Chapter 2 : Boys Will Be Boys
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Awesome CI by Elenia @ TDA
Chapter 2 - Boys Will Be Boys
“Mum! I just need one more second!” Aidan’s blue eyes were wide, his fingers twisting together in front of him as he tried to beg out a few more minutes before bed time.
“Aidan Montgomery,” Mia began, throwing her hands to her hips. “What did you agree to when you asked for one more second twenty minutes ago?”
Aidan shuffled his feet, glancing from the carpet to his mum’s eyes. He let out an angry breath before mumbling, “You told me that I could have a few more minutes but if I asked again I’d be in big trouble.”
“And do you want to be in big trouble?” Mia felt her eyebrows raise, her finger aching to start wagging at her seven-year-old son.
“Well... um, how big is big trouble?”
And this, Mia thought as she struggled between wanting to smile at her son and scream at him, was when parenting got terribly tricky. She fought back the edge of frustration, looking at the curious glance that was directed toward her.
“Tell you what,” she began, steadying her breath. “If you go clean your teeth and get your jammies on, and are in your bed in under five minutes, I’ll let you practice your reading with the new Quidditch book we got.”
Aidan seemed to be weighing the options. Mia knew he wanted to continue with the castle he’d been building out of blocks, but he was also getting the chance to do their bedtime reading with a his new book. Usually she made him read one of the children’s stories that he brought home from his school library, trying to get him to understand the importance of appreciating different type of literature.
“Alright,” Aidan said, holding his hand out with a giggle, “deal.” Mia took her son’s hand, shook it firmly and laughed when he turned around and raced toward the other end of the house.
Good, she thought, mentally congratulating herself for avoiding what could have been a messy battle. She had a great kid: smart, a good listener, an even better observer... but that didn’t mean he couldn’t throw a tantrum that would put most to shame.
So, she’d make sure they read a little extra out of his library tomorrow night. And she’d get to spend the next few minutes listening to the way Aidan’s voice became excited when he stared reading about one of his favorite player or teams. Not a bad trade, Mia decided.
She kept her ears tuned toward the back of the house as she picked up her wand and flicked it at the kitchen. The large pot of spaghetti lifted from the stove and began dumping itself into a container; their dinner dishes set to work scrubbing themselves, and a clean rag began running itself over the counter.
The light-bulb in the kitchen flickered threateningly, and Mia cursed under her breath before walking to the switch and shutting it off. She set aflame a few lanterns that they kept hung around the house and drew the curtains closed. It was always an adventure to see how much magic she could get going before it stared interfering with her electricity. No matter, Mia thought. She didn’t need to get any other spells started anyway.
She heard the sink in the bathroom turn off, listened as Aidan made weird voices, having a fake conversation with the dragon that Mia had bewitched to move around on the handle of his toothbrush. All in all, she would call it a successful Tuesday evening.
“Mum, I’m ready!” came his shout from down the hall.
“Your teeth are cleaned?”
“Your pajamas are on?”
“Your rucksack is packed for school tomorrow?” Pause.
Mia listened as he fumbled around for a few seconds before he called, “Yes!”
Her lips curved up and she shook her head, then turned to make her way down their small hall and into Aidan’s bedroom.
“Nice choice,” she said as she appraised hers son’s Hippogriff pajama trousers paired with his dinosaur shirt. See, she thought, who said you can’t mix Muggle and magic.
“Scoot over, handsome,” she instructed as she wiggled into the twin sized bed with him. Once they were situated with his lamp lit and the book resting in his hands, Aidan started sounding out the words on the first page. It always amazed her, listening to him string together the letters, trying his hardest before he’d glance up at her and ask for help on a particularly difficult one.
They made it two pages in, just getting to the section that talked about the evolution of Quaffle, when Aidan - thankfully - stopped and looked up at her.
“Mum? Can I bring my signature from Mr. Wood to school tomorrow?” She felt an ache form in her heart as she looked into his pleading eyes.
“Sweetheart, you know the kids in the class wouldn’t know who he is. Or understand what Quidditch is.”
Aidan sighed, his miniature fingers fiddling with the pages of the book. “But couldn’t I just say...erm...”
“I know, sweetie,” she whispered as he struggled to find a way to finish his sentence. “I know how crummy it is that you can’t tell your friends about some of the stuff that you’re most excited about. Tell you what,” she began with a sudden sense of inspiration, “after we go watch the match that Mr. Wood gave us tickets to, we’ll go visit Great-grandma. I bet she’ll even talk us into going out for ice cream...”
Success, she thought as she watched his eyes light back up.
“And I can tell her all about the game! And, and I can tell her about us meeting Mr. Wood!”
“Course you can,” she agreed, her own heart warming with his excitement. She thought about the interview she had in Diagon Alley on Friday, and how it could mean she’d have the chance to meet more witches and wizards, possibly some with children Aidan’s age. Then she could arrange play dates and he would get to hang out with kids who he didn’t have to hide so much of himself from.
Mia wondered if she’d made the right choice decided that he’d get a Muggle education before attending Hogwarts. Most of her knew it was the best way to give Aidan a chance to understand both of his worlds, but she hated the secrets. She was just lucky he was such a smart kid and understood, for the most part, why he couldn’t talk about his special side.
“Mum, why did Mr. Wood give us the tickets? I’ve read in my books that he’s real nice and stuff. So I guess that could be why.”
Mia had to force herself from stiffening up. She wished she knew how to answer his question, but in truth she wasn’t so sure herself. She probably made a mistake accepting them, but there was no way she’d deny her son that. It would be a long time until she could afford buying tickets; the money she made from her last set of photographs was quickly running dry.
But this was for the best, she reminded herself. She couldn’t keep forcing Aidan to move around with her, up and leaving whenever the chance for a new assignment came her way. She enjoyed photography, but her son was her life. He deserved roots. And with the interview coming up, that might give her the chance to start bringing in a stable income. And if that didn’t pan out, well, she’d go to every damn door of every business until someone wanted to hire her.
“You know,” Mia began, realizing Aidan was still waiting for an answer, “Mr. Wood mentioned it was a relief you didn’t seem upset that he wouldn’t be playing again. I think that he was probably so touched by how kind you are, that he wanted to do it as a thank you.” There, Mia that. And for all she knew, that could very well be the truth.
“Oh. That must mean he is real nice, then.” With a nod of his head as if to confirm his own statement, Aidan continued reading. His voice grew heavy as the minutes passed, his words slurring and blending together. Not even ten minutes went by before his hands started slipping, the book falling from his fingers and onto his red duvet.
Mia slipped carefully from the bed and placed the book on his night table. Her fingers were gentle as she pulled the covers up, tucking him into a snug little cocoon. Her heart gave a thud as she watched his sweet face, completely relaxed with sleep, snuggle further into the pillow.
With a soft kiss on the head and one last glance, she turned out the light and slipped from the room.
This is what he deserved, she thought as she tiptoed down the hall. A home. A life he wouldn’t have to leave. A place to call his own. She didn’t care what sort of struggle it would cause on her end; she’d give her son everything she could in this world. If it wasn’t enough, she’d figure out a way to make it more.
Oliver paced around the pitch, watching as the players swooped through the air. He’d figured out the perfect set up, giving them just enough time to really hit their full speed before having to make a sharp upward turn to stop from crashing into the large sheet of wood he’d suspended in the air.
It was a risky drill, and required him to trust that all of his players were on top of their game to pull it off, but it was worth it. The fact that they trained so much on speed control was what really made Puddlemere nearly unbeatable. Anyone could practice catching, but it took real talent - and bollocks - to throw your body into the broom knowing you’d have to stop at the drop of hat.
He watched Carrack, one of his Chasers, get inches from the barrier, was nearly certain they’d be calling the mediwizards, when the bloke pulled himself to the right and just barely grazed the wood. Oliver couldn’t resist letting out a small, “Yes!”
His players were going to be the best in the League with a few more practices like this.
He was just about to call an end to the drill when he looked down the pitch and saw Claire making her way toward him. His face scrunched up with confusion; she and Everett came by every so often to watch practice, but not without letting him know first.
Oliver sent up a shower of golden sparks, three quick lines of them, signaling the team to begin a passing drill. Once he was satisfied that they were kept busy enough, he turned toward the edge of the pitch and sprinted over to Claire.
“What’s going on?” he asked, relieved to see that her face looked placid, meaning there probably wasn’t an emergency or anything.
“Sorry, I was going to owl you but it looks like a storm’s coming...” Oliver resisted the urge to roll is eyes at his sister. She wasn’t happy with sending an owl out unless it was a perfectly sunny day. Because England got so many of those.
She gave him a warning look, as if reading his mind, then continued. “I just left the Ministry after meeting with the Consultant for Magical Businesses, and the rest of the permits went through! It’ll take another few days to get the right licenses, but the shop is officially mine!”
Oliver’s smile broken open as his older sister threw her arms around him, bouncing around in place. “That’s great, Claire! Did you tell Mum? We’re going to have to have a celebration.”
“Already done. Everette wants everyone over at our place for dinner right after your practice. Mum and dad will be there. And I was hoping that if you finished up early enough one of the days this week, or every day, you could give me a hand at the new shop. Just for an hour or so, getting a few spells started to clear things out and such. I want it to look pretty identical to the Diagon Alley bakery. Maybe do a little more of a sophisticated tone since The Meadows is a bit of a classier village then Diagon Alley. But I’m thinking dark reds over the-”
“Claire,” Oliver finally interrupted once he realized she wasn’t going to slow down anytime soon. “Trying to coach a Quidditch practice here. You know, that thing I do for a living.”
She waved her hand at him like you would a pesky fly, laughing as she rolled her eyes. “Alright, alright. I’ll leave you to your sports, then. I’m doing a few interviews today. All week, actually. Trying to find a manager so I can get someone at Indulgence full time before I open the other. But I should be finished by the time you’re done here. Just come by and we’ll head over to the new shop together. Oh Oliver, you’re going to love it. It has these huge, gorgeous windows that look out toward a small little garden and-”
“Quidditch, Claire,” Oliver said, laughing at his sister as he turned away from her and sprinted back to the players.
The next two hours were filled with shouting, swearing, and the occasional bit of laughter puncturing otherwise tense moods. Oliver wouldn’t expect anything less from a practice just a few days before the match. The Gryffindor team used to marvel at how worked up he could get. Compared to his attitude now, back then was a damn tea party. But it wasn’t just pride they played for like they did in Hogwarts. Winning a game in school meant bragging rights, throwing it in the other House’s face, and practically feeling like king of the castle.
Out here though, it was entirely different. For these players, winning a match was another step closer to securing their career. It was making sure they wouldn’t get viewed as a washed up player, and it meant keeping alive the chance to win League. Quidditch was a cut throat sport. You got close to your team and they became your family. But all it took was someone having a few weak games, then in an instant Oliver’s supervisor would be on his arse, forcing him to replace the player.
Most people thought Quidditch was just a game. That the players played, the coach coached, and that was it. But that was far from the truth. Oliver didn’t just coach, he worked endlessly to plan. He brought their self-esteem down to a breaking point then built it back up again. He made them understand that they weren’t Gods of they sky, but if they tried hard enough they could play that way.
And the players did much more than getting up there and flying their guts out. They dealt with spending long hours away from their family, with the real possibility of getting an injury, of ending up in St. Mungo’s. The players learned to eat, sleep and breathe Quidditch while still maintaining some sort of life.
It wasn’t just for fun out here. If Puddlemere’s supervisor thought there was a player on the team who wasn’t up to standards, he’d give Oliver a list of lesser teams that could offer that player a new contract and a separate list of better players to steal from different teams. And that was one of the few things Oliver truly hated about professional Quidditch.
But that’s why he put so much of himself into the team, to keep that from happening. His coaching was top notch, and he’d keep his players that way. His managing skills were more than acceptable and that kept the supervisor off their backs.
Oliver called the last drill to an end and followed his players into the changing tent, their exhaustion creating a sense of euphoria for the coach. Bridget, his Seeker, looked like she might faint any second. Perfect. He worked them to the ground, and now he’d tell them the exciting news he’d been holding in all day.
“Alright,” he started as they collapsed around him. “Saturday is our second match of the season, and if we want to have a chance at winning the League this year you’re all going to have to give me a hundred and ten percent.”
“And this is new?” came a smart arse remark.
“You wanna go fly another twenty laps, Brent?” Oliver asked, raising his brow at the Keeper.
After a few seconds, the player mumbled a, “No Sir,” and Oliver continued.
“Ballycastle is set up to be our last game of the season, and if we don’t want to end up coming second place to them we need to make every match count more than ever. They’re a solid team, but their players don’t have the talent you lot do. And if any of you decide to play anything less than your best, I won’t even bat an eye when Stuppson suggests I replace you.”
The seriousness of his statement brought their focus back and he waited until all twelve players, seven regulars and five reserves, were staring up at him.
“Now, before I let you lot out for the evening, I have something I want to tell you. I received a bit of exciting news from the League manager yesterday.” He waited for a moment, trying not to let a small smile creep on his face. “Seems the Department of Magical Games and Sports made a few mistakes when suspending one of the teams. It’ll take about a month to situation, and if they don’t get the team back in the League their going to have a lawsuit on their hands the size of England. What all this means for you is that we’re going to be getting to get a month off for holiday over Christmas instead of the usual week.”
A cheer broke through the tent, and Oliver gave them a few seconds before speaking over them and saying, “But this doesn’t mean I want you lot getting out of shape during that time. You’re still expected to sign in at the pitch and fly at least an hour a day. I’ll be checking the sheet, and anyone who didn’t do at least six days a week is going to wish I was dead when the month’s over.” Nods and murmurs were passed through the tent, and after talking about a few more things Oliver released the team.
“Don’t forget to hydrate!” he yelled as a last minute thought, then a round of small pops filled the air. Now that he wasn’t in the presence of the players, he let a wide smile fill his face. Damn, they had a brilliant practice. Saturday after the game - whether they won or lost - he’d take them all out for a good meal and few drinks. They deserved it.
Thanks for reading! I hope you guys enjoyed getting to know a little more about Mia and Aidan!
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