On My Mind
The team bellows a victorious roar and bursts out of the locker room doors and into the wide open stadium.
I run after them, falling behind slightly as I curse my luck.
If only I didn’t get bloody hospitalized randomly and have to spend the past few weeks catching up on schoolwork and make-up exams, then I could’ve come to practice and actually known all these formations! Alright, calm down, Cecilia. You got this. Like Rize said, just fly like you usually do and you’ll be fine.
“The Quaffle is thrown…” Ed’s familiar voice echoes through the stands, “and they’re off! Well, most of them at least.”
“Vance, get a move on!”
“R-right!” I swing my leg onto my Silver Arrow and hastily kick off.
C’mon, Cecilia, play!
“Oh! She might’ve been off to a late start, but Vance takes no hesitation getting right back into the game!” Ed declares into the mic rather professionally. Almost too professionally. “This appears to be a good start for Gryffindor… I LOVE YOU, CECILI—no, no, I’m sorry, Professor, please give it back! I won’t do it again!”
That’s the Ed I know.
“Alright, back to the game. The Ravenclaws are taking quick advantage of the Gryffindors’ delay in getting into formation. Impressive offensive play and a smooth pass from Smith to Dent… oh, here come the Gryffindor Chasers! Vance steals the Quaffle from Dent and passes to Williams, then back to Vance, then Williams, Vance, Williams, Vance… and she scores! Ten points for Gryffindor—no, wait, Vance is circling the hoops! The Keeper can barely even catch up… and oh! Twice in a row! The score’s twenty-zero, folks! A brilliant start for Gryffindor!”
I pump my fist into the air in response to the explosion of cheers and return James’ high-give as he flies past me. Yeah, that’s the way to do it! Amnesia’s got nothing on—
“Vance, watch out!”
I dive blindly at the near belated warning and look up to find that I just barely avoided a Bludger in the face. Blimey, thank god someone was paying attention. Except… I shoot a glare at Sirius, who actually had the nerve to stare off into space while I almost got my face bashed in.
“Oi, Sirius, will you do your bloody job?!” I yell across the field at him.
“Yeah, pay attention, Black,” a Ravenclaw jeers as he flies by.
Wow, okay, enemy player, didn’t really need your input there.
Wait a minute, who was that? Blazing red spiked hair and a derisive sneer on his face? Oh right, he was the Ravenclaw Beater who I had deduced blatantly loathed Sirius. It wasn’t hard to figure out. He spent the past few games last term throwing insults and Bludgers left and right at the playboy. This game was clearly no exception.
But somehow, his words are what finally knocks Sirius out of his daze.
“Eat dung, Dayton!” Sirius yells back at the Ravenclaw Beater. “I don’t have time to deal with your crap today, alright? I have better things to worry about!”
“Later would be a better time to think about it, Sirius!” Rize bellows from the goal posts angrily, a caught Quaffle in his hands. “Get back in the game, you two!”
Rize rosses the Quaffle to me and I fly off, sighing.
Why am I getting yelled at for Sirius zoning out? Better score a few goals to get ahead before Rize bites my head o—
“Hey!” I blurt out as the Quaffle gets knocked right out of my hands mid-thought by none other than Miss Ellie Abbing herself. “What the hell is a Seeker doing messing around with Chasers, huh?” I yell at her as she speeds away.
“You better hope it’s not just as easy for me to take Sirius from you as I snatched that Quaffle, Vance,” Ellie taunts over her shoulder as she tosses the Quaffle to a Ravenclaw Chaser.
“You little…” I clench my fists and fly towards the Chaser, but before I can lunge out and grab the Quaffle, I see a flash of blue fly by my face as the Chaser soars towards our goal posts in a burst of speed.
“Hardwick is racing towards the left goal post and Hertz is too preoccupied with the Ravenclaw Beaters! Will Ravenclaw make their first score of the match?!”
I spot Rize on the other side of the goal posts, much too far to block the shot, and quickly yell to our Beater, “Sirius, the Quaffle!”
“Got it!” his voice sounds behind me, followed by a subsequent thud of bat on Bludger.
My eyes follow the shot in anticipation, but instead of knocking the Quaffle off course as it usually did, the Bludger misses its target by several meters. My jaw drops and the entire Gryffindor section goes silent with shock in the midst of the Ravenclaw cheers. Even Ed is rendered speechless at the star Beater’s careless mistake… and that was saying something.
Clearly, Sirius is just as shocked as the rest of us because all that comes out of his mouth is, “Oh, for the love of crap.”
“Yeah, that’s right, Black! Because that’s what it’s gonna feel like when Ravenclaw kicks Gryffindor’s arse!”
“SHUT UP, DAYTON.”
But Sirius quickly proves that it’s not just a one time fluke on his part. Whether it be almost hitting the stands or his own team, Sirius seems to want to do it all this game. Rize, the other Chasers, and I play our hardest, but within an hour into the match, Ravenclaw’s determination coupled with Sirius’ constant mistakes result in the game dragging on way longer than it should’ve. Ellie’s Seeker skills were giving James a serious run for his money and our lead in points was dwindling.
“Sirius!” Rize yells desperately at the Beater. “Will you please stop thinking about whatever is distracting you so much and focus? Keep this up and we’re never going to make finals!”
“Oi, I can’t help that it’s making me feeling like my brain’s a pillow right now!” Sirius snaps back grumpily.
I just roll my eyes at their antics from above. With all these unexpected mistakes and sabotage, our formations are useless. Just as well… I didn’t know them anyway!
Time to take matters into my own hands.
“And it’s two hundred and twenty to eighty!” Ed howls into the megaphone. “Will Gryffindor solidify their lead with a final goal or will Ravenclaw manage to catch the Snitch in time—OH, SHE’S SPOTTED IT!”
I blink several times in panicked confusion only to clear the image of… Ellie speeding towards the Golden Snitch? What the hell is James Potter doing! Oh nevermind that, this is really my problem now!
I clench my hands tightly around my broom handle and flatten my body against it, flying towards the Quaffle. I glance towards the scoreboard as I zoom past. We’ve just reached a hundred and fifty points ahead. Gryffindor can still win this!
I fly between a pair of Ravenclaw Chasers, swiftly catching what would have been a very impressive no-look pass had it actually succeeded, and speed towards the goal posts. I have to make up for all the games I’ve missed. This is my chance.
I narrow my eyes at the opponent Chasers speeding towards me and toss the Quaffle high into the air as I screech my broom to a stop. Using the momentum, I swing once around the handle of my broom with my hands gripped tightly on the wood and then hurl my foot around to come into contact with the Quaffle just before Ravenclaw can get their hands on it. With the speed of a soaring bullet, the Quaffle is sent flying towards the goal hoops
Time seems to almost slow to halt as Ellie's hand reaches closer for the Snitch and the Quaffle makes its way to the goal. The Keeper and Ellie lunge simultaneously for their targets and before I can blink again it's over.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! GRYFFINDOR WINS!”
But before I can even register the ear-splitting roar of cheers from the crowd below, some unknown force hurtles into my stomach, nearly flinging me and my broom out of control.
I’ll have to somehow thank Sonata for receiving all the fast reflexes between the two of us.
The moment I manage to regain my balance, I look down to find that I’m clutching Sirius’ Bludger bat against my stomach. I turn towards the Beater’s general direction angrily.
“What the hell was that for, Sirius?! Are you trying to get me killed—”
My words freeze on my lips as suddenly I realize that… something’s wrong. I stare from Sirius’ empty broomstick resting stationary in midair where he supposedly was moments ago, to Dayton sneering triumphantly some meters away from me, then back to the bludger bat I held in my hands. My eyes trail down from Sirius’ broom over fifty meters to the ground below me in horror only to find him sprawled in the grass.
There should have been an ear-splitting roar of cheers echoing throughout the stadium, but at that moment all I can hear is the ringing of dead silence in my ears.
I wake up with a jolt at the soft click of a door and push my head off my arms to look behind me, sleepy-eyed.
“Hey, sorry to wake you, mate.” James gives me an apologetic grin and decidedly walks to the bedside instead of tiptoeing. He glances down at my outfit and gives me an all-knowing look. “Been here all night, huh? How is he?”
I blink and look down at myself. I’m still wearing my Quidditch uniform from yesterday’s match and, from the looks of the sunlight streaming through the windows of what can only be the Hospital Wing, I’d remained this way all night and well into the morning.
“Yeah, he…” I let out a jaw-splitting yawn before answering, “… s-s-still hasn’t woken up.”
It was only after I had reached both arms behind me in my yawn that I realized I had been holding Sirius’ hand until now. The image of his hand in mine over a hospital bed is strangely reminiscent of a month ago, only our situations are now clearly reversed.
James runs his fingers through his unkempt hair before sighing. “Blimey, that’s not a good thing is it? Bloody perfect time for him to be out of commission too…” he adds under his breath.
“Madam Pomfrey said he’s pretty much fine actually,” I explain, though frowning at his mumbled words. “After her usual potions and spellwork, the only problem he seems to have at this point is sleep deprivation.” Or rather, more sleep deprivation than he usually has. “I reckon he’s just tired at this point. What happened to him?”
James looks taken aback at my question. “What, you mean him and Lily?”
I raise an eyebrow. “Uh, no,” I say slowly, “I mean, the Quidditch match.”
“Oh, well.” James clears his throat, visibly relieved at the change of subject… for some reason. “You saw Sirius and Dayton quarreling at the game again, right? He’s Ellie’s ex-boyfriend and has been dying for a go at Sirius for ages since she broke up with him for my mate here. I guess the bastard thought getting at you was the second best option, or maybe the barbaric hunk of meat was just ticked off, who knows, but the moment you scored that goal over Ellie, he chucked a Bludger at you even though the game ended.”
“You’re kidding…” I mutter in disbelief.
“Yeah, tell me about it. But anyway, you’re damn lucky Sirius had noticed it when he did. I heard him try to warn you but the bloody crowd was so loud and he was too far to push you out of the way, so I guess he hurled his… bat… at you? Don’t ask, it was fast thinking,” James adds with a laugh when I turn to look at the unconscious Sirius with raised eyebrows. “Problem was, he was so occupied with speeding towards you that once you got out of the way of the Bludger and he was in its range…” James makes a bone-crunching sound with his mouth.
His words make me grimace. “Blimey, who knew a Bludger could crack a spine so easily…”
“Quidditch is a dangerous sport,” James reminds me, shaking his head as if he didn’t love the game too much to care. “Well, on the bright side, at least Dayton’s suspended from playing for the rest of his school career.”
“At least?” I repeat incredulously. “Like suspension is even an adequate punishment for nearly killing—”
Our conversation is interrupted by a low groan from the head of the bed. Sirius slowly opens his eyes and winces in pain. “Owww… what the hell…?”
“Whoa, geez, lie down!” James exclaims, shoving Sirius back down on his bed when he tries to sit upright. “Take it easy, mate. You just broke your back.”
“It doesn’t matter, I’m fine. Where’s Lily?” Sirius asks urgently.
“Er…” James looks sideways uncomfortably. “Lil and Remus are in History of Magic taking extra notes for us.”
“Well, you can call her out right?” Sirius presses his forehead against his palm. “I seriously need her right now…”
James scratches the back of his head and glances at me nervously. “Yeah, I could probably sneak her out but… I mean, you know, about Cecilia—”
“Don’t worry about her,” Sirius cuts him off. “Right now, I—oh.”
It seems to take a moment for Sirius to follow James’ line of sight and finally notice me, but at this point I wish he hadn’t.
“Cecilia, you were here?” he blurts out in genuine shock.
I open my mouth to reply, but at first nothing comes out. I grip the sleeve of my still dirt-covered Quidditch uniform, my hands starting to shake.
“I was—” I’ve been here, Sirius, all night. “I was…” I repeat hoarsely.
I can feel my face heating and my eyes beginning to sting… and before I even realize it, I bolt right out of the room.
“Sirius, where are you—hello? Broken back? Hey!”
Ignoring the calls of Sirius and James behind me, I stride briskly down the hallway and the moment I turn the corner, I break into a sprint in some random direction.
Suddenly, every feeling I’ve been trying to hold back has erupted all at once. I’ve been trying to be nonchalant about the whole Sirius and Lily thing, but I feel like I’m so exhausted right now that I can’t push emotions back down anymore. I feel betrayed by Lily and hurt by Sirius, I mean, is that so unreasonable? I know Sirius and I didn’t agree to the engagement in the first place, but… geez, from the way he was pining over Lily back in the Hospital Wing, you’d think he saved me from that Bludger because his bloody hand slipped.
I feel the muscles in my legs begin to ache and I slow to a halt, leaning against the wall to catch my breath. I brush the dirtied sleeve of my Quidditch uniform across my cheek only to find it streaked with water stains.
Am I crying?
“You gotta be kidding me…” I mutter under my breath before pushing myself off the wall in frustration and making my way to the Quidditch locker room.
I swing open the door to the empty locker room and then prop my foot against the door to block any unwanted entries before undoing the heavy leather armor of my uniform.
I’m definitely acting over-emotional or something. Maybe everyone else is acting normal and I’m just exaggerating things. I furrow my brows as I count the days in my head. Wait, that would explain it… is it my time of the month—
Halfway into pulling the uniform up over my head, some ridiculously overpowering force bursts open the locker room door and literally launches me to the floor.
“Whoa, blimey, sorry. You okay?”
I flip over on the floor and hastily push my uniform back down only to find Sirius standing in the locker room doorway staring at exactly where my shirt was not just moments before.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I say quickly in an attempt to divert his attention. “Shouldn’t you be in the Hospital Wing with your broken back?”
Sirius clears his throat. “Er, I feel fine now actually—wait, are you crying?”
“NO.” I jump up from my place on the floor and run my sleeve over my face, ignoring the fact that the cloth was smeared in dirt.
Sirius just folds his arms and closes the door behind him, leaning against it skeptically. “Your eyes are puffy,” he points out. “Is that why you ran out of the Hospital Wing? What’s wrong?”
The look of genuine concern on his face makes me frown. “What’s wrong?” I repeat indignantly. “Are you just playing dumb or are you actually asking me that right now?”
Sirius raises an eyebrow. “Wait, is this about me and Lily?”
I feel a blush rise in my cheeks, but can’t seem to think of a good reply.
Yes, I’m jealous? Yes, I thought you liked me? Yes, I don’t like how you’re spending so much time with your best friend’s girlfriend, not to mention my best friend? No matter what I say, I’ll just sound like some clingy girlfriend. And we’re not even dating!
“Oh,” is all Sirius says when I don’t respond. He rubs the back of his neck awkwardly. “Uh, yeah, about that…” He falls silent for a full minute before saying hastily, “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it!”
“What?” I exclaim, starting to get real frustrated at his non-answers. “You realize that having zero explanation whatsoever is super suspicious right?”
“It’s not that big a deal!”
“Did you seriously just say that to me?”
“Well, not a big deal enough for you to run off crying!”
“What, did you want me to stand around crying instead? Plus, Lily said that you hate it when girls cry over dumb things, so of course I didn’t want you to see… me… BLIMEY, SHUT UP,” I yell (yes, I actually yell out loud) and immediately turn around to bang my head on the nearest locker. “Stupid, stupid, stupid…”
“You…” I turn around to find Sirius gaping at me in astonishment. He lets out a short laugh in disbelief. “Since when have you cared about what I like or don’t like in a girl?”
My face heats up at his words. “Since never!”
Sirius bites his lip, clearly trying to hide a grin. “Yeah, sure,” he teases. “That’s actually really cute. What else have you noticed I like? Oh, is that why you’ve started to—”
“No-it’s-not-shut-up!” I cut him off quickly, now a brilliant shade of red. “And stop changing the subject!”
Sirius’ grin fades at my words. “Look, Cecilia,” he starts seriously. “About Lily—”
And I never did find out what he was going to say about Lily because at that moment, Sirius’ words are interrupted by a tremendous booming voice that echoes throughout the entire locker room. Actually, make that the entire school.
“SIRIUS BLACK, PLEASE RETURN TO THE HOSPITAL WING RIGHT THIS SECOND OR YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY!” There’s a pause. “And I have chocolate for you. NOW.”
I remove my hands covering my ears and open my tightly shut eyes to see Sirius doing the same. “Blimey, I didn’t even know the Hospital Wing had a built-in loudspeaker system,” I mutter incredulously.
Sirius snorts. “Yeah, I’m not sure if I should be terrified or glad that she cares so much about her patients.”
“Not sure I even want to find out,” I admit with a laugh. “You should probably just take your chocolate and live in ignorant bliss.”
He chuckles softly. “Yeah, probably.” We make eye contact briefly and he clears his throat. “Er, anyway, I better get back before she starts yelling through the school again.”
I blink. “Oh, er, right. You should go.”
“See you?” He winces at the question and then gives me an awkward wave before stepping out of the locker room.
The moment the door slams closed, I lean back against the lockers and sigh.
For the slightest moment, I thought we were back to normal. Blimey, it had been so long since we even had a proper talk alone together, that I forgot how much I missed just being around him. If I didn’t see him with Lily earlier today, I wouldn’t have thought anything changed. But now everything just feels weird and awkward.
I let my head fall back against the lockers with a soft thud.
I hate this.