ST MUNGO’S ANNOUNCES DATE AND LOCATION OF SIXTH ANNUAL QUIDDITCH AID CHARITY EVENT
The yearly charity event raising funds to fight Dragon Pox will be held on August 3rd at the Yorkshire Moors Quidditch Stadium. The Professionals will be trying to forget last year’s harrowing seven hour match that saw the Ministry’s first ever win in the event’s history. Last year’s Ministry captain, Assistant Head Auror Ron Weasley, has been given the go ahead to pick his squad this year. When asked if he will choose the same roster, Weasley said, “More or less. But I might have a few surprises at my disposal.”
The Professionals at last year’s event comprised of the top echelon of English Quidditch stars including Assistant Head Auror Weasley’s sister, Holyhead Harpies coveted chaser, Ginevra Weasley. At a Harpies press conference earlier this month, the female Weasley was quoted as saying her brother would never see another win as long as she was on the Professionals. “It was all dumb luck,” the four time Quaffle D’or winner said. “He won’t even get close enough to touch that trophy. I’ll make sure of it.”
Ron’s work life becomes both incredibly amazing and horrifically bad after the Prophet announces Quidditch Aid. Everyone under the age of forty thinks themself to be in the best shape of their life and ready to hop on a broom and show those overpaid frauds who does the real work in Wizarding Britain.
“What do you mean I’m too old ? If I’m too old then you’re too old!”
“Howell, I’m thirty. I’m in the prime of my life. You’re,” Ron glances at his file, “forty-two. And don’t think I didn’t hear about how you pulled a groin muscle at that home inspection last month!”
Howell purses his lips but doesn’t press the matter further. “Fine,” he says. He stands up and hands Ron a thick folder. “Here are the corrections I had done for the Walcott Case.”
Ron groans. “I asked for these three weeks ago.” He adds them to the growing pile of paperwork his people are finally managing to finish and bring to him, all excuses to speak with him about Quidditch Aid. Luckily, it isn’t just paperwork they bring. He has quite the supply of Chocolate Frogs, peanut brittle, and fudge; a grand pile, the very sight of which makes his Auror robes already feel smaller. He opens one of the tins and grabs a piece of fudge just as a small brown owl swoops in and drops something on his desk.
“Hilda!” he calls, because the owls are supposed to drop the mail with his secretary.
The petite woman bustles in, “I couldn’t stop it, sir!”
As soon as he goes to touch the red envelope, he realizes why. It’s a Howler, and he has a sneaking suspicion he knows who it’s from. He opens it and gulps down the fudge.
“YOU TOLD ME YOU WERE ONE AND DONE,” Ginny’s voice wails. “THAT YOU WOULDN’T BE COMING BACK TO THE TEAM SINCE YOU WON LAST YEAR. WHAT KIND OF BROTHER PROMISES SOMETHING LIKE TO TO HIS SISTER AT CHRISTMAS DINNER? IN FRONT OF OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY? I SWEAR RONALD WEASLEY, YOU WILL REGRET THE DAY YOU EVER PICKED UP A BROOM!”
Word spreads across the Ministry that Ron has a secret weapon, a reason for staying on and continuing his legacy. He holds tryouts, after which he officially goes on the Ministry’s do not disturb list. It gets even worse when the Prophet gets hold of the Professionals tentative roster. There aren’t many surprises but when his eyes fall to Draco Malfoy, Ron can’t help but shudder.
The Falmouth Falcons Seeker has the highest stats of anyone in that position for the season, shattering records and gaining notoriety for putting on quite a show. Two of Malfoy’s infamous catches happen after dangerous dives where instead of pulling out, the git leapt off his broom and flipped through the air to catch the bloody snitch.
Ron’s stomach turns at the memory of the Quidditch Illustrated cover story where Malfoy posed nude in front of his broom and discussed the dive. “I never pull out when things gets dangerous,” he’d said. “Where’s the fun in that?”
He decides to leak a roster to Lee Jordan to give the Professionals a false sense of superiority, even though Ron really has no idea what he’s going to do. He sits up late one night, long after Hermione’s gone to bed, and sips a glass of Ogden’s, regret pooling in his gut. Maybe Ginny was right--he should’ve been one-and-done.
Downing the rest of the firewhiskey, he feels the sting of resignation take hold.
“And we are back! That was quite the recap of the 1954 final match day. Who knew the Appleby Arrows could pull off such an upset? Well, there hasn’t been one since, and it won’t be likely in our lifetimes but--”
“Lee! The news?”
“Oh right! Well, we here at Quidditch Watch don’t like to announce things without formal confirmation but I’ve just had it from a reliable source that there will be at least one major change to the leaked lineup from the Ministry’s Quidditch Aid roster. That’s right, none other than Harry Potter himself will be taking on the role of Seeker for the Ministry in this year’s charity event. My source, a close personal friend of Potter’s, claims he’ll be back in time from his six months spent in Romania fighting Dark wizards.”
“And we can’t wait to see Potter back on a broom, can we Lee?”
“Let me tell you, Seamus. Harry Potter is one of the best Seekers I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. Phenomenal, simply a natural. Assistant Head Auror Weasley was said to have a trick up his robes, and for what it’s worth, the Professionals would not have seen this coming.”
“Malfoy versus Potter, it takes me back to our school days!”
“Harry Potter, as we all know, has never lost a game of Quidditch when Draco Malfoy was playing Seeker.”
Pansy rolls her eyes when Draco strolls into the lounge wearing only a grey silk bathrobe. She sips her tea and watches as he slides into the chair, relaxed and confident. His eyes dart over to the golden medal hanging off one of the lamps.
“No room in the case?” she sends him a coy smile. She places her napkin on top of the front page of the Daily Prophet on the table, hiding the news from view.
Draco smirks. “I’m saving the empty space for the Quidditch Aid trophy.”
“Ahh,” she says, unable to hide the amusement from her tone. Draco eyes her with interest but then notices his breakfast, and the crepes steal his attention. Pansy’s eyes twinkle in delight at his ignorance. “Have you prepared yourself this time for the post-game press? Your loser’s face still leaves something to be desired.”
Draco sets down his fork and pins her with a glare. “I don’t see why I’ll need to work on my loser face since as far as I’m concerned we will be winning this game.”
“Haven’t seen the papers today?”
“No,” he frowns. “You know I’ve just got up.”
Pansy smiles, uncovers the paper, and pushes it over to his side of the table. The moment his eyes skirt over the headline and awareness sets in, Draco’s jaw tightens and his face flushes. “What! He’s supposed to be in Romania! What in Salazar’s name is he doing back in England?”
“Playing Quidditch for charity, apparently,” she smiled. “This is for charity, Draco.”
“There is nothing charitable about what I’m going to do to--”
WITCH WEEKLY EXCLUSIVE
The Ultimate Rivals? #1 Seeker Draco Malfoy to go head to head with Savior of the World Harry Potter! Who will come out on top?
Since joining the Falmouth Falcons eight years ago, Draco Malfoy has become one of the hottest Seekers in the world! Shattering records and hearts across the country with his skill and signature smirk; will it be enough when he is forced against his oldest rival? Harry Potter spends his days fighting Dark magic across all of Europe, taking down harmful forces with his power and piercing green eyes!
Will England’s highest rated Seeker in a Century be able to withstand the talent and prowess of the Chosen One? We will find out this Sunday at the sixth annual Quidditch Aid Charity Event!
“This is upsetting,” Ron says as Harry sits back down next to him with two pints. Hermione stares at them from across the booth and sips her gin and tonic.
“Harry,” she pushes, thinking maybe he’ll actually explain what happened. “Would you mind telling me again why you were pulled from the mission?”
Harry bites his lip and sighs. “I told you already, they were harvesting organs from all sorts of creatures and when we raided the second barn, I just lost it.”
“No,” Ron chuckles. “You roundhouse kicked the leader in the face.” He shakes his head, still laughing. “Mate, we watched way too many old time kung fu movies before you left.”
“Yes,” Harry smiles and sips his lager. “Well, they wanted me to take a break for a bit. And also relearn the Auror’s manual on proper arrest procedure.”
Hermione feels as if she’s staring a hole into Harry’s face.
“What? I know, I know, I let it get to my head. You should’ve seen the poor baby dragons.”
“It’s not that,” she says. “I’m worried about the Quidditch Aid match.”
Ron spits out his beer. “You’re--” He turns to Harry. “She’s worried about Quidditch!”
“I want to know what you’re planning on doing. The media is hyping it up as Malfoy versus Potter and--oh Harry! I just don’t want it to escalate to something you might regret.”
“I won’t regret it. I’m going to win. Same as always.”
“I don’t know why you’ve got yourself worked up about it, Hermione,” Ron grabs her hand. “They’ve raised twice as much money as last year and had to add three more grandstands to the pitch. All the media hype has loosened everyone’s pocketbooks.”
“If you think it will be alright,” she finally manages to answer. “Draco Malfoy is not someone to be trifled with, especially now that he’s got a fanbase almost as big as yours, Harry. He will do anything to beat you, I’m sure of it.”
“We’ll see,” Harry shoots her a cocky smile. “I’m more concerned about what will happen to Ron when we win.” Harry claps a hand on Ron’s shoulder. “I’ve been told Gin is out for blood. She’s turned the entire Weasley clan against you.”
“This is upsetting,” Ron repeats for the dozenth time that day.
“Weasley,” Malfoy strides forward.
Ginny nods. “Malfoy.” She looks him up and down and then quirks a brow. “You ready?”
He smirks. “You can’t imagine how long I’ve waited for this moment.” He glances back at the rest of the team as they finish changing out of their warm up gear and into their uniforms. “I can’t wait to see Potter’s face when I beat him.”
“I can’t wait to see Ron’s face,” Ginny grits with a bit of menace.
Malfoy laughs. “Or what’s left of it. Remind me never to get on your bad side.”
“...and Weasley--Head Auror Weasley that is--goes down! With a Bludger to the--nethers! ...unbelievable! Auror Hirthstone scores again! The Ministry is on fire! ...but what’s this? Malfoy in a dive while Potter is still across the pitch recovering from a Bludger to the back! Malfoy! What a dive! And he’s got it! He’s caught the snitch! The Professionals have won it!”
The Daily Prophet MALFOY BEATS POTTER IN EXQUISITE SHOW! POTTER STORMS OFF THE PITCH! SAVIOR CALLS THE PROFESSIONALS A TEAM LACKING COMMON DECENCY! SAYS THE MINISTRY WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR STRONGER THAN EVER!
Harry steps out of the Floo, sore and exhausted. Grimmauld Place is dark, but there’s an aroma of lavender and chamomile wafting on the air. Judging by his aching muscles, the healers tea blend would do him some good. He smiles and heads to the kitchen.
“You made tea for my sore muscles?” he says, leaning over the figure at the table and kissing his pale cheek.
Draco turns and kisses him on the lips. “It’s sore loser tea, actually. They’ve changed the name after that statement you gave to the press earlier.”
Harry pulls himself away from his smirking husband and fixes himself a cup of tea.
“So, the bet?” Draco says, and Harry can hear the tick of something devious in his voice.
He gulps. “What? Now?”
Draco’s face looks almost feral. “What? Scared, Potter?”
Harry sets down his mug and grabs Draco by the collar of his shirt, crushing his mouth in a kiss. “You wish,” he says between breaths, and apparates them to the bedroom.