Harry pulled his scarf tighter around his neck and stamped his feet. "Cold night for watch."
Ron barked a laugh. "Not colder than Russia last month. Bit warmer if you ask me."
Harry shook his head. He remembered Russia--they had been given the wrong uniforms and they'd lost several of their friends to the cold nights. Add in that they'd only received half their food supply and their company was cut in half. "At least it isn't snowing."
Ron sighed as, of course, it began to snow. "You had to say it, didn't you?"
Harry shrugged his apology. "Maybe we won't be buried under it this time?"
There was a telling silence from Ron. They stood again in silence as the world was muted, though it wouldn't last. Sooner or later, one of the sides was going to fire off another round or a canon and the entire world would be a cave that would echo back to them their own futile sounds.
"Damned that we can't use heating charms," Ron said after a time.
"Muggle war," Harry reminded him.
"Why they recruited wizards--"
"Because they thought we would use our spells and curses for them," Harry said.
"And look at what they got--wizards who are barely old enough to Apparate," Ron said. "None of us are ready."
"No one was," Harry said. The longer the war went on, the more obvious it became.
"Do you know why we're fighting this?" Ron asked after a time.
"I don't think anyone does," Harry said.
"I think it's the lords' way of deciding who gets what part of the land and resources," Ron said. "I mean, it's clear that no single country has what it needs to feed its people or fuel its cars and factories or pay its workers. This--" Ron pointed out to where they vaguely knew the enemy was. (Harry admitted he didn't know who the enemy was right now. They could be easily facing the Germans as the Russians or, for all they knew, their own allies.) "--is about who has the rights."
Ron nodded sagely. "You can bet on it."
Harry decided to think about it later. Thinking about it...only made them mad and angry. Smith had to be sent back home--shell shock the nurses said, but he'd been raving about how he refused to fight their war for them, that he wouldn't be canon fodder. He wasn't the only one.
"Hey, what's that?"
Harry followed Ron's finger to where they saw someone struggling along from the north--where there was no camp. After checking that he knew where his wand was, he lifted his gun to his shoulder. He held up his hand to Ron, ensuring that they didn't give their position away. They dimmed the lantern and crouched down. Harry kept both eyes on the figure. It seemed eternity passed, however, before the figure was close enough to be identified.
Though he'd thought it was a large man, it was a slight one, one with wings. A veela. Harry trained his gun on a wing as he remembered that it was a veela's weak point. The figure, however, looked injured already--he was stumbling and holding his side. He weaved side to side and occasionally stopped, breath misting quickly in front of his face. When he was a foot away, he stopped and took a deep breath. "Sanctuary."
"Harry?" Ron asked.
"No trace of an accent and he's injured," Harry said. "Call for the medic."
Ron left and Harry pointed with his gun for the veela to sit. "How were you injured?"
"Canon ball," the veela said. "I was flying too close to a battle."
"Why? I thought the veela weren't getting involved."
The veela sniffed. "I was curious. Satisfied?"
Harry swallowed and set down his gun. He peeked at the wound and removed his scarf. He handed it over. "Here, put this on the wound. It'll stop the bleeding."
The veela took it and did as Harry said. They sat in silence as Harry watched the surrounding area. With only him on watch, he needed to be extra vigilant. Yet he couldn't help but look at the veela. He was blond and with aristocratic features. His wings were as white as his hair and almost blended in with the snow. He looked as underfed as Harry, but his skin did not look unclean. Harry wondered why he had been near the battle even if he was curious.
Too soon, Ron had returned with two men who were carrying a litter between them. They loaded up the veela and carried him back. Harry watched them go and wondered why it felt like he was loosing something.
A week later and it seemed they would be stuck with the veela. He had been healed as best as could be done with few supplies and the medic's magic stores running low. In kind, the veela had been entertaining the men with stories and tricks. Oddly, he had requested that Harry's scarf be washed only to not return it. He kept it on his person, wrapped around his neck or worrying it in his hands. He flushed when Harry joined him and even seemed to flirt, though shyly.
Two weeks before Christmas, a few of the Muggle soldiers went out and got a tree. It was soon decorated with broken, twisted metal and parts of tin cans and whatever else was laying around. It looked odd, but cheered many of them.
"Odd this," the veela--Draco, Harry had found out--said. He was looking at the tree, head tilted. "Why this Muggle tradition?"
"Mixed company, us," Harry said. "Some of the boys were talking about taking some of the trunk on Yule and put it on the fire."
"Why mix Muggles and wizards?" Draco asked.
"Some strange idea," Harry said. "Like most of this war, it's a mystery."
Draco turned to Harry. "Why do you fight?"
"Well, as I said--" Harry stopped when Draco shook his head.
"No, what I mean is, why do you fight it?" Draco asked.
Harry sighed. "None of us have a choice. All of us--Muggle and wizard--received a letter telling us to report for training. Some tried to run, but they were tracked down." Harry shuddered. "Nothing good comes of running."
"So you don't want to fight it?" Draco asked.
"If I knew it was being fought for a good reason, maybe I wouldn't mind. But this..."
"You're destroying each other." Draco pressed closer. "You do know that, right?"
Harry nodded. He stared down into his watered coffee. "I don't think the other side knows why we're fighting either."
"Ron thinks it's something to do with the lords and ladies and the kings and queens."
"Do you believe that?"
"I'm not sure what to believe."
Draco put his hand on Harry's arm and Harry looked up at him. "I wish you didn't have to."
Harry half smiled and put his hand over Draco's. "Thanks."
"Why doesn't he give you the scarf?" Ron asked the next day.
Harry looked up from his sad breakfast. "What?"
"Well, it isn't his," Ron said, "and he doesn't need it. Why keep it?"
"Dunno." Harry unerringly found Draco who was helping Cook hand out breakfast. "It's fine, though. I mean...if he wants to keep it, I'm okay with that."
Ron gave Harry a funny look. "You've been spending a lot of time with him."
Harry felt his cheeks flush. "So?"
Ron looked around them and leaned close. "You don't--fancy him, do you?"
Harry coughed. "What?"
"I haven't seen you this besotted since Charlie."
Harry rubbed the back of his neck and looked over at Draco again. Biting his lip and remembering their conversations, Ron might have a point. "I suppose...I might?" Draco turned and caught Harry's eye. He blinked and then smiled. Harry's stomach flip flopped. "Yeah, I do."
Ron sighed. "Just what we bloody need. You do know what the veela do, right? If they find a mate, they take them away to their settlement and the mate is never heard from again."
"That's a legend, Ron. Justin's husband is a veela and he's here, serving with us."
"The Hufflepuff you picked on in school? The scrawny blond kid?"
Ron's eyebrows raised. "That Justin? Huh. Still, Harry--there's a war on! You know the rules!"
Harry stared at Draco again. "I know. I know."
They received their marching orders two days later. That evening, Draco began saying goodbye to the company. Harry watched, despondent. Ron nudged his shoulder. "Maybe he'll kidnap you." Despite his teasing tone, he sounded sad.
"Can't," Harry said. He threw a grin at Ron. "Who'd save your scrawny arse if I left?"
Someone coughed. They looked up. "Sorry to interrupt, but I'd like a word with Harry, if I could," Draco said.
Ron rolled his eyes and stood. He cast a look at Harry and then straightened his shoulders. With a cold look in his eyes, he said, "You can't have him yet. We need him here--he's one of our best fighters. I need my best mate at my back. But after this war is done...if you hurt him, in any way, I will kill you."
Draco nodded. "Understood."
Ron sniffed. "Good. Now, go on, give him a kiss and be on your way."
Draco and Harry both flushed and Ron walked away with a grin. Harry stood. "So, you're leaving."
"Veela are neutral," Draco said. "We don't fight wars."
"I'm going to miss you." Harry shuffled his feet, nervous.
Draco smiled and stepped closer. "I will miss you, too. Very much." He licked his lips. "Thank you for saving me."
"Couldn't let a man die on my watch."
"A very good moral to have."
Silence fell as they each wondered what to do now. Someone shouted to Harry and Harry sighed. "I've got to go--another battle."
Draco's eyes filled with tears. "Please, don't get yourself killed."
Harry cupped Draco's cheek. "And don't you get yourself killed trying to watch over me."
Draco grabbed Harry's lapels and they kissed, messily and sticky and absolutely wonderful. When they pulled apart, they were breathing heavily. "That...will keep me warm through this war."
Draco smiled. "Good. Don't forget me." With a soft kiss, he was gone. Harry sighed, running a hand through his hair.
Two Years Later
Harry leaned back with a grin. The sun was warm and there was strong tea and he was home. England. Beside him, Ron burped. "Good to have Mum's cooking again."
"You've done nothing but eat since we got back," Harry teased.
"They starved us over there!" Ron said hotly.
Harry shook his head and took a sip of his tea. "We survived."
"Harry!" Ginny came running toward them, hair steaming behind her. "There's someone here to see you."
"Who?" he asked.
"He didn't say," she said as she stopped. She bent forward on her knees, gasping for breath. In her hand was a scarf. "He...said this...was for...you."
Harry stood so quickly his tea spilled. Ron swore, but Harry was only focusing on the scarf. He grinned and ran back to the house. He ignored Ginny calling for him and slammed his way into the house. There, accepting a cup of tea from Mrs. Weasley, was Draco.
"Only one sugar," he was saying. "Best for my waistline."
"Oh, pooh," Mrs. Weasley said. "You're too thin."
"Draco," Harry breathed.
Draco turned to him with a blinding smile. "Harry."
Harry crossed the room in a few strides and was pulling Draco him for a deep kiss. He pulled away and wrapped the scarf around Draco's neck. "This is yours."
Draco chuckled and wrapped his arms around Harry's back. "And so it is. So, that war--I'm told it's over."
"I don't suppose then that you'd fancy a trip...north? The settlement is warm, I promise you."
"I think I might like that."
"So," Mrs. Weasley said. "I take it you won't be staying, Harry?"
He turned to her, feeling slightly guilty. "I...no."
She smiled. "Good. But before you go, you will both stay for dinner--we need to get to know your young man."
Harry flushed. "Draco, this is my adopted mum."
"So she said." Draco winked at her. "In-laws. I can deal with that."
"Good. We'll have to visit often."
"Please," Mrs. Weasley added.
"I wasn't proposing you move up North, Harry," Draco said.
"But--that's where all the veela live," Harry said.
"Some don't," Draco said. "I like this climate and culture, you know. I think I could live here."
"It's your home."
Draco pulled Harry down for another kiss. "It doesn't matter where we live, you know."
"Funny--I was thinking the same thing."
"Enough!" Mrs. Weasley said. "I just put out a pot of tea and you both need to eat something!"
"Did I hear something about food?" Ron asked as he entered the kitchen with his sister.
"Oh, you!" Mrs. Weasley clucked. She had a sandwich made in seconds. "Here. Bottomless pit, honestly. Does Hermione know about this?"
"I've told her," Harry said. He sat down and picked up a biscuit. Draco sat next to him, but pulled his chair closer.
"Good," Mrs. Weasley said. "Now, we're here so I can ask questions--where did you two meet?"
Harry and Draco shared a grin. "Well, it was Christmas..."
Christmas Eve, that year
"Harry, why is there a tree in our living room?" Draco yelled.
"I like the tradition!" Harry yelled back. He finished the tray for their dinner and carried it into the living room. He stopped and took in the sight of Draco laying on the hearth rug, the fire lighting up his skin. With just them in the house, Draco had his wings out and they fluttered sometimes.
"Oh, food!" Draco reached out eagerly.
Harry chuckled. "You do like English food, don't you?"
"There's nothing wrong with it," Draco pouted.
"Most don't like it," Harry teased.
"Must be because I have an English mate, then," Draco said with a smirk.
Harry set the tray down and kissed Draco. "Mm. This was a good idea."
"Just us before the craziness? Yes, I agree." Draco returned the kiss. "Is that where you picked up your love of the holiday?"
"Mm, yes," Harry admitted. "Arthur loves all things Muggle."
Draco rolled his eyes and popped a slice of orange in his mouth. He moaned. "Good trade this year."
"Good thing the trade lanes are open," Harry corrected.
"There are rumors that some aren't happy in Berlin," Draco hedged.
"Maybe," Harry said. "No matter. I fought once, I'm not going back."
"Good." Draco rolled onto his back and stretched. Harry eyed his body and his cock stirred in his pants. Draco eyed him with a glint of hunger. "You've been working a lot."
Harry coughed. He couldn't get distracted--not yet. He bit his lip as he pulled out the simple box. "Draco--"
"What is that?" Draco was suddenly wide eyed as he sat up.
"A human tradition," Harry said. "I was working all those extra hours for this. So I could pay for it." He opened the box. "Draco, will you marry me?"
Draco looked at the ring--a thick band of silver on which sat a pearl surrounded by a few diamonds--and then at Harry. His face broke into a grin and he tackled Harry. "Yes! Oh, a hundred times, yes!"
Harry laughed and slid the ring onto Draco's finger. They kissed and then Draco pulled away to look at the ring again. "How did you find this? This is--the war--Harry--" His eyes were filled with worry.
"Hush," Harry said. "My parents left me a bit--I used only a little of it and then the extra from my work to pay for it."
Draco sighed and looked at the ring again. He moved his finger, making it twinkle. "Thank you."
Harry nuzzled his neck. "Happy holidays."
"Happy holidays, love." Draco pulled Harry down, kissing him, until they were flat on the rug. His wings fluttered out of the way, reaching up to frame Draco. Harry moved the tray out of the way as they began to remove their clothes. He found the pot of lube and prepared his fiance (fiance!). Draco wiggled, legs open and eyes begging. Harry set the pot aside and lifted Draco's legs onto his shoulders. He pushed in with a groan, the wings fluttering, and stopped when he was in all the way.
Draco whined. "Why'd you stop?"
"Need a moment," Harry said. "Otherwise this will be over too soon."
Draco's head fell back. Harry rubbed his chest and tugged a few times on Draco's cock. Draco tightened inside and Harry bit his lip, eyes closed. When he opened his eyes, Draco was watching him. A quick kiss and a stroke down one of Draco's wings--which shuddered at his touch-- and Harry was grabbing Draco's legs. He set a fast pace, leaving little room for either of them to properly breath. Draco lifted his arms above his head and laid his palms flat on the floor, bracing himself so he could push against Harry whenever he pushed in.
"Fuck, where'd you learn that?" Harry gasped.
Draco giggled and Harry groaned--gods, that felt amazing. He slowed down when he felt his orgasm creep up only to start again when he gained his breath back. He kept them both on the brink, wanting it to last. As they went on, Draco's wings moved until they were nearly wrapped around Harry's back, tickling him and arousing him in the same breath. He closed his eyes and licked his lips; when he opened them, Draco was pleading with his eyes.
"Please, Harry," Draco begged. They were both covered in sweat and Harry longed to lick it from Draco's neck--it was the tastiest part of Draco, in his opinion.
Harry twisted his hips and pulled on Draco's cock at the same time, making Draco scream and spill over onto his stomach, wings stretching up. Harry swore as his own orgasm washed over him. The wings disappeared as the stars exploded behind Harry's eyes. He fell to the left of Draco who rolled onto his side and threw an arm and a leg on Harry. "That...was...brilliant."
Harry lifted Draco's hand--the one with the ring--and kissed it. "Thank you."
"I would have married you in France," Draco whispered.
"You loved me then?"
"My keeping your scarf wasn't an indication?"
"Is that what that was?"
Draco nuzzled his chin. "You smelled...amazing."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Well...that..."
"Mm, don't think about it. Just know that I wanted you since you rescued me."
"It's good to not be the only one."