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
“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
“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
“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
“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
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
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
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
There was only one thing for it.
“Who’s there?” Harry demanded, his heart thumping
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
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
“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
Harry managed a weak smile. “You look great, Dobby.”
For nightmares, Harry added silently.
Luckily, the Feast hadn’t finished yet, and Harry told
Ron and Hermione all about Dobby between mouthfuls of roast beef and mashed
When he had finished, Ron snorted and shook his head.
“He’ll love you to death, Harry,” he said thickly through a pumpkin pasty.
“What did Hagrid end up wanting, Harry?” said
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
“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.