Harry Potter had been jealous before. When he was just five years old, he’d watched his cousin Dudley ride a brand new red bicycle round and round the neat gardens of Privet Drive, cycling over the perfectly manicured lawns until Harry’s heart could have burst with jealousy. Why Dudley had even wanted a bicycle when he hated all forms of exercise was completely beyond Harry’s five year old mind, but he knew he would have given anything just to have one turn on it. The familiar pangs of jealousy crept into Harry’s heart every Christmas when Dudley would tear open the mountain of presents beneath the tree while Harry watched on, lonely and forgotten. Yes Harry was jealous of Dudley’s huge bedroom with a proper bed, his bicycle, his mountain of toys, but most of all, Harry was extremely jealous of the love and attention his cousin was given every day from his parents.
When he was abruptly introduced to the Wizarding World, famous for something he couldn’t even remember, he’d expected that all feelings of jealousy to disappear.

To an extent, they did. He had the two best friends he could ever have hoped for, new found skills at a sport he’d never even knew existed and access to the magical world; the hopes of a family, a happy life. But still, every year when term drew to a close and the summer holidays drew in, the old pangs of jealousy would flare up again with the knowledge that he had to return to the Dursleys when his friends were all going home to their loving families.

It was fair to say that Harry Potter was no stranger to jealousy, but he had never felt jealousy quite like this before.

He stood in the Gryffindor common room on a pleasantly sunny morning, but the outside weather was irrelevant; he would not be flying in it. The Gryffindor Quidditch team were lined up, ready to depart for the final match of the season, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw. The outcome of today’s match would determine the winners of the Cup, would see whether or not Gryffindor could continue their winning streak. But today, Gryffindor would be playing without their Captain. Harry still couldn’t believe he wouldn’t be able to play, all because of a seemingly harmless spell written in the margins of an old textbook. He had spent a sleepless night reliving the situation in his head, picking out a thousand things he could have done differently that would have allowed him to play in the match.

Why, out of all the spells the Half Blood Prince had scribbled in his old book did Harry have to choose that one to perform on Malfoy? The answer rose to his mind again and again. ‘It was a spell for enemies and you hate Malfoy,’ he thought bitterly. It wasn’t his fault, Malfoy provoked him, he hadn’t expected it to work...Endless arguments each more feeble than the last raged round in his head, but somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind he knew he was to blame. That’s what made this new jealousy so hard to take; it was completely his fault.

He watched on, his heart fit to burst, as the team, his team, the team he put together shouldered their broomsticks and prepared to go down to the pitch. He could barely look at the team without literally turning into a green-eyed monster of jealousy. Still, he supposed he ought to give them some kind of encouragement. He was still the Captain after all, the badge he insisted on wearing on his chest showed that.
He cleared his throat and the seven of them turned round immediately, looking rather sheepish at the fact they’d been enjoying themselves.

“Right, well, this is it, the final match of the season,” he said, clearing his throat just for something to do and wishing they would all stop staring at him with that pitying look in their eyes. “You’ve all been working so hard and you deserve to win so much. I know it hasn’t been easy, what with the injuries and substitutions,” he paused to look pointedly at Cormac McLaggen who was attempting to sidle past unnoticed. “But I know you’ll do brilliant. Just, erm, just play as well as you’ve always done, and, well...” he trailed off awkwardly, not knowing what else to say, scratching the back of his head so his arms wouldn’t just be dangling by his sides. “I’m really sorry I won’t be playing with you today, sorrier than you’ll ever believe, but just remember, if we, I mean, you, can manage to beat Ravenclaw by a margin of three hundred point, then Gryffindor will win the Cup. If not-”

“We know, Harry,” said Ginny gently, coming over and placing a hand on his arm. “We promise, we’ll all fly our best, won’t we?’ she added sternly to Ron, who turned pink and nodded mutely.

Desperately trying to ignore the butterflies that rose in his stomach at Ginny’s touch, Harry willed himself to smile calmly, in spite of the situation. “Ginny, remember what we talked about in training,” he told her, hoping he managed to sound nonchalant and not madly in love with her. “You’re playing Seeker against Cho, and we know she always tails the other Seeker, so you should-”

“Try and beat her at all costs?” Ginny answered immediately.

Despite the situation, Harry felt a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Well, yes,” he smiled.

“Don’t worry,” she grinned. “she’ll be sorry you dumped her after this match. You wouldn’t want a rubbish Seeker as a girlfriend anyway.” Obviously realising what she’d just said, Ginny turned bright red, mumbled something indistinct before hurrying away to stand between Demelza and Katie.

Harry stared after her, pondering what exactly the meaning of Ginny’s words were before he put them out of his head. He glanced at the clock on the common room wall and his stomach lurched. It was almost time for the match.

“You lot better go on down now,” he said quietly. “Good luck.”
He watched them file out the portrait hole, each giving him a small smile as they passed, or a lingering pat on the back in Ginny’s case, until the only people left in the common room were Harry, Ron and Hermione. He did not know what to say to them, yet there was a very expectant pause he felt he had to fill.

“Listen, Ron, mate, just don’t let the crowd get to you, ignore them, remember you’re a brilliant Keeper and...” he trailed off, running out of steam. He turned to Hermione who had a large scarlet and gold rosette pinned to her robes.

But for once, it seemed she too was stuck for words. Harry simply looked at them for a moment; half wishing that Hermione would tell him off, just to break the silence.

“Well I’d best be off, wouldn’t want to keep Snape waiting,” Harry said finally, with a brave attempt at a jaunty smile. His friends nodded mutely and followed him to the portrait hole. Hermione smiled sadly at him as they prepared to part; Harry reluctantly bound for Snape’s dungeon, she and Ron for the match.

“Don’t let Snape get to you,” Ron said firmly, shifting his broomstick slightly to grip Harry’s shoulder. “Just remember, er, that, erm...”

“Just remember that Snape could have thought up a much worse punishment,” Hermione took over. “And that, it is only a Quidditch match and Ginny will personally murder every member of the team if they let you down.”

Harry didn’t know what he was smiling at; Hermione’s attempts to pass off the final as ‘only a Quidditch match’ or the way Ron turned pale when she mentioned what Ginny would do if they lost. Nevertheless, it was with a small smile he waved his friends off as he descended the steps to the dungeons.

It was as though Dementors lined the dark, slimy corridor of the dungeons. The tiny shred of happiness he’s felt just a moment before evaporated the moment the door to Snape’s office came into view. He knocked on the door, wildly hoping that Snape might somehow have forgotten his punishment and had went down to the match with everyone else. No such luck. As was to be expected, a snide “Come in,” greeted his knock and Harry was forced to enter.

Remembering Ron’s words, Harry tried his best to ignore the man he hated almost as much as Voldemort. He sat down, giving only the smallest, most sullen indication he had heard Snape’s instructions about writing all the old detention records. He pulled the battered box towards him and plucked a card from within it. The crimes and punishment of his fellow wrong-doers from years gone by did nothing to cheer him up as he copied them out again and again. Even the sight of his father’s name in Filch’s spidery old handwriting could not excite him in any way. He wrote it over and over, almost always accompanied with Sirius and occasionally the names of Lupin and Pettigrew. With a kind of grim pleasure, he noticed that nearly all the times James had been given detention was for hexing Snape, the great overgrown bat who now sat before Harry.

But James, whatever he was during his youth, would never have been stupid enough to miss a Quidditch match he’d been Captain of. Never once, in all the times Harry had come across his name, had James received a punishment like the one his son was now enduring. Hesitating for a moment to rest his aching hand and hoping Snape wouldn’t notice, Harry sat back slightly in his chair and thought about how differently this day might have gone if he hadn’t used that stupid spell on that stupid git, Malfoy...

He’d be laughing and joking with his team for a start, giving them pre match encouragement they could actually use. They’d walk on to pitch to the sounds of deafening applause and cries of “Go, go Gryffindor!” The whistle would blow, they’d rise into the air. He could picture Ginny, playing her preferred position of Chaser, grabbing the Quaffle at once, passing to Demelza, passing to Katie who’d score with no trouble, happy to be back from St Mungo’s. Ron wouldn’t let any Ravenclaw goals in, but would save them all with ease and the crowd would be yelling his old favourite “Weasley is Our King.” And he, Harry, would catch the Snitch from right under Cho’s nose. The team would touch down onto the pitch as the entire Gryffindor house ran to meet them. McGonagall would be wiping her eyes the way she’d done when they won the Cup three years ago, Hagrid would be beaming at him, Dumbledore would be on his feet cheering and Snape would be off sulking in a corner. And in that moment of utter joy and jubilation, Ginny would realise that she was deeply in love with him, he’d kiss her in front of the entire school without having to worry about what they’d think, and Ron wouldn’t feel that he should punch him.
Snape cleared his throat loudly and Harry, startled out of his fantasies, got back to work. What felt like hours later, he was finally given permission to leave. Pushing away the thoughts that he would have to do this again next week, Harry left the room.

The school was silent as Harry made his way back to Gryffindor Tower; the match had clearly ended. Harry’s stomach churned as the portraits on the surrounding wall looked away as he passed. Were they ignoring him out of disgust at Gryffindor’s loss or simply concealing their grins at their magnificent win? Even the Fat Lady gave nothing away as he approached, merely accepting the password and swinging forwards without the slightest indication of what he would find inside the Common Room.

With slight trepidation, Harry clambered through the portrait hole. At once, a tidal wave of noise met him and several hands belonging to triumphant Gryffindors pulled him in. He could hear Ron’s yells at the final score, see him waving the Quidditch Cup. Ginny came running towards him and somehow, as Harry looked at her, he seemed to think that perhaps Hermione’s words that morning were true.

Quidditch match or no Quidditch match, there was at least one thing from his daydream that could come true. Pushing all inhibitions from his head and shrugging off the scandalised stares from around the crowded room, Harry kissed Ginny full on the mouth.

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