Chapter 4 : He's Back
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The great hall filled relatively quickly and stayed filled as students waited for the presentation. Had this been tried a few years ago the Slytherins may have left after breakfast not wanting to watch Gryffindor get the cup. Instead they stayed and talked while waiting for Professor McGonagall to begin.
“Arthur there are four people disillusioned at the back of the hall.” Tyler Woodbridge gripped his wand tightly and leaned over to talk to his coworker. “Is it something we need to be worried about?”
“No Tyler. Actually there are five people and we are expecting them. I have a feeling one of their spells is so powerful you might not be able to see any signs of it.”
Even though Arthur assured him the guests were expected, the fact that one of them had produced a disillusionment charm so powerful he couldn’t see the edges made him nervous. He had been trained in looking for the signs of the charm and was rarely fooled. The only person who had cast the charm and fooled him with it was none other than Dumbledore. He wondered who could produce such a powerful spell but was interrupted by the start of the presentation.
“Good morning students.” Professor McGonagall addressed the assembled group. All talk ceased in the room. “I’m glad to see everyone up and around so early. I know it’s a Sunday and you’d all rather have a lie in but I think a new tradition for the quidditch cup is in order. Before that however I have an announcement to make. After lunch we will be having a N.E.W.T. level magic demonstration by one of our students. First year students are required to attend but I think everyone will enjoy the show.” There was a brief explosion of noise as many people spoke at once. The Headmistress raised her hands to quiet the students. “Now let’s begin the presentation.” At this the small stool used for the sorting appeared with the large silver cup on it. “Would the Gryffindor quidditch team come up here and we will present the cup.”
Ron and Ginny had already planned this and took the entire team up. This included the younger students who helped with practice but hadn’t actually had a chance to play. They stood on either side of the Headmistress with their team arranged behind them.
“I know this year the deck was a little stacked in favor of Gryffindor. They had a very experienced team and many players in their final year. It will be interesting to see what next year brings. Maybe some of you will be standing up here in their place.” She took a moment to gaze over each table. “Now it is with pleasure I present the quidditch cup to Gryffindor.” Ron and Ginny approached and each reached a hand to grasp one of the handles on the large cup. It was then that it went flying.
Professor Woodbridge smiled. The fifth visitor finally showed up. His disillusionment charm was breaking as he cast a summoning charm on the cup. At first only his wand arm was present but as the cup got closer more of his body became visible.
Ginny was furious as the cup leapt from her grasp. She was already angry at the disappointment from her letters for quidditch teams and now someone wanted to play a trick on her and Ron. The cup flew to the back of the great hall in what seemed like slow motion. She had already pulled her wand when a voice froze her in her tracks.
“As captain of the Gryffindor quidditch team, I accept.” The disillusionment charm broke the culprit held the cup aloft. His hair was short and not quite as black as they remembered. He had a tanned complexion and bright green eyes behind his glasses. The famous lighting-shaped scar on his forehead stood out with his bronze skin.
A smile lit across Ginny’s face. “Harry!” She ran down the aisle between the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables before anyone else could react. Harry levitated the quidditch cup next to him and grabbed Ginny by the waist spinning her around as she got to him. She planted a series of kisses on his face as people around the great hall started to whistle and cheer.
“Gin I’ve missed you so much.” Harry said pulling her into a long hug.
Ron cleared his throat loudly interrupting the two. “I knew you were back. Your bed and truck appeared in our room yesterday.” Ron had ran up the aisle too although not as quickly as his sister.
“And you didn’t think to tell me.” Ginny punched Ron in the arm.
“We had a cup to win.” Ron admitted. Ginny nodded and breathed in Harry’s scent. It was one of the things she smelt when she was near amortentia.
Finally others had managed to get up from their seats they all wanted to welcome Harry back to Hogwarts. It was then that his friends removed their own disillusionment charms. Most of the students backed away at the sudden appearance of four strangers. Hermione however greeted Mariana and Leticia warmly.
“Attention!” Professor McGonagall’s amplified voice cut through the chatter of the students. “I know many of you will want to welcome Mr. Potter and his companions from Amazonis but for now please let them sit and get some breakfast. We have plenty of time for a reunion.”
Harry handed the quidditch cup to Ron as the students filed back to their seats. He took a place at the end of the Gryffindor table with his friends and the Gryffindor quidditch team. The noise in the great hall returned rather quickly. Harry enjoyed a couple of pastries while Ginny rested her head on his shoulder. He wrapped a hand around her waist soaking up her presence and the familiar smell of her hair.
“So what’s wrong Gin? You’re happy to see me but something else is weighing on you.” Harry asked.
Ginny smiled weakly at him. He knew her so well. “I didn’t get a letter from the Harpies Harry. I want to play for them so badly but I’m just not good enough.”
“Oh Gin I’m sorry. I’m sure you can impress them at their open tryouts. Don’t they hold those every year as well? I know you’re good enough to make it.” He gave her a reassuring hug. “How about you Ron, did you get any offers.”
“Yea three,” Ron answered with a mouthful of Bacon. “None from the Cannons though. I think they’re the only team I would ever consider playing for. Not that I’m going to play.” Ron was slightly wistful trying to convince himself that he didn’t want to play quidditch.
Harry smiled knowing what he had planned. In fact Jason and Gwen were due back at any time. He needed to get to the classroom that Professor McGonagall had lent them. “Let me go greet your parents then we can go to a classroom and catch up on the past year. I’m sure there is so much to tell. You can meet me the transfiguration classroom. I’ve already arranged it with Professor McGongall.
The others left as Harry approached the head table. He hugged Molly and Arthur warmly. “Do you want to join us in the transfiguration classroom for the rest of this morning’s activities?” Harry asked Molly.
“We’ll be there in a few minutes but let’s introduce you to some of the new professors.” Arthur answered. “First this is Professor Woodbridge.” Arthur indicated the stocky wizard on his right. “He has taken over Defense Against the Dark Arts this year. He’s a retired American auror.”
Harry shook the man’s hand and nodded his head. Arthur then stood and directed Harry toward a short witch sitting on the right hand side of the Headmaster’s chair. “And this is Professor Long. She has taken over first through fifth year Transfiguration.” Harry shocked most of the people in attendance by embracing the professor warmly, the Brazilian traditions still in his habit. After a few moments he politely excused himself to join his friends.
Harry walked back up beside the Gryffindor table. “I’ll be back in a little while guys. Until then enjoy Hogwarts and my classmates. They’re a pretty good group.” He addressed his friends who smiled still enjoying the food.
He proceeded toward the entrance of the great hall when he was met halfway there. “Harry I want to talk to you.”
“Draco, I had heard you were making the most of your second chance.” Harry extended a hand to the blonde wizard hoping to bury old grudges.
“I have tried.” Draco agreed grasping his hand. “My mother has a lot to do with that. She would like to see you sometime. I know Azkaban isn’t pleasant but after the school year would you come with me?”
“I owe your mother my life Draco. Of course, if you need anything at all just ask and I will try.”
“How about a place to live once the school year is out, they still haven’t settled our estate.” Draco replied cheekily.
Harry didn’t even hesitate. “Done, and bring Pansy along as well if she feels the same way as you. I have a seven bedroom house and only two or three bedrooms will be used this summer.”
Draco was floored by the offer. “I’ll tell her now. I think being on her own again would be devastating.” Harry started to walk away as Draco turned his back. “Oh and Potter! Treat her well she deserves it.”
“You’re absolutely right Draco. I will never let her go again if I can help it.” Harry smiled warmly. “Draco, thank you for what you’ve done this year for her. She needed the perspective and the friend.”
“We both did.” Draco replied and returned to the Slytherin table and started to talk with Pansy. Harry left the hall and proceeded toward the Transfiguration classroom where his friends were waiting.
“What is taking that prat so long?” Ginny was pacing around the class. Getting more worked up by the moment.
“Gin I’m sure it was mom and dad keeping him busy. They haven’t seen him in a year either.” Ron sat on a desk with Hermione sitting in the chair next to him. Her head was resting on his knee.
Ginny sighed in disgust and continued pacing across the room. “You know you’re going to wear the stones away if you keep that up.” Harry leaned against the doorframe watching her. Even as frustrated as she was Harry was still enamored by her beauty.
“Come here you prat. We have a year of catching up to do.” Ginny waggled a finger at him.
“Oi, not while I’m in the room. I just ate breakfast.” Ron shouted trying to look offended.
“Oh like you and Hermione keep your hands to yourself in my presence? Especially last summer right after Harry left.”
“She’s right Ron.” Hermione agreed. “We were horribly insensitive last year.”
“It doesn’t mean I have to enjoy watching my best friend snog my sister.”
“You don’t have to watch, or enjoy it. But it will happen.” Harry spoke while quickly crossing to the front of the classroom. He gave Ginny a passionate kiss before sitting on the teacher’s desk. Ginny sat next to him with her legs crossed.
“Well Harry what are we waiting for?” Hermione asked after a few moments of silence.
“I wanted Arthur and Molly here when we discussed this.”
“Since when do you call them Arthur and Molly and what is this?” Ginny asked nervously.
Harry cursed silently at the slip up. “This is our future.” He tried to explain not giving her an opportunity to question his use of her parent’s first name.
They sat silently for a few more moments before a light knock on the door caught their attention.
Molly, Arthur and Professor McGonagall all came in the room. “Mr. Potter, Ms. Weasley what do you think you’re doing sitting on my desk.” She said sternly but with a slight smile tugging her lips.
“Imagine how she would’ve reacted if she came in while we were snogging on her desk.” Ginny said cheekily causing the professor to turn red.
“I would’ve been given detention and twenty points for Gryffindor.” Harry smiled nudging Ginny lightly.
“Oh the detention is guaranteed Mr. Potter. But what makes you think you would warrant the twenty points?” The professor recovered and looked appraisingly at Harry.
“Well I am Ginny’s inspiration and Gryffindor did just win the Quidditch Cup. I figure you owe me about twenty.”
“Touché Mr. Potter, now what are we all doing here?”
“Well I wanted to bring you here to discuss our options for the future. I know this may come as a shock but Friday afternoon I told Kingsley I would not be joining the aurors at the end of the year.”
Ginny and Ron were surprised by the announcement. But Hermione had focused on a different part of his announcement. “Friday afternoon? When exactly did you get back?”
“Friday for lunch with the Minister, I had some errands to run.” Harry admitted.
“Ok enough of that. What are you going to do if not be an auror Harry.” Ginny asked. She was happy Harry wouldn’t be fighting dark wizards constantly.
“Well I was thinking of accepting one of the seventeen offers I got last week.” Harry admitted.
“Seventeen? Harry that’s more offers than there are teams in the league. You must have gotten some international looks too.” Ron was shocked as Harry nodded. “So which team is it that you’ll be joining?”
“I think that’s my cue.” A tall wizard with intelligent eyes and thinning hair walked into the classroom. He was wearing bright orange robes.
“Jason Kodysz, I can’t believe it’s you.” Ron jumped to his feet and shook the man’s hand. “I’ve wanted to meet you for a long time.”
“The pleasure is all mine Mr. Weasley.” Jason smiled at Ron’s enthusiasm.
“Wait Harry you’re going to play for the Cannons.” Ron was less happy. “They’re my favorite team and yet they couldn’t give me an offer to join you.”
“I’m sorry Ron.” Jason Kodysz admitted. “We were going to recruit you but Mr. Potter’s presence had already brought us a solid keeper.”
“Harry how could you? Aside from being an auror like you playing keeper for the Cannons was my greatest dream.” Ron looked ready to take a swing at Harry.
“Ron you got three offers today right?” Harry asked and Ron nodded. “How many of them wanted to give you a tryout?”
“All three of them, what’s that have to do with it.”
“Ron the Cannons offered me a guaranteed spot. Maybe not starting but a spot on the team if I could convince their keeper recruit to join me.” Harry had to fight his smile.
“I would’ve thought you could convince them to pick me instead.” Ron’s eyes grew a little misty. “It’ll be weird not taking this next step together. Although I guess trying out for the Wasps couldn’t hurt. Maybe Jason will make a trade for me before long.” Ron tried to force a smile.
Harry pulled out the orange parchment he had in the pocket of his cargo shorts. “Read this Ron.”
Ron looked over the letter suspiciously before looking over Harry and Jason. “Is this for real Mr. Kodysz?” Jason nodded. Ron shouted and leapt. “I’m the keeper you were talking about. We’re joining the Cannon’s. They gave Harry and I guaranteed spots to join together.” Ron hugged Hermione tightly and then did the same with his parents. Professor McGonagall smiled at his excitement. “But Harry what about the aurors; the Ministry can really use us.”
“We are going to study by correspondence while we play. If we ever change our minds we won’t have to start from scratch.” Harry explained as Ron continued his celebration. “What’s the matter Gin? Aren’t you happy for Ron?”
“Oh Harry you just made his dreams come true and here I am crying because I’m jealous.” Ginny buried her head in his shoulder. “You couldn’t do the same thing for me.”
“Oh he couldn’t Ms. Weasley?” Gwenog Jones had come into the room while everyone had been distracted.
“Hey Gwen how are you today?” Harry smiled at the Holyhead captain.
Any response she could think of died on her lips. “Harry James Potter how could you let me think I wasn’t good enough.” Ginny tried to be angry but she was smiling too brightly. “So Ms. Jones do I dare hope you have a letter for me.”
“I do Ms. Weasley.” Gwenog pulled a dark green letter from her pocket and handed it to Ginny. “Don’t be too mad at him. He knew I was there to recruit you and asked me to come in person.”
Gwen and Jason then sat with Molly and Arthur discussing the life of a quidditch star. Charlie had never seriously considered the career so this was as new to them as it was to their youngest kids.
“So Hermione what do you have planned for the magic demonstration.” Harry asked.
“I’m not doing it. The first I heard about it was this morning. I thought it would be you doing it. Now that I know you’re back that is.”
“You’re the best with the spells. But if you didn’t get asked I have no idea who did.” Ron admitted. The group returned to silence various thoughts going through their heads.
“Jason, Gwen what do Ron and Ginny need for brooms?” Harry asked during a break in the conversations.
“Well Harry I think Ginny would do well with a firebolt or firebolt 2. She doesn’t need the firebolt S model that you fly. It’s just too fast for a chaser.” Gwen said appraising Ginny lightly. “I would look at the firebolt 2 specifically. In case we need Ginny to step in as a seeker. We’ve been watching you fly for a while young lady.” Ginny blushed at the compliment. She was only getting a tryout with the Harpies but it seemed Gwen had already thought of a place for her.
“Firebolt S?” Harry inquired. “I fly a Firebolt 5.”
“Firebolt renamed it when they officially released the broom. It has become the class of seekers but too fast for other positions.” Jason explained. “If I’m not mistaken you may be the only person in the world with a broom labeled as Firebolt 5.”
“Ron on the other hand would do well with a new nimbus. They are more maneuverable and really suite keepers well.” Jason added.
“Perfect, we’ll be going to Diagon Alley as soon as the school year ends.” Harry decided. “I won’t take no for an answer, consider this an investment in your future.” Ginny and Ron both blushed at the thought.
“And before long you’ll all have your own sponsorship deals so you won’t have to spend your own money.” Gwen added.
About an hour later Jason excused himself and prepared to leave. “Harry, Ron these are for you. He presented each of them with a small metal pin with the Chudley Cannons logo on it. Occasionally the cannonball would fly off the logo and around the pin before settling back on. “These identify you as a member of the team and give access to the team facilities. We’ll have an agent around shortly to work out your rookie contracts.”
Gwen had a similar gift for Ginny and left shortly after her Cannons counterpart. “Everything Jason said about the Cannons is the same for us Ginny. Except we’re girls and we’re usually more famous, although for you that might not be the case.” She smiled at Harry and left the room.
“Once your tests finish we’ll throw a party at the burrow for all of you.” Molly gushed at her kids. “I’m so proud of you all, not just for this but for working so hard to finish your schooling after all you’ve been through.”
“We should probably head back to the great hall though. The magic demonstration is coming after lunch and I want to eat quickly.” Professor McGonagall started to leave and the others got up to follow.
“Ron can you stay for a minute? I need to talk to you.” Harry asked. Hermione gave him a questioning look but Ginny took her arm and led her out the door.
Harry sat back on the professor’s desk while Ron sat on the student’s desk in the front of the classroom. “Ron do you trust me?”
Ron was taken aback by the question. “Harry after everything we’ve been through I trust you with my life.”
“What about with Ginny’s?”
“What do you mean?”
“Ron do you trust me with Ginny’s life? Let me rephrase the question. If I wanted to propose to Ginny would I have your blessing?”
Ron’s hands clutched and Harry was afraid his friend was about to punch him. Finally after what seemed like a minute Ron relaxed. “As much as I complain about seeing the two of you snog, it would mean the world to me if you joined the family. Shouldn’t you be asking my parents this though?”
Harry pulled the small velvet box out of his shorts and handed it to Ron. “I already did last night. However I wanted unanimous approval.”
“Isn’t that a little hard?” Ron joked thinking of his large family as he looked over the rings. “They are beautiful and I’m sure Ginny will love them.”
“Ron last night I told your entire family everything about our year on the run. I confessed my love for Ginny and asked for permission.” Ron looked at Harry like he was crazy. “Charlie and Bill held out for a while but in the end they had to admit giving me permission was easier than facing Ginny.”
“Smart men my brothers. If they didn’t stand in the way I won’t either.” Ron got up and gave Harry a tight hug. “Good luck, I hope the moment is perfect no matter what. Now let’s go grab some food.” Harry sighed at his friend. “What?”
“Nothing changes with you. I just get permission to propose to your sister and the next thing that happens is you want food.”
Ron shrugged and held the door open for Harry. “It didn’t seem like that big a deal to me. Some day though I think I’ll know the feeling.”
Harry smiled as the walked back toward the great hall. He was happy to see Ron and Hermione were so close. He really hoped that one day he would get to see Ron propose to her as he was planning with Ginny.
A/N I am so happy to hear all the reviews for the previous chapter. It seems everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
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