Chapter 36 : The Quidditch Match
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Albus didn’t fail to notice that something was wrong, but when he asked her, she just shrugged and said she was tired. He didn’t seem to believe her, but when they got to History of Magic, Rose overheard Scorpius giving him a similarly evasive answer. After that, he dropped the subject. It was a relief to go to the Quidditch pitch for an hour after classes had finished for the day: at least she could put Scorpius out of her mind in the air.
After James let them go, she took a quick bath and headed down to catch the end of dinner. Roxanne fell into step with her, and as they approached the Gryffindor table, Roxanne asked loudly, “So, Rosie, how are things with your boyfriend?”
Rose felt her face flush. “None of your business,” she muttered, taking a seat next to Albus. He looked at her curiously, and she made a face. “What?”
She was afraid he’d press her for details about what had happened with Scorpius, but instead, he just said, “Oh, so you’ve decided that he is your boyfriend, then?”
“Yes,” Rose said, refusing to look up from her plate of food. She had no idea if Scorpius was going to think the better of getting involved with her now, but she had a vague feeling that continuing to insist that he wasn’t her boyfriend would only make things worse.
“Good for you,” Roxanne said as she slid in across the table from them. Albus gave her a curious look, and she grinned. “Hey, I still don’t like him, but she seems to, so...” Rose smiled tentatively at her cousin, who proceeded to ruin the moment by adding, “And from what I’ve seen, he seems to be very good at kissing, which bodes well for her.”
Albus snorted before going back to his food. Once he’d finished, he asked Rose if she wanted to join him in the library. Rose, however, had a pretty good idea of who else was likely to be there, and she didn’t especially want to face Scorpius just then, so she feigned exhaustion and followed Roxanne back up to Gryffindor tower instead.
She’d been too distracted by the fight with Scorpius to pay much attention to the rest of the Slytherins the day before, but when she walked by their table the next morning, she found herself on the receiving end of several scowls. She had a brief moment of wondering whether Scorpius had told his entire house about their fight before remembering what he’d told her and Albus about the Quidditch tensions.
That did not improve her mood.
“Have I mentioned that I hate Slytherins?” she snapped as she sat down across from James.
He jerked his head toward Albus. When she followed his gaze, she saw Scorpius sitting on his other side. “You have,” he said dryly.
“Just thought you’d like to know,” James said. “Though I agree.”
After breakfast, Scorpius lingered by the table as she took her time getting up and slinging her bag across her shoulder.
“Hi,” he said.
She swallowed hard. “Hi.” They started walking toward the doors, and after a moment of hesitation, she opened her mouth to ask if he was going to break up with her.
However, he spoke before she could get the words out. “So I hear that I’m your boyfriend now?”
Rose felt her face begin to burn. “Er-”
Scorpius put his hands behind his head and stretched. “Well, if that was some transparent attempt to appease me, it worked.”
She peeked a look at him. “It did?”
A grin had spread across his face. “Enough that I’m willing to forgive you, provided you don’t do it again.”
Rose studied him closely. “Why the sudden change in heart? Yesterday you wouldn’t even look at me.”
Scorpius shrugged. “I forgot I was mad at you for about an hour after Albus told me that you’d openly said I was you boyfriend. By the time I remembered, I wasn’t that angry anymore.” She breathed a sigh of relief as they passed the doors, but he stopped her before she could start down the hall. “But really, Rose - don’t do it again. This is the only free pass you’re going to get.”
She was suddenly very aware of her heartbeat. “I -”
He pulled his hand away from her arm. “I know,” he said. “You didn’t mean it. But you did it.” Rose sagged against the wall. She knew that he was being a lot more forgiving to her than she probably deserved, given what she’d overheard him saying, but hearing it still made her feel like hell.
“Also, you look so miserable about everything that I’m pretty sure you won’t do it again.” She shook her head, and he leaned in to kiss her.
She let her bag drop to the floor and wrapped her arms around his neck.
When he pulled back, he was grinning. “So, is that our first kiss as an official couple?”
“Oh, shut up.”
Over the next few days, Rose was glad that she had her shield charm necklace. There were several Slytherins who seemed to have made it their mission to jinx her so badly she would be unable to play in the Quidditch match that weekend, and they seemed completely perturbed when the spells bounced off of her.
She was able to take this in reasonably good humour, since Scorpius didn’t seem to be showing any signs of regretting that he’d forgiven her. He also seemed to be taking the retaliation by the Gryffindors with good humour; when he told Rose and Albus about how the Slytherins had emerged from their dormitories on Thursday morning to find that their common room had been turned into a swamp, he had a hard time keeping a straight face.
He was somewhat less amused by the fireworks before dawn on Friday.
By the time they were walking down to the pitch on Saturday morning, Rose was glad to be able to just play the game. Prank wars had a tendency to annoy her after awhile, especially when they involved dungbombs being set off at regular intervals in the corridor outside the Gryffindor common room all day Friday.
When the team entered the changing room, James didn’t mince words. “We can do it,” he said simply. “Let’s go.”
As they kicked off, Rose heard Damien’s magically amplified voice. “The Hufflepuffs! Spinnet, Kirke, Mallory, Madley, Vane, Munslow, and King!” There was a roar of applause from the Hufflepuffs, and Damien continued, “And the Gryffindors! Thomas, Weasley, Jordan, Jordan, Potter, Weasley, and Potter!” He paused to let the Gryffindors cheer loudly, and added, “If you’re confused, it’s okay—sometimes I get confused, too. On the bright side, they don’t play the same positions, so if I say that Potter’s caught the snitch, you should be able to figure it out.
“And they’re off! Weasley takes hold of the quaffle! Tosses it to Jordan, who passes to Thomas, who passes back to Jordan. That’s a—nice hit by Vane and nice dodge by Jordan, who passes to Weasley. Spinnet challenges Weasley, she passes to Thomas, Kirke tries to intercept—nice hit by Potter to throw her off, and Thomas shoots! Nice save by Madley, who tosses the quaffle to Mallory.”
The cheers from the Hufflepuffs were deafening.
“Mallory to Kirke to Spinnet to—bludger hit by Potter causes Kirke to fumble, and the quaffle is snatched by Weasley. Munslow hits a bludger at her, she dodges, approaches Madley, shoots—no, wait, that was a pass to Jordan, who scores! Gryffindor takes the lead!”
Now it was the Gryffindors who could not stop screaming. Rose gave Annabelle Jordan a thumbs-up as they zoomed away from the rings, and Annabelle grinned back.
“Possession taken by Spinnet, who dodges a bludger from Potter, can she dodge the other from Weasley… no, but she passes to Mallory before it hits. Ouch, that looked like it hurt. Mallory to Kirke, who shoots—terrific save by Jordan, who tosses the quaffle back in to Jordan. Jordan to Thomas, Thomas hit by a bludger sent from Vane, but doesn’t drop the quaffle. Potter hits a bludger at Kirke, who can’t challenge—and Thomas scores! Twenty-zero Gryffindor!”
Hufflepuff seemed to regroup, however, and they went on to score three times in a row. By the third goal, the Hufflepuffs in the crowd were screaming. They’d finished last in the Quidditch Cup for two years running, largely due to a string of very bad luck, and Rose knew that they were starved for a win.
“Weasley takes possession. She speeds up, dodges a bludger hit by Munslow—no, wait, was that a dodge?”
It had not, in fact, been a dodge. The bludger had hit her shoulder, which suddenly felt like it was on fire.
“Well, she doesn’t drop the quaffle, anyway,” Damien said. “Passes to Thomas, who passes back, Weasley to Jordan, who dodges a bludger hit by Munslow, passes back to Weasley, who avoids Kirke and shoots—no, wait, that was a pass to Thomas, who passes back, and this time Weasley really does shoot—she scores! Thirty-thirty!”
Rose grimaced and rubbed her shoulder, but waved to the crowd.
“Quaffle back in to Mallory—was that the snitch?” Damien paused. “King streaks down toward the ground, that is the snitch, Potter won’t be able to get there in—a well-hit bludger by Potter forces King to veer off-path, and the snitch is gone again.”
There was a moan of disappointment from the Hufflepuffs, but another cheer from the Gryffindors.
“Mallory’s taken advantage of the distraction, moves toward Jordan, shoots to the left—no, that was a feint, he shoots to the right—Jordan misses it by centimeters! Forty-thirty Hufflepuff, and Mallory is clearly earning his place on the team!”
Noah had been right when they’d talked about the Hufflepuff Quidditch team; Gage Mallory was good. He scored twice more before Marion managed to ignore a nasty bludger hit for long enough to put the quaffle through the middle ring, and twice more immediately following that.
“Jordan. Weasley. Thomas. Jordan. Thomas. Potter and Weasley are keeping those bludgers occupied by hitting them at each other—interesting strategy, but Vane and Munslow can’t get to them to interrupt the Chasers, so I guess it’s effective. Thomas approaches Madley, and Potter and Weasley hit both bludgers toward Madley—I don’t see how she’s going to—Thomas shoots—and an amazing save by Madley!”
Rose had anticipated this match being tough, but not quite this tough; something seemed to have happened to transform the Hufflepuffs from underachievers into true competitors.
“Spinnet takes possession. Bludger mishit by Munslow forces her to drop it, tough luck. Mallory grabs it and passes to Kirke. Nice hit by Potter forces Kirke to drop it. Thomas takes possession. Spinnet intercepts when Thomas tries to pass to Weasley. Weasley hits a bludger at her, and Weasley takes possession. She—was that the snitch? Potter and King both dive toward it… And Potter’s caught the snitch! That’s 190-80, and Gryffindor wins the game!”
After making a victory lap around the pitch, James joined the rest of the team on the ground. “Good job,” he said. “Not great. But good.” He dodged a smack from Tyler. “Hey, I’m your captain, I’m supposed to be hard on you!”
“Is that what being a captain is all about?” Marion asked. He smirked, but before he could reply, she’d kissed him on the cheek and headed toward the changing room.
His grin got wider. “I told you I was irresistible.” He didn’t manage to dodge Tyler a second time. “Hey!”
From the celebration in the Common Room after the match, one might have thought that they’d won the Cup, not just the first game of the season. Once she really thought about it, though, Rose supposed that she shouldn’t be that surprised. The Slytherins had been bitter and sarcastic toward all the Gryffindors that week, not just the ones on the team, and the fact that Gryffindor was starting out at the head of the pack was always a good thing - especially since at one point, it really had seemed like they were in serious danger of losing.
And, of course, there was the fact that Scorpius hadn’t been wrong when he’d said that Gryffindors loved James.
Early that evening, Rose was sitting with the rest of the team at the center of a large crowd of Gryffindors when Albus came up behind her and murmured, “If you can break away, Scorpius is outside.” She looked at him sharply, and he rolled his eyes. “No, he did not hear the password. I came in as Holly and Caitlin were leaving.”
“Just checking.” She got up. “I’ll be right back,” she said, though she had no real intention of coming back anytime soon.
When she climbed out of the portrait hole, she found Scorpius leaning against a wall reading a book. “I wasn’t actually expecting you to come out for awhile,” he said, looking a little surprised.
Rose shrugged. “I needed a breather,” she said.
“I thought you might. I just didn’t expect it to be right now.” He closed the book. “Congratulations.”
“How unpopular are you in Slytherin right now?” she asked curiously. “Rooting for the Gryffindors and all.”
“Fairly,” Scorpius admitted. “Even Noah’s been a little annoyed with me.” Rose wasn’t sure whether this was a situation in which she should be apologising, but as she was trying to figure it out, he laughed. “Don’t apologise. It’s not your fault. And anyway, now it’ll be the Ravenclaws all the hostility will be directed at, and I’m happy to join in with that.”
Rose flipped her hair back. “We didn’t hassle the Hufflepuffs at all,” she said airily.
“Could you possibly sound more self-satisfied?” He shook his head when she opened her mouth. “Never mind. I’m sure you could. Do you want to take a walk?”
She smiled and took the hand he offered her.
They walked in silence for a few minutes and then he said abruptly, “Am I meeting your cousins tomorrow? In Hogsmeade, I mean?”
Rose was slightly thrown by the question, and took a few moments to gather her thoughts before she could answer. “You’ve met most of them, haven’t you?”
Scorpius shrugged. “It’s… it’s different.”
“It is, isn’t it.” She frowned. “Why? Do you want to?”
“No!” he exclaimed quickly, and then sighed. “Yes. Maybe.”
“Thanks for clearing that up.”
He looked up at the ceiling. “I don’t know. Your family is intimidating. But isn’t that the sort of thing that people who are going out are supposed to do? Meet each other’s families?”
Rose gave the idea some serious thought before she went to bed that night, but she didn’t really come to any kind of conclusion. On one hand, she really did like him, and if she was being honest with herself, she had to admit that she wanted to know what they thought of him in a context outside of “Al’s friend that was at his house when I was there for dinner that one time” or “Al’s friend who I’ve said hello to twice when I passed them in the hall.”
On the other, any meeting was sure to be deeply embarrassing for her, and she didn’t want the Weasley clan to scare him off, because… well, she really did like him.
A/N: The dreaded Quidditch scene! I hope I pulled it off okay and that you didn't end up feeling bored and skimming that part of the chapter. I considered going the route of one of my favourite sports commentators and getting outrageous with the metaphors and adjectives, but that seemed out of character for Damien. (If you watch Barcelona/Real Madrid games in the USA, though - you know who I'm talking about.)
Thank you so much for reading, and as always, I would appreciate your thoughts. ♥
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