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The fact that David was the son of Death Eaters was common knowledge by the next morning. To Albus’s delight, nobody seemed too concerned by this. On the contrary, everyone seemed more determined to include David in their activities, in order to make him feel less left out. Albus was extremely grateful for this, and David fit right in. Louis and Fred pranked David, Uncle George and David talked about Quidditch for a bit, and Grandma Weasley left to buy yarn for the fastest sweater she would ever knit in her life.

On Christmas, present opening came first, like it did every year. It took forever, like it did every year, since there were presents from so many relatives. Albus felt sorry for David, who didn’t get as many since most of the relatives didn’t even know he was until a few days ago. But Grandma Weasley gave David a dark blue sweater with golden lettering, and most impressive of all, Albus’s dad managed to scrape together a present for him in time: a Nimbus 1000. That was hardly a “scraping” together, since broomsticks were extremely expensive, even older models like the Nimbus 1000.

David was delighted at having his own broomstick. As soon as David opened it, he hugged Al’s dad so enthusiastically that dad nearly slipped off his armchair. Albus couldn’t help but smile. Dad looked a little bewildered, but happy all the same.

“Hey, what’s that?” John asked as David released his tight hug. Albus looked to where John was pointed. There was an owl perched on the windowsill with a small box wrapped in black-wrapping paper. John opened the window, and read the tag on the box.

“It’s for David,” John said, tossing the present towards David.

“Black wrapping paper?” David said in disgust. “The house is already bleak-looking, but do they need to put a damper on this as well?” David sat down as the rest of the family resumed chattering. “Should I open it? They bought me something from Borgin and Burkes last year.”

“Open it,” Albus eagerly said. David unwrapped the box, and cautiously took off the lid. Albus peered into the box. Albus what looked like some sort of giant, shriveled raisin.

“What the hell is this?” David said. “Wait there’s a note, I’ll read it…

Dear David,

First of all, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas at your friend’s house! We’re sure they’ll be nice to you.

You’re probably wondering what this is. It’s an extremely rare potion ingredient that can extract light over the course of five hours, and then it shines so bright it almost hurts to look at it. I thought it was extremely interesting! It is used in a select few of potions, but it works fine just the way it is as well. We thought it encompassed your shining personality well.

Love,

Your Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Devon.”

“So it’s a shiny light thing?” Albus asked.

“I suppose,” David said, staring at it. “I guess they’re trying to make up for my miserable summer.”

“Why, what happened?”

“The question is, what didn’t happen. They were gone constantly at work, and I barely saw them. I only saw them for dinner normally.”

“I’m sorry,” Albus said. It must be terrible to be neglected like that.

“Shining personality? David said, looking at the letter. What does that mean? I’m always grumpy around them, how is that even close to shining?” Albus could tell David was getting a little ticked off.

“Stop thinking about that,” Albus said. “It’s Christmas! Go give your Nimbus a swing before the game today!”

“Yes!” David said, grabbing his Nimbus and standing up. “Wait a minute, what game?”

“Every year on Christmas day, except for last year since we weren’t here, we have a Quidditch game with the family: kids versus parents. The parents always win, but we’re a lot older and more skilled now. We might actually have a chance.”

“Sounds like fun!” David said, as they ran out into the cold air. Albus shivered in his jacket as he watched David flying above the garden, who was whooping with glee. Al left a few minutes later, since it was well below freezing. David barely seemed to notice the cold.

Albus joined Rose inside, and they had fun experimenting with their presents. Most of Albus’s presents were Weasley products (which never ceased to excite him) and then he got a few additional potion ingredients as well. He got a book on really cool charms from Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione. They looked so cool and different from the ones he learned in school, so Albus was eager to try them out. His parents’ presents were the best though: Albus got a large crystal ball. But his mum explained what it was, as it wasn’t just a crystal ball.

“If you swipe your finger across it like this-” -Mum dashed her finger across the surface- “It shows you all the continents in the world, like a globe. See? But if you zoom in by pushing your fingers apart from each other, you can see everything going on at that location during that very moment. And you can do it anywhere in the world, except for places it’s difficult to go, like under the ocean. And it doesn’t go inside buildings, either, because that obviously wouldn’t give them any privacy. But you can go just about anywhere else. I’m not sure what type of magic it uses, but I’m pretty sure it’s pretty advanced, and the stores don’t sell it either. I got it from a peddler at Diagon Alley-”

“This is amazing,” Albus said, as he watched muggle cars moving past each other near London. “So this is what is going on in the world this very moment?”

“Yes. Your father and I thought you’d like it.”

“This is so cool!” Albus said. He sat down on the couch and played with it, zooming in on familiar places, and places he thought would be cool to visit someday. He tried to get close to Hogwarts, but he only got to the gates. Apparently all the magic protecting Hogwarts was too strong. But he observed Hogsmeade from afar, up by the clouds, and watched the tiny people below enjoying a festive visit in Hogsmeade. Albus zoomed in on other places he had never seen, like Venice, and he followed the river like he was actually on traveling along it. He got the hang of swiping his finger to move pretty quickly. Albus went to other places as well, like Times Square in New York City, and he found the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

After a little while, Albus looked up at one of the clocks hanging on the wall in the living room. It had been an hour. Wow. Lunch was very soon, and after lunch was the annual family Quidditch game. Albus saw that David was inside the house now, and he was talking with Rose.

“Lunch!” Grandma Weasley shouted. Everyone gathered around the table (which was magically enlargened for the occasion) and eagerly discussed the Quidditch match. All of his cousins had two more years of experience under their belt, while the adults had two more years of deterioration.

“We do not deteriorate,” Uncle Ron said disgustedly, when Roxanne had suggested the notion. “When you get the superb skills like I do, it stays with you for life.” Aunt Hermione and mum both snorted into their plates. “Are you insulting my Quidditch skills?” Uncle Ron asked.

“Well Ron, you never were the best,” Al’s mum said, snorting again.

After lunch began the arrangements for the teams. The adults decided on Uncle Charlie for seeker: “I’ve been in the spotlight too much recently,” Harry said. Then Aunt Angelina, mum, and dad were the chasers, Uncle George and Uncle Bill were beaters, and Uncle Ron was keeper. For them kids, it was a no-brainer for Olivia to be seeker, then Teddy, Albus, and James were chasers, Roxanne and David were beaters, and John volunteered to be keeper. Hugo and Lily were furious about this decision.

“We have been working hard at Quidditch while you guys have been off at Hogwarts! Hugo and I are really good now, probably even as good as you guys,” Lily said hotly.

“Sorry Lils, but you just don’t stand against all our parents,” James said.

“And you don’t either! Are you even going to bother to watch Hugo and I play before you make your decision?” Lily retorted angrily. It was extremely unusual to see her like this. Usually Lily was a peppy, sweet little girl. But not now.

“We only have five minutes before the game starts,” James said. “The decision is final. You’re not playing. You haven’t even started Hogwarts yet.”

They mounted their brooms as Lily and Hugo pouted. Albus felt a little bad for them, but James had a point. They had absolutely no chance if Lily and Hugo joined them.

Fred went up to the center of the pitch, threw up the ball, and in his best Madam Hooch impression shouted, “Let the game begin!”

The Quidditch game took off as soon as the quaffle was thrown into the air. Albus dived for the quaffle, but his mum got there first. Albus scowled. Typical. She did used to play professional Quidditch, after all.

Between Aunt Angelina and mum, who were both superb, it was nearly impossible to get the quaffle. John had never played school quidditch before, and certainly not keeper, so mum and Aunt Angelina scored goal after goal. James and Teddy were occasionally able to get the quaffle when Dad had the quaffle, since Dad had no chaser skills, but their victory of having the quaffle was always short-lived. Uncle Ron didn’t even need to worry about keeping.

The adults on the ground were cheering, and Fred and Louis were booing very loudly from the sidelines. There were actually a decent amount of people on the ground. There was Teddy’s grandma, Andromeda, and Aunt Fleur, Uncle Percy, Aunt Audrey, Aunt Hermione, Victoire, Dominique, Molly, Lucy, Fred, Louis, Rose, Lily, and Hugo. Albus hadn’t quite realized how much family he had. Sure, there were a few friends as well mixed in, but wow. That was twenty-nine people. Albus was pretty sure the burrow was magically extended for the occasion.

Albus was mostly paying attention to the quaffle, being a chaser, but he ocassionally noted the performance of the beaters. David was not too bad. He might be good enough for the Hogwarts team in a few years. Uncle Bill wasn’t very good, but the stars of the beater show were Uncle George and Roxanne. They were both extremely fierce, and they hit bludgers so ferociously Albus was worried they might kill someone. Both of them had extremely quick reflexes. If Albus had to choose who was better, he’d have to say Roxanne. But only by the slightest.

The beaters was not the only aspect of the Quidditch game; however, and Albus flew to the ground very sourly when Uncle Charlie emerged with the snitch, beating them 250-10.

“You don’t have us yet!” Uncle Ron shouted as the adults celebrated, clapping each other on their back.

“Ugh, let’s go inside,” Roxanne said sourly. “I don’t believe Dad is even going to congratulate me on my beating skills.”

“You did great,” Albus said. “I personally think you did slightly better than him.”

“Thanks,” Roxanne said, smiling slightly. “But it doesn’t change the fact that we lost. C’mon, let’s get out of this cold.”

“You did pretty good too, David,” Albus said.

“Thanks. I love the new Nimbus; it’s amazing. I’ll have to thank your dad again later. He’s pretty awesome.”

“Weren’t you terrified of meeting him just last week?” Albus said, grinning.

David’s face took a slight red tinge. “Well, that was then. I wasn’t really scared of him; I was scared he wouldn’t approve of me. There’s a difference.”

When they got inside, Albus showed Rose and David the crystal ball he got.

“This is so amazing,” Rose said, picking it up. “So it can show what people are doing all over the world, this very second? Extraordinary.”

“I wonder if you can see the Burrow. Can I see it real quick?” Albus handed over the ball. David seemed a bit confused how to use it at first, but seemed to get the hang of zooming in, and moving around. Finally, David zoomed in close to the Burrow. “You can see it! I can’t get much closer, since this doesn’t really get on personal property either, but I can vaguely see the shape of all the adults outside…”

“Is there any way that you can hear anything?” Rose asked.

“I don’t think so. Maybe in a future model, I’m guessing.”

“Still pretty amazing though,” David said.

“Definitely,” Albus agreed.

The rest of the day passed pretty peacefully, but not without excitement. With so many people there, it was almost impossible to be bored, especially when Louis exploded a bunch of Christmas crackers above Dominique. She shrieked and glared at Louis, and Albus cringed. He knew Dominque didn’t handle pranking well. She was a moody person overall, and he didn’t want her even more moody.

“I’m such a nice person,” Louis said once Dominique ran away, and he kissed Olivia on the cheek.

During late afternoon, more people came to visit the Burrow, including the Scamandar family, which was made up of Rolf, Luna, and their two young kids Lorcan and Lysander. Professor Longbottom and Hannah Longbottom also stopped in for a few hours and stayed through dinner. David in particular found this very strange.

“He’s our teacher. Isn’t there like, I dunno, some rule that you’re not allowed to speak to your teacher outside of school?”

“Well, there’s no rule, obviously,” Rose said. “And it’s not a big deal, Albus and I have known him since we were born, practically. And Hannah used to be at my house all the time, looking after Hugo and I when mum and dad were both at the ministry. They're practically family.”

Professor Longbottom even greeted them at some point. “Hello, David, Albus, Rose,” he had said. “How’s your Christmas?”

“Uh… pretty good, professor,” David said awkwardly.

“Please, call me Neville outside of school,” Neville said, clapping his hand on David’s back. “You only need such formalities when we’re at Hogwarts. How is break for the rest of you?”

“It was as wonderful as usual, Neville,” Rose said, smiling.

“That’s good to hear,” Neville said. “See you guys around later, okay?”

“Bye!” Albus said happily as Neville walked away.

Dinner was an exciting affair, as usual. The table was so long that Albus could barely tell which one of his relatives were down at the other end. There were various food fights between all of his cousins at some point. Albus, Rose, and David were sitting near Rolf Scamander and his wife Luna, and Albus pretended to look interested as Rolf rambled on and on about the various creatures at the Newt Scamander Magical Beast Sanctuary in Northern Scotland. Uncle Charlie joined in the discussion as well, since he had recently visited there.

Halfway through the meal, Neville stood up, and tapped a utensil to his glass, indicating everyone to quiet down. Once it was mostly quiet, Neville said, “Hannah and I have a rather exciting announcement to make,” he said, glancing down at his wife. Hannah stood up as well.

“I’m pregnant,” Hannah said, blushing. All at once, the entire table burst into babble as people shouted, “Congratulations!” up and down the table. Albus smiled when his father went over and gave Neville a large hug. Pretty quickly Albus lost sight of both Neville and Hannah as they were swarmed by people. After that, Neville and Hannah were the talk of the table for the rest of dinner.

As the day finally came to a close, Albus got sleepy at about nine, and his mum made him go to bed.

“I don’t care if it’s Christmas, you need sleep,” she had said. “I’ll let you stay up late on New Year’s, deal?”

“Alright,” Albus had said. He laid on his bed for a while, staring up at the ceiling, not particularly caring about the fact that Hugo was being really noisy. He shut his eyes, dreaming of broomsticks and screaming red-haired children.

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