Chapter 7 : Of Broom Closets and Bludgers.
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I twiddled nervously with my silverware, losing my appetite as soon as I entered the Great Hall and saw all of my housemates decked out in their festive attire for the match today.
Gryffindor had once been the team to beat but since Potter and his lot had moved on it had been anyone’s field. Last year Hufflepuff had actually secured the cup because of Anabelle, her keeping skills were brilliant, and Amos Diggory proved to be a pretty reliable seeker.
Amos had graduated though, married Catherine Door his longtime girlfriend, and as I had heard recently just had a bouncing baby boy. Mother liked to remind me of people who had already gone off and gotten married in school just to further stab at my inability to hook a man.
I knew that they had brought on another seeker, a small fourth year girl who looked as innocent as a flower, but I was sure Anabelle wouldn’t have picked her if she wasn’t up for the job.
But Evan and his mates, they could be brutal on the field. They nearly killed themselves taking people out and received numerous penalties for it. My stomach churned at the thought.
I had been trying to stick it out at the table and wait on Evan to show up but I couldn’t handle it. My emotions were peeking through my carefully constructed stonewall, and that simply would not do.
I rose from the bench and politely smiled at the Slytherin players opposite me along with their respective girlfriends and made my way to leave. Regulus sat at the far end of the players, he was seeker on the team and oddly the only one without a girlfriend, his eyes shifting to catch mine as I left. I grimaced not in the mood to banter or possibly quarrel with him today. We hadn’t spoken much since our encounter in the kitchens. I could hardly forget his ominous words about Evan that night.
I had made it into the corridor headed toward Merlin knows where when a hand reached out and pulled me out of the hallway and into the dark. A hand clamped to my mouth just as I was about to scream and I suddenly became aware of my wand at my hip. I went to reach for it but my attacker’s other hand caught mine. Bullocks.
I was weighing my options of escape, trying to remember the best places to hit someone to take them down and adrenaline pumping through my veins. I could tell my attacker was male from the sheer strength he exerted in pinning me to the wall at my back, and as he leaned in towards my face I positioned my knee to aim where I could hurt him most.
What I hadn’t expected was who my attacker was.
“I knew I saw a spot of sunshine coming down the hall,” Evan said, I could visibly hear the smirk on his lips.
He removed his hand from my mouth chuckling and tipped his forehead onto mine. I could feel his breath on my cheeks.
“Bloody hell, Rosier. There are other ways to get me alone,” I said, letting out a slow breath to calm myself down.
“But, darling, this was so much more fun,” He said in a low whisper bringing his nose closer to mine.
I could feel the heat radiating from his skin and suddenly I just wanted to drown myself in Evan and forget my woes.
I closed the space between our lips, Evan was more than happy to oblige, and we kissed hungrily. He still had me pressed to the wall of the small broom cupboard he had pulled me into. But now his chest was against mine and one hand cupped my face while the other was placed on my hip. I tangled one hand in his dark locks and place the other at his chin. The last person I had snogged in a broom closet with was Crabbe; my experience with Evan was much better by far.
I had jumped into this without proper thinking and aggressively, I just wanted to forget about Anabelle and her impending doom. But now I could feel Evan pressing for more and I realized my back was against a wall this time. His fingers on my hip were urging the fabric of my blouse up and he was deepening our kissing, and the alarms were sounding in my head.
I brought my hands to his chest and pushed as hard as I could, sucking in a cool and rather mildew-y breath of air. Snogging in broom cupboards wasn’t the most glorious of tasks.
I could feel Evan tense at being pulled apart, and it was hard to not feel disappointed for disappointing him. I quickly thought of a reason this time, hoping it would buy me more time to accustom myself with the idea of going further with him.
“I don’t want you over exerting yourself before the match, darling. We’ll have time alone after the victory party,” I said softly, reaching up to stroke his chin.
I saw the corners of his mouth lift in the dark into a smile, and I knew I had given a good excuse.
“I should get to the pitch,” he muttered leaning in to kiss me once more, “I need to get my head in the game for this.”
I leaned up and planted careful kisses along his neck, my cheeks warming at the intimacy it felt like for me.
“Good luck, I know you’ll do well,” I said giving him one last kiss on the cheek, his lips pulling into a smile.
Evan led us out of the cramped space and into the corridor; the brightness coming through the halls was an adjustment after being in nearly pitch dark. I flashed him a smile as he left for the pitch, his eyes glinting with smugness already.
I dusted off my black blouse with its silver buttons and readjusted the thick silver and green-stripped scarf at my neck. I pulled my pocket watch from the pocket of my skirt and checked the time. The weather had gotten cold and I needed to swing by my dorm to grab my coat. I scooted off to the Hufflepuff common room.
I tried to not think about the match today, or having to watch my boyfriend potentially put the only person I had been able to rely on here for years in the hospital wing. I tried not to think about why I was so resistant to Evan or even how I could make myself give in to him tonight.
I said tried, I didn’t say I succeeded.
I held my breath in the stands as the two captains shook hands, Evan and Anabelle not smiling at one another. They mounted and took off, the guilt and queasiness overwhelming my senses.
I watched as the teams mounted and raised to the sky and at the sound of the whistle the game begun. Players began darting for position and defending while Nicholas Jordan’s voice commentated the games. His voice was booming and excitable, and although he favored any team over Slytherin McGonagall always kept him in line.
“And Hufflepuff gets the quaffle, Bigby passes it off to Thorton with a nice tuck and roll to avoid Avery Sr.,” called Jordan’s voice down the pitch.
I watched as they moved towards the goals and Parkinson sat perched as Slytherin’s keeper, his eyes flitting to and fro as the Hufflepuff chasers passed the quaffle back and forth. Parkinson’s biggest weakness was repeated movements of the quaffle. I knew Bigby and Thorton were throwing it back and forth between them to sneak it off to Dinett on the side and score the first goal and they succeeded. The stands roared loudly, practically every house rooting for Hufflepuff except for Slytherin, and I let go of the breath I didn’t know I was holding.
The game followed intensely with the Slytherin players being particularly brutal. Thorton was nursing a possible shoulder out of socket while Catterick, one of the beater’s, had taken a nasty hit from a bludger to the ribs on the Hufflepuff side. The Slytherin boys hadn’t scraped by without injuries in their attempts to knock the other team down and were pretty scratched up as well. The score was now 80-50 with Hufflepuff in the lead and the snitch was no where in sight.
The small seeker from Hufflepuff sat perched on her broom high above the field and her eyes roamed the pitch, her focus only broken when one of her teammates was injured or rammed in to.
Regulus circled the pitch slowly in his own rhythm, his eyes searching unyieldingly and his attention not even broken by the sounds of players colliding or the stands erupting for one thing or another.
My nerves were shot and I kept glancing at Evan to see when he would make the move to strike at Anabelle but so far he was just intent on getting quaffle possession. He streamlined to Dinett who had possession who was speeding to the goal posts, and coming from under him rammed into him and set him off balance gaining the quaffle in the process.
He quickly turned and headed for Anabelle perched at the goal posts, shouldering Thorton when he tried to get close to steal and ducking from a bludger aimed at him from Catterick. Evan made his way for the goal and seemed like he was going for the left one, but as he brought his hand back to throw the quaffle he faked and threw for the middle.
Anabelle caught it by the tips of her fingers and threw it to one of her chasers, smirking at Evan.
“And O’Malley saves another goal from the git Rosier, ouch – sorry professor, we all know it’s true,” came Jordan’s voice
I could hear those around me groan as Anabelle saved another goal, while the Hufflepuff fans cheered. I could see Evan curse sending Anabelle a glare and whipping around to fly off.
I sighed to myself and looked down the field. I caught Regulus’s eye as he hovered by the Slytherin hoops and realized he was watching me, watching my reaction. The Slytherin’s started to cheer to raise the team’s spirit and I joined in, hoping Regulus saw me cheering Evan on.
Our cheers were cut off by an exclamation from Jordan.
“It seems Barthalow, Hufflepuff’s seeker, has spotted the snitch with Black hot on her heels!” He boomed everyone in the stands now roaring with shouts and the sense of urgency physically heightening.
Everyone was watching the seekers but I looked up to Evan. If there was anyway to get to the Hufflepuff seeker it was through her loyalty, I knew as well as anyone that we Hufflepuffs were loyal to a fault most of the time, and Evan knew that. I watched him snatch a bat from Goyle and while Anabelle’s eyes were focused on her seeker, Evan aimed a bludger straight for her head.
I let out some kind of strangled cry in the middle of the pandemonium of the seekers closing in on the snitch and I watched horrifically as Anabelle turned in the last second for the bludger to hit her square in the jaw. I felt the wind knock out of my lungs as I watched Anabelle’s body go limp and fall from her broom, everyone’s attention now shifting to the other side of the pitch. Before her body could hit the ground Dumbledore slowed her down with his wand.
Everything was thrown into chaos, people screaming about foul play and others sobbing because Anabelle was out cold. It was enough to deter the Hufflepuff seeker and even Regulus turned his head back.
“THE SNITCH, BLACK,” Evan bellowed, having given the bat back to Crabbe long before people noticed.
A whole new shift began as people realized the match was still going and Regulus turned back to stretch out his hand and secure the snitch.
“Slytherin wins?” Jordan said softly, confusion etched into his voice that billowed across the stadium.
The Slytherin’s cheered, Alex and her girls clapping politely and the other guys bellowing loudly. The other fans started cursing and raising a ruckus about the call.
Professors swarmed Anabelle, hastily getting her set to go to the Hospital Wing, Madam Hooch among them.
See, Madam Hooch never blew the whistle to pause the game in her haste to get to Anabelle. She had always had a soft spot for her since first year. I knew the rules, and in all technicalities Slytherin had won.
And it was all my fault.
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