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Chapter 16 : Tryouts
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Hugo was surrounded by people. Lily’s friends and dorm mates all seemed to think that he knew everything there was to know about her disappearance- and they all thought he wanted nothing more than to share that knowledge.
“Did she tell you anything that night?” Aria asked eagerly, scooting closer to Hugo. “You can tell me. We won’t tell a soul, right girls?” Tyler, Hanna, and Mara all nodded with the same eagerness Aria had exhibited.
Hugo couldn’t believe these girls had been Lily’s friends. They all seemed more interested in the sordid details than anything else. “I really don’t know anything,” Hugo said, rather uncomfortably. Girls made him nervous and Aria was a flirt- that made her doubly terrifying.
“Please?” She asked as she pouted her lower lip. “Lily was one of my closest friends in the world. I can’t stand not knowing anything.”
Hugo ducked his head in embarrassment. He’d never liked being the center of attention. It was usually Lily who drew everyone’s eyes while he waited off in the shadows. He wasn’t smart like Rose and Al, or talented like James, or even vibrant the way Lily, Victoire, and Dominique were. He wasn’t ambitious like Molly or even motivated like Louis and Lucy. He was just Hugo.
And now he was left alone without his closest friend by his side.
“Hugo.” A sharp voice drew his attention to the bottom of the boys’ staircase. Sean Finnegan was standing there with Hugo’s broom in his hand, a gift from his father back when there was still hope of him making the Quidditch team. “Wanna fly?”
Hugo nodded and drew himself away from the girls. Sean was his only other real friend besides Lily. His father was one of his own father’s old Hogwarts schoolmates.
They walked down to the Quidditch pitch in silence, stopping only long enough at the broom shed to procure a second broom for Sean to use. When they reached the Quidditch pitch it was full of potential Gryffindor players. Hugo had forgotten try outs were later that day.
He almost turned to leave, knowing he would never have the skills necessary to make the team. “We can still fly around,” Sean said, stopping him. Sean was in the same boat as Hugo when it came to Quidditch. They both loved the sport, but neither was good enough to play.
Because it was the day of Quidditch try outs, Akron Smyth had gotten permission from Neville, Gryffindor’s Head of House, to use quaffles at practice. Normally Hugo and Sean just flew around on their brooms, but this time Sean grabbed a quaffle.
Akron looked surprised when he handed one out. “You two are trying out?” He asked.
Hugo shook his head and looked away. He’d tried out at his father’s urging in his third year and it had ended disastrously. He hit a fourth year girl’s broom and landed them both in the Hospital Wing, him with a sliced open forearm and her with a broken ankle and a concussion.
And the worst part of it was the girl made the team anyway.
James had been the captain so even though the only thing he’d told his father was that he didn’t make the team, James probably told Uncle Harry who most certainly would have told his father.
The memory of the crash made Hugo search the pitch anxiously for the girl. She was the keeper and still on the team, as was Akron who had also witnessed the embarrassment of the crash. That was why he seemed so surprised to see Hugo out.
“What about you?” Akron asked Sean. “We’re looking for a beater, a chaser, and a seeker.”
Hugo felt a pang in his chest. They shouldn’t have been missing a seeker, that was Lily’s position. She should have been out on the pitch watching all the newcomers with Akron and the rest of the team. “You could have the right build for a beater if you bulk up a bit. We don’t have the bludgers out yet, but if you stick around for another hour you could get some practice in.”
Sean fell back beside Hugo and shook his head. Both boys stumbled away with their brooms in hand, their faces very red. Sean had tried out that year beside Hugo and while he hadn’t injured anybody his performance was less than stellar.
“At least he remembered you,” Sean muttered under his breath as he mounted his broom.
Hugo followed him into the air. “You can’t honestly think that’s better?”
Sean shrugged and pulled his broom in a slow turn. “Wanna race around the pitch?” He asked. When Hugo nodded the two took off at their top speeds, although to everyone around them it appeared as though they were taking a practice lap.
Al followed Rose down to the Quidditch pitch against his better judgment. They always watched Quidditch tryouts together while they studied in the stands. Usually it was to support James, and in the previous year Lily, but this year it just felt like habit. There was no real reason for them to be watching. They didn’t know anyone on the team.
“It’ll be good for us,” Rose explained, although she didn’t look entirely sure of herself. Al almost would have preferred it if she had just said it was because of Akron, but if that was true Rose would’ve stayed in Gryffindor tower with him.
They settled into the stands and in the half hour before tryouts began saw some talented flyers and some second years who probably should’ve stayed in their rooms.
“Do you know what positions they’re looking for?” Al asked.
“Well James left so they need another Chaser, and that beater friend of his did too so he needs a replacement and- uh…” Rose trailed off as she realized the other person they were replacing.
“They need seeker,” Al finished. He should have realized that earlier. They couldn’t wait around for Lily to come because even if she did come back home- when she came back home- their parents might not let her out of their sight.
“No one they get will be as good as Lily,” Rose said in what she hoped was a comforting way. Sometimes she didn’t know what Al wanted to hear. Suddenly her eye caught on someone high in the air. “Is that-?” She asked. “No. He wouldn’t.”
Al squinted in the air and found Hugo’s redhead tossing around a quaffle with one of his year mates. “He’s not trying out, is he?” Al asked somewhat nervously. He didn’t know he would do if Hugo took Lily’s spot on the team. It would be awful.
“He better not.” Rose stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled loud enough for almost everyone in the stadium to turn and stare at her. She waved at Hugo who flew down with his friend. “What are you doing here?” She demanded.
Hugo looked to Sean for support, then shrugged. “Just flying and stuff. That’s not against the rules now, is it?”
“Are you trying out for the Quidditch team?” Rose asked with a scowl. “I thought you learned that lesson in third year. You too, Finnegan. And trying out now is incredibly insensitive.” She gestured at Al who shook his head. He didn’t want any part of the sibling spat.
“It’s fine,” he murmured. It really wasn’t fine, though. If someone had to replace Lily he wished it was at least someone who cared about flying the same way Lily did. Hugo was not that person.
“We’re not trying out,” Hugo said sullenly, upset that his sister wasn’t showing any support. “We were just flying around.”
“We didn’t even know tryouts were today,” Sean added, leaping to his friend’s defense once it was clear they weren’t going to get into trouble with the Head Girl. “We were just about to leave.”
“No we weren’t,” Hugo muttered.
“Well, tryouts are about to start so you two should skedaddle,” Rose said, her scowl softening. “Unless you plan on repeating third year all over again. I doubt Reanna would like to return to the hospital wing.”
Hugo’s face burned bright red to match his hair. He couldn’t remember seeing Rose there and she’d only mentioned it vaguely. He didn’t know she’d seen him try out. “Come on,” he muttered, sliding off his broom and walking toward the exit of the pitch. Sean followed.
“Bye!” Rose called and rolled her eyes. “What an annoying little twerp, honestly. I don’t know what his problem is.” Al shrugged. He didn’t like to get in the middle of Rose and Hugo’s squabbles since they happened all the time. It was the surefire way to alienate one cousin.
“Has Neville been looking at you funny?” Al asked, changing the subject. At Hogwarts Neville was supposed to be Professor Longbottom, but in private they all called him Neville.
Rose nodded. “Yeah. He kept trying to talk to me after Herbology so I started skipping out early. I’m pretty sure he’s in contact with Mum.” She shrugged. Since Neville was so close with her parents she assumed he would be. “Why? Has he been tracking you down too?”
“Yeah, I guess. It’s hard to tell with him sometimes.” Al shrugged. He didn’t want to talk to any professors, especially Neville, but it was pretty easy to avoid him since he wasn’t taking NEWT level Herbology like Rose was.
“You know if you keep avoiding him he’ll just call you into his office, right? He’s not going to let you get away with that forever.” Al shrugged again. He didn’t want to deal with professors any more than he wanted to deal with his Aunts or Uncles or even his parents, not that they had the time to deal with him.
“Whatever,” Al said. “Can we go? I don’t want to watch anymore.”
“But Akron just started tryouts!” Rose protested, although she stood to follow him. “We watch every year!”
“In case you haven’t noticed this isn’t every year,” Al mumbled too low for Rose to understand him. She gave him a questioning look and Al shook his head. “Nothing. Can we just go? Study or read or something?”
Being on the Quidditch pitch reminded him too much of Lily’s broom stashed in the bottom of his trunk. He didn’t want to think about it right then, but it felt like it was burning a hole in his mind.
“Yeah, of course,” Rose said, following him. “You want to go see Hagrid? I’ve got a meeting with Scorpius later, but we can do something before then.”
“Can we just do nothing?” Al asked, suddenly annoyed with everything. “I don’t want to fill my day with incessant activities just to stop from thinking.”
Rose nodded, a little surprised by his outburst. “Okay. We can go back to the Common Room and stare at the fire, how does that sound?”
“Perfect,” Al sighed. “Absolutely perfect.”
A/N: A/N: It's only three minutes after minute! I was close to getting it up on a Monday. But I hope you guys enjoyed it!
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