|SIYE Time:9:59 on 21st June 2018|
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: Disturbing Imagery, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Summary: The year after the war was a confusing time for the teen warriors. They had fought against the greatest evil - what was next? Follow them as they try to find out. Canon pairings.
Hitcount: Story Total: 86660; Chapter Total: 1479
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thank you so much to the wonderful Arnel for getting this back to me so quickly! Thanks to my beta StephanieO! Part of the Valentine's fun was me living vicariously through my stories. My sister's birthday in on Valentine's Day and she always came home with the most flowers on Valentine's Day.
Harry hurried towards the Great Hall. His fellow Auror trainees had elected to eat in London before coming to Hogwarts for their History of Magic class, but Harry wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to see Ginny.
As he descended the stairs to the Entrance Hall he could see four tables set up outside of the Great Hall. Behind each table was a house banner and there were signs on each of the tables. A large banner behind all the tables read, “Sunday is Valentine’s Day! Find a gift for your Valentine!”
“What do you think?”
Turning, Harry saw Luna standing there. He smiled. “What is going on?”
“Each house came up with our own ideas for Valentine’s Day fun and we are raising money for different charities. Ravenclaw is sending poems.”
Harry started laughing. “Are you joking?”
“No,” Luna shook her head. “You remember my first year when the little cupids delivered poems. We decided not to have cupids deliver them, but we are doing poems.”
“What did Ginny say?”
“She turned red, but she thought it was a great idea.”
Harry laughed again as he recalled the first Valentine he’d ever received. “What charity are you supporting?”
“St Mungo’s,” she replied.
“Excellent choice,” he said.
She walked over to the table with him. “It is my turn to sell poems. Would you like to send one to Ginny?”
“Most definitely, but I want to think about what to say,” Harry explained.
The head boy, Bruce, was already manning the table. “We have pre-selected poems that you can chose from. You don’t have to come up with your own. A pre-selected poem is six Sickles and writing your own is four Sickles.”
Harry laughed. “No, I definitely have to write my own poem.”
Dennis Creevey was at the Gryffindor table selling sweets to benefit The Marauder’s Fund. “Hi, Harry! Are you going to send Ginny something?”
“Of course,” he said.
“We have several choices,” Dennis said. They had boxes of chocolates, heart shaped marshmallows, Turkish delight, and boxes of rose and violet creams. He showed Harry the options ranging from a small heart-shaped box with only five sweets that cost five Sickles all the way up to an extra-large box of chocolates that cost five Galleons.
“I’ll order this one,” Harry selected a combination of Turkish delight and chocolate. He’d never actually had Turkish delight, but it sounded interesting.
Handing over the money, he moved over to the Hufflepuff table. The fifth-year prefect, Whitney, was selling flowers to benefit Stop Hate, a wizarding branch of the Muggle organization to challenge all forms of hate and discrimination. They had pink carnations for only two Knuts a piece and they had several different colours of roses. There was a sign indicating what each colour meant. Red was for love, pink was for admiration, yellow was for friendship, white meant purity, lavender was for enchantment, orange tipped roses indicated passion, and coral was for a secret admirer.
“You can choose how many roses,” Whitney said shyly.
“Can I mix different colours?” Harry asked. He read that one single rose was nine Knuts while six roses were a Galleon.
Whitney nodded and Harry ordered a dozen red roses and a smaller bouquet with one of each colour. He also sent a yellow rose to Hermione. He happily handed over three Galleons and nine Knuts. Whitney assured him the flowers would be delivered at breakfast on Valentine’s Day.
The last table was the Slytherin table. Harry hadn’t met the two prefects who were at the table, but they explained they were selling balloons. They reminded Harry of animal balloons that he recalled from one of his cousin’s parties many years earlier.
Ian, the fifth-year prefect, explained that these animal balloons would float above the recipient and change into different animals based on the person. “I don’t know exactly how the magic works,” Ian admitted, “but if she likes cats it might meow and follow her around or it might be an owl. It lasts for two weeks. She can tap it with her wand to freeze it in one particular shape and Professor McGonagall has set up a charm so they freeze in the classrooms.”
“That sounds like fun,” Harry said. “How much are they?”
“They are twelve Knuts a piece,” Ian said. “You can pick the colour of the balloon.”
Harry nodded. “What is your charity?”
“We are working for the RSPCMA, the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Magical Animals,” Ian explained. “So many animals were abandoned at the end of the war because their family died or they ran away because their house was destroyed. RSPCMA rehabilitates the animals and either reunites pets and their owners or finds them new owners.”
“That’s a good one,” Harry said as thoughts of Hedwig crossed his mind. If things had gone a bit
differently his faithful owl might have been left ownerless.
He purchased a green balloon for Ginny, a yellow balloon for Luna, and a blue one for Hermione. After all who wouldn’t want to help animals?
With three of the houses supported, he strolled back to the Ravenclaw table. Bruce smiled when he saw him. “Are you ready with your poem?”
“I think so,” Harry said. Taking a piece of parchment, he carefully wrote out his poem and handed it to Bruce.
“Do you want this re-written?” Bruce asked. “We can write it out in calligraphy for another three Knuts.”
“Sure,” Harry said. “My handwriting isn’t the greatest.”
“Mine neither,” Bruce admitted. “That’s why I suggested it. Mandy and Lisa are really good with calligraphy charms and we’ll put it on nice parchment.”
As he handed over the money, he heard Ginny call out his name. He turned as she threw her arms around him. Blushing, she asked, “Did you really buy a poem?”
“Of course,” he laughed. “I’m expecting one from you as well.”
He could read the uncertainty in her eyes and remembered hearing how much her brothers teased her over the Valentine she’d sent him during her first year. “I cherish the Valentine you sent me. Not only was it the first Valentine I every received, but it was so sweet.”
Biting her lip, she looked up at him. “Really?”
“Really,” he said leaning down to kiss her.
She smiled up at him, secure in his arms. “Then I will definitely send you one.”
As they walked into the Great Hall, she asked, “Did you see all of the tables?”
He grinned. “Let’s just say you should be expecting many things on Valentine’s Day. That was a really good idea. I like how all of the money goes to charity.”
“That was Hermione’s idea,” Ginny explained. “Professor Sprout grew the flowers for the Hufflepuff table. We talked to Mr Flume and he gave us break on the sweets. He also agreed to match the amount that we raise and donate it to the Marauder’s Fund.”
As they sat down, Harry said, “Thank you for using Marauder’s Fund.”
“It’s a great charity,” she said. “We did put it up for a vote and the Marauder’s Fund received the most votes.”
He looked up as Hermione sat down. “Hi, Hermione.”
“Did I see you buying a poem?” she asked teasingly.
Blushing slightly, he nodded. “You did.”
“I can’t wait to read it,” Ginny said supportively.
Helping himself to some beef stew, Harry asked, “Is Ron coming this weekend?”
Her eyes sparkling, Hermione nodded. “I just received a letter yesterday. George gave him the whole weekend off.”
“Good,” Harry said with a smile.
Ginny woke early on Sunday morning. Saturday had been a near perfect day in her estimation. Harry had arrived early and they’d spent the day in Hogsmeade just wandering around window shopping. They’d spent some time with Ron and Hermione as well as Demelza and Luna. After returning to the castle, Ginny slipped off to her and Harry’s special room. She hadn’t had to wait long before Harry arrived.
They’d spent the whole evening together before she returned to the common room just before curfew.
Today was going to be a great day. While normally Hogsmeade weekends were only on Saturday, Professor McGonagall allowed them to go into town on Sunday as well. She was thrilled — she was going to see Harry three days in a row.
Three years ago, she’d had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day and it hadn’t gone well. Angelina had insisted on Quidditch practice which hadn’t made Michael very happy. They’d spent time together and he’d given her a small box of chocolates, but she’d always felt the day was overshadowed by his sulking behaviour.
Her fifth year, the Hogsmeade trips had been cancelled so there was no trip near Valentine’s Day. Dean had wanted to spend the entire day with her, but as with Michael the previous year she and Dean were already having problems. He’d given her a huge box of chocolates and roses which he seemed to think entitled him to more privileges than she wanted to give him. He also mentioned to everyone how expensive the chocolates were, seemingly wanting everyone to think he was a great guy.
Last year, Valentine’s Day was just another day under Death Eater regime. She didn’t even remember anything specific about that day.
Ginny dressed carefully for the day. She wore a yellow tiered skirt with a black jumper and black heels. It might be a bit cold, but she thought it would be worth it. Harry liked her in skirts. She pulled her hair back into a loose ponytail and put on some makeup. Overall, she really liked the look.
“You look really nice,” Hermione said as she watched Ginny put the finishing touches on her outfit.
“Thank you,” Ginny replied. She looked over at the older witch. Hermione was wearing a thick, blue jumper with a pair of jeans and black boots with a bit of a heel. “You look nice, too.”
Hermione shrugged. “I want to be warm today. You look nice, but you’ll be freezing walking into town.”
“That’s what warming charms are for,” Ginny laughed. “Besides, it gives me an opportunity to snuggle into Harry.”
“I like the makeup,” Hermione commented.
“Thank you, Fleur taught me how to use it,” Ginny explained. “Do you want to try some out?”
After debating, Hermione shook her head. “I’d rather not.”
“Okay, do you want to go to breakfast?”
Hermione didn’t answer right away. Finally, she turned to look at Ginny. “Should I be caring more about how I look when Ron’s around? Part of me says he’s used to seeing me like this and I shouldn’t have to change how I look for a wizard, but there’s a small part of me that wants to dress up a bit more.”
“I don’t think there is right answer or wrong answer,” Ginny replied. “I like wearing makeup and trying different hairstyles out from time to time. I don’t think you should ‘have’ to, but if you want to there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s only natural to want the one you love to think you look well. Ron thinks you look pretty the way you are, but he would also think you look pretty if you dressed up.”
Looking in the mirror one final time, Hermione shook her head. “I think I’ll stay like this.”
Together the two walked down to the Great Hall. Unlike Ginny’s first year when the hall had been festooned with various shades of pink, it was much more elegant today. On the walls in addition to the pink and red hearts, there were quotes from romantic poetry — both Muggle and wizarding.
There was a large flock of owls waiting to deliver their burdens. Upon sighting her, Athena flew down to Ginny as soon as she sat down. With a smile, Ginny offered the owl some bacon while she detached the envelope.
I had a wonderful time with you yesterday and I can’t wait to spend the day with you. I know I will see you soon, but I wanted you to have the first of your Valentine’s Day gifts.
I love you,
There was a small velvet bag inside the envelope. Ginny opened it and poured a diamond and emerald bracelet into her hand. She gasped as she spread it out.
Hermione’s eyes widened. “That’s beautiful.”
She nodded and carefully put the bracelet on. Holding out her wrist, she gave it a shake and watched the gems catch in the morning light. “It is beautiful.”
“Excuse me, Miss Ginny.”
Turning, Ginny saw two of the first-year students from Hufflepuff. They had a wagon floating behind them with flowers on top. Sorting through the orders, they handed Ginny the two bouquets Harry had sent as well as three carnation bouquets from the younger students. Hermione received her flowers from Harry as well as a large bouquet of pink and white roses from Ron.
“Very nice,” Ginny commented.
Hermione looked pleased as she held the flowers up to her nose. “They are very lovely.”
Soon the Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin students started delivering their orders as well. Not surprisingly, the sweets and flowers were the most popular, but there were still plenty of poems and balloons being delivered.
Hermione was happy with her balloon that immediately turned into a cat. Ginny’s, not surprisingly, turned into a doe. Ginny laughed with delight as she looked around the large chamber. All sorts of animals were floated around — some dogs, cats, and owls, but there were more exotic animals as well — unicorns, dragons, lions, and tigers.
“These balloon animals were a great idea,” Hermione said. “It is fascinating magic. Professor Flitwick worked with Professor Slughorn to develop them.”
“Ginny, this is for you,” Luna said from behind her. Ginny turned and took the envelope Luna was holding out to her.
“Thank you,” Ginny said. She looked at the balloon above Luna curiously. “What is that?”
Luna sighed. “I was hoping for a Crumple-Horned Snorkack or a Nargle, but it is a bunny.”
“It’s cute,” Ginny said.
Luna looked up at the balloon. “I suppose. It was nice of Harry to think of me.”
As Luna wandered down the aisle delivering more poems, Ginny looked down at the envelope in her hand. She opened it eagerly.
Her eyes are the deep brown colour of cinnamon,
Her glorious hair has all the colours of fire,
She’s the only one I desire,
I’m so lucky she’s agreed to marry me!
She couldn’t help but start laughing when she read it. Hermione looked over at her. “Is that from Harry?”
Still laughing, she handed the poem to Hermione. Hermione laughed. “That is sweet.”
“It is,” Ginny admitted.
“Did you send him one?”
Blushing, Ginny nodded. “I did. Hopefully, my poem writing skills have improved in the past six years.”
Hermione laughed. “I sincerely hope so.”
Ginny made a face at her. Hermione smiled and looked around the hall. “Who is that?”
She indicated a younger witch at the Hufflepuff table who seemed to have a veritable garden of flowers in front of her. She was surrounded by friends who seemed to be teasing her about the number of flowers around her.
Ginny laughed. “That is Olivia. Today is her birthday. I heard from Professor Sprout that she received the most flowers out of everyone at the school.”
Professor McGonagall stood up drawing everyone’s attention. “I would like to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day today. All of those visiting Hogsmeade today, please return by four o’clock sharp. Anyone out after that will receive detention and lose points. I would like to thank our prefects and Head Boy and Girl for their hard work in arranging the Valentine’s Day gifts. I am pleased to announce that each group raised quite a bit for charity. The top earner was Hufflepuff, followed by Gryffindor, Slytherin and Ravenclaw. The amount each house won will be available in your common room tonight.”
After taking their flowers and other gifts up to their Gryffindor tower, Ginny and Hermione hurried toward the gate. Ginny was wearing the winter cloak Bill and Fleur had given her for Christmas while Hermione had on a dark blue peacoat. She saw Harry and Ron waiting on the other side. Luckily, Miss Zumbrowski was much better about checking students off than her predecessor, Filch had been. She checked the list, but she also seemed to want to let students into town.
Miss Zumbrowski smiled when she saw them. “It looks like your young men are waiting for you.”
Blushing slightly, Ginny nodded. The caretaker checked off each of their names. “Have fun. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
“Thank you! Happy Valentine’s Day to you,” Ginny replied.
Hurrying out of the gate, Ginny rushed over to Harry, who met her halfway. Throwing her arms around him, she laughed as he lifted her off her feet, swinging her around before kissing her deeply.
The sound of giggling made them pull apart and Ginny saw some of the younger girls smiling at them. Blushing slightly, she looked up at her fiancé. “You didn’t need to give me so many things.”
Tucking her hand in the crook of his arm, he turned towards the village. “I know, but I wanted to. I found the bracelet a few weeks ago and thought it would be perfect for you. When I saw all of Valentine gifts…I couldn’t resist.”
“Thank you,” she said as she leaned up and kissed him on the cheek.
It had snowed in the early morning so there was a thin layer of snow on the ground. She imagined the younger students were probably already outside playing in it. Snuggling into his side, she saw Ron and Hermione up ahead holding hands.
“Did you let Ron know about the flowers?” she asked.
He nodded. “I thought it was only fair.”
“That was very nice of you,” she said. “She really appreciated them — and yours as well.”
“Good.” He shook his head. “I don’t understand their relationship, but if it makes them happy.”
“I don’t suppose you want to go to Madam Puddifoots, do you?” she laughed up at him as they arrived in town.
He made a face. “Absolutely not!”
The pair strolled up and down High Street looking at the Valentine’s Day displays. They joined the queue for The Three Broomsticks shortly before noon, but after waiting for twenty minutes in the cold they decided to head back to the castle.
Kreacher brought them lunch in the room they’d claimed as their own. He’d included heart-shaped pink and red cakes for afters.
“You look beautiful,” Harry smiled as he took in her whole outfit for the first time.
“Thank you,” Ginny said as she curtsied and turned around so he could get the whole effect. Reaching into her pocket, she handed him a small scrolled parchment. Blushing slightly, she said, “This is for you.”
His eyes lit up as he took it. Opening it, he smiled.
Your love makes me whole,
Your arms keep me safe.
I want to be with you for the rest of my life,
I truly can’t wait to be your wife.
“I know it’s really short,” she began. He stood up and pulled her into his arms.
“It is perfect, just like you.” He kissed her deeply.
They lost track of time as they explored each other’s bodies. Laying her back on the enlarged couch, he peeled the black jumper off her before kissing his way down her body. Ginny ran her hands through his hair and held him to her breast as he pleasured her. His hands were busy as well. They made love slowly as he took the opportunity to show her how much he appreciated her body.
“Potter, someone wants to see you.”
Harry looked up in surprise to see Proudfoot standing in front of him. “Who?”
“Come with me,” the older Auror said as he led Harry towards his office. Opening the door of his office, Harry was surprised to see Draco Malfoy sitting there. Proudfoot leaned in and said quietly, “He came in for his regularly scheduled appointment and wanted to speak to you.”
Nodding, Harry walked into the office. He noticed that Malfoy looked a lot more rested than previously and he didn’t look nearly as nervous, but he was also missing some of that arrogance that had marked him during his years at Hogwarts.
“Potter.” Malfoy stood when Harry entered the room. Harry thought it was more that he didn’t want Harry to be standing over him than any sign of respect.
“What can I do for you?”
Looking uncharacteristically uncertain, Malfoy said, “I wanted to apologize for not saying anything about Pansy and Nott’s plot against Weasley. I honestly didn’t think they’d do anything once I said it wasn’t a good idea and I wanted nothing to do with it. Neither of them are good at planning.”
Harry surveyed the former Death Eater. “Why did they target her?”
“Several reasons really. She’s a blood traitor and she was one of the leaders of the resistance last year. A lot of the students really looked up to her and Pansy didn’t like that. She thought as Head Girl, she should have the admiration of the students and she thought Weasley stole that from her. Not to mention the fact that her mother killed my aunt.”
“Your aunt was a psychotic killer,” Harry said. “Please don’t tell me you were upset that she was killed.”
“I wasn’t,” Malfoy admitted. “I will freely admit she scared me at times. She was totally devoted to the Dark Lord.”
“Dark Lord,” Harry rolled his eyes. “He was no lord. He was a half blood, just like me.”
Dropping his eyes, Malfoy nodded. “That’s what we’ve learned. It’s just hard to imagine.”
“So, are you trying to tell me that Ginny wasn’t targeted because of me?”
“Not entirely,” Malfoy admitted. “Yes, getting back at you was part of their plot. Taking your fiancée would devastate you, but that wasn’t the whole reason.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
Looking Harry directly in the eyes for the first time, Malfoy said, “I want to put this shit behind me. I want to live my life and not look over my shoulder.”
Harry evaluated his former enemy for a moment. “Okay. Thank you for telling me.”
Leaving Malfoy to Proudfoot, he went back to his desk. Seamus and Michael were waiting for him.
“What was that about?” Seamus asked.
Harry recounted the conversation. “I don’t understand why he wanted to talk to me.”
“Do you believe him?” Michael asked.
“I believe that he just wants to live his life,” Harry said. “I don’t think he would mind if he hurt me or Ginny along the way, but I don’t think he’d go out of his way to hurt us. Essentially he’s a coward.”
Michael nodded. “He didn’t enjoy the torture like some of the others did.” He shuddered slightly. “Crabbe was way too enthusiastic, but Malfoy just wanted the power. He liked looking down on others.”
Seamus nodded. “He’d sucker punch you in the dark and attack if he had you outnumbered, but I didn’t worry about him like I did Zabini. He was a sadist.”
“That’s what Ginny told me,” Harry said. “I guess Malfoy is just trying to curry favour — Merlin knows his father did that often enough. I don’t think he was as horrified by the idea of Ginny being kidnapped as he pretends, but he wants me to think so for some reason.”
“Ponce!” Michael spat.
Harry nodded. “He is.” Shrugging, he said, “I’m not going to waste my time worrying about him. The only way I’ll believe he’s changed is seeing him act differently.”
Ginny landed in triumph after Amber caught the Snitch. The match against Hufflepuff had been relatively short, only an hour. The Ravenclaw/Slytherin match two weeks earlier had lasted almost five hours.
She thought Professor McGonagall would be pleased, even if she did have to be neutral. Professor Clark was cheering them on.
Leading the team into the changing room, the witches peeled off and scurried for their shower room. Ginny quickly showered, she’d rather take a longer bath later. She had just finished dressing when a knock at the door surprised her.
Opening the door, she found Professor Clark and two other people — a witch and a wizard. “Hello, Professor.”
“Miss Weasley, I would like to introduce Mr Peter Singh and Ms Olivia Harrison. They are with the Department of Magical Games and Sports. The would like to talk to you.”
Ginny’s eyes widened as she realized they must be Quidditch Scouts. “Y-yes, of course.”
Ms Harrison smiled at her. Ginny vaguely thought the woman was probably used to calming people down.
Shaking herself, she said, “Of course, we can go into the strategy room.”
Once all of them were seated, Mr Singh pulled out several folders. He opened one and Ginny saw her picture clipped to it. “Miss Weasley, as I’m sure you’ve realized we are Quidditch Scouts. We represent the British and Irish Quidditch League. I don’t know if you’ve heard how the process works, but we look for recruits for all of the teams. They let us know what positions they are hoping to fill. As you can imagine with the end of the war, there are quite a few positions to fill.”
Ginny nodded and licked her lips nervously. She wished she’d spent a little more time on her appearance before leaving the locker room.
“We were very impressed with both your play and your leadership,” Ms Harrison said. “How did you learn to play?”
“Watching my brothers,” Ginny laughed. “I have six older brothers and only one of them didn’t play. They wouldn’t let me play because I was so young, but I used to sneak out at night and practice flying.”
The scouts both laughed with her. Mr Singh said, “I see you made the team in your fourth year.”
Ginny nodded. “I always wanted to play Chaser, but we had three stronger Chasers at the time. When Umbridge banned Harry from playing, I went out for the Seeker position. I did fairly well, but I tried out as a Chaser the next year.”
“Professor McGonagall has told us she greatly admires your leadership ability,” Ms Harrison said. “She shared that she would have made you captain last year if there was a Quidditch season.”
Ginny nodded. “She told me that as well. I was very honoured.”
Ms Harrison opened her folder and looked over the documentation. “We have a few questions for you.”
Nodding Ginny listened as they asked about various matches. Ginny relaxed as she talked about her matches and the decisions she’d made. Talking strategies and tactics was natural for her and she was happier talking about the team instead of simply herself. The scouts took notes and questioned her about different plays.
At one point, Mr Singh showed her a series of plays from a professional match and asked her to analyse the play. They had a lively conversation about the pros and cons on different choices that had been or could have been made. Ginny thoroughly enjoyed talking about her favourite sport and at times completely forgot to be nervous.
“Is there a team you are interested in?” Ms Harrison asked.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Harpies,” Ginny admitted shyly. “I would be honoured to try out for any of the teams, but the Harpies have always been my dream.”
“They are looking for a Chaser,” Ms Harrison confirmed. Exchanging a look with her fellow scout, she said, “We would like to formally invite you to the UK Quidditch trials April 13 — 17. As you probably know, the trials are open to players ages sixteen to twenty-eight. You will be put through a series of trials in front of management from all of the UK teams. They will teach you a variety of moves and strategy. You will need to demonstrate flying skill, general fitness, general Quidditch knowledge, as well as your position specific skills. At the end of the trials, you will most likely receive offers from several teams.”
“I would advise you to talk to a trusted family member or teacher about the different offers,” he continued. “The offers can be a bit overwhelming at times. Some of the teams have requirement that you live within a certain area, but not all of them.”
“Is there anything that concerns you or makes you nervous?” Ms Harrison asked.
“The press,” Ginny admitted. “I’ve not had the best luck with them in the past.”
Mr Singh nodded. “I’ve seen your name in the papers. You are dating Harry Potter, are you not?”
“I’m engaged to him.”
“Do you have a wedding date?” Ms Harrison asked.
“The eighteenth of December,” she replied.
The two scouts laughed. Ms Harrison said, “You are already thinking like a Quidditch player — planning a wedding for the winter break.”
Sobering up, she continued, “If you are signed by a team, they will be able to limit the press’ access to you. I don’t mean to speak out of school, but does Mr Potter have a spokesperson?”
“No,” Ginny shook her head. “We’ve never even thought of such a thing.”
Pulling a card out of her cloak, Ms Harrison handed it to her. Ginny read it — Clover Mills, Public Relations.
“My aunt has odd taste in names,” Ms Harrison laughed. “Clover is my cousin, but she’s very good at what she does. She could help with fan mail, public events, and such. I know Mr Potter is a very private person, but it might help him. Just something to keep in mind. Obviously, Clover isn’t the only PR person around, but she is good.”
“Thank you,” Ginny said as she stuck the card in her pocket. She’d never even thought about having a representative. Harry might like that — especially if they could help limit the press’s access to him.
She and Professor Clark walked the scouts to the gates of the school. As she watched them walk towards Hogsmeade, she could help but jump up and down. Quidditch scouts!! When she arrived at the castle, Professor McGonagall was waiting on the steps.
“Congratulations, Miss Weasley,” she said proudly.
Ginny squealed. “Thank you! I can’t believe it.”
“You will do well,” she said. “I shan’t keep you. I believe your housemates are celebrating your victory in the common room.”
Nodding, Ginny hurried up to Gryffindor Tower. A wave of noise crashed over her as she climbed through the portrait hole. Demelza was there in an instant.
“Were they scouts?”
Ginny nodded and the two squealed excitedly. Ginny hugged Demelza as she jumped up and down. “I’m invited to the UK Quidditch Trials!! They said I might receive offers from different teams.”
“Congratulations, Ginny!” Hermione exclaimed as she joined the other two.
“Thank you!” Ginny smiled as she was pulled away by her fellow teammates.
Several hours later, Ginny was still floating on air — and a bit of smuggled in Firewhiskey. Demelza had arranged for the elves to bring food up to the common room while Dean had taken care of the alcohol.
“Ginny!” Hermione stormed over. “The punch is spiked!”
“Hermione, don’t get so upset. We’re just having a little fun. Dean cast an age line around the punch, so
only sixth years and up can drink it.” Ginny reassured her. She decided not to mention the fact that she knew some of the younger students were asking the older students to pour them drinks. There were some things that Hermione was better off not knowing.
Hermione shook her head and stormed up to her room. Ginny felt a twinge of remorse, but Demelza came over and the two of them were pulled into yet another conversation about the match.
“I’m sorry, Hermione,” Ginny said as she sat down to breakfast the next morning. “We were just having fun.”
It was a bit on the late side, but it was a Sunday and the party had lasted until the early morning hours. Julia had made a bit of change selling Hangover Potion to her housemates. Ginny felt pretty good.
“NEWTs start in three months and you are wasting time with Quidditch and drinking,” Hermione charged. “I stayed at the match with you last month and wasted five hours in the cold when I could have been revising. Yesterday it was not only the match, but then a loud party afterwards.”
“Well, I’m sorry,” Ginny said sarcastically. “I was approached by Quidditch scouts. It was a dream come true for me.”
“Quidditch,” Hermione snorted. “A professional sports career is not something you should count on. You need to apply yourself to a realistic career that will last you in the long term.”
“Quidditch is what I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve just had the scouts tell me that I am good enough, so I’m not going to let you rain on my parade.”
“What are you going to do after this Quidditch career?”
“Start a family, coach, work for Department of Magical Games and Sports? I don’t know. There are any number of things I could do.”
Hermione stared at her for a minute. “You are really serious about this, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” Ginny replied defiantly.
“I still think you need to prepare for your NEWTs.”
“I am and I plan on doing well,” Ginny said. Standing up from the table, she said, “I didn’t mean to drag you into anything you didn’t want to do. If you don’t want to attend the Quidditch matches, don’t go.”
Instead of returning to the common room, Ginny roamed around the castle. She wished Harry could have been there for her match, but he and the other trainees were out on a three-day seminar in Edinburgh on criminal profiling. She wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but he promised to mirror call her when he returned.
She ended up in the Friendship Chamber. There were a few people playing Exploding Snape, but Ginny wasn’t interested. She browsed the bookshelves for a minute before pulling a romance novel off the shelf. Her inner Hermione protested at her wasting more time, but she quickly squashed that voice. She’d study later.
As they jogged around the lake, Ginny told Harry all about the scouts’ visit. While of course she’d told him over their mirrors, this was the first time she’d seen him since their visit.
“That is amazing,” Harry said as they finished their laps. “I have to admit I’m a bit jealous.”
She shrugged as they started with sit ups. “Have you considered trying out? I’m sure you would receive offers.”
“How many would be based on who I am, not what I can do?”
“But you are an amazing Quidditch player,” she argued. “Sure, some of the teams would want you for publicity, but most would want you for your talent.”
He smiled. “I will admit I’ve had dreams of playing Quidditch, but I would hate to play against you and I’m sure the Harpies will make you an offer. I like being an Auror. It’s not as fun as playing Quidditch, but it is something I’m good at.” As he sat up, he stole a kiss. “I’ll have to live vicariously through you.”
After their workout, the two walked to the courtyard. Harry knew he had to leave soon, Professor McGonagall had been very patient with him spending extra time with Ginny, but he didn’t want to push his luck.
“I asked Kingsley about the PR spokesperson idea and he thought it was a good idea. Apparently, I receive tons of fan mail. He said a spokesperson or a personal assistant could help with that. He said they could also organize events that would highlight our charities.”
Ginny looked up into his face. He was mostly in the shadows in the cool winter evening. She couldn’t see enough of his face to know what he was thinking. “Have you made an appointment with her?”
He sighed. “I haven’t, but I guess I should.”
“What’s stopping you?” she asked as he wrapped his arms around her waist.
“I want to be just a regular guy,” he complained.
“I know, love,” she said soothingly. “I don’t blame you, but you are famous and people want to thank you. I didn’t realize you were still receiving so much fan mail.”
“I honestly didn’t either,” he admitted. “Kingsley has had several Ministry workers dealing with it. I hate the idea that so many people are forced to work on my behalf. I’ve actually inquired about hiring some house-elves to help with the work.”
Ginny started laughing. “You are going to find yourself on Hermione’s bad side.”
“No, I won’t,” he assured her. “I will be happy to hire them and pay them if that is what they wish. Kingsley said that there are many elves who find themselves without a family after the war. Many of them came here to work at the school, but there are others still looking for work. I would think she would encourage me giving them work to do.”
“That might work.”
Looking down at her, he said, “I thought the two of you patched things up.”
“We did,” she agreed. “I just feel like I’m a disappointment to her. She misses the two of you like crazy and sometimes I feel like I’m all she has here and she doesn’t approve of me.”
“Trust me there were plenty of times when she was disappointed in me and Ron,” he said. “I think she just takes time to adjust to an idea. Didn’t you say she’s much friendlier with the younger students?”
Ginny nodded. “She is.”
“I would bet that part of it is that she doesn’t understand how good you are,” Harry said. “She’s probably worried about you not making a team and not having an education to fall back on. That’s rather a cliché in the Muggle world. I have no worries. Not only are you a brilliant player, but you are very clever. I know you will have no problems with what you want to do.”
“Thank you, love,” Ginny said as she laid her head down on Harry’s chest. He pulled her closer and ran his hands down her hair.
Reluctantly, he said, “I should be going. I don’t want Professor McGonagall to think I am abusing my privileges.”
Lifting her head, she kissed him deeply. It was several long minutes later when she broke the kiss. “I love you.”
He smiled down at her. “I love you, too.”
Taking her hand, Harry led her back into the castle. It took them a bit longer than strictly necessary to arrive at the headmistress’ office, but that was easily accounted for by the stolen kisses. When they arrived at the gargoyle, Ginny gave him one last kiss. She watched as he rode the winding stairs up to Professor McGonagall’s office before heading back to the common room. Hermione had scheduled a Transfiguration study session and Ginny didn’t want to be late.
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