Chapter 1 : One Shot.
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"I mean it, snot-face! Get up!"
"Make me, ginger!"
"How dare you, Smith!"
The boy named Zach merely shrugged, looking nonplussed by the whole ordeal which made the fine hair on sixteen year old Ginny Weasley's neck prickle in anger as her brown eyes narrowed at the offending scene before her.
It was just her luck to walk out onto the quidditch pitch of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, on the very day she managed to escape the clutches of the Death Eater run faculty to find the one thing that could give her solace in a time where nearly all hope was lost, was out of her reach.
Well, it wasn't. Not really. It was just in a place she didn't want to reach.
"I swear Zach, get off of the quaffle right now! You just can't go around sitting on them you great lug! They'll break-!"
"Weasley, if they could bounce off your brothers thick skull all of last year before he actually caught one, trust me when I say that this thing is indestructible!"
Ginny put her hands on her hips and glared. It was one thing to insult her to her face, but to insult her brother whilst he was off finding horcruxes with Harry and Hermione and wasn't around to defend himself, well, that wasn't right... even if Zach's accusations did hold some truth to them.
All she wanted was to escape the dark and gloomy confines of the once welcoming castle walls and breathe in the fresh air high above the school grounds. Ginny wanted to take to the skies and forget about the horrors that awaited her below. She wanted to rekindle her love for quidditch and damn anyone who came near enough to disturb her moment of uninhibited relaxation and freedom.
However, with fellow sixth year Hufflepuff Zacharias Smith sitting proudly and stubbornly upon the only quaffle the school now had in a strange, meditating pose, Ginny's plans for flight were drastically cut short. She was left with no other alternative but to fight the bugger who'd given her a lot of trouble over the years when it came to all things quidditch related, this being no exception.
"Just what exactly are you doing, Smith?"
He sighed as if some great injustice had been made against him and rolled his eyes theatrically. "If you must know, I'm thinking-"
"Thinking? Is it hurting your brain at all?"
"Oh, that one hurt. You're disturbing me so sod off-"
Ginny huffed loudly and stomped her foot, unaware of her childish actions as her rage was beginning to turn as red as the colour of her hair. "Why on earth are you thinking whilst sitting on a quaffle?! I want to go practice-!"
"You know that if any of the scum running this school catch you with it they'll destroy the quaffle and hang you from the dungeon ceilings with thumbscrews for days, don't you? You should be thanking me for protecting it rather than scolding me for using it as a rather comfortable cushion."
Ginny blinked, her mouth falling open. "Cushion? Cushion! You have got to be kidding me!"
Zach shrugged, a slight shifting of his right shoulder before he closed his eyes and a calm wave seemed to wash over his features. "It's rather quite comfortable; you should give it a try sometime-"
"I'm not going to go around sitting on quaffles! They're too expensive to treat like that! You're just going to deflate them because – excuse me! – but you're not exactly light compared to the ball, and-" Ginny sniffed suddenly as a foul sensation wafted just below her nostrils. Getting an entire nose-full of it made her want to instantly bring up her breakfast.
"What in the world is that?!"
"That vile smell, that's what!"
Zach looked around confused for a few minutes as if to find the offending object elsewhere, before noticing that Ginny's gaze was fixed directly upon him. "You think that was me?"
"Well, it certainly wasn't me!"
"So you automatically assume it was me?"
"No one else is here, Smith! What else could it be?" Ginny stepped back a little, resisting the urge to dry-wretch. "Merlin's balls, what is it? It smells like sweat and... damp foot odour."
Suddenly, Zach new what she meant and was not too happy upon hearing her accusations.
"Hey, leave my lucky socks out of this!" Zach said indignantly, getting to his feet with the quaffle held firmly and safely behind his back, and far out of Ginny's reach from where she stood halfway to the other side of the change rooms in her attempts to evade the stench.
"Lucky? How could anything be lucky when a smell like that is lingering around?" Ginny brought her hand up to her mouth to cover it as she coughed, tears springing to her eyes as the smell overpowered her senses and she took a few more steps back. "Lucky or not, I hope you wash them often enough!"
Zach merely shrugged and took a quick glance at his once-white now-brown socks that he hadn't washed ever since he made the Hufflepuff quidditch team - two years prior. Zach saw nothing wrong with them as they'd always proved to be lucky for him, so he simply didn't wash them. He was even wearing them with more frequency, hoping that the luck would spill over from the quidditch pitch and help him stay alive during the rest of the school year. He wasn't the only student to think of such things, that's for sure.
Nor was he about to admit the truth to Ginny Weasley, that in all probability his socks had never been washed, nor were they likely too anytime soon. Instead, he chose to change the subject and reflect it back upon her.
"You're one to talk though, Ginny. Rumour has it that you keep one of Potter's hankies under your pillow while you sleep. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a used one, either. A little parting gift before he left, yes?"
A low growl snuck forth from Ginny's mouth, her teeth clenched painfully tight. A few moments passed before she was able to speak, and finally she replied to the tall, skinny boy towering over her. All she wanted to do was send another Bat-Bogey Hex at him like she'd done one year prior when he drove her half insane for information about the ill-fated rescue mission to the depths of the Ministry. She would have most definitely done so if she hadn't sworn an oath to herself, and the few remaining members of the D.A. not to use magic against any other student under the Death Eaters reign at Hogwarts as it was just what they wanted students to do. As tempting as it was to break her promise and send a good hex Zach's way, Ginny was determined not to play into the hands of Voldemort's followers a second time.
"For your information, what Harry left me with was nothing of the sort, not that it's any of your business. I don't need any foolish good luck charms to get me through this, or to know he'll come back so shut up before I make you."
Zach simply shrugged, a gesture Ginny found unnerving given the fights they were renown for, especially after the prior years quidditch game he'd commented in which Ginny had crashed into him on purpose with her broom for insulting Gryffindor consistently. Still, she wasn't about to go looking for a dispute if she could ignore one. All she wanted was the now slightly deformed quaffle that Zach was hiding behind his back, and escape the force-field of gag-worthy stench rising from his putrid brown socks.
"Can I have the quaffle now so I can get away from this infested change room and leave you to your thinking, alone?"
"Why the bloody hell not?"
"I told you, it's a comfortable cushion-"
"Sitting on your backside should be squishy enough to be comfortable, Smith! Give me the quaffle!"
Ginny felt the colour rise along her neck as her temper got the better of her. Through gritted teeth, she tried once more, dislike lacing her every word. "Please may I have the quaffle, Zach?" Zach tilted his head to the side for a moment, contemplated her, and then uttered the one syllable word that was rapidly driving Ginny to insanity.
"This isn't fair! You should use a damn cushion as a cushion, not a sodding quaffle! If it were anyone else I'm sure you'd let them have it! Why not me?"
"Ah, that's simple. It's because I don't like you."
"I don't like you, either."
Silence ensued for a few minutes, with only the stench of Zach's socks to keep the two hot-headed teenagers company as one angrily glared at the other, whilst the latter looked rather bored of everything going on and wanting to sit down again and get back to his thinking.
"This is ridiculous," Ginny muttered, wondering if she could stomach the thought of running over to him and snatching the quaffle from his grip before he'd notice or not. Not even half a step towards him and the foul lucky socks had her retreating two back with a groan.
"What would it take for me to get the quaffle from you?"
Zach lifted an eyebrow slightly and gave her figure the once-over before returning to his uninterested self. It wasn't because he found her unattractive, but the idea of stirring her up further with his disinterest was far too amusing than anything else he felt like doing at that moment. Besides, it wasn't as if she'd even considered inviting him along, or asked him relatively nicely to hand over the large red ball that was causing all the problems.
"SMITH! Give me the damn quaffle now, or so help me I'll hex you so badly you won't be able to sit down on anything for a full month! I don't care what pact was made, it can easily be unmade and I'm sure the others would agree that this is as good a reason as any to make an exception!"
He merely looked at her pointedly, unresponsive to her fiery temper or demands and decided he'd finally had enough of the situation and toying with Weasley for one day.
"Keep your voice down; someone might be tempted in coming down here and wonder what banshee is being tortured." He held up his hand as Ginny began to protest, wanting her to remain silent for the moment. "Now, I'd be willing to give you what you want if you give me what I want in return." Ginny raised her eyebrow sceptically, having not failed to notice Zach glancing at her body a few minutes prior, and was about to object to his plans when he continued.
"I've been down here for a few hours now waiting for someone to show up because I'm that damn bored and wanted to play quidditch, too. I've been waiting for anyone to show up, and now that you have, I'm willing to give you this quaffle if you do one thing for me."
Ginny waited in silence, to which Zach merely grinned before explaining his plan to her simply, making Ginny's eyes harden.
"Because... It's you!"
"So? It's you, too, yanoe. I'm not complaining."
Ginny glared at the tall boy opposite her once more, then sighed. "Fine," she said through gritted teeth once more as she fulfilled her side of the bargain. "I would like it very much if you would join me for a game of quidditch over the Forbidden Forest, snot-face."
Zach simply smiled and threw the quaffle to her upon accepting her backwards attempt at being polite, which Ginny caught with graceful ease. "That has to be the nicest thing you've said since you got here, ginger."