A.N. Um... HI! So sorry for the wait, my only excuse is that I was working seven days a week and then it was Thanksgiving... I think I need to fire my muse and find a new one... Anyhow, it's not long but it's a start...
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The first month of school had flown by on Phoenix wings, it seemed. Harry kept himself busy with homework and the study group. The study groups attendance had swelled, with fully half of the first years routinely attending. They had first focused on Potions, as Professor Snape's guidance left much to be desired. Finally, everyone in the group could recite the uses of the basic potions ingredients from memory and all were able to prepare said ingredients with at least minimal proficiency.
Harry glanced around the classroom, today they were making a basic bruise paste. The study group had reviewed this particular potion last night in preparation for this lesson. He was pleased to note that almost all of the students had parchment and quill out and were making notes as they added ingredients to their cauldrons. He was also pleased to note that there were no indications of an imminent explosion.
Harry checked his watch, thirty more seconds before he had to perform two figure-eight stirs and add in three drams of beetle juice. His potion was currently the correct electric purple described in the text, although it would change to a deep cerulean blue when it was finished.
Harry checked his watch again and picked up his stirring rod. As he completed the second stir he poured the beetle juice into his cauldron. His mixture faded slowly from the electric purple it had been to a light cerulean blue. Harry noted the change in his notebook and doused the flames under his cauldron to allow the finished mixture to cool. Perhaps he had stirred too vigorously, the paste would still be effective, but was not as potent as it could have been.
"Professor Snape?" Draco called quietly.
There were few students who would intentionally court their dour professors attention. Draco was one of the few who would. The black-clad professor swept through the classroom, coming to a rest at the corner of Draco's desk.
"Yes, Mr. Malfoy?" The man bit out.
"I was wondering if you could tell me what I did wrong? My potion was the described purple..."
"Of course I can tell you what you did wrong, boy." The professor interrupted, "You used the White Oak stirring rod instead of the Birch one. Pay attention to your supplies, Mr. Malfoy." The man continued snidely, with barely a glance at the boy's sky blue potion.
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It was a chilly Saturday morning when Harry approached Cedric, as he had every Saturday morning for the last month, "Oi, Cedric!" Harry grinned as he squeezed his way to sit on the bench next to the Hufflepuff, "Ready to lend me that broom yet?"
Cedric rolled his eyes at the first-year Ravenclaw, "What exactly do you plan to do with my broom, Harry?"
Harry grinned, this was a deviance from the usual flat 'no' that the older boy had given him for the last four weeks, "I plan to ask Cho to borrow hers as well and challenge Draco to a seeker's duel."
Cedric raised his eyebrow, "Are you any good?"
Harry smiled impishly, "Yep."
Cedric snorted, "And modest, too." The older boy sighed, "Very well, scamp. If Cho will lend hers as well, you may borrow mine. But I'm not letting you out of my sight!"
Harry cheered, "I'm not going to hurt your broom, Cedric. Don't you worry." Harry jumped out of the press of Hufflepuffs and darted over to where Cho was sitting at the Ravenclaw table, a pleading look on his face. "Cho..."
Cho held up her hand, "Fine, Harry. But same rules as Cedric."
Harry grinned, "Thanks! Now, I've got to find Draco."
It took Harry less than ten minutes to find the blond, he was sitting on his bed contemplating his latest letter to his parents. Harry burst into the room, quickly collected himself and announced in a pompous voice, "Draco Malfoy, I hereby challenge you to a seekers duel, to take place right now. Come, let's settle this between us."
Draco glanced up, "Accepted." He answered, just as gravely, "But how, exactly are we going to chase the snitch? We don't have brooms."
Harry smirked, "Cedric and Cho have graciously allowed us to borrow theirs."
Draco nodded, "Well, since you issued the challenge and time, I claim the right to choose which broom I will be riding. I want Cedric's Nimbus 2000."
Harry nodded, "That's fine, I'll still beat you on Cho's Cleansweep 990." Harry grabbed his practice snitch out of his trunk and the two boys headed back down to the quidditch pitch.
Harry glanced around the pitch, Cho and Cedric were waiting in the middle for he and Draco, but there were spectators scattered throughout the stands. Almost all the first years were in attendance, which was not entirely unexpected. However, the scattered upper years and professors were. "I didn't realize this was going to be a school event." Harry commented, wryly.
Cedric looked down at Harry, "Um, Harry, you do realize that anything you do is going to be speculated over and watched?"
Harry sighed, "Yeah, yeah. I know, boy-who-Lived and all that rot. Oh, well. Cedric, since I challenged Draco, he gets dibs on the brooms, and he has chosen to use yours."
Cedric nodded and handed Draco his broom. "Snitch?" Harry pulled his snitch out of his pocket and released it, "Good, now," Cedric added in a stern tone, "I want a good clean match."
Draco grinned, "Not a problem. Cho, you want to count us down?"
Cho smiled and handed her broom to Harry, "Ok, you two. Kick off in three... two... one... go!"
Both boys darted up into the sky.
Harry careered across the pitch, Draco in hot pursuit. The two boys had been chasing around the pitch for almost three quarters of an hour. He hadn't seen the snitch in the last twenty minutes or so, but had taken numerous opportunities to fake Draco out. Draco had returned the favor several times as well.
The weather had started taking a turn for the worse in the last five minutes and Harry decided if one of them hadn't gotten the snitch in the next twenty minutes they might have to postpone their duel. The weather had thinned out the spectators as well. All that remained were a handful of 'Claws, a duo of redheads, Cho and Cedric, the four heads of house and professor Quirrell, all clustered together in the covered area of the stands.
Suddenly, two things happened at once, Harry spotted the snitch and his broom bucked. Harry gripped his broom tighter, twined his legs around the tail and dove towards the snitch. His broom dropped a meter, then it darted to the left and back to the right. Harry thought, distantly, that he felt like he was riding one of those mechanical bulls he had seen in a mall in San Diego last Christmas.
Harry heard yelling and noted that the twins were pushing through the crowd in the stands to get to the pitch. He pulled hard on the handle of the broom and gained a little control of the broomstick. He glanced around and noted that the snitch was still at the far end of the pitch by the ground still unseen by Draco. He pointed the obstinate broom in that direction and took off again, this time at a less steep angle. The broom pitched once more before he felt the resistance stop. He glanced down again, the red-headed twins were now levitating large pink fluffy pillows under where he was flying, presumably to catch him if he fell.
Harry grinned down at them, glanced over his shoulder at Draco who was watching him with concern and shouted, "Draco, that snitch is mine!" He shot off after the elusive golden ball, with Draco at his heel. Harry reached out to grasp the snitch, letting out a whoop of triumph as Draco's hand closed over his own.
Draco grumbled good-naturedly as the two set down and were immediately descended upon by their head of house.
"Mr. Potter-Grey, whose broomstick is that?" Professor Flitwick enquired.
"It's mine, professor." Cho said quietly.
"What happened up there?"
"I'm not sure professor, for just a moment it felt like someone was cursing the broom, then it stopped." Harry answered.
The professor nodded holding his hand out for the broom in question, "Were you injured?"
"Very well, I do believe we should be returning indoors. Miss Chang, I need to examine this broom. I will return it to you before the next quidditch practice." Professor Flitwick glanced over at the two redheads who were hovering by the edge of the pitch, "Twenty points to Gryffindor for creativity and quick thinking."
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A.N. Grrr. I wanted to get to Halloween with this chapter, but at the current moment, I can only think of content for a paragraph or two, and I don't want to write shite... Too frequently, that is... Oh, well. Hopefully I can give this damn fastidious, overparticular, vexing muse a kick in her posterior and get a chapter in the next week... hopefully one that is good and has a point... Oh, in case anyone didn't get the inference, the twins accidentally busted up Q's concentration when they pushed through the crowd to 'save' Harry.