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Canis Major by atellam
Chapter 5 : Off to a Flying Start
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 28


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Clara Oswald@TDA


Chapter V - Off to a Flying Start



I stifled a yawn while I watched Potter and Mel put the players trying out for Chaser through their paces.

Benjy and Caradoc were mucking around on their brooms, occasionally hitting a stray Bludger towards the other participants of the game, attempting to keep them on their toes.

Potter had decided he wanted the Chasers to try out first, which left me and everyone else interested in the Seeker position waiting in the stands.

Conveniently, Frank had decided to come down and watch his friends hit Bludgers at unsuspecting third years, while Alice had said she’d come and give me moral support. She swore she ‘hadn’t known he was coming. Honest!’ and I’d snorted at her in response.

“Oh, that’s another one gone.”

“Mm, shame. I thought she was half decent too,” I responded to Frank’s comment, while James shouted at the girl that had been too slow to dodge the Bludger sent her way by Dearborn.

“How many have they eliminated so far? Twenty?” Alice scoffed next to me.

“Something like that. Now that she’s gone, the three left should move pretty quickly.” I eyed the fifth year sitting on his broom next to Mel.

He was by far the best out of the lot that were left. On the smaller side, sure, but he wasn’t trying out for Beater, so I couldn’t see it as an issue. Even from here, you could see his face was covered in freckles.

“What do you think of the one with the brown hair?”

“What? The one next to Mel?” Alice asked, raising her hand to shield her eyes from the sun.

“Yeah. He’s not half bad; better than the other two,” I replied.

“I know him; Archie Holloway.” Frank nodded. "He's pretty good – Merlin, look at him go!”

My head snapped to where Frank was pointing, just in time to see – Holloway? Was that what Frank had called him? – roll out of the way of a nasty Bludger. The violent ball then collided with the brunette third year he’d meant to be passing to.

“Well, there we go then.” Alice nodded, her lips pursed in thought.

“What?” I turned to her.

“Better get to know your new teammate. There’s no way Potter will pick either of the others after that.”

“It’s true,” Frank said from my other side. “Those three might be the best out of everyone that signed up, but he’s the only decent one left.” He chuckled as Caradoc waved at the three of us.

We watched the two Gryffindor Chasers run drills with the last three hopefuls in the air for while longer, occasionally making comments, but mostly we sat in silence. As the numbers dwindled, I started to feel a bit nervous.

I could see the few Seeker signups starting to fidget as the blonde girl landed her broom and made her way off the Pitch, clearly told that she didn’t make the cut. With only one more to eliminate before Potter started on the Seeker trials, I began to feel sick.

Maybe if I vomited, I could escape to the Hospital Wing? Or I could Disillusion my broom and pretend I’d lost it? Or just pretend that I was with Alice and Frank watching? Potter wouldn’t remember me as Mel’s friend anyway.

Though Mel would.

That could be a problem.

I rested my head on my broom handle in front of me, while I wrapped my arms around my stomach.

It felt like it was in my throat, and as the pressure worsened, I began to panic.

I forced myself to breath. Closing my eyes, I tried to shut out the sounds that would remind me where I was.

Breathe; just breathe.

You won’t make a fool of yourself; you won’t fall out of the air. No one will laugh at you and Potter won’t remember you forever as ‘that girl that thought she might be good enough.’

Oh, Merlin, what if he did though? Or worse, what if I flew fine, made the team, and then fell off my broom in the middle of the first game? Then he’d hate me even more, because I’d embarrass him in front of the whole school.

Oh Godric, what would Mel say? She’d hate me. I could just hear her now, ‘I risked it when I told Potter to let you join the team and you let me down, Keira.’ And then she’d look at me with that look, and then – well I’d probably cry and hide in the bathroom for the rest of the year. Maybe I’d die there, from lack of food or something. But then I could join Myrtle; I’m sure she wasn’t that bad. If I were stuck haunting the plumbing, I’d be pretty pissed off all the time too.

Yes. I should just go now, not try out. Then I wouldn’t risk letting everyone down.

Yes, good idea.

How was I supposed to leave without Alice realising my plan? Maybe I could Disillusion myself. That could work… Where was my wand?

“Keira?”

Oh hell. She knew what I was up too. She’d ask questions. Then she would lecture me on letting myself down by not trying out. Then I’d have to explain that by letting myself down, I was stopping myself from letting down others. Then she’d get angry. She always got angry about stuff like that. Godric, give me strength.

“Yes?”

“The Seekers are lining up,” she said pointedly.

I doubled over, as I swore that my breakfast – the little I’d eaten, anyway – was about to come up.

“You alright there, Nyx?” Frank placed his hand on my back, while I felt Alice shift in the seat on my other side, trying to get a better look at my now hidden face.

No. Did I look alright, Frank?

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just checking my laces. Don’t want to trip and embarrass myself.”

Ha! Didn't I ever.

“Right…” Why must his voice be so sceptical? Why? “You better move. Alphabetical order I think he wants you in.”

“'Kay,” I replied meekly.

I got out of my seat between the two of them, only just realising how much of a third-wheel I had been, and slowly made my way down the benches to the stairs.

Foot here – don’t trip – next step – ignore the people around you – foot firmly on the ground – steps one at a time – forget Mel telling you to hurry up – hold the handrail – don’t fall – don’t drop your broom – you can do this – don’t vomit all over the place – alphabetical order – N for Nyx – ignore the Hufflepuff – Hufflepuff?

“You aren’t in Gryffindor.” I turned to the girl next to me down the line, frowning at her.

“So? Neither is the Ravenclaw at the front of the row,” she said coolly, as if the fact that she was wearing yellow and black as opposed to scarlet and gold was the most insignificant detail in the world.

“So? It’s the Gryffindor house team, you need to be a Gryffindor to play.” I emphasised, hoping she’d realise she’d taken a wrong turn somewhere after breakfast.

“But I don’t need to be a Gryffindor to date Sirius Black.”

Sirius?

Seriously?

She was one of his fan club members?

“He’s not even on the team! He’s not even here!” I threw my hands in the air, dropping my broom, but not really caring. This girl was an idiot.

“I know he’s not on the team, stupid.” Yeah, only because you stalk him, I thought. “But he is here! See? Other side of the Pitch.”

“No, he’s bleeding–” I glared at her, until I noticed where she was pointing.

Or not.

He was walking along the other side of the field, hands blocking the sun from his eyes as he looked to the sky. Following his line of sight, I saw James on his broom above him; they must have been talking.

“He only just got here.” I turned back to the Hufflepuff, trying to point out that she must have looked ridiculous waiting around to tryout before he arrived.

Actually, scratch that. She still looked ridiculous, even with him here.

“He’s been here all morning. As if you didn’t notice! He’s been taking notes on the players for James,” she said in a haughty tone.

Fairly sure you aren’t on a first name basis with the Head Boy – slash – Gryffindor Quidditch Captain – slash – seventh year, being only a fourth year Hufflepuff yourself.

“Whatever.” I turned away from her, shaking my head in disbelief.

Looking up the line, I was surprised to find a few girls that weren’t in our house, though I recognised some of them to be in Potter’s fan club as opposed to Black’s.

This was pathetic.

“Ready?” Mel landed in front of me, hair perfectly windblown.

No.

“Yeah.”

“Excellent.” She turned around and caught her Captain’s attention. “OI, POTTER! GET YOUR ASRE DOWN HERE. WE’VE STILL GOT SEEKERS TO RUN THROUGH!” she bellowed across the pitch.

“YEAH, YEAH. HOLD ON, ANDREWS,” he yelled back.

Honestly, I was fine with him taking as long as he wanted. No rush.

Really.

“STOP TALKING TO YOUR BOYFRIEND, MATE!”

I snorted in amusement as Benjy and Caradoc joined in the shouting match, while Heath Chapman, the team’s Keeper, just sat in front of the hoops, shaking his head in exasperation.

Potter turned around and flew towards the Beaters, while Sirius began to jog across the Pitch towards us.

A laugh escaped me when James went to hit the two boys around the head for their comments. Benjy tried to duck, but the Captain rolled and hit him anyway, quickly flying out of reach of the Beaters’ bats.

Mel chuckled to herself as Potter landed and made his way over to all of us lined up.

“Is it always like this?” I asked, still watching Benjy and Caradoc, who were now trying to get Bludgers through the hoops, much to Chapman’s annoyance.

“Oh, yeah. Right party training is,” Mel threw over her shoulder as she wandered over towards Potter.

I squinted at her, unable to tell if she was being sarcastic.

When Sirius made it to James’s side, the Captain started. “I’m going to run the Seeker tryouts differently from the Chaser ones. We’ll release the Snitch, and after 10 seconds, you’ll be allowed to kickoff and try and catch it. You’ll be judged on your flying ability, the time it takes you to catch it, and for some of you, if you know the right way to hold a broom.” He rolled his eyes at a second year boy half way along the line, who promptly turned his broom the other way around.

“I think that’s it, isn’t it, Sirius?”

Sirius’s attention snapped away from the Ravenclaw girl at the front of the line, and he grinned at James. “Think so, mate.”

“Oh, that reminds me – only Gryffindor’s can try out. I thought that was a given, but apparently not. Darling,” he gestured to the Hufflepuff on my left, “while I’m sure you’re a fabulous flyer, you and your friends can go.”

I turned and raised an eyebrow at her. Looking back and forth between Sirius and James, she pouted slightly, before deciding better of it. Flicking her hair over her shoulder, and batting her eyelashes ridiculously, the blonde left the line with the other fan girls, winking at Sirius as she passed him by.

Black smirked at her as James continued. “Right, now that we only have Gryffindor’s, we’ll start. Sirius –” James turned to his best friend, “– mate, stop staring at her arse.”

*


“Ready?” I glanced at James briefly before nodding. There was no way I could articulate at the moment; the lump in my throat was way too big.

He released the tiny golden ball and I followed it with my eyes as he began to count.

“1 – "

It dodged to the left, then the right, slowly climbing higher.

“2 – "

I spun my head almost right around as it made its way down the pitch, still managing to keep track of it.

“- 3 – 4”

It climbed higher and higher and I began to tilt my head backwards, hoping not to loose sight of the ball.

“- 5 – 6”

I lost it for a moment in the opposite stands, but it glinted and I found it again.

“- 7 – 8”

It flew higher and higher, directly into the sun. I swore, shutting my eyes tightly to block out the light.

“- 9 –"

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

“- 10 -”

Did he just say ten?

Merlin, my stomach was coming up my throat - I was going to be sick.

Go!

I kicked off without thinking; the lump still in my oesophagus, but my stomach was left on the field.

Breathe. Remember to breathe. Focus, you can do this.

Why I felt calmer in the air, I had no idea. It made absolutely no sense, but then again, I’d been pretending to ride brooms since I was three. When I’d been told I was a Witch, the first thing I’d wanted was a broomstick. I guess I just liked the idea of being closer to the sky.

The breeze certainly helped. Merlin, it was wonderful after sitting in the sun for hours; it helped me focus. I shut my eyes again.

Breathe. You can do this, Keira. The Snitch was last by the Slytherin stands. You’ve got this. Forget that they’re timing you. Forget about Mel. Forget about the lump in your throat. Just breathe, because you can do this.

Still climbing, I changed direction, towards the green and silver stands, hoping, praying, it would still be there.

C’mon, if Henry can do this, so can you.

Henry.

I nearly went flying off my broom I stopped so abruptly.

Henry played bloody Seeker.

Oh, Goblins, I was a fool!

I can’t play against Henry! I can’t have one of the enemy as a boyfriend! Oh, Merlin, I hadn’t even told him I was trying out; I’d been so caught up in the excitement of him being back on Thursday, and he’d had his own Quidditch Trials on Friday evening, I hadn’t even thought about it.

This was going to ruin everything!

Excellent. Bleeding charming.

I spun around and looked down at Mel, wondering how I was going to be able to face her when I landed, wondering how I was going to explain why I hadn’t caught the Snitch.

She was watching me intently as Potter stood next to her, occasionally commenting on something I was doing, while Sirius was sitting on the ground, his back against the stands, as he watched the stopwatch in his hand.

Unable to deal with the looks of encouragement Melody was sending my way, I looked up at the stands where I’d been sitting before, instantly regretting it.

Alice was out of her seat, holding onto the railing, watching me keenly with Frank next to her. When she saw me looking her way, she yelled at me, waving both arms in the air, but I couldn’t make out what she was saying.

I sighed at the sight of the two of them together. They were wonderful, even if they didn’t know it, and it was a reminder of what I was giving up the Seeker position for; so I could stand there at the side of the stands, cheering on Henry with the same golden glint in my hair as Alice…

I banked a hard left, speeding towards her. Suddenly the cool air wasn’t as pleasant, harsh and dry against my eyes. But I didn’t blink; I didn’t dare take my eyes off the spot three inches to the left of Alice’s head.

She screamed as I came closer to her, panicking, before Frank tackled her to the ground.

Any – moment – now

The Snitch swerved at the last second, and I cursed as I missed it.

“WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN? I’M HERE SUPPORTING YOU AND YOU TRY TO KILL ME!”

I chuckled at Alice’s words as I circled around the Gryffindor stands, catching sight of the Snitch again, low near the middle of the Pitch.

I leaned forwards, increasing my speed. Forgetting about Henry and how mad he was going to be, forgetting about how I was going to make it up to Alice for nearly killing her, forgetting about all of the ridiculous thoughts that I’d had before now. I even forgot how sore my eyes were in the wind because Heaven help me; I was going to do this.

It was just sitting there, in the middle of the field, like it was teasing me and I hardened my resolve as the space between us quickly fell away.

Henry could deal with it; I was sick of blending in with the portraits. I was going to be noticed.

I reached out my arm, as two meters quickly became one, which quickly became half of that again.

I could see it, envision it in my hand. I went to grab at it immediately ahead of me; when suddenly, it flicked to the left.

BLEEDING NO.

They were the only things that ran through my mind as I lunged off the side of my broom, reaching for the tiny golden ball.

It was cool in my palm; cooler than the air around me was, even at the ridiculous pace I was falling. It glinted gold in the light and as strange as it sounded, I smiled to myself as the grass quickly made its way up to meet me.

I’d done it.

I’d caught it, and even if I didn’t make the team, it wasn’t because I hadn’t tried.

For that moment, I felt invincible.

But that was gone as my shoulder hit the ground.

Sharp pain shot through my back, racing across my shoulders and up my neck to my temples, while the air shot out of my lungs as the sudden impact caused my diaphragm to spasm.

I couldn’t breathe.

I couldn’t breathe.

Slowly attempting to tilt my neck backwards, away from my chest, I hoped that it was just the angle that was blocking the access to my lungs.

It hurt when I moved.

Merlin, it hurt.

I shut my eyes, trying to stop the tears the pain was causing, but I was still desperately trying to draw air into my lungs.

A shadow fell across my face as I tried to keep back the sobs, knowing my body would hurt even more at the movement.

Distantly, James was swearing and I could hear mumblings of Mel’s voice in my ear, but the panic in my chest was slowly turning them to white noise; it was racking my body, and I tried to choke back another howl at the pain.

My lungs were begging for air, and slowly, slowly, I felt them expand and contract like they should. That was the only thing I focused on, getting breath back into my lungs without moving too much.

“Sirius, you be bloody careful with her!”

I barely registered the words until I felt something lift me into the air. My back arched of it’s own accord as white-hot pain shot through me like a fiery poker. I went to scream, but my body was shutting down.

Please. Just make it stop.

*


“What did you do to her?”

“I didn’t do a thing to her, Watts!”

“Well, you sure as hell did something, Potter! Pretty sure she didn’t just walk herself in here, deciding to pass out on the bed!”

“I didn’t say she did!”

“It’s what you’re implying!”

“Am not!”

“Are too!”

“I am not!”

“Yes, you bleeding are.”

“Will the both of you shut up before my headache rivals hers?”

“Mel, I still can’t believe you let her try out. You know she – "

'Let her?’ Henry, I bloody told her she was; she didn’t have a say in it! And I can tell you right now, if you’d seen her up there, you’d be eating your words. She was brilliant – yes, she scared the daylights out of Alice – but… Merlin. Potter, you saw left bank she made! Just out of nowhere!”

“Tell me about it. Honestly, Andrews, I don’t know why you didn’t make her try out years ago…”

“Because something could have happened to her? Like it did today, Potter! Maybe that’s why!"

“Watts, I swear to Godric –"

Doors slammed open with the sound of feet quickly making their way across the floor, echoing through the room.

“Potter! Where is she? Where’s – Merlin! Keira! Is she okay? Alice and Frank came back to the Common Room after curfew so worried, but I didn’t know what was wrong until Remus told me what Black had told him and -”

“Evans, she’s fine. Battered and bruised, but -”

“What is all of this noise in my ward? Potter, I said you and your friend could stay because you were witnesses to the incident, but the poor girl needs rest! Not the four of you causing a racket– look, you’ve woken her up already! Shoo! Out!”

“She’s awake? Keira!”

“You’re there? Don’t you dare just continue to lie there...”

“Nyx, you alright?”

"Keir... hun?”

I grunted.

I didn’t want to open my eyes; I didn’t want to move. My entire body was numb, and the bed was warm and comfortable. Oh, so comfortable.

Unlike the grass had been.

I winced at the memory, and grimaced when I realised the only thing that was stopping me from the same pain now, was the beautiful, beautiful numbness.

“Keria? I swear to Merlin, if you don’t open your eyes right now –"

“Calm down, Andrews. Give her a minute.”

“No, Potter, I won’t – "

“Shuddit, will you?” I mumbled, finally gathering enough willpower to open a heavy eyelid.

The four of them were staring at me while Madam Pomfrey, her brown hair done up in a tight bun, bustled about beside me, mixing something that looked a nasty shade of green.

Mel was sitting in a chair to my right, and only now did I realise she was holding my hand. She looked terrible - her hair in disarray with a slightly blood-shot gaze, like she’d refused to blink.

Lily Evans was standing behind her, smiling encouragingly at me, but her eyes were full of concern and she kept glancing at James.

The Quidditch Captain was standing at the end of my bed, hands in his hair. He looked like he was about to either laugh with relief or chastise my carelessness; I couldn’t tell which.

Finally my attention turned to Henry, who was also standing next to my bed, but closer than Potter was. His brows were furrowed with concern, but when he caught me looking at him out of my one opened eye, he smiled at me hopefully, and I attempted a feeble one back.

“Here, come on. Drink up – oh, don’t make that face. It’ll keep the pain away. That was a nasty fall you took there, girl. Quidditch is possibly the only reason I have a job at this school; the number of injuries it produces… Honestly.” I grimaced at the potion as it was given to me, but with a stern look from the Matron, her eyes daring me to defy her, I tipped it down my throat.

It tasted as bad as it looked. Vile and green, its taste rivalled that of the Earwax Bertie Botts bean Alice had talked me into trying for her in third year. My stomach lurched, an all too familiar feeling today, as I swallowed the concoction.

“That’s gross."

“No. It’s helpful, that’s what it is. Now, rest.”

“What time is it?” My eyelid won out and closed again.

“Just after eight,” Lily murmered. “Potter, we have rounds with Remus and Frank in three-quarters of an hour and you always complain about your stomach, even right after dinner. You haven’t eaten yet, have you?”

“No. You’re right. I’d forgotten.”

“About food? That’s a first.” I heard her snort in disbelief.

“Oh, shush, Evans. I had other things on my mind.”

“Like?”

“Nyx here.”

I peered through my lashes, curious as to why I didn’t hear a reply from Lily.

She was just looking at James curiously, a cross between a frown and a smile on her face, until she eventually pursed her lips and turned back to me. Her mind was somewhere else though; I could practically see it ticking away.

“Out, all of you! You've seen and spoken to her, and you all need to eat something yourselves, before I have you up here for malnutrition. Shoo!”

Smiling at Mel as she hesitantly stood, I watched James and Lily walk down the row between the beds to the exit. Opening the door for Lily, who gave him another one of those half frowns, the Head Boy turned back to me and yelled, “Oh, and Nyx? Don’t pull another stunt like this half way through a game, will you? I don’t want to loose my Seeker midway through the season, regardless of how magnificently you catch the Snitch.”

And with that, he closed the door behind him.

I turned to Mel, as a grin spread across her face.

“Did he just say...?”

“He better not have…” Henry growled from my left.

Ever so slowly, wincing at the dull pain that had managed to break through the numbness, I slid my hand over towards the Ravenclaw, who brought his hand to meet mine, entwining our fingers.

“Calm down. I tried out, all right? This is what I wanted.”

“To end up in the Hospital Wing, unconscious for hours?” he chastised.

I scowled at him, because he knew what I had meant. He just kept trying to turn it back around. Something was up. “What’s wrong?”

“Honestly, when I say out, I mean it!”

I turned my eyes towards the Matron, pleading silently, as her lips practically disappeared, they were pressed so tightly together.

“Please, Madam Pompfrey, five minutes, and I promise I won’t be brought in once with a broken leg, nose, concussion – anything – all season. Please? Just five minutes. I need to talk to her,” Henry pleaded.

The Matron frowned slightly before looking sternly at me. “Five minutes, then you rest.” She turned her gaze to Melody who was still standing there awkwardly, unsure of what was really going on. “You however, Miss Andrews, are leaving now.”

“Right… okay.”

Mel leaned down to hug me, said that she’d be back tomorrow, and made her way to the door, pausing to give me one more unreadable look before exiting the Hospital Wing.

“Five minutes, and five minutes only.” And with that, Madam Pomfrey made her way into her office, closing the door behind her.

Henry and I were the only ones in the Hospital Wing – no one else had been stupid enough to injure themselves this early in the year – and the silence between us was daunting.

“Hen,” I murmured, squeezing the hand I still held, “what’s wrong?”

He sighed, and rested his forehead on our entwined hands, kissing where my fingers met his briefly before speaking.

“I miss my Grandma, Keir. I didn’t spend anywhere near as much time as I should have with her these past few years, and – and I just feel... terrible. I know there was nothing I could do, nothing anyone could do, one can only live for so long before old age catches up with them eventually, but…”

I just wanted to hold him. To drag him up onto the bed and bury my face in his chest, and tell him that just because he hadn’t been the hero of the family, just because he hadn’t been the model grandson while he’d had the chance, didn’t mean that he’d failed.

“…I can’t have something bad happen to you, too. I can’t have Sirius Black - of all people - coming up to me at lunch and telling me you’re unconscious in the Hospital Wing, because you fell off your broom. Particularly, when I didn’t even know you were trying out for the team in the first place.” His eyes met mine and a wave of guilt washed over me.

I should have told him. Not that I’d deliberately not told him, mind. I just hadn’t remembered too.

But I should have.

Goblins.

“Oh, Henry, I’m so sorry. I was so happy you were back on Wednesday and Thursday that it completely slipped my mind. I barely saw you on Friday too, and –" I paused, realising that I was rambling. “ – I should have told you.”

“We’ve both been pretty pathetic these past few days. I’ve had three days work to catch up on, plus Quidditch – for both of us –" he added, with a slight frown, "and we –" But I cut him off.

“I get it, but… is that why you don’t want me on the Quidditch team? You think I’ll get hurt?”

“No.” But he said it slightly too quickly.

“So you’re worried we’ll whip your arse again in the final this year? Is that it? You can’t stand the idea of being beaten by a girl?” I smirked at him, and he scowled, knowing I was joking. “Henry, you’ve been Seeker for Ravenclaw since second year, and you’re fine, no broken bones, no missing limbs. I need this. I feel like I blend into the walls, like no one knows who I am at this school, and I’m sick of it. That’s why Mel made me try out. I never thought I’d make the spot.” He rolled his eyes, but I continued anyway. “And if Potter thinks I’m good enough for his team, then I’m going to play. Please, Hen; just this once, can you not worry about me, and support me instead?” I pleaded.

He blinked at me a few times, before a small, sad smile spread across his face as he leant forward and kissed my hair. “I will always support you. In everything you do, Keira Nyx. But after eight months, I know how much you mean to me, and the idea of something happening to you kills me inside. I’m still hexing Potter into next week, but I will support you.” He sighed, leaning back in his chair.

How I felt about what he’d just said, I wasn’t quite sure. The fact that he’d admitted how much I meant to him made me want to drag him up onto the bed all the more, plus the fact that he’d said he’d support me meant the world. But knowing that he was still upset by it distressed me. He wasn’t trying to guilt me into anything; he was just being honest, which could be added to the reasons of why he was perfect.

But he’d said that he’d support me, and that was the main thing. The fact that my boyfriend–turned–Quidditch–Captain–of–the–enemy–but–still–my–boyfriend wasn’t going to leave me (hear that, Madison Cleansweep?) over this, made me relax into the pillow.

“You’re beautiful,” he murmured, and I smiled at him, slowly closing my eyes, but squeezing his hand.

“And you worry too much, but the fact that you actually care about me so much still leaves me dazed.” I smiled sleepily.

“I’ve cared since the day that you ran into me, spilling ink all over my robes before running away in embarrassment.”

“Don’t mention that!” I grimaced at the memory. “I was fifteen and stupid.”

“Apparently not, because somehow you still had me chasing after you for months, trying to learn your name.” He chuckled.

“And I learned some of the best hiding spots in the school, trying to avoid you.”

“Mmm, until Anthony stumbled upon you and Reyna in the back of the Library.”

“And we didn’t even realise, until he turned up with you, the one person I’d been so brilliantly avoiding,” I replied, smiling at the memory.

“And you went the most wonderful shade of pink when you saw me.” He chuckled, kissing my head again.

“I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life than when I realised that I couldn’t run away from you anymore because you had me cornered.”

“And instead of jinxing you, like you thought I would, I asked you to Hogsmeade the next weekend.”

I opened my eyes, feeling my face flush the same way it had in the library that day. “And the rest is history.”

“And the rest is history,” he agreed, smiling at me.

I gazed at him, smiling shyly, and he leaned forward, out of his chair, brushing his lips against mine. I met them eagerly, sitting myself up in the bed, leaning towards him. With his hand brushing my hair back out of my face, I smiled as his lips moved against mine, wondering how completely drenching someone with ink had ended up like this.

“Mr. Watts, it has been far more than five minutes. If you would kindly stop kissing my patient, I would appreciate you leave like you said you would.”

I groaned as Henry jumped back so suddenly he almost toppled over his chair.

Why must you come out of your office at this moment? Really, another ten minutes would have been fine...

“Right. Sorry, Madam Pomfrey,” he said, slightly abashed.

She raised an eyebrow at him sceptically as he didn’t move from beside my bed.

“Yeah, going.” Smiling at me again, he made his way out of the Hospital Wing, mouthing, ‘I'll see you later’ from the door.

I grinned at him, but that same green mixture she’d given me before was thrust under my nose, and the Matron waved her wand, closing the door.

“Do I have to?”

“Do you want to spend three times as long in that bed then you have to?” I opened my mouth to reply, but paused for a moment as her words sunk in. She continued before I had a chance to say anything. “No, I thought not.”

Pulling a face, but figuring I may as well get it over with, I drunk the green goop, the twinge that was beginning to appear in my back again, disappearing.

“Madam Pomfrey… what happened while I was out?” I asked timidly.

“When Black brought you in unconscious followed by your entourage, you mean?”

“Uh… sure.”

Black?

“Potter was pulling his hair out, while I was thoroughly considering giving Miss Andrews some Calming Draught, she looked so worried. Though apparently conjuring a stretcher requires too much common sense, and carry you they did. Honestly. Now, rest. I’ll check on you during the night and we’ll assess your progress in the morning. Goodnight, Miss Nyx.”

“Night.”

Her shoes rapped across the floor as she made her way back to her office, skirts swishing as she walked.

Rolling onto my side, cringing slightly at the weight on the shoulder I’d practically landed on, I closed my eyes, letting my thoughts wander into that fuzzy place between sleep and awake. And while I was there, my thoughts turned to what James Potter had said.

I’d made the team.

I’d fallen off my broom, but I’d made the team - I could hear it now, though. The rumours that would surely be filing the corridors; conversations that made my screw my eyes shut and want to disappear of embarrassment. Possibilities swirled around in my head.

‘I heard she was a lousy flyer and that catching the Snitch on the way down was just lucky.’

‘Mmhm, ended up in the Hospital Wing, and it wasn’t even a real game of Quidditch.’

‘Who is she anyway?’

‘Oh, that girl, don’t know her name. The one that Watts is dating, can you believe it?’

‘Ha, Potter and Watts could both do better than her.’

All because I’d fallen.

Even if I hadn’t made the team, I’d surely have made an impression on the gossip mill.

Yes, an excellent start to the year by all standards.

First, being a casualty of the seventh year Gryffindors’ never ending war on the student body. Second, getting a detention with Slughorn (though Reyna had been there and I’d seen Henry, so that hadn’t been too bad). Third, almost getting caught by Filch and his psychic cat because of Peeves. Fourth, being made to try out for Seeker, (even if it had sort of but not really been what I’d wanted). Fifth, falling off my broom while trying out for Seeker. Sixth, ending up in the Hospital Wing. Seventh, being known as the fool for trying out for Seeker, falling off their broom and ending up in the Hospital Wing.

Yes, an excellent start to the year indeed.

Memories of the fall flooded the space behind my eyelids. The pain was overwhelming, even in the recollection; particularly when I’d been moved. That searing in my back as I’d practically buckled under the pain. Now realising it was Black that had carried me, I groaned, pulling a face in the dark Hospital Wing.

Bet he got a lovely view of my chest then.

Brilliant.

Maybe Henry could hex him too.




Authors Note:

Remember, reviews are the environmentally friendly option.
- A. :)


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