Ginny lay propped up on her elbows, idly leafing through Quidditch Queens: Stories of the Sport's Greatest Women. As usual, she brooded, she was being left out. From the paddock over the hill she could hear the sound of raucous laughter as Fred, George, Ron and Harry had a great time playing Quidditch. Mrs. Weasley had eyed Ginny sternly at lunch when Ron had announced their plan to play a few pickup games. Under that watchful glare, Ginny had, with elaborate casualness, disavowed any interest in the afternoon's game.
After the boys had trooped out, brooms in hand and the Quidditch box slung between the twins, Ginny turned on her mum. "Why?"
Mrs. Weasley glanced over her shoulder from the sink where her wand supervised a stream of dishes to the draining board. "Boys need time alone, dear, especially Harry, I fancy. Those Dursleys!" Molly Weasley shuddered and flicked the wand in a final flourish to drain the water down the pipe. "I know you're on the team and all that and maybe another time, but today, Harry's first day with us, let's let the boys be boys.
"Anyway, I'd like you to set the table, tidy the living room and start dinner. The roast's ready – just pop it into the oven at one. Then you can fetch the salad fixings from the garden for me. Don't forget, Percy hates cucumber! I'm so glad he's realized the error of his ways.
"Now, remember, I have a meeting to attend over at the Headquarters, so I won't be back until half past four. Oh, and don't forget to fill up the vases: some flowers would be lovely! Put one in your room for when Hermione arrives tomorrow!" Humming contentedly, Mrs. Weasley hung her apron on a hook and left Ginny to her tasks.
Now Ginny glared at the peonies and petunias waving gently in the breeze beyond the leaves of her book. "I'll deal with you lot next," she promised darkly then sighed and flipped to the next page of Felicia Byeswater's less than thrilling tale of her second tryout with the Edinburgh Eagles, only to freeze as she realized someone was standing just beside her.
Unthinkingly, Ginny rolled to her back, sweeping one leg out to trip the intruder and reached for her wand, wondering why the alarms her father had enchanted around the Burrow failed to register this incursion.
A sharp exhalation of breath and Ginny's assailant was on the grass beside her, winded and helpless. Halfway standing, Ginny stopped, letting her wand arm droop. "Harry?"
Sheepish green eyes met hers. "Sorry to have surprised you. I suppose your D.A. lessons have stayed with you. Fred just said that you had the Snitch and we were tired of playing Pelt the Keeper with the Quaffle so I thought I'd have a go at it getting the snitch." Harry gingerly raised himself to a sitting position beside her.
He cocked his head at Ginny, who had relaxed back onto the grass. "Speaking of, why weren't you out there with us? We could have used a Chaser or another Seeker."
"Mum thought that you lot needed some manly bonding time, so I've been told off to stay home and take care of dinner. You know, girl stuff." Ginny made a face.
Harry's laugh was genuine. "We're just playing Quidditch, but not too well without a snitch. Honestly, if you want to come and bring it along, you can play Seeker. I'm still feeling rusty from the last few months."
Ginny waved her hand dismissively. "No, Mum would have a fit if she found me out playing Quidditch after all her plans. But Fred's right, I do have the Snitch. They spent the other night practicing throwing it at me after dinner so I nicked it and hid it where they can't find it."
Harry got up on his elbows and smiled. "Yeah, that's what the twins said and that they looked for it everywhere. Fred figured I'd have a better chance getting it from you as a fellow Seeker and all that."
Ginny snorted. "I know they looked for it everywhere. My bedroom's never THAT messy." She eyed Harry with some consideration. "If you promise not to tell them where my hiding place is, I can give it to you right now and let you get back to the game. I still have work to do for mum."
Harry held up one hand and adopted a strict expression. "I solemnly promise not to tell anyone of Ginny Weasley's secret Snitch hiding place."
Ginny arched an eyebrow, considering the trustworthiness of his vow. She nodded sharply. "Okay then, don't look."
"But I already promised not to tell."
Ginny's cheeks tinged pink. "I know that, but I still don't want you to look."
She turned half away and began to fumble at her neck while Harry puzzled things out. He could see her hand move lower and lower and suddenly it occurred to him where she must have. . .
His eyes snapped to the sky and remained fixed there until he heard "There, done!" Looking down he saw her hand outstretched, offering him the Snitch. He took the golden sphere, feeling her body warmth on it. The wings fluttered slowly, quiescently. Ginny, her colour high, looked down at the Snitch. "They seem to, err, like it there, and after fluttering for a bit they go to sleep. I've had that snitch hidden away there since this morning with no one the wiser."
Harry's mouth opened and closed a few times as he looked anywhere but at his best friend's little sister with her dress half unbuttoned and her skin flushed. He noted with interest that the blush went all the way down. . . .
Harry's eyes snapped skyward again and he struggled to manage an even tone. "I definitely won't tell," he promised fervently as he scrambled up from the grass.
Ginny seemed to realize the state of her undress at the same moment and hurried to rebutton her bodice. In her haste she buttoned the dress crookedly. As Harry attempted to point this out he noticed with some interest that his finger shook and his voice didn't work. From the paddock he heard Ron shout his name.
"I. . .I. . .I've got to go," he stammered, stumbling a step away with his right hand still tightly clutching the warm snitch. Ginny's hands disappeared into the pockets of her dress, pulling the fabric tightly against her figure. Harry's self-control felt even more precarious and he wondered if Dean Thomas had any idea how lucky he was.
"Maybe tomorrow you can let my mum know that, I mean, if you really wouldn't mind. . . ." Ginny's voice trailed off uncertainly.
Harry nodded understandingly, "I'll let your brothers know too, I'm sure it would be nice to play with you." His fingers tightened around the Snitch and he nodded awkwardly. Ginny raised one hand to wave then wiped a strand of hair from her eyes as he loped off towards the paddock. Between her breasts she imagined could still feel the muted beat of the Snitch or the touch of the hand currently holding it. Her blush deepened as she resolutely turned towards the garden. Surely it was time to start the salad?