Severus Snape snarled as he stalked the dungeons. Christmas had never been his favorite holidays, although some dark part of his heart cackled knowing that the bastard short dunderheads were being sent off leaving him mostly alone in the castle.
But any and all enjoyment of the situation was being destroyed... and it was likely that bloody Potter brat's fault. Somehow. Well, it had to be.
Every time he tried to make a poison for him, Severus ended up back in his bedroom drinking something alcoholic. Each time he began to curse objects or plant charms to hurt one of those brats or that monster outside, he would begin to lose focus at critical points... or in one case, he found himself painting ducks on his bedsheets.
He STILL couldn't get rid of those sheets.
The worst part was was every time he tried to tell someone or write it down, he ended up talking about muffins. SOME kind of curse must be on him, but every diagnostic came up negative.
He had even swallowed some of his pride and had gone to St. Mungo's Hospital, under an assumed name of course. They found nothing wrong, even though he couldn't talk about many of the symptoms or issues.
The worst part, the part that was making him grind his teeth and stalk tonight, was his own ability to use Occlumency. His mind arts were something special, something he was proud of. No one had found the girls body, and the young boy's would never find the truth thank to those strong and strange walls that Snape had spent months and years constructing.
Oh, and they protected him from Dumbledore and Voldemort. That too.
But when he tried to center himself, to find his own mind... he kept seeing an image of a duck eating a muffin.
He swept the dungeons, growling deep in his throat. Every other step caused a slight grimace of pain to shoot through his back. Madam Pomfrey had managed to route his spinal cord nerves through some extra bone growth on his back, although it still ached.
The darkness between torches soothed him to a small extent... What in Merlin's name?
Severus looked at the small group of children.
Wasn't it Christmas? Why were CHILDREN involved on such a day?
He glared at the group, lips snarling, wand twitching. No one would find them, and he could claim that he had spent the day making potions... a few dead children, surely no one would care about just a FEW DEA...
Why was he back in his office?
Dudley Dursley blinked and turned to look at Amy Arden. "Did you just see a vampire?"
She was staring into the dark dungeon. Thankfully she was too young to feel fear or concern, so at this point she just wanted to drag the monster outside and see if she could ride it. "Maybe? Why was it skipping away?"
Astoria Greengrass was ignoring most of this as she was poking her sister every few minutes.
Daphne Greengrass was about to smash her sister into the floor. Or die blushing. Or both. Thank Merlin the dungeons were dim enough to help hide her blushes.
Astoria leaned in. "You know, Haaaarrry didn't invite his other friends."
Well, so much for hiding THAT blush. "Of... of course he invited them! They were just busy and stuff."
Goran finally caught up, his huge frame moving from around a corner, wheezing slightly. "Hey, don't run so fast! I don't want Da mad if I lost you guys!"
Astoria grinned up at the huge troll. "Hey Goran, did Harry invite all his friends to this thing?"
She nearly got shoved into the wall from Daphne's elbow.
Goran blinked. "Uh... well, I don't know. He was pretty busy though for the last few days. I know he spent almost half a day working on some present, so I don't know if he had time to talk to all of his group."
Luna was touching the castle walls, a smile on her face. "The Sun wrote invitations to Hermione and Padma, but they had scheduling conflicts. And of course, Daphne. He was really nervous about her."
Daphne looked at the girl who was apparently Harry's sister now, trying to keep her face emotionless. "Why nervous? We wouldn't have said no."
Luna waved a hand. "The sun spent so much time worried. 'Will she like it', 'Luna, would you like it', 'Maybe I should have gotten something else', blah blah blah." She missed Daphne's reddening face and Astoria's gator like grin. "Anyway, he seems much brighter now. His feet haven't touched the floor since he came back from getting you two."
Goran frowned. "Yeah, I noticed that. Does Da know he is floating?"
Amy was trying to climb some armor, which was tilting dangerously as Dudley tried to hold it still. "Unca Harry does the floaty thing a lot. He floated me when giving me a horsie ride." She frowned slightly as the boy below her tried to push various metal pieces into a stable structure. "Unca Harry didn't notice it though. I think it is a happy thing."
Daphne was carefully NOT looking at the smirking face of her sister. "SO! Anyone want to see some of the towers? The dungeon is not the best part of the castle."
Astoria leaned in. "So... have you seen Harry's Tower?" Seeing the shock on her sister's face she grinned. "You know, the tower the Ravenclaw's live in? Right?"
Daphne's hand clenched. NEEDED PILLOW.
Harry was staring at the huge table of food and the localized black hole known as Ron Weasley. "So... how long can he keep this up?"
The twins shrugged. "Not sure," "little Ronnikins has always liked eating." "and by liked we mean loved." "And by loved we mean unusual and WRONG loved." "Yeah, something dark and twisted that involves egg salad and baked beans with toast."
Harry just looked on in a mixture of shock and some awe. "I think he swallowed that turkey leg. Bone and all."
Fred frowned. "Yeah, he did that once. Mum freaked, but apparently his magic absorbed it anyway."
George leaned over to Harry. "We think it might be our fault. We tested lots of pranks and stuff on him as a baby, and one of them was supposed to make his tongue larger... but he swallowed it. Don't tell mum though."
Harry blinked. "Uh... should I try to fix it?"
The twins shrugged. "We offered, but Ronny told us no. 'Why would I want to eat LESS!?' was his opinion."
They watched as pies, small hills of eggs and platters of shrimp, and a small tray of biscuits covered in some kind of gravy all vanished into the Ron. Was he even able to taste it at this point?
Jack poked his head in. "Uncle Harry, you want to come play some chess? Chloe is trying to show me the differences between normal and magical."
Ron's head snapped up, some ham half into his mouth. "Ar, cheff? Meef twoo!"
Harry blinked. "Ah... I think Ron wants in. I think I will just head into the castle and round up the kids so we can open some presents."
The human black-hole was already making emergency packets of food using napkins and careful packing methods. "Chess and enough food? Best Christmas ever. Now we just need some Quidditch... Now, who wants to lose a game or two?"
Harry waved him away as he moved toward the castle, the twins following rather than watch someone eat continuously while playing two or three games of chess. It was something between amazing and disgusting.
He shivered, one hand absently rubbing his chest. What WAS causing that? Every few minutes it felt like someone was gently stroking his chest... and it felt nice.
Fred grinned as they reached the castle. "So, how do we find the wittle tikes?" His twin was doing something with some spare parchment.
Harry smirked. "Well, I tagged all of you with a bit of magic when I brought you guys over. SO, which way do you want to go to catch up with them? The easy way, the fast way, or the silly way?"
George blinked, pushing the parchment back into his pocket. "What is the silly way?"
Harry grinned. "Well, it is the FASTEST way through the castle... but it doesn't always make sense. And you have to do what I say EXACTLY or you will end up somewhere really far off."
The twins made eye contact and lit up. "Oh yes" "It would be grand" "to go the Silliest of ways."
Covered in pink glitter, one finger in their ears and their left leg carefully held at a 12 degree angle, the three boys were trying to stop laughing as they fell into a corridor.
Fred began pulling marbles out of his pockets. "How... did you set that up? Why was there a giant duck in the tunnel?"
Harry took off a shoe, pulling out the cards and toothpicks. "It was SUPPOSED to be a sheep. Not sure when it changed."
George frowned as he looked at the hot-dog. "How did this end up in my ear?"
Fred snickered. "You didn't rotate twice in the upside-down staircase, you rotated one and a half times."
Harry grinned. "Yeah, you were lucky that you hadn't rotated three times. From what I can tell, the hot-dog goes into an... awkward place."
"Uh... Hi Da."
The three blinked and turned to their audience. Harry coughed. "And so we arrived! As I said, the silly way is fastest but hardest to do correctly. I mostly stick to the more simple secret passages."
Amy lept into the air and tackled Harry back to the ground. "PONY!"
Astoria giggled as Goran scratched his head. "Hey Da. Why you got a ribbon in your hair?"
Harry blinked and looked up... well, that didn't help. Nice ceiling. His hand went into his messy hair, feeling glitter, some dust, and... ah.
He blankly looked at the sparkly pink ribbon. "How long has THAT been there?"
Fred was still pulling small hats out of his pockets. "I think after the rope swing but before the slide."
George grinned as he tossed a paper horse out of his shirt. "Nah, I saw it near the beginning. Thought it looked good on him."
Amy looked at the ribbon. "IT DOES! Unca Harry, put it back!"
Harry whimpered, but the little girl didn't let up on the cute. "Fine, fine. Daphne, could you help me with this?"
Astoria giggled as Daphne tried to elbow her sister on the way over. "Don't worry, Harry, I got this."
Astoria was now cackling with Dudley as they watched Harry's hair getting braided with the pink ribbon.
Harry was trying not to blush, but feeling Daphne's fingers run through his hair felt... nice. Very nice.
Daphne actually finished putting the ribbon in a few moments ago... not that she would tell anyone soon. Her fingers kept adjusting the ribbon as she felt his soft hair and scratched.
Amy missed most of this as she nodded. "PERFECT! The best ribbon accessory EVER!" She blinked. "Unca Harry, why did you come out of the roof anyway?"
Harry coughed a little, feeling delicate fingers run though his hair. "Well, the adults and I thought it would be a good time to give out a few gifts and open our own..."
Daphne's fingers lost their purchase as Amy dragged Harry roughly toward the entrance of the castle. "PRESENTS!"
Astoria giggled at the girls sad expression. "So... you wanted to keep your fingers on Harry?"
Oh THAT was a good blush.
The twins caught a glance and grinned. "So... awkward siblings aside," "anyone else want to catch up with 'Unca Harry'?"
She reached out and gently lifted a large square of sparkly material from Harry's shirt.
Jack took the square and grinned.
Petunia was trying not to giggle, but not ONLY was Harry covered in glitter and such, but he had the most darling pink bow holding his hair together while a little girl... Amel? No Amy, right. While that adorable girl was dragging him around the room, pointing at various things and talking at high speed.
Molly Weasley was trying to wrangle the children into a giant sort-of circle, the kind that kids around the world created when hyped up on sugar, presents, and general holiday joy.
It helped that one of the children was still six feet tall when sitting, since he couldn't move much.
Amy was almost reaching critical mass as she bounced and giggled and talked about presents.
Harry was between Luna and Daphne, with Ginny sitting next to Luna and the twins. Goran was between Daphne and Dudley, and appeared to be telling a story about giant spiders and how to roast them even with extra legs making the balancing more difficult.
Goran leaned close... well, technically OVER Daphne. "So... what did Da make you? He wouldn't tell me."
Daphne blushed slightly and pulled out the pendant. Amy appeared out of what seemed to be thin air and was looking at it with sparkly eyes. "OOO it's pretty!"
Harry was ignoring the ongoing with a soft smile. Thank goodness she liked it, he had been so worried. Maybe he could make stuff for the other girls... it went well once, right?
His breath caught as he felt something like fingers on his skin again. Astoria, who had been staring at him blinked... and looked at her sister, who was stroking the pendant again. "Hey Daph, could you do something for me?"
Her sister glared suspiciously. "What?"
Astoria slid next to her and pointed. "Look at Harry and rub that."
Daphne blinked. She looked at Harry and saw him looking confused... and rubbing his chest. Looking down at the pendant, her mind began making connections... and she began to blush as she frantically tried to remember how many times she had been stroking it since this morning. Oh Merlin.
Astoria was getting impatient. "Go on then, do it."
Daphne hesitated... and then gently stroked the serpent.
Harry nearly jumped.
Astoria grinned. "Hey Harry!"
The boy blinked and looked at the two sisters. Astoria was grinning like a fox and Daphne was so red she might as well have been an honorary Weasley. "Yes Astoria?"
She reached out and flicked the pendant.
Harry blinked, looking down at his chest. "Uh... what the heck?"
Luna leaned over, her eyes slightly unfocused. "Hmm... there is a connection. A strong one. Is that the present you made?"
Harry nodded, rubbing his chest, a slight frown on his face. "Yeah. It took a lot of time to make it feel right... but why can I feel that?"
Daphne pulled the pendant away from her sister, putting it back inside her shirt.
Luna seemed to be looking at something farther away. "How much power did you put into it?"
Harry shrugged, blushing slightly. "Well, a lot. I had to sleep after. I accidentally expanded a goblin office into a cavern in the process."
Luna grinned at Daphne. "It seems like the young lady holds a strong connection with you."
Daphne was trying to squish Astoria, turn invisible, and stop blushing at the same time. Harry sighed. "Sorry Daphne, I guess I put too much power into it. I... sorry. Do you want me to try and fix it?"
She shook her head, her face stunned. "NO!" Seeing her sister's vicious grin she blushed again. "I mean, no. Don't worry about it."
Astoria leaned forward. "So the feelings you put into it... are those actually in the necklace, or is it just what you currently feel?"
Daphne lightly touched her shirt. "Well, it feels mostly the same as before, but slightly embarrassed."
Goran grinned, seeing his Da's face. "So... current then. What does it feel like to you, Daphne?"
She blushed more and shook her head. Even now it felt like warm arms were wrapped around her, a face gently pressing against her neck and heat down her spine.
If fixing the pendant changed that feeling, then forget THAT.
Astoria felt MUCH less restrained. "So how much can YOU feel Harry?"
He shrugged, eyes cast to the side. "Just the normal things I feel from her. When she touches it the feelings are stronger I guess."
Harry gently touched his own shoulder, thinking of the pendant... and Daphne jerked slightly. He blinked. "Ah... well, apparently I will have to be careful thinking about the pendant too much."
Astoria giggled. "I don't think she will mind too much if you DO, after all..."
Apparently Daphne had sufficiently recovered enough to pull Astoria into a choke hold, smiling sweetly. "SO, Amy, you said something about presents?"
It was like a summons from the pit of unicorns. "PRESENTS!" Her cuteness partially blinded Dudley and seemed to attract her father and mother. The other adults also flowed in, most holding goblets filled with various drinks.
Harry looked at his pile of gifts. Hermione gave him a book about spells for children and a note that mentioned that she hadn't seen these anywhere before. Neville sent him a book about magical plants that he liked when he was younger.
Daphne and Astoria of course brought themselves as guests.
Dudley had given him some art he drew of them as kids playing in his room, Luna had given him a hug. Petunia had given him a book with some of her favorite recipes, since she knew he liked cooking. Chloe and Jack had given him a picture of him being a pony for Amy, which Harry smiled at before hugging them.
Luna had nearly broken down when she saw the wardrobe. Harry gave her a smile and a hug. "You know, this gift was really from me and Ginny. She helped me find clothing you would like since I am a bit clueless about this sort of thing."
Ginny blushed and shuffled her feet slightly. "Well, I tried Luna. Sorry if you don't like what I..."
She was cut off by a crying and hugging blond, as Luna gripped her tightly and tried to thank her. Chloe and Jack hugged both girls, while Molly Weasley tried to keep her own sniffles hidden behind her smile. Those two were such darlings.
Harry smiled at his sister being wrapped in love. He knew such feelings needed comfort, needed some sort of balance... but his smile caught slightly. His skin was moving again.
Moving silently toward the back of the crowd, he carefully moved outside. There was some snow and such, but his body tended to ignore the cold even before the strange changes.
Harry looked at his hand. The magic wasn't even in his skin now, it was oozing over the surface. hairs, threads, even a few ropes were randomly waving away from his body then being pulled back.
'Watcher, why aren't you preventing my magic from doing this?'
'Sorry Rinpoche, I AM trying. I was having problems ever since you used up most of your magic on the ward stone.'
'Why is it so hard to control?'
'Well, after you used up so much, the amount of power you have has increased. By a lot... almost doubled. When you made the Pendant, things got worse.'
Harry felt his heart pause. He hadn't made something dangerous for Daphne, did he?
'How... in what way worse?'
'Well Rinpoche, not only did you use a massive amount of magic making it, but the pendant itself is almost acting like a second core of your magic. Making the thing has almost doubled your power AGAIN to begin with, but with the second core trying to heal itself it keeps adding to your reserves.'
Harry felt himself begin to shake. 'So... what should I do?"
Watcher waved a hand toward Wisdom, who moved some information around. 'Here are the options. First, we can destroy the Pendant remotely, and bind your magic.'
Harry shook his head. 'I may need that power to help people. That spirit thing basically killed a teacher this year.'
Watcher nodded. 'Well, the second option may be better over all. Right now your magical level is so great that it is leaving your body and interacting with the natural magic in the world. Most of your problems come from that.'
Harry nodded, thinking about how the world was bending around him right now. Things he touched became more and more changed. When he had tried to walk, the floor had begun to change texture and had shifted into some sort of black mirrored stone... it was why he had floated through the building. Even now, touching anything not alive caused fundamental changes.
Watcher created an image of Harry before the changes. 'This was likely to happen eventually, since you have had so much power since birth. As you can see, your power had filled most of you for years. Only these sudden surges have accelerated the issue.'
Harry sighed. 'So what should I do?'
Watcher grinned. 'Make a core. Compress your magic into something manageable again.'
He frowned. 'Will that cause problems? Right now we are connected to several networks, not to mention the mental connections.'
Watcher shrugged. 'I will have to disconnect us, but I will leave them notes.'
Harry looked at his hand. It was covered in threads like fur. 'How urgent is it for us to do this now?'
Watcher sighed. 'Well, pretty important. Worse case scenario you may explode.'
Harry gulped slightly. 'WELL, let's get started then!'
He fell back into mental world.
Oh Merlin. The grass was over fifty feet tall.
Harry barely had time to recognize this before he was AGAIN tackled by a huge and slobbery tongue. "EUAGH, Stop Cerby, Merlin stop. Seriously, I need... oh wow the goo."
Wrath was already standing next to them... just somehow not stopping the massive dog from using Harry as a Popsicle. "Everything going alright Sir?"
A gooey voice came up from under the giant dog. "Merlin Wrath, move this dog off me before I throw him into the stratosphere."
Wrath probably didn't smirk. "Of course, Sir."
Wisdom giggled slightly, leaning against the huge grass. "Good day again Harry. I see that Daphne liked the gift even more after she realized it was a live connection."
He glared at her as his power moved the huge dog away... oh. Well, hurled him fifty feet. He looked at his hands which glowed a thick green. "Oh, right. My power."
Watcher appeared behind Harry as he looked down at his hands. "Again, sorry to rush you Rinpoche, but it may be a good idea to hurry up."
Harry's eyes glowed like suns as he looked at his body... it was overflowing. The green power was flowing so quickly trying to keep it contained that it seemed like he was boiling in power.
This was... bad.
Even as he began gripping his power Harry realized there was an issue. His power already felt gripped, even as it flowed tightly and in complex shapes.
His concentration was slightly shook as Watcher tapped his shoulder. "I have put blocks on your outbound connections. It will loop the last input until you finish adjusting your power."
Harry looked at the massive coils of green power, like snakes as they dug into his body. "Well... any ideas?"
Watcher sighed. "Not really Rinpoche. Good luck."
Harry looked at the power, trying to feel something deeper. He felt his eyes absorbing more and more power as the light glowing from them began darkening.
He moved a thread in front of his gaze. The power itself... was light. There was space there, between the hair in the thread. Space he needed back.
Harry reached both hands over his chest. He remembered how Hermione's core felt, how Daphne, Padma... how all their cores had been centered in their chest area. If Harry was going to build a core, then it should be in roughly the same area.
He reached into his own body... and it felt like he was trying to scratch his nose using his eyebrows. Well, that wouldn't do.
Centering his mind, he tried to focus on the location for his core instead. It felt strange, since he mostly focused on his hands or eyes when controlling his power.
Feeling his chest was slightly strange, like trying to find fresh water in the middle of the ocean. Still he focused on the area, and began compressing. From here it was like holding foam, and compressing it into a solid mass, pushing the space and air away from his power.
Harry looked down as he began to see a small green rock forming in his body. The power without air or space was solidifying, thickening like warm fudge instead of hot chocolate. As more and more power was poured into the green crystal, it became a deeper green, like a crystal shining with some unknown warmth.
As Harry focused on the crystal, he felt his skin tingle... almost itch... oh. The power was now back inside of him, instead of floating around his body like a halo. His energy must have been seeping into the world around him for years. He frowned. Hopefully that hadn't been causing problems for people.
It also explained how the ward gem had managed to grab so much of his power when it was only supposed to grab ambient magic. Apparently, Harry WAS ambient magic.
He focused more and more on his power, feeling it settle into his chest. It was strange, like a heart that beat to an unusual rhythm. Harry pushed more and more power into the core, feeling his power begin to naturally pull into itself.
Even as his power began folding into itself, the world began to sharpen. The grass had already reverted into normal height, and apparently the lake had stopped boiling. But even now the world was somehow settling. A slight fuzziness that Harry had never noticed seem to become more solid. Smells that had seemed vibrant now thickened and strengthened.
The sun was brighter, and Jim's squads seemed more adorably yellow than usual.
Harry looked at Watcher, his power draining into his core at a faster and faster rate. "Hey Watcher, what's happening?"
Watcher leaned in, his closed eyes gently opening. Harry jerked back slightly... his eye sockets were empty, a darkness that seemed to pull the world into solitude.
Without moving, Watcher began to speak. "Your core originally destroyed itself trying to heal you. While it was falling apart, you somehow gained control of it and used it to heal yourself. Of course, without a core you began changing your body to act like a core would."
Watcher's eyes closed and he stood back up. "The changes in your body allowed you to move your magic without a focus."
Wisdom pulled forward a chair from one of the tea stations and sat nearby. "It is also why your magic has been expanding so exponentially. Normally magical cores slow their growth due to the strain of pushing against the surface of itself. But your magic was just raw, so if it wanted to grow it did."
Harry looked up, even as his power began spiraling into a core. It felt strange, as if the world was slowly getting heavier and denser. His limbs felt heavier... how long had he been enhancing his body with magic? He didn't feel weak of course, his body was mostly muscle and bone with enough fat to keep everything running.
But before each limb felt like steel... now he just felt human.
It was kind of nice.
Wisdom smiled, seeing Harry's face relax somehow. All that power running through his body had been a stress on his mind and organs and muscles. Now that he had a core, hopefully it would allow the boy to relax more.
No normal child would spend each night studying, practicing, and experimenting without breaks for months. She knew that he was trying to work off the energy that his body had been overflowing with, and hopefully having a core again would allow him to settle into his power in a safer way.
Of course, THIS would be the point where Cerby felt like tasting the Harry Stick again.
"OH MERLIN THE GOO!"
Astoria and Amy were staring at the boy sitting on the snowy ground.
Well, sitting was pushing it. Floating five inches off the earth really.
Honestly, snowy is also inaccurate at this point. Directly under him it looked like spring, with green grass and some flowers. It slowly returned to normal snow coverage after you get a few feet away.
Right now the two girls were putting marshmallows on sticks and toasting them near Harry.
Amy leaned against Astoria. "So you've never toasted marshmallows before?"
Astoria was looking at the lightly browning sugary awesomeness with joy. "Are you SURE this isn't magical?"
Amy giggled as she started blowing on her next bite. "I don't think so. Not until we add the chocolate and the gram crackers."
Astoria looked away from the green glowing boy-who-big-sis-liked. "We get to add CHOCOLATE to this!?"
Amy was already pulling the supplies out. "We're kids, we get to add Chocolate to everything. It is like... kid law or something. Unca Harry adds ketchup to stuff." She frowned. "I don't like ketchup and syrup."
Astoria was putting more white joy near the burning boy. "Less talking, more chocolate and marshmallows."
Dudley was looking outside at the glow. "Hey Daphne?"
The girl looked up from the conversation she was having with Luna. She wasn't sure what the conversation was about really, but it was confusing enough to be interesting. "Yes Dudley?"
The boy pointed. "Amy and your sister are cooking using your boyfriend."
Daphne blinked. "Uh... Harry's not... I mean... what?"
Dudley leaned out the window. "Yeah, Harry seems to be on fire. And floating."
Daphne dashed to the door.
She leaned back in. "And he is NOT my boyfriend. We are just... friends."
Dudley shrugged. "Still on fire."
NOW she was gone.
Harry floated back to the waking world, feeling his power pulse in his chest. He didn't have ropes or threads out of his core, it was a perfect sphere that seemed to shimmer like an ice covered pond.
Looking down at his hand, he created a thread of power.
It seemed to just appear, faster and stronger than any thread or rope he had made before... and it felt powerful.
This one thread had more power than two or three cords of his previous power. As it stretched through his arm, the limb felt sturdy and powerful. He could lift a car, he could twist metal, he could... why were there marshmallow's in his face?
He looked at the group of people now crowding around him.
Astoria was pouting. "Hey, go back to floating! I need you to cook my s'mores!"
Amy patted her shoulder. "Be nice to Unca Harry. Unca, please catch on fire again."
Harry blinked. "I was on fire?" He felt some kind of cold glare... Oh. "Hey Daphne. Sorry, I didn't know I was on fire."
Daphne was trying REALLY hard to not tap her foot. "Harry, couldn't you have at LEAST warned me that you were going to catch on fire?"
He shrugged. "I would have if it was planned. Apparently I was growing in energy and had to either control my power or explode."
Her expression went blank.
He chuckled awkwardly, running a hand through his hair. "Hey, I went with the non-explosive option. That's good right?"
Daphne grabbed his hand and started dragging him back to Goran's hut. "You have lost your crazy magic privileges for tonight. Now come eat snacks and enjoy Christmas."
Dudley watched them wander back. "Yep, he's lost."
Astoria frowned, looking at the floor. "I want him back on fire. How am I supposed to make s'mores now?"
Harry leaned outside and snapped his fingers. A massive pillar of fire spiked where he had been sitting.
Daphne reached out and pulled him back. "I said NO MORE. Or at least do an actual spell instead of bending time and space to work for you."
Harry grinned. "Aww, but spells are boring."
Daphne tried to hold back a smile. "Fine, just... LESS bending time and space."
Amy giggled as Daphne was dragging Harry back inside. "Unca Harry seems happier."
Astoria ignored everyone, holding four sticks covered in marshmallows near the pillar of living fire. "Less talking, more s'mores."