The Best Birthday
Albus Severus Potter had dark brown hair, bright blue eyes, and a fair skin tone. His parents, Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley, were very fond of him. He had two siblings, James, whose full name was James Sirius Potter, and his sister Lily, who had golden ginger hair and dark hazel eyes, whose full name was Lily Luna Potter. His family lived in a suburban house in London, where things got loud sometimes, but they were used to it. They lived their lives in an orderly routine, like normal people, except they kept a secret, a secret that no one could find out about; the Potter family were wizards, and every one of them had come from a wizarding family. Harry Potter, Albus’ father, had lived one incredible childhood full of adventures. Ginny Weasley, his mother, had a kind-hearted soul and put others in front of her first. She met Harry when they were at school together at Hogwarts, the finest school of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the world. Ginny rarely joined him on his adventures, but they got closer towards the end of their school years.
Life here was calm, and soon, Albus would be old enough to join his brother, James at Hogwarts. At Hogwarts, James was known as ‘The Troublemaker’, he was always plotting ways to displease his teachers. But despite multiple detentions and being loathed by Professors, James got high marks in almost every exam, making himself one of the top students in his classes. However frustrated his parents would become, his exam results almost always covered for him. Harry, Albus’ father, had always desired to have a family where he could be accepted as a wizard. In the house he grew up in, number four, Privet Drive, Harry was never allowed almost anything. All his clothes had been dirty, second-handed, and passed from his greedy cousin, Dudley Dursley, who was now greatly oversized. After Harry’s parents’ deaths, (in which were both assassinated by the terrifying Lord Voldemort, one of the most dangerous and powerful Wizards back then,) Harry was rushed to his only living relatives, his Aunt Petunia, and Uncle, Vernon, both of which were Harry’s worst nightmares. Aunt Petunia, whose sister was Harry’s mother, was very critical and disapproving of her sister’s type.
Our story begins on a particular day when the sun was scorching. Albus was lying on his bed fast asleep, his duvet cover strewn on the floor. He then woke up with a jolt, as a thought came to his head.
It was his birthday! He shot out of bed and skidded downstairs, shaking. He hadn’t done so in a prolonged amount of time. You see, Albus was the sort of person who always awaited something from people. He was used to it, after all. As a child, if there was one thing that Albus had learned, it was that he could always be expectant from his parents. That must have been the reason that he had then expected to find multiple presents laid out for him in the living room. All he found was James, not a clue as to what was happening on his face, making this a lot more difficult.
‘Where are my presents?’ He asked, in a state of disbelief. ‘It- It’s my birthday, isn’t it?’
‘Last time I checked.’ James said, not taking his eyes off the cereal box that he was carefully reading the contents of. If he knew anything, Albus was sure that he knew James well enough as to be able to know that look on his face when he was lying. And he did. This wasn’t one of the times he was lying; James was being serious. Albus, still completely and utterly confused, headed back up the stairs, the previous feeling of excitement and rushes of adrenalin now completely gone, and instead, there, the feeling of despair, confusion, and disappointment. He could feel his heart plummet to his stomach even more for every single step he took back up the stairs. Had his own family really forgotten his own birthday? No, it’s not possible, he kept reassuring himself over and over, as he sat, mulling his thoughts over in his mind. Perhaps his parents were just working, and would be back later in the day? Or, on a better note, was it possible that they would be preparing a surprise for him someplace else? Despite thinking of excuses, Albus still felt that there was something missing about the whole thing. Heaving a deep sigh, he sat down on his bed and pulled out a book. Albus didn’t usually read, but on this occasion, he had nothing better to do. He seemed down at the pages. Lifeless. Meaningless. He didn’t want to read, especially if it was going to be on his birthday. He shut the book once more and turned to face his pillow. Perhaps he was just dreaming? Albus considered pinching himself for a moment. It was then he felt his stomach rumble. He slumped out of his room and took down the stairs, heading for the kitchen.
That was the moment that Albus felt all of the weight on his shoulders lift up and disappear. He felt his heart lift back up and back into its original place. The thing that attracted him the most, however, were the presents that each one of them was holding in their hands. He hurried to hug them all. They each took a seat at the breakfast table and began talking busily about the special day. ‘Perhaps we should begin unwrapping the presents then?’ Ginny began, striding over to one of the presents. ‘This one.’ She said first, handing it to him, a beaming smile on her face. He pulled out a jersey. Not any jersey. (To Albus at least) The name ‘Oliver Wood’ was sewn on the back, displayed with a large number one. You see, Albus was a big fan of Quidditch, and had always admired his dad for his achievements as a Gryffindor Seeker. As a matter of fact, he had hoped to be one himself.
‘Well, try it on, then!’ Ginny urged him. ‘It was quite expensive, you know!’ she added. Albus pulled the jersey on over his pajama shirt, and, despite the unnatural look from the shirt underneath, he looked fine. They then proceeded to unwrap five more presents, two of which had been gifted from his aunt and uncle, Ron and Hermione, as well as their two children, Hugo and Rose, and another of which had been given by his sister, Lily. Silence had fallen in the room as the five of them ate the food eagerly. They were then interrupted by Harry, who had seemed as if he had just been struck by an idea or a thought. He jolted out of his seat and sprinted over to the telephone. He then began entering some numbers, muttering madly under his breath, as if he were trying to remember something. Albus and James exchanged looks as the two of them, along with Ginny and Lily, watched curiously as Harry sat waiting for whoever was on the other side of the line to pick up. They couldn’t hear much of their conversation, as it was happening in another room, but they were able to make out small fragments and morsels of what was happening.
‘… That would be fantastic!’ was one of which they heard Harry say.
‘… I’ll make sure to give them my best…’
‘… I’ll check!’
It took a while for Harry to finally put down the phone, but once he did, he seemed to have something very exciting on his mind, because he was smiling with both his mouth and his eyes.
‘ – Harry?’
‘What’re you doing, exactly?’
A pause followed.
‘ – Is there anything in particular that you are looking for?’ Ginny cried from the kitchen to the hall. Harry didn’t answer, but instead, came back into the room where the rest of them were waiting. ‘What’s he holding in his hands?’ James whispered, as he and his younger brother watched as their father came back into the kitchen. Albus looked back at James and shrugged. ‘I believe this is for you.’ Harry said, handing Albus a letter, beaming. ‘Isn’t that – ‘ Lily said, cutting off and running over to her brother. ‘Yep.’ Ginny got up from her chair and ran over to where they were standing and peered over Albus’ shoulder. Albus turned over the Hogwarts letter in his hands. It was parchment, sealed with a scarlet stamp. ‘Open it up, then!’ James said. He could feel his hands trembling. The hairs on the back of his neck prickling a little more with every given moment. He pulled out the letter.
Dear Albus Severus Potter
,We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1st September. We await your owl no later than 31 July.
Albus was flushed. He could feel Harry, Ginny, Lily, and James glance at each other and smile behind him.
‘Your letter came too, James.’ Harry told him, reaching for another envelope that had been left on the counter. ‘I think it’s just the list for what you need.’
The family went on about Hogwarts for a while, until Lily brought up Diagon Alley.
‘- And when exactly will we be going to get me and James’ new things?’ Albus asked.
‘Hm… Well, it must be soon, because we don’t have much time.’ Harry told them. ‘Perhaps tomorrow?’
‘Tomorrow?’ Ginny sprung. ‘That’s on short notice, don't you think?’
‘Ah, well, what do we have to lose?’
It was confirmed. The family was going to go to Diagon Alley the next day.
It was half an hour later when Albus had tucked his letter in his pocket and headed up to his bedroom. He was now lying, facing upwards, on his bed, mulling over thoughts about Hogwarts. He didn’t quite know what to expect. What were Quidditch games going to be like? Professors? Homework? Friends?
James would come back every year with a new story or adventure including some sort of mysterious creature, (that Albus had the strange instinct that his brother should have never even been near to) or at least breaking a few dozens of school rules. This was one of the main reasons that made him feel so excited to go to Hogwarts, he didn’t want to hear about the stories; he wanted to be in them.
That afternoon, the Potter house sat in silence. Albus was strewn on his bed for what felt like hours, thinking, and thinking and thinking. He would have usually gone outside to play with James, but this time he chose to do this instead. It was quite strange to him. This all felt quite sudden. He was going to Hogwarts in just a few days, and he was going to get his materials the very next day. Not only did it feel sudden, but quite too good to be true. Albus couldn’t help but fight a smile every time he thought about what was happening.
Subsequently, the next day, Harry, Ginny, James, Albus, and Lily were all lined up in front of the mantlepiece. Ginny was clutching what seemed like a flowerpot in her hand.
‘ – Right, James, you go first.’ She directed, pointing to the fireplace.
James stepped over to the fireplace. In fact, a way to go to Diagon Alley was through a fireplace and Floo powder. Another way was through the Leaky Cauldron in London, but in terms of recent years, it looked as if there was a growing ‘trend’ with going to Diagon Alley using Floo Powder.
James stepped into the hearth, seizing a handful of the dust like material. The next moment, after he had yelled ‘Diagon Alley!’ all that was left in the fireplace was a pile of scattered dust.
Ginny looked over at Albus, who, despite having done this for the past two years, (in order to go to Diagon Alley for James) seemed to have an anxious look on his face. He stepped in and shifted from foot to foot, unnecessarily feeling uneasy.
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