You can read the previous chapter here.
Chapter Seven: Detention and Quidditch
Next Saturday night, Ginny entered the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom at five past eight and was greeted by a scowling Snape.
“Miss Weasley, at last,” he sneered. “How nice of you to finally show up.”
Ginny felt her blood rapidly heat to a boil. She was only five minutes late, and all because Peeves had decided it would be very funny to block the corridor that led to the classroom. She had to go back and then take another route. She thought she had done it pretty fast, but she knew there was no point in trying to explain Snape that. Instead, she decided to bite her tongue to prevent herself from retaliating and stared blankly at her Professor, waiting for instructions.
“You will do well to remember that detention is a disciplinary action, Miss Weasley,” he went on. “I’m afraid I’ll have to take another ten points from Gryffindor on your account. That way you will remember to always be on time.”
Ginny clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. She could feel her heart beating very fast with rage and her face was burning with the effort she was making to stay in control. She took a couple of deep breaths to regain her composure, determined not to give Snape the satisfaction of seeing her anger.
“Sit,” he ordered, apparently not noticing or not caring about the murderous glare Ginny was giving him.
She sat on the table he had pointed at. It was almost covered with big boxes that were filled with glass jars. Although all the jars had their lids on, there was an odd mixture of smells –none of them pleasant- coming from the boxes. The stench was unbearable and Ginny covered her face with her hand.
“You don’t mind the smell, do you?” asked Snape, his thin lips curling up a bit. “These are Potion ingredients. Most of them are probably out of date and therefore useless. I told Professor Slughorn that I would get them sorted out by tomorrow and that will be your job tonight. I want you to put the ones that can still be used here.”
Ginny eyed all the boxes. It would take her hours to check every single jar, and her stomach was already getting upset. She took her wand to conjure a Bubble-Head Charm, but Snape must have read her mind.
“I wouldn’t suggest you do that,” he said. There was definitely a hint of amusement in his voice. “You will need your nose for the job.”
He then wheeled around and sat on his desk, behind a tall pile of essays he was apparently grading.
Ginny started working as fast a she could. A few times when she had opened a particularly smelly jar she had been about to vomit, but she had conjured some ginger to fight the nausea.
Snape seemed to have completely forgotten about her. He was still grading essays, but by the expression on his face it looked like he needed the ginger even more than Ginny herself. He would occasionally stab the piece of parchment he was reading with his red-inked quill, or mutter things like “unbelievable,” “four years of magical education wasted,” “has she really taken Defense Against the Dark Arts before?”
Ginny was also sure she had heard the names Lockheart and Lupin once or twice. She didn’t appreciate at all that Snape would compare Lockheart with Professor Lupin, who was, by far, the best DADA teacher she had ever had, including Snape.
At ten thirty Snape finally stood up and walked over to Ginny.
“That will be enough Miss Weasley,” he said inspecting the last remaining box. “You were supposed to have a partner tonight but since he couldn’t make it, I’ll leave him the task of sorting these flobberworms. I’m sure he will enjoy it very much.”
He had said this last statement as though talking to himself rather than with Ginny. She was temped to ask who was he talking about, but on second thought, she decided she didn’t really care. All she wanted was to go back to the Gryffindor Tower, take a long shower and go to bed.
When she climbed in through the portrait hole, she saw Dean, sitting by himself. He was apparently waiting for her, because as soon as she walked in, he waved at her, motioning her to join him. She walked over to where he was and collapsed on a chair in front of him.
“How was it?” Dean asked sympathetically.
She let out a noise that might have been a grunt and pressed her hands over her eyes. She was tired and her stomach was still not its usual self. She uncovered her eyes and sighed.
“That terrible, huh?”
“You can hardly imagine,” said Ginny, looking around distractedly She saw Hermione and Ron sitting by the fire and wondered where Harry could be. Dean came to sit next to her and she redirected her attention to him.
“That Snape is a piece of work,” Dean said as he started massaging her shoulders. Ginny caught the livid look Ron was giving her and she closed her eyes choosing to ignore it. She couldn’t care less about what Ron thought. That massage felt really good. “What did he have you do?”
“He made me sort out smelly potion ingredients,” said Ginny grumpily. “I was about to barf and he was actually enjoying it.”
“Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” he asked silkily. Ginny had a pretty good idea of what he had in mind.
“What I need is a shower and some sleep,” she said standing up, and immediately she realized she had been a bit short. Dean looked at her questioningly.
Ginny hated to be rude to him, especially since he was always so nice to her, but right now she was not in the mood for a snogging session.
She opened her mouth to apologize, but was rapidly distracted by the sound of the portrait hole opening. Ginny turned around, mostly because it was really late for someone to be coming in. Somehow, it didn’t surprise her to see Harry crawling in. He spotted Hermione and Ron, joined them and they started talking with their heads together.
Ginny turned back to Dean, who was standing next to her, and realized he had been talking to her.
“I’m sorry, Dean,” she said, blushing slightly under his sharp look. “I’m very tired. I really need to get some sleep.”
“Sure,” he said, sounding a bit disappointed. “We can talk tomorrow.”
“Definitely,” she said.
“Then you go and rest,” he said, kissing her cheek.
“Good night Dean.”
Ginny walked up the stairs that lead to the girls’ dormitory and Dean went up to bed as well. From the top of the stairs she glanced back down at the almost empty common room. The only people there now were Harry, Ron and Hermione. Harry was apparently telling the other two something very important, because they were hanging to his every word.
The next morning, Ginny, who was usually an early riser, allowed herself to stay a while longer in bed. When she went down to the common room, she found Harry standing in the middle of the room. He saw her too and smiled.
“Good morning, Ginny,” he said brightly.
“Good morning, Harry,” she replied. “What are you doing here all by yourself?”
“I’m waiting for Ron. He forgot something and went upstairs to get it.”
“My brainless brother,” said Ginny, rolling her eyes, and Harry chuckled. “I’ve been meaning to ask you,” Ginny went on, “when are you planning to hold tryouts?”
“I think I’ll do it next Saturday,” he said thoughtfully. “But you don’t have to try out. You were on the team last year.”
“I was only covering for you,” said Ginny firmly. “I’m going to try out for Chaser now.” Harry opened his mouth, but Ginny forestalled him. “Besides, I want to try out. If I make the team, I want to know it was because I was the best candidate. And I want everyone else to know that as well.”
Harry peered at her for a while with his brow furrowed. It looked like he was about to ask her what she meant, but then he seemed to change his mind.
“Katie wants to try out too. I guess I’ll have to hold tryouts for all the positions,” he said meditatively, and Ginny knew he was thinking about Ron. “I mean, all but Seeker.”
Ginny knew he had said that because it didn’t make sense to hold tryouts to replace the team captain. There had been no trace of arrogance or self-importance in his tone, but the opportunity was too good to let it go.
“Is not like anyone could ever replace the ‘Chosen One,’ right?” she said mockingly.
Harry looked at her through narrowed eyes and Ginny gave him her best innocent smile.
“Exactly,” he said, somewhat amused. “Still, you did a good job last year.”
“I did, didn’t I?” Ginny teased. “But I’m afraid you won’t be able to find another Ginny Weasley.”
“I know,” Harry chortled. “So I won’t even try.”
Ginny blinked several times in a bemused sort of way. She didn’t know how to take Harry’s comment. She knew he hadn’t meant it in a bad way, but she was not sure it had been a compliment either. It was so hard to figure out what Harry meant sometimes.
He noticed her puzzlement and was looking at her inquiringly. Ginny knew he was wondering what was wrong with her.
“I got it!” exclaimed Ron, rushing down the stairs and Ginny took the interruption as her cue to leave.
“Well, I’ll see you, Harry.” Without waiting for his response, she left.
Ginny set off in the direction of the Great Hall, cursing herself. She was supposed to be so clever and witty. She hated to look like an idiot in front of Harry.
She joined Dean at the Gryffindor table, only a couple of seconds before Harry and Ron arrived and sat with Hermione on the other side of the table.
“Good morning,” said Dean, kissing her cheek. “I was starting to think you were not coming down for breakfast at all.”
“I overslept,” said Ginny, shrugging, and proceeded to serve eggs and sausages on her plate.
“What do you have in mind for today?” asked Dean.
“Whatever you want to do is fine,” said Ginny, uninterested.
“Well, it’s a beautiful day,” said Dean pointing at the ceiling and Ginny looked up. It was indeed nice. The sun was shining brightly and there were no clouds in the sky. “I thought we could spend the morning outside.”
“Sure,” said Ginny.
After breakfast, Ginny and Dean sat under a tree by the lake. He had is sketchpad and had insisted in drawing her again and she obliged. He had drawn her at least ten times over the last week. It was amusing at first, but she was starting to find the whole thing annoying.
Every so often he would pause to kiss her and then resume his work. Ginny had to admit he was a good kisser. Much better than Michael Corner, she thought scathingly. But there was something missing. She couldn’t understand what. He was so sweet with her, a perfect gentleman; always opening doors for her and trying to help her through the portrait hole. It was nice at first, but like the drawings, it got old pretty quickly.
She was the smallest and the only girl in a family of men. She had to learn very early in life to stand her ground in front of her six brothers -especially Ron and the twins. She was certainly not used to be treated like a fairy princess.
“Oh! I talked to Harry,” Ginny exclaimed suddenly and Dean gave her a shrewd look.
Did everybody know she used to have a crush on Harry? Ginny asked herself bothered.
“He told me the tryouts will be next Saturday,” she continued, trying to sound casual.
“Good!” said Dean, his expression having changed dramatically. “I really hope I make the team this year.”
“Me too,” Ginny replied, although she was remembering that Harry had told her that she didn’t even needed to try out. He had implied that the position was hers if she wanted it. A small smile spread across her face at the thought.
“What are you smiling about?” Dean asked.
“Oh! Never mind. I was lost in thought,” she said dismissively.
“Do you want to practice together to get ready for the tryouts?”
“Sure. That’s a good idea.”
The following week, Ginny and Dean went to the Quidditch pitch every day after dinner to practice for the tryouts. Most of the times, Seamus Finnigan joined them too. They would practice their flying and also when it was the three of them, one would pose as Keeper while the other two tried to score goals. Ginny realized very quickly that she was better than both of them, but she refrain from making that comment because –having six brothers- she knew how sensitive guys were about that sort of things.
The night before the tryouts, they practiced for a while and then Ginny insisted in going to bed early. She wanted to be well rested for the next day. The day she would start proving everyone –including Harry- that she was a lot more than Ron’s little sister.
“Not the ideal Qudditch conditions,” mused Seamus, looking up at the ceiling which looked cold and rainy. No one responded, but everyone was thinking the same thing. It would be a lot better if the tryouts had been on a clear, sunny morning.
The three six-years were still half way through their breakfast, but Ginny needed to get to the Quidditch pitch. She gazed down the Gryffindor table and saw Harry, Ron and Hermione talking. Ginny wondered what Hermione was telling the two boys, because Ron was looking at her almost outraged and Harry seemed oddly flushed. She then shook her head and decided she didn’t really cared.
“I’m heading to the Quidditch pitch,” she said.
“I’m going with you,” said Dean promptly, but he was eyeing what was left of his breakfast gloomily.
“No, you finish up,” said Ginny standing up. “I’ll see you down there.”
She left the Great Hall followed by the Creevey brothers. At the entrance hall they found Luna, who was also heading out wearing her lion head-shaped hat.
“Hi Ginny!” said Luna in her usual vague and dreamy voice. “I thought I’d go down to the tryouts to show you my support.”
“Well… thank you, Luna,” said Ginny, trying hard not to laugh. “I really appreciate it.” This was one of the reasons she liked Luna so much; she had the amazing ability of getting Ginny to stop worrying about almost anything and just laugh about it. And seeing Luna wearing that stupid hat made Ginny instantly stop worrying about the tryouts.
“I just hope tryouts don’t take that long,” said Luna thoughtfully. “I still need to go to the library to do some research on Winesteron Wasblees.”
Dennis opened his mouth, apparently to ask what in the world Winesteron Wasblees were, but he closed it right up after being nudged in the ribs by Colin.
“Don’t worry about it,” said Ginny, thinking that they really didn’t need to ask what Winesteron Wasblees were anyway. She could bet anything they were some kind of weird creatures Luna’s father was researching to write about them in The Quibbler. The thing was that an important part of being Luna’s friend was to know when to ask questions and when not to. “I don’t think that many people will try out.”
So Ginny, Luna, Colin and Dennis made their way down to the stadium through the cool, misty drizzle and when they got there, Ginny realized that at least half of Gryffindor House was there already, from first years who were nervously clutching a selection of the dreadful old school brooms, to seventh years who towered over the rest, looking coolly intimidating.
“This is odd,” said Ginny, flabbergast. “What are all these people doing here?”
“If you ask me,” said Colin, looking around as perplexed as Ginny. “I’d say they plan to try out.”
The three Gryffindors and the Ravenclaw found places in the stands only seconds before Dean and Seamus arrived and joined them. They were also looking at everyone with apprehension.
“I didn’t know there was going to be this much people,” mused Dean as he sat down next to Ginny.
Ginny opened her mouth to say that she didn’t either, but she got distracted by the arrival of Harry, Hermione and Ron. As soon as they got to the stadium, Hermione went to sit in the stands. Ginny could tell something was definitely bothering her. Ron’s face was a sickly shade of green, probably because he was so nervous. And Harry looked like he was positively dreading to go through this.
He had barely stood in front of the crowd when a large, wiry-haired boy Ginny recognized immediately as Cormac McLaggen -a seventh-year she had met in Slughorn’s compartment in the Hogwarts Express- took a step forward to shake his hand. From where she was sitting, Ginny couldn’t hear their conversation, but then Harry pointed over to the edge of the pitch, close to where Hermione was sitting and McLaggen went to sit down, looking annoyed.
“Good morning everyone,” Harry addressed the crowd. “First of all, I want to thank you for your interest in the Gryffindor Quidditch team.” Ginny smiled amused. She was positive that in Harry’s mind, this was one of the worst moments of his life. “I would like to start the tryouts with a basic test. I want you to divide into groups of ten and fly once around the pitch.”
This turned out to be a good decision: the first group was made up of first years, and it could not have been plainer that they had hardly ever flown before. Only one boy managed to remain airborne for more than a few seconds, and he was so surprised he promptly crashed into one of the goal posts.
The second group was comprised of ten of the silliest girls Ginny had ever seen in her life. Romilda Vane and her annoying giggling friends were amongst them. When Harry blew his whistle, they all merely fell about giggling and clutching one another, and when he told them to leave the pitch, they did so quite cheerfully, and went to sit in the stands to heckle everyone else.
The third group had a pileup halfway around the pitch, and most of the fourth group had come without broomsticks. The fifth group were Hufflepuffs.
“If there’s anyone else here who’s not from Gryffindor,” roared Harry, who was starting to get seriously annoyed, “leave now, please!”
There was a pause, then a couple of little Ravenclaws went sprinting off the pitch, snorting with laughter. Ginny rolled her eyes, half annoyed, half amused, realizing that the only reason this many people had turned up was because they were all fascinated with Harry now. Most of them couldn’t care less about Quidditch. They were only interested in the “Chosen Captain.” She humphed and crossed her arms over her chest, resigned, until it was her time to fly around the pitch.
The last group was comprised of Ginny, Dean, Seamus, McLaggen, Ron, Katie Bell, a fourth-year girl whose name Ginny didn’t know and three other boys that never made it around the pitch.
Now, having sent out of the pitch anyone that hadn’t managed to fly satisfactorily around it, Harry asked the ones who were trying out for Chaser to step forward. There were quite a few applicants for that position, and only three open spots. But Ginny was quite confident with her performance; not only had she outflown all the competition, but she had also scored seventeen goals to boot.
After two hours, many complaints, and several tantrums, one involving a crashed Comet Two Sixty and several broken teeth, a very tired Harry chose three Chasers: Katie Bell, returned to the team after an excellent trial; the fourth-year that had flown in Ginny’s group, Demelza Robins, who was particularly good at dodging Bludgers; and Ginny.
The three girls went to sit where Harry had instructed them, and Ginny gave Dean an apologetic look, but he didn’t see her. He and Seamus immediately left the pitch downhearted and dragging their feet.
The process of choosing the Beaters wasn’t at all easier but Harry had finally managed to choose two new players: Jimmy Peakes, a short but broad-chested third-year boy who had managed to raise a lump the size of an egg on the back of Harry’s head with a ferociously hit Bludger, and Ritchie Coote, who looked weedy but aimed well.
“That’s my final decision and if you don’t get out of the way of the Keepers I’ll hex you,” Harry bellowed to the rejected players, as Peakes and Coote joined Katie, Demelza, and Ginny in the stands to watch the selection of their last team member.
It’s was now time to choose the Keeper and Harry asked Katie, Demelza, and Ginny to go in the pitch to try to score goals at the applicants. By this hour –nearly noon- the stadium was full of people; the ones that didn’t make the team and others that had come down just to watch the selection. As each Keeper flew up to the goal hoops, the crowd roared and jeered in equal measure, although none of the first five applicants saved more than two goals apiece.
The sixth person to try out was Cormac McLaggen, who saved four penalties out of five. On the last one, however, he shot off in completely the wrong direction; the crowd laughed and booed and McLaggen returned to the ground grinding his teeth.
It was Ron’s turn now and as he placed himself in front of the goal hoops, Ginny could see that he looked sicker than before. For a moment she thought she should give him an easy catch, but she instantly cast aside the idea. Ron would want to prove himself and to be chosen because of his talent -just as she herself did- rather than because he was the team Captain’s best mate. And she had been right; Ron saved one, two, three, four, five penalties in a row.
As Ron and the three girls flew down to join Harry, they found him engaged in a heated argument with McLaggen.
“… She gave him an easy save,” was saying McLaggen and Ginny thought indignantly that he must be talking about her.
“Rubbish,” said Harry coldly. “That was the one he nearly missed.” Now Ginny knew they were taking about her.
McLaggen took a step nearer Harry, who stood his ground, looking at him impassible.
“Give me another go.”
“No,” said Harry firmly. “You’ve had your go. You saved four. Ron saved five. Ron’s Keeper, he won it fair and square. Get out of my way.”
For a moment Ginny thought that McLaggen might punch Harry, and she had her wand ready to retaliate if he did, but he contented himself with an ugly grimace and stormed away, growling what sounded like threats to thin air.
Harry turned around to find his new team beaming at him.
“Well done,” he croaked. “You flew really well —“
“You did brilliantly, Ron!” exclaimed Hermione, who was running toward them from the stands and he grinned at her, looking extremely pleased with himself.
“What do you think,” Harry continued after Hermione had joined them and everyone else started to leave, “if we have our first full team practice next Thursday?”
“Whenever you say,” said Katie playfully. “You’re the boss.”
“Then Thursday it is,” Harry chuckled and everyone agreed. “I guess that’s it for today… so… Congratulations!”
There was a chorus of “Thank you, Harry” as the new Gryffindor team started to leave the pitch. Harry, Ron, and Hermione bade good-bye to the rest of the team and headed off toward Hagrid’s. Katie joined some of her friends, and Peakes and Coote took off too. Ginny and Demelza started making their way to the castle and were joined by Colin and Dennis.
“That was great Ginny!” exclaimed Colin excited, he then turned to Demelza and spoke to her with unusual shyness. “That was… er… pretty amazing… too… er… Demelza.”
Ginny turned to her friend, agape. She had never seen him acting this awkward in front of anyone other than Harry. She had the impression that, unlike Ginny herself, Colin was very aware of who Ginny’s new teammate was.
“Thanks,” said Demelza bashfully and to Ginny’s amazement, her face tuned a pale shade of pink.
This was precious! Ginny thought, delighted. Colin and Demelza… It was about time Colin showed interest for a girl –or at least someone other than Harry.
They had already reached the castled and went into the Great Hall for lunch. Ginny sat next to Dean, who was glumly playing with the food in his plate, looking completely disheartened.
“Congratulations on making the team!” he said in an attempt to sound cheerful, as she sat down.
“I’m sorry you didn’t,” Ginny muttered, feeling uncomfortable with the situation. It was one thing knowing she was better than her boyfriend at Quidditch, but it was another thing entirely to prove it in front of most of the school.
“Is not your fault,” he said, although Ginny could swear there was a touch of resentment in his voice.
“Is this going to be a problem?” she asked. “My being in the team?”
“Of course not,” he said promptly.
Ginny was not at all convinced by his assurances, but she preferred to change the subject and they started talking about OWLs. When they were exiting the Great Hall after lunch, they bumped into Professor Slughorn, who was on his way out as well.
“Ginny, my dear!” he boomed genially, “I’m so glad to find you! I’m planning a little party tonight and I was hoping you could join us. McLaggen already told me he’s coming and so is Zabini; also the charming Melinda Bobbin —do you know her? Her family owns a large chain of apothecaries.” He was acting as though Dean was not present at all; Slughorn did not so much as look at him. “What do you say, my dear? Can I count you in?”
“Sure, Professor,” said Ginny, feeling ill at ease.
“Then I’ll see you later!” He bustled away.
“Do you want to go to the common room?” Ginny asked turning to Dean once Slughorn was out of sight.
“You know what?” said Dean, who was looking very discomfited. “I have a lot of homework and I have to go to the library. You go ahead and I’ll meet you later at the common room.” And without waiting for her response, he hurried away.
You can read the next chapter here.