Disclaimer: The usual stuff. There are JKR's characters. Hogwarts is hers. She holds the rights to all that stuff, Etc.
Note: if you haven't noticed by now, this obviously isn't going along with the books. I'm not exactly sure when the common history between the background of this story and the real books split. In a sense, it's almost an alternate reality where some of the history is shared, but other parts aren't.
It was a mere week until Gryffindor's match with Hufflepuff took place. The Gryffindor team practiced nearly every day now - including extra practices - in preparation.
"Hufflepuff is unusually strong this year," Harry said as he started going over the final game plan that the team would practice over the next week. "Their chasers are as good as anyone's, which makes it that much more important that we capture the snitch. I don't think we'll be able to build a lead big enough to protect us if I can't capture it for some reason."
"Like that would ever happen," Ron remarked in a low, wry voice."
"Their beaters are also excellent," Harry continued, pretending not to have hard Ron's comment, "and their seeker and keeper aren't anything to sneeze at either. This is the first time in a long time that Hufflepuff has a chance at winning the Quidditch cup, so except them to give us everything we can handle. As a result, this is the game plan..."
Harry started drawing on a magical chalk board with his hand, where miniature versions of both Hufflepuff's and Gryffindor's Quidditch players suddenly popped into existence and started flying around.
"Ginny." Harry suddenly said, making her jump.
"Y-Yes?" Ginny responds, still catching her breath.
"Hufflepuff knows that you're our most dangerous chaser, so they're likely going to try to box cover you and try to intercept everything that is thrown at you and that you throw out. I want you to act as a decoy for most of the game, and if they don't bite, then we'll just play our usual game."
"Sure," Ginny responded in resolute understanding.
"Ron." Harry turns to Ron this time.
"Yeah?" Ron responds sheepishly.
"You," Harry starts, with an increasingly annoyed tone in his voice from Ron's nonchalantness, "will need to keep on your toes even more than usual. Hufflepuff intentionally likes to score using the two outer rings, which means that you'll need to pay more attention to them than normal. Of course, that means that while you're covering one ring, the other will be more vulnerable than normal. Make sure you watch the quaffle and not the players."
Harry then went through each player and gave them their assignment during the game, after which the team trekked to the Quidditch pitch and started practice.
"This is why I said they were dangerous!" Harry yells out to Ginny as yet another one of her passes is intercepted by the team that Harry assembled to play the role of Hufflepuff during their practice.
The practice team members pass the quaffle back and forth across the field until one looks as if he's about to throw it at the right-most Gryffindor ring. Ron instinctly flies to that side, but instead of shooting, the player tosses it to his teammate, who throws it through the left-most ring, which Ron has left completely unguarded.
"Ron!" Harry yells from his post above the game.
"I know, I know!" Ron yells back in frustration.
After a few more minutes of practice, Harry finally ended the session and everyone floated to the ground. None of the Gryffindor wanted to look at Harry as he flew to the ground himself with a rather angry look on his face.
"We're meeting an hour early tomorrow." Harry tells the group, sharply.
"But...!" one of the players starts to spit out but Harry cuts them off.
"The only way you're getting out of it is if you have class or detention, and I'll make sure that if you have detention, it will be worse than if you missed practice."
After Harry said this a round of groans moved through the group.
"If you can't even beat the practice team, how do you expect to beat the real thing? Now get changed." Harry finished his speech sharply.
"Ginny...," Ron turns to Ginny to say something, but notices that she's rather pale. "Ginny!"
Harry and the rest of the team members turn to look at them as Ginny collapses to her knees.
"Ginny are you OK?" Ron knees down next to her as Ginny lurches over and throws up, and then starts to cough.
"Ginny, what's wrong?" Ron asks again.
"You should go to the hospital wing," Harry says, kneeling down next to Ginny as well.
"No, I'm alright," Ginny says, still lightly coughing.
"No, go to the hospital wing. I don't want my best player out next week because she's being stubborn." Harry says again.
"Well, she doesn't look sick and it's definitely not the flu, but I'll run a couple tests to make sure," Madam Pomfrey says while looking at a floating thermometer.
"Are you sure it's not the flu?" Ron asks tentatively.
"Of course I'm sure, dear boy." Madam Pomfrey responds, rather incredulously. "In any case, there is no need for you to stay here all night. I'll let you know if there is anything you need to know."
"Um, OK." Ron said, rather taken aback.
"It's OK, Ron." Ginny said, smiling at Ron while sitting up in her bed, "I'm sure I just ate something bad for dinner."
"Oh, OK." Ron said, and then walks out of the infirmiry.
Ginny starts reading a book and then notices that Madam Pomfrey seems to be running the same test several times over, which is rather unusual for her. Suddenly she sighs and starts walking towards Ginny.
"Well, I've found out why you're acting sick." Madam Pomfrey says with a serious look on her face."
"Uh, what is it?" Ginny says with a worried look, feeling that her chest is tightening up in dread.
Then Madam Pomfrey gives her answer: