Disclaimer: I'm not JKR.
“So you haven’t responded?” James asked, slowing the speed he was flying at until he was hovering in front of me, a curious expression on his face.
“Nope.” I kept my eyes fixed on the ground, and dragged the front of my feet back and forth across the damp-ish soil. It had drizzled earlier today, and now everything was slightly wet. I could feel the water from the bleachers seeping in through my jeans, but I didn’t mind much. It was nice not to care.
For a little while that is.
“Well,” James started, looking down at my feet as well, “What do you think you’ll say?”
I pretended as though I was thinking particularly hard even though I already knew my answer. After a long enough time passed I looked up, “That I’ll do it?”
“Hmm,” James said, beginning to circle around me as he thought.
“Hmm, what?” I asked, knowing James had something more he wanted to say. That was the thing about him; he always held back what he was really thinking unless you specifically asked. It was almost annoying.
It was weird how much I was starting to know James, just from going to watch him fly. The first couple of nights I watched him we didn’t talk at all. But slowly conversation just started to happen, most of it revolving around my pageanting or my mother, and now it was just easy. It was as though after I mentioned hating pageanting, conversation just seemed to roll from there. I had already talked about the most difficult subject.
“It’s just, you don’t want to do it,” he explained. “So why would you agree?”
“Because I have to,” I stated, dragging my toe back and forth in the dirt again. “My mum would be so disappointed if I didn’t. She like… depends on me to do these things.”
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do,” James said. He then sped up his flying and returned back to the middle of the pitch, where he began to do his usual laps and loops, as I watched.
I wasn’t sure why I had told James all of the things I had. I normally never discussed my mother with anyone, especially someone I barely knew. Even with Dom I would never be the one to bring my mum up. It was always Dom who did, and I would be on the defensive, refusing to say anything bad about my mum.
It’s just… I don’t know. James didn’t really judge… or seem to particularly care much for that matter. He was just an unbiased ear to talk to, and he would nod his head, say his thoughts and then leave it at that. There was no pushing or prodding. And I liked that.
“So,” I called after James, who was still within earshot, “What about you?”
“What about me?” James asked, looking confused, continuing to fly around the pitch.
“Well, according to Scorpius and Dom, the new seeker is particularly shitty,” I stated lightly.
James shrugged. “Everyone starts off shitty.”
“But this one is like… terrible,” I stated. “Last practice he fell off of his broom.”
“He’ll get better though,” James said, looking away from me and towards the sky. “They always do.”
I found myself, not for the first or even second time, wonder what he was referring to if anything at all. He was still a mystery even after all of this time I now spent with him, and it was getting more and more difficult to solve the puzzle. So instead of trying to figure him out, I watched him continue to fly, concentrating on nothing but his swift moves and smooth arcs. Lap by lap, loop by loop, dive by dive. Watching him calmed me, for some unnamable reason.
I watched as the sky grew to an inky black, with hundreds of scattered stars strewn across the smudgy horizon and a bloated moon framing the scene. And then there was James, in the middle of it all, riding his broom and looking as if he belonged nowhere else but that sky. I envied it.
“How’d it go?” Freddy asked. Gryffin’s face remained grim as though he had just gotten back from a beating, and he sat down next to me.
“Don’t ask,” Gryffin responded, slamming his head down on the table and then covering his face with his hands. “It was awful.”
“Well then, I can feel my mood improving,” Molly said, looking very happy at Gryffin’s upset state. “An unhappy you, always makes for a very happy me.”
After Molly said this, the door to the Great Hall slammed open to reveal a bickering Dom and Scorpius. Molly’s snarky expression immediately faded, and everyone at the table exchanged a glum look, me included. We all knew what this meant.
“I told you this would happen!” Dom huffed, giving Scorpius a steely glare as she plopped herself down across from me at the Gryffindor table. Her Quidditch robes were especially muddy and her silver hair was matted against her face. She also had a smudge of dirt on her chin. “You are a controlling, mean, halfwit who is so concerned about winning that they disregard other people’s feelings!”
Molly, Rose, Freddy, and I raised our eyebrows at Dom’s outburst, while Gryffin continued to try and disappear into the table. Scorpius, however, pinched the bridge of his nose, something he always did whenever he was talking to or about Dom to try and calm himself.
“Practice went well, I assume?” Molly asked sarcastically, buttering her biscuit with ease.
“Please Molly, don’t poke the dragon,” Gryffin complained, looking near hysterics. “I can’t listen to them argue anymore!”
“Oh yeah, it went fantastic!” Dom intoned, ignoring Gryffin’s statement and spreading out her arms wide. “It went so well that we don’t even have a seeker anymore!”
“Not this again,” Gryffin said, banging his head on the table a couple of times, causing the plates to rattle.
“Dom, I told you that we’re fine. He’ll beg to be back on the team by tomorrow,” Scorpius explained. “He only quit because he wants to prove that he has a hold over the team, even though he doesn’t.”
Dom was not placated by this explanation, and instead she crossed her arms. “I don’t think he’s going to beg to be back. You yelled at him and told him he was a useless seeker that made it on the team because he was the only one who tried out. He cried, for goodness sakes!”
“Well, it’s true!” Scorpius argued back. “And I only said that after he crashed into Gryffin when he wasn’t looking where he was going!”
“I didn’t mind that he crashed into me, honest!” Gryffin said in the hopes of getting them to stop arguing. “It was my fault for not moving around more!”
“But you didn’t have to say that,” Dom countered, yet again ignoring Gryffin. “He’s only a second year! He’s new to the whole Quidditch thing. You need to apologize.”
“Like hell I will,” Scorpius responded indignantly. “He’s lucky I didn’t say anything worse.”
“Can’t we all just get along?” Gryffin begged, but Scorpius and Dom continued to pretend he didn’t exist.
“Well then you’re going to need to find us a new seeker,” Dom sniffed. “Because nobody else in the house wants to try out with such a Nazi captain.”
“Or maybe nobody wants to try out because we have such a terrible chaser—”
“You know I’m the best chaser on the team! I—”
“ ‘bend over backwards to get goals.’ Yeah, of course you do. But how many injuries have you gotten from that?”
“BUT I ALWAYS MAKE THE SHOT IN THE END!”
“BECAUSE YOU’RE LUCKY!”
“Please, Merlin! Please save me!” Gryffin moaned, sliding down in his seat and raising his hands in a prayer-like motion.
“You guys,” Rose said with a level voice, breaking into the conversation and placing a hand on both of their shoulders. Dom and Scorpius snapped their heads towards her, their faces varying shades of pissed off. “I thought we agreed no Quidditch talk during meal times. This arguing has got to stop. Look at what you’re doing to poor Gryffin.”
We all looked at Gryffin, who was now curled up under the table, his head tucked into his legs as he rocked back and forth. His hands were clamped down over his ears, hard.
“He started it!” Dom complained.
“I did no such thing!” Scorpius complained. “You’re the one ragging on—”
“And you’re the one—”
The flipping back and forth between Dom and Scorpius was getting to be so loud, and so confusing that I was drowning in their complaints. I couldn’t even make out what they were saying anymore and instead just followed their body language. Dom clenched her hands and shook her fists; Scorpius tore at his hair. Dom crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes; Scorpius gritted his teeth. It was all getting to be so much, not to mention my ears were flooded with the sounds of them yelling, and I just wanted them to stop.
“Enough!” I roared, slamming my hands on the table.
Everyone within earshot, including Gryffin who had popped his head out from under the table, fell to a hush and stared at me. Their faces expressed various stages of shock. However, I found myself feeling the most surprised. I never yelled like that.
I shifted a little in my seat, uncomfortable with all of the eyes focused on me, and began to talk again, calmly. “I just think that… you know… it’s rude to argue with each other. Scorpius tries hard to be a good captain, and Dom tries hard to be a good chaser, and insulting each other doesn’t help.”
Rose, looking very happy at what I said, smiled hugely at me and nodded her head. “Natasha’s right you know! This arguing isn’t helping anybody. I think you two should apologize to each other.”
Rose, being the mother hen of the group, looked from Dom to Scorpius seriously, and they both slumped over, looking defeated. Dom grumbled something that sounded like “sorry for saying the truth” under her breath, and Scorpius muttered back “sorry you suck” and then… it was over. They both sat down side by side at the table, and suddenly, everyone at the table was engaged in a new conversation about what were better: pygmy puffs or sugar quills. Gryffin had slid out from under the table and back into the seat next to me and was joining into the conversation enthusiastically, as though he hadn’t been praying to Merlin mere minutes before. Dom and Scorpius were even defending each other as they justified that sugar quills could at least save you while you were starving, whereas pygmy puffs were just something cute to look at.
It was just so…so…weird.
“Is this normal for them?” I asked Freddy, who was sitting on my other side and nodding along with the conversation, as though nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Freddy turned to look at me, before nodding his head and smiling slightly. “Yeah, they’re always like this. It’s like they have selective amnesia or something. You’ll get used to it.”
Used to it. As in there were still things about Dom I needed to get used to.
It was still getting to be so weird for me, how much I didn’t really know about Dom. I had though for so long, that I had known all I needed to about her. But I was wrong. And now I was beginning to think that maybe, what I knew about her didn’t even cover the tip of the iceberg. There was still so much underneath the surface that only emerged when we were here at Hogwarts, and it made me wonder how I could even call her my best friend. It kind of scared me.
“I hope so,” I responded to Freddy, as I started to mull over my thoughts. “I hope so.”
“But how do you know that the character number has the right prediction?” Rose asked me wide-eyed. “You didn’t even look at the chart.”
“You can use the Chaldean method,” I explained. “It’s not obvious since the question doesn’t specifically point it out, so you kind of have to...get a feel for it.”
Rose furrowed her brow as I said this and pulled the practice Arithmancy problems I was helping her with out of my hands. Her eyes flitted over the paper for about a minute, before she put it down.
“I don’t understand how you can do this,” Rose sighed, slumping over in her chair. “Every problem is totally relative. There’s, like, no set way to understand how to do this.”
I shrugged. I wasn’t the best at explaining things to people. In fact, I hadn’t even wanted to help Rose because of this, but she had somehow managed to get me to help her out anyway despite my exclamations of me being a terrible tutor. Not that she needed the help—she was still getting E’s on all of her assignments— but to her that wasn’t good enough. She needed an O, and she told me the only way she could get one was with my help. And, since she had helped me at the beginning of the year with understanding my classes, I owed her.
“I’m sorry I can’t really explain it more,” I said lamely. “I don’t really know how to express my thought process with these things...”
“It’s fine,” Rose said, brushing it off and giving me a small smile. “And sorry for badgering you. I guess I’m just… a little jealous. At how easy this comes to you.”
“But you’re really good at Arithmancy too,” I said, not quite understanding what she meant.
“Yeah but that’s because I’m always studying,” Rose said and as soon as she said it she looked worried. “Not that I’m saying you don’t work as hard, I mean, I know you and Scorpius always study together, but everything clicks more for you, I think. And not just in Arithmancy.”
I remained silent after Rose said this, weighing over what she had said. Over the past week we’d been getting a lot of grades back, and I had been doing exceedingly well. I hadn’t gotten less than an ‘O’ on anything, and Headmistress Chang had even pulled me aside one day to congratulate me on how well I was adjusting. It was something I had been very proud of because I had been studying really hard since school started, but now I was beginning to feel bad. Did me doing as well as Rose bother her?
“Just forget I said anything,” Rose said after I hadn’t responded. “I’m sorry for bringing this up. I guess I’m just so used to being the only one that gets really good grades at school so it’s weird for me. And you know, you also happen to be like super intimidating.”
I looked at Rose after she said this and she was now looking back down at her Arithmancy textbook, fiddling nervously with the pages.
“I’m intimidating?” I asked, surprised. If anything, I had thought I was the opposite. I was very bad at having normal conversations, kept quiet most of the time, and studied… a lot. How had that translated into intimidating?
Rose looked up at me, looking a bit nervous, and then bit her bottom lip.
“Well… yeah,” Rose answered, as though it were obvious. “You know, you’re Miss Teen Witch, and of course you’re mega gorgeous. Not to mention the stellar grades you get, and everyone at school seems to be fascinated with you. That’s pretty intimidating.”
“You’re intimidating too then,” I responded easily, causing Rose to look confused. “You have all those same qualities, minus Miss Teen Witch, and you also have lots of friends. I wish I could be as sociable as you. I’m not good in large groups.”
“Of course you’re sociable!” Rose said. “You’re Miss Teen Witch.”
“I know, but my mum was the sociable one out of us,” I explained. “She made all the arrangements, told me everything to say, and all I did was listen.”
“But you’ve made friends here,” Rose said. “That wasn’t your mother’s doing.”
“It was Dom’s doing though,” I stated. “If it weren’t for her you guys probably wouldn’t talk to me.”
“That’s not true,” Rose said immediately, leaning forward in her seat. “Gryffin and Freddy adore you, Scorpius studies with you and he hates studying with people, and Molly, the most emotionally stunted person in the world, considers you a friend. That’s pretty impressive, don’t you think?”
“I guess,” I said unsurely. I had always thought that they all only tolerated me because of Dom. It had never crossed my mind that they actually… accepted me. But according to Rose they did. Which is something I found a bit strange. I never expected I had a personality that would make me able to gain friends.
“And of course we’re friends,” Rose added in as an afterthought. “I don’t know what I’d do without you helping me placate all of the arguments that go on.”
I looked up at Rose, feeling a sudden wave of appreciation rushing through me. Here she was, extending a hand of friendship to me without expecting anything in return. I was so used to pageant friends, who only talked to you during the competition and then dropped you shortly thereafter. But here Rose was, offering me something that seemed… permanent. Something that only Dom had offered to me before. It was something I wasn’t used to, but I was grateful. For her, for everything.
“Ah yes, the arguments that never cease,” I said, feeling a smile forming on my face. “When will any of them ever learn to all get along?”
“They won’t,” Rose said jokingly. “It’d be too weird if they did.”
The news of Gryffindor having lost their seeker spread like wildfire throughout the school. Half of the Gryffindor house was outraged at the second year seeker for dropping out which made him the target of many wayward spells, and the other half was extremely worried that we now had no seeker, and even if we did get one there would hardly be enough time to train them for the upcoming Quidditch match. Not that anybody in the Gryffindor house was even volunteering to be the new seeker. Apparently, Scorpius’ captain-like tendencies had also spread like wildfire, and nobody was willing to step up to the plate.
This issue alone had led to about a million different fights between Dom and Scorpius, each of them claiming that they knew better about how to rule the team, which just made everything worse. Yesterday had gotten so bad that Dom had put Scorpius in the hospital wing after he told her that James hadn’t chosen her to be captain for a reason, and ‘hell if he’d let her boss him around’. It was safe to say that that hadn’t gone over quite well, and now they were giving each other the silent treatment. Which was obviously the only mature way to handle it. For them at least.
“…and so now they’re not talking to each other,” I finished, letting out a breath as James’ kaleidoscope gaze remained trained on mine. I’m pretty sure I’d been rambling for what felt like hours about the Dom/Scorpius subject, and now I was beginning to feel self-conscious. I don’t know why it was that I over volunteered information to James, but he never seemed to mind. I guess it was just… he was so silent that I felt the need overcompensate for the long pauses.
“Hmm,” James said. “Can’t say I’m surprised. They always fought during practices.”
“Oh, right,” I said, remembering that he had been captain last year. Then, I had another question. “What made you pick Scorpius to be captain over Dom or Gryffin?”
“I dunno,” James said, shrugging. “I figured he needed it more.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Oh you know,” James said, trailing off and looking back out at the sky. His eyebrows were drawn and his lower lip was jutted out just the tiniest bit. It was something he always did whenever he was trying to articulate his thoughts. “People at school didn’t like him much because of his father, and everyone always told him he didn’t belong in the Gryffindor house. I figured making him Gryffindor captain would prove otherwise.”
“Huh,” I said, beginning to see Scorpius in a different, sadder light. “I never noticed, I guess.”
“People can be really subtle when they want to be,” James said. “It’s not like he was beaten up or anything, at least not much. People were just a lot… colder to him. I became friends with him after I noticed a couple Gryffindors being particularly shitty to him during lunch by telling everyone not to sit next to him or else they’d catch pure blood fever. I sat by him as soon as they said that.”
I found myself surprised that James was sharing anything about his past with me. Our relationship was normally just him listening as I talked with me only earning the occasional glimpse into who he was or had been. With all this information he was throwing at me I was almost overwhelmed.
“That’s sad though,” I said. “He didn’t choose his family.”
“None of us do,” James told me. “That’s why we get to choose our friends.”
“Well spoken,” I said, nodding my head in affirmation and then becoming curious again. There were still so many questions flitting through my head. “But then why don’t you still spend time with them?”
There was a long silence that hung between us after that, as I held my breath waiting for an answer.
“Things just got… very different,” James answered clutching his broom a little tighter than usual. “We all changed.”
“Why?” I pressed.
“Well,” James said, squinting his eyes and looking at one of the goal hoops, as if wishing it would swallow him whole, “I lost control.”
“Oh,” I said, realizing he wasn’t going to say more. I guess he had exceeded his daily quota of sharing. But his answer still hung in the air, lingering in the perpetual haze of darkness. He lost control.
“It’s a shame you did,” I said, trying to lighten the atmosphere after James still didn’t say anything. “Because now Gryffindor is for sure going to lose the Quidditch cup.”
“We’ve lost every year since before I started going here,” James said like it was no big deal. His grip on his broom relaxed. “Ever since my dad left the Quidditch team, Gryffindor has kind of sucked at playing.”
“But I heard that you had such a good team last year,” I told him.
“We did,” James said slowly, looking as though he was thinking back to something. “But then we lost a lot of things.”
“Well maybe you should change that,” I said, swinging my feet back and forth off the side of the bleachers. “You know, win the cup this year or something.”
There was a long pause after this, my suggestion tentatively hanging in the air before—
“Okay,” James agreed, nodding his head. He then lowered himself to the ground and got off of his broom, an action that confused me. He then gestured to the broom, as if telling me to get on. I remained seated.
“What?” I asked James, as he gestured again for me to get on the broom.
“Well you want Gryffindor to win, don’t you?” I nodded.
“And Gryffindor needs a seeker,” James began as if it were obvious. He then gestured to the broom again and suddenly everything clicked. “That seeker is going to be you.”
__________________________________________________________________________________________ A/N: ALRIGHTY GUYS! Another chapter is out, and it contains quite a lot of James! What do you guys think?
Do you like James and his mysteriousness? Do you want Tash to become seeker? Do you like Rose? What About Scorpius and Dom? Molly? Gryffin? Freddy? LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK IN A REVIEW PLEASE!
Not to sound desperate or anything, I just really want to know what you guys think, even if you hate this story. I always respond to reviews and will take any and all criticism. Since my last chapter decresed pretty largely in reviews from the chapter before that, I'm wondering if I've taken a terrible turn in my story that I need to dig myself out of. So please let me know!
Okay I've rambled for far too long but I still have more to tell you guys: I GOT INTO MY FIRST CHOICE COLLEGE! I found out today at 3am and cried for a good hour because I was so happy. And I just have to thank all of you, because I wrote a lot of my college essays about harry potter fanfiction and the amazing support system it gave me as a writer.
SO THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH! I owe you all the world and back, seriously
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