16. The Quidditch Match
A/N: I own nothing except Lexie, Max & Ruby. Everything else is property of J.K. Rowling. I hope I don't make her appear weepy, she wasn't meant to be that way but I also don't have any of my future chapters written out. They're writing themselves so please don't let it deter you. I promise she'll get more likable in the future :) Also, any ideas for pranks - I'm not much of a prankster myself - are appreciated, I may use them!
Chapter 16: Friends
Term began again and soon everyone's mind was on Quidditch, and their upcoming exams. Lexie busied herself spending a lot of time in the library or in abandoned classrooms, practicing wand movements, desperate to learn as much as she could before it was time for the end of year tests. Sometimes she would take a break and sit in the stands and watch a Quidditch practice, taking in the crisp air. She would split her attention between Harry and the twins. Usually after practice they would hang back and talk, and often the twins would join her in the stands and they would all walk back together, the boys talking Quidditch as they did.
Each night she read a little more in her father's journal. She was learning more about her family and quickly understood why her father had asked her not to think too badly of him, her grandparents seemed set in their Pureblood views. She could easily understand why Sirius seemed to drift from the family, and was saddened to see how this had affected her father. Regulus tried not to show it and dare not say so aloud, but he loved his big brother.
After one such practice in which Oliver Wood announced that Professor Snape was refereeing the Hufflepuff match, she watched Harry speed back to the Common room and followed, concerned for her raven-haired friend. She well remembered the first match in which Harry had nearly fallen off his broom, and later when she learned that it had been jinxed. Surely the Potions master didn't hate the boy enough to do something publicly?
"Harry! Wait up!" she called and he slowed so she could catch up to him, his expression clearly worried. They continued on till they reached the common room where they found Hermione and Ron playing chess. Harry sat down next to Ron and Lexie went up to her dorm to put her sketchbook away before joining them at their table.
Right as she sat down the portrait hole opened as Neville toppled into the common room. She wondered how he had gotten in, indeed down the hall seeing as his legs had been stuck together with what they recognized as the Leg-Locker curse.
Everyone laughed except the four of them as she and Hermione hurried to help the boy up and Hermione performed the counter-curse. Lexie ushered Neville over to sit with them as Hermione asked, "What happened?"
"Malfoy," said Neville shakily. Lexie scowled, furious with her brother. "I met him outside the library; he said he'd been looking for someone to practice on."
"I'm so sorry, Neville," she muttered. Neville gave her a shaky half-smile but she wasn't reassured. She stood and swept out of the common room in search of her brother, knowing that she would find him laughing with his stupid friends.
She wasn't wrong, she found him nearby in the hallway, snickering with Crabbe and Goyle. "Draco!"
Her brother turned to see his sister scowling deeply at him, hands on her hips. "Why did you do that to Neville? He's never done anything to you!"
"As if he could, the great lump, did you see his face?"
"You had better not do that again—," Lexie warned, drawing her wand.
"What, you'll go to McGonagall? Remember who adopted you, Alexis." Lexie was struck and froze. How could he say such a thing? "You say a word and I'll tell Father about the company you've been keeping," Draco said snidely.
The girl's wand lowered as she stared at the other boy, their gazes locked.
"Oi! What's going on here?"
Lexie recognized the voice as belonging to one of the twins as they approached the scene, standing at her back to glare at the Slytherin's.
"You'd better take your girlfriend away, Weasel, before she does something she'll regret." Draco never tore his eyes from his sister, his voice icy. She seemed to be waiting for something that he wasn't willing to show, and it hurt her deeply.
George placed a hand on her shoulder, Fred doing the same to the other shoulder, and they gently led her away and back into the common room. Once the portrait closed however, she let out a sob and ran up the girl's staircase. The twins frowned and made to follow, but the stairs turned into a slide, stopping their efforts.
"Let me try," Lexie's friend Ruby said softly, and ascended the slide-now-turned-stairs.
Ruby found her on her bed with the curtains closed, quietly crying. She wasn't sure what to say but found she didn't have to as the door opened behind her as the other girls from their dorm entered. All of them had seen Neville enter and Lexie's reaction, and had watched as she'd fled the room crying upon return.
"Open up Malfoy," Ruby said softly, the first to approach the bed. Lexie did and they all huddled around to hug her. The girls sat on their friend's bed and tried to get Lexie's mind on something else, and soon it was forgotten.
Just as they were readying for bed, Lexie remembered the way the twins had pulled her away from Draco and went back down to the common room. She found one of them sitting on the sofa before the fireplace, looking at a book.
"Hey," she said softly.
George turned, having sent his twin off to bed, he was surprised to find the subject of his thoughts standing just behind him. "Hi," he replied. Lexie went round to sit beside him, smiling in what she hoped was a reassuring way. "Alright now?"
Lexie looked into the fire instead of answering and let her thoughts drift to earlier, remembering the way Draco had looked back at her. She had heard of some of the comments he'd made to and about the Weasley family, and the way he bullied most of the other first years. But this was the first time she'd gotten involved and she felt guilty. How could he still want to be her friend after some of the things her foster brother had said?
"Don't worry about it, Draco was just a git," he said.
"I know. He promised me he wouldn't be—to me I mean."
George was quiet, his book forgotten in his hands. "Want us to prank him again?"
She laughed, her solemn thoughts vanishing for the moment as he grinned at her. She leaned back and he slipped an arm around her shoulders and hugged her lightly. "What are you going to do?" There was no sense telling him not to, she knew they would anyway.
"That is for us to know and you to find out, fair maiden," George grinned cheekily. Mentally, he was already planning it out; all he had to do was let Fred know. The two sat in silence for a few minutes until Lexie started to drift to sleep and George gently woke her. "We should get upstairs."
The girl nodded and they walked toward the stairs, then she paused. "Why were you still awake?"
George looked back at her and brushed a light kiss over her hand like always, "I was waiting to make sure you were alright, my dear. Sleep well," he smiled and released her hand, planning to go and wake Fred right away. They had a prank to pull.
The next day the twin's prank was clear: they had bewitched things so that nothing would work for Draco. His plate of food hovered above his head, his quills refused to write; even his books would not open. This caused many of the Gryffindor's to laugh as Draco messed up his potion because the ingredients would not stay still, and he couldn't eat. Professor Snape of course put an end to it and everyone's mind went back to the upcoming match and exams.
On the day of the match, Ron, Hermione and Lexie found seats in the stand next to Neville, who couldn't understand why they looked grim. Lexie knew that they'd been practicing the Leg-Locker curse as a precaution, should Snape try anything.
"Don't forget, it's Locomotor Mortis," Hermione muttered to Ron as he slipped his wand up his sleeve.
"I know," Ron snapped. "Don't nag."
Lexie let out a sigh of relief once she spotted a familiar figure, Dumbledore had come to watch the match. A little more confident now that she hoped Snape wouldn't dare try to harm Harry in front of the Headmaster, she relaxed in her seat. Snape, however, looked even more sour than usual at the development.
"I've never seen Snape look so mean," Ron told Hermione as he noticed the same thing. "Look—they're off. Ouch!"
Malfoy had poked Ron in the back of the head.
"Oh, sorry, Weasley, didn't see you there." Malfoy grinned broadly at Crabbe and Goyle and ignored the disapproving glare from his sister. "Wonder how long Potter's going to stay on his broom this time? Anyone want to bet? What about you Weasley?"
Ron disregarded Draco, watching as Snape awarded Hufflepuff a penalty because George Weasley hit a bludger at him. Lexie shook her head at his antics; it was right stupid of him to provoke the foul-spirited man. Hermione was squinting up at Harry who was circling the game, searching for the Snitch.
"You know how I think they choose people for the Gryffindor team?" Malfoy said loudly not long after, still trying to annoy Ron while Snape awarded Hufflepuff another penalty for no reason. "Its people they feel sorry for. There's parentless Potter, the Weasley's, who have no money—you should be on the team, Longbottom, you've got no brains."
"Don't listen to the prat, Neville," Lexie muttered. Neville went bright red but turned in his seat to face the other boy.
"I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy."
The three Slytherin's howled in laughter, but Ron, not taking his eyes from Harry, said, "That's right, Neville."
"If brains were gold you'd be poorer than Weasley, and that's saying something," Draco gloated.
"Draco!" Lexie hissed, appalled.
"I'm warning you, Malfoy – one more word –."
"Ron!" Hermione said suddenly, "Harry –."
Harry had gone into a steep dive, drawing gasps and cheers from the crowd as they watched. Hermione and Lexie both stood, hands clasped tightly in their nerves, as Harry streaked toward the ground.
"You're in luck, Weasley. Potter's spotted some gold on the ground!" Malfoy cut in.
Ron snapped. He was on top of Draco before the other boy knew what happened, wrestling him to the ground. Neville hesitated, and then clambered over to help.
"Come on Harry!" Hermione screamed, jumping onto her seat to watch as Harry sped straight at Snape – neither girl noticed the boys rolling around under their seats as they fought.
Snape turned on his broom in time to see Harry shoot past, missing the Professor by inches – the next second Harry had pulled out of the dive, arm raised in triumph, clutching the Snitch.
The stands erupted, it must have been a record, no one remembered if anyone had ever caught the Snitch so quickly, the game had lasted barely five minutes.
"Ron! Ron! Where are you! The game's over, Harry won! Gryffindor's in the lead!" Hermione shrieked, dancing in her seat and hugging Parvati who sat in front of them. It was then that Lexie realized the boys were fighting and hexed them to make them stop. She used the Leg-Locker curse on Draco, Crabbe and Goyle and pulled Ron and Neville apart. Gryffindors went spilling onto the field as Lexie half- carried an unconscious Neville to the hospital wing. Ron and Hermione joined the others on the field to greet the Gryffindor team.
After a hurried explanation, Lexie watched Madam Pomfrey fix Neville up and allowed her to stay, but only briefly. She could almost hear the cheers and shouts from where she sat but she was humiliated. How was she to face Neville or the twins after this? They would most definitely hear what happened and what Draco had said and she almost dreaded their reactions. How could her brother be so hateful?
A little later Madam Pomfrey shooed her out and she slowly made her way back to the common room, worry evident on her face. She would just have to avoid them for a few days, she supposed. She entered just as Ron was telling Harry about the brawl, the after-match party still in full swing. Lexie went to bed right away so neither twin could stop her for their usual goodnight.
She managed to avoid them for day and a half; she was doing quite well she thought, as she was on her way to the Great Hall. Suddenly her arm was yanked and she was pulled into an empty passageway by a familiar set of hands.
"Why do you guys do
that?" The girl muttered, rubbing her arm and not meeting their eyes.
"Because someone has been avoiding us and we want to know why," said one twin.
"What he said," agreed the other.
"It's nothing," she muttered evasively but they didn't buy it.
"Come out with it—"
Lexie glanced down uncertainly then blurted out, "I'm sorry!"
There were identical frowns on their faces as they looked at each other.
"What's she on about Fred?'
"Beats me George."
"Did she do something to you?"
"Not that I remember. You?"
They both turned to her, "What for?"
"My brother says horrible things – about your family," she answered, her voice deadly quiet.
Two sets of eyes rolled at her.
"That great git—,"
"Is just jealous he can't be as awesome as we are."
"Too right, Fred."
"Thank you George."
Lexie sighed at them exasperatedly but let herself smile. Maybe she'd been silly to think that they'd be angry at her. Fred peeked out of the passageway and George stepped closer.
"Don't worry about a git like him, Lex. We don't blame you for anything he says, and you shouldn't have to apologize for him," He told her sincerely. She nodded and he smiled, glad to have his friend back. He'd missed her smile.
"C'mon, no one's around," Fred said and they exited the passageway. Lexie turned to watch the statue they'd left move back into place. She hadn't even noticed that it had moved when they'd grabbed her, in her preoccupation.
The twins went on to discuss prank plans on Mrs. Norris as the three of them trooped toward the Great Hall, arms linked. Lexie felt immensely better when she saw a fully conscious Neville sitting with Harry, Ron and Hermione.