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Harry blinked as sunlight shone brightly into his room and he groaned, burying his head into the pillow as something small jumped onto his head.

“What the hell?!” He cried, his yell muffled by the pillow. He rolled over onto his back and found himself staring at a small alarm clock.

“Get up right now!” The clock told him and Harry stared at it in mild confusion.

“Who or what are you?” Harry asked it, looking curiously at the miniature clock which sat defiantly on his knees.

“I am Remus’ alarm clock.” The clock told him proudly and Harry raised an eyebrow.

“So what are you doing in here?” Harry asked it, seeing where this was going.

“Remus sent me in here to wake you up.” The clock told him.

“Uh huh… and can you now go back to him having done your job and leave me alone?” Harry asked him (the clock seemed to be a ‘him’ at any rate).

“I’m afraid not, I must continue to wake you until you are completely out of bed, so is the nature of the charm cast upon me.” The clock said and Harry looked at it thoughtfully.

“Don’t you ever get lonely, just being a little alarm clock on your own?” Harry asked it and to his immense surprise it nodded in a sad fashion. “What’s your name?”

“Tock.” The alarm replied.

“If I make you a little alarm called Tick will you leave me alone and let me rest?” Harry asked it and Tock nodded enthusiastically. “Make sure you hurt Remus in someway tomorrow morning and wake him up an hour early as well, whilst you’re at it.” He smiled slightly malevolently as he curled back up under his duvet.

“The time is almost midday, Master.” Tock said, “You might want to get up.”

Master?!” Harry said in disbelief and leant up on his shoulders to get a better look at the clock which was sat on his bedside table. “Don’t dare call me that again. I’m just Harry, you hear?”

“Loud and clear, Harry!” Tock grinned at him.

“Now go annoy Remus for a bit or something.” Harry told the clock which nodded enthusiastically and walked out of the room.

The clock certainly did annoy Remus, who was unimpressed by the fact that his clock had not only returned to him but Harry was still in bed as the morning came to a close.

“Tell me again, why isn’t Harry up and why the hell are you pulling my hair?!” Remus demanded as he pulled Tock from his hair and set him down on the coffee table in the lounge.

“Harry doesn’t want to get up yet, Remus.” The clock told him.

“That’s never stopped you before!” Remus scowled darkly, realising as Severus walked through the room with a raised eyebrow that he was arguing with a clock once again.

“Yes but Harry said that he would make me another alarm clock as a friend if I left him alone.” Tock told him and Remus rolled his eyes, that was such a Harry thing to do – promise his own unique brand of assistance in exchange for more sleep. Well he wasn’t going to get more sleep, Remus was certain of that.

Harry yelled in shock as icy cold water was poured all over him.

“Remus!” Harry shouted at him, “What the hell are you doing!? Leave me alone!”

“It’s midday!” Remus argued, “And you’ve had about thirteen hours sleep! Get up now else it’ll be ice cubes next.” He threatened and Tock stood laughing silently in the doorway.

Fifteen minutes later saw Harry sitting at the table in the kitchen eating an early lunch with Ron and Hermione who were all chatting idly together about what they were going to be doing that day. Hagrid had owled them earlier to say that he could and would get them the largest tree that they could fit in the house. It had been Molly’s idea that Harry, Ron and Hermione go with him to get it, partly to get them out of the house and partly because she knew that they would not allow him to return with a tree so large that it wouldn’t fit into the lounge.

“Are yeh ready ter go then?” Hagrid asked as he stuck his head through the fireplace and noticed the three of them sitting at the table.

“Yeah, hang on then.” Harry said and bolted the rest of his toast before taking a quick swig of pumpkin juice. Ron and Hermione were both ready to leave and stepped through the fireplace into Hagrid’s cabin just before Harry did.

“Whoa, down Fang!” Harry grinned as the giant hound leapt up at him, almost knocking him down into the fireplace.

“So how are yeh all?” Hagrid asked them as he took his cloak from the back of the door and opened it, allowing the three of them and Fang to leave the hut before he did.

“Fine thanks.” Hermione replied, “I miss Victor though.” She added as an afterthought, reminding Harry and Ron that she had sacrificed his company over Christmas to be with them.

“I’m alright I guess.” Ron said smiling slightly, “I miss Charlie though, well we all do.”

“How’s yer mum?” Hagrid asked.

“She’s better. I think just having people home for Christmas is making her happier and taking her mind off things. Same with everyone really and I mean I know it’s not the same without Charlie but it just seems right that we’re all together for Christmas, you know?”

“Yeh, o’ course.” Hagrid said, “Well Christmas is a time fer family. What ‘bout you, ‘Arry? How are yeh?”

“I’m pretty good, thanks.” Harry said as they walked a little way into the forest. “Good to be home and away from school for a bit.”

“I don’ blame yeh. ‘Ogwarts is a nice place ter be but there’s nothin’ better than an ‘ome an’ a family ter go to, biological or otherwise.” Hagrid told him and Harry smiled as he walked at his side.

“Is there no one here over the holidays?” Harry asked, noticing for the first time just how quiet the school grounds were.

“Nope, not a soul but me an’ Fang.” Hagrid told him.

“Really? You mean that everyone went home over the holidays?” Hermione said to him, quite shocked that not one student chose to remain in the castle.

“Well yeh, what wi’ the return o’ You-Know-Who people don’ wan’ their kids in school, safest place in the Wizardin’ world or no’.” Hagrid told her.

“Are you coming over on Christmas day, Hagrid?” Harry asked him and he nodded.

“Course. Dumbledore is an’ all.” Hagrid said as he looked around for a tree that he thought could possibly fit in the lounge of Grimmauld Place.

“Well Mum’ll be pleased.” Ron said, “She wanted a full house for Christmas and it looks like she’ll have one.”

“Whadda yer think ter this one?” Hagrid asked, pointing out a tree which Harry believed was about two metres higher than the ceiling of Grimmauld Place.

“Perhaps a bit big, Hagrid.” Hermione said and Hagrid looked slightly disappointed as he looked up at the giant tree.

Harry walked around next to Hagrid as Hermione looked around for suitable trees that they could take back to Grimmauld Place and actually manage to fit into the lounge, of course they could always allow Hagrid to pick one of the larger ones and then shrink it down so that it would fit into the room but they didn’t think that was quite fair.

“How about this one?” Hermione asked walking over to a small tree which she thought would look nice in Grimmauld Place. Harry had to agree that he had similar opinions on the tree and thought it would not only look nice but actually fit into the room as well.

“A bit small, isn’ it?” Hagrid said, looking at the tree.

“No, I think it’s about the right size.” Hermione said, hoping that he would cave to her judgement and he did.

“Alrigh’, get back you three.” Hagrid told them and as they were told, Harry, Ron and Hermione moved back so that they could hopefully avoid being hit as the tree was felled.

The tree was cut down and landed at Harry’s feet, making him glad that he had taken those few extra steps back at Hermione’s instruction.

“Now let’s get back to Grimmauld Place, I’m freezing!” Ron said and Hagrid picked up the tree easily under one arm which Harry doubted he and Ron could have carried between them.

Fang jumped around them happily as they made their way back to Hagrid’s cabin and Harry found himself absently wishing that it would snow that Christmas. Even if it didn’t, he knew that Filius would charm the windows so that it looked as if it were and could also charm it so that it did snow around them but it wasn’t the same as real snow.

“An excellent choice of tree.” Dumbledore said to Hagrid as he walked through the fireplace, Harry, Ron and Hermione behind him and a distant sound of barking through the fireplace.

“Here, let me shrink it for you so that you can more easily take it into the lounge.” Minerva said, moving forwards quickly as Hagrid had swung round with the tree, almost knocking a dozen plates to the floor with the other end of the tree as he moved to talk to Dumbledore.

“Thank you, Profess’r.” Hagrid said as she touched the tree with her wand and shrunk it down so that she could carry it in her palm into the next room.

“Will you be staying to decorate the house, Rubeus?” Dumbledore asked the half giant who stood in the kitchen, his head almost, but not quite, touching the ceiling.

“I would but I can’. I’m still tryin’ ter make my peace wi’ the centaurs in the forest. It’s no easy task but I’m gettin’ there.” Hagrid told him and Dumbledore nodded.

“Good luck and I do hope that you will be accepting my invitation to join us for Christmas dinner, it would not do to have you eating in your cabin alone.” Dumbledore said to him and Hagrid nodded.

“I already tol’ ‘Arry that I’d be joinin’ you on Christmas at least for a while so as long as I’m welcome I’ll stay for dinner.” Hagrid said and Dumbledore opened his mouth to reply but Molly, walking into the kitchen beat him to it.

“Of course you’re welcome, Rubeus!” She said brightly, “I want everyone to be here for Christmas dinner, like one big family!” She embraced Hagrid tightly, and he smiled, his eyes filling with tears.

Harry, stood in the doorway, grinned at him and waved before leaving the room after McGonagall and following her into the lounge.

“I’d say in that corner.” Severus said, pointing over to the corner opposite the door.

“No, I think it should go over by the window.” Filius said.

“Why, so that no one can see it and everyone who can will see it from inside the house anyway?” Mad Eye asked, eyebrow raised.

“No, because I think it would look nicer there.” Filius scowled at him.

Minerva sighed as she grew quickly tired of their bickering over something as simple as the location of the tree.

“What do you think Harry?” She asked him, surprising the boy and also partly herself as she asked him for his opinion.

“In front of the window, I think.” Harry said and she nodded. She crossed the room quickly and put the tree down before taking a few steps back and enlarging it.

Hermione had indeed chosen a very good size. It was not large enough so that it touched the ceiling or that it was too wide to fit in the small area which jutted out near the window but it was just a foot shy of the ceiling.

“Are we starting to decorate now?” Severus asked her and she shook her head.

“We’ll wait until everyone has returned home before we start to decorate the house.” She said. Earlier that day, Remus, Tonks, Bill and Kingsley had all gone into Diagon Alley to get some shopping done for Christmas, although Bill’s primary reason for venturing into the only entirely Wizarding shopping area in Britain was to see his younger brothers.

“They’ll be ages, Diagon will be incredibly busy – it’s the first day of the Christmas holidays after all.” Filius said.

He hadn’t been wrong when he said that it would be busy as Remus slipped through the crowds in Flourish and Blott’s, never noticed as he wandered the shelves with his eyes mostly for himself but also keeping an eye out for anything that he thought could be a suitable present for anyone. He had never been much in the way of spontaneous purchases as he had listed the presents he would buy for everyone earlier on but he would buy anything that he thought someone else would like should he happen to see it, whatever it may be.

For the first time, Remus found himself spending money which Sirius had left him upon his death. He rarely spent the money on himself unless he had to although he knew that Sirius would be rolling his eyes at him in annoyance, could he see his stubbornness concerning his refusal to spend money which was now rightfully his. Still, spending the money on other people was not half as bad, especially when one of the people happened to be Harry, formerly Sirius’ godson and now his own.

He finally left the bookshop somewhat reluctantly almost half an hour later, having bought quite a number of books, some as gifts for others but a couple just because he desired more reading material. He would have stayed in there longer, were he not bound to meet Bill, Tonks and Kingsley inside Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes at half past two. He sighed as he glanced at his watch. It had stopped again and he needed a new one. He glanced up at the clock which was on the wall inside Flourish and Blotts – twenty five past two. He would be early for certain but there was very little that he could do in the space of five minutes and so he took his time as he slowly meandered down the street towards the Weasley twin’s joke shop.

“Have you seen Fred?” A twin whom he assumed was George asked the moment he spotted Remus across the busy crowd in their shop. Remus shook his head.

“Why, isn’t he in here?” Remus asked him.

“No, he went out a while ago to shop for things for Christmas - Ginny’s a nightmare to buy for you know – and he just hasn’t come back yet.” George told him.

“He’ll be back soon, I’m sure of it.” Remus said and George smiled, although somewhat worriedly, “He’ll just have got caught in the crowds, that’s all.”

“I suppose.” George said, “Hey, have they got a tree yet?”

“I’m not sure. Harry, Ron and Hermione went with Hagrid to get one this morning.” Remus told him, “They probably will have come back with one though.”

“Yeah but I bet it won’t fit in the house.” George muttered and Remus smiled slightly.

“Are you coming back to Grimmauld Place with us to have some say in the decorations of the place?” Remus asked and George shrugged.

“Yeah, why not.” He said, “If Fred ever turns up that is.”

“How can you have time off though, I thought there was only the two of you running the shop?” Remus said and George shook his head.

“Not any more. It was that way in the beginning, back when customers were something that had to be dragged inside and their purchases were rare and far between.” Remus smiled; he doubted that customers had ever had rarity value in their joke shop. It was easily as dangerous as Zonko’s and twice as interesting. “Now we’ve hired a few of our old school friends to help keep things together and to give us some time off now and again.”

Remus glanced over his shoulder to see Angelina Johnson on the tills, along with Oliver Wood whilst Lee Jordan wandered around, helping people where necessary and Alicia Spinnet was trying to keep the younger children in the shop away from the fireworks.

“Oliver Wood?” Remus asked in surprise, “I thought he played for a Quidditch team.”

“Oh, he does.” George explained and Remus noticed the way in which he glanced over his shoulder through the large glass windows into the street, hoping to catch a glimpse of red hair in the crowd. “But being substitute Keeper in Puddlemere United isn’t a taxing or well paid job so he works here when he can.”

“And the others?” Remus asked, interested as to where some of his former students were finding themselves in life.

“Alicia works as a secretary in the Ministry but Fudge isn’t allowing her to rise any higher due to her obvious stance as a Dumbledore supporter.” George explained and his expression darkened slightly, “And clearly secretary in the department of Magical Law Enforcement isn’t well paid either. She did want to go on to be an Auror, you know, but as I said, Fudge won’t let her get any higher.” Remus made a mental note to relay all the information he was getting to Harry, since he knew that he would be most interested as to where his former Quidditch team had found themselves after leaving Hogwarts.

“Angelina wants to be a Healer.” George went on to say, “And they just can’t get enough of them at St. Mungo’s at the moment but she doesn’t have enough qualifications so she’s having private tuition in Charms so that she can take the exam this year and hopefully get another NEWT.”

“So you need five to become a Healer then?” Remus asked and George shook his head.

“No, she just needed to get an O in Charms. She only got an A the last time she took the exam and it’s four NEWTs needed to become a Healer, apparently.” George said, “So once she’s passed the exam and got the certificate to show she’s got Outstanding then St. Mungo’s will start training her.”

“Hello Professor!” Lee Jordan greeted him as he raced across the room, quickly catching an escaped firework before it had the chance to explode and raced outside with it. There was a huge crash and a moment later Lee emerged, looking rather more singed than he had done before.

“You’ve not seen Fred, have you?” George asked Lee when he walked back over to them.

“Nope, not since he went out a while back.” He told him, “But there are awful queues everywhere, he’ll be stuck somewhere I’ll bet.”

“I guess so.” George said.

“So how are you, Professor?” Lee asked him and Remus didn’t bother to correct him in that he was no longer his teacher.

“Fine thank you, Lee.” He smiled slightly, “And yourself?”

“Not bad…” Lee shrugged.

“What are you doing now that you’ve left school?” Remus asked.

“Working here.” Lee told him and grinned.

“Lee’s a full time employee here.” George said, butting into the conversation. “He was the first we’ve employed to work here when things got busy.”

“Oh hell, that kid’s gonna regret it if he throws those Balding Balloons.” Lee said and marched quickly across the room. Remus watched as he confronted a young boy of around the age of eleven or twelve and bit back a laugh as the boy threw the balloon at his head. As he had predicted by the name, his hair instantly fell out much to the amusement of the crowd around him and instantly Angelina and Oliver at the tills were swamped with people buying Balding Balloons.

“You can’t deny that he’s good for business.” George grinned and Remus shook his head slightly at Lee who was now sweeping his hair up from the floor. “But now he’ll have to go eat some Hair Inducing Hemlock.”

“What does that do?” Remus asked.

“Well it gives him his hair back but he has to keep on dancing continually or else he’ll just fall asleep and the Loch Hem monster will come and get him.” Remus raised an eyebrow at this. “The Loch Hem monster. A title which Angelina came up with as some sort of vague joke and unfortunately it stuck. Basically if you eat the Hair Inducing Hemlock then you grow more hair but you fall asleep when you stop talking and your dreams get haunted by this weird hairy monster type thing for thirteen days.”

“Really?” Remus asked, wondering whether or not he was serious.

“Yeah, I’m not kidding. Hemlock doesn’t normally do that, you understand.” George said.

“Well normally it would kill you, wouldn’t it?” Remus asked and George shook his head.

“Oh god, not the hemlock conversation again…” Bill groaned as he appeared next to them in the shop.

“Hemlock doesn’t normally kill you, it’s the shock that does.” George told him.

“According to him and Fred, deaths previously thought to be caused by hemlock are just because people were so certain that eating it would kill them that if you gave them a celery stick, told them it was hemlock and made them eat it then their shock would kill them.” Bill said, “But then if that’s the case then why won’t either of you eat some hemlock and see if it kills you since you know it won’t?”

“Is it me or are you lot all saying ‘hemlock’ too much?” Tonks asked as she fell into their midst, having pushed her way through the crowd. They ignored her and Bill went on to explain the Loch Hem Monster to Remus.

“The Loch Hem monster…” Bill said and rolled his eyes at the term. “Basically you get this weird hairy thing walking through your dreams. It doesn’t do much except just walk around really.”

“Although Lee said that it went ‘boo’ in one of his.” George added.

“Yeah well Lee’s currently walking around bald and trying to catch the kid who threw the Balding Balloon at him.” Bill said, “And I refuse to listen to anyone stupid enough not to Vanish the balloon before it hit him.”

Kingsley walked into the shop some time later only to have Lee desperately trying to sell him some Hair Inducing Hemlock, which he wisely declined as he politely excused his way over to Bill, Tonks, George and Remus.

“Bouncy Bubbles.” George said to Tonks, “They’re brilliant!”

Remus looked over at Lee who had climbed into a large bubble which reminded him of those little balls which he had seen Muggles put hamsters in and allow them to run around in. Once inside the bubble, he started to jump and it began to bounce. People moved out of his way quickly as he ricocheted around the shop.

“Bouncy Bubbles!” George shouted to the crowd, “Only five Galleons each!” There was a small wave of people who pushed over to where the Bouncy Bubbles were stacked and the supply of them quickly began to diminish.

“Do you pay Lee extra for this kind of involuntary advertising?” Remus asked as he watched Lee bounce out of the large double doors and down the street.

“BOUNCY BUBBLES FROM WEASLEYS’ WIZARING WHEEZES! BUY YOURS NOW!” Lee yelled at the top of his voice to everyone in Diagon Alley as he bounced down to the other end of the street near to the Leaky Cauldron.

“How did Lee manage to get out of the doors?” Fred asked, as about ten angry people shouted at him as the picked themselves up from where he had pushed them getting through the crowd.

“Where the hell have you been?” George demanded, “I thought you were shopping.” He added when he noticed that Fred carried no bags with him.

“Shopping?” Fred asked.

“You know, for Christmas presents!” George snapped at his brother, giving him an odd look.

“Well I didn’t find any Christmas presents but I found something else instead.” Fred said and George looked at him questioningly. “Here, I’ll Portkey you to it; it’s down in Knockturn Alley.” Before George could say anything else he’d had a glove pressed into his hand and the twins disappeared.

“Have you all got your shopping done now then?” Bill asked them all, noticing how laden with bags they all were.

“Just about, I’ve a few more things I’ll need to get from Hogsmeade but that should be it then.” Remus told him.

“I have to go into Hogsmeade to get some Honeydukes chocolate for Harry.” Tonks said, “Someone remind me to go before the week’s out.”

“I will.” Kingsley said to her, “I thought you were going to drag Harry shopping with you, anyway.” He added.

“I was, but he went to get a tree with Hagrid this morning before I could catch him.” Tonks said, “I’ll make him come with me later in the week, maybe on Christmas Eve or something.”

“Christmas Eve? Pushing it a bit time wise, don’t you think?” Bill asked her.

“He won’t go with you on Christmas Eve.” Remus told her quietly.

“Why not?” Tonks asked curiously; there was something in the way that Remus had said it that made her wonder just why Harry wouldn’t be able to go.

“I’m taking him to Godric’s Hollow on Christmas Eve.” Remus confided and they nodded silently, none of them daring to say anything lest they say something completely inappropriate.

“Hardly the most cheering of things you could be doing with the boy the day before Christmas.” Tonks blurted out and regretted it almost instantly but Remus only smiled.

“I know, but he asked me to take him during Christmas and I think Christmas Eve would be a good day for it.” He told her and no more questions were asked as the Weasley Twins Apparated next to them a second later.

“Right, so are you ready to go back to Grimmauld Place then?” Bill asked them, not bothering to ask his brothers where they had been as they wouldn’t say.

“Yeah, let’s go!” Fred said. Remus glanced at him for a moment and was sure that George’s robes had been burnt slightly by a firework when he came in but pushed the thought away as Tonks pointed to the window.

“Look, it’s snowing!” She said excitedly, like a small child. It was indeed starting to snow, ever so slightly and although Remus knew it wouldn’t settle, it was a pretty sight to behold.

“Oi, Angelina!” George shouted across the room to her. “We’ll be back to shut up shop later!” She nodded across the busy shop to her before Remus, Bill, Tonks, Kingsley, Fred and George all Apparated out of Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes.

A/N: I'm so sorry for the Hagrid dialogue! It's so awful! But never mind, it's the best I can do and I love writing about Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes. I didn't mean for this chapter to be so long but it got a bit out of control. No more shopping Snape and Harry in this one, more's the pity! Next chapter will have decoration and fluffiness and the one after that will have Godric's Hollow in it. I'm annoyed that this still isn't appearing on the Angst page but never mind. I'll post a new chapter, title yet unknown, on Tuesday or Wednesday if I can :o)

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