Within the Shadows of Hatred (Chapter 10: Like the First Time)

“Caitlyn, it’s Blue. He’s…”

“No!” Caitlyn shouted, covering her ears. “You’re not going to tell me that he’s died… I can’t listen to it!”

“Caitlyn!” Hermione called out as her daughter vaulted from her bed and ran out the door. She didn’t stop but streaked downstairs, past her father who held a piece of parchment in his shaking hand. Apparating out, she reappeared in the hospital wing down the hall from Blue’s room.

Caitlyn felt her entire body trembling as she took slow steps down the corridor. He was gone… she knew when she walked into that room it would just be his body, not him ever again.

She was closer now, his door only a few feet away. “I can’t do this…” her knees gave out and she sank onto the chair just outside his door. Caitlyn rocked back and forth for a few moments, and tried to control the heaving sobs that wanted to rise up. “I can do this… I can do this…” she repeated over to herself as she got back up. Taking a deep breath, she went to the doorway of his room.

And stared inside in shock.

Blue was awake.

Caitlyn let out a loud gasp, and he snapped his head around. “Caty!” he exclaimed, his eyes lighting up.

“You’re awake?” she asked, hardly daring to believe what was right in front of her. He grinned then and sat up, opening his arms. With a strangled cry, she hurtled over and threw herself into his embrace. “You’re really awake?” Caitlyn started to cry again.

“Shhhh….” Blue wrapped his arms around her. “Yes, I’m really awake, love.” Her body shook with her sobs as he tried to calm her down.

“I’m sorry,” Caitlyn pulled back after a long while and wiped at her eyes. “It’s been so hard…”

“I know,” Blue answered quietly. “Mum and Dad were here when I woke up a few hours ago… they told me what would have happened tomorrow.”

She nodded as he wrapped his arms around her again. “I had a horrible dream… that you had died and everyone blamed me for it…” Caitlyn pressed her face into his shoulder. “You all hated me… I’ve never seen you look at me like that.”

Blue hugged her tighter. “I’m so sorry I put you through that, love.” His voice was muffled.

“It’s not your fault,” she replied. “It’s because of you that my brother and sister are okay.”

“Yeah…” He smiled slightly. “How are they doing?”

“Good now… but you know it’s been nearly two weeks since… right?” Caitlyn pushed away and looked at him.

“I know.” Blue answered. “I’ve been filled in on everything….except how you’ve been.” He stared at every detail of her face, guilt rising up inside him at her paleness. She looked absolutely exhausted.

“I haven’t been good,” Caitlyn answered, looking down at her hands, which he had just taken into his own. “When I thought… you might never be with me again… I didn’t know what to do.” He reached up and stroked at her cheek and she leaned into his palm.

“Well thank goodness you won’t have to worry about that any more.” Blue answered, moving down so he was laying more. “Come on, lie next to me.” She didn’t need to be invited twice, and immediately tucked herself next to him.

“Are you going to sleep?” Caitlyn asked as his arms went around her.

“I’ve been bloody sleeping for a fortnight,” Blue answered. “Hell no.”

She laughed, for the first time since he had been in the hospital. “You’re right.”

“I don’t feel too sore…. Well except from the curse… but Grace told me that the worst of my pain was probably while I was asleep.” He said.

“Did you feel it at all?” Caitlyn asked.

“I’m not really sure,” Blue replied, his eyebrows coming together as he thought about it. “All I remember is that Draco Malfoy shooting the Cruciatus Curse at me as I grabbed your brother and sister, and then waking up with my Mum and Dad.”

She nodded, tracing her fingers over his arm. “He’s dead now,” Caitlyn said softly.

“Who?” Blue asked.

“Draco Malfoy. He shot a curse at our fathers and it hit the wall instead… and then the ceiling fell over both of you.” She paused for a moment. “At first your father thought you were buried under it as well, but when he went over to dig you out it had fallen just to the side.”

He blew out a breath and laid back. “I thought my body would be stiffer after lying in one spot for two weeks.”

“That would be thanks to me.” Caitlyn raised her head and gave him a small smile. “I gave you a workout each day. It was about the only thing I remembered to do.”

“Here?” Blue’s eyes grew wide. “While I was out?”

“Not like that!” she admonished and his eyes twinkled down at her. “Honestly!”

Blue laughed and reached up to tug on her hair like he normally would as he teased her, but was surprised when his hand grabbed nothing. “Caty… what happened to your hair?”

“Oh,” Caitlyn was embarrassed as she ducked her head and pulled the tie from her hair. It swung down to her shoulders and she ran her hand through it. “I…got… angry I guess you could say.”

He touched the ends and then grinned at her. “It looks good.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere,” Caitlyn laid her head on his shoulder. “But a snog will.”

“I thought you’d never ask.” Blue tipped her chin up and covered her mouth with his. Caitlyn kissed him back hungrily, wishing they could do so much more at the moment.

“You have NO idea how much I’ve been needing that,” she remarked when they parted for air.

“Maybe you should have done it,” Blue said. “Maybe I’d have woken up sooner.”

“Tried that,” she replied. “I think we tried everything under the sun and then some. I’m just glad you’re awake now… I didn’t even give my Mum the chance to tell me you were up… I sort of dashed out on her.”

“I’m sure she knows you’re all right,” Blue said softly, stroking her hair. He leaned forward and kissed her again, softly and chastely this time. “I think I was driving my parents crazy asking about you, so my mum finally went and owled your parents.”

“That must have been what my dad was holding in his hand when I ran by him.” Caitlyn said ruefully. She put her head back down on his shoulder and they laid together in silence for a long time, until she felt her eyelids begin to droop. “I’m so tired,” a large yawn distorted her words.

“Sleep then,” Blue kissed her forehead. “I can tell you’re exhausted.”

“I am,” Caitlyn replied. “You don’t mind if I have a kip then?”

“Of course not,” He said. “Go on, I’ll wake you up later.”

“All right,” Caitlyn snuggled in closer to him. “I love you Blue.”

“I love you too Caty,” he answered, wrapping his other arm around her. In a few moments her breathing became steady and he knew she was sleeping. He looked down at her face, his stomach clenching at the dark smudges under her eyes and at how thin she had become in just the span of a fortnight. The horrible guilty feeling arose inside him again as he thought about how it had been his fault that his parents and Caitlyn and the rest of his family had been put through extra grief because of him.

But as his father and later on Caitlyn had said, it was because of him that they had been able to get the twins back… that he had distracted Draco Malfoy long enough for Harry and Ron to grab the children and get them out… that was why Blue had gone.

He looked down again at his finally peacefully sleeping girlfriend and pulled her even tighter against him. Blue wanted to make sure she never had anything to worry about again.

*** Some time later that day***

Caitlyn felt a gentle prodding in her back and promptly reached over to slap away whatever it was. There was an amused sound and then the poking came back.

“Come on, Caty, get up… they’re coming in here soon to check on me.” Blue found her slapping his hand away very funny.

“I don’t want to…” she muttered and moved closer into the crook of his arm so that her head was tucked neatly under his chin.

“But you have to…” he shook harder. Her eyes finally opened fully and she looked around wearily.

“Bloody hell,” Caitlyn squinted against the bright sunlight filtering through the blinds. “I’m going to have such a headache later.” She felt a hand sneak around her and smiled. “Good morning,”

“Morning,” Blue answered, leaning in for a quick kiss. “As nice as it was having you here all night, the mediwizards are going to be making their rounds anytime now…”

“Oh all right,” she groaned, sitting up and straightening out her clothes. He watched as she tied her hair back again, and then pulled her down for another kiss.

“Come back later?” he asked.

“Of course I will.” Caitlyn replied, as he sat up. She leaned forward and kissed him again, slowly this time, not giving a shit if someone happened to walk in on them.

“I love you.” Blue said as they parted breathlessly. Caitlyn smiled and leaned her forehead against his, their lips grazing slightly.

“Say it again,” she murmured, her arms snaking their way around his neck while his slid around her waist.

“I love you.” Blue repeated and she kissed him again, just as slowly and more passionate.

“You two know that we don’t exactly condone this sort of thing in the hospital right?” a voice from the doorway made them both jump and break apart guiltily. “But you know me, and I encourage any sort of naughtiness.” Grace grinned at the two of them.

“You scared me!” Caitlyn said. “And yes I know you encourage this.”

“It’s nice to see a smile on your face again Caty,” Grace came into the room and gave her a tight hug. “And you,” she turned to Blue. “I can’t tell you how wonderful it is just to see your eyes open.”

“Thanks,” Blue replied as she hugged him as well.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“Awake, slightly sore I guess.” He answered. Caitlyn moved off the bed and towards the door.

“I’m going home to get some rest, but I’ll come by later on.” She said.

“See you later, then.” Blue grinned at her and Grace waved. Caitlyn left the room, walking down the hall in an almost daze. Just hours ago she thought she was going to lose the love of her life forever, and now it seemed as if everything was going to be okay!

“It WILL be okay,” she said to herself. “He’s going to be fine and we’re going to be happy together.” Caitlyn apparated from the hospital and into the kitchen of her parent’s home, where they and the twins were having breakfast together. “Hi everyone,” she said softly.

“Good morning sweetie.” Harry replied. “How is he?”

“Awake, that’s the best part.” Caitlyn couldn’t suppress her smile. “I stayed there with him most of the night, and Grace was coming in to check on him when I left.”

Harry grinned back at his daughter, his heart feeling lighter than it had in ages. He hoped that their luck was finally changing and that the dark cloud hanging over his family was going away. One look across the table at his wife, who was helping Carl clean some jam off his face, made him know that everything would be all right.

Caitlyn finished breakfast with her family and then went upstairs for a long bath and a very long nap. She awoke only when she heard Ron and Lavender’s voices in the downstairs hallway. Springing out of bed, Caitlyn threw on some clean clothes and dashed out of her room.

“How is he?” she asked breathlessly after skidding to a stop on the wood floors.

“He’s doing fine,” Ron was grinning from ear to ear. “He’s already out of the hospital.”

“Really?” Caitlyn’s eyes widened. “I’m going over to see him.” She rushed out the front door.

“Ron, Lav, I’m so pleased,” Hermione was also beaming as she gave her two friends a hug. “This is wonderful!”

“It really is,” Ron replied as they all moved into the kitchen and sat down as Hermione quickly made everyone some tea. “He’s not in pain, and he seemed to be up and around rather fast, so Grace let him leave, but he had to promise to take it easy.”

“So he’s perfectly fine?” Harry asked. “Was there a reason why he didn’t wake up before?”

“Grace said it all had to do with his body recovering… we’re all lucky that it didn’t turn out like it did for the Longbottoms.” Ron said darkly. He looked at Lavender, who nodded. “There is one drawback that he wasn’t pleased about though.”

“I can’t play Quidditch.” Blue said sullenly, crossing his arms. “They reckon it’s too dangerous for me now.”

Caitlyn tried to hide her shock. “Can’t play Quidditch?” she repeated. “Ever again?”

“Well, in six months they said they would check me over again and decide if I had to wait any longer.” Blue’s tone was still sour. “But even if I can do Quidditch again, I won’t be able to play in the Cup most likely because I won’t have trained.”

Caitlyn moved over next to him on the sofa, placing a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. “But Blue… if you think about it, it’s really a small price to pay.”

“I guess so.” He replied, still angry.

“But the doctors know what’s best for your body right now.” Caitlyn started moving her hand around in soothing circles on his back. “If you played you could hurt yourself more… and then…” her throat choked up at the mere thought and she didn’t finish her sentence.

Blue sighed and turned to look at her, then immediately felt bad. She was still having such a hard time dealing with everything she had gone through and all he could care about was Quidditch. “Hey…” he put a hand under her chin. “You’re right… I’m just being a prat now…”

“You always were,” she smiled tearfully up at him. “But I don’t care I’m just glad you’re all right now.” Caitlyn wiped at her eyes with her sleeve. She sank into his embrace as he pulled her close. His lips moved over her hair and his hand reached up to pull off the tie that held her ponytail. Her locks bounced down to her shoulders as Blue tilted her head back and pressed his mouth firmly against hers. She opened her lips as his tongue swept over hers, burying her fingers in his red hair.

Blue pulled his mouth away from hers and gazed down at her, smiling slightly when her eyes opened. They looked at one another for a few minutes, eyes roaming as hands caressed everywhere.

“God I missed you,” Caitlyn replied tearfully. “I thought today was going to be the worst day of my life.” She gently cupped his cheek in her hand and kissed him. “I don’t know what made you wake up… but I’m so glad you did.”

“Me too,” Blue answered softly as her lips brushed his again. “I’m sorry for putting you through this.”

“No, it’s all right now.” Caitlyn answered as his forehead rested on hers. “You’re here and you’re okay and that’s all that matters.” She kissed him once more as hard as she could, curving her fingers around his nape.

“I want to make love to you so bad right now.” Blue breathed as they parted. “But I don’t know when my parents are coming back…”

“We could go home if you want.” Caitlyn suggested, running her index finger over his lower lip.

“I think my mum and dad want me to stay with them for a few days.” He replied.

“Hmm…” she said. “We could go home for a few hours if you want, then.” This was said with an impish smile.

“That sounds like a plan to me,” Blue said, laughing. He scribbled a note to his parents and they left the house, holding on tightly to one another. Apparating into their flat, each took a moment and looked around.

“I haven’t been back here since you…” Caitlyn started to say. “I just wasn’t able to stay here.”

“Feels like it’s been closed up for awhile.” Blue replied.

“Yeah,” Caitlyn replied, and then turned to him, wrapping her arms about his middle. “Come on,” she kissed him lightly and began to lead him down the hall.

“I can’t wait until we get in there,” Blue pulled her back to him and plundered her mouth hungrily. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back just as desperately. “The living room is so much closer.” He said as they pulled apart.

“You’re right,” Caitlyn kissed him again as he wrapped his arms around her waist. Barely able to control her raging emotions, she jumped up and put her legs around his waist like she normally would do.

“OW!” he suddenly shouted and she fell from his arms. Blue bent over, clutching his abdomen in pain.

“Oh my God!” Caitlyn covered her mouth with her hands. “Blue I am so sorry!”

“Sit… down….” He managed to say, his face contorted. Caitlyn gulped back some fresh sobs and helped him into the living room where he fell onto the sofa, still hugging himself.

“I’ll get Grace.” Caitlyn rushed over to the fireplace and threw in some powder. Calling out the name of her mother’s best friend, she was never so relieved to see the woman step out a few moments later.

“What happened?” Grace asked, instantly businesslike.

“He… we…” Caitlyn couldn’t form the words or stop the tears that were now flowing. “He’s hurting.”

Grace rushed over to the sofa, where Blue was still grimacing. “Where does it hurt?”

“Here,” Blue pressed his hands on his abdomen. He let out another anguished cry when Grace put her hands on the spot. Caitlyn slapped her hands over her mouth to keep from crying out as well.

“Calm down,” Grace said gently. “Drink this… it’ll get rid of the pain.” She extracted a bottle from the small bag she had brought in with her and he dutifully gulped it down.

“Ahh…” His head fell back in obvious relief as his pain subsided. Caitlyn slowly approached the sofa afraid to touch him lest she bring on more trouble.

“Will he… be all right?” she asked hesitantly.

Grace nodded. “How did he get hurt?”

“Well… we um….” Caitlyn sat down on the arm of the sofa. “We just wanted to…”

“Listen to me, both of you,” Grace was uncharacteristically serious. “Blue, what we talked about earlier, I wasn’t kidding. Your body has gone through terrible trauma. You can’t do anything… ANYTHING physical for the next few months.”

“All right,” he grumbled. Grace looked at Caitlyn.

“This means no sex, I’m afraid.” Grace looked like she was caught between trying to remain serious and trying not to smile. “No Quidditch, no lifting, no running…”

“I get it!” Blue snapped irritably. Grace folded her arms and stared down at him and he visibly shrank down into the sofa. “Sorry,” he muttered.

“We won’t do anything,” Caitlyn said, her eyes still shiny with tears. “I didn’t… we didn’t know that that would hurt him.”

Grace touched her shoulder lightly. “I know you didn’t.” she looked down at Blue. “You’ll be all right, just follow what I told you earlier.”

Blue nodded, his face still sullen. Grace looked at Caitlyn who nodded as well.

“I’ll watch him,” she said softly, wiping at her eyes.

“All right,” Grace picked up her bag. “I’ll come by tomorrow again, all right Blue?”

“I’ll be at my parents’ house.” He answered. “I’m staying there for a few days.” Grace tossed some floo powder in the fireplace and was gone.

Caitlyn and Blue sat in silence for a few minutes before she finally spoke. “I am so sorry,” her voice was shaking. “I didn’t know you were hurt that bad, but I should have guessed.”

“It’s all right, Caty,” Blue sat up slowly and patted the spot next to him. She moved down and he put his arm around her, running his fingers through her hair. “I’m all right now.”

“But I could have really hurt you.” Caitlyn seemed afraid to touch him.

“You didn’t.” Blue replied.

Caitlyn didn’t seem convinced. She wrapped her arms around herself and leaned forward so she wasn’t touching him at all.

“Caty…” Blue leaned forward as well. “Look at me,” he turned her face towards his. “I’m all right now.” He repeated slowly.

“Really?” she asked in a small voice. He gave her a half smile, and it was all she needed. Blue wrapped his arms around her and she leaned against him. He nuzzled her neck and sighed.

“I guess we’ll just have to be careful for awhile.” He said.

“Maybe we can pretend we’ve just begun dating again,” Caitlyn finally smiled. “Perhaps that will make things a bit easier.”

“I guess,” Blue replied. “We still get to snog right?”

Caitlyn laughed and it made him grin. “We’d better snog. Otherwise I’ll go crazy.” He pulled her closer and kissed her lightly on the lips. “Besides, I’m sick of the bloody hospital. Our families have spent entirely too much time there.”

Blue started to laugh. “Too right you are,” he replied. “Shall we?” he asked, standing up and offering her his hand.

“All right,” Caitlyn let him pull her up. She hugged him lightly, kissing his cheek. “I love you,” she said softly. “I just… I want you to know how much you mean to me. You’re the most important person in my life Blue.”

“I love you too,” he answered, his nose buried in her hair. He looked down at her, then kissed her gently. “We’d better get back before I throw you down on that sofa and we have to call Grace again,” Blue joked and got a weak smile out of her. They apparated back to the Weasley house and Blue tore up the note he’d left.

“They won’t be home for awhile yet,” he said. Caitlyn nodded and yawned. All the sleep she had missed the previous two weeks was really catching up to her. “If you want to go home and rest, I don’t mind.”

“I want to rest, but there’s no bloody way I’m leaving,” Caitlyn replied. Blue grinned and extended his hand. Leading her upstairs, they snuggled onto his single bed.

*** *** ***

Later that night, Harry lay stretched on the sofa, his feet propped on the coffee table. His head was resting on the back, and his hand stroked his daughter’s long hair. Hermione was next to him, Carl’s head in her lap.

“I think this is as close to perfect as you could get,” Harry spoke softly. Both twins were fast asleep, hopefully not dreaming of their ordeal.

“I agree,” Hermione replied, her head falling onto his shoulder. “I’m just so happy, for Ron and Lav, for us… I’m not afraid anymore.”

“You were afraid before?” Harry asked, his fingers twisting around Corinne’s curls.

“Well… yes and no,” Hermione replied. “I just… I always felt like there was something out there. I didn’t ever know if it was my paranoia about Malfoy doing what he did to me, or just my imagination. And it was never confirmed… until a few weeks ago.”

“Yeah,” Harry ran his free hand through his hair. “I’m glad he’s dead,” he confessed in a rush. “I mean, I’m not glad a person is dead… but as it was Malfoy… he wouldn’t have stopped until he destroyed me.

“It just pisses me off he wanted to use my children to get back at me for what he believes was my fault. If someone has a problem with me, come to me, but don’t take it out on my family,” Harry finished ranting.

Hermione reached for his hand. “You’re a good man, Harry Potter, and an amazing father. Slightly pigheaded and very stubborn sometimes,” she grinned at him and he shook his head, not able to stop from smiling.

“Well, we can’t all be perfect,” he replied, leaning over for a quick kiss.

“I don’t want to move,” Hermione replied in a sleepy tone.

“We don’t have to,” Harry answered. He grabbed his wand and summoned several blankets to the sofa. Throwing several over them, Harry scooted further down as Hermione snuggled closer next to him, making sure Carl was under a cover as well.

“Good night,” Hermione said, yawning.

“Night,” Harry replied, kissing the side of her head. “Love you,”

“Love you too,” Hermione smiled as Harry put out the lights.

*** Six Months Later***

Blue knocked on the back door of the Potters’ home. He heard some voices and then a crash, and then Harry was opening the door.

“Blue!” he said. “Come in!”

“Thanks,” he replied, brushing his red hair out of his eyes. “Sorry, is this a bad time?”

Harry grinned. “I’m alone with two five year olds…of course it is. But stay anyways; maybe you can calm them down.”

“Maybe,” Blue grinned back. “I just needed to talk to you for a minute.”

“What about?” Harry asked, sitting at the table. “Would you like some tea? Or some butterbeer?”

“No thanks,” Blue replied. “Um… did you need to go in and fix whatever it was that broke?”

“Nah, it’ll just be broken again in two minutes,” Harry said.

“Okay,” Blue sat down next to Harry. “I uh… I came over because… I wanted…” he sighed, wondering why he couldn’t get the words out. “I want to propose to Caty.”

Harry raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Really,” he began, not sure of what to say.

“I know its sort of old fashioned and Muggle, but I wanted to come… ask… you before I actually did it.” Blue said. “But I know how close the two of you are and I want to be respectful of that.”

Harry sat back in his chair. “Blue,” he started.

“I know you probably don’t think we’re ready for such a step… but I love her so much and after everything that’s happened I want to have her as my wife,” Blue said, leaning forward eagerly.

“Blue I…” Harry tried to begin again.

“No, I really mean it.” Blue got up. “She’s been my best friend for a long time and we’ve been together going on six years,”

“Blue,” Harry put a hand on the younger man’s arm. “Sit down.”

“Okay,” Blue said, nervous.

“I would love to have you as my son in law,” Harry said.

“You would?” Blue looked shocked.

“Of course,” Harry laughed. “Blue, you’ve been like one of the family for years now.” He leaned forward. “I know I may come off as overprotective, especially with my kids. I’ve got good reason for it.”

“I know,” Blue replied. “I’m just really nervous about asking her.”

“Don’t be,” Harry said. “Caitlyn loves you; she has for a long time. If you ask her to marry you, she’ll say yes.”

“Okay,” Blue stood up, obviously relieved. “Thanks, thanks a lot.”

“Don’t mention it,” Harry replied. “When were you planning on doing it?”

“After the game tomorrow at the party,” Blue replied.

“I thought you weren’t playing?” Harry asked.

“I’m not,” Blue sighed. “I mean, I went to Grace this morning and she said I’m fine now, and that I can go back and play next season. But I just wanted to be in the Cup…”

“Yeah, you’re the reason the Cannons even made it so far,” Harry replied sympathetically, thinking of the time he was unable to play his favourite sport as well.

“That’s part of the reason I came as well- I’ve been invited to sit in the top box, so I wanted to invite all of you as well.” Blue said.

“That sounds great,” Harry replied. “Thanks Blue,”

“I’m glad you can come,” Blue replied. “I better get going before Caty figures out I’m gone,” he grinned and Harry laughed.

“I look forward to seeing her when you pop the question,” Harry got up. “Welcome to the family,” the two men hugged and then Blue waved goodbye and left.

*** The Next Day***

“Hellloooooo!” Caitlyn ran up to her best friend Mandy and hugged her.

“Hey!” Mandy cried in surprise. “Hi!”

“How are you?” Caitlyn was giggly today.

“I’m fine. And I can tell you are too,” Mandy grinned. “I take it you two…” she raised her eyebrows.

“Maybe,” Caitlyn replied lightly. After Blue had gotten a clean bill of health from Grace the previous morning, she had jumped on him, literally, and they spent most of the night making love.

Mandy snickered. “Maybe my arse!” she said. “You haven’t been this happy in months!”

“Sod off,” Caitlyn pushed her good naturedly. “Like you aren’t getting everything you want from Daniel!”

“Maybe,” the two girls giggled. “Daniel said he’d meet me in the box upstairs.”

“Blue was just around here somewhere,” Caitlyn looked through the crowd. “There he is!” she waved to her boyfriend.

“Hey!” he shouted over the crowd. “We’d better get up there the match is starting soon!”

“All right!” Caitlyn fought her way through the growing crowd, Mandy holding onto her elbow. “Let’s go!” she was excited.

Blue tossed one arm around Mandy while pulling Caitlyn close to him with the other. “I’ve got two escorts. Lucky guy, I am.”

Caitlyn grinned at him while Mandy snorted. “If I was to be your escort you’d be paying me in Galleons.” She said playfully and Blue laughed. They went up to the top box where Mandy sank next to her boyfriend Daniel. Caitlyn sat on the other side, Blue next to her.

Blue put his arm around Caitlyn, pulling her over close to him. “Excited?” he asked, bumping her ear with his nose.

“I’d be more excited if you were playing,” Caitlyn replied. “But there’s always next season.”

“Right,” Blue said. “It feels too weird being up here, watching when I should be out on the field.” His stomach churned, suddenly thinking about what he was going to do later. He reached into his pocket to make sure the box was still there.

Caitlyn turned and kissed him lightly. “I’ll keep your mind off the game if you get too antsy,”

Blue grinned and he leaned in, kissing her again.

“Break it up!” a voice sounded from behind them, and Blue and Caitlyn turned to see Colin grinning stupidly at them.

“Sod off you little creep,” Caitlyn replied, pulling her younger brother over and hugging him hard. “I missed you, you pest.”

“Ugh!” Colin pushed her away. “I didn’t miss you at all!”

Caitlyn laughed, reaching out to muss up his hair. “Where are Mum and Dad?”

“They were coming, they saw Uncle Ron outside so they’re talking,” Colin made a face. “Why do grown ups talk all the time? They live right next door!”

Caitlyn and Blue were both still chuckling as Harry and Hermione came into the box, followed by the twins and Ron and Lavender bringing up the rear.

“Looks like we got here just in time,” Harry said, greeting his daughter and future son in law. He winked and Blue, who smiled at the corner of his mouth.

“The game’s about to start!” Ron was excited as he took his seat on the other side of his wife. Caitlyn got up and hugged her youngest brother and sister.

“How are you two?” She ruffled Carl’s hair as Corinne hugged her around the waist.

“We’re good,” Carl answered.

“No nightmares?” Caitlyn asked.

Corinne shook her head. “No, and Daddy says we might even be able to have our own rooms soon!”

“Really?” Caitlyn pulled her sister over and sat her down, then taking the middle seat next to Blue. “You can have my old room; I probably won’t need it anymore.”

Corinne smiled up at her older sister. For the first few weeks after that mean man had taken her and Carl, she had dreamed of their time spent in that ugly dark dungeon. A couple times, it had felt so real that she had gone into her parents’ room, where they had held her and comforted her until she felt safe again. Carl always looked out for her as well. She felt lucky having him as her twin brother.

The chatting in the top box quieted as the announcer started naming off the players. Blue noticeably tensed as they called out the reserve seeker’s name. Caitlyn saw it and squeezed his hand.

“You all right?” she asked quietly.

“Yeah,” Blue answered, his arm snaking its way around her shoulders. He twisted his fingers in her hair- she was letting it grow out again and it already reached several inches past her shoulders. “I just wish I was out there playing.”

“You’ll be out there next Cup,” Caitlyn said, chastely kissing the skin underneath his ear.

Harry witnessed the display of affection between his daughter and Blue and smiled. It was funny, he thought, just a few months ago he had disliked the idea of Caitlyn settling down. It was never a case of him liking Blue, but wanting her to be sure she was positive. Now… Harry realised that like he and Hermione, his daughter had found her soul mate.

“Harry did you see that?” Ron asked excitedly, breaking Harry from his train of thought. “A complete reverse pass! Those never work!”

“No, remember, the Pride of Portree managed to do several in one game, and Puddlemere, back when Oliver was on the team, do you remember his Double Eight Loops?” Harry turned back and he and Ron were immediately immersed in a discussion about what moves the teams should be making to win the game.

Hermione rolled her eyes as she shifted so that her husband’s knee wouldn’t push into her side. “Honestly, you get these two talking about Quidditch and they’ll do it until they’re blue in the face.”

Lavender agreed. “I don’t think they even realise we exist,” she added as Blue turned around in his seat and began arguing with Ron and Harry. “At least not when Quidditch is on hand.”

“They’re so bloody involved in their argument they aren’t even watching the game,” Caitlyn chimed in, her expression lofty.

Hermione and Lavender began to laugh as all three men sat up straight. “Sod off,” Ron said rudely, sitting back in his seat.

“Nice language,” Hermione chastised. “We have children sitting here you know!”

“Sorry,” Ron grunted.

“Bloody hell, we’re trying to watch the game here!” Harry now spoke up. Hermione gave him an icy stare.

“Keep up the language, Potter, and you’ll be on the sofa tonight.”

“Sorry dear,” Harry replied, slinking down in his seat. Carl looked bewildered at his parents’ conversation.

“I’m not ever getting married,” he said decisively, making all the adults laugh.

*** *** ***

“We won!” Caitlyn squealed in delight as Blue laughed and swung her around in a circle. They were at a local pub celebrating the win of the Chudley Cannons.

“I’m so excited!” Mandy was also near a shriek as she and Daniel joined them.

“You know what this means, right mate?” Daniel clapped Blue on the shoulder. “Team’s got a lot to live up to next season.”

“Tell me about it,” Blue replied. “I’ve got all lazy with this holiday and I have to go back and start training again in three months.”

“Poor baby,” Caitlyn hugged him around the middle. “I won’t get to see you as often,” she pouted slightly and Blue grinned down at her.

“Somehow I think you’ll be glad to have me out of the flat. We were driving each other mad towards the end there,” he answered.

“Heyyyy!” a rather drunken voice interrupted them, and Monaghan and Doyle were grinning at them. “May I just say,” Monaghan bowed. “You ladies are looking quite lovely today.”

Caitlyn and Mandy giggled. “Thanks,” they both answered.

“Is the rest of the family coming?” Blue asked.

“I think so, they should be here soon,” Caitlyn replied. “They may have decided to drop the kids off at home.”

“So Blue, we might have to have you get up there and say a few words,” Doyle said, swaying slightly.

“I didn’t even play today; you guys are the ones that won us the Cup.” Blue protested.

“No way,” Monaghan replied. “You… you are the reason that we got to the Cup in the first place.” He staggered and grabbed onto Doyle. “You’re the speech man!” he raised his tankard of FireWhisky up.

“All right, have another,” Blue replied, pushing him back towards the bar. “Bloody hell…”

“Nervous?” Caitlyn joked.

“No,” Blue replied. “I just really don’t fancy getting up in front of a bunch of people I don’t know and talking about why I couldn’t play today.”

“Well just avoid it then,” Caitlyn said. “Talk about how good the team has gotten instead.”

Blue grunted but when she rose up to kiss him he forgot about why he was so annoyed.

“Hellooooo everyone!” a loud voice caused them to jump and break apart. The Chudley Cannons team was standing on a platform across the room, several of them swaying to stay upright. “We are SO glad to be here today, and we are all SO glad that you made it to celebrate our win with us!” the crowd applauded wildly and Caitlyn turned her head to see that their parents had arrived.

“Hmm, they brought the kids after all…“ Caitlyn mused to Blue.

“Uh oh…” Blue grinned. “Our dads will be in a strop tonight.” They both laughed as Monaghan continued to scream the name of every player across the bar.

“And there’s ONE more that isn’t up here, but he IS here!” Monaghan grinned out at the crowd. “He was off the team for some time due to injuries, but will be back and better than ever next season! Everyone give a round of applause to your favourite keeper and mine, Blazing Blue Weasley!!!”

“Bloody hell, did he have to use that stupid name?” Blue muttered under his breath as his face turned the same red shade as his hair. He waved to the crowd who went into the most enthusiastic round of applause yet.

“Get up here!” Monaghan and Doyle were blaring across the room. He squeezed Caitlyn’s hand briefly and made his way over to the platform.

Blue took his wand, and muttering a quick “Sonorous”, he grinned at the crowd. “I’m really excited that the team won today. I wish I could have played. But as most of you know, an accident several months ago made that impossible. However, I’m glad to say that I will be returning next season, as Monaghan so nicely told you all.” He paused and everyone clapped. “There’s actually only one reason that I’m still standing here a sane man,” he grinned at the audience.

“Oh bloody hell, he isn’t…” Caitlyn said, realising what her boyfriend’s intentions were.

“There’s a very amazing girl among you today who helped me through this time when I couldn’t do much of anything. Despite me being a complete prat, she stood by my side during my worst moments,” Blue grinned even wider as he caught sight of Caitlyn’s red face. “Caty, come on up here!”

“No!” she mouthed, her face going even redder. Mandy grinned and pushed her up near the platform.

Harry started to laugh, realising exactly what Blue was up to. “This is getting good,” he said aloud, making Hermione look at him curiously.

“What do you mean?” she asked, her hand on Corinne’s shoulder.

“You’ll see,” Harry replied mysteriously, watching his daughter edge onto the stage.

“This, this girl,” Blue grabbed Caitlyn’s hand. “She’s the love of my life and I’m the luckiest guy in the world because she’s chosen me,” he squeezed her fingers, trying to reassure her. He knew how much she hated being in front of a crowd.

Caitlyn waved a small hello to the crowd and tried to pull away to flee the stage. “Wait!” Blue said. “I have a reason for bringing you up here!”

“What’s that?” Caitlyn asked in a low voice.

Mandy sighed as she watched her best friend and boyfriend. She liked Blue; he could be such a romantic at times. Daniel put his arm around her and she slid into his side. “He learned this all from me,” he whispered and she giggled.

“I love you,” Blue said, looking straight into her eyes. “You’ve been the best thing about my life for a long time now, and I only want things to get better from here on out.” He released her hand and stepped back, going down on one knee. “With that in mind I have one thing to ask you,” Blue reached into his pocket and pulled out the small black box. “Caitlyn Elaera Potter, will you marry me?”

Caitlyn felt her eyes grow wide. “Blue… really?” she asked in a tiny voice, afraid she might start to cry.

“Yeah, really.” He replied, holding the box out to her. “Please?” he added, when she stared at him with no response.

“Oh God, Blue, yes, yes of course I will!” Caitlyn said, two tears trickling down her face. Blue let out a sigh of relief and got up, pulling her into a bone crushing hug.

Hermione gasped in joy. “Harry! They’re getting married!” she squealed as she turned to her husband.

“Blue came over yesterday to ask my permission,” Harry replied.

“Did he?” Hermione asked. “Lav!” she jumped over to the blonde woman and they squealed and hugged together while Harry and Ron grinned at each other.

“Here,” Blue slipped the diamond ring over her finger as the crowd erupted in enthusiastic applause.

“It’s gorgeous,” Caitlyn looked at it then back at him. He smiled down at her and then leaned over and kissed her, his arms going around her waist. “Mmm…” she said when they broke apart. “You know this is going to be all over the papers tomorrow morning.”

“Don’t care,” Blue replied as they finally stepped off the stage. “You said yes, that’s all that matters.”

“Did you really think I’d say no?” Caitlyn asked softly.

“I don’t know,” He said.

“I always would have said yes,” she leaned against him, her chin on his chest. They smiled at each other for a long moment before they were crowded by family and friends.

“Congratulations!” Lavender and Hermione were smothering them in hugs. The newly engaged couple were separated as the well wishes continued, but as they smiled at one another they weren’t too worried.

They could always be alone later.


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