Neville Longbottom was smiling. He held up one of his first presents, from his friend Harry. "See, it has all kinds of plants I never heard of! Gran says she hasn't heard of most of them either, but she never liked plants like I do."
He carefully moved the large volume to the side, moving other packages forward. "I actually have lots of friends, and they are so nice to me. Susan even sent me a book about magical plants in France. I mentioned Susan, right?"
His hand barely touched the book. Real friends... "She has been really nice to me. And she never makes fun of me. She even said she wanted to come to my birthday next year... I like her."
He looked around the room. It hurt to look straight at them, so he always put that part off. "Harry introduced her, and he helped me in my classes. You know how I mentioned all the problems I was having with my... the magic stuff? Yeah. He helped a lot."
Neville tried to keep a smile on his face. "I even... Harry helped me use Dad's wand. I can use it now, better than ever. You don't think Dad would mind, do you? Mom?"
There was never a response. It hurt so much.
He picked up a book. "I know you two are busy getting better, so I went ahead and filled in our memory book again this year. I added a lot of pictures, even one of my friends at Hogwarts. I wrote some stuff here, see? This was when we were having another snowball fight. We came up with... like, this spell for it."
Neville's fingers paused over another gap in the pages. "I left some space for you to right when you feel better Mom. You don't have to of course. I know you are busy getting healthy."
An older hand gently placed a gum wrapper into the boy's hand.
The boy sniffled. "Th... Thank you mommy. Merry Christmas to you too."
Harry woke slowly. At some point he and Goran had fallen asleep... and then apparently Goran had decided to snuggle.
Well, sort of. He was currently being held like a baby kitten.
Probably a zero on the "I'm a manly Dad" meter. Still, warm.
Harry sighed. Time to get going. He shifted to the door and faded into his mental world.
He smiled as his feet gently hit the soft grass...
Wrath stood next to the boy. "Anything wrong, Master?"
Wisdom lifted her head from the ground entrance to the base. She began rubbing her eyes. "Wrath, please pull back Cerby."
Wrath looked in her direction. "What do you mean?"
Harry felt it was important to intrude. "AHHHH."
Wisdom waved a hand. "Just... tell Cerby to give Harry some space."
Wrath looked at the massive single headed dog licking most of Harry's upper body. "Do you think he is in the way?"
Wrath sighed and snapped his fingers.
Harry looked up through layers of goo, seeing a massive black skinned dog sitting up and slobbering behind the soon-to-be-punished Wrath. "Ah... ah. Eww. Oh Merlin, ewwwww. How is that level of slobber even possible?"
Wrath shrugged. "You haven't visited for the last few days."
Harry stood, trying to not touch... well, anything. "I was gone for like... oh. well, it has been a few days or so I guess... maybe a weekish."
Wrath patted the huge creature. "Don't forget, time passes faster here. Slobber punishment is the least to expect."
The boy sighed, and pulsed his power, feeling the goo slide off. "Well, it was important. And we have a bigger family now, somehow. That has to count for something, right?"
Wisdom gave a small smile and hugged the boy. "It counts for everything. Luna and Amy are adorable."
Harry grinned. "Well, I was just stopping by to relax a bit before getting stuff done. Any interesting books we absorbed that I could read for a bit?"
Hours later he sighed, a small smile and a cushy chair helping him enjoy 'Deer and You, a debate.' Sometimes unwinding was also important.
Still early in the morning, Harry faded into the Great Hall. Well, better now than never. "Uh... Hello? Doreen?"
"Yes, Master Potter Sir?"
Harry twisted and almost lost his balance."OH DEAR MERLIN!" He tried to rapidly center himself. He gave a slightly shaky smile. "Sorry, Doreen, I didn't see you there. I wanted to ask you for assistance, actually."
She twisted her towel clothing's corner. "Wells, I needs to follow Headmaster's orders. He's be saying to take care of Master Goran and his home."
Harry nodded. "Well, today we are going to be giving Goran a big Christmas celebration, so I was hoping you or some of your friends would be willing to help us set it up."
Doreen clapped, a big smile. "A big party!? And you won't mind if other House Elves help?"
Harry nodded. "Any help is welcome. Going to have a couple of families join us too. So would you be willing to help?"
Doreen squealed and disappeared.
Harry blinked. "Ah. I assume that is a yes then." He frowned. "Well, I hope it is a yes. Ah well, I can improvise if things go off."
He looked around the massive room. Well, back to work. He reached into the distance and pulled... and faded back into Goran's living room. Now for the final touches.
Harry reached both hands out, feeling the edges of the stone room. This area was decorated to a certain extent already, but this was for his son.
More was needed.
He felt rich power flowing through his skin as cords hit all four walls, splitting into ropes and threads. The more power hitting the room, the more REAL it felt. The stone seemed older, richer.
Harry frowned. Ever since his power had been drained by the ward stone, it had come back... stronger. Thicker. It was getting harder and harder to prevent too much power seeping into his threads.
Still, he had a time limit this morning. The room didn't need to be changed too much though.
He flexed his power. It felt like gently shrugging off a robe, but the power rippled into the room. Every inch of the walls became etched with tiny lines, ridges that seemed to move under his threads.
As his threads etched the walls, he felt Goran coming up the stairs. Harry smiled in that general direction as his eyes carefully followed the power. "Good morning son! Did you sleep well?"
Goran rubbed his eyes with his huge hands. The room was... shifting. It felt like the world was shuffling, not quite sure what to do with itself. A grin grew as he looked at the walls, that seemed to shimmer with images of snow swept fields and trees. "Da... this is awesome! Could you add some dragons?"
Harry grinned as multiple dragons were etched into and around the various images of Christmas trees and snowmen.
His son's large hand touched one of the dragons and Goran chuckled when it squirmed on the wall, trying to burn him with etched flames. "This is amazing Da... How did you make it move?"
Harry frowned. "Well, my power seems to be a bit... overflowing right now. I am going to have to work on it later. Actually, I think it got worse when I used so much energy on Daphne's... uh. on a gift I made."
His son raised an eyebrow at his Da's blush. "Huh." His smile came back as he touched one of the trees, watching it sway in the wind. "Still, this is amazing."
Harry grinned. "And you haven't even seen your presents yet."
Goran seemed to glow. "You get PRESENTS? This holiday is awesome!"
He grinned. "Yeah, I always like it now that I get a few gifts too. When I was younger..." Harry's face fell slightly, remembering dark nights crying in a small cupboard, listening to music and happiness behind his rotten door where the happiness lived. "Well... it's much better now. And we are going to have family over too!"
Goran seemed to notice the hitch in Harry's voice and focused on the small pile of gifts that had magically shown up under the Christmas... uh, trunk. This tree was really too big for the room. Maybe he should have listened to Hagrid... or at least had chopped the tree closer to the top instead of near the base.
Ah well, it looked fine. Thanks to Da's efforts the trunk was now pierced with swords and sharp metal candy-cane's holding various models and ornaments. The trunk itself was covered in white plastic to make it look... well, SORT of snow like.
More importantly, he could feel the effort his Da had put into the whole thing. The memories of how long they had stayed up, laughing and making silly decorations for that tree trunk... they made him feel warm inside.
He pulled one of the gifts closer before he felt Da hold it still. "Wh... isn't it time to open them?"
Harry chuckled. "Of course. I just wanted to wait for the rest of our family."
Goran's eyebrow's almost hit the roof. "Uh... you mean the Dursley's? They are coming?"
The boy nodded. "Not just them. My new sister Luna and our extended family the Ardens will be stopping by."
Goran paused. "Uh... Da, you mentioned something about that last night. I don't remember... the Ardens?"
Harry grinned. "Let's just say I had a busy couple of days. Oh, and I met some nice mafia people." He shrugged as his hands began shaping the ceiling. "Well, some of them were nice. I had to mind wipe a few getting information."
Goran paused... then shrugged. Da didn't really do normal.
Petunia Dursley heard the door knock and dashed there. "Harry!?"
Harry paused, one hand held up. "Uh... Hi Aunt Petunia. Everything... ERK"
WOW that was a tight hug. She was mumbling into his hair as she hugged him. "Oh baby, I missed you so much! Even with your letters it felt like you were forever away. Did you get taller? Are you eating all right?"
He chuckled as he returned the hug. "Well, I am eating a lot I guess. And I got more family now! I wanted you and the family to come visit."
He felt Petunia tense slightly. "Ah... is there going to be a lot of you-know-what there?"
Harry frowned slightly... Oh. Vernon. "Yes, I... well, my son is partially..." He looked around and hugged closer. "Magical. And his home is at Hogwarts, my school... at least it is for now. Will Uncle be able to handle it?"
She sighed. "I'm... no, I don't think so. He never came out and said anything, but he really feels uncomfortable when I use the little magic you taught me... I actually have to cut back around him."
Harry felt a slight pain in his stomach. He had felt Uncle always pull away when he did anything magical... and some part of him had expected a problem once he started using his skills in a more open way.
A child having a magical son though would apparently be too much for the man who always wanted to be perfectly normal.
Harry gave a fake smile and hugged his Aunt. "Well, he is welcome if he changes his mind. Will Dudley be able to come?"
Her smile got bigger. "Of course, he has been talking about this for days! He even has some drawings he did while at in art class at school he wanted to share."
The boy's green eyes softened and his smile felt more real. "Well, I need to pick you and big D up. I learned a lot in the few weeks I have been gone. Got everything for a short trip?"
Petunia gave him another squeeze and pulled him toward the stairs. "Dudley-kins, Harry is home!"
A kaleidoscope of noises occurred as a ball of energy mostly composed of Dudley smashed and banged his way downstairs and jumped at Harry, who collapsed into the carpet.
Harry was laughing as he lifted the larger boy. "Hey Big D! How was Smeltings?"
The boy frowned as he floated over the floor. "Floating is cheating. Take your tickling like a man."
Dudley sighed. "Fine, cheat. You know I will just get you later with a water balloon or something."
Harry waved a hand, several snowballs appearing while he began an evil smile. "So... how much do you like snow wedgies?"
Dudley quietly floated, while Petunia was chuckling. He raised one hand in a peaceful gesture. "So... truce? At least until I can summon snow too? Or fake it?"
Harry grinned. "A long truce, no? Fine, truce."
Lowering Dudley turned out to be a bad decision, as Petunia had joined the enemy in a hug/tickle attack.
Several minutes later, with most of the combatants armed with hot chocolate and cookies, they settled into the living room.
Harry pulled another cookie to his hand as he waved his cup. "So I need to drop you two off and pick up other people who will be showing up. Ready to go?"
Petunia looked toward the kitchen. "Well, I did have extra food prepared. Would you mind much if we took some? Vernon was a bit overwhelmed when I went on a bit of cooking spree."
Dudley looked up over his cup. "Mum, you made over ten pounds of cookies alone. We had to give away baskets to most of our neighbors."
She coughed and looked embarrassed. "Well, I got into a rhythm or something. And everyone likes a bit of something to eat, right?"
Harry grinned as he stood. "Well, I can bring what you want. Not supposed to use my wand though, so I can't use stasis on anything. Better package it for travel."
Petunia paused halfway through a sip. "What is stasis?"
He grinned. "Spell I made, it preserves stuff... like anything. Liquids, solids, random collections. Keeps things clean too." Harry frowned, looking at his hands and the various threads that seemed to twist now along his skin. "Haven't gotten it down so I can cast it without a wand yet."
Petunia had already started pulling boxes of food into the living room. "Well, we can send a few of these at least."
Dudley was dragging in some buckets. "I got the pudding and ice-cream. Not going to go near the pile of entrée's though. Too unstable."
Harry's eyes glazed a bit as he looked at the growing pile of boxes. "So... you had time to cook a few things?"
Dudley made some frantic shh faces and waved his hands as Petunia brightened. "Do you think you have room for more of the stuff I put in storage?"
Catching Big D's hint, Harry shook his head. "Ah, maybe later. I need to finish collecting people."
Petunia looked at the chest high pile of sandwiches, lasagnas, hams, and other foods with worry. "Are you sure this is enough? We can go get a few more boxes."
Harry looked at an imaginary watch. "Yeah, gotta get going. Now, everyone stay still."
Dudley tilted his head. "Why?"
He shrugged. "Never moved someone else who was moving. Wouldn't want to miss a part of you or something."
Dudley froze. Kidding? Maybe. Maybe not. Harry had a nasty habit of telling the truth in situations that were unbelievable. Like when he had made half the house into candy. He wished he had believed Harry before trying to use the stairs. Gummy Bears make terrible support structures.
Even as he debated, a warm breeze enveloped him, like a sunny wave of water. His limbs relaxed almost against his will as he felt like he was floating, while his eyes were filled with soft lights... oh.
Whatever that was, it was TALL.
Twice the height of anyone he had ever seen. Huge limbs... huge hands.
He watched Harry walk over to the huge... thing and hug it. "Petunia, Dudley, I would like you to meet my son Goran. Goran, the lady on the left is my Aunt, who took care of me when my mother died. The young man is her son, Dudley... but you can call him Big D."
The huge man-like creature seemed to blush and hold out a huge hand. "H.. Hi. Da's told me a lot about both of you."
Dudley looked WAY up. "Can I ride on your shoulders?"
Goran gave a quick look at his Da who nodded. "Sure."
Dudley grinned. "Awesome. Harry's always been too short to give me shoulder rides."
Goran gave a hesitant smile. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad...
Petunia hesitated slightly, then gave his huge arm a hug. "It's lovely to meet you Goran. You can call me Auntie, like your Da does."
She felt a huge warmth wrap around her... his other hand. "Thanks Auntie." He pulled her... well, sort of carried her since she was mostly in his hand, toward the corner of the room. "Look, Da and I decorated it last night! It's our first Christmas Trunk!"
Petunia looked at what appeared to be a telephone pole painted white and covered in swords and ornaments. "It makes quite an impression. Oh, is that our house?"
Harry coughed and blushed. "Well, it was important to me so I added it. There are small descriptions I added to the bottom of each one we made. Even have a model of our school too, if you want to go outside and see it yourself. Just take Goran with you, to keep you two safe and all."
Dudley's eyes lit up. "I can see the magic castle!?"
Harry grinned. "If Hagrid has time, you might even get a tour! Let me get the rest of our guests first though. You good for now Petunia, Son?"
They both nodded while Goran was pointing at something near the top of the tree. Harry smiled softly watching the small woman try to be supportive to a child larger than anyone she had ever met before... almost twice as tall. She was a good mother... hopefully like what his mom would have been like.
As they all looked closer at the Christmas Trunk, Harry faded as he reached out to his next destination.
Harry faded into reality just in time to be tackled. He laughed as he wrapped his arms around the torpedo. "Good morning to you too, Amy!"
Amy was trying to bounce in excitement and scowl in frustration. "Unca Harry is late! Its Christmas and Mom says I can't open the gifts till you get here!"
Chloe grinned at Harry on the floor while Luna was standing nearby with a big package held against her chest. "Good morning Harry, are you ready to leave with us?"
He reached a free arm out and hugged Luna. "Well, I got my Aunt and Cousin, although my Uncle couldn't make it this year. Everyone got their presents for the trip?"
Luna leaned into the Sun. Even as nice as the woman had been, it felt nice to be around him. He was like starlight in a warm glass. "Mr. Duck has decided to not press charges about his house damages."
Harry blinked. "What?"
She shrugged. "The damage to his inflatable house."
The boy frowned slightly. "I thought it was a pig's inflatable house."
She nodded. "Mr. Duck is a pig."
Harry paused.. and grinned. "Well, thank him for me. And he can use my imaginary goblin key to rebuild his whole inflatable imaginary house if he needs to."
She looked at him with distrust. "What kind of interest rates?"
He shrugged. "Have his people call my people, they'll have lunch."
Jack leaned into the room. "Lunch? We did prepare a few things in case you needed some food at the party."
Harry looked at the large picnic basket being hauled in by Jack. "Oh goodness... well, combined with the food from my Aunt, we will have enough for about twenty people. Easily."
Chloe looked into the kitchen. "So you don't think we will need another basket or two?"
Harry rubbed his eyes. "Meh, go ahead. We will just have... extra." He frowned, making a mental total. "A lot of extra. Everyone ready?"
After Jack grabbed a bag with some wrapped gifts and nodded, the family was pulled away.
Luna gripped her new brother tightly as they were pulled through the sunshine again. Songs and stories flew by her ears as she looked in every direction.
As the light faded, she looked up... and up. The moon was tall. "Hello Moon, my name is Luna."
Goran blinked and gave a hesitant smile. "Hello Aunt Luna. But my name is Goran, not Moon."
She shrugged. "The sun is called Harry, but he is still the Sun. Are you having a good Christmas so far?"
A tiny shape way up in the air shifted. Luna blinked... did Moon have two heads?
Dudley looked down. "Hi! I'm Dudley!" He moved slightly. Being this high was awesome! "You should come up here, the view is great!"
Harry pulled the Adults and Luna to a less occupied corner. Petunia was still staring at the walls. "Harry, did you do this? These pictures are incredible... and I think that lizard thing keeps moving around."
Chloe looked where the other woman was pointing... "Oh, it's a Green Welsh Dragon! Those are beautiful! Uncle Harry, how did you make this?"
Petunia blinked at the woman, who had a darling little girl gripping her leg. "Oh, sorry about that. I am Petunia Dursley, Harry's Aunt. The little one on Goran is Harry's cousin, Dudley."
Chloe shook her hand confused slightly. "Sorry, which one is Goran?"
Harry patted the huge statue in the room. "My adopted son, a Troll. Goran, as you are probably able to guess, this bundle of starlight is Luna, and this one..." He reached down and pulled Amy off Chloe's stunned leg as Chloe stared up at the enormous troll. "This little princess is Amy. The nice lady is Chloe, and Jack is the fellow carrying all the bags and staring with his mouth open."
Jack shook his head and coughed, embarrassed, as he began putting down the food, emergency supplies for Amy, and holiday gifts. "Sorry Uncle Harry, let me get the food off to where the rest went."
There was a soft pop and Doreen appeared. "House Elves will preserve, and present food at next meal. Please relax." and vanished.
So did the food.
Jack gaped slightly, staring. "Well... huh."
Petunia shrugged. "Goran explained her a bit to me earlier, but I decided I would have an easier time just making a list of questions and trying to get them answered later."
Jack nodded. "Could I borrow some of your paper and a pen?"
Doreen popped back in, handed him parchment and a quill, and vanished.
He blinked, looking down at the tools. "Ah... never mind. Handy, that is."
Chloe smiled hesitantly at the... well grown young troll. "So... how's it like having Uncle Harry for a father?"
Goran chuckled. "Well, it's never boring that's for sure. Holiday barely started and he did that whole magical black hole thing."
Petunia turned with a mixture of shock and justified annoyance. "It WAS you! I heard some huge electrical pulse happened somewhere near Plymouth. What were you doing down there?"
Harry shrugged slightly. "Making a ward stone for my new home, one for Goran and maybe Luna and the Ardens. And you guys of course, if Vernon doesn't mind living in a... well, less than usual home."
He saw her expression and gave a weak smile. "Well, you know Goran needs a place to live without being surrounded by non-magicals. And Luna will need a place for her and her father that is closer to her family, us. And the Ardens may like having a second place to either stay or visit."
Petunia blinked. She seemed close to crying. "You... you want to leave?"
Harry was already wrapping her in a big hug. "No, Auntie. Not yet. But I want Goran to have a safe home that no one can take from him, one that Luna and I could have rooms at. If I get transportation down, I could even tie my new home to my old room, so visiting me would be a one step process."
She still gave him a huge hug. "I... I guess long term it would be good to start preparing for a place. But you will be staying with us, please. At LEAST until you finish school. You're one of my little ones."
Dudley couldn't really hear what was going on but shouted from on top of Goran. "Hey Harry, can Goran show us around the castle thing yet?"
Harry and Petunia broke into little chuckles before Harry grinned. "Almost! I just need to pick up the Weasley's and see if any of my friends have time to stop by."
As he heard several of the kids groan at the delay (AGAIN), along with little Amy grumbling about how she should be able to open her gifts NOW not later, he faded away toward a hotel room he had visited only the day before.
Ginny looked in horror at the table. "Mom... HOW much food have you been cooking for this?"
Molly looked at the small tower of turkey and the humongous hill of ham. "Too much you think?"
Fred and George looked between each other. "Well, probably not." "As long as Harry" "has fifty or so friends" "who haven't eaten in a few weeks."
A bored redhead was currently eating his fourth breakfast. "Wry dront oh, ih sheems ike eh groo shtar."
Ginny looked at her brother Ron like others looked at apparation splenches. "Ron, please swallow before talking."
He shrugged, glaring at his little sis. "I said, it seems like a good start. What if they get hungry?"
Fred looked at the pile. "Well, if they get hungry just looking at this pile will make them stuffed to overflowing."
George on the other hand was studying Ron. "I don't know, if another Ron is in the works then this might only be a good start to a meal."
Ginny shuddered at the idea of multiple Rons. From what few letters she had received last year ('I will write every week!' Yeah right.) he had spent the whole year in the common room, class, or eating. And when not playing chess, he spent the rest of the time thinking about eating or Quidditch.
The twins supported her view, and had also mentioned that Ron rarely left a specific chair (Now dubbed 'The Chair of Ron the Sitting') in the common room... and even insulted others who tried to study.
She sighed. At least he wouldn't likely turn into a Perfect Prefect like Preachy Percy.
Of course, at the rate he was eating he may turn into a Quaffle. A large round one.
Half distracted by the thought of Ron being tossed at high speed between Quidditch Chasers in front of a cheering crowd, she opened the hotel door on the second knock. "Oh, Hi Ha... EEP"
Her hair! Her dress! Merlin she looked like a mess. She dived at the other room and frantically began getting ready for the day.
The other Weasley's looked at the slammed door in surprise, before looking at the direction Ginny had run at full speed.
Fred leaned up and gently wedged the door slightly open. "Oh... Good Morning Harry."
Harry looked at the door in a slight state of shock. Knock Knock, Girl with red hair, scream, slam... and then Fred. "Oh... Hi. Did I catch her at a bad time?"
Fred shook his head. "No, catching her at any time would be good in her mind."
Someone inside, female, and angry appeared, smacked the back of his head, and ran back to her room to try and fix her hair.
Fred coughed. "I meant, Hi Harry! Merry Christmas! We will be ready to go in a few minutes, although Charlie won't be here cause he needs to work with the dragons this year in Romania, and Bill is doing some sort of secret thing with Gringotts... some sort of magic black hole thing."
Harry blinked. "Oh... well, if it makes you feel any better, I think I sent him alcohol. If he is working with the team I think he is."
Molly appeared at the door, arms full of bags with shrunken food inside. "Sorry, what was that dear?"
Harry grinned. "I said I sent Bill some supplies, assuming he is working on the magical black hole issue. Sent a whole bunch of stuff... food, clean clothing in their sizes, and so forth. Least I could do after causing all that."
She blinked. "Oh." Apparently she was too rushed to really concentrate on the issue. "Here dear, take these two bags full of bread products and Fred can hold the one with various vegetable dishes."
His face blanked in horror. "So... you have food to bring then?"
Fred gave a solemn nod. George had a bagel in his mouth. The unknown boy Harry could see in the room hadn't looked up from his plate of eggs and bacon yet.
Ginny appeared as if she had just stepped out of a gentle spring morning, and certainly NOT like she had frantically done everything in her power to LOOK like she had just stepped out of a gentle spring morning. She smiled at Harry. "Well, are we going then?"
Harry nodded. "Just waiting for your father, assuming he is coming with us of course."
Molly shook her head. "He said he had been called into the ministry. Someone they were looking for or something." She sighed. "Still, he said sends his regards and offers a Happy Christmas to you and your family."
Harry sighed, looking at the pile of food and giving a wry grin. "Well, everyone gather around and hold what you need."
He mentally groaned as he pulled the bags of food with him while shifting. Those bags were bigger on the inside, and were MUCH heftier to shift than he had been expecting... just how much food could one woman MAKE in an evening?
Molly Weasley felt like the world just blurred... and they were somewhere else. The walls glistened with carvings that looked like a snow covered forest, filled with decorated Christmas tress and... Dragons? Snow-Wizards too.
She blinked. Oh, right. Harry had a troll son. She hesitantly gave a smile. "Uh... Hello. Are you Goran then?"
Deeply intelligent eyes turned to her... oh, and there was a young boy riding on his shoulders. "Yes... And you are?"
She gave a small bow. "I am Molly Weasley, and these are my children... Ginny, Ronald, and Fred and George."
The twins looked at each other and sighed. "Sorry, close mom. I'm George and HE's Fred."
She blushed. "Sorry dears, it must have been the stress."
They grinned. "KIDDING!" and ran toward the other side of the room laughing and waiving at Harry as they left.
A brown haired woman with blue eyes chuckled and leaned in close. "Pleasure to meet you, Molly. My name is Chloe Arden, and my Husband over there is Jack. Our dear Amy is the one on Goran's other shoulder with the wand."
Molly smiled at the tiny angel currently patting Goran's head with a star tipped wand. "Oh she is just precious! Are you friends of Harry?"
Jack ambled up, chuckling. "Ah, yes. Uncle Harry has accepted us as a Vassal family."
Molly blinked as she looked at Chloe who nodded. She looked back at Harry. "And how exactly did THAT happen?"
Harry blushed. "Ah... well. The magical black hole thing kind of messed up a LOT of magic."
Chloe leaned in and whispered. "Including the contraceptive potion and spell I was using."
Jack chuckled seeing Molly also get a beet red face. "Yeah, awkward for everyone. We only asked for enough money to help us raise her, and we even felt guilty for asking for that... but when Harry found out, well. Things got complicated."
Harry groaned. "Yeah, I ended up taking down a major crime syndicate. Messed up a good chunk of my afternoon." He looked at the roof, missing several shocked glances at him. "Worth it in the end though. And their leader was a nice woman."
Jack blinked... and shrugged. As long as it was taken care of, whatever. He smiled at the stunned woman. "Anyway, he ended up taking us in as family sorta. We are more than grateful for it... and his sister is a little darling too."
At that point Luna made it to the group, making Molly gasp and almost leap at her, wrapping her in warmth and frantic questions, making sure the darling was ok, not hurt, eating alright? Too thin, needs more meat and veggies, didn't she bring some?
Luna accepted the warm attack as she had in the past, enjoying the care and compassion the fiery haired woman put into everything she did. She grinned up at the Sun. "So is Ginny here too?"
"LUNA!" And Ginny tackled her. "Did you get the gift Harry picked out for you? He let me help with the decisions and stuff!"
Luna hugged her back. "Ginny, I never did find the floating bush. But maybe if we got more snails..."
Harry chuckled as the two girls began a strange conversation where Luna would talk about something bizarre and Ginny would somehow miss most of it and talk about something else entirely.
Molly smiled as she watched. "I never could follow their conversations, but they always looked so happy together." She began moving the bags when they vanished. She frowned. "Where did all the food go?"
Molly blinked as a house elf popped in. "Doreen is preparing and storing the food provided by Missus Weasleys, it be ready whens asked for."
And she vanished.
Harry sighed. "Yeah... food won't be an issue. As it is we have enough for fifty of us."
Ron looked at all the strangers pensively. "Are you sure? You can never have enough you know."
Harry sighed slightly. "Well, you may disagree after this. I had one more I was planning on inviting, although I'm not sure if she's willing to come or not. Be right back."
He faded into the basement Merp 2 room and faded into his mental world.
Jean and Tom Granger were hesitantly looking at the massive pile of baked goods. While many were shaped like various Christmas-related objects, they were also... glowing. Well, some were pulsing. And the gingerbread man had at some point vanished.
Hermione leaned in from the kitchen. "So yeah, thanks to the flour stuff you bake stays warm but not drying out cause being near magic heats it up a small amount. So I just put my wand near the opening of the stove."
She picked up one of the glowing cookies. "And they are SO MUCH BETTER! I wonder if pure magic has a taste."
Jean took another bite, from a vaguely bread shaped baked product.
It WAS delicious... but the glowing. "Could you stop the glowing part?"
Hermione blinked. "But... that's like the best part!
Astoria Greengrass would NORMALLY be depressed because her father wasn't coming home today for Christmas.
She would NORMALLY be sad with Daphne trying to cheer her up.
Right NOW she was trying to get Daphne to open the gift from a BoooOOOOy.
"HE'S JUST A FRIEND!"
Astoria grinned. "Oh REeeaaly?"
"YES. NOW... just SHH."
She tried to reach the gift again, but at this point Daphne had wrapped her up in multiple layers of covers. "Oh come on, give me a quick look. I wanna see what your boyfriend got you."
Daphne's normally perfectly composed face was completely red. "It's just candy or a letter or something. I'll open it later. I got lots of gifts. Even Neville and Terry sent me stuff."
Astoria giggled. "But you opened THOSE without a problem. So why not open THIS one too?"
Daphne was frantically looking around the room for a reason to distract her sister. "Because... REASONS. Good ones. Like... very good."
Astoria got a hand free and began reaching for the box. "Oh COME ON, it's from bloody HARRY bloody POTTER. You got a gift from the BOY-WHO-LIVED and I wanna see!"
Daphne pushed her forehead back with her socked foot. "No. Sit. Stay."
Astoria tried to bite her toes.
Daphne took a deep breath. It was probably nothing anyway, right? She only knew him for a little bit, so it wasn't likely anything special. Maybe it was like, a small book about magical search spells to help her project. Or it was class related. Just open it.
But what if it wasn't? Was it worth risking being teased by Stori?
She narrowed her eyes. Well, Astoria would tease her regardless.
Daphne looked down at her sister, who was trying to inch her body toward the box... and sighed. "Fine, if it would get you to back off on the whole b... boy thing, then whatever. I'll open the gift now. Happy?"
Astoria was face first against the paper. "OPEN! Open open open. Come on sis!"
Daphne sighed and gently opened the wrapping paper...
A soft black cushion was holding a small, galleon sized pendant. Edged in silver with a silver chain, the pendent was a rich, deep purple stone that seemed to slightly glow.
As she reached down to touch it, she gasped and jerked her hand back. A rich green serpent was slithering into view, made from a deep green stone... its scales and eyes clearly marked by silver as it moved across the pendant like it was water.
The hissing felt like soft sheets moving on her skin. It had a strange rhythm.
Daphne heard a slight gasp behind her ear. "Oh... oh my Daph. It's... wow. Can I touch it?"
She shook her head. Something about this felt... strange. Not bad. Just... not normal. There was some paper on the side of the box.
"The Amethyst (Purple) encourages bravery, and strengthens you against Demons and Spirits. The Emerald (Green) should help in bartering, and helps with inner peace. I also used a lot of my own power while making this, to try and store a feeling I had. Happy Christmas... Harry Potter."
Daphne blinked. He had made this? Himself? Almost without thought her finger reached out to touch the serpent. He had gone through so much...
CALM. PEACE. As her finger touched the snake, she felt warm, familiar arms wrap around her, protecting her, promising that he would be there if she called.
She didn't even know she was crying until Astoria started wiping away the tears. "Daph, are you all right? Is it... like cursed or something?"
Daphne shook her head. "No Stori... here, just... just touch it."
Astoria hesitantly reached down and touched the almost purring snake...
Oh Merlin, it felt like Dad. Like he was hugging her, telling her it was all right, that things would get better, that she just had to be strong for a little longer. Some small part of her she never knew about seemed to relax, to begin healing... to feel safe.
Daphne was barely whispering now. "He managed to put one of his feelings in this pendant he made. This was the feeling I felt when he helped me feel better about mom."
Astoria almost flinched away from the pendant. They never talked about... mom. Not any more. But even those harsh hurts were being soothed. As she touched the snake that wiggled playfully around their fingers, they could feel nothing but pure care and consideration, like a warm bath on their broken and torn bodies, healing and helping them.
Reluctantly Astoria leaned away... but the feeling didn't vanish. It just started to fade... but not forever. Her smile was soft, and she was crying like her big sis, but it was a real smile.
Someone knew about their pain, and cared about it.
Daphne was trying to clear her throat when she felt a knock on her mental door.
Within moments she had opened her mental world and ran to the door with a huge 'H' on it. When she opened it, she leaped on Harry before he could say anything, mumbling words and feelings and all kinds of things.
Harry was confused, being cried on, and starting to lose his balance.
It was one of the best moments of his life.
After a moment or two he grinned down at Daphne. "So... want to come visit for Christmas? I got friends and family over, and would love you to come."
She looked up at him, eyes still red from tears, with a smile. "I would love to... oh. I can't, Astoria and I are alone cause Father can't be here. I can't leave her there by herself."
Harry blinked. "Well, just bring her. Heck, stay over as long as you want. I can drop you off back at your house whenever you want."
He grinned at her, unconsciously giving a tight hug. "So... does this mean you liked my gift?"
As he was crushed under a tighter hug, he felt such relief that it hadn't been thrown away or anything. He grinned into her hair. "Thank goodness... I have never made a gift for someone before, so I was worried if you would like it."
The hug doubled in intensity.
It was a good day.
Astoria was now feeling so good, that she felt it was time to doodle on her sister's face with some finger paints.
She wasn't entirely sure WHY she had blanked out after seeing that necklace, but that wasn't a reason to not...
Daphne's hand was gripping her paint covered fingers.
Astoria tried REALLY hard to look innocent.
Daphne's eyes widened as her mind began making connections between painted fingers, her face, and Harry showing up at their door in less than five minutes.
She glared at her sis. "Harry is taking us to his house for Christmas, I'm getting cleaned, my vengeance will be swift, brutal, and at a later date. Get Dressed."
Moment's later Astoria was grinning and making pointed looks at Daphne who was stroking the pendant under her shirt.
Daphne gritted her teeth. That paint had been... fun to remove. Especially since she wasn't supposed to do magic. In the end she had snuck into her father's room and 'borrowed' his spare wand to get ready in time.
Daphne glared at her. "Swift, and VERY Brutal."
Astoria was still trying the innocent look.
Daphne was ABOUT to try the 'see you YOU like being painted' look on her when she felt Harry fade into view.
He frowned at the two of them. "Neither of you have food to bring, right?"
Astoria blinked, a bit off. "Uh... no?"
Daphne also blinked. "Sorry, no. Do we need to?"
Harry sighed, grinning. "Thank GOODNESS. Every stop I made today had enough food brought along to feed fifty of us. I'm glad SOMEONE hasn't decided to cook enough for all of England."
Astoria giggled slightly. This close to Harry, she could actually feel that sensation from the pendant, that someone strong was standing over her, protecting them. Everything felt lighter near him.
She glanced at Daphne's red cheeks. Oh yeah, definitely boyfriend material.
Daphne caught the expression and tried to express a combination of divine retribution and a deep begging to not say anything.
Harry just reached out two hands. "Shall we then? My son is really looking forward to being a tour-guide of Hogwarts."
Astoria's eyes twinkled. "We get to see HOGWARTS! That is AMAZ- wait, your son?"
Daphne waved a hand. "He adopted a troll, Goran. Great kid."
Astoria's eyes got bigger... and turned to her sister. "Oooo, so you go after daddies then?"
Daphne swatted the back of her sisters head, but at that point both Harry and Daphne's face could have heated a swimming pool. She coughed. "Well, shall we then?"
As Harry pulled them toward Goran's temporary home, he thought he heard Astoria giggling... Merlin, she was like a mini Tracey. On the other hand, Daphne kept hanging out with girls like that... he grinned.
The grin fell when they appeared in the home.
"Yes Master Harry?"
"I see there is... a LOT of food."
"No Master Harry, this is just what the House-Elves have set up. Appetizers."
Harry looked at the four huge tables in the magically stretched home. Each one covered in things from tiny shrimp to ribs and cheese.
He looked back at the elf. "So... this ISN'T including the multiple piles of food I brought today?"
Ron raised a hand in the back. That hand was holding two sandwiches and some ham. "Harry, for a Ravenclaw you know how to throw a great party."
Moment's later Hagrid opened the huge stone door. "Goran, I brought those Stone Cakes you asked for!"
Harry slouched into Daphne's shoulder, while she gave him a few pats of sympathy. "At least YOU two didn't bring food."
Astoria carefully moved the candy further behind her back.