Pitch It Like Pendragon

I know, I know, I shouldn't be starting yet another story, especially when it's so long since I updated Tears of Flame, but I just watched Bend It Like Beckham, (which is, by the way, a kick-arse film – watch it!) and was dying to write a fic based on it. At first I was thinking Harry/Cho, but that would have to ignore a lot of canon, and I don't really like that ship anyway. So of course, I adapted it to L/J, the bestest kind of fic! I did fiddle around with canon slightly, I know Lily's supposed to be in Gryffindor. James is also a couple of years older than her, and please imagine that there are hardly any female Quidditch players – I know this isn't true, but the story doesn't really work otherwise. Anyhoo, I think that's all my breaks with canon, so on with the fic.

Disclaimer – This will have to do for the whole story, they get boring after a while. Anyhoo, the characters and so on in this fanfic that you recognise belong to her radiance, JK Rowling. The plot is adapted from the novelisation of Bend It Like Beckham, by Narinder Dhami, which is based on the screenplay by Gurinder Chadha, Guljit Bindra and Paul Mayeda Berges. Wheeewww. What a mouthful! Anyway, It's not mine. Here you go, chapter one. Please tell me what you think.

Chapter 1

Ellis Moor Stadium. Ballycastle Bats v. Braga Broomfleet. The crowd a sea of black and green. They're on edge. Waiting for the all-important goal to break the stalemate.

            "But there's a big question hanging over the Bats," Kennilworthy Whisp, the commentator said breathlessly. "They've had plenty of action, several goal chances. They are clearly the stronger attacking side, although the excellent Beaters of the Portuguese side have been defended their hoops fanatically. But where's the goal going to come from? Will it be Horowitz? Or will Pendragon himself break through?"

            The crowd lean forward, urging the players on. The atmosphere is electric, or would be if most of them knew what electricity was.

            "Oh, and there's the pass Pendragon wanted! Plenty of players in the middle, and Evans is making ground as well. It's a decent throw, and there's Evans. That's a fine shot – AND SHE SCORES!"

            The crowd goes wild.

            "And it's a goal by Lily Evans! A superb shot, evading the Bludgers and planting the Quaffle just out of reach past the Keeper. Lily Evans makes a name for herself here at Ellis Moor! Have we discovered a new star here, Hamish?"

            The shot cuts to Hamish MacFarlan, the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, who turns to Alan Barwick and Rupert Thurston. They all look very impressed.

            "Good question, Ken," says Hamish, turning to the panel. "Could Lily Evans be the answers to England's prayers, Alan?"

            Alan raises his eyebrows. "There's no denying the talent there, Hamish. She's quick thinking, an excellent flyer, comfortable with the Quaffle, she's got awareness and vision. I tell you what, I wish she was playing for the Kestrels." This comment raised a groan from the audience, and Alan, who had been a Kestrels player himself a few years back, gave an apologetic grin. Hamish laughs and turns to Rupert Thurston.

            "Rupert, do you think England have found the player to help them relive our 1917 World Cup glory?"

            "No question, Hamish," says Rupert. "I think we've finally got the missing piece of the jigsaw. And the best thing is, she's not even reached her peak yet."

            Hamish turned to face forward. "Now, joining us today is Lily's older cousin, Kaitlyn Morgan. She has been Lily's surrogate mother since her parents died several years ago."

            KATE?! Get out of my fantasy!

            "So, Miss Morgan, you must be very proud of your cousin?" Hamish beams.

            "Not at all!" shrieks Kate. "She shouldn't be flying around, playing games with all these men! She has a brain – she should be doing something useful – in the ministry! She's bringing shame on the family – " she gives the panel a filthy look "- and you three shouldn't be encouraging her."

            Hamish, Alan and Rupert look like little boys who have just been told off by their teacher.

            "Liliana, you get back home right now!" Kate rants on, pointing out at me. "Wait til I get hold of you! Liliana…"

            A second later, my dormitory door crashed open


            "Liliana, are you listening to me?" Kate demanded.

            Why did she always have to interrupt at the best bits? Hamish was just about to interview the England manager, Mark Barrowcliffe, who was considering calling me up for the next England match.

            "Liliana, have you gone mad?" Kate pointed at my ocu-globe and glared at me. Her special Listen to me, I'm in charge and I know best glare. "Quidditch Scmidditch! It's Narcissa's engagement party tomorrow, you've got NEWTs coming up and you're sitting here watching the damn Quidditch match!"

            She pointed her wand at the ocu-globe and it went dark. I groaned.

            "Kate, it's Pendragon's penalty!"

            Kate took no notice. She never does. She's five years older than me and her sister Narcissa, and according to her at least, a whole lot more mature. "Come downstairs," she ordered me. "Your cousin's going crazy."

            Tell me something I don't know. Cissa's pretty crazy, anyway. Now, with her wedding coming up, she's a full-on lunatic. I could hear her downstairs in our common room right now, having a fit about something or other.

            I stood up with a sigh. The library was the only place I could really chill out, in my dorm I couldn't get any peace and quiet half the time, especially now that Kate's become Slytherin Head of House as well as DADA teacher and she has access to our dorm any time she wants. I had my part of the room exactly how I wanted it, even though Kate never stopped moaning. Pictures of Emlyn Pendragon everywhere, and my Ballycastle Bats Quidditch robes hanging on the wall. Pendragon was my hero. OK, I know what you're all thinking. Yes, he's gorgeous. You'd have to be blind not to see it. But that's not why I like him. He's a god on the Quidditch pitch. No one can pitch a pass like Pendragon.

            "I'm sick of this wedding, and it hasn't even started yet," I muttered, staring at the poster of Pendragon over my bed. I talked to him all the time.

            Pendragon nodded sympathetically and looked as if he understood. He always understood. Nobody else did. Not in this house, anyway. It was just "Quidditch schmidditch". I remembered a quote by a famous Portree player that I'd read the other day. Some people think Quidditch is a matter of life and death. It's much more important than that. That was exactly how I felt. Not that I got much of a chance to play Quidditch. I was a girl, and in Slytherin, girls didn't play Quidditch. Most of them didn't do anything much. Most of them were going to end up trophy wives for dim-witted purebloods and Death-Eaters. I wasn't. As a Muggle-born, I was supposedly useless, even for breeding purposes, and so I had to fall back on my brains. According to Kate, I was going to get a job at the Ministry, where I would be some use to the Master. Hah! I wouldn't help the stinking so-called Dark Lord if my life depended on it. Which it probably does.

            Sometimes I wonder why I ended up in Slytherin. I mean, I know my only wizarding family have been Slytherins for generations, but I'm not cunning, I hate to lie, I have no inclination towards the dark side. I'm not even very ambitious. I don't want to be Minister of Magic, or the evil git Voldemort's right hand gal, or anything. I mean, I made Head Girl, but that's just because I get good grades, I didn't want it. I just want to play Quidditch. I suppose that's where my ambition and determination come in. I would do anything if it meant I could play Quidditch.

            I went downstairs as slowly as I could. Cissa was standing in the common room, looking like she was about to rip someone's head off with her bare hands. I noticed the first and second years backing nervously away.

            "Why else would she do this at the last minute?" she was screaming. "She wants to ruin it for me. I'm telling you, Kaitlyn, she's a first-class bitch."

            "Narcissa!" Kate scolded, rushing across the common room towards the exit, heading for her office. "You've got plenty of other robes."

            "But it's all planned," Cissa wailed. "I need another one now." She shot me a poisonous stare. "Will you get a flaming move on!"

            "What's going on?" I asked. It sounded as if someone had died, at the very least.

            Cissa turned on me. "Get this. Luc's bloody sister's gone and said she's wearing baby pink to our engagement party now." If looks could kill, her fiancé's sister would have dropped dead on the spot. "And I've got all my matching accessories and everything."

            I nearly said Is that all?, but luckily stopped myself just in time. Or it would have been me lying dead in the middle of the common room. "Oh, crap," I groaned. "Do I have to go shopping AGAIN?"

            Kate charged out of her office, brandishing her wand at me. "You'll do what I say, or I'll curse you so hard you'll be bleeding from every orifice. Just because you're my own flesh and blood doesn't mean I'll go easy on you. You girls are too spoiled." She waved us out of the entrance. "And don't forget my dragon's liver. I need to make a potion. Remember, don't pay more than 12 sickles an ounce!"

            This wedding was getting so out of hand, I thought, clinging to my cloak as Cissa ran like a maniac down to Hogsmeade. And we still had to get through the engagement ceremony tomorrow night first.

            "We'll go to Gladrags," Cissa ordered, breezing along the High street like she owned it. She'd taken off her cloak, and in her skimpy red robes and sunglasses, she was turning a lot of guys' heads. No one was looking at me in my Adidas tracksuit bottoms and T-shirt (when not in uniform I wore Muggle clothes as often as possible. Robes were too much like a dress for my liking.) But that was the way I liked it.

            Narcissa's the shopper from hell. We spent an hour in Gladrags looking at robes. We didn't buy any of them. Then she dragged me into Fancy-Free to look at shoes. I didn't bother to point out that it wasn't worth looking at shoes until we'd bought the robes. The mood Cissa was in, she'd probably have pushed me under a rampaging hippogriff just for mentioning it.

            "Oh no," I heard Cissa mutter as we went into the shop.

            The Hufflepuff girls, Monica, Bubbly and Sadie were in Fancy-Free, trying on shoes. They're all right, I guess. If you like bubble-headed bimbos with only two things on their mind – boys and clothes. They were all wearing strappy little tops and tight jeans, and they had dyed hair with streaky highlights. They think they're the witch version of Twiggy. They wish. I saw Cissa's face drop, but they're all from prominent pureblood families, so she can't be rude to them. She put on this really fake smile and rushed over to them like she hadn't seen them for five years.

            "Hi! Mwah! Mwah!"

            There was a lot of hugging and air-kissing going on. I just stuck my hands in the pockets of my tracky bottoms, and tried to look invisible. It was times like this when an invisibility cloak would really come in handy.

            "Whatcha doin' here, doll?" squealed Monica. "You haven't left everything to the last minute, have you?"

            Cissa laughed. "Yeah, one more day of freedom!"

            Sadie, Monica and Bubbly laughed too, but they all looked a bit sick. They were probably wishing it was them getting married.

            My heart sank as I saw Cissa suddenly stare Monica straight in the eye. "When did you do the eye-colour changing charm?" she asked in a frosty voice.

            Oh no, I thought.

            Monica looked smug. "D'ya like them? I just thought they went with my hair."

            "Oh." Cissa went in for the kill. "My fiancé doesn't like dyed hair." She smirked as Monica looked furious. "Still, can't stand here chatting all day. I'm going to Collette Caddle's Beauty Charms for my facial. Laters."

            "Bye, Cissa, laters," the three airheads chorused.

            Cissa grabbed my arm and pulled me over to the door. "Stupid bitch," she moaned in my ear. "Why'd she have to go and get blue eyes? Now I can't change mine!"

            I had to bite my tongue to keep quiet. We'd be shopping for new body parts next.

            "I might go back to Gladrags," Cissa went on as we carried on down the high street. "I really liked that lace Lycra outfit." Then she nudged me. "Look, Lily, there's your mate."

            Sev was coming towards us with his mum, trying not to get noticed. Severus tries to be seen as dark and dangerous, but he's actually really nice, and in a house like ours, it's hard to come across nice people. Anyway, Sev was hiding behind a huge pile of shopping – being seen out in Hogsmeade with his mum doesn't do anything for his image. His mum's a bit batty – she used to be some kind of Seer, but it addled her brains. She lives in Hogsmeade, because most Muggles would get a bit suspicious of anyone who wanders into the local chemist's in a pointy hat and asks for a litre of dragon drool. Anyway, Sev's one of my few close friends. Although – as I've been all but adopted by the Morgans – I'm an honorary pureblood, most Slytherins don't like to associate with me. Don't get the wrong idea about Sev. I've known him for years, and I like him a lot. But not like that.

            "Let's make this quick," Cissa hissed in my ear. She glared at Sev's mum, who was shuffling along behind him, peering through thick glasses. "And I hope your mate's mum wears a cloak over her three stomachs at the party tomorrow."

            "Shut up, she's old," I muttered.

            "So?" Cissa shot back.

            Sev looked shyly at us. That doesn't mean anything, though. He was just embarrassed at being caught with his mum, carrying a bag of beetles and a family pack of loo roll. "Hiya, Lily. Hi, Cissa."

            "Nice to see you Severus, Mrs Snape." Cissa said, smiling cloyingly at Sev's mum.

            She beamed at us. "I See you will have a long and happy life, my child. Just steer clear of candyfloss. Is everything ready for tomorrow?"

            "Yes, Mrs Snape," said Cissa, doing her perfect-little-girl act. "We're just waiting for the sushi delivery."

            "I See you and your husband will have endless happiness! Just tell Lucius to beware the Ides of March… Oh! Sorry, wrong guy. Luc just needs to remember to exorcise the spirits from any new shoes before wearing them. Just display them on a window sill with a tulip bulb in each on the night of the full moon. You will prosper, my child!" Sev's mum said loudly. I'm not kidding. She really does talk like that. "And pray for me, that the fortunes send me a good daughter-in-law like you for my Severus, eh, dear?"

            I couldn't help grinning at Sev, who looked like he wanted to jump down the nearest hole.

            "Thank-you, Mrs Snape," Cissa said quickly. I could tell she was dying to get away. "OK, bye…"

            "How was Herbology?" Sev jumped in, just before Cissa could drag me away.

            I'd been struggling on the homework a couple of days ago and dreading the lesson, and Sev's a whiz with plants and herbs and stuff.

            "OK," I said. "I managed to subdue the Itriwi, eventually, but not before it half-blinded me." The Itriwi, or star-son plant (originating in Morocco), was dangerous because it emitted sharp beams of light into a creature's eyes,  blinding it, then used its fangs to inject a venom that made the creature dissolve from the inside out.

            Sev nodded, and said, "Next time, bring sunglasses!"

            "Hope my grade's OK for the Ministry. I don't want Herbology to let me down." Kate had plans for me to become something or other in the Ministry after I passed my NEWTs. I think she just wanted me to have access to all the inside information, so she could pass it on to that camel excrement, Voldemort. I hadn't objected so far because I didn't really know what I wanted to do. Except play Quidditch. And that wasn't a proper job. Not for a girl, anyway.

            "Come on, Lily," Cissa breathed impatiently in my ear.

            "You coming out to the lawn later, Lily?" Sev asked hopefully.  What he really meant was, Are you up for a game of Quidditch later with the lads? We, along with a few other Slytherin lads not quite good enough for the House team, played Quidditch as often as we could out on the front lawns of the castle – the pitch was always booked by the 'proper' teams.

            "I'll try," I said. A quick match was just what I needed to forget about the wedding and homework for a few hours. "Goodbye, Mrs Snape. See you later, Sev."

            I waved to Sev and his mum. As they went off, Cissa gave a shriek of joy which could probably be heard back down in Diagon Alley.

            "I've found it!" She pointed at the window of the nearest robe shop at a lilac and cerise confection. "Come on, Lily!"

            Thank God, I said silently, as she dragged me inside.

            The next major trauma was when we got back to the horseless carriages that brought us down, and remembered that we'd forgotten the dragon liver for Kate. Cissa was heading off for her facial, so I trudged back and bought the stuff at Potions-R-Us. I walked back to Hogwarts, and decided to head back over the lawns. It really is the shortest route. Honest.

            Sev and some of the boys – Crabbe, Zott, Matthews and a couple of others – were in the middle of a game. Swinging the carrier bag full of dragon liver, I slowed down to watch.

            Sev saw me, and his face lit up. He flew over. "Hey, Lily, fancy a quick game?"

            "I can't," I said reluctantly. "Kate's waiting for her dragon liver, and I need to finish my Transfiguration essay."

            "Aw, come on, Lily," Sev pleaded. "We really need you."

            I hesitated.

            "Come on." Sev grabbed my arm and handed me a spare broom.

            I dropped the carrier bag on the ground, and flew over to join the others. Crabbe and Zott started whistling and yelling stuff, but they're always like that, so I took no notice. They're OK really. Just more brawn than brains.

            The game started up again, and within seconds I had the Quaffle. Crabbe flew at me, but I could see him coming a mile off. I swooped past him easily and headed for the goal hoops. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Zott heading towards me. I stopped suddenly, then when he reached out to grab the Quaffle, dived under him, completely flustered him and left him for dead.  I couldn't understand why my brain seemed to work a hundred times faster when I was playing Quidditch. I just loved the fact that it did.

            Looking frustrated, Zott lunged at me again from the side. He slid in and blurted me (locked broom handles, trying to steer me off course). Foul. My penalty.

            "Does she think she's Pendragon or what?" Matthews grumbled. Forget sexual equality. Boys still hate being beaten by girls.

            "I guess it's 'cos she gets so much practice with balls…" Crabbe sniggered.

            Annoyed, I grabbed the Quaffle from a surprised Sev, flew over to them and pushed it into Zott's nuts. He yelled in pain and doubled over, his broom heading for a crash, before belly flopping onto the grass. The other boys fell about laughing. Smiling to myself, I grabbed the carrier bag and flew up to the castle.

            "It's not fair," I lay with my head at the foot of my bed, staring up at Pendragon. "I could've carried on playing all night. The boys never have to come up for prefect duty or anything…"

            I'd run all the way back to the common room, but Kate had still complained that I'd been too long. She'd taken one look at my tousled hair, and guessed I'd been playing Quidditch. That always put her in a bad mood.

            "I wonder," I went on thoughtfully, "if I ever got married, would I get someone who'd let me play Quidditch whenever I wanted?"

            The door opened, and I jumped.

            "Lily, who are you talking to?" Kate's husband, my almost-father, asked, looking puzzled. Michael Charbet had been a Ravenclaw and was the only person I'd ever met who could get stubborn, relentless Kate to change her mind. He'd just got back from work and was still in his Obliviator uniform.

            "No-one," I said quickly.

            Mike came in and sat down on my bed. "You know Wilhemina and her granddaughter have to stay in this dorm with you when they arrive for the party." He stared around the room. "Lily, why don't you put up some nice pictures of beautiful scenery instead of this Quidditch player?"

            "Mike!" I groaned.

            He smiled, and ruffled my hair. "OK, I'm going to change. Then come and help me with the decorations."

            I rolled off the bed. We had a whole load of fairy lights to put around the common room, which Kate had taken over for the weekend for the engagement party, and I bet Kate had a hundred other decorations to put up, on top of the inevitable last-minute jobs lined up for me. No chance of a game tomorrow then…

            To be honest, the engagement party wasn't that bad. The common room looked fantastic with all the lights shimmering in the dark, and there was enough food to feed the whole of Scotland. All the acquaintances and relatives had turned out, and the common room was packed with all of the purest blood in British society. The men were all in sombre black robes, including Sev, and the girls were decked out like Christmas trees. Monica, Bubbly and Sadie were there, eyeing up all the girls' outfits and deciding how much each one cost. I bet they didn't spend very long discussing mine. My navy blue dress-robe was the plainest Kate had allowed me to get away with.

            Cissa looked nervous but happy as she sat next to Lucius, playing the part of the quiet, shy  bride-to-be. She'd been seeing Luc for years, even going behind her parent's back at first (when they'd still been alive, that is.) He's OK, I guess, much too slimy for my taste. A future death-eater if ever I saw one. Maybe that was the attraction. I didn't really have a clue what Cissa saw in him, but she was mad about the guy.

            None of us were mad about his family, though. His sister was looking so smug in her baby pink robes that I was a bit worried Cissa would get up and hex her to within an inch of her life.  And Lucius's mum was scary. I was being a good, helpful hostess (Kate had threatened me with a Leglocker curse if I didn't behave, and if my legs were locked that meant no Quidditch…) carrying around a tray of hors d'oeuvres, and I offered it to them. Luc's dad went to take one, and she actually slapped his hand and told him off. I didn't envy Cissa having that miserable old bag as a mother in law.

            There was a row of beady eyed second cousins thrice removed or something sitting on the sofa, watching everything that was going on. I took the hors d'oeuvres over to them, fixing a smile on my face.

            "It'll be your turn soon, Liliana," one of them said gleefully. "Now, I doubt you'll be able to catch a pureblood, but you'd manage a half-blood, hmm? If you're lucky, you'd get a Slytherin, but I suppose you'd settle for a Ravenclaw?"

            I didn't want to answer that. Not that I'd even thought about it. I don't want to get married, I said silently. Not until I've done something with my life. I didn't want what Cissa wanted. I was looking for something different, although I didn't know what. And anyway, there was more to life than getting married.

Like Quidditch, for instance.