Chapter 1 : First Quidditch Practice
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Today’s just like any other day. Just another not too sunny, but still too hot practice on the Quidditch field. Practice is almost over; and I, Liv Lyden, am getting ready to clean up the pitch. I pull out my bucket, mop, broomstick polish, and sponge from the supply closet.
I stand near the changing rooms and watch Oliver Wood, Gryffindor’s Quidditch Team Captain, rally up his players. Oliver’s voice bellows over the ruckus chatter.
“Listen up! With the first match of the season coming up, I’m going to have you guys run five extra laps and add night practices on weekends –”
“And I don’t want to hear any complaints! We’ve got to step up our game from last year. And since I was the only one who participated in Quidditch camp during our summer vacation, you’ve all got to get back on track and pick up your training where you left off last year.”
“Oi, just because we had better things to do in the summer than train for Quidditch doesn’t mean we need to learn everything all over again,” Andrew McAllister protests.
Almost everyone on the team hesitantly agrees.
“Yeah – we just need to practice our speed a little bit,” reasons Alicia Spinnet.
I roll my eyes. Whenever they try to reason with Oliver Wood about practices each year, it turns into a full blown horror fest.
“You want to practice your speed a little bit?” Oliver asks menacingly. He walks close to Alicia. “How about the fact that you need to improve your seeker abilities a little bit? It took you twenty minutes to find the snitch today. Twenty minutes! Last year, it only took you eight minutes during practices.” She looks at the ground bashfully and Oliver continues.
He turns to Andrew. “And I don’t want to hear anything from you, McAllister. You’re my alternate keeper, for crying out loud. You couldn’t even keep your eyes on the ball. And don’t think I didn’t notice how you almost dropped the quaffle!”
“But Oliver –”
“I don’t want to hear it, guys. We’re gonna train harder this year and that’s that. Now hit the showers before I add ten extra laps to your practices.” He turns around swiftly and heads towards the changing rooms. When he reaches me, I’m already holding a towel out for him.
“Thanks, Liv,” he smiles, grabbing the towel and heading towards the boys’ showers.
“No problem, Oliver.”
As soon as Oliver enters the changing room, his team follows. And that’s how all practices went.
I’m not a Quidditch player, and I wouldn’t actually qualify myself as a part of the team– I’m their caretaker. I clean their stuff; all their Quidditch gear, laundry, cleats, brooms, and everything of that sort. I help keep everything in line. I tidy up the changing rooms after practices and polish their broomsticks before big games. I’m here for every practice, and the days before matches. I don’t know if one can call me a team player, but I’d consider myself as important to the team either way. I make sure they have fresh towels, and their uniforms are firmly pressed and waiting for them in their lockers.
I’m the Quidditch maid, in other words.
Although, the team’s always been nice to me and have assured me that I’m much more important than some housekeeper. But they’re just being polite. They don’t see me as a maid, but as a close friend that helps the team keep things in order. It’s not unusual, really, having someone to clean up after their House team. I think the Ravenclaw team has a cleaner, too.
You must be thinking: a Quidditch maid? How did that happen?
Well, let’s start with pointing out that there’s limited space for anything in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Sure, there are old deserted classrooms and hidden passages, but there are no real spaces for dancing. It all started a couple years ago.
See, I’m a dancer, and my mother had sent me to Hogwarts instead of returning me to Beauxbatons because she knew that going to a different country, so far away from home, would strain things for my new family and me. Ever since my mother remarried, she wanted to keep things happy and make sure we all grew closer to each other. Hogwarts was nearer, and more convenient. I didn't speak French that well anyway...
I had developed a plan for myself when I graduated: I’d try and make it into the prestigious dance academy of my dreams, Mount Chezour Academy of the Arts, in Belgium. But the only way I could go there after I graduated, would be to take summer classes at a dance school during all my summer vacations… and practice during school when I was away from home.
But in sending me here, my mother and I knew that my dance training would have to stop. I transferred to Hogwarts in my Fifth Year, and the dancing had stopped all together. There was no dance curriculum here like there was at Beauxbatons. And it killed me, to not be able to keep dancing. How else would I get into Mount Chezour? But I refused to stay still.
Since there was no course for what I wanted at Hogwarts, I secretly found places to practice.
After the first month of my being a Hogwartian, my now-best-friend Sofia Thorne told me about the Room of Requirement. She said that not a lot of people new about it and that I could secretly go there to stretch and work out my technique. And for a while it was fantastic, but then I soon realized that I wasn’t the only person to know about the room. The Room of Requirement was quickly becoming more and more unavailable for me.
I decided to look for a more secure place. By the time Sixth Year rolled around, I had tried everything. Every room, every forgotten hallway, every secret corridor; I tried them all. And I was desperate for a steady practicing area. One day Sofia and I were walking on the Quidditch pitch after lunch, and I had noticed that someone left the door to one of the Gryffindor changing rooms open. Curious to see what it looked like, we peaked inside, and I was astounded by how big it was. There was definitely enough room to dance in here. I knew I could keep up with my dance if I used the changing rooms. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to practice in the boys’ or girls’ changing rooms, though. This was private property on Hogwarts grounds, I was sure. I didn’t think about getting permission to do anything, which wasn’t smart on my part, because I decided to discreetly come at night and in the early morning to dance in the girls’ changing room. It lasted for about a week, and then one early morning, I was caught.
I was like a deer in headlights. I stared at the door in surprise to find Oliver Wood by the door. Gryffindor’s Quidditch Captain didn’t seem too upset or angry. He didn’t threaten to go to the Headmaster about it, as long as I didn’t do it again. With fraught, I explained my situation to him, praying he’d understand. After a long discussion, Oliver agreed that I could use the room for practices whenever I wanted as long as I cleaned up after the team. It seemed like a reasonable bargain. By nature, I was a clean and conservative person; I knew I could do it if it meant having a secure place for me to execute my dance regime. I was an orderly and neat girl, and I convinced myself that it was a fair deal. I could do it. It would be a piece of cake.
I underestimated Quidditch players.
It was a lot to handle, and my in first week on washing dirty socks and knee-pads, I felt so helpless. I knew I had to do this to keep the changing rooms available to me. Luckily, Oliver had noticed my troubles, and offered to pay me 5 galleons for the days I spent cleaning up after the team. Which was great, because I then realized I had a sort of job. He was a lot nicer than I thought, and I was surprised to find myself becoming friends with him. Oliver became an older brother to me as our friendship grew, and I became really close with everyone on the team.
I use the money Oliver gives me to buy dancing gear, with some Quidditch cleaing supplies on the side, when ever we go to Hogsmeade.
I’ve been doing this for almost two years now, and I’ve gotten the hang of it since then. I made sure to keep everything categorized, labeled, and organized in the changing rooms. Every chore is now in perfect sequence. I remembered how long it took to clean the towels, and how much time I’d have left over if I started cleaning their cleats the day before matches. I’ve perfected the art of being a cleaning lady. Sure, it sometimes gets tedious, but every time I set foot on the pitch, I think of myself getting closer and closer to my dream of going to Mount Chezour. And everyone on the Quidditch team is compassionate and understanding about it. They respect me like I’m just another player.
This leads me to now. Today was the first practice of the year, and Oliver’s already pushing his players to improve. Based on what I’ve seen in the past two years, Oliver’s got the best teammates out there. I’ve grown to be close friends with all of them, and so has Sofia, and I know them all too well by now.
A tall redhead by the name of George Weasley and his twin, Fred, are the last off the field and make their way towards me, broomsticks in hand. They’re always the last ones to leave because their Gryffindor’s beaters, and the beaters are the ones responsible for putting the Quidditch balls back in order. That’s one thing I don’t have to do, thank goodness. I can only imagine how many teeth I’d get knocked out if I tried tying up those bludgers. I can handle the rigorous exercise for dance, but other than that I can’t lift a rock for the life of me.
“Hey, Liv,” George salutes with a smile.
“Hi, George,” I greet. George was one of the most pleasant people I had ever gotten to know here, and between you and me – he’s the most sensible twin.
I pass him a towel. George mumbles a thank you and enters the boys’ showers to my right, while the girls’ showers are to my left, where Angelina’s left her broomstick outside again. She always does that.
Fred has a sly smile on his face while I hand him a fluffy white towel. “So, Lyden,” Fred starts, “how about joining me in the showers?”
Did I mention how George was the more sensible one of the two?
“Sorry, Red. You’re not my type,” I chuckle. Fred was always the flirt. In fact, everyone on the Quidditch team was a flirt in some way or another. But Fred never quit. When ever there was an opportunity to patronize me, throw me a line, or torture me with a hex, Fred Weasley was the first to hop on the wagon. I’d say it was in his nature to treat everyone like that, but I know he’s harder on me than on anyone else. In the beginning, I though maybe he disliked me and was trying to embarrass me, but I’ve come to realize that he probably treats me this way because three years ago, I was the new girl. And you know how those twins like bullying new students…
I set down the extra pile of towels on the bench next to me and take a seat on the ground between the two changing rooms.
This was my spot. My throne. My niche, per se.
This was where I waited. When the team exits and there’s no one left in the changing rooms, I go to clean up. Sometimes they might call me if they need help while they’re changing or if they need some extra shampoo in the shower, or more embarrassingly, if they’re on the toilet and need toilet paper from the next stall. Did I mention that I clean both the girls’ and boys’ rooms? Yeah. That’s right.
Do you know how many times I got called in the boys’ rooms and walked in on Andrew McAllister in nothing but his lucky spandex Quidditch trousers? I mean, the boy’s got a body on him, but I was scarred for life. He’s like more of a little brother, or pet ferret, than a boyfriend. I just don’t feel that way towards him. Although, my best friend Sofia would definitely differ. She’s had the hots for Andrew since Third Year, but never had the guts to go up to him and ask him out.
It’s quite ironic, because Sofia Thorne is the outgoing one out of the two of us. We balance each other out. I’m the conservative, yet free-spirited Liv Lyden; while she is the flirty, yet considerate Sofia Thorne. It didn’t make sense to me when she first told me she was too nervous to talk to Andrew. I mean, they had chatted once and or twice, but she can’t have a full blown conversation with him or even manage to flirt without hyperventilating. I usually helped drag her out of the room by then. And if I wasn’t there to stop the horrendous fiasco, Angelina was always there to pull Sofia out by her hair.
Angelina Johnson’s a feisty one. She’s more stubborn than Oliver himself. I wouldn’t call her a diva, but she isn’t easy to handle when she’s in a pissy mood. George has the biggest crush on her, but only I know that. Keeper is her position and that’s the only position she’s willing to play. In fact, she goes out of her way to tell that to the team every year. Just to make sure.
Andrew McAllister is the little kid of the team. Maybe all of Gryffindor, even. He’s the alternate keeper and loves to whine about everything that comes out of Oliver Wood’s mouth. He’s always making fart jokes and loves singing in the shower. And boy does he hit those high C’s. Preferably Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, or Cher; or Bon Jovi when he feels in touch with his masculine side. Trust me, everyone from here to Senegal can here how loud he screeches. I can also hear Oliver’s screams of ‘shut the ruddy hell up!’ and the ‘my ears are bleeding, McAllister!’ along with following protests from the rest of the lads in the showers. Andrew’s in his Sixth Year, along with Alicia.
Alicia Spinnet is the baby of the team, but not in the same sense as Andrew. She was the mouse-y girl who surprised everyone last year when she tried out for Gryffindor’s seeker position. All the girls, and the guys, look out for her on and off the pitch. She’s quite petite and small; very fragile. But she has the eyes of a hawk, that girl does. She’s really sweet and polite to everyone, even Professor Snape.
Then you have one of our chasers, Brianna Riggins. She, and the Weasley twins, are the only redheads on the team. She barely makes it to practices in the afternoon, though. Not that she doesn’t want to, she does, and boy does she make up for it – Oliver makes sure she pays for missed practices the day after, at the crack of dawn. But she can’t get to practices on time because Brianna’s the busiest Gryffindor I’ve ever seen. If she’s not in the library tutoring some First Year, she setting up the next Prefects meeting. She’s Head Girl and is in her Seventh Year, along with the rest of us.
Oliver Wood has been the team’s Captain since Fourth Year, and he takes Quidditch very seriously. He’s like everyone’s older brother, or annoying step-father with fascist retardation (Angelina’s words, not mine). He wants to play for Puddlemore United and needs his application to be spotless with as many wins as possible before he leaves Hogwarts. Ever since he’s been Captain, they’ve won every House cup to date. Except last year. Roger Davies’ Ravenclaw team tried out their new chaser, and boy, was she a triple threat. We had no chance. She was they’re secret weapon and attacked us head on. Oliver still blames himself for last year’s loss. That boy really needs therapy, I tell you.
The last chaser position belongs to Katie Bell. She meets up with the Captain and they come up with plays and new strategies. She’s a hard worker, gets O’s in most of her classes, and is the feminine one of the team. She loves pink and is the cutest dirty blonde I’ve ever seen. But if you mess with her on the field, she’ll stare at your face until it turns red like that of a charging bull. Except if you were Oliver Wood. Katie’s practically in love with him. Everyone knows… Except Oliver. And we expect nothing less from him. He just can’t think about anything else other than Quidditch. He’s oblivious to everything else. Even if us girls tried pushing Oliver into Katie’s lap during dinner (which, no worries, we’ve tried), he wouldn’t notice a thing. Except he did comment on Katie’s blushing cheeks and asked her if she ate something that might have caused some allergic reaction. She didn’t talk to him for days.
Fred and George Weasley are the other set of gingers on the team. They’re equally tall and athletically thin; not lanky. Which is the perfect structure for the position they play every year: Gryffindor’s beaters. The twins are respected by most youngsters who wish to grow up to be pranksters, just like them. They’re legends when it comes to risk taking/challenging pranks. It’s their kind of art, where Hogwarts is the canvas and their inventions are the paint. And the Slytherins are their victims. Fred’s a bit more outgoing with the ladies than George; he likes to keep those feelings private. But his brother, as you well know, has no problem chasing the girls he likes. He isn’t a womanizer; in fact, most of his female friends are the girls on the team. Fred doesn’t cheat and isn’t a jerk at all. It’s just that when he fancies someone, he gets right on the ball. He’s touchy feely with every one, giving him THE FLIRTY TWIN rep. I hope I’m not the only one that gets nervous when Fred puts his arm around my shoulders.
Er, I didn’t just say that. Ignore the last remark.
Last but not least, we have the alternate beater for the team, Matthew Bridges. He’s quieter than most of the guys on the team. I think it’s because he’s a thinker. I mean, I know that he’s ready to hit anyone with a beater at any time, but he isn’t wild. It’s not that he’s a nerd either. In fact, when he puts on his glasses when he reads, or even his sunglasses, he looks like he could be an advertisement for some Italian fashion brand. Matt’s facial features are killer. And trust me, his looks do not go unnoticed. Half the girls in Gryffindor, and even some younger professors, think he’s the cutest thing ever. He’s very intelligent, and I think he doesn’t accept notes from girls because most of them are bimbos with no personality. That’s why he doesn’t date. Or go to parties after games. He’s not a party person. Actually, I think Matthew reads in the library on Saturday mornings before breakfast. I’m not sure he knows that I know, though. No body can ever find him, but I’ve picked up on him and how he’s always reading a new book during breakfast on Saturdays.
By now, the sun’s head has dimmed down to a reasonable temperature and a cooling breeze passes by. I stay seated outside the changing room, letting the silence from outside comfort my thoughts, and that’s when I hear it.
“Oops, I did it again… I played with your heart, got lost in the game…”
“Save the Britney for tomorrow, I beg you!” George yells.
“I’m going to shove this bar of soap up your-”
“And that would be Oliver,” I conclude.
When everyone left for the common room almost a half hour later, I swear I heard Andrew complain about still having soap in his pants.
My first cleaning of the year is anything but fun. Katie’s trying this new hair gel and it took me forever to scrape off the sink. The girls’ room is a lot easier to clean up though, so I shouldn’t complain. Whenever I enter the boys’ changing area, I feel like I need a face mask and pliers. Honestly, the things those boys keep lying around.
I’m currently using my wand to filter the air in Andrew’s locker. What does he keep in there? Skunks?!
I turn around and spot a pair of boxer shorts on the ground. Oh, Merlin. Do I even want to know?
I use my wand and hesitantly pick up the end of the boxer shorts. Hopefully I don't get some type of airborne illness from bringing them so close to my face, but I've just got to see what's written on them...
Before I can get a hold of myself, I let out a set of giggles I didn’t know I had in me. On the boxer shorts are the repeating words consisting of: I’m, too sexy for my bludger, too sexy for my bat…
There’s only one guess which redheaded beater these belong to…
A.N - Reviews? Critique?
Also, I changed up the rules a bit... I wanted all of the the players (the main characters, not the OC and Alicia) to be in the same year, so don't get confused about it. I just thought it would flow better that way. Lemme know what you think!
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