sam_storyteller: (Gen Fic)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 02:45 pm
Entry tags:

Seeker's Match; G, Gen (Post-Second-War)

Summary: Harry is trapped in games he hates.
Warnings: Some discussion of PTSD.

Also available at AO3.

Harry hated them.

They'd been Oliver's idea, and Harry's creation, and at the time seemed like so much fun. Seeker's Match was a joke, of course, as the Match itself was supremely useless, except as a pre-game diversion or a demonstration for one of those outreach programs Oliver was always going on about.

He hadn't realised, on some level, what a childish game Quidditch was. Or perhaps it wasn't that Quidditch was childish, it was just that he'd played it since he was eleven, and had never taken a more mature approach to it than the silly interhouse competitions at Hogwarts each year. The Seeker's Match just reinforced the feeling, which crept over him more each year, that he was stuck somewhere around his sixteenth birthday.

He walked out onto the field, and the crowd roared. They always did. He never got tired of that at least, though he always felt a guilty twinge at how many people were there to see him, to see his team. Still, sometimes he wondered if all the birthdays and holidays and little triumphs of a child's life, which he'd missed in that hellhole called Privet Drive, were being made up for by the people in the stands, cheering for him, adoring him.

This was an important Seeker's Match. The Quidditch World Cup wasn't even until tomorrow, which was how Harry'd arranged it, because he was damned if he'd play his first Cup game after having played Match not five minutes before. Still, there were plenty of people camped out on the wide grassy plain in rural Oregon, some who'd been there for two weeks, and who was he not to whip up a little frenzy the day before the Cup?

He thought about the last Cup he'd been to, eight years ago when he was fourteen. Please, let there not be riots this time, he thought. England hadn't gone to the Cup when Harry was eighteen, and he was so fresh from school that he wouldn't have known what to do anyhow. When he was eighteen, anyway, most of his efforts were not with his team. They were with the Order, fighting the good fight.

Well. That was over now, wasn't it?

Though not for Harry. Not as long as he had his scars, the lightning bolt on his forehead and the triple-lines across his cheek where Voldemort's clawlike fingernails had scored deeply in his death throes.

Threeline, Ron had called him. There were all sorts of names for him. Boy Who Lived. Kid Seeker. Lightning. Threeline. Only his friends called him that one. It was their little inside joke. Three lines that were never going to wear off.

He shook himself out of his thoughts and crossed the Pitch to the centre, where the referee was standing with the specially-enchanted Bludger, made of lighter material than most, meant to be batted away with a hand instead of a stick. The American team Seeker was short, slight, and wore her hair cut to avoid it falling in her eyes; she looked as though she had a bit of pixie about her. Harry held out his hand.

"Harry Potter," he said, with a small smile.

"Elsa Rame," she replied, in her flat American twang, shaking it. "It's an honour."

"Same here."

The referee reminded them of the rules, not that Harry -- who'd invented the game -- needed to hear them. One Bludger. One Snitch. Winner take the Snitch; no other rules. No fouls. Playing for keeps. Ruthless.

It was a typically Harry game, Oliver'd said, though he'd never explained his remark.

He mounted his broomstick and saw Elsa do the same. As soon as the Bludger was thrown into the air they rose, each darting around the other, trying to get as high as possible while the Bludger circled, beating it away with their gloved hands.

And this was what kept Harry playing, though at twenty-two he felt like he ought to be doing something grown-up, something professional like Ron, or Dean, or the Twins. This was why. When the world fell away and the scars on his cheek didn't sting with the memory of what else Voldemort had taken from him.

Elsa saw the Snitch first, but Harry was faster, keener on the fly. He raced her for it, around both goalposts and through the Bludger's insane attacks. She elbowed him; he batted the Bludger at her hip, skewing her sideways as she tried to defend herself. There was a jolt of speed and he got ahead --


Harry looked around, wildly, as the announcer's voice brought him back to reality with a sharp snap, like the flap of the Snitch's wings against his leather glove. For just a moment he'd been free...

Elsa circled to fly next to him, the Bludger now pinned firmly against her side.

"Great match," she said.

"Yeah," he agreed.

"See you tomorrow?"

"I think so," he said, with a little humour. "I hope so."

"I'm not planning on running anywhere," she laughed. He looked down at the Snitch in his hand, and felt his feet touch the earth.

"I might," he said softly, under his breath.


(Anonymous) 2006-03-08 03:54 am (UTC)(link)
You have to read this carefully. It has a light-hearted tone, the war is over, Harry has a successful career, life should be looking up, but then that last sentence throws cold water on the whole thing. Harry is wounded, dysfunctional, and not quite sure how to handle the good things in life.


(Anonymous) 2006-12-22 03:36 am (UTC)(link)
I've been speeding through your fics without stopping to write reveiws because they're so good I just can't wait (I know, I'm totally evil, aren't I?) but when I saw this had only one review, I HAD to comment, because this is just awesomely powerful. My absolute favorite type of fic--it's all under the surface, but the surface is cool by itself, so it doesn't matter if you miss it. Yum.

[identity profile] 2007-07-11 02:41 am (UTC)(link)
Well, my goodness. This fic was all Quidditch and vague reminiscence, and then you pull that last line out to turn us on our heads. Doesn't t often happen that way? Someone makes a joke, but to the person hearing it the meaning is entirely different, or stronger. I've read through a good dozen of your fics in the last few days (never mind how many times I've read C. Craft), and you never fail to turn out something lovely and often haunting.

[identity profile] 2008-05-27 01:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Amazing. I don't think I've read this one before, either, which makes it even better. For some reason -unknown to me- I used to hate reading gen fics or fics apart from my favorite pairings. Though I'm not sure I'll be able to get myself to read Sirius/Harry, which is honestly the only thing stopping me from reading Cartographer's Craft. Hopefully I'll get over that eventually, as by all reports it's an amazing fic. (And I need something to tide me over 'till the next chapter of Laocoon's ... no pressure. Kidding. :P )