two years later…
“Presenting Ginny Weasley, star Chaser of the league champion Magpies!”
The crowd in the pub lets out a roar as Ginny strides inside. She lifts her hands in recognition, not even bothering to pretend humility. She kicked arse in that match and deserves all the bloody praise she can get.
Luckily there is that in spades. Everyone seems to be gathered here--most of her brothers, their wives and husband, her friends. It’s only been twenty-four hours since the league-winning match, and Ginny is still high with it.
She gets a lot of hearty handshakes and hugs, and an equal amount of shit-talking from her brothers.
Ron has his daughter up on his shoulders, dressed in a miniature set of Ginny’s uniform. “She insisted,” he says with a grimace.
“That’s my girl,” Ginny says, giving her niece a little fist-bump.
She lets out a peal of laughter and something that sounds like ‘Auntie Gin-Gin’ that Ginny has fought against catching on with her nephews and nieces but has completely lost. Tonight she can’t bring herself to care. Though her brothers have learned the cost of letting her hear them say it.
After nearly twenty minutes of mingling and greetings, Ginny says, “What does a league champion have to do to get a drink around here?”
Charlie rolls his eyes and shoves her towards the bar. “Get it your own damn self. The last thing this family needs is another fat head.”
She sticks her tongue out at him and makes her way over to the bar.
Dean drops down into the seat next to her. “They’ll have to extend your contract now,” he says.
“We’ll see,” Ginny says, unable to keep the secretive smile off her face. There’s already a new five-year, six-figure contract in the works, but she isn’t at liberty to share that quite yet.
Seamus is behind the bar, a towel moving itself down the length of the wood. He leans an elbow on the edge, and Ginny is instantly on alert. He has a look on his face that is reminiscent of her brothers at their most mischievous.
“So what is it then?” she says, noticing something hanging on the wall above the liquor bottles. There’s a plain piece of canvas covering it.
“Just a bit of new decoration,” Seamus says with a playful smile.
Her brothers, she notices, are all turned and watching, clearly waiting for what is meant to be a big unveiling.
Ginny lifts her wand. “May I?”
Seamus gestures for her to go ahead.
With a flick of her wrist, the canvas flutters to the floor, revealing a framed jersey. It’s her number and name in the Montrose black and white, her signature scrawled across it in glittering ink, and she vaguely remembers signing it for him a few weeks back. In large letters below is an easily read sign.
GINNY WEASLEY GETS IT HERE
Ginny blinks at it for a moment before falling face first onto the bar, laughing her arse off. Around her, her brothers groan in complaint. She eventually recovers enough to lift her head, wiping tears from her eyes. She turns to the wizard sitting next to her. “Dean, this one is a keeper.”
“I know,” he says, grinning. “Why do you think I married him?” He leans across the bar to grab the front of Seamus’ shirt, giving him a very enthusiastic kiss.
While they are busy snogging, Ginny leans over the bar, swiping a bottle of firewhiskey and lifting it in the air. “Let the post-season drinking begin!”
After an hour of toasts and well wishes, Ginny settles into a soft buzz that leaves her feeling loose and the tiniest bit melancholy. Most of the kids are passed out on their parents’ shoulders or have been taken home at this point. There’s gentle music playing in the background. Her brothers have long since given up trying to lure her into whatever conspiracy they are hatching over by the dartboards.
She’s more than content to sit at the bar and have a bit of a moment to herself.
She sighs, giving her jersey a small smile of amusement when she catches sight of it again. It’s hard to believe she’s been in the city for over three years now. London, somehow and completely against her will, has become home.
She supposes it isn’t such a terrible place after all.
Someone shifts up behind her, far too close to be casual. She automatically stiffens, not in the mood for unwelcome come-ons.
“Can I ask you a question?” a low voice asks.
She lets out a breath, but doesn’t turn. “Last time I checked, it’s a free country.”
He braces one hand on the bar so his chest is nearly touching her back. “How do you feel about one-night stands?”
Ginny turns slowly on her stool, propping her elbows back on the bar as she takes in the man in front of her, eyes sweeping him from head to foot. “In general or with you specifically?”
He smiles, clearly certain of his chances. “With me.”
“Hmm,” she says as if considering it. “I’m not sure you’re my type.”
His eyebrows lift above the frames of his glasses. “And what is your type?”
She purses her lips. “Punctual.”
He grimaces, his head falling forward to hang down like a house elf that’s just been rebuked.
She reaches out, touching his tousled and overgrown hair, fingers sliding down under his chin to lift his face. Beneath the beard covering his face, she can just make out the shadow of a bruise forming on his cheek. “Get in a fight at work, love?”
He shrugs. “The other guy started it.”
She laughs. “I’m sure.”
He grins, a flash of white teeth. “He went light on me once I told him my girlfriend could kick his arse without breaking a sweat. With or without her wand.”
She lets her hand drop, trailing down the front of his shirt. “And what does this terrifying girlfriend think about you soliciting women for sex?”
He leans in like imparting a secret. “I’m pretty sure she actually has a thing for picking up strange blokes in pubs.”
She fights back a smile. “I think ‘strange’ is a little much,” she says, wrapping her arms around his neck. “At most you’re mildly eccentric.”
He steps into her, his forehead coming to rest against hers as his hands find her waist. “I’m really sorry I missed the match.”
She honestly doesn’t care about the match, is just happy to have him back and in one piece, more or less. “It’s fine. After all, your job is nearly as important as mine.”
“I want to hear all about it,” he says, completely earnest, and she knows he’ll listen raptly to every tiny detail she’s willing to share.
“I’ll give you the play by play,” she promises. “Only later.”
“Yeah?” he says, looking intrigued. “And what are we going to do now?”
She slowly draws her lip into her mouth, knowing that after three weeks he won’t be able to resist. Sure enough, he lets out a low sound like a growl and then gathers her close.
Her back hits the edge of the bar as he kisses her deeply. She tries to get closer and he helpfully slides a hand behind her back, dragging her more firmly against him. She wraps her leg around the back of his.
There’s a loud sound of complaint from behind them, someone yelling for them to get a room. Ginny just sticks her hand deep down into Harry’s pocket, lingering long enough to make him moan into her mouth before pulling the silky weight of the invisibility cloak free. With one smooth movement, she flips the fabric up, letting it settle over them.
“Bloody hell,” Ron says. “We still know you’re there!”
“They aren’t honestly going to have sex under there, are they?” someone else grumbles.
“Who fucking knows?”
Harry smiles against her mouth. “I missed you.”
She lets out a long breath, wrapping her arms around him and burrowing her face into that perfect space between his chin and chest. “I missed you too.”
They stand there awhile in perfect contentment, Harry’s hands soft as they slide comfortingly up and down her back. Whatever tiny feeling of wrongness has been irritating her these last few days seems to disappear entirely.
“I wonder what people would say if they knew the real reason you don’t drink,” he murmurs against her hairline.
“Which is what?” she asks, trying for a warning tone but failing rather spectacularly.
“That it makes you all soft and snuggly.”
She lets out a soft huff. For someone who’s good with details, he’s way off. She touches his face, her thumb brushing his lip. “That’s not the alcohol, idiot. That’s you.”
His expression shifts, his eyes darkening with what she likes to call his ‘I fucking love you’ look, and then he’s kissing her again, leaving her breathless.
“I have a confession,” he says, nuzzling against her neck.
He nods. “I’ve always wanted to shag a league champion.”
She laughs. “It may be your lucky day. I, after all, know quite a few league champions. What gets you going? Seekers? A pair of beaters?”
Harry doesn’t even bother to roll his eyes. “I think you have a pretty good idea what gets me going,” he retorts.
“It’s been three weeks,” she says. “I might need a reminder.”
“Well, if you would stop getting hit in the head with bludgers…” he teases, fingers playing with the neck of her shirt and frankly driving her to distraction.
“Prat,” she says, more breathy exhale than cutting insult.
“You love it,” he mumbles, voice muffled as he kisses down over her sternum.
She winds her fingers into his hair, her patience beginning to splinter. “Any chance you can apparate us home quietly enough that they spend the rest of the night wondering what we’re doing under here?”
He laughs, arms tightening around her as he gathers her close. “For you? Anything.”
The ridiculous thing, she thinks, is that she believes him. “Good. Because I’m tired of sleeping alone.”
“We definitely can’t have that,” he says, pulling back far enough to smile at her. That dopey, lovely, ridiculous smile of his.
It hits her the way it always seems to, like this giant welling wave. He’s back, he’s here and safe, and now, finally, the celebration feels real, feels complete.
“Ginny,” he says, voice soft as he regards her, like he knows exactly what is going on in her head. But then, he’s always been good at seeing past her words.
“Yeah?” she manages, shivering a bit at the expression on his face.
He leans closer. “Just say yes.”
She regards him another long moment, just soaking him in, and then she’s leaning in to kiss him, a bare brush of her lips against his, soft and gentle. “Yes.”
His body shifts, the air squeezing and contracting around them. The pub, the people, the noise, the separation…everything falls away.
Everything but him.