So what if Harry had left for five years after he had defeated Voldermort, never speaking to anyone except Ron or Hermione on occasion. What if he came back to England to a surprise.
Timeline off a bit from actual cannon, Ginny had just graduated Hogwarts when Ron, Harry and Hermione actually left to finish their jobs of battling Voldermort. She's approximately 22 or so when this takes place.
Author's Note: Ok, first off all character except new ones are strictly the property of JK Rowling. The world is her's as well. I'm just glad she lets us play a bit.
Well, for some reason this plot bunny got stuck in my head and not only that I got it stuck in my head backwards. So this is actually the second story in what I hope to be a two story series. I'm currently in the middle of writing the first one. When will it be published, I have no clue. But know this; I don't ever start to publish something that I'm not finished with or at least less than one chapter away from finishing. (I hate when I get interested in something and then it never gets finished)
Please, please, please with lots of sugar on top review if you have anything at all to say, nice or constructive. This is the first longer story I've ever written and I would love reviews to see how much you like it or hate it or loathe it. Even if you stop midway thinking it's stupid and can't finish it, please tell me and why. It'll help me improve.
This story kinda came to me after listening to Daughtry's song, by the same title "How It Used to Be"
So, without further ado, Chapter One
Chapter One – Press Conference and Surprises
The news room was busy. Deadline was approaching fast for the next edition of Broomsticks and Bludgers. There wasn't a typewriter that wasn't being put to use, except one. Ginny was opening drawers and slamming them shut again. "Where in the world did I put that quill?" she muttered under her breath.
"I'm on my way, give me a sec!"
Ginny rummaged through a few more drawers and checked her carry bag once again. "Dag gone quill."
"You're going to be late to the press conference!"
Running out of time and patience Ginny ran over to her supervisor's office.
"Jim, do you have a quick quotes quill I can use? I can't seem to find mine?"
Jim gave her a mock reproachful glare and then his face busted into a wide grin. "Gin, how many of those things do you misplace in a week?"
"I don't know, but please, I need to go and I don't have time to run and buy another one. I swear they grow legs and walk away."
"Here, but don't loose this one, it's my favorite. You want me to put in a requisition for you another box?"
Ginny waved her hand over head as she ran out the door. "Yeah, why don't you make it two, I might need it."
"I'll be along later for the interviews!"
Ginny hurried out the door of the office of the newest and fastest growing Quidditch magazine world wide, Broomsticks and Bludgers and down the street towards the operating headquarters for the English Quidditch League barely registering what Jim had said. The league had a few stadiums and several teams all over the country, but the corporate headquarters were based in Diagon Ally on the new end. Ginny took a quick glance at her watch as she rushed through the double glass doors into the modern looking lobby area. "Eight minutes to spare," she sighed as the cool air conditioning hit her skin. It was early June and already the heat was starting to get bad. This was going to be a long summer.
Ginny walked up to the receptionist and passed her press letter and credentials to the young blond witch. "Ahh, Ms. Weasley, we were starting to worry you were going to be late."
"Yes, well, I kinda got held up." Ginny gave her a sheepish look.
"Well, here is your pass, you have a front row seat for the press conference. Is anyone else from your office coming?"
"Umm, not for the press conference, Jim should be here later to help with the interviews."
"Ahhh yes, the exclusive team review for your magazine. Congratulations on snagging that, several magazines were in a bidding war for those interviews."
"Yes, I'm just glad I got assigned to cover them. Where is the press conference?" Ginny didn't have time for chit chat, she was running late.
"Through those double doors behind me and down the hall to the next set of double doors."
Ginny picked up her letter, credentials and the press name tag the young witch gave her and almost broke out into a run to get to the room on time. When Ginny entered it she saw press from several other English magazines and newspapers along with a few international ones as well, including the reporters from the magazines who had not gotten that exclusive full team private interview later. Those people were scowling as she made her way to the seat left empty for her on the front row. She also noticed several colleagues from the continent. They waved as she passed.
The League was announcing a new team today. The press conference was to introduce the new team name and team members and then her and Jim would get to sit down with the team exclusively to learn more about each player and the captain's hopes and expectations for the team in its first year. You could almost cut the tension in the room with a knife. People were muttering under their breaths to one another about theories on the team's name or who the captain would be or who the players might be. If they were all new players or recruits from other teams.
Mandy Meakes. Ginny didn't necessarily like the girl, but she didn't hate her either. She really didn't have a clue about Quidditch and how she had landed the role as The Daily Prophet's Quidditch reporter when Ginny left the Prophet she had no clue. It seemed their standards for talent these days was even less than Rita Skeeter could have succumbed to.
"Have you heard the rumor?" Mandy was about Ginny's age, blond, had blue sparkling eyes and was very bouncy. Ginny figured about the most she really knew of Quidditch was several of its single male players. It seemed that every other week this young woman was linked to dating the hottest young single male players.
Ginny rolled her eyes as she got out her notebook and quill.
"Which one?" There had been all kind of wild theories thrown around about the new team. One was that Oliver Wood had left Puddlemere United to captain the team. If that's true, they might have a shot as a new team Ginny mused. She never played under Wood herself at Hogwarts but knew him well enough. There was also the rumor that all the players were top recruits from all the top teams around the league. Then there was the one that all the recruits were rookies.
"The one about they've recruited someone from an American team."
"Really?" Ginny perked up at this one, she hadn't heard that yet.
"Yeah, but he's not American. They say he's actually British, but had gone to play over there for a few years and that's he's back to play here. "
"Who did you hear that from?"
Mandy blushed slightly and then grinned. "Ohhh, just a friend."
Ginny turned her mind over with all her Quidditch knowledge. Who could that be? She pretty much only focused on the English League, the American League reporting was done by Andy for the magazine. If she had known this was a rumor she might have prodded him for some possibilities.
"Who is it?"
"Who my friend?'
"No, the person that played for an American team."
"Don't know. I don't keep up with the American teams."
Before Ginny could respond Harvy Hornstail the EQL President had stepped up on the raised platform in front of the long table that had been set up there so that the team could sit behind it for the press conference. He cleared his throat to get everyone's attention.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the press it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the English Quidditch League Corporate Headquarters today to announce the formation of our newest team. As you know we have been in the process of creating a new team for the past few years and we believe that we have finally assembled the best there is to start this new team on their path to sure victory one day. Now, before further ado, I would like to introduce the new captain who will in turn unveil the team's name and then introduce its players. After that we will have a time for questions."
Ginny placed her notepad on her lap and set up the quill to write. She loved Quidditch and she actually had found out over the years she loved the rush of working on a deadline for a magazine, so when the new Quidditch magazine was getting started she had jumped at the chance to leave the Daily Prophet. Her head buzzed with excitement over the impending announcements and the fact that whomever it was that was about to be introduced, she would get to meet them all personally in just a little while.
Harvy gave a glance at a door off to the side of the room that had a black curtain suspended there. There was a body guard looking guy standing there and he gave Harvy a quick nod to let him know everyone was ready.
"Yes, let me introduce to you Captain Oliver Wood!" The room burst into claps, noise and camera's flashing as the former Puddlemere captain came out. He had on a set of nice black suit robes with a silky green and blue striped tie. Very business like. So no uniforms for this press conference, just a bunch of athletes in slick suits.
It took the room a minute calm down. Oliver was easily one of the more famous league players and everyone, including the press seemed to get along with him.
Oliver stepped up to a podium at the far end of the table and cleared his throat. "Thanks so much. I am very delighted to have been offered the chance to captain a new team. It will definitely come with different challenges, but I believe we have recruited the best players and I look forward to a successful first year. Now Mr. Hornstail, will you reveal our new team name."
Harvy walked over to an easel that had been set up and that clearly had a poster underneath the black cloth draped over it. Once removing the black cloth noise ensued again and more flashes followed. The poster primarily carried the same two colors of Oliver's tie, green and blue. "I would like to give you the Dover Dragons!" Everyone continued to clap and Ginny could feel the quill scratching out details of the poster and the new team name onto the notepad in her lap.
"As captain I will also play the position of keeper. So, with out any more hesitation let me introduce you to the rest of our new team. Reserve players first."
Ginny thought to herself, yeah, the people no one will really know first and then move in for the big surprises later if there were any. They were probably saving their best recruit announcement for last.
"We have three reserve team members. Ben Russell, Amelia Smyth and Chris East."
The three reserve players came out from the same curtained door that Wood had entered through and made their way up to the platform and taking seats. The guys were dressed like Wood in a sleek black suit robes with the same green and blue striped tie. Amelia had on a set of female suit robes with a blue silk shirt, the inside of her robe lined in the team green.
"Neil Hangleton has transferred from the Chudley Cannons to play for us as beater." With that, Neil also ambled his way from the door up to the platform and took a seat next to Chris. "Next we have new recruit Matt Lewenburg as our other beater." Matt was built kind of short and stocky like Chris. He came up on the platform and took his seat next to Neil.
As each team member sat down at the table a name card appeared before them. Ginny looked up at the table. Four seats left, three chasers and a seeker were left to be announced.
"Next our chasers. Coming to us from the Harpies, Elizabeth Isle. Ginny knew Elizabeth personally and caught the wink Elizabeth gave her as she made her way to her seat next to Matt. Elizabeth had tried to get Ginny to play for the Harpies, but Ginny told her she just couldn't. She had too many other responsibilities to be able to travel all over the place to play a game. She would have to weasel out of Elizabeth why she hadn't told her about this earlier. Ginny could keep secrets.
"Coming from Ireland's national team we have Blinne Aberdeen." Blinne and her short spikey red hair made its way up to the table and sat down next to Elizabeth. "Next is new recruit Alessandra Dalry." She too made her way up the podium and took a seat. All three girls were dressed like Amelia in their black suit robes. All three chasers were girls Ginny noted in her mind.
You could almost feel the anticipation rising in the room. Only the seeker left. Ginny ran through a list of top seekers in her head. There was Binns, great great grandson of Professor Binns. He played for the Cannons too, so she doubted there would be two transfers from an established team. So that left out the seekers from Puddlemere and the Harpies. The Wimbledon Wolfs had a pretty good seeker. But she was pretty new and Ginny didn't think Amy's contract was up yet, so she couldn't be transferred or traded yet. Ginny reasoned it must be someone new unless, like Mandy had suggested someone from another country.
By now everyone was on the edge of their seats with the anticipation including a few of the team members on the podium. Elizabeth was grinning like crazy at Ginny. It was as if she had a secret to keep she just didn't want to keep to herself any longer. Like a kid who wanted to surprise their parents with a gift. Ginny tilted her head to the side and gave her a questioning look and Elizabeth just grinned wider and turned her eyes towards the black curtain.
"Now for our final team member, our seeker. Before I announce who that is I would like to say I've personally played with him and he is an excellent seeker. In fact when I found out he was in talks to join this team that sealed the deal on me coming to be captain. He has played for the past several seasons on a little known American team even though he is British." Mandy was practically jumping in her seat next to Ginny and had elbowed her in the side and gave her a 'I told you so' look.
"I'm very pleased to announce the final member of our new team. Please welcome back world class seeker, and Dark Lord vanquisher, Harry Potter!"
Ginny was sure that the room around her had erupted into noise and ruckus and flashes of cameras, but in her head all was silent and time moved by slowly. Ginny looked to her left and saw Mandy practically drooling over the news. All the team members on the podium were now standing just like everyone else in the room except her. Ginny took in a deep breath and turned her head to the right where all the other team members had entered the press conference and there he was. He scanned the crowd and gave a wave as he walked towards the platform.
Ginny had not seen Harry nor heard from him in over five years and there he was. He had filled out since she had last seen him. Gone was the lanky boy she had fallen in love with, but a slightly broad shouldered and confident young man. He looked slightly time worn, but not old or anything, just grown up. She noticed he filled out his suit robes nicely. He still had his trademark black hair and glasses. And then there were those eyes, the ones that shone like cut green glass.
Harry made his way to the final seat at the table and when he sat down so did the rest of team. That's when it happened. That's when he looked up and caught her eyes. His smile faltered for a moment before it turned into a wide grin.
Harvy took to the podium as Oliver sat down with his team. "Ok, everyone let's have a seat and calm down a bit. I believe it's time for questions."
Ginny sat stunned. All the built up energy and excitement were gone and now she had a heavy lead ball in the pit of her stomach and she was growing nervous by the minute. There was no way she was going to be able to do that team interview. Maybe Jim would split the team up with her and she could talk to half, and him the others as long as Harry was in Jim's group she would be fine. No, that would not work either because Jim wouldn't go for it.
Ginny focused on Oliver at the opposite end of the table and then on her notebook. She never really heard the questions asked or the answers given. Her mind was in a blur. She watched the quill scratch out everything word for word on the notepad in her lap.
Time was now doing the opposite trick from earlier. Instead of slowing down it had sped up and she heard Harvy announce that this was the end of the press conference and thanked everyone for attending.
"I told you so, I told you so." Mandy was giggling uncontrollably.
Ginny looked at her dazed. "What?"
"That one of the team members had played for an American team even though he was British. And oh my gosh, never in a million years would I have guessed it would be Harry Potter. He's sooooo dreamy. Ginny do you reckon he's single?"
Ginny's head flew up at this and she could feel her temper rage. "I don't know," she snapped.
"Sorry, just a question. We're a bit touchy about that one aren't we?"
Ginny just looked at her and continued to pack her things. "Sorry, it's none of my business and I really don't know and I don't care."
That wasn't a complete truth. Ginny did kind of care, she wondered if he had moved on. No, she couldn't think about that right now. She had to think about what she was going to do about that interview.
"Ms. Weasley, the team will be ready to meet you in a few minutes. Just go through that curtained door over there and show your pass. Someone will be available to escort you."
Ginny saw Jim crossing the room towards here. "Hey there, wow that's some lineup they've got there."
"I guess. How long have you been here?"
"I came in right before the final two questions. I didn't ever hear you ask anything."
"That's because I didn't." Ginny mumbled under her breath.
"Nothing. Listen Jim, I've really got to run, do you think you could do that interview yourself and then we can compare notes in the morning?"
"Why? I thought you had been looking forward to that interview more than anything Gin. Besides you're my best interviewer."
"I ummm, just have to go and take care of some family business."
"Yeah, it's not that. Just, please?" she was begging and whining now and she knew it and she didn't like it but she was desperate.
Jim gave her a quizzical look. "Ok." Ginny let out a long sigh. "But meet me in my office, 8 a.m. sharp and we'll review the press conference and the interview and get started on the article. We go to print on Friday, that leaves tomorrow to finish this up."
"Yes sir. Here, you might want this. It's a copy of the press conference." Ginny had tapped her wand on her notebook that was still in her lap and in her free hand had appeared a perfect copy of the notes her quill had taken. "Oh and here's your quill back." Jim took it and headed towards Harvy to have a quick word.
Ginny shoved her notebook in her bag and was starting to head to the door when Elizabeth stepped into her view. "Ginny!" Elizabeth almost shouted as she grabbed the red head into a hug.
"Hey Lizzy!" Ginny hugged the brunette back. "Ok, so spill the beans on why you kept this such a secret."
"Sorry, I was sworn to secrecy even after I heard that your magazine had the exclusive interview."
"Ok, I forgive you, but I'm now not the one doing the interview, Jim's going to do it alone."
"I've just got some things I need to go and tend to."
"Gin are you ok, you looked spaced out during the whole press conference."
"Yeah, I'm perfectly fine."
Ginny didn't know it but during the whole time she was chatting with Elizabeth and praying to get away as soon as possible there was a young black haired, green eyed man staring at her from across the room. He couldn't get away to speak with her even though he wanted to. Everyone wanted his attention, a picture, an autograph, a quote, anything.
"Here you go." Harry handed the autograph book back to the blond witch standing in front of him. Harry barely registered her trying to slip a piece of parchment with something that looked like a telephone number written on it. Since when did witches and wizards have phones he questioned? Maybe the young witches and wizards in Britain were like a lot that he knew in America, getting cell phones. He had been out of the country for a while and was having to get re-acquainted with a few things.
"Look, sorry, but I've really got to go, we have an interview."
Harry slowly made his way through the crowd and looked around once again for the red head he had been shocked to see sitting on the front row. Ginny Weasley. Well, he hoped she was still a Weasley. For all he knew she could be married by now. A lot can happen in over five years. No, he reasoned, she must not be, Ron would have told him. He hadn't had much contact with anyone since the final battle with Voldermort except for the occasional letter exchanged with Ron and Hermione, his two best mates.
There she was, talking to Elizabeth. He didn't know they knew each other. Maybe he could get caught up on Ginny through her.
"Sorry, but I've got to run and I know you've got to get to that interview."
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Hey, can you do me one favor though?"
"Have you talked to Harry about us being friends at all?"
"No, not that I recall why? Hey, you two were at Hogwarts together weren't you?"
"Yes, and just wondering. Can you please not mention anything about Maddie?"
"Ok, but why?"
Elizabeth was now standing with her arms crossed and giving Ginny a very peculiar look.
Ginny sighed. "Look, I'll explain later, just please."
"Ok, but I'm only agreeing because I want a full explanation later."
"I promise you'll have it."
Ginny was not looking forward to that conversation. Ginny turned to head towards the door, but at the last minute turned her head back around to Elizabeth. "You are coming to Maddie's party, right?" she questioned as she continued to walk towards the door.
"Yes, I'll be there." Elizabeth waved bye. Ginny didn't notice that her friend's eyes had widened in surprise as Ginny turned back around.
Ginny collided with something solid. No, not something, but someone. Before she could fall backwards two strong hands had gripped her shoulders and were holding her steady.
"Sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going." Ginny stammered out as she tried to straighten her robes. She smelled something familiar, something woody almost like a broomstick. That's when she had collected herself enough to look up at who she had stumbled into.
Ginny froze. She was sure the whole room could hear her heart beating in her chest. This was not happening. She was not standing less than a foot a way from Harry Potter with his hands on her shoulders. He must have read something in her eyes as he quickly dropped his hands.
They stood there frozen for what seemed like an eternity just staring at each other. Harry's look of surprise had turned into a smile as he looked down at his former girlfriend.
Ginny didn't know what to do, she was ready to scream, to run, to throw her arms around his neck, to slap him. She couldn't figure out which action she should take.
"Ummm, aren't you going to say something?" Harry looked down at her perplexed.
"I've got to go."
With that she ducked past him and practically ran to the door but not without over hearing what Harry asked Elizabeth.
"Ohhhh, ummmm.." Ginny prayed she would not give her away. Harry did not need to know that she had a daughter. That was news she wanted to share with him personally, if he was to ever know.
"A friend of mine and Ginny's. She's having a little get together in a couple of weeks."
"Ohhh." That's all Ginny heard as she ducked out of the double doors and back down the hallway towards the lobby.
She was in a full run by the time she reached the streets again. She was on a mission and had a bone to pick with one of her brothers. The youngest one actually, the one that had been Harry's best mate and from the whispered conversations she had heard him share with her almost sister-in-law Hermione, he probably still was.
"Excuse me miss, but you need to check in your wand."
Ginny had almost walked right by the security wizard on her way to the lifts. She was seeing red and wasn't paying attention to her surroundings.
"Ok, here you can have it back now."
Ginny took her wand. "Thanks." She hurried towards the lifts squeezing in right before the gate closed.
"Auror's offices please."
Ginny let out a frustrated sigh every time the elevator stopped and let people off on a floor that was not the one she needed. How bloody long could this take she thought to herself.
"Here you go miss, your floor."
"Thanks," She mumbled as she stepped off. Ginny turned right and set out down a long brightly lit corridor in the direction that an arrow had indicated being where the Auror offices were. She didn't need the arrow telling her where to go. She had been to her brother Ron's office on numerous occasions.
Ginny finally reached the wooden door with a glass panel in the upper half that had the world Magical Law Enforcement painted on it. She stepped inside to the tinkle of an over head bell.
The young wizard at the desk looked up. "Can I help you?" Ginny noticed the Law Enforcement Trainee badge on his robe sleeve. All trainee's had to spend so many hours a week doing desk duty. She had met many over the years when visiting her brother.
"Auror Weasley's office." The Aurors had offices in the back part of the Law Enforcement Agency's part of the building. She knew exactly which door was his and what was behind it. She was getting fed up with all the red tape it seemed she had to go through just to get to her brother so she could harm him.
"Do you have an appointment?"
"No, I'm his sister, I don't need an appointment to go and yell at my brother!"
"Sorry miss." The young man had the decency to look scared at her. "Do you want me to page him and let him know you are here?"
"No thanks, I had much rather surprise him."
"Ok" The recruit squeaked out.
Ginny made her way behind the desk and down the hall towards Ron's office, next to the last on the left. As she approached the door she could hear giggling coming from behind it. Probably Hermione upstairs visiting on a break from her job down in the Department of Magical Law. She was a wizard lawyer for the Ministry. Her office was down near the courtrooms.
Ginny didn't hesitate, she slammed the door open, wand in hand to find Ron sitting back in his chair with his fee on his desk and Hermione in his lap. As soon as Ginny entered the room Ron quickly sat up straight taking his feet off of his desk and dropping Hermione on the floor with a thud in the process.
"What's going on!?" Ron took one look at his sister and was ready to cower in a corner.
Hermione stood up and brushed the dust off of her robes. "Ohhh, Hi Ginny." Hermione's smile faded as she caught the look on Ginny's face.
"Hi, Hermione. Sorry I scared you, but do you mind, I need a word with my dear, loving brother."
Hermione knew Ron was in some sort of trouble and gave him an apologetic look before leaning over and giving him a quick kiss. "I'll see you at home later." Hermione left the room and gave Ginny a wave as she did so.
Ron had straightened his shirt up and had stood up to grab his robe off the coat rack and slid into it before sitting back down at his desk. The whole time Ginny had her wand pointing at him.
"Why…why don't you have a seat Ginny." Ron seemed nervous. Good he ought to be.
"No thanks, I'd much rather stand, I have better aim that way."
"What..What's the matter?" he stammered.
Ginny circled around in front of Ron's desk and leaned on it. She noticed the photos he had there and on top of his filing cabinet behind him. Photos of him and Hermione, photos of her with him, photos of the whole family, one of all the grandchildren in the family and several of his niece, Ginny's daughter, Maddie. She loved her uncle Ron, he spoiled her more than the rest and didn't play tricks on her like Fred and George.
Ginny finished scanning the pictures. They seemed to have a somewhat calming effect on her. She kept standing and looked him in the eyes. "Ron, do you know what I was doing this afternoon?"
"You were at work?" Ron asked sheepishly. Yup, Ginny thought, he knew about Harry.
"Yeessss." Ginny drawled out. "Do you know what I was doing at work this afternoon?"
"Ummmm writing an article?"
"Incorrect, Mr. Weasley. You get one more shot at the question before I hex you. Soooo, do you know what I was doing this afternoon?"
"You were at the press conference about the new Dover Dragons team."
"Yes, and why would it be that you know the name of the new team when it was announced barely an hour ago and will not be in any edition of any paper until in the morning? Hmmmmm?"
"Because I have an inside source who told me."
"Really, and who might that inside source be Ron?"
Ron looked at his sister scared out of his wits, she was as scary as their mother when she was mad. Ron didn't say anything but continued to stare at her.
"Would it be Harry, Ron? Would it be that you knew I had that press conference today, because I've been raving about it all week and would it be that you also knew Harry was going to be at the conference? And let me tell you from the look on his face you obviously didn't tell him I was going to be at that press conference either."
"Spit it out Ron!"