Dreaming a Life by GryffindorHealer
Sunday 3 July 2011
Ginny Potter closed her eyes to better feel the July afternoon sunlight on her face, idly bouncing the Quaffle with her left hand. Conversations between family members blurred to murmurs from 50 feet below her as she rode Charlie’s old Cleansweep to her upcoming turn. With a nonchalant flip of her wrist she sent the Quaffle arcing above her. Her left knee nudging the broom she leaned into the turn while extending both arms out to her sides. The slipstream breeze fluttered her t-shirt sleeves while she coasted around the curve, gradually straightening her course. Eyes still closed, she closed both hands on the Quaffle with a light slap, ending the faint whistle of its falling arc.
Looking down at the meadow that made the Burrow’s Quidditch pitch, her course now approaching the crossing point of her Figure 8 path, she started bouncing the ball with her right hand. Waving at Charlie where he stood holding her Shooting Star Professional next to Harry and Bill, she watched Bill return Harry’s Firebolt, taking his old broom in exchange. Charlie waved back, nudging Bill and pointing to her. Hermione and Audrey sat with Lily Luna, Hugo, and young Molly, Lily’’s laughter reaching her while waving to her mother. Behind them stood Angelina, looking up at her as well with Roxanne in tow, carrying her mother’s Firebolt .
With another casual flip the Quaffle arced upwards, and she executed a perfect mirror of her previous gentle curve, eyes closed, ears tuned for that same gentle whistle which ended with a quick cupping of her palm, turning her left hand into a suction cup holding the ball. Applause and cheers rose up to her. Glancing down she gathered in the two thumbs-up Angie offered, her own broom now tucked into the crook of one arm. Ron put two fingers to his mouth and whistled as he walked up to his wife. Bill and Charlie both clapped loudly. Harry danced his Number One Fan routine. With a flourish of arms and a seated, flying bow, she acknowledged the praise.
Then another gente toss of the Quaffle. Far too much time passed since she’d enjoyed a good fly after retiring from the Harpies and beginning to write full time professionally. She refused to land after the pick-up game with her family. Instead she began mimicking what she’d done when, seven years old, she began teaching herself to fly and play Quidditch. Back then, she pushed herself when tossing and catching the Quaffle, surging around the curve of the figure eight to catch it. Now, though, she simply wanted to continue flying, and found herself performing this old self-drill to entertain her family.
As she made another easy curve she watched Arthur gesticulate while telling Andromeda Tonks snippets describing events leading to the game. Ginny’s siblings once again plotted to handicap her and Harry in various ways. Her, because of her professional years, and Harry because even though he’d never pursued professional Quidditch, his natural talents on a broom still made him formidable. This week, George and Ron declared that Ginny needed to play Keeper, and since there weren’t enough players to make full teams, Harry to play Chaser. Bill and Charlie insisted the two of them use their old Cleansweeps, the two oldest brooms in the Burrow broom shed.
Then they moaned loudly when the lottery to make the two teams put both Ginny and Harry together with her two oldest brothers. George laughingly named their team the Pottering Plodders (with the two oldest brothers). Ron named his and George’s team the Weasley Wizzes, making Teddy beam as an Honorary Weasley.
Ginny laughed out loud to herself at the final score of 150 to 10, Pottering Plodders. Charlie played Beater with gleeful abandon, quickly reading George and Angie’s passing plays and smacking the Bludger to knock the Quaffle astray. Harry and Bill proved just as fast at developing their own passing game, even mimicking some of the best Harpy maneuvers. Their perfectly emulated Harpy Snarl totally befuddled Ron’s Keeper skills. Teddy, made a Hufflepuff Beater this past year at Hogwarts, did his best, but proved unable to disrupt either Harry or Bill as they fiercely attacked the three goals and drove the score up.
When George bemoaned the lack of scores for the Wizzes, Ginny gleefully reminded him that Gwenog strictly enforced a policy of all Harpies playing in all positions during team scrimmages, not simply the two that they listed as their usual ones. Rounding on Harry to demand when he’d become so good as a Chaser, he shrugged.
‘There’s more to being Ginny’s Number One Fan than you lot saw at the games,’ he replied. ‘I helped her practice all their routines, drilling their playbook with her, and then again in the air.’ With Potter’s Plodders laughing at the gaping mouths of the Wizzes, Ginny then congratulated Angie for the excellent feint making the one goal she did manage.
She spotted George with Teddy and James, George obviously telling stories of old Gryffindor games with him and Fred as Beaters. Walking out to the pitch from the house came Molly with Victoire, Dominique, and Lucy. The girls helped Molly by carrying platters of sandwiches, pitcher’s of cool drinks, and trays of empty mugs. Before tossing the Quaffle and beginning her curve she saw George demonstrating how to hold a bat and swing. Finishing this curve and rather mindlessly catching the Quaffle, she watched Al with young Fred and Louis, their heads bend together obviously reliving the game. She smiled, wondering if she should let them know she could see them when she heard the sharp, loud crack of a bat hitting a Bludger.
That was well hit, she thought, scanning back towards George and Teddy. Then she dropped the Quaffle, her professional Quidditch brain instantly analysing the Bludger’s flight path and tipping her broom into a steep dive while stretching out along it as if once again she flew in a Harpies game. The increasing rush of wind in her face and roar of the slipstream past her ears did not cover Teddy yelling, ‘Harry! Al!’ She didn’t need to look back to see him gesturing wildly towards his brother on the opposite end of the meadow; she already knew Harry could never get to their son in time before the impersonal iron ball struck five year old Al.
She could. It needed all her skills on a broom, particularly this antique one, but the only one in a position to prevent the Bludger hitting Al currently urged the old broom her brothers insisted she fly beyond its safety limits.
Experience wanted to tell her she already passed 100 knots in airspeed, but she told herself that would be if she flew her own Shooting Star that Harry bought her when she retired. She couldn’t trust the vibrations of the elderly Cleansweep to gauge her flight speed. She kept in the dive a few seconds longer, gaining precious speed, before beginning to pull up. In her peripheral vision she could see the Bludger gaining on her but she still had an edge. Focusing on keeping the Cleansweep steady she urged more speed into it while still gaining some from the shallower dive that allowed her to intersect the flight of the iron ball. She needed to catch it before it hit Al, and needed to do it in a way she wouldn’t be still flying toward him. And she knew in her bones it would be a near thing.
Urging a bit more speed into the broom, she edged the nose up slightly preparing for the catch. Three things happened in such rapid sequence that to everyone else now watching the race to prevent serious injury it appeared simultaneous.
Ginny gathered the Bludger to her middle, their relative speeds matching so that it felt a gentle hug.
The abused broom’s vibration from the excess speed rose to a crescendo and the old Cleansweep shattered in a series of snapping reports that echoed back off the surrounding trees.
Tucking in to roll as she’d been taught by the Harpies trainers, Ginny’s head still found the tip of the last remaining rock in the meadow. Her world went black as her body tumbled across the ground. The Bludger rolled peacefully away from her and came to a halt as if nothing at all happened.
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