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Disclaimer: I don’t own anything you recognise from the Harry Potter series.
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hey, Corn,


How’s everything? Is Moose running you to the ground with laps?


I’m really sorry, but I can’t make it to your match today. Annabelle is working overtime and I can’t exactly skip my practise when I’m so close to being signed on as a starter. But, I know you’ll kill it out there and I’m rooting for you, even though you’re playing my House and stuff, which should say a lot about how good of a brother I am.


Hope your classes are cool (except I know they aren’t because school is boring). Give Scorpius a very manly hug for me (adding in some back-pounding should do the trick). Stay out of trouble (even though I know you won’t). Miss you.


Love,

Adam




Sighing loudly, I tossed the letter back onto the long wooden bench I was perched on next to my broom locker. Adam’s owl Olmit had dropped it off earlier while we’d been eating breakfast in the Great Hall, and I’d only just had a chance to open it. Now, I sort of wish I hadn’t.


“Something wrong?” asked Benjy from beside me, pausing in his quest to shove his left boot on without untying the laces.


I shrugged noncommittally, grabbing my royal blue uniform off of the floor. “Adam can’t make it today.”


“Ah, that’s cheese,” Benjy patted my arm. “Will your parents be here, at least?”


“Nope,” I said cheerfully, pulling my arm through my robes.


“Why not?”


“I didn’t invite them,” I said, and I suppose that wasn’t a complete lie.


“All right, Burke?” Moose called from across the room.


“Never better, Captain,” I grinned, saluting him with the hem of my robe, and he nodded back at me before disappearing back into the Captain’s office, clearly pleased with my enthusiasm.


“I don’t understand why the rest of you aren’t so nervous,” fretted Cicely from across the bench, wringing her hands together. “Why aren’t you nervous? Why?” she asked again rather hysterically, and in response Benjy held out his water to her, as if a little hydration would calm her down.


“Because we’re prepared,” said Kato, batting Benjy’s arm away. “We know our strengths, and we know their weaknesses. We’re going to take it minute by minute, play by play, and we’ll all help each other out. We’ve got this, Brown. Have a little faith.”


Cicely smiled up at Kato gratefully, and I could’ve sworn I saw a faint tinge appear on her normally tan skin.


“I just want to see the look on Danver’s face when we destroy them,” said Beck. Her hair was in two french braids, accenting her sharp cheekbones and making her seem that much fiercer. “And Potter’s. And Finnigan’s. God, I hate the lot of them.”


“Don’t get emotional about it, Davidson,” barked Benjy, scowling and clearly attempting to imitate Moose. “Play how you need to play or I’ll have your fucking head.”


“I swear to Merlin, if you lot don’t fucking play your best I’m going to murder each and every one of you individually!” Kato sprang up, slamming his hand against the wall for emphasis, and I snorted, because that was something Moose had actually said to us last year during a match against Slytherin.


“If you lot don’t do better we’ll have double laps for the next week!” Jack tried to join in, but he got the intonations of Moose’s voice just so obviously wrong, and all of the veteran players exchanged looks.


“Oh, I’m Jack,” Beck imitated, her voice significantly more high pitched than normal, “and I’m twelve even though I try to act like I’m eighteen, and I think I’m really fucking cool - I am, right, guys?”


“I don’t sound like that!” Jack protested, but in his earnest his voice squeaked slightly and the rest of us couldn’t hold in our snickers, even Cicely. “And I’m not twelve, I’m a fucking Fourth Year!”


“Robinson, stop yelling,” Moose snapped as he exited the Captain’s office, which only made us laugh harder. “The rest of you - get it together, we only have two minutes until line up and I want to say a couple of things.”


“Oh, Jesus,” I muttered, but I suddenly didn’t feel like messing around anymore. Maybe it was that the imminence of the upcoming match was suddenly real, but as Moose stood in front of us an aura of intensity settled in the air so naturally that I don’t think anyone else really acknowledged the shift. That’s just how we were as a team: we could fuck around and have our fun, but when we needed to be serious we were.


“Today is the day,” Moose began, his dark curls unusually flat from already wearing his helmet, “when everything we’ve worked for will be put to the test. Today is our chance to prove not only to Hogwarts, but to ourselves that we are prepared to meet the challenges that a sport like Quidditch brings. Every single one of you needs to push yourself harder than you ever have before. There can be no try harders or do betters; there will only be SUCCESSES and TRIUMPHS! So, let’s line up, give it our fucking all, and come home victorious. Let’s be the winners that we know we are.”


I was nodding along with his words with the rest of the team, considerably amped up, but then Beck said, “We are home,” and the fervor in the atmosphere was shattered a little bit.


“Fucking hell, Davidson,” Moose hissed. “Just - everyone get in line. Now.”


“I’m surprised Moose didn’t kill me just now,” said Beck, lightly, as she stepped into place behind me under the stadium. Although I could see the feet of spectators, due to a muffling charm we couldn’t hear the roar of the crowd just yet. “He must be more nervous than I thought.”


“Well, I mean, it is Gryffindor,” I said, but then stopped when I saw the look on Cicely’s face.


“All right, Brown?” Beck asked rather brusquely.


But Cicely shook her head. “What if I mess this up for everyone?” she whispered, and although I think she only wanted me to hear Beck leaned in, too.


“You won’t,” I told her, confidently. “Besides, it’s just one game; we’ll have so many more just this season-”


“But it’s in front of the whole school,” Cicely whimpered, her eyes wide.


“Then let’s give them something to cheer about,” Beck said sharply, and the sound of it was just so Beck, so unwaveringly steadfast and sure, that Cicely managed to give her a small smile before facing front again, considerably less fidgety. Cicely may have been nervous, but I didn’t doubt her abilities for a second; the moment she was in the air her confidence would return like it had never been compromised in the first place.


Eddie Raymond, a Hufflepuff and the commentator of the day finished announcing the Gryffindors, and just as he shouted "Ravenclaw!" Moose turned to us, his eyes blazing.


“You’re all more than ready for this,” he said forcefully, and hearing that bit of unwavering faith our leader had in us somehow gave us an extra boost of courage that we had unknowingly been missing; it made us all straighten our posture and harden our jaws and hold our heads high as we walked out into the bright morning sun. Warriors, undeterred by the ominence of the battle.


As expected, most Houses were in blue to support Ravenclaw, aside from the usual bunch of Hufflepuff stragglers who preferred to go against the grain. Regardless of who was supporting whom the stadium was packed and loud, and with the wind blowing a little harder than usual I had to strain to even hear what the Quidditch officiant Madame Hopkins was saying as we joined the Gryffindors in the middle of the Pitch.


“Welcome to the first match of the season!” Hopkins boomed, her voice now magnified by her wand, and the cheering only increased. “Both of your teams have been working very hard, and I trust that whatever the outcome today you will all behave in a manner that reflects positively onto your Houses!”


Behind me, Beck shifted, and I could feel her press her hand slightly into mine in a gesture not of anxiety, but solidarity. Good luck, the squeeze said. We can do this.


“Now, first things first. Captains, shake hands.”


As the two boys stepped forward, I could sense James Potter’s presence in the spaces around me as apparent and as imposing as the tempo of my racing heart or the whipping of the wind across my face. I hadn’t spoken to Potter since the Slug Club dinner, hadn’t even seen him since then, and I knew if I surrendered now to the polarizing electricity that always seemed to burn and crackle between us, my concentration would be off for the rest of the match. So I didn’t look, even though I knew, just knew that he was staring at me. For the next few hours, Potter could not be my adversary or even my enemy; he could exist as nothing more than an unworthy opponent, and I trusted in myself completely to play in that unemotional manner.


“Take your positions!” Hopkins called, and everyone rose into the air at once; Gryffindor on one side of the circle, Ravenclaw on the other, while the Keepers flew towards their respective goal posts. “Players, are you ready? On my count, then. Three, two, one-“


Five blue-robed players shot up straight into the air, already in formation, and Kato passed the Quaffle so quickly to Beck that if I had blinked I would have believed Beck caught it in the first place. Gryffindor was lazy; they weren’t even in position yet, and so Beck managed to score, sailing the ball right through the middle hoop with the Keeper still adjusting her gloves. As I rose higher and higher in the air above everyone, the Quaffle went from the Gryffindor Keeper to one of the Weasleys and then was snatched so abruptly out of the air by Cicely that Potter still had his hands outstretched for it as she lobbed it to Kato. We were like a textile machine; we were moving as one, weaving in and out unanimously like fibers in thread, and after only five minutes we had already scored six times.


“Millican to Davidson, quick pass around the back to Brown, back to Millican, and - RAVENCLAW SCORES AGAIN!"


“Timeout!” Potter hollered, speeding towards Madame Hopkins, and with the accompanying screech of the whistle we all flew towards our goal posts, landing on the solid ground beneath it.


“Beck, that pass to Cicely was beautiful-“


“Did you see Potter’s face when I stole the Quaffle?”


“Oi! This is perfect!” Moose growled at us, his eyes alight with fierce excitement. “They’re completely off guard!”


“I’m sorry for calling you insane at the scrimmage, you beautiful, brilliant young man,” Benjy proclaimed, reaching out to wrap his arms around Moose, but Moose side-stepped him easily.


“Keep doing exactly what you’re doing and stay focused,” said Moose, as Madame Hopkins’ whistle screeched. “Grow this lead as much as you can.”


We rose up into the sky once again, and even though I was fucking exhilarated I let my eyes fall shut as I flew, allowing the fresh air to run through my capillaries and settle the buzz down a bit. And slowly, as my breathing got slower and my shoulders relaxed, I was able to detect the faintest of sounds around me: the woosh the Quaffle made as it sailed from person to person, the distant chirps of morning birds, the slight snarling of the Bludgers, and after I listened for a few moments I let my eyes flicker open, completely in my own controlled world, my senses sharp and perfectly tuned.


My gaze swept the openness of the field, but instead of watching the game play I looked for movement, for reflections, for slight shimmers in the way that the scenery should have looked. My goal was to locate the entropy and disorder of my minute surroundings, and although I sat perfectly still in place with my eyes canvassing every single centimeter of the pitch, all that was supposed to be serene remained unfortunately boring.


But everything is always undisturbed until suddenly, it isn’t.


With hardly any warning at all, a Bludger came careening into my path, and as I swerved to avoid it another came speeding past me to my left, forcing me to drop my height down a few metres to get out of the line of fire.


“And, the Gryffindor Beaters seem to be zeroing in on Nellie Burke, the Ravenclaw Seeker. In my opinion, it would be a crime to ruin a face like that with a Bludger, so - NELLIE, WATCH OUT!"


I managed to flatten myself against my broom just as another object went whizzing over my head, so fast and so close to me that I could feel it raise my hair up.


“Benjamin Waterson intercepts the Bludger and hits a nice one off at Weasley, Dominique Weasley that is, who drops the Quaffle. Ravenclaw back in possession.”


I flew a little higher, trying to get away from the thick of the game play so I could re-enter my concentration, but now it was apparent that the Beaters were following me - fuck - so I pushed my broom a little faster, trying to seek security in the center of the game play.


“Go to Robinson!” Beck shouted as I passed by, and I yelled an incoherent affirmation back at her while I approached Jack, who was only a few seconds away from my position. But Jack didn’t seem to notice that I was following him, and just as I opened my mouth to shout directions his broom veered sharply around until he was flying directly at me, his bat brandished in his hand and his mouth already moving.


“Nellie, look out!” Jack yelled, flinging out his arm like a shield in order to protect me from a Bludger I hadn’t even seen that was directed towards my head from Charlie Finnigan. The Bludger hit the wood of Jack’s bat with a dull thud and reflected back off towards Cam Carpenter, the other Gryffindor Beater, almost immediately. As Jack righted himself metres away from me, both of us still flying towards the Gryffindor goalposts, Charlie Finnigan grabbed a hold on the end of my broom, pulling it backwards so that any of my momentum forwards was halted. By the time I realised what was he was doing - by the time I understood that the Bludger he hit only moments before had merely been a distraction, and that I was now immobilized in the exact spot Jack had just been with Carpenter already in a follow-through position directly in front of me - it was too late.


It wasn’t like everything happened in slow motion. It was that the speed of time shifted slightly, sharpening for just that moment, allowing me to become fully aware of every sensory detail that was being processed by my brain. I could feel my fingertips on the wood beneath them, smooth and centered; I could feel my clothes brushing against my body and tracing patterns on my skin; I could feel my muscles pulling gently on my bones, I could taste the teeth in my mouth, and I could see a Bludger speeding towards me, flying, floating delicately like a stray leaf in the brisk autumn air. From my position as forcibly frozen in the sky, I could see that if I ducked, even slightly, the Bludger would hit me straight in the head, surely rendering me unconscious.


So, as I remained stationary, I closed my eyes, resigned to my fate. I could feel my eyelashes brush my cheek. I could feel the air tickle my throat as I took a breath in, in, in.


And then time returned with vengeance.


The Bludger hit me directly below my rib cage, knocking any oxygen that I had just obtained out of my lungs and into the open sky. I was heaving, gasping so desperately for even an ounce of air, but my knees were squeezing my broom as tightly as possible, and my hands were centered and tight in textbook perfect technique, and through the pain and windedness and confusion I thought, even Moose couldn’t yell at me for this.


Eddie Jordan roared something indignantly as the crowd gasped as one entity, and Finnigan released his hold on my broom and sped off right when Madame Hopkins blew her whistle; the sound of it was piercing and harsh, bringing me outside of my own mind and back into the cacophony around me.


“That was an absolutely DISGUSTING display!” Hopkins screamed, flying over to where the Gryffindor team was now clustered. “Penalty shot and injury time-out for Ravenclaw! Finnigan, if you try something like that again you will be removed from the team before you can say Quidditch!”


“Are you okay?” Beck asked me immediately as soon as I landed where the rest of the teak was already gathered.


“Fine,” I nodded, but no one else was listening.


“What the fuck are they doing?” yelled Benjy.


“After this is done, I am going to murder Finnigan!” Kato glared at the red clad figures on the other side of the pitch. James Potter seemed to be yelling at Charlie Finnigan and Cam Carpenter while the rest of the team flew around in aimless circles above them.


“Focus! We have a major issue on our hands,” Moose glanced at me, his expression more somber than I had ever seen it. “They’re trying to kill our Seeker.”


“I’ve only been hit once,” I said, pointing to my stomach, which surprisingly wasn’t throbbing like it really should have been. In fact, other than the fact that I couldn’t completely catch my breath, I only felt a hint of a sharp cramp in my abdomen. “Besides, I’m fine. It missed my ribs, thank Merlin.”


“You’ll still feel that later,” said Moose. “Once the adrenaline wears off.”


“And there’ll be more coming at you, Nellie,” Cicely bit her lip. “This is kind of what they did to Slytherin last year, except-“


Way worse,” Benjy growled. “I’ve never seen them focus on one person like this.”


“It’s a strategy, I guess,” I said, all too aware of how hollow my voice sounded. “Kill the Seeker and we can’t catch the Snitch.”


“Why you, though?” Jack frowned. “Did you spit in their pumpkin juice or something?”


“No, I - Potter.


“What?”


“I hit him with that Bludger during our scrimmage last week, remember?” I spoke quickly, as the pieces fell together in my head. “And then, we argued at a Slug Club dinner last Saturday. He told me I was a bad person because I’m a Pureblood.”


“You think he’s targeting you because of your blood status?” asked Cicely, but it wasn’t contradictory, just bleak.


“That amongst other things. Look, we know Potter, and we know what his methods look like. But this isn’t a method and it isn’t strategy; it’s revenge.”


My words hung in the air as an irrefutable truth, and as everyone exchanged horrified glances Moose clapped his hands together hard, trying to refocus our wavering attitudes.


“That doesn’t matter right now,” he said bracingly, as Madame Hopkins blew the warning whistle. “Benjy and Jack, you’re on protection, and that means not attacking Finnigan or Potter, how ever much you want to. Chasers - we need as big of a lead as possible. Preferably by one hundred and sixty points. And, Burke...don’t die, for fuck’s sake.”


“I’ll do my best,” I said as I mounted my broom again, but it didn’t even sound convincing to my own ears.


Beck took the penalty shot and made it, the Quaffle sailing beautifully through the middle hoop. But now everyone was much more distracted and inconsistent, and as I returned to my position high above everyone else I couldn’t help but notice that our play seemed just slightly off from before. We had lost the dynamic energy that we’d managed to harness earlier, and after only ten minutes the score seemed to reflect that.


“And, Potter regains the Quaffle. Meanwhile, his two henchmen - I mean Beaters - seem to have stopped illegally aiming for the Ravenclaw Seeker. Potter passes Dominique Weasley, back to Potter, he shoots - HE SCORES! The match is now 90-40 to Ravenclaw!”


As the bell rang, indicating the goal from Potter, I decided to pull out a feint. It wasn’t going to be anything special - we were barely thirty minutes into the game, anyways - but I thought that we needed something to spruce our moods up. The play would either distract our opponents and the Seeker or make him not trust me at all, and so with that in mind I dove from my watching position abruptly, making up a pattern that a Snitch would travel on and following it accurately in my head.


“Nellie Burke seems to be chasing after something - is it the Snitch? She looks like she’s going faster, now - how the hell has Louis Weasley not spotted this yet?”


And sure enough, moments later the Gryffindor Seeker turned around in midair, and I nearly laughed out loud when all of his teammates started yelling their conflicting opinions on whether or not to follow me. But my distraction had served its purpose, because due to Gryffindor’s arguing Kato managed to escape two Chasers and score. As I slowed down and shot a grin at Louis Weasley, who swore at me and took off in the other direction, I realised that I was strangely out of breath.


So I changed direction lazily, hoping to go back to my position up high for a relaxation, but the moment I turned around I spotted Charlie Finnegan directly in front of me, and I only had time to mutter, fucking hell! before the Bludger rammed directly into the side my skull. But even though it stung and the crowd gasped, I continued flying, waving everyone’s concerns away. It really didn’t hurt that badly; it was only a dull throbbing in my left temple and it was almost an asset to me, seeing how the constancy of it helped distract from the erratic pricks of hurt in my abdomen.


“Nellie Burke gets hit again with a Bludger and there is somehow no penalty - Madame Hopkins, are we watching the same game?”


Madame Hopkins shot Eddie a dirty look but nevertheless as I passed by her she moved a little closer to where more of the game play was occurring.


“Are you okay?” Benjy flew besides me, and I nodded and waved him away, just as one of the Gryffindor Chasers sped past him with the Quaffle. I closed my eyes for a moment, trying to find that calm center that always helped me locate the Snitch, and I really thought Benjy had left the vicinity to go chase down one of the Weasleys, but everything happened so quickly that I’m still not sure how much time was in between me opening my eyes once again and the realisation that yet another Bludger was careening straight towards my face. But the next moment was horrifically clear: Benjamin Waterson was falling off of his broom, his eyes already closed and his nose already bleeding.


“No!” I screamed, diving downwards, reaching out my hand to grasp his arm - but he was too far for me to reach, and I kept going and going until the safety charms kicked in and he was levitated in the air, drifting slowly down to the ground as if he weighed nothing more than a feather.


I barely heard the screech of Madame Hopkins' whistle as I watched the medic on duty levitate Benjy and whisk him off of the Pitch, but Beck flew beside my broom and redirected me towards the goalposts, where the rest of our team was already convened on the ground.


“Holy shit,” said Cicely rather shakily as we landed, leaning on her broom like she needed it to stand.


“He’ll be fine,” said Kato dismissively. “He gets knocked out about every other game.”


But all of the veteran players knew full well that whenever we lost a Beater we usually fell dramatically behind in goals, and the atmosphere was undeniably bleak as we all glanced around at each other.


“Focus up!” Moose barked, and as I looked at him I instantly felt a rush of determination to finish the game, perhaps having something to do with the way his face never betrayed any other resolve but perseverance. “They’re playing dirty but we can’t give them the satisfaction of stooping to their level!”


“But, what do I do?” asked Jack, urgently. “I can’t play offensively and protect Nellie at the same time-”


“Protect Nellie,” Moose said immediately, and even though Hopkins’ whistle had blown moments ago he still held out his hand. “And Burke, I know you like to concentrate in your own way, but for fuck’s sake, pay more attention to your surroundings.”


Usually, I would have been defensive and argued against him - I’m trying my fucking best - and he would’ve said something along the lines of, There is no trying your best, there’s only doing your best - and for fucks’ sake, do your best! But for some incommunicable reason I didn’t have the energy nor the stamina to respond to him, so I merely nodded weakly, trying not to smile for fear of aggravating the already sore facial muscles by my left temple. My body was beginning to tense up and become strangely sore, and as I climbed back onto my broom and took off into the sky I had to hold back a wince at the sensation.


I rose higher and higher until I was securely above every player with no Gryffindor Beaters anywhere near me. After what seemed like an hour of being targeted by Bludgers I was finally away from all of the action, at long last free to relax my tense posture and reenter my usual hypervigilant state of concentration.


But as I steadied my broom and tried to suck in a deep breath, something felt off. It was my head, I think; it felt like it was spinning slightly, taking twice the amount of time to produce a coherent thought or notion, and perhaps that’s why it took me so long to realise that I was breathing irregularly. But my vision was still clear, and despite the bizarre dizziness that seemed to hit me in waves, each one more powerful than the next, I still managed to search the field high and low how I normally did until my eyes landed on a glint of gold, so brief and intermittent that anyone else would’ve passed it off as a reflection from the sun, or as nothing at all. But I immediately took off after it.


“Seeker Nellie Burke seems to be following something...is it another feint or is it the Snitch? Too bad Weasley was once again too stupid to realise - ow, Professor!”


I was close enough now that I could see the Snitch’s delicate wings fluttering, could see where it wanted to change direction a millisecond before it did, and I followed its movements almost instinctively. It was like a dance, an ebb and flow of the tide: when the Snitch flew farther, I flew closer; when it turned to the left and then to the right again, I mirrored its actions, perfectly in sync.


Even as I was so utterly focused on the dance, other sensory information flitted through my thoughts like background noise. I could feel the wind washing over my body like a tidal wave; I could see a streak of red outside my peripheral vision following me but not nearly close enough to be a threat; I could feel the slight uncomfort in my stomach begin to increase as I went faster and faster on my broom, but I didn’t stop the dance, I couldn’t stop - faster and faster and faster - until I reached out and-


“NELLIE BURKE HAS CAUGHT THE SNITCH! RAVENCLAW WINS!


And then, I was on the ground and my teammates were huddled around me, screaming and jumping and shouting like lunatics. I willed myself to move my arm up into my field of vision, and there it was. The beautiful, elusive, golden Snitch, laying in the prison of my grasp. I had done it.


“You’ve done it!” Moose bellowed, picking me up to twirl me around. As he did, I felt the uneasiness in my abdomen mount, morphing into a sharp, stabbing pain that seemed to dull every one of my other senses. My vision went dark for a moment, as if thick clouds had suddenly blocked my view of the world, but by the time my awareness for my surroundings returned I was back on the ground, Moose out of my sight, surrounded by people jostling and yelling and laughing and congratulating me.


“You were such a champ out there, Burke!”


“Honestly, Nellie, I don’t know how you didn’t fall off your broom after that hit-”


Such foul moves by Finnigan, he better get suspended-”


“FUCK THE GRYFFIES!”


“Oi, Ravenclaw! Celebrate later - we’re checking on Waterson now!”


“Party in the Common Room tonight!”


“Nellie, that was incredible!” shouted Kato, fighting through the throng of supporters to step closer. “Listen, I-”


“We have to go see Benjy,” I said through the dysfunction around me, and I think it sounded normal because Beck and Kato began to follow Moose, who was already leading the way. But I didn’t feel normal - not nearly - and by the time we reached the Hospital Wing the rather urgent sensation where I’d gotten hit by the first Bludger had somehow intensified. Everyone immediately went to crowd Benjy’s bed - some maroon-clad people in the mix - but now it hurt too much for me to even finish the last five steps, so instead I leaned against the corner wall by the entrance, trying to settle my erratic heartbeats and regain my composure.


“Is he okay?”


“Of course he’s fine, he’s Benjy-


“I didn’t mean to hit him, I swear-”


Wow, did it hurt-


“Oh, but you did mean to target Nellie?”


“That was an accident, I was aiming for Robinson, but-”


“Then Finnigan accidentally held onto her broom?”


Like, really badly-


“Well, yeah-”


“Where is Charlie, he should apologise to Nellie-”


“Shut up, Dominique-”


“Well, he should! She got hit right in the head by his Bludger!”


“Wait - where is Nellie?”


“Hey,” I blinked slowly, and then there was a rather blurry Kato, gazing down at me with a furrowed brow. “You okay, Nels?”


“Erm, yeah. It just hurts,” I managed to say, and I tried to take a deep breath in, but pain flashed deep in my chest, acting as a barrier between me and the oxygen that I desperately needed.


“What does? Your head?”


“Burke!” James Potter was suddenly in front of me, so close that I found myself backing even further into the wall of the Hospital Wing. “I swear I didn’t ask them to do that.”


“We still won fair and square, Potter,” I spit out my remaining air as a wave of nausea crashed upon me. My head was beginning to feel lighter and lighter, as if it were slowly disconnecting from my body nerve by nerve, axon by dendrite, particle by particle by particle.


“I know,” Potter pushed Kato out of the way, whose hands immediately clenched by his side into tight fists. “But I also know I’m the first one you would suspect, and I’m telling you I didn’t instruct Finnigan to target you.”


“Yeah, right,” I sucked in another anguished-laced gasp as I turned away from James, trying to get back to Kato, Beck, anyone but him. “It really hurts-”


“Nellie?” Kato tried to move Potter out of the way to get closer to me, but Potter warded him off, his glinting eyes refusing to leave my face.


“What hurts, Burke?" Potter smirked slightly, still in front of Beck and Kato, but strangely the mocking expression didn’t meet the sharpness to his eyes as he moved even closer. “Do you need an ice pack? A plaster?”


“Fuck off, Potter!” Kato growled, pushing him to the side in an attempt to reach me, just as Beck and Mia appeared behind Kato.


“Nellie?”


“Nellie, what’s wrong?”


“God, you’re fucking pale-”


“Hurts,” I think I said, but I wasn’t sure, wasn’t sure of anything anymore except for the agony, and I leaned against the wall more heavily, my legs growing less and less strong enough to keep me in an upright position.


“What hurts, Burke? Look at me,” Potter demanded, more urgently, as he shoved Kato back into his original place farther from the wall, still standing in front of everyone else.


“This is your fault-“ Kato pushed Potter again, “-you sent Finnigan after her-“


“I didn’t-“ another shove, from Potter this time, “Burke, what hurts?”


But now, I couldn’t form words, and all at once it was like a translucent curtain had been lowered in front of my vision, rendering everything hazy and separating me from the real world. I regarded everything like I was watching from behind the fourth wall - Potter shoving Kato further behind him, Kato retaliating, Potter blocking him again - until my arm stretched out on its own volition, practically floating in the air as the pandemonium around me - Kato’s fist sailing through the air, Potter’s hand coming up to block it - became more and more distant. The last image that stayed with me was another arm reaching out towards mine - an impression in a mirror, a reflection on a lake, a shadow in the night - as I faded away into the deepening darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Note: I find Quidditch matches extremely tedious to write, so I apologise if this update did not come as soon as I said it would. The next chapter will be back to my normal sort of writing flow, and the one after that marks the beginning to what will turn into a very unusual plot. So PLEASE keep reviewing - you have no idea how much they motivate me and even give me ideas!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up next...a story of Obliviation, spleens, and Cauldron Cakes.

 

 

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