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A Midsummer Scarf Dream

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Harry wraps the fiber methodically in a crisp piece of wrapping paper. The paper is an obnoxious pattern with robots, which Harry charmed to move about. Draco has been obsessed with the things ever since Harry showed him Iron Giant and Laputa—'But can they think? How do they move?'

It’s Draco’s birthday this coming Tuesday.

They’ve been auror partners for three years. In that time, they’ve risen to somewhat senior positions, but due to their circumstances—fame and infamy—Robards has them taking the slow route. Harry has been fretting over his next gift for Draco since Yule. Draco and Mrs Malfoy had collected pictures and anecdotes about his parents, the Marauders, and, of all people, Snape for him. It was the best gift Harry had received since Hagrid’s gift in first year. Sure Harry had given him some basilisk parts from his collection in the Chamber of Secrets, but it wasn’t the same.

And as he fretted, he had continued knitting. It was a meditative practice he’d picked up from Hermione and Mrs Weasley. He’d begun with knitting scarves, then hats, then branched into crochet, and made even more warm accessories. He’d given his first—huge, lopsided, somewhat holey, blue, and really warm—scarf to Draco. That had been back in their first year as partners. Every time Harry saw the scarf since—which was nearly every day, ‘It’s warm, scarface!’—he cringed a little. So when he’d come across an obscenely soft, warm, fingering weight cashmere yarn at a craft fair in Essex in April, he’d nabbed all three deep blue skeins the woman had. He’d even met the goat and gotten a picture.

The point being, he had the skills and the materials to make Draco something rather nicer than the chunky monstrosity he insisted on wearing everyday at the office. Or at least something until he had a better idea of what to give him that would be a worthy gift. He had started knitting a 1-1 rib, and then begun wandering them in and out of each other, resulting in a subtle, if messy, bark like pattern. With the dark blue cashmere, it made for a fetching watery texture. He’d spent countless evenings knitting and brainstorming with only Kreacher as company. He’d gone through a skein by the time May came along. With only a month left, he’d begun to despair.

The wrapping ends up rather lopsided. Truth be told, while he’s a whiz in the kitchen, with yarn, or chasing criminals, he’s never gotten the hang of wrapping presents. The misshapen package sits and stares at him, the goofy, square little robots cheerily waving and dancing. Kreacher comes into the living room and leaves a plate of steamed vegetables and some chicken next the him on the coffee table. ‘Lord Half-Blood must be eating.’ He grumbles and then casts an eye over Harry’s handiwork. ‘It be’s a very nice gift for Miss Cissy’s son.’ Then he pops out, his quota of kindness obviously reached. Harry sighs and casts an eye over the scraps of paper and crumpled spell-o-tape. It’s better than when he wrapped the baby blanket for Rose. Sighing, he gets up and puts the package next to his pocket case for work tomorrow.

Midway through May, he’d realized that his problem was that Draco had grown into a practical man who had need for little, and the means to have much. Anything he needed or wanted, he could get or decide not to get. Where Harry collected trinkets and pictures from places he’d been, Draco simply stored his memories. Where Harry enjoyed soft fabrics and the fine textiles, Draco took after his godfather in his clothing choices. Even in accessories, Draco’s preference for simplicity made Harry’s two Lord rings, tie clip, silver rimmed glasses, and hair clamps seem ostentatious. Of course there was the ridiculous bulky scarf he wore, but that was because the DMLE was always kept colder than the other departments. So what could he possibly get Draco that would be a worthy gift? In late May when he was most of the way through the third and last skein, Hermione had come and visited. She’d coo’d and aww’d over the scarf and when he began pouring out his woes, she’d cut him off half way. ‘Harry, this is like sixth year all over again, this is plenty nice. Anyways, Molly sent me to bully you to dinner tonight, oh no, I know you don’t have case work, I checked with Malfoy.’

So when he’d reached the end of the yarn, and the end of the line the day before, he’d finally given up. The damn scarf would have to do.

He lays awake that night, thinking of all the ways he could have made a better scarf—should he have backpedaled and fixed that twisted stitch halfway through? Maybe a nice edging? Should he have double-knitted it? Larger? Smaller?—until he falls asleep.

Kreacher wakes him the next morning with a rousing round of 'where are my favorite boots, you thrice damned boot-polisher.' Then he’s off, case in his pocket and present held lamely in one hand as he floo’s to work. He has a moment of panic outside their office door when he wonders if he should have gotten a card too, before the door flicks open, and Draco’s voice drawls out, ‘yes, yes happy birthday to me, get in here scarface, we have a triple blood-ritual casting to trace before noon.’

Harry smiles to himself. And walks in. In a pique of cockiness from Merlin knows where, he tosses the gift at his partner with a, ‘happy birthday you silly bint, have you tried the single triangulation?’

He’s wearing that ridiculous aberration again, Harry notes. Draco catches the present and Harry nervously shuffles into his chair as he watches as Draco opens the gift.


 

Draco keeps the scarf Harry gave him in a special nook in his desk. It’s the cuddliest, warmest, and loveliest item of clothing he has ever owned to date. It’s not, per se, lovely in the traditional sense, but it is so big and drapey and singularly unique, not to mention it's Harry’s first attempt at knitting, that Draco treasures it all the same. It’s really a shawl and in the horrible icy chambers they call the DMLE, it serves as the last remaining piece of clothing between him and and arctic insanity. Not to mention the way Harry gives that fond, smiling little glare at it every time he sees it.

So when on yet another Tuesday comes along, his birthday and there is a hot case on their shared desk, he thinks nothing of wrapping it snugly around himself. They exchange banter and he finds himself smiling down at the little dancing robots on the wrapping paper. Really, how this man not been snatched up by someone, Draco will never know, he’s a precious little cream puff on the inside. He pokes a squarish waving one and it comically jumps out of the way. He huffs a laugh and then opens one side of the present. It’s not the neatest of wrapping jobs, so it takes a couple seconds for him to unravel a tangled bit of spell-o-tape. When he gets inside, there is the side of something knitted. He slides it out and stands up to hold up the most beautiful piece of fabric he thinks he’s ever held. It is roughly the same size as his shawl, but the intricacy and fiber is far superior. It is like the surface of gentle water and the flowing of waves and the eddies in magic itself. Draco brings it closer to himself and rubs it to his face. It is softer than he can believe and cozy. He looks up at Harry, who is nervously fiddling with a quill and watching him with big green eyes. He can’t help but smile at the silly man. How can he not have fallen in love with this ridiculous human.

'It’s marvelous, Harry.'

'Well, I, that is to say,' Harry blushes and looks at the quill he is methodically stripping, 'I found the yarn and thought of you, and that awful thing you’re always wearing.'

Draco clutches his shawl. 'I love this shawl, it’s my favorite.' Then he looks at Harry’s gift, 'Well, perhaps my second favorite.'


 

That little smile which lies in Draco’s soft grey-blue eyes sets his heart thumping in an alarming way. He’s only seen it a few times, and he treasures every memory of it. Literally. He has the memory of that face when he’d cleaned the blood and gore off the ruddy scarf (last time it saw the field) in his small collection at home.

In the weeks that follow, Draco wears the cashmere scarf every day. The photo of Harry and the goat—Draco still giggles at Harry’s goat friend—makes it’s home on the wall in their office. And that damn scarf disappears. Thank Merlin.

Harry doesn’t see the bloody thing for months until he goes to pick up the Malfoys—Narcissa and Draco—for a trip to the muggle zoo. When he opens the door, Draco has it wrapped around his shoulders over his casual suit. Harry sighs fondly and gives the blond a peck on the cheek—that is new and everything Harry thinks he’ll ever need—and asks after Narcissa.