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Thread: 'Claws Chase the Cup

  1. #51
    thechocolatefrog
    Guest
    Fiftieth post! Yay!

    Rachel was jabbering a mile a minute, trying to give anyone who would listen a play-by-play account of the match.

    "-and then I tossed the Quaffle to Julie-" Everyone felt fit to pretend to listen, by smiling and nodding, but moved along quickly to congratulate her other teammates.

    The Pride sauntered over, shaking hands with them, trying to look upbeat about the tie. Trying to be a good sport about it, Catriona stepped forward.

    “Nice match. You all have potential.” She then curtly turned on her heel and her team followed her as she walked away.

    “Are you kidding me?”
    100 words. *party dance*

    -Hannah

  2. #52
    red haired mom
    Guest
    100 words

    The Hogwarts team was dumbfounded at the lack of good sportsmanship the Pride of Portree team members were showing. It had been Catriona herself who’d commented on equity in playing. Just because a team comprised of school aged children had been good enough to tie with them didn’t give her a reason to be snotty.

    Alice shook it off and said, “Shouldn’t we go tell Gideon what happened?”

    The others quickly agreed and they tromped off to the Hospital Wing. The student body followed behind and even Professor McGonagall was seen sporting a smile as they entered the Hospital Wing.
    Let's keep the energy up guys!

    ~Wendy

  3. #53
    FaunaCaritas
    Guest
    Gideon sat up in bed when the bedraggled, muddy team squelched into the room.

    “We tied!” shrieked Rachel, bounding forward and kissing him on the cheek. Gideon’s ears turned bright red. “I’ve got to tell you everything that happened after you got knocked out.”

    “Let him breath, Rachel,” laughed Fabian, slapping him on the back.

    “How is your head?” asked Alice.

    “Madam Pomfrey says my brain still functions, more’s the pity.”

    Julie laughed and then turned to face the whole team. “So, guess what I heard Lysander Progues say to Catriona? He said Alice could play Seeker for England someday.”

    Shame she never did...


    Ed-- you said Kingsley hoisted Alice on his 'soldiers'.
    Hannah-- “Nice match .You all have potential.” (might want to move that stray period.)
    Wendy-- I think school-aged would be hyphenated, but maybe I'm wrong.


    We are the Eagles.
    Fly with Pride.

  4. #54
    thechocolatefrog
    Guest
    Alice blushed and stared at the floor, while everyone began to mutter in excitement at this prospect.

    "I'm sure he was just being nice..." Her voice trailed into a inaudible mumble.

    "I think that it wasn't him just being nice, especially after the little pity party they tried to hold after the match. He was serious. Progues has never been one to take things lightly." The team began to reminisce about an incident earlier in the season with Lyasnder and a referee.

    "Well, we still have the rest of our OWN seasons to-" Gideon silenced. Dumbledore had entered the room.
    100 words. We are on fire! When will we end this fine tale?

    -Hannah

  5. #55
    Lord Great Chamberlain
    Guest
    Steph, you have a random space in your 3rd from last line. (I've fixed my early-morning error.)

    "Congratulations to you all," boomed the Headmaster, his arms stretched out wide. “That was the best I have ever seen a Quidditch team play in all my years at Hogwarts.”

    "We were all brilliant," admitted Fabian, his elbow nudging Kingsley's ribs. "Even Leaky here had a great game overall."

    Professor Dumbledore nodded approvingly, continuing his speech to the team, animated with his passion for their achievement. They applauded each other and cheered, wide smiles etched on their faces.

    Madam Pomfrey exploded at the commotion from the packed Hospital Wing, shouting about rest and quiet as its occupants continued the celebrations.
    100 words.

    Let's keep it going guys!!

  6. #56
    red haired mom
    Guest
    100 words

    Madam Pomfrey gave up trying to keep Gideon in bed and finally allowed him to leave with his teammates.

    The entire school congregated in the Great Hall; where Professor Dumbledore announced, “You seven have shown remarkable talent on the field of battle. You each showed the true Hogwarts spirit in play, and each should be commended for your playing.”

    The crowd cheered.

    “I would like to give out a few rewards for your victory today. For each of you, twenty points.”

    Dumbledore’s voice was drowned out by the screaming and clapping of the Hogwarts team and the other students.
    All right! We're done!


    ~Wendy

  7. #57
    thechocolatefrog
    Guest
    It's too long to put in one post, so here is the first half.

    The Great Hall hummed with sleepy chatter and the four house tables gleamed in the pale morning sunlight. Some students flipped through their textbooks; others munched reflectively on bacon or sipped iced pumpkin juice. But at the Gryffindor table a small commotion was underway.

    “Gideon, did you hear? Something is supposed to happen today—something to do with Quidditch.” Fabian Prewett’s brown eyes were dancing with excitement.

    “Really? Who says?” his twin exclaimed.

    “Julie Smythe, the Ravenclaw Chaser.” Fabian pointed across the room at Julie, who waved back. She jumped up and came to take the empty seat beside Fabian.

    While Julie slid into the empty seat, Gryffindors sent silent glares in her direction. Ignoring them, she smoothed her freshly pleated skirt and leaned into talk to whisper the news.

    "I overheard McGonagall talking to Slughorn about a professional Quidditch match at Hogwarts or something. Something promotional, I guess."

    "Today?" Gideon muttered in disbelief. His brother elbowed him in the side.

    "No, but the announcement should go up today." He glanced toward the other end of the Gryffindor table. "We should probably tell Alice, right? She is going to be all over watching both teams’ seekers." Julie and Gideon nodded.

    Alice Carmichael was sitting beside her boyfriend, Frank Longbottom, when the others descended upon them with the news.

    “Hey, Alice, did you hear? There’s going to be a professional Quidditch match here at Hogwarts?” Julie asked as they scrunched into the spaces left on the benches.

    “No!” Alice asked eagerly, “Who? Which teams are playing? When?”

    Gideon waved Kingsley Shacklebolt over and gave him the news while Julie tried to answer Alice’s questions.
    “We’re not sure yet, I just overheard it, but they should be posting something soon.” Julie’s voice drifted off as a commotion started out in the hall.

    Fabian Prewett scrambled to his feet again. “I’ll bet you anything that’s about this Quidditch rumour.”

    All six of them followed him into the Entrance Hall. A crowd had gathered around the doors.

    Timothy Whisp, another Ravenclaw Chaser, pushed his way out of the pack of students. He was clutching a bit of parchment. Timothy was grinning, and as soon as he caught sight of Julie he waved the parchment and gave a whoop.

    “Julie! It’s all true. Take a look at this. I made a duplicate of the notice nailed to the front doors.” He handed Julie the parchment.

    “Private professional Quidditch practices to be held on the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch for the next seven days. ONE DAY will be set aside for a group of seven lucky students to receive a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn first-hand from the professionals how to improve their game. The prize will be a match against the professional players played in front of the entire student body. If interested, please see Professor McGonagall,” Julie read breathlessly, quivering with excitement.

    That was when a lanky girl peered around Julie, exclaiming, “I think it’s GREAT!”

    Julie blinked. “Erm, who are you again?”

    Alice glanced up from reading the parchment and said, “Oh, hi Rachel.”

    Looking back down at the parchment in Julie’s hand, she pored over the words, seven lucky students and match against the professional players.

    There was no way she would allow any other Seeker in school to win that prize. It was her dream to play as a professional Seeker and she was going to be in that match or die trying.

    The others around her were talking but all she heard was buzzing noises. Her focus was on whatever she could do to get noticed by the scouts.

    Alice twirled a lock of her brown hair between her fingers. She examined her seven companions carefully. She doubted any of them could match her Seeker skills. Kingsley Shacklebolt, the Gryffindor team captain, always played Keeper. Gideon and Fabian played as Beaters, and Alice knew she could out-fly them.

    But she was worried about Julie Smythe and Timothy Whisp. Both were light and quick. She had seen Timothy Whisp fly in the Gryffindor tryouts last year and she knew that Shacklebolt had been impressed. When Timothy was given the open Chaser position instead she had breathed a sigh of relief.

    Alice felt a shake on her shoulder. Turning around, she saw Fabian pointing toward the piece of parchment.

    "You know you'll surely get the seeker position, right?" He flashed one of his famous grins.

    "Julie can out-fly me considerably." Fabian merely shook his head.

    "As true as that may be, she is sticking with playing Chaser. I just talked to her. Hopefully, if we can pull you, Gideon, and Julie on the team we might have a shot at winning." He then tilted his head thoughtfully. "We'll need Whisp as well."

    "What about me?" A familiar voice said from behind.

    They turned and saw Kingsley Shacklebolt standing there with a grin on his face. Alice wasted no time saying, “You know you’re the best Keeper at school, it only makes sense that you’d be picked.”

    “Yeah, but they might not be looking for someone so good. They wouldn’t want us showing them up, now would they?” That deep voice rumbled as he laughed.

    Julie looked at the group and said, “Well, that puts Kingsley at Keeper, me, Rachel and Timothy at Chaser, Alice at Seeker and Gideon and Fabian at Beater.”

    The seven of them headed off to see McGonagall.

    “I hope we are the first ones there!” Rachel Honeybun said rapidly. “I mean, they might only have limited signups. It would be nice to play as one team. I’m the best Chaser at Hogwarts, but Julie and Timothy are really good too. I was wondering if we—"

    “Does she ever stop talking?” Fabian whispered to his twin. Gideon snickered softly in reply.

    Alice linked arms with Julie. “I’m glad you're trying out, Julie. Rachel’s nice, but I don’t know her very well,” she murmured. Julie gave her arm a friendly squeeze.

    They reached Professor McGonagall’s office and knocked.

    After Kingsley had explained their inquiry, McGonagall arose from behind her desk and stepped forward.

    "So you are saying you want to take private lessons as a team?" She raised her eyebrows, surveying the seven students. Seeing them look back at her with expectant eyes, the professor merely nodded. "I believe that could be arranged, but you all aren't guaranteed spots. You do realize that?"

    "Yes, Professor, we do." Kingsley replied in his slow, steady voice. Nodding toward his now teammates, they filed out of the room.

    “We are going to dominate!” Timothy spoke, pumping his fist into the air.

    The seven of them quickly walked outside and headed to the Quidditch Pitch. Other students had started to gather in the stands, all with their eyes trained on the sky.

    Rachel’d been talking the entire way outside, but when she caught sight of the robes the team were wearing she went silent for about two seconds before she squealed so loud the others had to cover their ears.

    They all looked up and saw a team in vivid purple robes with large gold stars on their chests.

    Alice almost fainted at the thought of playing with the renowned Catriona McCormack.

    The athletic captain of the Pride of Portree team, Catriona McCormack, flew to meet them. She was grinning in greeting as she dismounted and shook hands with the awed students.

    Shacklebolt took the initiative and spoke for the rest. “We’ve asked Professor McGonagall, and she says it’d be alright if the seven of us practice as a team,” he said.

    “Fine by me,” she replied. “I like seeing players take initiative. But I’m glad you're not like those Slytherins,” she nodded ruefully at a group in the grandstands. “They refuse to play with other Houses—or with women.” She frowned.


    Julie scoffed at the standoffish Slytherin team, crossing her arms. "As if Rachel or I can't throw the Quaffle as well as one of them? And apparently Alice isn't the best seeker?" Catriona merely shook her head.

    "Well, show them what your made of then. I need to see all of your flying skills before we can start working." She eyed the team's Silver Arrows and motioned toward the sky. "I'll stand at the other end to see how well you fly together. Take the Quaffle and two bludgers with you. Lysander Progues will throw golf balls for your seeker.”

    The seven of them took to the air as if they were born there. Being from different Houses didn’t hamper the smooth way they flew together.

    Gideon and Fabian wasted no time showing off their Beater skills. Knocking the Bludgers around to each other before buckling down to hit them away from the team.

    Timothy, Julie, and Rachel flew seamlessly together and made for Kingsley and the goalposts. Tossing the Quaffle around, ducking the Bludgers and showing off their flying skills, the three of them made a spectacular sight.

    Alice, meanwhile, warmed up at the other end of the pitch.

    The Gryffindor Seeker bent low over her broom handle, revelling in the cold wind whistling in her ears and the faint cheers from the few spectators. Far below Alice saw Lysander Progues take a golf ball out of a bucket. Her entire focus narrowed to that tiny sphere between his gloved fingers.

    Lysander tossed it high and then pointed his wand at it. The golf ball spun mid-air and then whizzed upward, blurring to a mere streak of white against the blue sky.

    Alice’s keen eyes never left the ball. She accelerated upward, left hand stretched toward the imitation Snitch.

    Feeling its bumpy surface in her hand, Alice knew she had caught it. Grasping the small white ball tightly, she descended back toward the ground.

    "You are far beyond decent, Miss Carmichael." Lysander grinned as she touched the ground. "I don't think there is much for us to practice. I do have some words of wisdom though. Never worry about the other Seeker. If they are better, then they are better. Don't focus on avoiding them, it wastes time."

    "I promise, Mr. Progues." Alice then quietly skimmed on her broom over to where the rest of her team was practicing.

    Catriona flew in between the Chasers and tried to ruffle them. When the three of them made it past her and to the goal she turned to watch the Keeper defend the hoops.

    Kingsley knew they would do their best to impress the professionals, but he wasn’t the best Keeper in the school for nothing. He feinted right and when Whisp fell for it, he caught the Quaffle in front of the left goalpost. Laughing and with his booming voice said, “Ha! Better luck next time, Whisp.”

    He threw the big red ball to Julie for them to try again.

    Timothy caught the Quaffle that Kingsley tossed back to him.

    “He’s done that move a dozen times,” Rachel, lectured. “If we had feinted left like he did and then you had tossed to Quaffle to me—”

    “Julie, Rachel, he may be the best Keeper, but he has a weakness. He always watches the Chaser with ball…” Timothy began to whisper the rest of his idea. Julie and Rachel grinned and nodded. They flew back up the pitch and turned at the other end. Then the three Chasers began tossing the ball back and forth almost too quickly to follow.”

    It was evident to Catriona just how good a Keeper Kingsley was. She was stunned, but excited about his ability in front of the goalposts. He reminded her of Portree's old Keeper, the legendary eccentric Sandy McDonald, who retired after a serious injury in '52.

    She continued to disrupt the Chasers, testing their ability to fly and maintain focus on the game, diving in an out, bordering on reckless, but they were good. Very good.

    They rapidly closed in on Kingsley’s goalposts again, operating a two-second over-and-under release stratagem that Timothy eulogised. Kingsley steadied himself ready for the final shot.

    Rachel took a shot on goal just as Alice swept under her after the golf ball Lysander sent into the fray. Kingsley tried his best to make the save, and almost caught it on the ends of his fingers. But, it went through the hoop as the rest of the team cheered.

    Catriona landed beside them as they were leaping off their brooms and into each others arms. They all knew they’d made an excellent showing.

    Glancing at her team mates, Catriona saw the slight nods and told the team in front of her, “You will have our decision soon.”

    The seven of them trooped off the pitch to wait in the changing rooms while the other students tried out.

    “Do you think we made it?” asked Timothy when they were out of earshot.

    “Absolutely certain,” replied Kingsley. “We flew like champions. Nice one, Rachel, by the way. I didn’t see that last goal coming.”

    Gideon and Fabian slapped him on the back. “Well, maybe you’re just getting old. Shouldn’t you be thinking about retirement at your age?” Kingsley returned the friendly punches. They were all so caught up in the roughhousing they didn’t hear Lysander Progues enter the room.

    Walking over to the lockers that had been designated for his team, Lysander sat on the bench and wiped his face off with a towel. His dark hair was soaked with sweat and he looked exhausted, but all seven of them had nothing but looks of anticipation on their faces.

    "Too bad he can't tell us yet, it's only the first day." Julie whispered to Alice, who jerked her head in agreement. But when she glanced over at her mentor, he winked. Lysander walked out of the changing room, leaving the entire team dumbfounded.

    "Did he just wink?" Rachel gasped.

    Excitement erupted through the room with the hint of partial glory, a scrum of bodies trying to hug Alice and then each other beneath a cacophony of noise echoing round the room. Had Lysander Progues been sufficiently impressed with all of them, or was it just Alice?

    They'd all been brilliant up there.

    Confident of victory and agreeing they didn’t want to watch the opposition, they changed quickly and marched up toward the Castle, chatting animatedly, as the sun started to disappear into the distance.

    Only Timothy voiced protests at the prospect of missing out on eyeing up the opposition.

    Next day they were in the stands watching the Pride fly. Seeing them all work in harmony with each other was awe inspiring. The Chasers were blurs as they weaved in and around each other, the Quaffle never resting in one hand longer than a second.

    Timothy, Rachel, and Julie looked for any chinks in their line. They couldn’t find one. The Pride of Portree was flawless in the execution of every play they had ever read about or tried to do themselves.

    Kingsley watched the Keeper; he made it look so easy to predict where the shots would go.
    -Hannah

  8. #58
    thechocolatefrog
    Guest
    Here is the second half.

    Rachel kept up a running commentary, only occasionally stopping for breath or to gasp at a particularly spectacular move. Alice sat next to her, but she never heard a word Rachel said. Her eyes were glued to Seeker Progues.

    Gideon and Fabian started whispering together. Eventually Fabian turned to face the others. “Gideon and I have been thinking—”

    “You two, thinking?” Julie laughed.

    Fabian winked and continued. “If we want to fly as one team we should have matching robes and a team name. We are from different houses. It would be too confusing with scarlet, yellow, and blue.”

    The night before the match the team was still arguing over team color.

    "Can't we please do pink, pretty please?" Rachel was to the point of begging on her knees. "We can even pick a manly pink!" Kingsley, Timothy, and the Prewett brothers growled in response.

    "I don't like the idea of pink either." Julie spoke up from her corner, where she was currently looking through nail polish colors, Alice beside her. Ruffling through Julie's bag, she pulled out a bottle of cherry red nail polish.

    "That'd look great on you. I-"

    "As a uniform color." Even the boys smiled.

    Kingsley thought to ask the house elves if they would fix up the robes for the team. It wasn’t long before they were all matching and in good spirits. Looking forward to the next day when they could all show their mettle on the field.

    All of them knew they’d flown well in tryouts, but to actually play against the professionals was slightly daunting.

    Alice’d paid close attention to the way Progues flew. She knew she could at least keep up with him, if not beat him to the Snitch. All that was left to do was fly her best.

    The morning of the match dawned stormy and grey. Heavy thunderclouds growled ominously overhead. Despite the weather every Hogwarts student had turned out to watch the game. Armed with umbrellas they waited impatiently for the match to begin, occasionally glancing at the sky, and grumbling about the threatening rain.

    The team locked hands in the changing room. “Fight like lions, fly like eagles!” Shacklebolt rumbled. Thunder clapped and boomed overhead.

    “What about badgers?” asked Rachel.

    “Couldn’t think of anything for badgers,” Shacklebolt replied sheepishly. The team laughed and headed for the doors. The crowd cheered as they came into sight.

    Minerva McGonagall’s voice rang over the stadium through the megaphone. Having already done introductions before the teams came out, she said her final words.

    "Hogwarts, come through for us please." The crowd laughed as the players took their places. Madam Hooch walked out on to the field to thunderous applause.

    "Captains shake hands." Kingsley and Catriona send fierce, determined glances toward each other. "I will release the Snitch." The tiny gold ball flittered out off sight. "On my whistle...go!"

    The players rose and the Quaffle moved swiftly between the Pride’s players, until Catriona was blindsided by a Bludger from Gideon.

    The Quaffle plummeted spectacularly toward the ground, the Hogwarts crowd roaring their approval as Catriona struggled to regain her composure.

    Timothy threw himself into a Lambert Lunge, a favourite move he'd perfected before he'd even attended school, swooping down to snatch the Quaffle as Stewart McKinder, a gangly Portree Chaser, battled to dismount his opponent.

    Well-schooled in the art of Quidditch deviousness, Timothy barrel-rolled him and sent a looping pass to Rachel who had followed close behind.

    She flew forward towards the Portree goalposts, a Bludger whizzing past the end of her broom, her team mates struggling to support her.

    Just as Rachel flew within scoring range, she saw another Portree Chaser heading straight for her. It was a tactic she was well accustomed to so she wasted no time in diving out of the way. That gave Julie just enough time to get in position and catch the pass Rachel shot her way.

    Alice, meanwhile, was searching diligently for the Snitch. It was a much faster one than she was used to dealing with. Remembering the advice Progues had given her, she didn’t worry about where he was, just whatever glints she could see that might be the Snitch.

    Julie caught Rachel’s pass with the tips of her fingers. The Quaffle was slick from the thin drizzle that had begun to fall. The adrenaline pumping through her made the next move seem easy. Julie reversed, ducked a badly-aimed Bludger, and then served the Quaffle underhanded.

    The crowd gasped. Julie’s shot had been intercepted. McKinder was already halfway back up the pitch, the Quaffle tucked under his left arm. Fabian and Gideon tore after him with identical angry yells. Catriona came speeding in from nowhere and blocked the three Hogwarts Chasers. It seemed Kingsley was on his own for now.

    Kingsley’s heart leapt as McKinder flew at him, reaching for the Quaffle tucked safely under his arm, eyes shifting side to side, trying to fool him. He was playing against a professional team, and he was the last line of defence.

    His team were relying on him.

    He stole a glance at his Chasers; desperate to get back and help him, but that had been enough. McKinder caught the hesitancy and unleashed the Quaffle to his right, the revolutions of a lethal finger-spin guiding it past Kingsley’s despairing left hand and through the goalpost.

    The crowd went wild.

    10-0 Portree.


    Julie and Timothy finally managed to make it to that end of the pitch, just in time to call out, “Aw, that’s all right Kingsley! You’ll save the next one.”

    He started circling in front of the goals as the Chasers moved further down field.

    Gideon and Fabian were doing their jobs as Beaters and keeping the Bludgers aimed toward the Pride’s players. Fabian’s arm was starting to go numb from hitting his bat against such a hard ball so many times.

    Alice thought she saw the Snitch and weaved in and around the players. It disappeared again very quickly.

    Portree took possession of the Quaffle. They assumed the hawkshead attack formation, moving in for the kill.

    Kingsley gulped and yelled to his team. “Need some help here!” Then he blocked out everything else and focused on the oncoming Chasers, determined to intercept their goal if they reached the scoring area.

    Suddenly the perfect formation broke. Gideon and Fabian had managed to hit both Bludgers into the Portree Chasers at the same time. John Feverby was momentarily stunned and dropped the Quaffle. Rachel caught it and reverse passed to Timothy. The Gryffindor barrelled back up the pitch at top speed.

    The wind whipped through Timothy's hair as he streaked forward in the driving rain, leaving his opponents behind in the breakaway.

    A broad grin was etched on his face, he was sure they would score.

    Focussed on reaching the Portree Scoring Area, he failed to see Lysander Progues cut across him, intent on catching the Snitch.

    The collision was unavoidable and Timothy's left shoulder ploughed into the right side of Lysander's reddened face.

    The Seeker lurched forward, dismounted, and began to fall. Struggling to maintain his own balance Timothy launched the Quaffle at Julie who had joined him in attack.

    Luckily for Lysander, they weren’t flying very high at the time and the rain had muddied the pitch which made for a softer landing. Uninjured, he retrieved his broom and was back looking for the Snitch in only a few moments.

    Julie kept her focus on the left ring and let fly with a spectacular throw. The Keeper, Arkin Mayer, had split his attention between the Quaffle and the downed Seeker and just barely caught the edge of the Quaffle as it flew through the ring.

    The stands erupted with screams, clapping and stomping. The Hogwarts team had just scored!

    The rain was coming down faster now. Kingsley saved one goal, but lost the next two.

    “Thirty-ten, Portree in the lead,” McGonagall announced.

    Alice shook the water out of her eyes and dived after something fluttering and yellow. It turned out to be a leaf, but the crowd applauded her anyway.

    “Nice bit of flying,” yelled Lysander, pausing near her. “I thought the game was over for a second.”

    Alice grinned. “Not yet.” Pulling her broom into an inverted loop she skimmed off across the pitch.

    “Hey, no showing off!” one of the Portree Chasers called as she passed him.

    The Hogwarts team battled bravely to stop their professional opponents, but despite their valiant efforts, a further three goals went past Kingsley for no reply.

    They could all admit they had never been pushed harder in their life, and the conditions became almost unplayable. A sharp, driving rain pierced their robes as they struggled to see through the albicant thick mist that had crept in from the east.

    Barely missing a very well-aimed Bludger, Rachel had possession of the Quaffle, searching for a team mate in support she edged forward; Catriona was between her and the Scoring Area.

    She panicked.

    Rachel gripped her broom handle, knuckles whitening. I have GOT to get past her. Catriona swayed on her broom, almost as if she was inviting Rachel to come toward her. Gripping the handle tighter, she urged her Silver Arrow forward- straight toward the Portree captain. But right before she would have hit her, Rachel swerved around her, using all her strength to hurl the Quaffle through the right hoop.

    "Score! Sixty-twenty Portree!" McGonagall's voice rang out. Students cheered Rachel on, with the loudest coming from Hufflepuff.

    "Nice job, Rachel, I-" Her congratulator was interrupted by a Bludger to the stomach.

    The crowds gasped; Julie fell backward from her broom. Falling to the ground, she didn’t move for a few minutes. Play continued as the new hospital matron, Madam Pomfrey, checked her over.

    Gideon and Fabian flew close to each other, rapped their bats against the other’s, and took off in search of revenge for their fallen team-mate.

    Kingsley grimly covered the goals and tried hard to catch the next two attempts, but was unsuccessful.

    “Eighty-twenty Portree,” McGonagall’s amplified voice only served to underscore his failure.

    Julie re-entered the game then and flew close enough to say, “We’re still in this!”

    Alice swooped close to her friend. “Are you ok?”

    “I can play, but I feel like I’ve been kicked by an Aethonan,” Julie muttered. “Just catch that Snitch soon, Al’,”

    “I’ll do my best.”

    John Feverby fumbled the slick Quaffle, giving Rachel the chance to snatch it and fly upward out of reach. The three Portree Chasers followed. But Rachel had timed her move perfectly. She threw the Quaffle straight down to Timothy, giving her teammate the perfect opportunity to score.

    “And a perfectly executed Porskoff Ploy by Honeybun and Whisp! That makes it eighty-thirty, Portree,” McGonagall told the crowd.

    Her pride dented, Catriona had some making up to do. She had been at fault for two of the Hogwarts team's goals. Her opponents were even better than she had expected them to be when it came down to the battle.

    She knew the score. The Hogwarts team could still win. That could not happen; her team's professional careers would be over.

    She weaved left and right, changing altitudes as she operated a slightly defensive role, waiting for the big break. This was her favourite move.

    Stewart and John roamed forward menacingly, causing confusion. Catriona was ready.

    Any second now…

    There it was! The opening she expected, she shot forward and catching the Quaffle on a side pass from Stewart, she zoomed into the scoring area and let fly with a- fake out! She’d passed over to John and he- he- scored!

    “Ninety-thirty, Portree,” McGonagall’s voice rang out across the stands.

    Catriona didn’t waste time with any type of victory, she’d learned from the three goals Hogwarts had that she’d do better to concentrate on stopping them from getting another chance on goal.

    The three Pride Chasers buckled down and quickly scored four more goals in rapid succession.

    130-30 Portree


    Beneath the ongoing war between the Chasers, Alice flew low to the ground. Glancing up, she saw Progues circling above the field.

    It better not be up there. She adjusted the grip on her broom, eyes darting in every direction. The Snitch was no where to be seen.

    Whoosh. A blur of purple went right past her face, and Alice sped to keep up with who she assumed was Progues. Catching up to him, he took sharply jetted toward the sky.

    "What are you playing at?" Alice screamed. She sped after him, not noticing the Snitch glittering right behind her.

    “Behind you!” Gideon yelled. Alice couldn’t hear what he said, but she got the general idea. She spun her broom, looking left and right.

    “No, behi—”

    Gideon never saw the Bludger coming. Alice watched in horror as he crumpled like a rag doll and tumbled earthward. Madam Pomfrey sloshed out onto the pitch to attend to him, but overhead the game continued. Eventually Gideon was carried off the field on a stretcher. With one player down Hogwarts lost five more goals in rapid succession.

    Alice’s heart leapt when she saw it, flickering high above the game like a star.

    From the corner of her eye she saw Progues turn and start after the Snitch. She was closer, and had fewer players to get around.

    They both pushed their brooms as fast as they could, lying flat to the handles and dodging the other players.

    Alice was two broom lengths ahead when the Snitch shot upward. She pulled up hard and missed colliding with Stewart by mere inches.

    Reaching out her hand, she saw another hand reaching too; they scrabbled for it. Progues’ hand closed over hers, and hers closed over the Snitch.

    “Carmichael’s got the Snitch! It’s a tie!”

    Umbrellas were discarded despite the monsoon, the noise becoming deafening as everyone celebrated the result. The crowd was bouncing.

    The drowned Hogwarts team had gathered at the far end of the ground, enmeshed in each other; congratulating themselves, praising their endurance.

    Grinning madly, Kingsley lifted Alice by her waist, sitting her atop his broad shoulders. She had redeemed his many errors.

    Lysander, Catriona and the rest of the Portree team bided their time at a distance, waiting to pay respects to the young Hogwarts players for their performance.

    They both had been pushed hard and the result was well deserved.

    Rachel was jabbering a mile a minute, trying to give anyone who would listen a play-by-play account of the match.

    "-and then I tossed the Quaffle to Julie-" Everyone felt fit to pretend to listen, by smiling and nodding, but moved along quickly to congratulate her other teammates.

    The Pride sauntered over, shaking hands with them, trying to look upbeat about the tie. Trying to be a good sport about it, Catriona stepped forward.

    “Nice match. You all have potential.” She then curtly turned on her heel and her team followed her as she walked away.

    “Are you kidding me?”

    The Hogwarts team was dumbfounded at the lack of good sportsmanship the Pride of Portree team members were showing. It had been Catriona herself who’d commented on equity in playing. Just because a team comprised of school aged children had been good enough to tie with them didn’t give her a reason to be snotty.

    Alice shook it off and said, “Shouldn’t we go tell Gideon what happened?”

    The others quickly agreed and they tromped off to the Hospital Wing. The student body followed behind and even Professor McGonagall was seen sporting a smile as they entered the Hospital Wing.

    Gideon sat up in bed when the bedraggled, muddy team squelched into the room.

    “We tied!” shrieked Rachel, bounding forward and kissing him on the cheek. Gideon’s ears turned bright red. “I’ve got to tell you everything that happened after you got knocked out.”

    “Let him breath, Rachel,” laughed Fabian, slapping him on the back.

    “How is your head?” asked Alice.

    “Madam Pomfrey says my brain still functions, more’s the pity.”

    Julie laughed and then turned to face the whole team. “So, guess what I heard Lysander Progues say to Catriona? He said Alice could play Seeker for England someday.”

    Alice blushed and stared at the floor, while everyone began to mutter in excitement at this prospect.

    "I'm sure he was just being nice..." Her voice trailed into a inaudible mumble.

    "I think that it wasn't him just being nice, especially after the little pity party they tried to hold after the match. He was serious. Progues has never been one to take things lightly." The team began to reminisce about an incident earlier in the season with Lysander and a referee.

    "Well, we still have the rest of our OWN seasons to-" Gideon silenced. Dumbledore had entered the room.

    "Congratulations to you all," boomed the Headmaster, his arms stretched out wide. “That was the best I have ever seen a Quidditch team play in all my years at Hogwarts.”

    "We were all brilliant," admitted Fabian, his elbow nudging Kingsley's ribs. "Even Leaky here had a great game overall."

    Professor Dumbledore nodded approvingly, continuing his speech to the team, animated with his passion for their achievement. They applauded each other and cheered, wide smiles etched on their faces.

    Madam Pomfrey exploded at the commotion from the packed Hospital Wing, shouting about rest and quiet as its occupants continued the celebrations.

    Madam Pomfrey gave up trying to keep Gideon in bed and finally allowed him to leave with his teammates.

    The entire school congregated in the Great Hall; where Professor Dumbledore announced, “You seven have shown remarkable talent on the field of battle. You each showed the true Hogwarts spirit in play, and each should be commended for your playing.”

    The crowd cheered.

    “I would like to give out a few rewards for your victory today. For each of you, twenty points.”

    Dumbledore’s voice was drowned out by the screaming and clapping of the Hogwarts team and the other students.
    Nice job, everyone!

    -Hannah

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