Harry Potter - Series Fan Fiction ❯ Harry Potter and the Werewolf Prophecy ❯ UNPACKING ( Chapter 16 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

There was an uncomfortable feeling at the Burrow for the next few hours, but as Ron slept on, Harry and Ginny relaxed. They were sitting in Harry’s room, saying little, but enjoying being together.

“Harry?” said Ginny, a gently query in her voice. “That bag that your cousin gave you. Shouldn’t you look at it?”

Harry sighed. “I suppose so. I’d forgotten about most of this stuff. Just what I’d decided I could live without.”

“Yes, when you were on the run and had to escape on a broomstick. That doesn’t mean you should have to abandon everything if you don’t have to.”

Harry dragged the bag over to the bed and opened it. The first thing he saw was his dress robes, washed, ironed, and neatly folded. He smiled. “One thing about Petunia, she did keep things clean and tidy,” he said, almost nostalgically. He shook them out.

“You’ll need them,” said Ginny. “No point in buying a new set.”

“I suppose not. Oh, look!” He held up a small box. “My Holyhead Harpies cufflinks.”

“I gave you those!” said Ginny. “You left them behind! How could you?” She reached into the case. “And your Christmas sweater. Oh, Harry, I’m so disappointed in you. You went hunting Voldemort without your Christmas sweater.”

As Harry pulled out a pile of books, the door opened, and Ron and George entered.

“Hey, is that the potions book?” said Ron. “The one with all of Snape’s notes in it?  I thought it was lost.”

“No, I got it back from the Room of Requirements. I was gathering everything I thought might help in looking for Horcruxes. In the end I didn’t bring it the Dursleys – I suppose I didn’t want Hermione going on at me about it all the time we were in hiding,” said Harry. “She kept warning me about it and I suppose eventually I started to think she was right. Some nasty spells scribbled in the margins.”

George took the book from Harry and riffled through the pages. “That’s very true, Harry, and you are very wise to restrain yourself.”

He closed the book and held it upright in his right hand. “On the other hand – this is the book that turned you from a frankly mediocre concocter of potions into the best in your class. Better than Hermione, even, which is almost impossible to credit.”

“Yeah, funny how Snape was a better teacher scribbling notes for himself than when he was standing in front of a class,” said Ron.

“That’s because Snape was, if one can be forgiven for slandering a dead hero, a total prat,” said George judiciously. “Fred and I never got on with the man. Possibly because we spent our potions lessons trying to devise simple ways to induce vomiting.”

“Snape used to do that by walking into class,” said Ron.

“Bottled Snape would be one of our best-sellers I’m sure,” said George. “But, Harry. This book is a treasure, is it not? Wouldn’t every aspiring NEWT student – I believe that such people exist – benefit from its advice?”

Harry shrugged. “Maybe. But I wouldn’t let that book out into the world. You wouldn’t want a load of sixth years using sectumsempra on each other.”

George held a hand up to the side of his head. “Point taken, Harry. Point most definitely taken. I would not like to see that. When it comes to curses removing vital body parts, I am in sympathy.”

“The stuff about potions is harmless enough though,” said Ron. “I mean, it makes sense to use the best instructions. Not that you let me copy them out.”

“Yeah, sorry,” said Harry. “Anyway, best just put it away.”

He reached for the book, but George stepped back.

“Just consider this, Harry. The waste of materials! The shattered lives from all the poor young students who can’t pass their Potions NEWT! There’s a bright young boy or girl out there, Harry, who would make a fine auror, but they won’t get the mark they need for the want of this book.”

Harry paused. He’d set his heart on being an auror, and he still remembered the sinking feeling he’d had when he thought that he wouldn’t be able to continue with potions because of his exam result. Potions were a requirement to be an auror, along with many other positions with the Ministry.

Then he shook his head. “It’s no good, George. I can’t let that book be public. It’s too dangerous.”

“Public? Public? Nobody said anything about making the whole book public, Harry.” George shook his head. “That would be madness.”

“Absolutely insane,” said Ron.

“What we need to do – for the benefit of the whole wizarding world, Harry – is to extract what’s useful.” George put on as serious a face as he could manage.

“A special edition,” said Ron.

“At a very reasonable price,” continued George.

“All the nasty dark magic removed,” said Ron.

“By whom?” interjected Ginny. “You can’t possibly mean to let him do it, Harry. I know what happens when you start reading strange books!”

“Hang on,” said Harry. “This isn’t possessed, or anything like that. It’s just full of Snape’s notes.”

“Snape’s notes from when he was becoming a Dark Wizard!” said Ginny, her face reddening. “He was a very good Dark Wizard, too!”

“Ginny! Ginny Ginny Ginny!” said George, holding up his hands placatingly. “I’m not going to go near anything the least bit dangerous. Just the potions. Not any new potions, either. Just the ones he improved. I’ll test them out...”

You’re going to do it?” said Harry, incredulous. “I don’t think so, George. I remember hearing the explosions coming from your bedroom. I don’t want to be in the house if you’re trying out untested potion recipes.”

“I don’t want to be in the same county,” said Ginny.

“Well, who then?” said George. “Come on, Harry, we can’t let this slip. It’s a golden opportunity.”

“I don’t think anyone should go near it,” said Ginny fiercely.

“You know who would do it properly,” said Ron slowly.

They paused. Harry looked at Ginny. “If she did… if she agreed… that would be all right, wouldn’t it? I mean, if you can’t trust…”

“OK! OK!” snapped Ginny angrily. “If Hermione agrees to take charge of it, then fine. She won’t though.”

“When’s she next over? Ron?” said George.

Ron shook his head. “Dunno. She didn’t say.”

George sighed. “Ronald, Hermione is, with the possible exception of Mum and the lovely Fleur, the best thing to happen to the Weasley family for three hundred years. Please don’t let her slip away by being…” He stared at Ron for about ten seconds. “…yourself.”

Harry reached for the book, but George snatched it away. “Just let me have a look at it,” he pleaded. “I promise not to try anything in it.”

Ron pulled it out of his hand. “I’ll look at it with you. I spent enough time watching him read it. About time I got a chance to see how he suddenly became the big potions expert.”

“Ron, don’t...” began Harry.

“It’s all right, I won’t let him do anything silly,” said Ron. “Like, for example, trying out a new curse on someone without knowing what it does.” Harry looked at his shoes. “We’ll have a look at it and then when Hermione gets back it’s up to her.”

Ginny turned to Harry. “Are you going to let them do God knows what with that book?”

“Well, I… maybe it isn’t always up to me what people should and shouldn’t do. I’m not the Chosen One, or if I was, that was just because I happened to get in the way. I’ve always said I’m not special, and maybe everyone shouldn’t leave it up to me to decide everything!” He found he was speaking quite loudly. “Er… sorry.”

“You know, Harry, I only wanted to borrow a book,” said George. “I’ll think twice before I ask you to go on a vampire-hunting quest or battle an army of Inferi. New plans for the weekend I think.”

“I just got a bit carried away,” said Harry.

“No problem, mate,” said Ron. “Listen, don’t worry, either of you. I’ll keep an eye on him, and there’ll be no messing about, OK?”

George and Ron left, and Harry and Ginny sat looking at each other. “Sorry...” they both began together, and then laughed.

“Ron seems to be coming out of himself a bit,” said Harry.

“Yes, but mostly with George. Not Hermione, yet, I’m sorry to say. Have you noticed how he’s slotting into that Fred half of the double act this last few weeks?”

Harry pondered. “Is that a good thing?”

Ginny sighed. “Big families are a bit odd. Ron was always sat on by everyone, especially Fred and George. Now George is a bit lost, and if Ron can keep him company, well, it’s whatever works.”

“It’s different to Fred, though. The two of them used to egg each other on. Ron’s kind of on his side but keeping him sensible.”

Ginny shook her head. “I never figured out how the twins became the most successful members of this family. I mean, Charlie and Bill, even Percy, they’ve all done all right, but George and poor Fred, they were… I mean, I never thought that anything they did was actually work.”

“They probably worked as hard as Hermione. Designing new jokes isn’t any easier than designing new potions. Did George buy Zonko’s yet?”

“He made them an offer, and told them that if they don’t accept, he’ll open WWW in a different premises. George is quite the ruthless businessman when he wants to be. They haven’t replied yet.”

Harry smiled. “He keeps telling me that I’m an investor and that I’m entitled to whatever share of the profits I want. I wish he wouldn’t.”

Ginny smiled back at him. “Don’t be so quick to use up your money, Harry. You might be a family man someday.”