Lassiter and the Half-Blood Psychic
Juliet O'Hara smiled as her friend, Carlton Lassiter approached, his green and silver striped tie partially undone, with his hair windswept and face lightly flushed. His left pant leg was ruffled, as well. He'd obviously just gotten back from an illicit fly on his new broom, which was a Sky Breaker. It was top of the line. He'd saved up for it for the past year and he was the only one at Hogwarts with the newest broom on the market; it had only come out a month ago, but he had a family friend in the business.
"Hey, Carlton," she said, giving him a sly look as she glanced him over. "How was the flight?"
He gave her a panicked look, running his hand through his hair, as well as absently straightening his tie with the other, sitting next to her.
"Is it that obvious?"
Juliet laughed and reached over to help him, saying, "Just a little bit, Carlton. Here, let me help you…"
He begrudgingly let her fix his tie, and then dragged out his books from his weather-beaten messenger bag, threw them on the table in front of them, and then said, "The Transfiguration homework is kicking my ass. You gonna help me or not, O'Hara?" As he said this, he shrugged off his black robe and rolled up the pristine white sleeves of his white shirt, showing off his surprisingly muscled forearms, which came from hours on the Quidditch pitch. As a Chaser for the Slytherin team, he got plenty of practice.
Juliet smiled and nodded.
"Of course, Carlton. But only if you help me with my Defense homework. My shield charm is next to nothing right now, and needs some serious work."
He nodded and they went to work, both of them ignoring the looks from the other students in the library. O'Hara was a Gryffindor, after all, and willingly hanging out with a Slytherin was looked down on. The fact that she was Keeper for the Gryffindor team made it even worse…but they didn't care.
They had met when some sixth year Gryffindor had attempted to hex Lassiter while his back was turned and O'Hara had jumped in and saved him from extreme embarrassment, as well as possible harm. Lassiter had been skeptical at first, not entirely sure that her intentions were entirely altruistic, but as soon as he'd realized that she wasn't holding it over him or trying to use it against him in any way, that her intentions were good, they'd developed a fast friendship.
They even gave each other pointers on their flying techniques, to their team captains' chagrins. Both of them felt that the House rivalries were outdated and somewhat elitist in an almost Colonial sense, which was why they hung out and studied together in obvious public venues on campus, the Library being a favorite choice for both of them.
After forty-five minutes of alternating studying and critiquing each other's techniques, they stood up and headed for the Great Hall, bags packed, with Lassiter looking much more presentable than before, their steps almost in perfect unison despite Carlton's long, lanky legs.
As they walked in, a familiar voice called out.
"Lassi! Jules! Over here!"
Lassiter inwardly groaned and outwardly rolled his eyes, but at seeing Juliet's look he reluctantly followed her over to where the Ravenclaw Seeker, Shawn Spencer, sat, along with Burton Guster from Hufflepuff. They were more Juliet's friends than his, but he tolerated them for her benefit.
"Hey, Shawn," she said, flashing him a tentative smile. She had a thing for him, but he seemed to be oblivious.
The arrogant seventh-year ignored Juliet and turned to Lassiter and said, "Hey, Lassi. Good luck this weekend."
Dear Merlin, like he needed another fucking reminder about this weekend. Lassiter deliberately ignored him, mentally shoving the reminder to the back of his mind, not wanting to think about it, and instead thought of how Spencer had said "Lassi." Shawn had given him that stupid nickname. When he'd first started using it, Carlton hadn't minded all that much, but then he found out that it was a reference to a Muggle program about a collie that saved a little boy's life over and over again, and he now hated it.
"Hi, Juliet," said Guster pointedly, trying to catch the girl's eye. Carlton had to refrain from rolling his eyes a second time. It was honestly ridiculous. Guster had a thing for O'Hara, but O'Hara had a thing for Spencer, and Spencer seemed unnaturally and unhealthily focused on Lassiter for reasons that were beyond him.
"Hey, Gus," O'Hara replied, being perfectly cordial. "Actually, I'm glad I caught you now. Do you think you could help me with my Astronomy paper? It's not my strongest subject and Shawn happened to mention that you were kind of obsessed and that you might…you know…help me?"
Gus looked shocked for a moment, but quickly recovered and said, "Sure, Juliet. I'd love to help."
Breaking the awkward moment, Spencer suddenly lunged across the table and grabbed a slice of pineapple from his friend's plate, and, ignoring Gus's cry of protest, he took a large bite out of it…and then, just as suddenly, spit it back out, spraying pineapple pieces across the table and his papers.
"Dude, what the hell is that? And why does it taste like tofu?"
Gus smirked back at him.
"Because it's my Transfiguration homework, Shawn. It was tofu. Now, it's a slice of pineapple."
"Sure as hell doesn't taste like it," he said, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as he used his other one to roll it across the table, a huge chunk missing from it in the shape of the Ravenclaw's teeth marks. How the guy was in Ravenclaw, Carlton had no idea. The attention hungry seventeen year-old acted more like a brash Gryffindor, yet he inexplicably had perfect scores in every class that he'd ever taken. Carlton had never seen Shawn pick up a book, let alone study. He had no idea how he did it, and that bothered him to no end.
"So…you gonna beat me this Saturday, Lassi?"
Again, he ignored the question, focusing instead on his food. Ravenclaw and Slytherin were playing each other that weekend, and Carlton was nervous enough as it was, without Spencer pestering him about it. Shawn had just become Seeker for the Ravenclaw team, but he was scary good. Luckily, ever since Lassiter had gotten onto the Slytherin team, their team hadn't lost. But he'd never played against Spencer.
Carlton's eyes snapped up.
"I'm gonna kick your ass this weekend, Spencer. So, shut it."
Looking slightly taken aback, the brunette simply nodded and leaned back, picking at the sandwich in front of him. Their rivalry was less than friendly, no matter how often Spencer tried to change it. Lassiter had sounded a lot more confident than he felt, however. Shawn wasn't just good…he was exceedingly good. Like with everything else he did, he flew perfectly, flawlessly, and no one knew why. He'd grown up in a Muggle home with his father, who worked in law enforcement in the states.
That was the only other reason why Carlton tolerated Spencer and Gus; they were the only other American students besides himself and O'Hara. But, unlike Gus and Spencer, both Carlton and Juliet came from well-known pureblood families. And, well, there was Karen Vick, but he didn't really count her because her entire family was ex-patriated. They had all had the option of attending Ilvermorny, but Carlton's goal was to become an Auror, and a degree from Hogwarts held more weight than one from Ilvermorny. Juliet was there because it was where her mother had gone, and Lassiter was vaguely aware that Guster was there because he was on scholarship. The only reason why Spencer was there was probably to get away from his father, Carlton mused.
As soon as lunch was over, he headed straight for the Quidditch pitch. He had another free period, after all. Seemed a shame to waste the time. He dropped his bag and clothes in the Slytherin locker room and changed into his casual practice gear, not bothering with the usual protective leather pads. He then unlocked the magical seal on his Sky Breaker and headed out to the field. After a quick glance to make sure that he was alone, he took off with a firm kick, and in mere seconds was over a thousand feet above the pitch. Merlin, it was perfect up there.
Not a single distraction to be found.
Feeling restless, and a little bit reckless, he dropped into a steep dive, only pulling up at the absolute last possible second, the wind roaring violently past him as he banked into a sharp right turn and circled back around the outside of the poles at the end of the field. His Sky Breaker responded beautifully, turning at the merest touch, and Carlton felt each tension in his body disappear with each lap that he took around the field. Shawn had a Firebolt, an older model, but he still managed to make Lassiter seem like an uncoordinated troll compared to him.
In his first game, Spencer had caught the Snitch only one minute into the game, while hanging from his broom upside down. Everyone had been impressed. Despite all the adulation placed upon the Ravenclaw sixth year, Carlton was pleased that he'd still managed to make a name for himself. Because of his height, he had a long reach, which made him one hell of an asset as a Chaser, and whenever he threw the quaffle, he always scored. That had earned him the respect of nearly everyone in Quidditch at Hogwarts…except for Shawn Spencer.
Dammit. He was no longer relaxed. Just the thought of his name ruined all of the work an hour of flying had done. Giving up, he headed back, turning lazily towards the field.
Merlin, not now. He couldn't handle him at that moment. Turning his broom, he saw Spencer approaching from the ground, his Firebolt in hand. He then launched and met Carlton twenty feet off the ground.
"Hey, Lassi," he said, flashing his pearly whites. "I know you practice with Jules, so I thought that we could try it out. Not a problem, right?"
Lassiter glared at him.
"We're up against each other on Saturday, Spencer! Are you an idiot? I'm not gonna train with you!" And with that, he dropped to the ground and took off at a brisk pace back to the Slytherin locker room, knowing that Spencer wouldn't dare step foot in it…but no such luck. Spencer followed him anyway, completely oblivious to the way the snake sigils just inside the door lit up when he walked past them.
"That's not fair, Lassi! Don't be lumpy tapioca pudding!"
Carlton wheeled on him when he saw the sigils light up, their faces inches apart.
"You idiot!" he yelled a second time. "You just walked into the Slytherin locker room. You don't have Slytherin stitching in your uniform, which means that Vick knows that someone from another team is in our locker room, so she'll think I'm giving you our fucking strategy!"
He glared at him, chest heaving, and Spencer raised his hands in innocence.
"Honest, Lassi, I didn't know! Don't worry, I'll tell them it was my bad, because, hey, it was…"
Lassiter rolled his eyes.
"You don't get it, Spencer. Because of this they'll probably disqualify both of us from playing this weekend. Gee, thanks a lot." He turned back around and then, noticing that the Ravenclaw still hadn't moved, he growled out, "Leave, Spencer!"
Carlton sighed. Vick was going to be pissed. Karen Vick was the Captain of the Slytherin Quidditch team; she played Keeper and she ran a tight ship. She was generous enough to let Carlton practice on his own, however, the rest of the team worked together. Their seeker was a fifth year, named Eliza King, but everyone knew that Lassiter was the one who made sure that King caught the Snitch. The only reason why Lassiter wasn't a Seeker was because of his damn height…and the fact that he and King had tried out at the same time, and she'd gotten it first.
Not bothering with a shower, Carlton threw his robes back on and dragged himself to Advanced Arithmancy. He still had thirty minutes, but he had no desire to run into Spencer again, so he went up to the sixth floor and sat outside the door, pulling out his wand and practicing the movement that O'Hara had had been tutoring him for Transfiguration.
Shit. It was Vick. He slowly lifted his eyes and stared up at her from his spot on the floor. She knew that he knew what she was going to ask, so he went ahead and answered without her ever saying a word.
"Shawn Spencer followed me in, Vick. Damn idiot thought he'd get some flying tips from me. He didn't know about the warning sigils and immediately left after I told him to scram," he said in a rush, trying to get it out as quickly as possible.
She shook her head, her short blonde hair barely moving, looking irritated, her brown eyes flashing.
"Figures," she mattered, letting out a huff of air. "He's the only Ravenclaw that would be that stupid to do such a thing." She let out a sigh and then said, unexpectedly, "By the way, King is sick. I'm looking for a replacement."
Carlton stood up, brushing himself off as the busty Victoria Vadis walked by, and then looked back at Karen and said, "Do you want me to talk to Kessler, then?" Damien Kessler was the only other one who had tried out for position of Seeker that year; but Vick shook her head.
"No. I'm bringing in Dobbs."
Dirk Dobbs? But he was six foot one and at least forty pounds heavier than Lassiter. Why would she…
"What do you say, Carlton? Ready to prove yourself?"
Holy shit. She wanted him to…he mentally shook himself. This was finally happening. This was his shot. This was his chance to prove to everyone at Hogwarts that he was a better Seeker than Shawn Spencer. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, he nodded. She smiled a tight-lipped smile.
"Good. See you at practice tomorrow night. Remember, you're a Seeker now. Think like one," she added pointedly as she walked away.
Carlton nodded, feeling rejuvenated and renewed as he waited for the classroom door to open. He was going to be Seeker. It was a dream come true…but as he walked into the room, the reality of it hit him square in the gut. He was going up against Spencer. Just Spencer. Essentially, all of the game of Quidditch came down to one player. The Seeker. One on one. No team in the way.
He dropped heavily into his seat as his stomach began to roll. Shit. This wasn't good. This was a nightmare. Merlin, what if he made a fool of himself? Just as the thought hit him, Guster sat down next to him and said, "Shawn told me to tell you that he's really sorry and that it won't happen again. Also, that he'll talk to Karen and try to explain the situation."
Still in a haze, Lassiter shook his head.
"No, it's okay. Vick's cool with it."
"Oh," said Guster, sounding slightly surprised. He knew her reputation. "Okay, then. Cool."
Then, not thinking about who he was talking to, Lassiter blurted out, "King is sick. Vick's made me Seeker."
Guster's eyes practically bugged out of his head, and he turned in his seat and said, "You mean…you and Shawn are…? Oh…oh, that's not good. Shawn just might lose to make you feel better about yourself. You know how he is, Lassiter. Nothing but a people pleaser…"
That snapped Lassiter out of his haze.
"If he does that, I'll murder him."
Gus seemed unsurprised at Carlton's exclamation and simply replied, "You know that's right," and then opened his book, while the Slytherin sat there silently fuming. He had to cut Spencer off at the pass. If he was going up against him, it would be fair and square. He would not win because Shawn was letting him win; he would win because he was better than him.
He inwardly steeled himself for the inevitable jabs that would be sent his way, not only by Spencer, but by everyone else. He knew that most of his year, including all of Slytherin, thought that he took school much too seriously. He had been ridiculed for it in the past and had, fortunately, never let it get to him, but this was Quidditch. If he screwed this up…it would haunt him for the rest of his life. No one cared about tests, but when it came to Quidditch, they all acted as though it was an entire way of life.
He would beat him.