Daphne watched Harry once again walk into something. This time it was a chair leg.
Harry winced, rubbing his knee. "Seriously, did I just become twice as clumsy?"
She held back a giggle. "Well, before you would walk around and everything would just... move around you. In one case, I saw a door appear when you were trying to read while walking out of Merp 2."
He frowned and reached for a candy while looking at the chair.
Daphne giggled at his expression. "Yeah, things used to float to you too. We always thought you were showing off."
Harry frowned. "At this rate, I may be unable to do anything. I guess I was surrounded by so much magic that it just made stuff work."
She leaned back on the couch. "Oh, you will have problems. For example, this couch."
He looked at her in confusion before turning to the couch. It wasn't anything special. A floral pattern, white with snow on the flowers. "Was it a different color before I sat on it?"
Daphne grinned. "Until you sat down on it, it wasn't here. A couple of chairs and tables in here were created when you tried to put stuff down or sit."
Harry blinked. "Uh... wow." Conjuration? THAT was a game breaker. Especially if excess magic could do it subliminally.
She sighed and patted the seat. "Now will you just... stay still? Sit for a bit? Since you scared the crud out of me out there, you have been bouncing around like a broom on fire."
Harry groaned as he fell into the seat. He held his hand up, shaking. "I am just so full of nervous energy. It was... so close. Near death and all that."
Daphne blanched slightly and gripped Harry's hand, trying to calm him... or her. "Now, now, relax. You said it went fine, right?"
He enjoyed the warm fingers and tried to relax. "Wisdom talked to me about it a bit. It was close though."
She tried not to blush as her fingers kept rubbing his hand. "So... what set all that off? What caused it?"
Harry felt stress flowing away. "Well, when I was young... very young, mind you, I got hurt. A lot. Wisdom thinks I actually started to die."
Daphne sucked in air, and her hand clamped down on his fingers, trying to prevent harm from a boy far in the past. "WHAT?"
He nodded. "Thankfully, I was already dying of hunger and thirst at the time, so my magical core was weakened just before the injury. That kept it from having enough pressure to explode. Also, I had a magic draining... thing in my head, which was absorbing my power at the same time."
His eyes were looking into the past, missing the horror on Daphne's face. "As the thing in my head tried to absorb my magic, I was able to keep conscious. It needed my core organs to live if it wanted to take over my corpse. And as I lay there, I saw it... my magic."
Harry gave a weak smile. "It was still trying to heal my arm, and all the magic being drawn up through my face to the thing changed my eyes enough to see it. Somehow, I was able to direct the power enough to actually heal my arm... which also started a tug of war with the thing stealing my power."
He absently rubbed his forehead. "When I tried to heal my head, I fell into my mind world... and ended up fighting that creature. And won."
His story was interrupted by a pair of arms giving him a tight hug. Accepting the warmth, he wrapped his other arm around her shoulders and rested his head on her blond hair. "Anyway, I never knew I was supposed to have a magic core. So I just tried to fix myself the best I could... and the huge magical stuff I have been doing recently made my power grow. Without a core to help stabilize it, to compress it and keep it from just flowing into the world... well, you saw."
Daphne was not sniffling. She was also glad Astoria was still out there in the snow trying to make unhealthy treats.
Harry rubbed her back gently as he relaxed into the chair. "That was why my power was so weak."
He nearly fell as Daphne jerked back. "WEAK?"
Harry blinked, from his leaned back position. "Uh... yes? I needed to compress my power into a core. Before it was just random whisps of power that was escaping my body."
Daphne thought back to the massive magic that seemed to live around this black haired boy. Dear Merlin, that was WEAK? What the bloody hell was STRONG?
She looked outside at the pillar of possibly eternal power. "Harry, how long will that fire burn?"
He blinked at the change in topic, but tried to keep up. "Well, as long as I want I guess. I didn't bother using a spell, just rubbed two threads together and left them there.
Daphne rubbed her forehead. "The fire is now ten feet wide. Most of the group is now toasting food on it. Is it SUPPOSED to be that large?"
Thankfully Goran came up from the Christmas Tree... well, Christmas Pole, distracting Daphne before she began hyperventilating at the idea of a wizard with this much raw power being used as a cooking assistant.
Goran frowned, holding up two packages. "Da, I'm not sure who these two are for." He held up one which was wrapped in blue cloth and covered in black wolves, stags, and dogs. "This one says 'Son of Prongs, from Padfoot'."
Harry blinked, looking at the second package... which was bright orange with blue dots that seemed to be humming various songs, all off key. "And uh... the second one?"
Goran carefully read the label. "This one says... 'Melon'."
The package was almost round and seemed to wiggle.
Daphne blinked, and turned to Harry. "Well, don't start with that one."
Harry lifted the blue wrapped gift. The cloth felt cool on his skin, but easily unwrapped as he tugged on it.
It was a book. Leather bound, no title.
Opening it curiously, his breath caught at the pictures inside.
Green eyes like his, Deep brown eyes.
Seeing her happy, instead of viciously angry and defensive was new. Already he felt Wisdom carefully duplicating these images internally, each one becoming a treasured memory. Page after page he turned, seeing them laughing, chasing each other, one of his mom throwing a hex as his dad dodged and laughed.
He felt a hand on his arm and turned with a smile to Daphne. "I've never... I only saw them when they died. They look so happy."
Daphne squeezed his arm, ignoring the tears that were streaming down his face.
Page after page he turned, feeling support from her as he watched unknown people interacting with his parents... and even a few with an infant.
She squeezed his arm. "You know, you were pretty cute as a baby."
Harry chuckled, wiping an eye. "Yeah, though I had some bad hair even back then. Hey son, this messy haired young man was your grand-pa. The red-head was your grand-mum."
Goran leaned over them. "Can I borrow it next Da?"
Harry carefully closed the book, one hand absently caressing the front of his new treasure. Smiling up at his son, he carefully passed it into the enormous palm. "I guess we should spend more time finding out about our family, right son? Still, it's something."
Daphne poked the wiggling orange package. Well, now it was bright green and had blue stripes, but whatever. "Do you think this is related to your family too? Even so, I would be a bit scared to touch it."
Harry tried to subtlety wipe his eyes as he leaned toward the wiggling gift. "Well, hopefully it isn't anything alive. No air holes and all that."
She grabbed the tag. "Does the handwriting look familiar?"
He carefully examined the stiff material. The letters were loopy, but not anything he had seen before. Still, he could vaguely smell lemon drops and age. "Maybe Dumbledore? It matches his style at least."
Daphne backed up an additional few inches, her face concerned. "THAT old man? He always seems to be one card short of a deck."
Harry shrugged as he pulled open the strange package and found shimmering cloth. Oh, and a note... huh.
He frowned as he read. "Dear You-Old-Coot; Take the bloody cloak already, both Lily and I are tired of you trying to 'borrow' it to get snacks without Professor McGonagall catching you. Harry won't need it for a few years anyway, and we are stuck in this blasted house. Now stop sending your bloody flaming bird every five minutes! Still friends with you (NOW LEAVE US ALONE): James and Lily Potter."
Daphne blinked. "Ah... yeah. Crazy old man. Anything else?"
Harry also felt a mixture of shock and camaraderie, knowing his own family ALSO found the most powerful wizard in the world a bit off. Still slightly dazed, he turned the card over. "Oh... uh. The back has a note from mum."
Daphne smiled slightly and leaned into him. "Well, what does it say?"
Harry blushed as he tried to summarize the contents. "Just a list of curse words followed by mum complaining that some fire bird woke me up and made me cry."
Goran was lifting the strange cloth and grinning. "Hey Da, it feels strange. Like sunshine or rain or something."
Daphne stared at his hand. "Can you still feel your fingers?"
The troll jerked slightly and dropped the cloth. "WHY!? Do you think it was cursed?"
She shrugged. "Probably not, but your fingers vanished." She grinned. "I think it may be either a confusion cloth, an illusion sheet, or a chameleon robe."
Harry picked up the soft cloth, and felt something strange. He frowned as he gently pushed the cloth from his skin. "What is the difference between them?"
Daphne leaned back into the couch. "Well, confusion cloth is fun. It makes you forget or easily mix up what you saw under it. People can still know you are there, but when it comes off they only remember you going under and coming out unless they have strong minds. The middle part gets muddled."
She waved a hand slightly. "On the other hand an illusion sheet tries to show what is behind the person holding it up. Only works in one direction, and the bigger the object the more strange it looks on the other side."
Her grin got a bit predatory at this point. "Now the MOST fun is chameleon robes. It leaves a bit of an outline but it actively blends in with the background on all sides. Magic is drawn from the person wearing it, and they really only last for a few years before the power involved makes it fall apart, but they are great for pranks and stuff."
Harry grinned and tried to dramatically sweep the cloak over his shoulders. "Pranks, eh? Well, this could be fun. So how do we figure out which one is which?"
His smile started to drop as he saw Daphne stare at him.
She jerked. "Uh... yeah. That isn't... uh. I think that is an invisibility cloak."
Harry's smile started to shine as he quickly tried to see his body, spinning around a bit like a cat. "Now THIS is a cool gift!"
Goran nudged Daphne, nearly knocking the couch over. "Hey, why didn't you mention those?"
Having been nearly shoved through a cushion Daphne glared at Harry's kid. "Because I didn't think that was an option! I've never even HEARD of one of these existing in England. They are nearly as legendary as Phoenix eggs. The only one I heard of was from a children's story."
Harry paused in his attempts to do dramatic cape swirls, which was probably for the best since he couldn't see the cape anyway. "Well, the note did kind of imply that Dad used to have it."
Daphne frowned, gently biting her lip. "I suppose if you HAD one of these no one would really talk about it. Wouldn't want it to get out or it wouldn't be as useful."
Goran grinned watching his Da's head floating around the room. "Not sure why Professor Dumbledore decided to give this to a student though."
Harry frowned. "Because it's mine. Or my Dads. Whatever, I got invisibility!"
Daphne grabbed him on his third pass and shoved him back into the couch. "Calm down. WHY are you so hyper?"
He grinned and shrugged. "Emotional roller-coaster followed by receiving an inappropriately powerful artifact. Not to mention all the sugar and stuff I have had so far."
She looked over at the massive tables filled with food. "About that, what are you going to do with it all?"
Harry waved his left hand. "I already took some of each type, put them in stasis, and stored them in my hand room."
He nodded. "I tried to make a bottomless bag and accidentally stuck it in the back of my hand. In fact, it seems to grow the more powerful I get. Stuff gets shrunk when it goes in."
Staring at the boy didn't seem to help her move on, so she ignored this information. "Anyway, how much did you store?"
He sighed, some of his overcharged energy draining. "Well, enough for five or six holidays, I'll say that much. I tried to make some of them take it back, or at least not bring more, but no luck." He looked at his hand. "At least under stasis I won't have to worry about food for a few months... maybe years? There is a LOT of food in there. Not to mention that this room STILL doesn't have it all. There is another room full outside, and the House Elves have actually tried to offer even MORE when I was wandering around earlier."
Daphne blinked. "At least it's not going to waste. Right?"
He gave a weak nod. "And if I ever have an injury, I won't have to look far for nutrients to fix myself. Still, I had to do some clever slight of hand to avoid making anyone feel bad because I couldn't eat some of their dishes."
Astoria and Amy were leaning under the window while Dudley was peaking in. "Nope, they are just sitting there now."
Astoria frowned. "Merlin, how am I supposed to get good blackmail material on Daph if they sit around? Should we try to sneak in some mistletoe or something?"
Amy was still licking her marshmallow covered fingers.
Dudley sighed and leaned back. "I still say Harry won't do nothing. He wouldn't do that without talking to the other girls first. Bro's a cool guy."
Astoria grumbled. "Well, dang. I need something to work with here! The pendant thing is gold material, but I need something REALLY juicy to bug her with or I am failing in my little sister duties!"
Dudley frowned. "Am I supposed to do this too? No one told me about stuff I was supposed to do as a brother."
Amy shook her head. "It's a girl thing. Luna has to do embarrassing stuff for Harry since she is the younger sister."
Dudley nodded slightly before focusing. "Hey, how come you sound older now?"
Amy shrugged. "Cute gets more pony rides."
Astoria nodded, pointing frantically "See, THAT is how you be a little Sis."
Dudley sighed. "I'm tired of spying. Can we go back to s'mores?"
Both girls went wide eyed remembering that sugary goodness was just behind them waiting for a stick and some eating.
An impromptu race had both of them dashing for the best roasting spot while Dudley followed. At least THIS gave him something to eat while waiting.
The Christmas party wrapped up pretty quickly as evening set in. Harry did have a few issues where he tried to shift some people home and they ended up taking a few feet of stone flooring WITH them, but that was easy to fix up.
Chloe and Jack had no problem spending the night in Goran's house with Amy and Luna, although Luna had wandered off at some point and apparently had a two hour conversation with the lake's Giant Squid.
Daphne and Astoria had joined in on a few board games that Chloe had brought, although Cluedo was one of the more interesting ones. Several items had to be explained to the less non-magical knowledgeable children. While they all knew Daggers and Candlesticks and such, several had never heard of revolvers or spanners.
Explaining the need for piping had actually taken several conversations, as the magical world tended to use banishing runes that converted wastes of any type into ambient magic rather than trying to sanitize it.
The adults had also tried to downplay the revolver questions, although the idea of non-magical people being able to kill at long distance still shocked them.
Still, children bounce back pretty well (Especially wizards and witches), so it wasn't long until the game got moving again. Another slight distraction had occurred when Chloe and Jack started using pens while keeping notes, the explanation of which led to several of the children who currently suffered the joy's of writing with Quills to complain about the unfairness of life.
It was around the time that Harry was falling asleep on the couch when his hand ended up touching his invisibility cloak, near the edge of his pile of stuff. Thankfully, his body locked up before he could scream.
His hand burned, his chest was being pressed, his heart hurt so much.
Even as he struggled to breath in, to get some air into his lungs, he felt himself collapsing into his mental world.
Before Harry's twisted body could hit the grass, Wisdom managed to catch him, her arms frantically checking his pulse and trying to look into his eyes. "WATCHER! WRATH! I don't know what to do... nothing..."
Behind her thousands of books were appearing and vanishing, pulled from the library and even from the massive amount of unprocessed information, random bubbles of conversations and thoughts being searched and tossed as she frail child close.
Behind her Watcher was floating, legs crossed, hands at rest... but his eyes were glaring into space and sweat covered his black skin. "Hold on Rinpoche, that cloth has some strong power in it."
Wisdom looked up, her hands cradling the shuddering body of her creator. "Describe it! Merlin, I can't find anything about invisibility cloths or robes in the library, not even the shelves we copied so far from Hogwarts." She grimaced as Harry tensed again. "Nothing useful anyway. Just legends, and even those don't describe something like... like THIS."
Watcher winced, his body also shuddering in time with Harry's. "This attack is taking all of Harry's power to resist, and we are losing. SOMETHING is trying to attack our core, our very essence."
"It is not an attack."
Worried eyes and empty depths turned toward the black shadow standing near the lake, watching the waters.
Wisdom narrowed her eyes. "Wrath... what do you mean?"
He glanced back at the group, standing tall with bone white, claw-like hands clasped behind him. "This is something that the young Master must undergo. Watcher, you need to let this happen."
Watcher narrowed his eye sockets and glared, back still twitching from pain and strain as he fought the twisted power. "How do you... what do you know about this?"
"A gift from his father, from his father, and back. Normally of course, this kind of connection would build over time." Green embers flicked down to the boy, wracked in pain. "Of course, Master is not normal. His body acts as a conduct for his power, after having rebuilt so much of it."
Wisdom was frantically feeling the heartbeat fade. "It doesn't MATTER Watcher, do whatever you have to! Wrath, if Watcher lets this happen, will Harry be alright?"
"He will live."
Watcher winced. "And if we continue fighting?"
"Best case he dies. Worst case, he is trapped in pain like this until death."
Wisdom's horror filled look was cut short as Watcher nodded and slumped to the ground... and then both he and Harry began to scream loudly.
Her hands frantically tried to push calm into the boy as she wrapped her arms around him, tears flowing. "No no no, don't worry, it's ok, everything is fine, it will get better..."
She had never lied to Harry before, but it was all she could do right now to help.
Watcher arched his back, feeling his right eye BURN. Whatever that power was had latched onto his eye socket and had begun to etch its way into the blackness, and only his left eye socket was able to watch the power dig deeply into Harry's newly created magical core. His throat finally locked up, and he was unable to breath in to continue the scream.
Harry on the other hand seemed to have unlimited air as his voice slowly became inhuman. His chest was burning him, the fire inside his arm had finally hit his core and his very soul was being altered, dug into. Faintly he could feel Wisdom whispering words of comfort, lies of peace and kindness.
Some twisted part of him was glad that he had someone who cared, even if it was part of himself.
His voice caught for a moment, and sudden silence echoed through the world as both Watcher and himself felt... heard? Sensed a deep crack.
His core had just cracked open. Bloody thing hadn't lasted two days.
Even as the pain faded he felt something moving inside his core. Harry's eyes widened as he felt something like a bony finger was etching something deep inside his power. His green energy always felt clean, bright, and almost singing. Like crystals hanging in soft breezes, Harry's power had always had a cleansed, crisp feeling.
But now there was another power. Dry, ancient. Oceans had dried, and the salt left behind had cracked into smaller and smaller particles from years of bitter wind. Gravel that had once been a mountain, ground down by time and happenstance.
It felt like walking into a strange building and finding your home.
Even as he examined this strangeness he felt wetness hit his cheek. Looking up at Wisdom, he gave a raspy chuckle. "Good morning to you too, Wisdom."
She shook her head, hugging him tighter.
Watcher groaned as he slowly sat up. "Rinpoche, PLEASE don't do... whatever the bloody hell it was you did. What WAS that?"
"The Cloak of Invisibility"
Everyone focused on the tall silhouette near the lake.
Green embers looked over the golden lake. "Well, it was. It is now of course, A Cloak of Invisibility. It will fade like any other cloak as time passes."
Wisdom frowned. "What... what do you know of it?"
The skeletal man nodded. "Invisibility cloaks have existed for years. They degrade rapidly after creation, based on the quality of materials used and the strength of the enchanter. The Cloak, of course, was something more."
Harry felt his power healing torn muscles, strained joints, and his sore throat. Still his voice was a tad raspy. "So, what made it special?"
Wrath slowly walked toward the group. "It repaired itself when injured, it stayed at full strength for generations, and it could hide one from Death. Well, normally. The cloth had been altered slightly by someone using the Elder Wand. They were unable to alter the core power of course, but they did add a magical trace to the surface. Someone must have used the Cloak for either nefarious or embarrassing ends."
Wisdom had a frown. "Hide from Death? The Elder Wand? Are we talking about that child fable?"
Harry sat up, with a slight chuckle and coughs. "Care to share with the class Wisdom? I don't remember many a tale from my childhood at least."
She frowned, a book being pulled from behind and landing in her hand. "There are several that refer to them, but one of the most well known is 'The Tale of Three Brothers'. It waxes on of course, but it basically revolves around three incredibly powerful items given by death. Cloak of Invisibility, the Elder Wand, and the Resurrection Stone."
Harry looked back at Watcher. "Have you felt anything like... hang on, what happened to your eye?"
Everyone turned to the black monk. He sighed. "Apparently since I govern magic for us, I was marked as well." He gestured at his right eye, where a bone white triangle surrounded the eye socket. "Hurt when it was added, but it feels much better now."
Wisdom sighed and rubbed her eyes. "Well, that supports the whole 'Deathly Hallows' argument. Each of those items were represented by a symbol. The wand was a vertical line, the stone was a circle, and that was the one for the cloak."
Watcher was looking into a mirror Harry had pulled from a memory. "Well, at least it is a bit stylish."
Harry looked between the two. "So the cloak lets you hide? That is kind of neat."
Wisdom waved a hand. "The Cloak let you hide from everyone and anything, especially death. Supposedly Death gave the three items as an attempt to kill three brothers who had avoided their own death in a river. Like genie wishes, where you basically get more than you expected." She frowned. "The Elder Wand was supposed to be unbeatable, until the owner bragged and got killed in his sleep for it." Skipping forward in the book, she nodded. "The Resurrection Stone only revived the soul, and caused pain to any souls summoned if kept here too long. That owner killed himself to rejoin a loved one. Looks like the Cloak is the only item without a bloody history, passed from father to son."
Harry absently rubbed the Cloak between his fingers. "So if the story were true, than the Potters were related to one of those brothers?"
He noticed Watcher and Wisdom staring at his hand. "What?"
Wisdom gently lifted the Cloak. "When did this show up? It is in the real world, not here."
Harry paused. Oh. Had he created it from a memory? No. "It was just... there. It was always there."
Wrath leaned forward, handing Harry a cup of tea. "It will always be there from now on. It is a part of you, as it has been accepted into your core. The cloth it came from is now a very lovely copy."
Watcher absently lifted his hand and grabbed air. It came away into a duplicate Cloak. "Interesting. Why are there two?"
Wrath shrugged. "There are not. We are all part of the Master, so we all are part of the Cloak. There is only ever one." He absently waved a hand, another Cloak appearing and vanish. "We are in the mind though, so numbers can be a bit subjective."
Harry gingerly stood, Wisdom helping him over to a chair next to a table. "Well, can't say this hasn't been an interesting holiday. So what, does the story say anything else about these Hallows?"
Wisdom sighed, wiping her tear stained face and trying to calm down as she took a cup of tea. "If you collect them all it says you become the Master of Death."
He frowned. "That sounds... ominous. What, you have to approve all dying people or something?"
Wrath shook his head. "Not that much really. Immortality of course, and you gain a certain desire to prevent others from creating or continuing travesties of Life and Death. You can ignore it of course, but it is like an itch. The longer you ignore it, the more annoying it becomes."
Harry sighed. "Terrible. Immortality alone is something that worries me. Wouldn't want to watch people pass on with you left behind."
Wrath shrugged. "Wouldn't be a huge change for you, Sir. Age and injury won't slow you down for long as it is. Death will likely have to be a choice when it comes to you."
He frowned. That had been one of the conversations that had haunted him when he had been younger. The first time Harry had forced himself to grow older. The idea of having his friends grow old, of him being alone again... no. Later, not now.
Harry took another sip of tea. "Do I have to do anything? Can I just ignore them?"
Wrath nodded. "No effort needs to be done on your part Sir. In fact, I would be shocked if you could avoid them. It may take days, years... now that you have been recognized by one, the others will come looking."
Wisdom leaned back in her chair as Harry grumbled into his tea. Watcher was floating again, looking much less stressed. "Well, if we are going to be around for so long I suppose I should prepare us for future issues. Rinpoche, I will alter our core to handle incoming power better so it won't be so... dramatic, next time."
Harry groaned. "Oh Merlin, we have to go through that two more times!? Why do I need a wand anyway, I barely use mine NOW."
Wrath chuckled. "I designed it to connect to the cores of other wizards in addition to your own, which is why it was unbeatable... you were using their power AND yours."
Soft wind ruffled the grass.
Harry carefully put down the cup of tea. "Now when you say 'I designed'..."
Wrath shrugged, his bony face showing no expression.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "You know, you were the first Aspect. I knew you were there years before I created the other two. You just didn't have a body."
Wrath gave a small grin. "I WAS the first Aspect, before all. And I will be the Last. Although this body is an interesting experience, Sir."
Wisdom paled. "So... uh. Shouldn't we bow or something? Death sir?"
Wrath shrugged. "Respect, Honor, Hatred, Fear. They all pass eventually. And I will be there when they do."
Harry thwapped his leg. "Stop scaring Wisdom. And can I have another cup?"
"Of course Sir."
Wisdom dropped her head into her hands. "Harry, could you PLEASE freak out more about this? PLEASE?"
He accepted the new cup of tea, something that smelt like sunrise. "Death and I go way back, apparently. What can I do but accept it and move on?"
Watcher shrugged. "Have more tea?"
Harry grinned. "God I love being British."