Parings: Harry/Alphard, Charlus/Dorea, Tom/Minerva, Ignatius/Lucretia
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Thousands Of Reasons To Smile
"That's How You're Gonna Fight The Forces Of Evil Now?
Call The IRS? I Must Be In Hell."
- Spike "Just Rewards"
"Boys! What did I say about rough housing!?" Boniface Potter said walking into the living room along with his wife, to investigate the loud noise.
"It wasn't us, Dad!" Charlus said from somewhere upstairs.
"Then who-!" Boniface stopped in mid-sentence, looking at the man that came out of his fire place, dusting himself off.
"So rude to your guests?" The smooth German voice of Gellert Grindelwald asked. "Pure Bloods are taught much better manners than that. Did your parents not teach you any better?"
Boniface was immediately in motion, taking only a second to throw up the Protego, shield charm, knowing that Grindelwald would attack. Sure enough, a spell was thrown at him and his wife, only it his shield, making the spell bounce off and hit there table; it was in splinters, bits of wood blasted Boniface and Valerie wanted to warn the kids, but now they couldn't risk dropping their shield long enough for any offensive maneuvers getting thrown at them.
"Really, Potter," the man continued, coolly, "I'd have thought someone in your status would have at least thought to set some protection wards on your home. Makes it easy for... wizards to walk right in."
"Mum? Dad? What's going on, we heard-" Harry stopped in mid-sentence, seeing the man in his living room and the predicament his parents were in. Charlus, Tom, and Harry's friends were right behind them.
The attack came out of nowhere. It should have come as a surprise—except that Harry dealt with this all the time, and Harry had been trained to respond to offensive spells without even thinking, CONSTANT VIGILANCE and whatnot. The second he saw the spell being thrown at himself, Harry pulled up his shield, deflecting the attack, and then Tom readied a spell of his own, Charlus barely managing to hold up a shielding charm as well along with Harry's. It wasn't until he stood there, face-to-face with his attacker, did his mind even manage to process what had just happened.
What was Gellert Grindelwald doing in their home?
Grindelwald's eyes were flashing like icy daggers, obviously angered by the youth's quick deflection of his attack, but for some reason were holding his second attack on the youth. He simply stood there, a few feet from Harry and his family and friends, his lips now curling in to a cold smile.
"Your business is not with my boys, Grindelwald." Boniface said, making Grindelwald turn his attention back to him and his wife.
Grindelwald smirked, approaching closer to Boniface and Valerie and standing only a few steps away from their shield. "I don't intend to fight you or your family Mr. Potter. I can see there is some misunderstanding between us, and I've unfortunately gotten off on the wrong foot with you and your family. Very disagreeable. And completely unnecessary."
Boniface's angry expression didn't change. "What do you want?"
"Send your boys away and we'll talk. Discuss things like civilized adults." There was a cold twinkle of amusement in his eye that Harry didn't like. "I have a proposition for you."
Boniface's face twitched into a scowl. "I can already tell you the answer."
"Come now... we haven't even discussed anything yet."
"If you're the one proposing it, then the answer is no."
Grindelwald smile didn't fade. If nothing else, Boniface's response seemed to please him more. "Potter," he responded, coolly. "I wasn't asking. I was telling you that we are going to discuss things. Now, send your boys away or..."
There was loud 'POP' and five of Grindelwald's followers Apparated behind the boys.
"My men will."
Boniface shut his eyes tightly and took a deep breath. Through clenched teeth, he growled, "Boys, go upstairs to your rooms."
"Why don't you make sure they make up there safely, hmm?" Grindelwald said to his followers whom bowed their heads in respect to their master's request.
''I swear if you touch them, I'll end every single one of your fucking lives,'' Boniface warned, with scary anger in his voice. The followers simply smirked while Grindelwald tisked at Boniface's language.
The boys stood at the bottom of the staircase while the Gellert's followers were right behind them. The black iron steps curved in a tight circle that spiraled up four floors above their head. The boys room was on the third floor. It was time to begin the climb.
The only sound was that of shoes on the veined marble. Harry's hand slid silently over the gleaming railing; his eyes were focused upward, thinking.
Harry's thoughts raced. If he grabbed his wand he'd be given away. If he moved suspiciously, he'd be given away. If he did nothing he'd die along with his family and friends.
Harry did the only thing he could think of. As soon as they were forced into a room, (Charlus & Tom's), with a sudden jerk of his hand, Harry retaliated with a hard punch to the face, effectively knocking the dark wizard back a few feet and leaving him dazed while Harry pulled out his wand, "Stupefy!"
One of the five of Gellert's rushed at Harry, knocking him down to the ground. The shock was quickly replaced by the training that was imbedded in him and he began struggling to get the man off of him.
His wand laid a couple of feet away from him, having been knocked out his hand by the impact of Gellert's follower. They grappled for a bit and Harry successfully managing to dislodge the man, kicking him hard in the stomach.
With his arm now free, he swung it hard into the man's face and it hit its mark with a loud crack, the force sending the man staggering.
"Filpendo," yelled Eric, firing a simple hex at the dark wizard and the man let it hit him looking amused.
"Really?" The dark follower smirked.
Tom huffed in annoyance and elbowed the wizard in the chest that was manhandling him and pushed Eric aside.
"Bombarda Maxima!" Tom cast the spell at the dark wizard. The explosion hit the man in the chest and he got blasted off across the room and laid on the floor unconscious.
"Harry!" Harry heard Charlus call out to him in alarm, but he couldn't afford to lose his concentration.
"Oh no you don't!" said Alphard and with a wave of his hand towards the fifth dark wizard, to everyone's shock, the wizard flew head first into the wall really hard, leaving a dent.
This caused Eric and Ignatius to stare at Alphard incredulously.
"Al…did you just use telekinesis…?" asked Ignatius in shock, "But how?"
"Not me personally, Harry, I was channeling his power." said Alphard smirking.
"You are channeling Harry's powers?" asked Eric surprised. "You can do that?" Eric turned to Harry.
Charlus watched with abject horror as the brightest flame he had ever seen erupted from the dark wizard's wand.
"REDUCTO!" Ignatius blasted the man through the bedroom window, having the dark wizard fall three stories down with the fallen broken glass with him.
The Fiendfyre that had been cast though, was still blazing, trapping the boys inside the room.
Alphard was immediately trying to counter the fire, trying to extinguish it with his fire mage powers.
"Harry! Your listening skills are atrocious! Following simple instructions has always been a ridiculously challenging thing for you to do!" Tom pulled Harry roughly to him and started to heal the gushing wound on the back of his head.
"I can to follow instructions." Harry said defensively.
"When they suit you," Tom said angrily and Harry couldn't deny it.
"Thomas, I don't think you know this, but I'm a wizard." Harry cut Tom off.
"I know that." Tom snapped at Harry. "And my name is Tom."
"And I use magic." Harry added. "I can cast spells that can cause a lot of damage to another person and I can do the things that not many, if any, wizards and witches can do. You know about my past and you know what I was before this." Harry's expressive green eyes peered up at Tom. "I just need to know if you can deal with that knowledge."
Without warning, Tom grabbed Harry into a tight hug and held on for all he was worth. "You're an idiot." Tom mumbled, hiding his face in Harry's messy hair. "You self-sacrificing wannabe Gryffindor that loves to play hero..."
"You love me."
"I hate you."
"I love you." Harry stated as a matter of fact.
"Shut up, Harry." Harry could see a small flush appear on Tom's cheeks and Harry grinned. Tom, highly frustrated, walked away from Harry without another word and looked out the destroyed window where said injured and possibly dead wizard laid below.
"We have to jump out the window,"
"Are you trying to get me killed? What am I going to do, land in the bushes outside the window? We're three stories up!" Eric screamed over the roar of the fire, wondering if Tom had crap for brains.
"It's our decision-"
"I recognize that you seemed to have made a decision, but given that it's a bloody stupid decision, I've decided to ignore it."
"Do you know how to put out the Fiendfyre fire curse? No you don't because Fiendfyre is a very powerful flame that cannot be extinguished by normal water you twit! We have no- why are we talking about this!?"
"Erm, fire mage, standing right here." Harry said to Tom, gesturing at Alphard.
Alphard was already manipulating the Fiendfyre with his hands, trying to counter-curse it.
"You think you can hold it off?" Eric asked Alphard.
"Prewett, it would be my genuine pleasure."
"Amateur! Alphard STOP! YOU'RE JUST MAKING IT BIGGER!" Tom shouted.
"Jumping out the window is sounding more and more appealing by the second." Ignatius said to his twin.
"I think you're worrying so much because you like me." Alphard countered back sarcastically. Tom looked like he was ready to explode.
"We only have two options," Charlus said, his magic had spiked around, suffocating them with its intensity, "jump out the window or try and stop this fire before it kills us."
"Charlus, what are you doing?" Tom asked rounding on him. He could feel Charlus magic pulsing as Charlus reached his hand out to claps onto Tom's.
"It's okay, I've seen Dad and Mum do this once before."
"Wha-" Tom was cut off when Charlus light flowed through him like a gentle wave. The light magic that was inside Tom, dormant came to the forefront when his hands touched Charlus. Skin contact was all it needed and the warm energy flooded their senses, not overwhelming them, just stating its presence.
"You have to push your magic out for this to work. You know, like how Harry does his magic shields."
Charlus grabbed Tom's hand again and he could feel a small hum coming from his body and some invisible kind of force field. Tom put his hand out and ran it through the air. There it was, like a dome over them.
Charlus put his hand up and pushed hard on the force field to make it fill up the whole room; it kept expanding and expanding until there was no fire left to be seen. Suddenly, the whole force field lit up, showing glowing blue.
In its wake was left a streak of electric blue that disappeared when Tom let go of Charlus hand.
"What was that?" Tom asked confused.
It was as though a part of his soul were missing once he let go of Charlus and the force field disappeared. If felt like it had been a part of his existence for so long and then suddenly was ripped away from him.
"That was an amazing show of magic you guys." Harry commented in wonderment.
"I've always wanted to try it after I saw Mum and Dad do it one time. It's a protection shield against dark magic."
"You were able to cast something like that by yourself?" Tom asked surprised.
"Well obviously I didn't do it by myself, Tom. You were here to help." Charlus said with a roll of his eyes.
"We should see if Mum and Dad need our help." Harry said to his brothers.
"I already told you that I'm not joining you and neither is my family, so get over it and get out of my face."
"Oh, no, young man. That's not how this game works." The smooth German voice Gellert replied smirking cheekily. "You're a smart man, Boniface. You always were, even as a kid in Hogwarts. You were so thirsty for the dark arts then weren't you? I read your records, yes, you had such true potential. If only your daddy hadn't gotten you out of trouble-"
"I was young and stupid back then! I thought power was might-"
"You have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool me, Mr. Potter!"
"That's because evil never sleeps." Valerie muttered.
Grindelwald continued as if he didn't hear Valerie. "I believe your files said that you were volatile, self-absorbed, and didn't play well with others."
Boniface gave Gellert a forced smile. "You've been paying very detail attention to my records I see."
"Yes, well. I couldn't help it. You have quite interesting files in your record."
"The difference between you and me Grindelwald, is that I grew up."
"Really, Boniface. How hypocritical of you, all things considered." He shook his head, tutting under his breath. There was an expression of amusement on his face, the conversation obviously entertaining him. "Don't you think your whole 'Good Merit' act is starting to get a trifle old? I mean we both know the only reason you stopped was because of your son-"
"What do you want, Grindelwald?" Boniface snarled. "You're here in my home. Talk."
"What's the hurry? Let's talk in your lovely living room. We have some catching up to do."
"You want to talk? We'll talk. But I'm not going to follow you anywhere."
With those words, Gellert's icy eyes flashed. "Really?" he hissed. "I think you will. This is a matter of my control over my men with your boys, Mr. Potter. If you don't come, your boys will die."
Boniface glared daggers at Gellert whilst Valerie stiffened in response.
Gellert flashed a grin at Boniface that didn't quite reach his calculating eyes. "Now, we've only got a few things to discuss. We'll talk maturely in your living room with your humble hospitality and no harm will befall on you or your boys."
"Fine, we'll discuss things civilize."
"I know." Gellert began walking, not even bothering to check if Boniface and Valerie were following."Come along. I hate people lagging behind. It makes conversation so difficult."
As soon as Boniface came up to his side, Gellert clapped Boniface on the shoulder as though they were old friends, and commented lightly, "See, now isn't that better?"
For one split second, Boniface face twisted in disgust at the physical contact.
Everybody stopped moving in sync on the spot as Albus Dumbledore came out of the Potter's fireplace.
"My name is Albus, Gellert. Please do me the honor of using it." He said, his voice calm.
"Take one more step," Gellert's snarled, "and I'll kill the Potter's on the spot." His eyes flashed. "And I'll make sure it's slow and painful. I hear burning to death is one of the worse ways to go."
Gellert's eyes narrowed. "What do I expect you to do in this situation? I've no idea. That all depends on how much you care about the Potter's, though the fact that you stopped moving implies at least some concern. But I know better than to assume anything with you."
"Gellert, there is one of two ways this can end. Neither would be to your liking."
Grindelwald flared with anger. "No, there is only one way this will end! Surely you have heard what I did when we parted all those years ago? You know that I have obtained the The Elder Wand!"
"You stand before me no more powerful then when you left the halls of Durmstrang, Gellert."
"That is where you're wrong, Albus! My wand will finally be your downfall!"
"I don't look to defeat the wand, Gellert. Just its master."
"ENOUGH!" screams Grindelwald. "No more talk, Dumbledore! This conversation has run out of time!"
Grindelwald lashed out with his wand. From the tip of the wand emerges a black spell. It shot out and ran to encase Dumbledore in a pitch black surrounding.
Dumbledore though, used his own wand and strike the darkness. Cracks of the brightest light appear through the darkness and the spell dissipated.
"I am the strong one now, Dumbledore!" announces Grindelwald. "You wasted too much time at your precious school. Even as the best wizards from around the world come to defeat me, even as the ministries of these eastern countries send their best to destroy me, they will never defeat me!"
"Give up, Gellert!" Dumbledore shouted flicking his wand again and this time, electric, purple light erupted from it and made a small ball shape which covered the white shield like thick, annoying liquid and as it hit, the purple light and white shield both disappeared instantly.
"Never! Crucio!" Grindelwald shot back.
Albus threw off the spell and produced a silver shield around himself.
With a flick of his wand a bright silver jet flew straight at Grindelwald.
With a smile Grindelwald replied with red lightning which struck the silver jet.
For minutes, both of the great wizards clasped their wands tightly in the hands as their spells tore at each other, flickering bolts of magical energy around the hall, tearing off chucks of marble. Eventually, though their attacks were not getting anywhere, causing a lull in the fighting.
"As you can see, you're not that invincible, Gellert." said Dumbledore as they both stood, staring at each other.
Grindelwald roared in anger and then Apparated.
"Dad! Mum!" The Potter boys came running into the living room along with the Prewett twins and Alphard Black.
"Boys!" Boniface said relieved and looking a little bit annoyed, but mostly relieved.
"You're alive," Valerie said hugging Charlus, and then releasing him to hug both Harry and Tom.
Charlus rolled his eyes. "Of course we're alive, have you not met us?"
"Whatcha thinkin' about?" Alphard's voice penetrated Harry's thoughts, snapping his attention back to the present. He was snuggled against Alphard's chest, laying on top of the snow covered Potter mansion roof. Highly dangerous, yes, but looking up at the stars that night seemed to calm both Harry and Alphard. Ignatius and Eric were sitting with them, talking amongst themselves and looking up at the stars as well.
The Prewett's father was coming momentarily to pick them up. After what happened, Harry's great grandparents didn't feel that it was safe for his friends to be in their home anymore. Not Alphard though, he fire called his father that he would sneak out the house anyway to the Potter's and that he wasn't going back home. His father gave up eventually with Alphard and told him that if he died, that he wasn't going to be at the funeral, if he even gave him one.
The truth was, Harry's brain was still trying to process the events of the last couple of hours.
"It's just..." Harry whispered, "Can this whole thing get any more messed up?"
"Probably. It usually does." Alphard said sarcastically with a smirk. Harry rolled his eyes as he let Alphard draw his face upwards, he slid his hand onto the youth's shoulder and leaned into the embrace as Alphard sealed their lips into a kiss.
Dropping his hand down from Alphard's shoulder, Harry played with the hems of Alphard's shirt and stole under it to feel his skin.
"Bloody Hell! Hello! We're sitting right here!" Eric said annoyed.
The two were immediately snapped back into reality and they pulled away from each other quickly at the sound of Eric's voice. Harry felt his face heat up in embarrassment.
"Well, this is awkward." Ignatius said, finally breaking the silence. Suddenly finding this all too amusing, Harry began chuckling and peered up at Eric.
"If you wanted to join, Eric. All you had to do was ask, I wouldn't have mind." Harry teased and Alphard growled at the comment, drawing him close.
"No, you can not." He said, giving Eric a pointed look.
"As if." Eric said looking disgusted.
"Why are you up here with us anyway Prewett? Shouldn't you be packing?" Alphard asked.
"Look, do I owe you a wizards debt, Potter?"
"What? Where did you get that idea from?" Harry asked perplexed.
"It's just what some wizards do when they save another life-"
"Harry saves a lot of lives. Don't let it go to your head, Eric." Alphard replied.
"You truly think that I'm that type of person to make you owe me a debt because I'm a Slytherin, do you Eric?" Harry asked insulted.
"I told Eric he was being stupid." Ignatius said sighing.
"And can you blame me? I've never seen a Slytherin that acts the way you do."
"What way do I act?" Harry asked eyebrows raised.
Eric was silent for a moment before he answered. "You care about people, you save them even when it puts your life at risk. You have no idea of all the angry ranting I hear from your brother Tom about the self-sacrificing things you do. You are far more caring than most people out there in the world. Especially for a Slytherin. People's personalities change when they hang around with you; into something good. Not a bad thing, I suppose." Eric broke off, looking a bit embarrassed at his admission.
"You're not dating Harry, so you can forget it!"
"I don't want- I like girls!"
"As fascinating as this conversation is," The boys looked up to see Charlus maneuver out the window and on top of the roof, "I don't think the Prewett's should let their father wait any longer than necessary."
"Thank Merlin." Eric said standing to leave. "The way you think, Black, is so unnatural."
"Okay, Eric. Point taken. Can we just kiss and make up, now? You know I hate it when we fight." Alphard smirked at Eric's sigh.
"See you, Harry." Ignatius gave Harry a hug. "Later, Al. I suppose I'll see you guys at the Ball?"
"Of course." Alphard said waving Ignatius off.
"Yeah?" Harry responded to his brother. He stepped closer, his footsteps careful on the fallen snow covered roof.
"I also came up here to tell you that Mum said dinner is almost ready."
"Thanks, Al and I will be down soon."
"Alright, just hurry up with your make out sessions, it's cold out here you know."
"I wont keep him out here to long, Char." Alphard answered for Harry, smirking as he did so.
"Emilia." Boniface said shocked to see his sister and his father in his small dinning room kitchen.
"Good evening," Emilia said to Boniface, smiling. She stood up from the kitchen table and gave her brother a hug.
"Hi." Boniface said a bit speechless.
"All is well with you? Well, beside the attack of Grindelwald and all."
Boniface hoped that by giving curt answers, Emilia would be discouraged from talking to him. After all, there was a reason why he hadn't spoken to his sister in a decade. They parted ways on unfriendly terms. Boniface had wronged his sister and he didn't expect to be forgiven.
"I am glad to hear it, brother."
They sat at the kitchen table awkwardly in silence for nearly five minutes. The tension was kind of unbearable, and apparently it was worse for Emilia, because she finally cracked and asked,
"Boniface, why are you still angry with me?"
Although he didn't actually say it, the look on Emilia's face clearly conveyed, 'Just how stupid do you think I am?'
"Look, I'm not angry at you, ok? I'm just—frustrated. More with myself, really," though Boniface hadn't actually meant to say that last bit out loud.
Emilia stared at him, head tilted to the side, brow furrowed, like a confused child. "I don't understand you, Boniface, but I guess I've never been able to, even as children. I'm glad to see you though. Wife and kids, I never expect that from you of all people."
"You always do that! You're all nice to me, and understanding, and kind. Don't do that."
If Emilia was offended, she was too bewildered to show it.
"Harold and Emilia came to visit and talk about our living situation." Valerie announced when she couldn't handle the tension much longer.
"Our living situation?"
"I was thinking that you and your family could live with me and my family till your home is safely secure."
"Come on Boniface, be a man! Admit that you need help!"
Boniface glared at his sister. "Emilia, if I was half the man you are, I might be willing."
"Oh dear, Merlin." Valerie said covering her face in shame.
"Let's behave like civilized adults shall we? Anyway, we'll talk about Boniface and his families living arrangements later."
"Fine, I wont be listening, though. I don't need you or Emilia's help with anything. We can survive without, thank you very much."
"I'm sorry, you know Boniface's temper." Valerie tried to excuse her husbands behavior.
"Yes, we've met. " Emilia muttered.
"Let's be civilized I said! Boniface, Emilia, I know you both are well matched when it comes to fowl behavior..." Harold said scowling in disapproval.
"Grandpa Harold!" Harry said surprised as he walked into the dinning room with Alphard. They both were in their pajamas still. Harry's hair was all mussy and purple that morning.
"Harry, my grandson. It's so good to see you." Harold said walking to Harry and giving him a hug. "And good morning to you to Mr. Black."
"Good morning, sir." Alphard replied back.
"Harry, this is your Aunt." Harold introduced.
Emilia got up from the dinning room table and extended her petite hand, and introduced herself. "Hi, I'm Emilia. You must be Harrison, father talks about how much you look like him. Must be karma on Boniface's part. Anyway! I've been looking forward to meeting you for so long!"
Harry hadn't expected such a girlish face for a woman in her late thirties, the thick wavy black hair falling stubbornly in front of her face. She was dressed like a farm girl; long blue flared overalls over her yellow collar short sleeved shirt. Emilia was three-four inches shorter than Boniface with violet amethyst color eyes that was luminous and very beautiful.
"Erm... It's good to meet you, Aunt Emilia. I didn't know Dad had a sister?" Harry said looking at Boniface confused.
"We're twins and it doesn't surprise me you haven't heard your father talk about me. I'm sure it wouldn't have been anything good."
"Don't put words in my mouth Emilia-!"
"Twins?!" Harry said looking between Boniface and Emilia.
"Fraternal twins." Valerie answered.
"Oh, well that's something."
"And who is this?" Emilia asked looking at Alphard expectantly.
"This is my boyfriend, Alphard Black." Harry introduced.
"Nice to meet you, madam." Alphard said kissing her hand.
"Oh my goodness, you're too cute. Your Surname is Black? As in the Ancient Pureblood-?"
"Yes, indeed." Harold answered.
"Well, aren't you full of surprises, Harrison. Our family has never befriended the Black's. Quiet a battle of Pureblood ethnics-"
"With all due respect, my family has nothing to do with my relationship with Harry, Miss Emilia." Alphard said clasping his hand with Harry's. Harry's hair turned blue as he smiled up at his boyfriend.
"That's admirable." Emilia said smiling.
Charlus Practically pushed Harry and Alphard out the way to get to the food on the table. He was still dressed in his sleepwear as well.
"Charlus! Don't be rude! Slow down and meet your Aunt Emilia." Valerie said sternly to her son.
"Who's Aunt Emilia?" Charlus asked with a mouth full of scrambled eggs.
Emilia waved her hand in greeting. "That would be me."
Charlus walked over to Emilia, still holding his plate of scrambled eggs and gave Emilia a one armed hug. "Hello, Aunt Emilia."
Emilia giggled. "Good morning, honey."
Harry and Alphard took their seats as soon as Tom walked into the kitchen with somebody hiding behind him.
"Mum, Dad... oh Grandpa Harold, good morning."
"Thomas, good morning."
"Tom, that better not be who I think it is behind you." Boniface said sternly.
"Good morning." Cynthia moved slightly away from Tom.
"Cynthia," Boniface said exasperated, "what are you doing-"
"It wasn't working out well with father, so I came here. Am still welcomed here right?"
"Of course you are, but-"
"Great! I'm starving! I haven't had breakfast yet." Cynthia went and sat beside Harry and Charlus at the table.
Boniface turned to look at his wife expectantly.
"Cynthia, does your parents know-"
"Father knows and doesn't care Aunty Valerie." Cynthia replied putting bacon and eggs on her plate.
Valerie mouthed 'I'll fire call later' to her husband.
"Thomas, this is your Aunt Emilia." Harold introduced.
"Aunt Emilia? From which side-?"
"I'm your father's twin sister."
Tom blinked and looked at his father. "You have a twin sister?" Tom asked in disbelief.
Boniface ran his hand through his hair and sighed. "Yes, son, I do."
Tom then frowned at his father before turning back to Emilia. "It's a pleasure to meet you Aunt Emilia. I'm afraid I don't know anything about you though."
"It's understandable. Your father and I had a bit of a tiff after we left Hogwarts. Went our separate ways we did. That's why I was hoping that your father would say yes to moving in with me for a week while the ministry is house safe proofing your family's home."
"Doesn't sound like a bad idea. We can get to know Aunt Emilia better." Charlus said shrugging his shoulders.
"Eat your food, Charlus." Boniface said annoyed.
"Well, why not father? Don't you want to spend time with your sister after all these years?" Tom asked joining everybody at the table for breakfast.
"Not particularly, no."
Tom looked at his father with eyebrows raised. "She's your sister." Tom said as a statement.
"I'm aware, son." Boniface said casually as he folded his arms to his chest.
Charlus gave his father a sidelong glance. "Why is it that you don't get along with any of your siblings, Dad?"
"Because your father was a prat practically his whole life till he had kids of his own." Emilia commented as she to as well folded her arms to her chest.
"Dad couldn't have been a prat. He was a Gryffindor!" Charlus said defending his father.
"Boniface may have been a Gryffindor on the outside, but he was pure Slytherin on the inside."
"What Boniface? You know it's true. You don't have any friends from our Hogwarts years do you? No, you don't-"
"If one more word comes out of your mouth about our Hogwarts years, Emilia, I swear you're leaving and never stepping foot back into my house. I've had enough!" Boniface snapped at his sister. He was furious.
Everybody at the table was shocked. Nobody had ever seen Boniface so angry before, well not the three brothers anyway. Emilia looked truly offended and hurt at the same time.
Boniface fury only told Tom that Emilia's words had to be true. What was his father like when he was in Hogwarts that he didn't have any friends now?
"How is school going, Harry?" Harold asked acting completely oblivious of his kids dispute with each other.
"Erm...it's going good. Still trying to catch up to him though," Harry gestured to Tom.
Tom didn't comment, he was still looking at his father with an unreadable expression. He was upset with the way his father was acting, it just wasn't like him.
"Good luck with that." Alphard muttered going back to eating his food.
"How long will we be at your house, Aunt Emilia?" Charlus asked.
"Charlus, we're not-" Boniface started, but was cut off.
"Honestly, Boniface, an innocent offer of Christmas hospitality is hardly deserving of such a reaction. Whatever is the matter?" Harold asked his son.
"Dad, you would entirely force me to stay over if it was Harry or Tom. I don't see what the big deal is. I mean you're twins."
"Things change...and are never the same." Boniface answered flatly.
"Boniface, there are some things that don't have to change. Like the family that we are all a part of."
"Boniface," Valerie tried to reason, "Emilia is only showing concern for your welfare."
"Yeah, well. I don't want her concern."
"I'm your sister and your friend."
"I'm pretty sure you just established that I don't have any friends."
"This Christmas break is a time for family, after all, and it is only natural that your sister should want her family to know their relations. You should be rather flattered that she has invited you to stay."
"Well I can't say that I had a very good role model, now did I father?"
Harry felt that he was on a set of one of those talk shows that he used to see his Aunt Petunia watch on the telly. Alphard looked at Harry with his eyebrows roused and all Harry could do was shrug his shoulders. Everybody seemed to be a bit at a loss at Boniface behavior.
Boniface knew, okay, he really did know, that Emilia and his father Harold hadn't actually done anything wrong. That it was he who was the problem here, and that he was being totally unfair and childish and stubborn.
But he couldn't help it- well, okay yeah he could, but then maybe he didn't want to. Maybe he wanted to take the easy way out, and be irrationally angry at Emilia, instead of doing the grown up thing and take Emilia up with her offer.
It was just that he was suppose to provide and protect his family. Having to live with Emilia wasn't on the top of his to do list. He could barely get along with her when they were kids, how was it going to work now? And anyway where did Emilia get off, caring about his welfare? He hadn't seen Emilia in years and now all of a sudden she cares.
"I understand that you have some difficulties, but so do we all. I care for you too deeply for you to think I don't care, son. Emilia and I just want whats best for you and your family. It would only be for a week, Boniface."
Boniface took a deep breath and sighed. "Forgive me...I do not know what came over me," Boniface throat felt uncomfortably tight, "I suppose a week at Emilia's wouldn't be so bad."
"I've lived in Cambridge all my life and it has never lost its unique charm in my eyes. Although it is small town and lacks a lot of the fancy Potter class, but I prefer it to other places."
Emilia's home was two stores and made of brick construction; part rendered with crittall windows and it sits in a mature plot of approximately 1/3 of an acre. There was also a small barn detached from the house.
Everybody clambered out of Emilia's car looking around her home. Hermes came sprinting out and immediately went chasing after a squirrel that he saw on the lawn.
Valerie went over to Boniface, wrapping her arms around his waist. "You okay?"
"Oh, yeah, I'm fine. I just want to die is all," Boniface half joked.
"Dear, Emilia is your sister, is it really so bad to be living with her and her family for just a week?"
"Welcome to the Reeves family home." The man said opening the white picket fence for them. He had an American accent.
The best way to describe Mr. Reeves in short was that he looked like a cowboy. He was probably five-eight or nine, but with a muscular built. Same height as his wife. He had topaz blue eyes and bronze hair. He wore a long-sleeved beige shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a black denim jacket with the sleeves cut off to the shoulders, black gloves, a satchel that lays on his right side, and pin-striped pants that are worn over the boots. He even wore a brown cowboy hat. Mr. Reeves was muscular even through his beige shirt, with a benevolent face.
"We're really sorry for the trouble." Valerie said.
"Nonsense, I've been waiting to meet Emilia's side of the family for ages. She thinks I can't handle the culture and magic-"
"You're a muggle? You married a muggle Aunt Emilia?" Charlus asked a bit shocked. Charlus has yet witness a member of their family marry a muggle.
"Charlus! Don't be rude!" Valerie scowled her son.
"We never had a family member marry a-"
"Charlus!" Valerie raised her voice.
"Excuse us." Boniface said pulling Charlus to the side to talk to him privately.
"Sorry." Valerie said again apologetic.
"No, it's okay. Anyway, I'm sure you'll want to see where you'll be living?"
"Well if I knew we could marry muggles...!"
Tom rolled his eyes shaking his head. Harry just smirked and grabbed his luggage. He knew that Charlus didn't mean what he said in a rude way. He was just curious and shock. The Potter family has yet to marry with muggles or muggle-borns in fact.
"I'm Cynthia-" Cynthia stopped mid sentence as she felt two sets of small iron grips around her leg.
Cynthia looked down to see a small bronze haired boy gripping onto her leg tightly. She bent down and ran her fingers through the boys' hair, but he didn't respond.
"Hey there." Cynthia said awkwardly.
The grip around Cynthia's leg loosened as the boy looked up at her. His bright blue topaz eyes shinning up at her. Cynthia thought that he was the most adorable boy she had ever seen. He looked to be about three or four years old and had short bronze hair.
"Hi." The boy said shyly."What's your name?"
"Cynthia." Cynthia replied trying not to laugh."What's yours?"
"Well it's very nice to meet you."
"Shiloh, baby, come here." Emilia said as Shiloh scampered over to his mother. "Why aren't you wearing a coat young man?" she asked picking Shiloh up and giving him a hug.
Shiloh simply shrugged his shoulders.
"Hello, Shiloh. My, you've grown into such a big boy." Valerie said in a baby voice.
"Hi." Shiloh said shyly back.
"He certainly is a cute one," Valerie remarked.
"And quite a mischievous one as well," Emilia added.
"I'm Tom, Uncle." Tom said shaking Mr. Reeves hand.
"I'm Harry and this is Alphard Black." Harry introduced.
"Nice to meet you boys. You can just call me Bruce."
Valerie reached for her suitcase.
"I got it." Bruce offered as he grabbed Valerie's suit case.
"Ah, I love snow." Alphard got some snow off the ground and made it to a ball and then threw the snowball at Tom.
"Did you seriously just throw a snowball at me?"
"Oh yeah, felt good. You should try it."
"Are you kidding right now?" Tom asked scowling as he brushed the snow off his coat.
"Live a little, Thomas."
"You know, I've been told I have…pretty…good…aim." Tom threw a snowball right back, hitting Alphard right in middle of his face.
"You are so dead!"
"Boy's, not now, let's all get inside." Boniface said with Charlus following after his father.
"I think we can all use a nice, hot cup of cocoa." Emilia said.
"Emilia, if you want to make the cocoa, I can help bring the luggage inside," Bruce offered.
"Sounds good to me."
"I'm Charlus, Uncle Bruce. I just want you to know that I find muggles very interesting and I have no ill will against you."
Bruce gave a confused smirk before he shook Charlus hand. "Nice to meet you, Charlus."
As soon as everybody entered, they were immediately met with silver and gold candles plastered on the walls, candy canes, stars, and all manner of Christmas splendors spread all over the ceiling, halls, and the staircase.
"The kitchen is this way." Bruce said leading the way towards the kitchen.
The inside of the house, for some reason, reminded Harry a lot of the Dursely's home.
A few moments later, Emilia returned to the room with cocoa for everyone. Each person took a cup, sitting and enjoying it. They sat around a table, where a small Christmas tree was. Not very ornate, just a green tree with a gold star and a few ornaments on it.
Tom sat next to Cynthia and smiled when Cynthia scooted closer to him. Cynthia smiled back. Tom never lied to her or smiled phony. It was always genuine. Cynthia liked that.
Harry was quite content from his place by his boyfriend Alphard and Tom on the other side of him. He had a cup of cocoa, topped with a mountain of marshmallows, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate. The only thing that could have made the moment better was if it wasn't so tense, in the small kitchen.
"So my wife tell's me you'll be stayin' with us for a week?" Bruce asked Boniface.
"Perhaps less than that." Boniface commented.
"Will shoot, I was hoping maybe y'all would stay the entire Christmas holiday."
"We'll see how things fair out, that's nice of you to offer, Bruce." Valerie answered for her husband.
Climbing up the stairs, the three brothers and Cynthia decided to head to their rooms for the night. Boniface and Valerie had already retired to their rooms for the evening, even though it wasn't quite late yet.
"I can't believe I have to share a bedroom with a three year old." Cynthia muttered.
"Would you rather share a room with us?" Alphard asked.
"Well don't complain then. It's going to be cramped in there with all four of us."
Cynthia huffed out and folded her arms to her chest. "Why can't Shiloh sleep with you guys?"
"Because it's his room, Cynthia. We are merely guest so please act appropriately." Tom said to Cynthia.
"Cynthia! Cynthia! Read me a story," Shiloh came up behind Cynthia and latched onto her leg.
"How about I tell you a story I made up," Cynthia asked.
"Okay, come on." Cynthia said when the finally came to the top of the landing of stairs. Cynthia walked towards the bedroom door that had colorful stick pictures all over the door
The boys was halfway along the hallway to his room which was lightly light, when he heard a pair of angry voices coming from his great great grandparents bedroom. Harry hesitated looking at his brothers, he didn't want his parents to know that he had heard them arguing.
"Sounds serious." Alphard whispered.
"Mind your own business, Black." Tom hissed at him.
"Let's just go-"
"... if I wasn't in so deep in dark magic, Grindelwald wouldn't have even known that I existed!"
Charlus froze on the spot. Tom moved closer to their door to hear.
"Boniface, Grindelwald would have come after us anyway! We're pure bloods!"
"I don't want my family in constant danger-"
"Boniface, you know what the boys are like. They are very gifted and level headed individuals."
"The boys could have died-"
"But they aren't-"
"We shouldn't be here, we could endanger Emilia and her family-"
"Boniface, can you just please... please give your sister a chance." There was silence.
"Let's turn in for the night."
"You guys, let's go." Harry whispered to his brothers.
Charlus looked betrayed by what he heard. "I can't." Charlus ran back downstairs. You could hear a slam from outside.
"I'll get him." Tom said to Harry, descending back down the stairs.
"Come on Harry, letter your brother handle it." Alphard whispered grabbing Harry's hand.
Alphard walked them towards their room and pushed open the door. Harry took in the blue colored carpet, the large windows on the eastward wall over-looking the vast gardens; it certainly was a nice room to fit in four teens.
Harry took a step into the room, taking a quick look around to get his bearings.
"It's pretty nice, nothing what I had expected." Alphard commented, walking inside after Harry.
"What? Are you so used to living so luxuriously?" Harry joked.
"I can't say that I've lived in anything less, but I can adapt."
"Good." Harry sighed, sitting on one of the four beds facing the window.
"Are you thinking about what your father said?" Alphard asked, sitting next to Harry on the bed.
"Charlus is going to take this badly."
"And you're not?" Alphard asked shocked.
"It was his past, people do stupid things when they're young."
"You are well adjusted my friend. I would be freaking out."
Harry laughed. "I'm not really thirteen you know. Mentally anyway."
"Yeah, I'm not sure if it's hot or not that I'm dating an older man."
"If you want to break this up-"
"No, no, no." Alphard said hurriedly as he hugged Harry around the waist.
"Muffins! Alright! We hit the motherlode!"
"Shh... don't make a mess, we're not supposed to be in here, Al." Harry whispered to him sneaking through the kitchen with his boyfriend in nothing but pajamas and a trench coat and his slippers.
"I'm sure Charlus and Tom will appreciate some muffins," Alphard said slipping some in his coat pocket, "and by the way, who's brilliant idea was it to have a private discussion in a barn? It's a blizzard outside you know."
"Al... come on." Harry said dragging Alphard away from the kitchen.
"What are you guys doing?"
Both Harry and Alphard froze on the spot.
"Cynthia, go back to bed!" Harry whispered to her.
"Why should I? What are you doing?" Cynthia asked walking down the staircase.
"Look, it's private-"
"If it's so private, why are you bringing, Alphard?" Cynthia said with arms folded to her chest as she came up to the two boys.
"Cynthia, go away." Alphard said making shooing motions.
"I'll yell at the top of my lungs and you two will be in big trouble!"
"What's going on down there?" Somebody started to descend down the stairs and turning on the lights.
"Cynthia! You prat!" Alphard hissed at her, Cynthia simply stuck her tongue out at Alphard, "Harry, go." Alphard hissed, pushing Harry out the door and into the snowy weather.
Harry huffed in annoyance as he almost slipped down the icy wooden stairs.
"...Oh I was just getting a midnight snack Mr. Reeves."
"Liar." Cynthia said.
Harry hurried off before he was caught by his Uncle Bruce.
The wind chill had increased and the snow flakes were immediately sticking to the ground. "Bloody hell…" Harry muttered to himself as he walked along the trail towards the barn. "I should have worn snow boots."
After some difficulty, Harry finally managed to open the barn door and walk inside. Harry closed the doors as soon as he got inside, not wanting the snow to travel inside the barn with the horses. He scowled as he saw Charlus and Tom chatting it up on the stack of barn hay.
"Oh great, what did I miss?" Harry asked, shivering and grouchy.
Tom glared at him. "You know we wouldn't start a meeting without you!" Tom scolded Harry.
Tom then looked around, and noticed Alphard was not there. "Where is Black?" he asked, though Tom honestly didn't care too much.
"Cynthia caught us and made a ruckus and woke Bruce up. Alphard pushed me out the door before I was seen. And by the way, why did you guys want to meet in a barn?"
"So that we didn't get overheard by you know... Dad." Charlus answered.
Harry sighed and went and sat next to Tom on the haystack. Tom flinched when Harry's bare hands accidentally brushed up against him. "You're freezing." Tom said scowling yet again. "Why didn't you say something? Why aren't you wearing snow boots?"
"Probably because I was half sleep when I got a message from you to meet you and Charlus in the barn."
"That was my fault, I couldn't sleep," Charlus admitted, "and it wasn't really even snowing when Tom and I first came to the barn."
"Tom, how about warming me up?" Harry asked wrapping his arms around Tom's waist, practically snuggling up to him.
"I would if this was our home. Aunt Emilia's home is muggle based, we can't do underage magic here, nor wandless without getting into trouble with the ministry of magic." Tom said but took off his spare coat and gave it to Harry. Tom was wearing two trench coats.
"Let's just make this quick, Charlus." Tom said crushing Harry closer to his side.
"Okay, well, you guys all heard what Dad said... he was into dark magic."
"Yes and at some point in his life he stopped and changed his ways." Harry replied.
"Why though? Why was Dad involved in dark magic? Do you think Mum was to? I mean she had to be, to be with Dad right? I mean she was a Malfoy-"
"Now you're just speculating-"
"I'm not joking, Harry! I mean my entire life-our entire life has been a lie!"
Harry frowned. "How so?"
"How so? How so? Harry you were there, you heard what Dad said-"
"He said that if he hadn't been in so deep in dark magic, that Grindelwald wouldn't have even known that he existed."
"And that doesn't upset you!?" Charlus asked throwing his hands up in the air in frustration. "You're upset, aren't you, Tom?"
"I'm still digesting the fact that our father was into the dark arts and not a saint as we had all thought."
"No wonder Dad is not close to his family-"
"Whoa, whoa, hold on there. You know Dad regrets that. Why do you think he tries so hard to make sure that we are all close with each other. This whole matter has obviously distressed him a great deal."
"Stop being sensible, it's irritating." Charlus snapped at Harry.
Harry was taken back. Charlus never, never talked to him like that.
"You don't have to bite my head off. I'm not the one that you're angry at."
"Though it would help if you would actually care and listen to the facts-"
"You think I don't care?!" Harry said moving away from Tom. "I care! I care about the actual facts and not the made up ones in your head! The truth of the matter is that yes, clearly Dad was in the dark arts, but he grew out of it. For obvious reasons I'm sure. He grew up, he had a kid and he moved on to better things."
"Why did he stop though, Harry? Why?"
"What does it matter?!"
"Because Charlus believes the answer to be because mother was pregnant with him. It's the only rational reason. Father realizes that he has a child coming into the world and decides that he doesn't want his son born in a kind of settings of dark paths. He wants his son to be able to choose for himself..." Tom said deep in thought.
Charlus shook his head negatively. "If I hadn't been born, who knows. Dad could have been Grindelwald's right hand man-"
"Charlus. Shut. Up. Potters have never turned dark-"
"Well maybe Dad was going to be the first one-"
"How can you be so pessimistic?!"
"How can you be so optimistic?!"
Harry exhales, a long - and also long-suffering - burst of air. "I know Dad-"
"No you don't, he's not even your real father, he's your great grandfather. You know nothing about him except for stories that were told to you about him from strangers! Let's face it Harry, for all you know, you could be a descendant from dark wizards!"
"You're being hysterical." Tom said to Charlus.
"And why shouldn't I? My parents were into the dark arts!"
"But they're not those kind of people anymore! That's what's not getting into that thick skull of yours!" Harry practically shouted at Charlus as he abruptly stood up.
"How would you know what kind of people they really are?!"
"Uh hello?! Look at Tom and I? Why would they adopt us if they didn't care? And even if Boniface had an obligation to me because of my status, he still wouldn't have adopted Tom, now would he?! Tom-" Harry rounded on Tom whom was looking as skeptical as Chalus, "Boniface saved your life! Your biological father, he didn't want you! He left you to rot in that forsaken hell hole of an orphanage! Your Uncle, who the bloody hell knows, would have tortured you or worse, killed you!
How can you two doubt them like this? They're your parents! They would do anything for us, sacrifice there lives obviously... I have the actual honor of calling them Dad and Mum because I don't have anybody else to call that to. I don't have parents..." Harry took another deep breath, trying to prevent himself from crying in front of his family.
"All this family ever does is sacrifice each others lives to save one another. You think about that Charlus. You think about why your father stopped performing dark arts and you'll see that the answer has been right in your face this whole entire time."
With that said, Harry stormed out the barn without another look back. Too annoyed to talk any further.
"Usually I'm the insensitive one." Tom said to Charlus.
"I know." Charlus muttered, hiding his face in his hands.
Next Day, Morning...
"Harrison! Alphard!" A loud voice was shouting through the thick panel of wood that separated Harry's guest room from the hallway.
Harry groaned and rolled over, frowning sleepily.
"C'mon guys! It's snowed! Get up!" The door was shoved open, and the loud voice grew closer.
Next to Harry, he felt Alphard stir, arm tightening around him protectively and drawing Harry closer.
"Ever heard of knocking, Cynthia?" Alphard mumbled sleepily, voice thick with sleep and irritation.
Cynthia rolled her eyes and bounded over to the curtains, throwing them open and causing bright light to stream into the room. The sky was covered with a thick wall of solid gray, no patch of blue to be seen.
It was impossible to see how the sun's weak golden rays could pierce the seemingly impenetrable covering, but somehow it was. The light seemed brighter as it gleamed off the pure ivory snow, coating every surface.
Cynthia turned away from the window with a grin, for once her pale face seemed colorful compared to the snow, and she sauntered over to perch on the edge of Harry's bed.
"Knocking? What's that?" She teased back, but it was easy to hear that she was excited. "What's the point in having two beds in here if Alphard is going to sleep in your bed, Harris?"
Harry sighed and rolled over, frowning against the light and blinking as his eyes tried to adjust. He wiped a hand across his eyes and finally managed to look at Cynthia.
Alphard grabbed one of the pillows and grumpily pulled it over his head, trying, evidently, to shut out all the noise.
"Where's your excitement? It's snowed." She said, exasperated now as she watched her cousin and his boyfriend struggling to wake up and share her excitement.
"Very nice." Alphard muttered unenthusiastically, his voice muffled from beneath the pillow.
Cynthia pouted, disgruntled. Harry shifted closer to Alphard, and he felt his warm hand on his back.
"Al, make her go away." Harry mumbled, nestling closer and shutting his eyes again.
"Cynthia, go away." Alphard said, face still under the pillow.
Harry could almost hear Cynthia frowning, and he felt a stab at guilt. The weight on the edge of the bed disappeared and Harry reopened one eye.
"Nope, still there." Harry sighed, not quite as sleepy now, though unable to prevent a great yawn.
"Awe come on! I want to make a snowman ... I can't do it alone."
Harry groaned, pulling a face and sighing again. He was way too easy to guilt trip – he knew that, and obviously Cynthia did too. Harry wondered if Alphard would start using it against him as well.
"You know she's not going to go away."
Alphard sighed also, pulling his head out from underneath the pillow and turning to share a look with Harry. His dark hair was mused and to see him that way caused Harry's heart to thump almost painfully in his chest. Harry rolled his eyes lazily and threw his head back in resignation.
"Yeah I know. Can't help wishing..." Harry teased.
"Hey! Still here you know." Cynthia protested, hovering at the end of the bed, eyes flickering back and forth eagerly between them, knowing they were about to give in.
"Urgh, okay fine! We'll be right down." Harry gave up, pulling the covers up to hide his face.
"Privacy, Cynthia? We're not exactly going to get dressed right in front of you." Harry heard Alphard say, and he heard the footfalls crossing over to the door. Nice to know she was going to leave now she'd gotten her own way.
"Yeah I get it. See you in five!"
Harry knew she was practically skipping with excitement, and he heard her humming as Cynthia shut the door behind her. There was a second of silence before Alphard pulled the covers over his head and ducked under to gaze at Harry, one eyebrow raised.
"I can't believe you gave in." He pulled a face, and Harry reached to touch his pouting bottom lip and smile.
"Have a heart. Can't let her make a snowman by herself." Harry teased and rolled his eyes, before moving his head slightly to press his lips to Alphard's.
Alphard drew his hands tighter around Harry, one on the warm bare skin of Harry's back, the other moving to cup Harry's head. Harry smiled against his lips, hands resting on his chest, before gently pushing him away and slipping out from the covers, running a hand through his hair.
"Where are you going?" Alphard demanded, head popping out of the duvet to watch Harry get up. Harry's eyes flickered back down to him and his resolve wavered, gaze going to his eyes first, then down to his lips. Harry sighed.
"To get dressed...we have five minutes remember?" Harry raised an eyebrow as Alphard rolled his eyes.
"I don't remember her setting a time limit..." Alphard grinned and there was a mischievous glint in his eyes.
Harry paused in the act of looking for his sweater and turned back to him, just in time to see Alphard's hand reach out and tug him back onto the bed. Harry snickered and rolled over onto his side to gaze at Alphard, his lips crushing Alphard's with a passion.
Alphard pushed Harry lightly onto his back, resting on top of him, lips moving to kiss along his jaw line and down Harry's neck.
"Who cares if she did- I'm perfectly willing to be late." Harry grinned and tangled his fingers in Alphard's hair and bringing his lips back to Alphard's...
"Good morning, Bruce, sweetheart," Emilia says, being the first to notice her husbands entrance.
At her announcement, everyone immediately looked up and gave him some kind of greeting.
"Howdy, y'all," Bruce replied, absentmindedly slipping into his southern accent.
Boniface and Valerie were sitting next to each other, drinking coffee. Charlus and Tom were on the other side of their parents, eating breakfast.
Bruce ruffled Shiloh's hair as he passed by, earning him a noise of giggles. He walked over to the kitchen stove and made a plate of ham and cheese omelet and took a seat at the end of the table next to his son Shiloh and across from his wife Emilia.
It looked like everybody was practically done eating and were just talking now. "What were you guys talking about?"
"Boniface got a letter from Albus Dumbledore saying that he was participating on safe proofing his home and to not go outside so that he can avoid the media." Emilia answered. "But I'm pretty sure nobody would think to find Boniface and his family here."
"I wouldn't reckon so," Bruce looked around the table, "where's the other two boys and the girl?"
"Cynthia just went upstairs to wake Alphard and Harry up and than ran outside in the snow." Valerie commented sighing. "That reminds me, I need to go talk to her father. Would you mind?" Valerie asked Emilia.
"Oh, let me show you to our fireplace." Emilia said walking with Valerie out the kitchen.
"I want to go outside with Cynthia." Shiloh said to his mother.
"Okay, you know the rules. Let's get your coat and your gloves."
"Ah, hello Phyrros." Valerie said once she was out of the fireplace.
"Are you here about, Cynthia? It's been blissful without her."
"I need to talk to her father if you could show me the way please?" Valerie asked trying to be polite.
"It's this way." Phyrros said, leading ahead.
They walked passed a lot of expensive paintings, down the hallways and not one of them of the family.
Phyrros stopped in front of a wooden door that had a plaque 'Cormac Maximilian' spread a crossed it in golden letters and knocked on the door twice.
When the door opened, Valerie expected to see some forty something year old neat freak, of a father, only to see a man looking in his early thirties. The man had none of his daughter's features. He had slick black hair and blue eyes.
The man forced a smile on his face as he looked and saw Valerie at his door with Phyrros.
Valerie smiled back and said, "Hello, are you Cormac Maximilian? I'm Valerie Potter."
The man held out his hand, "I'm Cormac, nice to meet you, Marlene has told me so much about you."
Valerie shook his hand, "You too."
"Phyrros why don't you go back to your studies." Cormac said shooing Phyrros away. "How about you come in?"
Valerie nodded in walked in.
"It amazes me how academically mature she is!" Valerie said sitting at a brown sofa chair in front of Maximilian's desk.
"Thank you! Marlene doesn't think it's necessary to teach a child at such a high level, but expect the best out of my kids." Cormac smiled as he sat in front of his desk.
Valerie nodded. "I have questions I have to ask and they are quite personal, and I hope you being Cynthia's father, that you don't take take it personally."
Mr. Maximilian sighed and shrugged his shoulders, "Go ahead and ask away."
"Well I'm sure that you're aware that Cynthia has come to our home yesterday to stay for the rest of the Christmas holidays-"
"What? She's supposed to be in her room!"
"You haven't checked on her since yesterday?" Valerie asked disapprovingly.
"Look, Mrs. Potter, Cynthia is a very abrasive child. She was misbehaving so I sent her to her room and I hadn't heard anything from her since. I just assumed she was sulking like always."
"Do the children get along at home?" Valerie asked another question.
Valerie just nodded. "Who watches the kids while you're gone?"
"Marlene is here of course if I'm away and while Marlene is gone, I'm here."
"I think Cynthia feels like she can't confide in you when she's upset or has a problem."
Mr. Maximilian shook his head negatively. "It's always something with that girl. She's never happy-"
"I assure you Mr. Maximilian, Cynthia has been very happy with us. She can be very pleasant company and my boys care about her a lot-"
"Excuse me for interrupting, Mrs. Potter, but Cynthia is my daughter and I know her best-"
"Do you? Because it doesn't seem at all that your daughter is getting the love that she needs from her father."
"That's enough, Mrs. Potter. You're speaking out of line here."
"Of course, I apologize, Mr. Maximilian. Though I believe it to be a good idea for Cynthia to stay over for the Christmas Holidays."
"Cynthia will come home for Christmas."
"Agreed Mr. Maximilian. After all Christmas should be spent with family." Valerie stood up to leave. "Also Mr. Maximilian, I would like to add one more thing."
"And what is that Mrs. Potter?" Maximilian asked with a slight roll of his eyes.
"Do you know what I profession in?"
Mr. Maximilian looked Valerie straight in the eyes as he answered. "You are a Healer Mrs. Potter."
"Yes," Valerie said with a small smile, "and I'm sure you know where I'm going with this, yes?"
"I've never laid a hand on my daughter."
"Yes, and I'm sure it will stay that way. You wouldn't want your daughter taken away from you, I'm sure. Good day to you Mr. Maximilian."
"Cynthia?" Cynthia heard a whisper.
She opened her eyes and looked to her right, where she was lying down on the snow covered ground. Bright topaz blue eyes were wide as he waited for Cynthia to response.
Cynthia smiled at Shiloh, encouraging him to continue.
"What's your favorite color?"
Cynthia grinned. Her favorite color? Cynthia had never been asked that question before. Of course, she has never actually spent time with a three year old boy before, either.
"Blue." It was true-she liked blue, especially after coming in contact with the little boys pretty topaz blue eyes.
"My eyes are blue!"
"That they are."
Cynthia frowned, thinking. She like the entire Potter family and the Reeves shockingly. They were incredibly nice to her, and she felt wonderful that she was accepted by them. Though, she missed the connection she used to have with her Mum. A lot. But the Potters and the Reeves made her feel like she had a home with them, like it was okay for her to be happy. They made her feel like a family.
Surprisingly Bruce and Emilia reminded her a lot of her parents before they broke up. Emilia helped her with her homework just like her mom used to and tried to teach her things that Hogwarts couldn't do.
Charlus and Harry were like brothers she never had. They always made her laugh with their jokes. Harry was especially funny. Even when he didn't try to be. Sometimes Cynthia didn't understand his jokes, though, but he was always saying things in a funny voice or making funny faces so I laughed anyway.
Tom definitely felt like an older brother, the oldest of the three brothers. Cynthia kept feeling like Tom understood her, and how she felt. He was very protective of her, and even when he kept his distance, Cynthia knew he would do anything she asked him to.
Alphard was like her friend. He got excited about everything! It was so fun to watch.
Valerie was somewhere in between an overprotective older sister and a mom. She also always brushed Cynthia's hair before bed, and kissed her forehead before she went to sleep. In which Cynthia always had to tell her she wasn't a baby.
"Cyn- oh! False alarm Harry! It's your brothers!" Alphard said letting Charlus and Tom in the room.
Harry was in the process of tying his snow boots.
"Al, can we talk to Harry privately?" Charlus asked.
Alphard sighed out loud. "I'll meet you in the kitchen, Harry."
"Thanks, Al." Harry commented as Alphard closed the door behind him.
"You don't have to be." Harry said. He said so easily, like Charlus could be sorry if he wanted to or not; either way didn't bother Harry.
"Tom and I just wanted to say that, you're right about Dad and Mum. They're our parents and we love them no matter what mistakes that they made in their past. I know that they love us. It's just hard to digest what kind of people they possibly were before they had kids." Charlus said folding his arms to his chest.
"We just hope that you don't hate us, more importantly me." Tom muttered.
"You think I hate you?" Harry asked.
Tom closed his eyes, "Sometimes its hard not to," he answered.
"Tom, I love you. You take care of me; you've always taken care of me. Both you and Charlus. You two are my family you twits."
"Aren't you angry? Upset? Hurt? I mean, I'm not sure I can look at Dad and Mum the same way anymore." Charlus asked.
Harry let out a groan of exasperation. "What do you want to hear, Charlus? That I was hurt? Betrayed? Mad?"
"So you admit that you were upset by what you heard?"
"I'm fine." He said it so easily, like he wasn't finding Charlus misery too much to deal with.
"You're fine?" Charlus asked skeptical.
"Charlus, mostly everybody I love is dead," Harry answered,"so finding out that my great grandparents were possibly in the dark arts doesn't really bother me. I know what kind of people they are in the here and now."
"There's a possibility I could turn evil."
Harry waited for the stunned silent surprise.
"There's a possibility everyone could turn evil, Charlus. We all have evil inside of us the way we all have goodness inside of us. It's what we choose to nurture that decides whom we truly are in the end."
"I keep forgetting that your like twenty something." Charlus muttered to himself. "No thirteen year old should be allowed to talk like that."
"Do we tell father that we know?" Tom asked.
"No." Both Charlus and Harry said together.
"Alright then." Tom answered back.
"I gotta go. I promised to make a snowman with Cynthia. Do you guys want to join?"
"No thanks. I got enough of the snow last night." Tom replied.
"Me to, I think I want hang out with Uncle Bruce, see what he does." Charlus said shrugging his shoulders.
"Just don't freak him out, Charlus." Harry replied.
"What? How would I do that?"
"You have your ways."
The day was not only freezing, but blinding as well. A layer of snow had fallen overnight, covering every nook and cranny of the world in clean white that reflected beams of light. Indoors seemed dreary compared to the brightness outside.
Harry looked at Alphard as they both walked in the snow to get towards Cynthia whom was making a snow angel and talking to Shiloh.
"Al, what do you think I should get Cynthia for Christmas?"
Alphard looked at his boyfriend who was wearing his snow clothes, much warmer than he was last night, which were layered with a green sweater and black jacket and brown coat.
Harry honestly didn't have a clue what to get Cynthia for Christmas. Why did you give a girl that wasn't really into girly things and was pretty much a tomboy?
"I have no idea Harry, why don't you ask your mum? Or maybe we could browse and see what we can find at the stores?" Alphard said knowing that maybe some inspiration would come from just browsing different shops and boutiques.
"Do you think Dad is gonna let us shop around? I mean after everything that's happened."
"Well we're obviously are going to have a chaperone with us."
"A chaperone to what?" Cynthia asked running up to hug Harry, which surprised him a great deal.
"Erm... what was that for?" Harry asked confused, but nonetheless, he hugged her back.
"Are you going to help me make my snowman or what?" Cynthia asked letting go of Harry.
"Of course, where are my manners!"
"I wanna help!" Shiloh said.
"You know what, Shiloh, we need a hat and a scarf! Can you find us that?" Harry asked the kid whom was jumping up and down excitedly.
"Yes!" Shiloh ran off as fast as his little legs would let him.
"And a carrot!" Alphard called out.
Harry was just about to crouch in the snow and help Cynthia roll the huge snowball when a flying white blur came out of nowhere and knocked Harry to the ground.
"Ack! Hermes!" Harry moaned, squirming under the large white dog. Hermes seemed content simply lying on top of Harry's chest.
"Doggy!" Shiloh said, running back towards them. Hermes looked up at Shiloh and wagged his tail even more.
Hermes barked and climbed off Harry to instead lunge for Shiloh and slobber over his face. The little boy squealed and fell backwards into the snow. Meanwhile, Harry stood up and brushed the snow off his clothes.
"So much for staying warm," Harry muttered with a chuckle. "So, what's up with this snowman that's caused such a commotion?"
"There is a beat you know, following it would be a good start."
"No, slide your feet, don't stomp them."
"Really, Cynthia, I'm in awe. You have all the grace of a pregnant hippopotamus."
Cynthia threw up her hands in frustration.
"And you have all the patience of a caffeinated humming bird!" Cynthia stomped.
"You need dance lessons and have no money to attend a class in such short notice. I happen to know how to ballroom dance. I fail to see how you're not catching on."
"What's going on in here?" Bruce asked, he was leaned up against the wall, watching the two young youths. For how long he was standing there, the teens wasn't sure.
"I can't dance." Cynthia sighed.
Cynthia glared at Bruce who frowned as if Cynthia was a particularly perplexing puzzle. "That bothers you, doesn't it?"
"Of course it bothers me!"
"Why? Dancing is… unimportant."
"It's important to me." Cynthia said curtly and left it at that.
"You're not awful," Bruce said slowly, making the sentence sound like it might be a question.
Cynthia felt her lips being pulled up into a reluctant smile.
"Thanks, I guess."
"I'll dance with you this time." Bruce said moving off the wall.
"What?" Cynthia squeaked.
Tom arched a brow at her.
"The only expectations you have to live up to is your own and anyway at your age, the only dance you'll be doing is the waltz."
Bruce stepped close to her and slightly picked her up so that her feet were on top of his. "It'll be better this way, you can follow my movements. I even taught Shiloh how to dance and he's three, but in such a few hours, it's going to be a stretch."
"Place your other hand on my shoulder."
"This is so embarrassing," Cynthia muttered, looking at how Bruce moved their feet.
"We have to teach you to dance properly. The ball is in a few hours and we're not even dressed yet." Tom said.
The mischievous spark in Bruce's eyes was all the warning Cynthia had before she was suddenly dipped backwards.
Surprised, Cynthia clutched reflexively at Bruce's shoulder. But Bruce had the situation well in hand, strong arms held Cynthia securely in place as she was righted once more.
"Merlin! A little warning?"
"Oh, dull! Takes all the fun out of it." Bruce said positively grinning now.
"You're coming, aren't you?" Cynthia asked, trying to sound casual. "To the ball, I mean."
Bruce shook his head no. "Oh no darlin', I wasn't invited. I'm not of royalty."
"I'm sure the McGonagall's won't mind. Will they, Tom? I mean Minerva is your girlfriend and all-" Cynthia asked him.
"It doesn't work like that, Cynthia. The Christmas Ball's are magic related. Meaning you have to be a witch or wizard just to enter. The McGonagall's would have to be notified earlier with notice to allow muggles to enter. Magic exposure and whatnot."
"Do every pureblood families do that? It's so discriminating."
"Our family doesn't, neither does the Weasley's now that I think about it. It's more of the matter that we don't want to expose ourselves to the muggle world. It has nothing to do with what they are, Cynthia. You know Minerva is not-"
"I know." Cynthia sighed.
"You all right?" Bruce asked.
"Yeah, but I would really like to pick out a dress. Looks like the dancing lesson is over." Cynthia said stepping off of Bruce.
Cynthia already had her dress on. She wore a teal vintage boned bodice dress that had cotton lace sprinkled with rhinestones, and a pleated tulle skirt lined in taffeta. There was a blue belt tied around the middle.
Cynthia tugged a brush through her errant hair, silently cursing herself for not doing a quick read up on those Detangling spells. A couple of strands decided to grip tenaciously to the spikes, making her wince. She would kill for a glorious waterfall of silky hair like her Aunt Valerie and Aunt Emilia, who, funnily enough, hated their hair. There were always spells, of course, but she didn't particularly like the idea of appearance-enhancing charms.
"Are you trying to make yourself bald, luv?"
Cynthia blinked and turned to look at Emilia Reeves. It took Cynthia a second to notice that she was practically bashing her skull with the bloody comb.
"No. How many hours left, till we have to go to the ball?"
"An hour or so, but I won't be going," Emilia said taking the comb out of Cynthia's hair, "may I fix your hair?"
"Oh... ok, I guess. Why aren't you going?"
"I never go to the balls. They're so dull and boring. I only go to the Potter family Balls, but that's because I have no choice in that matter. Obligations and everything."
Emilia went for simple curls, she made Cynthia's hair wavier at the top but as it slowly reached the tips it turned into little curls.
"I don't see why we have to dress up, it's just a stupid ball," Alphard muttered as he fiddled with the black bow tie around his neck. Harry glanced up from straightening his jacket.
"Stop messing with it Al, it looks fine. And because it's a dance. We have to dress up. Anyway, there will be important people there, so we have to look nice." Harry commented as he looked back at his reflection in the mirror, continuing to straighten his black jacket.
"We represent our family when we go to these balls, Black," Tom said perfectly presentable, suit crisp and neat, hair tousled artfully, "it wouldn't kill you to be formal."
Charlus came into the room that all four of them shared. He practically pushed Tom out the way to look at himself in the mirror. "How do I look?" Charlus said, spreading his arms and doing a turn.
The suit was a deep blue over a light blue shirt that accented Charlus coloring perfectly, of course. All tied together by thin black tie. "Great... You look great..." Tom said with a roll of eyes.
"Hey thanks, Tom." Charlus smiled at him brightly. "That's what I think to."
"Your ego hasn't shrunk over the years, it's grown." Harry shook his head.
"Hey! I'd like to think that I become more mature with age."
"Barely, Charlus," Harry laughed.
"Can you believe this is our last day here with Aunt Emilia and Uncle Bruce?" Charlus asked.
"Yeah, we were only supposed to be here for a week." Harry commented.
"Well I'm excited to leave, Harry and I can finally have a room to ourselves." Alphard said winking at Harry.
"Your head is always in the gutter." Tom said rolling his eyes at Alphard.
"Do you think we'll see the Reeves again?" Charlus asked.
"Probably, I mean Dad seemed to like spending time with Aunt Emilia, you never know." Harry shrugged his shoulders.
"We won't be seeing Cynthia till after the holidays. She's going back home for Christmas." Charlus said.
"Aww... you're going to miss her." Alphard teased.
"Of course I'm, she's like an annoying unwanted sister."
"Nicely put, Charlus." Tom said sarcastically rolling his eyes once again.
"Come on boys, time to get going." Boniface said to his sons.
Boniface pushed the door open and they walked into a splendid entrance hall, lighted by many candles and full of people. Across the hall was another door, where a man was seeing people into the ballroom. They crossed the entrance hall, and stopped in front of the man in the black tux, like their own. He had a small black, curly mustache and small eyes.
The ballroom was obscenely large. It hovered overhead, like the ceiling of some immense cavern that seemed to disappear into nothingness far above. Pillars wider than three Cynthia standing side by side held up the high, buttressed ceiling, all painted in magnificent white. The floor was hard and made of marble, polished to a gleam, and stretched far across to the other side of the castle—or so it seemed to Cynthia.
One wall was graced with beautiful paintings of men and women frozen in graceful dance while the other was lined with windows that touched both floor and ceiling, the view open to the sparkling lake outside. Large purple curtains were tied back to let the sunshine of midday flood the ballroom floor, and the dust of misuse and age floated in the yellow beams.
They walked into the ballroom and stopped. The ballroom was filled with people. There were still a dozen round tables set up in the room, littered with dessert plates. The Potters gave the dance floor a wide berth as he picked his way through unorganized chairs and purple and gold balloons.
Minerva immediately spotted Tom as she walked up to him. She smiled at the rest of the Potter family in greeting and then placed a hand on Tom's arm.
"I'm glade you could make it, Tom."
"Of course. Come, I'll take you to dance."
"Oh, that would be great."
Harry watched them go with a roll of his eyes. Both Tom and Minevra were just so proper. They were meant for each other.
Charlus kept looking around, standing on his toes, as if he was looking for someone. He stopped at the sight of Dorea. She was dressed in a splendid pink lace dress, with many folds and frills.
Boniface chuckled, and walked up behind his son.
"Come on. Go ask her to dance!" Boniface said to Charlus.
"If she actually cared, she would have let me pick her up so that we could come to the ball together."
Boniface sighed. "Son-"
"Charlus, Dorea's family more than likely prohibited it. You may not see nothing wrong with dating Dorea, but her family obviously does. They are after all ancient about blood purities and whatnot. She looks terribly unhappy as it is." Valerie said trying to encourage her son.
"Okay, I'll go talk to her." Charlus said frowning slightly as he went after Dorea.
"Hey, Harry, look," Alphard pointed to the far left where he saw Aurora and her date, "let's go talk to them."
"I don't know-"
"Oh come on." Alphard said with a roll of his eyes as he dragged Harry along.
"Harry," Aurora immediately went up and hugged Harry, "it's been too long. Hello Alphard."
"Hey, Aurora." Alphard replied back.
Aurora was wearing a strapless lavender tulle gown with attached shawl.
"I'm sure you guys already know Alastor Moody?"
"The Ravenclaw weirdo, nerd-" Alphard answered.
"Al!" Harry elbowed him.
"I'm not going to get criticize by someone whom barely gets an 'Acceptable' on their school work." Alastor said cheekily back.
"Hey, Alastor, now that's going to far. Don't insult my boyfriend."
"And I'll have you know, on my good days, I always get Outstanding!"
"You must not have many good days then, Black." Alastor said with a sneer, "You're a spoiled brat,"
"I'm sorry, you seem to have mistaken me for a person who will take your shit-!"
"Okay, let's go, Al." Harry said dragging Alphard away before he got really loud. Alphard was aggressive; he took crap from absolutely no one.
"Who does that bloody git think he is?! Calling me stupid?! I'll show him! I'll get even better grades then him and shove it in his arrogant face!"
"Who got your knickers in a twist, mate?" Ignatius came up behind Harry and Alphard with his date, Lucretia. Both were wrapped around each others arms.
Lucretia wore a silky white gown, ruby lips and tip-curled hair. Adorned with diamond accessories, Lucretia appeared to sparkle as she smiled demurely, stepping foot in front of foot in strap silver heels.
Ignatius with slicked-back hair he projected more class than his immaculate black suit with shiny lapels and matching shiny black shoes.
"That arrogant Alastor Moody! That prick! Called me stupid he did! Said I only make 'Acceptable' on my school work."
"Well..." Ignatius scratched the back of his head.
"You could study more, Al." Lucretia said.
"I feel so betrayed right now!"
Most people underestimated Alphard's intelligence, mainly because Al easily get's bored with the school work. Not because he didn't understand it, mainly because it was way to easy for him. It wasn't much of a challenge for him. He always got a spell right on the first try. Especially this year, but when it came to writing the work and theory itself, Alphard wasn't interested.
It also didn't help that he was often loud, impatient, and short tempered. Despite all that, Harry had often noticed how easily Alphard adapted to new situations and how quickly he caught on when you explained things to him. He was surprisingly perceptive, very little escaping his notice, and as prideful as he was, what with being both a pure blood and coming from a rich family, he was also very loyal and protective.
"Al, dance with me?" Harry asked his boyfriend.
Alphard put up a big smile. "I thought you'd never ask, come on."
Once they got on the dance floor, Alphard started to lead.
"Why do you think that we compliment each other so well?"
"You noticed that to?" Alphard asked with a smirk. "Harry, I couldn't put words to our relationship."
Yes, Harry was Alphard's best friend, but they were closer than even best friends should be. He wasn't a father figure, despite being old enough to fit the bill. Their friendship involved a lot of casual touching, gentle hugs, and easy silences. Sometimes they didn't even talk, but enjoyed long hours of just being in each others company. When Alphard was near Harry, he felt soothed by his mere presence.
Cynthia turned around when she felt a tap on her shoulder and glanced up.
"Was there something that you wanted?" Cynthia asked primly.
Jared Morgan smirked and gallantly held his hand out to her, "Dance with me?"
Cynthia was seconds away from turning him down when she decided to just do it.
Jared took her hand and led her onto the dance floor, a little shock that Cynthia actually agreed.
Cynthia gently placed her hands in their proper places and began to follow Jared's steps. Unlike Cynthia, Jared was an excellent dancer. After a couple of agonizing minutes for Jared's toes, Cynthia got the hang of the waltz.
"How did you even get in here? You're not on the list and you're a vampire."
Jared winced momentarily over her blunt statement but quickly covered it with his customary smirk.
"I'm Jared Morgan. I can get inside anywhere."
"It helps that you're a wizard too, right?" she returned cheekily.
He wasn't fazed but just smirked wider.
"Yeah, that helps."
Cynthia rolled her eyes and returned his smirk.
"Happy Christmas, Harry!" Alphard jumped on top of Harry's bed in front of him, grinning, and shoved a present into his hands.
"Al," Harry smiled, and rolled his eyes before setting the gift down on the bed and kissing Alphard squarely on the mouth. They were just getting into the kiss when Tom wandered in and frowned.
"We're supposed to be opening gifts in the living room as a family." Tom reprimanded them sternly as they broke apart, then grinned and rolled his eyes.
"Am I family, Tom?" Alphard asked him curiously.
Harry looked up at Tom as well for the answer.
Tom sighed and rolled his eyes. "You're with Harry aren't you? What do you think? You practically live here rent and food free." Tom answered walking back out Harry's room. "What are you waiting for? Let's go."
Alphard laughed, and Harry rolled his eyes, but they didn't kiss again. Alphard picked the present up off the bed, shoved it in Harry's hands again, "Let's not get left behind." Alphard said pulling Harry off the bed and out the room.
"Happy Christmas!" Harry said to everyone around the Christmas tree.
"I smell cookies!" exclaimed Alphard.
"Yes, they're almost done," laughed Valerie.
When they got to the living room, Charlus was already separating the presents and Harry's great grandparents were sitting on the sofa watching in amusement, drinking coffee.
"Harry! Happy Chrismas!" Charlus said. Charlus seemed to have his arms out stretched as though he was carrying something big but there was nothing but air.
"Charlus, what are you doing?" Harry asked, tilting his head to the side.
"It's one of your Christmas presents, I am giving you a portion of my personal space."
Harry laughed. "I gladly accept." Harry said giving Charlus a hug.
"I said a portion, Harry."
Harry just rolled his eyes.
Alphard sat down in a cushioned chair, pulling his boyfriend down with him so that he was sitting on his lap. Alphard grinned toothily at Tom, who rolled his eyes again and sighed in resignation.
"Merry Christmas, Al!" Charlus exclaimed, holding up a flat green square box wrapped in a red ribbon.
"Oh, you shouldn't have - who am I kidding? Hand it over!" Alphard said with a grin.
Charlus handed it over. Alphard tore his present up in three seconds finding a large book. A note fell along with it. Alphard picked it up and read it.
Check out chapters seven until eighteen. It's wicked! I'm sure you'll like it cause I give out cool presents. You can use the spells to protect my baby brother and nephew.
See you Christmas day,
The book was titled, 'Spells, jinxes, and hexes, A guide' It sounded interesting. Inside Alphard found the book was a extensive list of every spell, jinx or hex ever written down. It was useful because it contained a short explanation of how to do the incantation and what it would result to.
Quickly he skipped through the pages to chapter seven. Unsurprisingly it was the start of the jinxes list. Many he had heard of, but even more he had never been able to imagine.
"Wicked! Thanks, Char!"
While Alphard went through his present that Charlus gave him, Harry opened his present that Alphard gave him.
It was an amulet. At least, that was what Harry thought. Harry didn't expect anything less from Alphard. Around the black leather necklace was a diamond speared crystal with miniature lightning going on inside it.
"I love it, Alphard." Harry said, hugging his boyfriend and kissing him once again.
"I can find you anywhere with that amulet. I have a matching one myself in case you need to find me." Alphard said grinning.
"It's wonderful." Harry answered.
"Here's yours Harry. I hope you like my present. I wrapped it myself!" Charlus handed Harry a square box covered in a mess of silver wrapping paper tied with a gold ribbon.
Harry tore the paper off and revealed his gift from Charlus. It was a dragon harness. In cursive gold letters, the name of Harry's dragon was on it and Harry's initials.
"Thanks, Charlus." Harry laughed. "I'll use this when Spitfire get's much bigger to carry me around."
"I thought you might like it," said Charlus with a smile.
"Harry, what did you get me?" Alphard asked him.
"Who said I got you anything?" Harry smiled as he turned to look at Charlus,"Charlus, can you pass me the purple one, thanks." Harry replied as Charlus tossed the purple neatly wrapped gift to him.
"I think I know what that is. It's another book." Alphard took the small box from Harry and lifted it to his ear to shake it, but it made no sound. Then in a flash of purple paper, Alphard ripped off the wrappings to reveal his present.
It was a round, brown stone with a flat bottom. Alphard frowned. "You got me a rock?"
Harry threw back his head and laughed. "Al, it's not just a rock! Turn it over."
With a suspicious glance at his boyfriend, he picked up the heavy stone and tipped the bottom up to her eye. Inside it was mostly hollow, but covered with hundreds of tiny, jagged, smoky gray crystals.
"Wow! What is it?"
"It's a geode you nit wit." Tom answered for Harry with a roll of his eyes.
"Tom, be nice." Valerie chastised as she got up from the sofa. "The cookies should be done, I'll be right back."
"Thanks, Har." Alphard said kissing Harry on the cheek.
Tom sat cross-legged on the carpet next to Charlus in front of the Christmas tree that was positioned in the middle of the front room. There were several unwrapped gifts on the coffee table and on the floor; Tom was deciding if he should open his birthday gifts as well that was mixed in the bunch of Christmas presents.
Next week the young wizard would turn fourteen. It was a day he enjoyed telling himself that he had become more mature with age.
He carefully picked up his box from Charlus. Tom was more careful than his brothers and Alphard when it came to opening his presents.
"Two coupons to 'lepor lepos' free everything with your lover?" Tom read the card that was attached to his gift. There was two silver tickets that said 'lepor lepos'
"I thought you would like to enjoy a romantic get together with your girlfriend. Lepor Lepos is a restaurant for couples only. It's very romantic from what I hear." Charlus said.
"Yeah, it's like Valentines day every day there." Alphard added as well.
"How would you know that? We've never been in there." Harry asked Alphard with his eyebrows roused.
"Eh... just what I heard, is all."
"Thanks, Charlus." Tom said with a small amused smile.
"No, problem! Don't worry though, I got you a book to, I know that's what you really wanted."
Tom laughed and reached out to grab a present from Harry. It was wrapped in silver wrapping paper and a laced bow.
"It's pretty small, Harry." Charlus commented.
"Charlus, it's not the size of the package that counts, but the thought behind it." Boniface said to his son.
Tom unwrapped the gift to reveal a gold engraved 1800's European pocket watch. "It's amazing." Tom said looking at the carvings all over the watch.
"It has the time of every country and I thought it was about time that you should have one. Mostly proper wizards wear one."
"I appreciate this, Harry. Thank you." Tom said genuinely.
"Great, now his head is going to get even bigger, Harry." Alphard commented.
"Uncle Harold has one!" Charlus said trying to get a better look at Tom's watch.
Valerie Potter came walking into the room with one platter loaded with neatly arranged phalanx of gingerbread men that were fully frosted and ready to eat.
Alphard practically pushed Harry off his lap as he scrambled to the coffee table to get to the platter of gingerbread cookies.
"These cookies are just too... delicious." Alphard mumbled, his hands didn't stop stuffing his mouth with more and more ginger breads.
Harry laughed. Alphard reminded him of a hamster who could never stop eating
"Stop being a pig and eat your food slowly, Black." Tom said disapproving.
Alphard simply stuck out his tongue.
"You know, you could be a bit nicer considering it's Christmas!"
"Hermes, look what you got!" Charlus presented the huge bone to Hermes whom was playing with the unwrapped paper.
"Merry Christmas, everybody." Valerie said sighing as she went and cuddle up next to her husband.