Just like in my second year at Hogwarts, I failed to get into a sports team the first time trying out.
I was disappointed.
I wasn't disappointed because I didn't get in, although three people told me that I played well after the rounders tryouts, and that Emily was confident that I was going to get in. But I was disappointed because I might never get the feeling of pride and happiness when I represent my House (or school) ever again in a game of Quidditch (or rounders).
But just like in my second year at Hogwarts, I didn't care that I didn't get into the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. Just because I wasn't on any team didn't mean that I could no longer play Quidditch.
Back in my second year at Hogwarts, the people who didn't make it onto the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, which included me, would play Quidditch together every other Saturday before dinner.
Some of us didn't play the best, but we still got to experience what it felt like to play Quidditch and we had loads of fun.
That was the reason why in my first Quidditch game representing Ravenclaw, during year three, I wasn't even as close to being as nervous as the other new member of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.
It has been a month since I learned that I had in fact not gotten into the team. I had even asked Caroline to read out loud the list of names just in case I had read the list wrong.
For the first time, I wished that I had read it wrong.
But I didn’t.
I didn't start anything like I did back in year two of Hogwarts for all the school rounders team rejects. Instead, I just continued to practice with Emily in our free time.
Once in awhile, people from the school rounders team would join us, which was both good and bad.
Good because then we could actually play a mini match of rounders; bad because then they would always ask the same question when we finish the match. 'Why didn't you get onto the school rounders team?'
And I would always answer back with a simple shrug.
It wasn’t my choice whether I got onto the school rounders team or not. It was Coach Woyan’s decision. Yes, it bothered me that I didn’t get into the school rounders team, but for once, I didn’t really care about rounders or Quidditch.
I had much bigger things to worry about in the Wizarding World. Harry Potter was missing. And without him, there was no hope in defeating He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
If He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is never defeated, and becomes immortal, that would mean that the Wizarding World would never be safe again for a Muggleborn like me. I would have to act like a Muggle for the rest of my life.
I heard some rumors from my occasional letters from my Hogwarts friends that Harry Potter was on the run and was currently hiding in Austria.
Currently, my life pretending to be a Muggle was quite normal. So normal that it was kind of scary.
No one in robes followed me anywhere.
No wizards or witches popped up magically and tried to attack me.
No strange owl, I didn’t recognize, flew to or near my house.
This peacefulness was something that has been bothering me for a while. The day my mother had told me I was not going to Hogwarts was the day I learned about the Muggle-Born Registration Commission.
I had learned from The Quibbler that many Muggleborns were on the run or have already been captured and given the Dementor’s Kiss.
It was strange that I hadn’t been sent any owls telling me that I needed proof of a magical relative, or else I’ll soon become the soulless person my friends sometimes joke I am. And I did not know any relatives who also possessed any magical abilities. My mother was definitely a Muggle, and my father left after my mother was impregnated.
However, my mother told me that in the many years of knowing my father, he had never used any magic, so he was most likely also a Muggle.
I had read somewhere that while at Hogw—
“Are you even listening to me?” asked Caroline worriedly.
“What?” I looked up from the food I had been playing with and dropped the fork onto the lunch tray.
“I asked if you wanted to go to the library after school with me to help me research for science.”
“Oh. Sure that’s fine.”
“Sarah,” started Emily. “You’ve been acting differently the past two weeks. And I know what’s wrong.”
“You do?” How in the name of Merlin did Emily know anything about the Wizarding World?
“Yeah, and you really need to go talk to Coach Woyan about why you didn’t get into the team. It’s obvious it has been bothering you a lot.”
Caroline nodded in agreement to Emily.
“Oh.” Emily’s knowledge was far from my reality. “It’s fine. I don’t really need to go talk to him.”
Not caring about what I just said, Emily continued. “Practice ends at five thirty today, so you and Sarah can come by after going to the library.”
“Cool,” agreed Caroline.
I groaned inside my head. If both Caroline and Emily agreed to do something, they would do almost no matter what to get their goal done.
I had learned that the hard way when I wanted to split off from the group to go to Diagon Alley, but Caroline and Emily had both secretly agreed to never let me leave them at the mall again after I abandoned them to buy my year five charms book from Diagon Alley.
After school, I meet up with Caroline and together we walked to the library. Praying that Caroline just happened to forget that I was supposed to talk to Coach Woyan after rounders practice was over, I went the direction to my house when I finished helping Caroline find research for her research essay.
“Sarah!” called out Caroline as she exited the library and ran down all the stairs to catch up with me. “You’re going the completely wrong direction. The school’s that way.”
Caroline pointed the opposite way I was going and I cursed under my breath.
Caroline had remembered something for once.
“Do I have to go?” I asked. “Can’t I just go ask Coach Woyan tomorrow?”
Or how about never?
Shaking her head, Caroline grabbed my arm and yelled, “Come on!” as she dragged me most of the way to school. It was quite a weird sight seeing a short girl pull a much taller one.
It wasn’t until somebody from school saw Caroline dragging me when I finally decided to walk by myself the rest of the way towards school.
I didn’t really care about why I didn’t get into the school rounders team as much as I used to during the first week I realized I hadn’t gone in.
I realized that because I didn’t get in the school rounders team, I had much more free time to use. I could tell my mother that I would be watching Emily’s rounders practice, but actually be at Diagon Alley walking around the abandoned streets wishing that everything would just go back to the way it used to.
I would even sometimes go to the Weasley twins’ joke shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, whenever it was open.
With all the other kids either in hiding or at Hogwarts, I was one of their only customers. Sometimes they would invite me over for tea and the three of us would just talk about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Harry Potter (who I learned was actually not on the run and hiding in Austria, but attempting to kill all the “different souls of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”), and about a pirate radio programme hosted by Lee Jordan which, like The Quibbler, gave true information about what was going on in the Wizarding World, unlike the Daily Prophet.
Sometimes we would talk so much and for so long that I wouldn’t realize that it was past six, and then I would have to rush home and make up some lame excuse why I came home so late from Emily's rounders practice.
Now at standing at the front of the Muggle secondary school, I followed Caroline to the back, where the rounders field was located.
Sitting down on the bleachers, it was only around five fifteen. So for fifteen minutes, I had to answer all the questions Caroline gave me while we were watching the school rounders team play a game of rounders. (“What are those pole things? How come she didn’t run? How did she get out?”)
To most people, Caroline would have been very annoying, but at every Quidditch game, there was always that one person very confused. Sometimes they don’t even realize that they're talking about something completely mad.
During the Quidditch World Cup, before my second year, I had sat next to some Americans, I could tell by the amount of food they had and their clothing. When the first point was scored, one of the Americans screamed ‘TOUCHDOWN!’ and held their arms up like they were flexing both of their non-existent arm muscles.
It was quite weird, especially because the same man did it almost the entire match until one of his friends told him that touchdowns were only in football.
But never once have I ever heard of a touchdown in a game of football.
Before I knew it, fifteen minutes had passed and the rounders team began to slowly enter back into the school and into the locker room.
Before Emily left the rounders field, her eyes skimmed the bleachers until she saw Caroline and me. She then began to wave frantically and Caroline pushed me forward, almost making me trip and fall down the bleachers.
Running down the stairs of the bleachers, I joined Emily as she walked towards the school and through the doors.
“I told the coach that you wanted to know why you didn’t get onto the rounders team,” said Emily. “At first, he didn’t want to do it, but then I convinced him,” Emily smiled at me.
I nodded and forced a smile, although I didn’t actually care about why I didn’t get into the school rounders team.
“Coach Woyan is in his office which is next to the locker rooms. You’ll talk to him while I’m changing.”
Nodding once again, Emily and I entered the school and made our way towards the locker rooms. When Coach Woyan’s office came in view, I halted completely.
“Come on, Sarah,” said Emily as she pushed me forward.
Opening the door to Coach Woyan’s office, Emily pushed me inside and then shut the door loudly.
Awkwardly, I stood right next to the door watching Coach Woyan work at his desk. My heart was pounding in my heart, and it completely stopped when Coach Woyan looked up.