The next couple of weeks passed quite quickly for Harry. In Ministry Training, Harry had now learned some very complex spells. Ron, Cormac, Roger and Alicia had also learned the same spells. Harry had now become very advanced in duelling too and realised just how much of an amateur he was when he went wand to wand with Voldemort. Saturdays had now become a regular fixture for Ron and Hermione to visit, as they listened to the World Cup Quidditch Matches every week. For the past two weeks, the United Kingdom beat USA 200 points to 150 and they also gained a shock victory over Bulgaria, 150 points to 30 when the British seeker caught the snitch just a few minutes into the game.
Other results of the last two weeks included Bulgaria getting a win over Ireland 200 points to 100 and Canada shocking everyone by beating Ireland 200 points to 120.United Kingdom had played all their matches and had a final score of 760 points. USA were second with 660, followed by Bulgaria in third with 630, Ireland in fourth with 470 and Canada in fifth with 230 points. All the gang could do was hope that no team scored enough points to overtake Britain. If Britain finished top after this next Saturday, they would be in the final.
That was six days away though and it was now late in June. The final was just a couple of weeks away. As exciting as it all was, however, Ginny got a little sick of Quidditch every Saturday and so to make it up, Harry took her to Diagon Alley the next day. Harry hadn’t been shopping in Diagon Alley in months. When he and Ginny arrived, he had remembered just how cosy and comfortable the place was.
‘Where do you want to go first?’ Harry asked Ginny. Ginny was standing next to him in her long, purple robes and a small bag. Harry knew this bag had been made bigger on the inside, so Ginny could pull all of her shopping in it. She had learned the correct method from Hermione, who Harry knew had used it during the hunt for Horcruxes.
‘Well, quite a lot of places actually. I haven’t seen George’s shop in ages, I’d like to visit there. We also need to buy some new furniture to replace the hideous furniture that The Black’s left behind.’ Ginny said. Harry couldn’t really disagree; the furniture was horrible. Black, uncomfortable and old-fashioned.
‘Anywhere else?’ Harry asked.
‘Not at the top of my head. We’ll see.’ She said, ‘Come on, let’s go see George.’
Harry and Ginny walked down Diagon Alley and turned into a side street. Standing there, with an emblazoned sign that read “Weasley Wizard Wheezes”. The building was big, with small windows. Weasley Wizard Wheezes, or just Wheezes, George kept remind him to call it, had been moved to a different place on Diagon Alley and he felt that this part of Diagon Alley was much better.
They entered the joke shop, painted in clashing, but surprisingly fitting purple and orange shades. When they got inside, they saw that the whole place was packed. George’s stock had greatly increased since the last time Harry had made an appearance here. As George had previously mentioned, most of the customers were in here for one thing; Crumplies. Walnut-sized frog-like creatures that crumpled into a ball if scared.
Customers were handing over four sickles a piece and George was seen taking the sickles and placing them in the pouch around his neck. Harry recognised it at once as a moleskin pouch. He had one just like it. George finally finished serving his current influx of customers when he noticed Harry and Ginny.
‘Hey! Good to see you Harry.’ George called, ‘You too, sis.’
‘Hey George.’ Ginny smiled, hugging her brother. ‘How’s the shop coming along?’
‘Good, as always.’ George grinned, ‘We’ve been selling like crazy today. There’s only one Crumply left. Do you want it?’
‘Oh, yes!’ Ginny said, ‘I’ve been meaning to grab hold of one.’
George took the last remaining Crumply from a box and handed it to Ginny, who cupped it in her hands like a chick. Harry motioned for his wallet to pull out four sickles but George waved his hand away.
‘Don’t be stupid, Harry.’ George said, ‘It’s on the house. Least I can do after your latest spend, eh?’
Harry nodded and reluctantly put his wallet away. ‘Alright, give us a second, I need to order more Crumplies.’
George walked behind the counter and into the staff room, to which Harry could not see. Harry decided to turn around and have a look at some of the latest things that were on sale with Ginny. He walked over to the nearest shelf and began browsing.
‘Hey! Look at this!’ Harry said, beckoning Ginny over. He was looking at a small circular device. It was silver and made of plastic. It had two silver buttons labelled ‘Play’ and ‘Stop’ and a small red light in the middle of it. Harry read the label out aloud.
Muggle Entertainment System
Below the tag was a hand-written note from George, which was also on all of the tags on this shelf.
Wanna know how Muggles entertain themselves? They watch ‘films’ on a ‘television’. Sound crazy? I thought so myself. But they actually watch recordings of people acting as characters from a show. Think of it like a theatre play, only on a screen! Interested? Then buy the MES (Muggle Entertainment System). For only 3 galleons, you can watch any ‘film’ or ‘show’ ever invented by Muggles. What’s the catch, you ask? I’m not gonna tell you what the names of any Muggle films are – you’ll have to guess, or ask a Muggle!
‘This is incredible.’ Harry gasped.
Ginny raised an eyebrow, ‘It is?’
‘Ginny, there are hundreds of thousands of shows that have been created since Muggles could create them about 70 years ago – and George has them all on one little device.’ Harry explained.
‘And are these Muggle ‘films’ ... any good?’ Ginny asked.
‘Some of them are terrible. But some are fantastic, Ginny. I’m going to buy it. Maybe I can show you some great Muggle films tonight.’ Harry suggested.
‘That’s a great idea.’ Ginny agreed. They made their way back to the till with the MES. About ten or so new customers entered the store as George was coming back on to the counter area. He saw the small crowd and shouted over.
‘Crumplies are out of stock until tomorrow.’
Alot of the crowd groaned and left, only two people remained to browse the store. George turned back to Harry.
‘I see the MES has peaked your interest, then?’ George grinned.
‘Yeah, it’s incredible. I’ll buy it right now.’ Harry stated.
‘No charge for you, Harry.’ George said, but Harry shook his head.
‘It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give you anything. Here.’ Harry said. He forced 3 galleons into George’s hand and made him accept them. Finally, George did, sliding them into the pouch around his neck.
‘Can I help you with anything else then?’ George asked.
‘No thanks.’ Ginny answered, ‘We need to go find some new furniture.’
‘New furniture, eh?’ George asked. ‘Hmm... I heard old Desmond has just got a new stock of great furniture in...’
‘Desmond?’ Harry asked, unfamiliar with the name.
‘Desmond’s Dazzling Store of Delicious Furniture.’ George answered, ‘He’s only been here for about a month or so but he’s definitely got the best stuff around.’
‘OK, thanks.’ Harry thanked, ‘See you around, George.’
George bid them goodbye and Ginny and Harry left the store. They looked around a bit and they eventually found the store George was talking about. It was tucked in the corner of the alley, right before Gringotts Bank. The shop was no taller than ten feet tall. It had a small sign at the top entitled, ‘Desmond’s Dazzling Store of Delicious Furniture’ and pictures of different furniture around the wall. They entered the small murky shop with dusty windows only to be pleasantly surprised that the inside of the shop was immaculately clean.
They were approached by a bizarre looking man. He looked fairly young, probably in his early thirties. He had purple hair that was cut into a Mohican and he had three piercings in each ear. Harry was taken aback slightly by the man’s abnormally deep voice.
‘Can I help you?’ He asked, kindly.
‘Uh – well, I’m looking for some new furniture. We need two settees, a single chair and a coffee table.’ Harry explained.
‘And something stylish...’ Ginny said, ‘My brother George said you had some great stuff in stock.’
‘George? George Weasley?’ The man asked.
‘That’s right.’ Ginny said, extending a hand. ‘I’m his sister, Ginny.’
‘Ginny Weasley!’ The man said, shaking her hand, ‘I am Desmond. And if you are Ginny, then that means you are Harry Potter!’
Desmond extended his hand to Harry and Harry shook it.
‘That’s right, I’m Harry Potter. Nice to meet you.’ Harry smiled.
‘And you. Alright, how’s this?’ Desmond said, he took a step back and waved his wand. The exact pieces of furniture Harry and Ginny needed appeared in front of them. They were a dark brown set. Harry thought they looked nice but he knew as much about fashion as Hermione did about Quidditch, and so he let Ginny make a decision.
‘I think we need something lighter in colour.’ Ginny suggested. Desmond nodded and waved his wand again. The set was replaced by a set with a lighter shade. Ginny smiled.
‘Perfect. How much is that?’ She asked.
‘Retail Price is 100 galleons for the lot, but for you, I’ll charge you 60 galleons.’ Desmond stated, ‘This is probably the finest quality I have in this shade of brown.’
‘We’ll take it.’ Harry announced and pulled a small sack of galleons to Desmond. Desmond tapped them with his wand and the sack disappeared. He then tapped the furniture with his wand.
‘Address?’ Desmond asked.
’12 Grimmauld Place, London.’ Ginny replied, and with a second tap, the furniture was gone.
‘The furniture is at your home now. Your old furniture has been stored with us and will be destroyed unless you want to keep it.’ Desmond explained.
‘It’s OK, you can destroy it.’ Harry replied. Desmond nodded, and then extended his hand again. ‘It was nice doing business with you.’
Harry shook it, turned to Ginny. Ginny was ready to leave and so they bid their goodbyes and apparated back to Grimmauld Place. The new furniture had replaced the old. The room looked much brighter and friendlier than before. Harry was pleased with the purchase.
The following Saturday was the final round of group matches for the Quidditch World Cup. Bulgaria suffered another shocking loss as Canada beat them 150 points to 120. This put Bulgaria ten points behind the UK with no more games to play. Harry thought that the only threat left now was USA, who could easily jump into first place if the scored enough points in their match. Ireland were on top of their game though, and they ‘completely annihilated’ (according to Ron) USA 230 points to 40. This meant that the United Kingdom had finished top of the first group, and were going to the finals of the Quidditch World Cup, much to the joy of Ron and Harry.
Germany had dominated the second group and finished first with a total score of 1980.
‘That’s gotta be some kind of record.’ Ron muttered, when he had heard the result, ‘They are going to be tough to beat.’
‘We beat Bulgaria.’ Harry reminded Ron, ‘I say we have a good chance.’
And the next nine days flew by. Training was getting steadily more difficult, Harry and Ron, amongst the other Aurors-in-training, were even duelling with fully qualified Aurors. Harry had not yet defeated an Auror in battle and knew that he would have to if he wanted to show how much he had improved.
Before Harry knew it, it was the twelfth of July, the day before the Quidditch World Cup Final, and he, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Mr and Mrs Weasley, Bill and Fleur, George, Charlie, Andromeda and Baby Teddy were all making their way to the camp site.
They had arrived to a neighbouring field by Portkey and started the short trek to the forest of dean to which the camp field for the visitors was. Eventually, they reached a clearing in the wood where the camp lay. Tent after tent, row after row, as far as Harry could see, of all shapes sizes and colours filled up the field.
Several hours later and they had erected a total of four tents. The first belonged to Mr and Mrs Weasley, Andromeda and Teddy. The second belonged to Bill, Fleur, Charlie and George. The third belonged to Ron and Hermione and the fourth belonged to Harry and Ginny. All the tents were similar to the one they had in 1994, just with different sizes to accommodate the different amount of people sharing one of the tents.
As the evening began to fall, Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione decided to go out and see if they could find any people they knew. They looked around the field for a short while but recognised no-one and then Hermione let out a small, shrill scream.
‘Viktor!’ She called. Ron’s grin dropped into a frown as the Bulgarian seeker, well-built and tanned, with a small goatee, turned around to see his friend Hermione Granger.
He grabbed Hermione’s hand and gently kissed it. ‘It has been too long.’
‘How are you, Viktor?’ Hermione asked, beaming. Krum had not even bothered to acknowledge Harry, Ron or Ginny were even there. Harry looked over at Ron. He seemed to be getting red.
‘I am very vell, thank you.’ Krum replied, ‘I have come to show my support for ze British team. ‘They have done very vell for themselves.’
‘Yes, they have!’ Hermione agreed. Harry noticed Hermione was blushing slightly. Ron had matched her colour, but out of anger, not flattery.
‘Listen, ve are having a party over at my tent. A celebration of a talented final, you could say.’ Krum said, ‘It vud be an honour if you wanted to come.’
‘Well, you see, my friend - ’
‘You’re friends can come too. It vill be a very entertaining event.’ Krum said, trying to convince Hermione. Hermione then nodded.
‘I’m up for it. What about you guys?’ She asked the other three.
Harry and Ginny nodded their heads. Ron, although reluctantly, also agreed to join them, and so the five headed for Krum’s tent. It was a good five minute walk until they arrived at Krum’s tent, but it was obvious when they found it. It was the biggest tent in the area, dark red and dominant. They all entered the tent and Harry gasped at the sight before him.
The inside of the tent was easily ten times bigger than his tent. The tent was about half the size of the Great Hall at Hogwarts. The walls were decorated with the colours of the Bulgarian flag (white, green and red). The ceiling was enchanted as a clear, starless sky. A long table stretched across the left side of the tent, filled with all sorts of foods from chocolates to sandwiches to crisps. To the right of the tent was a seating area which was currently occupied by several people.
Harry recognised a group of six immediately as the Bulgarian Quidditch team. There were also some witches he was not familiar with, and some older wizards who he was too not familiar with. There was Bulgarian music playing that Harry had never heard before.
‘Wow, this place looks amazing, Viktor!’ Hermione commented.
‘Thank you so much.’ Viktor replied, ‘I put a lot of work into ze decorations... feel free to socialise, I must go and complete a small task.’
Viktor Krum walked away from the group and over to his Quidditch team mates. As soon as Viktor was out of ear shot, Ron spoke up.
‘What is his problem?’ Ron asked, to no-one in particular.
‘What is it this time, Ronald?’ Hermione shot back, ‘What did he possible do wrong apart from be a gentlemen?’
‘He was all over you.’ Ron replied, to which Hermione rolled her eyes dramatically, ‘Well, he was!’
‘How so, Ronald?’ Hermione asked.
‘Kissing you on the hand, practically begging us to come to the party.’ Ron replied.
‘So? What do you think is going to happen, Ron?’ Hermione asked, ‘Do you think I’m going to run off with him?’
‘Well – I – dunno.’ Ron shrugged.
‘Well, if you don’t know, then you obviously don’t know me very well.’ Hermione replied, and walked off in a huff.
‘How do you manage to do it, you git?’ Ginny asked Ron. Ron gave a bizarre ‘What?!’ look and so Ginny explained, ‘You get her so angry so easily. She hasn’t seen Viktor Krum in ages, she was only catching up with him.’
‘Catching up with him?’ Ron exclaimed in amazement, ‘What’s there to catch up on? He was a fling she had in the fourth year. She’s with me now.’
‘You know, you can get so jealous over something so minor, sometimes.’ Ginny replied, ‘Isn’t that right, Harry?’
Harry took a step back, ‘Whoa, don’t get me involved. I’m staying out of this. It’s too much hassle.’
Ginny frowned and looked to retort, but Harry changed the subject, ‘I wonder who all these people are. I know that’s the Bulgarian Quidditch team, but who are the others?’
Ginny shrugged and Ron scoffed loudly.
‘Look at him.’ Ron blurted out, ‘With his poxy little goatee and his stupid sheepish grin. How can you two not see he’s trying it on?’
Harry watched as Viktor Krum once again kissed Hermione’s hand.
‘Maybe he just doesn’t realise you two are serious together?’ Harry said, ‘Want me to have a word with him?’
‘If I do it, I’ll probably try and hit him.’ Ron muttered.
Harry nodded and walked over to Krum. Hermione had drifted off to talk to some of the other guests. Harry walked up to Krum and tapped him on the shoulder.
‘Hey, Viktor, I was wondering if I could have a small chat with you.’ Harry said. He didn’t know how to really say this without sounding like he was accusing Krum of flirting with Hermione.
‘Vot is it, Harry?’ Krum asked. Harry lowered his voice a little so that he and Krum were talking privately.
‘How do you feel... about Hermione?’ Harry asked.
‘Hermione? She is very nice girl. I am very fond of her.’ Krum replied. Harry tried to look innocent as he said the next thing.
‘Ah... it’s a shame she’s taken, eh?’
Viktor Krum shrugged his shoulders, ‘Not really. I am fairly sure Hermione likes me alot.’
Harry thought that Viktor did not truly understand what he was saying.
‘What I mean is, she has a boyfriend... and they are quite serious together.’ Harry explained.
‘If you say so.’ Krum replied, and walked off. He followed Hermione and started up another conversation with her. Harry turned to Ron, and shrugged his shoulders, and Ron slammed the drink he had on the table.
Harry walked back over to Ron and Ginny. ‘He didn’t take any notice.’ Harry said, ‘It was pretty bizarre.’
‘What the hell is he playing at?’ Ron asked, livid.
‘You two are forgetting one thing here.’ Ginny interrupted, ‘It takes two to tango, so to speak. Hermione’s with you Ron, even if Krum tried something, he wouldn’t get very far. Hermione wouldn’t do anything like that.’
Ron’s face became less red, ‘Yeah, I guess you are right.’
Ginny drifted off and spoke with one of the chasers of Bulgaria, a tall witch with very long brown hair. A man with snowy white hair, a long and worn face, wearing red robes approached Harry and Ron.
‘Hello, Mr Potter, it is a honer to meet you.’ The man said, extending a hand, ‘My name is - ’
‘I know who you are!’ Ron shouted, taking the man’s outstretched hand and shaking it vigorously, ‘Aleksandar Andon! Manager of the Bulgarian Quidditch Team and Vratsa Vultures.’
‘That is correct.’ Andon replied.
‘Vratsa Vultures?’ Harry asked.
‘Harry! Show some respect!’ Ron said, ‘Vratsa Vultures are seven time champions of Europe!’
‘Oh... um, congratulations.’ Harry said awkwardly.
‘I see you are not familiar with ze Quidditch club teams?’ Andon asked.
‘No, not really.’ Harry muttered. As much as he loved Quidditch, only now did he realise just how little he knew about it.
‘Vell, I am an avid supporter of all kinds of Quidditch, including that of school Quidditch. I have seen a few of your games, Mr Potter, and you are very talented.’ Andon said.
‘Uh... thanks.’ Harry replied.
‘I have a small proposition for you.’ Andon said.
‘Yes. How would you like to train with the Vratsa Vultures?’ Andon asked.
Ron made a noise that resembled something of a squeal of excitement. Harry hadn’t played Quidditch in a long time and the offer was definitely appealing.
‘Well, the thing is, I’m currently on a Ministry Training Course and I don’t have much time for Quidditch – let alone training with a Professional team.’
‘Vell, have you ever considered a career in Quidditch instead?’ Andon inquired.
‘Not really. I enjoy playing but I’ve always wanted to be an Auror.’
‘Ah yes.’ Andon nodded, ‘It is such a shame that a talented player does not want to play on a Professional level but I cannot criticize a career in fighting dark vizards and vitches.’
Andon extended a hand once more.
‘It was very nice to meet you, Mr Potter.’ Andon said and Harry shook his hand. Ron shook his hand too and Aleksander Andon walked over to the punch bowl on the table.
‘I can’t believe it!’ Ron gasped, ‘Aleksander Andon! Who’d have thunk he’d be offering you a spot on the team?’
‘He didn’t... he offered me a chance to train with them’
‘Oh, come off it, Harry.’ Ron replied, ‘We both know you are good enough to play with them.’
Harry and Ron were interrupted by a loud shout that they knew was Hermione.
‘You are NOTHING but a pig-headed BRUTE!’ She shrieked. Harry and Ron snapped around to see she had her wand pointed at Viktor Krum. Ron’s face was elated at first at the thought of Hermione hurting Viktor and then he realised the seriousness of the situation and walked over to them.
‘What’s going on?’ Ron asked.
‘He – He – He tried to kiss me!’ Hermione shouted. The tent had gone deadly quiet and the only noise was from Ron and Hermione.
‘You what?’ Ron snapped, ‘Right, that’s it! I’m not putting up with this crap anymore!’
Ron reached for his wand and Viktor Krum reached for his. Then, in the spur of the moment, Ron dropped his wand on the floor and punched Krum across the face with his right hand. Krum stumbled backwards, his nose erupting with blood, causing several people to gasp, and then he pointed his wand at Ron and shouted, ‘Stupefy!’
Ron shot through the air and crashed into the food table. The table collapsed underneath his weight and all of the food from the table tipped on to Ron. Harry and Ginny drew their wands, but it was Hermione who cast a spell.
The spell hit Viktor Krum straight in the face and within seconds, boils of all shapes and sizes began to grow on his face. He looked rather like someone was pushing air in his skin, causing it to bubble and pop.
Krum started screaming and ran to the back of the tent, telling someone, who Harry assumed was a Healer, to fix his face. Hermione put her wand back in her pocket, breathing heavily, storm-faced. She turned and saw Ron on the broken table however, and all of her frustration melted into worry. Hermione, Harry and Ginny ran over to Ron and helped him to his feet.
‘Ron, are you OK?’ Hermione asked anxiously.
‘M’fine.’ Ron muttered, ‘Nice shot, Hermione.’
Hermione smiled sheepishly. ‘Thanks, he deserved it – I told him I was with you, I did, but he still tried it on. I pulled away a couple of times, but he was adamant.’
‘S’alright.’ Ron muttered again, ‘I always knew he was a prat. Shoulda used my wand, it would have saved me getting thrown across the room.’
‘Oh, I dunno.’ Harry interjected, ‘I haven’t seen a good muggle duel in ages.’
Ron grinned, ‘I got him good, didn’t I?’
Hermione gripped Ron and hugged him tight. She then kissed him several times before Ron even realised what was happening. ‘I’m so sorry. I should have listened to you, Ron.’
‘I knew he was trying it on. None of you noticed.’ Ron replied. ‘But there’s no need to ‘pologise. I got him, that’s all I care.’
They didn’t stay at the tent. Viktor Krum hadn’t kicked them out, as he was too busy getting his face healed, but they did not feel any desire to stay. When they arrived at their own tents, they decided to keep what had happened from Mr and Mrs Weasley and Andromeda. It was nothing they needed to know.
George however knew something was up and eventually Ron succumbed and they told him what had happened.
‘You had a party and didn’t invite me?’ George asked, pretending to be hurt, ‘And you kept a muggle duel away from me. How could you?’
Hermione answered, ‘We’re sorry George, but it all kind of happened really fa—oh.’
The group laughed at Hermione’s late realisation of George’s sarcasm. Eventually, they split into their own tents. Harry and Ginny entered their own tent and zipped it up. Ginny magically enchanted the tent to keep anyone from entering, as Harry didn’t have the slightest idea of how it worked.
‘Well, at least it wasn’t a boring party.’ Harry joked.
Ginny giggled, ‘It was hilarious to watch Krum get his comeuppance. And I thought he was a decent guy, even if he was a little dim-witted.’
‘It was probably his dim-wittedness that got him in that situation.’ Harry replied, ‘You looking forward to the game tomorrow?’
Ginny took the bobble out of her hair and changed into her pyjamas. She slid into the bed with Harry, which she had magically enchanted to make bigger, and snuggled in.
‘Of course.’ Ginny smiled, ‘I’m hoping we destroy Germany. I don’t even remember the last time we won the Quidditch World Cup.’
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