Chapter 15 : The Other Seeker
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‘This is the day. Each and every one of you- including me- is nervous, tired and cold. But together, we will forget all of those things. We can beat these guys… and girls,’ James added hastily as Rose raised her eyebrows. ‘We all know our roles. Rose: defend those hoops like your life depends on it. Eleanor: initiate passing as soon as the whistle blows, pass to Georgia and get the Quaffle to Louis as quickly as you can. I want to get a thirty point lead before Slytherin even blink an eyelid.’ James paused as his Chasers nodded in understanding. He turned to the beaters. ‘Phil, Dan, try some of those hits we practised last weekend- aim for the chasers and the keeper. And if I’m in real difficulty, hitting their Seeker wouldn’t hurt either.’ There was a murmur of laughter from the team, but the smiles left their faces as they remembered the match. ‘OK then. We all know what to do. This is it. Good luck everyone and remember that there are seven other players out there on your side. Let’s go.’
James turned to face the curtain, the shuffle of his players behind him. Eleanor appeared beside him, squeezing his hand briefly before Rose replaced her. James felt his nerves melt away as the curtain drew back- in fact, he was in such a trance that he almost didn’t notice the gigantic banner in front of him.
The lion covered two-thirds of it on its hind legs, a Quaffle and a Snitch held in each paw and a broom under his arm. The other part of the banner was taken up with the words ‘GRYFFINDOR KICKS BUTT’. James would’ve laughed if it wasn’t for the fear; he could vaguely see his cousins Molly and Lucy holding up either side, with Lorcan and Lysander Lovegood pointing their wands at the scarlet letters to make them shimmer.
They reached the pitch; James forced to shake the hand of the Slytherin captain Clive Denny. Denny sneered at him, contorting his already ugly face into an expression resembling a troll. Fortunately for Gryffindor, he was about as intelligent as one too.
Gryffindor kicked off at the whistle, and the cheering rose to an ear splitting volume. Gryffindor were by far the loudest, their supporters shaking the stands. James rose until he was high enough to view the entire pitch, his Firebolt 700 soaring up easily.
He rested his feet on his bipods and concentrated on the match, only content when Gryffindor were three goals ahead to Slytherin’s zero. He began to scan for the Snitch, but it had yet to materialise. James circuited the pitch, exercising his broom to the delight of the whooping crowd.
James blocked them out, focusing entirely on looking for the gold ball. Then he saw something that distracted him slightly.
Scorpius had the same stance as him, his eyes flitting over the sky as he hovered above the play. He hadn’t spotted anything, but for a second James forgot about the snitch.
He looked towards the Gryffindor hoops, at the figure that he could just about make out. Her hair whipped around in its ponytail, as she deflected a Slytherin shot and James felt a surge of pride at being related to her.
He couldn’t pretend that he hadn’t seen them together. It had been a week, but he couldn’t stop thinking about how upset Rose was. As far as he was concerned, Rose was like a sister to him, and he didn’t want her to get hurt. He had only just got used to the fact that Toby was around, although he still wasn’t altogether comfortable with him. Toby was a follower, and James wasn’t majorly keen on those.
And now there was Scorpius.
James liked Scorpius. After all, he was his brother’s best friend. But as Rose’s boyfriend? Not that he thought it would get that far. Much as he disliked him, James could concede that Rose loved Toby too much to start something with Scorpius.
For the hundredth time that week, James told himself that what he saw on the Quidditch pitch that night was a one off, a momentary lapse of judgement. He had no reason to suspect anything more… Apart from knowing his cousin too well…
James snapped back to the game after a groan from the crowd. Slytherin were fighting back, and had scored several goals in the meantime. James swooped around the stands, searching for the snitch. He wanted to end the game before his team were under threat.
He could see Scorpius flying around too, but he didn’t appear to have spotted anything, so James relaxed somewhat. He dodged a Bludger quickly, as Dan appeared behind him to whack it away. He was starting to get desperate, making sure Scorpius never left his sight. Slytherin got another goal, leaving them two goals behind Gryffindor. James cursed under his breath.
Then by chance, his eyes found the banner spread over three rows of seats. The lion’s eyes gleamed at him, but James wasn’t focusing on them. Because he thought he could see something shining in the scarlet corner.
He sped towards it, but it sped away from him and he was forced to change direction. He curved up to the sky, the sun blinding him momentarily. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Scorpius close behind him, accelerating in an attempt to lose him.
He glared intently at the snitch, determined to follow it wherever. He was closer now, and could almost stretch out his hand to grab it. He felt his fingers close around it, but the euphoria was short lived.
The snitch suddenly dropped, as if its enchanted wings had suddenly broken. It continued to fall as James dived after it, becoming more and more frustrated. His ears popped several times, his broom almost vertical- knowing that Scorpius (who had remained behind him) was experiencing the same discomfort gratifying him a little.
The snitch reached the grass, flying away just before it hit the ground. James pulled out of the dive in accordance with the change of course, gaining on the ball quickly. He reached out a hand, coaxing the snitch into his glove. He closed his fingers as he heard a whistle, although it sounded faintly like a scream.
James jumped off his broom and held the snitch in the air for the stadium to see.
But they all seemed to be worrying about something else.
James ran over to where his team had congregated, but they weren’t celebrating. In fact, they were gathered around something on the floor.
James pushed through a gap, wondering what could be more important than Gryffindor’s victory.
Scorpius Malfoy was sprawled on the grass, unconscious, in front of him.
The hospital wing was crowded.
The entire Slytherin team was already there when James walked in, much to the displeasure of a flustered looking Madame Woods.
She was new to the school, only out of Hogwarts for two years or so. James hadn’t known her while she was a student, but after countless Quidditch injuries he had become a regular fixture in the wing. Him and Madame Woods got on well, and she had helped him with Potions during his OWLs.
She smiled at him as he reached Scorpius’ bed, before giving the team a frown and retiring to her cubicle.
James hung back, as the Slytherins said goodbye to their seeker and left the room.
Scorpius saw James and gestured to the chair beside the bed, wincing as he forgot his arm was injured.
‘Where’s Albus?’ James thought it was odd that he wasn’t there considering the state of his best friend. Scorpius was conscious at least, but the paleness in his face was startlingly obvious, and his leg was raised as it healed. James had heard that he’d broke it, along with his arm, and judging by the bandaging around his waist, he’d cracked a few ribs too.
‘He was here earlier, but he left soon after I regained consciousness. He said he had to sort something out. Probably some girl he had to catch up with.’ Scorpius laughed, but it appeared to be a bad idea with the injuries he had sustained, as his expression melted into one of discomfort.
‘What happened out there?’ James passed Scorpius some pumpkin juice, which he took gratefully. ‘I mean, I knew you were behind me when I went into that dive, and then you were injured.’
‘Yeah. I’m not really sure what happened either. I saw the Snitch right after you, and then I started diving. Madame Woods said it was a Bludger that cracked my ribs and knocked me off my broom. Then I was slammed onto the floor on my side, and I broke my arm and my leg. I think the pain from the Bludger knocked me out though because I just remember waking up here an hour later.’
‘Jesus.’ James looked aghast- he’d had plenty of Quidditch injuries, but they consisted of sprains and cuts. Painful at the time, but nothing compared to this. ‘A Bludger? I’m really sorry mate; Dan and Phil get a bit overenthusiastic sometimes…’ James left out the fact that he had told them to hit Scorpius if he was in trouble. But Scorpius just laughed again, this time, however, it was mirthless and bitter. It lingered in the air dangerously.
‘It wasn’t Dan and Phil.’ James looked sideways at Scorpius, wondering if the Bludger hit him in the head instead. ‘It was Denny.’ James’ mouth fell open. He knew Denny was stupid, but he didn’t think he would forget which team he was meant to aim for. Scorpius seemed to sense what he was thinking. ‘On purpose.’
‘But why? You were gaining on me, I could hear your broom-’
‘Oh James, don’t be stupid. I suck. I’m the worst seeker of all time, and Denny knows it. I mean, look at me. Injured, out for a month if not more. Meaning I miss the game with Ravenclaw, and limiting the chances of playing against Hufflepuff because of all the training I’m going to miss.’
‘But this is too cunning for Denny. He couldn’t do all that planning just to get you off the team. Wouldn’t it be easier just to tell you you’re off the team?’
‘My dad wouldn’t stand for that. He’d make sure the captaincy was revoked- probably arrange for it to be given to me knowing him.’
‘I still think that’s far too devious for someone like Clive. He barely scraped his OWLS; everyone knows Slug had to pull a few strings to secure him with some NEWTs…’
‘The rest of the team probably had a hand in it too, they all suffer if I can’t catch the bloody ball.’ Scorpius hung his head, paired with all of the bandages and bruises he was a fairly pathetic sight.
‘Then why were they all here just now?’ James refused to believe that there had been some sort of conspiracy theory, for a start, it was way too complicated for the average mental capacities of the Slytherin team. Even he was having trouble processing it all.
‘Saving face I guess, and it wasn’t as if they were telling me that they would save my place. In fact, they asked me who I thought could replace me.’
‘Who did you say?’
‘Albus. I figured it was worth a shot. If there’s anyone I would be happy to bow out for, it’s him.’ They fell silent, considering what Scorpius had said. The more James thought about it, the more he could see where Scorpius was coming from.
‘Still, I’m sure people would have seen him hit it at you. He could still be kicked off the team.’
‘Most people were looking at us, and he could still say that he was aiming for you and the Bludger lost course.’ James couldn’t think of anything to say so he didn’t answer for several minutes.
‘Scorpius.’ James took a deep breath. ‘I didn’t just come here to see if you were ok.’ Scorpius looked confused now, James knew the feeling. ‘I wanted to talk to you about something, and it’s a bit awkward.’ He sat up straight and puffed out his chest slightly. ‘But it’s my duty as a cousin…’
Then the door to the hospital wing flew open, and James stopped talking suddenly.
Rose Weasley rushed into the room, red hair billowing behind her, still in her Quidditch robes. Both James and Scorpius were staring at her; after all, it had been quite a dramatic entrance.
She reached them both, seemingly oblivious to James’ presence.
‘You!’ Her finger was pointing at Scorpius accusingly. ‘What were you thinking! You scared me half to death! I mean, I watched you fall and hit the ground and-’ her voice broke horribly, ‘it was the worst thing I have ever witnessed.’ She sank into the chair on the other side from James. She put her head down onto the sheets and started crying, Scorpius patted her shoulder with his good hand.
James decided it was time for him to leave. He got up and nodded and Scorpius, before walking away.
‘Take care of him,’ he whispered to Madame Woods, before quietly opening the door and closing it behind him.
Rose lifted her head and caught sight of the bruises on Scorpius’ head. Scorpius smiled at her, calming her somewhat. He took her hand and squeezed it, and pulled her closer to him.
She clung to his chest, her tears drying up slowly. They stayed like that in silence for countless minutes, and Scorpius felt Rose’s breathing relax. Scorpius pressed his lips to the top of her head, barely noticing that her body was leaning on his bad arm.
Scorpius could feel himself drifting off to sleep, calmer than he had been all day. The partition had been pulled across, making Scorpius feel like it was only them in the world. Rose flinched, leaving Scorpius to reflect on the fact that he was so close to her. He loved everything about that moment. He-
‘Rose.’ Scorpius’ voice was clenched as he prepared himself.
‘I lo-’ Only Scorpius didn’t get to finish that sentence because at that moment the door opened.
The clicking of footsteps sounded on the tiled floor, and Rose jumped off the bed as her reflexes kicked in.
They heard faint talking between Madame Woods and the visitor, a sinking feeling clenching Scorpius as he realised whom it was. Rose seemed to have guessed too, as she dived underneath the nearest bed. Scorpius lay back, willing himself to fall asleep.
The curtain was pulled back, and the man behind sneered at Scorpius contemptuously.
Oh Draco, your timing is perfect as ever…
Yes, Draco Malfoy is in the building- and I doubt it’s to wish his son a speedy recovery. What do you think he’s come to say?
A lot happened this chapter: the Quidditch match, the conspiracy theories (sorry, I’ve been watching crime shows too much recently), Rose’s hysteria and now the appearance of a certain Mr Malfoy. What did you think of it all? Do you want more long chapters like this one in the chapters to come? Were you expecting all of the things that happened? Did you like the fact that most of it was from James’ POV? Please leave a review below to tell me what you thought!
As a side note, in the near future, other commitments mean that I won’t be able to update new chapters as quickly as I have done in the past. However, I hope you’ll agree that in order to produce the best chapters for you guys, writing may take a bit of time. Especially with all of the action still to come (you’re all in awe of my suspense skills I can tell!)… I promise I’ll try not to leave it longer than 2-3 weeks! Or if you want more of Scose/Rorpius, tell me how long you’d be willing to wait in a review!
Finally (I promise this is the last thing I will ask of you!), I mentioned in the last chapter that I set up at Meet the Author page on the HPFF forums. I set up that topic just for you guys, so if you have any questions, plot related or otherwise, make sure you check it out! I’m getting looooooonnnnnnneeeeeely… ;)
So, a long chapter and a long author’s note- I guess I like spoiling you! :-) Thanks for reading this far; I love you all for giving me the motivation to finish something for once!
And… HAPPY FIFTEENTH CHAPTER! Here’s to another ten… ;)
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