Quaffles and Broomsticks, Chapter 1
Disclaimer: None of this is mine, etc. All hail JK Rowling.
Warning: This fic contains adult situations and smut. It is not intended for younger audiences.
Hufflepuff. Fucking Hufflepuff!
She strode out of the locker room angrily, broom in hand. She could fly to the pitch in mere seconds, but chose to walk instead. It was easier for her to seethe on the ground, and by Merlin, she wanted to seethe.
In September she would have called it inconceivable. Now it was reality.
This was supposed to be her year of triumph, the year that the stars aligned and everything finally—finally!—worked itself out in her favor. But it had been a disaster from beginning to end. At this rate she would be lucky if even the Cannons took her seriously as a prospect.
Last year that cursed tournament had ruined her chance to be noticed by the pro scouts. This year that vile Ministry bitch had ruined her team. With her best players banned, there was no chance of impressing anyone with Gryffindor's play. She felt as if she were playing with both hands tied behind her back.
And now? Hufflepuff!
It was a smack in the face. An insult added to grievous injury. How could her team lose to Hufflepuff? They were composed of almost entirely new players. It would be nearly impossible to win the Quidditch Cup now, and this was her last chance.
She leapt on her Cleansweep 260 and accelerated sharply into the air. The wind in her face almost took her breath away. It was awful weather for flying, frigid and moist, but it matched her mood perfectly. She wanted to rage at something, and the indifference of nature made an excellent target.
She soared through the sky, waiting on the hoops to come into view. Banking hard left, she rolled through the center hoop in a corkscrew, pretending to feel the narrow miss of a bludger. She turned sharply and extended an arm, accepting the pass of the quaffle, before making an imaginary assault on goal.
Oliver Wood hovered in front of her, a smirk on his face, taunting her inability to score on him. She flew directly at him, feinted left, then veered hard to the right. Wood was confused for a split-second, and the quaffle soared past him for a goal. She could almost hear the roar of approval from the crowd.
She cheered in return, venting all of her frustrations in a single victory cry.
She zoomed back into position, preparing to catch the quaffle from Katie, when she realized she wasn't alone. There was another flyer. He sat high above her, in the center of the pitch, hovering but not moving. She squinted into the distance, but couldn't discern who it was. No one but her should be foolish enough to fly in this weather.
She flew slowly and cautiously upward, lest her fellow rider prove to be a Slytherin. She was nearly upon him when she recognized the wild black hair and green eyes.
"Harry?" she asked, her breath misting in the air.
She examined him curiously and then with some concern. He was hovering on one of the old school brooms, his own likely locked in that bitch's office. Or perhaps even turned into kindling by now. His lips were nearly blue from the cold.
"What are you doing up here?"
"Just clearing my head," he said. "What about you?"
"The same, I guess. Running some maneuvers since I've got a couple spare hours."
"Can't coax anyone else to practice?"
"Nah, too bloody cold. Won't have another official one till it warms up a little."
He nodded but didn't reply.
She frowned as she took in his appearance. He was wearing only his school robe, and hadn't bothered with gloves or, from the looks of it, warming charms. That was not a wise idea for February in Scotland. She stamped down her urge to chide him.
Her anger with him and the twins was no longer a fierce, burning thing. It had been explosive in November, when Umbridge banned them from the team. She knew even then that it wasn't completely their fault, but even so she couldn't fully forgive them for rising to the Slytherins' bait. Could they not swallow their pride for a single moment? Did they not realize what was at stake for her? It had felt like a personal insult.
She hadn't spoken to any of them for weeks afterwards. Even now, after joining Harry's defense club, some tension remained between them.
"You alright there, Harry? You're turning blue."
"Yeah. Feels good, actually. The castle makes me feel like I'm suffocating."
He looked exhausted, she had to admit. There were dark circles beneath his eyes, as if he hadn't slept soundly in months. It was possible he hadn't. Her own dreams were plagued with anxiety—quidditch failures, NEWTs, and a vague sense of doom about her future.
All at once she felt guilty about her previous coldness toward him. From his perspective, she was probably the one behaving selfishly, of failing to see the big picture.
"Want me to cast a warming charm or two?"
"If you want, but I'm fine."
"Liar. You'd say you were fine if you had a broken bone sticking out of you."
He shrugged and for the first time smiled at her. "I'm just tired."
She wasn't in the mood to mother him. She could use a little mothering herself. But a Captain's job was never done, it seemed, even after her players got kicked off the team.
"Well, if you're trying to find some peace up here, you're going about it all wrong."
"Brooms are meant for flying, Harry, not for sitting on your arse while you slowly freeze to death."
He shrugged again and her irritation with him returned. "Let's go. Twenty laps around the pitch. The loser coughs up a galleon."
"I'm on a school broom," he said incredulously.
"Guess you're going to lose then."
She took off at full speed, racing to the edge of the pitch. He stared after her, then shook his head and followed, his broom slowly accelerating.
They flew for much longer than twenty laps. Neither bothered to count, and they passed their imaginary finish line without realizing it. It wasn't truly a race. She was far faster. But Harry cut corners and chased her, teasing every ounce of speed from his shoddy broom. He pulled even every minute or so, just long enough for her to laugh at him and pull away. After a dozen laps he was laughing too.
Finally she stopped and hovered next to the stands, using their bulk to block some of the wind. He slowed his chase and stopped alongside her. Both were breathing hard, their faces and bodies covered in cold sweat, but they were exhilarated.
"You owe me a galleon," she said.
He laughed. "Like hell I do."
"You should owe me a hundred for having to train Sloper and Kirke."
"Go yell at the twins for that one. Your new seeker's doing fine."
"I might just do that. Feeling any better?"
He smiled, aware of what she was doing. "Yes. Thank you, Captain Johnson."
"Just looking out for my seeker."
He left the castle and walked toward the quidditch locker rooms, thankful, for once, for the terrible weather. Not a soul was outside, so there was no one to tattle on him for flying. Umbridge hadn't yet banned him from flying altogether, and he didn't want to tempt fate.
Yesterday's flight with Angelina had been invigorating, a welcome respite, but today he decided to use warming charms and thicker clothes. There was no need to court sickness on top of all the other disasters. He again chose the least defective of the team's old brooms and soared into the air.
He flew slowly to the pitch, trying to ignore the little wobble in the broom every time he veered left. There was little he could do there but fly in circles, but yesterday had proved it was better for his mood than gritting his teeth in silence.
He saw another flyer as he approached, and knew immediately that it was her. Only Angelina was crazy enough to run drills by herself in February. He hovered high in the air and watched her.
She took the lead in the Hawkshead formation, zig-zagging and barrel-rolling as she prepared to take a shot on goal. He could almost see the bludgers zooming past her and the keeper panicking as she approached. She even pretended to toss the absent quaffle. She pumped her first immediately after, no doubt imagining a successful shot.
He snorted and descended toward her. She stopped her next run and waited on him.
"Back again, Harry?"
"Can't get enough of the weather."
"And here I thought it was my personality."
"You wish. What are you doing?"
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Drills, obviously, but why? Next game isn't until May."
Her glare became as icy as the weather. "Some of us have more riding on quidditch than others."
He blinked, not quite certain how he had insulted her. "So, er, anything I can do to help?"
"Can you play keeper?"
"Never tried before," he said with a shrug.
"That means you probably suck."
"I had never flown before as a firstie and you crazy people stuck me on a broom and told me to catch a little golden ball. Seems to have worked out."
She rolled her eyes. "Let's go get a quaffle. Maybe you won't be completely useless."
It turned out he was only mostly useless. Seeker skills didn't translate to keeper skills, and so Harry's main activity that afternoon consisted of flying to the ground to retrieve the shots he missed. Her coaching did allow him to improve, though, and by the end he managed to block an occasional shot. At the very least she got some practice humiliating him.
Dusk was falling by the time they finished. Both were freezing, even with warming charms, but they were in far better moods than when they started. They flew to the locker room so she could clean up and he could stow the old broom.
The locker room was blazing with welcome heat compared to the outdoors.
"Sweet Merlin, that feels good," she groaned, pulling off her cold, wet jersey. She tossed it at her locker and shivered.
Harry's teeth were chattering despite the warming charms, and he rubbed his hands together in relief. He missed this room. The place smelled faintly of old leather and sweat. But there was an energy to it that he hadn't felt anywhere else. It was as if the accumulated triumphs and failures of centuries of players somehow haunted the room.
He stowed the old broom in the cupboard and considered whether he should shower there. He was already cold and wet, and didn't fancy a long walk to the castle. He could always cast drying charms on himself, but it wasn't quite the same as a long, hot shower.
"You might as well just shower here, Harry. I'm not going to fetch Umbridge to drag you out."
He cringed. "Thanks for that image."
"You're welcome. And thank you for today. I appreciate it."
"Any time, Angelina. Least I could do, considering what happened."
"Well, you're even worse than Weasley, but at least I had someone to fetch the quaffle."
She chuckled and pulled off her sodden t-shirt, now standing in only a thin pair of shorts and a sports bra.
Harry watched her out of the corner of his eye, trying to be subtle. The bra was bright green, standing out starkly against her dark skin, and it hugged her tightly. He could see the hint of perspiration in some very prominent areas, and her skin seemed to shine from their recent exertions.
The locker room dynamic had always been odd to him. There was an open changing room where players stowed their uniforms and gear, and then there were separate showers for the boys and the girls. Each shower had a little anteroom where they could dress and undress privately. Even so, it wasn't uncommon to see people strolling around in their underwear.
Angelina had always been one of the least modest. He had seen her in her sports bra and knickers dozens of times, but had never openly ogled her. There were always other people around, and he didn't want to embarrass her. Nor did he want to feel like a sleaze.
But it was impossible not to notice that she was every inch an athlete. There was no excess anything on her body. It was as if she had been carved from marble by the gods of quidditch.
He felt her head turn in his direction and quickly glanced away. Making up his mind, he removed his own soaking robes and dropped them on the ground. Right now he needed to feel hot water. He peeled off his shirt, shivering as the air caressed his skin. He had no idea whether she was looking his way, but he subtly flexed his chest anyway. It was difficult not to feel self-conscious in the presence of someone with such an impressive body.
She chuckled and he looked up, but she was pulling a towel from within her locker and paying him no attention.
"So what's on the agenda for the next DA meeting, Professor Potter?"
"I don't know. The protego maximus shield, maybe, but I'll have to talk to Hermione. She makes the lesson plans. I just teach."
"Well, you're doing a good job of it. When do we learn the patronus charm?"
She turned and faced him, leaning casually on the door that led to her showers. Her arms were crossed under her bra, almost daring him to look at her breasts and bare stomach. He reluctantly looked away.
"Er, not sure. Later in the term."
"Don't wait too long. I can't wait to see what my animal is. You never know when dementors might invade the pitch again."
He just nodded as she entered the girls' showers.
There was a loud pop at one end of the common room, followed by the sound of squawking and the laughter of the twins. She growled and returned to her reading, deciding to let one of the other prefects handle it.
She had to clamp down on her irritation every time the twins tried to distract her from studying. 'They're just NEWTS, Angie! Far less important than SALAMANDERS!' None of them understood. They never had.
The twins were prodigies in their own way. They didn't need OWLs or NEWTs to succeed in the magical world. Even if they hadn't been so gifted, they could get Ministry jobs simply by virtue of their birth. Being from a well-known pureblood family was all it took, even if that family was poor. Alicia's family was less prominent, but still she had enough connections not to worry.
They were mostly oblivious to her situation, she knew. It wasn't entirely their fault. She couldn't find it in herself to explain it to them. It wounded her pride. To speak the truth would embarrass them and invite their pity, and she was too proud for that. She intended to succeed on her own merits or not at all.
And what merits they were. A black muggleborn witch. Black mudblood bitch, according to the people with the real power. Three strikes and she was out, before she'd even been aware there was a game. No job at the Ministry awaited her unless she was gifted beyond belief, and even then it would be serving tea to someone like Umbridge. Top 10% of your class simply wasn't good enough, not when there were so many Flints and Vaiseys at the bottom who needed sinecures.
No apprenticeship with a Master awaited either, unless she proved herself far more gifted than other applicants. No one knew who she was. No one knew her family. 'Almost good enough to be the Hogwarts Tri-Wizard Champion' meant nothing on a resume. Who would want to apprentice a teenaged black girl who would probably just slink back to the muggles where she belonged anyway? The Aurors might take her, of course. She was a skilled-enough witch. But she didn't want to fight criminals and terrorists.
If she wanted to stay in this world, her only real option was quidditch.
She was good at it and she loved it. Nothing else mattered when she was in the air. She was free, bound only by objective rules that she had already mastered. They didn't care about her 'base' origins in the pro leagues. Some fans might, but the teams only cared about winning.
Loud braying laughter echoed across the common room, and she looked up to see Hermione Granger pointing her finger in Fred's face. Good. At least someone else around here could deliver a proper dressing down.
She sighed and dipped her quill in the inkwell. It wouldn't be a total disaster if her dream failed. She had friends. The twins would probably hire her, assuming their business plans succeeded. Or she might be able to marry into a family that had connections, provided she could snag a pureblood.
But the thought of doing it that way filled her throat with bile. She wanted no pity, no charity, and no helping hand, even if it came from the Weasleys. She wanted everyone she saw to acknowledge that she belonged, that she held the same worth they did—at least, that's what she wanted when she didn't want to knock their bloody teeth out.
And so she mostly kept her frustration to herself, hiding it even from her closest friends, and channeled it into quidditch.
The last two years, though, had made her despair. One disaster followed swiftly on the heels of another. No quidditch at all last year, during perhaps the most important year for recruiting. A decimated team this year, which would demonstrate far and wide her inability to lead. Now a Ministry bitch was sabotaging her Defense NEWTs. And to top it all off, the looming threat of a Dark Lord that she didn't even want to think about.
She mostly didn't think about it. It was just too much—a nightmare scenario where even her meager ambitions meant nothing. How could they, in the face of a potential war against people who wanted not just to shove her aside, but to annihilate her?
So she had chosen the easier path, and let people like Dumbledore worry about it. People like Harry Potter.
She rubbed her forehead and dropped her quill onto the parchment. Harry Fucking Potter. She had treated him poorly this year. Not as poorly as others, but still…she had doubted his story at first, not wanting to believe something so awful could be true. But as the evidence piled up, anyone with sense knew something very big and very bad was on the horizon.
Now he was receiving abuse from every corner. He was defiant, but the stress of it showed every day on his face, and she regretted her tiny addition to it. Even with his burdens, he still tried to help out his classmates with a secret Defense class—still tried to help her, even if it was just with quidditch drills. Something deep within her whispered that her worries over a quidditch career would soon be laughable, and despair threatened to overwhelm her again.
The sounds of clucking and laughter filled the common room again.
"Fuck," she muttered. She closed her books and stuffed them into her bag. She needed to fly again or she was going to scream in someone's face.
A/N: Here you go. This will be a Harry/Angelina fic and a bit of an experiment for me. It started as a smutty oneshot, but eventually turned into something more serious. It will be nine chapters and about 30k words, all of which is already written in rough draft form.
There will be plenty of characterization to go along with the smut, as well as a dash of angst and a healthy serving of romance, though not the fluffy kind. I hope you enjoy it.