Standard disclaimer: It all belongs to JKR. Thank you JKR for letting us play with your toys.
I will continue to use the occasional song lyric in the story and will give credit at the time when needed.
This is the fifth book in my Slytherin Harry series.
Book 1: Harry Potter and the Muggle's Daughter
Book 2: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Book 3: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book 4: Harry Potter and the Blood Traitor's Daughter
Book 5: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
If you haven't read books 1-4 you won't know what's going on. But the bonus is you've got four completed books before you even get to this one!
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
Harry dropped his bag in the entry and took the stairs three at a time in his rush to see Remus. "Hey!" Mum complained. "You're going right by your room. Don't expect Simper to pick that up."
"Yeah, yeah," Harry retorted.
"Don't even," Lily said, spotting a small hand reaching for the bag.
Simper skulked out from behind the coat tree. "Yes, Mistress," she said dejectedly.
"Don't you start with me, Missy. That boy doesn't need any help from you picking his things up."
"Simper is bored, Mistress," she complained. "There is not enough for her to do when Master Harry is gone."
Lily bent and kissed Simper's crown. "It's summer, Simper. Harry and his friends will destroy the house on a daily basis. You'll have plenty to do."
Simper sighed. "Yes, Mistress."
Harry knocked on Remus' door. "Remus?"
Remus looked up from his book and grinned. "Hey, Pup."
Harry entered the room, turned the chair beside the bed backwards and sat down. "She still not letting you out of bed?"
Remus chuckled. "Honestly, it's everything I can do to manage the loo without help."
"But it's been more than two weeks," Harry protested. "Sirius said you were getting stronger."
"Believe me, Harry, I am. I could barely sit up the first week."
Harry frowned. "I guess maybe silver poisoning for you is about like basilisk venom for me, yeah?"
Remus reached out and set his hand on Harry's. "I shouldn't be alive at all, Harry. If Ginny hadn't spent her childhood with the books and curse puzzles Bill sent… I'm still trying to understand how she knew it couldn't be just a common Freezing Charm."
"I can't believe she knew the spell at all. I've been trying since the full moon and still can't pronounce it. Hermione only just managed it."
"Different people have different gifts. Hermione and Luna have photographic memories. You are unnaturally powerful and instinctually harness your magic. Ginny has some of that as well, but her gift is languages."
"I know. I thought it was insane Hermione was fluent in French, Spanish and German, but Ginny is fluent in Latin. And she understands Runes without even trying."
"Be they non-magical or wizard, there are probably fewer than a thousand people in the world who are even vaguely familiar with Kannada," Remus said. "Most of them are curse-breakers and healers. I'm fairly certain Ginny could master most modern languages in six months to a year."
"Well I'm glad she knew that spell."
"Me too, Harry. Me too."
Harry took a deep breath. "Remus, I wanted to thank you for letting me stay with you that night."
"Harry, you don't—"
"No, let me say this," Harry stopped him.
Remus nodded. "Alright then."
Harry took another breath and blew it out. "I just… I made a promise to myself, to you actually, when you were unconscious, you know." Harry paused again. Remus waited for him to go on. "I've just never thanked you. You didn't have to do the things you have. You didn't have to look after Mum, or stick around and take care of me. And I got my mum back and there are lot of ways that I'm like her, you know?"
Remus nodded. "I do."
"And maybe not so much as I used to, but I'm always looking for ways I'm like my dad, yeah?"
"You are like him, Harry. You're a fighter. You pick up those who can't stand up for themselves and help them. You're even better than he was about it."
"Yeah, well, I kind of hope I'm a bit like you too, Remus. I just think you should know, even though I can't call you, Dad, you probably deserve it. You've been a father to me, Remus, and I just want you to know how grateful I am for everything you've done."
Remus swallowed. "Come here," he said gruffly. Harry moved to embrace him. "Your dad should have been the one to hear that speech, Harry."
"I love you, Remus," Harry said, his voice thick.
"I love you too, Harry." Remus thumped his back. "I love you too."
Harry was sitting at his desk when his mum knocked on his door. "May I come in?"
Harry closed his songbook and set his pen aside. "Sure, Mum." She moved to the bed and he joined her. She took his hands. "I'm glad you're home."
"You have no idea," Harry answered.
"You had quite the year."
"I've been trying to decide if it was better or worse than last year."
"What did you come up with?"
"Her, Marcus, his mother. Everyone else who got hurt… Parvati."
"But mostly Astoria?"
"Her, Ginny and Hermione."
"But mostly Astoria?" Mum pressed.
Harry sighed. "Everyone I care about gets hurt."
"That isn't your fault."
Harry didn't answer for some time. "People are dying, Mum… Who knows why that bastard grabbed her over Christmas, but I was the one he wanted… Parvati's sister, she blames me… Who's next, Mum? How am I supposed to survive this?"
Mum took a slow breath. "I don't know if there's a good answer for that, Harry. The only thing I can tell you is you have the love of your family."
"And when it's Hermione, or Tonks who dies?"
"It won't be your fault and neither Mali, David, Andi or Ted will blame you."
Harry was silent for a long time. "Professor McGonagall told you about the goddess, yes?"
"She did. She said you, Ginny and Daphne had been given an audience of sorts and that you had all been profoundly affected. She also said, the goddess said it was for you three alone to decide if you would reveal what you had seen."
Harry nodded slowly. "I saw Astoria." Mum raised a brow. "She forgave me."
"Forgave you, for what?"
"The day she died, when Mrs Tonks took me to see her. The reason I puked my guts out was because the first thing I thought on seeing her laying there was how grateful I was that it wasn't Ginny."
Mum considered for a few moments before saying anything. "I would have thought the same thing. I havethought the same thing. I have been grateful it was not you, Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Neville, Daphne, Remus, Sirius, Bill, Charlie, Mali, Andi, I could go on and on, Harry. Meanwhile, Astoria's parents and sister have wondered, why her and not Remus. Why her and not Ginny, or Hermione. Your thoughts and feelings are nothing more than being human, Harry."
"I know. Astoria basically told me the same thing… And it's been better. I can actually look at Ginny again without feeling like I'm going to start vomiting. It's just hard not to feel guilty."
"You are allowed to be happy, Harry."
"Am I? Or is my only purpose to kill Voldemort?"
"Tell me, Harry, did Astoria come back from the dead to speak with you about Voldemort and the prophecy or did she come to tell you something else?"
"She told me to live," he sighed.
Mum raised his hands and kissed them. "You should listen to her, Love." Harry didn't say anything for a long time. Mum reached for his chin, lifting his face. Green eyes locked. "What are you thinking?"
A tear slid down his cheek. "I don't know if I can do this, Mum."
"Oh, Love." She dried his tear with her thumb and pulled him in to kiss his crown.
Harry clung to her. "I'm so tired, Mum," he whispered.
She cradled his head in her hand. "I know, Baby." She kissed his crown again. "I know." She pulled him down on the bed and curled behind him. "I'm here, Baby." Harry wove his fingers with hers. "I'm here." She pressed another kiss to his head. Harry was still for a long time and she thought he might have fallen asleep when he spoke.
"I do understand those men's families hurt. I'm sorry I yelled at you."
Mum kissed him again. "I'm sorry I pressed you, Baby." Harry sighed, seeming to almost melt as the tension bled out of him. Once more she thought he might have fallen asleep when he spoke.
"I like when you call me, Baby."
Mum gave him a squeeze and kissed him again. "I love you, Harry." Harry didn't answer and a few seconds later a soft snore told her he had finally fallen asleep. She kissed him again and closed her eyes. "I'm here, Baby. I'm here."
Ginny sat cross-legged on Luna's bed. "Thanks for having me stay."
Luna rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Ginevra."
"Well it's a big deal, Luna. You haven't seen your father since Christmas."
"Daddy is as happy for you to be here as I am."
"Well, since I didn't want to spend the night by myself, I'm still grateful."
Luna leaned over and hugged her. "You'll always be welcome in my home, Ginevra."
Ginny squeezed her tightly. "Thank you, Luna." She released the other girl and sat back. "It feels kind of strange, not being at school, doesn't it?"
"The others are too far away," Luna agreed.
Ginny cocked her head. "That's it, isn't it? Even though we're going to see them tomorrow they're too far away now, aren't they?"
"Yes." Luna sighed and picked at her duvet. "I don't like it."
"Me either," Ginny agreed. She reached for Luna's brush. "Turn around." Luna did and Ginny proceeded to brush her hair out.
"Will you tell me what the goddess shared with you?"
Ginny paused in her brushing. "I spoke with my father," she said softly and went back to brushing.
"What did he tell you?"
"He said he was proud of me and that he loved me."
It was quite a while before Luna said anything. "You've been better since, haven't you?"
Ginny paused in her brushing again. "I think, maybe if it weren't destroyed, I'd see something else in the Mirror of Erised now."
"I'm glad," Luna said quietly.
Ginny wrapped her arms around Luna and hugged her tight. "You deserved the chance to see your mum too."
Luna placed her hands on Ginny's and pressed them to her chest. "Even the goddess has limits. She helped those who most needed it."
Ginny rested her head on Luna's shoulder. "Daddy knew you'd say that. He said, of all of us, you most deserved the goddess' gift… I'm sorry I was so weak she needed to give it to me instead."
Luna reached back to palm Ginny's head. "I have you, Ginevra, I would have liked to see Mummy, but I didn't need to."
Ginny kissed her cheek. "I love you, Luna. And I promise, I'm going to be a much better friend than I have been the last year."
Daphne slammed the door of her parents' room open. They turned quickly.
"Daphne," her mother gasped.
"How dare you," Daphne hissed.
Her father drew himself up. "Now, Daphne."
"No!" she said angrily. "I have done everything asked of me. I have obeyed your decisions when I would have chosen otherwise for myself. Even when you sought to pass my rightful legacy to Astoria I remained a good and dutiful daughter. But not in this. I won't go, Father."
"Daphne, your mother and I have buried your sister already. Can you not see we only wish to keep you safe?"
"Can you not see I wish to see my sister's killer brought to justice?"
"I willbring them to justice, Daphne… With you safely away from here."
Daphne shook her head. "Two years, perhaps even a year ago, I would have obeyed you, Father. But I am no longer that girl. I have learned to fight and I will. If that means I must disobey you, so be it."
Her father stared at her before turning to her mother. "Speak with her. Make her see sense."
"Tell me, Father," Daphne said before Mother could speak, "how will you look Lord Black, or any of the others in the eye? How will you look yourself in the mirror having sent me away when their children remain to fight?"
"You are not a Child of Prophecy, Daphne. This is not your responsibility."
"Nor was it Harry's responsibility to ransom himself for Astoria."
"I did not ask him for that."
"You didn't stop him either, did you? You were perfectly willing to let him die if it meant Astoria went free."
"I am paying that debt!" he thundered. "This is not open for debate. You will do as I tell you, Daphne."
Daphne glared at him. "Fine," she said, raising her chin, "I am only fourteen and recognize I cannot stop you sending me away. But I promise you this, Father. Marcus' death has freed me. I amhis widow. And you should not think I do not know to whom my title, position, responsibilities, or authority fall should I abandon them. Nor, even for one second, should you think I will allow this to occur. The day of my sixteenth birthday I will return from wherever you send me. I will seek emancipation. Because I am the last of the Flints my full inheritance will also be granted. I willuse every bit of power, authority and estate that comes with my position to see Astoria, Marcus and his mother's killers face justice. If this means giving every last drop of blood in my body to Harry Potter to see him victorious over Voldemort—" her mother gasped "—and his followers, than I will do exactly that."
"Daphne," Father warned, "you are speaking of things you should not."
"I won't go, Father."
"Daphne," he pleaded, "can't you understand it will kill me to lose you too?"
"Can't you understand, by sending me away, you willkill me?"
"Do not be dramatic."
"Sixteen months, Father. That is the time left you can command my obedience."
Father clenched his jaw tightly. "She's right, Anders," Mother said.
"What?" he demanded.
"I agreed to be ready to flee. And, were Astoria still alive, I would. I would take her as you ask. But I would also say that Daphne is old enough and has earned the right to choose for herself."
Father stared at her in disbelief. "You cannot mean that."
"I do, my Love." She took his hand. "Daphne is right. She hasbeen a good and dutiful daughter; never once voicing complaint of the shackles her forefathers placed on her. But now, for the first time in her life, she is free to express what she wishes for herself."
"Please, Father," Daphne said, taking his other hand, "Ginny, Harry, Luna, Hermione, Neville, I did not know people like them existed. Please don't ask me to abandon them."
"Please don't ask me to abandon you, Husband," Mother said. "Not now. Not after what they have taken from me. Let us fight them as a family."
"And what of me?" he pleaded. "What will be left of me if I lose one of you?"
"The same as is left for Daphne and I should we lose you."
Percy Weasley was only a few days into his first position with the Ministry in the Department for International Magical Cooperation. It wasn't his position of choice; that had gone to last year's Head Boy. Just another thing to blame his no-good sister for. She and Potter and Professor McGonagall had cost him a lot, taking his prefect status away. But he was away from that mess now. He'd just have to work extra hard and impress his superiors. He was at the ministry and that was the most important thing. At least Ginevra hadn't cost him that. He glanced at the clock. It was his lunch hour but he thought to just eat at his desk for the first few weeks to make a good impression and all.
Just then the door opened. A tall, solidly built man, impeccably dressed, with long, bone-white hair and silver-topped waking stick stepped in. Percy quickly stood. "Welcome to the Department for International Magical Cooperation," he said, "may I help you?"
The man's eyes were sharp and quick in taking in his surroundings. "You would be Percy Weasley, correct?"
The man stuck his hand out. "Lord Lucius Malfoy."
Percy blinked before shaking his hand. "A pleasure to meet you, Lord Malfoy." Lord Malfoy squeezed his hand quite hard, making him wince slightly.
"Yes," Lord Malfoy said. He retracted his hand. "I wondered if you might join me for lunch today, Mr. Weasley?"
"M–Me, Sir?" Percy stammered. "Surely you want to see Director Dewer."
"It is my practice to make formal acquaintance with all the most promising of new ministry personnel."
"I, well," Percy glanced at the clock. "It is my lunch hour."
Lord Malfoy opened the door and held it. "After you then, Mr Junior Secretary."
Summer was a week gone already when Ginny made her way up into the loft in the barn at the Briar Patch. As night fell, she and Harry were the only ones still around. With them due to leave for quidditch camp in the morning, him to the Falcons and she to the Harpies, the rest of their friends' parents and guardians had confiscated their children for the week as well. Luna, after a rather protracted goodbye with Hermione, was on her way to Albania with her father. Hermione's parents were taking her to Portugal. Neville was off to Inverness with his Gran, and Daphne and her parents were heading to the south of France.
"Hey," Harry greeted her when she came around the hay bales.
"Hey. Mind if I join you?"
Ginny sat down on the opposite side of the doorway from him. Mirroring his pose she hung her left leg over the edge. "Best you not fall again," she said.
"Just going to let me splat and crack my skull this time?" he asked.
"Pretty sure I couldn't move fast enough from this position."
"You've got a wand," Harry said. He grinned. "Or am I not worth wasting magic on?"
Ginny grinned back. "A girl's only got so much magic," she retorted.
Harry chuckled softly. "Guess I'll try not to fall then."
"Good plan." They both fell silent for a while. "Can I ask you a question?" she asked.
Harry shrugged. "I guess."
"Why did you try and ransom yourself for Astoria?"
"I couldn't let him take her."
"But why? Was she that important to you already?" Harry opened his mouth, stopped, started again and stopped a second time. "You don't have to answer."
"No, I'm just thinking."
"Alright," she agreed.
"I guess, maybe she was important to me. But I don't think that's why I did it… She was innocent… and scared, and I just couldn't let him take her." He shrugged. "Mostly I think it was just instinct… Why didn't you just fly us to safety at the stadium?"
"What do you mean?"
"You turned us around so I could attack them. Why did you do that instead of just flying us to safety."
Ginny cocked her head. "I guess I never thought about it. It just happened."
"It was just instinct?"
She nodded. "Yes… You'd have done it for anyone, wouldn't you?"
Harry shrugged. "Well, I wouldn't have done it for Malfoy."
Ginny chuckled humorlessly. "Are you kidding, I'd have cast the first spell sending them tumbling through that portal."
"You'd have to have been faster than me."
"Pretty sure I'm faster on the draw than you are."
Harry locked eyes with her. "Is that a challenge?"
"It just might be." In a blink both their wand's slid into their hands. "Rictusempra."
"Protego," Harry said. He smirked. "Call it a draw?"
Ginny sent her wand away. "For now."
Harry sent his wand away as well. "Challenge accepted." He tipped his head back against the wall and stared up at the stars. She copied him. "Ginny?"
"Thank you, for saving Remus."
Ginny focused on him but he continued to stare up at the stars. She scooted over to him and he turned to watch. She stopped when her foot bumped up against his. She then held her hand out, palm facing him. Harry watched her for a second before slowly reaching up to press his palm to hers. Ginny wove their fingers together. Eyes locked with his she softly said, "Thank you, Harry James Potter, for saving my life."
Gwenog Jones moved down the line of girls attending the Harpies' camp. She had already pulled three of the twenty-eight out and had them standing off to the side. "You're a slasher?"
"Yes, Ma'am." Ginny wondered how she did it, four times she asked players their position; four times she'd been correct.
"Get over there with the others."
"Yes, Ma'am." She quickly joined the other three girls. Very quickly Gwenog had selected three others to join Ginny and the first three in completing a full side.
"Divide the rest up between you," Gwenog said. "You lot, come with me." She walked off to the far side of the pitch with the seven girls following her. Once out of earshot she turned to face them. "I picked you lot for a reason. I haven't ever seen but one of you fly," she looked at Ginny significantly, "but unless I miss my bet, you seven will be the ones to face off against whatever rabble the Falcons cobble together from their camp at the end of the week. Why do you think that is?"
The seven girls looked at each other. Ginny knew only three of them; the three female slashers from Gryffindor. The girls all shrugged. Angelina Johnson took the lead. "We don't know, Ma'am."
"I picked you because you've all figured out ponytails and Sticking Charms are useless and have taken steps to ensure your hair stays out of your damn face. Which tells me quidditch is more important to you than looking like a damn princess."
The girls exchanged looks again. Ginny and Angelina wore their hair in dreads. Katie and Alicia had theirs in tight, cornrow braids. The other three girls, Ginny hadn't gotten their names yet, all wore their hair short; two of them had pixie cuts while the third wore hers short and spiky like Tonks. They turned back to Gwenog.
"We'll see if I'm right."
Ginny grinned. She was going to prove Gwenog right if it killed her.
"Who's that?" Abby asked.
The end of camp had come, and with it the promised match against the best from the Falcon's camp. Gwenog had been right. Every girl from the seven she had picked at the start of camp was playing today. Ginny and her fellow slashers represented four of the top six slashers in Hogwarts. Their beaters, Venus and Serena were twin sisters from France and were every bit the equals of Fred and George. Their keeper Abby was from the States and would definitely Give Wood a run. The hardest part for Ginny had been integrating with her fellow slashers. The three Gryffindors were a well-oiled machine and Ginny was the odd one out. It wasn't that they tried to exclude her it was just the fact they didn't know her, nor she them. But the seven had worked hard to become a formidable side. Talent wise they were better than any of the Hogwarts' house teams. It was just in having only played together for a week that they would most likely fall victim to one of those same teams. Slytherin in particular, with their precision teamwork, would be a challenge. But for today their opponent was riding the same flying carpet. The boys forming the Falcon team were no more used to working with each other than the Harpy girls were.
"That," Alicia said, settling in beside the Harpy's keeper as they watched the Falcon's players warming up, "is Ginny's boyfriend."
Ginny scowled but said nothing. Abby gave Ginny an appraising look. "Nice," she said appreciatively.
"You won't think he's so nice once the match starts," Angelina said. "He's almost as dirty as he is good."
"He's not dirty," Ginny protested. Angelina, Alicia and Katie all gave her a look. "He just knows how to use the rules to his advantage."
"Like deliberately fouling Cedric to stop a Seek when he knows Hufflepuff won't accept the shots because even if they score all four of them it won't be enough to win?" Alicia demanded.
Ginny shrugged. "That's not dirty, it's smart."
"Typical Slytherin," Katie complained.
"What's the point of winning if you don't do it with honor?" Alicia said.
"The point is winning," Gwenog said, joining them. The girls fell silent. "The rules have holes in them. Smart players exploit those holes to their advantage."
"Does that include sticking him with his girlfriend as his marker?" Venus asked.
"Damn straight it does," Angelina said. "Let him break her nose for once."
Ginny shrugged. "Not like he hasn't done it a dozen times already."
The match was an hour gone and the Harpies were up 80–50 when Ginny settled next to Harry. Had it been mentioned she also led the personal battle between her and Harry three goals to zero? "What's wrong, Potter?" she asked smugly.
"Not a thing, Weasley," Harry retorted. "Just wanted to give you girls a chance to feel good about yourselves before we took you to the woodshed."
"As if," Ginny countered. "I'd offer to get you that cracked cauldron… Bloody Hell!" she exclaimed as Harry kicked the tail of her broom and sent her careening into his own beater. By the time she untangled herself from him Harry was slotting his first goal of the match past Abby.
"You're cute when you're angry, you know that?" Harry taunted. Over the last hour, the Falcons had turned things up a notch. The score was now tied at 130. Making matters worse, or better, depending on whom you asked, Harry had pulled ahead of Ginny with four goals against her three. One more and he'd be snitch eligible.
Ginny's eyes widened. "DUCK!" Hook, line and sinker, Harry fell for it and rolled out of the way of the nonexistent bludger. Ginny rocketed away from him, snagged the quaffle and whipped her signature behind the back shot past the Falcon's keeper. Five minutes later she gave Harry the slip again.
The referee blew her whistle. "Time! Falcons."
Ginny flew back to join her teammates. The score was at 150–130 to the Harpies, but more importantly she'd just slotted her fifth goal of the match and become the first snitch eligible player on the pitch. Angelina was on four for the Harpies as well, while Harry was the only Falcon player with more than three goals. "Nice bludger, Serena," Ginny said.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the pitch Harry shook his arm out. "You alright?" Dominic asked.
"Yeah, just a glancing blow."
"Man, that girl is cold," Dmitry muttered. "She fakes you out by telling you a bludger is coming when it isn't, then doesn't warn you when one is."
"Yeah," Tim said, "she's got a real black widow thing going, don't she?"
"You said you know her?" Peter asked.
"She's one of my best friends," Harry said.
"Friends like that, who needs enemies?" Geoff said.
"It's quidditch," Harry defended. "Maybe we should get back to figuring out how we're going to defend them now she's eligible for the Seek, yeah?"
"Can she catch it?" Peter asked.
"I already told you, she's at least as good as I am," Harry answered.
"So what do we do?" Chris asked.
"We let her catch it," Harry said. "And get someone on five so we can keep pace."
"So do we Seek or not?" Angelina asked.
"Seek," Abby, Serena and Venus all said.
"Not," Ginny said.
"Why not?" Venus asked.
"Because there's too much time left," Ginny said.
"That doesn't make sense," Abby said.
"Look," Ginny said, "we're probably not going to stop them getting someone on five; and I promise you, Harry is the last of them we want eligible for the Seek. If I go seek now, he's going to score again. Have me stay in the chase, give me a bit of help with Harry. Force them into going to that Asian boy. If he gets on five, who cares, I'll slaughter him in the Seek and then we're up in the Chase four on three with me going for a sixth goal."
Katie, Alicia and Angelina exchanged looks. "It sounds like something Wood would say," Alicia said.
"She's right," Angelina agreed. "We've got our best slasher in the Seek, now we try and force them to keep up with their worst."
"Priority on goals is Ginny and then you, right?" Katie asked.
Angelina nodded. "Right."
"You're sure?" Serena asked.
"Trust us," Angelina said.
Charlie stepped next to Gwenog. "Good match," he said
She never took her eyes off the battle above. "Your sister's good."
"She needs to grow a bit."
"I've got small slashers," she countered.
Charlie cringed as Ginny just avoided a bludger. "Maybe."
"Sound strategy," she noted, "trying to force you into going to your weakest slasher." Charlie said nothing as they just watched for a bit. The Falcons had just pushed David to his fifth goal. The teams seemed to hesitate for a second before the Falcon's player rocketed up above the fray. Ginny flashed after him. "She's going to take him apart," Gwenog observed.
Harry slammed on the brakes and kicked the tail of Alicia's broom as she went past. She careened into Katie and he was suddenly free. "NOW! NOW! NOW!" Dmitry hit him with a perfect pass and he slammed the quaffle past the Harpy's keeper. He was snitch eligible! "TIME!" he shouted.
Ginny reached out and snagged the snitch an instant before Harry called for time.
"Shit," Harry swore. They'd been a second away from holding Ginny off and getting him in the Seek against her. He flew back to join his teammates.
"Now what?" Dominic asked.
"They're gonna send Angelina up to seek," Harry said. "We've gotta keep pace."
"You know them," Dmitry said, "can David beat her?"
"She's almost as good as Ginny," Harry hedged. He didn't want to say David couldn't, but didn't think it was likely.
"So what do we do?" Tim asked.
"If we send you up in the Seek that means Black Widow-girl is down in the Chase scoring goals," Dmitry pointed out.
"Not like I stopped her scoring before," Harry said.
"Can you beat that Angelina chick?" David asked.
Harry shrugged. "Probably."
"Then go do it," Dmitry said.
"And make it quick," Peter said.
"We'll try and hold off Black Widow till you get back in the Chase."
"Took you long enough," Ginny taunted when Harry moved in beside her.
"Haven't seen you manage a sixth goal yet," he retorted.
The match grew a bit more ragged as time wore on. David was managing to hold Angelina off the snitch, but hadn't really had a sniff of it himself. The score slowly climbed to 240–220 in favor of the Harpies when Harry managed to shake free of Ginny and slot a sixth goal past the Harpy's keeper. He set an intercept course with Angelina and blasted up into the Seek. "Go!" Harry shouted, slamming into her shoulder. David dropped into the chase, leaving Harry one on one with the older girl.
Ginny raced back behind the Harpy's hoops and snagged the quaffle. "Oh no you don't, Potter," she growled. She bent low on her broom and flashed past the zone line. Two of the Falcon slashers misjudged the angle and she just outpaced them at the half line. They raced after her but she was still the fastest flyer in Hogwarts and more importantly she was the fastest flyer on the pitch today. The last Falcon slasher dropped out of the Seek in front of her but she juked around him, leaving the two Falcon slashers trailing her to split around their teammate as they desperately tried to avoid crashing. Venus and Serena streaked into view and knocked the bludgers away and Ginny was free to slot and easy goal past the Falcon keeper. She instantly angled up for the Seek.
Harry couldn't believe his luck when the snitch broke his direction. Sure an easy snag was in his reach he peeled away from Angelina only to have Ginny fly right through his hand to knock him off. "Mother of Nimue," Harry swore. He shook his hand out, bent low on his broom and pressed after her.
"I've got it!" Ginny shouted. Angelina dropped into the Chase again.
"Now this could be interesting," Gwenog observed.
"Five galleons on my sister," Charlie said.
"You're betting against your own player?"
"She's my sister," Charlie reiterated.
"Forget it," Gwenog said.
Harry and Ginny blasted from one end of the pitch to the other. She bumped him and they split as they went around a Harpy and Falcon beater. They came together again with Ginny edging ahead of him. Harry grabbed her broom and tugged her back. She swung a fist at him that he turned aside with a raised shoulder. "You're going down, Potter," she growled.
"Only after I beat your arse," Harry countered. He smacked her hand when she made a lunge for the snitch and they pushed over into a vertical dive.
"You can't beat me and you know it," she taunted.
Harry kicked the tail of her broom as they pulled out of the dive. She wobbled and nearly crashed. He was free for about two seconds but it wasn't enough to give him the snitch as she was able to cut him off when it doubled back on him. "Damnit," Harry swore. They flashed up through the Harpy's center hoop, following the snitch up to the very top of the playing boundaries before arching over in a giant loop back down. The snitch started a gigantic corkscrewing motion that they followed while barrel rolling around each other. Harry blinked back the black spots forming in his vision as they came out of the dive in a slewing curve that set rising G-forces to the upper limits of what he could take. The snitch wove in and out of the Falcon hoops, stopped and doubled back again. Harry reached out with a hand as he went past the hoop, caught it and sling-shotted himself back around after the fleeing orb.
"Whoa," Charlie said.
Gwenog blinked. "Never seen that before."
"Considerin' he just dislocated his shoulder I doubt you'll be seein' it again," Charlie said.
"Guess I should have taken that bet."
With his good arm Harry made a desperate grab for the snitch. "Time!" he called. He let the snitch go, cradled his arm tightly and settled to the ground.
Ginny raced up and landed next to him. She threw her broom aside. "Harry! Are you alright?"
Harry sank to his knees. "I'll live," he grunted.
The rest of the Falcon players flew up and joined them. "Let me through," the Harpy's team trainer said, pushing her way to Harry's side. "Alright, Potter," she said. "Let me see." She ran her wand up and down his arm, then over his shoulder to his chest. "Just dislocated," she said.
"Just fix it," Harry said.
"Lay back," she instructed. Harry did. "Alright, you gotta let go and give it to me now." Harry did so and braced himself. She took his arm, manipulated it into position and tensed. "Ready?"
"Yep. Ahhhhahh!" Harry groaned. He rolled onto his bad arm and curled around it. "Fuck, fuck, fuck," he chanted.
"Come on," the trainer said without sympathy, "let me see."
"See my fist between your eyes," Harry muttered under his breath, but he uncurled and lay flat on his back again with his good arm over his eyes. The trainer ran her wand over his arm again.
"Well, you're fine. But I'd recommend you be done playing today."
"I recommend that's a good recommendation," Harry retorted. He sat up and cautiously rolled his shoulder. It wasn't agony but it wasn't exactly like getting a massage either. "Any chance I can get a Pain Potion?"
"Only if you're done flying."
Harry groaned. "How much time is left."
"Absolutely not," Ginny cut in. "You're done."
Harry cocked his head. "Says who?"
She drew herself up. "Says, me."
"Mate, there's like five minutes," Peter said.
"It's just a friendly match," Dmitry added.
Harry glowered at Ginny. "Don't even think about it," she warned.
"Fine," Harry sighed. He held out his hand. "Gimme the potion."
"Please," Ginny said.
"Please give me the potion." The trainer slapped a phial into his hand. Harry quickly popped the cork and downed it.
"And thank you," Ginny said pointedly.
"Bloody hell, are you channeling Hermione or something?"
She glared at him. "Don't make me hurt you, Harry."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Fine." He turned to the trainer. "Thank you. My arm feels much better."
As promised, here we go again. Hopefully an interesting start to the year four.