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Chapter 4 : The Team
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5th December 2020
I could not believe my stupidity. The countless times I had attempted to get a Quaffle past him washed over me like ice cold water. He was the Slytherin Keeper. His name still escaped me but the memories of all the games I had played against him flickered through my mind with dizzying speed. I suppose I had been too preoccupied with getting the Quaffle past his remarkably agile hands to notice his eyes before but it still seemed incredulous that I had not recognised him. After all, even if I had never noticed his eyes before, surely I would have remembered the haunted look on his face, or the way he stood almost a head above most other people, or the darkness of his ruffled hair… He was not exactly an inconspicuous figure.
As if sensing my stare, his beautiful eyes flickered up to meet mine and my heart pulsated quickly. The world always seemed to melt away every time our eyes locked and it was with a start that Arabella pulled me from the secret world our gaze seemed to create.
“Dominique? Did you even hear me?” she asked. The blush that crept into my cheeks confirmed her suspicions. “I said: I want you to take turns with the others,” she indicated vaguely at James and Sedgwick, “to throw Quaffles at the prospective Keepers. Okay?” I nodded and summoned my broom, jumping swiftly into the air as it reached me.
There were seven potential Keepers, the four House Keepers and some other hopefuls who were just desperate to be on Hogwarts’ first Quidditch Team. Arabella ordered them to form a line but it was not until the Hufflepuff Keeper, first in line, mounted his broom that Arabella remembered the age rule Madame Jordan had told us about. I resisted a smirk as my cousin Hugo is banished from the pitch, looking furious.
Arabella sent the hopefuls up first, leaving the three remaining Captains until the end. A few of them possessed some decent Keeping skills but none were anything remarkable. Two of them were simply horrendous and Arabella had to swiftly crush their dreams as they could barely fly. The Gryffindor Keeper, a Sixth Year named Emily Edwards, was up next and as James, Sedgwick and I launched Quaffle after Quaffle at her, she successfully managed to defend each one and it was not until my charming cousin and his nemesis joined in a moment of astounding cooperation that they managed to get pass her otherwise decent defence.
Swooping down to throw the Quaffle at our next potential Keeper, I expected to be faced with the familiar figure of Sven Haywood, the Ravenclaw Keeper, but was instead greeted with the sudden sight of two blue eyes. Even up here, several hundred meters from the ground, his place on the first Hogwarts’ Quidditch team depending on the next few minutes, he still managed to retain that unparalleled serenity to his beautiful eyes.
Later, I wondered how I managed to hold my nerve as I flew at him, my heart hammering for reasons beyond the physical requirement of my activities. The first Quaffle was angled with such perfection that it would have passed even Sven and yet the speed at which he caught it surprised even him. After that, the Quaffles continued to come at him, I flew harder, faster and more diversely than I had with any of the other potential Keeper but each and every shot was blocked by the man with serene blue eyes and I knew instinctively that he would be on the team.
Eventually, Arabella called us down. The noise of the stadium shocked me as my focus faded and I returned to the ground. Finally, it was Sven’s turn. Last year had been a disaster for Ravenclaw when it came to Keepers; we had made our way through four of them until Lorcan forced Sven to try out. Sven Haywood was in our year and clearly he and Lorcan had been playing Quidditch in their free time as Sven was unusually talented. I had never been more grateful to Lorcan than the day he introduced me to Sven’s skills. However, even Sven could not rival the proficiency of the Slytherin Keeper.
“Okay!” Arabella yelled over the mutterings of the gathered crowd, stilling them instantly. “Firstly, thank you all very much for your cooperation and patience today,” she smiled, “and thank you for trying out. The House Captains and I will discuss our options and Professor Osman has requested we announce the Hogwarts’ team during dinner so I hope to see you all there,” she smiled again in clear dismissal and people began filtering out.
I headed over to where James and Lorcan were chatting as Lorcan packed away an essay he had been working on during the try-outs. As I reached them, I glanced back over my shoulder and my attention was once again commandeered by those beautiful eyes. The Slytherin Keeper nodded in our direction before disappearing off the pitch.
“Dominique?” James prodded me in the side. “Stop spacing out, you’re becoming as bad as Melody Moon,” he teased, rolling his eyes at my behaviour.
“There is nothing wrong with Melody, James,” I sighed. “Come on, we’ve got to go and discuss the candidates with Arabella and Sedgwick.” Tugging on his robes, I bid goodbye to Lorcan and head for the two girls perched in the stands of the Hufflepuff section. Arabella had rolls of parchment fluttering about her on which she had made notes on all potential candidates while Sedgwick was looking at her with undisguised amusement.
“Potter, Weasley,” Arabella nodded, clearly in the mood for business. “What should we go over first then: Beaters, Seekers or Keepers?” she asked the group in general.
“Beaters,” Sedgwick sighed when neither James nor I responded.
“Okay, so for the Beater position we have Pippa Higgs, Pete and Poppy White, Jason and Ethan Rivers, Fred Weasley, Cassandra Jordan from the House Teams, then George Wickstead, Warren Davenport, Avery Jones and Anna Thomas.”
“Davenport was no good,” James chipped in instantly, earning himself a glare from Sedgwick as Davenport was a member of her House.
“Neither was Thomas,” she retaliated.
“Wickstead had a good arm,” James supported his friend.
“But Jones’ was better,” Sedgwick counters.
“They were both good but I was thinking it might be better in the long run if we pick two people from the House teams who already play with each other, then we don’t run the risk of them not being able to really work together. They need to connect so it makes sense to pick two people who already have that connection,” I interrupted.
“Definitely,” Arabella is quick to agree. “Which means we are left with either the White twins, Weasley and Jordan or the River twins as Ben Higgs is too young to play so the Higgs siblings are out,” she explains.
“Do your brothers mind being Captained by you?” James frowned.
“They’ll deal with it if they have to,” she shrugged. “I’ve been their Captain for over a year already so they’re already used to it.”
“Well Weasley and Jordan are dating and if that goes pear shaped it could have a very bad effect on the team,” Sedgwick intersected.
“They’ve been dating for a while now, I don’t think that would be a problem,” James rebutted, defending his cousin.
“I don’t think it would be a problem either but it is a possibility James,” I sigh.
“Besides they don’t have the sort of connection that a set of twins would.”
“Are you implying that only twins can make decent Beaters?” James snapped.
“No I’m just saying that they already have a connection even off the pitch,” Sedgwick rolled her eyes. “After all, my Beaters do tend to be better than yours,” she smirked.
“Enough,” ordered Arabella. “If you two can’t behave I’m going to hold Chaser try-outs as well!”
“I think the River twins would be best option,” I supply.
“So do I,” James agreed – probably only to go against Sedgwick.
“Do you have a problem with that?” Arabella raised her eyebrows challengingly at the brunette who reluctantly shook her head. “Then that’s settled, the River twins will be Beaters. Now… a Seeker. None of them are from the House teams as they are all too young to participate,” she muttered with a slight scowl. “So we’re going to have to pick someone else.”
“Olivia,” James quipped.
“Hull,” Sedgwick said simultaneously. Arabella and I quirked eyebrows are her; Allison Hull had a renowned temper. She was also a Gryffindor.
“Are you going to go against everything I say?” James hissed, shooting daggers at Sedgwick.
“I will agree with you only when you say something I actually agree with…” she sneered.
“How can you claim Hull is a better Seeker than Olivia?” James protested.
“Because Hull has more fire in her than Olivia.”
“No she doesn’t!”
“Come off it… Olivia Crowley acts like she’s carved from stone! I’ve never seen her express any kind of emotion. At least we know Hull is human,” Sedgwick sneered. The silence following her statement is more than a little uncomfortable. James looks as if wants to curse Sedgwick into oblivion. Even Arabella looks shocked that she went so far… After all, Olivia Crowley was James’ girlfriend.
“Fine,” he shrugged at last.
“Are you sure James? Olivia is a great player,” I muttered sympathetically. Not that I particularly wanted her on the team.
“She’s right. Hull has more drive. Hull cares,” he sneered sarcastically. Arabella looked to me and I could do nothing but shrug. When it came to talent, Crowley and Hull were equals and while Olivia Crowley was in my house and I should be supporting her… She was such a stuck up, high maintenance bitch.
“We did agree it would be best not to have a couple on the team,” I muttered, trying to come up with a reason not to have Crowley on the team. What James saw in her I will forever wonder at.
“Right okay…” Arabella murmured into the heavy silence. Sedgwick’s face was stony. James’ was disinterested. “Keeper? We’ve got Sven Haywood, Jasper Nott and Emily Edwards from the House teams and to be honest I think one of them is our best bet.”
“Nott saved the most goals,” James shrugged. Sedgwick had the decency to look mildly surprised that he was complimenting a member of her team. “Emily is new, she doesn’t have the guts for this.”
“And Haywood? He was pretty decent,” Sedgwick queried.
“Either one,” James shrugged. Arabella turned to me. My heart was pounding a little louder than necessary. I knew I should stick up for my team but in all honesty, Nott was better. Anything else about him was irrelevant.
So I simply said: “Sven is new; Nott saved more goals.”
“Nott it is,” Arabella nodded, writing his name in her scrawled handwriting bellow the other new team members. “Looks like we have our team then.”
“Yeah,” I smiled slightly. Sedgwick was too busy staring at James who was refusing to look anywhere near her direction. “Should we wait until dinner or should we tell them before hand?”
“I was going to go and see Madame Jordan, do you want to come? We can ask her.”
“Sure,” I agreed, desperate to escape the tense atmosphere that had built up between the two other Chasers. Arabella glanced over at them to see if they were coming as well but neither gave any sign of even hearing her.
“So have you decided on the team yet?” Lorcan pried as I flicked through a dusty copy of Transfiguration Through The Centuries. Nodding absentmindedly, I jotted down ideas on why human transfiguration could be potentially dangerous. There were many. “Are you going to tell me?” he inquired.
“Not allowed,” I mumbled around the tip of my quill. Chewing quills was unbelievably disgusting but I just couldn’t seem to stop. Bad habits die hard.
“But it’s me,” he pestered.
“And what makes you different from any other student at Hogwarts?” I queried, making him pull an unattractive face. “We’re- or rather, Arabella is announcing the team at dinner. I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait another… twenty-two minutes.”
“Just give me a clue then… is the Seeker male or female?”
“Lorcan: I. Am. Not. Allowed. To. Tell. You.”
“You’re so boring.”
“As a Prefect, you should respect the fact I am obeying the rules,” I teased but it did little to alleviate his sulky expression. “Cheer up, if it makes you feel any better, the people we’ve selected don’t even know yet. Madame Jordan didn’t want us to tell them in case they got cocky and told other people.”
“Do you think any of them would?”
“I think two of them probably would, one of them might and one of them I have absolutely no idea about,” I answered honestly. There was no way the River twins would be able to keep themselves from boasting to the whole school. Unless of course Arabella threatened to remove them from the team.
“Right, so your cousin’s girlfriend isn’t on the team,” Lorcan stated matter-of-factly.
“What makes you say that?” I frowned.
“Well she is such a blabber mouth, there would be no way she could keep it quiet. I bet that caused a bust up between James and Sedgwick.” My sour face confirmed his suspicions. “I wonder if throwing those two together so much will finally help them realise that all their pent up anger at each other is really just vast amounts of sexual tension?”
“Lorcan!” I exclaimed, earning myself a glare from the librarian. “Are you insane,” I hissed in a lower decibel.
“Oh come on,” he rolled his eyes. “You can’t honestly tell me you haven’t realised they are attracted to each other. All those endlessly ‘glaring’ competitions, any excuse to get up and personal in each other’s faces… Come on Dominique, it’s obvious!” he laughed. “They’re obsessed with each other. Everything they do has something to do with the other. If they hated each other enough to be that obsessed, one of them would be in Azkaban by now while the other would be six feet under!”
“They’re not-” I shuddered at the thought.
“They are both too blind to actually realise it themselves so no, they haven’t done it yet.”
“Lorcan!” I hissed at him again.
“What?” he hissed back.
“You’ve actually gone insane,” I decided. “There is no way those two are attracted to each other in any other sense than they want to ring the other’s neck.”
“Fine, don’t believe me but I reserve the right to say I told you so when they do get together.”
“You’ll be reserving that right for the rest of your life.”
“You want to bet on it?” his grin was suspiciously mischievous.
“Twenty galleons?” he gasped. “That feels like daylight robbery!”
“Are you that afraid to lose?” I sneered.
“No, I’m just a little hesitant to take that sort of money from a poor helpless little girl.”
“When do you want to call the bet in?”
“When they leave Hogwarts.”
“You had better start saving,” I held out my hand for him to shake on it and he did so with a slight shake of his head. “Now come on, I’m hungry.”
The Great Hall was buzzing with students from all Houses discussing the announcement of the first Hogwarts Quidditch Team. On the far side of the Hall, someone on the Hufflepuff table had managed to get a hold of some of my uncle’s fireworks which were reigniting ever few minutes and showering the River twins with compliments. Arabella was trying to look unimpressed but it was evident she was trying not to laugh along with her housemates.
People on my table were already discussing the potential problems that would face the selected players and the contemplating how James and Sedgwick’s volatile relationship may have negative facts on the rest of the team. Olivia Crowley looked like she was sucking on a slightly sourer lemon than usual.
The Gryffindors were being very vocal in praising Allison Hull for getting the spot of Seeker… to a point where Osman himself had to tell them to settle down. James was trying to look happy whilst his girlfriend was glaring daggers at him from a few seats down from me.
Subdued as usual, the Slytherins were congratulating the new Hogwarts Keeper with handshakes and the occasional slap on the back. Jasper Nott received the congratulations with practiced ease but occasionally his attention wavered and he glanced over at the Ravenclaw table, as if searching for someone.
“Crowley looks like she might knife someone in a minute,” Lorcan murmured in my ear, his breath tickling my ear and making me laugh slightly. “Even Tamara can understand why you didn’t put her on the team.”
“James was the only one who wanted to,” I replied honestly.
“So whose idea was Hull?”
“That’s the surprising part: Sedgwick’s.”
“What? Quinn Sedgwick nominated a Gryffindor?” he repeated in surprise. “Didn’t any Slytherins try-out?”
“A couple, one of them was quite good and I was surprised she didn’t pick him to be honest but she was really against Crowley. Said she looked like she was carved from stone and something along the lines of her barely being human, I think.”
“I told you,” he smirked.
“Told me what?”
“That they’re attracted to each other. She didn’t want James’ girlfriend on the team and was willing to sacrifice a member of her own House to prevent her from taking that spot.”
“She hardly sacrificed him, she just didn’t recommend him.”
“Yeah because technically Crowley is a better player than him and had it been anyone else, she would have gone with her own housemate but she couldn’t take that risk so she picked Hull who is equally as talented as Crowley. She just had to hope that you and Arabella agreed with her.”
“Lorcan, you are incredible…” I sighed. “Never have a met someone who believed their own bullshit the way you do.”
“You’ll see I’m right,” he smiled smugly.
“Whatever,” I laughed, glancing over at the Slytherin table to see a pair of usually serene blue eyes glaring furiously over at me.
Hello, I have no excuse for taking so long so to any of those who have been waiting for this to be updated, I am so, so sorry. I really hope that I can update much quicker this time but I'm not going to promise anything as I have no idea where my life is going at the moment. So anyway, I hope you enjoy this and let me know what you think,
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