There was a slight wind blowing on this fateful Saturday in May, and the sky was clear, except for a few clouds high above. It was a beautiful sunny day in Scotland, perfect weather for Quidditch. Next to a mostly empty Hogwarts, the stands surrounding the pitch were filled in anticipation of the final match of the year. The buzz that had filled the Great Hall during breakfast had carried over and was getting steadily louder. Everyone knew what was at stake. Ravenclaw merely had to keep things relatively close, while the pressure was on Gryffindor, who had to win by at least three hundred points to claim the Quidditch Cup. And they had to do so without Harry Potter. Away from the noise, Ginny Weasley sat alone on a bench in the Gryffindor changing room, silently contemplating her situation.
As if losing their captain wasn’t bad enough, the only logical replacement for the Gryffindor team was her ex-boyfriend, Dean Thomas. Most girls would dwell on the awkwardness of the situation, but there was too much riding on this match not to focus on the business at hand. Dean was a decent flier, but he could only play Chaser, therefore Ginny had to fill the empty Seeker position. She had played Seeker all last year when that hag, Umbridge, had banned Harry from Quidditch, so being asked to play Seeker for a match would normally not cause her any undue stress. Today was different, though. Today she would also be doing it against Cho Chang, Ginny’s erstwhile rival for Harry’s affections. She shook her head to clear those types of thoughts from her mind; she needed to remember her job. In a few minutes, she was going to be required to go out and find a way to replace a living legend. If she didn’t, he would be vilified for getting himself punished and being forced to miss such an important match. And with this thought, as she had been doing repeatedly for the past half hour, her mind came full circle to the reason she was in this predicament: Harry.
There were times over the past two weeks that she thought he was close to finally fulfilling her dream of asking her to be his girlfriend. At first she thought she was imagining things, but Hermione had noticed things as well. Unfortunately, to this point, it still had not happened. More often than not, Ron would be in the vicinity, or something else would find a way to ruin the moment. She could not shake the feeling that proving herself his equal in this match would go a long way towards pushing him to make a move. And with that thought, she nodded once to herself and began walking towards the pitch, broomstick in hand.
The match had been going on for about two hours, as near as Ginny could tell. From the beginning, Gryffindor’s Chasers had been playing an excellent match. She could count the number of times they had thrown an errant pass on one hand. To their credit, the Ravenclaw Chasers were not playing badly either, but there was a fierce determination running through the Gryffindors, and their brooms seemed to be flying just a touch faster on every crucial play. Goal after goal, the lead increased steadily and was just about at the threshold that would give her the go-ahead to grab the Snitch if she saw it. It had been mostly a non-issue up to this point, as Ginny had only seen it three times so far, which was one more time than Cho. Luckily for Ginny, for both instances where Cho had spotted it, she had been much closer to it than the Ravenclaw Seeker and only had to give token chases to obstruct her attempts until it disappeared again.
There was a roar from the Gryffindor section of the stands, and Ginny looked over her shoulder to see the newly returned Katie Bell celebrate briefly with Dean on yet another goal. The scoreboard read two hundred eighty to one hundred thirty in Gryffindor’s favour. Ginny looked up and saw that Cho had realized the situation as well. This was it.
Ginny spiralled upwards to get a wider view of the pitch. The drawback to such a move was that she would have farther to fly once she spotted it, but it was a risk she had to take. Cho had a slightly better broom, but Ginny was the better flier. Getting the jump on the pretty seventh-year would probably be the key to getting to the Snitch first. She flew slowly in a large loop, looking for any hint of gold. Cho was doing the same, mirroring her actions at approximately the same altitude, but from the other side of the pitch.
Suddenly, she saw it. The Snitch was hovering near the Slytherin section of the stands, a few inches above the grass. From their current positions, neither Seeker was significantly closer to it than the other. Ginny’s eyes snapped up to check on her counterpart. Cho was looking along the wrong area of stadium. Ginny was immediately faced with the classic Seeker dilemma: make an immediate break for the Snitch or pretend not to have seen it to get a better attack trajectory on it. This was why she liked playing Chaser. Scoring goals was more about reaction and strategy; bluffing rarely came into play. She had to make a decision soon. Cho’s sweep was about to bring the Snitch into her view. It was now or never. With a quick shift in her weight, Ginny was into her fastest dive, causing a roar from the crowd. Naturally, this alerted Cho to the situation and she immediately shot off after Ginny even though she hadn’t spotted the tiny ball yet herself.
As expected, the Snitch zipped away from its position once one of them came within a few yards of it. Ginny tried to follow it in such a way as to keep it out of Cho’s line of sight, but was unsuccessful before long. The Ravenclaw split off from tailing Ginny and entered her own chase for victory.
As if sensing that the real chase had begun, the Snitch began to dodge and weave, trying to create enough distance from its pursuers where it could make a move to disappear again. But Ginny was stubbornly accelerating up its wake, with Cho making ground along Ginny’s left. Somewhere off to the side came the sound of cheering; someone had scored another goal. Making sure not to take her eye off the Snitch, she moved her head slightly to see where the celebrations were coming from and saw red and gold banners being waved out of the corner of her eye. Sure enough, Luna’s voice announced another goal by Katie. Ginny returned her attention to the Snitch just in time to see it jink upwards and to the left.
As Ginny changed direction to stay close to the Snitch, she heard a roar from the crowd, followed soon after by another. She could only hope that one of those cheers was by the Gryffindors. Luna’s voice came out muffled and Ginny had to force herself not to check the scoreboard. Both she and Cho were too close to the Snitch to try anything fancy; she would have to go for the catch and hope for the best. She took a deep breath and reached as far as she could, barely holding on to her broomstick. Cho’s hand began moving towards the Snitch as well, and Ginny lunged. Her eyes grew wide as she realized it was within her reach. She blinked... and the Snitch was gone. She looked down into her hand, but she already knew what she was going to find... nothing.
She looked dejectedly over to the scoreboard. Three hundred to two hundred ninety. Gryffindor had won the match, but the Cup was lost.