Harry Potter and the American Sisters
Chapter Six: Of Brooms and Duels
As I got to know the real Harry Potter over the first couple of days a plan started to form in my mind. I think it was inspired by Harry's plight. The books had described the barest of the abuses he was forced to endure from the Dursleys. Even now, just some of his latest bruises have faded to a sickly yellow. I think that only six Gryffindors out of the whole school noticed the bruises he so effortlessly hid. The first was of course me, four were Ron, Seamus, Dean, and Neville who shared a dormitory with him, and the last person was Hermione. Most of the school thought that she was oblivious to things around her due to having her nose always stuck in a book. I knew better. Hermione Granger was more observant than the average witch.
My goal for the end of the year was to get Sirius Black, Harry's godfather, free from Azkaban and excused of all charges. You might be wondering how I planned such a thing; well you'll just have to see. My first faze of the plan I can tell you: befriend Snape. Yes, you read right. I am going to befriend the most hated teacher of Hogwarts, Potions Master Severus Snape. How the hell I'm going to accomplish such a thing though I have no clue. But as they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
It was a day or so after the first potions class that I got up the courage to go see Snape. The homework he assigned, which was completed easily enough, would serve as a good excuse to see him. His class of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw first years had just let out. The Hufflepuffs were obviously shaken by their encounter with the Potions Master. I gave an encouraging smile to Hannah Abbott and Susan Bones as I past them, heading into the classroom.
Snape was busy using his wand to clean up a spilled bubbling potion that most likely had been knocked over by a nervous Hufflepuff. Though I walked quietly enough, Snape somehow heard the gentle footfalls of my white Reebok shoes for he quickly noticed me. "My, what would a young Gryffindor such as yourself be doing down here?" he sneered.
Suddenly, my homework excuse seemed stupid and I just knew he would see through me. Luckily, a question fell upon my lips without thinking before Snape could get really annoyed. "I was wondering, sir, how my sister is doing?"
"Your sister?" he asked, not as meanly.
I nodded. "Chelsey Kitchens. She's in Slytherin and since you're head of her house I thought you might know. I worry about her, she's a bit gullible and I don't want her to be taken advantage of."
"Last I heard," he drawled, "she had hooked herself up with young mister Malfoy."
I rolled my eyes and sighed. "Figures. She would put herself with the bad crowd."-Another sigh-"Thank you for your time." I did an about face and started to walk out of the potions classroom before Snape's voice brought me to a halt.
"Despite the way Draco acts, he would never intentionally hurt your sister. I've seen the way he looks at her," he told me.
I turned my head to look over my shoulder at the Potions Master, my blue eyes softening. "Thank you," I told him before finally leaving the room.
As I walked back to the Gryffindor tower I could barely contain my surprise. I had just had a pleasant conversation with Snape! Oh, what a fit Ron would have if I told him!
Considering the animosity held between the Slytherins and Gryffindors you can imagine the groans and wines that came as we spotted a notice pinned up in the Gryffindor common room. Flying lessons would be starting on Thursday—and Gryffindor and Slytherin would be learning together.
"Typical," said Harry darkly. "Just what I always wanted. To make a fool of myself in on a broomstick in front of Malfoy."
I shook my head. "If anybody is going to make a fool out of themselves it is going to be me. I can't even get on the back of a horse without my acrophobia kicking in."
Ron tilted his head to the side. "What is acrophobia? A curse?"
I smiled, grimly. "Practically. Acrophobia means an intense fear of heights. So you can imagine how well I'm going to fare on a broomstick."
Harry and I sighed together.
I hate Pansy Parkinson with every ounce of my emotional being. She's just horrible! Every chance she gets she's mean to me. She has turned almost all of the first-year Slytherin girls against me. Millicent is the only one still friendly to me but I suspect its because she's Goyle's girlfriend and knows I'm Draco's. Except for Pansy non-of the others will outright torture me for fear of Draco's retribution.
A second-year by the name of Ruby Wick has taken pity on me and become my friend. Her entire family is made up of Hufflepuffs so she has a bit of an idea of what it feels like to be an outcast. Despite Draco and Ruby's efforts, I find myself missing my old school and friends. I even miss my sister. Though we both got to Hogwarts I find that I do not often see her.
Breakfast on Thursday was an odd conflict of emotions. Some, like me, found themselves afraid and nervous of the upcoming flying lessons. And others, like Seamus Finnigan, would boast loudly of their skills on the broomstick.
Hermione bored most of the Gryffindor table stupid with flying tips she had gotten out of Quidditch Through the Ages. I, having read the book, knew that though the tips were good would no help as much as actual practice would.
Mail came at the same time as usual. Neither Harry nor I got any letters but that didn't bother me. My mom is usually too busy to write a letter everyday and Harry's Aunt and Uncle would never even consider the possibility.
A barn owl brought Neville a small package from his grandmother. He opened it excitedly and showed us a glass ball the size of a large marble, which seemed to be full of white smoke.
"That's a Remembrall isn't it?" I asked.
"I've read about those," Hermione put in. "If the smoke turns red it means you've forgotten something."
"The only problem," Neville explained as the smoke in the glass ball turned scarlet, "is that I can't remember what I've forgotten."
Neville was trying to remember what he'd forgotten when Draco Malfoy, who was passing the Gryffindor table, snatched the Remembrall out of his hand. Ron and Harry tried to jump to their feet but I had grabbed both their robes and pulled them back down. "I'll handle this," I told them firmly.
Standing up, I gave a glance at Chelsey, who was behind Draco before giving the ferret boy himself the Heero Yuy patented Death Glare. As he returned my look he didn't notice until it was too late when my hands flashed out and grabbed the Remembrall from his grip. As I handed it back to Neville I said to Draco, "Didn't your parents teach you not to take something that doesn't belong to you?"
He sneered and stomped off with Chelsey close behind. "Oh, and Malfoy"-he paused-"If you ever hurt my sister I'll rip out your heart and feed it to my cat."
A hush fell over the Gryffindor table, they obviously expected some kind of retaliation but all he did was give me a nod before going off.
"I can't believe you said that!" Chelsey told me before she took off after Draco.
I then went back to eating my breakfast. The feeling of staring eyes did not go away. In frustration, I put down my fork and raised my head. I once again gave the Heero Yuy Death Glare. "What?" I asked, irritably.
"What you said to Malfoy was just-" started Fred Weasley.
"Wicked," finished George.
I raised my eyebrows. "I really didn't think it was that big of a deal. You would have done the same thing if it was Ginny," I said, naming their ten-year-old sister.
"I suppose," admitted the Weasley twins.
"Well, I certainly would not have been so crudely descriptive," said Percy, stiffly.
"Yes, but you'd have been more scary," cracked Ron.
Insulted, Percy stalked off. As soon as he was out of earshot they all cracked up into laughter. "D-did you see the look on his face?" chuckled George.
At three-thirty that afternoon, we Gryffindor first-years hurried down the front steps onto the grounds for our first flying lesson. It was a clear, breezy day, and the grass rippled under our feet as we marched down the sloping lawns toward a smooth, flat lawn on the opposite side of the grounds to the forbidden forest, whose trees were swaying darkly in the distance.
The Slytherins were already there, and so were twenty broomsticks lying in neat lines on the ground. Our teacher, Madam Hooch, arrived almost right after we did. She had short, gray hair and cool looking yellow eyes. She reminded me of a hawk. "Well, what are you all waiting for?" she barked. "Everyone stand by a broomstick. Come on, hurry up."
All the brooms were old but I have to admit I think mine was probably the most preserved out of the batch. "Stick out your right hand over your broom," called Madam Hooch at the front, "and say 'Up!'"
"UP!" we all shouted.
My heart gave a big leap as my appointed broomstick did. Without thinking, I closed my hand around the broom that had jumped into my waiting hand. Mine was on of the few to do what it was suppose to. Harry's had jumped into his hand but Hermione's had simply rolled over onto the ground. Ron's had leapt up passed the waiting hand and smacked him squared on the nose. Harry, who was next to him, burst out laughing. "Shut up, Harry," Ron snapped, clutching his nose.
Next, Madam Hooch showed us how to mount our brooms without sliding off the end. She walked up and down the rows correcting us. To my amusement, Madam Hooch spent at least ten minutes correcting Chelsey's broom position "This is no muggle story," she told my sister. "If you aren't sitting on properly you could fall off and hurt yourself."
Oh, yeah, that went over real well with us. Neville had already looked an unhealthy pale white but now he looked like he was holding onto consciousness with a thin thread.
"Now, when I blow my whistle, you kick off from the ground, hard," said Madam Hooch. "Keep your brooms steady, rise a few feet, and then come straight back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle—three—two—"
But Neville, nervous and jumpy and frightened of being left on the ground, pushed off hard before the whistle had touched Madam Hooch's lips.
"Come back, boy!" she shouted, but Neville was rising straight up. About twenty feet up he gave a gasp as his grip loosened and he slipped sideways off the broom.
My feet were in movement before I was even aware of what I was doing. The next thing I knew I was knocked to the ground by the falling Neville. AS the full weight of him came down upon me I found the air in my lungs was forced out.
An instant after the fall, Madam Hooch was by our side, pulling Neville off me. He whimpered as her hand closed around his wrist. From my position of the ground, I could see her lips purse into a frown. "Broken wrist, she muttered. She glanced at me. "How about you? Any injuries?"
"Nah, I'm just peachy," I said as I got to my feet, still trying to recover my breath.
She nodded and turned to the rest of the class. "None of you is to move while I take this boy to the hospital wing! You leave those brooms where they are or you'll be out of Hogwarts before you can say 'Quidditch.' Come on, dear."
Neville, his face tear-streaked, clutching his wrist, hobbled off with Madam Hooch, who had her arm around him.
No sooner were they out of earshot than Malfoy burst into laughter. "Did you see his face, the great lump?" The other Slytherins joined in, even Chelsey to my surprise.
"Shut up, Malfoy," snapped Parvati Patil.
"Ooh, sticking up for Longbottom?" said Pansy Parkinson. "Never thought you'd like fat little crybabies, Parvati."
"Look!" said Malfoy, darting forward and snatching something out of the grass. "It's that stupid thing Longbottom's gran sent him." The Remembrall glittered in the sun as he held it up. "Maybe if he had given this a squeeze, he would have remembered to fall on his fat ass."
I turned my eyes to Chelsey, begging her to do something before it got out of hand. She just shrugged. I sighed. "Give that here, Malfoy," said Harry.
Malfoy smiled nastily. "I think I'll leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find—how about—up a tree?"
"Give it here!" Harry yelled, but Malfoy had leapt onto his broomstick and taken off.
Hovering level with the topmost branches of an oak he called, "Come and get it, Potter!"
Harry grabbed his broom. "No!" shouted Hermione Granger. "Madam Hooch told us not to move—you'll get us all into trouble."
Harry ignored her and kicked off into the air. I can't explain what came over me but the next thing I know I'm up in the air after Harry. We stopped in midair, facing a stunned Malfoy. "Give it here," Harry called, "or I'll knock you off that broom!"
"Oh, yeah?" said Malfoy, trying to sneer, but looking worried.
"Just give it to them, Draco," pleaded Chelsey from the ground.
I heard Pansy start to cuss her out for being a wimp. I made a mental note to have a "talk" with the slut of a Slytherin. This whole incident was starting to get on my nerves.
"No Crabbe and Goyle up here to save your neck, Malfoy," Harry called.
"Catch it if you can, then!" he shouted, and he threw the glass ball high into the air and streaked back toward the ground.
Harry and I both put our brooms into dives, after the falling ball. Harry caught it, just in time to pull his broom straight, and he toppled gently onto the grass with the Remembrall clutched safely in his hands. Seeing that I would not catch the glass ball I had slowed my broom down and straightened it so that I made a dignified landing.
"HARRY POTTER, JENNIFER KITCHENS!"
Professor McGonagall was running towards us and man did she look pissed off. "Never—in all my time at Hogwarts—" McGonagall was almost speechless with shock and her glasses flashed furiously, "—how dare you—might have broken your necks—"
"It wasn't their fault, Professor—"
"Be quiet, Miss Patil—"
"That's enough, Mr. Weasley. Potter, Kitchens, follow me, now."
Up the front steps, up the marble staircase inside we walked and still Professor McGonagall didn't say a word. She wrenched open doors and marched along corridors with Harry and I trotting behind her. Professor McGonagall stopped outside a classroom. She opened the door and poked her head inside.
"Excuse me, Professor Flitwick, could I borrow Wood for a moment?"
A blurry fifth-year boy came out of Flitwick's class looking confused.
"Follow me, you three," said McGonagall, and we marched on up the corridor, Wood looking curiously at Harry and I.
"In here." Professor McGonagall pointed us into a classroom that was empty except for Peeves, who was busy writing rude words on the blackboard.
"Out, Peeves!" she barked. Peeves threw the chalk into a bin, which clanged loudly, and he swooped out cursing. McGonagall slammed the door behind him and turned to face the three of us.
"Potter, Kitchens, this is Oliver Wood. Wood—I've found you a Seeker."
Wood's expression changed from puzzlement to delight. "Are you serious, Professor?"
"Absolutely," said McGonagall crisply. "The boy's a natural. He caught that thing in his hand after a fifty-foot dive. Didn't even scratch himself. Charlie Weasley couldn't have done it. And this girl was able was keep up with him almost the entire time. I think she would make an excellent back up for Seeker and Chaser."
Wood was now looking as though all his dreams had come true at once. "A back up Seeker would be nice but not a Chaser, we have plenty of those. From what you tell me she'd be best as one of my main Chasers, there's a position open and none of the other back ups want it full time." He frowned slightly. "Alicia Spinnet was going to take it but then decided to quit the team all together, something about paying more attention to her studies."
By this time, Harry had quite a confused expression on his face. "Wood is the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team," McGonagall explained.
"We'll have to get both of them decent brooms, Professor—a Nimbus Two Thousand or a Cleansweep Seven, I'd say," Wood continued as if McGonagall hadn't said a word.
"I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can't bend the first-year rule. Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year. Flattened in that last match against Slytherin, I couldn't look Severus Snape in the face for weeks…"
She peered sternly at us. "I want to hear you're training hard, or I may change my mind about punishing you two." She then smiled. "Your father would have been proud, Potter," she said. "He was an excellent Quidditch player himself."
She looked at me. "The reason I was out there was to take you to Professor Dumbledore, Miss Kitchens, he wishes a word with you." And then she left.
I said good-bye to Harry and Wood before following McGonagall.
We finally stopped our walking in front of a stature of an ugly gargoyle. "Nerds," said McGonagall stiffly.
The gargoyle's eyes blinked and it leapt back. The Transfiguration teacher led me into Professor Dumbledore's office. He was sitting behind his desk, his half-moon spectacles dancing in the candlelight. Someone was sitting in the chair facing the desk, but because of the position I could not see who it was.
"Jennifer Kitchens, Professor Dumbledore," spoke McGonagall.
"Ah, yes, Miss Kitchens," said Dumbledore, "I suppose you are wondering why I've asked you here?"
"The though had crossed my mind."
Dumbledore smiled at my answer. "We've had a first-year late arrival. He requested you as a guide."
"He?" I wondered. Was it someone I knew?
The person in the chair stood up and turned to face me. It was a boy about my physical age with long, curly dark hair swept back into a ponytail and dark brown eyes framed with silver glasses.
I knew him. Even as this younger version I recognized him. Jacob Segovia, my best friend.
"B-but how?" I stuttered.
He closed his eyes so the lids became upside down Us and an evil grin fell upon the happy visage. "That is a secret," Jacob told me, waving his finger around.
I had to resist my reflex to kick him in the shin like usual when he acted annoying. It would not do to seem impulsively violent in front of the Head and Deputy Head of my school.
"Well," said Dumbledore. "Now that that's settled, of you go." He ushered us out of his office.
I looked awkwardly at Jacob as the gargoyle statue sprang closed behind us. "So, what house are you in?" I asked.
"Gryffindor, of course, why else would you have been made my guide," came the sarcastic reply.
I raised my eyebrows. "How the hell did you get sorted into Gryffindor, I would have pegged you for a Slytherin."
He gave me an, oh, so familiar smirk. "Contrary to popular belief, I am not evil incarnate. And the Sorting Hat can read minds." –He puffed his chest out- "It must have seen how incredibly brave I am."
I rolled my eyes. "You mean how incredibly stupid."
"Hey!" Jacob protested.
Now it was my turn to give an evil smirk.
"I bet that git is already on the train," Draco declared. "Poor potty Potter."
The other Slytherins laughed. I said nothing. There was no way in hell I was going to tell Draco that he had actually just helped his rival. Oh, well. He'll find out on his own eventually. I'll just let him have his fun for now. No sense in getting him mad at me.
It was dinnertime and I had already introduced Jacob to Harry, Ron, and the rest of the Gryffindors. Harry and I had just finished telling Ron what had happened when we'd left the grounds with Professor McGonagall. Ron had a piece of steak and kidney pie halfway to his mouth, but he'd forgotten all about it. "Seeker? Chaser? But first years never—you must be the youngest house players in about—"
"A century," said Harry, shoving pie into his mouth. "Wood told me."
"Well, Harry is," I supplied, "but I'm around the same age as most of the second years."
"We start training next week," said Harry. "Only don't tell anyone, Wood wants to keep it a secret."
Fred and George Weasley now came into the hall, spotted us, and hurried over. "Well done," said George in a low voice. "Wood told us. We're on the team too—Beaters."
"I tell you, we're going to win that Quidditch cup for sure this year," said Fred. "We haven't won since Charlie left, but this year's team is going to be brilliant. You both must be good, Wood was almost skipping when he told us."
"Anyway, we've got to go, Lee Jordan reckons he's found a new secret passage way out of the school."
"Bet it's that one behind the statue of Gregory the Smarmy that we found in our first week. See you."
Fred and George had hardly disappeared when someone far less welcome turned up: flanked by Crabbe and Goyle with Chelsey brining up the rear.
"Having a last meal, Potter? When are you getting the train back to the muggles?"
"We're both staying here, asshole," I snapped at him.
Crabbe and Goyle cracked their knuckles threateningly but could do no more with the High Table full of teachers. Chelsey glare me a glare of her own. I didn't care. There is only so much verbal abuse I'm willing to put up with.
Her blue eyed gaze fell on Jacob. "You," she hissed, "Who the hell let you in, monkey boy?"
Jacob ignored her favorite insulting name for him. "The same people that let you in here, buckteeth."
She turned red from fury at his insult. Whether Chelsey admitted it or not it was partially true, only her front teeth weren't as large as say Hermione's. "I suggest you shut up," Draco growled. Awe, how cute! He's defending his girlfriend. I think I'm going to be sick.
"You're a lot braver now that you're back on the ground and you've got your little friends with you," said Harry coolly to Malfoy.
"I'd take you on anytime on my own," said Malfoy. "Tonight, if you want. Wizard's duel. Wands only—no contact. What's the matter? Never heard of a wizards duel before, I suppose?"
"Of course he has," said Ron, wheeling around. "I'm his second, who's yours?"
Malfoy looked at his companions, sizing them up. "Chelsey," he said. "Midnight all right? We'll meet you in the trophy room; that's always unlocked."
When Malfoy had gone, we looked at each other.
"What is a Wizard's duel?" said Harry. "And what do you mean, you're my second?"
"Well, a second's there to take over if you die," said Ron casually, getting started at last on his cold pie. Catching the look on Harry's face, he added quickly, "But people only die in proper duels, you know, with real wizards. The most you and Malfoy'll be able to do is send sparks at each other. Neither of you knows enough magic to do any real damage. I bet he expected you to refuse anyway."
"And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?"
"Throw it away and punch him in the nose," Ron suggested.
"Kick him," I put in.
"Put him in a headlock and bodyslam him to the ground," said Jacob, getting into it.
We looked at him. "What?" he asked. "It works in wrestling."
I shook my head. "Only you, Jacob."
We looked up. It was Hermione Granger.
"Can't a person eat in peace in this place?" said Ron.
"I couldn't help overhearing what you and Malfoy were saying—"
"Bet you could," Ron muttered.
"—and you mustn't go wandering around the school at night, think of all the points you'll lose Gryffindor if you're caught, and you're bound to be. It's really very selfish of you."
"And it's really none of your business," said Harry.
"Good-bye," said Ron.
There was no need for Jacob or I to add anything.