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                               the game

Kristen woke the following morning early, mostly because Jolie was hovering over her bed. “Hello,” Kristen said slowly, sitting up.

“Good, you can at least say a word with a four second pause between syllables. I just had to see for myself,” Jolie told her easily, throwing her uniform to her. “Here, the game starts in a few hours and I want you alert and well fed.”

Kristen was jolted to reality by the fact that the game was today. She knew she had a lot riding on it. She knew Jolie was more than a little disappointed in her performance; she’d fallen off her broom three times that week alone at practice. If she screwed up today, she wouldn’t blame Jolie in the slightest for getting a replacement.

She noticed that the boys looked as pale as she did when they met her at breakfast. They didn’t speak to one another, but simply ate the food Jolie put in front of them, a lot more than they had become used to eating under her regimen. People around them were talking excitedly, even Lily, who did not care for quidditch much, was excited to see her friend play.

It seemed that breakfast took no more than a second, for suddenly it was time for them to go onto to pitch. Jolie had them huddle around her as she began her speech. “I know, I can be harsh at times, and I know that sometimes you want noting more than for me to just drop dead. But team, you have come so far, and I am so proud of each and everyone of you.” Kristen felt her heart swell with pride, feeling that Jolie’s words were truly sincere. She then launched into their battle tactics for the game and then led them onto the field.

“And here we have the totally revamped Gryffindor team led by Captain Jolie Renoir!” The announcer, Kristen knew him to be a seventh year Gryffindor boy, announced.

Jolie grabbed onto Kristen’s hand on her right, and Xavier’s on her left. “We are one, we walk together as a team.” They made chain from her, the chasers on one side, the beaters and seeker on the other. They walked with heads held high to the center of the field, where the other team was waiting and sneering at them.

“I want a fair and injure free game you two,” The referee said sternly, obviously knowing the Slytherin Captain, Damien, and Jolie’s favorite way to play the game.

“Come on froggy!” he taunted her, his team making ‘ribbit’ noises at the beckoning of their captain. Kristen felt Jolie’s hand clench tightly around her own and had to fight the urge not to cry out. She never knew why her captain took such a personal offense to her origin; Kristen couldn’t see anything wrong with being French. But she wasn’t about to question her at a time like this.

“Mount your brooms,” the referee called. Kristen felt her heart beating fast. It was time. The snitch was released, watched closely by both seekers until it zoomed out of site. Next came the bludgers, tearing out of the box with force. Then, as if in slow motion the quaffel was thrown in the air, and the players tore into the sky.

Kristen was the first to reach the ball, quickly throwing it James’s way as a nasty looking Slytherin just about barreled into her. He instantly turned away from her and back to James, who was sweeping magnificently up the field, Sirius only a short ways away if he should need a hand.

“10-0 to Gryffindor!” The commentator announced only moments later. The crowd cheered impressively as the teams resorted themselves to begin again. A Slytherin by the name of Christopher Boyles had the quaffel held protectively under his arm, only to have a bludger knock it straight into Sirius’s arms, who threw it to Kristen, who weaved quickly in and out of bludgers and chasers, then threw it to the anticipating James, who easily scored once again.

Kristen had never felt this exhilarated, well, there where one or two or four other times, but this was fantastic! She didn’t have the usual impending guilt after feeling so light hearted as she cheered with the rest of her team, even Jolie was beaming from her place by the goals.

“And I’ve never seen such a put together team. All first year players except the wonderful Miss Renoir, currently taken off the market, thank you very much.” He managed to squeeze in proudly before continuing. “Already, 70-0 to Gryffindor! If Slytherin doesn’t watch out, they’re in for a shoot out!”

It was like the tryouts all over again for the young chasers. Though the past week had churned out poor results of all their practice and talent, this game showed just how devoted they had been to their captain’s horrible training regimen. Something just connected them to one another as they flew through the mass of players.

“I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it! Jasper Rowlands has caught the snitch! 150-70 to Slytherin!”

Kristen stopped in midair, turning slowly to stare as the Slytherins poured joyously onto the field.

They lost.

She simply couldn’t believe it as she joined the rest of her trampled looking team on the ground. The game had lasted all of ten minutes. But they lost. They had been doing perfectly, flawlessly, and yet, they lost. The rest of the team was in just as much shock as her, their faces portraying utter defeat and confusion.

“What are you lot doing? Standing here and moping! You should be proud of yourselves!” Jolie told them suddenly, marching over to them and looking completely sincere. No one seemed to believe her, especially Xavier, who very nearly looked sick. “Look, I know you’re all disappointed, so am I. But Slytherin won on dumb luck. The stupid snitch practically flew into their seeker’s hand. Xavier had absolutely no way of getting there in time. I promise we’ll win the next game, trust me. You guys are the most talented bunch of players I know.” Suddenly the team paid closer attention, noticing the shake in her voice. Tears slid uneasily down her ivory face. “Don’t give up on me! I already did the math in my head. If Ravenclaw beats Slytherin by ninety points or more we’re in the clear! I’ll go and train the team myself if I have to! I’ll do anything to make sure you guys realize that we’re the best team here! To realize that Gryffindors are the true best of Hogwarts!” Her enthusiasm was infectious, soon the whole team was grinning from ear to ear. “Put you hands in, and on three, we shout the best team there is. One, two, three-”

“Gryffindor!” The team roared, throwing their hands in the air.

“Now go get changed, we’ve got a party to get to,” Jolie informed them with a smile. The whole group rushed to the lockers, only to be stopped by a very smug looking Slytherin team.

“Where’s the frog’s herd headed off to?” Damien asked them with a smirk.

“Why, to celebrate of course,” Matthew told them, stepping forward and assuming leadership.

“Celebrate?” Another boy scoffed from the back. “You lost!”

Matthew just shrugged his shoulders. “Not really, I mean your chasers didn’t even score one measly goal against out little fourth years and that snitch practically flew down Jasper’s throat. All in all, I think everyone realized who the better team was today.”

Though Kristen didn’t particularly like being called small, James and Sirius had shot him a nasty glare, she couldn’t help but be even more cheered up by his speech. They all shouted their team’s name once more and ran screaming and laughing into the locker room to prepare for the coming excitement.
* * *
“So, yeah, Jolie just asked us to plan this, whether you won or lost,” Remus told them easily, sipping some pumpkin juice he, Peter, and a couple other kids had snuck from the kitchen under her orders. “She’s right though, that was a great game, and most of the time I don’t even really care about Quidditch!”

Sirius, James, and Kristen pretended to ignore that last part, not wanting to start a yelling match with their best friend. It was quite the sight in the Gryffindor common room, people milling around as they laughed and flirted and enjoyed the rest of the day. It was not a picture you would expect to see of the losing team.

There was suddenly a tinkling of glass, obviously someone wanting attention. Jolie stood uneasily on top of the couch, somewhat steadied by her boyfriend’s hand. “Attention, attention, please.” She called out, her face rosy. “Now, I would love to give a huge shout-out to my wonderful team who, though they lost, fought valiantly!” The common room broke out into applause, the team blushing furiously at the attention. “And now, I do believe that Matthew has something to say.”

Matthew, who had been standing next to the rest of the team, looked at her in fright. “Oh come on Matt, you have to do it eventually. Or, if you prefer, I could just say it.” She told him, the rest of the house looking at him in anticipation.

“No, no, that’s quite all right,” Matthew told her quickly, stealing a nervous glance at the chasers.

“Fine,” Jolie laughed, stepping off the couch and into Nathan’s arms. “You have until noon tomorrow.” Everyone else took that as their cue to continue with their previous activities, only a few still looking at Matthew with interest.

“What was that about?” Kristen asked him, a bright smile on her face.

“Nothing,” he said, a little too quickly. “So, how are things going?’ He asked her, his attempt at being casual gartering the opposite results.

“Good,” Kristen said slowly, eyeing him with amusement.

“Good, good,” he mumbled, looking flustered. “Well, I’ve…I’ve got to go,” he then scampered away quickly.

Sirius snorted loudly at the boy’s show, obviously harboring information that he was eager to flaunt. “Well he might as well have just said it,” Sirius rolled his eyes, smirking.

“Why don’t you enlighten us Sirius?” Remus asked him sarcastically.

“Well obviously he’s got a crush on little Kristen, just like every other bloody boy we’ve known has.” Sirius told them easily, confident that Kristen did not feel the same way.

“Does he now?” Kristen asked, looking over at Matthew with a sudden interest. There was a small smile on her face, evidently finding this new information very much to her liking. She quickly made a beeline for him, leaving Sirius to look horrified.

“We didn’t agree on him though!” He whispered frantically, watching as Kristen whipped her hair over her shoulder flirtatiously and began talking to Matthew.

“Like she cares,” James told him, his eye on some especially tantalizing pumpkin pastries.

“It’s your own fault! He probably wouldn’t have got up the nerve to tell her if you hadn’t edged her on,” Remus told him without sympathy. Kristen was now in full hunt mode, something she used only when she knew she was in the clear. Matthew looked particularly red faced as he smiled at the giggling Kristen.

“Damn it!” Sirius growled. “This is not fair! Why do I have to like the only girl that won’t ever even consider what I have in mind?”

“Luck I suppose,” Peter answered sarcastically, more entertained by the plate of food in his hands. Sirius sighed heavily, hoping Matthew noticed the glare he was sending.

“So, we’re on then. You’ll go with me to the great slug’s Christmas party?”

“Well of course. I only wish there was something we could do before that. Too bad all the Hogsmeade trips are likely to be canceled,” Kristen said, trying to think of something that wouldn’t be a month away.

“Well,” Matthew began pensively, much more confident now that he had actually told her what he had been thinking the past month. “I could escort you to quidditch practice…”

“Oh what a romantic date!” Kristen proclaimed, collapsing into a fit of giggles. It seemed quite sudden that Matthew was having this effect on her. “It doesn’t matter really. I’m sure we’ll think of something.”

“Hey, Kristen!” Someone called out. A third year girl ran over to her, holding a bouquet of flowers. “These just came for you,” she said in a giddy voice, handing her the flowers before running back to her friends.

Kristen held the bouquet a bit awkwardly. There were twelve roses, a mixture of red and white. She pulled the note from the top. On one side it simply read her name and residence, “Gryffindor tower”, but on the back was a small note. 

As I write this letter,
Send my love to you,
Remember that I'll always,
Be in love with you.

Treasure these few words 'till we're together,
Keep all my love forever,
P.s., I love you.
You, you, you.

Sincerely: Loves From Afar

He knew she liked the beatles. She was officially head over heels for this guy. If he knew she liked the beatles, which hardly anyone did as they were a muggle band, then he must be the one for her.

“Oh great, the day I ask you out you start getting letters from secret admirers.” Matthew joked, though he did look a little apprehensive.

“These aren’t from you?” She asked sadly, for that had been her first idea.

“Afraid not, though now I wish they were.” He did indeed look afraid of what she might do next.

Kristen was silent for a moment, and then just shrugged her shoulders. “No matter, just let me go put these up okay?” With that she began walking quikly to the stairs, only stop when she saw Sirius, who was now staring moodily out the window with a very prominent scowl.

“You were right Sirius, he is in love with me!” Kristen told him excitededly.

“What?” He whipped around to her, his voice extremeley high. “Matthew’s in love with you?”

“Not Matthew, my secret admirer, the one you told me about. Look,” she shoved the card under his gaze. “I just wish he would tell me who he was,” Kristen moaned, looking at Sirius meaningfully.

“Maybe someday,” he barely answered her pleas.

“Fine, be that way. But tell him I said Thank you, alright? I love them, I mean, how could I possibly not love anything that makes reference to the Beatles!” She squealed with delight and then ran up the stairs.

“You sent her flowers?” Remus asked incredolously, having watched the scene from a little ways away.

“When I tell her it’s me, I’m going to have to have all the leverage I can get. That means flowers, candy, Beatle lyrics galore-”

“What are the Beatles?”

“Oh come on, she’s almost always parading around with something of their’s! She’s got a Beatles backpack for crying out loud!” When Remus continued to look confused he sighed and said, “They’re a muggle band . Kristen is obsessed with them. I mean, the day we first met her she was wearing a ‘Beatles’ shirt!”

Remus just looked at him oddly before sighing and saying, “That’s sad you know, that you can remember what she was wearing when we met. I can hardly remember what we even talked about.”

“Well you’re not the one trying to win her over, are you?”

“Suppose not,” Remus laughed a little. Terrible as it might seem, Remus somewhat enjoyed seeing Sirius like this. Usually, he got whatever girl he wanted. But now, he was finding a challenge. All in all, Remus felt quite compensated for all the times Sirius had flaunted some girl.

“I’m going to…to the library,” Sirius said grumpily when Kristen rushed back down the stairs and over to Matthew. “Make sure they keep it PG, alright?”

“Will do,” Remus answered, though he had no intention of intervening should they start snogging. He watched with mixed emotions of amusement and pity as Sirius trooped out of the common room.

“Is he being all moody?” James asked thickly of Remus, his mouth extremely full.

“Have you seen Kristen?”

“What?”

Kristen was suddenly by them, her name having caught her attention. “I’m right here. Where’s Sirius?”

“Sulking,” James answered her.

“Sulking? Why? Today hasn’t turned out so bad. I mean, we lost, but Jolie wasn’t too angry.” She sneaked a glance at their captain, who was busy receiving compliments from Nathan.

“You really are the stupidest person I know,” Remus told her.

Kristen narrowed her eyes in anger. “That was totally and completely uncalled for Remus! I just wondered where he was!”

“And by now you should know!”

“Oh, right, sorry I don’t have a telepathic connection with Sirius! My bad!” Kristen snapped back. “Look, I just needed to ask him something, could you tell me where he is?”

“Is it about you secret admirer,” James taunted her with a wide grin.

“As a matter of fact it is…” She said slowly. “Why, do you know who he is?”

“Yep,” he told her proudly.

“Well…” she began expectantly. “Who is it?”

“Like you could get it out of us that easy,” Remus prodded her, knowing he was pressing every annoyance button.

“I hate you! First Sirius won’t tell me, and now you won’t. Why on earth are you laughing so hard?” For they had succumbed to thunderous fits of laughter upon the mentioning of Sirius.

“You know what, fine! Just, fine! Never tell me who this guy is! What do I care? If he’s to chicken to even tell me his name, then obviously he is not the guy for me. And besides, Matthew if wonderful! Simply wonderful!” She screeched and then stopped away, straight to Matthew. She looked back to make sure the Marauders were watching, grabbed his hand, and stomped out of the common room.

“Wow, we suck at this,” James mumbled, looking a bit put out by the turn of events. He wanted Kristen to find out, though he knew he couldn’t tell her.

“No, we’ve given plenty of hints. She just refuses to pick up on them.” Remus did his best in consoling him. “We are actually quite skilled if I do say so myself. It’s Kristen that’s being stupid!”

James couldn’t help but be cheered up a bit at that. Remus was right, Kristen and Sirius were the stupid ones here, not himself. That was the thought that ran through his mind as he jumped back into the heart of the party. 

(A/N) The note contains the lyrics from P.S. I Love You by, of course, the Beatels

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