Author's Note: This story has been floating around in my head for a while, and when a ficfest on livejournal was announced, I jumped at the chance. Thanks so much to nelliedarlin for the beta!
My first memory is of flying. It seemed like I was a billion miles away from the earth, though it was probably only a few feet - Bill had no desire to be roasted. I remember the wind on my face, the most gentle caress I'd ever felt. I didn't feel the least bit afraid. His arms were around me, and I could hear the rest of my brothers calling out and encouraging us. I was completely surrounded by my family; I was safe, warm, and protected.
As my brothers and I got older, however, I shifted from the limelight. More and more they began playing Quidditch without me, rather than just messing around in the air. I began to sneak to the broom cupboard whenever no one would notice, just so I could feel the wind. It was an escape: from Mum's worrying, Percy's nagging, the twins' harassment, and Ron's depression. Sometimes, I felt like the only way I could be myself was on a broom.
Perhaps the only good thing about Ron leaving home for Hogwarts was how much easier it was to sneak a broom ride. Mum often left me home alone when she went to run errands, and I would head straight to the old orchard. It was that year I developed my flying skills. Day after day, for hours on end, I would fly around, tossing a ball through a makeshift hoop. It was the only thing to stave off boredom - or anger, as it happened. Percy and the twins wrote fairly often, the former filled with new facts and spells, and the latter with first hand accounts of their latest escapades. But Ron rarely wrote - and when he did, it was a short scrawling about Harry Potter's latest adventure. Sometimes I got so angry at him I would leave my room in the middle of the night, grab a broom, and just go.
I only flew once during my first year. Rules prevented me from owning a broom, and I skipped every one of my flying lessons. I had no desire to fly in front of my dorm mates - they already thought I was stuck up. If I flew better than them they would think I was showing off. Professor McGonagall called me in to speak with her about it, but Tom - who was even then a part of my consciousness - helped me worm my way out. I don't think he wanted me spending hours in detention when I could be out doing his mischief. I never snuck out, either. Percy would have been proud, had he known. My growing suspicion of myself led me to believe that everybody else suspected me too. By Christmas I was doing my best to follow even the minor rules, so that no one would have any reason to kick me out. Then I was just so wrapped up in Tom that I never thought to go flying. He was my only stress relief. After Harry rescued me, and my name was officially cleared, I snuck out of Gryffindor Tower to the broom shed, where I stole one of the old Shooting Stars, and - for the first time in months - flew.
My second year, I was totally focused on anonymity. My newfound friends encouraged me to join the team, thinking it would help me overcome my "shyness". I refused, terrified of anything that would put me in the public eye - especially anything that would force me to spend more time with Harry, who I was now terrified of. Well, terrified's not the right word. Intimated, there we go. He was a hero - he had saved my life. I dreamed of him at night - silly little girlish fantasies that I can't help but laugh at now. I refused to join because I refused to let him notice me.
My third year there was no Quidditch. I began flying again, with my friends at night, nothing to gain attention. I didn't want it - mostly. Sometimes, I just felt like I would explode if Harry didn't notice me soon. Usually when I saw him staring at Cho. But for the most part, I was content. I even got a boyfriend.
When Harry was kicked off the Quidditch team in my fourth, I went straight for the position. Seeker wasn't my preference, but I was tired of flying at night. Confident with a boyfriend, and having pushed my feelings for Harry into the deepest confines of my heart, I hungered for attention. I decided it was time for me to break loose - I had been hiding from Tom's memory for to long. Of course my desire to beat Cho had nothing to do with it. Well, maybe just a little. I wanted to prove to her that I was good enough to like Harry - that I wasn't beneath her in any way.
My fifth year was hectic. Harry returned to the team and I willingly gave up the position for Chaser - my true talent. Harry and I began spending time together practicing outside of scheduled practice. With his tuition, and the practice I had long been neglecting, I quickly became one of the team's star players - nothing compared to Harry of course, but I was content with that. I began flying at home more often with my brothers - mostly to prove to them that I wasn't fragile. And to show Harry. Yes, Harry was a big priority.
Sixth year - wow, sixth year. Ron was Quidditch Captain, at first at least. Soon after Christmas Quidditch was canceled, due to dangerous times. The D.A. grew in numbers, as well as in organization. I even helped teach a class that showed how flying could save your life. Inspired by it, Professor McGonagall created a flight squad that could fly over any attackers and rain spells down on them. Harry was chosen to be my partner - I was the only one strong enough to hold my own alone, and since he would probably be on the ground fighting...
I saw the Dark Lord Destroyed. It was I who flew Harry's body to St. Mungo's. It was I who was there when he woke up.
In my seventh year I was Quidditch Captain. I'm proud to say we never lost a game. I directed those under me with the smooth confidence that came from flying with the best - my brothers, and of course Harry. He used to come visit me on Hogsmeade weekend... that's it, I swear. Well, maybe once or twice.
Harry and I flew to our honeymoon. It was too far to apparate, and Harry never could quite stomach portkeys. Since it was a deserted island fireplaces were out. It was wonderful though. We tied a cord between the two brooms; one held our luggage, and we shared the other one. Harry and I have made a point to attend every professional game possible, and we joined a local team. Our house had a huge forest inthe back, and we would go flying there sometimes - never talking, just being.
And now I'm teaching my children to fly. James is so eager he keeps falling off. Once he learns his balance he'll be a pro. Lily stays on better than him, but she's so tense and focused that she hardly notices what's going on around her, so she frequently gets knocked of by James' runaway Meteor 7. I love to watch Harry fly with them.
No feeling in the world is quite like love - or flying. Sometimes, I don't know which of the two I enjoy more. So I'll just have to make sure I never give either of them up.