Oct 17, 2019 9:27 PM
Most desperate desire
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"We know Oliver's speech by heart," Fred tells Victor, "we were on the team last year."

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Victor has no comment on this.

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"Shut up, you two," says Wood. "This is the best team Gryffindor's had in years. We're going to win. I know it." He glares at them all as if to say 'Or else.'

They spend the next few minutes going over their strategy while they warm up, but eventually: "Right. It's time. Good luck, all of you."

Fred and George are the first out of the locker room.

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Victor is right behind them.

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The muffling charm stops affecting him the moment he steps through the threshold and he's greeted by a Quidditch stadium's worth of cheering. The rest of the team follows him and the twins, and their opposite numbers emerge from the locker room across the pitch from them. Dayo grins at him and the twins, who both make exaggerated faces of disgust and horror at him, making him laugh.

Madam Hooch is the referee, and once both captains meet in the middle she says, "Now, I want a nice fair game, all of you." She seems to be speaking particularly to the Slytherin Captain, Marcus Flint, a fifth year big enough that he might have some troll blood in him.

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It's not the size so much as the posture that Victor finds worrying. Marcus Flint looks like he would've fit in among Dudley's friends.

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"Mount your brooms, please," says Madam Hooch.

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Well if she insists.

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She blasts loudly on her silver whistle, and up they go.

"And the Quaffle is taken immediately by Angelina Johnson of Gryffindor - what an excellent Chaser that girl is, and rather attractive, too -" says the commentator Lee Jordan.

"JORDAN!" Professor McGonagall's amplified voice calls.

"Sorry, Professor."

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Sometimes when people really like doing something they say it feels like flying.

Flying feels like itself.

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"And she's really belting along up there, a neat pass to Alicia Spinnet, a good find of Oliver Wood's, last year only a reserve - back to Johnson and - no, the Slytherins have taken the Quaffle, Slytherin Captain Marcus Flint gains the Quaffle and off he goes - Flint flying like an eagle up there - he's going to sc- no, stopped by an excellent move by Gryffindor Keeper Wood and the Gryffindors take the Quaffle - that's Chaser Katie Bell of Gryffindor there, nice dive around Flint, off up the field and -"

And there comes a Bludger directly at Victor.

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He dives, heading for George Weasley as the nearest source of aid.

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Who hits the evil metal ball like it's personally offended him. It goes careening off into the distance and he laughs.

"- oh, good one by Weasley! Dunno which. And Bludgers don't usually target Seekers this early - Quaffle taken by the Slytherins - that's Adrian Pucey speeding off toward the goal posts, but he's blocked by a second Bludger - sent his way by the other Weasley -"

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Victor ascends again.

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"- nice play by the Gryffindor Beater, anyway, and Johnson 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 - come on, now, Angelina - Keeper Bletchley dives - misses - GRYFFINDORS SCORE!"

There's a roar from the audience and just as that happens Victor might be able to spot Hagrid squeezing his way to Ron's side, cheering him on.

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Well, that's nice of him.

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Another Bludger comes shooting in Victor's vague direction, but it doesn't look like it has Victor as its actual target.

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He gets out of its way anyway. Flying is fun.

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Fred zooms after the Bludger. "Alright there, Victor?" he yells out as he does that but then he's out of earshot and beating the evil metal ball towards Marcus Flint.

"Slytherin in possession," Lee Jordan's saying, "Chaser Pucey ducks two Bludgers, two Weasleys, and Chaser Bell, and speeds toward the - wait a moment - was that the Snitch?"

A murmur runs through the crowd as Adrian Pucey drops the Quaffle, too busy looking over his shoulder at the flash of gold that just passed his left ear.

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Down goes Victor.

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Slytherin Seeker Terence Higgs saw it, too. Neck to neck they hurtle towards the Snitch, the Chasers having seemingly forgotten what they were supposed to be doing as they stop to watch, Victor's faster than Higgs, there, almost there -

- and there's a Bludger going in both of their directions, aimed straight at Victor's broom -

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- he can dodge sideways and lose the race, or dodge up and over and send the Bludger through Higgs, or stay on course and probably catch the Snitch and definitely get hit by a Bludger.

The second choice is obviously strategically optimal. It's just also rather nastier than he wants to be - but Gryffindor needs a good Seeker and a good Seeker doesn't throw the game out of a reluctance to get anyone hurt - up and over it is.

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"And Higgs is hit by Iroko's Bludger!" Lee's voice echoes. "Evans managed to dodge it - did either of them get the Snitch, though? - no, it's gone, and Higgs is spinning - no, he's alright and back on track again - Pucey got the Quaffle!"

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Muninn, perched at the back of the stands in the Gryffindor section, croaks enthusiastically.

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Well that took some of the fun out of this.

He goes high again, surveying the game in progress, watching out for glints of gold.

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