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Second Chances by Mrs Insane One
Chapter 13 : Twelve: Game On
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 15

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Twelve: Game On

Later that night Hermione sat on her camping cot curled around a notepad, a blue globe of bluebell flames glowing weakly from a jar hovering just over her shoulder. She was currently writing out a list of major events that had occurred the first time she experienced the Disastrous World Cup Fiasco, as she’d privately named it all those years ago, to an accompaniment of raucous snores courtesy of one Ginerva Weasley.

On the floor, tucked away in a magically expanded and strengthened box, the two gryphons played their nightly game that Harry had dubbed stalk and pounce the first time he’d witnessed the familiars’ rather aggressive wrestling matches. Hermione had created the box, against her better judgment, during the five minutes she’d had to herself while stowing her trunk in Ginny’s bedroom earlier that evening in order to house the two excitable gryphons and give them plenty of play space away from prying eyes. Well placed silencing charms kept the noise levels to a minimum while a mixture of Fire Protection Wards and Imperturbable Charms prevented the capering animals from shredding the box from the inside out.

She had discussed with Harry, the possibility of leaving the two younglings either at her house or at the Burrow, but due to their high strung nature, and the fact that their presence was a secret, they felt it best to bring them along. Hermione ended up saddled with both of them simply because Harry had to share sleeping space with far too many people, regardless of which tent he camped out in.

So, while Polaris and Athena romped, rolled, and wrestled; Hermione scratched out the details from her previous life, checking off those events that occurred and making notes of any changes or deviations. When she finished with what she remembered off-hand, she brought her artificial light source closer to the notebook and ran through her summaries with a fine tooth comb.

1. Invitation to attend the World Cup finals and spend a few days at the Burrow both before and after the game sent sometime in mid-August by Ron originally, to both Harry and myself. check. Invitation to the Burrow extended by the Twins and Arthur, tickets to the game from Harry through Remus and Sirius.

2. Arrived at the Burrow nearly a week before Harry was busted away from his Relatives. The Dursleys experienced a Floo Invasion and Dudley ate a prank candy of the Twins. half check Both of us arrived on the same day, coming from my parent’s house due to the earlier Letter Incidents, on the night before the match. The Dursleys had a Weasley and prank free month. (Side note – Mrs. Weasley seemed overly upset and put out that Harry and I had purchased our school supplies before arriving.)

3. After Harry arrived at the Burrow, we spent one more night at the Weasley’s before taking an early morning portkey, along with the Diggory Family, to the field. half check. Portkeyed directly to the field shortly after arriving at the Burrow, with plans to spend an extra night on-site to avoid missing an early morning portkey. This means we did not meet the Diggorys this time around.

4. Harry helped Mr. Weasley pay the entrance fee and set up at a campsite on the outskirts of the field close to the forest and fairly close to the Pitch. check. Sirius covered the campsite fee and arrived three nights earlier than the Weasleys in order to set up a werewolf compound as required by law so that Remus could attend the game. (Stupid werewolf laws. Who knew Umbridge was meddling so early in our lives both in this timeline and the last!?) Campsite is the furthest from the Pitch and no where near the forest. This may or may not be a good thing.

5. The arrival and introduction of Ludo Bagman (Source of the Weasley tickets), followed by the placing of bets by Mr. Weasley (1 Galleon on Ireland to win) and the Twins (Their entire savings on Ireland to win, but Krum to catch the Snitch.) Afterwards, the introduction of Barty Crouch Sr.

6. One fast paced but short lived Quidditch game where the Twin’s predictions ring surprisingly true. Our seats were placed up in the top box with Bagman and other distinguished guests.

7. Harry’s wand gets stolen by Barty Crouch Jr. (Hidden under an invisibility cloak while supposedly under the watchful eye of Winky the house elf.) - This one really needs to be avoided!!

8. Death Eaters stir up trouble after the game by attacking the Muggle family that runs the campground. The majority of children staying the night flee into the forest, along with the less powerful witches and wizards. Chaos rules the night. - Wish this one could be avoided as well.

9. After being separated from the others; Harry, Ron, and I end up deep in the woods alone but for Winky the elf and Barty Jr. Barty conjures the Dark Mark using Harry’s wand, the Death Eaters drop the Muggles and flee at this point, Ministry officials surround us in an effort to locate the caster of the Mark, Winky gets sacked, and Harry’s wand is reclaimed. - I don’t think this can be avoided, even if Harry’s wand isn’t stolen during the match. Crouch is bound to pick up one from somewhere.

Hermione sat back with a sigh and rubbed her tired eyes. She’d covered most everything, aside from their trip home and the fall out from the Dark Mark sighting, the rest of it she felt she could evaluate at a later time, once some more of the events had come to pass. A swish of her wand extinguished the blue flames floating by her head as she packed away her notebook, which she’d placed under a modified Fidelius Charm (developed by Unspeakable Luna Lovegood at the turn of the century in her past life) in order to protect her secrets.

Slipping quietly out of the tent, she stretched out cramped muscles that had frozen during her brainstorming session before jogging out a short distance behind the compound where their tents sat. Twenty minutes later, after crouching motionlessly in the thick grasses and weeds of the moor, she returned with a small handful of unlucky water voles that she had cleaned off with a few well placed Scouring Charms and checked over for diseases and parasites.

These were quickly passed off to the two famished gryphons with a small shudder and grimace of distaste – years of preparing potion ingredients and dealing with some of the more aggressive magical creatures had long since rid Hermione of any squeamishness she had regarding rendering live animals as ingredients or food, but she still disliked the necessity and avoided it when ever possible. It didn’t help that she secretly harbored deep seated regrets for taking another life – even that of a common pest or ‘senseless’ animal. Unfortunately, the two fledgling gryphons were far too young to hunt on their own and while they occasionally accepted some cooked meats as treats, they preferred fresh game as their major food source.

Covering a yawn with the back of her hand, Hermione leaned over to put the lid on the gryphons’ playpen before covering the entire box with Harry’s invisibility cloak and scooted the box further under her bed before setting her day bag directly in front of it on the edge of the cloak.

After a quick trip to the bathroom, to wash her hands, she crawled back into the bed and soon drifted off to sleep. Dreaming of angry veela, singing butterflies, and leprechauns wearing tie-died dresses and platinum blonde wigs while dancing the cancan.

In the morning, Hermione woke to find Ginny standing over her wrapped up in her blanket shaking her shoulder and whispering her name. Groaning at the intrusion, Hermione sat up and covered a yawn with the back of her hand as she cast a quick glance at her glow in the dark, wind up Muggle alarm clock showed it to be just after five in the morning. She opened her mouth to ask Ginny why she got her up so early, only to discover the redhead had crawled back into bed and was snoring once more.

Still tired from staying up so late, Hermione started to snuggle back under her covers when she heard a voice calling her name from outside the tent. Grumbling under her breath, she wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and hobbled towards the door after sending one last frown towards Ginny’s back.

It took her several minutes of fumbling to untie and unlock the canvas door so she could find out who had dared to disturb her sleep. Steam was practically pouring from her ears as she yanked the fabric aside and thrust her head out through the opening. The shock of frigid mist filled air, drifting over the camp from the nearby moors, caused a shiver to run down her back as she gasped in a lungful of cool air.

What?” she hissed out venomously.

“Good morning, ‘Mynie,” Harry greeted pleasantly as he bounced on his toes.

“Good? Good!?” Hermione hissed as she took in the huge grin on Harry’s face. “What, pray tell, is so good about dragging me out of my nice warm bed at the crack of dawn? And so help me; if you say Quidditch I will hurt you now.”

Harry blinked repeatedly as the smile slid off his face, confusion and a touch of hurt filling his eyes as his shoulders drooped. Shaking his head once, he opened his mouth to reply only to close it once more as he shook his head again. “I… I thought you wouldn’t mind. Usually you’re the one dragging me, err us boys, out of bed for classes each morning. I just… just wanted to surprise you, and I thought you’d be up already, reading as usual.”

Hermione closed her eyes and sighed softly. When she opened them back up, it was to catch sight of Harry slinking away dejectedly with his head bowed. “Harry, wait, please. I’m sorry I snapped at you. I didn’t get to sleep until late because…”

“You were up late reading?” Harry tossed over his shoulder as he glanced back at her, a slight smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth though she could still see the hurt in his eyes.

“Mostly,” Hermione admitted after sticking her tongue out at him. “Give me five minutes, and I’ll join you.”

Pulling her head back inside the semi-warmth of the tent, Hermione trotted back over to her cot and pulled her day-pack out from underneath so she could grab a change of clothes. Hurrying into the bathroom, she dumped her fresh clothes on the counter, stripped out of her pajamas, and ran a brush through her tangled hair while she ran the hot water tap. Once the first tendrils of steam began curling from the sink, she dropped her brush and washed her face. She than switched off the hot water and turned on the cold so she could brush her teeth real quick before dressing once more.

Finished, she pulled her hair up into a sloppy ponytail before scooping up the clothes she slept in and carried them to her bed where she folded them before tucking them under her pillow. As she sat town to put on her shoes, she contemplated taking the gryphons outside with her, but decided it was best to leave them hidden in the box. It would not due for someone to catch a glimpse of them – especially in such a crowded area.

Grabbing her coat, she retraced her footsteps to the tent door and stepped outside as she slipped her arms into the sleeves. Shivering in the chill air, she looked around for Harry, and found him huddled beside the fire pit feeding the flames with small, damp twigs and dead leaves.

Stifling another yawn, Hermione silently sat down right beside Harry and leaned against him so she could rest her head on his shoulder. She held her breath as he stiffened slightly, only to let it out a heartbeat later as he relaxed and let his head rest against the top of hers. She hid a satisfied smile at his quick acceptance of the somewhat intimate position, thrilled at the amount of progress he’d made during the last month or so. She pressed just the tiniest bit closer to him as her eyes fluttered closed, the gentle warmth generated between their two bodies lulling her back to sleep.

She came to nearly two hours later to the sound of voices talking over directly above her, opening her eyes, she was somewhat shocked to find her vision blocked by a wall of tan fabric. It took her a few minutes to figure out that she had her head pillowed on Harry’s lap, with her face pressed against his stomach. She could feel his fingers playing with her ponytail and his other arm draped across her side as he carried on a soft conversation with Remus and Mr. Weasley over top of her.

Unconsciously, she snuggled closer to him, thoroughly enjoying his rare show of affection, wondering if he even realized what he was doing. She would have gladly stayed there all day, reveling in the tenderness of the moment; unfortunately the moment was soon to be cut short. Just as Hermione began drifting back to sleep, several of the Weasley boys, including Ron, poured out of the tent they’d shared with Harry laughing and talking loudly.

Hermione felt Harry tense up as the sounds of their merry making abruptly cut off, followed by a garbled shriek from the direction of the tent Hermione shared with Ginny. Harry shifted nervously; dropping both of his hands to his side, and Hermione took that as her cue to move off of his lap so she could wake up completely. She immediately missed the comforting warmth of his arms around her. Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she caught sight of the Ginny’s back as she flounced back inside their tent.

The twins tried to quell the nervous tension that had developed the moment the two youngest Weasleys had caught site of Harry cuddling with Hermione by jumping right back into their previous conversation. Their joviality was rather forced though, and none of the others joined in. The expression on Ron’s face, when Hermione caught sight of it out of the corner of her eye, was downright scary. His whole face was white, though his ears and neck were flushed red, and his mouth was all twisted up with his lips pressed tight together. Like he was either trying not to throw up or he was getting ready to scream at somebody. His hands were coiled tightly in his cloak, though she wouldn’t know this until days later when the twins talked to her about this day.

At the precise moment when Ron was going to open his mouth and blow – either verbally of physically, Mr. Weasley intervened by handing out morning chores in preparation for breakfast. Fred, George, and Harry were delegated to gather firewood, while Percy and Ron were sent off to get water. Hermione was sent into the adults’ tent to get two packages of sausage, a carton of eggs, and a loaf of bread out of the box of supplies. Ginny avoided having to help simply by locking herself in the girl’s bathroom. Remus left Arthur stoking the fire while he went to drag Sirius out of bed for the day.

Breakfast was a silent and strained affair, with each attempt at conversation falling flat. It wasn’t until Charlie and Bill arrived that things began to look up. Eventually, the excitement of the coming game was enough to draw the somber mood to a close as the hoards of soon to be spectators began migrating towards the colossal pitch that had been set up on the other side of the forest. Sirius herded their group out through the compound gate and everyone soon turned to discussing the upcoming game. Though Ron and Ginny still refused to speak to Harry and Hermione and both of the younger Weasleys would occasionally throw dark looks their way as they walked side by side at the back of the group.

It took the group the better part of an hour to make their way to the nearest entrance of the pitch. Long lines and milling fans flowing in a hundred different directions made traveling in a straight line more than just a little difficult. During one of the minor traffic jams that impeded their progress, Sirius, a.k.a. Steve, purchased their half of the group V.I.P. souvenir packages that included; a program, two rosettes (one for each team), a pair of brass Omnioculars, posters of each teams players (both of which were fully autographed by each team member, coach, and owner), a commemorative mug (that had images of each team mascots, on opposite sides, stylized in full color), and a complete set of miniature players for both teams. The lot of which was packaged in a broom shaped carrying case with the words ‘1994 WORLD CUP’ engraved on the top.

Hermione, Remus, and Harry tried to protest, long and loud, but Sirius wouldn’t hear of it – saying that he considered it part of his gift to Harry and that meant that all of them had to accept the gift. Tragically, Ron happened to have been close enough to witness the entire seen and his face flushed brightly as he griped his soul purchase, a miniature Krum figurine, tightly enough to bend its arms and legs out of shape. Hermione caught sight of the death glare that Ron leveled at Harry just before he turned away.

Hermione knew that Harry would have purchased souvenirs for her and Ron if the chance had presented itself, something he had done the first time they attended the cup together. She feared that Ron’s growing resentment would create problems down the road now because that one event had been drastically changed. Than again, Ron had resented the purchase the first time around as well, especially after learning that the leprechaun gold he’d used to pay him back had vanished and Harry didn’t tell him.

She would have waved the entire matter away by the time the game started, if not for what occurred next. During her original timeline, when Ludo Bagman had given the tickets to Arthur for the game, he’d managed to provide the Weasley’s with seats up in the top box. The problem was that when Sirius purchased his block of seats, under his alias of Steve, he’d actually bought around half of the block of seats that would have gone to Arthur. This meant that only half of Arthur’s group would have been able to sit up in the top box, and rather than split his family up, he’d chosen to take a larger block of seats midway down the stands, directly under one of the scoreboards.

They weren’t bad seats; in fact, they were pretty much prime seats – with a fantastic view of the entire stadium. The problem was that those seats paled when compared to the top box seats that Sirius had procured. If she had known this beforehand, she might have been able to play it down, but unfortunately she didn’t find out until the usher directed them to the left while sending the Weasley’s off to the right. The last she saw of the redheaded group, was a hateful glare from Ron and Ginny coupled with a resentful glance from Percy, whom she knew would much rather be up rubbing elbows with the bigwigs.

With a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, she followed Harry, Remus, and Sirius up to the top of the pitch where they soon settled into their seats along the first row. As Harry went to take his seat, Hermione leaned forward and suggested he take his wand out of his pocket so that he didn’t snap it on accident when he sat down. He almost ignored her, figuring his back pocket the best place to keep his wand, but at the last moment pulled it out and locked it inside his souvenir case with his autographed memorabilia when he took out the Omnioculars.

Once they were settled, Hermione took a good look around at their nearest neighbors. Taking note that they were actually sitting several seats down from where they had the last time, as she noticed the trembling form of a house elf sitting right next to the aisle one row behind them. Seeing Winky, Crouch’s old elf, sent a surge of annoyance through Hermione as she watched the pathetic creature rocking and groaning. Her hand twitched towards her wand, her instincts screaming to take out Crouch Jr. right now to save Harry a load of grief during the Triwizard Tournament.

Logically, though, she knew that too many people would be hurt if she exposed the man where he sat. Besides, in order to get a clear shot at the Death Eater, she’d have to push Remus out of his seat. Taking a calming breath, she forcefully turned her attention away from the frightened elf and her invisible charge and allowed herself to celebrate her small victory of getting Harry to secure his wand in a place other than his back pocket.

Shortly after getting herself under control, Hermione heard a commotion behind her, and found the Malfoy family entering on the heels of Cornelius Fudge, the Bulgarian Minister, and Ludo Bagman. Mr. Malfoy was making a big show of greeting Fudge, while casually scanning those already seated. He didn’t seem to find what he was looking for though, because he turned back around to face the stairs. This puzzled Hermione greatly, because it seemed so far out of character for him.

Without being obvious about it, she leaned down to dig in her souvenir case so that she could watch the now agitated man sidle up beside Bagman and begin to whisper furiously with the former Quidditch star. Malfoy senior nearly lost his composure completely when Bagman gestured to a point across the pitch, his face flushing as he in turn jabbed a finger at the seats right in front of Crouch’s house elf. Hermione was certain that if Narcissa Malfoy hadn’t calmed her husband right at that point, that Lucius would have used the Cruciatus Curse on Bagman.

In the end, the pale family retreated a few rows back to take their seats, only to have Fudge offer them the vacant ones up in the front row of the row Hermione and the others were sitting in. Lucius hesitated only for the briefest moment, and if Hermione hadn’t been watching them intently, she’d never have seen it. Once the family was seated, with Draco occupying the seat Harry had in the first timeline, Ludo applied a Sonorous Charm and began introducing the players for the Irish team.

What is Malfoy playing at? Hermione thought to herself as she sat back up and blankly stared out over the pitch in the direction Bagman had been pointing towards when confronted by Lucius. Was he expecting someone else to be sitting in those particular seats? And he didn’t even spare a glance to our section, as if he could care less who we were because we weren’t who he was expecting. You’d think that Harry would have drawn his attention like honey to a fly… Hermione trailed off as she snapped up her Omnioculars and zoomed in on the section right under the score boards. Sure enough, the moment she could make out individual features she easily identified a large block of redheads. Could Malfoy have been expecting to see the Weasleys up here in the top box? How could he have known they received free tickets? Something isn’t adding up here, there’s something here that I am missing.

She was drawn out of her musings as the Bagman announced the approach of the Bulgarian mascots. Looking up just in time to see Sirius, in his Steve persona, latch onto the back of Harry’s robes in an effort to keep him from jumping over the side of the box in his veela induced trance. I can’t believe how affronted I was the first time that happened. Hermione giggled to herself as she helped Sirius get Harry back into his seat. I guess knowing that we’re meant to be has helped me to see the humor this time around.

The Irish leprechauns were as entertaining as they had been the first time, soaring through the air on their shamrocks, showering the crowd with gold coins, as they trailed a rainbow of sparks across the sky. No one in the top booth bothered scrounging for the falling coins, though Hermione could see some of the folks from lower levels fighting of the bits of fake coins. A quick glance through her Omnioculars confirmed that Ron and Ginny were both shoving as many of the coins as they could into their pockets.

As the last of the rainbows faded, one of the referees strode out to the center of the pitch with the ball chest to release the bludgers and the snitch. A tense moment passed while the team captains shook heads before mounting their brooms, the rest of the team having already flown into their places. Once they were in the air, the quaffle was released and the game was on.

Hermione watched the game half heartedly, her thoughts puzzling over the changes of the timeline. Her body on autopilot as she categorized and sorted the facts she knew from both her lifetimes, examining the details closely while making note of those things that seemed out of place. She was a bit disturbed to find her past life starting to fade the tiniest bit. Chronos had told her it would, but she didn’t think it would happen quite so soon.

Pulling out of her musings, Hermione refocused on the game in time to see Krum pull off the perfect Wronski Feint, once again plowing the Irish seeker into the field below. From that point on the match turned brutal, with fouls being called left and right against the Bulgarians. As Hermione watched, she drew the conclusion that the Bulgarian team made the Slytherins look like saints as they play. The Irish gave back as good as they could, though they didn’t sink quite as low as the other team.

The Beaters on both teams were belting the bludgers back and forth at a furious rate – pegging the opposing teams as often as they could. Two of the Irish Chasers and the Bulgarian Keeper had been injured from direct hits, though the medical team had not needed to be called in as they had for the ploughed Seeker. The score was up to 180 to 40, in favor of Ireland, when Krum took off speeding down the field.

Whether he’d actually seen the snitch this time or not didn’t matter as both bludgers hit him at the same time, effectively stopping him in his tracks and breaking his ankle. Down on the field, the veela and leprechauns were taunting each other and trading insults, though they were no where near as volatile as they were before. Back up in the sky, the Irish chasers scored another three goals, bringing the score to 210 – 40, while the crowd went wild as Lynch, the Irish Seeker, spotted the snitch. Krum immediately charged after him, his robes whipping around him as he stretched himself out horizontally on the broom.

As one, the crowd rose up on its feet as both Seekers closed the distance between them and the snitch, collectively holding it breath as they darted first up into the clouds and than dived down towards the stands. Two more goals were made by the Irish, who had not stopped playing to watch their teammate chase the tiny golden ball and one more by the Bulgarian. Practically neck and neck now, the two Seekers leveled out of their dive and shot strait towards the top box, hot on the trail of the snitch.

In the end, a bludger nicking the tail end of Lynch’s broom knocked him off course just enough to allow Krum to scoop the snitch out of the air just before both Seekers slammed into the wall right below the announcer’s platform where Ludo Bagman was holding on for dear life as the entire box bucked once under the impact. The final score was 230 to 200, with the win going to Ireland.

Hermione stood watching with silent horror as Harry sprinted to the edge of the box and threw himself over the side. Her heart dropping out of the bottom of her stomach as Sirius tried to grab his legs and missed at the last second. A panicked scream escaped her lips as she joined Sirius in leaning over the short barrier, terrified that she might have to watch Harry fall to his death and determined to find out what was happening to him.

She was both shocked and relieved to find Harry dangling by one hand from one of the flag poles clutching the robes of an unconscious Lynch, whose broom had exploded on impact. Remus pulled her back, so he could take her place beside Sirius, and the two men conjured ropes around Harry’s waist to help support the added weight of the unresponsive Seeker while two of the Irish Chasers flew up underneath them so they could carry their teammate down to the medics.

One of their Beaters than gave Harry a lift back up to the box, thanking him profusely for saving Lynch from a fall that might well have killed the unconscious Seeker. Hermione sank to her knees as tears of relief flooded her eyes while Remus and Sirius took turns squeezing the life out of Harry and berating him.

“Hey, Mynie, are you alright?” Harry’s voice whispered in her ear.

Looking up at the worry and concern cloudy Harry’s face as he leaned over her pushed her over the edge. “Am I alright? Am I alright?” she roared as she surged to her feet and shoved him back angrily. “You have the gall to ask me if I’m okay after you just jumped off of the highest point in the entire stadium. And you ask if I am alright? Did you even stop and think of what would have happened if you missed the stupid pole?” At this point she burst out sobbing and threw herself into Harry’s arms, much to his surprise.

“There wasn’t time to do anything other than act, Hermione, I saw his broom shatter when he hit and there was no one else close enough to do anything to help him,” Harry explained slowly. “And I didn’t miss the pole.”

“I was so scared that I was going to see you falling to your death when I looked over the wall,” Hermione admitted in a choked voice as she stepped back and looked up at Harry. “Don’t ever scare me like that again,” she added as she punched him in the shoulder for emphasis only to immediately regret it as he hissed in pain.

“Please don’t hit that arm, Mynie, I think I wrenched that shoulder when I stopped my downward plunge.”

“Sit down, sit down,” Bagman ordered as he pushed his way through the crowd that had gathered round Harry. “Take a seat lad, and I’ll have them send one of the medics to take a look at you. You’re a brave lad, to risk your life like that. Foolishly brave… Why, you’re Harry Potter! No wonder you took such a chance! What a hero you are and what skill, plucking a falling man out of the sky as you both fell to what would have been certain death.”

“Ever the Gryffindor, aren’t you, Potter?” Draco sneered the moment Bagman rushed off to get the medic. “Can’t go a day without doing something stupid? Where’s the Weasel? Should think he’d want to lick your boots after seeing you perform such a stunt.”

“Shove off, Malfoy,” Harry growled furiously as he glared at his longtime rival.

“Tsk, tsk,” Lucius drawled, “such atrocious manners, what is the world coming to?”

“Like you have a leg to stand on, Lucy,” Sirius countered with a sneer. “You’re clod of a son doesn’t even have the decency to hold his tongue and temper out in public. The apple didn’t fall very far from the tree did it?”

“Now, gentlemen, lets not create a scene,” Fudge admonished as he quickly stepped in front of the Malfoys while staring down at Harry with an odd look on his face.

“Can it, Fudge,” Sirius snapped back as he turned his ire on the shorter man. “Can’t you see I’m having a discussion with your leash holder?”

“Now see here, you can’t talk to me that way!” Fudge sputtered indignantly.

“Coming through, let me through here, Medic coming through!” Bagman announced as he pushed his way past Malfoy and the Minister pulling a disheveled witch along behind him. “Right here he is, the man of the hour, an injured Harry Potter.”

Hermione discretely watched Malfoy Sr. herded an agitated Fudge off to one side as the medic shuffled forward and began casting diagnostic charms at Harry. She dearly longed for one of the twin’s Extendable Ear right now, so she could hear what two of them are talking about. Before she could speculate much longer, the medic started listing out Harry’s injuries.

“Dislocated shoulder, other shoulder bruised, fractured collar bone, minor muscle tears in both arms, sprained wrist, bruised rib cage, and two cracked ribs. Hold still now, I need to get this shoulder back into alignment, there we go. The fractures have been mended as well now, but you’d best take it easy for a few days. Here you go, drink this – it’s a pain numbing potion, and take this as well, it will help ease the swelling from the dislocation. Don’t take the arm out of the sling for at least two or three days, you’ll risk tearing the muscles. This jar contains a bruise cream, just have someone help you put it on before you go to bed tonight and it will help speed your recovery and numb the pain. I dare say you’ll be sore for a couple of days, but there’s no lasting damage.”

“Feeling better now, lad?” Bagman inquired the moment the medic stepped away. “Up you go than, there’re a few people that’d like to meet you.”

“Now hold on there, you can’t just drag him off, Mr. Bagman,” Remus protested.

“We shan’t be going far good man, the rest of the Irish lads just want to shake his hand and thank him for what he did.”

“Professor Lupin, if you can watch our things, I’ll go with him,” Hermione requested as she followed Bagman as he led him to where both teams were waiting beside the announcer’s stand.

She reached his side just as the Irish team closed around Harry and Bagman. Ludo looked like he was going to protest her presence, but she folded her arms stubbornly and declared, “I’m with him!”

“Of course you are, lassie,” one of the Irish chasers agreed with a grin as Bagman chose to ignore her as he began introducing the entire team, making it a point to name their positions as well.

“…and this is Barry Ryan, Keeper. Boys, this is Harry Potter, boy hero,” Bagman introduced.

The six players of the Irish team, minus Lynch who was still with the mediwizards, gaped and gasped in shock upon learning who’d saved their Seeker. “We’ll I’ll be a clabbert’s uncle,” Barry exclaimed as he shook Harry’s hand. Ole Aidan will be chuffed to ‘ave missed thankin’ ye in person for savin’ his life, he will. He’d have come up top with us but he’s still out cold with one ‘ell of a concussion, but he’ll be right as rain in a day or two. T’woulda been a far site worse if’n you hadn’t caught him like you did.”

“I’m just glad he’s alright. He hit the stands straight on just under where I was sitting and I saw his broom … just explode. Only time I’d ever seen a broom end up in so many pieces was when I got my Nimbus two-thousand back after the Whomping Willow destroyed it last year,” Harry modestly murmured. “I’m sure anyone else would have done the same if they’d been in my place.”

“Not bloody likely,” Troy, one of the Chasers, snorted as he pushed Ryan out of the way so he could shake Harry’s hand. “No one else bothered to lift a finger, let alone a wand. Would have gladly watched him fall, the vultures.”

“Surely you’re over exaggerating.”

“Fraid not, Miss…?”

“Hermione, Hermione Granger.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Miss Granger. But like I was saying, none o’ the fans would have risked life and limb to help a player, just isn’t done. The rest of us were just too far away to get there in time.”

“Goodness, look at the time, the crowd is getting restless folks, so if we could…?” Bagman interrupted before anything else could be said.

While Ludo went on to introduce the Bulgarian team to the stands once more, Hermione and Harry said their goodbyes to the Irish team and returned to their seats. Sirius immediately fussed over Harry, to ensure that he hadn’t been injured further while out of his site. Remus soon stepped in and told Steve (a.k.a. Sirius) to stop making a scene.

All four of them than turned to watch the Quidditch Cup Trophy being present to Minister Fudge as they Irish team shook the hand of both ministers. All of them grinning from ear to ear as they waved out at the crowd before they headed back out to fly one last victory lap around the stadium. Troy broke away at the last minute and made his way to where Harry was sitting and handed him a folded up piece of parchment.

“Contact me once you’ve recovered from your injuries,” Troy ordered him. “Aidan will want to meet with you to thank you in person.” He waited long enough for Harry to nod before he disappeared down the stairs, only to reappear in the air along with the rest of the team a few minutes later.

All around them the stands began emptying as the fans headed back to their campsites to celebrate or commiserate (depending on which team they had been rooting for). Remus held Hermione back, when she stood up to leave, signaling that the four of them should wait until most of the crowd had already left. He didn’t want Harry’s injuries getting jostled so soon after they’d been healed.

Once it was clear, they made their way to the stairs and headed down with Remus carrying most of the broom cases holding the souvenirs. After the first two flights of stairs, it became obvious that Harry wouldn’t be able to make it down on his own. The numbing potion had kicked in, making Harry drowsy which in turn affected his equilibrium enough that he kept tripping and stumbling over his own feet.

Hermione quietly draped his left arm around her shoulder while Sirius stepped up to his right side and wrapped one arm around his waist. Together, the two of them half carried him the rest of the way down while Remus walked just behind them with his wand casually in hand in case any of them fell.

AN: There you go folks, a nice long chapter full of action and drama. Almost right on the heels of my last update too – something that hasn’t happened in a long time and only one day shy of being two updates in one month!

I hope the end wasn’t too overdone. His Hero Complex came out of left field during that last bit. I’d been writing from Hermione’s point of view when he all of a sudden jumped out of the box with no warning. I think he was feeling a bit jealous of the focus being on someone else so felt compelled to act out. *lol* And forgive me if I mangled any accents, especially the little Irish one I tried to throw in. As much as I love to hear them, I can’t translate them to paper very well.

Thank you again to everyone who has reviewed, I’ll try to respond to them all when I have a bit more time. Right now though, I have well over 150 unanswered ones that need my attention and quite a few are from last year. Anyway, hoped you enjoyed the story and will add the next chapter as soon as I finish writing it! – Jenn

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