Written at the speed of light for McKay's 2005 Candy is Dandy challenge (Character/Candy prompt: Hagrid and Treacle Fudge)
Warning: Bad science ahead. Don't you kids try this at home.
It's the Great Pumpkin, Harry Potter!
Professor of the Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Recipient of the Order of Merlin - First Class - for his pivotal role in the ultimate defeat of "He Who Can Finally Be Named, But We'd Just As Soon Not, Thank You Very Much."
Did I mention "Groundskeeper?"
If not, let me correct that omission at once, for if Professor Hagrid had not been such a dedicated Groundskeeper - and such a terrible cook - it is quite possible that the forces of the Dark Lord would have emerged victorious in their war with the Side of Light (tm).
But what about Harry Potter, I hear you ask? Surely the Boy Who Lived had some role to play in the defeat of Lord Voldemort?
Of course he did.
For the first time in his life, Harry Potter was looking forward to his birthday.
None of his friends had mentioned it or asked him if he wanted to make plans for a party - Mrs. Weasley hadn't even asked if he wanted a cake - but it wasn't as if he was used to anyone making a fuss over his birthday in any case, and the fact that he'd been allowed to spend almost the entire summer at the Burrow and that he wasn't going to be spending his birthday at the Dursleys was enough of a gift for him.
When the morning of the 31st of July finally dawned, Harry dressed himself and crept downstairs through the silent house, only to find half the Weasley family and Hermione sitting at the kitchen table, all grinning at him.
"Happy birthday, Harry!"
"Happy birthday, mate!"
"So, Harry...inquiring minds want to know. You've been of age for six hours now: have you scored yet?"
"Fred Weasley! There'll be none of that language. Happy birthday, Harry dear. Did you sleep well?"
Harry just nodded, unable to talk past the lump in his throat.
"All right," Mr. Weasley said. "Gather 'round, everyone. I'm setting the Portkey . . . now. One minute. Everybody hold on!"
Harry reached over to grab the string tied to the Muggle birthday balloon Portkey, and within seconds, he felt the familiar tug behind his navel that pulled him out of the Burrow and into . . .
. . . Hagrid's cottage.
The Weasleys and Hermione patted Harry on the back, then started hanging streamers and putting out heaping plates of food that appeared out of nowhere. Harry offered to help, but Ginny shooed him away from the table, which left Harry the only one to notice when Hagrid walked in the door.
"Hello, Harry!" the big man said.
"Hagrid! Is this . . . for me? A birthday party?"
"Well, o' course it is, Harry. A little bird reminded me it was yer birthday, and I wanted to celebrate it with yeh. The thing is," he said, glancing out the window, "there's been a little trouble with the pumpkin patch, and I didn't think I should leave it fer the time bein'"
"You're . . . watching pumpkins grow?" Harry couldn't keep from smiling.
"Now don't be like that, Harry. It's just . . . " Hagrid looked around to make sure no one was listening but Harry, then he whispered, "It looked a right simple spell when I saw it in the book. Guaranteed to make even Muggle fertilizer work twice as fast, it said. But, well . . . my, er, umbrella seems to have a mind of its own sometimes, if yeh take my meaning."
Harry looked out the window. Pumpkins . . . pumpkins as far as the eye could see, and they were growing so quickly that Harry could actually see them getting bigger.
"I've been pruning the vines every hour for the past two days, but they're not lettin' up." Hagrid sighed. "Fertilizer just got a little too powerful, tha's all."
"Yeah," Harry said, shaking his head. "Listen, Hagrid . . . I'll help you with the pumpkins if you'd like. I'm sure Ron and Hermione will, as well."
"Aw, Harry," said Hagrid, sniffing back a tear. "You don't have to do tha' - not when it's yer birthday an' all. You just enjoy yer party. Oh, I almost fergot . . . I got summat for ya. Made it myself."
Hagrid went to the mantle and took down a huge gaily-wrapped package, then handed it to Harry, who had to fight not to stagger under its weight.
"I know how much you've always liked that treacle fudge of mine, so I reckoned that yeh might want an endless supply."
"An . . . endless supply?" Harry asked, gulping loudly as he thought of what happened to his teeth the last time he bit into a piece of Hagrid's treacle fudge.
"Should be. Changed the recipe a little, too," Hagrid said, patting his umbrella fondly. "Added a little extra sweetening to it. Know how you lads do like yer sweets."
"Um . . . thanks, Hagrid."
"No need to thank me, Harry. Go on, then . . . open it up and take a piece. It won't spoil yer appetite for Molly's feast."
Harry untied the red ribbon, and peeled back the paper. He looked up at Hagrid's beaming face and knew there was no getting out of it. He took a small piece and took a bite.
"Uhts gdd," Harry said.
"Glad to see yeh enjoyin' it," Hagrid said, slapping Harry on the back. "You just carry on, and I'll go help Fred and George fix those balloons."
As soon as Hagrid turned away, Harry tried to spit the treacle fudge out of his mouth, but it was no use . . . his teeth were stuck fast together. What kind of spell had Hagrid's wand done on the fudge? It tasted a million times sweeter than it ever had before. Harry could practically feel the sugar molecules multiplying in his mouth.
"All right, everyone," Mrs. Weasley said. "The breakfast feast is ready. Everybody take a plate . Harry, come along, dear."
Harry made his way to the table, package still in hand, hoping nobody would notice he wasn't eating until he could find a way to get Hermione or Ron to pry his teeth apart, when all of sudden the door flew open.
"Who invited that git?" Ron whispered to Harry.
Harry shook his head, then stared in horror when he saw that Snape was wearing the robes of a Death Eater.
"Eloquent as always, Potter." Snape said, gasping for breath and wiping beads of sweat from his brow. "Everybody get out now!"
"What's wrong, Severus," asked Mr. Weasley in alarm.
"Somebody," Snape said, turning to glare at Hagrid, who looked back at him with alarm," went to the Three Broomsticks last night and mentioned there was going to be a little party for Potter here this morning. He was overheard."
"But the Hogwarts protections . . "
"...do not include the grounds in the summer, particularly not when the Headmaster is not in residence. Now do you dunderheads need more polite conversation? Get out!!"
"The children can't Apparate yet," Mrs. Weasley said, panic beginning to creep into her voice.
"The forest, Mum," said Ron. "We know our way around in the forest. We've been there loads of times."
"You what?" she shrieked. "When this is over, you're going to . . . "
"Right. Everyone out!"
As soon as Snape Disapparated, everyone rushed out the back door, but they had only taken a few steps when Harry heard the distinctive cracks of Apparation from just behind Hagrid's cottage.
"Down!" he whispered loudly. "Then start crawling toward the trees."
His eyes darted from person to person, his fear not abating until he could see each person - even Hagrid - disappear behind one of the still-growing pumpkins. Harry started to do as he'd told everyone else to do, but he couldn't crawl with the huge package of treacle fudge still in his hands.
"Sorry, Hagrid," he thought to himself. "I'm going to have to leave your gift behind."
As quickly as he could, Harry started to move toward the tree line. His blood was roaring in his ears, but it was not loud enough to block out the all-too-familiar sound of Voldemort's voice as he shrieked at his Death Eaters to "find the boy!"
"This is your last chance, Severus," Voldemort screamed, sparks of fire darting from his wand. "Go to the castle, since the wards will let you in, and see if he's run there. But be warned . . . I sense your hand in this, and if he is not caught . . . "
"Yes, Master. Of course, Master."
Harry froze. He could hear the fear in Snape's voice, and he started to turn around, but a large hand reached out and yanked him back.
"Professor Snape can take care of himself," Hagrid whispered. "Keep crawling.
Harry nodded, and continued on for a few more feet, then stopped again.
"Hagrid," he said quietly. "What's that sound?"
Hagrid cocked his head and listened carefully, then whispered. "I don't rightly know. If I didn't know better, I'd say it sounds like some suicidal pillock had dumped sugar all over the pumpkin patch."
"Suicidal?" Harry asked in a small voice.
"Potassium nitrate in the magically accelerated fertilizer mixed with sugar? Tha's just like what the Muggles use to fire off their rockets."
"Would . . . um . . . magically sweetened treacle fudge be as bad as sugar?"
"It would be a thousand times worse, but . . . .Harry, where's yer treacle fudge?"
Harry looked back, and watched mutely as the rumble in the pumpkin patch grew louder and louder and the ground started to shake. He fumbled for his wand, but before he could get it out of his robe, Hagrid tucked him under one massive arm and started running for the forest.
"Fools!" Voldemort shrieked. "After him!"
They'd been spotted.
Harry could only watch with horror as Voldemort and the seven remaining Death Eaters drew their wands simultaneously.
Three more steps to the forest.
"Avada . . . !"
And then Harry heard no more, for the world - his world at least - had gone black.
"Harry . . . please wake up, Harry!"
Was that Hermione's voice?
"Come on, mate. You don't want to nap through your whole birthday."
"Ron?" Harry said, his voice raspy and harsh.
"Yeah, it's me."
Harry opened his eyes to see eight concerned faces gazing down at him.
"What . . . happened?"
"What happened?" said George.
"Only the greatest show ever," said Fred.
"You Know Who took two steps this way . . . . "
" . . . when all of a sudden, giant pumpkins started exploding like it was Guy Fawkes night."
"Knocked out half the Death Eaters in the first blast," said George
"Including Percy's ex-rat," added Fred.
"Then all the rest of the pumpkins started flying through the air, like . . . what'd you call it, Hermione?"
"A chain reaction," she answered.
"Yeah, that! You Know Who never had a chance. Death by pumpkin. Absolutely brilliant!"
Harry sat up and rubbed his head. "So much for Trelawney's prophesy."
Ron nodded, then frowned. "Not that I'm not glad he's gone and all, but I wish we knew how it happened."
Harry looked over at Hagrid.
"Happy birthday, Harry," mumbled Hagrid.
Comments, critiques, chit chat: beth-h @ mrks.org