Chapter 5 : Endless Summer
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A/N: I'm loving the feedback I have gotten so far, I hope you'll stick with me for the long run because this is a story I have had planned for so long and I hve so many hopes for it. read it, enjoy it, and please review it =) the song is by Ashlee Simpson .
In this endless summer
We will be together
And I don't want this feeling
To ever end
-“Endless Summer” Ashlee Simpson
Coming to The Burrow had proved to be a therapeutic experience for Harry. For once, the Horcrux hunt, Voldemort, the prophecy, the war, it all went to the backburner as everyone started getting ready for Bill and Fleur's wedding. Harry had refused to share with his friends the dreams he had been having from fear of ending the tranquility too soon. In due time, he would inform them, as he was almost certain these dreams were aids for their journey ahead.
Alarmingly, Mrs. Weasley was too busy with the preparations to worry about Harry, Ron and Hermione. Ron had warned that she had been trying to get them to spill what exactly they had been planning. She was less than thrilled to hear that they would not be finishing their last year at Hogwarts. Instead, she was often too busy to even want them around the house. Near the Burrow was a giant pond, which was where she would send Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and the twins to get them out of her hair.
For Harry, going to the pond was the ultimate summer experience. Many times he had wondered what it would be like to just be a normal teenager and soak in the sun and splash around with friends. It was the closest thing to a beach he had ever been to. They spend days on end at the pond while the wedding neared. Harry got closer to his friends because of the amount time he was spending without being preoccupied about Voldemort or the war. Never would he have imagined that it would've been possible.
A few days later, Harry was "helping" Ron clean out the pond. It was oozing with product residue from Fred and George's Wizard Weasley Wheezes testing. The twins had proceeded to use it after the group grew tired of using it for entertainment. Clearing the cauldrons was an easy feat for those that could use their wand. However, Harry still had the Trace on him so all he was really doing was watching Ron throw the cauldrons around. He was also faintly aware that Ginny was staring at him. Since he had arrived at The Burrow, there had been too much going on for him to realize the awkwardness between them. Now that they had so much free time, he was becoming increasingly aware of it.
Ron looked behind Harry and saw his sister staring at the back of Harry's head.
"Ginny, don't you have anything better to do than to just sit there and stare at us all day?" he asked rudely.
"No!" Ginny retorted. "Don't see how I can be bothering you, I'm not doing anything."
"Well can you not do anything somewhere else?"
"Fine!” Ginny stood and huffed frustratingly as she retreated to the path that led home.
"Ginny thinks that by sticking close to us, we'll ask her to come along." Ron explained.
"She knows about the Horcrux hunt?" Harry asked resentfully. He had really wanted it for it all to stay between Ron, Hermione, and himself.
"No!" said Ron quickly. "But she knows we're not going back to Hogwarts, and staying here has also been ruled out so she knows something's up.
"She'll be safer at Hogwarts."
"I don't know…" said Ron pensively. "With all that's been happening lately, I doubt even Hogwarts is a safe haven anymore. Pretty much the same odds everywhere no?"
"So uhm…" said Ron looking at Harry uncertainly. "Ginny's been staring at you a lot lately, will you two be getting back together soon?"
"No, we broke it off after Dumbledore's funeral. She knows why. Things haven't changed."
"Well, I reckon she's been thinking there's a chance you might change your mind." Ron shrugged.
"There's a war going on!" Harry exclaimed. "Pretty bad time to think of a love life right now isn't it?"
"Relax, I was just curious." said Ron defensively.
"What about you?" Harry asked turning the tables on him. "Are you and Hermione definitely over?"
"Like if you don't know that." said Ron with slight bitterness. "Yes, we're over."
"Hermione told me you two had ended amicably."
"Well we did, I suppose." said Ron pocketing his wand in his back pocket. "I'm still trying to adjust to the thought though…"
Harry felt uncomfortable. He was never one to feel at ease when it came to talking about relationships. Now it was even more so when it involved Hermione. He had never even gotten the chance to get used to the idea of them being a couple, how was he supposed to deal with his best friends now that they were exes? It was always awkward around exes, he would know, since he could never even look Cho in the eye after the disastrous attempt at a relationship they had made. Would it be the same between Ron and Hermione?
"It's just weird you know?" said Ron, oblivious to how uncomfortable Harry was. "After all this time and frustration and all the madness of sixth year…we tried it and failed."
"Well…just because you like each other doesn't necessarily mean it will work out." Harry said not entirely sure why he felt the need to say that. "Liking isn't always enough."
Ron looked back at him questionably.
"Just saying..." Harry shrugged. "Anyway, what do I know?"
They stood in an awkward silence as they stared at the slowly clearing lake. Harry was relieved to see Mrs. Weasley making her way towards them. He was grateful for anything to stop the unbearable conversation of failed relationships.
"Ronald, are you done yet?" asked exasperatedly.
"Yes mum just finished" Ron whined.
"Good, I need you in the kitchen."
Ron groaned. "Now what?"
"Don't whine Ron, you may be of age but you still have to respect your mother." Mrs. Weasley reprimanded.
Ron reluctantly walked back towards the house. Harry was about to follow suit when Mrs. Weasley stopped him.
"You can stay here Harry dear." she said kindly.
"Don't you need any more help?"
"No, Ron will work out just fine." she said smiling at him gently. "You just sit here and collect your thoughts."
Before Harry could question her further, Mrs. Weasley walked briskly back to The Burrow. Harry thought he knew perfectly well what was up to. His birthday was tomorrow and she would no doubt be preparing something for him. He turned back to the lake and sat down on a giant rock. It was late in the afternoon and the sky was slowly changing from bright blue to a darker hue. He grabbed a small pebble from the ground and threw it into the water, watching the ripples ebb where the pebble had dropped. He was so lost in his thoughts that he had failed to feel Hermione come sit next to him.
"Hey" she said softly.
"Hey" he replied. "Didn’t hear you arrive."
"I know. I could see you were deep in thought." She said. "You mind sharing what you were thinking about?"
"You already know."
Hermione nodded once again.
"Hard to think of anything else isn't it?" she said.
Harry didn't answer. Hermione didn't expect him to. He was pensive, and it was about something that wasn't to be taken lightly. She knew it was futile to soothe his mind, especially when the war was something that was thought of inevitably despite any efforts that could be made. She knew that all too well.
"Mrs. Weasley sent me out here to distract you." said Hermione changing the topic. "I'm sure you probably already sense it but, she is planning you a party for your seventeenth birthday tomorrow."
"Planning a wedding isn't enough of a challenge?"
"I think she probably feels that by being busy, she won't have to think about everything that's going on." she shrugged.
"I guess it makes sense." Harry surmised.
They sat in silence for a while. They admired the still water and the slowly darkening sky. For a moment, it felt like those carefree days he had spent with Ron and Hermione sitting in front of the black lake at Hogwarts. He secretly missed it and the idea of being back. Hogwarts was his home, the place where he finally made friends. Now he wouldn't be able to go back in a long time or if at all.
"I hope she won't make a fuss out of it." said Harry finally.
"No, she said she'd only invite Hagrid, Tonks and Lupin." Hermione assured. "Not that she could make a big deal anyway; it's not exactly wise for everyone to know you're here."
There was another long pause of silence. Hermione really didn't like that he was thinking so much. Not when she knew what his mind was focused on. She had to do something.
"I've noticed that while we've been here, you've come out here a lot." She said.
"I guess I like the sound of the water." Harry explained. "It's calm here. I need a reminder of what tranquility is. We won't have that feeling for much longer."
"I really wish you would stop speaking like this." Hermione said genuinely.
Harry looked over to her, shocked to see her surveying him closely.
"I'm sorry…I know I shouldn't...I know I promised I wouldn't." he said softly. "It's just that when you're alone with your own thoughts…your mind can become your worst enemy."
"Well that means you shouldn't be left alone then doesn't it?" said Hermione grabbing his hand.
"Do you remember what I told you back in our first year, after I took the potion that would send me back to help Ron?"
"You said I was a great wizard" said Harry remembering.
"I said that after knowing you for a short amount of time." She said grasping his hand firmly. "And now that I've known you for much longer…I stand by what I said."
Harry looked at Hermione deeply. Was she aware of the power she had over him? He had never met anyone who had impacted him in so many ways. Despite what he told himself, hearing comforting words like the one's she was giving made all the difference in the world. It made all the pain of loss and anger melt away to a small minuscule puddle. Why was he putting so much thought into this? She was just doing her duty as his friend. Right?
"Why do you have so much blind faith in me?" he asked curiously.
"I guess that after witnessing you saving me; an insufferable know-it-all from a Mountain Troll" she said smiling warmly. "I've been unashamedly confident that you will always come to the rescue."
"There's a big difference between a stupid mountain troll and the greatest dark wizard in history Hermione." said Harry chuckling.
"No, there really isn't." said Hermione seriously. "Tell me, why exactly did you at eleven years old, choose to barge into the girl's lavatory and rescue someone who had annoyed you right off the bat?
"I don't know." Harry shrugged, realizing that he had no clue why he had made that decision all those years ago.
"Because that's the kind of person you are." Hermione responded. "As reckless as that trait can be at times, your hero instincts are the reason why Voldemort sees you as a threat."
"You didn't underestimate your odds then…you shouldn't do so now." she continued.
"Hermione, Mountain Trolls are strong, but very stupid. Outsmarting them even at eleven wasn't that hard." Harry argued. "but Voldemort…I mean, yeah I've survived three times now, but it's all luck. Luck runs out."
"It's not luck! Anyone could've been chosen as the one to bring him down if that was the only thing that took." said Hermione defiantly. "Don't you see? Despite of what it's caused, you've been chosen for a reason, and that reason is because you can handle it and because you WILL beat this."
Harry remained silent and stared absentmindedly at his hand in hers.
"At least one of us is confident." He said musingly.
"So far…even if I have to repeat it every day and you want nothing more than to muffliato me." said Hermione jokingly. "You will get it through that thick head of yours."
"As annoying as your nagging and bossing trait may be at times." said Harry teasingly. "it's saved me from a lot."
Hermione smiled at him warmly. The sky was darker and the night's insects were rehearsing for their long night of singing.
"It's getting late, it's not safe to be out here at night." said Hermione getting up.
"Yeah." Harry agreed. "Besides, I think we've given plenty of time to do whatever that she had planned."
Together they walked back to the burrow, edging closer to the day they had been dreading. The day that would be the beginning of their perilous journey.
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