Don’t let me catch you talking that way about Neville again. I already told you he’s done a lot more than you to prove himself a Gryffindor and you’re not anyone to be judging just because he doesn’t share your obsession with Quidditch. Yes, James, I said obsession. Your father and I both think you should concentrate more on your classes and magic instead of spending every waking moment adjusting schedules.
I’m glad you found two Beaters for the team, though I don’t know what Paloma’s grades have to do with her talent. I’m glad she is having good academic success though. Something you could use more of.
Also, your sister wrote to me a few days before you did and told me you’re hexing any boy in the hallway that talks to her. Is that true? I’m going to hex you if it is because I know exactly what that’s like because of your uncles and it isn’t pleasant. So let your sister do what she wants, including having a boy owl.
How is Avery? I heard from her mother the other day in Diagon Alley and Mrs. Flynn seemed distressed. Do you know anything about that? Not that you would seeing your head is on the Quidditch pitch too much. Lay off or we’ll put you in a program so you can suffer from withdrawal and be like a normal pompous seventeen-year-old.
I’m not sure about the question you asked me regarding the raising money for new robes. Are they really that bad? Maybe you lot could have an auction or something.
See you soon and write me back about what’s going on there, dear.
I wrinkled my nose at the letter. Mum always had a way about telling me off without being mean, but to an extent she was right. I might have gone a bit overboard ranting about Professor Longbottom and how he wouldn’t know a Quaffle from a Bludger and maybe this thing about Avery’s mum was worth looking into, but she was far from realistic asking me to back off on my Captaining. I just couldn’t desert my team. That would be silly.
As for Lily. Pfft. Yeah right. I was going to check her the underside of her owl if I had to.
Or I could make Fred do it.
The auction. What would I auction? I didn’t have anything I could part with, even though everyone in the tower would pay good money for my wand-polishing cloth or my signed Potions book or a date with Paloma.
Heck, I might pay for that.
Enter: Quidditch Code to stifle my lust.
I folded the letter and stuffed it into the pocket of my robes, staring around me at a glum Monday morning around the Great Hall. Everyone was sleep-deprived, including Fred who stayed up most of the night convincing Madam Bones that he was not addled and that he could go to class. He even told her he hid under his bed and never went to the team meeting. Avery was beside me looking over her Charms notes and Nia was on my other side buttering her bread in a very suggestive manner.
I saw Clint Lawson across the hall. His Slytherin mug was staring back at me like a cat watching a mouse except I was a rather handsome mouse and he was a git. That Quidditch Captain didn’t know bollocks about the game and picked players based on highest bidder. Which is why Scorpius Malfoy was on the sodding team.
I didn’t like Malfoy one bit.
Because I’m a Potter. Potter’s didn’t like Malfoys. At all.
Lawson was a different story because he was a half blood and his parents were old so I didn’t know his surname. I hated him on principal alone. He looked like a mess, slimy brown hair plastered against his skull with large beady eyes and a scowl to match Malfoy’s.
“Oy, Potter!” he called.
I raised a brow and saw Albus and Lily glance up from down the table. Lily was sitting by a boy. I’d have to change that.
“What d’you want, Lawson?” I said lazily in return and Bink chuckled from his place between Meta and Fred.
“I want you to quit staring over here. You won’t know the Slytherin Quidditch secrets by gawking at my gorgeous features.” The Slytherins laughed.
I rolled my eyes. “Your comments get worse every time you open that gob of yours, Lawson,” I yelled back. “Stick to what you know! Ugliness.”
The whoop to my left must have been Fred.
Lawson muttered something angrily.
“Yeah. That’s right.” I smirked and finished off my toast. I reached for my glass of juice, wrapping my fingers around it only to find that it wouldn’t detach itself from the table. I pulled again. Still stuck to the wood. Screwing up my face, I pulled once more.
That time it came up. Came up and spilled orange juice all over the front of my robes and down onto my pants. Some even ended up on Nia. She squealed.
“Where’d you learn that?” I said loudly and Nia grabbed a napkin and dabbed at my pants. I swatted her hand away. Avery rolled her eyes.
“While your head is up your arse in Quidditch practices, I learned a few things on my own,” Lawson said. “See you in potions, twat berry.”
What the fuck was a twat berry?
Lawson turned around to the jeering Slytherins and his snot follower Peatrice Jenkins imitated Nia wiping at his pants. I sank further into my seat and narrowed my eyes. How could I get that jerk back?
Avery flicked her wand while simultaneously flipping to the next page of Charms notes.
There was a loud squeal and Peatrice was covered in strawberry jam. It was also mixed in with Lawson’s hair substance.
I beamed. That was my girl.
“We have to figure something out,” Bink muttered Tuesday night while we sat on his bed. He had a homemade comforter from his mum so his bed was the most comfortable. He smoothed out his blond hair. “I won’t have the Ravenclaws telling us we’re wearing pink. I’m not a pink sort of bloke.”
I nodded, looking back and forth between the other two Chasers. “The only thing I can come up with is paying Paloma for dates. I think blokes would be up for that.” I chuckled.
Fred smiled. “I’d be up for that. But I’m on the team so that might be weird.”
“No dating anyone on the team,” I snapped.
“So that means I can’t date Meta either?” Fred asked and he laughed and then made a gagging sound.
“You just punished yourself enough with that visual,” I said and Bink looked off toward the window.
“You know,” he said quietly, “you might be on to something.”
“Dating Meta? Are you mental?” I asked.
“No,” Bink said forcefully. “I mean with the paying people for dates.”
“You going to pay me for a date, mate?” Fred asked, wiggling his eyebrows a bit. “I might say yes and break the code just because I like blonds.”
“Go date your Ravenclaw blonds, Freddie,” muttered Bink. “I don’t want any part in your woman-loving ways.” He cleared his throat. “I mean having other people pay us for things. Maybe not dates—but like our services go to the highest bidder or something.”
“Like an auction?” I said suddenly, jumping to my feet and sending part of the comforter flying to the floor.
This was genius. Sheer complete genius.
“Yeah, like that.” Bink ruffled his hair again and I wondered if he was taking that from me. “We could make a night of it—all of us line up and we get auctioned off to that person for the night. And then we can do whatever they want within limits of course. Teach them to fly. Go on a date. Whatever.”
I could have hugged him but we were both boys and I wasn’t comfortable with that.
Hell, I hugged him anyway.
After pulling away I stared at him. “Let’s do it Friday night. Common room. Freddie, you make signs. Bink, you fix up a stage or something for it. We need decorations. And clean yourselves up for Merlin’s sake! We need high bidders!”
Fred nodded and grabbed for some parchment. He paused. “Who’s gunna bid on Meta?”
Bink threw a pillow at him. “Get to work, addled brain boy.”
“You did WHAT?”
Avery was slightly beside herself when she saw the posters Fred made. I was with her on that one, though. Fred wasn’t much of an artist and his stick figure drawing of me made me look a little lanky with not enough freckles. But she was being dramatic.
“James, you can’t just auction people off without their consent!” She threw her arms in the air. “That has to be against some rule or another.”
“It’s for the benefit of the team, Avery,” I said defensively.
“Wesley, tell him this is wrong,” Avery said, desperately seeking confirmation in the form of a boy.
“I don’t know,” Wes said quietly, backing up from the bulletin board. He ruffled his hair.
Did I start a trend?
“I think it might be okay as long as a pretty girl buys me.” Wesley blushed.
Avery narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re no help at all.” She looked at Paloma. “How do you feel about this?”
I could tell Paloma was trying to tread lightly on the situation. “I agree that James should have consulted us,” she said softly, “but I do think it might be fun.”
“Fun because everyone’s going to bid on you,” muttered Meta, coming up from behind us with her usual scowl. Part of me wished she wasn’t such a good Seeker or even pretty because even though she was a bitch people still fancied her. I had no idea why. I actually wanted to punch her more than date her.
“Everyone,” I said gruffly, “this is what we’re doing so I don’t have to be called pinky by Lawson anymore. If you don’t want to be auctioned off to some handsey first year then I suggest getting one of your mates to pay the money to buy you. It’s this Friday. Look nice so we can get some money for those ugly mugs of yours.”
“Who’re you calling ugly?” Avery said, her hands on her hips.
“You can’t be pretty,” I said and Bink choked. “You’re my best mate. I can’t think of you like that.”
She rolled her eyes.
But Paloma on the other hand…
I made sure the signs were plastered all over Gryffindor Tower and I let Wesley make a few that didn’t entail stick figures. They were in bathrooms and under beds and on every stair of each spiral staircase. No one would be missing out on this.
“What can we have you do if we win you?” Nia asked me Friday morning, batting her eyelashes at me from over her Transfiguration book.
“Anything within reason,” I replied, trying not to look at her. “I can refuse to do something, but we really shouldn’t unless it’s ridiculous.” I took another bite of toast. “But I think it’ll be fun, especially if Meta ends up cleaning out someone’s toilet.”
“Aren’t you scared that will happen to you?” she asked.
I raised a brow, finally looking up to meet her wide eyes. “With as many girls in this place that fancy me I seriously doubt I’ll be cleaning out toilets.” I winked at her. Not because I fancied her because I didn’t, but so she didn’t get the bright idea to bid on me and have me clean toilets.
James Potter did not clean toilets.
Or anything really.
Avery slid down beside me and sighed loudly. “I still can’t believe I’m doing this. I’m going to stand up on a stage made by Fred and Bink and let people bid on me. I thought I had more dignity.”
“You may like pink robes, but I don’t.”
“What makes you think I like pink robes?” Avery narrowed her eyes and grabbed some bacon off my plate.
“Because you’re a girl.”
“Sexist pig.” She grabbed another piece.
“Story of my life I suppose,” I muttered and smiled sideways at her.
She smiled back. “You just better hope whomever gets me isn’t a total sod or you’re not going to hear the end of it for weeks, Potter.”
“How come you can call me Potter and I can’t call you Flynn?”
She shrugged and pushed her long hair away from her face. “Because I’ll punch the snot out of you if you call me Flynn and you won’t touch me.”
I raised a brow and lightly punched her in the shoulder. “I will so, Flynn.”
“Honestly.” I heard a frustrated huff behind me and turned to see Lily with her hands on her hips. She looked just like Mum, her bright red hair falling against her brown eyes and that scowl was something I had seen so many times before—usually when I told her third year boyfriends to sod off or I’d shove my broom somewhere particularly unpleasant. Or when I stole her teddy bears over the summer and put stuffed doll heads on them.
“Hi, Lils,” I said cheerfully. “What brings you to the big kids’ side of the table?”
“I think you and Avery should just be siblings,” Lily said, shifting her weight onto her left foot. “Would you take him off my hands please? Then he can tell anyone you date to sod off.”
“She would have to date,” I muttered and Avery slapped me.
“I’m as good as his sister anyway,” she said viciously. “He won’t let a bloke look at me let alone talk to me. Maybe this auction is a good opportunity to get me a date.”
I choked on the bacon she had left on my plate. “I don’t ruddy think so!”
Avery beamed and slapped hands with Lily. “I think I’ll put on some mascara before the show.”
I groaned. First Nia talking about bidding on me and then Avery dating? No, I think not. She might have been blessed with fantastic grades, but she wasn’t meat for some sleazy bag of dung to slobber all over.
I was going to make sure of that.
I checked myself in the mirror. My hair was everywhere like usual, there was one rogue spot on my face which got annoying and red after I prodded it with my wand, and my collar was feeling a bit tight. Maybe it was because it was a pink shirt in honor of the pink robes we were getting rid of. I wore a black tie to match Bink and Fred since we were three of a kind.
“I’m a little skeptical,” Fred said, smoothing out the wrinkles of his purple collared shirt. “What if some horny fourth year wants to jump me out by the Quidditch pitch? I might not be able to get away.”
“Then it’ll be more action than you’ve gotten in the last year,” muttered Bink, running a comb through his straight hair.
Fred narrowed his eyes. “Git.”
I put up my hands. “Lads. Come on. Let’s just get this money and get our new robes—whether or not anyone gets screwed in the process.” I paused. “Though I can’t say I would mind it.” I ruffled my hair once more and pulled open the door. Then I stopped. “Who are you calling a prude, Bink? When have you gotten any this year?”
He pushed past me and walked toward the stairs.
“What a git,” muttered Fred and followed.
I was expecting a crowd, but what I got was chaos. The entire Gryffindor Common Room was packed with squealing girls, curious parties, and macho blokes too tough to admit they wanted a look at Paloma. I snuck a glance to wear the rest of the team was sitting and at Paloma. She was too good looking for her own good. The lollipop she had in her mouth didn’t help.
It was strawberry and she held it against her red lips for longer than need be. Her checks indented slightly when she sucked on it.
There was no lollipop.
“Ready, James?” asked Bink taking a seat on the sofa behind the makeshift stage.
It was a few feet off the ground with stairs in the back and a few of the girls in front were starting to lean on it.
I nodded, surveying my team. Bink and Fred had their arms linked and Meta was beside them with a scowl on her usually irritated face. Paloma was on the arm of the sofa with my imaginary lollipop nowhere to be seen and Wes was beside her saying something and pointing to the crowd. Avery was behind the couch pacing and it only took one look before my voice clogged up.
She was wearing makeup. She had brown shiny powder outlining her eyes and she was wearing the set of emerald earrings her mother gave her. The green matched her green dress—wait a bleeding moment. Avery rarely wore dresses because she knew if she fell someone would kick it up to see her knickers.
Maybe she wasn’t worried about that.
Or maybe she wanted her knickers to be shown!
“Avery, what in Merlin’s name are you doing?” I said, rounding on her instead of walking up on stage.
“Pacing?” she said, raising a curious brow.
I grabbed her hand and tugged her over toward the window. Her palm was soft and lotion-y. “You look like…Paloma.”
“So does Al have a crush on me?” Avery snickered.
This was not a laughing matter. “I’m being very serious. If you wear that you look like you have the IQ of a squeezable ketchup bottle. Blokes won’t take you seriously. They’ll want to see what’s under that skirt!” I folded my arms in a Captain-y sort of way.
She leaned close, the bottom strings of her hair brushing against my chest, and whispered into my ear, “And we’ll make a hell of a lot of money from them wondering, won’t we?”
I gaped at her, my tongue hanging out slightly.
Avery smirked devilishly and took a seat between Bink and Fred, squeezing so that Bink was pressed up against Meta uncomfortably.
That wasn’t the point. We were going to make money anyway—Avery didn’t have to go flaunting her legs to the hormone-obsessed Gryffindors.
Sighing dramatically, I made my way onto the stage. It was still chaos. Girls were screaming. Guys were flexing their muscles. Some people were waving around bags of coins that I wanted in my pocket for those new robes. It was insane out there and I couldn’t see the floor between pushing second years and a fourth year back by the fireplace talking about how much money his father made at the Ministry.
“All right, folks, calm it down!” I cried, shifting up on the stage and loosening my tie a bit. I heard Nia squeal. “You’re all here for a reason. You’re here because we need to raise some gold for your amazing Quidditch team!”
Everyone cheered and Fred did a whoop from behind me. “So, like the inventive team we are, we’re going to auction off the players to you for day tomorrow—which is also a Hogsmeade day might I remind you—to do what you wish with them within reason. You should know the limits. Common sense, mates.” I took a deep breath and smiled. “It lasts from midnight tonight until midnight tomorrow night. Anyone have any questions?”
“Can we bid for people that aren’t here?” It was a squeaky fourth year in an orange cardigan.
I wrinkled my nose at her shirt. “Yeah, I don’t care.” I glanced around. “Anything else? No? All right, let’s get this show on the road. I’ll lead this sha-bang by being up here, but you lot have control. Who should we start with?” I listened to the incomprehensive shrieks in front of me. “Wesley Jordan!”
Wes blushed and made his way onto the stage, shuffling his feet. He smiled coyly.
“This bloke wowed everyone at try-outs. He’s a great Beater. His dad works in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes with Fred’s dad and his mum is a Chaser for the Tornadoes!” I said loudly, hoping these things would make the girls want to bid on Wes.
Turned out, I didn’t need to try as hard as I did. Third year girls started bidding right off the bat and it was up to twenty galleons before I had time to adjust my tie again. Wesley was positively beaming.
It settled on twenty-four Galleons, two Sickles and a Knut for Wes to some short girl in the back and he bowed before leaving the stage. That was a good chunk of change for dear Wes. He was a good asset after all.
“All right, whoever just won Wes needs to collect him after this is over so you can tell him the plans for tomorrow.” I glanced back toward the couch of Quidditch players. “How about we go for Freddie Weasley? He’s an eligible bachelor. C’mon up here, Freddie. Show them what you’ve got.”
Fred leapt up on stage and struck a few poses before the bidding started. A clique of girls started it off right with a few galleons, but after that everyone’s eyes were on the ground and no one said anything. Fred colored. Out of all of us he was the embodiment of a ladies’ man. He dated half of the Ravenclaw House.
“What’s going on? Waste all your breath on Wes?” I demanded.
“We can’t bid,” said a fifth year a few rows back.
“Why bleeding not?”
“Kay Davies threatened us.”
Fred blushed even more.
“Kay effing Davies? Are you kidding me?” I looked over at the clique of girls. “Did Davies put you up to this?”
Cardigan-girl bit her lip.
“Bugger.” I paused. “How much money did she give you?”
She held up the bag.
“Sold! To Kay Davies! For the content of that bag.” I grinned and Fred slapped my back. I took the money and Fred flopped back down on the sofa. “Who’s up next? Meta? Yeah, why don’t you get up here?”
She scowled and made her way onto the stage but once she was up there in the spotlight she turned from feminine-excuse Seeker to superstar. She struck model poses and fluffed up her hair and I was almost sick. But the blokes loved it and the bidding started before I allowed it to start and Meta was hovering around twenty-seven galleons. A burly sixth year grinned devilishly when I collected his money.
When I called Bink, he looked positively irritated. He wasn’t much of a people-person, that Bink. Maybe it was his pale skin. He had to be self-conscious because he didn’t have gorgeous freckles or tan skin like me and Freddie.
“How about this piece of bloke here?” I said wildly and the girls cheered so much it made my ears hurt. “What do you think he’s worth? That luscious blond hair? Pretty eyes? Damn good Quidditch talent.”
I ended up sitting down because it was taking so long. It was clear a great deal of the girls were there for Bink and I waited until it hit thirty-four before announcing the winner, a pretty red-haired girl with a smi—oh, bollocks.
It was Rosey. Al was beside her laughing.
I could only assume Bink was in store for some toilet-cleaning.
“Time for Paloma Dove!” I cried, collecting Rose’s money and pulling Paloma onto the stage. “Isn’t she a beauty? Put Freddie in the hospital during try-outs.” I found my voice trailing as it was being taken over by bidders that had fallen in lust with dear Paloma.
Bollocks on the Quidditch Code.
I shook myself out of it. I didn’t know anything about Paloma. She was beautiful, but I didn’t know a sodding thing about her. What she liked. What she was into besides nail polish. So the Quidditch Code was law and I had to auction her off.
I didn’t make that sentence every day.
Blimey, big spenders.
I looked out. Al was bidding. His cheeks were red and his voice was higher, but he was bidding. Didn’t have a crush on her my arse.
“Thirty!” It was a first year. I snorted. Poor Paloma.
“Thirty-one!” Al again. What a trooper.
“Forty-seven!” Where was Al getting all this gold? Did Dad know about this?
“Fifty!” It was the first year. Al’s fists clenched up.
“Sold!” I said loudly and Paloma’s face went unnaturally pale. “Bad luck, Dove. Maybe next year.”
“James, you’re wicked,” she whispered and left the stage, leaving me wondering exactly what wicked meant.
“You want to go next?” Avery asked quietly, approaching the stage. “So there aren’t two girls in a row?”
I shrugged. “Sure. Bring on the fan girls.” I spread my arms out.
“It’s time for the Captain, ladies!” Avery said loudly, standing so that the boys near her could not see up her green dress. The shrieking hurt my delicate ears. “So get out your gold because this pompous git is worth every Knut!”
“Twenty-five!” There was Elizabeth. I was wondering when she would venture in.
“Twenty-six!” Why was Al bidding on his brother? Twirp.
I tried flexing my muscles but that was it. No one else wanted to pay more for me. Or maybe they didn’t want to get beat up by Nia because she had her wand pointed at Elizabeth’s throat. That could have been it. Crazy women with their money and good grades.
Nia’s smile couldn’t have been brighter. She licked her lips. I was a little unsure about what Saturday would bring.
“All right, folks,” I said loudly, trying to ignore the winks from Nia and the depressed glance from Elizabeth. Stupid prat Al was laughing. “Lastly, is our fantastical Keeper wearing a dress today which is a little inappropriate but hey I’m not her father, I just think she should cover up and—ouch! All right.” Scowling, I started the bidding off at ten galleons for Avery.
It jumped to twenty.
It jumped to thirty.
I checked my watch. Avery winked at the crowd.
What in blazes was she doing winking?
I knew that voice. I knew it and I didn’t like it.
I groaned. No, no, no. My hands balled into carefully formed fists and I wanted to punch the crap out of him.
Now, wait a bleeding minute. Avery gets the most money? How could she possibly?
And where were these sods getting all that gold? Had they been saving for years to get Avery out on a date?
She didn’t go on dates. I would have to remind them of that.
Or my wand would find its way somewhere uncomfortable.
Or I’d punch them in the damn mouth.
That was it. It was over. I collected the winnings, Avery looked shocked but happy, and Emerson Edwards, Head Boy Extraordinaire, won a Saturday with my Keeper.
A/N: I hope everyone enjoyed chapter three. It was a really difficult chapter to write, but I think the next one will come easier. I'm still not entirely happy with this, but I think it works all right.
So what do you think? Who do you think has the best deal for their Saturday oasis and who has the worst? And who the heck won Wesley?
Thanks everyone for reading!
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