Hufflepup by GinFizz



Summary: Harry had spent years imagining this moment.
Snitch in hand.
Roar of the crowd.
Ginevra Weasley *finally* fixing those bright brown eyes on him.

He had imagined this moment countless times…but never stuffed in Dumbledore’s office squeezed between the Headmaster, two Heads of Houses, an honorary uncle, his godfather, a referee, an auror, his parents and a nervous-looking phoenix. (An "Everyone Lived AU)
Rating: R starstarstarstarstar
Categories: Alternate Universe
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2024.01.31
Updated: 2024.01.31


Hufflepup by GinFizz
Chapter 1: Mortified
Author's Notes:

Harry had spent years imagining this moment.

Snitch in hand.

Roar of the crowd.

Ginevra Weasley finally fixing those bright brown eyes on him.

He had imagined this moment countless times…

…but never stuffed in Dumbledore’s office squeezed between the Headmaster, two Heads of Houses, an honorary uncle, his godfather, a referee, an auror, his parents and a nervous-looking phoenix.

Also in his imagination, the roar of the crowd had been more triumphant and less of an angry-mob-trying-to-topple-the-gargoyle-downstairs sort of din.

“There is absolutely- “

Annnnnnd, Ginevra Weasley also hadn’t been yelling.

“-no, no, no way- “

On the upside, she sparked and sizzled and blazed when she was yelling.

“-none whatsoever- that- “

Wow.

“-that Potter caught the Snitch before the Quaffle left my hand!”

Harry had to respond, he just needed to avoid sounding stupid. “It’s not when the Quaffle leaves the hand, it’s the clearing of the hoop.“

Shit. He sounded stupid.

“It obviously cleared the fucking hoop, Potter.” Ginevra snapped at him. “Otherwise- “

The door to the office thumped, a muffled shout banging from below. “Who won? We want to know who won!”

“Get in line,” Harry muttered under his breath.

“Wouldn’t we all,” Ginevra huffed.

“Never fear,” Dumbledore called through the door. With a flick of his wand, the door bulged and cracked back, followed by the sound of a slide, splat and “ow!”

Satisfied, Dumbledore clapped his hands together as his gaze fluttered around the room. “Excuse me, pardon me.” The old Headmaster- with far more cheer than anyone in his position should exude considering the angry mob downstairs- squeezed by three people on his way to a cabinet. “Excuse me, oh sorry about your foot there, Remus. We shall prevail before the houses storm the stairway, I’m sure.” He patted Ginevra on the head as he sidled around her.

Harry smirked. He had spent years becoming an expert in Ginevra-watching and Dumbledore had just patted her on the head. Harry schooled his mouth into a neutral expression as various shades of rage flurried over Ginevra’s face.

Holy Hell, Harry mused, trying to hold back a soppy grin as she flushed as red as her Quidditch robes. He could see it in the eyes: Ginevra Weasley was honestly considering bat-bogeying Dumbledore.

Unaware of how close he was to being attacked by his own nose mucus, Dumbledore swished his wand again and the cabinet in the corner flew open.

Unfortunately, his office just wasn’t that big. All the occupants were squeezed together so tight, the cabinet door knocked Tonks into a suit of armor.

A pensieve barreled forward, which shoved Remus into Hooch.

Hooch stumbled and knocked Harry’s divorced parents into each other.

His Mum gasped.

His Dad’s gaze dropped to her lips.

Harry yanked off his glasses and pretended to clean them because a world made of blurry colored shapes was less confusing than his parent’s relationship.

However, if his Mum and Dad started making out in front of Ginevra Weasley, so help him, Harry was going to move to Guatemala after graduation. The only communication they’d receive would be an annual basket of bananas with a soulless “Have a Humiliation-Free Christmas” note.

Harry’s mind was dragged back from the jungle by Ginevra’s mutter of yet another “fuck.”

“Enough of that Miss Weasley. Five points from Gryffindor,” Professor McGonagall’s piercing voice shot from behind the crooked suit of armor. It clanked as she gripped it and passed the whole thing over to Professor Sprout. “Let’s have a bit of grace and refrain from foul language in the Headmaster’s office.”

“Can I use foul language out of the Headmaster’s office?” Ginevra mumbled.

Sirius tried to hide a laugh under a fake cough, which startled Hooch, who fell into Tonks, who this time knocked over Fawkes perch. Fawkes trilled as he shot up to the iron light fixture, clinging for life.

McGonagall huffed. “Another five from Gryffindor, for cheek, Miss Weasley.”

Ginevra Weasley whipped around, her hair slapping Harry across the face. “You’re my Head of House! Whose side are you on?”

Harry’s eyes closed as he inhaled.

Your side, Harry thought.

Everyone had to be on her side.

Because her hair smelled just that good.

“Proper language is not a side, Miss Weasley. It’s about poise in the face of adversity,” McGonagall sniffed.

Ginevra Weasley snorted.

Sounded like the most perfectly poised snort ever, Harry conceded.

“What adversity????” Ginevra Weasley ranted. “It’s obvious- “

The whole room twitched as Hooch thumped her broom handle on the floor, temporarily silencing the Captain of the Gryffindor team. “Nothing about this situation is obvious Miss Weasley,” she growled. “If it were obvious, we wouldn’t be tripping all over each other in the Headmaster’s office.”

“I’ve always wondered how many people we could manage to fit in here,” Dumbledore mused, as he sidled around the pensieve, narrowly avoiding Professor Sprout’s foot.

Sirius nudged Harry. “Like Sardines, sans toast.”

Remus, smashed behind him, chuckled. “Like the Underground, rush hour.”

His mother sighed heavily. “Clowns in a Volkswagen.”

Ginevra Weasley muttered under her breath. Something like “what the fuck is a Volkswagen?”

Harry tried to move closer to Ginevra, so maybe she would forget he was surrounded by an unwanted entourage. “It’s a muggle automobile. Small one, it’s- “

She raised an eyebrow at him.

She was so close he could count her freckles.

“Uh, too small for clowns. Well, uh when there’s uh, five, six, seven freck- I mean, uh, clowns-”

The eyebrow arched higher.

His brain told his mouth to stop..

“Sometimes a whole bunch - ten, fifteen, twenty - climb out- “

Stop. Stop mouth. Now.

“-of the uh, Volkswagen.”

He had nine OWLS, he was popular, he was holding a Snitch. He could salvage this.

“It can be funny. If, uh, you’ve never seen an extension charm.”

His unwanted entourage, listening in, finally took mercy on him.

Uncle Moony elbowed him in the side.

His Dad “accidentally’ stepped on his foot.

Uncle Padfoot was shaking in silent laughter behind him.

Harry’s lips closed as his mouth finally got the message. He sighed heavily, staring up at the ceiling.

“Right.” Ginevra Weasley just sighed and bounced on her tiptoes, trying to see what Dumbledore was doing. “You know, I’ve always wondered who decided clowns were funny.”

With a sad shake of his head, Sirius shot a disappointed look at Harry. “Hufflepuffs,” he sighed.

“Well, now that makes sense,” Ginevra shot Sirius a wry glance.

Harry felt a monster in his chest growl at his godfather. Harry held the snitch, but Sirius had better game.

To make matters worse, Professor Sprout, to Harry’s chagrin, had apparently caught that last part of the conversation. “Oh yes, dear. Clowns are hilarious.”

Harry’s entire Gryffindor family seemed to snort en masse.

He loved them all fiercely, but dear God, he wanted them to just disappear before he melted into a pool of mortified goo and slinked out under the door.

Harry glared at them. “You know, there is no reason for you all to be here for this- “

Professor McGonagall tutted next to his Dad. “I quite agree with young Potter- “

And then, they were off.

“Oh Good Lord, does that make me Old Potter?”

“Oh no, now she’s done it.”

“We’re not old. Look at your wife.”

“Ex-wife,” half the room muttered.

“Still hot.”

“Though she doesn’t have that whole ‘gray around the temples’ thing you’ve got going, Prongs.”

Harry shut his eyes and let out a long-suffering sigh.

“Don’t listen to them, James. Very distinguished.”

“I’m too young to be distinguished. Dumbledore is distinguished.”

Dumbledore’s blue eyes glittered. “Why, thank you. I’ve found the angle of the hat is key.”

“Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.” Ginevra’s voice cut through the din. “You’re all bloody friends!”

“Five more points from Gryffindor,” McGonagall sighed.

“Minnie!” Harry’s Dad swapped places with his Mum to stand next to McGonagall. “Don’t you think five points for a single ‘bloody’ is a bit harsh? I mean, I understand the ‘fuck’ fiver from the Chaser, but- “

“AND FIVE MORE POINTS FROM Gryffindor!”

Ginevra threw her hands in the air. “I didn’t SAY anything! How does Gryffindor lose points because Potter’s DAD-”

“Honestly, Minnie, I haven’t been a student here since- “

“Since before the gray,” Lily Evans Potter, Hogwarts potions professor, drawled. “The vast amounts of gray. Enormous amounts. Makes you look peaky, darling.”

“Did she just call me darling?”

“I was being ironic. That ‘darling’ was laced with irony.”

“Wench.”

“Prat.”

“Marco,” Remus added.

“Polo!” Sirius shouted.

“Please,” Harry muttered. “Please make them stop.”

The room erupted in noise until Dumbledore tutted. “Minerva, there’s no need to take points from alums.”

Professor Sprout, agreed. “I understand what you’re trying to do, Minerva. And it’s good of you, really it is. But it hardly seems, nice, given the extreme circumstances we find ourselves in.”

Six former Gryffindors - was one ever a former member of any house? Harry didn’t know- smiled. They smiled indulgently at Professor Sprout, his own Head of House.

All except for Ginevra who rolled her eyes and muttered “screw ‘nice.’ It’s not right.”

Harry’s mouth, with no real permission from Harry’s brain, decided this would be a good time to get some exercise again. “It can be both. Or, um, well, neither. Or, uh you know.” Harry agreed.

At least he tried to agree, subtext beneath verbal salad.

Shit. He sounded stupid again.

Apparently, the uncharacteristic verbal salad was hilarious to his quippy family. Four out of the six chuckled at Harry’s case of word diarrhea.

They were giving him “that” look: the “isn’t he a sweet Hufflepuff” look. In normal circumstances Harry could shake off that look, it didn’t mean anything, he’d been getting it most of his life.

His first real memory had been scratching a howling Padfoot behind the ears while his Dad was yelling at some blind referee on the wireless. Harry’s Mum exploded a potion in the corner, while Remus was blowing bubbles for Harry, which popped in the rhythm of Bohemian Rhapsody if Bohemian Rhapsody were a polka.

He had hugged Padfoot and announced, “I go quiet now,” toddled up the stairs and crawled under his bed with a picture book and some accidental lumos magic.

The family, all of them, found him fifteen minutes later and that was the birth of that look. All four of them wore that look as they built Harry his own fort in the corner. Nothing fancier than a table with some blankets draped over it, but every time one of his loud, Gryffindor family located him there, they’d give him that look.

And right now they were giving him that look in front of Ginevra Weasley, who even in a room full of Gryffindors, had to be the most Gryffindory-Gryffindor in the history of Hogwarts. Ginevra Weasley was larger than life and his family was reducing him to the size of a Hufflepuppy.

It was demeaning. If anything, he was damned Hufflehellhound, solely responsible for destroying Ginevra Weasley’s Quidditch Cup dreams. About to hand her a Consolation Cup of Woe. Though she was saying it was “obvious” Gryffindor won the game, that was flat-out bullshite.

It was just as possible that he, Harry Potter, had won Hufflepuff the Quidditch cup for the first time in seventy-two years.

“Oh dear. The pensieve is listing, I believe it’s settled on one of the loose floor stones. Could everyone shift two steps to the left, please?”

“This is a waste of time!” Ginevra yelled. “It’s obvious- “

Aunt Minnie hissed at her, and Ginevra slammed her beautiful mouth shut.

Harry knew she was going to be disappointed. Despite the fact that Ginevra Weasley had racked up enough points Harry’s Keeper literally cried at the end of the first half, Harry got his team to rally (it had taken a stirring speech about St. Crispin’s Day, three handkerchiefs, and a trip into the emergency stash of biscuits). Harry’s Beaters had stepped up and pummeled the Gryffindor Keeper with enough Bludgers that Harry’s (admittedly less talented) Chasers kept the Hufflepuffs within the spread.

In the end, getting the snitch had been easy, once it had finally stopped hiding.

The problem - the reason - they were all crammed into Dumbledore’s office was Harry had caught the snitch when the score was 160 to 310.

Harry grew up the son of a professional Chaser; he knew very well he should have delayed the catch. Tie-Goes-To-The-Snitch, but who liked a tie?

Most Hufflepuffs, he admitted. His family probably thought he was satisfied with a tie.

He wasn’t. But it had to be done. Even though it was such a House of the Badger thing to do.

“Stop jabbing me with your elbow.” Harry’s Mum muttered to his Dad.

“That’s not his elbow,” Remus, Tonks, and Sirius replied en masse, full voiced.

Harry gaze shot to Ginevra, who had thankfully missed the interaction as she slapped away the suit of armor, having got stuck under its armpit.

Bloody hell, she was fierce for someone so tiny. She could probably out Gryffindor Godric himself.

The morning after Harry had been sorted into Hufflepuff, Uncle Padfoot sent out a “Hufflepuff Survival Kit” containing a dozen pairs of yellow socks, the infamous Marauder’s Map and a handwritten list entitled, “Sirius Black’s Vitally Important Top Ten How-Not-To-Get-Friendzoned Pointers, Hufflepuff Edition.”

Perhaps Harry might have even used it when the Love of his Life showed up a year later. But between his own introversion, the fact Ginevra was a year younger so they shared no classes, and her legion of brothers who were everywhere at once, steering all males away during meals and extra-curriculars, Harry literally couldn’t get close enough to her to spy that friendzone without a pair of omniculars, let alone get somehow stranded within it.

Not that he’d ever tell his family that, of course - that was point one on a different list.

Aunt Dora - back before she and Remus married when she was just Coolest Babysitter Tonks, the only Hufflepuff Harry had met prior to Hogwarts- had sent him her own, far more useful, guide: “Nymphadora Tonks Top Three Ways to Survive As a Hufflepuff Surrounded by Gryffindors”

-Only Share What You’re Willing to Be Teased About
-They Are Louder Than You. Not Smarter. Not Funnier. Pick Your Zingers. Strike Hard, Strike Fast, You’ll Be Respected
-Gryffindors are Righteous. Hufflepuffs are Righteous. Gryffindors break down doors with their Righteous Righteousness. Hufflepuffs try the knob first. Surprisingly effective, far less drama.


Yes, Harry had memorized the list. But there Tonks was trying to fix the phoenix perch she had accidentally dissembled and behind all those Gryffindors she was shaking her head at him.

Traitor.

He did not deserve her eye-rolling. Catching the snitch and winning on the tie was still a win. Absolutely turning the knob.

Unfortunately, the drama chased him, anyway.

Which was par for the course with this many Gryffindors in the room and he should have known it would get worse before getting better.

First, as supportive (and funny, and brave, and outrageous, and so bloody loud) as his family was, it was probably killing them that he made that catch when he did.

His Dad (conjuring a level as he and Hooch conferred with Dumbledore to solve the pensieve listing issue) was likely about to burst.

Gryffindor though he may be, the only person who wanted Harry to win the cup more than Harry, was Harry’s Dad and not just because attending the game gave him an excuse to stalk Harry’s Mum. “No one, no one has worked harder than you, been more patient, more diligent, more honorable, more deserving. No one has better strategy, and no one, absolutely no one in the history of Hogwarts, flies as brilliantly. Get the snitch, hear the bells, blink at the streamers, and I’ll hug Auntie Minnie and remind her there’s always next year, right?”

That had been the plan and to Harry’s credit, it wasn’t his fault there were no bells, no streamers, no choirs of angels and brass bands and all the other things that his family tended to associate with “win.”

All those things that his Dad and Uncles would have conjured in a game where Harry (Hufflepuff he may be), won the Quidditch Cup for his house and his family (even though they were Gryffindors) and his pride (which had admittedly taken a bit of a beating the last few years - though he wouldn’t admit it that part out loud either).

And at some point - once his Dad calmed down, finished transfiguring a cockroach cluster into a viable shim for the pensieve and they all stopped talking over one another - Harry would take the opportunity to explain that he hadn’t caught the snitch when he did on a fluke, or an accident.

It was a last ditch catch. There was no way, no bloody way Hufflepuff was going to win that game unless he caught that snitch when he did. Once the point spread had been beyond the range of the snitch, it was game over, they’d never catch up.

So, Harry hadn’t actually been racing the Gryffindor Seeker.

He was racing Ginevra Weasley.

“Now it’s listing the other way. I believe everyone should move slide back to the right half a step.”

“Also, could whoever is closest to the desk summon a few more cockroach clusters?”

Harry sighed as he budged over, summoned candy only Dumbledore could love over to his Dad while he tried to work his way closer to Ginevra, only to fail when he got stuck between Sirius and Hooch.

The mob downstairs bellowed again, “Who won?”

We did, Harry knew. If anyone asked him, he could explain what happened in the game. Ginevra Weasley had gotten her hands on the Quaffle. She blurred across the pitch like the most blazing comet.

Sure, he could probably count the number of words they had exchanged in five years without trekking into double digits. But she was Ginevra Weasley and no Bludger, no Keeper, no act of God or nature was going to stop her until that Quaffle went through the hoop.

Which meant, the race had been on… she was going to put the Hufflepuffs out of range of the win with those extra ten points or he was going to grab that Snitch right out from under her and win on the tie because that was the only way.

So he had torn his eyes away from the blazing trail of her hair, and he dove toward the Snitch on a spin. He kept his eyes fixed and snatched that Quidditch Cup away from her with the flutter of golden wings crushed in his palm.

Unfortunately, her Quaffle had gone through the hoop at the same moment.

There should have been a roar of the crowd and there should have been a house named with a subsequent “- wins the Quidditch Cup!”

But there wasn’t. It was silence. He landed in silence. His team and her team looked at the score and nothing moved.

No Quaffle score, no snitch score. It had been if the whole pitch was frozen.

Then the roar started. The stadium thundered with shouts and stomps and all anyone wanted to know was who the hell had won.

Harry would have been hard-pressed to decide who wanted to know more: Madam Hooch, the Heads of Houses, Ginevra Weasley, or his entire extended family, who somehow managed to barrel their way out of the stands, yell at the board, Madam Hooch, Dumbledore and each other, and when Dumbledore silenced the crowd and his amplified voice announced that the winner of the match would be pronounced after a thorough review of the final play in his pensive, Harry’s family somehow, for some reason, managed to squeeze themselves… all of them…. into whatever decision was going to be made here in Dumbledore’s office as they mumbled amongst themselves.

“I can’t believe it’s a tie.”

“It’s not a tie.”

“It’s Quidditch.”

“There is no tie.”

Perhaps it made sense that his Mum and Uncle Moony were there, they were teachers, after all. But Sirius, Tonks and his Dad were present on sheer bravado and charisma skills. They were all talking and arguing over each other to such a point, Harry was tempted to go sit in a corner with a good book until they finished.

Except, he didn’t want to look passive in front of Ginevra Weasley, who despite being the smallest person in the room, managed to out-ferocious them all.

“Stop saying tie!” Ginevra snapped. “The last time there was a bona fide Quidditch tie was in 1412 and historical experts have hypothesized it wasn’t really a tie at all, someone just forgot to carry the one.”

And she was yelling at Madam Hooch now.

“Also, when was the last time Hogwarts upgraded the spells on the scoreboard? Did the scoreboard forget to carry a one? Maybe this is all just bad math!”

This whole meeting was going to end in tragedy for her, yet Harry wanted to grin she was so magnificent. She’d be in detention for the rest of the year, sure, but she’d look amazing there.

Probably make detention pretty fun.

Maybe he should do something evil, to end up in detention with her. Not truly evil, but evil enough he wouldn’t benefit from the He’s-A-Hufflepuff-It-Was-Probably-An-Accident-Give-Him-A-Warning bias most of the Professors had. Harry’s conscience was surprisingly alright with that, if it meant sitting in a room with her for several hours.

Sure, he was in a room with her now, but that hardly counted as she barely seemed to notice he was there. Hardly seemed fair, Harry had grown into his elbows and knees and didn’t lack female attention these days. Not that he would do anything about so much female attention, given the fact his heart was lost when he was twelve and it wouldn’t be right to toy around with someone else’s affections when his were so firmly elsewhere.

Which just further proved that life wasn’t fair. He should be looking pretty good right now. He was a solid student, clear-skinned, easy-going, seventeen-year-old winning-seeker (not that she’d admit that yet). He had the attention of the entire school and Ginevra Weasley still didn’t notice him.

“Everyone knows ties don’t happen because Tie-Goes-To-The-Snitch,” his Dad grumbled.

“I for one, am just so impressed with both teams,” Professor Sprout clapped. “What a delight of a game - I’m sure we can all agree that it honestly doesn’t matter who wins or loses…”

Harry was too loyal to visibly wince.

But his truly warmhearted Head of House, who Harry loved dearly, was yet another adult in the room he really didn’t want to be associated with, in front of Ginevra Weasley.

Kind-hearted, approachable, wise that Professor Sprout was, she was failing as a wingman at the moment.

She was nice.

Ginevra Weasley was not in the mood to appreciate nice. Definitely not respect it.

She wanted to win.

And, at the risk of seeming disloyal, he had to respectfully disagree with Professor Sprout. It absolutely mattered who won or lost.

It was Quidditch, for fuck’s sake.

And, if he were being perfectly frank, the whole ‘it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, it’s how you play the game’ attitude is precisely why the Hufflepuffs hadn’t won a Quidditch Cup in over seventy years.

Hufflepuff didn’t necessarily attract the most competitive of personalities, but that didn’t mean they didn’t get one every now and then.

Quidditch wasn’t worth playing unless one was willing to risk bodily harm to win.

Ginevra Weasley understood that. She played every practice, every game like the World Cup was on the line.

The Quidditch player he was, respected that. The Hufflepuff he was, hated that he was responsible for her loss.

Harry had never ever wished to be in a different house.

But for just a moment, he imagined what it might have been like, if they had been in the same house. If they had been on the same team.

What the look on her face might be if he had caught the snitch for her and not a rival house.

“Tie-Goes-To-The-Snitch,” Ginevra growled, “only if the score was a tie. And apparently the system is all fuc- “

The room turned at once to Professor McGonagall, who raised a threatening brow at her young Captain.

Her Captain huffed and rolled her beautiful brown eyes. “Fuuuuuudged Wonky Bonkers. The system is Fudged Wonnky Bonkers, is that acceptable non-point-deducting, parentally approved language for the strait-laced, clean-mouthed Hufflepuffs in the room?”

Temper rose in Harry’s chest, “Gryffindor doesn’t have a monopoly on foul language, Weasley.”

He winced at calling her Weasley.

She spun toward him. “Oh really? How ‘bout you let one loose then?

He raised a brow.

She got a wicked, wicked look on her face, and he suddenly felt like his lungs no longer remembered how to take in air. “Just one? One little, five point swear?”

It was a dare. A bravado-filled Gryffindor dare.

He sighed. Nymphadora Tonks rule two. Strike hard, strike fast, be respected.

Very calmly, Harry lifted the Snitch. “You can feel the win when you catch the Snitch. Now, you can fight as hard as you want in here, and I’m sorry for your loss, because you are brilliant. But it’s not going to make a damned bit of difference, because the system is not fudged wonky bonkers. Yes, the spells on the score mechanism are so fucking old that it cocked up what the muggles would call a godsdamned photo-finish. But by all means, let’s draw out this half-arsed, completely bollocks, pensieve bullshite review, when we all know the Snitch doesn’t fucking lie and there was no fucking way that your Quaffle cleared the sodding hoop before the bloody game ended with a Hufflepuff win.”

The room fell completely silent.

Really, really silent.

Harry’s gaze was steady on Ginevra’s incredulous face, as her eyebrows rose.

Finally she glanced sideways. “Anyone going to take points from Hufflepuff? Professor McGonagall?”

Professor McGonagall tsked. “He’s obviously been pushed to the breaking point. There’s nothing I can do that’s worse than his parents will.”

Ginevra sputtered and Harry wanted to smile because she was… gods she was stunning when she was spitting mad. “They’re not going to do anything! They’re practically smiling!”

Harry risked a glance at his unsolicited entourage. They weren’t smiling, but they all looked fairly proud. Tonks, in the back, rose up on her tiptoes and gave him two thumbs up for rule two.

Harry thought making the argument he should gain points for taking Ginevra’s five point swear, raising it several levels wouldn’t endear him to her, so he just shrugged. He mentally gave Hufflepuff ten points, because bloody hell, he liked to win.

“I believe,” Dumbledore interjected, “that it is the uncertainty that is leading to higher tensions. An uncertainty that can be resolved rather easily, if I do say so myself. Now, if everyone in the room will clear their minds, I’m going to start collecting multiple memories of the last few moments of the game. Queue up, everyone.”

The tension in the room dropped suddenly, under Dumbledore’s efficiency. The occupants of the room may have elbowed each other, and there may have been a few “sorrys” and “oh, my kneecap, excuse me,” and one yelp from his mother, followed by a chuckle from his Dad, which made Harry want to crawl in a hole and die, but after a few moments Dumbledore had collected almost a dozen wispy memories and swirled them in the large shallow bowl of his pensieve.

“Now, as we have several different angles to view the events from, what I shall do is sync the memories, laying a time charm on them. In this manner, we can all be confident that the correct score is applied to today’s game. We will not be entering the pensieve, in the normal way- “

Tonks, smushed up next to Harry snorted in his ear, “the normal way, he says.”

Someone likely related to him elbowed her, and she elbowed back and McGonagall sniffed, “children,” and Sirius adopted an innocent look that everyone in the room knew wasn’t innocent at all.

Harry just wanted to get on with it.

They watched the scenes several times.

Harry enjoyed seeing the dive the first time, but the fourth or fifth he couldn’t help but think he might have been able to get there a bit faster if he had tucked closer to the broom.

Ginevra Weasley’s form was perfect, though. His beater, Jones, had tried to hit a Bludger her way, but she was so nimble, it was almost as if she had skipped over it, like a stone flung along a lake, skimming the surface, never sinking.

She shifted the Quaffle, barreling toward the upper hoop, and if Harry had been less loyal, he might have chuckled at the look of sheer terror on Blanchard’s face, as if he knew there was no chance he’d stop her. Harry’s Keeper flinched, just the slightest bit, and Ginevra Weasley plummeted suddenly, as if her broom could no longer defy gravity. She twisted her body, flinging the Quaffle toward the lower hoop. The angle was such that she flipped her broom and barreled into the rim herself, hitting it so hard the hoop vibrated and shook in protest.

Harry glanced over at her, wondering if she had injured her shoulder in the hit. Wondering if he should send her one of his extra strength post-Quidditch balms that he knew helped one walk the second day.

The room suddenly burst into a cheer and Harry felt irrationally angry, wondering when his family had become such monsters they’d cheer for a possible rotator cuff injury, until he realized they were watching the replay of the Snitch catch and not Ginevra.

“Wotcher, Harry,” Tonks breathed. “You don’t do things by halves, do you?”

Professor McGonagall pursed her lips and caught Harry’s glance.

He shrugged. Auntie Minnie was torn between disappointment and pride. Disappointment that her house lost and pride that she had been the one to purchase him his first pair of Quidditch gloves when he was five.

His parents had never judged his house, but he was pretty sure it had taken a least a year or two before Aunt Minnie forgave him for his sorting.

Sirius whistled and Harry’s Dad shook his head. “Albus, I’ll say it again. Tie goes to the snitch.”

Harry winced. Because not only did his Dad sound a little arrogant Gryffindor-ish, but dropping Dumbledore’s first name reminded everyone that despite the overwhelming number of Gryffindors in the room some loyalties went beyond house, and there were a helluva lot of ex-members of the Order of the Phoenix in the tiny office.

He could see Ginevra Weasley staring at her own throw, then back to his catch. It seemed so unfair that despite being in a room full of Gryffindors, she was hopelessly outnumbered.

Her eyes focused on the time charm above the replay and her voice was low and fierce. “It’s the same second. Go to the tenth of a second.”

Sirius chuckled. “I like her.”

Ginevra Weasley didn’t look at him. “Don’t care. Slow it all down and measure to the tenth of a second.”

The whole room groaned when the timer metered a tie yet again.

Before she could say it, Harry interjected. “Hundredth. Let’s go to the hundredth.”

Was the look she shot him grateful? Competitive? Vicious?

This time, he didn’t watch the slow replay at all.

He just watched her.

Ginevra Weasley was not one whose face hid anything. Once a person got past the fact that she was beautiful, and could remember their own names again, the crinkle in her brow, or the quirk of a lip, of the soft exhale of breath she’d not be able to hold back before trying to cover it with the world’s sassiest smirk… those were not difficult to perceive.

So, Harry watched as honed concentration gave way to hope, which gave way to something akin to amazement before the corners of her mouth tightened not in anger, but to hide the faintest tremble of disappointment.

Then, she turned to him, a look of puzzlement on her face.

He felt as if he had been hit by some sort of spell, because she wasn’t yelling, she was… looking. Really, looking.

He thought maybe he should stand up straighter but he seemed frozen on the spot.

With a shake of her head, she turned back to the pensieve and said, softer, “show that again.”

“Miss Weasley,” Dumbledore cleared his throat. “I believe, the win does go to Huff- “

“Right,” she snapped, low. “But three hundredths of a second, so please do me the courtesy of letting me see the catch again.”

The room was deathly silent, except for Tonks’ faint, appreciative whistle of admiration.

She stepped forward, her face a mask of concentration as she watched Harry dive toward the snitch. He was almost vertical, leaving the Gryffindor Seeker at least two broom lengths behind him.

The twist had been necessary for speed, corkscrewing toward the ground, grabbing the Snitch mid-roll, before flipping the broom over the backside of the bristles to avoid what would have been a bone shattering collision with the ground.

“Again,” Ginevra growled.

She watched it again, twice. “Potter’s Dad? Get over here. I need someone who actually understands Quidditch to explain to me what the fuck I’m seeing here.”

“Five points, Miss Weasley,” McGonagall groaned.

Harry’s Dad peered over Harry’s shoulder. “That’s a - “

“That’s a Diverton Maneuver-“ she interrupted, “with an accelerating corkscrew vertical dive, from a height of over five hundred feet- “

Harry’s Dad moved him aside to sidle next to Ginevra. Always eager to talk Quidditch, he pointed to the memory. “Exactly! Over five hundred feet!”

“And he comes out of it with the Flitterton Flip, which I’ve heard about in exhibition on trick brooms, but- “

“He did it on a Firebolt. Fire. Bolt.”

“How the bloody hell did he do that on a Firebolt?”

“I know, right! And he did it accelerating. Look at what he does with his wrist right there- “

Harry shook his head, annoyed that like Sirius, his Dad also had better game with the girl Harry had fancied for years.

Ginevra also shook her head, in a rather astounded, and unfortunately annoyed, amazement. “He snatches it almost backhand so he can yank the force around and- “

“First time I saw him do that move, he was twelve years old in the backyard. I thought he’d be nothing but broken bones until he pulled up, hopped off his broom and asked what was for lunch.”

“Twelve years old,” Ginevra muttered.

Then she spun to Harry. “So, you’ve been doing that - that!” She jabbed at the memory. “Since you were twelve years old? Twelve? A dozen years of life? A one in the tens place, followed by a fucking two?”

Professor Sprout patted Professor McGonagall. “I’ve got this one dear. Five points from Gryffindor, Miss Weasley.”

But that only got Ginevra started. She whipped around and growled -literally growled- at Harry’s Head of House. “He could do that at twelve.”

“Yes,” Professor Sprout nodded, with a rather polite grin.

“I see where she’s about to go with this,” Remus muttered to Sirius.

“All games should have this sort of post-game blowout. Wish we had firewhiskey.”

Tonks cleared her throat softly and with a side-eye toward Dumbledore, who was still looking at the memory, passed a flask to Sirius, who winked in reply.

“I’m confused a bit here,” Ginevra said flatly. “Hufflepuff hasn’t won a Quidditch Cup in like, over seventy years, right?”

“Seventy-two,” Harry said, drawing her attention.

“Riiiiiight,” she replied, her gaze fixing on him. “Seventy two years. And for the last six years, you’ve been hanging out in the Hufflepuff common room… what? Studying?”

“No, no dear. He’s been a reserve since his second year,” Professor Sprout offered.

“WHY?” Ginevra demanded, her voice ringing in the small office to such volume Hooch actually clutched her ear. “How the hell does a house with a seventy plus year losing streak keep that- “ she jabbed a finger not at Harry, but rather at the memory “on the bench!”

“THAT’S WHAT WE SAID!” Harry’s Dad, McGonagall and godfather all shouted, Sirius shoving his way forward to plant himself on the other side of Ginevra, and McGonagall thoroughly forgetting which house she was actually Head of.

“They do this whole seniority, fairness thing over there!” Harry’s Dad vented to Ginevra.

“Rotten timing. Harry was born too soon.”

“James was terrible with contraceptive charms,” Lily sighed.

“Benched!” Sirius yelled, “until his ‘turn’ his final year. Where’s Albus? Albus, show that catch again. Did you see the look on his face?”

“He’s had that look all his life,” Remus Lupin drawled. “Most stubborn, single-minded kid.”

“If he had been in my house,” McGonagall sniffed. “He’d have been the youngest Seeker in a century.”

Professor Sprout pursed her lips and shook her head. “Cedric Diggory was a perfectly fine Seeker.”

“Pfft,” Ginny muttered. “Perfectly fine at keeping his hair artfully arranged. Had a one in three catch rate though.”

“And then,” Professor Sprout continued, “well, Stuart Miffle had been to every practice, just waiting in the wings for Cedric to graduate, he deserved it. It was his turn.”

Being on the bench while Miffle got to seek had put Harry in a bad mood every Quidditch match for two years. The only good thing about watching Miffle play was those were the years Ginevra had finally got on her team and he could watch her instead.

“Miffle,” Ginevra practically spat the word, “was scared of flying more than twenty-five miles per hour. He was slow. You know what a Seeker isn’t supposed to be?”

“Slow.” Harry’s Dad agreed.

“Clumsy,” Sirius piped up.

“Stupid,” Tonks muttered. “I was in the same class as his brother Melvin. Dimmest person ever.”

“Show it to me again,” Ginevra demanded, her face going red.

After watching Harry catch the Snitch two more times, she turned to him and poked him in the chest. “Three hundredths of a second. Your bloody house doesn’t deserve to win, keeping a fucking world class Seeker on the bench for six years! Bloody Victor Krum can’t do what you just did, and he played in the World Cup two years ago!”

Sirius lifted his flask in salute to her.

“I like her,” Harry’s Dad called out to Lily across the room.

“It was…” Harry tried to say the word, but couldn’t manage it.

“Don’t you dare say it was fair,” Ginevra spat. Harry didn’t know why she was so offended. He had been the one who had to watch from the bench.

“It was fair!” Professor Sprout protested.

“It’s not supposed to be fair!” Ginevra cried, spinning to the room. “It’s bloody Quidditch!”

“Amen,” Hooch muttered.

“Five points,” Lily sighed.

“It’s Quidditch,” Ginevra said again, softer, and so, so angry. For just a moment, her eyes seemed to tear in frustration, but it was gone so quickly, Harry thought it might have been a trick of the light. “Right. So.”

She shrugged at the room. “I suppose that’s that. Three hundredths of a second and Hufflepuff wins the cup for the first time in seventy two years.” She sounded bitterly disappointed.

Hooch made eye contact with McGonagall, Sprout and Dumbledore. “I think we are all in agreement.”

Ginevra looked down at her shoes and shook her head. “Right. Well then. I suppose they’ll be a big to-do in Hufflepuff common room tonight. Quite a rager. Maybe break out some Exploding Snap with your tea and biscuits,” she said derisively.

“Miss Weasley,” McGonagall snapped, but Ginevra held up her hand. “Please don’t, I know.” Shame colored Ginevra’s face, but she lifted her chin and her eyes, duller than Harry had ever seen them, met his. “I’m sorry. That was mean and I’m being a poor loser. Well done, Potter,” she held out her hand, Captain to Captain to shake.

“Good game, Weasley,” he replied, even though he hated calling her Weasley. Her friends called her Ginny, but they weren’t friends. They weren’t even friends enough for him to call her Ginevra, and Weasley sounded wrong because that was her brother. “You played a brilliant game.”

“Right,” she said unable to look him in the eye any longer. Then she took a deep breath, and showing Gryffindor grit, she gave him a tight-lipped smile as she backed toward the door. “Enjoy your party.”

“Are you okay?” He couldn’t help but ask.

“Am I okay?’ Her eyes started to glitter with something that sparked more than disappointment. Not rage, really, but an irritated sort of snark. “Course I am, Potter. It’s a game. Just… Quidditch. Thank you all for your time. I am now,” she said, announcing it to the room with a rather overinflated bravado, “going to march out there through a hostile mob and inform my disappointed house we lost the cup by three hundredths of a second. Then,” she reached for the door, “I am going to find someone tall, dark and disposable to snog until I forget this fucking day ever happened.”

“Ten points from- “

“I know, I know,” she yelled and barreled through the door with a slam.

The room was silent as the vibrations rattled Dumbledore’s instruments.

Harry stared at the door, the office somehow feeling more cavernous now that her larger-than-life presence was gone. “I could be disposable,” he muttered.

His words carried in the silence, though.

As one, nine heads slowly turned toward him.

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