'HP: Dolen Amser'
- Brooms & Dooms -
A/N: As I'm not a sports enthusiast, my 'commentary' for Quidditch will be lacking. Sorry. Also, as a result of numerous discussions, I'm throwing out the trinary for this story. It took me a rather long time to come to that decision, and I'm not fond of 'erasing my darlings'. Still though, that original idea will get out in the future in an alternate version of this story.
And yes, I know this one didn't win the poll, but this chapter was the closest to be completed. *shrugs*
The only thing notable about the two weeks after 'the talk' was the Ravenclaw/Slytherin match on the third, other than a rather stilted drill session with Andromeda. As per the norm, most of Hufflepuff were cheering the Eagles. It didn't matter much in the course of the game, as Slytherin was using brutal tactics.
Having seen the World Cup, and there was the thought of betting against the goblins on that coming match, as well as a few professional games over the summer, Harry concluded that Slytherin's style was just on the hard side of professional. Honestly, they reminded him of the Wimbourne Wasps in utilizing whatever they could to win. Of course, there were no wasp nests in the area for the beaters to smack into the seeker… thank Merlin.
As far as professional Quidditch went, he was stuck between the Montrose Magpies and the Holyhead Harpies for his favourite. The Magpies played fair, and had excellent black and white uniforms. The Harpies… well, who wouldn't like a team of all girls? Then there was the fact that Dora was now bunkmates with one of their sisters. Hestia was cool, and had never given Dora any crap about either her name or what face she could put on.
Still though, tensions were high this Saturday morning. The 17th of November was the match between Hufflepuff and Gryffindor. Charlie had become more belligerent and reminiscent of Ronald's more prat-like moments, and Harry finally understood where his first friend's jealousy came from.
The twit still had a hornet up his backside over the fact that 'his place' at Dora's side had been usurped. He hadn't listened to Dora's protestations over his affections, and even claimed that Jim had somehow put a spell on her. If things progressed as they were, there would be crossed wands in the halls.
Of course, it didn't help Charlie's temper that the entirety of the Hufflepuff girls uniformly snubbed him.
Harry was half tempted to send an owl to Mrs. Weasley over it. The thought of a morning howler gave him a wicked sense of glee. With that thought, he decided to write out a letter that night.
None of that mattered at the moment. Alex had just finished his 'all for one and one for all' speech, and the team flew out under the loud voice of one Lee Jordan, the rookie announcer.
As they lined up in the air, Harry thought back to the previous seeker session he had with Digs. It was so hard even talking to him, but Harry strode forward and did his best to make up for Cedric's death. Of course, he realised that it was Wormtail's fault. Still though, he couldn't help but remember the look on his face when the killing curse hit him. 'Wands out, you think?' kept haunting his thoughts.
"Okay," Jim said as he and Digs drifted over the lake. "What's the main focus of the Seeker?" he asked him.
Digs answered with what he thought was most obvious. "Catch the snitch, of course."
Grinning, Jim shook his head. "Wrong. While that's the overall goal, the Seeker is a free agent in the air. Have you been to a pro game?"
"Yeah," Digs said with confusion on his face. "Dad and I support Puddlemere. What else does a Seeker do?"
"Disrupt plays," Jim said. "While it's illegal for us to catch or handle the Quaffle unless we're in Sudden Death, there's no rule that says you can't kick it."
Digs gave him a dubious look. "Isn't that cheating?"
"Nope," Jim said with a shake of the head. "Disrupting Chaser patterns like a Bludger is something all Seekers can and are allowed to do. If you can break their formation AND kick the Quaffle to one of your own Chasers, it's all the better. Fouls only occur when you ram or blatch the Chasers. The trick is threading the needle… a moving needle whose eye is constantly changing shape."
Blinking, Digs thought about it and drifted away a bit. Frowning, he looked back at Jim. "Okay, that sounds hard."
Jim smiled as he pulled three billiard sized balls that looked to be carved from wood out of his cloak. "That's what these are for." Tapping each one with his wand, they floated out and started orbiting each other in patterns.
Seeing the curious expression on Digs' face, Jim grinned. "The drill today, is to fly through the balls without touching them."
"What's Sudden Death?" Digs asked.
Grinning, Jim looked him in the eye. "That's what happens when there's a tie. Even though catching the snitch is supposed to end the game, there can't be a draw. Sudden Death changes the rules a bit, and the Seeker becomes the fourth Chaser. First team to make the goal ends the game."
Pulling back a bit, Jim waved his hand towards the floating and orbiting balls. "Okay, you have a half an hour to run through those balls. If you hit one, it'll light up orange. After we're done, we can toss the quaffle around till dinner."
Just seeing the grin on Digs' face made Jim's heart clench as the third year flew off. 'I'll figure out how to save you, Cedric. I promise,' he thought to himself.
Jim was pulled out of his thoughts when the whistle blew. Spying the snitch circling Charlie's head, then his, it vanished from sight as the bludgers were released. The quaffle was tossed, and the game was on.
Crosstalk between the teams was almost at a level of a regular Lion/Snake match. The Gryff's new set of beaters tried to out-badger the Badgers, with the comments usually being: 'Our brother not good enough for ya?' and 'No idea what Charlie sees in her,' and other such things.
Tony and Dora ignored it all, and ended up capturing both bludgers between them early on. This of course annoyed the Weasley twins to the point that they fouled Tony in getting control of one of them. Fred couldn't have planned it even if he tried, but zoomed in front of Tony with a backhand swing that both shot the bludger towards Jim, as well as knocking Tony on the head with the backside of the swing.
This is where things became decidedly… odd.
While Tony was dazed and the whistle was blowing on the foul, Jim did a back-flip with his broom that had the heel of his left foot deflect the bludger… right into Charlie's face. Time was called so that Madam Pomphrey could look over the injuries. Finding that Tony was only slightly dazed, she turned her attention towards Charlie while Fred was apologizing profusely to Tony.
After a fifteen minute hold while Charlie was being tended to, the game started afresh. Jim had flipped a sickle as to whether or not he and Tony should swap positions, then decided against it when the coin said yes. Tony really didn't have the speed for it.
Overall, it was a rather low scoring game. Alex and Wood were defending the hoops rather well, and neither team had broke 100 points. Practising what he was teaching Digs, Jim had voided four separate Lion plays, and managed to punt the quaffle to the Badgers twice.
Taking a breather in his usual pattern over the field, he was scanning for the snitch again. Charlie took the opportunity to shadow him and run his mouth. He was on the rumour that Jim was Tonks' long lost twin, when Jim had enough.
Giving a fake double-take to his left, Jim broke his pattern and went screaming down the pitch towards the Lion's hoops. Lee's voice focussed everyone on the two seekers.
'Uh oh! Looks like Blake's seen the snitch! Get him, Charlie!'
Smirking at Lee and McGonnagal's antics, Jim didn't start his erratic 'snitch flight' until he was halfway down the pitch. Banking a hard left, he heard Charlie swearing up a storm in his attempts to keep up with him. Two more slight jerks, and Jim went vertical.
The sound of a slight shriek and the crowd's groan put a large smile on his face, as his toes skimmed the tapestry as he climbed the professor's stand. Sprout laughed at him as he shot past her, shouting, 'Sister my arse!'
'That can't be legal!'
The Lions called their last time out when Jim caught sight of the snitch. It took five minutes for Pomphrey to clear Charlie again, who had narrowly missed the support struts after he tore through the main tapestry. His broom wasn't looking good though.
Catching the snitch was rather anticlimactic after that, as when the whistle blew again it was three seconds of a dash before Jim felt it slap into his palm close to the Badger hoops.
'NO! Blake caught the snitch! Hufflepuff wins, 230 to 90. Someone needs to off that bloke.'
Dora met Jim in the air, and they had a one armed hug over the pitch. With their brooms in opposite directions, they lightly spun with their victory snog. The most humorous bit was the multicoloured cycling of both heads of hair.
One thing about the Hufflepuff Quidditch locker rooms, was that there were two large magical whirlpools designed to massage sore muscles. And yes, the idea came from the muggle side of the fence. Whilst the majority of the team were just soaking, letting the water beat on them and trying to relax, Jim and Tonks were sitting along one side of the smaller one while rubbing each other's feet.
Alex, Tony and the rest were all looking cockeyed at the pair when Jim let out a contented groan with a 'yeah, right there'. The smirks and snorts were starting when Tonks poked her tongue out the side of her mouth and lifted Jim's foot out of the water, forcibly working a stubborn knot loose in the arch. Footrest cramps were bit of a bother with Quidditch – Seekers especially due to the speed and near violence with the broom that was required.
The mirth of their team-mates then hit a brick wall, when Jim's hair faded to black as his head rolled back and he moaned out, "I already said yes, love, but I'll say it again. Yes, I'll bloody marry you. Just pleeeease don't stop doing that. Ohhhh gaaawwwd."
"Religious experience?" Tabitha Dawson, one of the three chasers, commented from the other 'pool', chuckling at the antics, then paused with big eyes. "Tonks, did you pop the question?" she squeaked out.
Tonks' hair was a very bright pink, when she turned to look at the rest of the team with a huge wink and a cat that got the cream smile. "Mayyybee," she drawled.
"Bloody hell!" Tony barked with a slosh of water as he turned around. "Is this serious? How serious is this? You've only known each other a few months! Are you two serious?"
All smiles at what she was doing to her boyfriend, Tonks was beyond pleased with herself. "I actually asked quite a while ago."
"You didn't ask," Jim countered, somewhat insensate, "you made a statement and I agreeeed. Oh, bloody fuckin' hell, right there. Ohhh, shit yes. Sweet Holy Mother of Fuck, I completely love, appreciate and adore you. Good God, I need a new broom or something. Those foot-pegs suck."
"I'm pretty sure there was a blasphemy in there somewhere," Mark Tonbridge, another of the three chasers, deadpanned with a grin – causing more chuckles.
Hestia Jones, the last chaser and Tonks room-mate, just had to ask. "Are you two bonding?" With their shy nods, her eyes popped wide. "No offence Jim, but does your mum know that, Dora?"
Chuckling, Tonks shook her head. "It's not like she has any business throwin' stones. She got tossed out of the Black family for marrying me Da'." She finished with Jim's left foot with a small kiss to the big toe, then swapped to do his right.
"Fixtha' in six years," Jim mumbled, before groaning as his girl went to work on his other arch.
Alex had a huge grin on his face as he got out of the water to dry off. "This is news. Big news! HUGE!"
Tonks' head snapped to glare at him. "What happens in the locker room, STAYS in the bloody locker room! This is PRIVATE, and we're not going to make a show of what we're doin'!" She then stared at her fellow beater. "And you will ignore what my beau just mumbled, if you know what's good for you. Get me?"
"Ah, shit," Jim swore with a wince. "Sorry."
Tonks shook her head. "No worries, James. You're pretty out of it right now, and it's admittedly my fault. Just do me a favour and button it for a while. Let your grumbles turn to moans 'n' groans… yeah, like that," she ended her rant with a grin.
"I have no idea what he said, but damn," Alex said as he dried himself with his wand. "Full name means you stepped in it, Jimmy." He earned a half-hearted glare from Jim on the 'hated' diminutive of his name.
Tony held his hand up. "I didn't exactly hear what he said, so it isn't that big of a deal. Still, even if I did hear it I wouldn't have said anything anyway."
A glint in her eye, Tonks shared a glance with Hestia. "See? He can be trained."
That statement returned the mirth and chuckles, as Tony put on a very offended and quite boyish pout. However, the pout ended with a raised brow when he noticed Hestia flushing a full scarlet over what was said.
"Someone's got a crush," Tabitha singsonged. Hestia's response to that was to duck under the water, in an attempt to drown herself in embarrassment.
Confused, but a bit pleased, Tony looked around at his fellow players. "Really?"
The nods and smiles dumbfounded him, but Jim's rather droll response had the rest of the team cackling. "I've not been here long, but even as oblivious as I am, I still noticed the charming blond lass checking out your backside twenty four seven."
Even though Hestia didn't hear that, she did hear the laughter under the water. Mortified, she climbed out of the pool rapidly and made a beeline for the girls changing rooms. Tabitha sighed and headed after her.
Later, as the team was heading back to the common room, and doing their best to not antagonize Hestia or Tony, the seven passed through the side entrance of the castle. On the far right, Jim heard a bit of scuffling and looked over to see the Weasley twins staring at him with wide eyes. Their glances down at a bit of parchment wasn't missed.
"Shite," Jim muttered.