Harry Potter sat on his bed rubbing the scar on his forehead with his hand. Just when he had been certain his dreadful dreams had stopped, he was haunted yet again by his old nightmares. Only this time, his memories seemed to have got mixed up somehow. He remembered seeing Sirius fall through the veil at the graveyard followed by Cedric falling dead on the other side of the cloth. He wasn’t sure if he had heard his parent’s pleas for mercy as well. Harry stood up and dragged himself to the bathroom, the memory of the dream fading away with every step he took. By the time he reached the sink, he merely had an idea of the happenings of the dream. Lost in his thoughts, Harry looked up at the bathroom mirror. He casually tried to set his untidy hair flat and ruffled through them with a hand. His reflection in the mirror brought back a fleeting memory of his father enjoying a sunny day in the Hogwarts grounds after his O.W.L.s. He stared transfixed at the mirror amazed at the similarity between his reflection and the James Potter he had seen in Snape’s pensive. “Reminds of James, doesn’t it?” Said a hoarse voice behind him. Harry wheeled around to find a tired looking Lupin staring at the mirror. It was the first time Harry had seen him at the headquarters since the attack. “By the way” Lupin shifted his gaze over to Harry, “Mrs. Weasley requested me to inform you lot that you’d be going to the Diagon alley today to get all your school stuff. Under strict guard of course.” “Why?” Harry demanded. “Do you sincerely think that Dumbledore would allow you to wander alone, especially after the double attack?” “I’m not a kid anymore….” “But you’re not an adult either. I believe you’d do me the favor of informing the others as well. I don’t fancy waking everybody from their sweat dreamland” Harry groaned. He didn’t know what ‘sweet dreamland’ was. He had never had one. “Be ready in about two hours.” Lupin added checking his watch before he left. Harry suddenly found himself overjoyed. He had been in desperate need to get out. There was some fun in store for him at last he thought as he proceeded to wake Ron up. ************************************************************************ Ron’s ears grew twice the normal size and became pointed. He started to shrink and was left to half his usual height. His eyes grew out and became the size of tennis balls. His nose elongated and became the shape of a pencil. In place of Ron stood an unmistakable prototype of an elf with distinctive features of the original Ron still visible, especially his freckles. Ron blinked and then stared at the dumbfound faces of Harry, Hermione and Ginny and Fred and George’s contorted features showed that they were trying hard to stifle a laugh. “What?” “Nothing!” Harry said, trying to keep a straight face. Ron looked confused for a moment and then looked at the mirror on the Pantry door. “AAARGH!” He screamed dropping his spoon on the floor. Fred and George burst out laughing as he ran towards the mirror to have a closer look. Taking clue all other children let loose their laughs as well. “It works! It really works!” Fred managed as he doubled over in laughter. “Why’s it always me?” Ron said now smiling himself. “Maybe it’s because you’re fool enough to eat something they offer” Harry pointed towards the twins still laughing. “But I didn’t! I only drank Butter bear Ginny offered to me.” Ron said eyeing Ginny. “Sorry Ron. I decided to help them a bit” Ginny said finally controlling her giggles, “mainly because they forewarned me not to touch the Canary cream they were offering Percy.” “Eeeeh!” Mrs. Weasley screamed as she entered the kitchen, “Who are you? I thought Winky was taking up the job.” “He is Ron mom” Fred supplied. “He is WHAT?” “Elfing bear. We thought we would cheer them up a bit before they leave for Diagon alley. They can’t be all gloomy when they come there.” Harry was well aware of Mrs. Weaslsy’s reaction to the twins’ pranks. He considered to it best to leave the room and stood up to leave but was taken aback by the softness in Mrs. Weasley’s voice. “It was really nice f you actually” she said engaging herself in cleaning up the table. “though I don’t approve of you changing Percy into a canary, I do think that the children here needed some entertainment.” “Why not Harry?” Ron suddenly blabbed, “Why don’t you ever test your inventions on him?” “He’s got privileges” “He is our financer, you see” “C’mon Fred we’re already late.” “Wait a moment. I think Ron would like to be back to his human form.” Fred said tossing a candy towards Ron, which he thankfully ate. He illuminated a deep purple for a moment before transforming back to himself. “Don’t forget to visit Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes when you are out there.” George said dissaperating after Fred. “That was some transformation” Hermione said with awe as the four left the kitchen “must’ve been complex.” “Doesn’t Mrs. Weasley bother their joke shop anymore?” Harry voiced his curiosity. “Nah! Just look at the Galleons they’re bringing home. I believe she now considers it like any other profession.” Ron replied Harry was shocked to see the large number of order members that had gathered to escort them in the visit. Besides Mr. And Mrs. Weasley, there were Tonks, Sturgis Podmore, Lupin, Mad-eye Moody, Elphias Doge, a few members Harry didn’t recognize and to Harry’s surprise, Dedalus Diggle. “I didn’t know he was in the order too.” Harry pointed towards Diggle. “I think he would drop dead in a single blow.” Ron whispered back eyeing the weak-looking wizard. Diggle waved at them joyously and tipped his hat as Mrs. Weasley pushed them towards the fireplace. “Come on Harry, you go first. And don’t go wondering before everyone gets through.” Mrs. Weasley said putting, a handful of floo powder in the fire. Harry stepped into the fire and put some floo powder he had scooped out of the holder down saying clearly: “Diagon alley.” He saw Tonks and Lupin dissaperate just before he was he was sucked in by the swivel of colors. His head began to spin harder with every passing second. The spinning suddenly stopped and he appeared at a fireplace near Florean Fortescue’s ice cream parlor. He was dragged out of the fire by Tonks and then forced to stand waiting for others to arrive. He made a mental plan for the day as others stepped out of the fire one after another. He had to replenish his gold supply for the shopping. He would rather go finish at the aporthecary before going to Madam Malkin’s Robes for all occasions. He definitely didn’t want to spill some greasy potion material on new robes. The rest of the day could be spent purchasing books and visiting the twins. Hermione stepped out last and the group moved forward for a tiresome day ************************************************************************ The first half of the day passed quite as Harry had expected. Though Harry was a little annoyed by the constantly watchful eyes of the order members, he was also thankful that they were there. It made it impossible for the other people in the alley to come running to Harry for a shake-hand or worse, an autograph. Now that the Prophet was projecting Harry as a heroic survivor who alarmed the wizarding world of Voldemort’s return, his popularity seemed to be on a rise again. Harry scanned his booklist as they entered Flourish and Blotts You will need the following books for your 6th year: The standard book of spells, grade 6 by Jones Akkins Higher transfiguration by Ninda Bonks Advanced dueling: Curses and Shields by A. Hussain Magical Herbs and Fungi: Plants alive by C. Lawrence Higher Potions by D. Limbstock Magical animals by S. Stock Hermione carried the heaviest bag of the three as they left the bookshop. Although Mrs. Weasley was carrying about half her books, she was having difficulty managing her half. “Don’t you ever get tired of reading books?” “I’m taking almost twice as many subjects as you two,” She pointed out. Harry was startled to see Fred and George’s joke shop towering over the adjoining alley shops. Although it was at the end of the street, it could be easily seen from almost anywhere in the alley. A board glittered in front of the shop “WEASLEY’S AND CO’S PRESENT – WEASLEY’S WIZARD WEEZES” A board beside the door displayed the floor plan of the shop Daily Picks and other hot tricks Ground floor Skiving snackboxes 1st floor Shape shifters 2nd floor Harry entered the shop to be greeted by a room full of stuff a normal boy could never have imagined of. There was a whole wall displaying fake wands that turned into annoying things when used and wands that backfired. There were also the invisibility hats that the twins had been selling in the common room last year and a whole range of Ton-tongue toffees. The corner devoted to hot tricks displayed the portable swamp and the fireworks that Fred and George had let off at Hogwarts last year. But the item that seemed to be the favorite of the mass was extendable ears. There were hundreds of extendable ears neatly stacked in the shelves on one walls of the room. Even more surprising then all the tricks put together was the huge crowd in the shop. Whole of the Diagon alley seemed to have moved in. There were wizards of all age – Old and Young, Boys and Girls alike. Harry’s eyes wondered up to a board that seemed to be hanging in mid air
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