A/N: Okay, okay, I know it has been eons since my last update but I had Swine Flu so please find it in your hearts to forgive me! This story is beta'd by the great Trillium248 who helps me get over my long sentence problem and even made me a little diagram demonstrating how my original Quidditch move wouldn't work-how many Beta's do that?
Other Notes: I thought I'd clear some things up, I know when we first met Bill I implied he'd be Quidditch captain, people have informed me that in fact he was head boy and Charlie was captain. At the time I wasn't sure which got which and if I'm perfectly honest, I couldn't really be bothered to check so sorry about that!
Also, I was immediately corrected by several people about James in fact being a chaser and not seeker. I made the most rookie mistake possible and confused the films with the books! However, no worries, although at first this was a mistake and I intended to keep it as such I suddenly had an idea of how to work it into the plot, so please stop telling me I've got it wrong…now I know!
Disclaimer: As always, none of the characters belong to me.
This chapter is dedicated to Shi-Koi for her awesome review-I hope your other half enjoys it and I love your description of Lily's thing with Harry as 'squicky' it definitely is fun to write those 'squicky' bits! XX
Wagers and War
The day dawned bright and chilly, sunlight streaming through the window of the boys' dormitory. Harry, having been awake for many hours already was glad for this sign that the sun had risen. With a small sigh, he slipped out of bed and into a pair of Quidditch robes, provided by Dumbledore, who seemed to think of absolutely everything. 'Then he quietly made his way out of Gryffindor house towards the Quidditch pitch.'
Broom in hand, Harry was glad for the deserted school corridors. All he needed now was a bunch of students catching him about to head out for a quick practice before the bet. It was Lily's warning about the gossips of the school, as well as her suspicions at breakfast, which made him think the Marauder's were going to keep this event less than private. And hadn't he encouraged it? He had, after all, invited Bill.
As he shuffled through the damp grass, trainers slightly sodden, he realised he hadn't been on a broom since he had arrived in 1977. Although it had only been four days, it felt like a life-time, especially as Harry spent every hour he could on his broom when he was stressed. And despite how it might have appeared to the Marauders and the other students, Harry was definitely stressed.
In fact, he had created more stress for himself than was needed. He was supposed to be the new, go-with-the-flow Harry, and the fact that that plan was going disastrously just made it all the more…made it all the more, well, disastrous.
It was this place, this time, the echoes all around him. It was easy to forget for an instant that these people, Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, even Severus were all, well, dead, especially when he could see the disputing evidence of this fact right before his eyes. It was harder to deal with when the instance of forgetfulness passed. Harry had just been coming to terms with the loss of these people, and yet here he was, catapulted into the past with the faces of dead people at every turn.
Still, the words of Dumbledore kept popping into his head: that it could take months to find a way to get Harry back. Suddenly, Harry felt a surge of homesickness. Images of a peaceful year with Ginny and his friends had been swept from his mind the moment Dumbledore had spoken to him about his inability to fix the broom.
He came to an abrupt halt, realising he had reached the deserted expanse of the Quidditch pitch. Early morning mist swirled across the grass. Harry stood for a moment, a figure in black clutching a broom. He breathed in the crisp morning air. With an odd sigh of frustration and relief Harry listened to the faint cry of Thestrals from the forbidden forest; frustration as he contemplated his situation, relief at the prospect of the flight before him.
In one flowing movement, he mounted his broom and threw himself into the air.
The wind whipped his hair about his face almost painfully, like so many of his problems trying to hold him back. But they had no success, he was soaring, flying higher than the goal posts, higher than the turrets of Hogwarts, higher than any thoughts or troubles could chase him. For one brief instant, Harry stared up at the endless sky, the clouds calling to him. In that moment, he wondered if he could remain in the depthless blue above him forever, before he fell back over himself, tumbling and gathering speed.
He threw his arms wide. He was coming back down to earth now, the patch of green that was the pitch spinning up to meet him. With this, the feelings he had out-flown caught up with him, except they couldn't weigh him down now. Something was rising in his chest that was buoying him up more powerfully than any broom could. It burst out of his mouth in one loud, gasping laugh...it was joy.
Harry let out a whoop that seemed to echo around the grounds as he somersaulted round to skim over the grass. His feet threw up dew spray around him as he sped through it. This was it, this was all there had to be, just the air and wind and sky. It simply didn't get any better than this.
Sirius Black had been known to lie in bed until tea time if left to it. Today, however, had been different.
"Arrgh!" he shot up clutching his forehead and gasping for air. For a few moments he sat there, shuddering slightly at the horrible nightmare he had just witnessed. He stumbled blearily out of bed and into the bathroom, splashed cold water on his face and was about to admire himself in a mirror when he had to stifle a scream.
It hadn't been a dream.
His eyebrows really were blue!
He sagged down onto a toilet seat with a depressed moan and, to ensure that he didn't catch sight of his reflection again, stared resolutely out of the window. Sirius was suddenly startled out of sombrely contemplating his fate (why me?) when he realised what he was looking at.
The Gryffindor tower provided some fantastic views over the grounds and, more conveniently, the Quidditch pitch. Sirius suddenly lurched forward off the toilet seat, wrenched open the window, and stuck his head out to get a better look at what was occurring on the pitch.
Wincing at the sharp morning air, he fixated his gaze on the little figure that was now looping in between the goal posts. At first glance he had thought it was bird, but now he realised that the figure was far too big for that. No, it was definitely a person, but holy crap could that person fly. Sirius wasn't surprised he had mistaken them for a bird, as he watched the black-robed flier perform a deadly and spectacular dive along the corner of a stand, they looked liked they belonged in the air.
He quickly ran through all the house Quidditch teams in his head, there was definitely no-one there that could fly like that. There was a reason that Gryffindor had won the Quidditch cup the last five years running – and that reason was that there was no-one else at Hogwarts that could catch a snitch like James Potter. Sirius' mind immediately made a very important connection, and he quickly took the steps out of the bathroom and headed back to his dorm.
No-one at Hogwarts could catch a snitch like James Potter, but someone was going to try, today, free period. He tip-toed past his sleeping roommates and pulled back the hangings of one particular bed, only to find it empty and his suspicions confirmed.
Harry Granger was going to try and catch the snitch before James Potter.
And by the looks of things, he had a very sporting chance indeed.
Harry was feeling a little weirded out.
Every five seconds he couldn't help but flatten his fringe down over his scar, it wasn't just that it had become a nervous habit, it was that he was sure his story about his scar last night hadn't convinced all the marauders. Why was he sure of this?
Because his godfather wouldn't stop staring at him.
Harry speared another piece of sausage on his fork and tried to avoid catching Sirius' eye, which was surprisingly difficult when he was sitting right across from you.
That was really the only explanation he could think of. They had all gone to bed and the next morning over breakfast Sirius seemed to have developed some sort of fixation with him. And if the likes of Colin Creevey and Moaning Myrtle were anything to go by, fixations with Harry were never a good thing.
Harry cleared his throat and glanced down the table. Lily was sitting beside a round faced girl she always seemed to partner with in class. He grinned and waved. Lily went a bit red, and Harry supposed he must look pretty goofy since the girl beside his Mum giggled rather loudly. He found he didn't really mind.
Suddenly, Sirius felt something hard collide with his shin and looked down to discover it was a foot belonging to an annoyed looking James.
"What?" Sirius already knew what was coming as James plonked himself down beside the eldest Black boy.
"That makes five people who have asked me about my nose this morning-as if they don't already know how I got it!"
"Maybe they don't?"
"Oh, please, the whole school is buzzing about our punch-up yesterday, I swear, if Snivellus tries anything like that again-"
Well, it wasn't really a punch-up, Sirius thought, so much as Harry kicking James' ass, and Snape wasn't really that involved…but then Sirius realised that James had stopped mid-sentence and that his friend's face was now turning a colour to match his bruised nose.
James was watching a smiling Harry wave down the table at Evans, who blushed right back. Sirius bit his lip. If there was ever a button to push with James, it was Lily Evans. "That Granger…" James seemed unaware that he was attempting to butter his empty plate as he continued to glare between Harry and Evans, muttering to himself.
Sirius decided to change the subject to less dangerous topics, "I thought you patched it up with Harry last night? You know, after the whole 'humiliating you in front of a crowd of people' thing."
Did I mention Sirius was never very good at changing the subject?
James angrily stuck his knife into a jam jar and proceeded to add another layer to his plate. "Yeah, well, I won't really be able to forgive him until I humiliate him right back at the bet, then we'll call it quits. He won't know what's hit him! Thinks he can beat me…" James' muttering quickly became incoherent as he nursed his injured pride. Sirius wasn't really listening anyway, instead he was chewing at his lip again.
Sirius might not be considered very perceptive, but James was his best friend and Sirius knew him better than he knew himself. He really needed to win this bet if he was ever going to get over Harry hitting him. After that, they'd be even. Forgive and forget. But then, of course, James thought that he was going to beat Granger hands down. One thought was now coursing through Sirius' mind:
Lily caught up with Harry as he climbed the steps from the entrance hall. Harry waved the marauders on and Lily couldn't help but notice the array of odd looks he got from them. Potter glared at them both before stomping away. Remus gave Harry a friendly if slightly confused smile and Black looked like he was ready to burst with some kind of emotion (Lily briefly wondered why his eyebrows were blue, but then with the Marauders you never knew). Peter as always was oblivious to all, devouring a muffin from breakfast; Harry didn't seem to notice the unusual mix of reactions either.
Lily grinned shyly at him, stay cool, said the little voice in her head, "Harry, I was wondering-"
"Lily! That's where you've gotten to!" Alice rushed up to them, throwing Lily warning glances whilst dazzling Harry with her smile. They had discussed this, Lily would wait for Harry to make the next move, that way she wouldn't seem too eager. But Lily had…well; Lily had kind of ignored the plan. And now Alice was interfering.
"Lily," Alice said through her smile, still giving her a threatening look, "Do you remember that thing we were discussing? About, er…our Care of Magical Creatures lesson and how you should let the Hippogriff come to you before you…pet it? Lily snorted loudly but managed to disguise it as a cough, honestly, Alice was really awful at this subtlety thing. Her meaningful glances at Lily made her look like she had Mad Cow or something.
"Actually, you should wait for it to bow back." Harry corrected.
Alice's bright smile dropped a few inches, "What are you talking about?" she asked, completely puzzled.
Harry looked at her strangely, which made Lily want to laugh even more, this conversation sounded crazy! "The Hippogriff, you should wait for it to bow back before you pet it..."
"Oh...anyway, Lily, come along," Alice tugged at her arm, "you don't want to be late for our first lesson."
"Our first lesson starts in half an hour," Harry pointed out, looking increasingly unsure of Alice's sanity. Lily attempted a casual expression, when she was actually trying not to burst into giggles.
"You go ahead Alice, I'll just say goodbye to Harry," Lily smiled benignly at the glare she received from her friend,
"Go on, Alice," Lily urged with a little more force and then, for payback, she added "You can tell me all about your snogging session with Frank later." At this Alice went very red, turned on her heel and hurried away. Harry stared after her.
"Frank? As in Frank Longbottom?" Lily nodded an affirmative, "And Alice is dating him?" Harry seemed to find something about this rather amusing.
The redhead looked sheepish, "Well they're not actually dating."
"But you said-"
"I was just trying to embarrass her-but they both fancy each other like mad, they're just too shy to do anything about it."
Harry smiled, "I'll see you this free period then?"
"Yes, although I won't be setting a very good example by being there, I am a prefect and Head Girl after all," she frowned.
"But everyone is going, Remus is a prefect and he'll be there, James actually made the bet and he's head boy!"
Lily knew this was a moment she could use to her advantage. To entice Harry a little, show him what he was missing. The red-head concentrated hard on the instructions Alice had given her. She let her eyelids droop slightly, smiled her most dazzling smile at him and let the volume of her voice drop. "Good Luck then, I'll be hoping you win." And with that she turned with a swish of her long red hair and headed up to Gryffindor, she glanced back only once triumphantly to see Harry grinning at her from the bottom of the stairs.
The funny part was that as much as Lily Evans and James Potter seemed to disagree on everything at that precise moment they were thinking exactly the same thing:
Harry Granger never stood a chance.
It was free period.
And it seemed like half the school had turned up to see the new boy take on the legendary James Potter. An excited buzz was saturating the air where the students milled around the edge of the pitch. When Harry arrived in the quidditch robes that Dumbledore had given him, there was an impromptu cheer. He was the underdog, the only person naive enough to take on Potter, so frankly they all felt a little sorry for him.
Unfortunately for Harry, that sympathy didn't really translate when money was involved.
"Roll up! Roll up! Place your bets here, excellent odds-oh, hi Harry!" Sirius had caught sight of Granger from up on his podium (yep, he had a podium) where otherwise the crowd of bobbing heads would have obscured Harry from view. People were waving bits of money and betting slips in his direction, chattering loudly about the likely results of the bet. So, mostly they were discussing how badly Granger would get his ass kicked.
The crowd parted to allow Harry through as he made his way up to Sirius. The elder Black offered him a hand and pulled him up onto the platform before chalking something up on a blackboard and taking some more betting slips from waving hands in the crowd.
"Place your bets here!" he rumbled again, "Excellent odds!"
"What are the odds that I'll win?" Harry asked curiously.
Sirius looked shifty, "A hundred to one."
Harry didn't even look grim, "I should've known, really, no-one here even knows if I can get the broom off the ground."
"Yeah...right." Sirius seemed oddly guilty but before Harry could ask him about it he heard his name being called.
"Harry! Harry!" someone was squeaking from the fray below, Harry searched for the source of the sound and his eyes settled on a red shock of hair bobbing up and down with excitement. Bill was surrounded by a small group of first years who all looked like they were suffering from a potent combination of terrible excitement and fearful intimidation at all the older years around them.
"Harry!" Bill called again, trying to make himself heard over the din of animated students.
"That's James Potter! Not Granger!" One of the group of first years, a bold looking blonde, piped up.
"No!" Bill squeaked indignantly, just as a surge of pushing from within the crowd threatened to topple him, "That's Harry! He has green eyes!" Another of his group squealed as they dodged the large foot of a Hufflepuff who wasn't looking where he was going. Harry decided to help them out.
"Bill! Up here!" he held out his hand, with an audible sigh of relief Bill and co. were quickly deposited onto the platform.
"Hey! No punters on the podium!" Sirius protested,
"Relax Black, they're with me," Harry explained.
Bill's chest swelled at the thought of a seventh year sticking up for him, but the rest of them were simply staring at Sirius Black in awe. Sirius was almost as famous as James. He was a member of the Quidditch team, a prankster extraordinaire, and a devilishly handsome ladies man, not to mention the rumours of him owning a flying motorcycle- apparently a dangerous kind of Muggle broom.
The group of first years watched in reverential silence as Black chalked something else up. Finally one of them got up the nerve to whisper to his peers, "Why has he got blue eyebrows?"
"It's obviously like a seventh year thing," the brave blonde boy whispered back knowingly.
"It's awesome," someone else declared. There was murmur of agreement among them.
Harry stifled a chuckle and turned to Bill. "Are you going to place a bet? Don't worry, I won't mind if you don't bet on me, I realised the odds are somewhat outbalanced."
Bill suddenly grew very solemn, his small frame straightening, "You must win Harry, there is a lot riding on this." Harry attempted to arrange his features to match the redhead's serious tone but found instead a smile spreading across them.
"Really? That much, huh?"
Bill went a little red, "Well, my Honeyduke's and Zonko's fund for the next few months."
Harry's grin became even bigger, "Thanks Bill."
By the looks of things the crowd around the pitch had swollen to an inestimable size. Surely some students had to be missing lessons for this? Harry scanned the busy scene before him, thinking that the teachers must have caught wind of this event. Harry stopped scanning suddenly and watched a first year that looked suspiciously like Professor Flitwick place a bet with Sirius.
Then again, maybe the teachers get just as excited about this sort of thing as the students.
Another, rather louder, cheer went up when James arrived. Lily rolled her eyes, she really hoped Harry won, however unlikely it looked. She'd get a kick out of seeing James getting knocked on his ass.
The problem with James Potter wasn't with the way he looked, even Lily could admit that Potter was handsome. Nor was it that he was smart. Although, it was bit annoying when he seemed to slack off and still get good grades (though they were never as good as Lily's of course). It wasn't even that he was the Quidditch captain, Lily enjoyed the thrill of a Quidditch match as much as the next person and Potter sure could fly. It was that he was just so dreadfully aware of it all. There wasn't a moment when he wouldn't use his status with the student populace to its full advantage. And now, Lily fumed, was clearly one of those times.
"Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the second contestant…James Potter! The betting polls are now closed! " Sirius introduced his friend as he climbed up on the podium beside Harry. It would've been hard to tell them apart from Lily's place in the crowd had it not been for the large bruise running across James' nose.
James' eyes were narrowed in determination whilst Harry looked very laid back, smiling at the crowd. Well, that made sense, thought Lily, everything was a competition to James, but Harry thought it was just a bit of fun.
Sirius stepped up; he was obviously loving this. The whole crowd went silent, watching him eagerly. "Witches and Wizards!" the eldest Black threw his arms open wide dramatically. Lily rolled her eyes again but his dramatics seemed to be working on everyone else.
"In a few moments I will release this," Sirius punched his hand into the air where a small ball with frantically fluttering wings could be seen struggling in his clenched fist. "Both flyers have been placed on randomly selected school brooms so that the circumstances remain impartial. The first rider to capture the snitch wins! The only rule is there are no rules!"
There was a murmur of excitement from the crowd at this, but Remus Lupin suddenly appeared, tapped on Sirius' shoulder and muttered something into his ear. Sirius straightened up, grinning sheepishly, then added "Oh! And…er-the second rule is that neither rider is allowed to use their wands at any point. Thank you, now, let the seeking begin! Remus, if you please."
Remus shuffled forward looking harassed. Clearly he did not want to be on the platform. He turned to Potter and Granger, "When I send some red sparks into the air with my wand you may take off."
"Now, mount your brooms." Remus ordered, and Harry and James obediently swung their legs over the handles of their broomsticks. Harry could feel James' intense gaze upon him and knew that he was out to win this. Harry didn't really mind who won or not. It was burning curiosity that plagued him now, everyone had always said that he had inherited his flying skills from his father, now was his first (and probably only) chance to find out just how true this was.
Harry briefly broke his gaze with his father to glance at Remus, the young werewolf grinned briefly, gave Harry a wink and shot a burst of red sparks into the air. The snitch was released and the two boys, father and son, shot off from the ground like bullets from a gun.
Harry felt his leg muscles thrust forward with instinctual force as his body was flung into the air on the enchanted piece of wood. James span upwards with equal ease and finesse, his black hair flying in all directions in a mirror of Harry's. In unison their heads jerked for a sight of the snitch which Sirius' had just released, and in perfect synchronisation their bespectacled eyes narrowed upon the fluttering glimmer of gold already weaving its way across the pitch. A roar of mixed cheers and screams rose from the crowd in uncontrollable excitement as the two competitors leaned forward on their brooms and sped after it.
Harry quickly realised that he and his father were far too evenly matched, in fact, it was as if they were twins, their flying styles were pretty much identical. Just as Harry decided to fall back, James would slow down beside him, just as James attempted to overtake below him, so would Harry drop lower without even realising. Harry heard his father make a frustrated noise between his teeth as they repeated a loop beside each other, neither one of them getting any closer to the walnut-sized ball flying ahead of them. He could hear the crowd below laughing and pointing at their antics and inability to out-fly each other.
And then, much to both Harry's and James' surprise, the snitch disappeared.
The moment the snitch took a sharp left and drifted into the cluster of trees a few yards from the pitch boundaries, Remus spun around to see Sirius looking far too pleased with himself. "The snitch can't do that, it's spelled to stay inside the pitch!" Remus accused and Sirius barked a laugh,
"Not any more it isn't!"
Remus didn't know whether to berate Sirius or laugh. This was certainly going to make things more interesting, he thought, as he watched the two boys swoop after the ball.
Soon, Harry saw the familiar flicker of gold and realised that the snitch had left the pitch; he had never known it to do that before. He didn't dwell on it long however, for James was already sweeping over the trees in hot pursuit. They were flying right beside each other now, whipping through the air sometimes mere inches from each other, Harry could almost feel the tension in his father's body like it was crackling in the air, static electricity between them.
If the snitch could have snickered, Harry would have sworn now would be its moment to let out an evil chuckle as it suddenly dove beneath the cover of the treetops. For a couple of bewildering moments, both teenage boys continued to skim the green canopy before, with a determined glare at one another, they followed their prize beneath the leaves. Harry heard a collective squeal of excitement from the crowd before he was plunged into relative silence, the muffled cheers disappearing behind him.
It was eerily quiet within the outer reaches of the forest, the cold September sun breaking through the leafy roof at random intervals to form pools of light around them. These were the pools of gold that the boys darted in and out of, like dragonflies across the glimmering surface of a pond. Finally they had broken apart, and Harry could just make out James by the flicker of his shadow and the faint swish of his motion as flitted between the ancient oaks in search of the ball.
The trees pressed in around them, creating formidable obstacles which they had to dodge. James' progress was severely slowed by the danger of colliding with the closely growing oaks. It was here, however, that Harry's reflexes proved themselves superior. You didn't spend half your life dodging curses for nothing, and the looming branches did little to check his speed.
Harry heard James' voice cut clear through the silence as they whizzed circles around each other, ears straining for the telltale flutter of wings. "Come on Granger! Why not just give up? You should have known better than to challenge me! No-one's ever beaten me, did you know that? No-one! I've gone easy on you up until now, but not any more!"
Harry gritted his teeth and ignored his father's baiting, James was just trying to distract him and his gloating tone ground against his patience. Did he try to intimidate everyone like this? It wasn't surprising that people failed to notice the snitch when the most popular boy in school was mocking them, usually in front of a crowd of people. But Harry was going to teach him a much needed lesson. Besides, how did James expect to ever get with Lily if he acted like this all the time? At the moment she didn't even like him, for Merlin's sake!
With narrowed eyes and smug grin, Harry retorted, yelling through the flashing trees around him, "I'm sorry to disappoint you Potter! But now comes the time for you to Eat. My. DUST!!!" And with a sudden burst of speed Harry sped after the flicker of gold that James hadn't yet noticed.
The crowd of people were murmuring among themselves, having gathered around the shadowy edges of the forest. James and Granger had been gone for some moments now and it was impossible to make out anything within the murky darkness of the trees. Just when they were considering sending someone in to see what was happening a faint whizzing of motion could be heard, growing louder to a crescendo when Harry burst through the trees with a triumphant yell, close behind the snitch and gaining.
There were screams as James appeared soon after, and lucky for some of the more innocent younger years, he was moving too fast for them to hear his angry curses. They were heading across the grounds now, moving ever closer to the lake. With shouts and cries the spectators hitched up their robes and chased after the two seekers with tumultuous delight.
Harry risked a glance behind him only to see James's dark locks whipping in the wind close behind.
Come on Harry! He urged himself onwards, You've out flown a dragon and matched yourself against an international Quidditch player, for goodness' sakes! Why can't you out-manoeuvre your own Dad?
Then it came to him in a flash of realisation: Out-Manoeuvre. That was it, Harry knew moves decades' ahead of James' time, all he had to do was use a trick his father had never seen before. He scanned through his memories of the articles in Quidditch Weekly, searching for a tactic useful in this situation. Finally he alighted upon one but it was very dangerous if it went wrong. That is, if James proved more daring than Harry had anticipated. But Harry had yet to meet someone who took as many risks as he did on a broom and was confident that his father would not see what was coming.
Abruptly, far too quick for James to expect it, Harry fell back, watching James move ahead of him just far enough for him to think he had the upper-hand. If James was anything like Harry, he would be too fixed on his goal to care about whatever stupid move his opposition was attempting. At the same time he dropped low, by this time they were flying over the glassy clear water of the lake, and Harry could clearly see his reflection in the water. He accelerated with all the will he possessed, his speed blowing ripples across the water. Lower still, his toes skimmed the surface, throwing up spray. He was slowly catching up again, narrowing the space between himself and the oblivious James above him. The snitch was barely meters from his father now, flitting this way and that temptingly, his hand already outstretched in anticipated victory and a grin spreading across his triumphant face.
Harry levelled beneath him with perfect timing and steeled himself for his final, hazardous stunt.
With a final burst of speed he spun vertically upwards.
Now, any Quidditch player will know that the last thing you want to do several feet in the air is to collide with someone else. It can be very nasty. So when James glanced beneath him to see Harry corkscrewing upwards, heading right for James' exposed body with breakneck speed, naturally his first instinct was to get the hell out of the way. With a cry of shock and indignation James was forced backwards by Harry's speeding body.
Harry continued shooting into the sky as if oblivious to how close he had come to hitting James. Finally his hand extended to snatch the little winged ball from the air and from James' incredulous eye line.
His momentum carried him upwards, spinning further and further into the blue of the sky. For a split second there was a stunned silence before the crowd assembled at the lakes' edge released an overpowering bellow of approval that echoed across the water with Harry's joyful whoop.
Harry barely had time to land before being buried beneath a mound of bodies, most of which he didn't recognise. Most noticeably, an ecstatic Bill fought his way to the centre of the melee to grab Harry's hand and punch it into the air. His group of first year friend's were soon starting a chant of "HE DID IT! HE DID IT!"
Harry was filled with an overwhelming sense of familiarity, this was something he knew: The triumphant team spirit of Hogwarts greeted him like an old friend and it didn't matter that he wasn't with his friends or even in his own time for a moment. He was carried and handed and jostled to the front where somehow Sirius had managed to maintain his place on the podium. Pulled upwards in full view of everyone he faced a bemused looking set of Marauder's. Sirius however, quickly regained his composure to announce, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you our winner, HAAARRRY GRAAANGER!"
James landed behind the cheering crowd unnoticed and forgotten, his broom trailing behind him like so much useless wood. He didn't understand. One moment he had been looking at victory and the next it was literally snatched from his grasp, to be handed to a relative stranger.
He watched as his peers, his friends, his congratulations and cheers of approval surrounded Granger. For the first time in his life, James wasn't the centre of attention and he hated it. His sense of bitter shame at his loss even prevented him from joining them in admiring Granger's innovative flying.
The final straw came unexpectedly, like the knife had been driven deeper in to his heart. He saw Lily Evans, radiant, beautiful, passionate Lily, climb onto the podium and with a swish of red hair and a smile she would never give James, pull Harry into a shy embrace. Just like that. It was like James was looking at a reflection of himself, but one that had taken on a life of its own and stolen his without anyone realising it.
James' grip tightened upon his broom. He was a Potter, Potter's never let their side down, never gave up, did whatever it took to reach their goals. If Granger thought he could take James' life then woe betide him. If Granger thought that James would sit by and watch him get everything the Marauder had ever wanted handed to him on a platter, then he was sorely mistaken. If Granger wanted a fight then that was just what he would get.
This meant war.
A/N: Dun, Dun, DUN! Wow, I thought that was a pretty exciting chapter, didn't you?If you did, tell me your favourite bits, if you didn't review anyway for the hell of it!
I tried to make the flying as original and exciting as possible, I didn't exactly start throwing myself from great heights to try and experience it for myself but I definitely tried to imagine what being on a broomstick would be like. I hope it's as dynamic as I attempted to make it.
Lots of love to all my readers, the next chapter will see just how close to heart James takes this thing and more awkward Harry/Lily moments! Arghhh!
Love, Peace and Wizard Feet.