Gryffindor v. Ravenclaw

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Katrina's POV

It looked like the end of Ron and Hermione's friendship. Each was so angry with the other that Harry and I couldn't see how they'd ever make up.

Ron was enraged that Hermione had never taken Crookshanks's attempts to eat Scabbers seriously, hadn't bothered to keep a close enough watch on him, and was still trying to pretend that Crookshanks was innocent by suggesting that Ron look for Scabbers under all the boys' beds. Hermione, meanwhile, maintained fiercely that Ron had no proof that Crookshanks had eaten Scabbers, that the ginger hairs might have been there since Christmas, and that Ron had been prejudiced against her cat ever since Crookshanks had landed on Ron's head in the Magical Menagerie.

Personally, I was sure that Crookshanks had eaten Scabbers, but was far too busy to feel the need to point this out to Hermione and make her feel any worse than I knew she already felt. It wouldn't end well. Harry, unfortunately, didn't realize this and made the mistake of trying to make her see reason.

"Okay, side with Ron, I knew you would!" she said shrilly. "First the Firebolt, now Scabbers, everything's my fault, isn't it! Just leave me alone, Harry, I've got a lot of work to do!" I shrugged at Harry and went back to my own homework. As I scribbled answers down on the parchment, I struggled to keep my eyes open. A hard elbow to the side jolted me back to reality and I grimaced at Hermione.

"Thanks," I told her as I sat up straighter in my seat and tried to refocus; the words already dancing across the page again.

********************************************

Ron had taken the loss of his rat very hard indeed.

In a last-ditch attempt to cheer Ron up, Harry persuaded him to come along to the Gryffindor team's final practice before the Ravenclaw match, so that he could have a ride on his Firebolt after we'd finished. This did seem to take Ron's mind off Scabbers for a moment ("Great! Can I try and shoot a few goals on it?") so the three of us set off for the Quidditch field together.

Madam Hooch, who was still overseeing Gryffindor practices to keep an eye on Harry and I, was just as impressed with our Firebolts as everyone else had been. She took them in her hands before takeoff and gave us the benefit of her professional opinion.

She examined them for so long that Oliver was forced to step in.

"Er—Madam Hooch? Is it okay if Harry and Kat have their Firebolts back? We need to practice..."

"Oh—right—here you are, then," said Madam Hooch. "I'll sit over here with Weasley..."

She and Ron left the field to sit in the stadium, and the Gryffindor team gathered around Oliver for his final instructions for tomorrow's match.

"Harry, I've just found out who Ravenclaw is playing as Seeker. It's Cho Chang. She's a fourth year, and she's pretty good...I really hoped she wouldn't be fit, she's had some problems with injuries..." Oliver scowled his displeasure that Cho Chang had made a full recovery, then said, "On the other hand, she rides a Comet Two Sixty, which is going to look like a joke next to the Firebolt." He gave our brooms a look of fervent admiration, then said, "Okay, everyone, let's go—"

And at long last, Harry and I mounted our Firebolts, and kicked off from the ground.

It was better than I'd ever dreamed. The Firebolt turned with the lightest touch; it seemed to obey my thoughts rather than my grip; it sped across the field at such speed that the stadium turned into a green-and-gray blur; I turned it so sharply that Oliver, Fred, and George screamed, then dashed off towards the opposing goal hoops. We scrimmaged for a while before Oliver released the snitch and sent Harry after it.

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