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Mother nature decided to be cruel the last few days before the match. Our extra practices ended up being washouts and Potter was adamant about getting field time. The sudden removal of Charlotte’s talents was a bloody shock to everyone, especially Sam and I. We were worried that Potter had lost his head with the whole Chang break-up, but benching Goodwin was risky and idiotic on his part. At least that’s what we thought especially since everyone from our house thinks Charlotte is the next pick for a qudditch league. Harry brought Ginny Weasley in as our 3rd chaser and while Ginny showed promise she didn’t gel as well with Sam and I.

 

“Get your head out of the clouds Ally.” Ginny shouted loudly before passing the quaffel to me roughly. I dropped it absent-mindedly before rushing to the ground to get it. The air was muggy and hot today as I had trouble breathing in the heat. I put my arms above my head and breathed roughly as Sam followed me to the ground.

 

“You need to stop daydreaming and pay attention to the quaffel.” Sam interjected calmly as I felt personally attacked.

 

“I’m not daydreaming!” I breathed out hotly as his hazel eyes widened at me.

 

“I just…I was saying-” Sam said fumbling with his own words.

 

 “Why are we wasting time?” Ginny shouted after us “Don’t pity her, we can’t even score one measly goal together-” I grabbed the quaffel and beamed it at her angrily. She swatted it away quickly before suddenly flying towards me.

 

“Why are you being a huge bitch?” I felt my voice overcome me as she launched towards me. She almost knocked me off of my broom but Sam caught her by the collar of her jersey.

 

“What’s going on?” Potter said flying over to us quickly as the fight ensued between Ginny and I.

 

“Get off me Sam!” Ginny shouted pushing him as Potter finally came between all of us.

 

“Woah, everyone calm down!” He instructed as I broke away from everyone.

 

“Calm down?” Sam started to question. “Potter we-there’s no way that we can play that formation without-”

 

“Yes you can, I know that you three can come together and-” Potter tried to reason as Ginny shot me a scowl.

 

“You are a bloody wonder you know that Potter.” Sam cursed him loudly before landing and stomping off towards the locker room.

 

“Ace? ACE?” Potter shouted after Sam but he just continued walking towards the locker room. I watched Harry run his hand over his mouth in frustration before roaring loudly. It startled the rest of us and we looked at one another as he kicked up dirt. “God damnit, everyone get the fuck off my bloody pitch!”

 

“Harry-” Ginny cooed but he cut her off quickly.

 

“Leave!” He shouted sternly as the beaters ran off in Sam’s direction. Ginny and I exchanged glances again before she grabbed her things and left. I went towards my things and felt my hatred bubbling through my heavy heart. “Wood? A word please.” Harry’s voice was frightfully calm as I quickly turned around and met his emerald stare.

 

“I’m really stressed out about that flank formation.” I admitted and he looked at me seriously. “And Ace…he’s just upset about-Ginny doesn’t really listen-I don’t really know why-” I felt hopeless as my ranting seemed endless but his stillness intimidated me and I felt like if I stopped talking then everything would collapse.

 

“I know this hasn’t been working out the way we all planned but…you need to trust me.”

 

“But…Charlotte.” He winced slightly from her name as he looked away from me. “Harry the team thinks your-”

 

“Ally I know what the team thinks.” He said bluntly meeting my stare again as I bit my tongue slightly. “And I know that you think I’m wrong, but Goodwin needed to be punished. It’s disappointing that she’s not playing but ultimately it was a decision that had to be made. I hope you can understand that.”

 

“But what if we lose tomor-”

 

“What if we win?” He said hopefully before I frowned at him and his optimism. He chuckled slightly to himself before we made our way towards the locker rooms. “If we lose then we lose. There’s always next match.”

 

“You’re right.” I nodded and forced a smile at him, more so to get out of this situation, I really didn’t support his decision no matter how he tried to spin it on me. “Well…night Harry.”

 

“Night Ally.” He gave me a head nod and I rushed out of the interworking of the stadium. Then I saw Ace waiting for me at the end of the bridge leading back to the castle.

 

“Hey-” He said easily, like what happened on the pitch was a distant memory. He aggravated me as he stood in front of me blocking my path. “Ally…what’s-”

 

“Why the hell were you such a jerk back there?” I snapped as his eyes widened at me. He opened his mouth in a confused fashion as I rolled my eyes at him. “I mean it’s bad enough that we don’t have Goodwin, but honestly Ace-”

 

“Ally bear I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to…”

 

“I’m not in the mood Sam.” I said walking a little faster up the staircases. I felt his fingers gripping mine desperately as I shooed him away even more. “Leave me alone.”

 

“Ally I-”

 

“No, no excuses Sam!” I said seriously as our eyes met.

 

“I’m sorry I really am.” His voice was sweet as he tried to sway me. “I’m really stressed out and I know that’s not a good reason but I didn’t mean to upset you. Honest.”

 

“I need to go check on Charlie.” I said evading him sharply. He followed me to the Gryffindor tower and I breathed heavily realizing that maybe I was being too harsh on Sam. I mean…we’re all stressed out and obsessed with this match. “Sam, wait.” I said stopping him as we neared the portrait. “Let’s just get this match over with and re-evaluate this…”

 

“You mean us?” He asked sincerely and our eyes met again. I almost melted as his white dashing smile emerged. I felt my cheeks blush slightly before we walked through the portrait together. I then walked up to our dorm to find Charlotte listening to dramatic classical music with the curtains closed. I rolled my eyes as I waved my wand to turn the music off and again to suddenly open the curtains letting the light shine in.

 

“No!!!” She hissed before covering her head with a blanket. “I’m melting…melting…” She joked as I pulled the covers off of her quickly. Charlotte has taken this punishment to heart and really hasn’t left the dorm since the benching. Which has inevitably led to her missing her classes the past few days and leaving me with the task of bringing her assignments to her. The other girls have been particularly busy with other things, but of course I volunteered myself to help.

 

“Stop being so depressed and come and get dinner with me.” I forced and she groaned before slumping out of bed and throwing on some clothes. She pulled her hair into a pony tail and presented herself to me before we started for the Great Hall. She seemed to be in a better mood tonight, meaning she wasn’t telling me she wanted to die every 2 minutes and at dinner she actually had an appetite.

 

“You got your homework done though right?” I reminded and she grumbled at me. “I’m just saying you won’t have much time to do it this weekend.”

 

“Actually I was planning on doing it tomorrow around 4…” She said in a long nonsensical drawl that almost sounded like Potter’s voice. “Since I have no other plans…”

 

“You’re not going to the game?” I asked surprised as our eyes met. “I just thought…I don’t know, it’d be nice to see you in the stands.” I said lightly pushing my vegetables around on my plate. She quickly fell silent and I could almost see the cloud of depression wash back over her as she placed her utensils down.

 

“In the stands?” She questioned before pushing her plate away from herself. “If I did that I would just hate myself more.”

 

“I understand…” I said feeling guilty that I brought her back to this depressive state.

 

“I’m ready to go die now.” She said honestly before I sighed heavily.

 

•••

 

The morning air was crisp as I made my way to the locker-room. I wanted to win today, there was no other options just gold. I changed into my uniform making sure everything was buttoned, latched, and tied before gripping my trusty broom between my fists. I could feel the stadium vibrating and moaning from excitement as the students filled it. My excitement was growing but I keep myself calm and alert. When we finally walked onto the field I heard the roars of the crowd in full force. They’re always thunderous with the coming of the first match. Waves of blue and red filled the seats and I proudly admired the Gryffindor banners hanging around the stands. We marched our way onto the field, opposite of the Ravenclaws. Madam Hooch was waiting for us in the center in her referee attire. Potter approached her along with the captain of the Ravenclaw’s team, Rodger Davies. They shook hands and we all mounted our brooms.

 

“Get ready!” I heard a distant shout before the whistle blew.

 

“GAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMEEEEE OOOOOOOOOONNNNNNN!” We all flew up into the air and Sam grabbed the quaffel immediately. He began to fly to the goal posts, but Chang knocked it from his grip instantly. It dropped down to another Ravenclaw chaser and he flew to our goal post. He did a reverse pass behind his shoulder to his teammate, but Ginny quickly intervened between them. I heard Sam shout and Ginny quickly threw it to him. I darted so fast that I didn’t even notice the other chasers along the side of me until I felt them elbowing me.

 

“Wood!!” Sam shouted and he passed me the ball quickly. I snagged it securely and shot off like a cannon towards their goal post. Before I even blinked I threw the quaffel through the top Ravenclaw’s goal and we scored.

 

“ANDDDDDDD THAT’S THE FIRST GOAL OF THE SCHOOL YEAR! 50 POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR!!” Kimmy Hogg, the usual boisterous announcer, shouted over the intercom. “WELCOME BACK TO ANOTHER ROUSING YEAR, WE ARE CERTAINLY NOT SURPRISED IN THE LEAST THAT GRYFFINDOR KNABS THE FIRST GOAL OF THE SEASON. BUT WAIT…GOODWIN IS NOT ONE OF POTTER’S LEADING CHASERS TODAY? COULD HE HAVE SOMETHING UP HIS SLEEVE-”

 

“Hoggs! The match…” McGonagal’s voice interrupted faintly as I felt Sam pat my back approvingly as we resumed the match. The Gryffindor crowd started chanting as we flew to the other side of the pitch.

 

“SORRY FOLKS…” Kimmy’s loud voice echoed as Rodger Davies, whom is also the keeper threw it to Chang and the race was on again. It was thrilling as I rushed through the air to get the quaffel and Sam was hilarious whenever we got the ball back in our hands. He would shout and wave his hands like a goofball to distract the other players. It was very tactical and worked against the Ravenclaw chasers. We scored again after Sam threw it through the far-left goalpost and the Gryffindors cheered even more as we he flew by, boasting and bragging like he normally does when he makes a goal. I looked over at our beaters noticing them blocking a bludger that the Ravenclaws sent flying towards Potter. His eyes were darting around for the snitch and then I heard a shout.

 

“BLUDGER!” Troy yelled and Harry darted in the opposite direction. Then I heard a gurgling noise heading towards me and I brought my body close to my broom and I rolled upside down before I heard the bludger zoom by.

 

“THAT WAS CLOSE, SLOTH GRIP ROLL SAVES THE PLAYER AGAIN FOLKS!” Kimmy’s voice rang through the stadium again as the Ravenclaws scored a goal. “20 POINTS TO RAVENCLAW.70-20 GRYFFINDOR!!” This went on for a long time, Ravenclaw scores…Gryffindor scores…Ravenclaw, Ravenclaw…Raven, Gryff…bloody Ravenclaw…

 

“TIME OUT!” Potter shouted finally and Madam Hooch blew her whistle.

 

“A TIME OUT HAS BEEN CALLED. WONDER WHAT THE BOY WHO LIVED WILL COOK UP WITH HIS GRIFFIE SQUAD? MAYBE AN APPEARNCE BY OUR CHARLIE CANNON??” With Kimmy’s statement the crowd roared with approval as we landed near our corner of the field. I desperately grabbed my water bottle and chugged as Sam yelled at Ron for being a lousy keeper.

 

“Honestly I’m doing the best I can. They’ve been practicing.” Ron said breathing roughly as he took his helmet off. His arms were pretty beat up and his face and neck were as red as his hair, which was sticking out in random ways from his helmet hair.

 

“So have we.” Potter said confidently and Ron grimaced at his statement.

 

“Are you okay?” I asked Ginny and she nodded at me. “I saw that Parker kicked you really hard on your shoulder.”

 

“It’s fine. I’m okay.” She assured me gruffly before brushing me off. Sam was still going on and getting worked up as I looked back at Potter. I watched his calculative state as he stared at the ground intensely. The air was hot and stifling as the stadium roared loudly.

 

“And you two are the lousiest!” Sam directed his anger towards our beaters. “Can you aim at the other players? You almost knocked Wood off her-” Sam continued as the clock kept running. I breathed roughly trying to tune Sam’s rage out before I felt Potter’s stare finally meet mine.

 

“What are you thinking Harry?” I said quietly to him and I watched him frown at me.

 

“Honestly?” Potter laughed running his hand over his face. I knew immediately that he was regretting benching Goodwin as his stare drifted off again.

 

“She said she wasn’t coming.” I felt my words fall heavy on him and he winced before looking back at me. Suddenly the other’s conversations came back to our attention and Ron shoved Ace roughly.

 

“Calm down Ace, this isn’t the time to panic.” Ron spat before pouring water on his head.

 

“Actually this is the perfect time to panic.” Ace said amusingly but obviously sarcastic. We were quiet for a moment as we each caught our breaths and a moment of silence. The crowd was insatiable as the seconds passed quickly.

 

“I’ll do my best to get the snitch before they can score again.” Harry said heroically as we looked to him. There suddenly was a little bit of hope between us as we started to smile amongst each other.

 

“We’re down by 30.” Sam stated and then looked at me seriously. “We can try to score another goal...”

 

“We can try.” I said nodding at him and then to Ginny, whom was clutching her shoulder again. She said straightening herself up, before giving us a nod too.

 

“Right, let’s do this then...” Ron said as we all mounted our brooms. “Besides we can’t let Goodwin say we can’t win without her…she’ll never shut up about it.”

 

“Ready Gryffindor?” Madam Hooch inquired as Potter gave the signal. The quaffel was then reset into play and the race was off. Ginny got the quaffel back into our grasp as she darted around the beaters like a ninja.

 

“Ace!” She passed it to Sam quickly and we flew together. I blocked Kilian Parker and Walter Jennings from knocking the quaffel from Sam as we dashed closer towards the goalpost in unison.

 

“WOAH FOLKS LOOKS LIKE WOOD IS TRYING TO MAKE A BREAK AWAY MOVE AND…OH HOLD ON FOLKS-IT’S…YES I BELIEVE ALDERTON HAS SPOTTED THE SNITCH!” I circled around Sam and we tricked the Ravenclaws into thinking he still had it. I then darted off in front of him and he distracted them as I gripped the quaffel firmly.

 

“Get the quaffel you idiots!” Chang shouted pathetically as Davies’s prepared for my toss.

 

“POTTER NOTICED ALDERTON’S SUDDEN SPRINT AND HE IS NOW CHASING AFTER HER AS THEY RACE FOR THE SNITCH! IF ONE OF THEM CATCHES IT, IT WILL SURELY END THE MATCH!” I arched my arm and launched the quaffel as hard as I could feeling it leave my fingertips heavily. My heart was pounding in my skull and echoed out over the roaring of the booming crowd. I heard Davies grunt out loudly as he missed my pass and to my delight the quaffel went through the highest goalpost, but then like a dump truck smacking into me I heard…

 

“HOLLIE ALDERTON HAS CAUGHT THE SNITCH!!! RAVENCLAW RECIEVES 100 POINTS FOR CATCHING THE SNITCH!! RAVENCLAW WINS!!!” Madam Hooch blew her whistle to end the game and the stadium erupted into thunderous applause and Ravenclaw chants. I felt my heart exploding over and over again as I sorrowfully floated down to the team. “WHAT A GREAT FIRST MATCH GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR GRYFFINDOR THEY PUT UP ONE HECK OF A GAME LADIES AND GENTS! BUT CONGRATS TO THE RAVENCLAW’S ON ONE FEARLESS GAME! SEE YOU ALL IN 2 WEEKS FOR THE MATCH AGAINST SLYTHERIN AND HUFFLEPUFF. GET HERE EARLY FOR GOOD SEATS AND AS ALWAYS STAY MAGICAL.” Kimmy’s voice was echoing so loudly that I almost felt my hears go deaf as a high pitch ringing suddenly filled its place. Everything was happening so quickly that I couldn’t process what fully just happened as we lined up to congratulate the Ravenclaw team. I couldn’t even look Davies in the eye when he approached me to shake my hand.

 

“Nice goal Wood.” His voice made me grit my teeth and the sarcasm behind his cruel jab made my temper boil. I flinched slightly like I was going to attack him but the moment passed when Hollie came up to me. Out of all the players she was the only one whom wasn’t boasting or coming off as a total show off.

 

“Great catch Hollie.” I forced as I faked a smile at her. I didn’t want it to be fake, she is my friend after all, but it was hard not to be in this particular moment.

 

“Thanks Ally.” She said noticing my anguish. “It was a really good match.”

 

“It was.” I bit my tongue as she dashed off with her team in a giddy fashion. I walked with the team back to our respective locker rooms we were dead silent, not even Sam made a comment or insult. The stadium was loud and roared with positivity while we soundlessly left the field. The silence of defeat was worse than the actual defeat itself. We’ve grown so accustomed to winning that I guess we’ve forgotten how awful it feels to lose. My heart ached when I finally made my way back to the castle. I tried to stay out of sight as the walk up to the Gryffindor Tower felt shameful. As I climbed the staircases I managed to avoid most of the students pilling up around the Great Hall for dinner or heading to the library to finish their studies. I felt my cheeks grow redder the higher I climbed and I wiped a few free falling tears before I reached the portrait. The Gryffindor common room was empty as I climbed the staircase to our dorm room. No one was there, which was ideal for me since all I wanted to do was crawl into a ball and cry myself to sleep. I yanked off all of my quidditch equipment before climbing into my bed. I didn’t even care that I was dirty, sweaty, and had blood dried on my knuckles. I cried softly to myself as I waved my wand plunging me into darkness. I’ve always had Charlotte there for me, to catch my misses or enjoy my victories. No one even thanked me for trying when it didn’t even matter. No one even noticed me.

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