The Almost Chosen Ones

You've Got A Mouthful Of Snitch

The next morning I told Nev about the troll incident. He was shocked and horrified to say the least. I wondered what was going on in this mysterious school. First a giant three-headed dog and now a massive mountain troll? We all became friends after that night, even Ron, who I was never really sure about. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.

We were eating breakfast at the Gryffindor table when Snape strolled up. “Good luck on Saturday, Potter,” Snape drawled. Since when is Snape supportive of anything to do with Harry? “Then again, now that you’ve proven yourself against a troll a little game of Quidditch should be easy work for you, even if it is against Slytherin.” He gave us each a look before he limped slightly out of the Great Hall.

“That explains the blood.” Harry mumbled. “Blood?” we asked. Harry leaned in and we followed suit. “Listen, last night I’m guessing that Snape released the troll as a diversion so that he could try to get past that three-headed dog, but he got himself bitten! That’s why he’s limping!” Harry whispered loudly. “Why would anyone want to go near that d-dog?” Neville asked fearfully. Nev told me that he had a few nightmares after that, that it chased him around the castle each head competing to have him for dinner. “The day I was at Gringotts Hagrid took something out of one of the vaults. He said it was Hogwarts business, very secret.” Harry’s eyes darted to each of us. “So you’re saying...” Hermione started. “That’s what the dog’s guarding. That’s what Snape wants.” Answers just created more questions. Just what is the that dog guarding? And why does would Snape want it to steal it?

After a moment of contemplative silence, I looked up at the sound of the hoots of the owl post and noticed that Gazi and Hedwig were flying in with the rest of the owls carrying two large packages. “Hagrid wants to visit for tea this weekend.” He said as he reached for the next letter. I gave Gazi a few pieces of my bacon and she hooted happily before taking off to the owlery. I opened the letter that came with it first. “McGonagall got permission for us to have brooms since we’re on the team! Gran’s shocked but proud. She thought I’d take after Mum, like Nev, who was catastrophic on a broom.” I was about to start opening it when Harry stopped me, “Let’s hurry up and finish breakfast so that we can unwrap it in the common room. Malfoy’s eyeing us.” He said as he glared beyond my shoulder. I nodded. We finished our food and ran back to the common room.

Once we were all sitting by the fire Harry and I raced to open our package first, but it didn’t really matter as we both got the same thing. “Is that...?” Ron asked in disbelief. “A broom!” Harry and I cheered happily. “That’s not just any broomstick guys! That’s a Nimbus 2000! One of you have to let me have a go!” Ron could barely contain his excitement. “Yeah! We can play tag, but if we don’t get going we are going to be late for Potions.” Needless to say, we put the brooms away and ran to the dungeons.

Potions wasn’t too bad. We only took notes on the preparation of the Draught of the Living Death, a potion that Snape had mentioned on the first day but we wouldn’t be able to brew until N.E.W.T. Level. The only annoying thing was that Malfoy, who was in the table behind Nev and I, kept randomly throwing small balls of parchment at my head. Only I didn’t feel them so when Nev told me I had to take pieces out that got caught in my curls.

I ignored Professor Quirrell in Defense Against the Dark Arts, which had been dubbed DADA, and started doing the potions assignment that Snape had assigned. In Herbology we learned about Devil’s Snare. Neville came up with a rhyme to help remember the it’s properties. “Devil’s snare, devil’s snare. Deadly fun, but will sulk in the sun.” Got to hand it to him though, he always has these silly little ways to remember things, especially in Herbology, that are really helpful.

In Astronomy we learned we told to draw the zodiac constellations on a star chart with our telescopes. As we were heading back to the dorms after class I noticed that my necklace was missing. “Wait, go on without me. I lost my necklace. I’m going to go back to check the Astronomy tower.” Nev gave me a look, “Do you want me to-” I shook my head. “No, catch up to the rest of them, I’ll be right there.”

I wasn’t expecting anyone to still be up there, but there he was with the moonlight reflecting off of his obnoxiously gelled blonde hair and my necklace that was dangling from his grasp. “Did you forget something, Bluebell?” he smirked. “Malfoy. Give me my necklace.” He shook his head and dropped it into the palm of his other hand. “I don’t think so.”

I glared my hazel at him. “Hand it over and I won’t tell anyone that you’re afraid of being beat by a girl.” His cold, grey eyes glared right back at me. “You couldn’t beat me.” He snarled. “Want to put that to the test?” I raised my eyebrow and took a step closer. “Real gentlemen don’t fight girls.” He retorted condescendingly. “I don’t see any gentlemen.” He gave me a look I couldn’t entirely interpret. “And I don’t see any girls!” He threw my necklace on a desk before he stalked out of the tower. Well, that was strange.

I fixed and fastened my necklace back where it belonged on my neck and headed back to Gryffindor tower. Everyone was already in bed. I cuddled with Ty as I tried to catch some shut eye before classes tomorrow.

Nothing really interesting happened until the Quidditch match on Saturday. Wood had us practice early in the mornings because he didn’t want anyone, namely Slytherin, to watch us, especially Harry. Although I had come to learn that not many secrets stayed secret at Hogwarts, so of course everyone eventually found out that Harry was the new Gryffindor Seeker.

The morning of the match we were all trying to encourage Harry to eat something. I most likely wasn’t playing. Although since the match is against Slytherin it is possible which is why Wood included me in practices, but I’d only be playing as a substitute if someone was too injured to continue. Harry was a different story. As the Seeker the game ultimately rests on him to win and end the game. No pressure, right? So I could understand his nervousness. Hell, I was nervous for him. Lately Hogwarts was divided in two groups: those who think he’ll do brilliantly and those who think he’ll end in a face plant. Care to guess which group the Slytherins are in?

Once we were done with breakfast Neville, Ron and Hermione wished Harry luck before we made our way with the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch team to the pitch. In the locker rooms Wood cleared his throat for silence. “Okay, men,” he started. “And women,” Angelina Johnson, who played chaser, interrupted. “And women,” Wood agreed. “This is it.”

“The big one,” said Fred. “The one we’ve been waiting for,” George followed up. “We know Oliver’s speech by heart,” Fred confessed. “We were on the team last year.” Said Captain turned his head in our direction. “Shut up, you two. This is the best team Gryffindor’s had in years. We’re going to win. I know it.” He said. The ‘or else’ was implied. “Okay it’s time. Good luck, all of you.” I stashed my broom into a locker and kept my quidditch robes on to show support and just in case. I gave Harry a hug for good luck. “You’ll do great. I know you will.” Then I made my way to the stands to watch the game with the rest of the Gryffindors.

Both teams were flying laps around the pitch until Madam Hooch walked to the center. Lee Jordan, a Gryffindor boy who is friends with the Weasley twins, was doing the commentary for the match as everyone flew to their positions. “Now, I want a nice, clean game. From all of you.” Though it seemed that Madam Hooch’s last few words were directed more for the Slytherin Captain she had her golden hawk-like gaze trapped on, Marcus Flint, a sixth-year who must have some troll blood in there somewhere.

“The bludgers are up, followed by the golden snitch. Remember, the snitch is worth 150 points. The Seeker who catches the snitch ends the game.” Lee Jordan’s voice filled the stadium. Madam Hooch grabbed the Quaffle from the box and threw it high into the air. “The Quaffle is released and the game begins!”

Angelina was the first to get her hands on the Quaffle and passed it to fellow chaser Alicia Spinnet. She tried to pass it back, but got intercepted by Flint, who tried to score but was blocked by Wood. Wood threw the Quaffle to the other chaser, Katie Bell. Katie caught the Quaffle only to drop it when she got hit by a bludger. Adrian Pucey had the Quaffle until Fred hit a bludger his way in retaliation for Katie.

Angelina caught the Quaffle who began these intricate passes between Katie and Alicia that Wood went over during practice. They continued down the field before Alicia flew around the hoops and passed the Quaffle to Angelina who threw it towards the left hoop and-SCORE!

“TEN POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR!” The crowd burst into cheers. I couldn’t wait until I could play. I was so happy and my adrenaline was pumping and this was only as a spectator. I could only imagine what it felt like to be in their shoes. To actually get to play.

Half hour had passed and still no sign of the snitch. Pucey was once again in charge of the Quaffle, dodging a couple bludgers, when suddenly the two Seekers dived toward the ground. Harry was almost there, just a bit more, when Flint rammed into him. Boos rang throughout the stadium, except for the Slytherins, of course. Madam Hooch gave Gryffindor a penalty shot for the foul and Alicia scored.

After that the game started getting a little more dirty. Apparently Flint didn’t like the fact that he was losing twenty-nil. He was so fed up that he actually grabbed the bat from the Slytherin Beater’s hand, whatever his name was, and hit a bludger at Oliver, who soared through the hoop before fell to the ground. Oh no.

At the same time, but on the other side of the pitch, Harry was going berserk on his broom. Or his broom was going berserk on him. “What’s going on with Harry’s broomstick?” Hagrid asked, taking the words right out of my mouth. Hermione brought her binoculars to her eyes again, but this time she scanned the crowd. “It’s Snape! He’s jinxing the broom!” Hermione whispered loudly. “Jinxing the broom?” Ron repeated. Why would Snape jinx Harry’s broom? “What do we do?” Neville asked as he started to panic a bit. I know that they hate each other, but murder seems like it’s taking it a bit too far. “Leave it to me.” Hermione said before she darted out of the stands; I gave Neville and Ron a look before I followed Hermione. Once we were on the ground level we split up. Hermione went to the teacher’s stands to distract Snape somehow, while I made my way to back to the tent to see if Oliver wanted me to fill in.

“I know I’ve been training you to be a chaser these last few weeks, but I need you to guard the hoops. Just try your best. Don’t over think it. You’ll do better than no Keeper at all. Flint’s already scored five times while everyone’s had their focus on Harry, which means we’ve lost our lead. I need you to hold up the fort. Keep an eye on their shoulders to help you guess which hoop they’re going to aim for. You’re going to do great.” Oliver said seriously. I took a deep breath. “Aye, aye, Captain.” I grabbed my broom and took off for the hoops. Pucey scored just before I got there, which made the score sixty-twenty, Slytherin.

Fred and George tried to pull Harry onto one of their Cleansweeps, but failed. I wanted to help them, but I knew that I had to have faith in my friends. I had to trust that Hermione would distract Snape long enough that Harry could take back control of his broom. I hoped it would be soon, because I don’t know how much longer Harry could take it.

Flint made his way down the field again, swerving from side to side. He made faces to try to intimidate me. I took a deep breath again and remembered what Oliver said, keep an eye on the shoulders. Left. Right. Left. Right. He swung his arm back and aimed. I caught the Quaffle in my stomach and grinned before I giggled in glee. I caught it! He went for the middle hoop and I caught it!

I scanned the field again for Harry. It looks like Hermione’s plan worked because Harry was now trying to take back control of the broom by swaying his body from one side to another, using his momentum to swing his leg over the other side of the broom and then off he went. Is that smoke coming from the teacher’s stands?

In no time Harry caught up to the Slytherin Seeker, Terrence Higgs, who was chasing after the snitch. Both of them kept trying to elbow each other out of the way, which led to Higgs trying to slam Harry into the stands. Higgs got more nervous as the ground crept closer and closer to them until he couldn’t take it anymore and pulled up his broom to avoid a crash. Harry held out for a few seconds more before he swiftly, but forcefully pulled up on the handle of his broomstick to complete a Wronski Feint. Once his broom was leveled, he slowly got to his feet and outstretched his hand towards the snitch. He took one step closer to the end of his broom. His front foot tipped his broom which sent him catapulting into the air before he summersaulted into the ground.

It seemed like time stopped as Harry slowly got to his feet. He had his hands on his stomach as he tried not to gag. Is he going to be sick? Plop. Did he just? His eyes widened in disbelief as he stared at the little gold ball in his hands. He caught the snitch in his mouth! “He’s got the snitch! Harry Potter receives 150 points for catching the snitch!” Lee Jordan’s voice cheered throughout the stadium. “GRYFFINDOR WINS!” Madam Hooch yelled. Everyone was yelling, jumping, clapping. Well, except the Slytherins. The Slytherins were sulking. Flint was glaring. I guess trolls can’t sulk.

The flew down to meet Harry who was holding the snitch above his head for the crowd to see. When we were on the ground the Weasley twins pulled Harry up on their shoulders and the rest of us skipped and jumped in circles around them. “Party in the common room!” yelled George. We all cheered and tried not to get stomped on by the stampede that was heading towards the Gryffindor common room.

I saw Harry, Ron and Hermione talking to Hagrid so Nev and I went to join them. “Nonsense! Why would Snape put a curse on Harry’s broom?” Hagrid asked in disbelief. “I don’t know. Why was he trying to get passed that three-headed dog on Halloween?” Harry retorted. “Who told you about Fluffy?” Fluffy? “Fluffy?” Who names a cerberus Fluffy? “T-that t-thing has a name?” Neville asked incredulously. “Well, of course he has a name. He’s mine. I bought him off an Irish fellow down at the pub las’ year. Then I lent him to Dumbledore to guard the-” Hagrid trailed off. “Yes?” Harry asked thirsty for information. “Oh! I shouldn’t have said that. I should not have said that. No more questions! Top secret, that is.” Harry tried again, “But whatever Fluffy is guarding, Snape is trying to steal it!” Hagrid shook his head. “Codswallop. Professor Snape is a Hogwarts teacher.”

“Teacher or not, I know a spell when I see one. I’ve read all about them. You’ve got to keep eye contact, and Snape wasn’t blinking.” Hermione said as the voice of reason. “Exactly.” Harry finished. “Now you listen to me, all five of you. You are meddling in things that ought not to be meddled in. It’s dangerous. What that dog is guarding is between Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel.” Hagrid warned. “Nicholas Flamel?” Ron asked cluelessly. Hagrid’s black beady eyes widened, “I shouldn’t have said that. I should not have said that.” He chanted quietly as he walked away. “Who’s Nicholas Flamel?” Ron repeated. “I don’t know.” I had a feeling that Hermione would spend the next few weeks in the library trying to find out though. If there was one thing Hermione hates it’s not knowing the answer to something, I thought as we made our way to the Gryffindor common room.

Who decorated the common room? There were lights strewn about the room. The Weird Sisters was playing in the background and somehow they snuck in Butterbeer. Well, I saw they snuck some Firewhiskey as well, but I didn’t want that; it’s gross. One time, when I was about five, I was really thirsty so I took a sip of Uncle Algie’s that was sitting out on the porch, thinking that it was pop. Only it wasn’t. Although I did love Butterbeer. Gran never let us have more than one, but Gran wasn’t here. Awesome.

Needless to say, I drank my fair share of Butterbeer that night. I may have been a bit tipsy and I know I wasn’t the only one. Most of the older students were drinking Firewhiskey. Hermione was dared to not touch a book for the rest of the night. We played Exploding Snap and bet with sweets. Neville caught a chocolate frog that tried to escape. We danced like hippogriffs and sang like banshees.

At midnight Professor McGonagall peaked in to send us younger years to our dormitories and to tell the older students that if they were going to stay up, they had to keep it down.

As I laid in bed, absentmindedly petting Ty, I thought that today was one of the best days I’ve had at Hogwarts yet. I played in my first Quidditch match, which we won; I caught my first Quaffle and had fun playing as a Keeper; and I drank a lot of Butterbeer at my first party. Over all, I have to say that today was completely and totally...Awesome.

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