Chapter 32

The cheering of the crowd was something that fueled the Gryffindor Quidditch team. James could hardly get out his speech, one that he had been working on ever since the game schedule was released, due to his excitement. With every time the crowd cheered 'Gryffindor', their nerves decreased. This was Celaena's first game as Keeper, and she had been training vehemently for the past few weeks. Ines gripped her around the shoulders, shaking her in excitement. She giggled along with them, James had now stood upon the locker room bench to try at a speech one last time. Darren slammed on the nearby wall getting everyone's attention, and once James gave him an approving nod he started on his speech.

"Alright!" he yelled, sticking his hand out to grab Sirius' outstretched one. "This game is going to be difficult, there's no doubt about it. We've all seen Hufflepuff training harder this year, they've gotten stronger, but do not be afraid. Don't be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart. Believe in yourself. You are all braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine. Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying." He ended on a high note as his voice gradually became louder as he spoke. Until he stopped, stooping low and gripping Sirius' hand even tighter not. "Now lets fucking win this thing" he muttered. The team broke out in cheers and ran to the open door leading to the field.

Ines hopped on her broom and flew out into the bright light. Sirius alongside her they did a few laps around the perimeter of the field, basking in the cheers, before heading back to the center. Ines spotted from across the field, Hufflepuff captain William Glencoe staring at her. He looked her up and down and gave her an angry look. Flying closer, she was able to make out his features better. He wasn't horrible looking, his high set cheekbones were something that Ines often found his girlfriend Annika doting on. Ines had a fairly tumultuous relationship with Annika, as she had a few run-ins in broom closets with William while unaware that Annika had staked a claim on him. He flew above her, towards the center of the field, still watching her. Once he made it, James shook hands with the new Hufflepuff captain, and Madame Hooch blew the whistle to set the game into motion. Gripping her bat tightly, Ines flew past the Hufflepuff seeker and upwards. From her birds-eye view of the field, she was able to see everything, Hufflepuff had quite evidently been working harder as they were much more aggressive than Ines had ever seen them. The Bludgers were being quite easy on them this game it seemed, circling slowly on the outer rings of the action. Ines watched Celaena, following the tips that she had been given to the tee and doing a wonderful job. She watched as Celeana stretched and stopped a goal, sending the crowd into a wave of cheers.

She heard a call, her name, and looked down to find Sirius winding up to knock a bludger towards her. She flew back, preparing for it. It was almost as if she didn't need to think, the second she heard the crack of his bat, she winded up to prepare for her shot. She found her target immediately, captain William Glencoe, a beater as well. He was currently aimlessly flying, while also seemingly having a tense yet silent conversation with someone in the stands. Ines seized the opportunity and put all her might into her bat and swung. The bludger went flying down the field, right by his face. He was knocked almost completely off his broom, saved only by the fact that he was very close to it. Ines yelled in glee, spinning on her broom, along with the crowd. But all she cared for was the cheers from below her. She looked down to find Sirius looking right back up at her. His face was overcome with joy and his smile was bright.

Ines was so lost in him, in his face and his eyes filled with stars. So lost that she didn't spot the bludger coming right for her. It came at her so fast she didn't have time to swerve or avoid it. It whizzed by, knocking her hard in the shoulder. The stadium watched as Ines Avery fell to the bottom of the pitch.

The bright lights of the hospital wing were practically unbearable. From what Ines could see through her squinting and fluttering eyes, she was placed in the back left corner and it was relatively empty. The beds weren't very comfortable either, she grunted, trying to free her arms from some indiscernible force. When her eyes finally adjusted, she felt the presence next to her. She practically jumped out of her skin when she saw Sirius next to her, the commotion awoke him as well.

"How long was I asleep?" she whispered. He didn't respond. "How long was I asleep?" she asked again and noticed a hint of red in his cheeks. "You were asleep, too?". "Until you began drooling on my shoulder." They giggled, noticing their closely intertwined bodies and chose to ignore it. Ines rubbed her temples, still recovering from what she assumed was an incredibly hard fall. "It's only been a few hours, haven't gotten the chance to change yet." Ines only now noticed his still muddy quidditch uniform. "Did we win?" Ines asked, turning to face him better. He ran a hand through his hair, the question obviously plagued him. "I haven't the slightest idea after you hit the ground me and McGonagall raced you up to the hospital wing, and I've been here since." Ines' face softened at his look, he was avoiding her gaze. She reached up and rubbed his arm up and down lovingly. "Why on earth would you do that, you needn't stay with me. Or sleep in my bed." He chuckled at her final remark.

"First of all, I would never turn down that opportunity. Second, what else am I to do? How am I supposed to single-handedly lead our team victory without my partner?". Ines laughed at his pompous tone but stopped when it began to hurt her ribs. The sound of heels hitting the floorboards quickly approached and Sirius slid from his space beside her to the chair. He leaned into the most convincing looking relaxed position when Madame Pomfrey dragged the curtain open with vigor. She assessed Ines, making note of Sirius nearby and their equally red cheeks before setting down another glass. "A bit more skelegrow, mixed with some pain reliever and your bones should be alright and back in the correct places. A night here … alone … getting some rest and you'll be out by tomorrow.". She placed the glass in Ines' hand, gave Sirius another look, and strode out, closing the curtain behind her.

Ines and Sirius waited a moment before letting out their stifled laughter, both not acknowledging the fact that Madame Pomfrey knew that Sirius had been in her bed, or that he had been there at all. He leaned forward in his chair, resting his arms on her bed. Ines learned down to face him, so close they shared their breath. He pulled her close, kissing her mouth, taking her by surprise. He stepped back passion smoldering in his eyes. She looked at him touching her mouth where his kiss still burned. "I'm glad you're ok," he said, trying to use his suave to hide his genuine and deep concern for her well being. She smiled, gazing into his eyes. She was so lost in them she hardly heard the door open, and all the bustle that followed it. Ines and Sirius sprint apart at the unmistakable sound of their team entering. Ines watched as Sirius stood and poked his head through the curtain, and his eyes brighten and his smile reach his ears. Catriona threw open the curtain to reveal James and Darren carrying a flustered but excited looking Celaena on their shoulders. Catriona threw her arms around Sirius, "We won! We did it! Celaena absolutely dominated! Not a single Quaffle went through her hoops!" She shook his shoulders, running over to sit by Ines. "Merlin's beard Ines, look at you! A few hours ago your arms and legs were so crazy you could have touched your elbows to your toes! Madame Pomfrey truly is magical!" Ines chuckled "I would hope she is" Catriona got up, grabbing a now considerably frazzled Celaena off of the boys' shoulders. James moved around them to take Catroinas spot on her bed. "I'm glad your feeling better, the girls are all commiserating in the common room. Lily's a right mess." Ines winked in response to his blush at the mention of Lily's name "A cute mess I bet.". James nodded enthusiastically in response, before him and the rest of the team jumped into a full-blown play by play explanation of the rest of the game. All the while, with the much-appreciated discretion of the team, Sirius held Ines' hand in his own.