Chapter 15 : The Quidditch Cup
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At breakfast, Corey turned to Jen and stole some bacon off her plate while saying, “Good luck out there, you losers are going to need it because Slytherin is going to crush it today.”
Ah, what was Quidditch without a little boasting and threatening before the game?
“You do realise you’re sitting at the Gryffindor table, don’t you Corey?” Jen smiled sweetly then gestured to all the Gryffindors dressed in supporting colours staring him down after hearing his comment.
“Yes well, may the best team win – best be off, bye!”
The group burst into laughter as Corey made his way out of the Great Hall casting looking back over his shoulder in case any angry Gryffindors were out to get him.
Al and Sam shared a look before getting up and leaving too, and soon both were in the locker rooms suffering through pep talks from their captains.
James, the chaser and captain of the Gryffindor team, was in the middle of warning his players about fouls – again.
“Look out for illegal blagging and cobbing, Slytherin play dirty and I wouldn’t put it past them to try all the fouls they can possibly think of. Especially against you Al, as seeker you’re going to be the target of all their tricks.”
Al rolled his eyes, having heard these exact instructions many times before, “I know James.
James continued without taking a breath as though he hadn’t heard, “If you’re feeling confident try the Double Eight Loop, chasers, I know you can do it and it’ll help keep the Slytherin score board down, because remember, we need as many goals as we can to get them out of the running for the Cup.”
“We know James,” Molly and Jason Pritchard chorused together.
“All right then, I guess we better move out. Hands in everyone.”
They each put one hand on the pile, nervous excitement filling all of them.
“One, two, three. GRYFFINDOR!”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“And what a beautiful play, the Dopplebeater Defence executed perfectly by Sam and Isobel Gudgeon – GO AL, GO – but there’s James Potter back in possession of the Quaffle and he scores! It’s now 130-100 Slytherin’s way but Al Potter is still tailing the Snitch – FASTER AL, BEFORE BADDOCK CATCHES UP – ”
The crowd screamed its support for Lysander’s commentary, and Rose yelled right along with them, cheering Al on as he flew after the Golden Snitch.
Al was gaining on the speeding orb of gold every second, any moment he would have it in his grasp!
He twisted and turned in hot pursuit, as Greg, the Slytherin seeker, followed him a broom-length behind.
As Al zoomed into the centre of the pitch he was caught in the crossfire of chasers fighting over possession of the Quaffle.
“And there’s Bole in possession of the Quaffle but Avery Higgs of Gryffindor has just performed a faultless bit of Bludger work and yes, Bole has dropped the Quaffle – WAIT GET OUT OF THE WAY AL – ”
An intense hush fell over the sea of red and green below as the crowd watched captivated.
Al had been so busy dodging players and seeking the Snitch that he’d forgotten to look out for Bludgers from his own team rather than that of Slytherin’s, and as his fingers stretched, mere inches from the Snitch he overlooked the Bludger that was hurling straight towards him off the bat of Avery Higgs.
As the Bludger came closer and closer everyone tried to get Al’s attention but he was so focused on catching the Snitch he continued on, oblivious to the danger.
Suddenly a streak of emerald green flew past Al and the crowd gasped in baffled amazement as Rose screamed in horror before beginning to run desperately down from the stands in a panic.
“No, I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it – AL HAS CAUGHT THE SNITCH – Gryffindor wins!”
Pulling his broom up to a halt in the middle of the pitch Al raised his arm in victory, holding the tiny struggling Snitch in his fingers.
It was only when he touched down on the grass and saw Rose rushing across the pitch in the opposite direction to him that his eyes found a clump of Slytherin Quidditch robes crumpled on the ground.
Her cries reached his ears and he stared in disbelief, “Sam! SAM NO. Please no, Sam! Sam!”
Al followed her at a sprint, and when he reached her Rose was already kneeling on the ground checking his vitals.
“Rose, what the hell just happened?”
A dry sob escaped Rose while she rolled Sam onto his side into a recovery position and held two fingers to his wrist to check for a pulse.
“You weren’t watching for Bludgers Al,” Rose yelled accusingly.
“One was headed straight for you, it was going to hit you right in the head and, and, and Sam flew straight at you, Beater’s bat in hand, and took the Bludger to the chest, to save you! It knocked him right off his broom and he fell more than fifty yards. I cast a Cushioning Charm but I was running so I’m not sure how successful it was, everything happened so fast so I don’t even know if I cast it in time.”
As she finished speaking Sir Inglebee, the Head of the Hospital Wing, rushed over and asked Rose what the situation was.
She explained Sam’s condition as best she could as Sir Inglebee levitated Sam and headed towards the Hospital Wing, Rose at his side.
Before Al could follow them, he was crushed by an onslaught of his teammates and supporters cheering at the Gryffindor victory.
He was hugged, and slapped on the back, and high-fived so many times he could barely think and before he knew it, he had been swept up to the Gryffindor Common Room for the victory party.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“I’m very impressed with how you handled the situation today Miss Weasley, you’re a witch who’s got her head screwed on straight.”
Rose managed a weak smile at Sir Inglebee and a quiet, “Thank you,” before the raucous sound of Sam’s teammates bursting in through the doors filled the Hospital Wing.
She quickly backed away from his bed and walked around the mob of Quidditch players, not wishing to explain what had happened again.
As she hurried out a tear escaped her, trickling down her cheek as she made her way to the library, she was in no mood for a Quidditch victory party.
Ever since their detention last term Rose had cut off most of her interactions with Sam.
Their pranks had stopped abruptly, and Rose had kept her distance, not actively ignoring him but keeping contact to a minimum.
She had no desire to deal with the maelstrom of emotions incited by their kiss, and distancing herself from Sam seemed to be a perfectly reasonable way to sweep everything under the magic carpet.
Of course it didn’t stop the warm flush through her whole body she felt every time she thought about him (which was at least ten times a day).
As she sat down in a dusty unused corner of the library (the Magical History section) and picked out a book to pretend to read, Rose tried to stamp out the fear, pain and worry surfacing, but it was all too much.
She tried to make sense of the twisting nauseous sensation in her stomach, the great ball stuck in her throat and the numerous tears flowing from her eyes.
She tried to control herself, but all she could see was the Bludger’s sickening blow to Sam’s chest and his body falling through the air – over and over again.
There was only one explanation; she cared about him.
There was no way around it.
Seeing him hurt was agonising because she cared about him.
She sighed at herself.
Crying over Malfoy? What kind of Weasley was she?
She berated herself, ‘Stop being ridiculous Rose, he’s going to be fine. Besides he’s not worth it.’
And she stayed right away from the thought that frightened her the most… That maybe he was worth it.
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