Ted's second week at Hogwarts introduced him to a new class; Flying. Much to Ted's delight, the Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs would be taking the class together on Thursday, after their normal classes. Victor laughed haughtily upon hearing them mention it during dinner the night before.
They were sitting together at Gryffindor table. On the very edge of the table, nearest to the teacher table, sat Josh and Jerry. Jerry’s back was to the wall, and he faced the other tables, while Josh sat on the end of the table facing the wall. Beside Jerry sat Ivan, followed by Lane, then Victor. Next to Josh sat Barku, then Ted, then Ambrosette. It was Ambrosette who had pulled Victor and Ivan from the older boys, saying the new first years needed guidance. The first year girls were placed towards the middle of the table, and Ambrosette’s friends had protectively surrounded them, but Ambrosette herself decided that the Gryffindor boys needed some older kids to help them feel like they belonged. She had dragged a very reluctant Ivan from where he sat, showing other Gryffindor second years a praying mantis he had magically enlarged, and pulled him over to them. Ivan now politely shrunk his mantis and put it in the jar he had with him mournfully before helping himself to a thick and meaty stew.
"Just be careful. Some of the school brooms are a bit wonky." Ivan explained. "Some may fly slightly left, or vibrate when they get too high up. "
"I had a broom in my first Flying class that tried to take off for the Forbidden Forest with the kid still on it." Victor warned.
"Blame Josh for not getting his parents to donate to the school enough." Jerry laughed. "His dad's a school official."
Josh laughed too. He and Jerry seemed to be good friends already. Ted had learned quite a bit about his new peers. Jerry Tregidgo was bold, reckless, and a bit on the ornery side. Back when he had attended a Muggle school, he had nearly faced expulsion for being involved in numerous fistfights. He was tough as nails and labeled a "misguided youth", though in actuality, he was just rebellious. He did love to brag about his fistfights with great bravado. Ted had been in a few fistfights himself, and though he talked about them, Jerry glorified his and described the fight in great detail, sometimes reenacting it with the air. Jerry had very much the same boldness and bravery attributed to Gryffindors, but was very loyal to friends and would leap into action instantly if someone messed with them.
Joshua Reaper was a good kid. He was athletic, but not as much as Barku was. He was far more mild-mannered than Jerry, and very practical for a Gryffindor. Though more bookish and less likely to do stupid things, he proved an asset where completing Binns' homework was concerned. Josh had a knack for finding ways to extend the length of the measured writing prompts they so often were assigned. He was naturally very sharp-witted and thoughtful. His sarcasm and deadpan snarking had made him someone to seek out when you needed to laugh.
Lane was probably the most kind and compassionate of the Gryffindor first years. He was definitely more inclined to follow rules than Barku, but very supportive. He had a timid and somewhat cautious streak, but it was a useful trait to possess, as many of the other Gryffindors were inclined to do things without any forethought. Lane was also helpful, and it was these traits that made Ted like him very much already.
And last but certainly not least, was Barku Altair. Barku was the very epitome of Gryffindor. He was brave, reckless, and had a sense of disregard for the rules, but whenever he came up with a new scheme, Ted simply couldn't say no. Barku had a way with words that made everything sound like it was a good idea. His reckless grin and easygoing nature made him highly likable. And so far, he was Ted’s very best friend.
Ted found himself down at the Herbology classroom early that morning. He saw Callan and Clifford waiting there already. Callan was practically buried in his Herbology notebook, while the amiable Clifford was listing the most notable traits of Dittany aloud. Clifford's brown hair looked tousled, and he broke into a broad smile as Ted approached. Ted smiled back.
"Hiya Ted!" Clifford said, beaming. "Lovely morning, huh?"
"Swell. You and Callan studying?" Ted asked.
"You bet." Callan replied, smirking. "Herbology is a wonderful class."
Ted was able to leave the lesson feeling proud. Callan had won a considerable amount of points for Hufflepuff, and Ted himself had won five for Gryffindor, and though his and Barku’s notebooks were dismal compared to Callan’s, they at least had the new notes copied down in them.
The class was followed by Charms, where they were learning both Lumos and Nox. Callan got it right away, and Ted and Lane, who were partners, did an alright job of it, though Ted forgot how to properly execute Nox and nearly set Barku on fire. To be fair, Barku actually did set Ted's robes on fire, and Callan, trying to keep himself from laughing, put the fire out.
The boys trooped out onto the sweeping lawn that afternoon, after Transfiguration and History of Magic, both with Slytherin. They found Professor Helstrom waiting for them. Professor Helstrom was tall and wore mostly black robes. His hair was thick and brown. Madame Hooch had left the school a year prior, and though he was a new addition to the Hogwarts faculty, he was already well respected.
"Welcome to Flying." Helstrom said to his row of students. “Let's partner you all up. Down this side, I want Tregidgo, Eamon, Reaper, Altair and Morgan from Gryffindor, in that order. Then continuing the row, I want Bulger, Alesmir, Hedgewick, Ford, and Allen, also in that order."
The called students found their places, and were told to be arm's length apart, so they obliged.
"Now across from Tregidgo, I want Coulson, then I'll have York, Jones, Curtis, and Martins. On Martins' other side, going down that row, I want Morgan, Dorsey, Peterson, Madden, and Turner. Arrange yourselves."
Ted found himself happily standing between Barku and a girl from Hufflepuff named Lucy Bulger, who offered him a smile. Almost across from him was Callan, and he smiled confidently at his twin brother. After they had all arranged themselves the way Helstrom wanted them, they noticed that school brooms had been distributed among them. Ted's broom looked ancient, as though it was at least a decade old. He looked at it, twigs all pointing in different directions and a faded handle.
“Now,” Helstrom began, “Stick your right hand over the broom, and say ‘Up!’. And no fear now. Mr. Morgan...Ted...you first! Up!” The Flying teacher’s own broom - a sleek new Cleansweep - had jumped into his hand upon hearing him say “up” and Ted gasped. Then. eager to try it, looked to his own old broom. He stuck his hand over it.
“Up!” Ted shouted, and his broom jumped into his hand immediately. Mr. Helstrom looked impressed.
“Very good Mr. Morgan. Five points to Gryffindor.” Helstrom said, turning to Ian Turner, who was whispering to Josh. “Your turn, Mr. Turner. If you do not feel the need to pay attention, you must be bored, and therefore an expert..”
“Up!” Ian yelled, but his broom rolled over lazily in the grass. He flushed with embarrassment.
“I thought as much. Two points from Hufflepuff.” Helstrom said. “And let this be a lesson. Now everyone try it. Up!”
Barku, Marshall, and Callan’s brooms, much like Ted’s, jumped into their hands at once. Others, like Ian, Lane, and LT seemed to have a hard time getting their brooms to do much more than roll around in the grass. Helstrom waited until everyone had gotten their brooms to leap up into their hands before he began the next part of the lesson.
"Now I want you to mount your brooms, and push off gently. Don't move, just hover." he said, and Ted found it strangely easy. His broom seemed to be very obedient. However, Lane's broom gave a jerk, and it began to twist and turn around in the air.
"Mr. Eamon, control your broom!" Helstrom yelled, but Lane's broom shot straight up into the air. Ted, on an impulse, kicked off of the ground hard and was pleased to see that Barku had joined him in the air, despite Helstrom's loud protests. The two boys shot up with him, then when Lane's broom plummeted, Ted signaled to Barku to circle around and be ready to stop Lane's broom in the event that it headed to the Forbidden Forest. Ted, still on his own school broom, followed closely, noticing Barku was ready. What Ted had not expected was for Lane to be bucked off of his broom. Ted zoomed downward, increasing speed, and he caught Lane by the wrist, helping the boy onto his broom. Meanwhile, Barku had tried to grab the rogue broom, and as it flew by he nearly got pulled off of his own broom and did a dangerous frontflip-like maneuver on his broom in the air, but somehow managed to stay on it. Barku flew underneath Ted, allowing Lane's feet to rest on the broom, and they lowered to the ground before toppling safely into the grass as Lane's broom lazily flew into the Forbidden Forest.
"In all my years as a Flying instructor for Quidditch, I never!" Helstrom exclaimed, and the boys braced themselves for a detention or expulsion. But Helstrom merely smiled. "That was superb, wonderful flying! I've never seen two first year flyers perform such a complicated plan. Twenty points to Gryffindor for each of you!"
Ted and Barku grinned broadly at each other, and watched as Helstrom created rings for them to fly through. A few students flew lazily through them, but Ted and Barku seemed to be keen on racing Marshall from Hufflepuff. Ted enjoyed Flying. It was easy, something he was good at.
At the end of class, Professor Helstrom dismissed them and told them he would have their initial grades in by next Friday. Ted was so excited, he could hardly wait.
A week had passed, and late fall was quickly approaching at Hogwarts. The weather got more blustery and cold each day, and the wind picked up so much that it became difficult to do work in the lush grounds. Students could no longer be seen without their black school robe on, clad only in the uniform. Everyone wore their robes, either loosely or clasped tightly.
Ted strode one particular Thursday afternoon on the grounds with his friends. Classes had ended, and, they had gone up to the dormitory to put down their schoolwork and equipment and found themselves down on the sweeping grass fields of the grounds.
On this Thursday, Jerry whispered plans to them, and Jerry told them all to be awake at midnight. Ted, Barku, Josh, and Lane all tucked their heads together and whispered their speculations on what it could be, but could not figure out what it was.
They all went to sleep early that night, under the premise of having had a long free afternoon of sports to wear them out. As Ted slipped on his blue pinstripe pajamas, he couldn't help but wonder what was in store.
He was roused ten minutes before midnight by Josh, who sat on the edge of his bed, looking perplexed. Josh himself wore a long-sleeved white pajama top with some kind of Quidditch logo on it and black pajama pants to go with it, while Barku wore a black t-shirt and dark green camouflage pajama pants. Barku sat on his own bed, rubbing his eyes sleepily.
They found Jerry pacing. He was wearing Montrose Magpies pajamas, but they noticed that he also wore his socks and his trainers, which were laced up as well.
“Are we going somewhere?” Barku asked.
“I was thinking we go on a little nighttime adventure.” Jerry said then, grinning impishly. His black hair looked tousled, and he was smiling broadly.
“Isn't that against the rules?” Josh asked, still tousle-haired and sleepy.
“Of course. But we never get a proper adventure at daytime, what with the teachers always poking around.” Jerry explained. “We can look at all of the castle for once, in the dark. Go in corridors unexplored. See what awaits us.”
“Sounds fun to me.” Barku said with a grin. “But I won’t go if Ted’s not going to.”
“I’m in.” Josh said, surprising Ted. Josh was usually a bit more reluctant than this to break rules, though perhaps it being Jerry’s idea had influenced him somehow.
“This isn't a good idea.” Lane suddenly spoke up from his bed. The dark-haired Australian boy looked worried, scared even.
"Oh come off it Lane." Jerry snapped. "Honestly, how can you be in Gryffindor when you're so cowardly-"
"Leave him alone." Ted said loudly, startling the other boys. Ted was known for being quiet and likable, if not a bit shy. To have him raise his voice was something the others never heard before.
"Sorry." Jerry breathed hesitantly back to Lane. "So Ted, are you in, or not?"
"I'll go." Ted said. "But we can't go doing anything stupid."
Ted sat there, putting socks on. He had contemplated putting his trainers on, like Jerry, but decided they may be too loud. Barku had noticed this, and followed suit. They met in the center of the dormitory. Jerry wore a bathrobe of black, and Josh wore a purple one, while Barku was in green and Ted wore a robe of blue.
"Let's get going." Jerry said, and he led the pack into the Common Room, which was now empty. Josh was only inches from Jerry, but Ted and Barku kept close together.
"Just in case things get dodgy." Barku was whispering, "the last thing I want to be, is alone in the school at night, you know?"
"I agree." Ted said. "We could get expelled, or worse...who knows?!"
The boys crept from the Common Room and out of the hole in the wall. Jerry gently pushed the Fat Lady's portrait aside, and they scrambled out of the hole and onto the dark seventh floor corridor.
"Lumos!" Jerry whispered, and his wand tip lit up like a very small flare. They crept across the carpeted floor and onto the staircase, traveling down, down, down.
Suddenly, Peeves popped out of the wall. All four boys stiffened where they stood, and Peeves let out a cackle.
“Well, well...ickle firsties out at night.” Peeves sneered. Jerry drew his wand, much to their protests, and yelled “Have at it, then!”
“FIRST YEARS OUT OF BED! FIRST YEARS OUT OF BED ON THE THIRD FLOOR!” Peeves cried. The boys all scattered then, but Ted clung onto Barku’s arm, following him, even tugging him through another doorway. The boys found themselves near the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, looking back to see if they were being followed, when...
They bumped into someone. Ted’s heart sank greatly. They were in trouble now; he and Barku would look up and find Filch and it would be all over. They would lose points for Gryffindor, if not be expelled. He would have to send a letter to Callan explaining why he wasn't at school, and he would wait months to see him again, long and painful months with the Crumps.
But it wasn't Filch. It was Professor Rollins, and he looked distinctly surprised, but also disappointed in them.
“What are you two doing out of Gryffindor Tower this late?” Professor Rollins asked them.
“Well, it was Jerry’s idea.” Barku said. “But...um...I don’t suppose we had to listen to him.” But upon mentioning Jerry, Professor Rollins grew very alarmed.
“How many more are out?” he asked.
“Just Jerry and Josh.” Ted replied, but Rollins already threw open the door to his classroom.
“In, get in, quick! And if you hear someone coming, hide in the cabinet.” he cried, ushering the two boys into the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. The room grew dark as he closed the door behind them, and Ted could hear Barku hiss “Lumos!” and he could see Barku illuminated by the light of his wand.
“Think Rollins will yell at us?” Barku asked. Ted shook his head.
“I hope Jerry and Josh weren't caught by Filch.” Ted said. Barku merely nodded, a worried look on his face. “We really shouldn't have gone with them. We should have said no.”
“Jerry was going to go whether we would or not. Did you see the look on his face?” Barku asked. Ted realized that Barku was right, Jerry had been intent on his plan all afternoon long. He wouldn't have decided not to follow through, just because Ted and Barku wouldn't go.
Just then, there came a sound, as though something had hit one of the windows but not broke it, as though something had bounced off of it. Both boys froze, eyes in the direction the sound came from. Barku edged towards the window slowly, and Ted followed, knowing at once how foolish it must be to go and look, but curious. One of the windows, which was ajar, was pushed open by the wind. The two boys edged closer and closer.
Something popped up in the window then, a horrible pale creature with sharp teeth and slightly wolfish features. It had black wings that were like a moth’s, and and antennae. Ted and Barku immediately screamed, and it began trying to force its way in through the window. The two boys backed up, wands drawn, and that’s when Professor Rollins’ door flew open. The man was with Jerry and Josh, who both screamed.
“Silencio!” Rollins cried, and the sound from all four boys ceased, though their mouths were open in screams. He pushed Barku and Ted back, and Ted watched as the creature suddenly turned into a figure in a long, ripped, black cloak. Ted could see its hands, which were greyish, slimy-looking, and scabbed.
“Riddikulus!” Rollins then yelled, and whatever it was disappeared from sight. Ted began trying to ask Rollins a question, and he found himself stammering as the spell was lifted:
“What was that thing?!”
“It was a boggart.” Professor Rollins explained. “I’ll have to tell you about those some other time.” The man looked from Ted to Barku, to Josh and Jerry. “Now, you lot need to get to bed. Follow me.”
The next morning, Ted could hardly eat. Though he was grateful that Rollins had safely escorted them back to the common room, he felt guilty for letting it take place to begin with, and felt like he had disappointed Rollins. But Rollins passed by him in the Great Hall that morning and smiled at Ted before heading to the head’s table.
“Cheer up, Ted.” Callan said, taking a bite of his slice of toast. “He seems alright with it.”
“Hey, and we get to find out about Quidditch today.” Clifford reminded Ted as he finished up a bowl of cereal. “So you’d better get ready!”
Ted felt a little better when he was down on the sweeping lawn in the lines Helstrom assigned them in. Today was the day they would get their official Quidditch grades, and Ted was sure he had a decent grade to look forward to, at least. They all waited with bated breath.
“I will hand out your grades on pieces of paper.” Professor Helstrom said to them in a loud and clear voice. “The yellow slips are if you got a D or lower, and it hints that you might need to come here for some more remedial practices. The pink slips are if you got a C, and that means you did okay. White slips are for a B, meaning you did well, and red slips are for an A, meaning you did excellent.”
Professor Helstrom stopped by Serene, LT, Christiana, and Lane first, and Lane groaned when he saw that he was being given a yellow slip. Helstrom next pulled out the pink slips and began handing them around, then the white slips. Ted was becoming a bit worried by this point, especially when they got to the red slips and he wasn't given a grade card yet. Barku hadn't either, and they noticed Marshall Madden from Hufflepuff seemed equally surprised. Callan had earned a red slip, and Ted felt proud for him, but worried about himself.
“Mr. Morgan, Mr. Altair, and Mr. Madden. Come up here, please.” Professor Helstrom said, and Ted shook as the three of them headed up to the Professor. He pulled some glowing gold slips from his cloak pocket.
“The three of you have shown an extraordinary innate ability to fly, and so I am giving you a Distinction, making the three of you potential players for your house’s respective Quidditch teams.” Professor Helstrom said, and Ted felt like a balloon was slowly inflating inside him. “Mr. Madden, you are to go to the Herbology greenhouses and locate Professor Sprout. Show her your slip. Mr. Morgan and Mr. Altair, I’d like you to locate Professor McGonagall in her office and do the same.”
With butterflies in his stomach, Ted and Barku marched back up to the school. Ted wasn't sure if he’d even make it to Professor McGonagall’s office when she strode out of the staff room. She turned to face them, then stopped as she seemed to notice the golden slips in their hands, and she smiled. Ted and Barku stopped, a little confused, and she ushered at them to follow her into an empty classroom. Once inside, she turned to them.
“Two Distinctions?” she asked. “In all my years, I've never had two Gryffindor first years that displayed talent on a broom, never. Wait here.” she said, and she hurried away quickly, leaving Ted and Barku looking at each other, confused.
“Well, we’re not in trouble.” Ted pointed out.
“Sounds to me like we’re being considered for the Gryffindor Quidditch team already!” Barku cried, excited. Barku had entered a long-winded discussion about Quidditch again when Professor McGonagall reentered the room. She was with a brown-haired older boy that was short and broad-chested.
“Peakes, this is Tedrick Morgan and Barku Altair, the boys that earned a Distinction each! Morgan, Altair, this is Jimmy Peakes, the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Peakes, I've found you a potential Seeker and a Beater.” she said.
“Hello.” Ted said, and he and Barku both shook hands with Jimmy Peakes, who must have been in his sixth or seventh year. Jimmy looked to McGonagall.
“So Morgan, Altair, do you two have your own brooms at home?” Peakes asked.
“No. I've been raised by Muggles.” Ted admitted. “They probably wouldn't like the idea of me flying about the neighborhood on a broom.” Barku snickered.
“I had an old Comet, but it’s not fit for Quidditch. Kind of tends to fly in opposite directions I want it to these days.” Barku explained.
“Well, I’ll take care of that.” Professor McGonagall said. “Now, Ted and Barku, I’d like you to be down at the Quidditch pitch by seven o’clock tonight.”
When Ted and Barku told the others at the table that night, Victor let out a whoop that alarmed some of the second years.
“Two first years on our Quidditch team?!” Victor cried, appalled, but also pleased. Ted sat beside Barku, as usual, having some steak while Barku helped himself to a lamb chop. Josh was on Ted’s other side, following the conversation closely. Josh looked pleased too, and excited, but Jerry looked a bit resentful and jealous.
“We’re a rare pair, I’d say.” Barku said. “I’d love to see the look on Dyllan’s face when he finds out we made the team.”
“All this house rivalry, it’s a wonder we can even be in the Great Hall at the same time.” Ambrosette said reproachfully.
“No one said anything about the other Slytherins, just Dyllan.” Ivan pointed out. “But I bet the looks on all of their faces when we wipe the floor with them at the match will be great!” Ambrosette glared at Ivan and gave him a dig in the ribs, but Victor smirked.
“Well, I’ll escort you down.” Ambrosette offered. “I've got to get some practice anyways.”
“You’re on the Quidditch team?” Barku asked, nearly choking on a bit of lamb.
“Yes, I’m one of the Chasers.” Ambrosette said. “And we've been needing a new Beater and Seeker for a while now. Mind you...”
“Alan DeMunk was never a very good Seeker.” Victor cut in. “I mean, remember last year's match when he and the bloke from Slytherin were neck-and-neck, going for the Snitch? And then he sneezed and nearly...”
“Fell off his broom.” Ivan stammered, having a hard time getting the words out due to he and Victor laughing. At the mere mention of the incident, a few boys were now having giggling fits. Ambrosette rolled her eyes.
“Blimey, Victor.” Ivan stated. “Was DeMunk always that bad?”
“Yeah. Something of a source of shame for the team. I daresay I’d have made a better Seeker.” Victor replied, eating his way through a baked potato now.
“Then why didn't you try out?” Ambrosette asked, exasperated.
“Look at me, Ambrosette.” Victor stated. “I don’t have the right build for a Seeker.”
“You could have tried.” she snapped back. She stood up then and swiftly pulled Ted and Barku from the table. When Victor and Ivan shot her looks of surprise, she haughtily turned to them.
“These two have a practice to attend.” she sniffed, then pulled them out of the Great Hall.
Ted was a bundle of nerves when they crossed the sweeping grounds of Hogwarts over to the prominent and multicolored structure that marked the Quidditch pitch. He saw Peakes waiting, with a heavy looking crate, and he peered at it curiously. There were two brooms before them, a pair of the newer school brooms. Peakes smiled at them.
“So Altair, you play at home?” Peakes asked. Barku nodded enthusiastically.
“Yeah, all the time. My dad taught me.” he replied.
“What position is your best?” Peakes asked, enthused.
“Luckily for you, Beater.” Barku said, with a smirk. Peakes beamed.
“Well, that leaves Morgan as Seeker.” Peakes said. He opened the crate. Ted noticed the four balls within. Ambrosette took the largest, which Ted recognized by Barku’s description as the Quaffle. He watched as she rose into the air, and peered at the others now marching on the field. He and Barku were introduced to them. First they met the other Chasers; a girl with short brown hair in Ambrosette’s year named Erin Fitzgerald and a half-Asian sixth year named Kevin Klein. They then shook hands with a tall blond seventh year named William Coulter, the team’s Keeper. Jimmy Peakes was the other Beater, they had already met him.
“Professor McGonagall has given us some small Muggle sport balls to throw to Ted, since we can’t get a snitch for practice right now.” Peakes said. “We’ll take it in turns to throw to him, except for Barku, as he’s new too.”
And so they did throw the balls - which were tennis balls - in different directions, and Ted was really getting the hang of it. Never did he miss a ball, but he did come incredibly close and had to pull up at a breakneck angle out of a dive, only centimeters away from hitting the ground. He could hear applause in the stands and beamed, seeing that Callan, Clifford, Tayler, Lane, and Gwen had all arrived to watch his first practice. The rest of the team seemed to be applauding too.
“He’s a natural, Peakes!” Erin called from her broom, having turned from trying to score past William to watch. Kevin Klein, who had been carrying the Quaffle at the time, dropped it in awe, and his jaw dropped as well.
“Blimey!” Kevin called. “He’s brilliant!”
“Told you I knew he had it in him.” Ambrosette snickered to William, who looked equally shocked.
“That dive!” Peakes yelled. “That save! Bloody brilliant, Morgan! You’re the best Seeker yet!”
Just then, Peakes ducked his head, and mere seconds later, the Bludger sped through the air where it had been, and Ted turned, seeing Barku laughing.
“Looks like we've got a marksman as well.” Erin said, grinning. William smirked.
"Slytherin won't know what they've got coming to them."