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Harry Potter and the Sect of the Serpent by LacyBlu and Branu
Chapter 12 : The Flying Lions
 
Rating: 12+Chapter Reviews: 19


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CHAPTER TWELVE -- The Flying Lions
Over the next few days, Ron and Hermione continued to ignore one another, but Harry had long ago become accustomed to their routine of constant bickering. It was practically second nature for him to slip into his role as intermediary between the two. Harry spent his time with Hermione going over Potions essays and copying down the notes he'd missed in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and spent his time with Ron going over Quiddich maneuvers, training theories, and speculations on who would make the best new Chaser for the Gryffindor team. Between the two, he'd hardly had a moment to himself.

By the time Friday morning rolled around, Harry was actually quite glad to be heading off to his first Occlumency lesson alone. Ron hadn't shut up about Quiddich in two days, and studying with Hermione all the time was beginning to make his head ache. When Harry had mentioned the possibility of reconciliation to Ron, he'd been subjected to a lecture on how the whole thing was really Hermione's fault for being too sensitive; and when he'd brought it up with Hermione, all he got was a resounding "Humph."

Harry knocked on the door to Professor Lindell's office. Perhaps it was because he no longer had to face the prospect of Snape waiting on the other side, but he was surprised to discover that he was actually quite keen to study Occlumency again, although as he considered it, a dark shadow of guilt seemed to cloud his vision. If only he'd been able to drum up this much enthusiasm for the subject when he'd really needed it... Thoughts of a whispering veil filled his mind, and he screwed his eyes shut against the image of Sirius arcing gracefully back through it. Suddenly, he felt a painful prickling in his scar. It caught him off guard and he opened his eyes wide. His hand strayed up to his scar and he gasped with the sharp stinging pain. He hadn't felt anything since the battle at the Ministry, and had assumed that Voldemort decided to block him out, but now--

"Feeling all right, Mr. Potter?" Harry started as he found himself face to face with Professor Lindell. She was staring at him with interest. Strike that, he thought as he put his hand down, she's staring at your scar with interest. He quickly lowered his hand from his forehead.

"I'm fine, thanks," Harry said quickly. Professor Lindell took a step back from the door and Harry entered her office. He was thoroughly relieved to see that the disgusting technicolor kittens, dried flowers, and doilies of Umbridge's reign had gone from the room. Instead, the walls were covered in large pieces of parchment showing diagrams and equations even more complex than the ones Lindell had been giving them to copy down in class all week. Several of these diagrams were moving, the runes flickering and changing as the lines connecting them wiggled from one place to another. On the wall behind her desk, a large circle had been drawn with some kind of silvery white paint. Around the edges of the circle were runes that Harry didn't recognize, zodiac symbols, and the phases of the moon. As he stared at it, Harry realized that the circle was turning almost imperceptibly.

But there were more normal things in the office as well. Harry recognized a Sneakoscope amid an array of other instruments sitting in a cabinet on the opposite wall, and on top of the cabinet was a small collection of photographs in matching silver frames. A young girl in pigtails and glasses waved cheekily at him from one of them. Under the window, a large potted plant with glossy leaves basked in the sunlight.

Professor Lindell brushed past him towards her desk. She was wearing dark blue robes, almost black really, and her hair was again caught up in a complex twist at the back of her head that seemed to defy physics.

"Have a seat, Mr. Potter," she instructed, motioning to a comfortably worn looking chair on the opposite side of her desk as she dropped into her own chair. Harry sat obediently. He noticed that her desk was covered in sheets of parchment with more diagrams and equations on them. He also noticed a ball of yarn and knitting needles sitting on a shelf behind her, and smiled inwardly, making a mental note to tell Hermione that she had a kindred spirit in the castle.

"Well, Mr. Potter, I haven't had the... opportunity to review your progress with Professor Snape, so I would like you to tell me how far you and he advanced in your lessons."

"Well," Harry began uncertainly, "... he would tell me to clear my mind, then he would use Legilimency to break into my thoughts and I would... er... try to block him?" Harry realized that although he had been taking lessons with Snape for the better part of a year, he actually knew very little about the process of Occlumency. Lindell raised an eyebrow in an expression of disbelief.

"And you would practice clearing your mind?" she asked. Harry nodded, though he wondered if practice were really the right word for it. "What techniques did Professor Snape show you to help you with that?" Harry stared at her blankly.

"Sorry?"

"What techniques did you learn to clear your mind?" Lindell repeated, her brow furrowing. Harry gave her a baffled look and shrugged. He could see that her incredulity was quickly turning to anger.

"Do you mean to tell me," she continued, now frowning quite openly, "that Professor Snape gave you no means of protecting your mind -- no instruction in how to center yourself -- before he started attacking you?" Harry gave a little nod, quite sure by her expression that he was misunderstanding something crucial. "That's appalling!" Lindell shouted. Harry flinched. She stood up abruptly and stomped across the room to her cabinet, then began rummaging through it.

"I apologize for my outburst, Mr. Potter," she said in a more even tone as she pushed aside strange looking objects and peered into the depths of her cabinet, "but I am not accustomed to spending my time making up for other people's mistakes!" She seemed to find what she was looking for, grasped it in her hand, and stomped back over to the desk. She sat down heavily and appeared to try to calm herself with a deep breath.

"Do you know what this is?" she asked, passing him the object she had retrieved from the cabinet. It was a milky white crystal roughly the size of a quailís egg. Upon closer examination, however, Harry noticed that the inside seemed to be filled with a quantity of thick white smoke that swirled and undulated within the crystal.

"It reminds me of a Remembrall," he said, feeling a bit sheepish that he didn't seem to know the answers to any of her questions. She gave him a small smile as he handed it back to her.

"That's a very astute comparison. This is called a Meditation Crystal, or sometimes, a Center. The stone is enchanted with a spell which reacts to and reflects the holder's state of mind, much in the same way a Remembrall does. Now, what happens to a Remembrall when the owner forgets something?"

"The smoke turns red," Harry replied. Lindell nodded.

"With a Center," she continued, "the user can affect the smoke a bit more directly. Watch the crystal." She held the crystal in the palm of her hand where Harry could see it and closed her eyes. Almost immediately, the smoke began to recede towards the center of the crystal, leaving the edges perfectly clear and empty while the smoke in the center became thicker and more opaque. Before long, the smoke had coalesced into a compact pea sized ball at the very center of the crystal. Very slowly, Professor Lindell opened her eyes.

"By focusing my mental energy on the crystal," she explained, "I can clear my mind of other, more distracting thoughts." She reached out and handed the crystal back to Harry. As soon as he took it, the smoke dispersed and again filled the entire volume of the stone.

"But," Harry said, regarding the crystal somewhat skeptically, "you wouldn't have time to use this if you were being attacked by someone."

Professor Lindell adjusted her glasses. "You play Quiddich, am I right?" Harry nodded. "And what sorts of things do you do to prepare for a game?"

"We run different plays."

"Well, what good is running a play against your teammates? The other team isn't always going to do whatever you want them to." Harry frowned slightly, wondering what she was getting at.

"But once we get good at it," he protested, "we can execute the moves no matter what the other team does and improvise when we... Oh."

Professor Lindell smiled.

"Precisely. With practice, you acquire the skill and can use it whenever and however you need it. The same applies to the Center. The Center is a tool, Mr. Potter, but once you have mastered its use, you can easily apply the same technique to quiet your mind whether you have the crystal physically with you or not." Harry studied the swirling mist contained within the crystal in his palm. "Why don't you give it a try?" Lindell suggested.

Feeling slightly vulnerable under the Professor's steely gaze, Harry consented and closed his eyes. "Picture the crystal in your mind," she prompted him. "Can you see it clearly? Now, give the smoke a little nudge." Vaguely, Harry wondered how exactly one was supposed to nudge with one's mind.

"Are you trying?" Lindell asked. Harry frowned. "You're thinking too physically," she said before he could reply. "Try to clear your mind of logical thoughts. When thoughts do come into your mind, acknowledge them, then let them go, and try to concentrate wholly on the crystal."

It turned out that clearing his mind of logical thoughts was a lot more difficult than Harry had first imagined. For one thing, he kept thinking that he must look rather stupid, or that it was no wonder he'd never done very well with Snape. For another, every time he started to clear his mind, he would think, "Hey! It's working!" realize that that was a thought, and have to clear it as well. After a while, however, Professor Lindell told him to open his eyes.

The smoke within the crystal had indeed receded, leaving the edges clear. "With practice," Lindell said, "you'll be able to center yourself even more. The more you can learn to center yourself, the harder it will be for anyone to break into your mind or control you." She looked at him rather seriously, her eyes earnest as they peered at him through her delicate oval glasses. "And we all know how important that is," she finally said. Harry nodded solemnly.

"Go ahead and borrow that crystal to practice with this week. If you bring me one of your own, I'll enchant it for you next lesson. For now I think you had better be getting to lunch, don't you?" Professor Lindell raised an eyebrow at him and Harry blinked. He glanced over at the window and noticed that the angle of the sun had indeed risen quite high overhead. He couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed.

Feeling decidedly calmer than he had in ages, Harry made his way down to the Great Hall where he found Hermione reading her Ancient Runes text as she ate her stew. He scanned the Ravenclaw table for Gwyn out of habit, but caught himself. He was as bad as Ron or Hermione, he realized; he'd only said a few terse words to her since their fight, yet he found himself looking for her every chance he got. He decided to apologize as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

"How was your lesson?" Hermione asked brightly as he slid onto the bench next to her.

"It was..." he found he didn't quite have the words for the experience, so he settled on, "It was good."
As Harry began dishing himself a bowl of stew, he heard Hermione make an odd growling noise in the back of her throat. Harry looked up and saw Malfoy parading across the Great Hall, his left hand bandaged; a group of Slytherin girls was following him, carrying his books, and hanging on his every word.

"I can't believe he's still here!" Harry grumbled.

Hermione shook her head. "Well, you didn't really think that Hagrid would be able to expel him, did you? Not with Lucius Malfoy walking around a free man." Harry felt his insides begin to burn at the mention of the name. Although the elder Malfoy had done a short stint in Azkaban for his part in the raid on the Ministry, he'd been quickly released on a technicality and the charges against him had been dropped. Harry and the others had never even been asked to give evidence against any of them.

"There's something else I wanted to tell you, Harry," Hermione continued in a low voice. "I was doing some extra research on Gargoyles," Harry rolled his eyes, "and I found out that there are only a handful of spells that have any effect on them at all whatsoever. And Harry, the only spell known to kill a Gargoyle is Avada Kedavra." Harry stared at her.

"Are you saying that Malfoy knows -- and used -- the killing curse?" Hermione nodded a bit fearfully. Harry took a deep breath. "But if you found out about it, don't you think Hagrid and Dumbledore would have come to the same conclusion?"

"Probably, Harry, but I doubt if they could prove it. Malfoy could say that the Gargoyle just died of natural causes or something." She sighed and began stirring her stew thoughtfully. "But if Malfoy has learned to use unforgivable curses, that's really bad. Do you think his father taught him?"

"Most likely," Harry replied sullenly. "He could even be a Death Eater now for all we know."

Hermione sucked in her breath and stared fearfully across the hall at the back of Draco's blonde head. "I knew he was vile, Harry, but to cast an unforgivable curse... It's not easy to do. You have to really want to do it. You have to really want to cause pain or..."

Harry looked away from her, the memory of Bellatrix Lestrange's cackling laughter ringing in his ears. He knew something about what it took to cast an unforgivable curse. Bellatrix had laughed at his attempt and said he didn't have it in him. It was yet another thing he hadn't told Hermione or Ron about that night. He reached up and rubbed his forehead, a twinge of the pain he'd felt earlier returning.

Just then, Ron came running into the Great Hall already dressed in his scarlet Quiddich robes, clutching his broom under one arm and a clip board under the other.

"Harry! Where have you been? I've been looking all over for you!" he exclaimed, rushing up to the table.

"What are you on about?" Harry asked. "I've been in lessons with Lindell." Ron stared at him somewhat blankly. "Occlumency?" Harry prompted him. Comprehension dawned across Ron's freckled face.

"Oh right. Well come on! You've got to get changed!" Harry gaped at him.

"Why? Tryouts don't start for another hour!" Ron rolled his eyes dramatically.

"Yeah, but we've got to get down and get the pitch ready! You know, get the play boards together, get the balls out of storage, make sure we've got extra brooms for anyone who hasn't got their own..." He looked at Harry expectantly. Hermione looked like she might like to say something, and when Ron noticed, he blatantly turned away from her to exclude her from the conversation. Frowning slightly, Hermione bit her lip and went back to her textbook.

"Ron," Harry said, trying to keep his voice from sounding as annoyed as he was beginning to feel. "I haven't eaten yet and I'm half starved. Let me just have a quick bite and then we'll go down to the pitch, OK?" Grudgingly, Ron assented and dropped down onto the bench opposite.

Unfortunately however, he seemed to have no intention of letting Harry actually eat anything. Every time Harry would try to take a bite, Ron would ask him a question, or show him a new play he'd thought up, or demand his opinion on one of the people signed up to try out. Finally, reaching his breaking point, Harry asked Ron to go up to Gryffindor tower and get his broom for him, to which Ron eagerly assented.

"Thought he'd never shut up!" Harry exclaimed as he and Hermione watched the red-head bounce out of the Great Hall. Hermione opened her mouth almost as though she were going to take up for Ron, but she said nothing. Harry shoveled the last of his stew into his mouth and grabbed a few rolls for his pockets, knowing that Ron would be back in record time.

"Are you going to come down and watch?" he asked. Hermione shook her head.

"I have a double period of Arithmancy this afternoon. But don't worry, Harry, I'm sure you'll do fine." With that, she gave him an encouraging smile, gathered her books, and headed out of the Hall with a little wave. Harry wondered what she meant, youíll do fine. Of course he'd do fine.

By the time he and Ron reached the changing rooms, however, he was beginning to feel less certain of that. He barely listened as Ron prattled on and on about which plays he thought they should run and -- for the umpteenth time -- which of the potentials were likely to make the best players. As the two of them carried the crate containing the quaffle, the bludgers, and the snitch out onto the pitch, Harry saw Katie and Ginny walking towards them and felt his stomach go a bit wobbly.

"Oy! Harry!" Katie called waving and smiling brightly as the girls approached. "You ready for today?" Harry nodded and smiled wanly.

"Harry," Ginny said, jogging up to him, "I know you said I could be a chaser, but do you want me to try out with the others? I mean, I'll understand if you do. It's only fair." Ron shook his head.

"Nah, Ginny. You're a shoe-in. You don't have to try out." Ginny turned and gave him a disgusted face.

"When did you become captain?" she asked icily. "Last I heard, Harry was in charge." Ron scowled at her and then looked to Harry for support. Harry felt his palms going all prickly and sweaty as he stood between the two Weasleys.

"Er..." he said, noncommittally. Just then, the two beaters, Sloper and Kirke came ambling onto the pitch followed closely by Colin and Dennis Creevy. Dennis was carrying a broom that was taller than he was, and Colin was clutching his camera. They both waved and shouted, "Hiya, Harry!" in unison. The beaters were walking with their heads together, obviously talking about him, and it struck Harry that, with the exception of Katie and to some small extent Ron, he was captain of a team of players he'd never actually played with. Harry found he felt slightly ill. He took a deep steadying breath and thought fleetingly of the blissful calm he'd felt only a short time ago leaving Occlumency.

"Go ahead and get changed, Ginny. We can't very well run any plays with Katie up there by herself," Harry said much more firmly than he'd expected to. Ginny nodded, and Ron gave her a triumphant look. She stuck her tongue out at him and went into the changing rooms with Sloper and Kirke.

One by one, the remaining students on Ron's elaborate sign up sheet appeared until a small group was assembled outside the changing rooms, all looking expectantly at Harry.

"Thanks for coming then," he began uncertainly. "Does everybody have a broom?" The group all nodded silently, and Harry thought that most of them looked about as uncomfortable as he felt, except for Dennis, who was grinning like a madman, and skinny second year boy named Bundy who surveyed his competition with an arrogant smile.

"Right then. Katie here is our lead chaser, so she's going to take you all up and show you a few passing plays, and then we'll give each of you a go at... er... Ron." He felt the color rising to his cheeks as Katie and Ginny smirked at him, and he busied himself getting the Quaffle out of its crate. He tossed it to Katie who took off immediately, leaving four hopeful Gryffindors scrambling to follow her.

"What do you want us to do?" Andrew Kirke asked, swinging his beater's bat through the air.

"Nothing for now," Ron said officiously. "You two can just hang about and watch. We'll release a bludger a bit later." Andrew glanced at Harry, shrugged, and wandered off towards the stands where several people had gathered to watch the try-outs, including Colin who was snapping pictures at an alarming rate.

At first, Harry thought he would just watch from the ground, but after several minutes of Ron's running commentary, he mounted his Firebolt and sped off, claiming he wanted a better look at the players. The first rush of wind in his hair made him feel immediately better. He flew a few perfunctory swoops and dives, realizing it had been close to a year since he'd been able to fly, rather than the usual dry spell over summer holidays. It felt good to be up in the air again. He felt free. Glancing over at the group of players, he felt a bit silly for having been nervous earlier. You can do this, he told himself. Nothing to it really. Just like leading the DA.

Katie had explained a basic maneuver to the group and they were now trying it in turns, passing the Quaffle to either Ginny or Katie. They seemed to be doing pretty well without any interference from him. Feeling the wind ruffling his hair, Harry let his mind wander. Inevitably, it wandered to Sirius. How could it not? Everything from the Firebolt gripped in his hands to the empty Quiddich stands reminded Harry of his Godfather, and of the fact that he would never again have a chance to see Harry play again...

Harry shook himself back to reality. It didn't do to dwell on things he couldn't change, especially not while he was fifty feet in the air and supposed to be judging a Quiddich tryout. He glanced down at the players below him. Things seemed to be going rather well, and Harry was just contemplating a rather difficult catch that Geoffrey Hooper had somehow managed to pull off, when suddenly, Natalie MacDonald screamed shrilly.

Every muscle in Harry's body tensed, as he grabbed his wand from his cloak, ready to fight. It was then that he noticed a great black bludger pelting after the group of players. Apparently, it had just missed Natalie.

"Sorry!" Jack Sloper yelled brandishing his bat. Harry relaxed a bit and frowned. Andrew was already waiting for the Bludger when it returned, and he smacked it soundly away from the group. Harry looked down and saw that Ron was flying straight for Jack.

"Who said you could get that Bludger out?" Ron demanded hotly. "We're not ready for that yet! You're interfering with my -- I mean, Harry's schedule here!" Harry turned and flew over towards Ron.

"We just wanted a bit of practice," Jack said hotly. "We didn't lob it at them on purpose." Ron puffed himself up importantly.

"It's OK!" Harry yelled quickly so that everyone could hear him. "I was just about to suggest that we have a practice match and see how everyone does against Ron."

"Duck!" Ginny screamed suddenly. Not bothering to think, Harry ducked and the Bludger whistled over the top of his head. Ron turned to look and Jack swung his bat just in time, missing Ron's head by inches.

"KIRKE!" Ron shouted angrily, scanning the skies for the other beater. Harry scowled.

"Ron! Get down to that goal! Katie, you take MacDonald and Creevy, and Ginny will take Hooper and Bundy. Kirke! Sloper! Keep that bloody Bludger away from everybody! I don't want anybody to get hurt!" The group scrambled to follow Harry's instructions, and he flew high above the action to watch.

The resulting "match" was abysmal. MacDonald seemed to have lost her nerve after the Bludger incident and screamed wildly whenever one flew anywhere within ten feet of her. Andrew apparently thought this was rather funny and started lobbing the Bludger in her direction whenever possible, though never actually near enough that she was in any danger of being hit. Dennis Creevy zoomed around the pitch like a humming bird with fantastic speed and agility, but never stayed in one place long enough for Katie to be able to pass to him properly and twice he dropped the Quaffle in his excitement.

Ginny's team seemed to be having better luck. Twice Bundy managed to score while Ron was busy telling off one of the beaters, and Geoffrey Hooper got quite close a third time before Harry shouted at Ron to pay attention. To finish things off, Harry had each of the hopefuls take a penalty shot. Ron blocked them fairly effectively, and only Hooper managed to score. Finally, Harry motioned for them all to land and sent Andrew and Jack off to round up the Bludger.

"Ok, well, thanks for coming out," Harry said to the assembled players. "You guys all flew well. We'll post the results on the notice board tomorrow morning." He watched as the group wandered off back towards the school with expressions ranging from overconfidence, to hopefulness, to downright terror variously written across their faces.

"Well!" Ron said cheerfully, "I thought that William Bundy was pretty good." Katie and Ginny gave him funny looks.

"He's a Quaffle-hog," Ginny said. "He wasn't executing the passes the way we talked about. Every time he got a hold of the Quaffle he just tried to score, no matter what."

"Well, he's the only one who managed to score twice," Ron said defensively.

"Thatís because you were too busy telling Sloper off to guard the goals," Harry reminded him. Ron turned rather red.

"My team was dismal," Katie said, shaking her head. "I mean, we can hardly have a Chaser who screams every time she sees a bludger."

"And Dennis is fast, but the Quaffle's almost bigger than he is," Harry added.

"He might make a good Seeker," Ginny suggested with a wicked grin.

"That position is taken," Harry reminded her with a wry smile. Jack and Andrew had finally managed to wrestle the bludger back into the crate and they came striding over. Ron scowled at them blackly.

"I thought Hooper flew well," Ginny said. "He's the only one who scored when Ron was actually doing his job." Ron opened his mouth to protest, but Andrew beat him to it.

"No way! Hooper is a whiner. Everyone knows it. If he gets a hangnail he'll probably try to get out of the game. We need somebody we can count on."

"Which is why I think we should have Bundy!" Ron said, exasperated. "Besides, he's got Quiddich in his blood."

"What do you mean?" Harry asked. Ron turned, if possible, even redder.

"His uncle is Klete Bundy." He looked around at them all as if this was supposed to impress them. "He's a beater for the Chudley Cannons." Harry suddenly remembered the name and the fact that Klete Bundy was notoriously arrogant and only rarely accurate.

"'Bludger-Blooter' Bundy?" Jack laughed. Ron scowled.

"Yeah, well... I just thought that he would probably have some experience... You know, playing with his uncle and all..."

"Well," Katie said slowly, "I guess maybe..." Ginny rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. Jack and Andrew were still laughing at "Bludger-Blooter."

"All right!" Harry called, trying to get their attention. "It sounds like it's between Hooper and Bundy. We'll put it to a vote. Who thinks we should have Hooper?" Katie, Ginny and Jack put their hands up. Jack rounded on Andrew, but Andrew shook his head.

"Uh-uh. I can't stand Hooper. I'd rather have the Bludger-Blooter than him," he said.

"Ok, so that's three to two for Hooper," Harry said.

"Wait a minute!" Ron threw in. "You didn't vote, Harry. Who are you voting for?" Harry swallowed hard. He had kind of hoped to avoid voting at all.

"I don't know," he said finally.

"Well, you have to," Ron said quickly. "Your vote counts more than anybody's!" Harry frowned. He trusted Ginny and Katie's instincts, but he trusted Ron too.

"I'll have to think about it," Harry said finally. "Let's go on and get changed."

"Aye aye Captain!" Andrew said throwing Harry a rather elaborate salute. Harry and the others laughed. Ron scowled.

The team quickly changed and headed back up to the castle for dinner, Ron pestering Harry about his vote at every possible turn.

"Those bloody Beaters," Ron sighed later as he poked at his pudding. "Don't give a damn about authority. Did you see the way that Sloper looked at me when I told him he was holding his bat wrong? Acted like I was round the twist. Wonder if insanity is genetic with Beaters, I mean, look at Fred and George, right? They--" Suddenly, Hermione put her fingers in her ears and got up from the table giving Ron a very nasty look, obviously unwilling to listen to any more of his insistent Quiddich prattle.

"What's eating her now?" Ron demanded as he watched Hermione stomp out of the hall. Harry didn't reply. He was about to the point of sticking his fingers in his own ears. He wondered idly if he could think of a charm to make himself go temporarily deaf. "I swear, she drives me crazy sometimes!" Ron continued. "She's too bloody sensitive for her own good."

"She's still mad that you haven't apologized for making fun of her," Harry replied.

"I wasn't making fun of her!" Ron insisted. Harry gave him a rather disbelieving look. "I was just having a laugh," Ron continued defensively. "And if she can't tell the difference, then that's her problem."

"Actually, if you still want help with your Transfiguration essay this weekend, it seems to me it might be your problem," Harry countered.

Ron shrugged. "She'll help you and you'll help me. It all comes out in the end." They both fell into silence. But not for long.

"Did I tell you about that save that Bundy -- I mean, Klete, not William of course -- that play he made against Ireland last season? Caught the bludger with the very tip of his bat and sent it straight at Ireland's lead chaser as she made her shot. Managed to actually knock the Quaffle away from the goal in mid air! It was brilliant. Course, everyone said it was a fluke, but--"

"All right!" Harry shouted at last. "All right! Bundy can be on the team."

"That's great, Harry!" Ron said, clapping him soundly on the back. "You won't regret it. He's going to be great, I just know it!" Harry pictured the looks on Ginny and Katie's faces when they heard, and hoped Ron was right.


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