Disclaimer: I tried to order Harry Potter and all subsidiary characters from Deux Ex Machina, the shop down the corner after two blocks and a couple of bunny hops. Unfortunately, they told me the only thing they had at the moment are these dorky thick framed glasses with transition lenses that made me look like some former senator from a group of isles in a country found in South East Asia. So I brought home the glasses instead.

A/N: This is my fourth round entry for the QLFC for the Caerphilly Catapults against the Wigtown Wanderers. (Please don't hit me with your cleavers *shifty eyes*)

I will be using the following prompts: (Restriction) No Dialogue, (Song) Numb by Linkin Park, and (Quote) "Never to suffer would have been never to have been blessed" by Edgar Allan Poe

Special thanks to frustratedstudent and thosedarndursleys for a quick beta read.

I give you, Third Round Dejection.


Third Round Dejection (or why third times are not always a charm)

Two rounds ago, before I joined the Caerphilly Catapults, I was a nervous wreck a few hours before the opening whistle. Rookie jitters, I'd definitely attribute this to and who could blame me? I'm an average chaser named Lee that came out of Slytherin eight years ago and just decided to try out with the Catapults. Logic dictates that chasers would not be someone who is wearing thick framed glasses with a scrawny frame and a potty mouth. It's time to probably toss out logic then.

If you told me a few months ago that I would become a left wing chaser at the professional leagues, I'd have laughed at your face and stunned you repeatedly. After that, I'd be duty bound to bring you to the psychiatric ward of St. Mungos.

However that was two rounds ago. This is now the third match of the season with two wins in our belt. The sun is shining comfortably with a few clouds to make sure the glare doesn't bother us. The stands are filled mostly of dark gray and white supporters, cheering for the Falcons in their home stadium. Of course, my heart goes out of the opposite end of the pitch, where I see a sizable group of light green and scarlet supporters, braving the home crowd masses.

We are facing one of the heavyweight teams, but we've become a force to be reckoned with in my opinion.

While we discuss our attack patterns, I couldn't help but analyze the abilities of the members in our squad.

David, Lucy and I are a solid unit of chasers, based on the scouting and sports writer reports I took time to read through. David's the strong and silent type, with his stoic countenance and his neatly trimmed silver blond hair depicting the typical marine drill sergeant. Lucy's the cheerful, light ginger haired one who shouldn't have too much caffeine in her system. The memories of the damage to her locker that one time she had an espresso still brings shivers up my spine.

And yes, there's me, the black-haired, bespectacled, thin framed one. I think I just do alright.

Jet black-haired Aria and auburn-haired Karen have lithe figures. Not once did I think they wouldn't make great beaters. They're deadly accurate with those crazy bludgers. Those moving target dummies we brought in with us never stood at chance surviving the onslaught of their practice.

Nancy, ma capitaine, is our brunette at the helm of this rookie squad. Definitely not an easy task, but she pulls it off effortlessly. She is our own personal cheer squad and motivator fit into one.

Of course, I'm not forgetting Lottie, our light-brown haired keeper. It's always a challenge to get the quaffle past her in the attack runs. She reminds me of Oliver Wood sometimes, during his stint at Puddlemere.

Last but certainly not least Grace. I secretly call our dirty blond seeker "Krum-incarnate". She manages to catch the snitch in record time for the past two games already. I think she broke a couple of our centuries-old team records this season.

I wouldn't call it arrogance, but I am confident of our team's ability to win this, even if we are facing a squad of veterans from the Falcons. There is of course the matter of their chaser, Tigger, who deemed it appropriate to ambush and sit on me when I visited their quarters for a good luck greeting. I'm calling dibs on the payback attempt.

The opening whistle comes too quickly for my taste and with that, we are all locked in.

It definitely is a closely contested match between our and their chaser lines from the get go. I opt not to look at the score box during the game and just focus on the here and now.

For every score we earn, the Falcons answers with one of their own as well. It simply becomes a slugfest of scores and bludgers flying through from both sides.

Speaking of those, another one of said iron balls nearly clips me from behind, but I make a quick turn upwards, dodging the projectile effortlessly and doing a loop above it.

David gives me a quick look and hurls the quaffle sharply towards me, just as two chasers swarm him for possession.

I quickly hold the tip of my Cleansweep Catapult Five, my eyes meeting the Falcons' keeper and faking my aim towards the left ring.

With a smirk on my lips, I push my body off the broom, swing my ride's sweeping end at the incoming quaffle and smack it hard towards and into highside ring one.

It sure is tempting to shout fore, but I'll save the talking after a win.

While the quaffle sails through the hoop, I use the momentum of my swing to mount the broom again. The constant attempts of pulling off this maneuver for the jollies really pays off and does get the Catapults faithful roaring.

Lucy intercepts the keeper's quaffle pass, but it gets stolen by the one who sat at me.

Tigger!

My mind goes blank for a moment, then I think I hear the laugh of that bouncing tiger from that show with a honey-obssessed bear. My instincts then decides to kick it to hyperdrive.

I fly up high then turn my broom downwards into another dive. Finally, I can collect on payback for this match. With the wind passing through my messy black hair, I almost hug the broom to speed up further for a steal.

The view of Tigger becomes larger and larger, and I ironically become a falcon about to catch my prey.

My mind goes into a count for distance,while adrenalin pumping again for another chance to score.

Twenty

Ten

Five

Three

I reach about a meter from my goal when the referee's whistle sounds. The effort it takes to pull away is nearly too much strain on my body, but I did manage to break off at the nick of time before I hit anyone.

Looking at the wide screen, Grace catches the snitch again! Elation roars out of my chest. I think we won. I start to rush towards her and give her a hug, but I notice the sea of dark grey and white cheering loudly and our side subdued.

Confusion hit me a bit and then I decide to look at the scoreboard to confirm my worst fears.

Falmouth Falcons 290 – 270 Caerphilly Catapults

My inattention perhaps cost us the game. Maybe if I took a peek at the score, it might have sparked urgency in me to fight harder.

My jaw drops and I find myself dumbstruck at the outcome.

We lost, my mind repeats those words like a mantra, taunting my tired body and soul.

I've become so numb.

I can't feel myself here in the stadium anymore. I've become so tired, that my entire body feels like falling to the ground at the very moment. Now, I'm so much aware of the loss, our first defeat for the season.

All I want to do is head back to the visitor's locker room. As I make my way through the crowds, I see Ginny Weasley-Potter attempting to push her way through the throng of reporters. She holds a set of questions in her hand, but her annoyance might turn this to a one-sided wand fight. Naturally, she wins if that ever happens.

I instinctively pull her to me since she is my favorite reporter. She remains to be a legend after her chaser stint with the Harpies.

She then questions me about the chaser tactics we employed, my expectations coming into the fourth match against the Wigtown Wanderers and my fear of people holding cleavers. Hey, I use those at home, but it's pretty intimidating to see someone on the opponent side holding one of those things.

I shake my head and point her to Nancy. By Mrs. Weasley-Potter's body language, she is about to fire her verbal gunports at me, but the haunted look in my eyes tells her why I can't answer any questions at the moment. She could only smile at me, open her notepad and point to the words 'you'll get them next time' before patting me on the shoulder and moving on to our captain for her scoop.

Within me, all the will and fire disappears. All that remains is a cold void, a sobering thought. The moment here reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe to be honest, specifically the quote, 'Never to suffer would have been never to have been blessed.'

I receive the suffering. When will I get the blessing part?

That question stuns me, as I get into the locker rooms, before the heavy weight in my chest releases itself like water from a dam.

I see the door of my locker and punch it, denting the steel. Afterwards, I cover my face with my dirty and shaking hands, then cry.

This emotion inside me feels like an eternity, dragging me further down from where I sat. That is of course, until Nancy taps me on the shoulder.

I look up and see her still looking worn from the match, but there is a burning resolve in her eyes that draws me toward the team huddle.

Aria and Worry both stare at their bats with dismay. Grace can only look at her palms, disbelief still evident in her eyes. Lottie shakes her head from the time at the blocks she could have made. Meanwhile, Lucy and I have sober resignation in our countenances. David remains stoic as ever, especially after receiving those two bludger hits for this match, but I could also see in him what we are all feeling at this point in time...

A minute into this post-game huddle, a realization strikes me that I am being selfish. We are all feeling the same empty cold emotion within us after this close match. We're passionate about this game of Quidditch, that's why we cry about it. We win as a team and lose as a team, a family of light green and scarlet, as the Caerphilly Catapults.

Nancy cuts through the gloom and she speaks of not being downhearted at the result, that we fought through a strong Falmouth side full of veterans and still gave it all we've got.

This suffering will makes us stronger. It is the system of life, suffer then be blessed by earning something in return. We either recieve a lesson, a cherished item or even a win later in the season.

The cold that embraces and suffocates my soul became a roaring fire once more. I notice the same thing with these comrade-in-arms of mine. We know there are matches still coming and we'll make sure to do better the next time we meet the Falcons.

As a Catapult, we'll launch everything we have at our opponents, even the kitchen sink if need be, to win this year's British and Irish Quidditch League Cup.