“Hmmm?” Tom just barely acknowledged him as he kept his nose firmly buried in his History of Magic books.
“I was going to ask you about Quidditch.”
Tom turned his bleary eyes toward Bobby, and closed the book, “What’s up Bobby?”
“Well, I hear you’re looking for more and well…I’ve only had to hear you and Aeryn talk about it everyday for the past,” Britto started to reach for the nearest calendar before he smirked back at his friend.”Seriously, you guys are my friends and it sounds like you guys need help. I don’t know much outside of what I’ve heard you two have talked about…So you’re probably going to need to treat me as if I were a first year on this one.”
Tom smiled and leaned in his chair, “What were you thinking about playing?
“To be honest, I don’t know. I figured once you saw how I was we’d determine what would be the best fit,”he shrugged at his friend.
“Okay first question do you have a broom of your own?”
Bobby shook his head sadly. “Next question.”
“Heh, okay no problem. I’m sure I can get one for us to use that’s not one of the school brooms. Okay second question, how much flying have you honestly done?”
“Honestly? Not much. I mean I did try to learn from you guys when the two of you started to get really into it, but I just sorta stopped after that.
“We can work on that as well. Okay there are three positions that we’re going to try people out for; Chaser, Beater, and Keeper.”
“Okay? Mind spelling them out for me a bit more. You guys go a mile a minute about the whole thing I’m still learning who does what. I know what they do but I don’t know who’s the chaser, beater, and keeper…I got some guesses you can never been too sure though.”
Tom shook his head and laughed, How have you lived with Céilidh, Aeryn, and me, hell how have you lived with Alan for four years and not have this stuff seep into that brain of yours.”
“Herbs. Remember I’m the weird guy that likes to play in the ground, grass, and mud instead of in the air.”
Tom laughed again, “I can see that this is going to be a long night, time for some liquid refreshment I think.”
“Something with caffeine. How about Jolt?”
“What? What is a Jolt? I was thinking butterbeer, and I have just the way to get it.”
“Jolt it’s this thing in the muggle world. Twice the sugar, twice the caffeine. I hear it can keep you up for days…Figured it’d work now especially if we got a two liter.”
“You’re a weird guy Bobby,” Tom smiled, “That’s why I like you, but no, no liters of this jolt,” Tom walked over to the far side of the room and moved one of the tapestries out of the way. He pressed a spot on the wall and it slid out of the way revealing a store of butterbeer and various pastries. “Wanna pumpfkun pathty,” Tom said with one of his own stuffed in his mouth.
“Where did you get all that?”
Tom swallowed, “When you’re friends with Foozle and Dan, you pick up things. Now then, to business.”
The next afternoon Tom, Bobby, and Tom’s little sister Cecilia headed toward the quidditch pitch, “So we’re gonna teach Bobby how to play keeper?”
“And this is to get me some extra practice so I can try out next week too?”
“I really appreciate this Tommy, but I am a bit nervous…I won’t lie. At least about this anyway.”
Tom turned to look at Bobby”What have you lied about?”
Bobby smirked, “Nothing to you.”
They entered the pitch and set up. “Okay Bobby, I’m gonna let you use my broom,” Tom handed Bobby his broom, “Okay you remember how to fly right?”
Britto snagged it and looked it over carefully, “You sure about this, I don’t want to break something I know you cherish.”
“You’ll be fine. Okay as a Keeper all you really have to do is watch the chasers, anticipate where they’re going to go, and catch the Quaffle when they throw it so it doesn’t go through the hoops. Sounds simple enough, right?”
“Like football. Got it!”
“A muggle thing. So..ummm,” Bobby started to hop on Tom’s broom, “any hints you want to give for this thing?”
“Yeah, don’t break it,” Tom said with a smile, “Now get up there. I’m going to give Cissy a bit of instruction before we start.”
Bobby nabbed the broom and started to Dash. Sadly, the young boy got off the Broom faster than it took him to get on it. The second he nailed the air he wavered and the Broom fell out from under him and he feel rather unceremoniously. Fortunately, he wasn’t too far off the ground at the time. “Ow..,” Britto exhaled after meeting with the ground. However the broom remained perfectly fine.
Tom sighed while Cecelia tried to hold in a giggle, “Okay Bobby, let’s try this again, he helped Bobby back to his feet while Cecelia retrieved the broom, “Okay maybe a little instruction on flying may be in order.”
A nod came from Bobby as Tom helped him up, “The sky is very hard,” he puffed out between a groan. That landing wasn’t very nice.
“You’ll get the hang of it,” he handed him the broom again, “Cissy let me see your broom a moment.”Cecelia handed Tom her Nimbus 1700. “Alright Bobby here’s what I want you to do,” Tom mounted the broom, “First you want to grip the handle tightly so you don’t fall off. Second, you kick off of the ground like so,” Tom kicked off of the ground rising a few feet in the air and turned to be in front of Bobby,”See, just like this.”
“So you grab the broom like this?” Bobby asked before he received the approval from tom. “Grab the front like so and then push off,” he continued and took to the skies. It didn’t take much for the student to get the hang of everything. Even if he never had any desire to play, it never meant he didn’t watch his friends often. Nor did it stop him from hearing various conversations about tips, pointers, and strategy for different games.
The herbology student suddenly turned towards Tom in mid air and started to swerve back and forth,”I’m…I’m…starting…to lose control here…whoa,” Bobby weaved and bobbed, zigged and zagged before his broom went for Tom. “I CAN’T CONTROL THIS!” he screamed as he went by his best friend probably grazing the tutor’s loaned broom in the process.
“Oh bloody hell,” Tom tried as best as he could to dodge out of the way, but the next thing he knew he slammed into the ground with a very loud thud.
“Tommy you okay,” Cecelia rushed up to check on her older brother.
Tom only returned a groan before he rolled over onto his back.
Bobby whizzed off and it seemed as the sudden turns stopped he finally got the hang of this thing. “You okay Tom?!” he called out to his friend.
“M’fine,” Tom peeled himself off of the pitch and stood back up, “Okay fly over to the hoops and get comfortable, I’m gonna give some instruction to Cissy.”
Tom’s friend flung himself over to the hoop and waited for further instruction, “I wonder if I have a shot at making the team,” he thought to himself for the time being.
“Okay, don’t go easy on him.” Cecelia nodded in agreement and smiled. “If he’s going to learn, he’s going to have to learn full speed. Mix it up as much as you can, just like Benny taught you okay?”
Cecelia winked, “Got it.” Cecelia jumped on her broom and soared into the air. with a Quaffle in hand, she turned and soared toward the middle of the pitch before beginning her charge. lowering her body as close to the broom as she could, she sped toward Bobby. A smile danced on Bobby’s lips as he watched Cecelia speed towards him. She threw the Quaffle as hard as she could across her body, towards the left hoop. The broom pressed tight against Bobby’s body as he darted off toward the quaffel knowing what had to be done. Unfortunately, what needed to be done and what happened were two different things. Moments later Britto’s grip fell just out of reach of stopping Cecelia’s goal. Tom’s friend lowered his head in defeat.
“Don’t get upset Bobby, that was great reaction time. Keep it up. Cissy go again.”
Cecelia charged at him again. This time she headed toward the right hoop, but at the last moment, diverted toward the center hoop. Like earlier Britto zigged and then zagged suddenly snatching up the Quaffle that went toward the center hoop. Bobby smiled after he snagged the prized piece.
“Yes! Great job Bobby! Cissy, don’t get upset with you movements either that was a great move. Both of you did fantastically. do it again.”
Bobby tossed the Quaffle at Cecelia, “Ready there kiddo?” he asked her.
She winked and gave Bobby an evil grin, “Whenever you are blondie.” This time Cecilia took off harder and faster than before. She nudged her broom to the left and went into a spin. She corkscrewed toward Bobby and at the last moment she pulled out and rifled a shot toward the middle hoop.
For the first time Bobby saw the difference between spectator and competitor, seeing the corkscrew done in front of you was a lot more intimidating up in the air than in the stands. As Cecilia spun around towards him, Britto lost his grip on the broom and nearly fell again. While Britto pulled himself back up he saw the young Llewelyn make her victory.
“Again!” Bobby cried out out to Ceilia, “Let me see it youngster!”
Cecelia grinned wickedly. “Oh you’re asking for it now Bobby.” She raced toward Bobby full tilt. No side to side, no corkscrews just pure speed. Her eyes were locked right on to Bobby’s. The smile faded as she got closer. Just as she closed within five feet of Bobby, she cocked her right arm preparing to launch the Quaffle toward the middle hoop.
Unlike the last time, Bobby wasn’t phased by the speeding youngster, “Come on!” he yelled when her right arm started lift itself. This wouldn’t be a trick shot or somehow faking each other out. Right now it was skill vs skill. The new player to Quidditch wasn’t about to go down without a fight. Cecelia’s arm went into her throwing motion, and she smiled as he bit. Her arm went through the throwing motion, but the Quaffle never left her hand. As Bobby dove for where the quaffel should have been, Cecelia easily put it through the right hoop.
“Damn…treated like a dog or cat,” Bobby said to himself quietly. He felt like an animal that was just tricked in a game of toss or fetch by it’s master when they held the ball. He clapped for Cecelia, “Nice job short stuff.”
“Gotcha,” she winked as she went towards Bobby and gave him a high five. The two came down to the ground next to Tom.
“Great job both of you,” he turned to address Bobby first, “Are you sure you haven’t played before?”
“Nope. Just watched and listened to all of you talk about it for a few years,” he smiled at Tom.
“Well maybe we should talk more often,” Tom laughed, “You will need to watch the misdirection. Sam loves to do that, but I think you’ve got what it takes. I’ll talk to Aeryn and see what we can do about a broom.”
Bobby smirked and nodded, “Any other hints you got for me?”
“I got some,” she punched Bobby in the arm playfully, “Keep playing like that.”
Britto laughed and slugged the girl back lightly.