Chapter 42 : Quidditch Mishaps
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Severus hovered over the bouncy seat where his baby sister was lying, keeping the small one occupied while Ginny cooked dinner. Today had been one of the most boring days of school in his life, mostly because he had not been allowed to brew any sort of potion or even write down a recipe. Instead they had reviewed the history of Hogwarts which Severus knew already and so did Lily. Severus knew it was mere busy work, because of their punishment for digging up the lawn at Malfoy Manor and he huffed and moped his way through it. Never had class dragged so long since his rebirth. But finally Harry had taken pity on them and let them practice some small Defense spells and flown with them.
When it came time for a short study period before dinner, Severus wrote a short note to Lily, reassuring her that Harry was not at all like Tobias Snape.
I know you were worried about me yesterday, that Harry would hurt me if he punished me, but you shouldn't be. Before I came to live with him, he promised he would never beat me the way my father did. He knows what went on then, and he swore if he ever spanks me, it'll only be five swats with his hand over clothes and that's all. Harry doesn't like to use a lot of corporal punishment and in fact hardly ever does so. I trust him to be fair and honest with me, I would never allow anyone to smack me around again. Harry's a better father than my own ever was.
Lily looked up at him from across the kitchen table when she had finished reading his note. Now she felt bad for misjudging Harry, but given what had happened to her best friend last time . . . she just wanted to make sure Severus was safe and happy in his new life. She picked up her quill, and replied:
I didn't mean to sound like Harry was a nasty git like your dad, because I know that's not true. But sometimes when grown men get angry, it scares me. And Harry does have a temper, so please forgive me for being scared for you. There's still that odd connection between us, and I know he'd never harm a child, that he loves me and you too, but like I said, I just got scared, and I didn't want you to get a spanking.
Although, looking back on it, maybe a spanking wouldn't have been as bad as not having potions class. Today was so boring! I wish we could see what all was in that book we found. But Grandpa hid it somewhere and I'm not allowed in his study alone, so I can't even look for it. And if he ever catches me in there, I have a feeling he'd take me over his knee. Or my dad would. So that's out. Maybe I can convince my dad to at least let us see what's inside it, it's not like we can cast anything anyway.
Severus flashed her a covert grin and scribbled back:
It's okay, I understand. See if you can convince Draco to just flip through the book and maybe tell us if there's any interesting potion recipes or defense spells inside. Sometimes Lucius can be an overprotective pain in the behind! Did you finish your Charms yet?
Almost. Well, at least we have the Quidditch game tomorrow to look forward to. I can't wait. I feel like I've been waiting forever.
The tickets they had all received for presents were supposed to be for a Quidditch game during the Christmas holidays. But due to a strike by the players, the game had been cancelled. They had finally resolved the matter and now the game was on tomorrow. Finally! Severus hoped that nothing else happened to delay the game.
All too soon, it was time for Lily to go home, and Harry Flooed her back to the Malfoy quarters in the dungeons. Now he stood next to Indi's bouncy seat and poked the baby gently in the tummy, making her squeal with delight. She reached out her small hand and grabbed Severus' finger in her hand.
"Hey, pretty lady," he spoke softly to her. "Do you like it when I do that? Huh?" He playfully ran his hand down her little chest, tickling her ribs.
Indigo giggled loudly, waving her fists and feet in the air, her blue eyes sparkling as she gazed up at her elder brother.
Severus grinned at her. He loved to hear her laugh, loved playing with her. He had not expected to grow so attached to her so quickly, he wasn't used to babies, but somehow his little sister had managed to grab on to his heart and hold it fast. He knew then that he would protect her with his life if need be, as he would Alby.
He picked up a soft stuffed ball and gave it to her. "Here you go, Indi. Squeeze it."
The baby tried to grasp the ball, and Severus playfully pulled it just out of reach. When she reached for it, he let her grab onto it for a few seconds before pulling it away again. "Go on and get it, baby. Good job!"
Indigo grabbed the colorful toy and gummed on it.
While she was doing that, Alby came home from school. He immediately dumped his bookbag down and made a beeline for the loo. Once he was finished, he then headed into the kitchen to get a glass of milk and snatch a shortbread from the plate on the table. "Hi, Mum!"
Ginny turned from frying chicken at the stove and smiled. "Hi, Al! How was your day?"
"It was good. Today we learned about picking the right kind of feather for quills and how to write everybody's name in our family. But I could already write my name, 'cause Sevvy teached me."
"You mean Sevvy taught you."
"That's what I just said."
Ginny shook her head. "No, the past tense of teach is taught, not teached."
"It just is." She gave him a hug. "Have any homework?"
"Just some addition. I can do that sleeping." Alby said. "Where's Sevvy?"
"Playing with your sister."
Alby hurried from the kitchen, spotting Severus beside the bouncy chair. "Hi, Sevvy! Hi, Indi!" He knelt beside the baby and gave her a kiss on the cheek. The baby smelled good, like lilacs and baby powder.
Indi tried to pull his hair, then squalled a little when Alby lifted his head. "No, no pulling hair, that hurts!"
The baby's face screwed up into a red grimace and she started to cry.
Alby looked concerned by her distress and quickly picked up a soft rattle and gave it to her. "Here, play with this, Indi. It's better than my hair."
Indigo grasped the rattle in her tiny fists and waved it a little. Then she brought it to her mouth and sucked on it.
Alby sighed in relief. "Merlin, can she scream."
Severus nodded. "She's got the biggest mouth in Hogwarts," he said proudly.
"She's lucky she's cute," Alby said. "Otherwise nobody'd want to be around her."
"I would," Severus said loyally. He gently stroked the soft fuzz on the top of her head and started the bouncer rocking. "What's for dinner?"
"Fried chicken, I think," Alby answered. "Where's Daddy?"
"Gone to talk to Draco about something. Probably the Quidditch game tomorrow."
"I can't wait! We got the best seats, right behind the goal post. We can see it all!" Alby was so excited he was practically jumping in place.
Severus smiled at his little brother's eagerness. "It should be fun."
"I wonder if they have Supersonic Chili Chips."
"What in heaven's name is that?"
"Sirius tol' me about it. He said the last time he went to a Quidditch match with Uncle Remus and his brothers, they ordered it from the food stand. It's chips with melted cheese and chili on top. He said they were really good."
Severus shrugged. "Guess we'll have to wait and see. You stay here with the baby, Al. I need to go set the table."
As he was walking into the kitchen he heard Indigo squeal and Alby say, "Ow! You hit me in the nose! Is that nice? For an itty bitty baby, you sure know how to hit."
The next day:
The stands were packed when the five friends arrived with their children in tow and fought to find their seats. Draco had Cory and Lily, Harry took Alby and Sevvy, Ron was with Rose, Neville with Frankie, and Remus with Teddy, Sirius, and Jamie. Remus warned everyone to hold hands with each other and an adult, so as not to get separated by the crowd. As they made their way to their seats, sometimes shoving to get through and stay together, someone stepped on Frankie's foot. She immediately started crying and Neville ended up picking her up and holding her.
When they finally reached their seats, they discovered some were already occupied by two skinny teenagers wearing black jackets and sporting Mohawks and a number of piercings. "Excuse me," began Remus politely. "But I believe you are sitting in the wrong seats. Those seats are reserved for us."
One of the boys looked up with an insolent sneer on his lips. "I don't think so, Grandpa. We were here first."
"Yeah, why don't you go and sit up there? You'll see better!" said his companion, then he began to laugh loudly. He pointed to seats much higher up in the stands. Then he put his booted feet up on top of the seat back in front of him.
Remus was about to say something angrily, but Draco beat him to it. He put a hand on one of the kids' shoulder and said menacingly, "Kid, if I were you, I'd get your skinny ass up and go sit where you're supposed to. Before I throw you off the balcony."
The kid turned slowly and met Draco's eyes, which were like two chips of ice. He gulped sharply. "W-who are you?"
"The name's Malfoy," Draco drawled menacingly. "Now beat it!"
The kid Draco was holding went pale as milk, then he got up and dragged his companion up too. "C'mon, Luke. Let's get out of here. We don't want to make him mad."
"Huh? But . . ."
The kid leaned down and whispered something in his friend's ear.
"Oh! I'm terribly sorry, sir!" babbled Luke. "We didn't know."
The two kids turned and bolted up the stairs.
Ron looked over at Draco. "What was that all about?"
Draco lofted an eyebrow. "Surely, Weasley, you remember what sort of reputation my family had. And why. Well, so do they." He sat down in one of the seats the kid had vacated, then beckoned for Cory and Lily to come down.
Lily sat next to Severus, then Cory was next to him and Alby. Frankie and Rosie were next, then came Teddy, Jamie and Sirius. Harry sat next to Sirius and Neville, Ron, and Remus.
Of course, as soon as they had settled down, the concession wizard came around selling butterbeer, pumpkin juice, lemonade, and coffee. There were also giant pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, chocolate bars and lolly pops. Another wizard was selling sausage on a roll with peppers, chicken sandwiches, and hamburgers and chips.
The aromas were tantalizing, and the children began clamoring for food and snacks.
"Dad, I'm starving!" Sirius whimpered. "Can I have some butterbeer and a hamburger?"
"I want a big pretzel, Dad," Rosie whined.
"I want a pretzel and a chocolate bar," Frankie added.
"Daddy, can I have some popcorn with butter, please?" Cory asked.
"Me too!" Lily cried. "Sev, do you want to share with me?"
"Sure. But I'm thirsty. Harry, can I have a large lemonade?"
"Daddy, I want a sausage with chips," Jamie begged. His mouth was watering.
"I want caramel corn," Teddy pleaded.
"I wanna a hamburger and chips too!" Alby shouted.
"Everybody, quiet!" Harry ordered. All the children grew still. "Right now, it's only the first part of the game. Too early to eat lunch. So, why don't you all get a snack now, and then you can get sandwiches and hamburgers later?" At some of their groans, he added, "No need to worry, they have plenty of food, so nothing's going to run out."
Jamie and Alby pouted a little, but in the end they ordered some popcorn.
"My treat," Harry said, and paid for the lot before his friends could protest.
"Harry, you didn't have to do that," Ron protested. "We're not broke."
"I know, Ron. But I felt like it. You can all pay for lunch, if you want."
"We'll treat you and your sons," Draco said firmly.
Lily tugged on Draco's sleeve. "Dad, when's the game going to start?"
"Soon, princess. Just be patient and eat your popcorn," he told her softly. Then he took a handful of it and ate some. "You don't mind sharing, do you?" he asked slyly.
Lily shook her head. "You already ate it, Dad, so how could I mind?"
Draco snickered. "You are too quick, Lily." He gently tweaked her nose.
"Here, Sev," Lily offered him the popcorn container.
Severus took some, he also had a pretzel and some lemonade. He waited quietly for the ref to come out on the field, and then the parade of teams.
This was an international Quidditch match, so it was Puddlemere United with their blue robes with golden bulrushes vs. the US team Fitchburg Finches, who had red robes with a yellow finch on the right breast. The Finches had a top player on their team, Seeker Maximus Brankovitch III, who had won the US Cup seven times.
Neville nudged Ron. "Hey, doesn't Oliver Wood play for Puddlemere?"
"Used to. He was reserve Keeper. But now he plays for the Magpies as Keeper," Ron replied.
"Who do you think will win?"
"Odds are it'll be pretty even, unless Brankovitch spots the Snitch early. He's got a Firebolt, so you'd better watch him. He's wicked fast."
Neville nodded. He had never been the Quidditch fanatic Ron, Draco, or even Harry was, but he did enjoy a well played game every so often. However the best part of this day was spending time with his friends and his daughter.
The game began, and it was as fast paced as Ron had warned. Both Seekers were in top form and so were the Chasers. If not for the announcer, Neville would have had trouble figuring out who was who on the teams.
Cory grew so excited he spilled his popcorn all over the ground. He stared in dismay at his treat and started to sniffle. "My popcorn!" he wailed.
Alby nudged his friend and whispered, "Hey, Cory, don't cry. You can have some of mine." He offered Cory his rather large container.
"Really? Thanks, Alby." Cory gave him a grateful smile and took some popcorn and ate it.
The Lupin brothers were screaming and waving pennants for Puddlemere United. Cory supposed he should be rooting for his country's team, but the truth was he liked the Finches better. Especially Maximus.
Lily also liked the handsome Seeker, and Seveus admired how quick he was upon the Firebolt.
"Oh, Sev, I hope he wins!" she clapped. "I think he's better than the Puddlemere Seeker."
Severus nodded. "I agree. But Puddlemere's Chasers are good too."
They watched, practically on the edge of their seats, as the Quaffle was passed back and forth between the Finches, and then one young woman took it down towards the rings, her face filled with determination. Suddenly, a large man from Puddlemere rushed her, slamming his shoulder into her and causing her to drop the Quaffle.
Another Puddlemere Chaser swooped down and caught it.
The fans of the American team were crying foul and Cory was howling, "Cheater! That's no fair!"
"He could have killed her, that stupid dolt!" Lily yelled, shaking her fist at the Puddlemere Chaser.
"Sometimes that's the only way those big dunderheads know how to play, by throwing their weight around," Severus sneered. "Bad form, you twit!" he cried.
The referee called a penalty against the British team and they got a red card. The Chaser who had committed the foul was pulled and a replacement sent in.
By half time, the score was Puddlemere 20-Finches-30. A very close game indeed.
Ron quickly ordered lunch for the Potters and also himself and Rose. They ate and then the dads decided to take their kids to use the bathroom while there was still time. Of course there were lines, but some kind adults were willing to let Frankie, Rose, and Lily go ahead of them.
Ron and Neville waited for the girls outside the bathroom, while Draco took Cory and Alby and Remus took Teddy in the men's room. Meanwhile, Harry was standing on line with Severus, Sirius, and Jamie, getting the boys more drinks.
Jamie, bored with waiting so long, slipped out of line and went over to the booth next door, looking at the shirts for sale. There were dozens of Quidditch jerseys and jumpers, not just of the teams playing today, but all the teams. The littlest Lupin just stared up at all the colorful robes , shirts, and other sports memorabilia, sighing in longing.
Harry had just paid for the drinks and started to hand them out when he noticed Jamie was no longer beside him. He turned to look for the boy, and found him staring at the Quidditch booth. Harry heaved a sigh of relief and gave Sirius Jamie's butterbeer. "Here, go give this to your brother."
He put a hand on Severus' shoulder to move him out of the crowd. They were jostled by impatient people trying to get refreshments. For an instant, Severus was pulled away from Harry, and lost him in the crowd. He began to shout for his guardian. "Harry! Harry, where are you?"
There were so many people, and Severus couldn't see much beyond robes and legs. Finally he broke free of the crowd and stood panting in a small space. He saw Sirius and Jamie still standing at the Quidditch booth, sipping their butterbeers and that made him feel relieved to see a familiar face. Then he caught sight of Harry, leaning against a pole, looking concerned and worried.
Severus felt a relief so great he almost burst into tears. He wasn't lost. He had found Harry. "Harry!" he cried, then he raced up to Harry and threw his arms about his leg. He felt tears prickle his eyes.
"Sevvy! There you are!" Harry exclaimed. "I was just going to cast a Locator Charm. Are you all right?"
"I am now," Severus murmured into Harry's middle.
Harry picked him up and held him. "Thank goodness!"
Just then Ron appeared, holding Rose and with Lily and Frankie walking next to him. He was looking down at Lily and smiling at something they were discussing.
There came a strange whizzing noise and then a practice Bludger came out of nowhere, hit enthusiastically by some indulged child.
It struck Ron in the head and he toppled to the ground like a shot.
Rosie hit the ground too and began to scream hysterically. "Dad! My daddy!" She was scraped and bruised, but all she cared about was her father, lying so still on the ground.
"Ron!" Harry cried, rushing over with Severus in his arms. He set the boy down so he could examine Ron, who was out cold.
Severus grabbed Lily's hand, she was crying.
So was Frankie.
Rose was still hysterical, and Draco reached over to pick her up and get her out of the way.
Neville did the same with Frankie.
"What happened to Uncle Ron?" cried Alby.
"He got hit in the head with a rogue Bludger," Severus said. "I think they need to take him to the hospital."
Cory and Alby gasped.
Harry looked up from Ron and said, "Nev, we need to get him to St. Mungos."
"I'll take him, along with Rose and Frankie. Would someone please call Hermione?"
"I'll do that," Draco said quickly. "Harry, will he be all right?"
"It's hard to tell. He could be fine . . . then again, he might have complications. We'll have to wait and see."
"I hope he's all right," Lily saod worriedly.
Harry had conjured a stretcher and placed Ron on it. Severus glanced away and saw James and Sirius still arguing over something. He saw a small ragged young boy push past them and continue walking down the trail.
Jamie finally made up his mind and reached for his wallet, only to find it was gone. "Oh, no! My wallet!"
Sirius whirled and looked down at the ground. He didn't see any wallet. "When did you have it last?"
"Bloody pickpocket!" He looked at his brother. "I can track him."
"How, with so many people?"
"Like this," then Sirius blurred into his dog form.
Ignoring the gaping stares of Severus and Lily, Padfoot trotted up the pavement, pausing every now and then to sniff the ground. He galloped after the retreating pickpocket, furious that the kid had dared to pick on his brother. Ears flopping, he closed the gap between himself and the thief.
Filled with the joy of the hunt, Sirius forgot to pay attention to his surroundings. All he wanted was to grab the thief and make him return the money he'd stolen.
But the thief was clever, and soon disappeared into the massive crowd. Padfoot whimpered and cast about, trying to find the scent again. It was very frustrating.
People tried to pet the cute puppy, he enjoyed the way they scratched his head and neck. But then he reminded himself he was on a mission.
He trotted after the thief, not really paying attention to where he was going, just concentrating on the pickpocket.
He followed the thief outside the Quidditch pitch and down a dingy street, but the trail ended abruptly.
Padfoot sat down and whined, he was unsure of where he was, alone and scared. It was dark and he was shivering in the garbage strewn alley. He would have turned away and tried to backtrack, but he was frightened of being a kid in this neighborhood. Some sixth sense warned him to not shift back and so he stayed a puppy.
He sniffed the air and started heading down the alleyway, which appeared to be old and decrepit. Within seconds Sirius was lost.
A/N: I'm not too good writing Quidditch chapters since I'm the world's worst sports fan, so I struggled a little with this one. Also, since this is an international game, I added in penalties, because I feel all sports need them and I don't know why Quidditch doesn't have them, they need them. So, they have red and yellow cards.
Next: Poor Sirius is lost! Will he ever find the way home?
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