The Second Task
disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, just Arabella. First part's in Harry POV, then the rest is in Arabella's. Hope you like it!
The Second Task
'You lost the Map?' said Arabella, shocked.
'You said you'd already worked out that egg clue!' said Hermione crossly.
'Keep your voice down!' said Harry. 'I just need to – sort of fine-tune it, all right? And I didn't lose the Map, Moody just wanted to borrow it.'
They were sitting at the very back of the Charms class with a table to themselves. They were supposed to be practicing the opposite of the Summoning Charm today – the Banishing Charm. Professor Flitwick had given each of them a stack of cushions on which to practice, the theory being that if someone gets hit with one of them, it wouldn't hurt.
'Just forget the egg for a minute, all right?' Harry hissed as Professor Flitwick went whizzing resignedly past them, landing on top of a large cabinet. 'I'm trying to tell you about Snape and Moody…'
This class was an ideal cover for a private conversation, as everyone was having far too much fun to pay them any attention. Harry had been recounting his adventures of the previous night in whispered installments for the last half hour.
'Snape said Moodys searched his office as well?' Ron whispered, his eyes alight with interest as he Banished a cushion with a sweep of his wand (it soared into the air and knocked Parvati's hat off). 'What…d'you reckon Moody's here to keep an eye on Snape as well as Karkaroff?'
'Well, I dunno if that's what Dumbledore asked him to do, but he's definitely doing it,' said Harry, waving his wand without paying much attention, so that his cushion did an odd sort of belly flop off the desk. 'Moody said Dumbledore only lets Snape stay here because he's giving him a second chance or something…'
'What?' said Ron, his eyes widening, his next cushion spinning high into the air, ricocheting off the chandelier, and dropping heavily onto Flitwick's desk. 'Harry…maybe Moody thinks Snape put your name in the Goblet of Fire!'
'Oh Ron,' said Hermione, shaking her head sceptically, 'we thought Snape was trying to kill Harry before, and it turned out he was saving Harry's life, remember?'
She Banished a cushion and it flew across the room and landed in the box they were all supposed to be aiming at. Harry looked at Hermione, thinking…it was true that Snape had saved his life once, but the odd thing was, Snape definitely loathed him, just as he'd loathed Harry's father when they had been at school together. Snape loved taking points from Harry, and had certainly never missed an opportunity to give him punishments, or even to suggest that he should be suspended from the school.
'I don't care what Moody says,' Hermione went on. 'Dumbledore's not stupid. He was right to trust Hagrid and Professor Lupin, even though loads of people wouldn't have given them jobs, so why shouldn't he be right about Snape, even if Snape is a bit -'
'- evil,' said Ron promptly. 'Come on, Hermione, why are all these Dark wizard catchers searching his office, then?'
'Why has Mr. Crouch been pretending to be ill?' said Hermione, ignoring Ron. 'Its a bit funny, isn't it, that he can't manage to come to the Yule Ball, but he can get up here in the middle of the night when he wants to?'
'You just don't like Crouch because of that elf, Winky,' said Ron, sending a cushion soaring into the window.
'You just want to think Snapes up to something,' said Hermione, sending her cushion zooming neatly into the box.
'That's because he always is,' said Arabella, banishing her cushion across the room and into the box, neatly on top of Hermione's.
'I just want to know what Snape did with his first chance, if he's on his second one,' said Harry grimly, and his cushion, to his very great surprise, flew straight across the room and landed precisely on top of Arabella's.
Obedient to Sirius and Remus's wished of hearing about anything odd at Hogwarts, Harry and Arabella sent them both letters explaining about Mr. Crouch breaking into Snape's office, and Moody and Snape's conversation. Then Harry turned his attention in earnest to the most urgent problem facing him: how to survive underwater for an hour on the twenty-fourth of February.
Ron quite liked the idea of using the Summoning Charm again - Harry had explained about Aqua-Lungs, and Ron couldn't see why Harry shouldn't summon one from the nearest Muggle town. Hermione squashed this plan by pointing out that, in the unlikely event that Harry managed to learn how to operate an Aqua- Lung within the set limit of an hour, he was sure to be disqualified for breaking the International Code of Wizarding Secrecy - it was too much to hope that no Muggles would spot an Aqua-Lung zooming across the countryside to Hogwarts.
'Of course, the ideal solution would be for you to Transfigure yourself into a submarine or something,' Hermione said. 'If only we'd done human Transfiguration already! But I don't think we start that until sixth year, and it can go badly wrong if you don't know what you're doing…'
'Yeah, I don't fancy walking around with a periscope sticking out of my head,' said Harry. 'I s'pose I could always attack someone in front of Moody; he might do it for me…'
'I don't think he'd let you choose what you wanted to be turned into, though,' said Hermione seriously. 'No, I think your best chance is some sort of charm.'
So Harry, thinking that he would soon have had enough of the library to last him a lifetime, buried himself once more among the dusty volumes, looking for any spell that might enable a human to survive without oxygen. However, though he, Ron, Arabella, and Hermione searched through their lunchtimes, evenings, and whole weekends - though Harry asked Professor McGonagall for a note of permission to use the Restricted Section, and even asked the irritable, vulture-like librarian Madam Pince, for help - they found nothing whatsoever that would enable Harry to spend an hour underwater and live to tell the tale.
Familiar flutterings of panic were starting to disturb Harry now, and he was finding it difficult to concentrate in class again. The lake, which Harry had always taken for granted as just another feature of the grounds, drew his eyes whenever he was near a classroom window, a great, iron-gray mass of chilly water, whose dark and icy depths were starting to seem as distant as the moon.
Just as it had before he faced the Horntail, time was slipping away as though somebody had bewitched the clocks to go extra-fast. There was a week to go before February the twenty-fourth (there was still time)…there were five days to go (he was bound to find something soon)…three days to go (please let me find something…please)…With two days left. Harry started to go off food again. The only good thing about breakfast on Monday was the return of the brown owl he and Arabella sent to Sirius and Remus. Harry pulled out the single parchment, unrolled it, and saw the shortest letter they had ever seen.
Send date of next Hogsmeade weekend by return owl.
'Maybe there's something on the back?' said Arabella, disappointed by the letter.
Harry turned the parchment over and looked at the back, hoping to see something else, but it was blank.
'Anyway, it's the weekend after next,' said Arabella. 'Send the owl back straight away. Here, use my quill.'
Harry scribbled the dates down on the back of the letter, tied it to the owl's leg, and watched it take flight again.
'Why do they want to know about the next Hogsmeade weekend for?' said Ron.
'Dunno,' said Harry dully. The momentary happiness that had flared inside him at the sight of the owl had died. 'Come on…Care of Magical Creatures.'
Whether Hagrid was trying to make up for the Blast-Ended Skrewts, or because there were now only two skrewts left, or because he was trying to prove he could do anything that Professor Grubbly-Plank could, Harry didn't know, but Hagrid had been continuing her lessons on unicorns ever since he'd returned to work. It turned out that Hagrid knew quite as much about unicorns as he did about monsters, though it was clear that he found their lack of poisonous fangs disappointing.
Today he had managed to capture two unicorn foals. Unlike full-grown unicorns, they were pure gold. Parvati and Lavender went into transports of delight at the sight of them, and even Pansy Parkinson had to work hard to conceal how much she liked them.
'Easier ter spot than the adults,' Hagrid told the class. 'They turn silver when they're abou' two years old, an' they grow horns at aroun four. Don' go pure white till they're full grown, 'round about seven. They're a bit more trustin when they're babies…don mind boys so much…C'mon, move in a bit, yeh can pat 'em if yeh want…give 'em a few o' these sugar lumps…
'You okay Harry?' Hagrid muttered, moving aside slightly, while most of the others swarmed around the baby unicorns.
'Yeah,' said Harry.
'Jus' nervous, eh?' said Hagrid.
'Bit,' said Harry.
'Harry,' said Hagrid, clapping a massive hand on his shoulder, so that Harry's knees buckled under its weight, 'I'd've bin worried before I saw yeh take on tha Horntail, but I know now yeh can do anythin' yeh set yer mind ter. I'm not worried at all. Yeh're goin ter be fine. Got yer clue worked out, haven' yeh?'
Harry nodded, but even as he did so, an insane urge to confess that he didn't have any idea how to survive at the bottom of the lake for an hour came over him. He looked up at Hagrid - perhaps he had to go into the lake sometimes, to deal with the creatures in it? He looked after everything else on the grounds, after all-
'Yeh're goin' ter win,' Hagrid growled, patting Harry's shoulder again, so that Harry actually felt himself sink a couple of inches into the soft ground. 'I know it. I can feel it. Yeh're goin' ter win, Harry'
Harry just couldn't bring himself to wipe the happy, confident smile off Hagrid's face. Pretending he was interested in the young unicorns, he forced a smile in return, and moved forward to pat them with the others.
By the evening before the second task Harry felt as though he were trapped in a nightmare. He was fully aware that even if, by some miracle, he managed to find a suitable spell, he'd have a real job mastering it overnight. How could he have let this happen? Why hadn't he got to work on the egg's clue sooner? Why had he ever let his mind wander in class - what if a teacher had once mentioned how to breathe underwater?
He sat with Arabella, Hermione and Ron in the library as the sun set outside, tearing feverishly through page after page of spells, hidden from one another by the massive piles of books on the desk in front of each of them. Harry s heart gave a huge leap every time he saw the word 'water' on a page, but more often than not it was merely 'Take two pints of water, half a pound of shredded mandrake leaves, and a newt…'
'I don't reckon it can be done,' said Ron's voice flatly from the other side of the table. 'There's nothing. Nothing. Closest was that thing to dry up puddles and ponds, that Drought Charm, but that was nowhere near powerful enough to drain the lake.'
'There must be something,' Hermione muttered, moving a candle closer to her. Her eyes were so tired she was poring over the tiny print of Olde and Forgotten Bewitchments and Charmes with her nose about an inch from the page. 'They'd never have set a task that was undoable.'
'They have,' said Arabella, shutting her book and practically flinging it across the table. 'Harry, just go down to the lake tomorrow, stick your head in, yell at the merpeople to give back whatever they've stolen, and see if they chuck it out. It's the best you can do.'
'There's a way of doing it!' Hermione said crossly. 'There just has to be!'
She seemed to be taking the library's lack of useful information on the subject as a personal insult; it had never failed her before.
'I know what I should have done,' said Harry, resting, face-down, on Saucy Tricks for Tricky Sorts. 'I should've learned to be an Animagus like Sirius.'
'Yeah, you could've turned into a goldfish any time you wanted!' said Ron.
'Or a frog,' yawned Harry. He was exhausted.
'It takes years to become an Animagus, and then you have to register yourself and everything,' said Hermione vaguely, now squinting down the index of Weird Wizarding Dilemmas and Their Solutions. 'Professor McGonagall told us, remember…you've got to register yourself with the Improper Use of Magic Office…what animal you become, and your markings, so you can't abuse it…'
'We know,' said Arabella. 'It's not like Harry has a chance of turning into a frog by tomorrow morning…'
'Oh this is no use,' Hermione said, snapping shut Weird Wizarding Dilemmas. 'Who on earth wants to make their nose hair grow into ringlets?'
'I wouldn't mind,' said Fred Weasleys voice. 'Be a talking point, wouldn't it?'
Harry, Ron, Arabella, and Hermione looked up. Fred and George had just emerged from behind some bookshelves.
'What're you two doing here?' Ron asked.
'Looking for you,' said George. 'McGonagall wants to see Arabella and Hermione.'
'Why?' said Hermione, looking surprised.
'Dunno…she was looking a bit grim, though,' said Fred.
'We're supposed to take you down to her office,' said George.
Arabella and Hermione stared at Harry and Ron.
'We'll meet you back in the common room,' Hermione told Harry and Ron as she got up to go with Arabella - both of them looked very anxious. 'Bring as many of these books as you can, okay?'
'Right,' said Harry uneasily.
'She didn't say anything?' asked Arabella to Fred and George. 'Something?'
'Nothing,' said Fred, shaking his head. 'Just wanted to see the both of you.'
Arabella and Hermione continued to follow Fred and George to where ever they were taking them. Once they arrived at Professor McGonagall's office, George knocked on the door before sticking his head in. he opened it wider and Arabella and Hermione entered the office. Inside the office was Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore, Madame Maxime, Cho Chang, and Gabrielle Delacour, Fleur's sister.
'Thank you Mr Weasleys, you may leave now,' said Professor McGonagall, looking quite grim.
Fred and George nodded before exiting through the door and shutting it close.
'As you all know, the Second Task is tomorrow,' said Professor Dumbledore, 'and in this task, each of the champion will lose something this is most precious to them, but it is not an item that they value the most, it is the person they will miss the most. For Mr Cedric Diggory, Miss Cho Chang, for Miss Fleur Delacour, her sister Gabrielle Delacour, for Mr Victor Krum, Miss Hermione Granger, and for Mr Harry Potter, Miss Arabella Black. You all, if you accept, will be put under a sleeping charm that I will perform. Once you are under the charm, we will transport you four into the Black Lake for tomorrow's task. No harm will come to you will under this spell, and if your champion doesn't come to get you, or they encounter some problem, then one of the teachers will come and get you once the task is over.'
'Now, while you are in the Lake, merpeople will be guarding you,' added Professor McGonagall. 'They will not harm you, but are there as an obstacle for the champions to face.'
'Do you accept this? We know it's a lot to ask, but it is the task that the champions must face for the tournament,' said Professor Dumbledore. 'Do you accept being the champion's hostage that they will miss the most? Miss Chang?'
'Yes,' said Cho, nodding her head. Gabrielle also nodded her head, with Madame Maxime looking a bit skeptical for such a young girl being at the bottom of the lake.
'Miss Granger?' asked Dumbledore.
'Yes, all right,' said Hermione.
'Miss Black?' asked Dumbledore.
'Okay,' said Arabella. I'm the thing that Harry will miss the most? 'But this is a very bad present Professor.'
'I am truly sorry, Miss Black,' said Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling a bit.
'I except a better one after the task,' said Arabella.
'I think I may have something in mind,' said Dumbledore, chuckling a bit.
'What?' said Professor McGonagall, looking back and forth between them.
'The day after the task is my birthday,' said Arabella.
Professor McGonagall rolled her eyes and sighed.
'May we continued, Professor Dumbly-door?' asked Madame Maxime.
'Yes of course,' said Dumbledore. 'If you would all please sit down, close your eyes and relax. This shouldn't take long.'
Arabella, Hermione, Cho and Gabrielle sat down at the chairs, closed their eyes and tried to relax as best as they can while Professor Dumbledore was muttering the spell under his breath.
Arabella gasped as she emerged from the lake with Gabrielle holding on to her, kicking and screaming. They were a bit far away from the docks were the judges were. Arabella tried to swim there with Gabrielle, but she was too heavy and a bit frightened of the lake.
'Come on, Gabrielle,' panted Arabella, trying to move but nothing was happening, they were sinking. 'We're almost there.'
Gabrielle wasn't listening to her. She kept kicking and clutching on to Arabella for dear life. The weight was soon getting too much of Arabella as they started to sink more and more.
'HELP!' yelled out Arabella, raising her free arm and waving it in the air. 'HELP US!'
She could hear some people screaming very dramatically and others pointing, but nobody did anything. Idiots thought Arabella.
'HELP US PLEASE!' screamed Gabrielle, tears coming to her eyes.
Finally, Arabella heard a splash in the water as someone dived from the docks and was swimming to them. She didn't see who it was until they were close to them. It was Ron.
'Here, get on my back,' he gasped to Gabrielle. 'I'll be able to carry you.'
Gabrielle wrapped her arms around his neck as Ron started to swim towards the dock were the crowd was standing, Arabella right behind him.
'Where's Harry?' asked Ron as he helped Gabrielle onto the docks. Fleur dashed towards her and engulfed her into a big hug. Arabella was still in the water.
'There,' said Arabella, pointing back at the lake. Harry was swimming towards them.
'Why did you bring Gabrielle for?' said Arabella, the two of them were still in the water as Ron just got on the dock.
'Fleur didn't turn up, I couldn't leave her,' Harry panted.
Arabella hit him over the head. 'You took that song seriously, didn't you? Dumbledore wouldn't have let any of us drown!'
'The song said -'
'It was only to make sure you got back inside the time limit!' said Ron, holding out a hand to help Arabella onto the dock. 'I hope you didn't waste time down there acting the hero!'
As soon as Arabella got on the docks, she spotted a familiar face, well two really if you included the hyper dog beside him.
'Moony!' exclaimed Arabella, shocked. 'What are you doing here?'
Remus smiled as he hugged Arabella. 'Dumbledore invited me here today as a birthday present to you.'
Sirius, who was disguised as Padfoot, kept tugging on her sleeve, trying to get her attention.
'Professor! What are you doing here?' asked Harry, finally getting out of the water.
'Birthday surprise for Arabella, and you don't have to call me Professor, Harry,' said Remus.
'Yeah, you can call him Remus,' said Arabella. Sirius was still tugging on her sleeve.
'Come here, you three,' said Madam Pomfrey. She seized Arabella, Harry and Ron, and pulled them over to Hermione and the others with Remus and Sirius following them. Madam Pomfrey wrapped them tightly in a blanket and forced a measure of very hot potion down their throats.
Steam gushed out of his ears.
'Harry, well done!' Hermione cried. 'You did it, you found out how all by yourself!'
'Well -' said Harry, stopping himself to reconsider his words. 'Yeah, that's right.'
'You haff a water beetle in your hair, Herm-own-ninny,' said Krum, but Hermione brushed him away.
'You were gone for a very long time, Harry,' said Remus. 'Did it take you that long to find them?'
'No… I found them okay…'
'He was just being a hero,' said Arabella, scratching Sirius's behind the ear.
Dumbledore was crouching at the water's edge, deep in conversation with what seemed to be the chief merperson, a particularly wild and ferocious-looking female. He was making the same sort of screechy noises that the merpeople made when they were above water; clearly, Dumbledore could speak Mermish. Finally he straightened up, turned to his fellow judges, and said, 'A conference before we give the marks, I think.'
The judges went into a huddle. Madam Pomfrey went to fetch Fleur and her sister. Fleur had many cuts on her face and arms and her robes were torn, but she didn't seem to care, nor would she allow Madam Pomfrey to clean them.
'Look after Gabrielle,' she told her, and then she turned to Harry. 'You saved 'er,' she said breathlessly. 'Even though she was not your 'ostage.'
'Yeah,' said Harry.
Fleur bent down, kissed Harry twice on each cheek, and Arabella felt a sudden urge to push her back into the lake. Fleur then turned to Arabella and Ron, 'And you two helped, thank you!' She then kissed Arabella on both her cheeks, and then kissed Ron. Hermione looked simply furious at this, but just then, Ludo Bagman's magically magnified voice boomed out beside them, making them all jump, and causing the crowd in the stands to go very quiet.
'Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached our decision. Merchieftainess Murcus has told us exactly what happened at the bottom of the lake, and we have therefore decided to award marks out of fifty for each of the champions, as follows…
'Fleur Delacour, though she demonstrated excellent use of the Bubble-Head Charm, was attacked by grindylows as she approached her goal, and failed to retrieve her hostage. We award her twenty-five points.'
Applause from the stands.
'I deserved zero,' said Fleur throatily, shaking her magnificent head.
'Cedric Diggory, who also used the Bubble-Head Charm, was first to return with his hostage, though he returned one minute outside the time limit of an hour.'
Enormous cheers from the Hufflepuffs in the crowd.
'We therefore award him forty-seven points.'
The cheers grew louder.
'Viktor Krum used an incomplete form of Transfiguration, which was nevertheless effective, and was second to return with his hostage. We award him forty points.'
Karkaroff clapped particularly hard, looking very superior.
'Harry Potter used gillyweed to great effect,' Bagman continued. 'He returned last, and well outside the time limit of an hour. However, the Merchieftainess informs us that Mr. Potter was first to reach the hostages, and that the delay in his return was due to his determination to return all hostages to safety, not merely his own.'
Arabella, Ron, Hermione, Remus and even Sirius gave Harry half-exasperated, half-sympathizing looks.
'Most of the judges,' and here, Bagman gave Karkaroff a very nasty look, 'feel that this shows moral fiber and merits full marks. However…Mr. Potter's score is forty-five points.'
Arabella stared at Harry, along with Ron, Hermione, Remus and Sirius. Then then laughed and started applauding with the rest of the crowd, well Sirius started to bark happily. Harry was now tied for first place with Cedric.
'There you go. Harry!' Ron shouted over the noise. 'You weren't being thick after all - you were showing moral fiber!'
Fleur was clapping very hard too, but Krum didn't look happy at all. He attempted to engage Hermione in conversation again, but she was too busy cheering Harry to listen.
'The third and final task will take place at dusk on the twenty-fourth of June,' continued Bagman. 'The champions will be notified of what is coming precisely one month beforehand. Thank you all for your support of the champions.'
It was over.
'So, when am I going to see you again?' asked Arabella in a very hush tone towards Remus so that only the two of them and Sirius could hear her.
'Next Hogsmeade trip,' mumbled Remus, making sure his lips didn't move that much. 'Anyway,' he said much louder, 'have to go. Things to do, people to see. Bye Ara.' He kissed her forehead.
'Bye Moony,' said Arabella, smiling. She turned to Sirius, whose tongue was hanging out of his mouth with a goofy smile on him. 'Bye Padfoot.' She said, kneeling next to him and giving his a kiss on his forehead.
'Bye Remus,' said Harry, nodding at him and gave a scuffled Sirius's hair. Ron and Hermione gave them both smiles and waved as Remus and Sirius walked towards the gates leading to Hogsmeade.
'Come on, let's go,' said Harry, pulling slightly on Arabella's arm as she watched Remus and Sirius's disappearing form from where they were. She turned to Harry, and gave him a smile. Ron and Hermione went up to the castle with everybody else. They were the only ones still on the school grounds.
'So,' said Arabella, boldly smiling at him, 'I'm your hostage?'
'Yeah,' said Harry as they started to walk back up to the castle. 'Apparently I'd miss you the most. Don't understand why though,' he added, being very dramatic as he questioned what the professors were thinking.
'Piss off,' said Arabella, shoving him as he laughed. 'You'd miss me and you know it.'
'Sure,' said Harry, shrugging as he put his left arm around her shoulder.
'Wake up!' exclaimed Hermione as three pillows hit her, and continued to do so before she finally sat up.
'What's the hell was that for?' yelled Arabella, glaring at her roommates.
'Happy Birthday!' they yelled, smiling at her.
'Word of advice,' said Arabella, irritated, 'when it's a person birthday AND it's a weekend, don't wake them up at' – she looked at the clock –'ten o'clock in the morning!'
'Come on,' said Hermione, rolling her eyes. 'Let's go for breakfast, you're not going to be able to sleep now.'
As much as she hated to admit it, but Hermione was right. After Lavender and Parvati wished her, and went down to breakfast, Arabella got changed and met Hermione in the common room. Harry and Ron were nowhere to be seen, neither were Fred and George. Some people said happy birthday and some gave hugs, most of them she didn't know.
'They're at the Great Hall for breakfast, we have a surprise for you,' said Hermione, smiling.
'What is it?' asked Arabella as they made their way towards the Great Hall. 'They're not going to jump out and yell surprise in front of everyone, are they?'
'No, no,' said Hermione, shaking her head. 'I'm not telling.'
Arabella and Hermione entered the Great Hall to most of the Gryffindors, some Hufflepuff and Ravenclaws wishing her happy birthday. Ginny, Neville, Seamus and Dean gave her hugs while Fred and George presented her a modified version of the potion she gave them in her first year.
'It's a different version,' said Fred. 'We still using the blue on, but we experimented with different colours.'
'This one will turn your skin pink and your hair turquoise,' said George. 'We got some others that we're working on, but we need to test it on somebody.'
'Impressive,' said Arabella.
It took her a while before she reached Harry and Ron. Ron gave her a very big hug and presented her with what he called 'the birthday breakfast,' which mostly consisted of bacon. Harry also gave her a hug and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. Most people mistook it for a friendly kiss. He was holding four parcels.
'This came from Remus,' said Harry handing her the one on top. She opened it to find a photo album with 'Arabella's First Birthday' written at the front. When she opened it, there was a note from Remus and Sirius.
We found this when we went back to the house at Godric's Hollow. We think you'd find some of the pictures amusing. Happy Birthday! –M&P
She flipped the page with Harry, Ron and Hermione looking over her shoulder. The first picture was of her, Kassandra and Sirius waving at the camera. The next one was all the Marauders pulling faces at Arabella and Harry, making the two of them laugh. Flipping through the pages, Arabella saw a couple of Sirius holding her and trying to feed her cake at the same time. There was even one of James with cake on his face after Harry smashed it there. There were even ones of Lily gushed over Arabella and the dress she was wearing, and some of Lily trying to tame Harry's hair. There were a couple of Remus holding Arabella and singling quietly to her. Also, there were one of just her and Harry playing with toys on the floor. Arabella made copies of some of them for Harry, who accepted them with a huge smile on his face. Fred and George took the album and gushed very dramatically at all of the pictures and started to pinch Arabella's face and talk baby to her.
'Bugger off,' said Arabella, swatting their hands away and getting back the photo album.
The next package came from Ron and Hermione; they chipped in on the gift together. It was a box full of Chocolate Frogs, Bertis Bott's Every Flavour Beans, some new quills (colourful and ordinary), and a very nice leather bounded book.
'So you can record all your inventions and later share it with other people,' said Hermione.
It was a very good idea, but Arabella doubted whether she was going to show anybody the book. Who know who would be able to steal her ideas?
'It has a lock,' said Hermione, opening the first page to instructions. 'It will only be able to open if it can recognize your wand and the owner of it, that being you. This is the instructions on how to make that work.'
'Nice,' said Arabella, smiling. 'Thank you.'
'I helped pick it too, you know,' said Ron, his face full of eggs.
'Yes, I know, thank you,' said Arabella, smiling at him.
The next one was from Nymph, Andy and Ted. Andy and Ted got her some souvenirs from Italy, France and Greece. They went there over Christmas for an early anniversary trip. Nymph got her a model of a miniature Firebolt. It zoomed all around her just like the real one.
The last gift was probably the smallest out of all the parcels. It was from Harry and it was a stuffed animal of a stag and a wolf.
'Well, I know you have one of a dog, Remus told me,' said Harry, looking a bit nervous. 'So… yeah…' Then his face brightened up when he saw who walked into the Great Hall. Arabella turned around to see Nikola walking towards the Slytherin table. Why the bloody hell is Harry happy to see Nikola? She thought. She turned back to see Harry exchanging significant looks with Fred, George, Ron and Hermione.
'What's going on?' asked Arabella, looking between all of them.
'Just watch,' said Ron, indicating towards Nikola.
Arabella watched Nikola for a while. He was eating some eggs and bacon while talking to the other Durmstrang students.
'What am I watchi -?' And then it happened. 'Holy Mother of Merlin.'
When Fred and George told her that they made some modifications to the potion, she didn't think it would be this… colourful or amazing. Nikola's skin started to turn yellow, but then it changed to pink, then blue, purple, green red, and orange. It looked like it was trying to decide on which colour to go with, but went with all of them. Then his hair started to change into a Mohawk that shot up his head with the end of the hair falling all over his head with white highlights in it.
There was a moment of silence as everybody in the Great Hall watched Nikola. The silence was only broken by a Slytherin first year who was practically howling on the floor. The rest of the Great Hall soon followed his lead. The Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs were laughing with great amusement. They knew that something happened between Arabella and Nikola, something bad. They only people that fully knew the whole story were Harry, Ron and Hermione. The Ravenclaws were a little more discrete, but laughed never the less, and some of the Slytherins laughed.
Arabella laughed as Nikola glared at the Great Hall and left quickly. She then turned back to her friends. Ginny, Neville, Seamus and Dean were laughing, while Fred and George were roaring like lions as they laughed. Harry, Ron and Hermione laughed while clutching their sides and some tears were coming out of Ron's eyes.
'Did you do that?' Arabella asked the whole lot of them, smiling.
'Harry asked us to do it,' said Fred, smiling with a mischievous smile.
'And we happily agreed,' said George, mirroring his brother's smile.
'Harry?' said Arabella, astonished. 'You did this?'
'Yeah,' said Harry, trying to catch his breath and shrugging. 'Nobody should talk to someone like that.'
'Thank you,' said Arabella, grateful. It was truly funny to see Nikola like that.
It was quite an amazing birthday. Arabella, Harry, Ron, and Hermione spent the whole day together with Fred, George, Ginny, Neville, Dean and Seamus occasionally joining them. They first had a snowball rematch with the Arabella, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville against Fred, George, Ginny, Dean and Seamus. It was a very brutal fight, but Arabella's team (Harry was saying that it was really his team because he suggested a rematch) won.
They later went to go visit Hagrid, who gave Arabella a very big hug and made some cakes for them, but they politely declined, saying that Fred and George had something planned for later that day. Fred and George later nicked some food from the kitchen and they spent the rest of the day in the Gryffindor Tower, talking, eating and drinking butterbeer.
It was getting late and one by one people started heading to their dormitories for bed. Soon enough, Arabella and Harry were the last people there. As soon as Ron walked up to his dormitory and they heard the sound of the door closing, Arabella grabbed Harry by his shirt line and gave him a kiss, which he returned happily.
'Thank you,' she said as they broke apart. 'Goodnight.'
''Night,' said Harry, smiling at her as Arabella walked up to her dormitory, feeling happy with how the day turned out.
Thank you for reading!