Chapter 5 : A VERY SPECIAL BIRTHDAY
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A VERY SPECIAL BIRTHDAY
Harry had preferred not doing anything special on his birthday. Ginny’s birthday was a few days after his and they had decided to have a party for both of them although Harry wanted Ginny to be the center of the celebration because she turned seventeen and therefore came of age in the Wizarding world.
Mrs. Weasley had insisted in baking two cakes and she had thrown herself in the preparations for a big party. Harry had offered to help with the expenses, but she had refused. She said that the furniture that Harry had given to them –and that she adored with passion- was already too much. Besides, she had argued, Mr. Weasley had been finally promoted and his new position as Head of the Department of Law Enforcement meant a better salary and a much roomier office with enchanted windows that made the Ministry occupants feel as they were looking out even when they actually were many feet underground.
Mrs. Weasley had asked Ginny and Harry who they wanted to invite to the party. They had named some of their friends from Hogwarts but it seemed that there were more invitees if the huge amount of food Mrs. Weasley was cooking was any indication. Harry had summoned Kreacher (“Mudblood lovers. What a disgrace for the pure-bloods”) and had ordered him to help Mrs. Weasley in silence. But even with the help of the house-elf, there was an –in Ron’s words- indecent amount of work going on at The Burrow.
To Ron’s annoyance, Ginny and Harry had been spared from helping but his mom had given him many tasks. Harry and Ginny had put this Ron-free time to good use sneaking to the nearby woods to snog without interruption. The summer hadn’t been as full of quality time as a couple as they had expected. Ron still felt uncomfortable if they snogged in front of him and he also resented that Hermione couldn’t visit him as often as he would have liked it. He understood that she wanted to spend time with her parents after their long separation, but he missed her more than he thought he would.
There was also the fact that Ginny had been studying a lot. The regular seventh years had received their letter from Hogwarts a few days after the special cases like Harry, Ron and Hermione. In that letter, professor McGonagall explained that their NEWT’s would comprehend the usual subjects without any concessions so if they wanted to pass they would need to catch up with the sixth year subjects during the summer. That meant studying a lot because they had to cover all the contents that had been banned by the Death Eater-controlled administration and, in cases like Ginny’s who hadn’t returned to Hogwarts after Easter, those they hadn’t been there to study.
So Harry and Ginny had enjoyed a wonderful afternoon kissing and hugging and every now and then, talking. When the time for the party got closer they had gone to change, followed by Ron who had been finally released from his cleaning duties. Harry suspected Mrs. Weasley had engaged Ron’s help on purpose to give him and Ginny some time for themselves.
Finally 7:00 PM arrived. All the Weasleys, including Fleur were already there when Harry, Ron and Ginny went downstairs. Two long tables had been set in the backyard displaying Mrs. Weasley’s best china and silverware. Candles floated above them and a red banner with golden letters hanged from the tress with the words “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ginny & Harry”.
“Mom, this is awesome!” said Ginny excitedly. Harry thought that she looked awesome in a short white summer dress and silver sandals.
“Everything looks perfect. Mrs. Weasley” added Harry smiling. “Thanks you so much. I have no words to express how much I appreciate everything you have done for me”.
“Oh dear!” said Mrs. Weasley hugging him. “You don’t have to. You are part of the family, you always have…”
Harry didn’t answer but hugged her tighter. He felt happier than he could remember. Maybe the only instant as good as this was when he had thought he was leaving the Dursleys to live with Sirius. But thinking of Sirius made him sad so Harry push that memory away for the moment and concentrated in all the love he was receiving and the bright possibilities open for him now that Voldermort was gone.
A “pop!” sound and a small cry took Harry out of his thoughts and made him turn to look for the source. He saw immediately that it was Hermione who was lying on the floor next to an overturned chair, a big bag and a long rectangular package. Ron was running to help her and the rest of the Weasley were laughing. It was evident that nobody had warned Hermione that there were going to be chairs and tables in the backyard and she had apparated in her usual spot. But a chair was already there and she had lost her balance and fallen.
“Are you OK?” asked Ron helping her up.
“Yes, I am fine” she said trying to shake the soil from her clothes.
“Honey, I am so sorry!” apologized Mrs. Weasley. “I forgot to tell you to apparate by the door”.
“It’s OK, Mrs. Weasley, don’t worry,” reassured her Hermione and cast Scourfigy on herself.
“You look gorgeous,” said Ron kissing her briefly.
“What are you carrying here?” asked Rom picking up the bag and the package.
“Oh, that one is not mine” she said point the package. “It’s Harry’s”
But Harry was already there and he took the long rectangular package from Ron’s arms.
“Thanks, Hermione. I hope you didn’t fall because of this,” said Harry.
“No. I apparated with one foot on the chair and the other on the air so I couldn’t balance”.
“I’m glad that you aren’t hurt”
“What’s in there”, asked George. “I think I have an idea but…”
“Don’t!” warn him Harry. And walking towards Ginny he presented the package to her and said “Happy Birthday, Ginny”.
She took the parcel and kissed him.
“Oh, you’re welcome. I hope that you like it”.
“I’m sure she will,” teased George.
“Shut up, George!”
Ginny too imagined what it was and couldn’t control her excitement. So she ripped the paper carelessly, opened the long and narrow box beneath it and gasped with delight. It was a brand new Nimbus 2002. Everybody let out an exclamation.
“C’estmagnifique!” exclaimed Fleur.
“WOW!” said Ron.
“Harry! You shouldn’t…” protested Mr. Weasley.
“Please don’t get mad at me, Mr. Weasley. I had never given anything to Ginny before and it’s her seventeenth birthday so I wanted to give her something special”.
“But this is the newest model. I don’t think Ginny should accept something so expensive,” argued Mr. Weasley.
“Dad, please!” almost whined Ginny.
Harry couldn’t tell Mr. Weasley that his first impulse had been buying Ginny a Firebolt like his. He hadn’t done it just because he suspected the Weasleys could feel offended. Certainly, and he realized he sounded like Malfoy, a Firebol was worth more than the Weasleys’ property. So Harry had compromised and chosen the newest Nimbus model instead.
“Mr. Weasley, please. It’s not that I give Ginny things every day and I didn’t do it just for her-- ”.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean… This is our last year at Hogwarts! We have one last chance to win the Quidditch Cup and flatten Slytherin!”
“Dad, Harry is right” intervened Ron. “Ginny needs a decent broom if we want to win the cup”
“Dad, pleeease!” begged Ginny.
Mr. Weasley looked at his wife. She nodded and he said. “OK. I guess she can keep it then but—“. He couldn’t finish because Ginny threw herself into his arms, kissing him repeatedly. Then se run and hugged her mom too. Finally, she grabbed Harry and gave him a long and passionate kiss.
“Thanks. I love your gift,” she said smiling at him when they finally separated.
“I kind of guessed you did” he smiled back.
“Can I have a Nimbus for my birthday?” asked Ron. “I’m in the team too”.
“Only if you give me a kiss like Ginny’s” teased Harry
“Are you kidding me? For a Nimbus—
“RON!” shouted Hermione and everybody laughed.
“Ouch! Control your boyfriend, Granger!” protested Ginny laughing and pulling Harry closer to her.
“I’m sorry, Ron. You’re my best mate but I still prefer kissing your sister”.
“Does it mean I won’t get a new broom?” complained Ron trying to look sad but after a few seconds he started to laugh too.
Ginny said that she would die if she didn’ttry her new broom so she mounted it immediately. She couldn’t help crying with delight when it soared smoothly and obeyed her commands with just the minimum touch. She was a natural flyer and finally having a first class broom made her shine with happiness.
Ron, on the other side, was too busy trying to placate Hermione for saying he would kiss someone else. She demanded him to prove his love to her so they were snogging in a dark corner of the backyard.
But Ginny’s flight and Ron and Hermione kissing session were interrupted when their friends started to arrive. Dean and Seamus apparated together. They had been backpacking through Europe for the last two weeks so they were still wearing jeans and t-shirts and had their rucksacks with them.
Neville was the next one to arrive. He looked much better than the last time they had seen him the night of the battle. His cuts and bruises had healed and he seemed to have grown a couple of inches. But the main change in him was not physical. Like never before, Neville looked truly happy and confident.
Then Angelina apparated by the door (George had remembered to warn her about the tables) and Hagrid arrived through the Weasley’s fireplace at the same instant. He carried two boxes, one for Harry and one for Ginny. They opened them cautiously but it turned out that there was nothing to worry about. Each one contained a pair of ashwinder skin work gloves. “Best ones, they’re” said Hagrid. “Light like a feather but yeh feel nothin’. No stin’ no fire. Very useful,” said Hagrid winking. Harry didn’t dare to ask why these ultra resistant gloves would be useful to them but he suspected that they were going to have an interesting year at Hogwarts.
Christie O’Ryan, a Hufflepuff who was a very good friend of Ginny’s, side-apparated with her mother next. Mrs. O’Ryan just stayed for a few minutes and then disapparated just in time because two seconds later Alicia Spinnet and Oliver Wood apparated at the exactly same spot she had been standing causing general hilarity.
Lee Jordan and Katie Bell arrived by broom and Charlie Weasley apparated after what he told had been an “incredibly uneventful dragon ride to Ireland” where he had volunteer to deliver a Hungarian Horntail for the Ministry and then taken a port key connection to London. He gave Harry a Swedish Short-Snout hide belt and to Ginny, a beautiful scarlet purse made of Chinese Fireball hide.
The following guest took Harry completely by surprise. Andromeda Tonks came out of the kitchen fireplace pushing a Muggles stroller with one hand and carrying her purse and a large cage with a barn owl in the other. She looked fine although she had lost several pounds since the last time Harry had seen her in Remus and Nymphadora’s funeral.
“Andromeda!” exclaimed Molly Weasley hurrying to hug her. “I’m so glad that you came”
“How have you been, dear?”
“Well… I get better every day. It’s difficult but I try not to think too much. This handsome guy here makes me keep going,” she said leaving the cage on the floor and bending over the stroller to smile at an apple-green-haired Teddy who was wide-awake and smiling back.
“Oh, my God! He is so big and handsome!” exclaimed Mrs. Weasley also bending and tending her finger to Teddy who grabbed it immediately.
“Isn’t he?” asked Andromeda, pride evident in her voice. “He’s such a smart little boy”.
“Can I pick him up?”
“Of course! Go ahead”.
Mrs. Weasley picked up Teddy and headed outside so everybody could see him. Mrs. Tonks saw Harry standing by the door and smiled at him. She picked up the cage and walked towards him. “Happy birthday, Harry” she said presenting him with the cage with the barn owl. “This is Cleo. She was Dora’s owl. I thought she would have wanted you to have her”.
“Thanks Mrs. Tonks… I…” he didn’t know what to say. It was obviously a very personal gift. It had to be difficult for Mrs. Tonks to give away anything that had been her daughter’s.
“Don’t thank me, Harry. Dora and Remus cared very much for you. They made you Teddy’s godfather. Didn’t they?”
“Yeah! About that—“
“I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your letters. First I was staying at Ted’s sister in Readings trying to deal with everything and then I came back home and there were so many things I needed to do…”
“Don’t worry. I understand. I just wanted you to know that if there is anything, anything at all I can do for Teddy, you just have to tell me”.
“Thanks. It’s good to know that if something happened to me, my Teddy wouldn’t be alone”.
“Never! I will try to be the best godfather ever. I know Sirius always lamented he couldn’t be there for me more so I will try to be good for Teddy.”
“I’m sure you will,” she said and touched Harry’s cheek lightly.
“Thanks again… for the owl… Cleo. Right?”
“Right. It’s Cleopatra actually but Dora always called her Cleo”.
“OK – Why don’t we go outside? Mrs. Weasley made and obscene amount of food”. He said and Mrs. Tonks laughed heartily at this comment. He beamed, happy to have made her feel better even if it was for a moment.
In the backyard everybody had gathered around Mrs. Weasley and Teddy. The girls played with his hands and feet and the boys made faces and noises that made him giggle.
“He is so cute!” exclaimed Fleur absolutely enthralled by Teddy’s smile while he tried unsuccessfully to grab her silvery hair.
“I say he has the Marauders sparkle in his eyes” declared George “We can expect great things from this little fellow”.
“That baby’s hair is green. Did you notice?” said a voice behind them. There was only one person who could have said something like that in such a clueless tone.
“Hello Luna!” greeted her Ginny.
“Hello, Ginny. Happy birthday”.
“Hi, Luna” said Harry and several other “hi!” were heard.
“Happy birthday to you too, Harry”
“We weren’t sure if you had got the invitation” said Ginny. “Errol lose his track some times. And we didn’t know where you have moved”.
“Oh! Didn’t I tell you? We are living at Mad Eye Moody’s house now. My dad bought it last month” Only Luna could have forgotten to tell something like that without realizing it.
“Really?” asked Harry surprised.
“Yes. The Ministry sold the house because he didn’t have any direct family and didn’t leave a will. My dad thought it would be good for us moving to start again. And Moody had all kind of interesting things!”
“I’m sure he did,” commented Harry. Luna and her father’s idea of interesting was only comparable to Hagrid’s concept of pets.
“So… did you notice that that baby hair’s is green?”
“This is Teddy,” explained Hermione. “He is Tonks’ son. He is a Metamorphmagus like his mom”.
“I see. Hello, Teddy” said Luna shaking Teddy’s little right hand. “I’m Luna. My mom died too. It can be very upsetting and lonely times but you learn to live with it”.
Everybody looked at each other. Luna had the ability to say the truth in the most candid way in the most unexpected (and sometime least appropriate) moment.
“Did you hear we’re attending seventh year with you?” asked Hermione trying to break the uncomfortable silence that had fallen on the group.
“Really? That’s wonderful!” said Luna without noticing the effect her words had caused. And immediately she added, “I brought gifts. They were Mad Eye Moody’s and when I saw them I thought they were perfect for you two”. She extracted two small packages from her purse and gave one to Ginny and one to Harry. The presents were wrapped in tissue paper tied with a purple string and instead of a ribbon Luna had adorned them with leaves and wild flowers.
“Thanks” said Harry.
“Thank you, Luna. This looks lovely,” added Ginny. She and Harry untied the string and saw that both their gifts were identical. They had received what seemed to be broken compasses because although they were standing next to each other, Harry’s compass pointed right while Ginny’s pointed left.
“Ah… thanks,” said Harry. He didn’t want to be rude so he didn’t mention that Luna’s gift didn’t work properly.
“Luna, I think one of these is broken,” said Ginny. “Because they point in different directions and North can’t be in two opposite directions”.
“Oh. But they don’t point North”
“No? Where do they point then?”
“Isn’t it obvious? They point to wherever your true love is.”
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