A/N – Hello and welcome to my new story – Rising Phoenix. It has 31 chapters and updates will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This story is set in a universe where the war ran very differently, so Harry, Ron and Hermione aren't war heroes and Draco wasn't involved with Voldemort. Just to give fair warning the main element of the story is Harry and Hermione's running of the Cannons, and the Draco and Hermione romance is a secondary plot. I hope people enjoy the story.
The course of Harry Potter's life was changed one rainy Sunday afternoon, almost three years after he'd left Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Since leaving Hogwarts, Harry had been making a name for himself in the quidditch world. He'd signed for a professional team, The Falmouth Falcons, before he'd even finished school and within a year of being with the club he'd made the first team. In the two years since then, he'd gone on to become one of the hottest new stars in the quidditch world, and everyone involved with the game was tipping him to be picked in the England squad that were playing some friendlies in preparation for the upcoming World Cup.
Sadly for Harry, playing for England was to be a dream he never achieved as on a rainy Sunday weeks into the new season, he was involved in a horrific mid-air clash with the seeker on the opposition team. The clash sent both seekers falling to the floor of the stadium, with Harry been the unfortunate one to end up underneath his opponent, therefore suffering the more severe injuries.
Initially, it was thought Harry's injuries would keep him out of the game for a few months as he'd suffered a badly broken leg, several cracked ribs and severe bruising. However, once he restarted his training another problem emerged. It turned out the damage he'd done to his knee following his broken leg was more serious than originally thought. His movement in his knee wasn't as good as it had been before, and after more than a few hours on a broomstick his knee would lock up and make it impossible for him to fly. If the games lasted less than a few hours, Harry would still be fine, but considering some quidditch matches could go on for a hell of a long time, Harry just wouldn't be able to play.
Both Harry and the Falcons sought expert opinions, but sadly the results were always the same. There was just nothing that could be done for Harry's knee, and his playing days were over. At twenty one, Harry lost the career he'd worked so hard for. He would now never play for England, and he would never win the World Cup, which had been his dream since the day he attended the World Cup final the summer before his fourth year and watched the Bulgarian seeker, Viktor Krum, steal the show from the victorious Ireland team.
Following his career ending injury, Harry slumped into a bit of a depression. Not that it really helped that both his girlfriend, Ginny Weasley, and his best friend, Ron Weasley, were also professional quidditch players and they could still achieve their dreams. Not even the fact that Ron and Ginny were both still struggling in the reserves for their respective teams helped Harry in any way. His best friend and girlfriend may not have had his talent, or be on the way to stardom as he'd been, but they were both able to still play quidditch in a professional sense, and for that reason, Harry would forever be jealous of them.
Ever so slowly, Harry dragged himself out his depression, and with the help of his other best friend, Hermione Granger, he began to think about his future. As Hermione was so fond of saying, there was more to life than quidditch. Harry wasn't sure he was ready to agree with Hermione on that stance, but he did agree that he couldn't just live his life mourning for the career he'd lost. He was still young, and he had his whole life in front of him, so it was time to move on and find some other way to make his living.
Harry debated his various career options for a while, but fate seemed to drop the answer into his lap one morning as he read an article in The Daily Prophet about the financial struggles of the owner of The Chudley Cannons. The Cannons were the team Ron played for, and they'd been propping the league up since Harry entered the wizarding world at eleven years old. Since Ron was a long-time fan of the club, Harry also knew their struggles weren't just a recent blip. They'd long been the whipping boys in the league, and from what Harry knew any glory days for the team had long since passed.
Harry read the article closely, and he found that the Cannons owner was seriously considering selling the team. These days, most of the teams were owned by large conglomerations, who usually had other interests and left the teams in the capable hands of expert management teams, while the Cannons were about the only team that was run the traditional way with the one owner. However, it seemed chances of a takeover for the Cannons was slim, as no-one wanted to buy a failing club. And if no-one wanted to buy the club, there was a good chance it would fold as the owner clearly couldn't afford to keep running the club with its current bad form and the way the club was leaking money.
From the second he read the article, Harry's mind began to race, and for the first time since his accident he could see a future for himself. He could buy the Cannons and turn it into a great club. Granted, it wouldn't be the same as playing quidditch, but his idea did mean he would still be involved with the game he loved so much. It could even end up better as he would be the one pulling all the strings.
Instead of confiding in anyone about his scheme, Harry took a few days to mull over things and think his plans through clearly. He also checked out his financial situation, and like he'd figured, he had more than enough money to consider buying a quidditch team. His parents had left him extremely wealthy, following their tragic deaths at the hands of Voldemort, who himself was subsequently destroyed when he tried to kill Harry at the end of fourth year. The question was, did he want to plough a substantial amount of his money into a quidditch club whose fortunes were poor to say the least? Was it a chance he was willing to take?
Knowing if he did decide to go ahead with the plans, he couldn't do it alone, Harry decided to confide in his best friend, Hermione Granger. Since leaving school, Hermione had been working at the Ministry for Magic, but a little over six months earlier her grandmother had died, leaving her a substantial inheritance. Harry knew his best friend wanted to invest the money in some sort of business venture, but as of yet she had no idea what she wanted to do. So what he was going to do was offer her the chance of a lifetime. The chance to join him in owning a quidditch club.
One weekend, when both Ginny and Ron were busy with their respective teams, Harry headed over to Hermione's to proposition his best friend. Of course, he didn't jump straight in with his ideas, first of all he enjoyed a few hours in Hermione's company.
"So how are you doing?" Hermione asked, scrutinising her friend. Following his accident the previous year, he'd been pretty down, but for the last few weeks he'd been looking more like his normal, cheerful self.
"I'm doing great," Harry answered with a grin. "In fact, I've got some plans for the future."
"That's good," Hermione replied with a smile of her own. "You can't wallow in the past, Harry, and think about what could have been."
"I know," Harry admitted. "But now, my focus is firmly on the future. In fact, I'm hoping you're going to be part of my future."
"That sounds like a proposition," Hermione chuckled. "Won't Ginny be jealous?"
Personally, Hermione had always been a bit baffled by Harry's relationship with Ginny as they had very little in common, but Harry had always seemed content enough. Although, rather tellingly, Ginny hadn't moved in with Harry once she finished Hogwarts the year after they did. She had a flat of her own, and as far as Hermione knew, she only stayed over at Harry's a few times a week and he never stayed over at her place. But it wasn't her place to pry, if Harry was happy, then that was all she cared about.
"I do have a proposition for you," Harry answered, ignoring the remark about Ginny. In actual fact, he knew that both Ginny and Ron were going to be put out by the fact he'd gone to Hermione with his idea, but she was really the only person he knew in a position to help him out. "I'm sure you know about the troubles the owner of the Cannons is having."
"Ron may have mentioned it," Hermione replied with a roll of her eyes. In fact, Ron had done little else but moan about the situation for the last few weeks as he was worried his precious club would go under.
"I want to buy him out," Harry announced. "Technically, I want us to buy him out. I need a partner, Hermione. I need you."
Hermione stared at Harry in total shock for several minutes before she regained the power of speech. "You want me to buy a quidditch club with you? Seriously, Harry? Me? I don't know the slightest thing about quidditch, and I honestly have no interest in the sport. You know this."
"I do, but I also know you're looking for a business opportunity," Harry replied. "You don't need to know about quidditch, I can handle that. What I need is a partner I can trust to handle the business side of things, while I take the team in hand."
"So, you would be in charge of the team, while I would handle the business side of things?" Hermione clarified.
"Mainly," Harry answered with a nod. "We'd be partners, Hermione, and every major decision would go through the both of us, but basically our duties would be split. I want to take a hands on approach with the team, and turn them into something good. But I can't do that if I have to worry about the day to day running of the club."
"And you honestly think you can turn the Cannons into a decent team?" Hermione asked sceptically. Her knowledge of quidditch was basic, but even she knew The Cannons were a disaster.
"Not the current team, but I can rebuild," Harry said. "What the club needs is new blood. No decent player is interested in signing for the club, because they're so pathetic and constantly prop the table up. It's the same with the sponsors, the club can't get a decent sponsorship deal because of their bad form. They need an injection of fresh blood and money. We can give them both."
"You might be able to, but I can't," Hermione pointed out. "The money from my grandmother exchanges into a decent bit of wizarding money, but it's nowhere near the amount of money you have available to you, Harry. I mean what are you, the richest wizard under twenty five in England?"
"Second richest," Harry corrected. "Malfoy beats me by a fair whack, between his inheritance from both the Malfoys and Blacks, not to mention the money he earns with The Tornadoes."
"Even so, I can't compete with your wealth, Harry," Hermione argued. "What I can contribute would be a drop in the ocean."
"I don't care," Harry protested, taking hold of Hermione's hand. "I can be the majority shareholder, but I need you with me on this, Hermione. I can't do this alone."
"And you really think we can do this?" Hermione asked. Running a quidditch club wasn't something that had ever entered her head, but she had to admit the challenge and the prospect of working with Harry was enticing her.
"It won't be easy, but yes, I think we can," Harry answered. "So what do you say, Hermione? Partners?"
"Before I agree to anything, I want some details about how this is going to work," Hermione answered. "If I'm sinking my money into this venture, I want to know we're not wasting our time."
"I can arrange for us to have a meeting with the current owner," Harry offered. "We should at least see what the state of play is."
"Okay, Harry, I'm in," Hermione said, grinning at her friend. "Set up the meeting, and unless it looks like it's a bad move, we can buy the team."
"Hermione, I love you," Harry declared, throwing his arms around his best friend and giving her a hug. "You won't regret this, I promise."
"I hope not," Hermione replied quietly, little knowing that her decision to partner Harry in buying The Chudley Cannons was going to change her life forever.