Disclaimer: I own nothing and am making no profit.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Onichun and Cammilies for beta work earlier in this story, as well as the readers who gave suggestions along the way. However, the beta work on this chapter was entirely myself. Which likely means I should look it over again. Thanks for the ride!
Harry was alone when he finally woke up. That would have bothered him, but it was a fairly common occurrence. Luna didn't quite understand the concept of cuddling in the morning. It didn't help that she was almost annoyingly perky in the A.M hours. Harry's mornings usually consisted with waking up, rolling over, and going back to sleep, assuming he didn't have anywhere to be. And since Daphne was an incredible agent, she tended to schedule his appearances in the early afternoon. When Luna woke up, though, she was up, and she would be doing something. Harry didn't think he'd ever woken before her.
She was more fun at night though. She'd run out of energy after dinner, usually. And when she did she'd want to cuddle for hours on the couch. Harry enjoyed that immensely, assuming he didn't have a game at night. Unfortunately, at this point of the year, he usually had a match, and wouldn't be home. Sometimes he'd stop by her place when he was done, but unless the match was quick, she'd usually be in bed.
Still the only sign of her presence was the book on the bedside table and the bags near the door. That warranted further investigation. He slowly got out of bed and walked around the hotel room. There wasn't really anything out of place in the room, but he heard running water from the bathroom so he walked over and knocked gently on the door.
"Come in," Luna said from the other side of the door. Harry slowly opened it. She laid in the large bathtub. Her hair was done up loosely and she rested against one side of the tub. He couldn't see much past her neck and head, as the tub was filled with bubbles. Her eyes were closed.
"Morning," he said quietly as he stepped into the bathroom.
"Morning," she responded, curling her lips into a smile, but not opening her eyes.
"Sleep well?" he asked, leaning back against the door.
"Yes. You were out like a light, too," she said. "No dreams of the war at all," he knew she meant for the both of them. He thrashed in his sleep when he had one. They both still had nightmares. She wouldn't talk about them, and he didn't ask. His own often centered around Voldemort being back and the war continuing. He assumed hers centered around whatever happened at Malfoy Manor.
"I had a rather tense match immediately before, you do realize," he teased, hoping some levity would take his mind off the dreams. "I had to fly all over and be all active."
"Yes, you did. Dickerson was rather impressed on the wireless. You should have heard him talking. You're certainly not going to need a publicist the way he goes on about you," Luna said. She sighed contentedly and sunk down a tad more into the water.
"He likes me," Harry responded. "Told me I'm the best seeker he's ever seen."
"That's quite the compliment," Luna commented.
"I think he was just trying to get some post-match comments at the time," Harry said. "It was after the semi-finals with the Tornadoes."
"Probably. Either way, if you would invite him to dinner he may have a heart attack. I was worried I may not have exclusive claim on you," she laughed.
"Well, you know, Luna, you haven't made any such claim," Harry teased.
"Oh shut up," she said sternly. "Order us some breakfast, too. I want pancakes. And fresh fruit."
"Yes ma'am," Harry said as he turned and stepped back into the main room. He found the phone next to the bed and found the number for room service. He ordered some pancakes and fruit for Luna, and just some eggs and toast for himself. He debated adding some tea to the order, but figured he may as well make some use of the half-kitchen in the hotel room.
When he'd finished the order he walked over to the kitchen and started to heat the water for the tea. It took less time than he'd hoped, so he sat on one of the stools and turned on the local news. It had the unfortunate fault of being in Swedish, and he was too lazy to find a channel that wasn't, so he simply left it on and relaxed on the stool.
Luna stepped out of the bathroom about the same time that the tea kettle sounded. He found two cups and placed them on the counter.
"What kind of tea would you like, love?" he asked as he idly watched her dress.
"Whatever you have is fine," she replied. He nodded and found two breakfast black teas, placing them into cups an letting the tea brew. Unfortunately, by the time he looked back up, Luna had put on clothing, one of his under armor bats shirts he wore under the uniform. It looked much better on her. She joined him by the counter.
"Food should be up in a few minutes," he said.
"Good, I'm starving," she responded. She looked at the television for a minute before gazing curiously at him. "You speak Swedish?"
"Nope. Just too lazy to find something else," he admitted with a shrug. Luna looked back at the screen before shrugging herself.
"Well it works for me," she responded.
"You can understand it?" he asked. He knew she spoke French as well as English, solely because he witnessed her and Fleur talking once, but didn't think she spoke anything else.
"No. But that makes it more fun," she said knowingly. "We can just make it up. See, here's a story about Nargles invading a local grocery store." Harry couldn't help but laugh.
"What, were they interested in that new breakfast cereal?" He responded.
"No, they've used it as a plot to attempt to conquer us," she deadpanned. Harry laughed once more as there was a knock on the door. He answered it, bringing the room service back to the counter. Luna lifted the metal covering off of her plate of pancakes and started pouring syrup over them as Harry handed her some utensils. He lifted the cover off of his eggs then and, after adding some salt and pepper, proceeded to eat them. They were a little cold, but it was room service after all. Regardless, Luna seemed happy with her pancakes.
"So what do you want to do today, Luna?" he asked as he finished up his eggs.
"You're the one that's been here for a couple weeks, Harry, not me. I expected to be shown around," she responded.
"And treated to a nice lunch, a fantastic dinner, and plenty of entertainment," Harry teased. "All the while being mercifully kept away from the prying eyes and annoying comments of Titus Button and Jason Williams?"
"Well that would be nice, but you don't have to treat me to anything," she responded demurely.
"I know I don't. But I want to," Harry responded. "May as well use the money for something."
"You're a prat," she said.
"Yes," he nodded. "But a rich one. That has to count for something."
"Not particularly in my world," Luna responded.
"Ouch," Harry frowned and attempted to pout. Luna just raised an eyebrow at him.
"That's certainly not an attractive look," she said. "What did you have planned for the day?"
"Nothing really. We don't do much, just sort of laze around and drink," he responded.
"Don't you even practice?" she asked.
"Yea, but we don't put that much effort into it. At least I don't," he answered.
"It's a wonder Jones hates you," Luna said
"Bet that's all over the papers back home," Harry laughed.
"It's actually not. It was a bit at the start of the tournament, and it resurfaced after that Canadian girl beat you to the snitch, but it's mostly just excitement now. They love you. But it's all about Ginny and Gwenog. They're completely ignoring the fact that Jones looks overmatched and that Titus is having an incredible tournament," she explained, tilting her head to the side. He always thought her lion head and Gryffindor garb was a bit of a joke for the matches at school, but it turned out Luna was rather into quidditch.
"Well that's good to know. I'd rather not be the center of attention."
"I'll make sure I pay attention to your friends more than you the next time we go out then," Luna said with a quick nod.
"I rather like being the center of your attention," he amended.
"So what were you going to do tonight?" she asked again.
"I didn't really have anything planned. I'd have probably gone to the match tonight to see who we'll play in the finals."
"And been amazed if it wasn't Bulgaria?" she asked while tilting her head and smiling. He tensed at the thought. It would certainly be the biggest match he'd ever flown in and he was already getting nervous. He saw that she'd finished her pancakes, so he gathered up the used dishes and moved them outside.
"Pretty much," he commented as he stepped back into the room.
"All the pressure will be on Krum," she said quietly.
"I hate that saying," he responded. "The media will focus on Krum, but it's not like it isn't the biggest game of my life. And he certainly has more experience with it."
"You're just as good as he is," she responded. "In fact, you may be better. Excluding the hiccup against Canada you've played better in this tournament."
"But there's still the hiccup," he sighed.
"Well, beat him in like a minute like you did in your first match at Ballycastle, that'll shut everyone up," she said matter-of-factly.
"It's not that easy," he laughed.
"I know it isn't, Harry. But you're either going to win or lose. Brooding about it before the fact will just make you more annoying when you brood about it after the fact."
"I don't brood," he defended himself. He didn't brood. Well, except for his entire fifth year, and after graduating, and after the divorce. Okay maybe he didn't have as good of an argument as he thought.
"You brood. And brooding Harry is less fun. So we're not going to the match tonight. I don't want to have you muttering about how good Krum is for the rest of the week." Her voice left little room for argument. Still, he didn't mind. She was probably right. And he could use plenty of time with better company than Button and Williams.
"Okay fine. I brood," he tried his best to sound annoyed, but knew he failed. "But we still haven't decided what we'll do today."
"Yes we have," Luna said, her voice adopting that wonderfully dreamy tone it had. The tone that at one point had always been present, but now only showed up when she was particularly happy or amused.
"Enlighten me," he responded.
"Well we're in a big, beautiful city with plenty of time to kill. We're going to wander around and see where the day takes us," she explained.
"That sounds entertaining," Harry said. It did, too. It would be fun to walk around the city with something more on his mind than where to drink with Titus and Jason. She nodded a bit.
"Yes, now let me finish changing and we'll go enjoy our day," she said before moving back toward the bedroom. Harry just smiled as he watched her pick out an outfit for the day.
The Bats couldn't lose. It was a wonderful start of the summer. He loved every minute of it. And to make things even better, hanging out with Button and Williams became incredibly fun. They typically went out after matches with rather mixed results. Needless to say, they were fairly recognizable around Ballycastle. Harry didn't mind seeing his picture in the paper as much when he was simply in a bar with teammates.
But, even better than going out with new friends was that he'd rediscovered Luna. He'd forgotten just how amusing she was. She could go from being shy and carefully one minute, to incredibly outgoing the next. Luna was always hesitant with people she didn't know, which was very apparent when she barely spoke a word to Titus and one of his many girlfriends at lunch once. But she opened up quickly when she felt she knew the person.
Still, Titus and Jason thought she was a bit off. As did Daphne. But he didn't particularly care for any of their opinions. Nor had he asked, but that hadn't stopped them from commenting.
Their first date, the dinner after the zoo encounter, had been awkward. They hadn't really known what to talk about, or how to act with each other. They'd even avoided any conversation on any touchy topic. Harry had answered harder questions in interviews with Teen Witch Weekly. Still, in the end, it had been relatively fun. Looking back just a few months later he couldn't remember what they'd even talked about, it had been so inconsequential. But he did remember that he wanted to see her again almost as soon as she'd closed the door behind her.
So he decided he would. The Bats spent the next few days on the road. They played at the Cannons, Wasps and Tornadoes. Harry and Jason were booed rather loudly in Tutshill, but it hadn't affected the outcome of the match. He debated asking Felicity out after the match, but figured that reunion would probably be best if it happened in the off season.
After the short road trip the Bats had a few days off. Harry spent the first in day in London. He had some World Cup team appearances he had to make. Titus and Jason accompanied him, and then decided they'd use Grimmauld Place as their base of operations for a night of drunken debauchery.
Thankfully, Harry had other plans. Unfortunately, those plans involved Ginny. He wouldn't have agreed to dinner with Ron and Hermione had he known they were inviting Ginny as well. Harry hadn't spoken with her since the divorce, and he didn't really want to talk to her. But she was also in town for the World Cup team events, and one of his friends had thought that was a good idea. He assumed Ron. He debated making an excuse not to go, but he couldn't come up with a good enough reason.
So instead he changed and simply went. He wound up having to sit next to her in the large booth. She looked nice, he'd at least give her that. Her hair was done up and she wore a pretty dress. She smiled at him a little too often. Harry couldn't help but suspect she and Ron had corroborated on this. The glare Hermione kept giving her fiancé helped confirm that too. It wasn't until halfway through the meal that Ron blurted out.
"You two should both sign with Chudley when your contracts are up."
"No," Harry said quickly.
"Hell no," Ginny affirmed at nearly the same time. They exchanged a quick glance and laughed together. It was strange, yet it felt right. Harry looked away quickly.
"See, there's something you two agree on," Ron exclaimed, drawing another glare from Hermione.
"I'm sure there's plenty they agree on, Ron. But that isn't the point. I told you not to get involved in this," she responded rather sternly. Ron flushed and looked at his fiancé.
"Get involved in what," he responded with feigned innocence.
"Things didn't work out. They're divorced. Had I known you were going to invite Ginny, no offense by the way, I wouldn't have told Harry to come." Hermione crossed her arms over her chest and looked as annoyed as Harry felt.
"What why?" Ron asked.
"Yea, why?" Ginny scowled.
"Because I haven't spoken with my best friend in months. And I've spoken with you quite a bit. I even overheard you and Ron the other night. It's not right. Going through this whole ploy is stupid," Hermione argued. Harry looked over at his friend. He had a little too good of an idea what she was implying.
"That's not fair," Ginny said. "I made a stupid mistake acting out of anger."
"And that has consequences," Hermione said.
"You can't tell me Harry doesn't want me back. He's had no social life since we split," Ginny argued. Harry blinked a bit. He didn't quite think that was true, his social life just got regulated to the fourth or fifth page in the paper, rather than the first. In fact, it felt like he did a lot more now that they were divorced.
"You can't possibly know that," she said.
"But she has a point. She screwed up, and they should be able to fix it. They're perfect together!" Ron countered. Ginny was going to speak but Harry spoke first.
"No, we're really not," He said quietly.
"What?" Ron and Ginny said simultaneously.
"We never had fun," Harry said.
"Sure we did," Ginny responded.
"But we didn't. At least not with each other," he sighed. He knew that a few months ago, despite the anger and resentment, he would have probably jumped at the thought of getting back together with Ginny. But those feelings were gone.
"Yes we did," Ginny scolded. Harry shook his head.
"No. You were never around, Ginny. We were closer to roommates than a couple. I had an absentee wife for the first year, and even really after that. Then you accused me of cheating. Threw everything in my face. I wanted a wife and a friend. I thought we wanted the same things. But we didn't, Ginny. And that hasn't changed." He finished with a sigh. Ginny's expression changed immediately.
"So it is all my fault?" she spat. Harry sighed again. He couldn't help but marvel at her ability to make it entirely about her. "I'm not going to sit here and listen to you talk about how terrible I am." She raised her voice and was about to really make a scene. But Harry didn't feel like letting her. He stood before she could.
"Funny," he said. "Either am I. Sorry about leaving you two with the bill, but I'm afraid I've just remembered I have somewhere else to be." He just left, leaving her completely stunned in her seat. He heard some chattering from behind him as he left the restaurant, but he didn't turn to look.
"Harry wait," Hermione yelled from behind him. He paused in the street and turned to face her.
"Yes?" he asked.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know he invited her. I haven't seen you in months. I was hoping we could talk," she said, frowning. Harry paused for a moment and sat on the stone steps of a nearby building.
"It's alright," he said as she sat next to him on the steps. "I'm surprised she came. We invited her to the party when the English team was announced and she didn't come. Would have probably been easier to con me into something when I was drunk."
"I doubt it," Hermione laughed. "I don't think your new friends would have let that happen."
"Titus and Jason? Oh they would have in a heartbeat. They'd have found it funny."
"They don't seem like very good friends then," Hermione said carefully.
"Nah, they're fine. They just don't try to dictate what I do," Harry said. Hermione flushed at his words, but didn't comment.
"Still. I'm sorry," she said again. Harry knew she was referring to Ginny.
"It's not your fault," he responded.
"I should have known they'd try something." She sighed. "Ron has brought it up. Sometimes I feel like he never grew up. Seems the same way with Ginny, too. I was so looking forward to chatting with you. We've barely seen you since you moved to Ireland. Now we ruined the evening.
"Nonsense," Harry smiled. "The night is still young. We can go someplace private and have a great time." Hermione blushed when he finished speaking.
"Are you prepositioning me, Harry?" she teased. "I'm engaged you know."
"Of course I'm not," he responded with a slight smirk. "Unless you'd like me to be."
"No. I think I'll pass on that one. Although it would be good to see you with some female companionship. Is there a special someone around that you haven't told us about?" she asked. His thought immediately of Luna. They hadn't done much together yet, but he certainly wanted to do more.
"I'm not sure," he replied honestly. "I think so. But we're taking it very slowly so it's hard to be sure of anything."
"Oh? You should introduce me to her," Hermione insisted. She tried to sound like that was a mere formality, like she was simply being nice, but her eyes lit up in such a way that she was obviously interested.
"You already know her," Harry said.
"I do? Who is it? Not your agent?" Hermione asked.
"Have a problem with Daphne?" Harry asked.
"Well no. And not if you like her. She just seems a bit forward for you," Hermione admitted.
"It's not her," Harry said quietly.
"Well who is it, then?" she asked. Harry paused for a moment. He debated not telling her, but he couldn't think of a clever way to string her along for much longer.
"Luna," He responded. Hermione looked stunned.
"Really? I don't think I've seen her since the wedding," Hermione said.
"You have. She was at the party we had for the National Team," Harry commented. Sure, Luna hadn't stayed long. But she had been there.
"Interesting," Hermione said. "Well I hope things work out between you two."
"Me too. Like I said, we're taking it really slowly. She's less dreamy now. Sometimes I miss the old her. But I think she's just been unhappy. She's changed."
"We've all changed," Hermione responded. She stood up. Harry did the same. "But I should get back to Ron. Hopefully he and Ginny didn't cause a scene."
"If I know Ginny at all, she stormed out and you and Ron will be able to enjoy a nice quiet dinner," Harry commented. Hermione laughed just a little bit.
"Maybe. We should do lunch soon, Harry. I miss your company."
"That would be fun. Probably not until after the World Cup though. I'll let you know." He smiled at her. After a moment she walked slowly back to the restaurant. They really all had changed. Grown apart with life. He'd know that, of course, but he couldn't help but wonder how his friendships could have been different had he not been married. He didn't allow the thought to linger though. Instead he thought of Luna, and her smile as he walked back to Grimmauld Place. He knew he'd be spending more time in Ballycastle very soon.
Harry watched the Bulgarian team fly around their side of the pitch. He barely noticed the quaffle as Titus tossed it to him. He threw it in the general direction of Jason and kept staring across the pitch at Krum. He'd never played against the Bulgarian before. Sure, he'd watched him before, but you could only learn so much from watching.
Jason noticed he wasn't paying attention and tossed the quaffle over toward Titus instead.
"Hey Potter," the chaser said. "Stop admiring Krum and act like you care about warm-ups."
"But I am warming up," Harry responded. His eyes followed Krum as the Bulgarian flew around the pitch, going through his own pre-match routine. "I'm scouting."
"That so wouldn't fly if coach was here," Titus laughed.
"Sure it would. My captain trusts me. He lets me do what I want before matches," Harry commented, his eyes still following Krum.
"He's got you there," Jason said.
"I guess," Titus responded in a way that indicated he didn't particularly agree with that statement. He and Jason went back to tossing the quaffle around for a few more minutes while Harry simply watched Krum.
"So, can you beat him?" Jason asked as they finished warming up. He and Titus flanked Harry in the air.
"I can beat anyone," Harry responded dryly. And he knew it was true. He could beat anyone. But he wasn't arrogant enough to assume he couldn't lose. He also knew that he could lose, very easily, as he had many times before.
"Yes, but will you?" Titus asked.
"I'll certainly try my damndest," he responded, still watching Krum warm up with his team. The Bulgarians did everything as a single cohesive unit. That was probably how a team should look, but their English counterparts were far more fragmented. Of course, that likely wouldn't have been the case if the three Ballycastle Bats weren't on the team. But the trio simply floated and watched. Harry could tell that Jason and Titus both wanted to speak, but they kept their mouths shut for a few moments.
"Hey were on T.V," Jason commented after he simply couldn't stay silent any longer. Harry shook his head and glanced over at the screens that line the world cup stadium. Indeed every screen showed the three of them, hovering and watching.
"Sponsors have to love that shot," Titus laughed.
"No," Harry said. "They'd want you in the middle. You're in the middle on everything."
"Probably," Titus responded. "But they're getting enough as is."
"Indeed. But let's go and get into position. The Bulgarians are lining up," Harry said. He turned his broom back toward the hoops.
"Going to try the spear again?" Jason asked as they flew toward their starting positions.
"Krum would never fall for it," Harry said. "And Katie nearly killed me for doing it in the first time I tried it. But I have something in mind."
"And what's that?" Titus asked.
"You'll see. I'll certainly have my hands full." He drifted away from the other two players as he finished speaking. He took put himself between the two beaters, nearly perfectly behind Katie.
The primary official was still giving the customary speech on the rules as he waited for the quaffle. Harry had heard it enough. He could quote it if need be. He allowed his eyes to wander to the stands. It didn't take him long to find the friends and family section for the English team. He saw Ron and Hermione first, but he wasn't looking for them. Daphne was a few rows away sitting with two girls he vaguely recognized, but couldn't name. His eyes slid up a few rows and he saw Bill and Fleur.
But he was looking for the blonde girl next to Fleur. Her hair was done up loosely and she wore an English national jersey. Although he couldn't see it, he knew she had a small golden snitch charm around her neck. But he could tell she'd capped off the outfit with a pair of bat wings. He couldn't help but wonder how long before they'd be selling those at the team store. After a moment, she noticed he was looking at her.
"Win," she mouthed from the stands. He just nodded at her. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the quaffle fly toward the official. He turned toward the middle of the pitch and waited for the ball to fly. He looked at Krum for a moment, before letting his eyes shift down. He faked like he was intently following something.
As soon as the quaffle flew he darted straight past Krum, and dropped into a steep dive. He saw the Bulgarian's surprised look as he flew off past him. Krum hesitated for a moment. To Harry, it was a pivotal point of the match. If Krum reacted how he hoped…
He kept in the dive, not daring to look back. Near the turf he pulled up and cut around, still acting as if he was chasing something. But from there he could see that Krum had chosen to chase him. Harry leveled out and did his best to keep Krum behind him, constantly blocking his view.
He'd come up with this plan months ago, if he'd ever play Krum. He'd never seen another seeker dictate the match against the Bulgarian. Krum was always in control of the search for the snitch. But not today. Harry would do everything he could to keep the Bulgarian off balance. He just hoped it wouldn't backfire.
Harry and Jason arrived early at the park. But that didn't matter the park was already packed. It was rare that Titus wouldn't be involved in one of these promotional things, but he claimed to have the flu. A night of heavy drinking could sometimes have that effect.
He and Jason were doing a brief autograph session, followed by a flying demonstration, before a children's quidditch match. Harry wasn't particularly looking forward to the first half of it. He hated mass autograph signings. But he figured watching some kids play quidditch couldn't be so bad.
An aide led the two quidditch stars through the crowd to a table under a canopy. There was a great deal of cheering and some chanting, but Harry ignored it. He messed with the pens that had been placed on the table for him. Moving them around carefully as another aide explained the basic rules to the fans waiting.
Eventually, the aide finished and the people approached he and Jason in a much less orderly fashion than had been expected. But when they realized a mass at the table wouldn't yield an autograph they diverged into lines. Harry was secretly amazed at how many times he could sign his name in an hour, and how many people came asking for the signature.
After the hour was up a Bats intern approached them with their brooms. Harry shook out his wrist a bit before he and Jason took to the air. They didn't do anything particularly impressive or dangerous in their flying demonstration, as they didn't want to risk injury. After a few minutes of air stunts they switched to a quick one on one scoring competition. Jason trounced him, but Harry pulled some nice moves on the chaser. They landed as the kids' teams started to warm up.
Jason immediately wandered over to chat up two girls that had been eyeing him up since the autograph session. Harry laughed and debated leaving. But he'd never seen a pre-schooling quidditch game before, and he was rather intrigued. So instead he turned his eyes up and watched the players commence their pre-match ritual. At least until they gathered by their coaches. Then Harry glanced around the crowd and saw a familiar blond talking to an unfamiliar brunette. The pretty blonde didn't look like she particularly wanted to be there.
"Luna?" he asked. She looked up and around, until her eyes found his. Her face lit up.
"Harry?" she said as he moved over toward her. "What are you doing here?"
"We had a promotional signing this morning," Harry said. He gave a nod toward Jason in the distance. "And you?"
"Rachel's brother is playing in one of the matches. She dragged me out to watch." Luna tilted her head toward the brunette. Harry didn't recognize her, but he could vaguely recall a coworker named Rachel.
"I dragged you out because there's going to be cute boys here, and as you can see, I was correct," The brunette said. Luna blushed quite a bit as her friend offered Harry her hand. "I'm Rachel."
"Harry," he responded, taking it for a moment. He noticed Luna's expression harden at the slight contact.
"Are you going to stay and cheer on my brother?" Rachel asked. "It would mean the world to him." She bat her eyelashes at him. Harry couldn't help but smile.
"I'd be honored. But I think I'll be spending most of the time catching up with Luna," he slid next to her and took her hand. Rachel raised an eyebrow at that, but the three of them simply wandered over toward the bleachers and found a seat.
"My brother plays for the purple and red team," Rachel said after they sat down. Harry nodded a bit.
"Which one is he?" Harry asked, his eyes scanning the players in the sky.
"The right side chaser," Rachel responded quickly.
"Alright," Harry said, his eyes sliding to that chaser. He noticed he was still holding Luna's hand, but she didn't seem to mind so he didn't let go. They watched the start of the match in silence. Harry was rather amused by how different it looked from the professional game. After a few missed shots he decided to start the conversation again.
"So no tours today?" he asked Luna, she looked a little surprised that he asked and her friend answered for her.
"Nope, we both have Tuesdays off," Rachel responded.
"That must be nice," Harry said. "Can't imagine it's your busiest day at least."
"It's not. The weekends are the worst," Rachel added. Harry looked over at Luna for a moment. She had a slight frown on her face and was pretending to watch the game. He squeezed her hand gently and she looked over at him.
"Oh. Uhm. Yea, weekends are the busiest time," she said. She went back to looking up at the match. Harry shifted a bit and also turned to watch the game. They didn't speak much for the rest of the match. Harry paid some appropriate compliments about Rachel's brother, which seemed to amuse her. Their team lost though, 200-180. Neither of the seekers caught the snitch, so they simply played to two-hundred points to fit the game into a certain time window.
After the match, Rachel insisted on introducing Harry to her brother. The younger boy was amazed to meet a local quidditch star, and too shy to really say anything. But Harry complimented him on his game, even remembering a few of the specific goals he'd scored. He let the brother and sister chat for a moment too, while he turned to Luna.
"Let's go out," he said. She looked a little surprised.
"Where?" She asked dreamily, staring up at the next two teams to warm up.
"I don't know. Find a movie, there's that superhero flick out, and then get some dinner?" He asked. She looked stunned.
"Like a date?" she asked again.
"Exactly like a date," Harry responded, smiling fully.
"You want to go on a date with me?" she asked, her eyes widening.
"Yes. In fact, I think I'd like to go on more than one," Harry responded.
"Well we should start with one," she said carefully, her cheeks turning a pale red.
"That works for me," he smiled. "So dinner and a movie then?"
"Yes," she smiled. She looked like she couldn't quite believe what she was agreeing to. Harry found it incredibly cute. "But reverse the order. Movie first or we'll be having an absurdly early dinner."
"Works for me. Where's the nearest movie theater?" He asked, figuring she knew the area much better than him.
"Don't you live here?" she teased.
"Not really. I usually floo back to London after practices and matches," he admitted.
"Really?" she sounded almost disappointed. "There was a big article in the paper about how you bought an apartment here."
"Well I did. But I don't stay there much," he said.
"You should. I think you'd like Ballycastle," she replied.
"Maybe. I certainly do like the company," he couldn't help but smirk at the slight blush that followed.
The banter only lasted for the duration of their walk to the small movie theater. Harry bought the tickets without question and the concessions as well. Luna simply wanted some popcorn, citing that they would be eating after the show anyway. They didn't talk much during the show, but he held her hand through it. And at about the hour mark she used his shoulder as a headrest. He couldn't help but tilt his face into her hair for a moment. Her fruity shampoo smelled much better in her hair than his. She didn't seem to mind.
Harry didn't pay much attention to the movie. The pretty little blonde next to him was too distracting. But she seemed to enjoy it. She leaned closer to him during the climax of the movie. Harry thought the plot was a little dumb, but Muggles sure liked their superheroes.
Afterwards they simply wandered around the area around the movie theater until they found someplace to eat an early dinner at. It wasn't particularly good, but they didn't really care. They split a bottle of wine and talked, practically ignoring the food. Harry wasn't even sure what either of them ordered.
Nor could he really remember the finer details of the conversation. It wasn't anything too enlightening. There were some childhood stories, Luna had some great ones about her father, but Harry could tell those depressed her. His own childhood stories were best ignored. She asked him a bit about his first year and was particularly interested in the challenges he faced to get the stone.
After that there was some talk of what they'd both done since Hogwarts. That quickly turned to her asking him many questions about quidditch. Pointed question, too. He couldn't help but think she would have probably made a good reporter. But then he remembered that he hated reporters and was rather glad for that. She was particularly interested in the inner workings of the teams and confessed to actually loving the sport, but not being a very good flyer. Harry promised to fix that.
They passed on dessert because Luna claimed to know a great little ice cream shop not too far away. Harry paid for the meal and they left the restaurant. The shop was only a few blocks away. He held her hand as they walked, she didn't comment, but it was soft and warm and nice to hold.
She insisted on paying for the ice cream and he didn't argue. They sat at a small table surrounded by families and couples and watched the action around them.
"See, it's good," Luna said after taking a few licks of her ice cream.
"Very," he said. "I'll have to remember this place."
"I bet they'd freak if the Ballycastle Bats showed up," she teased.
"They're magical?" he asked, gazing over toward the stand.
"I don't know," Luna admitted, looking over herself. "This is a magical part of town, but I've never tried to find out."
"You come here often?" he asked.
"On occasion. It's a nice afternoon walk from the zoo. Some of us go on our lunch break on. Not too bad after work either. Especially when you can just wander behind the building and apparated home."
"That would be very convenient," Harry agreed.
"It is," she responded as she finished her ice cream.
"You got some on your face," Harry said out of instinct. Luna looked at him.
"Oh where?" She paused and looked around. "And I don't have a napkin." Harry did.
"I'll get it," he said. He reached up with the napkin and brushed the ice cream away from the corner of her mouth. He stared into her eyes as he moved the cloth away from her face. He hesitated. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. But Luna hadn't really given any indication that he should. After the briefest of moments, though, he decided he didn't care. He kissed her.
Her lips were very soft. She tasted of vanilla, but that was likely from her choice of ice cream. She didn't really respond to the kiss. If anything, she tensed at his touch. He broke away after a moment.
"You kissed me," she said, her voice gaining it's old dreamy quality.
"I did," he responded. "And I'd like to do it again."
"Yes. Your lips are nice and soft and you taste wonderful." She blushed at his words and looked away.
"You want me?" she asked, seeming stunned by the possibility.
"Yes," he responded, kissing her once more. This time she kissed him back, cautiously.
"Say it," she ordered after breaking the kiss.
"I want you," he said. This time she kissed him, and it was far from cautious. He kissed her right back. After a few moments she broke the kiss and looked away, blushing ever so slightly.
"Can I see your apartment?" she asked quietly.
"Of course," Harry responded with a smile. "It's not far from here."
For the first half hour of the match Harry had managed to keep Krum in check. As he'd predicted, the Bulgarian wasn't very good at matching another seeker. And he knew Harry was too good to let him fly around unchecked. Every time Krum would attempt to search for the snitch himself, Harry would pull some type of feint and lure the Bulgarian back.
Deep down, Krum knew that Harry hadn't seen the snitch. But it didn't matter. He couldn't let his counterpart go unopposed on the slight chance that he had seen the snitch. Harry just had to keep himself one step ahead of Krum, and so far he had. Krum did the only thing he could. He used a time out. Harry darted over toward his own hoops to meet the rest of the team.
"How we doing?" he asked when they arrived, despite the fact that he could just look at the scoreboard.
"Up by thirty," Titus said, glancing at the scoreboard. "Nice work so far with Krum."
"Thanks. He's going to do everything in his power to not have to worry about me. Make his life a living hell for me."
"Gotcha," Titus said.
"Can we afford to take the pressure off the Bulgarian chasers?" Gwenog asked.
"Doesn't matter," Jason said. "We aren't about to build a large enough advantage. Harry or Krum will win the match." Gwenog just glared at him. But she didn't offer more of an argument. Harry gave Wood a quick nod in the hoops and flew back to get into position. He didn't even spare Ginny a second look.
The Bulgarian team still had some time left on their time out. He floated near the center of the pitch as he waited for the game to resume. His eyes found his friends in the stands again and couldn't help but think back on that first date with Luna.
They hadn't done much past make out when they went back to his apartment. Harry had wanted to. And he was sure Luna wanted to as well, but they'd stopped. They'd laid on his bed, in various stages of undress, cuddled close to each other. They'd talked quietly late into the night, until sleep came.
He had to admit, he rather liked waking up the next morning with her squirming against him. He knew she was trying to get out of bed without waking him up, which was a nice thought. But he just kissed her as soon as he woke. She'd kissed him back before breaking away from him with the excuse that she should have already been at the zoo. She ducked into the shower and he crawled out of bed and moved into the kitchen.
He made them a quick breakfast. He wasn't sure what she'd want, but figured just about everyone liked pancakes, so he settled on that. He remembered being tempted to join Luna in the shower, but decided that probably wasn't a very good idea.
She'd enjoyed the pancakes and rushed off to work. But Harry had known then he'd be seeing her soon. Even if it was simply because he was going to stalk her before practice.
Play resumed and he spared his friends one last quick glance before flying back past Krum. The Bulgarian didn't bite this time, so Harry flew up and concentrated on simply flying around him. He continually cut off his counterpart, intending to be as annoying as possible. It worked. Krum kept trying to distance himself from Harry. But every time he'd managed to outmaneuver Harry, Titus responded with a bludger. The Bulgarian beaters attempted to do the same to Harry, but they couldn't take their focus off the English chasers for more than a few minutes without facing repercussions.
He dove once more. Just for the sake of diving and enjoying the feel of the wind through his hair. The crowd cheered as if, perhaps, this time he'd actually spotted something. Krum followed him because he had nothing better to do.
He leveled off and flew around the edge of the stadium, catching the briefest glimpse of Luna's smiling face. He was glad she'd made it. He hadn't even been sure if she'd agree to come when he'd asked.
The Bats had just trounced the Catapults that afternoon. The match had never been close. Harry almost regretted that it took him three hours to get the snitch, as the gap had just grown larger and larger the entire time. Titus and Jason had wanted to go out drinking in London to celebrate, but he knew he'd likely be spending a great deal of time with the pair in Sweden so he passed. He had another date anyway.
Granted, she always seemed to enjoy hanging out with Jason and Titus. But he wanted it to be just the two of them tonight. He was leaving for the World Cup in just a few more days and didn't know whether or not he'd see her.
He took the Floo from the visitor's locker room to Grimmauld place. Luna had planned to meet him there when she was done with work. It was just a little bit past four when he arrived. He knew Luna wouldn't have even started her last tour yet. He walked to his bathroom and turned on the shower. He let the water run for a few moments while he stepped into his bedroom and picked out some clothing to wear. Luna hadn't wanted to go anywhere too fancy, so he picked out a short-sleeve button up and some dark jeans before stepping back into the bathroom.
Harry showered quickly, letting the warm water wash off the dried sweat from the match. He loved the feeling. He washed quickly, despite knowing he had plenty of time. He was already starting to feel nervous for the night. He dried nearly as quickly as he showered and got ready for his date.
He stepped back into the bedroom and changed into the clothing he'd laid out. Looking in the mirror in the corner of the room, he decided that he looked nice enough, although his hair was still being unruly. He flattened it a bit with his hand, hoping that since it was still damp, it would stay down. It didn't.
"Will master be dining here?" Kreacher asked from the doorway. Harry wondered where the elf had been. It usually greeted him as soon as he showed up. Although it had seemed a tad put off when it wasn't invited to Ballycastle with him.
"No. Going on a date with Luna," Harry said. "She should be here in about an hour."
"Kreacher understands," the elf responded. "Does master require anything before then?"
"Do we still have a copy of the morning's paper?" he asked.
"Kreacher can get one. Where would master like it?"
"I'll take it in the den, with some tea please."
"Kreacher understands and will obey." The elf disappeared with a pop and by the time Harry walked down to the den and sat in the chair near the fireplace. The morning's paper and the cup of tea were waiting on the table. Harry tossed himself into the chair and began to read.
He had little patience for the news so he switched to the sports section. There was an article about each teams' chances at the break for the World Cup. The writer was very positive about the bats, but did indicate he felt that if England went deep into World Cup play the three stars would likely be a bit tired when league play resumed.
The next article handicapped the World Cup itself. Harry had read many of those in the last few months, they'd been coming out even before the team was selected. This writer didn't give the English team much hope. He commented that while they were much improved over previous years, they still wouldn't be able to contend with the upper echelon teams. He finished the article and went back to skimming the paper as he waited for Luna.
He didn't have to wait too long, either. He heard the floo activate and saw her step out of it a moment later. She gazed around Grimmauld place with a small smile on her face as she dusted off the white sundress she wore.
"Hello Harry," she said. She had a large bag slung over her shoulder, but she simply deposited it onto the nearby couch and smiled at him. Her hair was also braided a bit. She looked very nice.
"Hey Luna," he responded happily. "Did you have fun at work?" He thought back to his days as an Auror after he asked and realized just how silly of a question that was. But she just smiled and shrugged it off.
"Less than you did, I'd guess," she responded. "I almost feel bad for the Catapults."
"Me too," Harry laughed. "But it took forever to find the snitch."
"I heard. So where are you taking me?" She asked. He could tell she was trying to not sound nervous as well. It wasn't anything near their first date, yet they both managed to feel giddy whenever they went out together.
"Well you said you didn't want to do anything too fancy. I know of this little French bistro we can walk to. I figured there. It's a great place to just grab a bite outside and enjoy the evening," Harry smiled as he spoke. He didn't mention that it was one of Daphne's favorite places, and where the two usually met for their monthly lunch. She appraised him for a moment then smiled.
"Okay, that sounds fun. I'm not sure I've ever eaten at a bistro," she said. Harry laughed.
"I'm not sure there's anything different about it. I always assumed it was just a pretentious French word for restaurant," he responded.
"Maybe," Luna said, her face falling a tad. Of course, she knew French, so he probably should have known that wasn't the case. "But I still think there has to be something special to earn it."
"We'll just have to find out," he said. He offered her his hand and once she took it they left the house and worked their way to the restaurant.
Luna asked to be seated outside so they found themselves at a small table overlooking a lazy London street. Luna gazed around happily, looking quite intrigued by her surroundings. Harry loved how she always seemed so interested in everything around her. They each ordered a cider, it seemed like a good choice for the warm evening. Harry peered over the menu as Luna kept looking around.
:"Are you excited for Sweden?" she asked dreamily when she finally started to look over the menu.
"More nervous than excited, I think," Harry responded.
"That has to be natural. Are you sure you can eat? You never ate before matches at school."
"How did you know that?" he asked. He couldn't help but smile at the memories. He'd never really thought about it. He certainly didn't have any issue eating before matches now, but he played in quite a few more than he had at school.
"I'm observant, Harry. Even if most people think I'm making things up."
"What about when you are making things up?" He teased.
"Well there's usually a grain of truth in it," she laughed.
"Just a grain?"
"Sometimes more, sometimes less," she responded while taking a sip of her cider. A moment later their waiter returned and they ordered their meal. Harry ordered the fish special, Luna a chicken dish. Harry didn't pay close enough attention to her order to tell exactly what it was.
They chatted quietly, mostly about Luna's day at the zoo, before their food came. The first few bites were good, but Harry had expected they would be. After a few moments of eating in silence he said what was on his mind.
"I want you to come to Sweden with me," he blurted out. She looked up from her food at him, her blue eyes wide her expression a little shocked. "I mean, if you want to, naturally. I guess I should have asked if you want to."
"Harry," she said slowly. "I would like to. But I can't just leave during our busiest season. My boss would have needed more notice than a week. And I can't afford it." She seemed to be weighing each word carefully. He gave her a weak smile.
"I hope you didn't think I'd make you pay," he paused for a moment and tried to be as charismatic as possible. "I am a famous athlete you know." To his relief, she laughed.
"Interestingly enough I did know that!" She teased. "I still don't know, though, Harry. Give me a day or two to talk to my boss and think on it."
"Alright. I would really like you to come. You could show me all around Sweden," he smiled again. She laughed.
"My father and I didn't make it to the cities much, Harry. It was mostly just camping and looking for his fictions. And I don't know how much they'll let you stars out."
"Hopefully more often than not. I can't imagine being cooped up with Titus and Jason for an extended period of time. Especially with Ginny and Gwenog there as well," Harry joked.
"She floo'd me the other day," Luna said, going back to her chicken.
"Oh?" Harry was surprised, to say the least. He'd had little contact with Ginny since the divorce. And most of it had come recently with promotions for the World Cup. But even then, the promoters were wise enough to know it was best to keep the Bats and the Harpies separate for their promotions.
"Yes. Popped right over and looked disdainfully around my apartment," Luna explained. "And then she explained to me that I should stay away from you. And that you were a lecherous pig who fucks your agent every chance you get."
"Ouch," Harry said as he leaned back in his chair and took a sip of cider. "And what, may I ask, did you say?" He wasn't particularly sure where this was going. It was slightly odd hearing Luna swear, even if it was as part of a quote.
"I told her that we were friends. And that you were a far better friend than she had been. And that it just happened I was living in Ballycastle while you were playing for Ballycastle. I said we don't see each other often. But it's always nice to know someone." Luna explained.
"And she said?" he asked.
"Oh she raved a bit and told me I didn't know what I was talking about. To which I replied that it wasn't like we were dating or anything." Harry's heart fell as she spoke.
"We aren't dating?" he asked quietly. Luna appraised him for a moment as she finished her chicken.
"Well that depends, Harry. Are you fucking your agent?" she spoke very matter-of-factly as she took a sip of cider.
"I..uhm…no. I mean, well. I slept with her once. When she was helping me with the divorce. It just sort of happened. She claimed I needed it. Past that our relationship has been completely professional," Harry admitted. Luna looked at him for a minute more.
"And how many people know about that?" Luna asked.
"Well, me and her, obviously. And some reporters guessed right. Past that no one," he explained. She sipped her cider once more.
"And now me," she said.
"And now you," he responded. Still not sure where the conversation was going.
"But yea," Luna continued. "She showed up and yelled at me quite a bit. So I lied to her and she eventually left. Didn't even ask to go to lunch or something. She's different from how she was during school."
"Yes, she is," Harry admitted, feeling slightly relieved. Although he wasn't sure how true that statement was. He liked to think it all changed when she graduated. But what if he'd just missed something? He shook the thought out of his head. It didn't matter anymore, and he wouldn't waste time thinking about it. "But why would you ask about Daphne?"
"Oh, that," Luna shrugged. "Well, I've just always been curious. I figured you'd deny it. But you've always been pretty honest with those you trust, haven't you?"
"I guess," Harry muttered. "But it doesn't bother you?"
"No," Luna said. "Who you slept with a year ago is doesn't concern me. We weren't dating. You didn't even know I lived in Ballycastle, nor were you playing for the Bats." Harry couldn't help but smile. He was worried she'd judge him, but she'd just shrugged it off.
"So we are dating then," he teased.
"It's amazing you weren't in Ravenclaw, what with your deductive abilities," she responded dryly.
"Well we hadn't said anything. And I didn't know if it needed to be said or what," Harry admitted.
"Everything should be said at some point, Harry, but it didn't really need it," she responded. "I haven't been telling people that Harry Potter is my boyfriend, but I have considered you it for a few weeks now." He noticed she blushed slightly as she spoke.
"And I've considered you my girlfriend," Harry confirmed. "Now, do you want to order dessert?"
"No. Let's go back to your house and make those milkshakes Titus talked about. Assuming you have the ingredients?"
"Kahlua, Frangelico, Baileys and ice cream? I should. If not I'll send Kreacher out."
"Good. Let's do that then. It'll be more fun," Luna said. Harry gave her a quick nod and flagged down the waiter and got the check. A moment later the couple left the bistro. Luna took his hand and nearly skipped the entire way back to Grimmauld place. It was almost challenging to keep up with her.
After returning to Harry's London house they immediately went into the kitchen. Luna found two glasses in the one of the cupboards as Harry dug around for the ingredients. He was pleasantly surprised that he had them all. He used his wand to scoop a bunch of vanilla ice cream into a bowl, then added a couple of shots of the alcohol before sealing the bowl with a quick spell, and using another to blend it all together. He examined his creation before pouring two glasses. Titus swore by these milkshakes for late night summer fun. Harry half wondered how the beater stayed in shape.
"Woah," Luna said after sipping hers. "That's dangerous." They walked to an upstairs sitting room with a large window that looked over the street outside the house. Luna sat down on the couch. Harry sat next to her and she leaned against him.
"There's not that much alcohol in them," Harry responded and took a sip of his. "But yea, you're right. You can't taste it at all."
"Should add some vodka next time," Luna suggested.
"I don't know, that could be overkill," Harry said, taking another sip of his. Luna did the same and seemed to consider her next words for a few seconds.
"Perhaps. But you'd at least know there was booze in it then," she said.
"That's true," Harry said. He gazed out the window. It was hard to believe he'd sat on that very couch and stared out that window while thinking about how nice it would be to be married to Ginny and raise a family in that house. He'd hoped to be able to name his kids in honor of his parents. But now, he just didn't think about that.
"What are you thinking about?" Luna asked after a moment of silence.
"Oh, nothing really. I sat up here a lot when I was an Auror and this just reminded me of those days."
"What did you think about then?" She asked.
"The war, life, what I was doing, how I wanted a family, pretty standard stuff," he replied. She just nodded and finished off her drink. She placed the empty cup on the table, leaning across him to do so.
"And what were you thinking about?" he mimed.
"That you're very handsome, and I'm very lucky," she admitted, looking up at him. She shifted herself on the couch until she could lay comfortable across his lap, her head resting on the arm rest.
"I've changed what I'm thinking about," Harry said quietly as she looked up at him.
"Oh? What now?"
"That I should have gone and found the pretty blonde in my lap a lot sooner," he said. She smiled and sat up before leaning in and giving him a very soft kiss.
"That would have been a better idea," she said after their lips parted. "I'm also thinking something new."
"And that would be?"
"I think we should go to bed," she said quietly. He picked her up and carried her toward the bedroom.
"I think that sounds like a good idea," he said as he set her on her feet in the doorway. She gave him another quick kiss before ducking into the master suite. He followed and saw her slip into the bathroom with her bag.
Harry slowly changed into his pajamas, in this case just a pair of athletic shorts with a bats logo on one leg. He had to admit, free team clothing was a perk. He couldn't help but fantasize about Luna changing in the bathroom as he crawled into the bed. She'd spent the night before, but they'd never done more than make out. He'd wanted to, but she'd always asked him to stop, and he always had. Still, it was nice to have a very warm bed and someone to cuddle with.
He looked up as he heard the bathroom door open and watched Luna walk out. She wore a thin white nightgown and had let her hair down. It was nearly transparent and in the dark of the room she looked almost ethereal. He watched quietly as she approached and crawled into the bed next to him. He propped himself up on his elbow as she lay next to him.
"You really are beautiful," Harry said as he traced a hand over her face.
"Took you long enough to notice," she responded, smiling. "Tried to get you under the mistletoe fourth year, but you jumped away, then fifth when you took me to that ball. Just friends, pfft." He couldn't help but smile back as he kissed her again. She pulled him onto her as she kissed him back. Like always, they started very slowly, and very carefully. His lips rarely left hers as their bodies pressed together. After a few soft kisses his hands wandered over her sides, around her back, and up into her hair. He loved having his hands in her hair. It was so very soft and wonderful to touch. He lost himself in her lips as he kept kissing her.
"Oh Luna," he moaned against her lips. He noticed that he'd pushed her gown up to her waist. "If I keep kissing you, I may not be able to stop," he admitted, panting softly, as he rolled off of her. She was silent for a moment before she surprised him by rolling over and straddling him.
"Then don't stop," she whispered against his lips. She leaned forward and kissed him hard on the lips as she pressed herself down against him. Her hands found his and she guided them to the bottom of her gown. He had it off of her in moments. She wasn't wearing anything underneath. He admired her for a moment, before letting his hands slide around every inch of her. She leaned down to kiss him once more, deeply, and he let himself go. He wanted nothing more than her, and there she was.
He wasn't sure when she took off the rest of his clothing, or how long they simply kissed and explored each other for. But he knew that he'd never forget how she looked and felt as her body arched against his when he pressed into her for the first time. He barely registered her grimace as they made love for the first time.
After, they simply lay cuddled together in a heap, breathing heavily as they clung to each other. Harry never wanted to let her go. He kissed her softly after a few moments, holding her body as tightly to his as he could. Luna broke the silence first.
"I'll come to the finals, at the very least," she said. "I should be able to get off a couple of days before it and join you. So you better make it there."
"I'll do my best." Harry smiled, staring into her pretty blue eyes.
"Good." She nestled closer to him, burying her face into his neck. He took a deep breath. It was probably too early for what he wanted to say, but it didn't matter. She made him feel far better and far happier than Ginny ever had.
"I love you, Luna," he said quietly into the darkness of the bedroom. She didn't stir. For a moment, he expected that she'd fallen asleep in his arms. But then she spoke.
"I love you too, Harry. I think I always have." She lifted her head up and kissed him once more before whispering. "But now it's time to sleep. I'll still be here in the morning."
"Good," Harry said quietly as she rested against him once more. In just a matter of moments they were both asleep.
He darted around the Bulgarian chasers, making sure Krum followed him through the fray. He did, and the Bulgarian chasers had to pull out of their formation to avoid contact. Harry took a moment to glance at the scoreboard. They had a fifty point lead, but didn't appear to be able to make it any larger than that. He could tell that Krum was frustrated enough by that point. But frustration could only be so much of a weapon. He needed to end the match soon, while Krum was still annoyed.
He flew around the stands once more, half wondering why Krum hadn't called a time out there. Titus would have after the chasers were disrupted like that. He swerved around, looking for Krum, and realized why the Bulgarian didn't call a timeout. Krum was racing toward the snitch. It was across the pitch and low to the ground. Krum had a head start on him, but he certainly had a better line.
The crowd caught on when Harry swerved hard and put himself on a line directly at the snitch. He knew he'd only get one chance to guess at which way the little golden ball would move when the two seekers approached, and that the little movement from that could decide the match.
The snitch climbed as the two seekers approached. Harry lifted his broom up quickly, but Krum managed to cut in front of him. Harry cursed and slipped behind the Bulgarian, waiting for the right moment to make any sort of a move. The snitch faked right before cutting left nearly ninety degrees. The move caught Krum slightly off-guard and Harry managed to cut to the inside of his opposite. They flew evenly, knocking into each other as they tried for the advantage.
The snitch kept climbing as it evaded the two seekers. Finally, when it neared the center of the pitch, it dove. Harry recognized the move. Sometimes snitches just seemed to know it was over. The ball was giving itself up. It would simply come down to who could catch it first. And Harry liked to think he was the fastest diver in the British and Irish league.
He immediately pressed his broom downward, putting next to no angle in his line to the snitch. He did everything in his power to ignore the larger Bulgarian flying nearly evenly with him. The Bat accelerated quicker than Krum's broom, and Harry could keep himself lower to it. He saw Krum falling out of his vision as he pressed closer to the golden ball. A moment later he saw Krum pull up above him. His opposite was experienced enough to know he just didn't have the speed for the dive, and would have to rely on Harry missing the catch.
But Harry wasn't about to let that happen. He inched closer toward the snitch, it was almost in his grasp when he saw Krum again. The Bulgarian shot ahead and was going to attempt to cut Harry off. Harry rolled hard to the left and barely avoided Krum. Krum tried to stay on the line, but Harry finished his roll back in front.
The snitch was nearly to the ground. Harry pressed himself forward, waiting for it to change direction. After another moment, it did. The golden ball attempted to fly straight up. Harry lifted himself up and swiped at the ball as it passed over his head. He felt the impact in his glove and let the momentum of the snitch carry him upwards for a moment.
"Harry Potter has done it!" He heard Dickerson yell. He could barely hear the announcer over the crowd. "The English have won the World Cup! England has won the World Cup!" He held the golden ball into the air for a moment before making sure he had it secured in his hand. He knew what would happen next.
Titus was the first to him. The beater always seemed to try to fly through him, rather than to him. He felt his friends arms wrap around his neck. He could hear Titus yelling, but he couldn't make out the words. Jason and Oliver hit him next. He wasn't sure which of them clasped him on the back, or which of them was crying.
Katie arrived as soon as Jason and Oliver moved to congratulate Titus. She flung her arms around him and kissed him fully on the lips, before breaking away from him and giving the rest of the boys the same treatment. Harry couldn't help but notice that Jason got the longest, and deepest, kiss. He wished them the best. Gwenog just gave him a quick congratulations. She took the snitch from him and gave it to the official for inspection. The official declared England the official winners and handed the snitch back to Harry. He spun his broom back toward his teammates and found himself face to face with Ginny.
She looked as uncomfortable as he felt. She didn't hug him, and she certainly didn't look nearly as exuberant as the rest of the team. Harry just smiled at her and flew toward her. He hugged her, and laughed when she tensed, before pulling her into the celebration with the rest of the team.
The officials broke them apart after a few moments. The team lined up near the center of the pitch and shook hands with the Bulgarians over the middle of the pitch. Krum looked sick, Harry didn't even want to fathom what he must have felt like.
The trophy presentation came next. Gwenog Jones joined the Swedish Minister above the pitch and waited to accept the large cup. Harry floated over toward his friends in the stands.
"Congratulations 'Arry!" he heard either Fleur or Gabrielle yell. It was amazing how similar they sounded.
"Thanks," he responded, smiling at both of them.
"Yea, good job Potter, you're going to make me so much money," Daphne teased from nearby.
"Told you I wouldn't disappoint," he laughed. "Just make sure I get most of it." He looked away from Daphne to the girl he'd flown over to spoke to. She shied away from him, as if she didn't want to be a part of the festivities. He smiled a little bit at Luna.
"Cute wings," he said, drawing some agreement from the nearby spectators. "I hope the match lived up to your expectations?" She looked at him like he was insane.
"Of course I did!" she yelled over the still screaming fans. "It was amazing!"
"Good," he smiled. "Now come here." He grabbed her out of her seat and placed her on the broom in front of him.
"Harry!" she shrieked. "You're going to get me killed!" But as soon as she was on the broom she trusted him enough to lean back and let him hold her.
"You'll be fine. I'm a professional," he said as he flew back over toward the trophy presentation.
"I shouldn't be a part of this," she stated as they watched Gwenog take the trophy from the Minister. "It's your party, and your trophy. Don't you want to hold it?"
"I'm holding the only thing I really want to hold," he said, his arms wrapping tightly around her waist.
"Lame, Harry," she said. Gwenog brought the trophy back toward the rest of the team. She handed it to Ginny first, but Harry paid more attention to the pretty blonde on his broom.
"Yes. But it's true," he said. He lowered the broom slowly, away from his teammates celebration. He stepped off the broom and Luna did the same. Before she could say anything he kissed her, deeply. The crowd noticed. Harry was sure it appeared on the screens around the stadium, but he didn't care. She kissed him back, her hands sliding around his back and up into his hair.
"Well, we're not going to be hidden if you keep doing that, Harry," Luna said as she pulled away.
"I know. But I love you, Luna Lovegood, and I don't care if everyone else knows that. I'm yours, and I want you to be mine," he said to her. Part of him, a very small part, had considered proposing to Miss Lovegood in Sweden. But it was too soon for that. And he knew he wasn't ready to tread down that path once more.
"As long as you're mine, I'll be yours," she responded so quietly he could barely hear her.
"Good," he smiled and kissed her once more. He heard cheering from the fans, and jeering from his friends and teammates. He could sense the flashbulbs going off in the stadium. But he didn't care. He loved Luna, and somehow he knew that he would never lose her. And, at least for the moment, that was perfect.
Author's note: Well, that's the end of this one. This chapter took forever to write, for a wide variety of reasons. There's some bits I'm not overly happy with. But I figured I should just complete the story. I may edit it up a bit later and shift some things around, but I haven't particularly decided on that yet.
This will also probably be my last update for a while. I have some idea for Pure Blood Princess, but I'm going to focus on some original work instead for now. Thanks for all of the reviews and support, I appreciate every bit of it.