Hello! You would probably be telling me not to write pointless one-shots and to write another chapter of The Story of James Potter. The truth is: I finished it on Sat/Sun ago, and sent it to my beta, but she hasn't replied. If you want it anyway, unbetaed, mistakes and all, just say in a review to this. Over ten and I will post.
I hope you enjoy.
August had arrived.
Harry Potter was currently on the roof of his flat, enjoying the brilliant sunshine and the warmest day that summer had produced. By his feet, there was an almighty pile of wet clothes almost four feet high, fresh from the magical clothes washer and on the line that stretched across the flat roof, a fleet of white bed sheets hung, just dry and blinding in the sunlight.
The flat that he shared with Ginny was situated in Diagon Alley, above Flourish and Blotts. It was tallest building, (apart from Gringotts) for miles, and from the roof, he could turn a full circle to see the entire expanse of Muggle London, smoking with pollution and heat in the summer temperature of thirty three degrees.
She had moved in a year after he had first began to rent the flat, straight after she had finished Hogwarts and he was a year into his Auror training. Harry had found that the rent on such a nice place was making a severe dent in his savings, and Ginny had informed their friends that all the flats he had visited were either unlivable, too expensive, or leased by one or more alcoholics, prudes, homophobes, devout nudists, perverts, or emotionally-stunted wankers.
He wished to make it perfectly clear that he had only suggested she come and live with him because he was poor and she was homeless.
Obviously, the fact that he fancied the freckles off her had nothing to do with anything.
He kept checking his watch. Ever since she had taken the job as the head feature-writer for the Arts and Culture section of the Daily Prophet, she had often been away on business. For the past week, she had been in Vienna, covering the Wizarding Fashion Festival, but according to her last fireplace call, she should be home any minute.
He couldn't deny it: he had missed her terribly, just like he always did. It was pretty obvious too, he thought. The morning she stepped through the fireplace to Vienna at precisely eight o'clock, he had gone to the Auror barracks, where he had been told by Remus that he looked as if someone had just told him Voldemort had just been a giant practical joke.
"You really do look down in the mouth," the older man had told him, over a morning coffer whilst opening the morning's copy of the Daily Prophet. "What's happened? Oh, wait! Don't tell me!" he grinned folding back the pages of the newspaper and flipping it round to show Harry. The article showed a picture of a very thin model in a ridiculously large hat on a cat walk, next to a picture of Ginny, clutching a magical clipboard and kissing cheeks with what must have been a very famous designer. Over the pictures, the headline proclaimed: 'Fashion Festival Opened by Leading Journalist and Fashion Icon, Ginny Weasley'.
"She off globetrotting again, I take it?" asked Remus, but not really asking.
"Yep," Harry replied miserably. "There is now a week in front of me without her sparkling humor, her quick wit, and her insightful conversation."
"Plus, you do fancy her like you fancy a cup of tea and a biscuit after the Death-Eater simulations," Remus added, trying not to smile.
"Well, there is that, yes," Harry said, nodding.
While she had been gone, Harry not only found himself missing her sparkling humor, her quick wit, and her insightful conversation, but he found himself missing the way she would brew up a saucepan of hot chocolate after he got in from training, tired as could be. He missed the way she would have a minor handbag/shoe/clipboard-finding crisis almost every single morning, and he missed the way she would occasionally stand in the middle of the flat, and say something like, "This place needs a clear-up." Harry would then stand up and nod sympathetically, but five minutes later, they would be found on the sofa, doing something that had not the slightest resemblance to tidying, like plotting new ways to get Fred and George back for countless pranks, or updating their bets as to when Hermione would become muggle Prime Minister.
It really was frightening how much he missed her, and the sad fact was . . . she didn't have a clue.
Sighing, he reached up to pluck the pegs off the line and take down the sheet, when the sheet was swept aside to reveal the very subject of his thoughts: his beautiful, redheaded flatmate.
"Boo!" Ginny said, grinning, and, true to form, Harry jumped out of skin.
"Gin!" he exclaimed, looking her up and down. Her hair was tied up against the heat, she was wearing a bright yellow sundress with a large skirt and had an absolutely massive pair of purple sunglasses perched on top of her head, matching her purple flip-flops.
Without hesitation, he scooped her up into a hug, planting a kiss on her cheek as he did so.
"Did you miss me?" she asked cheekily. You have no idea, Harry thought.
"Of course!" he grinned, teasingly. "Did you miss me?"
"You have no idea," she gasped melodramatically, grinning.
"So how was it? Did you stun them all with your amazing coverage and dazzling fashion sense?" he asked. She began to pull away, but he held on to her waist so they stood on the roof with their hands resting on each other's back and their feet in a row.
"Damn straight I did," she chipped, "No, it was fun. Not a patch on Milan, or London for that matter, but it was fun. How have you been? I see you did all the washing, very admirable."
"Yes, while you've been Miss Internationally Admired for a week, I've launched an attack on three month's worth of laundry," Harry said. "Such is my sad-arse life."
"Ha! This coming from Mr Legendary Voldemort-Vanquishing Hero? You're famous enough on that alone, Harry, you're not allowed to call yourself a sad-arse, unlike the rest of us slobs."
It really was brilliant to have her back.
"Come on," she told him, turning to the pile of washing next to them. "Let's get these on the line and go for a walk in the Alley. I want an ice cream."
"Oh, you don't have to help," Harry said quickly, "You must be tired, and it is my turn to do it."
"Well, what have I got to do for the next fifteen minutes?" she asked, taking her sunglasses off her head and hanging them on the front of her dress. "I have nothing to do. Such is my sad-arse life."
Harry laughed, and together, they managed to fold up sixteen of the seventeen sheets in five minutes while Ginny told him about Vienna.
For some reason, when they came to the last duvet cover, things got a bit confused.
"Is that the right way?" asked Harry.
"Wait, let me pick up this corner," Ginny said, "no, that's not it."
"What's this little pocket here?" Harry asked, filling it with his hand.
"I think it's for a hot water bottle," Ginny said, tugging at another random corner. Unfortunately, this corner yanked the pocket with Harry's left hand in to the right and he got a little tangled in the sheets.
"Whoops! Sorry!" Ginny said, "here, I'll turn round and then that'll straighten you out." She swiveled round with her arms outstretched, and got her hand caught in another corner where the buttons wouldn't let her free.
"Maybe this'll work," Harry said, bending his head under the sheet and turning round. Somehow, he got his foot caught in a stretch of the material and yanked to try and get it free. This pulled Ginny's arm further, and tangled her up more.
The more they tried to get themselves out of the massive sheet, the more the sheet seemed to twist and catch them up in itself. Slowly, the amount of sheet between them ran out, and they got closer and closer.
Eventually, through much fruitless struggling, they ended up face to face in a muddle of white cotton.
"Gino," he said, calling up the nickname only he used for her, "I don't wish to alarm you, but I can't see a way out of this one."
"We're prisoners of our own laundry," Ginny said miserably, "how sad-arse is that?"
"OK, listen to this," Harry said. "No messing about, we just find a way to step backwards one at a time, then we untangle the other person, OK?"
"Good plan," Ginny nodded, "good plan. OK, you go first."
Unbeknownst to Harry, there was a tiny little flaw in his plan, which was that just behind him, lay the four-foot pile of washing that had still not been hung on the line.
As he took a step back, he tripped on the sleeve of one of his shirts and fell backwards, and as an obvious consequence, Ginny was tipped over on top of him.
It was exactly point naught, naught, three, four, eight of a second before Harry registered what an interesting situation he found himself in, i.e. lying in a pile of wet washing, tangled to the point of no return in sheets, nose to nose in a very suggestive position with his flatmate, the love of his life, who also happened to be the sister of his best mate.
He could feel her breath on his face and her hands resting on his chest through the fabric of the sheet. The sun tinged her hair gold and her mouth was slightly open in shock.
It was no good, absolutely no good at all. In point naught, naught, three, four, eight of a second, he'd been driven to the brink of insanity, and was now contemplating making the jump.
Obviously it was the sun's fault. He was suffering from sunstroke. I mean, why else would he go and do something so stupid as to kiss her?
To the sun's credit, it was a brilliant kiss, a very brilliant kiss. He would go so far as the say the best kiss he had received in his life, not that there had been all that many of them. She gasped through her nose as her fingers curled against his chest. It was probably a good thing he couldn't move his arms, they may have done things of their own accord that he wouldn't have strictly approved of.
But much as anything brilliant does, it ended too soon.
He swallowed as she narrowed one eye at him in confusion. He took a deep breath and decided to say something.
"In my defence," he pleaded, "I've missed you very much."
She stared at him silently as he waited for the rejection to come. When she finally spoke, he thought he couldn't have heard right.
"I've missed you too."
She was smiling in a most peculiar way. It was rather nice. He wanted to kiss her, and it was a moment before he realised that he was sort of allowed to take a shot at it now.
Just as he lifted his head, and their lips were about to meet, she pulled back sharply and narrowed both her eyes.
"You were planning this, weren't you?" she said, her face breaking into a smile, despite herself. They both knew he had done no such thing, but they needed to save at least some dignity from the situation of being given a clue by a piece of laundry.
"Yes," Harry said, trying to look both guilty and debonair at the same time, "yes, I did." Ginny grinned.
"Good plan," she declared, before they resumed former activities. Around twenty minutes later, Ginny broke the kiss.
"I'm . . . er . . . losing the feeling in my arms," she admitted.
"Yes," agreed Harry, "my arse is very wet." Ginny looked at the sheet wound around them.
"Maybe we should continue this outside?" she suggested, and Harry smiled.
Much later, the two of them walked down the stretch of Diagon Alley, holding enormous ice creams, hands clasped and smiling for a very particular reason.
For years after, the very same sheet stayed on their bed, even after it was worn, and had numerous holes in it. Harry and Ginny always wanted to help whenever it was the other's turn to do the laundry, and sometimes it would take two or three hours to fold a single sheet.
The little blue button is just down there! No, right a bit . . . up a bit . . . There!