Harry drifted slowly from side to side, up so high that he enjoyed a bird's eye view of the whole stadium, ready to dive at the first sight of gold. His position also gave him a chance to watch his opponents; the other three Seekers were speeding around below him, everyone keeping a sharp eye out of the Snitch.

The first was a very lanky man who Harry had evidently missed watching while he was talking to Angelina. The man skirted around the edges of the stadium, craning his long neck in a way that reminded Harry somewhat of a periscope.

His second opponent in this trial was Michael Belby. He had quite a bit more muscle to him along with a keen, more experienced, eye that made Harry wary. He too was keeping to the edges, albeit on the opposite side of the stadium to the lanky man. Harry had watched Belby's run and he'd been very quick, Harry didn't fancy a sprint between the two of them for the Snitch.

Unlike the other two, Harry's third opponent was shooting around the pitch haphazardly. She zigzagged, did loops, dived and soared, and kept stopping, spinning, and flying back the way she came. Anyone watching her would think she was trying to shake an invisible stalker off her tail; this was the eccentric Perry. Her small size might have allowed her to fly under the radar, but her spiky green hair, piercings, and loud voice ensured she was the centre of attention.

While Perry would most likely be the closest to the Snitch when they eventually found it, Harry was confident she probably wouldn't see it before them, her task made more difficult by the fact she had to dodge out of the way of the other trial groups. The Chasers especially were getting annoyed at the green blur that kept flying through their passing drills.

Harry's heart skipped a beat. A flash of gold, directly underneath him perfectly in the centre of the pitch. He dove, straight down, chest pressed against the stick of his broom. He could see sudden movement in the periphery of his vision, the other Seekers had all seen it too, how far away they were he couldn't tell as he dared not take his eyes off the Snitch.

30 metres. 20 metres. 10 metres.

Harry stretched out his right arm, he could see two people pull out of the race, his fingers stretched out around the tiny golden ball and then-

THUMP

All Harry had to do was close his hand and the Snitch would have been his, but at the very last second a different hand had snatched it first, flying in from his left. Perry. Harry collided with her shoulder and was spent spinning out of control towards the ground. He desperately clung on to his broom, both legs kicked forward trying to break the spiral. The turf came rushing up to meet him and he bounced off the grass, launching over the front of his broom and rolling to a painful stop.

Harry tried getting up but hissed in pain when he shifted his weight onto his right arm. He rolled to the left instead and slowly staggered to his feet. In his final moments before impact he'd just stabilised his broom in time, cutting the speed dramatically, it was a very near miss.

Harry looked up and saw Perry shooting around the stadium, waving the captured Snitch back forward while gloating to the other Seekers. She was fast and fearless, a dangerous combination. More troubling, she was through to the next round.

Harry's thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Benjy Williams.

"You alright, Vernon?"

Harry blinked at him stupidly before remembering that he was Vernon.

"Y-yeah. I stopped myself in time…mostly."

Benjy grinned. "Excellent. Trials are still on so if you're right to fly then get back up there! Two Snitches to go!"

Harry nodded and went looking for his broom, it had ricocheted quite a distance on impact. When he found his Cleansweep Twelve he instinctively stretched out his right arm to pick it up, but quickly withdrew it back to his side, pain shooting through his shoulder. Gritting his teeth, he picked it up with his left hand, swung his leg over, and kicked off. He rose slowly, and again tested his right arm by trying to grip the handle in front of him, but had to give up and let his arm fall limply to his side. He would have to steer one-handed for the rest of the trial.

Then, just as Harry thought things couldn't get any worse, he saw something that made his stomach drop. Perry was still flying around the stadium, now looking for a second Snitch. Harry swung around to look at Benjy, but he was still smiling amiably.

"I only have one rule for this trial. Catch one of these Snitches and you make it through. Don't, and you're out."

Harry groaned, Perry was trying to eliminate all of them at once. He climbed higher, back to his spot above the stadium. He wouldn't be able to change directions quickly with one hand, he was now totally relying on a straight dive to the Snitch. His other rivals however had changed strategies.

Belby was shadowing Perry tightly, never falling more than a couple of metres behind her no matter what evasive manoeuvre she tried. After much zig-zagging and loop-de-looping she scowled and drifted to the middle of the pitch, nearly colliding with the other Seeker, the lanky man with a long neck. He had taken to slowly rotating on the spot, an idea Harry realised was actually pretty clever as there were no Bludgers attacking stationary players. His face went a little warm as for the first time he felt slightly out of his depth.

"You can do it, Vernon!"

Harry looked around for the kind voice and spotted Angelina waving from her seat in the top tier of the stadium. Harry smiled back at her and descended a little closer to the ground. He'd been arrogant assuming he could just hang around up high and outrace the other Seekers to the Snitch. Now with all three of them so central there was no way he could start from so far away.

Somewhat hesitantly he hovered above the lanky man in the centre of the pitch, trying to watch him, the duelling pair of Belby and Perry, and for the Snitch.

With a lurch he saw the lanky man's eyes widen and knees snap together. Harry forced his broom around in a 180 with his one good arm and took off in the same direction after him, only having given up a couple of seconds' head start. Harry lowered himself to the broom and lined himself up perfectly behind the man, using him as a shield from the wind and creeping closer and closer in his slipstream. He still couldn't actually see the Snitch, but he was aware that Belby and Perry were in the same race somewhere to his left, all four of them streaking along the length of the pitch towards a wall of seats.

The front of Harry's broom was practically touching the tail of the lanky man's now, the perfect overtaking position. Having closed the gap he swung out to the left, and then back to the right, intending to bump the lanky man off his line with his right shoulder. It was only a second before impact that Harry remembered there was a reason he was currently flying one-handed. There was a sickening crunch and Harry let out a gasp of excruciating pain. His shoulder was agonising but he had succeeded in drawing perfectly level now. They were flying neck and neck and Harry could finally see the Snitch! It was hovering so close to one of the seats you'd have thought it had paid a ticket to be there. It occurred to Harry then that they would have no way of braking or pulling up when they caught it, they were flying at over 100km/h, it was essentially suicide.

Probably coming to an identical conclusion, the lanky man glanced to his left at Harry, shook his head, and pulled up. Harry, to be perfectly honest, felt like joining him, but then the Snitch darted away, whizzing around the boundary of the stadium, but still only centimetres off the seats. Harry wrenched his broom up in a hard turn and barely avoided colliding with the seats himself. He was closing in on the Snitch now, the world on its side, he was nearly there…and then he heard an angry yell from behind him.

Maybe it was because he hadn't played in a while. Maybe it was because he was in an unfamiliar environment. All that Harry knew was he'd committed the cardinal sin of taking your eyes off the Snitch. Belby was shouting furiously as he spun away, trying to regain control of his broom, Perry was the only one behind him now, her eyes hungry. Before Harry could turn back around and catch the Snitch, she'd seized the tail of his broom and yanked it backwards. With a lurch, Harry's broom jerked off its path and he too was sent off in a different direction, his one hand gripped tightly trying to keep his balance. By the time he'd steadied himself, Perry was again waving her hand back and forward, fingers wrapped around the struggling golden ball. Belby was already on the ground remonstrating with Benjy Williams.

"She can't do that!" Belby howled. Harry hovered nearby, wanting to yell alongside Belby, but he knew what was coming.

"I think you'll find that she can" Benjy responded calmly. "I did say there was only one rule for this trial…"

"So, what, you're just going to reward cheating? How does that help you choose a Seeker!?" Belby continued to yell.

"I'm going to reward people who do whatever it takes to win"-

"But"-

"And, I remind you, that there is still one more Snitch out there, so if you want to play for Puddlemere..."

Belby's face resembled a tomato, his lips firmly clamped shut with the clear sign he was holding back a long string of expletives. Harry turned away from them and rose up back to the centre of the stadium. Waiting for him was a gloating Perry.

"Two down, one to go!" She taunted in a sing-song voice.

Harry gritted his teeth, resisting the urge to bite back. In moments like these he tried to abide by something Oliver Wood had once told him. 'Losers don't get to talk'. Wood had always been true to his motto, there was no point in wasting time talking when you could be working harder to try and win.

With a great amount of self-control, Harry turned his back on Perry and started circling the centre of the pitch, eyes peeled for the final Snitch. Belby on the other hand was officially tilted.

"COME HERE YOU RUNTY LITTLE BITCH!"

Harry turned back to see Belby shooting straight at Perry, shoulder raised, aiming to knock her off her broom.


A/N: So the reason I started writing for Harry Potter was that I was going to do a Harry Potter Quiz Night with some friends and was re-reading the series as preparation. I'm happy to say that the studying paid off and we won, easily (as in 14 points between us and second place...). Anyway, hope you enjoyed the chapter, sorry for the little brag!