Harry woke up a while later and looked at his alarm clock. He was shocked to see that it read seven o’ clock. Only five more hours until his birthday.
He heard Dudley and his Aunt Petunia downstairs.
He looked out his window and saw Hedwig flying towards the house. He stepped out of the way as she flew through the window. He was about to shut the window when he saw his Aunt walk back out to he car and get a small box out of the car. He couldn’t tell what it was, but knew that it had to be expensive by the way she was carrying it back towards the house.
He watched her walk into the house as he shut the window. He turned back towards Hedwig who was perched on his desk. He took the letters and she went to her cage to rest.
He got replies to say who was coming or not. He picked up Ron’s letter and began to read:
Ginny told me (in complete tears) what you did to her. Although she said that you had a justifiable reason, I just cannot see how could just drop her like that. I trusted her with you Harry. I thought you would be the one guy that would take care of her and treat her right, you being my best mate and all. I guess I gave you too much credit because you obviously don’t care about her anymore. You promised not to hurt her and you did. Frankly, I don’t know what to say about this whole mess. So I won’t say anymore of it now. We will be there at 11:30.
Harry crumbled the letter into a small ball and threw it against the wall.
“Damn you Ron,” he thought.
He began pacing his room. He didn’t know what to do. It was only four and a half more hours till his birthday. He decided to pass the time away by finishing his Transfiguration assignment that he had neglected from the previous weak. With a sigh he pulled his homework towards him, thinking that this would be the longest wait he had ever had to endure in his life.
He started on his homework, but found it hard to concentrate. He couldn't believe he was excited for his birthday, and at his aunt and uncles house no less! He kept looking at the clock as if looking at it enough times might make the hands move faster.
He looked up for the last time and breathed a sigh of relief. It read 11:27.
He got up and started to walk down the stairs before Dudley met him halfway and stopped him.
“It’s a surprise even though you already know about it. You can come down once everybody’s here.”
Oh great, more waiting. I thought I was done with it.” Harry said.
Dudley chuckled as he walked back down the stairs.
Harry went to his room and laid on his bead.
It seemed like forever when they finally called him down.
He took the steps two at a time and arrived in the dimly lit hallway, where no one was to be found.
He walked down the hallway and into the kitchen. A faint glow could be seen coming from outside.
It was dead quiet as he entered the back yard.
Then all of a sudden, bright lights entered his field of vision as everyone yelled “Surprise.”
He squinted his eyes, trying to adjust to the sudden appearance of light, and then looked to see who all was here.
He was surprised at how many showed up: there were the Weasleys minus Percy, Hermione, Neville, Dean, Seamus, Luna, Tonks and Lupin, Moody, and even Hagrid.
They were all smiling at him except Ron whose mouth was drawn into a thin line that would've made McGonagall proud.
He looked at the table with the presents and his jaw dropped. There was a big pile of presents, more than he had ever gotten at one time in his life, lying on the table by Dudley and his Aunt Petunia. He looked sideways at his cousin to guage his reaction to him getting a mound of presents, but his cousin seemed genuinely happy for him and not as if he were about to steal all the presents from under his nose and go open them up in secret.
Some of the shock must have registered on his face because Dudley said,” What’s wrong? You act like you’ve never had presents before.”
“I have,” Harry replied, “I’m just not accustomed to seeing so many, and they are all mine.”
“You can’t open them yet,” Aunt Petunia said, “cake and ice cream always comes first.”
Good, keeping me locked up in my room has made me quite hungry,” Harry said.
“Come one everybody, cake and ice cream,” Aunt Petunia called out to everybody.
Everyone moved over to the huge cake on another table with paper plates, plastic spoons, and napkins.
The cake had a huge snitch in the middle. Coming out from the snitch were blue lines. I said HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARRY on it in gold letters.
“Aunt Petunia, how did you get this cake?” Harry asked her, “muggles don’t know what snitches are.”
“That girl over there, Ginerva I think, made it,” she replied.
“With mum’s help of course,” Ginny said.
Thanks,” Harry said, “do I still get a present?”
People laughed as she said, “You are conceited you know that?”
He laughed and then looked down at the cake which had seventeen candles on it.
“Make a wish and blow out the candles,” Dudley said.
“I know what to do. I’m not a complete idiot you know,” Harry replied.
Harry looked over the table at Ginny. He could see his reflection in her eyes and he could tell that all he wanted was her. All he wanted was to hold her in his arms and protect her. He wished so much that Voldemort was gone so he could have the life that he had always wanted with her.
Harry knew he would regret the decision to break up with her every minute of his life until they were finally reunited, but that didn't stop him from wanting it. It didn't didn't stop him from wanting to take pleasure in something he knew he shouldn't. He would have to settle for long glances and pictures, hoping they would be enough for the coming year.
“Harry are you ok,” Dudley asked.
“Wha… oh yeah sorry,” he said taking his eyes off of Ginny who was blushing slightly at the stare he was giving her and then looked at everybody, “Sorry I was just thinking.”
Harry looked at Ginny and smiled, then looked back down at the cake and closed his eyes.
He waited a moment, opened his eyes, and blew out the candles.
Everyone cheered and clapped their hands as there was a move to get plates.
Harry fell to the back to where Ron and Hermione was.
Hermione came up to him first and gave him a hug.
“It’s so good to see you,” she said smiling, “I can’t believe they actually gave you a birthday and let everyone come over. I was surprised when I got the invitation.”
Hell,” Harry said, “I’m surprised they even remembered my birthday let alone, threw me a party. What surprised me most though was Dudley.”
“Why? What did he do,” Hermione asked.
“ He thanked me for saving him in the alleyway,” Harry said, “I then told him everything and now we are.. well we aren't really friends, but we are getting there.”
“Well that didn’t come as a surprise,” Ron said, speaking up for the first time.
“Why is that,” Hermione asked.
“Because, right now everything is going good for him. His aunt and cousin turning around, they actually give him a birthday; he doesn’t have to put up with Ginny anymore,” he said the last part with venom.
“What is he talking about Harry,” she asked as Harry froze.
“This prat here,” he motioned at Harry, “dumped her.”
Hermione gasped,” No you didn’t?”
”Yes he did,” Ron said in anger, “she even told me herself. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t give a damn about her anymore.”
Everyone looked at him as he raised his voice to a shouting.
"Ron don't," Ginny said from by the table. Harry looked at Ron and could tell he was truly angry.
“If that is what you really think?” Harry asked angrily,” Then so be it.”
Harry began walking to the house.
He heard someone say “stop” but he didn’t listen. He just kept on going towards the house. He could hear Hermione arguing with Ron but he didn’t care.
Harry ran up to his room and threw himself on his bed thinking why Ron was always so thickheaded.
He lay like this for five minutes until he heard the door open and close.
Harry felt a weight on his bed and looked up expecting to see Hermione. Who he saw surprised him even though he should’ve guessed by the massive weight to make the bed sink in.
Dudley was looking at him with a confused look on his face,” What just happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Harry said, “Please go away Dudley.”
“Not until you tell me what happened and why,” Dudley replied.
“That girl out there named Ginny is my ex,” Ron is her brother who is a little to overprotective. I liked her a lot and still do yet I broke up with her last term. I did it for her safety. If she is around me she will be a target. Voldemort uses people that are close to me to get at me. I don’t want her to get hurt so I decided that if I broke up with her, he would think that I don’t like her and would leave her alone.”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Dudley said, “By what you have told me she is pretty stubborn. I think you made a big mistake when you broke up with her because even though you did, her stubbornness will make her follow you no matter what. The only thing you get out of this deal is heartache because no one is truly safe while Voldemort is around.”
Harry looked at his cousin as if he had never seen him before. This was just too much. Duldley giving him advice? And good advice at that. Advice about the magical world?
“Now stay up here and don’t come down until someone comes and gets you,” Dudley said, “I’ll take care of Ron.”
“You really think you can do that,” Harry asked, “stubbornness runs in the family you know?”
“Oh trust me, I can,” Dudley said as he got up off his bed and moved to the door.
He opened it and Harry called out to him, “Dudley.”
“Yeah,” Dudley asked.
“Thanks,” Harry said.
“Your welcome,” he said smiling as he shut the door.
Harry waited, then got up and walked across the hall into Dudley’s room.
He opened the window and could hear the noise from outside.
He watched as Dudley walked up to Ron and tapped him on the shoulder.
Ron turned around only to find a fist connect with his face.
Ron fell down, blood coming out of his nose as Hermione screamed and began running over to where Ron lay on the ground.
His Aunt Petunia grabbed Hermione and whispered something in her ear and she went quiet.
Everyone was watching what was happening.
Ron stood up and wiped the blood from his face with his sleeve.
“What the hell was that for,” he asked
“That was for Harry,” Dudley replied angrily.
“Why the hell can’t Harry come down here and punch me himself,” Ron asked.
“Because, right now Harry is up in that room wondering why he is never good enough for you!,” Dudley said, “you are being an asshole and all because he broke up with your sister.”
“Well I care about my family and will protect them at all costs, unlike you who will run and hide.” Ron said
“I’d never thought I’d say this, but you don’t deserve to be Harry’s friend,” Dudley said, “have you ever stopped to think that maybe Harry had a good reason to do what he did? Did you ask him or Ginny? Nope, its act first asks questions later for you. You need to give your friends a little more credit than that. And even if he didn’t have a good reason for what he did, there’s really nothing you can do about it. You can’t act like this towards life. These things are always going to happen. You should know this. You can’t be there to protect her all the time. What happens when she gets another boyfriend and he dumps her? Are you going to beat him up, treat him like shit? Besides she’s a big girl and more than capable of taking care of herself by what Harry's told me. He told me she could take you anyday.”
"What right do you have defending Harry!" Ron asked heatedly, "You've spent your whole life treating him like shit!"
Dudley looked pained for a moment before he continued, "And I regret it. Nothing can take away the treatment we've caused him for the past 16 years but in time I know I can make up for it. True I have no right defending Harry when last year I was using him as a punching bag, but people change. Reguardless what you, or any of these other people think, I am sorry with the way I treated him and I will make it up to him."
There was a silence after Dudley's speech.
“I was just trying to do what was best,” Ron spoke up
“Your time would have better spent comforting her, which family does, not getting angry at the person who did it.”
It seemed like the argument was finally over as Hermione rushed over to Ron and repaired his nose with her wand.
“Someone go get Potter,” Moody growled, “this is his party.”
“I’ll go get him,” Ginny said.
“No, let me go get him,” Ron said.
Ginny nodded and Ron walked towards the house.
He walked through the kitchen and headed up the stairs.
He found Harry in his room laying facedown on his bed.
“Harry,” Ron said.
“Get away from me Ron,” Harry said as he turned over and looked Ron in the face.
“I have come to apologize for the way I’ve been acting,” Ron said, “I know you wouldn’t intentionally hurt Ginny. I’ve just always been protective when it comes to Ginny, you know that.”
“What got through your thick head to where you actually came to apologize,” Harry asked.
“Dudley,” Ron muttered.
Harry laughed,” So does this mean that you’ll forgive me,” Ron asked.
“Of course it does. Your my best mate, how could I not accept your apology,” Harry said.
“Well, come on the birthday boy is missing,” Ron said, “We can’t have a birthday party without the birthday boy.”
Harry followed Ron down the stairs and out the house to where everyone else was waiting.
“I think it is time for you to open your presents, Harry,” Dudley said.
Harry walked over to the presents which took up the whole table.
Harry picked up the first present from Moody and opened it slowly.
Inside was what looked like a silver cigarette lighter.
“Sir,” Harry said.
“Yes,” Moody replied.
“I don’t smoke,” Harry said
Moody let out a harsh laugh as he said. “That isn’t a lighter boy, that’s a put-outer.”
Moody grabbed the put-outer from Harry and flicked open the lid.
“All you have to do is open it and push the red button like so,” Moody demonstrated as a light came from its lantern and was swallowed by the put-outer, “then push the green button to replace the light.”
Harry watched as the light soared back into the lantern.
Moody handed the put-outer back to Harry, and he put it to one side.
“Thanks,” Harry said already knowing that this would be useful in his hunt for the horcruxes.
He picked up the next present which felt like a book. This one was from Tonks and Lupin.
He opened it and out fell a book entitled Dark Spells and How They Can Be Used in a Duel.
Thanks,” Harry said, “This will help me out a lot.”
We figured it would,” Lupin said, “that has some powerful dark magic in there so be careful.”
I will, don’t worry,” Harry said as he put the book with the put-outer.
He picked up Hagrid’s present next which also felt like a book.
He opened it to see a leather bound book. Harry opened it and instead of seeing words and pages he saw pictures.
He saw one of Sirius on Buckbeak and even of him and Sirius at Grimauld Place. Both of them were smiling and looking up at him.
He flipped through the rest of the album to find more pictures of Sirius, even in his school days and before Azkaban.
Thanks Hagrid,” Harry said, "This means a lot to me
Don’t mention it, Harry,” he said.
Harry opened Neville’s, Dean’s, Seamus’ and Luna’s presents next. He got a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans with new flavors from Seamus, a MP3 player from Dean, A book on Advanced Charms by Neville, and an invisible ink set by Luna.
“Thanks a lot everybody,” Harry said, “I really appreciate it.
It was nothing,” they all said.
He picked up the one from Bill and Fleur next and shook it.
“I wonder what this could be,” he said as his fingers tore at the wrapping.
It ended up being an elegant black cloak with red and gold lining.
“Wow,” Harry said, “this is wonderful, thanks.”
“We thought you’d like it.” Bill said.
He ended up getting a pair of professional quiditch gloves from Charlie, a gold wristwatch from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, a crystal flower whose petals would turn red if in danger or black if you were dead from Hermione, a broom care polishing kit complete with compass and book from Ron, a skateboard from Dudley, and an expensive camera from Aunt Petunia.
There were only two presents left. He picked one up and saw that it was from
“So I get a present after all,” he said smugly.
“Just don’t think your special or anything,” she said with a small laugh.
“Will do,” he said as he opened the package.
He pulled out a note that said "read after everyone leaves."
He pocketed the note and opened the box containing his present.
He pulled out another box, this one long and skinny.
He felt the groove and lifted the lid of the box and gasped.
Inside was the most beautiful bracelet he had ever seen with a ruby in between the links of gold.
“What is it,” Dudley asked.
“Come on, show us Harry,” Hermione said.
Harry gently pulled it out of its box and put it on his wrist shutting close the clasp.
He held it up to the light and everyone gasped, including Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Ginny had obviously not told anyone about what she had bought Harry.
“Oh that’s beautiful,” his Aunt Petunia said.
“Tha…Than…..” Harry couldn’t get the words out.
He calmed down and took a deep breath then said, “Thank you Ginny, it is very beautiful and non-masculine."
I hoped you would like it,” Ginny said laughing at his comment, "You can store some magic in that ruby. Thats why I got it."
“It is perfect,” Harry said which made Ginny smile.
He was brought out of his reverie by Lupin who said, “You still have one more present left, Harry.
Harry looked at the lone package on the table and picked it up.
He opened it and pulled out two long boxes, a package that felt like a cloak, and a note.
He put his finger under the seal of wax and slid it across.
He pulled out the letter and began to read:
Congratulations on your seventeenth birthday. I hope you like the presents. The cloak was your fathers and the other two are a little gift from me to help you with the upcoming battle. Enjoy.
Yours, most sincerely,
Harry took the two long boxes and opened them first.
They contained two beautiful wands with holsters. The wood didn’t look like any he had seen before.
In one of the boxes was another note.
These are called holly wands. They are extremely rare and valuable. All you have to do is put the holsters on your arms under your cloak or strap them to your legs, and when you want to use them, just flick your wrist and they will immediately come to your hand. This gives the element of surprise in a duel. Use them carefully. They are not like other wands.
Harry picked up the package with the cloak in it and opened it.
It was a black battle cloak. On the breast it had a phoenix (the Order’s crest) and on the back in shining gold letter it said POTTER.
“This was actually my dad’s,” Harry asked.
“Yes it was,” Lupin said, “every member of the order had one.”
“But I’m not in the Order,” Harry said.
“I think it is time that we stop treating you like a child, and induct you into the Order. It was Dumbledore’s wish that when he died you would be inducted,” Lupin said, “also we would like to induct Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, and Luna if they would like to join. Joining is your decision and no one can make it for you. The other members and I have discussed this and we believe that it is finally time.”
Harry could harldy think that all the order members agreed. Mrs. Weasley was looking particularly murderous at the thought of Ron and Ginny joining.
"Really?" Harry asked.
“Yes, but we will talk about it later when you get to headquarters,” Lupin said, “for right now, just enjoy being seventeen and with your friends.
From then on conversation went on as normal.
Harry walked over to Neville, Seamus, Neville, Luna, Hermione, and Ron who were talking about what they did and have yet to do this summer.
“Hey Harry can you sing,” Dean asked.
“Yeah, people say that I can sing well why?”
“Because we need a singer for our band,” Seamus said, “would you be interested?
“Sure, I’d like to sing. I can also play piano if that helps.”
“That’s great,” Dean said, “now all we need is one more guitarist.”
“I can do that,” Ron said.
“Since when do you play the guitar, Ron,” Harry asked.
“Since when do you play the piano?”
“I have been practicing this summer,” Harry replied
Harry still remembered using his Aunt Petunia's piano when the Dursleys all left to go somewhere.
“Well there is the answer to your question,” Ron said
“This is great,” Seamus said, “we’ll owl everybody so we can practice. We need to see if everybody can work together.”
“Wait, who’s playing what.” Ron asked.
“Well, I am drums, Dean is bass, Neville is the rhythm guitarist, that makes you lead guitarist, while Harry is lead vocals and piano.” Seamus said.
Ok,” Ron said, “I guess that works out.”
Harry walked around making small talk with everybody until it was finally time for everyone to leave.
He saw everybody off then began helping his Aunt Petunia and Dudley clean up.
“Thank you for all this,” Harry said.
“Oh don’t worry about it,” his Aunt Petunia said, “I actually had fun meeting all of your friends. Just don’t tell Vernon.”
“Ok, I won’t,” he said.
Harry walked up to his room where he laid on his bed.
He couldn’t believe that this could’ve happened. He never would have thought all this possible.
He suddenly remembered the note that Ginny had given him earlier and pulled it out of his pocket.
He looked at it a minute then opened it and began reading:
The reason why I told you to read this away from everyone is because I want it kept away from prying eyes. Congrats on making it to seventeen and I hope you like the present I got you. Don’t ask me where or how I got it because I won’t tell you. I just want you to know that even though we are no longer going out my heart still remains yours. I will wait for you because I couldn’t see myself with anyone but you. I only hope that when the time comes and Voldemort is dead and gone, your feelings will still remain the same, and you will still think of me in that way.
Harry sat the letter down and said, “Don’t worry Ginny, I will.”