It could have been worse, I suppose. But, I highly doubted it. This song made absolutely no sense at all. Who wants to hear a song about a musically inclined robin? Muggles, apparently. Professor Flitwick, who doubled as the choir instructor, had insisted that for the welcome-back feast this year, we do one Muggle song and one wizarding song. So, all of the Muggle-born choir members voted on a song and we wizarding-music people voted on another. In the end, we chose Double Trouble and Rockin' Robin, which was by some music group called Jackson5. Professor Flitwick called it "meshing cultures". I called it "dumb beyond belief".
And, to make matters worse, I had the lead.
"He rocks in the treetops all day long, hoppin' and a-boppin' and singin' his song. All the little birdies on Jaybird Street, love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet; rockin' robin."
I took a breath before I continued, skipping to the next verse. "Every little swallow, every chick-a-dee, every little bird in the tall oak tree; the wise old owl, the big black crow, flappin' their wings singin' go bird go; rockin' robin."
I decided that would be it, for the time being. I was having a hard enough time trying to get the rhythm down. Cursing Professor Flitwick, I set the music down and flopped onto my bed, ready for a quick nap before supper.
"So much for that," I sighed as I got off of my bed and headed for the door. I already knew what our mum wanted; to make sure that all our bags were packed and to give James his usual warning against trouble-making (as if it ever did any good).
My brother was waiting for me at the top of the stairs, a goofy grin on his face. The shock from being made Head Boy apparently still hadn't worn off. Then again, it hadn't worn off from me, either. Of all the seventh year boys, why James?
"Three guesses what she wants," he said as we headed down the steps together.
"I only need one," I replied. "Can I apparate with you tomorrow instead of going with Mum or Dad?"
"You'll probably have to have Remus do it," he replied. "I've never side-along apparated before."
"Yeah, you'd probably splinch me."
He rolled his eyes and reached out to mess with my hair, but I had already ducked out of reach. Our mum was waiting at the bottom of the steps, her arms crossed over her chest, a smile on her face. "There you both are. Now, I just wanted to make sure that you have everything packed."
"We do," James and I replied at exactly the same time. People always thought that we were twins; we had the same jet black hair, same hazel eyes, and same facial features. We both also had a knack for rule-breaking and a love of Quidditch. But, we were born a little over a year apart.
"And you don't need me to pop into Diagon Alley for any last-minute supplies?" she asked. "You've both checked your potions ingredients lists and your schoolbook list and-"
"We're good, Mum," James said impatiently. His friends – Peter, Remus, and Sirius – were waiting upstairs in his room. I could just imagine them in there, trying to plan their next big prank. Their last big prank had gotten them all a full two months' detention, so this next one should be good.
"We have everything," I said a little more gently. It was James' last year at Hogwarts and my last year was only a year after that. She was slowly losing her babies. "We both checked and double-checked."
She smiled, tears shining in her light brown eyes. "Good for you both. Okay, then. Supper should be ready here shortly."
We took that as our dismissal and took the stairs at a slight run, just in case she thought of something else. "We're all in there working on Quidditch plans if you want to join us," James offered.
I shook my head. "I'd love to, you know I would, but I really have to get this song down for the feast tomorrow. It's bad enough that I have to sing a blasted Muggle song; I don't want to make a fool of myself while I'm at it."
"We can't have that," he grinned and headed down the hallway and towards his room. "Good luck, rockin' robin."
If I'd had something in my hand then, I would have thrown it right at his head. But, then again, as a Seeker, my forte was catching things, not throwing them. I probably would have missed. But I still would have given it a go.
I stepped back into my room and closed the door behind me. "Sorry about that, mates. My mum was being…"
"A mum?" Remus supplied.
"Exactly." I plopped down and immediately began poking at the figured on the model Quidditch pitch. "Anyone come up with anything?"
"I haven't been trying," Remus responded without a hint of remorse. Quidditch had never been his thing. He came to the matches to support Gryffindor as well as Jen and I, but he preferred to read and (gag) do homework.
"I have," Peter said, always eager to please. "But I'm not quite sure how to solve your Keeper problem."
I shuddered. "There is no solving it. I'm just going to have to hope that someone better than William Harris tries out this year. He almost cost us the Cup."
"Because of my rat's arse of a brother," Sirius said, his tone acidulous. He considered me more his brother than Regulus. That held especially true now that he lived in the same house as me.
"It wasn't his fault," I had to admit. "If I'd been in his position, I would have done the same thing."
"You would have been more noble about it."
"Perhaps." I replied. "I'm just glad that he knocked William off of his broom and not my sister." If he had tried that with Jennifer, I would have taken him out, regardless of the consequences. Yeah, I'm that older brother.
"He wouldn't have been able to," Sirius shrugged as he prodded the Jennifer-look-alike with his wand. "She's too good of a flyer. Better than him, by far."
I refrained from commenting. Yes, Jennifer was a hell of a flyer, but so was Regulus. During the match, he'd been just a blur on that field, weaving between players as if they weren't even moving. And he had caught the Snitch before my sister. Between the two of them, I actually didn't know who was the better.
"Let's focus on the task at hand," I said. "Name the remaining members of the team, by position."
"You still have your Seeker," Remus said immediately, his nose still in the Transfiguration book. He was taking these N.E.W.T.s way too seriously.
"That's a given," I said. "Continue."
"Two of the Chasers," Peter jumped in. "You and Diego."
I nodded. "We lost Chaney. Go ahead."
"You need a Keeper," Sirius said timidly, "but the old one is still around, if you want him."
I shuddered though the room was actually quite comfortable. "Let's hope for a better one."
"And the Beaters," Sirius replied. "They'll only be going into their fourth year."
Drake and Kevin Weston were gems. They were as ferocious as many of the Beaters that played for the Quidditch World Cup. "They'll be huge assets. Okay, so, given that information, what do you think the best course of action would be?"
We all thought for a minute; Remus about Transfiguration and the rest of us about my question. Finally, Sirius said, "It's hard to say without a Keeper."
"Let's say I have to keep William," I said with a face. I really hoped that didn't happen.
Sirius' face mirrored mine. "Well, then, I'd say that you'd need a pretty good game plan. Slytherin was good last year and they won't be losing any players."
That was true and oh so unfortunate for us. "So what do we do?"
"Play to your strengths," Remus suggested.
"Jen," Peter, Sirius, and I said at the same time.
"Without a Keeper," Sirius explained, "it would be really stupid to just try to score as much as you can. Slytherin's Keeper is good and their Chasers are, too. The best course of action would be to have Jen catch the Snitch as fast as she can and end the match."
I nodded. "Sounds about right. Now, our only problem is your brother."
Sirius shrugged. "Hopefully, you'll get a good Keeper."
"And another Chaser that can keep up with Diego and me," I sighed. It was my last year on Gryffindor's Quidditch team and I wanted it to be epic.
"Is that your sister singing?" Remus asked suddenly.
We all grew quiet and listened.
"Pretty little raven at the bird-band stand, told them how to do the bop and it was grand. They started going steady and bless my soul, he out-bopped the buzzard and the oriole;"
I smiled. My sister had a voice like an angel, always had. I hadn't heard anyone able to out-sing her ever, even when there'd been that huge choir competition between Hogwarts and two other wizarding schools. "Yeah, that's her," I replied. "They have to sing a Muggle song at the feast."
"Why?" Peter asked, scrunching his nose just like a rat would.
I shrugged. "She said that Professor Flitwick wanted to "merge cultures" or something like that."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "He would."
Her voice rolled into our ears from down the hall. "Blow, rockin' robin, cause we're really gonna rock tonight."
"And that's our fierce warrior," Sirius grinned. "Our best hope of winning the Quidditch Cup this year."
I laughed. "Yeah, that's her. That's her."