Chapter 20

Breakfast the next morning was taken up with repeated descriptions of their run-in with Draco the previous night. Everyone on the Gryffindor table seemed to want to hear about it and the story quickly spread to the other Houses and Harry found himself being congratulated by as many Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws as Gryffindors.

Hermione was torn between amusement and disapproval and Ron was bemoaning his prefect status that had caused him to miss the moment. Professor Snape was glaring at Harry every time any of them looked towards the head table, which told them that the teacher's had heard about what happened. This was confirmed when they saw the glint in Remus' eye and the hastily suppressed twinkle in Professor McGonagall's eye when she handed them their timetables.

Ron looked at his and his face brightened. "Hey, I've only got double Transfiguration this morning and double Charms this afternoon." Then his face fell. "Bloody hell, they're all doubles. All my subjects."

"Of course they are," Hermione said primly as she looked over her timetable. "We're doing our NEWTs, Ron."

"Not this year," he moaned and then looked over Hermione's shoulder at her timetable. "Blimey, Mione. How many subjects are you doing? When are you planning on studying?" He then patted her sympathetically on the shoulder. "Wow, double Potions first thing today. What a welcome back."

Hermione shot him an exasperated look. "I'm only taking two new subjects this year. I decided to take Magical Healing and Laws & Legislation. I think they'll be interesting and useful."

Ron rolled his eyes. Harry chuckled and handed his timetable to Hermione. "Can you tell me what I'm doing?"

She looked at him strangely. "I thought your Oversight enabled you to see?"

"It shows me energy shapes and a little extra detail on top of that," he said patiently, "but I can't read using it, Hermione. It's not that good. And I left your present in the dorm."

"Oh," she said in understanding and looked over his timetable. "You've got double Transfiguration just before lunch. You've got a spare period just after lunch and then double Charms."

"Wow, Harry," Ron said, looking over Hermione's shoulder again. "Look at all those spare periods you've got! Brilliant!"

"They're not spare periods," Harry said with a laugh. "Any time I'm not in classes, I've got training with Master Nhean."

"And yours aren't spare periods either, Ron," Hermione said firmly. "Those are the times when you are supposed to be studying and doing your homework."

Ron decided not to argue and settled into a round of grumbling under his breath. Hermione handed Harry's timetable back to him and stood.

"Well, I've got to go. I don't want to be late to Professor Snape's class," she said and slung her bag over her shoulder. Harry stood and joined her.

"That probably means I should get going to." He paused and looked at Ron. He leaned down and spoke quietly. "You know, if you don't want to actually study, you could probably come with me and do some training. I doubt Master Nhean would mind."

Ron's face lit up and he stood. "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea!"

They walked out into the Entrance Hall where the two boys waved goodbye to Hermione and headed in the direction of the Guild classroom. Hermione watched them a little wistfully for a moment and then headed down to the dungeons.

Ron and Harry walked into the Guild classroom and began warming up.

"Are you sure Master Nhean is going to be okay with this?" Ron asked anxiously.

"I can't see why not," Harry said with a shrug as he moved Orinda to the table. "As long as he doesn't think you're letting your training interfere with your school work, I'm sure he'll be happy to let you continue whenever you have spare time."

Ron nodded and continued warming up alongside Harry. They had just finished when the door to the classroom opened and Master Nhean walked in. He smiled at Harry and his smile widened as he looked at Ron.

"Ron, welcome," he said warmly. "I take it you don't have any classes this morning?"

"Er, I have Transfiguration a bit later with Harry but nothing now. Harry suggested I do some training. Is that alright?" Ron asked nervously.

"Of course," Nhean replied cheerfully. "Anytime you don't have classes you are welcome to continue your training. I just don't want you falling behind because of this."

Ron's face lit up. "I won't, I promise!"

"Excellent. Now since you have both warmed up; Ron, start running through the katas you have already learnt; Harry, get your sword out and run through the first two katas to get into the swing of things."

The two boys hurried to obey and soon they were concentrating hard on their respective tasks. When Harry finished the first two katas, Master Nhean moved over to speak to him.

"Okay, Harry, I want you to start using your magic in conjunction with the sword work. Do you remember the pattern you followed when you were using magic with the katas before?" Harry nodded. "Good. I want you to use the same pattern. Now I know that normally wandless magic requires the movement of a hand and you will do the same here. Use the hand that is holding the scabbard. It doesn't need to be an open-handed gesture; nearly any kind will work. And don't forget to use the Lumos spell."

Harry nodded and began the first kata. He stuttered a little when he got to the first time he had to cast the Lumos spell and was unable to manage it. He determinedly continued on and at the second mark, he was able to produce a very dim light that seemed to emerge from his middle knuckle. Again he stuttered, this time with surprise. The third attempt went a little easier and he was able to produce a better quality of light. He managed to finish the kata without any further major stumbles and immediately repeated it. This time he managed to achieve a little more success and when he finished he sheathed his sword and grounded it. Master Nhean took this for the request that it was and walked over.

"Yes, Harry?"

"I'm finding it reasonably easy with the Lumos spell. It won't be that easy with other spells, will it?" Harry asked bluntly.

"Very good, Harry," Nhean said. "No, it won't always be that easy. You are lucky in that you seem to take to the idea of wandless magic quite easily. But the same principles apply to wandless magic as to magic with a wand. If it is difficult to cast with a wand, it will be difficult to cast without one."

"Do I always need to use the hand gestures?"

"Yes and no," Nhean mused. "With some spells, it will always be yes because they must be specifically directed at their target or if they are quite delicate spells. With others it will be no. It largely depends on how much power you have and how much mental discipline you exercise. The more you have of both, the less you will have to use gestures. However, you may have noticed that the katas incorporate movements that allow for gestures; that are gestures, in fact."

"Can I still use my wand?" Harry asked curiously.

"Of course! In fact you might want to in your classes, though the more you practice wandless magic, the better you will be." Nhean's face became grim. "I am encouraging you to use wandless magic for two equally important reasons, Harry. The first is obvious; use of your sword with magic requires it. The second is the Priori Incantatem that occurred with Voldemort's wand. Being able to use wandless magic will, of course, negate that."

Harry stood and thought for a moment then a very odd expression crossed his face. "Can I use both at the same time? Both my wand and wandless magic, I mean."

Nhean's eyes widened and he looked at Harry with pride. "Yes," he said emphatically.

This caused Ron, who had been half-listening to what was said, to stumble and fall onto the mats. He, along with Harry and Nhean, had grasped the implications almost immediately.

"Blimey, mate!" he said with amazement as he picked himself up. "That's a huge advantage to have!"

Harry was still considering this idea himself then something else occurred to him. "Could Voldemort also do this?"

Nhean stopped and thought for a moment. "It's possible," he said, still thinking. "Hmmm, tell me, did he perform any magic that you saw before he regained his body?"

Harry thought back. "No," he said slowly. "Not that I can remember. It was Professor Quirrell who cast the spells in first year and Wormtail in that vision before fourth year. No, I don't think he cast any spells himself until he got his body and his wand back at the end of the Triwizard Tournament."

Harry's face filled with determination and triumph. Now he finally had an edge, however small, over Voldemort. He stepped back from Master Nhean and drew his sword again, launching into the second kata with fervour. Ron watched him for a moment and then turned back to his own work.

The rest of the day flew by and Harry was more than glad to sit down to dinner. He filled in Hermione, Neville and Ginny about what had happened during training that morning and was pleased when they reacted with almost savage delight. Ginny was a little subdued but Harry put that down to a long first day as a fifth year.

"Shall we go and practice some Quidditch?" Ron said indistinctly as he shovelled mashed potatoes into his mouth.

Harry was just about to agree when he remembered his new potions lessons. "I can't," he said with a grimace. "I've got my first Potions and Occlumency lesson with Snape tonight. Eight o'clock sharp, he said and I'd better not be late."

"Where are you having them?" Hermione asked.

Harry shrugged. "Down in the potions classroom, I expect. Why?"

Hermione looked at him at though he was a little slow. "Harry, isn't it going to look odd if you are constantly going into the Potions classroom when you aren't officially studying Potions this year. I mean your Occlumency lessons last year were covered as Remedial Potions lessons."

Harry stared at her for a moment. "You're right. I didn't think about that." He bit his lip as he thought for a moment. "I guess I'd better do something that'll make Snape give me detention or something. I'll do something to Draco; that always works. Thanks, Hermione, I'm not sure even he remembered about that."

Hermione rolled her eyes but had to admit that the ploy would probably work. "Just don't do anything permanent," she chided and Harry grinned at her.

"Trust me," he said and got up as though to leave the Hall.

Predictably, Draco took the bait. The Boy-Who-Lived leaving without his friends was a situation he couldn't resist. Harry looked up towards the head table casually and when he got to Professor Snape he raised an eyebrow, mischief twinkling in his eyes. Snape narrowed his eyes and looked over towards the Slytherin table. Seeing Draco, Crabbe and Goyle rise and scuttle out of the Hall, he scowled and casually left the table, heading out the door behind him. Harry grinned to himself and sauntered towards the door, wanting to give Snape time to get himself into position. When he got out into the Entrance Hall, Draco and his cronies were waiting and he was sure that he had caught a glimpse of Snape's energy colours lurking in the corridor that led towards the dungeons.

Draco wore a very nasty expression on his face as he approached. Harry came to a stop and examined Draco's energy colours. He had one of the most complex combinations that Harry had seen up to this point. His dominant colours were Burgundy and Blood Red-Brown. The particular feel of those two colours told Harry that Draco's Burgundy aspects were elegance, wealth and power; none of which were that surprising. His Blood Red-Brown aspects were greed, hypocrisy, treason and betrayal and again Harry didn't see anything odd in that. He did wonder precisely how many people Draco was betraying though. He could also see that these two colours were flecked through with Yellow and Black. The Yellow seemed to indicate the aspects of intelligence and wit while the Black showed the aspects of hatred, evil, uncertainty and fear. There was also the expected purple aura of a wizard. All in all, Harry thought the colours were a very clear indication of where Draco was going and he vowed to speak with the Headmaster. Draco did not appear to be redeemable and Harry felt it was only a matter of time before he accepted the Dark Mark. The Headmaster would have to be warned.

"Wandering around without your friends, Potter?" Draco sneered. "Didn't anyone tell you that could be…dangerous?"

"For who? Me…or you?" Harry said mildly.

Draco's eyes narrowed. His father had told him that Potter had been blinded and Professor Snape had confirmed it but there were very few signs that it was true. His father had also told him to leave Potter alone; that the Dark Lord had plans for his enemy and that if those plans were disrupted he would be very unhappy. But, he thought with malicious glee, his father had said nothing about tormenting Potter.

"Or maybe you shouldn't be leaving your girlfriend alone," Draco said in a lavicious tone and was rewarded by Potter's expression darkening.

"You leave Ginny out of this," Harry snarled, trying to keep his anger under control.

"Why?" Draco laughed offensively. "After all, she's already had one…encounter…with the Dark Lord. Who knows what she got out of that? And what she might want in the future?"

The innuendo in those words infuriated Harry but some part of his mind remembered Snape's words about controlling his emotions to keep Voldemort out of his mind. As such the actions that followed were carried out with a measure of control and thought.

Harry snarled wordlessly at Draco and pulled out his wand. He pointed it at Draco's face. "Stay away from her!" he growled.

Draco took one step back so that he was now standing between Crabbe and Goyle and just sneered at Harry. The sneer was a work of art, encapsulating a myriad of insulting comments without a word being said. Harry decided he'd had enough of this and it wouldn't be unusual for him to react now. He directed his wand right in between Draco's eyes and opened his mouth.

"What precisely is going on here?" Snape said acidly.

Harry didn't take his eyes off Draco. "I was just trying to decide what hex to use on Draco, sir."

"I see," Snape said unpleasantly. "My office, Potter, and twenty points from Gryffindor for threatening another student. Mr Malfoy, I'm sure you have better things to be doing with your time?"

Snape shot a cold, significant glare at Draco, who paled and nodded uncertainly. He gestured to his cronies and they disappeared down the corridor that led to the Slytherin common room. Harry sneered at the departing Slytherins and stomped down to the Potions classroom. When he got there he slouched into Snape's office, appearing to be sullen and angry. Snape followed him in a minute later and slammed the door shut.

"What were you doing out there, Mr Potter?" he demanded.

"Trying to make you give me detention," Harry said as he relaxed and dropped the sullen and angry appearance. "I didn't know how else to make it seem logical for me to be wandering around down here. I don't officially take Potions anymore so I can't be doing Remedial Potions lessons." He smiled cheekily. "Detention, however, is much more believable."

Snape stared at him with irritation for a moment and then snorted with amusement. "Detention would not surprise anyone." He frowned. "What is wrong?"

Harry paused; he hadn't realised he was that easy to read. He sighed and decided to ask. "Has Draco taken the Dark Mark yet?"

Snape raised an eyebrow. "Not that I am aware of, though I believe it will be soon. Why?"

Harry sighed again. "His energy colours…are pretty clear. I…think he's fully committed to the Dark Lord. There was betrayal, greed, hypocrisy, hatred and…evil, among other things. I was going to go and see the Headmaster and warn him that Draco is not to be trusted but you probably should know as well."

Snape's eyes closed and he shuddered. "Mr Malfoy must make his own choices," he said quietly.

"You're probably right," Harry said and then continued in a contemptuous tone. "That assumes he's making his own choices. When has Draco ever not done something that his Daddy told him to do?"

Snape grimaced at this accurate assessment. "Unlike you?"

Harry stared soberly at the Potions Master. "Yes, unlike me. I never knew my father. All I have are the memories of others to judge him by. All I can do is hope that I am making my father proud. But I'll never know the truth of that."

Snape stared Harry for a long moment before giving his head a small shake and deciding to change the subject. "You did not need to go to such effort, Mr Potter. Professor McGonagall was to give you a message after dinner telling you to go to the Headmaster's office. He has arranged for us to floo to a room he has created for our use. He too was certain that you should not be wandering down in the dungeons. However since you have chosen to do things this way, we may as well go to his office now." Snape raised an eyebrow. "I trust you will behave accordingly."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Great," he grumbled. "Now it's going to look like I got myself into big trouble on my first day."

Snape's lips twitched with amusement. "You did, Mr Potter. You threatened another student."

"I didn't do anything to him," Harry said with exasperation and then shook his head. "Okay, sir, let's get this over with."

Snape smirked at him again and drew himself up into his most forbidding manner. Harry slouched and pulled an extremely sullen, angry and affronted expression and they left the office. Snape strode along the halls, glaring at anyone who crossed their path, and occasionally shooting irritated glances at Harry, who was stomping along sulkily beside him. When they got to the gargoyle, Snape snapped out the password, "Flossing Stringmints" and they went upstairs. The Headmaster bid them to enter when Snape knocked on the door and he watched the two of them with amusement as they came in, still very much in character.

"Well," he said with a twinkle in his eye, "you two must have created quite an impression on your way here."

Harry dropped his sulky attitude and grinned. Snape relaxed a fraction.

"An appropriate punishment, Headmaster," he said dryly, "considering Mr Potter's actions in the Entrance Hall."

Dumbledore chuckled. "Yes, I suppose it was. I think we will say that Harry is serving detention with me." His lips twitched. "That will give me a good excuse to let Harry know what is happening and answer any questions he has. Now, the two of you are early but the room is ready. I take it that Professor Snape has informed you about what is to happen with your lessons?" Harry nodded. "Good, you may floo from here; just say 'Harry's Potions Classroom' and you'll be right."

Snape snorted. Harry chose to ignore him and grabbed a handful of the floo powder sitting in a jar on the mantelpiece. He threw it into the fire and stepped in saying "Harry's Potions Classroom", remembering to tuck his cane in close to his body. He stumbled out of the fireplace in a large, well-lit classroom. The windows looked over the lake and there were three long tables in the middle of the room. A large cabinet stood on one wall and there was a large blackboard on an adjacent wall.

Just then Professor Snape stepped out of the fire and looked around. He eyed the windows with distaste but the rest of the room seemed to meet with his approval. He gestured for Harry to sit down at one of the tables and walked over to the cabinet. He started pulling various potion ingredients out and placed them on the table in front of Harry.

"You will start by repeating the exercise you failed so dismally with Master Nhean," he said briskly.

Harry sighed and picked up the first ingredient; this was going to be a long hour…and he had an Occlumency lesson after that.

When Snape finally let him go two hours later, he staggered back into Professor Dumbledore's office and debated whether to speak to him about Draco. He looked around but the Headmaster was not there. He shrugged and left the office, reminding himself to see the Headmaster sometime tomorrow. He headed back to Gryffindor Tower. He was just coming round the corner into the corridor where the Fat Lady hung when he bumped into Ginny. He caught her before she could fall and pulled her into his arms. He was surprised and a little taken aback when she stiffened and pulled away.

"Ginny? What's wrong?" he asked, a little hurt.

Ginny bit her lip. "Harry? Can I talk to you? In private."

Harry nodded and led her through the corridors until they reached the Room of Requirement. He followed Dobby's instructions and when he opened the door, they found a cosy room very similar to the Gryffindor common room. Harry gestured for Ginny to enter and shut the door.

Ginny walked over to the fireplace and settled herself in one of the chair in front on it. Harry looked at her with surprise and slowly settled himself into the matching chair opposite.

"Alright, Ginny, what's wrong?" he asked firmly.

Ginny was silent for a time. "Harry? Do you really like me?"

Harry sat stunned. "W..what? I…of course, I like you Ginny. I wouldn't be going out with you if I didn't! What brought this on?"

Ginny curled up in the chair. "I…I overheard what Draco said in the Entrance Hall tonight and then I started thinking. I mean, last year it was like you didn't even know I existed and then all of a sudden you like me and want to go out with me. I…just wanted to know why."

Harry couldn't speak for a moment then he got his brain into gear. "Ginny," he said firmly, "for starters, ignore anything that Draco Malfoy says. He is a malicious bastard who likes nothing more than to create trouble. As for the rest, well, yeah I know I was a bit clueless the last couple of years. I mean, if I'd had half a brain in fourth year I would have asked you to be my date to the Yule Ball."

Ginny blushed and Harry knew he'd gotten that one right. When he'd thought back on that whole event, he had been fairly sure that Ginny had wanted him to ask her and he'd been too damn stupid to see it.

"Look, I had a…a bad upbringing," Harry continued. "Gee, Remus would be happy to hear me say that; he thinks I'm too soft on the Dursleys. Anyway, I didn't really know anything about girls, particularly how to talk to them. And well, you did have that crush on me and I didn't know how to deal with that either. Add to that the fact you're Ron's little sister and well, it was just all too complicated for me."

Ginny's blush had returned at the mention of her crush and she opened her mouth to say something but Harry beat her to it.

"When I…got hurt this summer," he said uncomfortably, "I had a lot of time to think about things. A lot of things. I mean, you spend a week wondering whether you're going to be blind or not and it's amazing what you'll think about in order to take your mind off things. I even thought a bit about Snape!" Ginny laughed softly and Harry continued. "At some point during that week, it occurred to me that I didn't like the idea of you dating Dean and then it took me while to figure out why. It wasn't that I didn't like Dean; it was that I didn't like the idea of you going out with Dean. That I wanted you to be going out with me, not him. Of course, I didn't know how you felt which was a bit of a problem."

He smiled at Ginny and she blushed for a third time and smiled back.

"Thank you, Harry," she said softly. "I guess I was just a little bit insecure. I was afraid you still liked Cho or that you thought I still had a crush on you. Or that I was only going out with you because you rescued me from the Chamber."

Harry shrugged. "Well, I can tell you that whatever was going on between Cho and I isn't anymore. I think maybe I just had a crush on her. Anyway, there's nothing going on there. As for your crush and the rescue idea, well, you're the only one who knows the answer to that."

"I don't have a crush on you anymore," she said with certainty. "That kind of fizzled away in third year when you didn't even seem to notice me except as Ron's little sister. I did have a crush on you before I started school and an even bigger one after you rescued me from the Chamber but even the biggest crush doesn't last long when the subject of it doesn't seem to realise you exist." She gave a self-deprecating laugh. "But even when the crush died, I still liked you. Certainly more than I liked Michael Corner or Dean. You just didn't notice."

Harry laughed. "I told you I was clueless and I really did have a lot going on in those years. I guess I also didn't want to notice. It was only when I couldn't notice anything that I started thinking about everything."

"Well, I'm glad you realised I was more than just Ron's little sister this year," Ginny teased and then hesitated. "But Harry, what about what happened in the Chamber. Tom…Voldemort used me to open the Chamber. To let that basilisk out. That doesn't bother you?"

"No," Harry said simply, "because you said it yourself. He used you. It wasn't you who did all of that, it was him, it was Tom Riddle. Besides I did all of that as much to prove Hagrid was innocent and that I wasn't the Heir of Slytherin as for you. Look it could have been anybody that Mr Malfoy picked to give that diary to. That must have been why he was in the store that day, as he doesn't exactly strike me as being a fan of Gilderoy Lockhart. I mean it was a golden opportunity, what with it being so full of people." Harry looked a little shame-faced. "He probably chose you because of me, because I like your family." He shook his head as he remembered what Remus and Snape had told him about blaming himself for everything. "Or maybe it was because he doesn't like your Dad. Or maybe it was just that that was the first opportunity he had been presented with that day. Who knows? But it could have been anyone." He stopped and grinned. "Look at it this way; because it was you, Ron had absolutely no hesitation in going to the Chamber after you were taken down there."

Harry got up and went and sat down in front of Ginny. He took her hands in his. "Look Ginny, I don't know where this thing between us is going. I don't know if it's going to last. We've both got a lot on our plates this year. And I don't know if this will survive any of that. But I want to find out, I want to try. I really, really like you." He hesitated. "I don't know if I love you yet. Hell, until I got to Hogwarts I don't think I really knew what love was and even now I'm still not sure. But as you said, we've got time to find out." Harry very carefully put all thoughts of being killed by Voldemort out of his mind.

Ginny slowly smiled with tears in her eyes. "Okay," she said shakily.

Harry smiled and pulled her gently down into his lap and kissed her.

Harry and Ron stood next to the Quidditch pitch in their team uniforms, brooms in hand. Hermione was sitting up in the stands, reading a book and looking after Harry's cane. Professor McGonagall had called the two of them into her office on the Tuesday of the first week of school and had asked them if they would consider being co-captains of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. She had told them that she had planned on giving the captaincy solely to Harry but had reconsidered after his blinding. Harry had laughed, much to her relief, and had said it was a good idea, that he wouldn't be able to see any team lists or strategy plans anyway. They had left her office deep in conversation about what they needed for the team this year. They eventually decided that they would hold open trials on Friday for the chaser and beater positions. It was short notice but they felt that with three new Chasers and possibly two new Beaters, they would need all the practice time they could get. Ginny, they both felt sure, would be a certainty for one Chaser position and Kirke and Sloper would have first dibs on the Beater positions.

They were now just waiting for those who wanted to try out to turn up. They were both a bit nervous until they saw a good number of broom-bearing students coming out of the castle. They waited for about fifteen minutes for everyone to gather and then Harry cleared his throat. He and Ron had decided that Ron would concentrate on the tactics and strategy and he would lead the practice sessions. They would split the duties during games, as it would be hard for Harry to do much as Seeker; Ron would be able to see any deficiencies more easily in his Keeper position.

"Alright everyone," Harry said a little nervously. "My name is Harry Potter and this is Ron Weasley. We're Gryffindor's co-captains this year. I play Seeker and Ron's Keeper. Today we are looking for three new Chasers. We will also be looking for Beaters. Kirke, Sloper, you two have the front running for the Beater positions due to playing last year. We are also looking for reserves for all positions so even if you don't make the team, you may still make it as a reserve." He looked around the group. "Okay. Could those wanting to try out for a Chaser position stand over there and those going for a Beater position stand over there."

The students slowly sorted themselves out, with Ginny in the group of potential Chasers and Kirke and Sloper joining the group of potential Beaters. Harry and Ron divided the Chasers into groups of three and the Beaters into groups of two. Ron then took his position in front of the hoops and Harry sent up the first Chaser and Beater groups. He released the bludgers and then threw up the quaffle. Each group would get twenty minutes to show what they had while Harry and Ron watched.

They gradually worked through all of the potential players and then Harry asked for anyone who wanted to try for the back-up Seeker and Keeper positions. A handful of students stepped forward and he sent the rest to sit in the stands. Harry sent the Keeper candidates up one by one as Ron acted as Chaser. When they had finished with that Ron came back down and Harry took off. Ron sent the first of the Seeker candidates up. They each competed with Harry to try and catch the snitch. None succeeded and only Ginny came close to beating him.

Harry caught the snitch one last time and signalled for the final Seeker candidate to fly down. He joined Ron and they sent everyone up to the stands while they decided on the team.

"Well, I think that Kirke and Sloper can keep their positions," Ron said and Harry nodded. The two Beaters from last year had obviously been practicing over the summer. While they still weren't in the class of Fred and George, they had improved markedly and neither Harry nor Ron had seen anyone better. "And they can be backed up by the Creevey brothers. They're pretty good there; better as Chasers but they were good Beaters."

"I think Ginny definitely gets one of the Chaser positions," Harry said, "and I think she'd better be the back-up Seeker as well. She was the only one who even threatened to catch the snitch. She's pretty good."

"Well, what did you expect?" Ron said with mock-indignation. "She's a Weasley!"

Harry laughed. "What did you think about the Creevey brothers as the other two Chasers?"

Ron scratched his head. "Yeah, they were the best of the lot, weren't they? They're used to flying with each other so I don't think they'll have too much of a problem learning to fly with Ginny. Yeah, let's go with them. And then we can have Euan Abercrombie, Mark Davies and Seamus as the back-ups."

"Okay," Harry agreed, "Who did you like for the back-up Keeper position?"

Ron grimaced. "I think Trudy Olter. She's only second year but she showed some good reflexes." Harry nodded and they ran through the team and the reserves one more time just to be sure. Ron then called everyone down from the stands. When they had all gathered, Harry cleared his throat again.

"Okay, we've decided on the team. Ginny Weasley and Dennis and Colin Creevey are the new Chasers. Euan Abercrombie, Mark Davies and Seamus Finnegan are the reserves. Jack Kirke and Andrew Sloper are continuing as Beaters with the Creevey brothers as reserves. Ginny Weasley will be the reserve Seeker and Trudy Olter is the reserve Keeper. If those named could stay, they rest of you can go and thank you for trying out."

The unlucky students slowly headed back to the castle while Harry and Ron walked over to the stands with their new teammates.

"Okay," Ron said with a certain amount of fervour. "We'll be starting practice next week. I know it's early but we've had to replace almost half the team. Practice will be on Tuesday and Thursday nights and also on Saturday afternoons. We want all of you at all practices, even the back-ups. You never know when you might be needed. Those of you who are new need to go and see Madam Hooch to be fitted for your uniforms. We'll have our first practice tomorrow afternoon."

Ron then dismissed the new Gryffindor team and he and Harry headed for the change rooms to get out of their quidditch uniforms, discussing what they should work on in training first.