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Chapter 5 : Don’t Bother Praying To The Quidditch Deity
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“Protein!” I screeched, a furious tornado in my stomach, as I roughly grabbed an innocent piece of toast. “Why didn’t you slowly load up on protein over the course of the week like I told you to? Cor, you had pasta last night! That’s all wrong! You’re supposed to eat protein all week and carbo-load the morning of the match! You don’t have to be an Unspeakable to grasp the concept!”
Arlie looked at me slyly and dared to snatch her piece of toast back. “Who’s older, me or you?” she asked lightly, clearly harbouring a strong sense of menace.
“You,” I conceded.
“So, if I’m the older one,” mused Arlie, “I probably have more experience with food and the culinary arts. Does this seem feasible?”
I grunted. “Sure, why not?”
The Minister’s daughter smirked at me. “So glad we’ve established that I am the nutrition expert. Now, before you interject with what could only be a weak and slightly effeminate retort,” upon these words, I shut my jaw, “I will graciously remind you that I rejected the nomination for cap’n of the Gryffies last year. I was the logical choice, I suppose, being the eldest of our ranks and being a damn good Chaser, but I seriously considered the matter and came to the conclusion that I did not want the responsibility required of a Quidditch cap’n. You have to, like, make up plays and book pitch times, and such menial tasks do not appeal to me.”
“Being Gryffie Cap’n is the realization of my hopes and dreams!” I declared. Bugger, I thought. There’s her weak and slightly effeminate retort!
“But what I mean to say, Arlie Shacklebolt,” I said as suavely as I could muster, “one of my responsibilities as cap’n is to ensure that my players eat with good nutrition. I apologize if my reaction to your toast and pasta dinner last night was in any way offensive. But I really need you to eat more protein, in the future.”
She laughed and sighed (she lighed). “Whatever, James. I’ll eat your precious protein in the week preceding our next match.”
I smiled diplomatically at the insurgent little scoundrel. “Thank you, Arlie. You hear that, Gryffies? We can work out our differences using our words, and we don’t have to always resort to our wands!”
We always ate together the morning of a match, huddled ‘round the end of the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. All us Gryffies, shovelling various breakfast-variety foodstuffs down our gullets and gulping as much juice as possible, to ensure appropriate sugar levels for the match.
“You see, J.D., if you perhaps find yourself in an argument with Micah again, you don’t have to put a minor curse on his dangly bits,” I continued, as coolly as someone like me could.
J.D. snorted in his cereal. “I had to do it,” he said decisively. “Micah old boy, you are never allowed to do what you did last night. Ever.”
Micah shifted uncomfortably in his seat and grimaced. “But J.D., all I said was, ‘That’s what she—”
“Nuh no,” interrupted J.D. “As a matter of fact, you’re wrong. You are never going to make that pathetic and outdated joke again. Unless you want more alterations of your dangly bits.” He smirked at me as he emphasized my phrase.
“Come now, don’t mock my special vocabulary lexicon,” I said, defeated. “I’m not the only one who has funny words for things. Tegan?”
My foxy Seeker (belt UP, Jamesie!) took a break from stuffing bagels into her mouth to come to my defence. “Sure, James’s ‘dangly bits’ phrase is bizarre,” she said bluntly. “But you have to respect his right to use it. Hundreds, nay, thousands of happy, healthy, and successful witches and wizards cannot use certain words without having panic attacks and flashbacks to the time when you were six and your mom said she was going to fire the hot gardener man but when they went in the potting shed, they didn’t come out for hours. Funny noises came out of that shed all afternoon, as I sat by the pool and ate orange popsicles.”
“Fascinating,” said J.D., clearly disturbed.
Tegan sighed. “My mam gave me The Talk when I was 10. You know, the one where you’re told that making whoopee is a tool to snag the man you want and how to successfully fake a miscarriage? But during the little chat Mam referred to all the nasty anatomy parts as ‘bajingo’ and ‘hoo-hah’, and you get the drift. So you know what? It’s okay if I say ‘bajingo’! And it’s also okay if I tell you that you mustn’t speak to me while I’m on the toilet, cos I then I won’t be able to poo for a month. And you guys all mock James for saying ‘frick’ every other sentence! Well, maybe he’s emotionally scarred for life too!”
All the Gryffies’ attention turned from Tegan’s alarming rant to my humble face. “I saw my parents…you-know-whating…when I was really little. I was crawling around, a wee one-year-old, and though I don’t remember much from that simpler time, I do remember…frick!”
“And Albus popped out nine months later, yeah?” inquired Freddie.
I sighed. “I can’t look at my brother without shouting ‘frick!’”
We Gryffies were silent for several long moments, pondering big questions like the meaning of life and what the house elves would serve for dinner tonight, until Mattie Thomas bit his lip and spoke up.
“Um…how did this conversation end up here?” he asked meekly. “I thought it was about protein versus carbs.”
“I do not know, young Mattie,” I said distantly.
Tegan swallowed and looked embarrassed. “Well you all knew my mam was awful. And yet, I crave her approval, but at the same time, I pity her. And here I am, becoming her, discussing the validity of bajingoes and hoo-hahs.”
“You’re not your mum, Teg,” said Arlie compassionately, giving her only other female teammate a hug. “
“Yeah,” concurred Micah. “Your wobbly bits are nowhere near as incredible as your mum’s.”
Fred smacked him. “We love you, Tegster,” said Freddie cheerily. “We’ll get off your case about your funny made-up words.”
Tegan perked up a tiny bit. “Micah, if you can say ‘wobbly bits’, I can say whatever the bloody hell I want! But thanks, all of you. It’s just…I’m scared sometimes. Without realizing it, or having much control, I’m slowly becoming more and more like my mother.”
“Tegan, you’re a classy girl,” said Mattie supportively. “I’m fairly certain you’d never shagged a bloke in a broom cupboard. Or in a potting shed, for that matter.”
She let out a slight chuckle. “My mam would be so mad if she found out I hadn’t. I mean, I’ve snogged, of course. Usually as an icebreaker when I first meet a fit bloke. But there’ve been no cupboards or sheds involved, fortunately.”
I just smiled.
“Tegan,” said J.D. in a low, serious voice, “I’ve known you for six years, yeah? Sure we’ve had our share of quarrels and disagreements—usually on insignificant matters, I guess—and I know that you’re not a dirty tart. You’re kind and levelheaded and usually reserved, unless Micah’s being really obnoxious or J.S. is acting slightly camp, and your mum doesn’t have these fine qualities, yeah? Your good qualities, not Micah and J.S.’s dodgy ones.”
Tegan exhaled slowly. “I guess not. She’s not very nice and she ignored me for most of my childhood, and from an early age I deduced that she manipulates men to get what she wants. And that’s not really my cup of tea.”
I looked at her next fondly, not like I wanted to be the lucky bastard in the broom cupboard with her. Which I usually did. “Tegan,” I said slowly and as sincerely as a 16-year-old guy could, “you keep saying that you have no control over morphing into your mum. But Teg, you do. It is our choices, Tegan, far more than our natural disposition, that determine who we truly are. And if you somehow turn into a conniving tart inadvertently, I’m going to stop you. We’re all going to stop you, and that’s that.”
She gave a half smile and perked up. “Thank you, James. You do always know what to say, I’ll give you that.”
J.D. raised his eyebrow. “Part of that monologue seems really familiar,” he mused.
I slammed his foot with my heel and he yelped. Forget about plagiarism, don’t tell the girl I love I paraphrased from The Unabridged Book of Quotes of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore! I told him with my eyes.
Boo boo toe! J.D. replied in expression-speak, grabbing his foot and wincing.
Tegan wiped her eyes (they were only slightly teary) and swallowed. “Well, this has been an absolutely cheerful conversation, and I hate to end it, but we’ve got the match in an hour.”
I stuffed a muffin in my mouth and mumbled, “Wocker ‘ooms, go to duh wocker ‘ooms!”
We seven Gryffies grabbed our bags, grandly exited the Great Hall, and proudly marched down the path leading to the Quidditch pitch and “wocker ‘ooms”.
Tegan and Arlie separated from the men, heading to their locker room while we XY Gryffies filed into our own. We had to suit up and prepare for battle.
I had all seven Gryffies bow their heads, arranged in a circle in the boys’ locker room (where both sexes traditionally met for our pre-match meeting). Though reluctant at first, they all eventually agreed to participate in my quasi-religious ritual.
“Noble, valiant, and gracious Quidditch Deity,” I murmured slowly and reverently, feeling the silence of the locker room. “We are but guests in your temple, your extraordinary outdoor temple where dreams are fulfilled and prophecies disproved. We live in your temple, on your pitch, Quidditch Deity. And now we pray, as we prepare for our noble battle against the evil Slytherins, that you will give us strength, quickness in mind, and agility on the pitch.”
J.D. picked up his head. “What?”
I shushed him and regained my composure. “Oh, wise and benevolent Quidditch Deity, please give us Gryffies the edge in this epic war. Please let us crush the Slytherins, break all their bones and drain their essential fluids.”
“Pardon?” said Tegan. “When did Quidditch become religiously enlightening? And that violent?”
“Teg,” I groaned, “don’t interrupt, He’ll be angry.”
“Are you trying to convert us to some heretical pagan religious?” barked Micah. “I don’t feel comfortable!”
“No!” I whined. “We need to invoke the almighty power of the Quidditch Deity to—”
“You keep getting more and more barmy, James,” said Freddie, shaking his head.
“My mum’s a Presbyterian, and I don’t feel comfortable either,” said Mattie hesitantly.
“Shut it, you lot,” said Arlie sternly. “James is our cap’n, remember? Follow whatever mental ceremony he’s got planned and then we can go play Quidditch.”
I smiled at her, pleasantly surprised at her defence of my cap’nship, but not daft enough to question it. “So, in conclusion, Quidditch Deity,” I wrapped it up quickly, “let us beat the heinous Slytherins. In your name, we pray.”
I tipped my head and nodded to my congregation, and they reluctantly let out an, “Amen.”
I grinned. “Well, with the help of the Quidditch Deity, there’s no way we can be vanquished! We’ve been practicing for weeks, Gryffies, and we’re in the best shape we’ve ever been! You’ve worked your asses off for this, and we deserve this victory! J.D.?”
My bestest mate smirked. “What team?”
“Gryffindor!” we chanted back.
“Gryffindor!” We grabbed our brooms.
“Gryffindor!” We lined up towards the entrance of the pitch.
Then I declared, “Gryffies…we fly!”
We hopped on our brooms and took off, flying with considerable speed and controlled direction onto the pitch.
Half an hour into the match, I ground my teeth and tried to steer my broom straight, my hands spasming with utter rage.
Why weren’t things turning out as I prayed, Quidditch Deity? Hmm?
You let that ogre, the Slytherin Beater Zabini, hit an illegal Bludger to Micah’s big nose! Now Micah’s rolling around on the grassy pitch, whining and screaming and being attended to by Madam Larkin. And I can’t go see if he’s alright cos we’re still in game play.
Another complaint, cruel, sadistic Quidditch Deity! The score is 120-70 to Slytherin! This is not acceptable! That fricking Malfoy wanker has stolen the Quaffle out of my hands twelve times already. And Mr. Bagman, the batty old referee who was apparently incarcerated for money laundering many moons ago, isn’t calling any fouls.
Frick! 130-70 Slytherin! C’mon, Mattie old boy! Block something!
But I can’t get mad at Mattie Thomas for his lacklustre Keeping. He’s normally an excellent Keeper. So I blame you, Quidditch Deity. You have let me down.
And now they’re escorting Micah off the field, which means I’m a Chaser down! C’mon Arlie, teamwork, it’s just you and me now, Little Miss Shacklebolt.
Ooh, you’ve got possession of the Quaffle, nice! I’ve got an opening, Arles, pass it to me…
Bloody fricking wanker ponce. Scorpius Malfoy nicked the Quaffle right before I caught it. Again.
Bugger off, you worthless Quidditch Deity. We’re gonna do this game all atheist-style.
Tegan! I proclaimed telepathically, hoping my one true love could hear me. It would be really great if you could catch the Snitch soon!
Surprisingly, Tegan immediately whipped her head ‘round and looked down at me with such a furious expression that could have only said, Sod off you arsehole! Whaddya think I’m doing up here, admirin’ the scenery?
My heart pitter-pattered. Only the death glares of Tegan Llewellyn could make me all squidgy inside.
I turned my attention back to Chasing, and was passed the Quaffle by Mattie after Malfoy scored another smarmy shot. My eyes searched the pitch for Arlie, but she was almost entirely blocked by two ugly Slytherin Chasers. Frick, this is why each team’s s’posed to have three Chasers! I need my Micah Horowitz, and I need him now!
As I thought furiously, determining whether proceeding up the well-guarded pitch alone or taking an enormous risk and tossing the Quaffle to Arlie would be the better option. But then, suddenly, the best part of the game of Quidditch happened.
Tegan Llewellyn, the dishy, fit, Gryffindor Seeker extraordinaire, had spotted the elusive Snitch. But Kate Nott, the aggressive younger sister to one John Dorian Nott, had spotted the shiny, gold, winged ball as well.
The two girls, one brunette, the other black-haired (blackette?), pointed their brooms directly towards the ground and began a swift nose-dive. This was not a Wronski Feint (though that move is my Tegan’s specialty): The Snitch they were aiming for was very, very real. It danced and spun inches above the grass, knowing full well the degree of its obnoxiousness. Meanwhile, Tegan and Kate pushed and shoved each other in an attempt to gain the lead in this race to the insufferable winged ball, but naturally Mr. Bagman, the old coot, didn’t call any fouls. He, like the rest of the players on the pitch and everyone in the stands, was too focused on the girls’ pursuit of that devilish Snitch.
Faster and faster they zoomed, shoving each other and grunting and never taking their eyes off the prize.
“You can do it Tegan!” I exclaimed aloud, though I only intended to do so in my mind. “You can do it, you wonderfully semi-suicidal woman! In regards to your dedication to catching the Snitch, that is!”
She didn’t acknowledge hearing me (either cos the roar of the crowd was too loud or cos she was a bit preoccupied, what with Kate Nott scratching at her face), but continued the chase, flying closer and closer towards the ground.
Thirty meters…twenty meters…ten meters…five—“Tegan, hold up there!” I bellowed as she was inches away from crashing into the pitch, her arm outstretched to grab the Snitch…
And then she did. Crash into the pitch, I mean. She fell face first into the grass before she could get the Snitch, and well after Kate Nott’s common sense kicked in and the girl turned the nose of her broom up.
“Tegan!” I shouted, flying full speed towards her motionless body. It didn’t occur to me that the match was still technically going on. I should have passed the Quaffle to Arlie, but instead I dropped it and let it fall to the ground.
Madam Larkin, who’d just returned from bringing Micah up to the hospital wing, rushed over to Tegan. I hopped of my broom and jumped to the ground, sprinting to where she lay.
“Tegan!” I called as Madam Larkin bent Tegan’s arm.
“Miss Llewellyn, thank Merlin you’re conscious, but can you tell me if bending your elbow this way hurts?”
“Frick!” she yelped. “Of course it hurts, it’s broken!”
Madam Larkin, a normally kind young witch with good bedside manner, pursed her lips. “My apologies, Miss Llewellyn,” she said curtly. “If that arm is indeed broken, you need to return to the hospital wing with me promptly.”
Tegan looked at me funny, her olive eyes a bit hazy. “James…Snitch…”
“You didn’t get it,” I said reluctantly. “Absolutely brill attempt, though.”
“But if I didn’t get the Snitch,” she mumbled, “the match is still on, yeah? GET YOUR BLOODY ARSE BACK ON THAT BROOMSTICK AND GO CHASE!”
I jumped back at her outburst, and though my instincts told me to follow Madam Larkin (who’d conjured a stretched and was now levitating Tegan onto it) to the hospital wing, I Accioed my Firebolt 360 and jumped on it.
But as I ascended, I heard a cold roar among the spectators. I whipped my head ‘round and saw the entirety of the Slytherin Quidditch team, hooting and hollering and smothering Kate Nott with big hugs, as she held the Snitch high in the air.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Freddie fly up next to me. “She doubled back after Tegan fell,” he said solemnly. “Caught the Snitch slowly and at her own pace, now that she had no competition. We were screwed anyways.”
I felt it hard to breath as J.D. joined us. “That’s my sister,” he mused. “Devious little bugger. Will kick you right in the bollocks.”
“I know. She kicked me in the bollocks third year, after I told her she looked like my dog Snuffles,” I said faintly.
J.D. patted me on the back. “Seeing the pain in your eyes affirmed to me that you are, in fact, a bloke. Albeit a bloke with a pink unicorn diary.”
Mattie and Arlie joined us as we hovered on the pitch, staring at the Slyths sadly.
Arlie cleared her throat. “You going to congratulate your sister, J.D.?”
He thought for a moment. “I need to give her a week to stop gloating. I can’t stand it when she gloats.”
“James,” said Mattie dejectedly, “I know that most of the score besides the plus 150 from the Snitch capture is my fault. I’m really sorry, but I honestly tried my best to stop the shots, but that fricking Scorpius Malfoy kept pulling these illegal manoeuvres and that blasted Bagman arse didn’t call any penalties!”
“I know, Mattie,” I said compassionately to the fifth year. “I didn’t play so well in this match either. I blame that Malfoy wanker.”
“You’re not going to kick me off the team?” asked Mattie hopefully.
I grinned at him. “’Course not. You’re an official Gryffie, and the only thing harder than getting into this club is getting out of it. But we’re going to have five-hour drills each day after classes to get you in tip top Keeping shape. And it’s mando.”
Mattie slightly perked up, though winced at the notion of his new training regimen.
I looked at my remaining teammates, then at the still-victory-flying Slyths, and said to my mates, “We’re going to check up on Micah and Tegan.” Everyone listened to me as we flew down to the ground and began the trek back up to the castle.
Micah was fine. Just a broken nose that Madam Larkin would heal overnight.
“And then, that troll What’s-His-First-Name Zabini came outta nowhere, and outright smacked the damn Bludger towards my beautiful, beautiful face,” whined Micah, laying dramatically in his hospital bed.
J.D. flicked his nose-cast. “You’re fine,” he grumbled as Micah screeched.
But I didn’t care about my Micah nearly as much as my Tegan. Mostly cos I’m not physically attracted to Micah.
“I’m fine,” she said dazedly, lying in bed with protective, Skele-Gro injected casts on both her arms and both her legs, and her face scraped and covered with numerous bandages.
“Tegan, you’ve broken twenty individual bones today, and Madam Larkin thinks you’ve suffered a very minor concussion,” I said gently as I sat on the edge of her bed. I took her bloodied hand too. It seemed an appropriate gesture.
She chuckled lightly. “Okay, I admit that my brain’s quite scrambled right now, but she also said that the double vision will be gone by tomorrow. And my bones’ll be healed in less than a week, so you better not replace me, James Potter!”
“I could never replace you!” I exclaimed, shocked and offended. “How many Tegan Llewellyns, Seeker Extraordinaire are there at this school?”
Tegan smirked. “Just the one in this hospital bed.”
“Precisely,” I said sternly. “And that is why I will never replace you. Unless you manage to kill yourself trying to catch the blasted Snitch, or something. I won’t want to, but if I don’t want someone usurping my title as cap’n in a coup, then I’ll have to.”
She squeezed my hand. “If I manage to kill myself,” joked Tegan, “then I order you to find a replacement for me lickety split.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Lickety split?”
“Hey, I thought we weren’t going to mock each others’ eccentric vocabularies anymore,” she laughed. Clutching her stomach, she gasped, “Oh, you split my lickety!”
“Good one, Tegster,” I chuckled.
“But I’m seriously not dying,” she said decisively. “I wouldn’t kill myself to catch the Snitch. I’m the sensible Gryffie, yeah? My limit is twenty bones and a very minor concussion.”
“Glad to hear I don’t have to start posting 'Seeker Wanted' posters,” I grinned. Tegan squeezed my hand tighter, and I felt a herd of butterflies burst from their chrysalises and begin to flutter around my stomach.
A/N: Sooo? Ya like? Then review!
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And I want to thank all of you for simply reading this far in my slightly deranged little fic about Harry Potter’s kid and his nutty adventures. THANK YOU!
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