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A/N: Disclaimer: All Harry Potter-related characters, names, places, objects, spells, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling. I only own the original characters and the plot.


Chapter 7

~Sirius~       

          Uh oh.

          So maybe that wasn’t very well thought out.

          I couldn’t help it! I saw that arrogant prick smirking at Maddie when he saved one of her goals, remembered the smug way he said, “Do you really think she’ll believe you?” 

 Plus, it was even better than punching him in the face.

          James aims his wand at the Bludger. “Immobulus!” It freezes in mid-air. “Keep practicing,” he orders, then motions for me to come talk to him. Maddie follows, uninvited.

          “I’m sorry,” I begin hastily, “it was an accident…?”

          James shakes his head. “Sirius, what were you thinking?”

          “Oh come off it,” I tell him. “You wanted to do it too!”

          “Yeah, but I didn’t!”

          “But the bloody idiot deserved it!” I protest.

          “I know,” James says, “but now we’ve lost ourselves our Keeper-”

          “Good, nobody wanted him here anyway.”

          “That doesn’t make it okay to wallop the bloke with a Bludger!”

          “Did you see the look he gave Mads after he blocked her goal? Stupid, sodding git-”

          “I appreciate it,” Maddie cuts in, “really, I do. But it’s three days before the match, and we don’t have a Keeper.” She looks from me to James. “Seeing as this is my fault-”

          “It’s not your fault!” James interjects.

          “I’ll go talk to him,” she finishes.

          “What? No!” I say. “It’s my fault. If anyone goes, it should be me. But honestly,” I say, looking straight at Prongs, “I don’t think anyone should go. No one on the team wants him here after what he did to Mads, and I’m betting he’s not going to be too keen on coming back after what I just did to him. I doubt we’re going to be able to work together well enough to win on Saturday.”

          James doesn’t say anything, and I can tell he’s thinking it over.

          “But who are we going to find on such short notice?” he asks worriedly.

~Maddie~

          “Frank!” I exclaim. “Frank will do it! He was second best after Lucas at trials.”

          Sirius’s face breaks into a grin. “See, Prongs?” he says triumphantly. “The perfect solution.”

          James smiles too. “Alright, we’ll call the end of practice and go ask Frank.”

          We find Frank sitting with Alice in the common room.

          “Hey, Al,” I say cheerfully. “Hi, Frank.”

          “Hi,” says Alice. “How was practice?”

          “Not so good,” James tells her. “Sirius lost his temper and hit Grey in the face with a Bludger.”

           “Sirius, you didn’t!” Lily has overheard.

          He shrugs. “The prat deserved it.”

          “I’m guessing he didn’t take kindly to that?” says Frank with a chuckle.

          “Right you are,” says James. “He resigned.”

          “Oh no!” says Alice. “Isn’t the match on Saturday?” Alice is somewhat clumsy and doesn’t possess the greatest amount of coordination, which keeps her from playing Quidditch, but she is an avid fan.

          “Right again,” says Sirius. “Which brings us to…” he looks at James.

          “Frank, would you like to be the Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team?”

          Frank’s face breaks into a grin. “Would I!”

          “Great!” says James. “Okay, we’re going to have to practice every night this week if we’re going to be ready to flatten Ravenclaw on Saturday…”

~Sirius~

          Saturday morning arrives sooner than we would like. We’re sitting in the Great Hall eating breakfast—well, some of us are eating—and everyone is a little nervous. Some of us are a little more nervous than others.

          “Frank?” Alice says, looking at her boyfriend concernedly. “How about you eat something?”

          “Not hungry,” he says, not looking back at her.

          “Just a little bit of toast,” Alice wheedles.

          Frank shakes his head. Alice ignores him, buttering up a piece of bread and putting it into his hand.

          I look at James. He’s eating, but very slowly, which is unlike him. He’s not responding to Trevor’s questions about game play, or my third request for him to pass the marmalade. It’s like he’s in a trance.

          “Prongs?” I say. “We’ve practiced every night this week. Everyone has worked really hard. C’mon, mate, we’re going to be fine.”

          “Remember how well last night’s practice went?” Maddie chimes in. “You were so happy at the end.”

          He ignores us.

          Finally Lily says, “James?”

          James’s head snaps towards her, the trance immediately broken. “Yes?”

          “You’re going to be fine today,” she says with a gentle smile. “All of you. You’ve worked really hard. You just need to go out there and do your best.”

          James’s worried expression changes into a relaxed smile.  “Yeah,” he says. “You’re right.”

          Wow, it’s not like I just said that, or anything.

          “Now, eat something,” Lily orders. “You’re going to need your strength today.”

          James nods and hastily begins shoveling in scrambled eggs.

          Mads and I exchange a glance and roll our eyes.

          After breakfast, we head out to the pitch. On the way out the doors, Grey rams into my shoulder.

          “Oh, sorry Black,” he sneers. “Didn’t see you there.”

          Really?

          I roll my eyes. “Next time I feel like acting like a second year, I’ll let you know,” I say, moving past.

          “Good luck in the match today,” he calls mockingly. “Oh, wait, I forgot—you don’t have a Keeper.”

          “You just keep telling yourself that,” I call back casually. I don’t turn around to see his face, but I’m guessing it must be pretty funny.

~Maddie~

          We change quickly and in silence. Everyone is getting focused. When it’s time for James’s pep talk, we gather in a circle.

          “Okay, team,” James says, “we’ve all worked extremely hard for this. We’ve got a strong team of Chasers,” he says, looking at Kimmy and me, “two fierce Beaters,” he continues, looking at Trevor and Sirius, “although, sometimes perhaps too fierce,” he adds, looking at Sirius again, “a superb Seeker,” he nods toward Ryan, “and a Keeper who has stepped up in a big way, and is way better than the git who came before him!” he finishes, and everyone looks encouragingly at Frank, who looks a little uncomfortable. Frank would never be the one to take any credit.

          “Now let’s go out there and win ourselves a match!” cries James. “Gryffindor on three! One, two three-”

          “Gryffindor!”

          “Alright, Quidditch fans,” calls Remus from the commentary stand. Remus would never be one to play Quidditch, but he’s the perfect mediator. “Here we are, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw, first match of the season! Here comes the Ravenclaw team….”

          He rattles off the names of the Ravenclaw players, but I’m not listening. I look at James, who looks back, and I know we’re both ready to do this.

          “And here come the Gryffindors! King, Potter, Lane, Clark, Thompson, Black, and Longbottom!” The group clad in gold and scarlet cheered. I spotted Lily and Alice clapping their hands.

          “Gryffindor had to make a last minute replacement for the position of Keeper,” Remus is saying, “but they look confident!”

          The crowd cheers again. I spot Lucas, who looks furious. I smile to myself.

          “Alright, Potter, Davies, shake hands,” says Madam Hooch. James approaches Ralph Davies and they firmly shake hands.

          “On my whistle,” says Madam Hooch. “Three, two-”

          Tweet!

          Everyone soars into the air. The Quaffle is released, and James grabs ahold of it.

          “James Potter in possession-passes to Madison Lane-passes to Kimberly Clark-back to Lane-to Potter-to Clark-Clark SCORES!”

          Kimmy’s goal put everyone in an optimistic mood. Ravenclaw Chaser Edgecombe is in possession of the Quaffle. He fumbles and drops it. I shoot past the Gryffindor stands toward the other end of the pitch and catch the Quaffle. I speed back in the opposite direction, toward the Ravenclaw goal posts.

          “Lane in possession-she’s almost the goal-ooh, there’s a Bludger out of nowhere!-hit away by Sirius Black-Lane SCORES!”

          I grin at Sirius who winks back and shoots off. I look to see where the Quaffle has gone; Kimmy has it and is flying away from Ravenclaw Chaser Fawcett. He catches up to her and whacks the ball out of her hands, catching it as if falls.

          “Ooh, and Ravenclaw takes possession of the Quaffle,” Remus announces. “Fawcett is flying toward the goal-will Frank Longbottom be able to save it? Fawcett shoots and-”

          I hold my breath.

          “SAVED! By Frank Longbottom, Gryffindor Keeper!”

          The Gryffindor fans cheer. Frank looks pleased.

          The game continues. James, Kimmy and I score a goal apiece, and Ravenclaw scores twice, making the score 40-20.

          Fawcett is heading toward the Gryffindor end of the pitch, where Frank is hovering in front of the right goal post. He takes a fierce shot toward the left goal post. Frank dives over and saves it. More cheers erupt from our supporters.

          “Saved by Longbottom! The Ravenclaws don’t like this! Potter in possession-heading toward the goal-ouch! That looks like it hurt.” Remus isn’t just commentating; he sounds genuinely concerned. A well-aimed Bludger hit by Ravenclaw Beater Boot hits James right in the arm, knocking the Quaffle out of his hand. I see James wince in pain, but he doesn’t stop flying.

          We continue. I attempt to score, but it’s saved.

“Fawcett heading toward the goal-come on, Frank-!” There is a disappointed groan from the Gryffindor stands. “Ravenclaw scores,” Remus informs the crowd.

The Ravenclaws score three times more. James is struggling to play with his arm, and everyone is getting tired.

          The score is 90-40 to Ravenclaw, when it starts to rain. It comes out of nowhere, and suddenly we’re soaked. I blink over and over, trying to see, but it’s nearly impossible. I know James can’t see a thing out of his glasses.

          I hear cheers from the Gryffindor section. “Longbottom blocks Davies’ attempt at a goal!” Remus calls. “Frank Longbottom really stepped it up to play today; he had less than a week to train and he is putting on a great performance!”

          I smile. Now, where is the Quaffle?

          There it is, underneath Kimmy’s arm. A streak of scarlet shoots past me as she headed for the goal posts.

          “Gryffindor scores!” calls Remus happily. “90-50.”

          The Quaffle has gotten itself back into Ravenclaw possession. I shoot off after Fawcett, determined to steal it from him.

          “Is that the Snitch?” Remus calls. “It is! King and Gregory are both on the tail of the Snitch! They’re neck and neck-and it’s-Ryan King of Gryffindor has the Snitch! Gryffindor wins!”

          The Gryffindor fans go wild. The team collides in the air in a massive group hug. I feel Sirius and James on either side of me, squishing me between them. Everyone is soaking wet, but no one cares. As we dismount to the ground, Lily runs up to us. I expect her to run to me, but she bypasses me completely, heads straight for James, and throws her arms around his neck.

          “You were fabulous!” she cries, as she pulls away. “Playing with your arm injured like that, scoring so many goals, you-”

          She stops short, looking highly flustered and embarrassed.

          “Er, good game, Potter,” she says, flushing scarlet to match her Gryffindor scarf. James looks as though the Bludger hit him over the head instead of in the arm. He is smiling like an idiot.

          “Maddie!” Lily exclaims, hugging me too. “You were marvelous!”

          “Thanks, Lils!” I say, smiling at her. “How about James? He was great!”

          “Yes, I’ve already said-” she begins, then gives me a look of annoyance. She goes off to find Frank, who’s just been given enthusiastic congratulations by Alice.

          “Mads!” says a voice from behind me. I turn to see Sirius, long black hair soaked and clinging to his face, but beaming all the same. I’m too happy to even correct him for calling me Mads.

          He gives me a big hug, and spins me around in the air.

          I know it seems a little silly that everyone was getting this excited over only the first match of the season. But after everything that had happened, for me at least, this was just a way of showing that things were going to be okay.

~Sirius~

          “Party in the common room!” I announce at the top of my lungs. Everyone cheers.

          After we’ve changed, James and I head down to the portrait of the pear that leads into the kitchens. The house-elves are more than happy to fix us some food for the party, congratulating us on our win in their squeaky voices. They shove multiple treats into our arms, and James and I head up to the common room together.

          “Padfoot, did you see what happened?” James asks. “She hugged me! Actually hugged me! And said I was-and I quote-fabulous!”

          “Yes, Prongs, I saw it all,” I assure him. He beams like the lovesick prat he is.

          When we enter through the Portrait Hole, it is clear the party is already in full swing.

          Once inside, we come face-to-face with Lucas Grey, who looks positively furious.

          “Hey, mate!” I say cheerfully. “Quite the rough time we had of it out there, wouldn’t you agree?”

          “Wasn’t sure if Frank was going to be able to pull through for a while there,” James adds in mock seriousness.

          “Yeah, I mean I was just nervous because—what were your words?—we ‘couldn’t beat Ravenclaw without you?’”

          “You two just think you’re so great, don’t you?” Grey sneers at us.

          I look at Prongs. “Well,” I say, “we are.”

          We push past him. Lily, Maddie, Alice, and Frank are all standing together. James goes to join them.  Maddie looks over and smiles at me. I see Lauren standing in the corner of the room with her friends. I still owe her that rain check.

          But she’s going to have to wait, I decide, and I follow James over to our friends.

 A/N: Hello again, everyone! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I know it might have seemed a little slow, but trust me, it was necessary. Things are about to get really exciting, so stay posted! Leave a review and let me know what you liked/didn't like. Thanks for reading!

Sabrina :)
 

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