Ron ran up the stairs towards the boys dormitory, only to be stopped short by a hand on the arm from his sister Ginny. Hermione was on the step just beneath her. "Where are you going? I thought we had Quidditch practice."

Ron shrugged her hand off. "Cancelled. I'm going to watch Harry polish his broomstick instead."

"Ew," Ginny moaned. Both girls wore similar looks of digust.

"Why would you want to do that?" Hermione asked.

"Why wouldn't I?" Ron asked. He grinned and his face took on a far-off expression. "I've seen him do it so many times - before and after practice, in the middle of the night when he thinks no one's watching - and it never gets old. I have to thank you, Hermione," Ron said, turning to her. She looked surprised at this comment. "That broom polishing kit you gave him for Christmas third year really came in handy. There's nothing better than watching Harry slick his fingers with that thick cream, work it into the handle from tip to shaft and smooth it into the wood until it's slick and shiny. I've never seen anyone work wood as beautifully as he does," Ron whispered.

Both girls began blushing as they visualized what must be an awesome sight.

"I have to admit, I'm envious of the way Harry handles his wood. If I had something better to work with," he began, looking down, "I'd ask him to handle mine as well. As it is, I'm stuck with substandard equipment." He frowned, letting his own sorry circumstances affect his mood. After several seconds, he lifted his head and gave the girls a small smile.

"Still, it's almost as good watching Harry polish his broom. Maybe if I'm lucky, he'll let me touch it this time." Ron grinned and glanced towards the top of the staircase. "At least, he might if the rest of our roommates aren't up there. He doesn't want them getting jealous. I'm probably the only one Harry will ever let work his broomstick. Later girls." Without another word, Ron ran up the stairs, down the hall, and into the sixth year boys dormitory.

Hermione and Ginny stood near the bottom of the stairs, both frowning again as they gathered their thoughts. That shows how much he knows, Hermione thought. I've handled his broomstick loads of times, not just the once when I was probing it with Professor McGonagall. Harry trusts me to handle all kinds of things when Ron's not around - if anyone would be jealous if they knew the truth...

Ginny's thoughts were along a much darker vein. She hadn't been around Harry alone enough to ask permission to handle his wood. Certainly, her mother wouldn't have approved the action when he spent time at the Burrow over the summers. But she wouldn't rest until she knew the exact way to handle his wood, or at least, get Harry to show her how to master her own equipment. Even if those lessons meant she had to fight her brother for the privilege. So, Ron thought no one else would ever get the pleasure? She'd see about that.