“Alright, you lot, listen up! We're going to be doing a scrimmage!”
“I want to evaluate you on the field instead of just doing endless drills!” Rize bellows to the crowd of hopeful Gryffindors. “This way, I can see how well you work with your teammates, how well you use your teammates' abilities, and just how well you can battle it out on the field!”
He clears his throat and takes out a piece of paper from his pocket.
“Alright, so based on what position you wrote on your forms, I randomly split you into two teams. I ain't gonna say it twice, so listen carefully! TEAM ONE! James Potter! Douglas Hollands! Madeline…”
So, he did start off with a scrimmage.
Man, I'm so rusty from lack of practice, what am I going to do? Ever since Sonata got that boyfriend of hers in Fu Shu, she’s been completely neglecting to practice Quidditch with me over breaks! Then again, she kind of sucked at it, so I guess that was why she never wanted to…
Wait, back to the problem at hand. To be completely honest, I probably won't be able to beat Sirius in this state, so I hope I'm on the same team as him. Then at least we wouldn’t have to compete?
“And Cecilia Vance! Now, TEAM TWO!”
What, I didn't even hear who’s on my team! Cecilia, this is what you get for bloody zoning out! I know at least James is on Team One, but what about Sirius? I was so immersed in my own thoughts that I completely shut out all other sounds! Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid…
“…Jefferson! Sirius Black! And, er, me! Rize Hertz! Now, go get your jerseys on and get onto the field! Team One is red and Team Two is gold!”
Are you kidding me? I am going against him! Well, at least I have James on my team. And at least it's a scrimmage, so it’s not official or anything… But that doesn’t make me want to win any less!
I toss my red jersey loosely over my head and swing my leg over my Silver Arrow broom before flying over to the middle of the field. Ahh, my faithful Silver Arrow. A bit beat up from all the reckless flying I did as a kid, but still one brilliant broomstick.
The rest of the scrimmage introductions happen as a blur in my mind as I try to remember all the little techniques I made up back when I was homeschooled. As I hover absently over the field, Rize explains the rules, kicks open the trunk with all the Quidditch balls, and then everyone flies off to start the match. Wait, start the match?
“VANCE, GET A MOVE ON!”
Oh, right! The match started!
I zoom off towards the opponent hoops that Rize is guarding as Keeper. My eyes have to strain just following the fast-moving Quaffle. Man, are these guys veteran Quidditch players or something? Why am I trying out again?
I grit my teeth and swoop in to catch a backward pass from Willie, one of my teammates for the scrimmage. The moment my hands come into contact with the familiar rough leather, I feel a grin spread across my face.
Finally, it’s my chance to show off to Sirius what I can do!
Weaving in and out of the opponent Chasers, I get within fifty meters of the hoops and I raise my arm to hurl the Quaffle and—
I drop the Quaffle abruptly as I swerve my broom to avoid an incoming Bludger. Who was that? I turn my head towards the general direction the Bludger came from and see Sirius waving his Beater bat pleasantly at me.
“YOU ALMOST MADE ME FALL OFF MY BROOM, YOU JERK!” I bellow at him across the width of the field. “This isn’t a bloody war!”
Sirius just shrugs, an unabashed grin on his face. “Hey, one for all, all for one. It is a scrimmage for positions after all.”
But he’s not even playing for Chaser! Though I have to admit… for a guy that doesn’t look like a big muscleman, that was a seriously impressive hit. But like hell I’d admit it to his face!
I stick my tongue out at him childishly and get back to the game.
After catching a smoothly dropped Quaffle from five meters above me as a feint, I fly towards the hoops again, determined to score this time. If my own (I hate to say the word) fiancé beats me in this dumb scrimmage, I don't think even I would be able to live it down.
I raise my arm to hurl the Quaffle again and see Sirius hit the Bludger again from my peripheral vision, so instead of hurling the Quaffle at the hoops, I throw it a couple meters above me in the air and dodge the Bludger to the side. As the Quaffle falls, I swing off my broom and kick it towards the hoop.
Ha, beat that! I smirk as I see it curve in towards the hoop far out of Rize's reach and then…
“Agh, what the hell!” I clutch my head in disbelief.
At the last moment, Sirius hits the other flying Bludger and whacks the Quaffle out of the way and right into Rize's hands! Even worse, Rize throws it across the field to another Chaser who takes advantage of our shocked Keeper to score a—a bloody goal! You have got to be kidding me!
I spin around to glare at Sirius, who was tossing his Beater bat casually from hand to hand.
Was this his signature move?
“What the hell was that, Sirius?” I yell at him in disbelief. “Is that even allowed?”
Sirius twirls the Bludger bat in his hand, whistling to himself. “If you have the skills enough to even do that, then hell yeah!”
Right, so, he definitely has more skill than I gave him credit for. I’ve never even seen that done before! But that doesn’t mean for one second that I’ll let him show me up like that!
I speed down the field back to my own hoops and groan in dismay as I see an opponent Chaser score yet another goal. I glance up at James, who is still searching for the miniscule Snitch zooming around the Quidditch field, and sigh. Looks like I have to take matters into my own hands again, especially since Sirius seems to be knocking every shot we make right back at our faces.
I catch the Quaffle as it goes through our hoop yet again and speed towards Rize's goals. Hey, it’s not over yet! I may have weak arm strength for a girl, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeves.
Halfway down the field, with one hand holding onto the middle of my room and another hand palming the Quaffle, I pull my broom around and screech to a standstill. Using the momentum of my abrupt stop, I do two flips around my broom and hurl the Quaffle down the field towards the hoops with deadly accuracy.
But instead of just stopping there, I then speed down the field following the direction of the thrown Quaffle and grab a fellow Beater's bat along the way, ignoring the subsequent “Hey!”
As Sirius slams the Bludger with the bat to veer off the Quaffle again, I swing my own stolen bat and hit the Bludger right back at Sirius.
I give the shocked Beater a smug look. “Ha, beat that, Siriu—whoa!”
Sirius slams the Bludger back at me again, completely catching me off guard.
I just barely dodge it and spin around on my broom to (oh crap) see the Bludger completely obliterate the tower behind me. Well, not obliterate. It just made a huge hole… but that hole could've been through me if I didn't dodge that!
“Beat what?” Sirius yells right back at me.
I swing my Beater bat back for momentum and prepare to fling it at the insufferable git. “BEAT THIS!”
But right before my fingers leave the bat, I hear a loud whistle blowing down by the hoops. I groan and toss the bat back to the Beater I stole it from instead.
Rize flies towards us, his whistle still blowing in his mouth and the caught Quaffle in his hands. (Hey, at least I scored!) The Quidditch captain blows the whistle loudly one last time and then rips it out of his mouth to yell, “Stop trying to murder each other for god's sake, mates! LAPS!” He blows the whistle again. “TWENTY OF THEM!”
We both gape at him.
The perimeter of the Quidditch field is long enough for five laps tops… but twenty?
I hear Sirius' loud, unsuppressed groan as we glide back down to the grassy field and slide off our brooms. We throw them to the side and are about to go off running when I suddenly hear Rize's yelling voice again.
Rize flies a couple meters above us and looks to Sirius. “Hey, Sirius, you know, I can spare you a couple of laps if you agree to, y'know, with me, like, go somewhe—”
Sirius throws his hands in the air in frustration and insists, “I told you I'm not interested!”
Yet again, Rize puts on the whole offended look. “I'm not gay! I just wanted to—”
“Yeah, keep telling yourself that.” Sirius rolls his eyes. “C'mon Cecilia.” He grabs my hand and runs off, leaving the Quidditch captain stuttering behind us.
As the scrimmage continues with replacement players for me and Sirius, we begin to run our death laps. Sirius pulls me behind him with my hand still tight in his own for a while before I feel my hand and my face begin to flush with embarrassment.
I slow down a little and mumble, “Er, Sirius… hand?”
Sirius turns his head towards me and looks from my slightly pink face to my hand in his. “Oh, er, sorry.” He quickly lets go and turns away again, a little pink in the face himself.
Huh… hard to believe he'd actually blush over holding my hand. Nahhh, he’s probably just flushed from the scrimmage and all this running.
I shake those thoughts out of my head as Sirius and I run in awkward silence.
A few laps in, I stare off into the distance and, for no apparent reason whatsoever, the dream I had a few mornings ago edges its way into my thoughts again. Me as a little girl. The little boy who gave me the scarf. The scarf woven with wishes.
Wait, now that I think about it, does that even make sense? How can something as intangible as wishes be woven into an physical object?
“Have you ever heard of a scarf woven with wishes?” I ask absently.
Sirius looks over his shoulder at me, a bemused expression on his face. “Er, sounds kind of far-fetched, but we are wizards. It probably exists in some culture.” He pauses for a moment as if carefully picking out the words to say next. “Why, do you have one?”
“Maybe,” I reply before muttering to myself, “So, it wasn't a dream…”
“You had a dream?” Sirius says, strangely surprised. “About that scarf?”
Part of my mind wonders why he’s even surprised, but the rest of my thoughts are elsewhere. So, this dream may actually be real memories? But I genuinely don’t remember any of it! How is it that I can dream about events in my life but not know when, how, or why they even happened? How can I not remember any context whatsoever?
I decidedly answer Sirius’ question instead. Plus, just thinking about this is making my head hurt.
“Yes, an extremely vague and confusing dream,” I respond with a long sigh. “If it all actually is real, then apparently some boy gave me the scarf when I was really young. That’s just about all I remember though.”
“Maybe a childhood friend?” Sirius suggests, still in that strange, deliberately steady tone. “Or a family friend may be more likely. He sounds like… a, er, a good kid. I mean, for getting you a birthday present like that.”
I stop in my tracks, staring curiously at Sirius’ back. “I never said it was a birthday present,” I say slowly.
The moment the words leave my mouth, Sirius trips over absolutely nothing and falls flat on his face. “Agh, damn it,” he mutters, spitting grass out of this mouth.
Before he can run off, I move a bit closer to him and bend down, trying to get a good look at his face. “Hey, do you know this kid or something?” I ask, feeling almost excited. “You know something don't you?” I watch him as he gets up to start running again. “Don't you?”
“I…” Sirius stops mid-step and turns around to face me. His mouth opens to respond.
But at that very moment, a huge gust of wind blows through the field taking Sirius' soft spoken words with it.