Author name: Ruskbyte
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Just came to me over the weekend. For the most part I'm planning to make it up as I go along, which is something of a departure from how I usually work. I hope to post a new chapter once a week or so.
~ Birthday Deliveries ~
It was a miserable day at number four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, England. For young Harry Potter, the reluctant fourth occupant of the house, it was not the gloomy layer of rolling clouds that hung overhead, it was not the constant rainfall that had been persisting for the last week, it was not the fact that he wanted to be at Privet Drive, in the presense of his less than loving relatives, about as much as he wanted to have another duel with Voldemort.
It was none of these things that had caused the pall of depression that hung over him.
No, for today was the one day of the year that Harry Potter never looked forward to.
It was July 31st.
It was his birthday.
And after having spent ten years of his life never having his birthday acknowledged in any form, no presents, no cards, no party, not even a lack lustre "Happy Birthday" from his aunt or uncle, Harry attached very little importance to the day.
Even after four years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardary, where he had met his two best friends, Harry still half expected to receive nothing in way muted celebration.
Thus he could not help a slight start when a tap at his bedroom window proved to be the arrival of seven owls. Harry glanced back at his own owl, Hedwig, with raised eyebrows. He had never had so many letters and gifts arrive for him at once. Opening the window, Harry ducked out of the way as the owls swept into his small room, finding perches on his bed, his desk, some shelves and in the case of Ron's owl, Pigwidgeon, not perching at all, but zooming about like a small, grey and fluffy Snitch.
Reaching up to snag the diminutive owl, Harry looked over the other six. One, an old, decrepit owl, he recognized as the Weasley family's owl, Errol, who had collapsed on his bed in a heap of ruffled feathers. Perched above Errol, on the headboard, he saw Hermes which was Percy Weasley's owl. The other four, after close inspection proved to be unknown to him.
Collecting the various letters and packages from the owls, Harry settled down on his bed to take stock of all he had received this year. All-in-all, seven people had sent him presents, actually eight if you split up Fred and George, along with a bulging letter from Hogwarts.
First, delivered by Pig was Ron, whose letter Harry eagerly opened, his usual birthday gloom dispersed with the reminder that his friends would not actually forget him. Leaning back against the wall he began trying to decipher his Ron's almost illegible scrawl.
Happy Birthday, mate!
Maybe now you'll actually be able to play a game of chess with me and not get insulted by your chess pieces, but I wouldn't bet on it. Anyhow, I hope you like the book and the poster I sent with it - now you finally have something Quidditch to put in your room!
I've been pestering Mum and Dad to ask Dumbledore if you could come to the Burrow for the rest of the summer, but they still haven't gotten anything out of him. I hope the Muggles aren't giving you too much grief.
Alongside the book was a poster of, naturally, Ron's favourite Quidditch League team, the Chudley Cannons. Decked out in their vibrant orange and black uniforms the seven players zoomed about the poster on their brooms, Quaffle, Bludgers and the Golden Snitch zipping around and about between them all.
Next Harry opened the letter and gift from his other best friend and near constant companion, Hermione Granger, who had used a mail service owl to make the delivery. He started reading the letter, Hermione's writing as clean and precise as Ron's was messy and scrawled.
I'm currently thinking of going to visit Viktor in Bulgaria, you remember he invited me? Although I'm not really sure I want to go, by myself especially, I'm almost considering it just to spite Ron, that boy is become quite infuriating about it. In fact, his last letter was almost what I would call rude!
He says he's trying to get his parents to arrange with Dumbledore to have you go to the Burrow for the end of summer, and I hope he succeeds - being stuck with the Dursleys for your entire holiday cannot be good for you.
If everything works out, I'll see you at Diagon Alley on the 28th, where I'll be meeting up with the Weasleys and then staying with them until term starts.
The second book, however, gave him pause. It was a thick, leather bound book on curses and hexes, both how to use them and how to avoid them. This was an altogether unwelcome reminder that Lord Voldemort had succeeded in being resurrected only a month ago, something Harry did not want to dwell on considering the circumstances surrounding that resurrection.
'Still,' he thought, 'I suppose it will be useful, like Hermione said.'
Next he read the letter from Mrs Weasley, Ron's mother. Her note and package had been delivered by Errol, who seemed half dead after accomplishing his task. It was mostly a rehash of what Ron had said - that they were trying to get Dumbledore to allow Harry to stay with them for the rest of the summer, but so far the headmaster was continuing his opposition to the idea.
Unwrapping the present, Harry grinned and immediately stored the bundle of food; a birthday cake, some cupcakes, homemade fudge and an assortment of sweets, in the secret area he had discovered under a loose floorboard beneath his bed.
Harry was about to open the next gift, which had also come with Errol, but paused to consider. The handwriting was not overly familiar to him, but he rocognised it as belonging to the youngest of the Weasley children, Ginny. Thinking back to his second year and a certain singing valentine as well as a get well card in his third year, which had also sang, and Harry decided to open her gift last.
It was not that he had anything against Ginny, but looking at his alarm clock, which displayed that it was only twenty past three in the morning. Harry suddered at the thought of the Dursley's being woken from their slumber by any shrill singing that might accompany Ginny's gift.
'Best to get the other presents out of the way first,' he decided, 'Just in case.'
The next letter had come attached to Hermes and Harry was not overly surprised to see that the prankster twins, Fred and George, had appropriated Percy's owl to deliver their gift. He could almost imagine Percy's reaction if he ever found out. Again, just before he opened the letter, Harry paused although for a somewhat different reason. This time it was not the fear of singing that worried him, but the chance that something... odd... might happen. The twins were renowned for their ability to play jokes on just about anyone and Harry had long since resolved to never eat any food offered to him by either of the pair. But did that extend to letters?
'My luck,' he mused, 'it will turn me into a goose. Or a mallard.'
Tempting fate, and resigning himself to whatever the twins saw fit to do to him, Harry carefully unfolded the letter and braced for impact. After several moments passed and nothing happened, he began reading.
Happy Birthday, partner!
|It is thus that we have delivered to you, on this momentous day, a fully stocked starter pack of Wheezes, accompanied by a list and descriptions of every product we are thus far ready to market.|
|Feel free to test any and all of them on that delightful cousin of yours! You know you want to...|
|In accordance with the instructions you left us with when last we saw you, we will be purchasing ickle Ronniekins a set of new, latest fashion, dressrobes for any future occasion he might require. Do you think our baby brother would look good in lilac?|
As for the rest of our present, don't drink them all at once. We know it's light, except
for house-elves, but you're almost small enough to be one! Enjoy and hope to see you at
either the Burrow or in London.
Many thanks and congratulations,
The next gift was a long, thin and exceptionally heavy one, Harry was amazed the poor owl that had delivered it had not collapsed from exhaustion. A note was attached and he recognized the untidy writing as that belonging to Hagrid, his first true friend.
Happy Birthday, I hope you're enjoying it!
I hope you like the dagger, apparently it's been in my family for generations.
All the best,
A giant's dagger.
Hagrid was half-giant himself and Harry could remember Dumbledore talking to him about going on a mission to visit the reclusive giants as an envoy of peace. If Hagrid had said that the dagger was a family heirloom, that could only mean that he had found his mother, the giantess Fridwulfa.
Harry looked at the dagger with newfound respect. If this was just a dagger, how big would a giant's sword be? Gripping the hilt with both hand Harry could barely lift the heavy blade, it was easily the size of a normal human-sized broadsword, and a good bit heavier than the sword of Godric Gryffindor Harry had used in his second year.
The last gift, aside from Ginny's, was a curiously shaped bundle, the type which Harry usually associated with the jumpers Mrs Weasley knitted for Christmas. This time, however, the gift was not from the Weasley matriarch, but from his Godfather, the imfamous Sirius Black.
I hope you like your present, I was staying at Remus Lupin's house when we found it in a box up in his attic. It's a trenchrobe, the wizard equivalent of a Muggle trenchcoat, and it was once your father's. He used to wear it all the time when the Marauder's went out partying, but stopped after he married your mother. James would have wanted you to have it, even if I don't think you're quite tall enough for it yet.
I may be a little difficult to get hold of for a few months, so sent any letters you may have to either Remus or Professor Dumbledore and they will pass them on to me.
It was black leather and very similar to the trenchcoats Harry had seen on television and in his occasional excursions into Muggle London. Harry immediately shucked it on and found that Sirius had been correct, the trenchrobe was a good deal too large for him. His arms and hands were lost it the sleeves and nearly half a foot of the garment dragged along the floor. He didn't have a mirror in his room, but he could tell that at first glance it could almost pass for an ordinary robe, but was still distinct enough that a second glance would reveal it to be something more.
With the trenchrobe still on, Harry sank back onto his bed and picked up the final letter, this the only one without an accompanying package. It was his Hogwarts letter, written in beautiful emerald ink and with the Hogwarts seal.
Dear Mr Potter,
Please note that the new school year will begin on September the first. The Hogwarts Express will leave from King's Cross Station, platform nine and three-quarters, at eleven o'clock.
It is also with great pleasure that we can inform you that you have been selected as one of the Gryffindor house Prefects. Please report to the Prefect's carriage on the Hogwarts Express where your duties and privilages shall be explained to you.
Congratulations on your appointment, we know you will uphold the integrity, honour and dedication that is expected of such a prestigious post.
A list of required books and equipment is enclosed.
Reaching into the envelope, Harry withdrew the list of books and stuff he'd be needing and then pulled free a gleaming silver badge. He had never expected, at least not for himself - Hermione, yes, but not himself - to chosen as a Prefect. After all his adventures, not to mention the many detentions and the fact that he had probably broken, or at least bent, every rule Hogwarts had.
"Ron and Hermione will never believe this," he whispered in amazement, "Hell, I know I don't."
Setting his Prefect badge, along with the letter and list, Harry turned his attention, finally, to Ginny's present. It was smaller than any of the others, quite a bit actually, and the letter was short and to the point as well. In fact, Harry was reminded very strongly of Ginny herself by all this. Since as long as he had known her, Ginny had been very embarressed or uncomfortable in his presense, almost always blushing as red as her hair and more often than not making odd squeaking sounds before disappearing as fast as her legs could carry her.
I'm hoping Mum and Dad can convince Dumbledore to let you come and stay with us for the remainder of the holidays. Please don't let the Muggles get you down or anything.
Carefully he picked up the small package and unwrapped it. It was the second leather item he had received for his birthday. It was a wristband, made up of eight knotted and interwoven cords of red and yellow tanned leather. Gryffindor colours. Slipping the loose band over his left hand, where his watch would normally be were it not broken, Harry tugged on the specially worked knots and tightened the band comfortably around his thin wrist.
Harry was considering this simple, yet thoughtful, gift when movement out the corner of his eye caught his attention. He looked up from where he was sitting on his bed and jerked back against the wall in astonishment.
A phoenix had somehow found its way into his room, despite the fact that Harry had closed the window after Hermione's, Sirius', Hagrid's and the Hogwarts owls had departed. It was slightly larger than the only other phoenix Harry had ever seen. Unlike Fawkes, this bird fairly glowed an almost blinding white. It's crest, wings and tail feathers were tipped with gold and silver. Held firmly in its beek was a letter, which it dropped at Harry's feet.
Curious, and not feeling the least bit cautious - after all, would Voldemort send him anything via a phoenix of all things? In any event, Harry bent down and picked up the letter, looking it over in his hands. It was clearly, in flowing gold script, addressed to him, but it was not any handwritting that Harry recognised. The seal at the back of the envelope was made from a strange silver wax and the crest imprinted on it, shaped like a phoenix in flight, was gleaming a rich and deep gold, surrounded by the seal's silver.
Tentatively he broke the seal and unfolded the parchment, his curious gaze falling upon only seven words written in gleaming gold ink.
|Welcome, to the Order of the Phoenix.|