Jedi Tess of Gryffindor
IMPORTANT A/N: As my bio update says, this has been updated in two ways. The first is a bit to make sure it's all up with "Order of the Phoenix (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) and the second was just a general editing fest. I think the story's improved in several ways and I'd recommend a re-read if you think you can stomach it Thanks so much for your patience and your support!
Summary: Inspired by too many viewings of "Bend It Like Beckham." Ginny Weasley helped to create a team for girls who desperately wanted to play Quidditch and were not chosen for their House teams. It's all fun and games until the most unlikely person decides they have what it takes to go pro. A D/G, R/H fic – what else is new?
Disclaimer: "Bend It" belongs to not me, and HP is J.K.'s. Thanks, Goddess of pro-fic.
6th year Gryffindor, Ginny Weasley
3rd year Hufflepuff, Patrice Patil
7th year Gryffindor, Hermoine Granger
7th year Slytherin, Pansy Parkinson
4th year Ravenclaw, Adrienne Abbot
5th year Slytherin, Ananda Malfoy
Captain: 7th year Hufflepuff, Susan Bones
7th year Hufflepuff, Hannah Abbot
2nd year Slytherin, Jessica Bentely
6th year Hufflepuff, Betina Johnson
Captain: 7th year Ravenclaw, Julia Boot
7th year Slytherin, Millicent Bulstrode
7th year Gryffindor, Pavarti Patil
4th year Gryffindor, Natalie McDonald
"You're good, Weasley."
Ginny, who was wiping her sweaty brow on her discarded Quidditch robes, started and looked up.
"Good," she repeated suspiciously, "but . . . ?" She was waiting for the inevitable insult.
"You're good," Blaise Zabini repeated, shrugging.
"What, nothing about me being good enough for a Muggle secondary team or something?" Ginny snapped in annoyance. He wasn't supposed to be watching them practice! Blaise smirked.
"You couldn't play for Muggle team, actually," he told her. "I have it on good authority that football can't be played on broomsticks."
Ginny turned back to see her friend, Keeper Hannah Abbot jogging up to her, face glowing. "Gin, that aerial was brilliant! Where'd you pick that up?"
"Last summer." Ginny beamed with pleasure, in spite of Zabini. "Dad got prime tickets to England vs. India Quidditch Cup semi-finals. India's star Chaser, Banhi Lambha – she's wicked cool – she did it, right before a goal. She actually jumped with the ball through the goal hoop. I jumped over. Didn't want to get strung up." Hannah giggled.
"That's a foul, though." Ginny turned back to Blaise, who had been standing and listening. Hannah saw him and looked suddenly nervous.
"It's not," Ginny countered. "I wasn't threatening or touching the Keeper at all. Apparently if you can do it without touching the hoop or the Keeper, it's right as rain. Oh, and there's the small matter of landing on your broom on the other side, of course."
"Huh." Blaise looked impressed.
"Well? Come on, I'm a pig; let's hit the showers," Hannah said, regarding her attire with mild disgust. Attire might have been too strong a word. Apart from her guards, she was clad in short football shorts and a sport's bra, along with run-down cross-trainers. Ginny wasn't too well herself. Her own outfit comprised a worn pair of stretch pants rolled up to her knees, laceless cross-trainers, and a worn tee shirt that read 'I'll hit your Bludger' across the chest.
"Right." Ginny turned to go into the locker rooms.
"Hold up, Red," Blaise called after her. Ginny stopped.
"Go on, Ana, I'll catch you up," she said, returning to Blaise. She could feel Hannah's surprised gaze on her back, but heard the other's footfalls as she turned and jogged off the field.
"What, Zabini?" she asked.
"How much longer are you going to keep this girl's team running?" he asked bluntly.
"Dunno." Ginny shrugged carelessly. "We just play for kicks, you know. We're not leaguers or anything."
"You could be."
"What?" Ginny stared at him, laughing in disbelief. "Look, Zabini, the only reason we got this team up was so those of us girls who didn't make House teams had somewhere to practice and hang out without having to worry about Interhouse rivalries and the like. It's not – it was never intended to be anything earth-shattering."
"But you're not even competing in the Interhouse," he pointed out, pushing off the wall and coming to stand in front of her.
"Who would we play?" she retorted. "First of all, there's enough of us to make up two teams. Second, both teams have students from all four Houses. We can't play against our own Housemates like that. Anyway, who would we win points for, hmm?"
"Fine," Blaise said in irritation. "Only it's a shame to waste the talent some of you have on silly girl's games. You should get a coach and try to game somewhere. Later, Weasley."
"Wait – Zabini!" Ginny's interest was suddenly peaked. She hadn't realized he thought they were that good. "Do you know any – ?"
"Gin!" Exasperated, Ginny turned around again. Hermione Granger was jogging toward her, a Nimbus 2001 over her bare shoulder. She was grinning blindingly and glowing. "Lovely workout, wasn't it? Coming to the lockers – oh, hello, Zabini."
Ginny hid a grin as Hermione's voice became wary.
"Zabini, here, thinks we're good, Mione," she said, turning back to Blaise. "He thinks we should get a coach and try competing."
Hermoine looked startled.
"I was just about to tell Weasley about a friend of mine who'd make an ideal coach if you lot want to take this more seriously," the handsome brunette said coolly. Ginny noticed peripherally that Blaise's dark eyes darted over Hermione in rather a different way than they had Ginny herself. Interesting.
"Do you?" Hermione said faintly. "You really think we're good?"
"Put it this way," he said. "I think you're House team's losing a lot by not having you two playing for them. Abbot's no joke either, come to that."
"Then why, if we're so brilliant, do we need a coach?" Hermione asked suspiciously, although Ginny saw that she was flushing with pleasure. It wasn't often Hermione was recognized as being as good a Quidditch player as Ron, Seamus, or Dennis.
"You and Weasley are good, but you've got no technique," Blaise told her, his gaze still intense as he watched her. "Against other girls, you're smashing, but because you haven't any strategy you'd be flattened by a co-ed team. All you need is a coach to give you some play ideas, and a bit of team coordination – and possibly a bit of hardcore training off the brooms – and you'd take down any of the House teams."
"Why's that?" Ginny asked, amazed at receiving such praise from a Slytherin, of all people.
"Because you're girls," he said simply. "You work better together, and you're naturally more in tune with the other players. Plus you're not necessarily as hung up on the glory of it all as you are on hauling arse."
Hermione quirked a smile, and Ginny was quite certain her friend was thinking about Ron.
"You sound as though you've been thinking very hard about this, Zabini," the seventh year said, uncapping her water bottle and taking a swig. "But who's going to want to coach an all-girl's team?"
"That's obvious," Ginny put in knowingly. "Half the blokes in this school would give their right arms to see us play, especially since we won't allow anyone to watch." She threw a pointed look at Blaise, who promptly ignored it. "I've heard the rumors. Most of the school and half the teachers reckon we play in our knickers." She giggled. "Dumbledore laughed when Snape hauled me in to try and get us in trouble about it."
"It is a close thing," Blaise pointed out, eyeing Hermione in a suggestive way, starting from her sweat-spotted white tank top and ending on her microscopic football shorts. Hermione turned very red.
"So – we know we'd have no trouble finding someone to coach," she said hastily. "Question is, do you know someone who's qualified and wouldn't spend the whole bloody time trying to get into our knickers?"
"Can't promise anything, but I do know just the bloke for the job – funny you should ask," Blaise returned a touch sardonically.
Hermoine's expression went from curious to cautious.
"Wait – you don't – you can't mean – "
"He can't play anymore," Blaise said grimly. "He's got chronic marrow deterioration; both wrists. He'll never see a proper match again. But I'll be damned if he gives up like a pansy."
"Like a what, Blaise? Think carefully." Pansy Parkinson came to a halt behind Hermione, a warning brow raised at Blaise. He smirked at her.
"Nothing, lovely," the boy said smoothly. "How much have you heard?"
"It's bollocks!" she snapped. "He'd never do it."
"He'd give both arms to see you beat every House team," Blaise countered.
"Who?" Ginny finally demanded. The seventh years turned to stare at her.
"Draco Malfoy," three voices chorused. Ginny gaped, then burst out laughing.
"Malfoy?" she gasped, clutching her sides. "You must be joking! He'd never agree to coach Muggleborns. Even if he did, I wouldn't want him here. He'd give us non-Slytherins hell. He still can't resist calling Mione a – a Mudblood," she winced at the horrid name, "whenever he sees her."
"Look at it this way," Blaise said. "He's really more at your mercy than you are at his. If he steps out of line, sack him."
Ginny blinked. That was true, she realized. If he was disrespectful in any way that wasn't purely motivational, they could sack him.
"But Malfoy – why would he want to do this?" Hermione demanded. Pansy nodded, clearly as stumped at the other two.
"Three reasons," Blaise said. "First of all, he doesn't want to give up Quidditch. This is the only way he'll get a piece of the action. He can't coach for Slytherin because they don't need it and they'd give him hell about his injury. Wouldn't take him seriously. Next, he's watched you lot. He snuck out one night when you guys somehow talked Hooch and Dumbledore into letting you use the pitch after dark. He thinks you've got potential – and he'd love to be the one to make you famous – or infamous. And finally," Blaise finished, ticking off on his fingers, "he's male. Lots of nearly naked Quidditch babes dancing around is nothing to scoff at. And he'll get locker room privileges."
"Should've known," Ginny said sourly. She turned to Hermione and Pansy. "Well?"
"We should discuss it with the rest of the team," Hermione said. "They'll all have something to say, no doubt."
"Yeah – no doubt," Pansy muttered sarcastically. "Hang around, Blaise. We'll be right back."
Ginny led the two seventh years across the field. She threw a glance back at Blaise and saw him smirking after them. His eyes were still trained on Hermione.
'He knows we won't be able to resist,' she thought, irritated.
"Well?" Pansy asked. "What do you think?"
"Rubbish!" Hermione snapped. "Come on, Parkinson, we'd never hear the end of it. 'Mudblood,' 'Gryffindork,' 'Weaslett.' My god, I'd be surprised if half the team wasn't committed to therapy by the time Malfoy'd run us through!"
"Scared, are you?" Pansy shot back. Ginny rolled her eyes. Although Hermione and Pansy both played Chaser on the team, they still sniped at each other incessantly. Ginny might have had more to say about it, but the seventh years could handle a Quaffle like nobody's business.
"Right – and you're a Playwizard model," Hermione retorted, not even looking at the other. Pansy scowled.
"Ouch!" Ginny muttered.
They entered the steamy lockers and were nearly deafened by the noise the other eleven teamers were making.
"Oi! Who's got my cups?" Beater Pavarti Patil hollered, digging through Keeper Hannah Abbot's open locker in search of her bra.
"Patil! Get out of my locker," Hannah shouted from her partially open shower stall. "You're three sizes bigger than me."
Ginny giggled. It was fun being surrounded by girls from different Houses who let their grudges go long enough to practice every day of the week whenever they could book pitch time. Everyone sort of let go and "let it hang out" as Ravenclaw Chaser Adrienne Abbot, Hannah's 4th year sister, put it.
"Oi, girls!" Pansy bellowed.
"Hey, now!" Ginny covered her ears. "That's a bit shrill, Parkinson."
"Sod you," Pansy said. "Girls," she shouted again. "Listen up!"
As usual, Pansy could get anyone's attention. Thirteen pairs of eyes peered at her from shower stalls, lockers, and benches.
"All right, you lot," Pansy said, her voice still loud. Ginny backed away, hands still over her ears, and several girls giggled. Pansy ignored them. "We've been made an interesting offer."
"I'll bet!" 4th year Beater Natalie McDonald spoke up. "Did Colin finally manage to get into the stadium with a camera?"
The girls all laughed – even Pansy.
"Seriously, girls," she chuckled. "No, nothing that devious. Although, if we ever need a fundraiser, we could auction of locker room pictures – "
More laughter, and several cat calls.
"But at the moment," Hermione called, silencing the noise, "that's not an issue. We've just been offered a coach."
That got everyone's attention.
"But we don't need – "
"We're just in it for kicks!"
"I think Susie and Jools are quite good enough Captains – "
"Hush up!" Ginny called and everyone went quiet to hear more. "We've just had Blaise Zabini, of all people, tell us we're dynamite and could go pro if we were trained up a bit."
An explosion of protest met this comment.
"Zabini was in here?"
"Mione, a boy was watching?"
"I'll kick his arse, the sneaky git!"
"Yes, Zabini's had a peek!" Hermione called, again ushering in a silence. "And he thinks we're good. He says we could be leaguers if we had a bit of strategy. And he's got someone who'd be willing – supposedly – to train us up."
The room was so silent you could have heard a pin drop.
"Who is it?" sixth year Seeker Betina Johnson asked tremulously.
"It's a boy," Pansy cut in. "But," she called over the angry buzz of voices, "he's good. No Harry Potter, admittedly, but definitely good for strategy."
"Who?" 7th year Captain and Beater Julia Boot demanded loudly.
"Draco Malfoy," Ginny, Hermoine, and Pansy said at once.
The lockers were silent for a few moments, and then an explosive burst of indignation, shock, and amusement shook the room.
"It's a lost cause," Pansy snorted, flopping down into a chair and stretching out, clearly making herself comfortable for the long haul. Ginny and Hermione sat as well, waiting patiently for a reprieve in the buzz.
It came when fifth year Chaser Ananda Malfoy said loudly, "Why would Draco want anything to do with us? My cousin's as biased as they come! We're girls – and Muggleborns, some of us – and some of us are Puffies and Gryffs." She shook back her blonde hair. Ananda was a Slytherin, and Draco's first cousin to boot. Still, there was no blatant disrespect in her tone. One of the rules strictly enforced was that House boundaries were not observed or taken into consideration during practice. Any breaking of this rule led almost assuredly led to removal from the team.
Bottom Line: Intolerance was not tolerated.
"According to Blaise, Draco still wants to be involved with Quidditch," Pansy told her Housemate. "He can't play because of his injury from last season, but he doesn't want to let Quidditch go. He can't train for Slytherin because they'd laugh in his face. He's also seen us – " she waited for the indignant babble to abate – "and he would love to make us famous. Plus, come on, Nanda. Look around you. Fourteen gorgeous, fit girlies. Who wouldn't want to train us?"
A ripple of laughter echoed around the room.
"So," Ginny went on. "We've got two decisions to make – and I reckon we need a unanimous vote here. Number one, are we willing to try and compete with other teams, maybe even try to play as a pro team? And number two, are we willing to let Malfoy have a go?"
Her questions were met with a heavy silence. It was broken by Beater Millicent Bulstrode.
"Draco's not exactly nice," she said, smirking at Ananda, "but he's got what it takes to make us good. And we're not exactly runts." Several people laughed as she subtly flexed her well-honed Beater muscles. She smirked wider, going on, "Anyway, if he's a dick we can kick him out and keep going at it. I say let's go!"
Murmurs of ascent broke out all over the locker room.
"I think I like it, too," Captain and Keeper Susan Bones spoke up quietly. Ginny had always marveled at how shy Susie was, but how flawlessly she could manage a team. "Like Millicent said, we could sack him."
"All right, let's put it to a vote," Ginny suggested. "All in favor of letting a boy in on our genius, raise you hand."
Fourteen hands rose into the air.
"I knew you'd like it," came a cool voice from the doorway.
"Zabini!" Hermione snapped as the eleven partially dressed players shrieked and dove for cover. Pansy and Ginny turned to look as Blaise Zabini sauntered in anyway.
"So, can I tell Draco to get off his arse starting tomorrow?" Blaise asked, smirking as Pavarti's third year sister Patrice dove into a shower stall in her bra and knickers and Betina Johnson fumbled with a towel as she tried to cover herself.
"Oh, yeah," Pansy said, quirking a brow at him. "But you aren't welcome back."
Blaise scowled at her.
"Look, I'm the one who hooked you up – "
"And you did a good job," Ginny nodded, taking his arm and leading the indignant seventh year from the locker rooms. "But now you're out – sorry."
"Bloody jip!" Blaise muttered, but instead of pushing Ginny off his arm, he draped it around her shoulders and led her along with him.
"Wait – what're you doing?" she demanded, trying without success to pull away.
"Why, my dear Weasley," Blaise said, feigning shock, "your new coach will of course want to know immediately so he can begin preparing his intensive training – "
"But I'm not a captain!" Ginny told him as he dragged her along. "He'll need to speak to Jools or Susie – "
"Bones is a silly Huffy and Boot's never had to deal with Draco before," Blaise pointed out.
"Then let Mione or Parkinson or something," Ginny retorted rather desperately.
"Look, Weaslett," Blaise stopped and turned to face her. "When Malfoy saw you fly – well, it was like he was possessed! He would never admit it, but he wants the job because of you. He wants you to be great."
"But there're other girls on the team who are loads better than me," Ginny protested. "Patrice's amazing! She makes my aerials look like accidents. Pansy's like a bullet, Mione's got the best strategic mind on the team – "
"Personally, I'd agree that you're good but not the best," the dark boy conceded as he led her toward the castle. "But Draco's eyes haven't left you since he watched you play. He'll want to train you."
"Zabini," Ginny said, frowning suspiciously. "Draco did say he wanted to do this thing, right? I mean, it sounds like it, but then you say these little things that make it sound like he would want to if he were asked. I mean, he did ask you to ask us if he could train us, right?"
"Ah, yes," Blaise said, his tone becoming neutral. "I'd meant to mention that. He doesn't – er, know yet."
"Oh, really?" Ginny stopped dead, yanking out of Blaise's grip and glowering murderously at him. "So this whole thing was your idea? Parkinson and Mione and I got the girls all wound up about being leaguers and you go and tell me he doesn't know he's our coach?"
"He will know," Blaise said rather smugly. "As you're about to go and tell him."
"No way!" Ginny snapped, turning and preparing to return to the lockers.
"Wait, Weasley!" Blaise grabbed her arm. "I did say he wanted to train you, right? Said rather wistfully he'd love to be the one to put Ginny sodding Weasley up for Puddlemere."
"But training our girls' team was . . . not his idea?" Ginny said wearily. "Zabini, he'll never do it!"
"He admits you're good," Blaise insisted. "Just point out that he could be responsible for helping – no, for creating, got to appeal to his vanity – the first all-women's pro Quidditch team in history – never mind that it isn't really the first; he'll never know. And make sure he knows you don't train unless the other girls do. An ultimatum, you know. Also mention how hacked off it'll make Potter and you brother."
Ginny thought about it. She supposed Draco would be a good coach. Especially, now that she thought about it, with the Slytherin ambition backing him up. Admittedly she and the girls didn't know the first thing about really training. They just sort of figured it out as they played. A lot of their improvement came from daily practice. But with Draco planning their workouts they could conceivably training five days instead of seven and develop the proper workouts depending on which position they played and . . .
Blaise was smirking at her, evidently knowing exactly what she was thinking.
"Oh, all right," Ginny snapped at last. "I'll talk to him. But one 'Oh, look, it's the poor little Weaslett' remark and I'm skiving off."
"Fair enough," Blaise said, and looping an arm around her again, he led her off to the castle.