Bad News Often Comes At The End Of A Good Day
The Gryffindor team made their way out onto the pitch. The Slytherin team met them in the centre of the pitch. The Slytherin team was much bulkier than their Gryffindor counterparts. They towered over the Gryffindors. The smallest person on the Slytherin team was their captain; Emma Vanity grimaced at Cynthia Keeney as they shook hands. The two teams mounted their brooms and took off as Madam Hooch blew her whistle. "And their off…" the commentator could be heard over the roaring of the crowd. James darted around the pitch searching for the snitch. The sooner he caught it the better. The Slytherin seeker and captain, Vanity was watching him closely, scrutinising his every move. Gryffindor quickly took the lead, scoring several goals. The Slytherin beaters Lucius Malfoy and Barty Crouch Junior were tailing James closely. Harry watched from a corner of the pitch, near the Gryffindor locker room. He couldn't help but feel slightly scared for his father. Malfoy and Crouch were much bigger than him, both in their seventh and final year at Hogwarts, they were strong, hulking men compared to the slightly scrawny James. They kept sending bludger after bludger at the poor seeker. James barely managed to avoid them. Crouch grew impatient and flew up alongside James, using his elbow to try and knock him off his broom. "Serious fouling by the Slytherin beater – cobbing is against the rules you fat lump!" The commentator practically screamed angrily. "Keeney in possession. She passes to Arteage who scores!" Mark Lewis, the commentator continued, "Preston Rowlands is one lucky man! Any guy would be lucky to have Renee Arteage on his arm."
"Slytherin in possession… Narcissa Black has the quaffle… passes to Nesbit… who passes to Becnal… back to Nesbit… ahhh come on… Slytherin score their first goal of the match. Gryffindor in the lead with 70 to 10."
"Gryffindor back in possession… Paling has the quaffle. Next year's team is going to be interesting… with Captain Cynthia Keeney, beater Rob Calloway and chaser Michael Paling all graduating; it will be interesting to see who takes the captain's position. There is a lot of talk about it in the Gryffindor Tower… Of course, my money is on Potter… He's only a third year but I've never seen anyone fly like he does…"
James was barely paying any attention to the commentary. He was heavily distracted by the two beaters who were still following him closely. "Good use of the reverse pass by Keeney… bloody hell look at Potter… that move is called the Sloth Grip Roll… most players don't have the upper body strength for that play… I wonder if he has a six pack…"
James, who had been hanging upside down on his broomstick to avoid a bludger, righted himself without any difficulty. James quickly returned to his search for the snitch. James could see the snitch but felt like having a little fun with his current Slytherin entourage. He dived, catching the snitch in the sleeve of his robes before continuing a supposed search of the pitch. Vanity had yet to see the snitch and so decided to join the beaters tailing James. James dived towards the ground in a suicidal dive. The three Slytherins following closely behind. When he was inches from the ground he let up from his dive and watched as the Slytherins hurtled into the ground. Without the Slytherin beaters attacking the Gryffindor chasers, Gryffindor had managed to score another five goals, bringing the score up to 150: 10. James smiled cruelly. He was enjoying this. They had already won but he was going to give one hell of a show. As the Slytherins righted themselves once more, he dove again. They followed once more but thought twice as they realised what he was doing. James zoomed back up the pitch until he was directly in the middle before he allowed the snitch to escape from its hide away. "Bloody hell Potter – that's the Plumpton Pass everyone… hiding it in his sleeve… that's why Potter is bound to be the next captain." James caught the snitch before raising it high above his head. "Potter has the snitch… Gryffindor win… 300: 10… Gryffindor win the Quidditch Cup!"
James began to make his way down towards the grass. "Slytherin come in fourth with 140 points… Hufflepuff in third with 330 points… Ravenclaw in second place with 350 points… and Gryffindor win with a humongous 810 points!"
Crouch grew angry and threw his bat at James' head. James managed to duck just in time. He wasn't quick enough to dodge Malfoy's bludger that he sent his way. Madam Hooch was furious, "This game is over… how dare you! DETENTION! Malfoy, Crouch – my office NOW!"
McGonagall was by James' side within seconds, "are you alright Potter?"
"Just grand Professor," James replied. His head was pounding but he was more than happy to ignore it as his team mates rushed around him, lifting him up onto their shoulders. They gave him the Quidditch Cup and James had to admit it was the second best moment in his life. The only thing better than holding the Quidditch Cup was holding a sleeping Lily.
Frank was beginning to worry about Alice. She hadn't been at the match or at lunch or dinner. He had searched all their favourite hideouts. She wasn't anywhere in the grounds or the library or anywhere in Gryffindor Tower. The girls were equally concerned. Lily had decided to join the celebrating Gryffindors for their party. She had missed her friends. James and the marauders had a great time with all the other Gryffindors celebrating their victory but James could barely concentrate, he was so worried about Alice. He quickly whizzed up the stairs to check the marauders map. He found a dot marked Alice Prewett in an old classroom on the fourth floor. He grabbed his invisibility cloak and went to find her. When he entered the dark classroom he was shocked to hear her sobbing gently. "Alice?"
"James?" she cried.
"What's wrong Ali?" James engulfed her in a large hug as they sat on the floor.
"D-Dad…" she couldn't continue. She passed him a piece of parchment. James struggled to read it in the dark classroom.
I'm so sorry to have to tell you this by letter but I have no choice. Your father was murdered last night. I can't tell you what he was doing when he was killed. Only that you would be proud of him. He was doing the right thing, trying to protect his family. He loved you very much and I'm so sorry my dear. I have spoken to Professor Dumbledore. You are to come home immediately for the funeral. You have been exempt from your end of year exams.
I love you. Get a good night's sleep and I will see you tomorrow.
There were wet patches covering the letter and some of the ink had smudged. "Oh Alice, I'm so sorry."
"I-I… why won't she tell me why he's dead?" Alice's eyes begged for an answer.
"I don't know… Do you remember the order? The Order of the Phoenix…"
"Dumbledore's secret organisation?" Alice asked.
"Yes… it might be something to do with that. We're not supposed to know anything about it."
"I guess… do you think the death eaters killed him?"
"I do… your mum said he was murdered. I can't think of anyone else who would murder him… well except maybe Voldemort himself."
"You don't think…"
"No I don't… I hope not."