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Chapter 19: Gryffindor versus Slytherin

On Wednesday Harry went down to the Great Hall rather  nervously. Potions would be their first class that day and it would be the first time he would see Snape again after their memorable first Occlumency lesson. They didn’t see Snape at breakfast, but he hadn’t turned up for meals in the Great Hall the day before too. Grudgingly, Harry followed Ron and Hermione to the dungeons.

It was one of the quietest Potions lessons Harry had ever had. Snape didn’t actually act friendlier towards Harry, he just ignored him. Harry found out to his joy that he didn’t have much problems with his potion, now that he was left alone. The only sign Snape had changed his attitude towards him showed at the end of the lesson. When Harry was carrying his potion sample to Snape’s desk for marking, Malfoy made him trip so his potion fell on the ground. Instead of smirking at Harry as usual, Snape took five points from Slytherin. The whole class was staring at him with open mouths. This was probably the first time in years Snape had taken points from his own house.

In his next Occlumency lesson Snape didn’t act very different from that. Maybe he acted a bit more friendly towards  him than in class, but he was still rather reserved. He did however seem to put a bigger effort in teaching Harry Occlumency. Instead of continuously attacking him, Snape told him to visualize building a wall with his mind behind his eyes. At the end of the second lesson, Harry was able to hold Snape up for a while, but he still was not able to push him out.

The weeks at Hogwarts passed quickly as Harry was so busy with classes, homework, Quidditch training and the meetings of Dumbledore’s Army, not to mention the extra lessons with Dumbledore and Snape which grew increasingly harder.

On Halloween, the third year students and above were allowed their first Hogsmeade visit of the year. Harry was relieved when he saw the announcement on the notice board in the Gryffindor common room. He was afraid they might have decided to cancel the trips due to Voldemort’s return. He immediately asked Ginny to go with him and she happily accepted. Although they hung out together all the time, they were always surrounded by their friends. They were happy to be, but it would feel good to be alone with the two of them for a few hours. They did have a great time, but they still constantly met DA members on the way who wanted to come and say hello to them.

The Friday night before their first Quidditch match of the season, Harry stayed behind in the Room of Requirement after the DA meeting to clean up the mess they had made during practice. He had thought he was alone in the Room, but when he turned around he saw Angelina Johnson watching the picture of the Order of the Phoenix that was still pinned on the wall. Harry walked over to her and stood beside her in silence. After a few moments he looked at Angelina and he saw she had tears in her eyes. “Are you - ” Harry said nervously. “Are you okay?”

Angelina smiled at him and nodded. "Yeah, sure."

“I never told you about my parents, didn’t I?” she said after a long silence. Harry shook his head. “They were in the Order of the Phoenix too.” She pointed at a black woman and a white man, waving happily into the camera.

“What happened?” Harry asked softly.

“They were killed.” Angelina said. “They were Aurors, you know. When You-Know-Who disappeared the first time, when he, well you know.” She nodded a bit uncomfortably at Harry and he gave her a weak smile. “When You-Know-Who vanished, most of the Death Eaters knew their time was over. A lot of them were arrested, some of them were killed. But the most of them fled or went scot-free because they claimed to be under the Imperius Curse. However there was one group of four Death Eaters that didn’t want to put up with the fact it was over. They were convinced that You-Know-Who was still alive somewhere and that the Ministry of Magic knew where he was.” She paused. “So they went after the Aurors.” Her voice sounded suddenly bitter.

“Those bastards tortured my parents for information they couldn’t give them. When they finally realized they wouldn’t be of any use to them, they killed them. Just like that. Like two cockroaches.”

Tears were now streaming freely down Angelina’s cheeks. Harry put an arm around her and she rested her head on his shoulder. He found himself rather uncomfortable. Had this been Ginny or Hermione he would be more at ease, But Angelina was two years older than him and Harry had always thought of her as extremely tough. Her reputation on the Quidditch field played a big role in that image.

"Did they catch them?" Harry asked.

"They did." Angelina said "But not in time. A few weeks later they made two new victims, Frank and Alice Longbottom.”

“Longbottom?” Harry asked. “Do you mean...”

Angelina looked at him. “He never told you?" Harry shook his head. “Then I shouldn’t tell you either. He should be able to do so himself when he wants to.”

“Were they killed too?” Harry asked. He couldn’t help himself.

Angelina shook her head and smiled. “Never mind, Harry. It’s not my place to tell.”

Harry nodded, understanding. He looked at his watch. “Let’s go.” he said silently. “We have a game to win tomorrow.”

Angelina smiled. “That we have.”

They walked to the door of the Room of Requirement together. Just before they reached the door, Angelina turned around and said: “Thanks Harry.” and gave him a hug. “I normally don’t really talk about this, but sometimes it feels good to get some of it of my chest.”

Harry nodded. He hadn’t even known Angelina had been an orphan, just like him. That was probably part of the reason she decided she would be able to talk to Harry about what happened without having to endure the constant sympathy of people who didn’t remotely know what it felt like to grow up without parents.

“Hello everybody and welcome to the opening of the new Quidditch season here at Hogwarts!”, the voice of Lee Jordan shouted through his megaphone, while the Gryffindor Quidditch team stood ready to fly onto the pitch. Harry glanced at Ron, who looked a bit pale, but seemed to have his nerves under control.

“Today’s game is between Gryffindor and Slytherin! And here is the Gryffindor team, with Captain Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, Katie Bell, Ron Weasley, Fred Weasley, George Weasley aaaaaaaand Harry Potter!”

The Gryffindor team was met by deafening noise as they flew out of the catacombs and flew a lap around the pitch. Most students from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw were also rooting for Gryffindor. As it was the first match of the season, it still made no real difference for them who won and in that case Slytherin was always the least favourite house of other students.

“And here is the Slytherin team!” Lee announced a bit less enthusiastic. “With Captain Graham Montague, Chris Warrington, Adrian Pucey, Miles Bletchley, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle aaaand Draco Malfoy. The Snitch is gone, followed by the Bludgers. The Quaffle is thrown up and they’re off!”

Angelina grabbed hold of the Quaffle first, but was immediately approached by Warrington. Angelina was too quick for him and passed it over to Katie who sped up along the right side of the pitch. Meanwhile Harry rose above all the other players, followed closely by Malfoy.

Katie scored the first goal for Gryffindor by aiming the Quaffle through the right hoop. Harry winked at Malfoy when he passed him.

It became quickly clear that Slytherin would be no match for this Gryffindor. Crabbe and Goyle, their new Beaters hadn’t successfully hit one Bludger while Fred and George performed as excellent as always. The three Chasers worked together seamless as they had been playing together for years and Ron stopped the few shots Slytherin managed to attempt. About one hour into the game it was already 150 to nothing.

Harry noticed Malfoy was still tailing him. Apparently the Slytherin had decided against looking for the Snitch and was waiting for Harry to find it for him. Harry didn’t really understand his tactics as Malfoy’s Nimbus 2001 was no match for Harry’s Firebolt when it came to speed.

The three Chasers scored another two times each, bringing the score to 210 to nothing. The Slytherins were getting more and more aggressive, but the Gryffindors were simply too fast for them to do any damage.

Harry decided to try something he had never tried before, but if he ever wanted to, this was the moment to do it as they were so far in the lead. He suddenly narrowed his eyes and made a dive towards the Gryffindor stands. Malfoy had noticed it immediately and sped after him, slowly pulling up. Had he been keeping attention that would have already given away Harry’s plan, but he was happy to see Malfoy was arrogant enough to believe he could actually keep up with Harry. Just before they would hit the ground, Harry turned up sharply, causing shrieks to emerge from the stands. Malfoy smacked into the field with a muffled thump, right in front of the Gryffindor supporters, who were cheering loudly for their Seeker. Malfoy needed a few minutes to get patched up and that was all Harry needed to finally spot the Snitch. By the time Malfoy had gotten onto his broom again, Harry was already speeding to the opposite end of the pitch and before Malfoy even knew where Harry was, he was circling the pitch with his hand raised high above his head, the Golden Snitch struggling feebly in his hand.

“He got the Snitch!” Lee Jordan yelled above the deafening noise that emerged from the stands. “Harry Potter has caught the Snitch! Gryffindor wins! 360 to nothing! In your face you dirty – “

The megaphone was - not for the first time - taken away from Lee by Professor McGonagall. She tried to look at Lee sternly, but didn’t really manage to as Gryffindor has just got the biggest win in 300 years at Hogwarts. This was a humiliation Slytherin wouldn’t be able to forget soon.

Harry landed and was immediately surrounded by his teammates. Angelina hugged him tightly and kissed the top of his head. “You were brilliant, Harry, as always.” She was beaming at him.

Katie and Alicia both kissed him too and Fred, George and Ron enveloped him in manly bear hugs. When they were walking towards the changing rooms, Ron said: “A Wronski Feint, Harry! That was absolutely brilliant. If Krum would have seen this...”

“Actually I have seen it.” a gruff voice came from beside them. They looked to the right and saw Viktor Krum, accompanied by Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley.

The Gryffindor Team looked at them surprised. “What are you all doing here?” Fred asked.

“Professor Dumbledore invited all the Triwizard Champions to come watch the game.” Fleur answered. “And Bill tagged along.”

“Cedric couldn’t come.” Bill said. “Auror business.”

“You play very well.” Krum said. “I think you could play professionally if you wanted. That Wronski Feint was perfectly executed."

“Thanks.” Harry said, grinning. “But I don’t really know yet what I’m going to do when I’m done here.”

“Well,” Krum said, “if you decide to take a shot at it, let me now. I could always get you in contact with some people.”

“Thanks Viktor.” Harry said, a bit surprised. The year before Krum had been distant and at times even surly, but now he seemed a whole other person. Maybe the stress from the Triwizard Tournament had done more to him than they expected. After a quick goodbye he took off.

Bill and Fleur decided to leave too. “Mum and Dad will want to know how the game went. After all there are four of her sons in the team now.” He winked at Harry as he said that and laughed when he noticed the younger boy’s cheeks going red. He decided to take it one step further. “And I’ll have to let Charlie know he’s not the best Gryffindor Seeker in known history anymore.”

They all laughed out loud when they saw Harry’s embarrassment. “Yeah, that’s quite enough." Harry grinned. “Go on like that and I’ll get a fat head.”

“The day you get a fat head is the day Ron doesn’t eat for a day.” Fred laughed.

“Well, we got to be off.” Bill said. “Have fun at your party. I remember those Gryffindor parties can get out of hand now and then. So behave yourself. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”

Fleur smacked him on the back of the head playfully. “Au revoir.”

When they said their goodbyes to Bill and Fleur, the team quickly changed and headed for their common room to attend their victory party. And indeed, that night was one of those evenings Gryffindor house was famous for.

“Play to win, not ‘not to lose’” – Dondi Scumaci

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