The Almost Chosen Ones

Don't Talk Snitch

Returning to school meant returning to classes which meant homework. Luckily we came back on Saturday so Hermione, Nev and I went to the library on Sunday to check over it for mistakes before we had to turn it in.

After lunch I met Harry at Quidditch practice. Something got under Wood’s skin and we all could tell. He was working everybody twice as hard. Towards the end of practice he finally let the bad news slip. Snape was refereeing the next match. Because Snape isn’t biased, right? No wonder Wood has been freaking out. If we won our next match against Hufflepuff we would overtake Slytherin in the house championship for the first time in seven years. This was awful.

By the end of practice we were wiped. Some of the team took their time to chat, however I went straight back to Gryffindor tower. I had never been so happy to finally reach the common room. I jumped straight into the shower and my was it heavenly. I may have taken my sweet time in the shower, just standing with my eyes closed, letting the water cascade down my back, soothing my sore muscles. The vision from the Mirror of Erised flashed behind my eyelids again. I tilted my head back into the spray and let my tears mix into the water falling down my face.

After a few more minutes I turned off the shower and wrung the excess water out of my hair. I swiped the steam off of the mirror and looked into the reflection of my hazel eyes. I mentally tried to bottle up and compartmentalize my grief. I smiled at myself like nothing was wrong. After a while maybe I’ll fool myself. I dried myself off and got dressed in a pair of shorts and the red jumper I got from Mrs.Weasley for Christmas.

As a habit I fisted my hand in the sleeves of my jumper as I went downstairs. Hermione was testing her flash cards on Harry, and Ron was messing with his Chocolate Frog cards. Hermione shook her head at him. “Look at you, playing with your cards. Pathetic! We’ve got final exams coming up soon.” She lectured. “I’m ready, ask me any question.” Ron insisted. Oh, boy. Hermione raised an eyebrow. “Alright, what are the three most crucial ingredients in a forgetfulness potion?” Ron frowned, “I forgot.” Hermione pursed her lips. “And what may I ask, do you plan to do if that comes up on the final exam?” Ron perked up slightly. “Copy off you?” Hermione glared at him. “No, you won’t! Besides, according to Professor McGonagall we’re to be given special quills bewitched with an anti-cheating spell.” Ron gasped. “That’s insulting! It’s as if they don’t trust us!”

The portrait opened and Nev tumbled into the common room. His legs were stuck together. Oh Nev, that definitely looks like a Leg-Locker Curse. Did he bunny hop all the way up here?

Everyone in the common room started laughing and I glared at them as I helped him get to the couch. “What happened?” I asked. “Malfoy,” he said quietly. “I met him outside the library. He said that he’d been looking for someone to practice that on.” Ugh, what was his problem? Hermione put down her book. “Go to Professor McGonagall. Report him!” she urged. Neville shook his head and looked at his shoes. “I don’t want more trouble.” Yet, apparently Malfoy does.

“You’ve got to stand up to him, Neville! He’s used to walking all over people, but that’s no reason to lie down in front of him and make it easier.” Ron said. “How can I? I can barely stand at all!” he paused. “There’s no need to tell me that I’m not brave enough for Gryffindor, Malfoy’s already done that.” Nev choked out, looking as if he was about to cry. Oh son of a banshee, was Malfoy gonna get it. When I got my hands on him...

Seamus jumped up with his wand, eager to help. “I know the counter curse!” Nev’s eyes widened. “No! That’s just what I need, for you to set my bloody knee caps on fire!” Seamus slammed his wand on the table. “I don’t appreciate the insinuation Longbottom! Besides, if anyone cares to notice, my eyebrows have completely grown back!” I snorted and tried to contain my laughter as he walked up to his dormitory, a big white bald spot glistening in the light as he made his exit. I could tell Hermione was having difficulties containing her laughter as well. She shook her head before the performed the counter curse and Nev’s legs sprang apart. He bent his knees and then stretched then to regain the feeling in his legs.

There was a moment of silence before Harry dug into his pocket and took out a chocolate frog that he handed to Nev to try to cheer him up. “You’re worth twelve of Malfoy,” Harry said. “The Sorting Hat chose you for Gryffindor, didn’t it? And where’s Malfoy? In stinking Slytherin.” Nev’s lips twitched in a weak smile as he unwrapped the frog. “Thanks, Harry. D’you want the card, you collect them, don’t you?” Harry turned the card over. “Dumbledore again. He’s the first one I ever-” He gasped and looked up at us. “I’ve found him!” he whispered loudly. “I’ve found Flamel! I told you I’d read the name somewhere before, I read it in the train coming here-listen to this: ‘Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicholas Flamel’!”

Hermione jumped to her feet. “Stay there!” she said before she sprinted up the stairs to the dormitory. We barely had any time to wonder what she was up to before she ran back carrying this big old book. “I never thought to look in here!” she whispered excitedly. “I checked this out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading.”

This is light?” Ron asked incredulously. Hermione glared at him. She flipped through pages to get to the right section. “Of course, here it is!” she said excitedly once she found what she was looking for. “Nicholas Flamel is the only known maker of the Sorcerer’s Stone!”

“The what?” we asked. “Honestly, don’t any of you read?” she sighed. “The Sorcerer’s Stone is a legendary substance with astonishing powers. It’ll transform any metal into pure gold and produces the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal.”

“Immortal?” Ron repeated. “It means you’ll never die.” Hermione explained matter-of-factly. “I know what it means!” Ron cried out, clearly insulted. We shushed him. “The only stone currently in existence belongs to Mr. Nicholas Flamel, the noted alchemist who last year celebrated his 665th birthday. That’s what Fluffy is guarding on the third floor. That’s whats under the trapdoor. The Sorcerer’s Stone.” Hermione concluded.

Wood used anytime he could sign up for the pitch Quidditch practice. After each practice we were exhausted and sweating like crazy. Wood decided to train me as a substitute, teaching me the basic drills for different positions so that we would have all our hoops covered. Merlin was it tough, Wood worked me to the bone. I thought I was going to die from exhaustion multiple times. But with all the practices, there was obvious improvement and that felt great. However, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t nervous as the match drew nearer, even though there was only a possibility of me playing again.

Ron, Hermione, Nev and I made our way to the stands the day of the match. Someone bumped into me in the next row. “Oh, sorry Tulip, didn’t see you there.” He tugged a strand of my hair and I glared at him. Yeah, right. Malfoy grinned at his goons. “Wonder how long Potter’s going to stay on his broom this time? Anyone want a bet? What about you, Weasley?” Ron didn’t answer. Maybe if we ignore him he’ll go away. Snape awarded Hufflepuff a penalty because George hit a Bludger at him. Harry was still circling the game like a hawk looking for the Snitch.

“You know how I think they choose people for the Gryffindor team?” Malfoy said a few minutes later. Dear Merlin, did that boy not know when to shut up? Snape awarded Hufflepuff another penalty for no reason at all. “It’s people we feel sorry for. See, there’s Potter, who’s got no parents, then there’s the Weasley’s, who’ve got no money, Daffodil doesn’t even need a reason-you should be on the team too, Longbottom, you’ve got no brains.”

Nev’s face turned bright red and turned in his seat to face Malfoy. “I’m worth twelve of you, Malfoy,” he stammered. Malfoy and his goons laughed. I mentally smiled at Nev for finally standing up for himself. “You tell him, Neville.” Ron said not taking his eyes from the game. “Longbottom, if brains were gold you’d be poorer than Weasley, and that’s saying something.” My eyes narrowed and Ron’s face turned more red than Nev’s. “I’m warning you, Malfoy! One more word-”

“Nev’s smarter than you’ll ever be. He learns things quick and yet, you still don’t know when it’s best to shut the bloody hell up. Before I make you, again.” A faint pink rose in Malfoy’s cheeks. “Guys!” Hermione said suddenly, “Harry!” We all returned our attention to the game. “What? Where?” Harry had suddenly gone into a spectacular dive, which drew gasps and cheers from the crowd. I gripped the wooden railing, while Hermione had her crossed fingers in her mouth, as Harry shot toward the ground like a bullet.

“You’re in luck, Weasley, Potter’s obviously spotted some money on the ground!” Malfoy jeered. Ron snapped. Before anyone knew what was happening, Ron jumped on Malfoy, wrestling him to the ground. Can’t say I completely didn’t see this happening, I thought as I clambered my way over the back of the seat to help. Nev hesitated and then scrambled behind me. I kind of jump tackled Crabbe, who was going to get Ron from behind.

“Come on, Harry!” I heard Hermione scream as Harry sped right at Snape. Apparently she didn’t notice the scuffle going on behind her. We bumped into other people around us before landing on the floor. Crabbe used his weight to throw me off, which no one could deny he had a lot of. I threw a couple punches and scratches. It was strange. I felt like I was there and yet, like I was just watching everything happen. Crabbe’s hands wrapped around my throat and the blood rushed to my face. I tucked my arm underneath and punched him in the throat with all my force. His grip loosened as he coughed and I kneed him away, extending my foot to a kick, once there was enough room between us, into his stomach.

The stands erupted. “Ron! Callie! Where are you? The game’s over! Harry’s won! We’ve won! Gryffindor is in the lead!” Hermione shrieked as she jumped around with Lavender and Parvati. I pulled Goyle off of my brother and helped him up. Although Goyle was the obvious victor, I was happy to see the Nev got a few shots in too. I hated seeing him in pain, but I loved watching him stand his ground. I know that he thought that he didn’t belong in Gryffindor, that he wasn’t brave, but I knew that wasn’t true.

Surprisingly Ron and Malfoy looked equally ruffled up. Although Malfoy’s complaints of ‘his father hearing about this’ made him look more pathetic, so I mentally dubbed Ron the winner of that round. I looked towards the pitch to see Harry jump off his broom from a foot off the ground. The game had barely lasted five minutes. That has to be a record. When was the last time the Snitch was caught so quickly?

Hermione found us and dragged us down to congratulate Harry. It was hard to reach him through all the other students, especially other Gryffindors. When we reached him, he was still on the shoulders of the Weasley twins.

After a while of celebrating on the pitch, the team left for the locker rooms while everyone else left for dinner. Along the way I pulled everyone aside and healed our scrapes with a couple spells from the book Gran got me. Ron and Nev looked relieved while Hermione raised an eyebrow. “What? I actually do read.”

After dinner there was a party in the Gryffindor common room. Of course, there was a lot to celebrate. Talk about showing Slytherin! Malfoy and his goons got knocked down a few pegs and we’re now ahead of the for the cup!

I really need to find out how the Weasley twins sneak in everything. Like last time there was Firewhiskey and Butterbeer, they had also got some cakes and stuff. There was still no sign of Harry. Then I realized that I couldn’t find Ron or Hermione either. They’re probably looking for Harry. I saw Nev trying to sneak up the stairs and grabbed two Butterbeers as I slithered my way through the crowd of happy Gryffindors to intercept him.

“Nev, where are you going? Are you okay?” He stopped mid step and turned around to look at me. “You know that I don’t really like parties.” I tilted my head at him. “Then don’t think of it as a party. Think of it as just hanging out with our friends.” I smiled and handed him the Butterbeer. He caved, smiling, and accepted the Butterbeer. “Thanks.” He mumbled. What are sisters for? I tugged the sleeve of the arm that wasn’t holding the Butterbeer and lead him towards Fred and George, who were huddled up was by the fire. Fred was holding pieces of chocolate “Thanks Fred, I love chocolate!” I said as I grabbed one and popped it in my mouth. I felt their eyes on me as I chewed. “Mhmm Shock-o-choc! Shockingly terrific!” Nev laughed, knowing that strangely enough, I actually did like it. The twins shook their heads. “Full of surprises, Littlebottom.” Nev laughed even though, technically he was a ‘Littlebottom’ too. I glared at all of them for a second. I hope it won’t stick but why do I have this awful feeling that it will.

I saw Harry, Ron, and Hermione climb through the portrait hole and try to make their way through the crowd. Harry made it first and tugged me closer by my hand to whisper in my ear, “Follow us.” He looked at the stairs, gesturing towards the dormitories. If a boy tried going up the girls staircase, it would turn into a slide. The same couldn’t be said visa versa. I guess girls were always assumed to be more trustworthy. I tugged on Nev’s sleeve and joined the conga line to the boys dormitories. It was empty since everyone was at the party downstairs. Harry closed the door once everyone was inside, not wanting anyone to overhear the future topic.

Harry told all of us about the conversation he spied on between Snape and Quirrell. “So we were right, it is the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Snape’s trying to force Quirrell to help him get it. He asked if he knew how to get past Fluffy-and he said something about Quirrell’s ‘hocus pocus’-I reckon there are other things guarding the stone apart from Fluffy, loads of enchantments, probably, and Quirrell would have done some anti-Dark Arts spell that Snape needs to break through-”

“So you mean the Stone’s only safe as long as Quirrell stands up to Snape?” Hermione said in alarm. “It won’t last a week.” I said without thinking.

But then I did think. Wait, Snape needs Quirrell’s help? Somehow that didn’t seem right. I had heard from some of the older students that Snape has been after that job for years. I would think that Snape would be more knowledgable and qualified. Snape may not be a good teacher, but that was due to his arrogance and hate of children (which makes you wonder why he’s a teacher anyway), which is due to his above average intelligence.

“No,” I answered Hermione seriously this time. “Harry’s right; there must be other spells and enchantments protecting the stone. Other obstacles besides Quirrell. I may be biased, but Quirrell’s obstacle is probably the easiest one. If Harry’s right about Snape, he’s trying to find out what else he’s up against, starting with Quirrell. As long as he can’t get through Fluffy and the other obstacles, that I’m sure Dumbledore’s approved, and Dumbledore doesn’t go anywhere, the Stone should be safe.” Hermione nodded her agreement, “We should still keep our eyes peeled for anything strange.” We all nodded and went back down to the party in the common room. Meeting adjourned. I want more Butterbeer goodness.

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