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Published: 09/21/2004
Updated: 01/14/2005
Words: 139,369
Chapters: 38
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Harry Potter and the Goblin Rebellion


Story Summary:
Year 6 - The goblins are threatening rebellion: Now that Fudge acknowledges Voldemort's return, he is pushing wartime policies, which oppress the goblins. Voldemort is seeking the secret in an ancient Egyptian magical site. Harry is being drawn into these two seemingly-unrelated developments. At the same time, he must train students in the schoolwide DA, while the burden of the Prophecy is filling him with visions, which cause Harry to pull back from his friends. But love has a way of arising whether it is welcome or not. For Harry, the course to resolution is never smooth, but if Harry can thwart Voldemort's plot, he can gain access to the secret which could enable him to use the 'Power the Dark Lord knows not.'

Chapter 09

Chapter Summary:
Harry and Neville have a birthday party together at The Burrow. Harry brings a surprise for the day of the party. Fred and George also have something for Harry. During the party, a present arrives for Harry - a wizard portrait of Sirius. The next day Arthur Weasley reveals that he has been fired - by Percy.

Chapter 9 Birthday Wishes

Professor Dumbledore arranged for Harry to visit other students' homes nearly every weekend through the remaining weeks of the summer. In the remainder of July, Harry visited with Jack Sloper, Susan Bones, and then for the last weekend, he went again to the Burrow with the Weasleys. The second trip to The Burrow was specifically arranged so that Harry and Neville together could have their first-ever birthday party.

Before he came for the birthday weekend, Harry was visited by Pig, Ron's tiny messenger owl, carrying a note. Pig came twittering in through Harry's bedroom window while Harry was asleep. He bumped Harry's face several times, like an especially soft shuttlecock being batted against Harry's cheek and forehead, until Harry realized what was going on and snatched him out of the air like an overgrown moth.

"Hi, Harry" began Ron's letter, "No need to write much now, you'll be here in a few days. Mum wanted me to write to see if there was something special she could make for the day of the party. Mum wants to make it extra special. Ron"

Harry broke off some pieces of owl treats for Pig and placed him in Hedwig's cage. This was to Hedwig's obvious annoyance as Pig snuggled next to her for a nap on the perch. Harry stood a few minutes looking out his window when the perfect notion came to him as he looked into the back yard. He wrote a quick note saying he had something in mind and that whatever The Burrow didn't have on hand, he would bring. In the morning after his run, Harry spoke to his Uncle Vernon and borrowed a book. He and Dobby took a trip Friday afternoon to the shops to get the other things they needed.

Arriving Friday evening after boxing, Harry was greeted warmly as before. Mr. Weasley was home early. Hermione was also there, having taken the Knight Bus, despite misgivings. She was to stay for the whole weekend. Harry told her and Ron about the gum wrappers. Hermione wanted to see them, but he had not brought them with him. She told him to make sure he brought them when he went back to school.

"So, Harry," said Mrs. Weasley, "if I'm to make something special tomorrow, I'd like a little advance notice. What did you have in mind?"

"You won't be preparing anything, Mrs. Weasley. Dobby will take care of the side dishes, but I need to show you, Mr. Weasley, what we brought for the party meal."

Harry led Mr. Weasley and the rest out to the backyard where Dobby was surrounded by a substantial pile of bricks and cement bags.

"Harry," said Arthur Weasley apprehensively, "I know the muggles didn't used to feed you well, but we can't eat bricks."

"They'll be fine once we get the cement mixed," Harry grinned. "Those aren't to eat. This is a muggle kit for building a backyard grill. Muggles build a sort of outdoor fireplace and cook outdoors right over a wood or charcoal fire. It gives a very nice taste to the food. Usually it's meat and potatoes and maize, or maybe a few other things. See, I brought this book that the Dursleys use when they cook out."

"Ooh, Harry," squealed Hermione, "A cookout would be loads of fun. That's a wonderful idea."

"Harry," said Mr. Weasley excitedly, "Do you think I could help assemble this?"

"I already knew you would want to, Mr. Weasley, and I discussed it with Dobby. That'll be fine, but he's to do everything with the cement - it's quite the skilled craft to lay the cement and bricks, and Dobby learned how to do it. I also want to help out - that's part of the fun. I figured we could all work on it tonight so the cement will set adequately by tomorrow. "

"You're sure you're okay with me being about, Dobby?" asked Mr. Weasley.

"Of course, sir. Harry Potter has already informed me of your interest in muggle things. And we has brought plenty of extra bricks and cement for when sir attempts to help. Harry Potter insisted."

Everyone, including Mr. Weasley, laughed at that.

"You've got him pegged, Harry," laughed Ginny.

"Guilty as charged," said Mr. Weasley, smiling, "I'm afraid I'm a bit more enthusiastic than skilled with muggle things. Harry, did you intend for me to help with the cooking tomorrow, too?"

"I was hoping so. I hoped you and Ron and I could do it together. Traditionally it's the men of the family that do most of the cooking out. It always looked like so much fun for my cousin and uncle when they would cook out."

"Well, Harry, you were right there watching," said Hermione, "why weren't you with them?"

Harry looked down. "I had to be in my room, pretending I didn't exist."

Hermione put her hand on Harry's shoulder and leaned in close to him and said softly, "I'm sorry, Harry. I don't live with such things, so I sometimes forget."

Harry nodded, "It's okay. I understand."

After a brief silence, Mr. Weasley clapped an arm around Harry's and Ron's shoulders, "Well, of course we'll all be cooking out tomorrow. I can't think of anything I'd like better than to cook out the muggle way with two of my favorite boys. This is as much a treat for me as for anyone else."

Harry smiled sheepishly, "I kind of thought it would be."

The next day the Weasley twins showed up before breakfast in robes that brought new meaning to the term 'tasteless,' but they enjoyed them nonetheless, until they shucked them for muggle clothes. When they heard that Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny had been out for two hours already running and getting in early spells practice, they were aghast.

"Has none of our influence remained?" said George in mock dismay.

"Not that kind, dear," said his mother, "but we still find the occasional surprise hidden around the house."

When the others returned from their workout, they greeted Fred and George, expressing surprise to see them up so early.

"Ah, well," said Fred, "we wanted to give Harry his birthday present early."

"Uh, oh," said Hermione.

"Oh, you're such a doubter. Can't we simply give a present to one of our best friends?" said George disingenuously.

Harry looked suspiciously at the large heavy package.

"Go ahead and unwrap it - it's safe," said George.

Harry did so and found a crate of grapefruit. The brand label said 'NeverMiss"

"You see," said Fred, "Just a simple gift of fruit. We just wanted to have them here early so we could all have some with breakfast."

"Right then," said Ginny, "I can't help but think that something's up but we'll play along. At least I'm sure you wouldn't poison your family."

Dobby had already laid out a large breakfast and then sliced several of the grapefruit so everyone had a half. They all sat down to eat. Everyone seemed loathe to actually sample the grapefruit.

Finally, Ron said, "Oh, I can't stand the suspense. I'll give it a go."

He took his grapefruit spoon and started to dig out a section.

"Ooh, Ron!" said Hermione, grabbing her napkin, "you squirted me in the eye."

Then Ginny tried her grapefruit and Mr. Weasley got squirted. Mrs. Weasley dug in and Harry got the squirt. All along the twins looked excited while stifling laughter.

All of a sudden, Hermione exclaimed, "I've got it. These are charmed grapefruits that always squirt your breakfast company in the eye! That's why they're called NeverMiss."

"Right in one, Hermione," said the twins together, aiming dual squirts of grapefruit juice at her.

"New product, boys?" asked their father.

"Right, Dad," said Fred, "Rather easy charm, too, it only has to last as long as the grapefruit would stay fresh."

"Yeah," said George, still giggling at all the squirting going on, "We start selling them next week. We wanted Harry to be the first with the new product."

"Yeah, right," said Harry, "You just wanted guinea pigs to try out the products."

"We're hurt," protested Fred, "Well, we've tried them out amongst ourselves - thought we'd go blind with all that juice - but we wanted to see if they would get confused if there were large numbers of eyes to aim at."

"Well, it might be fun to slip some of these into the Dursleys' breakfast."

"We thought you might enjoy that - a very mild way to get back for past affronts," said George with a wink.

After breakfast, they all gathered firewood from the ground in the surrounding woods. Since the twins could apparate with things, they took the task of moving the downed dry branches which Ron and Harry would locate to the house. Ginny and Hermione were using spells to cut, or sometimes break up, the branches into suitable pieces. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley levitated the pieces into convenient stacks. They kept gathering until guests began to arrive, since even though they had far more wood than they would need, they could tell from Mr. Weasley's excitement that this would not be the only occasion the new grill would be used.

Luna, Neville, and most of the rising 6th year students and DA members came by Floo Network, except those who came from muggle homes: they had to use the Knight Bus. All who took the bus agreed they simply had to learn to Apparate as soon as possible. They had all manner of wizard games to play. Those who were good on a broom organized a quidditch game and Harry and Ron found enough time away from cooking to join. Later Harry noticed Hermione talking quietly to Neville, and while he was certain from the sad faces of both that it was about Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom, he did not know if she asked about the gum wrappers.

As they were sitting around the garden eating lunch, Harry asked Hermione to work on learning countercharms, as he would need someone to help him unjinxing DA members.

She beamed and gloated "I told you the DA was a great idea."

"Score one for you, Hermione," said Harry, "Or rather two, including the interview."

"Score them for all of us," said Hermione, "We all need to prepare ourselves. Thanks for asking me to do the countercharms, Harry. It makes me feel grand to be entrusted with such an important task."

"Who's better at charms than you, Hermione?" asked Harry sincerely.

She blushed and hugged him. "That's sweet of you to say. This should help out with healer training as well."

"Healer training?" said Ron, who overheard her. "I thought we were all training as aurors!?"

"I'm taking the classes I need for both. Well, we only have a few short years to get all the education we can from Hogwarts. This way I keep my options open. Besides, it looks like we're going to have plenty of fighters, once Harry's trained them all. But we may well need people who can help out with healing as well. I expect there will be some real injuries before everything is sorted out. And an auror who can heal could be a big asset."

Ron and Harry had to agree. Of course, OWL results and Prefect badges were a major topic of conversation. Both Ginny and Luna had been made Prefects, although Luna seemed singularly unconcerned. Harry wondered if it were not better to have such a floating attitude, rather than be as intense as he so often felt. Everyone was very impressed with Neville's 6 OWLs and Harry's 8. Of course, the NEWT just floored everyone, but Mr. Weasley nodded, stroked his chin, saying, "Wise man, that Dumbledore."

Ron got 7 OWLs, the same ones as Neville, but with two more Outstandings, plus Astronomy. Hermione got 10, all Outstanding, missing only her OWL for Muggle Studies (as well as Divination, since she had dropped that in third year).

Ron laughed, "Of all things Hermione - you were raised a muggle, you live with muggles. How can you fail at Muggle Studies?"

"That was the problem, Ron" said Hermione, a bit put out, "I know muggles, so taking a test on what wizards think muggles are like is confusing, because I started answering questions from my own muggle experiences. I remember one question was 'what do muggles do when their teeth start to go bad?' The correct answer for the test was 'they have barbers pull out their teeth and then they carve a set of false teeth from wood."

"Do they now?" said Mr. Weasley, "Fascinating."

"Perhaps, Mr. Weasley, but they haven't done that in well over 100 years. I answered from what I knew of my parents' dentistry practice, and of course, the Ministry hadn't a clue what I was talking about, so I got no points for that question. It's rather like taking a spelling test in America and getting counted down for spelling labour with a 'u' - their perception of how to spell the word isn't wrong, it describes the way they say it, but it's not the way we British do." Then she added with an arched eyebrow at Ron, "At least for those of us who can spell."

Ron looked at Harry with a 'what did I do to deserve that?' look, but Harry just laughed.

After they ate, a pair of great horned owls arrived carrying a flat rectangular box. It was marked for Harry, and bore the label of Denton Drabble. Harry recognized the name as one of the preeminent British wizard portraitists. Wizard portraits were a particular skill, since you had to capture not just the exterior aspect of the subject, but an image of the very soul. Harry wondered if someone had had one of him made from a photo. He opened the box and was dumbfounded. Everyone there gasped.

"Well, I thought I would be better received than this. Something must have happened to the original me," said the image of Sirius Black.

"Y-Yes," said Harry sadly, "you were killed over a month ago. Voldemort tricked me into a trap at the Department of Ministries, and you came to rescue me and were killed by your cousin Bellatrix."

"That nasty witch!" said Sirius, "well, what's done is done, I guess. I'll have plenty of time to think about that. That makes me all the more glad I had Drabble come to my house during those long months sitting around with Kreacher to get this portrait done. So how do you like me?"

"Very much, Sirius" said Harry, "I just wish I had the original."

"That's as it should be, Harry," sighed Sirius, "but you know we are in a war, and good people die in wars. Never forget that."

"How could I?" said Harry sadly.

"Did I at least take Bella out with me?"

"No," said Harry, "she and Voldemort escaped. But 10 Death Eaters were captured and are still in custody - most of those who escaped from Azkaban last year. Oh, and Fudge and a couple of his men saw Voldemort, so the word is out among the wizarding world that he's back, and Dumbledore and I are heroes again, rather than nutcases."

"Well, if I was the only casualty, then it was a fair trade-off," said Sirius.

Harry gasped, breathed deeply several times, and then yelled "No! No, it's not! Losing you was awful!"

"I know, Harry, and I'm glad to know you care that much. I wondered when you didn't contact me with the mirror. I guessed that you had never unwrapped it. Umbridge probably would have discovered it if you had, after all there are ways of detecting magical activity. But Harry, you have to understand that we must consider the big picture. Trading one soldier to take out 10 enemy fighters is almost always a successful battle, particularly when the soldier lost was as hampered as I was by my history. I know I didn't try to die and I am proud to have died valiantly. Grieve, yes, but don't lose sight of the big picture."

Harry kept the portrait of Sirius with him through the rest of the day, setting it up at the table for dinner and cake, and setting it up on the porch for the fireworks show the twins put on.

The next day, Mr. Weasley came to the breakfast table with a grim look.

"I didn't want to spoil the party with unpleasant news, but it's time to spill the beans. I've already told your mother. I've been sacked," he said.

"No," "How could they?" "Dad!" came the cacophony of voices.

"Well, I shot off my mouth once too often about these anti-rights and anti-goblin policies of Fudge. He purged several of us."

"How did you get the word, Dad?" asked Bill, "Did Fudge at least tell you himself."

Arthur scowled and mumbled darkly, "No, not Fudge."

Molly Weasley spoke up for him, but with no less bitterness than her husband, "Fudge had a new office created - the Wizard for Unified Security Services - to give a position to someone who will do his unpleasant chores: someone who is ambitious enough, loyal enough, insensitive enough to do these things and count it an honor."

The others looked around at each other, until Ron's face dawned with the horrid realization, "Not ... Percy!?"

"Who else!" said George sharply, "Fred, you and I have an errand to do when we get back to London."

"NO, BOYS!" said Arthur sharply. "I won't have any of you repaying ill with ill. Besides, he has a cadre of protectors that you couldn't get through. And ... I still hope that he'll come around."

"Dad," exclaimed Ginny, "after the way he's treated you, you still would welcome him back?"

"Absolutely, Ginny. Haven't I always told you that there is nothing that you could do that would make me stop loving you?"

"Yes, Dad," she said quietly.

"Well, that's just as true for any of my children. People make mistakes, sometimes doozies, but you are all still my children, and I couldn't stop loving you if I tried. That's what it is to be a parent."

Molly nodded her agreement. Harry had to keep his face low to his porridge so that the others wouldn't see the moistness around his eyes, as Arthur Weasley's declaration reminded him of how much his own parents had loved him.

"Mr. Weasley," said Hermione, "did Percy at least tell you in person?"

Arthur Weasley pursed his lips to keep control and looked aside.

Molly Weasley answered for him, "Yes, Hermione, but ... An auror escorted him up to Percy's office, two doors down from Fudge's. Percy told him he had been declared redundant, without calling him even 'Father' or offering sympathy. Then Percy said 'You're dismissed,' and when Arthur left his office, all of his things had been emptied from his cubicle into a box and left outside Percy's door."

All around the table fists were being clenched to the point of knuckles whitening as the scene was described.

Fred spoke up "You can count on us, Dad, business is good. We'll take care of tuition and supplies for Ron and Ginny, and anything else you need." George nodded agreement.

"Thanks, boys," said Mr. Weasley with a broad but weak smile, "With my severance, I'll be able to take care of household needs for quite a while, but covering school was going to put us in a bind."

Hermione spoke up, "Do you have any prospects? Is there any other kind of work you could do?"

George spoke up before his father could respond. "We've been thinking of opening a Hogsmeade store - we were going to wait a while, but we could accelerate the plans and you could manage that."

Arthur glanced a bit uneasily at his wife and said, "Well, actually, I've already been contacted about another position. I'm considering it. It might be temporary, but it would allow me to look for something else."

"What is it, Dad?" asked Bill.

Arthur smiled. "Ahh, I'm not at liberty to say at the moment. If it works out, you'll all know soon enough."

In August Harry had weekend visits with Luna Lovegood, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Andrew Goldstein, and Katie Bell. As Harry continued to work and visit other students through the summer, he found that all the DA members who had taken OWLs or NEWTs passed their Defense and Charms tests, usually with Outstanding ratings, which was at times quite some surprise. All had heard of Harry's early NEWT test and were happy both for him and for the authority it would impart to him to help everyone learn to defend themselves. They all had begun the sort of training program Harry had, though none as intensely as he had. To his utter frustration, Harry continued to get visions of others dead or dying, which reinforced the distance he had maintained. Only once did his scar act up through the summer, near the end, three days before he was to go to Diagon Alley to get his books and supplies. The pain started slowly and grew in intensity, and the sense Harry got from it was of frustration.