’re the best people for the team, so we should pick them! They shouldn’t be penalised just because they’re related to you.”
“Yeah, I mean that’s punishment enough.”
~Tabitha Hart & Rowan Bennett
Tabitha stretched her arms high above her head, her fingers interlocked. She stifled a yawn and then picked up her quill, turning her focus back to the parchment on the table. She had to write three feet on muggle transportation (“Explain, with detailed examples, the popularity of automobiles among muggles”) for Professor Northwood by the morning. She was almost finished; at last measuring she had only needed about six more inches.
“I don’t understand why you do that subject.” Annie commented from across the table. “I mean you were practically raised as a muggle…why do you need to study it?” A small group of Gryffindor sixth years were busily working at one of the round common room tables. Most of the younger students had gone up to bed already.
“I like looking at muggles from a magical perspective.” Tabitha shrugged casually. It was her usual answer when people asked her that question. It was, however, a lie. The reason Tabitha Hart took muggle studies was simple: she believed it would make her mother proud of her. Tabitha knew her mother had worked at the ministry of magic, coordinating with muggles. Her dad always said she had a ‘fascination’ with muggle life and that was probably why she first fell in love with him. People who had known Annabeth always said how wonderful and kind she was. And if taking Muggle Studies would make her more like her mother, then it was a price Tabitha was willing to pay.
“I still don’t get it. Honestly what else could you be learning that you don’t already know?” Annie continued. “I just don’t get it.”
“Well nobody asked you to.” Tabitha retorted, feeling slightly annoyed at her friend. Honestly, couldn’t she just let her make her own choices, no matter how silly they may seem? Annie looked a bit miffed, but turned back to her own Divination homework. Tabitha was about to turn back to her essay when she caught James’s eye. He was also sitting at the table and had been listening to the exchange between the two girls. He was now watching Tabitha, although she noted that the infuriating smile he often wore was missing; he looked merely curious. Tabitha blinked at him for a moment, unsure of how to respond and then chose to put her head down and keep writing. She wrote several sentences, but couldn’t shake the feeling that James was still watching her. However, when she glanced surreptitiously at him out of the corner of her eye, he too had his head down over his parchment. Tabitha finished her homework quickly, annoyed at herself for giving this much thought to James Potter, and began to pack up her things. As she scooped her copy of Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles off the desk, she felt a hand clamp over her wrist. It belonged to James.
“Can I borrow that?” He asked. Tabitha didn’t speak. “I’ve left mine upstairs and I can’t be bothered to go up…” He trailed off stupidly. Tabitha’s arm was tingling slightly where he touched her. She looked down at his hand, still fixed around her wrist over the book. James looked down too, noticed what Tabitha was staring at and pulled his hand away suddenly, as though he had touched something hot. Tabitha pushed the book across to him wordlessly, threw everything else into her bag and hurried off to the dormitories, forgetting to say goodnight to the others. When she got to the empty room, she tossed her bag on the floor and sat on her bed. Her heart seemed to be beating a little faster than usual. What was that?! She thought to herself. She pressed one hand against her chest to feel the quickened thumping. He just took me by surprise, that’s all, she told herself. I’m just not used to him not being a prat towards me. Not entirely convinced, Tabitha changed into her pyjamas and climbed into bed. She stared up at the canopy above her, her mind ticking over the last few days. Things hadn’t been quite right since she had been made prefect. James had gotten over his sulking quickly enough, but since the incident with Alexander, his taunting had lost its spark, and as much as it pained her to admit it (if only to herself), it annoyed Tabitha. She had only ever known James in one light and it frustrated her that he would have the audacity to act like a civilised human being towards her, she simply didn’t know how to respond!
At first, things didn’t seem to have improved the next morning. Tabitha had woken and dressed early, hoping to get in a little more study after breakfast as she had prefect duties that evening. She was making her way across the common room when James came down the stairs from the boy’s dormitory, a book in his hand. Tabitha stopped when she saw him, not knowing how to proceed. He walked over to her, his face impassive and handed her the Muggle Studies text book she had lent him the previous night. Tabitha took it from him, muttered a word of thanks and slipped back upstairs to put it in her bag. She assumed that James would have gone down to breakfast ahead of her, but when she entered the common room for a second time that morning, he was waiting for her near the portrait hole.
“Did you want something?” Tabitha asked, curious about James’ odd behaviour.
“I just wanted to tell you that I’m having Quidditch trials on Saturday morning.” James replied. Tabitha raised her eyebrows, the angry fire returning. So he still expects me to try out, does he? James recognised the glint in her eyes and gave her a small smirk. “Don’t get your wand in a knot Hart. I don’t expect you to try out, but I do want the whole team there.”
“Fine, I’ll be there.” Tabitha replied icily, not wanting to show him how relieved she was that he wasn’t going to make her try out. And without another word, she stepped around the still smirking James and climbed out the portrait hole. As she made her way down to the Great Hall though, she couldn’t help the small smile that crossed her lips for a fleeting moment. James had given her the old smug smile, maybe things were going back to normal after all.
“It’s so cold out here. Why are you having tryouts so early in the morning?” Annie grumbled as she, Tabitha, Natalie and Rheydyn made their way across the lawns to the Quidditch pitch. She tightened the pink angora scarf around her neck and rubbed her gloved hands together.
“Well you didn’t have to come.” Natalie said, rolling her eyes.
“What else were we going to?” Annie retorted, including Rheydyn in a sweep of her hand. “Saturday morning and all our friends are down here in the mud; did you expect us to just sit in the common room waiting around for you all day?” Tabitha glanced over at Rheydyn, who looked as though she would have rather stayed in the warm common room, friends or no friends. When they reached the pitch, Annie and Rheydyn made their way up to the stands to get a seat, while Tabitha and Natalie Joined James and Rowan at the base of the nearest goal hoops. There was a large group of Gryffindors clasping brooms and jogging on the spot to keep warm nearby. Tabitha looked them over apprehensively. Their team the previous year had been brilliant, but since they had lost two seventh years (a chaser and a beater) not to mention Peter Reed as seeker, they were all going to have to work hard to form a successful new team. James nodded to the girls as they approached.
“Morning. I thought we’d do the beaters first, I want to get my new partner sorted quickly.” He said. The girls nodded their understanding. James was one of the team’s beaters, and as one of a pair, it was important that the new beater could fit into the team properly. “Then we’ll get you girls a new chaser,” he continued, “and we’ll look at Peter’s replacement last.” He finished. Rowan, the team’s keeper, was holding a clipboard bearing a parchment full of names. “How about you girls take then all for a couple of laps around the pitch so we can see how they fly?” James suggested. Wordlessly, Tabitha and Natalie followed these instructions, gathering the gaggle of hopefuls and leading them in a few short flying drills. As she zoomed across the pitch, weaving in and out of the golden hoops, Tabitha begrudgingly acknowledged to herself how organised and in control James seemed. This thought was only further confirmed as she watched him handle the groups of students trying out. He was firm but patient, and when he had to ask those who were unsuccessful to leave the pitch, his voiced was tinged with sympathy and kindness.
By the time the sun had settled in the sky, they had their new team. The new chaser was a fifth year student by the name of Carter Wicksworth. Tabitha and Natalie had both been impressed with his flying skills and agility, and he was extremely accurate with his goals. The last two members of the team were chosen from James’ own family. But, in his determination to be an honest and fair captain, James had been exceptionally hesitant. “Everyone’s going to say I picked them just ‘cause they’re my cousins!” He exclaimed after they had gone through the whole list of hopefuls for the fourth time and drawn yet the same conclusion. Tabitha, now frustrated with this line of reasoning snapped at him.
“Well if they do I’ll punch them in the face…or whack ‘em over the head with a broomstick!” She exclaimed. “They’re the best people for the team, so we should pick them! They shouldn’t be penalised just because they’re related to you.”
“Yeah, I mean that’s punishment enough.” Rowan sniggered. James glared at them both, and then, resigning himself to the fact that they were right, walked over and announced that Fred Weasley would be playing beater and Rose Weasley would be their new seeker. Rowan shook his head at Tabitha and laughed to himself. “Whack ‘em over the head with a broomstick.” He smiled. “I’d like to see that.”
Annie and Rheydyn had climbed down from the stands and were waving frantically to them (Annie refusing to come out on to the muddy pitch lest she ruin her shoes). Tabitha and Natalie waved goodbye to Rowan and set back off for the castle, ready to enjoy the rest of their Saturday.
“You girls could help me write my petition!” Annie exclaimed as they climbed the stairs to the front doors.
“What petition?” Natalie asked curiously.
“For the ball of course!” Annie replied, in an exasperated tone. “We’ll get a petition going, outlining our reasoning behind the need for a ball. Then we’ll get lots of people to sign it, and then we’ll take it to the Headmistress. It’s a great plan.” She added cheerfully. Tabitha took a deep breath, wondering how she was going to tell one of her best friends that the idea was complete rubbish and she wouldn’t help if she was paid. Ouch! Well I wouldn’t say that for starters, she thought to herself. Fortunately, Tabitha was saved by Albus Potter, who approached her at that moment.
“Tabitha, Professor Longbottom just sent me to find you. He said he wanted to talk to you once you were finished on the Quidditch pitch.” Tabitha shrugged her shoulders to her friends, thanked Albus and headed off to the Herbology Professor’s office. It was in a corridor just off the entrance hall, near where both the kitchens and the Hufflepuff dormitories were located. Tabitha supposed this was so he could be close to the greenhouses but still in the castle. When she reached the door, it sounded as though there were already someone in there with the professor, because Tabitha could hear muted voices. She raised her hand and knocked politely on the door.
“Come in!” Called Professor Longbottom’s voice. Tabitha opened the door and realised at once who he had been speaking with. In the fireplace by the large wooden desk, sat the head of Hannah Longbottom. Tabitha had seen this a few times before, so she wasn’t too taken aback by it, although she did think that it was an awfully strange sight. The head turned and beamed at the young girl.
“Tabitha! How nice to see you. How are you dear?” She asked brightly.
“Very well thankyou, Mrs. Longbottom.” Tabitha replied in the polite manner she had been taught. “How are you?”
“Oh yes I’m quite well dear. Thankyou for asking.” The head swivelled back to the professor. “Well Neville dear, I shall see you this evening.” And with a spark of green flames, she was gone. Professor Longbottom turned to Tabitha.
“Miss Hart, please take a seat.” He smiled. Tabitha did so and smiled at the professor. She had always liked the head of Gryffindor house. He was a kind and fair man, and it probably helped that he taught Herbology, Tabitha’s favourite subject. She supposed some people might think of her as a ‘teacher’s pet’ but Tabitha never really let those sort of comments bother her. “How did the Quidditch trials go? Find your new team members?” He asked conversationally.
“Yes, we found some good replacements. Carter Wicksworth and Fred and Rose Weasley sir.” She replied. The professor beamed at her.
“Oh, excellent. When I was a student, Weasleys and Potters made for good Quidditch conditions! Well work hard won’t you? I do quite enjoy the cup being kept here in my office!” He motioned to the gleaming Quidditch cup sitting on a nearby shelf. “But, enough about Quidditch. I called you in here because I have something for you. My dear wife asked me to give you this.” He slid a black, leather bound book across the table. Embossed in faded, gold, flowing letters across the front was the word Annabeth. “It belonged to your mother.” He explained. “Hannah says it was a diary that she kept when she was at school. She lent it to Hannah some years ago, thinking she might enjoy some of the memories. After the shock of your mother’s passing, the book was forgotten, until recently, when she found it again.” Tabitha had sat in silence for this speech, staring at the book in front of her. This book was her mother’s? Tabitha felt her heart pick up speed. She reached out slowly and picked it up. It was heavier than Tabitha had expected, as though it were a book twice the size.
“Thank you Professor. Thank you so much.” She whispered. She could feel tears stinging at her eyes but she blinked them back. She smiled up at her favourite professor. “And please thank Mrs Longbottom for me.” She added.
“I’ll tell her.” He replied, his eyes glistening. “Now go and enjoy your mother’s memories.” Without another word, Tabitha stood up and left the office, hugging the precious book to her chest.
AN: Hope you enjoyed this chapter! Wow, had a couple up fairly quickly this week! Thankyou to everyone who is reading and has reviewed. Please keep reviewing, I would love to know your opinions.
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