Charms class was meeting on the Quidditch pitch. Spike was beside herself. It was a lovely balmy spring day, just cool enough to keep things interesting, but plenty warm for basic school dress without gloves, jumpers or vests.
"We're studying the charms placed on the balls for Quidditch," she breathlessly informed her minons as she braided her hair to keep it under control on the broom. "They're going to divide us by Houses, and we'll actually get to play a pickup match!"
"Dot's nice," murmured Totenberg, absorbed in maintaining his kit.
"It's just a little introduction to the way it's played--Firsties aren't allowed on the team, except under some very special circumstances. But if we play well, maybe we can try out next year! I'd love to be the Keeper," she mused, tying a green ribbon on one of the strands, "they're the ones who keep the red Quaffle from going through the goals to allow the other House to score a point."
"Uhmmm-hmmm." He took out the oil and polishing rag. The continual damp under the lake worried him--metal corroded, leather rotted, it was all a constant scramble against the forces of entropy and decay.
"Or the Seeker! That would be so cool, watching for the Snitch and planning when to catch it to end the match. There's strategy involved in that--a bad Seeker can get the Snitch and lose the match for his team if the score isn't right!" She tied the ends of the ribbon in a cheery bow. "I'll probably just be a Chaser, though." She looked over her shoulder. "You haven't heard a word I've said, have you?"
"I thought so." Head held high, Spike left for class.
Playing Quidditch was everything Spike had thought it would be. She didn't have the opportunity to play back home; there were no wizarding families nearby with children of an age to play. It could be lonely at the top. It wasn't as easy as it had seemed on the occasions where she had watched the game. Controlling the broom while you had nothing else to focus on was easy; handling the thing while watching for the Quaffle or the Bludger turned out to be something else entirely. Fortunately, no one had to be sent to the Infirmary for repair.
Later that evening, Spike worked on a project to demonstrate her understanding of the Quidditch equipment. Looking over her shoulder, Sascha frowned.
"S'posed to be two of the balls, isn' it?"
"Hy see de red Quaffle, front und center, but where de other?"
"The Bludger's in there."
"But is no black for de pig iron . . ."
Spike held up her work. "It's represented by the purple and green."
She lifted the hem of her robes up over her thigh, where the welts were coloring nicely. "For the bruises it leaves behind," she said ruefully.