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Chapter 2 : Wise Advice From The Dobster
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A/N: Thanks for giving Chapter 2 a chance! I really appreciate all my readers, and especially my reviewers! Thanks so much!
The night we arrived at Hogwarts, I called a secret Gryffie meeting. Technically, we weren’t allowed to begin practices for at least two weeks after classes started, so this meeting had to be covert. And also, technically, I was supposed to hold tryouts as cap’n, but the seven people I was going to pick anyways had been flying together for two years, and it would be stupid to screw that up.
“Gryffies!” I exclaimed, attempting to silence the chatter. We had assembled in my (the sixth year boys’) dormitory after dinner.
But no one stopped talking. “Is your dad going up for reelection?” Tegan asked of Arlie Shacklebolt, a seventh-year Chaser. “He’s undecided at this point,” replied Arlie. “He feels guilty for putting our family in the spotlight, but he loves being Minister for Magic.”
“Pardon!” I yelped, trying unsuccessfully to quell the din.
“People always treat you different!” exclaimed Mattie Thomas, our fifth year Keeper. “It isn’t easy being a minority,” said Micah. “I mean, I’m only Jewish and it’s hard. You’re black. Not that there's anything wrong with being black. It’s just that people automatically assume you like rap music.” “And that I talk like this: Hippibity bibbity, give me da slibbity!” said Mattie. “But it’s not too bad when I’m around Arlie, cos she’s black too. And Freddie, though some people just think he’s really tan.”
“Order, order!” I shouted.
“Can you get your dad to send me a box of Ton-Tongue Toffees and put it on my tab?” J.D. asked Fred. “If that Malfoy boy fancies my sister, I’m going to have to teach him a lesson.” “I’ll ask, but owl deliveries from Weasley Wizard Whizzes don’t usually pass Mr. Bleck’s inspections,” answered Fred. “Stupid old git, always patrolling the corridors with his stupid hedgehog.”
“Frick!” I yelled. Everyone finished their conversations and looked at me.
“You have Tourette’s now, J.S.?” asked J.D. snidely.
I exhaled. “Now that I finally have your attention, we can begin our meeting.”
“Why did you call this meeting, anyways?” interrupted Arlie. “We’re not supposed to have practices for two weeks.”
“Yes, but we needed—” I began.
“And we haven’t even had trials yet,” said Micah. “When’re those?”
“Yes, I know we need to have trials, but don’t worry, you’re all on the team,” I said.
“That doesn’t seem very fair,” said Tegan. “What about giving every Gryffindor a fair shot?”
I felt my ears turn bright red. “I wanted to call an early meeting so we can start to plan for the upcoming season and get a head start on all the other teams! I just wanna be a good cap’n!”
“Okay,” said Fred nonchalantly.
I sighed. “Right, then. I read a few new books on strategy over the summer and wrote out diagrams of a couple moves that I think we could master before the first match of the season. I’ve also gone over all the matches from last year and pinpointed a lot of broom handling problems. For example, Tegan, you hold it with your hands right over left instead of left over right, and I think it’s interfering with your Snitch-catching ability.”
“But it’s how I learned to fly,” argued Tegan, her pretty olive eyes accusing me of something nefarious. “It’s habit and it’s more comfortable. And what about my Snitch-catching ability? I caught the Snitch and won us the Quidditch Cup last year!”
“You can’t just settle!” I retorted. “You have to always try to improve your skills!”
“J.S., mate,” said J.D. calmly. “We’re the best team in the whole school. Everyone knows it. Lay off Tegan.”
“I’m not laying on her!” I said strongly.
“That’s what he said!” Micah laughed.
“That was a stupid, lame, and weird thing to say,” said Arlie to him. “No one even says ‘That’s what she said’ anymore!”
“We can’t just settle for being best in the school!” I chimed back in. “We have to perform to the best of our ability, yeah? Why not train as hard as we can so that we can be the best Quidditch players we can be?”
“Cos it’ll be painful and time-consuming?” asked Mattie.
I glared around the room. “Fie on you. Fie! This is not what Quidditch is about! Quidditch is about hard work and perseverance and discipline, and impressing the girl you fancy by casually slipping in, ‘Got to run, I’ve got Quidditch practice.’ But most of all, Quidditch is about the camaraderie! We are a team, Gryffies! We eat together, some of us live together, most of us go to class together, we prank the Slytherins together, and most important, we train together. Because each of us has taken up the noble sport of Quidditch and has vowed to uphold the integrity of the sport and its players! You have to know what it takes to be a true Gryffie!”
There was an uncomfortable silence, until Arlie looked at her wristwatch and reluctantly said, “I’m supposed to meet my girlfriends now. Can I be excused?”
“I’ve got detention. I know, I know, we’ve only been at school for four hours, what could Freddie have done to earn himself a detention already? Well, it’s a funny story I’ll save for another day,” spieled Fred.
“I’m going to go find Madeleine,” said Micah of my and Fred's cousin. “She was totally checking me out during dinner.”
Mattie snorted. “No she wasn’t. And I’m really sorry, but I told my parents I’d write them tonight and I want the owl to make it home by morning.”
“I’m supposed to meet a lady friend,” said J.D. carefully.
“Rosie?” I asked snidely.
He nodded in pain.
“I’ll deal with you later,” I grumbled. “Fine, all of you, be gone! I have nothing more to say as your cap’n! Just be there for the ceremonial trials in two weeks!”
The five Gryffies jumping ship hustled out of the dormitory, and soon I was left with only Tegan. She scooted over to sit beside me on my bed, her shiny brown hair smelling of citrus.
“They just had stuff in their extra-Quidditch lives to do tonight,” she said supportively, rubbing my arm. “They love the Gryffies, and they’re still loyal to the Gryffies.”
“They think I’m a crazy fascist cap’n, with no life or grasp on reality.” I pouted.
“Aw,” she paused, “so what if that’s true? The life of a Gryffie is a great life. We whoop ass on the pitch and regardless of the score, we always have fun off it. And, if it’s any consolation, I can be your crazy communist Seeker. Since I was a communist for about three months during third year. It was my difficult phase.”
I whipped my head ‘round to maniacally grin at her. “Help me devise my genius plan.”
She raised her eyebrow in that cute little way. “What plan do you speak of?”
“The one to destroy J.D. and Rose’s relationship,” I replied curtly.
Tegan groaned. “Potter! Though you might be uncomfortable about it initially, you really oughtn’t meddle in the business of your best mate and cousin!”
“But it’s what I do! I meddle!” I whined.
She smiled coyly and understandingly at me, and I felt the urge to hug her. “If you have the compulsive urge to meddle, then fine,” said Tegan. “But don’t drag me in with you. I, apparently, have to work on my broom handle grip.”
“Sorry I was on you about that,” I quickly apologized.
“Ah,” she said, holding her hand up, “that’s what she said!”
“Please don’t turn into Micah!” I groaned. “I love the Jew just as much as anyone, but he’s annoying as hell!”
“Hey, you cursed without saying frick,” smiled Tegan. Oh, those pearly whites…
“I’m working on that,” I said nonchalantly. “Increasing my swear word vocabulary, I mean.”
She got up to leave, facing the door but turning her head around so that I had a view of both her nice bum and friendly face. “Good luck with that, Potter.”
“Good luck with…yourself…Llewellyn!” I shouted as my farewell fizzled in eloquence.
Tegan grinned. “See you in class tomorrow, Cap’n.”
The after classes on our first day, I hurried to the library, found a quiet corner, and got to work.
“James?” I heard a young boy’s voice from behind me.
“What?” I snapped, turning to see Dobby Longbottom, staring at me wide-eyed. (Oh, what awful parents could have given him such a name? That’s right, Professor Longbottom and his wife Hannah. But my mum insists that it’s very sweet, considering the namesake was a brave-to-the-very-end house elf, and that as a sixteen-year-old male I am hopeless to fully comprehend this sweetness.)
“Um…Mr Potter, sir?” gulped Dobby. “I think we need to talk. Sir.”
I looked at him funny. “Sure, whatever. Sit down and I’ll get to you when I finish with these schematics.”
Dobby sat across from me at the mahogany table, bit his lip, and started bouncing his foot irritatingly.
I threw down my quill and looked up at him. “What do you want, Dobby?”
“I wanted to talk to you about Lily,” said the thirteen-year-old bravely. “I respect that you are very protective of her, but she is very independent-minded and she doesn’t listen to anyone, and for some wonderful reason she fancies me, and I fancy her too. I’m not asking your permission, Mr Potter, but I wanted to let you know that my intentions are perfectly honorable.”
I sat back in my chair and evaluated the little scamp. “Dobby…Dobster, if you will,” I began, tapping my fingertips, “Lily is my only sister. I concur that I am extremely protective of her. So, naturally, I am extremely suspicious of any boy who fancies her. But, I’ve known you for most of your life, Dobster. You lack any spine, but you’re kind and loyal. I guess I could admire that in an alternate universe. But, probably the most important reason I feel I might possibly one day be able to trust you with my baby sister is that your parents named you after a valiant house elf, a house elf who, I am told, helped mine and Lily’s dad in saving the world from this Voldemort schmuck. So, Dobby Longbottom, I think I can promise that I won’t start shouting at you if I see you holding hands with my little sister. If you do anything more to her, then I can’t be responsible for my actions.” I smiled brightly. “Good talk, kid. Now make yourself scarce.”
But stupid Dobby didn’t leave. He looked over at the parchment I’d been writing on and asked, “What’cha doin’?”
“Nunya,” I mumbled, grabbing the pages and covering them up.
“Huh?” asked Dobby, his rounded face scrunched up.
“Nunya business.” I smirked, grabbing my quill and trying to get back to work.
But Dobby didn’t flee. “It looks like a bunch of stick figures standing in the common room. Those two snogging are labeled ‘J.D.’ and ‘Rose,’ and the one hexing them is labeled ‘Commander Cool.’”
I grabbed the parchment and clutched them to my chest. “Sod off, Dobby!”
“Are you developing a harebrained scheme to break up Rose and J.D.?” he asked. “Why? They seem really happy together.”
“She’s my cousin and he’s my best mate!” I exclaimed, though not too loudly since we were in the library.
“But you just kind of gave the okay for me to date your own sister,” said Dobby, confused.
“It’s different, all right?” I insisted.
“How so?” he prodded.
I huffed. “Why do you care, Dob-O?”
Dobby shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t have an older brother. Or any siblings, for that matter. I just want to understand why you’re so much more bothered by Rose and J.D. than by me and Lily.”
“Fine, Dobby,” I said, exasperated. “J.D.’s my best mate, yeah? He has been ever since first year and we have hundreds of secret handshakes and inside jokes and all that. It used to be whenever he got…some,” I worded carefully for my sister’s thirteen-year-old suitor, “I could congratulate him. But I can’t do that, be supportive, if he’s getting some with my own cousin.”
Dobby nodded slowly. “I think I see. You’re scared that your relationship with J.D. has to change, and that you’re going to be put in an awkward situation.”
“Precisely,” I muttered.
“Well, I think you should share these feelings with the both of them,” said Dobby. “You’re important to the both of them, and they’ll hear you out.”
I couldn’t believe a gangly, slightly pimply thirteen-year-old named Dobby Longbottom had given me advice. “Er, thanks kid,” I mumbled.
“Bye James,” said Dobby smiling, taking his book bag and walking out of the library.
I mulled his words over for a minute. The advice was logical, and I really ought have taken it. But then again, I was James Sirius Potter, Cap’n of the Gryffies. It was my duty to take the irrational and overcomplicated route of a grand gesture to destroy J.D. and Rose’s romance.
Uh oh, what is Jamesie planning? And poor James, feeling abandoned by his Gryffies. But all is not lost! The Gryffies will reunite very soon and make Quidditch history!
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