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Forty four.

That's the number of people who turned up for quidditch tryouts the next morning.

Forty fucking four.

Who the hell do they think I am?

I can tell you this, I am not bloody Helios, I can't just drag the sun back across the sky in some winged chariot if I decide I need a little more time to watch a bunch of complete imbeciles try to knock each other off of their brooms.

But onwards I marched, charging through the mud, armed with nothing but my authority as ‘co-captain’ and the chest of quidditch equipment that was hovering a few feet behind me. My hair was scraped up into an unintentionally messy ponytail, eyes framed in deep purple shadows and if anyone decided to talk shit to me this morning, there is a high probability that I would punch them in the face. Most would call that physical assault but I’ll try and pass it off as something more acceptable like character building.

Yeah that’s right, I was just trying to toughen them up, if they can’t take the pain that  a small fist can cause they’ll definitely not be able to manage a high speed bludger to the face in the middle of a game. These weren’t just some measly tryouts for a secondary school sports team, this was survival of the fittest, natural selection, which is perhaps a slight over exaggeration but that’s besides the point.

Crystal was walking alongside me, dark brown hair brushing against her shoulders as she fell into step with a certain determination in her eyes, “I should have gotten Ray to come.”

It had taken less effort than I had anticipated to convince her to come to tryouts this morning, she was never overly bothered about being on the team, treating the idea, as she did with most things in life, with a certain air of nonchalance. She had potential to be a great seeker, and believe me when I say that after our last one, that was something we really did need. So she agreed to come, only asking for a stake in the emergency stash of sweets that I kept under one of the floorboards in return, something which I was more than willing to give up in the name of quidditch.

“I thought she hated exercise,” Nate, who had joined us on the pitch, said with confusion. He told me he’d come for moral support but I’m ninety-five percent certain he’s just here to laugh at the candidates as I torment them. He wasn’t wrong though, I normally get a glare for even mentioning the word quidditch in her presence.

“I wanted her to intimidate the competition,” she shrugged nonchalantly.

That was a fair point, intimidation firmly held its place among Ray’s arsenal of somewhat useful talents. Last year, she’d managed to goad a little hoard of first years into doing her bidding with just a single well practised glare. It served her well until Maisie realised quite what she was doing and gave her a twenty-four minute lecture on the responsibility she held as an older student.

She didn’t listen to a word of it.

“Anyways,” I added, remembering why I hadn’t woken up to a single complaint this morning, “she’s in detention right now so she couldn’t have even made it if we’d dragged down the stairs by her ponytail.”

The majority of Ray’s evening had been spent sipping caramel hot chocolate and plotting the demise of the particular child that turned her in to the headmistress, though most of her plans were probably a little too inhumane to actually carry out. Mcgonagall had given her the morning to clean the fourth floor girls bathrooms so, considering there was a huge party last night in the Ravenclaw common room, she was probably wiping vomit off of the toilet seats as we spoke.

“Why’s she in detention this time?”

“Remember that kid she threatened to throw my coffee over yesterday,” Crystal answered his question before I got a chance, “yeah, well it turned out he didn’t like that all too much.”

He let out a gentle snort of laughter, eyes moving to the floor, “unsurprising really.”

“The threats or the fear?”

“Both,” Nate smiled knowingly, tying the knot on his quidditch robes a little tighter, “she can be scary when she wants to be.”

Crystal pulled her lips into a smirk, eyeing him with a raised eyebrow. She was clearly expecting him to elaborate on that one but it took him a second or two to get the hint.

“She threatened to gouge my eyeballs out with a blunt bread knife.”

I laughed slightly at the image.

A poor bewildered Nate cowering under Rays reproachful gaze as she leaped towards him, brandishing the serrated knife she stole from the kitchens back in first year.

“I only told her she looked nice,” he said defensively, but the two of us only laughed harder.


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Crystal soon parted ways as she went over to join the absurdly large crowd of people who were trying out for a spot on the team, giving us a small wave as we wished her luck. I watched the group for a moment as they all chatted amongst themselves, some nervously pulling at their hair, others over-confidently sharing their quidditch stories while a few were even practising some dives before the tryouts began.

It was one of those increasingly rare occasions that Scotland had decided to bless us with some pretty decent weather, it was perfect really. Warm enough to ensure that our hands don’t freeze to our brooms; cold enough to wake us all up considering most of these people probably didn't even know that this time of the morning actually existed.

Nate had begun to ramble on about, well I don’t quite know what, probably some seventh year girl he’d met at a party who he was convinced liked him though almost certainly didn’t. I’d zoned out pretty soon after Crystal had left, opting for a mental run through of my plans instead.

I’d had a few ideas for these trials, ideas that were perhaps a little out of the ordinary but with a track record like ours, we needed anything but ordinary if we were going to have a shot at winning this house cup. I know how much this meant to Dylan, and even to me, so with it being his last year I was going to pull everything out of the bag to try and help him.

But that meant I may need some help of my own.

I snapped back to reality, halting the boy next to me mid-spiel as he continued to prattle on about how the Wimbourne Wasps shouldn’t have forfeited their match last Saturday.

“Nate,” I asked in that you-know-you-love-me sort of voice. The kind that everyone uses when they want some unnecessary favour, that will usually only act to the person’s detriment, “I need your help.”

He stopped speaking, closing his mouth as he turned to face me, “you’re going to have to give me more than that,” he laughed. I paused for a moment, debating how it would be best to convince him to lend me a hand. I could probably just shove a box of powdered doughnuts under his face and he’d bend to my every will for at least the next twenty four hours so it shouldn't have been too hard.

“I have an idea for a trial of sorts to put the candidates through,” I explained to which he nodded, expecting me to elaborate further.

“I’ll be the first to admit it’s a little dangerous.”

He look at me with something in his eye, a hint of mischief, curiosity perhaps, but either way I kept on talking.

“Clary.”

I ignored his call, wanting to finish an explanation before he jumped to any judgement over this. If it all went spectacularly wrong and we ended up with some lawsuit for professional misconduct it would be nice to have someone to share the blame with.

I decided to appeal to his inner child.

“But it will be funny.”

Claaa-ryyy.

I ignored him a second time.

“Though it might be kind of illegal.”

CLARISSA.”

His final shout halted my speech as I stopped walking, turning on my heel to face him so that I could properly listen to what he had been so desperate to say. He rolled his eyes pointedly wearing an expression that clearly said ‘finally’.

“I would probably jump off the top of the Hufflepuff stands without a broom for five galleons, three pumpkin pasties and a McDonald’s happy meal toy,” he said with slight exasperation, “so you don’t need to convince me to do anything as long as there's at least something in it for me.”

I thought about it for a second, it would take much to bait him.

“For one night only, you can choose when,” I offered, “I’ll bring you whatever you want from the kitchens, but I’ll only go once.”

Three weeks into second year, me and Stella finally managed to work out how to get into the Hogwarts kitchens; by work out, I do of course mean bribing one of the fourth years with a large bottle of gigglewater. Considering you can get them in Hogsmeade for a sickle and a couple of knuts it was a bit of a bad deal on his part so I had no idea why he took it, I’m not complaining though, it worked in our favour. Ever since that night, Nate had tried his downright hardest to convince us to tell him but it was to no avail.

He laughed, almost as if he’d outsmarted me, “I was implying that the players humiliation would be enough for me, but I’ll certainly take that.”

I opened my mouth to protest but closed it again before I could say a word. I couldn’t take it back now, so instead I smiled, and then punched him on the arm as hard as I could, “wanker.”

He pulled away sharply, rubbing the top of his arm where I’d hit him, “moron,” he replied fondly.

That’s the kind of friendship I’d always had with Nate. We never talked about feelings or sat crying on each others shoulders when life inevitably went to shit, we mostly just both verbally and physically abused each other which I was quite content with.


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The majority of the girls had begun to whisper excitedly, giggling slightly as they flicked their hair too harshly and batted their lashes too quickly; Crystal and Nate both smiled fondly with an exaggerated role of their eyes and a fourth year boy let his gaze linger on the toned physique of our captain for much longer than necessary as Dylan Wood dived down towards the pitch with so much finesse it actually hurt. His feet gently touched down on the grass next to me but he didn't dismount his broom. Instead, his eyes scanned across this season’s batch of quidditch hopefuls and he pushed back off again.

“Right can anyone here who is not actually in Gryffindor please leave the pitch,” Dylan called out as he hovered skillfully on his broom a couple of metres above the ground. Silence ensued for at least thirty seconds and not a single person moved, although some quickly looked around to see if their friends had began to leave the pitch and, upon noticing they had not, also chose to join them.

He sighed with a hint of frustration, “Venkman, you’re a Ravenclaw prefect I see you in meetings like once a week, charming your hair blonde does not mean that I won’t recognise you.”

I expected her to look at least vaguely disheartened at his discovery but instead she looked elated simply because he’d known her name. So off she merrily skipped, the whole of the quidditch pitch watching her retreating back, as I continued to internalise the embarrassment I felt for her.

You,” he gestured towards a dark haired girl who was lazily leaning on her broom, “are still wearing your Gryffindor robes, get out.”

He began to point people out at random, singling them out with a flick of his finger.

“You’re basically the poster girl for Slytherin, I swear you’re on one of the other quidditch teams, I don’t trust your face, you’re in our house but I don’t like you, you look shady, Ravenclaw, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Gryff - no I don’t care if that's unfair, I’m the captain so you will bloody well do as I say - and I swear I can see at least another twelve people who aren’t in our house so scarper.”

A large group of girls, who had spent the past few minutes edging slowly towards Dylan, sighed and began to make their way over to the stands, complaining that their brand new shoes were covered in mud and therefore completely ruined. Somehow it had seemed to have slipped their powder-filled brains that with a swift wand wave and a few muttered words they could just use the scourify charm and be done with it.

One of them was in Ravenclaw too, I'm disappointed.

I’ll hand it to Dylan, he really does manage to attract the idiots. I guess that's what you get for ninety percent muscle mass, bone structure that could rival a wizard-wear model’s and a quidditch captain badge that he wears everywhere he goes.

Our quidditch team wasn't exactly known for our stellar performance on the pitch, or in the sky, during matches, or just in the sport in general really but it need not be forgotten that our beloved captain has remained in the top five on the Hogwarts fit list for at least four years now.

In the corridors of this school, that title is akin to celebrity status.


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The tryouts started off no different to any normal ones really, throw the quaffle, catch a snitch, try not to get hit by an incoming bludger. There was actually a fair display of talent this year, followed by one or two shockingly bad attempts; the boy in shirt number thirteen didn’t actually know how to fly a broom, something which I’d always assumed was a rather significant component of the sport.

The biggest surprise of all though was a second year - Oliver McNeil - who displayed a flair for beating, not missing a single bludger we sent flying his way. I don’t quite know how someone so small could put so much power behind those swings. He even managed to hit one right at Nate when I asked him to with near perfect aim, it was pretty fortunate that his reflexes were so fast otherwise that would have ended quite differently. Nate, our current beater, had taken something of a liking to the kid and they actually got on really well which was more important to me than you might think. The last person he worked with for the past three years formed an unforgettable duo of beaters, mostly because they hated each other to such an extent that they sent bludgers flying towards one another more often than they did their opponents.

The candidates, who were now resting on the benches eating orange slices as it was something Nate had said the muggles often do, had been narrowed down to fourteen hopefuls but we needed that to be cut down further to three.  Just as Dylan was about to call them all over to start the next mundane task, I let a hand rest on his arm to stop him. He turned around to face me, his gaze dropping to my hand then back up to meet mine, an eyebrow raised in question.

“I have an idea.”

His expression was pretty unreadable but if I had to take a wild guess, I’d maybe say he was at least a little bit intrigued, or perhaps scared.

No.

This was the same player who dived straight into the path of a bludger to save his younger teammate last year without a second's hesitation.

Dylan Wood does not get scared.

“Okay so it’s a little unorthodox,” I began, giving him little explanation, knowing it would take a lot more to convince him than it would Dylan, “and not really all that safe, but it’s really going to sort the good players from the great ones.”

“Clary,” he stopped me before I could continue, “what the hell are you on about?”

I reached into one of the deep pockets of my robes, fumbling around until the tips of my fingers brushed against the cool glass bottle that lay at the bottom, hidden among some old scrunched up receipts. I pulled it out of the material, extending a hand outwards in front of me to show him what it contained. The recognition in his eyes was almost instant as he stared at the vial, his mouth curling to form a little oh shape.

Disorientation potion.

“Okay, Clary, you know I trust you and all that,” Dylan turned his head towards me, his voice only a little louder than a whisper, “but are you sure this a good idea?”

I looked over to the group of candidates who were chatting animatedly amongst themselves, then back to the small vial of purplish liquid that was nestled in my palm. It was a breach of at least a dozen of Hogwarts finest health and safety laws, or at the very least an abuse of power, but Harry Potter didn't didn’t save the wizarding world by sitting down and following rules now did he? I would like to stress the fact that I’m not trying to compare our next match to the Battle of Hogwarts - regardless of how many times I insisted that the new slytherin beater held an uncanny resemblance to voldemort himself. If I thought there was even a slight chance that the man could’ve gotten laid I would be seriously questioning that boy’s parentage right about now. Maybe I’ll put him in for a paternity test as a commiserations present when we inevitably win the game.

“Not really,” I answered perhaps more honestly than I should have, “but at the very least it’ll be funny.”

I looked at him with a hopeful expression, praying that he would give me a chance. He stared at me momentarily as he slowly drew his lips into a smirk, “you’re a mad one Wilde.”

He called the group of students over with a loud shout then a wave of his hand and they obediently bounded over like a hoard of well trained puppies. Nowhere near as cute of course, though the boy who was trailing a few paces behind the rest did look somewhat like an English bulldog. They all lined up in front of us, eagerly awaiting further instruction which Dylan soon provided as he began to explain what was about to go down, “it's all well and good being able to play in favourable conditions, but those of you who have played, or even just watched, a quidditch game in your life will know that's it's not how it works.”

“Whether it be gale force winds, blizzards or even just a really rainy day,” I continued on, hoping they’d realise the point we were attempting to make. Most of them nodded along in recognition while a few, namely the younger ones, took in what we said like it was the first time they’d considered it.

“Perhaps a bludger snapped the end of your broom and you’re starting to spiral out of control.”

“Or maybe you downed an entire bottle of firewhiskey at the pre-season party the night before,” Nate added with a small smile, “and turned up to the match hungover.”

A chorus of laughs sounded among the group, particularly from the older students who had been at the school long enough to know that it was more than just a funny anecdote. As, yes, he had in fact done exactly that on the day of his very first match. The boy could barely fly straight, or see straight for that matter, nevermind swing a bat and that was when he wasn’t crashing into the Gryffindor stands upside down.

Though the moment that is most vividly remembered was probably when he threw up in mid air while the Slytherin captain was hovering only ten feet below him.

The Gryffindors threw a party in his name.

Pictures of Gregory Flint with semi-digested cheerios sliding down his face made the school newspaper headlines for weeks.

We may have lost the match but even Dylan saw that day as a victory.

“So for those reasons we’re going to give you a task that may seem a little out of the ordinary, but you’re just going to have to trust us.”

He dived head first into an explanation, trying his best to convince them it was safe enough to go through with, though something tells me he was trying to convince himself more than the group. In his defence he did manage to get all of them to agree to it, bar one girl who was unfortunately allergic to wormwood which I accepted as a reasonable excuse.

The aim was pretty simple: down the potion, fly through the hoop, try not to die.

Easy.

I think.

“It won't mess up my hair too much will it?”

Dylan rolled his eyes obviously as the guy awaited an answer, sending me a look that I managed to interpret quite easily. I pulled out the piece of parchment that had all of their names written in a neat list, marking a thick black cross next to the name Paul Rhodes.


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The bottle was handed around, the potion drank, and before anyone else could ask any other useless questions, Dylan blew loudly into his whistle.

A petite blonde girl was the first to take to the sky but she nose dived into the mud before she’d even gotten three feet in the air. She pulled her head out of the ground with an uncomfortable squelch and a shrill screech of fury.  

After that spectacle the rest of the group looked a little scared but two more soon attempted it both getting at least twice the distance she had before succumbing to the same fate. They all stood nervously on the start line before Dylan finally chose to intervene. After a few encouraging - well threatening may be a more accurate term - words from the captain, they all pushed off at once.

All but Crystal, that was.  

The only way I could describe the events that had begun to unfold in front of me was anarchy.

Complete and utter anarchy.

Number seven dived into the lead with purpose, pushing harder than the rest, but soon got caught out by one of the quaffles that were being thrown at the competitors, we thought hoying bludgers towards them was bit too mean, even by our standards. Her broom swerved off to the left, twisting dramatically as she fell, though she soon regained her balance, steadying the Nimbus before we had to intervene. She’d dropped behind a few places but not by enough to seriously harm her chances, she was quite a brawny girl, a good keeper I’d say. I noted the name on the back of her robes, Roberts, turning back to the piece of parchment to circle it.

Fourteen - a redhead with rather scary eyebrows - then pulled out ahead of the group, taking the place of the blonde girl who’d face planted the mud. She showed promise that one, her balance was better than most of the rest and she was pretty comfortable on her broom, but she didn’t seem like much of a team player so I doubted Dylan would choose her. I’d already watched her push two people out the way, nearly knocking poor Oliver clean off his broom, and we couldn’t afford fouls like that in a real game.

Three crashes, two minutes and several scared shrieks later, Crystal was still standing on the start line looking surprisingly relaxed. I knew the girl undertook every challenge she encountered with a certain nonchalance, but this was taking it a little too far, I really wanted her to make the team.

‘What are you doing?’ I shouted across the few hundred yards that separated us. Well, not doing really, I corrected myself mentally.

“Waiting.”

I raised my eyebrows in question but with a few hundred yards of quidditch pitch between she couldn’t see my expression. “For what?” I yelled, making sure it was loud enough for her to hear.

“Their inevitable failure.”

Seemed logical.

And with that, Crystal started walking across the pitch toward the goalposts with the kind of determination I respected even though she had seemingly missed the point of the task entirely. In her defence, she had passed the nearest player within thirty seconds but was probably because he’d started flying backwards towards the wrong hoops. Her path wasn’t entirely straight, her legs shook and she stumbled around a fair bit as the disorientation potion had clearly taken effect.

By this point, at least two thirds of them weren’t even flying in the right direction. One of the boys was doing some pretty impressive somersaults near the ravenclaw stands, which in any other circumstance I’d be really rather proud of, though something told me these ones weren’t all that intentional.

“Jesus Christ Clary, I don’t quite know if you’re a genius or a sadist,” Nate only just managed to force the words out between his heavy laughter, “but all I do know for certain, is that you’re bloody brilliant.”

Dylan was stood to my left, arms crossed over his chest, looking unsure of what to make of the situation. That being said, his eyes flitted between the players - analysing their every move, their strengths and weakness, their sporting abilities - as he compiled a mental list of hopefuls.

“I think that was meant to be taken as a compliment,” I replied, hoping I was right, but he was too busy watching watching the game to reply. With that comment, or lack thereof, I turned my attention back to my best friend who was still wandering across the pitch at considerable speed. In only a few minutes, Crystal had just about reached the goalpost and Dylan had just about reached the end of his tether, “what is my sister doing.”

I just smiled because it was at that moment, as she finally mounted her broom, that I realised exactly what she was attempting to do, “she’s winning your challenge.”

He watched on, his head cocked slightly in confusion until the realisation quickly dawned on him and he drew his lips into a proud smile. Where Dylan had inherited an incredible amount of sporting talent from his father, Oliver Wood, ex-captain of the Wimbourne Wasps turned manager, Crystal had gotten not quite as much, though certainly enough for a school quidditch team. She had received a fair amount of intelligence from their mother, however, and it was clearly the latter that she was choosing to rely on here.

Holding her balance as well as she could, she pushed off the ground, letting the broom raise vertically until she was level with the hoop. As steadily as she could, she flew forwards making herself the first one to win the challenge as she started on her decent.

In that time the redhead had lost her lead and was now flying in aimless circles around one of the stands. What happened next was something of a surprise but dare I say it warmed my heart slightly, enough to put them up a place or two in the current standings. A stocky fifth year girl - Roberta Roberts - who was trying out for keeper had begun to spiral slowly towards the ground, only to be steadied by Oliver who had been flying a few feet below her. The pair had then gripped onto each other, using one another to balance as the surged forward, completing the task as a team.

In response to that, two of the boys both pushed forward at once, trying to compete against each other for fourth place when a bright flash pulled our attention away from the game. As we turned around to the source of the commotion, three more followed, each paired with a little click.

It was the unmistakable sound of a camera.

It took Dylan all of three seconds to start berating the boy who just so happened to be on the school newspaper team; the very same team that labelled me ‘a viscous predator’ in yesterday's article so to say I was somewhat biased against him was an understatement.

Nate contorted his face into something that could only be comparable to the grinch and stuck both of his middle fingers up for good measure. That was unsurprisingly his initial reaction to any situation in which a camera ended up being pointed in his direction which made school photos particularly eventful.  

To give credit where it’s due, despite being half Dylan’s size, the boy stayed rooted to the spot, standing his ground. Nate and I watched on in amusement as our captain advanced on him like a lion would its prey, a never ending string of angry words tumbling out of his mouth.

“Should we stop him,” Nate asked nonchalantly.

“Probably.”

Neither of us decided to move.

It was only about thirty seconds later, when he grabbed the kid by his collar, that we decided that we should probably jump into action, “yeah, yeah probably,” I mumbled as I drew my wand from my robes. Nate grabbed Dylan by the shoulders, hauling him away from kid as he put up a protests against our intervention. I pointed my wand directly at him, muttering an apology, before giving it a calculated flick as I recited the incantation for a basic silencing charm.

Only then did I try to reason with newspaper boy.

He looked me up and down - half wary, half calculating - as he tried to figure quite what my intentions with him were. I would have liked to have intimidated him, or at the very least humiliated him, but if I had any hope of him cooperating, I’d have to refrain.

“How about we compromise,” I suggested waiting for a response, and when none came, I continued, “we’ll let you post those picture in your little newspaper, and in return, you or any of your other reporter friends won’t take more at any of our future practise sessions,” I paused, “deal?”

It wasn't hard to tell that he didn’t trust me entirely, and rightly so if I’m being honest. Though my offer was, for once, genuine. I would uphold it and allow him to post those photos in the paper, I wanted him to post those photos in the paper.

So perhaps I did have some ulterior motives.

My hand remained outstretched, hovering in the space between us, waiting to be shaken, “I advise you take it,” I said sternly, “or I may be inclined to destroy that expensive camera of yours.”

It took less that a second for him to grab my hand after that statement, shaking much harder than I considered necessary. He gave my a curt nod, turning on his heel to retreat to the castle.

“Finite incantatum.”

I turned around to tell Dylan not to be angry, but the boy beat me to it, letting out a string of verbal abuse before I could even open my mouth. There were a few choice words thrown in there but the general gist of his spiel went something along the lines of Clary are you mental? Are you actively trying to sabotage our team?

The simple answer to that was, of course, a resounding, “no,” and I did take a little offence to the fact that he believed I’d made it my daily mission to ruin all chances I had of winning the house cup.

Dylan usually relatively relaxed about most things, not to the extent Crystal was, she was on a whole different level entirely, yet today his demeanour was quite the opposite. Quidditch was usually the exception to this, it always managed to get him riled somehow, though even then he was never normally this bad. Didn’t want to bring it up though because it will undoubtedly stress him out even more, so I just let him continue on with his rant.

“People are gonna think we’re a pathetic excuse for a team -”

I mean if I’m being honest, the entire student body already thought that but I decided that now was not the time to point that out to him.

“- we’re going to be bottom of the standings again.”

The standings he was referring to were linked directly to 17B, the Slytherin betting ring. All the teams were ranked based on odds which of course nobody ever truly understood, all we knew was the higher you were on the list the better you were as a team. They normally get the ex-Ravenclaw captain from a few years back, now a Puddlemere United chaser, to come and evaluate the teams but there had been little fluctuation over the years.

Hufflepuff, for example, had been last for twelve years.

“That’s entirely the point,” I sighed, batting at a strand of hair that had freed itself from my ponytail, “if they think, we’re competition they’ll treat us like it.”

He still didn’t look entirely sold but he nodded with a sigh which was his way of saying he trusted me even though I could tell that he clearly didn't. In reality, he had just resigned himself to the fact that there was no way we could stop those pictures reaching the Heroin now.

“Plus the look of absolute shock on their faces when we win will be priceless.”

He smiled lightly.

“Now that I can agree to.”


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Both Dylan and Nate had agreed to give me the task of telling the group who made the team, we were originally planning on pinning posters to the Hufflepuff bulletin board tomorrow in some sort of big reveal but we were too lazy to make them and our house had begun to care less about quidditch over the years.

I was beginning to regret abandoning that idea as I stood, not two minutes later, taking the full force of a very angry redhead who did not seem to agree with our decision to deny her a place on the team.

“And on what authority do you have to say I can’t play for Hufflepuff?”

“I’m co-captain.”

The way the girl spoke suggested that she hadn’t come into contact with authority in the past, or at least from someone near her own age. She was probably the sort of person who would boast about how her parents let her do whatever she wanted, claiming that she ‘always went to house parties when she was thirteen’ and that they even bought all the alcohol for her. She acted like her word was gospel and nothing we said mattered, which couldn’t be further from the truth considering we held the power to throw her off the team.

Well, not that she was ever on it in the first place.

“That title is non-existent.”

I didn’t quite know how to respond to that one since she wasn't exactly wrong.

“Just like your place on the team will be if you keep talking to my friends like that.”

Dylan, who had overheard the conversation from a few feet away, had walked over to defend my honour, talking back to her so that I didn't have to. Her attention snapped to him, she looked hopeful almost, as if she truly believed that he would understand her.

“You can't deny the best player a place on the team.”

“You’re right,” he said matter-of-factly, bringing a triumphant smile to her face, “that's why McNeil is making the cut.”

WHAT,” Oliver stood all but five feet away, his face the perfect picture of disbelief, screeching in surprise before Kelsey even had a chance to react. His jaw was hanging open so wide, I was surprised it hadn’t yet disconnected from the rest of his face and hit the floor. His shock wasn’t entirely unfounded, had I not seen him play for myself I would be more than surprised at Dylan’s choice. I generally don’t judge based on appearance, had he been given the role of seeker or maybe even chaser I wouldn’t have thought much of it. Beaters however, are generally built like a recovering steroid addict yet this boy looked more like an extra who’d been snatched from the Oliver Twist set at a young age.

“Don’t act shocked,” Nate whispered in his ear, “you’ll just fuel her argument.”

In response the boy slapped his jaw shut hastily, though with eyes too wide and his posture all too rigid, his attempt to ‘brush it off’ unfortunately resembled someone had just downed their very first shot of vodka, pained but putting on a brave face.

“Oh and plaster on a smile.”

Now the poor kid just looked like he was being held at gunpoint.

Meanwhile, Kelsey’s smile had dropped faster than Mario Seller’s voice did when he hit puberty, turning on me with such hatred that you could only assume I’d murdered her entire family.

“This is your fault you bitch,” she hissed through gritted teeth, so much for Hufflepuff loyalty. I just stood there and took it, idly wondering whether a slap across the face would be taking it a little to far. Her hair billowed behind her in the wind, a great blaze of orange that, in those few moments, I had decided suited her personality quite fittingly.

“Oh and after that comment,” Dylan glared at her, partly in anger, mostly in frustration, “don’t bother coming back next year.”

God I loved my captain.

“Roberts and Wood, you’ve also made it,” he announced, nodding at them both in respect, “congratulations, you both played well.”

Kelsey looked utterly shocked, as if she could barely believe what was unfolding right in front of her. Roberta gasped in surprise, dropping her broom as she brought both hands up to cover her face. Crystal on the other hand didn’t display much of a reaction, she tried to brush it off as nothing but even I could see the small smile tugging at her lips as Nate wrapped his arms around her in celebration. The rest of the players began to file of the pitch, some looking disheartened, others congratulating those who had made it, while one or two were still muttering about Kelsey’s outburst. Dylan turned away from her to speak to us, thinking that it was finally over, but as soon as his back faced her she started up again.

“Neither of them completed the challenges properly, she walked most of it and those two helped each other,” the redhead seethed, jumping headfirst back into an argument with him, first pointing at Crystal, then towards Oliver and Roberta.

“Exactly,” Dylan said like the answer was obvious, “she used her initiative, and those two displayed great teamwork, both of which are vital to a game of quidditch.” He emphasised the same words she did in mockery. Oliver, bless his tiny soul, looked so proud of himself that his eyes were glassy with unshed tears. At first I thought he was about to cry with joy until I later discovered it was because Nate had slapped him so hard on the back as a ‘well done for making the team kid’ that he had nearly choked on the orange slice he was eating.

And so we walked towards the stands, the entire team in all it’s mismatched glory, striding across the pitch with satisfied smiles leaving Kelsey in our wake. All but Asher that was, our third and final chaser, who was currently fulfilling his duties as head boy, though knowing him he would likely be smiling too.

For once, I was hopeful.









 Authors Note:

HELLO I'M BACK, with what I'm sorry to say really isnt the best chapter and is something of a filler I'M SORRY.

This chapter is, I guess your little introduction to Hufflepuff's quidditch team (I hope you like them!) which does not unfortunately feature any Albus because I wanted to set up the other characters first but don't you worry there will be more of him soon.

Anyways I really hope you enjoyed this little update and I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review.

 Thank you guys.

 Oliver Twist belongs to Charles Dickens
The Grinch belongs to Dr Seuss

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