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.
A/N: Thanks to my beta seeker_destiny and to Mark for Brit picking.
Ginny looped her teammate as she finished her scoring run. Glenna playfully shook her fist at the younger girl. Ginny grinned at her fellow Chaser as she flew back into position.
A whistle blew. The witches spiralled to the ground and gathered around their captain, Gwenog Jones. Gwenog looked around at her team. "I've just had word that the new coach for the English team will be holding open try-outs next month." She held her hands ups to quiet the protests that had broken out. "I know, I have no idea why he's doing it this way. He's attended matches and seen all of the teams. He says that holding open try-outs might find some hidden talent."
"Please," Giselle said sarcastically. "There is some Ministry worker or shop clerk out there who can play Quidditch better than a professional player."
"Wait, they are letting non-professionals try out?" Glenna asked scandalized.
"I'm sure it's some publicity ploy," Gwenog reassured her players. "You know everyone loves an underdog." She eyed her girls critically. "That being said, I don't expect to hear that one of my girls was beaten out by some shop clerk. Information on try-outs will be in the locker room. There are forms that need to be filled out and sent in. Please make sure your physical is up to date. Healer Davis will be here next week and will be able to perform a physical if you need yours updated, but she will not be checking when yours expires. That is up to you to make sure your paperwork is up to date and complete."
Ginny headed into the locker room with Glenna, her closest friend on the team. "I'm actually excited about the try-out process. With the last English team it seemed like Coach Knight picked his favourites and didn't give any newer players a chance."
"That's true," Glenna agreed reluctantly. She smiled at her friend. "You won't have a problem making the team. You were the highest scoring rookie and the last two years you've led the league in scoring."
"I hope so," Ginny said. "I think representing England would be wonderful!"
After showering and changing, Ginny made sure to grab the packet of paperwork required for the try-outs. The thought of flying for England was thrilling. Waving to her teammates, Ginny headed into the crisp Welsh evening. Most of the girls preferred to Floo to the stadium or Apparate, but Ginny liked to ride her bicycle. She lived in a small two bedroom house near the beach. Her first two years on the squad she'd shared a flat with some of her teammates, but now she was living on her own. It was a new experience for her and she found that she liked it. After growing up in such a loud and crowded house, her quiet little house was paradise. While she missed her family, she loved living on her own and earning her own way.
Approaching her bicycle, her smiled slipped off her face. Sitting on the seat of her bike was a rose and a note. Pulling her wand, she cast a few spells. There didn't seem to be any spells on the flower or note, but the security wards she'd placed on her bicycle had been taken down.
Reaching out, she gingerly lifted the flower and note. Ignoring the flower, she opened the note.
You looked amazing out there today! Of course you always look beautiful! I saw you walking on the beach yesterday afternoon, you looked so lovely in that little white dress. I think you should wear dresses more often.
I was glad to see that photographer was nowhere to be seen this weekend. You do know he's no good for you, right? I knew it was only a matter of time before you realized he was not right for you.
Soon it will be time for us to meet.
Her hands shook slightly. She'd really hoped she'd heard the last from him. Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was 5:30. Ron might still be at the Ministry.
Recasting the security charms on her bicycle, she headed into the stadium and Flooed to the Ministry of Magic in London. Arriving in London, she cast a quick cleansing charm to remove the soot. She really hated Flooing long distance, but this warranted it.
She hurried past the fountain in the Atrium. In the centre of the fountain was a statue depicting Harry Potter's final battle with You-Know-Who. She was never quite sure if she liked the statue or not, there was something about it that seemed a bit off to her.
As she reached the Auror Department, her heart sank. It was obvious that most of the staff had left for the day and there was not even a receptionist at the desk. Hoping that maybe Ron was still working, she headed towards the back of the department where the trainees had their cubicles.
The cubicles were all empty. She could see Ron's cubicle with a pennant for his beloved Chudley Cannons tacked on the wall. He also had several pictures – a large one of his long-time girlfriend, Hermione Granger, as well as several family photos. Ron's best mate, Neville's, cubicle was next to his. Ginny recognized it by the plant on the desk. Neville had a small picture of him and his grandmother at his Hogwarts graduation.
Ginny sighed. She'd really hoped that Ron and Neville would still be there. She wondered if she should talk to another Auror, but she remembered how sceptical Ron had been of the anonymous notes. She didn't imagine an Auror she didn't know would take her seriously when her own brother was so disbelieving.
As she turned to leave, she saw movement from one of the offices around the cubicles. She suddenly realized how dark it was in the near deserted department. In the larger room she could see the on-duty Aurors, but there was no one else near her.
"Can I help you?"
Ginny whirled around at the voice, but was relieved to see a young man in Auror's robes. His robes were open revealing a tight white t-shirt and jeans. He was rather good-looking with dark hair and glasses. As he stepped further into the light, she revised her opinion – he was extremely good looking. His hair was worn a bit longer than might be fashionable, but it seemed to suit him well. Now that she could see him more clearly, she could see his gorgeous dark green emerald coloured eyes underneath his glasses. She didn't recall seeing him around before, she was certain she would have remembered him.
"I…no…I was hoping to catch my brother," Ginny blushed as she stumbled over her words. She hadn't blushed in front of a boy since Hogwarts.
"Ron Weasley," Ginny explained. "He's one of the Auror trainees."
"Oh, yes," the man replied as his gaze moved to the trainees' desks. "Tall, red-head."
Blushing again, Ginny nodded.
The man grinned in a way Ginny found very sexy. "I think all the trainees went out drinking. They had an unexpected test today and they all did rather well, I believe they were going out to celebrate."
"Damn!" Ginny swore softly. Her mind raced as she tried to figure out what she should do. Ron certainly wouldn't thank her for chasing him down if he was out drinking with his mates. Not to mention she was wearing her post work out gear which consisted of a dark green sports bra with the Harpies' logo and lighter green trousers with the words Harpies up the leg. Ron hated when she wore it, he complained every time he saw her wearing it. If she turned up like this, Ron would never help her.
She glanced over at her companion trying to figure out how old he might be. It seemed as though he was probably in a year or two of her own age. But if he was in his early twenties, why wasn't he in training? It was obvious from his robes and the fact that he had an office that he was already an Auror.
"Is there something I can help you with?"
Ginny bit her lip as she tried to decide what to do. Although Ron and Neville had both laughed off her concerns when she'd mentioned her other notes, it scared her that someone was keeping such a close eye on her.
"I…I'm not really sure, but I think so," Ginny replied at length.
He nodded. "Why don't you come into the consultation room?"
She followed him into the small room that she hadn't even noticed. Entering the room, she noted two comfortable looking chairs with two low tables next to them. The Auror took one of the chairs and pulled a sheaf of parchment and quill out of his robes before sitting down.
Sinking into the chair, Ginny noticed a pitcher of ice water with goblets had appeared on one of the tables along with a box of tissues. She had to smile, the Auror department was rather efficient.
"I guess I should start with introductions. My name is Harry Potter."
Ginny dropped the goblet of water she had just poured. Embarrassment flooded through her and she hastily picked up the goblet. Before she could clean the mess she'd made, Harry calmly cast the appropriate spells while she collected herself.
"I am so sorry," Ginny said, her face flaming. "I'm Ginny Weasley. I'm not usually such a klutz. I can't believe I didn't recognize you."
"That's okay," Harry replied easily. Something seemed to click and he leaned forward. "Ginny Weasley, the Quidditch player? I saw your match against the Arrows. You are a great player."
"Thank you," Ginny blushed again. She mentally cursed the fact that she was a red head and blushed so easily. This was Harry Potter! The Harry Potter! Why couldn't she be witty and flirt? No, instead she was blushing and stuttering like a school girl.
"What is the problem?" Harry asked.
"I'm not exactly sure there is a problem," Ginny said. "Ron and Neville both laughed at me when I mentioned it, but…"
"Why don't you let me make that decision?"
Taking a deep breath Ginny began her story. "It started two or three month ago. I'm not exactly sure when. I started receiving these letters and at first I thought it was just fan mail. It was never signed or anything, but at first the letters just talked about how great I played or how pretty I am." She flushed slightly. "It seemed a bit much, but I asked some of the other girls on the squad and they've all received fan mail so I didn't worry about it."
"Something happened," Harry said.
"One of the letters was left with a bouquet of flowers on my front porch," Ginny said. "At first I thought the florist had delivered it, but I realized there was no florist's name and it wasn't a professional looking bouquet. You know how florist's bouquets usually have those little white flowers and just look professional?"
Harry nodded and she continued. "This didn't look very professional. They were wildflowers and they weren't…I don't know exactly how to describe it, but they weren't matched like a florist would. The flowers didn't seem to go together."
"As in the colours didn't go together?"
"Yes," Ginny said relieved she'd explained it well enough for him to understand. "The colours didn't go together and the flowers were all different sizes."
"So he knows where you live," Harry frowned.
Ginny smiled ruefully. "It took me a lot longer than that to work it out."
"Did you save any of the letters?"
"I have them at home," Ginny said. "I keep files of my fan mail and I have a folder of these…disturbing letters."
"Great, that will be helpful," Harry said. "Is there any evidence he's been inside your house?"
"I don't have any evidence, but I think he has," Ginny admitted. "Two weeks ago I came home from an extended road trip. I hadn't been home in almost ten days. When I went inside it just…it felt different. Nothing was missing, but some of the pictures on my mantle were moved around. My brothers thought I was remembering wrong. Ron and Neville listened to me, but they said I had a fan and what did I expect playing professional Quidditch."
"What happened today?" Harry asked. Ginny explained what had happened and showed him the flower and letter. To her surprise, he didn't reach out to take them. Instead, he reached for his wand. "I'm going to cast a few spells."
She nodded and watched as he worked. She didn't recognize any of the spells and she really couldn't tell from his reaction what they might be showing. After the spells, Harry reached out for the items.
He dropped the flower into an evidence bag and encased the letter in some sort of clear cover. Picking up the letter, he read it. Frowning as he re-read the letter, he asked, "Did you wear a white dress on the beach yesterday?"
She nodded. He looked back at the letter. "Who is the photographer?"
"My friend, Colin Creevey," she explained. "We've been friends since Hogwarts. Some papers have wrongly reported that he's my boyfriend, so maybe that's why he mentioned him."
"Who knows where you live?" Harry asked.
Ginny frowned as she thought about it. "My family – my parents, my brothers and their girlfriends. A few friends from Hogwarts and my teammates."
Harry slid a sheet of parchment over to her and handed her a quill. "Can you make a list?"
She did as he asked and was rather surprised to discover the list was longer than she expected. He seemed to be thinking along the same lines as he looked at the list.
"How long have you lived there?"
"About a year," she replied.
"You live alone?"
She simply nodded. As she watched him, she became a bit more nervous. He set down his quill and looked at her for a minute. "Miss Weasley, I'm going to have to ask some questions and they are very personal questions and indeed might seem quite rude. I wouldn't ask them if I didn't need to do so. I need you to answer as honestly as you can. I can assure you that your answers will in no way be shared with anyone."
Ginny swallowed and poured herself another goblet of water.
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Can you tell me about the last several men you've dated?"
Damping down her initial response, Ginny replied, "I dated Neville Longbottom briefly whilst I was at Hogwarts. We broke up when he graduated from Hogwarts. I dated David Yates during my last year at school and my first year on the Harpies. We broke up almost two years ago. I haven't really dated anyone since then. I go out dancing with my friends and I might dance sometimes or flirt with guys, but I haven't really dated anyone. I did go on a picnic with a friend of my brothers last month – my mum insisted I bring someone so Bill asked a friend of his to be my date."
"Any one night stands?"
"What?" Ginny was offended he would even think that. "I know that's what a lot of guys think about female Quidditch players, but I'm not like that. I like to go dancing with my friends, but I don't sleep around! Why do people always assume that female Quidditch players are tramps?"
"I'm sorry, Miss Weasley," Harry said soothingly. "I did tell you there would be very personal questions. I have to ask."
Ginny fumed quietly for a minute before she realized that if he had no way of knowing what sort of person she was after talking to her for a few minutes. Merlin knows that she had friends who wouldn't think twice about having a one night stand or sleeping with one of the fans. She blushed. "No, I'm sorry, Mr Potter. You don't know me and you are trying to help me."
Harry smiled. "Thank you. I do understand it is a difficult subject to discuss. When you read the letters or think about the letter writer, does anyone come to mind?"
Ginny thought about it for a minute. "No. I think that's part of what makes it so creepy. He seems to know so much about me and I don't know anything about him."
Nodding, he glanced down at the letter once more. "Miss Weasley, have you heard of the term 'stalker'?"
She shook her head.
"I'm not surprised," Harry said. "It is a phenomenon that has been noticed in the Muggle world. Basically it means that there is a person out there who is fixated on you and engaged in a course of action directed at you that causes you to fear for you safety or the safety of others or to suffer emotional distress."
"Yes!" Ginny blushed after her exclamation, but she pushed on. "He makes me feel uneasy and I don't know why."
She frowned. "Ron and Neville both told me they thought it was a fan." She dropped her gaze and fought back a blush as she recalled the rest of their assessment.
Harry noticed her facial expression and mentally cursed both the Auror trainees. "Did they place the blame on you?"
Ginny looked up startled that he'd realized that. "Yes, they said that I was inviting crazy fans by playing professional Quidditch. Ron said I must have done something to encourage him because he keeps leaving the notes. I don't think he believed me when I said I didn't know who it was."
"This is in no way your fault," Harry reassured her. "I believe this stalker is displaying signs of erotomania or the delusion that they are in a relationship or in love with the object of their attention. This often happens with famous people, but honestly it can happen to anyone. He may have seen you playing in a match and in his mind, you acknowledged him. Maybe you looked over at the section of the stands in which he was seated, it is something little that he is imbuing with all sorts of meanings. If you wear your hair differently, he thinks it is because of him, he might see a picture in the paper and swear you were looking straight at him. Unfortunately, he believes that the two of you are in love and looks for confirmation in all sorts of actions. He might twist the fact that your friend didn't visit this weekend to mean that you don't like your friend and are ready to start a relationship with him."
"What can I do about it?" Ginny horrified at what she was hearing.
Harry smiled reassuringly. "First, I would like to see where the note and flower were found and then I'd like to see your house."
"Of course," Ginny said.
The pair stood and Harry led the way back to his office so he could grab a few things before heading to Wales. Almost as soon as he entered, the Floo lit up. Turning, he smiled. "Hi, Dad."
His godfather, the man who had raised him since infancy, Sirius Black said, "Hi, Harry. Someone was just wondering where you were."
Harry laughed. "Put him on."
A second later, the face of his four year old godson, Teddy appeared in the fire. "Harry, when you comin' home?"
"I will be home later, kiddo," Harry answered gently. He glanced over at Ginny who was trying to give him so privacy on the Floo. "I'm going to see if I can help a lady with her problem."
The little heart shaped face pouted for a moment before the more familiar grin stole across his face. "You give my bath tonight?"
Harry laughed. "I will give you your bath tonight. Are you being a good boy for Papa?"
Teddy nodded. "We played lots today. Papa taked me to the park and we played. I maked a picture for you."
"I can't wait to see it, Teddy," Harry replied with a smile. "Put Papa back on, okay?"
"Okay," Teddy replied. "I love you, Harry."
"I love you, too."
Sirius face reappeared. "I heard. I'll see you later."
The Floo connection broke. Harry grabbed his cloak and scanned his desk. He didn't see anything else he'd need. After setting the appropriate security charms on the desk and files, he turned to Ginny. "We can take the Floo in the Atrium."
She nodded. As they walked toward the elevator, she said shyly. "Your little boy is adorable."
"Thank you," Harry said proudly. "He's my godson. His parents were killed in the Battle at Hogwarts and his grandparents died during the war, so my godfather and I are raising him."
"How old is he? Three or four?" Ginny guessed.
"He's four," Harry replied.
"I thought so," she said. "I have a niece who's three and he speaks a bit more clearly than she does."
"I noticed on the list you made, that you have quite a large family."
"I'm the youngest of seven," Ginny explained. "I had six older brothers. One of my brothers was killed in the Battle of Hogwarts. Three of my brothers are married and are starting their families. So far I have two nieces and now a nephew on the way."
"Wow, that must be nice," Harry replied a touch enviously. "I always wanted lots of brothers and sisters." He laughed. "When I was little, it was just me and Sirius. He's great, but I always wished for a brother or sister to play with."
"I will admit, I had a great childhood," Ginny said with a smile. "We grew up all playing together. We spent a lot of time outside – playing in the orchard, swimming in the river, or flying. Of course my brothers wouldn't let me play Quidditch with them when we were younger. They claimed I was too small and would get hurt easily." She laughed. "My second year at Hogwarts I made the Quidditch team as Seeker and shocked the hell out of my brothers who didn't even realize I could fly at that point."
Harry laughed appreciatively. "That's great. Judging by the fact that you are a professional player, I'm guessing you were the best of the lot."
She blushed slightly. "I'd like to think so. My brother Charlie was a great player, but he chose to go raise dragons in Romania. I was on the Gryffindor team with three of my brothers at one point, it was rather fun."
"A Gryffindor? My parents and godfather were all Gryffindors," he said a touch wistfully. "I always imagined I'd be a Gryffindor if I made it to Hogwarts."
As the elevator took them to the Atrium, Harry realized how at ease he felt with Ginny Weasley. He usually didn't talk so much about his childhood and family. Glancing over at her, he had to admit, she was gorgeous. He'd seen her picture in the paper and had always thought she was pretty, but he hadn't expected that she would be so easy to talk to. In his experience, girls as pretty as her were usually well aware of their looks and used them to get what they wanted. Ginny didn't seem to be that type of girl. After her initial start when he introduced himself, she didn't fawn all over him as witches tended to do.
Realizing where his thoughts were leading him, Harry reigned in his thoughts. She wasn't just some girl, she'd come to him for help. He snuck another look at her as they crossed the atrium. She was gorgeous, though.
Ginny stood back as Harry spoke to Peter, the head of Security for the Harpies. She ignored the angry looks Peter was shooting in her direction. When she'd first started receiving the notes, she'd talked to Peter and he assured her that it was nothing – all the girls received fan letters. The first time she'd found a note in the locker room she'd again gone to Peter and he'd just laughed it off. If he didn't like her going to the Aurors, he needed to take her concerns more seriously.
She followed Harry as they left the Security office. As she watched he cast a series of complex spells and charms. He cast them all wordlessly, so she really had no idea what he was doing. He didn't seem happy with what he'd found.
"I think this guy is good with Charms," Harry said after a few minutes. "Most of the security charms over the stadium are intact, but he's made little changes that allow access to certain areas. That security guard is not very helpful. I don't know if he didn't notice the breeches in security or if he just didn't think they were important."
"He never really took my concerns seriously," Ginny commented. "He had the same attitude that my brothers showed – it was just a fan with a crush, nothing to be concerned about."
Harry shook his head in disgust. "I would think with an all-female team they would have better security."
"Why?" Ginny asked offended by the implication. "We are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves."
"I didn't mean to offend you," Harry said quickly. "It's just that women tend to be the focus of certain types of crimes and he seems particularly clueless. He should be on the lookout for the overzealous fans, but instead he thinks they are a joke or even something that should be encouraged."
Those were remarkably close to her thoughts on Peter, so she didn't argue. "Can you fix the gaps in the wards?"
"I can, but I'd rather have someone from Gringotts come and fix the charms," Harry replied. "They set the wards to begin with and no one is better at wards than the goblins and their employees."
"My oldest brother, Bill, is a Curse-Breaker for Gringotts," Ginny commented.
"That's good to know," Harry said. "I'll request him to be part of the warding team. His relationship to you will strengthen the wards. Did he ward your house?"
Ginny shook her head. "No, I didn't think it necessary. I mean the war's over and…" she shrugged. "I don't know. That sounds really stupid now that I say it out loud. None of my teammates have their places warded and I guess it seemed like an unnecessary expense."
"I understand," Harry said soothingly. "After the war a lot of people wanted to ditch their precautions as soon as the battle was over."
Ginny watched him as he said that and it struck her anew that he was the one who'd ended it all. "I guess it wasn't that easy for you."
He grinned ruefully. "No, and my godfather is the most paranoid person in the world. He'd still have us under Fidelius with all manner of protective charms if I didn't complain so much."
"I can only imagine. My parents kept the protections up for a full year after the war. I think mum liked it because she was better able to keep track of us." Ginny laughed.
Ginny watched anxiously as Harry walked around her house. While she was very glad that he was taking her so seriously, she was starting to get worried about it now. The thought that some stranger thought she was in love with him and may have broken into her house was chilling.
Leaving Harry to devices for a moment, she refilled Chaser's food and water. She looked around, but couldn't find the calico stray she'd found a few years before. Glancing out into the yard, she couldn't see the cat, but Chaser loved to race over to the nearby beach and had even been known to drag home a dead fish or two.
She was glad she'd taken the time to shower and change after practice. Often she waited until she arrived home, but today she'd felt especially grimy after practice and wanted a shower before leaving the stadium.
"Is this your room?" Harry asked indicating her bedroom.
"May I go in?"
"Of course," Ginny replied.
She watched Harry as he efficiently worked his way across the room. He was casting spells and looking at everything. He frowned as he neared her wardrobe. She watched as he opened the wardrobe and cast a spell. A spot lit up on the floor in front of the wardrobe. Frowning, she watched as he cast several more spells.
"He's been in here," Harry said grimly.
"What?" She was shocked. "In my bedroom."
He nodded. "It seems he spent some time here pleasuring himself in your room."
Ginny stared at him for a minute as what he'd said started to make sense. Immediately she turned and just made it to the bathroom in time to lose what was left of her lunch. Disgusting pictures of some unknown man rummaging through her knickers and touching himself kept flashing through her head.
Shaking her head, she forced those images out of her head. She stood and washed her face and brushed her teeth.
"Are you okay?" came Harry's voice from just outside the bathroom.
She opened the door and nodded. "Sorry, that…that is disgusting."
He nodded. "Is there somewhere else you can stay for the night? I don't think you should stay here until the wards are improved."
While she wanted to protest, the knowledge that someone had been in her room forced her to acknowledge that it just wasn't safe. The thought of returning the Burrow for the night depressed her. If her mother had any idea that she wasn't safe, Ginny would never hear the end of it. Her mother would be after her to quit Quidditch, not that she wasn't doing that already, but Ginny imagined she would be much worse.
She was reluctant to go to Ron – he'd laughed at her concerns and she was sure that Hermione would be there and they weren't really getting along that well. George's house was out as Angelina was pregnant and not having the easiest time of it – she didn't want to add to their concerns. Percy was out of the question. The only one of the brothers she would feel comfortable in going to was Bill, but he was on holiday with his wife and daughter.
"I don't know," she admitted. "I think I should probably go to a hotel."
"Why don't you pack a bag?" he suggested.
Harry returned to her sitting room while she quickly packed enough clothes for a few days. She was going to thoroughly wash everything before she wore anything. Merlin knows how many things that man touched.