thirteen

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CELESTIA WAS THE MOST NERVOUS she has ever been to date. The morning of the match was here, bright and cold. She couldn't tell if it was because of their game against Gryffindor that day, or if the realisation that they would be going home soon was finallu hitting her.

Pansy noticed her nerves and assured her that they would win. After the two got changed in their dorm, Pansy handed Celestia a badge. In addition to the song that the Slytherins had made the other week, Draco had decided to make badges in the shape of a crown and catchphrase on it: WEASLEY IS OUR KING.

Conversation in the Great Hall was buzzing. It had been over a year since the last Quidditch match, and with the two largest competitors going head-to-head, there was more excitement than usual. Other Slytherins, too, wore the badges that Draco had made.

When Ron Weasley and Harry Potter walked past their table there was an upsurge in noise, most of them waving at Ron and laughing.

Celestia ate as much as she could with the nerves occupying most of her stomach. Not long after that, the Slytherin group made their way down to the pitch. They parted with Pansy as she went to go join the other Slytherins in the stands.

She got changed into the Quidditch robes, tying her hair up in a ponytail that would hopefully hold in the wind. Almost hesitantly, she repinned the crown badge. Then they were sitting down and listening to the pre-match talk as the voices outside grew louder. Soon there were the voices of Slytherins singing the song that they made as they walked to the spectator stands.

"Right, it's time. Good luck, but don't let me down," Duncan said, sparing a glance at his watch.

The Slytherin Quidditch team rose, shouldering their brooms, and walked in a single file out of the changing room. Theo was standing behind her, unsurprisingly having picked up on her nerves, and leaned forward to whisper in her ear.

"You've got this."

It wasn't much, but it was what she needed. She didn't have time to respond before the cheers of the crowd silenced everything.

They stood waiting for their opponents to enter the field. Moments later, they did. The roar from the crowd was deafening, reducing the song about Ron to a muffle. Standing on the pitch, Celestia was reminded of how little public favour the Slytherins had. Draco was the one to catch Harry's eyes and smirk, tapping the crown badge on his chest.

"Captains shake hands," ordered the umpire, Madam Hooch, as Angelina and Duncan reached each other. "Mount your brooms..."

Madam Hooch placed her whistle in her mouth and blew.

The balls were released and the fourteen players shot upward. Blaise zoomed to towards the goal posts in a blink of an eye, and Crabbe sent a poorly aimed Bludger right at Harry.

"And it's Johnson, Johnson with the Quaffle, what a player that girl is, I've been saying it for years but she still won't go out with me—"

"Jordan!" yelled Professor McGonagall.

"Just a fun fact, Professor, adds a bit of interest — and she's ducked Warrington, she's passed Montague, she's — ouch — been hit from behind by a Bludger from Crabbe...Black catches the Quaffle, passes it to Urquhart whose heading back up the pitch and — nice Bludger there from George Weasley, that's a Bludger to the head for Urquhart, he drops the Quaffle, caught by Katie Bell, Katie Bell of Gryffindor reverse passes to Alicia Spinnet and Spinnet's away—"

Lee Jordan's commentary rang through the stadium. Celestia tried to drown out his voice as she focused on the game, aiming to get the Quaffle back to the Slytherins. The wind whistling in her ears and the din of the crowd, all yelling and booing and singing.

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