I stood in the doorway of the Slytherin changing room, looking at the Quidditch field, covered with brown leaves that layered the yellowing grass. Our Captain, Jack Prince, clapped a hand on my shoulder.
“Ready, Malfoy?” he asked. I clutched my Beater’s bat and looked at him.
“It’s okay. Every Quidditch player is nervous before a game. Just breathe deeply, and you’ll be fine.” Prince turned and went deeper into the changing room, probably to give my other teammates a pep talk.
I breathed in the late November air. It wasn’t nerves that worried me, but the team we were playing. Scorpius and I had not looked at each other for almost two months. We had both forgiven each other, but neither of us knew how to apologize.
A couple of minutes later, I was walked onto the field, the leaves crunching beneath my boots. The crowd was more or less silent as we came on, only 1/4 of the crowd, the other Slytherins were happy to see us.
Butterflies churned in my stomach as Hufflepuff walked onto the pitch. When I saw Scorpius, who looked small compared to all of the other players, I gripped my broom handle tighter.
The Quidditch referee, an elder but steady women Madame Hooch paced between both teams.
“Captains, shake hands!”
Prince walked forward and shook the Hufflepuff captain’s hand, looking as if he was trying to break his fingers.
“Mount your brooms,” barked Madame Hooch. I swung my leg around my broom and gripped my Beater’s bat tighter. My fellow Beater, a forth year boy named Kelvin Howard looked at me. We both nodded. Kelvin and I had skipped our afternoon classes to work out new moves for this game.
“Leave the ground in three… two… one!” Madame Hooch blew her whistle, and released the balls from their case.
Once the two Bludgers rose up into the air, Kelvin hovered around our Keepers, where he would hit a Bludger in case it came to knock the Quaffle from their hands. I had a speedier broom, and for that reason was in charge of hitting the Bludgers to make Hufflepuff lose the Quaffle.
Peter Nott, the boy I had attacked my first day at Hogwarts was doing commentary, and was milking it for all it was worth.
“And there goes Hazel Malfoy. Many would say that a girl is not suitable to be a Beater, but I guess Prince wasn’t thinking about that when making his team. She hits a Bludger towards the knot of Hufflepuff Chasers, but— Ah! It flies past them. Ten to zero Hufflepuff. Great job, Malfoy.”
I stopped my broom and turned to face the commentator’s podium, ready to send the next Bludger right into Nott’s face. Our Seeker, Prince yelled at me from his height above.
“Malfoy! What in Merlin’s saggy pants are you doing? Get back to hitting those Bludgers!”
Grunting, I turned my broom back into the fray of things and searched for an available Bludger.
“And Hufflepuff’s Seeker Scorpius Malfoy's rising up into the sky,” Nott’s voice said. “Is that the Snitch? It is! Come on Prince, go after it!”
I looked up into the sky, shielding my eyes slightly. The two Seekers were mere dots, but coming closer as they chased the Snitch back to the pitch. I looked around wildly, and shouted to Kelvin,” Get me one!”
The dark-skinned boy nodded to show he had heard, and whacked a Bludger to me. I flew quickly to my right side, and waited for the heavy ball to get closer. I focused on the two Seekers, made sure I was aiming for the right one, and hit that Bludger towards the pair of them.
“A well-aimed Bludger from Malfoy comes to the Seekers. Neither of them is stopping, and oh! Scorpius Malfoy dodges, losing his lead. Prince is going, he’s going to hit the ground— He’s, he’s got the Snitch!”
“Slytherin wins the game, 150: 10!”
“Yes!” I whooped, punching my fists into the air. My green robes fluttered around my ankles as I brought my broom back to the ground. “We won!”
The rest of the Slytherin landed along with me. Kelvin and two of our Chasers lifted me up on their shoulders, and the Keeper and other Chaser lifted Prince onto theirs.
Our fellow Slytherins were cheering in the stands, and although the other houses gave us dirty looks, I didn’t even mind. For the first time in many weeks, I was happy.
I even forgot about Albus.