Sweet Days of Summer
By: Lady Lithe
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Summery: It's the summer before Harry Potter goes off to Hogwarts for his sixth year. Friendship is blooming in the air...and maybe something more? Well flowers are blooming for sure because he just can't stop smelling them! Now if only he could find one around the Burrow... (A pre-quel to A Matchless Match, but it's not necessary to read it for this.)
Can you fall in love and not realize it?
Naru-chan: Okay, so I promised you guys I'd write more of something in this world. Well, I find that I like this world a lot. So, I've decided to give you three wonderful gifts. A pre-quel and two sequels. You'll see. This is the pre-quel, full of fluff and romance, believe me, and while you don't have to read AMM beforehand, it'll be handy to understand jokes I'm going to put in the sequels! So...pay attention? And never forget to sit back, relax, and let me bring you into a world of Harry that we never get to see in the books. ;)
Chapter One: Dirty Laundry
sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
And when I come home from a hard day's work
And you're waiting there; yes you're waiting there
Without a care in the world.
-Jason Mraz, Summer Breeze
Harry Potter was soaring through the clear blue sky, his hands easily guiding his Firebolt through the air. There were the tops of evergreen trees and mountains in the distance as far as his eyes could see. The clouds floated gently around him. His unruly black hair rippled against his face as his emerald eyes leisurely scanned his setting. And then he saw it – the unmistakable glint of gold, and he was speeding up, going faster and faster, feeling his heart ram excitedly against his chest, adrenaline pounding against his ears, he was reaching out, extending his hand, the golden Snitch barely and inch away from his nimble fingers, and just as they wrapped around the small ball, a blast of the scent of flowers invaded his brain and –
He let out a moan as his side flooded with pain, rolled over slightly onto his back, and clutched his throbbing ribs. The impact against the floor hadn't exactly been kind. He opened his still sleep-filled eyes, only to see spots of various bright colors dance in front of him. Then a blurry face with crimson hair framing it came into view. Two brown smudges blinked at him with interest.
"Are you all right Harry?"
He strained his eyes, registering the wry smile on her face and her lips trembling with amusement.
"Fine," he croaked, attempting to untangle himself from the blanket that currently bound his legs together, though he did not succeed. He continued to squint at her so she obligingly placed his black glasses onto his face. Her pale and pretty face then became crystal clear and he could actually see the freckles that he had known were there. She was surprisingly close to him in her kneeling position beside him.
"Have a nice dream?" Ginny Weasley asked, not even trying to hide the amusement in her voice. He pushed himself off the floor and rubbed the side of his face.
"Yeah," he said, though he didn't remember it anymore. He rubbed his neck. "Is it time for breakfast?"
"Everyone's already been up and about for a while now. Mum told me not to wake you up. Did you arrive late last night?" He watched as her thin figure rose and weaved through Ron's room expertly, dodging the miscellaneous objects strewn across the floor, her red ponytail swinging cheerfully after her. The sun was shining brightly in from the windows over her simple, pale green T-shirt and cropped jeans. She bent over and picked up the laundry basket and she glanced at him over her shoulder. "Harry?"
"Oh–sorry!" Harry answered, feeling the heat rise to his cheeks as he tore his gaze away. "Um, yeah, Dumbledore came and brought me here yesterday. It was pretty late."
It suddenly occurred to him how strange this was. Usually he and Ginny didn't talk alone. Now that he thought about it, most of the time at least Ron or Hermione were with them and that hadn't even started until the year before, his fifth year, when she got over her crush on him. This was probably why it was surprising how he wasn't the least bit annoyed or bothered by her presence – even in his disheveled state. During that time, she had actually started to talk to him and they had become almost friends by association. Idly he ran a hand through his chaotic raven hair.
"Well, I for one am glad you're here."
"You are?" he asked, looking back at her with raised eyebrows. She stood there with the white basket at her side. "Hasn't Hermione been here for a week now?"
"That's exactly the problem," she said, rolling her eyes with exasperation. "She and Ron have been blowing hot and cold nonstop! One minute they are screaming at each other, the next they won't talk to each other, and then they're throwing shy glances at each other… And of course since Fred and George no longer live here, I've been trapped in the middle of their arguments."
"Ah, so you know what it's like now," grinned Harry, propping his elbow against the bed. Ginny smiled sympathetically at him.
"Anyway, since I'm about to do the laundry do you have anything that needs to be washed?"
"Actually…" he blushed. "Maybe I should do my own laundry…"
She raised an eyebrow as her lips arched upward. "You don't need to be embarrassed, Harry, I have six older brothers. There's nothing you need to hide. And it won't be a burden since I'm doing Ron's as well."
"R-Right," he stammered. Of course he didn't need to be worried about her seeing his dirty clothes. She'd seen similar articles of clothes all her life. How silly of him, he scolded himself as he tried to get up, only to tangle himself further. Mortified beyond belief now, he jumped to his feet just as he yanked at the offending blanket. His foot slid against the cloth and he was thrust forward, slamming right into his best friend's sister. The basket of dirty clothes flew from her hands as they crashed onto the ground.
"Ow…ow, ow," she muttered underneath him. He felt sharp pain race up his arms and knees, but couldn't help but register how nice her soft body felt against his.
"Sorry! I'm so sorry Ginny!" he sputtered, shoving away the dirty shirt that had landed on his head. He wasn't quite sure if he was apologizing for causing her to fall or for thinking such atrocious thoughts. He tried quickly to push himself off her, but the cursed blanket had other ideas.
"You're so graceful, you know that?" she laughed lightly as she blew away a strand of red hair from her face. Most of her tresses had escaped from the ponytail and surrounded her now flushed face.
"Yeah," he said with relief, glad that she wasn't angry when she had the right to be furious. He himself started to laugh at this very strange predicament. "So I've been told."
"Come on, get off of me before one of my brothers walk through that door," she laughed, poking his chest. He blanched at the thought and hastily rose to his feet, the wretched blanket finally releasing him from its grip.
"I'd like to live a little longer."
"Could you hand me that shirt?" she asked as she went about the room. She threw the strewn garments accurately to back into the basket. She winced when bending over to pick up a pair of shorts and rubbed her sore back.
"Sorry again," Harry repeated guiltily as he threw the shirt that had fallen onto his head back where it had come. He quickly scrambled to gather more clothes. "How about I help you with the laundry to make it up to you?"
"Are you sure?" She looked at him with surprise. He realized then that it would mean spending more time with her. But he really didn't mind. In fact, if Hermione and Ron were acting the way that she had described them to be acting, then he would rather be with her than endure his best friends' bickering.
"Yeah," he nodded with a smile. "Besides, Ron and Hermione are probably only going to trap me in the middle as well."
"Alright then, if you insist," she said with a small smile as she headed toward the door. "Collect your unclean clothes and meet me outside, but grab a bit of breakfast on the table first if you like."
Harry stood alone in the room for a moment as he heard her descend the stairs. He gathered all of his clothes that needed washing into a bag. It was strange, he thought to himself as he shoved a pair of socks into the bag. Why was he so excited about spending time with Ginny Weasley, the little girl who used to have a crush on him? Then again, she had gotten over that a long time ago. She had even dated Michael Corner last year. And she certainly wasn't a "little girl" anymore. Her Quidditch skills had absolutely shocked all of her brothers – and admittedly Harry as well. Not to mention her Bat Boogey Hex was nothing to laugh at either. As he slung the bag over his shoulder, he thought that perhaps it wouldn't be so bad, spending time with the youngest Weasley.
He then opened the door, trotted down the stairs, and decided to grab a bite of food before he helped Ginny. He made his way into the kitchen to find a pile of toast, eggs, and bacon with a warming spell over them. He had just taken his first bite with a relish when he almost toppled from his seat as loud screams erupted just outside the door near him.
"Don't you dare touch my mail, Ronald!"
"I didn't touch your precious letter to Vicky, Herm-own-ninny!"
"Don't call either of us those things!"
"Oh, so he can call you that, but I can't?"
can't pronounce my name! And for your information, the
last time I checked the letter
– Harry, hi!" Hermione greeted him breathlessly when she opened
the kitchen door with a bang. Her chestnut hair was all in disarray
and her face was flushed from screaming.
"Hi Hermione," he answered, nervously glancing over her shoulder, believing he would soon see a livid redhead.
"I heard from Mrs. Weasley that you arrived last night –" she began, but she was soon drowned out by the voice of Harry's other best friend.
"Don't think you can–!"
"Shut up Ron!" she cried while slamming the door shut. Harry jumped back. He wanted to protect his ears, but it was too late. Her shrill voice still rang in his ears.
"I better go now," Harry said, trying to stuff as much toast into his mouth as possible.
"Oh, right, I was just going to Ginny's room anyway," Hermione smiled apologetically as she headed toward the door where Harry had entered not so long ago.
"Don't tell me to shut up!" Ron's voice clamored over them as he entered the kitchen with a loud bang as well. The lanky freckle-faced boy, whose face was as red as maroon, stood angrily at the door.
"I can when you deserve to be shouted at! How many times do I have to tell you that Victor and I are just friends? Like you and me?" she swerved around to yell at the tall redhead behind her. This comment, however, failed to sooth Ron. In fact, he looked as if he had swallowed a toad whole.
"Y-You say friends, but you never know if he… Friends can be…" he trailed off and glared at the floor as Hermione watched him breathlessly. But a whole minute passed and nothing happened except Ron got more and more red.
"I really have to go. Ginny's outside waiting for me," said Harry, not wanting to hear this. He tried to dart around the bushy-haired girl, who now stood between him and the exit. This was extremely awkward because Ron was trying to accost her right behind him.
"Ginny?" Hermione turned to him, looking taken aback and pleased at the same time. Then her expression turned a bit perplexed.
"Er, yes, I'm helping her –"
"Ginny," she repeated slowly, her eyebrow arched.
"Yes, Ginny, so if you don't mind –"
"DON'T IGNORE ME TO FLIRT WITH YOUR FRIEND!" Ron demanded, not wanting to be ignored anymore.
Harry covered his ears this time.
"I AM NOT FLIRTING WITH HARRY!"
"Harry? Is that you?" Ginny's voice drifted from outside. He was never happier to hear her voice. "Hurry up! I can't wait all day!"
"Oh look at that!" Harry laughed in relief as he ducked under Hermione's angrily raised arm. "Ginny's calling!"
Ginny's voice welcomed him as he stepped into the sunlight, "Whew, you made it! I was worried they might have trapped you and started asking you to pick a side."
Her cropped jeans were rolled up so that they looked like shorts and she stood in the middle of a wide soap-filled basin. She grinned at him as she batted away a stray lock of hair that had escaped her once again loosened ponytail with her soap-covered hand.
"Thanks for the save," he said gratefully. The shouting had continued inside the Burrow and loud bangs decorated Ron and Hermione's loud voices.
"Don't worry about it. That fighting there has been happening all week. Don't say I didn't tell you," she said nonchalantly. "I believe the last fight had to do something with tomatoes…"
"Wow. Haven't their voices tired even once?"
She took a moment to think about this and then shrugged. "Nope. It's quite ridiculous. The two obviously have overly friendly feelings toward one another."
"You don't need to tell me," he said good-naturedly. "I've had to deal with it for five years now. Though this time they seemed pretty close to actually getting somewhere…"
"Anyway, roll up those trousers of yours and throw your pile over with the rest," she said, gesturing vaguely to the pile on the grass.
"You don't using a washing machine?" Harry asked with interest as he did what he was told.
Ginny paused in the middle of scrubbing a sweater to look at him curiously. "A washing what?"
"Er – " Harry smiled. "Never mind. So why don't you just use magic?"
"Silly. I would think you of all people would know about underage magic," she laughed as she resumed her scrubbing. She pushed away a pestering lock of hair with the back of her hand. "Then again…perhaps it's because it's you…"
"Hey!" he protested as he joined her inside the rather large basin, settling himself at the edge of the washbasin. He shoved a shirt deep into the soapy water. "I'll have you know both of those times weren't my fault!"
"Of course they weren't, Harry." She looked at him, her honey brown eyes watching him seriously. He felt his throat close up at her sincerity. It suddenly reoccurred to him that she had been on his side when he had told everyone that Voldemort had returned. And she had been there with him in the Department of Mysteries… Now she smiled in a strange way that made his chest feel hot. The sun sparkled over her shoulder, lighting up her brilliant hair into innumerous shades of red. "Anyway, we all take turns doing the laundry to make things easier for Mum since she's so busy."
"Right," he managed with a nod. He wondered to himself if this conversation was going to turn awkward…
He was proven wrong when Ginny's highly amused voice caused him to raise his head. "Oh my, Harry. Snitches?"
"What?" he instantly asked, utterly unaware of what she was referring to. Then his emerald eyes widened in horror and the shirt slipped from his wet hands as he watched Ginny wave his favorite pair of boxers in the air.
"It's so cute, Harry," she said, struggling to keep from bursting out with laughter.
"G-Give that back!" he cried, attempting to grab the article of clothing away from her. His face was so hot that it could put an embarrassed Ron to shame. Ginny, however, appeared to have other ideas as she hid it behind her back.
"Snitches! How original!" she beamed at him. "Harry Potter, the famous youngest Seeker in the century! I would never have guessed!"
"Oh yeah?" he dove his hand into the pile next to him before he found what he was looking for. Though…it wasn't exactly what he was looking for. His face, if possible, turned even redder. "Lace?"
"Hey!" she screamed as he dangled a pair of emerald kickers adorned with gold lace in front of her. Since when, he couldn't help but wonder, did she wear such things? He quickly tried to banish the image of her wearing it from his head in alarm. Suddenly she had a wicked glint in her eye. "Oh yeah? Fine, let's trade. You can keep those and I'll keep these!"
"No way!" Harry cried in horror. "Girls can wear boxers but blokes can't wear – can't wear…"
He gestured to her kickers.
"But the green matches your eyes," she said cheekily. She safely stashed his boxers behind her, beyond his reach.
"Ginny," he moaned. He never thought that such an event as this would ever happen. "Those are my favorite pair! And how do you expect me to explain to your six brothers how your knickers came into my possession?"
Her mouth twisted into half a smile and half a smirk at the same time. It was fascinating. How did she do that and come off as so charming without really trying?
"If I give them back to you, what will I get in return?"
"What do you want?" A smile tugged at his lips. He couldn't help it.
"I want…" her eyes slowly trailed up from his torso…slowly traveling to his eyes. He swallowed hard and if the shirt he had been washing had still been in his hands, it would have surely slipped away from his fingers a second time. Her eyes held his gaze until her lips began to move again and caused his eyes to flicker over them. "I want a jumper."
He blinked. "What?"
She smiled as she reached over and grabbed a pair of shorts to wash. "I want a jumper of yours."
"But – well, which one?" he frowned as he finished scrubbing the T-shirt he had abandoned.
"Your green one," she said simply.
"The one…" he frowned as he tried to mentally place this jumper. "My green one? Well…I really did like that one, but I suppose it's fine for you to have."
"Really?" Her face lit up with such delight that he had the sudden urge to offer her the rest of his jumpers.
"Sure," he agreed. "It's a bit tight on me now anyways. But you better hand my boxers over."
She stuck her tongue out at him defiantly, but tossed the garment at him and he yelped when it hit him square in the face. He looked at her, a mischievous spark in his own emerald eyes. He seized a handful of soapsuds and flung it at her. She let out a cry of laughter as she was splattered with it. In retaliation, she tossed the soaking pair of shorts at him, splattering him with water and soap. He kicked water at her, splashing her with water. She captured some bubbles in her hand and blew it at him playfully. He found this bubble experience much more fun than the last time he was with a girl (though she was deceased) and bubbles. Soon the two of them were both a dripping mess.
"I think," he gasped between laughs as he squeezed his shirt in attempt to rid it of all the water it had absorbed, "we should stop."
"Oh dear," she giggled. She pointed to his glasses. "You have a little something…"
"Ha ha, Ginny," he said dryly. His glasses were completely wet and even had several bubbles attached to it.
"Here, let me get that for you," she said as she carefully removed his glasses from his face. He felt her cool, yet warm hands brush his face, and it left a slight tingle. She then proceeded to dry the glasses off on the only dry part of her shirt. She offered it back to him and he took it with a timid smile.
"Thanks." Then he watched as she pushed away her bangs from her face once again. He reached over and tucked the defiant tendril behind her ear. Then his fingers jerked back and he quickly rubbed his hands over his trousers. It had seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do at the time.
"Thanks," she said almost shyly.
"N-No problem," he said, clearing his throat.
"Well…" she said, placing her hands on her hips as she observed their environment.
"We didn't manage to get much done, did we…?" Harry winced, feeling rather guilty that he had distracted her so much from her chores. He had intended to help her, not delay her.
"I have an idea!" she claimed. She unexpectedly grabbed a bunch of clothes and heaved it into the basin.
"What are you doing?" he asked as she poured more soap and water into the tub.
"Watch," she told him with a coy smile before she jumped into the basin. She began stomping on the clothes. "Come on! I'm sure this way is much faster."
Before he knew it, he had joined her and the two of them were jumping away with great abandon. It didn't even matter that the water splashed against their legs because they were already wet. Then they hung the clothes up on lines. She taught him how to clip the clothes onto the wire lines so that they managed to stay put, for his first attempt has only resulted in him rewashing a pair of socks.
"You sure do know how to get things done properly," he complimented her. "I'm sure you'll make a great wife someday."
"Ha," she said, her cheeks a slight pink. "Well I can't cook. Nearly burned down the Burrow before, I did."
"I can cook rather decently," he commented as he clipped up Ron's black robes. "I was forced, after all, to cook for the Dursleys for years."
For some reason, he didn't find it strange to be talking to her about his past. He usually refrained from speaking about it because he hated when others pitied him. Yet he somehow knew she wouldn't.
"Then we'd make a pretty good pair, don't you think?" she joked. He smiled, glad that she didn't press further with the Dursley issue.
"Yeah," Harry shot back. "I can see it now. The two of us, old and withered, and you'd wake me up each morning with a prod of your cane, croaking, 'Harry! Make me a sandwich!'"
He enjoyed her laughter floating in the air.
"And I'd steal your Snitch-clad boxers again and again."
"And I'd buy you even more lacy knickers in hopes that you'll finally give up on pilfering my precious underwear. I'll even get you several with some Snitches of your own."
"That won't sway me, Potter."
"By the way, you better not mention what type of underwear I own to anybody…"
"Shoot, thanks for the reminder, Harry! I better send those pictures to your official fan club."
"My what?" he cried out in disgust.
She came into view as she leaned back into the aisle he was busy working on. "You know I should really steal your boxers and sell them to one of your rabid fans. I'd make a fortune."
"You wouldn't," he smiled warningly.
"Whatever you say," she winked at him.
He then leapt forward toward her, just as she dashed away. Their cries rang in the air as they chased one another around the billowing clothes. He closed in on her, her hair dancing with reckless abandon since it finally fully escaped from her ponytail. He grabbed her small body as she shook with fits of laughter.
"Let go!" she gasped.
"Say you won't tell anyone!" His fingers almost naturally found her sides and tickled her mercilessly, causing her to twist and turn against his firm grip as she continued to laugh until tears streamed down her rosy face.
"Oh yeah?" Her fingers lunged to the sides of his ribs and tickled him in retaliation.
After a few minutes of this tickling war, the two of them collapsed onto the grass, panting heavily. He enjoyed the warm rays of the sun as it beat against his now mostly dry body. Their arms were spread out around them. He closed his eyes and relished the moment. The sun felt so nice on his skin… He turned his head toward Ginny and opened his emerald eyes leisurely. He smiled at her state that paralleled his a few moments ago. Vaguely, he noticed that their hands were awfully close to one another's.
And the swelling in his heart grew. Today, for the first time in a very, very long time, he had been able to be carefree. He did simply, mundane things without causing everyone to divert their attention to him. This was the first day he had left the wretched Dursley house and for once really felt that it was summer. And best of all…he felt that he was making another rare ordinary friendship. Where he could be just Harry. Yet it was odd because he didn't exactly feel this way with Ron or Hermione and he had been their best friends since his first year. It just felt a little bit different. This new friendship…was turning out to be special.
"Thank you for today, Ginny," he said.
"What do you mean?" she asked, forging ignorance. Her fingers twitched almost invisibly.
He smiled gratefully, though she wasn't looking at him. Slowly he extended a finger. "Nothing. Just…thanks."
There was a short pause before their fingers softly touched.
Naru-chan: Ah, friendship. Ha ha ha! ) I hope you liked it. There's more to come. So now I will ask for you to please leave a review so that I know to continue. Thanks!