New story! New story! Thank you Arnel, TheDistantDusk, and gryffindormischief for combing through this chapter for any and all faults!
This is a completely AU where Harry never went to Hogwarts.
Ginny Weasley clutched her broom with a vice-like grip. She could feel her palms moistening just thinking about what she needed to do. Being invited to Britain and Ireland's professional Quidditch tryouts was an honor - one she had worked for her entire life.
No matter how amazing an honor it was, though, Ginny's nerves were pressed to breaking point. All around her were older players, some of whom had been trained by the best; others clearly had previously experience on a team based on their overconfident/egotistical body language. To be fair, there were some candidates her age, but they all were huge- so huge that they must have been trying out for beater. However, one man caught her eye across the pitch. His black hair was unruly, as if he had been running his hands through it constantly. His eyes were watching all the other candidates with the same cautious look Ginny knew was in her own expression.
Ginny had always felt her best when she was making a group laugh. She loved to be the center of a conversation, as long as she was the one making the jokes and telling the good stories. When people were listening to her, laughing with her, it made her feel invincible. With that in mind, Ginny headed over to the black-haired man. She figured if she made a friend it would help ease her nerves.
As she approached, the man's eyes watched her, surprise evident in his expression.
"Hello." Ginny decided to start off easy. "What position are you here for?"
The man's eyes widened as soon as she had spoken, which confused Ginny a bit. Clearly, she had been walking over to him to do more then just stand around…
"Errr, seeker," he replied.
"Good." Ginny figured her sense of humor was the best icebreaker out there. "I won't have to kill you then."
"Well, we're not trying for the same position, so I won't have to wipe the field with you later."
That seemed to do it. The man's shoulders slackened, and Ginny knew she was going to have a decent conversation with this bloke. If he had pulled a tighter expression or if he had become angry, their possible friendship would have lost any chance.
"You think you're going to whoop everyone's arses, huh?" The man gave her a crooked smile, one that Ginny couldn't help but find rather attractive.
Not the time, Ginny, she reprimanded herself.
She turned back to the man and waved her hand dismissively. "Of course! They'll be eating the tail end of my broom."
The man held out his hand and laughed. "I'm Harry."
They shook, and Ginny ignored the spark of attraction at their touch; she was here for Quidditch not to ogle some handsome bloke.
"So, Ginny…" Harry began, and with that, any remaining tension faded away. Ginny felt her nerves edge away as well. It turned out Harry was a good companion. He had a sense of humor, listened well, and even told decent tales himself.
A whistle blew from far in the sky. The referee for the tryouts called order and Harry and Ginny moved into the correct positions, ready to show they were the best players there.
"Holy shit," Harry moaned as he sat next to her
Ginny glanced at her new companion over her sandwich. Breakfast had been hours ago; drills and exercises had begun at seven o'clock, some five hours previously. This long break was definitely welcome. Even so, during a small break she'd had earlier, she'd watched the seekers going through their paces (the referee had separated the candidates by position). Watching Harry had made her glad she wasn't trying for seeker; he flew incredibly well
"I think my aches have aches," Harry complained pitifully as he started cutting into his chicken.
"Well, I'm sure pulling off that Wronski Feint didn't help, but Merlin was it impressive." Ginny took a slip from her pumpkin juice. "Where did you learn how to do that, anyway?"
"Taught myself." Harry raised his arms over his head in a deep stretch, making his shirt ride up, showing off his toned abdomen.
Oh, damn...Ginny's inner monologue started working overtime with phrases like muy caliente, peng, and - her personal favorite- fuck me. To an outsider this might seem a little excessive for just a bit of skin, but what a bit of skin it was! Not to mention Ginny had always had a thing for unruly hair and a tight abdomen, and Harry had both of those things. Focus, girl!
Ginny had to force her eyes up to Harry's, grateful he had seemed not to notice her fascination with his lower torso."Seriously?"
"Oh yeah." He picked up his fork again. "Do you want to hear the long story, or the short?"
"Well, I have another forty minutes to kill, so might as well hear the whole thing."
Harry snorted."Well, I grew up in America. My mum was offered a really good job for their ministry, so I lived there my entire life. My dad was always into Quidditch. He was a chaser, like you, and well, he made it professional there. Fitchburg Finches, if you've ever heard of them."
"Of course, I have." Ginny defended her Quidditch knowledge tooth and nail whenever it was called into question. "They've won the American league seven times, which is a little more than impressive."
"My dad was a part of two of those."
Ginny's brain started to make connections. The chaser for the Finches looked a lot like the man beside her..."You're James Potter's son?" Ginny felt her jaw drop.
Harry rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, but don't go spreading that around. I want to get in because of my skill, not because I'm a Potter."
Ginny nodded, but her mind couldn't wrap around the idea that she now knew the son of one of her favorite players. Even though Potter had been a part of the American circuit, she'd always admired the way that he'd played. She could feel heat rise to her cheeks as she remembered the James Potter poster in her childhood bedroom. She was never – ever – going to tell Harry about that though.
"Right, so my dad trained me as a kid," Harry continued, focusing on his food for a moment. "And one day he cancelled on me- see, we were supposed to play when he got out of work-but the Finches called a last-minute meeting. Being the stubborn twelve-year-old kid I was, I went into my dad's office and found his play book. I saw the Wronski Feint and decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I failed a couple times, but I managed it right as my dad Apparated into the yard. He saw me pull it off almost perfectly with my training snitch.. My mum was furious with me for trying such dangerous moves without my dad, but dad was over the moon that I could pull of a move that even the Finches' seeker was struggling with."
Ginny couldn't help but be impressed. "I don't blame your dad one bit." What twelve-year-old boy taught himself Quidditch moves like that? "Wait, why aren't you trying out for the American League?"
Harry turned to look at her, a grin pasted on his cheeks. "Like I said, I didn't want to use my name to get somewhere." He paused for a moment before continuing. "That, and we moved back here right at the end of last year's season."
Ginny had to admire him. Most people would have wanted to ride on their father's name, especially if it made something easier, but Harry was not that sort. Yeah, she'd made the right choice picking him this morning. She could already tell.
"Well, for what it's worth, I think your skill is much more impressive than your name."
His smile widened at her claim. "What about you, Gin? What's your long and troubled past?"
Ginny pretended that the shiver running down her spine from being called Gin was related to a cool breeze that had just billowed into the snorted at his question. "I doubt we've covered your entire past, but I'll be fair and give you my Quidditch story."
She told him about stealing her brothers' brooms because they wouldn't let her play- because she was a girl. Once she had shown up at Hogwarts, she had shocked everyone with her decent seeker kills, but her passion had always been with chasing. From her second to her fifth years, she had been Gryffindor's seeker, and had only missed two catches in her career. She'd finally switched position once two of the three main chasers had left.
Harry proved once again to be a great listener. He nodded and asked questions at all the right times. Once she had finished, it was time to head back to the pitch. She walked beside Harry, pleased to find that their jokes and easy chatter left her feeling refreshed and lighter than air.
As the week of tryouts progressed, so did Ginny's friendship with Harry. They spent most of their free time, together- when they weren't sleeping. The teams hosting the tryouts had accommodated the players, so they could solely focus on the game. Night after night, Harry and Ginny would sit in the common room going over plays together, talking about their home lives, the lack of love lives, and everything in between.
Ginny discovered Harry was sort of a Muggle movie buff. He had brought a computer and some DVDs and the two of them spent many nights watching though his collection. Ginny had never really experienced anything like a movie. Harry would explain some of the Muggle plot points that she didn't understand, and they would talk about their favorite moments while the credits rolled.
Harry, in turn, learned that Ginny really enjoyed music. She liked a wide variety of genres and, because Harry had been in America, he didn't know half of the popular songs in England. She took great pleasure in introducing him to the Screeching Banshees and Fresh Pickled Toads.
Finally, the last day of tryouts came, and they were divided into multiple full teams and playing a round robin tournament. Ginny was excited to see who she would be playing with. Hell, she may even experience playing with a future teammate. She and Harry ate breakfast together, continuing their conversation about the difference between Muggle music and wizards' music.
"From what I heard in America, a lot of Muggle songs are… well… focused on sex." Heat was slowly spreading across Harry's neck, and he was trying to keep it from reaching his face. He was a grown arse adult, after all; he shouldn't blush at the word sex.
"Wizard songs are like that too," Ginny took a sip from her pumpkin juice. "They just hide it better, though I did hear a song that use the line, 'my wand never shoots sparks'…."
Both Harry and Ginny snorted, and Harry found himself mesmerized as a piece of hair fell from behind her ear. From the moment he had seen her across the Quidditch pitch, he'd felt as if he had fallen right out of the sky. Love at first sight had always been bullshit to him, no matter how many times his father claimed he'd fallen in love with his mother instantly. Harry had thought this was nonsense; you couldn't love someone just by sight.
As soon as his eyes had connected with Ginny's, though, all rational thought had disappeared. When she'd started walking towards him, he had panicked. He had been tempted to run and hide behind the goalpost (great hiding spot that was… a thin pole), but instead he had stood his ground and talked with her, and Merlin was he glad he did. Ginny was the most incredible person he had ever met.
Her humor, her aptitude, her passion… he was now in so deep he couldn't see the edge of the abyss that was before Ginny Weasley.
"So, tonight you ready to watch my favorite movie?" Harry asked, cutting up the final bit of his pancake.
"You've been talking up this film for the last three days." Ginny smirked at him, as she stirred a dash of extra milk into her tea, a little thing he had noticed (the chefs never added enough milk in her tea). "Can it really live up to the hype?"
"Trust me. It will. It has everything: Love, drama, unbeatable music, incredible feats… You'll love it."
"Alright, I'm trusting you." Ginny pointed her fork at Harry, a piece of sausage still on the prongs. "But I get to show you my favorite song during our warmup."
"Deal." Harry stuck out his hand, doing his best impression of his father during business meetings. Ginny snorted at his action but shook his hand nonetheless. The goose pimples that spread up Harry's arms and to his neck made him stifle a shudder.
Once they finished their meal, they walked towards the pitch where they would stretch. They had made a habit of this since the second morning of tryouts, claiming the area around the away team's goal post, and Ginny would blast some music she liked. Harry adored their routine.
Hell, he adored her. It wasn't often that Harry found someone he clicked with instantly, but Ginny had walked through all his normal barricades and become one of his favorite people. If he was completely honest with himself, she epitomized his dream woman. She was fucking attractive, had a great personality, and loved Quidditch as much as he did. What more could he ask for?
Ginny pulled out her portable wireless player, something her brothers had invented for their more serious line of products. She tapped her wand on top of the machine and a guitar riff started along with a man crooning.
"This one is called Radioactive," Ginny explained as she settled in the grass with her legs stretched out far. Harry joined her, touching his fingers to his overextended toes. "When the beat drops it's a good running song."
They continued through their motions, Ginny keeping up a commentary for every song that played. Even if Harry had hated music, he would have loved listening to her talk about it. The look of excitement that appeared on her face whenever a song she truly enjoyed came on, sent fluttering snitches through his stomach. Yeah, he clearly had fallen hard and fast for Ginny Weasley, and oddly enough Harry was fine with it.
"Alright, when I call your name go to your assigned team captain," yelled Albert Longfellow, the referee over the course of the tryouts. "Working with coach Igor is: Malcolm, Daniels – "
"Who do you hope to get?" Harry moved his lips close to Ginny's ear.
"I would love to have Gwenog Jones as a coach."Ginny learned over towards him, and he was enveloped by a powerful scent of lilies...or was it jasmine, like in his mother's back garden? He had to stop his eyes from fluttering shut and taking in a large inhale of what he assumed was Ginny's soap.
"I hear she's a great coach, but she'd never work with me." Harry really wanted to be on the same team as Ginny, so if Gwenog picked her, he had no chance. "I don't have the right – er – parts."
"Yeah, but here at tryouts she's been told to pick both genders." Ginny let out a low chuckle. "I heard her getting riled about it the other night."
"With Coach Jones." Longfellow had now read through multiple teams. "We have: Tanner, Jameson, Leans, Grossman, Kilo, Reilly, and Dodge."
"Damn," Ginny muttered.
"That just leaves either the Cannons coach or Oliver Wood from Puddlemere," Harry observed.
"Oh, Davis is the worst coach in the league," Ginny moaned. "He literally sits back and lets the Cannons fail every year, I swear."
"With Wood," Longfellow continued once Jones' team had moved aside. "Everett, Holmes, Weasley, Freeman, Quentin, Ander, and Potter. Anyone one who I didn't call out goes with Davis."
Harry and Ginny looked at one another, grinning. "Thank fucking Merlin," Ginny muttered as she and Harry made their way over to where the tall, broad shouldered Coach Wood stood, waiting to knock his team into shape.
"That was fucking incredible, Potter," Coach Wood praised as the team landed, the fluttering golden ball still clutched in Harry's hand. "Game over in under five minutes, impressive; however this was going to be the team for us to gain the most points with, so next time, wait ten minutes. Freeman, that Bludger you hit towards Daniels was perfect."
Wood pointed towards every player, pointing out one good play and one flaw. Finally, his attention landed on Ginny. "Weasley, in under five minutes you gained five goals and executed three assists, well done. There was a moment you hesitated stealing from Malcolm, next time go for it. Even if you had drawn the foul, he would have failed the penalty shot against Ander."
Harry had to admire the way Wood worked with them. He never let them feel too comfortable, pushing them to be their best.
"Now we only have one match until the finals," Wood pressed. "Our next match is Holden's squad." Harry had to wrack his brain to remember who Holden was. Finally, he remembered he was the coach of the Tornados. "After that, we are in the finals. My guess with Jones' team. There is a thirty minute break now and I encourage you all to get something to eat, regain your strength. I want you all back here by half past two."
The team broke off, rolling their tired shoulders or rubbing the back of their necks. Harry walked over to Ginny. "That last goal was amazing, Gin."
Ginny buffed her nails on her shoulder as they walked towards the canteen. "Eh, I could have done that in my sleep."
"Yeah, well, I do a lot of incredible things in my sleep too," Harry snorted. "Just the other day I – "
Ginny cut him off with a method she had developed in her youth, pushing the perpetrator to the ground. Though her quick shoves were successful against her brothers to this day, Harry had something they didn't - seeker reflexes. Before he was halfway towards the ground, he caught onto her wrist, pulling her down with him.
They fell in a heap, limbs entwining as Ginny landed atop Harry. Her face pressed against his neck, as his addictive smell enveloped her. Harry was a bold mixture of sweat, woodsy, and something else, maybe mint. In other words, heavenly. At least to Ginny.
Harry's chest was rising and falling rapidly as she continued to lie on him. For some reason, Ginny didn't want to move. She knew she should, but it was hard to ignore that smell and the way his arms had moved to catch her, his fingers holding onto her hips. She knew she should move before she did something rash. Pulling her head back from his neck she had to forcibly stop herself from leaning in, because - fuck - his lips… those thin, sexy lips were so close to hers. The desire to run her hand over his stubbled jawline was overpowering.
"Oi! Weasley. Potter. Stop flirting! " Jones yelled across the field, and Harry and Ginny jumped upright at the sound of her voice. They quickly gathered themselves and rushed off to the cafeteria. Ginny could see the flush on Harry's face and knew she had overbright cheeks to match.
"Weasley, I need you to focus on Tanner. He's been excellent today," Wood instructed, having called timeout twenty minutes into the final game against Jones' team. "Potter, start knocking Dodge around a bit. We need to win or die trying."
Harry felt his brow rise high into his hairline. He glanced at Ginny and saw her lips twitching in suppressed humor.
"Now get back out there!" Wood pointed back at the field. The team moved as one, mounting their brooms. Jones' team was still huddled together, so Ginny moved her broom in closer to Harry's.
"He used that exact phrase when he coached my brothers," she explained, her eyes focused on the other team. "They used to mock it all the time. Sneak dung into Percy's bag, or die trying."
Harry snorted. He kept his gaze on the other team as well. Since their moment earlier… Holy Merlin had he wanted to just lean up a bit and kiss her. Then Jones had found them, and it had gone from romantic to awkward really fast.
"We still on for the movie tonight?" Harry asked. To be completely honest, Harry was hoping that the movie would give him a moment to act on what had happened earlier in the field.
"Sure." Harry could see Ginny's head turn to look at him from the corner of his eye, so he followed her example. She appeared to be studying him, almost trying to read his mind.
He wanted to lean forward, to kiss her then and there, maybe say something witty like, "For luck." And fly off all suave and whatnot. He even started to move, letting his eyes fall to her mouth...and then Longfellow blew his whistle, making Harry start. He could see the amusement in Ginny's eyes as she cast him one final look before flying off to join her fellow chasers.
Harry cast his eyes to the sky. Fuck me, he complained before heading off to his starting position.
Harry leaned his head against the wall of his temporary bedroom. He'd been hit with a roar of exhaustion from the moment he'd dropped down onto his bed. He felt like every muscle in his body was on fire. They had played for four hours against Jones' squad. The snitch had seemed to evade Harry perfectly. Every time he had caught a glimpse of it, the golden ball had flown n a strange pattern, and Harry had lost it. Sure, in the end he had found the damn thing hiding near the ankle of one beaters on Jones' team, but Merlin after playing all day, the extra time didn't help his body.
A quiet knock echoed through the room, and Harry groaned; he was too bloody tired for his protests, the opened without his permission. Harry leaned forward slightly to see Ginny holding a bag of Muggle popcorn (something he had introduced her to early on in their movie nights).
"Well, hello to you too. " Ginny smirked, plopping herself beside him. "You're lovely company tonight, I see."
"How are you so bloody cheery?" Harry all but moaned, letting his head fall back onto the wall. "I hurt all over."
"Clearly, you didn't think about pain potions." Ginny made a tisking sound with her tongue.
"You have pain potions?"
"I do, and if you ask nicely, maybe I'll give you one."
"Ginny, can I please have one of your potions?" Harry asked, lifting his head in time to see her wicked grin.
"That was decent, but I was looking for something more along the lines of, 'Oh wise and beautiful Ginny, best Quidditch player to ever live. Can I, Harry Potter your inferior, please have one of you amazing potions?'"
Harry snorted. "I think I'd rather stay in pain."
"Suit yourself." Ginny started to whistle softly, examining her finger nails with mock serious interest.
Harry let out a huff of air. "Fine. Gin, supreme Chaser of Britain, can I please have one your pain potions?"
"You forgot to mention how wise and pretty I am," Ginny reminded him, taking a piece of popcorn and throwing it into her mouth.
Well, Harry thought, at least it's not a lie.
He moved slightly, letting himself sit up, and placed on hand on her cheek. Ginny's eyes widened at his touch, and her eyes followed the trail from his hand to his face. "Oh, fair and clever Ginny," Harry continued, eyes penetrating hers, "may I please have one of your all-important potions?"
Ginny blinked owlishly for a few seconds. "Well, that was a bit over the top, but okay." She pulled a small vial from her pocket and handed it over. Harry uncorked it, raised the container in salute to Ginny and downed it in one large gulp.
"Ugh, you would think after so many years we could make these things taste better," Harry joked. "Thanks, Gin."
The smile she gave him made a shudder go down his spine. "So, what's the name of this movie again?"
"Mulan." Harry moved over to the small desk where he had placed two Butterbeers aside from dinner. He handed one to Ginny before grabbing his computer and inserting the disk. Carefully minding his own drink, he positioned himself beside Ginny as the opening logo flared.
Harry was in heaven. He was watching his favorite movie, eating his favorite snack food, and he was sharing his bed, with a woman he fancied, though not in every way he would have liked. It was his own personal paradise. On screen, however, things were a bit more tragic; Mulan had just been shunned as a woman.
"That's bullshite!" Ginny complained as the heroine was thrown into the snow. "She's their best fighter."
"Yeah, but think about the time frame," Harry explained, fully focusing his attention on Ginny instead of the movie. He had foregone paying complete attention a while ago, and found he was more interested in observing Ginny as she watched the motion picture. He reveled in her excitement at all the songs and loved the way her brow knit together when there was a Muggle reference she didn't understand. It was his own personal film, and he loved every second of it.
Ginny huffed her irritation. "Still stupid."
"I agree." Harry raised his hands in surrender. "But it was needed for the plot. Trust me, you'll like the ending."
That seemed to placate Ginny for the time being. She'd leaned forward in defiance, but now sat back to enjoy the rest of the film. As her back came to rest against the cool wall, she leaned ever-so-slightly to the side, allowing her shoulder to land on his. The contact brought goose pimples along Harry's arms. He decided to press his advantage. He moved the arm that had been tucked in between them and wrapped it around her waist. Harry had no idea he had been holding his breath until his arm rested plainly on Ginny's hip and the air rushed from him in a small happy sigh.
Ginny said nothing about his blatant move, but a small smile curled her lips. "You know," she said, "I feel like Shang would have been happy to find out Mulan was a woman."
"Yeah?" Harry asked, his attention torn between what Ginny was saying and the how near his fingers were to her sweet-smelling hair. Oh, how he wanted to play with the glossy strands...
"Yeah, seeing how in love with her he was. " Ginny turned to look at him and Harry's eyes shot to hers. "If they didn't like women fighting in wars, I have to imagine gay relationships were frowned upon."
Harry snort. "They still are, with Muggles."
"I've heard that." Ginny adjusted her body so she wasn't having to turn her neck. "Speaking about relationships. " She smirked at him coyly "How long, on average, do you think it takes for a bloke to realize someone fancies him?"
Harry felt his pulse start beating as if he were ready to run a marathon. The look in Ginny's eyes sent his body into overdrive. It ignited his blood into flames. He licked his lips to gather himself before continuing. "Well, if he's anything like me – "
"Let's say he is."
"Then it's more of him trying to gather courage to kiss her."
"And what if she literally said, 'Kiss me, Harry'?"
Harry could have sworn his mouth became the Gobi Desert. "Then… I guess I would – "
"Follow her instructions?" Ginny asked innocently, Harry knew she was holding back her laughter.
"Why is it always the bloke's job to make the first move?" Harry asked, deciding that if she was going to tease him, he would give it back as good as he got.
"More like the tenth move." Now, Ginny did laugh. "Because let's say this woman, we'll call her Ginny, has been leaving hints for this bloke to get on with it for a while now."
"And maybe the bloke, let's call him Harry for simplicity's sake, has almost done it multiple times, but keeps getting interrupted."
Ginny looked left - then right - before focusing on Harry and allowing her voice to drop to a stage whisper. "Well, he doesn't seem to be getting interrupted right now, does he?"
Harry let out a low chuckle as his eyes fell to her mouth. "No… no he doesn't."
And with that, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers.