Chapter 16 : A Crazy Birthday
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“Uh, thank you, sir,” Harry replied anxiously, trying to buy some time while he feverishly thought about what to do. “But I was just having my birthday party, and my friends are all waiting for me. Could we please talk at another time?”
“Oh, are you the one to make the decisions here?” an evil sounding female voice spoke up. “Let me show you that your only decision will be to cry or not to cry.” She raised her wand and pointed it at Harry, mumbling a spell, which he couldn’t understand.
Harry only knew that his whole body started to hurt terribly and he began shaking all over. As soon as he felt the spell being lifted, Harry was submitted to another spell coming out of the man’s wand, this time that gave him the feeling his head was going to explode. ‘I have to talk to them to gain time. Maybe Uncle Severus or someone else can manage to rescue me then,’ he thought and quickly asked, “Can you please tell me why you’re hurting me? I’ve never done anything to you!” He fought hard to keep his tears at bay in spite of the pain that floated through his whole body.
While the man, whose voice he suddenly recognized as belonging to Draco’s father, spoke to him, Harry all of a sudden knew what he had to do. Before any of the Death Eaters knew what had happened, he transformed into his phoenix form and flashed away, thinking intently of his Aunt Poppy.
At Poppy’s house in Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts teachers and several members of the Order of the Phoenix were sitting in the living room feverishly thinking of a way to rescue Harry. In Harry’s room, Amelia and Mrs. Weasley were trying to entertain the shocked children.
Suddenly, something blue entered the room in a noisy splash of water. Horrified looks accompanied the blue phoenix that had landed on Poppy’s lap. “Harry!” Poppy, Minerva, and Severus shouted with much relief. “Oh, Harry, thank God, you’re back,” Poppy breathed and proceeded to pet the back feathers of the phoenix’ head, terrified to see that the bird flinched away from her touch.
#Ouch# phoenix Harry cried when Poppy tried to stroke his head. It hurt so much.
“Be careful, Poppy, I think he’s hurt,” Albus advised the Mediwitch, who studied Harry worriedly.
Poppy held her fingers in front of Harry’s feet, and the blue phoenix accepted the invitation and stepped onto her hand. Poppy moved the phoenix up until she could look straight into his eyes. “Harry, do you think you can transform back?” Poppy asked softly and the phoenix looked helplessly into her eyes. “Are you hurt?” Poppy asked again and Harry shook his head a bit, wincing at the slight movement. “But you are in pain?” the Healer confirmed and Harry gave her a small nod. “Shall we ask Granny to change you back so that I can try to heal you?”
#Yes, please,# Harry trilled, nodding, looking at his grandmother with pleading eyes.
“All right, thanks for your help everyone,” Albus said, ending the urgent meeting.
Severus entered Harry’s room, quickly filled Amelia and Molly in and motioned the children to play outside in the garden for a while, so that Poppy could look after Harry in his own room.
“Is he all right?” Mandy enquired immediately.
“What happened to him?” Ginny asked with concern.
“Please.go.out.now! We need to look after Harry. As soon as we know anything we shall inform you,” Severus said, throwing the children a menacing glare that caused them to flee into the garden immediately.
Poppy placed Harry onto his bed, confirming once more that the child wanted Minerva to transform him back. An instant later, Harry was back to his human form, and Poppy and Severus waved their wands over him before they conferred in small voices.
“All right, Harry. We will give you two potions, which should take all the pain away,” Severus explained after he and Poppy had spoken. “However, you have depleted your magic flashing from wherever you have been – Malfoy Manor I suppose – and you’ll probably be very tired during the rest of the day.”
Harry quickly downed the potions Poppy held out to him. Visibly relaxing, he asked, “Where are my friends? Have they gone home already?”
“No,” Poppy answered, smiling. “They are playing in the garden, waiting for you to come back to them. However, I want you to stay here and rest for at least an hour before you go play.”
Harry’s lower lip was trembling as he tried to force back the tears. But he was too worn out to argue so he obediently lay back and closed his eyes; he fell asleep immediately.
Harry woke up to the twins sitting on the edge of his bed. “Hey sleepy-head, get up; it’s time for some mischief!” he heard and lazily opened his eyes. “Look, Harry, we’ve read a bit in your new Potions book, and there’s a recipe to make people’s hair green. Do you think we could brew that somewhere?”
Harry groaned. Leave it to the twins to search for a way to get him into even more trouble than he could manage alone. “No, we cannot brew here, and going to Hogwarts to brew in the Potions Classroom would get us into too much trouble. I’m sorry, but I had enough trouble today and I don’t want to disappoint Aunt Poppy and Uncle Severus. Plus, I can change the colour of anyone’s hair with wish magic; I don’t need a potion for that.”
“Oh, right, Harry, we forgot that you can do wish magic!” the twins exclaimed. “We wanted to change all our parents’ hair tonight when they come to watch our play. Do you think you can do that?”
“That’s easy,” Harry answered. “But I’m very tired, so I don’t know if I can manage to do all of them. At least, we have to do our play first. We can ask Aunt Poppy if we could do the play before we finish the cake together with the parents, then I’d have enough time. Let’s go and ask her, but don’t tell her anything about the prank please.”
At that moment, Poppy entered the room and – after giving the twins a suspicious glance – waved her wand over Harry. Nodding contentedly, she said, “All right, Harry. If you feel up to getting up you may do so. However, you’ve completely depleted your magic, and you may not do any magic for about two weeks, so let’s say you aren’t to do any magic until I tell you that it’s all right. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, Aunt Poppy,” Harry said sincerely, glad that the twins were still sitting next to him and had heard what his aunt had told him.
“Therefore,” Poppy continued sternly, “in our play today, you may not transform into your goat form; you’ll have to pretend you’re asleep just as Fred and George do. I have just told your friends about it, so that the dwarfs know what they have to say concerning you.”
“All right,” Harry agreed and crawled out of his bed. “I’m hungry; can I have another piece of my birthday cake?”
“Of course you may. Actually, everyone is waiting for you in order to finish your cake,” Poppy replied, smiling at the child.
Harry could only hear one happy shout, “Harry!” and was immediately surrounded by his friends.
“Ow, let me breathe,” he mumbled, struggling to get some space. “I’m hungry; let’s eat some birthday cake,” he then suggested, and everyone hurried to the table that was already prepared and decorated incredibly.
Skippy had made sandwiches for the children while Harry had been away, but his friends had been too worried about their friend to eat anything, so everybody was very hungry now. Afterwards, Amelia and Molly, who had remained at Harry’s home to help Poppy entertain the children, took them out in the garden and they all played until dinner.
Fortunately, Amelia returned to Hogwarts thirty minutes before dinner, so that the children had the chance to at least practise their play once more, which they didn’t want Amelia to know about yet. However, the practise was a disaster. The dwarfs, who had played their roles so well during the last days, all forget what they had to say, and Harry really fell asleep while pretending to do so. Molly, who had remained in order to help Poppy with so many kids, laughed and told them, “It’s all right. If the last practise is so bad, the play will probably go very well.”
Everyone gave her a relieved smile, and indeed, when the children played for their parents after dinner, they managed to go all the way through the play flawlessly, receiving a huge applause from their parents. As soon as his friends had returned home after the play, Harry crawled into his bed and was asleep almost instantly.
When Harry woke up and left his room searching for Aunt Poppy, he found her talking with Aberforth and Severus. ‘Oh, it must be quite late if Uncle Aberforth is already up,’ Harry thought and greeted the three adults, sitting next to Uncle Severus at the table where a breakfast plate was waiting for him. Feeling famished again, Harry devoured his breakfast before he asked, “Um… why are you here, Uncle Severus? I mean, I’m glad that you’re here of course, just…”
The adults laughed. “Ah, eloquent as ever, Harry,” Severus commented and explained, “Harry, I would like to look at your memory of what happened yesterday. In the early afternoon, two Aurors will come, and we have to tell or show them as much as we know. If it was really Mr. Malfoy who did this to you, he is going to receive a one-way ticket to Azkaban.”
“All right,” Harry replied immediately and averted his eyes to the onyx eyes of his favourite uncle. Then he hesitantly proceeded to remind himself of the previous day’s events.
Severus very carefully entered Harry’s mind and watched the event, leaving as soon as he saw Harry transforming into his phoenix form. “Yes, that was Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange,” he confirmed. “I don’t know who the third person was because he or she didn’t say anything.” He put the memory into Dumbledore’s Pensieve, which Albus and Minerva, who had arrived in the meantime, had brought with them, so that they all could see what had happened to Harry.
Two hours later, two Aurors, whom Dumbledore knew to be on their side, arrived and entered the Pensieve immediately. “Do you think it could be Malfoy Manor?” one of them asked Severus, when they came back out of the Pensieve.
“Probably yes,” Severus replied, one hand firmly resting on Harry’s shoulder. “However, I am not completely sure.”
“I could try to flash you there,” Harry spoke up anxiously. “When I want to flash, I only have to think of the person I want to go to; it doesn’t matter where the person is,” he explained.
“Is that really so?” Severus asked surprised.
“Yes, of course,” Harry replied firmly.
Albus let out a relieved sigh. “In this case, I could ask Fawkes to take you to Mr. Malfoy and to Ms. Lestrange afterwards. I will join you anyway, but Harry has to stay here,” he decided and called his familiar, who appeared in a flash of flames.
It was about time for Harry’s friends to arrive for the afternoon when Severus and Albus returned. Harry gladly noticed the relieved expressions in their faces. “Mr. Malfoy and Ms. Lestrange have been questioned under Veritaserum and have been brought to Azkaban. This was just the last straw the Ministry needed to finally put them into jail,” Albus explained, his eyes twinkling merrily.
On Saturday morning, Severus Apparated to the Grangers’ house and together with Hermione and her parents took a Portkey back to Hogwarts. When they arrived in the Great Hall, the teachers, who had remained over the holidays, were already sitting there, drinking tea. Harry immediately rushed over to the newcomers, shouting “Mione!”
Hermione smiled at the boy. “Hello Harry,” before her eyes were captured by the beauty of the Great Hall. “Wow, this place is beautiful!” she said, completely in awe.
“Beautiful?” her mother inquired. “It’s a ruin!”
“No, Hermione’s right, this place is gorgeous,” Hermione’s father contradicted.
Severus quickly waved his wand over Mrs. Granger. “I am sorry; only wizards are able to see this castle as it is,” he explained to his guests.
“But…” Mr. Granger stammered.
“Yes, you obviously are a wizard,” Albus, who came over to greet the guests, confirmed.
“What is this place, Harry?” Hermione asked eagerly.
“This is the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Wizardy and… whatever,” Harry explained.
“And this Hall doesn’t have a roof?” the girl asked astonished.
Harry laughed. “It has a roof, but the ceiling is charmed to look like the sky,” Harry answered, feeling very proud of his castle.
In the meantime, Albus had introduced himself and taken the Grangers over to the table to have tea with the other teachers. Hermione’s parents had many questions and the teachers did everything to appease their curiosity. They even promised Mr. Granger they would check his magic in order to understand why he hadn’t noticed being a wizard before.
“Can you show me more of this school?” Hermione enquired eagerly.
“All right, let me show you the Library, the Potions classroom, and the Astronomy tower. They are my favourite places here,” Harry replied happily. “But I have to ask first.” He ran over to the table and shouted, “Can I go show Hermione the castle?”
“Yes, you may go,” the Headmaster answered and Hermione noticed that his eyes were twinkling beautifully.
“Don’t stay in the library the whole day,” Severus admonished the boy.
“And don’t forget that you mustn’t do any magic!” Poppy shouted after him.
Harry turned around and waved his hand, smiling, before he led Hermione to the Library first, wondering if she would be going to like the library as much as he did. He knew for a fact that the other children in the Playgroup still weren’t interested in reading at all. The only child apart from Harry who could already read was Luna. To his great pleasure, however, Hermione was enthusiastic about the library he adored so much. Harry explained to her as much as he knew about the different classes that were held at Hogwarts, while he showed the girl the library.
Time passed much too quickly for the excited five-year-olds, and suddenly Severus entered the library, a smirk on his lips. He turned to Hermione and asked, “Is it correct to assume that this is the only place within the castle Harry showed you?”
Hermione and Harry blushed deeply, and Hermione said, “Oh, sorry, yes. You know, I had so many questions to ask, and it’s such an interesting place, and time passed so quickly. But it’s all right, sir. I will come and visit Harry again if I may.”
Severus smirked and threw a glance at Harry. “You may visit Harry anytime I assume, seeing that he seems to enjoy your company, and moreover, your parents have decided that you may attend our Playschool from next month onwards.”
“Really?” Hermione shouted enthusiastically.
Noticing that the excited girl seemed to be going to hug him, the teacher quickly put on an extremely intimidating face, and Harry couldn’t help laughing when Hermione instantly changed direction and came over to him, pulling him into a bear’s hug.
“Um… if you want you can come and visit me at home,” Harry said hesitantly. “During the school year I live at Hogwarts, but during the holidays I live at Hogsmeade, and all my friends from the Playschool come and visit me every afternoon. You can come too, we just have to see how you can come here, right, Uncle Severus?”
“You know, Harry, you spent so much time here in the library that we had the opportunity to cover several topics. As such, the teachers here have agreed to teach Mr. Granger a little about the magical world. I am going to take him to Diagon Alley tomorrow, so that he can buy a wand. During the rest of the holidays, he will come here every afternoon for lessons. Professor Dumbledore is already talking to the Ministry in order to have the Grangers’ fireplace hooked up to the Floo Network, so that Mr. Granger will be able to Floo here. Now, if Hermione wants to join you and your friends, she and her father could Floo to your home, and Mr. Granger could walk up here.”
“Oh, thank you, Professor,” Hermione said happily. “So I’ll be going to see Harry every day?”
“Yes, Mione,” Harry smiled.
From Monday onwards, Hermione belonged to the group of Harry’s friends. The other children were enthusiastic to have a new victim that had to watch their play, which they loved to perform for an audience. Just like on Harry’s birthday, they did very well. The only part everyone regretted was that Harry still wasn’t allowed to transform into his goat form, which would make the play much more interesting in the children’s opinion.
When they had finished, Hermione clapped her hands and said solemnly, “You did that very well. I wish I could play too.”
Poppy, who had sat beside her, pulled her close and said, “Of course you can play too, sweetie. You can be another dwarf. Do you have an idea what you would like to say, or shall I think of something?”
Hermione remained pensive for a minute before she stated, “Harry is a very good boy. He has alerted me to the fact that magic really exists, that I am a witch, and he has shown me the gorgeous library at Hogwarts, my favourite place in the world.”
Everyone laughed at the long but honest sentence, and Poppy commended her, “That’s a very good sentence, my dear. Now, do you want to do the play once more together with Hermione?”
By Remus’ and Amelia’s wedding day, the children had perfected their play and the wedding guests were very pleased with their performance. When Amelia and Remus thanked the children Harry noticed that tears were welling in his Playschool teacher’s eyes.
“Are you all right, Amelia?” he whispered, glancing up into the newly married woman’s eyes.
Amelia lifted Harry up into her arms and looked him straight in the eyes. “Harry I’m very happy that Remus agreed to marry me and I know that it’s thanks to you because you healed him from Lycanthropy.”
“What’s Lycophy?” Harry asked, confused.
“Being a werewolf, dear,” Amelia replied softly. “Thank you, Harry. Now, will you come help me open our presents?”
“May I?” Harry asked hesitantly, giving Amelia a hopeful glance.
“Of course.” Amelia put her arm around Harry and motioned him over to Remus. “Let’s open presents, Remus. Harry has agreed to help us.”
Together, the three walked over to the table where the presents were piled. Seeing that Harry started to open the presents, giving the contents to Amelia or Remus and piling the paper on a chair, Poppy and Minerva came over and explained to Harry that he shouldn’t help people open their presents. Amelia however explained that she had asked Harry to help them so that they had more time to look at each single present. Poppy and Minerva grudgingly returned to their seats, watching the child closely.
Half an hour later, Harry was still busy opening presents. When he took up one that was wrapped in a dark blue paper with twinkling stars on it, Minerva came over again and said, “Don’t open this, Harry. Let Amelia and Remus open it.”
Harry however was much too engaged in his work to hear anything. His tongue was playing on his lips when he fully concentrated on unwrapping the present. He revealed a small travel bag that had the size as if it belonged to a doll. Curiously, he removed the wrapping, and before Minerva and Severus, who suddenly jumped over to Harry’s side, could pull him back, he had touched the bag and – once again – felt a pull behind his navel and was whisked away.
“Oh my…” Minerva groaned. “What are we going to do, Albus?”
“What’s the problem, Minerva? Where has Harry gone?” Amelia asked worriedly.
“Somewhere where you were supposed to go for your honeymoon,” Albus replied sternly. “The problem is that nobody can easily make a Portkey to go there. We have to Floo-call them so that they will owl us a new Portkey.” He hurriedly left for his office.
“Will Harry be safe?” Remus enquired concerned.
“I don’t know but he should be able to transform into his phoenix form and flash back,” Severus answered, efficiently covering his emotions behind a blank mask.
“I wonder why he hasn’t returned yet,” Minerva stated a few minutes later. Her lips were pressed together into a thin line.
Fortunately, apart from Amelia, Remus, Minerva, Albus, Severus, and Poppy nobody had noticed what had happened, and the party continued happily.
Harry fell down onto the ground inelegantly. His first impression was that the ground was relatively soft. Fully expecting to see Death Eaters waiting for him again, he hesitantly looked around and noticed that this place wasn’t a Death Eaters’ hiding place. He found himself on a beach! Looking around, he recognized that it was similar to the place where he had spent his summer holidays last year. Remembering that he still held the Portkey bag in his hands, he shoved it into his robe pockets and walked over the few steps to the edge of the water. His eyes started to twinkle happily.
As he didn’t know how much time he’d have until one of his uncles or aunts came to take him home, Harry quickly took off his clothes except for his boxers, which he wish-transfigured into swimming trunks. Not noticing the red warning flag on the beach, he carefully put a foot into the water.
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Thanks to ObsidianEmbrace and CaveNymph for beta-ing :-)
I do not own any of the characters in this story; they all belong to J.K.Rowling or are a free creation, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
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