The Sugar Quill
Author: Anna  Story: Pumpkin Soup for the Soul  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Pumpkin Soup for the Soul

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe belongs entirely to J.K. Rowling.

A/N: A big thank you to jonaj and Halee Ramyma for the hilarious commentary. And much gratitude and thanks to my beta-reader, B Bennett, whose suggestions were invaluable.

Dedicated to The Sugar Quill.

 

Pumpkin Soup for the Soul

 

It was moments like these, Harry thought, as he trudged up to the castle levitating a giant pumpkin, which made the Dursleys seem very far away.

“Hagrid,” he puffed, as he jogged to keep up with him. “Are these bigger than last year’s?”

“They migh’ be a smidge bigger, yeah,” replied Hagrid cheerfully, who was striding along with ease, carrying a pumpkin in each of his giant arms. Harry looked at his own pumpkin. He was just glad he wasn’t carrying it. He had a nasty vision of himself dropping it and breaking his toe. He looked over his shoulder at Ron and Hermione, who were concentrating on levitating their own pumpkins and trying to keep up with Hagrid at the same time.

“What d’yeh think then, eh?” continued Hagrid. “Reckon it should be a good Hallowe’en Feast tomorrow nigh’? We’ll see what them elves make o’ these pumpkins.”

Harry heard Hermione take a deep indignant breath behind him.

“I’m sure the house-elves have enough work of their own to do, Hagrid, without adding any more. What with cooking and cleaning for the Feast, beds, fires, laundry…” She broke off, out of breath.

Harry looked over his shoulder to catch Ron’s eye. Ron, however, was looking at Hermione.

“I thought you’d’ve given that a rest by now, Hermione, I mean we saw what they were like last year when you tried talking to them, and Winky…” He trailed off as well, panting.

Hermione, by this time, had gotten her breath back.

“D’you think, Ron, that I’d just give up? They’ve been brainwashed, conditioned to think like that. Okay, Winky was a special case, but look at Dobby, he has the right idea-”

“Yeah, but Dobby’s a weirdo.”

Hagrid shot Harry a look and winked, his beard twitching. Harry rolled his eyes.

Under the noisy cover of Ron and Hermione arguing, Hagrid moved closer to Harry and spoke in a low voice.

“Mus’ be the Weasley way of courtin’,” he mused, and Harry hastily turned his laugh into a cough. Hagrid continued to speak, in a softer rumble than before.

“Harry, I want ter give yeh somethin’. Meet me in the Entrance Hall jus’ before the Feast tomorrow night, all righ’?”

“What is it?” asked Harry, immediately curious.

Hagrid just shook his head and then grinned as they heard Ron call Hermione a know-it-all.

*

“I wonder what Hagrid wants to give you,” said Hermione, as they stood in the Entrance Hall the following evening.

Harry shrugged. “Dunno. You two go in, don’t wait for me.”

“Those pumpkins look really good,” said Ron, peering inside the Great Hall. “Let’s go Hermione, I’m starving. See you later, Harry.”

They left Harry, just as the doors to the Entrance Hall swung open. Hagrid entered and beamed.

“All righ’, Harry?” Looking excited, he reached into his moleskin waistcoat and pulled out a dog-eared envelope.

“Here yeh go,” he said, pushing the envelope into Harry’s hand. “Figured you’d want to look at it fer yerself firs’, in case yeh don’ wan’ ter show Ron or Hermione.”

Harry looked at the envelope. “What is it?”

“Lupin sent it. Tha’s all I’ll say. Comin’ in ter the Feast?”

Harry looked up distractedly from the envelope. “Er, no. Not just yet. I think I’ll go up to Gryffindor first, you know…”

Hagrid smiled. “I know.” He walked into the Great Hall, the noisy chatter of students flooding out for a brief moment, before the door swung shut after him.

Harry walked quickly toward Gryffindor Tower. What did Lupin have to tell him? Why send it through Hagrid?

He was nearly there, when he stopped dead in his tracks. The back of his neck prickled. He had the awful feeling that he was being watched.

He looked behind him, but the corridor was empty. Feeling a little silly, he took a step forward, when out of the corner of his eye, something moved. He stopped again, spinning around on the spot. And saw it.

Disappearing around the corner was a shadow…of something huge, something monstrous…

Envelope forgotten, Harry shoved it quickly into his pocket and took out his wand, hurrying towards the corridor where he’d seen the shadow disappear. He turned around the corner, pushing aside the tapestry there, and found himself in a corridor that was completely unfamiliar. And completely dark.

Lumos!” he whispered. The end of his wand glowed…and the shadow loomed on the wall ahead. Harry clapped a hand over his mouth, stifling a yell.

The first thing he thought as he stared at it, was that it looked like it belonged to some kind of monster garden gnome. The shadow stayed quite still, its head frighteningly big. Forcing his legs to move, Harry inched his way along the wall towards it, squinting into the darkness beyond the light of his wand, trying to make out what the shadow belonged to.

There was only one thing for it.

“Who’s there?” Harry demanded, his heart thumping erratically.

A high-pitched squeak came from the darkness. Harry nearly dropped his wand in astonishment. Lifting his wand high above his head, he moved closer and saw –

“Harry Potter, sir!” squealed the cannonball that threw itself onto his legs. “You scared Dobby!”

“Dobby!” yelled Harry. “What are you skulking around for? What-?”

This time Harry did drop his wand. The light from its tip shone up from the floor onto Dobby’s head, and the black shadows slashed across it made him seem like a creature from one of the horror movies that Dudley liked to watch.

“What…” choked Harry, after a moment of shocked silence, “is that on your head, Dobby?”

Dobby reached up and placed a hand on his head – or rather, pumpkin. Harry could see Dobby grinning widely through the carved out mouth. There were even holes cut out for the tips of his long ears to poke through.

“You like it, sir? Dobby comes to see you, sir, but you has already gone to the Feast. Then Dobby heard someone following him, and Dobby was scared, because Dobby wasn’t to know it was to be the great Harry Potter!”

Harry managed a weak smile. “You look great, Dobby.” For nightmares, Harry added silently.

Dobby beamed.

*

Luckily, the Feast hadn’t finished yet, and Harry told Ron and Hermione all about Dobby between mouthfuls of roast beef and mashed potatoes.

When he had finished, Ron snorted and shook his head. “He’ll love you to death, Harry,” he said thickly through a pumpkin pasty. “Literally.”

“What did Hagrid end up wanting, Harry?” said Hermione.

Harry jumped. He had completely forgotten about Lupin’s letter, and he pulled it out now, hesitating.

Ron gave him a long look, then turned to Hermione. “Hey, Hermione, can I copy your Transfiguration essay?”

Hermione sufficiently distracted, Harry opened the envelope, and began reading his old teacher’s familiar script.

Dear Harry,

Happy Hallowe’en to you. Sirius and I were thinking the other day about another Hallowe’en, many years ago –

Harry’s heart gave a huge thump. He wasn’t going to talk about the night his parents - ?

when you were only a few months old. We found this photo. I had missed it when I sent the others to Hagrid a few years ago, and I thought that today would be an appropriate day to give it to you. Give my regards to Ron and Hermione.

Remus Lupin

Harry turned the letter over. Attached to the back was a photo of his parents, smiling and waving, and of himself…a baby, with no scar…sitting on a giant pumpkin.

Harry gripped the photo, a familiar ache flooding through him. He watched his father smirk and his mum grin cheekily, while his own image blinked owlishly, looking mildly disconcerted. And then, with a faint feeling of surprise, Harry felt himself begin to grin. This photo was a cack.

Hermione’s tentative voice broke into his thoughts.

“Um…Harry?”

Harry looked up, smiling. “Lupin sent me this,” he said, passing the photo over to Ron.

Ron and Hermione bent over it and studied it. Hermione’s hand flew up to her mouth.

“Oh…Harry…” She glanced up at Harry for a moment, then looked back down. “You were so…” She let out a giggle. “Fat.”

Harry felt himself flush a little, as both Ron and Hermione laughed. “I was not! Just a bit – chubby.”

This made them laugh even harder.

“Ooooh,” gasped Hermione, holding her side. “I’d love to show this to –” She broke off abruptly and studied the photo again.

“Who?” asked Ron curiously.

Hermione shot Ron a repressive look. “No one, Ron.”

“Who?” repeated Ron. “You said,” - he put on a high pitched voice - “‘Ooooh, I’d love to-’”

“Ron!” exclaimed Hermione crossly. “I sound nothing like that!”

“Oh, yeah? Tell me, how d’you sound, then?”

Harry grinned into his pumpkin juice, tuning out Ron and Hermione’s weird courtship behaviour. He thought of Hagrid, Dobby and the photo…pumpkins should get more praise, he mused. Great things came with pumpkins…Feasts, fun and happy memories.

//
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