Hogwarts, October 2020. Harry and Ginny find the ideal birthday gift for their daughter.
|Hagrid leaned back in his big armchair and surveyed Harry affectionately.
"Well, Harry, m'boy," he said, "It's a mighty tall order -- but hey, y'know I can never say NO to yeh!"
Ginny giggled. "C'mon, Hagrid. You're going to enjoy every moment of this, admit it!"
"Ah never said it wouldna' be fun, Ginny," Hagrid responded, taking a sip of his pumpkin juice. "But they're rare, fluffy pink unicorns. Ain't more'n one of them for every five hundred unicorns born, that's what. But ah'll get yeh one, ah will, or my name's not Rubeus Hagrid!"
"And not a word to Lily!" Ginny admonished.
"Now, yeh really think ah'd give away a surprise like that? Ain't too many parents'd get their daughter such a mighty birthday gift, that's what. Nah, I'll be as quiet as a blast-ended skrewt."
Harry and Ginny threw on their invisibility cloak. They didn't want their kids to know they had been visiting Hogwarts, or Lily would guess that it was something to do with her upcoming birthday. "The last time I tread this path wearing this cloak," Harry whispered, "was when Buckbeak was about to be executed."
Ginny turned her face and gave him a rather awkward kiss. It was hard to kiss, bent double under the cloak. "Now, do you want to visit Kreacher and Winky?" she whispered back.
"Let's," Harry replied. Though all the House-Elves had been freed under the new regime, some of them had chosen to stay on at Hogwarts. They got wages, paid leave and proper uniforms and casual clothes.
Harry and Ginny made their way to the castle, and then downstairs to the kitchens. They tickled the painting of the pear on the wall, it giggled and swung back. Harry and Ginny stepped in and took the cloak off. For the second time in his life, Harry was knocked over by a flying House-Elf in the kitchens of Hogwarts.
"Master! Master Harry! Mistress Ginny!"
"Hallo, Kreacher!" Harry grinned, picking himself off the floor and holding the Elf at arm's-length.
"Master Harry! Mistress Ginny!" Winky had come running up, too. Soon, the couple was surrounded by House-Elves, all bearing food. Having refused Hagrid's cooking earlier, the two were now hungry, and enjoyed eating Hogwarts snacks again.
While they ate, they told the Elves of their mission. To ask Hagrid to get Lily a pink fluffy unicorn as a birthday gift. "But we can help, madam and sir, yes we can," squeaked the Elves, immediately. "We is hearing things, sir and madam, we is. We can tell Hagrid where he can find the unicorn you need!"
"HOW do you know?" Ginny asked.
"We is hearing Minister for Magic, Hermione Granger, telling Professor McGonagall about them, sir and madam! They decided to keep it a secret, to avoid tourists flocking the place and disturbing the creatures, madam and sir! So they isn't going to tell anyone, they is saying. There have been two pink fluffy unicorns born yesterday, in the Forest Of Dean, sir and madam, very close to where you found the sword of Gryffindor in the frozen pool!"
Harry and Ginny gaped. They thanked the Elves, stuffed a last piece of treacle tart into their mouths, and put the invisibility cloak right back on. They almost ran back to Hagrid's cabin with the news.
"No time like the present," Hagrid said, picking up his travelling cloak and a big, tattered cloth handbag. "You two can come on Buckbeak, I'll get Sirius's old bike."
"I don't think I've ever felt weirder," Harry confessed, looking around. "It all comes back -- twenty two years ago ..." he fell silent, and Ginny tightened her grip on his hand, and Hagrid patted his shoulder.
There it was. The very same pool. The pool where he had almost drowned. The pool from which Ron had once brought out the sword of Gryffindor. "We destroyed the locket there ... and I think Snape hid there ..." Ginny gave him another quick kiss.
"Now, you think of summat else, there's a good lad," Hagrid said. "We're here to get unicorns, that's what."
With Hagrid's expertise in tracking all creatures, it didn't take them long to find the herd of unicorns. Hagrid knew the noises to make to soothe the beautiful animals, too, and had brought tidbits to tempt them. There they were. The day-old twin unicorns. all pink and fluffy, being licked clean by their mother. "Go near, Ginny, she'll let yeh. Harry, we canna' get closer, you'n me. Wouldna' trust boys, she wouldna', near her foals."
Ginny crept closer, crooning to the mother unicorn, who looked up, alert at once. It took ten minutes, but Ginny got the mother to trust her enough to let her pat the foals. One of them put out a little pink tongue and licked Ginny's fingers.
"Will they be ready to leave their mother before Lily's birthday?"
"I think so," Hagrid said. "Two weeks away, ain't it? We'll come here every coupla' days, Ginny, so that the mother and foals get to know us. Lucky they're this close, that's what. Woulda' been tricky if they'd been abroad someplace. The mother likes you, now, I reckon she'll let you take a foal in a coupla' weeks."
"And I'll do the necessary paperwork at the Ministry. You need a licence to own a unicorn, don't you?" Harry said.
"That's right," Hagrid replied. "Mind yeh, Hermione Granger wouldna' be too pleased you found out about this lot! She's got to sign the licence herself, that's what, and yeh'll have to swear yeh'll keep it well hidden an' feed it properly, an' comb out its tail, an' take it up to the clouds every week an' all. An' all that gummy stuff about it not bein' for commercial purposes an' all. Ah, it's gonna be right hard, Harry, gettin' her to sign, even if yer in the Ministry yerself."
"I'll get Ron to soften her up first," Harry grinned.
"Pays to have friends in high places," Hagrid winked back.
"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, dear Lily!
Everyone loves you!"
The Great Hall rang with the song. There was pizza and cake, and there was a huge pudding that reminded Harry of the one that Dobby the House-Elf had once smashed at Privet Drive.
Then came the moment. "Over there, Lily," Harry said, pointing ... and the small girl stood, transfixed.
There it was. Her birthday gift.
A real, live, pink fluffy unicorn, being led down the aisle between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables by Ginny and Hagrid. It was lucky that everyone was surprised in to silence, or the lovely creature might've been disturbed by the noise.
As it was, the foal skipped lightly between Ginny and Hagrid, straight to Lily. The unicorn nuzzled her, clearly saying, "I know I'm yours."
"Thanks, Mum, Dad, Hagrid. I'm going to name him Snuffles," the girl sighed, hugging her pet.
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