It was like someone had cursed me, causing for an annoying sensation to go through my body. As if I was being tickled with a small feather that made all my nerves tingle inside. The anxiety curled into my stomach, hands clawing up my throat and choking me, letting the words I always told myself before a big game be dragged back down.
I was nervous. Extremely nervous.
“Hey, what’s up with you?” I snapped out of my thoughts and realized I’d completely blocked Damian out. We were sitting next to each other on one of the benches in the boy’s locker room. We always gathered here right before a game and right now we were just waiting for Potter. ‘Cuz he was running late, right before one of the biggest games of the year. No big deal or anything.
“It’s nothing. I’m just nervous.”
Damian cocked an eyebrow, making me chuckle and instantly feeling a bit better because of how ridiculous he looked doing that. “You never get nervous.”
I did since the amount of pressure on me went from 100% to 1000% ever since I found out what people really thought about me being on the team. I glanced over to Alice and Spencer standing next to the lockers, having a quiet conversation. They seemed to have grown closer over the last few days. I wondered what they were talking about. Probably about their mutual hatred for me.
“Oh come on,” Damian rolled his eyes, immediately understanding why I was suddenly so nervous. “Those are just two people who think of you like that. Two jealous teenage girls who don’t like you because the boy they like, likes you. It’s the biggest cliché in the book.” He shrugged. “Get over it, Ali.”
I tore my gaze from the two girls and looked my friend in the eye. “Who says that? What if… if every girl that likes James –so really, every girl in Hogwarts – hates me? What if they all think like those two? And, let’s be honest here, James was the one who gave me a spot on the team. The captain before him didn’t want me.”
“That’s only because you weren’t as good back then! Trust me, no one thinks of you like them. They’re just jealous of your amazing-out-of-this-world Quidditch skills. I mean, those sharp right turns of yours? They’re out of this world! I mean, seriously.” He made a long whistling sound, as if words weren’t enough to describe how good they were.
I smiled at his attempt to make me feel better. I knew he was right somehow. I just couldn’t help but feel a bit unwanted ever since I overheard my team mates.
I playfully nudged Damian with my shoulder, “Yea you’re probably right. Thanks mate.”
“There you are! It was about bloody time you showed up captain, great example you set for your team.” Freddy threw one of the hundred Quaffles that were always laying around at James, but the git managed to catch it without so much as batting an eye.
Instead of apologizing, Potter shot his friend a smug smile. “You know the game never starts when they say it will. I give it another five minutes. Besides, I was – “ Potter’s eyes quickly went over the room, noticing that everybody was listening to what he was saying and not just Freddy, until they landed on me. “Preoccupied.” he finished.
I squirmed uncomfortably in my seat and moved a bit behind Damian to escape from his intense stare.
“Preoccupied doing what?” Damian asked quite harsh, but seeing as he was one of his mates, he was allowed to. “Because I can’t think of anything more important than the game we’ve been practicing almost two months for.”
James scratched the back of his neck. “Oh, you know… stuff.”
Stuff? Seriously? Since when did James Sirius give such vague and basic answ–
Waaait a minute.
Was it just me, or was his hair unusually messy? It was sticking up in ten different directions, as opposed to the five direction it was usually in. And he looked a bit flustered, the apples of his cheeks had a faint pink color. But it was his robe that confirmed my assumptions, it was loosely hanging on his shoulders as if he’d just thrown it on.
Oh Merlin, he’d been occupied with one of his snog buddies again?
Seriously? TwiceIn less than bloody 24 hours?!
However, before I could comment on it, Chris Arden interrupted my thoughts and spoke to James. “Whatever you were doing, is your business. All I care about right now is this game. And whether you have any last words of wisdom – or whatever you’d liked to call it – before we walk out of here onto the pitch?”
Everybody was silent for a second, awaiting Potter’s response. Until he eventually just sighed, almost a bit annoyed. “It’s simple. You, you and you.” he pointed to Damian, me and Spencer. “Score when you think you can score. Don’t look around for any other team mates, don’t try to be a good friend by giving everybody enough time with the Quaffle, if you think you can make the shot –do it. Just try to entertain the crowd the best you can while I look for the Snitch. The rest is irrelevant anyway. Got it?”
His voice was sharp and I had to force myself not to roll my eyes at his attitude.
James fixed his robe and grabbed his broom from its spot against the wall and gestured for us to do the same. “Now let’s win this thing.”
The minute we set foot on the pitch the crowd went wild. I was never going to get used to this feeling. Never. Hundreds of people were chanting our names, everybody was dressed in either red and gold or green and silver. Banners with slogans were everywhere reminding us of how amazing we were.
We walked together, side by side, broom in our right hand, towards the pitch. All eyes were on us.
I smiled and waved to the crowd, feeling a bit silly for doing so because I felt like an ant in front of all these people. I mounted my broom but before I kicked off, James suddenly turned to me, a serious expression on his face. Oh god, was he about to do something really stupid in front of everybody?
“What?” I almost snapped at him, the rest of our teammates and the other team had already taken their place in the sky. It was only us two on the ground. He was causing quite a scene.
I raised my eyebrows when he stopped talking. Seriously, more wasting time? Literally all eyes were on us!
“What is it Potter people are waiting!”
“About yesterday… and before, I don’t want you to think anything… that girl I was with… it’s nothing.”
“Are you bloody kidding me? That’s what you want to tell me right now?!”
I was about to kick off annoyed but Potter stopped me by grasping my wrist. “Wait. I’m serious. She’s nobody. She just managed to get a hold of me ten minutes before the game, she snuck up on me really.”
I scoffed. And it took him ten minutes to separate his lips from hers? “Yea I can believe she’s nobody to you, seriously Potter why would I give a flying fuck about who you snog? I told you a million and one times I am not into you please, please get that into your head!”
James sighed at me and pushed a strained hair back that’d managed to fall into his hazel eyes. I hated how much I loved those things damn it.
“You keep telling me that but I know it’s not true. That’s not how it felt like when you almost kissed me. Before bloody Damian interrupted us.”
He still remembered that? That was too long ago. And I was convinced he had charmed me with some sort of spell, I would never kiss or even want to kiss him voluntarily. But I guessed… it was all me.
I pulled my hand back from his grip and looked up at the sky, ready to kick off. “That was a mistake.”
“What the hell is going on?” James and I both looked up startled. Spencer was flying only a few feet above us, an angry expression on her face. “Whatever it is you two need to sort out, do it after this game. We don’t feel like waiting on you. You’re not that special.” That last bit was clearly and shamelessly directed towards me. She zoomed back up without waiting for a reply.
Her message was clear enough. She didn’t like me the least bit.
I’d never know they saw me as James’ puppy dog, that I was only here for Potter’s entertainment. I never knew how much they disliked me. I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect me. It did. I didn’t want anyone to think I didn’t deserve my spot on the team. I was at least equally as good as any of the others. If not better.
I knew, however, that I had to play my arse off to show them what I was worth. I needed for them to understand I was good, hell, fantastic, at Quidditch. I grimaced before I kicked off and felt myself lift from the ground, leaving Potter behind.
It really couldn’t be described; the feeling of being on a broom.
The way the wind blows in your hair, making it swirl around your face. The way everything around you disappears while you're up there. I felt as if I was in complete control – I felt free and safe. As I soared higher and higher, I found that I didn't feel bad anymore. I could do this. I was going to win us this game. The thought made me smile just before I turned the broom in a different direction and sped up towards my spot in the central circle.
“AAAAND AALIYAH MARTINS SCORES AGAIN LADIES AND GENTELMEN!! ANOTHER 10 POINTS FOR GRYFFINDOR!” Tyler Stewart our commentator, a fifth year Ravenclaw, shouted through the mic.
I raised my fist in the air and let the crowd roar my name for what seemed like the hundredth time tonight. I was on fire. So far I’d been able to score 40 points for Gryffindor.
“And Malfoy now in possession of the Quaffle, passes it to Zabini, and he shoots…, looks like Chris has finally saved something, guess the bloke isn’t totally useless” – Chris shot Tyler the finger, and he grinned. “Slytherin now in possession of the Quaffle, and…YES! Well shot Bludger by the very famous Freddy Weasly! But wait, Slytherin still in possession of the Quaffle, Goyle shoots…Yes, Slyherin has scored! Good for them! Even though I’d personally rather see Gryffindor play against Ravenclaw –“
“What is your problem!” Damian flew towards Alice, she’d accidently almost smashed a Bludger in his face. “It’s your task to keep that thing away from me, not shoot it at my head got it?!”
I ignored them and raced behind Spencer, she was holding the Quaffle in her right arm.
“Gryffindor now has the Quaffle…Spencer shoots, YES! ANOTHER GOAL FOR GRYFFINDOR! It’s now 60-20 to Gryffindor!” Tyler cried.
I saw Lil’ Potter flying a few feet above me, looking for the Snitch but his brother was nowhere to be seen.
“Slytherin has the Quaffle again… Alice shoots a Bludger at the Chaser…but no, the Slytherin Beater shot it away…and…Malfoy shoots…YES! CHRIS ARDEN HAS DONE IT AGAIN!”
“I will never understand the unwarranted awe everybody outside of Slytherin seems to have for Gryffindor.”
I nearly fell off my broom when Albus flew beside me. Was he trying to make conversation? Right now, In the middle of the bloody game?
“What’re you doing?!”
“Being the Seeker can be really boring sometimes.”
I followed Damian with my eyes, he seemed to be making a beeline for the goals, not needing any of my help.
“Okay good but I really need to focus on the game here. Don’t try to distract me.”
Albus leaned closer to whisper something in my ear. “Oh don’t worry, it’s not you I’m trying to distract.”
“Okay, Damian in possession of the Quaffle…the Slytherin Beater has shot a Bludger at him…oh no…YES! Freddy swooped in at the last minute and shot it away! And Damian Andersons SCORES! 70-20 to Gryffindor!”
“Albus what the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Potter suddenly appeared out of nowhere, a raged expression on his face when he glanced over.
“Oh hello brother dearest, there you are. Oh nothin’.” And for no apparent reason, Albus threw his arm around my shoulders, shocking all of us. “Only putting my plan into action. I’m about to win this game.”
Wait, what? Albus was grinning from ear to ear, an expression that screamed he was up to something mischievous.
“You can’t bloody touch the other team’s members you idiot!” James swooshed in between the younger Potter and I, disuniting me with Albus’ touch.
“Only the one member caring the ball, brother.” Albus’ green eyes stood confident. “And now I must go, victory is calling.”
Before I could even comprehend what the hell was going on, Albus hurtled towards the ground, apparently having caught a glimpse of the Snitch, with James right behind him.
Shit shit shit shit shit Slytherin was about to win I had to do bloody something!
I looked around alarmed and realized the Quaffle was still in Slytherin’s possession. Zabini raced forward, but there was no way he was going to reach the goal without getting hit by a Bludger. He was too far away. I glanced to his down right and noticed Malfoy. He was waiting for the Quaffle.
I grinned, it was the perfect timing to show off those sharp right turns of mine.
I turned right when Zabini passed the ball and managed to catch the Quaffle mid-air.
“And Aaliyah Martins is back in the game everybody! We were starting to wonder what was going on. Both Potter boys seemed to be on her like flies on…” Tyler stopped talking, realizing he couldn’t finish that sentence or he’d get a detention. “honey. But we have no idea why! Oh man, Martins is flying towards the goal… still in possession of the Quaffle, but... watch out for the Bludgers!”
“Ali!” both Spencer and Damian were closing in on me “Pass me the Quaffle, Nott’s about to knock you off your broom!” Spencer had her arm stretched out… but I looked to my right and saw Damian doing the exact same.
“No! I can actually make that shot, pass it to me!” he yelled.
What the hell was I supposed to do?!
Nott’s Bludger passed us, almost hitting Spencer off her broom, but she didn’t seem to care. “What the hell’s that supposed to mean, Andersons?!”
“It means that I am a better option in this case, Whisp!”
Dear Merlin I couldn’t take their bickering any longer!
“No, I’m fine, I’ll make it!” I flew forward away from their bickering that was distracting me. But Spencer seemed to be determent to have this one for herself.
“Get out of my way, Spencer!” I yelled, trying to block her path. “This one’s mine!”
“Don’t be stupid, Martins!” Spencer shot back, lowering her head and gaining more speed until she was right next to me.
We flew together like that, neck to neck, competing fiercely to get to the goal first. Even though I was the one caring the Quaffle. What was she thinking? I narrowed my eyes and concentrated fully on the task at hand. Get the Quaffle through the goalposts. Spencer was coming in from another side, her face scrunched up with intense focus, probably waiting for me to drop the Quaffle.
And at that moment, I noticed two things. One, if I went for the goal now, I would most likely make it, and two… a Bludger was barreling straight towards the back of Spencer’s head, and neither Alice or Freddy was in sight.
I didn’t hesitate. I raced towards Spencer at breakneck speed, ignoring the goal completely.
“Move!” I screamed, motioning to the Bludger behind her.
But Spencer didn’t seem to understand. She only looked at me with a confused expression on her face, wondering why the hell I wasn’t racing towards the goal.
“Really, look out!” I shrieked.
Spencer finally turned around and saw the Bludger coming right for her face, and her blue eyes widened in panic.
Without thinking, I flew towards Spencer and shoved her roughly out of the way, just in time for the Bludger to make contact with the side of my ribcage with a sharp, sickening crack.
Suddenly, everything was spinning and I could vaguely make out the sounds of shouts and commotion in the crowd before seemingly losing my sense of hearing in a split second. I felt the surreal sensation of blurriness as I slipped off my broom speeding towards the ground, and the last thing I saw before everything turned black was a pair of wide, hazel eyes hovering above mine.
I was in a heavy black cloud, nothing to see, nothing to hear. Just this heaviness on my whole body. So heavy that I couldn’t move. I tried to open my eyes but didn’t seem to know how. All I could do was take in the noises around me. Clicking of feet near me. Quiet talking. Potions brewing. I laid still. Where was I? I felt some light shining on my closed eyes – a yellow glow. I struggled to open them.
I was in the hospital wing. I could just make out some of the faces around me. Rose was staring out of the window behind me, her eyes wide and puffy. Damian and Louis were both standing on either side of me, desperately clutching the metal bars on the hospital bed.
Madame Pomfrey was bending over me. She called my name. And again, I tried to remember how to talk. No words came out, but I blinked hard. I cleared my throat, thinking I was about to shout. But all that came out was a small whisper. “What happened?”
My friends jumped, and within two seconds, Rose was hovering over me opposite of Madame Pomfrey. “You’re awake! Thank Merlin you’re awake, Ali we were so worried!” Rose’s voice was shaking, as if she had to try very hard not to burst out into tears then and there.
Louis squeezed my hand. “Welcome back.” He smiled, but the sparkle didn’t quite reach his sad eyes. “You know, my life without Ali Martins is not worth living.” He whispered.
I blinked at my friends. How did I get here?
As if Madame Pomfrey heard me, she answered my silent question. “You were hit by a Bludger and fell of your broom. It all happened so quickly it was impossible to prevent.”
I glanced at Madame Pomfrey and noticed how tired she looked. The room was dark. The few candles around my bed were the only sources of light in the room. How long had I been here?
“How bad is it?” I glanced down. It was not like I’d lost a limb. I tried to move around a bit but stopped when a sharp pain went through my left leg.
“The Bludger hit you in the ribs and broke five of them.” My mouth dropped, and immediately, my hand flew to the bandage around my waist. It was uncomfortable, but it was nothing I imagined broken ribs to feel like. “Luckily I managed to fix that with a potion. You’ll just have to cope with the bruises now.”
Feeling the sharp pain in my left foot when I moved again, I asked her about it. “What happened to my ankle?”
“You sprained your ankle when you fell to the floor. I’m afraid you’ll have to deal with it for a few days. I have yet to brew the healing potion. I’m sorry my dear.”
She did look like she was sorry. So I didn’t bother to ask her anything else and just nodded my head. Madame Pomfrey turned to my friends. “I will get Ms. Martins a few things from my office. I will be back in five minutes. I expect for you to be gone by then? She needs her rest.”
They nodded their heads and waited until Madame Pomfrey had left the room to literally start screaming at me all at once.
“I can’t believe you bloody did that –“
“For Spencer?! She’s a bit –“
“You could’ve dead!”
I rolled my eyes at my friends and couldn’t help but smile. “I’m not dead, Damian, but if I hadn’t done that, Spencer would’ve been laying here in a much worse condition.”
They were silent after that. Okay, yes, Spencer was terrible to me… but that did not mean I was going to let her get hit by a Bludger in the head. I didn’t regret doing it. Even though a ‘thank you’ card or maybe at least a flower would’ve been nice. But whatever.
“What time is it? Shouldn’t you guys be in bed?”
Rose shrugged. “It’s not a school night. I couldn’t sleep anyway.”
“Yea, same goes for me.” Louis sighed. “Nell was here too until she fell asleep watching over you. I brought her to the dorm.”
I raised my eyebrows at him. “You were in our room? How did you manage to do that?”
Louis stared at me for a few seconds, as if he only now realized he managed to do the one thing many guys before him had tried but failed. Until he shrugged one shoulder. “I was carrying her. I guess the stairs don’t slip away from under your feet when you’re carrying a sleeping girl.”
“Well that’s conv –“
All of our heads snapped up when we heard someone yell my name from the opposite side of the room. We could vaguely make out a tall figure strutting our way. Great. Potter, of course he’d only be here to make me feel even worse. I was about to retort a snarky reply about how he didn’t have to bother to take one more step towards me, when I noticed the expression on his face. He was angry. Really angry.
“What the hell was that?!” James stalked past Damian and stood right next to me. Feeling suddenly very uncomfortable, I tried to sit upward.
“What is your pro –“
“Don’t you even fucking go there, Martins! What the bloody hell did you do?!” My mouth dropped when Potter’s face was starting to change color. I’d never see him get this mad… at me. “We lost because of your stupid stunt! You should not have turned around, you should’ve scored!”
“It would’ve hit Spencer in the head!”
“I don’t care! What did I tell you! focus on the game, not your friends!” his hands were bald at his sides and his face was scrunched in this hateful look, and for a second there, I was genuinely scared of him.
“James, leave her alone!” Rose tried to turn her cousin around but he just shrugged her hand off as if she was nothing more than an annoying little fly.
“We lost! Do you understand how serious this is?!”
I managed to sit up straight, ignoring the painful sting that went through my ankle as I moved. “And why is that my fault?! It’s you who did not catch the Snitch!”
He groaned and grabbed desperately at his hair, his eyes intense with anger. I cringed. He looked like he could hit anything any moment now. “You don’t understand! I let myself get distracted because of you! Again! You just keep ruining my shit! You keep getting in my head damnit!”
“James, that’s enough!”
James ignored Damian. Instead, he turned back around to look at me. Bending down to level his face with mine, he stopped when he was not more than an inch away from me. “Do you realize who was there, Ali? Do you?”
I gulped and pressed my lips together, shaking my head no.
My mouth dropped.
“Exactly! Cormack McLeod, the manager of the Montrose Magpies team, was there for me. Because he was interested in me.” He slammed his hand down on the bed, almost hitting me in the process, and I squealed. “You ruined my chance! Do you realize that?!”
I stared at his furious face as everybody stayed quiet. I couldn’t get anything out now. It was as if I was paralyzed. Completely affected in the most horrible way by his words. I wanted to open my mouth and say something, anything, but just couldn’t. My head was still spinning from the fall.
And finally, realizing I couldn’t get so much as a peep out in a state like this, James shot me a last scathing glare and turned around to stalk away. There was a distinct slamming noise when he closed the hospital door behind him and I winced as I sank slowly back down.
“He’s never been like that to me before.” I whispered, looking down at my shaking hands. Why was I shaking?
Louis put a tentative hand on my shoulder, and I looked up at him. “I’ve never seen him look so… so hateful.” I took a shuddering breath and closed my eyes against the tears that threatened to spill out. What was wrong with me? I could not cry right now. James Sirius Potter did not deserve my tears. Why did I suddenly let him get to me?
I was not going to cry because of that… that… prick.
I squeezed my eyes tighter, hoping it would wipe away the image of James’ glare out of my mind. But it was burned there forever, a result of my mistake.
Eventually, a single tear managed to slip between my closed lashes and dripped down my face anyway.
A.N: I'm new to this site, so I don't really know how this work here but erm... if you like this story so far, let me know I guess :)
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