In which we learn about the wonderful game of Dodgespell.
Acknowledgements - Welcome to the alpha prereaders, CootiePatootie! I look forward to your insight and ideas. All the rest of the gang (IP82, ChuckDaTruck, FairyQilan, Sirius/Killginny009 and Nukular Winter) did their usual smashing job making me look more talented than I actually am. Finally, I want to give a big thank you to Nonjon for the encouragement and assistance with this chapter.
Chapter 9 - Saving Their Raisins for Sunday
You're nervous. To say you aren't very good with the opposite sex is an understatement. Your track record looks about as good as Chudley's chances at the title. Still you are a foolishly brave idiot and armed with your new battlecry of 'Harry Potter doesn't back down from anything, except maybe Dragons', you knock on the door of Karina Machado's ramshackle hovel. You reapply the translation charm and wonder why in the hell you are here again.
The door opens up and instead of Karina's pretty face you look down at the small form of Francisco Machado. He gets a big smile on his face when he see's you.
"Hi Chico. Is your mum in?"
"She's out back in the yard. Wanna see my toys again?"
"Maybe later. I want to say hello to your mum first." Hopefully, he won't ask any more questions.
"Are you going to be my new daddy?"
It takes you a full minute to wipe that stunned look off your face. It would be much easier if the ground would just open up and swallow you whole. You realize that Luna must approach her 'Looney' persona by using the perspective of a five year old.
"Err, argh, I uh?" You should really just run for it. Apparating would be a really good idea now wouldn't it? Screw this! Harry Potter also runs away from five year old boys who ask him if he is going to be their new daddy! The back door opens and Karina walks in. Apparate before she sees you idiot! Destination - anywhere but here! Too late! She's looking at you now.
"Oh, hello James." Karina says with a small smile setting the small bucket full of lawn care tools on the table. She looks good, even when she's dirty. She's walking towards you. You are so out of your league! Her hair is pulled up in a bun. Give her some teacher's robes, turn the lights down and you could live out one of your fantasies involving Professor Sinistra and a steamy night in the old Astronomy Tower. 'Would you help me adjust my telescope professor?'
"Hi. How are you doing?" Let's just ignore Chico for the moment, shall we?
"Trying to make sure the weeds won't completely take over my yard. I believe it to be a losing battle. How was your week exploring the countryside?"
"It was informative. I learned some interesting things." Very nonchalant Potter, best leave out the terrifying bits for now.
"That's nice. For me?" She eyes the bundled vegetation in your hands. You hand them over with a dumb look on your face. She sniffs them appreciatively. "Normal?"
"No enchantments on the flowers?"
"Oh, no. I got them from a stand across from the muggle hotel Bill and I are staying at?"
"Muggle? What is muggle?"
"Oh, it must be an European term. Muggle means non-magical people."
"We just call them Normal or Norms. Muggle sounds kind of mean." She's got a point, when she says it like that.
"I never thought of it that way, but you're right. So if they are normal, what are we?" You reply.
"Magical people are gifted. We are blessed with a talent above the norm. These are very nice. Thank you." She says putting the flowers in a vase. "Have you eaten yet?"
"I caught breakfast at the hotel. What are you two up to today?"
"After I clean up, Chico and I were going down to the beach. There is a dodgespell tournament starting tomorrow and Chico wants to go see it, so they'll be setting up for it today and there might be a few pickup games going on."
"Don't they play it in England?"
"No. It's pretty much quidditch or nothing there. What's dogdespell like?"
"Dodgespell is a great game. It's easier to show you how it is played rather than describe it to you. You're welcome to come along." She says with a teasing smile that starts your blood flowing.
"Sounds fun. Do you play?" You say trying to sound like anything other than a babbling schoolboy. It's working isn't it? Of course it is, because you are so cool aren't you?
"Some. I haven't played since last year, but I still have my glove around here somewhere." She says flicking her wand and casting a location spell. A greenish hue appears around one of the boxes. Karina had mentioned that one family of spells she was proficient with is location charms. Her duties as a governess must have given her a good deal of practice with those kind of charms. From the box, she pulled out a worn looking animal hide glove. She puts it on her hand and casts 'absorbere stupefy'.
"Okay, James cast a stunner at me."
"It's okay. The glove has an absorption shield on it. If you are worried, just aim to my left side."
"Okay. Stupefy." You say it without any real conviction and the result is pretty weak. Karina sticks her gloved hand out and catches the red light with her hand. The bluish glow of the shield faded, but did not go away completely.
"That is a catch and one point for my team. Now I have possession of the spell, I could cast my own against you or anyone on your team. You could either dodge my spell or catch it. If I hit you, you're out of the game and my team gets ten points. Each team has five players. Last team with any players left usually wins. If you are playing a friendly game, then they use stunners or some other noticeable jinx. For the tournaments, they will erect reflective dueling shields and the players will use pello hostis. Trust me, the crowd always loves it when someone gets banished into the wards and bounces back out onto the sand. It hurts a little, but mostly your pride."
"So the spells bounce back into play off the wards?" Karina considers the question like she is remembering something and gets a sly grin on her face.
"You bet! That's the best part! It makes the game more interesting when you have to watch out for the rebound of the spell. If you have some good teammates, you can throw your banisher into the wards and score a hit while one of your teammates distracts your opponent. The absolute crowd pleaser is when someone gets double banished."
"Sounds pretty fun." You could use some fun.
"Well we could pick you up a glove in the market and you could give it a try if you want? You have to keep an eye on your shield glove and know when to reapply it. I could take one or two more of your stunners, but I think that you weren't really trying. There are two spells in play. If your side has possession of the spells, it's a good idea for everyone to recast their shields, but if you don't cast your attack spell in ten seconds your side loses a point. You'll pickup more by watching people play than listening to me tell you about it."
You remember reading a bit about the absorbing shield from your dueling manual. Professional duelists use it among other shields to dazzle the crowd. The downside is you have to know what spell they are throwing at you and it has a limited area of roughly fifteen by fifteen centimeters rather than the blanket protego that you spent most of last year trying to drill into the minds of your fellow DA members with varying degrees of success. For some reason, Lavender and Parvati's shields were virtually impenetrable around their face and chest, but pretty much tissue paper anywhere else. You do have to admit that there is something wicked cool about catching someone's spell out of the air.
You earn some brownie points with Karina by entertaining Chico, while she finishes cleaning up both the room and herself with a quick shower. Chico seems to have forgotten his earlier question, which is just as well because you aren't certain if you know a spell to conjure a ten-foot pole that you aren't going to touch that question with. When she comes back out her hair is down and she has a much 'younger' look. You are pretty sure she doesn't want to emphasize you age difference. You've never really had facial hair. Too bad you can't grow any. Oh well, you would just have to charm it blond too, if you had any.
"Chico, put your toys away in your room and then get ready to go. Don't forget to go to the bathroom before we leave and I will check your hands to make sure you washed them." She uses her 'mother' voice.
"Yes mama." Poor kid. Sounds like someone just killed his dog or something. If good old Petunia had ever talked to you like that, you'd have actually been happy considering the abuse she heaped on you. The mental list in your mind moves Petunia Dursley up a slot for next available ass whipping. Fred and George move down a slot.
When Chico goes into his room, Karina pulls you into an embrace. You get a nice taste of lips and more than a little tongue. "It is good to see you again, James. Goddess knows, I shouldn't be doing this but I don't think anything I do is going to lower people's opinion of me further."
Having spent much of the previous two years of your life being slandered, you can emphasize with the feel of her arse. Oops! You can emphasize with her position. She buries her face in your neck and is sucking on it like a starving vampire. After a second, she stops.
"You smell like medicinal creams," she says curiously.
"Bumped into some solid objects out in the jungle." You casually respond sliding your hands on the smooth skin on her back.
"Poor baby. Sounds like you need some tender loving care." She licks her lips and bats her baby blues at you. The rooms cooling charms seem to be failing again.
"Uh huh." So much for calm, cool and collected Harry - err James Black. Twenty seconds of snogging and a really suggestive look reduces your ability to form whole sentences to Crabbian levels. Crabbian fits better than Goylian doesn't it? You wonder what kind of care you would get if you were to mention Kwan's gentle instructional technique.
She laughs evilly and lets you go with a saucey wink and heads off to collect Chico. You have officially accepted your new title of 'Boy Toy'. It's not so bad is it? At the moment, it seems to have a very definite backside - you mean upside.
Karina returns with Chico and the two of you start off towards the marketplace. On the way you ask why more people don't play quidditch here. Karina explains that only the wealthy can afford to buy competitive racing brooms that could be destroyed by a well-hit bludger. It is a sport of the wealthy here and still has a large following. At her school they had two different leagues - standard and unlimited. The people in the standard league played on the same type of broom, in her year it was the blazing fast Cleansweep Model 4. You consider that most of the spoiled brats in England bitch if they have to ride a pokey old Cleansweep 7. Karina went on to talk about her second year where she played keeper in the standard league. You decide not to mention that you own a Firebolt.
In the same shop where you brought the Dragonfly you pickup a shield glove, along with a small bottle of oil. She tells you that the glove will be a bit stiff until you loosen it up. It costs a galleon less than your wand did at Ollivander's. The material is imported Bunyip hide from Austrailia. Has a nice feel on it. You notice a cheering runic scheme as you step towards the register. Apparently, you should be happily spending your money here. On an impulse or is it the hidden runes making you want to spend more money, you buy Chico a small toy snitch he was eyeing and enjoy the resulting look of joy on the boy's face. Karina smiles at first and then frowns a bit. Did you make a mistake?
As you walk out of the shop, she whispers, "James, please do not go buying Chico things without asking me first."
"I'm sorry. I - uh didn't think you would mind." You say sheepishly. Maybe you aren't cut out for professional 'Boy Toy'?
"It's okay. Renaldo would spoil him with presents rather than spend time with him. I do not want him to come to expect the same of you." She eases up on the withering gaze. You walk in silence down to the dunes of the beach. Sure enough there are two areas roughly the size of a tennis court marked off and a few wizards erecting set of bleachers magically assembling them. One court has people actually playing and the other court has a few people milling about on it. Altogether about thirty-five people were down there. At the end of each side is a small platform with a person standing on it.
You stop to admire the people playing. The team closest to you is down to two and the other team has four players remaining. The red jets indicate stunners, since there are no dueling wards up. A rather attractive girl dives under a stunner and gracefully reapplies her absorbing shield and takes aim at one of her opponents. She just misses him, but takes a stunner from one of the opposing players. One of the two refs calling the game levitates her body off the court while play continues. The final remaining player lasts two minutes more before he too is stunned. The other team is disciplined. The kept their stance slightly sideways and made it difficult to tell who had the weakest looking shield. He saw a couple of the players on the victorious team reapply their shields, while their opponents were in the middle of casting at their teammates. They were telegraphing their targets. Also of note is that each team had a member up on the raised platforms. Every time their team made a catch, the person on the platform could fire a spell back at the other team. It looked like a tripping hex. That must be the harasser that Karina mentioned earlier.
"We got next." A man in his early twenties says as the next group of five headed onto the court to face the victors. He seems a bit territorial. You and Karina ignore him. Karina hands Chico several sickles and sends him skipping towards the ice cream vendor.
The next game lasts about fifteen minutes, with the same side being victorious. While watching Mr. 'We got next' and his team take the court a man roughly Karina's age comes up to her.
"Karina, it is good to see you down here. I saw Chico running to the Ice Cream stand and thought I would come over and say hi."
Karina smiles at him. "Hello, Paulo. Paulo, this is my friend James Black. James, this is Paulo Vangelder. James is visiting from England." You sense the man sizing you up. He has a professional look to him. His last name sounds Germanic, but Bill had mentioned that the area saw a large amount of European immigration throughout it's history.
"What brings you to our country, Mr. Black?"
"Tourism. A chance to see another part of the world." That and trying to find a piece of El Dorko Lordo's sheep shagging soul - idiot! You say conversationally. Bill made it clear that under no circumstances should you be talking about cursebreaking in front of the locals. Seems people get a bit upset when foreigners come in and run roughshod over their heritage.
"Do you play?"
"I thought I would give it a try. I normally play quidditch and hadn't heard of this game until Karina told me about it."
"Seeker most of the time. I'm an okay chaser and horrible at beating or keeping."
"I need two more to make five, are you and James interested Karina?"
"Are you sure you want to be seen playing with me, Paulo? You have a reputation."
"Karina, Nina is a second or third cousin. She and I do not get along. I think I am related to the Colastos family, but it is so distant that I would have to consult the family scrolls to figure out the connection. I don't really have enough family connections to rise much higher than I am now in the Policia de Magia. I simply want to play a game with a friend I haven't seen in months." He says as non-threatening as possible. You note that the Policia de Magia, or PdM is local law enforcement. Best redouble those efforts at not arousing suspicion.
"I am sorry. I've been very bitter lately." Karina says apologetically. "James and I would love to play on your team."
"Good, because we have the winners of the this game." He says.
"Mama, you are really going to play?" Chico looks up, his face once again covered in chocolate ice cream. He looks very excited at the prospect of watching his mother play.
"Yes. You need to behave while Mr. Black and I are out on the court."
While the two teams battled each other, you practice casting the absorbere shield on the glove. Karina demonstrates by showing you the wand motion, two quick swishes with the wand and tap the palm of the glove. It takes you two times to get it right. Karina's glove has the same bluish hue it had earlier. Your glove is glowing fairly brightly, bright enough to attract Paulo's attention as he walks up with a younger man and a young woman.
"That is a strong shield you have, James. This is Reese my brother and his girlfriend, Shelia Lopez." Reese is looking uncertainly at Karina and also at your gloved hand. Apparently, he has shield envy. Sheila is, well to be blunt checking you out. If you had to guess, she's maybe nineteen. She's no threat to Karina in the looks department, but still a pleasant view all the same.
"Thanks. Nice to meet you two." You say tying a bandana around your head. No sense in letting anyone see the scar on your head in case the makeup Fleur gave you gets wiped away.
"How many stunners can it take?" You shake your head. "Well, stand over there and let's find out." Great. This guy is professional law enforcement and now he wants to stun you for fun. Then again Kwan was torturing you, so don't complain too much.
"Okay. Here it comes. Stupefy!" Paulo throws a bright red stunner at you. He's got a bit of juice behind his spells doesn't he?
You step to the side and block the spell with your glowing glove. The bright blue dims a bit, but is still there. Paulo throws a second one. You catch it and the glow fades down to a similar shade of Karina's when she first applies the spell. The third one all but eliminates your shield.
"Okay. This one will probably get through, but try to catch it anyway. Stupefy!" You reach out with your barely glowing glove. The spell hits and the next thing you know, Karina is waking you up, while you are spitting sand out of your mouth. Paulo is smiling at you. "That's a good shield to be able to take three of my stunners. Lets see how strong your stunner is, Englishman." Paulo says with a bit of a challenge to his voice. He applies his shield to his hand. It's glowing a bit brighter than yours, but then again you just learned this spell five effing minutes ago. On the other hand you know stunning spells really, really well. That brings a 'kick Malfoy in the nuts' sized grin to your face.
"Stupefy!" You say picturing Kwan's smug little face. You are rewarded with an industrial strength jet of red light speeding towards the surprised looking Paulo Vangelder. He catches it with practiced ease, but looks appreciatively at the faded glow on his shield glove. Reese now has wand envy as well. His girlfriend is eyeing you again. You even here a couple of people in the first set of assembled stands saying something about it.
"Wow, very nice stunner! I could take one more of those before reshielding. Karina, are you sure you didn't bring a ringer?" Karina laughs and smacks Paulo on the shoulder. No need for you to be jealous of him is there? "Okay James, Reese and I will be the catchers. You two ladies are evaders. James, that means that we actively try to catch the spells, because our shields are strong. Some teams have a code where they call out their targets. We don't have any time for fancy crap like that. When you get possession just pick out someone and unload on them, you might just blow through some people's regular shields. First person knocked out is the harasser. Trip whoever we are focusing on. Everyone, keep an eye on your shield and charge it before it goes away. Got it?"
"Sure, catch first, dodge second and stun the living magic out of anyone on the other team." If traitor Ron was here, he would no doubt want to argue about tatics, positioning on the court, windspeed, why the girls should be checking him out instead and any other stupid thing he could think of. You on the other hand, think it is straightforward and brilliant.
The other game finishes and the team with Mr. 'We got next' is beaten, however the winners opt for a rest and let them stay on the court. You suppose winning four consecutive games could start to wear on you. So you take the court. Reese takes the middle position. Sheila is on his right and you are on her right. Karina is on the far left. Everyone charges their shield as the referees ask each side to identify their captain. Apparently, the captain is worth fifteen points instead of if he or she is eliminated. The captain of each side also starts the game with possession of a spell. As soon as, the ref blows the whistle Paulo and 'We got next' both cast their stunners. Karina catches the spell aimed at her, as does the other teams captain. As soon as she casts she immediately dives out of the way of the return fire. They can see her shield is already down. She casts another weak stunner from the ground as she stands up, since possession goes to the person that was the target of the spell. As she tried to recast her shield, a third stunner came right at her. Paulo jumped in front of it and caught it. He immediately sent one of his more powerful ones back at a female on the opposing side who was a bit too slow and dropped faster than Dudley's fork into food. The scorekeeper floated her off the court where a wizard revived her. The revived girl climbs up on the platform. You have to start watching for trip jinxes now. The score stands at twelve to three. Finally, some one throws one your direction. You catch it and pick out their captain. It doesn't pay to rub Harry Potter the wrong way.
"Stupefy!" He dives underneath your powerful stunner, but you hear the cheers of the crowd. You missed the cheering crowds. Umbridge takes a giant leap forward on the must kick arse list.
The game goes on for another fast paced minute before Sheila gets knocked out, evening the sides. You catch another relatively weak stunner and send your return fire right back at the person who tried to stun you. The kid tries to catch it, but it plows right through his absorbere and he drops to the ground. You quickly reapply your own shield.
"Cast again James! You get possession back if you knock someone out." Paulo says. You get the stunner off before the ten second time limit is up, but your target dodges. Surprisingly enough, Paulo goes down next when both spells were in the possession of the other team. He caught one, but the other one hit his leg. The ref calls out "Possession!" while looking at your side. Reese points at you. "Take it Black." Apparently, you side gets possession of the spell Paulo caught. The girl on the other side casts at Reese and you cast at her. She dives out of the way, but Reese catches her with his return fire. It's you, Karina, and Reese against the other teams captain and one more guy. Sheila is shooting off her trip jinx every time your side catches one. The advantage is shifting your way.
"Good shot," you say to Reese, who nods back to you. Karina goes down next, but you get the other team captain's arm as he tried to evade you. Ha! Ha! Sucker! With the odds at two on one, you and Reese make short work of the last opponent. Reese ends up taking him down after Sheila hits him with her trip jinx, but you don't care. You congratulate Reese on his play as your three teammates come back on the court.
The next game doesn't go as well for you. You make a few catches, but many are dodging your spells now. You get knocked out because Sheila got in your way and you couldn't get around her. You come to on the sidelines and climb up on the platform. It's an interesting perspective to watch the game as you try to pickup more of the games intricacies and trip the opposition up. Karina is quick and nimble, but her spells are so weak! Maybe you could convince her to let you get her a wand that was a better fit. It's a shame that your side isn't more coordinated. You have to guess where your remaining players are going to cast their spells and aim at them. Sheila is pretty good, when she isn't blocking your way and getting you stunned. You've managed to hit a couple of times with your tripper, but in each case it was the wrong target. Reese goes down, but Paulo and Karina are working well together. They manage to get the other team down to one. Unfortunately, Karina takes a hit from a stunner that got through her papier-mache shield. Now it is one on one. Paulo and the other player duel each other very well each are very impressive, but Paulo seems to have the edge. You keep casting your tripping hex as the crowd cheers the two remaining players on.
Paulo manages to beat down his last opponent and your team wins the match. He comes over to get some water as you are descending from your perch. "Do you guys want to go again? It looks like that other team wants a shot at us." He's got an infectious grin on his face. "Need to work on your tripping a bit there Englishman." You shrug wondering if you should flip him off on principal. You elect not to.
Sheila is waiting for you by the cooler Paulo brought with him. "Sorry about earlier. Drink?" She says striking up a conversation and offering a water bottle. You are glad you reapplied the translation charm. For the most part Karina speaks to you in English. No one else does though. Then again, it's their country isn't it?
"It happens. No problem. Thanks for the water," you say as you open the bottle and start drinking. You hadn't really noticed the heat until now. The two of you walk back out onto the court and take your positions waiting for the referees to set up for the next match.
"Hey, you're really good for a first timer. Paulo might try and get you on the team for the tournament, if your banisher is anything like your stunner."
"Sounds good to me. How many slots does he have open?"
"One and the alternate. How do you get your stunner so powerful?"
"Go through the wand motions, slowly. Let me see your form." you say slipping into DA instructor mode.
She demonstrates her technique. It's off a bit, reminding you of the same problem Terry Boot always has, the spellcasting one - not the creepy twitching eye. Damn Terry, see a specialist or something! "Keep you wrist loose right at the end. You are too rigid. Try that and see if it helps." Reese is shooting you dirty looks from the court now. Seems he is a bit territorial too. Guess he doesn't like seeing you holding her wand hand.
"What the hell do you think you are doing with my girlfriend, Black?"
"Showing her what is wrong with her spellcasting technique. What does it look like?" You fire right back. Sheila's nice, but she isn't worth fighting over.
"Like you know what you are talking about. I saw you falling all over her out there!"
Sheila decides to stick up for you. "Reese, you're being an idiot. I tripped him and he was getting stunned at the time. Quit trying to be all macho." It's nice to see him get verbally bitch-slapped. You do come to a realization as Reese scuffs his feet in the sand while muttering under his breath. You, Harry James Potter are a bit of a sexist. You tend to let females get away with more annoying behavior than males. In arguments with your traitorous ex-best friends, you would always let Hermione push it further than Ron. You are also more apt to jump down Ron's throat than Hermy's. Merlin, she hates being called that. Note to self. Call Hermione 'Hermy Funbags' from now on. You could convince yourself that it is the truth, but say Malfoy and Parkinson insult you at the same time. What do you do? Ignore Pansy and decide whether or not to curse Draco.
The next question is do you want to do anything about your sexist mindset? The answer is no not right now - maybe later. You look over at Karina as Chico is bouncing around her like a niffler in Gringotts lobby.
The next match should be interesting. Sheila looks like she wants to try your technique out. Reese is probably determined to show you up. Your opponents for this match are the first group that was wiping the floor with the competition. The have very relaxed stances, but are already shielding their gloves. The referee blows the whistle and the spells are in play. A minute into it and Sheila gains possession. Her stunner comes off a bit stronger than it looked previously. She flashes you a smile. In fairness, you keep your wrist loose. Nowhere in any manual does it say loosen your wrist for the stunner, but one thing you learned was that magic is more about confidence than as Snivellus says 'foolish wand waving'. It's sort of the magical equivalent of the placebo effect. You're magically stronger than her. Tell her this is right and what she is doing is wrong. If she buys your line of crap, she is now more confident that you solved her problem and her spells come off better. Honestly, Kwan would have a field day with these people!
You knock a person out with your well-rested stunner. Paulo and Karina go out pretty quickly. Paulo was pretty worn out form the last match. He happily climbs onto the harasser perch. They are focusing on removing Sheila now. You've made a few more catches, but they are wary of you. Reapplying your shield, you dive into the path of a stunner that Sheila barely eludes stumbling from a tripping hex. You catch it and whip a stunner back like bloody Lucius Malfoy is standing there. Your tactic of using your teammate to hide your spell casting works as you catch another one in the gut. Paulo whoops in support. Too bad the other one got the stumbling Shiela. It's just you and Reese against three of them. Oops it's just you now as Reese is out. Three on one is not very good odds. They shout coded strategies at each other. The first stunner is dead at you and the second one is low and to your right. You dodge the first and catch the second. You send your return stunners back quickly, almost getting one, but their captain reaches over and shields your target catching the second stunner. Damn!
"Go James!" You hear Karina and Chico shouting. A tripping hex catches you and you stumble into the sand. You catch one of the stunners aimed at you and roll in the sand away from the second one. You recast your shield spell and cast a pair of weak looking stunners. You feel worn down, but not nearly as bad as you are letting on. Make them think that you are wearing out. It might sucker one of them into a mistake.
"Come on James, you can do it!" You hear Sheila's shout. 'Aw Reese, no words of encouragement from you?' You are very hurt.
The downside of casting those weak stunners means that they are easily caught, and now you have to dodge two stunners and two quick tripping hexes. You keep returning fire with the wimpy looking stunners trying to draw someone in. One of them is aggressively near the court's center line. He is taunting you.
"You're going down English boy. We gonna kick you ass back to your little island country." All that time around Ferret-boy makes this guy look like a rank amateur. Not to mention El Dorko Lordo himself. Somehow trash talking during a game just doesn't compare to a really powerful insane wooly buttpounder taunting you, while trying to kill you. On the other hand he is trying to make himself a target. Ask and ye shall receive.
Your tormentor does a nifty little hop and roll out of the way of Paulo's hex and snags your stunner out of the air.
"Is that all you got. Try this little boy!" He throws his stunner and you make your move. During the last few exchanges you had been giving ground. Drifting towards the back of your side of the court. As he casts his spell, their person on the platform fires a tripping hex towards where they expected you to be headed. Instead you do the equivalent of rushing the net, if this were tennis and intercept his stunner. Less than 3 meters separate you.
"Stupefy!" A glorious looking crimson bolt of energy slams right through his weakened shield and drops him like a sack of discarded rubbish. You waste no time and hurl a second stunner while twisting sideways to avoid one that narrowly misses you. The crowd makes some noise. His teammates won't let him live that one down.
You fall back from mid-court not wanting to press your luck. Paulo calls out "Ref, how long?" How long for what? You wonder dive rolling away from another trip hex followed by stunner combination.
"One minute forty-five seconds." Until what, you wonder?
"Come on James! Just hold out until then." Paulo says. Again you wonder what happens in a little over a minute. One of these days, you are going to make people explain things to you beforehand instead of trying to pick everything up along the way. It has a devil-may-care charm to it, but sometimes it is downright annoying isn't it? How many times would you have used the Knight Bus to slip away from the Dursley's if you had known about it from the start?
"What happens then?" You shout back at him making another catch.
"Last five minutes by yourself and the other three get to come back out on the court. Keep it up!" Oh, see, ask for answer and get it. It's simple. You'll have to do it more often.
Your two opponents are a little unnerved. They weren't expecting you to have that kind of reserve and determination. The score is seventy-seven to fifty-three. Technically, they could just let you stun them and they would still win. They'd probably do it in a tournament, but not here in a friendly.
At ten seconds remaining, the crowd starts counting down. Reese and Sheila look ready to jump right back in - Karina, not so much. Your opposition senses that they will not be able to get you so they hold the spells until the referee yells, "Five Minutes!"
The trio comes back out onto the court. You shield them and manage to catch one, but poor Karina barely steps onto the court before a stunner catches her in the knee. It takes the wind out of you casting your return spell, but you don't consider it good sportsmanship as you throw the strongest stunner you can muster. It's big, fast and pretty. Just like that it is three on one, going your way. The crowd seems a bit bigger now than when the first games started. It's probably up to seventy-five or eighty people. Not exactly the thousands you are used to performing in front of, but at the moment it's enough.
Thankfully, Sheila and Reese get the last player. You're tired, but it was good exercise both physically and magically. Walking over to the sidelines, people are congratulating you. Paulo is already down from the perch and claps you on the back. You've probably cemented your status as Chico's new hero.
"Please tell me you can play tomorrow? Amanda will be here then and we'll have the whole team." Paulo asks.
"Yeah sure count me in? Is Karina going to be the alternate?" You reply.
"If she wants." You look over at her and it looks like she has had enough, but Chico is already urging her on. She agrees after a moment.
It's nice to see sportsmanship alive and well in South America, as the other team comes over and personally congratulates you. They make a couple of jokes wondering about if your banisher is as strong as your stunner. You have more practice with the stunner, but you lie anyway and tell them it's stronger with a grin on your face.
You figure out Karina's reluctance after a few more minutes of pleasantries with your new team. They definitely aren't the Gryffindor Lions, but they aren't so bad. Paulo goes to collect the two galleon each entry fee from everyone. You don't say a word and cover Karina's share. Money is probably going to be an issue between the two of you. You're pretty thick but even you can guess that. Paulo raises and eyebrow, but lets it slide.
She's quiet on the way back. Chico doesn't notice and is currently telling you how good you were out there. It's nice, but hopefully you can head 'Chico the long lost Creevy brother' off at the pass. You have sand in places you didn't think you could get sand in.
You swing through the marketplace on the way back. Karina helps select the things for you. Grocery shopping goes pretty quick and soon you are back at the Machado household. Karina sends Chico into the bath and starts on dinner.
"You're mad at me aren't you?" Since you have not real skills in this area, perhaps you should stick to stating the obvious.
"Do you think I am a whore?" Perhaps you should avoid stating the obvious in the future. Some things are best left unsaid. You remember something good old Uncle Vernon once said about Latin women having a temper. Even that idiot can sometimes stumble on a truth.
"Merlin! No, of course I don't think that." You're not really sure what you think.
"I am not some charity project!" She hisses. Even without the parseltongue you pick that one loud and clear. Okay, maybe you are not getting laid tonight. You know something, you've had enough of this! You are not even pretending to be Harry Potter right now and yet here you are apologizing for being you again.
"Look. I have money, a lot of it. I don't want to make you uncomfortable, but I've got enough that I didn't even recognize that people were stealing from me! If you can't deal with it, then I better leave now before it gets worse than it already is." You spin to walk out the door.
"I don't want Chico getting attached to another man who is going to leave him!" She's got just a few issues. It's not even a question. One positive thing is she referred to you as a man, not a boy. So once again, you are being judged by the actions of some other bloke - most times it is the 'prankster Dad extrordinare'. This time, you are being judged against some pretty much random dead guy, who cheated on his wife and left the woman in front of you in a bad spot. If you weren't so angry at the moment, you'd stop and wonder why females put up with males in general. Merlin knows if you were a girl, you wouldn't date guys. Oh well, enough with the introspective crap, back to the matter at hand.
"You know something, Karina? A few years ago, I had nothing and no real hope of getting anything. I was treated like shit for an entire decade, before I found out I was magical. I've been trying to put it in the past, so I don't really feel like talking about it. The point is - you haven't even gotten close to rock bottom yet. You've still got your pride, but after a couple of years that will go to. I would have killed to have a friend trying to help me enjoy life, instead of just trying to get by. I'm not going to think any less of you because of your situation."
She stops and looks at you. "James, I am sorry. Forgive me." She's walking towards you. Okay Mr. Big Speech, what now? Stay or go? She pulls you into an embrace. Maybe, you should stay.
Seven hours later, you are lying on the sleeper sofa staring at the moonlight filtering in through the window. Karina's naked form is curled up next to you. After dinner, the three of you played Chico's favorite boardgames for a few hours. Once he went to bed, Karina offered you a chance to use her shower while she cleaned your clothes. You were quite pleased at the turn of events when she joined you in the small shower. She claimed that there were some places she always had problems getting the sand out of. People have always said what a helpful and generous person you are. It's a calling, really. The biggest lesson you learned tonight was that make-up sex is physically and emotionally draining. A few days ago, you asked Bill about his relationship with Fleur. You didn't understand it when he said, "Sometimes, she starts arguing with me for no particular reason about something she obviously knows is wrong - if you know what I mean?" You nodded, but didn't really know what he meant. You do now - they're both nutters!
"Still awake?" Karina mumbles in you ear. Maybe it is the fact you have a naked woman curled up next to you. You don't want to admit to her that this sleeper sofa has seen better days and the hammock in the expedition tent is much more comfortable.
"Yeah. Not really used to being in a bed with someone else," you say.
"I feel like I am just using you." She confesses in a whisper.
You answer with candor that surprises even you. "I need this as much as you do. We're using each other and we're honest about it. It's more consideration than I am used to. There is nothing wrong with two people, who need support and comfort giving it to each other. Besides, I've got a new favorite game now because of you."
"You really like dodgespell more than your quidditch?"
You pause, sighing dramatically. The game of dodgespell excites you in different ways than quidditch. Being a good seeker is a reflection of speed and skill. Dodgespell is more power oriented and almost feels like a duel. Both get the blood pumping. Too bad you aren't talking about either of them. Oh, you should really answer her.
"No, silly my new favorite game is 'innocent young man gets corrupted by very sexy woman' and I think I am entitled to a rematch."
Author's notes - So there you have it dodgespell or at least the pickup version. I'll post the basic rules and gameplay in my profile on fanfiction dot net. It will be up there in a day or two. If you decide to use it in your story all I ask is that you credit me. Let me know what you think. Thanks to those who have comprised the 250 reviews I have so far and thanks for sticking with the story so far. Jim