Chapter 22: Forward Motion Part IV
Christmas at Hogwarts was one of the only things Harry was looking forward to. With the help of his father and Sirius, Harry had convinced his mother to let him stay at Hogwarts. The three of them and a girl named Peggy were all taking a trip to America. Apparently it was just as hard to get Peggy to agree with the trip as it was to let the Potter heir stay at school for the holiday break. They were going to meet with Peggy's squib cousin. Harry shook his head; his parents were as bad as the twin's parents, maybe worse.
The only really bad thing about waking up on Christmas morning was waking up to the twins busting into his dorm and yelling at the top of their lungs. Harry grumbled as he sat up. The twins were in his face an instant later.
"Come on, Harry! Get up!" the twins yelled at the same time.
"I'm getting up… Be quiet…" yawned Harry. "I'm up. I'm up."
The twins dragged Harry down into the common room to the Christmas tree that was sitting next to the fire. The twins and Harry were the only ones among the Slytherins to stay over the break. The Weasleys pulled the comfiest chair and loveseat to the tree and sat themselves down with Harry between the two of them.
"Open the ones from Mum first," George said. "We need to get the Weasley sweaters out of the way and get to the good stuff."
"If your mother ever heard you say that she would beat you senseless." laughed Harry. Sure enough the twins had gotten part hand knitted, part magically knitted dark blue sweaters with a gold F for Fred and a gold G for George. Harry opened his own gift from Molly. His sweater was red with a silver H on the front.
"One of these years she's going to make something other than sweaters for all of us kids," said Fred. "Let's open the gifts from Bill next. He always get's us cool stuff."
Bill got Fred three boxes of Snapping Kumquat Turtles and a pair of dragon hide dueling gloves. For George, Bill got two books: Advanced Potion Making from Scratch and Ancient Ward Theory. Bill had even gotten Harry a gift. It was a book on alchemy. Bill knew that Harry enjoys some of the more eclectic forms of magic. The green eyed boy thought it was thoughtful.
"What did you guys get from Harry and his family?" George asked as he was looking at a rather nice pair of arm guards. Fred was trying on his matching pair. Harry had two separate gifts from his parents. His mother had gotten him a new set of writing quills and ink. They were his favorite brand. His father, on the other hand, had given Harry a very old looking cloak.
Green eyes stared at the cloak for a moment before Harry realized what it was. He had overheard stories of this cloak. It was the one that his mother had no idea existed. All of the Marauders had hid under this wondrous piece of magic while they were in school. A letter fell out of the cloak.
I know that you probably won't be able to stay out of trouble, being my son and all. So I decided to give you a gift that would help you keep out of the limelight as much as possible. Which I know will be hard, considering you're friends with the twins.
Just be thoughtful and be responsible with it Harry. One day it may save your life.
Don't tell your mother about it. She would throw a fit.
"Fred…George…" whispered Harry. "My father gave me his invisibility cloak…"
The twins jumped up and crowded up close to Harry. The Potter heir stood up and put the cloak on. The twins gasped. They looked dumbstruck by the cloak.
"We can do so much damage with that thing…" said Fred with awe.
"Our lord could make good use of this," Harry thought aloud. Both twins nodded in agreement.
"I say we explore the third floor tonight," said George. "But we should open the rest of our gifts first. We'll get into trouble if we don't open all of them…"
Harry folded is cloak up into a tight ball. It was true. Mrs. Weasley had a sixth sense about things like this. She had sent the twins angry letters more than once for not thanking everyone who gave them gifts. They had all gotten an assortment of books, candy and clothing. Nothing was is as impressive as the cloak given to Harry by his father.
Small fingers itched to touch the cloak again. Harry wondered where he would keep his cloak. He didn't trust it with the twins. His broom was one thing, but a priceless family heirloom that allowed you to be completely invisible was a completely different thing.
Harry's companion nudged at the corners of Harry's mind. His companion would take control of his body and make a special compartment in his trunk that would only open with a parselmouth password. A smile formed on the child's face at how thoughtful his companion could be. Harry must have been the only one his companion was kind to, based on how the twins said the adults reacted when the spoke of him in the past.
Harry hadn't believed it at first of course, but Quirrell's actions, or inactions, told him differently when he thought about it. When Harry thought about how the professor acted, he realized that Quirrell had trembled with fear the entire time. He couldn't even speak. Quirrell was a pathetic fool. Harry grew angry for a moment. Why had none of his other followers go to his lord's aid.
"The Dark Lord told me not to do anything reckless," said Harry. "That includes exploring a potentially dangerous death trap set up by some of the most skilled witches and wizards in Britain."
"Okay, but can we do something with your cloak? It would be wicked fun!" said Fred.
"What would the two of you do with it?" Harry asked.
"Spy on my little brother while he's here. He would certainly deserve it." said George.
"That would make things a little easier in the long run…" Harry thought aloud and a sly smile formed on Harry's face. "Wouldn't it be something if we broke into Gryffindor Tower?"
"That it would, Harry. That it would." smirked George. "Gryffindor Tower requires a password."
"It shouldn't be hard to get it out of Ron," Fred finished Georges train of thought.
With the plan in mind the trio of Slytherins went to the Christmas Feast. There were very few professors sitting at the teachers table, and there were even few students, who were also asked to sit at the table with their professors. Fred and George made good sport of ruffling Ron's hair and telling him to make sure that he sends letters to everyone who got him a gift or their mum who flay him alive. Ron nodded and then whispered something in the ear of, who Harry assumed to be, Andrew Holiday.
The only seats that were open were the ones next to Snape, Trelawney and Anthony Holiday. The three of them didn't want to sit next to Trelawney. She was about as batty as an insane muggle. So George sat next to Snape, Fred sat between George and Anthony, and Harry sat on the other side of Anthony; which was one seat away from Trelawney.
Anthony Holiday stiffened for a moment, but then relaxed. He was trying to listen in on what his brother and Ron were talking about, much like the three Slytherins were doing. Surprisingly, Harry found Anthony to be more tolerable than he thought he would. The boy was soft spoken, but incredibly decisive about his opinions.
In the half hour that Harry had actually taken the time to sit down and speak with the Gryffindor, he learned that Anthony thought that muggle technology and their history should not be taught by a witch or wizard who hadn't ever been exposed to the muggle world. Harry noticed that Anthony would scowl slightly when he spoke about muggles. The green eyed Slytherin found that to be interesting.
Anthony also had strong opinions about hags and their status as a being, a view he shared with his brother. The Holiday twins were both extremely fond of house elves, but not of their servitude.
"But house elves like to be in servitude." argued George.
"True, but there have been cases where house elves really hate serving a family." Andrew argued back.
"I don't see why this is such a big thing for you two," said a bewildered Fred.
"We grew up in America, and slavery or servitude is frowned upon more than rigging a game of Quadpot. The American Wizarding Society adopted a new practice of wizard, house elf relations when they saw the harsh treatment of black slaves. Witches and wizards in America sign a blood contract with a house elf; and it's the house elf that decides how long the contract will last. Most house elves sign it for the whole lifetime of the witch or wizard still." Anthony explained.
"The house elves usually sign another lifetime contract with the next of kin of their former employer. It's basically the same, with the exception that house elves in America have a choice. Well, I'm sure that house elves could get themselves sacked anywhere, but it's just not in their nature." Andrew said.
"If the two of you grew up in America, why don't you guys go to school there?" asked Fred who was stealing food off of Anthony's plate. It was a habit he picked up from Sirius.
"Our mother was actually born and raised in Britain, and was a Slytherin here at Hogwarts. After she married our father she decided that she would stay in America, but the schools in America aren't as good as Hogwarts. In fact the schools in America are terrible, and are specialty schools. Kind of like trade schools." Andrew shook his head.
"It's because wizarding settlers that went to the Americas before the muggles did wanted to emulate the Native Americans nomadic way of life and things basically got out of hand after that." Anthony made a face. "Basically, everyone wanted to stick with the nomadic way of doing things, but others wanted to put down roots and there was fighting and nonsense. It wasn't until the British Ministry of Magic stepped in that the Americans put themselves together. Then of course, the Muggle American Revolutionary War started. The rest is history."
"How do the two of you know all this?" asked Harry. The other students were amazed at their knowledge of history as well.
"Our mother is a Muggle-Wizard Relation Historian." the Holiday twins said at the same time, like it explained everything. It was Professor Binns, who occasionally floated by during dinners, who answered.
"Their mother studies the affects muggles have on the wizarding world and vise versa. Much like how I studied the affects of goblins and giants in relation to the wizarding world." Binns paused for a moment. "Your mother wouldn't happen to be Rena?"
"Renatantia, sir?" Andrew was the one that answered, although he looked a little uncomfortable about it. Anthony was scowling at his plate, but the scowl disappeared when he realized Fred had stolen all his food. He then switched his plate with Fred's.
"That's her! She was one of my favorite students. Her papers were always so enjoyable." Binns smiled and floated away like the conversation never happened.
"Renatantia," Dumbledore laughed suddenly, "if I remember correctly, she was the only student to never have fallen asleep in Professor Binns class. A gift in its self." All of the students laughed, and even a few of the professors laughed too.
Harry noticed that Fred was deep in thought. He then turned to Anthony and asked him how to play Quadpot. Harry didn't like the idea of a ball exploding in his hands or face and decided that Quidditch was much, much better.
"How about we play a game of Quidditch tomorrow?" George asked out of the blue. "All of us students." There were ten students who had stayed over break; three Slytherins, three Gryffindors, three Ravenclaws and one Hufflepuff. Harry, Ron and the Holiday twins were the youngest students there.
"We don't have enough players," Andrew said.
"We'll just play without seekers and have one beater per team," said Ron, who never said no to a game of Quidditch. "You two can't play as beaters, and you can't be on the same team. And no cheating!"
"You wound us, Ronikins!" the twins said together. Ron's face turned bright red. It took some convincing for the Ravenclaws to agree to joining in on the game, but in the end it's hard to refuse a Weasley twin, let alone both of them.
Later that night, the twins and Harry sat watching the Marauder's Map. Fred fell asleep on one of the couches. George was sitting in an overstuffed chair with a book covering his face; he had fallen asleep too. Just when Harry decided it was time for bed, he saw a name in one of the most secluded areas of the school.
Harry ran to get his cloak and grabbed the map. He wanted to know what Anthony Holiday was up to this late at night.