The radio crackled. "The game ends!" the excited voice of Bobby shouted. "Potter sweeps down to take a comfortable catch. The poor Tutshill Tornadoes’ Seeker was left scratching the back of his neck while Potter expertly took the most effortless of catches."
"The man really has panache, Bobby. I've never seen a Seeker take a game so easily."
"Reminds me of Weasley and her game a few nights ago. The girl’s got the same class even if a bit less refined."
"Bobby! Now you're just getting me excited. If going on current form it really does seem likely that we might be seeing a Harpies Cannons final."
"Indeed, both teams look in great shape, but don’t forget about the Arrows and Kestrels, who might not be playing the best Quidditch, but they’re winning games." Bobby grew silent. "I'm sorry listeners, but it seems that our time is running out. Peter, would you like to give a quick summary of the last few games."
"The Kenmare Kestrels were struggling again in the second round. If it wasn't for another good steal by their Seeker they would've lost badly to Puddlemere United. The game ended on 160-150. In a somewhat similar game, the Wimbourne Wasps' only points of the game came from the hands of their Seeker. Pride of Portree was leading by a hundred when the game ended after a close duel between the two Seekers. Portree would be disappointed to walk away with nothing. The final score was 150-100. And of course the last game tonight saw the Cannons beat the Tutshill Tornadoes 160-250. Not the Cannons cleanest game, but they did the job and take home maximum points.
"The Group B log is currently led by the Kestrels on six points. The Cannons trail by one due to not catching the Snitch in the opening game. Third is currently occupied by the Wasps on four. United currently lie fourth on three. Last place, both on zero, is jointly shared by Portree and the Tornadoes."
"Thank you, Peter. Some good games coming in November. While Group A seems to be dominated by the Arrows and Harpies, Group B is in for a much closer fight for the top two places.
The evening after the Cannons game saw Harry and Ginny scurrying around his flat making sure everything was in place for dinner.
“What time are they coming?” Harry called out from where he stood aligning cushions on the couch.
“Six, Harry.” A frustrated voice called back. “You invited them.”
He shook his head then nudged the cushion again. It finally seemed to be in right place. Ginny emerged from the room, a towel wrapped around her body. “Got everything in place?”
Harry nodded. “The table is set. The house is clean and…” He pointed proudly at the couch. “The cushions are in order.”
She seemed satisfied and was about to go get dressed. "Ginny," Harry said suddenly, making her stop. "I was wondering about a gift for Ron and Hermione."
She stared at him and waited patiently for him to continue. His weight shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot. Ginny remained calm, letting him grind through his own problems.
"I want to give them a house." He blurted the words out so quickly she blinked.
“Say that again. You spoke even faster than Hermione.”
He tried to relax and forced the words out slowly. “I want us to give them a house.”
"A house?" she questioned to make sure. “As in a building with a lawn and rooms… really?”
He felt extremely awkward. "I... they need one and neither can afford something. I... well we have a few properties." Ginny raised an eyebrow. She'd never considered that he lived here because he wanted to. "I'd like them to choose one."
Ginny thought for a while. "Ron can be a prat about gifts.” She crossed the room and enveloped him in a hug. “But I have a feeling he'd appreciate this one." She let go and stared up at him. "So why are you still living in such a small place then?"
"Less empty space, less ghosts." He answered truthfully and his eyes dropped to the floor. "I tried living in a house, but when you're alone it... well it's not really nice."
"So do I get to choose a house?" Ginny wrapped her arms around his neck and stared lovingly up into his eyes.
"You can have any house you want." Harry smiled. “But I think I might know a place you would love.”
"So the Cannons pay you well.” Her lips lingered an inch away from his. “Seeing that you can spoil me rotten.”
He shrugged, gave a wry grin, and kissed her. "I guess you could say they do." He fell silent and faced the photographs by the fireplace. He noticed her frown. "Ok, they pay me really well. It's just..." Harry moved across to the couch and they sat down. "I've also inherited some money."
"So you've got some spare Galleons," Ginny shrugged. "Nice for a rainy day."
He laughed and then grew serious again. "I fly for fun, nothing more.” Ginny tilted her head to the side curiously. “I'll need to take you down to Gringotts at some point," Harry said a while later. "You should probably know what I'm talking about."
"So I get to have an outrageously expensive wedding and chose a colossal house?" Ginny hopped up and down eagerly.
"As long as you choose one with a nice big garden for us and our kids to fly around in." He kissed the top of her head. Then laughed at her previous statement. “And we both know you won’t do either.”
“Prat.” She laughed hitting his arm playfully. Harry rubbed at the spot where her fist had landed. “A house, our house, where we can raise a family.” She jumped up excitedly, then stopped abruptly to give him a pointed stare. “Just give the family a few more years"
Harry stood and watched her leave, then frowned, the cushions needed another nudge.
Oliver and his wife arrived promptly at six. Harry, expecting the prompt arrival, waited by the front door. He only wondered what was keeping Ginny. She’d been missing since disappearing into the room.
"Come in," Harry greeted as he opened the door wide. "Nice to see you again, Alicia." She was the sister of the Cannons Chaser, Mitchum Spinnet, and she'd flown with Oliver on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. How she managed to get along with Oliver remained a mystery.
They were slightly over dressed, but Oliver always managed to take things to the extreme. Being prepared for this, Harry had dressed similarly.
"And you too, Harry." She kissed his cheek and entered.
"Evening, Harry," Oliver greeted with a stiff shake of his hand. The brief eye contact told Harry that something bothered his teammate. The Captain’s hand dropped to clasp the other behind his back.
"Oliver," Harry said with a forced smile. The man entered, eyes searching.
"So where is your lovely bride to be?"
"Coming," Ginny called from the room. She took Harry's breath away the moment she stepped into the living room. She wore a simple black dress, which she'd bought earlier in the day, but not shown him. It was not as stylish as the dress she wore to the opening function, but this one was Ginny. The long heals had also been replaced by something a bit more flat. Her long, slightly wavy, red hair bounced as she walked. She came to stand next to Harry, allowing him to slip an arm around her waist.
“Ginny!” Alicia squeaked loudly. “I was so excited when Oliver told me Harry was dating you!” She immediately hugged her.
Harry stared at the two in shock. Ginny slapped Harry’s shoulder playfully. “You should’ve told me about Alicia.”
Harry cleared his throat. “I never thought there was anything to say.”
Alicia glared at her husband. “What?” He let out a groan. “I sort of forgot to mention the fact to Harry.”
She snorted. “Forgot, more like you didn’t want Harry to be distracted by a girl.” She laughed. “Oliver, my little hypocrite.” Her eyes shone with amusement as she stared at her husband. “I can’t remember you complaining about the late nights when we started dating.”
Harry let out a long laugh at Oliver’s red face. "Well, Oliver, Alicia, this is Ginny." The introduction helped ease Oliver’s embarrassment and two women took the opportunity to move to the couch where they started talking like old friends.
"So you really know each other?" Harry asked, scratching his chin.
"Of course," Alicia laughed. "Her two brothers were on the Gryffindor team with me and Oliver. Fred and George were Beaters and of course, Ginny had always been there.”
"I even played with you in your seventh," Ginny mentioned.
"Such a small world," Harry grinned as he shook his head. He turned to Wood who studied Ginny. "So how are things with you and Alicia?" Harry asked.
Oliver nodded. "Good, we're trying for a baby, but..." His voice dropped slightly, "Not going so well at the moment."
They walked together to the kitchen and Harry removed some Butterbeers for them. "Stressful?"
They sat down on the bar chairs away from where Ginny and Alicia were discussing their time at Hogwarts loudly. "A bit," Oliver nodded. "Look, I'd just like to apologise. I had the wrong of Ginny. Alicia tells me that she had a rough time at Hogwarts and that she has a good heart. Apparently Quidditch has been her only refuge." He sighed and stretched out a hand to Harry. “Sorry for being my normal fool self.”
They shook hands. “I understand and thanks for trying to look out for me, but I can look after myself.” Wood nodded stiffly. Harry let his Butterbeer linger on his lips for longer than necessary. He studied the man across from him, looking for any signs of deceit. There were none. Wood may be loud, but he never lied. "I appreciate that."
"So how long have you two been trying?" Harry asked sensing the man needed to talk. "If... that is if you don't mind... you know talking."
The Cannon’s captain drank slowly. He was unusually quiet. "Since last year, actually. We had hoped for a birth during the summer break." He shook his head. "Didn't quite work."
"Perhaps this year. The time is right now." Harry tried to cheer his teammate up.
He could not remember having ever seen Oliver look so tired. "I think that is why I snapped about Ginny." Wood lifted his bottle in Ginny's direction. "I love Alicia, she's everything, but I'm tired, Harry. And the season just adds to all my worries."
"Take another day off before coming back to practise." Harry suggested. "We still have three weeks before the next game."
"I might take you up on that offer, Harry."
"Do," Harry urged. "You've won four consecutive championships. No one will think less of you for taking a day or two to recuperate."
"Two," Oliver said thoughtfully. "Yes, I might take two." The idea brought some life back to Wood. "Thanks, Harry."
"Don't mention it. We've been through enough together to know when the other needs some time away."
Oliver did not move. "You look good, Harry." He said finally. "I think I've hit a low and you're soaring."
Harry snorted. "I've had my fair share of problems."
Wood nodded. He was one of few people who knew that Harry had fought in the war. Not the full extent, but he knew about the scars, inside and out.
“Shall we go join our wonderful ladies?” Oliver asked. Some light was returning to his friends eyes.
Harry smiled. “Lead the way.”
Ginny lay in Harry's arms on the couch. Oliver and his wife had left after a pleasant evening. It had taken almost an entire meal before Oliver began to really join in the conversation, but when he did he seemed a new man.
"Do you think we should tell?" Harry asked Ginny pulling her thoughts away from their guests.
Ginny sat up. "You mean the press?"
He nodded slowly. "It might make things easier."
She didn't know what to think. "It would make life easier," she agreed after a while. “And I’d love to wear my ring publicly.”
"Perhaps after my next game." He shifted around uncomfortably. "But we don't have to." He added quickly. "It's just a thought."
Ginny lay back down again. "It would make buying things for the wedding a bit easier. I wouldn't need to rely on Hermione and other people to buy everything."
"So you want the world to know?" Harry questioned.
She remained still for a few minutes. "I think so, yes."
"Alright." He let out a long breath. "After my game I'll tell the press."
"Sure?" she asked. "We don't if you don't want to."
"No." He shook his head adamantly. "No, I want to tell."
"Just difficult," she said softly in agreement.
"We don't have to," she said after a minute’s silence. "I kind of like not being in the public eye."
"Yeah," he agreed. "And you're making a name for yourself." She opened her eyes to find him looking uncomfortable. "You know, not just as Potter's girl."
"You think they'd label me as that?"
"Maybe," Harry shrugged.
"So we should say nothing?" Ginny asked.
"If you don't want to," Harry said.
"Maybe I don't want to." She whispered up into the air. "Merlin, Harry." She sighed. "I don't know." She sat up, forcing his hands away from her hair. "I want people to know about us, but..."
"It's not the right time." Harry stated the words she wanted to say.
"Perhaps." Her body collapsed and her head settled on his lap again.
"Perhaps." Harry repeated her words absently. "Maybe we should wait until after the wedding."
"Press release after the wedding?" Ginny asked. She kind of liked the idea.
"That gives the press a few months to get used to us before the next season starts again. We would have time to ourselves without the demands of our teams."
"I think I'm starting to like the idea of keeping this to ourselves for now."
He leaned down and she raised her head. Their lips met tenderly. "So we go ahead as is."
"And if the press finds out?" Ginny asked.
"Then we laugh, smile, and try to keep them as far away from us as possible." Harry smiled broadly. "I've got some experience in that department, but it does tend to complicate life a bit."
“A bit!” Ginny snorted.
“Only a little.” Harry joked back.
"We’re here for a surprise press release by the Cannons," Bobby's usual voice crackled excitedly over the wireless. "And I'm telling you we are as unsure of what this could be about as you."
"Wait... here comes Oliver Wood, Coach McGill and Harry Potter. This could be very interesting."
"Thank you for coming." Coach McGill’s amplified voice sounded ruff over the speaker. "Captain Oliver Wood would like to make an announcement."
"Thank you for being here." Oliver sounded slightly nervous. The static did not help.
"This might come as a surprise for most people and most especially those witches and wizards who have been supporting me over the years." There was some silence and the faint sound of camera bulbs flashing. "As of this morning I have resigned as Captain of the Chudley Cannons and will be replaced as Captain by Harry Potter."
"Mr Wood," Bobby called out loudly. "Have you signed with another team?"
"No. I am retiring from the sport." Oliver said in a slightly emotional voice. "Harry will be a good replacement for me. He's a good leader and he's been with the team for almost as long as myself."
"Four straight seasons, why now?"
"I need to spend some time with my wife and our relatives. The pressures of the game have been immense, but rewarding. After four years at the lead of an amazing group of men and women, I've decided that I've achieved what I set out to achieve..." There was a short moment’s silence. "Thank you."
"Wood has just left the press room." Bobby's voice was soft over the wireless.
Coach McGill spoke next. "I am here to introduce the Cannon's new Captain, Harry Potter."
"Hi," Harry voice sounded slightly nervous. "Firstly, I would like to thank Oliver for the support he has not only given me, but the team as a whole. I don't think the game will ever see a man more dedicated to the sport as him. The sport, not only the Cannons, has lost a great man..."
"That went well," Ginny said as Harry arrived back at the flat.
"I sounded like... I don't know," he sighed and dropped down onto the couch. "Flying is like breathing, but speaking to a room full of reporters is tough."
She climbed onto the couch and tucked her feet beneath her. "It sounded perfectly normal, Harry. You'll do fine as Captain."
"I hope so." He did not look convinced. "So what are you doing today?"
"Trying to change the subject are we Harry?"
"Do you blame me?" he replied.
"No." Her head shook slightly. "I was planning to do some wedding shopping with my mum."
"That's good." He looked better now that he was not talking about the Cannons. "You can get some things organised before practise restarts tomorrow."
"The next few weeks will be busy. The Falcons did well in the previous game and Gwenog is determined to get the Harpies' name back on the trophy."
Harry laughed. "I'm sure she is. She might love me, but that trophy is a very close second." Ginny snuggled up closer to him. "Will I be seeing you again today?"
"Maybe," she shrugged. "Not sure how long things will take. But I wouldn't count on it being quick."
"How long before you have to go?"
"About an hour. I told my mum I'd meet her after lunch."
Harry grinned and placed a gentle hand beneath her chin, lifting her face; the kiss was soft.
Ginny, Hermione and their mothers had spent the first few hours of the afternoon going through various items on a very long list of things to buy. Hermione's items being the most urgent. It was the end of October and her wedding was planned for December.
Being famous had its draw backs. The full force of it became known during the long hours in the store and there after. Witches and wizards were constantly trying to find out what Ginny was up to. The trip worked well, however, as Hermione's presence allowed Ginny to select material for her dress.
"Miss Weasley!" A reporter shouted. She had to blink to clear her vision from the bulb that flashed a few feet from her eyes. "What are you doing in Diagon Alley?"
"Helping me shop for my wedding," Hermione said loudly drawing the attention of the reporter.
"Ginny is my future sister-in-law and we would like to get on with our shopping if you don't mind."
The reporters face fell. He had probably been hoping for something more exciting than her brother's wedding. He rallied quickly and began firing off a hoard of questions.
"What did you think of Potter's catch? Do you think you can beat him?"
Ginny stopped walking at the question. "He is a good flyer, and the catch against Tornadoes was good. But I have learned from the best and intend to put that to good use."
"Some might argue that Jones is not such a good coach and that her time at the Harpies might be coming to an end."
"Coach Jones is more than good enough. Each season has been plagued by injuries and factors beyond our control."
"Such as Potter?" The man questioned as the quill scratched quickly beside him on a floating piece of parchment.
"Among others, yes," Ginny agreed. "He has been an unstoppable force as of late, but I believe he can be beaten."
The man began to speak. Ginny raised a hand. "I'm sorry, but that is all I have time for today."
Hermione tugged at Ginny's sleeve, forcing her away. "Thanks," Ginny muttered. "The guy had me cornered after the Harry question."
"I noticed." Hermione kept speeding away and soon had them settled at a nice secluded table in the Windswept Broom.
"I can do with a nice cold drink now," Mrs Weasley said in a tired voice. "So many choices... I’m exhausted."
"Worth every minute just to see those two smile like that," Hermione's mother said.
Hermione beamed at her mother and Ginny tried not to blush too much. "It was wonderful, wasn't it?" She rummaged in one of the shrunken bags beside her. The feel of raw silk inside made her giddy. "I can't wait to start working on this."
"Let's see the lace you bought, dear," her mother asked. "I never got a good enough look in the shop. That foolish witch was hanging around you all the time."
Hermione lifted her wand and placed a few silencing and notice me not charms after the waiter left with their orders. Ginny dug her hand carefully into another bag. She pushed aside the thread, net for her veil and a few other things until she touched the tissue paper wrapped lace. With care she took it out. Her mother instantly cleaned the table thoroughly with a few swipes of her wand.
"I wish I could do that," Hermione's mother said with a regretful sigh. "I'm stuck with cleaning agents and a rag."
"Magic does have its advantages," Hermione said with a smile.
Ginny, pleased that the table was clean, carefully placed the package on the table and unfolded it. Intricate patterns of flowers wove themselves along the length of the fabric. "Each cluster of flowers will need to be cut and stitched by hand," her mother spoke as her fingers worked along the outlines.
"I'm thinking of covering nearly the entire dress," Ginny said eagerly. Her mother paled. "What?"
"We are doing this by hand, Ginny." Her mother's voice went high.
"So?" Ginny shrugged while imagining the dress.
"You are planning on getting married this coming March and play Quidditch and make the dress yourself."
"Yes," Ginny said happily.
"Molly," Hermione's mother laughed. "I don't think she quite gets how much work it takes to stitch so much lace by hand."
"I should've realised what she was thinking when she took all the lace there was." Her mother never let her eyes wonder from the material before her. "Lace covered silk. It'll be gorgeous, Ginny."
"I just need to start working on it then."
"Oh, I can't wait to sit and work on this with you," Mrs Weasley clapped happily, finally she let her eyes lift to Ginny. "My mother and I had a wonderful time before my wedding. The evenings we spent talking and laughing about everything and nothing."
Hermione's mother nodded. "My mother and I did much the same, but," she sighed. "We never made a dress. I just bought mine from a store." Her eyes grew slightly moist. "I wish we had made one together."
Hermione leaned across the table and squeezed her mother's hand. "But we'll have fun altering my dress mum."
"I know, dear," her mother choked. "Oh this is all just so wonderful."
The four women spent the rest of the afternoon in the restaurant. They only left when people began to pour in for dinner.
Ginny sent her things home with her mother and Apparated to Harry's flat. She'd promised him she'd come round to talk to him. Both would start with training again the next day and with Ginny starting to work on her dress she'd not have much time to see him.
"Harry," she called. There was no reply and he was not on the couch so she walked into the bedroom
Her breath caught. He lay asleep, but his body moved about. His skin was covered in a thin layer of perspiration and he mumbled something.
She crept closer. His entire body looked to be contorted in pain. "Harry," she called out softly. He kept moving about. Sitting down on the side of the bed she let her hand stroke his hair. His movements stilled and his face began to relax. Soon he was sleeping peacefully.
Ginny removed her coat and shoes then slipped beneath the covers beside him. She'd just have to go home early tomorrow morning to get her stuff and she'd have to explain to her mother why she'd not come home. She could, however, not leave Harry alone with his nightmares. They’d become increasingly worse since his memories from the Chamber had been freed.
Ok, a few things happened in this chapter, but some of you might be wanting some Quidditch or action. Well the next chapter will have a Cannon’s game from Harry and Ginny’s POV. In short, the next few chapters will have some action.
I hope you are still enjoying the story and thank you for all the reviews! Your support really helps keep me motivated.