Jake Morent

The Fruits of Victory

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"Where are you taking me?" Jake asked again, his vision completely black. The blonde-haired boy's head moved around, squinting for clues, even though he could see nothing. "Can I look now?" 

 

It was just before lunch one Saturday morning when Grace had found Jake drawing in the common room, in one of his usual spots, and told him that she had something to show him. Without waiting for an answer, she'd tied the blindfold on and took his arm. Then off they'd went, though to where Jake had no idea. Normally Jake liked to know where he was going, or what was going to happen. Sometimes he got nervous when he wasn't sure what was coming next. It was different with Grace though. Jake trusted her surprises. It was weird, but he knew that whatever Grace was going to show him, it was going to be something good, probably something great by the sound of her voice. Still, he couldn't help but wonder - the curiosity was killing him!

 

Maybe it was something to do with Snowball or something. Like maybe she'd made something for him? That would be a nice surprise. But they were going down, not up. Jake walked gingerly - the stairways were hard enough to manage with your eyes open, with the trick stairs and all - but with Grace as his seeing-eye-dog he was pretty sure that they'd now made their way down a hall. The sounds of the other students had faded - it was just them now. Where had Grace taken him? 

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"It's a surprise," Grace said giggling. She'd come prepared with the blindfold, even though a blinding hex would have been a hundred times easier. Somehow it seemed more playful and Jake-like to do it the old-fashioned muggle way, like playing that game he'd told her about with the donkey's butt. 

 

"Careful. Watch your step," Grace said, taking Jake's arm and actively steering him on the stone steps on the way to their destination. This adventure reminded her forcefully of first year when she had decided to surprise Jake with a trip to the owlery. Jake had been so little then. They both had, but Jake especially had been little and frightened and absolutely clueless about the magical world. It had been cute, but sad too, though in retrospect Grace realized how much she'd enjoyed the experience of being the first one to show him everything.

 

Today was different. 

 

"Watch it. Trick step," Grace said throwing an arm around him and forcefully pulling the larger boy past it. Jake wasn't tiny any weak any more for one thing. Sure, she could probably still wrestle him into submission if she had to, but at least in part because he'd let her. The sad truth was, her "little boy" wasn't little any more.

 

"Okay, almost there," Grace said, opening a door and ushering him in. The room was empty, which pleased her. She nudged Jake into place with the directive to "stand there" and "No. Hold still. Stop wiggling."

 

She stood behind him and repositioned him, aiming his head in the right direction, directly toward the proper trophy case before pulling away the blindfold.

 

"Tada!" She said. 

 

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It wasn't anything for Snowball, nor was it anything that Jake would have imagined or guessed. The blindfold left his eyes, and then the light flooded in, filling his visions with spots like he'd just been hit with a sparkler spell. As Jake's vision cleared there was the squint of confusion, and then the flicker of recognition. And then Jake did nothing but stare.

 

"Wow...." Jake said simply. It was all he could manage. 

 

Life was full of moments, some of them fleeting. There were wonderful childhood evenings spent giggling in the common room with Grace that would fade away, important conversations lost forever to time. As day after day went by, other memories etched their permanent place in a lifelong story. Happy ones, like the Christmas morning he finally got his pet owl. Horrific ones, like that fateful afternoon in Diagon Alley that haunted his nightmares and kept him always in its grip.

 

And then there were proud ones, like the first time that Jake Morent had ever seen his name on a trophy. 

 

"Wow," the boy repeated again. He was unaware of just how much time had passed, his body motionless, his mouth agape. His eyes drank in the sight, as if it would be gone if he were to even blink. And maybe it would...The golden trophy shimmered in the light, like a spell radiating off of its wand, dancing in the reflection of Jake's shimmering pupils.

 

Jake knew of course that he had won the tournament. The whole day had been such a blur though that it almost sometimes felt like a dream. He could remember everything that had happened, and yet it was so distant that it barely felt real. But this...this was right here. It was something he could see and breathe. Something he could touch. 

 

And so he did. Jake walked forward, the trophy case having been opened, and gently he lay his hand on the golden cup. He delicately ran his fingers over his name, etched into Hogwarts history. And he smiled.

 

The hall was adorned with the names of students long come and gone. Winners and champions and every form of special achiever that had ever stepped foot inside these walls. And Jake's name would be here too, for generations of Hogwarts students to see, until one day two kids like Jake and Grace themselves would walk by and look at it and know that that was the name of a champion. And though usually Jake didn't like attention he found that this time he didn't mind. 

 

If only Abigail Stancil was here now to see this. She wouldn't even believe it until she saw the trophy probably. But then she'd have no choice. He thought of everybody who used to call him weak his whole life - who STILL did. Well maybe they thought that he couldn't do anything. But he could. This was proof if anything was. 

 

"My mum and dad would be so proud of me," Jake mumbled, his eyes still fixed forward. He had told them everything of course, in great detail, after he had won. But he had a feeling they would like seeing this every bit as much as he did. Well...maybe they couldnt be here with him now, but he had the next best thing. 
 

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Grace grinned at Jake's gobsmacked expression. Winning a tournament would be cool for anyone and of course Grace had known how much it meant to him last year, but she also didn't think that Jake had fully take in the fact and incorporated it into his personality. Yes, there were times she could get him reflecting, but she was pretty sure that most of the time Jake forgot and thought of himself as just Jake, the odd man out. The last chosen, etc. 

 

"Of course, they are," Grace said encouragingly, changing the tense. "Anyone would be. I'm proud of you!"

 

She smiled at how reverently he was touching the gold plate. They'd have to polish it after most likely, but for now it didn't matter. 

 

"They normally keep that locked up, but as long as it's open I thought we should get your picture holding it. I got a camera. We can snap some and send one back to your folks if you like." she suggested. "Whaddya think?"

 

 

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Jake could feel his face flushing at Grace's praise, but it was a happy kind of flushing that he didn't want to stop. Was this what Silas felt like when he played Quidditch? They had won the cup once, Jake remembered. He had sometimes used to wonder what it would feel like to be a winner - like when he and Grace had wrote that phony note to Columbia about him being a Quidditch star. The feeling was worth the wait. Grace and Silas had trophies here somewhere too, and Jake's would be there with them for eternity.  

 

 

"They normally keep that locked up, but as long as it's open I thought we should get your picture holding it. I got a camera. We can snap some and send one back to your folks if you like. Whaddya think?"

 

"O-oh...really, can we? Do ya think we're allowed?" Jake asked, turning towards Grace for the first time since the blindfold had come off. Touching the trophy was one thing, but removing it from its place felt wrong somehow. This seemed like a sacred room where you weren't supposed to mess with the things inside. Jake felt uneasy at the idea, but at the thought of having something to send home to his parents, Jake shook his head, reaching a decision. "Okay let's do it, we'll be fast."
 

Jake reached out gingerly to take the trophy from its spot, his fingers hovering inches away for a moment before he grabbed it. Awkwardly he fumbled with the heavy object to find the right way to hold it. But all trace of unease went away as Jake held the trophy close to his body and turned to smile towards his friend, a genuine and bright look that he didn't have to fake. His grin got wider when the camera came out, as the boy stood up straight and posed for Grace and for what would soon be his parents on the other end. A proud winner's pose.

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Grace shrugged. "I dunno why not," she answered. The question of whether they were allowed seemed beside the point now that they were standing there with an open glass case and the trophy already in Jake's hands. 

 

"Okay, remember you're a champion and strike a heroic looking pose," Grace directed. " Hold it up higher and say 'kneazle' Good. Now we want a serious one. No teeth. Very manly," she said, snapping when he laughed. She giggled at the results in the viewfinder. "Okay. For real this time."

 

After getting a number of poses both dignified and silly she handed jake the camera to scroll through. "Whadya think? One of those good enough?" she asked.

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When Jake had been younger he hadn't really liked having his picture taken. You always had to sit there for a really long time, and the boy had always gotten restless before too long. But right now he could have taken pictures for hours. Jake enjoyed his time in the limelight - the trophy-winner, the center of attention and pride - as he followed Grace's instructions and watched her snap shot after shot. His toothy grin appeared more often than not in the pictures, no matter how many times he tried to strike a manly pose, and repeated whatever silliness Grace told him to. 

 

"Okay, let's put it back," Jake said finally, delicately placing the trophy back down, and making sure it was perfectly straight and steady. 

 

Then he went to Grace and began to flick through the pictures, looking at them with her, and laughing together at the funny ones. As the pictures rolled by, Jake was struck by the look in his eye. It was weird...Jake had seen many pictures of himself over the years, but he'd never seen that look on his own face before. The boy in the picture was so...happy. He'd been happy before of course, but this was something different somehow. "This one! This one's perfect," he said, picking the one that had the biggest smile. His parents were gonna love it.

"Thanks for taking me here," Jake said, a few moments later, sitting down against the wall and looking at Grace. "You're the best at surprises." he said with a smile. "Thanks for everything I guess...I mean I would never have gotten that if it wasn't for you, ya know...'Member when we first started? I mean it feels like forever ago, but I still remember..." 

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Grace smiled indulgently at how carefully Jake put the trophy away, as if it were made of glass and not gold. Then she watched over his shoulder as he viewed the pictures, laughing with him and when they came to a funny one.

 

"Yeah, that's a great one," Grace agreed. "I bet they put that one on the refrigerator, or maybe even a frame."  

 

She joined him against the wall, sitting close so that their legs touched. "You're welcome," she replied to his thanks, blushing and making a dismissive swipe in the air when he said he couldn't have done it without her. She was happy he changed the subject, drawing her attention instead to the beginning,

 

"What? You mean the teddies?" Grace asked. "How could I forget? You were deadly with a plushy toy," she teased. " She giggled, bumping shoulders. "It was fun," she concluded. "I've enjoyed it... Training... everything." She smiled shyly. 

 

"Not that we can't still train," she added, lest she get too nostalgic. "I wish we were on the same tournament team, but even if we aren't we could still work together in the beginning stages, right?".


Edited by Grace Foster

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"Mr. Meow-Meow!" Jake recalled excitedly, at the reminder of that old friend, blushing only a little when Grace looked at him in amusement. "You never remembered their names," he said with a smile, giggling a bit as he gently bumped her back. 

 

"I didn't even know one thing about magic then. I couldn't do like anything at first." Jake said, thinking back to a time when he'd been nothing but a scared little boy in a giant school filled with wonders and dangers alike. Wow that had been a long time ago...From that to this...Jake felt a pang of something that he didn't really know how to describe. He was happy when Grace talked softly about how fun it was, and Jake wondered if Grace knew how much he felt the same way. And what it had felt like back then having somebody to spend time with..."Yeah. I've enjoyed it too. All of it." he said quietly.

 

It was nice sitting there like this. It had always been comforting to Jake...to be able to be close to somebody that you called a friend. Even just sitting here in the trophy room, looking at the culmination of all those years of training. The closeness was nice, and the quiet was nice. Grace's mood shifted as she began to talk about the tournament, though Jake still watched the trophy. 

 

The tournament...Jake had meant to tell Grace all along that he wasn't gonna do it. He just had to find the courage to tell Professor James or Professor Gawkrodger. There HAD to be a way out. But as Jake thought about the things that the other kids had said to him, and watched the way that the victorious boy on the trophy held his wand high and proud, Jake knew that quitting wasn't gonna be an option. That's what everybody thought he was gonna do. But they were all gonna be wrong. 

 

"Right," he said finally, the thought making him feel better about where they'd been put.  "I hope so...I really wish you were on my team, I don't wanna fight you. I bet we'd be a good team." Then, grinning cheekily he added, "Plus...I betcha you're gonna want me on your team since I'm a champion and all." He couldn't help it. 

 

Though Grace had changed the subject, Jake thoughts drifted back to all they'd been through through the years. Maybe it was because so MUCH had changed since then... 

 

"I wonder what would have happened if Abi never made me duel that time...ya know, that time we met each other," Jake remarked quietly. "It's weird 'cause um...well...you know I didn't ever really have any friends before...before I met you. I never even used to be able to imagine having friends. But now I can't imagine what its like to NOT have friends..." Jake said, thinking of all the people at Hogwarts that he cared about. 
 
“A lot's changed. I dunno what it would be like if things happened different. But I’m really happy Abi made me duel. Not just 'cause of the trophy. 'Cause you’re my best friend and I love you.” Jake said, putting his arms around Grace and snuggling into her shoulder for a moment. Then he sat back up, suddenly feeling a little bit shy. "This is a good picture," he mumbled, looking down at it.

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"Mr. Meow-Meow! Right!" Grace exclaimed. "I can't believe you remember that!" Grace could not even remember the name of the little girl whose bear it was, only that she was no longer at Hogwarts. She fell silent, listening to Jake reminisce and generally becoming wistful for their childhood, only a few short years ago.

 

When the conversation turned, Grace said, "maybe it isn't that sort of tourney. Maybe we all compete but don't actually fight each other. We could be fighting... I dunno, crocodiles," she suggested. "Only surely Gawkrodger likes his crocodiles too much to risk us hurting them." She rolled her eyes at the suggestion that she'd want a champion on her team. "That's too right," she agreed. "Your team has too many champions as it is."

 

"I wonder what would have happened if Abi never made me duel that time...ya know, that time we met each other." 

 

"Gosh, I dunno," Grace said thoughtfully. She figured she would have met Jake  eventually, though he was right, without the peril in the chamber and Jake's extreme reaction to it, she might not have really noticed him for a while, or made training him her mission. 

"I can't believe you wouldn'a had any friends," Grace said seriously, "just...it woulda be different."

 

"I dunno what it would be like if things happened different. But I’m really happy Abi made me duel. Not just 'cause of the trophy. 'Cause you’re my best friend and I love you.”

 

Jake surprised her with a sudden hug and a snuggle. Her eyes opened wider, since Jake was not normally so demonstrative, but she enjoyed it and reciprocated. "I, uh, I love you too," she said shyly. She had no doubt that it was true, but it felt funny to say it. She was a bit more comfortable when the overwhelming sentiment had passed and Jake was mumbling into his hands again.

 

Grace laughed. "That's because it makes you look like a bloody hero," she said of the picture. "We should print it out and then go up to the owlery and see if we can find Snowball to deliver it," she suggested. "Unless you and your trophy need some alone time together." She grinned cheekily. "I can wait outside if you want to snog it."

 

 

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Jake knew that they really didn't have to say that stuff out loud to know that it was true. Jake knew, and Grace knew, and maybe that was all that mattered. Maybe the fact that they both knew it and didn't have to ever say it was part of what made things mean even MORE. But hearing it was nice anyways...and maybe saying it was sort of nice too. Grace's words brought a warm and pleasant feeling that stuck inside him and made him feel...secure, and maybe better than he wanted to admit. And though he wouldn't take anything back, Jake was happy when the attention went back to the picture. 

 

"I can wait outside if you want to snog it."

 

"H-huh?! Why would I---" Jake blurted out, pausing as he saw the twinkle in Grace's eye. "Yeah, yeah, very funny..." he said, blushing but smiling. Maybe it was a LITTLE funny.  "Maybe you should snog it, I bet you never snogged a champion before," Jake shot back, clambering back to his feet. 

 

With the mood lightened, Jake stretched. "Cmon, let's go, I can't wait for Snowball to see it too," he said, motioning to Grace. The Gryffindor boy seemed to stand a little taller now than he had before he came in. Though they joked, Jake did pause to take one last look at the trophy before he walked away. He almost didn't want to leave it...But he'd see it again. It'd still be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and on and on for forever after that. 

 

 

The End 

 

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