Dumbledore stood, and the Great Hall went silent. “In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wish to announce a special treat. As all of you know, the Inter-House Quidditch Cup has been cancelled this year due to the Triwizard Tournament.” The Headmaster raised his hand to forestall any boos or catcalls. “I know that, exciting as the Tournament is, we all miss our Quidditch matches. Therefore, I have consulted with the faculty, and we have agreed to hold a special Valentine’s Day Quidditch match!”
Dumbledore smiled as the Hall erupted in cheers. The players will be as follows…”
There were whispers heard throughout the Great Hall as the teams went their separate ways. Harry sat on a bench with Parvati and the two of them were laughing.
“Dumbledore is either crazy or brilliant. Choosing the teams based on Yule Ball dates was original but – let’s be honest here, Harry – some know very little about playing Quidditch!”
Parvati glanced in the direction of several others chosen by the headmaster to play. Victor and Hermione; Draco and Pansy . . .
Harry nudged his friend in the direction of a blonde head of hair.
Draco had sauntered over to Harry looking supremely smug.
"It seems that they made me Seeker," he boasted.
Determined to not start a fight, Harry clenched his fists and replied smoothly. "I think I'd rather play Beater anyway. I've always wanted to give it a go."
Disappointed at Harry's lack of retaliation, Draco walked away.
Harry used this time to discuss the rest of his team with Parvati.
"I can't believe they have Hermione playing Keeper," she mused, forgetting that Harry was good friends with Hermione, "They can't possibly think she'll be any good.
“I’m sure she’ll be fine,” Harry replied absentmindedly, scanning the teams to see exactly whom he’d be playing with.
“Patil! Keeper!” shouted Roger Davies, who was apparently taking over in the organization of his team—which included Parvati.
“Who? Me? Harry, we’re not on the same team!” Pavarti exclaimed, just as Harry deducted the same thing.
“Oh, no,” someone moaned despondently, and all eyes were drawn to Neville Longbottom. “Everyone knows they put the worst fliers in as Keeper. Now what’ll I play?”
“They what?” Pavarti demanded angrily.
Harry took a fearful step back from his date.
Harry sighed as the remainder of is team gathered together. It could have been worse, he thought. Hermione would be useless at Keeper, there was no getting around that. But the rest of them would, with luck, make up for her.
“I see Draco’s already named himself Seeker,” Cedric Diggory commented.
“He says he was appointed, but I think he just made that up,” Harry replied with a laugh.
“Want to call him on it?”
“No,” Harry answered. “Let him have it. Besides, whoever plays Seeker’s just going to be embarrassed by Krum anyway, so better him than me!”
“You assume too quickly, Harry.”
He spun around to see Ginny standing behind him. “How so,” he asked perplexed.
“Roger made Cho seeker. It seems Viktor has been appointed Chaser along with Roger and my brother.”
Cedric looked away from his girlfriend who was being offered pointers by Viktor to see what Ginny was so surprised about. “That doesn’t look like Ron, Ginny.”
“No, that’s Percy!” exclaimed Harry. He listened as Percy tried to gain some control of the team from Roger who looked a bit flustered.
“Come ON, everyone. Let’s not take all day, now.”
Cedric looked over at the other team. It appeared there was a question as to who was in charge. Hoping to get a quick plan together, he called out to his team to follow him out to the Quidditch field.
As they walked, he called out their positions.
"Right, now most of you know what you'll be playing, but I thought I'd go over it just to make sure there's no confusion.
"Harry and Fleur, you'll be our beaters."
Fleur wrinkled her nose in disgust.
Cedric had a gift for leadership, Harry had to admit. He’d quashed arguments over who would play where and gotten them out to the pitch in good order.
Now, hovering in mid-air, he surveyed the opposition. Harry groaned when he saw their beaters; as much as he disliked Pansy Parknison, he wasn’t sure he had the heart to attack a girl. And he definitely didn’t have the heart to attack Neville Longbottom (although it might not matter, as Neville could easily do more harm to his team than to Harry’s).
Far below, the whistle blew. The game was on…
Draco immediately shot high into the sky, hoping to spot the snitch quickly. He noticed that Cho was keeping a close eye on him, waiting to follow him at a moment's notice.
If that's how she wants to play... Draco thought.
He suddenly shot toward the ground and looked back to find that Cho was indeed following him in a near-vertical dive. Mere inches from the ground he pulled out of the dive. Looking up, he found that Cho was once again circling overhead.
"She's smarter than I thought," Draco muttered to himself.
“What a silly little rat,” Cho murmured to herself as she watched Draco continue to dive after a nonexistent snitch.
There was a tremendous crack as a bludger was struck, and Cho glanced up just in time to miss it.
“DON’T you call him that!” Pansy Parkison growled, bat aloft.
“Parkinson!” Roger Davies bellowed, fumbling the Quaffle into the hands of Ginny Weasley. “Hit them at the other team, got it?”
“Oops,” Pansy drawled, shooting Cho one last venomous look before clenching her bat and flying away. Further below, Ginny squared up against Parvati and raised the Quaffle.
Ginny flew as fast as she could, dodging anyone in her way and catching the eye of a very impressed Bulgarian bon-bon. Seeing him approach out of the corner of her eye, she attempted a difficult Quidditch maneuver and smirked as she found herself within sight of the Snitch.
In true Weasley fashion, she asked herself, “Do I help Draco or do I make him work for the win?”
Ginny turned to face the Slytherin and saw him approaching Neville with a gleam in his eye.
Her decision was made for her.
‘Forgive me, team but Malfoy’s being a prat.’
Harry divided his attention between hitting Bludgers, mostly at Roger Davies, and watching his teammates.
He couldn’t turn away from Hermione’s efforts as Keeper; it was fascinating, in a horrible sort of way. As he watched, Viktor Krum came at her, full speed, Quaffle in his hand.
Hermione shrieked, nearly letting go of her broom and dropped fifty feet before she regained her balance.
Not that he blamed her; the sight of Krum flying straight towards you at top speed would scare anyone, Harry thought.
“You’re doing great, Hermione!” Harry called out. “Really great!”
Pansy groaned as she looked at the scoreboard. ‘We’re up by a goal thanks to The Mudblood. She’s useless in Quidditch,’ she thought out loud and flew towards Hermione.
Hermione saw Pansy coming and looked around for support. She had read a few Quidditch books to understand what the fascination was and tried to recall anything that may help her. Pansy accelerated and Hermione tried desperately to out-fly her.
In an instant, Pansy and her broom went their separate ways towards the grass below.
“Evil girl,” Fleur motioned below as she smiled at Hermione, bat in hand. They both laughed.
Fluer turned to face the rest of the players just in time to see a Bludger coming her way. It was too close for her to get a good swing at it so she ducked, forgetting that Hermione was close behind her.
Too late, she heard a shriek and turned around to watch Hermione falling towards the ground. She then noticed Krum diving for her faster than she could possibly have imagined that a broomstick could go.
Roger had stopped to shout at Krum.
"You idiot!" He called, "She's on the other team!"
Setting a very red Hermione back on her broom, Krum turned to Davies. “Yes, but she is also my friend.”
Davies seemed on the brink of explosion as he regarded his teammate.
For a moment, it seemed as though there was going to be a face-off, but the dreamy voice of Luna Lovegood—named commentator for the match—drifted towards them.
“Goal, though the Chasers don’t seem to have taken notice. Congratulations, Ginny.”
“Great feint, Hermione!” Ginny shouted as she zoomed across the pitch while Parvati dove to recover the Quaffle.
“Feint, yeah,” Hermione mumbled with a small smile for Krum.
Parvati tossed the Quaffle to Percy Weasley, but before he could get up to speed and join his fellow Chasers on the attack, someone flashed past, stealing the ball right out of his hands.
He turned and saw, shocked, that it was Penelope. By the time he fully registered what had happened, she’d already scored.
“All’s fair in love and Quidditch!” she called to him as she flew past him again. “I want to win!”
Viktor Krum hovered up beside him, taking the Quaffle from Parvati. “Leaff it to me. I vill score now.” And he off he zoomed….
Viktor flew quickly and flawlessly. His skills were showing as he avoided running into players with only the goal on his mind. Hermione cringed as she watched him create a path. She did not want to see her friends get hurt if Viktor’s flying hit a snag and he ran into someone at such high speeds.
Harry saw Krum get closer to the goal and dedicated himself to stopping him at all costs.
“Ow, Harry! Watch out!” yelled Penelope.
“Sorry . . ,” he called back, feeling truly guilty for being so careless.
“Heads up, Potter!” he heard Draco yell.
Harry cast about for a bludger to hit at Krum in hopes of stopping the breakaway the Bulgarian had embarked on. Just in time, he glimpsed one of the blugders rushing towards him. He had no time to hit it, but instead ducked.
The Bludger raged on, directly into the path of Viktor Krum.
The Seeker turned Chaser was nearly knocked from his broom, but he was a better flier than that. Instead, he dropped the Quaffle, and his advance was halted.
“Neville!” someone shouted.
Harry turned to see Neville gripping his bat tightly. “I-I-Sorry!” he stammered.
Harry could barely help hinself from laughing at Neville’s efforts. As he hovered there, taking stock of the match, he heart the quick flutter of tiny wings zipping past him.
He looked around; no one else heard it. Especially not his team’s Seeker. He wondered for a moment if a Beater was allowed to catch the Snitch. Probably not.
Cho Chang was all the way across the pitch; much too far away to see or hear him. There was nothing else for it; Harry called out, “Malfoy!” and gestured in the direction of the Snitch…
Draco and Harry locked eyes, and for a moment Harry though that Draco wasn’t going to take it, that he was going to be stubborn and insist on finding it himself another time.
But Malfoy was not a complete idiot. Pressing himself down against his broom, Draco accelerated towards the snitch.
“Hit him Pansy, hit him!” Percy ordered to Pansy Parkison, who had her bat raised but didn’t seem to be in the process of swinging. “Hit the bludger at him! There’s one coming at you! Now!”
Draco drew closer to the snitch.
Harry watched as the Bludger flew from Pansy’s bat straight towards Malfoy. He was too far away to reach it; so was Fleur. He yelled to Malfoy, but the Slytherin was deaf to his words, entirely intent on reaching the Snitch first.
The Bludger was going to hit him right in the back of the head, probably knock him out, but before it could, something zoomed in between Malfoy and the Bludger: Cedric Diggory.
It hit Diggory full in the chest, knocked him off his broom, causing a shriek from Cho, who immediately abandoned her pursuit of the Snitch…
Harry was torn between seeing his team win and watching Cho dive for Cedric. He watched as Draco wove in and out of the other players, then he watched Cho use her Seeking skills to catch Cedric.
Draco was getting closer to the Snitch with every second. His fingertips were connecting with the wings every so often, but it wasn't quite close enough. He scooted forward on his broom, blocking out everything but his desire to catch the Snitch.
Harry could see Ron below looking upset at something. It didn’t take Harry long to discover the source of his anger.
Upset at Neville for missing his mark earlier, Pansy came at him, bat in hand. She was inches from his broom when a cheer erupted from the crowd. She turned to see Draco holding the Snitch in the air. She hit Neville in frustration.
Ron watched and decided he had seen enough. Grabbing a discarded broom, he flew into the air and threw a well-aimed Bludger at Pansy. A cheer erupted from the crowd below.
Pansy ran to Draco for sympathy but heard, “It’s a physical sport. Get over it.”
Harry laughed. “Amen.”
“No one asked you, Potter.”