Christmas Nargles

Diana Potter, four and a half, thank you very much, sat in the living room of her house, legs crossed, and stared at the fireplace. Father Christmas was coming to her house, and even though Mummy and Daddy said that Santa wouldn't come if she was awake she couldn't help it. She was playing Auror, like Daddy, and she had even had Daddy's visibilty cloak over her to be secret like Daddy did when he got the bad guys. Daddy always said that even with magic nobody could see him when he had on his cloak and not even magic would help 'em find him. She was gonna see Father Christmas and how he did his magic.

Just as Diana was falling asleep she heard a big whoosh from the fireplace, but it wasn't the Floo sound, it was something different. And there he was! He was as big or maybe bigger than Uncle Hagrid! He had a big red cloak, big black boots and even though Floo powder came off when you shook your head or Mummy cleaned it off with her wand he still had black stuff all over him. He didn't even make a sound, not even on the creaky board over by the Christmas Tree, the one that Daddy always stepped on and Mummy always knew he was sneaking looks at the presents. Father Christmas put his big bag down, waved his hand at the bag and then little tiny things with wings flew out of the bag, things that carried presents and sat them down by the tree. Diana watched as Father Christmas went over and put things in the stockings, one for Mummy, one for Daddy and then he put lots and lots of things in her stocking.

But there was something about the little things that flew around and did the other presents…Mummy had told her all about them but she'd never seen them. Mummy said there were invisble like Daddy's cloak, and Mummy said that her earrings with the corks kept them away, but Mummy had never seen one and now Diana could see them! She had to see if she could catch one for Mummy! That would be the best Christmas present ever!

While Santa sat in Daddy's chair and ate the Christmas biscuits Diana slowly crept over to his big black bag of toys. She tried to catch one of the Nargles but they were too fast and flew back into Father Christmas' bag. Remembering how Mummy crawled in that hole looking for the Crumply Horned Snorkies Diana did the same thing and got in the bag, but it wasn't like when Daddy made her a fort with the couch cushions, it was huge! There were presents everywhere, all on shelves and with tags that had names on them! She stood up, took off Daddy's cloak and tried to catch one of the Nargles, but before she could grab one little lights came on over the shelves, the top of the bag closed and she felt herself going high in the air like when Uncle Hagrid gave her piggyback rides. She tried yelling to tell Father Christmas that she was in his bag but he didn't hear her, and then she felt like she was on Daddy's broom, going faster than when Mummy told Daddy he was gonna get in trouble. Diana felt scared. She sat down and started to cry, because if she was in Father Christmas' bag then she wouldn't be there when Mummy and Daddy woke up and she wouldn't get to open her presents and Grandpa Xeno…it wasn't gonna be a great Christmas like Mummy said, it would be the worstest.

Diana grabbed her Daddy's cloak and ran to the furthest rack of shelves and hid behind the presents. She was in big trouble.

Harry Potter rolled over, glanced at the door and then looked at the clock. It was a little after seven in the morning, much later than he expected Diana to let them sleep. Last Christmas Diana had been in their bedroom like a shot a little after half-five, which meant that he and Luna had to fix extra strong coffee that morning. This year he was prepared, as Hermione had given him a pound of what she called Parent Fuel, a dark roast that she said was the only thing that let her and Ron stay awake while Rose and Hugo opened their presents. He rolled over and nudged his wife.

"Luna, Luna. She must be still asleep. Should we wake her or let her come to us?"

Moving her mass of blonde hair out of the way Luna rolled over, blinked her eyes and smiled. "Happy Christmas, Harry. Diana is still asleep?"

"Oh, sorry." Harry gave her a quick kiss. "Happy Christmas. I guess she is because she hasn't jumped on the bed yet. We could let her sleep…"

Luna smiled at him. "We could let her sleep but you want to wake her up because you love it when she sees all her presents."

"Yeah, you're right. I do." He leaned up, moved back the covers and slid over to the edge of the bed. "Come on, I'll get her and then I'll put on the coffee. Camera's ready, right?"

"Yes, Harry, the camera is by the tree."

"Perfect." He slid his feet into his slippers and grabbed the dressing gown off the bedpost. "At least if she's already opened things we'll have the pictures. Remind me to thank George for that camera."

As Luna got out of bed Harry smiled; it was another one of George's ideas, this one actually quite good, that the camera would take pictures of any movement in the area. Initially it had been developed for the Aurors but Harry had convinced George that the functionality would be well-suited to everyday use. The Auror cameras had an invisibility setting, and since Harry was not only an Auror but the main investor in Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes, of course he had one of the first prototypes.

Harry made his way down the hallway to Diana's room and slowly opened her door. "Diana…Didi, Father Christmas has been here…" Her bed was empty. The covers were thrown back, her stuffed hippogriff and fuzzy dragon were in her bed, but no Diana. Harry shook his head. "At least we'll have the pictures."

When he got to the living room, though, the only person there was his wife. All the presents were still wrapped, the stockings were still bulging over the fireplace, and there was absolutely no sign of their daughter. Panic hit Harry, a fear that had always been at the back of his mind took prominence. Those bastards want to get back at me for Voldemort and they will use my family to hurt me.

"Harry?" Luna's voice quavered. "She isn't here…where is she?"

Father Christmas had just finished with the Christmas cookies in an Alaska living room, prepared to pack up and move on when one of the little Nargles flew out of his present bag and flitted around his head insistently. As the smoke from his pipe wreathed around his head Father Christmas waved his hand at the little Nargle. They were always so excitable at Christmas, but Plix was even more animated than usual; and now, this long into the biggest night of the evening, Plix should have been over the excitement and settled into the rather enjoyable job of distributing presents.

"Plix, whatever is the problem?" Father Christmas held out a black gloved hand and the little Nargle landed on his finger and folded its wings. He lifted his hand up to his ear so Plix could speak to him. After listening a while Father Christmas' eyes were wide. "A stowaway, you say? Oh my. Let's go to the sleigh and sort this out."

After eating the last cookie and draining the milk Father Christmas picked up his big bag, slung it over his shoulder and conjured a fireplace. Setting a finger aside his nose he flew up the fireplace and landed on the roof next to his sleigh. As the chimney disappeared into the roof he sat his bag on the roof, opened it up wide and stepped inside.

The shelves were mostly empty, the packages had almost all been delivered, but instead of staying with him and talking Plix flew away from Father Christmas and went over to the last row of shelves, directly to the corner and began flying around insistently. The other Nargles, the ones tasked with moving the presents to be delivered to the front of the magic bag, instead of going to their designated areas they also flew around the corner. Father Christmas walked over to their animated buzzing and looked to where they pointed, but instead of seeing the stowaway that Plix insisted was there Father Christmas didn't see anything. He did, however, hear something; it was the quiet sob of a little girl.

"Oh ho, someone is hiding from me? Hiding from Santa will put you on the naughty list next year and we don't want that now, do we?"

The answer was soft, half a sob. "No. Mummy says I hafta be good." Without further words Harry's invisibility cloak was pulled off, revealing a small girl with brown hair and big green eyes. "I'm sorry. I just wanted a Nargle for Mummy. Am I in trouble?"

Father Christmas chuckled softly. "Don't you think your Mummy and Daddy will be worried about you? Its Christmas morning in your house, Diana."

Diana was worried but that quickly gave way to happy surprise. "You know my name?"

He knelt down next to her and smiled behind his mass of white whiskers. "Of course I know you, Diana Lily Potter, daughter of Harry and Luna Potter. I know every boy and girl, and I know that you're a very good little girl, a girl who listens to her parents but sometimes does things that are against the rules. You weren't supposed to go to the pond to catch frogs at Nana Weasley's house but you did anyway, and then there was the little incident with your Grandpa Xeno's dirigible plums, but those were little things and you were sorry and listened to your Mummy and Daddy after that, didn't you? Oh yes, Diana, I know you. And I also know your Mummy is very worried."

"What about Daddy?"

"I'm sure your Daddy is worried, Diana, but if I know him he's not sitting and waiting for something to happen." He took a puff off of his pipe and held out his hand to her. "Come along, little one. You will ride with me in the sleigh while I finish up my deliveries. I'll send a message to your parents." He reached into his sooty red robe and pulled out a thick, fluffy red blanket, wrapped it over Diana's shoulders and picked her up. "I would hate to make your father angry, especially on today of all days."

Harry stood in his living room while surrounded by those who he knew would answer his call on Christmas morning. Ron Weasley sat on the sofa, leaning forward nervously, while Seamus Finnegan stood by the fireplace. Bill Weasley sat in the chair opposite of Ron, turning his wand over and over in his hand slowly while his father patted him on the shoulder. Arthur looked at those assembled, waiting for his daughter and her husband. He didn't have to wait long as Ginny and Neville Longbottom came out of the Floo, both of them haphazardly dressed, wand in hand.

"Harry!" Ginny hurried over to him. "Merlin, I'm so…how's Luna?"

Harry acknowledged Ginny and returned Neville's determined nod. "She's…she's actually doing better than I am, I think. She's in the kitchen with Hermione and the kids." He looked at his assembled hand-picked team. It was important that news of Diana's disappearance didn't make it into the media if they were to have any hope of keeping the element of surprise. "Ok, you know that Diana is missing. We're not sure how long. The last that Luna and I saw her was when she went to bed last night. She didn't want to go to sleep, she wanted to stay up and see Father Christmas. Oh, and George? That camera didn't work, not a thing on the film. Nothing."

An owl tapped at the window, an owl that Arthur knew well, since it was his owl. The great horned owl was a Christmas present from Harry and Luna last year and Diana had told 'Pop Pop Weasley' that its name was Noelle. He didn't have the heart to tell her that it was a male owl, so they named it Noel instead. Without listening to the ongoing search plans Arthur went over to the window, let in the owl and took the note from its leg. After reading the note he nodded his head and mumbled 'oh my, that's amazing.'

"Arthur?" Harry looked over to his adopted father. "Dad? What is it?"

Arthur walked over and clapped Harry on the shoulder. "It's a note from Molly. Apparently she opened the present from you and Luna. I know we were all going to wait until later today but she received a very peculiar note from an enchanted envelope. She's safe, Harry. Here."

Harry took the note quickly from Arthur's hand and scanned it. "I…I don't understand."

"Dad?" Ron looked to his father. "What is it?"

With a smile Arthur looked to his youngest son. "Harry and Luna got us a new clock, one for all the grandchildren. All the hands for the little ones were pointed to a section that read 'opening presents' but Diana's pointed to a blank section. When your mum looked at it the words began forming and it said 'with Father Christmas.' So that's where she is, she's as safe as houses, then."

"Luna!" Harry headed towards the kitchen but was met halfway by his wife. With an incredulous look on his face he turned to his wife. "Luna, the clock we got Molly, it knows where she is, she's with Father Christmas!"

"Oh." Luna's worried expression melted. "I'm so glad. I always wanted to meet him. She'll have to tell us what he's like."

Diana sat in the front of the sleigh, wrapped in her fuzzy blanket, and watched as the ground went by faster and faster and faster, so fast that she had to stop looking at the ground or she would get ill. It had been fun, watching Father Christmas deliver all of his presents, how he would turn the little gold band on his pipe and everything would get all fuzzy and when they flew by a big clock he turned the little band and the clock's hands seemed to go the wrong way. When they were on a roof Father Christmas even let her give the reindeer some nuts as a snack.

But the best part was the Nargles. Plix, the little Nargle that Father Christmas said was the one who told him about her, Plix was happy to sit with her and she loved looking at the little creature. Plix was bright red, his wings were green and his silver eyes blinked at her when she talked to him. He could understand her but Diana couldn't understand what he said. To her it sounded like a lot of squeaks and clicks but she knew that her Mummy or Grandpa Xeno would understand. They knew about a lot of magical creatures. Mummy even wrote a book about them! Nobody knew more than her Mummy, and her Mummy would be so happy when she showed her Plix!

Then she thought about how much trouble she was going to be in. Mummy would not be happy and Daddy would not be happy at all. It would be worse than when she squished Grandpa Xeno's dirigible plums. Daddy had sat her down on her bed and told her that he was very disappointed in her, that she was a big girl who knew that she was doing a bad thing but did it anyway, and that she was still a good girl but she had to listen to Mummy and Daddy and follow the rules. She had broken a big rule. She didn't stay in bed like she was supposed to, she hadn't gone to sleep like Mummy and Daddy said to do, had left the house by herself, didn't tell anyone where she was going and had taken Daddy's invisbilty cloak from Daddy's office where she wasn't supposed to go in unless she was with Daddy because there were Very Important Things in Daddy's office that she was Not Supposed To Touch.

Father Christmas came up the last chimney and sat in the sleigh, his big sack flat and empty. "Well, now, Diana Potter, I believe we should take you home now. We will be very high in the air so you should bundle up." He touched the fuzzy blanket and warmth spread throughout the material. "There, so Diana, you wanted a Nargle for your Mummy, did you? How about we let Plix go home with you for today? He'll need to come back tomorrow, though; he has to go to work. How does that sound?"

Diana nodded and Plix flew over to her, took his little hands and opened up a space in the blanket and burrowed down next to her until he was snugly ensconced, his face peeking out over the blanket next to Diana's hands.

Harry jumped to his feet when he heard the noise up on the roof. Every eye in the room turned and looked at the ceiling, and not a few wands were out, just in case. Luna, though, seemed as if it was an everyday occurrence that her only child would be returned home by a legendary figure in both the Wizarding and Muggle world. Before anyone could move a whooshing sound was heard from the fireplace. Everyone turned to see a fuzzy red bundle with the face of Diana Potter peeking out in the arms of the unmistakable form of Father Christmas.

"Mummy! Daddy!" Diana began to wiggle and Father Christmas sat her down. With her pajamas flapping she ran over and jumped into her Mummy's arms. "Mummy I found Nargles!"

"That's wonderful, sweetie." Luna stroked her hair. "But you scared all of us very much."

"I'm sorry, Mummy. Daddy…" Diana looked over to Harry and realized that he didn't have the Angry Daddy Face, he had the Happy Daddy Face. "I'm sorry, Daddy."

Harry knelt down and put his arms around his family. "We're just glad you're safe, pixie."

"No, Dad, they aren't pixies." Diana squirmed out of her mother's arms and ran over to Father Christmas. She lifted up her hand and Plix flitted off of Father Christmas' shoulder and landed on her hand. "They're Nargles! And they help Father Christmas do presents! You can't see 'em when it isn't Christmas 'an, 'an, 'an they watch girls and boys and help tell Father Christmas who's been naughty and who's been nice so he can put it in his big book. OH! Mummy, they don't like butterbeer 'cause it makes their noses itchy. That's what Father Christmas said, right?"

But when they looked to Father Christmas, where he had been standing just seconds before, he was gone. There had been no sound, no movement they had seen out of the corner of their eye, nothing at all.

The rest of Christmas became a jumble of plans, as Luna insisted that everyone stay at their house for Christmas dinner, inviting everyone over, the spouses and children of those who were already there. She knew how much Christmas meant to Harry, how much family meant to her husband, and how he wouldn't let Diana out of his sight much that day. During the whole day Plix the Nargle stayed with Diana, sitting on her shoulder or sleeping in her arms. Grandpa Xeno was absolutely thrilled about Diana's discovery, saying that she would merit a special edition in the next issue of The Quibbler until Luna and Harry talked him out of it.

When the evening wound down, when darkness started to descend Plix flew excitedly around Diana's head and began chattering. As everyone watched the little Nargle started to become more and more transparent until finally it was invisible. Then, just like the Nargle, the crowd at the Potter house began to thin out; people began going back to their own homes until it was only Harry, Luna and Diana sitting together on the sofa in front of the fire. Diana sat between her parents telling them all about her adventure with Father Christmas until finally she could no longer fight sleep, her head resting on her father's lap and her feet on her mother's lap.

Harry looked over at his wife. "I've never been so scared in my life, Luna."

"I know, Harry. You have much more to lose than when you fought Voldemort. But you have to remember, even though she's little now, she's our daughter and will do things that will scare us or make us angry in the future. Think about how many adventures you had with your invisibility cloak."

"My cloak!" Harry stroked Diana's hair. "You know, as much as that means to me I'd rather have her here and safe."

As if on cue a package shot down their chimney, through the fire and landed at Harry's feet. Before either Harry or Luna could move the package began to unwrap itself, the box lid opened and Harry's invisibility cloak floated out and landed on a chair, folding itself neatly. A note fluttered out of the box and stopped in front of Harry.

Harry,

Please don't be angry at Diana, she was only thinking of getting a present for her mother, something that I know Luna has wanted for years. The Nargles found your invisibility cloak and I wish to return it to you as a Christmas present for a second time. I also know that the best present for you was having Diana return safe and sound. Just remember to ask Luna about her special present for you. I may be Father Christmas, but anyone who knows you will understand how much you will love this present.

Nick

Harry looked over to his wife. "Apparently Father Christmas thinks you have another present for me."

"Oh yes." Luna nodded and smiled. "Happy Christmas, Harry. I'm pregnant."

Diana's sleepy, small voice came from between them. "That's what the Nargles told Father Christmas, Mummy. I wanna sister."

For Arpad Hrunta. Merry Christmas.