Nautica Pheonix stands dazed in the very center of the Quidditch pitch, her eyes watching her team go through drills, but not really seeing it. In fact, when Brighton Flemmex knocked a well-aimed bludger into the back of Erica Roades, she hadn't even bat an eyelash. Her longest known friend, Santiago Vasquez, lands beside her with the dropped Quaffle in hand. His black hair is pulled back into a ponytail, too stubborn to cut it. His dark eyes search her thin frame, looking for signs of illness, but there are none.



"Nautica, what's going on?" He asks, looking quite puzzled by her behavior. Normally, she is very much involved in practice. Screaming at her team to go faster, higher, lower, anything really. Normally, she's on a broom with them, but today shows a different girl than they normally see. Nautica peers over at her friend, her grey eyes filled to the brim with unshed tears. "What's happened?" Worry gnaws at him as he sees the pain she is clearly in. She gives a shake of her head, refusing to say it.



By this point the entire Ravenclaw team has flown to the ground, crowding around their captain. Before she can respond, a sudden wave of dizziness overcomes her and she clutches Santiago's shoulder to keep herself upright. She hears them all calling her name, trying to reach for her, but she takes a trembling step back. "Go away-" Her voice is weak and she hates it. She hates that it doesn't sound like her. "Santia-" His name is cut short as the world goes dark and she crumbles to the ground.







"Ms. Pheonix," Headmistress McGonagall peers at Nautica over the brim of her glasses, her stern face appropriating a concerned expression. "How are you feeling, child?" Resenting the fact that she's being spoken to so carefully by the normally stoic McGonagall, Nautica sits upright, her hands clutching the bed for support. "Madam Chang said not too exert yourself-"




"I'm fine," She snaps, then hurriedly backtracks. "I'm sorry headmistress- it's just, I'm not use to feeling like this." McGonagall, who did not seem at all put off by her attitude, smiles not unkindly, taking a seat on the edge of the poor girl's bed. This is a side of her that she rarely if ever lets anyone see.



"I hear the potions are often hard on the body," She explains to the girl sitting beside her with the wild curly mane of black hair. "It is normal for you to feel out of sorts and I daresay, it will be quite some time before you'll feel you again. Do not forget to rely on your friends for support."



"I haven't told them," Nautica blinks back at the tears, looking everywhere but at the Headmistress. "I mean, how do I say that I must quit the Quidditch team? How do I say that I'm sick? That my body is failing me?" She turns her gaze to her hands, staring at how they appear the same as they had yesterday. When she had been whole.



"You just do," McGonagall says simply. "Life is unfortunately, not an easy journey. There are obstacles and trials to jump through, but it's quite rewarding when you face it. And I believe, Ms. Pheonix, that you will get through this. But you will need a good support system. Please, do not hesitate to come for either I or any of your Professors' for aid. And consider speaking to your friends." Nodding hesitantly, Nautica takes a deep breath. "Now, I have other matters to attend." With that being said, McGonagall leaves her to her thoughts.



In the silence of the Hospital Wing, Nautica lays back on her pillow, thinking of the visit she had made to the Healers two days before. Healer Ressin, her normal Healer, had sat her and both her divorced parents down before him. His obsidian eyes, which were usually filled with light and laughter, had been bleak as he had regarded one of his eldest friends'. He and Nautica's father, Ares, had been close friends at Hogwarts. One of the main reasons, he had become their family's physician. Her mother, Louisa, had been crying and wailing about at the news. Ares, on the otherhand, had turned pale white, his hand reaching for Nautica's. She had let him take it, unsure of what to say.



Because she was supposed to be a healthy seventeen year old in her last year at Hogwarts. She was supposed to be okay. She hadn't even realized she'd been crying until her mother had handed her a handkerchief to wipe the tears away. Instead, she had clenched it in her free hand, unsure of what to say. "What course shall we take for treatments, Otis?" Ares had inquired, after a few minutes. His words seem to drag them from the depths of their despair as they eye Healer Ressin for hope.




"The muggles use chemotherapy," Otis Ressin had said quietly, watching their reactions. "However, here we use potions. It's taken once a week and is suppose to eradicate the problem. Our way of doing it, keeps most side effects at a bare minimum. There might be a touch of hair loss, dizziness, nausea, fatigue. But it will be nothing compared to their form of healing."





"Hair loss?" Nautica had repeated warily, pulling her hand from her father's as she carresses her hair. It had always been the most beautiful part of her. She had inherited her wild mane from her grandmother on her mother's side. It was what helped make her, her.




"Hopefully, there won't be much," Healer Ressin said quietly, "We will try the potions treatment for up to six months. You will be required to come in every two weeks to check the progress. If it seems not to be having any effect on the mass, then we will be forced to an operation."




"Can't we have the operation instead?" Nautica said, leaning forward. "I'll be more than willing to let you just get it out of me."




"We would, if this were normal circumstances," He had responded gravelly, glancing between them. "But you are quite young to be having this. And we believe, that such an invasive procedure will be unwise at this point."





"We will try the potions first," Louisa had stated firmly, her proud chin held high. "Nautica, we should listen to the advice of the healer." Frowning at her mother's words, she had squeezed her eyes shut. Willing this all to go away. For it to be nothing but a dream.




Because, Nautica Pheonix, at the tender age of seventeen, has breast cancer.









"You will be the new Captain," She says quietly to the entire team. Her words are greeted with outraged cries and gasps as she hands over her badge to Tessla Rose. Instead of smiling, a heartbroken expression crosses the girl's face as she stares at Nautica.




"You're resigning?" She manages to choke out, "It's only two weeks until our first match against Hufflepuff. W-why?" Her voice breaks as she places the badge carefully on the table. Nautica tries to smile, but it comes out as more of a grimace as she regards the team she's flown with since her second year. Sure, there are quite a few new faces, but she's been with Tessla and Santiago since the beginning.




"Unfortunately, I can't tell you why," She lies through her teeth. She could tell them, but she won't. Her pride stops her from doing so. What would they say if they knew? "Just know, that I still love you all and our team." None of them say a word, their glares piercing into her put up armor. Finally, Santiago stands, his own glare turning on them.




"Hey, if Nautica has a legitimate reason for quitting," He stands up for her, swinging an arm around her shoulders. "Then we don't have to know it. We trust her and HER judgement. Got it?" The two leave the others grumbling amidst themselves. "Hey, are you okay?"




She can't help but to blush in embarrassment, remembering the fact that earlier today she had fainted at practice. There will probably be rumors spread around about why, and her just resigning from her post is more than likely going to amplify said rumors. Talk about lighting a match. "I'm fine," She says with a sigh, patting Santiago on the arm. "I'm just going to go on up to bed. See you tomorrow."




She didn't want to know what tomorrow will bring.

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