Chapter 11- The day Before
Hello again to all of my readers, its been eight months since I last updated, but I have not given up this story. Recently my life has been so busy and I have not had the time or inspiration to write. But nontheless, I will not give up this story, this one takes place the day before Quidditch tryouts. I do hope you enjoy and as always, leave a review!
*Disclaimer*- Please note that all quotes marked with a star came DIRECTLY from chapter ten (pages 194-216) in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I do not own these quotes in any way, shape, or form, all of the rights belong to JK Rowling, I am merely referencing them in my story. No copyright infringement is intended.
I'll never get this done! Ron thought, struggling with essay on The Principles of Amortentia. Much to his dismay, the amount of work he had was even greater than last year and the lessons themselves were getting even more complicated. He glanced over at Hermione and Harry sitting beside him in the Gryffindor common room and saw that Hermione was nearly finished. Harry was still working on his fourth paragraph.
"Its five to eight, I'm going to be late for my meeting with Dumbledore," Harry said.
"Ooh!" said Hermione, looking up from her essay at once. "Good luck! We'll wait up, we want to hear what he teaches you!"*
Harry gathered his books together quickly.
"Hope it goes okay," Ron said as Harry was gathering his books together.* "And don't worry, I'll take your books upstairs.
Harry nodded. "Thanks, I'm about to be late as it is."
Ron watched him jog out of the Common Room, then turn back to his essay and sighed. He knew he was never going to get it done by tomorrow, there were just too many other things on his mind. Quidditch tryouts were coming up fast and Ron knew that if he wanted to make the team this year, he would have to perform much better in the tryouts than last year.
"Ron, snap out of it!" said Hermione, noticing that he was staring blankly outside the window, apparently in deep thought. She glanced over at his essay and saw that he barely had anything done. How typical, she thought dryly.
Ron scowled and turned his attention back to his work, still thinking about the upcoming tryouts. He was struggling with potions in particular this year, even with Snape abandoning his post. He was becoming increasingly reliant on the mysterious potions book that Harry had received at the start of the term.
"Ron, what's wrong?" she asked cautiously.
Hermione thought that it was best to leave it at that and turned to her nearly completed essay on the Principles of Amortentia. She read over her work again, double-checking to make sure that it was completely accurate.
While Amortentia can't actually create love, it creates a deep obsession. The rose petals combined with a hair will make the said person seem much more attractive to the person who took the potion….
Feeling satisfied, she put away her quill and rolled up her parchment. While she was enjoying the new material that they were being taught, she still resented Harry beating her every class because of his new potion book.
Ron was still struggling with his essay however. "Hermione?" he asked, looking over his assignment again.
"Yes?" she answered, not looking up from her work, though she knew what Ron was going to ask from the tone of his voice.
"Can you help me with this?"
"Honestly Ronald. You do know that you'll never learn anything if I keep on doing your work for you?" she replied, looking slightly exasperated, but moving closer to Ron to see what he had wrote already.
Amortentia can't create love, no substance on earth can. However, Amortentia creates a deep infatuation, making it seem like the taker is really in love. The essential ingredients to Amortentia are one hair and one rose thorn. These combined ingredients will create the artificial obsession. It is very important to add the two ingredients at the end however. Adding them at the beginning will have disastrous consequences for the drinker….
"Ron, this isn't half-bad," she said, reading over the rest of his work. "Just remember that Amortentia requires rose petals, not thorns, and that the hair should be added at the end, but the rose petals should be added in the beginning."
"Always the tone of surprise," Ron said grumpily.
"Honestly Ronald, if you just try, you're not a terrible student."
"C'mon Hermione, you know that I'll never be as brilliant as you are in schoolwork."
He still thinks of me as nothing but a library resource. Yes, he just complimented me, but he still thinks I'm brilliant at just schoolwork. She looked up at the clock and yawned, feeling tired even though it was still pretty early.
"I'm going up to bed," she announced, gathering up her things and walking off.
"Wait," Ron called out.
Hermione turned back to him. "Yes?"
"I . . . um . . . thanks," he said as the tips of his ears turned bright red.
"You know, for all the help and for putting up with me."
Hermione managed a smile despite herself. "I never have to put up with you Ron," she said, and disappeared up the stairs into the Girls' dormitory.
Just as Ron was finishing his essay, the portrait door opened and Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil stepped inside, talking in hushed tones.
Ron looked up from his work and was rather surprised to see them, as the two friends usually hung around the Great Hall until curfew. He was even more surprised when they made their way to the table next to him, still talking in whispers and glancing over occasionally.
Shrugging slightly, he turned back to his essay. It was late at night now and Ron's eyes were starting to feel heavy. Slowly, he fell asleep.
Ron was in the Quidditch pitch in his gear. How did I get here, he thought.
"You ready mate?" asked Harry. "Tryouts are about to start, you almost didn't make it on time."
Ron didn't remember putting on his gear. "How did I get here?"
"What are you talking about, you came down with me and Hermione. Look. she's in the stands," Harry said, pointing her out amongst the throng of students gathered to watch the tryouts.
Ron looked at where Harry was pointing and saw her, next to Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil. He felt like he was going to throw up at any moment.
"You alright there?" asked a burly Seventh Year.
Ron looked up at the imposing figure. He had an athletic frame and seemed built to play keeper.
"Yeah just fine," lied Ron.
"It looked like you ate a pound of doxy eggs, I know from personal experience," he grinned slightly. "I would have tried out for the team last year if I didn't."
Ron's nerves increased even more. "Really? What position are you trying out for?"
"Keeper, and you?"
"Keeper," replied Ron nervously. I have to go against him? He looks like he can block all three goal posts without moving, he thought.
"Ah Cormac, I see you've made it," said Harry, shaking his hand.
"Wait— you two know each other?"
"Yeah, we met on the train. I told you didn't I?" Harry said.
Suddenly, he remembered Harry mentioning a Quidditch player that was in Slughorn's compartment with him. "Oh year," he muttered, "must've forgotten."
"Well, good luck to the two of you, I have to begin tryouts. You can wait over there with the other keepers," Harry said, pointing to a spot close to where Hermione was sitting.
"Right," said Cormac, walking to where Harry had pointed.
Ron followed Cormac, struggling to keep up with his powerful strides.
As they arrived to their assigned spots, the chasers took the pitch. After a lengthy tryout, which lasted nearly an hour, the new chasers were chosen.
Ron knew that his sister would make the team; he had been playing with her the entire summer. Demzela Robbins, a fourth year and Katie Bell also made the team. As the chasers dismounted their brooms, Cormac turned to him.
"And we have to go against these amateurs? It seems like the quality of players has gone down," he remarked nastily.
Ron clenched his broom tightly. "Yeah? Well we'll see about that," he muttered. Although he argued with his sister, he was still fiercely protective of her.
As the beaters took the pitch, he noticed that the crowd had gotten slightly bigger, as people were finishing their breakfast. He turned around and saw Hermione watching intently. She noticed him and gave a slight wave, but her eyes were not on him, they were focused on Cormac.
Ron's eyes narrowed slightly as he watched Cormac wave back. Scowling, he turned to watch the beaters take the pitch. Although the trial was shorter, time seemed to drag on infinitely for Ron. Finally, it was time for the Keepers to take the pitch.
Ron looked around, seeing a third year nervously picking at the bristles on his broom. Two fourth years were talking nervously amongst themselves and a second year – looked like he just puked on himself. Then there was Cormac and himself. If he could just beat the bloke, the others would be no problem."
The stadium was positively packed now, stretching Ron's nerves even further. It was midday and mostly everyone had finished eating and the rejected players still mulled around.
"Okay keepers, fly a few rounds around the pitch first," Harry said, hovering above the small group.
Easy enough, thought Ron as he mounted this broom. He glanced over at Cormac, who looked bored. Git, he thought as he kicked off the ground and soared into the air.
After a few basic drills, Harry stopped the group and said, "Alright then. Now here is the main part of the tryout. Each person will be lined up alphabetically. The chasers will shoot five penalty shots. Whoever saves the most goals will become the keeper. First Up is Scott Bennet."
Ron watched as each keeper went. None of the first few applicants saved more than a few goals.
Finally, it was Cormac's turn. Ron clenched the handle of his broomstick so hard that his knuckles were white. He watched as Cormac saved all five goals.
As the next few applicants went, Ron turned a shade of green. He felt like he was going to throw up. Finally, it was his turn.
"Good luck!" cried a voice from the stands. Ron turned around to see that it was Hermione. His stomach gave a nasty lurch as he approached the goalposts to face the first penalty shot.
Demzla Robbins approached him slowly at first, picking up speed as she got closer and fired a shot to the right that Ron easily saved.
So far, so good, thought Ron as Katie Bell approached him. He saved the next two shots with ease.
The stadium was hushed. If Ron saves the next shot, he would become the keeper. He had preformed slightly better than Cormac in the speed drills because he was slightly more agile.
The tension was at a breaking point as every eye was glued on Ron. Taking a deep breath, he tried to calm himself. He would be facing his sister, the best chaser on the team.
As if in slow motion, Ginny approached Ron, faking right and shooting right down the middle instead.
Ron fell for the trap and seconds later, it was all over. He had failed. He landed roughly on the ground immediately, hot tears stinging his eyes. It seemed that he failed at everything, always second best.
Gradually the noise of the crowd died away, but he stumbled on, determined to get as far away as possible.
He thought back to the moments before he missed. He knew that it was a fake, but for some reason, he still fell for it. Letting his anger lash out, he kicked a nearby tree, nearly breaking his toe.
Through tears of disappointment and pain, he knew that he had let down his family. He was supposed to be from a family of good Quidditch players, it was supposed to come naturally to him! Charlie was regarded to be one of the best players that Gryffindor had ever seen; he could have even played for England if he wanted to. Fred and George were considered to be the best Gryffindor beaters, but for some reason, he could not live up to everyone's expectations.
Ron also knew that he had let down Hermione too. Part of the reason why he even tried out was to somehow impress her, to make her proud of him, but only now did he realize how foolish and childish he was. To think he actually thought that getting on the team would make Hermione more interested in him! What did he expect? That he was suddenly going to become irresistible just because he could save a few goals?
Ron knew that he was nothing but a failure, last year should have proven that. Slowly, he turned back to the castle, his head hung in shame….
Ron was woken by sound of the door opening. Alarmed, he scrambled for his wand, but it was just Harry coming back from his meeting with Dumbledore.
"You alright, mate?" Harry asked, noticing Ron's pale and sweaty face.
"Yeah— just brilliant." Ron stowed away his wand inside his pocket and straightening out his ruffled hair. "How'd your meeting with Dumbledore go?"
Briefly, Harry told Ron about everything he saw in the pensive with Dumbledore. "Don't tell anyone else but Hermione," he added urgently.
"Of course not," promised Ron. The dream was temporarily forgotten. "So he's teaching you about You-Know-Who's past instead."
Harry nodded, and pointed and to Ron's essay. "You're still not done that?" he said.
"Dozed off," muttered Ron, thinking about his dream.
"Yeah, I figured, you looked like me when I had a nightmare last year."
Ron grunted in response.
Harry raised a knowing eyebrow. "It was about the Quidditch trials tomorrow wasn't it?"
"So what if it was?"
Harry put a comforting hand on Ron's shoulder. "Listen mate, you're the best keeper in the school if you just keep your nerves intact. You'll do fine," he said for what seemed like the thousandth time this week. "What happened last year does not count for anything."
Ron grunted again in response.
Harry sighed in frustration. "Look, I'm heading up to bed, but I recommend you get some sleep for tomorrow. Who knows, you might get lucky," he said, a plan brewing in his mind. He knew how he was going to get Ron to win. Without another word, he headed upstairs, leaving Ron behind.
Ron followed shortly afterwards, after finishing his essay without paying much attention to what he was writing. After he packed up his things and went upstairs, he fell into an uneasy sleep, dreaming of the tryouts tomorrow.
Author's note- The next chapter will either be during or after the quidditch tryouts in Hermione's pov. Again, I will see when I can next update but hopefully sooner!