Disclaimer: If you recognize it it belongs to JKR
Written for the Different Perspective challenge on HPFC
Ginny re-bound her ponytail as she watched Dean nervously fidget with his broom. Seamus was chattering about studying the Kestrels' Troy's passing technique, not really bothered that neither of them were listening. Ginny glanced up as he broke off mid-sentence to see Harry, flanked by Ron and Hermione as per usual, entering the pitch. She wrinkled her nose as she saw Cormac McLaggen's hulking figure hurry over to Harry, trying to butter him up, though judging by his body posture as he walked away he had no luck.
"Come on," Dean said from behind her, "Harry's signalling everyone in."
They joined the crowd surrounding a slightly overwhelmed looking Harry, who was trying to shout over the chatter of what looked like half of Gryffindor. Plus a few Hufflepuffs, Ginny noticed as she recognised Anthony Goldstein's little sister and her friends clutching brooms at the back of the group.
As Harry divided them into groups of ten for a basic flight test, she also spotted Michael Corner's brother from Ravenclaw. Ginny debated pointing this out to Harry but figured he'd work it out soon enough and stood back with the older applicants to watch the younger students attempt to make it around the pitch. By the fourth group, Dean and Seamus were laughing, and even Ginny joined in when Harry grumpily sent off the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws.
Finally they started seeing the actual contenders for the team and Ginny, making a perfect landing at the head of her group, saw some of the worry drain from his face. Deliberately forcing herself to look away from him, she followed his gaze to the next group flying their lap, including Dean, Seamus, and Katie. Katie was half a broom length ahead of the two boys, who led the rest of the pack, and Ginny was fairly certain that she would be back on the team. Ginny, too, felt quite confident in claiming her place, which left one more Chaser to be decided.
She had been practicing with Dean and Seamus of late, all three of them keen on playing Chaser. At first the boys had been surprised by her skill, though Dean had swallowed his pride faster to ask her for tips. His skill level had picked up noticeably in the last week, and she thought that might prove the difference between him and Seamus. Of course there could be some star player hiding in the midst of the younger students that none of them had ever seen play, though it seemed unlikely.
As the last group flying their lap landed, McLaggen ahead by a mile, Harry called the thirty-seven prospective players who had passed the basic test back in. Shoving his fringe from under his glasses, he announced, "Right, let's start with…er, chasers," glancing briefly at Ron.
He seemed a little lost, so Ginny grabbed Dean's hand and moved to stand beside Katie. Several others followed, and Harry got the hint.
"Er, yes. Everyone trying out for Chaser stand over there. The rest just stay back for a bit, though if I could have a couple of people trying for Beater help me get the bludgers out."
"What if we're trying for more than one position?" asked Xavier, a stout black boy from Ginny's year whom she didn't remember having any particular talent for flying.
"Well, if one of them is Chaser, then go with the Chasers," Harry replied, giving him a funny look.
In the end, twenty-five of the the group lined up for the position. First, Harry had them individually take the quaffle and fly at the hoops like a penalty. After two runs each he cut five from the group, ignoring their complaints. Next he had them repeat the exercise, though he would yell out which hoop they had to shoot for about halfway through their flight. This cut another three, and they moved on to a more traditional chaser drill.
Clearly Harry had paid some attention to Angelina's training, as he was quickly able to identify those who were poor at the teamwork part of Chasing. In groups of three, they attacked the hoops, first unguarded, then with a fill-in keeping. Finally, he had the remaining nine play off against one another in rotating three-on-threes, with last year's beater Jack Sloper in charge of directing a single bludger. This quickly separated the decent players from the good ones. Flying in a group with Dean and Seamus against Katie, a third-year Demelza Robins, and a fourth-year Chelsea Arnoll, Ginny noticed that Seamus was struggling with the pace. He fumbled a throw from Dean, which Katie pounced on and threw to Arnoll, who completely missed. Before she could turn to retrieve it, Ginny flattened herself to her handle and snatched the quaffle from under Arnoll's nose and rocketed towards the hoops. Katie moved to cut her off, and she called and passed downwards to Dean who caught it with ease and aimed a shot at the right hoop on Katie's weaker side. Suddenly Robins was there, blocking the goal and rocketing past Seamus, rolling perfectly to avoid a bludger as she scored at the far end.
Harry ignored Seamus's scowl as he mixed up the teams again, and Ginny had a chance to watch on the sidelines with Katie and Arnoll. Beckoning them aside, he said without hesitation, "I think you both know you're back on the team, and I want your opinion about number three. I'm thinking Robins, though Dean's not bad too. Or maybe Williams, though he's a little slow, and I don't like his attitude."
Ginny agreed that they were the best three remaining, and a part of her wanted to push Dean. But as she watched Demelza dodge another bludger to land a tackle on Seamus, she had to concede that the athletic third-year was probably the better player.
Katie too agreed, having found her easy to work with in the drills. As Harry called down the hopefuls, Ginny tried not to look at Dean. She hoped her getting the place over him wouldn't cause trouble between them. Sure enough, when Harry announced the three Chasers, Dean looked furious, and Seamus threw his broom on the ground and stalked away muttering. Several others descended on Harry, arguing loudly, joined by two of the seventh-years that had been cut in the previous exercise, while Katie took the ecstatic Demelza in hand.
She was surprised then when came over to her, wearing a rueful smile. "Well done," he said, giving her a quick hug. "I knew you'd get on. I just hoped I could as well."
Smiling back, glad that they were still ok, she confided to him, "You were definitely the next best. Harry said so too."
As his face lit up, she poked him in the ribs, informing him, "You'd better keep in practice Mr Thomas. If anything happens, we may end up playing together yet."
"I can live with that," he replied. He caught her hand, squeezed it once, then nodded over her shoulder. "And you'd probably better go rescue Harry from that mob so we can sort out the rest of the team before sunset."
With that he scooped up Seamus's broomstick, slung it over his shoulder with his own, and walked off after his friend. Catching Katie's eye over the head of the mob, Ginny sighed and began wading through the arguing crowd to help her captain.