All's Fair in Love and Quidditch
James Sirius Potter had a plan.
It was a good plan, he thought.
At the very least, no one else had thought to try what he had planned. Not to his knowledge. He’d probably get into trouble for it, he knew that, but he felt it would be worth it to prove a point. Plus, he thought, smirking to himself, he knew his Dad and his mates would get a kick out of it.
This was going to be fun.
James pushed open the door to the Gryffindor Quidditch team changing room and greeted his fellow team-mates. They didn’t know what he had planned; he couldn’t tell them because they might try to stop him, and he wanted maximum shock factor when he pulled it off.
‘Ready, James?’ asked the Gryffindor captain.
‘As I’ll ever be,’ said James, as he put his kit bag down on a nearby bench. James Potter played Seeker on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, just like his father, Harry, had done before him. He hadn’t quite managed to secure a place on the team in his first year like Harry had, but the minute trials started in his second James was quick to bag the Seeker’s position. He was good and had been instantly snapped up in his third year to reprise his role as Seeker, and today they were playing Slytherin.
James grinned to himself as he changed into his Quidditch robes. He caught the eye of one of the Beaters, who gave him an odd look due to the stupid grin on his face, and he quickly turned away to finish getting changed.
‘Right, attention please,’ said the team captain in her usual authoritative voice. ‘It’s the first game of the season, as you all know, so let’s start as we mean to go on and win one for Gryffindor!’ The team cheered enthusiastically in response; broomsticks and Beater’s clubs being waved excitedly in the air. As James was lacing up his boots, he heard the familiar sound of the amplified voice of the Quidditch commentator. The crowds would be filling up the stands, he thought happily; decked out in scarlet and gold and green and silver; ready for an exciting game of Quidditch.
Yes, this was definitely going to be fun.
‘Okay, line up,’ called the captain. The team shuffled into position, and when they were all ready the captain pushed open the doors of the changing room and led the team on to the pitch. James always savoured this moment: the fresh air hitting his face at the same time as the noise from the crowd hit his ears. The cheers from the Gryffindors and boos from the Slytherins filled him with the same inexplicable feeling that swept over him before every Quidditch match. The anticipation was exhilarating, and it was something that he had spoken fondly with Harry about many times. Everybody feels it differently, Harry had once told James, but the important thing is that you do feel it. Harry had said that if you didn’t feel Quidditch deep within your bones then you had no business playing it.
James felt it.
James definitely felt it.
However, that wasn’t going to stop him in his plan. He’d only ever be able to do it once, but he would go down in Hogwarts history as the student who did do it, and that was worth it in his mind.
A light autumn breeze ruffled James’ hair as he strode confidently with his team-mates towards their respective positions on the pitch. The day was bright and clear; perfect Quidditch weather. He breathed in the luxurious scent of freshly mown grass; Hagrid had clearly cut the Quidditch pitch at dawn. James loved that smell, and he filled his nostrils eagerly with it. Looking around, James caught sight of his parents sitting and waving in the teacher’s box. As well-respected Aurors, Harry and Ginny Potter were welcome at Hogwarts pretty much any time they felt like it. Plus, it helped that they were close personal friends of the Headmaster, Professor Longbottom. James smiled and waved back, hoping that his dad would enjoy this as much as he hoped he would. His Mom would officially disapprove, as Moms do, but he knew that, deep down, there was still quite the rebellious streak in Ginny Potter.
‘Players, mount your brooms,’ called Professor Krinkle, the Hogwarts Quidditch referee and Broomstick Instructor. James swung his leg over his broom and gripped the handle tightly in anticipation.
Any minute now, he thought.
‘Take your positions,’ called Professor Krinkle. That was all James needed to hear. With a push of his legs, he kicked off from the ground and felt the rush of adrenaline as the world dropped away from him, the outline of the Quidditch pitch shrinking beneath him. All of the players flew into position and hovered, waiting for the whistle to blow to signal the start of play. This moment always felt like torture to James; it seemed to last longer with each match. Finally, he saw Professor Krinkle raise her whistle to her lips.
The whistle sounded.
The game had begun.
‘Accio Snitch!’ screamed James.
The crowd had barely time to yell before the Golden Snitch was spotted hurtling towards James Potter. It landed in his palm with a thud, and James Potter quietly descended to the ground and walked off the pitch, slinging his broom over his shoulder with one hand and bouncing the now docile Snitch up and down in his other.
‘Um…Gryffindor win…?’ said the very perplexed voice of the commentator.
A murmur of disbelief was rippling through the crowd as the realisation of what had just happened dawned on everyone. James didn’t turn around. He didn’t have to. He’d done it, and he knew that amongst all the stunned faces, his Dad would be smiling.
‘That was for you, Dad,’ said James, as he looked at his distorted reflection cast in the smooth surface of the Golden Snitch.
That was for you.