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The Family that Chooses You

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The Family that Chooses You

Chapter 1 – First Impressions

 

The bell rang, heralding the wave of students that walked out of the castle.  All the students were dressed in black robes of similar style.  Different colored trims and accents set the robes apart: red, green, yellow, and dark blue.  While each student looked very different from one another, the robes made them look uniform, while being their apparent uniform.

Two girls with red trim made their way to a corner of the courtyard.  The shorter of the two sat on the ground, leaning against the low decorative stone wall while the much taller second girl leaned into the corner while standing. 

Alicia Spinnet looked up at her friend, tucking a long strand of dark brown hair behind her ear.  “Do you know why Wood asked us to gather?”

Angelina Johnson shook her head, her braided black hair swinging gently.  “Quidditch, I assume.  He barely talks about anything else.”

Alicia giggled.  “Too true.  It’s a bit early to do any kind of planning though, we’re a player short.”

A third girl in black robes with red accents hopped over the low wall and sat upon the lip.  “Ooh maybe Wood found someone to join the team already.”  Her blonde ponytail bobbed as she bounced up and down with energy.

Angelina groaned.  “He didn’t even have trials for the position.  How can he have filled the Seeker position already?  Also shouldn’t we all be there to make sure they’re a good fit with the whole team?”

“That’s because no one wanted to try out for Seeker.  He put up a notice and everything but no one wanted to trial for it this year.  Besides, you know how Wood gets when he’s excited.  He’s usually not wrong when it comes to Quidditch stuff,” Alicia said somewhat hesitantly.

“Usually,” Angelina said, her tone dripping sarcasm.  “What did Langley do again during that one game?”

“Plowed himself into the ground at speed,” Katie said with ghoulish glee.

“And how about Renfrew?”

“Whacked herself in the chin with her own broomstick coming out of a dive, knocking herself out.”

“That’s why I said usually,” Alicia said rolling her eyes.

Two identical boys approached the girls, short bright red hair glinted in the sun.  “Hello ladies,” they said at the same time in the same tone of voice.

Katie snickered.  “It’s a bit early for the creepy twin act isn’t it?”

They looked at each other with identical offended looks.

“She called us creepy!”

“I know!  I heard it too.”

“That’s so rude Fred.”

“I’m George.  You’re Fred.

“Am I really?”

“Last I checked.”

“Which was when?”

“I’m sure I checked this morning-“

“Do either of you idiots know why Wood wanted us to gather?” Angelina interrupted.  By now the girls were more or less used to the double act Fred and George Wesley liked to play on people.  Most of the time it was amusing.  Other times it could get very tedious.

“Probably to tell us about the new Seeker,” Fred said.

The three girls looked up with interest. 

“Told you!” Katie exclaimed.

“Who is it?” Alicia asked.    

“Harry Potter if you can believe it,” Oliver Wood said as he approached the team.  Short light brown hair sat on top of a broad excited face.

“Really?  The Boy-Who-Lived?” Katie asked.  “He’s going to be our new Seeker?  Isn’t he a firstie?”

“Yep,” George said.

“He’ll be the youngest Seeker in a century,” Fred said.

“You better not be joking,” Angelina said, scowling at Wood.

“I’m not.  When did you last hear me make a joke about Quidditch?” Wood asked.  “I leave jokes to the Twins.”

“So you should, we’re funnier.”

“You’re the better Captain though so that’s why we leave Captaining to you.”

“Has he even played before?” Alicia asked.

“Nope, didn’t even know the rules.  But he’s a natural on a broom.  McGonagall vouched for him.  Showed me he caught this tiny Remembrall from a dive, his first time on a broom no less.”

“If McGonagall vouches for him, he has to be legit,” Katie said. 

The rest of the team nodded.  No other Head of House was as invested in Quidditch as Minerva McGonagall, the Head of Gryffindor.  She loved the game and kept up with the League with as much passion as she did during the yearly Inter-House Cup. 

Angelina did not look convinced.  “Does he even have a broom?  He can’t play on one of the school ones.”

“McGonagall said she’s taking care of it.  As soon as he gets it I’m going to see how he rides and teach him the basics.  I’ve got a good feeling about him.”

“As good as Langley?” George asked with a mischievous smile. 

“Or Renfrew?” Fred asked with an equally mischievous smile.

“Better than them both put together,” Wood grumbled.

“That’s still a rather low bar.”

“A bar that neither could fly over.”

Wood shook a fist at the grinning twins and the giggling girls.  “Look, I just got a good feeling about this.  A better feeling anyways.  If anything it’s your brother’s fault you two.  When Charlie left no one wanted to fill his shoes.”

“It is rather hard to do,” George conceded, “he’s got big feet.”

“Don’t know who he got it from.  Mum and Dad don’t have big feet.”

“Oh who has bigger feet between you two?” Katie asked, her smile remarkably similar to the one the twins had a moment ago.

Fred and George pressed their right foot together.  “They’re identical!” they cried out together.

Wood shook his head as the rest of the team dissolved into laughter.  “I hope Harry works out,” he muttered.  “I need another mature player on this team.”

-0-

Harry Potter still could not believe he was here.  He was convinced this was some kind of elaborate prank or some kind of dream.  Any minute now Professor McGonagall would give him detention for flying without an observer, punish him for catching Neville Longbottom’s Remembrall.

He tried to look as small he could, shrinking visibly in front of the five older students.  Wood had been very kind to him since he took him out that afternoon to teach him about Quidditch.  The older student had answered all his questions and praised him for his flying abilities. 

Harry was still very much unused to praise.

Because of how kind and patient Wood was, Harry had found himself relaxing while in his presence.  Fred and George were a little scary, Ron Weasley had told him all kinds of stories about the pranks they pulled.  Yet Harry remembered how nice the twins were to him on the Hogwarts Express, helping him without even knowing who he was.  Their mother was really nice too.

This was the first time he met Katie, Alicia, and Angelina.  He felt properly intimidated by the three girls and barely said anything to them, only bobbing his head shyly when he was introduced to them.  The practice jersey swallowed up the scrawny first year boy, making him look and feel even smaller than usual.  Especially compared to the older and taller students.

He decided that if this was a dream, he should try to enjoy it.  Soon he was up in the air on his brand-new Nimbus 2000.  He felt the joy of flying, zipping through the air.  He felt free up in the air, untethered by any fear or trouble.  For a few moments he could forget his problems and pretend to feel better about doing something that felt good to him.

At least for a little while.

-0-

Katie’s eyes were narrowed ever since she saw Harry approach the pitch for practice.  During the first night of school, during the Sorting Ceremony, she did not get a great look at Harry.  Even for first years he was a small and thin child, easily dwarfed by others. 

She only saw him in passing in the weeks since.  Even when he sat in the common room of Gryffindor tower he was usually sitting somewhat out of direct sight.  Truthfully, she never thought to really look at the boy.  Most wanted to get a close look at the Boy-Who-Lived, to see the infamous scar.  Her friends in other Houses had asked about Harry, about what he was like.

She told everyone that he was like any other firstie.  A short scrawny little kid with big glasses.  He was very quiet, which was a relief.  Most were surprised when she said that.  People thought he would be full of himself, or at least supremely confident.  Katie had laughed when people said that, telling them they could not be more wrong.

Seeing him up close for the first time, Katie did not realize just how wrong everyone was. 

He was really small for his age, smaller than most.  Katie knew kids came in all shapes and sizes; she had been exceptionally short at that age.  However, it was not just the fact that he was small, it was that he was almost appallingly small.  He looked more than skinny.  The way he barely looked at people in the eye, how he looked everywhere but at people could have just been him being shy. 

He flinched at every boisterous sound the Twins made.   The first words that always came out was some kind of apology.  He had flinched terribly when Wood had laid a hand on his shoulder during the introductions.  All those signs can be one shown by someone utterly introverted, shy.

She did not think it was just that though.  His responses were too raw, too extreme, too ingrained.  They went beyond shyness.  She felt her stomach churn a little. 

The smile Harry wore as he flew, as he did drills with the Weasleys should have soothed Katie.  It showed that Harry could be happy, that he could act like a proper kid.

The fact that this was the first time she had seen him act like that made her feel even worse. 

“Something’s wrong,” she whispered.

Angelina looked at her with surprise.  “You think?  I think he’s flying brilliantly, especially if this is his third time on a broom.  Makes sense though, especially if his dad was a Quidditch player.  Runs in the family.”

Katie frowned.  “No not that.  He does fly really well.  Better than I did as a firstie.”  She hesitated, choosing her words very carefully.  “You know what my mum does right?”

“She’s a Medi-Witch right?  Works with kids?”

Katie nodded.  “She’s shared some things with me before.  Things I don’t like hearing about a lot cause it’s really sad.  Kids who are…hurt.”

It was Angelina’s turn to frown.  “You think?  No way!  Harry is The Boy-Who-Lived.  No one would want to hurt him.  Doesn’t he live with family?”

“Yeah.  Muggles, but family.”

Angelina shook her head.  “I think you’re just looking too far into things.  Yeah he’s a scrawny kid but that doesn’t mean it’s anything bad.”

“I really hope so,” Katie said. 

She really did.  She had a feeling that she was wrong though.