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Old October 30th, 2012, 12:27 am
jmunay10  Male.gif jmunay10 is offline
First Year
 
Join Date: 01st September 2012
Posts: 59
Re: Harry Potter and the Hellfire Potion

Chapter 20 ~ Longbottom's Surprise

Moments later, they tumbled out of the fireplace at the Leaky Cauldron.

"Harry, my boy! Won't you and your friends come and have a drink? My treat," exclaimed Tom the barman, overjoyed to see Harry again.

"Maybe later, Tom? We have to go and meet some friends," answered Harry apologetically.

"Of course, of course! Bring your friends too!" Tom beamed as he bowed them out of his pub.

Hurrying down Diagon Alley, Harry noticed how everything was starting to go back to normal. At the height of Voldemort's reign, witches and wizards were too scared to shop alone, preferring to stay huddled in groups or not risk going out at all. Many wizarding shops had been boarded up and nobody lingered for very long. Now, nearly all the shops were open again, and there were people everywhere; sitting outside Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, gossiping outside the Apothecary, young witches and wizards with their noses pressed against the window of Quality Quidditch Supplies and an endless stream of mischief-doers went in and out of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes with bulging shopping bags. Countless people nodded and waved to Harry, Ron and Hermione as they passed by.

"I could get used to being famous, you know," remarked Ron happily, as a very pretty group of teenage witches waved at them, giggling flirtatiously.

"I bet you could," said an amused Hermione, tucking her arm into Ron's. It wiped the smiles off the girls' faces, but caused Ron to beam from ear to ear.

"I see you two are getting on better," said Harry with raised eyebrows.

Ron glowed magenta, but he and Hermione simply smiled at him. Harry laughed and shook his head.

"Whoa!"

They had come to a stop at 142 Diagon Alley. In front of them was a brand new wizarding shop, its windows covered in brown paper.

"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Hermione, releasing Ron's arm and taking a step forwards.

"Longbottom's Magical Plants and Vines," read Ron in awed tones.

"Magical plants, herbs and roots for all occasions," continued Hermione.

"If we don't have it, you don't need it," added Harry.

"That part was Gran's idea," Neville was standing behind them, beaming with pride.

"Neville - what is this?" asked Hermione, thoroughly confused.

"My shop! Gran and some of the family put the money up for it. I'm going to run it!" he grinned at them in excitement, "You know that the Ministry give us a sort of pension - you know, for Mum and Dad?" he added in a low voice, his expression darkening for a moment. "That's how we could afford it...at least I can put the money to good use now..."

"Wow, Neville! This is wicked!" said Ron, still staring up at the shop.

"Yeah, congratulations! But why didn't you say anything?" asked Harry.

"Well, I didn't realise it would happen so quickly. One minute I was mentioning it to Gran, and the next..." he trailed off, gesturing to the new shop.

"So you'll work here full-time?" asked Hermione.

"Yeah!" said Neville happily, "Come in and have a look." He pulled a golden key out of his pocket and opened the door.

"Wait for me!" they turned around to see Luna running towards them, her dirty blond hair streaming out behind her. "Sorry I'm late," she gasped, smiling widely at each of them, "Daddy and I were planning our next expedition - we're going Dingle-Poppy spotting in the Himalayas!"

Deciding it to ignore that comment completely, the others carried on their conversation as though Luna hadn't spoken. They entered the shop and Hermione gasped again.

"Did you enlarge it?" she said staring around in wonder.

"Yeah, it was the only way to get everything in," said Neville, grinning.

Though the shop looked small from the outside, inside it was a vast dark cavern, filled with rows and rows of magical plants of all varieties, neatly laid out in alphabetical order. Every magical plant was there, from Abyssinian Shrivelfigs to Wormwood plants. At the far end of the shop was a counter made from a dark coloured wood. Upon it were eight sets of brass scales ranging from the tiny to the enormous, and tucked away in the corner was a small cash register. An arched doorway was behind this, hung with a black curtain.
"What's behind there, Neville?" asked Harry curiously.

"I was waiting for you to ask," said Neville happily, drawing back the curtain and allowing them to pass through. They entered a smaller room, lined with fewer plants, but these looked much more interesting.

"This is where all the most dangerous plants are kept," Luna informed them.

"How do you know?" asked Ron.

"I'm going to be working here part-time!"

"Neville!" cried Ron, clutching his chest in mock-hurt, "how could you keep this from us?" Neville laughed as he led them up and down the aisles, pointing out the different poisonous plants.

"This is the Devil's Snare ... this is a baby Venomous Tentacular - it's not too dangerous yet ... Mimbulous Mimbletonia, that's my favourite ... and if you come over here, I think you'll be very interested in these,"

Standing back, he revealed a row of tiny trees tucked away in the furthest corner.

"What are these?" asked Ron, reaching out to feel one of the delicate branches when-

Thump!

"Ouch!" he yelled. The innocent looking little tree had whacked his hand.

Harry and the others laughed. Wiping his eyes, Neville said,

"They're baby Whomping Willows! This is the only supply of them in the world."

"Wow Neville, these are amazing!" praised Hermione, deeply impressed. They all looked at the miniature Willows, that were now all waving around, disturbed by Ron's yelling. Tearing her eyes away, Hermione continued to stroll about until she came to stop in from of a small, glowing plant.

"Neville - what's this plant? I don't think I've ever seen anything like it before." The others came over to where Hermione was standing, to get a look at the new plant. Instead of green stems, it was jet black, with tiny orangey red blooms that seemed to be flickering.

"This is the most dangerous plant in the entire world," said Neville, completely serious now. "I'm not going to actually sell it to anyone - that why I keep it back here."

"But what is it?" asked Hermione in a hushed voice.

"It's a Hellfire Plant. They're extremely rare. See how the flowers look like they're glowing?"

The others nodded, staring intently at the plant.

"That's because each petal is actually a tiny flame."

They leaned in for a closer look.

"Wow," breathed Hermione. On each black stalk was a minute flower, made up of eight tiny flames that looked like petals from afar.

"Try and blow it out," suggested Neville.

"No thanks," said Ron, rubbing his hand where it had been slapped by the baby Whomping Willow.

"I'll try," said Harry, leaning in further and blowing gently on the plant. It barely moved. He blew harder, but still the miniature flames didn't move.

"What's it used for?" asked Harry, straightening up.

"It's the deadliest poison in the world. Nothing can save you from it, not a Bezoar, not antidotes - nothing. If you know how, you can use the fire to brew a poison that literally melts your insides."

Hermione shivered.

"Urgh, Neville - that sounds awful. Why do you have one?"

"Because they're so rare! It's an amazing plant, as long as you don't use it for bad things."

"Well, I'm not sure it's a good idea to have one at all," she said with a frown.

"Well don't worry - it's not like I'm a master potion maker," he said, smiling.

"Okay..." she said reluctantly, still frowning.

"So when do you open?" asked Ron, as though this exchange hadn't taken place.

"A week tomorrow! I'm still waiting for a few more plants to come in. Luna's going to help out next week - before she goes back to Hogwarts-"

"-helloooo? Anyone here?" a voice called from the front of the shop.

They left the curtained area and found Mrs. Weasley and Ginny smiling in the front doorway.

"Neville dear! What a surprise!" gasped Mrs. Weasley, looking around at everything.

As Neville and Luna gave the new arrivals a tour, Harry, Ron and Hermione wandered around the less dangerous plants.

"You know," said Hermione thoughtfully, "we could get a lot of potion ingredients from here, like the pus for the exploding potion."

"Good idea," said Harry.

"D'you reckon Neville'll give us a discount?" asked Ron hopefully.

"That's hardly the point, is it?" asked Hermione crisply.

Ron smiled at her and to Harry's amazement, she backed down and returned his smile. Restraining himself from rolling his eyes, Harry said;

"Why don't we take up Tom's offer and take Neville for a celebratory drink?"

"Are you feeling okay?" asked Hermione, surprised by this sudden carefree attitude.

"Hey - you only live once - let's go!" Harry took Ginny by the hand and led the way out.

Ron and Hermione stared at each other, shocked but pleased by this relaxed Harry. Calling to the others, they followed Harry out of the shop.


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