The Sugar Quill
Author: Kirkis  Story: Quidditch and Conflicts  Chapter: Default
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Quidditch and Conflicts - Harry Potter Fanfiction

Harry Potter books, and all characters therein belong to J. K. Rowling, © 2001/2002 Warner bros. In short, they aren't mine, so please don't sue.

Quidditch and Conflicts
By Kirkis

        "Remember, Sloper, Kirke. Just concentrate on keeping the Bludgers off of us and don't worry about hitting them at the enemy, okay?" said Angelina. Kirke and Sloper, who were sitting beside one another and looking slightly ashen, nodded. "Ginny, if ever there was a time for you to get the Snitch first thing, it's now." Ginny nodded as well. Angelina turned toward Ron and gave him a look she clearly thought was meant to instill confidence. Ron looked more ashen than Kirke and Sloper. "I know you're a good Keeper. Just do your best, okay?" Ron nodded. "All right. Let's go."

        Everyone stood up clutching their broomsticks and headed out of the locker room. Ginny had never imagined a Quidditch team more filled with dread than this one. Angelina looked as if she were waiting for the axe to fall. Kirke and Sloper looked like they would turn and run at any moment. Katie Bell and Alicia Spinnet seemed to be thinking "let's get this over with." And Ron looked as if he were being led out to his execution. Ginny caught his sleeve and held him back, hoping to inject some confidence in him.

        "Ron, just don't worry about it if you can't save a goal. Oliver Wood missed plenty of-"

        "He caught more than he missed," Ron croaked.

        "Well, don't you worry about that," Ginny said with a tone of finality. Fred and George often accused her of being their mother when she used this tone. "Angelina's right. You are a good Keeper, and I know you can save enough goals to help us win." Ron shook his head slowly, still looking pale as they stepped out onto the noisy pitch. "Look, Fred and George aren't here anymore, so you don't have to worry about them, and you know Harry and Hermione would never tease or blame you. Just do your best, Ron, and no one will think worse of you," she said frankly, patting Ron on the arm. He turned toward her and opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by Madam Hooch's voice.

        "Mount brooms!" she called. Ginny climbed onto the battered Comet Two-Sixty Bill had lent her and turned to Ron.

        "You can do it, Ron." With that, she shot him a smile and turned her eyes toward Madam Hooch. The whistle sounded and four balls and fourteen players shot into the sky. Well, almost fourteen. Sloper had slipped off his broomstick a few feet off the ground and was lying on his back looking slightly winded.

        No time to be worrying about Sloper, thought Ginny. She turned her eyes skyward and flew up high above the rest of the players.

        "And Davies takes the Quaffle immediately, Ravenclaw Captain Davies with the Quaffle, he dodges Johnson, he dodges Bell, he dodges Spinnet as well… He's going straight for goal! He's going to shoot - and - and - " Against her better judgment, Ginny turned her head toward the Gryffindor goals just in time to see Ron dive to one side as the Quaffle whizzed past just outside his fingers. Ordinarily, Ginny might've thought it was funny that she and Lee Jordan both chose the same swear word, but she couldn't seem to find the humor in it at the moment. Especially since the Slytherins were singing that horrible song again.

        Cho had started making wide circles around the pitch at a rather high speed. Ginny, trying to ignore the loud chorus of "Weasley is our King," headed into the flying pattern she'd been practicing for the past few months; making a medium sized figure eight in the center of the pitch at an almost casual speed. Harry did something like this, though he usually flew at random slowly around the pitch. It was Charlie who suggested the strategy to her. He had been sending her owls with pointers on Seeking ever since he'd heard she was playing the position. A lot of it, Ginny thought, had been useless. Charlie, like all Ginny's other brothers, had underestimated her understanding of Quidditch.

        "And Gryffindor takes possession. Spinnet passes to Johnson, Johnson back to Spinnet, Spinnet passes, no, takes a Bludger from Corner of Ravenclaw." Without thinking, Ginny glanced down to where Michael was flying just in time to see him high-five his fellow beater. A half-smile crept across Ginny's face before she turned her attention back to searching for the Snitch. Lee Jordan went on with his commentary. "Ravenclaw recovers the Quaffle, and it's Bradley with the Quaffle-"

        A glint of gold caught Ginny's eye from near the Gryffindor end. Unbelievable! she thought. If I can catch it now…But as she thought it, the glint of gold shot off toward the stands as if it had seen Ginny watching it. Great, sit there like a lump on a broomstick while the Snitch gets away! She leaned forward and tore down the pitch toward the very faint glimmer of gold. Out of nowhere it seemed, a blur of blue, bronze and black swooped in front of her. The end of Cho Chang's long coal-black plait fluttered not inches from Ginny's nose. Ginny quickly leaned forward so she was almost lying on her broomstick and pushed the broom handle down and her broomstick into a sharper dive. Going around Cho would take too much time; their broomsticks were evenly matched and Cho wasn't much bigger than Ginny.

        Ginny slipped under Cho's broomstick, hoping to pull sharply upward once she was out from under her. She kept her eyes upward on the fleeing Snitch, still able to see the handle of Cho's broom as well as her outstretched hand. Suddenly the Snitch shot downward. Ginny pushed her broom handle down to pursue and just as her broom started to respond, something cracked into the top of her head, veering her off course. She could barely see where she was going through the tears of pain obscuring her vision. It must've been a Bludger, she thought. A second later something else slammed against her shoulder and she heard a screech from somewhere above her. Through the head-splitting pain, Ginny put the pieces together; she had flown under Cho, the Snitch had changed direction, so had Ginny, and apparently so had Cho. Cho sailed up to her shouting in an angry voice.

        "What were you doing down there? You nearly made me fall off my broom!"

        "Oh, sorry," Ginny said testily, nursing the top of her throbbing head. "Never mind knocking my skull open!" Cho scowled.

        "Well, you shouldn't have been under me!" she shouted. Though Ginny came up with a retort, she caught herself before saying anything more. Having a fight on the Quidditch pitch was the reason Ginny was here in the first place, and Gryffindor didn't need to have a second Seeker banned during the Quidditch final. Ginny shook her head, which throbbed painfully from the act.

        "At any rate, we've lost the Snitch for now," she said, holding the top of her head with one hand again. "So-" Ginny was cut off by a sudden roar of the crowd. She had been so wrapped up with the Snitch and then by her aching head that she hadn't been listening to Lee's commentary. A knot formed in Ginny's stomach as she looked off toward the lonely Ravenclaw goalposts. The goal was on our side, she thought, shifting her eyes back to Ron, who was smiling broadly and holding the Quaffle.

        "And he saved it! Great save from the Gryffindor Keeper!" Lee was shouting. Ginny felt a surge of pride in her brother as she watched him throw the Quaffle back out to Angelina Johnson. She watched Ron for a few seconds before realizing that Cho had already flown off to resume her search for the Snitch.

        Ginny spent most of the next fifteen minutes watching for the Snitch and listening to Lee's running commentary on the game. Ron managed ten more saves and only let in two more, which was a far cry from his usual performance. The Slytherins had apparently given up on "Weasley is our King." The last time Ron missed a goal, Ginny had barely heard any singing, and what she did hear sounded pretty half-hearted. Gryffindor had managed to get ahead by four goals and if they could just make two more unanswered goals, and get the Snitch, Gryffindor would win the Interhouse Quidditch cup.

        A cheer rose up again from the Gryffindor crowd as Ron made another save. Ginny found herself wishing she didn't have to search for the Snitch as she would much rather be watching Ron make all those spectacular saves. Cho had gone out of her way to be snobbish each time they came within close proximity of each other. She would distinctly turn her nose up until she had passed Ginny. This only added to Ginny's desire to catch the Snitch first.

        Cho was heading her way again and Ginny was getting impatient with her upturned nose. Another roar swelled from the Gryffindor crowd and Ginny allowed herself to be distracted, turning to her right and watching Ron throw the Quaffle back out to Katie Bell while Cho passed. Something shot past Ginny's left side and it took her a moment to realize what it was. She didn't need Angelina's screech to know Cho was already after the Snitch. Ginny turned her broomstick around and rocketed off after Cho, who was already half way across the pitch. Ginny lay flat on her broom to make herself more aerodynamic and sped toward Cho and the Snitch. The Snitch changed direction, moving to the left; Cho followed. It changed again, this time moving upward. By the time the Snitch moved again, Ginny had managed to catch up and pull parallel to Cho.

        Cho glanced toward Ginny momentarily, then flattened herself out on her broomstick. But having the same broom and relatively the same weight, they remained neck and neck and both closing on the Snitch. Cho, her brow furrowed, made another glance at Ginny and then stretched her arm out as far as she possibly could. The Snitch darted to the right and Ginny swerved after it, away from Cho.

        "Just a couple of feet and it's yours, Ginny," she said to herself. Cho caught up and shot her another angry look before reaching out for the Snitch again. The Snitch fluttered jerkily in front of them, just out of their reach. Ginny thought she heard another roar from the Gryffindor crowd, but she wasn't about to see what it was about. The Snitch abruptly changed direction again, this time to Cho's favor. Ginny turned sharply toward it and bumped roughly into Cho, who hadn't yet reacted to the change in direction. Ginny distinctly heard Cho mutter "ow", but she wasn't about to stop and see if she was all right. "Almost there."

        Cho appeared by her side again, with yet another angry look, but this time, to Ginny's surprise, Cho leaned toward her and slammed into her side knocking her slightly off course. So that's how she wants to play it? thought Ginny. Ginny braced herself and leaned in toward Cho and collided with her. Cho didn't bother to glance this time, she turned her head and glared.

        "Get out of it, Ginny!" she shouted. Suddenly, the Snitch did an agile about face and shot toward the space between the two Seekers. Cho's head was still turned when Ginny reached out inches from her nose and deftly caught the Snitch. She pulled away from Cho holding the helplessly fluttering ball tightly in her hand.

        The cheers of the crowd were so loud that Ginny felt like her eardrums would burst. She was sure that she felt the deafening roar coming from every Gryffindor in the stands below more than she heard it. Gryffindor players were closing in on all sides as Ginny headed for the ground. They had won. They had really won!

        "You did it! I knew you could!" Ron shouted as he landed roughly beside her, a wide smile on his glowing face. Ginny felt an intoxicating pride swell up within her. But she had only been one part of a whole.

        "You did it, Ron. Catching the Snitch wouldn't have been worth anything if you hadn't saved all those goals. What was it? Fourteen? Fifteen?"

        "Seventeen," said Angelina, throwing her arms around them both.

        "Seventeen out of twenty attempts," Katie Bell added, grinning at Ron.

        "Oliver Wood couldn't have done it better himself!" said Alicia gleefully.

        "We won because of you, Ron!" said Ginny. Suddenly, the greatest idea popped into Ginny's head and she started to sing as loudly as she could.

Weasley can save anything,
He never leaves a single ring,
That's why Gryffindors all sing,
Weasley is our King.

        The mortified look on Ron's face when she started singing was quickly replaced by a look of shocked happiness. Ginny sang on as the rest of the Gryffindor team joined in.

Weasley is our King,
Weasley is our King,
He didn't let the Quaffle in,
Weasley is our King.

        Ginny threw her hands into the air as if to direct them in singing, and the Gryffindors now flooding onto the pitch slowly started to join in the song. The other Gryffindor players hoisted Ron up on their shoulders and started working their way toward the exit. Ginny led the way for a few yards singing and waving her arms in the air. She caught sight of a very foul-tempered Draco Malfoy shoving people out of the way in effort to get out of the stands as quickly as possible. Something else occurred to her and she wormed her way through the mass of singing Gryffindors to the edge of the pitch, hoping beyond hope that she could find Michael in this sea of people.

        "Great match, Ginny! You were fantastic, and Ron," someone said from the stands just above her. She looked up to see Neville Longbottom grinning at her. She grinned back.

        "Thanks, Neville. Have you seen Michael Corner since the end of the match?"

        "I don't know if I know who he is exactly," Neville said in an offhand manner. "He's on the Ravenclaw team though, right?"

        "Yes, Beater," said Ginny.

        "I saw some of the Ravenclaw team heading down to the goalposts," Neville said, pointing down toward the Ravenclaw end. Ginny turned toward it and stood on tiptoe to try and see if anyone was down there but it was impossible. People are too tall! she thought.

        "Thanks, Neville. I'm going to go look for him, see you later." With a parting wave to Neville, who resumed singing the Gryffindor rendition of "Weasley is our King", Ginny headed off toward the Ravenclaw end. There were a couple of Ravenclaws down there trying to work loose a broomstick that had somehow gotten its handle wedged in between two planks at the bottom of the stands.

        "Michael," Ginny said, approaching him. He cast her a dark look and then turned to his fellow beater.

        "Go get your wand, mate." His friend nodded, throwing a disdainful look at Ginny and headed off into the Ravenclaw locker rooms.

        "You played well," Ginny started, approaching him. "I watched as best I could. Who's broomstick?"

        "Cho's" he said vaguely.

        "What's her broom doing wedged-" Ginny stopped herself. She could guess how a broomstick got stuck in the low wall running along the bottom of the stands. "I guess she's been under a lot of stress."

        "Yeah," Michael said darkly, kneeling down to tug at the broom some more.

        "Here," said Ginny, pulling out her wand. "I've gone my wand on me, I can-"

        "That's okay, Anthony's gone to get his wand."

        "And his wand is so much better than mine?" Ginny asked, smiling. But Michael didn't return her smile, laugh or even so much as look her way. "Is something the matter?" she asked, kneeling down beside him. He looked at her incredulously for a moment then gave a hearty tug on the wedged broomstick. "Releasio," Ginny muttered, pointing her wand at the broomstick handle. Michael tumbled backward with it as it slipped loose with ease.

        "I said not to worry about it," he said crossly as he got to his feet. He turned partially away from Ginny so that she couldn't see his face. She had had enough of him acting like something was wrong and not bothering to tell her.

        "What's the matter with you?" she asked, annoyed. He turned toward her and seemed to be contemplating a reply. "You're not angry because Gryffindor beat Ravenclaw, are you?" she teased half smiling, expecting him to dismiss the notion quickly. Instead, a defiant look washed over his face and Ginny's jaw slowly descended. "You are!?" She stood there letting the absurdity of it sink in. "Oh, how childish, Michael. Come on!" she said, still half smiling, still unable to believe this was the real issue. "I mean, I didn't expect you to be thrilled, but I did expect you to be at least a little happy for me. It's my first time playing, and Ron's first time too."

        "But Gryffindor's already won the Quidditch cup, and Gryffindor always wins the house cup. You don't always have to win at everything." He said hotly.

        "That doesn't- that's-" Ginny sputtered, trying to get a grasp on her side of the argument. She was completely unprepared to defend herself against such a petty matter. "Michael," she said taking his arm, still half smiling. He jerked his arm free of her grasp and turned toward her scowling. There was nothing remotely amusing about it now. He really was being this childish.

        "I never once hit a Bludger at you," he said ruefully. Ginny was completely blindsided and stood there unable to speak for a moment, her mouth hanging open. "There were a few times, you know, when I could've hit you in your back, when you weren't looking. But I didn't. I thought-"

        "I never asked you to do that for me!" Ginny shouted indignantly. "I never expected you to do that for me! You didn't honestly expect me to let Cho catch the Snitch did you?"

        "Cho needed it more! She's really upset, but I guess you don't care about that."

        "I care, but I wasn't going to let her win. I play to win!"

        "Just like Potter, self-centered and bigheaded-"

        "I am NOT!" Ginny shouted, now standing inches from Michael and glaring up into his face. "And neither is Harry!"

        "Oh, come on, Ginny. That D. A. thing wasn't bigheaded at all!" Michael snapped sarcastically.

        "That was Hermione's idea! Besides, I didn't hear you complaining during the meetings."

        "I didn't want to go at all, but you dragged me-"

        "I asked you-"

        "-and bighead Potter probably thinks I'm an idiot because I was going easy on you."

        "EASY ON ME!!" Ginny screeched actually grabbing the front of Michael's robes. "Easy on me! Do you realize that I still can't properly do a shield charm! I just thought you were weak or something! How the hell did you expect to learn anything when you were deliberately holding back!"

        "You were going all out?!" Michael said disbelievingly. "That figures! Nice to know you care so much about me."

        "I care, but I like to be able to defend myself! How could you expect me to hold back? I wanted to learn to defend myself, that's what D. A. was all about!

        "Well, maybe you can get Potter to give you private lessons!" Michael said, turning away from her, still clutching Cho's broomstick. "That would suit you, wouldn't it? The two of you are from the same mold! Both bigheaded and self-centered!" He turned to walk back toward the Ravenclaw locker room. Ginny had the distinct feeling that she'd just met Michael Corner for the first time, and she didn't like what she saw.

        "Well you can just go off and comfort Cho Chang," she shouted at his retreating back. "While you're at it, you may as well ask her to be your girlfriend because we're through!" Michael made a dismissive wave over his shoulder and disappeared into the Ravenclaw locker room. Ginny turned sharply and stalked back down the pitch toward the exit. She wasn't exactly sure where she wanted to go, but she knew she had to get away from there.

        The trip back up to Gryffindor tower was a blur. Ginny was sure she'd blown off a few people on the way, one of which was Luna Lovegood whose eagle hat was now slumped over to one side as if it were dead.

        "Wickedly persnickety," Ginny muttered the password and clambered through the portrait hole and into the crowded and noisy common room.

        "Oi! Ginny!" Ron shouted from beside the fire, a butterbeer clutched in his hand. Harry and Hermione were sitting with him. The last thing Ginny wanted right now was to have to pretend to be completely happy. She put her flat palms together and laid them beside her face to indicate that she was going up to bed. Ron looked a little crestfallen, but nodded that he understood and sat back down with Harry and Hermione. Ginny weeded through the common room, refusing butterbeers, Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizbees and any number of other foods. Colin and Dennis Creevey caught her at the foot of the spiral staircase and wouldn't let her go until she snapped at them that she had a headache and needed to lie down.

        Once free of the Creeveys, she tore up the spiral staircase two steps at a time to the fourth year girls' dormitory and entered, closing the thick oak door behind her. She crossed the room to her four-poster bed and sat down on it momentarily, finally allowing herself to think about what had just happened down on the pitch. She'd had a row with Michael which ended up with her telling him quite blatantly that she no longer wanted anything to do with him. But even that didn't seem like enough. She suddenly felt the need to take a leaf out of Sirius' book and purge Michael from her life. She stood and hurried to her trunk at the foot of her bed, swinging the lid open and tearing into the contents.

        She found the letters Michael had written her and left taped to the underside of his History of Magic desk for her to find next class. They were unceremoniously ripped to shreds and burned on the spot. She found the Ravenclaw scarf that he'd lent her to watch the first match of the season and had never asked her to return. It was burned too. The card he'd gotten her on her birthday last year. Crumpled, shredded and burnt. The faux Mythril necklace he'd got for her from Schlinch and Grimmor jewelers on their first Hogsmeade weekend together. Shattered with a reductor charm sending tiny chain-links everywhere. The sparkling snow-globe he'd given her for Christmas that actually had a snowy scale model of the Burrow inside. Smashed on the floor. She looked back into the trunk and stopped dead.

        Down in the bottom, partially hidden under an old pair of shoes that didn't quite fit her anymore, was a carefully collapsed Chocolate Frog box. This wasn't from Michael. It had been given to her by someone else, but she'd though she had already gotten rid of all of those things. She had started using the luxury eagle quill she'd gotten from him for Christmas her second year. She had filled up the "joke of the day" pocket planner she'd gotten for her birthday near the end of her second year. She was still using the correctable ink she'd gotten this past Christmas.

        But she had gotten rid of most of the pictures. She'd thrown away the few broken pieces of his old broomstick. She'd tossed out the useless Lockhart books he'd given to her before her first year. But she must've completely forgotten about this Chocolate Frog box. The one he had given her absently on the train ride home in her first year. To be honest, she thought she had gotten rid of it long before her crush on him ended. She moved over to the pile of ash in the middle of the room and held the box tightly preparing to tear it up and burn it with the rest of the rubbish.

        But she hesitated.

        It had meant so much to her she had received it, even though he hadn't thought anything of it. It's just a dumb old box, Ginny, she thought. Still, said an even voice in Ginny's head. There's no reason to shred and burn it. She sighed and tossed the Chocolate Frog box simply into the trashcan and slowly set about cleaning up the complete mess she'd made in the dormitory. With any luck, she would have enough time to go down and celebrate Gryffindor's victory properly.


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