Chapter 6 : Flying
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Albus, David, Art, and Rose arrived nervously at the Quidditch pitch. He saw that there were already brooms layed out for them. Walking over to them, he saw that they were old Nimbus One- Thousands. At least they flew properly. Nimbus brooms were fairly good. Everyone else slowly came over to the Quidditch pitch, along with Madam Hooch.
“Good afternoon, first years!” Madam Hooch called out merrily. “The first thing I’m going to do is have you pick up your brooms magically.”
Albus grew nervous. What did she mean by that? He always just grabbed James’s broom off the pegboard.
“Step on the side of your broomstick, hold your wand arm out, and say up.”
Albus fixed his eye on his broomstick and imagined it zooming towards him. Finally, he yelled, “UP!” The broomstick zoomed straight into his hand. Rose glanced at Albus furiously, as she had already tried saying “up” three times. Albus smirked at Rose. Finally here was a class that Rose wasn’t the best at!
“Now, you are going to push off lightly off the ground, and then stay completely still so that you hover.” Madam Hooch announced. “On the blow of my whistle, go. One, two, THREE!” Madam Hooch blew her whistle hard. Albus pushed gently of the ground and stayed still. This was very easy. Glancing around, he noticed that not everyone was having an easy time. Rose was trying to keep her broomstick still, and David was okay, but he looked like he had to try really hard to keep it there. Art was yelping as his broomstick started to accelerate. Practice finally ended when two girls crashed into each other and fell.
As they walked away, Rose was complaining loudly why they even had flying lessons.
“The only things those lessons achieve is getting people hurt! They should put an anti- crashing spell on those broomsticks, its just common sense! Or maybe have only a few people go at a time.”
“But then that would take all day!” David exclaimed. “You also might need to fly someday, and need to know how, since it’s a form of transportation. As for injuries, Madam Pomfrey can sort anything out.”
“Er-Rose? Why are we going this way?” Albus interrupted. Rose had just steered them towards the Hogwarts grounds.
“We have tea with Hagrid in a few minutes, remember?” Rose explained.
“Oh, yeah,” Albus muttered. He had completely forgotten about that, despite his dad’s warning before the train departed.
“Who’s Hagrid?” David asked.
“Remember that really big person who led us up to the castle on our first day?” Rose asked Art and David.
“Yup,” David said. “That’s Hagrid? He looks huge! He’s twice my size.”
“Yeah, well he’s our parents friend so we agreed we’d go and have tea with him in-” Al glanced at his watch, “-Five minutes.”
“Can I come?” Art asked.
“Sure! David, you can come too.” Rose said.
The four of them slowly dawdled down the path that lead to Hagrid’s hut, talking the entire way. Rose confidently climbed up to the door and rapped on it, and the door was opened within seconds.
“Yeh here!” Hagrid exclaimed when he saw Al and Rose. “Come on in.”
A great big dog jumped on them and started licking the four of them all over the place. Al petted the dog cautiously, since Al wasn’t a big fan of dogs. A dog bit him in the arm when he was nine, and left a huge gash that turned into a scar. He hadn’t liked dogs since. This dog seemed all right though, so he petted the dog gently on the back.
“This is Fang.” Hagrid said, pulling the dog by the collar. “Down Fang, down.”
Fang finally stopped slobbering over an astonished Art, and Fang went to cower in the corner of the hut. Hagrid straightened up, and smiled at them.
“An’ who’s this?” Hagrid asked, acknowledging to Art and David.
“Oh yeah, Hagrid, this is Art Gambeski and David Haid,” Rose said quickly.
“Nice to meet yeh all,” Hagrid said, shaking their hands. David looked slightly embarrassed when Hagrid shook his hand, which Al thought was odd because David was a very outgoing person.
They all sat down at Hagrid’s tiny table and received tiny cakes, which they did not eat much of since they were so hard. They were terribly burnt, and tasted awful. When Hagrid wasn’t looking, Al fed some to Fang so it looked like he ate it.
They talked for a long time about their classes, Rose talked on and on about what she wanted to learn that year, and Hagrid told her what they were mostly going to do during the next few months.
“Firs' thing yeh’ll learn in charms is the lumos charm,” Hagrid was saying. “Firs' semester of History o' Magic yeh’ll learn 'bout the history o' Hogwarts. In Defense Against the Dark Arts yeh’ll learn a few basic jinks, an' defensive strategies. Then in Transfiguration….”
Albus wasn’t listening very much. Rose was almost falling out of her chair in excitement. David and Art just sat there looking bored, which they probably were.
Finally, Hagrid said, “Enough about that. Quidditch tryouts tomorrow morning, Al! How 'bout it? Yeh’d be a good Quidditch player. I’ve seen yeh fly.”
“But I don’t know how I’ll compare to everyone else!” Albus protested. “There’ll be kids trying out who are several years older than me.”
“Aw, don’t worry 'bout that. Yeh never know 'less you try. Yeh’d be surprised. There migh' be kids that are three years older than yehself that can’t even get o' the broom correctly.” Hagrid said.
“C’mon Al,” David said. “The worst that could happen is that you fall of your broom, crack your head open and die, which I’m sure anyone could handle.”
All of them started cracking up, and Hagrid nearly flipped over the table.
“But honestly,” Hagrid said. “Yeh’d be a good Quidditch player, I know you would be.”
Albus didn’t know what to think. If he tried out and didn’t make it, he would be a disgrace to his parents. His mom used to play for the Holyhead Harpies, a professional Quidditch team, and his dad was the youngest seeker in a century. But if he didn’t try out, no one would be certain that he was good.
But if he tried out and made it, everyone would be proud of him, pronounce him a true Potter, and say he was excellent. And then Al would help win Quidditch matches, and he would win in front of the entire school.
“…I think if Al somehow manages to play, which is near impossible, we must put down cushions covering the entire field.” David joked.
“He’s just teasing you Al,” Rose said comfortingly.
“Al had no idea that I was joking,” David said sarcastically.
That made Art and Albus want to laugh, but they had to stifle their laughsince Rose looked furious. Rose pouted for the next few minutes, as the rest of them started talking about Quidditch.
“How do you play Quidditch? All I know is that it’s a wizard sport played on broomsticks,” Art questioned.
Albus began to explain. “There are er, seven players and-er, four balls in Quidditch. The er…first ball is er, the Quaffle.”
“Wow Al, never knew you could stutter so much. Better let me explain,” David commented.
Albus looked at his feet and muttered, “I’m horrible at explaining things,” Hagrid tried to pat him on the back, but his hand was so big that it nearly knocked him off his feet.
“So,” began David, “As Al said, The Quaffle is handled by four players. The three chasers, and the keeper. As I think, you already saw, on the Quidditch Pitch there are three hoops on each side. The chasers try to put it through the opponent’s hope, and the keeper tries to block them. Got that?”
Art nodded, despite looking a little confused.
David continued. “Now this is where it starts to get a little complicated. There are two Beaters on each side and they handle the two balls called the Bludgers. If you’re hit with a Bludger, you could be seriously hurt. So the Beaters try to knock the opposing team’s players off their brooms, and they also try to prevent the opposing team’s beaters from knocking their players off their brooms. And finally, the last player is the seeker. The fourth ball is the Golden Snitch, which is really tiny and can turn and fly really fast. The seeker’s job is to catch the snitch. When it is caught, the game is over and that team is awarded one hundred and fifty points. So, they always win unless their chasers and keeper are so horrible, that one hundred and fifty points don’t make a difference.”
Art nodded, an Albus noticed him stifle a yawn. Hagrid saw Art, and then looked at the window, which was now a dark and beautiful orange, and there was only a tip of the sun.
“Blimey, time flew! It’s gettin' dark. You four better be gettin' back to the school, or I’ll be gettin’ in trouble,” Hagrid explained.
They all said goodbye to Hagrid, and trudged back to the path that lead to the school. They were all mostly quiet, but David and Rose bickered every once in a while. They finally got to the common room, and like usual, Albus climbed into bed and instantly fell asleep.
It felt as if only a minute later the sun was shining through the window and everyone else was up and chattering about what they wanted to do that morning, Almost the second Albus opened his eyes, David dived on top of him, nearly suffocating him.
“David!” Al protested loudly.
Art yelled out behind David, “David stop it! He just woke up, and now you’re suffocating him! Get off!”
David climbed sheepishly off Al’s bed and said, “Well, it doesn’t hurt to get extra energy right before try- outs.”
“Are you trying out?” Al asked, still panting from David’s tackle.
David puffed out his chest and said proudly, “I sure am. I probably won’t make it, since I’ve never been on a broom in my life, but it never hurts to try.”
“I’m not trying out though. I barely know the game,“ Art said a little sadly. “But I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines, and maybe Rose will help too.” he added a little hopefully.
After Al got dressed, the three of them went down to the Gryffindor common room and met Rose.
“Hi!” she cried, nearly falling out of her chair with excitement. She grabbed their arms, and dragged them out of the Gryffindor Common room. “C’mon, lets go down to the Quidditch pitch. Some kids are already there.” She exclaimed excitedly. “I read the notice about the tryouts on the notice board last night. The positions open are the keeper, seeker, one beater, and one chaser. Apparently a lot of players last year were seventh years. That gives you a better chance of getting on the team.”
Albus scarcely listened to Rose. The more kids he saw that were almost double his height, with sleek, shiny brooms and bulky muscles, the more his stomach doubled up with nervousness. He wished he had thought to bring his invisibility cloak, so he could put it on himself once everyone laughed at his poor performance. His knobby and skinny knees nearly buckled underneath him once he saw the Quidditch pitch.
There were nearly twenty kids there, some with fancy broomsticks, and some big kids that Albus guessed were seventh years, that could probably lift Albus over their head.
Rose patted Albus on his back and told him, “Art and I are going to go get seats. Good luck, hope you do well,” Albus nodded numbly, barely registering what she said.
He gazed at the Quidditch Pitch, which now looked huge and frightening. There were three hoops on each side, and the stands on the side. There was also a small podium where the commentator stood.
Albus was suddenly aware of a tall, skinny, brown- haired kid in the front, trying to quiet everyone down. Once everyone was silent, he called out to everyone. “Hello, as most of you probably already know, I’m Chris Van Malden, and this is my first year of team captain for Gryffindor. I’m in my sixth year at Hogwarts, and have been on the team as chaser since my second year.” Albus noticed that he looked a little nervous, but his voice sounded confident, which was a little odd. Chris continued, “First I’m just going to see how well you can fly because if you’re not a good flier, it doesn’t matter how good you are at anything else. Since there are a lot of you, I’m going to have you broken up into year. Can please get into order by age, with the first- years on the left and seventh years on the right?”
Albus and David immediately went all the way to the left. They were the only first- years, except for a girl named Nicole, who were trying out. It surprised Albus that Nicole was trying out, since in his classes he had thought Nicole was sort of a girly- girl. Albus peered down the line as everyone was lining up, and saw his brother James. He also saw his cousin Louis, who was in his fourth year, and the son of Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur. His cousin Fred, also in his fourth year, and Roxanne, in her third year, were also trying out. They were both the children of Uncle George and Aunt Ang.
Once everyone was organized, Chris called out, “Okay, we’ll have the first- years go first, and then the second- years.” They had to go first? Albus’s stomach lurched with nerves. “You can get a broomstick from the stack.” Chris added. Since Al had been paying attention to the other people while they were getting organized, he had not noticed that there was now a big stack of broomsticks in the middle of the field. David was already walking towards at, and Nicole was following closely behind. Albus gulped and slowly began to trudge towards them.
The broomsticks all looked identical. He just picked one randomly off the stack. He got onto his broom, and pushed off the ground.
David and Nicole were already up further in the air. Nicole was shaking on her broom, and wasn’t really flying, just hovering in the air. David was actually flying, but the broomstick seemed out of his control. He was rocketing all over the place. Al was hovering right now. Even though the ground seemed ages away, he could hear the older students snickering. His nervousness was replaced by anger, and he thought to himself, Let’s show them what a first-year can do.
He began to fly around the Quidditch pitch, swooping in and out of the goalposts. Most of the snickering died away. As the wind rushed in his hair, he felt more and more relaxed. At home, he had always been a wonderful flier. He wasn’t that great at Quidditch, but he always could fly. After circling around the Quidditch pitch several times, he heard a whistle and saw it was coming from Chris. He pointed his broomstick slightly towards the ground until he was next to Chris and he was hovering inches from the ground. David and Nicole however, had a lot of trouble doing that. David fell off his broom once he got next to Chris. Chris, however was looking at Albus.
“You’re a pretty decent flier,” Chris said.
“Thanks,” he whispered, more to the ground than Chris. He always felt embarrassed whenever he was praised.
“What’s your name?” Chris asked curiously.
“A- Albus,” he stammered. He always stammered whenever he was nervous. Chris’ eyes widened.
“Albus? Are you Albus Potter?”
He nodded slowly. Why was he always embarrassed when people found out that Harry Potter was his dad?
“I wonder why I didn’t see it before?” Chris was saying. “You look almost exactly like Harry Potter, except for the glasses. Anyway, you three can go back in line. Second years!”
David elbowed Albus in the ribs as they were walking back to their seats. “He said you were a good flier! I thought so too. You are sooo going to get on the team.”
“Even if I get on the team,” he muttered softly, “It probably won’t be because I’m a good Quidditch player.” He saw surprised to feel that all of a sudden, tears we threatening to get out.
“What do you mean?” David asked.
“People always overestimate me because I’m Harry Potter’s son,” he explained slowly. “They think I’m great and noble and all of that. Chris will probably put James and I on the team just because our dad is Harry Potter, the great seeker. I hear people whispering behind my back all the time that I must be brilliant. But I’m not. I just-“ he paused, trying to choke back tears, “I just want to be normal.” he finished. David nodded slowly. He did not look like a mischievous and funny person anymore. He looked like a caring and understanding friend.
“Let’s get your mind off of that,” David said. “Look, there’s your brother, James, about to fly.”
James and the other second- years were getting onto their broomsticks and flying into the air. They were mostly okay, except for one kid who looked terrified at being off the ground. James, however, was easily the best flier of the lot. They all flew for a few minutes, and then flew back to the ground when Chris blew his whistle.
When they walked back to the line James grinned at him and said, ”Chris thought I was great.”
Next was the third- years. Albus mainly watched his cousin Roxanne Weasley, and pointed her out to David.
“She would make a good beater,” David commented. Al thought David was right. Despite being a girl, she had bulging muscles and a fierce look on her face. Roxanne was not a girly- girl.
When the fourth years tried out, Al mainly watched Louis and Fred, his cousins. Fred was Roxanne’s older brother, and Louis was the son of Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur. They were good fliers, but the other fourth- years were just as good as him, except for a few. Hagrid was right. Some of them could not fly properly.
The same went for the older kids, it was funny watching a sixteen- year old flying like he was a little kid. But, in each group, there were a few decent fliers, which made Al nervous. There were only 4 positions open, which now seemed like very little.
After everyone had flown, Chris went and picked some students, about ten of them, who were decent fliers. One of them was Albus. His stomach’s butterflies doubled as he gazed on the pitch, wondering whether he would get on the team.
Sorry about the really late update. I forgot the queue was closed, and then after it came open I was still visiting relatives.
Please correct me if I did a mistake in Hagrid's accent. I'm trying to get it the best I can, but it is really hard.
Please leave a review if you aren't about to do so! I really want to know what you think.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
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