Light had just begun to creep over the curtains when a young Harry Potter shot up from the bed, leaving an angrily hissing snake in his wake. He immediately ran into the wardrobe and began to divest himself of his pajamas, carelessly tossing them onto the floor behind him as he rummaged through his robes.
Today was the day he had been eagerly anticipating ever since Voldemort had made him a promise two weeks ago. Harry had never been this excited for Christmas, for each Christmas Day had consisted of waking up early to serve breakfast to the Dursleys before being forced to sit quietly as Dudley opened an absurd amount of gifts. Not to mention the best present Harry ever received from his family was a train set… which Dudley had received two years earlier, destroyed, and had grown tired of.
When Harry popped back into the room he was immediately accosted by an irritated Nagini.
'Snakeling! Do not wake Nagini like that again!'
'Oh, sorry,' he responded distractedly as he glanced quickly around the room in search of his companion for the day. 'Have you seen Voldemort?'
'Nagini has not seen him as Nagini was SLEEPING until Snakeling practically threw her from the bed!'
'Merlin, I said I was sorry!'
Harry ignored whatever the overgrown snake said next as he made his way out the door and down the hall.
Voldemort? Where are you? We need to get going, Harry thought impatiently through his mind-link, hoping the other man would get the not-so-subtle hint to hurry up.
Harry? Why are you awake so early? I thought you'd be dead to the world for at least another six hours.
Ha, ha, very funny. Seriously, where are you?
Speaking with Lucius, I will meet you in ten minutes.
Harry grabbed a quick breakfast from the kitchen before heading back up the stairs.
'Where is Snakeling going?' Nagini asked when the boy entered the room; it was very unlike the boy to be awake this early.
'To the woods.'
'To get a Christmas tree of course!' He mumbled through a mouthful of buttered toast.
He headed once more into the closet and emerged a few minutes later covered head to toe. He now wore a sweatshirt, a thick wool jacket, scarf, gloves, toboggan, and an extra pair of gloves tucked in his coat pocket just in case.
Nagini burst into hissy laughter at the sight of the suddenly round boy.
'What is so funny?!'
'Snakeling looks like he just ate a very big rabbit.'
Harry frowned at the annoying snake.
"What in Salazar's name are you wearing?"
Harry glanced up at the door to see The Dark Lord looking quite amused.
"It's cold outside."
"It's not that cold."
'Snakeling is very round.'
Voldemort walked over to the boy. He pulled the hat from Harry's head, causing the uncontrollable hair to stick out even more, and began unzipping his outer jacket, "Take this off, you don't need all these cloth- sweet Merlin Harry do you really need two jackets?"
Harry batted the man's hands away, "Would you stop! I'm going outside, you all can continue to laugh or shut up and come with me."
He began to march out the door before he turned and yanked his hat out of Voldemort's pale hand. He shot the man an annoyed look before making his way down the stairs, zipping his second jacket back up as he walked out into the snow. He began trekking across the front yard towards the forest settled in the distance.
After a while he began to hear snow crunching behind him. He looked over his shoulder to see The Dark Lord himself trudging through the snow with Nagini gliding along beside him, looking none too pleased to be out in the snow. Harry took note of Voldemort's thick outer robes and wondered idly if the man's bald head was cold.
It would serve him right, he thought as he pulled his hat down lower over his ears.
Ten minutes later they crossed into the dense woods and Harry immediately began looking around, studying each tree as they went. This was the first time he had ever been able to pick out a Christmas tree, something he had wanted to do ever since he was a child- it had to be perfect.
Almost half an hour of Harry's inspection passed before either of them spoke up.
"Harry you've looked at almost every tree we have passed…"
"I have to find the right one. You could help you know."
A large evergreen caught the boy's attention and he made his way over to it. He cocked his head to the side and examined it.
"Whoa. What about this one?"
"Absolutely not," Voldemort replied.
"It's huge, Harry."
"It would never fit in the house."
"But I like it," he whined
Harry growled and continued walking.
Ok, maybe it was a little big… he admitted to himself as he imagined the top of the tree bent and crushed against the ceiling.
They continued walking, and walking, and walking, and after a while Harry glanced behind him once again and saw Nagini now perched across Voldemort's shoulders.
'You lazy serpent.'
'Nagini isn't lazy,' the snake snapped from her perch. 'Snakeling just walks too far.'
'Whatever,' Harry replied as he stopped to inspect another tree.
Voldemort leaned against the nearest tree trunk, "How much longer is this going to take?"
"I don't know."
Voldemort sighed and looked toward the sky, "At this rate it's going to be dark by the time you finish, either pick one out within the next 5 minutes or we're going without a tree."
"We need a tree though!"
"Harry…" Voldemort warned.
Harry picked up the pace as his eyes scanned the surrounding area.
He took off in a run and stopped before the perfect Christmas tree, "Come look!"
Voldemort pushed off from his own tree and walked over, "Hm, it looks fine to me, let's go."
"You hardly looked."
The Dark Lord closed his eyes for a moment and his thin nostrils flared.
"Don't get mad," Harry said.
"I'm not mad, you just require a lot of patience."
"But you like me…" Harry said with an innocent smile as he linked his arm with Voldemort's.
They stood there together and looked at the tree. It was reasonably sized and appeared healthy; it would easily last until Christmas.
"It's perfect, let's get it!"
"Are you certain?"
"You're the one who wanted to get this over with- let's just get it!"
Voldemort removed his bone wand from his robes and pointed it toward the base of the tree. A pale blue light flew from the tip of the wand and in a moment the tree was falling toward the ground. Voldemort levitated it into the air and the three companions turned and began making their way back to the manor.
"I hope you realize I don't have any ornaments to decorate this with."
Harry paused, had he really not thought of that?
"Oh, yeah, I guess Dark Lords don't really celebrate Christmas do they?"
"Hm, I guess I'll make them then," he decided.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Voldemort cast a quick charm over his robes.
The boy screeched, "Wait! Was that a warming charm?"
Voldemort didn't respond.
"It was, wasn't it? I told you its cold!"
"It is merely chilly."
"Chilly enough to use a warming charm? Just admit that I was right."
"Never. You are a wizard Harry and yet you wear Muggle clothing to keep warm. Charms were made for a purpose... how do you even walk in all those layers?"
"Well at least I'm not the one who's cold," Harry snipped, and the two fell into silence until Harry burst into laughter a few minutes later.
"What is so funny?"
"I just-" he took a breath and tried to calm himself. "I just pictured you, The Dark Lord, walking around in a bunch of thick jackets and layers in front of your followers."
Harry had to stop walking as he burst into another round of laughter at the image of Voldemort hobbling around, his bald head sticking out of a mass of sweaters.
"It's certainly not that amusing."
"Oh but it is," the boy snickered as he wiped tears from his eyes.
Voldemort continued on his way, thoroughly unamused by the boy's comments.
As Harry finally calmed himself he looked to see Voldemort in the distance. He bent down and scooped up some snow in his gloves and started running quietly toward the man. As he neared, Voldemort began to turn as he realized something was amiss. Harry took his chance and threw the snowball as hard as he could and watched as it slammed into the back of The Dark Lord's robes.
He smiled, and then he froze.
"Oh no…" he said as he saw Voldemort's red eyes light up. Harry screamed and took off running in the opposite direction. He had only taken a few steps before he felt snowballs begin to pelt him repeatedly in the back. They came with such force that he toppled over and landed face first in the freezing snow.
Harry spit out a mouthful of snow, "Stop!" He started to stand up and felt another hit him in the back of the head, "Ow! STOP!"
He could hear Nagini's hissing laughter as he lay in the snow with his hands covering his head. When it became silent for a few moments he slowly raised himself up to see Voldemort, Nagini, and the tree had all disappeared.
Harry stood to his feet and brushed the cold snow off his face. He was thankful once again that he had enough layers on to prevent him from being completely soaked and chilled, no matter what Voldemort had said.
Harry assumed Voldemort apparated back inside the house, likely fed up with Harry's childishness for the day, so Harry began walking back toward the manor alone.
He reached the front door and stepped inside and was immediately thankful for the warmth which hit his frozen face. He began stripping and throwing his wet clothes onto the floor.
Voldemort can pick them up if he wants, the jerk.
Harry had just taken his toboggan off when he was suddenly shoved harshly against the door. He felt the collar of his shirt yanked backward and screamed as something cold and wet began sliding down his back.
"Ahh!" he shouted as he fought against whatever crushed him against the door.
'Don't test me, little one,' he heard whispered in Parseltongue next to his ear.
He was quickly released and turned to see a smirking Voldemort standing behind him.
"You're such a jerk!" he said as he reached behind him and tried in vain to pull the soaked and freezing shirt away from his skin. Melted snow was slithering its freezing way down his bare back.
"Did you really think you could beat The Dark Lord in a snowball fight?" Voldemort asked.
"You cheated! You can't throw thirty snowballs into someone at once!"
"Harry, you really need to learn to use magic to your advantage…"