Harry sat throwing paper balls into the bin as he listened to the post-match commentary on the Holyhead Harpies and Chudley Cannons game. As much as he had tried to swap shifts earlier, with it being the start of the Quidditch season, people had wanted to spend their Saturdays away from the office, leaving Harry manning the office in case there were any emergencies. Normally, Ron would accept the swap, so that Harry could watch Ginny play but today was an exception to the rule.
He glared at his desk as a new influx of papers landed on the cluttered surface. He knew he should be filling out the forms but he was hooked on the radio and there was no point in pretending that he was going to do any work. He reached for the small Snitch on his desk and started playing with it. He had spent the last three hours listening to the Harpies fifth victory of the season; there was really no point pretending to work now.
“Potter,” Gawian Roberts called as he made his way into the Auror offices.
Harry straightened up as he heard his Head of Department’s voice. He was pretty certain that Roberts would not have approved of his activities if he saw any evidence of them.
“Yes, sir,” Harry replied, quickly turning his radio off with his wand and covering it with unfinished paperwork.
“No need to hide that, boy,” the Head of Department said with a gruff laugh, “I know you’ve been listening to that Harpies game and, as long as the paperwork is done, that’s all that matters.”
Harry gave him a guilty smile. “Thank you, sir.”
“It’s actually the Harpies I came to see you about,” Roberts said, looking at the photograph of Ginny in her green and gold uniform.
Harry followed his gaze and, as he looked at the photo, Ginny winked back up at him. He let himself get lost in her picture; he loved her playful nature. She was grinning as she juggled the Quaffle in her hands. Ginny had later confessed that she had been in a bit of a daze and was more than a little nervous when the photograph had been taken as she hardly dared to believe that she was an actual Harpies player.
Why Roberts was looking at the picture, though, was beyond him. He had not once mentioned Quidditch to Harry since Harry had started working there, so he was at a loss as to why Roberts had brought it up today.
Was he trying to soften Harry up or something before sending him away on work by asking him about his life?
Did Roberts want to make things up for giving Harry a Saturday shift?
Harry forced himself to look away from Ginny’s picture as she threw the Quaffle into the air and then spin it round her waist, and focused on his boss. “You’ve lost me, sir.”
“It appears they won today,” Roberts paused, waiting for conformation.
“Beat the Cannons, 570 to 50,” Harry replied, grinning as he tried to imagine Ron’s reaction. His best friend was not going to be happy with the result and George would make sure that he would not forget the result. Harry’s grin grew; he was positive that Sunday dinner at The Burrow tomorrow would be an interesting event. “They are top of the league now, first time since 1759.”
“Turning into quite the fan there, lad,” Roberts laughed.
“Can’t help it, sir.”
And it was true. He had not only spent hours watching and listening to the Harpies every match, he now had their colours decorating his cubicle. Added to that, when the Harpies records had started falling with the help of their new teenage sensation, he had started learning about their history.
Harry could not help but beam; it was hard not to be proud of Ginny at the moment. Although she was downplaying her role on the team and the opposition that they had played so far, saying the fixture calendar had been kind to them, she had had a fantastic start to her career, even earning her first call up to the England Under 21’s squad.
He let out a small laugh to himself. The best part had not been the call up, it had been last Sunday when George had arrived home carrying a small action figure of Ginny in her Harpies robes, much to her embarrassment and everyone else’s amusement. Harry had never seen her turn so red, especially when George had claimed he was going to buy a ‘Boy-Who-Lived-Doll’. Harry’s grin grew as he relived Ginny aiming her wand at George and giving him a fine pair of donkey ears and reheard Mrs Weasley’s shrieks.
“And there’s nothing wrong with that.” Roberts nodded at Ginny photograph. “My daughter has that picture as a poster on her wall.”
“Do you want Ginny’s autograph, sir?” Harry asked, confused.
“Not this time, Potter,” Roberts’ tone turned more serious. “It actually appears that the Harpies squad have been out celebrating again.”
Harry couldn’t help but smile at those words. He knew only too well where the all-female Quidditch team would be and what kind of things that they would be getting up to after witnessing one of these parties.
“And we’ve had a call to the offices that the Muggle pleesemen have been called. I need to make sure that things calm down quickly.” Roberts cleared his throat. “Now, I do realise that this is not in the job description for an Auror, but given the personal involvement, I thought it might be better to ask you to go.”
“I can do that, sir.”
“You can have the rest of the night off after.”
“Thank you, sir,” Harry replied, grabbing his cloak.
Roberts reached for a small piece of parchment in his pocket. “Do you need the directions?”
“Niffler on the Pond at the Menai Strait,” Harry said automatically, thinking of the small pub in the cave beside fourteen miles of water that separated Anglesey from the rest of Wales, where all the other parties had taken place.
“See you on Monday, Potter.” Roberts replied with a small nod before he left the office.
Harry reached into his desk and pulled out a pair of magical handcuffs from the top drawer. He had got a pair of the handcuffs back when he had first joined the Ministry. They worked by blocking the magic of the witch or wizard who wore them after being taken into custody. However, he had yet to use them for official purposes; they just seemed to have made their way back to his flat once Ginny had finished Hogwarts. They had only recently been returned to his work desk drawer.
Pulling his cloak over his shoulders, Harry spun on the spot and prepared to Apparate. Thinking of the place he wanted to be, the slightly messy Auror cubicles in the large room were replaced by the tidal smell from the water. He stood for a moment, gathering his bearings under an elegant iron suspension bridge. He walked down the sandy banks by the water.
Before he had even reached the disguised cave that doubled as the Holyhead Harpies’ favourite pub, he could hear the noise drifting down the river. No wonder the Muggles who enjoyed playing water sports on the river had noticed something was not quite right.
“Ei, ei, ei, oh, Up the Quidditch league we go! When we win the title, this is what we’ll sing…” Singing broke through the open door. “We are the Harpies! We are the Harpies! Morgan is our Queen!”
The dark, shabby pub was alive with atmosphere: noisy and smoky from the abundant number of lit pipes and the large fire that roared in the fireplace. A green explosion of Holyhead Harpies’ robes, scarves and flags covered every surface. Lively conversation wove in and out of every crevice of the wall as Harry walked into the deafening noise.
Harry grinned as he looked at the bar. The entire twelve-woman squad had come out to celebrate to the Harpies’ fifth straight victory, achieving a feat that they had not managed for eight hundred and ninety-five years by winning all five of their opening games. From the sound of the noise, the squad had set up for a long night.
He stood and watched as Nicola Bennett, the nineteen-year-old reserve Keeper clambered up onto the bar with chants of “We are top of the league!” The blonde led the chants for a few moments before reaching her hand down to the other two Harpies teenaged players. Former Ravenclaw and back-up Harpies’ Chaser, nineteen-year-old Alison Chambers jumped straight up as quickly as if she had been pulled up by magic. Alison yanked her headband off, freeing her dark brown hair as she shook her head, before reaching her hand down to the third member of their trio. Ginny, sporting a black eye and a sling supporting her left wrist, clumsily joined the other two.
The three had become pretty inseparable at both training sessions and off the pitch gatherings and they had already become infamous for their behaviour. At the four previous parties, they had got absolutely trashed while they danced and sang into the early hours of the morning as well as other activities that had earned the trio official warnings and a couple of fines.
Harry stood and stared, his mouth gaping slightly as he looked from the battered trainers up her toned but cut legs to those short, perfectly fitted, dark green shorts. Harry’s grin grew as he noticed that Ginny had only pulled on her Harpies’ training top and without it being zipped fully to the top, he could stare forever at her cleavage. Her brown eyes with their flecks of amber were sparking with mischief and his favourite feature of hers, that vibrant long red hair, was dancing with her every movement.
He could let the world stop and stand here for hours, mesmerised.
How he had ever got the most beautiful witch in the world, not to mention the brightest Quidditch talent in years, according to the Daily Prophet, to go out with him was beyond him.
He could hardly wait to get her home.
Ginny’s adrenaline always burned for hours after her matches and dancing would only take up so much of her energy. He was pretty sure that he was here for a long night, where the activities performed would suggest that any future wedding dresses such as Molly Weasley kept talking about should be a scarlet red instead of the traditional white. It would be hours later, as she was lying in his arms with her soft skin resting against his, that Ginny’s body would relax from all the tension and adrenaline it produced for Quidditch matches.
“Up the way, the Harpies sing, the Caerphilly run away,” the drunken Harpies teenagers were singing, “and we will fight forever more because of Boxing Day!”
Harry grinned as his girlfriend’s drunken tones filled the pub. Ginny was really not a great singer, in fact she was nothing short of tone deaf -- a Weasley family trait. His smile grew. He knew he really should be recording this by some means because George would pay good money to see his little sister like this. Likewise, Ginny would grant any of his wishes in the future to not repeat this in the morning, knowing that her brothers would have a field day with all the ripping they could get her for.
Harry scanned the room as he closed the door to the pub and cast the Muffiato charm on it. The Harpies squad had now divided into three groups. Along with the trio on the bar, there was a group of seven with drinks in their hands dancing in the centre of the room, and the two elder members of the team; Gwenog Jones and Dianna Wluff, laughing at the chaos by the side of the room.
“Hi, Gwenog,” Harry said, stuttering slightly as he made his way further into the room. He found the legendary Quidditch player quite intimidating. “Good win today; heard it on the radio while I was doing paperwork,” he muttered, still slightly nervous. Harry nodded towards Ginny, trying to take the attention off himself. “How much has she had to drink tonight?”
“I stopped counting after the fifth straight shot in the space of seven minutes; I think she may be trying to break all the Harpies’ records.” The battle-hardened captain of the Holyhead Harpies laughed. “She’s going to have one hell of a hangover tomorrow, especially after everything that the mediwitch gave her when they fixed that arm.” She laughed again. “Someone really needs to tell her to stop hanging upside down off the broom while she shoots. She really has no fear.”
“I know that,” he grinned, “you should see the state of her brothers when she unleashes the Bat-Bogey.”
Gwenog laughed. “That’s the spirit we need.” She looked up at the trio of Harpies players and sighed slightly. “At least we have the day off training.” She eyed Harry up and down. “So, you here on business or pleasure?”
Harry nerves returned as he rubbed the back of his neck. “Business, actually; you’ve been reported to the Ministry. The noise has the Muggles a bit sus.”
“Understandable,” Gwenog said with a smile, which she quickly dropped as she adopted that stern expression that was the one that made Harry wary of her. “Girls, we need to call it a night.” She nodded towards Harry. “Ministry has been informed.”
The music came to stop at Gwenog’s words and almost as quickly the singing ended. Harry gulped slightly; the Harpies were a pretty formidable squad. He really wished their captain hadn’t drawn attention to him ending their party. The group on the dance floor spun round and looked at him and Alison tapped Ginny on her shoulder. Harry could feel his pulse quickening as she looked straight at him, brown interlocking with green. Her brown eyes narrowed at him as he took a couple of steps backwards.
How could he have faced Voldemort, his cronies and the other deluded idiots that wanted to copy him, yet be scared of the fierce temper of the woman he loved?
Ginny jumped down from the bar, stumbling slightly as she landed.
“Weasley,” Gwenog called, “be careful.”
Ginny made her way closer to him to a chorus of, “Go, Weasley.”
“Official business...” Ginny was smiling and her brown eyes were twinkling with mischief, “…so, are you going to arrest me, Harry?”
Harry grinned; he knew he was in safe hands. She was in the mood for fun and not angry with him. There were no red sparks, no hand flashing towards her wand, which meant that she was not actually furious with him. If she was angry, she would have pulled out her wand by now and he would have a pair of donkey ears to match George’s, if he was lucky, or have been hit by the Bat-Bogey Hex. Instead, she was in a playful mood and he was in full support of that.
If Ginny wanted to play games with him and have fun, who was he to stop her?
“Not sure,” Harry grinned, “I think that you would look very cute in handcuffs. In fact, I know you do.” Ginny’s face flushed red for the briefest of seconds as catcalls came from the bar. Harry pressed his advantage. She would make him pay for that later but right now he was having his way, his fun. “And I’m sure you’d be very creative in the ways to get rid of them. You always have before.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She regained her composure and flashed her sweet, innocent, butter-wouldn’t-melt in her mouth look. Once, that would have fooled him but now he knew better; she really wanted to get her way if she was using that look on him.
Harry leaned in and whispered, “Last Friday night.”
She placed her uninjured hand in his, returning his whisper, letting her cool breath stir his nerves and raise his own adrenaline, “Shackle me, Potter.”
“Wait!” Gwenog almost shrieked the word. “Watch her arm. It’s already healing; we don’t have time to reset it before the Puddlemere match if she hurts it again.”
Harry looked nervously at the Harpies captain; he really didn’t want to do anything that would get him on the wrong side of her glare. “I’m okay to carry her out of here then?”
Gwenog shrugged, but kept her voice stern. “Just don’t drop her.”
Ginny let herself be pulled up into his arms to cries of “Weasley” and hoots, whooping and catcalls. She wrapped her uninjured arm around his neck and kissed him. He was positive that her teammates were still giving the catcalls but all their noise faded into a distant blur as he lost himself in the kiss. His heart pounded as he felt her hands in his hair.
Slowly, she pulled away, leaving him wanting more. Her kiss was so tentative yet passionate, saying so much more than words. She breathed, whispering in his ear, raising goosebumps on his arms, “I’m happily your prisoner tonight.”
Harry’s lips met hers again. Every nerve caught up in his emotions, egging him to take this further. Ginny may have had her adrenaline rush during the game but this was his. This kiss was hard, firm and made him feel like he was diving through the skies and had just laid his hand on the Snitch.
Which he had.
“Let’s get you home,” he whispered.
“Don’t take too long,” she returned his whisper, letting her lips linger on his ear and sending his heart racing as her breath sent shivers down his spine. “Don’t want the adrenaline to cool.”
Harry grinned, letting his imagination run wild. “I’ll have us there in five seconds.”