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Light up the Night

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First of December – beach huts



Harry startles at the sound of Molly’s exasperated voice and looks up from the pan of cooked carrots he’s been idly poking for the last few minutes.

“Sorry,” he says, shaking away all thoughts of black powder and antimony trisulphide and just about preventing an over-curious chameleon from pulling his glasses down his face. “What did you say?”

“I said lunch is nearly ready and you need to put some muscle into those carrots,” Molly says, turning back to the stove and stirring a steaming pot of gravy. “Are you chopping them or making friends with them?”

Harry smiles and attends to his job, knowing that he has no answer, and knowing just as well that it isn’t a real question.

“Give him a break, Mum,” Ron says, floating plates from the cupboard to the table in a slightly haphazard fashion. He gives Harry a rather stern look that doesn’t really suit his face. “I bet he’s had no sleep getting ready for tonight.”

Again, Harry says nothing, but sighs when a small, grippy foot reaches up and tugs at his hair.

“Stop it, Ken,” he mutters, amused when Ginny bears the chameleon away, spinning him in circles around the kitchen in her arms and just about avoiding a collision with Rose, who is folding napkins while idly wandering around the room.

Molly looks at him now, face creased in concern. “You do look a bit pale, love.”

“I’m fine,” Harry insists, covering an unhelpful yawn. “It’s just a busy time of year and I could do with seeing a bit more light.”

“Not much chance today,” Arthur says, poking at the custard and craning his neck to examine the grey sky beyond the window.

It’s barely two o’clock and the light already seems to be fading for the day, but Harry doesn’t mind too much. The kitchen of the Burrow is brightly lit with lamps and candles in jars, and is so alive with family activity and delicious cooking smells that even the weariest person couldn’t feel downcast for long. Harry applies himself to his task, chopping at the carrots into small pieces with the usual table knife and basking in the soft feeling of Sunday that wraps the whole room in a gentle haze.

“You do the carrots, Arthur,” Molly decides.

“When I’ve finished with the custard,” he says mildly.

“I’m fine,” Harry insists, but no one seems to hear him.

“I can do zem,” Fleur offers from the other side of the table. “Knives and forks are finished.”

“I’ve got a chameleon full of hot, strong love,” Ginny sings to Kenneth, who swivels each of his conical eyes in turn. He’s heard it all before.

“Why don’t you just use a spell for the carrots?” Ron asks, attempting and failing to conceal a mouthful of ill-gotten roast potato.

“Because,” Molly says, taking the tray from his hands with a reproachful look, “they are your great-grandmother’s carrots and they have to be done by hand, as you well know. They are a family tradition, and… Percy, what are you doing with the stuffing?”

“I tried,” Ron says, and Harry grins at him.

“I like doing the carrots,” he promises, and he does.

He has been in charge of Great Grandma Bertha’s special carrots for several years now, and he is quite contented with the job. Being entrusted with something so important to the family makes him feel like the honorary Weasley he knows he is, and besides, it’s a more interesting job than laying the table. Or, he suspects, looking around for Hermione, crashing about in Arthur’s wine cellar, looking for something to accompany the roast. It’s dusty in there, and full of the kind of beetles that make startling noises at people with bottles in their hands.

Most importantly, these are the best carrots Harry has ever had, and if he has to chase the butter-slippery little buggers around the pan with a blunt knife every Sunday, then so be it. As he adds salt and fresh black pepper, someone creeps closer to him with a grimace.

“I don’t like carrots,” announces Bill and Fleur’s younger daughter, her gentle voice caught somewhere between Fleur’s French accent and Bill’s southern English.

“If you want to grow as tall as Victoire, you must eat your vegetables,” Fleur says, and Camille’s face darkens.

“Victoire always eats her vegetables,” she mumbles to herself.

“If I remember rightly, she hated peas when she was your age,” Harry says, thinking not of the rather elegant teenage Victoire, but of her younger self, a theatrical little ball of contrariness, not unlike her sister.

“I’m going to eat all my peas,” Camille declares, before diving under the table in a whisk of blue cotton and strawberry blonde hair. “Hugo! Where did you get that? Let me see!”

Harry opts not to interfere, instead casting a gentle warming charm around the saucepan and turning to smile at Fleur, who is peering under the table with a resigned look on her face. With Victoire all ready to start at Hogwarts, Camille had been somewhat of a surprise to Bill and Fleur, but they have taken the whole thing in stride and she has proved a perfect, if somewhat mischievous, playmate for Hugo.

“How’s work?” Harry asks, always curious to hear about her adventures in appraising what she calls ‘beautiful zings’.

“We found a painting inside a cave,” she says.

“Like a stone age thing?” Ron asks, pulling up a chair.

“No,” she says, pale eyes lighting with enthusiasm. “It was a painting from the fifteenth century. But zis was on a canvas, in a frame, hidden inside a cave zat has been blocked up for many years.”

“How very mysterious,” Arthur says, bringing a vast joint of beef to the table and setting it down with a flourish. “I’m sure Bill will like to see it when he comes home. Where is he now? Vietnam?”

“Cambodia,” Harry says, breathing in the savoury scent of the meat and closing his eyes for a moment.

“He sent us a postcard with a temple on it,” Rose adds, setting a cotton napkin next to each plate.

“Yes,” Fleur nods. “Bill will examine it. We must ensure ze painting is free of curses before we move it.”

“Let’s not talk about curses around the table,” Molly chides, waving her wand and settling an array of steaming platters to rest beside the roast beef. “Arthur, would you like to carve?”

Arthur stands up with an air of ceremony and slices the meat into perfect, neat portions. As soon as he’s done, the table descends into chaos as everyone helps themselves to roast beef, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and piping hot gravy. Harry takes a bit of everything, watching the others with quiet contentment. Molly, spattered with batter and meat juices, looks around fondly at her family and beams when Arthur squeezes her hand under the table. Camille and Hugo whisper to each other, seeming not to notice when Fleur spoons both carrots and peas onto their plates. Hermione pours the wine with a cobweb in her hair, jumping when Ron pokes her with his fork.

“Where’s George today?” Ginny asks, and Harry notices that she is no longer in possession of Ken.

He opens his mouth to ask when Molly squawks and scrapes back her chair.

“He’s climbing up my leg again, Harry,” she sighs, reaching down and retrieving the chameleon.

He peers up at her, bandy legs cycling pointlessly in mid-air. Harry reaches to take him, but Molly has other ideas.

“I’ve got something for you,” she says, heading for the corner of the kitchen with poor Ken dangling from one hand, opening and closing his toes like tiny scissors. “There. That should keep him out of trouble for five minutes.”

Triumphantly, she places him on the floor several feet from the table and sets a large, overripe tomato in front of him. Ken opens his mouth and attacks the tomato with gusto, and Molly smiles to herself as she retakes her seat.

“Sorry about that,” Harry says, watching his ridiculous pet as the attention of the room turns slowly back to the matter of lunch.

“He’s your favourite grandchild, isn’t he?” Ron teases.

Hugo and Camille continue to plot quietly, but Rose frowns, and Molly pats her hand.

“Of course not. I don’t have favourites, Ron. He’s… my most colourful grandchild,” she says firmly.

Ken straightens his tail importantly and plunges deeper into the tomato. Harry chews on a piece of perfectly cooked roast beef and watches him, remembering the day he’d found the little bugger mixed in with a shipment of salamanders. Harry had been fairly certain that while the salamanders would be willing participants in his fiery display, a misplaced baby chameleon would be less enthusiastic. One curious eye-swivel later, both of their fates had been sealed.

Consultation with Rose and Teddy regarding a name for his new pet had descended into argument, with Rose championing ‘Minty’, for his green stripes, and Teddy insisting he be christened Kenneth Crump, after his favourite Quidditch player. In the spirit of compromise, Harry had chosen the name ‘Minty Kenneth’, or Minty Kenneth Crump-Potter in moments of naughtiness, which are, he has to admit, quite frequent.

As though reading Harry’s mind, Ken’s scales darken from their default green to a rich blue-black and he headbutts the remains of the tomato across the kitchen floor.

“Be good,” Harry whispers, noting the sticky trail of seeds on Molly’s immaculate tiles and shaking his head.

After a moment’s consideration, Ken makes his ponderous way across the kitchen to retrieve his snack and Harry turns back to the table. No one seems to have noticed his pet’s poor behaviour. At least for now.

“So, where is George, anyway?” he asks.

“He has a date,” Ginny says, nodding when Ron lets out an ‘ooh’ sound. “I know.”

“She must be quite something if he’s missing Sunday lunch for her,” Percy says, gazing at the roast potato on his fork with reverence. “Audrey’s terribly upset she had to miss out today, but we decided that none of you would want Lucy’s cold. I opted to represent us here while she stayed home.”

“How thoughtful of you, Perce,” Ron says, rolling his eyes.

“One day I hope to have such a chivalrous husband,” Ginny says solemnly, and at her side, Hermione giggles and chokes slightly on her food.

“What does chivalrous mean?” Rose asks.

“It means acting like a proper gentleman,” Molly explains, eyes fixed on her son. “Unlike your Uncle Percy. I’ll box up some leftovers for them and you’d better not eat them yourself.”

“It’s not like that,” Percy insists, reddening. “We flipped a Sickle for it.”

Harry snorts. “All’s fair in love and Sunday lunch.”

“Exactly,” Percy says, shooting him a grateful look and then turning to Ginny. “What do we know about this girl?”

“The rumour is, it’s someone we went to school with,” she says, and Harry has known her long enough to suspect that she has all the information already and is choosing to drip-feed it to the rest of them for her own entertainment.

“Yuck,” Hugo says, and Camille wrinkles her nose. “Girls,” he adds, and she frowns at him. “Not you. Girls. Like girls at school. You’re not a… you’re a Camille.”

“She is zat,” Fleur sighs, and Camille brightens.

“You don’t like girls, do you Uncle Harry?”

Ron covers a snort and manages to spray gravy through his fingers and onto the tablecloth. Molly sighs. Rose giggles and Arthur stares at Harry, clearly curious for his response.

“Of course I like girls,” Harry says firmly. “I like all the girls in this room. But I don’t want a girlfriend, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“Please forgive her,” Fleur whispers. “She has yet to learn tact.”

Harry shrugs and pokes his fork into his carrots. It’s no secret that he’s gay, though he’s never been asked about it with such directness from such a small person before. Really, he’s just hoping that the conversation doesn’t now turn into a lamentation of his single status, but he’s been here too many times before.

“Don’t worry, Hugo, I’ll save some leftovers for George, too,” Molly says, and Harry lets out a relieved breath; apparently the conversation has moved on without him.

“Maybe you should have a date, Uncle Harry,” Rose says suddenly.

Harry freezes, wine glass halfway to his mouth. “You know, I think I’m alright.”

“It would be nice to see you bring a young man home,” Arthur says, and then flushes. He glances at Molly. “Sorry, that’s the sort of thing you usually say, isn’t it?”

“You’ve been married too long,” Ginny suggests. “You’re becoming one person.”

“Uberparent,” Ron intones, grinning.

“Or monoparent?” Hermione offers.

“The Ultimate Weasley,” Percy adds, forgetting to be serious for a moment.

“Stop it, all of you,” Molly says, flapping her napkin, but when laughter ripples around the table, she smiles at her extended brood. “Besides, he’s right. It would be nice. Do you think you’ll be bringing anyone for Christmas this year?”

Harry groans inwardly and exchanges weary glances with Ginny, the only other single person at the table.

“I doubt it, Molly,” he says, heart lifting when Ginny flings herself upon the sword.

“Just me this year, too, Mum, unless I find the man of my dreams in a pile of paperwork.”

“I’m just trying to make sure I buy the right size turkey,” Molly says, pursing her lips and peering at Harry in a way he that he doesn’t like one bit.

He feels as though she can see right into him and all at once he wants to hide under the table. He’s fine; he’s never alone with Ken at his side, and he’s certainly not lonely. He has friends and a bizarre family and a wonderful set of eccentrics that fill his working life with colour. Unfortunately, he knows that none of those things will ever stop Molly looking at him like that.

“Let’s just say I don’t need a plus-one this year,” he says eventually. “I’m not very good at the whole meeting people and dating thing, and I think we all know that.”

“You’re just too picky,” Ron says, mopping up the last of his gravy with a roast potato.

Hermione stares at him and the look on her face makes Harry want to laugh.

“Zer’s nothing wrong with being selective,” Fleur says. “You don’t want just any husband, you want ze right one.”

“Who said anything about husbands?” Harry asks, throat suddenly dry enough to require several gulps of wine.

“You could try one of those dating agencies,” Percy offers, scowling when Ron bursts into laughter.

“Harry’s not that desperate,” he snorts. “Those things are useless, anyway.”

“I didn’t know you were an expert, Ron,” Hermione says, and he falls silent.

“Please stop, all of you. Harry is fine. Harry is perfectly alright,” Harry says, and though Molly’s expression suggests that she doesn’t believe him, she is helpfully distracted by Ken’s attempt to scale the pantry door, which results in a loud thwap and the patter of little footsteps as the disgruntled chameleon scuttles into the living room and out of sight.

“I’ll get him,” Harry says, relieved for the excuse to leave the table.

“I’ll get the pudding out,” Arthur says, scraping back his chair and only slipping a little bit in the tomato mess as he goes to open the oven.

A delicious buttery toffee smell follows Harry into the living room and he inhales it deeply, scanning the floor and furniture for a small, mischievous entity that can change colour at will. He sighs and hopes Ron doesn’t eat his pudding.

**~*~**

The sky is dark long before Harry says his goodbyes, retrieves his case and heads for work. There is a damp feeling to the air and he pulls it deep into his lungs as he steadies himself from his Apparation and crunches along the pebbled beach, eyes focused on the coloured lights in the distance. The tide is out but he can still hear the crashing of distant waves and taste the salt carried by the cold sea breeze. As he draws closer to his destination, his weariness evaporates and is replaced by the thrill of excitement a new display always brings. Inside this ordinary-looking case with its green chameleon logo is a riot of colour and exhilaration, a story told in light and movement.

He shoves his free hand into his coat pocket for warmth and tightens the other around the heavy handle. On his shoulder, Ken shifts inside his warming charm and plucks gently at Harry’s collar, making him smile. Their friendship is years-old now, and Harry knows that he isn’t the only one ready to get going.

“Fancy a beach hut, Ken?” he asks, pausing to admire the long row of tiny buildings.

Each one is little more than a clapboard shed, but with their pitched rooves and pastel paint-jobs, they look so inviting that Harry can easily imagine curling up inside one on a cold winter’s day, drinking tea under a chunky blanket and watching the sea birds swooping over the water. Ken could have branches for climbing and there could be someone to lean against, someone with a warm jumper and a pile of tatty books for reading aloud, and… and nothing, because he does not need a man and he does not need a beach hut. Even if some of them are draped in fairy lights and even if he misses hugging someone who isn’t a member of the Weasley family.

The trouble is, Harry is a hopeless romantic, and as much as he doesn’t want to be one, there is very little he can do about it. He knows that the perfect man doesn’t exist, nor does the perfect relationship, but his attempts to settle for less-than have left him disillusioned, disappointed, and sad. He has all the wrong expectations and all the wrong feelings and he doesn’t know how to be any different, so he doesn’t. Not any more. If he’s completely honest with himself, he has to admit that he would love someone to share his life with, but he doubts he’s going to find that person while working nights and spending days hiding in his basement, so he creates beautiful things with powders and spells and that, he thinks, is enough excitement for him.

He had tried an awful lot of jobs after school, spending much of his early twenties hopping from speaking engagements to charity work and everything in between. There had even been a brief spell filling in for Madam Hooch at Hogwarts. The only thing he’d been certain of was that he didn’t want to fight, and he had enjoyed trying every other thing he could find, but Hermione had always insisted there was a job out there for him to love, and Hermione, as usual, had been right.

It had only taken one drunken evening at the Leaky with his old Gryffindor dorm-mates to spark his interest, and as a slurring Seamus had waxed lyrical about his love of pyrotechnics, Harry had listened with singular, firewhisky-driven focus, and mumbled promises of demonstrations and lifelong friendship had been made. Days later, in a scrubby field behind Seamus’s house, they had lit up the night sky and Harry had fallen in love with the smell of the powders, the cascades of metal stars, the blend of careful assembly and the ignition of wild, wheeling sparks and colours. The next day had seen a huge order placed with Seamus’s suppliers, followed by months of study and careful experiments in Harry’s newly fire-proofed basement.

When Seamus went to China to study under a master of the art, Harry had branched out on his own, taking part in events and celebrations all over the country. A combination of night-time displays and working in a windowless basement take their toll, especially in the winter, but Harry’s work is full of joy and he wouldn’t swap it for the fanciest desk in the Ministry. Seamus, having settled in Beijing, sends letters and Christmas cards featuring his Chinese wife and their ridiculously good-looking children. He, too, is happy, even though Meili insists his Irish accent makes his Mandarin all but impossible to understand.

Ken picks his way around the back of Harry’s coat collar and settles himself on the opposite shoulder.

What are you doing, weirdo?” Harry asks with a series of gentle hisses.

Ken stares at him, rotating each eye in turn. Harry isn’t sure why he sometimes attempts to address the chameleon in Parseltongue, but something about it always seems to snag Ken’s interest. He is a reptile, after all; perhaps the sound is familiar to him, like an Irishman speaking Chinese.

When Ken shoots out his ridiculous tongue, Harry instinctively sniffs the air, grinning when he detects spices and grilled meats and fried everything. He’s still full from Molly’s roast, but he can’t wait to see what his friends in the food vans have come up with for the first day of advent, and he suspects that there might be a little bit of room to try something new. As he crunches closer to the strings of lights, he sees that a rather loud crowd is forming, and the knot of anticipation in his stomach tightens.
There are shows throughout the year, of course—displays for weddings, religious festivals, birthdays and even funerals—but the run up to Christmas is always something special, and this year there will be an event for every night of advent and their little band of artists, cooks, musicians and performers will light up December for the wizarding community.

“Hello, Ken,” calls a short man in a puffy red coat, waving and lowering his wand as he spots the chameleon. “Hi, Harry.”

Harry laughs. “Hello, Selwyn. Good to know where I stand.”

Selwyn shrugs. “Everyone knows Ken’s the brains of the outfit. Listen, I’m having trouble with that far corner,” he says, pointing with his wand to a spot behind Harry. “Is it going to be a problem if we can’t fully conceal it?”

Harry looks and then leans back, calculating the distance his larger shells should travel. “No, that should be fine. I’ll set up a bit further to the left, if that’ll help?”

Selwyn gives him a grateful smile and then dashes away, wand held aloft. Harry feels for him; it can’t be easy being the only Ministry employee amongst a large group of what he calls ‘creatives’, but he manages to corral them with mostly good humour and always ensures that whatever they get up to in the name of entertainment is hidden from the non-magical world. Harry watches him for a moment, admiring the powerful concealment charms that shoot out of his wand and wrap themselves around a large section of the beach.

Soon, the intriguing aroma becomes too much to ignore and Harry heads for the food vans, where he finds three smiling vendors and a frowning Draco Malfoy.

“Do you want one or not, love?” asks Glenda, a squat witch in red robes, the breast pocket of which is emblazoned with the legend ‘The Original Stick Tram’.

Her vehicle has been decorated to look like an old fashioned tram car, painted in glossy green and white, with a hatch for her to lean out of and peer at difficult customers, just as she is doing now.

“I don’t know,” Draco says, mouth twisting. “I’m just not sure that a chicken kiev belongs on a stick.”

“It’s not just a chicken kiev, it’s a Cajun spiced deluxe chicken kiev,” Glenda points out, indicating the chalkboard on which today’s menu is written. “It’s on a stick because all our food is on a stick. On a stick is what we do, love.”

Amused, Harry steps closer. Glenda smiles at him but Draco just sighs. “Yes, I understand that.”

“Well, good, because we’ve been having this conversation for years,” Glenda says, folding her arms. “Every time we make something new, you’re here wondering if it should be on a stick. At this point, I’m not sure what to tell you.”

“You’d miss it if he stopped,” Harry says, and this time, both of them look at him.

“I don’t know about that,” Glenda says, but her expression is good-natured even as she waves Draco away and attends to a customer who seems to know what they want.

“Good evening,” Draco says, looking so intensely at Harry that he feels, as he always does, like he’s taken off all his clothes and shouted for everyone to look. “How is the swivel-eyed menace?”

Ken studiously ignores him and continues rubbing the bony casque on the top of his head against Harry’s chin. It’s an odd sensation, but one to which he’s accustomed.

“Lorna and Jim are doing hot ice cream,” he says, indicating the van behind him, where a handsome, dark-haired couple are doing a roaring trade in steaming cones brimming with spices. “You could get one of those. No stick to contend with.”

Draco wrinkles his nose. “It’s too soon.”

“What is?”

“It’s too early in December for hot ice cream,” Draco explains, as though it should be obvious.

Harry just nods. Draco rarely makes sense, and he’s comfortable with that. They’ve become almost-colleagues over recent years, as Harry’s firework displays bring him easily within Draco’s remit as a member of the Wizarding Arts Council, and his constant presence at events like tonight’s has slowly become as normal as Molly’s roast dinners or powder burns on Harry’s hands.

Draco is an odd character, frequently frustrating, but he isn’t the person he once was, and more than that, he’s fascinating. He’s the sort of person that you could spend hours talking to, and Harry frequently does, ignoring sleep in favour of nocturnal, post-firework visits to a corner café with booths for secret assignations, or, in their case, hiding talk of magic from the Muggle staff and customers. Harry wonders if there will be a Nighthawks moment tonight, or if he’ll chance a dodgy Apparation straight back to his bedroom and fall asleep with a chameleon on his face.

“Have you gone to sleep?” Draco asks, lifting one eyebrow. “Actually, you do look a bit—”

“Oh, god, don’t you start,” Harry says, and Draco just smiles. “I’m going to set up. I’ll see you later.”

Suddenly feeling his weariness all over again, Harry trudges across the pebbles and crouches down to open his case. The moment he does so, the excitement sparks back into life and he watches the cascade of drawers slide open, revealing neat rows of paper shells and potion-impregnated fuses fluttering in the sea breeze. Grinning, he rolls out a piece of fabric that becomes stiff and stable with a touch of his wand, then hums to himself as he lays out the shells in order. Tonight’s display will begin a story that will continue throughout advent, and it’s more important than ever that everything happens in the right order.

When he’s satisfied, he protects the shells with a charm and buys a large, steaming cup of coffee from Lorna, who seems disappointed that he’s not ready for ice cream. He sits on the cold pebbles next to his case and drinks it slowly, wondering if Draco has decided to risk the chicken kiev on a stick. He’s usually quite adventurous with food, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to complain about it for a while before trying. Harry smiles into his coffee, remembering the quiet outrage that had ensued when Glenda had dared to make sausages on sticks with brown sauce rather than ketchup. Harry had thought such a thing would be far below Draco’s interest, and Harry had been wrong.

Feeling warmed by the hot coffee, he keeps half an eye on Ken and the rest on tonight’s musical entertainment, a rather impressive steel band. By the time his cue comes, his legs are frozen stiff, but he manages to scramble into position and cast the first ignition spell. At his whispered words, a streak of light screams into the air and explodes into soft, blue waves. The crowd seems to gasp gently as one, and Harry casts three spells in turn, watching, exhilarated as the colours fizz and hiss before exploding into distinct shapes, forming three multicoloured fish beneath the fading trails of the waves. He pauses to let them swim, glancing at the crowd and spotting Draco, who is eating something on a stick with his eyes fixed on the sky.

The next part is complicated, and Harry holds his breath, letting it out again when several glittering lines of red jumble and coalesce at his command to form a signpost that reads ‘To the north pole’. He follows this with three more fishes, who seem to peer at the sign and follow it before fading into showers of silver stars. There are delighted mumbles and gasps from the crowd as Harry continues, lighting and directing and filling the sky with underwater creatures, all beginning their journey towards the Arctic. He breathes in deeply, relishing the charcoal-sulphur scent of the black powder and the almost sweet smell of burning paper. The air is cold in his chest and he loves it; his fingertips are burned and he doesn’t care. He’s worked hard for this, and it’s glorious.

He finishes the display with a cavalcade of vast, arcing explosions in red, green, and gold, each going off with such a bang that he can almost feel Selwyn checking his silencing charms in a panic. When it’s over, the crowd bursts into fierce applause and he grins, so cold that he can barely feel his face. With an excitable Ken attempting to crawl over the top of his head, he vanishes the debris of his display, packs up his case and heads for the food vans. He is stopped every few paces by children and adults wanting to congratulate him on his display, ask about Ken, or both, and by the time he reaches Glenda, she’s all sold out of chicken kiev on a stick, or, indeed, anything else on a stick.

“Sorry, love. I’ll make some more for next time. When are you on again?” she asks.

“I’m not doing another show until Tuesday, but I’ll probably be around tomorrow,” Harry says, knowing that it will take something fairly drastic for him to miss any of the advent events.

“When do you sleep?” she asks, looking for a moment very much like Molly.

“Leave him be, Glenda, he’s already got a mother,” Draco says, and then cringes. “Sorry.”

Harry shrugs. “It’s fine. I have got a mother. I’ve got two.”

Relief flickers in Draco’s eyes. He coughs. “Nighthawks?”

Harry smiles, catching up Ken and stuffing him into his favourite coat pocket, a warm place in which treats can often be found.

“I think so.”