"You can talk him into Ron." George coached, "You're his best friend he won't say no to you."
"It's not going to work." Hermione sang from her spot on the couch, "No way is Harry going to use his fame to get a team in a professional charity quidditch match. He doesn't like the fame he's not going to use it."
"She's right." Ron conceded.
"Don't be a party pooper." Bill frowned, "At least try. He'll get to play against Ginny surely he'll want to do it."
"I'll ask." Ron gave in, "But you all have to help." He got up and trudged across the room to make the call.
"Stop." Charlie said, "With that attitude you won't get far. You have to be excited and confident. You can talk him into this. How many times have you talked him into things in the past."
"It's not going to work." Ron sighed.
"Just invite him to come over for the weekend." George suggested, " Ginny's occupied with her game, he's all alone for the whole weekend. Tell him we're all going to the game together and we might as well keep him company while Ginny's locked up."
"That we can do." Hermione stated, "Just don't jump on him as soon as he comes through the floo."
"Fine." the three men stated together.
Ten minutes later Harry stepped out of the floo. Hermione was the only one there to greet him, "Hey Harry. How are you doing?"
"Fine I guess." Harry shrugged, "Thanks for the invite. Gets too quiet without at least one Weasley around. Speaking of which where is he?"
"Trying to keep his brothers from attacking you." She grinned, "Did you hear about the Quidditch tournament?"
"I've heard. I have a copy of the rules. I think I can manage to stay out of this one." he grinned.
"You just keep thinking that." She went back to reading, "They're in the kitchen."
Harry stopped in the doorway to the kitchen and grinned at the sight of four grown red headed men around a plate of cookies. Each had a glass of milk and a cookie in hand but they were being ignored because the conversation. Only quidditch could direct Ron's attention away from food. And even that didn't usually last long. He watched for a few moments when in unison all four stopped talking, dunked the cookie and shoved it into their mouths whole.
Chuckling from the doorway Harry said, "Who was in charge of dunking timing, they are a genius."
Four cookie filled yells of, "Harry" were heard.
Ron was the first finished and asked, "What do you have there?"
"This is the rule book for the charity tournament." Harry tossed it on the table, "Read that before you ask me to do anything."
"But you've already read it." George pointed out, "So why don't you just tell us."
"The thirteen captains of the league are choosing teams. Each team consists of the quidditch team and any extra members they would like to add maximum of fifty people total per team. There will be six games in the first round with one team getting to jump forward, three in the second with a different one jumping forward, two in the third and then the final game." Harry said, "No extra teams will be added to the mix."
"Fine, so whose team are you going to play on?" George asked.
"I'm not playing." Harry said, "I am going to sit on my backside and eat crisps while I watch Ginny play."
"Come on Harry." Bill said, "Think of the publicity this would give to the war fund. It's for orphaned children."
"I think I've done enough for the war and the fund." Harry grumbled.
"How about commenting?" George asked, "You could comment with Lee."
"No I am only watching." Harry reiterated.
The rest of the day Harry refused to talk about the tournament. Any time it was brought up he would leave the room or change the subject. Six times Ron answered the floo and told the person he didn't know where Harry was. But yes he would give him the message that their team wanted him to play. Harry didn't return any floo calls. Near dinner the floo flared again and Ron went to answer it. They heard him say, "Yes he's here hiding out. Come on through."
Harry turned to Hermione with a look that clearly said, "I can't believe he's ratting me out."
"It might not be the tournament." Hermione patted his arm, "The Aurors sometimes call here looking for you."
A few seconds later Ron came back in the room followed by Ginny. Hermione grinned an 'I told you so' grin at Harry who ignored her and jumped to his feet and grabbed his wife in a hug, "Hey I didn't expect you to come home."
"I'm not really." Ginny glanced over her shoulder as Ron waved her captain Gwenog Jones into the kitchen.
"What's going on? Is everything ok?" Harry asked immediately concerned.
"We have a favor to ask of you." Ginny paused, "The rules of the tournament say you can't have a team with all members of the same gender. Sooo… I told Gwenog I thought we could get you to play seeker for us."
"Gin." Harry nearly whined.
"Please?" Ginny pulled him close and nuzzled his neck.
"Ok." Harry relented.
"Gin you better never go dark." Ron commented, "It took you like two seconds to turn him. We've been after him all day to play for someone and he's ignored six requests to join other teams." The floo flared again and he corrected himself, "Seven teams."
"Don't tell anyone he's playing for us." Gwenog told him, "That goes for the rest of you too. He's going to be our secret weapon."
"Just like first year all over again right Harry." George snickered.
"If you need any more I'll volunteer all four of these guys." Harry told Gwenog.
"No we just want good players." Ginny laughed at her brother's glares and pulled at Harry's hand, "Come on we need to get you fitted for your team gear."
Harry rolled his eyes and allowed himself to be pulled away.
"Whipped." Bill shook his head after they were gone.
"But since it's by your sister I suggest you don't give him a hard time about it." Hermione stated.
"Good point dear." Ron said, "We all just want her to be happy."
"That's right because an unhappy Ginny is one that's using the bat boogey hex." Charlie shuddered, "Why on earth did you teach her that one?"
*** at Holyhead ***
"Gin are you sure this is a good idea?" Harry asked, "I haven't played in a real game in years. I don't want to embarrass you or your team."
"Harry this is an excellent idea." Ginny said as she pushed him into the changing room, "Just put on the clothes so we can make sure they fit. We'll have a few practices this week and then the tournament next weekend."
"Gin are these supposed to be skin tight?" Harry asked as he pulled on the pants.
"Yes aerodynamics and all that stuff." she answered.
"It's like a second skin." he retorted.
"That's what its suppose to be." she responded, "You've never complained about mine."
"Gin the only thing this doesn't show is the color of my skin." Harry complained, "Even the shirt clings like its wet."
"Quit whining." Ginny growled.
"I'm not whining. I do not sound like Ron." Harry grumbled back.
"Step out so we can see." Ginny called.
"Who's we?" Harry asked, "How many people are going to see me like this?"
"Thousands so just get out here." Ginny wasn't sure if she was exaggerating or not.
"Gin I don't think that's a good idea." Harry called, "Come look first."
Ginny peeked around the door, "It looks fine, quit being a baby. Your shoe is untied."
"I'm not being a baby, I'm trying for modesty." Harry grumbled as he bent over to tie the shoe. Ginny grinned at the sight he presented her.
"Come on you look great, Gwenog needs to make sure it fits right." Ginny pulled his arm and he followed her out the door.
All of her team mates were waiting outside the door. Several wolf whistled when he came into view. Harry's face was beet red within two seconds. Gwenog walked around him making sure it was a proper fit. When she was finished she asked, "How in the world did you notice his shoe was untied?"
The team cracked up most of them actually fell down laughing. Harry's face actually lost a bit of color before he said, "I'm going to be a laughing stock."
"No you won't." Gwenog said, "The girls will be too busy drooling and the guys will be pouting. No one will be laughing."
"But you all are." Harry pointed out.
"Harry." Ginny chuckled, "It was funny because she means you look so good from your knees up no one would ever get to your feet. Only I know how dead sexy they are."
"Gin I feel ridiculous." Harry said.
"If I get Hermione here will you believe her?" Ginny asked.
A few minutes later Hermione was standing before him with a concerned look on her face, "Harry are you sure you want to wear that in public?"
"See I told you I look ridiculous." Harry turned to Ginny.
"No you don't." Hermione broke in, "You look really good."
"I don't look stupid?" he asked.
"Let's just say I think you'll have the same effect on women that Fleur has on men." Hermione giggled.
"That just might be worse than looking stupid." Harry conceded dropping his head in his hands.
"Don't worry Harry, I'll protect you." Ginny patted his arm.
"I think you're going to need me to help with that." Hermione turned away, "Possibly Fleur and Mum too."
"See Harry no one will even notice if you can't play well anymore." Ginny laughed at the look on his face. But the joke worked and he grinned back at her.
At his first practice Harry was a bit uptight. But he went out and practiced against their seeker and won two out of four of the tries. The next two practices he was more relaxed and did even better. The evening before the first match he was snuggling with Ginny on their couch by the fire.
"I think Mindy was taking it easy on me." he stated out of the blue.
"Mindy doesn't take it easy on anyone." Ginny stated, "You're just really good. I've told you plenty of times you could play professionally."
"But your opinion is biased." Harry said, "You just tell me that because you love me."
"I do not have biased opinions on anything to do with quidditch." Ginny argued, "If you didn't play well I'd tell you so. I told Bill and Charlie they're off thier games."
"But you love me." Harry said, "You wouldn't crush my feelings like that."
"I also wouldn't put you in a position to embarrass yourself either." Ginny said, "I mean what I say you could play professionally if you wanted."
"I'll only play for the Harpies. I could never play against you." Harry pulled her into a lingering kiss.
"Welcome to the first round of the Charity Quidditch Cup. The proceeds for today's game goes to the War Orphans Fund. Today's game is Chudley Cannons verses the Holyhead Harpies. Announcing with me today is Angelina Weasley chaser for Puddlemere United. Welcome Angelina." Lee Jordan announced, "The Cannons have a max roster of fifty for the game but the Harpies only added one player to their roster for tournament."
"That's right Lee but they're keeping that name a secret." Angelina stated, "I'm really just here as a spy for my team. I'm scouting out the opposition so we can plan ahead if we get to play the Harpies later. It's the advantage of getting to jump the first game. We got the spot because we finished first in the league this year. The team with the second best record will get the second jump."
"Very devious of you Ang." Lee laughed, "But now the starters for the Cannons. I give you Heartland, Campbell, Newsome, Coble, Dearborn, Lansing and their captain Seaward. " Lee paused for the applause to die down, "Now the starters for the Harpies are Captain Jones, Nickel, Casey, Lakewood, Norby, Potter and… "
"Who is it Lee?" Angelina asked.
"I can't believe it." Lee stammered, "How in the world did they get him?"
"Who is it Lee?" Angelina demanded.
"Ginny had to have done it." Lee guessed.
"Lee if you don't tell us who it is I'm going to strangle you." Angelina yelled.
"Harry?" Angelina shouted, she looked up and sure enough Harry Potter was trailing behind the rest of the Harpies as they did their warm up lap, "They got Harry? But he turned us down."
"Actually I heard he turned down twelve teams." Lee said, "I never put it together that he must have said yes to one of them. I feel a bit stupid now."
"Lee I think the officials are ready to start." another voice sounded over the crowd.
"Uh right. Sorry just in shock there for a moment." Lee chuckled, "Ok the captains are shaking hands and the brooms have been mounted. There goes the snitch and the bludgers. Now the team is up and the quaffle is away. Potter wins the first grab and streaks towards the Cannons goals. It's in with no real opposition and its ten to nothing Harpies."
Harry floated above the crowd and watched the game. He had instructions from Gwenog not to catch the snitch until they had played at least one hour. He could end it earlier only if it was to keep the other seeker from getting it. Twenty minutes in Harry saw the other seeker go into a dive but didn't follow. Lee wondered aloud if Harry was sleeping but he just grinned. He had see the snitch several times and currently it was ten meters above his head and about five meters to the right. When the Cannons seeker realized he wasn't following he pulled out of his dive and resumed his search for the snitch.
Lee corrected himself and said, "I guess Potter just didn't fall for his fake. Sorry I thought you'd lost your edge Harry, I should have known better. "
Harry saluted him and the moved to keep himself between the Cannons seeker and the snitch. He didn't try any daring moves or anything but at the one hour mark when the score was four hundred and fifty to ten Harry dove through the air. The Cannons seeker didn't follow because he thought Harry was faking. But when he made a hard right and started reaching out for it the other seeker saw the snitch and tried to follow. He was far too late and Harry had the snitch before the man had fully turned into the dive.
"Potter catches the snitch and the Harpies win six hundred to ten." Lee was grinning from ear to ear, "Congratulations Harpies see you in the next round tomorrow."
The Harpies enjoyed a small celebration that evening. But knowing they had a game the next day kept them from going overboard. When Lee showed up with Katie, Angelina and George he called for quiet.
"You'll be playing Falmouth tomorrow." Lee stated, "Appleby gets the jump, Wasps play Portree, and the Tornados play Puddlemere."
"What's the next bracket?" Gwenog asked.
"The winner of your game plays Appleby." He grinned, "I'd say you are good for the final. My bet is Holyhead verses Puddlemere."
"I can't believe you thought I was asleep." Harry called over to his friend.
"My mistake." Lee grinned back.
By the fourth round Lee's bet was proved to be true. Puddlemere and Holyhead were in the final. The stadium was packed when Lee announced the coin toss and ball launch. It was a fast paced close game. This time Harry wasn't told to make the game stretch out. Gwenog said, "Find it, catch it, win the game. See if you can beat your record win."
"My record is less than five minutes." Harry stated, "Are you sure you want me to break it?"
"Yes." Was her resounding reply.
Five minutes passed and Harry sighed, "No new record, sorry Gwenog."
Harry was constantly moving, looking for the snitch and keeping an eye on the opposing seeker. Ten minutes in and the other seeker went for a dive. Harry followed but pulled up and dashed off to the right. He could hear the other seeker cursing as he pulled away. A bludger threw him off course and he lost sight of the snitch. The other seeker started following Harry. It reminded him of playing against Malfoy. It irritated him so much that he decided to break him off so after checking carefully for the snitch he took off in a dive. The other seeker close on his heels. As he closed in on the ground he pulled up and climbed back into the sky. The crunch of body hitting ground made him look back and grimace.
Harry could hear Lee screaming, "That was a text book perfect Wronski Feint. I didn't know he could still do one of those." Harry grinned to himself as time was called and their second seeker was sent into the game. He didn't make the same mistake the other one did. He still followed Harry but not in an obvious fashion. Harry again spotted the snitch but the opposing seeker was between him and the little golden ball. He checked the score and they game was tied. He drifted close to the other seeker and when they were side by side Harry leaned and took off like a shot. The other seeker was right behind him. They sped through the chasers going down and to his distress it made a turn in favor of the other seeker. Harry poured on the speed, grabbed and caught it just inside the other seeker. Harry's hand was on the snitch and the other seekers hand was on his. This time the party was huge and it lasted all night.
When Harry returned to work at the Ministry a few days later he was prepared to be teased. His fellow Aurors managed to get a life sized poster of Harry in the Harpies uniform. He had a broom in one hand and a snitch in the other. But the teasing was ruined when one of the office girls asked if she could keep the poster when they were done with it.
"Sorry Mary." Ron said, "I promised I'd return it to Ginny when we were done with it. It's her poster."
"Did she really give this to you?" Harry asked.
"No." Ron scoffed, "But if she knew I had it and let some other girl take it she'd murder me in a slow and painful way."
"Too true." Harry agreed, "And when she was finished I'd be next."
"If anything were left after that then Hermione would finish me off." Ron nodded, "That's why I volunteered to provide the poster so that I could take it down. Bill, Charlie, George and I made this. No one else has a copy and its charmed so that no one can take a picture of it."
"Good then I won't kill you." Ginny's voice came from behind.