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Not So Friendly Rivals

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Angelina supposed that Madam Hooch was treating them like adults, telling them to draw up a schedule and bring it to her office for approval when they were done. But she wished Hooch had stayed to oversee the meeting. Zacharias Smith was one Huffelpuff with a chip on his shoulder and Roger Davies kept trying to charm her into going out with him, but those two she could have handled. It was Montague that was the problem.

She wanted to leap across the table and deck him in the face. It was a bad idea since he was significantly larger than she was and not above hitting girls. But she couldn't help imagining how satisfying it would feel. And why stop at one punch, she thought, as he opened his mouth again.

"I need more time than that; I've got two new Beaters to train."

"I have to find a new Seeker and a new Beater and and two new Chasers," Smith said. "If anybody should get more time than anybody else, it should be me."

"Nobody's getting extra time," Angelina said through gritted teeth, for the third time that afternoon. "It's not fair." No doubt greedy Slytherins had been trying to grab extra time on the Quidditch pitch since the founding of Hogwarts, but so far tradition had held and each House had gotten the same number of hours to practice every year. Angelina wasn't about to let the system fall apart on her watch.

Montague was looking at Smith, trying to form some sort of alliance against her. "It's more fair if we each get, say, one extra hour per week per each new player we have."

Angelina met Roger's gaze, trying to form her own alliance. But Roger only winked at her. Fine. She could fight her own battles. "Absolutely not." It wasn't just a matter of fairness; Gryffindor only needed a new Keeper. If she agreed to this new pitch sharing plan, her team would be getting the least practice time. "If we're adjusting time for new players, we might as well make accommodations for those who have older brooms."

That put an end to the Montague-Smith alliance. "That's a good idea," Smith said. The Slytherin team had those Nimbus Two Thousand and One brooms Lucius Malfoy had bought for them. The Hufflepuff players, like the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw ones, had older brooms or brooms of lesser quality.

"That's stupid," Montague snarled, "And an obvious bias against Slytherin. It's not our fault you lot are poor."

Angelina bristled. "Our parents have ethics. They don't try to buy advantages for their children."

"And that's a good thing?" Montague sneered.

Roger finally spoke up. "I don't see why we can't use the old schedule."

"No," Smith said. The old schedule had been drawn up two years ago and easy-going Cedric Diggory had allowed the other captains to stick Hufflepuff with practice on Hogsmeade Saturdays.

"Yes," Montague said.

Angelina wanted this meeting over. "We can alternate Saturdays so no one team has to give up their Hogsmeade visits." They agreed to that and then it was finally over.

However Montague had to persist in annoying her. He walked beside her as she headed back to the castle. Angelina wished Roger hadn't chosen now to stop pursuing her. The only thing worse than arguing with Montague in public was being alone with him. When they were alone, he stopped calling her Johnson and stopped being so overtly hostile. He called her Angelina and pretended to flirt with her. It made her skin crawl.

"So, Angelina, made use of the prefect's bathroom yet?"

Angelina ignored him. Access to the luxurious prefect's bathroom was one of the perks of being a Quidditch team captain. She had been looking forward to a nice long soak, but it appeared that Montague would make it his business to harass her there.

"You seem tense," he commented. "Isn't Weasley getting the job done? I could…"

Angelina snapped. She grabbed Montague by the lapels of his robe and slammed him against the wall. He only laughed. "Here? Well, if you insist."

"You stop it," she hissed. "Keep this up and I'll hex you with something you won't want to show Madam Pomfrey."

"Stop what? You have got me pinned against a wall, Angelina."

She let go of him and stormed away, trying to get away from the sound of his laughter. He didn't follow her, which was good for him. She really had learned a new hex this summer just for him.