A/N: Hi all! Guess I had to contribute to the Christmas cheer this year! So here it is!
The first thing at Christmas, That's such a pain to me: Is finding a Christmas tree.
"Why am I out here again?"
Geoffrey picked up a large, twisted stick with his mittened hand and tossed it deeper into the woods. Harry ruffled the little boy's bleach blonde hair and grinned over at Snape whose scowl was deeper than ever. They all ducked a low hanging branch that was heavily laden with snow.
"Potter…" Snape growled threateningly as Harry reached up for the branch. Harry chuckled and grasped Geoffrey's outstretched hand instead.
"Don't tell me you aren't having fun, Severus," Harry teased, ducking as the older man took a swipe at the back of his head.
"Does it look like I'm 'having fun'?" Snape groused, hugging his winter cloak tighter around his body. Geoffrey giggled and started bouncing up and down as they walked. Harry laughed, ignoring Snape's surly expression.
"I don't know, Geoff does it look like Uncle Sev is having fun?"
Geoffrey wrinkled his nose and gripped Harry's hand with both of his black mittened ones before shaking his head wildly. Bits of snow flew off his hair. "No."
"I didn't think so." Snape huffed and rolled his eyes, which only made Harry's smile grow. "We need to fix this. What do you think Geoff?"
"Yeah!" The five-year-old agreed enthusiastically. Harry's eyes flicked from the Malfoy child's upturned face to that of Snape's. He wasn't even going to bother to describe the differences in demeanor only that it looked like someone had "accidentally" dropped wormwood into one of his potions and it was about to explode.
Harry crouched down in the snow so he was eye-level with the boy and idly adjusted Geoffrey's scarf all the while whispering softly so Snape couldn't hear him.
Snape stared at them suspiciously unable to shake the feeling of foreboding that came suddenly with the eager expression on his godson's child's face. Potter, he snarled mentally, whatever the whelp was telling the five-year-old it would not be good for him and sure enough the moment Potter straightened up Geoffrey stomped over to him with a pleased expression. He raised an eyebrow, noticed the boy was hiding his hands behind his back.
"What is it, Geoffrey?" he asked, mustering every last reserve of patience he had. "What do you have there?"
Geoffrey grinned and with exaggerated slowness revealed his empty palms. Snape's eyebrow's flew up his forehead and before he knew what was happening something cold, wet and entirely unpleasant was stuffed down the back of his robe's. He hissed slowly his eyes widening in anger as chills raced down his back as the snow slowly made its way down his spine.
"Potter," Snape growled, turning around slowly, ignoring Geoffrey's giggle fit. Harry was standing there with red hands from holding the snow looking as innocent as a lamb.
Damn brat, Snape thought angrily, shrugging his shoulders in a hope to make the snow move or melt faster, either would do. They stayed like that one with an irritated scowl on his lips the other smiling genially.
Harry looked away first and winked before heading off to where his "nephew" was standing. "What did you find, Geoff?"
Geoffrey pointed as best as mittens allow into the forest. Harry followed where Malfoy's son was pointing and his look of confusion melted into one of relief. He gave the five-year-old a one armed hug.
"He found a tree," Harry called over his shoulder as he and the little blonde tramped through the thin layer of snow on the ground.
"About bloody time," Snape grunted, pulling his wand out of his trouser pocket. He just wanted this blasted trip out of the way and forgotten. How Potter had roped him into this one, he would never know.
The Second thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me: Rigging up these lights
Harry held the ladder still as Snape slowly climbed the rickety steps to the top. Snow from the bottom of Snape's boots fell in Harry's eyes as he watched the older man's ascent. To be honest, Harry was having an awfully hard time not laughing at the greasy bastard. Snape's behavior was something to be mocked about for the next few weeks. After all, how was Harry supposed to have known Snape had a fear of heights?
"Potter, stop moving about and hold the ladder still."
Harry choked back his laughter at the sharp, panicky command. "I'm not moving at all. Perhaps you're imagining it?"
The ladder shuddered as Snape leaned to the side and suddenly long, yellowed fingers were clinging the shingles of the roof with such intensity Harry could see the man's knuckles going white.
"This, Potter, is, by far, the single most asinine thing you've ever insisted I do."
"I never said you had to put them up," Harry pointed out helpfully, his own grip on the ladder tightening. He watched as Snape turned to look down at him, his long string black hair falling in front of his face. "And don't look down!" Harry shouted. On later reflection, he would realize he had never seen Snape go quite that shade of gray before.
Harry tensed waiting for Snape to blow up at him but nothing happened.
"You all right up there?" Harry asked, finally allowing worry to creep into his tone.
Shallow breathing was all Harry heard. If this had been any other day or any other endeavor he might have teased the man for being so childish about the entire thing, but he wouldn't, couldn't not with Snape more than 20 feet in the air. He fervently wished he could ignore the way the ladder was vibrating in his hands because if anything it was making him nervous. And he was on the sodding ground!
Harry startled and wrenched his worried gaze from Snape's back to look down at the little boy. Cautious, worried black eyes stared back up at him and for a moment Harry wondered if Geoffrey hadn't done something bad inside the house while he and Snape had been out in the snow playing with Christmas lights.
"What's wrong, Geoffrey?" Harry asked and then with a start realized why the picture of the boy before him was so odd. "And why aren't you wearing your boots?!"
Geoffrey shrugged seemingly unconcerned with the state of his soggy silver and green striped socks and numb toes. Harry's face drained of color and he felt torn. Half of him wanted to chase Geoffrey in doors, while the other wanted him to stay just where he was so Snape's worst fears weren't confirmed and he'd find himself flat on his back on the unforgiving ground.
"Geoffrey," Harry sighed. He glanced up at Snape again just to make sure he wasn't going to suddenly fall or something equally unpleasant. "Go put them on please."
"I don't wanna," Geoffrey said glumly.
Harry sighed again. "Geoffrey."
"NO! You…you can' tell me what to do! You're not my daddy, Uncle Harry!"
"GEOFFREY LIAM MALFOY."
Even Harry jumped at the roar from the top of the ladder; he had almost forgotten that roar still existed, not having been on its receiving end for many, many months.
"I sorry, Uncle Sev'rus!" Geoffrey cried and ran into the house. Harry winced when the door slammed shut, sending snow off the roof and onto the ground. Harry cast a worried look up at Snape to see the greasy haired man was now glowering at him.
"It's not my fault," said Harry before he could curb his tongue. His eyes grew wide as he realized what he had said.
"I know that you imbecile," Snape snarled and Harry had the good grace to look ashamed. He barely heard the sigh before the next cold but less angry statement, "I'm coming down the ladder."
Harry nodded and held the ladder steady as Snape came storming down the metal contraption. Harry flinched as Snape brushed past him and stomped towards the house.
"Severus," Harry called softly, letting go of the ladder reluctantly.
"What is it, Potter?" Harry looked up and wondered if it was a good or bad thing that Snape wasn't facing him. Snape's tone had betrayed nothing of what he was thinking.
"It's not my fault," he repeated, this time with a bit of heat behind it.
Snape reluctantly turned around and Harry pursed his lips. "What are you talking about?"
"You didn't have to rig up the lights."
"You nitwit. Of course I had to." Snape's snort actually formed a cloud of white fog in front of him. Harry hadn't really been consciously aware of how cold it was, but that could also mean he was numb to it. Snape had his arms folded across his chest in an unamused fashion.
Harry arched a brow in a fair imitation of the man in front of him. "No. I said I would, but you insisted on doing them. Hell, I didn't even know you had a fear of heights, and yet, you insisted on putting them up yourself."
"You never would have done them right," Snape derided and, without giving Harry a chance to do anything but gape at the man in righteous indignation, he turned with a flare and finished stomping into the warm house. Harry stared after him in shock, which slowly turned into confusion then even slower as he moved to take down the ladder it became amusement.
Harry chuckled under his breath as he took his wand out of his pocket and began to string up the lights the way he had intended on doing the entire time. He never even knew where Snape got it into his head to do it the muggle way and he supposed he never would either.
The third thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me: Hangovers
"You're a piss poor excuse for a…a…"
Harry snorted into his glass of scotch, watching Snape as he swayed for a moment.
"You're drunk," Harry pointed out kindly.
"And you're not," Snape returned looking like he might pitch forward off his armchair. Harry had to wonder if the last two days really had been bad enough to warrant the excessive amount of alcohol going into Snape's system.
Harry snorted at the attempted leer forming on Snape's face. "Someone has to make sure Geoffrey doesn't torch the house tomorrow."
"Bloody fat lot of good you being sober does in this."
Harry looked at Snape oddly for a moment and decided not to touch that statement with a very long extremely pointy stick. Usually it was he who said the odd things while drunk and if Snape suddenly decided that the ceiling was pretty and he should count his socks then Harry knew he'd have to knock him out, if only to save him the embarrassment of having to recall every last thing the man told him.
"Of course not," Harry soothed, swirling his drink pensively. He curled his feet under his bottom and lounged against the armrest. A fire crackled in the grate and a few stray embers spit out onto the hearth. He gazed at them peacefully as they glowed for a few moments before dying. Snape wasn't making any noise, which either meant he had passed out or was drinking again. Harry turned his head back towards the older man and his eyes widened minutely. It turned out Snape wasn't doing either of those things, no he was gazing at him with a starved expression, that made Harry flush.
"You really are drunk," Harry said mirth bubbling up from the pit of his stomach.
"You said so yourself, Potter. Do you really doubt you capability of observation?"
Harry had half a mind to tell him he got that backwards and said it wrong. That he was supposed to make it an insult and not a sly encouragement and a stray bit of comfort.
"You are going to be unbearable in the morning, you know this right? and I am not going to take care of you this time."
"What do you mean 'this time'? There haven't been any other times."
Harry snorted and took a deep gulp of his drink before placing the glass on the side table with a clink. "That you remember," he whispered, picking up his wand that he had left beside him.
Snape chuckled darkly when Harry aimed his wand at him. With a deep sigh, Harry cast a stunner at the man and watched him slump backwards onto the couch. Harry glanced towards Geoffrey's closed bedroom door, hoping Snape's loud voice hadn't woken up the five-year-old.
He carefully levitated Snape up off the chair and through the hall to his bedroom. As gently as possible, he lowered the inebriated man down onto the bed and tugged the covers out from beneath him. Harry tilted his head to the side with a small smile as he tucked Snape in and pressed a kiss to the man's brow. There would be hell in the morning.
"UNCLE SEV!!!!" Geoffrey yelled racing across the hardwood floors of the house to the kitchen. Harry winced in sympathy as Snape cradled his head in his hands, his long greasy hair falling across his face. No words had passed between the two men that morning because they were unnecessary. A Snape with a hangover was not someone you wanted to trifle with and Harry had learned that lesson fast. However, Geoffrey was only five and blonde, not that it was any excuse, but he didn't know not to be loud.
Snape growled low in his throat as Geoffrey skidded to a halt crashing into the table jerking Snape's elbows out from beneath him, almost causing the man to smack his head against the smooth surface of the table top.
"Potter, I suggest you take the brat and get it out of my sight."
Harry didn't need to be told twice and grasped Geoffrey's hand and tugged him out of the kitchen. "Come on, Geoff. We need the firewood anyways."
Geoffrey nodded morosely and held out his arms as Harry put on his jacket. He waited patiently as Harry also helped him with his boots, mittens and hat. It took less time than normal and Harry couldn't help but wonder what was on the five-year-old's mind.
As they exited the house hand in hand, Harry casually asked, "What's wrong?"
"Uncle Sev'rus hates me don't he?" Geoffrey mumbled, dark eyes downcast.
Harry stopped and turned to face the little boy. "What makes you say that, mate?"
"He yells at me, and calls me names, and…and looks at me like this!" Geoffrey scrunched up his face in what Harry assumed was an actual imitation of one of Snape's more distasteful looks.
"He doesn't hate you, Geoffrey."
"No, he doesn't. He just…doesn't know how to make his emotions known."
Harry arched a brow fairly certain the little boy had no idea what he had meant at all, but it didn't matter because his usual smile was back in place and that was all that counted.
A/N: You may or may not get days 4-12 before Christmas it depends on my computer access this weekend. Hope you enjoyed!