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"The Rain" ~HP - (7 Parts)


Rika

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Alright, so I'm obsessed with Harry Potter right now, and I haven't been able to think of much else, fandomwise.

So I decided to give in and write a little something about Harry already, and see where it led. I'm really sorry about the lack of sneezing in this first part, but I couldn't resist setting it up kind of gradually. This is my first fic ever, but don't be shy about feedback! I can take constructive criticism, I swear! :drool:

Haha, anyway, if you guys like this, lemme know, and I'll definitely get more written...(and the next part would be where the sneezing starts! :drool: )

TITLE: The Rain

FANDOM: Harry Potter

Spoilers: Not really sure yet, as I'm just going with whatever pops ito my head right now...but i'll let u guys know.

Disclaimer: Unforunately, I do not possess the brilliance of J K Rowling, and I did not invent these wonderful characters myself.

Summary: It's Raining...and Harry's catching cold...how will Ginny react?

(Again...sry for lack of sneezing...it'll come! And here we go...crossing my fingers here!)

Harry looked up into the angry, stormy sky. The rain that had started a few minutes ago was drenching his robes, and sliding down his cheeks and nose in great, big drops that looked like tears. It was pelting him like ice, stealing his breath and making him shudder. But he did not care.

He let the storm surround and consume him, content to stand there beside the great lake without purpose, relishing the numbness beginning to course it’s way through his mind and body. It was soothing in a way, the water washing away his regrets, cleansing him. So he stood there, staring up into the crying night sky, or the heart of the restless body of water in front of him, and trying desperately not to think of the rest of them gathered around in the common room, laughing and talking, free of worry at least for one more night.

He felt a little ridiculous, submitting himself willingly to what most of the students had been avoiding all day as the rain threatened. And several times, as his thoughts drifted momentarily away from more serious matters, he tried halfheartedly to convince himself to turn and walk right back up to the castle, towards dry clothes and a warm fire. This usually appealing prospect seemed to have lost some of its value, however, for Harry remained where he was, his only movement a shift from standing to sitting, still deep in thought, and number than ever before.

He seemed to have lost all concept of time; he did not know whether he had remained beside the lake for hours or minutes, and did not much care. The urge to return to the school had left him some time ago, and he might have stayed there until morning, had a booming voice not shocked him back into reality.

“HARRY! Are yeh mad? What in the ruddy Hell are yeh doin out here?”

Rubeus Hagrid, sporting a huge yellow raincoat which made him appear even more strikingly unusual, stood a few feet away. He wore an expression of absolute disbelief upon his face, as though the sight of Harry, soaked and sitting there calmly, was the greatest shock he had received in quite a while.

Harry, a little embarrassed about being found like this, was not quite sure what to say, “Er...” he responded intelligently, “just thinking….”

“Well, you picked an awfully rotten place to do that!” Hagrid replied gruffly, hefting the young wizard to his feet, “Come on now, let’s get yeh back to the castle before Snape or Filch catches you out this late”

Harry hadn’t seen his old friend so concernedly determined in quite a while, and so consented to being led swiftly up the path and towards the quiet school. Hagrid kept a huge hand on his shoulder all the way, as though afraid Harry would collapse at any given moment.

“Been rainin for hours...how long yeh been out here, anyway?” Hagrid asked curiously, as Hogwarts grew larger and larger in front of them .

And Harry looked down at his feet, unable to meet his friend’s eyes as he lied,” Only a few minutes actually.”

In reality, Harry had been pacing beside the lake since before the storm had even started. However, Hagrid looked satisfied with his answer as they reached the great doors. And Harry, who was grateful to escape further questioning, thanked him and bid him a good night, before turning and hurrying through the entrance. Hoping to avoid any teachers or students in the corridors, he sped quickly towards the Gryffindor common room, dripping all the way.

* * * *

“Password!!” bellowed the Fat Lady, who had been snoring happily only a few moments before.

Harry cleared his throat, which was feeling scratchy and sore, and responded weakly, “Animagus.”

The Fat Lady, still angry about being so rudely awaken at such a ridiculous hour, turned up her nose as the portrait swung forward. Harry practically fell through the hole in his haste to enter. During the walk from the entrance hall, all the numbness that the rain had granted him had faded away as gradually as it had come. He was exhausted, and shivering more insistently than ever. He had known it had ben a stupid idea to venture outdoors so late, but the lure of some time alone to think had been irresistible. Of course it did not help that he’d been feeling slightly under the weather all day, even before it had turned so unseasonably cold, and before he had sat, like a fool, hours upon hours in the searing rain.

The common room was, as he had expected, deserted. He had also expected the fire to have been extinguished hours ago, but, almost as though some kindly creature had known he would need it, the hearth was still ablaze, and the room was wonderfully warm. Harry thought of Dobby, leaving it burning for him, and his affections for the dedicated house elf swelled. He’d have to thank him the next time they met.

The appeal of his favorite armchair, looking warm and cozy directly beside the fireplace, was too strong to resist; Harry assured the nagging little Hermione-like voice in his head that he would change into something dry in just a moment, and curled up into the chair with a contented sigh. Just a few minutes and he would get up and head for the dormitories. Just a few moments of rest before having to move again….

Harry’s eyelids were growing steadily heavier, and his head was drooping against his shoulder. Within minutes, the emerald eyes had closed completely, and the young wizard was asleep.

(TBC...if you guys like my writing lol :drool: )

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:drool:

Naughty Harry, falling asleep with wet clothes.... :drool:

This is amazing! Please put another part in soon--I'm waiting anxiously for more. :drool:

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So I'm not the only one obssessed with Harry Potter now? That's reassuring.

I LOVE it so far.

You're descriptions of the scenery are wonderful, far better than what I've attempted to write.

Please write some more. :drool:

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Oh my goodness, you had me hooked from the start! Your descriptions are absolutely to die for, and it really feels like it could be an excerpt from one of the books. I was particularly impressed with the small details mentioning the other characters, which brings what could be an isolated incident into context by involving the others, even indirectly. If you decide to write more, you can bet that I'll be one of the first in line waiting to read it :drool: Excellent job so far!

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Alright, well here's the next bit. Hopefully, it's not too rushed or garbled...I wrote it between 2 and 6 this morning. :lol:

There's still not a whole bunch of sneezing, but I just felt it worked better this way...

Anyway, really hope you like it!

And Feedback is always highly appreciated :dead:

Part deaux:

“Harry?”

He awoke slowly, gradually, his dull senses alerting him sluggishly to the gentle repetition of his name.

“Harry!”

There it was again, soft and smooth, but growing insistent. He knew that voice, and the recognition made him smile.

“Ginny,” he murmured, without opening his eyes.

Her hand was on his shoulder, shaking him gingerly. But Harry’s head felt twice its normal size, and he was cold. He didn’t want to leave the comfort of sleep and a warm fire.

“I’m sorry, Harry,” Ginny said, giving his arm a squeeze,” But...well, you’re all wet, and I’m not going to let you sleep like that. You need to get into something dry. Oh, C’mon,” she said, when Harry only shifted to rest his heavy head against her outstretched arm, “you’d think the ‘Chosen One’ would at least know how to take care of himself!”

The unexpected quip brought Harry’s stubborn eyelids shooting upward. Ginny gave a triumphant, little laugh.

“Aha! Knew that’d do the trick!”

She was smiling down at him, perched gracefully on the arm of his chair. The rising sun made her red hair glow like a flame in the dimly-lit room. Harry very much wanted to reach out and touch it; he wanted to tell her how beautiful she was. But, instead of the affectionate words he’d intended to whisper, instead of running his hand through her wonderfully flaming hair...he sneezed. It was a desperate, “Huh-TShoo!” that shocked both of them, and was muffled into the still-damp sleeve of his robes. He’d had just enough warning to pivot away from Ginny, and he now turned back to see a furrow of concern deepening upon her brow.

“I’m fine!” he said, before she could speak. He fought the urge to sniffle as he felt his face grow hot. As mortified as he was, he really couldn’t blame her for worrying. As far as he could remember, he’d never sneezed in front of Ginny in all the years he’d known her. In truth, he hardly every sneezed. And given the circumstances under which she had found him, his sudden outburst could be taken to mean only one thing....

So he was not in the least surprised to see Ginny raise both eyebrows, and cross her arms, ”Oh, really?” she asked, sounding unmistakably like her mother, “Then, tell me, why do you look as if you’re about to-”

“Heh-TShoo!”

Harry had turned away once more, and this time had managed to pull a hand up to his nose. He was beginning to feel worse; his head was pounding and his nose felt stuffed; his throat felt as though it had been given a thorough once-over with sandpaper. On top of it all, he was shivering again. There was no denying it any longer. He was ill.

Ginny sighed, ruffling his hair absentmindedly, “How long?” she asked.

Harry sniffled thickly, feeling younger than he had in ages, “About two days now,” he replied. Ginny looked so lovely in the new morning light, and her touch was so soothing. It felt good to confide in her, to tell her the absolute truth while he could.

“Fever?”

“I don’t think so. Not yet anyway. But, hey,” Harry’s said, looking straight up into her eyes, “Don’t tell Ron or Hermione, will you? They worry too much already, and they’d never give me any peace if they knew I was ill.”

Ginny laughed again, a musical,contagious sort of sound, “Harry, you’re not giving them enough credit. They’d figure it out right away, you know. No offense, but you look really awful,” she paused for a second, scratching her chin in thought, “Anyway, if you ask me, your cold could actually work in your favor…”

Harry was thoroughly nonplussed, “What d’you mean?”

“Ron, and especially Hermione aren’t exactly thrilled with you at the moment. They might be a little softer on you once they see that you’re under the weather.”

“They’re angry? Why?”

Well… ”Ginny’s voice was calm and straightforward, “we were all awfully worried when you didn’t turn up after dinner, and they were pretty angry about the fact that you’d left without saying a word about where you were going or what you were doing. I suppose they felt a little left out. Where did you go, anyway?”

“Just for a bit of a walk,” Harry said, and his voice was slightly hoarse. He cleared his throat and went on, “I just needed some time to...you know, think things over.”

“In the pouring rain?”

Harry gave her a sheepish smile, and nodded, before holding up a hand to hide a shuddering yawn. Ginny, who had seemed ready to scold him for his lack of common sense, yielded with a sigh. She dipped forward to leave a gentle kiss on his forehead, before straightening up and holding out a hand.

“Alright, that’s enough talking from me. Time for bed, yes?”

Harry reached forward, wrinkling his nose. After a moment he seemed to think better of the situation, and instead gestured for Ginny to wait. Slowly, his breath became irregular, hitching, and he tilted his face toward his shoulder with a final gasp, “Huh-TShoo!” There was another, drawn-out intake of air, and a softer, wetter “Hih-tshoo!” escaped his sinuses, followed by a quiet groan.

“Bless, Harry,” Ginny sighed, “Come on, you really need to get out of those wet clothes.”

Harry gave his head a quick, clarifying shake, as though the sneezes had muddled his senses. He took Ginny’s outstretched hand, sniffling. She led him toward the stairs that spiraled up to the boys’ dormitories, kissed him once more (this time upon his cheek) and sent him up, with strict orders for immediate changing and then bed. Harry smiled as he trudged upward; His body was aching and he was cold and clammy all over. But he’d gotten two kisses in one night, and they were definitely worth any manner of discomfort he could think of.

Ten minutes later, he was snoring beneath his covers.

(TBC? if you like it I suppose...itd be hard to add on to, but I'd be willing to try, if you guys really want me to. :innocent: )

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:lol: so sorry bout the typos up above guys!

Sadly, I can't edit my posts yet....neway, try to ignore my sleep-deprived mistakes....and thanks for reading! :dead:

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Well, I'd love to see more, but if you don't want to, then don't. It's no fun writing when you'd rather not be! This is really good though. Very nicely written, and sweet, too.

silentdreamer789

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This is sooo cute.

I mean, I don't want to force you to write more but...

I just wanted to tell you that I love it.

It's very well written. :)

Please continue?

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Guest SunSprite

I enjoyed that immensly, especially because I got to read both parts at once. I'm obsessed with HP latley as well. If you wanted to continue it would be awesome, all of the details and little extra things make it so good, and I like your writing style. Even if you don't continue this story, you should continue to write. :)

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oh i do love this!! im a sucker for anything between harry and ginny, and this is just so wonderful. id love to read more if you feel up to it!

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Alright, so first of all, a huge thanks to everyone who took the time to read this and second of all, thanks for your very kind comments all those who replied :laugh:

I've decided to keep this story going, and I really hope you like it in the end :wub:

So I'm kinda pressed for time right now, but expect the next part to be up within the next few days. And thanks again guys! You're the best! :eek:

Much love,

*~Rika~*

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OOOkay...so here's the next bit. Short but sweet...

And definitely TBC :eek:

For the second time in the space of a few hours, Harry found himself being shaken awake. The hands were stronger this time, and rougher in their appeals. But he was stubborn. And, when the monster actually pulled aside the curtains and let the sunlight shine through, Harry only groaned and pulled the covers over his head. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so rotten. There was no way he was getting up...not any time during this century any way.

His head felt as though it had been stuffed with cotton, and his nose was impossibly full. His throat was raw and dry, and he felt oddly shaky, as though his insides were still frozen from the rain. Breathing heavily through his open mouth, he rolled over onto his side, and away from the disturber of his only escape, sleep.

“Oi!” said Ron’s voice, the owner of which was hovering somewhere above him, “Oi, Harry, come on! Get up, already. I promised Hermione we’d meet her for breakfast at 10:30. We’re late.”

Harry did not move, “Just go ahead without me, mate, I’ll catch up with you,” he mumbled.

“No Harry, I told her we’d both be there. Besides, you’re the only one still sleeping, you know. And we’ve got practice in an hour anyway.”

The lump of blankets that was Harry Potter squirmed, “Practice?” he stammered, as though the concept was something foreign and new.

“Yea, you know,” came Ron’s biting reply, “that little thing called Quidditch...that little Quidditch TEAM that you’re the bloody captain of?”

“Right. Alright, I’m up, I’m up.”

Harry’s voice was beginning to sound strained, but Ron must have taken it as a symptom of leftover sleep, instead of the blossoming cold, because he made no comment. Harry dressed quickly, trying not to sniffle, and the pair of them headed for the great hall. Ron was in such a hurry that Harry had to jog to keep up with his friend’s long legs.

Hermione was already halfway through her breakfast when they arrived, “Nice of you to finally join me,” she said coolly as they sat down opposite her. She didn’t bother to look at either of them as she spoke, instead keeping her gaze glued firmly on the newspaper in her hand. Harry opened his mouth to explain, but Ron caught his eye and shook his head, looking wary. And so the two boys grabbed plates of their own, and Ron dug into his omelet with typical vigor, while Harry pretended to do just the same.

The stony silence was broken at last as Harry turned from the two to cough into a fist...once...twice...three times. The sound was deep and crackling, and he winced despite himself. He reached for a glass of water, relishing the soothing feeling as he took a good, long gulp. He noticed Hermione finally wrench her eyes away from her paper, and look at him curiously.

Harry smiled weakly, “Sorry,” he muttered, “ went down the wrong way.”

But Hermione did not look away, and the intensity of her stare made Harry avert his eyes, feigning a sudden interest in the eggs which lay almost untouched on his plate. He wriggled his nose as subtly as he could, fighting with the slight tickle that had been present since he awoke, and tried not to think of her eyes boring into him.

“Harry,” her voice broke through his thoughts, and he was forced to meet her gaze once more, “is there something your not telling us?”

He blinked, caught off-guard, “Wha?...no, of course not,” he said, shakily. Certainly she couldn’t be referring to the fact that he was sick, could she...not with the cold way she was looking at him; the accusing nature of her voice couldn’t be caused by a simple cold…

Ron joined in the conversation unexpectedly, his tone more obviously displeased, “Yea, Harry. Where’d you go off to last night all alone?”

Before Harry could answer, Hermione shot Ron a look of distate, “Ron, you git. I told you I wanted to give him time to answer for himself, not come on all at once and say…”

And off they went, bickering and sighing. Nothing out of the ordinary. Rather glad that he had not needed to speak, Harry took advantage of his friends’ distraction, rubbing a knuckle against his nose. The action seemed to awaken the tickle that had lingered just out of reach. Risking a quick glance to confirm that the two were still engaged in their argument, Harry turned to the side, pinching his nose firmly, as his breathing quickened.

“Heh...Het-schmp,” the first sneeze was almost completely stifled, and went unnoticed. “Heh-TShoo!” The next, much stronger, did not. Harry felt eyes upon him, but did not turn around, still keeping a hand over his nose, sure that there was one more on the way. His breathing was irregular, and his nose crinkled automatically in anticipation. Finally, he snapped forward, “Heh...TSHOO!” The force of the sneeze had bent him at the waist, and was so loud that it seemed to echo throughout the rapidly emptying hall. Harry gave an involuntary sniffle before swiping a hand beneath his nose and turning reluctantly to face his friends, who were staring back at him with a mixture of surprise and obvious concern.

“Woah...bless, mate,” Ron said, looking stunned, and seeming to forget his anger.

Hermione’s brows drew inward, “Harry, are you-”

“I”m fine,” he interrupted, although the heavy congestion in his voice argued against him. He cleared his throat and changed the subject, “Listen, about last night...that was nothing, really. I just, well, I wanted some time to think. So I went for a walk.”

“But it was raining terribly all last night. You weren’t outside that whole time, were you?”

“Just for a bit, Hermione, not too long,” Harry pushed his plate aside and stood up. Ron, still looking confused, remained where he was. “Well, I’ve got to get to practice...coming Ron?”

“Er-yeah,” he murmured, standing hastily.

He hurried to follow Harry out of the hall, throwing a baffled Hermione an apologetic glance as he went.

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Yay! You wrote more! This was brilliant! I can't WAIT to see Quidditch practise and/or classes...

silentdreamer789

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Guest lil angel

Awww i LOVE this story! i too am completely besotted by all things Harry Potter, and your writing style is very impressive :evil: can't wait to read more! :D xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Wheee! This is really good! I luv Harry getting sick cuz it's like the only time he's weak when he's normally all strong & brave, ya know? Sorry, Im babbling like an idiot but this story is just so goood!!! I've been away from the forum for 2 weeks (not by choice :D ). And I get back and here's this awesome story!!! YAY! :drool:

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Still love it and you still make me insanely jealous that you can write like that! :drool:

More please?

I said please. :rolleyes:

Seriously, this inspires me to either continue with my fic or start a new one.

INSPIRES!

I repeated it for emphasis. :D

Before I start babbling (Like I haven't already) I'll just shut up now.

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You guys make me so happy :drool:

Just thought I'd drop in and say thanks for all the kind words!

AND let you know that, while things have been a little hectic around here, I am working on the next bit, and will have it up as sooon as possible,

Thanks again! You guys are awesome! :drool:

MUCH Love,

*~Rika~*

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Hey, this is really good so far! :blink: And I don't usually like Harry Potter sneezefics, but I love Harry Potter! You captured the characters nicely, and don't worry about the lack of sneezing, the writing is good and thats all that really matters :blink: Can't wait to read more!

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I absolutely love this. I also can't get Harry Potter out of my head. This story is awesome and just like silentdreamer said, I can't wait to see quidditch practice/classes. Awesome job so far and looking forward to more!!!!!! :huh:

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Ooookay, so this next part's on the shorter side, but it' setting up for bigger things :huh:

And thanks, GreenFaerie, it's relly good to hear that, because I worry about writing sneezefics because I tend to get so wordy in my writing that I focus more on the description than the number of sneezes. :sillybounce:

Anyway, here's the next bit, and yep, there's definitely more to come! :wacko:

Fifteen minutes later, Harry walked onto the deserted field, his gold and red practice uniform fluttering in the light breeze. His broom felt heavy in his hand, and the uniform was stifling.

There was no sugar-coating things; he wasn’t feeling up to Quidditch, or much of anything, honestly. However, mortified by the thought of a fussy Hermione, and feeling obligated to save face for his team, he had no choice but to continue with things as usual. He had reached this decision just before breakfast, concluding that it would be best if the knowledge of his illness remained between he and Ginny only. Yet, the prospect of hiding it was beginning to seem increasingly impossible. Harry was reminded of this fact as the dull tickle in the back of his nose surfaced once again. He gave a sharp sniff to ward it off. How in the world was he supposed to act normal if he was sneezing all the Damn time, not to mention sounding as though he was recovering from a heavy dosage of nosebleed nougats.

A large clap of thunder tore Harry’s thoughts from his predicament, and back to the present. He gave a weary sigh as he tilted his head to gaze at the darkening sky. The sun that had so brutally awoken him earlier that morning was again retreating under a thick cover of formidable clouds.

“Perfect,” he muttered, a bitter edge to his voice, “bloody per-”

He paused as his breath caught in the back of his throat, and gave a quick glance at his surroundings to confirm that he was alone, before his eyes squinted shut. Desperation, release, and absolute relief were written on his face in quick succession as he lurched forward with a powerful, uncovered, “Heh-IH-TSHOO!”

A low growl forced its way through Harry’s clenched teeth. This was getting old. He gave his still-tickling nose a harsh rub as he mounted his broom, and kicked off into the humid morning air with perhaps a bit more force than was necessary.

Ron had still been changing when Harry had left him, shocked into silence by his best mate’s odd behavior, and the rest of the team had not yet arrived. He had some time to clear his head before they showed up, some time to fly in peace before the real work started. And so he circled around the field, like an animal pacing its cage, and let the sensation overcome him. The wind on his face and the feeling of his broom beneath him was soothing, and he took comfort in its familiarity.

He had become so engrossed in his flying, gaining speed and height, that it was a moment before Harry realized that the team had filed outside, and was waiting patiently for him on the grass below. He abruptly dived down to meet them, wondering in a numb sort of way just how long they had been standing there, watching him fly.

He took in the sight of his team with an irrepressible swell of pride, landing lightly before them, “ Hey guys, sorry about that,” Painfully conscious of the rough thickness that tinged his voice, Harry cleared his throat and went on, “I thought, since last practice we focused mainly upon specific plays and strategies, that we could put them to the test now, and see if we’ve properly grasped them. And, since it’s looking like rain again,” several heads looked up at the graying sky, groaning, “I thought we’d keep practice a bit shorter by playing a scrimmage game.”

A murmur of assent ran through the group, but Katie Bell raised a hand.

“Yeah?” Harry asked, a little wary.

“How are we picking teams?”

She looked to him expectantly, along with the rest. But Harry’s face had become oddly distant; he held up a finger, turning slowly from his friends to bury his face in the crook of his arm, “Heh-Tshoo!….Heh-Ishoo!”

Cursing his cold’s timing, Harry sniffled softly, testing his nose to be sure that another was not on its way. And, sporting a blush that would rival Ron’s best, turned to face his teammates once more. A flurry of blessings greeted him, and he caught sight of Ginny, whose delicate face was etched with worry. His heart struggled briefly against the confines of his chest, and he looked away.

“Sorry, and,er...thanks,” he muttered, managing a sheepish smile, “Anyway, remember our last scrimmage? Let’s stick with those teams. It’ll save time.”

Another scattered agreement, and the team split into two groups, taking flight as Harry released the balls. A single drop of rain fell smartly on the lens of his glasses as he made to join them. He cast a quick charm to keep them from fogging up, and, sighing, kicked off into flight once more. This was going to be a long practice.

(TBC!)

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Guest lil angel

YAY! i can't get over how good this is! lol, you've really captured the characters so perfectly, and being such a Harry Potter geek im hard to impress with fanfics. Very excited for more!! :huh:

xxxxxxxxxx:innocent: xxxxxxxxxx

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Aah, this continues to be a pleasure to read! I'm still loving how well you've captured the characters' personalities.

A long Quidditch practice indeed :yes: *awaits more*

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Here's the next part, guys. Hope you like it!

And thanks very, very much for reading! :(

Harry squinted at the distorted red and gold blurs below him. The rain had settled into a steady downpour, and the Gryffindors were soaked. But they played on, zooming around the field, tossing the quaffle from hand to hand, blocking bludgers, and even scoring occasionally. It was no where near their usual, more structured practices, and visibility was nearly nonexistent, but the team was focused enough to carefully execute the plays and strategies as Harry had instructed.

Only one figure remained still, isolated from the rest, hovering far above the activity below him. Harry was miserable, soaked to the bone and shivering, trying not to think of his warm bed in the dormitory, or how desperately he needed a tissue. He’d seriously considered calling the practice to an end when the rain had started in earnest, but he knew that this was exactly the type of weather that the team needed to experience. A season never went by without at least one wild, rainy game, and he feared that this year would be no different.

So, Harry flew far above the others in slow, methodical circles, and reached a decision: When the snitch was caught, practice would end. It seemed simple enough, was something he did so often that it was nearly second nature. His reflexes were quick, his eyes sharp, and his luck usually good. But none of this changed the fact that, a good hour after the scrimmage had begun, Harry had hardly glimpsed the tiny ball. The rain made it impossible to see clearly, and the cold had muddled his senses. He felt fever pulling him towards lethargy, while the relentless tickle in his throat and nose made the thought of rest seem impossible.

With tremendous effort, Harry pulled his thoughts away from his own misery and back onto the task before him. If he held his concentration, it would happen, as always. He would catch a fleeting glint of gold and follow it, zooming in a frantic chase until the snitch was struggling between his fingers. That’s how it always went, and this time would be no different. Harry set his jaw tight, fighting the shuddering, shivery feeling that the rain had inspired, and scanned the field with resolve. The sooner he caught it, the sooner he could trudge up to bed, perhaps even have Ginny play nurse again...he smiled at the thought, and, fueled by a new and sudden hope, set off in search, moving almost stealthily around the field...up, down, in figure eights and ovals, all the while squinting in every direction, sure that, at any moment now, the snitch would appear.

The minutes passed, and Harry was beginning to lose his renewed hope. He was just about to break his search when he saw it; across the field, just below the keeper’s rings, a shimmering, golden speck. Without a second of hesitation, Harry bent his body low upon his broom, and shot across the field, dodging balls and people with ease. He was in his element now; nothing existed in his world except that tiny fleck of gold. He followed it as it zoomed away from him, zig-zagging in an erratic pattern up and down the field, coming closer and closer. He was less than ten feet away, hand outstretched and expectant, when an almost painful twinge burned the back of his nose.

“NO,” Harry pleaded, panicked, “not now...please….”

But it was no good. His eyes were fluttering and he was losing speed. Placing both hands on the broom-handle, Harry braced himself, gripping tight as his eyes closed, and he drew in a long, involuntary gasp.

“Heh-TSHOO!,” he paused, now hovering motionless once more, the desperate chase forgotten, “Heh-IH-TShoo….Ishoo! Huh-TSHOO!”

Harry rocked forward with each uncovered sneeze, but his steady grip kept him from tumbling off the broom. He sniffled thickly, and rubbed at his nose, groaning; the snitch had disappeared once more. After a few deep coughs into his shoulder, he sighed and began his search anew, not nearly as determined as before.

He’d only circled the field once before the tickle returned, undeniable, and stopped him in his tracks. He hovered there, uncertain, gripping the handle again, feeling like a fool, waiting with his eyes half closed and his jaw slack. Finally, mercifully, the final hitching breaths came, and Harry was thrown forward by a powerful, throat-scraping sneeze.

“Het-ISHOOO!”

It came barreling out of him with such force that he flew forward a few feet, shaking his head and blinking, dazed. He finally straightened after a moment, immensely grateful that the thundering storm had so conveniently masked his outburst. But a sudden and soft sound in his ear made him freeze. It was the telltale whirring of tiny wings. Harry whirled around, shocked to see the snitch fluttering only a few inches away from his face. Ecstatic, and grinning for the first time all day, Harry reached upward to grab it. However, his hand never closed around the golden ball, because, suddenly, his world was turned upside-down.

A wayward bludger had rammed against the end of his broom, sending him spiraling out of control. And Harry, who had loosened his grip to reach for the snitch, lost his balance, and went flying through the air, horrified.

He was not aware of time, or thought. His mind seemed to have frozen, and he knew only the sensation of falling, powerless and hopeless. Soon he would hit the cold, wet grass, and all would be black...

(TBC...again hehe ^_^ )

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