AN: All credit for making this readable / passable goes to Arnel. Everyone please give her a high five.
This is a special British League Quidditch Update, brought to you by WWN/W3 Productions.
Hello to all you Quidditch fans! With the conclusion of the regular season, the British League Quidditch playoffs are right around the corner.
The Appleby Arrows are the clear favourite for the title, as they enter the post-season undefeated. They've had outstanding Chaser play all season, and the combination of Harry Potter and Jacob Ashford has been dominating.
The North Division has been more strongly contested. The Holyhead Harpies led the division all season, but fell to the Magpies in the final game, leading to a split title. The Harpies Captain and Interim Coach, Gwenog Jones, was suspended for entering the pitch after being ejected - in total, a three game suspension.
Debate still rages about the final call against Ginny Weasley – with supporters and detractors adamant that the correct call was made. It was quite the season!
As always, the end of the regular season turns thoughts to the Quidditch World Cup. Our loyal fans will know that fan voting at the end of the regular season selects two-thirds of the starting cup team, with the remaining spots being filled by player votes right before the Championship game.
Without further ado or gilding of any more lilies, we are pleased to announce the results of the fan voting for this years English World Cup team!
This year's line-up is heavy on Arrows players, really no surprise given how the regular season played out.
Chaser (Team Captain) – Hamish MacFarlan from the Montrose Magpies!
Chaser – Matt Jones from the Appleby Arrows!
Beater – William Hastings from the Tutshill Tornados!
Keeper – Oliver Wood, Puddlemere United!
Seeker – Harry Potter from the Appleby Arrows!
Harry Potter was a surprise for some commentators given his late season charm scandal and other off-pitch difficulties. However, he has played brilliantly this season and remains a fan favourite for his achievements on, and off, the Quidditch Pitch.
The remaining two starting spots, a Chaser and a Beater, will be filled by player ballots along with two field reserves and a reserve Seeker before the Championship match in four weeks.
Let the playoffs begin!
Ginny sat on the ratty couch in her and Ron's flat, wearing her baggy striped pyjama bottoms and Harry's practice jersey for a top (yes, she still had it, damn it, and she wasn't giving it back!).
She was watching the announcements of the fan voting for the World Cup team. Ginny knew that she wouldn't have been selected, given all the press scandal during the season.
Ginny was having a bad week. As expected, the media and fans exploded after the end of the Magpies game. Her pass had been dissected, the play reviewed in super-snail mode (a W3 innovation), and all sides seemed to have an opinion.
Ginny thought that it was clear that she was making a no-look pass and it was an accident. However, even accidental, it was still a valid Snitchnip, so she couldn't be too upset with the call, she admitted to herself.
It was all the media and fans questioning her integrity and her play that infuriated her, and now Gwenog was suspended for the playoffs!
Despite all the Quidditch problems, Ginny was as or more concerned about Harry. He still wasn't speaking to her, and she wasn't sure how to fix the issues between them.
"Hey, Sis," Ron said as he sat down next to her. Despite the early hour, Ron was already in his Ministry robes and showed no signs of having just woken up.
"So, Gin," he said as he patted her knee is a show of support. "I've been down at the Ministry all morning discussing the Harry Potter situation."
Ginny grimaced and shook her head. "And?"
"There is some good news and bad news." Ron paused and collected his thoughts.
"The good news is that the 'leak' appears to be much less than originally thought. We had a meeting this morning, attended by Ministry Intelligence, with every coach to determine exactly what they know."
Ginny nodded, trying her best to keep her frustration in check. "And??"
"It seems that all anyone knows is that if you 'distract' Harry 'bad' things could happen. No one knows what that really even means. The Coach of the Falcons made a point that people try and distract Seekers all the time, so he wouldn't even know what to do differently with Potter."
Ron stood up and paced around the back of the couch.
"The Ministry has conceded that there most likely wasn't a leak of any seriousness and there will be no further investigation."
"Ron, that's great news!" Ginny said enthusiastically jumping up from the couch herself.
"Just wait, Ginny," Ron said grimly, "I haven't given you the bad news yet."
"The Ministry has decided, for reasons they won't share, that despite the findings they are revoking Harry's charter to play."
Ginny froze in celebration. "They are what!" she shrieked.
"Harry won't be allowed to play anymore, due to 'unspecified security concerns', whatever that means."
Ron sat down on the coach and Ginny quickly joined him, her face still frozen in horror.
"They are going to keep it from the press. He'll still be on the team riding the bench until after the Championship game, at which point a 'practice injury' will keep him out of the cup and he'll retire."
Ginny covered her face with hands. She leaned forward so her hair hung around her like a shield from the outside world.
"Ron, this will devastate him."
"I don't know what to tell you, Gin," Ron said sadly, patting her back gently again.
"At least you'll be able to play and the spectre of an investigation is over," Ron trailed off, looking uncomfortable. "I guess it's not much," he mumbled, "but at least it's something."
This is a special British League Quidditch Update, brought to you by WWN/W3 Productions.
The past three weeks have truly been exciting here as we bring you all the playoff action. After three weeks of play, we have our Championship match set and ready to go.
The Arrows have made it to the Championship game by squarely beating the Tornadoes and the Kestrels and then squeaking by Puddlemere United in a closely contested match.
Surprising Quidditch fans everywhere, Harry Potter has not seen the pitch during the entire playoff run. Jacob Ashford played poorly against Puddlemere and almost lost the match. It was truly surprising that Potter didn't see time given his performance.
However, it looks like fans won't be disappointed during the Championship, given that Ashford was injured in the final play against Puddlemere and has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Let's talk about their opponent, the Holyhead Harpies. Everyone had written the Harpies off after Gwenog Jones was suspended and they lost the home-pitch advantage. However, Ginny Weasley has truly been the story of this playoff season, playing just brilliant Quidditch for the Harpies.
Weasley is leading all Chasers in scoring during this playoff run, averaging 160 points per game. The World Cup Captain Chaser, Hamish MacFarlan, is second averaging 120 points per game.
With Gwenog Jones back, Weasley on a tear, and Harry Potter sure to be in the line-up, the Championship is being billed as the match of the century. Excitement is high – catch all the action here on WWN/W3!
Harry walked into the Ministry meeting feeling anxious but hopeful. They had to let him play now.
The so-called leak was barely anything and with Ashford out they only had two choices, cancel the game or let him play.
Thinking about the scope of the leak made Harry uncomfortable. He clearly owed Ginny an apology. He couldn't believe how hard it was to not forgive her, and that was when he thought she had told his secret to everyone.
Now he just felt ashamed. He hoped that she would be more forgiving than he had been.
Someone quietly clearing their throat interrupted Harry's thoughts, and he realized he had been standing in the doorway to the meeting room for quite a number of seconds.
"Mr Potter, if you would please sit down."
Harry looked around and recognized the people in the room. Minister Shacklebolt was an old friend, and Harry gave him a small wave, which he returned.
Also in attendance were Coach Smith and Ron Weasley, the acting Quidditch Commissioner.
Harry walked over and sat at the meeting table with trepidation.
Kingsley looked around the room as everyone settled themselves and then looked over at Harry sympathetically.
"Kingsley," Harry began before the Minister could speak. "You have to let me play now, you don't have a choice."
"Harry," Kingsley said quietly while shaking his head, "there is always a choice."
"You're not seriously considering cancelling the Championship are you?" Coach Smith yelled jumping to his feet with his fists down on the table.
"I don't know." Kingsley looked lost in thought. "Could you bring on another Seeker?"
"Another Seeker! NO!" Harry and Coach Smith shouted at the same time, causing Ron and the Minister to both wince at the volume of their combined complaint.
Coach Smith said angrily, "I couldn't integrate him in the team fast enough, besides he wouldn't be as good as Potter. You're asking me to just give up here!"
"You have to let me play, Kingsley, you know you do," Harry said at the same time, partially overriding his coach.
"Calm, please!" the Minister indicated with hands for everyone to settle down.
"Kingsley," Harry pleaded, leaning forward and speaking quickly. "You know I can control it – this is not fair – I need this – I-I have nothing else," he finished in a whisper, closing his eyes.
"You owe me, Kingsley," Harry said desperately, closing his eyes against what he knew would be the fatal blow to his career.
After a few moments of silence, Harry opened his eyes a fraction and saw the Minister slowly evaluating him.
"All right, Harry. You can play."
WELCOME ALL QUIDDITCH FANS TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME OF THE BRITISH QUIDDITCH LEAGUE!
As always, our broadcast tonight is brought to you by WWN/W3 productions and Comet Brooms – if it's got to be fast, it's got to be a Comet.
James, this is the moment we've all been waiting for, and I for one am simply too excited to sit still.
I'm right there with you, John; this has been one of the most unusual Quidditch seasons in recent memory, going right back to the opening day reception and the announcement of Harry Potter joining the Arrows.
Tonight will see the return of Harry Potter to the Arrow starting line-up. What should we expect?
Despite being mum on the reasons that they weren't playing Potter, conventional wisdom tells us he was clearly injured at the end of the season. Since we don't know what the injury was, we can only speculate on its impact for this match. Is Potter ready? We'll just have to wait and see!
Gwenog Jones is back in the line-up for the Harpies, which will only give them, and Ginny Weasley, a boost.
I agree, James. Let's talk about Weasley for a second – I mean, what a playoff performance!
She is putting in one for the record books, John. After showing some early season promise and a few outstanding moments, Weasley has overcome adversity both on and off the pitch to put together the most impressive string of playoff performances this announcer can ever remember witnessing.
It's been good enough to get her on the World Cup team, as her fellow players have elected Weasley to fill the final Chaser spot through the player vote.
Good for her, John!
What do you expect from both teams tonight, James?
I expect that with Potter back in the line-up the Arrows will push for a fast paced, open game to really highlight Potter's skills on a broom. I expect very little zone and a wide-open spread offensive attack.
For the Harpies, I expect them to play a combination of box-in-one and zone with the occasional West Coast Bludger Pound to try and keep the Arrow Chasers off their game.
The Harpies have not shied away from physical play at all this season and I don't expect that strategy to change here tonight.
Well, John, the clock is counting down, it's almost time to get this match started.
We'll pause here for a thirty-second station identification – you're watching British League Quidditch on WWN/W3
Harry scanned the Harpy bench after finishing his warm-ups. He would really like to speak to Ginny before the game – he just wasn't sure what he was going to say.
He finally spied her over on the side of the pitch, lying on her back and stretching, off by herself.
He quickly flew over and landed quietly by her side.
"Hey, Ginny, off by yourself?" he asked quietly.
Ginny opened her eyes and froze for a moment. After a few seconds, she turned her head to the side and continued stretching.
"I like to take a few moments by myself and get ready to play," she said with a lack of feeling.
"Ginny, look, I would really like to apologize to you – you know, for everything I said and did," Harry told her, nervously running his hands through his hair and down the back of his neck.
After a few moments, Ginny sighed and stood up and faced him directly.
"Er – I thought I did already." Harry said in confusion.
"No," Ginny gritted her teeth, "You said you wanted to apologize, they are completely different things."
Harry took her hand, and Ginny sniffed at him.
"Ginny, I'm very sorry for what I said – can you forgive me?"
"That's it?" Ginny said with exasperation.
"What do you want instead?" Harry asked with desperation.
"I want to know why you didn't believe me! I want to know why you refused to talk to me! I want you to know how miserable you made me!" Ginny choked off as her anger quickly dissolved into sorrow.
Harry gathered her in his arms and pulled her close.
"Ginny – I missed you every day. I thought about you all the time. I wrote about a hundred letters to you that I was too afraid to mail. I was miserable – I am miserable."
He pulled her head to his chest.
"Please forgive me."
Ginny pulled back and wiped her face. "I don't know. Are you willing to talk to me after the game?"
Harry nodded forlornly. Ginny grabbed her broom.
"Watch your arse out there today Potter," Ginny said with a small smile, then hopped on her broom and flew over to the Harpy bench.
As Ginny few toward the Harpy bench, Gwenog Jones pulled the Keeper, Emmeline, over to the side.
"Did you see that little display between Potter and Weasley?" Gwenog asked quietly.
"I sure did, what are you thinking?" Emmeline asked.
"Ever since you told me what you overheard Weasley say in the bathroom, I've been thinking of ways to get to Potter should we have to play the Arrows. I think I've found it."
Emmeline raised her eyebrows in question, but didn't say anything.
"Did you see the way Potter looked – correction – is looking at Ginny?"
Emmeline looked around and spotted Harry looking longingly after Ginny.
"I see it."
"So here's the question. Potter is probably ready for anything we can do to distract him, right?"
"But I bet he's not ready for something to happen to Weasley there, is he?"
Emmeline looked confused for a moment, and then smiled wickedly as understanding came.
"What did you have in mind, boss?"
"Keep it in your pocket, but if I give the signal, have the Beaters hit one toward Ginny."
"Wait, our Beaters hit our own player?"
"Yes. What do you think will happen to Potter once she goes down?" Gwenog smirked. "And without a Seeker, the Arrows will have no chance."
"Ginny won't like it, and she's too good a player to just push around," Emmeline grunted.
"She's a professional – she'll get over it when she holds that Cup above her head." Gwenog paused and frowned. "Just in case, let's make sure she doesn't find out until after it's over."
And we are back. The starting line-ups are set, the players are on the pitch, and we are ready to go.
The Snitch has been released, there go the Bludgers, and the Quaffle is up and we are playing Quidditch!
Matt Jones takes the Quaffle for the Arrows and breaks out, immediately pushing down the left side toward the north hoops, that's right to left on your MirrorVision.
Matt Jones breaks left and loops around the Harpy defence, Gwenog Jones was being a little aggressive there and Matt left her in the air looking like a first year rookie.
Jones to Colroy, Colroy to Jones, over to Michael.
Michael breaks straight up and drops a pass down the middle to a slashing Colroy, Colroy doges a Bludger and SHOOTS!
Blocked by Vance, rebound to Weasley.
Weasley streaks straight down the middle of the pitch. Look at that speed!
Weasley breaks clear of the Arrow defence with Johnson trailing close behind. It's now a two on one thanks to the burst of speed that Weasley put on.
Potter swoops down attempting an interference play, but Weasley passes off to Johnson and avoids the turnover.
Johnson breaks right and up, loops around, fakes a shot and drops the Quaffle to Weasley who is coming across the front of the left hoop.
Weasley takes the Quaffle and fakes, once – twice – triple pump – SHE SCORES!
Jackson really was faked out on that one. Normally a solid Keeper, he just looked outclassed by Weasley during that sequence.
10-0 in favour of the Harpies. Arrows Jones takes the Quaffle and moves it around the outside.
The Harpies are in their classic man formation and playing physically – lots of Cobbing and bumping – no call yet
James, it looks like the referee tonight is going to let them play.
The way it should be, John, for the Championship game, after all, Cobbing is Quidditch.
Jones to Michael, over to Colroy.
Again, James, we are seeing the maturity and patience of the Arrows Chasers as they methodically attack the Harpy defence.
The Arrows have spread the pitch now, with a moving pattern in front of Harpy defenders.
Good screen by Michael to free up Colroy from his defender – Harpies want Blatching, but no call
Colroy breaks free and Jones hits him across the middle.
Colroy up and OH MY – Colroy is levelled by Gwenog Jones. A little payback for Jones's earlier miss, James?
Looks like it, John. Regardless, Gwenog has the Quaffle and is quickly making her way up the pitch.
The Harpy strategy seems to be to just bull rush the Keeper with an aggressive attack. Totally different strategy from the Arrows – it's really great to see these contrasting styles of play.
I agree, James. Gwenog breaks right and up, now down, back left, she SHOOTS!
Blocked by Jackson, rebound to Weasley following behind – SHE SHOOTS! SHE SCORES!
Good Godric – Weasley is on fire tonight! That was a great play that really just showed her ability to know where to be on the pitch. She has a great feel for space.
20-0 in favour of the Harpies as play continues.
Potter has been a non-factor so far tonight, James. He'll really need to get into this game to help out the Arrows Chasers.
Michael takes the Quaffle and moves it slowly up the pitch, Weasley defending on the left side.
Michael over to Colroy who loops around Johnson, the passes over to Jones.
Great Bludger shot by Alision Jones of the Arrows, Johnson has to dodge, freeing up Jones as he breaks for the Hoop.
Jones up, she SHOOTS! Blocked by Vance, rebound to Johnson.
You can really feel the Arrows' frustration up here tonight, James. The Harpies Chasers are really coming together at the right time. With Jones and Weasley playing like this, the Arrows' only chance may be for Potter to end the match before the Harpies can score 150.
Johnson takes the Quaffle up the Middle.
What's this, James?
Well, John, it looks like the Arrows are going to a zone defence with a box-in-one on Weasley.
I believe, James, that this is one of the first times we've seen the Arrows use this setup the entire season?
You're right, John – normally the Arrows Chasers have the opponents so outclassed that they've been able to rely on the flying ability to defend the goal.
With the way the Harpies are playing though, it looks like Coach Smith has made the decision to slow down the Harpies scoring.
This will really limit the Arrows Chaser break-outs – it's all on Potter now to score points for Appleby.
Gwenog Jones testing the edge of the Arrows zone, over to Weasley, up to Johnson.
The Harpies Beaters have setup just outside the zone, ready to blast the Arrows defenders at the first chance. The Arrows Beaters are weaving inside the zone to try to defend the Chasers as best they can.
Johnson back over to Weasley, Weasley moves outside – she SHOOTS!
Intercepted by the Arrows' Jones, and the Arrows have the Quaffle.
Rookie mistake, James. As good as Weasley has been, she should have known better than to shoot from that far outside the zone.
Matt Jones takes the Quaffle and pushes hard against the Harpies defenders. Fakes a pass to Colroy, and then passes off to Michael.
NO! He keeps it, what a great play action, and moves down the left side having momentarily confused his defender.
You're right, James, Matt Jones is completely free and Johnson is nowhere in sight.
Intercepted by Weasley. What a great play! Weasley rotated off her man when she saw that Johnson had lost Jones and moved into perfect position to intercept the shot.
You just can't teach that, John.
Too right, James. Weasley has broken free from the defenders and is pushing down the pitch before the Arrows can get their zone in place.
It's one on one – Weasley vs. Jackson – she SHOOTS! SHE SCORES!
Weasley is UNSTOPPABLE as the Harpies go up 30-0. The Arrows have called a timeout, so we'll take one with them.
We'll be right back after this thirty-second station identification. You're watching British League Quidditch on WWN/W3
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At the end of sixty minutes of play, the score stands 140 – 0 in favour of the Harpies.
James, I would not have believed you if you had told me that this is how this match would play out.
I know, John, I expected more out of the Arrows Chasers, but to be honest their play hasn't been that bad.
I agree, James, the story of this match is the outstanding play of the Harpies, in particular, Chaser Number 3, Ginny Weasley.
Weasley has scored 100 points on her own and is credited with three assists. In some shape or form, Weasley has been involved in 130 of the 140 Harpies points.
The Harpies defence has been outstanding and physical as expected.
Looking at the Arrows bench, they just look defeated right now. The only thing that could save the Arrows is for Potter to find the Snitch, but he's seemed very off his game the entire match.
Back to action.
The Arrows Jones has the Quaffle and is moving up the pitch. Passes off to Colroy.
OH MY. Potter is breaking toward the middle of the pitch!
Has he seen the Snitch?
He has, he has!
Potter now blazing across the middle of the pitch, just inches from the Snitch now.
The Harpies Beater has a chance with a Bludger to stop his progress.
She swings – the Bludger is heading toward him.
It's off, James, it's off! It's going to miss, it's just now down to Potter!
Potter reaches, the Bludger screams by his head, missing by inches. Potter makes the CA –! OH MY!
The Bludger has caught Ginny Weasley in the back of the head, totally off guard.
She's falling. This is not good. Did Potter catch the Snitch?
HE DID HE DID! ARROWS WIN!
We've got to see about Weasley, James. Weasley is now down on the pitch.
The medi-witch is on her way out. What a terrible way to end this match.
Harry saw the Bludger catch Ginny in the back of the head at the same moment his hand closed over the Snitch.
It took him a moment to register what had happened and he watched in horror as her crumpled form crashed to the ground.
Harry quickly landed and tossed his broom aside as he ran to Ginny. He didn't understand what had happened. There is no way the Arrows Beaters would hit that Bludger – not with their own Seeker in progress of making a catch.
It had to have come from the Harpies, but that made no sense. Harry was confused and he felt his hold on the binders begin to waver.
FOCUS! You've got to get to Ginny, he told himself.
Harry ran toward Ginny, waves of power unconsciously pushing players out of his way, clearing a space around him and Ginny.
She did not look good. The side and back of her head were partially caved in. Blood was coming out of her ears, nose, and eye sockets and her neck was at an unnatural angle.
She had clearly broken one, if not both legs, on impact with a compound fracture as her shinbone stuck out of her leg.
Her broom handle had snapped and the part that was still attached to the tail had jammed itself into Ginny's stomach where it disappeared in a horrible bloody mess.
Harry dropped to his knees next to Ginny, his hands fluttering uselessly as he tried to decide what he could and couldn't touch.
The sight of the broom handle sticking out of Ginny's middle enraged him, and without thinking, he grabbed it and pulled it out. Ginny did not move or react as more blood began pouring from the wound.
Harry looked up in desperation as the medi-witch finally arrived.
"Oh no, this is not good, not good," she mumbled as her wand moved in intricate patterns over Ginny.
"This is not good – did you remove that broom handle!" she asked Harry sharply.
"Stupid, stupid," she continued mumbling when Harry nodded.
Suddenly she turned and looked over her shoulder, "Where is that emergency Portkey!" she screamed – her voice tinged with hysterics.
Harry looked at and sobbed. "Is she going to be alright?"
"No she isn't," the witch said looking at down at Ginny's broken form. "I'm losing her."
Harry rocked back in shock.
"No, NO!" he screamed. Harry felt his control waiver, but instead of pushing back, he welcomed it.
With no thought and total abandon, Harry released his binders and felt the full power flow through him.
A pulse of power threw the medi-witch back and she looked up in terror at Harry now standing over Ginny, fire pouring from his eyes.
Harry raised his hands, as if in supplication to a higher power, and called out in a loud, ringing voice.
"Dumbledore – HELP ME!"
Harry's back arched and he began roaring in anger and pain as his magic responded to his plea.
A bright light began shining around Harry and Ginny and soon the entire stadium could not bear to look in their direction.
The stadium shook – plaster began falling off the walls. The stands swayed with the power and those at the top began to seriously wonder if the entire stadium was collapsing.
Finally, there was an inhuman shriek from the centre of the pitch and a loud explosion that knocked everyone who was still on the pitch to the ground.
Suddenly the light went out.
The medi-witch stood cautiously and blinked the tears from the light out of her eyes. Eventually, she was able to focus on the middle of the pitch.
There, in bloody and torn Quidditch robes, Ginny Weasley slept peacefully without a scratch or mark.
Next to her, not moving, was a man that somewhat resembled Harry Potter. He wore Potter's Quidditch uniform and had the same colour hair, but something seemed off.
The medi-witch approached and covered her mouth with her hands, choking off a scream.
Harry lay on the pitch, the front of his robes torn open. Jagged scars ran down his face, side, and arms. One scar ran through his eye and continued down to the corner of his mouth. His nose had clearly been broken many times – to many for even magic to heal.
His lips were pulled slightly up and to the left by the scar, leaving him with an appearance of a snarl.
He looked battered and beaten. More worrisome, however, were the flames that continued to pour out of his eyes and fingertips, even as he lay unmoving.