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Chapter 1 : Welcome, Losers
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“Welcome, losers,” I said to the guys over all the noise in the Three Broomsticks. It was a Saturday so naturally the place was packed. “You know, the best thing about beating all of you is that you just try so damn hard, well, apart from Lorcan that is.” The four of my fellow league members stared back, looking offended at my addressing them in this manner. It wasn't my fault. Truth was truth. And losers were losers. I was the one with the trophy after all.
“Alright, gentlemen,” I continued, gently placing the league trophy in the middle of the table. “This is why we're all here and, as your League Captain and Champion, I would like to formally welcome you to...”
“Why does The Oliver look so dirty?” Cody demanded suddenly, poking the base of the trophy with his finger.
I glared at James across the table. “It hasn't been the same since the end of last season when somebody wrestled it away from me during my acceptance speech and threw it in the lake. “
“I have no memory of that,” James answered, staring at The Oliver, practically licking his lips. Disgusting.
I clapped my hands. “As your League Captain and Champion, I would like to welcome you all to this season of Fantasy Quidditch. This grand tradition, which my father began in his Hogwarts days, is one that we continue today with pride. Let's begin with some introductions.”
“Seth, we've all done this before,” Hugo observed, adjusting his glasses. “I'm pretty sure we all know each other.”
“I will not be sassed by a convicted cheater,” I snapped.
“You're never going to let that go are you?” Hugo asked, going back to the book he brought with him.
“Did you just use the word sassed?” Cody snickered.
I cleared my throat loudly, trying to keep things professional.
“I am Seth Wood, and I have won this Fantasy Quidditch League three out of the five seasons I have participated in. There is no one at this school, and likely the world, who knows more about Quidditch and its players than I do. After my stunning defeat of James in the final last year, I became your Champion once more and The Oliver was returned to its rightful owner.”
“Git,” James muttered under his breath.
“On my left,” I gestured to James. “Is James Potter. James was league champion during our very first season and, though he hasn't done anything significant since then, still seems to think he knows things about Quidditch. He can be loud, bad-tempered, and will probably cheat if he sees and opportunity, so I would caution everyone against making trades with him.”
“Sabotage much?” James said, punching me in the shoulder. “What about the time you tricked Hugo into playing Donald Marsh even though he was out with a shoulder injury?”
“Wait, what?” Hugo asked, looking shocked. Poor child.
“Can we just get on with this?” Lorcan chimed in absently.
Whoops, it was bad if Lorcan was the one reigning us in. Focus, Wood.
“Continuing around the circle, we have Lorcan Scamander. Lorcan has never won The Oliver as most weeks he forgets to set his lineup. Yes, Lorcan has been dealing out easy wins for all of us ever since he joined up, and I can only assume the pattern will continue this season as well.”
“I can't make any promises,” Lorcan shrugged. “There's no telling what mayhem I might cause.”
The rest of us snorted.
“Next, we have Cody Cox, my best friend and probably the only visible threat to my reign as Champion. Cody is clever, daring...”
“Did you two start dating the summer?” James cut in rolling his eyes. See what I mean about him being bad-tempered?
“Cody has the ability to pick amazing sleepers and, though he only has one championship under his belt, he is always in the playoffs, like yours truly.”
“That's right, boys,” Cody said with a grin. “We are teams of destiny.”
“I really don't want to be around when you two start making out,” James muttered, getting up.
I pointed my finger at him. “Sit down, Potter. We have one more introduction to go, and if you leave now you'll miss out in participating in the draft order, which means that you will automatically be picking sixth.”
He swore and flipped us all off, but sat back down.
“Relax, James,” Cody scolded him. “When you were Champion and you handled the introductions, yours practically lasted an hour.”
I laughed and high-fived him before continuing.
“And, finally we have our youngest member, Hugo Weasley. This is only Hugo's second year participating. While he has a lot of ambition, last year he flooded the league with its first major cheating scandal. This is probably due to the fact that his Quidditch knowledge is spotty at best.”
“I said that I was sorry like a million times,” Hugo said shaking his head. “You don't have to insult me.”
“What kind of second year even knows how to brew Felix Felicis?” Cody asked, sounding impressed.
“The one with the mother who knew how to brew a Polyjuice Potion when she was a second year.”
“Please,” James scoffed. “You might have Ravenclaw brains, but everyone knows you ask your sister for help setting your lineup every week.”
“I do not.”
“We're getting off the point,” I told them. “Since Hugo's cheating landed him in last place in the previous season, he has been charged with finding us a new, sixth member since Brice Hannley graduated last year. I'm sure he has been working hard at this task, and the newbie will join us for the draft next week.”
“Yeah, totally on it,” Hugo answered, still paying most of his attention to his book.
“Look at me, Hugo,” I instructed him. “This next part is of the utmost importance.” I watched him closely. He better be hanging on my every word.
“Now, even though you may have other crazy geek knowledge that may help you cheat, you should be well aware of the fact that if you are caught again, you will be banned from the league permanently, and a whole rain of hurt will crash down on you.”
Hugo nodded, looking freaked.
“He gets it,” James said quickly. “Can we get on with the draft order? I have a life to be getting back to.”
I reached across the table and pulled off the baseball cap Cody was wearing. I turned it over and set it next to The Oliver on the table. While I was rummaging in my pockets for the rest of my supplies, Hugo held up the book he was reading.
“I'm reading Quidditch Through the Ages,” he said smiling. “I'm going to know everything. I don't need Rose.”
“That book is like a million years old now,” Cody laughed, while James was shaking his head at his cousin in disgust. “Every player in there is retired.”
“Even I know that,” Lorcan added, which proves how over his head Hugo actually is.
“Whatever, you guys,” Hugo answered, though I could tell he was embarrassed. “You're all...going down this year. Because...because you suck.”
“How are we related?” James asked him, clearly not impressed with his trash talk. He had a point; Hugo was going to get eaten alive.
I added five folded slips of paper to the hat and mixed them around with my hand.
“Wait, we're picking names from a hat?” James asked. “That's the grand plan for draft order this year?”
I grinned at all of them. “Hey, it can't be special every year.”
“Remember when he made us swim into the lake and kiss the Giant Squid?” Cody said, looking a little disappointed at the prospect of no contest. Or maybe he just felt a romantic connection when he kissed the squid; difficult to say.
“Or that thing with the torches from last year?” Lorcan said. “I think I still have burns.”
Hugo was the only one looking relieved. “I think this is a very fair, adult way to choose. Well done, Seth.”
How was the youngest member of the league the most mature?
We all took our slips of paper and held them close to our chests.
“Alright, we open at the same time.”
Cody was biting his bottom lip. James had his eyes closed and looked like he was doing some praying. Lorcan looked bored, Hugo nervous.
“One. Two. Three.”
We all opened, read our slips and, just as I expected, everyone had a look of utter confusion on their face.
“Mine says mirror,” James stated. “What the shit does that mean?”
“Mine says hair tie,” Hugo said blankly.
“Bracelet?” Cody said, looking excited for the challenge he now knew was coming.
“Mine just says something pink,” Lorcan read, sounding pleased.
“And mine says, lip gloss,” I said, holding out my slip for them to see.
“Are we cross dressing?” James asked, wrinkling his nose. “Because, apart from Lorcan, I have to say that we are not comfortable with this.”
“If I may explain,” I said with a wicked grin. “The draft order is not something that can be decided simply by a hat. It is something that needs to be earned. So, I have a little contest planned for us.”
“Right here? Right now?” Hugo asked, looking around fearfully.
“Exactly,” I went on. “Here's how it's going to work. You all have an item on your slip of paper. I think we can all agree that the items written there are ones that are typically associated with girls. It is your task to simply find the item on your list and return to the table. The first person to arrive back with their object will pick first in the draft, and so on and so forth.”
“So it's a scavenger hunt for girls?” Cody asked.
“Call it what you will. But, there are rules of course. First, you may not leave the premises for any reason. If you do, you will be disqualified from the contest. Second, no wands. In fact, wands on the table right now.”
“What for?” Hugo asked, and I could tell that his crazy smart Ravenclaw brain had already been devising spells to complete the task.
“No magic. No transfiguration spells. No summoning. Just your brain.”
Our wands clattered on the table as we piled them next to The Oliver.
“Let's do this!” James yelled, drawing a few glances from other tables.
“Alright, gentlemen,” I said, tensing up in preparation. “On your mark, get set.....GO!”
We all bolted from the table, knocking our chairs aside. I'm pretty sure James tried to trip me as he sprinted past me, but he was gone before I could retaliate. Hugo disappeared in the same direction, and Cody was already chatting up the girls who were at the table to our immediate left. I went to the right and sat down at the first table that had girls at it.
“Hi, ladies!” I said brightly.
It was Rose Weasley and some Hufflepuff girl with curly, blonde hair. The blonde was wearing lipstick. There was no way the guys were going to let that fly. Lipstick was not lip gloss. Luckily, Rose's lips looked shiny, so I moved my chair closer to her's.
“Hi, Rose,” I said with a wink.
“What do you want, Seth?” she asked me, looking annoyed.
“I just wanted to tell you that you look nice today,” I tried, already not sure where I was going with this.
“Funny,” Rose replied scathingly. “I thought you were coming over here maybe to tell me why my brother just went into the girl's bathroom.”
“Or why my cousin is dragging the bathroom mirror over to your table.”
“What?” I gasped, jumping up from my seat and whirling around.
Sure enough, James had somehow pried the huge, round mirror from the bathroom wall and was currently lugging it across the floor. Now, when I wrote down “mirror” I imagined it being one of those little mirrors that girls carry around in their purses. But, unfortunately, I didn't know the proper term for the thing. James was always good at weaseling around the rules. A mirror was a mirror. Luckily, the woman behind the bar was yelling at him; hopefully she would slow him down.
“Shit,” I muttered before turning back to Rose. She still looked angry.
“What on earth are you guys up to?”
“Rose, I need your lip gloss!” I shouted at her.
That shocked the glare right off her pretty, little face.
“Why?” she asked, exchanging a look with her blonde friend.
“Please, please, Rose,” I begged. The time for formalities and dignity was over. Selecting Chaser Link Marshall in the first round was essential to my plan.
“Why the hell do you want my lip gloss?”
“I don't have time to explain right now!”
I glanced over my shoulder. James was almost at the table with the mirror. “This is a race against evil!”
Rose's lips twisted into a grin.
She fished around in her purse and once she located the lip gloss, she dangled it in front of my face. I tried to make a grab for it, but she was too fast. Keeper reflexes, that one.
“Seth Wood, I will give you this lip gloss on one condition.”
“Rose, I have a girlfriend now. I'm sorry, but I can't snog you no matter how much you want it.”
She put the lip gloss back in her purse. I really need an off-switch on the snark.
Then, the worst noise I have ever heard sounded behind me.
James was standing on the table, the bathroom mirror propped up on three of the chairs of our table. He was pointing at me gleefully.
“Prepare for a season like no other, boys!” he yelled. “Link Marshall is mine! All mine! The Champion King will die this year! Suck it, Wood!” Then, he laughed like a maniac.
I was in a daze until I realized, with shock, that Hugo was back at the table as well, holding a hair tie and looking delighted with himself. First and second place were gone.
“Rose, I'm sorry,” I pleaded turning back to her. “You were about to mention a condition.”
“Admit you're an asshole first.”
“I'm an asshole,” I agreed instantly.
“Alright then” Rose grinned, holding out the lip gloss once more. “Seth Wood, you owe me one, massive favor, redeemable by me at any time of my choosing.”
“Yes, fine!” I yelled, and she finally allowed me to rip the lip gloss from her hand. I sprinted back to the table to finish in a pathetic third place. Cody showed up moments later with a bracelet to come in fourth.
“Where's Lorcan?” I asked, forced to stand because of James' freaking mirror. He was running his fingers along its edge like a creep.
“He left with some girl in a pink shirt,” Cody told us.
“You know, someday he'll finish higher than last place and shock us all,” I replied. “At least he found something pink.”
“Got the hair tie off the floor in the girl's bathroom,” Hugo said proudly. “Now, I'll get to draft the second best player for myself.”
“You don't even know who that is,” I answered grumpily. Hugo Weasley did not deserve to pick second in the draft.
“But, I will by next week!” he declared, patting his book excitedly.
“You know,” James was saying loudly. “The last time I was allowed to pick first in the draft, I took home The Oliver. You all better prepare yourself for the biggest ass-kicking in league history.”
“Why do we hang out with him?” Cody asked, still twirling the bracelet around his fingers.
“Because we look like lesser pricks by comparison.”
“Truth,” he smiled, patting me on the back. “Come on, Captain, make this official so we can leave.”
“Fine,” I grumbled. “The official draft order is as follows. First: James Potter. Second: Hugo Weasley. Third: Seth The Champion Wood. Fourth: Cody Cox. Fifth: Lorcan Scamander. The draft will commence next Saturday at six. The usual setting. Tardiness will not be tolerated. We will not hesitate to let auto-draft take care of your team for you.”
“Wait, I'm confused,” James said suddenly, as we started to put our coats and picked up our wands. “Who's drafting first?”
I was getting close to punching him, but luckily the woman from behind the bar, her death stare focused on James.
“You ripped this mirror off the wall,” she accused him crossly.
“I don't know what you're talking about,” James answered, though she had clearly seen him drag it across her establishment.
“Son, you're going to have to repair the damage you've done, or I won't hesitate to press charges.”
We decided it was best to leave James on his own. He had to learn somehow.
I cuddled The Oliver safely in my arms as we headed back to Hogwarts.
The draft order was selected. Lorcan was missing. James was being a prick. Hugo was clueless. Cody...well, was just being Cody.
The season was officially open.
Official Draft Order
1st. James Potter
2nd. Hugo Weasley
3rd. Seth Wood
4th. Cody Cox
5th. Lorcan Scamander
A.N: Hey, everyone! Someone challenged me to write just a goofy/comedy, so this is my shot at it. As a sports (Fantasy and real) myself, I find myself in very comfortable territory. Never fear if you are unfamiliar with Fantasy Sports and how they work; Hugo and Lorcan get confused enough too and they're in a league. Buckle your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy season!
Next time: The Draft takes place. Rose cashes in her favor. DISASTER strikes.
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