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Chapter 40 : Negative Seven
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In honor of the Dobby's, chapter 40 is out WAY ahead of schedule! Enjoy!
Congrats Twinklestar for making it into my story. You impact peoples' lives a lot more than you think you do. You're a true inspiration.
The pitch was more crowded than I was used to. Somewhere around forty students were congregated near the first row of stands, each looking jittery and nervous. My team was on the bench, Wesley pointing out a few hopefuls with the end of his broom. There were also several people in the stands, which included Albus and Rosey. Her head was on his shoulder. She looked sick or something and I made a mental note to remind myself not to let her sneeze on me. Could be infectious.
I crossed the grass and a hush fell over everyone. Now that’s what I wanted my life to be like. A hush following me like every time I opened my mouth it was important. Which it was.
I grabbed the clipboard and looked at the names. This felt so different than finding two Beaters at the start of the year. I was less excited and more anxious. Less pompous and more worried. But I couldn’t let that show. I was the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. I ran this bitch.
“Everyone’s names on this sheet?” I called to the crowd. Lots of nods. “Aces.” I stared down the list and drew lines every five or six people without bothering to look at names. It was like a blind grouping. Then I turned to my team. “Ready?”
“Ready, Cap’n,” Fred said with a salute.
I cleared my throat and glanced over at the hopefuls. Most of them looked like a decent build for a Seeker, but some of them looked like twats. There was one bloke, a fourth year, that looked to be twice my size. And I wasn’t tiny. If he caught the Snitch I would grow a horn. Not like an ugly one, though. A shiny unicorn one. Try taking the Quaffle when I have a horn, Lawson.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” I said loudly, trying not to think about how badass a horn would be. “The team is going to run through a practice. While this is happening, you will be flying around searching for the Snitch in groups of five or six. The Bludgers will be active. Legace and Weasley will have the Quaffle out. So keep your wits about you.” I glanced down at the parchment and called out the first five names. “Any questions?”
Everyone was silent. I couldn’t help but notice Nia was in the stands. No sign this time.
Avery was the first into the air. She flew over to the hoops. It was only a few days before she was perched on one avoiding me. And now she wanted to talk. After she figured us out. What did she have to figure out? I fancied her. She fancied me. I kept something stupid from her. She wouldn’t let me explain. She needed to figure out that I couldn’t lose her.
The rest of the team followed, Paloma and Wesley slapping Beater’s bats, which had become a common occurrence with them. Practice started.
I leaned down and took the tiny golden Snitch out of the trunk. “See this?” I said to the group of Seeker candidates. “This is what separates you from being ordinary and being a legend.”
I let it go.
I sat on the bench and stared up at each group. I took vigorous notes on each one, watching as a second year nabbed the Snitch. Rose’s ginger roommate got one for the second group. The third group took close to twenty fucking years and my hair was gray by the time some twittery fourth year got it. I decided against the initial laps to see if maybe one idiot who could barely fly could spot a Snitch. Flying I could teach. Catching the winning token was something they had to be born with.
No one was talking off to the side. Most of them were staring at me. Some with expressions of awe. Some looked like they were going to wet themselves.
The team was doing amazing. Avery was stopping everything. She had this hard expression about her and I wondered if Freddie was right about her being better when she was emotionally unstable. Was she actually like that? What was going through her head?
She was going through my head. Which is why I was too distracted to realize who was in the next group until I looked down at their names.
“Oh, no.” I glanced up. “No, no, NO.”
“James, shut up.” Lily put her hands on her hips. She was holding my old broom. The Firebolt Seven-Twenty. Good broom, just not as sweet as the Firebolt Chaser model.
“You are not trying out,” I said firmly, getting to my feet. Another girl in the group giggled, but my irritated glance shut her right up. “You’re too little.”
“A second year just caught your damn Snitch,” Lily snapped.
“Watch your mouth!” I said. “You’re like two.”
“I am thirteen and I’ll be fourteen in a week, you git.”
“Like negative seven!” I cried. “You’re not trying out. It’s too dangerous and you’re going to get hurt.”
Lily marched right up to me and stared me dead in the eyes. “I am trying out for the Seeker position,” she said flatly. “If I’m no good then I’m no good.”
“I will not let you.”
“I will owl Mum.”
My eyes widened. “You play dirty,” I said. I looked at her group. Four other people with similar builds. There was flying ability there. “I’m not letting you try out. You’re not built for Quidditch. The lifestyle. The hurtful comments. People will write mean things about you.”
Lily whacked me in the back of the head with the broom. There was going to be a bump. But not a horn. “Let me try out.”
“No.” I turned toward the rest of the group. “Go,” I said, releasing the Snitch into the air. They all took off immediately. I stared down at Lily. “You’re not old enough.”
“I’m going to remind you that you were already on the team in your third year,” Lily said in a dark tone. “You never took no for an answer, James. And neither will I.” She mounted her broom, kicked off, and soared after them.
Fucking damn it.
Wesley was laughing, that git.
Mental note to hex him when he wasn’t keeping Bludgers away from my team.
I sank back onto the bench. I could only imagine Albus’s smirk from behind me. He was probably behind this. I stared down at the parchment and started making notes. The second year girl couldn’t make turns. She kept stopping. What a tosser. The fifth year boy was squinting, staring off for the Snitch. Too bad it was on the other side of the pitch. Gittery.
“Way to go, Lily!” Albus cried.
I glanced up from writing the word gittery next to the fifth year’s name.
Lily had the Snitch in her hand. I blinked.
Fluke. It was a fluke. She was just at the right place at the right time. That had to be it.
Lily handed me the Snitch when she landed, a pompous grin on her freckled face. “Negative seven is the new seventeen,” she teased and sat with the other people who had caught it thus far.
I sent the next several groups off without a word. Some of them were okay. Most of them weren’t. Bink and Fred double-teamed Avery and broke eight rules, but still didn’t score on her. Three Seeker hopefuls got nailed by Bludgers they should have dodged.
After the group trials were done I stood up and cleared my throat. There were seven people that had each caught a Snitch. I dismissed the others, though most stayed in the stands to watch. “There will be three more rounds,” I said and Bink and Fred landed on either side of me. Avery kept to the hoops. “Each person to catch the Snitch will move on.”
“You didn’t tell me baby Potter was trying out,” Bink whispered in my ear.
“If I knew about this I would have locked her in her dormitory,” I shot back. I turned away from the candidates and stared off at the pitch. Paloma and Wesley were hitting one Bludger back and forth. It shocked me sometimes how in tune they were with each other. They would be a force next year.
“She’s good,” Bink added.
“She snogged you.”
His albino face lit up scarlet. “You’re a jerk.”
I chuckled. “Any other thoughts?”
“Avery’s a fucking beast.” Fred sighed. “I’m thinking about hexing her to get the fucking Quaffle through. She’s making us look terrible.”
“She’s making Gryffindor look great,” I said confidently.
“What’d she say to you?” Bink whispered. “When she came in after us?”
“Wants to talk.”
“That’s good!” Fred patted me on the back.
“No, it’s not.” I turned around and stared at the Seekers. “You will be timed.” I let the Snitch out of my hand. “Go.”
They took off faster than I expected them to, my hair flying around in their wake. One of them had a Cleansweep, though, and that was no match for Lily’s Firebolt. This time Bink and Freddie didn’t head back up there. They stayed to watch with me.
As much as I loved my best mates flanking me while watching the try-outs, who I really wanted next to me was Avery Flynn. Her words always comforted me. She was my best friend. And now we were exchanging awkward conversations in the locker room and she was hovering in a hoop. By herself. My stomach was filled with anxious nerves.
I had to get my mind off of this while she thought.
Or I could do some huge romantic gesture to get her to forgive me?
Avery never seemed much for romance. Or gestures.
Lily got the Snitch again. Just as fast. Her grin was getting annoying when she handed it back to me and gave my hair a little ruffle. I let out a sigh.
“Can’t deny she’s good,” Bink mumbled.
“Oh, go bloody snog her why don’t you?” I snapped, sending the Snitch out for a second time and watching people go for it.
“And get hexed again? Fat chance. That’s not happening.”
“I’m going to hex you right now if you don’t shut your pale mouth.” I stared up at the remaining six Seekers. A couple were sticking out at the moment. One looked like if he caught the Snitch he’d fall on it instead of catch it. Albus and Lily were talking behind me.
“Great job, Lily,” he said. There was a smile in his voice. “I knew you could do it.”
“You knew James would let me?”
“I knew you could do it.”
I was going to blame something on her at home so she got in trouble. Breaking a lamp or something. Unorganizing Dad’s work folders. Making me grow a horn.
The second person to catch the Snitch was Roberto Gregory. I hated people with two first names. It was just distracting. He joined Lily behind me, but did not converse with Albus. I figured it was because Roberto was a fourth year and Albus did not associate with fourth years. Or maybe it was because Roberto probably had a thing for Paloma Dove and Albus still hadn’t asked her to be his girlfriend. Because my brother was a git.
Avery was still hovering near the left hoop. Looking stunningly gorgeous. If things were currently okay between us I would be picturing us snogging on the hoop. It would be difficult to balance, yes, but so worth it.
So I didn’t tell her about her father using her. Right away. I was going to, though! Just ask Lily. I was going to tell her. But she just found out first. That wasn’t fair to my plan. It was like Avery and me planning on how to tell Bink and Freddie about us and Emerson finding out. I should have done a comparison.
She was too busy slapping me.
But I understood. I made her look like a fool, finally wondering if her father was going to be there for her. After years of being alone with her mother, she had a glimmer of hope. And I had extended that instead of telling her the truth.
I just wanted to makeout on a hoop. Was that too much to ask?
The third and final person to catch the Snitch was Haley Star, Rose’s roommate. She was a petite ginger girl with an infectious smile. The other four didn’t catch her smile, however, and sulked off into the stands.
I stared at the remaining three. Haley. Roberto. My baby sister. I let out a breath. This was not how I pictured this to go. “All right,” I said as Wesley and Paloma finally joined me on the ground. Avery was slowly making her way down. “Now you’re going to fly one at a time. Alone on the pitch. To get it. You will not be timed. It does not matter if you catch it the fastest. I am looking for the person that would be the best fit for my team. I will also be selecting a Reserve.”
“So no pressure,” Bink said with a grin.
“Go lop on the sunscreen,” I mumbled. “Haley. You’re up first, love.” I tossed the Snitch up and it took off toward the goal hoops. “Good luck.”
Haley shot me a smile, mounted her Nimbus, and flew off in search of it.
Her form was very good. I could tell she’d played plenty of pick-up Quidditch before, especially with her turns. She, unlike quite a few others, had her hair tied back and a determined look on her face. Her posture was flawless. I would have liked her to lean forward a bit more, but that was something I could go over in training. She reminded me of the Arrows Chaser, which was nice. Their new Reserve Seeker was a bitch, but who was I to judge?
James Potter, that’s who.
It took her seven minutes to catch the Snitch. Which was great in the world of Quidditch. She’d need more training, but she looked good.
Roberto’s form was less defined, but he knew his way around a broom. He had broad shoulders and could dive his way out of a cardboard box. He had this dark hair that reminded me a little of Twataso. Perhaps I should ask if they were cousins.
It took him sixteen minutes to catch the Snitch. That was still amazing compared to many people. Even some professionals had problems with timing.
I turned to my sister.
She returned my stare. “When will you learn I’m more like you than Albus?”
“When you prove it.” My expression was hard and I crossed my arms over the clipboard. “Good luck, Lils.”
I released the final Snitch and she was gone.
Godric, it was obvious she’d been training. A long time. Not just a few times out with Wesley Jordan. She was good. And she had my form—low to the broom, toes pointed, jaw clenched. Concentration over every inch of her face. She had been paying attention. Reminded me of Mum to be honest—especially her turns.
Holy muffins. That dive was straight out of Mum’s old Harpies tapes. Lily had been watching them.
Where had I been? My sister was grown up, playing Quidditch, and doing all her research. She knew about dives, positioning, turns—she knew it all. Hell, I was fairly certain she knew more than a few players on my team.
How much were Lily and I really alike? Sure, she had an attitude problem and this year her confidence skyrocketed. Hell, she hexed Clint Lawson. But the only times I’d seen her play were when Mum made us let her at the Burrow. And I mostly ignored her because she was a whiny thing back then.
Then again, there were several summer afternoons my broom went missing from the shed outside. Mum said Dad was probably cleaning it.
Lily Luna Potter was a rotten thief.
It took her seventy-three seconds to catch the Snitch. I took longer fastening my robes. Albus and Rosey were beside themselves cheering. Wesley pulled her into a hug. I thought about hexing him. But I didn’t. Since she had just catch the Snitch in seventy-three seconds.
It didn’t mean she made the team. It was whoever fit the best with my team. My powerhouse.
Bink ruffled her hair. Fred gave her a sloppy kiss on the cheek. I stared at my clipboard.
Seventy-three seconds. Snack on that for lunch, Lawson.
I met Avery’s eyes from a few meters away. She smiled. I returned it, though sheepishly.
Lily ran her fingers over the practice robes. “This is insane,” she whispered.
Fred nudged her several times. “We’ll have to alter them since you’re so tiny, but they’ll look good with your hair. About time we get a ginger on the team. It’s like a Gryffindor legacy.”
She smiled. I could see the light in her eyes. “Should have said something sooner. We could have dyed your hair.”
I was at the chalkboard writing down the rules of the Code. I numbered each one and wrote so hard I broke three pieces of chalk. Don’t date the team. Go to every practice. Forty-eight hour rule. Respect each other. Represent Gryffindor. Don’t drink too much. Don’t get too many detentions.
Haley Star appeared at my shoulder. I picked her because of her knowledge and positioning, but learned shortly after two of her uncles played for the Magpies. She read the words as I wrote them.
“Aren’t you dating Avery Flynn?” she asked quietly.
“I’m the captain.” I kept writing.
“Ah.” She patted me on the back. “I’d break the Code for you too, Captain.” She chuckled. She didn’t say it in a Nia way, but in a playful way.
I turned, my eyes surveying Haley for a moment. “I think you’ll fit in nicely, Star. Just work hard and don’t date my players.”
Haley saluted in a similar way to Fred. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Shoot.” I finished off underlining number four.
“Can I try out at the end of the year for Chaser next year? I usually play Chaser.”
I arched a brow. “Well, you have to ask the new captain, but I have a good deal of pull so if you play well I don’t see that being a problem.” I smiled at her. “Give me your class schedule at breakfast and I’ll pencil in a couple one-on-ones since you haven’t been training with us this year. Plus, now I’m curious if you can move the Quaffle.”
Haley returned my smile. “Thanks, Captain.” She excused herself to her new locker where Wesley was comparing her new playbook to his second-hand one.
“All right, all right, listen up, gits.” I put the chalk back in the holder and waited while each of them took a seat. “Today was the easy part. It’s going to get a lot harder reworking our communication and finding a groove.”
“At least it’ll be a happy groove instead of us trying to decide how close McLaggen would have to fly for us to hit her in the skull with the Quaffle,” Bink said. Freddie chuckled and tried to turn it into a cough. I had never seen anyone pull that off to date and Fred was no exception.
“We only did that once,” I said. “Okay, twice.” I shook my head. “Anyway, we’re doing four practices a week. Attendance is mandatory unless you’re in the hospital wing or dead. If you’re dead, please don’t show up. I do not tolerate rotting bodies.”
Haley laughed. I knew she was a good pick. Roberto firstnameishislastname would not have laughed. He might have even hit on Avery with a cousin like Twataso.
I looked around at my silent team. Bink and Freddie’s stupid grins. Wesley and Paloma, my amazing Beaters. Avery—my girlfriend. Stunningly beautiful that I wanted to kiss all the time. But couldn’t. The new and curious Haley Star.
And by baby sister. She was seated in front of her locker, leaning forward, listening. I wasn’t aware of her ever listening to me like that before. Like I was an authority figure.
“I wanted to say thanks, too.”
“Potter, don’t get mushy,” Bink said, but laughed and kicked the Quaffle over to Fred, who kicked it back.
“Shut your face—I’m serious. I’ve been going through some really rough times and some of you have really come through for me. And I appreciate it.” I smiled at Bink and Fred. I didn’t know what I’d do without them. Even Fred with his Abigail drama llamas. “So thanks. And shit.”
“You’re welcome, Captain,” Haley said with a smirk. “Glad I could help.” Then she winked. My reserve winked at me.
Love? I think so.
Bink pulled her into a headlock. “Did I mention I love gingers?”
Haley pointed to the chalkboard. “Strictly professional, Legace.”
Yes, real love. Roberto obviously wouldn’t be able to resist Bink’s albino charms.
“Forgive me yet?” Lily stayed behind when everyone left for dinner. She placed everything neatly back into her locker after examining it and grabbed an eraser to help with the board.
“You’re far too sneaky for your own good.”
“I know.” She grinned up at me. “I learn from the best.”
“How’d you know I’d let you?” I wasn’t exactly the most understanding and open-minded when it came to my fragile china baby sister who happened to be negative twenty years old.
“I knew once you saw me in the air the desperation would take over.” She smacked my arm with the eraser making a gray rectangle on my sleeve. “I knew you needed a Seeker that could win you the Final.”
I paused for a moment. She looked so mature. Was she really only thirteen? “How’d you learn all that?”
“Watching you. Watching tapes. Studying games.”
I stared. “You don’t want to be a Healer like you told Mum your first year, do you?”
“Going to tell me I’m too young to think about playing Quidditch professionally?”
I chuckled lightly, slapping her with my own eraser so her shirt was textured. “I’m sorry I’m so hard on you. Hell, if I’d have known you could play like this I’d have kicked McLaggen right off the damn team.”
“Shut it, James,” Lily scolded. “I’m not as good as Meta and you know it.”
“You’re thirteen and you rival her at seventeen,” I insisted. “And she just got signed to the Arrows reserve team.” I arched a brow. “You just need some more practice and one-on-one training.”
“Sure.” I nodded and placed the erasers back in the holder alongside the chalk. “We’ll do two this week and start placing you into the practices with the rest of the team. We’ll start with regular drills and then throw you in when we’ve got the Bludgers and stuff around. I think you’ll fit in well with everyone. You move the same way on a broom.”
Lily walked over to her locker and closed it. She leaned against it and stared back at me. She and I had the same brown eyes. “James, anyone who says you’re a rubbish captain needs to be hospitalized,” she said quietly.
I looked away. Tried to think how ace that internship sounded.
“You know everything,” she continued. “You know more than just the game. You know the players. Each position. How to train someone. How to select someone for your team. You’ve studied each player on the other teams, haven’t you?”
I didn’t reply.
“You have. I knew you had. I knew when I saw those tapes under your bed over the summer.” Lily folded her arms. “Quidditch is your entire life.”
“Not for long,” I muttered.
“We’re all here for you, James,” she said. “And we’re not going anywhere. We’re going to make sure you get everything you deserve. Because you’ve done so much for all of us.”
“What? You’re mad.” Was I blushing? Was my sister making me blush?
Lily walked over to me, stood on her toes, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “You mean so much to all of us, James. And not just your team. To me and Al too. We’re going to help. And we’re going to start by kicking the shit out of Slytherin for the Final.”
“Language,” I said, but I was smirking.
Perhaps this really wasn’t the end.
Lucky for my reputation around Gryffindor, Lily seemed to be a likable choice. Everyone spent most of Friday night congratulating her and asking her if she’d really caught it in seventy-three seconds. She blushed a lot and tried to steer the conversation to professional teams. My baby sister knew about professional teams.
Avery wasn’t around. I didn’t expect her to be. She was probably off thinking about us.
To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what she needed to think about. It wasn’t like I was caught cheating on her or something. Okay, that was a jerk thing to think. What I did was terrible. It wasn’t the most terrible thing—hell, both Bink and Freddie had done worse.
But I hadn’t. Maybe that was the point.
It had only been a few weeks and already I’d done something terrible.
Already I had broken her trust. We were best friends for seven years and dated for a couple weeks and I’d already fucked it up.
That was probably what she was thinking about.
Rose came downstairs in a bathrobe with a smut novel in hand. She sank down next to me and put her feet on my lap. “Read to me.”
“I’m not reading your naked people book,” I insisted, shoving a Quidditch Weekly at her. “This is literature.” I glanced over at the bags under her eyes. “You sick, Rosey?”
“Just feel like shit,” she said, leaning her head back against the scarlet pillows. “Not motivated. Don’t want to do much.” She yawned.
“You excited Haley got the reserve slot?” I asked. “I know you’re roommates. You two mates?”
Rose looked over at Haley, who was surrounded by the rest of the team. They were all laughing. Fred and Bink were acting out a dive Lily did. She shook her head. “Not really. No, we’re not.”
“You don’t have to be mates with everyone,” I said, rubbing her feet a little. “I’m rooming with the Head Douche Lord of Hogwarts. I definitely don’t get along with him.”
She smiled a little. “You going to have a graduation party with Freddie this summer?”
“I’m pretty sure Grandma and Grandpa will make me.” I grinned. “Why? You going to skip out for some boy in a book?”
“If it’s boring.” She shot me a cheeky wink. “Besides, Roxanne already told me she’s bringing a date.”
“Oh, Fred’s going to have a field day with that,” I grumbled. “You haven’t seen Avery, have you?”
“Still not talking?”
“I hate that everyone knows this.” I sighed dramatically. “Why does everyone know?”
“You go from being attached at the hip to being socially awkward, James. The whole of Gryffindor can tell. What we can’t figure out, though, is why.” Rose nudged me with her toes. “Tried getting it out of Freddie but he won’t tell me. Does Lily know?”
“No.” I stared up at the ceiling. “It’s okay. I’m going to fix it. I just need to do something…huge.”
“Banner? Or bigger?”
“What would the banner say? Your boyfriend is a bit git, please forgive him?”
“So it was you then.”
Eye roll. “Did you really think it would be her?”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Rose snuggled down into the sofa and yawned. “She needs to stop only seeing the good in people and she wouldn’t be so shocked when something minor goes wrong.”
I was silent for a while. Even Rose knew about Avery looking on the bright side a little too often. But I still needed to do something. I needed to fix this and fast before she thought too much about us and it became Avery and me instead of us together.
The next morning I was dreaming about Avery and me on the Tornadoes together in blue robes. People in the stands had signs with our names and hearts. Girls were blowing me kisses. Cheering. The bright lights were hurting my eyes.
The crowd started stomping in the stands. It was rhythmic, like a slow clap, but thunderous. Avery was laughing. She looked happy. Of course she looked happy, she was the Keeper of the Tutshill Tornadoes.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
The crowd was chanting a name.
But it wasn’t mine.
What the fuck? Freddie wasn’t in my dream!
AND HIS NAME WAS NOT FREDERICK.
“Go ‘way,” Fred mumbled.
I rolled over, squinting at the light coming in through the hangings. Someone was pounding on the door and jiggling the handle. “What the fuck?”
Bink stopped sleep-talking about rubbish bins and purple scales and opened his eyes. “Is that Abigail?”
“Make it stop,” Fred whined.
“Weasley, I will give you a detention.” Emerson pulled his hangings shut angrily.
“I’ll give myself a detention if she stops.”
“Abigail, go away!” I cried. Then I paused. “How’d you get into Gryffindor?”
More pounding. “Fred Weasley, you open this door right now! I will not tolerate this! I am going to hex this door down RIGHT NOW!”
“Just open it and stuff Victoria in her mouth,” Bink said and then shoved a pillow over his face.
“She’d eat her.” I peered over the side of the bed. Stay safe, Tory. I fed her a treat for being adorable. She was looking a little chunky.
Fred threw his legs over the side over the bed and pulled on a dirty tan shirt. He shuffled across the room, hair in disarray, and groggily pulled open the door. “Whachu want, Abs?”
Abigail was on the other side of the door in a fury. “Where were you last night?”
He leaned against the door frame. “Uh, here.”
“With your friends?” She peered around Freddie and shot me a nasty glare. I didn’t like the way she emphasized the last word. “I bet Haley Star was up here, wasn’t she? Getting to know the new girl on the team, were you?”
“You’re not jealous I’ve shagged every girl on your team, but you’re raging jealous we’ve got a new reserve and she’s a pretty sixth year?” Fred said stupidly. Yes, Fred, bring that up. Just like you should have given Kay Davies the Gryffindor robes.
“I don’t appreciate your tone.”
I let out a groan and fell back on the bed with Victoria. At least she wasn’t dramatic. Though she did have an attitude problem. I would have to sit her down and have a very fatherly conversation with her about it. Little diva.
“I don’t appreciate you waking me up at—is it seriously eight—and bloody yelling at me!” Fred cried. “I’m sick of your shit, Abigail!”
“I’m sick of your crazy jealousy, your unattractive bitching at me, and the way you look down at everyone!” he continued, cutting her right off. I would have been running and hiding behind the bed so she wouldn’t slap-attack me, but it seemed Fred didn’t much care. The back of his neck was all red. “I’ve half a mind to tell Davies you think she’s a rubbish captain and you wanted James as a captain!”
Ego boost of the day.
Abigail’s whole face screwed up. “I’m going to smack you again! You’re insufferable! You’re a horrible boyfriend!” She was standing on her toes yelling.
It really was unattractive. Even Nia didn’t flip out like that.
Fred’s fingers clenched at his sides. “Then find yourself a new one of those too!”
With that, he slammed the door shut, locked it, and fell back against the wall. He let out a very relieved sigh and sank to the floor.
“I’d back away,” Bink whispered. “She might hex it down.”
I grabbed Victoria from climbing on my leg and cuddled her to my chest. “Feel better?”
Fred was staring at his hands. “Well, now I actually have to exert effort to get laid.”
“I saw you busting a move at the pub,” Bink said, grabbing a shirt and smelling it. He shrugged and threw it over his torso. “I don’t think you’ll have a problem. Just stay away from the damn Ravenclaw team.”
Fred laughing, moving his fingers through his hair. “Been there, done that,” he replied. “Only one is left anyway and that’s Manclaw. As much as I admire his game, I just don’t think I’m going there.” He stretched, sprawling out onto the floor. There was a dirty sock near his face. “I’ll leave him for Edwards.”
“Detention,” Twitwards mumbled.
I delegated tasks like it was my business. Tonight was a night for celebrating. Hugo (the tiny bugger) snuck into Hogsmeade and came back with a case of Firewhiskey disguised as pumpkin juice. Lucy hung gold and scarlet streamers. Haley Star set up speakers. The common room was transformed for one thing and one thing only.
The celebration of Freddie Weasley being rid of Abigail. For good.
I dressed in a pressed button-down with nice trousers. Fred was refusing to come out of the bathroom and kept whining about something or another while I made sure the sleeves on my shirt were rolled up to a perfect length. Never underestimate the power of properly rolled sleeves.
That was probably why Twitwards hadn’t gone anywhere in life so far. His sleeves were all out of sync.
“You’ll strut around in a dress, but you won’t come to a party for you?” I messed up my hair in the mirror so it looked all hot. “That’s not right, Freddie.”
“They’re going to think I’m desperate!” he cried through the door. “Or a pig!”
“They already know you’re a pig,” I commented, finishing the sleeves and admiring them. If Quidditch work out, I could go into professional sleeve-rolling.
“Avery gunna be there?”
“If she’s done thinking,” I mumbled darkly, surveying my appearance. I looked happy, but my eyes made it too obvious I wasn’t. They had bags. Bags were unattractive, but some things you can’t help when you don’t get much sleep. Because your girlfriend is thinking.
“You two will be fine.” Fred pulled open the door. He had on a similar shirt, though in green, and wore jeans. His hair looked soft, as always. “She’s just being a woman.”
“She’s barely spoken to me in a week,” I said, brows creasing in worry. “What’s she thinking about? I know I was wrong but I…I miss her.”
Fred put his hand on my shoulder. “Try and relax and enjoy my party, okay? I’m going to see if I can’t get laid.” He slapped me on the back and left. Leave it up to Freddie. Advice of the bloody century.
“Easy for you to say,” I grumbled. I kept staring at my reflection. Brown eyes. Pinpricks of freckles. Slender build, but stocky. Quidditch captain. What was not to like?
The owl on the windowsill startled me. It was Demeter from home. I hurried to open it, shin catching the corner of the bed, and let her inside. There was a letter, a package, and splitting pain from my leg. I rubbed it while tearing open the package.
“Cookies!” I squealed, shoving two of the chocolate goodies in my mouth. One was even shaped like a heart. Mum was the best.
That’s terrible. I’m sure, though, by the time you get this you will have already worked out a plan and put it into motion. I have full confidence in you as a captain and a person.
As for Avery, what happened? The two of you will be fine. You work well together and you know everything about each other. I’m surprised it took you this long to figure it out. Your mother and I have been talking about it for ages.
Please write us back and let us know you’re okay. This may come as a shock, but us parents actually worry about our kids. I know. Alert the Prophet.
And I don’t want to step on your toes as a captain, but you might want to give your sister a look. She’s quite good as a Seeker and got away with using your broom for years before we bought you a new one.
Keep us posted. Your mother sends her love (with the cookies)
I stared at the letter for a while. That head’s up would have been nice yesterday. At least Dad had confidence in me. It was a strangely good sensation.
“James, you can’t put everything into Quidditch! What if it doesn’t work out?”
“It’ll work out!”
“And if it doesn’t? The Ministry offers benefits and great opportunities.”
“I AM NOT YOU.”
I shook my head and folded the letter, tucking it in my pocket. Things would work out. I snatched up Lily and Haley. Avery and I were perfect. Right? Then what the hell was there to think about? Would this ruin our friendship?
“Potter—let’s go!” Wesley cried from downstairs. “Bink is going shot for shot with Albus—just kidding, Al lost.”
I chuckled and patted my pocket.
Celebrate Abigail being out of my life.
Show Avery how awesome and boyfriend-y I can be.
Wait for her to think.
Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.
Wait some more.
Drink while waiting.
A/N: I hope everyone enjoyed the Seeker try-outs! Several of you guessed Lily would be trying out for Seeker and you were RIGHT. What do you think about Haley Star? She's a feisty little sombrero, don't you think? I'm rather fond of her.
I wanted to give you a little something to celebrate hte Dobby's, the summer coming to an end and....here's my big news:
I GOT A NEW JOB! In my field! A big kid job where I don't have to work weekends or holidays anymore. Thank you for all the love & support! I really appreciate the support system HPFF has been for me. I love you all. All of your reviews of encouragement and thoughts have not gone unnoticed.
Up Next: The party, someone gets drunk (and it isn't James), and there is a talk.
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