Harry smiled as he stepped inside the house of number twelve, Grimmauld Place away from the cold of the thickening snow outside. He pulled off his jacket and hung it on the back of the door and Remus did the same before they walked into the lounge and sat down on the sofa there.
Minerva was sat in a chair near the fire in an effort to get warm and to keep as far away from the Fairy Lights as possible, which appeared to have taken on the characteristics of those who made them. It was for this reason that the fairy forms of Harry and Severus were fighting in midair whilst Remus tried to drag Harry away and Tonks managed to get her wings twisted so that Bill had to fly down and catch her before she fell onto the coffee table and landed in Dumbledore’s cup of hot chocolate.
“Have you tried Honeydukes hot chocolate?” Dumbledore asked the two of them as they came in causing Severus to roll his eyes; he had asked almost everyone he had encountered that day what their opinion was of the new chocolate product and he was about ready to throw the lot in someone’s face, preferably Potter’s.
“I have actually.” Remus replied as he curled up and looked around him for the book he had previously been reading before he remembered that it had been ruined when the twins flooded the ground floor. The Fairy Light made by Dumbledore offered him an extremely small sweet which he suspected was an extremely small sherbet lemon and declined it politely.
The odd silence in the room thickened as no one had anything to say. Severus was watching the snow, Harry gazed into the fire, Remus watched the fairies arguing amongst themselves and Minerva became uncomfortable with the silence.
“Severus has Tinselitis!” She said suddenly and Remus burst out laughing.
“No way.” He grinned and Severus looked positively venomous.
“Is someone going to explain this to me?” Harry asked them and looked around. Severus went back to staring out at the snow, Remus was keeping his mouth shut for fear of succumbing to hysterics and Minerva decided that she had caused Severus enough trouble for one day and stayed silent.
“Tinselitis is a yuletide ailment.” Dumbledore told Harry, “When someone particularly dislikes Christmas and then allows their mood to change drastically in favour of the holiday then they begin to grow small balls of tinsel at the back of their throats which they are then forced to spit up when they become too large.” Harry raised an eyebrow.
“It’s true, he’s been spitting up tinsel all day.” Minerva said and Remus stared determinedly at the wall. Severus coughed slightly and everyone looked at him expectantly as the coughing fit took him and as much as he tried to keep it in he could manage no longer and a ball of red (and rather wet) tinsel fell from his mouth causing Harry, Remus and Minerva to laugh.
“Shut up, Lupin!” Severus barked before vanishing the tinsel.
“Where is everyone?” Harry asked them.
“I’m not entirely sure.” Minerva said, “They all disappeared earlier on this morning, most of them saying that they were going either to Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade, although Alastor didn’t reveal his destination.”
“That’s Mad Eye all over, isn’t it?” Severus said coolly, although his voice sounded odd, in a shiny Christmassy sort of way which made Harry want to laugh. “He never tells anyone anything but expects everyone else to tell him any information he desires, if there is a spy in the Order – and it is strongly suspected that there is – then I would put money on it being him.”
“Severus!” Minerva said, shocked. “You can’t just accuse people of being spies!”
“Why not?!” He demanded, “It is clear that there is one but we just don’t know who!”
“It may well be clear but you cannot just accuse someone who you think may be a Death Eater!” Minerva almost shouted at him.
“We cannot do this; we can’t have a secret organisation against Voldemort when half the people in it could be against us. We cannot win this way.” Severus said quietly. It was the first that Harry had ever heard from him to suggest that he had doubts in the Order. Dumbledore stood there silently, observing them all, his mind clearly ticking over possibilities that the mention of the spy or possible spy always brought to them. “We should have everyone questioned under Veritaserum.”
“No.” Dumbledore said firmly. “We will not be questioning anyone. I have every belief that we will pull through this. We cannot go around accusing anyone and everyone of spying for the other side. Any spies will reveal themselves eventually and they will be killed.”
“What if eventually is too late?” Remus asked softly, having previously kept himself out of the conversation it was a surprise to all to hear him add in his own thoughts.
“Snape almost died didn’t he? Charlie’s dead, Mad Eye, Flitwick and Arthur were all caught in Malfoy Manor, Tonks and Kingsley almost died when they went to Azkaban.” Harry said, finally picking up enough courage to say what needed to be said, “If there is a spy then clearly they’re already putting lives in danger.”
The adults in the room stared at him, blatantly surprised at his knowledge of the situation at hand and the fact that he had spoken up instead of letting the adults handle things.
“See, even Potter knows that there is a spy and,” Snape took a deep breath before carrying on, “he’s right. Lives are in danger, something must be done!”
“You are young–” Dumbledore started but Snape cut him off.
“Young?! I’m thirty six! I am not young!” Severus shouted.
“You are young in comparison to myself, you and Remus alike and Harry is younger still.” Dumbledore said quietly, “You must understand the grave repercussions that accusing the entire Order of the Phoenix of being a spy would have.”
“Surely any repercussions would not be as bad as letting a spy in the Order go undiscovered!” Remus said suddenly. Harry looked to Minerva who was being very quiet all of a sudden and he knew that she was between two sides: their argument and whatever argument Dumbledore was trying to make.
“Once the spy is discovered he or she will leave us and they will not come back.” Minerva said and they turned to look at her. “Where as if they stay with us then we can learn from them possibly, discover just how much information they have and how long they have been passing it.”
“Any member of the Order would have unlimited information on us. They would know just what we are planning.” Harry opened his mouth at this point to ask what these plans were but before he could, Severus went on much more quickly in order to prevent this. “They will know things like Potter’s wandless magic, his Animagus form, the fact that he and his friends can already Apparate.”
“They also know where headquarters are.” Harry said, realising suddenly that their safe haven was clearly not all that safe.
“That would surely be the worst thing that could have happened from all this, now we have no where in which to hide ourselves from Voldemort.” Minerva said thoughtfully, still unsure of which side she was taking.
“But no one is in Grimmauld Place anymore, not now that the children have returned to school.” Severus said thoughtfully and Harry didn’t bother to interject at being referred to as a child.
“But if the spy is in the Order then surely they could just as easily walk into Hogwarts.” Remus said and the Marauders’ Map wandered fleetingly into his mind – the map never lies.
“What makes you think that the spy isn’t already in Hogwarts? It could be one of the children.” Severus said as his mind wandered to the Weasleys and Granger but would they betray their friends so close to them and, in the case of the Weasleys, their family?
Harry felt an awful feeling of suspicion creep inside him as he recalled the few moments past when Ron, Hermione and even Ginny hadn’t seemed like themselves anymore. But them, spies?
“What makes you think that there is only one spy?” Harry asked them and Severus looked distinctly ill by this point.
“No… we must stop this suspicion that we are allowing to build, divided we hold no opposition to the Dark Lord.” Minerva said finally.
Dumbledore had been silent for some time now and the room fell into the same silence with him. No one in that room believed that anyone they were with at that moment in time was a Death Eater, it couldn’t be. It was too much to handle that Dumbledore, Harry, Remus, Severus or Minerva could or would ever work for Voldemort, especially not Severus who had spent so much time working against him after finally becoming freed from his ranks to Voldemort’s displeasure.
“Come, we must not dwell on such things and should enjoy Christmas time before we return to school.” Dumbledore said to them and they all nodded sullenly before Severus spat out some tinsel.
“That’s revolting, you know.” Harry said and Snape glared menacingly at him.
“I will ensure that your face will be getting the next one, Mr Potter.” Severus scowled at him and Harry grinned, lightening the mood as talk turned from spies onto more Christmassy things.
“Did you get Mad Eye anything for Christmas?” Harry asked Remus and he nodded.
“It wasn’t a new hat was it?” Severus asked.
“It better not have been, I bought him a new hat.” Harry smiled.
“Really?” Minerva asked him, something akin to a smile on her lips.
“Yeah, I’m sick of that bowler hat he always wears so I got him something else.” Harry said and Remus shook his head in disbelief.
“You really bought him a top hat, didn’t you?” Remus said to him and Harry only grinned by means of a reply.
“I’d like to see Mad Eye in a top hat.” Minerva said thoughtfully.
“It would appear that you will be doing.” Severus said.
“Who have you bought presents for, Severus?” Remus asked him suddenly and Severus raised an eyebrow slightly.
“Why would I tell you that, Lupin?” He asked him coolly.
“To save me from looking through the presents to see which ones are from you.” Remus said lightly as he gestured towards the tree, below the branches of which were many presents, seemingly from all the members of the Order to all the members of the Order. Remus reminded himself that this was probably the case.
“It is nice to be out of Hogwarts for Christmas.” Minerva said, breaking a potential argument between Severus and Remus. “I can’t remember the last time I had the chance to be somewhere else over the holidays.”
“The year after Voldemort fell.” Severus said idly, coughing slightly, “People were still too scared to have their children anywhere else at Christmas.” He recalled.
“Ah yes, so it was.” Dumbledore said lightly. “It will be nice to be out of school for Christmas day.”
“Surrounded by people I can barely stand.” Severus added.
“If you can’t stand us then why don’t you stay at school on your own?” Harry asked him but he received no answer except for a glare and a lump of tinsel which only just missed him.
“Christmas is a time for family.” Dumbledore said and they looked to him to see what had prompted this but the old man only looked out of the window into the snow falling on the other side. “And Christmas will be spent with family, for once.”
“Potter and Lupin are not my family!” Severus said, sounding outraged at the very idea.
“Aww… that’s a pity.” Harry said darkly, “Because I’ve always thought of you as my family, Sevvie.”
“THAT’S IT POTTER!”
The next morning Harry awoke with a rather sore head which he found a large lump on the side of. He had gained it when Snape, infuriated, had begun to duel with him and never one to back down from a fight, he had duelled back with all the force he possessed. At last it had been a comment from Minerva (“Was Severus always this mild tempered?”) which had caused him to laugh and a strong spell had thrown him backwards into the wall, where he had hit his head and almost succumbed to unconsciousness.
He scowled at the lump on his head as he touched it lightly with his fingertips, mixing wandless magic and healing magic to lower the lump so that Snape wouldn’t have the satisfaction of seeing him injured that morning.
“PRESENTS!” Someone yelled outside on the landing and he distinctly heard four or five voices telling the twins, Ginny and Ron to shut up before they were cursed into the New Year.
Harry curled up back in his bed, not caring for the presents which he knew were waiting to be opened on the floor below, only wanting more sleep. Soon he could no longer stay in bed as more and more people got up and Tonks bounded energetically into his room and leapt on the bed, jumping up and down in an effort to make him get up.
“Leave me alone, Tonks!” He complained and she grinned at him before leaping off his bed, tripping over his bedside table and landing sprawled on his floor which she stared at in amazement.
“Oh my god! Your floor is so cool!” She grinned at him. Harry smiled slightly, it had taken him quite some time to charm the floor the previous evening and she was the first to have seen it since no one ventured into his room very often since it had previously involved wading through clothes and magical items strewn on the floor.
Now there was nothing on the floor, an unusual occurrence by itself. Instead the floor was made up of two layers of glass, each of them reinforced magically and around a foot apart. In between these two plates of glass which formed the floor there was water, and lots of it with many exotic looking fish swimming around in it, fed by magical means in the water.
“I cannot believe there are fish in your floor!” She grinned at him, “Who else knows about this?”
“I don’t know, probably no one really.” Harry told her through his pillow as he began to drift off to sleep again. Tonks noticed this and, treading very lightly across the floor, she went to the window and pulled open the curtains, causing the light to stream in and to show the light snow still falling. “Get out of it, Tonks!”
“No chance, it’s Christmas and I want to open presents and we can’t until everyone’s had breakfast!” She complained as she stared fixedly at the floor as she walked across it.
“Tonks, the floor is very strong, it won’t break!” Harry said exasperatedly as he watched her slowly make her way towards him. She hadn’t been so cautious before when she came bounding in but then she hadn’t seen the floor.
It was only when Harry had promised Tonks that he would be right down after a quick shower that Tonks finally left him alone, but not before picking him up and putting him into the bathroom herself. Unfortunately Kingsley’s outraged yell as Tonks flung open the door with Harry in her arms was enough to make her drop Harry and sprint out of the room, leaving Harry to drag himself up from the floor, apologising to the man in the shower as he raced after Tonks.
“You bloody idiot!” Harry said to her when he literally ran into her on the landing to find her close to hysterics. “I’m sure you won’t be laughing half as hard when Kingsley finds you.” He muttered under his breath as he stalked off down the landing to the other bathroom to find, with relief, that it was empty.
“I cannot believe you did that.” Kingsley said to Tonks as Harry walked into the kitchen some ten minutes later, his hair still slightly damp from the weak drying spell he had put on it (he feared stronger spells since Ginny had dried out her skin to the extent that she looked almost eighty earlier in the week).
“Merry Christmas, Harry.” Minerva said before biting into her toast. Everyone else around her seemed to be eating more sumptuous things for breakfast but not even on Christmas was she willing to break her daily routine which involved honey on toast for breakfast with a glass of iced pumpkin juice.
Harry returned the sentiment to her and the rest of the room before sitting down at the end of the table next to Tonks and allowing Molly to pile bacon and scrambled eggs onto his plate.
There was a sudden burst of noise as Fred and George ran into the kitchen, both of them immediately asking to get to the presents in the room next door, which Molly had wisely spelled shut.
“Oh come on Mum!” George moaned, throwing himself dramatically at her feet but she paid no attention to him as she piled more food onto Remus’ plate. Remus raised an eyebrow at the small edible mountain of breakfast food in front of him and wondered if he was seriously expected to eat it all.
“Mum, you have to let us in there!” Fred told her, “They’re calling out to us!”
“Fred… George… Ron…” Ron and Ginny murmured quietly from outside the door only to have it thrown open and themselves dragged inside by Molly.
“You four are going to sit down and eat some breakfast before I even think about letting you in there!” Molly told them sternly as a rather drowsy Hermione walked into the room and sat near Harry at the end of the table, mindlessly eating bacon and eggs as she tried to wake herself up.
“PRESENTS!” Tonks screeched some time later as Molly removed the charms locking the door and Ron, Ginny, Tonks, Fred and George all sprinted inside without a moments pause.
It was half an hour later and Harry was curled up on the far end of the largest of two sofas in the room, opening presents every now and again as the adults did. Fred, George, Ginny, Ron, Tonks and Hermione had all opened their presents already which meant that Ron was grinning inanely at Hermione for having bought him a broom servicing kit similar to the one she had bought Harry some years ago, Hermione was already in the depths of a book on defence spells from Harry, Fred and George were laughing at some strange Muggle joke items their father had bought them as a small gift along side their larger presents. Ginny was altering the time on her new watch which Hermione had bought her and Tonks was enveloping Kingsley in a huge hug for the earrings he had bought her.
“Thank you, Harry.” Remus smiled slightly as he looked down at the book in his hand. It was David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – the book he had been reading before it had been ruined in the flood. He looked underneath it and saw a small box of chocolates and a small golden quill, which if he wasn’t mistaken, held a phoenix feather. He realised the feather was probably from Fawkes and Harry had probably become bored and made it himself. He smiled and observed Harry unwrapping more presents, whilst across the room Mad Eye let out a bark of laughter as he opened his present from Harry.
“Excellent!” Mad Eye grinned in a lopsided fashion as he wore the top hat Harry had bought him.
“Wow, thanks Remus.” Harry smiled as he put on the watch Remus had bought and charmed for him. He could sense the magic put into it by his guardian as he ran his finger lightly over the top of it and ran his eyes over it. It was a very nice watch, and he looked to Remus, questioning him what the magic was in the watch.
“It’s a connective spell, it shows some idea of your mood to me and mine will to you, provided you’re wearing it of course.” Remus told him, “That and it can also tell if you’re in any kind of trouble and you, being you, I’m almost certain that will come in useful.”
Harry pulled a face and hugged him lightly, thanking him again as he did so, he remembered that he hadn’t had a watch in quite some time and was rather grateful for it if only as a timepiece, let alone as a connection to his godfather.
“Has anyone else seen Harry’s floor?” Tonks asked as she bit into a large bar of chocolate someone had bought her.
“What do you mean?” Minerva asked her as she thanked Severus for the small bottle of Gillywater he had bought her.
“I’ve seen it.” Ron said idly as he watched the small Firebolt Harry had charmed for it and his Fairy Light self racing around the room on it. “Cool huh?”
“Why, what’s he done to it? Unless he’s written ‘I Am A Moron’ in large letters I doubt it will be much good.” Severus said curtly.
“Actually he’s got fish in the floor and loads of water.” Ron retorted and this instantly intrigued Filius who wandered off upstairs to see it for himself.
“When did you charm your floor to be like that?” Remus asked Harry with interest, having not seen the floor himself yet.
“Yesterday.” Harry answered as he glanced outside. The snow had finally stopped falling and instead it was quite sunny outside, although the snow did not melt. Tonks looked out to see what he was looking at and instantly clothed herself from the pyjamas she had been wearing before using her wand and raced outside into the snow. Fred and George soon followed her where as Ron returned into the kitchen to get some more food and Ginny started playing chess against Bill who had bought her some new pieces for Christmas.
Harry curled up idly on the sofa, not particularly wanting to leave the room which was so much warmer than the rest of the house.
“Hey Mum, what’s that giant clock for in the kitchen?” Ron asked, returning to them with a bacon sandwich and a confused look on his face.
“Follow me and I’ll tell you.” Molly said cryptically which was enough to bring the rest of the house out of the lounge and back into the kitchen, even Harry who was loath to leave the warmth and the comfort in the other room.
“It’s like the one back at the Burrow.” Harry said and Molly nodded happily.
“Exactly, I took a small thread out of each of your robes and charmed it into the clock. Now there’s a little icon for all of you up there.” Molly said and they all looked up at the giant clock, which true to Molly’s word, had similar locations for each of the members of the family with a miniature version of themselves on the hands. Harry had a sneaking suspicion that they were the little Fairy Lights but he didn’t question it. “Something went wrong with the charms though. They keep going to strange places like Ron’s currently in Prison and Fred and George are in Mortal Peril.”
“Maybe she’s found those jars of cockroaches!” Fred muttered to George next to him who looked mildly horrified at the prospect. Harry glanced up at the clock to see that he was set to ‘Home’ along with Remus, Severus, Dumbledore, Hagrid and McGonagall but everyone else’s had gone other such strange ways.
“COCKROACHES!?” Molly cried, catching them all of guard as she stared at her sons who managed to look distinctly guilty. Molly’s fairy on the clock went from ‘Unknown’ to ‘Prison’ as she chased Fred and George out of the room.
“I wonder what’s wrong with the clock.” Hermione said, looking up at it thoughtfully as her own Fairy wandered into ‘Prison’.
The rest of the day passed saddeningly quickly for the occupants of Grimmauld Place. Hagrid came round for dinner as promised and so did Dumbledore. They spent more than an hour and a half at the table, even after all the food was gone, laughing and joking between them as the day wore on. Snape had finally stopped coughing up lumps of tinsel and Remus had teased him mercilessly about it.
The excitement about their presents had long since worn off and Harry and Hermione had spent fifteen minutes laughing at Ron who threw up his large dinner into the toilet nearest Harry’s room after jumping up and down on his floor for five minutes, trying to break through the magically enforced glass floor. He had failed and felt rather ill for the rest of the day afterwards, although he was an official standing joke in the Order.
“I can’t believe how quickly today’s gone.” Ron mused as they walked up the stairs to bed.
“I know, thank you both for your presents.” Hermione said to them both again as they walked up onto the first floor of the house.
“Yeah, thanks again.” Harry said to her and gave her a quick hug before he retired into his room, seeing a small present on his bed that he had yet to give. He picked it up and walked into Remus’ room.
“Evening Harry.” Tock greeted him happily, “Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas to you too, Tock.” Harry said, “Here’s your present.” Tock looked at the small present with interest before stepping off the bedside table and beginning to unwrap it.
“She’s brilliant!” Tock said in disbelief as he stared at the clock and Harry wondered how on earth he knew the clock’s gender.
“Thanks.” The other clock said in a rather feminine voice, proving that Tock had been right in assuming her gender to be female. “I’m Tick, who are you?”
“I’m Tock.” The other clock said, not taking his eyes from her. Harry grinned and left the clocks alone, knowing that Remus would be after his blood for giving him another talking clock and he retired to his room to find Remus, Filius, McGonagall and Snape staring at the floor in his room.
“Very poor Charms work, Potter.” Snape said in his usual snide manner as he left the room.
“He was saying something quite different to that some minutes ago.” Minerva told Harry with a smile as the rest of them followed her out. Harry grinned slightly as he heard a telltale squelch and a yell which was abruptly cut off as Snape’s door slammed shut. Harry just suppressed his laughter as he climbed into bed, knowing that in the next room Snape would be sinking up to his knees in a Portable Swamp.
A/N: So what did you think? Any good? I quite liked it although I was a loss as to what to have for Christmas presents since I seem to have used up all my ideas for presents on previous stories (how good am I?) Next chapter coming in a few days time, so probbly on Friday, maybe Saturday and it's currently unnamed (because I can never name chapters that well, as I'm certain you can tell!). So I'll 'see' you all then :o)
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