Images in Mind
Chapter 3: Surprise
What is it?
Something is going on downstairs.
Harry woke around mid morning to find Prongs sitting alert at the door to the bedroom.
Harry turned his attention downstairs to the living room and found it crowded. Not only was Mr. Weasley still home, but also Nymphadora Tonks was with Remus. Mad-eye Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt, two more aurors were around, as was Bill Weasley, the eldest of the Weasley children. Clinging to Bill was Fleur Delacour, a part veela that Harry had met two years ago in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Fred and George Weasley, Ron’s twin brothers, had cornered him in one part of the living room. Hermione and Ginny were helping Mrs. Weasley in the kitchen.
That’s not an Order meeting; I wonder what’s going on?
Prongs whined in impatience and Harry quickly dressed to go down. As soon as the door was opened the fox raced out and downstairs and the noise that drifted up quieted as the atmosphere changed.
“Surprise!” Everyone in the house shouted the moment Harry reached the stairs. He stopped and put on a startled face for them. Remus and Hermione both winked at him from their places, they knew he wasn’t surprised.
“What is this?” Harry took the last few steps down the stairs.
“Come on Harry, don’t tell us you forgot!” Ginny scolded from the kitchen doorway. “It’s your birthday!”
Harry stared at her. It had been two years since he had last thought about his birthday. That was his first birthday with Remus and Sirius. He shoved the sad thoughts away quickly. Last year he had been too busy with his mage training away from everyone to think about his birthday.
“Happy Birthday Harry.” Remus walked over and gave him a hug.
“Hurry up, Mum’s got a big brunch all ready for you,” Ron said.
Now that the surprise was over the noise broke out again. Harry did eat much; he was hungry after so long with so little appetite it was hard to eat much. He also had to turn down his empathy; he hadn’t been so close to so many people in a while and it got to him fast. After a little, once his senses had calmed, he got into the mood and smiled with everyone.
Do I have a birthday?
Harry looked at the fox beside him and scratched his ears.
I’m sure you do. Familiars are born when a mage realizes their potential. I guess I became a mage when I learned wandless magic so your birthday must be around that time.
“Harry?” Hermione looked over at him. “Everything alright?”
“Yeah, I was just trying to think about Prongs’ birthday. It must be soon, maybe a week or two at most.”
“You think so?”
“Yeah, maybe we can get a big fruit bowl for him.”
I want a big bowl of fruit, with kiwis!
Harry smirked at the fox and shoved him lightly. Hermione suggested throwing the fox a small party and they talked about it for a minute. For hours Harry was never left alone, his most peaceful times were with Remus and Hermione, who both knew that he could easily be overwhelmed and let him guide the conversation if he wanted. Everyone gave some sort of greeting to the birthday boy. Fleur left his cheeks burning with her friendly kisses and Tonks ruffled his messy hair. Mad-eye gave him some obscure advice and a short lecture on ‘constant vigilance’ while Kingsley just wished him well and left it at that.
It was during a quiet moment with Remus when Harry noticed Ginny sneak away and go out to the gardens. He excused himself from his guardian and followed her. She was leaning against the rail looking out at the gnomes when he walked over and she didn’t bother moving.
She smiled up at him.
“What’s wrong Ginny?”
With a sigh she stood straight and faced him and smiled again. “I broke up with Michael.”
Harry couldn’t keep the grin from his face. A few months ago he had told her that when she broke up with the Ravenclaw he would be there.
“Almost a month ago, just after the start of summer.”
He was well aware that nearly everyone in the house was watching them from the kitchen. Never the less, Harry pulled Ginny close and kissed her. Just like every time he had kissed her before, Harry’s empathy seemed to stop working, he was aware only of her. When she pulled back and hid in the folds of his shirt Harry realized that there was cheering from everyone near the house. He chuckled and wrapped his arms around her. Few things gave him pleasure like being close to the redhead.
“Get back inside you two!” Mrs. Weasley called.
Harry stepped away and took Ginny’s hand. She stayed close to him on their way back inside and he could almost hear her pounding heart as his empathy began to work again. Bill and the twins teased Ginny the moment they were back inside. She didn’t take it for more than a few seconds before retaliating. Harry smiled and let her go after her brothers. No one really teased Harry about what happened. Ron slapped him on the back and Hermione and Remus smiled, but no one said anything.
“Harry!” Tonks put him in a headlock. “I don’t think any of our gifts could compare to Ginny’s, but it’s time to open them anyway!”
At mention of gifts things quieted and Harry was shoved onto a couch with Ginny on one side and Remus on the other. Packages were forced into Harry’s hands one after another. Most were little trinkets, few of any real use, though Mad-eye did get him a new armband for his wand. He got a few books, a knit sweater, and some of Fred and George’s joke shop items. It was true, nothing he got compared to a kiss from Ginny.
Remus didn’t get you anything
, Prongs pointed up as he lounged on top of the pile of boxes and wrappings.
I don’t need anything from Remus; his presence is enough of a gift to me.
Mrs. Weasley served a late lunch of sandwiches and after that anyone who wasn’t residing in the Burrow took their leave with final birthday wishes. By then Harry was thoroughly tired and he excused himself to go upstairs and rest a little. He was passing his trunk when he remembered two little boxes that were tucked safely at the bottom. It didn’t take long to find them; he had gotten both for Christmas the past year and had been a little embarrassed at the time because they had meant something. Now he no longer felt the same about them and he sat on the bed and opened each box. In one was a small tag with a stag engraved on one side and a doe on the other, the second had a wolf on one side and a dog on the other. Harry slid the second tag onto the chain already attached to the first and he looped it around his neck. Both tags rested over his heart and he clutched them in his hand and just breathed for a while. Prongs rested his head on his boy’s lap and waited quietly.
Harry tucked the tags into his shirt when there was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” it obviously wasn’t Remus, who would have just walked it.
Ron, Hermione, and Ginny entered and they seemed a little annoyed.
“Mum told us to come upstairs for a while, don’t know why though,” Ginny complained as she plopped onto the bed beside him.
Ron and Hermione took places on the other bed across from them looked as annoyed and confused as they felt.
“You don’t mind us coming in right?” Hermione asked. “I know you’re tired from this morning.”
“I don’t mind, I’ve actually been meaning to get you alone to tell you something anyway.”
“Really? What is it?”
Harry stared out the window for a minute. Finding the words to tell them what he wanted was proving harder than he thought it would be.
“Harry, you can just say it,” Ginny said. “Whatever it is you want to say, we’ll listen.”
He was quiet for a minute longer. “Ron, Hermione, what do you know about the night Sirius died?”
This surprised all three of his friends.
“Ginny told us everything she knew,” Hermione said at last.
“Good, that’s less for me to explain. What none of you know is how I got to the Ministry or why. I’m not very clear on the first part either. All I know is that it was a portkey, I don’t know who set it up. But I do know the reason why I was sent to the Ministry. It was all for a prophecy.”
“A prophecy?” Ron repeated.
“Yeah. I had seen dreams about it before, Voldemort wanted it – badly – and he wanted me to get it for him. When I landed at the Ministry I was right next to it. Back then I didn’t know what it said and I didn’t care. I destroyed it the minute I picked it up and the Death Eaters who had been hiding confronted me. They thought I knew what it said and when I wouldn’t tell them they brought Ginny into it. I assume you know the rest after that.”
All three nodded.
“When Dumbledore brought me here, he told me what the prophecy said.”
“How could Dumbledore know?” Hermione asked.
“Prophecies have to be made to somebody. A little over sixteen years ago Professor Trelawney made a prophecy to Dumbledore, this was the one that everyone was after. ‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives’.”
They were quiet when Harry finished.
“What power do you think it meant?” Ron asked.
“Dumbledore thinks that it’s love. My mother’s love that protected me and my own ability to love others.” He met Hermione’s gaze. “Dumbledore might be right, but there’s something else the prophecy could have referred to.”
“Like what?” Ginny asked.
“So you do have it,” Ron said.
“Yes.” Harry was well aware that Hermione had thoroughly discussed her theory with Ron before confronting him about it. But she had kept her word and hadn’t told anyone the truth.
“What is empathy?” Ginny asked.
“It’s a blood gift, a special ability that some people get. My particular ability is empathy, it means I can sense the emotions of living beings and know with certainty what they feel. Everyone is different, so even if I can’t see someone, if I’ve met him or her then I’ll know where they are as long as they’re within my ability’s range, which is six kilometers. I can sense bad intentions and so I know if I’m in danger or if others are. Empathy also allows me to manipulate the emotions of others freely.”
“You can change someone’s emotions?” Ron asked, eyes wide.
“Yes, but at a risk. If I change someone’s emotions they might realize that something is wrong and I could be exposed. There are people out there who hunt those like me, if the wrong people find out what I can do then I could be in danger and potentially all of you as well. That’s why I want you to promise me that you won’t breathe a word of this to anyone Ron, Ginny.”
“Why not Hermione too?” Ginny asked.
“She already promised, back in May.”
The red heads were a little angry, but they calmed soon enough and promised not tell anyone.
“Have you ever used it on us?” Ron asked.
“I’ve used it on you Ron, to help you relax before Quidditch. Usually changing my own emotions is enough to change another’s but even if it’s not I don’t normally touch someone directly. Like I said, it’s dangerous if others find out. Aside from you Remus is the only other one who knows.”
“Wait a minute, is Tonks’ ability a blood gift? Why isn’t she hunted like you say you would be?” Ginny demanded.
“Tonks’ ability is one of the most common abilities and it’s well understood. That’s why no one hunts her.”
“That does make a lot of sense,” Hermione said.
“So… right now, you can know what everyone within six kilometers feels?” Ginny was still having a hard time understanding.
“If I wanted to, then yes. I admit that I don’t generally notice. Most of the time I only know that there are people around me, they’re emotions don’t interest me enough so the only one I would notice are ill intentions. But I do know the emotions of the people who are closest to me; I know what everyone in the Burrow feels right now.”
“This is a little hard to take in. I knew you changed a little after the tournament, but I didn’t realize…” Ginny was taking the news a little harder. “I’m sorry, I’m just a little…”
“Confused? Uncertain? It’s alright Ginny, you don’t have to say it.”
She looked at him a sighed. Then she gave a small smile and excused herself.
“Will she be alright with this?”
“She’ll be fine, it kind of takes a while to wrap your head around something like this if you don’t already suspect it.”
The three moved onto different topics, Hermione was nervous about when their O.W.L. results would be coming in and they spent some time wondering at the outcomes. Fred and George returned for dinner later on but left again shortly after. Harry wasted no time in going to bed; the day had taken a lot out of him.