Chapter 7

Walking down to the quidditch pitch was quite exhilarating, even if they weren't playing a game. With her brand new Comet 220 in one arm and her Beaters bat in the other, she walked down the path with James and Sirius. They had gotten changed to their robes out of excitement and to look superior next to the rest of the students trying out. Ines had been told she was guaranteed a spot, but this didn't stop her from preparing to play hard. She doubted many students would try out to be a beater, she felt that her and Sirius' place on the team was pretty cemented across the school.

When she initially tried out in the third year, she was beyond terrified. Not of flying, or the bludger, but what her parents would think. Starting quidditch was a first - and quite large - step in Ines' conscience no longer being haunted by her parent's expectations. Doing something that rebelled against them but felt so good, was exhilarating. She found that the secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage. Something that she most definitely exhibited as she believed her immense courage got her spot on the team. She had waited until the very last second to hit the bludger as it pelted towards her, partially out of shock and wanting to show off, and then knocked it so far across the field that it went through the opposing goal post.

Once they made it to the pitch, they found that many students were already there. Half of Gryffindor House seemed to have turned up, from first years who were nervously clutching a selection of the dreadful old school brooms to seventh years who towered over the rest, looking coolly intimidating. Ines looked around, bemused at the variety of people before Gavin rushed over to her. His Keeper padding slowed him down a bit, making him look a bit ridiculous. "Oh Ines, thank Merlin you're here. I needed someone to run trials with me." Before she had a second to refute it, she had been pulled by the arm away from Sirius and James - both of whom sent her annoyed looks - and into the midst of students.

Very few of them had noticed her arrival, but most of them continued to talk amongst themselves. Gavin was struggling to get their attention, repeatedly yelling 'Alright' in soft and nervous tones with no confidence. Ines couldn't take it any longer, yelling "Shut it!" at the top of her lungs. She suddenly had the eyes of over 30 students on her. Luckily, attention was something she learned to strive off of, even though it wasn't an entirely positive thing. "Hello everyone, welcome to trials. If you're a first year I advise you to leave now." A chorus of high pitched groans, as well as muffled laughter, ensued. Gavin then took over, not trying to be upstaged by Ines "Alright, we need to fill Seeker and two Chasers, so those of you looking for those positions will go first. The rest of you all, afterward."

Ines decided (and Gavin agreed) to start with a basic test, asking all applicants for the team to divide into groups of ten and fly once around the pitch. This was a good decision: the first ten was made up of first years, and it could not have been more obvious that they had hardly ever flown before. Only one boy managed to remain airborne for more than a few seconds, and he was so surprised he promptly crashed into one of the goal posts. The second group was comprised of ten of the silliest girls Ines had ever encountered, who, when Gavin blew his whistle, merely fell about giggling and clutching one another. They were quite distracted by a now shirtless Sirius, practicing with James. The third group had a pileup halfway around the pitch. Most of the fourth group had come without broomsticks.

Gavin flew over to Ines, who was watching them all from above, looking eager. "So, what are your thoughts?". Ines didn't take her eyes of the pitch, speaking quite glumly with an impassive look on her face. "Most of them are horrendous, I think we've got our seeker though, Eunice Murray is quite good, fast on the broom, 4th year so he has time to improve. Don't mind my obvious bias, but we should obviously keep James, he's the best seeker Gryffindors had in a long time. The other Chasers could be Catriona McCormack and Darren O'Hare, they work quite well together.". Gavin seemed to be taken aback by her sudden leadership, unsure of how to react. He eventually mumbled "I think the same.", and they both flew down to the ground.

"Now," Gavin said, seeming to have gained some confidence. "We don't need any Keepers, So I guess now just the one Beater?". Ines turned to him, confused. "One Beater?". He nodded, pausing now trying to maintain a confident face. Ines didn't buy it, there was no time to swoon over a boy on a Quidditch pitch. "I know you said I was guaranteed a spot and all that flirty nonsense but I'm still gonna try out." She patted him on the shoulder, leaving him slightly awestruck, and walked over to join Sirius. He was swinging his bat aimlessly, talking to a horde of swooning girls. James eyed her, quite clearly annoyed. There were a few girls talking to him, but he had no interest in any of them.

"Sirius!" She yelled, catching his attention as well as all the surrounding girls. They were quite annoyed that his attention was no longer on them and whispered to each other. "Let's go, we have to go make Beaters.". He grinned and began his walk away from the girls, all of whom didn't want him to leave. Ines wasted no time waiting for him and walked over to Gavin. "So, are you going to ask these idiots to leave?" She said, nonchalantly. "What?" he exclaimed. "Well, we've got our seeker and our chasers. We already know you're Keeper. We don't need the rest of them." He stammered for a moment, before noticing Ines' hand on his shoulder, and a new breath of confidence swept through him. As Ines walked away, she heard Gavin's voice bellow "Alright, we've got what we need. Congratulations to Eunice Murray, Catriona McCormack, and Darren O'Hare. If you're not any of them or trying out for Beater you can get out!"

A 6th-year boy who had tried out for chaser was not happy with this. "You deliberately left the trial of the Beaters until last! hoping for an emptier stadium and less pressure on your obvious favorite!" he said, pointing to Ines. Ines had partially noticed this as well. Unfortunately, however, all the rejected players and a number of people who had come down to watch after a lengthy breakfast had joined the crowd by now, so that it was larger than ever. Before Gavin could reply, Ines stepped forward. "You heard him, it's his final decision and if you don't get out of the way of the beaters I'll hex you," she bellowed. He didn't have a reply that would top Ines' and walked away along with the rest of the rejected players. Sirius' fan club was cheering as he did practice laps, but they quieted down once Ines caught up to him on her broom. "I thought that prat had promised you a secured spot?". "He did," she replied "But I'm not going to sit there like an idiot. Also, I wouldn't want my best beating partner to be left high and dry without me.". He laughed, it was obvious to most that the two of them worked well together. They were an even match when it came to Quidditch talent, both having an immense amount of drive and courage. After a few more practice laps, they joined the rest of the students, all of whom were looking to take their spot. The pool of people was much smaller than the others, a few people thought they could take Sirius and Ines' spot on the team. Gavin had set up a mock quidditch game, having the chasers try and shoot on him and practice passing the Quaffle, and set out a basic Snitch for Eunice to work with. In order to put the Beaters under the high stress of having players fly around them, while also trying to protect them. He asked for all the prospective Beaters to find a partner to fly with. As expected, a few people had asked Ines and Sirius, hoping that out of sheer luck they would say yes, but to no avail.

The first pair of boys seemed to be frightened of the Bludger, trying more to avoid it than to seek out, almost leading to James being knocked in the head. The second pair wasn't that bad, the girls had strong arms but were hesitant to chase the Bludger. The third pair was quite unfortunate, one of the boys was quite good, but the other was a bit more focused on a long-haired boy on the pitch who happen to pay her no mind and speak to Ines. The fourth pair was made up of two boys that had boasted their skills to Ines minutes previous but seemed to be made up of all talk as one of them flew straight into the line of fire of his partner and was knocked off his broom.

Finally, it was Ines and Sirius' turn. Once in the air, Ines spotted all her roommates in the stands cheering her on. They held their bats in hand, waiting for the balls to be released. "Ready Ines!" Sirius shouted, shooting her a sparkling smile. "You know I am!" She shouted back, swinging her bat around. The moment the balls were released the pitch went into a frenzy. One of her great joys in life was being on the team. There is a great sense of freedom in soaring through the sky. She loved being able to get a different perspective up above. Seeing things that aren't so apparent from the ground.

Eunice stared around for the Snitch; there was no sign of it. Moments later, James scored on Gavin after multiple passes between Catriona, Darren, and himself. Sirius and Ines went for their usual approach. Whoever is close to the bludger goes and finds it, and the other positions themselves at where they need to be. They were stellar, the bludgers never even made it near any of the players. The stands had become increasingly popular, as did the cheers every time they heard the crack of the bat. "Looking good Ines!" Gavin called, as she hit a bludger across the pitch. She flew over to him briefly, as the Chasers with the quaffle was quite far from them. "So I'm guessing I've made it on the team?" She asked playfully. He grinned "Obviously.". "Sirius as well?" She asked, flying away. His smile faltered the slightest, which Ines noticed a bit. "Well, I don't think anyone else who tried out will be any good, and if you think it's best.". Ines smiled brightly, glad that she had the confirmation of her best friend being on the team again with her. "Gavin you are wonderful, I'm so glad.". She said, slightly teasing him. He smirked, but he didn't get a chance to respond as a bludger hit him square in the face. Ines gasped, looking behind her to find Sirius a ways away, holding his bat out. "Sirius!" She yelled, fury evident in her tone "What the bloody hell was that!". He flew closer, "My bad! I was hitting it towards my partner as I usually do. Seems she was a bit distracted." His voice was dripping in sarcasm. "Not my fault his head was in the way!".

She kept an impassive face, staring him down before she turned away and flew to where Gavin was, holding his bloody nose. She held onto the head of his broom, preparing to steer him down to the ground, but he stopped her. "It's alright" he muttered, his speech slurred by the outpour of blood from his nose "I've got it.". She pulled her wand out from her pant leg and pulled Gavin's hand from his face; the blood was dripping onto his uniform now. "Episkey" she muttered, fixing his nose. He flew to the ground on his own and walked past all the people swarming over to him, slightly angered. Sirius had made it to Ines now, who was staring down at the scene below. The people who had rushed to him were now following him to the hospital wing. "You think he'll still let us on the team?". Sirius asked, now right beside her. She tried her best to stifle a smile, he caught it but didn't say anything. "I think so, he was just saying that if I think it would be best for you to be on the team, that he'd allow it. I hope the bludger to the face will double as a reminder to your strength and not your alleged poor aim."

She flashed him a smile, seemingly catching him in his lie, and they flew to the ground. She was immediately rushed by James, followed by Lily and Remus. "You sly prat, poor aim was it?" James tackled him playfully, grappling his back and pushed him away. Leaving Ines standing with Lily and Remus, "Your boyfriend still letting you on the team?" Remus muttered, causing Ines to shove him. "Yes," she said, now walking towards the locker room "I'm hoping Sirius as well.". Lily chuckled "Ah so now you'll have two boyfriends on the team." Ines glared at her, "I'm the one with the bat here I'd watch your words.". They backed up, laughing before Ines walked away and into the locker room.