Chapter 1 : It's just keeping it in the family.
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Ginny Potter closed her eyes, breathing the atmosphere in. Quidditch had its own kind of smell – the polished broomsticks themselves, the grass… but also the excitement, the nerves, and determination. Quidditch mattered. Maybe not to everyone and maybe it didn’t matter as much as curing disease and fighting evil, but it still mattered. She had spent so many years of her life playing Quidditch – she thought herself to fly from the age of six, played for her school, the Harpies, and now was the senior Quidditch correspondent for the daily prophet. It mattered.
It certainly mattered to her eldest son, James, who was now in his final year at school and was the captain of the Gryffindor house Quidditch team. Parents didn’t usually attend these matches, but her son had begged for them to come. He had, in fact, invited his whole family. Touched, they did what they could, and those who were able to make it, made it. Ginny knew Harry, too, was excited to be here. They wanted to support their sons, and were extremely proud that James in particular was working so hard.
Ginny seated herself between Harry and Hermione, to the right of whom was Ron. At Harry’s other side sat Teddy, Victoire, Dominique, and their cousins; Molly and Lucy. All of them were pleased to be back in their old school, and had had a brilliant time catching up with some of the teachers; Hagrid, Neville and Professor McGonagall in particular. They were seated with the Headmistress in the top box, just across from the commentator’s booth, drawing some attention from the crowds below. Harry, Ron and Hermione for their role in the Battle of Hogwarts were attracting glances from the crowd, though it was a joke within the family that the new generation were more in awe of Ginny than the war heroes.
The extended Weasley family stopped their reminiscing when they heard a familiar voice from the commentator’s box, announcing the start of the game. The party seemed to recognize the speaker all at once as a whole, turning to each other in surprise. Rose Weasley was perched in the commentator’s booth, her flaming red hair clearly visible from where they sat. She called out the members of the Ravenclaw team as they flew onto the pitch, while her family looked on in mild bemusement.
Ginny grinned, peeking over at Hermione, who looked puzzled. Rose had not inherited her father’s passion for Quidditch; she was much more like Hermione in that she preferred to watch from the side-lines, though sometimes played with her family in friendly games at home. Ginny was proud of her niece, getting involved in the game her family loved. She took her husband’s hand, and waited for Gryffindor’s turn so she could wave the “Potter/Weasley banner” that she had made for the games the children and their cousins liked to play.
James was the first to fly on to the pitch, waving at the cheering crowd and his adoring fans, his younger brother Albus following close behind, the clear second-in-command. Ginny and Harry roared their support, waving their homemade banner over their heads, to the visible delight of their sons and amusement to those in the crowd that could see them. They put an immediate stop to their banner-waving as the remainder of the team burst onto the pitch. It seemed that James had been very busy indeed.
The crowds cheer died down after the usual amount of time, just before realizing what had happened. The players took their places, James as a Chaser like his mother, and Albus as Seeker, like his father. More surprising was the way in which the rest of the team was comprised – Fred and little Louis as chasers, Hugo as keeper, Roxanne and Lily as, worst yet, beaters.
“Oh God”, Harry moaned. “Not a beater, Jamie”. Ginny stuffed the banner in her bag, not wanting to be seen as a part of whatever James was doing. Surely there were rules against this sort of thing, she thought desperately. He couldn’t replace all the hard working members of the team with his own family. Ron had been delighted to see Hugo, but was quickly distracted when he saw his nieces on the field. Despite the best efforts of every female of his very Quidditch-oriented family, Ron felt that they needed to be protected. Hermione was outraged for a different reason.
“That is completely unfair!” she hissed. “What about all those other poor children who want to play on the team?” Her eyes suddenly narrowed as she rounded Harry and Ginny, who leaned away from her slightly in fear. “You two put James up to this, you want to make it so your children will dominate Gryffindor Quidditch and they’ve all left! What’s next for the Potter family?” She spat, as people below them started looking around. “Marrying them all off to Quidditch stars, so your grandchildren can do this all again in a few years?”
Ron cut across her, a dangerous thing to do in these situations. “Hey what do you mean by ‘the Potter family’? Hugo doesn’t get a look in then?” he snarled angrily.
Hermione had been completely wrong to blame them of course, and though her best friend was very fair, Ginny knew from experience of their own school days that Hermione could be a little insecure. She obviously was just trying to look out out for her family
Before either of the Potters could retort, four gags appeared in the mouths of the arguing adults. The younger generation were all keen to see how their family would do, though Ginny could see they were obviously disappointed that they had never thought of doing this when they were in school. . They were equally delighted with Rose’s commentary, which couldn’t have been less biased even if her father had been the one doing the honors.
Oh, hard luck there Ravenclaw, you almost had it there!” she said, with a clearly condescending smile. Professor McGonagall, still not quite over the idea of the Potter/Weasley takeover, was visibly torn. Ginny could tell that while the Professor knew that the way in which Rose was commentating was technically wrong, but also knew that Rose could argue her way out of anything, using Granger logic alongside Weasley cheek.
Gryffindor scored for the third time in two minutes, causing Rose to cheer with barely disguised ecstasy. Ginny had to hand it to her son, despite the fact that he may well have deprived his fellow students their place, he had put together an impressive team. She never would have thought of putting the two girls as beaters, but they were excellent. Wincing as her beautiful, delicately featured, fourteen year old daughter rammed a beater into the skull of a hulking seventeen year old Ravenclaw boy, she realized that the girl had truly inherited her raging temper. Lily and Roxanne worked together, shielding each other and their family members.
James had definitely shown excellent strategic qualities, apart from his presumed plot to keep himself and his relations in power. The children had played together hundreds of times, in varying positions and as a result knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and had practiced different plays together that even professional teams would find challenging. Each of the chasers scored a couple more times each, but Hugo had yet to let in a single goal.
She jumped as her husband grabbed her wrist tightly, rising from her seat, his eyes completely focused on Albus, who had shot straight up in the air from his previous position near his cousin Hugo. Most of the crowd hadn’t even noticed, as in the mean Lily had committed some sort of foul, though due to Rose’s commentating skills had lead most people to believe it had been an accident on the part of the Ravenclaw team. The Potters clung onto each other in fear, waiting for a glimpse of their youngest son, who seemed to have disappeared into the clouds.
They didn’t have long to wait, seconds later he plummeted to the ground before sharply pulling up at the last minute. One by one the Gryffindor stands went ballistic, seeing their seeker do laps around the pitch, snitch in hand. Rose had dropped all pretenses of being an unbiased commentator, and screamed unintelligibly, before McGonagall managed to wrestle her wand from her. The elderly headmistress calmly announced the winner, before asking the Gryffindor team, head of house and guests to meet with her in her office, the request sounding more like a threat than anything else.
The team played no heed to the announcement. To their credit, they paused briefly thank the Ravenclaw players for the game, before joining Albus, who was still doing laps at high speed. Victoire took a moment to remove the gags from the adult’s mouths before returning to her cheering. Bickering forgotten, they did the same.
Eventually they made their way to the pitch with the rest of the supporters, the entire family engaging in one huge group hug. Ginny noticed Scorpius Malfoy somewhere in the group, though he slipped away before she could remark on it. Presuming he had merely gotten lost in the fray, she congratulated each of them in turn, before fondly smacking her eldest son upside the head. After things had calmed down slightly, they made their way together, chatting excitedly, to the headmistress’s office. Meeting Neville on the way, the adults stopped to chat, leaving the team and other young people to go on ahead. He was Head of their house, much to his delight, but had had no idea that James had organized the team, admiring as he was of the decision.
They could hear McGonagall’s screams as they approached the office. Ginny could see her husband’s face light up, both at the familiar sound and because of the memories the place inspired. She squeezed his hand affectionately and he stooped over to give her a peck on the cheek. Their elation was interrupted as they reached the office, and were finally able to understand what was going on.
Ginny had to laugh as she saw her two sons sitting in front of McGonagall’s desk, their sister perched on the edge of Albus’ chair looking slightly bored and worryingly used to the scene. The other Weasley were less at home in the office, though still significantly more than any other members of the school would. Even Rose looked undisturbed, and was standing defiantly alongside the team.
“Nepotism?” laughed a puzzled James. “No, nothing like that. I just know my family are the best fliers in the school and we work well together. Under my leadership of course”, he grinned, earning a good-spirited elbow to the ribs from Al. “It’s just keeping it in the family!”
Rose leaned over and whispered audibly in her cousin’s ear. “That’s what nepotism means, genius”. Ron sniggered, earning a despairing look from Hermione, and caused the irate teacher to scold her former pupils for not taking the whole thing seriously enough.
Albus jumped in. “It’s not their fault Professor, they had no idea. We invited them because we thought they’d be proud. They always taught about how important family was”.
Ginny smiled at her son, delighted with how thoughtful her children had been. She looked at her children, her nieces and nephews and was proud. They truly understood the family values their parents had thought them, to be loyal to each other. Albus continued to argue their case with Rose, pointing out that James, who had been made captain the year before had waited until all the existing members of the team had left the school to bring in the others. They had performed best in the try-outs, and flew exceptionally together.
James, sensing that the headmistress had been appeased, smiled his thanks at his brother and cousin before summing up. “Professor, I hope you will continue to have faith in my captaincy and in Albus and Lily when it comes to be their turn. We’ve had it planned for years; we each take the team in our 6th and 7th years, ensuring Gryffindor wins till Lily leaves”.
The whole room froze. The former headmasters of Hogwarts quickly left their portraits, sensing the atmosphere in the room. The team, Rose and the older cousins turned on the Potter children, trembling with anger.
“Planned for years?” Dominique growled. “What about Louis?”
“Or Rox!” countered Fred. “It’s bad enough you got captain over me, but you think you can pass it down over my sister?”
Hugo turned to Lilly, speechless. Lily looked away awkwardly, her glance only to be met by Teddy and Victoire’s stony glares.
Molly and Lucy, pedantic to the last, started quoting the rule book at each other, debating whether this could actually be done or not.
“Everybody calm down!” ordered James. “Everyone knows we Potters are the best fliers, and Gryffindor captaincy has been ours for generations. Not to mention who Mum is.” He puffed his chest out proudly.
Ginny was past scolding her children. Scanning the room and she saw the Weasley tempers flaring up, countered by the same temper and the infamous Potter arrogance. She grabbed her husband and fled the office, followed closely by her brother and Hermione and more surprisingly, Professor McGonagall. They had lived through the first Battle of Hogwarts. They weren’t going to take a chance with the second.