As usual, see part 1 for Disclaimers.
Author's note: Just thought I'd put a little something in. I just noticed that I didn't thank everyone that's left Reviews and added me to the Favorites lists last chapter. Sorry about that as I put it up before noticing and thought it best to add it here. I also didn't mention why I it took a little while. It's just that I'm kind of torn between this and my other main HP series and its 2 spinoffs (hope to have the latter up soon but no promises on when) and dealing with an injury (no big deal though. I'm pretty close to 100%). Anyway, as always, hope you enjoy reading this as I did writing it.
Someone to watch over me
By Lucas Harrell
The day of the first flying lesson, Harry could barely contain his excitement. "This is going to be so awesome," he said as they sat down by a tree near the lake. It was the weekend and they had finished homework that week, so they had free time. Hermione sat next to him with Ron and Neville on either side of them and Snuffles lying between the two.
Ron nodded enthusiastically but now Hermione or Neville. In fact, the latter looked to be a little green around the gills at the thought of flying. "I'm not really 100% sure about flying with only a broom to steady myself on," Hermione said.
"Oh don't worry, Hermione," Harry said, "From what I understand, they won't make you fly any higher than you feel comfortable and besides, if you did fall off, you know I'll do my best to catch you or at least slow your fall."
Hermione beamed. "I know, but it's good to hear you say it," she said.
"So, what did your gran send?" Ron asked Neville to steer the conversation away from the "mushy crap" as he'd put it.
"A Remembrall she bought me for Christmas that I forgot at home," Neville said, taking a small orb out of his pocket and showing it to his friends. "The only problem is, my memory's so bad, this thing is of no help or I wouldn't have left it at home."
"Don't worry, Neville," Hermione said, "We'll help you remember things from now on." The others nodded as Neville beamed.
"As if that'll help that brainless twit," a voice drawled as Malfoy and his goons stepped up to the group.
"If anyone around here is brainless, it's you," Harry said as him and his friends got to their feet, "At least the Longbottoms have gone a couple of generations without inbreeding from what Neville's told us. You barely have any magic because your mum and dad are also your cousins or aunt and uncle or whatever."
"You shut up, you hopped up half-blood," Malfoy growled and him, Crabbe, and Goyle started to draw their wands but were beaten to the punch by the group of friends, who brought them up short with their own as well as Snuffles, who was quick to regain his feet and started growling at the three.
"No offense, Ron and Neville, as you know I don't mean your families," Harry said, "But I'd much sooner be a half-blood than belong to pureblooded families such as yours, Malfoy, that are too entrenched in inbreeding to have a good working brain cell between them."
"And same here with being Muggle-born," Hermione added.
"Leave now and we'll forget this happened if you will, otherwise, we'll go to Professor McGonagall," Harry said. The three glared at the group before reluctantly walking off. They knew they didn't have a leg to stand on since Snape was pretty much both a professor and especially Head of House in name only for at least the school year.
They stayed sitting by the lake for a while until the clock tower showed it to be near the time for the flying lessons, at which time they headed back into the castle courtyard, where the other 1st Years were waiting.
A few minutes later, a woman with short spiky grey hair came walking out. "Welcome to what for many of you would be your first lesson in flying," she started, "I am Madam Rolanda Hooch, the instructor for Hogwarts.
"Divvy up into your House groups, select a broom, and wait for further instructions," Madam Hooch said. The students were quick to do as she said. "Now, hold your hand above the broom and command it in a firm tone to leap into your hand."
"Up!" the students said in near unison.
Harry and Hermione were both surprised when their brooms shot up into their hands and were among the few that did. Ron's rolled around for a few moments before it did as well and Neville's seemed to sense his reluctance as it shakily floated up into his hand.
The funniest part was Draco Malfoy, who started out with his usual arrogant smirk which turned into a frustrated frown when his broom didn't as much as move. "Stupid school brooms," he growled, "I'm going to enjoy it when father overturns the rule about 1st Years not having their own…"
Draco was cut off in midsentence when the broom finally did shoot up and smack him square in the face. It didn't seem to do any damage though and he caught it before it could fall back to the ground.
"Now that Mr. Malfoy has a handle on his broom…" Madam Hooch said.
"Better an actual one than another bloke's 'broom'," Harry whispered to his friends, who laughed.
"Straddle your broom and get into launching position but do not do so yet," Madam Hooch instructed, "I must make sure that each of you have a good handle on your brooms before I can even think about letting you into the air."
The group did as Madam Hooch said and laughed again when she proceeded to tell Malfoy that the way he had been 'handling brooms' was all wrong. "You're mental," he retorted with a sneer, "My father has had tutors from all over the world and they've never told me I was wrong."
'Oh please, like they'd tell a spoiled brat what he didn't want to hear,' Hermione thought.
"That will be 20 points and a detention for disrespecting a staff member," Madam Hooch said, "And not with Severus either. I know his reputation for cancelling detentions while still crediting you for them. However, if you think you know better, go ahead and do your own thing… just don't blame me when you fall off your broom and hurt yourself."
Malfoy was about to say something else but glares from the other Slytherins for losing points and looking to lose more convinced him to just glare at Madam Hooch as she kept walking around to make sure most of them were doing it right.
"Now that most of you have gotten a good handle on your broom…" Madam Hooch continued. Malfoy glared and Harry and his friends all laughed again. "On the count of 3, kick off and hover however far off the ground as you feel comfortable with, though no more than 2 meters no matter how well you think can fly."
At that, Madam Hooch started to countdown but she barely started when a nervous Neville suddenly started lifting off erratically, swaying from left to right. "Come down this instant, Mr.…" she started to say, but had to jump out of the way when he shot forward and would have knocked her down and started zipping around involuntarily.
Harry could tell that Madam Hooch had hurt something and was therefore in no shape to fly. "I have to get him before he hurts himself," he muttered and kicked off. Since it was his first attempt, he was a little shaky at first but surprised himself when he quick to steady out and zoom towards Neville.
However he tried to help, Harry was unable to get to Neville because of his erratic flying and was about to say something when a voice surprised him from behind. "Let go, Neville," the voice called out. He spun his head around and was shocked to see Hermione floating not far behind him.
"ARE YOU MAD?!" Neville shouted.
"Don't worry, you'll be fine," Harry added. He could see the reluctance in his friend's eyes. "Just trust us." Neville was reluctant but nodded and fell off to the side of his broom. Him and Hermione zoomed towards their falling friend and grabbed a hand each slowing him down enough for Ron to get under him so he could drop down onto his broom.
The quartet flew back to the ground to a huge round of applause. "That was an amazing showing of bravery, loyalty, and flying skills," Madam Hooch said, "10 points to Gryffindor for each of you."
"Even me?" Neville asked, "But I didn't do anything."
"You trusted your friends to save you," Madam Hooch explained. Neville nodded.
Since the quartet had gotten more flying than most, they sat out the rest of lesson. Most of the other 1st Years were quick to get the hang of it, but a few did get hurt near the end of the allotted time and Madam Hooch had to take them to the Hospital Wing though it didn't like there were any major injuries.
"Since we're almost done, just place your brooms in the cupboard over there," Madam said, nodding to a piece of furniture nearby. "But if I even hear tell if you flying without my explicit supervision, you'll be lucky not to be expelled." With that, she led the hurt students towards the castle.
Most of the students did as Madam Hooch except for Malfoy, who took something out of his pocket. "Oh look here at what Longbottom dropped," he called out loudly enough for Harry and his friends to hear. They turned to see that he was holding the Remembrall.
Harry started heading towards Malfoy. "Give that back, Malfoy," he growled.
"I don't think so," Malfoy replied, "In fact, I think I'll see how far it can fall before it shatters." With that, he straddled his assigned broom and kicked off into the air.
Without thinking, Harry did the same. He tried to snatch the Remembrall from Malfoy's as he teasingly held it out and almost did because he caught him by surprise, but the blond shook it off and yanked it back before he could get to it.
"I'm surprised you're brave enough to come this far from your flunkies," Harry said with a smirk, "Considering you're too much of a coward to not be 2 meters from them or your pathetic excuse for a dad." He could tell by both the blonde's eyes darting to the group below and his red face that he had struck home with both points."
"That's it!" Malfoy shouted, "If you want this stupid thing, Potter, go get it!" With that, he hurled the Remembrall in the direction of the nearest wall of the school before zooming back to the ground and the protection of his stooges.
"What an idiot," Harry said before turning and heading for the Remembrall. It was easy to grab the ball in midair, though admittedly he barely had time to make a vertical stop… his feet brushed up against the stone, he was so close… and kicked off, heading back to the group, who started cheering as he appeared.
"You think you're so special don't you, scar head?" Malfoy sneered from behind his two goons, who had their arms crossed in a threatening manner.
"I'm no more special than anyone here with the exception of you, as you're once more a brain dead coward that hides behind others," Harry said.
Malfoy started to say something else but his eyes caught something and he smirked. "HAROLD JAMES POTTER!" a voice rang out. Harry turned to see that it had been McGonagall who shouted as she marched across the courtyard towards the 1st Years, muttering something barely intelligible.
Despite the protests of most of the other students', McGonagall had Harry follow her into the school which he did reluctantly after shooting a glare at the still smug Malfoy. "Professor, I'm sorry I flew when Madam Hooch said I shouldn't, but Malfoy was going to destroy Neville's Remembrall and I just couldn't let him do it," he tried to explain
"Though I have to deduct 10 points for your indiscretion, this isn't about that, or at least not directly," McGonagall said. Harry gave her a puzzled look but she ignored it as she led him towards the Gryffindor Tower, where she left him in the Common Room to go upstairs and collect a boy he vaguely knew to be a 5th Year.
"Harry, this is Oliver Wood, the Captain for the Gryffindor Quidditch team," McGonagall explained, "Oliver, I believe young Harry here to be the perfect candidate to fill the spot of Seeker. I saw him do a remarkable bit of flying and catching what I've found out was a Remembrall, before stopping just before hitting the wall and heading back."
"Really?" Oliver asked, his eyes lighting up. He narrowed his eyes as he looked Harry over. "Yes, he does have a good build for a Seeker and if he has half the flying skills his dad had, he'd be perfect. We'd have to get him a good broom though. Those old school brooms are the reason our Seekers don't last long."
"But I thought 1st Years couldn't join the team?" Harry inquired.
"They usually can't," McGonagall said, "But if their House team is having a hard time filling a position and a 1st Year shows great potential, their Head of House can go to the Headmaster and request permission to allow their Captain to recruit them, though this rule hasn't been used in over a century."
"Um, could you use players in other positions?" Harry asked, "As Madam Hooch will probably tell you later, there was an incident earlier where Neville lost control of his broom. Hermione and I flew up to help him make a controlled descent off his broom and onto Ron's and they were both able to keep up with me pretty well. I'll get their brooms… and mine of course."
"Well, we don't have any other open positions in the starting roster but we are having trouble building up a Reserve roster, so could you ask the Headmaster about them joining as well?" Oliver asked McGonagall.
"I offer no promises, but I will see," was all McGonagall would say, "We're also initiating a spotter system this year to keep fouls from slipping past Rolanda, so maybe Mr. Longbottom can help with that. Ms. McGinnis still has your key, right?" Harry nodded. "After I see the Headmaster and if he gives the go ahead, I'll owl her and have her send it."
"Thanks, Professor," Harry said. With that, Wood went back to whatever he was doing and him and McGonagall left the tower and he headed towards the courtyard, hoping to catch his friends on the way back.
Harry was in luck as he found them about halfway there. He pulled them into a nearby empty classroom before he proceeded to tell them the hopefully good news. "Even if we're only on the Reserve roster, that would be so wicked," Ron said.
"I hate to say it, but despite my initial skepticism, I did enjoy flying," Hermione admitted, "It would be nice to have the opportunity to do it some more."
"And you can even help, Neville," Harry said, "Professor McGonagall said something about implementing a spotter system and from the way she talked, you'd probably at least have the choice of doing it from the stands."
"As long as I'm not in the air, that'd be great," Neville said and they all laughed.
Harry and his friends were sitting down at dinner that night when Malfoy decided to show his face. "Enjoying your last meal, scarhead?" he taunted.
"The food is good, yes, but this will hardly be my last meal here," Harry said.
"Don't tell me the mangy old cat decided to show favoritism to let you stay here," Malfoy said with a puzzled look on his face.
"A 'mangy old cat', am I?" a voice asked from behind Malfoy. With a visible gulp, he turned around to find McGonagall glaring down at him. "Since this is the second time today you've disrespected a staff member, that'll be 50 points from Slytherin and 3 detentions with me on top of those you're serving with Madam Hooch."
"You can't do that!" Malfoy said, "When my father hears of this…"
"On the Board of Governors or not, there's nothing Lucius can do about it short of pulling you from this school," McGonagall said, "And for further disrespect, you will accompany me to my office where we will discuss further punishments, but that will have to wait for the moment."
With that, McGonagall looked at Harry. "I just wanted you to know that the Headmaster has given the Gryffindor team to both allow you on the main team roster and both Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasley on the Reserve list," she said, looking to him and then Hermione and Ron in turn. "Your brooms will be in within the next couple of days.
"I also have an offer for you as well, Mr. Longbottom," McGonagall continued, looking at Neville. "So please see me first thing tomorrow as I'll probably be dealing with Mr. Malfoy here for most of the rest of the day." At the nods from all 4, she started pulling Malfoy out of the hall while beckoning a sour-looking Snape to join them.
The next day, Neville told his friends about the new spotter system. "There's a select group of students from each House who will watch for any fouls and use a discreet form of communication to let Madam Hooch know," he explained, "Though it has to be confirmed by at least 2 other spotters."
"Won't that encourage favoritism?" Hermione asked.
"To keep us from showing as little favoritism as possible, the spotters of each House will only be used during matches that their team's not part of," Neville said, "For instance, I won't be an active spotter until the Ravenclaw vs. Hufflepuff match.
"You guys can't tell anyone else," Neville pleaded, "I wouldn't have been able to tell you if Harry didn't already know about it. McGonagall wants as few people to know about who the spotters are as possible to make sure we're not influenced."
"We won't tell anyone," Harry agreed and Hermione and Ron nodded.
Later that day, Malfoy tried to get them to agree to a midnight duel, but Hermione was barely able to talk the boys out of making the mistake of accepting. "He's such a coward he probably wouldn't show up and instead send a teacher, probably Snape, to get you into all kinds of trouble," she reasoned.
Two days later, 3 suspiciously shaped wrapped packages were delivered to Harry, Ron, and Hermione with notes not to open them at the table. They quickly finished eating and made their way to Gryffindor tower, where they wasted no time in ripping them open and were surprised to find matching Nimbus 2000s. He hadn't told them because he wanted it to be a surprise and also because he knew what her reaction would be.
"Wow, thanks mate," Ron said as he marveled at the broom.
"Ron!" Hermione scolded before turning to Harry, "Harry, you shouldn't have done this. This is just too much."
"It's all right, Hermione," Harry said, "Professor McGonagall told me that Jessica wrote her that she was able to get a batch deal, so the cost between the 3 brooms isn't quite as much as usual. It wouldn't have cost more than whatever else I would have gotten you for your birthday, so just consider it an early present if it helps." Hermione reluctantly nodded.
"Batch deal?" Ron asked with a furrowed brow, "But that only happens… when…" You could almost see the light bulb over his head as it dawned on him and he grinned widely. "Why you devious little… you got brooms for the entire team! That's the only way you would have gotten that deal, if you had bought a whole batch of freshly made ones."
"Harold James Potter, what were you thinking?!" Hermione exclaimed.
"Hermione, just relax, please," Harry said, "As I said, the deal Jessica brokered means that each broom wasn't much more than buying our 3 normally. I honestly think it's worth it when we knock old Snape down another peg by taking the Quidditch Cup right from under that ugly hooked nose.
"Besides, the amount I got doesn't just cover Gryffindor," Harry explained, "They're going to put out the story that someone 'anonymously' donated a handful of brooms to each of the other House teams so to avoid too much impropriety." Hermione nodded.
The first practice session for Gryffindor was mostly a tryout for Wood to judge his 3 new prospective team members skills. Harry was an easy choice as he caught the Snitch in no time. He got plenty of thanks from his teammates for the brooms.
While lacking confidence, Ron did show some skill in goal-tending, so Wood decided to take him under his wing as Reserve Keeper, promising to help him hone that skill. "By the time I graduate, you'll be more than ready to take over the position," he told the redhead.
Though she was just as hesitant as the flying lesson before getting on the broom, once she was on, Hermione shined as a Chaser. While he liked her flying, Wood still had to put her on the Reserve list as the 3 he had were veteran players that had played almost as long as him. She understood, knowing that it was an honor to be even considered for Reserve.
When Halloween rolled around, Harry never understood it until he got to Hogwarts, but he'd always had a fear of it. Even after he started staying at the Grangers most of the time, he didn't really celebrate it with them. And each year, he was pretty much guaranteed to have nightmares, though he couldn't remember them.
When he mentioned it to the others, they were quick to give Harry a good explanation why. His parents had been murdered by the dark wizard on Halloween night. His mother's murder had even said to be right in front of him, so it was understandable that he'd have a subconscious fear of the day as well as nightmares.
The day of Halloween itself started out just like others for the quartet until after Charms class. Hermione was helping some of the other students with the spell they were learning, Wingardium Leviosa, especially Ron, who waving his wand about so energetically that he almost poked a girl nearby, one of her dorm mates named Lavender Brown, in the eye.
"You're doing it all wrong," Hermione explained, "Do the wand movements kind of like you're writing a cursive p and emphasize the syllable gar in Wingardium and the o in Leviosa." He nodded and did as she instructed and his feather lifted into the air.
"Very good, Ms. Granger," Flitwick said, "5 points to Gryffindor for helping Mr. Weasley." Hermione smiled and thanked him. Malfoy was behind the group of friends and he sneered at her for a few moments before a wicked smile crossed his face.
The rest of the class period passed almost without incident… Harry, Ron, and Neville's dorm mate Seamus Finnigan ignited his father… and all of the students present were able to get the spell right, especially using Hermione's advice, so Professor Flitwick was gracious in only giving out light homework when the bell rang.
The quartet was halfway down the hall heading towards dinner when Hermione went rooting through her bag. "I've got to head back," she said, "I left my book in the classroom."
"We can come with you," Harry offered. Neville nodded but Ron was hesitant.
"No, you guys go on ahead," Hermione said, "I shouldn't be but a few minutes behind you. Just save me a spot, would you?" The 3 nodded and kept walking down the hall as she made her way back to the Charms classroom. She frowned when she got to her assigned spot and didn't see her book anywhere.
"Looking for this?" a voice drawled from behind.
Hermione spun with a gasp to find Malfoy leering at her. He had her book in his hand. "Yeah, we were halfway down the hall when I remembered," she said, "Thanks." She held out her hand and frowned when he didn't hand her the book.
"You know all of this isn't going to do you any good, don't you?" Malfoy said.
"What are you on about?" Hermione asked.
"The studying, the good grades, the kissing up to teachers," Malfoy said, "None of it matters. You won't be able to get a good job in the magical world because you're just a glorified Muggle with a magical core that should have been born to a Squib. At least they have generations of magical blood running through their veins."
"You would know part about kissing up to teachers," Hermione said, "Oh wait, its Snape that kisses your arse and not the other way around. After all, you're just a bigoted little inbred idiot with an IQ lower than that of a newborn Muggle baby. Oh wait, I shouldn't say that. It would be demeaning… to babies."
"What do you know?" Malfoy said with a sneer, "You're just a know it-all pain in the arse. A Mudblood like you doesn't even belong in our world. But go ahead and make your good grades… for all the good it'll do you outside these walls."
Malfoy threw the book down at Hermione's feet. She bent to pick it up and he stepped forward, grabbing her shoulder and roughly forcing her down to her knees, ignoring her muffled cry of pain and returning her glare. "Get used to being this close to the floor," he said, leaning in close.
"You see, the only way you'll find a job in our world is on your hands and knees," Malfoy said, "Either scrubbing the floors or offering your services to purebloods like me… though you might have to pay them to touch you." With one last nasty look, he let go and left, muttering about running scalding hot water on his hand.
Hermione slowly got back to her feet, her knees shaking and tears flowing down her face. When her knees quit shaking enough that she could move quickly, she made her way out of the classroom and then rushed towards the nearest bathroom.
The Halloween feast was about halfway over when Professor Quirrell came running through the doors of the Great Hall. "TROLL!" he screamed, "TROLL IN THE DUNGEONS!" He got halfway to the staff table before he stopped, swaying back and forth. "I just thought you should know." With that, he fainted.
The students immediately went into a panic until Dumbledore yelled out to get everyone's attention, telling them to follow their Prefects back to their common rooms while the staff handled the troll. As he got up to follow, Harry saw Snape leaving through one of the back doors.
Harry was following behind the other Gryffindors when he noticed that Hermione wasn't there. He remembered that he hadn't seen her at the feast either. "Guys, wait up," he called out. Ron and Neville stopped and ran back to him. "Where's Hermione?" The two shrugged.
"Oh, Harry, I'm so sorry," Lavender said, "I meant to tell you that I thought I heard Hermione crying in the girls' Loo, but with all that was going on… I'm sorry, it just slipped my mind."
"It's all right, Lavender," Harry said, "Just tell me which Loo you heard her in."
"Give me a second…" Lavender bit her lip and closed her eyes, trying to remember. It only took a second for her eyes to fly open again and she looked scared. "She was in the one in the dungeons."
"Thanks, Lavender," Harry said, as he turned and started running down the hall. Ron and Neville were right behind him. They hurried as fast as they could to the bathroom Lavender had told them and were almost there when they heard a bone-chillingly familiar scream.
They ran the rest of the way towards the girls' Loo, where they found the troll Quirrell had warned everybody about bearing down on Hermione, who was backing away towards the farthest stall. "OI, PEABRAIN!" Harry shouted to get the ugly brute's attention, also throwing a piece of rubble from a nearby hole in the wall. Ron and Neville did the same.
The troll turned and roared to try to scare them away before turning back to Hermione. "NO!" Harry shouted and did what was probably the stupidest thing he could think of and jumped on the troll's back. This finally distracted it from his best friend as it swung around trying to either dislodge him or grab one of his feet, but he stubbornly held on.
"What should we do?" Ron asked Neville, who looked around.
"There," Neville said, pointing to the club the troll had apparently brought with it into the school and had dropped to try to get to Harry. "It might be too heavy for all of us to lift physically or even magically on our own, but with the two of us using Wingardium Leviosa on it simultaneously…"
"Maybe we can use it against the brute," Ron finished.
Both boys pointed their wands at the club and shouted "WINGARDIUM LEVIOSA!" making sure to pronounce it correctly. It raised into the air and they used their wands to direct to float above the troll's head and just in time, as it had finally gotten Harry off it's back and looked to be about to smash him into the floor.
The troll looked up at the club just as it came crashing down on its head. It grunted for several seconds before falling forward. Thankfully, the jarring of the club hitting it caused it to let go of Harry, who was barely able to scramble free before it fell on him and Hermione was just far enough away that it didn't fall on her either.
Before the quartet could do anything else, most of the school staff came barging through the door of the Loo. "Great Merlin!" McGonagall exclaimed when she saw the troll, "What's going on here? Why didn't you all go to your Houses as told?"
"We were heading that way when we realized Hermione never joined us after Charms class," Harry answered, "Lavender Brown told that she heard her in here crying and when we found out she could be near the troll, I just couldn't leave her to get hurt. I thought we could get her out and to the tower, but found it in here with her." He then explained the short battle.
"Ms. Granger, why were you in here in the first place?" McGonagall asked.
Hermione hesitated. She wanted to tell the truth, but from the rumors about Malfoy, his dad would be able to circumvent any punishments so she knew it'd be useless. "I'm sorry, but I think I just really got homesick and needed some time alone," she lied, "I was just washing up and about to head to dinner when the troll came in."
McGonagall couldn't help but let her features soften a little. She knew that most of the Muggle-borns went through this each year so there was no way she could fault Hermione. "Very well, 20 points to each of you boys for helping your friend," she said, "Now go to Gryffindor tower and await further instructions while we deal with… this."
The quartet nodded and headed out of the loo. When they got out in the hallway, Hermione threw her arms around Harry. "Thank you so much," she said.
"Ah, I didn't do much," Harry said, "Ron and Neville were the real heroes."
"But you were the one who distracted him before he could get to her and long enough for us to figure out what to do, so we can all take credit for this fiasco," Ron said, "Besides, I'm sure it's nothing you wouldn't do for us." They all nodded and Hermione gave him and Neville a hug as thanks as well before they headed to Gryffindor tower.
The next day, they happened to be passing a room when they heard the raised voices of Snape talking to someone. They poked their heads in cautiously and saw that the person with him was the nasty school caretaker, Argus Filch.
The most curious thing was when Snape something about a Cerberus and pretty much admitted that it was what was on the sealed-off 3rd Floor corridor and that it was guarding something very valuable. The 4 left before they could be seen.
On the day of the first match against Slytherin, Harry was too nervous to do just about anything including eating. "You should really try to eat something." Hermione murmured worriedly. "Nobody outside of Slytherin wants to see you taken off the field from being too weak of hunger." He reluctantly nodded before digging into the food.
It wasn't long before the two team Captains, Oliver and a strange-looking boy named Marcus Flint, called out to their teams to meet them at the Quidditch pitch. Promising to find him after the match, Harry, Ron, and Hermione all headed towards where their team was gathering before the team headed out of the Great Hall.
Oliver sequestered his team for almost an hour before the match with some last second strategizing. "I'm confident that with our new Seeker as well as his friends on our Reserve roster, the Quidditch Cup pretty much literally has our name on it," he finished to a great ovation, then led them to the gate their team was assigned to come out of.
A few minutes later, Oliver told them to mount their brooms and get ready. They did and when the gate opened, they flew out to a huge amount of applause by all but Slytherin of course, who booed but were generally ignored. The Slytherin team came out a few seconds later to the exact opposite reaction.
Harry was waiting for the other shoe to drop and he wasn't disappointed. "WAIT A SECOND!" the announcer, a friend of Ron's twin brothers named Lee Jordan, said, his voice enhanced with a Sonorus. "ARE THOSE… YES, THEY ARE. THE GRYFFINDOR TEAM HAS WHAT LOOKS TO BE A BRAND NEW SET OF NIMBUS 2000 BROOMS!"
McGonagall was seen to be whispering something in Lee's ear. "ACCORDING TO PROFESSOR MCGONAGALL, ALL OF THE HOUSE TEAMS HAVE BEEN GIVEN A MOSTLY EQUAL NUMBER, THOUGH THE ANONYMOUS DONAR WAS GRACIOUS ENOUGH TO GIVE THE GRYFFINDOR TEAM ENOUGH FOR THEIR ENTIRE TEAM!"
Marcus whipped his head around. "THAT'S NOT FAIR!" he shouted.
"What are you complaining about, Mr. Flint?" Madam Hooch asked, "Your team has some as well." To avoid showing too much favoritism, it had been decided that while Gryffindor would have enough for the entire roster, the rest of the batch would be spread out evenly among the other 3 House teams.
"BUT WE ONLY HAVE A HANDFUL AND THEY HAVE ENOUGH TO COVER THE ENTIRE TEAM!" Marcus complained.
"You were lucky that the gracious alumnus that made the anonymous donation of those brooms… who was a Gryffindor by the way… was kind enough to spread what they did among the other 3 Houses, because they didn't have to do that," Madam Hooch replied.
"However if you don't want your brooms…" Madam Hooch continued, "You can use the school brooms and the 2000s assigned to your team can be reassigned to bolster the number of them assigned to Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff." That shut Marcus up but him and his team glared at her and the Gryffindor team.
After the mandatory handshake between the two Captains where they seemed to be trying to break each other's hands instead of showing good sportsmanship, the teams took to the air and after Madam Hooch let 3 large balls and one really small one loose, the melee started.
It didn't take long for those in the know to notice that spotter system coming into play as Slytherin distracted Madam Hooch with one set of minor antics and tried getting away with bigger ones, such as deliberately knocking one of Gryffindors Chasers off their broom.
Harry was worried about his teammate but was surprised when a rune nearby glowed and the Chaser slowed to a stop on the ground. They pointed their wand up, summoned their broom, and were kicking off again when Madam Hooch blew her whistle. "Penalty shot to Johnson," she called out with her Sonorus boosted voice.
"What?!" Flint shouted at Madam Hooch, "You can't be serious! She slipped off her broom!"
"You deliberately knocked her off her broom, Mr. Flint," Madam Hooch said, "Your team's 'tactics' will no longer be tolerated so you're better off coming up with different ones instead of arguing with me." Harry grinned when Flint glared at her but flew off.
The Slytherin was set against ignoring Madam Hooch's warning and tried several more times to get away with but the spotters caught them every time and in no time, Gryffindor was over a 100 points up. Harry had seen the Snitch a few times but had been unable to get to it in time, a couple of times because of interference by other Slytherin team members.
The game went on for a while and Hermione got some playing time, though Wood rather stubbornly held out so Ron didn't get the chance until one of the Slytherin players "accidentally" rammed into the Keeper and knocked him off his broom. He wasn't badly hurt, but he was shaken enough to let his hand-picked future successor take over.
Harry was very proud of both of his friends' performance. While he was no Oliver Wood, Ron was able to stop more than half the goal attempts while Hermione was surprisingly quick to catch on to being a Chaser, making a few goals. Not much in the long run, but not bad for one of her first few times flying. From the stands, Sirius was watching her fly with pride.
Eventually, the game did have to end so when Gryffindor was almost 200 points up, Harry saw the Snitch and went after it. The Slytherin Seeker wasn't far behind and when the young Gryffindor was almost on top of it, his rival reached out and yanked the broom out from under him.
However, the joke was on the Slytherin Seeker as Harry's momentum threw him forward but was stopped as a nearby rune glowed. The Snitch had seemingly disappeared but the young Gryffindor looked like he was about to be sick and started coughing, then looked in surprise at something in his hand, then held up a tiny object.
"POTTER CAUGHT THE SNITCH!" Lee announced, "THE SLYTHERIN TEAM IS TRYING TO SAY THAT THE WAY HE CAUGHT IT IS CHEATING… YEAH, YOU'D KNOW ABOUT THAT, WOULDN'T YOU?… SO WE GO TO MADAM HOOCH FOR THE FINAL WORD!"
Madam Hooch explained that a new change in the rules stated that because of Slytherin's many ways to attempt cheating to win, the ending of a match could be contested. She would review recordings things carefully… from the spotters assigned to that particular game, Harry guessed… and confer with the staff and then make the final decision on whether it stood or not.
"There is no rule on how a Seeker obtains the Snitch so the win for Gryffindor stands, only that they obtain it without magic!" Madam Hooch then called out to much a huge roar of applause except for most of Slytherin, especially Snape, who glared at her murderously.
The party that night went on until the wee hours until McGonagall herself came and broke it up and it just wasn't Gryffindor celebrating as a few Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw were glad to see the hopeful downfall of the Slytherin Quidditch team's chances for the Cup.
To be continued…
Author's Note: I know that canon Hermione is at least thought to have a fear of heights and/or flying in general but no offense to other writers that have said so outright in their fanfics, I don't think that was ever directly referenced to in the books, but even if it was, if anybody in this version of the group other than Harry has flying in their blood, I'd like to think it would be Rumer Suzanne Black as I believe Sirius was a great flier in his youth in canon as well.
I also meant to split this up into 3 different chapters, but each of the 2 (the flying lesson, the entire quartet taking part in Quidditch in their own way, and the first actual game are one storyline as their linked, right?) little storyline were far too short on their own so I combined them and I think it turned out great. What about you?
And finally, you'll notice I again borrowed a scene from Last Son of Krypton in the confrontation that caused Hermione to be in that bathroom. Again, sorry if it comes across as lazy, but once I decided to have him be the person that drove her there again, it just made sense to use it again. As always until next time, Pueda el solitario Dios encuentra La Paz por ultimo.