Chapter 4 : Appleby Arrows v Caerphilly Catapults
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Roxanne stretched her arms high above her head, holding the position for a few moments before she dropped them and began moving them in a circular motion. Her other teammates were warming up around her, doing their own stretches to warm up their muscles. It wouldn’t be long until they would need to make their way down to the pitch and the coach was giving them one last pep talk, whilst the captain, Thomas Harrison, was checking that the team were wearing the right protective equipment.
Roxanne stopped circling her arms and began bouncing up and down lightly on her toes, shaking her arms beside her, loosening them. Violet was stretching her legs on the floor not far from Roxanne, whilst listening intently to the coach who was telling the Chasers about plays they might want to try in the match.
Roxanne stopped jumping after a while and began bending over to touch her toes, she was thankful that her robes were stretchy otherwise this would have been difficult to do.
“I love the view, Roxanne,” Shawn Chambers said from behind Roxanne. She stood up slowly and turned to look at the Keeper with a grin on her face.
“That’s all you’ll be getting, Shawn,” She told him.
“I’ll have to just keep imagining waking up in bed with both you and Violet,” Shawn said with a laugh.
“It’s a good thing that you were such a gentleman that night, otherwise I would have been worried about waking up to see you both passed out next to me."
Shawn gave another laugh before he let Harrison check his equipment. Roxanne turned back around and began slowly rolling her head around as she looked at the coach, who was still talking to the Chasers.
“I thought that you wouldn’t make it back from your walk in time to hear Gerald’s pep talk,” Violet said to Roxanne, who stopped rolling her head around and looked down at Violet. She had stopped stretching her legs and was slowly getting up off of the floor.
“I always make sure that I’m back in time for the pep talk,” Roxanne told her a sarcastic tone to her voice, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“I sometimes wonder if you go for your walks just so you have an excuse to miss the talk,” Violet said giving her a grin.
Before every match, Roxanne would take a walk around the inside of the stadium. It helped to calm her nerves and give her a clear head for the match. She would also use this time to check the weather conditions and decide if she would need to change any of her planned plays or tactics to suit the weather. Roxanne was glad that the weather was still sunny so it wouldn’t affect her at all, unless the weather changed drastically and without warning.
Walking around the stadium before a match had become a tradition for her and she didn’t want to stop doing it and risk the chance of jinxing herself. It was silly, she knew, but she couldn’t bring herself to change her ways. It was like Violets need to make sure that her boot laces were tied in a certain way, she had been known to re-tie them on her way down to the field. Or like the Chaser, Harjeet Gupta’s tradition of placing a kiss on the necklace his son had brought for him years ago, which he wore for every match. Jerome Housley was known to eat certain things before matches and each member of the team would high-five each other before they left the changing room.
Roxanne had heard of stranger traditions over the years, but it was all part of who they were and how they readied themselves for the matches ahead.
“Weasley. Housley,” Roxanne looked up at Gerald, “The Catapults are using Barber and Sternbridge, there have been rumours of them wanting to get Shawn out of the match first so make sure that you keep an eye out for any rogue Bludgers heading his way. Be careful out there, they’re not the kind of team to resort to underhanded tactics to win, like the Wasps –“ There was a low hiss at the mention of their rivals, “- but you can’t be too careful.”
Roxanne nodded, before looking at Thomas Harrison, who had stopped in front of her. He gave her the once over, checking that her uniform was correct, before grabbing for the fingerless gloves that she had yet to put on. They were made of leather and were padded to support and protect the bottom half of her arm; they were a light brown colour so that they wouldn’t clash with her pale blue robes.
“Are you ready to kick some arse out there, Weasley?” he asked her as he helped her put the gloves on.
“I was born ready, Captain,” Roxanne told him with a wide grin.
“Make us proud,” he told her, giving her a wink as he helped her with the other glove. He moved away from her and went to Violet, who seemed to be the last player he was checking.
Roxanne took a deep breath as she clenched and unclenched her hand, making sure that her gloves weren’t on too tightly and she was able to move her hands and fingers as much as she would need to. They fit perfectly.
“Five minutes until match time,” Gerald said, after looking down at his watch, “everyone out the door, we have a match to win.”
The team all cheered, made sure to high five each other before grabbing for their brooms and walking out of the room slowly. They were all patting each other on the backs and saying words of encouragement as they made their way down the corridor and towards the part they would be flying out of and into the stands. They could already hear the loud chanting from their fans whilst in the changing rooms, but it became almost deafening as they stood waiting. The sounds gave Roxanne shivers and she couldn’t help but grin in excitement, there was nothing that had ever given her the same great feelings as being in a Quidditch match, the atmosphere was electric and it never failed to make her feel alive.
Jerome Housley moved to stand next to her and Roxanne turned to face him, they both raised their Beater bats up and tapped them together with wide grins.
“It’s going to be an amazing match, Roxanne,” He told her as he threw his arm around her and pulled her to him, she hugged him tightly and he gave her a kiss on the head in the excitement. This escalated quickly into Violet joining them as she was standing behind them both.
“Arrows. Arrows. Arrows,” They began to chant after they pulled away from each other and straightened out their robes and began to climb onto their brooms.
They stopped chanting as soon as they heard the commentator begin to call out to the fans in the stands.
“Welcome to the fifth game in the league,” The man called out, his voice amplified around the stadium, “the Appleby Arrows are facing the Caerphilly Catapults. With strong players on each side this is promising to be a great match.”
There were more cheers around them and Roxanne gripped her broom and bat more tightly, knowing that it wouldn’t be long until her team were called onto the pitch. She was standing behind the three Chasers on her team, who were stood behind the Keeper; Violet was standing behind Jerome and Roxanne as she was the teams Seeker and would be the last to fly out into the stadium.
“So let’s get this match started. Let’s bring out the Appleby Arrows,” The doors burst open in front of them and they all flew out in turns when their names were called.
“We have – Chambers! Harrison! O’Connell! Gupta! Weasley! Housley! And Addams!”
Roxanne felt the wind whipping around her face as she flew into the air and followed her team as they circled the stadium. Any fears that she might have felt before the match went away as soon as she was in the air. She smiled as she flew around, keeping focused on her team flying in front of her before they all went to their positions on the pitch. Only when she was hovering did she let herself look for her family in the stands.
She could see them in the sea of pale blue banners and T-shirts; they were sitting close to where she was hovering. Most of her family had made it out to see her; in fact, they had their own section of the stands to fit them all. She gave a wave at them all and she couldn’t help but grin as she looked at the banner they had hung over the front of where they sat, the words, ‘My daughter is a Quidditch star, so why am I in the stands with everyone else?’ at first it had embarrassed her, but now she loved it. Her dad had brought the banner with him every match. The funny thing about the banner, was that her father could have been sitting in the box that was intended for the family and friends of the players to use. But as her family was so large they decided to sit themselves in the stands, to make it fairer on the other Quidditch players friends and families that would want to come to the games.
She listened as the commentator began calling out for the stadium to welcome the other team’s players, (“Cosgrave! Leavell! Stracher! Lykes! Barber! Stembridge! And Steil!”) Roxanne looked away from her family and over at Jerome Housley, they made eye contact and Roxanne nodded her head at him and then towards the other teams goalposts. Jerome gave her a discreet nod and turned back to look in front of him, understanding her telling him that she would be mainly using this part of the pitch, trying to defend their owl goals.
“Now, with all of the players in their positions the referee will release the balls and begin the game.”
Roxanne looked down at the grass and saw a tall blonde haired man in silver robes, pulling the trunk behind him with one hand, whilst the other clutched his broomstick.
She took a deep breath as she adjusted the grip on her Beater's bat and readied herself for the Bludger that was about to be released. The referee opened the trunk and all four balls flew out of it, the two Bludgers and the Snitch darting off quickly, whilst the Quaffle seemed to hover in the air in the middle of the pitch. Roxanne glanced quickly at Jerome and saw that he was watching the Bludger that had gone to the right of him; Roxanne knew that she would be chasing the other Bludger, which she had seen was flying around above her.
The referee blew the whistle and Roxanne shot straight up in the air, ignoring the cheers of the fans in the stadium. She neared the Bludger quickly and whacked it as hard as she could downwards and towards the Catapults chaser, Adrian Lyke, who had managed to get a hold of the Quaffle and was darting towards Shawn. The Bludger aimed straight for Adrian, who had raised his arm to throw the Quaffle. Adrian just managed to move out of the way of the Bludger before it made impact with him, but he had lost the Quaffle in the process. Shawn dived for it and caught it with ease before he threw it as hard as he could towards Thomas Harrison. Roxanne moved away from them and off in search of the Bludgers, making sure that she was defending her team from any that were hit towards them.
“Roxanne, rebound!” Jerome called over to her. Roxanne turned quickly at his voice and held her bat ready, she only just focused on him before he sent a Bludger towards her and she hit it as fast as she could towards the Catapults Keeper, Dante Cosgrove, who was forced to abandon his place in front of the middle goal hoop. This gave Harjeet Gupta enough time to throw the Quaffle through it.
The cheers erupted around the stadium as Harjeet punched his fist into the air in celebration, before high-fiving Thomas Harrison as he passed him.
“Gupta has scored for the Arrows,” the commentator yelled around the stadium, “that’s another ten points to them, which puts them in the lead with 50-40.”
Roxanne zoomed across the field and hit a Bludger away from Shawn, her eyes searched the field and she kept her position for a while whilst the Chasers attempted to score in the goals. She wasn’t listening to the commentator as she attempted to stop the opposing teams Chasers from coming towards Shawn, but sometimes they were too quick for the Bludgers to hit them. She decided that her best bet was the move away from her defensive strategy and head a bit further out into the pitch.
She glanced up at the large scoreboard that was in front of a stand ahead of her, there were two scoreboards around the pitch so that people could see the amount of points that the teams had scored. She saw that her team were winning by 100-70, she hadn’t even registered most of this happening as she was too focused on finding and hitting Bludgers and the Chasers were going too fast for her at times to wonder what the score was.
Roxanne’s eyes searched around the pitch again. There was a Bludger heading towards her from across the other side and she was trying to work out where the best place was to aim it. The Bludger arrived at her before she made a decision so she hit it straight above her, making it fly higher into the air.
“Weasley has hit the Bludger into the air, that’s not the kind of mistake that you want to be making. She was meant to be aiming it towards the players on the opposing team,” She heard the commentator tell the pitch.
“I know how to do my job,” Roxanne growled to herself as she glanced up quickly to see how much time she would have before the Bludger came flying back down towards her. It was still flying upwards and was beginning to slow itself down, as though readying itself for the fall back down to earth. Roxanne used this time to glance back across the field. She saw that one of the Catapults Beaters was watching for the other Bludger that was being hit between the three other Beaters on the pitch. None of the Catapults Beaters seemed to be paying attention to Roxanne, which was a mistake.
Roxanne gave a smirk as she moved her grip down the bat and looked back up at the Bludger, that was beginning to head towards her at a breakneck speed. She backed her broom up slowly and brought her arm back and waited for the right moment, before swinging her bat and hitting the Bludger as hard as she could. A loud crack filled the stadium and Roxanne was worried that the force of the hit was going to break her bat in half; the Bludger flew towards Sternbridge, one of the Catapults Beaters.
He didn’t see it in time and it collided with the back of his broom, sending him flying down to the ground. He slowed down before he made it to the bottom, due to a spell that had been put on the stadiums to prevent any fatal accidents that could occur, but it didn’t slow down people quickly enough to prevent any damage from happening.
“I take back my words, that was a perfect hit from Weasley. We’re going to need to watch out for her this match,” The commentator roared around the stadium. Roxanne felt herself smiling as the stadium filled with cheers. This distracted the Catapult Chasers enough for Thomas Harrison to punch the Quaffle out of Adrian Lykes hands and zoom across the pitch with it.
“Lykes should have been keeping his eyes on the Quaffle instead of Sternbridge; I bet he’ll be regretting that – of course he will, as Harrison has scored again. That brings the scores up to 110 – 70 in favour of the Arrows. Come on, Catapults, you don’t want the Arrows getting the lead here.”
Roxanne let her eyes search around the stadium for the Bludgers, whilst also trying to keep her attention on the other members of her team. With the Catapults down one Beater, it was in favour to her team. If Sternbridge stayed out of the game for long enough, her and Jerome would be able to take control of both Bludgers, hitting them to each other until they needed to hit them towards another player. It was something that they had practiced enough during practices to know that they could pull it off.
Roxanne’s eyes found Jerome, who was flying about thirty feet from her; he turned to face her as though he sensed her looking at him and Roxanne raised her bat up and began moving it in circles. Jerome understood what she meant and gave her a grin before darting after a Bludger that was moving ahead of him. Roxanne kept her eye out for the other Bludger that Edison Barber, the remaining Beater for the Catapults, had hit towards Violet Adams, who had dived quickly out of the way by spinning upside down on her broom.
Jerome turned around and hit the Bludger, he had been chasing, back across the pitch in the direction that Roxanne was in. It was a difficult thing to do, but Jerome and Roxanne had been practicing this move for months and had been trying to perfect it. Roxanne moved across the field so that she could hit the Bludger back at Jerome, before flying upwards so that she could hit the Bludger that was zooming in her direction. She hit it towards Jerome as well and it narrowly missed the Bludger that was hit back at her.
“What on earth are Housley and Weasley doing? Barber hasn’t been able to get one hit on the Bludger since they both took control of it. A fabulous move, it’s clear to see that they’ve been practicing this one.”
They continued this for a few more moments before Jerome fired the first Bludger towards Carson Steil, the Catapults Seeker, who was speeding along the bottom of the pitch after Violet, clearly both having seen the Snitch. The Bludger just narrowly missed Steil, causing him to veer off slightly, but he tried to fly back on the path he had been.
Roxanne hit the Bludger downwards as soon as it came towards her and it went straight into the path of Steil. Who this time didn’t managed to swerve out of the way of the Bludger and instead side rolled, losing the grip on his broom and causing him to be dragged along the grass of the pitch, before he let go of his broom. Cheers immediately erupted around the stadium and Roxanne looked down to see that Violet had caught the Snitch. She let out a loud cheer before punching the air.
“Addams has caught the Snitch!” The cheer around the stadium was almost deafening and Roxanne felt like she was floating on cloud nine as she continued punching the air. Jerome was flying towards her and slowed down enough to hug her in excitement. “That was some fine work by Weasley and Housley in knocking Steil off of Violet’s back. The crowd is going wild and so they should, with the points added for the capture of the Snitch, the Appleby Arrows have won the match with a score of 260 - 70.”
Roxanne and Jerome pulled away from each other and soon joined their other teammates, who had begun to circle the stadium in a celebratory fly. The Caerphilly Catapults were all flying to the ground to commiserate each other, whilst the referee was waving his wand so that the Bludgers would go back into their box.
Once they had circled the stadium once in celebration. They slowed down a little and moved both hands off of their brooms as they flew, pretending to shoot arrows from pretend bows. Years and years ago the Appleby Arrows had shot real arrows after they had won, but due to some nasty accidents. They weren’t allowed to use real arrows. But they still felt the need to celebrate in the same way.
Roxanne was still grinning madly as she made her way out of the changing rooms, her backpack slung over her shoulder and her hair damp from the shower that she had taken. The team was planning on meeting at the pub close to their training grounds so that they could celebrate in style, in a few hours time and Roxanne was going to go spend some time with her family, before she began getting ready for it.
She ran over to the entrance of the stadium and saw her family were waiting for her. Her mother even had hold of a large bouquet of flowers that she hadn’t noticed before when they were sitting in the stands, but she didn’t give that much thought in that moment, as she was engulfed in a hug from her father, who was soon joined by the other family members.
Roxanne gave a laugh and warned her family that she couldn’t breathe before they decided to pull away from her. Her father went in for another hug and picked her up as he told her, “I am so proud of you, Roxxie.”
“Thank you, dad,” she told him as she moved away and smiled at him.
“You were amazing out there,” Lily told her from beside Roxanne’s father. Roxanne turned to look at her cousin and was thankful that she had made it to the game. She knew that Lily had been busy lately and wasn’t sure if she would make it.
Roxanne gave a grin, “It wasn’t just me, the others were amazing as well.”
“The way that you and Jerome hit those Bludgers at each other towards the end, it was going so fast that at times I couldn’t keep up with it,” Ron told his niece excitedly, he turned to look at the others and they all nodded in agreement at him. “It was like you were trying to create a Tornado, just with the Bludgers.”
“The Catapults Beater couldn’t keep up with you both,” Angelina told her daughter, as she came forwards and placed a kiss on her daughter’s cheek, which was a bit difficult with the large bouquet of flowers. “Oh, these are for you, Roxxie,” Angelina handed the flowers over.
“These are huge, thank you,” Roxanne said in amazement as she looked at the flowers. She took a deep breath and relished in the beautiful scent that came off of them.
“Oh, they’re not from any of us,” Roxanne looked up in confusion as her cousin Victoire spoke, stepping forwards with a knowing grin on her face.
“Then who are they from?” Roxanne asked, she looked at the flowers and tried to see if there was a card on them at all, there wasn’t.
“Jason Turner,” Victoire told her, Roxanne looked up in shock and knew exactly why Victoire had that smug grin on her face, she was holding out a card that had come with the flowers. Roxanne took it slowly after handing the flowers over to Lily to hold for her.
Roxanne opened the card and looked down at the elegant scrawl of Jason’s handwriting. She was slightly amazed at how neat his writing was and wondered if someone else had written the note for him.
You certainly know how to keep a man on his toes. If your moves on the pitch are anything to go by, we’re going to have a lot of fun together when you finally agree to be mine.
Roxanne felt herself blushing at his words and hid the card quickly in her trouser pocket, scared to let anyone else see the card, much to the chagrin of her cousins. Her father on the other hand did not look happy about the flowers or the card.
“Did he send these?” Roxanne asked quickly as she tried to ignore her cousins talking about how she was blushing and trying to work out what the card had said.
“No, he came into our stand and personally delivered them,” Victoire said with a smile. Roxanne noticed the dark look on her father’s face getting darker; he was being protective of her she knew.
“He waited around for a while and watched you play, he disappeared before the match ended as though he wasn’t meant to be there.”
“Roxanne, I think that Jason Turner likes you,” Victoire said with a knowing grin.
“I think that he needs to learn that he can’t just buy my affection with flowers,” Roxanne told them, taking the flowers back off of Lily and turning around so that they could all leave. She tried not to show that she was smelling the flowers again as she attempted to keep the grin off of her face and the butterflies from filling her stomach again at the thought of Jason.
A/N: The writing on the banner comes from the amazing Sam/TheHeirOfSlytherin :P
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