The first issue of Team Q was mildly successful. The second had sold better, but there'd also been more Howlers from outraged parents. This morning, when Dean and Seamus had shown up at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes to set up the display for issue three, there was already a line of kids outside the door.
A year ago Dean couldn't have imagined this. A year ago he and Seamus had been kicking around, still at a loose end with no more school, no more war, and no plans beyond either for what they wanted to do with their lives. Seamus was working at the Prophet, promised a spot as a Quidditch correspondent as soon as one opened up, sorting the post in the meantime. Dean was working part-time at a comic shop and wondering if his mum's unsubtle hints about uni were something he should be taking seriously (though how he was supposed to apply with N.E.W.T.s instead of A-levels wasn't something he'd given much thought).
And then one day Seamus picked up a sketch off the kitchen table, laughed, and said, "What's this, Quidditch-playing superheroes?"
Dean didn't even remember drawing it. He certainly didn't expect Seamus to take him seriously when he said, "We should do that. Make a comic."
"Of course we." Dean grinned. "Someone's gotta write it, after all."
Seamus looked thoughtful for a moment, then asked if there was any Indian left from last night, and Dean didn't give it any more thought until a couple of months later when Seamus flopped down next to him on the bed, waved a scroll at him, and said, "It's just an outline, but I figured we could go from there."
"An outline for what?" Dean said, pushing his sketchpad aside as he unrolled the scroll.
Seamus prodded him to move over. "You remember. The Quidditch-playing superheroes."
Dean didn't at first, not really, but the more he read, the more excited he got. "This is brilliant!" He knocked shoulders with Seamus, then leaned in to give him a kiss. "You're brilliant, you know?"
Seamus beamed. "It was your idea."
Dean snorted. He rolled onto his side and propped himself up with one elbow. "I drew something I don't even remember." He poked Seamus in the chest. "A queer mutant Quidditch team? This is all you."
"Well, you'd better get started drawing, then, so it can be us."
The good thing about having a crap job was that Dean had plenty of time to do just that. He picked Seamus' brains for more details of the story whenever he was home, and spent every spare minute sketching out what would be the first issue.
Once they had a good rough draft, they started thinking about distribution. Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes was the obvious choice; if anyone would be willing to take a risk on them, it would be George.
They're down to the last few copies of issues three now. A little girl with no front teeth stands on tip-toe, dropping a handful of Knuts and Sickles on the counter and clutching the comic to her chest. The boy behind her's a little older, maybe old enough to be a Hogwarts student, but only just. He looks nervously over his shoulder as he pays and slips his copy into a bag of books from Flourish and Blotts.
He looks around again, and Dean wonders if his mum's responsible for one of the Howlers. "I, um," the boy says, pulling the comic out again. Dean's expecting him to say he wants to return it, but instead he smiles hesitantly and says, "Can you sign it for me? You guys're my heroes," and Dean'd gladly put up with a hundred Howlers a day for moments like this.