Birds of a Feather
Book One: First Flight

by Nethilia

Author's Notes: Now this a good long chapter, with a bit of teaser. Very nice, and now my Ravenclaws learn about Quidditch ^.^. This would have been out sooner, but with school and stuff, I had to step back and do class writing first.

As we should know, this is not my playground, it's JKR's. I just like to play on the swings.

Haggridd and Madhuri, thank you for making sure this is worth reading by others and the mistakes aren't *too* obvious.


Chapter 5
Flying and Sport

Carolina had stayed up late to work on an essay for History of Magic that she had put off until the last minute, sitting in front of the first year dorms clad in her pajamas, comfy fuzzy slippers, and her robe, and sipping a cup of hot cocoa. It was very late, so everyone else was in bed. As she was writing the last two inches of parchment, the door to Ravenclaw Corners opened and Antigone walked in. She looks like she's been through hell.

Antigone's eyes were still red-rimmed, and she sniffled as she pulled off her cloak, which was a different one from the one she had left Hogwarts in. Her robes underneath were somewhat rumpled, as if she had slept in them. It was fairly clear that she looked like she was trying to forget something very bad. "Hello, Antigone," Carolina called out, setting down her essay.

Antigone started at the sound, spinning to face Carolina with widened eyes. "W-what are you doing awake?" she stammered. "It’s almost after one in the morning, I thought everyone would be asleep."

Carolina held up her roll. "Finishing up an essay." She motioned Antigone to sit by her. "Antigone, are you okay?"

Antigone looked like she desperately wanted to run. "O-of course I’m fine. What would make you think otherwise?"

"The fact that you took off Saturday morning without so much as a ‘something’s come up’ and didn’t return until now."

"I gave Professor Flitwick a note to give to you."

"I got the note, but it didn’t help my worries much. I still spent the weekend frantic." She took Antigone’s hand in her own. "What’s going on with your mother that would pull you off the grounds?"

Antigone looked at her feet. "I don’t want to talk about it."

"Antigone, nothing gets solved if you don’t talk about it."

"Everything's all right now. Esmerelda handled the situation. She shouldn't need to come get me anymore."

"I just want to make you feel better, and I can only help if I know what’s happening."

"I’ll be okay, Carolina. It’s nothing you should have to worry about. It’s my problem."

"Don’t you trust me enough to let me help?"

"Of course I do, Carolina."

"Then why won't you..." Carolina let the words die before she finished them. She really is shaken up about this.

Antigone looked up at Carolina miserably. "Please, Carolina," Antigone sounded like a whipped little puppy. "My weekend has been hard enough on me, and I barely got any sleep last night. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I really don’t want to talk about it right now. Just let me go to bed." She looked like she was going to cry.

Carolina sighed. She let go of Antigone’s hand and watched as she walked towards their dorm. Then she turned back and finished writing the last inch. It didn’t take too long. She gathered her things and walked into the dorm. Antigone had pulled off her robes and dropped them on the floor before climbing into bed. She silently pulled back Antigone’s bed curtains and saw her curled up on top of the sheets, fast asleep. She hadn’t even pulled the blanket over herself or changed out of her clothes. Carolina covered her up and placed a gentle hand on Antigone’s shoulder. I wish you were brave enough to tell me what’s wrong.


Padma grinned broadly Tuesday afternoon as she and the rest of the First Years all headed out to the Quidditch pitch. On Monday a notice had been tacked up announcing that they were starting flying lessons with the Hufflepuffs on Tuesday. The reactions ranged from absolute delight—Andrew Dickson had chirped that he’d been looking forward to flying since they’d gotten there—to absolute horror. Mandy Brocklehurst had admitted she was terrified of heights and the last thing she wanted was to be suspended in the air with nothing to keep her from falling other than a stick of wood and some twigs. There had also been the announcement that the current Ravenclaw Quidditch captain, Roger Davies, was holding tryouts for anyone second year and above on Saturday. Cho had gone out Monday evening and came back sweaty, announcing she’d been practicing her handling while flying.

Padma had wanted to get on a broom ever since she had left home. Her father still had his old broom from his days at Hogwarts and had shown her some of the basics of flying, though he had never let her go higher than his shoulders and kept a firm hand on the handle the whole time. Now she would get to fly alone. She looked up at the clear sky. I’ll be up there soon enough…

The Hufflepuffs arrived at about the same time as the Ravenclaws. The field was completely clear other than for the school brooms laid out in a row. Madame Hooch wasn’t too far behind. She had short grey hair and a whistle around her neck. Her sharp yellow eyes scanned the class as she called the roll. "Go on, everyone stand by a broom," she barked out when she was done, and everyone scrambled for a broom. Padma found herself by Antigone and Ernie Macmillan in Hufflepuff.

"Now, hold your right hand over your broom and say, ‘Up!’ clearly and confidently."

Antigone raised her hand. "Um, Madame Hooch?" she whispered, looking at her feet.

"Yes? Is this important?"

"Wouldn’t it be somewhat more effective to hold my left hand over the broom? I’m—I’m left handed, and I’m probably not the only one."

 Madame Hooch nodded. "Of course. All lefties proceed to the far left of the line so you don't bump into the others." Antigone, Andrew Dickson, and Justin Finch-Fletchley all shifted to the left end of the line, and now Padma found herself standing by Mandy. Once everyone had gotten back into place, Madame Hooch repeated, "Now, hold your right or left hand over the broom and say, ‘Up!’"

"UP!" went the chorus. Padma's, Justin's and Morag's brooms each flew into their owner's hands. They were the only ones that did. Most of the brooms just lay there on the field. Carolina’s had lifted up off the ground but fell back down, and Mandy’s had sat there defiantly. It took about twenty minutes before everyone got their brooms up in unison.

"Now, mount your brooms. You just swing yourself on, very neatly, so you don’t fall off the end." Madame Hooch demonstrated, then one by one each student did so, and no one fell off. "Grip the handle firmly but not too tight. Make sure your dominant hand is below the other one, the steering hand. This is very important: when you fly one-handed, you must keep your steering hand on the broom." She walked about correcting grips before returning to her own broom.

"Now, when I blow my whistle, kick up from the ground and rise a few feet. Descend by tilting your handle down. One—two—three!" She blew hard on her whistle and the group took off. They all flew in varied arcs, then landed one by one. Padma made sure she landed on her feet and only stumbled a bit, but a few people made crash landings. Antigone almost fell backwards, and Mandy (who had only gone up enough to let her feet leave the ground) slipped on a spot of damp grass, spilled off her broom and tumbled end over end. Over and over they took off, flying a bit higher each time, until everyone of the group could land on their feet.

Finally, Madame Hooch kicked up herself. "We’re going to fly around the field. Kick up." She kicked up neatly from the ground and went up pretty high. The rest of the class kicked off, but hovered at various heights. Mandy once again was not very far from the ground, and she wasn’t the only one—the only person who had gone as high as Madame Hooch was Morag, who looked pretty calm up there.

"Come on, into the air," Madame Hooch ordered. "You have to get as high as I am." Mandy whimpered and Antigone looked scared. Madame Hooch patiently waited until they all were at the same level, ignoring Mandy’s whimpering. "Keep the length of a broomstick between you, and follow my lead. Single file." She started off, and the students streamed behind her around the field.

I must be at least ten feet up, Padma thought. At times her broom veered to the left, but she made sure to hold it on course so she wouldn’t crash into anything or anyone. In front of her, she saw Mandy start to relax, not looking at the ground, but still whispering, "I want to get down now, I want to get down now…."

For almost thirty minutes the class made lazy circles around and around, and flew in various directions learning how to turn gently (and remain steady during the turn) until Madame Hooch announced, "Line up in the air now, just as you did on the ground." They all obeyed and Madame Hooch hovered before the class. "You've done verey well, class. Twenty points each to your houses. We're only at about fifteen feet. This is the highest you are allowed to go for today. Now, just practice flying. The rest of class is free flight. Don’t get too close to each other or go too fast, and make sure you don’t crash into the ground or go higher than this. And no Quidditch moves or fancy showing off or you’ll find yourself in detention if not the hospital wing. I will be up in the air watching you." She tilted her broom and went up about five more feet.

Slowly everyone separated. Padma dropped to the ground and practiced landing and taking off. Above her she saw Morag flying lazily around at a constant height, steering very well all the while. "He’s a natural," she whispered to herself as she pulled up to about ten feet.

"I know," Antigone said. She had pulled up beside Padma. Though her hands gripped a lot tighter than Madame Hooch had suggested, she seemed to hold on well.

"Are you still as scared?"

"Not as scared—I still think that this isn’t the safest method of travel, but it’s so..." Antigone paused, looking for the right word.

"Breathtaking?" Padma prompted.

Antigone looked around, taking in the sight of the lake and Hogwarts. "Yes," she whispered. "Breathtaking."


Morag hated when flying class was over. He hadn't wanted to get off his broom. He loved being in the air, flying around on his own. It was almost natural to him-- even though this was the first time he'd ever flown in his life-- but it still felt like déjà vu. Perhaps his father had been a good flyer. Once class ended, he decided to speak to Madame Hooch to see if she knew anything about his father. Sending the rest of his friends along without him, he waited until everyone else had left. Madame Hooch was picking up the brooms and heading towards the shed to put them away when she saw him standing there. "Yes, Mr. MacDougal?" she asked. "Do you need something?"

"I just wanted to ask you if you knew anything about my father. I spoke to Professor Flitwick last week and he told me that chances were that most of the teachers knew him, and I felt almost kind of—well, natural flying up there. I was hoping you knew about his flying ability."

"Who was your father?" She looked interested.

"Geoffrey MacDougal. He died when I was a baby. My mother's a Muggle, and she didn't tell me anything about him."

"Hmm…" Madame Hooch’s brow furrowed in thought. "I remember him. He was an instinctive flyer. He was a reserve on his house Quidditch team until his sixth year, when he made permanent Chaser. Geoffrey wasn't all that good at it, from my professional point of view. He tended to play it solitary and fly solo without passing to his teammates. Then again, most of the players on the Slytherin Quidditch team didn't have to be good at the sport. They got on because of whom they knew…"

Morag cut Madame Hooch off. "Slytherin? My father was in Slytherin?"

"Yes, I clearly recall that he was a Slytherin, which is why I was quite surprised when I saw that you were a Ravenclaw. You look quite a bit like him-- except for the hair. You've got your mother's hair; Geoff had thick red hair. You and Geoff have the same eyes, only he himself rarely looked a person directly in the eyes. The few times he did, his gaze could be quite piercing. Not much got by Geoff-- had he been lighter he would have made a great Seeker. His lack of teamwork wouldn't have hurt him at that position. That is the best I can recall, to be honest—I didn’t see much of him after he graduated. Not many people did."

"Thank you, Madame Hooch. That's all I wanted to know for the moment."

"If anything else comes to mind later, ask me. I only saw your father when refereeing the Quidditch matches between houses, but I do remember a lot from those matches."

Morag nodded his thanks and made his way up to the castle. He didn't go back to Ravenclaw Corners, however, but headed straight to the library. Madame Pince, the librarian, noticed his entrance, but seeing that he was a Ravenclaw, said nothing else. Ravenclaws were in and out of the library so frequently (studying as well as reading for enjoyment) that sometimes other houses jokingly called it the Ravenclaw’s second Common Room. Digging around in his tote bag, he pulled out his copy of Magic Drafts and Potions and pretended to study. No one came up to him—a Ravenclaw disturbed from studying was not a happy Ravenclaw. As he sat there, the thoughts turned over in his head.

Shocked didn't even begin to describe his feelings at learning that his father had been a Slytherin. Slytherins were known to be mean and nasty to anybody not a Slytherin. Once one had tripped him in the hall when the teachers weren't looking and almost made him drop his inkwell. Even the girl Slytherins looked unpleasant. Some were pretty enough, but they walked around with sneers that made them look like they were big trouble.

Morag had been highly upset with every single one of them since the incident in Herbology, and never passed one without a cold remark. He’d always had a temper when pushed—even when little—and everyone who knew him had noted that Morag could make almost anyone back off if they got him enraged or picked on someone he cared about. There wasn't a first year who didn't know about the incident in the hall before dinner a few days ago. A First Year Slytherin named Alph Kamain had made a rude gesture at Carolina. Morag had promptly snarled that if Alph didn’t want to find himself choking on his fingers after he stuffed them down his throat—without any help from a wand—he’d better apologize. He’d lost three points for the Ravenclaws when Professor Quirrell heard him, but he didn't care about points. Carolina had looked so embarrassed at the time, and Alph had been made to apologize, even though it was clear that he didn't mean it.

No one outside of Slytherin liked a Slytherin. Even the Hufflepuffs, who were kind to everyone, were known to make disparaging remarks about Snape and his students. According to Aunt Opaline's books, Voldemort himself, the greatest Dark Wizard of the times—so evil that people never spoke his name—had come from that House.

His father—he had been one of them?


Antigone stood and watched as Professor Snape inspected her bruise healing potion. She hoped she had stirred it properly and had added the right number of unicorn hairs-- she and Carolinas had used four strands, but she suspected that was too few. She ducked her head under his cold gaze and waited nervously as he took a dropper and dipped it into the watery pink solution. I hope it’s right…

Snape’s cold drawling voice cut through her thoughts. "Miss Moon, how much unicorn hair did you add to the solution?"

Antigone looked up, her eyes wide. "Sir?"

"I said, Miss Moon, how much unicorn hair did you add to this solution?"

"F-four hairs."

"And how many are you supposed to add?"

Antigone gulped. "Four?"

Professor Snape sneered. "No, Miss Moon. You do not add four hairs. You add two. Any more than two unicorn hairs in this solution will cause a very nasty effect." He held up his dropper. "You get an type of caustic solution, which, should it make contact on wood, causes a undesired reaction." He dropped some of the solution on the table and Antigone watched helplessly as the wood turned into powder, leaving a neat hole and sawdust on her feet.

Antigone whimpered. The rest of the class sat silent. Even Carolina, who sat beside Antigone, looked nervous. Why does he always pick on me? She meekly pointed at her notes. "Professor Snape, you told the whole class to add four hairs two minutes after the lacewings."

Snape didn’t even glance at her notes. "It is two hairs after four minutes."

"Then you must have made a mistake." The words were out of her mouth before she realized it.

Snape shot Antigone a cold glare. "I do not make mistakes, Miss Moon."

"Professor Snape, my notes say the same thing," Lisa Turpin spoke up meekly. Every Ravenclaw nodded. "And I know I took accurate notes. We can’t all have gotten it wrong, sir."

Snape picked up Carolina’s notes and glared at them. "Very well. A point for each student too careless to take proper notes will be deducted from his or her House—ten from Ravenclaw and ten from Hufflepuff." The bell then rang. The Ravenclaws quickly picked up their things, cleaned up and cleared out.

"Ten points because he misspoke!" Morag fumed as they left. "That’s unfair!" His voice didn't carry the force it normally held when he talked about a Slytherin who’d wronged him (and Morag had gotten the reputation of being a pain to every Slytherin that brushed his robes, excepting Professor Snape) but Antigone thought nothing of it.

"Snape is unfair, in case you haven’t noticed," Padma said resignedly. "Antigone, didn’t you read about the potency of a unicorn hair in potions? I did, but I just thought Snape knew better than the book, since the formula wasn't fully laid out in the text. I didn’t have time to go do a cross reference in another book."

"I was going to this weekend," Antigone replied. "But I forgot."

"Speaking of your weekend at home," Padma asked, "is your mother okay?"

Antigone’s throat locked up, and she didn’t answer Padma. The picture flashed in her head as she said that…her mother’s face in bandages, her left arm in a cast, and her soft voice barely able to be heard as tears squeezed out from the tightly swollen eyelids. Antigone’s face scrunched up in pain, and she swallowed tightly, looking at the floor. Esmerelda had rushed her to the Muggle hospital, where her mother had just been checked in, and they had spent the night there before her mother had been discharged.

"Antigone, your mother’s not okay else she wouldn’t have had you picked up," Morag cut in.

Antigone whimpered. "I don’t want to think about my mother’s condition."

"Condition? What kind of condition? Is she in a hospital?" Carolina blurted out her questions rapidly. "Did she hurt herself in a car accident or something?"

"It was only a little accident…" Antigone blurted out before she caught herself. Oh my god, I should have kept quiet…if they ever find out what kind of accident… She clamped her mouth shut and pretended to be very interested in a stain on the wall. Carolina’s eyes took on a look of concern. Padma looked shocked, and Morag looked as if he didn’t believe her completely. But they didn’t ask any further, and Antigone didn’t speak anymore.

When they made it back to Ravenclaw Corners, Antigone headed into the dorm by herself and sat on her bed, with Shadow asleep on her pillow. Carolina looked like she wanted to follow, but Padma stopped her with a touch on her shoulder. Antigone pulled her bed curtains tight, grabbed her pillow, and silently started to cry. She hated lying to her friends, keeping secrets and only telling half truths. They should know why she had to leave, they should know about her family and what she was going through simply because she was a witch. They all seemed concerned—honest concern, not the false concern she had dealt with before she had come to Hogwarts—but they wouldn't understand why she had been so secretive. They hadn't grown up in the kind of family she had. When you were a Moon, you were taught from a young age that you kept your family problems to yourself. You kept your face washed and your skirts pressed and your mouth shut like a good daughter. Only when nobody else was around but you and your mother could you cry, quietly.

Shadow brushed up against her, almost as if he was trying to calm her.


On Friday at lunch Parvati passed a note to her sister from the Gryffindor table, written in the pink ink she had bought, and with her trademark heart-dotted i's. Only Parvati dotted her i's with hearts. "Wanna chat? If so, look over here and nod, then meet me by the big stairwell in the Great Hall before dinner." Padma looked over and caught Parvati’s eye, then nodded and stuffed the note in her pocket, before continuing to eat.

"Who’s it from?" Antigone asked, munching on her chicken.

"My sister, Parvati. She wants to meet me just before dinner."

"Oh, could I go with you? I’d like to meet her."

"Sure, she didn’t say to come alone. I was just about to ask you if you wanted to go with me."

Antigone smiled. "Thanks."

When they had gotten out of afternoon classes, the two headed to the big marble stairwell with their book bags (or, in Antigone’s case, her backpack) still over their over their shoulders. Parvati was leaning against the railing and chatting about something that sounded very important with a black witch who had thick curly brown hair pulled back. Padma noted that she too had the Gryffindor patch on her clothes. Her face looked familiar, but she couldn't place the witch's name.

"Padma!" Parvati called out, waving her over. She pointed out the girl she was speaking to. "This is Lavender Brown, she’s in my house." Lavender smiled politely. "Who’s with you?"

"Antigone Moon," Antigone spoke up, dropping her backpack on the stairs.

Parvati wrinkled her nose, which Padma knew meant that she was thinking, and not a sign of disgust as it seemed at first glance. "You don't sound familiar."

"I’m Muggle born."

"Oh, that’s why. When Padma and I were little we only played with wizard borns and half Muggles. Not out of segregation or anything like that, it's just that our mother and father only knew a few Muggles."

"And they were all married to witches or wizards," Padma added. "So. What was it you wanted to talk about?"

"At first I was just going to ask you how your classes were going, who’ve you made friends with, and how much you hate Snape’s class—things like that. But something absolutely stunning happened today—we had flying lessons yesterday you know."

"With the Slytherins." Lavender made a face.

"Anyway, Neville broke his wrist; he kicked off when he shouldn't have and fell off-- he's absolutely uncoordinated if you ask me. Madame Hooch had to take him to the hospital wing, and while she was gone that dreadful Malfoy prat found out Neville had dropped his Remembrall—it’s a little thing that turns red when you squeeze it if you’ve forgotten something you should do. Well, Draco took off on his broom because he was going to toss it in a tree and Harry followed him…"

Padma cut her sister off. "Harry Potter? You hadn't even flown yet, and he had never been on a broom! He was raised by Muggles!"

"I know," Lavender chirped, "but he took off like a rocket—like he’d been born to fly. It sure startled Draco, especially when Harry dived at him. First he tossed the Remembrall as high as he could so it would break. They were fifty feet high, and anything made of glass would have shattered even if only dropped from that height. Then Draco dived for the ground like a little chicken."

"And?" Antigone replied.

"Harry dived after the Remembrall!" Parvati squealed. "He streaked straight for the ground and caught it with his right hand only a foot off the ground. It was frightening, we thought he was going to break his neck, but he just tumbled back onto the ground like nothing had just happened."

"Then Professor McGonagall caught him. We all tried to explain what happened but she just took him off. We were sure he would be expelled, of course."

"Well, since I saw him at breakfast, I’m guessing he wasn’t," Padma replied. Parvati had always had an inclination to gossip, and though Padma noted what she heard if it was important, she very rarely repeated it if it wasn’t. "So why’d she’d take him off?"

"He’s been put on the house team," Lavender and Parvati said in unison. "McGonagall made him Seeker!"

"Seeker?" Antigone blinked. "Isn’t that a position in Quidditch or something?" She turned to Padma. "Cho’s been chirping about it all week since Ravenclaw tryouts are tomorrow."

"Yes, it’s the most prestigious position one can have on a team." Padma looked at Parvati. "But you can’t be serious. There hasn’t been a first year on house team since 1872."

"Well, Harry's the Gryffindor Seeker, and he didn't have to try out or anything! The last seeker just graduated, and I've heard that the reserve Seeker's not that good anyway. Tryouts for our house were held Wednesday and there wasn't a decent Seeker in the bunch. Oliver Wood practically had a fit of joy when McGonagall presented him with Harry." Parvati leaned back, grinning.

"He’s so lucky," Lavender said softly. "I’m so glad he got placed in our house."

Padma nodded. But he wasn’t sorted into my house.


Carolina wasn't in the mood to study early Saturday morning. Though she was a very studious witch, Saturday mornings were her time off. If she were home she would be up watching television, but of course there were no televisions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, so she was content to read a book Padma had lent her. Cho and Lawrence were both trying out for the house team at noon, and had invited any first year who wanted to come see the tryouts. Padma wasn't going, opting instead to study and to help the other first years with wall design. Antigone, Morag and Carolina were all going, however, as was Joseph Rogers, the tall wizard who, save his coloring and his eyes, bore a passing resemblance to Harry Potter.

"I’m not Muggle born, myself," he said as they all headed towards the field. Cho and Lawrence had been out very early to practice in the morning hours, and so had stayed on the field. "Only half, through my mother—like Morag. I spent my childhood in the wizarding world after my parents divorced and my father got custody of me, my big brother—who’d just started at Hogwarts—and my little sisters. I was only three, I haven’t had a day in my life where it wasn’t obvious what our heritage was, though I do like Muggle things and know how they work.

"I'd try out for the team myself, but that rule forbidding first years to have their own brooms is totally unfair. We can fly well enough within first month of classes. Once Quidditch games start in November they don't even teach flying anymore. But no! No first years are allowed to bring their own brooms, so we have to stay off the team."

"What about Harry Potter?" Carolina asked. Padma had retold the story to all the Ravenclaw first years, determining that this wasn’t going to stay a secret anyways and thus wasn’t gossip. Lawrence had backed her up after hearing it from the Ravenclaw Team captain, Roger Davies.

"Oh, him." Joseph snorted a bit. "If you ask me, I think he’s getting special treatment since the Gryffindors haven’t had anything worth counting as a Seeker since my older brother Mark was here. The last time Gryffindor won the house Quidditch Cup was when he and Charlie Weasley played for their house team. Mark's just turned nineteen and helps raise griffins over near Athens. It's so unfair! I have Mark's old Cleansweep at home and can't bring it till next year."

The four of them sat in the stands on the field just as Roger Davies, the team Captain, blew a whistle to catch the players’ attention. He was a tall, handsome fourth year boy who kept his straight black hair clipped neat. With him was a strong looking sixth year that Joseph identified as one of the current Beaters and another fourth year boy who was the current Keeper. He announced the main positions that needed filling were two primary Chasers, a reserve Seeker, both a reserve and primary Beater and reserve Keeper. First to try out was the Chasers, then Beaters, and finally Seekers and Keepers. Roger blew his whistle again and all the potential Chasers soared up. Cho was at the head of the pack, and Roger went after them carrying a scarlet ball the size of a soccer ball.

"What’s that ball he’s got?" Antigone asked as the students flew around, passing the ball back and forth.

"It’s called the Quaffle," Joseph replied. "It’s only for scoring. Chasers throw the Quaffle back and forth among one another and try to get it through the hoops at the end." He pointed out where the current Keeper was flying back and forth in front of the hoops. "That one’s the Keeper, his job’s to keep the Quaffle out of the goals. Every Quaffle through is worth ten points."

"Like every goal in soccer is worth one," Carolina mused. "And the goal posts are like the net, and the Keeper’s a goalie."

Joseph looked confused for a moment. Then he nodded. "Oh, yes, the Muggle sport. I’ve played it once in a while, but most of the wizard kids I knew never understood the fun of it. I’ve been told I’m very good at soccer— Dean Thomas in Gryffindor brought his ball here with him and Mandy and I have been known to play a game with him. So do Lisa and Justin from Hufflepuff. Not quite enough for a three on three, however."

"I’m not an excellent player," Morag spoke up, "but I’m decent enough if you want to have someone else."

"That’d be good, Dean tried to talk his dormmates into it but none of them were too keen on it. The Weasley kid—you know, the one hanging around Harry Potter?—keeps poking his poster of West Ham and trying to make the players move."

It was a while before the potential Chasers dropped back to the ground. Cho looked sweaty and a bit nervous. She waved at Carolina, who waved back. So did Joseph, then pointed at the next group who had already gone up and was swinging around bats at two black balls. "The Beaters are the next players, and there’s two of them. They don’t handle the Quaffle, mind. Their job is to stop the Bludgers from hitting their team and aim them at the other team. See those black balls zooming around? Those are Bludgers—ouch! That’s not good!"

Carolina winced the same time Joseph did—a Bludger had just slammed into one student’s face. Blood spurted out his nose and ran down his robes—his nose was either broken or badly injured, but it looked to be the former. Antigone and Morag looked shocked as the boy carefully made his way to the ground with the help of another student and they headed towards the castle. "Do students often get hurt like that?" Carolina asked nervously.

"Well, Bludgers are made of solid iron, and if you don’t move fast enough they’ll whack you a good one. Poor guy can’t continue tryouts now, but Madame Pomfrey can fix him up well. I think the worse that’s ever happened is a broken jaw."

"So three Chasers who score with the Quaffle, A Keeper who guards the posts, and two Beaters that stop the two Bludgers from hitting their teammates." Antigone totaled them on her fingers. "That’s six players and three balls."

"Ah, the last position is the best position on the team, the Seeker. See, the Seeker’s job is to fly around the field and capture the Golden Snitch. Of course, the Snitch isn’t out right now during tryouts, it can get lost much too easy. Capturing the Snitch ends the game and gives your team a hundred and fifty points."

"All that from catching one ball?" Morag looked impressed. "That’s not unfair, is it?"

"No, because the Golden Snitch is only as big as a walnut and has little wings that lets it hover and dart all around the field like a hummingbird.. When there’s fourteen players all zooming around, plus a referee, and people shouting in the stands, a Seeker who’s not focused can easily lose sight of it. And if you see the other team’s Seeker dive, you’ve got to be right behind him or her and hope you can out race them—or hope it’s not a Wronski Feint so you don’t go crashing into the ground."

"Tryouts are almost over," Carolina noticed. "I guess the positions are going to be posted later today."

"Nope, you find out here on the pitch whether you’ve made it or not. See?" Joseph pointed towards the broomshed. "Roger's posting the scroll now." Just after he did, everyone rushed to see, and there were a great many groans as people sighed and walked away. Once in a while there was a whoop of happiness.

Carolina noticed Cho standing over with the Ravenclaw Captain, in deep conversation and separate from the other Ravenclaws. I wonder what it’s about, she thought to herself.

Lawrence came up into the stands, his broomstick over his shoulder. He was grinning happily. "I made Chaser," he announced proudly.

"Chaser! I thought you were trying out for reserve Keeper," Carolina replied.

"I was. But they made me Chaser instead. Roger and Samuel Sears—he’s the Current Keeper—both agreed I’d be better on the main team and that I would make a great Chaser."

"What about Cho?"

"Dunno. I didn’t see her with me on the list."

"Oh," Antigone sighed. "She didn’t make Chaser then."

A squeal of happiness made everyone turn towards where Cho and Roger was just in time to see her fling her arms around his neck and hug him tightly, shrieking loudly. "Thank you thank you thank you!" she yelled.

"I thought you said she didn’t make Chaser." Carolina looked at Lawrence, confused.

"She didn’t." Lawrence turned towards them. "Cho, what are you so happy about? You didn’t make Chaser."

"I made reserve Seeker!" Cho hollered back, grinning from ear to ear.

"That’s much better than Chaser," Antigone remarked.

"You’re not kidding," Lawrence said.

Chapter 6

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