Set post-7th year (but mostly written pre Deathly Hallows release). Harry Potter and the gang have taken care of Moldy Wart, and have gotten on with their lives. It's now over a year since that fateful Summer of Chaos, but if the gang think the hard times are over, they're going to be sorely disappointed.
Based on what I thought the world of Harry Potter would look like after the fall of Voldemort. This was originally written before Deathly Hallows came out (see the note below), so many of the things in this story are AU. Don't worry, though. It's nothing apocalyptic.
18th May 2009 - After a period of 2 years without a new chapter, I've decided to continue this story. Obviously, since I last posted a chapter here we've had Deathly Hallows, which throws a lot of my guessed back-story out the window. In the interests of not completely destroying this story, I've decided not to edit any chapters to conform to canon, which means that some people are alive that shouldn't be, and some are alive when they should be dead. You'll just have to go with whatever you read and assume nothing. If you're a returning reader, I apologise for the time it's taken, but there were reasons. Thank you for looking me up again, and I hope you enjoy the new (and old chapters) as much as you did the first time I tried this.
This fic has an T rating for some strong language and scenes of suggestive content. If you believe this may offend you, please do not read past this message.
The ships are the classical 'canon' ships. There are mentions of gay relationships, but not amongst the canonal characters. Just read, it's not what you're thinking.
This is a Work in Progress (WIP), so any suggestions (plot or grammatical) would be appreciated when reviewing.
Flights Fancy Potter for President
By Niall Broomlove
Hello Readers, and welcome to another edition of Potter-watch. Over the past few weeks we've been following the Saviour of the Wizarding World's progress as he takes up professional Quidditch with the newly formed 'Norwich Flights'.
Potter's team have made an impressive start to their first season, and after their 230 - 40 win over 6th place Ballycastle on Wednesday, they find themselves currently floating between the Tornadoes, and the Falcons in 4th position. Things could get even better for the Flights if they take a win away from their meeting with the Kestrels on Exmoor tomorrow. With both the Tornadoes and Magpies away on the continent, they have the opportunity to slingshot themselves up the table.
With Potter's Chasers on form, the bookies are expecting the Flights to move up the rankings with an impressive win over the Irish team who are struggling this season, already having lost to both the Prides and the Cannons. One bookie was quoted as saying: "If the Flights don't win, I'm out of business!" and another commenting that: "Mundungus would loose everything if the Flights loose!"
Even with the large bets going into this game, there's more riding on this game than just the financial security of the bookies. This will be the first game that Potter will be Captain of the team after Beater Morrisey suffered a brain injury in their last game against Bats which, the healers at St Mungo's confirmed this morning, will put him out for the rest of the season. While Potter's position on the team isn't contested, his leadership has been subject to heated debate after his reported breakdown during the Summer of 1997.
While there is still no hard evidence at this point, the rumours of Potter's less-than-stable mental state have been circulating since that eventful August night over a year ago when the secret organisation now known as 'The Order Of The Phoenix', headed by the current Hogwarts Headmistress; Minerva McGonagall, staged an attack on You-Know-Who, effectively ending the Second War with the death of You-Know-Who and four of his top Death Eaters.
However, as we all know, this victory came at a price, with all but two members of the Order coming out the battle either with severe injuries, or without their lives at all. While Potter was among this number, we still have no idea as to what his injuries were, and to this day he refuses to talk about it with the press. What we do know however, is that out of all the survivors of the battle, Potter was last to emerge from the Private wing of St Mungo's, after spending just over a year in rehabilitation. Not two months later, it was revealed on the eve of the Flights' first match against the Appleby Arrows that Potter would be the team's starting Seeker.
Since that date, Potter has proven to be well up to the job of British Quidditch, and has been the team's saving grace in more than a few instances. With an impressive record of eight catches off twelve starts, three of which with broken limbs, Potter has gathered an almost fanatical following, mirrored only by his fame during the Second War.
Indeed, it is this fan base that have been calling for the ex-auror cadet to take the captaincy after the eventful match against the Harpies where Potter was seen to be leading the team, despite Morrisey still being on the pitch. While Potter's enemies in the sport might point out that the Flight's recorded their first loss that game, his supporters would probably point out that after Potter started to take charge, the Harpies only scored 10 points to the Flights' 60 (discounting the snitch that was then caught by Potter to end the match with a 350 – 240 win for the Harpies). It remains one of the highlights of the season for this reporter.
With the match against the lagging Kenmare Kestrels fast approaching, Potter will be under increasing pressure to prove his objectors wrong. The Kestrels have a full strength side, but that's hardly going to help them with their current form. Their star chaser and captain, Thomlinson, has been under the weather since his side's extremely wet encounter with the Magpies last month, and despite claims that he's suffering from a rare strain of the Merthia Virus (made 'popular' in the 1400s by the Dark Lord Trinidus), Thomlinson has been determined to play-on. The Kestrel's Keeper, Rocker, has also been looking a little off colour, but that has been confirmed as a dressing-room prank involving Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes latest product, Énvy-Éclairs.
The Flights on the other hand, are going from strength-to-strength, with the possible exception of the injury to Morrisey. If they continue on in their current form, the team have both the skill and momentum to steam roll the Irish side. Incidentally, filling the place of the injured Flights captain will be the young reserve Beater, Akins, who receives only his third start in the side since it's creation at the start of the season. Impressive in his other starts, the game against the Cannons stands out in the mind, this reporter looks forward to seeing how the young man fresh out of Hogwarts deals with the permanent position he's landed himself. So far, the only word we've managed to get out of the boy concerning his new place on the team has been: "Beribbon..." We have yet to identify what the word means, and have translators on the case.
The starting whistle will sound at three forty seven (1547 3:47pm) on Exmoor tomorrow, a game that is already sold out, so if you've not got a ticket already, be sure to pick up an edition of the Evening Prophet where this reporter will be giving a detailed run-down of the game, along with all the usual post-match commentary.
For the build-up for the other weekend matches, go to Page 17. For the International Quidditch listings, including build-up for both the Tornado and Magpie qualification games, turn to Page 18...
Ron sighed and slapped the paper down on the coffee table he was currently resting his feet on. As if Harry didn't have enough on his plate at the moment... Well, at least the reporter had been complimentary about Harry's seeker ability, and seemed supported in an 'over-all' kind of way.
Even if they had just reminded the entire wizarding population of Harry's supposed 'mental state'.
In truth, Harry had been a little unhinged after the final battle, but it was more guilt-ridden than psychopathic. The final battle had been much to heavy in terms of casualties for Ron's liking... Percy might have been a complete twazuk at times, but he had still been a Weasley deep down.
Ron shook his head, getting rid of the memories that threatened to overwhelm him. As the article mentioned, it had been over a year since the fateful day on the 1st of August when Voldemort's world had come tumbling down around his ankles, and the wizarding world was still picking up the pieces. Every now and again the papers would report another body found, or another person had come a cropper to a dark artefact left in a conspicuous place. It was as if Voldemort continued to terrorise the population even from the grave.
Ron and the rest of the Order had moved on though. A private service back in the Christmas of '97 had laid to rest all of those who had placed their lives on the line for the rest of them, and paid for it with their blood. After that the healing process had started. They'd all carry with them the deep and ingrained sadness and feelings of loss that came with war, but it was over now, and the survivors had gotten on with their lives.
Ron smiled. Harry's 'year of rehabilitation' had actually been half a year of rehabilitation, and then half a year of pure relaxation and fun. At least, it had been fun for Ron. With Hermione and him finally on the same page romantically, they'd gotten engaged and despite Ron's mother's (embarrassing) warnings, Hermione had become pregnant by the time she'd turned 19. To say the family had been ecstatic would have been an understatement. Of course, Ron's brothers had initially teased him mercilessly, but the twins had soon started teasing Bill about the fact that Ron had beaten him and Fleur to it. Even Harry had joined in with the teasing at a stage, although he wasn't really one to talk as he and Ginny had had a scare a couple of weeks previously. Of course, no-one other than Ron and Hermione knew that particular secret, and indeed, it was not the only secret the two were exclusively privy to.
A few months into the Trio's hunt for the Horcruxs, Harry had seemingly come to his senses, although Ron had suspicions that Hermione had something to do with it by her body language at the time. Harry, in a rush of pure 'Harryness', had apparated straight to Hogsmeade and ran up to the Castle, despite almost splinching himself with an old woman in the process. Ron had tried to keep up, but as soon as Harry had reached the castle itself, it had been almost impossible to keep track of the black haired boy. Ron had later found out that Harry had immediately found Ginny on top of the Astronomy tower where, naturally, Ginny had slapped his cheek so hard the mark was visible for days. Then they'd 'made up', at least, that's what it had certainly looked like when Ron eventually thought to check the Astronomy tower.
Ron smirked. For nearly as long as he could remember, it had always been amazingly hard to blackmail his little sister in any way, as she seemed to always have some larger secret of his tucked away within her brain. But now the tables had well and truly turned.
Ginny and Harry had had a rather rocky time of it after the battle, and before it even, what with the stress of not only having to defeat the world's scariest and most human-like snake, but also having to hide their lover's squabbles from the Weasley men, and with Ginny's voice box, they'd come close to bowing it a couple of times. You see, neither of them wanted anyone to know about their little relationship, Harry in particular was extremely adamant about it, and Ron could understand. If Voldemort ever found out, Ginny would be the first in line to be kidnapped etc. It wasn't that he distrusted the Weasleys, or any of the Order for that matter, but the less people that found out the safer Ginny was, and Ron was all for that. So, for that time during those last months of Voldemort's reign, Ron and Hermione had helped keep the lover's secret, taking the blame for many-a shouting contest. among other things.
However, as of about a year and a half ago, there were no more dark lords out for the couple's blood, and Ron had every right to tell the entire world about the relationship. Hermione, of course, had instructed him that it was their decision as to when they let everyone else into the secret, but Ron couldn't see why he couldn't get something out of the deal.
Ginny didn't need to know that Hermione had vowed never to sleep with him again if he told a soul...
"Feet, Ron." A very familiar voice said as she swept into the room, swatting at Ron's feet with her own copy of the Daily Prophet. Reluctantly, Ron removed his feet from the coffee table, and was immediately rewarded by the comforting weight of Hermione as she sat at his side, leaning her body against him.
"I s'pose you've read what the Prophet's written?" she said, snuggling up against Ron's chest and throwing her rolled up copy next to his on the coffee table.
"It's not as bad as I expected," Ron said, closing his eyes and taking in the sent of Hermione's hair. The first time he'd smelt the Amorentia potion in Slughorn's classroom he'd tasted this sent, although he couldn't put his finger on what it was at the time, it had hit him soon after they'd been forced to share the same bed on their search for Horcruxs. "At least it compliments him on his Quidditch abilities."
Hermione snorted into his shirt, "They could have painted Harry as a complete loony like they did last year and you wouldn't have cared as long as they'd said he was the best Seeker for a century." Ron didn't bother retorting, seeing as the statement was probably completely true.
"You going to watch this one with me and Ginny?" he said, nudging his pregnant fiancée's head with his shoulder, "You promised him you'd go watch, you know."
Hermione groaned, whether from the nudge to her head, or to Ron's second statement, it was unclear. "But I'm pregnant... and he knows I get stressed at Quidditch matches... and I hate watching him play... and I always think he's going to kill himself... and... and it's 'Ginny and I', Ron!"
Ron chuckled, Hermione still hadn't stopped trying to correct his speech, and she'd gotten noticeably more persistent after she'd become pregnant; she'd even started to correct Harry's speech, and Ron had always assumed Harry spoke perfect Merlin's English.
"Yes, of course it is dear." He said, kissing the top of her head in an understanding manner. "Me and Ginny will make sure we have our wands on us, just in case he falls off his broom, which, just for your information, he's only done three times."
Hermione sighed, teaching Ron to speak the Queen's English was impossible, but it was fun to try anyway.
"Four times, Ron," replied a voice from the other room, "and if you count that game with the Tornadoes where he jumped onto Luci's broom to catch the snitch, it's five."
Hermione smiled as Ginny walked into the room, her nose as red as her hair from the wind, before realising exactly what she'd said.
"Then I'm definitely not going!" she said, "There's almost a fifty percent chance that he'll fall off his broom! I don't want to see that." Naturally, both Weasleys smirked at the comment.
"Sorry Hermione," Ginny said, dropping her Hogwarts robe on one of the many comfy chairs that littered Ron and Hermione's sitting room, "but Harry's already given me your ticket, and it's specifically named for you so there's no wriggling out of it!" she added, seeing Hermione start to protest again.
"Heh, sorry dear." Ron said, "looks like Harry's thought about this too much for you to miss it." he turned to his sister, who had flopped down on one of the more flowery chairs (a present from their mother), "Eh... where exactly is Harry? I thought you were coming here via the Club to pick him up?"
Ginny smiled wryly, "Training... again. You'd think Mathias would give the team the night off the day before a match." Ron mirrored his sister's expression.
"Yeh, but Mathias has always been a perfectionist. Remember when Harry came back from training the day before the Tornadoes match? He looked as if he'd already played three games!"
"Probably had," grumbled Ginny, "the way he works them borders on criminal, but I suppose he's getting results. Perhaps he's getting the team to gel by creating a mutual hatred of him?"
"It worked for the Cannons last season..." Ron started, but was interrupted by a snort from Ginny.
"Ron, the Cannons hated their manager because they were loosing every game, and just because they came second bottom last season doesn't mean it 'worked' for them, despite the improvement on the three years previous."
Hermione snorted into Ron's shirt, and the boy had the sense to just shrug and drop the subject.
"Harry should be home in a few hours. I would have stayed in Norwich to watch, but I think the girls are getting suspicious of me, so I thought it would be best if I came straight here." Ginny said, rubbing her temple in a very 'Harry' way. Opposite her, Hermione raised an eyebrow.
"You mean Harry hasn't even told the team yet?" she said, "Surely they've noticed you two by now." She eyed Ginny up critically, but the redhead just smiled serenely back.
"What can I say? We're good at keeping it a secret." she sighed, leaning back in the armchair with her hands behind her head, "If we can keep it a secret from the twins for so long, keeping it a secret from a bunch of sports-mad Quidditch players is like falling off a broomstick."
"Something that Harry is apparently very good at..." Hermione mumbled, inciting a grin from her fiancée.
"And yet something else that you're better at!"
It wasn't surprising that the next sound that came out his mouth was a high-pitched squeal.
Harry sighed as he lent tiredly on the handle of his broom. It had been a long day, what with speed training in the morning, a tactics session in the afternoon, followed by a team briefing (which he'd had to speak at), and then Snitch training in the evening. Checking his watch, Harry's heart leapt as he spotted the minute hand hovering over the '50' mark.
"Just ten more minutes..." he mumbled to himself, setting off on another circuit of the training pitch.
Speeding up, Harry got himself into a more streamlined posture as he ducked under Ez, who was currently soaring towards the goals at the opposite end of the pitch with a Quaffle. Ez, or Ezmeralda was one of the team's starting chasers, and a very good flyer. She specialised in a quick style of Quidditch, with lots of passing and high-speed manurers. While she wasn't exceptionally fast in a straight line, she had the cornering skill of any Seeker, and her skill with the Quaffle was second-to-none on the team. Signed from the Pride's reserves, she was new to first-team Quidditch, but was doing very well, holding the team's goal record for the season (and therefore, all time).
Harry put on a spurt of speed, taking him round the back of one set of goalposts, and had to preform a quick roll to avoid a Bludger that was aimed at his head. Harry gave it's sender, Timothei, a quick smirk, before swerving a second time to avoid a second Bludger, this time sent from Robin, the other of the team's Beaters. Timothei was Russian, and was new to the British Quidditch style of play, having played for a Moscow team before moving to the Flights. He was still working on 'placing' his Bludgers in strategic places, rather than using brute force to actually knock players off their brooms. Robin, on the other hand, had been a Beater on the Ravenclaw team during Harry's latter days at Hogwarts, and was well versed in the 'British style'. Spotted by scouts during his 7th year, Robin had only been a reserve until Michael's untimely exit from the season during the last match. So far, Robin had only played a handful of games due to illness on the part of Timothei, but had preformed very well, despite his deceptively light frame. Harry expected him to become a very good player some day, he just hoped it was sooner rather than later.
Putting on another spurt of speed, getting away from the Beater pair before they had a chance to attack him any more, Harry sped straight trough the middle of the practising Chasers, coming so close to Luci that she almost fell off her broom. Harry looked around, preparing himself to preform a tight turn if she fell, but was pleased to see her successfully preform a Sloth Grip Roll (sans ball) to regain her balance.
Luce was another young player, having been bought from the Harpies' reserve squad, and a slight risk by the manager. She'd preformed excellently however, with exceptional speed and a defensive style of play, she'd allowed the other chasers to go all-out in attack without leaving the keeper wide open. She had played for Hufflepuff during her Hogwarts days, and the Harpies reserves ever since, making good progress at the higher-level of play. Harry could vaguely remember her from Hogwarts, her having been in Fred and George's year, especially as part of Cedric Diggory's (R.I.P.) exceptional Hufflepuff team.
Harry looked back to the front to find the team's Keeper, Tomas, diving from side to side as a trio of charmed Quaffles repeatedly tried to score themselves. Tomas was French, and quite a miserable character until you got to know him. Luckily, his skill at Keeping didn't take the same amount of time to warm up. A relative veteran of the sport at almost 30 (and the oldest in the squad now that Michael had been 'disabled'), he'd spent his glory days at the Scottish club Appleby Arrows. After being dropped to the sidelines as his career tapered off, he'd started looking for a new club, and luckily for him, the Flights were recruiting. He was both reliable and experienced amongst a team of relative youngsters, and a real asset to the team, whatever the Arrows believed.
Harry slalomed through the goalposts and sped up the pitch, on search for the Snitch, but not trying very hard as a glance at his watch told him he only had five more minutes left to waste.
Accelerating, Harry soared the length of the pitch, rocketing into the turn round the goalposts at the other end with such speed that not even the quick reactions of Robin could send a Bludger his way with any success, not that a slight whistling in Harry's ears didn't conform he'd tried anyway. As Harry bared down on the Chasers again, he slowed to watch the last member of the team, Rob (or Robert to his face), score a neat shot from long range with a looping throw.
Rob was the real 'star' of the team (other than Harry). Once the Pride of Portree's most famous and celebrated player, and a regular England player to boot, Rob was forced into the reserve team after a dispute with the club management (although what the argument was about is unknown, as neither he nor the club would talk about it). Soon after, he was placed on the transfer market, and although the Tornadoes, Wasps and Magpies all expressed interest, the Flights managed to snap him up with a bit of quick negotiation. He was the one who suggested Ez for the squad, after he'd played with her on the reserve squad, and in a few (controversial) England international matches. It was their chemistry on the pitch that had helped both England regain some international integrity (after the disastrous 2004 World Cup campaign) and the Flights gain a top-half position in the league.
With another glance at his watch (three minutes to go), Harry changed direction, shooting straight up into the air and stopping just short of the pigeon that was 'charmed' to fly at the height the anti-muggle charms ended.
Looking down, the pitch stretched out below Harry, with the Beaters at one end, hitting Bludgers back and forth, and the rest the team at the other with their shooting practice. Harry watched with amusement as he saw Luci backhanding the Quaffle they were using to Rob, who easily put it through one of the hoops as Tomas followed Ez, who'd also joined in the move by flying behind Luce at the same time as (and in the opposite direction to) Rob to draw the keeper. It was one of their many set-play moves, this one nicknamed the 'Double Cross Deception'. They'd used it for the first time in an international match against Holland, one that Harry had been watching with interest. At the time he'd been seriously thinking about taking Quidditch up professionally, but he never actually believed he'd be playing with two of the England players he'd been watching that day.
Of course, there had been more. Michael had been a regular England player up until two years ago, when another serious injury in a game against Canada had caused him to drop out of the team. It was this same injury that was forcing him to retire for the rest of the season, and hand over the captaincy to Harry.
Harry swallowed nervously at the thought. He'd captained the Gryffindor Quidditch side well enough in his 6th year, and although he'd been absent for his 7th year, he was sure he would have been more than happy to captain them again.
But, this wasn't a small school team, where the consequences for loosing were another house would get more points in the House cup, and everyone in your house looking dejected for a couple of days. This was professional Quidditch, this was a side that expected good results, and these were supporters that expected the world.
And Harry was the captain...
Harry frowned and shook his head, clearing his doubts for long enough for him to look at his watch... thirty seconds left. Sighing, Harry leant forward on his broom, bringing it into a slow and controlled decent. Looking over to the Beaters, he prepared to yell at them that it was time to call it a night when he caught sight of a little glimmer of gold in the middle of one of the hoops. Looking closer he quickly identified the Snitch, lazily slaloming through the hoops.
Forgetting the time, Harry instinctively flattened himself on his broom and shot off towards the goal posts. Apparently somebody noticed, as a shout came from one of the Chasers, probably Luci, but he ignored it. As Harry reached the hoops, he swore as he notice the Snitch just sneaking the wrong side of the far hoop, he'd have to go right the way around to avoid smashing into the sturdy wooden structures. Unless...
Harry descended the rest of the way to the ground, pulling level and feeling the grass brushed his toes, inciting another screech from the watching Chaser. Harry mentally filed away that he'd have to talk to her about drawing attention to his Snitch chases, she'd done it in the Bats game, although Harry was so far ahead of the Bat's Seeker that it hadn't mattered. Clearing his mind, Harry watched the Snitch as it darted around the back of the hoops, almost as if it was determined to keep something between it and Harry.
Harry reached the base of the goalposts and immediately changed direction, shooting straight up at the golden ball of metal, despite the way his back protested at the g-forces. To his total annoyance, the Snitch used that same moment to sneak through the hoop itself, yet again moving to put the post he'd just gone under between him and it.
Growling, Harry corkscrewed around the shaft of the post, making his vision tunnel slightly with the forces involved. The Snitch was yet again right in front of him, and as Harry stretched out a hand for it he saw it move, and move fast.
Harry gritted his teeth as he cornered sharply, ending up with him streaking down the pitch upside down. Within seconds, Harry sensed rather than saw the Chasers scatter as he encountered them on the half way line, but he was concentrating so hard on the Snitch that he missed the customary scream from Luci as he passed.
The Snitch made an abrupt move directly upwards, and Harry followed, a vague niggle in the back of his head wishing he was still Seeking the much slower Snitch that Hogwarts used, rather than the souped-up version that teams trained with. All the same, Harry was gaining on the tiny ball of gold, and was already turning as it made yet another change in direction when it encountered the ceiling of the charms.
As Harry and the Snitch skimmed the anti-muggle charms, Harry's toes glowing blue as they brushed against the otherwise-invisible shield, he reached out his hand once more. Leaning forward on his broom Harry felt as his fingers brushed wildly against the metal ball. Harry growled, pushing his customised Lightningbolt broomstick to the limit, and he inched closer.
Harry's eyes never left the ball in these last few seconds of the chase, watching as it wobbled in the air, evading capture like it's fowl counterpart would do. His hand was poised, waiting until the ball was right where he wanted before he moved. He only had one shot at this before it changed direction again, and he wasn't going to mess it up.
Suddenly, Harry's eyes picked up the distinctive movement that he'd been waiting for, and Harry's hand snapped out. Harry let out a whoop of joy as he felt the little ball fluttering in his gloved hand, sighing as he came out of his dive.
It was then that he noticed that the ground was still coming up very fast. Very fast indeed.
Leaning back with all his might on the handle, Harry forced the nose of his broom up at the same time as breaking. He felt the broom strain under him, and when he heard yet another scream from Luci, he first mistook it for some kind of sign of protest from the broom itself. The broom levelled out, but Harry's left ankle made contact with the ground, forcing him off balance, and he came tumbling off.
The last thing he thought as he felt his broom come away from his body was 'Ginny's going to kill me!'
The next thing he knew, Harry found himself led on his back, looking up at a ring of amused and concerned people.
"Now, I know you know you think we think you're good," one of them said, Rob by the sound of it, "but stunts like that really aren't going to convince us that we know you know that we know you're good."
Harry shook his head, as was surprised to feel the comforting weight of his glasses still upon his nose. "Wha?" he said, somewhat stupidly.
"Don't listen to him," one of the girls said, although by Ez shoving Rob with her elbow, she kinda gave away who it was, "most of what comes out of his mouth is complete shit anyway."
Rob had the decency to look comically offended, but didn't comment. Instead he shoved the girl back.
"Are you okay?" Luci asked, concern in her eyes. Harry thought that was a very good question, and started trying to feel his way around his body.
His feet were still attached, which was a good start, and his toes still wiggled. His legs certainly looked like they were in one piece, and his pelvis certainly wasn't hurting as much as is should if it had broken. His chest felt as if a hippogriff had trampled on it, but the lack of sharp pains suggested nothing was broken here either. Both arms were now propping him up, showing a lack of injury, and his head, although dizzy, wasn't particularly painful either.
"I wont say 'I feel fine'," he said with a small smile, "but I'm okay, I think." Luci's concerned face lifted with a small smile.
"You ver lucky." Timothei said, his huge arms crossed over his impressive chest much like some sort of imperious Greek Olympian, just, with a Quidditch uniform over the top. "Ze charm on ze ground vuden't have helped anyvone ozer than you at zat speed."
Harry's mind raced, trying to make sense of this strange statement. The charm on the ground of the training pitch was designed to stop the players injuring themselves during a training session by doing something as stupid as falling off their broom. However, a charm of that size would have to be constantly strengthened to prevent it fading, so the inventor had the ingenious idea of using the magic of the user (i.e., the idiot who falls into it) to strengthen the shield during the time it was being actively used. It had been a recent development in Quidditch related development, and Harry made a mental note to thank Professor Flitwick next time he saw him. Naturally, Tim thought that Harry's impact would have been too much for the shield to protect him from injury, unless the person happened to be the Boy-Who-Lived-Again. What Tim didn't know was that Harry was only exceptionally powerful when he channelled his love into his magic. Harry really had been lucky in that regard, he had been thinking of his Gin as he fell.
"Yeh," Harry said, whistling in appreciation of the truth, "Real lucky..."
"POTTER!" a voice shouted from behind Harry. Turning, Harry spotted the plump form of the team manager, Mathias Thrombi, waddling towards the group of players.
"Hi, Boss." Harry said, wincing at the look on his manager's face.
"What the HELL did you think you were DOING!?" the man said, his red face probably a combination of rage and waddling too fast. At times, the man reminded Harry of what Dudley would look like at the age of 30, but at the same time, had to quash the thought before he started treating the man as such.
Harry scratched the back of his head, finding the small Snitch still in his hand. Holding it out, he said, "Catching the Snitch... That is my job description, isn't it?"
A few snorts came from the players around him, especially Rob (who seemed to find the whole thing amazingly amusing) who faked coughing so well that Luci started slapping his back in sympathy.
"Don't cheek me Potter! I gave you that captaincy because I thought you were ready for that kind of responsibility, but comments like that, and reckless flying like THAT makes me question my judgement." He frowned down at Harry with a look that told Harry not to argue back. Wisely, Harry decided to let the topic drop.
"To be fair though Chief," Tomas said in his strange Scot-French hybrid of an accent, "it was a bloody good capture. If this was a game, we'd have won."
Thrombi locked eyes with the Frenchman, "If this was a match, Harry'd be out for the rest of the season, probably for the rest of the year." The manager growled. He turned back to Harry. "De-brief you're team, and send them home. I want the team assembled in the clubhouse at 10 tomorrow morning so we can go over tactics one more time before heading off to Exmoor." With that, the manager turned on his heal and started back to the clubhouse, although he did shout over his shoulder; "And for Merlin's sake, don't kill yourself before tomorrow's match, will you?"
Harry sighed and got to his feet, turning back to his players. His players, that sounded strangely satisfying.
"You all preformed well today," he said, 'It's always good to start with a positive' Wood had once told him before he'd left, "Luce, you're speed training was encouraging, but you need to work on your cornering a little or you'll get caught out."
The young blond nodded in response, her expression clearly showing she was trying to memorise Harry's sentence word-for-word.
"Robert, Ez, that attacking move is developing nicely, I hope to see it in use tomorrow. But on a similar note to Luce, watch out for the counter attack. Until Luce gets her high speed turn perfected, you may have to stall their chasers so she can get back to help out. Ez, I'm especially looking at you for this." The pair nodded in understanding, Ez giving Luci a quick encouraging smile.
"Don't worry old girl," she said, "I've got your back."
Harry smiled and turned to his keeper. "Tomas, every time I see that Starfish defence it makes me smile, but you need to watch the third Chaser; you know the move is weak in that respect. If you have to, get Luce to take the guy out, I'm sure she's more than willing to oblige." The entire team smirked at the comment. In the last two matches, Luci had literally managed to knock a Chaser off his (they were both guys twice her size) broom. In the second match she'd gotten away with it too. Three times.
"Tim, naturally, I've been watching both you and Robbie like hawks, and not just because you keep trying to knock me off my broom!" Tim smirked and Robin smiled shyly. "You're adjusting nicely to our style of play, and normally I'd say this was a good thing, but I think that tomorrow I want you to go back to you're old ways for one match." Harry said, making Timothei raise an eyebrow. "It's the way you and Robbie go together that I think could be interesting. Tim, you hit with the aim to dislodge and nothing else, while Robbie, you aim to cause havoc with their Chaser and Seeker movements. If you both do your own thing tomorrow, I get the feeling they won't be able to cope with two totally different styles of Beating. Naturally, this might hider you working together some of the time, but I believe it will hinder them more. What d'you think?" he looked at Robin.
"I...er..." he said, obviously slightly shocked at being asked so abruptly. Tim came to his rescue.
"It might vork." he said, a sly grin on his face, "I zink zey von't know to duck or sverve, pass or evade. Ve'll certainly try it, ey Vobbie?"
Robin smiled in a relieved way, "Yeh, sounds good." Harry smiled at him kindly.
"Don't worry Robbie, you've started for us before, and you know you can play at this level. You'll be great out there." He turned to the team in general.
"Now, lets get off to bed!" he said, opening his arms out wide, "get some sleep – that means refraining from inviting people into your bed Robert," he added, glancing at the grinning and ever-so-promiscuous Chaser, "you worked hard today, and I'm sure we'll slaughter them tomorrow. Well done today people!"
The team gave a small cheer, before making their way off the training pitch as one. Robin came up to Harry's side, and handed him his Lightningbolt.
"You might need this tomorrow," he said, Harry's eyes widened slightly.
"Oh, crap." he said, taking it in his hands with genuine care, "I can't believe I forgot it! Perhaps that shield doesn't protect against concussion." he joked, "Thanks Robbie."
The young man smiled shyly, and seemed content to simply walk alongside as Ez came up on Harry's other side and engaged him in conversation.
"...and don't get me started on cats!" Ez said, shaking her head as Harry attempted to argue, "They're horrible things! They climb everywhere, looking at you with their evil little yellow eyes. They just emit an aura of evil!"
"And naturally, Tania has one." Harry joked, mentioning Ez's current girlfriend. He wasn't really prepared for the darkening of the girl's eyes.
"It's called 'Snuffles'... I mean come on! It stalks about the house as if it owns the place, and whenever I stay over, I find the damn thing curled up between the two of us in the morning. It's as if it wants to get between us." Harry could tell that the girl was probably going to be arrested for feline murder by the morning if he continued the conversation on any longer, and therefore, very wisely, changed the subject.
"So, what d'you think Robbie's ready for the first team." he said, watching as the boy next to him picked his head up at the mention of his name. Luckily, Ez's mood changed immediately.
"I'll tell you, when we were both at Hogwarts, and he turned up for the Ravenclaw try-outs, I actually thought he'd joined the wrong group. I tried to tell him he wasn't in the group for Chaser try-outs, but he said, and very quietly mind you, that he wanted to be a Beater." She sighed and glanced at the boy, who was smiling serenely, lost in the memory. "Eventually I just left him to get on with it, sure in myself that his back would be one of the ones I'd see skulking back up to the castle later. Apparently, my face was a sight to behold when I found out he'd made Beater."
Robin laughed out loud at this, "It looked as if she'd seen a ghost and been kissed by Snape at the same time!" A 'harrumph' came from Ez, but Harry ignored it, "I just wish Colin had been there to capture the memory." he sighed.
"Colin? Colin Creevy?" said Harry, "of course, he was in your year, wasn't he?"
Robin went to say something, but Ez butted in. "Shush-up Potter, this is my story. You can ask questions later!" she said in a voice that wasn't to be argued with. Harry and Robin shared a raised eyebrow moment. "Anyway, I was still unconvinced, and next practice I started watching him closely. I was surprised to find he could actually hit a Bludger without breaking his arm, but when it came flying straight at my head I managed to fall off my broom with shock."
She rubbed her head, pausing as they entered the light and warmth of the clubhouse, making their way towards the changing rooms. "It wasn't my finest hour, I'll admit, and from that moment on I've held little Robbie somewhat in respect. He has the accuracy of a Chaser throwing a Quaffle, with the tactical mind of Ronald Weasley." Harry had to but-in at this point.
"Just a sec, this is even more interesting than Robbie knowing Colin. You knew Ron?!" he said, peering at the girl in interest.
"Yeh, well," she said, looking slightly embarrassed, "he beat me at chess a few times when I used to go out with his brother Fred."
"You went out with Fred Weasley!? He kept that quiet." Harry said, slightly impressed with his friend and business associate, "Lavender and Parvarti were both under the impression he only dated Gryffindor girls." Harry sighed, happy in the knowledge he knew some gossip the two self-styled queens of hearsay didn't. "Just a sec, aren't you gay?"
Ez smiled back, "I wasn't born gay, Harry dear. And anyway, who d'you think turned me this way?" This statement was made at a very convenient point for her, as she immediately escaped into the female changing rooms, a mischievous grin playing on her lips.
Stunned for a second, the two boys looked at each other before slowly moving into their own changing room. After about three minutes of complete silence between the two, eventually Harry said, "No wonder Fred's never kept a relationship going longer than a month..."
Harry sighed as he stepped into the apartment he shared with Ron and Hermione. Christened 'The Den' by Fred and George, it had become the centre of the three's social lives as everybody seemed to want to come to them, rather than them having to travel. Since Harry had become a professional Quidditch player, and Ron and Hermione's double celebration of marriage and pregnancy (despite her claims that morning sickness didn't feel like celebration), they'd had a steady torrent of visitors. Sometimes, Harry thought Ron looked more tired than he did after a hard day's training when he came home.
Tonight it was late however, and Ron wasn't up for Harry to gauge the tiredness of. Well, late for Hermione's new 'pregnancy schedule' as the boy's had Christened it. She'd reasoned that due to the fact that when the baby came they'd get no sleep, they should catch up on sleep before hand, and therefore, go to bed each night at 10 on the dot.
At first, Ron and Harry had believed the girl had finally lost it. Four months later, and they still thought so.
Therefore, it was with all his Seeker reflexes that Harry moved through the hallway and up the stairs. Missing the creaking step second from top, he emerged on the landing. Stepping carefully over what appeared to be a sleeping Crookshanks, Harry moved to his door and slipped in, silently thanking whatever deity that was up there that his door didn't squeak this time.
Deciding to skip teeth-brushing due to a combined fear of re-opening the door and a desperate desire of sleep, Harry didn't bother with the light as he dropped his stuff somewhere by his desk, and proceeded to undress on the way to his bed.
On the way, he thought he heard a noise and froze in mid-trouser-taking-off, but when it didn't reoccur, he continued with the job, thanking the same deity that none had been present to see him in the ludicrous position of frozen trouser removal.
All that changed when he slipped into bed to find the sheets warm, and the mattress dipping on the opposite side of the bed.
"Hello dear." a very female voice said, a very familiar female voice that really shouldn't have been in his bed, and especially not when he'd specifically told his team not to do the same.
"Gin?" Harry said, feeling out towards the radiating heat source.
"Were you expecting someone else?" Ginny's voice responded in a very bad and seductive way that Harry tried to ignore. His hands finally made contact with a body, but it jumped away in shock.
"Ahh! Harry!" Ginny's voice said again, this time in a high pitched and very loud way, "Your hands are freezing!"
"Shh! Gin! You don't want Ron coming in, do you?!" Harry whispered, desperate to shut his girlfriend up, it apparently did the trick as she immediately stopped screeching like a banshee.
"Sorry." she whispered back, "Now, turn around so I can warm you up without those... ice blocks touching me."
Turning, Harry felt the other body move closer to him, and eventually the very warm flesh that he immediately confirmed as Ginny snuggled up against his back. An arm snaked its way around his stomach as another sneaked alongside his neck, before bending at the elbow and resting itself on his chest. Harry suddenly found himself extremely aware of every part of his girlfriend's body that was touching him, but shook it out of his head before he could get excited.
"You're so cold tonight..." Ginny said, and Harry noticed that her mouth was hovering right next to his ear. Unconsciously, he shivered, not at what her words said, but at the way her breathing tickled his ear. "You better let me warm you up a little."
Her voice had taken on the seductive tone once more, and Harry's mind, as much as he knew he should fight it, caved in. Turning onto his back, Harry turned his head at met Ginny's half way, their lips locking in mutual wanton. Eventually however, they did come up for breath.
"It's nice to see you too dear," Harry said, a goofy smile playing on his lips. Apparently Ginny's eyes had adapted to the light as she laughed before commenting.
"You can wipe that smile off your face right now Mr Potter." She said, kissing him again, and therefore making the goofy smile even more permanent. "I know what happens tomorrow, and I also know what intimate relations can do to a man's energy levels the next day." Harry sensed rather than saw her waggling her eyebrows (because he couldn't see a thing).
"On the other hand," Harry said, surprising himself with his change in opinions, "the man you would be having intimate relations with is really quite stressed at this point, and that might just make the difference to his concentration tomorrow."
Ginny's melodic laugher made him smile even more as she settled down, laying down on his chest and resting her head on his shoulder.
"Well, that all depends..." She said, drawing seductive circles on his chest with her finger.
"Depends on what?" Harry replied, shivering slightly.
"How guilty you want to feel in the morning, knowing you got something that you denied your own team..." Ginny said in a whisper, nipping the bottom of Harry's earlobe.
"Honestly Gin, guilt is not something I'm overly worried about right now."
Ginny giggled, "Good!"
I did warn you there was suggestive stuff here. I hope you lived through it well enough to come back next time. If you didn't, then by all means, review or pm me (there's a link on my profile page) to tell me so. If you DID enjoy it, do the same, and try to make it longer than three words? Yeh? Much obliged.
(Edit: Mar 7th 21:56 I've recieved comments that the end of this chapter didn't really fit with the rest of the story, and I agreed. So, I re-wrote the very end part so that it only hinted to the pair's relationship, as opposed to the stronger stuff that was there. Hope it discourages less people lol)
Until next time,
Chris aka Fensta