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Chapter 28 : No More Mister Niceton
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Al looks awful on the morning of the Quidditch match. He’s got circles under his eyes so dark it looks as if someone’s punched him. His hair is even messier than usual, sticking up every which way and it looks as if he hasn't washed it all week. He’s drank so much pumpkin juice, he’s now shaking from the sugar rush. He is sitting at the Slytherin table this morning to show a sense of team spirit, and he’s glaring over at the Ravenclaws with more contempt than he's ever shown for any other Hogwarts house.
I have to say, the Ravenclaws look far better than the Slytherins. They look like they’ve gotten a good night’s sleep and are smiling and joking happily with each other. Robert and Jenny are sitting together, stealing a few kisses from each other that I’d think were sort of cute if I didn’t feel so much for my cousin. Even the Hufflepuffs are sporting blue and silver today – the Hufflepuffs are notorious for supporting the Ravenclaws no matter what. Usually the Gryffindors are notorious for supporting whatever team is opposing the Slytherins – and there are quite a few Gryffindors wearing the Ravenclaw colours – but the Weasley/Potter family are all supporting Slytherin today. On top of the fact that Al is the captain of the team, we’d like Slytherin to win because it’d make for a much better final.
I join the boys at the Slytherin table this morning. Al isn’t eating breakfast, but is mumbling incoherent things while staring at his toast. Henrietta Flint, an intolerable tree of a girl and also the keeper on the Slytherin team, looks worse than I’ve ever seen her. She’s deathly pale and her eyes are all puffed up, as if she’s spent the night crying rather than sleeping.
“What’s wrong with Flint?” I ask Scorpius, who also looks worse for wear. He glances over at her, looking up from his bowl of cereal for the first time.
“Al called her fat,” Scorpius shrugs, “She was eating a Cauldron Cake during practice last night.”
“He called her fat? I thought James was the prick of the Potter family.”
“After this week, Al has definitely out-pricked him,” says Scorpius bitterly. I rub his arm comfortingly, but I really don’t think I’m helping.
A whole hour before the match is due to begin, Al rounds up the Slytherin team and drags them down to the stadium for a ‘pre-match pep talk’. I head back over towards the Gryffindor table, but stop when I hear someone calling my name.
It’s Jenny. She’s beckoning me over to sit with her and Robert at the Ravenclaw table – the enemy. Knowing I can’t just ignore her, I reluctantly go and sit beside her.
“Are you excited about the match?” she beams, “I can’t wait. Robert’s been training so hard all week. You’ll be going for Ravenclaw, of course?”
Usually, I would say yes. Two months ago, when she was going out with Al and I wasn’t going out with Scorpius, I might have said yes, of course.
“Yes, of course!” I lie through my teeth. Because I’m not going for Robert. I’m going for Al.
“That’s good to hear!” Robert smiles. He is so very handsome when he smiles. Al has quite a crooked smile, sort of lopsided and goofy. It’s definitely not as charming as Robert’s. Like I’ve said before – Al doesn’t stand a chance. “So Rose, how far in are you in your pregnancy? My older sister’s pregnant too, she’s only three months in.”
I sort of feel like he’s getting a bit personal now. Okay, plenty of people ask how far I am in, it’s what people ask pregnant women when they have absolutely no idea what to say. But I’ve only spoken to Robert a handful of times. But instead of replying ‘none of your business’, I answer, “Seven months, almost.”
“Wow, you won’t find it coming!” he smiles. Why does he have to be so nice about everything? And Jenny is so nice too. They’re a horrible couple – they’re the Nicetons. And they’ll live in a nice little cottage and have nice little children with nice smiles and Jenny’s nice curly hair. They’ll have a cat and a dog, both as well behaved as their nice little children, and Robert will put a tyre swing in the back garden for Jenny Jr. and Robert Jr. to swing on. And they’ll have a nice little sign in the front garden saying ‘Welcome to the Nicetons!’ It will be unimaginably creepy.
Jenny needs an idiot like Al to balance her out, just like Al needs a Niceton like Jenny to make him stop acting like a total wanker.
At a quarter to eleven, we all make our way down to the Quidditch pitch. I can’t help but wonder if the Slytherin team are still alive after Al’s one hour pep talk, so I decide to sneak into the changing rooms to see. The team are changed and sitting around in a circle as Al drones on and on about ‘Slytherin honour’ and being ‘in it to win it’. Everyone is listening intently – probably terrified that he’ll hit them over the head with a broomstick if they don’t listen – except for Scorpius. He’s asleep, and clearly not afraid of Al.
“…so as I’ve said, by the thirteenth minute, Lysander you’re looking to knock Hitch off his broom. Lorcan, should Lysander’s bludger go awry, you will then take over knocking Hitch off his broom –”
“But shouldn’t we try and knock the seeker off first?” Lorcan asks logically.
“No! Hitch first and then the seeker! If I see either of you trying to knock the seeker down while Hitch is still in the air –”
“Al, we’ve been through this a hundred times,” Scorpius groans, his eyes still closed, “You hate Hitch, we get the picture.”
“I don’t care about Hitch! It’ll just be easier to score without a keeper there –”
“You mean it’ll be easier for you to score Jenny if he’s not there,” Scorpius mumbles. Al glares at him angrily, but doesn’t hit him with his broom. He clearly doesn’t pick on people bigger than him.
“Are you all ready then?” I ask and everyone turns to look at me. Apparently nobody noticed me come in. Even Scorpius opens his eyes and then comes over to me, with a grateful look on his face. He has an excuse not to listen to Al now.
“Weasley! What are you doing here? Don't break my seeker’s concentration!” Al snaps angrily.
“I’ve just come to wish you all luck,” I say, “And your seeker’s concentration was broken probably around an hour ago, Potter.”
“She speaks the truth,” Scorpius shrugs at him.
Wood knocks on the door of the changing room and shouts ‘one minute!’ The team starts to line up at the door, Al taking his position at the front as captain. He looks nervous now, but determined at the same time.
“Good luck,” I whisper to Scorpius and give him a quick kiss, “Please try to keep Al from murdering Robert Hitch.”
“I’ll do my best,” he squeezes my hand, grabs his broom and lines up with the rest of the team. Wood’s whistle blows for the first time, and the team flies out, save for Al, who has to walk out and shake the opposing team captain’s hand.
Deciding that my feet are far too sore to walk the whole way up to the stands, I sit on the sideline and watch the match from there. It’s not exactly the most practical way of watching a Quidditch match, and my neck will hurt after the first five minutes or so, but it beats walking.
Robert emerges from the changing room opposite and he and Al meet in the middle of the pitch. Robert smiles at Al politely, and the sad thing is that it’s actually a genuine smile. I don’t think I need to say that Al definitely doesn’t return the pleasantry. He shakes Robert’s hand so briefly, they barely even touched. He then mounts his broom and kicks off before Robert has the chance to beat him to it.
Gregory McPhilips’s voice echoes around the stadium as he starts to announce the name of the players. Although he’s a Hufflepuff, it’s very clear that he’s rooting for Ravenclaw the whole way.
“…Ravenclaw have an absolutely brilliant team this year, captained by Robert Hitch, who is also the Head Boy as I’m sure you all know!”
From all the way down here I can see Al glaring at him.
“Albus Potter has put out a good enough Slytherin team this year, having beaten Gryffindor in the last match, but I wonder will it be good enough to defeat the Ravenclaws? Potter versus Hitch – I know who my gold’s on!”
I see Al stick his middle finger up at McPhilips, which earns him a very dirty glare from Wood. Wood is, and always has been, very anti-Slytherin.
“The Quaffle is released, and the game has begun! Albus Potter catches the Quaffle, Slytherin are in possession…”
Al clings to the quaffle and flies towards the goalposts where Robert is hovering. He’s up so high, he’s barely more than a speck to me now. Montague and Bates are following Al, but he shows no intention of passing the quaffle. Lorcan is beating bludgers away from Al, while Lysander is aiming them at Hitch, as instructed. The two Ravenclaw beaters have their hands full trying to protect their keeper that they barely even notice when Al scores the first point of the game.
“10-0 to Slytherin! Potter may be a good chaser, but he does realise this is a team sport, doesn’t he?”
Scorpius is hovering around the sides looking for the snitch, but there’s been no sign of it yet. After another ten minutes, he looks positively bored. Al has scored another two goals, while Bates and Montague have yet to even touch the quaffle. Ravenclaw have scored a goal and are lagging twenty points behind.
“30-10 to Slytherin, this match is turning out to be quite a nail-biter! Ravenclaw are in possession! Boot passes to Dawson…those Slytherin beaters seem hell bent on getting Hitch out of this game…Dawson scores! 30-20 to Slytherin!”
I can see Al shouting something at Henrietta Flint, but when a bludger hits him in the back and very nearly knocks him out of the air, that puts an end to that. He whirls around, clearly wanting to shout as his two beaters now, but they have other ideas.
You see, Lorcan and Lysander aren’t using their beater bats to hit bludgers anymore. No, they’re using them to hit each other.
“Wow, folks, what do we have here? The Scamander twins are bringing their domestic tiffs onto the Quidditch pitch!”
Wood blows his whistle and calls a time out. The two teams land, Lorcan and Lysander still beating each other with their bats, and Al is shouting bloody murder at them.
I haven’t been to a Quidditch match this interesting since…oh yeah, since Laura Phelps told everyone I was pregnant. I think this sort of overshadows that though.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!” Al yells. He throws down his broomstick and tries to pry them apart. I pull myself up off the ground and head over to them to see what’s going on.
“Stupid git!” Lorcan shouts at Lysander, trying to whack him with his bat, but Scorpius is holding him back while Al has a firm grip on Lysander.
“It was just one time!” Lysander shouts back.
Oh no. Did Lysander really just tell Lorcan that he kissed his girlfriend during what could possibly be the most important match of Al’s life? Well if Al wasn’t going to kill him for kissing Lily before, he sure will now.
“She’s my girlfriend! You’re a backstabbing little –”
“You knew I liked her when you got together with her!” Lysander yells, still struggling to escape Al’s grip, “You’re the backstabber here!”
“How dare you!”
“WHAT IS GOING ON?!”
Professor Fargo, the head of Slytherin house, has stormed on to the pitch. He’s a very tall man, probably in his mid sixties, with white fluffy hair and a very red face. He face looks far redder than I’ve ever seen it right now. Wood is flying around, shouting obscenities and not helping the situation one little bit.
Then, seconds later, Lily and Jenny run onto the pitch, Lily clearly having guessed what’s happening. She’s a braver girl than I’ll ever be. If I were in her situation I’d…well, I’d probably lock myself in a bathroom. That sounds like something I’d do.
“Lily!” Lorcan and Lysander exclaim at the same time.
“Oh no,” she mumbles. Then, to make matters even worse, Robert comes over. Al maintains his grip on Lysander, but I can tell he’d love nothing more than to smack Robert senseless.
“So what’s happening?” Robert asks.
“None of your business,” Al spits at him. It’s funny, I wanted to spit the exact same thing at him earlier on.
“Lorcan, I’m so sorry!” Lily cries, “I didn’t want you to find out like this, but it was just one kiss!”
Lorcan looks heartbroken. I feel for him.
“Wait a second,” Robert scoffs, “This is your problem? The reason our match had to be suspended was because of you?” Lily looks at him with some serious attitude. Robert clearly hasn’t learned that you do not piss Lily Potter off. “Look, why don’t you deal with your stupid little problems off the pitch –” Smack!
Al lets go of Lysander and punches Robert right in the face.
“Nobody talks to my sister like that!”
Jenny screams, but nobody takes any notice because all hell breaks loose. Robert dives at Al, and the two scramble about punching and kicking; Scorpius lets go of Lorcan to try and drag Robert off Al, meaning that Lorcan and Lysander go back to beating each other with their beater bats; the whole Ravenclaw team gather round to watch the fights, but none of them think to try and break it up. Professor Fargo is shouting at the Scamanders, but he might as well be shouting at a brick wall for all the notice they’re taking.
Wood lands and blows his whistle. Montague and Bates manage to pry the Scamander twins away from each other, but Scorpius is having a job breaking up the Robert-Al fiasco.
“Stop!” Jenny shouts, and immediately Robert and Al stop fighting. Al has blood dripping from his lip and his nose, and he has a very red eye, which I’m sure will be black by tomorrow. Robert looks no better. The Scamander twins look even worse – never underestimate the power of a beater bat.
I wish I had the camera.
“Detention!” Fargo shouts, “All four of you!”
“Potter, Scamanders and Hitch – you’re out!” Wood cries and blows his whistle for effect.
“What?!” the four shout.
“You – are – out!” Wood repeats, “Suspended for the rest of the match!”
“But then we only have four players!” Al cries.
“I DON’T CARE, POTTER!”
“Wow, this could’ve gone better, eh?” I whisper to Jenny. She looks at me darkly. “Too soon to joke? Alrighty then.”
Montague, Bates, Flint and Scorpius mount their brooms. They are all that is left of the broken Slytherin team. The Ravenclaws have only lost a keeper and look very smug now.
“You have to catch the snitch,” Al pleads with Scorpius, “You have to catch it. Avoid bludgers at all costs, and catch the god damn snitch as soon as you possibly can, mate.”
Scorpius nods at him, now looking just as determined as Al. Wood blows his whistle and the six Ravenclaws and four Slytherins take off back into the air.
“Are you alright?” I ask Al, but he doesn’t hear me. He walks straight by me and over to Jenny.
“Jen, I’m sorry –”
She doesn’t even look at him, but rushes over to Robert. The two then walk into the changing rooms, leaving a very crushed Al behind. Lily runs off the pitch away from the bickering Scamander twins.
“Slytherin are left with only four players! I think we’ll be looking at the worst defeat in years here today people!”
And it looks like McPhilips is right. Scorpius does his best to avoid the abundance of bludgers, but Montague is knocked out within the first two minutes. Bates scores three more goals, but when Henrietta Flint is knocked out by a bludger to the head, Ravenclaw make a serious comeback, scoring seven goals in under two minutes. Slytherin now have two players against six. The Ravenclaw beaters, now that they’ve knocked out the keeper, are set on knocking out Scorpius. Luckily he’s a fast flier, and a good one too, so he dodges them all.
“120-60 to Ravenclaw, Bates is doing his best to avoid those bludgers, but those Ravenclaw chasers are just too much for him! Score for Ravenclaw! 130-60!”
“Come on, Scorpius!” Al cries from beside me, nearly tearing his hair out.
“150-60! Slytherin have been scored on more times than Al Potter’s sister!”
“I’m going to kill that little bastard!” Al shouts.
“Ow! It was just a joke, Merlin! OW!!”
It looks as if James has jinxed McPhilips from the stands. Sometimes I really love that boy.
“Christ, my head! Right, it’s 210 – 60, Ravenclaw are certain to win this match hands down! Bates is in possession, he dives to avoid a bludger and – oh! Scorpius Malfoy has taken a bludger for his team mate! Bates scores! 210 – 70!”
Scorpius is clinging to his broom, but manages to pull himself on to it again. He wipes away the blood pouring from his nose and dives towards the ground – he’s seen the snitch. He dives down and down and down…
“Scorpius Malfoy has caught the snitch!”
He lands on the ground with a thump.
“Slytherin win 220 – 210! The second game this season they’ve won by just ten points! And with just two players! My my, you have to give it to them, those Slytherins have style!”
I rush to Scorpius, but everyone else gets there before me because they’re not almost seven months pregnant with a rather large baby and they can run. Al pulls Scorpius to his feet and then jumps on him in a huge hug. The rest of the team run to him and ruffle his hair, and after Al has finished hugging Scorpius he turns to Jason Bates and hugs him too.
“You were outstanding, mate, outstanding!” Al shouts and claps him on the back, “Party in the Slytherin common room!”
It’s a pity Robert has gone back to the changing rooms. I can tell Al really wants to rub this in his face.
Before the party can begin in the common room, the entire Slytherin team must first visit the hospital wing. Henrietta Flint was transported here straight away when she received a bludger to the head, and she’s currently unconscious in one of the beds. The Scamander twins both have head injuries, and Madame Pomfrey gives them a long lecture on how they shouldn't fight as well as healing potions. Montague has a broken arm, but is alright apart from that. Al is beaten black and blue, but is still extremely optimistic. Scorpius has a broken nose and a sprained arm from his bash from the bludger. Jason Bates is the only one who doesn’t need medical attention.
“A spectacular win!” Al says for about the fiftieth time, “Two players against six! Scorpius, my friend, you’ll go down in history!”
“Let’s not count our dragons before they’ve hatched, little brother.” James is standing at the door of the hospital wing, grinning at the scene around him.
“We’ll beat you in the final,” Al says confidently, “No sweat.”
“Not with our new not-so-secret weapon, Hugo Weasley you won’t!” James retorts and jumps onto Al’s bed. He flicks Al’s clearly sore eyebrow, earning him a punch on the arm.
“Are you alright?” I ask Scorpius.
“I’m fine for the billionth time,” he sighs, “It’s just a sprain.”
“And a broken nose,” I remind him.
“I’m fine,” he smiles and assures me. His smile is much nicer than Robert’s, I notice. “I actually have to go to work in ten minutes, though, so I won’t be able to make the party…”
Al’s face falls completely. “But you’re the star player! Man of the match! Seeker of the century! You can’t not come!”
“I have to work,” Scorpius shrugs, “But I’m sure the party will still be going on by the time I get back.”
“It’ll be going on ‘til next year,” I mumble.
I feel bad. The reason Scorpius has to work is because I’m pregnant. He can’t just go and be a normal teenager with the rest of his friends and celebrate his victory.
“I’ll be back by half six,” he assures Al, and then gets up to leave. Madam Pomfrey starts fussing over him, but eventually lets him go.
Al, James and I head back to the Slytherin common room where the party is already under way. Everybody cheers for Al and he’s dragged away as soon as we climb in the portrait hole. The awful chanting and shouting becomes too much to bear after a few minutes, so I tell James that I’m going back to the Gryffindor tower. There I find Lily curled up in a ball in the corner, crying.
“Lily?” I say gently, bending down awkwardly. It’s hard to bend with a bump. She notices this so stands up and sits on the couch with me. “Are you alright?”
“I messed everything up,” she sobs, “I didn’t mean to. I didn’t want them to fight. They’re twin brothers, after all and that bond should be stronger and closer than anything I’ll ever have with anyone.”
“I know,” I soothe, “But they’ll get over it. Blood’s thicker than water and all that.”
“I broke up with Lorcan,” she sniffs, “I don’t want to come between him and Lysander anymore. I don’t think they’ll be speaking to me for some time.”
I hug her and comfort her for a while, not really saying anything. I mean, what do you say? She’s the one in the wrong here, so anything honest that I’d say would just hurt her feelings. After a few minutes of sobbing to me, she goes up to her dormitory. Shortly afterwards, Dom comes bouncing into the common room.
“What a match!” she exclaims, “I can’t wait for the final now! Why aren’t you down in Slytherin? The party just got crazy, Jason Bates is doing a striptease! I just came up to grab my camera!”
“I’ll head down a little bit later,” I tell her, “I’m a bit tired.”
She rushes up to the dormitory and rushes back, with the camera and what looks like a letter in her hand.
“This came for you earlier on,” she hands me the letter. “I’ll see you later?”
I nod at her. It’s not actually a letter, it’s a postcard from Teddy and Victoire.
Greetings from Greece! The weather is amazing here, we’ve spent nearly every single day on the beach! The hotel is fantastic, the food is superb and the people are so friendly.
Now to more important things – I hope you’re looking after yourself. I heard your Grandad died, I’m so sorry. (Not your average postcard, you can tell!) I’ll talk to you more when I get back.
Hoping you are well
Teddy and Victoire (The Lupins!)
I smile and tuck it into my pocket. It's clear that it's not actually from Teddy and Vitcoire, but just from Teddy. I almost forgot about Teddy and Victoire with everything that’s happened in the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing Ted again, though that probably won’t be until the summer at this rate.
I head back down to the Slytherin dungeon after a while. This striptease thing sounds interesting. The common room is even more packed than when I left, and people are actually burning Ravenclaw flags. Then I notice, to my surprise, Scorpius sitting on an armchair in the corner.
“I thought you had to work?”
He looks up, looking a little surprised to see me here.
“They let me go,” he mumbles.
My heart drops. “They let you go? Why?”
“Said they weren’t getting enough business to keep me on,” he shrugs, “But it’s okay, Rose.”
“How is it okay?” I cry, “We have no money!”
“I’ve taken care of it!”
I do not like the sound of that. That’s dodgy loan shark talk right there. I raise a suspicious eyebrow.
“I’ve asked my dad for the money.”
Those dodgy loan sharks suddenly sound much more appealing.
A/N - I know, another quick update! Also, I answered many people's questions on how far along Rose is - almost 7 months. And I haven't forgotten about Draco, don't worry! I really enjoyed writing this chapter, especially the Quidditch match, so please review! And to those who have been asking about a sequel, I give you one word: perhaps! And I HAVE decided on the gender of the baby and on the name already. I've had them planned since the start, really.
Thanks for reading!
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