Chapter 3 : The Battle
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Chapter 3: The Battle
“Introducing the Gryffindor team!” Tristan called exuberantly as we all got ready to mount our brooms. This was always exciting because Tristan took special effort to give us all encouraging, albeit dramatic, introductions.
He really got me feeling invincible, at least.
“Part savage werewolf with crazy mind-reading powers, guard dog of the impenetrable Gryffindor posts, impossible-to-get-passed Keeper, the Wolf, Keeper Louis Weasley!”
“If only I could read their minds,” he grumbled, rolling his eyes and flying out to the cheers, which spectacularly managed to drown out the boos.
“And next, we have the man in-synch with the Bludger, the man who thinks with the Bludger, the man who thinks like the Bludger, the Bludger himself, all six-foot-five-inches of the bloody bear –“
“Language, Mr. Connors!” Chang cried in dismay.
“ – out for birdy blood, Beater Fred Weasley!”
“Damn straight I want bird blood,” he muttered determinedly, exchanging dark looks with James before flying out after Louis.
I frowned in slight confusion for a moment, but then Tristan went on with calling out the team and I had to pay attention again.
“And his partner in crime, the Rock, the bat that sets the Bludger flying, the brains of their operation –“
“ – dominating this storm with far more dangerous rains of his own –“
I had to roll my eyes.
“Beater Austin Raine!”
He disappeared, still smirking smugly. Fantastic.
“Quaffle-slayer, bird-slayer, crossing that line between genius and insane, with the lethal temper of a hungry Hippogriff, Chaser Allison Harper!”
“He’s really looking to spike that temper,” she scowled.
She was in denial of her insanity.
“For the Ravenclaws, Sweetie,” Callie prompted her to kick-off.
She did so, the screaming from the stands still overwhelming.
I sneezed, getting all fidgety and excited for my turn.
“Even more lethal than a hungry dragon, with the fire of a Hungarian Horntail, her own species of dragon –“
Oh dear Lord.
“ – a bloody monster –“
“ – death-defying, cold-defying –“
“ – Captain-defying, straight out of a birdy nightmare, the best damn –“
“ – Chaser Hogwarts has ever seen –“
“Me, not you,” I added smugly to James.
“ – the gorgeous lioness herself, Chaser Arabella Audrina Zar!”
Way to play on names again.
And way to piss off the Dragon; no one uses my full name. Unless they want a bloody nose.
Git-face was definitely going to get it, I decided, kicking off the ground and flying out onto the pitch to the screaming and yelling and the roaring of lions and chants of my name, all of which strengthened my belief in our victory.
As I flew around the pitch, I took the effort to fly close enough to Tristan’s head to “accidently” kick him in the face before I joined the others in the center of the pitch.
“Rina Zar, ladies and gents,” Tristan shot me a glare while the crowd laughed at his bloody nose.
Professor Chang (relunctantly) fixed it for him before he went on to introduce James.
“And the defied Captain himself –“
“ – leader of Hogwarts best ever Quidditch team, only man stupid enough to enrage the Dragon, with the fantastic plays that no one cares about –“
I smirked some more. Tristan always did like me better than his best friend.
Because that’s how great I am.
“ – the Hero, the Legend, the Gladiator, Chaser James Potter!”
As he flew out, I could clearly tell that he was glaring at his friend, and he probably would’ve gotten the dark-haired boy in the face as well, if the stupid kid hadn’t ducked.
James landed next to me, making it a point to not look at my smirk.
“And, finally, the Goddess of Quidditch, with the grace and beauty of a swan and the stealth of a lioness on the hunt, the girl who has yet to fail in delivering a victory, the Angel of the Gryffindors, golden Seeker Callie Mena!”
Even from the distance, she was obviously blushing like mad as the entire red-and-gold crowd broke out into a chant of her name.
She landed next to me, face on fire and ignoring the smirk I was sending her as she mumbled about Tristan and his “stupid exaggerations.”
“And then there’s Ravenclaw!” Tristan added, pretending to look like he cared, “Keeper, Martin Tyler! Beaters, Clint Lawson and Captain, Michael Turner! Chasers, Claire Wilkins, Kristen Davis, and Hunter Flynn! And lastly, Seeker, Mason Delroy!”
The Ravenclaw supporters made up for his lack of enthusiasm as their team made its way out with loud and boisterous cheers of their own.
I was too busy falling into another coughing fit to pay all that much attention as they landed, and by the time I looked up to see Madame Hooch step onto the field, I was soaked through to the bone and shuddering like mad. A violent shiver ran down my spine as a particularly strong gust of wind blew over the pitch, and I instinctively hugged myself.
This, of course, was a mistake, because Callie glanced over at me with worried eyes, and honest to God, the last thing we needed was for our Seeker’s concentration to sway from the match and to me instead.
She seemed to read these sentiments in my eyes, and she sighed, turning away to face the Ravenclaws.
I did the same, taking in the equally drenched team, sneezing again.
Now, I would never admit this, but I felt so terrible that I almost wished James had pulled me out of the match. I couldn’t stand still, quivering in my boots, my throat was so dry and itchy, my nose hurt and was disgustingly drippy, my eyes were stinging and watering without the help of the wind, and the all over-soreness from all the practicing was joined by massive body aches and a smashing headache to boot.
I groaned internally as I sneezed again, longing for my warm cozy bed as I tried to control my shuddering. I honest to God felt as awful as I looked.
“Captains, shake hands,” Hooch commanded.
James and Michael were glaring daggers at each other; even through the awfulness, I could feel the tension.
Callie was teetering nervously, and Louis and Austin were shooting worried looks to James. Allison stood determined, looking the Ravenclaws over disdainfully, and Fred had joined James in glaring darkly at Michael.
For their part, the Ravenclaws appeared to be expressing the same diversity of emotions. Clint was looking us over menacingly while Hunter and Mason smirked at us all. Martin, who was a sweetheart, really, seemed to be fighting the urge to roll his eyes, though he was glancing at his Captain a bit anxiously. Kristen held the same superior air as Allison, and Claire appeared similar to Callie, dreading the impending match, eyeing their two Beaters in an apprehensive manner.
Michael’s eyes flickered over the rest of us, lingering on me before he smirked back at James. “Your Chaser appears to be shaking in fear.”
James’s eyes narrowed at him, but he didn’t look around straight away.
Claire glanced over at me worriedly before looking back to her Captain, just as I sneezed twice, violently.
When I looked back up, however, it appeared I’d missed something, because suddenly, Louis and Austin had joined James and Fred in looking fit for murder while Allison’s eyes narrowed furiously and Callie glanced from her to me with wide eyes.
For the love of God, I was not going to fall off my broom from sneezing!
These people needed to lighten up.
Clint, Hunter and Mason were smirking sickly by this point while Kristen made a face at the back of her Captain’s head. Martin was shaking his head, looking ready to step forward, clearly fearing another brawl, and Claire’s expression dropped further.
“Mr. Turner!” Madame Hooch’s eyes narrowed furiously, “That is extremely uncalled for and inappropriate! Gryffindor will be beginning with a penalty shot!”
The rest of the team did not seem appeased, but I was all for this; the more fouls they committed, the faster we would get our points. I just wanted to get out of the cold.
I coughed again as Madame Hooch continued to admonish Michael for whatever he may have said, though he didn’t seem to be heeding her words.
In fact, his attention was focused on James again, who looked ready to lunge, and Callie actually stepped forward and held his arm firmly to keep him from acting on the cold fury burning in his eyes.
I snorted; as if that little girl could’ve held back all six-foot-three-inches of James Potter.
“The Captains have yet to shake hands.”
I jumped slightly, remembering Tristan and the restless crowd as he spoke over the howling wind.
“Those of you who bet on another fight, looks like you’re going to get lucky,” he went on.
“Mr. Connors!” Chang sent him a glare as I glanced up.
“Now, for the sake of formalities, I must beg of you, Mr. Potter,” Hooch sent him an almost sympathetic look, “shake hands.”
“And there we have it,” Tristan called as the two Captains reached out to clasp hands tightly for less than a second.
It was enough for Hooch and the crowd, however, and the onlookers went wild.
“Still a chance for a brawl,” Tristan assured as the crowd roared in excitement.
“Mr. Potter,” Madame Hooch looked over to him, offering the Quaffle.
He glanced at me over his shoulder with a pointed look; I wasn’t going to get this penalty shot.
I sighed, rolling my eyes, nodding and allowing him to take the Quaffle as I shuddered again.
“I’m glad to be facing you actually; I wouldn’t have the…opportunity otherwise,” Michael smirked.
James’s jaw clenched, and even from the distance I was afraid some of the fury spitting from his eyes would find some way to strike me dead.
Callie gripped his arm again as Louis stepped forward, while Madame Hooch sent Michael another withering glare.
“Mr. Potter,” she prompted, turning her attention to him again.
“Here we go again, those of you who bet!” Tristan seemed to feel the need to add.
There were catcalls and leers all around the stadium as James closed his eyes and breathed deeply in through his nose.
“After all, you do have rather tantalizing Ch –“
My sneeze cut Michael off, and he trained another look on me.
James glanced over his shoulder at me as well, and then, still appearing furious, he chucked the Quaffle to Allison and turned away.
The unsuspecting blonde caught it, eyes widening in confusion.
One look at James’s expression, however, and she sighed.
“If I make this, please calm the fuck down so that I don’t have to do everything.”
James nodded once, not looking to her.
“If you will please get into position Mr. Tyler,” Madame Hooch turned to Martin.
The Ravenclaw nodded, sending a wary look to James before mounting his broom and kicking off.
Allison did the same, getting positioned in front of the goal hoops to take her shot, just as Martin took his spot to defend them.
“It seems Gryffindor is starting this match with a penalty shot!” Tristan informed the crowd. “Turner felt the need to say something imbecilic, no doubt. The Slayer gets ready to take the shot and…straight through the center! Gryffindor leading before the whistle 10-0!”
Miraculously, Tristan’s overzealous exclamations into the booming microphone were drowned out by the roar of the Gryffindor supporters and the chants of Allison’s new nickname, “Slayer.”
I was honestly a bit unsure of how she’d react to that one.
She returned to the center to take up her position flanking James on the right with me opposite on the left. Fred and Austin took their spots below us, while Louis flew off to the goal posts, and Callie faced off with Mason above us.
I watched as the Bludgers and Snitch were released, vaguely hearing Tristan announce the fact, and then Hooch finally, finally, tossed the Quaffle.
“The Wolf is on fire!” Tristan manged to drown out the boos of the Ravenclaws. “That’s Louis Weasley saving yet another shot and – fuck, that was close!” he shouted, standing to hold the microphone out of an enraged Professor Chang’s reach as Louis dodged a particularly close Bludger.
His broom rolled through the air, and Allison streaked across the pitch under the blond, just as he released the Quaffle and straightened back in front of the hoops.
The crowd roared as Allison zoomed straight up into the air and then across the pitch towards me.
I blinked, eyes blurred as they watered and unable to see clearly through all the fog. But, as Allison raised her hands and Kristen flew straight in front of her, my eyes widened and I looked down in time to see James speeding away with the Quaffle.
Tristan was raving into his microphone about this latest play, and I had to agree that it had worked.
But, then again, Allison had had to veer off course to save the Quaffle in the first place.
To say the game had been exciting would be an understatement.
It had been insane.
We were two hours in, leading 120-90, and the rain and wind was lashing and whipping all around us.
I was in love with Austin, at least; He’d taken the first opportunity to direct a perfect Bludger at Martin, and it caught him right in the side.
The poor Keeper was still keeping vigil up there, but he was most definitely hindered. I almost felt terrible, but the sooner we won, the sooner I could get warm.
There had been fouls all over the place with the Ravenclaw team, mostly the two Beaters and Hunter and Mason, taking every opportunity to hinder us further.
For my part, I’d been doing a lot of staying out of the way, unless I was needed, for the past hour.
Not because I couldn’t play (I could), but because after an hour of physical assaults on me going unnoticed by Madame Hooch and my increasing shivering and sneezing, James had stopped passing the Quaffle to me.
Hovering in the sky and watching the game, I felt my heart clench a thousand times over, every time Allison was elbowed in the face and Callie was slammed into the stands. Fred and Louis were barely keeping their agony in check as they were forced to bare injuries that should’ve hindered their abilities; should’ve being the operative word because they were ignoring it all and playing just as fantastic as always with the same vigor. James and Austin, for their parts, were barely staying on their brooms, both hunched over after terrible blows to their ribs.
To say I was pissed would be an understatement.
I was beyond livid.
These fucking Birds didn’t know who they were messing with.
If there was one thing I knew for certain, with every sickening blow they delivered to my friends, my consciousness of illness slipped away that much more. I was going to win us that top spot, even if it meant being out here all bloody night being punched in the face and ended in an hypothermic death.
I watched Austin and Fred employ fantastic Bludgers to block the three Ravenclaw Chasers, both screwing their faces up in pain as they swung, as James and Allison passed the Quaffle back and forth. Just as James sent it flying towards the center hoop, however, a Bludger came soaring towards it and knocked it off course and…straight towards me.
I lunged for the leather-bound ball, and, with it secure in my grasp, I looped through the air to avoid Claire and shot off for the hoops.
“And there she goes again!” Tristan cried into the megaphone, “We haven’t seen much from Zar in the past hour or so, most likely because she’s descending into hypothermia. But that’s dedication folks, and – holy shit! Are you lot fucking seeing this?”
I couldn’t help but smirk as I sent my broom literally spiraling down towards the center hoop, and then cut a sharp left and brought it to a halt as I released the Quaffle and watched in satisfaction as it soared through the hoop, Martin staring at it in bewilderment.
Yeah, take that you good for nothing cheating wankers.
“Bloody Merlin’s pants!” Tristan cried as the noise of the crowd rose over the howling wind.
I glanced around to the commentator’s booth to see Tristan jumping up and down in excitement, ignoring Chang’s attempts to get a hold of the microphone.
“I swear she just disappeared with that speed!” he cried, “And was she spinning? I think she was! Where do you get this stuff, woman?”
I zoomed back around in time to catch the Quaffle as Allison passed it to me, and I quickly tossed it back.
She let it drop, however, for James who was right below her, but (I gasped in shock and consequently fell into a coughing fit) he missed.
Before I could dive, Kristen had snatched up the leather-bound ball.
“What the fuck was that, Potter?”
Chang didn’t seem to mind the obscenities this time, too busy watching smugly.
Ignoring the furious shouting from the stands, I chased after Kristen.
The raging wind almost blew me off course, but I verbally screamed at my Firebolt and steered it back towards the dark blonde head headed for Louis.
I noticed Allison closing in from the other side…almost there…
But a Bludger forced her to swerve at the last second and I cursed under my breath as Kristen got ready to take a shot for the left goal.
I cursed again when Louis shot off to the right, along with half the Gryffindors, but we all seemed to remember the mind-reading capabilities at the same time, and I had to fight the urge to join the cheers amidst Tristan’s incoherent shouting as Louis came up with the Quaffle.
Kristen appeared furious, but at the next second, she shot off to block Allison, and I noticed a Bludger distract James.
I caught Louis’s eye across the pitch, and he seemed to see the large form of Hunter Flynn speeding towards me at the same moment as I did.
So, he did the only logical thing.
He let the Quaffle slip from his fingers as I looped over the large Chaser, and then I zoomed across the pitch, noticing Claire diving towards the Quaffle.
I’d only just begun begging with the fates when a Bludger shot Claire off course, and, right over the Quaffle, I turned my broom at a straight ninety-degree angle and dove.
“For the love of God!” Tristan’s voice cut through the wind.
Forty feet from the ground, and I urged my broom to go faster, slipping forward slightly.
The wind gusted violently towards me again and I cursed.
If this doesn’t work, James is going to kill me.
Ten feet and I was still in a nosedive straight for the cold, hard earth, inches from the Quaffle. Reaching out, I grabbed the cold, wet leather ball and turned another ninety-degrees, skimming across the ground.
Tristan was still shouting, and I looked up, cursed, and jerked my broom around to avoid a Bludger, and then I spotted Allison and shot up towards her.
I waited until I saw a Bludger collide with Hunter, who was headed straight towards me again, before chucking the Quaffle to the blonde.
She sped off with it, and I followed, taking position again to appear as if she’d pass to me when Claire caught up.
Allison shot farther up into the air, however, and I shot off, waiting to catch the return after she made a goal.
Just as the Quaffle shot through the right hoop and I pulled up into the air with the leather-bound ball, I heard the piercing whistle.
I looked around to see Madame Hooch’s attention directed across the pitch.
Following her line of sight, I came to a halt.
Fifty feet across the pitch, and I could still see the fury in James’s eyes.
“It seems Gryffindor has called a timeout!” Tristan announced. “We’re two hours in, Gryffindor’s in the lead 140-90, and the sneezing-all-over-the-place Rina Zar has just become the top scorer of the match! Did you lot see her fly?”
I let my broom drift towards the ground, biting back a sigh.
James was most definitely angry.
Tristan was still raving about the team as I landed next to Callie, who was just looking at me.
Allison touched down right after me, and immediately began talking over the wind animatedly, motioning wildly with her hands.
Though I wasn’t paying much attention to her, I vaguely registered that she was commending my Vertigo Trick Shot.
My attention was instead focused across the pitch, to where James seemed to be screaming at Louis.
“Way to go, Rina,” Austin landed next to me and sighed, “Now James is going to get a chance to yell at all of us.”
I frowned around at him, sniffling. “What did you do?”
“Not only did we allow a Bludger to knock the Quaffle off course,” Fred began.
“But the Quaffle went right to you,” Austin rolled his eyes.
“Which provided you with the opportunity to perform that Vertigo Trick Shot,” Fred finished.
“But it was fantastic,” Austin added, eyes lighting up.
“Wasn’t it?” Allison nodded excitedly.
“Yeah, and if she’d sneezed in the middle of that spiral, she would’ve crashed to her death,” Callie reminded tightly.
“And if she’d sneezed while diving?” James and Louis approached us, arguing. “She would’ve slipped off the edge of her broom!” James cried furiously.
“And you!” he cut Louis off and rounded on the two Beaters, “Control the damn Bludgers! We missed plenty of shots, and if you’d controlled that one coming for me, Ara wouldn’t have had to dive! Not to mention the one that almost killed Callie! There is a reason I put you idiots on my team!”
“Breathe, will you, James,” Allison stopped him. “This isn’t why you stopped the game.”
“Right,” he nodded.
He rounded on me, fury shooting from his eyes.
I blinked, and then I bit my lip.
I felt the tickle in my nose and bit down harder.
Don’t sneeze…don’t sneeze…don’t –
And…James’s glare hardened.
“James,” Callie sent him a warning look.
He glared at me for a moment more, but I began coughing, and he sighed and turned away. “Can we please just get her out of the rain?”
“No!” I cried. “Look, just let me play and we’ll –“
I broke off coughing again and sighed at the look he sent me when I reemerged.
“Let me play,” I repeated, “and we’ll finish faster and I’ll go up to bed in my jammies, okay?”
James stared at me for a moment, but I sighed. “Please!”
“Look, faster, the better, James,” Callie spoke up, eyes flickering overhead, “I’ve been following this Snitch for forty-five minutes and –“
“You know where it is?” Austin’s eyes widened.
“Shush!” Allison sent him a glare and looked around frantically.
I glanced around as well, but the Ravenclaws were gathered at the other end of the pitch.
“Yes!” Callie nodded, “So get your stupid 100 point lead so that I can end this!”
James looked at her for a moment, but he finally sighed.
“And this involves passing to Rina,” Allison added to him, “I can’t Chase without her, because, frankly, you’re an idiot. She’s much better at Quidditch sick than you are tonight. For the love of God, snap out of it!”
I was coughing again and shuddered as the raging wind picked up and threw icy rain into our faces. Flying through that was like being attacked by needles.
James looked from me around to the others as Callie shuddered as well.
I followed his gaze over the rest of the team, and all of a sudden, my shivering stopped as my realization of the cold slipped away.
Rain still lashing down at us and wind whipping it all around, I looked over the rest of the team.
Callie had a bruise on the side of her head from where Mason had shoved her into the stands when she’d feinted an hour-and-a-half ago. I saw the flicker of pain in her eyes as she brought her arms around to hug herself, and I remembered the Bludger she’d taken to the shoulder an hour ago.
Allison, for her part was sporting bloodied lips from where Hunter had physically punched her in the mouth to get her to drop the Quaffle, and I winced at the streak of dried blood across her check from where she’d attempted to wipe it away casually for James’s benefit. Furthermore, when the blonde moved, I noticed the limp, reminded of the illegal Bludger she’d taken to the side half-an-hour into the match.
As Louis brushed wet blond hair from his eyes, I saw his black and blue fingers, the result of another illegal Bludger aimed for his hands. I bit my lip as I realized he’d discarded his gloves, no doubt finding it too painful to keep them on, despite how many shots he’d blocked with those broken fingers.
Glancing over at Fred swinging his bat around, all I could think of was how phenomenally he’d been playing, considering that he’d been forced to switch to playing left-handed after a dirty Bludger to his elbow. I also felt a knot in my stomach as I watched him attempt, and fail, at straightening his right arm, consequently still gripping his broom at the same odd angle, and a fury ran through me as I considered all the times I’d seen him wince before redirecting that broom.
Austin seemed to notice my expression and touched my left arm gently.
I bit back a wince, that being the side that had been slammed into the stands forty minutes prior, and instead turned my attention to him.
I noticed how he seemed even shorter as he was hunched over, and my eyes hardened at the memory of Clint Lawson pretending to be aiming for the Bludger Austin was swinging at, and instead slamming his bat into his chest. Hooch hadn’t noticed this one either, and Austin had been hunched over for the past two hours.
I tore my gaze away from his crumbled form, and instead found myself watching James again as he surveyed the team as I had.
He looked just as terrible as the rest of them, his left arm hanging limp, probably broken at his side, while he looked over us all through one blackened eye from where Hunter had elbowed him in the face. His posture was similar to what I remember from the year before after his fight with Michael, most likely from the Bludger to the chest that had almost sent him backwards off his broom.
As I watched his face and his eyes swept over me, I frowned, noticing conflicting emotions and an internal struggle beyond his eyes. Like the rest of the team, I’d taken plenty of hits, and I vaguely remembered that my nose was likely broken with blood streaked across my face like Allison from when Clint had “accidently” swung his bat at me. I also figured my right eye was darkening with a bruise forming around it, and I couldn't put any weight on my left side where I'd gotten bludgered.
Finally, he met Callie’s eyes as she touched her left shoulder and winced, and he released another sigh. “Twenty minutes.”
“Twenty minutes,” he repeated, looking at her pointedly, “I can’t let you lot keep this up –“
“Sure you can!” I interjected, realizing his words. The bitter wind had me numbed to pain as it is.
James rounded on me as his eyes narrowed. “If you care about this team, you will agree that I cannot.”
I opened my mouth to respond, but closed it again as I noticed Louis flex his fingers and wince out of the corner of my eye; I had to bite my lip to hold in my own grimace as I figured every bone in his hands was probably broken.
“They’ve been fouling us all over the place and Hooch can’t see a thing through this fog, so they're getting away with it –“
“Oh, come off it,” I found myself snorting, “Tristan and half the crowd can see it! She was a Ravenclaw, you know.”
Though, in reality, Madame Hooch had always been impartial for the most part, there’s no way she could’ve missed Allie being punched in the face. We were winning so dramatically, she probably thought she was leveling the playing field. It’s not like we needed the fouls since we were still kicking arse and playing phenomenally.
The Ravenclaws, on the other hand, we really slacking. Hunter was Chasing fine, but I got the feeling Claire was only playing half-heartedly and Kristen seemed to be getting emotions in the way. Martin seemed to be in the same boat as Claire, not to mention his smashed shoulder.
“Either way,” James went on, “we need to just get this over with. Actually,” he looked around at us all again, grimacing as Austin attempted to straighten up and his face screwed up in pain. He sighed, turning back to Callie, “Get that Snitch right away.”
Her eyes widened as mine did as well.
Every injury we’d suffered in the past two hours would be a waste if we didn’t reach our goal now!
We didn’t even have enough points to beat Slytherin in the standings at the moment, and they were in second after their brutish game against Hufflpuff.
Callie watched James’s crumpled expression as he turned away and winced, picking up his broom and running his fingers through his wet hair.
I watched as she looked over the rest of the team and finally looked to me.
Now, Callie, more than anyone else, wanted this to be over. She would’ve ended it forty-five minutes ago if it hadn’t been for James; beating out the other two teams had been insanely important to him. This was all he’d been talking about for a month, and this was all he’d come out here for today. This was the reason he’d let me play and the reason he’d put up with Allison’s bloodied face and Fred and Callie’s beat up appearances. He felt guilty and selfsish enough as it is.
Regaining his top position, and consequently earning himself some scout recognition, had been the soul driving force behind this match for all of us.
As Callie’s eyes met mine, I offered a slight nod. Twenty minutes.
“It seems we’re ready to reengage in battle!” Tristan’s booming voice called as we all mounted our brooms and flew up to our starting positions. “And those Claws better be prepared, because these Gryffindors look determined as hell! I’m terrified for their pride and dignity. I get the feeling that after all those dirty fouls and slimy tricks, those good for nothing Birds are about lose to a half disabled team. Hell, Fred Weasley is playing left-handed, Potter’s playing one-handed, and Zar’s still sick as hell! Look, she’s coughing again!”
And indeed, I was, but I looked back up to face off determinedly against a smug looking Kristen Davis.
“Spread some of those sick germs to them bastards, Rina!” Tristan called.
I smirked as Kristen made a face across from me.
I heard the shrill sound of Madame Hooch’s whistle, and I shot off after Hunter, who’d gotten a hold of the Quaffle.
James, who’d assumed the match was going to end in thirty seconds, was watching Callie’s masterfully executed a Haze-Veil Feint; she’d shot straight into the sky, as if she was chasing the Snitch, and had Mason following on her tail; she’d eventually return and leave him lost in the dark clouds.
Tristan, assuming the Seekers were chasing the Snitch as well, was shouting about them disappearing.
In the mean time, I’d caught up with Hunter and was leveling out with him.
I was going to get that Quaffle from him; there was no way in hell I was going to let Louis further injure himself by blocking shots just because we couldn’t play some bloody simple defense.
Hunter seemed to notice me out of the corner of his eye, but I realized a moment too late, and he’d already slammed me into the stands.
“Are you seeing this Hooch?” Tristan’s aghast exclamation carried through the wind as he forgot the Seekers. “Foul!”
I ignored him, gritting my teeth against a stabbing pain in my left arm, and I urged my Firebolt to catch up again.
“You know, you should really take care of yourself, Love!” Hunter shouted over his shoulder.
I caught up with him again and attempted to veer him off course, but, honestly, he was much bigger than me.
Because we’re Gryffindor, however, and all plays had flown off with the wind, Austin slammed a Bludger at Hunter, forcing him to drop the Quaffle.
He cursed into the wind as I grabbed it from the air and sharply cut my broom around and raced down to the opposite end of the pitch.
Hunter, responded by grabbing my broom and yanking me back.
“Foul!” Tristan cried again, but the only response he got was the roar of the crowd. Hooch was at the other end of the pitch monitoring Fred as he fought to reach a Bludger before Michael did.
I clenched my jaw and fouled a bit myself, swinging my foot back in an attempt to shake Hunter off, and I connected with some part of him and shot off.
“That’s right Rina!” Tristan shouted, "That’s the way to do it! And there’s a beautiful Bludger by Fred Weasley for the good for nothing scumbag –“
The Gryffindors seemed to agree with him, however, as they cheered their approval.
I had to loop back up into the air and employ a Sloth Grip Roll in an attempt to dodge a Bludger before rushing back across the pitch.
The rain and wind grew fiercer, and I found myself far within the dark clouds. I figured no one could see me up here, and I took the opportunity to drop back into a Vertigo Spiral and shoot back down.
“ – where she went, but no doubt – holy fuck!”
I pulled my broom to a sudden halt and let the Quaffle soar directly through the center hoops, heard the screaming of the crowd, and looped back around to catch up with James who’d just caught an impossibly quickly recovered Quaffle passed by Allison.
“What is she doing?” he cried, referring to Callie who was circulating the pitch as if she were still looking for the Snitch.
“Getting you your points!” I shouted up to him as I caught the Quaffle he dropped to me and Allison looped back around.
I feinted a pass to her as Kristen flew at me and caught Austin’s eye. I released my Quaffle and allowed my broom to drop a few feet as Austin sent a Bludger to my previous position that simultaneously swayed Kristen and shot the Quaffle to James, who then shot down to the hoops.
“Fantastic play by Potter and Zar with the help of the Rock and another goal for Gryffindor!” Tristan shouted along with the crowd as the Quaffle looped through the left hoop. “160-90! That’s the Gryffindor way!”
Another Bludger from Austin, and the leather-bound ball flew to Allison, who made a grab for it, but lost it at the last second when a Bludger collided with her fingers.
She let out a stream of curses, screaming in agony before gritting her teeth and diving for the Quaffle.
I followed after her, swerving around another Bludger, and glanced up in time to see and hear Fred curse under his breath and grimace as he shot the Bludger off with the bat in his right hand in order to get a good angle.
My resolve strengthened with the image of his pale face and I blocked Claire from reaching the Quaffle as Allison snatched it from the air.
She winced when her fingers grasped it, however, dropping it again, and I cursed and shot off for it.
“Harper’s lost a hand as well,” Tristan informed the crowd as the Ravenclaws cheered, “Cork it, you sick bastards!” he added to them, standing and lifting the microphone away from Professor Chang again. “That’s Claire Wilkins with the Quaffle and Zar chasing after her. C’mon, Rina!”
I chased Claire across the pitch, turning my broom up as she dodged a Bludger, approaching Louis again.
I sped up slightly and then shot my broom down in front of her, successfully disorienting her, and she dropped the Quaffle, which James then caught.
He rushed back around to the goal posts with immense speed, and I took off after him, shooting up over him and zooming along parallel, Allison doing the same below him.
I sped up, waiting for him to score again and getting in position to recover the Quaffle, slightly ahead of him, when I heard Fred shout behind me.
I turned in time to see the Bludger hurtling towards James, eyes widening as he reared back and let out a strangled shout when it collided with his back and the Quaffle flew waywardly from his hands.
I noticed Hunter coming in for it, so I did the only think I could think to do.
James wasn’t watching anyway.
I swung off the broom, pulling it around with me as I kicked the Quaffle through the center hoop, and pulled myself back on, just as Hunter collided with me and my broom dropped to the ground.
“Mother fucker!” I screamed, vaguely hearing the crowd roar with disapproval as well, and yanked my broom back up and around, just as the shrill whistle blew with the wind.
“Thank you, Hooch!” Tristan shouted, “About time you noticed those gits massacring our team! That’s two fouls right there!”
Madame Hooch (miraculously) awarded us both fouls, which James allowed me to take, seeing as I was (sadly) now the least disabled Chaser on our team. He was barely sitting up on his broom at this point, and Allison had lost her right hand.
As I took the first shot, the sound of Allison’s scream shot through my mind, and I gritted my teeth and turned my broom towards the left to throw Martin off before lugging the Quaffle at the right hoop.
My mind was numbed to everything else as a sudden realization shot through me.
We needed one more goal.
With the image of that nasty Bludger colliding with James’s back and his hunched form as the driving force, I hurled the Quaffle straight through the center hoop, Martin missing it by inches, and slumped back on my broom as Tristan shouted those fateful words.
“Gryffindor in the lead 190-90!”
James was no longer flying straight, Fred was clutching the broom with his legs, and Allison only had one hand on the handle as we flew back into position to resume play.
I caught Callie’s eye and she nodded, eyes flickering across the pitch to the bottom of the Ravenclaw goal posts.
Madame Hooch’s whistle blew and she was off like a rocket.
I grabbed a hold of the Quaffle and flew off into the air to distract the Ravenclaw Beaters, who had shot both Bludgers at me before anyone had realized Callie was speeding towards the earth.
“Holy fuck! I think Mena’s seen the Snitch!” Tristan shouted over the screaming from the crowd.
I didn’t even take the effort to try for another goal, instead opting to watch Callie streak through the air.
“Delroy’s getting closer, Cal!” Tristan cried hysterically, “Come on!”
Callie seemed to hear him and she dove faster, ten feet from the ground before she pulled her broom straight up again.
“She was feinting!” Tristan exclaimed, “Bloody hell look at her go! And Delroy’s in the ground and – for the love of God! What is she doing?”
Callie, who’d shot straight up, pulled her broom back down and dove to the snitch, three feet to the right and one foot over Mason Delroy’s immobile form.
“She’s got it!”
The uproar was immense.
The Gryffindor stands had gone insane, chants of Callie’s name breaking out as she pulled her broom upright and held up the Snitch.
There was a stampede of Gryffindors thundering down towards the pitch as Tristan continued to shout incoherently into his microphone.
“That was the Goddess of Quidditch, ladies and gentlemen! Bloody hell that was insane! Where the hell did she learn to dive like that? And did anyone see her turn that broom? One second she’s going up, and the next she’s twenty feet down with the Snitch! Take that you good for nothing, sick Birds! Bloody, bastards! How does it feel to lose to a team that’s going to spend a week in the Hospital Wing? Did you see those lions play? I know I’m not the only one who saw all the blood and heard all the screaming; what now, you wonky, scumbag, git-faced, bastards! The Gryffindor team quite literally whopped your butts with one hand tied behind their backs! That’s our Gryffindors, folks! Nothing, and I repeat nothing, can stop those insane lions. No good for nothing, son of a bitch Bird is going to get in the way! That’s right, Chang!” he was hopping up and down now, holding the microphone up, “Your pathetic team just lost to a team they fucking mutilated! How does it feel, Claws, to fail so epically that you lost 340-90 after playing such an illegal match? The Gryffindor team can barely stand, Harper and Zar have blood on their faces, three players played single-handedly, and Zar is still bloody sick! Bloody hell woman, get something for that before you die!” he shouted down at me as I began coughing fiercely again. “We need you to massacre the bloody Slytherins next month! They’re nowhere near as pathetic at being illegal as these idiot Birds! I mean, did you lot see how pathetic –“
Chang seemed to have had enough and waved her wand to silence him before she started yelling furiously.
By this time, we were all gathered on the ground surrounded by our housemates.
Tristan had been right, though; we were barely standing, and Madame Pomfrey was shoving through the crowd to try and do something about it.
Callie, honestly, had already forgotten about the Snitch clasped in her fingers, and as she and I landed, we had to all but lift James up before he fell off his broom.
“I swear to God, Fred,” he gritted his teeth.
“Leave him alone,” I defended immediately, glancing around to the Beater as he dropped his bat.
“It should’ve been three foul shots,” Allison explained, wiping a few tears from her face as she looked up from her hand to James, “Bloody Turner smashed his arm to stop him before hitting that Bludger at you.”
Callie’s eyes widened as she looked up at Fred, and I gasped at the angle at which his arm was bent.
“I’m fine,” he assured, grimacing as he released his broom. “Fuck.”
“You won’t get your bloody party if you don’t let the nurse through!” Rose’s shrill voice cut through the whistle of the wind and the mass of Gryffindor bodies.
I glanced up in time to see the redhead and Scorpius, along with Albus leading the nurse through the crowd.
“Bloody hell,” Rose’s eyes widened as she took in the sight of Fred’s arm. “Pomfrey!”
“Allie,” he nodded the nurse towards her, stepping back as she broke through the crowd.
“It’s just my fingers; I’m fine I sw – “
“You’re the only one bloody crying, Allison,” Fred reminded.
“I am not!” she shouted back, swiping away another tear.
She hated tears, and honestly, she could tolerate high amounts of pain without physically hurting, but it didn’t take much for her tear reflexes to be triggered.
“Let her heal your fingers so we can get Fred’s arm straightened out,” Callie said to her exasperatedly.
Allison huffed, but held out her hand, wincing again as the nurse took her fingers in her hand. “There!” she turned to Fred triumphantly flexing her newly healed fingers once the nurse tapped them with her wand.
“Are her ribs broken?” James asked, and I remembered her limp.
“Potter,” her eyes narrowed around at him.
“For the love of God,” Albus exclaimed suddenly as I began coughing again, “Can we at least move this healing session inside.”
I sent him a glare, but I had to agree as I sneezed twice.
“The changing rooms,” I suggested, glancing around to James, “Can you move?”
He nodded, waving it off. “I just don’t want to break little Callie.”
“Here,” Scorpius and Albus shoved Callie and I away, supporting James through the crowd with the rest of us limping along after them to the changing rooms.
“Move, you bloody prats!” Rose screamed, charging ahead and parting the crowd.
When we reached the changing rooms, we were met by a few worried seventh years.
Stacey Hart had rushed in after James, but Emily Harris and Rachel Trainer were still hovering around, along with Lucas Mulkins, who was holding the door open.
“Bloody fantastic playing,” Rachel raved as we all trooped in and collapsed onto benches.
I sighed, smiling tiredly around at her as Madame Pomfrey began ordering off layers of sopping clothes and started inspecting James’s ribs.
“We got it,” I added to our Captain who was beginning to protest, motioning towards Callie.
We dug our wands out of our lockers, and Callie went off to straightening out Louis’s hands while I dealt with Allison’s ribs.
Austin, who was trying to ignore Rose’s ranting as she fixed his smashed ribs, glanced up at me and rolled his eyes. “You’ve still got blood on your face.”
“I got it,” Lucas turned to me before anybody could start protesting as I glanced up. He flicked his wand and set my nose right before siphoning the blood off my face.
“Thanks,” I smiled returning to Allison’s ribs, but I was cut off by another coughing fit.
“I’ll do it,” Emily hurried over, dropping Fred’s newly healed arm, and pulled my hand away. “I saw those hits you took. I think her ribs might be broken, too, Rachel,” she added, glancing over her shoulder to her friend, “She keeps clutching them when she coughs or sneezes.”
“Let me see,” Rachel pulled me aside and sat me down on a bench.
I glanced up as she went about with her X-Ray Charm, and noticed that Lucas was taking care of Callie’s smashed shoulder and Louis and Fred appeared to be okay now.
The latter two, along with a healed Austin, were instead grimacing as Rose went about shouting at them for being careless.
I sighed as I glanced back to Rachel; the rest of us were going to get that same lecture as well.
“I’ve got two weeks of detention!” Tristan burst into the room, bringing with him a gust of wind.
“I wonder why,” Emily glanced around at him, rolling her eyes.
“You go on too much, Tristan,” Stacey informed him, brushing blonde hair from her eyes and looking up from where she was sitting next to James as Madame Pomfrey examined his back.
He ignored her, turning to me instead. “Now, I know you’re going to get a earful from everyone, so let me just say that you were bloody fantastic! I doubt anyone else can fly like that when they’re perfectly healthy! That was insane! It’s saying something when you can –“
“Please, Tristan,” I held a hand up to stop him, “I have a massive headache as it is, so kindly shut up.”
“And stop with the inflictions,” Rachel added as she finished and straightened up, “Calm down.”
I went over to my locker as Madame Pomfrey left and the rest of the team began doing the same. I was planning on a long, hot shower. It would be steaming.
“So, the party,” Tristan went on, “How long do you lot think you’re going to take?”
Austin rolled his eyes, glancing over his shoulder. “With Rina, give us an hour or two.”
“Ara is not coming out to the party,” James spun on his heel and directed a sharp gaze on me.
I rolled my eyes, turning to face him. “I wasn’t planning on it, Potter. Though I could if I wanted.”
“You’re bloody lucky I talked Pomfrey out of making you go straight to the Hospital Wing!” he shot back, “Don’t make me call her back!”
My eyes narrowed. “I just said I wasn’t going to come to the damn party!”
“We can’t celebrate a Gryffindor victory without the star!” Tristan exclaimed.
“Don’t you try and change her mind,” James rounded on him instead, “The last thing I need is my best Chaser’s death on my head.”
“Wouldn’t be much of a loss.”
I jumped slightly and glanced around to find where the mumble had come from, only to find Fred, Emily, and Rachel sending glares towards Stacey.
I sighed and went off to the girls’ showers, announcing my exit with a sneeze.
When the hell had I made an enemy?
A/N: I love Tristan! Michael Turner on the other hand...sketchy.... But I'm really wondering how we're feeling about James at the moment. I hope I did that match justice! And reviews would be lovely ;)
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