Chapter 20: Birthday Celebrations
|Chapter 19||Chapter Index||Chapter 21|
At Harry's request, his birthday celebration was a low-key affair with friends and family. The plan included a day trip to Godric's Hollow with Ginny, Ron, and Hermione. Harry was keen on showing Ron and Hermione the property he had selected. If the weather was good, they would enjoy a picnic lunch together. Harry also asked Arthur and Molly to accompany them. But Arthur was needed at the office and Molly was meeting with committee members during the day. Molly already had a plan in works for a birthday and wedding anniversary celebration. Bill and Fleur would be joining them for supper. George invited Angelina to attend.
Hermione apparated to the Burrow and upon arrival wished Harry a happy birthday. She seated herself at the kitchen table and sipped tea while the others finished breakfast. They heard the screech of an owl through the open kitchen window. A moment later, a large grey owl alighted on the windowsill carrying a number of envelopes. Pigwidgeon, who had arrived earlier and was kipping on his perch, awoke and hooted a sleepily greeting to the grey. Ron went over to the grey, gave it an owl treat, and then took the envelopes it was carrying.
He shuffled through the envelopes. "There's one here for each of us."
"It can't be booklists," said Hermione. "We got those ages ago."
He passed an envelope to Harry, Ginny, and Hermione. "Mum, Dad, there's one for you too."
Ron sat down, opened the envelope, and read the letter.
Dear Mister Weasley,
By special invitation, your presence is requested at the Hogwarts rededication ceremony to commence on the afternoon of Sunday, August thirtieth, at two o'clock in the Great Hall. Dress is casual wizarding attire or school robes. A reception and open house of the school will immediately follow.
During the ceremony, commendations will be presented by the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, on behalf of the Wizengamot and Ministry of Magic.
As a Novum Vitae recipient, your presence will be an important part of the proceedings. Please make every effort to attend and celebrate this unique and special event.
"A rededication," said Ginny. "Harry, have you seen inside the Great Hall?"
"No. Except for that first time when we were there, it's always been closed up."
"It's been locked whenever I've gone to Hogwarts too," said Ginny.
"There was a lot of destruction," said Ron with a frown. "And it was a field hospital for a while too."
"Maybe it has something to do with the Novum Vitae elixir," said Hermione. "It's mentioned in my owl."
"Mine too," said Harry.
"Where does it mention that?" said Arthur.
Ginny showed him her letter.
"That's not in our letter," said Arthur. "But then, Molly and I didn't stay at the castle that night like the four of you."
"We'll just have to wait and see," said Hermione. "I'm going to RSVP and send it back with that school owl."
They all did the same and a short while later, the grey owl departed the Burrow for Hogwarts.
About midmorning, after packing rucksacks with a picnic lunch, the four of them traveled to Godric's Hollow. They made their way along the lane toward the monument in the town square. They slowed as they passed by the lot where the Potter cottage had once stood. Seeing only weeds and trampled down brambles in the lot, they continued without stopping. After passing a few more cottages, Hermione came to an abrupt stop in front of a gate. She turned and took a step toward the gate. Beyond the gate, an unkempt walkway led to the boarded up door of a derelict cottage. With a blank stare, she gazed up at a damaged and boarded up window. The window frame was little more than splintered wood. Harry slowly moved and stood beside her also looking up at the window.
"I can still smell her," said Hermione to Harry in a quiet voice.
"Yeah, so can I."
"Smell who?" said Ron moving next to Hermione on the other side.
She took hold of his hand and shuddered. "The stench of Bathilda Bagehot's decomposing body. We were in there last Christmas Eve."
Ron and Ginny's face contorted in disgust. Ginny moved next to Harry and linked her arm with his. "What happened?"
"We though Bathilda might have the sword," said Hermione. "But Nagini had already killed her."
"It was a trap," said Harry. "Nagini took her form and lured us in. Then Nagini summoned Voldemort."
"We came within a heartbeat of losing our lives," said Hermione. "The evil in there was putrid and horrific."
"The cottage should be burned to the ground," said Ron. "The fire will destroy any dark magic that's still in the building."
"Yes," said Ginny. "We should talk to Father O'Reilly while we're here today. It will help the two of you move on from what happened in there."
Harry and Hermione nodded still staring at the cottage. Then Harry let out a deep breath and said, "C'mon, let's get away from here."
Later, they leisurely made their way along the main street of Godric's Hollow and stepped into many of the shops. Inside a gift shop, Hermione and Ron pointed to the contents of a display case and whispered to each other. Harry and Ginny were looking at wind chimes that hung in a different corner of the shop by the window. Ron moved over to Harry and Ginny while Hermione quietly spoke with the shop clerk.
"What are those over there?" said Ron pointing toward the wall by the window and blocking the view of Hermione.
A number of circular hoops, each with dangling feathers attached, hung on the wall of the shop. Within the wooden hoop, threads were strung across like a spider web.
"They're called dream catchers," said Harry. "You hang one over your bed and it catches your bad dreams during the night. Then, when the light of morning touches it, the bad dreams disappear."
Ginny reached up and took down one of the dream catchers. Red feathers hung from its wooden frame with white and gold colored threads stretched inside the hoop. She looked at Harry. "I want to give this to you for your birthday."
He smiled. "You already gave me a birthday present."
She recalled the pleasant memory of Harry ogling her on the beach and smiled warmly. "Yes, but I think you need this too."
Ron reached up and took down a dream catcher. Red and orange feathers hung below the frame that encircled gold and blue threads. "I'm gettin' this one for Hermione. Ginny, let me have yours and I'll take them to the clerk."
Ginny handed the dream catcher to Ron and he moved away. She smiled and squeezed Harry's hand in delight. Harry smiled and they continued looking at things on the shelves. Hermione stepped up beside them a moment later.
"Talking to the clerk," said Ginny. "He'll be back in a minute."
"Harry, when Ron returns, let's go to your new property and have lunch."
"Did someone say lunch?" Ron stepped up beside them.
Hermione grinned. They all went out of the shop and casually made their way toward the end of the lane. They stepped into a secluded spot amid some trees and tall bushes. Then they all joined hands and disapparated.
They spread a blanket on the ground in the shade of the pine trees atop the rise. While eating lunch, they talked about Harry's property and its extent in each direction. Later, they walked the perimeter of the property, looking things over, and casting muggle repelling charms. When they returned to the blanket, Hermione touched each of their socks to remove the stickers they had each collected during the walk.
Ron said, "Harry, this is a really great place. I fancy something like this someday too."
"Yes, it's so peaceful and quiet here," said Hermione. She looked up into the pine trees above them. "You can hear the birds singing and the rush of the wind in the trees."
"That's the part I like," smiled Ginny. She looked at Ron. "You know that fractus folium spell Mum taught us when we were kids? I got colors when I wished for Harry to have a happy home."
"Really?" said Ron with rapt interest. "I've never seen colors, just silver. Can you do it again?"
"Yes please," said Hermione. "I've never heard of that spell."
Ginny repeatedly picked up and crushed a dry pine needle into her hand as she spoke each line of the verse. Then after making a wish, she uncovered her cupped hand and blew the fragments into the air. The fragments turned into silvery scintillating points of light. As the star-like points of light swirled around them, they changed into rainbow colors before drifting away on the breeze and fading from sight.
"That was wonderful," smiled Hermione. "I want to try it. What can I wish for?"
"Anything you want," said Ginny. "This time, I wished we'd always be a close family."
The start-like points of light were only silver when Hermione blew the pine needle fragments from her hand. When Ron tried, he also got silver points. When Harry tried, his turned to rainbow colors.
Hermione looked at Ginny. "What does the color mean?"
"It means this place is special and was touched by the end of a rainbow."
Hermione thought for a moment. Then she said, "When was the last time you and Harry each saw a rainbow?"
Harry looked at Ginny. "It was that first day we came to Godric's Hollow. Remember, we stopped to look at the village."
"Yes, it was early morning and the rain was just beginning to stop."
"Then this is the place where the rainbow ended from that point of view. You and Harry saw it together. That's why it's special to both of you."
Harry smiled. "Brilliant again Hermione."
"Reckon this is definitely the right place for your home," said Ron.
Hermione briefly glanced at Ron. Then she said, "Harry, where do you think you'll build the house?"
Harry pointed a short distance away. "Just over there on the rise."
"Any thoughts on what it might look like?"
"Something a bit like my mum and dad's cottage. But I want a deck on top so you can watch the stars. And Ginny suggested a covered porch all the way 'round so you can sit and enjoy the view."
Hermione poked the tip of her wand into the pocked of her coat. When she withdrew it, a glowing ball of light floated out after it. She pointed her wand into the air amid where they were all sitting. The glowing ball morphed into a transparent three-dimensional figure of the cottage Harry had described. It had a flat roof, bay windows, and a wraparound porch with low railing.
"What are those rooms," said Ginny.
Hermione pointed. "The kitchen is here and the dining room is in the middle. The family room is on the left, parlor on the right, and study on that side."
"Make the family room and parlor a bit longer," said Harry. "And the family room should have a fireplace."
"With a stone mantle," said Ginny.
The figure at the tip of Hermione's wand stretched longer.
"How about four circular bedrooms above each corner?" suggested Ron.
"Yeah," said Harry, "out to the edge of the roof over the porch."
Hermione smiled. Second floor rooms blossomed above the corners of the figure. Each bedroom had a wrapping bay window that faced outward from the corner of the house.
Ron said, "What kind of roof over the bedrooms?"
"Make them tall and pointed," said Harry. "Have them lean outward a bit and then curve back straight. Put a small bench and railing on the inside of the curve about halfway up, above the deck. Each bedroom closet can have a secret door so you can climb up and sit on the bench to have a look around."
Tall cone shaped shingled roofs appeared over each bedroom. They all looked at the floating figure for a moment.
Ginny said, "There should be a railing 'round the deck between the bedrooms so you can't fall."
Railings appeared. Hermione said, "Harry, will Kreacher be living with you?"
"Yeah, he can have one of the bedrooms."
"I don't think he'll agree to that," said Hermione. "He'll probably insist on a cupboard like he had at Grimmauld Place."
Defiantly he said, "Well, he isn't going to live like that in my house."
Ginny pointed. "What if you made two rooms below the kitchen, one for Kreacher and the other for storage?"
"A basement room?" Harry thought. "But he won't get any natural light or a view."
Ron said, "How 'bout you put the house on one side of the rise? Then the basement would have walls for windows."
"That's brilliant Ron," said Harry.
For a long while, they looked at the transparent floating figure of the house adding and changing things. Interior curved stairs up to each bedroom, exterior doors, walkways, window boxes, flowerbeds, and a garage for a car. They added the oak tree to the floating figure with a swing hanging from one of its branches. The more they talked and tinkered with the figure, the more it began to look like a warm and inviting home.
"It looks great," said Harry in a satisfied tone. He looked at Ginny. "What do you think?"
"It's lovely. A wonderful house to make into a home."
"Yeah," smiled Harry. "Thanks, all of you, for your ideas." He gazed raptly at the floating figure for a moment. "Hermione, can I keep it? I want to remember how the house looks."
Hermione smiled warmly. "Of course Harry."
She looked at Ron and he took out a small box from his pocket. Out of Harry's view, she removed something from her pocket and placed it in the box. Then Ron held the box out in front of him and took out his wand. Hermione looked intently at the floating figure and it collapsed into a glowing ball of light. It followed the tip of her wand and descended from view into the box held by Ron. There was a brief flash and then she removed the tip of her wand from the box. Ron touched the box with his wand. A lid, held in place with ribbons and a bow, appeared on the top of the box.
"It's our birthday present for you," said Hermione with a smile. "Happy birthday Harry."
"Happy birthday mate," said Ron as he handed him the box.
Harry grinned and took the box from Ron. Ginny moved next to Harry and watched as he untied the bow and opened the box. After a glance inside, he carefully lifted out a glass dome with attached wooden base. Inside the clear dome was a miniature of the house that had floated between them. The house appeared solid and a warm glow was visible inside each of its windows. It was exquisitely detailed and lifelike. The flowerbeds, oak tree with swing, and pine trees on the north side were there too. Sounds of laughter were heard from within the house and the tree branches swayed gently in a quiet rush of wind. Birds flitted about between the house and trees.
Eagerly Ron said, "Touch the top of the globe."
When he touched the globe, snow began falling inside.
"This is great! Thank you." Harry delightedly turned the globe in his hand looking at the house from different sides. Ginny took hold of Harry's arm and leaned in close.
Hermione and Ron looked at each other and smiled.
Harry spent the remainder of his birthday afternoon in the warm shade of the pine trees quietly talking with his best friends. That evening at the Burrow, they joined Bill, Fleur, George, and Angelina for a special supper with Molly and Arthur. The meal culminated with birthday and anniversary cakes, ice cream, and champagne. Later, the boisterous sounds of laughter and merriment filled the parlor when joke shop gifts, brought by George and Angelina, were opened by Bill, Fleur, and Harry.
About a week later, an owl arrived at the Burrow for Harry. The message was from Ben Ollerton and asked if he would stop by for a visit at his earliest convenience. The next day after Auror lessons, Harry apparated to the Cleansweep factory and met with Ben.
"Hello Harry," said Ben with a smile. "I'm pleased to say the broom is ready. Right this way." They began walking down a corridor.
"How did you get on with broom certification?" said Harry.
"Better than I expected, only one minor issue with the finish on the bristle band." Ben rolled his eyes. "They said the polished surface would unfairly reflect the sun toward other players. We had to matte the finish a bit. Fortunately, the change didn't affect the flight performance envelope."
"Good that it didn't cause you too much trouble."
"Full production is now underway. We'll have them available when Quidditch season starts. We're running the first advertisement in the upcoming issue of Quintessential Quidditch magazine."
Harry and Ben turned a corner and stepped into a restricted area of the factory.
A broom shaped package wrapped tightly in brown paper lie on the table before them.
"Can I see it?" said Harry.
"I can show it to you but Ginevra must be the first to actually touch it. We've applied a flesh memory jinx to the broom, something new we're trying with the Imperial. We hope it serves as an effective theft deterrent."
"What will happen if someone else tries to use the broom?"
"It won't do more than hover and the rider will experience, shall we say, an unpleasant sensation when they mount it."
Harry smiled. But an instant later, he was disappointed. "So she'll be the only one who can ever use the broom?"
Ben smiled. "She can hand the broom to someone and the dragon eye color will turn green. Both touching the broom handle at the same time is the key."
Harry nodded with a satisfied expression. It would be a long time before anyone other than Ginny rode the broom. But he felt certain she'd let him give it a go one day.
Ben tapped the wrappings with his wand and they fell away. Then guided by his wand, the broom rose up and floated in the air. It looked magnificent and he could see his reflection in the highly polished surface of the handle. A particular scent filled the air and it reminded Harry of something new and fresh. The ivory colored bristles were in perfect order. The eyes of the attacking dragons on each footrest glimmered with an ominous flame-like red.
Ben pointed to the bristle band with his wand. Amid the engraved runes and delicate scrollwork, Ginevra Weasley, monogrammed in bold script lettering, stood out prominently. Beneath her name were the words: Cleansweep Imperial, Number 1 .
"It's perfect," said Harry. "She's gonna to love it. Thank you so very much."
"Can I interest you in production broom number two? I'll make you a special offer, a good customer discount, one hundred and fifty galleons."
Harry looked long and hard at the broom floating before him.
"I'd really like one ... but I want this broom to be special just for Ginny. I want her to have the enjoyment of being center of attention and have the best chance at becoming a Pro someday."
Ben nodded and thought for a moment. "How would it be if I stored the second broom here at the factory? You could call for it at any time. If she does become a Pro team player, having a spare broom is an important consideration."
He slowly smiled as a memory from third year came to mind. The Whomping Willow had smashed his Nimbus 2000 during the match with Hufflepuff. Ron had looked utterly distraught as he carried the many broken broom pieces to him. That was something he did not want to see on Ginny's face.
"You make a good point Ben." He extended his hand, "It's a deal."
Ben smiled warmly and shook Harry's hand. Then, Ben flicked his wand and the broom descended onto the table. He touched the wrappings and they once again completely encircled the broom. But now the wrappings were festive, colorful, and contained the words: Happy Birthday. A red bow that glinted and glittered in the light, held the wrappings closed.
"Not our usual packaging," said Ben. "It was Buffie's idea."
Harry reached out and took hold of the broom. "It's brilliant. Umm... can it be put inside a magically extended box so it doesn't look like a broom until she opens it?"
"Yes, I think so. Let's go talk with Buffie about it."
Some days later, the door of Ron's room quietly opened a small amount. The dim light of dawn filtering in through the window showed that Harry and Ron were still asleep. A large colorful feather floated into the room and hovered over Harry's face. The feather lightly brushed his cheek and then backed away. Harry's hand groggily brushed at his face and then he turned on his side. The feather brushed him again and his hand lightly smacked his cheek. There was a quiet giggle from behind the door. Slowly, a smile came to Harry's face and he reached for his glasses.
She was dressed in pajamas and bathrobe. Looking at her smiling face and beaming eyes through the partially open door, he quietly said, "Happy birthday."
Her index finger touched her lips. Harry watched as the feather transformed into a small bugle and floated toward Ron. The horn stopped a short distance above Ron and pointed at him. Then, the bugle began to play a military reveille and Ron's eyes snapped open. Ron's hand swung at the horn a few times which dodged out of reach and continued to play. Ron sneered at the door, rolled over onto his stomach, and pulled the pillow over his head. The reveille finished playing and the bugle dissolved into thin air. Harry and Ginny laughed.
The pillow over Ron's head rose up a little. "Great, you can do magic now," said a groggy voice. "Now go away and let me sleep."
Harry grinned. He got up, pulled on a robe over his pajamas and followed Ginny down to the kitchen.
"Good morning," said Ginny in a bubbly voice. Then as he watched, she eagerly pointed her wand around the kitchen. Bowls, milk, breakfast cereal, cups, and tea floated out of cupboards toward the kitchen table. A drawer slid open and spoons floated out. The teakettle began to whistle and it floated to its place on the table.
"Well done," smiled Harry. Ginny beamed in delight.
They sat down at the table. With a flick of her wand, the box floated up and poured cereal into each bowl. Then with another flick, milk poured in. With a few more flicks of her wand, tea settled into each cup and hot water poured in from the kettle.
"This is so much fun," said Ginny as she picked up her spoon.
Harry grinned. "Spot of milk in my tea please?"
She raised her eyebrows and smiled at him. Then, with a flick of her wand, a splash of milk poured from the container into his tea.
A short while later, Arthur came into the kitchen. "Happy coming of age birthday Ginny," said Arthur as he leaned down and hugged her around the shoulders.
"Thanks Dad," said Ginny with a smile.
"Any plans for your big day?" said Arthur.
"I want to start with the apparition test. When does the Department of Magical Transportation open up in the morning?"
Arthur sat down at the table and smiled. "Nine o'clock. When I get to work, I'll send Percy an inter-department memo telling him to expect you."
Ginny picked up her wand. "Dad, what do you fancy for breakfast?"
"What you and Harry are having looks good to me."
With a few flicks of her wand, a bowl, teacup, and spoon settled in front of Arthur on the table. The bowl filled with cereal and milk. Tea and hot water filled Arthur's teacup.
"Happy birthday Ginny dear," said Molly as she stepped into the kitchen and hugged Ginny. "My baby witch has grown up so fast. We're so very proud of you."
A moment later, George came into the kitchen dressed for work. "Happy birthday sis."
"Thanks. What do you want for breakfast?"
With a wink at Harry, George sat down at the table. "Hmm ... I'm in a hurry so ... I fancy two muffins, lightly toasted with jam and tea. Think you can handle that?"
She stared menacingly at George and then pulled back the robe sleeve on each arm. "Let's see."
She flicked her wand and two muffins sailed from the breadbox to a toaster. After another flick, a cup with tea landed in front of George and filled with hot water from the kettle. George took out his pocket watch and briefly glanced at it. With another flick of her wand, a jar of jam sailed from the cupboard and alighted on the table in front of George. Another flick and the muffins popped high out of the toaster and landed on the plate beside the jam. The lid on the jar unscrewed and a small knife spread jam on each muffin. Harry, Molly, and Arthur applauded.
"Not bad," said George nonchalantly glancing at his watch and then tucking it away in his vest pocket. "I'm sure your promptness will get better with practice."
Ginny twisted her wand and the knife dipped itself again into the jar. Then it flicked and a bit of jam hit George on the cheek. Everyone laughed.
"You asked for it," said Ginny with a smile.
George grinned, wiped the jam from his cheek and then licked his finger. "Excellent aim, I take some credit for that." He took a bite of muffin and after a few chews nodded, "Well done."
Ginny smiled warmly. "Can I get you anything Mum?"
"Just some tea."
As the hot water poured into Molly's teacup, Ron stepped into the kitchen and then sat down at the table.
"Waitress Ginny is serving breakfast this morning," said George to Ron. "Be ready to duck if you want jam."
Ginny scowled at George.
"Then I'll go with just cereal and tea," said Ron cautiously. "That bugle this morning was more than enough."
George snickered. "She's just getting even with you."
"Mum," said Ginny. "After my apparition test, can we go to Diagon Alley? I want to personally thank Quality Quidditch Supplies for their Hogwarts donation."
"Yes. We can also get your school robes and books while we're there. Ron, do you have the list of things you'll need for school this year?"
"Hermione and I went to Diagon Alley the day she got the owl from McGonagall. I've already got everything I need."
"My goodness," exclaimed Molly. "How did you pay for it?"
"With money from selling my products at the joke shop."
"Some of them are doing rather well," said George. "Speaking of which, I must be off to work." George stood and looked at Ginny. "I'll bring some party favors to your celebration this afternoon."
"Thanks," said Ginny with a grin. "See you later."
George bid everyone good day and then stepped into the green flames of the fireplace.
Later after breakfast, Ron looked at Harry and said, "Are you going in for Auror lessons?"
"I'm going with Ginny to watch her apparition test. I'll be in after that."
Arthur and Ron bid everyone goodbye, stepped out the kitchen door, and disapparated for the Ministry. Ginny flicked her wand. The breakfast dishes floated to the kitchen sink and began to wash themselves.
"I'll finish that for you dear," said Molly. "You two go and get ready."
Ginny stood at a small opening in a long counter with shoulder high panels. "Always make use the three D's whenever you apparate," said Twycross in a droning tone. "Destination, determination, and deliberation. They will help ensure you have safe transport and minimize your chance of splinching. Though I daresay, your test performance here today indicates you have mastered them quite well."
As Harry and Molly watched from a short distance behind Ginny, Twycross slid a small card toward her. "Please sign your name on the line."
After Ginny signed, Twycross drew the card back toward him and pulled open a drawer. She saw the drawer contained many neatly arranged rubber stamps each with a wooden handle. He lifted out one of the stamps and lightly tapped it on an inkpad while studying the card. Then placing the card onto the countertop, he hit it very hard with the stamp. The loud bang caused the other workers to jump and look at Twycross with a grimace. Ginny quickly covered a giggle with her hand. Twycross looked briefly at the official stamp now on the card. Then he fanned the card in the air a few times to dry the ink.
"Should a splinch occur, see the instructions on the back of this card. Please schedule an appointment with this department should you desire any additional training. We recommend attendance at a three D's refresher course every three years."
After one more glance, he placed the card on the counter and then slid it toward her. "Congratulations Miss Weasley. You are officially licensed and approved for self-apparition."
Ginny grinned and picked up the card. "Thank you so very much."
Twycross gave her a small nod. Ginny turned and walked over to where Harry and Molly were waiting. Raising her two fisted hands, she pulled them down smartly. "Yes!"
"Congratulations Ginny," said Harry as he gave her a hug.
"I'm so happy for you," said Molly giving her a long and strong hug. "Please be careful."
"I will Mum."
"I have to go to Auror lessons now. You two have a good time in Diagon Alley. I'll see you later at the Burrow."
"Thanks for being here," said Ginny as she gave him a hug.
He stepped away. She turned to Molly. "Ready for some shopping?"
It was about mid-afternoon at the Burrow. A bird lazily circled over the woods on the far side of the meadow. Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat at the backyard picnic table in the shaded of a large tree. Having completed the preparations for Ginny's birthday celebration, they quietly talked while waiting for guests to arrive. Colorful streamers all around the backyard fluttered in the warm afternoon breeze. A smaller nearby table, with cooling and insect repelling charms cast by Hermione, held sandwiches, snacks, and drinks.
With the sound of a gentle pop, Neville and Hannah apparated hand in hand into the backyard. Neville carried some brooms under his arm and they walked toward the picnic table.
"Hi Neville, hi Hannah," said Hermione.
"Hi Hermione, Ron, Harry." said Hannah.
"Hi guys," said Neville. "Ginny mentioned friendly Quidditch so I brought along a few brooms from Hogwarts."
"I'll put them by the broom shed," said Ron taking the brooms from Neville. "Are these the new brooms Ginny got for Hogwarts?"
Neville grinned. "No way. She's probably got those brooms locked away with a Fidelius charm."
There was the sound of a pop and Ginny apparated a short distance away carrying some packages. A brief moment later, another pop announced the arrival of Molly.
"I'll take things inside," said Molly taking the packages Ginny was carrying. "You go and greet your friends."
Molly hurried off toward the kitchen door.
"Hello everyone," said Ginny brightly. She gave each of them a hug. "I'm so happy you are here."
"Happy birthday," said Neville. "I see you're licensed to apparate. Well done."
As they were talking and catching up with each other, they heard the distant sound of a bicycle bell. The sound grew louder with each ring. Hannah pointed into the air between two trees and they all looked. A flying bicycle was drawing near. As it began to descend, they recognized Luna pedaling slowly, ringing the bell, and waving to them. She wore a dress, black and white banded stockings, and red shoes.
"Hello everyone," said Luna in a high floating voice as she came to a stop. "This is such a lovely way to travel." Then with a thoughtful gaze said, "Though it might not do so well in a strong wind."
Harry and Hermione exchanged a bemused glance at each other.
"Hi Luna," beamed Ginny. "I'm so happy you came. Is your house mended?"
"Daddy and I are still working on things but we can live in it again." She put her hand on the picnic basket attached behind the seat of the bicycle. "Daddy is also printing the Quibbler again. I have copies if anybody wants one. There's a really good article in this issue called Canny Canine Care."
Neville pointed to the basket on the handlebars of the bike. "That plant looks like a dirigible plum."
"Yes, I grew it from a seed. They are very therapeutic and help you accept the extraordinary. It's my present for Ginny."
"Thank you," said Ginny with a smile. "That was very kind and thoughtful of you."
They all talked and got things to eat and drink. Over the next half hour, Arthur, Bill and Fleur, Percy and Audrey, and Dan and Emma arrived. George, Angelina, and Lee arrived with party favors from the joke shop. Ginny was most surprised when the sound of a whoosh announced the arrival of Charlie a short distance away. She ran to greet him.
"You came all the way from Romania?" exclaimed Ginny as she firmly hugged her brother.
"I didn't want to miss your coming of age celebration," said Charlie. Then he greeted everyone seated at the picnic table. Molly, Arthur, and the others came out of the kitchen to greet Charlie.
Charlie looked at Ginny. "I reckoned you'd all be flying on brooms in the meadow by now."
"I was just about to suggest that," said Ginny. She turned to the others. "Anyone interested?"
Harry said, "Yeah. But before we do, you need to open this." He held a colorful four-inch square box in his hand tied with red bow. The ribbons were glinting and glittering in the light.
She smiled, took the box, and read aloud the attached tag. "Happy Birthday, from Harry." She tugged at a loose end of the ribbon. The bow untied and the top of the box floated off.
She looked inside and exclaimed, "Yes!" Then, with a big grin, her hand went inside the box, took hold of the broom handle, and withdrew it from the box. She felt a gentle vibration from the broom in her hand and there were ooo's and ahh's from everyone. She gazed at it intently and smiled when she saw her name engraved on the bristle band.
"Harry, it's magnificent!" exclaimed Ginny. She gave him a big hug and kiss on the cheek. "Thank you so much!"
Harry smiled. "Ben said to read the tag before you ride it."
A small red tag, loosely attached with a string around the broom handle, twisted in the breeze. She took hold of the tag and read it aloud. "One, anti-theft jinx active. Two, use footrests. Three, hang on tight!"
"Give it a go," said Ron enthusiastically.
Unsure, she looked at Harry. "A bit like the new school brooms?"
Harry grinned. "Definitely better but I don't know by how much. It's the first one and you're the first to ride it."
"You can handle it sis," said George encouragingly. "Give it a go."
Ginny touched her hair with the tip of her wand. It bundled itself into a bun behind her head. Then as everyone watched intently, she took a few steps toward the meadow. She swung her leg over the broom, gripped the handle with both hands, and then gently kicked off.
Like an arrow, Ginny and the broom shot skyward leaving behind a cloud of dust. "Yeeaaahh!" exclaimed Ginny loudly. Now with a very tight grip on the broom handle, her feet quickly found the footrests. The wind roared in her ears and the sound of cheers quickly faded away. She passed over the oak tree and flew out across the meadow toward the woods. Leveling off, she cautiously made a few small turns. The broom seemed to know what she wanted it to do. With a shallow bank to the left, she made a large sweeping turn. The ride was smooth, solid, and the broom responded immediately to her every nuance of control. Delightedly, she lay low on the broom and urged it to fly faster. She rocketed ahead and the sound of the wind became a monstrous thunder.
"Whoa!" exclaimed Ron as a hundred feet above, Ginny flew past them in a blur. "That's a Pro level broom."
Harry said, "Ben at Cleansweep showed it to me when I was picking up their broom donation for Hogwarts."
"How fast is it?" said Bill.
"Dunno. But Ben said it will outperform a Firebolt."
"Wicked," said Ron. "Think maybe she'll let us have a go on it?"
"Not likely," smiled Charlie.
"The broom's got a flesh memory anti-theft jinx," said Harry. "Don't sit on it unless she hands it to you."
Ginny slowed and made a large sweeping circle to the right above the trees. She caught sight of a red-tailed hawk ahead of her. She slowed to a hover as the bird circled closer. The hawk arched its wings, caught an updraft, and became almost motionless a short distance in front of her. As she watched, the hawk did a full roll to the right and then looked at her.
A memory came to mind, clear as if it had happened only yesterday. A broom roll was the first maneuver she had learned from him. At the time, it scared her to try but he had talked her through it. But much more than the flying lesson that day, she had learned of his true brotherly care for her. Tears welled up in her eyes and trickled down her cheeks.
"Thanks for coming to the party," said Ginny in a quiet voice. Then smiling through her tears, she did a full roll to the right on the broom.
The hawk flapped its wings, turned, and flew toward the Burrow. Taking a deep calming breath, she wiped her eyes and followed. Slowing to a hover, above the tree shading the picnic table, she saw that everyone was watching and pointing at the hawk. The hawk circled once above the Burrow and then alighted on the highest chimney.
Ginny called out. "All family members present and accounted for."
They all turned and smiled up at her. She said, "Let the fun begin."
Harry, Neville, and Bill and Fleur moved toward the broom shed. A moment later, Ron followed with Hermione in tow.
|Chapter 19||Chapter Index||Chapter 21|
This is an original fan fiction story based on the seven book series 'Harry Potter' written by J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter, the characters, names and related characters are trademarks of Warner Bros., Inc. Harry Potter publishing rights © J.K.R. This is an unofficial, not for profit site and is in no way connected with J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing or Warner Bros., Inc. This site is not endorsed by any of these aforementioned parties. Rights to characters and their images is neither claimed nor implied. This fan fiction story is owned by the author and subject to copyright law under transformative use.
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Last Updated: 11/10/17