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Chapter 2 : Tickets and Tonsils
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Tickets and Tonsils
“Daddy!” The piping voice woke Harry from his dreamless slumber. “Daddy! Birthday!”
Harry opened his eyes, peering at the small shape clinging to the end of the bed. It clambered up and bounced up and down on the blankets, laughing. Hermione stirred next to him and looked over her shoulder.
“It’s Daddy’s birthday!” sang James.
Harry laughed as he got out of bed. Picking up his son, he carried the child downstairs, where Kreature had already laid a full breakfast. Four boxes adorned the tables, cards lying next to them. No one had forgotten Harry’s birthday.
Harry was lifting James into the high chair when Hermione glided into the room. “Presents, James?” she asked.
“Presents!” James shouted.
Harry sighed. James was as excitable as an Incandifier Mix, an oatmeal-like substance that combusted when hit by particularly intense light. It could burn for hours.
“Going to open your gifts?” Hermione questioned. Harry turned to her, raising an eyebrow.
“A little impatient, aren’t we? Was there something you wanted me to find?” Hermione bit her lip and shrugged, sitting down to her breakfast. Harry sat down as well, reaching out to snag a card.
“This one’s from Valid.” He opened it and tipped it, seeing a a letter and a thicker piece of paper falling out. He unfolded the letter and swiftly read it. “He’s planning a trip, to something called Superball.”
Hermione smiled. “Did a ticket come with?”
Harry looked down. “Actually, yeah.” He held it up. “Superball…in…America?”
Hermione laughed. “He asked what you wanted for your birthday. I recommended a little mixture of old and new.”
“I see,” Harry said faintly. He decided to put his confusion off until later. He snagged a smaller box and ripped it open. “Another Weasley sweater and a box of cauldron cakes. That’ll be Mrs. Weasley, I think.”
Next came a box about the size of a hardcover. As he opened it, he found a book full of high-end brooms and advertisements for upcoming Quidditch events.
“Ron’s trying to tell me something,” Harry said. “Guess he figures it’s time for a game.”
“Maybe you should take him to the Superball,” Hermione suggested. “It would be a learning experience for all of you.”
Harry eyed her speculatively. “Why am I feeling like you planned all of this?”
Hermione giggled. “Open the rest.”
Harry grabbed the biggest box, peeking at the label. "Uh oh," he said. "This one's from Lee and George."
"Take it outside?" Hermione suggested warily. Harry could see the humor in her eyes.
"Nah, let's do it here. I'm sure it isn't too dangerous..." Even as he said it, Harry wasn't entirely convinced. He carefully peeled off the wrappings, then started to open the lid. Just as it shifted, the lid exploded, and Harry threw it onto the table in surprise.
The lid burst into flames, forming a phoenix that swooped around the kitchen, soaring gracefully over a crowing James. Even as the phoenix dissolved into glitter, the box walls fell outward, revealing a troop of dancing Cornish pixies. Harry went for his went, but they were simply dancing and singing a vaguely Gaelic tune. They waved flags that read, "VISIT US IN DIAGON ALLEY, OR ELSE!!"
After a couple of moments, the pixies stopped singing. Harry dived out of his chair as they started to lunge, but the whole mess was immediately sucked into thin air with a giant puff of smoke. Harry crawled up a table leg, peering over the edge. Every trace of the present was gone.
"Guess they want me to pick it up personally," he sighed. James stared wide-eyed at the table, seemingly uncertain as to whether he should laugh or cry.
"It's okay, James," Hermione said. She turned to Harry. "There's one more left to open."
Hary picked up a lumpy package with a card laying on it. Opening the envelope, he read the letter. "Hagrid sent me some tonsils from a Sri Lankan sun frog. He says it restores you to almost perfect condition."
"I've read about those," Hermione said excitedly. "They're really rare."
"Yeah," Harry replied. "He said he managed to get the last few. Somebody cleaned out their stock."
"Lucky," Hermione sighed. "You should use those sparingly. It doesn't matter what shape you're in, those tonsils work pure magic."
Harry looked at her, then burst out laughing. Hermione laughed with him, and James giggled in his high chair.
"So when are you going to see George?" Hermione asked finally.
"When James here finishes his food," Harry answered, giving his son a pointed look. James got the hint and immediately began to clumsily feed himself. Hermione shook her head and stood to assist the toddler.
"And after that, we'll head out for the day," Harry finished. "No one should stay home on a beautiful day. Besides, I have to talk to Reynold."
Hermione looked over at him, her gaze meaningful. "Do whatever you have to, Harry."
"I need some answers," Harry responded thoughtfully. "And he's just the person to talk to."
in the next chapter...
“Right. Wait, you've been watching him?”
Reynold nodded absently, setting aside a pair of quills before meeting Harry's eye. “He caught my attention. He's been setting off ripples in the ether. And I received the impression that he...found more than he had bargained for.”
“Meaning?” Harry asked.
“All of it.” His tone was wary, as though uncertain. “He was only looking for a clue, and he may have found the puzzle.”
Sorry this isn't my usual eloquent chapter...I had this chapter and the next all typed out, and I lost the thumbdrive. I was furius, but I'm resigned to it.
I hope you enjoyed it at least. On to the next!
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