Disclaimer: All the characters in this piece belong to JK Rowling. I’m grateful that she lets us all play with them.
Are you a witch seeking some excitement? Have an undying loving for Quidditch that no one seems to understand? The Holyhead Harpies will be holding tryouts for new players at the Holyhead Harpies Stadium this Saturday from 9-11 am. Interested parties should contact Dilwen Bettis by owl to register.
Ginny looked up from her magazine as she heard the WWN advertisement for the Holyhead Harpies tryout. “Doesn’t that sound more interesting than this?” she thought to herself.
It was a humid, lazy summer day at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and the shop had been relatively quiet since morning except for a few uninterested stragglers. When she thought about it, she could be spending her time doing something she really loved instead of spending her time at the shop.
Since Fred’s death, she had tried to make up for her brother. George was still going strong with the invention of new products and WWW’s business was booming. Although she liked helping her brother, she couldn’t help but feel that she was wasting her time while the rest of the world was out working productively. Even Ron, along with Harry, had found a job in the Auror Department. They were all ready high up at such a young age, and had made great changes in the whole department from the old Ministry. Hermione, too, was involved in the Ministry, working with Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures for the improvement of the lives of house-elves and their ilk.
She sighed, turning to her magazine, spying Gwenog Jones on the cover of Quidditch Weekly. As her eyes scanned the pictures and words of Gwenog’s biography, she couldn’t help but think about the WWN advertisement.
“Maybe I do need something exciting in my life. At least I can say that I’ve done something meaningful with my life.” Her thoughts starting to cloud her mind with dreams.
Quickly, Ginny reached under the counter, grabbing a piece of parchment and a quill from the shelf, and started drafting a letter to Dilwen Bettis.
With a loud thud, Ginny Weasley arrived in a heap on the wet grasslands of Holyhead, with her broom and kit beside her. As Ginny stood in full form, brushing off her leather Quidditch gear, she stood to admire the beautiful vista of the small town in Anglesey County as the early morning rays sparkled across the top of the shimmering water. From the crashing waves of the Irish Sea to the cluster of shops bustling with tourists and shoppers between the hills, she couldn’t but feel impressed with the welcoming atmosphere the Welsh town provided.
As Ginny turned her gaze to the peak, she could not help but marvel at the size and magnitude of her endeavor. She knew that atop Anglesey’s highest peak, Mynydd Twr, rested the Holyhead Harpies stadium. The sight, however, was invisible to everyone, including wizards, with the use of some extremely powerful Muggle repelling charms and protection spells. With a high volume of tourists every year, it was important to hide the stadium well from prying eyes. As a ploy to fool Muggles, the ancient Iron Age Circle settlement provided the perfect façade for the stadium; the ancient ruins with its towering falls curved to form an enclosing around the area. The stadium itself was only accessible by broom or a direct Portkey that was reserved for players and special guests.
Ginny inhaled the salty air that came from the sea, feeling the slight nervousness and apprehension slip away as the scent lingered on her senses. As she mounted her broom, the gentle lull of a breeze swept the area. The grass was almost rustling with excitement as she took off, the loose ends of her tight ponytail billowing behind her. A sense of exhilaration filled her insides to the tips of her fingers and toes. It had been a long time since she had felt this way and she knew she could attribute it to the circumstances.
Ginny flew up to the entrance and reached the ledge of the opening into the mountain. As soon as she touched the ground, she felt a pull of magic and suddenly, the ruins manifested themselves into a formidable looking stadium. Indeed, as she looked out below her, she finally realized why the mountain translated to ‘tower mountainTower Mountain.’.
When she had heard the WWN advert, she hadn’t been sure what to expect but as she entered the archway that led to the stadium, she was filled with slight trepidation. A petite, plump witch stood at the gateway to the stadium, where the familiar talon of the Harpies was emblazoned overhead. She looked at Ginny and gave a slight smile of reassurance when she saw Ginny’s Quidditch gear.
“Trying out for the team, dear?” the blue-eyed woman asked kindly, shuffling through a roll of parchment.
“Er, yes,” Ginny answered timidly. A sense of astonishment flooded through her body. It was hard to believe that this was a reality.
“Not a problem. I must say that you have come more prepared than the others,” the older woman replied, giving her a once over through her spectacles. “Can I have your name, dear?”
Ginny cleared her throat. “Ginny—Ginevra Weasley. I’m trying out for the position of Chaser.”
The other woman gave a surprised nod of acknowledgement and another smile as she checked off her name on the list. “You are registered and ready to start. If you go straight and take a right, you’ll find the locker rooms, where you’ll see the others waiting as well. Tryouts will begin at promptly quarter to ten,” the woman paused. “Best of luck, Miss Weasley. I have heard many things about you and your talents.”
Ginny forced a small smile at the woman’s welcome. “Thank you very much, Miss….?”
The woman looked up, now a broad grin lighting up her face. “Dilwen Bettis, manager of the Harpies. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Ginny stood dumbfounded for a couple of seconds as another woman came through the entrance and registered with Dilwen. With a shake of her head, her feet started moving on their own accord and she followed Dilwen’s directions to the locker rooms.
“If I could have everyone’s attention,” came the voice of a female in a thick accent from northwestern Wales. Ginny ended her conversation with the lithe girl next to her who was trying out for a seeker to see Gwenog Jones, the captain of the Holyhead Harpies, in dark forest robes with the Harpies’ symbol of a golden talon prominently displayed on the right side of her robes, shouting over the noise. The black woman stood her ground, her booming voice carrying throughout the room and echoing off the walls of the locker room.
As soon as she saw that she had everyone’s attention Gwenog continued, “Welcome to the Holyhead Harpies training facility and stadium. I’d like to thank everyone who showed interest for the tryouts. We had an overwhelming response,” she stopped, resting her eyes on the crowd of females in front of her. “As you all may be aware, we’ve had a large string of injuries and retirements since the last season. As such, we thought it prudent to build up a strong reserve team. I wish all of you the best of luck as the competition will be extremely stiff for we do not have as many positions open as there are females in this room.”
At this, Gwenog looked stern and formidable. Her pleasant demeanor shifted into a game-faced attitude as she called out for everyone to start warming up on the field after they were assigned groups.
Ginny swallowed as she followed the other women onto the field. She tried to reduce the churning of her stomachquick breakfast by earlier this morning by taking in large deep breaths as she had done before. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to quell her nervousness and only made her mouth more parched and her tongue even drier so that it stuck to the roof of her mouth. In her preoccupation with releasing her nervousness, she almost missed Gwenog calling her name by the other side of the pitch where already a small group of girls ranging in all ages had gathered.
Ginny shook her head. “I must be mental”, she thought as she jogged to the other end of the stadium. As she glanced around the pitch, she realized how this couldn’t be any more different from the Hogwarts pitch she was so used to playing on. The vastness of the stadium reminded her more of an amphitheatre than a Quidditch pitch, as the stadium was lined with rows upon rows of seats, curving in the shape of an ellipse. As she chanced a look up, she looked at the formidable hoops; somehow, they seemed smaller when they were back at Hogwarts. As she neared the group, she noticed that the petite girl she had spoken to earlier in the locker room, Sarah, was listening raptly to Gwenog who had taken her position in the front of the group of women.
Gwenog had already started addressing the small group when Ginny arrived, panting out of breath as she caught the end of Gwenog’s words, “…after you warm up, you will be the first group to take the pitch. Work with the other players on your team as we will be the opposing team, trying to prevent you from scoring or catching the Snitch,” she stopped, letting the effect of her words settle down in the players. “All right, let’s start,” she ended with a steadfast attitude, picking up her broom and shooting off towards the sky.
Driven by the sting of excitement at the prospect of doing something that she enjoyed, Ginny mounted her broom and tore off to the middle of the pitch.
A couple of grueling hours later, Ginny hit the ground, tired and exhausted from her first professional practice. Their tryout group had lost horrendously to the Harpies’ players, who even had the disadvantage in terms of the number of players. Their side had a full count of eleven whereas the Harpies had only nine.
Right beside her, Sarah landed with a thump, almost banging into Ginny as she tried to straigtenstraighten herself out. “Rough game, wasn’t it?” the younger girl tried to smile, but instead it came out as a wince.
“You have no idea,” Ginny tried to bend down to pick up her Cleansweep but failed, the soreness of her body protesting against any movement. “By the way, congrats on capturing the Snitch. That was quite the move. That Harpies’ seeker had hardly any time to react,” Ginny shot a genuine smile at her, which the other girl returned sheepishly.
“I was lucky, that’s all. Me and my sisters, we play in the paddock behind our house. Besides, you should be the one who’s receiving all the plaudits. Five perfectly executed shots. No one could see through that Woollongong Shimmy on your last play,” Sarah said excitedly. “
“Thanks. I learned that move from my boyfriend, actually. We played on the same team at Hogwarts,” Ginny stopped suddenly. She had forgotten all about Harry until now. She shook her head as Sarah asked her a question.
“Sorry, Sarah, I have to run. I just remembered that I told my boyfriend that I would be home for lunch and it’s almost noontime. I really should be leaving. Hopefully we should be seeing each other soon,” she shot a quick apologetic glance to the girl, embracing her in a quick hug, before rushing to the locker rooms.
As she gathered her belongings, she looked up to find Gwenog Jones smiling down at her with Dilwen Bettis looking on behind her.
“Ginny, right?” Gwenog extended her hand that Ginny took gratefully.
“Yes, that’s right,” Ginny replied, a strange feeling coming over her.
“Well, Ginny, I must say, I haven’t seen a performance like yours in a really long time. The other tryouts are almost over but I have to say that your performance was the best I’ve seen the whole day. And your Woollongong Shimmy put all the players over the edge.” She leaned in closer and gave a brief smile, lighting up her face.
“I spoke to Dilwen and she agreed as well. We would like you to start on the team for the next season. It will require much time, energy, and commitment on your part, especially if you are to compete at such a level, but Dilwen and I, and for a matter of fact, the other Harpies’ players, have no hesitation in believing that you come to that level with a bit more practice and hard work. Congrats on making the team,” Gwenog gave a full smile and shook her hand once again, before leaving.
Ginny felt a swoop of something indescribable pass through her body, barely able to contain herself with the urge to scream and to celebrate. Instead, she opted for a more demure look as she turned to Dilwen who was looking at her with immense satisfaction.
“You did not disappoint, Miss Weasley. That was quite a show you put on. Congrats and do celebrate this moment with your family and friends. I’m sure they will be happy to know that they have a talented young woman in their family,” Dilwen gave her a small nod of approval before continuing. “I’ll be contacting you in a couple of days to go over all the arrangements. Until then, take care and rest well, you will need all your energy for the pre-season.”
With that, Dilwen shook her hand and took off in the other direction, quite presumably to her office.
Ginny stood stunned, trying to grasp the day’s events and everything that had happened in the locker room.
It was only when she heard the other girls’ voices floating through the entrance of the locker room that she realized that it was already five past three.
Her good mood was quick to evaporate as she realized with a feeling of dread that she was late to see Harry.
With a thud, Ginny found herself on the outskirts of Ottery St Catchpole. Gone was the unfailing smell of the sea, instead replaced by the earthy smell of grass and mud. As she started up the cobbled stone path towards the Burrow, she realized that she had never changed from her Quidditch gear back to her regular clothes.
“Bloody hell,” Ginny muttered under her breath. If anyone saw her right now, they would ask a thousand questions as to where she had been and why she was wearing her Quidditch kit. The situation was becoming more problematic; if someone caught her now, her plan of announcing her news would certainly backfire. She wasn’t sure how her family would react to her news.
As she unlatched the gate of The Burrow, she could hear the unmistakable sound of laughter coming from behind the house, near the gardens.
That’s funny, no one mentioned that we would be having lunch outside today, she thought.
However, that didn’t solve her impending dilemma. If she went inside the house, she was sure to be caught by someone coming inside for something and there was not a chance that she would appear like this for lunch.
In trying to decide the best course of action, she suddenly spotted the shed. “Perfect,” Ginny said under her breath, picking up her belongings and jostling off to her sanctuary.
As she changed into her regular clothes in the dim lighting of her father’s shed, the irony of the situation was not lost upon her. Early in her childhood, she would come to this very shed and steal her brothers’ broomsticks for a ride around the paddock. They never knew how well trained Ginny had become until she tried out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. And now, when she was finally about to make it in the professional league, she was forced to hide again until she could reveal it at the most opportune moment.
It wasn’t that she was afraid of her brothers; quite to the contrary, she didn’t care much for their opinions. Ginny knew that as the youngest of seven siblings, she was often mollycoddled and treated as a fragile object who would break at the slightest touch. Years of conditioning had taught her how to handle her brothers and their rather oafish opinions.
No, if she was concerned about anything, it was her family’s reaction to her trying out for the Harpies without telling anyone. She hadn’t felt like sharing the news with anyone; not even with Harry. Somehow, she felt that this was the right thing, something that she should achieve on her own merit and no one else’s. Since she had started dating Harry, it seemed as though everything was bestowed upon her not in her own name but as Harry Potter’s girlfriend.
Not that she minded, of course. She loved Harry unconditionally but she had the right to make her own decisions and choices. This was something that she had to do.
She sighed as she ruffled her hair, trying to get rid of the windswept look. It wouldn’t look good for her to have been seen coming from there. With a quick Cleaning Charm over herself, she stowed her wand away into the pocket of her jeans and opened the door of the shed cautiously before slipping out and heading towards the back of the house.
As she approached, Ron was the first one to notice her arrival.
“Geffnie, uf fefnehe-hhe-hee,” Ron choked out, through a mouthful of food. Hermione, who sat next to him, looked aghast.
“Ronald, how many times have I told you not to talk with your mouth filled with food. Honestly,” she huffed. “It’s disgusting.”
Ron swallowed hurriedly, his eyes watering with tears as the food passed down his throat. “But Hermione, she’s taken ages and the food was getting all cold…”
Ginny’s eyes were alight with mirth as she watched her brother and future sister-in-law bicker as though they were already a married couple.
She turned to survey the rest of the table and was surprised to see that everyone besides Charlie was present. Her eyes caught Harry’s and she shared a long glance. She could feel the heat and intensity from Harry’s gaze sear her skin and she couldn’t fight the blush that was blooming over her cheeks. She gave him a pointed look that said later, shifting her gaze to her mother and father, who were at the head of the table.
“We were waiting for you, Ginny, dear,” Molly said, as she set down the pitcher of pumpkin juice before giving her daughter a peck on the cheek.
“I’m sorry, Mum. I ran into a friend at the Apothecary, and we lost track of time,” Ginny recited the excuse that she had planned just in case someone asked. She leaned forward to hug her father before taking the last seat available: the one next to Harry.
Sitting down, she looked at all the fare that was set out before her. She looked at Harry curiously, who had already clasped one of her hands in his, giving him a questioning look.
“I missed you,” Harry whispered in the cove of her ear, sending shivers down her spine. Even years after they met, he still had that lingering effect over her.
“I missed you, too,” she replied, brushing his soft lips with her own. “So what’s the big occasion?” she asked Harry, who seemed startled at the question. A sudden hush fell over the table and everyone sat silenced.
“Oh, nothing big, dear,” her mother intervened. “We just wanted to get together and see all of you. It’s a lovely day, isn’t it, Arthur?” she asked her husband pointedly.
Arthur cleared his throat. “Why, of course, Molly dear. It’s a beautiful day out. Just perfect. “
Ginny looked around bemusedly at her brothers’ faces. “Will someone care to explain to me what’s going on?”
“You’ll see,” Harry answered cryptically, not allowing his gaze to meet hers as he fumbled with something in his pocket. But Ginny missed this as she turned to stare at Charlie, who had just arrived with a bound.
“Hi, everyone, sorry I’m late. I got the message yesterday but I couldn’t find a replacement to handle the dragons until this morning. Hey congrats, Ha—”
“Charlie! I’m so glad you could make it, son,” Arthur interrupted suddenly. “We were just beginning to have lunch. Come and join us,” he said brightly, procuring another seat for his son, on the other side of Bill, who was sitting tête-à-tête with his wife, Fleur.
At this, Charlie looked sheepish before giving Ginny a small wave and sitting down at the table.
“What in Merlin’s beard is going on?” Ginny exclaimed suddenly as soon as the discussion had erupted at the table.
“Er, Ginny, can I have a word with you?” Harry asked, getting up suddenly. When Ginny looked rather startled at the proposition, he gave a slight tug of her hand. “It’s rather important.”
He tugged on her hand once more and she finally relented, giving in to the pressure. She looked curiously around the table only to find her parents smiling happily at her, her mother’s eyes shining with tears and Hermione and Fleur giving her encouraging smiles.
Harry led her away to the meadows so that they were hidden from view. She finally had enough when Harry stopped, pausing before turning around to face her.
Ginny opened her mouth to speak but she felt lips covered by a warm finger.
“I know you’ve been wondering why I led you here,” Harry started.
“Will you just tell me what’s going on, Harry? I’ve had enough of this secrecy,” Ginny’s eyes blazed, her hair fluttering in the breeze.
“You’re right,” Harry said softly, moving closer to her to take the flyaway strand of hair between his fingers and rubbing them softly. “There should never be any secrets between the two of us,” he paused. “Promise?”
At this, Ginny looked up into his clear emerald eyes, the bright green orbs shining with such unending sincerity that her breath was caught in her throat as she nodded her consent.
“I’ve been meaning to do this for some time now but I didn’t know when it was the right time. And time was important. We both needed to heal,” Harry stopped, looking at her for reassurance. “It’s always been you, even when we were apart. After spending these last few years with you, I can’t think of anyone else who I would want to share my joys, my triumphs, and my sadness with,” Harry paused, exhaling a deep breath.
He dropped down onto one knee as Ginny looked on, the moment becoming surreal before her eyes. “Ginevra Molly Weasley, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?” he said, pulling out a stunning diamond ring, encrusted with deep red rubies and emeralds.
Ginny couldn’t seem to hold back her tears as she dropped next to him on the soft earth, clutching the collar of his shirt. They sat there embracing for what seemed an eternity, each trying to retain slivers of the moment for future memories.
Not until Ginny heard her brothers catcalling and whistling behind the trees did she realize that she hadn’t given her consent.
“Yes, Harry. I will,” she whispered against him.
Harry grinned broadly, slipping the ring on her finger.
Ginny looked at the ring amazed; it fit her perfectly, sparkling in the bright sunlight as if it knew how she was feeling.
“Come on, let’s get back. Your brothers might think that we’ve gone off to celebrate by ourselves,” Harry said, nuzzling her ear.
Ginny laughed, her grin broadening to her eyes. She couldn’t help but feel that she was two feet off the ground, her insides bubbling without bounds at the prospect of being married to Harry. “You wish, Potter. You’ll have to wait till the honeymoon like a good boy,” she teased coyly, adding a seductive smile to heighten the mood.
“Wench,” Harry muttered as he grabbed her by the waist. She shrieked in delight but let him wrap his strong arms around her as they made their way back to the garden.
As soon as they came into view, loud cheers filled the area as all the members of the Weasley family gathered around the couple to wish them joy.
“So I guess this was the big plan?” Ginny grinned as they finally got a chance to talk when they reached the table to sit down for dessert.
“It wasn’t much, I know,” Harry said sheepishly, “but I wanted to keep it small. And I wanted your family to know as well.”
“I think you did a wonderful job,” Ginny whispered, leaning over to graze his lips.
“Oi, save it for when you’re married, you two,” Ron yelped as Hermione hit him on the shoulder. “What did I do now?” he winced, rubbing the spot where she hit him.
“Really, Ron, leave them alone.” Hermione admonished. “So Ginny, have you thought about what you’re going to do after you’re married? You can’t work at the shop for the rest of your life.”
Ginny looked around the curious faces at the table. Her good mood slowly started to evaporate as she realized this was the time to tell everyone. She took a nervous gulp as she tried to figure out how to break the news to her family. “I’ve decided,” she started slowly, “that I want to play professional Quidditch.”
“YOU’RE GOING TO DO WHAT?”
“Ginevra Molly Weasley!”
“But I thought—“
“There’s no way!”
“STOP IT!” Ginny thundered, her eyes blazing. She heaved a breath, trying to keep her emotions in check as she spoke. “There’s nothing that anyone can say which will deter me from doing what I want. I tried out for the Holyhead Harpies today and everyone there agreed that I should be a starter on their national team,” she fumed, looking dangerously at Ron, who had got out of his seat to protest.
“You tried out for the team? Without telling me?” Harry whispered. Suddenly all protests died upon everyone’s lips as Harry got up. Ginny took the indication, getting out of her seat as well but even at full height, she still had to bring her head up to meet Harry’s eyes.
“I was going to tell you, Harry. Honestly, I was. It’s just that with the engagement and all, I didn’t get a chance.”
“Ginny, I told you. There should never be any secrets between the two of us. So why didn’t you tell me before?” he asked softly, his eyes filling with disappointment.
Just then, an owl swooped down from the table, an envelope bearing the seal of the Ministry clutched between its beak.
Harry pried the letter from the owl and opened up the letter containing the message. His brows furrowed in perplexity as he lit the letter into flames.
“Sorry, everyone. I have to leave; an emergency meeting came up at the Ministry. You have to come too, Ron.”
Ron lost any protest on his face as his demeanor quickly changed. He got up from his seat, squeezing Hermione’s hand as he made his way to Harry.
“Thanks for the lunch, Molly. It was wonderful. Please don’t wait up for us, it might be a while before we’re back,” Harry looked at the maternal Weasley who nodded her head in approval, her hands nervously fidgeting.
Before Harry and Ron moved to Apparate from the gardens, Harry’s eyes met Ginny’s, disappointment coursing through the deep green orbs.
Ginny felt a stab of guilt pierce her heart as he turned around without another word or goodbye as Harry and Ron popped out of sight, leaving Ginny behind, alone with her thoughts.