With Harry's current dilemma taken cared of, the few remaining days before the break were spent rather calmly.
I had no doubt the brilliant idea of taking off the locket to try and see what Tom was up to would flash through the kids head at one point, but at least he would be protected whenever he wanted to be. Harry was just too reckless sometimes, hoping to prove himself for various reasons.
The other part of the incident was being taken cared of as well. Victoria was quite willing to go see Arthur Weasley, after I explained why he was hurt and that it would be better for everyone's spirit if he could be there for Christmas at the very least.
The injuries were dangerous, that is certain. The movie didn't really show the attack properly, but Nagini's fangs are truly deadly and have been enhanced through poison and curses, making healing her bites a nightmare for almost all healers. The wounds are incredibly difficult to close, causing continuous bleeding from the large puncture wounds, and the poison is quite easily able to kill a grown man. I am not actually entirely sure how they managed to have Arthur be able to be home for Christmas in the canon, but the liberal use of blood-replenishing potions had to be one of the reasons. I even think they might have overdosed him to get the poison out through brute force since curing it is very difficult.
Thankfully all of that was no problem for my beauty. She easily closed the bites using white Magic, cleansed the man's blood of the venom via a very dumbed down version of our holy water which acts as a blood cleanser (not holy water, just a potion they made in an effort to create less powerful stuff), gave him some blood-replenishing potions, and then fixed a few old or mild problems just because she could. The man would actually be feeling better than he had in years due to his visit to St. Mungo's. I even had a funny thought about him trying to make another Weasley because he would feel younger.
This was very good news for the Weasley clan members still in Hogwarts. Arthur was basically going to be released after spending only three days in the hospital, but Dumbledore still thought it best to allow them to go and visit in the evening since I had reported the fact that he was no longer in any danger.
Beyond that, nothing else happened and everyone was free to enjoy their holidays as they pleased.
From what I knew my friends were all returning to their homes for the break. Harry and the Weasleys would be going to Grimmauld place where Susan would follow since mother was living there with her new husband for now. Neville would go to his family, but would be joining us for a Christmas party held for all willing order members. I convinced Hermione to go spend time with her parents, promising that they could come to the party as well. Luna and Cedric were going to be spending time with their fathers. Last I heard from Christian was that his family and was going to go to Alaska in order to look for a yeti colony said to be there. James on the other hand was paying for his family to fly over to France for the holidays, wanting to introduce his girlfriend and help them enjoy Christmas in a different way. Finally, Tory and I would be enjoying our time together since she was able to take most of the break off, probably leading to mother-in-law nagging us later.
But soon enough everyone parted ways for now, excited to spend time with their families. Especially Neville and Harry who had that taken from them, letting the two appreciate it all the more.
My first few days were a bit busier since it was time for the biannual report of everything happening.
Breaking Grounds was completely dominating the European market and making its name more prominent in Africa. It was also making a sizable stockpile of potions for battle injuries and poisons of all kind. But we have also stopped any expansion plans to put enough attention on the coming problems at home and to properly solidify our positions before moving forward. Constantly expanding is never a sustainable option. One must stabilize their gains to not lose everything.
Natural Cultivation is seeing success across the board, even in pushing certain legal decisions regarding the rights for our underwater city. Aside from that, the various biomes like the Siberian farm for herbs which grow only in the cold, the one in the Egyptian deserts and our island, were all going splendidly as we were able to reap our rewards. This had the effect of many Herbology masters wanting to be employed, just to be able to partake in such fulfilling work. I even sent Professor Sprout an offer to your various cultivation biomes as a Christmas present. Beyond that, creature island project was slowly taking shape as more and more beasts were successfully acclimating to this new environnement. If our estimates are accurate, we could have a sustainable source of magical creature material within the next two years at most, giving the company an even better edge in the field of magical ingredients.
The Herald was going a bit crazy during the political nonsense happening recently, with many in the staff enjoying being able to slap the Daily Prophet and the Ministry so much. They've even been able to take advantage of my orders to drag Fudge through the mud to take down various incredibly corrupt or inept figures within the ministry, allowing for more of my people to gain better positions. This situation is basically the wet dream of the true journalists in the paper, almost giving them free reins to go after actually corrupt people.
FIRM was keeping the course as they helped fill Ministry positions which were being opened due to all the recent scandals. Not to say they were getting high power jobs, but positions were opened because of my people getting promoted. This was slowly allowing more half-bloods and muggleborns into the ministry and taking power slowly but surely from the inside. We've also been able to open a few different magical rec centers for those who live in Muggle communities, but still want to practice magic from time to times. These centers help those who can't regularly go to Diagon Alley, also offering course and seminars. They would also serve as safety zones for muggleborns and their families should they feel it's too dangerous when Tom officially comes back.
The Muggle ToyBox was successful in creating protected versions of Televisions, game consoles and games, something they've been advertising for a while and recent figures showed it would be a wonderful earner during this season. Beyond that, the projects revolving various automobiles were making significant progress, with a variety of models ranging from unassuming to luxurious being prepared.
Then I have my spymaster's report. Scandals allowed for an increase of some of our agents authority, more people are willing to talk and offer information as Fudge's ship is slowly sinking and more death eater sympathizers are being identified lately. Sherry was apparently, and I quote here, 'really enjoying playing with so many naughty people.' I even asked if she wouldn't prefer for me to pay for a vacation, but she denied with an excuse on 'poor kids being forced to work on Christmas are such delicious prey and could not be allowed to be gobbled up by others.' After that I just let her have her own brand of fun. I'm glad she actually enjoys her job, but I think I helped awaken something which might traumatize some men in the future.
Jennifer was very much enjoying having a house and Scott to herself after being able to take a break from her infiltration. She's still getting reports from her second, but nothing is really happening for now because of the recuperation of the jail broken Death Eaters and the fact that Tom was focusing on messing with Harry right now. Pretty sure he'll find out soon that he can't get in anymore, so that'll be interesting to read about later.
Elaine was gaining increasing prestige within Mother's department, especially with the all time high cohesion of the place. With the cleaning up and the prestige she and her team had, the Golden Wand is quickly becoming the person of choice for the next head of the Hit Wizards due to her skills, fame and reputation. My guess is that when Mother becomes the next minister, she might set up that promotion to support someone she likes and as a political maneuver which could help her gain the supporters of the Golden Wand.
Then I have Fortress Protection still on high alert, just in case an unexpected or spontaneous attack occurs. I know Tom is not even close to ready for the war yet, but most of his people are either fanatical or desperate, so not waiting for thought out moves from that group. Besides that, I have people patrolling every key area of our community under disguise or working undercover in shops after being recommended by FIRM. This is the beauty of having multiple influential partners working together. And I have my elite Shadows protecting my important people such as mother and Susan, my friends and their families, my key subordinates and colleagues, all without them knowing of course. It can be a bit boring for them, but that's a good thing in this line of work, plus we do alternate them so it's not a big deal.
And finally Bonesworks is getting its predicted Christmas boom in profits as people saved up to buy our brooms. But in the branches outside of Britain, wizards and witches were rushing to buy the books on white Magic which had been officially approved by every single ministry they had been sent to. This book had people fighting to get it in order to feel safer in the face of the dark arts and their practitioners. It was also immensely popular within academic circles for the entirely new field of study and the flexibility of it. From Herbology to Transfiguration, White Magic could be applied to all of it in order to form new Magic unseen in this world before. The fervor also resulted in the name Aedan Bones resounding across the magical communities of the world again.
As a whole, my fame, power and influence were growing across the entire magical world in a way no one had seen since the founders, Merlin, Flamel and Dumbledore after taking down Grindelwald. All that was left was for me to give a true show a power for the world to completely acknowledge me to be part of the greats. But that show was coming and my wonderful helpers were all gathering together to help me with it.
A flash of light and then the sound of thunder resounded as it broke me out of that train of thought.
'Maybe I should tone down the sinister way of thinking for a while. I feel like that lightning was because of me and I'm not a goddamn cartoon villain.' I though as I finished going through all of my reports.
Anyway, after having dealt with all my business/lord work for the break, I fully relaxed with my girl. Took her out on few dates, went to some nice places, took her shopping and even managed to get her mom out of the house for the day by getting her a full spa treatment. Unfortunately for me, my mother-in-law saw through that and convinced Victoria that it would be great for them to have a mother-daughter day at said spa, leaving me alone for most of the day.
Can't win them all. But I could at least make the most of it and enjoy playing with magic itself.
Besides all of that, Christmas was a lot livelier than before.
The main reason for that was mother's marriage to Sirius. This meant she and Susan would obviously be spending Christmas at his place since the newlyweds moved in together. That also meant Harry would be there since he lives there too, then the Weasleys come as a bundle, add some other order members, maybe Dumbledore, and that means Selene (in-law), Tory and I would now be partaking in a very active atmosphere.
It was also kinda interesting when I thought about how many people Tory healed were going to be at the party. Arthur was the most direct and easy case, the Longbottoms were the first patients to go through her process, and then Selene would also be there. Four people were joining a gathering which many thought they would not, for most of them they were told that it would never happen again too. Just proves that my girl is great.
Arriving at Grimmauld place wasn't hard at this point. But coming in was an interesting experience.
The place was decorated extensively, with garland on the walls, a roof someone enchanted to make it snow, mistletoe above pretty much every doorway, a wonderfully decorated tree in the living room, some stockings above the fireplace, some flying Santa ornements having a dogfight I have no doubt the twins were involved with, and people talking or walking all over the place in festive outfits or jolly moods.
I saw most of the men together with some firewhiskey as the laughed, the group involving Sirius, Lupin, Edward Tonks, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Theodore Granger and Frank Longbottom. The were enjoying a men's only gathering.
The ladies were having their own private talk as Mother, Molly, Alice Longbottom, Felecia Granger, Tonks, Andromeda and now Selene and Victoria also went to join in.
It seems that the house-elves are the ones preparing the food this time instead of Molly. Good thing since I even sent Dobby and Winky to join Tilly and whichever other elf was already working just to make sure everything could be done on time. Not sure if mother and Sirius actually kept Kreacher at this point, but I can feel the Horcrux in the house so I'm sure he's around.
I then noticed the younger ones in their own group, talking about what they've been up to during the first few days of the break. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Susan and the Twins were all having their own fun as they enjoyed the atmosphere.
But since I was now a fully functional adult, I decided to join the gentlemen while we waited for the food.
The conversation was light hearted and interesting. Stories about things we all did during our school days, funny workplace stories, good family moments and plain old male (metaphorical) dick measuring as we talked about our badass moments. Basically bragging, embarrassing and trying to show up one another. Typical guy behavior.
What followed was a scrumptious and active feast as over twenty people gathered to the real dinning room of the place, not that tiny table shown in the movie, and started to pass plates around as we filled our own.
You could see everyone talking to each other as they ate in glee. Toasts were done in high spirits leading to wives glaring at their idiot husbands, others chowed down like food was going to be stolen from them, gossip was being discussed by some of the women, laughter rang out from time to time, and all around you could see people smiling.
It was a good meal which brought a warm smile to my own face.
I still think I might prefer a quieter Christmas with my truly close and loved ones, but this was also nice. Reminded me of the big family get togethers I had in my past life, which gave me a moment of melancholy, but I moved past it as soon as I felt Tory's hand in mine.
Another feeling which hit me was a small sense of disbelief as I looked at all the people I came to know and talked with, people who were only characters in books and movies before, and now I sat amongst them. It was a rather strange thought, but I couldn't really think of them as characters since they were my family, friends and loved ones.
Overall, I think my constant smile showed how I felt this Christmas, and I believe that this is all that should really matter when I will look back at this day.
But in my mind I had already made a promise to myself. One to make sure each person here was going to make it through Tom's stupidity. These people did not deserve to die because of his idiocy and I would make sure of that.
So I the reason this chapters a bit later than usual is simply cause I found some things to read that I liked and just got into it. So I read until I caught up to everything which had been posted.
Good thing i don’t promise anything and told everyone I write this for fun or else I would get some complaints.
Anywho, here’s the usual report, nice little Christmas with way too many people. I would have had to make an entire chapter for it, but I gotta move things along.