"You were amazing out there!" Harry cheered, his hands gripped beneath Ginny’s arms as he effortlessly lifted her into the air. Her long red hair swayed about. Her skin, still damp, glistened and her cheeks glowed red from exertion and excitement. He barely had Ginny aloft before her legs encircled his waist. A moment later her mouth was against his. She relented long enough for him to breath, “the catch…” She attacked his lips again. “Spectacular…” Her laugh silenced him and the hands cupping his cheek held him captive.
Eventually Harry placed her back onto the ground; his eyes never wavering from hers. Her gaze wandered away, hands fidgeting. "I wasn't all that great, Harry." The sound scarcely more than a whisper. "He barely challenged me."
"Which makes it even better." Harry lifted her up into the air again and spun them around. Her laughter once again filled the abandoned corridor. "Just makes me begin to wonder about the final next year." Above him her entire body radiated nothing but joy.
"Not so confident are you, Potter?" She grinned as he settled her back onto firmer ground.
The glint in her eyes made him step closer, pressing his body firmly against hers. Ginny moved back until she bumped into the wall with a soft thud. Their heavy breathing was the only sound outside Gwenog's office, which was the only place they could meet.
"I know you'll be there," he whispered in a low voice. It became increasingly hot in his robes. Ginny tilted her face upwards, lips parted. He eagerly closed the distance with his own. It was softer, more demanding than earlier.
He moved away slightly. “I’m just not so sure how long it’s going to take for me to win.” Harry began placing kisses along her jaw line. A soft whimper spurred him onwards. His fingers brushed along her neck and into her messy tangled hair.
She gave a low moan, but firm hands against Harry’s chest pushed him away. "As much as..." Her cheeks flushed crimson as she panted. "I need to go shower and change. They'll be wondering where I've wandered off to."
"I suppose," he replied while letting his fingers tug at the hem of her jersey. Then he stepped back reluctantly. "I'll see you at the Burrow then.” Her face betrayed the same longing. “Ron will be keen to celebrate."
Ginny glanced to the side hesitantly. With a slight a shake of her head she made a decision. "See you there." She pecked his cheek and hurried away before either of them succumbed.
Harry stood alone in the dark corridor for a few more minutes, willing his body to relax. He was not currently in a state in which to arrive at his future in-laws. Taking a last deep breath he disapparated from the stadium.
Ginny arrived at the Burrow feeling like a new woman. The warm shower had done wonders after the hours of flying in the cold early winter’s air. The warmth, unfortunately, did not dispel the feel of Harry’s hands moving across her exposed skin. It had been the right decision to leave, however. Her teammates had already been suspicious and had asked a few questions about the momentary absence. Thankfully they knew about Harry.
It had proved rather difficult to keep the relationship away from the team. In the end Gwenog had decided to get it out in the open. The other Harpies deserved to know the truth. Ginny had wanted to wait, but Gwenog was right as always, it had been better to tell sooner rather than later. The girls had been silent, the reaction would probably still come.
Ginny opened the door to the kitchen. Loud voices came from the living room. She edged passed the family clock, her hand pointed at home as it always did. Harry’s voice carried from beyond the wall. Ron’s joined in a moment later. She silently walked out of the kitchen to find Harry talking animatedly with Ron. Arms flailed about and their eyes already appeared slightly glazed; the half empty bottle of firewhiskey on the table the obvious culprit.
She stood still for a moment, watching the two talk. Never in her wildest imaginations had she ever envisioned that a brother of hers would accept and be friends with a man she loved. Her head tilted slightly to the side. They really were becoming friends. With a soft incredulous laugh, she glided further into the room; her parents were nowhere to be seen. "Enjoying yourself, love?" Harry jumped in surprise.
"Yes," he replied a bit louder than usual. "Ron and I were just having the most interesting discussion. He thinks the Kestrels will be giving the Cannons a good run for the top position in the log."
"But they barely won their opening game," Ginny said shaking her head. "The Snitch was their only points."
"Their Chasers need some work, the Beaters are trying their best, but they have a darn good Seeker." Ron said with all the authority of a Quidditch expert, which Ginny grudgingly had to admit he was.
"Ron thinks they'll continue to win games with their Seeker."
"They could if Linnaeus catches the Snitch before they fall 150 points behind." Ginny had to agree with the logic and Linnaeus really was a talented Seeker. "But he is getting a bit old isn't he?"
"He's barely thirty!" Harry roared. "Experience does count. Eight seasons in the toughest league makes for a solid player."
Ginny slipped her arm around Harry's waist. “Worried, old man?”
“Now that’s just low,” he moaned while trying desperately to hide his mirth. Ginny made no reply, instead she relaxed in his hold, rested her head against Harry’s shoulder and listened as they continued to discuss the various teams.
The wonderful moment had to be broken. "There you are, dear," her mother's voice called from the stairs. "We listened to the entire game. Seems you didn't disgrace yourself."
"Much cleaner game this time." Ginny moved across to her mother. "I wish you could've been there," she added.
"I know, but we don’t want to go crowd each of your games." Her mother fussed with Ginny’s uncombed and tangled hair. "And we knew Harry and Ron were there to look out for you."
"And Gwenog," Ginny mentioned quickly. "And extra security." Her mother nodded slowly before scurrying into the kitchen without a backwards glance. Ginny sniffed and could almost swear she smelt something burning. But that was impossible, her mother never burnt dinner.
"And you did stun the last remaining Death Eater," Harry said proudly from beside her." He kissed the top of her head. "Something I'll be eternally grateful for."
She hugged him, dinner all but forgotten. "Well he was trying to hurt you."
"Bad idea?" Harry asked.
She narrowed her eyes. "No one ever messes with my Harry." Even standing on tiptoes she still had to pull Harry down towards her. The effort proved rewarding.
"Now that is not what a decent bloke like me needs to see!" Ron grumbled loudly.
"So I can't kiss you in front of them?" Hermione sounded genuinely hurt. Ginny turned to face her friend, who’d just arrived, only to notice the glint in the other woman’s eyes.
"Well, yes... um... no..." Ron grew bright red. "What was the question again?"
Hermione moved across towards her boyfriend and snogged him scandalously. Ginny’s eyes bulged and stomach twisted. “Hermi…” The words were smothered by Harry. She tried complaining, but he did not relent. In the end Ginny turned the groan into a soft moan.
Harry woke early the following morning. His head felt the slight effect of the Firewhiskeys he and Ron had consumed. Ginny would need to be thanked for limiting Ron, who could absorb drinks almost as well as food while expecting others to keep up. Then there was Kreacher who needed to be thanked as the little elf had prepared a concoction, though he seemed a bit out of practise since he’d not made one since Sirius’ death.
After a quick shower, Harry dressed in some Cannon's kit and Apparated to the stadium. Harry grimaced at the voice of the team captain. Not that he disliked Oliver, but it was too early in the morning for the man’s personal brand of enthusiasm.
He was a youngish man a few years out of Hogwarts where he'd been the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He was not the most talented player, but Oliver Wood made up for it with pure passion for the game. The obsessive passion is what earned him the Captaincy. Contrary to what many people believed, those four championships had a lot to do with Oliver being at the helm.
"Morning, Harry!" Oliver came rushing over to Harry. "You ready for a hard day on the broom?"
Harry glared at his captain, wandering if the man knew the meaning of a light session the day before a game. "I'm always giving my best, Oliver." His tone was flat as he turned to remove his kit from the locker.
A firm hand landed on Harry’s shoulder. "Yes, but all this talk about a girl, Harry..."
Harry's grip tightened around the locker. "What about her?"
"Well... we're not sure if a woman is in the best interest for your playing ability."
Harry spun round, using his few extra inches to tower over the Cannons captain. "And since when have you gained the authority to tell me what is in my best interest?"
Oliver did not back down. "I have the team’s best interest at heart." Wood might be a pain at times, but no one could ever doubt his loyalty to the team. Most would argue that his wife came a distant second, but Harry knew Oliver loved her more than anything.
Harry dropped his head slightly. "I'll talk to the team before practise and sort this out."
Wood clapped Harry on the shoulder. "Thanks."
The changing room filled slowly as the team began to file in. Mark Greyton the new Chaser arrived after Harry. The young blond man was a couple of years older than Harry. His charming smile and blue eyes drew young women by the droves and he'd only played a single game.
He was followed by Patrick Edgecombe, a muscular Beater, who was married and a father of two. In a way he was the team father and was gentle in person in contrast to his fierceness on the pitch.
Jonathan Markam, a Chaser, swaggered into the room as Harry pulled on his jersey. His long brown hair hung well passed his shoulders. The man always had a new witch hanging onto him.
Grant Thompson, the other beater, and Michael Spinnet the last Chaser strode into the room, both laughing at a joke or something.
Harry sat alone on a bench in the corner while the players laughed and joked as they changed. Oliver cleared his throat and the group fell silent after a few laughs and sniggers. "Right, listen up men, Harry has some things to tell you."
With a strange calm, Harry stood. The entire team looked expectantly up at him. "Since last night news has spread that I have a girlfriend." The other team members nodded. "And it appears that some of you have some concerns about some girl messing with my playing ability." Their heads moved a bit more overtly, but still hesitantly. "Well I'm not going to dump her."
"What!" Oliver shouted. "But I thought..."
"We're engaged to be married," Harry said in a low voice that commanded respect.
"Some power hungry scarlet woman that is just after your fame and fortune." Oliver grumbled loudly. "Precisely why you need to dump the girl, Harry."
"Don't you dare say that about her!" Harry shouted; power began to radiate off him. The team leaned back, only Greyton’s eyes went wide with wonder, the rest had felt it from him before.
Patrick stood and pushed Oliver farther away from Harry. "Easy now, captain," the older man said softly. Oliver did not attempt to struggle against the broad shouldered Beater. "As long as she makes you happy, Harry, then I'm fine with this whole thing." He laughed. "But we're family, we've all shared secrets over a pint or two." He gestured at the whole team. "We have your best interest at heart." Patrick glanced at Wood; the captain nodded reluctantly. "I might not agree with his tone, but Oliver is only worried about this woman using you."
Harry felt his anger recede. The power surging through his body decreased until it vanished to nothing more than the familiar hum within. "Sorry, Oliver," Harry managed to say. "But don't you dare speak about her in that way again."
Oliver nodded his head jerkily. "It would help if we knew the girl."
Ginny had told her team, it was only right that he should tell his. "Ok, we're obviously still keeping this out of the public eye. You heard what I said to the reporter over the wireless.” Harry scratched at the stubble on his cheek. “Neither of us need the media distracting us at the moment."
"You make her sound like some celebrity." Grant was the one to laugh this time.
Harry took a deep breath; this shouldn't be hard to say. "Her name is Ginny Weasley, and she's the Harpies’ new Seeker."
"You're sleeping with one of them!" Oliver shouted. Patrick held out an arm and caught a kicking and flailing captain. "What's she getting out of you?"
Harry rolled his eyes at the struggling form of Wood. "We do know how to keep team secrets from each other Wood." Oliver stopped fighting and Patrick let him go.
He then clapped Harry on the shoulder. "Pretty girl, Weasley. So how'd you meet?"
"Over the summer break, we sort of bumped into each other and you know, spent time together and here we are."
"Explains that daft heroic saving her life and she yours last month." It was Jonathan who spoke this time. He was looking in the mirror, busy combing his hair as if he did not realise that they were about to go flying. “It really had me doubting your sanity.”
Coach McGill, who had arrived a few minutes earlier, cleared his throat. "That's enough chatting you bunch of pansies." He seemed amused as he glanced across at Jonathan. "Let's get out on the pitch and run a few basic drills before the weekend's game. The Tornadoes should be an easy game, but let's not take any chances."
The group agreed. Despite their differences, each man was loyal and hard working. Even Jonathan allowed his hair to be blown about a bit in order to win a game.
Harry arrived at his flat after a short day’s flying to find Ginny lying lazily on the couch reading the Witch Weekly. "You're back early," she said with a yawn.
"Shouldn't you be at home?" Harry asked. "Not that I mind."
She dropped the magazine, which had hit the shelves this morning while he practised. Harry glanced at the cover to see a familiar tint of red. He picked it up before sitting. He gave Ginny a quick hello kiss.
"Nice photo," he commented. "So, Miss Weasley, how does it feel to be famous?"
"The same." She shrugged and began to snuggle up against him.
He grinned. "Wait 'til you go to Diagon Alley. They'll swarm all over you."
She sighed knowingly. "At least I can hide here with you." She smiled. "So how was practise? You don't seem worn out."
"No." Harry agreed. "Just a few light drills. The kind of things to keep your mind and body active before a game."
"Yeah, Gwenog does much the same." He leaned back against the backrest allowing Ginny to rest her head on his lap.
"I told the team about you today." The words were barely a whisper.
"And?" she asked. Her body tensed beneath him slightly.
"They took it well apart from Wood. But he'll get his stubborn head around it at some point."
"Or his wife will." Ginny grinned. "You think we should invite them over for dinner?"
Harry sat up. "You know, that might actually help."
"It’s settled. How about the day after the match?"
"I'll owl him," Harry agreed. He kissed her forehead then stood to write a letter.
"Take a shower after you're done," Ginny called out. "You stink Potter."
"Yes, dear." Harry chuckled as he disappeared into the bedroom.
He came back a few minutes later, hair damp, wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
"Ginny," Harry began. The slightly nervous tone in his voice made her sit up. He sat on the edge of the table before the couch. "I've been thinking."
"Never good," Ginny smiled.
He grinned. "I want to set a date."
"You do?" she said excitedly. "I've got a few ideas."
"Great." Harry relaxed visibly. "I was worried that you would want to wait until after the season to start planning."
"I'd never be able to wait that long." She patted the seat next to her and Harry moved across to join her on the couch. When he sat down she twisted around and laid her head on his lap.
"I was thinking either over the short Christmas break or just after the final." Harry began to speak as his hands worked through her long hair. The slow movements were soothing.
"Christmas?" she repeated to herself. It would be nice. "Too soon. Mum and I would never be able to get everything done in two months."
"I thought so." Harry let out a sigh. "We could try getting married during the season. Would you be able to manage it in January?"
It was Ginny's turn to let out a deep breath. "Maybe, but we'll be so busy I'd never be able to enjoy the day and the honeymoon would be a rush."
"True, I get quite tense as the season progresses."
"The final is on the first of March," Ginny whispered. "We could get married the next weekend."
"The eighth of March," Harry said the date to himself. "I can work with that."
"It's settled." Harry leaned down to kiss her. "The eighth it is."
Ginny arrived home later that evening, her arms laden with bridal magazines. "Mum!"
Her mother entered a moment later. "Have a nice time at Harry's?"
Ginny nodded enthusiastically. "We decided on a date!"
"Really?" Her mother's face lit up with joy. Then her eyes widened in anticipation at the sight of all the magazines. "When?"
"The eighth of March. The weekend after the final. It will give us time to prepare and leave Harry and me with a good break before the next season starts."
"Yes," her mother agreed. "Sounds about the best time."
"We considered the Christmas break," Ginny continued.
"Too soon," her mother said quickly as she began to look through Ginny’s pile. "We'd never finish your dress in time."
"Not if we use magic," Ginny teased.
Her mother looked up sharply. "No daughter of mine will ever get married in a dress made from magic. It's a process, something made delicately by hand the long way."
It was hard to disagree. Something you worked on hard is something you valued so much more. She only had to think of all the hours spent training.
"So when are we going shopping?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
Ginny grinned and retrieved a piece of parchment from her pocket. "Second month’s pay and a bonus for two Snitches caught."
Her mother's eyes goggled at the number on the parchment. "Um..." her mother coughed, "Is that three zeros?"
"Three thousand Galleons." Ginny smiled ever wider even though she felt guilty. Two games into the season and she had already earned twice her father's yearly income. A thousand for each game played and a five hundred Galleon bonus for catching the Snitch. "The points scored for catching a Snitch is very valuable to the team. Harry mentioned something about media rights and Galleons per point." She scratched the side of her face. “And senior players earn more per point in bonuses.”
"Wonder what Harry earns?" Her mother thought aloud. "If you're making so much already."
Ginny shrugged. "Perhaps I could ask him.” She actually already had a rough idea from some comments he’d made. At the moment she figured it to be three to four times her earnings.
"He'll tell you if he wants, dear."
Ginny shrugged, it mattered little. They were earning enough between them and neither had even begun to tap into personal sponsorships. She was considering it, but doubted that Harry ever would.
"We just need..."
The door burst open. "I'm getting married!" Ron bellowed as he stormed into the kitchen with frantic wide eyes. "I... I just walked into the jeweler bought a ring and... I asked her!"
"Hermione said yes?" Her mother went into shock; probably more from Hermione agreeing rather than Ron’s proposal.
"Yeah," Ron scrunched his nose. "I think she said yes. Wait... um... she took the ring... kissed me... and placed it on her finger... um..."
Ginny jumped to her feet and hugged her brother. "That's a yes, you prat."
"Oh... good," Ron collapsed into a chair. "I'm just an Auror in training. I don't have the money to support a wife. What if she wants kids? We'll never be able to afford the wedding!" A hand ran roughly though his hair. “A house, what about a house!”
"She works in the law department, Ron!" Ginny laughed out loud. "And you'll be a full Auror by next year. You've only got, what, two months training left. You'll be fine."
Ginny turned at a noise from the door. Hermione entered the kitchen tentatively. There was only one thing for Ginny to do, she embraced her new sister. After letting go, Ginny noticed her mother trying to comfort Ron. She frowned, or was he trying to help her? Ginny couldn’t be sure.
"Is he alright?" Hermione asked. "He just sort of ran for the hills."
"A bit of a shock," Ginny nodded. "I think it all made him freak out a bit."
"We could wait, but..." Hermione seemed unsure of what to say.
"You really want to marry the idiot." Ginny finished for her.
Hermione nodded slowly. "I do love him."
Ginny could only smile, the pair really was hopeless. "Relax, he wants this. He only freaked out about kids, money, weddings and houses."
Hermione crossed her arms and huffed, but her eyes were moist. "He does tend to overreact at times."
Mrs. Weasley stood and came across to them. "Welcome to the family, Hermione." A tear slipped down Hermione's cheek and she hugged her future mother-in-law.
After evicting Ron and her father the three women seated themselves in the living room. They discussed nothing but venues, flowers, colours, dresses and only they knew what else.
Harry arrived at the Burrow. He had planned on having dinner with his new family as he still had not had much chance to really talk to them. The last thing he expected was to find Ron and Arthur sitting outside the house drinking Butterbeer as if they had been thrown out.
"Harry," Arthur stood to great him. "So pleased you made it."
Harry eyed the two men and before noticing the wild discussion going on inside he made to enter. "Best not go in there, son," Arthur said with all the wisdom of a man who’d been married for years.
"Why?" Harry questioned. "I'd just like to say hello to Ginny."
"Wedding planning, mate," Ron said. "Those three are on a roll. We'll be bankrupt within the week." The last part came out as a groan. "I mean, we both just started working and..." Ron dropped his head into his hands. The Butterbeer discarded next to him.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "He proposed to Hermione this afternoon," Mr. Weasley explained. "He's still adjusting to the idea."
"I guess us setting a date didn't help," Harry laughed.
"I'll never be able to give her the wedding she deserves," Ron mumbled from behind his hands.
Harry sat down on the dusty wooden porch and retrieved a bottle of Butterbeer. The two men had been wise enough to bring a small stash with them to the porch.
"I'd be glad to help out." Harry began slowly. "If you need a place to stay, I have a few nice homes near the Ministry that you're welcome to stay in. I know both of you are still staying at home. And if you need some..." Harry coughed, people usually took his offers of help badly, but he had managed to save a lot over the past four years, not to mention half the Black fortune and some money from his parents. The Black and Potter seats on the Wizengamot also provided a sizeable income. "You know, a loan of sorts."
Ron straightened. "You'd really help me out... I mean I'll repay everything... it's just..." The lanky red head took a deep breath. "Thanks, Harry. I'll see what I can do, but it helps knowing you're there."
Arthur patted Harry on the back softly. Harry could see the gratitude in the man's expression. There were also tired lines of a man who'd already given everything for his children and had nothing left except love. But still he would insist on giving more.
Harry leaned closer to his future father-in-law. "Let someone help you this once."
Mr. Weasley's hand tightened around Harry's shoulder. "Thanks, Harry. That means... a lot."
All three took a swig of Butterbeer together and sat listening to the excited voices coming from inside. A loud squeal came from Hermione and was met by three identical flinches from the men. “There goes another hundred Galleons, Ron.” Harry laughed, but Ginny’s voice rose higher shortly afterwards.
Ron chuckled nervously into his Butterbeer. “Doubt it, mate. More like two hundred from yours.”
Before Harry could respond the back door opened abruptly and Hermione stepped out. "How's the twenty-third of December?" she asked quickly.
"Um..." Ron frowned. "Good."
"Excellent!" The door slammed closed again and Hermione hurried across to join the other two.
"What did I just agree to?" Ron asked.
"You're getting married in about two months, Ron." Harry could only laugh at the rapidly paling Ron.
"She'll be the death of me."
Harry did the right thing and handed him another Butterbeer.
"Hermione," Ginny called her friend. Harry had gone home and Ron was still sitting outside with her father.
"Yes." Hermione replied with a real shine to her eyes. Each step Hermione took held a bounce and her voice hinted at a note of pure joy. Surprisingly, even more than when she talked about the latest book she'd been reading.
"Why are you getting married so soon?" Ginny shrugged. "Mum has me waiting forever to work on my dress." Not that she actually wanted to do it any other way.
"Well, we’ve known each other since we were eleven." Hermione sat down beside Ginny. "And I've already told you that I am going to wear my mother's dress. She made it herself and it only requires a few changes to suit my style."
Ginny sat up straighter. "I never considered doing that." Her eyes glazed over in thought. "But I've already got my dress in mind and it looks nothing like mum’s."
"Really?" Hermione said enthusiastically. Then she looked at her hands, trying to hide a blush. "Sorry, Ginny. This was supposed to be your night with your parents and Harry. Because of me you didn’t even see him."
"I've got two more months than you to plan my wedding," Ginny replied, not feeling the least bit hurt by her friend’s actions. "Just be sure that you don't plan the whole wedding before you've spoken to your own mother."
Hermione went ashen and her hand covered her mouth. "You're right!" she shrieked.
"Relax," Ginny soothed. "Tomorrow evening will be your mother’s turn. We just got a bit carried away tonight."
The pair glanced down at the pile of Witch Bridal magazines lying on the counter and began to laugh. "Those were yours," Hermione spoke slowly. "Sorry!"
"Most of the things aren’t my taste, Hermione. So I'm glad you managed to get some ideas out of them."
"You got nothing?" Her friend asked with a frown.
Ginny flipped one of them open to a marked page. "What do you think of lilies?”
And so ends another chapter. I hope you are still enjoying the story.
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