Categories > Books > Harry Potter > The Darkest Hour

A Very Harry Birthday

by Ham 1 Reviews

Sixth Year!PostOOtp Its Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts and he has to make some hard decisions in order to survive. But will these decisions help him or make him weaker? Martial arts, dueling, anima...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Dumbledore, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, Neville, Ron, Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [V] - Published: 2007/04/14 - Updated: 2007/04/14 - 10341 words

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Title: The Darkest Hour (09)

Author name: Ham

Summary: Harry is back in Privet Drive just a few days after the happenings in the Department of Mysteries. He is struggling to cope with his loss and the immense burden placed on him. He suddenly finds it very hard to go on - To find a reason to live. Will his task break his spirit? After all, he is just a sixteen year old...

He knows that he must fight. Knows that he has to win at all costs. But he knows that if he even is to have a slim chance of defeating Voldemort, he will need to make some hard decisions. Decisions that would hurt him and those close to him.

But will Harry be able to take the hard road back when he finally realizes that his decisions only made him weaker? That they took away his only reason to live. His only reason to fight.

DISCLAIMER: Ok, I'm not making any money out of this and J.K. owns it all. The only thing I'm getting is a lot of fun and reviews. But the latter are few and far between (Hint, hint)

Sharon you are a sweetie. A thousand blessings upon your head.

This is a very special chapter for me and so I'll dedicate it to a very special person - My friend and second beta - Rachael (Rdprice 29)




~~~*~

A Very Harry Birthday

~~~*~



Harry landed gently in Dumbledore's office.

A month of practice using the Portkey had made him familiar with traveling by this method, and he had learnt to keep his balance while landing.

He looked around the office and saw that Dumbledore was not in and he sat down in a chair to wait for the Headmaster to return. For the lack of anything better to do, he started to look around the room, at the old and musty tomes, that probably held knowledge of immensely powerful and little known magic in them, the various magical objects, the portraits of the former Headmasters, and finally Dumbledore's Phoenix companion. Fawkes was looking right at him through his intelligent, black eyes.

"Hello," Harry said with a smile. "Did I ever tell you how beautiful you are?"

Fawkes trilled and flew down from his perch onto Harry's shoulder, where he nibbled at his ear and crooned lovingly.

Harry laughed delightedly and stroked Fawkes' velvety soft, scarlet and gold plumage.

"I don't suppose you know where Prof. Dumbledore is, do you?" Harry asked finally.

Fawkes cocked his head and then he suddenly flew up and hovered over Harry, looking down at him and nudging with his head.

Harry wondered what Fawkes was trying to say to him. "Um... what are you saying? You want me to follow you? Is that it?" Harry asked softly.

Fawkes chirped as if to say 'yes' and flew towards the door. Harry got up and quickly followed the swiftly moving Phoenix.

He wondered where Fawkes was taking him as he followed him through Hogwarts' corridors and down the stairways. Had Dumbledore told Fawkes to bring him to wherever he was? Or was Fawkes leading him of his own volition?

He realized that Fawkes was taking him down in the general direction of the Great Hall and guessed that's where Dumbledore most probably was.

He was right in his assumption, since Fawkes stopped before the large doors leading into the Great Hall and waited for Harry to catch up.

"Is he in there, Fawkes?" Harry asked, stopping before the hovering Phoenix.

Fawkes chirped affirmatively.

"Ok, thank you," Harry said, as he pushed open the door of the Great Hall slightly.

As he pushed open the door, he thought he heard the sound of a large group of people talking excitedly. This abruptly stopped with the creak of the door opening.

Harry tensed up.

What was going on? For a moment he thought that Voldemort had attacked Hogwarts. But he rejected the thought almost immediately. Voldemort would not attack now as the whole castle it was practically empty, and there was nothing to be gained by attacking an empty school. Secondly, Dumbledore was in the school, and as long as he was there Voldemort wouldn't dare attack Hogwarts.

Harry chanced a glance at Fawkes, who trilled soothingly, and flew into the hall through the small gap in the open door. He waited a second and waited to hear if there would be any more sound. There wasn't. The silence from inside the hall was complete.

He gulped and wondered what to do. Moody would roast him over a pit if he walked into an ambush. But then again, Fawkes had flown in, and he would never lead Harry into danger, would he?

'You are losing it, Potter. Too much time spent around Moody.' Harry told himself firmly.

Holding his wand tightly, he opened the door a little wider, and stepped into the Great Hall.

He was nearly blown off his feet by the sound.

"SURPRISE!!!!!"

Harry lowered his wand and gawped at the crowd gathered before him. It seemed everybody he knew was there. The Weasleys, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Dumbledore, Moony, Hagrid, Fleur Delacour, McGonagall, Flitwick, Mundungus, Mad Eye, Tonks, Kingsley, what seemed like all the members of the DA, Angelina, Alicia, Katie, Oliver Wood, Lee Jordan, and quite a few Aurors who he remembered meeting at the Auror Headquarters, and a few other people besides that.

He looked around the hall in amazement. It was decorated beautifully. Streamers were hanging around from every wall. But these were magical streamers and they changed colour every five seconds. Magical confetti was falling to the floor from the ceiling and it disappeared as soon as it touched the floor. Brightly coloured balloons hung from the corners of the room and the wall before him was covered by an enormous red banner which had 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRY' written in large gold letters on it.

The overall effect left Harry totally speechless. He hadn't even remembered it was his birthday, and never in his wildest dreams had he ever thought that he would be thrown a party, let alone one of this scale.

As Harry was gawping at the Hall and the decorations, nearly everybody was gawping at him. He was dressed casually in form fitting, dark blue jeans and a white polo necked t-shirt that clung to him like a second skin. Over it he had worn his black leather jacket.

A month of vigorous exercising and proper food had done wonders for Harry's physique. He was no longer skinny and had filled out quite a bit. While he wasn't exactly muscular, his body had acquired the firm, toned look of an athlete. His eyes without his glasses were large and exceptionally striking, especially when matched with his colouring and messy, jet black hair.

Ginny Weasley stared at Harry. What had happened to him? He was so different from the small, skinny, boy she remembered from just a month ago. Where was the boy who dressed in shabby clothes that were four sizes too large for him and wore battered round glasses?

The boy standing before her was no longer skinny and had filled out quite a lot. His shoulders had broadened and he was noticeably taller. He looked like he had been literally poured into his jeans and his shirt fit him like a glove, emphasizing his slim, wiry build. She noticed his glasses were gone and his large, gorgeous green eyes, that she had fallen in love with at first sight, stood out against the pale skin of his face.

If she had thought he was good looking before, he was nearly jaw droppingly gorgeous now.

She suddenly realized that she was staring at him, and as she looked around she realized that she wasn't the only one. Nearly every girl in the place was gazing at him speechlessly.

Harry was still unaware of the people staring at him as he walked around looking at the decorations with a baffled, awe filled look. His movements were smooth and graceful and held a coiled energy that was barely contained. It was almost like watching a wild predator stalk his prey.

He was understandably surprised, therefore, he found himself nearly knocked off his feet by somebody hurling themself at him. A second later his vision was blocked by a lot of bushy brown hair and he felt as if his very life was being squeezed out of him.

"Oooh! It's wonderful to see you again, Harry," Hermione squealed. "Happy birthday."

"Let him breathe, Hermione," Ron said, grinning as he came up from behind them.

Hermione finally released him and Ron slapped him on his back. "Happy birthday, mate."

Harry grinned. "Thanks, I had totally forgotten. Merlin! You guys really did all of this for me?"

"Well, unless you know of any other Harry whose birthday it is today... Seriously Harry! Obviously it is for you," Hermione sniffed.

He was abruptly pulled into another tight hug as Molly Weasley reached him. "Happy birthday, dear," she said kissing him gently on his forehead.

"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley," Harry said with a shy smile.

Harry was released from her grip and found himself shaking hands with Charlie and Bill, both of whom wished him a happy birthday.

A few flakes of confetti fell on Harry's head and he shook his head to clear it, looking up bemusedly at the ceiling to watch it falling down. It looked like multicoloured flakes of snow and was very beautiful.

When he looked down he noticed Ginny standing before him. She was dressed in a short, white cotton summer dress which had a lovely print of sunflowers on it. The dress barely reached to her knees and Harry found his gaze moving downwards to stare at the long expanse of smooth, pale skin that was exposed. Her long, waist length, fiery red hair was loose and fell down her back, a few strands falling across her face.

She smiled and moved closer to him.

Harry smiled back and was raising his hand to shake hers when she suddenly moved forward and put her arms around his waist, pulling him into a gentle hug.

He was surprised, and for a moment stood frozen, before his hands snaked around her and held her close to him.

Ginny felt his arms slide around her waist and she hugged him a bit tighter, burying her face in his neck for a moment. She caught the smell of his cologne and it was mixed with the smell of his leather jacket and the inherent smell of Harry himself. It was a heady mix and she suddenly wanted nothing more than to drag him away from the crowd into an abandoned closet and snog him senseless.

It seemed that Harry too had forgotten himself as he held the small, pretty redhead tightly in his arms.

They were interrupted by twin voices from beside them, and Harry immediately released her to look at Fred and George, who were dressed flashily in florescent yellow and lime green robes. With that they wore multicoloured party hats which were set at a jaunty angle on their heads.

"Happy birthday," Fred yelled.

"Oh, partner of ours," George finished.

At that moment, Ginny could have cheerfully killed both of them for interrupting them, but instead she quickly reached up and gently pressed her lips to Harry's cheek. "Happy Birthday, Harry," she whispered before quickly moving away.

Harry stared at her retreating figure and was interrupted by Fred's voice:

"Hmm... Mum and Ginny both... do you think it's a custom?"

"Must be," George said.

"Well, who are we to break custom?" Fred sighed dramatically.

"Right you are," George agreed.

Suddenly Harry felt himself being hugged tightly by the twins and before he realized what was happening they had reached over and given him loud smacks on his cheeks.

"Happy Birthday, Ickle Harrikins," the twins said loudly, evil grins plastered on their faces.

Harry pushed them away, a revolted look on his face as he wiped his face on the sleeve of his shirt.

"Don't. Ever. Do. That." Harry snarled.

"Now, now, Harry, that's not what you said to Ginny and Mum," George said in a hurt tone.

"Yeah, why the double standards?" Fred grinned.

Harry glared at them.

"Fred, George, pick on someone else today. It's Harry's birthday," Arthur Weasley said with a smile as he shook Harry's hand and wished him a happy birthday.

Harry suddenly found himself being pulled into a little corner by Ron and Hermione. Ginny quickly joined them, followed by Neville and Luna.

"Happy birthday, Harry," Neville said with a broad smile.

"You too, Neville. Or should I say happy belated birthday?" Harry said warmly.

"Belated. My birthday was yesterday. But how did you know?" Neville asked curiously.

Harry nearly bit his tongue off at his slip. "I think you had told us a few years back."

"Oh, ok," Neville said with a frown, accepting Harry's explanation.

"Happy birthday, Harry," Luna said, touching his arm briefly to get his attention.

"Oh, Hello Luna. How was your holiday in Sweden? Did you see any Crumple Horned Snorkacks?"

"You can't see them, Harry. They turn themselves invisible to the human eye. But we did see the tracks of a herd of them. Their footprints are very similar to those of a wolf," Luna said serenely.

Harry wanted to say that it could have been possible that they did see the footprints of a pack of wolves but didn't want to offend Luna.

"Oh, right. Good for you then," he mumbled.

"So, Potter, you have a lot to tell us. It seems that you have been very busy and we want all the little details of your activities," Hermione said eagerly.

Harry grinned. "Its really driving you up the wall that you don't know, isn't it?"

Hermione glared at him.

"Well, nothing really special... just this and that," Harry said offhandedly.

"Harry Potter, you have no idea how close you are to getting hexed," Hermione warned.

"Oh, all right! I have joined classes to learn Aikido and Taekwondo, both of them are a form of Martial Arts," Harry explained.

"We already know about that,/" Ron said impatiently. "What /else have you been up to?"

"Right," Harry said thoughtfully. "Dumbledore has been teaching me Occlumency and I have been getting a few extra lessons from McGonagall and Flitwick."

"What kind of lessons?" Hermione asked eagerly.

"Well, McGonagall is just getting me up to date on transfiguration before she starts teaching me conjuration. Flitwick is teaching me shielding charms and we're working on hexes and curses."

"Oooh! That's wonderful Harry. I'm so jealous," Hermione squeaked.

"You wouldn't find it so wonderful if you had to write three feet essays on each topic for her. Oh wait! Who am I kidding? You would probably think it was some sort of a treat," Harry said wryly.

Hermione punched him on his arm. "Harry Potter, you are going to regret saying that."

"What I want to know," Ginny said quietly. "Is what you were doing in the Ministry?"

Harry looked at her. "I... I'm getting a little bit of training in dueling from the Aurors," he said awkwardly.

There was silence as these words were digested.

"Why weren't we allowed to train with you, Harry?" Ron asked quietly.

"Look, there's no need for any of you to learn Occlumency, and whatever I learn, I'll probably teach you guys anyway," Harry said slowly.

Ron looked like he wanted to say something more but was interrupted as Arthur Weasley walked up to them.

"Molly and I would like a word with you if you don't mind, Harry," he said with a smile.

"Right now?" Harry asked.

"Now would be as good a time as any. Besides, it will only take a minute," Mr. Weasley nodded.

"All right, then," Harry said as he followed Mr. Weasley to a side room, which he recognized as the same one where the Triwizard champions had waited after the Goblet had chosen them.


~~~*~


Molly Weasley was already waiting inside and she looked up as Harry and Mr. Weasley entered.

Harry had quite a good idea of what Mr. and Mrs. Weasley wanted to talk to him about and he was really dreading the conversation.

"Harry, dear," Mrs. Weasley started uncertainly.

"It's about the money, isn't it?" Harry asked cutting her off. He felt there was no point beating around the bush and it would be best if he was brutally honest.

"Yes, Harry, you know that we cannot possibly accept it," Mr. Weasley said sternly.

"Why? Just why can't you accept it?" Harry asked calmly.

"Harry, it's too big an amount. Besides, we really don't need it dear," Mrs. Weasley said softly. "We couldn't take such a large gift from you."

Harry looked at her. "Mrs. Weasley, when you said last year that you considered me as your son, did you really mean it?"

"Of course we meant it, dear," Molly Weasley said tenderly.

"If that's true, then I am your son. Then why are you so hesitant to accept the money from me? If you don't consider me a son and it was all a lie, then I have no problems taking it back. But if you do consider me your son then you will accept it," Harry said firmly.

Molly and Arthur exchanged exasperated looks.

"Harry, it's very unfair of you to put us in such a position," Mr. Weasley said finally. "We do consider you our son, but I do not see why you need to give us the money."

"You might not, but I very much do. I see you year after year beating yourself up to earn the money to run the house. I see the looks on Ron's and Ginny's faces when they have to buy second hand robes and books every year. I don't want my family to go through that anymore. I want them to have the best. There is no need for them to live in poverty when I have more money than I can ever spend in ten lifetimes," Harry said earnestly. "But the real reason is not Ron or Ginny, it is both of you. You have always denied yourself everything you wanted and put your children's needs before yours. It is time you had some money to spend on just yourselves. On those things you never felt necessary to purchase but always wished you could have. I want my parents to have the best of everything."

Molly and Arthur looked at each other and both had tears in their eyes.

"Please, let me help. You are my family. Please give me the chance to help out. I don't care what others say or think and you shouldn't either. What matters is what we feel and we think. Please just take it," Harry pleaded.

Molly bent forward and hugged Harry tightly. "You are the sweetest boy in the whole world. I couldn't love you more if you were born from my own womb."

"So, will you accept it?" Harry asked hopefully.

Arthur sighed. "Yes, Harry, we accept with thanks. Now come on, son, let's go back to your party."

Harry's smile could have lit the whole room as he followed both his adoptive parents out of the door.


~~~*~


He had hardly stepped outside when he was accosted by a group of girls from his year.

"Happy birthday, Harry," Parvati giggled.

"Um... thanks, Parvati," Harry said nervously. He wondered what possible reason there could be for her to giggle while wishing him a happy birthday.

"I see you have been keeping yourself busy this summer, Harry," Lavender said running her eyes laviciously over Harry's body.

"Busy... yeah, well... not really," Harry said awkwardly, as he saw her eyes moving over him and thought she must be alluding to the fact that he was no longer so skinny.

"Are you wearing contacts, Harry?" Susan Bones asked.

Harry turned to look at her. He remembered her vaguely as being from the DA. She was from Hufflepuff and was somehow related to the new Minister.

"Er... contacts? Yeah, I am," Harry answered slowly. He was feeling trapped as he wasn't used to talking to so many girls at once and vaguely confused as to why they were looking at him so strangely.

"Well, it's about time you stopped hiding those gorgeous eyes of yours behind those glasses, Harry," Padma Patil said with a bright smile.

'Gorgeous eyes? What were these girls going on about?' Harry thought in confusion.

He was rescued from the girls by the timely arrival of Tonks and Remus.

"Hello, hot lips," Tonks said as she ruffled his hair. "Happy birthday."

"Thanks, Tonks," Harry said. "And can you please stop with the hair? It's not like it needs to be any messier."

"Happy birthday, Harry," Remus said as he pulled Harry into a quick hug.

"Hi, Moony. It's good to see you again," Harry grinned.

"Oi, Potter, come and cut the bloody cake. We're starving out here," Fred yelled.

"Go on, do the honors, Harry, looks like your guests are hungry," Remus smirked.

Harry slowly made his way to the center of the room where a huge cake was waiting for him. It was made in the shape of a snitch and spread liberally with golden-yellow icing.

Mrs. Weasley was in the middle of lighting the sixteen candles sunk into the cake and was periodically swatting Ron's hand as he tried to sneak a lick of the icing.

"Come quickly, Harry. Ronnie-boy is hungry," Fred jeered.

"But then he's always hungry," George pointed out.

Harry laughed as Ron angrily told the twins to stop calling him 'Ronnie-boy'.

"Harry, dear, come on then," Mrs. Weasley said as she handed him a large knife that was decorated with ribbons.

As Harry moved in front of the cake, the Hall erupted into song and started singing Happy Birthday to him.

He was about to cut the cake when Ginny's voice stopped him. "Harry, you're supposed to blow out the candles first."

Harry looked up at her. "The candles? Oh right, Sorry."

The singing started again and he took a deep breath to blow out the candles when another voice interrupted.

"Remember to make a wish before you blow the candles, Harry," Hermione said from next to him.

"A wish?" Harry asked in a baffled tone.

"Yes, a wish, Harry. Honestly, you're behaving like you've never done this before," Seamus snorted.

Harry looked at him. "Well, actually... I'm... I'm sorry. Let's just try again, shall we?"

He missed the knowing looks exchanged between the Weasley's and his friends at his words. They all knew what Harry had almost said.

"Ok, Harry, let us help you out since you are so gormless," Fred said solemnly.

"First, you make a wish," George said, holding up a finger.

"Second, you blow the candles," Fred said, holding up two fingers.

"Third you cut the cake..."

"After making sure that all the candles are blown out," Fred interrupted.

"Right, after making sure that all the candles are blown out, you cut the cake," George said, resuming.

"Then, you take a piece of the cake and smear it all over your face," The twins said, finishing off together.

"The last part, the one about rubbing the cake in your face, is that really how you do it, or are you pulling my leg?" Harry asked carefully.

"Would we lie to you?" the twins asked, their faces absolutely blank of any trace of mischief.

"Er... Honestly? Yeah, I'd have to say you would," Harry snorted.

Molly took matters in her own hands. "Don't listen to these two. Just make a wish and blow the candles out before you cut the cake."

Harry nodded.

As he got ready to blow the candles out yet again, he wondered what wish he should make. The obvious one was hoping that Voldemort tripped over his own feet, broke his ruddy neck, and died. But he guessed that that was wishful thinking and probably made for a very sordid birthday wish.

What could he wish for? That his friends were kept safe? That he lived through the war? Would a simple birthday wish grant him any of that?
Yeah right!!! If that was true, then Voldemort would be dead by now and I would be wishing till I was blue in the face.

He finally just wished that he could be in a position like this once more in his life, surrounded by people that cared for him and loved him.

He let loose the air in his mouth and blew the candles out, awkwardly cutting the cake. Mrs. Weasley moved in at this point and picking up the slice he had cut, lovingly fed him a bite.

"Right, its time you opened the presents, birthday boy," Tonks said enthusiastically.

Harry was about to protest at this but before he could say anything, he was ushered over to large table which was groaning with the weight of the presents piled on top.

He picked up one which had Hermione's neat handwriting on it and opened the wrappings carefully. He knew that it was most probably a book of some sort, coming from Hermione.

"Hurry up with that mate, or else we're going to be here all day," Ron complained.

Harry ignored him and finally got the present open and predictably, a book fell out. But when he saw the title his eyes gleamed. It was a book on how one could win duels when fighting against dark wizards and was titled Dueling with Light Magic.

"Wow, Hermione!! This is really great," Harry said holding up the book and giving her a tight hug.

"I'm glad you like it," Hermione beamed.

Harry quickly opened the rest of the presents. From Ron he got a large assortment of Honeydukes chocolates and a book on Chudley Cannons Quidditch plays.

The Weasleys, Bill and Fleur had pooled together and given him a pair of black, knee length, dragon hide boots.

"They're made from the hide of a Hungarian Horntail and they'll protect you from most of the spells cast on your legs, like the jelly legs jinx or the dancing spell. They are also charmed to be noiseless and give extra cushioning," Bill explained.

Harry grinned. "Thank you. These are fantastic. And it seems poetic justice that they are from the hide of a Horntail, considering how much trouble that creature gave me during the first task."

Hagrid had given him a few beautifully done wood carvings of all the creatures they had covered over the years in Care of Magical Creatures.

"These are brilliant, Hagrid," Harry exclaimed, running his hand over the exquisitely carved models.

"Don' mention it Harry," Hagrid said gruffly, giving Harry a light slap on his back. Harry yelped as he was thrown three feet forward by the blow, and he thought he had surely broken his spinal cord.

He started opening the rest of the presents. Mostly, everybody had given him Quidditch posters, or photo frames, or in Colin's case, an album full of photos taken over the years of Harry and his friends. Others had given him chocolates or quills or cards.

He received a large pack of pranks from Fred and George and an instruction manual on how he could use them on his relatives undetected.

From Moony, he received a foe glass similar to the one that he had seen in the fake Mad Eye's office back in his fourth year.

Finally, only three presents were left.

The Aurors had all gotten together to give Harry a birthday present and that was the one Harry was opening now.

It was a magnificent set of full body armor, made from black dragon hide. It had a reinforced vest to be worn under the shirt, cloak, trousers and two wand holsters.

"This... this is too much, guys," an overwhelmed Harry said to the grinning Aurors. "I mean, this must have cost a fortune."

"It's fine, Harry," Tonks grinned. "We thought that you get into so much trouble that you definitely need all the protection you can get. Besides, it makes our job of keeping you alive a lot easier."

Next, Harry opened a small, well wrapped package and found a beautiful amulet inside. It was circular in shape and was made of thin, beaten gold. All sorts of protective runes were carved around it and in the dead center was a mysterious black stone. The amulet came attached to a thin gold chain.

Harry looked up to see Ginny standing beside him. "You like it?" she asked softly. "It's an old Celtic amulet that I found in this antique shop. The owner couldn't tell me much about it besides the fact that it was meant to protect the wearer from harm."

"It's beautiful," Harry said softly. "But it must have been very expensive, Ginny..."

"It wasn't," Ginny said cutting him off.

Harry smiled. "Then thank you. I'll be honored to wear it."

She took the amulet from him and gently put it over his head.

"It's meant to protect you, so don't you take it off," she said sternly.

"I won't," Harry replied. "I'll never take it off. After all, I don't want another Howler sent to me, do I?"

Ginny looked embarrassed for a second before she realized that he was teasing her and gave a pleased little smile. "Good."

Harry reached for the last present, which was a large, circular object wrapped in plain brown paper.

He tore the wrapping open to reveal a large Pensieve made out of black marble. Harry was stunned at the workmanship gone into the making of the object. It was much bigger than Dumbledore's Pensieve, but smaller than the one the Aurors possessed. The runes around the bowl and inside it were etched in gold and all around the outside of the bowl were intricate designs carved into the marble.

Harry was speechless as he held the object reverently. This one gift was more expensive than all the others combined, not to mention extremely rare.

"Do you like it, Harry?" Dumbledore's spoke from behind him.

"You... you gave me this?" Harry choked.

"Yes, I felt that it would help you in your Occlumency training," Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling merrily.

"But...but..." Harry stuttered.

"No buts," Dumbledore said firmly. "Now, let's see if we can't break in your new Pensieve, shall we?"

"Break in the Pensieve?" Harry asked curiously.

"Well, Harry, when a Pensieve is gifted at a Birthday, it is custom for the receiver to share a few of his treasured memories with his guests," Dumbledore explained.

Harry balked at the idea.

"But it is understandable that you do not wish to do so. Perhaps we can use somebody else's memories then?" Dumbledore said soothingly.

Harry nodded thankfully.

"Headmaster, if I may..." Remus said hesitantly. "I believe I have a few memories that Harry might care to see."

Dumbledore beamed. "Perfect! Come along, Remus."

Moony spent a few minutes extracting memories from his head and into the Pensieve. "It's all in here," he said when he was done.

Dumbledore moved forward and tapped his wand into the silvery liquid of the Pensieve and muttered something under his breath.

Suddenly, silver mist started blowing out of the Pensieve and rose above them, forming a three dimensional projection.

The mist began to form a scene...


James Potter and Lily Evans were kissing passionately in a cubicle in Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom and were totally unaware of the rest of the world.

They didn't notice the door to the bathroom opening. They didn't notice the roguish face peer over the top of the cubicle they were in, and snigger at seeing them 'otherwise engaged.' They didn't notice when a large bucket of water appeared over their heads. But when the icy cold water splashed down on them, they noticed, all right.

There was a loud shriek from the cubicle, which was followed by an outraged roar.

The door of the cubicle flew open just in time for James to see a laughing, black haired boy run pell-mell from the bathroom.

"Sirius, you mangy cur!" James yelled. "I'll get you for that."

"Black, when I catch you, I'll get you neutered," Lily screamed.

Sirius turned around for a second and gave them a cheeky smile. "My, my, our beloved Head boy and Head girl, whatever could they have been doing in a girl's bathroom? What an example to set the younger students. Tsk-tsk."

There was a large crowd gathered around them by now, and all of them were looking at James and Lily curiously. Many of them were sniggering and cat calling.

James furiously raised his wand to hex Sirius, but Lily stopped him. "No, don't do it, James. We'll beat Black at his own game."

"What do you mean, Lils?" James asked bewilderedly as he lowered his wand.

"Let's just say that after I'm done with him he's going to wish he never messed with us."



Everybody looked at Harry hesitantly to see how he was reacting to the memory, and when they saw that he was laughing, they quickly joined in.

Harry looked at Remus with a grin. "Oh my God! Padfoot really did that?"

Remus nodded.

"He regretted it too. Watch and see."

The silver mist formed a new scene...


A furious looking Sirius Black charged into the Gryffindor common room and marched up to James and Lily, who were sitting side by side on a couch, holding hands.

"You... you... you told her I have VD?" Sirius asked in an outraged whisper.

Lily looked up innocently. "Who me?"

"Don't give me that innocent look, Evans. Did you, or did you not, tell Emma Reeves that I have Syphilis?" Sirius yelled, before realizing that he had shouted it out loud.

He looked around to see several girls in the common room looking at him warily. This only made him angrier.

"You mean to say you don't have it?" Lily asked in surprise.

"Don't have it? Of course I don't have it," Sirius screamed.

"Well, you know how it is... with your 'reputation' and all," Lily said soothingly. "I heard something going around and I thought it must be true. I mean... the most careful people can forget about protection in the heat of the moment."

Sirius goggled at her.

"So you did tell her. You know how long I have been trying to get her to go with me for a date?" Sirius raged. "I swear I'll get you for this, Evans."

"I'm sorry you have to take it that way, Black," Lily said sorrowfully. "I would have thought that our friendship meant more to you than that."

"Friendship!!! Hah! If you're my friend, I don't need any enemies," Sirius yelled, before storming off.

"Oh, and Black, next time you'll think twice before pouring water on us again, now won't you?" Lily called out to his retreating back.

Sirius paused and tensed for a moment before turning on his heel and stomping off.

James gleefully kissed Lily. "You are so devious. I love it. I would just have hexed him for it. But this was soooo much better."

Lily smiled. "Watch and learn."



Ginny and Hermione were both laughing uncontrollably, as were most of the people in the Great Hall as the memory ended.

"Harry, your mum was brilliant," Hermione gasped.

Before anybody could say anything more, the silver mist was forming a new memory.


"Are you sure you want to do this?" Remus asked James.

"Of course I'm sure, Moony," James said impatiently. "Why are you asking me that again and again?"

"Well, I specifically heard Lily say that... what was that again? Oh yeah... something to the effect that she'll curse you to death in a most painful way if you take Harry up on a broom before his fifth birthday," Remus said slowly.

"What she doesn't know won't harm us," Sirius said confidently as he jiggled Harry, who was squirming in his hands.



"Oooh, Harry, you're so cute," Hermione squealed.

"Thanks, but quite frankly, you're not my type," Harry said, grinning broadly.

Hermione swatted him on his arm. "Oh, you!!"


"Yeah, quit worrying, Moony," James said irritably. "Five years before I can take him up on a broom! If he is ever to have a chance to become a seeker for England, we have to start his training now."

Remus looked at him skeptically as James continued to murmur something about silly women who didn't know a thing about the importance of Quidditch.

"You have got to be kidding me, Prongs," Remus said finally. "I mean, he can't even walk yet. How the hell will he learn to fly?"

"Walking has nothing to do with flying," James said firmly, as he sat on his broom and lifted it three feet off the ground. "And just you wait and see. He's going to be a natural in the sky. Just like his Dad. Won't you, Harry?"

Harry made a gurgling sound from Sirius' arms.

"Give him to me, Padfoot," James commanded.

Sirius handed Harry over to his father and James wrapped his arms around his son tightly and was just about to take off when a loud scream stopped him.



"And now the fireworks begin," Remus said with a grin.


"JAMES POTTER!!!! What the hell are you doing with our son on that broom?"

James got off the broom in record speed and looked sheepishly over at his wife, who had suddenly arrived out of nowhere.

"Well? I'm waiting to hear what you have to say," Lily said, as she removed her wand and tapped it against her hand impatiently.

"S-s-sweetheart... I was... I was just..." James stammered.

"You were just taking Harry up into the air," Lily said grimly, a dangerous glint coming into her eyes. "Did we not discuss something about this?"

"Now, let's not be hasty, honey," James said with what he most probably thought was a winning smile.

"Moony, would you be so good as to take Harry from my dear husband?"

Remus grinned and stepped to take Harry from a reluctant James, who regarded his infant son as the only shield between himself and a potentially furious witch.

"Now, let's go over what we had discussed again," Lily said softly, as she took a few steps towards her husband, who immediately shrunk back.

"Be reasonable, Lily!" James protested feebly. "Five years before we take him up on a broom? That's too late. He needs to learn now if he's going to be a champion seeker."

"Reasonable!!! He's five months old. He can't even walk yet," Lily yelled.

"Well, yes, but walking doesn't have anything..."

"Shut up!" Lily screamed. "How could you do this, James? How can you be so irresponsible? If he falls from the sky at this age he could die."

"Well we knew that," James said backing away. "That's why Sirius suggested that we only take him six feet up."

Lily turned on Sirius, who looked alarmed at these turn of events. He gave James a look that held part reproach and part a feeling of being betrayed in the worst possible way.

"You did what?" Lily asked him in a dangerous voice.

"I... uh... that is... When did you guys ever start listening to what I said?" Sirius yelped.

Lily completely lost it and grabbing James' broom from his hand, started whacking both of them with it.

Remus started laughing uncontrollably from the door as he held Harry in his arms. Soon the broomstick was forgotten as Lily chased them across the lawn throwing curse after curse at the two hapless, would be 'flight instructors.'



"Oh, my God!" Harry gasped. Tears of laughter were rolling down his eyes as he tried to control his laughter. No one in the room was in any better shape.

"Were they always like this?" Harry asked finally.

"Always, they lived life on the edge, and knew no other way to live," Remus said with a fond smile. "It drove Lily up the wall at times, but she was the only one who could fully control both of them."

The scene changed again...


Sirius Black came bounding into the room. He was dressed in tight leather pants and a black leather riding jacket. He made a striking figure, right from the tip of his black dragon hide boots to his hair, which was windblown and disheveled.


"My God! Sirius was really handsome," Ginny gasped.

From the noises Harry heard, he assumed that the rest of the females in the party thought so too.

"Yes, he was. Quite a few witches had massive crushes on him and would have married him at a moment's notice. But he was never one to be tied down," Remus said shaking his head.


"Where is my adorable godson?" he said loudly, as he gazed around the nursery.

He noticed Harry looking up at him from a corner of the room where he was playing with his toys and bounded over and picked him up into his arms in one swoop.

Harry squealed in delight.

"Come on, today I'm going to take you for a ride on my bike," Sirius said, as he carried Harry outdoors.

James was sullenly arguing with Lily. "Explain to me again why I can't take him up on a broom and Sirius can take him for a ride on his bike?"

"Because the bike has a side seat where he'll be safe and won't fall off," Lily said irritably. "And might I remind you that it wasn't my idea. You and Sirius have been after me for weeks and that's the only reason I agreed."

She watched anxiously as Sirius put Harry into the side compartment of the bike and tucked and belted him in safely.

"You're sure he'll be safe, aren't you, Sirius?" Lily asked anxiously.

"Don't worry, Lils," Sirius said soothingly. "It's completely safe. I have even charmed it. He couldn't fall off even if he wanted to."

Lily didn't look very reassured.

James, Remus, Lily and Wormtail watched as Sirius got on the seat of the gleaming black chrome and steel bike, and kicked it to life. He quickly flicked a button and the bike began to rise off the ground. Sirius turned to wave at them, winked at an enthralled Harry, and revved up the accelerator. The monster bike gave a loud roar and took off, gaining speed rapidly.

The four people down below watched as Sirius flew around the neighbourhood as Harry yelled in delight from his seat.



Harry suddenly realized where all the dreams of the flying motorcycles he had as a child had come from.

He was lost in his thoughts as he saw the silver mist form a new scene.


Lily walked into the nursery with James, Remus and Dumbledore trailing after her.

"He's in there, Headmaster, but I think he's asleep," Lily whispered, pointing to the tiny crib.

Dumbledore walked over and peered into the crib. Lying inside was a tiny, black haired baby who was fast asleep. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled as they looked at the adorable baby and he was about to move away, when Harry's eyes suddenly opened.

Curious emerald green eyes looked up into twinkling blue eyes.

Suddenly Harry reached out and before Dumbledore could react, he had grasped the end of Dumbledore's long beard firmly.

Dumbledore chuckled and gently tried to pry his beard from the grip of Harry's tiny fingers. But he wasn't successful and Harry held on tightly.

Dumbledore tried various ploys. He conjured various toys to tempt Harry and did a few magic tricks to try and distract him. But Harry wasn't interested in any of it and he didn't let go of the beard.

Lily moved over to try. "Harry... Harry love, let go of the Headmaster's beard."

Harry looked up and smiled when he heard his mother's soft voice, but he still refused to let go.

Dumbledore suddenly took his wand and offered the end of it to Harry.

Harry stared at the wand for a moment and immediately dropped the beard and grabbed for the wand.

As his tiny fingers touched the Headmaster's wand, several red and gold sparks flew out of it, filling the room with light.

James, Lily and Remus gasped.

"He will be a very powerful wizard," Dumbledore said softly, as he gently took his wand from Harry's fingers.

James and Lily beamed at the Headmaster.

Dumbledore looked at Harry thoughtfully for a moment before he turned to the rest of them. "It was a pleasure seeing you again, James, Lily," he said nodding his head at both of them. "I must be off now. I have some business to take care of."

Lily smiled. "Thank you for visiting, Professor. And I'm sorry about your beard."

Dumbledore chuckled. "Don't be sorry, I quite enjoyed myself. It's not everyday that a six month old baby gets me to dance to his tune."

Dumbledore gave a final glance at Harry and Apparated away.

Lily bent down and picked Harry up. "You sure like to live dangerously," she said, as she bounced Harry up and down. "The person whose beard you were so gleefully pulling was one of the most powerful wizards in the world. What would you have done if he had turned you into a toad?"

Harry looked at his mother silently from his large green eyes, listening to the sound of her musical voice.

James came up and put his arm around his wife and son. "Of course he likes to live dangerously. He's the son and godson of a marauder."



As the memory ended, Harry found that Dumbledore was standing beside him.

"You knew when you came, didn't you?" Harry asked quietly.

"Yes, I knew," Dumbledore replied, just as quietly.

Harry nodded.

"Are you all right, Harry?" Ginny asked softly.

"I'm fine," Harry said, flashing her a quick smile.

Ginny didn't believe him, but she knew that Harry would not tell her anything unless he wanted to and was ready.


~~~*~


Harry found himself grasped firmly by both arms and dragged into a small room outside the Great Hall.

"We were hoping you would clear up a few things for us, Harry," Fred said eagerly.

Harry looked at him warily. "Sure, if I can."

"In those Pensieve memories, when your father called Lupin 'Moony' and referred to Sirius and himself as 'Padfoot' and 'Prongs', what did he mean?" George asked.

Harry looked at the two of them. "Well, my father, along with Sirius, Remus and Peter Pettigrew were the Marauders. They were all nicknamed after their Animagus forms and Remus after his condition."

Fred and George exchanged looks.

"Wow! Three illegal animagi and a werewolf!" George whistled.

"They were even greater than we thought," Fred agreed.

"And to think we were with them under the same roof all this time and we never talked to them," George lamented.

"A thing we should remedy immediately, brother mine," Fred agreed.

"Yeah, Remus looks the brainy kind. He probably planned all of their pranks and invented the Map," George said thoughtfully.

"Hey, wait a second you two," Harry said. "Now that you are both here, I wanted to ask you a favor."

The Twins stopped and walked back towards Harry.

"Sure Harry, ask away," Fred said.

"Well, nowadays I listen to music at times, you know... muggle music. It's quite relaxing at times and I was wondering if you could work out a way to allow us to listen to it here too," Harry explained.

Fred and George exchanged looks.

"Look, Harry, I think you've got the wrong Weasleys. Dad is the one who meddles with the Muggle stuff," George said finally.

Harry shook his head. "No, people may not give you credit for it, but you two have a brain for inventing stuff. And I wasn't thinking of this just for my use. I have an idea that it would sell really well in your shop too, considering the amount of Muggleborns and half-blood's at Hogwarts."

"It may be an idea," Fred said thoughtfully. "But the thing is, we know nothing about muggle inventions and it would be really costly to do this."

"I'll get Bill to take care of the money part if you are willing to put in the effort," Harry said calmly.

Fred and George looked at each other again, in the weird 'twin' way they had of communicating with each other.

"Ok, we'll do it Harry," the twins said after a while.

"Thanks, guys," Harry grinned.

"Don't mention it, partner of ours," Fred said jovially.

"Now, excuse us, we have somebody to talk to," George said as they hurried off to corner Moony.

Harry shook his head at their antics and followed them outside.



~~~*~



He had only taken a few steps outside when he came face to face with Percy Weasley.

"Hello, Harry," Percy said quietly.

"Hello, Percy," Harry said in surprise. What was he doing here?

"Harry..." Percy said, stopping to take a deep breath. "I behaved like an ass all of last year and said some things about you that were absolutely unforgivable. I want to apologize to you. I hope you can forgive me."

Harry smiled. "Percy, there's no need to apologize to me as long as you have apologized to your parents. If they have forgiven you, then so have I."

Percy smiled. "That's very big of you, Harry, and yes, I did apologize to my parents."

"Good, I knew you had it in you all along," Harry grinned.

Percy nodded. "I'd like to introduce you to my fiancée, Penelope Clearwater."

Harry turned to the slim brunette at Percy's side and vaguely recalled her as a former Ravenclaw prefect.

"Oh, Hello, congratulations. When did this happen?" Harry asked curiously.

"Hello, Harry," Penelope said warmly. "We got engaged during Christmas, last year."

Harry turned to Percy with a wicked smile on his face. "So, should I take it that your Mum is already planning the wedding?"

Percy groaned. "Yes, she's driving me up the wall with all the wedding talk. But thank God she also has Bill and Fleur to concentrate on."

"Did I hear my name mentioned?" Bill asked, walking up with Fleur and Charlie in tow.

"Oh, we were just talking about your impending weddings," Harry said innocently.

Bill's face looked as if he had just swallowed a lemon.

"Merlin, Harry, Mum's in the same room, don't say the 'W' word," Bill pleaded.

Harry turned to Fleur who bent down to kiss him on both his cheeks. "'appy Birthday, Harry," Fleur said with a brilliant smile.

Harry felt her Veela charms hit his mental shields and strengthened them a notch. "Thank you, Fleur. It is good to see you again."

"Harry, I was thinking that since we are all here, it might be fun to have a Quidditch match. I have always wanted to play against you," Charlie said eagerly.

"Great idea, Charlie," Fred said, as the twins joined them.

"Yeah, how about we make it Weasley's v/s the rest?" George said.

"Hmm... seems like a plan," Bill agreed.

"Oi, Ron, Ginny, get over here," Charlie bellowed.

"What is it?" Ginny asked curiously.

"Well, we were thinking if you were ready to take on Potter and his team at Quidditch? The Weasley's v/s whatever team he wants," Charlie explained when Ron had joined them.

"Great," Ron whooped. "But what about the brooms?"

"You may use the school brooms," Dumbledore said with a wink, as he passed by them with McGonagall.

"Ok, that's settled then," Bill said. "You up for it, Potter?"

Harry grinned. "Prepare to lose."

"Hah! That'll be the day, Potter. Weasleys never lose," Charlie crowed.

"There's always a first time for everything," Harry said as he took off to form his own team.


~~~*~


It was fifteen minutes later that Lee Jordan took up position as commentator and started to announce the two teams. The two stands had quickly filled up with the news of the match and the Aurors had started a betting pool as to the outcome.

"And here come the Weasley team... Weasley, Weasley, Weasley, Weasley, Weasley, Weasley annnd Weasley."

"Could you be a little more specific, Jordan?" McGonagall said dryly from beside him.

"Ok, Professor," Lee said holding up a thumb.

"The Weasley's are led by their Seeker and Captain, Charlie Weasley. Charlie Weasley has been one of the legendary seekers to have graced Hogwarts and it is said that he had been offered a position to play for England. Unfortunately, he chose dragons..."

There was a loud cheer from the crowd.

"He is followed by Bill Weasley, the eldest of the Weasley brothers, who is playing Chaser. The other two Chaser positions are being filled by Percy and Ginny Weasley. Ginny Weasley was the one who took over for Harry Potter as Seeker last year and was largely responsible for Gryffindor winning that last fateful match."

The Gryffindors in the crowd cheered.

"The Weasley's beaters are the two Weasley twins, Fred and George. They have been Gryffindor Beaters for most of their years at Hogwarts. Opposing team members are said to have been more afraid of these two than the Bludgers at times. The keeper of the Weasley team is the youngest Weasley son, Ronald Weasley. Ron Weasley is the current Gryffindor Keeper and performed brilliantly in the last match of the year to help bring back the Cup to Gryffindor."

The crowd suddenly started cheering as Harry and his team flew out on the Pitch.

"And here comes Potter's team... Wood, Johnson, Spinnet, Bell, Lupin, Shacklebolt annnnd Potter."

"The Keeper for Potter's team is the former Gryffindor and current Puddlemore United keeper, Oliver Wood. Wood captained Gryffindor for four years and was lucky to captain one of the finest teams Gryffindor had seen in a long time."


The two captains walked up to the center of the pitch where Madam Hooch was waiting.

"Of the Chasers, Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet are former Gryffindor Chasers and are very talented. I hear Angelina has even gotten an offer from the Magpies to play for them. Katie Bell is currently the seniormost member of the current Gryffindor team and all three of them have a very seamless co-ordination while playing together."

"All right now, you damage those brooms and I'll hex you into the next week. Now shake hands," Madam Hooch said sternly.

"Of the two beaters, Remus Lupin has been a DADA professor here at Hogwarts and not much is known about his talent at Quidditch. As for Kingsley Shacklebolt, he is a senior Auror and played for Slytherin as a Beater when he was at Hogwarts."

"Ready to lose, Potter?" Charlie asked grimly.

"You wish, Weasley," Harry sneered, in a way that Snape would have been proud of.

"The seeker, of course, is Harry Potter. The youngest seeker in a century, Winner of the Triwizard tournament, the boy- who-lived. He has never lost a match for Gryffindor except for that one time when Dementors had invaded the pitch. That probably doesn't count."

Madam Hooch released the balls and with a whistle, they were off.

"And the ball is immediately taken by Johnson, who passes it to Bell... She flies towards Bill, swerves at the last moment and is racing towards the goals unchecked... She seems to be aiming for the right hoop... No it was a fake. The ball goes through the centre hoop. Bell scores. Ten-zero to Potter's team."

Harry flew around the pitch glorying in the feel of the air whipping through his robes. The school broom was slow and difficult to maneuver, but it was better than nothing, Harry reasoned.

He stopped his musing and started to fly around, looking for the snitch.

He noticed that Charlie made no attempt to mark him and instead was out actively hunting for the snitch.

"Ginny Weasley steals the Ball from Spinnet, fakes out Bell and passes the Quaffle to Percy... Who misses... Johnson takes possession and is racing towards the goals. Young Ron Weasley seems determined to stop her... she shoots... Weasley dives frantically to stop it... but misses the Quaffle by an inch... Twenty-zero to Potter's team."

Harry suddenly saw Charlie dive. He immediately followed and sped after him. But Charlie had a huge lead. Harry flattened his body on his broom and pushed the old broom to its limit. He found himself slowly catching up to Charlie.

"Looks like Charlie Weasley has spotted the snitch. Both seekers are racing after it and while Weasley has a big lead, Potter is slowly catching him up."

They were nearing the ground when Harry suddenly realized something. He and Charlie were playing on the same brooms and Charlie had started with a big lead over him. Charlie Weasley was a great seeker and a speed demon, it wasn't likely that Harry would have caught up with him if Charlie hadn't wanted him to. He abruptly pulled out of the dive and his suspicions proved correct a second later, when Charlie too pulled out of the dive, seconds before he was going to hit the ground.

"It seems that there was no snitch and Weasley was faking Potter with a well tried Wronski Feint. Potter did a good job of recognizing it and pulls out at the last second."

Harry turned on his broom and looked at Charlie. "Nice feint, Charlie. I almost fell for it."

Charlie smirked and flew off.

"And Ginny Weasley has the Quaffle and passes it to Bill... Bill races forward and has Spinnet rushing to intercept him. Passes to Ginny... Ginny shoots... she scores. Twenty-ten to Weasley's team."

The game went on and the scores were more or less even. Harry's team had the better chasers and keeper but the Weasley's had Fred and George, who more than evened the difference. Remus and Kingsley worked well together but they weren't in the same class as the twins.

The scores after an hour were 150-110 in favor of Harry's team and the snitch would still decide the outcome of the match.

Finally, Harry spotted it hovering around the ground near the Weasley goal post. Charlie had apparently spotted it too, and both dove steeply after it.

Harry had the bigger lead, but that was evened out after George sent a well aimed Bludger at him and he had to dive out of the way to avoid it.

Harry dove steeply, willing the ancient old broom to go faster. The ground was appearing fast and Harry, chancing a look at Charlie, saw that he was diving side by side with him.

"And it's going to be very close folks, both of the seekers are racing side by side and at this moment either one of them could get it," Lee yelled excitedly.

Harry realized that it was going to be very close. He bent forward on his broom and stretched his hand forward towards the snitch. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Charlie do the same. They were within two feet of the snitch when it happened. The snitch suddenly shot sideways and went behind them.

Charlie immediately started turning his broom around to race after the snitch. But the speed they were diving at made it almost impossible and the old broom was very difficult to maneuver.

Harry, on the other hand, instinctively knew not to follow Charlie. He caught his broom tightly and flipped himself and his broom over. A second later he found himself hanging upside down from his broom and the snitch was fluttering a few feet away. His hand darted forward and caught the elusive golden object.

He felt himself falling and pulling himself up on his broom, managed to flip over and slow the broom down before he hit the ground. The landing was still hard though, but Harry's Aikido training came to his rescue, and he rolled forward as soon as he hit the ground, lessening the impact.

"And Potter catches the snitch after executing that incredible move. That move surely goes down for the books, as I've never seen anything like it done before. Potter's team wins, three hundred to one hundred and ten."

Harry slowly got up, stretching himself to lessen the bruising. A second later, he was swamped by his teammates.

"Excellent catch, Harry," Oliver yelled as he thumped Harry on his back, drunk with the joy of victory.

The three girls grabbed Harry and each hugged him tightly before kissing him on his cheeks. "Brilliant game, Harry."

Remus and Kingsley weren't looking all that happy however, as they glared at Harry disapprovingly.

"Yes, yes, I know it was dangerous. Will it help if I tell you I knew exactly what I was doing?"

"Did you?" Remus asked sternly.

"Well... not /exactly,/" Harry admitted.

Remus groaned. "What am I going to do with you, Harry?"

Hermione and Molly Weasley had reached them by this time. "Harry Potter!" Molly screeched. "Just what did you think you were doing? You could have died. Was it so important to catch the snitch that you had to risk your life?"

"Aww... let him be, Mum," Charlie said walking up to them. "Great catch, Harry. You beat me fair and square."

Harry shook his head. "Under different circumstances it would most probably have ended differently."

"Still, great match. I haven't had this much fun in years," Charlie said, with a broad grin.

"Me neither. This has been a truly spectacular day," Harry said blissfully.

The day wasn't over though, and before the party ended, the twins set up a spectacular fireworks display which they had prepared especially for Harry. After that, there was a large spread provided by the House elves, which, after the day's activities, everybody did justice to.

As Harry said goodbye to his friends and got ready to take the Portkey back to Privet Drive, he felt a warm feeling all over.

This had, without a doubt, been the best day of his life.



~~~*~
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