The Sugar Quill
Author: Jillie (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Sky High  Chapter: Chapter One: Signs
Next Chapter
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Sky High

Sky High
-Jillie-

Update: The story’s been revamped totally. This story was originally written for simple posting on Fanfiction.net almost three years ago; I have since then grown as a writer and moved my fics over here, where the quality of the work is substantially better. So everything—with the exception of the outcome of the Quidditch match—is now totally canonical: the proper teammates are on the team, Americanisms have become British, and all sorts of odds and sods have been tweaked. I appreciate everything y’all have pointed out to me, and I still give thanks to Yolanda, my stud of a Beta Reader. Gratzie!

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Of course.

Chapter One: Signs

Appleby Arrows.

Ballycastle Bats.

Chudley Cannons.

Italy.

Puddlemere United.

England.

Charlie Weasley sighed and knocked the sky-high pile of brochures off of his bed and onto the floor, where they scattered like Snitches across the wooden floorboards. That made six new brochures in a single day—six different owls landed right in front of him while he was eating breakfast in the Great Hall, all carrying identical messages from various Quidditch teams. A record. Yesterday he’d gotten some from Luxembourg, the Grodzisk Goblins, and Quiberion Quafflepunchers.

They’d all heard of the unbelievable Seeker from Hogwarts—nearly a Quidditch prodigy, really—a Hogwarts seventh year, whose promise as a Quidditch player was almost dauntingly impressive.

Charlie plopped down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. With every new brochure, he felt his love for Quidditch slipping away. No—that wasn’t it. Not slipping away. He still loved Quidditch. He loved everything about Quidditch. Nothing brought him more joy than the thrill of soaring seventy feet above the ground, chasing after a miniscule, winged Snitch—the excitement every time a Chaser scored a goal; the thrill of dodging dangerous Bludgers—and the fans, the adoring, excited fans, whose spirit was contagious…

A smile involuntarily spread over Charlie’s handsome face as he closed his eyes. The thrill of it all. No, he had been wrong. There was nothing he didn’t love about Quidditch—not a thing.

But every time he considered his graduation from Hogwarts in just a few weeks’ time, his stomach lurched unpleasantly—not unlike the feeling he got from looking at the Slytherin team’s captain and Beater, Baird Bulstrode.

All of his friends knew where they were headed off to—his best male mate and Chaser Beau Brewer was planning on entering the Ministry of Magic as a Treasure Hunter; another one of his Chasers, Sabine Sinatra, was pulling a Bill Weasley and becoming a Curse-Breaker for Gringotts; and his best friend Nymphadora Tonks was off to become an Auror, of all things! The idea made him laugh a bit—Tonks (as she refused to be called by her first name, Nymphadora) was exceedingly clumsy and was constantly landing herself into mischief.

But he was the only one who didn’t know what the hell he was doing.

None of them understood, of course. They all assumed Charlie would pick (maybe even at random) a Quidditch team and would build a life of fame and fortune as a fantastic Seeker.

And that idea had no effect on Charlie at all.

Wealth meant little to him—having grown up with few Galleons to spare, Charlie had learned the value of a Knut and a Sickle and wasn’t much for materialistic things—unless, of course, it was a broomstick. No, he didn’t need much. He didn’t need money; and Merlin knows, he didn’t need fame, either—no, he wasn’t much suited for the spotlight. His status as a Seeker at Hogwarts had escalated into infamy, even—and that was one thing Charlie was relieved to leave behind. It was awkward, dealing with random teenage girls giggling and blushing whenever you walked by.

Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarles!” called a voice from outside of the dorm. A fist banged sharply against the heavy wooden door, but Charlie made no attempt to open it for the boisterous guest.

“Why are you even bothering knocking?” Charlie called from his bed. “It’s your dorm too, you prat.”

The door flung open and one of Charlie’s best mates, Beau Brewer, stood in the doorway, grinning like an idiot. His curly brown hair stood on end and his eyes shone brighter than a unicorn’s snowy coat.

Charlie snorted in amusement at the sight of his friend. “What happened, mate? You finally had a snog?” Charlie pulled himself up and leaned against his pillows and the headboard of his four-poster bed.

Normally, witty Beau would have hit Charlie with quite a comeback, but he simply chose to ignore his team captain’s comment. In that instance, Charlie knew Beau was the bearer of great news.

“What is it, mate?” Charlie asked, catching Beau’s vibes of excitement.

“Quidditch rescheduling!” Beau cried, ecstatic. “We’re not playing Slytherin next—we’re up against Ravenclaw—”

“You're kidding me!” Charlie cried, leaping up off of his bed. “That’s excellent! We won’t have to worry about that slimy excuse of a team until the championship, then!” As an afterthought Charlie added, “If we win.”

“Well, of course we’re gonna win!” Beau said, jumping up and down. “We haven’t lost a game in two years, mate—and we’ve had a winning season for five years—and we haven’t lost the Cup in three!”

Charlie grinned despite himself, and stared stupidly at Beau until he followed Beau’s gaze, which fell onto the scattered brochures that lay on the floor.

“You got one from England, Charlie!” Beau shouted, bending down and picking up the brochure. “England! Even England’s scouting you!”

Charlie let out a weak “hah”, his feelings of happiness ebbing away.

“What a sign, mate!” Beau said, grinning. “Look—the schedule’s been moved around; we’re playing Ravenclaw, and they’re a pushover—we’re off to the championship and we’re gonna win again—scouts have been coming and going—you’ve got brochures up the arseEngland, Charlie! England! Wait till I tell Wood; he’s gonna wet his pants, he looks up to you so much!” Without even catching his breath, Beau flew out of the room, the England brochure falling from his hands and floating gently down onto the floor.

Charlie stood rooted to the spot for a minute before he glanced downward and bent over to pick up the brochure.

“Yeah…all the signs point to Quidditch, all right,” Charlie muttered to himself. He glanced at his wristwatch—half past two. Five minutes until his Care of Magical Creatures class started. With a great sigh, Charlie balled up the pamphlet and tossed it behind him, leaving his dorm.

 

Outside around the paddock, Charlie, Beau, and Tonks stood together, waiting for Professor Kettleburn to begin his lesson. Beau was recapping the good news for Tonks, who, although did not play on the team, was the biggest supporter in the entire Gryffindor house; Tonks was bouncing up and down with such ecstasy that Charlie was sure she was going to snap her ankle—or wet herself, whichever came first.

Charlie, on the other hand, wasn’t even paying attention to Beau and Tonks’ loud discussion of Quidditch. He was peering at the paddock, trying to decide what today’s lesson was going to be about. There was nothing inside the paddock, although Charlie saw that a Magical Field was set around the corral. Must be something dangerous, Charlie thought to himself, a small smile on his lips. Excellent!

“Class! Class!”

The whole Care of Magical Creatures class—a random and small mix Gryffindor and Hufflepuff seventh-years—turned around and saw Kettleburn walking towards them, Hagrid at his side, and levitating a very large cage in front of him.

“What’s Hagrid doin’ here?” Tonks asked, standing on tiptoes, trying to glimpse what Kettleburn was magicking.

Dunno,” Charlie said, looking curiously at the large cage. Students began to murmur amongst themselves about what today’s lesson was going to be about when Kettleburn and Hagrid finally arrived at the group.

“Settle down, now, settle down!” said the aging man sharply. He ignored the students’ questions and pushed past them, the covered cage breathing in a raspy voice.

Hagrid,” Charlie said, mimicking for the giant of a man to come over. Hagrid obliged and Charlie saw that he was grinning hugely; his whole body was trembling with excitement. “Hagrid, what’s going on?”

“I can’t tell yeh nothin’,” Hagrid said, his voice positively quaking with exhilaration. “Nope! Ain’t getting’ nuthinoutta me! Jus—lemme tell yeh this, Charlie boy—yeh’ll be enjoyin’ this lesson! Merlin knows I’m stickin’ ‘round to see this!” Hagrid wiped a tear that was forming in his eyes. “Waited me entire life to see one o’ ‘em…”

Hagrid, it’s an animal,” Beau said disbelievingly, a look of incredulity plastered on his face.

“A beauty she is, too!” Hagrid wailed, and Kettleburn sent him a sharp look.

“CLASS!” Kettleburn shouted about the murmur; instantly, the students quieted down. “I have a special lesson prepared for us today. Now, listen carefully, because I’m not going to repeat myself again—and it’d be best for your own safety, as well.” He sent a sharp look through the students. “You’re a group of intelligent and mature young students—so I like to believe—and I’ve sprung a little—surprise—on you lot today.” He kicked open the gate to the paddock and walked inside; the magic field trembled slightly. With a flick of his wand, the cage lowered itself onto the ground.

“Now, no one is to come into the paddock unless they have my permission,” Kettleburn said fiercely. “We’re dealing with strong magic today. Everyone is to pay attention to whatever I tell you to do, and you will follow my directions to a key, else you’ll be out of this class and into detention faster than you can say dragon.” Unwittingly, a toothy grin escaped from his lips.

Instantly the students began to talk vividly.

Charlie quivered on his toes before he spun around to Hagrid, Tonks, and Beau.

“A dragon! Tonks cried, grabbing Hagrid’s thick arm with excitement. “A real dragon! She grinned. “How awesome is this?”

“There supposed to be real hard to catch!” Beau said dreamily, eyeing the paddock with increased interest.

“And—well, difficult to request permission to keep for a time, too,” Charlie added. “I’m surprised he managed to get a hold of a dragon—it’s a task; he must have connections.”

Hagrid’s eyes twinkled with what Charlie took for as apprehension but then realized that they were tears of happiness.

“A beauty! A real beauty! Hagrid said gleefully. “Can’t wait fer you all ter see this girl!”

Professor Kettleburn was busying himself in the paddock; he had placed dragonhide gloves on his hands and had his wand at the ready.

Evanesco!” Kettleburn cried, and the cage (along with the sheet covering it) vanished, revealing a very young dragon.

The students gasped with astonishment.

“That’s a Swedish Short-Snout, that is!” Charlie said excitedly to his friends. “Look—she really is pretty!”

And it was true. You could tell the Short-Snout was young, for it was just over five feet long; silvery-blue scales covered its body and its eyes glistened silver. The dragon sneezed and a brilliant blue flame erupted from its nostrils.

“Everyone—” Kettleburn called out, “I would like to introduce you to Selda, this gorgeous little Swedish Short-Snout—six months old, she is, just a newborn, really. Can anyone tell me where she’s from?”

“Uh…Sweden?” Tonks answered, sniggering. Kettleburn eyed the Metamorphmagus with annoyance before replying, “Can anyone tell me where in Sweden?”

Beau scratched his head and Charlie opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by a Hufflepuff student.

“Please, Professor—Swedish Short-Snouts are found in the Swedish Mountains that are, for the most part, uninhabited by Muggles.”

Charlie closed his mouth, disappointed. He saw Hagrid make a move as to pat him on the back, but the giant of a man declined to do so.

“Excellent. Take a point to Hufflepuff,” Kettleburn answered, casting another glance at Tonks, who had snorted and muttered to Beau and Charlie, “Suck up.” She winked at Charlie, who rolled his eyes and smiled.

“I’d pay attention, Tonks. Who knows what might happen?” Charlie muttered, amused.

“Yeah, Tonks!” Beau chimed in. “Your robes’d catch fire and then you’d have to explain to Mad-Eye Moody why you suffered third-degree burns from a dragon—the answer’s either because you weren’t paying attention or because you’re a klutz, and neither of those are gonna look good in his magic eye.”

Tonks walloped him over the back and stared straight ahead, as if determined not to suffer an accident.

The class wasn’t allowed to enter the paddock today, where they gathered around to watch the brilliant reptile walk around, breathing sapphire fire and chasing after random things that Kettleburn conjured up and tossed in for Selda to enjoy; instead, Kettleburn lectured them on the nature of dragons (“Though unable to tame, dragons can take kindly to those who they recognize and sense comfort from—however, such a bond takes years to develop, and thus it is highly unlikely that anyone will be playing with Selda during her stay.”), their diet, the ten different species, and the uses of their blood. After an hour of interesting information, Kettleburn stepped outside of the paddock and sealed the gate.

“This paddock’s sealed with a magic field—Selda won’t be able to get out unless I left the field, and no one will be able to lift the lock on the gate,” Kettleburn concluded. “And if I find anyone meddling around here trying to break into it, I doubt I will punish you, because I’m sure Selda will provide a more…lasting harm.”

“Oh, yeah right, as if we’d be stupid enough to try to enter a corral housing a dragon,” Tonks muttered.

Charlie wasn’t so sure.

Before he went out to the pitch to train with his team, Charlie went upstairs to get his broom. As he dug into his trunk, he paused, and pulled out another pamphlet. But this one was different—this one was what made Charlie feel less stressed; this one was a brochure that he enjoyed looking at.

They hadn’t scouted him out; contrary, he had secretly written to them, requesting information.

The Romanian Institute of Dragon Study

The Romanian Institute of Dragon Study is a world-renowned academy dedicated to the study of dragons. Recognized by one hundred different Ministries of Magic, the Romanian Institute of Dragon Study is the adventurer’s dream occupation—highly exciting and intensively difficult, members of the Romanian Institute of Dragon Study lead fulfilling lives of adventure, challenge, and nature.

The Romanian Institute of Dragon Study requires any person to be at least eighteen years of age before submitting an application. New members must spend two years in training before being assigned a position with the Institute—perhaps you want to devote your life to the research of dragons from a magic lab; perhaps you want to tag dragons for watching in a field job; the possibilities are endless.

Admissions into the Romanian Institute of Dragon Study are difficult, though not impossible. The study of dragons is a particularly dangerous one; the Institute will not accept those who are unable to withstand perilous adventures or exhausting labs. Below is a list of requirements for those wishing to apply to the Institute immediately following graduation from a School of Magic. All other applicants must request a special form.

N.E.W.T. requirements for any submission include:

1. N.E.W.T. Level (O-E) in Charms

2. N.E.W.T. Level (O) in Care of Magical Creatures

3. N.E.W.T. Level (O-E) in Defense Against the Dark Arts

4. N.E.W.T. Level (O-E) in Herbology

Secondary requirements include:

1. Physical Skill

2. Healing and Potions scores

3. Transfiguration scores

4. Foreign Language abilities

Charlie finished reading the brochure and flipped it over to the cover. He glanced at his wristwatch; he was five minutes late.

But hey, what could they do? He was their captain, after all.

Charlie stared longingly at the cover of the brochure; a large Norwegian Ridgeback flew gracefully across the cover, flapping its magnificent wings with ease.

His thoughts drifted back to the caged Selda.

“Yeah…” Charlie said to himself quietly, putting the brochure back into his trunk. “What a sign.”

 

//
Write a review! PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of reviewing a story or piece of art at the Sugar Quill is to provide comments that will be useful to the author/artist. We encourage you to put a bit of thought into your review before posting. Please be thoughtful and considerate, even if you have legitimate criticism of a story or artwork. (You may click here to read other reviews of this work).
* = Required fields
*Sugar Quill Forums username:
*Sugar Quill Forums password:
If you do not have a Sugar Quill Forums username, please register. Bear in mind that it may take up to 72 hours for your account to be approved. Thank you for your patience!
*Comment:
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --