Chapter 16 : Light and Dark
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Rose, however, always finished her homework at lightning speed, and she also spent every single spare moment of hers in the library researching. The place to find Rose was the library. She even began taking her lunch breaks in the library, and she woke up at six o’clock in the morning to go to the library.
“I think she’s spending too much time down there,” Art expressed worriedly to Albus one day.
But Albus didn’t have much time to think about Rose’s obsession with the library. He had to concentrate on aiming bludgers, dodging bludgers, catching snitches, blocking quaffles, throwing quaffles, and everything else required in the seven positions of Quidditch. Albus privately thought that being a reserve was much harder than being a player with just one position to concentrate on.
The match with Slytherin loomed closer, and finally, on the second Saturday of February, was the day of the match. Albus woke up very groggy and very cranky, as Chris had worked them very hard the night before. He had, however, let them out early, since Chris insisted they needed their rest. Albus stayed up in the library, however, since he didn’t have to play during the game.
Sun was shining through the window when Albus finally opened his eyes. David and Art were still curled up in their beds, fast asleep. They were both late sleepers, except for Art, but he was in the library as well last night. Art went to bed even later than Albus, but that was probably because Art didn’t have exhausting Quidditch practice.
Albus went down to the great hall and piled food onto his plate. Albus ate plenty of waffles, which was his favorite, and there were plenty of cinnamon buns today. Albus struck up a conversation with Rob and Marc about the match. Marc, of course just discussed random Quidditch trivia, and didn’t really contribute at all. Once David and Art woke up, they came down to the table as well. Rose was in the library researching, like usual.
As Albus was downing his glass of pumpkin juice, Art poked him in the shoulder.
“Look at Chris,” Art whispered.
Chris looked like he was in a state of panic when he walked into the great hall. His usually well-kept hair was now sticking up at odd angles. His eyes were darting around in frenzy, until they landed on Albus.
“A-Albus,” Chris panted, clutching a stitch on his side. “You’re playing today.”
“W-W-W-WHAT?” Albus stammered. David tried to hide a laugh as Albus sloshed his pumpkin juice down his robes. Albus, in response, shot daggers with his eyes at David, and then turned to Chris.
“Peakes has a cold,” Chris groaned. “Just a cold! But Madam Pomfrey said he couldn’t play in this freezing weather. I tried to convince her to let him play, but she gave me a ten minute long tirade. So you have to play keeper in the match today.” Albus gulped. He was playing. And he was absolutely terrified. What if he messed up? He was just a reserve! Just a dopey little first year!
“You’ll be fine,” Chris said, patting him on the back, but Chris was assuring himself more than Albus. “Be on the field in an hour. Make sure you get your Quidditch robes on, as well.” Chris then gave Albus a half-grin, and then left.
“What will I do?” Albus moaned. His cinnamon buns lay forgotten. David and Art both tried to give him words of comfort. Albus shrugged them off, and then he stepped outside the great hall, away from everyone else.
To his own surprise, Al found himself wandering around the grounds, until he finally reached Hagrid’s door. Albus raised his small little hand, and rapped on the door. How could small hands such as his block quaffles from entering the goal?
“Albie!” Hagrid cried, swinging open the door. “How yeh doing? This is a surprise!” He then proceeded to crush Albus into a bone-crunching hug.
“HagridI’mplayingQuidditchtodaybecausePeakesissick,” Albus blurted out.
“Slow down!” Hagrid laughed. “Have a cup o’ tea, an’ sit down.” Albus sighed and sat in a chair, as Hagrid bustled around, making some tea.
“Now,” Hagrid said, as he passed Albus a cup, “What’s with yeh?”
“I-I’m playing Quidditch today,” Albus stammered. “Peakes is sick.” Hagrid laughed.
“Yeh’ll be fine! Yer father was nervous before his firs’, but he caugh’ the snitch and won the game fer Gryffindor!” Hagrid then proceeded to give Albus some words of comfort. Hagrid’s warm, toasty cabin soothed him, and he slowly calmed down. Finally, when he walked down to the field an hour later, in his brand new Quidditch robes, Al felt much more relaxed.
Both teams got onto their broomsticks, Albus a little shakily. For the first few minutes, they just flew around the pitch, showing off. Albus just did a few loops around the goals, as Louis called out the names of all the teammates on their team.
“Now, that’s all the Gryffindors!” Louis called, as everyone except the Slytherins cheered.
“Now, on the Slytherin team, we have Andrew Burke, Drew Bulstrode, and Tristan Flint as chasers-“ the crowd booed. The few Slytherin cheers were drowned out by the boos of Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. Hufflepuff, a very nice bunch, simply stayed put, neither cheering nor booing.
Albus noticed most of the Slytherin team clenching their fists. Albus felt briefly sorry for them, but then shook that thought out of his head. He needed to focus.
“Then we have beaters Edward Nott and Vincent Rosier, who knocked out Gryffindor’s best players last season-“ the crowd jeered again- “And keeper Samuel Rowle, and their new seeker, David Griss, who will probably be just as bad as the rest.” The small, second year boy gritted his teeth. He was so tiny, even smaller than Art, but anger sparked in his eyes. Albus felt pity for him… but once again, Albus shook the thought away. They were Slytherins.
Finally, after an extremely brief and tense handshake between the captains, the game began. The Gryffindor chasers snatched the quaffle first, and the Slytherins attempted to get it. Since the ball was currently in Gryffindor possession, Albus had little to do as keeper. He just sat there, got cold, and listened to Louis’s commentary.
“Van Malden, Mikk, and Potter-James Potter, not Albus- keep passing the ball and weave in front of the Slytherin chasers. Those nasty snakes are trying to block the lions, but they keep weaving in front of them- indeed Potter, who currently had the ball, is doing an expert job at weaving in and out- All kudos to me-“ -James snorted- “-And Potter had dodged the chaser- he’s almost to the goal- and POTTER SCORES!” The cheers from Gryffindor were deafening.
“Now Slytherin in possession, and they are also trying to weave as well- although with less skill than Gryffindor-“ –the Gryffindor’s triumphantly hooted- “And they are making their way closer to the goal-“-Albus clenched his broomstick tighter- “And Burke, in possession, just narrowly dodged a bludger from Weasley- Roxanne that is- Burke is getting closer, and- ouch, poor Chris, a bludger just hit his arm- now the Slytherins are getting closer to the goals-Nobody is between them except Potter as keeper- Come on Albus!” Louis sounded extremely worried.
Albus shut his ears to the commentary, and focused on Andrew Burke, but particularly, the quaffle. Burke faked to the right but threw to the left- Albus saw it- he pushed his broomstick towards it and sped up- wind was rushing through his ears- the quaffle was almost at the goalpost- and then, inches from the goalpost, Albus caught the quaffle.
The Gryffindor team started cheering as Albus passed the quaffle to James. In the stands, Gryffindor was cheering wildly well, except for the few that were handing over money. Albus’s eyes sought his friends’ faces. It was difficult to spot among the sea of Gryffindors. Finally, he spotted them. David, Rose, and even shy Art were all beside themselves. They were all up, cheering wildly. Albus let out a grin. He began to listen to Louis again. However, Fred had stolen the megaphone and since Louis was now pinned to the ground, Fred commentated.
“Now, my loser of a cousin miraculously saved the quaffle- I suppose he gets lucky every once in a while-“ –Louis wrestled the megaphone back and took control.
“Now Louis here again- And there goes Captain Malden with the quaffle- excellent player, and he didn’t even play Quidditch when he was younger, he was muggle-born- same with most of the team, in fact- and Chris is amazing with the quaffle, and Chris is getting closer- the Slytherin keeper is absolutely rubbish, so lets hope she misses- Chris fakes- throws- and GRYFFINDOR SCORES!” The cheering was wild. Chris did a short victory fly around the field, and everyone except the Slytherins cheered.
“Now, Slytherins in possession- Chaser Andrew Burke has the ball, and he is currently trying to get to the goalposts- he is getting closer to the goalposts, and towards Albus- ALBUS, WATCH OUT, A BLUDGER!” Louis called out, sounding very panicked. Screams were coming from the Gryffindor crowd.
Albus looked up just in time to see a bludger pelting straight at his head. Roxanne and Brad were trying to get there but Al knew they wouldn’t get there in time. So Albus ducked- and the bludger slammed into the handle of his broomstick.
Gasps came from the crowd, and the next thing Albus knew, everyone on the team were racing over to him on their broomsticks.
“I’ve called time- Albus, are you okay?” Chris asked. The entire team was huddled around him, so Al could barely breathe. He appreciated it though, since they blocked the heavy wind.
“I’m fine. But I don’t think my broomstick is, though,” Albus said sadly. The handle on his broomstick now had a crooked handle that now pointed to the left. Was this the end of his broomstick’s career?
“You can probably send it to the broomstick repair shop later,” Chris suggested. “The recent models have some charm on them so they can be fixed by professionals, but only professionals,” Chris spat. “They could make them so the broomsticks can be fixed by Reparo, but no, the company has to make money…”
Albus cut across Chris’s tirade.
“Do you think my broomstick will be okay?” Albus asked urgently. The match was doomed if it could not be fixed. What would he do? Would Gryffindor simply be without a keeper?
“Well, time-outs can only be five minutes maximum, and we’ve already wasted two… there’s no way anybody can go fetch a school broom in three minutes…” Chris muttered distractedly, wringing his hands. He suddenly turned to Albus. “Can you fly?” Albus gave him worried look and attempted to fly towards the right goalpost.
He could technically fly. When he directed the broom towards the goalpost, it flew quite smoothly. The problem was, when he tried to go straight, it flew straight to the left at a 90 degree angle. Chris gritted his teeth.
“Right, we can do this…James, Caroline, we have to now defend the goals as well. Make sure the quaffle never gets close to being scored. All three of us will play keeper.” Both Chris and James looked grim. Caroline Mikk, however, grinned.
“That’s how it used to be hundreds of years ago! It said so in Quidditch with the Ages."
"Right," James muttered rolling his eyes. Albus had a suspicion that he wanted to tease her, like he did to Lily, but didn't do so since Caroline was several years older.
"Albus," Chris said, turning towards him. "We'll try our best to make sure the quaffle doesn't get scored, but no guarantees. So try your best, but we'll hold nothing against you if you don't make it because of your broomstick.
"Okay," Albus muttered. He appreciated that Chris was sympathetic.
"Time in!" Chris yelled. He shot a worried look at Albus, and then the game continued.
The Gryffindor chasers were great, and were much better than the Slytherin chasers, so their team was all right for a while.
"...The Gryffindor chasers make yet another goal for Gryffindor, making the total score 10 to 90 Gryffindor!" Louis cried triumphantly. A great amount of cheers went up on the Gryffindor end, and it was returned with grim faces on the Slytherin end.
Albus was, once again, sitting numbly on his broomstick. This time, however, the handle of his broomstick was bent. Al sighed. Hopefully he would be able to get it fixed at the new Nimbus repair shop in Diagon Alley. Meanwhile, Albus fretted about what would happen if the quaffle came down at his end. So, if he needed to go left, hold his broomstick straight, if he needed to go straight hold his broomstick to the right, if he needed to go right he had to... turn around? It was all so confusing.
Right now, he had little to worry about. The Slytherin chasers only came near the goal posts once, and Chris quickly snatched the ball out of their hands. It was pure delight to see Chris play Quidditch, since he was so good, and he darted and weaved in between players it was difficult to keep track of where he was. Albus stopped watching Chris and turned to listen to Louis's commentary.
"Chris is really weaving in and out of players beautifully, and looks like he is about to shoot- no blocked my Slytherin keeper-" Louis groaned. "-The Slytherin chasers have now got the quaffle, and they are bringing it down the field- YES Chris appears out of nowhere and steals the ball- Slytherins caught off guard- GRYFFINDOR SCORES!"
Albus sighed in relief. He tensed up and gripped his broomstick hard every time the quaffle got to his half of the field. Al was currently thanking the Gryffindor chasers for being so good, and keeping the ball away from the goal posts.
"Now the Slytherin chasers have the quaffle, and they are passing it back and forth, and slowly making their way towards the Gryffindor goalposts- Meanwhile, Nott and Rosier, the Slytherin beaters, are beating the bludgers towards the Gryffindor chasers viciously- Merlin, so now the Gryffindor chasers are distracted-This is no doubt what they wanted- They're going to score-"
Albus saw it as well. The Slytherin chaser, Drew Bulstrode, Albus thought he was called, had the quaffle. A triumphant grin was upon his face. There was nobody to block the goal except Albus, and Al had a broken broomstick. He had never felt more helpless.
Burke, knowing this as well, didn't bother to aim to far to Albus's left. Suddenly, Albus had an idea. The ball was whizzing through the air, only a few yards away from his left.
To go left, you have to aim straight… Albus remembered. He pointed the broomstick mostly straight, and the broom swerved to the broomstick... come on, he was almost there... the broom was going to much to the left...
Finally, nearly falling off the broom in the effort, Albus had the quaffle in his hands.
Gryffindor was in uproar. It was amazing to catch the quaffle with a broken broomstick. Louis was yelling triumphantly into the megaphone, Chris, James, and Caroline came over to congratulate them, and Roxanne and Brad were pelting the Slytherin team with bludgers.
"Great job Albus!" Louis was yelling. "I say, what's Olivia doing?" Al heard this right as Olivia sped past him. A second later, the snitch was in her hand.
"Party in the common room, come on!" James yelled, and happy chaos ensued. The next few minutes consisted of many people hugging Albus and Olivia. Al found himself back on the ground, and people squeezed their way through to congratulate him, including three certain people.
"You were great, Albus!" Rose exclaimed, reaching in to hug him.
"How did you fly on that thing?" Art asked, awe shining in his startling bright eyes. Albus shrugged in response.
"Good job!" David said approvingly, patting Albus on the back. James found them as well.
"Nice!" James exclaimed, patting him on the back as well, but so hard that Albus nearly fell over. "That was pretty good, but we would of won anyway, since I am so awesome." James was a good chaser, but Al wasn't going to admit that. "See you in the common room," James grinned, and winking before he walked away.
Albus happily walked to the common room, staying a decent away back from Rose and David, who were bickering again, and instead, he hung back with Art.
The common room looked like it was all set for a party. Somebody had obviously decorated, since there were red and gold streamers hanging from the ceiling, and there was a banner that said, Great Job Gryffindor! There were also sweets all around, so Albus had a strong suspicion Fred went to the kitchens. The next few hours were a happy blur, as people talked to him and ate sweets. Finally, Chris came over to talk to him.
"Good job, Al," Chris grinned. "You were great."
"Thanks," Albus muttered, but inside his heart swelled with pride.
"You should probably go ship your broomstick off now, so we have it back in time for practice next week," Chris suggested.
"Okay," Albus said. He picked up his broomstick, and walked out of the common room, and up to the owlery.
"What are you doing?" Filch scowled, his eyes darting to the broomstick in Albus's hands.
Al quickly wiped the smile off his face. In the chaos of the party, he had completely forgotten that Filch was still watching the mail.
"Just sending my broomstick to be fixed, sir," Albus said courteously, showing his broken broomstick. Albus quickly sent off the broom, using the school owls as well since Godric was so small.
Albus returned to the party in the common room. When he went inside, Rob started talking to him about the match.
"That was really clever, how you figured out how to steer the broomstick."
"Thanks," Albus said shyly, but happily, as Rob walked away. Art sat down next to Albus.
"Where's Rose?" Albus asked him.
"The library again," Art told him. "She says that's she's almost done looking through all the newspapers." Albus sighed. She spent too much time in there.
"Albus! Art! David!" Rose had burst into the Gryffindor common room, her hair a mess. "Let's go to your dormitory, come on." They stomped up the spiraling stairs once David shoved a few more pieces of fudge into his mouth. Once they were all settled onto Albus's bed, Rose spoke.
"I've just finished searching every single copy of the Daily Prophet," she said grimly. "There's no mention of him- Zajecfer- anywhere."
"None?" Albus whispered.
"None," Rose clarified. "I guess the only thing we can search for now is the potion. Let's hope we can find that, but it's so unusual it might not be in any books."
They sat in silence.
Amazing how I can turn a pretty happy chapter all depressing at the end, isn't it?
I am having an amazing time putting up my chapter using the new website layout! It's awesome, isn't it?
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