“Let’s play Quidditch,” shouted Lee Jordan from the commentary box. “And to start off, it’s Snape with the Quaffle. Oh, he’s dropped it.”
“Greasy hands,” laughed Fred to George. They were sitting next to Lee and could be heard all over the stands. Snape glared at them.
“And it’s McGonagall with the Quaffle, she passes to Sprout. Could this be the first goal?” said Lee with great gusto. “Oh, what a miss! Dumbledore was nowhere near that.”
“That was an open goal, Pomona!” screeched Minerva.
Pomona shot her a look of fury. Just you wait...
The next time she had the Quaffle, Pomona deliberately ignored Minerva and raced towards the hoops. The older witch shouted for her to pass the Quaffle on, but Pomona didn’t listen. She would show Minerva that she could score.
But she hadn’t paid attention to the opposing team. Both Severus and Filius came racing towards her, the former looking very determined to take the Quaffle.
Pomona grabbed the red ball even tighter, and accelerated her broom. When she heard an ominous woosh
behind her, she turned around and saw the one Bludger they were playing with rocket towards her.
With a cry, Pomona dropped the Quaffle, throwing her broom out the way.
“I told you to pass!” Minerva flew up to the other witch, as the men took possession.
“Well, I didn’t,” Pomona answered, shortly.
“But you missed it again! What’s the point in being on the team if you can’t even play?”
“Stop it! Stop it! STOP THE GAME!” the woman screeched, zooming back towards the game, her face red with anger. The other players on the pitch flew down to join her, all wearing looks of bewilderment on their faces, as a whistle sounded in the air.
“Sprout has called for a time-out,” commented Lee. “I wonder if she’s hurt?”
“I am not hurt!” yelled Pomona to the assembled players. “I just refuse
to play with this...this...HARPIE any longer."
“Dear lady,” said Albus soothingly, “what on earth do you mean?”
“She means me, Albus,” declared Minerva stridently, “and I
refuse to play with this nincompoop. She doesn’t even understand tactics.”
“Well,” said Septima slyly. “Why don’t we do a swap? Pomona could exchange with...uh...Remus, perhaps.”
“N..no,” stuttered Remus. “I’m the Seeker. Pomona will have to swap with Severus or Filius.”
Severus glared at the Headmaster. “I’m not
going to swap the team. Besides, I’m the Captain.” He looked at Filius.
“I don’t mind,” the smaller wizard said and walked over to the witches’ team.
Pomona changed the sides as well, walking over to where Remus stood, her face still flushed with anger. She didn’t spare a look at Minerva.
“Well, if everything is settled and revolved, can we continue the match?” Madam Hooch asked.
Albus clapped into his hands. “Excellent idea, my dear,” he exclaimed enthusiastically.
When the players kicked off again, Lee’s voice commented surprised:
“What’s this? The players have taken off again, but nothing seems to have changed. How odd. After a heated discussion down on the ground, the teams have come back with no more complaints. Well then, back to the match. Snape in possession. He’s flying down the pitch, avoiding a well aimed Bludger from Babbling. Passes to…” Lee paused.
“Well, look at this, Ladies and Gents. It appears that something did
happen down there. It seems to me that Sprout has swapped sides. I don’t think anything like this has ever happened before. Professor Sprout is now playing for the men, everyone!”
“Okay, Pomona,” said Severus condescendingly. “You’re playing on the winning team now, so follow my lead and you’ll soon be scoring goals.”
Pomona gritted her teeth. Holy Helga’s, he’s as bad as Minerva!
she thought. “Just give me that Quaffle, Severus, and watch me fly!” she snarled.
“Snape to Sprout and back to Snape,” said Lee to the crowd. “The men...err and woman are flying superbly. Look at Sprout’s speed. Will this be the first goal?”
“Hit a Bludger at her, Bathsheba,” ordered Minerva.
“Sorry, what did you say?” said Bathsheba, who was gazing at an interesting cloud.
“HIT THE BLUDGER AT HER!” Minerva roared, unable to keep her temper at bay. “This…turncoat is going to score, and, as luck would have it, she will score as a member of opposing team! Come on, you can stop her!”
“But Minerva, dear, I hardly could…” Before Bathsheba could finish, there was the unmistakable ding that accompanied goals.
“Well done, Professor Sprout!” Lee Jordan exclaimed. “That was an excellent goal! Nice and clean, and almost saved, but you scored!”
Minerva could not believe it. She watched Remus and Albus clap Pomona on her shoulder. What was this game turning into?
The wind in my hair, the breeze on my face and the sun warming my back. When was the last time I flew like this? I can’t remember. That’s the honest answer. I don’t have a clue when the last time I soared over the stand, squinting for signs of gold, was. Probably sometime back in my seventh year, all those years ago.
“WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, REMUS?”
Pulled out of his reverie by Severus yelling in his direction, Remus followed his pointed finger. And there was Peeves. Gleefully whacking a Bludger towards Aurora, full speed, and chasing gold.
The Bludger hit her shoulder.
“Are you all right, Aurora?” said Remus in concern. He slowed up to check on her.
“CATCH THAT SNITCH, LUPIN!” yelled Severus, almost spitting with rage.
“She’s hurt,” explained Remus calmly. “I’m not going after the Snitch if she’s hurt. It’s not chivalrous.”
“Merlin’s Beard! Can’t you for once forget about your ridiculous Gryffindor chivalry? No wonder Gryffindor are a bunch of losers!”
Remus got annoyed. “I don’t remember us coming off worse to a bunch of Slytherins, either on or off the field, Snape! James had a particularly
good record as Captain.”
Severus glared in a menacing way that would have let everyone shy away from him immediately. “Oh, Saint Potter
it is again,” he said sarcastically.
But Remus didn’t back off. Contrariwise, he opened his mouth to phrase a response, but Albus went in-between.
“Please, Severus, Remus, no quarrels. This shall be a peaceful day and event, for the sake of our students.”
Madam Hooch, who had been seeing to it that Aurora wasn’t hurt too badly, came over and asked, “Is everything all right? Can we continue playing or do you need another time-out?”
“Time out? No! I do not need a time out. Lupin, however, could do with a lot
more than just a time out!”
“And what’s that supposed to mean? Is this all because you’re jealous of the fact that James was better than you?”
“This has nothing to do with that idiot, Potter! Why is he being brought into this? It’s about your lack of Quidditch skills. Not your friend’s records! Fine, I’ll admit he could play. But the Snitch was in your face, and you let it go!”
“SHE WAS HURT!” Remus roared.
“IT’S QUIDDITCH!” Severus hollered over him.
“Now that,” said Ron as he helped himself to Hermione’s Chocolate Frogs, “is one fight I’d like to see.”
“What on earth do you mean, Ron?” said Hermione.
“Lupin against Snape! It’s better than the match. They’ve been playing for ages and Sprout’s the only one who’s scored.”
“Lupin should have caught that Snitch,” complained Harry. “If that’d been me, Oliver would have done his nut.”
“I’m not complaining,” replied Ron. “I just think watching the professors, rather than the game, is more fun.”
“Especially,” said Hermione giggling, “if you watch Professor Vector. She can’t take her eyes off Lupin.”
Hermione was quite right. Septima was entranced by the way Lupin shot in and out of the game in search for the Snitch. She couldn’t explain it even to herself, but every time he was around, she would find it hard to concentrate on anything else. A shrill voice told her to get back to the game, or else…well, never mind that now. Minerva’s threats could wait.
Minerva herself was mentally ripping her hair out. How could any Captain worthy of the name be as stupid as to gawk at the opposing team’s Seeker? Septima clearly didn’t understand the stakes.
She would have to show the younger witch what real leadership meant. But first, she needed to make sure that neither Severus nor Pomona got near the goal hoops.
But as it momentarily looked like, the other team was busy with shouting themselves hoarse.
“Honestly, Lupin, you need to focus,” Severus said.
“I was focused, on Aurora –”
“Yes, and that’s the problem.”
“Gentlemen, please –” Albus said, trying to stop the quarrel. He didn’t have any luck at all because both continued arguing, as if he, Albus, had never said anything.
It took Madam Hooch to resolve the situation.
“What sort of example is this to set to your students?” shouted Madam Hooch commandingly.
“He started it,” said Severus, waspishly.
“No, you started it,” shouted Remus. “You had a go at James and Gryffindor!”
“You got that idiot, Longbottom, to dress me up in his grandmother’s clothes!” yelled Severus.
“It was a Boggart, you prat! Oh, I’ve had enough of this. Albus, I’m not playing with this idiot anymore!”
“Good, because I don’t want you here either. Swap with Aurora.”
“Brilliant, Remus. We’re on the same team,” whispered Septima in his ear.
“Oh no,” groaned Remus to himself.
“Septima Vector, get back by the goal this instant!”
Rolling her eyes, the woman gave one last coy smile in Remus’s direction, before turning her broom back towards the posts, under Minerva’s watchful glare.
“Well, after another swap, Lupin and Sinistra have now begun playing for the other teams. So it’s Flitwick with the Quaffle, and he’s speeding down the pitch. Who knew he could fly that fast?” Lee’s voice echoed through the stands.
“Hit him, Peeves,” Severus ordered calmly, from his place beside his Beater.
“Whoa! Nice hit from our very own poltergeist there.”
Filius heard the black ball rush towards him. He turned around, his brain running wild with possible and – much more – impossible manoeuvres of how to avoid being hit.
Having set his mind in seconds, Filius gulped and tightly closed his eyes. He grabbed the handle of his broom and let himself roll over, doing a perfect loop in mid-air. The Bludger whizzed by without coming near enough to hurt him.
But now he had a problem: How was he going to get back into an upright position? He already felt the blood rushing into his head, obscuring his sight.
Filius spun round, his head a blur. Suddenly, a hand reached over and pulled him upright.
“Thanks, Aurora,” he murmured, “I thought I was a goner!”
“Don’t mention it,” she said then flew off in search of the Snitch.
Rejuvenated, Flitwick sped towards the goal. He could hear the cheers of his Ravenclaw House urging him on to glory.
No-one can stop me!
he thought, then he lifted his hand and threw with all his might into the far hoop.
“That’s the wrong goal, you idiot,” roared Minerva. “You’ve just scored for the other team.”
It appeared that Minerva was the only one who cared, however. Remus was flying around, looking for the Snitch. Inside, though, he was still seething, and anyone could tell he wasn’t paying attention. Bathsheba was busy; half-heartedly wrestling an excited Peeves for the Bludger. Charity was watching their own offensive Chaser, amusement clearly written all over her face. Septima was still staring at Remus.
“Well, after that err…interesting goal by Flitwick, it’s Snape in possession, and tearing down the pitch.”
“Well, it’s Peeves in possession. Hey, could anyone tell me when Peeves became a Chaser? Nope, reprimanded by Hooch.”
“PEEVES! YOU ARE NOT A CHASER, YOU ARE A BEATER, YOU IDIOT!” Snape almost fell off his broom while screaming at Peeves, who cackled so hard that he turned upside down.
“Sorry, Your Captaincy! Peeves is just trying to have some fun!” the poltergeist choked through laughter.
Minerva watched the scene in disbelief. What’s more, all the other players, with the notable exception of Snape, were laughing almost as hard as Peeves himself. The stands were roaring with mirth, Fred and George clapping enthusiastically.
“That does it!” she yelled, unable to bear it any longer. “Everyone, back to your duty!”
Rolanda Hooch watched as Minerva started ordering all the players back to their posts.
, she thought, that woman has no idea how to lead
She smiled grimly to herself. She was still annoyed that none of the witches had thought to ask her to be on their team. They obviously didn’t consider her to be a proper member of staff whereas the men had asked Peeves
She blew her whistle. “Minerva, stop yelling at everyone or I’ll order a penalty against your team. For Godric’s sake, this is supposed to be FUN.”
“You tell her, Rolanda,” shouted Pomona.
“Meanie meanie Minnie.
She can’t have any fun.
And that’s why nobody likes her.
Not nobody under the sun!” Peeves cackled, and after blowing a raspberry at the Transfiguration Mistress, he flew to the safety of the opposite end of the pitch.
Under normal circumstances, everyone would have laughed. But this time, the look on Minerva’s face, silenced all but one.
“SEPTIMA VECTOR!” she roared. “You don’t have time to laugh at such comments. You should instead spend your time attempting
to lead this mess, and gain our victory!”
“OOH! Vector’s face!” giggled Hermione, wearing a half scandalised expression.
Harry and Ron were both laughing openly, as were other students sitting around them.
“Well, Hermione,” Ron said, wiping away tears, “you have to admit it’s really funny to watch our teachers play Quidditch.”
“Yeah,” Dean agreed. “It’s better than the usual Quidditch matches between the houses.”
“I didn’t say it was not funny,” Hermione explained herself.
Harry exclaimed, “Oh, look at Snape glaring at Peeves, or McGonagall’s sour face. It’s priceless!” Professor Snape flew to Peeves to give the poltergeist a piece of his mind.
At this moment, another commentary from Lee grabbed the students’ full attention once more.
“And while Snape is shouting at his Beater,” said Lee, “he seems to have forgotten that the Quaffle is loose. It’s McGonagall to Burbage and back to McGonagall. Can she get past Dumbledore?”
Severus whipped his head round only to see the look of triumph on Minerva’s face as she threw the Quaffle under Albus’ legs and into the middle hoop.
She turned to Severus and smiled condescendingly.
“You see, Severus, that’s what a Chaser’s supposed to do.”
Then she flew to her Captain.
“Leading by example, Septima,” she said. “I appear to be doing the Captain’s job too.”
“It’s a game, Minerva. We are simply playing a game for fun. It’s not supposed to be competitive like that. You are overreacting.”
Minerva opened her mouth to reply, but no words came out. She simply stared at Septima, unable to believe that a Captain could care so little.
“HAVE YOU ANY IDEA WHAT A GAME OF QUIDDITCH IS ABOUT? IT’S ABOUT WINNING!” she finally exploded. “IT’S ABOUT FLYING BETTER THAN YOUR OPPONENTS AND WINNING, AND NOT STARING AT THE OTHER TEAM’S PLAYER AND DROOLING!”
Septima grasped her broom very tightly. The game seemed almost paused around them.
“If you’re so eager to win, why don’t you just go ahead and shoot some goals then instead of commandeering people around?” Septima shot back, irritated.
Minerva’s face flushed red; not with embarrassment, but anger. “IF YOU HAD JUST PAID ATTENTION TO THE GAME, THEN YOU’D HAVE NOTICE ME SCORING!”
Surprise etched into Septima’s face. “You scored?” She swivelled around and looked at the points display in the commentary box.
“It seems there are some difficulties between the star Chaser and the Captain of the witches’ team,” Lee commented cheerfully.
Whistling loudly, Madam Hooch flew over to the trouble-making pair.
“Minerva McGonagall,” said Madam Hooch in a low voice. “I have already warned you about this aggressive behaviour. Do you want me to award a penalty to the other team or not?”
“Oh, so it’s all my fault,” screeched Minerva. “Just because I’m trying to play properly! I’ve got a Captain all dewy eyed over our new Seeker, a turncoat of a friend who switched sides and scored and now you...you part timer...tell me you’ll award a penalty against my team.”
Madam Hooch blew her whistle.
“PENALTY AWARDED TO SEVERUS SNAPE’S TEAM!” she shouted.
Septima groaned loudly, and glared at Minerva.
“See? See? See, what you’ve done! This is your fault, Minerva. Maybe if you had just kept your mouth shut. But oh no
, you have to have a jab at everyone…”
With one last glare, she flew back to her post, just as Madame Hooch blew her whistle.
With an evil smile on his face, Severus Snape took hold of the Quaffle.
“Teamwork now! Go!” Septima called, in a rare moment, showing her leading abilities.
With a determined look in her eyes, Bathsheba smashed her bat into the Bludger.
The black ball raced towards Severus with a speed that made it impossible for the Potions Master to dodge it. He got hit full on by the Bludger in the chest. Severus dropped the red Quaffle, and just managed to grab the handle of his broom before falling off. He still lost height, though, but could steady his broom before hitting the ground. Severus tried to hide the tears of pain that threatened to fall, but he suppressed them successfully. However, he was ashen, and breathing hurt like hell.
Above him, he heard Madam Hooch’s whistle, followed by her shout:
“FOUL!” shouted Madam Hooch. “It is not
permissible to fire a Bludger at the opposing Chaser when he’s taking a penalty! I award two penalties to Severus Snape.”
She turned to Snape who was still red in the face. “Severus, are you able to continue?”
His eyes glittered. “Just watch me, Rolanda.”
“Oh good Godric, I’ve always wanted to do that,” chortled Ron. He turned to Hermione who was giving him a disapproving look.
“He’s really hurt, Ronald,” she said sharply.
“Not half as hurt as Vector and Babbling are gonna be when McGonagall’s finished with them,” said Harry.
Hermione gave them what was supposed to be a disapproving look. However, it was ruined by the amusement shining through her eyes.
“WHY DID YOU HIT THAT BLUDGER?” Minerva roared.
“S-s-Septima told m-me to.” Bathsheba cowered before the older woman.
“Septima! That woman again!”
“And what is wrong with me now, Minerva?” Spetima’s face was white, and she looked angry enough to snap her broom in half.
“YOU! YOU’RE WRONG! COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY WRONG!”
“What? How dare you –?”
“Oh, yes, I dare. From now on I
will be the Captain of this team.”
Minerva’s statement was followed by a momentary silence that covered the pitch and stands like a blanket.
“Dear audience,” Lee’s voice soon resounded, “we have another surprise in this game. The witches have just changed Captains.”
Septima’s face was flustered. “I quit!” she suddenly shouted, steering her broom towards the ground.
“My dear, how about you and I change positions?” Albus asked before she could get off her broom.
Surprise was etched into Severus’ face when looking at the Headmaster.
“B-but Albus,” he said, “why are you swapping? If she quits, then the witches lose their advantage of the extra player.”
“Let’s not be unsporting,” said Pomona suddenly. She whispered in Severus’ ear, “Severus, if we let them swap, then we get a young Keeper, who did play for Ravenclaw, whereas Minerva gets...”
Severus smiled sardonically. “We accept! Septima, welcome to the team.”
The two Keepers flew to the opposite ends of the pitch and began guarding their new hoops.
“So,” said Lee, “there are now three wizards on the witches’ team and three witches on the wizards’ team.”
Severus took the Quaffle, and zooming forwards, hurled it towards the centre hoop.
“HE SHOOTS! AND HE SCO- oh! Nice block by Dumbledore. Who would have thought he had such skills?”
Minerva grinned wickedly. Now that they had finally dropped Septima, the winds were on their side.
“Next penalty! To be taken by Sprout.”
Pomona grimaced. Albus hadn’t had many chances to show his skills, as yet, in the game. So she was rather afraid she had underestimated his talents.
Like her partner she aimed for the centre hoop.
Minerva smiled. She had thrown it right into Albus’s open arms.
Disappointed at her bad luck, Pomona whizzed off, closely followed by Severus.
“Pomona, I want a word…”
Five minutes later, Madam Hooch blew her whistle once more. “And now, stop the blames and play,” she said, shooting a look at Septima and Pomona, and another one, pointed and slightly longer, at Minerva.
The Transfiguration professor wanted to respond something, but she closed her mouth again when Charity nudged her gently. “Let it drop, Minerva. Just let’s play the best we can.”
Taking a deep breath, Minerva agreed. “Right. Let’s win this baby then.” Her eyes gleamed enthusiastically.