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Ginny stepped out of the tent and surveyed the cloudless starry sky. No wind to speak of, perhaps a bit cooler than she was used to, but still perfect Quidditch weather. She heard someone shuffling through the gravel at the side of the tent, and she quietly went to investigate, “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be in your box?”

“Couldn’t resist,” Harry grinned widely. “Can’t I come wish my wife luck? After all, I did get a chance to do the same for your opponent.” He brought his lips to hers and gave her a passionate kiss.

When they parted, Ginny looked up at him, “I hope you didn’t do that to Viktor.”

Harry laughed and shook his head, “No, but I did have to clear up some confusion about who he was playing.”

Ginny cocked her head to the side.

“He thought he was playing against me. When I told him you were Seeker, he started muttering in Bulgarian,” Harry chuckled at the memory.

A smile curled Ginny’s lips, “Gwenog must have been right. I guess he’s not used to playing against a girl.”

“Based on his reaction, I’d say that’s a no,” Harry turned to see the other members of the team making their way out of the players’ tent. When Gwenog came out, he looked to her for confirmation, “Ready to go?”

She nodded briskly.

Ginny and the others clutched their brooms and began to make their way to the stadium. She was surprised to notice that Harry continued to walk alongside her. She turned and saw Ron and Charlie following from a short distance behind, “What’s this about?” she asked. “We have an escort?”

Harry grimaced, “Just a precaution.”

“Harry Potter! What’s going on?” she rounded on Harry and ground to a halt.

“Not now,” he gave a shake of his head, “I’ll tell you later.”

Ginny didn’t look convinced.

“I don’t want to break your concentration. Gwenog already looks like she’s ready to hex me,” Harry pointed to the coach.

Ginny walked away in a huff.

“I thought she’d catch on,” Ron walked to stand at Harry’s side. Together, they followed the team at a respectable distance.

“I thought so as well, but Gwenog was very specific about not distracting the players. I had a hard time getting her to agree to this. She doesn’t see any threat. It would have helped if you’d had more specific information,” Harry nodded to Charlie.

“I agree, but it was a bit difficult to ask any questions. I couldn’t very well walk out of the shadows and ask exactly what they were planning to do at the Cup,” he reached up to scratch his chin.

The three men grimly followed the team.

------------

Ginny skimmed the surface of the pitch, drawing closer to the Snitch. This was it. After five hours, the game was over. England would win 380 - 230. She glanced over her shoulder at Krum. He was still too far away. He’d never get there in time. Coolly, as if she played Seeker every week, Ginny confidently reached out to clench the win.

The roar of the crowd swelled in her ears and sped her along. Just as her fingertips brushed the cool metallic skin of the ball, a pain shot through her side and something knocked her from her broom. Rolling over the ground, she saw the Bulgarian Beater, Ivanonv, laughing as he pointed to his boot. She grimaced and hesitantly pushed herself up to a sitting position.

“Foul!” the crowd roared.

“He can’t do that!” Ron spat at Harry. “You can’t make physical contact with another player.”

Harry gripped the iron bar in front of him. Watching Ginny speed through the pitch without realizing Ivanov was shadowing her....waiting to see what he planned to do had made Harry’s stomach tie up in knots. When she tumbled along the grass, he held his breath. Now, seeing her sit up and reach for her broom, he realized she was alright. He could breathe again.

In the center of the pitch the referee waved the crowd off.

“Apparently, this referee doesn’t remember that rule,” Harry’s fingers tightened on the railing as he leaned forward. His eyes narrowed as he studied Ginny walking to mount her broom. He quickly looked to Ron, but he didn’t seem to realize anything was wrong. Only Harry noticed that her steps didn’t appear smooth. She seemed to be holding one side more stiffly than the other.

As Ginny threw her leg over her broom, the British fans went wild. She’d lost the Snitch for the moment, but Ivanov’s play had only made her more determined. For now, the score was so close that the match depended entirely on the Seekers. She shot high into the air and sought out Krum. No longer the gentleman she knew from his visits with the family, he was the cocky player she remembered from her first visit to the Quidditch World Cup years ago. A hint of a smile crossed his lips before he glowered at her and pointed his broom close to the stands.

What did he see? Ginny bent down close over her broom to pick up speed. A pain stabbed at her side and she unconsciously grabbed it, throwing her off balance.

“Time!” Gwenog’s voice was barely audible at the height Ginny was over the pitch. The referee waited for a moment and finally blew his whistle.

The British team set their brooms down and closed in on their coach.

“What’s wrong with the referees?” Nora was incredulous. “Didn’t he see what Ivanov did?” She stomped closer to Gwenog.

“I’m sure he did,” Victoria looked at Ginny. “You alright?”

“I was going to ask you the same question,” Gwenog shot Ginny a pointed look.

Gritting her teeth together, Ginny nodded. She didn’t trust her voice.

Gwenog studied Ginny’s face. Not liking what she saw, she pressed on, “I want to hear you talk to me. Can you breathe?” Gwenog reached out and pressed gently on Ginny’s ribs.

Ginny took a breath to steady herself, “I can fly. I want a chance to get back at him. They’ve got the referees in their pocket. We’re only going to win if we can outscore them.”

“Time’s up!” a portly gray-haired referee approached the British bench. “Everyone in the air!”

Glaring at the official, they mounted their brooms, and the players kicked off from the hard ground. They flew together in one circle of the pitch until the official blew his whistle to signal the game recommenced.

For a moment, Harry wished he was playing Quidditch again. He studied the pitch and the air surrounding it with the eyes of a Seeker. He’d never played in conditions like this, and he knew Ginny’s task was that much harder. Everywhere he looked, he saw the glint of the Bulgarian souvenirs and the flash of light from the cameras of the press. The Snitch could hide in plain sight in any one of hundreds of places.

Even through his nervous discomfort, he had to smile as he watched Ginny speed through the air. While Harry enjoyed playing, she was born to play the game. Her broom danced through the air as it wove a complex pattern through the other players flying around her. She flew high and low as if she rode a Muggle roller coaster. She wouldn’t let the Snitch escape her again.

The game wore on. Instead of ebbing away, each team became more intense as the minutes ticked by. As the minutes changed to hours, even Ron became aware that Ginny was playing with an injury.

“Does she look alright to you?” Ron pointed at his sister as she made a pass close to their box.

Harry had watched as her face became more chalky-white as the match lumbered on, “No, she doesn’t.” Clouds had formed overhead and a steady drizzle now fell down upon the players and the spectators. The members of both teams clutched their brooms tightly as they sped through the air.

“She’s clearly hurt. Why doesn’t Gwenog take her out?” Hermione looked uneasy.

Ron and Harry turned to her in unison and shook their heads. Hermione still didn’t understand Quidditch.

Ron patted his wife’s back and said, “I’m sure that’s why she called time after it happened. I don’t think Ginny let her pull her out of the game.”

Hermione nodded but wasn’t convinced.

“Is Ginny alright?” Teddy looked anxiously up at Harry.

“Don’t worry about Ginny,” Harry reassured him, “she’s fine.” For once, though, Harry agreed with Hermione about the Quidditch game. Ginny wasn’t going to do her team any good if she passed out and let Krum seize the Snitch. He was certain that her pain wasn’t apparent to everyone else. He just could see that she clutched the broom a little too tightly. She held her shoulders slightly more upright than normal. When she needed to fly to the right, she twisted her whole body instead of bending from the waist.

“Foul!” the referee blew his whistle and pointed at Montegue.

“What the bloody hell did I do?” the chaser shot toward the official.

“Charging the Keeper!” the referee shouted, “Petkov will take a free shot at the goal.”

“But I had the Quaffle!” Montegue protested.

“Fall back, Montegue,” Gwenog called out while shaking her head. “Goode, don’t let him score!”

While grumbling about the referee’s bad call, the British team hung in the air in dismay and watched as Petkov lined up for the easy shot. As it flew into the goal, the Bulgarian team exchanged high fives as they flew back to their positions. Ginny felt herself under Krum’s eyes again, and she turned to glare at him. In that instant, a hint of something speeding by caught her attention. She didn’t dare turn to follow it, but instead she leaned close to her broom and flew straight at Krum. As his face turned red in anger, she suddenly veered left in pursuit of the tiny golden orb.

Still stunned by her behavior, Krum didn’t instantly recognize the move for what it was...a distraction. By the time he recovered enough to study where she’d gone, it was too late. He let out a growl as he saw her fingers inches from the Snitch again.

This time her team was ready, instead of concentrating on scoring again, Victoria and Nora shadowed Ginny and prevented the Bulgarian players from approaching her again.

Ginny leaned closer over her broom and ignored her complaining ribs. The sudden burst of speed was all she needed. Her fingers closed around the ball and it fluttered its wings in complaint for an instant before they dropped to its side in surrender.

For the first time in over a century, Britain had won the Quidditch World Cup. Ginny set her feet on the ground just in time to be hoisted about the team’s heads in celebration. The crowd cleared the stands and a memorable celebration ensued.

The “Potter delegation” made its way through the throng to join in. Ron and George called out, “That’s our little sister!” When Ginny laughed down at him, George continued, “And we taught her everything we know.”

“Yes, I’m sure that’s what made the difference,” Ginny reached for Harry’s hand to help her down off Montegue’s shoulder.

“I knew you could do it!” Teddy bounced up and down at her side.

Harry cautiously wrapped his arm around his wife’s waist.

Ginny spun around and wrapped her arms around his neck. Her face was flushed with excitement, “Wanna snog?” Ginny’s eyes twinkled evilly.

“What?” Harry’s eyes darted back and forth at the crowd.

“How often does your wife win the Quidditch World Cup?” she took a step closer to him.

“You have a point there,” Harry wrapped his arms more tightly around her waist and for an instant, they were the only ones on the field.

“Ugh, save that for later,” Ron tapped Harry’s shoulder. Flashes from the various cameras circled the couple.

“Five galleons they make the front page of the Prophet,” George looked to Charlie.

“Deal,” Charlie reached out and shook his brother’s hand.

-------

The butterbeer and the fire-whisky flowed like water among the team and its guests. The players recounted the match in a play by play - showing little respect for the incompetent referees.

“Do you think they were imperioused?” Hermione asked.

“I doubt it,” Bill shook his head, “more likely they’re just in the pocket of a supporter of the Bulgarian team.”

“But this is Quidditch!” Hermione bristled.

“Exactly,” George nodded.

Ginny wove amongst the crowd, both Harry and Teddy never too far from her side. Everyone wanted to shake her hand or give her a congratulatory hug. Teddy was thrilled as he soon had the autographs of every player on the back of his game ticket.

“Time for you to leave,” Gwenog put her hand on Ginny’s shoulder.

“Why?” Ginny turned to look at her, stunned.

“If you don’t want this to be the last game you play, you need to get those ribs looked at. No arguments. After you’ve seen a healer, you can come back,” Gwenog looked sternly at Ginny. “Do I have to take you myself?”

“No, that won’t be necessary,” Harry answered for his wife.

“We already had a long distance portkey set up for St. Mungo’s in the event of an occasion like this,” Gwenog nodded to a broken teacup on the bookshelf along the back wall of the tent.

“Teddy, looks like you’re calling it a night,” Harry apologized to his godson.

His face fell, but he didn’t complain.

“He doesn’t have to,” Martin approached Harry. “Sorry, Ginny, but I heard Gwenog. He’s free to stay with Andrew. I was about to take him back and put him to bed. We have more than enough room in our tent.”

“Can I?” Teddy tugged on Harry’s arm.

Harry dropped to one knee, “You’ll mind Mr. Hull?”

Teddy nodded eagerly.

“Alright, we’ll see you in the morning. Martin, I don’t know how much sleep you’ll get with the pair of them in your tent,” Harry ruffled Teddy’s hair.

“Oh, I doubt anyone gets too much sleep tonight. Don’t worry about it. I’m certain he’ll be fine,” he reached out and patted Teddy on the back.

Ginny realized her case was lost, and she reluctantly made her way through the crowd. Together, the pair touched the cup and the familiar tugging sensation instantly ensued.

Once at St. Mungo’s, healing the ribs didn’t take very long. She only needed three sips of Skele-grow before the healer pronounced her to be healing nicely. He advised no Quidditch for a few days, but he gave no restrictions besides that.

“So, back to the party?” Harry took Ginny’s arm.

“No, I think I’m finished with the party. Can we just go home?” she answered.

“Are you sure?” Harry looked at her with concern.

Ginny nodded in confirmation.

Together, they turned and disappeared with a pop.

Walking through the front door, they weren’t surprised to see that Kreacher had a fire going in the fireplace although there was no sign of the elf.

“He must be asleep,” Harry looked around for Kreacher.

“Probably didn’t hear us. I really think his hearing is going,” Ginny shook her head.

Harry began to walk toward their bedroom. He was surprised when Ginny caught his arm, “Where do you think you’re going?”

“I thought you were tired,” Harry intwined his fingers with hers.

“I think I said that I was finished with the party. I didn’t say I was finished celebrating,” she stepped closer to him and ran a finger down his chest, “for an Auror, you’re not always very perceptive.”

“Are you sure?” he hesitantly touched her side.

“Positive,” she stepped closer until their bodies were touching then lifted her face to his. As their lips met, she reached up and unfastened the button of his collar. Soon that wasn’t the only thing unbuttoned.

“I think you’re going to have to win more World Cups in the future,” he bent down and scooped her into his arms. She ran her fingers through his hair as he carried her into their room and laid her carefully on the bed. Harry stopped for a moment and stared down at her with unease. The deep purple spots were clearly visible on her side, “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Trust me, you’re not going to hurt me,” she pulled him to the bed beside her.






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