A/N: Thanks to Mark for his Brit picking and suggestions and thank you to seekers_destiny for his betaing! I'm thrilled that so many people liked the story. There are areas of the story that could be longer, but I was trying to keep it around the 20,000 word limit for the challenge. I'm sure I've gone over a bit, but I could easily have doubled the word count. I would like to clarify something a reviewer asked about the purity charm. I see the Wizarding World as rather old fashioned and would look down upon pre-marital sex so the purity charm is something they would use to ensure their brides are virgins. It is not a commentary on the real world.
"What?" Hamish stared at Neville in astonishment. "Tell me what you know."
Longbottom squirmed in his chair. "I honestly don't know anything about the stalker or any of the notes and things. I've been crazy about Ginny for years. She broke up with me when I left Hogwarts, but I always thought we'd eventually get back together. She's a beautiful pureblood witch from a good family and she would make the perfect wife, if it weren't for this Quidditch obsession. I'd even received permission from her father to court her and propose. Her family is in favour of the match and my family is in favour of the match.
"Her family and I thought she just needed to get this dream of playing Quidditch out of her system before settling down and getting married. After she started with the Harpies and broke up with that other boy, she started going out drinking and dancing with her teammates. My grandmother started making comments like maybe I needed to give up on Ginny. Obviously if she wasn't pure and untouched, she wouldn't make an appropriate bride."
Hamish listened in amazement. "So that gave you the right to check up on her?"
"I wanted to make certain she was still a virgin," Neville said. He flushed bright red as he squeaked out the last word. "I know Ron and his parents were worried about that as well. I was talking to Michael Corner one night and he said that he'd developed a purity test. For the older pureblood families, it is very important that the bride be untouched on her wedding night. Michael has registered his charm sequence and is making quite a bit of money in testing prospective brides."
"So you retained his services," Hamish prompted when Neville fell silent.
Neville nodded. "I paid the fee and gave him the particulars of her schedule and the address to her house. He was going to try to place the charms in her house, but…I don't know why he switched to the locker room. I think maybe he was intrigued by the challenge. The last time I talked to him, he was going on about the Arithmancy involved in the ward sequence at the Harpies stadium. He said if he couldn't make it work at the stadium, he'd go back to her house."
Sighing Neville admitted, "He mentioned something about recruiting his cousin to help with the complex equations. I never took Arithmancy so I didn't really understand what he was talking about."
"What did he tell you about his cousin?" Hamish leaned forward.
"Not much," Neville replied. "He had a very common name like Jack or John or maybe David. He's older than Michael and I know Michael really looked up to him."
Trying to restrain his impatience with Neville, Hamish sat back and glared at the younger man. "Do you realize what you've help perpetrate? Why didn't you say anything earlier?"
Squirming, Neville said, "Ron didn't really believe that she was in danger. We didn't see anything out of the ordinary at her house and…I know we messed up, but I honestly didn't think she was in danger. I love her. I would have never knowingly put her in danger. I want to marry her, why would I put her in danger?"
Hamish shook his head in disgust. "Mr Longbottom, I am revoking your Auror trainee status and placing you on immediate suspension. I would suggest that give serious consideration to resigning. I can't speak for your supervisor, but I would imagine your position in the Ministry is in jeopardy."
Harry circled the pitch searching for that elusive flash of gold. He was on the white team and the opposing team, the green team, was doing well. Ginny had scored numerous times so far. Even if he didn't make the team, the sheer exhilaration of flying with such talented players was the experience of a life time.
To his surprise, the green Seeker was following him rather than looking for the Snitch. Another circuit around the pitch showed the Snitch was nowhere in sight. Glancing back at the other Seeker, he decided to go for it.
Acting as though he'd seen the Snitch, he dove almost straight down. He loved diving. Timing it perfectly, he made a seemingly impossible turn and straightened out flying less than a foot off the ground before rising rapidly. He heard rather than saw the Seeker hit the ground. He quickly returned to his previous spot to search for the Snitch.
The score was 120 to 40 in favour of the green team. While one of the Chasers and the Beaters were both good on the white team, Ginny and Glenna were almost scoring at will against the white Keeper. Harry knew that if his team was going to win, it would be up to him to catch the Snitch.
The green Seeker re-joined him above the pitch, but stayed a healthy distance from Harry. Grinning Harry wheeled around to scan for the flash of gold. He watched for a minute as Glenna stole the Quaffle and tossed it to Ginny who took off towards the goal. She dodged the Bludgers sent her way by the white teams' Beaters and faked to the centre before sending the Quaffle through the left goal. Belatedly realizing he wasn't supposed to be watching, he looked around once again.
This time he saw the elusive Snitch flying near the goal posts. He started casually flying that direction so as not to alert the other Seeker. A murmur in the stadium let him know others had now spotted the Snitch. He flew flat out to reach it first, dodging both other players and Bludgers. He could feel the other Seeker gaining on him, but it didn't matter as his fingers closed over the Snitch. He raised his fist in triumph.
A whistle blew, indicating the match was over. As the players landed, Harry was congratulated by members of both teams.
"You were great," Ginny said happily as they made their way to the stands to watch the second scrimmage match.
"Thanks," Harry said. "You were also. You and Glenna were really good."
Harry didn't like how crowded it was as they walked to the stands. Not only were there players and those who had been cut, but now there were reporters and photographers wandering around. The concession area was full of people. There were two stands operating, selling food to the crowd, as well as a cart selling World Cup related merchandise.
To Harry's relief, the players were able to bypass much of the concession area and enter and more restricted corridor. There was a booth set up with food for the players. With their players' badges, the pair could eat for free.
Harry grabbed a bottle of water with grilled chicken, rice, and broccoli. Ginny chose a sports drink with chicken and pasta. Once they had their plates, the pair made their way to the stands. They settled into a pair of seats not far from where Glenna was sitting.
"Don't look at her meal," Ginny warned Harry.
"Why?" Harry asked curiously as he, of course, looked over at her plate.
"She eats the weirdest combination of foods," Ginny said. Glancing over, she said, "I guess she's not too bad today. She has eggs and potatoes, but she has them covered with hot sauce. She has rules on what she can eat."
"They aren't weird," Glenna defended herself. "I just don't eat any chicken before playing. I have porridge and fruit before the match."
"You make it sound so normal," Ginny laughed. Turning to Harry she explained, "She only eats fruit in one colour. So if she has berries, she'll pick out all of the blueberries and blackberries so she only has red berries."
Glenna shrugged. "It makes perfect sense to me. People who don't wash their hair on match day and have a special hair tie, shouldn't make fun of me."
"You have a special hair tie?" Harry asked amused.
Ginny laughed. "I do. I've never washed my hair on match day, but on the day of my first match with the Harpies, my hair tie broke. One of my former teammates, Angelina, gave me a hair tie and I scored ten goals."
"It makes sense to me," Harry laughed with her.
The three quieted down as the second scrimmage match got under way. The two teams were fairly evenly matched. Leaning over Harry asked, "Who do you like for Keeper?"
Ginny frowned slightly. "Unfortunately, the best Keeper right now, Oliver Wood, is playing for Scotland. He was my first Quidditch captain, he's really good and very dedicated."
"He plays for Puddlemere, right?"
Ginny nodded. "Grant Newton, is playing for the red team. He's on the Arrows. I think he's the best I've seen over the last few days."
"He's good," Harry said as he watched the man block a goal. "Who was on the white team?"
"Denison Frisby. He was Keeper on the English Team in '94 and '98, but I'm thinking he's past his prime. Glenna and I were able to score on him easily."
"You two are really good," Harry pointed out.
"Thank you," Ginny said. "I really hope we make the team. My dad took me and my brothers to the World Cup in '94. It was amazing."
"I wasn't able to attend," Harry said. "We'd hoped to, but…well events dictated otherwise." He shrugged. "Where is the World Cup this year?"
"Germany," Ginny replied. "I read in the Quidditch Weekly that they spent a lot of money in updating their stadiums and making certain there are enough accommodations for everyone."
"That's good," Harry replied seriously. "I was rather shocked to discover that so many of the stadiums have outdated systems. I hate that you are going through this, but at least it has brought to light the issues. Kingsley has appointed a new group to review the charms as well as the Muggle technology to make sure we remain hidden."
Ginny started at hearing the Minister of Magic referred to in such as casual manner, but recovered. "I'm glad they are going to be looking into this. I hate going through this, but if it can spare someone else from going through it as well I will choose to look at it as a silver lining."
A gasp from the crowd drew their attention back to the field. "Why aren't they going after the Snitch?" Harry demanded.
"Where is it?"
Harry pointed out the tiny golden ball that was flying in a rather aimless pattern at the far end of the pitch.
"I didn't even see it," Ginny admitted.
It was another few minutes before either of the Seekers spotted it. The blue team won that match. After the teams left the field, Coach Gibbs strode onto the pitch.
"I want to thank everyone. I've seen some amazing plays over the past few days and I have some hard decisions to make. Please relax and get something to eat. Return to the stand in one hour for the announcement of the English National Team."
Cheers rose from all sections of the stands. Harry rose and accompanied Ginny and Glenna back to the concession area. The crowd made Harry quite uneasy. Several photographers stopped Ginny and Glenna to ask for pictures.
Ginny glanced over at Harry. She was a bit worried that he would be upset that she and Glenna were received so much attention and him none, but to her surprise he didn't seem at all upset. He'd tried out under the name of Harry Black and thus far, no one had realized exactly who he was. It had taken her a while to realize that he was perfectly content out of the spotlight.
Leaning close to Harry, she said, "I want to grab something else to eat."
He nodded and she jumped as he reached out to take her hand. "I don't want to risk getting separated."
"Of course," she replied, hoping he wouldn't notice her wildly beating heart as he laced their fingers together. As they walked along, she wished with all her heart they'd met under different circumstances. When he glanced over and smiled, she couldn't help but return the smile. He was so good looking and he didn't even seem to notice the attention he received.
When they reached the food table, Ginny wasn't surprised to see her brother loading up another plate while talking to his former roommate, Dean Thomas. She glared at him as she moved to the opposite side of the table. He'd apologized, but she was having a hard time forgiving him.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked quietly as he looked between the siblings.
She nodded. "I'm just…I'm not even that angry anymore. I'm more hurt. I don't know why he always thinks so badly of me. He always takes Neville's side against me and if I disagree with anyone, he's always quick to tell me I'm wrong. He made the Quidditch team the year before I became captain and I almost had to replace him a Keeper because he couldn't accept that I could tell him what to do. After we had a few rather loud rows, he finally accepted that I'd been on the team much longer than him, but he always seemed to hold that against me."
"Git," Harry muttered.
Ginny flashed him a smile as she reached out to grab a peach off the table. Taking a bite out of her peach, she stepped back out of the way. Harry made a move to join her, but Glenna said, "Harry, can you reach one of the jugs of pumpkin juice? I can't reach them."
As Ginny watched, Harry complied with Glenna's request with a smile. She was glad that Harry and Glenna were getting along so well. A hand on her arm caused her to look up. Thinking it was fan looking for an autograph, Ginny smiled as she peered up into his face.
Shocked recognition flooded through her and she screamed even as she felt the familiar sickening tug of a Portkey.
Hamish watched Michael Corner for a minute as he laughed with his friends. According to everything he'd read, Corner was an Arithmancy whiz. He was currently apprenticed, but he was rapidly completing his training. As Longbottom had told him, Corner had registered the charm sequence to his purity test and was apparently making quite a bit of money working for matchmakers and some of the older Pureblood families.
Unfortunately, he'd been unable to discover anything about a cousin. Wizarding family relationships were often confusing and cousin could cover many different degrees of relationships.
Striding across the Department of Charm and Spell Development, Hamish found himself in front of Corner.
"Mr Corner, I'd like a few minutes of your time," Hamish said with an easy smile. "I'm hoping you can help me with an investigation."
Michael Corner turned and looked at Hamish with a touch of amusement. Corner was young, good-looking, and wealthy and from his actions, he seemed to believe he was entitled to all of it. His posh accent, well-cut robes, and dragon skinned boots screamed wealth that went along with his Chelsea address. He obviously looked down on Hamish with his more working class accent and off the rack robes.
"I'm sorry," Michael said, not sounding at all sorry. "I'm a bit busy at the moment."
"So you don't wish to cooperate with my investigation," Hamish said.
"Not at this time," Michael said rather pompously.
Hamish shrugged. "Very well. Michael Corner, you are under arrest for hindering an investigation, unauthorized surveillance, and tampering with Charms in a public building."
"What?!" Michael managed to choke out as Hamish pulled him to his feet.
Without another word, Hamish Apparated with Michael back to the interrogation rooms. Auror and Ministry Security were the only groups with permission to Apparate in the Ministry, so Michael was doubly disorganized when they arrived. Hamish pushed Michael down into his chair which automatically secured the young wizard. After summoning Corner's wand, Hamish sat down across from the now, much less arrogant, wizard.
"I understand you are making quite a bundle with your purity charm," Hamish said conversationally.
"I am," Michael acknowledged. "That is not illegal. I've registered the charm with the Ministry and I work with several Matchmakers."
"Distasteful as that is, you are correct, it is not illegal," Hamish agreed. "However, planting purity charms in a public building without the owner's permission is illegal as is changing the security wards at Harpies' stadium."
"Okay, I'll pay the fine," Michael said with a touch of impatience. "I realize I shouldn't have changed the wards, but it was a fascinating challenge."
"You allowed a dangerous stalker unlimited access to his victim."
"What stalker?" Michael asked scornfully.
Hamish once again showed him the picture from the CCTV footage. "I know he's your cousin."
"Fine, he's my cousin, but he was simply helping me with the Arithmancy equations. David is very good with Arithmancy. He was also fascinated with the possibilities," Michael said. He shook his head. "That's why I didn't identify him. He has nothing to do with this alleged stalking incident."
Michael sighed. "David O'Conner. He lives here in London."
"I need his address."
With an impatient eye roll, Michael provided the address. Hamish quickly relayed it to the rest of the team so they could present the evidence to the local magistrate for a search warrant.
"You'll see," Michael said confidently. "You are looking at the wrong person."
Harry spun around when Ginny screamed. He had his wand out, but he was too far away and he couldn't prevent her from being taken. Even as he was casting spells, he sent a message to the Ministry to track the Portkey, but it was often difficult to track Portkeys.
"Where did she go?" Ron demanded as he looked around. "How did he get so close? I thought you were watching her?"
Harry stood glaring at spot from which she'd been taken. Closing his eyes he tried to concentrate on the wisp of Ginny's magic before it dissipated. It was difficult to track trails of magic, but Harry was the best tracker the Aurors had. Calling on the skills he learned in Africa, he was able to discern where she'd been taken.
Opening his eyes, he looked at Ron. "I know where he's taken her. You can come if you can listen."
Swallowing his anger, Ron nodded. Harry grabbed his arm and side-along Apparated with Ron to the edge of Ginny's property. As soon as they landed, Harry had his wand out and was casting spells.
After a moment, he nodded. "They are here." He looked over at Ginny's brother. "This is the plan."
A knock on the door indicated to Hamish that someone needed to speak to him. Leaving Corner in the interrogation room, Hamish let one of the other Aurors take over.
"Ham, you need to see this," Robards said tersely. The Head Auror side-along Apparated Hamish to David O'Conner's flat. "He's not here; we have people out looking for him."
Robards led the way into O'Conner's bedroom. Hamish gasped when he saw one entire wall covered with pictures of and articles about Ginny Weasley. Some of the pictures appeared to have been cut out of other photos or group shots. There were even a few pictures of Ginny as a child, but most of the photos were recent photos. Hamish thought most of them would have been taken with a telephoto lens from a distance. There were pictures of her walking on the beach, flying at the stadium, and puttering around her house. There was a stack of picture of Ginny in various stages of undress next to the bed. "Merlin."
"You can say that again," Williamson said. "It appears as though he started helping his cousin and ended up fascinated by Miss Weasley. He'd gone back and found pictures from her Hogwarts days, copies of some essays, some newspaper articles, and even scouting reports."
"Are we sure this is recent?" Hamish asked. "There's a copy of one of her Potions essays from Hogwarts."
"I was concerned about that as well," Williamson said, "but the articles are all reproductions, not the original." He gestured to one article from Quidditch Weekly that featured Hogwarts' players. "That came out in '96, but I dated the parchment and it is only a few months old."
"Is that…" Hamish trailed off when he realized that it was indeed a small pile of Miss Weasley's knickers folded in a place on honour on the dresser. "Shit, that's the cat's collar. He killed the damn cat and took it's collar?"
Williamson nodded. Hamish swore. "Do we know where he is?"
"We haven't spotted him," Williamson said. "I spoke to some of his professors from Hogwarts. David was an exceptional student, very gifted in both Arithmancy and Charms, but Professor Flitwick shared that there was always something a little off about David. There was an incident while he was at school of him making multiple unwanted advances on a girl."
Harry's Patronus bounded into the room. "Hamish, come to Ginny's house, now."
Ginny shivered as she watched the man stalk around her bedroom. She didn't recognize the charms he'd used to immobilize her.
"You looked wonderful out there," he enthused. "You are far and away the best flyer out there."
"Thank you," Ginny replied after a minute. While she didn't really want to talk to him, maybe if she was nice to him he'd let his guard down. She prayed that Harry would find her soon.
"Why did you let that man hold your hand?" he raged.
The lightning fast mood changes scared her. She couldn't figure out what to expect next. One minute he was nice and paying her compliments and the next he was furious with her for imagine slights.
"He's an Auror," Ginny explained. "I was scared after I came home and found Chaser. He was watching out for me."
The man laughed. "He wasn't doing a very good job, was he?"
After one more circuit around the room, he said, "I'm sorry about the cat. I shouldn't have done that. I was angry when I saw you flirting with that Auror."
"I wasn't flirting with him," Ginny protested. "My captain asked me to fly with him. She was really impressed with his ability."
"Please," he replied meanly. "You kept blushing and smiling. You do realize he was checking you out, don't you?" He shook his head. "I don't understand you. I earned eight NEWTs. I'm known as a prodigy in Charms and Arithmancy. Why didn't you choose me? Instead you go for some fit Auror bloke. I don't understand."
Ginny froze, unsure of how to respond. She certainly didn't want to encourage him, but she didn't want to anger him either. The memory of what he'd done to Chaser was fresh in her mind.
Before she could decide how to respond, the room seemed to explode in noise and bright flashing lights. She felt someone grab her arm and Apparate away.
Ron brought another cup of tea and plate of shortbread biscuits over to his sister. Ginny was wrapped in a warm blanket sitting in one of the conference rooms. The events of the last hour were extremely confusing for Ron.
When he'd seen his sister disappear, he'd been outraged that the man was able to reach her so easily. While he wanted to blame Potter, he knew that he'd been standing close to Ginny as well and should have been able to stop it. As he'd watched Potter track down and apprehend the suspect with seemingly so little effort on his part, it was eye-opening. Ron didn't recognize most of the spells Potter had used. It was embarrassing to realize that Potter didn't need his help, Ron was positive Potter could have apprehended the suspect and rescued Ginny without any help at all, but he'd allowed Ron to help rescue his sister.
Ginny glanced up at him as he set the plate of biscuits down on the table. He cleared his throat. "Look, Ginny…I'm glad you weren't hurt."
She shook her head contemptuously. "You're glad I wasn't hurt. That's all you have to say."
Ron sighed. "I'm no good at this, Ginny. You know that."
"It's really easy," she said. "I'm sorry for being such a huge prat, Ginny. I'm sorry I didn't believe you. I'm sorry I've been looking down on you for things that aren't your fault."
The tips of his ears darkened as he looked down at the table for a minute. "I am sorry, Ginny."
She looked him over for a minute. "I don't understand why you always think the worst of me. If someone says something about me, instead of taking my side, you always believe whatever they say."
"I just…everything is always easy for you!" Ron burst out. "You make friends easily, everyone likes you. You always made great grades and had no problems in school. You made the Quidditch team in your second year, you made Quidditch captain. You graduate from Hogwarts with six NEWTs and earn a spot on your favourite Quidditch team. You never had to prove you were different or that you had something to contribute."
"You're an idiot," Ginny said after a moment. "You're jealous of how easily things came to me so you treat me like dirt? Why couldn't you have been my friend? It was always 'Go away, Ginny'. Why couldn't we have been better friends? We got along well once I started dating Neville."
"It was nice hanging out with you," Ron admitted, "but then you screwed everything up by breaking up with him."
"You just did it again," Ginny said. "I screwed up. How did I screw up? Because I didn't fall in love with Neville?"
A knock on the door interrupted the siblings' conversation. Relieved, Ron opened the door. He was happy to find Neville on the other side. Potter was with him.
"Are you okay?" Neville asked both of them.
"We're fine," Ron answered promptly. Ginny glared at her brother, but didn't contradict him.
"I'm sorry," Neville said to Ginny.
Her eyes narrowed. "For what?"
Neville's eyes widened and the colour drained from his face. He turned to Potter. "She doesn't know?"
Potter shook his head.
Swallowing, Neville said, "I asked Michael to do the purity charm."
"What?!" Ginny stared at him in shock.
"Why?" Ron asked.
"I was worried about the company she was keeping," Neville explained. "My grandmother was starting to say I needed to look elsewhere for a bride. I know your parents were worried about it as well."
Ron nodded in understanding. It did make sense and he had to admit he was relieved to discover she was still pure. Ginny had another reaction.
"What the hell gives you the right to check up on me?" Ginny raged.
"Your father gave me permission to court you," Neville replied nervously.
"He's not the person you should have asked for permission," Ginny said icily. "I am my own person."
"I just wanted to make sure that you would still be a suitable bride once you got this Quidditch nonsense out of your system."
Ron watched in shock as Ginny flew across the room and punched Neville in the jaw. Neville fell to the ground and pulled away from her.
"How dare you?! I don't want to be your bride! I don't need your grandmother's approval. Maybe if you grew a pair you wouldn't need it either." Ginny stood over Neville like an avenging fury. "Listen to me very carefully. I do not love you. I do not wish to marry you."
"Ginny!" Ron was shocked at his sister's anger.
"Don't you even start with me, Ronald Weasley!"
"Ginny," Neville said as he pulled himself to his feet.
Pulling her wand, Ginny cast her infamous Bat-Bogey Hex. Ron rushed over to help his friend, while Harry pulled her out of the room.
Harry and Ginny made their way to the chairs that had been set up on the Quidditch pitch. After Ginny's kidnapping, Coach Gibbs had delayed revealing the team. The candidates on the final four scrimmage matches were all seated on the pitch.
Coach Gibbs and his staff were up on a raised platform with members of the Department of Magical Games and Sports as well as members of the British Quidditch League. There were a whole group of reporters watching the proceedings.
Glenna hurried over and sat down next to Ginny. "Are you okay?"
"I'm good," Ginny replied as she accepted her friend's hug.
"I am so sorry I distracted Harry," Glenna said.
"That was my fault," Harry reassured her.
"No, it was that wacko's fault," Ginny said firmly. "I was surrounded by Aurors and he still found his way to me. I'm just glad that Harry was able to find me so quickly."
The conversation was stopped as Coach Gibbs stepped up to the podium. "I'd like to thank everyone for coming today. Without further ado I would like to announce the English National Team for the 424th World Cup."
With a wave of his wand, the coach projected a picture displaying the logo for the upcoming World Cup. "Keeper – Grant Newton." As the names were announced the picture changed to show the player's official publicity shot as well as their statistics.
"Beaters: Jamie Defoe and Randel Thompson."
There was a slight pause as the players joined the others on the platform. Coach Gibbs shook all of their hands and gestured for them to stand in the centre of the platform. "Chasers: Ginny Weasley, Glenna Rogers, and Jacob Barnes."
Harry clapped and cheered with the rest of the audience as the Chasers made their way to the stage.
The coach turned back to the audience. "Seeker – Harry Potter."
The crowd went wild as Harry sat for a moment in shock. He hurried up to the stage and shook hands with the coach before joining the others. Ginny and Glenna both hugged him as he joined them.
"Sirius!" Bill called out as Sirius and Teddy entered the family's box at the World Cup finals. "Teddy! How are you doing? Love the hair."
Teddy giggled as Bill ruffled his Teddy's dark red hair. Teddy had changed his hair to match the colour of the English team's uniforms and he was wearing a replica of his godfather's jersey. Victoire came over to greet Teddy. She was wearing a replica of her aunt's jersey.
"Teddy, does you want to look over the edge?"
The little boy nodded and the two of them raced over to the edge of the box to look over at the pitch. The protective charms kept the children from leaning out too far or falling.
Sirius laughed. "Those two are thick as thieves. He told me last night that Victoire was fun for a girl."
As he talked to Bill and Charlie, Sirius looked over the rest of the box. George was hovering over a very pregnant and annoyed Angelina while Percy was sitting towards the back of the box reviewing some papers.
Over the past month and half, Sirius and Teddy had been slowly getting to know the Weasleys as they travelled to various matches together. Arthur was very welcoming and appreciative of everything Harry and Sirius had done for Ginny as were Bill, Charlie, and George. They had all worked together in the Order of the Phoenix and were enjoying the renewed friendship. They thought that they could have lost Ginny made them realise how important she was to their family. Arthur had apologized for giving Neville permission to court her without even discussing it with her. Percy treated them with a polite indifference.
Ron and Hermione were coming to terms with everything that had happened. Sirius had witnessed several loud rows between Ron and Ginny that usual ended in hexes being thrown, but there was a genuine friendship developing. They were actually working through their issues. Harry was developing a friendship with them as well and the four had gone out to eat together a few times. Ron and Neville's friendship had suffered as a result of everything and both young men had resigned from the Auror program. Neville was returning to his interest in Herbology while Ron was working for his brother and looking for a job in the Department of Magical Games and Sports. Last Sirius had heard, Neville had taken a job traveling to the Amazon in search of rare potion ingredients. At least he seemed to have given up on Ginny and realized she would never be his.
Molly Weasley was the biggest surprise to Sirius. Once she realized the lengths to which Neville had gone to keep track of Ginny, Molly went from his biggest supporter to his biggest critic. From what Sirius could tell, Molly and Ginny had reconciled and Molly was even much more accepting of Ginny's choice of career. Teddy adored her and was soon calling her Granny just as Victoire did.
Sirius's thought were cut short as the announcer opened the match. The final was England against Bulgaria. It was the first time England had made it to the finals in over one hundred years.
After the teams were announced, Sirius kept his eye on Harry who was flying above the pitch with Viktor Krum.
"Is he nervous flying against Krum?" Bill asked.
Sirius nodded. "He's a bit nervous, but he's mostly excited to the chance to as he put it 'see how good he really is.' He's been having such a great time flying; I really wish he'd started playing Quidditch right after the war."
"I heard Kingsley talking the other night. He's amazed at Harry's talent," Bill said. "I can't believe he's never played on a team before and now he's playing for England in the finals."
"He's always been a natural on the broom," Sirius remarked as he watched Ginny score the first goal. "James had him up on a broom when he was about six months old. He's always loved to fly. When he was younger, if he was troubled by something or angry, he'd get out and fly around and forget all of his troubles."
Harry circled the pitch watching for the Snitch as Viktor circled in the opposite direction. He was distracted for a moment as he watched the Chasers fly across the field in a Hawkshead Attacking Formation with Ginny in the lead position. She scored easily and Harry cheered before resuming his search.
A sudden movement caught his attention as Krum suddenly dove. Harry swore and dove as well. As he descended he realized that he didn't see anything. Jerking up on his broom, Harry resumed his search as Krum realising Harry wasn't falling for it straightened up. As he joined Harry above the other players, he gave Harry a nod of respect. Harry grinned in response.
Harry was forced to dive as a Bludger came hurtling towards him. As he dove, he saw an opportunity to disrupt the Bulgarian team's formation. He simply dove through them causing them to scatter. Jacob snatched up the Quaffle and scored.
Just as he returned to his searching pattern, he saw the elusive gold Snitch rising in the middle of the pitch. Without hesitation, he dove. He could tell the crowd realized what was happening by the noise. Krum was coming in from the other direction.
Leaning down over his broom, Harry tried to squeeze every bit of speed out of it. A Bludger smashed into his right leg knocking him off course, but he quickly righted himself. The Snitch seemed to sense it was being chased and wove in and out of the players in an attempt to distract the Seekers. Harry felt someone reach out and grab his broom, but Jamie sent a Bludger at him and the Bulgarian released Harry's broom to avoid the Bludger.
Harry swore as it looked like Krum was going to beat him to the Snitch. Just as Krum was about to grab it, the Snitch zig zagged causing Krum to topple over slightly. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Harry reached out and grabbed the Snitch. Krum's hand closed over Harry's, but Harry had grabbed it first.
England won! The crowd went wild as the team all descended on Harry. Both teams landed, the English team jumped from their brooms as they neared the ground. Harry still had the Snitch in his hand as hands pounded him on the back and congratulated him.
He looked up as Ginny met his eyes. She ran towards him and he opened his arms. He was never sure later exactly whose idea it was or who made the first move, but the next thing he knew he was kissing Ginny Weasley in front of a packed Quidditch stadium.
As he pulled away, he saw the joy and excitement in her eyes, but he also saw something else. Leaning down he kissed her again, before Glenna interrupted them.
"Come on! It's time for our victory lap!"
Laughing, Harry mounted his broom and the team headed up for their victory lap and to receive the trophy, but he knew that he'd found something much more important than a Quidditch victory.