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 “Go James!” I heard Mary yell from her position in the stands from my position on the pitch.

The stands were filled with people from all houses, but the red and blue of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw dominated the stadium. The first match of the season was always crowded. I felt my mouth tighten as Mary screamed for her house. It was some form of betrayal, I’m sure. Mary always used to root for me. The pettiness of the teenage girl escapes me.

“And just twenty minutes in Vanity has already spotted the Snitch!” Matthew Jameson, the Hufflepuff from the United States said in his foreign accent. The long a’s were the oddest part of his inflection.

But at this I took my eyes off the bludger to sneak a peek at Emma’s progress. Emma Vanity was a bit of a hit or miss player, but we’d never gotten so close to a win against Gryffindor. In fact, since James Potter had joined the team, we hadn’t ever won against Gryffindor.

I dived suddenly as I heard the familiar swoosh of a bludger heading towards me. Taking my eyes away from the chase between Emma Vanity and the Gryffindor seeker, I found the bludger trailing me at an unnervingly close distance. I leaned forward onto my broom and took a 90 degree turn upwards to confuse the bludger. The farther I went, the further I got away from the bludger, until I could slow down and take aim to it.

The bludger approached just as fast as it had before, and I took a wild swing as it collided with my bat. The bludger headed off crazily into the direction of a pair of Gryffindor chasers, battling with our chasers for the Quaffle. I took a breath and searched again for Emma. I spotted her circling the bottom of the pitch; she must have lost the Snitch.

It was then that I noticed the Gryffindor seeker was hovering in the air just above me, squinting into the distance. I searched for a bludger, watching the players dodge them.

I watched Sirius Black chase after one bludger, leaning into his broom furiously. How he flew with his hair loose like that I will never understand. I pressed down into my broom again as the free bludger flew dangerously close to our keeper.

“How are you, Anders?” I asked as the out of breath player hovered in front of the center goal post.

“And the score is now 70 to 0, Gryffindor!” Jameson said enthusiastically, his voice booming. Anders gave me a scathing look, and I nodded in recognition. The Gryffindor team was a powerhouse, and we relied on Emma.

I nailed the bludger headed towards us back towards James Potter who was incidentally about to score. He dove forward, holding on tightly to the Quaffle as the crowd jeered at me. Another difficulty of playing Gryffindor: almost everyone wanted to see them win.

“Thanks,” Zachary Anders said quickly, focusing back on James who was still in possession of the Quaffle. I flew away speedily as I saw Black setting up to hit the bludger towards Emma. As he hit the bludger, I dove in its pathway and slammed my bat back against it. The impact sent reverberations up my arm, but I’d done my job.

Sirius swerved to the side as the bludger came flying back at him, but it nicked him on the shoulder. It flew off into the distance, and Sirius watched to make sure it wasn’t coming back.

“The fuck, Malkin!” I saw him scream across the pitch. I almost rolled my eyes. Gryffindors. So emotional.

“You’re fine, Black!” I yelled back, zooming forward and past Black as the bludger swooped around and headed back for the arena.

“And we finally have a score on the Ravenclaw board thanks to rookie Adrian Brentwood!” The cheers came for the Ravenclaw team as well, and I felt a small reprieve form the slaughter the Gryffindor team usually served. “And veteran keeper Allen is getting berated by Captain James Potter!”

The entire stadium turned to spectate the argument, and I took the opportunity to fly next to Emma and check in on her progress. I looked up, knowing that I’d often find her flying above the rest of the field. I saw her hovering in the air where I thought I would find her, and headed up speedily, not wanting to miss my opportunity.

The problem with having a beater as captain: we never could really get a break during the games. Emma, a seeker, had to be faster than everyone on the team. Anders, he had to be just as fast and ten times stronger. Beaters and Chasers had the most difficult time when it came to endurance: the action never stopped. As we hit the first half hour of the game, a sweat began to break out on my forehead. My half-blooded nature made my endurance stronger, but I still felt the effects. I couldn’t imagine the kind of shape that everyone else was in.

“How is it going, Emma?” I asked her as she scouted out the field expertly. Emma Vanity had black bangs that fell perfectly right at the beginning of her eyebrows. The rest of her hair spent most of its time tightly braided back to accommodate Quidditch.

“I had it in the beginning, but I haven’t spotted it since,” she gritted out with frustration. “Damn Wickers and his bludgers. Can you help me out with that?” she asked, referencing the other Gryffindor beater. I checked out Sirius’ counterpart, and it was true: he was again teeing up to hit the bludger Emma’s way even as she sat in the air, basically out of play.

“Don’t move,” I warned, grabbing Emma’s shoulder as I saw her hitch her feet in the hooks of her broom. “We’ll lose the bludger,” I said, watching Wickers out of the corner of my eye. Wickers slammed the bludger in our direction.

“Get ready,” I said, hooking my feet in my broom. Emma followed suit as the bludger approached us. “Okay, dive!” I directed, dropping from my position in the air and hoping Emma was close behind me.

The wind pushed against my cheekbones in a satisfying rush, and I felt the lag of the wind as I came to a short stop. I turned back to look for Emma, and she was safely away from the bludger on the other side of the stadium. Wickers was bewildered as the bludger came circling back towards him, and I could not help cracking a smile.

At this thought, the stadium erupted in a cacophony of cheering. Emma looked over at me, and shrugged. That kind of deafening, explosive cheering meant only one thing. I swiveled around, my eyes finally landing on the Gryffindor seeker with his hand wrapped around the golden ball.

 

The raucous laughter that kept coming in spurts from behind me at the Gryffindor table was hard to bear. Even being myself, being uncaring about most things, Quidditch was different. I was not used to losing, and I didn’t usually do things that I wasn’t excellent at. And then, letting people down was also something I was not used to.

And I know in my mind that the Gryffindor team is especially exceptional, and I should not expect my miscellany of recreational players to be as good, but I found myself wondering why we couldn’t be that excellent. Another burst of laughter came out, and a thread of annoyance ran down my spine.

Attempting to tune out that which annoyed me so, I took a look to the Slytherin table. A sparingly rowdy bunch, the Slytherin table was, as normal, quiet today. I would be lying to myself if I said I wasn’t scanning the table discreetly for the mysterious Regulus. Unlike he had promised, I did not see him at the match. And like he seemed to silently promise, I had not seen him since the strange encounter on the pitch that night.  

I found it odd that I had never seen him before then, either. Even though he was in a different house, he wasn’t that young. He might have even been a Seventh Year; but either way, I truly didn’t recognize him.

Regulus surprised me in the way that he did not seem to care either way about anything. And although we had only spoken once, I felt that I knew a lot about him. His polished uniform gave an air of aristocracy. His polished language, the timber of his voice: it was all trained out of him. He seemed spoiled, but conscious of his favoritism, and rather tired of it. And more than anything, Regulus was doing whatever he was doing simply because it was something to do.

“I’m sorry, Charlotte,” Mary said timidly, taking a seat next to me at the Ravenclaw table. She put her tray down, and I noticed the streaks of red and gold she had attempted to wipe off her face.

“For what, Mary?” I asked, knowing full well what she meant. She didn’t need to be sorry.

“I was just being a little ridiculous about your comment about James the other day.” She sighed. “I really have given up, I swear.” She put her chin into her hand, and pursed her lips.

“You are always a little ridiculous, Mary,” I said lovingly, “…but I should apologize. I don’t mean to trivialize your feelings.”

“And then I was cheering for the Gryffindor team out of spite, really,” she admitted, tilting her chin down and rolling her eyes to herself. “They didn’t need it,” she said frankly.

“It’s really okay, Mary.” I placed a hand on her forearm. “I will get over it,” I reassured her.

A small, but mischievous smile broke out on Mary’s face. I recognized that small smile.

“In that case, would you do me a small favor?” she asked, her voice shaking with false nonchalance. I continued turning the food on my plate around, but did not object to Mary. “Would you go to the Gryffindor party with me after dinner?” she finished quickly. My mouth dropped open slightly, and then I clenched my jaw.

It was not the case that I did not enjoy a good time. I did not want to have a good time with people I did not like; especially with Remus Lupin, a boy who liked me who I did not like. I did not want to see people who had just beaten me in my only departure from academia.

“Well?” she pushed again, leaning over in front of my blank stare. “I don’t really have anyone else to go with, and it’s a better bet if you’re with me.”  

“Why would it be a better bet with me?” I decided upon, considering I had a multitude of answers sitting on my tongue that would be much ruder.

“Well, you know, the whole thing with Remus.” I am sure my face turned sour at this. I had not spoked with Remus since the event outside of Potions, and we had not discussed our date since.

“The whole thing with Remus is no longer a thing,” I said vaguely, taking a sip of tea.

“Oh, Charlotte what did you do to the poor boy?”

“Me?” I asked, taken aback. “I’ve never done anything to him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m just not that fond of the concept of dating.”

Mary sighed complacently, and shrugged.

“It could still help,” she pleaded. “From what I’ve heard, Remus still likes you and I want to go to a party.”

“So you want me to use this poor boy and his feelings so you can go to a party?” Mary sat there silently for a moment, looking up at me with her big brown eyes. Mary’s morals were just as questionable as mine sometimes.

“You owe me,” she quipped, poking my arm as I sat deep in thought.

“Alright, fine,” I snapped, knowing that the night would in no way turn out fine. 

 




 

A/N: Hello lovely readers! I hope you are still enjoying this story. I am just ending university, so I will be back on break in about a week. That means more chapters! Please let me know how you're getting along with the tale, and leave me your feedback down below. Thank you so much!

 

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