The only thing that Martin Crieff had ever wanted to be was a Chaser (except for one year when he was six and he wanted to be the quaffle).
To start, no one in Martin's immediate family could say that they had been in any way magically inclined, and no one could say that they had ever had an even slightly magical encounter. Not until little Marty, when he was three, managed to levitate his birthday cake (which he happened to get all over himself, and part of him has always wondered if his parents were more concerned with the ruined outfit than the fact their toddler was a tiny wizard in the making). After the incident, they put a few calls out and found a cousin nobody liked to talk about out in Wolverhampton that had always been a bit odd—turned out he wasn't just odd, he was a wizard, and had been very glad when everyone had decided to leave him alone about it.
They shipped Marty out to live with his odd cousin and tried not to think about it.
Cousin Jackson had been a Puddlemere United fan since before he'd been Sorted (Gryffindor, Chaser, and team captain for two years), and when little Martin Crieff arrived in his new home, his room was plastered and bedecked in blue and gold. Old brooms in the closets, posters lining every wall so that the team could fly loops around the room in an impossible blue blur. Cousin Jackson was going to redecorate for the boy; little Martin insisted that nothing be changed.
The first time Martin got on a broom, things did not go as planned. The arm healed, however, and as soon as Cousin Jackson would let him, Martin was back astride the broom. He decided then and there, age seven-and-three-quarters, that he was going to spend the rest of his life in the air.
He got his letter when he came of age, and he stepped into that castle with one thing and one thing only on his mind: no matter where he was put, he was going to get on the Quidditch team. Naturally, he would have to spend his first year of school reading up on all the right books, studying the theory and technique of broom handling; he had already planned long nights in the library before he'd even seen the castle on the horizon. He hadn't known what the Sorting Hat might say when the Headmistress set it on his head (Gryffindor would have been nice, seeing as Cousin Jackson had so many nice things to say about it, and the team had usually been very good, but any one of them would have done, really), and when it belted out RAVENCLAW! he dutifully took his seat at the blue-and-bronze (nearly the colors for Puddlemere!) and settled in with a look of hard determination.
Martin didn't account for being an absolute rubbish Chaser.
His first tryout in mid-September of his second year was the most disastrous, embarrassing thing that had ever happened to him (and Martin was not a child full of grace and dignity). If it hadn't been for the quick work of the team captain, he would have fallen fifty feet off his broom, after having slid to hang from the underside in a turn to follow the quaffle. The captain had lectured him good and hard about preparedness and extra flying lessons before he tried this sort of stunt again, and Martin could only nod. Nod stiffly without recognition for the tears that were blinding him and how focused he was on keeping his jaw from wobbling. He saved the breakdown for after, when he could hide himself in his favorite unoccupied corner, burrow into his scarf and the enormous library book (on proper broom care) and cry. It was a long and hard cry, and even Martin would admit that it was rather pitiful.
But in the end, it only made him more determined than ever. Martin Crieff was going to be a Chaser, and he was going to be Captain for the Ravenclaw team, or he was going to break every bone in his body trying.
Martin locked himself down in studying, took extra lessons, funneled all the allowance he had into buying himself a new broom (which his father never forgave him for, even when he got sick). And in his third year, Martin flew. He flew with great caution and he used every bit of knowledge he was able to wring out of those well-studied library books. And, because there were only enough applicants to fill vacant positions, Martin got to be a Chaser.
It was all he ever talked about.
Arthur Shappey was born, and some people considered that the crowning achievement of his life. Congratulations, Arthur, you had the wit to make it out of the womb. Arthur smiled and nodded.
There was a great deal on Arthur's plate waiting for him, coming from two very prominent wizarding families—the Knapps on one side, all in the Ministry, and the Shappeys on the other, all of them with at least a business each and up to their eyeballs in the profits. Even at an early age, most of them had already written him off as a disappointment. Arthur was generally blissfully unaware of what was being said behind his back from as early as his fifth birthday party ("Donovan's little girl is already changing the color of their parrot, what can Arthur do?"). Arthur was very content to gnaw on his chocolate bar and watch his uncles set off their fireworks in the garden with unbridled glee.
He was used to being in the way. He was used to being wrong, too. He knew that his mum always meant well, she didn't really think he was as useless as she said. And, for the most part, even when he was twelve years old, he knew that she was mostly right (she and dad and all his uncles and the neighbor up the street who had the funny-looking dog). There were much smarter people that Arthur knew, and people who were funnier and more good-looking. Arthur was all right with how he'd ended up, though, thinking back.
Because he remembered the look on his mother's face when he'd been sorted into Hufflepuff. He looked up with a hopeful smile to the long table full of adults behind him. Some were clapping politely, one woman with gray hair and dragonhide gloves was very enthusiastic, and then there was Mum. Stoic, closed-off, and then, the shake of her head. Below expectations, that's what that shake said. The shake that wrote off Arthur Shappey as unsalvageable.
He almost frowned (he hardly remembered ever frowning, there was always something to get in the way before he could get up the effort to make a frown).
Funny enough, when Arthur was with the other Hufflepuffs, he didn't feel so much in the way anymore. He felt, really, that maybe most of the other Hufflepuffs were the sort of people who had always been in the way before. He could be who he wanted to be without worrying about having to impress anybody. He always got a smile back when he offered one, and a few even helped him when he fell behind in his Potions work (Professor Slughorn worked very hard with Arthur, it wasn't that he was a wretched teacher, Arthur just knew that he was difficult to teach to). It was all brilliant, though, even when he did it wrong and the potion started to froth purple or (like it usually did) blew up in his face.
What he really liked, though, out of all the brilliant things that went on at Hogwarts, was the flying. It was almost every day that there was some team out on the Quidditch pitch, and Arthur just loved to watch them take off on their brooms into the air. He went to every practice. He didn't really care who was playing, even if he really did like Hufflepuff the best, and that's only because he was a Hufflepuff too. Rain or shine, Arthur Shappey was in the stands. Lap full of books he was trying to understand, rolls of scrolls he tried not to lose, all of which inevitably went flying the moment anyone made a goal and Arthur leaped to his feet, clapping and shouting "HOORAY!"
Of course, he'd never try to fly up there with them. No, no, he was much better with both feet on the ground. When he had stood in a line with the rest of the First Years for flying lessons, he could hardly get his broom off the ground before he was wreaking havoc with it. He'd had fun, certainly, but whooping through the air on a barely-controlled rocket and ending up on the roof of Ravenclaw Tower for an hour awaiting rescue was hardly part of the lesson plan—they said that everyone that day, no matter where they were on the grounds, could hear Arthur's cry of "That. Was. BRILLIANT!"
He was strictly banned, thereafter, from using brooms or being within ten feet of an unoccupied one (most people knew that this had something to do with his mother, who could pull strings in a way Hogwarts had never seen). Arthur didn't mind so much. So long as he was still allowed to watch.
Douglas was the best flier Slytherin had. That's why they made him Seeker. There was only one problem with Douglas Richardson. He didn't care.
Oh, when he'd first come to Hogwarts, he'd been as dewy-eyed and gawping as the rest of them. Over-enchanted, he liked to say. Enthralled by the mystical and wonderful possibilities that stretched out before his overactive childish imagination.
That had gone over quickly. Douglas came to the abrupt realization, halfway through his fifth History of Magic lecture that, no matter how it was dressed up with incantations and transformations, school was school. And these books were heavier and filled with words that no eleven-year-old should have to muddle through. Douglas Richardson was quick to grow disenfranchised with the whole idea of the wonder of magic, and it became as dull a reality as the rest of the world had been before he'd stepped through wide double doors to the Great Hall and its enchanted ceiling.
It was a good thing he chanced to be placed in Slytherin. While there were several eager young minds stored away in the dungeon, there were just as many who failed to be mystified with the sparkling veil the wizarding world was trying to enchant them with. He hit his teenage years hard, fitting into a skin of dry wit and sarcasm that left him utterly untouchable.
It was a bet, of all things, that got Douglas on the Slytherin Quidditch team. The second week of September of his fifth year (it was a horrible day, where the snow decided halfway down that it didn't really want to try anymore and it turned to bitter, slushy rain), all the eager young Second and Third Years hurried out of the dormitory with their brooms and their padding, talking in excited whispers. One of Douglas's mates elbowed him and asked why he kept a broom with his things if he never flew it. Douglas replied that he could do whatever he wanted, and that included keeping a broom to use as, of all things, a broom. Then, someone bet him he couldn't fly at all. And no one bets Douglas Richardson anything and walks away the richer.
When Douglas hit the air, everyone swore that they were watching a professional. He swerved and ducked around newbies and Captain alike. Made the rest of the team look like they were lame ducks in water. The most easy, natural flying anyone had ever seen. And he touched down like a feather, smug grin on his lips, and he actually laughed out loud when he managed to catch the looks on his mates' faces.
It was no surprise to anyone that Douglas made the team—except for Douglas. After all, he'd really only been down on the pitch to prove a point (and get a free pint of Butterbeer out of it), he hadn't really been attempting to try out for anything. But there was his name on the list when it was posted the week after. Someone had to find Douglas and drag him to the notice board before he would believe them. And not only had he unexpectedly made the team, he'd made Seeker. Granted, the Captain had said later, he was a bit over the usual build for a Seeker, but with someone who flew the way Douglas did, it was worth it.
The only problem was that Douglas didn't care. Oh, he liked the flying well enough, and it was all good fun to throw a fancy trick in now and then. But he could have cared less about the team and the Quidditch Cup. They called him co-Captain and asked him for advice; he would occasionally toss something useful their way, if it meant that they would leave him be. But almost every time, all anyone would get for their troubles was a glib remark from Douglas Richardson.
Professor Knapp-Shappey was the most competitive Head of House that most of the old guard were sure had ever crossed the threshold of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even the Beaters were afraid of her, and when she appeared on the pitch during Slytherin's practice, they knew that they were about to get the lecture of their lives. In her time as the Head of Gryffindor, Professor McGonagall had been known to rally rather fervent support for her Quidditch team, but even her efforts paled in comparison to the work of Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, Head of Slytherin and professor of Transfiguration (another area in which she supplanted the now-Headmistress).
Carolyn had been a hard woman when she married Gordon Shappey, and she'd only grown harder since the subsequent messy divorce. Transfiguration was an ordeal under the watchful eye of the stern and knowing woman (some students started spreading the rumor that she was actually heavy into Divination and had predicted all of their grades from the beginning—and she replied to the rumor by not passing a one of them on the next exam). She had her worries, what with the money she owed for the divorce, the schoolwork to check, and the constant stupidity of her students, that it was little wonder that she hardly had time for her only son.
Working so closely, it was impossible not to see him every day. Impossible not to see his glowing, round little face peering around corners to meet her, waving with both hands and bursting to spill all the fascinating mundane details of the day to her. Impossible to not be completely and utterly sick of him after five hours of stories about Quidditch.
It wasn't that she didn't love Arthur. It was that he wanted so badly to be a good son. He tried hard, the poor thing—she should have expected him to get sent to Hufflepuff, she'd seen him every day for the past eleven years. She should have known better than to pray for a better place for him. He came from two good, full-blooded families, he would have been treated at least middling in Slytherin for that fact alone. And a respected Slytherin was usually respected the whole school around. Or at least left alone.
But to have him go to the Badgers. Yes, he would be in the House That Took the Rest, the safest place for anyone who didn't fit in anywhere else, and every one of those little badgers would look after him like they looked after all of their own. But that wouldn't stop anyone else. He might've had a shield in Slytherin, but in Hufflepuff he was ripe for the picking. And Carolyn knew that a boy like Arthur was not likely to go unpicked.
The denizens of Hogwarts could have called Professor Knapp-Shappey many things (most of them in places no one else could hear them), but no one could ever call her unprotective. She loved Arthur for the idiot boy he was, and heaven help the student who raised a voice against him.
Carolyn took her frustrations out through Quidditch. She didn't need any rumors to propogate her love of the sport; there was a big shining trophy with her name on it (Carolyn Knapp, Slytherin, Beater) behind glass from when she'd been at school. She had never made Captain, but she had always organized everything to as ultimate efficiency as she could, and brutally so. And she took much the same position as Head of House, unofficial coach and constant terrifying threat whose piercing gaze could spear her flying minions even from the ground. One was always on one's best behavior on the pitch, because there was no telling when Professor Knapp-Shappey would appear and unleash hell. With a smile.
Every year Slytherin didn't bring in the Quidditch Cup, Carolyn promised to whip the team into tighter shape. And every year, they got better. A harsh mistress, a necessary evil, Professor Carolyn Knapp-Shappey.
AN: Welcome to my new and fascinating crossover! I can't believe I'm writing this, it's so much fun but just how big an audience does this crossover have? It's all about the fun, though, and I am having scads of it! I hope everything is in order, my Character Consultant was unreachable and I just HAD to post this. I played around with ages, and I think it ultimately will work out (besides, having the boys all at school is going to be SO much fun!) And yes, there is more to look forward to from this crew, so get settled in! Thanks so much for reading, leave us some love, and don't forget to STAY AWESOME!