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A/N: To my loyal fans, I'm sorry for the gap between chapters. Life and school have been pretty crazy and I just haven't had a lot of time at my disposal. Now that summer is here, I hope to get out some more. Thanks and enjoy!

Grace under Pressure

Back on the ground…

“Do you have any room for two more?” asked William as he moved closer to where Hermione, Hagrid, and Grawp were sitting in the bleachers.

“William! How nice to see you!” Hermione exclaimed as he walked up the stands. “I hope you didn’t hurt yourself in that landing.”

“It’s nice to see you as well! As for the landing I should be fine.” He then turned his attention to her companions. “Hagrid, Grawp, it’s always a pleasure.”

“You too William!” replied Hagrid heartily. “So what brings you to the pitch today? I thought you were keeping Ruby company.”

He then presented the baby dragon in his arms and said, “Well I think she’ll have enough company from now on!”

One of the best qualities of Hagrid was that he appreciated all creatures for what they were; Dragons were no exception. “He’s a beauty just like his mum!” The half-giant said as he tickled the baby dragon’s chin. “What do you think Grawp?”

The giant sitting next to him looked at the baby dragon as a child would look at a passerby’s dog. He observed its beauty but was cautious to approach. The humble giant simply said, “Whoa.”

“That’s what I thought too!” said William as he began to feed it bits of the rare beef. He then held up its tail and remarked, “Not too many dragons in this breed have tails like this.”

Considering his past experiences with interesting creatures, hippogriffs, 3-headed dogs, and acromantulas, Hagrid’s attention was right on this little dragon. “That’s quite a distinctive feature. Most dragons like this one have an arrow shaped spike not an axe.”

“Axel?” Grawp asked not understanding what Hagrid meant. He had nowhere near as much knowledge of magical creatures but he was quite the eager student Hagrid began to notice.

“Not ‘axel’ Grawp. His tail is special because it’s shaped like an axe.” replied Hagrid hoping his brother could understand.

Grawp thought to himself for a few seconds before smiling and replying, “Axel!”

Before Hagrid could try and correct him, Hermione chimed in and said, “His tail is shaped like an axe Grawp, but he does need a name! Why don’t you name him Axel?”

“That’s a great idea!” William added. He thought everyone, including animals, needed a name that applied to their personality. “Because you named him Grawp, you get to feed him!” The giant pushed away the hands holding the dragon and food until William said, “He’ll like you if you feed him. I think you’ll like him too if you see that he’s a harmless baby.”

Just then, Axel decided to let out a screeching yelp that nearly had the potential to split eardrums. When William noticed Romilda Vane and Lavender Brown walking by he knew exactly what had made Axel so anxious. “So I guess it’s true. Animals can sense evil.”

William laughed and was then joined by the rest of his friends. The dragon in his arms went back to his calm self when they had taken their seats farther down the stands.

Grawp then cautiously reached out and gently scooped up Axel and the plate of beef. While holding him in the palm of one hand, he took the other and fed the hungry baby tiny pieces. A wide smile soon appeared on his face as he realized just how friendly it was. William and Hermione could only laugh at such a strange parallel; humans have dogs for pets and giants have dragons.

When Prospero saw that everything was okay, he flew down from above and landed on William’s shoulder.

And that’s how a remainder of the time in the bleachers went on. William told them all about his time with Ruby and how the centaurs were getting closer. Hermione and Hagrid shared with him how they were trying to teach Grawp quidditch so he could root for Gryffindor when the time came.

As for the gentle giant, he spent his time listening carefully all the while petting the now sleeping dragon in his hand. It was a strange site to passing students, but then again there was nothing wrong with being strange.

Harry watched from up on high as the various groups of players went about their practice routines. The sun had just reached the top of the sky as he began to put his plan into action. When Ginny caught sight of him he gave a casual nod and then she was off.

William had been watching the tryout with great attention. He knew several of these players in his time and the rare opportunity to see future pros play in school was too great to pass on. He did notice however that the chasers were looking weak this season. Why exactly Ginny was flying toward his section of the bleachers and not coaching her recruits was beyond him.

“Hello everyone!” called out Ginny as she hovered near Hermione’s section. Once they had all said hello, Ginny then addressed William. “I was wondering if you could show the recruits a few of those fancy chaser moves you used last week.”

While he was flattered that Ginny Weasley was coming to him for help with flight moves, William could not help but feel some sort of trepidation. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? Won’t Seamus have a problem with you asking an outsider?”

“From what I’ve seen so far today it looks like he could use some guidance as well!” laughed Ginny who was speaking the truth.

While Seamus was a walk on, he still did not have the greatest skills in quidditch. “Just stick by me and I’ll make sure no one gives you any trouble.”

“I guess I can help.” William relented as he then picked up his broom from off of the bench. He quickly followed behind Ginny as she made off into the air. By the time they had reached the chasers, Seamus was explaining where they needed to be proficient.

“Now the best kind of chaser will be able to steal, pass, dodge, and shoot with relative ease.” Before he could elaborate, his eyes diverted to Ginny’s return. “What’s this all about?” asked Seamus as Ginny flew back up followed by William. “What’s he doing here?”

Ginny knew this was coming as soon as Harry proposed the idea and had planned her response in advance. “I thought he could help us with some of the finer points of playing chaser. He has some very interesting practices that you might find helpful.” she quietly motioning toward the trainees.

“’Helpful?!’” Seamus exclaimed in a tone much higher than needed. “Are you saying I’m not good enough to teach them?”

Harry, who had seen the confrontation halfway across the pitch, told his recruits to take a break and quickly flew over. “What seems to be the problem here?” he asked in mock curiosity. He knew exactly why they were fighting but did not want to allude to his reasons for having William help them out.

“Your girlfriend seems to think I can’t handle these tryouts and decided to bring him up here!” he then motioned to William to make his point.

William did not want to cause any strife during something they all loved so much. “Hey, I didn’t come up here to upset the apple cart!” he said while looking at Seamus. “I’m doing a favor for Ginny. That’s all!”

“Relax Seamus!” said Harry as he gave his friend a pat on the back. “He just came up to help out with the recruits. It’s not like he’s challenging you personally.” He laughed knowing this was exactly what would spark Seamus’ competitive streak.

“Challenge?” He smirked at the notion. “He’s probably not even that good of a player!” Seamus laughed in reply knowing full well William could hear him.

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that!” yelled Ron as he flew down to their level of the pitch. He had been watching the events fold out from above but when Seamus spoke those words he knew he needed a closer look.

“So let me get this straight,” Harry began. “You’re saying that if William can pass your standards of chasing then he can stay?”

Seamus mustered the toughest look he could and then looked directly at William. “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

The group then turned their eyes to the boy in question. He then did something that took them all by surprise. He let out a huge laugh and replied, “Hell, I like a challenge. Let’s get to it!”

“Very well then!” Harry exclaimed as he hovered over to William. “Why don’t you go warm up while we work out the details.” The young man then promptly went to go stretch and get loose for whatever it was they would be throwing at him.

“What are you trying to prove Seamus?” asked Ginny as she watched him gloat for having baited William into this challenge.

He then replied in a very cocky manner, “I want to see how well he can use that broom. If he can’t, then we’ll know he can be beaten.”

“Beaten?” questioned Ron who was trying to suppress his own laughter. In the time he had been around William, he knew it was not in him to be beaten. “Hah, let me know when Merlin gets here!” He then burst out laughing in tears as he looked over at William as he warmed up.

Seamus, Ginny, and Harry could all see the humor in Ron’s statement as then turned to see the other Gryffindor. It was then that Seamus knew William wouldn’t be such an easy opponent to trounce. The back-flips, barrel rolls, and precision turns he performed were sign enough of a seasoned player.

“Oh shit!” was the only thing an awestruck Seamus could say.
William then finished his warm up and made his way over to the group.

“So what do you want to do first?”

“How about dodging drills?” proposed Ginny as she saw Dean out of the corner of her eye hitting bludgers back and forth with Simon.

“Sure,” added Seamus who was brought back to reality. “Let’s see how you can do against a few bludgers.”

William had performed this drill numerous times in his time as a chaser. Because none of them knew this, he decided to have a little fun.

Harry and Ron backed up to watch while Ginny and Seamus each began to conjure a bludger. When they had materialized, both of the angry spheres sped off toward William.

His first instinct proved precise as the first bludger went sailing past him. It was the second one that scathed his side and momentarily knocked him off the broom.

“He’s not so tough!” exclaimed Seamus as he watched the boy hang from the broom by his fingers.

“Neither are you.” Ginny said under her breath as she looked in on to watch William hang. “Get up! Get up!” she thought in desperation. As if he could hear her thoughts, the boy quickly pulled himself back up and onto the broom

When Seamus’ laughter was cut short, William decided against any further tricks. “Is that it?” he called out as he gracefully dodged the two bludgers as they swung around for another pass.

“Two more!” said Seamus as he angrily conjured another bludger. Ginny hesitantly followed suit as William was now facing four bludgers.

While it took more focus to keep track of four bludgers, William was still able to dodge all them even more easily than he did the first two. When this became evident, Seamus decided to yet again send out two more bludgers. The space he could work with began to enclose more and more as the number increased.

The rest of the exercise continued in the same manner until Harry decided that 12 bludgers was enough. He felt that William had proved he was an excellent dodger and chose to move onto the next exercise.

“Thanks Harry!” gasped William as he tried to catch his breath. Even though his condition allowed him to move for long periods of time dodging a dozen bludgers still took a great deal of speed and agility. After cleaning himself up he asked, “What’s next?”

“Next we’ll see how well you can throw a quaffle.” Harry replied as he flew next to William over to the scoring hoops. “I hope that last exercise didn’t wear you out.”

“I’m fine.” replied William as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Tell me something, Harry; has Seamus always been like this?”

“Let’s just say he doesn’t respond well to what’s different.” explained Harry who understood exactly where William was coming from. “A time traveler who just happens to be a natural at quidditch represents a pretty big difference I guess.”

“I see what you mean!” laughed William as he flew closer to the rings.

“Good luck with the next task!” yelled Harry as he flew off next to Ron above the pitch.

“So what do you think mate?” asked Ron as he watched Ginny and Seamus set up William near the rings.

“I’m thinking if all goes well today we might just have our last chaser.”

Based on what he had seen in the previous weeks when flying with William, Harry knew this to be a certainty. “I just hope William’s aim is better than Seamus’ judgment.” The two friends laughed in unison as they considered the events to unfold.

“Now William, we are going to see how well you can throw!” said Ginny as she hovered next to him with the bag of quaffles. She then promptly tossed him one for his first throw.

“Where do you want me to shoot from?”

Seamus looked at where he was hovering and replied, “Right there should be fine!”

“But we’re only 30 meters out!” exclaimed William. “I thought you were trying to challenge me.”

“That’s not a challenge?” Seamus asked in confusion. “Okay then, how about 60 meters out?”

“That’s more like it!” replied William as he happily moved further down the pitch.

When they caught up to him he then asked another question. “Which arm would you like me to throw with?”

“Your throwing arm of course!” Seamus said in frustration.

“Again, I ask which arm would you like me to throw with.”

Ginny then thought for a second and asked, “Are you saying that you can throw with both arms?”

“Sure.” He simply replied looking at the two of them. “Can’t you?”

“I know I can’t!” said Ginny as she thought over what he had just said. Not many chasers were ambidextrous, but such a skill could come in useful on the pitch.

Seamus instead chose not to answer and simply said, “Just pick one and let’s get on with it!”

“Whatever you say!” William happily answered as Ginny tossed him a quaffle.

It had been some time since he had held a quaffle, but as soon as his hand felt the hardened leather it had all come back to him. He could feel all of eyes around on him as he slowly pulled his arm back. They soon disappeared as he imagined this was just another day messing around on the pitch. And just like any other day on the pitch, the quick snap of his arm was straight and true.

Harry and the rest of his friends were clearly astonished as they blinked several times to see if what they had seen was real. “We could use that arm.” Harry said to Ron as they both looked on in amazement.

“Do that again.” Ginny said while tossing William another quaffle. She too could not believe his aim.

William began to extend his arm when Seamus said, “Let’s see you do that with your left arm this time.” He wanted to see just how true to his word William was.

Seeing where he was coming from, William smiled and then flipped the quaffle into his left hand. Once he had a good grip, he extended his arm back and threw yet another 60 meter goal.

“Make that ‘arms.’” Harry laughed after witnessing the second goal.
Ron laughed too and said, “I think Seamus has his work cut out for him.”

This went on for another 5 minutes before Seamus and Ginny both realized that he was not going to miss anytime soon. Ginny was the voice of reason and suggested that they call it quits.

“Don’t you ever miss a shot?” Seamus asked him in slight frustration.

“Sure, I miss shots…sometimes.” replied William with a smile. “Besides, this isn’t exactly a challenge. I’m used to three people chasing me and two bludgers whizzing by my skull.”

“Well then I guess we had better move on to the last challenge then!” suggested Ginny as she knew what was to come.

“And what would that be?” asked William as hovered over to her.
“On one on, best to 3 goals match.” said Seamus before Ginny could answer.

“Who’s going to face me? Will it be you Seamus or are you going to make Ginny carry this challenge out like the last two.” asked William.

Rather than let everyone else think he was a coward, Seamus conceded to this request. He had only seen William fly without opposition so there was still a chance he could best him; however small that chance was it was still there. “I’ll do it.”

“Let’s do this properly then.” Harry said as he and Ron flew out to clear the pitch of the other recruits and instructors. Soon enough a small perimeter of students had formed around to see this matchup. William and Seamus had flown down with Ginny for the jump ball. When the skies were clear Harry called down to her, “We’re ready when you are!”

Ginny then took her position on the ground with the quaffle, while William and Seamus hovered on their respected sides. The placement of players and the gathered crowd almost made it feel like a real game of quidditch with the exception of not having complete teams or a snitch and bludgers.

It would have been correct to assume that Seamus was nervous as he had not considered the embarrassment of losing to the one he had challenged. His eyes darted over the sky and the stands taking a mental count of onlookers. When his eyes shifted back to William he was almost frightened by his look of focus. Unlike Seamus, his eyes never left the face of his opponent.

William was not so much nervous as he was anxious to get this spectacle over with. There was no doubt in his mind that he could beat Seamus, but he did not want to embarrass him in front of his teammates. He would have to make this match a close one rather than a blowout. Still, he needed to get his game face on and play the game like he had been taught; with grace, control, and passion.

Upon seeing the two boys set and ready on their brooms, Ginny, in her best Madam Hooch impression, said; “Now I want a nice clean match.” When both of them nodded their heads she took the quaffle by both hands and tossed it up into the air.

Reacting strictly on instinct, both of the young men sped off with an outstretched arm. Seamus was more than shocked when he found the quaffle in his possession. He then darted off towards the rings as quickly as his broom would allow. A quick glance to the rear showed that William was almost at his heels.

Losing him was no easy task to say the least as he had to constantly bob and weave through the air. When there was sufficient room between the two of them Seamus took his first shot from ten meters out and narrowly made the first goal. With a smile of satisfaction he flew back to midfield for the next tossup.

After the second toss up, William took possession of the quaffle and soared off toward his rings. He did not bother to look back as Seamus closed the gap between them, his hand reaching out for the quaffle tucked on William’s arm.

After getting close enough, Seamus landed a blow to the quaffle knocking it out from under William’s grasp. He then made a quick swoop in to catch the falling ball and flew back toward his goal posts. Seamus thought it was simply surprise from the loss of the quaffle that explained why William could not catch up and block his second goal.

Needless to say, he wore a smug grin of satisfaction all the way back to midfield.

“What the bloody hell is going?” asked Ron still trying to process what had just happened.

“I have no idea.” Harry answered who was just as flabbergasted as Ron. “Maybe Seamus just got lucky.” He knew that statement was wrong the second it left his mouth. In his experience, William was much better than he let on and Seamus was vastly overconfident in his abilities. One on one, the win would definitely be in William’s favor. If Seamus was scoring, then it was only because he was allowing him to.

“Let’s just see what kind of game William is playing.”

William looked on as Seamus exchanged cheers with his fellow players circling the pitch. “That’s good,” William thought. “He needs all the encouragement he can get right now because the next tossup means we play real quidditch.”

Playing the role to the best of his abilities, William slowly flew back to midfield with a solemn expression of loss on his face.

Seamus thought the win was a dead lock as he watched William sadly fly back. Before getting ready for the last tossup, he took one more look at his adoring fans in the sky. When he turned his gaze back to William he found the boy wearing his glasses, which he then turned with his wand a light shade of black like that of sunglasses. While the glasses were a bit odd to Seamus, the strangest part of William’s appearance was the wide open smile on his face.

“Here comes the fun part!” He whispered to himself as Ginny went to toss up the quaffle.

For Harry, time seemed to slow down as the quaffle flew up into the air. He could see everything in that one instant like Seamus tightening the grip on his broom or the wind’s subtle influence on the floating quaffle. In the midst of all this, Harry could not help but notice how confident and ready William looked on his broomstick. When time sped back up and William had possession of the quaffle, he knew that this was a different game altogether.

“I think we’re in for a few surprises, Ron.” Harry said but never took his eyes of the pair flying frantically below.

William took off with astonishing speed down the pitch with Seamus hot on his trail. He wasn’t going at top speed as that would have been too easy on his more advanced broom, but rather a speed that his opponent could catch up to. Still, he wanted to see just how badly Seamus wanted the quaffle and needed to make him work for it. William started simple with quick banks left and right, but then got more complex with barrel rolls and loops.

When he looked back to see Seamus gaining on him, William decided to not pull out all the stops. “Ok, let’s see what he can really do.” He thought to himself and then immediately took off straight up into the sky with Seamus in tow.

It wasn’t long before every eye on the ground was trained on the sky, having lost the pair in the clouds. They knew that eventually Seamus and William would come down, either on their brooms or in a freefall.

“Can either of you find them?” asked Harry as he stared into the clouds hoping to catch sight of a tail or body, anything for that matter.

“I can’t see anything.” Ginny said as she turned to Harry. She had never seen this kind flying tactic before and could not understand the concept. When the pair first made the ascent she flew up to consult Harry and Ron to see if they had any idea. Needless to say, they knew as much as she did.

“There they are!” Ron pointed upward as he found William speeding straight down and out of the clouds followed by Seamus. By the looks of things, William was heading in a direct nosedive whereas Seamus was using a safer approach. “I don’t know what you two are thinking, but William needs to level out or he’s going to plant that broom in the ground.”

While Harry thought this was a valid point, he could not help but think this was all part of William’s plan. “Wait just a minute. I think we’ll all be in for a surprise.” He hoped so because his broom was getting dangerously close to the ground.

At that very same moment, William was having the very same thought. He knew Seamus would not pursue at such a risky speed and would be forced to come down from an angled direction. With sufficient speed and distance between them, William began to strenuously pull back on his broom and leveled out just a few meters from the ground. Harry, Ginny, Ron, as well as the rest of the crowd sighed in relief.

Seeing as how Seamus was still coming down, William easily flew toward the rings and made his first goal of the match.

As he made his way back for the next tossup, Harry flew down beside him to ask the question on everyone’s minds. “Nice moves! Just what kind of flying was that, William?”

“That’s what we call a ‘Dead Fall Drop.’ Not for the faint of heart!” He laughed.

“What are you going to do next?” He asked hoping to avoid at least some worry in watching him fly.

“I don’t know yet. Let’s find out!” He smiled as he took his side again. He could not help but notice the scowl on Seamus’ face.

The possession of the quaffle went to Seamus in the tossup. With the quaffle under his arm, he then frantically flew off toward the rings in a mad dash to end this game before another goal from William. At that moment, the young man on his mind flew right by him.

As he observed the boy fly ahead, Seamus could only think, “Why is he going toward my goal?” Just then, William made a quick midair flip-turn and flew right back at Seamus. Before he could change course his opponent flew right next him and knocked the quaffle out from under his arm. The swiftness and grace at which William accomplished this amazed Seamus long enough for him to recover the quaffle and score his second goal, thus tying the game.

Ginny waited as the two young men came back for the final tossup. The crowds were neither cheering nor booing them but rather chatting amongst themselves as to who the victor would be. This time Seamus had no look of anger or frustration but rather surprise and awe.

When they were set and ready she turned and said, “William, Seamus, this is game point. The next person to score wins. Good luck!”

The pitch fell deathly silent waiting for Ginny to send up the quaffle. This silence was cut off the very second the ball left her hands and was replaced by gasps of suspense as to who would come away with it.

From the earliest age, William had been told to play quidditch with the purpose of having fun. As he got older and the game became more competitive he always remembered this notion. Listening to it thus far had not steered him wrong and his hand firmly gripped on the quaffle was proof enough for him.

He soon found that Seamus was right behind him and decided to immediately drop the hammer and make for the final goal. The gap widely opened as William sped forward leaving Seamus trailing behind even more.

The mischievous side William knew and occasionally loved came forward in his mind saying, “Now let’s really give them something to talk about!” The trick came to his mind instantly and he quickly pulled his arm back to throw the quaffle. At 80 meters out he abruptly stopped dead in his tracks and sent the quaffle sailing toward the rings.

“GO! GO! GO!” He yelled out as every eye in the air and in the stands watched the ball soar toward the center goal post. When it flew through with more than enough clearance a stream of cheers broke out across the pitch, namely from a select few Gryffindors, giants, and half-giants.

When the cheering had settled down Harry, Ron, and Ginny all flew over to congratulate William. He was very humbled by their enthusiasm and simply thanked them all for their support. Before they could ask any questions as to what that move was or how he performed it, William decided there was one person who he needed to see more.

Seamus hovered slowly back to the center of the pitch where the rest of the team was situated. He did not sulk or hang his head in despair but instead tried to be as calm and collected as possible. This was even more of a challenge when he saw William flying over toward him. “What, has he come to gloat?” Seamus thought. He would have done that very thing if he had won.

When William came right alongside Seamus, he gave the boy a slight smile and then extended his hand. “Good match,” was all he said.

“Good match, William.” Seamus took his hand uneasily at first but then firmly shook it as William did the same.

With the matter firmly cleared up, Ginny and Harry flew over to get the tryout started once again.

“Now that we’ve established that William can play, I think its best that you resume the tryout.” Harry said as Ginny brought her recruits back to their spot on the pitch. He then turned to William and said, “They’re all yours!” He then turned to go back and take care of his recruits and maintain the charade that he didn’t know which of them would be his backup and eventual replacement.

Once William and Ginny were left to help the recruits, they were immediately pulled in closer for some basic instructions and tips.

“Is it ok if I start?” He asked respectfully knowing that Ginny had seniority in this instance. When she nodded he turned to the group and began. “Well, the first thing that I’ve noticed about you all is that some of you are lacking in your fundamentals, which in most cases has to do with quaffle handling. For example, Seamus,” his eyes went wide after being referred to as flawed. “When you were flying from me you had the ball tucked under your arm from the side.”

“But-” He began before William cut him off.

“Just shut up for two minutes and try not to live up to all of my expectations.” William said in defense. “I know exactly what you’re going to say; I did the same thing in our match. Yes, you’re right I did but it was only to show you how easy it is to steal the quaffle from that position. Would you like to see a better way?”

When all the heads in the group nodded in unison, William showed Ginny how to model this position on her broom as a demonstration. “As you can see, Ginny here has a quaffle fully guarded by her body. Her stomach and chest keep it close to the broom, her knees keep it in place, and her arms block attackers from the sides. Every surface of the quaffle is protected whilst allowing the rider full maneuverability. In my time, we call this the ‘Tortoise Shell.’”

From the look in their eyes, he could tell that they were getting the information. Even Seamus managed to look stunned by the simplicity and efficiency of this defense. William was even more amazed when he raised his hand to ask a question. “How do you throw in that position?”

William was happy to answer knowing that Seamus was willing to change some things about the way he played quidditch. The other students asked questions as well, but they were about advanced flying rather than fundamentals, which they clearly lacked. Seamus however put careful thought and consideration into his. He wanted to know about how to fly with grace and style, not with the intent to impress.

One question seemed to spark an entire discussion between the two of them. Ginny saw this as her exit and resolved to work out what William had taught with the rest of them. All the while, William helped Seamus with his technique in hopes of making him enjoy quidditch that much more. As their conversation began to wind down so did the rest of the tryout.

They quickly made their way to the ground with the rest of the students after Ginny had told them. When they reached the ground, Harry and Ron quickly joined the three of them to discuss the day’s events. Harry, Ron, and Ginny all talked about their potential prospects and for the most part each of them seemed pleased by how things were shaping up. The general consensus was that if everything went well then their quidditch season would be very successful.

The group was then joined by Hermione who had come down from the stands and Dean Thomas who had come down from flying. He then tossed down the beater’s club and sighed in frustration.

“Is there something wrong, Dean?” Hermione asked after giving Ron a quick kiss on the cheek. She then bent down and picked up the club.

“It’s probably not as bad as I’m thinking, but this new kid Simon needs a lot of work! If he expects to be in top form before the season starts then we’re going to need some serious practice time.” They knew this to be true from what all of them had seen from Simon earlier. Dean then began, “And another thing-”

He was immediately cut off as a cracked young voice shouted out from the air, “Hit the deck!”

The warning gave them enough time to see the bludger hurling toward their spot on the ground, but not enough to move out of the way.

Before they tried to make a futile dodge, a distinct sound of wood on stone broke through their cries of panic.

Upon looking toward the source of the noise, the only thing the group could see was Hermione breathing heavy with a raised hand still clutching the beater’s club. They then looked in unison to the sky and saw the bludger sail through the sky. The onlooker would have laughed after seeing each of them do a double take as to what they had just witnessed.

“Is everyone okay?” Hermione asked as she lowered her swinging arm and slowed her breathing.

“Do you think you can do that again, Hermione?” Harry ignored her question to ask the one on his as well as the rest of their minds.

“I don’t know.” She meekly replied.

“Let’s find out!” Dean exclaimed as he conjured another bludger for her to hit.

As if on instinct, Hermione gave a forceful backhanded swing that sent the angry orb flying even farther than the last. Satisfied with her ability, Dean conjured another and again Hermione knocked it almost out of the park.

Harry could only stand back and watch one of his closest friends discover a new skill. He never thought a person like Hermione, someone who never played quidditch before, would possess such a talent. He could only smile after seeing the irony. Ron however had a mystified stare plastered to his face. “What do you think, Ron?”

Without even taking his eyes off of Hermione, he replied, “That is the sexiest thing that I have ever seen!”

“Well Dean,” Harry began after containing the giggles Ron had influenced. “After you go help Simon with his beating, I think you know who to turn to for help.”

“I think you’re right, Harry!” Dean happily replied as he mounted his broom to go reprimand Simon.

The commotion Hermione had stirred brought on quite a crowd as Hagrid, Grawp, and several students had come down from the stands. The half-giant and his brother immediately went to see his 4 favorite students whereas Seamus and William hung back with the other students.

William could not help but notice the looks Seamus kept giving Parvati Patil, yet received none in return from her. When he went to talk to her she quickly dismissed him having prior knowledge of his selfish attitude in the sky and on the ground. Considering what he had gone through during the match and swallowing his pride after, William decided that Seamus needed a victory today.

Before Seamus left Parvati’s presence, William swept in and said, “You should keep this gentleman close by Parvati. You won’t find many people like him.”

“Oh and why is that?” She replied hardly believing what he said.

“Did you know he gave the profits from the betting pool on my match against Ruby so that Simon up there could have a broom to tryout on?” He said with his best poker face.

“Really? I didn’t know that!” She happily replied sporting a smile for Seamus.

The boy in question began, “But I-”

“Stop trying to be so humble, Seamus. That was a nice thing you did!” He smiled back at him and gave a subtle wink.

He knew exactly what William was getting at and continued, “I thought it was the right thing to do.”

“It was very sweet!” Parvati exclaimed as she pulled Seamus in closer to talk.

William nodded to the smiling boy as he looked back to thank him. It was then that he knew things would be ok between them from then on.

It was during a conversation about Axel that William walked back toward Harry and his friends. He did not follow it for very long as his ears began to pick up a very low but distinct echo. For those who could not differentiate, it would sound like a wild stampede of horses. “Centaurs!” He thought imagining the raiding party heading toward Ruby’s nest. The time to act would be soon at hand. His mind was quickly brought back to reality after finding Hagrid addressing him.

“Do you think you should bring Axel back to the nest, William?” He asked while cradling the tired baby dragon in his arms.

“Not quite yet!” He answered more enthusiastically then necessary. Right now, Axel needed to be as far away from the nest as possible. “Will you mind watching him while I go check on Ruby?”

“Sure thing!” He answered knowing Grawp would like more time with his new friend.

“Would you mind if I tag along?” Ginny asked as she had no knowledge of the tiny baby as well.

“I’ll come too!” Hermione added. “You’ll be surprised to know he’s very calm. He’s still very boisterous like his mum, but awfully cute as well.”

As the two girls left with Hagrid and Grawp, Harry and Ron turned to William. “Do you mind if we walk with you?” Harry asked having nothing better to do. After the excitement on the pitch, he thought a quite walk would do him justice.

William had to think quickly about this. Sure they would potentially be put in harm’s way, but considering what they had done in the past year he was willing to take the chance of their safe passage. “I could use the company!” he happily replied.

As they started to walk toward the Forbidden Forest, Romilda Vane and Lavender Brown strolled by.

“Nice flying, Harry!” Romilda stated, her voice dripping with lust. “If you ever want a better ride, then you know where to find me.”

Harry tried to brush this off without making a scene. “Don’t hold your breath, Romilda.” He replied and followed William down the trail.

“The same offer goes for you Won-Won!” Lavender added as she followed Romilda back to the school.

Ron immediately blushed after hearing her old pet name for him.

Needless to say, when he caught up to Harry and William they were both unsuccessfully trying to suppress their laughter.

“’Won-Won’?” William asked with a smirk.

“Just drop it!” Ron replied in frustration.

“Now if I was a wise man, and I am not, I would say that the two of you met ‘socially.’” William said with a smile stuck on his face.

“Socially is putting it lightly!” Harry added, amused by William’s antics. “More like, locked at the lips each night of the week!”

Seeing as how Ron was really getting tired of the jokes, Harry opted to change the subject to something they could all enjoy. “So that was some pretty impressive flying today, William.”

“Yeah, I did okay.” He humbly replied.

“That was more than okay! I’ve never seen professionals do any of your moves.” Ron added.

“What was that last move you used?” Harry asked. “I think if you teach that to us then we might have a good chance of scoring some serious points this season!”

“Well it’s not anything fancy.” William put it modestly. “I call it a ‘Javelin.’ You use your own weight and momentum to give the quaffle accuracy and speed.”

William continued to explain the rest of his moves as they walked through the forest. He would have gone on longer if it was not for the strange feeling he was getting.

At that same moment, Harry felt an odd sensation. It was almost like the feeling he used to get when Snape used to practice Leglimency on him. He could not see them, but he knew someone else was close by
.
William noticed this and asked him, “You feel it too, don’t you?”

“Feel what?” Ron asked being the only outsider.

“We’re being watched!” He said to no one in particular.

“Tracked is more like it.” William corrected him.

“The centaurs?” Harry correctly guessed as William nodded in response.
“Are they going to hurt us?” Ron asked as he was now clearly frightened by the prospect of being hunted in the forest by a group of centaurs.

“Me probably.” William replied in all honesty. “The two of you should be fine. You both had a part in defeating Riddle so I’m sure that’ll warrant some kind of leeway with them.”

“What if you’re wrong?” Harry asked knowing this was a possibility. He did not know much about centaurs but he did know that they were not particularly fond of humans.

“If I’m wrong then this will all be over soon.”

It was then that his ears caught another familiar sound. For the second time that day, the faint draw of a bowstring echoed in his mind, only this time it snapped forward sending the arrow straight toward them.

A/N: Sorry for the cliffhanger lol! The next chapter is already complete in my mind. I should have it written up within the next month. Thanks for your patience! PLEASE REVIEW :) BTW I just gained trusted author status so my updates will be coming a lot sooner lol

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