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Fenella Campbell

No going to the Pitch today

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Fenella Campbell

Set in week 2-3 of term

 

A seemingly random conversation about Quidditch one day in their first year had been the start of a friendship between the tough, tall Slytherin boy and the shy, quiet muggleborn Hufflepuff girl. Today, as they traipsed through the hallways of Hogwarts, the conversation was still the same.

 

It was a Saturday afternoon and Fenella was keen to get some flying practice in so that she could try out for the Hufflepuff team. She’d never seen a game before, she hadn’t done too well in flying class the previous year, and she still hadn’t been back to the pitch since well we all know when. But she so badly wanted to be part of a team and playing sport like she’d spent so much of her pre-magic life doing that she was willing to go in blindly and just have a go at it.

 

Thankfully she wouldn’t have to. 

 

“What if we just practice on the lawn? Do you think we’d be allowed?” She asked Dale. They’d been mulling it over since the second floor and where now up near the sixth or seventh maybe. The pitch still made her nervous, and even though her classmate had offered to help her improve her flying and teach her the game, she wasn’t in a hurry to go back there anytime soon. “What if we just jumped out of a window and flew around the castle?” 

 

Fenella knew she would have to face the pitch eventually. Perhaps that’s why she’d kept climbing the stairs higher and higher up the castle as they talked - his chances of getting her to go out the castle doors over the lawn and to the pitch were becoming less likely with every step they climbed. Sorry Dale, no going to the pitch today.

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Dale McQueen-Trengrove

"That's fine for a little while," he mulled over the possibilities, "but that will only help with the flying aspect and I think you need to learn how to shoot on the hoops for example, or dodge bludgers if you are actually going to make the team. I mean there's a lot of people like me and played in the junior quidditch leagues. So they'll have played in actual games, and it'll be those people you're competing against." He frowned as he paced back and forth on the floor they were on. "We really need something that is going to mimic the pitch as best as possible without actually being the pitch." But there was no way to make that happen. 

 

"But we can just jump out a window today either. We need brooms." And his broom was in the shed by the pitch where he always kept it. He was not the type to bring it up to the dorm every night. It wasn't the top of the line brooms or else he probably would have. 

 

"I guess we can talk basics for now, but you'll need to start doing this soon. If only I could invent some place to practice. Somewhere secret but that had hoops, a quaffle, brooms, etc already right where we needed them." As he talked, he was also thinking of what they really needed and moving back and forth on the same spot in the corridor. He looked a little agitated at times and didn't even notice that a random door had appeared where there had not been one before. He was too busy thinking and as usual, wasn't really paying attention to what was going on around him. "I mean maybe if -" he started to say, but it was more to himself than it was to Fenella. 

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Fenella Campbell

Fenella was being difficult and she knew it. Surely by now she could just do it, she could walk on out there and it would be ok. She would ... enter ... and grab a broom ... and ... but it wouldn’t be the same as last time. Everyone else had done it, they’d all been back down to the pitch to watch or play in games .... But what if it happened again? 

 

By now she’d stopped walking and was leaning back on the brick facades of one of the castles many archways. The argument she was having with herself was exhausting and as they had reached a dead end corridor she figured they’d probably have to start making their way back down the castle soon. Dale was still walking though, pacing backwards and forwards talking out loud and trying to work out a way he could help her. He really was a good friend. But they’d been over these same points on just about every floor of the castle now and no matter how many times they thought about it or talked about it they were yet to find an answer.

 

She slid down the wall and sat herself on the ground, raising her knees where her elbows now sat and her head in hands. This was so frustrating! Fenella had no more words left. Every idea or thought she presented Dale he had knocked back  with valid reasons for why they wouldn’t work. It was looking more and more like she was just going to have to do it. Fenella Campbell you will be brave and you will return to the Quidditch Pitch!

 

Ready to concede to the Slytherin’s “you’ll need to start doing this soon” speech, Fenella lifter her head from her hands and ....

 

”Hey Dale!” She stood up, here eyes not moving from a spot on the wall in front of her. She was pretty sure she had his attention but he was standing at the edge of her periphery and she didn’t want to move her eyes away from the door that had just appeared in the wall in front of them.

 

”That wasn’t there a minute a go, was it?” She pointed, but her eyes remained fixed on the door.

 

“Shall we go in?”

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Dale McQueen-Trengrove

He gave her a momentarily blank stare as Fenella shouted over to him about something. Then he saw it. A door had appeared in the middle of the wall which was the strangest thing, but then again, this was Hogwarts and there was magic everywhere so maybe it wasn’t so strange. It also might not have been so strange to him had he cracked open a book once in awhile but that was definitely not his style. 

 

“How, how did that get there?” He stammered confused as he just looked at the door some more trying to figure out some puzzle — one that he’d probably never be able to solve. 

 

“I guess?” He said. “If you want to. Dunno how this is going to help us find a place to practice —“ As he said those words though he was pushing it open and then nearly choked on himself as he had to literally eat his words. 

 

What the giant f—. 

 

The door had led them to a room, but not just any room. It was basically a realistic replica of one half of a Quidditch pitch, complete with golden hoops on the end. He even noticed there were brooms lying there - one each for him and Fenella along with a box that he was sure if he opened it, would contain bludgers, the snitch, and the quaffle. He also saw another corner of the room that was stuffed with every book they could possibly need on Quidditch and even a first aid kit in case one of the bludgers went awry or something. in short, everything they needed to practice was right here — and they didn’t need to go to the pitch where the night of the werewolves would haunt them again. 

 

“Er, what just happened?” He blinked as he gave Fenella an astonished stare. Translation: magic is amazing but seriously what? what is this room? 

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Fenella Campbell

Slowly but surely Fenella was learning that in the magic world one needed to expect the unexpected. This was one of the main takeaways from lessons with Professor Borderline who was equal parts crazy and serious in some weird combination that made the Hufflepuff equal parts like her and dislike her.

 

But this? 

 

Her jaw dropped to the floor. She knew Dale felt that same shock because he stopped mid sentence and for a moment the two of them just stared.

 

There was a field of green grass and blue sky IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CASTLE!!! Even though she was trying to not be so surprised by things, she was failing abysmally at this one. 

 

Fenella took a step inside and bent down to touch the ground and confirmed, “The grass is real.” She walked to the middle of the room/pitch so she could take it all in. It wasn’t a full sized pitch but that didn’t matter because here she could fly and practice and there was no way anything was going to surprise attack them all the way up in the castle like this. There were brooms, books, hoops ...

 

And then it dawned on her. “I know what this is!” 

 

“This is the Room of Requirement! This is the room they used in the battle of Hogwarts and this is how the famous Potter boy and his friends got in to the castle.” 

 

She was more talking aloud than directly to Dale, but she was sure he’d know - they’d spent a few lessons on it in History of Magic last year. But now she turned to him, excited about his discovery, however accidental it was. All previous stress about returning to the pitch had disappeared and there was a feeling of excitement that she was finally going to improve her flying and learn how to play Quidditch. Her smile was beaming from ear to ear and she was almost bouncing with excitement.

 

“This is exactly what you asked for when you were walking around! You found the room and it gave you what you asked for! And now we can practice!”

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Dale McQueen-Trengrove

The grass was real. In fact, everything looked and felt so real. He couldn’t believe it. It was so crazy that something like this could exist even at Hogwarts of all places. There just happened to be a room that had everything that they needed? It seemed too coincidental and unfathomable even though he knew the school was crawling with magic, and probably much of it still to be discovered. He was still in such awe of the room that he wasn’t prepared for when Fenella yelled out that she knew what this room was, startling him. 

 

What she said made zero sense to him either. Dale could only give her a blank stare because of course she had not been paying attention to anything that had happened in History of Magic last year. The room of what? And they used it in the Battle of Hogwarts? 

 

“Uh what?” He repeated feeling quite stupid. “This is the room of what? And Harry Potter . . .” 

 

Although he kind of didn’t care about the significance of the room. The more important thing was that they had somewhere to practice. “Well,” he said, picking up a broom and holding it. “I guess it doesn’t really matter what the room is called. Let’s get started.” 

 

And with that he started kicking off and letting the broom hover somewhere near the goals. 

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Fenella Campbell

Whether Dale was paying attention or not was lost on Fenella because the discovery of the Room of Requirement was a far bigger deal than anything else in this moment of time. She’d been looking for something else when she borrowed Hogwarts; a History from the library, some sort of information that showed the school had a basketball court or gymnasium at some time, but apparently it was Quidditch, duelling or bust at this place and she missed having the opportunity to play a team sport. Until now, that is.

 

The Slytherin seemed very quick to pick up a broom and leap into the air. His confidence was clear and hers well … she kicked off a little shaky and hovered about 5 feet off the ground. She hoped this might be just like riding a bicycle and took a minute or two to work out her weight distribution and how to sit comfortably. 

 

The Room of Requirement had already provided in more ways than she could imagine before she realised the broom she was hovering on was probably the best broom she’d ever been on. She slowly made her way over to Dale and the hoops, noticing how smooth the change of direction and speed was and how the broom almost intuitively knew where she wanted to go and what she wanted it to do. There would be no embarrassing accidental 360 spins today! 

 

Fenella gave a small smile as she pulled up the broom next to him. “So far, so good.”

 

Her confidence would grow slowly with time and practice but for now she was ready to work. 

“Teach me everything you know, Professor McQueen!”

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Dale McQueen-Trengrove

Fenella looked good on the broom already. Dale was watching her as she kicked up off the ground and made her way over to him. "You're flying looks great so far," he told her. "Doesn't look like I need to give you any pointers in that regard." He really didn't. But where to start? He had never really coached anyone before. He had coaching in one year of house Quidditch and junior Quidditch leagues though and he figured he could mostly copy from them. He had at least been through all of the basic drills before - chasing, beating, and keeping. Even seeking though he was terrible at it since he wasn't fast enough on the broom.  

 

"Err," he added pausing. "Why don't you go grab the Quaffle and then we can practice some chaser drills where you try and score on me?" If Fenella could score on him she'd definitely be ready considering he was a pretty good keeper in his own right -- and maybe it would give him the practice as well in case he was ever called upon to play his reserve position. "I'll warn you, I'm quite difficult to score on." 

 

He zoomed up towards the hoops in order to get into position and then announced, "Ready! Give me your best shot Campbell!" 

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Fenella Campbell

Dale was being far too kind about her flying but she smiled all the same. 
 

“The quaffle - that’s the red one right?”

 

Just like before, a slight move on the broom and it was like it instinctively  knew what she wanted it to do. Fenella headed back in the direction she came, all the while trying to maintain her balance, speed and descent. She reached the box which contained the balls, and dropped in for a reasonably soft landing. “Just like riding a bike,” she muttered to herself, confirming her earlier thoughts. She grabbed the quaffle and flew back over to the hoops, going a little faster this time and adjusting her balance to compensate for the large ball under her arm. The more she flew the easier it was getting.

 

Fenella was maybe 10 metres in front of Dale when she stopped and hovered. In netball she’d raise her hands over her head and aim the ball over the rim and through the hoop. But these hoops were different, and she was pretty sure that if she tried to stop and shoot there wasn’t a 3 foot penalty or obstruction call in Quidditch. She’d have to be on the move to take a shot. But Dale would be on the move too. Hmmmm. She sat in front of him for a minute, working out her options, sizing up her competition. Dale had asked for her best shot and she didn’t want to disappoint. 
 

She went left, charging at the hoop, then dipped her broom and came back up in front of the middle hoop where she tossed the ball. It was what they called a fake in netball, where you go to throw the the ball one way so the defender is prepared but then throw it the opposite way and they have no chance for a turnover. But did it work? She flew back around to her starting position where she’d been sitting moments earlier.

 

”How was that?” She asked, a little shyly. “Did I score?”

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Dale McQueen-Trengrove

Dale nodded at first and then realized that since they were on brooms, Fenella probably couldn't see it. "Yeah, it's the red," he told her. "The only one not magically enchanted to move on its own." It was almost like a basic muggle ball in some ways. There wasn't anything real special about it, just the indentations and the color. Dale watched her closely as she went down to the trunk to retrieve it and braced himself for the shot that he knew was coming. He always started out in the middle hoop, leaving the sides open. Sometimes it was just a guessing game as to what side would be attacked. It was of course harder with three chasers coming after you, bludgers in the way and all of that. 

 

But drills could be equally as challenging in their own right since the chaser in the drill basically had a free shot at the hoops.  

 

He was this close to missing blocking her first shot but got it just in time. Her fake had caused him to pause momentarily, but his quickness in the position had allowed him to overcome that. "Very close, but not quite," he told her grinning. "But that was very good for a first attempt. I'm impressed. Want to try again?"

 

They'd be moving on to having the bludgers impede things in almost no time at all.  

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Fenella Campbell

“Sure I’ll try again,” she smiled. Oh good, he was impressed! Was she a little disappointed she hadn’t scored on her first try, yes, but she also knew that it would be silly to be too hard on herself during her first ever attempt. Second attempt was a whole new ball game, so to speak. 
 

Don’t let the smile fool you, you wouldn’t know it to look at her, but there was plenty going on in Fenella’s mind right now: 

- score a goal

- don’t let on how competitive you are - Dale is your friend now, but will he be when it comes to game time?

- take it all in and learn as much as you can

- score a goal

 

So a fake hadn’t worked, what else could she try? She had the quaffle in her hands again (I don’t know how it got there, it just did) and she was hovering at the same place she’d started before. If she threw it from here he would easily block so it was clear she’d have to somehow get closer to the hoops. If Dale wasn’t so big she might’ve flown directly at him in a game of chicken, but it was abundantly clear if they collided she’d be the one worse off. Dale was an experienced flyer too, so maybe it was best to just keep flying about the hoops until she saw an opportunity to shoot. Yes, that was what she would do.

 

Fenella took off towards the right then attempted a duck and swerve to avoid her friend, took off up over his head, back to where she came from, circled him thrice before finally throwing the ball in the direction of the hoop closest to her. 
 

“Dizzy yet?” She asked him. “I think I might be,” she continued as she attempted to keep circling him even though the ball was no longer in her hands. 

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Dale McQueen-Trengrove

Teaching Fenella how to play Quidditch was going to be easier than he had expected. In some ways, no a lot of ways, she was a natural at the sport already. At least at the Chaser position. He could never play Chaser (or Seeker) himself -- his abilities were limited in that regard, but he could recognize if someone was going to be good at the position. She certain wasn't the Montagues (yet) but they had grown up on brooms, and their father was a professional Quidditch player. No one could expect to be as good as them -- at least not right off the bat. 

 

He held his breath a bit as he waited for her to try her second attempt. This time, Fenella was trying a tactic that he thought to be the right one -- at least on a keeper like him. He was slower so he was bound to get out of the right position if one had the skills to pull it off. It was easier in a team setting where you had three chasers rather than one on one but he wasn't naive to think he could not be scored on one-on-one. He had in all actuality, been scored on multiple times in a one-on-one setting. But he was better than the other juniors he had played with back home at the position. 

 

Dale's eyes moved with her movements and then he saw her take off the right. He was forced to go there with her -- otherwise, she'd have a clear shot to the goal. But at the last minute, she ducked and swerved and then threw it in the middle hoop something he was too slow to catch though he had tried to pivot fast enough to catch back up in time to block the shot. 

 

He was a bit dizzy from the maneuver. "Nice shot," he complimented her as she kept circling him. "But maybe that was beginner's luck." He gave her a wink and flew down to the crate. "Let's see how well you fare when you have a bludger trying to aim for you." And with that he propped open the crate and released the bludger, upping the ante in their little practice. 

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Fenella Campbell

"Yeah, beginners luck," she smiled. Fenella was sure some of it was, like the flying bit, but the scoring bit well she'd had plenty of practise at that. But it had the right effect and where she felt wobbly at the start, she was now zooming about confidently, even if she was a little dizzy still. 

 

The confidence didn't last long though. 

 

Fenella stopped the circling as Dale flew down to the box, and her eyes opened wide as let a bludger out. It came towards her. Fast. She didn't have one of those bat things in her hand, she wasn't wearing a helmet and it didn't look like it was going to slow down. "Hey!" She ducked to avoid the ball and zoomed towards her friend. Her closest friend. Her biggest friend. The one who could deal with the cannonball issue. She landed the broom with a thud, not caring whether it looked good or not, then ran like her life depended on it. Luckily Fenella could run and she only stopped running once she was behind the Slytherin.

 

"Dale you better stop that bloody thing!" 

 

It was a little bit pathetic, her hiding behind her friend. She held on to the back of his jumper so he couldn't run away or leave her to face the cannon ball on her own - self preservation wasn't a quality only reserved for the Slytherins, but it was currently the only thing on her mind. Conveniently the crate of Quidditch balls wasn't far from the door. The big sturdy door. "I need to make the team, not get myself injured before the season even starts!"

 

That's when she made a break for it. She left the broad shoulders and protection of her friend and made a run for the door. It wasn't a big run, but she was quick and made sure to yank the door open as fast as she could before standing behind it and peeking her head inside just so she could keep an eye on the cannon ball and make sure it wasn't still coming at her. It was clear she wasn't about to step back in to the Room of Requirement until the cannon ball was back in its box, and then because she didn't want to seem to obvious about ditching him she called out, "I'll be in the Great Hall, come and find me for dinner!"  

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Dale McQueen-Trengrove

Okay maybe it had not been a good idea to send out a bludger just yet to up the ante on their practice. He was used to bludgers flying at him all of the time. He had not been prepared for Fenella to freak out. He had figured was just one bludger, so how bad could it really be? But Fenella was scared of the thing. Since he had grown up playing Quidditch, it had been a long time since he had been worried about a bludger. And yes, he had taken a few hard shots, but everything was usually okay in the end. "It's just a bludger!" he insisted not quite sure why Fenella was being overdramatic about the whole thing. Normally he was the drama queen. 

 

"You'll be okay. I've got this," he told her confidently as she hid behind him. He was not prepared for her to make a run for it and he saw her zoom for the door, land her broom and then immediately leave the crazy room they had been which had seemed to expand to allow them to deal with the bludger. It was now also in the business of providing bats for him so that he could deal with the bludger and get it back in the box. 

 

The bludger had chased her but once she had left the room it had come back for him -- the only target left in the room. He heard Fenella call about dinner and he shouted back at her. "I'll find you after I deal with the bludger!" But now he was left with the task of getting the bludger back in the box. Luckily it was something he had done many times before. He found himself zooming towards the brooms, grabbing one and then swinging it hard at the bludger, sending it the other way. That gave him time to zoom towards the box. 

 

Predictably, the bludger followed and Dale waited with baited breath for the perfect timing. He watched at the bludger headed straight towards him. At the last possible second, Dale tackled it and then wrestled it back in the box, strapping it down. Bludgers on the first day of practice was probably not something he'd ever repeat again if someone else ever needed his help with Quidditch. Dale gave a sigh of relief as he shut the box, and then left the room to join Fenella for dinner -- and to apologize for the bludger.

 

fin. ❤️

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