Chapter 13

At a quarter to eleven, the Gryffindor team set off for the locker rooms. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. It was a clear, cool day with a very light breeze; there would be no visibility problems, and Ines, though nervous, was starting to feel the excitement only a Quidditch match could bring. They could hear the rest of the school moving into the stadium beyond. In the locker room, Ines took off her black school robes, removed his wand from her pocket, and stuck it inside her bag. The rest of the team changed into their scarlet robes and waited for a pre-match pep talk from Gavin, but it didn't come. He tried to speak several times, made an odd gulping noise, then shook his head hopelessly and beckoned them to follow him. They walked out onto the field to tumultuous applause. The Ravenclaw team, dressed in blue, were already standing in the middle of the field. Their Chaser, Cynthia Goodwin, was the only girl on their team. Ines couldn't help noticing, excited as she was, that she looked angry. She smiled at Ines maliciously as the teams faced each other behind their captains.

She turned to Sirius, who was gazing out at the crown and felt a slight lurch in the region of her stomach that she didn't think had anything to do with nerves. "Gudgeon, Downing, shake hands," Madam Hooch said briskly, and Gavin shook hands with the Ravenclaw Captain. "Mount your brooms... on my whistle... three - two - one -" Ines kicked off into the air, Sirius not far behind her, and soared around the stadium and began searching for the Bludgers. Listening all the while to the commentary, which was being provided by Pierson Ronan. "They're off, and the big excitement this match is the beautiful Ines Avery and the incredible Sirius Black, whom we all heard launched a Bludger straight at captain Gavin Gudgeon for reasons we can only assume are due to his immens-"

"Pierson, would you mind telling us what's going on in the match?" interrupted Professor McGonagall's voice. "Right you are, Professor - just giving a bit of background information - Now Gavin didn't seem to mind as he let him on the team, possibly due to the fact that Ines had a stake in the game, as well as in his hear-". "Ronan!" McGonagall interrupted. "Okay, okay, Gryffindor in possession, James Potter of Gryffindor, closely followed by Cynthia Goodwin heading for goal...". Ines didn't get a chance to hear the outcome of James race to the goal as she spotted a Bludger heading towards their Seeker, Eunice. She called Sirius name, as he lined himself up near the other teams Seeker. She reached Eunice just in time and used all her force to knock the Bludger towards Sirius who executed their plan perfectly. The Bludger pelted towards the Seeker, knocking him off course and completely disorienting him. The Gryffindors cheered, and Pierson joined in with them before yelling "Merlin's beard Avery and Black! What a perfect pairing! Surprised they aren't together by now". A slap from McGonagall shut him up for a few before he continued to commentate.

"a neat pass to Catriona McCormack, a good find of Gavin Gudgeon, - back to O'Hare and - no, the Ravenclaws have taken the Quaffle, Cynthia Goodwin gains the Quaffle and off she goes flying like an eagle up there - he's going to sc- no, stopped by an excellent move by Gryffindor Keeper Gudgeon and the Gryffindors take the Quaffle - that's Chaser James Potter of Gryffindor there, wonderful bloke, nice dive, off up the field and that's Goodwin again speeding off toward the goal posts, but she's blocked by a Bludger - sent his way by Ines Avery, she's looking angry Goodwin I'd watch out- nice play by the Gryffindor Beater, anyway, and Potter back in possession of the Quaffle, a clear field ahead and off she goes - she's really flying - dodges a speeding Bludger - the goal posts are ahead 149- come on, now, Potter - Keeper Bletchley dives - misses - GRYFFINDORS SCORE!"

Ines cheered for her friend, pausing, looking down on the field. Pierson seemed to have noticed, and called out to her, still through the enchanted microphone "Alright Avery? Looking down on your teammates? Is it true you were seen snogging Gudgeon at the last Hogsmeade trip?" The laughs and jeers of the crowd were quickly cut off by the cries of defeat as Gavin missed the goal. He was wide-eyed and beet red, staring ahead of him. Ines sped off, listening to McGonagall chastise Pierson. Her path was blocked by Cynthia, nearly knocking her backward "Sorry Ines" she said, clearly not sorry at all "I was a bit distracted" Ines followed her gaze over to Sirius, who had just knocked a Bludger up near the Ravenclaw goalposts. Ines glared at her as she flew towards another Ravenclaw Chaser.

The points continued to rise, and Ines and Sirius continued to pelt bludgers across the field, quite normally. It wasn't until both Seekers turned into dives, gaining the attention of the whole field. Ines watched for only a second until she saw across the pitch, the Bludger fly past the goal posts. She took advantage of the whole team's inattention to fly towards it. The players had all gradually flown closer to the ground, following the Seekers. She took advantage of this moment and pelted the Bludger towards one specific player. She'd been told that revenge was not sweet, that it was bloody. She was wrong. It was sweet and bloody. For one fleeting, glorious moment she felt incredible satisfaction. The surrounding cheers, despite being for the Seekers and not her, made her blood pump even louder. Ines landed, following her teammates, all rushing towards Eunice who jumped gleefully, Snitch in hand. Nobody had seen what she had done, her teammates all surrounded her, asking if she was ok. But Ines didn't care, all she could feel was the strong arm around her waist, bringing her up to the castle. Ines, feeling happier than she had in ages, she and the rest of the team led the way, still in their scarlet robes, out of the stadium and back up to the castle.

It felt as though they had already won the Quidditch Cup; the party went on all day and well into the night. Remus and Peter disappeared for a couple of hours and returned with armfuls of bottles of butterbeer, pumpkin fizz, and several bags full of Honeydukes sweets. "How did you do that?" squealed Marlene as Peter started throwing Peppermint Toads into the crowd. "With a little help from Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs," Remus muttered into Ines' ear. She smiled grabbing the Firewhiskey from his hand. She danced and celebrated with her house, she got refill number three or four of the Firewhiskey making her bones lose and giving her hair freedom from its ponytail and her eyes looked sultry and wise. She closed my eyes. Golden light shines through her eyelids in wavering patterns of red and yellow. Figures dance and sway in the light, dark eyes flashing. She could feel Sirius next to her, his eagerness rise as if it were her own. It ebbs almost in the same instant. Only one person wasn't joining in the festivities. Lily, incredibly, was sitting in a corner, attempting to read an enormous book entitled 'Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles'. Ines broke away from the table where James and Sirius had started juggling butterbeer bottles and went over to her. "Did you even come to the match?" She asked her. "Of course I did," said Lily in a strangely high-pitched voice, not looking up. "And I'm very glad we won, and I think you did really well and that Cynthia is ok." Ines met her eyes, not saying a thing. Lily had seen her, but she continued to explain her reasoning for not joining the party "but I need to read this by Monday.". "Come on, get up Lily, and have some food," Ines said, slurring slightly. Lily smiled, almost pitifully, "I can't, Ines. I've still got four hundred and twenty-two pages to read!". There was nothing wrong with being a homebody. There was nothing wrong with not wanting - not needing - the constant jostle and noise of a party or bar or whatever it is appeased her. So she let her be.

Ines moved back over to the hub of people and found Sirius. Their bodies were lithe and young, the peak of youth and virility. Hips rolled, backs arched, hands twined in the air above them as they began to weave around one another in circles and lines. They stayed that way until the party died down, well into the morning. They found themselves to be the only ones not in a drunken stupor and asleep on the couches and chairs. "Sirius," she said, "how, exactly, do you decide whether you're drunk?" Aroused by the mere sound of her voice, he swayed alarmingly to one side but caught himself on the edge of the mantelpiece. His eyes drifted around the room, then fixed on my face. For an instant, they blazed clear and pellucid with intelligence. "Easy, if can stand up, you're not drunk." He let go of the mantelpiece, took a step toward her, and crumpled slowly onto the hearth, eyes blank, and a wide, sweet smile on his dreaming face. She smiled at his now sleeping form until she found herself the same. Tangled in his limbs just as he was hers, in front of the couch, heated by the flame of the fire.