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Riddikulus by The Daily Prophet
Chapter 10 : In Which I'm Beaten By a Quaffle
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 1


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A/N: Thanks to everyone who read/reviewed the last chapter – I absolutely adore all of you. :) Anyway, we're going to sort of start getting further into the plot, so as a result, things may start to move a bit faster, because a lot needs to happen. That said, I hope you like where this goes. :)

Also: Huge thank you to everyone for the wonderful reviews, and anyone who's gotten through all of this. :) 

Disclaimer: I'm, unfortunately, not JK Rowling, therefore I don't own the masterpiece that is Harry Potter.








Chapter Ten

In Which I'm Beaten By a Quaffle 



 

The fifth year Gryffindor girl's dorm room was a scary place.

It had actually been a relatively uneventful night, save the stress of fifth year, which had driven us to do some... Strange things. Tara was standing on her bed and screeching along to some horrendous muggle song as Bailey attempted to study (while also throwing the occasional quill or dirty sock at Tara) and I lay in a nest of parchment from my failed attempts at astronomy charts. Sarah was nowhere to be found, which we all found suspicious, though no one had the bravery to comment on it.

"I can't do this," I moaned, crumpling another chart and adding it to my ever-growing pile.

Tara flung her arms out in an attempt to steady herself on the bed. "Oh, c'mon, you've just got Jupiter in the wrong place, it's not so bad," she assured me as she flopped onto her bed, bouncing eagerly.

Bailey winced. "Merlin, Tara, how much coffee have you had?" She demanded.

Tara shrugged and bounced merrily on the edge of the bed.

I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer.

After getting kicked out of the Common Room because we were apparently "too obnoxious", my room-mates and I had sulked back to our dorm and initiated a relatively unsuccessful late-night studying session. I was doing what I could to struggle through the Astronomy Homework, Bailey was actually being studious and trying to prepare for O.W.L.'s, and Tara was having a caffeine-induced singing session (which had not made the night any better).

Bailey sighed and flicked a scrap of parchment at Tara, who gleefully swatted it back at her.

I groaned. "Oh, no; I am not getting in the middle of another paper war!"

Bailey raised an eyebrow. "You started the last one," she pointed out.

I huffed, but couldn't exactly deny it.

Tara laughed a bit manically, and threw herself onto her bed. Bailey sighed in response, and turned her attention back to our coffee addicted roommate. "You're not going to sleep at all tonight, are you?"

Tara shrugged. "I slept last night!" She insisted.

"She has... a little bit of a point?" I rolled my eyes at Bailey's pointed look. "At least it's Friday."

"So we're exempted from sleep?" Bailey asked with a raised eyebrow.

Tara squealed. "Yes! No Sleep November!"

Bailey groaned and banged her head against the desk, something which she'd been holding back for over an hour.

I grimaced. "That... Had to hurt."

She shrugged hopelessly. "Not anymore than her constant -"

Bailey broke off abruptly as the door to our room flew open, and Sarah stormed in, then promptly slammed it closed again.

I glanced cautiously at her. Merlin, was that girl scary when she was angry.

Sarah threw herself onto her bed with a groan, lying facedown on a pillow. Bailey, Tara and I exchanged an admittedly scared, but concerned glance, and Bailey motioned for me to say something. She must like signing my death warrant.

I sighed and turned toward Sarah, who hadn't moved. "So...?" I prompted.

Sarah ignored me.

Bailey shot her a timid glance. "Erm... How was pract-"

"Bloody awful!" Sarah cut her off to wail. "Fred's in the bloody infirmary from a prank, so I was the only Beater, the ruddy 'Claws fought us for the time slot tonight - and bloody won – and McGonagall's determined to tear the sodding team apart!"

In explanation, the entire school and been buzzing with anticipation for the first real Quidditch match of the season all week. There had already been a few scrimmages (one of which I'd made Potter miss, hence my hell of a fifth year) so far that season, but they hadn't technically been official, because the points earned in them didn't count towards the Quidditch Cup. They were meant to give the teams a little more preparation for the first match, but typically only had the effect of psyching out the teams involved.

Consequentially, Alan Watts had been holding extra practices, and it seemed to be taking its toll on the team, and I... had no idea how to handle any of that.

I glanced at Tara, hoping she wasn't too caffeine-addled to help us handle the potential crisis situation.

Tara hurried over to Sarah's bed and threw herself onto it, which was accompanied by an exaggerated, "oomph" from Sarah, and a futile attempt to push her off.

"So what's happened with McGonagall, love?" Tara asked with a shrug that Sarah hopefully couldn't see, because it seemed like a decent place to start.

Sarah groaned into her pillow. "She's a bloody traitor to the cause!"

"Would you... Care to elaborate?" I asked after a beat of silence.

Sarah groaned again, but took a gulp of air before returning to hiding in her pillow, so we took that as a relatively encouraging sign. "She's trying to get Leggett thrown off the team for his marks in classes," she sighed, finally emerging from her pillow to look at us.

I scoffed, but my protest of "How is that sabotage?" was silenced by a well-aimed kick from Bailey, who by that point had joined us around Sarah's bed.

Sarah had still picked up the general sentiment behind the scoff, and shot me a glare. "And yes, I hate the prat, too, but we've only just got Potter back on the team – because of you – and now Fred's in the Hospital Wing, and we might be losing one of our Chasers, and none of the bloody reserves even go to practice," Her gaze, if possible, grew colder as she said the bit about the reserves.

Shit.

"I'm... A reserve?" I honestly had no idea who any of the Gryffindor reserves were, only that we had them. I remembered a brief conversation with Alan Watts about the reserve team after I missed tryouts, but I hadn't actually thought anything of it.

Sarah narrowed her eyes, then groaned helplessly. "I'm not even surprised," She sighed.

I shrugged. Not attending practices had gotten me out of practicing with Potter, so it wasn't like I was sorry.

Bailey spared me an exasperated glance before returning her attention to Sarah. "Love, it'll be fine. Fred'll be okay by tomorrow, because he always is, and Leggett can find a way to get his grades up easily enough."

Tara nodded vehemently as she bounced Sarah's bed slightly, much to her chagrin. "Yeah, it's not like anybody can beat the Lions anyway!" She put in enthusiastically.

Sarah scoffed. "You clearly weren't at practice tonight," She grumbled.

"Oh, lighten up. It'll be fine," Tara insisted, struggling to avoid flailing limbs from Sarah's attempt to get her off the bed.

Tara brightened, and grinned with a slightly concerning gleam in her eyes. "Oh! Y'know what? Since you've got an early practice tomorrow, we could all get some coffee in the morning."

Bailey and I groaned, while Sarah grinned in triumph as she shoved Tara off the bed with a final, strategic kick. Tara landed with a slight shriek and a thump on the floor.

The initial silence was followed by a squeal from behind the bed. "I found a chocolate frog!"

It was going to be a long, long night.

. . . 

The next morning was... Well, I suppose I can't pretend to know, since I wasn't out of bed in time for breakfast.

Sarah had left early for practice, which had left Bailey and Tara to threaten to beat me with my blankets until I got up, but even they'd eventually given up in favor of food.

I got up at the pace of a dying slug, and lunch was being served in the Great Hall by the time I emerged from the shower. My hair was still wet as I made my way to the Hall, and I cursed the fact that the castle corridors were already starting to get colder. By the time I sat down to eat, I was shivering slightly, starving, and cursing under my breath. I was a lovely sight, I'm sure.

The Gryffindor table was nearly deserted, although that wasn't all that uncommon.

The Quidditch team was still at practice, and since everyone else had actually eaten breakfast, most had opted to eat lunch later. I assumed Bailey and Tara were among them, because I hadn't been able to find them, so I'd ended up sitting with Eoin, Sean, and Aaron, which though certainly not a bad thing, got... Interesting.

"I didn't mean to!" Eoin insisted, for what had to be the third time since I'd sat down. "Anyway, he's fine now, so I don't see what the big deal is. It was just a flyaway spell."

"Yeah, well, regardless, remind me to never trust you around anything remotely to do with transfiguration," Sean instructed his friend with a grave expression.

"Or Charms," Aaron added quickly.

Sean nodded. "Or Potions, Herbology, or..." He broke off and looked to the doors of the Great Hall.

It sounded like either a mob was taking Hogwarts or there was a fight going on, and even I knew which of those two was the more likely.

Eoin, Aaron, Sean and I craned our necks to see over the crowd as the doors flew open and a crowd flooded into the Hall, all yelling something different. There was a scramble to move out of the way, and a cluster of red uniforms pushed their way to the front of the crowd (which appeared to consist of nearly all the Gryffindors at the school). The Quidditch team sprinted toward the Gryffindor table, and I had to laugh at how desperate they all looked.

It took me longer than it should have to process the fact that their yells were directed at me.

"Charlie!" Sarah was the first to reach me, and practically dragged me up and off the bench. From how out of breath she was, I could only assume she'd run straight from the Quidditch Pitch, and that didn't exactly reassure me.

I dropped my fork with a noise that was probably somewhere between a grumble and a shriek and glared at her.

The other players started frantically trying to explain, and I began to seriously consider putting some defensive magic into effect.

"Um... What the hell?" I demanded, shooting Sarah my best I'll-kill-you-later glare.

Sarah grabbed my arm and dragged me forward (ignoring the fact that I nearly tripped over my own feet), and hurriedly muttered, "No time to explain! Leggett's off the team, and we need to teach you the plays before tonight, so come with me if you want to live."

I blinked. "Well, that's..." I struggled to find the right word.

Alan Watts grabbed my other arm and helped usher me forward, and I could only imagine what Tara would have to say to me later. "C'mon, Simmons," He ordered, and I'd be damned if I was going to disobey an order from the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain.

The crowd did its best to let us pass, and I found myself being dragged out of the Great Hall, glancing back at my food longingly.

Alan turned to the team. "Okay, so... Jordan, try to find her a set of robes that she won't drown in – and make sure they're bloody clean – Saunders and Weasley, play against the others as Chasers - and no injuries - Mclaggen and Potter, start teaching her the plays. If we're lucky, she'll have one down by the end of this."

I furrowed my brows as I tried to follow any of that. "Wait, why do I..."

Sarah rolled her eyes. "There's a game at five today, love, and you're our new Chaser," She summarized.

There was a short beat of silence.

"Wait, what?" I squawked.

Sarah sighed, then turned to Potter and Mclaggen. "As you can see, she isn't the brightest, so go easy on her, yeah?"

James smirked, and Mclaggen nodded.

"Hey!"

. . . 

Did I ever claim to like quidditch?

If so, I feel obligated to apologize for any misconceptions on that topic, because in actuality, quidditch is a sport from hell. 

I'd been dragged down to the Pitch despite my protests (which had grown considerably in both frequency and intensity as I began to comprehend what was happening), unceremoniously presented with a set of practice robes, and ordered to summon my broom.

Consequentially, I found myself forced onto said broom, and trying not to panic as Potter and Harvey (which, I'd learned, was Mclaggen's first name), the two other Chasers, attempted to teach me the plays without causing me to fall to my death, which I got the feeling both would be happy to do.

"Charlie, you have to touch the Quaffle at least once!" Harvey repeated, with an exasperated head shake.

I shook my head vehemently at him. "I'm only here so you have the correct number of players; Doesn't mean I need to contribute," I insisted.

I'd been struggling to learn (or relearn, in some cases) the plays for the better part of three hours, was slowly starving to death, freezing in the wind, and getting nowhere with the plays. I'd managed to botch all of them in some way or another, so had decided that I'd just do my best to stay out of the way.

Needless to say, it hadn't put me in the best mood.

Harvey gave an exasperated sigh and turned to James "Y'know, I see why you two don't get along."

I huffed, and Potter smirked at me.

Harvey shook his head. "Alright, then," He sighed, "Let's run the Porskoff Ploy again."

I groaned, but flew to my position on the right side of Harvey.

We'd tried running the play with Potter in the center earlier, and Harvey and I on either side, but there had been a lot of "accidental" collisions between Potter and I, so Watts had vetoed that.

I kept pace with both of them with much less enthusiasm than I could have, but still didn't botch the flying part of the play. Amelia, Sarah, and Fred (the latter completely free of the reported boils that had sent him to the Hospital Wing) were helping with the play by playing the opposing team's Chasers, but even they were starting to get sick of running it repeatedly.

Sarah, however irritated, still nodded at me, with both murder and encouragement in her eyes, because what else are friends for?

I groaned and tried to remember what I was even supposed to do in the Porskoff Ploy.

I settled for receiving the Quaffle and passing it off to either James or Harvey as soon as I got the chance, though that had been the subject of a lot of lectures from both of them.

Harvey tossed the Quaffle down to me, and true to my strategy, I threw it to Potter, who shot me an aggravated glare.

I shrugged, and did my best to keep pace with both of them, seeing as we were running the play as slowly as possible in an effort to help me learn it. It hadn't done much.

"Simmons, just go for the goal," James ordered, lobbing the Quaffle back to me with more force than was probably necessary.

I narrowed my eyes and hurled it back at him. "Why don't you, then?"

Potter flung the Quaffle at me and said something along the lines of "Because I've had more than three hours of practice this season," and Harvey did his best to get between us, but it didn't really do much.

We were nearing the goals, and I frantically chucked the Quaffle back at Potter, because missing a shot like that would mean a lifetime of teasing.

Harvey did his best to get in front of me, but we'd sped up considerably since starting the play, so I doubt it was an easy task. "Charlie, you're going to have to - Shit!"

I assume he cut off around the time the quaffle cracked against my face, but the details are still a little hazy.

I managed to stay on my broom, which was a feat in itself, if you ask me. The Quaffle tumbled towards the pitch and my hand flew up to my nose, and I scowled when I saw the blood on my fingers.

"I swear to Godric if that was payback for punching Potter," I murmured, to no one in particular.

Watts barked out orders for me to get on the ground so he could make sure I wasn't hurt besides a possibly broken nose, and I'm sure that I was a lovely sight once I reached the ground, holding my bleeding nose and sulking.

After establishing several times that I was, "Bloody fine!" in my own words, Watts sent me to the locker room to clean up while he figured out how to deal with my apparent lack of Quidditch talent, or so I assumed.

I tore off a few paper towels more violently than was necessary and sighed as I vacated the locker room.

Well, practice had gone bloody great. 

I probed my nose the best I could, trying to get a feel for the damage. It didn't really feel broken, but then, I had no idea what a broken nose would feel like.

"Godric, Simmons, you're bleeding all over."

I whirled around to face Potter. "Thanks," I snapped, "Because I hadn't bloody noticed that!"

Potter shook his head hopelessly and held out a rag. I glared at it and scowled at him, to which he sighed.

"Simmons, would you just -"

I narrowed my eyes and cut him off. "This is your sodding fault, so, no!" Potter spared me an exasperated sigh.

"Merlin," He mumbled, and before I could do something like beat him with my broomstick, he cupped my chin in his hand to tilt my head back and shoved the rag at me.

I accepted it, blushing furiously and hating myself for it, and remembered to breath again once his hand left my face. I stared determinedly upward and kept my head back in an effort to slow the bleeding, trying to ignore the way my heart hammered in my chest (and telling myself that it was from the effort of not murdering Potter on the spot). The silence pressed down on me, and I fidgeted awkwardly, grasping hopelessly for something to say.

"Don't worry, Simmons; If anything, this'll help your appearance."

Potter's voice crashed through the silence, and any traces of something other than hostility vanished. Potter smirked, to which I made a face.

I pressed the blood-soaked rag closer to my nose and scowled at him. "I should've just beaten you with my broom."

. . . 

I was going to be sick.

After changing, I'd been dragged onto the pitch by none other than my traitor of a friend, Sarah Jordan, and was beginning to seriously consider the possibility that someone had slipped a Puking Pastille into my food, because I'd been on my broom for less than thirty seconds and felt absolutely nauseous.

The wind whipped my hair into my face, and I held my broom in a death grip. Dark clouds had begun to gather in the distance, but even I knew that there was no use in hoping for a raincheck. Sean's voice rang out over the pitch, though it sounded a lot more far off than it should have been, and I really had no reason to care about what he was saying, since I was pretty sure it wouldn't get me out of the situation.

In the stands, Gryffindors hurried back to their seats, presumably after placing their last minute bets, and I could make out a group of sixth years trying to hide from McGonagall in order to sell Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products to the crowd.

Sean gleefully introduced the Gryffindors, but I paid little attention to how he introduced me, because I knew enough to be wary (though I caught something along the lines of "And if she's as mean on the Pitch as she is off it, the 'Puffs don't stand a chance", which was vaguely satisfying).

Still, I think I tried to escape at least twice.

My heart pounded as the Captains shook hands, and then there were Quaffles and Bludgers flying through the air, and everything was moving too fast to keep track of.

"Aaand they're off, in a blur of... erm... equally appealing colors," Sean finished lamely, probably glancing at Professor Longbottom, who'd given him a lengthy lecture on biased commentary after the last scrimmage.

Wisely, I tried to tune him out, but he wasn't making it easy.

I did my best to receive the Quaffle as little as possible, but still had to dive to avoid "accidental" collisions with other Chasers.

I heard a sharp intake of breath from Sean's general direction as Amelia barely dodged both bludgers sent by the Hufflepuff beaters, and I swerved frantically to stay out of the way after they hurtled past her towards me.

"And Jonathan Singer's been very generous in sending both Bludgers at Amelia, because he knows the Puff's Seeker is bloody usele- Erm... Sorry, Professor; Because the prat knows she's a worthy opponent..." Sean's voice trailed off.

Harvey and Potter seemed to be doing the best they could to keep the Quaffle away from me, which I had no problem with. Still, by the looks of it, the game was going to play out to be a Chasers' game, because the Hufflepuff Keeper sure as hell wasn't going to win them the match.

On the plus side (for me, at least), there were no Bludgers being sent my way, because the 'Puff's Beaters' attention was focused mainly on bloody killing Amelia.

Harvey, in what had to be a fit of desperation, lobbed the Quaffle to me after intercepting one of the Hufflepuff's passes, and I cursed under my breath and launched into a desperate dive. I grasped it somewhat moodily, and muttering some choice words, I chucked it up to Potter then cut to the goalpost for backup.

A noise that could have almost been a snort came from the megaphone.

"And the Beaters appear to be at war, and I have to say, folks, this is the most interesting game I've seen in a while – Oooh, and Singer takes a Bludger to the stomach... How unfortunate," Sean's voice echoed gleefully through the Pitch.

Yes! Rem, right... The match. Just, let's say I was glad Singer had gotten at least a little taste of his own medicine, prat that he is.

Two of the Hufflepuff Chasers dove at James in a final effort to keep him from bringing the Quaffle down, and he lobbed it to Harvey. My heart was still hammering in my chest, but I dove to get open, ignoring the voice of reason in my head. Harvey tossed the Quaffle down to me before the 'Puffs realized I was open, and I flung it to Potter.

"And Gryffindor scores! Take that y- Oi, give me the megaphone, I didn't say anything wrong!"

I grinned, although I still had an overwhelming urge to fly through my dorm window and hide under a blanket for the rest of the day. Still, nerves, anxiety, and general nausea aside, though, the game wasn't going terribly.

It took thirty more points from Gryffindor, innumerable glares from Sarah from across the pitch, several snarky comments from Sean, and ten points from Hufflepuff before I finally fell back into the rhythm of things, but it was sooner than I'd thought it would happen.

I'd almost forgotten what it was like to not suck at something.

The Gryffindor team's switch from players to teammates was made obvious after about the ten minute mark of the game. The Chasers had certainly improved immeasurably since the beginning of the game, but most of that was a result of us figuring out how to work together, rather than skill. Sarah and Fred matched the 'Puffs Bludger after Bludger, and sent them back with more violence every time they got dangerously close to injuring Amelia. Alan was starting to become a legend of a Keeper, at least in the mind of the Gryffindors, and had managed some incredibly complicated and undoubtedly dangerous maneuvers to keep the other team's shots out.

In short, we started playing like a team, and consequentially, we started winning.

The Hufflepuff Beaters still targeted Amelia, and were right to do so. By the twenty minute mark, it had become obvious that their Chasers weren't a match for Alan, so their best bet was to catch the Snitch before we got too far ahead.

Sean, probably having noticed that, made a show of not-so-subtly cheering on Alan. "Those poor 'Puffs," he sighed dramatically. "Can't really blame them, though; Watts is having a legendary game."

This was followed by a mumbled "Sorry, Professor," and ,"The Gryffindor Beaters seem to be working well together, almost as well as they do off the pitch – Didn't mean anything by it, Professor! – and now that Simmons has decided to join the game, the Chasers are looking near decent. The 'Puffs are... Hanging in there, with Gryffindor leading forty to ten."

I'd have to remember to help Sarah kill Sean later.

By the time we reached seventy points, I'd successfully run a Porskoff ploy and scored twenty points, which was a lot more than I'd expected from the game. Watts had only let in two goals, and the Gryffindors were practically rioting every time he blocked a shot.

Still, if Amelia took a hard hit from a Bludger, none of that would matter much.

Sarah and Fred practically hovered around her, sending the Bludgers back at the Hufflepuff Beaters with scary amounts of force (they'd actually managed to knock one of them off his broom, but he'd been relatively uninjured, unfortunately).

"Oi, Simmons, catch!"

I whirled around just in time to see a Quaffle hurtling toward me for the second time that day.

That time I managed to catch it, and ducked under two of the Hufflepuff Chasers (admittedly ungracefully). I lobbed the Quaffle through the ring with a violent throw, then spun to flash a gloating grin at Potter, who ignored my smug expression.

"Prat," I muttered as we passed, and I didn't catch his reply, but I got the feeling that it wasn't particularly flattering.

I was on Weatherby's tail trying to intercept the Quaffle before the Hufflepuffs could take it down the Pitch when I heard the shouts from the crowd. I whipped my head around to see a frantic flurry of motion out of my peripheral vision, and nearly joined in the crowd's gasps when I realized what had caused it.

Amelia Saunders was splayed on the ground of the pitch, with what appeared to be a Bludger-sized chunk taken out of the end of her broom.

Sean yelled obscenities about penalties and violations of fair play into the megaphone and the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff crowds screamed insults of varying colorful words at each other, but the damage had already been done and the fact remained that we had no Seeker.

Aaaand the gut-wrenching dread was back.

. . . 

Alan looked ready to whack all of us upside our heads with his broom, and had done so several times already.

"Come on, you sodding talentless pansies!" He "encouraged" us with murder in his eyes.

I'd been called a lot of things in my life, but that... Well, that was new.

Fred groaned. "We're bloody trying!"

Harvey sighed. "Alan, we can't win without a Seeker," He shook his head.

Alan narrowed his eyes. "Well, we're bloody well going to, or kill Jonathan Singer while trying!"

The team shot him skeptical glares, though that sounded like an alright plan to all of us.

We'd been hanging in there, but it sure as hell wasn't shaping up to be an easy victory. After sending Amelia to the Hospital Wing and receiving assurance that she would recover (just not in time to save the sodding match), we'd played for a good ten minutes more before Alan had called a time out to scold us that "Just because Amelia's gone doesn't mean you bloody wankers can throw the match".

Alan had used our full time out, so we had five minutes, and he'd already spent a good three of them yelling. It hadn't been a pleasant experience, and I was beginning to remember why missing tryouts had been something of a relief.

Sarah bit her lip. "Oi, I'm tired of him too, but he's got a point," She put in, which earned her several glares of varying threat levels from the team. Sarah made a face at us, and carried on. "Anyone remember the World Cup of 1994? I mean, other than the whole Death Eater thing, does anyone remember the actual match?"

Potter raised an eyebrow. "Jordan, we weren't even alive in 1994."

Sarah narrowed her eyes. "You lot are so uncultured," She huffed. "Well, anyway, it's famous because Ireland won, but Bulgaria caught the Snitch, so if you gits would stop moaning about Amelia long enough to consider that we've already got a good eighty point lead, then we might stand a sodding chance," She huffed.

There was a beat of silence (only from the team, as the crowds were, if anything, more rambunctious than before), as we all tried to avoid her gaze.

She was right, to a certain extent. Technically, if we extended our lead to over 150 points, then we could still win, but the odds of us doing that were... Basically nonexistent. Still, Alan had been guarding the rings with his life, and our Chasers were having an exceptionally good game, all things (the fact that I was playing) considered, so... Well, it was still virtually impossible, but we had to try, right?

Anyway, it was good to know that I wasn't the only one there who was bloody terrified of Sarah.

Alan regarded Sarah with an expression that betrayed both admiration and fear, and turned to address the rest of the team. "She's bloody right, you know," He said as he glared accusingly at us. "We've got a ruddy eighty point lead, and if you lot blow that, you won't leave the next practice alive."

His words were followed by a chorus of groans.

"I've only just joined the team, and you're already threatening homicide," I accused. A shrill whistle echoed across the pitch, and we received several motions from the referee that very clearly said to hurry the hell up.

Alan raised an eyebrow at me. "You bloody knew what to expect; You were on the team last year."

Unfortunately, he was right.

"Anyway," Alan grinned, nodding at the team, "Let's go score seventy more points."

. . .

A bolt of lightning snaked across the sky in the distance, in jagged and pale contrast with the grey sky, and the pitch below us trembled as thunder crashed. The wind tore at anything it could reach and the air felt ready to burst, and from my broom I could almost feel the atmosphere changing in preparation for the storm to come.

Bloody perfect. 

We were down a Seeker, already being blown off course in the wind, sore from nearly an hour on our brooms, and there was a ruddy storm coming on top of it all.

I scowled at nothing in particular as I made a dive for a loose Quaffle, and hurled it back to Potter with a lot more force than was necessary. If he noticed, he didn't let on, so I suppose there are small mercies.

A loud cheer erupted from the megaphone before it could be contained, and Sean's voice rang through the pitch. "That was Potter with the goal, bringing the score to 180 - 50, which means the Lions have got a 130 point lead, and I swear to Godric if they screw th- Oi! I wasn't done talking!"

Sean had grown increasingly bold in his announcements as we inched closer to a 150 point lead, and the Professors were beginning to have a hard time reigning him in, to say the least.

"Oi, Charlie, watch out!" Sarah yelled across the pitch, and I frantically swooped down to avoid a Bludger that had been sent my way.

I made a rather rude gesture at Singer, who had sent it at me, and yelled a quick,"Thank you!" at Sarah before slamming into Weatherby and hoping with everything I had that either Potter or Harvey was below us to catch the Quaffle when she dropped it.

"Argh, you've already - Ooomph," I cut off as Weatherby, in turn, slammed me against the side of the pitch, and I was still trying to clear the spots from my eyes when Sean announced that Harvey had scored.

The Hufflepuffs snatched the Quaffle and flew it down the pitch and the Gryffindors in the stands started chanting something along the lines of "Ten more points!"

The air crackled with electricity and we raced the Hufflepuffs down the Pitch. I gripped my broom and made a desperate reach over the side, where the Quaffle had been passed, but was too slow to intercept it, and could only watch Harvey in astonishment as he dove off his broom to catch it.

"Harvey, what the hell - " My eyes widened when I realized that he'd just thrown the Quaffle to me as he fell, and I nearly joined him in a free fall as I frantically reached for it, and thanked every deity I knew of when I felt it in my grasp.

The crowd was in uproar, and my assumption that it was because of Harvey was quashed when the Hufflepuff Seeker flew past, reaching frantically.

"Oi - Dawson's after the snitch, and the Chasers had better bloody well EVEN THE DAMN SCORE BEFORE - " Sean was abruptly cut off, and the crowd's chanting took on an almost frenzied tone.

"Potter!" I yelled, and lightning flashed as I lobbed the Quaffle at Potter, who didn't even slow to catch it.

The audience had given up any pretenses of chanting and screeched as we raced against the Seeker.

I crashed through two of the Hufflepuff Chasers and looked for the pass, and nearly threw myself off my broom to grab the Quaffle, which I flung to Potter as I cut up to the ring.

Sean sounded like he was about to burst and was practically screaming into the megaphone. "Potter's nearing the goal - Dawson's reaching for the Snitch, someone sent a bloody Bludger at him! - Simmons in possession of the Quaffle, passes to Potter - DAWSON'S AN ARM'S REACH AWAY, YOU TWO HAD BETTER NOT FU-"

Regrettably, he didn't get the chance to finish.

Thunder cracked, almost matching the crowd in volume, and Potter hurled the Quaffle toward the left ring.

Now, I'll freely admit I have a particular penchant for exaggeration, but I swear to Merlin time slowed when the Quaffle flew towards the ring, and the Hufflepuff Keeper dove to reach it.

I think I forgot to breath as his hands brushed the Quaffle, and it moved agonizingly slowly, arcing towards the ring-

"NOOO! BLOODY NO!"








A/N: Thanks so much for reading! 

Okay, so, yes; I recognize that this monster of a chapter was almost all quidditch, and that I'm not particularly adept at writing quidditch scenes, but it did sort of help the plot along, and y'all got some interesting James/Charlie scenes out of it, too. ;) 

Anyway, I absolutely adore each and every one of your reviews/follows/favorites, so just know that I squeal like a five year old every time I see a new one, and that it means a lot. Thank you!


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