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Old October 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm
jmunay10  Male.gif jmunay10 is offline
First Year
Join Date: 01st September 2012
Posts: 59
Re: Harry Potter and the Hellfire Potion

Chapter 12 ~ The Party of the Decade

As the flying car touched down on the lane leading to the Burrow, Harry noticed a something huge and white attached to the front of the Weasley’s home.

“What’s that?” he asked, pushing his glasses a little further up his nose and leaning forward to squint through the windscreen.

As the car trundled closer to the Burrow, Harry gasped. The huge white thing was a banner, reading: “Harry Potter – Saviour of the Wizarding World!” Harry squirmed in his seat. The others were beaming at him, but he found it a bit embarrassing. Daring to look up again, he realised that the Weasley’s home was surrounded by people, waving and smiling eagerly. The Ministry wizard parked the car and leapt out to open the door. Taking a deep breath, Harry climbed out with Hedwig’s cage firmly under his arm and looked at the crowd awkwardly. There was a moments silence and suddenly a huge cheer went up, nearly deafening Harry. It continued as the others got out of the car, looking a bit bewildered but pleased nonetheless. Hedwig began to flap her wings in alarm, prompting Harry to move his feet. Mr and Mrs Weasley, standing at the front of the huge crowd with Ron’s brothers, Charlie and Bill (Percy had yet to return home) hurried forwards with open arms to usher them up the path and into the house. Witches and wizards were clapping Harry on the back and trying to shake his free hand, shouting out words of thanks and congratulations. Harry caught a glimpse of his Hogwarts classmates, Seamus Finnegan, Dean Thomas and Ernie Macmillan, all cheering him on. Cries of “Good one, Harry!” and even “I love you, Harry!” punctuated the roar. Harry could just make out Ron s******ing behind him, and felt his face turn scarlet. They finally reached the front door and went in, Mr. Weasley shutting the door firmly behind them. There was a sudden, panicked thumping on the door, accompanied by a muffled cry,

“Hey! Let me in!”

“Oh! Sorry Neville!" said Mr. Weasley, wrenching the door open once more and pulling Neville unceremoniously through the door, slamming it behind him. Neville could only look at him with bulging eyes, but Mr Weasley had turned his attention to Harry.

“I’m sorry about all this, Harry,” he said in a low voice, taking the opportunity to talk to Harry while Mrs. Weasley was busy fussing over Ron and Ginny, “I told Molly you wouldn’t like it, but, well, she got a little carried away…” he trailed off looking at Harry with a worried expression.

“It’s okay! It makes a nice change from people thinking I’m bonkers,” said Harry, smiling. The truth was he would rather avoid all this fuss, but would not dare offend Mrs. Weasley for anything in the world. “Who are all these people?” he asked the room in general.

“Well-wishers, Harry! They all wanted to thank you and when they heard that you were coming home they all started popping by! I happened to mention that we were having a little party and word spread and here we are!” exclaimed Mrs. Weasley, hardly pausing for breath, her eyes shining with pride as she looked around at them all.

“So come on you lot – let’s go out there so you can meet everyone – Harry, give Hedwig to me, I’ll put her upstairs where it’s a bit quieter.”

Harry handed the cage to Mrs. Weasley and caught Ginny’s eye. She smiled sympathetically and took his hand with a warm squeeze.

“Come on,” she whispered, “let’s go.”

Mr. Weasley put a hand on the doorknob and turned to look at Harry and the others.

“Now before you do, just remember Harry, if you start to feel unwell or tired, or anything at all, let me know and we can get rid of these people in a jiffy.”

Mrs. Weasley hurried forward and put her hand on his forehead.

“That’s right Harry dear, you come straight back in here. Oh dear!” she said wringing her hands, “perhaps this was a bit too much too soon.” She said, looking at him worriedly.

“No, no – I’m fine Mrs Weasley. Really,” he added firmly.

“Well, if you’re sure…”

“I’m sure. Let’s go!”

Mr. Weasley opened the door and the roar of the crowd swept into the tiny kitchen like a gust of excited wind. Keeping a firm hold on Ginny’s hand, with Ron, Hermione, Luna and Neville bringing up the rear, Harry and the others stepped outside. Light bulbs from dozens of cameras were popping all over the place and Harry noticed that there was an enormous trestle table laden with food and drink running the entire length of the front and back garden. Suddenly his stomach rumbled and his heart lightened. I might as well enjoy this! he thought to himself.

Squaring his shoulders, he smiled at the guests and allowed his hand to be shaken, his cheek to be kissed and his back to be slapped. His Hogwarts Professors were all there; Slughorn with his walrus moustache, McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout - even batty old Trelawney was floating about with her ridiculous beads and giant glasses. Kingsley Shacklebolt, Tonks, Mad-Eye Moody and Lupin were beaming at him, as was Tom the barman from the Leaky Cauldron. Florean Fortescue was there, leaning on his walking stick (he had been rescued by members of the Order after Voldemort’s followers captured and tortured him a few months earlier). Mrs Figg, his batty old neighbour from Privet Drive was there, standing with Argus Filch, who was smiling for once (albeit pretty grimly), Neville’s grandmother, Mrs. Longbottom was smiling imperiously down at them.
They finally reached the table of food. It was heaving with cakes of every flavour imaginable, sandwiches piled high, crisps, pies, salads, Cornish pasties, sausage rolls, roasted chicken and beef, chips, potato salad, an enormous crystal bowl of fruit salad, and, looking almost too elegant for the table, a shimmering tower of extremely decadent chocolate profiteroles (these were of course provided by Fleur, Bill’s wife). In the centre of the garden, a stood a silver fountain magicked up for the occasion, with a stream of foaming Butterbeer. Golden goblets hovered in mid-air, waiting to be filled and the popular wizarding band, the Weird Sisters were playing on a podium, draped in purple velvet, at the far end of the garden.

Lupin made his way up to the podium, and bent down to speak to the Weird Sister’s drummer. The music stopped, and Lupin held his hands up for quiet.

“I am sorry to interrupt what promises to be one of the best parties known to Wizard Kind, but I’m sure you would all like to join me in a toast to Harry and his friends Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny and Luna and thank them for all that they have done for us,” he nodded at each of them in turn, as the guest all turned to smile at the group.

“We have been through very dark times of late. Many felt that we could never succeed with our dear friend and wise protector, Albus Dumbledore,” at these words, many of the party guests bowed their heads in respect, “and indeed it was extremely hard to find the right path to follow. But one young man remained determined. He, like many of us, has lost a great deal through the evil actions of Voldemort and his followers,” at this a shudder ran through the group, “but he did not stop.” Turning to Harry, he raised his goblet and the crowd did the same. “Thank you Harry Potter. We owe you everything.” Turning to face the entire audience, he raised his glass again and said, “And let us raise a glass to a bright new future for the Wizarding world.”

And with that, everyone, including Harry and the others, raised their glasses: “The Wizarding world!”

“And now,” said Mrs. Weasley, standing next to the trestle table, “My family and invite you to join us – eat, drink and enjoy!”
A few hours later, the party was in full swing. Mr. Weasley was dancing with Mrs. Weasley, her head nestled on his shoulder, both of them looking happier than Harry had seen them in over two years. Lupin was dancing somewhat awkwardly with Tonks, who was bopping about on the lawn with great abandon, her hair a shimmery golden colour for the party. Seamus was being steered around by a very tipsy Professor McGonagall, much to Dean and Neville's amusement, who were laughing at him openly from the Butterbeer fountain. In the far corner of the garden, looking very hesitant, Ron took Hermione's hand and led her to the edge of the makeshift dance floor. Harry and Ginny, sitting together watching them, exchanged amused looks. Although it had been painfully obvious to all who knew them, Ron and Hermione had just never seemed able to admit to each other how they felt.

"I really hope he just snogs her and gets it over with!" giggled Ginny.

"Er, yeah," said Harry gazing at Ron and Hermione for a moment, before turning to look at Ginny, "Um...listen, can we go inside and talk for a minute?"

"Okay," replied Ginny, looking concerned.

They got up and slipped unseen through the kitchen door. Harry took Ginny's hand and led her through to the sitting room and sank down onto the sofa.

"Harry, what's wrong?" asked Ginny, starting to worry.

"Nothing! It's just that, well...Look, I know that last year I said that we had to stop seeing each other, and now that Voldemort is gone, I wanted to ask - well, the thing is - I - "

"Wanted to make us official again?" asked Ginny, with a hint of a smile returning to her eyes. Harry felt warmth surge over him and a huge grin split his face.

"Yeah! Will...will you be my official girlfriend again? Please?" he added, suddenly doubting what Ginny would say.

"Come here you idiot," said Ginny, leaning in towards him and kissing him softly, "in my mind we were never apart," she whispered as she pulled away.

"Good," said Harry, grinning at her. "I'm sorry it had to be that way, but I couldn't risk - "

"I understand." said Ginny firmly, "but now I don't want anything to keep us apart again - okay?" her voice caught in her throat and her eyes filled with tears.

"Hey! You don't have to be upset!" he pulled her into a hug. "I promise I'm not going anywhere, but there is one more thing you should know -"

The kitchen door burst open and Hermione and Ron tumbled through it.

"There you are! We wondered where you had got to!" exclaimed Ron, striding into the sitting room, holding Hermione's hand. Both had flushed cheeks, but Hermione was looking at Harry and Ginny in concern.

"Um, Ron, I think we should come back later," she said delicately.

"Why?" he said, turning to her. He looked back at Harry and Ginny, who was wiping her eyes. "Hey...what's the matter? Have you been crying?" Ron demanded.

"No, everything's fine now," said Ginny, smiling at Harry.

"Oh. Ooooh," said Ron, comprehension finally dawning on him. "So, er...are you two back together then?"

"Yes!" yelled Ginny happily as she grabbed Harry's hand.

"Wicked...Er, no offense Ginny, but Harry doesn't look so happy about it," he trailed off uncomfortably, looking at Harry's serious expression.

"Well, of course I'm happy about that, but I was just about to tell Ginny something. Something important."

"Oh Harry, Ginny - we're really sorry - we'll go and let you talk," said Hermione, now trying to drag Ron back to the kitchen door.

"No, wait! I need to tell you two as well."
"What is it?" asked Hermione, clutching Ron's hand as they came further into the sitting room.

"Sit down." Harry instructed.

The two of them sank down into an armchair together. Hermione leaned forwards anxiously, and Ron looked pale.

"What is it mate? Are you feeling all right?"

"It's...well...y'know when I was in the hospital, asleep, or in a coma or whatever Healer Smethington called it..?" asked Harry slowly.

"Yes..." said Hermione uncertainly, looking positively faint now. Ginny's hold on Harry's hand tightened.

"What about it Harry? Are you sick?"

"Well, Dumbledore visited me - "

Ron's mouth dropped open and Hermione and Ginny gasped.

"What do you mean 'visited you'?" demanded Hermione.

"We sort of met up in this room, and he told me that I had to take care of myself and make sure I got better. He told me that I had defeated Voldemort," (for once Ron and Ginny didn't flinch at the name) "but that it wasn't over yet." Harry looked at each of them in turn to make sure he had their full attention, "Dumbledore said that there is still someone who could bring Voldemort back - bring his spirit back..."

"What?" Ron mouthed in a hoarse whisper, looking horrified, "do you mean like You-Know-Who's ghost?"

"No, that's what I thought at first, but Dumbledore says that when a really powerful wizard dies, it's possible to bring back his spirit and that that will be more powerful than ever - but that only the darkest wizard would chose to do that because it's pure evil - like splitting your soul into Horcruxes - so something that would be right up Voldemort's street."

"But who would want to do that?" asked Ginny, who looked like she was going to be sick, "who would want to bring him back into our lives?"

"Bellatrix Lestrange." It was not Harry who said this but someone in the doorway.

"Neville!" gasped Hermione, turning around, "W-what are you doing in here?"

"It is her, isn't it Harry?" he asked, ignoring Hermione's question.

Harry looked Neville square in the eye. "Yes."

Neville's mouth tightened, but he was calm, considering that Bellatrix and her husband were responsible for his parent's being in St. Mungo's for the rest of their lives.

"How are you going to stop her?"

"Hang on! Who says Harry has to stop her?" demanded Ginny, her eyes flashing. "Surely the Ministry can manage to catch Bellatrix Lestrange without him?"

Harry stared down at their linked hands.

"No! I won't let you! You've done enough! We've all done enough!" she said angrily.

"Harry - what else did Dumbledore say to you?" asked Hermione gently, trying to stop Ginny before she got a full head of steam behind her outburst.

"He told me that I had one, final task to complete. He said I had to make sure I was physically well again, and that I have to stop Bellatrix - not kill her, but make sure she doesn't bring Voldemort back. He also said that she hasn't discovered how to do it yet."

Hermione bit her lip as she pondered these words. Ron looked at Ginny as she brushed angry tears aside. Neville was rooted to the spot as he stared intently at Harry.

"You have to stop her Harry," he said quietly. Ginny whipped around to face Neville furiously, but he held up his hand and said, "You know it has to be you. The Ministry have tried and failed so many times to catch her and keep her where she belongs. You stopped Voldemort - and now you have to stop her. And if that means she dies, then so much the better." He held Harry's gaze steadily. Harry realised, for the first time, just how much Neville had changed over these past couple of years. He felt a silent rush of understanding pass between them - each had lost their parents to Voldemort and his Death Eaters and only Neville could really understand just how deep the pain ran - far more than Hermione or any of the Weasley's ever could. He nodded to Neville and Ginny let out a sob.

"No, no, no," she moaned, "I don't want to lose you again, Harry."

Ron struggled out of the armchair he was sharing with Hermione and moved over to Ginny, kneeling down in front of her.

"Listen - it'll be okay! If Harry here can get rid of You-Know-Who, Bellatrix Lestrange will be a piece of cake!"

"That's not what she means though, is it Ginny?" asked Hermione.

"Eh? What does she mean then?" asked Ron, confused.

"She means she doesn't want Harry to put their relationship on hold again. I'm right aren't I?" Hermione asked again.

Ginny nodded, then looked at Harry defiantly. "Well?" she asked, "are you going to say that we can't see each other so you can keep me safe again? Because if you are I will be so angry! I can take care of myself, and I'm older now, AND you just asked me to get back together with you again, so it would be really unfair - "
"Whoa! Ginny! Slow down a minute!" gasped Harry, suppressing a grin, "There is no way I would dare ask you to do that again - and Ron is right - this won't be like it was with Voldemort. Dumbledore thinks there is time to prepare, and this time I'll have the Order to help me. And you of course," he added hastily, as Ginny, Neville, Ron and Hermione all opened their mouths to point this out to him. "But," he said turning to address them all, "I think we should keep this to ourselves for the time being. I'll talk to Lupin about it later and then we'll go to the Order. I just don't think it's a good idea to worry anyone else with this right now - especially not when everyone is so happy for the first time in ages."

The others nodded. Neville left silently to rejoin the party. After giving Ginny a quick hug, Hermione and Ron followed him. Left alone, Harry turned to Ginny and brushed her long red hair back and cupped her face gently in his hands.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, her eyes downcast, "I just don't want to waste any more of our time together. I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't come out of the coma and it made me realise that I...that I love you, Harry," she looked up at him shyly.

Harry thought that his insides would burst with happiness as he pulled her gently towards him and kissed her.
It was well past two in the morning by the time the last party guests left the Weasley's garden. Luna was dozing in a lawn chair and Neville, seeming preoccupied had gone to bed early. Harry and the others were stretched out lazily on a blanket, watching a very rare phenomenon: Mrs. Weasley had astonished everybody by getting extremely tipsy, and she was now twirling round in the middle of the garden, humming absentmindedly to herself whilst conjuring pink and gold hearts that shimmered around her head. Mr. Weasley chuckled softly to himself as he and Charlie cleared up.

"I haven't seen her this relaxed in such a long time!" he sighed happily to his children. Ginny was giggling at the sight, but Ron as steadily turning red.

"Dad! Can't you stop her? This is so embarrassing!"

"No way little bro!" exclaimed Fred, watching his mother with glee, as George sneaked behind a shrub, taking pictures of their mother, "this is going to be pure gold! Blackmail material for the rest of our lives!"

"I'm not sure how long your lives will last when your mother finds out you took pictures of her in this state!" Hermione said in amusement.

"Pictures? Of me?" exclaimed Mrs. Weasley, spinning unsteadily to face Ron, "Oh how lovely!" and she proceeded to strike several extravagant poses, not realising that George, who had the camera, was off to her far right. "Now one with me and Ronniekins!" and oblivious to his attempts to escape, Mrs. Weasley pulled Ron towards her and threw both arms about his neck.

"Mum! Gerroff me!" squealed Ron, much to Harry, Hermione and the rest of the Weasleys' delight. It was too much for them, they fell about laughing while George captured the moment on camera. Grudgingly, Ron smiled, until he too joined in with the laughter.

"All right, all right," said Mr. Weasley, wiping his eyes. "I think that's enough now. Come on Molly, let's get you to bed." Gently disentangling Ron from his mother's embrace, Mr. Weasley led his wife to the kitchen door.

"Kiss me Arthur!" Mrs. Weasley demanded, hiccoughing slightly, attempting to engage Mr. Weasley in another dance. "Yes dear, maybe later," he said quietly, casting a furtive look over his shoulder at the others, who were now doubled up and howling on the lawn. "Be quiet you lot and get this garden cleared up! I doubt your mother will want to wake up to your photos and this mess tomorrow - or later today should I say!"

"Yes Dad," grumbled the twins reluctantly. "Yes Mr. Weasley!" said Harry and Hermione, as they stood up and began to wave their wands, clearing the mess up as they went. As Mr. Weasley closed the kitchen door behind him, the others caught the last strains of a song Mrs. Weasley was singing about coconuts.

“Do you think we should wake Luna?” asked Hermione, still giggling about Mrs. Weasley, “She might get cold.”

“Nah, let’s leave her be for now,” said Ginny, placing the blanket they had been sitting on over Luna, “she looks so tired. I’ll wake her before we go inside.”

Glancing around, Ginny made sure the twins were out of earshot, and then said quietly enough so that only Harry, Ron and Hermione could hear, “So…Do you have any idea what you’re going to do about Bellatrix?”

Hermione froze midway between vanishing a squashed gateaux, causing half of it to disappear while the rest remained, congealing on the lawn, while she looked at Harry with wide, slightly frightened eyes. Ron too had stopped his rather half-hearted attempt to collect all the Butterbeer goblets that were scattered about the garden, to stare at Harry. Harry himself heaved a deep sigh. “I don’t really know yet. Anyone got any ideas?” he said, looking mostly at Hermione. She was always best at thinking clearly in situations like this.

“Well…this might sound silly, but I think we need to try and talk to – to D-Dumbledore –“ she said hesitantly.

“Well of course I’d love to do that, but I don’t know how to make that happen. When I was in hospital, he just sort of appeared – I didn’t ask him to – he just turned up. I don’t know if I can just make that happen again.”

“Actually mate, we saw him too.” Said Ron, looking to Ginny and Hermione for back up.

“You what?” gasped Harry.

“It was when we were in the Ministry,” said Ginny, “we had you on the stretcher and the walls were tumbling down around us and – “

“ – and I said ‘help us’ – or something like that, and this figure sort of appeared and showed us where there was a way out! It – it really looked like Dumbledore.” Hermione concluded lamely.

“Lupin told us that truly great wizards could show themselves in times of need, or something like that, so - so that’s what we reckon happened.” He looked at Harry, while Ginny and Hermione nodded fervently. “You…you do believe us, don’t you?” asked Ron, looking unsure of himself. The three of them stared at Harry. He stared right back at them, thinking hard.

“Of course I believe you! I’m just trying to think of a way we can talk to Dumbledore again…”

“Well that’s easy,” said Ginny.

“Oh yeah?” asked Harry.

“Yeah,” she said, a smile breaking over her face, “we can go and talk to his portrait, in McGonagall’s office!”

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