A/N – Here we are at the final chapter of Rising Phoenix. I want to thank everyone for reading this story, and for the positive reviews. This story was a bit different and I wasn't sure how it would go down, but I'm thrilled to so many people seemed to have enjoyed it so much.
My next longer story won't be posted until sometime in the New Year, but hopefully in December I'll be posting some one shots and some more collection pieces. So for now, thanks to reading and reviewing. As always the support is greatly appreciated, and keeps me motivated to keep on posting the stories I write.
We Are The Champions.
The end of the season was a hectic time for The Chudley Cannons. Even though everyone knew they'd won the championship on the penultimate match of the season, they had to wait another ten days until the final matches of the league were complete before they were officially named as champions. Since the team were playing away from home on the final day of the season, the quidditch league had given Harry and Hermione the choice to either receive the winner's trophy after the final match, or to have a ceremony back at their own ground a couple of days later. Wanting their loyal fans to be part of the celebrations, Harry and Hermione opted for the latter option.
While Harry was with the team at their final match of the season, a game they comfortable won against The Falmouth Falcons, Hermione was arranging the winners celebrations back to The Rising Phoenix Stadium. Every season ticket holder got a chance to attend the presentation and other fans that had attended matches could get tickets to be in the stadium to see The Cannons finally get their hands on the trophy. Hermione also invited the other people, like Lucius and Dean, who'd proved invaluable in helping turn the club around. The players were all encouraged to bring their partners and families, and of course the press would be in attendance.
On the day of the presentation The Rising Phoenix Stadium was as packed as if it was a match day. The fans had poured into the stadium, and had bought all sorts of merchandise from the club shops. Hermione was going to have special stuff made up over the summer to commemorate the team being champions, but for now the fans were just as happy to buy the everyday merchandise. Hermione also had plans to put together either a short book or a glossy magazine, celebrating the season that had just occurred and documenting The Cannons highs and lows over the last few months.
All the squad were part of the presentation, even those who never managed to get a game in the first team as they were still an invaluable part of the team's success. Every Cannons player got a winners medal, before the large trophy was presented. With the trophy in their possession The Cannons players took it in turns to take to the skies with the trophy, giving the fans a chance to grab some photos.
Afterwards every member of the squad remained on the pitch as the fans were slowly allowed access to the team to grab an autograph and even get their pictures taken with their heroes. Throughout the entire day the press were mingling, talking to the fans, players, staff and anyone else they could get a few words with. Happily everyone was only too glad to chat to the press and share their happiness of The Chudley Cannons being crowned quidditch champions.
While the presentation was also a celebration for the fans, Harry and Hermione wanted something private for the team and everyone else who worked alongside them and had helped turn The Cannons into a successful club again, so they organised a swish party in a posh hotel. The party was held a little over a week after The Cannons had officially been crowned champions and received their trophy. Since then barely a day went past when someone associated with The Cannons was in the papers, as interest in the team and people associated with them had skyrocketed, but that evening was a private party so no-one had to worry about their celebrations being splashed all over the paper.
On the evening of the party, Draco was patiently waiting for Hermione to finish getting ready. For once he wasn't the one taking an age to get ready, but since he had plans for the evening and he wanted it to be special, he didn't mind waiting for Hermione. Although when Hermione appeared, he decided it was definitely worth the wait as his girlfriend look stunning in a form fitting black and sapphire blue dress and silver and blue heels. Her hair was hanging loose around her shoulders, her only jewellery was a delicate diamond heart necklace and matching earrings, and she'd completed the look with a blue clutch bag.
"Wow," Draco remarked, his grey eyes drinking in every inch of Hermione. "You look stunning."
"It's not too much?" Hermione checked.
"No, it's perfect," Draco replied with an appreciative grin. "Shall we go?"
"Yes, let's go and celebrate," Hermione said, eager to get going and have a great night.
The couple travelled by floo to the hotel, and by the time they entered the ballroom where the party was being held, it was filling up nicely. Harry and Ginny had already arrived, and Harry rushed straight over to discuss how things were going to run. On a whole they just wanted people to have a good time, but Harry wanted to give a speech and he wanted Hermione's advice on the best time to do it.
"Give it an hour or so, everyone should have arrived by then," Hermione advised.
With the timing for the speech's settled, Hermione and Draco wandered off to mingle while Harry and Ginny did the same. It seemed as though everyone had chosen to attend the party, which pleased Hermione, and she was also pleased that everyone seemed to be having fun.
"Why wouldn't they be having fun?" Draco laughed when Hermione said as much to him. "It's a hell of a party, with free food and drink. Plus we've just achieved something that no-one gave us a cat in hell's chance of doing. To be honest, even when I joined The Cannons, I wasn't sure if we would win the title."
"So you had no faith in us?" Hermione asked with a mock pout.
"I just meant I didn't think we would do it so quickly," Draco clarified.
"I admit, I didn't see us here so soon," Hermione replied. "Harry was always confident we would get to the top of the league, but I also thought it would take longer."
"I guess the challenge now is to sustain it," Draco said. "There's been plenty of teams that have won the league and then faded away the next season. The great teams are the ones who keep winning year after year."
"Like The Tornadoes," Hermione said.
"Exactly," Draco said with a nod. "But with Harry in charge, I'm sure The Cannons can emulate The Tornadoes and dominate the league for years to come."
"Let's hope you're right," Hermione said, raising her glass to clink it with Draco's.
A couple of drinks later, Hermione found herself being dragged onto the makeshift stage with Harry. When the music stopped, people turned to see what was going on and spotting Harry and Hermione on the stage, they began to group around the stage.
"I'll not keep you long," Harry began.
"Thank Merlin, I've got partying to get on with," Blaise shouted with a laugh.
"Shut it, Zabini, and listen to your boss," Harry retorted light-heartedly.
"Sorry Mr Potter," Blaise called back cheekily.
"As I was saying, I won't keep you long," Harry began again as the laughter following Blaise's cheekiness died down. "I just want to let you all know how much Hermione and I appreciate all the hard work you've all put into helping us turn The Cannons around these last three years. When we arrived at the club, it was failing and had been for a long time. We hoped to turn it around, but in all honesty, we didn't know if it would happen. Obviously it did, but that is down to every one of you in this room. You all took a chance and supported us on this crazy mission of ours. So I want to say a big thank you to you all."
"And the same goes from me," Hermione added. "We really couldn't have done this without all the wonderful support we've received from the people in this room."
"I also want to look ahead," Harry continued. "What we've achieved this season is phenomenal, but I don't want it to be the end. I want The Cannons to be the best club in the league. I'm sure most of you know that the major European leagues are in discussions to start a European league with the top teams from every country taking place. I want The Cannons to be part of that league. I don't just want us to be the best in Britain, I want us to be the best in Europe. Let's make this title the first of many. Now if you all raise your glasses, I'd like to propose a toast to The Chudley Cannons."
"The Chudley Cannons," everyone chorused as they toasted the team and their success.
Drowning his drink, Harry nodded to the deejay and Hermione started to laugh as Queen's 'We are the Champions', began to play. Harry liked to include muggle music as well as wizarding music at events like these and at the moment, Hermione couldn't think of a more appropriate song in either world to be playing.
"Good song choice, Harry," Hermione laughed as she spotted several people with muggle connections singing along to the song. Over near the bar, Dean in particular looked to be really getting into it.
"You can't beat a bit of Queen," Harry replied with a grin as he also began to sing along to the catchy anthem.
Leaving Harry on stage to channel his inner Freddie Mercury, Hermione headed back into the crowds and found Draco. Approaching her boyfriend she found him standing with Theo, the pair of them bobbing their heads to the music.
"Enjoying the song, are you?" Hermione asked.
"It's very appropriate," Theo remarked. "Not that I've heard it before."
"It's a muggle song," Hermione replied. "If you like it, you should ask Harry to give you some of the band's music, he's a big Queen fan."
"I might just do that," Theo said as he continued to sway to the music.
"Do you fancy going to get some air?" Draco whispered in Hermione's ear.
"Only if you're not planning on seducing me," Hermione replied with a smirk. "I told you this afternoon, there'll be no quickies in the gardens."
"No quickies, I promise," Draco said with a laugh as he took hold of Hermione's hand and led her through the crowded ballroom and through the double doors that led to the hotel's gardens.
Several people were already in the gardens, but Draco carried on past them all and led Hermione into a quiet portion of the gardens where they party hadn't quite reached. The couple eventually found themselves in a rose covered gazebo, with the party they'd just left only just audible in the distance.
"This is perfect," Draco muttered as he looked around at their surroundings.
"Perfect for what?" Hermione asked.
"This," Draco replied, dropping to his knee in front of Hermione.
"Draco," Hermione gasped.
"Hermione," Draco began, his voice low and serious. "I've been captivated by you since the second you walked into that restaurant three years ago. Over the last three years I've fallen head over heels in love with you, and I want to spend the rest of my life trying to make you as happy as you make me. Hermione Granger, will you marry me?"
As he finished his speech, Draco pulled a dark purple ring box from his pocket and flicked it open. Nestled on the red velvet inside the box sat an elegant diamond ring, surrounded by tiny emeralds. Hermione gazed at the gorgeous ring for several seconds, before she realised she hadn't yet answered Draco as he was still looking at her expectantly.
"Of course I'll marry you," Hermione answered excitedly as she flung herself at Draco.
Fortunately Draco had good reflexes and he managed to stop them both from going toppling to the ground. Keeping them both upright, he slid the ring from its box and gently placed it on Hermione's finger. Seeing the ring on her hand, Hermione let out a girlish squeal and gave Draco a searing kiss.
"Sorry," she chuckled as they parted several minutes later, both gasping for air.
"Never be sorry for kissing me like that," Draco replied.
"I didn't mean the kiss, I meant the girly squeal," Hermione said. "I swear, I've never done anything like that before in my life. I was just a bit overcome seeing the ring on my finger."
"Is the ring okay?" Draco checked. He'd spent weeks finding what he hoped was the perfect ring for Hermione, but it could still be changed if it wasn't to her liking. "We could exchange it, if you don't like it."
"It's perfect," Hermione said as she admired the ring. It was elegant and not too flashy, which meant it was perfect for her. "I love the ring, and I love you, Draco. I cannot wait to become Mrs Malfoy."
"I can't wait either," Draco replied, unable to wipe the smile from his face that had formed when Hermione had accepted his proposal. "Maybe we should elope and have a quickie wedding over the summer."
"One thing at a time," Hermione said with a laugh as she detangled herself from her new fiancé and got to her feet. "Let's think about the wedding later. For now, we've got a party to get back to. And now it's a double celebration."
"Are we sharing the news tonight?" Draco asked.
"Just you try and stop me from telling the entire room," Hermione laughed.
Taking hold of Draco's hand, Hermione led the way back to the party. Before they even reached the ballroom, they stumbled upon Draco's parents in the grounds. They both look slightly flushed and Lucius even had a twig in his long, blond hair. Hermione giggled as it was clear what they pair had been up to, while Draco just shook his head in dismay. As embarrassing as it was to think of his parents getting frisky at a party, it was also nice to know that they were still so much in love after thirty years of marriage.
Ignoring what the elder Malfoys had been up to, Draco broke the news of his and Hermione's engagement. Both Lucius and Narcissa were thrilled with the news and ushered the couple back into the hotel so they could have a drink together to celebrate. Of course their celebration didn't go unnoticed and within fifteen minutes everyone at the party had heard the good news, and they all began to offer their best wishes.
"Congratulations," Harry gushed as he pulled Hermione into a bone crushing hug when he finally managed to reach his best friend. "I'm so happy for you and Draco. You really do belong together."
"I like to think so," Hermione replied with a smile. "Although I really should be thanking you. We wouldn't even be together if you hadn't persuaded me to buy The Cannons with you."
"So you've got no regrets about buying the club, then?" Harry asked.
Hermione glanced over to where Draco was laughing and joking with Blaise, Theo and the Weasley twins and smiled. "No, I don't have any regrets."
Hermione wasn't going to lie, and while some things that had happened over the last three years she wished had gone differently, she had no regrets about buying the club with Harry. Not only had it given her a job she loved, but it had also brought her to the love of her life. Without The Chudley Cannons, Hermione and Draco would never have ended up together, and Hermione wouldn't change their relationship for the world.
Right at that moment she knew that buying the club with Harry had been the best decision of her life. The Chudley Cannons had given her life direction and meaning, and Hermione couldn't wait to see what the future had in store. One thing she did know, was that this was only the beginning. The rest of their lives were lying in wait, and together with Draco she was ready for whatever adventure was waiting them around the corner.