Healers and Quidditch Players
"Good job tonight, guys - lets call it a night!"
A little relieved, Harry floated to the ground with the rest of his Hufflepuff teammates. It was their last practice before their first Quidditch game tomorrow, and to tell the truth, Harry was nervous beyond belief. He didn't want to mess up in front of the entire school, plus he really wanted to win.
"Gather around, people," said Laini with the clap of her hands. "Alright, that was a great practice tonight, you all did amazing - except for you, Beau, work on your aim," she said to one of the Beaters, who had accidentally sent a Bludger at her while she was talking to the Keeper, almost knocking her off the broom in her attempt to dodge it. "Please don't do that tomorrow."
The teen rolled his eyes. "I can't it help it if I got a bit... distracted." He shot a look at the Chaser leaning against him, Alex, who blew him a kiss with a wink. His boyfriend Alex was wicked fast, but a bit of a goof, and was mostly the reason Beau had sent the Bludger flying.
"For the love of - just go shag each other tonight and try not to get too "distracted" tomorrow," snapped Laini, earning cheers and laughter from the rest of the team.
"Language, Laini, there are children here," said the other Beater, Zuzana, with mock horror as she placed her hands over Harry's ears, though he could still hear perfectly well as Alex agreed wholeheartedly with idea and tried pull Alex down for a kiss. She was very tiny, only slight bigger then Harry, but she could hit a Bludger just as well as Beau could even though she looked more like a ballerina then a Quidditch player. She was also trying to be a mother figure to Harry since he was the youngest person on the team.
"Break it up, Alex - no, I don't want a kiss, I don't care if you're technically like girls too!" Lightly pushing away a pouting Alex, Laini turned to their Keeper. "How are you feeling, Tatiana? Better?"
The quiet girl nodded, sniffling. Tatiana had a panic attack earlier after failing to keep any of the goals out, but they all knew it was because it was just pre-match jitters, she did fine at any other practice.
"And good job, Cedric," Laini said as she patted the Chaser on the back. While Harry was the youngest on the team, Cedric Diggory was the newest, joining a couple weeks after Harry did. "With you and Harry, I think we actually have a shot at winning the Cup. Do you realize how long it's been since we've won the Quidditch Cup?"
"Fifteen years!" chimed out the rest of the team in unison.
"Exactly! Gods, I can't wait to rub that Cup in Oliver Woods face," Laini said with a wicked grin. "Now go get some rest, we've got a big day tomorrow!"
After a quick shower, Harry slowly made his way back to the castle, the broom hoisted over his shoulder as he took in the early winter evening. Even though it was only the first weekend of November, and only two days after Halloween, there was still faint hints of frost on the ground from the cold morning, and even the lake was starting to ice over. Even Harry, use to running in the dead of winter, was slightly chilled after flying around in the cold wind for a few hours.
Still, Harry decided to sit on a bench in the courtyard and pulled out Quidditch Through the Ages. Susan had suggest he get it from the library - and Harry learned that there were seven hundred ways of committing a Quidditch foul and that all of them had happened during a World Cup match in 1473; Seekers were usually the smallest and fastest players, and that most serious Quidditch accidents seemed to happen to them; that although people rarely died playing Quidditch, there had been cases were referees had been known to vanish and turn up months later in the Sahara Desert. It was a really interesting read.
"What have you got there, Potter?"
Looking up from his book, Harry came face to face with Snape, who looked like he was going to be ill, paler then normal and the circles under his eyes almost black. "It's Quidditch Through the Ages, sir," he answered. He inhaled and exhaled deeply, his breath turning white in the cold. Something was wrong, the air smelled... tainted. And was he imagining it, or was Snape limping?
"Ah - getting ready for tomorrow's game." Snape gave a short nod. "That's all and well, Potter, but remember, library books are not to leave..." His eyes fluttered. "Library books..."
"Sir?" Harry stood up in a panic as Snape started to sway. "Sir, what's wrong?"
"Damn it," Snape cursed, and as he started to lean towards the right, he winced, glancing at his leg. "I need to... hospital wing..." And then he crumpled to the earth in a dead faint, landing with a thud into the frost covered lawn.
"Professor!" Harry knelt next to him and pushed him onto his back, shaking him as he did. "Professor Snape?" When he didn't get an answer, he pressed his ear to the older man's chest, and muttered a thanks to Mother Moon that he was still alive at least. He sniffed at the man's body and touched his forehead - something was wrong with him to make him faint, what was it?
"He's sick," Harry muttered under his breath. He couldn't tell what it was, but something was affecting Snape. He glanced around - everyone was probably already in the Common Rooms, it was getting late. The same for the rest of the teachers, they were probably all in their rooms. But he had to get help.
Stuffing all his things in his bag and shoving it under the bench, Harry lifted the up half of Snape's body, grunting in effort as he leaned the potions master against the bench. It wasn't much, but at least he was upright. After making sure he was upright, Harry raced into castle.
And the moment he was past the door, Harry shifted into the wolf mid-stride, all four paws hitting the stone floor silently. While he knew the risk of being seen, he was much faster as a wolf then he was as a eleven year old boy, and there was no time to waste. Thankfully, it seemed, like he suspected, everyone was getting ready to retire for the evening.
The hospital wing was at the other side of the castle, which he had only been to once when Professor Sprout insisted that everyone have an examination during the first week of school. And even though it was probably only five minutes, it felt like forever before Harry skidded to a halt in front of its closed doors. Shifting back with a wince, Harry pounded on the door with his fist. "Madam Pomfrey!" he called out. "Madam Pomfrey!"
There was a scuffle on the other side of the door, and the door cracked open a moment later to reveal a confused Madam Pomfrey. "What do you think you're doing, Mr. Potter, it's nearly ten 'o' clock -"
"Professor Snape collapsed on the lawn," rushed Harry, earning a wide eyed look from the nurse. "He just fainted!"
Opening the door wider, Pomfrey came out of the hospital wing with wand in hand. "Lead me to him, Mr. Potter."
The same path seemed to take longer without transforming, but finally he got Pomfrey to Snape, who hadn't moved. Kneeling in front of him, the nurse waved her wand, and after a long minute frowned. "He's sick," she said, the same thing Harry had said only fifteen minutes ago. "Stupid man, won't even come to me when he's sick." Standing up, she gave her wand another wave, and Snape floated off the ground, hovering in the air as if he was laying on an invisible stretcher. "Thank you, Mr. Potter, I will take it from here."
"I want to help," said Harry, earning another surprised look from Madam Pomfrey as he grabbed his bag and broom from under the bench. "I was taught by my family's healer, and helped with her patients. Please, I can do it, ma'am."
"... Fine," said Pomfrey, much to her own surprise. "I only say this because my assistant is already off for the day, and I don't mind the help. Come along, Mr. Potter, lets see what we can do for Professor Snape."
Fifteen minutes later, Snape was stretched out on one of the infirmary beds, with Madam Pomfrey apparently running more test with slow movements of her wand over his still body. "What are you thinking, Mr. Potter?" she asked.
"Fever?" suggested Harry. "He was hot to the touch."
"It appears so, a rather bad one though - he's probably been ignoring it all day." Clicking her tongue, Pomfrey watched as he wand gave off sparks, numbers appearing among them. "Thirty eight degrees - I'm surprise he was even walking." She turned to him. "We'll need to cool him down. Fetch a bowl of cold water and a towel, please."
Nodding, Harry did as he was told. When he turned, Pomfrey directed him to the other side of the bed. "For the time being, wipe his forehead while I decided what to give him for the fever." She was about to turn, but paused, looking back at him. "I'm interested, what would you suggest, Mr. Potter?"
"White willow tea?" answered Harry hesitantly. Arianna usually gave it to younger patients with peppermint or cinnamon who didn't like taking the stronger, less flavorful, treatments.
Looking a little impressed, Madam Pomfrey went to a nearby cabinet and started searching through her potions. Harry took a wet cloth and dabbed at the potions master forehead, dotted with sweat. After a few minutes of that, Snape's eyes fluttered open, and though it took a bit of effort, turned his head towards the younger student. "Potter," he said lowly. "Where am I?"
"The infirmary, sir," Harry informed him. "You collapsed outside."
Groaning, Snape closed his eyes again. "I am fine, Mr. Potter, leave me be," he moaned.
"You are anything but fine, Severus," said Madam Pomfrey as she strode over, shaking her head as Snape turned his own head towards her. "You must have had this fever for at least two days, and since you clearly are not taking care of yourself, I will have to do it for you. Can you sit up?"
With a brief pause, Snape managed to push himself up slightly, through the mountain of pillows placed him by Pomfrey helped. "What do you plan on doing to me?" he asked with a slight growl.
"Get you feeling up to speed," said Pomfrey as she held out a teacup to him. "Drink this."
Warily, Snape took the teacup and sniffed it before raising an eyebrow. "And pray tell, what is this?"
"White willow tea with chamomile," said Pomfrey, giving Harry a slight nod. "Mr. Potter suggested it."
"And we are to follow the advice of an eleven year old?" drawled Snape.
"Only when the eleven year old is right," shot back Madam Pomfrey without hesitation. "Now drink up, that should bring down your fever for the moment. What were you think, Severus, ignoring a illness like that! You should be glad Mr. Potter was with you, or you could have been out in the cold till morning, and who knows what would have happened."
Preoccupying himself for a moment by sipping the tea, Snape answered, "I've been taking care of myself, Poppy, I know my own body, and it's not that bad."
"Well then your body is lying to you," said Pomfrey sarcastically. "My test tells me that your leg is flaring with pain, what did you do?"
"Nothing," Snape snapped, glancing at Harry.
"Lying to me again - be careful, or I might accidentally insists on spending the next week in the infirmary, and you know Dumbledore won't say no." Ignoring Snape's protest, she pulled up his robe to show off his right leg, and let out a gasp. "Severus - what have you done?"
The entire calf of his leg was covered badly with bandages, all of them tinted red. Carefully, Madam Pomfrey peeled back some of the bandages. The wounds, though not new, were still bloody and mangled, like he had been bitten by something with very large teeth. "It's nothing," insisted Snape through gritted teeth, wincing in pain as more bandages were peeled back.
"Harry, bring me the water and fetch more towels - first we need to clean the wounds," said Pomfrey, slipping into a professional mood. "Not afraid of blood, are you?"
Shaking his head, Harry did as he was told. Where had Snape gotten a wound like that? It looked like he'd been attacked by something large, and the only thing he knew big enough to leave that big a mark... was Fluffy.
He glanced back at Snape, who was trying to dismiss Pomfrey fussing over him. He had seen Snape go towards the third floor just days before, when he was suppose to be in the dungeons with the other teachers - had he tried to get past Fluffy and failed? And did he know what the three-headed dog was guarding?
Helping Madam Pomfrey clean, treat, and redress Snape's wound, Harry fell into a comfortable routine that he hadn't had since he left home. He was used to helping with this, ever since Arianna took him under her wing and having help with everything from common colds to more serious injuries. Though this was a bit different - Harry more used to salves and brews to potions, but he caught on quickly to which one was which, the smells not much different.
"Where did you learn to do all this, Potter?" Snape asked Harry curiously as he wrapped a new bandage around Snape's propped up leg, ignoring the fact that this was not just a patient, but his Potions teacher.
"Our clan healer made me her assistant after I was officially adopted into the clan," said Harry with a shrug, speaking freely since Pomfrey was in the other room, gathering a potion to fight off any infection. "Even though werewolves heal faster then normal, sometimes they need help speeding up the process - especially when they love getting into fights ever other day."
"Are you interested in a career as a healer?"
"Maybe," said Harry after a moment, tying up the ends. "But I don't know." It was a big decision for an eleven year old, plus Morgan was already going to become the next healer when Arianna decided to step down. Still, he wouldn't mind, maybe there was a way to become one in the wizarding world.
"Good work, Mr. Potter," said Madam Pomfrey as she came back to hand a vial of white liquid to Snape, which he downed without a word. "I see a future for you as a healer - and you are more then welcome to come help here anytime. And you," the nurse turned to Snape with narrowed eyes, "are to stay off that leg as much as possible for at least a week. I don't care that I could fix it in a jiff with magic," she said as Snape tried to talk. "As it happens I can't - your injury was coated with a thin layer of magic that will prevent it from being healed right off. What did you say attacked you?"
"I didn't," growled Snape.
"Well, then take a cane for when you're on your feet and you're good to go. Mr. Potter, thank you for your help, but I suspect it's time for you to head off to bed. Go on," Pomfrey when Harry sighed. "And have a good night."
As Harry said his own good night and turned to leave, Snape called out his name, stopping him before he could go through the doors and forcing him to look back. "I would... appreciate it," he said that part with gritted teeth, "if you didn't tell anyone about this. Is that clear?"
"Uh, yes, sir," Harry said quickly before rushing out of the infirmary and down to the Hufflepuff Common Room to do the exact opposite.
"Are you serious?"
Standing up from the chair at Harry's desk, Susan paced, her hands quickly busying themselves by braiding her hair while Harry and Neville sat on their own beds. He had managed to get another Hufflepuff girl in the Common Room to fetch Susan from her rooms, and they gathered with Neville in the boys' bedroom. He had just finished telling them about Snape, his injury, and his suspicions.
"So that means we were right," Susan said as she finished the braid, quickly undid it, and the started over again. "Snape was heading up to the third floor on Halloween, but it looks like he couldn't get past Fluffy, that's a relief at least. But this still brings up the question what is Fluffy guarding that is so important that the Professor risked his life for it?"
"What was that name that Hagrid told us... Nick something?" mused Harry. "We never looked into that."
"Nicolas Flamel," said Susan offhandedly.
"Do we have to get into this again?" Neville asked with a sigh. "I thought we were going to forget about it."
"It's different now, Neville," Susan said, rounding towards him with wide eyes as her hands still fluttered about to finish her half-done braid. "Obviously whatever is behind that door is worth dying for, or worse, worth killing for. It could be something to make him very rich, or very powerful, or even both. Can you image what Snape, or anybody really, could do with that?"
"But what if we just let Dumbledore handle it?" pointed out Neville.
"He can't be everywhere at once," Harry answered. "I mean, how often have you seen him out and about except at dinner time? Plus, do you really think he'd believe us if we told him Snape is trying to steal... whatever it is... right under his nose?"
Neville didn't answer that, just sighed and placed his head in his hands.
"We need to figure out what we're dealing with first," said Susan, nodding as she finished her braid. "Find out what it is, and what else might be guarding it,"
"You think there's more then just Fluffy?" asked Harry with surprise.
"Well if it was me, I'd put more then just a giant dog to guard whatever was so important to me," said Susan with a shrug, fiddling with the ends of her braid until she just decided to start all over again. "I mean, what if someone got past Fluffy? I don't know how, but I'm sure it can't take them too long to find out - and with Snape, the right kind of potion, one that gives off noxious fumes or something incredible strong to knock it out. It would have to a specific one, though, because I'm pretty sure three-headed dogs are immune to most poisons."
"So unless he's an expert in giant three-headed dogs, whatever it's guarding is safe for now," said Harry slowly.
"How do we figure out what it is, though?" asked Neville.
"Nicolas Flamel," repeated Susan. "We'll have to do the research that we've put off for the last month and a half. We need to find who he is, and what's he's got or done that is so important. He has to be in one of the library books, I think narrowed down to books written in at least the last fifty years, since we're pretty sure he's still alive."
"The last fifty years?" said Neville with a faint look on his face. "That's still going to be a lot of work."
"To bad we don't have a computer," sighed Harry, remembering his uncle going on the machines that in the future were suppose to make things easier for everyone but were probably going to take hard working jobs and control people's minds, and earned a pair of funny looks from the two Purebloods in the room.
"A what?" said Neville with a frown.
"Never mind," said Harry, waving it away. "So when do we start?"
"I guess after tomorrow's game," sighed Susan. "Oh! We should let you get to bed, Harry, you're going to need the rest!"
"I'm fine," said Harry, though in truth his stomach was in knots. He didn't want to sleep in fear that he might oversleep, or that he would wake up and find out the whole thing was a dream.
Rolling her eyes at him, Susan pointed at the bed. "Sleep, now."
"Yes, ma'am," said Harry teasingly as he crawled into bed, even as he stifled back a yawn. He was surprised when Susan grabbed a spare blanket from the foot of his bed and made a "move" motion with her hand.
"Push over, and make roon."
"Are you sure you're suppose to be staying the night here?" asked Neville nervously as Harry did as he was told with a shrug.
"I'm too tired to go back to my room, plus I might wake up Hannah. It's past her bedtime, and she gets cranky if I wake her by accident," said Susan as she crawled on top of the blankets, covering herself with the spare and pulling some under her head for a makeshift pillow. She was almost pressed right up Harry, but really he wasn't bothered by it - Morgan used to sleep with him all the time when she was younger, not long after mother disappeared on a lone hunt. "Why do you think I was on the couch on the night we found Fluffy? And don't worry," she finished with a loud yawn and in a mumble. "I don't like you guys that way."
"Whats 'that way'?" asked Harry in a whisper, but Neville shrugged.
"I'll tell you when you're older," mumbled Susan, a grin on her face. "Now turn out the light and go to sleep."
With a flicker of the light going out and Neville crawling into his own bed, the trio slept soundly through the night, Harry most surprised of them all when he found himself well rested the next morning, waking up before his clock could have the chance.
But his nerves came back at breakfast - Harry barely touching butter toast as everyone else chatted around him, excited about the first game of the school year. Apparently usually Gryffindor and Slytherin held the spot for the first match of the season, but half of the Gryffindor team had gotten sick with something a week before, and apparently it was till the one thing wizards didn't have a magical, miracle cure for. But he wasn't going to dwell on it today.
"Don't be nervous, Harry," said George Weasley the twins stepped up the the Hufflepuff table, looking rather cheerful. "You're going to kick Ravenclaws feathery butt."
"Or at least we hope so," remarked Fred. "We bet two Galleons on you."
"You both have to stop betting on me," said Harry dryly. "How do you even know I'm even playing?"
"We just know things. Oh, and speaking of our brother, Ronald -"
"We weren't speaking of Ron, Freddie, -"
"I think you shall be seeing the result of your little tip in just a moment," said Fred with a wink just as the post came in, owls streaming in through the open windows and fluttering to the students. Harry was a little disappoint not to see a letter from his mum, but George grabbed his attention, poking him in the cheek.
"Cover your ears," advised George while he and his brother did just that, glancing at the Gryffindor table.
"RONALD WEASLEY!" A screeching voice pierced through the babble of the excited students, and flinching, Harry covered his ears along with several others while everyone turned to look at the Gryffindor table. The younger red-headed Weasley was sitting shell-shocked in his seat while a bright red envelope hovered in front of him, continuing to scream at him.
"WHAT IS THIS I'M HEARING OF YOU BULLYING FELLOW STUDENTS?! ONE OF THEM YOUR HOUSEMATES?! I RAISED YOU BETTER THEN THAT! YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE, RONALD, AND YOUR FATHER AND I ARE SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU! I'VE WRITTEN TO MCGONAGALL ABOUT YOUR BEHAVIOR, AND JUST WAIT TILL YOU COME HOME FOR WINTER BREAK! AND IF I HEAR YOU ARE CONTINUING THIS BEHAVIOR, I WILL COME DOWN TO HOGWARTS MYSELF TO GIVE YOU SUCH A SMACK!" The voice dropped in volume as Ron stared at the letter with wide eyes, blinking every so often like an owl. "Tell your brothers to behave, and Ginny says hello. See you all at Christmas. Love you, signed, Mum."
Then the letter started to tear itself apart, until it was just a tiny pile of red and white paper on the table. Ron stood abruptly from the table and ran out of the Great Hall, the tips of ears turning red and clashing with his hair as everyone stared after him before starting to talk again.
Harry removed his hands from his ears. "What the bloody hell was that?"
"A Howler," said Neville with surprise. "Whoa."
"You told your mum?" Harry said, turning to the twins who were grinning.
"Well we did tell you -"
"That we would cake care of it."
"Don't worry, we didn't tell her you were the one to tell us about him bullying." Fred paused as another owl landed in front of Harry, looking rather tired from its large box. "Alright, we did, but don't tell Ron that."
Curious, Harry picked ff the note attached to the top and read, "Thank you, Harry, for informing my sons about Ron's rude behavior. I hope he didn't bother you. And I am so glad to hear your in Hogwarts, I knew your mother and father well. Please feel free to come over whenever you'd like. Molly Weasley."
Opening the package, Harry was surprised to see a large amount of homemade biscuits, and suddenly hungry, he shoved one into his mouth. "This is good," mumbled Harry with his mouth full. He swallowed. "Tell your mom I said thanks!"
"We will!" said the twins in unison before slapping him together on the back. "And break a leg!"
"Please tell me they didn't mean that literally," said Neville faintly as the twins swaggered off and Harry scarfed down another cookie, and Susan rolled her eyes before explaining the term, and that no, Fred and George didn't not really want Harry to break his leg.
And then Harry was heading off to the changing rooms - it was almost time.
While Harry tried to get on his yellow and black uniform, which including thick pads which straps that were impossible without the tiny and quick fingers of Zuzana helping him, Laini stood up and cleared her throat, gaining everyone attention.
"Alright ladies and gents, this is it!" Laini started to pace. "This is the first match of the season -and this time we actually have a chance to win the Quidditch Cup, for the first time in -"
"Fifteen years!" chimed out everyone else.
"Right! So everyone, get out there and kick some Ravenclaw -"
"Players, one minute!" called out the voice of Madam Hooch, magically enhanced so that everyone could hear them, and everyone scrambled up to get into the line directed by Laini - who was at the very front as Captain, while Harry stood behind her as Seeker.
"And don't worry, Harry," said Alex teasingly from behind him. "We'll still love you even if you fail - OW! Baby, what was that for, I said we'd still love him!"
"You'll do fine," said Laini more reassuringly, "and if anything, you'll do better then Gryffindors Captain, Wood, in his first match."
"What happened to him?" asked Harry.
"I may have accidentally sent a Bludger that knocked him in the head pretty bad in the first few minutes of the match," piped up Zuzana. "He didn't wake up for three days, and doesn't remember a thing!"
"Players, to the field!"
As Harry followed Laini out of the dressing rooms and onto the field, he stared up in awe at the hundreds of students cheered for the entering teams, waving flags of yellow and blue. As another voice rattled off the names of the players, everyone cheered even louder when it was revealed that Harry, that Harry, was playing today.
"I want a nice, clean game today," said Hooch as the Captains shook hands and then everyone mounted their brooms. Harry was across from a dark haired girl, who blushed and waved at him. He thought her name was Cho Chang, a second year and also a new Seeker, along with being the only girl on the team.
Everyone pushed off the ground and flew into the air, hovering about thirty feet above the ground. Harry glanced around at the stands, and almost immediately caught sight of Susan and Neville in the Hufflepuff stands, holding up a sign that they must have just made, which read; "BREAK A LEG, HARRY!"
A sharp whistle brought Harry's attention back to the game, just catching the Snitch being released before it speed off to hide, and a minute later the Quaffle was tossed into the air, signaling that the match had begun. And they were off!
"And the Quaffle is taken almost immediately by Laini Tyler, team captain of Hufflepuff - what an excellent Chaser that girl is! She's rather attractive, too - "
As Lee Jordan, one of the Weasleys twins friends, narrated the game with Professor McGonagall trying to keep him in line, Harry tried to block it out while searching the field for a glint of gold. Laini told him to fovus only on that and staying safely out of the way, mentioning that last year they Ravenclaws sent their Seeker to the infirmary with a "stray" Bludger. That and only to catch the Snitch after they'd reached fifty points or had a real chance of losing.
But there was so much going on around him, his teammates and their opposition flying around him, the cheers of the crowd and everything that Jordan said blaring into the air. Too much noise. And his eyes were started to water from the strain of staring out into the distance, looking for something so tiny in an area so big.
"And Tyler passes to the newest addition of her team, Cedric Diggory, one of two, I hear. He passes it back - and Ravenclaws Roger Davies, also a new addition to the team, steals the Quaffle and he's off -"
Still trying to ignore the commentary, Harry scanned the field. Nearby, he noticed the Ravenclaws Seeker, doing the same, though she seemed to be keeping her in his sights. So instead, he did a few loops in the air to relax, and when that was done he momentarily glanced over at the nearby Hufflepuff stands. He was close enough that he could just see Susan and Neville in the front row, though the later seemed to be gathered embarrassed as Susan jumped up and down and screamed, "GET EM HARRY! GO HARRY!"
Laughing for a moment, Harry speed past them and the Slytherin stands. He could see Draco in the back rows, his almost white hair standing out in the crowd, with another first year that Harry faintly remembered as Blaise Zabini. He never seemed to smile, that one.
Harry looked up at the Beater zooming towards him, and then back just in time to see a Bludger coming right at him from behind, aimed at him like a cannonball. He shot higher into the air, and a few feet below him, the Beater slammed her bat into the red ball, sending it flying across half the field before it got control of itself again and hurled towards a Ravenclaw.
"Alright, Harry?" asked Zuzana, grinning as she twirled the bat in her hand, pleased with herself. "Better be careful!"
"And Ravenclaws in possession again - team captain Adair MacDougal with the Quaffle - he barely avoids the Bludger sent by the lovely Zuzana Slavik, what a fireball she is - yes, sorry, Professor - and is heading for the goal - IS THAT THE SNITCH?!"
Harry saw it moments before Jordan screamed it over the intercom, already flying toward the the ball of gold that skirted right around a stunned MacDougal, who barely noticed as Alex stole the Quaffle from him, who Chaser grinning from ear to ear. The crowds cheered as Harry and Cho, those few precious moments that she was too slow meant she was yards behind him, flew after the Snitch, which frantically weaved in and out of the other players. It was so close, and Harry raised a hand, stretching out towards it -
Suddenly, another Bludger was aiming at him, and all Harry could do was dive to avoid being it. A moment later, Cho yelped before she was forced to do the same when it turned its attention on her instead, the rival Seeker too close behind him. Harry zoomed back up, before he knew the tiny golden ball was gone as Jordan announced over the intercom that one of the Ravenclaw Beaters had sent it his way to derail him, with the Snitch disappearing in the confusion, and those in the audience groaned in disappointment.
"Come on, Harry, get back to it!" shouted Laini as she flew past, her blue hair fluttering behind her. A nearby Beau was sending the same Bludger back at a Ravenclaw. Nodding, Harry rose higher into the air, intent on getting a better view of the field and hopefully another first glanced of the Snitch.
It was then that first broom gave a sudden lurch. Stunned as he tightened his grip on his broom, Harry felt his heart pounding at the momentarily fear that he might fall off. That had never happened before. After a long moment of being still, and realizing it wasn't happening again, Harry tried this time to lower himself, now hesitant to go higher.
But then his broom lurched again, and if Harry hadn't already tightened his grip, he might had been bucked off, as if he was riding a wild horse. But this wasn't a horse, this was the Nimbus Two Thousand, and they don't just deiced to throw their owners off!
Harry tried to turn around, call to Laini and see if they could call a time out and check out his broom, find out what was wrong with it, but instead it spun in a complete circle before bucking again. Harry paled as he realized he had no control over his broom.
He tried to call out, but every time he tried to speak the broom bucked again and again, cutting him off when he gave a gasp in shook. Jordan was still calling out what was happening, everyone's attention on the game, and no one was paying attention to him as the broom jerked up and up, slowly raising him higher into the air.
Down below, in the Hufflepuff stands, Susan was watching Hufflepuff score - earn a roaring cheer from her House. She clapped and turned to Neville. "How's Harry doing?" she asked as he raised his binoculars and scanned the air for their Seeker friend.
"I'm not sure," Neville said after a long moment. He leaned forward more, frowning. "He looks like... like he can't control his broom."
"What are you talking about?" Grabbing the binoculars from Neville when he removed them from his neck and handed them off to her, Susan searched for Harry. She saw him going higher and higher into the air, and it looked like he was having a hard time holding on as it jerked and twitched. He looked panicked, and now people were starting to notice, pointing up at him and gaping while his broom started to roll over and over, with him only just managing to hold on.
"Did something happen to his broom?" asked Neville with concern.
"No, it can't have been - nothing can effect a broom like that except..." Susan trailed off for a moment before jerking the binoculars towards the stands with the most adults, the ones just one over from the Gryffindors next to them. "Someone is preforming Dark Magic."
"How can you be so sure?" gaped Neville just as the the whole crowd gasped. Harry's broom had given a wild jerk and he had been swung off it. He was now dangling from it, holding on with only one hand.
"It's the only thing - there!" Susan focused in on the man muttering under his breath while staring straight up at Harry, but frowned when she saw, not even five feet away that man, another was doing the same. "Damn it!" Two people doing exactly what she'd read about, chanting nonstop and not breaking eye contact. But which one was jinxing the broom?!
"I'll be back!" said Susan as she tossed the binoculars back at Neville and rushed out of the stands, pushing past the people gaping up at Harry, some teammates had stopped playing and were trying to grab him. But every time they got close, the broom gave another violent jolt, so they were now circling underneath him, getting ready to catch him.
Racing down the stairs two steps at a time, Susan jumped down to the landing and shot down the catwalk that connected all the stands together. She ran hard, and was glad everyone was watching the match, no one standing around to get in her way.
A long minute later, Susan skidded to a stop at the top of the stairs to the stands where the professors stood, panting and clutching at the painful stitch in her side. Taking a deep breath, she slipped under the stands, drawing her wand.
Underneath the stands, she scanned the feet and the bottom of robes of the adults there, trying to figure out which ones belonged to Snape and Quirrell. It couldn't be that hard - Snape always wore black, and she could have sworn that Quirrell was wearing purple... but what could she do to make them stop without getting caught?
Biting her lower lip and praying that the spell worked, she lifted her wand and pointed at the hem of the black robes a few feet away from her. "Frigus Ignis," Susan whispered. Blue flames spurted from the end of her wand, landing on the hem of Snape's robe. She only had to wait a few long moments before Snape yelped, and she scooped them up in her hands before transferring them onto Quirrell's robes. Another few moments, another yelp of surprise, and she scooped them up again before putting them out with a whispered spell, barely heard over the commotion of both the professors as she raced down the nearby stairs, rubbing her cold hands together.
No one would know what happened.
Up in the air, Harry blinked as he hung onto his broom. It had stopped moving. Hesitantly, he pulled himself back up, swinging his leg over the broom to the cheers of the students below.
"You alright, Harry?" asked Laini as she zoomed up to him, her eyes scanning him for any injury.
Harry didn't answer - he just suddenly zoomed towards the ground, all eyes on him as he speed towards something that they couldn't see. Cho realized what was happening and tried to go after him, but it was too late - with a sudden tumble to the ground, Harry grasped at his mouth, like he was choking, before he finally spit up something small, golden, and round.
"I got the Snitch!" Harry shouted, holding it high above his head, and even with the confusion at the strange catch, the Hufflepuffs cheered. They'd won their first game of the year!
I am SO sorry about the late update, I've barely been able to open up my laptop for the last week! And of course I remember right in the middle of info my busiest days of the week. This update is only possible through the power of smartphones. Again, sorry for that and any errors, I'll go over it when I make it home. Hope you like the chapter!
Edit: Thank you to Silently Watches for pointing out my mistakes (so many... gah), and becoming my second pair of eyes. You're the best!