Chapter 6 : A Pondering of Past Choices
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"Charlize? Professor Longbottom will see you now." Says my dorm mate Rachel, coming out of our Head of House’s office.
"Gotcha." I say, standing up and entering the office. "Hello Professor."
"Hello Miss Delacour. Please have a seat and we can begin." He replies.
Professor Longbottom is probably the coolest teacher this school has. He’s a couple years younger than my parents, and he’s this huge legend because of his part in the Battle of Hogwarts. He’s pretty handsome for a middle-aged man, and he teaches Herbology. Not to mention his wife is the barmaid at Leaky cauldron. Pretty boss, I know.
I was called down to his office right after my last of the day had finished to talk about my future.
"So, I see that you’re taking a handful of NEWT classes such as Potions, Divination and Transfiguration. Impressive. Plus Defense. So what are some of your interests? I believe at the end of last year you were pretty set on working some sort of produce store for wizards? Is that still an interest for you?" He asks.
Okay, so to be frank, I have no idea what the bloody hell I want to do with my life, as long as I do it by myself. So at the end of last year when Longbottom was insisting that I need some sort of plan for a basis for my last year of schooling, I made up some rubbish story about how I secretly wanted to open a market that sold farmer’s produce to wizards and witches. If only my stupid visions had just told me what I was going to be. I suppose it’s all too fuzzy because I have no bloody idea what I want to be.
"Err… well, I really still like the idea of selling beets and carrots to the elderly for the rest of my life, but I think I decided over the summer that I want to pursue something else." I explain.
"Ah, and I see, and that something else would be…?" He questions.
"Well, you see, I’m really not sure at the moment. I’m supposing that’s why I’m here."
"Yes, well, you have a very high aptitude for Potions I hear. Would you be interested in perhaps working in something with that?" He asks.
I think about it, making potions, maybe even inventing them for the rest of my life. "Well, I suppose I’d like to, but those jobs require extra schooling, and I don’t really have the money for that, as my parents won’t pay for me to do anything but finishing school or some other utter bull like that."
"Ah, I see. So I take it you wouldn’t qualify for aid from the ministry?"
"Well, there are still a lot of scholarships you could apply for to go to school somewhere to pursue your potion-making career."
"What kind of scholarships?" I ask, curious.
"Well, there are potion competitions you could enter," he hands me a couple of pamphlets with little cauldrons on the front of them. "Not to mention the scholarships given out to students with talent in some of the extra classes. I hear from Trelawney that you may not have the best aptitude for telling the future?"
If only he knew. I nod in assent.
"Well, there are only several other options… let’s see… you don’t take charms… you’re not in the Gobstones club, so that won’t do. You don’t play Quidditch…" He trails off, looking down at a list on his desk.
But I’m intrigued. "Wait, they give people money to go to school for being good at Quidditch?"
He furrows his eyebrows. "Why, yes. Many teams will help pay for your schooling if you play for them for a certain amount of time. But as far as I know, you have never expressed the slightest interest in Quidditch, so it doesn’t apply to you."
I blush. "Right. Well, I guess I’ll look into these potion scholarships. Thank you professor."
He dismisses me and I walk towards the common room to work on my pile of homework.
Was I wrong to break Quidditch out of the picture?
No. I made my decision three years ago. I didn’t need Quidditch. It wasn’t worth it.
"All right, Malfoy. We’re going to start off with four laps around the pitch. That’s a mile and a half. Go."
It’s precisely seven thirty-two, and my first private coaching session has commenced.
I’m simply wearing a baggy jumper and sweatpants with trainers, as it’s a cool September night. Scorpious is wearing something similar, but he thankfully also has shorts on, which he is going to need.
I fully intend to give the kid the hardest workout he has ever received.
And if we get to the basic Quidditch passes, then so be it.
I time his run.
Ten minutes. Not too scrappy.
I quickly direct him into push-ups and crunches. Then we do sprints. Then lunges.
And then we get to the Quidditch an hour after we started. It’s getting dark out, but we crack on anyways.
I’m quite anxious to open the crate of balls and feel the familiar feel of a quaffle between my fingertips to be honest.
I open the crate and take out a quaffle, feeling the worn leather and weight of the ball. I close my eyes and take in the familiarity.
Then I realize what I’m doing and throw the quaffle as fast as I can to Scorpious, restless to get it out of my hands before I break down and sign up for Quidditch.
He catches it, but only because it crashes straight into his arms. He fumbles with it, the momentum pushing him backwards. He gapes at me, astonished.
"Yeah, I know how to throw a damn quaffle. Get over it." I snap, irritable.
Okay, to be honest, all this makes me miss it so much. It takes a lot to remind myself why I don’t do Quidditch anymore. It’s just so tempting, it’s torturous. Which is why I’m as irritated as a Grizzly bear.
"All right. You’re training to be a Keeper, right?" I ask him.
"So let’s practice catching."
We start off with me just tossing the ball to him from different angles on the ground. He catches many with ease, but there are certain angles that trouble him.
As I work my arms and shoulders more and more, a warm burning builds up in my muscles and it feels good. I fall into the swing of things, and throwing the quaffle is becoming easier, my shots more agile and accurate. I was always famous for the swiftness of my throws, how quick and light they are, but how they pack a punch.
I’ll be surprised if Scorpious doesn’t have at least one circle bruise when he comes to practice again the next time.
We work until it gets too dark to see absolutely anything, and we agree to meet again the next evening same time.
And not for the first time I wonder the true harm of joining the Quidditch Team.
The next few days pass quickly, busy with constant classes, homework, Quidditch training sessions for Scorpious, and the odd detention from Slughorn for the exploding potion incident.
Now it’s Friday night, and Penny is stressing out about Slughorn’s dinner party, as Louis is going as well.
"God no, we’re not going together together. We just happen to be going to the same event at the same time, and if we just happen to arrive at the same time, then so be it. Now I just have to pick the first nice outfit I see in my trunk and I’ll be off."
I roll my eyes, but stay silent, letting her go off on her rant, which is supposed to reassure me of her and Louis not going on a date.
"Ah, okay, I’ll just throw on this blue dress here, with the casual sleeves and maybe just wear this belt with it, and I guess give the earrings my Grandma a night out, don’t want to disappoint her. And I’ll just add a hint of mascara…"
Of course the first thing Penny randomly picks out of her trunk is the outfit she laid out there two nights ago.
"It’s not like I’m trying to impress anyone…"
I restrain from making a smart-arse comment back at her.
But she so needs it right now.
"If only you hadn’t exploded your potion, then you could’ve come along." She said. "Then I wouldn’t be so bored."
"You have Louis as a date. Plus, I have a detention tonight with Filtch."
"Louis is not my date! It’s not even a date thing. Just a formal dinner party where the occasional couple might go together. But Louis and I are not a couple, so we’re not going together like that! We just happen to have both received the invitation…" Penny rambles on from the loo, where she’s doing up her hair.
I roll my eyes.
"And why do you have detention with Filch?"
I don’t have detention. I have a Quidditch training session with Scorpious. But what Penny doesn’t know doesn’t kill her.
"Fred and I were ‘traipsing down the hall singing loud obscenities’ and we might have pranked his door."
The thing is, I’m not even lying. We just didn’t get caught. Yet.
"Okay, well Louis said mentioned he would be leaving the common room about half past seven to walk to Slughorn’s room. It’s seven thirty three. Would it seem like I was trying to meet up with him if I left now? Although I don’t want to be late, so I should leave now anyways. It’d be rude to leave any later. And besides, he’s probably already left."
"I’ll walk down with you." I say, checking my watch. I’m meeting on the pitch in half an hour.
"Right." She says, looking slightly nervous.
"And Pen? You look fantastic." I add.
She really does look brilliant.
I grab my trainers and follow Penny out the door, padding down the stone stairways in socks.
We reach the common room and I immediately spot Louis, Aaron and Fred sitting by the fireplace. Louis is in dressier clothes like Penny while the other guys are wearing more casual muggle clothes as its Friday night in the dorms.
Louis spots us and smiles. "Hey guys. Oh, is it time to go Penny?"
"Err… yes. I was just heading out." She says sheepishly.
"I’ll walk with you then." He says, grinning. "See you lot later."
We all bid our adieus.
"See you later." Penny says. "Have fun in detention Charlie, Fred."
They leave, walking together.
Fred gives me a weird look. "Since when do we have detention tonight?"
"We don’t." I say. "I just told Penny that we did."
"So what are you really up to tonight?" Aaron asks, cocking an eyebrow.
"Nothing." I say plainly.
"Well, I have a date with Amanda Finnegan and I’m afraid I must be going." Fred says, inspecting my watch.
He leaves the common room, leaving me to Aaron’s questioning gaze.
"What illegal activity are you up to tonight?" He asks suspiciously.
"It’s not illegal." I protest. "And I really should be going."
"So, you won’t mind if I come along then." He says, getting up as well, trying to follow me out of the portrait hole.
I stop and turn, finding myself face-to-face with him. I stammer, trying to find an excuse.
Damn. I’ve walked into this one.
"Fine." I say and turn around, letting him trail after me. I can ditch him before I get down there.
There’s always the oblivion charm.
"So you’ve been sneaking away to the Quidditch Pitch the past week?" Aaron asks incredulous.
"It’s not what you think…" I provide weakly as we enter the pitch.
Unfortunately, I have been unable to get rid of Aaron.
"But you don’t do Quidditch…" He says, confused.
"I know, and I’m not. I’m just giving someone a little training."
"But why?" He seems absolutely dubious.
"I know their family, and I was available."
"But you don’t play Quidditch. So how could you train them?"
"I’ve just been getting them into shape. Just as a favor to their mum. Please just don’t tell anyone, okay?"
"Scorpious Malfoy. He’s trying out for the Gryffindor team this year, wanted a little extra training beforehand." I explain.
"So you basically just stand there and give him directions." He cocks an eyebrow.
"Pretty much. I was planning on joining him tonight though." I actually was, until Aaron came along at least.
"So you won’t mind if I join you guys then? After all, I have try-outs coming up soon as well." He’s smirking now.
I shrug, acting indifferent. "Go ahead."
"Why are you getting in shape anyways? If you are actually training tonight as well."
"I just like being in shape." I explain. To be honest, I have no idea. I was just getting tired of watching Scorpious do all the work.
Just then, Scorpious walks onto the pitch, staring confusedly at Aaron.
"Heya Scorp, I’ll be crashing your little practice session tonight. Charlie here tells me you’re trying out for the Quidditch team." Aaron says to respond to the weird look from Scorpius.
"Yeah." He nods, then walks over to us.
"Six laps around the pitch, yeah?" I suggest. "Let's go."
We start off, Scorpius giving me a questioning look as I join them running around the pitch.
It feels so good to feel the rush of wind against my cheeks, to feel the pain burning in my legs, and the general rush that I've been missing. I find a fast pace and quickly pass Aaron and Scorpius, who are running together at a mediocre pace.
I do an extra lap and finish, waiting for them to bring it in.
I stand at the bottom of the hoops and they finish, jogging over to me, breathing heavily.
"Yikes Charlie. I didn't know you were a runner." Aaron says, breathing deeply between sentences. He clearly isn't used to running so much out of season.
I shrug. "Just a little bit of one."
Aaron rolls his eyes
"Okay, let's move on to crunches." I suggest.
The two of them groan, but get down on their backs anyways, and begin my usual abdomen regiment.
I lay down and join them.
Laying on the grass, watching the sky turn from blue to pink to indigo, I feel a peace settle over me, and I realize I love this.
Okay, so you're probably wondering why I don't play Quidditch if I love it so much.
Well, I did play quidditch. I played from the age of three, when I would play with my brothers in the fields of France. I got onto the Beauxbautons team in my first year, and although they aren't big on Quidditch or as well known as Hogwart's Quidditch program, it was still an incredible feat for an eleven year old girl to make it as a chaser.
Of course, my mother oposed this greatly, as did some of the school board members, who believed that sport was not for young girls, and that I should spend my time with more productive things such as my studies and mannerisms.
The fact that my mother opposed it made me even more inclined to do it. I loved playing quidditch, and I got to play on the team with my brothers Henri and Jacques, so that made it more fun.
My father secretly approved of this greatly, and was very proud of me for entering the team. I loved my father, so this was another contributing factor.
As the years went on and I grew to oppose my mother more and more, Quidditch became the impetus that was driving our relationship apart. I was now using Quidditch as a way to incense her. We constantly argued over this, while my father waited in the background silently.
While I used it for my mother's annoyance, I used Quidditch to earn my father's pride. The longer I played however, I came to realize that Quidditch was the only thing he was proud of me for. Quidditch was what held our relationship together, and it wasn't exactly the most reliable thread.
Even the people at school saw me as a Quidditch figure. I was the girl they depended on for a good Quidditch match, for good publicity and for interest among the Quidditch recruiters.
It became my whole life, my whole future. My visions became more and more clear, the possibilities that come with a career in Quidditch more and more apparent.
I saw the pressure I would endure for the next several years to choose a team, then training with a team, then the pressure of the crowds. I saw injuries, I felt the pain, the desperation and depression I would fall into. And it became too much. I had grown to hate the sport I truly loved.
So when I came to be expelled from Beauxbautons in my fourth year, I decided to forgoe Quidditch, and vowed to never play again.
A/N: so there you have it! A new chapter! I hope you enjoyed it, and if not, you can tell me why in a review! I am hoping to go back and revise the earlier chapters soon, just FYI. I will also hopefully be updating my Al/OC soon, and another one of my stories, as it had been a long time for some of them, and I owe a new chapter to those who have been asking for one in the reviews. So thanks for reading and please leave a review!!
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