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SIYE Time:5:32 on 29th November 2021


Super Ginny
By sapphire200182

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Category: Mamma Mia Challenge (2011-3), Mamma Mia Challenge (2011-3)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Ron Weasley
Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance, Songfic
Warnings: Extreme Language
Story is Complete
Rating: R
Reviews: 9
Summary: An episode from the earlier days of Harry and Ginny’s courtship, as they pursue their respective careers and try to find time for meaningful contact in between. Canon-compliant, written for the Mamma Mia Challenge 2011-3. (Rated for judicial use of language.)
Hitcount: Story Total: 3765



Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.





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Super Ginny





Ginny Weasley felt so lost. Lost and lonely.

Sitting huddled in a cold, bare broom shed way up in the north of the English Isles, she had almost never felt so alone before. The only comparable experience she had ever had was during the long, terror-filled days of her seventh year of education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, when misery stalked the corridors of that traditional place of refuge, when not just her world, but the world hung on Harry Potter and he was nowhere to be found.

Thinking of Harry, Ginny buried her face in her arms and wept, the tears running freely down her cheeks as she gave in to the overwhelming despair, short gasping sobs shaking her body as she let the pent-up sorrow wash over her and through her.

How could it all have turned this bad?

* * *


Ginny streaked through the rain, a blur of dark green specked with a single blob of red - the Quaffle in her hands. Her mouth was compressed in grim determination, her eyes narrowed in concentration to mere slits staring out from under her flying goggles. Though mind and body rebelled at the soaking wet state the rain had reduced her to, she pressed on with single-minded purpose.

A figure decked out in purple with a gold star on the chest darted at her out of the sheets of rain. Ginny flicked back the handle of her Firebolt Gold, shooting upwards for all of three seconds - long enough for the opposing Chaser to make his own course adjustment and head for an interception point - and then diving back down with a sudden drop, as the Chaser whizzed by.

All in a day’s work for Ginny, who thought no more of the encounter than was necessary. Chasers worked in teams. Where there was one Chaser, there would be another. She glanced back at her own backup, flying ‘wing’ behind her, and scanned the rainy sky for the two other Chasers on the other team. She never saw the Bludger coming.

The hard black ball struck neatly on her elbow, hitting the end of her humerus neatly. As a sharp pain accompanied by a tingling stream of pinpricks shot through the nerves on her arm, Ginny felt the Quaffle drop from her near-senseless fingers, down to where a purple-clad witch on a broomstick was already waiting for it.

“Vilmai!” she screamed.

The veteran Harpy darted downwards, but not before she snarled a curse at Ginny, who bit back the first words that came to mind and followed, diving after Vilmai. From the left two Pride of Portree Chasers swooped to intercept them by blocking their flight paths with their brooms. Ginny was forced to swerve to avoid first one, then the other, then the first again - repositioned - losing speed and momentum… the key building blocks of professional Quidditch tactics… damn!

Ordinarily the third Harpy Chaser could have helped keep the Portree Chasers off her tail, but Gemma Fields had been hung up and trapped downfield by the two Portree Beaters who cut her off from the Chaser team through the repeated use of one Bludger on the attack and positioning their brooms to balk her attempts to rejoin the Harpies. Gwenog had decided to push on without her, leaving the other Harpy Beater behind to defend her as best as she could.

Ginny successfully ducked both Portree Chasers and went after Vilmai, knowing that the two Portree Chasers were about two seconds’ flight behind her.

Thirty meters below her, the purple figure who had caught the Quaffle was still holding it, flying towards the middle of the pitch to meet with another purple figure. Suddenly a viciously-aimed Bludger caught the purple figure over the knuckles. The Quaffle, which the Portree player had tucked under an armpit, slipped and fell, right into the hands of Vilmai Morgan swooping up from underneath where she had been skimming the ground like a predatorial sea-bird.

Team Captain Gwenog Jones streaked past, her Beater’s bat pointing at Ginny. “Get your bliddy arse in gear, Weasley!” she snapped.

All purple-clad Portree players converged on Vilmai, who was alone. Their objective now would be to prevent her from joining up with her scattered team-mates and wrest the Quaffle away from her. Gwenog turned her broom up and balked one, sailing across his flight path slowly, threatening a collision unless the Portree Chaser broke away, which he did. The other was closing in… but then Ginny was faster, lighter, smaller; she flattened herself out over the broomstick and sped downwards.

She managed to reach Vilmai. “Vilmai! Two-Chaser juggle!” she shouted.

But Vilmai Morgan clung firmly to the Quaffle, and sped for the Pride of Portree goals. Ginny swore in frustration and tore after her, weaving a circular flight path around the rear of Vilmai’s broom, scanning the skies for intercepting Portree players. She was not disappointed; two purple figures swooped in from the left, both of them aiming for Vilmai.

At the last possible moment, Vilmai lobbed the Quaffle over her shoulder and back, and Ginny, taken by surprise, lunged for the Quaffle. A purple-gloved hand entered her field of vision, but she got a solid grip on the Quaffle and shook off the Portree Chaser. Vilmai went upwards to stymie the Portree Chasers, covering for Ginny; Ginny went downwards, hugging the sodden ground until her toes almost touched the grassy pitch as she bolted for the three rings.

Behind her she heard a thud and a roar of fury from the crowd, most of whom were Portree supporters as the Harpies were the visiting team. The Chaser behind her must have hit the pitch trying to emulate her move. Ginny grinned ferally. Let them try to follow! The Harpies spent hours practising the kind of daredevil moves that ensured they dominated the sporting magazines even when they were more than halfway down the table.

It was when she returned her full concentration forward that she realised the Portree Keeper, Meaghan McCormack, was out of position, having moved too far afield to help check the Harpies and now scrambling to get back into place. Ginny flattened herself on the Firebolt Gold and streaked for the leftmost goal-hoop, judging trajectory, velocity and distance.

She cocked the Quaffle back and threw it with the effortless ease of much painstaking practice.

Today McCormack was completely out of luck. The Quaffle went neatly through the hoop six feet from her outstretched fingers, and Ginny allowed herself a tight smile of victory before she swooped back to the Harpy side of the pitch.

“One-seventy to ninety,” she muttered to herself as she shook back the stray tangles of red coming out of her wet braids. The Harpies were winning, leading by a full eight goals. But just then a resounding cheer rose up from the supporters - most of whom were Portree fans - and Ginny’s heart plummeted as she strained to hear the commentator over the noise.

“…WEASLEY SCORES, BUT MCBRIDE GETS THE SNITCH! PRIDE OF PORTREE WIN!”

The taunting cheers of the crowd swirling around her as she sat up on her broom, Ginny swore, badly, and for a long ten seconds without stopping.

* * *


G inny sat against the wall of the Holyhead Harpies’ locker room, trying and failing to shut her ears to the bedlam around her. Post-defeat locker room ‘discussions’ were always a frenetic battleground of sound and fury, as team captain Gwenog Jones — notorious more for her incredibly bad temper than her Beater skills, which were impressive in equal measure — stormed and raged at the other Harpies, and the other Harpies stormed right back.

“…BROKE FORMATION, COMPLETELY LOST WHATEVER KIND OF COHESION…”

“…HELL WE COULD DO, IT’S NOT LIKE WE COULD’VE JUST SAT THERE AND…”

“…CALL A PLAY, YOU DAMN BLOODY WELL CARRY YOUR DAMN WEIGHT…”

“…GOT BETTER HELP FROM THE BEATERS, THEN MAYBE…”

“…EXACTLY ARE YOU IMPLYING, MORGAN?!”

Snatches of conversation filtered through the mental walls she put up, although Ginny tried her best to ignore them. Being the youngest and the most recent recruit on the team, she always tried to avoid getting sucked into the fighting. Finally when she was addressed she could not avoid the tempest raging around her any longer.

“AND IF MISS WEASLEY COULD STOP SITTING IN THE AIR WITH HER THUMB UP HER ARSE, MAYBE WE CAN EVEN GET A THIRD CHASER PARTICIPATING IN THE BLOODY MATCH! ARE YOU OR ARE YOU NOT PLAYING ON THIS TEAM, DAMMIT!”

The crude vulgarity was characteristic of Gwenog Jones in a passion, and Ginny had learned to ignore it after her first few days playing with the Harpies - either a Harpy ignored it or she wasn’t a Harpy for long - but the barb stung so soon after the humiliating defeat, and while Ginny’s own notorious temper was up.

“Hey! That’s completely unfair, Gwenog! I did my bit as well as anyone else here, and don’t you forget it!”

“Well then that bit mustn’t have been all that much, CAUSE WE ARE STILL NUMBER BLOODY TEN IN THE LEAGUE, JUST ABOVE THE CHUDLEY FUCKING CANNONS!” screamed Gwenog Jones. “YOU LOT GET YOUR BLOODY FINGERS OUT, OR SO HELP ME YOU’RE ALL OFF THE TEAM!”

“Oh yeah? Yell a bit more at me, Gwenog, and you’ll bloody well get what you want!” snapped Gemma Fields, who pushed past Ginny, went out of the room and slammed the door. The doorknob shuddered and fell off, landing on the floor with a thunk.

The Harpies were notorious also for the post-game damage they inflicted to the contents of the locker room. Gwenog Jones let fly at an open locker door with the Beater’s bat she still clutched in her hand, tearing it off its hinges. It fell clattering to the floor. A few moments passed as Gwenog stood there staring at the wrecked locker door with her back to the rest of them, breathing heavily. The other Harpies waited in silence, staring with contempt and hatred at the back of Gwenog’s head.

“The next game’s a friendly against the Glaswegian Gallowglasses,” said Gwenog without turning around, and every Harpy recognised her most dangerous tone of voice. “They’re only second-division, but we’re going make damn sure we win it. All leave is cancelled for the next two weeks. No one steps outside the stadium for the next fourteen days, and I mean it. This is non-negotiable. This team is in bloody bad shape and we’re gonna bloody well pull up our bootstraps.”

Ginny’s heart sank. Already she had not seen Harry for a month, and they had also trained hard for this match. She had been looking forward to Flooing up to London to see Harry after the match for a well deserved break from the Harpies. Did Gwenog really mean it when she said she would cancel all leave?

* * *


Harr y Potter cursed and threw back the parchment sheets onto the desk, unconsciously running his hands through his hair in exasperation. Finding a smudge on the lens of his glasses, he took them off and gave them a quick wipe with a fistful of shirt, forgetting momentarily that he could have easily Scourgified them with a tap of his wand.

He stared around him at the office cubicle that had constituted much of his world for the past year and a half. His desk was covered with reams of parchment stacked and in scrolls sprinkled with quills, ink bottles and paperclips, while if he opened the drawers, he knew, he would be confronted by more parchment, more quills and more ink bottles.

The walls of his cubicle were bare except for the one behind his seat. On the back wall of his cubicle was pinned a large world map and an equally large map of the United Kingdom in greater detail. Studding the map was a number of coloured tacks, essentialy a reproduction of wizarding community crime statistics arranged geographically — Dark Wizard sightings, beast attacks, attacks on Muggles, incidences of Dark magic.

Harry Potter was an Auror.

Aurors caught Dark wizards for the Ministry of Magic, but right now Harry wasn’t catching any. His latest case was a sly little fellow named Sid Snidworth, a small time crook who was on the books of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement for smuggling bootleg potion ingredients. Originally DMLE had only wanted to use him as a link to the poachers that were giving Beast Division so many problems, up until a Hungarian wizard had been found in his house by a door-to-door salesman — dead by the Killing Curse.

That had been a week ago.

Now the thoroughly-terrified Muggle salesman had been detained for questioning by a posse of self-professed magicians, Sid Snidworth was wanted for murder, the Hungarian ambassador was making daily Floo calls to the harassed Head of Magical Law Enforcement, who in turn harangued the Head Auror, who being Harry’s immediate boss, had required him to give a detailed report every day on the progress of the search for Sid Snidworth. Harry had been working nights as late as ten o' clock every day since the case had been assigned to him.

Sod it, thought Harry savagely as he stood up and plucked his coat from where it hung on the peg next to the cubicle entrance, he could come back tomorrow. It was already ten o’ clock at night, and he was the only one left in Auror Headquarters. He surveyed the untidy mess on the desk and told himself he’d sort things out neatly tomorrow, knowing that the papers would stay where they were until Snidworth had been brought in, and who knew when that would be?

As he left the Ministry of Magic building he could not stop thinking of the case. The Ministry had already exhausted every resource they could to find him, from underworld connections to putting him on the Trace. But Snidworth was Muggleborn, had contacts in the non-wizarding criminal world and was also well-versed in non-magical transporation, legal and illegal. And there was nothing, nothing that could link him to Laszlo Balcescu, other than where his body had been found.

Harry stopped by a pub to read the Muggle newspapers. He liked to keep tabs on the doings of ‘the other side’ which he had grown up in, and he knew the larger reporting staff of the non-wizarding newspaper offices meant they usually picked up things that fell through the cracks. Often these included clues amid the news that would baffle the non-wizarding public, but made perfect sense to Harry. He’d scored at least two arrests this way, using what he’d gleaned from the Muggle newspapers.

But the newspapers held not even a hint of wizarding activity; ironically the only crime-related article was one on the absence of it. London, it seemed, had taken a holiday from crime.

Outside the pub, Harry was beginning the twenty-minute walk back to 12 Grimmauld Place when the Galleon coin in his pocket burned hotly. Quickly extracting the token, he read the intricately-scrolled words forming on the face of the coin.

Leave cancelled. Gwenog. Thinking of quitting.

Suppressing his first stab of emotion — anger at Gwenog’s cancellation of their anticipated leave — Harry studied the words, and mentally ran through their implications. knew that Ginny must have reached a real nadir point to send him this. He quickly composed a reply and performed the Protean Charm that changed the words on the Galleon — their one secret means of communication.

Please don’t. Gwenog’s a bitch. Floo 12?

* * *


Floo, owl, visits banned. Very alone. Need you.

Sorry, on Snid case. Persevere. You can.

Hidden away in a corner of a disused broomshed in the Holyhead Harpies’ stadium, Ginny wept uncontrollably. The nature of the Protean Charm limited them to these perfunctory messages. Ginny could not explain fully everything that was so wrong.

Ginny had completely lost her love for Quidditch. The punishing drills Gwenog ran them through took all the fun out of Quidditch. No longer was Quidditch a game of Quaffles and Bludgers and Snitches and breathtaking flying skill; in the professional leagues acrobatics were choreographed to the second and every player’s head was stuffed with hundreds of plays and formations and tactics. Every move was scrutinised after the match, gone over a hundred times.

The players too had not welcomed Ginny as well as she had thought initially. These veteran ten-thousand-Galleon stars were inclined to look suspiciously upon the whippersnapper rookie come to usurp them of their positions — their shot at fame and fortune. Many professionals played for the money and the benefits of fame, and they resented Ginny her quick addition to the first-string starting lineup and her meteoric rise in popularity in the sporting world. The Harpies were a team closed off to her no matter how much she tried to break the ice.

The recent grueling two-week training session had been especially hard on Ginny, who had already felt drained and worn-out by the previous bout of training. Gwenog had instituted a fourteen-hour regimen that literally meant that Ginny had not done anything other than eat, sleep and perform endless repetitions of each play Gwenog had prepared for the next game, friendly or no. This plus the countless squabbles and shouting matches born of desperation had made Ginny’s continued stay thoroughly miserable.

All she had ever wanted was to play professional Quidditch like her idols did, to make the best use of her talents for flying and throwing and catching. She did not want any of the pettiness, the almost-deadly rivalry and the institutionalised indignities that came with the job. What was worse, Ginny had not a single friend in the Harpies to turn to, and the strain of competing solo in such a dog-eat-dog world had been building up inside her for months. Now the pent-up tears burst the dams she had tried to put up, and Ginny cried and cried in the broomshed, curled up in a corner clutching her wand and the Galleon.

And just when she needed him, Harry was tied up in faraway London, out of range of all magical transporation save for a Portkey.

Ginny Weasley felt so lost. Lost and lonely.

* * *


Love, please stay calm. Talk at match?

It was a long, hanging eternity before she replied, a time Harry spent walking back to Grimmauld Place with the coin clutched firmly in his hand. He waited with bated breath for the tell-tale warming glow to spread through his chilled fingers, but it was not forthcoming and Harry wondered if Ginny’s illicit communication with him had been discovered.

At last the Galleon began to warm just as Harry reached Grimmauld Place, and Harry cupped it in his hands and strained to see the words in the dim light of the nearest streetlamp.

Giving up. Can't stand it all any more. Just so fake.

Quickly he replied: Don’t. You’ll always regret it. One more game.

I’m breaking up inside. Too tired of it all.

Just try one more game. It’ll get better.

Friday friendly Glawegians seven thirty. Be there?

I will, I promise. Love always.


* * *



Ginny wiped her puffy, red-sore eyes and stifled a final sob as she stood up and smoothed down her crumpled sweater. Harry was coming. It was going to be all right. For now she had a few more days of training to go through. She would perform to the best of her ability, and then she could shag this lot after the next match. Harry was coming.

* * *


On Friday Harry stared blackly at the office memo he had received. It was from the Head Auror and read simply, Meeting with Minister of Magic, Head of DMLE and MLE Patrol Head to discuss Snidworth. Eight o’ clock.

Harry was going to miss the match.

He collected together all the files the Ministry had on the everything remotely connected to the Snidworth case, several back editions of the Muggle newspapers which were most likely in Harry’s experience to unknowingly print a link to the wizarding world, and began to read with quill and parchment close at hand, making detailed notes as he went, sketching possible solutions to the case, arguments for and against, and then discarding these theories one by one as he disproved them himself.

Six o’ clock came round. The match was at seven thirty, necessitating a Portkey as it was all the way up in Scotland, but Harry had not left at that time in weeks and he could not possibly abandon the case so early even for today. The Head Auror was wont to ask for an update at about eight o’ clock, just before he left. Harry finished his perusal of the files with nothing more than a few curious phrases that he had circled.

Ron stepped in just as Harry swore and threw his quill at the cubicle walls in frustration.

“It’s nice to see your temper’s back on an even keel,” remarked Ron. “Still can’t get anywhere on the SnIdworth case?”

“I just don’t get it,” muttered Harry. “It’s as if Laszlo Balcescu’s dead body just turned up there for no good reason, like someone sent it there. But no one had Apparated or Flooed or Portkeyed in for at least three days before the postman found the body, and he’d only been dead for half a day.”

“Not making it to the game tonight?” asked Ron quietly. “That makes three in a row.”

“I can’t, Ron, the Boss has laid on a meeting tonight with Kingsley and the other DMLE Heads to discuss the case. I have to be there, if not only because I’ll have to show the work we’ve been doing on the case,” said Harry. “Could you please go for me? She’s feeling very lonely. Bring Hermione, and Luna if she’s around. I’ll cover for the tickets.”

“Yeah, sure, we were thinking of going anyway, but she’s not going to take it well,” said Ron. “Come to think of it, that’s a bloody understatement. Good luck, mate,” he said sympathetically.

* * *


Every Auror worked late, usually leaving the office only at around six thirty. At seven the office was deserted save for two or three die-hards working on a case. Sometime around then Auror Hercules Timm poked his head over the cubicle dividers and said, “Another late one, Harry? It’s Friday you know.”

“The DMLE Heads are having a late get-together at eight,” said Harry, “and they want to hear about the Snidworth case.”

“You’re in for the chop,” said Hercules with a touch of black humour.

“Not expecting tea or biscuits,” affirmed Harry. In the Aurors, a ‘tea-and-biscuits’ meant a “job well done” from the Boss. ‘Just tea’ was slang for routine work, but the presence of neither meant one was getting called on the carpet.

“Look me up if you like when the grilling’s over, I’ll be at the Leaky Cauldron,” said Hercules, “I’m going down to pick up the postman and return him home. The Boss has decided he’s of no more use to us now that we’ve pumped him dry, and Muggle Relations has been all over us like lacewing flies on dragon dung ever since we picked him up. D’you want to see him one more time?”

“Oh he’s no bloody use to me either, Herc,” said Harry.

It was almost seven thirty. Harry had finally finished preparing the report he would give to the Minister and the Heads, and he finally found the time to turn to the Muggle newspapers. Again the non-wizarding newspapers had nothing of interest in them to Harry. Nothing reported therein was remotely connected to the wizarding world. Not even…

Harry sat up straight, his mind racing. That was it. That was it! He searched frantically through the pile of parchment, flipping through the sheets, reading and then discarding several before he came upon the report he wanted, which he read triumphantly. He extracted a piece of paper from the report and ran out of his cubicle at top speed and into the Head Auror’s office without knocking.

Head Auror John Dawlish barely had time to look up from a sheaf of parchment in his hands. “Sir, I’ve solved the Snidworth case,” said Harry without preamble. “We need to get down to the Atrium, and quickly!”

They made it just in time. As he stepped out of the lifts, his gaze was drawn to the far end of the Ministry of Magic Atrium where Auror Hercules Timm was speaking kindly to the scared-looking postman who’d found the body as he escorted the postman out.

“Look, mate,” the young Auror was saying, “If I were you, I’d just want to forget about the whole thing and have a nice cup of tea and a bit of a lie-down, you know? It’s the best for you, and not too shabby a deal either; you won’t remember a thing but you’ll be compensated well for it. We’re really grateful for your help these past weeks…”

“HERC!” shouted Harry, running up.

The postman turned and read the intent in his eyes. He made a grab for Herc’s wand, but Herc had been alerted by Harry’s shout, and reacted instinctively. A wordless Petrificus Totalus and the postman was a rigid board on the floor as Harry reached Herc’s side. Harry pocketed his wand and grasped the postman’s face, pinching and stretching the skin this way and that until he found what he wanted and pulled.

The postman’s features fell away like slough off a snake. The nose became smaller, the chin more pointed, as entire flaps of skin came off to reveal a completely different skin tone underneath. The postman stared up at both Harry and Herc, small, cunning and ferrety with black beady eyes that glittered malevolently at Harry even underneath the Petrification.

“Sid Snidworth,” said Harry by way of introduction, holding out the photograph of Snidworth from the report.

Herc stared at him, then at Harry. “Merlin’s beard, it’s him! And he was disguised as a Muggle postman all along, and we never twigged!” he exclaimed incredulously. “He’s been in the Ministry all this time!”

“That’s right,” said Harry grimly. “Laszlo Balcescu was working for the poachers supplying Snidworth, but he wanted a bigger cut of the profits and tried to put one over Snidworth, who was prepared however. Snidworth tried to make a run for it, but he needed somewhere to lie low to avoid the manhunt he knew would be coming, and where better but in the Ministry of Magic itself, sitting pretty and protected as an innocent Muggle?”

Harry bent down, picking up the pieces of makeup-smeared wax that had fallen from Snidworth’s face. “Muggle disguises,” he said, “We never expected a Muggle disguise. So we cast our Revealing spells on a Muggle postman, found nothing, and left it at that. With Muggle Relations hovering around him, we’d never have gotten close enough to expose him.”

Dawlish stared down at Snidworth. “And how did you know all that?” he asked.

“It all came together, sir, when I realised that none of the Muggle newspapers had noted the two-week long disappearance of a Muggle postman, and the report of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrolwizard who went to the address Snidworth — playing the postman — had given stated everything appeared normal. I realised the house of a postman who’d suddenly gone absent would have a pile of uncollected newspapers and milk on the doorstep, but this wouldn’t have occurred to anyone unfamiliar with how the non-wizarding world works,” explained Harry.

A glance downwards at the still-Petrified but listening Snidworth and his angrily flushed face proved sufficient to convince Dawlish.

“Probably Snidworth had made sure the real postman was away on holiday, sir, and had already stopped the papers and the milk,” Harry added. “Snidworth’s file included a note that he had mingled with Muggle criminals in the past. Presumably that’s where he got the idea of using a Muggle disguise.”

Dawlish regarded him for a long moment. “Good work, Potter,” he said. “as usual. Can you attend the meeting tonight anyway, and give your report in person?”

Harry glanced at his watch, and his heart sank. “Yes, sir,” he began, “I can brief the Minister and the other Heads in…”

But then Dawlish gave a small knowing smile. “No, on second thoughts, Potter, I’ll ask the Minister to cancel the meeting since it’s just become a lot less time-critical,” he said, “so just drop by on Monday. I gether you’ve a game to catch.”

“Thank you sir!” said Harry gratefully. He dashed to the lifts, and punched the button for the Portkey Office. He might just be in time to catch the end of the match.

* * *


From the visiting team’s side of the pitch, Ginny scanned the crowd, screwing up her eyes against the bright spotlights shining down from the top of the stadium. The Harpies had only a small number of supporters amongst the almost 10,000-strong crowd, just two thousand or so who wore their colours. Her heart sank as she realised that she didn’t seem to see any lean messy-haired young men in the stands, let alone the Top Box. Harry always used the Top Box; he had a season ticket to all the Harpy games.

Ginny did see the small group of fans seated opposite from the Top Box, though. They were too far away for her to make out faces, but she could identify them all the same. Two red-headed young men shouted and stomped with the best of them, while by their sides sat three girls, more sedate in behaviour but also grinning widely from ear to ear as they saw her and waved at her. Ginny smiled as she saw the distinctive thick, brown mane of hair one of them sported, and she also knew to whom belonged the bright-blonde head of hair seated on her right.

But her smile dimmed as she realised that no one sitting on either side of the group sported untidy black hair or glasses.

She had no more time though to search the crowd for him though, for from behind Gwenog Jones called her to their final team huddle. And then it was kickoff time.

* * *


Harry barely waited for the bored-looking girl on ticket duty to glance at this season pass before he raced past and took the stairs that led to the Top Box two at a time. Anti-Apparation jinxes prevented Apparation within the stadium grounds for obvious reasons. In the distance he could hear another cheer — somebody had scored a goal.

When he reached the Top Box, Harry saw that the score was running hundred to hundred-twenty, Harpies’ favour. He watched the dark-green figures streaking by on their Firebolt Golds, and his heart leapt as he spotted a Harpy player passing by who had a shining flame-red mane of hair, coiled out of the way in a long thick braid.

“GINNY!” he shouted against the deafening cheers of the crowd.

* * *


The game was going fairly evenly, but the important thing was that there had been no massive screwups on the Harpy side of things and they were leading by two goals. Ginny was riding in formation with Vilmai and Gemma, Gemma holding the Quaffle, when she heard a whisper of her name above the Harpy chant coming from the crowd.

Ginny swept a wisp of hair out of her eyes and searched quickly about her. The single figure standing at the Top Box’s railings caught her eye, and then her heart leapt as she realised who it was. As she turned her eyes quickly back to the game, a warm glow spread through her. So Harry had come after all. He was watching her.

Aware of his gaze on her, she laid herself flat on the Firebolt Gold as a Glaswegian Gallowglas player knocked the Quaffle from Gemma’s grip, and zoomed to intercept.

* * *


Harry cheered with the rest of the Harpy fans when the score mounted to hundred-thirty to hundred, as Ginny slammed the Quaffle through the center ring, handily beating the Keeper. He watched, grinning, as the other Chasers helped increase the lead to hundred-forty, fifty, sixty, seventy! Ginny was flying better than he had ever seen her, styming opponents and dodging their repeated efforts to wrest the Quaffle away from her. The superior flying skills and dynamic acrobatics of the Holyhead Harpies stole the show — and the Quaffle — as the Glaswegian Gallowglasses faltered under the assault.

Harry spotted the Snitch first, a twinkling of gold seemingly lost amid a stadiumful of dazzling lights reflected off every surface, but distinctive to a trained Seeker. He held his breath as a familiar green figure topped with fiery braided hair slotted the Quaffle into the rings and swooped up and away from the goals, her flight path taking her near to it.

* * *


Reeling off from scoring yet another goal, Ginny suddenly saw it, the Snitch, darting in a zig-zag pattern off to her right. She looked around; Harpy Seeker Emily Griffiths was below and to her right, but she hadn’t seen the Snitch. She did not notice either the Gallowglas Seeker off to her left or the Gallowglas Beater behind her.

Ginny stopped her broom in mid-flight and hovered. “EMILY!” she yelled. “Your two o’ clock high!”

Emily Griffiths reacted immediately, jerking her Firebolt Gold up and haring after the Snitch, her keen eyes quickly picking it out. At the same time the Gallowglas Seeker, alerted by her shout, dove at full speed and tore towards it, streaking past Ginny, who instinctively gave chase.

To the trained eye, it was obvious that Griffiths would get to the Snitch first. To stop her the Gallowglas Beater smashed a nearby Bludger towards the Harpy Seeker with as much force as he could muster, aiming the shot directly between her and the Snitch. Even a half-second jink by Griffiths to avoid the speeding ball would be enough to give the Gallowglasses victory with the score now standing at two hundred and forty to a hundred and thirty.

Ginny felt rather than saw the Beater and the Bludger, and did the first thing she could think of, flying straight into the path of the onrushing Bludger. The hard black ball struck her in the ribs, and the pain of it tore a scream from her throat, but a louder shout of victory penetrated the haze of pain as Emily Griffiths closed her fingers around the Snitch.

Then Ginny was aware of all the Harpies flying to her and hugging her in mid-air, as Vilmai and Emily and all the others crowded around her, laughing and yelling and shouting. Ginny stared in wonderment at Gwenog actually crying tears of joy as she bellowed over and over, “YOU’RE A DAMN HARPY, WEASLEY! YOU’RE A DAMN HARPY!”

She belonged to the team at last.

Then she remembered, and shook herself free from their arms, and headed straight for the Top Box.

* * *


“Are those earphones, or are you trying to fend off Nargles?” said Luna in her characteristic high, dreamy voice. “I thought Muggle earphones don’t work around magic.”

“Well, I’ve charmed my music player to work even in places permeated with magic,” said Hermione, “and it’s even got a Silencing Spell on it, so I can actually hear the music.” She waved her hand at Ron, who was hollering as Ginny streaked past, the Quaffle tucked under her arm. “If I have to accompany Ron to a game, well, I’m doing it on my terms.”

“Oh, look, Ginny’s scored again,” remarked Luna in a faintly pleased voice devoid of a discernible trace of excitement. “But how can you hear me when I’m speaking to you?”

“Well, there’s a kind of selective effect on them,” said Hermione, blushing. “I couldn’t… well I couldn’t find a spell that had exactly what I wanted, so I experimented a bit with the Silencing Spell and modified it myself… it’s… well, it’s nothing really…”

“Modesty is merely another kind of dishonesty,” said Luna serenely, her eyes glued to the whirling figures on the pitch. “You won’t mind if I have a bit of a listen? Ouch, Ginny will feel that one,” she commented to no-one in particular as she watched the Bludger strike the flame-haired Harpy squarely.

“Of course, Luna,” said Hermione, reaching under her curly hair to pluck out an earphone and hand it to Luna. “It’s a Muggle band, rather old, but they’re evergreen.” Her words were drowned out in a deafening cheer from the Harpies supporters around them as the Harpy Seeker punched the air, her fist clutched around a shining speck of gold. A groan of dismay rose up from the throats of 8,000 Glaswegian Galloglasses fans.

As Ron cheered along with the other Harpies and George whirled round on Angelina, enveloped her in a crushing hug and delivered a loud victory kiss, Luna took the proffered earphone and watched with a faint smile as Ginny broke away from the scrum of Harpies and stopped her Firebolt Gold beside the Top Box, leaping inside to embrace and kiss someone within, someone with messy black hair that stuck up at the back. “I understand. Things don’t need to be brand-new to be good. Sometimes, it’s the test of time that tells us what they’re really worth.” She hummed along to the melody of the song:

I was sick and tired of everything,
When I called you last night from Glasgow,
All I do is eat and sleep and sing,
Wishing every show was the last show.

So imagine how I was glad to hear you’re coming,
Suddenly I feel all right,
(And suddenly it’s gonna be)
And it’s gonna be so different when I’m on the stage tonight.

Tonight the super trouper lights are gonna find me,
Shining like the sun,
Smiling having fun,
Feeling like a number one.

Tonight the super trouper beams are gonna blind me,
But I won’t feel blue,
Like I always do,
Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you.

Facing twenty thousand of your fans,
How can anyone be so lonely?
Part of a success that never ends,
Still I’m thinking about you only.

There are moments when I think I’m going crazy,
But it’s gonna be all right,
(You’ll soon be changing everything)
Everything will be so different when I’m on the stage tonight.

Tonight the super trouper lights are gonna find me,
Shining like the sun,
Smiling having fun,
Feeling like a number one.

Tonight the super trouper beams are gonna blind me,
But I won’t feel blue,
Like I always do,
Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you.

So I’ll be there when you arrive,
The sight of you will prove to me you’re still alive
And when you take me in your arms and hold me tight,
I know it’s gonna mean so much tonight.

Tonight the super-trouper lights are gonna find me,
Shining like the sun,
Smiling having fun,
Feeling like a number one.

Tonight the super trouper beams are gonna blind me,
But I won’t feel blue,
Like I always do,
Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you.



THE END

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