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Dirty Blood
James P. & Lily Evans P. & Marauders - Words: 253,389 - Rated: M - English - Humor & Romance - Chapters: 45 - Reviews: 174 - Updated: 30-07-2018 - Published: 07-05-2017 - by somethingquitepeculiar (FFN)

A/N: Hi guys! I tattooed my ears today, hope you had an okay Friday.

Wild Columbine and Holli-hocks, thank you for your reviews! / lala124, thanks for your review! Yeah not a lot of people had a great date last chapter, lol. / ForeverACharmedOne, I love me some Scamander, lol. Thank you again for always reviewing.

Both team captains seemed determined to knock the other one out at that point, Bludgers nearly knocking other players off their brooms by sheer coincidence as the two girls took aim at each other.

Chapter Thirty-Seven: Denial

Moony crept along the ground where patches of grass were beginning to poke through the snow, crouched down low. His eyes were fixed ahead at a bird that had landed in the snow, pecking at some of the exposed grass curiously.

"You're never gonna get it," Padfoot bayed, watching from the lake's edge and scratching at his ears absentmindedly.

"Not if you're not quiet," Moony snarled. Prongs and Padfoot exchanged glances, Wormtail settled on top of Prongs' head.

Moony pounced forward, the bird flying away immediately, leaving the werewolf to land on nothing but ground. The others let out calls of amusement as Moony growled in frustration.

"It's okay, Moony," Wormtail squeaked as Moony made his way back toward the group, the bird now far out of reach. "You don't need to be a good hunter."

"I am a great hunter, okay, that bird was terrible prey is the problem," Moony insisted, plopping down in the snow beside them.

"Ah, well, maybe we'll find you a crippled turtle or something next time," Prongs bleated. Moony glared at him, pawing in the snow in what was probably meant to be a ferocious way. Padfoot approached the lake, still frozen over and lightly stepped atop it, seeming amused as he immediately began to slide.

The great black dog stepped off of the lake and walked past his friends, who watched him curiously. Padfoot took a running start and then with a great leap, landed on the ice and immediately slid across, letting out a howl as he went.

"Careful, Pads!" Prongs bleated as the dog skid to a halt.

"It's fine!" Padfoot barked, carefully beginning to walk back across the ice, only to slip.

Moony's tail wagged at the sight and soon enough, he too was sliding across the ice, howling in joy as the wind whipped through his fur.

Prongs sighed heavily.

"Well?" Wormtail squeaked, glancing down at Prongs from his perch atop his head.

"Hold on," Prongs bayed, turning around to move away from the lake a good enough distance to start running.

Hooves proved to be far harder to keep balanced on the ice than paws, all of Prongs' feet slipping every which way as he went, before he finally fell directly onto his belly, Wormtail almost flinging off.

He slid along his belly until he reached the highly amused canines.

"A vision of grace!" Moony howled.

"The majestic stag!" Padfoot added.

"Oh, shut up," Prongs bleated, slipping again as he tried to get upright. After several failed attempts, he sighed heavily and stayed on his stomach, seeming to accept his fate.

"Let's go again!" Moony said, clawing at the ice and attempting to run across it. He stumbled after a few steps and skidded across the ice on his belly and Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail's ears each dropped as cracks began to appear across the surface of the ice near Moony.

"Fuuuuuuuck," Padfoot whined.

"Moony, stay on your stomach!" Prongs bleated.

"Why?" Moony barked, tail wagging and blissfully unaware of the cracking ice.

"Look, just, slide on your belly back to the edge of the lake, okay? Don't stand up," Prongs urged, struggling to slide on his own stomach. Padfoot, sliding in an attempt to stay upright, leaned heavily against Prongs in order to push him.

Everyone froze when another large crack was heard, Moony noticing this time as lines in the ice spiderwebbed beneath his feet.

"Easy, Moon," Wormtail squeaked.

The werewolf tried to inch forward and with a yelp, his hindlegs plunged through the ice into the water.

Panicked, Prongs and Padfoot scrambled forward, Moony scratching at the ice frantically. Everything was a blur of cold water and fur as they all slid around. Padfoot bit at the scruff of Moony's neck, and Moony gripped his teeth around one of Prongs' antlers as the stag and the black dog pulled back.

They seemed to break more ice the more they shuffled around, Padfoot's paws and Prongs' hooves each plunging into the water at one point or another, until at last, they managed to drag the werewolf onto solid ice before sulking back over to the edge of the lake and collapsing there.

"Well, I'm over the lake, I don't know about you guys," Padfoot whined, shaking cold water from his fur.

"Let's find somewhere warm," Prongs agreed.

Lily was lying in Marlene's bed, staring at a poster of a shirtless, muscular, professional Quidditch Player, whose name Lily could not currently remember, taped nearby. Inez had fallen asleep in the common room earlier, and Gwen was in the middle of an intense game of exploding snap with Wanda and Mary at one of the study tables. Lily and Marlene had the dorm to themselves.

"So you didn't talk to him at all today?" Marlene said, sitting cross-legged next to Lily. Marlene's hair was pulled back and she had smeared a potion on her face, the same one that Lily, Alice, Emmeline, and James had used to clear out their pores at the girl's night that seemed like so long ago.

"No," Lily said, eyes still fixed on the grinning Quidditch player, his teeth exceptionally white.

"Well, you're gonna have to at some point, Lils," Marlene reasoned, glancing at her alarm clock before gently poking at the potion on her face, which was still sticky to the touch.

"I know, I know, I just, I don't know what to say to him. 'Sorry I ran out on you, Gabe, but the idea of you taking off my pants terrified me.' That doesn't sound good at all," Lily groaned, grabbing one of Marlene's pillows and setting it over her face in shame.

Marlene pat Lily's arm. "Well you don't have to make it out like he repulses you—he doesn't repulse you, right?"

"No, no, he's really cute, I like him, I just… I don't know if I 'let him take my pants off' like him? Does that make sense?" Lily said, peeking out slightly from beneath the pillow.

"Sure," Marlene nodded.

"Are you just humoring me?" Lily asked. It was hard to ignore that while Lily had fled from her boyfriend for unbuttoning her jeans, Marlene had been tangled up with her own boyfriend in his bed.

"Why would I do that?" Marlene asked.

Lily sighed. "I get nervous every time I go a little past kissing. You… don't."

"Well, that's me," Marlene shrugged.

"I just feel so immature," Lily frowned.

Marlene shook her head. "You're not immature, Lils, you're… a romantic."

"A romantic?" Lily said, cocking a brow.

"Well, yeah, I mean… remember when we were talking about the contraceptive spell and you said you wanted to lose your virginity to someone you love?" Marlene said.

Lily pulled herself up to a seated position at last, hugging the pillow in front of her. "Yeah, yeah, I know, it's silly, it's not how things really work, it's—"

"It's romantic," Marlene said. "I mean, you want that connection. Would you say you have it with Gabe?"

"I don't know what it feels like," Lily said. "How should I know if I have it with Gabe or not?"

"Well, if you were in love with him or whatever, surely you'd be able to tell him that you're uncomfortable," Marlene said, lightly tapping on her potion again, frowning when she realized it still hadn't hardened.

Lily toyed with a loose thread on the pillow case. "I don't think I'm in love with him."

"Well, can you tell him that you're uncomfortable and to knock it off?" Marlene said. "I mean it's not like you've never told anyone off before, Lily. James Potter comes to mind."

"Gabe's different. With Potter, well, I'm not going to ruin anything by telling him off. I'm afraid if I tell Gabriel that I want to just stick to snogging, then he'll get annoyed with me. I feel like he might already be," Lily said, her voice small.

"Then he can go fuck himself," Marlene said matter-of-factly. "If he likes you that much, he'll slow the hell down."

"And if he doesn't?" Lily said, holding the pillow tighter.

Marlene sighed. "Come on, what would you say if it was me?"

Lily didn't want to say it. She liked Gabe. She liked the way he smiled and the warmth in his brown eyes. She liked holding his hand, the way her fingers fit between his. She liked talking to him about books. She liked kissing him. She liked when he laughed. She liked when he touched her hair and kissed her neck.

But she knew the answer. She knew that the way her heart had raced last time they were together hadn't been in excitement at all.

"That you're better off without him."

It was Tuesday, and Remus had missed yet another day of classes. He prayed he would be able to go back the next day, as reading up on everything himself and trying to decipher James' handwriting and Sirius' shorthand in their notes was exhausting in its own right.

He had just read through a page in his Arithmancy text book for the fourth time without retaining any of it when a shadow fell over the privacy curtain around his bed.


He froze. That wasn't James. That wasn't Sirius. It wasn't Peter, either. It was a girl, and if he wasn't mistaken, it was—

Oh, no.

Remus hastily smoothed his hair and straightened his posture. Did anyone ever look attractive in the hospital? James could sort of pull it off if he'd bloodied himself up on the Quidditch Pitch, but that was a cooler reason to be hospitalized in general. There was nothing cool about the ink smudges on his hands and bedhead.

"Are you awake?"

What was she even doing here? Had the other Marauders sent her? Whose idea was this? It felt like a plan Sirius might have dreamed up, and Remus swore he would get the other boy back if it was the case.

Once he was sure he had made himself as presentable as he possibly could, he cleared his throat. "Y-yeah?"

He reached for the curtain and pulled it back a few inches. On the other side, Emmeline leaned over to see past the small opening, lips painted red and guitar case leaning against the wall. Remus' heart jumped into his throat, and he pushed the curtain open a bit more.

"Hey, I heard you were sick again," she said gently.

"Er, yeah," Remus said, nodding.

"I brought you some comics, I just finished them," Emmeline said, handing him the stack in her hands. Remus was very aware of how much his hand was trembling when he took them from her. She had caught him completely off-guard.

"Thank you," he said.

"Of course. Do they know what's wrong? You seem to get sick a lot," Emmeline said, clear concern on her face.

"Ah, just… just a chronic thing, I've had it since I was little," Remus shrugged. "The details are… boring. You're, er, not here to give me a private show or something, are you?"

He gestured to her guitar case.

"Oh! No, I'm actually on my way to choir solo auditions and I figure the guitar will give me an extra edge," Emmeline said.

"Aren't those auditions on the third floor?" Remus asked. It couldn't be on her way to go from the Ravenclaw Tower all the way down to the hospital wing on the first floor and then turn around and go back up to the third floor.

"Well, I might have been trying to walk off some nerves, too," Emmeline admitted. "Do you ever get so nervous and standing still just makes it worse?"

"I'm not sure," Remus said. "I'm sure you'll do great, though, really, you're very talented."

Emmeline's cheeks turned a bit pink. "Well, thank you. I, um, I hope you feel better."

"I should be fine soon," Remus said, forcing a smile. "Thanks again for the comics."

"You're welcome. I'll, uh, I'll leave you to rest. See you," she said, offering him a small wave before reaching for the handle of her guitar case.

"Bye," he said, unable to help the smile that came as he watched her leave.

Emmeline hadn't left the hospital wing long when she slipped into the girl's restroom. Propping the guitar case against the counter, she leaned over to check beneath the stalls for any indication that anyone else was around.

Locking the door to enter the restroom, she pulled out the flask from her inner pocket. Her stomach had been turning with anxiety with anxiety all day, and the closer she got to the time of her audition, the worse it got.

She was going to mess up, she was going to hit a wrong note, she was going to lose her battle with her nerves and either pass out or run away to find somewhere to vomit. What if she forgot the words, what if she made a complete and utter fool of herself?

Would anyone remember any of her successful performances if she messed this one up?

And Pam Barnes, that petty girl. She would love to see Emmeline fail. The one solo Emmeline had gotten during the Christmas performances would be a fluke and Pam would happily take retake her place as reigning Queen of the Hogwarts Choir.

How on earth was Emmeline supposed to sing with all of that rushing through her mind?

Delivering the comics to Remus had postponed the inevitable, had at least briefly distracted her from the nerves. But then he had gone and said that she would do great. She was so talented, after all.

Singing used to be something she did for fun, choir was a fun way to get to sing a little more often. But now people had expectations.

Her friends were so proud of her for managing to do it before. They really thought she was making progress.

She sighed heavily. Was this progress?

"I'll worry about that later," she mumbled to herself, unscrewing the lid of the flask.

Lily sat on a windowsill with Dorcas and Marlene standing nearby. Inside the classroom across the hall, the auditions for the spring choir solo were in progress. Pam Barnes was currently inside, and her overall pleasant voice could faintly be heard from the other side of the door.

"You still haven't talked to him?" Marlene sighed.

"He's been busy with Quidditch! And I've got homework!" Lily said, staring at her shoes.

Dorcas frowned. "Lily, avoiding him isn't going to make it better, you know."

"I'm not avoiding him," the redhead said, unconvincing. She didn't even believe herself.

Marlene and Dorcas cast each other skeptical glances. Dorcas opened her mouth to say something else, and Lily scrambled to interrupt, hoping to change the subject.

"Shouldn't Emmeline have gotten here by now? She's after Pam, isn't she?" Lily said.

Dorcas checked her watch. "You're right, she's got about two minutes. Should we go look for her? She's not usually late."

"It's a big castle, who knows where she could be hiding, if she's hiding," Marlene said. "We would need more than two minutes."

"More than two minutes for what?" came a cheerful voice. The three girls jumped in surprise, Emmeline having sneaked up on them, a wide smile pulling at her red lips.

"There you are!" Lily said. She gestured to the guitar case in the other girl's hands. "You decided to go with the guitar! Oh, I think Flitwick will love it, Em, really."

"Oh yeah, he's a sucker for over-achievers," Dorcas nodded. It was true, any time someone did extra work or came up with an extra, creative solution to a problem, the professor was nothing short of delighted. Dorcas lightly pat Emmeline's shoulder. "You nervous?"

"A bit," Emmeline said, though she didn't seem it, not at all, which left the others exchanging glances briefly. "But not enough to pass up the opportunity to make Pam Barnes cry."

"I didn't realize that was the goal," Dorcas said hesitantly.

Marlene shrugged. "She brought it upon herself."

"Well, don't do it just for the sake of revenge, that's a bit messy," Dorcas said. "Do it because you love singing, Em."

"Making Pam cry can just be a small bonus," Lily nodded. Dorcas sighed heavily.

"Right, right," Emmeline nodded, giggling slightly. The singing on the other side of the door had ceased, and the fact that Pam had not yet emerged told them that she was likely now talking to Professor Flitwick.

"This time is going to be so much easier," Lily said, encouragingly. "We didn't even bring a bucket this time because we know you're gonna do great, Em. You've already gotten through so many performances."

"You know, I think you're right," Emmeline said. "I think it is going to be much easier this time. For a number of reasons."

"And if for some reason you do puke again, Lily's been reading up on those first aid spells again and knows how to clean you right up," Marlene shrugged.

"But that's not gonna happen," Dorcas added immediately.

Marlene nodded. "Right, I'm just saying, in case she was worried about that."

"I'm not worried," Emmeline smiled.

"Really?" Lily blurted out before she could stop herself.

Emmeline not being worried was… odd.

Before the girl could offer any explanation, however, the door opened and Pam stepped into the corridor, letting the door close behind her.

"Oh, look who decided to try out again," Pam said, her tone condescending. "And you brought a toy! How precious."

All four girls opened their mouths to speak, stepping forward, when the door swung open again, revealing cheerful little Professor Flitwick. "Ah! There you are, Miss Vance, you're next! And you've brought your guitar! I'm looking forward to hearing you play it, I've heard good things."

"Thank you, sir," Emmeline said. She turned to Pam and continued in a sugary sweet tone. "Learning to play an instrument takes so much personal discipline, you know. Not all of us have that."

"Too true!" Flitwick agreed, oblivious to the passive-aggressive display between his two students.

"Yes, some of us would rather act like a child and throw a tantrum, tragic," Emmeline added to Pam in hushed tones as she walked by, shooting a winning smile to Flitwick who was still holding the door open for her as she stepped inside.

With a sour look on her face, Pam called out before the door had closed, "Good luck, Emmeline! Don't choke!"

"What's your problem, really?" Marlene said to the older girl.

"No problem," Pam said innocently. "Who said there was a problem?"

"We know you broke her record player, you don't have to put on that act," Dorcas said simply. Pam's expression darkened.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Pam said, beginning to walk away. "All I know is that some of us want this more than others."

It was a brisk day, but thankfully not as windy as the last match had been, with only a slight breeze that was sure not to affect anyone's ability to score a goal this time around. There were already heavy chants of "Van-i-ty! Van-i-ty!" coming from the Slytherin supporting stands, with no sign of the teams on the field yet.

Lily had barely had a chance to speak with Gabriel that morning before he was dragged off by his team captain to discuss strategy. She had been able to sneak him a kiss, for luck, before bidding him farewell and returning to her breakfast. She had felt the skeptical gazes of her friends upon her, knowing full well that, fine, okay, she hadn't talked to him about the incident on Valentine's Day yet.

There would be plenty of time later, surely.

She was bundled in his Ravenclaw scarf, sitting with her friends in the stands, Marlene and Dorcas chattering about the keeping abilities of both teams while Emmeline fiddled with her camera. Lily was staring at the center of the field, wondering when the teams would arrive.

"Morning!" came an all-too-cheerful voice behind them as James Potter appeared with Peter and Remus in tow. They settled into the seats directly behind them.

"I notice you're all for Ravenclaw today," Emmeline said with a smirk. Peter had painted his entire face blue, while James had settled for simple blue and bronze stripes across his cheeks. Remus did not partake in face painting, but did have a small Ravenclaw flag in his hand.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend," James shrugged.

"I don't think it's legal for Gryffindor to root for Slytherin," Marlene said matter-of-factly.

Dorcas rolled her eyes. "You lot and your rivalry. Either way, I think it'll be a good game."

"Think your boyfriend will actually score this game, Evans?" James taunted. Lily turned to glare at him.

"Think you'll dislocate anything this game, Potter? I know you're not on the pitch but it can be arranged," Lily said.

James dramatically put a hand to his heart. "Evans! Threats of physical violence! You're a prefect! Moony, do something."

"I didn't hear anything," Remus grinned. "Em, I saw that you got the solo again, congrats."

"I did! Thank you," Emmeline said cheerfully.

"Good morning, Hogwarts! Welcome to the third match of the season, with Ravenclaw, fresh from their victory over Hufflepuff, versus Slytherin, the defending house cup champions," came Sirius' voice from the commentating stand, prompting everyone to focus on the field again, the teams walking out.

Lily set a pair of omnioculars to her face that she had borrowed from Marlene, zooming in to better see Gabriel, looking quite handsome in his blue robes as Emma Vanity stepped forward to shake hands with Araminta Wade, the Ravenclaw captain.

"Yes, this is sure to be a fascinating match, with one team having made no scores their previous game and the other losing by a hundred and sixty points! No worries, everyone, Gryffindor will provide some real entertainment next game. In the meantime, hopefully with the weather the way it is, Ravenclaw's chasers can actually accomplish something, and it is always fun to see Slytherin try, isn't it?"

Regulus and Emma each responded with a two-finger salute in the direction of the commentator's box as the players all took to the air. A few of the Ravenclaws had taken to lewd hand gestures as well.

The sound of Madam Hooch's whistle pierced the air as the Quaffle was released.

"Rosier takes possession of the Quaffle, dodges a bludger from Wade and passes to Talkalot, Talkalot approaches the rings, shoots—ten points to Slytherin."

The Ravenclaw supporting crowd groaned, though it was barely audible over the cheers from the Slytherin side.

"Stebbins has the Quaffle, passes to Fu—Buckley, sorry, don't look at me like that, Professor, Buckley narrowly avoids running head-on into Murphy, passes to Jones, Jones passes to Stebbins, Stebbins dodges a Bludger from Vanity and drops the Quaffle. Buckley and Murphy both go for the Quaffle—oh that's got to hurt, head-on collision between Buckley and Murphy."

The entire crowd seemed to cringe at once as Gabriel and Murphy attempted to stay on their brooms while fumbling for the Quaffle.

"Buckley has the Quaffle and heads for the Slytherin rings. Buckley takes a shot and—ten points to Ravenclaw."

Lily got to her feet and cheered with the rest of the Ravenclaw supporting crowd, sparing a few seconds to smirk over her shoulder at an unamused James Potter, who seemed to be clapping rather reluctantly in comparison to his two friends that gladly cheered along.

That is, until Peter spied James' face and immediately toned down his own reaction.

"Will you be performing tonight, then?" Remus asked Emmeline as the crowd returned to their seats and the game continued.

"Probably, if Ravenclaw wins. I still owe Sirius a song," Emmeline nodded. "If Slytherin wins, however, my whole house is gonna sulk the rest of the night away."

"Yeah, it's a little taboo to show up to the victory party when your house lost. Unless you're in Hufflepuff," Remus said, glancing Dorcas' way.

"You know, it's not our fault that the rest of you have egos that are so fragile you can't enjoy a good party celebrating your defeat," Dorcas shrugged. "I had a grand time at the Ravenclaw victory party last time. Save me a dance again, Potter?"

"Oh, certainly. If Ravenclaw wins. Gryffindors don't go to the Slytherin parties and vice-versa," James nodded.

Dorcas rolled her eyes. "Oh for Merlin's sake, you lot aren't even playing this game."

"—And Talkalot scores again for Slytherin. Slytherin: 20, Ravenclaw: 10."

The game proceeded, actually managing to be far more entertaining than Sirius had previously given the two teams credit for. Gabriel not only made Ravenclaw's first score of the game, but managed at least five more while dodging bludgers and other players. Lucinda Talkalot had scored the most, however, having scored ten different times for Slytherin.

Ravenclaw had been awarded a penalty when Del Real had hit the Quaffle-less Billy Stebbins with his beater's bat, earning Del Real a rather loud lecture from Emma.

"—utter imbecile, have you forgotten how to play the game? You're already allowed to hit them with the goddamn Bludger, I am not giving up any more penalties because you have no faith in our ability to win by the book—"

Back and forth, Bludgers and Quaffles and bodies flew to and fro. Jones was taken out of the game due to a broken rib caused by a Bludger sent by Emma. Rosier was hit in the face and knocked out by a Bludger sent by Wade, leaving both teams down to two chasers a piece.

Both team captains seemed determined to knock the other one out at that point, Bludgers nearly knocking other players off their brooms by sheer coincidence as the two girls took aim at each other.

"Vanity's sent on a tailspin by a Bludger from Hines, maybe she should pay more attention to players that aren't Wade. Meanwhile Stebbins takes a shot and—blocked by Barton. The score remains 220 for Slytherin and 190 for Ravenclaw. It's anyone's game, with no sign of the golden snitch."

"Who do you suppose is the better seeker, Black or Bradshaw?" Dorcas wondered aloud.

"Well, Bradshaw has actually caught the snitch in a game before," Marlene said.

"Yeah, but it's only Regulus' second game," Remus said, the younger Black scanning the field diligently and Bradshaw doing the same close by. "I think Regulus might want it more, Slytherin really built him up to be a big deal when Mary beat him."

"He's got the better broom," Peter added.

"How is it not against the rules for one team to have better brooms than the other?" Emmeline said with a heavy sigh.

"It's not usually a problem in league Quidditch because most teams invest in whatever the latest model is," Marlene said. "But I mean this is school, so, we don't have that kind of budget."

"Honestly, Bradshaw's broom isn't that bad. Regulus has got the newest Starsweeper, which is faster, yeah, but Bradshaw's Nimbus 1983 is really a pretty solid broom that is a little easier to control at high speeds, so if she can get a decent head start, she'd have a good shot at it," James said matter-of-factly. "Really, I have a problem with the Starsweeper's new handle design, I think they were going for style over function."

"Would the handle design really make that much of a difference?" Emmeline asked.

Remus swiped his hand across his throat as though to signal to Emmeline to stop. "Don't get him started."

"More than you would think, honestly!" James was already saying.

As James started going into detail about how the shape of the broom handle could and would affect one's technique, Lily raised the omnioculars to her eyes again, watching Gabriel catch the Quaffle as Billy Stebbins passed it to him and approach the hoops. His dark hair was sticking to his sweaty forehead as he went, looking determined. A triumphant grin came to his face as he scored, leaving the Ravenclaw crowd to cheer again.

"Ravenclaw is now at 200 to Slytherin's 220 in what has so far been the longest match of the season. Is anyone else getting hungry? McG, are you going to eat all of that?"

"We're gonna get knocked down to third place no matter who wins at this point," Marlene sighed.

"Yeah but we've only played one game," James pointed out. "We'll re-gain our lead at the next match."

"Maybe," Dorcas grinned.

"You're going down, Meadowes," James smirked.

"Bradshaw's on the move!" Sirius declared, drawing everyone's attention to the Ravenclaw seeker, who was diving for the ground with Regulus at her tail. She was a good ten feet ahead of him, but he was gaining fast.

"Bradshaw pulls out of the dive, is it an attempt at the Wronski Feint? Black recovers quickly and is heading for the Slytherin goals. Bradshaw scrambles to follow, but is it too late?"

The crowd was on their feet, watching as Regulus and Marla Bradshaw sped toward the Slytherin goals and turned suddenly as a small glint of gold darted away.

"Come on, Marla, come on," Emmeline mumbled.

But it was Regulus whose fist was soon in the air, the Snitch securely in his grasp.

"And Black catches the Golden Snitch, earning 150 points for Slytherin, bringing the final score to 370 to 200. Slytherin wins."

Sirius could not hide the bitterness in his voice as he announced this.

The Slytherin supporting crowd roared in delight as Emma Vanity practically tackled Regulus with a hug in mid-air. Lily and her friends each groaned and slumped back into their seats, the Marauders behind them doing the same.

"The current Quidditch Cup standings are as follows: Slytherin in the lead with 430 points, followed by Ravenclaw with 350. Gryffindor is in third place with 250 points, and Hufflepuff is in fourth with 50. The next match will be Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff."

"See, we don't even need to get 200 points next match to overtake Slytherin," James said.

"Yeah but they still have to play Hufflepuff, too," Marlene said.

"Well we should go for more than two hundered, obviously," James said. "Don't forget, we have our match against Ravenclaw, too, we've still got a shot."

"You all keep assuming we're going to lose all these games," Dorcas huffed. "We'll see how smug you are next game, Potter."

"We'll see how well you block goals from competent chasers, Meadows," James grinned.

"I'll catch up with you guys later, okay?" Lily said as she squeezed passed Emmeline and a few disgruntled Ravenclaws to get to the aisle. She figured she should head down to the pitch to meet up with Gabriel, tell him that he played a very good game despite having lost.

"They're probably heading for the hospital wing!" Marlene called after her and Lily gave her the thumbs up in acknowledgement. That was right, both teams had chasers leave the game, surely the Ravenclaws would be off to check on Jones while the Slytherins went to inform a probably still-unconscious Rosier of their victory.

Most students were still in their seats, chattering about the game as she passed, one of the first to start heading down the stairs to leave.

She couldn't help but be at least somewhat relieved that there would be no Ravenclaw victory party to attend that night. Perhaps she might actually be able to sit and have a real conversation with Gabriel now that this match was through.

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