Hogwarts and the Wolf in the Fold

Voldemort puts a spy into Hogwarts.
Set during the year of the Half-blood Prince.

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29. The Cup is Lost

 The Cup is Lost

David awoke the next morning, feeling completely exhausted. The combinations of emotions that he was feeling at that moment were tumbling over in his mind and he was finding it hard to handle.
The Dark Lord had told him to stay away from Susan, but he couldn’t do that. He also knew that if he didn’t do what he had been told by the Dark Lord, then things might go very badly for him.
He had this deep admiration for the Dark Lord and a desperation to make him happy and to receive his praise, but there was a part of David’s mind that wanted to disobey.
He had to think about it properly, but it was just too complicated. He decided to continue as things were and to see how it all turned out later. He might find it easier to make the hard choices when school had finished for the summer.
When he went down to breakfast and Susan came over to give him a hug, he looked at her with sadness in his eyes.
“Hey, cookie. What’s the matter? You look like you dropped a golden snitch.” She said and stroked his hair.
David tried a half smile.
“Just feeling off again.” He mumbled.
Susan served him a plate of sausages and reassured him that he would get over this homesickness.
Biggins was sitting nearby and spoke to everyone there.
“Last practice before the final quidditch match of the season for us.” He said.
David suddenly perked up a little at this.
“David. How do you fancy practicing with the team tonight?”
“Sure thing.” Said David and suddenly he felt happy again.
Zacharias Smith leaned around Biggins and added.
“He means, do you want to practice ‘for’ the team? Debbie Bolger has got a bout of Hippogriff ‘Itch’ and she can’t hold her broomstick properly, so we are a chaser down.”
“You mean you might want me to play for Hufflepuff against Slytherin?” Asked David excitedly.
“There’s no ‘might’ about it, mate. I watched you closely at the last game practice and I think you’re good enough.”
“Fantastic!” David exclaimed.
“Ooh, brilliant. Well done, David.” Said Susan and threw her arms around his neck.
In that instance, all memory of the night before dissolved away and David’s mind became clear again. He had something really exciting to look forward to.
The day flew by and David’s thought was all about the practice.
That night, he had one of the best times of his life, playing as a chaser for the Hufflepuff team against their practice opponents.
David scored four goals and set up a dozen others for Zacharias Smith and Cadwallader. The three of them were unstoppable.
“That cup’s as good as in the bag.” Said Smith and he clapped David on the back.
The cheers for the team rang out, as they returned to the Hufflepuff common room and everyone talked excitedly about the prospect of lifting the quidditch cup.
“Let’s do this for the memory of Cedric Diggory.” Said Biggins and he raised a glass of pumpkin juice up to a portrait of a handsome young man, on the wall of the common room.
Everyone turned to the painting and raised their glasses in unison.
“Cedric.” They called together.
On the morning of the quidditch match, David had butterflies in his stomach. It didn’t stop him eating a bowl of porridge laced with honey though. He looked over at the Slytherin table and heard the jeers and catcalling of their opponents.
He looked over at the Gryffindor table and noticed that Harry Potter was watching him. He gulped down a mouthful of porridge, as Harry gave him the ‘thumbs up’. David smiled wanly and returned the gesture.
‘I bet he wants us to lose.’ David thought to himself. ‘If we win today, then Gryffindor will have no real chance of overtaking us.’
Soon, it was time to go down to the quidditch pitch and play. David walked down with Susan, who carried his broomstick for him. She kept up a stream of encouragement and soon her words became lost in the noise coming out from the stadium.
David joined the rest of the team in the changing room and they went over last-minute tactics and preparations. Zacharias was leaving nothing to chance.
“Slytherin are playing their reserve seeker again, so it looks like they’ve given up on the championship and are not going to put in much of an effort. So, let’s go out there and make it three wins out of three for Hufflepuff.” He exhorted.
“Hufflepuff!” They all chanted and made their way out onto the pitch.
David was astounded at the level of noise coming from the stands. It seemed that all the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws were shouting for Slytherin, though it must have hurt them to do so
It was an important match for all of the teams involved and the outcome would affect Ravenclaw in particular. Next to Gryffindor, they would be second favourites to lift the trophy, if Hufflepuff won today. They had beaten Slytherin themselves, following their thrashing by Gryffindor in the opening match of the season and they could still grab the cup from Hufflepuff’s grasp if the final two results went their way.
Madam Hooch was the referee and she could hardly be heard above the raucous noise surrounding them.
“Play well and play fair.” She shouted through the din and she threw the quaffle up into the air.
 Immediately, Smith looped down and grabbed it. He hurled it skywards towards Cadwallader, as a Slytherin beater blasted one of the bludgers at him.
Meanwhile, David turned and headed out to the right-hand side of the pitch. He looked backwards and saw Patsy Digweed, the Hufflepuff seeker zooming upwards.
Cadwallader had seen David making space for himself and he passed the quaffle over to him. David took the quaffle and sped forwards towards the Slytherin goal.
His broomstick was borrowed from Debbie, who was sitting next to Susan in the stands and she cheered loudly. The Cleansweep Eleven wasn’t a bad broomstick, in David’s opinion. It handled just as well as any that Davide Bertillon had flown before.
As he approached the Slytherin keeper, David feinted left and then swerved right. He hurled the quaffle with all of his might at the gap between keeper and hoop rim. It went in!
“Goal!” Screamed the Hufflepuffs and David swooped back around towards the centre.
As he zoomed along, he passed a small black object that suddenly sped up and flew alongside him.
“Dusty!” David called out.
“What are you doing here?”
The bird caw-ed back at him and did a little loop-the-loop. David laughed out loud with joy.
“Go and join Susan in the stands. You can watch from there.”
The bird tipped a black wing in acknowledgement and then disappeared into the distance.
The game continued and the Hufflepuffs outplayed Slytherin in every area of the pitch. They scored again and again, taking the score up to one hundred and fifty points versus sixty to Slytherin.
David had completed a hat-trick of goals within the first ten minutes of the game and then turned provider to Smith and Cadwallader. He was just beginning to relax and think about how many more goals he might score, when disaster struck.
There was a commotion at the far end of the pitch from where David was hovering and then Madam Hooch blew a long blast on her whistle to indicate that the match was over. Slytherin had caught the golden snitch.
Hufflepuff had lost the game. After playing so well and dominating the game completely, the victory had been snatched away from them by the Slytherin seeker.
David floated down to the pitch in a daze of disbelief. The other team members were looking at each other, as the Slytherin fans went wild and the team in green and black piled themselves upon their seeker.
David slouched back to the changing room with the others, where Zacharias Smith told them that it wasn’t so bad and that the points difference between them and Gryffindor was still three hundred in Hufflepuff’s favour.
Still, it was a bitter defeat for David to take in his first real quidditch match. He’d played well, but it wasn’t enough to win the match.
Back at the dinner table that night, Susan and the other Hufflepuffs commiserated with the team, but now David was beginning to feel angry. He felt cheated that they had scored all those goals but had lost the game just because the Slytherins had caught the snitch.
“Oh go away, will you.” David spat at Susan.
“You just don’t understand, do you?”
“David?” She cried.
“What’s the matter? What have I said?”
“Just go away and leave me alone.” He said bitterly and got up and left the table, his plate of pasta still steaming.
He didn’t feel like eating and he didn’t feel like being patronised by Susan. The poison of the Dark Lord’s words was floating around in his mind now. He wanted revenge and he wanted to show the Dark Lord that he could achieve his tasks.
For the rest of the week Susan avoided David and in their classes, she sat on the other side of Hannah Abbot. They didn’t speak to each other at all.
In the middle of the week there was an unexpected boost to the morale of the Hufflepuff quidditch team. Harry Potter, the seeker for the Gryffindor team had been excluded from the final match of the season.
He had attacked another student, Draco Malfoy, in one of the bathrooms. The story was going around that Potter had tried to kill Malfoy and that the Slytherin had only survived because one of the Professors had been passing at the time and had saved his life.
The story had been related to the goggling Hufflepuffs by the fat friar, who had heard it from another ghost by the name of ‘moaning’ Myrtle.
David couldn’t believe that Potter would really attempt to kill another student, but it was strange how he had also been trailing him in his invisibility cloak for some time before this incident.
He needed to tail Potter some more and listen in on his conversations.
He could use the excuse of pretending to be locked up in his room and avoiding Susan, as a cover to allow him to enter Dusty and roam about the castle looking for Potter.
Susan did try to catch David’s eye on one or two occasions in class, but he determinedly avoided her gaze. It was the only plan he had and he was going to stick to it. He decided to begin his campaign at the weekend, after the last quidditch match of the season.
On Saturday, David met up with Ernie Macmillan, Zacharias Smith and the other quidditch team players. They were going to watch the match between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, then celebrate together after the match.
Professor Sprout had reluctantly arranged for the Hogwarts house-elves to provide a buffet supper for the Hufflepuffs in their common room.
“I don’t want to put a jinx on us, by preparing a victory supper before we’ve got the cup in our hands.” She had said, but the Hufflepuffs had badgered her until she gave in and agreed.
“Don’t count your dragons before they are hatched.” She had also admonished, but her warnings fell on deaf ears.
The whole of Hufflepuff house was going down to the stadium to watch, as were nearly all of the other students. The odds were that Hufflepuff would win the cup, no matter which of the two teams won today.
Inside the stadium, the atmosphere was one of celebration by the Hufflepuffs and raucous support by the Gryffindors. The weather was warm and fine. The sun was shining brightly, but a cloudy haze kept the full heat of it away from them.
“We’re going to win the cup, we’re going to win the cup!” Sang the Hufflepuffs and they firmly believed it.
“Who’s playing seeker for Gryffindor?” David shouted to Ernie, over the din.
“Ginny Weasley, Potter’s new girlfriend.” Ernie roared back.
As the two teams walked out to the pitch, David saw that the Gryffindors were being led out by the red-haired girl he had seen on many occasions before.
The noise level increased so much that David could hear neither the whistle from Madam Hooch, nor the commentary. He had no idea who the commentator was, boy or girl.
Within two minutes, Gryffindor scored. Ginny Weasley passed two opponents and wrong-broomed the keeper with ease. Things got worse and more ominous for the Hufflepuffs when Gryffindor scored three more goals in ten minutes.
The Gryffindors were going crazy with excitement, but the Hufflepuffs were looking at each other non-plussed. Surely, Gryffindor couldn’t pull off a miracle and deny Hufflepuff the cup?
The score was seventy to nil before Ravenclaw finally got their act together and scored a couple of goals in reply. However, this seemed to drive the Gryffindor team to further heights of good play.
Again and again they scored. The Hufflepuffs groaned as loudly as the Ravenclaws, as each quaffle passed through a goal hoop.
One hundred and fifty points to forty, was the score when Gryffindor began to tire and Ravenclaw began their comeback.
Once, twice, three times they scored in succession. Then the two teams began to trade goals, each scoring one after the other. They were slugging it out like two heavyweight boxers.
The crowd was up on its feet again, Gryffindors screaming and bellowing, urging their team on. They were still outscoring the Ravenclaws and slowly opening up the gap in the scoreline.
The score was three hundred points to one hundred and forty, in Gryffindor’s favour. Then, there was a sudden intake of breath from everyone in the stadium.
Ginny Weasley was dropping from the sky, like a bolt of lightning. The Ravenclaw seeker was right behind her, tearing through the air and desperate to get ahead.
A glint of gold flashed in front of them and the pair were almost side by side. The Ravenclaw seeker had caught up. Was almost ahead, but they were nearly at ground level now.
“Ye-e-es!!!” Screamed the Gryffindors.
David looked around at his fellow Hufflepuffs in disbelief.
“Four hundred and fifty to one hundred and forty. Three hundred and ten points difference.” Moaned Ernie.
“They did it! They’ve got the cup.”
It was a sad and doleful affair, back in the Hufflepuff common room. Nobody felt like eating. David felt empty inside and not even angry.
He looked up to see Susan coming towards him and he looked at her, his mind blank. She put her arms around him and lay her head on his shoulder. He couldn’t think of anything to say except.
“Sorry.”
She looked up and smiled at him, then closed her eyes and cuddled up closer. David put his arm around her and leaned his head against hers.
The scent of her hair and the warmth of her touch melted his heart again. How could he be angry with her? Was he trying to protect her, after what he had heard from the Dark Lord?
“Can we just have a few days in the week where we can do stuff on our own, instead of being together all the time?” He asked.
He felt Susan tense up a little, but then she relaxed.
“Do you want us to split up?” She said quietly.
“No.” David replied softly.
“I just need a little space sometimes.”
“You promise you’re not going to finish with me?” She said nervously.
“I promise.” He said.
“And to prove it I’ll take you for lunch, the next time we go to Hogsmeade.”
“I thought that you might have met someone else. Another girl?” Susan asked.
David grinned.
“Nothing like that. I’m completely under your spell.”
“Good.” She said.
“I wouldn’t like to have to feed you with a love potion or two.”
She grinned wickedly at him and they both laughed.

 

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