Harry awoke to the sounds of louder than usual Weasley voices, raised in an attempt to make them understood over the rumble and roar of something mechanical in nature.
Putting on his glasses and looking out the window, he saw most of the Weasley boys--Charlie, Fred, George, and Ron--gathered around-was that? Could it be? - Remus Lupin sitting astride a large motorcycle, occasionally gunning the engine.
"HARRY!" Remus called up when he spotted the late sleeper at the window. "Get your lazy arse down here NOW and let me give you your birthday present!"
Harry nodded, and swiftly dressed. In less than two minutes, he had joined the others outside. Remus gunned the motorcycle one last time, then turned off the engine.
"So what do you think, Harry? Like it?"
Harry nodded. "It's a wonderful motorcycle, Remus. Did you ride it all the way here from London?"
"Of course I did. What, you think I would carry it? A fine machine like this is meant to be ridden."
"It's a bloody wicked rocket on wheels," interjected Ron. "Dad would love it."
Harry grinned at that... he knew all too well Mr. Weasley's fascination with all things Muggle.
"Here," said Remus, holding out his clenched fist. "This is your birthday present."
Harry held out his hand to accept whatever it was that was hidden between Remus's fingers, and was completely surprised to receive a key ring with two silver keys attached.
"Those are for the motorcycle, now that you're old enough to learn to drive," Remus smiled. "Want to take it for a spin?"
Harry looked from the keys to the motorcycle and back again. "You mean ... it's mine?"
"Yes, Harry. But... it's not from me..." Remus looked a bit sad as he spoke. "It's from--from your Godfather. Sirius told me years ago he would like you to have it when you were old enough. This was his... I've had it in storage for years - in fact, I think you and Hagrid were the last ones to use it."
"Hagrid and I? I don't remember ever -"
"Sirius loaned it to Hagrid so he could take you to your Muggle relatives the night V-Voldemort..." Remus voice trailed off as Ron voiced a high-pitched "Eep!" It was as if the older man did not want to finish the sentence.
"The night Voldemort killed my parents," Harry finished for him.
A lump formed in Harry's throat as he thought of the parents that had been ripped from his life, and of the man they had named Harry's Godfather. Sirius had been the only true parent he had ever known. He still felt a pang of loss whenever he thought of that terrible day almost fourteen months ago, when he had lost his Godfather to Belletrix LeStrange's spell and the dark portal in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic. His eyes blurred for a moment, then he found his voice.
"Thank you, Remus. I'll take care of it, just like he would." He ran a hand along the leather of the seat, then over the cowl as he walked around his new toy.
"Oh, Harry ... one more thing..." Remus smiled gently, "…the motorcycle flies."
"Wicked!" said Ron.
"Oh, bother!" came Mrs. Weasley's voice from the kitchen door. "Whatever you do, don't tell Arthur about that--he'll be pestering you about it every minute he's here."
"Yes, Mrs. Weasley. Whatever you say," agreed Harry.
"But that's enough fuss for now. Everybody come inside and eat some breakfast. You too, Remus--you look like you need some good solid food inside you."
Remus helped Harry push the motorcycle around the house and into Mr. Weasleys shed before they followed everyone else into The Burrow.
"Sit down, sit down--there's plenty for everyone. Bacon with your eggs, Remus? Or bangers? Have some porridge, too." The table barely had sufficient room to hold the plates, so many breakfast items had been prepared – Warm blueberry muffins, two pitchers of cold milk, platters of eggs (both fried and scrambled), sausages, bacon, and several egg and spinach quiches filled the tabletop, except for an open space at Harry's accustomed seat.
Harry found that his chair was now loaded with birthday parcels. He moved them to the space on the tabletop and sat down.
"Which one is from whom?" he asked, looking curiously at the many different parcels.
Ron pushed a box from the pile. "This one's from me."
Harry pulled the wrapping away to reveal a Chudley Cannons jersey with the name ‘Potter' sewn across the shoulders.
"This is great ... Thanks, Ron!"
"This one next ... it's from us, Harry," said George, pushing a package wrapped in a violently purple paper with a neon green ribbon toward Harry.
"We think you'll like it a lot," chimed in Fred.
"Be careful, Harry," said Ginny as she came into the kitchen and sat down next to him. "You never know what will happen with a present from Fred and George."
"I feel offended," said Fred.
"Me, too," said George. "It's not fair how she keeps saying these nasty things about us."
Ginny stuck out her tongue at the twins. "Just because I'm the voice of experience. You have tried for years to set off a present that would remove my eyebrows if I were foolish enough to open it blindly. As for your feeling offended, why don't you two open it for Harry?"
The twins froze in their seats.
"Oh, we couldn't do that," replied George.
"That's right," added Fred. "It's Harry's present, after all. Opening the presents are half the fun!"
"Most assuredly, " said George.
Harry grinned and slid the box back to the twins. "I agree, so why don't YOU two have some fun. I don't want to keep anyone else from enjoying themselves..."
"Oh no, we couldn't..."
"But I insist! I just won't be happy, otherwise."
The twins looked at each other. "Here, George..." said Fred, edging away from the box. "You open it."
"Oh, no--What kind of a big brother would I be if I didn't let my younger twin have the fun," replied George, pushing it back toward his twin.
Harry grinned as the twins kept shoving the box back and forth between one another, and drew his wand from his pocket, pointed it, and whispered softly, "Diffindo!" With an amazing pyrotechnic display, the box split in two and promptly exploded in the twin's faces.
Soot, char, and ceiling plaster were now coating the twins, who blinked in astonishment, just before their eyebrows slid from their faces in a fall of ash.
"I think he got us," said Fred.
"Indubitably," responded George.
"Serves you two right, bringing dangerous presents to the breakfast table. Now clean up this mess--and go wash your faces!" ordered Mrs. Weasley. "More eggs, Harry?"
"Thank you," said Harry as the twins picked up the bits and pieces that remained of their present, repaired the ceiling with a bit of magic, and headed for the bathroom.
The eggs flew from the skillet on the stove to Harry's plate. Harry paused from opening his gifts to take several bites.
"Now this one," said Mrs. Weasley, pulling a brightly wrapped and beribboned parcel from those in front of Harry, "is from Arthur and me."
"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley." He pulled the ribbon from the package, and then unfolded the paper. Inside was a new hand-knit jumper, in the Gryffindor House colours and adorned with tiny brooms and snitches. "This is wonderful, Mrs. Weasley. Thank you!"
"Here you go," said Charlie, and pushed a long, slim wooden box toward Harry. The dark wood was smooth and shiny, and a small brass hinge was visible near one end. Harry picked it up, and opened the box. Inside was a velvet bag, long and skinny, and apparently empty.
"Erm... Thanks, Charlie." Harry was puzzled. A bag in a box?
"It's a storage case, Harry--for your wand!"
With that explanation, the box and bag were clearly explained. "Oh –Yes. That's very nice. Thanks!"
"This is from me, Harry," said Ginny as she pushed the remaining small wooden box toward him, and then planted a kiss on his cheek. "Happy Birthday. I hope you'll like it."
Harry took her hand and squeezed it gently. "I'm sure I will."
With his other hand, he undid the small catch, and opened the lid. Inside was a pocket watch attached to a length of chain and a hooked fob. The silver watchcase sparkled with reflected light as he lifted it from the box. Opening the watch cover, it displayed an engraved message on the inside...
I will always have time for you!
"It's wonderful, Ginny," Harry managed after several seconds, his heart racing at this display of love. He hooked the fob to his belt, closed the watchcase, and placed it in the watch pocket of his jeans. Leaning over, he gave her a quick kiss and a hug. "Thank you!"
"You're welcome, Harry," she whispered in his ear.
Both Ron and Charlie snickered briefly, but a sharp look from both Mrs. Weasley and Ginny shut them up quickly.
Two loud cracks sounded from outside, followed immediately by a knocking at the kitchen door.
"Oh, that'll be special guests to see you, Harry," Mrs. Weasley said before she called out, "Come in, come in, we've been expecting you! The tea's already on!"
The door opened, and both Nymphadora Tonks and Professor Dumbledore entered.
"Good morning, Molly, everyone," said Dumbledore, closing the door behind him.
"Hello, Harry," said Tonks, as she set a parcel on the table. Today, Tonks was sporting dark blue hair with violet streaks, which matched exactly the very tight and low-riding denim jeans she was wearing, and an elaborately embroidered multicoloured shirt that seemed to be about three inches too short, revealing her belly and navel, which somehow had a silver ring attached. "These are for you, from everyone in the Order."