Anxiety, Quidditch tryouts, and birthdays- pt1
As usual, I do not own Harry Potter, it belongs to J.K. Rowling... o-O.
This chapter is inspired by Don't Let Go.
"What do you mean "Just because you were on the team last year doesn't guarantee you a place this year"?" Ron bellowed as the trio waited for the staircases to still.
"Exactly what I said," Harry replied, his tone bored.
"You can't seriously be telling me that I have to try out again after almost dying last time!"
"Oh, honestly, Ron." Hermione huffed, having been listening to the pair since they had left the Great Hall. It was Saturday, their first two weeks had flown by, and before Harry knew it, it was almost time to put his Quidditch Captain status to fair use. He had to build Gryffindor a winning team– but to do that, he would have to get rid of a few old players… Andrew Kirke came to mind. Ron had presumed that he still held his place on the team from the previous year; he was rather upset when he found out that wasn't the case. "You didn't almost die; you were only nervous. You did brilliantly last time; I'm sure you'll be fine."
"Exactly! I got on last time! Why can't I just keep my place on the team?" The Redhead whined, lightly stomping his feet like a child while they wait for the students in front of them to give the password. Blue eyes wide and begging.
"Oh, don't go having a paddy, Ron." Harry sighed, taking a seat at his regular place on the large red sofa as soon as they entered the common room. "It's only fair that we give everyone a chance to try out, if I let you keep your spot, then it will look like I'm picking favourites."
"Isn't that the point, though?" Ron tried again desperately, "You have to pick your favourites for the best team, I–"
"Ron." Both Hermione and Harry groaned at the same time; their best friend deflated accepting defeat before sulking over to Dean to challenge him to a game of chess.
"Do you think I'm being fair?" The raven-haired wizard asked after a few moments, his voice unsure. "You know, practically re-starting the team?"
Hermione shook her head at him and smiled, "Yes, you're being fair, you dolt. I'm sure Ron will do fine and make the team anyway, but even if he doesn't, it'll only be because you're trying to make the best team, as McGonagall asked."
"Right," He lifted his arm as she inched closer, allowing her to rest her bushy head on his chest. Drawing up her knees to have them half rest on his propped up legs, she lent her book on them and sighed in content. "You comfy?" Harry whispered into her ear, sounding rather amused, Hermione shivered at the feel of his breath against her skin.
"Quite, yes." She snuggled in closer, "How was your session with Professor Lu– I mean, Remus."
" It was alright, it was nice of him to let me have an earlier lesson," Harry grimaced when his leg gave an unpleasant twinge of pain. "But now, I don't think I'll be able to get up now I'm down."
"You sound like an old man,"
"I feel like an old man."
"Pity, I tend to lean towards younger boys."
"Hey! You're not that much older than me,"
"Oh, yeah, eleven months is barely anything." Hermione chuckled as she turned another page, Harry was baffled by her ability to read and talk at the same time.
"Speaking of which," Harry leaned down slightly, pressing his lips against her pulse gently, mindful of the people around them. Hermione closed her book slowly, as well as her eyes. "I don't have training tomorrow."
"H-huh?" She attempted to stay focused as he continued his ministrations, biting back a soft moan. Harry laughed softly against her neck.
"Tomorrow." He pulled back to look at her, a blush now crawling across her cheeks. "After Quidditch, I thought you'd like to spend the remainder of the afternoon at the lake? You know, with you being of age and all, it is sort of a big deal…"
The young witch sat back, looking thoroughly and utterly baffled. For a few moments, it seemed as though Hermione had no idea what he was going on about as he started to snigger. But then her brown eyes widened in realization and a brilliant smile lit her face, she launched herself into a laughing Harry's arms, the force of impact almost causing them both to topple over the side of the couch. The sound of a book toppling to the floor, drawing the attention of some of the Gryffindor students.
"Harry!" She was practically on his lap, her arms locked tightly around his neck. "You remembered!"
"Of course," He said as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Apparently you didn't, though." Catching her hand as it went to slap his shoulder, he smiled. "Can't tease me for forgetting my birthday, now."
"Oh, haha, Potter." The brunette rolled her eyes before leaning forward and capturing his lips with hers, utterly unfazed by those around them; Harry smiled against her lips, pulling back when she tried to deepen the kiss. Hermione gave a small sound of annoyance and tried to kiss him again; he laughed and moved his head out of her reach.
"Isn't it against the rules to allow students to witness such a public display of affection? Never mind be the one behind it." Harry grinned as he saw her slightly unfocused eyes stare at him in confusion. "You seem to have drawn quite the audience, Miss Perfect."
Hermione's freckled skin suddenly flushed bright red. Refusing to look around her, she hid her face in his chest. "You're not funny."
"Who said I was trying to be?" He glanced over to the clock. "You have rounds."
Hermione nodded, the movement causing his shirt to scrunch up slightly. She lifted her head, glancing over at Ron and frowning. "Looks like I'm on my own again," Their redheaded best friend looked panicked, a bead of sweat forming on his brow as he stared at the chessboard. Dean, however, seemed perfectly calm. "And it looks like he's finally met his match." She detangled herself from his grasp and stood.
"Ah, you can just leave him alone to get the first years to bed tonight." Harry waved a hand, "It's about time someone put him in his place with that bloody game. Come on; I'll wander with you for a bit and try walking off this God awful pain in my leg."
"Why? Want to catch some snogging couples in broom closets?" She giggled softly, her eyebrows furrowing ever so slightly as she watched him stand up. His movements were stiff and ginger, his body protesting with every step.
"That's a bit hypocritical, don't you think, Granger?"
"And whose fault is that?"
"One hundred per cent yours, it's hardly my fault if I find myself awed by your beauty."
"Blinded by attraction," Hermione muttered with an airy laugh, tugging on his hand and leading him back through the portrait hole.
He sure was.
Light streamed through the partly open curtains, weaving through the gaps and spilling into the dorm and onto the dark, wooden floor; glazed as it were by the innumerable backscatter of minute specks floating in the air.
Harry felt a pang of dread in his stomach as he slowly pulled his jersey over his head, the scarlet and gold material ruffling his hair even more.
Ron had woken earlier than him and had not been present during breakfast, two alarming signs. Harry was worried that the youngest Weasley son was angry at him for not letting him keep his place on the team, he was completely capable of making the team again, but the thought of his best friend being upset with him made his insides twist uncomfortably.
"You'll do fine today, Harry." A voice behind him snapped him out of his thoughts, he swivelled around to face his interrupter and smiled slightly.
"Sneaking into the boy's dormitories, Birthday Girl? What has become of you?" He grinned cheekily, sauntering over to her slowly.
"What can I say? You're a bad influence, Potter."
"Is that so?" His green eyes sparkled with mischief, "Which one of us was it that dragged the other into that broom cupboard after your rounds?"
He laughed as her face flushed, but rather than shying away as Harry expected, she stood at her full height and leaned forward.
"Well, I believe it was you who suggested it." He could feel her breath on his lips; he swallowed thickly.
"You acted upon it."
"You proceeded to comply."
"You…" The feeling of small hands fiddling with the hem of his jumper caused all other thoughts to drift from his mind. "You… uh…"
"I what?" Her hands slipped underneath, her voice laced with amusement. He felt his stomach tense at her touch as he sucked in a breath.
"You, Hermione Granger, are a tease." He shook his head, raven curls falling into his eyes and hiding his scar.
"Now you know how I feel," She removed her hands from under the fabric and moved to wrap them around his waist, squeezing tightly.
"Happy Birthday, 'Mione," Harry said sincerely, resting his cheek atop her head.
There was a muffled 'Thank You, again' before she pulled back slightly, flashing him a brilliant smile. Harry was about to lean down, intending on giving the bushy-haired witch another gift, but something stopped him. He took in what she was wearing; light jeans and a thin t-shirt, paired with her white converse, he shook his head with a grin.
"For someone who's of age, you're not very good at dressing for the weather." He fingered the hem, his crooked grin in place. "It's September, and it's raining, and it's freezing."
"Oh," She looked down as though she'd forgotten what she was wearing. "Oh, I didn't even think, I left my jumper upstairs… I was trying to find my book." Hermione's eyes narrowed when Harry snorted in amusement.
"Why am I not surprised?" He wriggled out of her grip, striding over to his trunk and digging around inside it. Hermione followed him over, sitting on his bed and watching him curiously. Harry made a slight noise of victory as he found what he was looking for and stood up. "Here, you can wear this." He was holding his older jersey of the previous year. "It probably won't fit very well, but it'll keep you warm."
"That thing will swallow me whole." She giggled, shaking her head sceptically.
"Consider it a birthday present," He rolled the fabric up in his hands, sitting beside her with a grin. Placing it over her head, he helped her put her arms through the holes. "You look absolutely gorgeous." She was right, she was practically drowning in the old sportswear, but Harry had never seen her look so beautiful.
"It is rather warm," Harry could see her hands moving within the sleeves, she brought them to her nose, breathing in his scent and smiling softly. "Oh, alright, good luck getting this back." Her auburn curls were still caught within the collar. "We have to think about heading down soon. It's almost ten."
At her words, the pang of uneasiness in his stomach returned, filling his senses. His discomfort was clearly shown across his features as Hermione had moved forward, entwining her fingers with his reassuringly. He looked up, emerald meeting gold, her hand warm and solid in his.
"He'll get over it, Harry… You know what he's like; he doesn't like being left out." Hermione whispered softly, her thumb stroking the faint scars on his left hand.
"I know," Harry muttered through a long sigh, his free hand absently freeing her curls from within her — his — shirt.
"Good," She caught his hand and pulled him up with her, flashing him a roguish smile that looked identical to the one Harry was usually sporting.
"Because he will do great, and so will you." And with that, Hermione reached for his collar and tugged him forward to meet his lips in a blissful kiss.
Harry couldn't wipe the goofy grin from his lips as they made their way to the Quidditch pitch.
"Um, wow, that is a lot of people." Harry swallowed nervously, eyes scanning over the inhabitants of the stadium, all huddled together on the grass. Harry recognized a few faces, but others he found were unfamiliar.
There were a lot more than he anticipated. The grey clouds and damp air did nothing to ease his nerves.
"I don't see how why you're surprised." Hermione hummed, huffing at his confused expression. "Oh, come on, Harry," She rolled her eyes, suddenly impatient. "It's not Quidditch that's popular; it's you! You've never been more interesting, and frankly, you've never been more fanciable."
"Oh, um–" Harry spluttered, the cold air suddenly heating up.
"Hey, guys!" A bubbly voice behind them piped up, causing them to turn to the sound. "Nice jumper, Birthday Girl." She smirked, before raising an eyebrow towards the young wizard. "You alright there, Harry?"
"He's nervous," Brown eyes surveyed the pitch with a frown, "Half of them aren't even in Gryffindor. That boy there is in Hufflepuff." She pointed to a short sandy-haired boy.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding." Harry pressed the balls of hands to his eyes, slowly dragging them down his face.
Great, brilliant. Just what he needed.
"Ronnie looks like he's going to be sick," Ginny commented from his left side; Harry removed his hands from his face in order to see the long-nosed boy.
The youngest Weasley was right; her brother looked terrified. He was clutching his Cleansweep eleven as though it were a lifeline. The boy was gripping the broom so tightly that his knuckles were turning white – not that it was easy to tell as the boy's skin looked several shades lighter than a sheet, his freckles strikingly pronounced on his green-tinted face.
"I don't know why he's so worried; he's going to do fine–"
"Hey, Potter!" A gruff voice from within the crowd interrupted, Harry turned in time to watch a large, wiry-haired boy push past two spooked looking second years before strutting towards them with a smirk. "Name's Cormac McLaggen, Keeper." He thrust out a large hand for him to shake. "Slughorn has told me all about you three." He address the two girls on his left; Harry felt himself go rigid as he watched he watched the way McLaggen's eyes ran over Hermione, who had stiffened beside him.
Harry shook the blonde-haired boy's hand reluctantly, attempting to hide his grimace, he recognized him vaguely from the Hogwarts express. "You didn't try out last year, did you?" He asked, taking note of the breadth of McLaggen and thinking that he would probably block all three goal hoops without even moving.
"No, I was in the hospital wing when they held the trials," McLaggen informed, with something of a swagger. "Ate a pound of Doxy eggs for a bet." He looked to where Hermione was standing and winked. Winked. Harry felt his blood run cold.
"Right," Harry said through gritted teeth. "Well... if you wait over there …"
He pointed towards the crowd where he had come from. He thought he saw a flicker of annoyance Passover McLaggen's face and wondered whether the bragger expected preferential treatment because they were both "old Sluggy's" favourites.
"He's a right tosser, him," The captain growled under his breath when he was out of earshot.
"Harry, language." Hermione hissed, slapping his shoulder gently.
"He was looking at you like you were a target."
"He is a bit of a prat, Hermione." Ginny agreed.
"I'm not disputing that! There's still no need for foul language."
"Alright, alright, sorry." He checked his watch, noting the time. "We better get going." His green eyes surveyed the crowd one more time before turning back to the only Weasley daughter. "Can you try and filter out all the first years and anyone from other houses?"
"I'll do my best, Potter."
"That's Captain to you, Weasley!" He teased her retreating form, grinning at her bark of laughter.
"Don't get too cocky yet, Cap," Hermione said through her giggles as Ginny rounded up those who weren't permitted to try out. "Good luck, Harry." She whispered before rising on her toes and pressing her lips to his briefly. Her hair tickled his chin when she pulled away and turned to the swarm of students. "Good luck, Ron!" The boy in question snapped his head up at the sound of his name, looking like a deer caught in headlights. He nodded and smiled briefly before returning his gaze to the ground.
"I'll see you in a bit – Happy Birthday!" Harry promised as she made for the stands with a laugh, clutching her book against her chest, the wind blowing her already wild hair all over.
The unruly haired boy glanced back towards his best friend's little sister, who seemed to be in a heated argument with a blonde Ravenclaw girl — who wasn't even dressed for flying — while several other students departed with both grins and frowns– save one group that was comprised of ten of the silliest girls Harry had ever encountered, who, when Ginny had started snapping at the blonde, merely fell about giggling and clutching one another. When she had spun on them and told them to leave the pitch, they did so quite cheerfully and went to sit in the stands to heckle everyone else.
"Uhm… Hi." He started once he was close enough. "My name is Harry." Ignoring the snort that escaped the redhead girl and walking over to the wooden chest that housed the balls. He unlocked the crate, revealing its contents. "Now, one more time, though I'm sure, Miss. Weasley here has set you all straight. Are you all in Gryffindor, and are you all second year and above?" There was a pause before each of them affirmed their status; he continued. "Good. Chasers, you're up. Six at a time, three on each side. Off you go."
Harry had never raised his voice so much in his life.
After an hour, many complaints, and several tantrums, one involving a crashed Comet Two Sixty and several broken teeth, Harry had settled upon three Chasers: Katie Bell, returned to the team after an excellent trial; a new find called Demelza Robins, who was particularly good at dodging Bludgers; and Ginny, who had outflown all the competition and scored seventeen goals to boot, to absolutely no one's surprise.
He had shouted himself hoarse at the many complainers and was now enduring a similar battle with the dismissed beaters, all begging for another go.
"They're uh… Not too great, are they?" Katie came up beside him, cringing.
"That one who just went was alright," He pointed towards a short but broad-chested third-year boy. "He's got a good arm, just needs to work on his aim." His hand came up to the back of his head absently, nursing a lump the size of an egg that the boy had managed to raise with a ferociously hit Bludger. "Jimmy Peakes."
"He's not too bad, either." The brunette pointed out, shifting his gaze to a weedy-looking fourth-year, who was practically the opposite. He lacked in strength but was able to aim reasonably well. "Think he's called Ritchie Coote,"
"Neither of them have the brilliance of Fred and George, but with a bit of training they'll be alright." Harry nodded, cringing as a young second-year girl almost slipped from her broom. "That's enough!" He bellowed after blowing his whistle. "Keepers, you're up next." Synchronized moans and groans erupted from those who were still in the air; he rolled his eyes. "Get down and out of their way, or I'll hex you. Acting like brats won't get you a place on the team."
Harry had deliberately left the trial of the Keepers until last, knowing that people would be making their way to lunch by now and the stadium would be relatively empty. Glancing over at Ron, – who was still a delicate shade of green – he frowned, the tall boy had never been good with nerves, he was eyeing his competition nervously, McGlaggen looking completely confident that he would leave here with the position.
The aim was to save as many goals within the five-shot, but none of the first five applicants saved more than two goals apiece. To Harry's great disappointment, Cormac McLaggen saved four penalties out of five. On the last one, however, he shot off in entirely the wrong direction, Harry had to suppress a snigger behind his hand.
But after replaying the scene in his head, it did seem rather fishy. His green eyes ran over the inhabitants of the stands, landing on one familiar just in time to see her hastily tuck away her wand.
Hermione Granger, cheating? Now that was dangerous.
Not that he was complaining, of course.
Ron looked ready to pass out when Harry blew the whistle, indicating that it was his go. But as he flew up to the goal hoops, a spark of determination flashed across his face, he seemed to draw in a deal breath before looking over in Harry's direction. Cerulean met emerald for the first time since the previous day, the ginger nodded.
He needed no more encouragement to blow the whistle.
To say he did well would be an understatement, he had saved all five penalties, even with Ginny as chaser. It was safe to say that the youngest Weasley son was very, very pleased with himself; he had behaved admirably.
Harry blew the whistle to signal the end of tryouts as he pushed down the urge to cheer for his best mate, he had barely lowered the instrument from his lips when he turned to McLaggen to tell him that, most, unfortunately, Ron had beaten him, only to find McLaggen's red face inches from his own. He stepped back hastily.
"Rubbish," The Gryffindor captain replied coldly. "That was the one he nearly missed."
The raging boy took a step nearer Harry, who stood his ground this time.
"Give me another go."
"No," He scoffed. "You've had your go. You saved four, Ron saved five. Being a prick won't get you the spot. Get out of my way."
He thought for a moment that McLaggen might punch him, but he contented himself with an ugly grimace and stormed past him, roughly bumping bus shoulder, growling what sounded like empty threats to thin air.
Harry visibly deflated like a balloon.
"Uhm… okay." He croaked as he turned to the group of Gryffindors, eagerly awaiting the results. "Thank you for coming, you all did really well. The team will be posted in the common room this time tomorrow."
It seemed as though some were disappointed that they would have to wait a whole 24 hours, but there were others that looked relieved that it was over. Harry looked over at Ron, who was smiling somewhat apologetically.
"Alright, off you go-"
"Well done Ronald, you flew really well." A faraway voice butt in, surprising both Ron and Harry. The silver-haired witch wasn't even looking at the boy in question as the other Gryffindors fled the pitch for lunch.
"Oh, uh– t-thanks Loon- Luna." Ron choked out, his face gradually reddening.
"That other boy was very rude; he was never going to perform as well with all those wrackspurts clogging his ears. That would explain why he took off in the other direction–"
"That's enough Luna," Hermione's voice appeared behind him, her cheeks as flushed as Ron's. "I'm sure it was just a coincidence." She added hastily. "You did brilliantly, Ron; I told you-you had nothing to worry about."
"Did you see? I saved all five! Nearly lost the last one but I just got to it!"
"We saw, Ron. We saw." His best friend chucked, patting him on the back.
"I thought I was going to miss that fourth penalty," Ron said happily. "Tricky shot from Demelza, did you see, had a bit of spin on it —"
"Yes, yes, you were magnificent," Hermione cut him off, looking amused.
"I was better than that McLaggen anyway," Ron sing-songed in a highly satisfied voice. "Did you see him lumbering off in the wrong direction on his fifth? Looked like he'd been Confunded. …"
At these words, Hermione turned an intense shade of pink; Harry had to stifle his laughter with his hand. Ron noticed nothing; he was too busy describing each of his other penalties to Luna in loving detail as they began their trek towards the castle.
"I saw you, too," Harry whispered, startling the brunette.
"Hm? What?" Hermione snapped defensively.
"If you ask me," Harry said quietly, "McLaggen looks like he was Confunded. And he was standing right in front of where you were sitting, Birthday Girl."
"Oh, all right then, I did it," she whispered. "But you should have heard the way he was talking about Ron and Ginny! Anyway, he's got a nasty temper; you saw how he reacted when he didn't get in— you wouldn't have wanted someone like that on the team."
"No, I suppose that's true. But wasn't that dishonest, Hermione? I mean, you're a prefect, aren't you?"
"Oh, be quiet," she snapped again, as he smirked. "You're a bad influence."
"Hey, Harry?" Ron started, turning towards the couple.
"Are we good?" A hand was presented in front of him.
"Of course we are." He grabbed the boys hand and shook it firmly, drawing a smile out of both of them.
Merlin, silly Quidditch fallouts.
And that's all of the prewritten chapters revised! Given the feedback i've received since revisiting my story, I have decided to continue it!
I have been able to write 5 future chapters and create a plan for the story and I am so excited to share it with you!
Thank you, and welcome back Convince Me Otherwise!