AN: Well … it’s been … um … awhile since I posted. No excuses. I hope folks will still read my story and I'll do my best to not make it two years until the next update. I want to thank my wonderful and continuing beta, Arnel, who not only was willing to pick this back up but had saved all her edits and thoughts on my story. Truly amazing and appreciated. Here's to you, Super A!
Ginny was up early and Apparated to the Harpy locker room a good three hours before the required practice reporting time. It was all she could do to stop herself from storming down the hall and into Gwenog’s office. Instead, she found herself curled into a ball inside the bathroom, sobbing like a schoolgirl.
She looked up and saw Angelina worriedly rushing over to her.
“Ginny, what’s wrong? What’s happened?” she asked with concern.
Ginny threw herself into her friend’s arms and sobbed harder.
“Gwenog asked me to spy on Harry, to get her something she could use to beat the Arrows.”
Angelina gasped in shock. “That bitch did what?” she shrieked angrily. “You, of course, told her go step in dragon dung,” Angelina added without hesitation.
Ginny leaned back, tears seeping out of her eyes.
“I thought about telling her, I almost did it. I almost told her Harry’s secrets!” Ginny continued sobbing.
“But you didn’t?” Angelina said softly.
“N-o-o…” Ginny sobbed. “I told her I loved him and she could kick me off the team if she wanted. She told me to be back here an hour early to find out if I’m still on the team or not.”
Angelina snorted. “Ginny, you’re the best upcoming Chaser in the league. No way in Hades she’s kicking you off the team. It was just a way to pressure you.”
Angelina reached down and helped Ginny to her feet.
“You haven’t told Harry any of this, have you?” she asked gently.
“No! How could I tell him that I almost betrayed him! He’ll hate m-m-me.”
Angelina conjured some tissue and handed it to Ginny.
“I think he’ll be a little more understanding than that; besides, how bad can his secrets really be?”
Ginny rubbed her nose and balled her fist into her eyes as the tears finally began to stop.
“It’s worse than you think. I’m so worried about him playing Quidditch now. Every time he goes out, it’s all I can do not to go hysterical. I can’t tell you why, but he has to focus all the time. If he gets distracted it would be dangerous for him.”
Angelina smoothed Ginny’s hair back over her forehead, reminding Ginny of her mother.
“Then we’ll just have to make sure that he stays focused, won’t we?”
Ginny hugged Angelina tightly. Neither saw Emmeline move out behind a stall and leave, heading towards Gwenog’s office.
Ginny Apparated directly from the Harpies locker room to the Apparition point for the Montrose stadium. She was excited to watch Harry play in person, and relieved about the results of her practice, which she had been needlessly worried about.
Not only had she not been kicked off the team, Gwenog had told her that she respected her decision and knew that it couldn’t have been easy. She said she needed someone with that type of will playing for her. Ginny was now in the starting line-up!
As Ginny settled into the Arrows box that Harry had provided for her, she noticed a strange contraption, box-shaped with little wires that looked like Muggle headphones, resting on the bar behind her. Instructions placed next to it informed her that it was the newest thing in Quidditch. Now you could listen to the WWN broadcasters while watching the match live. Intrigued, Ginny reached for the device, smirking when she saw the W3 logo stamped in the bottom. Fred and George! They had their hands into everything. Ginny slipped on the headphones just as the teams began taking the pitch.
And welcome back to today’s match between the Appleby Arrows and the Montrose Magpies. Today looks to be a fantastic match-up, John!
As always, you are right on the money, James. As we mentioned in our pre-match special, brought to you by Comet Brooms, the Arrows are undefeated and leading the South Division by over two matches. The Magpies are only one match behind the Harpies in the North and are looking to make a statement here today.
The Magpies are no stranger to winning, either, are they, John?
That’s correct. The Magpies are currently the winningest team in Quidditch history with over thirty-two British titles. A win here today would put them into a tie for first in the North, setting up a potentially huge match in two weeks with the Harpies for the North Division title.
There have been some line-up changes that we need to make you are aware of before the teams take the pitch. Montrose Seeker Eunice Murray, who was not expected to play due to Pitch Toe, is indeed back in today’s line-up.
Shockingly, the Arrows have decided to start Jacob Ashford at Seeker. No word on Potter’s status, but you would think only a significant injury would force this move. I can’t see this fitting into any type of strategy on Appleby’s part.
Ginny sat up in her seat where she had been slouching. She strained over the edge of the box looking for Harry. She didn’t see him on the pitch or the sidelines and immediately began worrying for him.
She leaned back in her seat, forcing herself to calm down. Nothing was wrong with Harry, he hadn’t had a problem with his concentration, and everything was fine.
Ginny winced as her imagination began running out of control, picturing all sorts of horrible situations that Harry could be in.
Harry Potter has just entered the stadium, in uniform. He doesn’t appear to be injured. I’m not sure what the Arrows are playing at here.
Ginny again leaned over the edge again, only relaxing when she finally spied Harry slowly gliding over to the bench. He was scowling fiercely, but Ginny was just glad that nothing seemed overly wrong or injured.
We will update the crowd as more information comes our way. The Quaffle is up and the match is starting!
What type of strategy do you see the Magpies using today, John?
Well, James, as you know this is a do or die game for the Magpies, only by winning today will they even up the Harpies and have a shot at the North Championship. Montrose Captain Hamish MacFarlan has categorically stated that the Magpies would win.
As you know, the Arrows are a lock for the South, with a two-match lead over Puddlemere United.
Too right James — let’s get to the action
The Arrows are working toward the north goal, that’s right to left on your MirrorVision, with Jones taking the Quaffle up the left side of the pitch and gaining quite a bit of altitude.
It’s unusual, John, to see the Chasers play that high in space, territory normally reserved for the Seekers, however, there are no rules against it.
Jones passes left to Michael over to Colroy back to Jones. Again, we are seeing the maturity of the Arrow Chasers as they patiently work their way around the pitch.
The Magpies are in a tight man-to-man with an occasional box-in-one on Jones, which is to be expected, given the Arrow’s superior Chaser play.
Good point, James, and as Colroy dumps the Quaffle low to Michael in the corner, I think we are beginning to see the Appleby strategy here. By spreading out the Chasers vertically, they are stretching the Magpie defence, opening up lanes for the Arrow Chasers to score.
I believe that you are right, John; it’s a strategy that doesn’t come without risk, however. The Arrows will not be in a position to defend against any Montrose breakouts and will put pressure on Keeper Jackson to make stops at the hoops.
The Arrows continue to move the Quaffle around, probing the Magpie zone.
OH MY! Magpie Captain Hamish MacFarlan made a brilliant interception and is now moving free from the Arrow defence with a breakaway opportunity — just what we said could happen!
Ashford swoops in, great interference! He distracted MacFarlan just enough to give Jackson the edge as he makes the save!
James, this could be the reason we are seeing Ashford today instead of Potter. Ashford is clearly better on the interference and defence side and this looks to be a coordinated game plan from the Arrow staff.
Smith is one of the all-time great Quidditch coaches and he is showing it tonight!
The score stands at 170 – 10 in favour of the Arrows. It’s been a low-key game with neither team deviating from their strategy much. Potter still hasn’t been in the game and he’s unhappy about it.
Too right, John, that scowl could frighten anyone. At this point, we are just waiting for the Seekers to end the game, leaving the Arrows and the Harpies as undisputed champions in their respective divisions.
This playoff season is going to be one for the ages!
Harry shrugged out of his still-pristine Quidditch gear and angrily slammed the door to his locker.
“What’s the matter, Potter, can’t handle the stress?” Jacob Ashford sneered.
“Can it, Ashtray,” Alision hissed at Ashford, turning and looking sympathetically at Harry. “Keep your head up, Potter, it’s only one game.”
“Potter!” Coach Smith’s voice rang from the locker room doorway. “You’re up with the press for post-game today — ten minutes.”
“Just great,” mumbled Harry as he finished putting his gear away.
“Mr. Potter, any reason why you didn’t play today?”
“For the tenth time, Jason, it was part of a strategy by the coaching staff,” Harry said with exasperation. He turned his head slightly, looking to Coach Smith for help. “It’s just the way this game played out.”
“That is correct,” Coach Smith joined in. “We had a specific game plan tonight that centred around a defensive skill set and we thought that Jacob gave us the best play.”
“So you’re saying that Mr. Potter not playing has nothing to do with the ongoing Charm Scandal or the way that the Falcons reacted to Harry in the previous match against the Arrows?”
“Of course not!” exclaimed Coach Smith. “And furthermore, there is no ‘Charms Scandal’. The Ministry has addressed it, it’s time to move on!”
“Harry, Piper Jordan, WSPN here. If there is no scandal then why won’t you come clean on the Charms you carry?”
Harry put his head on the table — it was just one of those days.
Later that night, Harry Apparated back to his flat, exhausted and angry from the day’s events. As he landed in his living room, Ginny jumped up from the coach were she had been waiting.
“I should have known you would be here,” Harry said stiffly.
Ginny looked him with a confused and hurt expression on her face. “I don’t understand, Harry, you were with the press so I came here to wait. What’s wrong?”
Harry brushed past her with a withering look and didn’t answer. He went to the fridge and popped out a bottle of Butterbeer and took a long swig.
“Harry, please, what’s wrong?” Ginny asked again with some concern creeping into her voice.
“You know what’s wrong, Ginny,” he said darkly, turning to look at her fully.
Ginny took a step back at the fury on his face. “Harry, I have no idea what you are talking about — but please, you’re scaring me.”
“There’s a reason I didn’t get to play today, Gin. You’re going to stand there and tell me you don’t know what it was?!”
He was getting angry now and slammed his Butterbeer on the counter where the bottle broke into little pieces, scattering everywhere.
“Harry, I have NO idea what you are talking about — but there is no need to be that way with me!” Ginny yelled back, her own anger rising.
“With you… with you!” Harry sputtered. “I didn’t get to play today because Ministry intelligence picked up a rumour going around the Quidditch coaches. Apparently, if you ’distract‘ me enough on the pitch, I’ll lose my concentration and bad things will happen.”
Ginny covered her mouth with her hands as Harry moved toward her, towering over her.
“I don’t suppose YOU know where that information came from, Ginny? Do you? Seeing as you’re the ONLY person that knows that information that isn’t bound by an Unbreakable Oath? GINNY!”
The last word came out as a roar and Ginny fell back to the couch.
“Harry, I didn’t, I wouldn’t…” she gasped.
“THEN HOW IN MERLIN’S NAME DO THEY KNOW?!” he thundered.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Ginny sobbed.
“I don’t believe you, Ginny. I don’t know what to believe, but I think you need to leave.”
“Harry, please talk to me,” Ginny reached out and grasped his shoulder.
Harry jerked away violently and stumbled back a few steps.
“I’m going to my room.” He turned and walked a few steps away from her, then stopped and twisted back around, looking at her. “Please be gone when I come back out.”
Ginny turned and fled through the Floo. Harry slid down to the floor, put his head on his knees, and wept.
This is a special WWN / W3 productions Quidditch update.
The Arrows and the Harpies have torn their way through their schedules this season, destroying their opponents by unheard-of margins with the Arrows undefeated atop the South and the Harpies with only two losses in the North with one game left.
The Harpies are scheduled to play the Magpies who trail them in the North by only one game. The Harpies can clinch the undisputed North Championship and a number-one seeding in the playoff with a win. A Montrose win will result in a split Championship with home-pitch advantage going to the Magpies due to the Puddlemere United tiebreaker. It’s going to be rocking in Holyhead tonight — catch all the action on your WWN/W3 MirrorVision!
The days between the Arrows victory over the Magpies and the final game of the season for the Harpies were difficult for Ginny Weasley. Harry had steadfastly refused to speak to her and her Floo access to his flat had been revoked. Even her family was treating her with some scepticism.
“This is really bad,” Ron had told her at The Burrow the day after Harry had confronted her. “Ministry Intelligence is going berserk. I was summoned to the Minister’s office personally and interviewed by the Minister and the head of the Auror department,” he added seriously. “They are talking about criminal investigations into leaking of classified Ministry secrets…”
“I didn’t tell anything,” Ginny protested, her fiery hair swaying over her shoulder as she shook her head.
“Ginny, think!” Ron demanded. “There is no doubt that the source of the information was the Harpies front office citing ‘persons close to Harry Potter’.”
Ginny sat down heavily on a chair in the kitchen. “I don’t know, Ron,” she whispered. ”I just know that I told Gwenog to go to hell when she asked.”
“Well, someone knows something — and we need to figure it out fast or things will get bad for you quickly.”
Ever since that day, Ginny’d had trouble sleeping and focusing in practice. Gwenog had been on her and she had been moved off the starting team for the match against the Magpies due to her poor practice performance. The only saving grace so far was that the press had either not picked up the story or had been frightened by the Ministry into suppressing the news.
Quidditch was all Ginny Weasley had ever really wanted to do. Now she found herself more concerned with a man she had met only months before than with her career. She needed to find a way to fix it. She was going to find out what had happened and fix it!
Welcome to the WWN/W3 broadcast of the final Quidditch game of the season pitting the Holyhead Harpies and the Montrose Magpies in a fight for the North Division Championship — brought to you today by Comet Brooms. If it’s got to be fast, it’s got to be a Comet.
So, John, what can we expect today?
These two teams are so evenly matched that I think it’s going to be a real barnburner of a game. The Harpies have only lost two matches this year to their hated rivals in the South, the Appleby Arrows and Puddlemere United.
The Magpies are only one game behind with losses to the Arrows, Tornados and these very same Harpies earlier in the season.
It’s interesting to note that a Magpie win today will even up the records and head-to-head results, forcing a common opponent tiebreaker. With their win over Puddlemere early in the season, the Magpies would have home-pitch advantage in the South going into the playoffs.
The Harpies surely don’t want that, John, so I expect them to come out and play their extremely physical brand of Quidditch and really push the Magpies around.
I agree, James, but with a superstar Chaser like Hamish MacFarlan, you know he’ll be looking for a breakout game today after his poor showing against the Arrows last week.
Total agreement, John. MacFarlan was just elected to the Captain position for the English National Team this week for the fourth straight year. He is clearly bound for the Hall of Fame.
How do you expect the Magpies to counter the physical Harpy play?
I expect Montrose to take a page out of the Arrows’ book from last week — spread the pitch vertically and horizontally and rely on their superstars to make breakouts for points.
The Harpy Chasers are some of the best in the league — we’ll have to see how it goes when we come back. Right now, a quick word from our sponsors… you’re watching the British Quidditch League Network, a WWN/W3 production.
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We are back and we are ready for action.
A quick update for all you Harpy fans, there has been an adjustment to the Harpy starting line-up. Chaser Ginny Weasley had been slotted as a starter today, but we are hearing that Janice Rosebush will be starting in her place.
I wonder what that’s about, John?
Our loyal watchers will remember Miss Weasley as the source of some off-pitch stories this year, but lately she has settled down and has been playing some outstanding Quidditch. If we find out more, we’ll let you know.
And they are off!
Gwenog Jones takes the Quaffle and is moving toward the east goal, that’s right to left on your MirrorVision, and probing the Magpie defence.
Montrose has come out in straight man-to-man; they seem to be challenging the Harpies at their own game.
Jones over to Rosebush, back to Jones, Jones moves up and to the right trying to go over the defence.
Great interference by Montrose Seeker Eunice Murray causing Jones to lose control — MacFarlan picks up the Quaffle and he’s off!
Look at that speed, John, it’s a two-on-one.
MacFarlan fakes left, moves right and he SHO….OH MY!
That has to be a penalty on Jones — no way the referee doesn’t call that.
I agree, James, our referee tonight is Emily Vance, a fifteen-year Quidditch veteran and yes, she is stopping play now. Let’s wait for the call.
Blagging has been called on Jones and, as it was during the act of shooting, MacFarlan will get a penalty shot.
Our loyal watchers will know that Blagging is seizing an opponent’s broom tail in order to slow or hinder the opponent.
That’s right, John. Jones is just lucky she is still in the game as she managed to spin Hamish in a complete circle. Dangerous play there.
Well, James, we knew that the Harpies would play physically tonight; it looks like the team Captain is setting the tone early.
It’s now 170-160 in favour of the Magpies as this game has been all over the board. What do you think so far, James?
Well, John, the Magpies have certainly spread out the Harpy defence quite nicely tonight and MacFarlan is having an all-star night, accounting for 150 of the Magpie points, including three penalty scores.
The Harpies are playing with intensity, bordering on vicious. I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen an ejection the way tonight has gone.
I think, James, that the play of Janice Rosebush has been subpar tonight. I’m really surprised that we haven’t seen Weasley.
Barring an injury, John, I don’t know what else could be happening.
Back to the action.
Jones is going back down the left side again, working the Quaffle into the defence. Jones passes off to Rosebush.
Rosebush loses the Quaffle — what a poor play — and MacFarlan is again on a breakaway.
Jones hot on his tail, now passing him. Lots of cobbing, no call.
MacFarlan breaks left, Jones goes with him.
This is getting serious, James, it seems that Gwenog is pushing the bounds of Blurting here by locking their broom handles together.
I agree, John, I’m not sure how long Vance will let this go.
OH! A vicious elbow to the eye, Hamish is swerving off — Jones is still with him and not letting up!
OH NO! Hamish has lost control and crashed into the pitch. It doesn’t look good, James.
Vance is stopping play and yes, it looks like Jones is indeed being ejected. Hamish is being taken to the locker room and the Magpies have a penalty shot upcoming.
Gwenog Jones landed at the bench, cursing.
“Weasley, you’re in for me,” she shouted down the bench, scowling. “I’m not sure what’s been going on with you this week, but I need you to come through on this — go get ’em, Ginny.”
“I won’t let you down, Coach,” Ginny said with some nervousness. She just had to find a way to put Harry out of her mind for a little bit.
With the score now 200-180, the Harpies are starting to take control of this game.
That’s right, John, Ginny Weasley has played brilliantly off the bench with three no-look assists and one rebound score. With MacFarlan out, Holyhead appears to be firmly in control.
Don’t forget the Montrose Seeker, Murray, he still has an edge over the Harpies and could pull this one out.
And back to action!
The Magpies are moving the Quaffle straight up the middle, Harpies continue with physical play.
Right, left, back to middle — great interception by Weasley!
Weasley is breaking left with Johnson following on her right — it’s a two-on-one.
Murray has seen the Snitch! He’s breaking away… this could be the game.
Weasley breaks right then left — no-look pass to Johnson.
Weasley’s pass hit the Snitch just as Murray was about to grab it.
Play has stopped — let’s wait for the call from our referee tonight.
There is still a huddle going on a centre pitch. Weasley does not look happy. Gwenog Jones has come off the bench to centre pitch and is now arguing with Vance.
An ejected player coming off the bench is an automatic three game suspension — this is not good. It looks like Jones won’t be back for the first three games of the playoffs!
I don’t think she’s realized it yet, James.
Vance is now telling her to get off the pitch. And here’s the call.
“During the last play the Harpy Chaser intentionally hit the Snitch with the Quaffle to stop an in-progress catch.
Snitchnip called on Harpy Chaser number 3, Ginny Weasley. Given that a catch was in progress, I award the catch to Montrose, the game is over, Montrose 230 Holyhead 200.”
Good grief, James! Referee Vance has called an in-catch Snitchnip interference call and awarded the catch, and the game, to the Magpies.
What a terrible result for the Harpies, especially given how brilliantly Weasley had been playing.
That’s right, John. We have received confirmation from the Commissioner’s office that Jones WILL be suspended for three games, which would take her out until the Championship game if the Harpies advance that far. With the Harpies losing home-pitch advantage, this could be difficult for Holyhead, and Ginny Weasley, to overcome.
We’ll be right back with our post game analysis and wrap up after a thirty second-station identification. You’re watching British League Quidditch on WWN/W3.