Chapter 9 : Chapter 9: Quidditch
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Without warning Harry pulled Ginny into a small shop that they had been passing. “Harry, what-” her mouth fell open. They were in a jewelry store. “What are we doing in here?”
He grinned down at her sheepishly. “I know this is a little backwards, but you need an engagement ring.”
“No I don’t,” she protested as he dragged her over to a glass display that held rings.
A polite salesman came over and asked if they needed any help. It was clear to Ginny that he thought they were just a couple of poor teenagers.
Harry was looking down into the case, but Ginny refused to look. Her cheeks were on fire. “Harry, no.”
“Yes,” he said firmly. “We’re looking for an engagement ring. It’s a little backwards cause we eloped a few weeks ago.” He grinned at the salesman.
“I see your wedding bands are gold, so you’ll want something to match that I expect,” the guy who’s name tag read Matthew suggested. “What would you like for an engagement ring, madam?”
Ginny sighed at the hopeful look on Harry’s face. He clearly wanted to do this for her so she gave in and finally glanced down into the case. Everything was beautiful. Some of them were clearly not for her, though. “Something simple and not too big, I guess. I play sports a lot and wouldn’t want to get it caught on anything.”
“Do you want a diamond?” he asked carefully.
The green of Harry’s eyes flashed into her mind and she blurted out, “maybe an emerald?”
The man beamed. “I have the perfect ring for you, I think.” He reached down and unlocked the case. He pulled out a small ring with an emerald as the center of three stones, flanked on either side by smaller diamonds. It was beautiful and it sparkled as he held it out to her.
Ginny couldn’t move, so Harry took it and slid it onto her ring finger. It fit perfectly. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“It’s perfect,” Harry agreed. He gently kissed her and turned to the salesman. “We’ll take it.”
Harry moved off with him to pay and Ginny saw him pull a wad of Muggle bills from his pocket. The salesman was clearly surprised, but glad none the less. Ginny thought that he was assuming they wouldn’t be able to afford much since they looked barely older than kids.
She looked down at her ring again and let out a shaking breath. It really was perfect and it suited her. It wasn’t flashy and it wasn’t so tall that it would get caught on things. She was small so anything too large would look odd on her.
“All set,” Harry told her. He put an arm around her and bent to kiss her neck. “We’ve got one more place to go.”
Once they were out on the street Ginny said, “Thank you. It’s lovely.”
“It doesn’t hold a candle to you, but I’m glad you like it.” He paused and she stopped as well, looking up at him curiously. “I know you wouldn’t have ever asked for one, but I wanted you to have it, to have everything that you would have had if we’d gotten properly engaged.”
“I don’t need one. I really love it, but I would have been okay without a ring.” She pulled him on to continue their walk. “Actually, I don’t have any other jewelry besides my wedding band. That was not a hint!” She added forcibly. “I’m more of a useful present sort of person.”
Harry laughed and squeezed her hand. “I know which is why we’re heading for Diagon Alley for your next present.”
“I don’t need anything else, Harry!” She told him exasperatedly. “I’m all set.”
He pulled her into an alleyway and before she knew it he’d Apparated them to right outside of the Leaky Cauldron.
“Come on,” he said. He sounded like a kid on Christmas.
“Harry!” Ginny tried to protest but before she knew it they were standing in front of Quality Quidditch Supply. “I don’t need anything. I’ve got all the stuff I need.”
He snorted and dragged her into the shop. “Your broom was okay for Hogwarts Quidditch but it’s not going to get you onto the Harpies’ team.” He went over to the man behind the counter who started to splutter as he recognized who it was. “My wife needs the best broom you’ve got.”
Pulling himself together with obvious effort, the man showed them the latest version of the firebolt. “Just came out this summer. The firebolt line is really making a name for itself in professional Quidditch. England, of course, didn’t make it to the World Cup this year but the Australians’ who did take home the cup were all playing on this broom.”
Ginny listened intently as the man described all of the upgrades to the broom and how fast it could fly. She glanced longingly at the broom but then said, “I can use my broom, Harry. I’m a good flyer. I don’t need a new one.”
Harry turned to the man and asked, “Could you give us a minute?”
“Of course, of course!” He grinned and went off to help another customer who had just walked in.
“Ginny,” Harry said softly. “We are rich. My parents were well off, Sirius was bloody loaded, and I got 50,000 galleons with my Order of Merlin for killing Voldemort. It’s not going to even make a dent in our savings, okay? I want you to make the team and except for a few games with your brothers this summer you haven’t played Quidditch in months. You’re going to need an excellent broom until you get back in shape.”
“But-” Her brain was frozen on just how much money he, no they, had. She’d never had more than a galleon to her name.
He shook his head. “Plus you have Teddy and you can’t get in any meaningful practice this week before the try outs. I want you to make the team and I think you can, but let’s give you an edge over the competition just in case. Come on, Ginny. Just give in.”
She really wanted to give in. The broom looked amazing.
Harry chuckled and kissed her solidly on the mouth, knowing he’d won. “We’ll take it,” he called over to the salesman.
A few minutes later they walked out of the shop with the fastest broom in the world. Ginny’s head was spinning as she thanked him. They went down to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to say hello to George.
“You got a firebolt?” George said with amazement. “Bloody hell, Harry. If I marry you, can I get a firebolt too?”
“You’re not exactly my type,” Harry said evenly.
George shrugged. “Had to try, mate. Ginny’s better looking than I am, anyway. Not sure I’d be able to compete for your affections.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “It helps that I have both of my ears.”
“Too right it does,” he said, tugging on her ear with affection.
“And,” Ginny added, “I didn’t talk him into it. I tried to talk him out of it.”
George looked stunned. Harry backed her up. “She did.”
“What on earth is wrong with you?” George asked a glint in his eyes that she so rarely saw these days. “You deserve at least a firebolt for having to put up with this git.”
Harry chuckled and Ginny grinned. “It’s not so bad.”
“Did you see the Daily Prophet article about you?” George asked and when they nodded he asked, “Where is Teddy, by the way?”
“Mum came over and kicked us out of our own house so she could spoil him,” Ginny told him.
George nodded sagely. “Yeah, she’s itching for grandkids. I heard her giving Bill a good lecture about it. Has she started in on you yet?”
“Nope, I’m trying out for the Harpies this week.” Ginny told him. “No babies in Professional Quidditch.”
They talked to George for another few minutes before making their way back down the street. It was nearly time for the shops to be closing, but Harry paused in front of the Magical Menagerie. “We really need an owl,” he said softly, almost to himself.
“It can wait, Harry,” Ginny replied gently. “If you’re not ready, it can wait.”
“I am,” he said more confidently and they entered the shop.
Ginny let him look over the owls by himself, knowing that he needed to do it alone. He still missed Hedwig terribly. She made her way over to a crate full of kittens that were marked as part-Kneazle, just like Crookshanks. A particularly cute black fluff ball batted a paw at her and she laughed and picked it up, cuddling the little baby up to her face. She’d missed Arnold, who had died over Christmas during her 6th year.
“This one,” she heard Harry say to the proprietor of the shop, a witch in heavy black spectacles.
Ginny turned to look and saw it was a tawny owl who was gazing down at Harry with what could only be described as a soppy expression. It was clearly love at first sight.
Harry looked over to her and said, “and that kitten as well. Boy or girl?” he asked the saleswitch.
“Girl,” she replied as she run up their order.
Ginny huffed, “You can’t keep buying me things!”
“Can you really stop me?” He asked inquisitively. “You love cats, Ginny.”
“Yes, but,” she said patiently, “we have rather a lot going on right now.”
“Only for another few days,” he reminded her and she knew he meant that Teddy was going to be going home. As much as she’d enjoy getting a full night’s sleep again, her heart twisted in a horrible way at the thought of not having him with them all the time. “The kitten might help us both with the, uh, separation.” He walked over and took the kitten out of her hands to cuddle her to him. She rubbed her head against his chin. “Teddy is going to have a lot of fun pulling your fur.”
“She’s part-Kneazle,” the saleswitch said and they moved over to the counter. Ginny took the kitten back so Harry could pay. “They’re rare and very clever.”
They left Diagon Alley with a broom, an owl and a kitten in a basket. Harry hailed a taxi and they climbed in, getting a very odd look from the driver. Harry gave him the directions to Grimmauld Square and sat back.
“I’m going to take driving lessons soon. Your dad’s hooked me up with a teacher. I spoke to him about it. I start next week.” He kissed her cheek and swore under his breath. He began to whisper in her ear so the driver wouldn’t hear. “I forgot! With everything else that has been going on, I forgot to tell you that I’d scheduled your apparition test for tomorrow at 11am.”
Ginny had forgotten that she’d asked him to do that for her a while ago. They’d been a little busy. “I can’t go tomorrow, Harry! I have Teddy, and…”
“It’s fine,” he assured her, speaking normally. “I’ll meet you at the underground station at 10:45 and I’ll walk you into the Ministry. You should be safe enough getting there, but if anything goes wrong then get back home or send your Patronus to me. I’ll keep Teddy in my office while you take the test.”
Ginny raised an eyebrow at this. “You’re going to have a baby with you in the office?”
“Yep, just make sure you bring that carrier thing,” he told her. At her continued look of skepticism he said, “No one is going to mind having Tonks’ son there. All the Aurors have a soft spot for him.”
Ginny relented and they were back in Grimmauld Square shortly after that. “Mum?” Ginny called when they entered the house. She was extremely thankful that Mrs. Black didn’t start screaming anymore. Harry put Muffliato on her every morning and she didn’t seem to know that anyone was about. Bill had also gotten rid of Mad-Eye’s curse for Harry months before. It made the house more habitable.
“In here, dear,” Mrs. Weasley called happily.
They walked down to the kitchen to see her mother and father finishing up a late supper. “Teddy is asleep upstairs. We had a marvelous time with him!” She assured them. “You should go away more often.”
Harry snorted and Ginny rolled her eyes. “Thanks Mum, I can feel the love.”
“What all did you buy?” Mrs. Weasley asked, eyeing all the packages.
“Too much and it’s all Harry’s fault!” Ginny said with amusement. She set the basket down and took her new kitten out of it.
“Thanks, Gin,” Harry said dryly.
Her dad reached out for the kitten. “She’s very cute, Ginny.”
“Is that an engagement ring?” Her mother queried.
She nodded and held out her hand, her cheeks slightly pink. “He insisted that I needed one so we stopped into a place right after dinner.”
“Of course you need one,” her mother agreed, nodding approvingly at Harry. “You also needed that owl, but I know you miss Hedwig. Any names yet?”
“Ginny decided on Cassiopia for the kitten,” said Harry, “but has already shortened it to Cassie. I’m nearly set on Rowena for our owl. She seems to like it.”
“I see you wanted to replace your broom, too, Harry,” she said looking at the long brown package.
Harry shook his head. “Nah, that’s Ginny’s broom. She’s going to need it for the try outs on Thursday.”
Mrs. Weasley raised a questioning eye brow at Ginny. Ginny got instantly defensive. “I told him not to buy any of this stuff! I tried to talk him out of all of it, but he wouldn’t listen!”
“She’s right, Mrs. Weasley. She did try. I’m sure she’ll let me borrow it once or twice, though.”
Ginny smirked up at him. “If you’re really good, maybe.”
“Ginny!” Mrs. Weasley said clearly horrified, but Harry and Ginny only laughed.
The next day Ginny made it through her Apparition test with no trouble. She went back up to the Auror office to find several women cooing over Teddy, who was lapping up the attention. Ron, who was holding the baby, seemed to be enjoying the attention as well.
“You little flirt,” she said lovingly to the baby as she walked over to them. Teddy saw her and beamed which effectively melted her heart into goo. “Where’s Harry?”
“Having a quick word with the Minister,” Ron told her, handing the baby over. The woman patted his soft head, and one kissed his cheek before they all went back to their desks.
She looked around and saw Summer Abbott coming towards them. “I’ll see you later, Ginny,” Ron said and he went back to his desk.
Summer looked anxious. “Ginny, I wanted to say something to you about the article.”
“It’s okay, I know it isn’t true,” Ginny assured her.
Summer looked relieved. “Good! I didn’t want any trouble between you. Honestly, Harry is completely crazy about you. We had a couple of women come in to file a report. From the look of them I’d say they were part-Veela! They were trying every charm in the book to get his attention but he didn’t even seem to notice! When he talks about you… well it’s clear to see that you mean everything to him.”
Although Ginny knew these things it was still nice to hear it confirmed by someone else.
“Hey!” Harry came over to them, grinning at her. “How did it go?”
“Aced it on the first try,” she said tilting her head up to kiss him.
“I knew you would,” he said, his eyes only on hers.
By Thursday evening Ginny’s stomach was in knots. She gave last minute instructions to her mother, who was clearly humoring her. “Yes dear, I’ve got it. I know how to take care of one little baby.” Her mother was currently wearing Teddy in the Ergo, and making supper. Her father chuckled.
“Okay, I know… sorry. I’ll be off then and Harry will be here in an hour and a half.”
“Good luck sweetie,” her Dad said, kissing her cheek.
Ginny Apparated with her new broom to the try out field for the Harpies. She was directed into the changing room and changed into the uniforms that they had for all the new hopefuls. Several of the women eyed her new broom longingly. She hoped it worked. She hadn’t had a chance to even fly it yet.
When she left the changing room it was to see, to her great surprise, Harry talking to Gwenog Jones. She walked over to them. “What are you doing here?”
“Come to watch the try out. Normally people aren’t allowed to watch, but Gwenog has agreed that I can stay, just this once.”
“We start in 2 minutes, Potter,” Gwenog told her as she walked away.
“What about Teddy? Your training?” She asked him.
Harry leaned in and kissed her. “I got out of training since it was Patronuses and your Mum and I worked it out already.” He gently turned her and whispered in her ear, “You’ll be amazing, Ginny. Go make the team.”
Ginny felt bolstered as she walked over to the others. The women trying out were in yellow, while the current team was in their customary dark green uniforms. There were about 20 other women trying out. Only one member of the current team needed to be replaced, a Beater. They had lost their Beater to the Death Eaters. The reserve Keeper had already been given a spot on the team just before the end of the last season when the previous Keeper got pregnant. She was expected to keep her spot on the team. The reserve team was completely up for grabs. “Although,” Gwenog assured them, “if you’re good enough you can knock a current team member off the team.”
They were evenly split among whom was trying out for one spot so Gwenog divided them into 3 teams of 7, with a Keeper, Seeker, 2 Beaters and 3 Chasers in each group. Ginny was placed on the second team. The teams would each compete against the current Harpies team for 20 minutes so that Gwenog could get a feel for them and then they would switch to the second team, then the third. At the end they would start over again and Gwenog would cut them from the team if they didn’t keep up, and someone from the next team would fly into the game, face being cut, until they had wittled it down to only the 7 players. If they had a tie they’d have a face off at the end.
“Now, several of the reserve players from last year are trying out again so they have a slight advantage over you, so make sure you newbies put your best efforts forward.
They got started. The first team wasn’t bad, but Ginny could see a few players that she knew wouldn’t make it through the second round of play. Next her team was up. She got up onto her broom and after a clumsy she fell right back into the groove of play. It was wonderful! She’d never flown that fast and the sheer delight of flying again beat out her last bit of nerves. She scored several goals, dodged Bludgers, stole the Quaffle more than once, passed the ball enough to make sure the other hopeful Chasers scored as well and was sorry when their time was up. She landed on the ground next to the first team breathless and elated.
“You were great,” one of the women from the first team told her. She had brown hair and was about a head taller than Ginny. She’d been one of the better Beaters trying out.
“Thanks! You too,” she told her.
After the third team had played, the first team went back up again. Within minutes Gwenog had cut the Keeper, one of the Beaters (not the brunette that Ginny had just spoken to) and one of the Chasers. Another Chaser from Ginny’s team flew up. Ginny would be called up third if she made it that far. Soon enough they’d been through all the players and Gwenog had recalled a few of the cut players back. Ginny didn’t leave the game once, and she remained there for the rest of the try outs. In the end Gwenog called a halt and told them all to land and immediately named the players that were staying.
Ginny’s heart was soaring. She had made the reserve team! The brunette, whose name she found out was Amber, had also made the reserve team. She stood on the grass and listened as Gwenog dismissed the other players who hadn’t made the team. She felt bad, looking at their disappointed faces, but it couldn’t dim her own happiness at having made it.
“Now,” Gwenog said as she turned back to the Harpies team and her new reserve team. Ginny saw that the regular team was looking wary. “Potter, you’re going to try for the regular team.”
Ginny’s mouth fell open in shock, but she quickly snapped it shut.
Gwenog continued. “The way we play this is my current Chasers will join forces with the Beaters and Keeper reserve team, including you, while the reserve team’s Chasers join the regular team. This way you’re playing against our best Keeper and Beaters. Our regular Seeker and reserve Seeker will fill in for Chasers to even out the numbers. Four Chasers against four.” Gwenog looked around to see if everyone got it. “I’m looking for how many goals you score and also how well you work as a team. This is a team sport and if you can’t be a team member, you won’t be moved up.” She stared hard at her current Chaser. “You know the drill, same goes for you.”
They got playing. Ginny couldn’t imagine that it was easy for the current Harpies Chasers to want to play with her, but they all did, knowing that if they weren’t including her in the game that they also wouldn’t make the cut.
In the end Ginny scored the 2nd highest number of goals and she was placed on the Harpies team. She felt dazed as the woman she’d beat out shook her hand and told her that she deserved it. “Thanks and I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” the blonde woman said, smiling. “You really are much better than I am!”
Harry was waiting for her as she walked off the field. She ran to him, dropped her broom and flew into his arms. He caught her and swung her around, kissing her until they were both breathless. “I’m really proud of you,” he told her.
A/N: Just one more chapter and this story will be finished. It's written, and will get it posted as soon as I can.
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