Albus Potter sat at the Gryffindor table gulping down his juice. Classes started soon, so he needed to eat quicker. Transfiguration started after breakfast, and Professor Dire hated it when people were late. It was now mid- November, so they were practicing featherless quills into thin sticks.
“I can’t believe Dire expects us to go master it!” Al said in disgust. They had all tried very hard the night before, but the only person who was able to successfully transfigure it was Rose.
“It’s Dire, what do you expect?” Art replied. Art was sitting next to Albus, and David and Rose were sitting across from them. “Tell you what, after classes I’ll play a game of exploding snap with you and I’ll lose miserably. Happy?”
Art was miserable at exploding snap. He never won, even though they played it many times. On top of that, Art screeched like a girl whenever soot got on his face, a fact that David found hilarious. Art claimed it was because the soot got in his eyes and it stung. Whether that’s true or not, remained unknown.
Albus tried to forget the fact that transfiguration was soon, and instead he thought of the first Quidditch game that was coming up soon. Quidditch got his mind off everything, even Lord Zajecfer. He happily began talking about the Quidditch match with David, and they discussed who had the better chance of winning.
Albus was currently finishing up his pancakes when James dashed over to the Gryffindor table.
“Where have you been? Classes starts soon!” Albus exclaimed.
“I know, I woke up late,” James panted.
“See you later,” Albus said, and he headed to the Transfiguration classroom.
Al sat down at his desk and pulled out a piece of parchment to take notes. He absolutely hated taking notes, since he was concentrating on that instead of listening to Professor Dire’s question. James had always been a great multi- tasker, but unfortunately Albus was not.
“Good morning class,” Professor Dire said as he strolled into the classroom. “We are going to practice turning our quills into toothpicks, just like I promised, but first I want to review how to do it.”
Albus inwardly groaned. Couldn’t they just go straight to doing it? Sure, he forgot how to turn the quill into a toothpick, but it wasn’t like reviewing would help.
“How about…Mr. Potter. Can you describe at least one thing we have to do to turn the quill into a toothpick?”
“Er- you have to picture it inside your head,” Albus said proudly. Finally! He actually gave an answer for once. Al felt rather pleased with himself. Professor Dire, however, snorted.
“That is true for all Transfiguration and all spells. I meant for this specific transfiguration.”
Albus grew agitated. Why hadn’t Professor Dire said that the first time, then? Now Albus didn’t know the answer. He racked his brain for a response, but none came.
“I’m not sure, Professor,” Albus whispered so quietly, it was barely audible. He winced when Professor Dire gave him his “death stare” and penetrated him with it. Albus quickly looked away. He honestly would have preferred a teacher who yelled than Professor Dire.
“Pity,” Professor Dire finally said. “Do you have the answer, Ms. Weasley?”
“Yes,” Rose said confidently. “You say Muto Calamus.”
Professor Dire raised his eyebrows, which was his way of being impressed. Albus felt grumpy. Rose always got the right answer.
Over the course of the class, he kept questioning them about the procedure, which Albus completely forgot. Eventually, Professor Dire was calling on Albus about every other question, most of them which Albus got wrong. Finally, after what felt like was forever, they went to the corner of the room to practice.
He kept trying and trying to get it right, but nothing he did made the quill change.
“Essay for you tonight, Mr. Potter,” Dire said as he walked by. Albus gritted his teeth. He was at least trying. Shouldn’t Professor Dire try to help, instead of assigning him essays?
Finally, after what felt like ages, class was over. Albus wandered over to where Art was standing. Art was hiding his laughs as David and Rose were arguing.
“I think Professor Dire is working with Zajecfer,” David said.
“Oh, not this again!” Rose exclaimed, throwing up her arms. “Just because he’s a strict teacher does not mean that he’s a dark wizard!”
“I think he’s more than ‘strict’ if you ask me,” David whispered to Al.
“For one thing, he doesn’t even treat Slytherins differently,” Rose explained. “Professor Snape was awful since he favored the Slytherins. Dire doesn’t do that. Even though Snape was a cruel man, he was on our side. So I can’t see why Dire can’t be.”
“Thanks for insulting the bloke I was named after,” Albus said bluntly, as they slowly approached the dungeons, which was where they had potions next.
Rose did have a point though. Professor Dire scolded the Slytherins just as much as he scolded the Gryffindors.
In potions class, they were just beginning learning how to brew Wideye or Awakening Potion. Albus and Rose seemed like they were the only ones who were actually enjoying the class.
“If I need to stay awake, I’ll just get coffee,” Art muttered, trying to crush the snake fangs.
Albus, however, thought differently. There was something he liked about the simmering of the potion in his cauldron, and the blaze of the fire underneath. He wasn’t sure why, but Potions was his favorite and his best class.
“Ready for Exploding snap?” Art grinned, already looking nervous about losing.
“Definitely,” Albus said, and he began unpacking the cards, picturing the look on Art’s face when he got soot all over.
The rest of the day went smoothly, and the next day came way too quickly. It was Saturday, the day of the first Quidditch match of the season.
To the relief to Albus, no players were injured or ill. The morning of the match, David was trying to convince Albus to allow him to hex one of the teammates, so Al could play.
“NO, David,” Albus said for the fifth time. “I’ll be a nervous wreck, and it might destroy our chances of getting the cup.”
After breakfast, the four of them walked up to the stands to watch the match. The match was Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff. Usually Hufflepuff was easy, but the Hufflepuffs pulled together a good team this year.
The stands were soon filled with students. Ravenclaw and Slytherin were mostly neutral, but several Slytherins were rooting for Hufflepuff since they hated Gryffindor.
Finally, the players from the teams went onto the field, with cheers coming from all around.
“Here comes the players, from Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, getting ready for the first match of the season!” called a very familiar voice. Al’s head jerked up, and he saw his cousin Louis holding the megaphone.
Louis Weasley was in his fourth year, same as his other cousin Fred Weasley. The two of them were best friends and the pranksters of Hogwarts. It didn’t exactly help that Fred’s father owned a joke shop either.
“Louis is commentating?” Albus whispered to Rose.
“Guess so,” she shrugged. Albus wondered who in their right mind would give Louis the privilege of commentating.
“And now here comes the Gryffindor players!” boomed Louis, while all the Gryffindors, including Albus, cheered.
“This year we have four new players! We have captain Chris Van Malden and Caroline Mikk, and new player James Potter, who happens to be my cousin. Then we have beater Brad Romo, and new beater Roxanne Weasley, who is also my cousin. Then we have new keeper Matthew Peakes, and new seeker Olivia Renehan.”
“For Hufflepuff we have three new players, who are triplets. They are Sean, Michael, and Jeffrey Preece, all chasers. Than we have our seeker Evan Rogers, and our keeper Courtney Fleet. Then we have our two beaters, Nick Rickett, nicknamed ‘Snake’ since he is supposedly as violent as a Slytherin,”-the Slytherin’s shouted in protest- “And we have Delia Summers.” All of a sudden, Fred grabbed the megaphone from Louis.
“My dear cousin Louis is missing all of the exciting stuff.” Fred said. “So, I’m going to say it for him. Our dear cousin, as most of you surely know, is the son of Harry and Ginny Potter. Ginny Potter was an excellent chaser and played professionally for the Holyhead Harpies. Harry Potter was probably the best seeker Hogwarts has ever seen. Will young James Potter live up to their expectations? Or will he be an epic failure, as he’s been his entire life?”
Albus spotted James on the ground yelling abuse at Fred. Albus was forced to stifle a laugh. Served him right, James was always abusing Albus. Fred handed the megaphone back to Louis.
“And now the players are climbing on to their brooms and are flying around the pitch. It is now three minutes until the game start. So, in the meantime, I’m going to embarrass James fully by singing a song Fred and I sang when we were four.”
Louis allowed Fred to be near the megaphone also, and they began to sing.
“James, James, James
Stupid baby James
Stupid, smelly, James
Stupid, smelly, awful, James
James, James, James.”
Fred and Louis sang this very off-key and high pitched. Unable to keep it in any longer, Albus doubled up laughing. Everybody except James started laughing as well. James crashed his broomstick where Fred and Louis were, narrowly missing them by inches.
Professor Fuchs talked with Fred and Louis sternly before allowing them to have the megaphone again.
Madam Hooch walked onto the field, and everyone hushed.
“Madam Hooch throws up the Quaffle- and the game begins!” Louis boomed out. “One of the Preeces- sorry, they’re identical triplets- takes immediate possession of the Quaffle, and passes back and forth between each other, so fast that the Gryffindor chasers can’t catch it- the chasers sure are trying hard, swerving in front of the triplets- and Van Malden takes the Quaffle!” Albus started cheering, as the rest of the Gryffindors whooped and clapped.
“Now Van Malden is passing it between Potter and Mikk, they are moving towards the goalposts wickedly fast, Van Malden throws it to the le- no, he faked it to the right- stumped the keeper too, and Fleet dives- misses- GRYFFINDOR SCORES!”
Albus stood up and cheered, same as the other Gryffindors.
“GO JAMES!” Albus called. James might be annoying, but he still wanted him to win.
“The score is now 10-0, Gryffindor. The Preece brothers have possession of the Quaffle- Potter tries to grab it but is inches short- ooh, a bludger narrowly misses him, I hope it get him next time- the Preece triplets get close to the goal, Peakes dives and misses- Hufflepuff scores…” Louis said, grumbling. Cheers were heard from the Hufflepuff end.
“They are now tied 10-10. Now the Gryffindor chasers dodge around the Preece brothers, and Mikk has the Quaffle. The Preece brothers soon corner her- Mikk throws the Quaffle out of their reach- ooh risky move- but Van Malden comes in and catches it!” Cheers were heard from the Gryffindors again.
Van Malden passes to Potte- no, one of the brothers rushes forward and steals the Quaffle- Preece approaches the goalposts- come on Peakes- Preece throws- Peakes dives- and Peakes catches it!” They started cheering again, but stopped once they saw that one of the Preece brothers intercepted the throw to the Gryffindor chasers, and he immediately scored.
“Hufflepuff scores…” Louis grumbled. Hufflepuff cheered again.
“Now Hufflepuff is in the lead with 20-10. Come on Gryffindor! Mikk takes possession of the Quaffle, passes to Potter, who passes it back to Van Malden- Van Malden and Mikk pass back and forth- they approach the goalposts- Van Malden goes close to the right goalposts- wait, he quickly throws it over to Potter, and Potter zooms towards the left goalpost- Fleet is heading over there but isn’t quick enough- Potter throws- GRYFFINDOR SCORES!” Albus cheered even harder than before.
“That’s James first goal ever!” Albus yelled to David, Art, and Rose. James certainly looked happy. He was beaming on top of his broomstick.
“The score is now tied 20-20, it looks like it’s going to be a very close match- The Preece brothers are throwing the Quaffle back and forth again- wait, Hufflepuff seeker Evan Rogers is hurtling towards the ground! Renehan too!”
Everyone in the stands jumped up and stared at the ground. Craning his neck, Albus saw the Golden Snitch fluttering on the Hufflepuff end.
“Rogers and Renehan are both accelerating towards the snitch- looks like Rogers is ahead- come on Olivia! They both reach out their hands- and Rogers gets the snitch. Oh, no- a late bludger, hit by Snake, hits Renehan on the head!”
Albus groaned. They were so close to winning! And now Renehan was hurt.
“Hufflepuff wins 170-20…” Louis groaned. Louis looked distraught. The Hufflepuffs were cheering excitedly, and were jumping off there seats, cheering louder than it was possible.
Louis jumped off the stands and started running where Olivia Renehan was. Albus looked around and saw Rose reading a book, but David and Art fully alert.
“Come on, I want to see,” Albus said, motioning for David and Art to follow him. They climbed off the stands towards Olivia, where a small crowd was now forming. As they got closer, they saw a worried Louis kneeling next to the unconscious Olivia.
Madam Pomfrey quickly emerged, wand in tow.
“Will she be okay?” Louis croaked. Albus was shocked. He had never seen Louis like this. Louis was always joking with Fred.
“Drat,” Olivia said the second she opened her eyes.
“Drat?” Louis laughed, color coming back to his face. “The first thing you say is drat?”
“Yeah well, that about suits it, doesn’t it?” Olivia said. “We lost.”
“Well, I suppose there is a slight possibility that we can win the cup, but it is slight, very slight, and Hufflepuff is too good to lose terribly against Ravenclaw and Slytherin…” Louis trailed off, frowning in concentration.
“Albus.” He felt a slight tug on his arm and he turned around, seeing Rose. “Let’s go,” she said. They walked until they caught up with David and Art.
“We’re done for,” David groaned. “No way we can jump up now.”
Albus dragged his feet the entire time, thinking miserably about the cup. Hufflepuff was too good.
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