They’re watching you. I had to remind myself. I’d forget if I didn’t. There wasn’t just a couple thousand watching. There had to be about a million. I saw another flash nearly blind me. Families at home were watching. Little girls wanted to be just like me. Little did they know they were picking the wrong idol. I was not someone they should model themselves after. I didn’t even want to be me.
I plastered a fake smile on my face as I walked just behind James onto the pitch. I wanted to kick him as hard as I could behind his knees and watch him fall to the ground, but I resisted. I was a professional and those two things couldn’t mix. I wouldn’t allow them to. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years as a Quidditch player, you’re not supposed to mix business with pleasure. Which I technically already did. Damn it.
The crowd was deafening. The chants were so mixed that I couldn’t tell if we had more fans or not. During the pre-season, we had always filled up the house, but it seemed that there were more people here today. Was that possible? I thought we sold out every pre-season game? I suppose the Vultures brought their own fan base as well. Probably sold off our fans. They did play pretty dirty, afterall. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went to all extremes.
I was still mad. I was still pissed. Yet that smile was not coming off of my face. I would still walk the same amount of steps behind James effing Potter. No one would know the difference. I was a strong, independent woman. I was definitely not a slag. I’d show that good for nothing jerk off. Aimee could have him for all I cared. Let the damn press find him cheating on me. At least I’d look like the innocent victim. James Potter can go die in a hole.
A very deep hole so that no one knows where he went so they can’t save him. He’ll die painfully and slowly.
Is that a little too narcissistic? Good.
I’m glad you feel my insanity now.
I felt my knuckles burning and my legs itching to fly. I wanted to get up in the air and away from the arrogant prick that I was forced to stand next to for a full minute and listen to the common regulations and listen to the referees ramble about safety and whatnot. Who honestly gives a rat’s ass if we get a fine for knocking someone off their broom? They probably deserved it. I know every time I knocked someone off their broom that 10,000 galleon fine was totally worth it.
Would I get in trouble for knocking my own teammate off their broom? Probably. I’d get far too many questions.
I vaguely watched as James reached forward and shook Igor Krum’s hand. They grimaced at one another. Igor pulled James towards him, smirking towards me and whispered something in his ear. James’s face paled and he pulled away. James’s face froze as he turned towards me. He looked back at Igor who was still smirking at me. I blinked a few times. I was too angry to comprehend anything, or honestly care much about it.
I swung my leg angrily over my broom, staring at the burley looking chaser opposite me. An easy win, if I’m being honest. I don’t think I’ve ever been beaten by someone his size. I went to size up the way he was holding his broom down to the way his feet dug into the grass when I felt James’s hot breath on my neck. I felt goosebumps shimmy their way up my back.
“Be careful, Gigi. They’re out for you,” I heard him whisper. I faultered, glancing at him for a split second and that ruined it. Everyone was already pushing off the ground and I was still planted with my feet at all the wrong angles.
I pushed off with a grunt, but was too late to the quaffle. One of the other chasers had it tucked under his arms and was already flying down the pitch. I took off, falling a bit behind the rest of the group. The commentator made a comment about how I fell behind. Thanks, I really didn’t know I was already sucking. I didn’t have to look at Coach to know he was shouting profanities at me. I feinted around a bludger, watching as James tried to take the ball from the other chaser, but was feinted.
They shot and scored.
“What the hell are you doing, Jacobs?!” Adam yelled towards me. I clenched my jaw, preferring not to respond. I received his pass and flew down the pitch in formation. I passed to Matt. Matt passed it to James. James passed it to Matt. Matt passed it back to me. I ducked underneath another bludger. James got knocked off path by another chaser. I took the shot and made it.
That is really how simple Quidditch is. You don’t have to make it complicated.
“Are you ever going to pass it to James?” Matt asked, flying past me as he went into defense. I smirked at him, shaking my head. We could still do extremely well if I didn’t pass it to James. I could hold a small grudge. Matt shook his head at me.
That’s when I felt a bludger crash right into my side with way too much force. I winced as I heard the crowd gasp at the resounding cracking noise it had made against my ribcage. I groaned to myself, placing a hand on my ribs out of habit. I felt like they were going to fall out of my side. I went to continue to fly down the pitch, but everyone was so far in front of me. They shot again.
I was going to get chewed out, I was sure of it.
Speak of the devil, the whistle blew, signaling a time-out. I groaned to myself, flying down to ground level. Coach Smithson’s face was beat red. He was glaring right at me. I felt the glare burn into my side. I winced, grabbing onto my ribs and bending over slightly. Matt patted me on the back, grimacing with me. Coach looked down at my hand grabbing my side, frowning.
“How does it feel?” He asked me. I clenched my jaw. I didn’t want to be babied.
“Like a scratch,” I mumbled.
“Good. Then get your damn head in the game, Jacobs! Don’t make me pull you because I will in a heart beat! You don’t deserve to be on my pitch with the way you’re playing!” He shouted at me. I grimaced as his voice rattled my ears. I could stand the shouting of the crowd and the commentator’s booming voice, but I couldn’t stand his shouting.
“I think a healer needs to look at her,” James said. I glared at him as he was staring at my ribs. I dropped my hand from them to make it look like I wasn’t in that much pain, even if I really was.
“I’m fine,” I growled at him.
“You’re not. I heard that from down the pitch.”
“Good thing you’re not my Coach.”
“But I am your captain.”
“And an arrogant dick of one at that!”
“Enough both of you!” Coach Smithson cut in. He studied me for a while before sighing, running a hand over his face nervously.
“What do you think we should do, Coach?” Chris asked.
“We let her play,” Coach said simply. I smirked triumphantly to myself. I could see James was visibly upset about this, but he couldn’t say anything. Coach overruled captain.
I mounted my broom, zipping back up into the air. My side did hurt, but it didn’t matter. I would have to suck it up. The crowd and the other team wouldn’t see me in pain. You had to be strong, even if it killed you. Sometimes it did. Rarely, but sometimes. I think the last death on the pitch was a few decades ago. But who’s to say my luck wasn’t about to turn around. I think I had used it all up at this point.
I lowered my body against my broom to speed up. I needed it to go faster. I willed it with my mind (yes it does work sometimes). I was right on my opposite’s tail. I inched forward as he had the ball tucked under his arm. I went to punch it out when I felt something slam into my side again. The crack was louder than before. The crowd gasped louder. I even gasped louder this time. I started to fall sideways off my broom, but somehow managed to catch my balance before I slipped any more.
God damn it. They really were out to get me.
“Another shot made by Robbins and that makes it 30 to 10, Vultures up!” the commentator boomed over the pitch. I gritted my teeth.
Ribs broken or not, I was still going to do this. I’d be damned if I lost my center position because of some mediocre team like the Vultures. I don’t think they made it into the playoffs last year. No way would I ever imagine them winning the Cup. I imagine Krum would be the only one who would make the international team this year. I tucked the quaffle under my arm as Matt passed it to me, zooming as far as I could down the pitch.
“Hankin gets the quaffle. Long passes it to Potter. Potter passes it to Jacobs-“ I grunted at the force behind his throw. “-Jacobs dodges another quaffle- I swear they are out for her today!- then passes it back to Potter-“ I watched James cringe as it hit him right in the chest. Good. “-Potter winds up and makes it! 30 to 20!”
“Where the fuck are you two?!” I screamed towards Scott and Barry as I swerved off course again from a well aimed bludger. Scott slammed at a bludger, aiming it towards the Vulture’s beaters.
“Trying to protect everyone, Jacobs! Not just you!” Scott shouted back. I scowled, taking off after my opposite.
The sweat was eating away at my face. Did it have to be so freaking hot and humid? Did they really not come up with a spell yet to keep me cool while I play? I swore I’d have to get a new lucky bra at this rate. I’d turn it into a puddle with me. Even with my hair tied back and everything pushed out of my face I still felt as though I needed to peel a layer off of my cheeks. I had sweat marks all over my jersey. It was like I was a cloud and I was raining on the pitch.
The rest of the team was no better. Matter of fact, I think I had it the best. Chris looked like he was in a shower. Barry looked like he was going to slip right off of his broom. Matt was dropping the quaffle because his hands were so sweaty. It seeped through his gloves for Merlin’s sake. Scott had actually dropped his bat by accident. Good thing it hit the other chaser. Bad thing it cost us a penalty shot.
This game was not going our way, however. I glanced at the scoreboard. 160 to 120. We were losing. James was throwing it far too hard for my liking. It kept crashing into my pained ribcage. Matt dropped everything I threw to him. What was the worst, however, was that I had gotten hit by a bludger six times. Was that a record? I had dodged about double that. That had to be a record too. At least I wasn’t making too much of a fool of myself. I was ready to kill the rest of the team, but that was nothing new.
I managed to kick the ball away from my opposite. He was getting pissed at me. James caught it below him, swooping up and taking off down the pitch. I turned, following after James. I was exhausted. We were two hours into the game and I had the thought of forfeiting. Where was Chris? Where was the other seeker for Merlin’s sake? Did I have to find the damn snitch myself? I caught the ball, ducking underneath a bludger. Grunting as I wound back and shot it in. I smirked to myself. Fine, I play this whole damn game myself if I have to.
I heard the gasp before I felt the pain. I even heard a few scattered screams. My whole body went numb. My head suddenly felt heavy as a searing pain shot through my skull. I felt my body slip off of the broom and I felt the wind whip at my body. I flipped every which way. I closed my eyes, waiting for the pain to take over and to let me fall into unconsciousness. But the fall didn’t happen. The pain was still there and I was still slightly conscious. I felt something slam into me, but it wasn’t the ground. I opened an eye to see James looking at me, face full of worry as he studied my face.
“You’re going to be okay, Gigi. I promise.” He whispered to me. I was going to be okay. I closed my eyes and smiled as I let unconsciousness sweep over me.
“I’ll kill them!” I heard someone shout. I wanted to squint my eyes shut tighter. I was tired. Way too tired. I just wanted to sleep but this prick was keeping me up.
“Maybe you should step outside, Mr. Potter,” A calm voice said.
“I’m not leaving. I told her she’d be okay and I’ll damn well make sure she is!” James yelled again. I heard a few people shuffle around.
“If I didn’t know any better I’d assume you were her real boyfriend,” I heard another woman’s voice mumble. I recognized it to be Jenny’s voice.
“Is Auntie Gigi going to die?” I heard Carter’s small voice. I wanted to move, but I couldn’t.
“No honey, of course not. She’s just sleeping,” I heard my mother whisper in a soft voice.
“AUNTIE GIGI!” Carter shrieked at the top of his lungs. I wanted to cringe, but I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t let me move.
“Carter, you have to let her sleep! She just played a tough game,” Jenny told her son.
“It couldn’t have been that tough. They won,” Carter said in a condescending tone. I wanted to sigh in relief. At least we had won. That’s al that mattered. Well, I suppose it mattered if I was conscious or not, but I was still thinking. That counted for something.
“She got hit in the head,” I heard Gabby’s soft voice.
“It could’ve been a lot worse,” Ethan said, “James caught her. She could be dead.”
“She would’ve done the same,” James mumbled in embarrassment. Would I do the same? Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be able to support his weight and we’d both go down. It’s the thought that counts, I guess. I’d probably have to make sure Matt watched for that kind of thing.
“How’s she doing?” An unfamiliar voice asked, closing the door.
“Still unconscious,” My father answered. He didn’t talk much, so I was shocked to hear his voice. My hand twitched a little bit. I wanted to reach out to my father, but that is about as far as I got.
“She’ll wake up on her own time. Visiting hours are almost over. We will call you once she wakes up, I assure you,” The man (who I was assuming was a healer) said. There was a bit of shuffling and some mumbling between the people who were in the room as people seemingly filed out.
“Do you mind if I stay for a bit longer?” James asked. The healer sighed, obviously having an internal debate. Let the Quidditch star break rules or be strict.
“I can give you an extra ten minutes,” He said before clicking the door behind him. I heard James sigh and the scrape of a chair as it was scooted closer to me. I felt him wrap his fingers around my hand.
“Gigi, I’m sorry,” He whispered, probably hoping I wouldn’t hear it. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. Any of it. The dating, the press, and definitely not this last game.You didn’t deserve any of it. You’ve probably heard this before, but you deserve better than that.”
I had heard it before. From the mouth of the one person I’d hope to never hear it from.
“I shouldn’t have put you in this situation. All you wanted to do was play Quidditch and I messed that up,” James sighed again. He was drawing circles on the back of my hand.
The sad part was that I didn’t blame James. Sure I blamed him for the fake dating and all of that, but I didn’t blame him for the fact that I was in this hospital bed. I blamed myself. I was supposed to be a Quidditch player. I was supposed to be able to dodge well aimed bludgers, not get smacked by them every time I turned around. Sure, the beaters are supposed to protect me, but I’m supposed to be better than that. I thought I was better than that. Apparently not.
My hand twitched in James’s grasp and he jumped a little. I had the urge to laugh. James was like a little girl some times, I swear.
“Gigi?” He asked. I started to feel my limbs limber up. I felt control to start to come back. Only just. When I didn’t respond, James sighed and let the chair scrape against the ground again. I mentally cringed at the noise. “I’ll see you later, love.”
I wanted to say something, to say anything, but I couldn’t find my voice. He was leaving. I’d be alone. If there was one fear I had, it was strange places. I hated doctors more than anything. I hated them treating me like I was stupid and didn’t know anything. I wanted James to stay. I needed James to stay. I managed to blink open my eyes. I was blinded by the lights, but that didn’t matter. I saw James leaving, almost to the door. The only noise I managed to make was a small groan, but he sure as hell heard it.
Turning, James’s whole face lit up upon meeting my eyes. He sprinted right to my bedside, nearly falling into bed with me. He surveyed my face, noting the pained expression. Suddenly all of the pain I had felt at the Quidditch pitch came rushing back. I grunted, trying to move slightly, but James shook his head, holding my shoulder down which seered with blinding pain.
“Don’t move. Let me get a doctor,” James said, kissing my forehead before running out. He glanced back at me, but only for a brief second as to make sure I was still there.
I cringed as I watched the game footage. Another bludger to my ribs. I could still feel it like it was embedded there. There was barely a flash of pain across my face on the television. I felt a surge of pride for myself. At least people thought I was tough. As I tucked the quaffle under my arm and shot down the pitch, the camera flashed to our coach who was red in the face, screaming at the refs to do something. I was surprised he actually stood up for me.
“That was a nice shot,” James commented, taking a potato chip out of the bag and eating it. I watched him as he stared at the game with interest. Even though he was in it, I don’t think he minded watching it again and again. I looked back at the screen to see another bludger hit my leg this time.
“That one wasn’t too bad,” I told James. I glanced at him to see him frowning at the screen. I shifted on my hospital bed so that I could see his face. He was sitting right next to my bed in a very uncomfortable chair (which he reminded me constantly). His legs were propped up on my bed and food was laying everywhere.
“Do you ever think about him?” James asked bluntly. I blinked at him a few times, clearing my head.
“About who?” I asked. James turned towards me, a very serious expression on his face.
“Your ex. Tyler Gates,” I actually liked the way he spit the name out of his mouth. Sounded good.
“No.” I lied. Of course I thought of the asshole. Who wouldn’t think of their ex-fiance?
“You do,” James said, more to himself than to me, “You know we have to play them eventually, right?”
I hadn’t thought of that. I hadn’t even thought about the possibility of ever bumping into him again. Britain was my haven away from all of that. Granted he moved to Europe as well, but I hadn’t even come under the assumption that we would see each other. Ever. I didn’t want to. Maybe I’d be sick that game or be injured or something. By the looks of it, teams were out to get me anyways.
“I-I hadn’t thought about that,” I mumbled. James sat up straighter in his chair, kicking his feet off my bed. I avoided his gaze.
“Gigi?” He asked, ducking his head so that he could see my face. “Tell me what he did.”
In all honesty, I wanted to tell James what he did. I wanted to tell the whole world what he did. I wanted to scream and rant and cry because I didn’t want to be as strong as this. I wanted to throw a fit and let James go punch Tyler’s face in. I wanted everyone to be mad at him. I wanted the world to hate him the way I did. I needed to tell James, just to simply get it off my chest and to feel better.
“No. I can’t tell you,” I said to my palms. James sighed, grabbing for my hand and squeezing it.
“Gigi, you can tell me,” He pressed. I closed my eyes shut tight.
“I can’t tell you, James,” I whispered. I didn’t want the memories back. I couldn’t have them back.
“Why?” He asked, his tone icy. I opened my eyes, narrowing them on James.
“Because I can’t. Stop asking, James.” I hissed. He dropped my hand, sighing as he ran his now free hand through his hair.
“Fine. But when you’re ready to talk about it, know I’m here,” James grumbled, staring back at the television with a new found temper. I sighed, leaning back on my pillows. I probably would never be ready to relive Tyler Gates.