Chapter Sixteen

Auhor's Note: Here, have another chapter! We're approaching the point I'd reached in my original set of rewrites. I've more or less decided to proceed forward through the rest of the story without doing further rewrites, as it's been languishing on my computer for three years or so, and I figured completeness was more important than marginal increases in quality. Which is to say, the original draft wasn't horrible, and the story is all there. So, yeah. Let's see if I can get this thing all posted, yeah?

Lily wasn't much of a sports fan, but she had been hearing about Quidditch for almost two months now, and she wanted to see what it was like for herself. Besides, Gryffindor was playing, and she wanted to show her support for her House.

Sev had begged off, saying he needed to catch up on work. Lily knew he was lying, because they always did their work together, but she didn't push him to come out to the match. If he didn't want to watch, she wasn't going to force him.

The weather had just started to get cool, even on a sunny Saturday like this one. Just perfect for the new red-and-gold hat her mother had sent in the mail last week. The stands were filled with a thrilling atmosphere, surrounded by all her fellow Gryffindors, a mass of cheering and shouting and the occasional jeer.

"Really, Gryffindor's got the better team this year. Slytherin lost their Seeker last year, so they'll have someone fresh to the team, while Gryffindor's all veterans of at least two seasons," Alice said from the seat next to Lily. Her roommate had gone over the top, in Lily's opinion, going so far as to get one of the seventh years to charm red streaks into her blond hair.

"You're going to have to explain everything to me," Lily said, watching the players warm up. She had enjoyed their flying lessons, but had only been passable at it. This, however, was absolutely amazing. The older students were flying at break-neck speeds and doing loop-the-loops and barrel rolls, and it was all completely fascinating for someone who had never thought people could really fly on broomsticks.

"It's easy once you watch for a bit. You'll want to keep an eye on the Seeker, of course, but that's not hard because Brady's an absolute doll, isn't he?" Marcia said from Alice's other side; both of her parents had gone to Hogwarts, but Marcia's grandparents had all been Muggles, so she at least had grown up knowing about things like Seekers and bludgers and Quidditch rules.

"Harper is so much better looking than Brady, even if he is a Slytherin," Alice said. "But Brady's the better flyer, and he's got the better broom. If Gryffindor loses today, it'll be because Slytherin's full of rotten losers and cheats."

"They're not all bad, you know," Lily said. Alice and Marcia exchanged a look, rolling their eyes.

"Maybe your boyfriend isn't, but the rest of them are a bunch of sneaks and liars," Alice said.

"It's not like that. Sev and I have been friends since forever. Besides, I'm eleven. I'm not old enough to have a boyfriend," Lily said.

"Keep thinking that, dear. Oh speaking of which, Alice, did you hear about Narcissa Black?" Marcia asked.

"What did she do this time?" Alice asked in return, only sounding halfway bored by the conversation.

"Oh, it wasn't anything she did. Of course everyone knows what her sister Andromeda did, getting engaged to that Muggleborn, but she was supposed to marry Lucius Malfoy. They've been betrothed for ages. So when Andromeda got disowned, he had to have someone to marry, and who in their right mind would want to marry Bellatrix?" Marcia said.

Lily was only half paying attention to the gossip; she had heard all these names before, but the Pureblood society just didn't interest her at all. Even though the game hadn't started yet, watching the two teams warm up was better than talking about other people's arranged marriages.

"He's going to marry Narcissa? But she's only a second year, and he's like, old!" Alice exclaimed, paying more attention now.

"I know! But you know how much the Malfoys wanted to give themselves a boost, and what better way than marrying a Black? Doesn't matter which one, really. Oh, speaking of Blacks, though, Sirius isn't so bad looking, is he?"

Alice crinkled her nose at Marcia. "He's not very nice, though, is he? And he and James are always going at it. They're going to get the rest of us in trouble one of these days."

"Well, he's better than James is, anyway. Look at him down there, he thinks he's so special because they let him pick up after them and clean all their gear. Oh, but that prank Sirius played on him the other day!" Marcia lowered her voice just a little and did a fairly good impression of their classmate. "'What's the matter, Potter? Crotch rot?' I don't think I even want to know what that is!"

"Oh, enough of that, the match is about to start!" Lily said, pointing towards where Mr. Harris, the flying instructor, was moving to the center of the pitch. It was an effective way to get both of her roommates to stop gossiping, though.

"Welcome to the first Quidditch match of the year, Gryffindor Lions versus Slytherin Snakes! This is Katherine Bloodsaw, announcing!"

Lily watched the two teams streak onto the field, barely more than green and red blurs. She could barely hear the announcer any more as all of the Gryffindors around her started cheering.

"And they're off! Gryffindor leads strong with the Quaffle, moving up the field towards the Slytherin goal posts, where Keeper Archie Davies is lying in wait!" She let the atmosphere sweep her away and joined in the clapping and shouting as Gryffindor scored the first points of the game. Fifteen minutes later, when Slytherin scored, she booed along with everyone else.

The fast-paced action and nerve-wracking moves that the players were making was all so thrilling. One of the Slytherin Beaters had fouled one of the Gryffindor Chasers at one point, hitting him with his bat. Lily's blood had boiled, but Gryffindor scored another goal on the penalty; the Chaser had seemed fine, too, as he zipped down the field and scored another goal only moments later, setting the green-and-silver portion of the crowd to booing while the Gryffindor supporters all cheered and screamed.

The match finally ended after two grueling hours, the Gryffindor Seeker barely getting the Snitch before his Slytherin counterpart. Lily had screamed herself hoarse, but it had certainly been worth it. She didn't think she would ever play Quidditch, but it was lots of fun to watch.

"Party in the Common Room!" one of the seventh years shouted to the Gryffindors. Lily recognized him as the brother of Gideon Prewett, who was the Keeper on the team, but she didn't know his name.

It didn't much matter, as she was swept away with the crowd back towards the castle. She had homework to do still, but she figured it wouldn't hurt to spend at least a little time helping to congratulate the team...