Chapter 13 : Happy Birthday
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The happiness Harry felt after clearing Sirius' name lasted several days, but then his mind went back to the Prophecy. He knew he couldn't postpone telling his friends any longer. Three days before Harry's sixteenth birthday, he found himself alone with Ron, Hermione and Ginny in his and Ron's bedroom and decided that a better opportunity would not occur.
"I er –", Harry stammered. "I have to tell you guys something." The tone of his voice clearly showed that it was something serious and he immediately had their attention. "Dumbledore told me Trelawney made a Prophecy about me and Voldemort." He hesitated. Ron and Ginny were looking at him bewildered, but Hermione had an anxious look on her face. "Apparently, I'm the only one who is able to kill him. According to the Prophecy, one of us will eventually have to kill the other."
Ron and Ginny were staring at him with their mouths open. Hermione seemed less surprised. Harry wondered if she had suspected to hear something like that sooner or later. She was looking at Harry sympathetically.
"But", Ron finally said. "It can't be real right? Prophecies are balderdash. Look at Trelawney. She's a total fraud."
Hermione shifted uncomfortably and said: "Prophecies do exist, Ron. Trelawney may be a fraud , but she did made a real Prophecy once, didn't she? Remember when Pettigrew escaped?"
Ginny was looking at Harry tearfully. "Oh Harry. Are you – " She hesitated. "Are you scared?"
"I am", he answered. "I think I'd be a fool not to be. But I've thought about it quite a bit and it's like I always knew it would have to end like that. I mean, he has been after me since I was only a year old. He must've had a reason for that."
"Well", Hermione said. "We will have to train defending ourselves!"
"We?", Harry asked.
"Of course we!", Ginny said firmly.
"We're your best friends and your girlfriend, mate", Ron said. "If You-Know-Who is after you, we're going to have to be able to defend ourselves, aren't we? How are we going to help you otherwise?"
"Help – ", Harry stammered. "Help me?"
"Harry, you don't think we are going to let you face him alone, are you?", Ginny asked with a determined expression on her face. "Don't even think about being the noble prat you are and pull away from us."
Their determination to help him and fight with him meant the world to Harry, but he still felt he had to protest. "But we're talking about Voldemort. You don't know what he's capable of. He will use you to get to me, that's how he is. If you didn't care about me – "
"Well, it's too late for that, isn't it", Ginny interrupted.
"But – "
"Drop it", Ron adviced.
"You need us, Harry", Hermione said with a definitive tone. Harry realized she considered the discussion closed. They talked about the Prophecy and Voldemort and his Death Eaters until Mrs Weasley called them down for lunch.
The next few days passed quickly seeing how busy Mrs Weasley and Sirius kept them all. Grimmauld Place had been uninhabited for many years and the decay of the house was clearly visible. Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys helped to make the place liveable again. Sirius hadn't been too thrilled with her plans first, but now that his name had been cleared and he would be living here with Harry, he became much more enthusiastic. He asked Harry what he wanted to do for his birthday. Harry quickly told him that he didn't want any racket.
"Happy Birthday, mate!", Ron grinned when Harry awoke on the morning of July 31st. "You'll get your present tonight."
When they arrived in the kitchen, Harry was met by the entire Weasley family plus Hermione, Sirius and Lupin, wishing him a happy birthday. After they all finished breakfast, Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Fred and George went into the backyard of Grimmauld Place to play some three on three Quidditch. Harry, Ginny and Fred played against Ron, Hermione and George.
After lunch they all left for Diagon Alley. Their book lists had arrived a few days before and they planned to get all of their school supplies today. Fred and George had been a little disappointed none of them had been appointed captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. "It's bound to be Angelina", George said. "She has been on the team just as long as us and McGonagall is fond of her."
They used the Floo Network to travel to the Leaky Cauldron. After they had purchased all of their school supplies, Fred and George dragged them to Gambol and Japes. Harry watched the twins looking interestedly at all the joke products. "Are you still serious about beginning your own joke shop?"
"Yeah", Fred said. "We have been saving as much as we can but, well." He looked a bit ashamed. "Materials are expensive, and then we don't even have premises yet."
"But we're planning on using our last year at Hogwarts productively", George continued. "We don't really need NEWT's, so we'll have a lot of free time to do market research."
"And we will sell as much of our products to the students as we can. We'll see where it gets us", Fred said, but Harry noticed he didn't look very convinced.
"You're not by any chance looking for an investor?", Harry grinned.
Fred and George looked at him startled. "Are you serious?"
"Yeah sure", Harry said. "I have money and what better use for it than help Weasley's Wizard Wheezes to get off the ground? I'll help you to pay for premises and chip in where else you need it. Just do me one favour, finish your seventh year at Hogwarts. Your mom would kill me if she knew I pushed you out of school early."
Fred and George didn't seem too convinced. "Harry, we can't accept that." George said.
"Well, you'll have to."
"Alright", Fred said. "But we're paying you back as soon as we can."
"Every last Knut", George added.
"Whatever you say." Harry laughed. "So, I guess I am going to be an official partner in Weasley's Wizard Wheezes."
"You sure are." And Fred and George stepped forward and pulled Harry into a big sandwich hug. "We will never forget this, Harry."
"What are you so happy about?", Ron asked suspiciously as he walked from behind a shelf with nose-biting teacups.
Fred and George looked at Harry quickly who gave them a warning glance. "Nothing", George said. "Let's go, Sirius will have dinner ready soon."
They used the Floo Network in the Leaky Cauldron again and Harry was the last one to Floo back to Grimmauld Place. When he appeared into the kitchen his heart seemed to stop for a second.
The kitchen was packed with people. Harry was met by several members of the Order of the Phoenix and his classmates from Hogwarts and the members of his Quidditch team. Even Oliver Wood, who had graduated a year earlier was present.
They all sat down for dinner, that once hadn't been prepared by Mrs Weasley, but by Sirius, who was wearing a chef's cap and an apron with 'Kiss the Chef' on it. It seemed he had a wide interpretation of the phrase 'not wanting any racket'. Harry knew his godfather wanted to make sure that his first birthday in his new home was the best birthday he ever had.
After dinner, Ginny decided it was time for Harry to open his presents. Harry made his way to the giant pile that was placed on a smaller table away from the dining table. Among other things, he received a series of books on Defence Against the Dark Arts from Hermione and Ron, a bag of joke products from Fred and George, a weird brown plant from Neville and a dream catcher from Luna. When he opened Dumbledore's present, Harry gasped involuntarily. It was a Pensieve.
"I thought that might come in handy some time", Dumbledore smiled.
All the irritations Harry had felt for his headmaster about not telling him about the Prophecy vanished when he looked into his blue eyes that were twinkling cheerfully. He walked over to Dumbledore and embraced him. "Thank you", he whispered.
"You're very welcome, Harry", he answered.
Harry's classmates were watching the very friendly behaviour between Harry and their headmaster a bit surprised, but then Ginny stood up and said: "Time for my present! I'll go get it." And she ran into the hallway.
Harry looked after her a bit puzzled. Then Ginny re-entered holding a cute hazel coloured puppy with a scarlet and gold bow around his neck.
"You got me a dog?", Harry asked unbelievingly. He took the Labrador from her and started petting it.
"For your new house", Ginny beamed. "A house is not a home without a dog, isn't it?" She glanced over at her mother. She had been nagging her for a dog for nearly ten years but she never gave in. She had even nearly forbidden her from buying Harry one, but Sirius had said it was okay. "Do you like it?", she asked anxiously.
"I love it", Harry grinned broadly. He didn't want to kiss her in front of her parents but gave her a tight hug. "Thank you", he whispered in her ear.
"You can do better than that, Harry!", Seamus yelled. "Why don't you – Ow!" Hermione had slapped him on the back of his head. "What was that for?"
"Keep your big mouth shut", she hissed and she glanced over at Mr and Mrs Weasley who were looking at Seamus and Hermione, not understanding what was going on.
Sirius seemed to notice the danger and quickly said: "So what are you going to name him, Harry?"
Harry looked at the dog who was licking his hand as he petted him and said: "What about Prongs?"
Sirius smiled widely. "It's perfect."
Harry saw Fred and George looking at him with raised eyebrows and he suddenly realized he had never told the twins that he had found out the true identity of the Marauders. Sirius walked over to him and whispered: "I'll give you my present when the guests have left. I think it's better if you open it without too many spectators." Harry looked at him interrogatively, but Sirius merely winked and walked over to Remus and Tonks.
After a couple of Butterbeers and a tantrum from Mrs Weasley when she caught Fred and George drinking Firewhiskey with Mundungus in a corner of the kitchen, the party came to a close. When the guests had left, most of the inhabitants of the house started to spread out too. Soon, only Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Sirius were left in the kitchen. "So Harry", Sirius said. "Are you ready to open your present?" Harry nodded.
Sirius opened the door of the cupboard in the corner and pulled out a big rectangular package packed in brown paper. "This has been left to me by your parents", he said. "It was blocked and kept by the Ministry of Magic when I was arrested of course." He frowned and shrugged. "But after my name was cleared it was transferred to my vault at Gringotts. I didn't even know it existed until I discovered it, but well, just open it."
Harry carefully unwrapped the package and gasped when he removed the brown wrapping paper. It was a portrait, similar to the ones in Dumbledore's office at Hogwarts. But on this portrait wasn't the image of previous Hogwarts headmasters, but of Lily and James Potter, Harry's parents.
"He he, finally", James said. "We finally get out to see something different than the inside of some storage unit at the Ministry or your Gringotts vault and you wrap us up!" He looked at Sirius accusingly.
"James", Lily scoffed. "I'm sure he had his reasons. You are so – " She stopped talking abruptly when she saw Harry. Her eyes glided over his face. "Harry?"
Harry nodded, tears rolling down his face. James was staring at Harry now too. "Sirius told us everything about you", he said silently. "Everything you've done."
"We are so proud of you", Lily whispered.
Harry was feeling much like when he had seen his parents in the Mirror of Erised. Although now they were able to talk to each other, they still weren't really his parents. But it was the closest he would ever get. "I am so sorry", he said, tears still running down his cheeks. "I'm so sorry that you died because of me."
"Don't be silly, dear", Lily said. "If we gave our life for you, we haven't died in vain."
James nodded. "We would do it again if we could Harry", he said.
Harry looked at his friends. Sirius was looking at him with a compassionate expression. Hermione and Ginny had tears in their eyes too and Ron was looking very pale and uncharacteristically quiet. "Mom, Dad", he said. "This is my girlfriend, Ginny Weasley."
Ginny smiled feebly and said: "It's nice to meet you."
"And these are my best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger."
Lily smiled while James said: "You are Arthur and Molly's children! I still remember when you were born", he said to Ron. "A few months before Harry, right?"
Ron nodded and said: "Did you... do you know our parents?"
James nodded, but it was Lily that answered: "Oh yes. Great people. Arthur has helped us out of quite some sticky spots during the war. They weren't fully-fledged members of the Order of the Phoenix of course, having such a big family, and you were still all so young then. But they did play their role in the fight against Voldemort."
"And I see Molly got her wish and finally got her baby girl", James added. He looked at Harry meaningfully. "I'm sure you're not sorry about that!"
"Don't tease him, James", Lily scolded.
Harry laughed for the first time since he had seen the portrait. He was extremely grateful that Sirius had given it to him. When Ginny, Hermione and Ron had gone to bed, Harry and Sirius stayed in the kitchen talking with Lily and James. When Harry finally went to bed, it was already three in the morning.
"I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil." – J.R.R. Tolkien
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