Hi everyone! I've had this story spinning around in my head for awhile now, ever since I read "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince". I loved Harry and Ginny's kiss in it, but it always frustrated me that Harry was in detention with Snape, so poof - this story appeared! I hope you guys like it! Let me know what you think! :)
Harry Potter walked down the corridor towards the sixth floor boys' bathroom, eyes on the marauders map. Draco Malfoy was in there, and Harry was determined to trap him, to confirm once and for all that Malfoy was in fact a death eater. But just as he reached the bathroom door, a small red haired girl came racing down the corridor, all by herself. Her anxious face immediately brightened up when she saw the black haired, green eyed boy standing there with his hand on the bathroom doorknob.
"Harry!" she cried, completely ignoring just exactly where Harry was, or his oddly guilty expression. "You've got to do something! Theodore Nott just bet Jimmy Peakes that he couldn't down a whole box of slugs!"
Harry swore, completely forgetting about Malfoy. "Come on, let's go! Where are they?"
"In the dungeons," Ginny answered, and together they took off running.
"Quick question," Harry panted as they dodged through hordes of students, even leaping over a few first years who were playing leap frog in a deserted corridor. "Where did Nott get the slugs?"
"He stole it from Slughorn's private stores."
Harry nodded as they skidded down one staircase and then another. "So Jimmy's going to eat an entire box of slugs?"
"Yeah, the idiot. I told him the match was in three days, and that he was liable to end up in the hospital wing, and that that's what Slytherin wants, for the Gryffindor team to be indisposed, but did he listen? Oh no, he did not! So now some of those other Slytherins prats are trying to come up with a crowd to watch a brave Gryffindor display his courage with an incredibly stupid act. And we have to get there before they come up with enough people, d'you know how mean people would love to see a Gryffindor eat slugs, just so that they can say all that chivalry and bravery is really stupidity?"
Harry could feel the stitch in his side as they reached another staircase. "I can imagine," he gasped out. "Is any of the other team there?"
"Yeah, Richie, and Demelza, and Katie; they all tried to talk him out of it as well, but you know what he's like when someone dares to question his masculinity, because he's so short. He just brushed them off and told Nott to 'bring it'."
"Probably off trying to figure out how to ask Hermione out," Ginny said with a smirk.
After a couple more staircases and corridors Harry and Ginny reached the dungeons to find a huge group of people crowded around the short but broad-chested fourteen year old boy and the smirking seventeen year old Slytherin, who was holding out the box of slugs to the young Gryffindor.
"Peakes!" Harry bellowed as he skidded to a stop. "If you eat this box of slugs, you'll end up sick and then Gryffindor will have to forfeit, and if that happens, I will personally curse the bludgers to follow you around everywhere you go and to never leave you alone!"
Jimmy shook his head. "I won't get sick, I never do, no matter what I eat."
"Oh, and have you ever eaten about fifty slugs all at one time?"
"But now seems like a good enough time to try!" Jimmy added, perking up immediately at this thought. There was no way he was going to let Harry talk him out of this, out of proving himself as brave and courageous as any Gryffindor to this…this…Slytherin.
"Hey, if he wants to eat the freaking slugs, let him. No one's forcing him to do it, Potter," Nott said, stepping forward. Harry turned to him, ready to punch him in the face, when Ginny tugged on his sleeve and pulled him down so her mouth was next to his ear. At once shivers erupted all over his spine.
"Harry, tell him it's cool, that you can substitute him with Cormac McLaggen," she whispered.
"McLaggen was keeper."
"Yeah, but he thinks he can play any position, remember? It's reverse psychology."
Harry straightened up and faced Jimmy once more. "Jimmy, go ahead. Ginny just had an idea of how we might be able to play if you end up in the hospital wing –– we can bring in Cormac McLaggen, I hear he's supposed to be a damn good beater."
"YES!" came the shout from somewhere inside the crowd. The tall, burly seventh year pushed his way to the front. "Eat the effing slugs Peakes, I'm in!"
But now Jimmy appeared to be hesitating. "I dunno…"
"Yeah Jimmy, see? McLaggen's here, and he wants to play in your position."
The rest of the team was staring at Harry and Ginny as if they were out of their minds.
"Hey –– what's going on here?" Hermione Granger called, with Harry's missing keeper, Ron Weasley, in tow. Harry's two best friends shoved through the crowd until they were feet away from the rest of the team.
"Oh, Jimmy here is going to eat a box of slugs, courtesy of Nott here daring him, and once Jimmy's indisposed in the hospital wing, Harry's going to replace him with Cormac McLaggen," Ginny said conversationally.
Ron and Hermione looked from Ginny, to Harry, to Jimmy, to McLaggen, and then to Nott.
"That's crazy," Ron said flatly. "That is effing crazy. Harry, mate, did you get hit in the head in the last Quidditch practice? Because you must have a serious head injury if you're going to let Peakes eat a box of slugs and then replace him with McLaggen."
"Nope, not in the least," Harry replied as if he didn't have a care in the world. "McLaggen claims he plays every single Quidditch position, and since I'm short on time..."
By now Peakes was looking a bit queasy as he watched the exchange between Harry and Ron.
McLaggen seemed to have just realized that Hermione was there. He had taken her to Professor Slughorn's Christmas party five months before, although she had practically run for her life after an encounter under the mistletoe.
"Hey 'Mione'," he said, shortening her name, something that she absolutely hated. "So, I'm on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and we all know how you like your Quidditch players." He slung an arm around her shoulder. Jimmy wasn't the only one looking as if he might vomit by now. Hermione looked as if she couldn't decide if she would rather make a run for the bathroom, or punch McLaggen in the face. Ron, on the other hand, seemed to have no trouble deciding which would be better. He cracked his knuckles threateningly.
Jimmy was now positively white. "You know," he said to Nott, "I don't think I should eat these, but maybe you could?" He shoved the box back at the taller and older Slytherin. "But thanks for thinking of me, I really appreciate it!"
And he backed away and ran out of the dungeons.
Ron grabbed the box of slugs out of Nott's hands. "Here you go," he said, giving it to McLaggen. "I hear you'll eat anything for a couple of sickles."
Two hours later the entire school was buzzing about Nott's and Jimmy's bet, and the rumor that the 'replacement keeper/beater' had ended up in the hospital wing due to bad slugs.
It was late. Harry sat alone in the Gryffindor common room, staring into the dying fire. He couldn't keep his mind off of the scene from earlier…at least the part where Ginny had whispered in his ear. That made missing Malfoy completely worth it.
As much as he hated to admit it, he had had a crush on Ginny since…well…he wasn't completely sure when…Probably since this last summer, but he had been too thick to realize how he felt. But maybe he would get his chance after the match…If they won, they would be in such good spirits…
"Harry? What're you still doing up?"
Harry jumped about five feet in the air, right out of his chair, and twisted around to see Hermione standing there, in pajamas and a pale blue bathrobe, her hair a bit messy.
"I'm –– I'm just thinking…What about you?"
"Same. I couldn't sleep." She sat down in the chair next to him and also gazed into the fire. Silence fell between them, just for a few minutes, until…
"Harry, can I ask you something?"
"It's kind of personal."
"Well…I just…I've noticed you staring at Ginny a lot…and you seem to really like spending time with her…"
"What's your point?"
"I…I was just wondering if…you know…you might have…feelings…for her."
Harry paused. Confiding in Hermione was safe, she wouldn't give up his secrets if she was being tortured by Voldemort, but at the same time, he was hesitant. He hadn't voiced his secret crush on his best friend's baby sister to anyone. He could barely accept it himself.
"I –– " he took a deep breath. "Yeah, I do."
A wide smile spread across Hermione's face. "It's nice to know you've finally stopped being so thick headed."
Harry laughed. "Yeah, I guess it is."
They fell quiet, the only noise in the common room being the crackling logs and the snapping sparks.
"So," Hermione said, breaking the silence once more. "What're you going to do?"
Harry shifted in his chair. "I don't know…But I'll figure something out."
Hermione smiled at him. "Yes Harry, I know you will."
"So," Harry said, bumping his shoulder against Hermione's. Now was as good a time as any to bring up this rather touchy and sensitive subject. "You and Ron?"
"What about me and Ron?"
"You like him, don't you?"
"Of course I do! He's one of my best friends."
"You know what I mean."
"I –– well, yes, I do."
"I'm pretty sure he likes you back, he was really torn up after he found out that you snogged Viktor Krum."
Neither of them saw the dark figure huddled out of sight crouching behind a chair. How fortunate it was that he had returned full recovered from the hospital wing just in time to hear this conversation! Cormac McLaggen smirked to himself. So Potter had a crush on the Weasley girl? This was the perfect revenge for them playing him in their little scheme earlier that day. And as for Hermione and Weasel? Hermione would pay for rejecting him, he would see to it. And the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw seemed like the perfect time to carry out his little act of revenge...Ah yes…Embarrassment and humiliation was the best in this situation…Now all he needed was to volunteer to be the commentator…
The next few days went by much too quickly, and the morning of the match dawned bright, and early, and with a side of last minute vomiting by the Gryffindor team. Eventually the seven Gryffindors managed to stumble out to the locker rooms.
Harry cleared his throat, trying to figure out how to psyche both himself and his team up for the final match. At last he decided to just keep it short and sweet. Looking at his team, he began to speak:
"You guys have been playing amazingly. The Ravenclaws may be talented, but they are nothing –– nothing! –– compared to us when we're on form! So we just have to go out there and play like we've been playing and the match is in the bag."
Five minutes later the team filed out onto the Quidditch pitch, and found themselves facing the Ravenclaw team. Harry's stomach was jolting around, but as he reached the team captain, he got quite an unpleasant surprise that sent his stomach down to his toes. He had kept the idea that his ex-girlfriend Cho Chang would be playing seeker opposite him in the back of his mind, but he had completely blanked out on the fact that she was the Ravenclaw's team captain.
She smiled at him as Madam Hooch nodded at them. "All right Captains, shake hands."
Harry felt Ginny shift a bit behind him as Harry shook Cho's hand. There was none of the old stomach-swooping that he had grown accustomed to the year before. Instead, all he felt was the fiery determination to beat the opposing team and take the Quidditch cup for Gryffindor.
"Teams mount your brooms," Madam Hooch said. "On my whistle…Three…Two…TWEEP!"
At the sound of the whistle, both teams kicked off and soared into the air. Harry could feel the air whipping at his hair and stinging his face, and it was the best feeling in the world. He was going to win the cup, there was no doubt about it. And anyone who disagreed could kiss his ass ––
–– his thoughts were interrupted as a commentator began to speak:
"And they're off. It looks like the Gryffindor team might be a little weak in the beater department. Jimmy Peakes in particular doesn't seem to have much strength in his swings…"
Harry swiveled his broom around and saw, to his utmost horror, that Cormac McLaggen was the commentator. Who in their right mind would let the Idiot of Gryffindor commentate on a Quidditch match?
"Why the hell is he the commentator?" Ginny hissed as she whizzed by him. "This is ridiculous, you know he'll be on Ravenclaw's side even though he's a Gryffindor!"
Harry nodded, but was immediately distracted by a flash of gold –– the snitch. He flew off in the other direction and quickly found himself blocked by Cho. "Bring back memories?" she asked as he swerved to avoid her.
"You could have gone after the snitch you know," he informed her. "You were closer to it than I was."
She shrugged. "Yes, but this is so much more fun."
"And now it looks like the two seekers are having a confrontation." McLaggen was talking again. "Of course, there's quite a bit of bad blood between the two, seeing as how they dated last year, and had a bit of a nasty breakup."
Harry swore loudly and zoomed by Cho, mentally calling McLaggen every name he could think of.
The game progressed. Gryffindor was doing brilliantly; the Ravenclaws seemed to have fallen a bit since the last time Harry had played them, but of course half the team had left Hogwarts the previous year; only Cho and one other player, a chaser, was left.
Just as they had reached a point where Harry could catch the snitch, but not lose the game for Gryffindor, McLaggen went in for the kill. Harry had just once more gotten blocked by Cho, and was about ready to fly away when he heard McLaggen's magically amplified voice:
"Of course, part of the reason why things might be so bad between Potter and Chang is that just a couple of weeks after they broke up Chang began dating Michael Corner –– who just happens to be Gryffindor Chaser Weasley's ex-boyfriend as well. If you want any more ironies, it appears that, via some information your friendly commentator (Harry snorted at this point) collected a couple of nights ago, Potter has quite a strong crush on his Chaser, Ginny Weasley, who also happens to be the younger sister of his Keeper, Ronald Weasley, who also happens to be Potter's best friend. If you want any more drama, it seems that Potter's other best friend, Hermione Granger, seems to have quite strong romantic feelings for Keeper Weasley as well…"
Harry yelled every word in the book that he knew at McLaggen as McGonagall attempted to yank the magic microphone out of the smirking commentator's hands.
Cho was scowling ferociously, and whipped her broom around, going as fast as she could in the opposite direction.
"HARRY JAMES POTTER!" Harry whirled around to find a furious-looking Ginny Weasley pelting towards him.
"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?" she hollered at him.
"I NEVER GOT THE CHANCE!" he yelled back. "WHAT WITH YOUR BROTHER ALWAYS ON MY TAIL!"
"WHAT THE HELL?" Ron interrupted from where he was guarding the goalposts. "YOU HAVE A CRUSH ON MY LITTLE SISTER?"
"YOUNGER SISTER!" Ginny screamed at him. "I'M NOT SO LITTLE ANYMORE, REMEMBER?"
"CAN WE GET BACK TO THE GAME?" Harry roared. "WE CAN SORT EVERYTHING OUT LATER!"
Livid, Ron turned back and promptly blocked the quaffle.
Catching Ginny's eye, Harry blushed, but quickly began scanning the Quidditch pitch for the snitch. Within ten seconds he spotted it, hovering near one of the Ravenclaw beaters. He made a dive for the two players, and they quickly split apart, as if they thought he was attacking them. He made a swipe, and felt the tiny ball vibrating against his fingers.
He had caught the snitch!
"YES!" he screamed at the top of his voice, and suddenly found himself being hugged by six other people. Together in a scarlet and gold huddle they lowered to the ground. The crowd, realizing what had just happened, erupted into head-banging applause. They hit the ground, and the team backed away from each other, punching the air and jumping for joy, shouting insults at Cormac McLaggen, and dancing in triumph.
…Harry turned around and saw Ginny hugging Demelza and Katie. She spun around, and with her famous ferociously determined expression, she ran at him and leapt into his arms, kissing him full on the mouth. Her legs encircled his waist and he clung to her as the crowd that was now flowing down onto the pitch let out wolf-whistles and cheers.
They broke apart, and Harry looked around, still holding Ginny. There was Ron, who had a resigned look on his face, Hermione who grinned widely and gave him the double thumbs up sign, and…
Dumbledore, who was walking towards the Gryffindor team, the Quidditch cup in his hands, the four House heads just a bit behind him. McGonagall was sobbing joyfully into a tartan handkerchief, her face glowing with Gryffindor's victory.
Harry set Ginny down but he kept his hold on one of her hands. Together, they walked towards Dumbledore, the rest of the team following behind. The seven Quidditch players met Dumbledore halfway across the pitch.
"Congratulations," he said as he handed the cup to Harry. "You all played spectacularly! One-hundred-and-fifty points awarded to Gryffindor!"
Every single Gryffindor erupted into cheers, drowning the three other House's boos they were so loud.
An hour later, the Gryffindor team got back to the common room, which was already in the midst of a full-on party, with bottles of butterbeer, bowls of chips and pretzels, and plates of chocolate mousse and treacle tart.
Harry and Ginny's arms were around each other as they clambered through the portrait hole. Hermione was waiting for the team just inside the common room. Harry, Ginny, Demelza, Katie, Jimmy, and Richie exchanged knowing looks, and hurried off to get some food, leaving Ron alone with Hermione.
As Harry helped himself to the treacle tart, he kept an eye on his two best friends. They were just standing there, staring at each other, the very definition of the word awkward. "C'mon Ron, Hermione, do something," Harry mumbled. "Come on!"
As if he could hear him, Ron suddenly leaned in and pressed his lips to Hermione's.
Harry and Ginny grinned at each other. "About time," they said together, and then laughed.
"Come on," Harry murmured to Ginny, grabbing her by the hand. "Let's go for a walk, we can talk then." They left the common room, and a few minutes later, Hermione and Ron were to be seen leaving the party as well. Explanations seemed to be in order for both couples.
Off to the side, Cormac McLaggen was steaming, clenching his butterbeer bottle so hard that it was slowly beginning to crack. He had planned on humiliating Potter, Granger, and the two Weasleys, and instead all he had managed to do was bring them closer! Maybe he hadn't thought out this plan as well…
Hagrid and Professor McGonagall were having drinks in Professor Dumbledore's office with him, when they spotted the four teenagers, a in their separate pairs, walking around on the grounds, hand in hand, occasionally stopping to kiss.
"About time, ain't it Professors?" Hagrid said as he knocked back his tankard of ale.
"As a matter of fact, Hagrid," Dumbledore replied, his eyes twinkling, "it is about time. Ahhh…Qudditch love."
So what'd you guys think? For those of you who are reading "Trials and Tribulations of a Wizarding War" I'm still working on it, I just wanted to get this story out :) Anyway, let me know what you think of this story! It's my first one-shot, I don't usually write them, it's usually full-length stories. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the story!
Lots and lots of love