Katie concentrated on walking calmly as she led the team towards the changing rooms. She had expected Harry to ask Ron to captain the team in his absence, but he had asked her, and she didn’t want the younger members of the team noticing her nerves.
Katie felt a restless anger overcome her. Harry had earned himself yet another detention, and had probably asked her to be Captain as a "safe pair of hands" - dependable, reliable, consistent Katie. Well, she decided, this is my last ever game of Quidditch at Hogwarts, so I might as well go out with a bang!
She knew Ravenclaw would be a hard team to beat at all – they were deservedly top of the league at the moment – but to win by more than three hundred points to take the cup was going to need an almost superhuman effort. She looked around her team trying to gauge their mood. “What do you think of our chances, Ron?” she asked.
“We can do it!” he replied, but then rather spoiled it by saying, “Can’t we?” in a rather less confident voice. Katie didn’t reply, just thought fiercely, “Come on, Ron, we need you at your best today.” She looked around for Ginny, who would usually be cracking jokes and mimicking the opposition by now. Instead she saw her holding a whispered conversation with Dean, ending with a shake of her head. Katie thought she caught Ginny saying, “I never wanted to hurt you”, and even in the tension she grinned to herself thinking, “If she had, you would be in the Hospital by now.”
“OK, let’s discuss tactics,” she called. Everyone looked up expectantly. “Now, Ravenclaw have the best defence this year, and they will be expecting us to play our normal passing game, so let’s try to shake them up right from the start. Dean, you play a holding role back in our half, and just get that Quaffle forward as soon as you can whenever you get it. Don’t wait to aim, just throw it as hard as you can, and I will try to pick up the pieces.”
Dean looked startled, but just said, “OK.”
“Demelza, you get in close to the Ravenclaw goal area, don’t give the Keeper room to move – or preferably, breathe.”
“No problem, Katie,” laughed Demelza.
“What about us?” asked Jimmy and Ritchie in unison.
“Forget Cho Chang, forget the Chasers, I want those Bludgers in the Ravenclaw half all the time. I want mayhem and chaos around their goal area!”
“Mayhem and Chaos are our middle names,” said Ritchie, grinning wildly.
Ron was looking dumbstruck, and he had obviously worked out that this would leave him with only Dean in defence.
“Ron, I know this will leave you exposed, but you are the best Keeper in the school – I wouldn’t dream of trying this if McLaggen was playing.”
He said nothing, but seemed to visibly swell in his robes, as though he was going to stop everything by sheer size.
Ginny was looking across the room speculatively. “A real death or glory ride then, Katie,” she laughed.
“That’s right, and your job is to keep Cho away from that Snitch, but don’t catch it yourself until I say so.”
Ginny grinned wickedly, the light of battle already in her eyes. “Don’t you worry, Katie, I know how to deal with Cho Chang!”
Katie knew how well Ginny could fly, but she didn’t have a broom of her own, and obviously wouldn’t be using Dean’s now he was back in the team. If she had to rely on a slow old school broom today, she would never be able to match Cho for speed. “Oh, Ginny, whose broom have you borrowed today?”
“Don’t worry,” she replied, “I’ve got Harry’s Firebolt.”
“Wow,” said Ron. “I never thought Harry would lend that to anyone, even you!”
“Well, he has – he just doesn’t know it yet,” said a grinning Ginny.
As they left the changing rooms, people were going through their little last-minute rituals, such as Ron pulling his gloves off and on three times, and Demelza touching everybody’s robe, while waiting to be the last to leave. Ginny kissed the handle of the Firebolt. For luck, Katie supposed, but she had never seen her do it before, and then we were out.
What a game they all played! Ron was inspired, Dean was tireless, and Demelza just couldn’t miss.
Without any real protection, even Ron at his best couldn’t hope to keep everything out, but time and time again he kept pulling off near-miraculous saves to keep the Ravenclaw score down. Even the neutrals in the crowd realised they were watching something special, and after twenty minutes play they were joining the Gryffindors in a spirited rendition of “Weasley is our King!”
By this time Dean had worked out the Ravenclaw Chasers’ attacking formations, and was starting to put in some fantastic interceptions. He was flying like a madman, never taking his eyes off the Quaffle and ignoring the numerous Bludger hits he was getting. Katie knew he was going to be black and blue after the game, but his concentration never wavered for an instant.
As they started to get more and more possession, Katie was able to be the link, picking up Dean’s huge clearances and either score herself, or get the Quaffle to Demelza, who was always in a scoring position. She was sticking so close to the Keeper that Luna had been speculating in her commentary that Demelza must fancy him.
While all this was going on, Jimmy and Ritchie had been delivering all the chaos and mayhem Katie had asked for – it was as if Fred and George Weasley were back on the team. Hell no, forget Fred and George, this pair were even making Peeves seem subdued and reasonable, as they whacked Bludgers around with maniacal grins plastered all over their faces.
Six times the Snitch appeared, but Ginny blocked off Cho’s runs every time, until Cho was screaming with frustration.
Finally, Demelza sent their Keeper the wrong way for the umpteenth time to take the score to 300 – 140.
Katie looked up at Ginny and yelled “Go, Ginny, GO!” Almost immediately Ginny spotted the Snitch, low by the commentary podium, and sent the Firebolt into a surging power dive. Cho would never catch her now – all you could hear were the fans roaring in the stands as she caught the Snitch inches from the ground and surged back up to the team holding it aloft in triumph.
Twenty minutes later, they were back in the common room, with Ron parading the cup around, when Harry came in through the portrait hole. Katie heard Ron shouting, but was looking at Ginny at the time. A strange look came into Ginny’s face, and she started running towards Harry. Katie remembered that kiss on the broom handle, and for the second time that day, found herself thinking, “Go, Ginny, GO!”