Harry Potter And The Summer Of Surprise- Chapter 1

Work And Invitations

Author's Notes- This is the first Harry Potter story that I wrote, and it was finished before DH, but after HBP. However, I read DH not long after finishing this and made some changes to reflect that. Nothing big, just Hermione's name and Harry's parents' birthdays, really. And I know that some of the things in this story are more American than British, but I am American, so that's just the way I wrote it.

Disclaimer: I own nothing of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter shook his unrully raven black hair out of his eyes and started the next order. As he scanned each item he listened for the beep that told him the item was checked out.

Why today of all days, did they have to put me on this lane? The bloody thing crashes at least once a week, and given the fact that we are extremely busy, I'll bet it does it soon he thought as he told the woman her total. She handed over the exact change, and he put it into his drawer. When the receipt finished printing, he tore it off the roll and handed it to her.

"Do you need any help out with your order?" The woman shook her head, not quite meeting Harry's eyes. She seemed to be in a hurry to get away from him. He couldn't blame her. He did look pretty ratty. Today he was wearing his best (if you could call it that) shirt, cast-off from his cousin, sleeves rolled up three times so he could use his hands, and it had an uneven hem, due to the fact that it had been so long on him, he had looked as if he were wearing a dress, so he cut off the excess length. Now it was almost too short. It stopped just below the waistband of his least torn up jeans, also cast-offs, which were held up with a belt that could have wrapped three times around him easily, and were 'still' too big. He was constantly hitching them back up.

"Have a nice day!" he said with forced cheer. He heard a scrape of metal, and looked to the end of his lane.

"Break time, Potter." His supervisor blocked the end with a 'closed' sign. Harry sighed with relief, turned off his light and headed to the back room, where he collapsed in the nearest chair. He looked up at the television and stared at the ridiculous game show that was playing. The contestants were dressed in bizarre outfits. One was Little Red Riding Hood, and her companion was The Big Bad Wolf. But it was the third contestant that got his attention. She was dressed in a light green minidress with a ragged hem, matching slippers were on her feet with white puffballs on the toes, a pair of cheap gauzy wings were strapped to her back, her blonde hair was in a tight bun on top of her head and she had covered herself with something to make her shimmer and sparkle. The host was asking her what she was.

"I'm Peter Pan's pixie friend, Tinkerbell." Harry was glad he was alone in the breakroom at that moment, as he started laughing harder than he ever had in his life. He laughed so hard, he fell out of the chair and onto the floor, where he rolled around, holding his sides as they started to hurt. When he finally got himself under control, he returned to the chair and removed his glasses so he could wipe the tears that were streaming down his face. The woman had looked absolutely nothing like a pixie.

Harry himself had seen real pixies at Hogwarts. He shook his head and made a mental note to tell his friends, Ron and Hermione about that one, then remembered that he would have to wait for Hedwig to get back from her present errand for him. She was off delivering notes to both of them and to the Order about his job and how his summer was going so far.

Harry sighed and put his glasses back on as he stood up and headed back to his lane. He wished he were headed back to school after work instead of his aunt and uncle's house. They had insisted that he get a job to keep him out of their hair for the summer and as he was going to be seventeen soon, the store he had put his application in had given him the opportunity to work as many hours as they needed him for. For the first three days, he had been training and was there from seven in the morning until three in the afternoon. The hours stayed the same over the next five days, but he was alone on his lane. The second day on his own, he had been on his current lane, and of course, down it went two hours into his shift. The customers had all looked at him as if it were his fault, but his supervisor had just come over and rebooted his computer, telling the people in the line that it would be a few minutes, and would they mind waiting. A few had left the lane and gone to another, but most of them stayed when they saw it wasn't Harry's fault after all as the man explained to him that the lane did this on a weekly basis.

He looked at the clock and saw he had two hours left until his long walk home. Vernon may have grudgingly agreed to drop him off in the mornings, but Harry was on his own in the afternoons. And today, one of the people who usually drove him, was home himself, in bed sick, and the other had the day off.

The time passed slowly, customers coming and going in a steady stream. Fifteen minutes before he was to leave, he heard a familiar voice call his name. He looked at the end of the line and saw Hermione Granger, wearing a loose yellow tank top and jean shorts, waving to him. He smiled and waved back as he handed the man in front of him a pen so he could write out a check for his order. He took them a few minutes later and ran the check through the system. His drawer opened and he put it inside, and tore off the receipt as it finished printing. He handed it to the man.

"Thank you. Do you need any help out with your order?" The man nodded, and Harry called for a carry-out. The bagger put the last bag in the man's cart just as the carry-out arrived. "Have a nice day!" Harry said, this time with real cheer in his voice. Hermione and the woman she was with finished putting their items on the conveyor belt. He grinned again as Hermione bounced in front of him.

"Harry! I didn't know you were working here!" She pulled the woman close to her. "This is my aunt, Laura Parker. Aunt Laura, this is my friend from school, Harry Potter." Harry extended his hand and Laura shook it.

"Pleased to meet you, Harry," Laura said, smiling broadly.

"Likewise," he answered. He started to check out their order while they talked. Fortunately, there was no one in his line behind them, as Hermione was talking a mile a minute.

They were interrupted by the scrape of metal and Harry's supervisor saying, "Potter, shut down." The man walked around the sign and handed Harry an envelope.

"Good work, Potter. Keep it up." Harry pocketed the envelope and turned off his light.

"Yes sir, Mr. Bloom." The man left.

"Is it time for you to go home, Harry?" Hermione asked. He nodded.

"Do you need a ride?" Laura offered. Harry nodded and thanked her.

"I was going to walk. My uncle has a fit about having to bring me in the morning, and as he doesn't get off work until six, I would have to stay here for another three more hours." He finished ringing up their order and told Laura the amount. She handed over the money and he gave her the change and receipt.

"We'll wait for you outside, Harry," Hermione said as he walked around the sign to the back room, where he picked out the time card that said - Potter, Harry J. - and punched out. On the way out the door, he checked his schedule and was happy to see that he had the weekend off. He walked out into the sunlight and easily found Laura's car as he saw Hermione hanging out the window of a two door, fire-engine red Mercedes.

"Come on, Harry!" She stepped out of the car and pulled the seat forward. Harry moved to get in, but she slid into the backseat with the groceries. "Get in," she said, and he pushed the seat back into place and slid into the car, closing the door after himself. Laura rolled up the power windows and he felt a cool rush of air blow his hair off his forehead, revealing his lightning shaped scar. He sighed happily, settling back into his seat. Hermione giggled at him.

"Comfy, Harry?" she said, tapping him on the shoulder with the strap to his seat belt. He nodded and took it, pulling it across his chest and clicking it home by his hip.

"This feels so much better after the heat of the store. And I know it's air-conditioned in there as well," he said as she started to tell him that it had been cool in there, too. "But you try working in there for eight hours on a busy day and tell me you wouldn't be hot." Laura chuckled next to him.

"Would you like to cash your check, Harry?" He started. He had completely forgotten about his check! He pulled the envelope out of his pocket and opened it. It was more than he thought it would be, a lot more. Even with his having been paid time and a half for his training and double time on Sunday, he was still astounded at the amount of his check.

"If it's not too much trouble. I mean, my uncle's bank is about twenty minutes from here." Laura smiled.

"I think we can find a closer bank than that." Harry opened his mouth to protest, to tell her that his uncle's bank was the only one that recognized him and would take his check. Hermione laid her hand on his shoulder.

"Aunt Laura is the president of the First Trust and Loan, Harry, and it's only three blocks from where you work."

They pulled into a space in the parking lot of an impressive looking building. Laura shut off the engine and got out. Harry hesitated, until Hermione prompted him to follow her aunt. He turned as he exited the car, pulled the seat forward and held out his hand to help her out.

"Thank you, Harry," she said as they followed Laura into the bank. They entered the lobby, and Harry was instantly reminded sharply of Gringott's, where his wizarding account was. Marble floors, high ceilings, people milling around everywhere. They waited in the line of the nearest teller for a few minutes. Harry noticed that Hermione seemed a little nervous. He was about to ask her why, when he noticed they were next in line. Laura stepped up to the window with Harry and her niece and spoke to the teller.

"Phyllis, this Harry Potter, a friend of my niece. He needs to cash his check. Can you help him?" Phyllis smiled at Harry.

"Of course. I need to see your ID." He pulled out his wallet, noticing Hermione was biting her lip with apprehension. He took out his identification card and handed it to the woman along with his check. Phyllis wrote down the information she needed and handed them back to him. "I just need your signature." He signed the back of the check and took his card back. Phyllis started counting out money on the counter and when she had finished, she gathered it up and handed it to Harry.

"Thank you," he told her.

"Anytime." Harry turned and looked at Hermione, who looked greatly relieved. He put the money and his ID into his wallet and put it back into his pocket, giving her a confused look.

As he was about to ask her about her reaction to his check and identification, Laura said, "There you are, sir. Now, when you need your check cashed, come here." Harry nodded. "Now, let's get those groceries to the house and you and Harry can have a little visit before we take him home." Hermione smiled widely and the three of them walked back out into the sunlight.

Laura pulled into the driveway of her house and turned off the engine. The three of them got out and retrieved the groceries from the backseat. They walked up to the front door and waited while Laura unlocked it to let them in. Inside, Harry looked around, seeing the setup was pretty much the same as at the Dursley's. He followed Hermione into the kitchen and sat the bags he was carrying on the island that sat in the middle of the right half of the room. He felt something brush his legs and hearing a soft meow, looked down to see Crookshanks winding around his ankles. He bent down and picked the large ginger cat up.

"Did you miss me?" he asked.

"Of course I did!" Hermione said huffily turning around to face him. She saw her pet in his arms and blushed. "You were talking to Crookshanks." She turned back around in embarrassment as Harry and Laura laughed. Harry put Crookshanks down and the cat headed over to his bowl to see if anything new had been put in it recently. The phone in the next room rang and Laura left to answer it. Harry walked around the island.

"Can I help?" Hermione reached in between a cabinet and the refrigerator and pulled out a stepstool.

"You can hand me things so I can put them in the cupboard." She climbed onto the first step and Harry turned to pick up a box of cereal. A sudden movement flashed at the edge of his vision. He heard her gasp and with reflexes honed from hours of Quidditch practices and actual games looking for and finding the snitch, spun and caught her just before her head hit the edge of the island. She gasped again as she landed in his arms. He helped her stand upright and noticed that her shirt had slid down in the front, and he saw right away that she was not wearing a bra as her breasts were now exposed to his gaze. He turned his head, moved away and tried desperately to stop the sudden southward flow of blood in his body.

"What's wrong?" she asked. He gestured in her general direction.

"Y-y-y-your shirt. Y-y-y-y-your... ummm..." He trailed off.

She looked down and saw his problem. Both of them. Smiling slyly, she pulled her top back into place and said, "You can look now, Harry." He turned back around as she continued. "Maybe you should be the one to climb on this thing anyway." She lay her hand on the back of the step stool. "You're taller than me."

He nodded and stepped up onto the first step. She handed him two cans and he reached up to put them in the cupboard. As he did so, his shirt pulled up and she was treated to the sight of his back just above his jeans, which had slid down on his hips. Almost dangerously low. She handed him the cereal box and two more cans, just so he would have to stretch some more. His pants dropped farther down and her breath caught in her throat. Now revealed to her eyes was the barest swell of his backside and her lips started twitching with the desire to kiss the faint view of the cleft in the center. She slowly became aware that he was talking to her and shook her head. She looked up at him, disappointed at the interruption of her budding fantasy.

"Sorry, what?"

He looked over his shoulder at her and said, "I asked if that was all that went into the cupboard?" She nodded and dropped her eyes to their original position. Harry looked down and blushed as he realized what she was staring at. He pulled up his jeans and chuckled sheepishly.

"I guess we're even now." She looked up at him again, now absolutely frustrated at the fact that he had again interrupted her thoughts.

"What do you mean?" Harry looked over his shoulder again.

"Well, you flash me, and I almost moon you." They both started laughing. He stepped down and handed her the items that went into the fridge. Ten minutes later they were sitting at the table, drinking Pepsi and Hermione was laughing at Harry's stories about his job.

"You mean it crashes on a regular basis?" He nodded and continued.

"And the bad thing is, it did it during rush hour and I had a line backed up to the pet food! And people were glaring at me!" That brought a thought to his mind. "That reminds me. What was wrong at the bank?" She blushed slightly.

"I was just worried that you might not have had an ID." Harry reached around to his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. He drew out his identification and handed it to her.

"I had to get it to get my job, which Uncle Vermon and Aunt Petunia were insisting on in the first place. They paid for it, but they didn't want to. It made them have to admit that I did live in their house." She looked down at his picture on the card. It was a good picture. His hair was almost under control, and his bright green eyes showed through his glasses, making her breath hitch. She glanced at him quickly to see if he had heard, but he was looking at the money in his wallet.

"Harry?" she said, holding out the card to him. He took it and put it in its sleeve, still looking at the money, as if he couldn't believe it was really there.

"Is this money mine? Is it actually mine?" He looked at her. "I have never had any money outside of the wizarding world. Not that I really cared. But it's nice to have it, now. I know what I'm going to do with this, too. I'm going to buy new clothes and shoes." They both looked down at his worn out shoes. Laura entered the kitchen and headed to the refrigerator.

"Harry, would you like to stay for dinner?" Harry's stomach growled softly. "We're having roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and for dessert, hot fudge sundaes." His stomach growled again, louder this time. Laura and Hermione both laughed.

"Well, I would have to call home and ask." Hermione stood up and beckoned him to follow her. She led the way into the living room and to the phone in the front corner, leaving him alone so he could have privacy to make his call. He dialed his home number and waited. After the fifth ring, the Dursley's new answerphone picked up. He listened for the beep and left his message.

"Aunt Petunia, it's Harry. I'm at a friends' house and they have invited me to stay for dinner. I'll phone back later to see if you received this message." He hung up the phone, confused. He wondered where they might be. Shrugging his shoulders to dismiss the thought, he headed back to the kitchen. Hermione looked up from her position at the island where she was peeling potatoes.

"What did they say?"

Harry shrugged.

"They weren't home. Probably took my cousin out to eat." Laura put the pan of chicken in the oven and looked up at them.

"Well, to me that means you're staying for dinner," she said smiling at him, then she snapped her fingers. "That reminds me. I was talking to your aunt Diana on the phone earlier." Hermione clapped her hands excitedly.

"Aunt Diana! What did she want?" Laura took a cutting board out of a drawer in the island.

"She just wanted to tell me that your cousin is going to come to visit sometime this summer." She started chopping the potatoes that Hermione had peeled. Harry moved over to join them.

"Is there anyhing I can do?" Laura shook her head.

"There's nothing left but to set the table." Harry smiled.

"I can do that, then." Hermione told him where the dishes and the silverwear were, and Harry went to get them. He set the table and moved Hermione and Laura to laughter as he showed he was a perfectionist at the task.

"And I insist on one thing," he said as he finished laying out the silverwear, "As payment for you inviting me for dinner," he pointed to himself, tapping his chest, his other hand on his hip. "I do the dishes."

The three of them started laughing all over again.