AN: Many thanks to my great beta readers Verlor and udm17!
Chapter 9 - Team Potter
Dreams Come True Today!
By Boris Chamberlain
This afternoon the time has come – the monumental game that we have all waited for so long, fruit of bitter defeats and shameful tournaments. England is finally back in a Quidditch World Cup final. But only one, England or Germany, will become world champions and reach eternal glory!
An English victory should certainly not fail due to a lack of support from home. This edition of the Daily Prophet should be printed entirely in Japan, as the whole of England is here with me anyway, to cheer on our team today. Together we will roar that Daphne Greengrass shall give us even more wonderful goals, that Harry Potter shall catch the Snitch, and that England shall finally bring home the World Cup again. Anyone who is not hoarse tomorrow has never loved this sport – no, it's more than just a sport. This is Quidditch.
As Harry awoke the next morning from uneasy dreams, he was immediately plagued again by those very words that had burned deep into him like branding irons, as soon as Ginny's desperate crying had subsided in the distance.
Greengrass fancies you.
That was what Ginny had told him, a bold claim during that night of lies and ugly truths when the life that Harry had thought he would lead had broken like fragile glass. A bold, even ludicrous claim – or not?
Harry shook his head. Did Daphne fancy him? And if so, since when? And why were these questions bothering him more than the end of his relationship? A relationship that he had thought would end in marriage, children, and growing old together…
But instead of a bygone future, Harry's thoughts moved to memories from the not-too-distant past. It was almost as if he could hear the splashing water under his feet as he had sat with Daphne on the quay on that Alpine lake when she had told him about her family ... and the death of her parents. At that time, she had cried on his shoulder, and he had comforted her and thought nothing of it. Had she already harbored feelings for him then, assuming Ginny's claim that she fancied him was even true?
But if not then, when?
Images flashed through Harry's head. Daphne's laughter during their training sessions. Her overwhelming joy when he had let her fly on his Firebolt. Her even more overwhelming bliss when he'd given her her own Firebolt. The memorial. Ginny's foul. Her look as she was carried off the field just before she passed out. The last few weeks, in which ... yes, in which what actually?
Harry couldn't tell, just couldn't find an answer to his questions, the most important being what to do now.
Greengrass fancies you.
Tired, Harry entered the dining room of their hotel, which was still almost empty so early in the morning. But Harry hadn't wanted to toss and turn in bed any longer – after all, his brooding would not help at all – and so after a cold shower, he had made his way to breakfast. Their coach sat at a table in the corner, immersed in a newspaper and stirring her coffee with her wand. Harry nodded briefly to her, but then his gaze suddenly turned to the main protagonist of his stormy thoughts. Was fate playing tricks on him?
For on the other side of the room was Daphne. Calmly, she looked through the window facade at the Tokyo skyline, apparently completely relaxed, as if she had no idea that she had ended the relationship of two lovers yesterday evening. Although, that wasn't true. Not anymore. Maybe even longer. Harry couldn't tell.
Instinctively, his steps led him to her table. He had no plan, no idea what to say, but that wasn't necessary. As soon as Daphne heard his footsteps, she turned to him – and her eyes widened instantly.
"Harry!" she said, startled. "You look like you haven't slept at all? Are you all right?"
Harry gave her a deep look. What was going on in her head? His own was full of turbulent thoughts...
"No, I didn't sleep well," he said as he sat down across from her. His eyes found Daphne's, and it seemed to him that her bright green irises were filled with genuine concern. "Ginny and I broke up last night..."
Instantly, he felt Daphne's hand on his, warm and cool at the same time, like a refreshing breeze on a hot summer's day. Harry let it happen.
Daphne squeezed his hand. "I'm sorry," she said. "If you need someone to talk to..."
She didn't finish her sentence, but Harry still nodded gratefully; at least he hoped that was what it looked like.
"You will surely find someone who will love you with all their heart," Daphne then said quietly, as if she was speaking to herself rather than him. However, Harry felt as if her eyes flashed briefly at her words.
Was she saying this to him just as a friend, to comfort him, or was she pursuing a plan? Did he even care?
And again Ginny's voice inside his head…
Greengrass fancies you.
It was only in the afternoon when Harry and his teammates stepped out into the back yard of the hotel, where a bus in the colors of the English National Team was already waiting for them, that he suddenly realized that they were going to play for the world championship today! In just over an hour, they would be playing against Germany – and one team would reach the highest peak there was in the Quidditch World, immortalize themselves forever in this game of dreams.
And like a score in a dream, he suddenly heard his name, spoken by a fearful voice, a voice that was all too familiar to him. Harry stopped and looked to the side. Ginny was standing there, still dressed in the same summer dress from last night, as if she hadn't changed since then. She also looked as if she hadn't slept for a second, dark circles around her eyes blemishing her pale face, and the remains of old make-up glimmering on her cheeks.
Harry took a deep breath. What was going to happen now wasn't going to be nice, but it was necessary, for both of them. He exchanged a look with Coach Nika, who nodded to him. "You have five minutes," she said before shooing the other players onto the bus.
Harry took another deep breath, before stepping over to his ex-girlfriend.
Silence. Neither said a word. Then a loud sob.
"I ... I want to apologize to you," Ginny said in a broken voice. It was obvious that she must have cried for a long time. Harry let her talk. "That yesterday ... I shouldn't have said that to you," Ginny continued, looking at the floor. "I know you would never cheat on me or hurt me. You are a much better person than me, Harry, so much better…" She paused. "I ... I just can't stand the idea that you might love someone else, get together with them, start a family ... but that yesterday ... it was unfair. To both you and Daphne. Also ... also that I hurt her. I'm sorry, so terribly sorry."
She lifted her head. Tears shimmered in her eyes, full with a terrible fear.
"Did I destroy us forever, or can I still hope?"
Sighing, Harry took her in his arms. Her body shook, and she sobbed against his chest. Instinctively, he took a deep breath, smelling Ginny's familiar scent again. How much he had loved this fragrance, enjoyed it, surrendered to it, but now it only aroused sadness and remorse in him.
"I also have to apologize to you," he whispered. "I cheated on you, Ginny. Not physically or knowingly, but I did it all the same. I cheated on you by closing my eyes to the truth. Ginny, we both fell in love with a dream. And it was beautiful, but real life isn't a dream."
He pulled away from Ginny to look deep into her tearful eyes.
"I wish you all the luck in the world, my Ginny. I am sure that you will have a wonderful and happy life, but I am not the man you need and who you deserve. I'm sorry."
He kissed Ginny's forehead before breaking away from her and stepping into the bus, her sobbing still a stab in his heart. On the bus, he took the last free seat behind Daphne – and he gave her credit for not speaking to him at that moment.
Greengrass fancies you.
While his teammates around him were getting more and more nervous and excited, Harry stayed strangely calm the entire bus ride to the stadium, only an empty feeling inside him. Even during the emotional speeches from Coach Nika and their captain, he could not get rid of that feeling; even the noise of the audience was muffled, as if it was reaching them from a great distance or through thick earmuffs.
However, when they finally stepped onto the field together, the noise broke down on him all the more. Screeching, boos, national anthems sung crookedly. It was just overwhelming. One hundred thousand fanatical fans, witches and wizards from all over the world, united in their love for Quidditch. One side of the stadium was uniformly red and white, the other a sea of black, red, and gold.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome!" came the booming voice of the commentator. "Welcome to the final of the four hundred and twenty-third Quidditch World Cup!"
The spectators shrieked and clapped. Somewhere in the crowd, Ron, Hermione, the Weasleys, and all his other friends were sitting and looking at him as well. Did they already know? And what would they think of him?
"And now, let's kindly welcome – the English National Quidditch Team!" shouted the commentator enthusiastically. "Led by Captain Avery Hawksworth, followed by Edric Vosper, Denison Frisby, Dawn Whitey, Indira Coudry, and of course – Daphne Greengrass and Harry Potter, the two prodigies!"
Cheers rang out at each name, but the loudest at Daphne and him.
They reached the center circle when the German team emerged from the players' tunnel on the other side of the stadium, clad in dark blue robes.
"And here are the record world champions," shouted the commentator. "Beater and captain Katrina von Glockenspieler leads the German National Team onto the field, behind Elena Eldritch, Hermann Weil, Kurt Todt, Kursten Blijk, Igor Brand and finally Seeker Konrad Weiss!"
Under the thundering applause of the German fans, the players arrived at the center circle. Harry gave a nod to Seeker Weiss, which he mirrored.
"Captains, shake hands," said the referee, a weather-beaten Asian woman whom Harry would estimate at anything between forty and one hundred and fifty years. "Then, on the brooms. At my mark. Three ... two ... one..."
A bright whistle sounded. Harry and the other players pushed themselves off the ground, and gone they were. Rising higher than everyone else, Harry flew a long loop across the field, already on the lookout for a golden glimmer. On the other side of the stadium, Konrad Weiss did the same.
Meanwhile, the commentator's voice echoed through the stadium. Harry listened as best he could as he dodged a Bludger, the wind whistling in his ears. The audience hooted, booed, and sang below him.
"Daphne Greengrass immediately takes over the Quaffle and flies away," the commentator shouted, "Hawksworth and Vosper behind her, but Greengrass doesn't even notice them. There comes Brand – no! Greengrass evades him, the goal rings come closer and closer, is she trying it completely alone? Von Glockenspieler sends a Bludger in her direction – miss, but the next one is already coming, and Todt rushes at Greengrass from above – but what is she doing there?! Incredible!"
There were unrestrained cries of joy from the English fans.
"Outstanding play," the commentator exclaimed. "At the last moment Greengrass does a somersault and throws at Vosper behind her – a pass like a Beethoven sonata! And Vosper scores the first goal of the day! England lead 10-0 against Germany!"
Harry raised his arm before also doing several somersaults in the air. The start was already successful – and the match continued to go well. After thirty-five minutes, England led by 110:30 and Daphne had been involved in all of England's goals.
"...Hawksworth lets Brand stand, dodges a Bludger and – no, the second Bludger hits him, the Quaffle falls, Todt catches it just before hitting the ground and shoots up and away – no, he is hit by a Bludger too – excellent shot from Dawn Whitey. England now back in Quaffle possession. Greengrass on Vosper, Vosper on Hawksworth, again Greengrass, pass, back pass, Greengrass now on the way to the goal, beyond the range of the Bludgers, she only has the Keeper in front of her – feint! Weil dives in the wrong direction!"
The English fans once again erupted in cheers.
"Greengrass scores again!" shouted the commentator. "England is now leading by 120:30! What an incredible Chaser this Daphne Greengrass is! Brilliant, she'll surely have top teams going for her in no time."
Daphne flew away from the opposing goal rings, past Harry, a beaming smile on her face. And Harry couldn't help himself; he returned her smile instinctively as if it were the most natural thing in the world. And as if this had been the last signal he needed, he made his decision right then and there. Maybe that was just a dream, too, but just because it was a dream, it didn't have to be a lie.
A cozy warmth spread inside Harry – but suddenly his stomach seemed to plummet when the commentator's voice reached him.
"Weiss sees the Snitch!" shouted the commentator. "He chases after it like a madman, Potter hasn't noticed anything yet – if Weiss catches the Snitch, Germany are world champions!"
Harry spun around. On the other side of the field, high above the English goal rings, the Snitch glistened brightly in the clear blue sky, and Konrad Weiss was only fifty meters away from it!
Faster than ever before in his life, Harry shot off, and the whistling wind drowned out the commentator and the noise of the crowd that had jumped from their seats. Harry caught up, but Weiss was still in front of him, only a meter or two away from the Snitch, already reaching out with his hand…
But suddenly the Snitch changed direction, and Weiss whizzed past it by a hair's breadth. Harry, however, didn't allow himself to cheer. Their victory was now in his hands. He leaned forward as far as he could, stretching out his arm. With every second he came closer to the Snitch, he was almost there – and then his fingers closed around the small, unruly fluttering ball!
He did it! They had won!
A bright whistle sounded, and Harry saw several red and white silhouettes racing towards him before his teammates wrapped their arms around him, a huge tangle of human bodies, tears of joy, and unbridled laughter. From deep below, they heard the cheers of the English fans.
Massed-together, the team made it to the ground just before Harry fell off the broom. But none of that interested him, his eyes only looking for a certain, blonde player. And then she suddenly stood before him, laughing and her eyes shining with overwhelming glee.
Daphne stepped up to him – and Harry followed the whisper of his heart. He grabbed Daphne's arm and pulled her close, so close that no distinction remained between where his robe ended and hers began. Daphne gave a sound of surprise, but before she could vocalize it more, Harry closed his lips over hers.
Around them, the stadium exploded in a storm of joyous hysteria.
And when eventually their lips parted again, Daphne gave him the prettiest and most perfect Slytherin smile Harry had ever seen.
From that moment on, Harry's life changed forever. After the match, Daphne confessed to him that she had been in love with him for over a year. They decided to go out and soon became a couple. The newspapers and fans couldn't stop raving about England's new dream couple, with only Molly being somewhat reserved at the beginning, but through Ron's continuous encouragement, she finally began to warm up to Daphne.
After two years they got married – who would have thought that he and Draco Malfoy would one day be brothers-in-law?! In the end, they played for ten more years for the Chudley Cannons, during which they won the championship seven times. Ron would later say that those were the best years of his life.
After retiring as professional Quidditch players, they had four children; their last daughter they named Lilian Astoria in memory of Daphne's little sister. And after a few years as a househusband and father, Harry finally returned to Quidditch, this time as coach of the Chudley Cannons; at some point, he had even come to grudgingly like the bright orange. Daphne, on the other hand, became England's national coach, and Harry felt sorry for her players because she held them to the same standards she'd used on herself during her career.
Ginny, too, found a man who made her truly happy. The two had several children together, and after her active career, Ginny began working as a sports reporter for the Daily Prophet. Sometimes, she even wrote positively about Daphne.
Harry and Daphne's children inherited their parents' love of Quidditch, so it was no surprise that they were selected for their respective house teams at Hogwarts – and started another bitter rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin. And even after graduation, they continued to play Quidditch, though, to Harry and Ron's regrets, not for the Chudley Cannons.
With the Quidditch World Cup approaching in 2035 and Daphne's assistant coach dropping out at the last minute after a failed nose extension spell, Harry spontaneously stepped in for him. With two Potter coaches and four Potter players, the English team was quickly referred to as Team Potter, but Harry didn't mind. After all, he loved Quidditch more than anything – after his family and friends, of course – and he was glad that Daphne Potter, nee Greengrass, had wrapped him around her finger so much. And he was glad that Ron had got him drunk enough back then that it had seemed like a good idea to play Quidditch for the Chudley Cannons.
England Wins the World Cup – Team Potter Makes History
By Ginny Weasley