Ted couldn’t help but cringe at the word ‘fuck’ followed by a heavy thwack of ball meeting flesh. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, a Bludger managing to tackle you, but Ted wasn’t going to allow sympathy to ruin his game. He’d grown, as always, more competitive as soon as he found himself on his broom. He’d learned many years ago that sympathy didn’t have a place on the Pitch, least of all for the team’s Beaters. As he had prepared to do, Ted twisted around and raced towards the Quaffle that was now unpossessed by either player.
He soon changed that fact, however, as he caught the ball and wedged it between his elbow and arm. Without so much as a backwards glance, he was gone. Emma would be tied up, if only momentarily, and every second counted. For, naturally she was going to win this match, but he could at least prevent it from being a massacre. In fact, if he could even land one more goal, Ted would be pleased. He’d entered this competition with no serious notion that he’d leave it the victor, but the amount of goals he had landed was at least somewhat admirable against a naturally talented Chaser such as Emma.
He reached the goals, and could practically feel Emma closing in. She wasn’t going to be happy, he knew, and so threw the ball without hesitating. Without an obnoxious Keeper halting his progress, Ted knew he’d manage to score without having too much of an issue. However, as his hand was in front of him, having just launched the Quaffle, he’d forgotten an important detail. With the adrenaline of the game pulsating throughout his body and the unfamiliar feeling of the Quaffle wedged tightly between his arm, Ted had forgotten the murderous black balls roaming the Pitch seeking blood for only a second.
Unfortunately, a second was all it took for a Bludger to cause harm. Ted was crudely reminded of the Bludger’s existence as soon as he saw the Quaffle ring through the hoops, the black Bludger found his hand in midair. With yet another sickening crunch, Ted’s hand was almost torn from his arm. Loosing several feet of altitude, Ted reflexively drew his hand to his chest. Forgetting, momentarily, about the game, he began massaging his fingers and clenching and unclenching his hand into a fist. Thankfully, because of the free reign his hand had had through the air upon impact, Ted had avoided any broken bones. However, he knew it’d hurt something fierce throughout the next few days without some kind of medical attention soon.
Still, the game was afoot Ted realized with a start. There wasn’t time to feel pain. He turned in midair to see what had become of Emma and that damned Quaffle, reminding himself to keep an eye out for the Bludgers in the process.
The Slytherin captain sees Ted score as she flies as fast as her broom will allow her. Now the score is sixty to thirty. Shaking her head as she trains her sight on the Quaffle as it passes through the ring, Emma sees when the Bludger flies right into Ted Tonks’s hand. She cringes at the sight but is silently pleased that she’s not the only one to suffer a hit from one of the Bludgers. He deserved to get as well as he gives.
Emma leans in close to her broom, pushing her broom to go faster as the red leather ball descends parallel to the goal posts. There’s no way she’s going to give him the advantage in this game. Only forty more points and she’ll have the win. Ted’s thirty points are close enough. And just as her hands catch hold of the Quaffle and tuck it under her arm, the whistle of one of the Bludgers sounds through her thoughts and she pushes forward, diving as she circles the posts and aims back for Ted’s hoops, the Bludger taking chase.
Glancing behind her, Emma looks for Ted as well has his Bludger, just to make certain that the iron balls of madness hadn’t decided to double team her instead of sticking to separate and conquer. Ted is trailing after her and both Bludgers are after them both. Turning back to face forward, Emma grits her teeth against the win and ascends toward the highest post, determined to score again whether it’s to her detriment or not with the Bludgers a constant threat on the pitch.
Andromeda laughed. “Well I’m glad you showed him some good competition- least it let them know what they’re really up against.” Andromeda threw a leg over her broom, lifting herself into the air. She watched in amazement as Emma did a backwards turn on her broom. “Wow. You’re just an amateur, right?” She shielded her eyes from the sun as she grinned, looking at Emma. She zoomed up to Emma’s height, crouching low so she wouldn’t wobble. The drop from her height was quite daunting, but strangely enough it didn’t put Andromeda off. It egged her on, feeling free from the rules she had to abide once he feet touched the ground. In the air, there was nothing. She could fly and do whatever she wanted, feeling nothing but the breeze in her hair. “Flying has really grown on me.” She kept her broom still in the air, balancing as she sat up straight. “Whether I make the team or not, I don’t think I’ll let this go. It’s flying without wings.” She smiled at her quote then slowly turned her broom around so she did a full circle. She shifted on the hard seat, trying to find a different position more comfortable. ”Though I think a new broom will be mandatory. This thing is almost as old as the quaffle I found lying around the other day.” She muttered more to herself than to Emma. Emma looked like a natural, like she’d been on brooms her whole life as she glided gracefully through the air. “What got you into flying?”
Emma looks at Andromeda balanced astride the school broom and shakes her head. It really is a sad excuse for a flying broom. She feels that everyone should own their own personal broom, but not everyone shares the same passion for flying that she does. It’s always a sad thought when Emma considers it.
“You definitely should get your own broom. It’s a far better flying experience and you create a bond with your broom, making it more comfortable and easy to make the broom move the way you want it to,” she says as she pats appreciatively at her Nimbus. Though she’s getting acquainted with this new one, she already feels that she can trust it to hold through the moves she pushes out of it. Her previous Nimbus 1000 was her trusted love for several years and she hopes to create the same with the 1001. “And flying is a worthy pastime, even if you don’t play Quidditch, though I have no doubt that you will play.”
Emma grins at Andromeda and then turns her thoughts to the other girl’s question. “Nothing truly got me into flying. It was something I simply did. I don’t remember a time where flying wasn’t apart of my life. Even before I got my first children’s broom, I was listening to my father tell stories of his Quidditch days here at school. I was attending professional matches before I could even remember. My father didn’t get a son but he was determined to make me love Quidditch and flying, even though my mother preferred he didn’t.” Emma smiles as she recalls being on a broom for the first tie. “I got my first kid-enchanted broom when I was six. And I always tried to push it past the limits they were charmed with for maximum speed and height. I broke several trying to make the go faster than they were supposed to or higher off the ground than they should.”
Giving a shrug, Emma goes on. “When I got my acceptance letter to Hogwarts, my father handed me my first real broom. The Nimbus 1000, along with my first pair of dragonhide gloves made from Antipodean Opaleye scales.” Lifting her gloved hands from her broom, she wiggles her fingers to show off the black worn scales. “These I have now are Hebridean Black. But flying on a real broom for the first time couldn’t compare to the charmed ones from childhood.”
“Flying is just in my blood,” Emma says with a wink. “But now we need to get you truly situated in the air, Andromeda. That Cleansweep may not be the finest broom but it’ll suit for the time being.”
Emma lifts her broom higher into the air, waving a hand to Andromeda that she should follow, before turning and flying at a decent pace toward the opposite end of the pitch.
Greta smiled as Emma laughed. She was glad that her friend wasn’t upset anymore. It made her, as a result, cross. She always felt fulfilled for a short while after ensuring her friends happiness. It was why her first choice in life was to be a Healer. She liked making others feel better.
She wrinkled her nose and chuckled. “Please don’t. What a painful thought. I do hope we aren’t meant to think of our housemates as an actual family.” She gave Emma a silly wink. “Then the snakes and lions would be disturbingly excellent with inbreeding.”
She returned the hug. “You’d go mental, of course.” Greta grinned cheekily at Emma when they released each other.
Emma’s question prodded Greta to think about her classes and the things that could have been bothering her. Aside from the Coron pill she had started to carry everywhere, she was getting closer to actually taking the small little thing. It was dangerous to take it everywhere but even more so to leave it where the house elves could find it. “It wasn’t unbearable to listen to your ravings. What have I got to complain about?” She asked this to herself, brain flooding with thoughts. Things she could tell Emma, “Hm. Slughorns been a bit mental with homework. That bloody textbook.” She shook her head. “It just takes me longer to get the work done than it should, is all. Otherwise there has been nothing of much consequence. The little, petty things, they don’t matter as much as they used to.” she sighed before running a hand through her hair and beginning a little pace. “I can’t shake this odd feeling I’ve got. Like something bad will happen sometime soon. It’s different from my other feelings. I’m not sure. It doesn’t even matter.” She waved her hand dismissively. She didn’t want to worry Emma with her pathetic and strange musings and seemingly random dreams.
Emma grimaces at the mention of Slughorn’s class. Potions is nearly as dull as History of Magic to the brunette and she doesn’t relish the workload he’s landed all of them in preparation for N.E.W.Ts. Though it certainly gets done—Emma has not other option but to do so—it doesn’t mean she enjoys it in the least.
“Slughorn’s work is nefariously tedious,” Emma says haughtily. “There’s far too much to get through and it’s all dull and lifeless. I completely understand your thoughts, Greta.”
The Slytherin shakes her head and then stops and considers Greta seriously at her serious thoughts. Greta’s always has an affinity for Divination and over the years, Emma has learned not to pass off the girl’s feelings and vibes as trivial or without consequence. When she’d first started having her nightmares, Emma had immediately gone to Greta about them. And the mention of something bad happening soon immediately sense chills of alarm racing along her skin. Stepping up to her Hufflepuff friend, Emma looks into the other girl’s face and says, “No no, tell me about this bad feeling, Gret. You know I’ll listen.”
Mary’s face tightens for a few seconds; the sharp intake of air almost felt like her lungs were about to be torn apart and Mary’s stomach crunches in the anticipation of flying her new broom like it was the first time for herself to ride on one and on how better or worse Emma would be after spending their past time zooming around the Quidditch pitch. The Gryffindor recovers after a while, trying to steady her breathing as she tailed on Emma. “I thought Salazar Slytherin’s name already is,” Mary blinks a few times in the midst of squinting, and explains why, “Salazar wasn’t a good guy, so I’ve heard. They didn’t like us, muggles, too much.” Mary breathes through her mouth as her nostrils had been warmed up by the force of the air that has been slapping against her face.
Now turning slowly to scarlet, Mary quickly adapts to the situation and whirls around the air with laughter echoing in her ears. It’s been her favorite thing to do while practicing for Quidditch matches, slipping past the other houses like it was an obstacle course or a labyrinth.
“I’m not a complete anomaly within my house. However, I may be the rare one to accept muggle candy without question.”
Mary’s lips grin widely, showing her teeth as chuckles escaped her mouth. It was a risk to offer a Slytherin some candy, muggle candy, without even thinking; Mary was more concerned with helping the girl with her frustrations rather than just stare at her like Emma was some monster to be afraid of, and maybe that would’ve been more offending than the peace offering with the candy. But maybe candy wasn’t enough to bring Emma out of the misery of her nightmares. Whatever the nightmare was about, it seemed too disturbing for the Slytherin girl, and nothing was working from taking Emma’s mind out of it. Mary wanted to ask, ‘What do you need?’, but it seemed too early to feel like there was a beginning friendship between the both of them, because fate was enough to bring the two together and it seemed like Mary was to ease Emma out of the adrenaline spreading through her veins, making the Quidditch Captain more aggressive and baffled by the negative thoughts. The Gryffindor stops, 50 feet bellow Emma as she sped up in the atmosphere, leaving Mary behind in the calming finds that was finding serenity that balanced Mary and Emma’s personality. It seemed like it was the borderline. The air and winds, from a hundred feet, seemed violent and was absolutely a way to let out your anger, where Emma was now flying. Meanwhile, Mary chews on her cheek, trying to figure out where Emma was beneath the heaps of clouds, left in the winds that were less destructive than a hundred feet above.
Then again, Mary zoomed to catch up yet again with Emma, fighting with the urge to just be still and gawk like an idiot down bellow. It wouldn’t be a good sign for the Gryffindor pride whenever you back down from something, or when you’re just being useless. Mary’s hazel eyes search for Emma, and immediately, gripping tightly on her broom as she turned sharply, telling Emma, “I know that we’re not exactly friends,” Yet. “But you could tell me what you need, and we maybe we could stop attacking the atmosphere with such force before one of us would, maybe, fall off the broom due to fainting or fatigue.” Concerned, but with Emma, not with herself.
Emma levels out and stares at Mary for a moment before barking out an incredulous laugh. “I don’t fall off my broom for any reason, MacDonald. And there isn’t anything I need, other than a fine distraction and possibly an endless supply of dreamless sleep potion.”
The Slytherin knows she’s lashing out but she can’t help it. Flying wasn’t accomplishing much more than allowing her mind free reign with the images from her nightmare. It only drives her to fly more madly, less safely, in an attempt to rid herself of the memory that clings to the edges of conscious mind. Mary’s presence, though previously comforting, is now a nuisance. Emma doesn’t want to share her nightmare to another person, and the more Mary sticks around being unnecessarily friendly and kind, the more it wears on Emma’s resolve to fly and keep her thoughts to herself. The Slytherin has never dealt with complicated emotions well and hates trying to sort them out. She wants to throw herself into the most difficult Quidditch moves—ones she hasn’t learned to perfect yet—instead of face her nightmare yet again. She’d rather wrench her shoulder out of place than talk about it another time without any relief. No one can assure her that what she sees frequently in her dreams won’t actually come to pass, and for that, Emma hates talking of it.
Flying on the pitch is the only place where her emotions can let themselves out without question. Everywhere else, rules dictate her actions, even when she likes to think herself free of them. Leveled out in the middle of the pitch, Emma finally forcibly halts her thoughts and takes a deep breath before looking at Mary and saying, “I really am not in the shape to make friends now. Don’t expect any apologies from me for my behaviour. If you’re staying here with me of your own choosing, it’s your own fault. That’s the one thing I don’t easily do—apologise for my actions, because I do as I please.”
“I have one in my room. At home.” Narcissa smirks pleasantly, she’s obviously happy to help out her dear friend. It feels pretty good to do something for a non-family member. “I can have my elf bring it by in a snap.” She explains with a snap of her fingers.
“Well it seems like a fine idea and I appreciate your effort, Narcissa. But it’ll be some time before I return home to make the switch. There really is no rush. My father will be just as belligerent as usual and my mother just as quiet.” Emma shrugs and stares into the fire place.
“Hmm.. what about a Switching Spell?” Narcissa asks rubbing her chin. “Basically, swap out an object in a room that your parents frequent with an identical one. I’m sure you guys have a vase or something of the sort that could work with this idea. The benefits of this spell is you don’t have to be there and it’s not particularly traceable. You can easily swap in and out items within a few hours, so it would be like nothing had ever happened.”
“What I am saying is…. put a two way mirror in one vase and swap it out with another one in the room. At least for a period of time, you’ll have the scoop on what’s happening.”
“Definitely better option so far,” Emma says, glancing away. “Then I don’t have to be in the room. But do you ave a two-way mirror on hand? Not sure I want to create one or hunt one down for the sake of satisfying my curiosity.”
Narcissa just stares at the Quidditch captain. Since when did Emma care about getting dirty? “Says the best athlete at this school. I know you’re not one to shy away from a little dirt. Besides, it would be comfortable since that’s the whole point of the charm.”
“Ok, ok. So maybe you do want to be in the room with them… I have a few more suggestions.” She sighs, trying to decide which option to present Emma.
“That’s sport.” Emma waves the comment away. “I’d at least like to hear all my magic options before considering which one is best. And being in the room is best avoided at all possible.”
Narcissa shrugs, crosses her arms and tries again with another possible option. “Following the same sorta sneaking around theme… what if you used the Undetectable Extension Charm in a place your parents frequent? Like, say you told your parents that you were going out, but instead snuck yourself into drawer or floorboard. Whatever place really. A place no one would really think to look for someone.”
“A drawer or floorboard, Narcissa?” Emma looks at her with a look of uncertainty. “That does sound comfortable or clean at all. I don’t think I want to learn anything that badly. Do you have anything else to share?”
“Let me be clear and say none of these ideas will actually solve why your parents are acting the way they are.” Narcissa clears her throat. “No, my ideas will only give you greater…. insight into the situation. Help quell your curiosity.”
“My first idea is using a Supersensory Charm on yourself. It might just do the trick for you to either hear or see the situation better. And honestly, if the radius of the charm’s effects isn’t large enough just use a Disillusionment Charm on yourself to get a bit closer.”
“Heightened senses sounds like more trouble than it’s worth,” Emma answers evenly. She also doesn’t like the thought of being near enough to hear or see anything. Her father has a wicked arm and a penchant for throwing crystal items. “Next.”
“Yes, there you are!” Narcissa says excited, sitting down on the couch. “So I was in the library today, doing a little light reading and thinking about you! You know, about your situation at home. I thought maybe you ought to try a magical solution to figure out what’s really going on with your parents. Nothing extreme, of course.”
Emma sits on the sofa beside Narcissa with a questioning look. “Oh really? I appreciate the effort though I don’t think magic is going to solve much of anything. Still, I’ll listen. You did this light reading after all.” She grins.