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Chapter 9: The Deal
I’m glad to hear your classes are going so well, especially DADA. Professor McGonagall praises you each time I see her. She’s been impressed with your grades even though you’ve missed three weekends of study time with detention. I think the last detention was by far the most distracting, at least for me.
We’re in America this week, in a city called Miami. The temperature is in the 80’s even though it’s November. All the dance clubs and the lights in the city are incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it. We should do pretty well against them. The Miami team is second lowest in the conference. Coach says it’s more of a tune up for two weeks later, that’s the home game versus Bulgaria’s national team. You’ll be able to come to that one since it’s over fall break. I can’t wait to see you again.
Good job on the Quidditch match verses Ravenclaw. A 370 point win is pretty impressive. Glad you found a seeker, I know you like playing Chaser more. If you keep it up you’ll easily win the Championship Cup. I really wish I could see you play, but we have games the same days as you do.
Well its getting late. I love you Gin.
All my love,
Ginny finished reading the letter at breakfast. The letter was over a week old, Chudley had trounced Miami 380-120. It had put them just twenty points behind first place in the WQC. She was happy. In two days she would be with Harry at what was being billed as the best game of the season so far. After the game they would be together for a full week. She smiled and looked at her watch.
She folded the letter and hastily stuffed it into her bag. She was running late, but not for class. She needed to be far away when the Slytherin benches disappeared from under the students. The jinx should go off in the next few minutes. She hurried out the door headed for her Potions class.
Hermione and Harry were poring over books when Ginny popped into the room on Friday afternoon. They both looked up. Harry placed his paper into a book and shoved the book into his rucksack. He met Ginny halfway across the room and hugged her, lifting her feet off the ground, then he kissed her.
"Hungry?" he questioned. "You’re early, I figured you’d eat at school before leaving."
"No way, I wanted to get here as fast as I could," Ginny replied. "And yes I am hungry."
"Sandwiches are on the counter in the kitchen, but be careful, Ron made them and you know how he loads on the mustard. I’ll put your bag in the bedroom." Harry took her bag while Ginny went to get some dinner.
Ron entered. "Hey Ginny, Mum just got their tent set up. Dad will be here after work, in about an hour. She says you can stay with them if you want." he smiled at her and poked her shoulder at the joke. The friends sat around catching up on the last month of their lives.
George entered the tent with a huge grin and a whole bag of goodies. "Step right up and see the next greatest promotion from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes!" he called in a horrible impersonation of a carnival vendor. He tossed each person a t-shirt emblazoned with animated fireworks exploding all across the front of the shirt. On the back, big letters proclaimed ‘Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes- Official fireworks suppliers of the Chudley Cannons.’ Beneath that in smaller lettering was, ‘Two locations, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade.’
George went on, "I asked about the contract and it was open. The last company went out of business. Chudley didn’t win enough for them to make any money at it. So I took over the contract. Now that they have a good keeper and a halfway decent seeker, they might do alright. I could do pretty well with it, plus I get to go to all the games." George grinned at Harry and Ron. It was nice to see George giving them a hard time, it meant he was healing.
Soon more friends arrived including Harry’s favorite, other than Ginny. Teddy Lupin screeched as he crawled to Harry.
Harry played with Teddy for most of the evening, completely losing track of time. Teddy would sit on Harry’s broom and it would levitate a foot or so off the floor. Harry kept his hand on the Firebolt keeping Teddy from losing his balance. They played with the snitch. They tickled each other or played on the floor. Harry was smiling easily, feeling very comfortable in the role he had in Teddy’s life.
At nine-thirty the team trainer came by to check on Harry and Ron. "Lights out in thirty," the man ordered without waiting for a reply. With that brusque command the guests started to file out.
‘Am I allowed to stay?’ Ginny wondered. She wasn’t real sure what to do. She glanced towards Hermione and shrugged her shoulders. Hermione picked up on it and motioned her outside.
"Ginny its fine, you’re allowed to stay if you want to. Well if Harry wants you to," Hermione explained to her friend. "The coaches don’t want lots of distractions the night before games, that’s why the curfew. They figure having the wives and girlfriends around is less distracting than not letting the guys near them. This way the players aren’t trying to sneak out at night. In the past it wasn’t that way from what I understand, but Coach Grey does it this way."
"Well, what about…um…well, you know…can we? I mean…are the guys allowed…" Ginny stammered trying to ask the question in a polite way.
Hermione let her struggle with it a bit before interrupting her and saving her pride. "Ginny, you and Harry can do whatever you want. Just remember he has a huge game tomorrow against the best seeker in the league so he might not want to. Some nights before big games, Ron gets pretty uptight so we don’t. I just try to get him to relax so he can sleep."
"What about Harry?" Ginny asked.
"Well I’ve not ever slept with Harry so I’m not sure," she joked. Ginny scowled at her playfully. Hermione continued, "Sometimes I can tell he’s nervous by the way he stalks around. Like he did when we were hunting…" she let the sentence fall away. "I’m sorry, you never really saw him like that did you?" Hermione followed Ginny’s gaze as it settled on Harry giving Teddy a good night kiss. "You’ll figure out his patterns, don’t push too hard that’s all," Hermione advised her best friend.
"I’ll just let it play out I guess," said Ginny. She walked to Harry, took his hand led him into their room.
Harry was being pretty quiet, not really starting any conversation, but answering questions posed to him. It was pretty cool in the tent even though he conjured a fire for them. He pulled on a pair of cotton house pants to wear to bed, then headed to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Ginny changed into sweats and her jersey taking a silent cue from him. She headed into the bath as well.
"You okay Harry, you’re awfully quiet," she asked tentatively, using her hip to slide him over from the sink so she could brush.
"Just thinking, that’s all Gin," he replied in a monotone, scooting over as he finished brushing.
"Good thoughts or bad thoughts?" she prodded him.
"Seeker thoughts actually," he said looking at her. He took her hand leading her into bed, settling in next to each other. The couple made some small talk before drifting off to sleep.
It was early in the morning when Harry stirred. He looked at the roof of the tent, ‘still dark out,’ he thought noting the dark color of the canvas. He shifted his position. Ginny reached her arm over him sliding closer.
"Morning seeker boy," she mumbled.
"Good morning Gin, sorry I woke you. It’s early, go back to sleep," he responded gently.
"No, I’m awake. Are you okay? You weren’t yourself last night. You barely touched me," she said with concern in her voice
"Sorry about that. I know I didn’t spend much time with you. The match today with Viktor has me wound pretty tight. Coach Grey is basically putting this one completely on my shoulders."
They repositioned themselves, lying on their sides so they could see each other’s faces. "Don’t worry about it. I caught up with friends and got a chance to talk to Hermione and Ron a lot. Plus you and Teddy were getting in some quality time and I didn’t want to intrude," said Ginny.
"He calms me, not real sure why, but he does. And you are never intruding," Harry smiled at her and reached over to hold her hand. The two of them caught up on recent happenings and anything they hadn’t owled to each other. The warm morning sun began to rise and in response the canvas roof of the tent began to lighten in color.
"About last night, you know us, I’m sorry. You must have wanted for us to be together," he apologized.
"I did want you, so badly. Some days it’s all I think of. But this, you and me talking, this is more important than the physical stuff," she responded. "But we will have the physical part." Ginny stated firmly, leaving no doubt in Harry’s mind that the remainder of the week would contain copious amounts of the physical part.
"What were you working on when I got here? The manuscript for the quibbler?" she questioned.
"No, other stuff." He changed the subject. "Professor McGonagall says you’re the best Quidditch captain she’s had in over twenty eight years, maybe the best ever."
"Really?" Ginny said surprised. "Wait, you mentioned seeing her in your last letter too. When exactly do you see her?"
"Oh, now and again," he answered evasively.
"Out with it Potter, what are you hiding?" Ginny said pointedly.
"I see her about every third week, its part of the deal."
"What deal?" she questioned.
"Yours, see after you got caught disapparating from Hogsmeade she called me and your parents to her office for a meeting," Harry explained. "She was upset, and she wanted to know if what you said was true. Not the parchment contents, but the worry about me and my sleep habits."
He looked at her, a pained look on his face. "You told someone about our private stuff?"
Ginny sighed knowing she’d disappointed him. "I’m sorry. I was afraid I’d never get to see you."
"I understand, its okay. Anyway, your Mum pretty much stood up for you and told her the full story of the summer. The fights, and time we spent alone, and the nightmares. Even the one I had the night before you left. Professor McGonagall still was at a loss. She said to give you special privilege because of who you are, or who you are dating, was wrong. So she asked me."
He paused before beginning again. "But she didn’t ask me about you. She asked, ‘Harry what do you want? Forget about me, or the Weasleys, or the school, or even what Ginny wants. What in your heart do you desire?" He sighed. "I said I wanted you next to me every day for the rest of my life, but that I knew it wasn’t possible at the moment since I wanted you to finish school."
"Well, being the Headmistress there had to be a lesson of course." He laughed a bit. "Anyway we struck a deal, her and me, with your parent’s permission. For every N.E.W.T exam I complete with good marks you get one detention. The better I do, the more we see each other. Officially it’s a favor given to me by the Headmistress for outstanding service to the school, not giving you a special treatment. And if I get Ron to finish his N.E.W.T.’s then I can win ‘bonus’ days."
She looked back at him in disbelief. "Well you two can study together over fall break," she concluded.
"No we can’t. He’s going with Hermione to her parents. They might apparate in for a bit, but they’re not staying at the Burrow," he countered. "Well, lets get up, or the trainer will be yelling in the door for me and Ron." He kissed her on the forehead.
Ginny was still staring at him in shock after the second bombshell of information he divulged in the past few minutes.
"Weasley! Potter! Team meeting in two hours!" the trainer yelled in the door of the tent.
Ginny and Harry fixed breakfast. They could hear Ron and Hermione in their room waking up. Ron stepped into the kitchen of the tent. "Get your damn N.E.W.T.’s!" Ginny hollered slugging him in the arm.
"What the hell Ginny!" he scowled now fully awake.
"Sorry, bro." She rubbed his arm in apology. "Finish school."
After breakfast Harry and Ron headed for the locker room. It was a cold day, mostly cloudy, so folks were visiting each other, but staying inside the tents. Finally the group bundled up and headed to the game.
"Viktor," Harry greeted his competitor evenly. Both stood at the center of the pitch, waiting for the start whistle.
"Harry," Viktor replied icily.
The stands buzzed with anticipation of what had become the sports story of the year. The two best seekers in the league would be battling for first the first time. Coach Grey had admonished Harry in the strategy meeting. There was no plan other than for Harry to get the snitch as fast as possible. The beaters were to keep him free of the bludgers, Ron was to simply hold fast at the goals. Chasers were to help distract the Bulgarian team members, trying to score only if Harry wasn’t being bothered. It was all Harry.
The whistle shrieked and Harry climbed to altitude, already scanning the pitch for the snitch. Viktor’s face was in an intent scowl as he searched too. The two seekers stayed close to each other, not giving the other an inch. Many times they bumped and pushed each other roughly as they patrolled the grounds. It was dim from the clouds making the snitch nearly invisible. They shot towards a hopeful glimmer at one point. Viktor forced Harry into a protective barrier near the Bulgarian seating section nearly knocking him off his broom. Harry returned the favor a few moments later by blocking Viktor into a goal post nearly unseating him.
The sun broke through the heavy clouds for just a split second. Harry and Viktor both saw the quick flash of gold at the east end of the pitch. The clouds won out and soon the sunlight was gone, but it didn’t matter, both seekers had their target. For the next twenty minutes Harry and Viktor chased the snitch across the pitch. Pushing, shoving and forcibly changing the other’s flight path trying to gain the upper hand. The screaming of the fans drowned out the commentary echoing over the stadium. Harry managed to get Viktor fouled in a banner, but Viktor had dislodged Harry goggles.
The snitch was now cornered and both seekers bore down on it at full speed. Racing along about ten feet off the cold damp grass they bumped again and the handles of their brooms touched making them both swerve and loose their balance. They grasped for the handles to steady themselves, but both let go as they tried valiantly to use both hands to capture the snitch. Viktor leaned too far forward unsettling himself and Harry. Both felt their brooms fly out from under them. As they fell Viktor was able to wrest the snitch away. Harry felt his shoulder snap when he careened off the stadium wall, and went dizzy as he slammed into the turf. He saw the clouds slowly vanish into black nothingness.
Loud voices, shouting and a lady barking orders, was what Harry heard as he started to come out of his unconscious state. He tried to open his eyes, but the bright overhead lights forced him to close them immediately. Harry tried to turn his head, recoiling in pain from the small movement. He again opened his eyes slowly trying to allow them to adjust to the lighting.
The healers scurried around Harry trying to help him. The media at the door to the stadium aid station screamed questions and the flashes from their cameras kept blinding the healers. In a bed on the other side of the small room was Viktor. A magical surgeon and a bevy of healers worked at his side as well. A major commotion at the door ensued as security tried to allow entry to only those authorized. Viktor’s parents got in, but security wouldn’t let in the Weasleys since they were not immediate family. He could hear Ginny cursing the guards.
Harry took a deep breath and cried out in pain. His chest felt crushed, he could barely breathe. His shoulder still screamed in pain, the room spun at an odd angle. His head was hurting more and he could feel his ribs moving, causing more excruciating pain as the healers worked on him one injury at a time. They forced a sour tasting potion down his throat which lulled him to sleep.
The Cannons coach and his wife finally calmed Ginny enough that she stopped yelling at the guards. Mrs. Grey was able to explain the situation to security and Ginny was finally able to get to Harry’s bed.
When Harry opened his eyes the room was pretty dark. Low lighting from the small table lamp standing on the near edge of the nurses’ desk was all that illuminated the room. It was peaceful. He could hear someone moan across the room. He could hear Ginny and her Mum talking in hushed tones. A warm hand was gently stroking his arm. "What happened? Ohhh, this hurts. Gin, you here?"
"I’m here honey. Mums here too," she answered whispering into his ear. "Don’t you remember? You and Viktor had a horrible crash as you raced into the corner for the snitch. When you fell off your brooms, your shoulder hit a support column and turned your body into a barricade. It was terrible to watch. Viktor got the snitch, but he flipped over and he crashed through the wood fence back first. His legs got caught on the fence posts and he was left hanging upside down."
"Is Viktor alright?" Harry asked.
"I don’t know how he’s doing. They still spend lots of time with him. Don’t worry about him, worry about you. Please rest, try not talking so much." She paused to let the first part sink in.
"You broke several ribs. One of them punctured a lung, that’s the awful pain you felt when you tried to breathe," she explained. "The healers here are really good. They used all the best potions and spells, some of them I haven’t even heard of before. They said you’ll be fine in a couple days, but you have to stay here overnight."
Harry repositioned himself carefully. Ginny sat on the edge of the bed holding his hand. "You won you know," she said softly. "Ron didn’t let in a single goal. He stayed completely focused. Everyone else was paying so much attention to you and Viktor. The other team’s keeper couldn’t focus at all. The Cannons’ chasers overwhelmed him, he couldn’t stop them. You won. 170 to 150."
The healer gave Ginny the sour tasting potion. Ginny administered it to Harry and soon he was back asleep.
The next morning Ginny went to catch a nap, promising to return later. Ron, Hermione and Arthur came to visit. Hermione gave Harry a soft hug. Ron had the sports section of the Prophet. He was beaming. The front page had two headlines. ‘Greatest Seeker Battle in 250 Years’ and ‘Weasley Shut-Out of Bulgaria First in History.’ Also on the front page was a large picture that kept showing Harry’s and Viktor’s crash in a loop. He shuddered as he watched it. Ron let him read both articles, and then they discussed the game. Harry let Ron have the spotlight. He deserved it. He was the one that won the game. Coach Grey and the rest of the team came by too. The nurses ran them out fairly quickly for tossing a quaffle around the room and creating too much noise.
The clinic staff had put up linen dividers during the night so he couldn’t see Viktor’s side of the room. He could still hear him groaning in pain. Some of Viktor’s team members came by to see him. Their mood was more somber.
Ginny returned after lunch and the nurses allowed Harry to get up and walk about the room with her assistance. His steps were faltering, but Ginny was able to steady him by holding the arm that wasn’t in a sling. ‘No wonder she wants to be a healer,’ Harry thought as he felt her gentle touch on his arms, ‘she’s so good at this.’ He walked the room in a circle and sat by Viktor.
"Viktor, you going to be okay?" he asked.
Viktor nodded. "Yes, but not for a week or so, one of the fence boards punctured me." He lifted his shirt to show them an eight inch scar across is stomach. Both his legs were in casts. "Harry, are we still good?"
"Yes I think we are Viktor. I tried as hard as I could to win. You did too. I never did anything to purposely hurt you," he explained to Viktor.
"Same here. Either of us could have let up, but we didn’t, did we. We’re friends you and I right? I’d never crash you intentionally," answered Viktor.
"I know. I also know that in three months when we play again, neither of us will give an inch." Harry laughed a bit until his ribs ached, forcing him to stop. "See you later, rest up." Harry bumped his cast to Viktor’s fist.
By the end of the day the healers said Harry could go, but only to the Burrow, and only if he promised to stay in bed. The fact that Ginny was in training at Hogwarts to become a Healer was a deciding factor. She would be with him and she understood the potions and how they should be administered so they allowed it. As they got ready Ron and Hermione stopped by to say goodbye. Ron took care of their tent and had sent it to home. Hermione gave Ginny a bag that had Harry’s clothes and other necessities from the tent.
Mrs. Weasley had Ron’s room ready for Harry by the time Ginny escorted Harry home to the Burrow. She had charmed the bed to a bigger size so he’d be more comfortable. Just before bedtime Ginny came in to check his progress. She removed the sling and cast then she rubbed some dressing on his cuts, rewrapping them carefully. Harry marveled at her touch. Ginny then gently massaged his shoulder feeling his bones with her fingertips.
"It’s healing well," she said to him. "The bone potions they have are superb, better than what I’ve learned in training. It will be good as new by end of tomorrow. Lift your shirt please."
"Gin, I’m not up to that yet I don’t think," Harry tried to say with a straight face, but failed.
She giggled at him. "Lift it. I need to check your ribs." She ran her hands along his ribs firmly feeling for imperfections in the healing. "How’s your head, dizzy spells at all? Feel any fluid in your lungs? Move your fingers like this," she wiggled her fingers like a spider as she spoke.
"Head feels fine, not dizzy. Lungs feel normal, but still sore." He finished by wiggling his fingers on her ribs trying to tickle her. Ginny squirmed away from him, gently pushing his hand down.
She kissed him on the forehead. "You’re healing great." She gave him more of the brisk tasting bone healing potion then got ready to leave so he could rest.
"Hey Gin, stay a bit, please?" Harry asked. She sat at the foot of the bed cross legged facing him. "I just wanted to say that you’re really great."
"Thanks, you can start a fan club," she kidded him.
"I’m serious, the healer thing, it’s amazing. I never saw that side of you before," he complimented her, "when did you get so good at it?"
"Thanks, I’d like to think I’ll be good at it. I know I like it. As for when I got good at it. It was during the last year while I was still at school, before Mum and Dad took me out. I was still running the DA and as we practiced we’d get hurt. We had to fix ourselves up so nobody could tell what we were doing. I had a knack for it. Healing is along the same lines as my hexes. The two are kind of similar except that healing is for good, not mischief or punishment," Ginny responded.
"Well, its time for you to sleep some." She bounced up from the bed for the sour sleeping potion. She measured it out, giving Harry the right dose. "Please try to rest. With luck you should be able to engage in some ‘physical’ therapy by tomorrow night. She kissed him on the cheek and closed the door leaving Harry to sleep.
When he woke the next morning he was greeted by Mrs. Weasley with breakfast in bed, "Dear, I know this isn’t how Ginny wakes you, but I thought you would appreciate it." She smiled at him.
"Thnnnks, it delishhhiss," he mumbled, his mouth already full of bacon and part of a muffin.
"Ginny went to St. Mungos to give the healers an update on you. She’ll be back in a bit," Molly answered before Harry could ask the question.
When Ginny returned home she and Harry took a slow walk down the lane. After lunch Harry was feeling pretty good so he went out to the shed to work on the motorcycle. Ginny followed him to keep him company.
"It’s coming along, don’t you think? I’ve been able to get some parts for it here and there. As Ron and I travel I check out the muggle papers for parts and repair shops and stuff. The frame is good now I think. Still need rear hub parts, and engine parts and a new transmission," Harry said as he disassembled some of the damaged engine.
"Why are you doing this Harry? Why fix it? Doesn’t it just remind you of Sirius and his death?" Ginny queried.
"At first it did, but not now," he explained. "I talked to Kreacher again last week. Twelve Grimmauld Place has all the curses off it now so it can be rebuilt, but it doesn’t hold any good memories for me. I think I’ll sell it. But the bike, I got a picture of Sirius on it from your dad. He’s young and smiling. He’s happy, that’s what I want to remember. Besides I think it would be fun to ride."
"If that’s what you want then do it, but I don’t really see the attraction in riding it. How’s it different than a broom other than size?" she commented. "Hey, it’s almost ten. We should get back in the house, its getting cold out here. Besides I think you need some ‘physical’ therapy, and I know I do." She pulled him up, promptly escorting him to her bedroom.
The next morning started early as Pig, Ron’s owl, arrived at daybreak. It pecked incessantly at Ginny till she grabbed the letter from him and shooed him away.
"It’s from Hermione!" Ginny informed a half-asleep Harry. She opened it. "Oh Merlin! He didn’t. He did! Oh… HARRY! Ron asked Hermione to marry him. Last night! She said ‘yes’ too!" Ginny shook at Harry to wake him fully.
"Girls, they haven’t a clue. Of course he asked her, he’s been trying to find the right time to ask her for a month. He was going to do it after the game, but I think he held off because he wanted to make sure I was okay first," Harry said tiredly. "Can I sleep more now?"
"You knew, and didn’t tell me!" Ginny exclaimed in surprise.
"Well he asked me not to, so I didn’t." Ginny’s pillow collided with his face in retaliation for his keeping the plan a secret. "So much for getting any more sleep," he grumbled.
Ron and Hermione arrived later to meet everyone. Hermione and Ginny ran upstairs almost immediately. Arthur broke out the whiskey and before long Ron, Arthur and Harry were four drinks in, their buzzes progressing nicely. Ron asked Harry to be his best man. Of course Harry accepted. Ron and Hermione still needed to decide on the date, promising that as soon as they did set a proper date everyone would be notified.
Harry spent the last few days of break doing rehabilitation exercises as instructed by ‘Healer Ginny’ as he was now calling her. He also spent time studying for his Potions N.E.W.T. with ‘Professor Ginny,’ since she was gifted at the subject. He hoped to be able to take the test before Christmas. The evenings were reserved for sleep and ‘physical’ therapy as prescribed by ‘Girlfriend Ginny.’
After an hour long debate with Ginny, Arthur and Molly had finally given up on their ‘no sex’ rule and left Harry and Ginny be.
The goodbyes were long, but not too terrible since the Christmas break was only a few weeks away. Ginny disapparated to Hogsmeade. From there she caught a carriage to the school. Harry stayed a few more days, then apparated to Madrid for the next game. Ron and Hermione would meet him there.