Chapter 1: Snowstorm
The sweet smell of hot cocoa and fresh ginger cookies filled the kitchen as Harry sat down by the old, worn table, sighing in contenment as he looked out of the small window over the sink, watching the storm that was brewing outside of his warm, softly lit kitchen as evening bagan to set over London. He shivered, glad he didn't have anywhere he had to be that day. This year, he'd gotten all of his Christmas shopping out of the way as soon as sales started. This year, he had more exciting things to worry about.
There was less than a week until Christmas, and Harry was already ready for his first time hosting a Christmas party. He's been living in no.12 Grimmauld Place for a little over three years now, and this year, after finally finishing the last touches in turning the old, gloomy house into an inviting home, after the trials were over and the wizarding world was finally ready to find some sense of normalcy, he's decided it was his turn to host, as a way of saying thank you to the Weasleys for all the years they've been treating him as family.
Taking a sip out of his steaming mug, Harry closed his eyes, savouring the sweet, hot drink that settled in his stomach, warming him from the inside. Three years. Voldemort was gone for three years. Things were finally starting to look normal. The ruins and the demage that were left in his wake were slowly being fixed and rebuilt. It seemed like everything was falling back into place, but Harry, who had the misfortune to always find himself in the middle of a mess, knew it was just a facade.
Right after the war, the Ministry was in a frenzy. Desperate as always to present a functional front, every person who had anything to do with the war was brought into questioning, and more than a few of the cells in Azkaban - now far more tolerable without the dementors there to keep guard with inhuman torment - were filled with people who were not at any fault. Harry, on his part, had done his best to spare as many of them a life in prison as he could by providing his statement as the Boy-Who-Lived, testifying for those who did not deserve such harsh punishment.
One of those he spoke for, was Draco Malfoy.
Harry sighed, dipping the tip of his pinky into his hot cocoa and licking it off absenmindedly, thinking of the Malfoys' trials. It was one of the cases where even his testimony had not been enough, even with everything he told the aurors about that day at the manor, and how he would have never been able to end the war if it wasn't for Draco Malfoy and the courage he found to defy Voldemort as he had. Draco Malfoy was still thrown into Azkaban along with his parents, but the sentence had been so short and petty, Harry knew it was only set in place to serve as an example. He remembered the way those troubled grey eyes found his as Draco was led out of the room, and, amongst the resignation and the shame he saw in them, there was also a hint of wonder as they nodded at each other, and gratitude.
Harry shot a glance at the cooling tray of freshly baked cookies, and bit his lip. It wasn't all that bad, he thought. He'd heard Malfoy and his mother have been released a few months ago, and while the public's attitude towards anyone who was associated with Voldemort and his Death Eaters was less than favorable, at least he was free. Harry has been thinking about contacting him, some part of him desperately wanting to talk to him in person, if only to return the wand that was resting in the plain wooden box in the back of Harry's nightstand drawer. But Harry didn't know how.
Harry shook his head. There was no use thinking about such gloomy thing right now. It was almost Christmas, and he should be in a festive mood, make preparations for the party, and bake more cookies. His gaze landed on the tray on the counter once more. It was true that they've been meant for the party, but... surely, one cookie wouldn't hurt, right?
After a few more minutes of a much lighter internal arguement, the younger voice in Harry's head that didn't get to enjoy a lot of sweets - or any kind of food - as a child won, and the chair scraped noisily against the wooden floor as Harry got up. He barely managed to stretch a greedy hand toward the cooling tray when a loud knock coming from his front door made him jump, like a little boy caught with his hand inside... well.
A little embarrassed at his reaction, Harry gave the sweet smelling cookies one last, forlorn glance, before he pouted to himself with a quiet grumble and moved out of the kitchen to answer the door.
There was a louder, more inssintant knock on the door, and Harry frowned, quickening his pace. He didn't know who it could be. Ron and Hermione were still away on their honeymoon, although they did promise to come back in time for Christmas. Ginny lived far enough that she would never come through anything but floo, and George... well, George has never been quite as social as he'd been before the war. There was no one Harry could think of that would bother him that late, and years of standing on guard made him draw out his wand, holding it in a ready position, just in case.
Another loud knock, more desperate than the ones before, and Harry tensed, his hand squeezing the knob. He tightened his hold on his wand, took a deep breath, and opened the door.
A gust of freezing wind blew into the house when the door flew open, bringing swirling snowflakes and wet leaves with it. But Harry barely even noticed. Because in front of him, stood Draco Malfoy.
A shivering Draco Malfoy.
Draco Malfoy... with a bruise on his cheek.
"What-" Harry started, but then, two stormy grey eyes lifted up to meet his own, and he couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Potter," Malfoy said, and his voice was hoarse and more defeated than Harry had ever heard it, and Harry's chest tightened as he thought, This isn't right.
"I'm sorry." Malfoy whispered. "I just... I didn't know where else to go."
Chapter 2: Carnival
I own nothing.
"Don't let go of my hand."
Harry smiled, watching his husband slender fingers close around their six years old son's much smaller ones when he finished fixing Scorpius's winter cloak and straightened up. As if feeling Harry's gaze on him, Draco turned his head around, raising a teasing eyebrow as he caught his eye.
"Like what you see, Potter?"
"How is she?" Draco asked then, the flirty glint in his grey eyes softening a little as he nodded at the bundle of tiny blankets in Harry's arms. Harry lifted one corner of the thick, warm blanket, peering inside with a gentle smile.
"Still sleeping." He said, adjusting his hold of the one and half year old baby girl who was softly snoring into his chest. "I hope she would wake up in time, but I'm not gonna risk a screaming fit in the middle of the carnival."
Draco winced. "Yeah, better not." He agreed. For such a tiny little girl, their little Pavo had very strong lungs, as the two of them soon learned. Scorpius, for all of his very Malfoy-ish attitude and slightly spoiled nature - being a treasured first child to two doting dads had its perks - was a very docile baby. Nothing had prepared them for all the sleepless nights and headaches that came with having a crankier baby. Pavo was a handful, but then again, so was Draco. Harry was used to it.
Making sure their daughter was once again protected from the cold winter evening, Harry turned his attention back to his son and husband. With one last touch-up to the fluffy earmuffs on Scorpius's blond head, the small family made its way towards the source of all the noise and music. Scorpius's eyes lit up in excitement when the sound of delighted screams of other children reached his ears, and he pulled on his father's hand, eager to join the festivities.
"Dads, hurry up!" He chirped excitedly, jumping up and down with pent up energy. Harry laughed.
"The rides won't go anywhere, sweetheart." He said, but his words fell on deaf ears as Draco found himself being dragged by a six year old.
Harry had no choice but to follow.
Past the gates, Harry was suddenly glad he was the one in charge of Pavo. The little girl was still sound asleep, allowing Harry to look around him and enjoy a hot cup of apple cider as he watched his husband trying to keep up with their overexcited, sugar-high son. Scorpius was pulling Draco this way and that, forcing him to try out all the unfamiliar muggle rides and booths his wide grey eyes landed on.
Harry laughed quietly to himself as Draco turned around helplessly, his gaze falling on Harry who was calmly sipping his cider while leaning against the side of a cheerfully lit booth. His eyes narrowed in annoyance at the impish grin Harry shot him over the rim of the cup, and Harry wriggled his fingers over the blanked in greeting, eyes twinkling with amusement.
"Having fun?" He called, snorting at the murderous look he received in return.
A small noise came from somewhere around his chest, and Harry looked down, sliding some of the blanket off to reveal a mess of dark hair, sleepy eyes and a tiny, pouting mouth. His grin quickly softened into a warm smile and he put aside his paper cup, moving to adjust the blanket better around his now awake daughter who was blinking at him owlishly, looking about at the joyous carnival around her in confusion.
"Good morning, little bird." Harry cooed, moving Pavo to rest on his hip so she could look around better. "Did you have a good nap?"
Pavo made a small snuffling noise, resting her head on her father's shoulder sleepily, and nodded. Harry stroked a thumb over her cheek.
"What do you say we go find Daddy and Scorpius?" He asked, receiving another silent nod. He wasn't worried about the lack of verbal response, already used to his daughter being less talkative and more cuddly right after waking up. He felt her tiny hand playing with the collar of his sweater, and moved a corner of the blanket up to protect it from the cold evening air.
"Daddy!" Scorpius squealed when he saw his father approaching, abandoning the booth where Draco was just teaching him how to aim at a bottleneck with a few plastic rings. "Daddy, look! Daddy just won us a big scary tiger!" He chirped, pointing at the stuffed animal that his father was holding. Harry smiled down at him.
"That's brilliant," he nodded in agreement. "Daddy is, after all, very good at aiming."
Draco made a small, strangled noise.
"Anyway," Harry continued, grinning as if he didn't hear anything. "Look who just woke up. What do you say we go get something to eat? I'm sure there are a lot of sweets you haven't managed to put your little hands on."
Scorpius nodded eagely, pushing his plush tiger into Harry's free hand.
"Here," He said, grinning at his father. "For Pavo."
Chapter 3: Yule
"You look nice."
Harry, who was standing right by the outer doors to the great hall where not many eyes would find him turned around, already smiling, and took in the sight of Draco Malfoy who was coming down the stairs to join Harry where he stood under the snow-covered Christmas trees, hiding in the shadows. Draco had always looked good, always kept his hair meticulously styled and his clothes spotless. But right then, dressed in his elegant grey and black dress robes that hugged his body just right, and with his hair moderately slicked and parted in one side, allowing soft silver-blond strands to fall over his eyes, he looked more than just nice. He looked outright handsome, breathtaking, and Harry found himself blushing when he realized Draco was assessing him the same way, an appreciative eyebrow rising delicately.
"Thanks," Harry smiled, rubbing the back of his neck, hoping his face didn't look as heated as it felt. "You look really n-nice, too."
"I know." Draco smirked, stopping right in front of Harry, who all of a sudden was no longer embarrassed, but fondly exasperated as he rolled his eyes.
"Of course you do." He smiled, then leaned in to steal a chaste kiss, doing his best not to mess Draco's hair or robes as he did value his life at least a little. He glanced at where Professor McGonagall was standing talking to the rest of the champions and their dates. Taking a deep breath, he looked back at his boyfriend. "Are you sure about this?"
Draco nodded, moving to stand on Harry's side before taking his arm. His hand squeezed briefly over Harry's wrist, and when he looked into his eyes there was no trace of teasing in them, but determination andlove. "Yes, I am." He said with confidence Harry hoped was real, allowing his trademark smirk to stretch his lips once more. "Now, let's go break some hearts, Scarhead."
The first dance went as well as Harry had expected. He had only stepped on Draco's toes twice, and tripped just that one time where they had to do a twirl. The stunned, bewildered buzz of the scandalized Hogwarts students - and some of the staff, too - that had followed them from the moment they had stepped into the great hall until halfway through the first dance had subsided by now to the occasional murmur and pointed looks whenever he and Draco had to spin near the edge of the crowd. It was a better reaction than he had expected, really, and yet... he was yet to find Ron's eyes in the crowd, avoiding looking anywhere but at Draco for the entire dance and knowing full well that his best friend was definitely going to throw a fit at him showing up to the Yule Ball with none other than Draco Malfoy as his date.
No one knew they were dating. After the events of the summer and the mess during the Quidditch World Cup, Draco had what could only be called a paradigm shift. Seeing first hand what following in the footsteps of his father truly meant, Draco slowly began to question everything he had learned about the Dark Lord since childhoon. No longer able to look away, he started changing his mind about the ideals his father had taught him to believe in, and it was inevitable that he had eventually made his decision, and sought out Harry Potter for guidance and advice. With blood-purity and animousity making room for understanding and friendship, it didn't take long for the two of them to get closer.
It was sometime before Harry's first task, while they were sitting alone in a hidden corner of the library and looking for ways for Harry to defeat a fully grown dragon that Draco had had enough, closed the book he had in his lap and pulled Harry in for their very first kiss.
They had hidden their growing relationship from the rest of the school. At first, it was because Harry didn't even have anyone to tell, as Ron was not speaking to him and Hermione had too much to worry about to pay him any attention. They enjoyed the secrecy at the beginning, found the challenge to be thrilling... but as the Yule Ball approached, Draco decided it was time to tell the world - and his father - and asked Harry to be his official date. Harry had agreed.
"Harry Potter, honestly!" A shrill voice cried behind him when he finally managed to sneak off the dance floor and away from the still whispering voices and judgemental looks, pulling Draco into a quieter corner where the music wasn't so loud. He turned around with a sheepish smile to face a very peevish Hermione who was glaring at him with fire burning in her brown eyes, a few strands of her carefully constructed hair getting loose and in her face as she crossed her arms over her chest. Ron was standing behind her, staring at his best friend and their - former - blond nemesis, his face a mask of disbelief.
"Sorry." Harry smiled shyly, but he wasn't really sorry at all. He watched as Hermione struggled to stay mad, but eventually her fundamental curiousity won, and she puffed up her chest, tapping her shoe. She looked like she was going to launch into a full-blown interrogation, and Harry held up his hand, aware of the many looks and ears that were still focused on them.
"I'll tell you everything later, okay?" He said in an appeasing tone. "Not here."
Hermione looked like she was going to argue further, but then her arms dropped to her sides and she took a deep breath, nodding her agreement. "Fine. But I want all the details!" She said firmly. Harry smiled.
"You bet." He said, his eyes now turning to his best friend, who was still standing slightly behind Hermione and still hasn't said a word. "Ron?" Harry tried, his fingers curling around Draco's, hidden from sight under their long, wide sleeves. He looked at his best friend nervously, the person whose reaction he was dreading the most. "Are you alright?"
"So," He said slowly."In your mind, you consider that a good way to come out?"
Relief washed over Harry, and he couldn't stop the grin that stretched his mouth as he met Ron's blue eyes and saw them flashing with jest.
"That's all Draco, to be honest." He shrugged. "I'm just here for the ride."
Chapter 4: Wiltshire
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Harry whispered as he hurried to match his boyfriend's - fiancé, he reminded himself, his stomach doing a giddy flip at the thought - long steps while trying not to slip on the icy pavement that led to the grandest house he's ever seen.
He'd only been there once before, and he couldn't say the memory was a fond one. Some of his nights were still haunted by the echo of Hermione's screams, and the memory of burying Dobby so soon after. Those were the nights he allowed Draco to comfort him, let his arms soothe away the fear and his kisses to remind him that even then, in the midst of all the horror and pain, Draco was still protecting him the best he could.
The snow crunched under Harry's feet, his gaze distractedly falling to watch the footprints they were leaving in the snow as his mind replayed the memory of nightmares again and again, the echoes of fear swirling in his mind like the snowflakes that had stopped falling a while ago.
Harry startled out of his thoughts as Draco suddenly stopped walking, causing Harry to almost bump into him. Draco's gloved hand found his and gripped it tight, pulling Harry to his side, lowering his face to press his nose against messy black hair. "Stop." He murmured into Harry's ear, his breath damp and warm against his cold skin.
"Sorry." Harry mumbled back, even when Draco's shook his head in response.
"Don't." He said quietly, pressing a kiss into Harry's temple. "I know you don't like this," He continued in the same low tone even though they were the only people still outside, having arrived so late at the Christmas Ball the Malfoys were hosting, the first they'd dared to have since the war ended. "But we need to do this, and mother truly wishes to meet you, preferably before the wedding. Officially, that is."
"And your father?" Harry asked. He hadn't seen either of the senior Malfoys since the end of the war. The trials didn't leave much room to socialize, especially between convicts and witnesses. Lucius Malfoy had only recently been released from his three-years sentence in Azkaban, and Draco's mother had used the opportunity to both reintroduce the Malfoy family back to society, and to persuade her son to bring his boyfriend to finally meet his parents.
"Father would just have to deal with it." Draco said firmly, wrapping an arm around Harry's shoulders as he led them towards the marble stairs, his lips twitching into a smile as he felt Harry's arm sneaking in return to grab him by the waist. "He knows he doesn't stand a chance against both Mother and me."
Harry snorted, feeling some of the tension ease from his shoulders. No matter what would happen tonight, at least he knew Draco would stay by his side the whole time.
"A word alone, if you please, Mr. Potter."
The colour left Harry's face as the sound of Narcissa Malfoy's calm voice, his panicked green eyes shooting up to search Draco's for help. Unfortunately, Draco was far too busy trying to wave off a wealthy Ministry pet who was trying - quite rudely, considering Harry's presence not even three meters away - to introduce his single, available daughter to Draco.
Traitor, Harry thought vehemently as he felt Narcissa's delicate hand close over his arm.
"Shall we?" She asked sweetly, her grey eyes, while not quite cold as Harry knew they could be, were still watching him in a calculating manner, as if trying to strip him down to his very soul.
"Y-yes, of course." Harry nodded politely, swallowing his panic and giving his fiancé one last desperate glance before accepting his fate and allowing Narcissa Malfoy to lead him as she pleased.
The grand doors closed behind them, the sound of cheerful music and the buzz of chatter dulled by the large oak doors as they stepped outside onto the snow-covered front porch. Harry allowed Narcissa to take him towards the back, where the noise from inside was muffled to a low hum. She sat down on one corner of a small, ornate bench, gesturing for Harry to do the same.
"I wanted to thank you, Harry."
Harry blinked. Whatever he was expecting Narcissa Malfoy wanted taking him to such a secluded place, this wasn't it. "Excuse me?" He blurted dumbly.
Narcissa smiled, and Harry thought that a smile looked quite sweet on her regal face. When she wasn't staring at everything like it personally offended her, she reminded Harry of how Draco looked on weekend mornings, right before the day would start when he would greet Harry with a soft, still sleepy smile and a bedhead as he handed him a steaming cup of tea. It was one of his favorite things about Draco, and seeing the same smile on his mother's face made the wariness Harry was feeling melt away in an instant.
"I think you heard me, Mr. Potter." She said, her grey eyes twinkling.
"But, I don't understand-"
"You've saved this family, time and again-"
"No, it was Draco who did," Harry cut in, his ears burning in embarrassment. He didn't know how to handle the fact that Narcissa Malfoy, a woman he had only met twice and was someone Harry never considered befriending, was insistent on complimenting, praising him. "a-and you as well-"
"That was self-serving, I assure you-" Narcissa tried again, clearly amused by the flustered expression on Harry's face but unwilling to give up without a fight.
"Still, the world is safe because Draco and you refused-"
"Mr. Potter, do not argue with me!" Narcissa said firmly, her severe expression ruined by the faint smile she couldn't keep off her face. "I am trying to thank you." She drawled, sounding very much like her son when Draco was looking at Harry like he was an idiot, which happened more often than Harry's pride allowed him to admit.
Harry flushed. "Sorry." He murmured, looking away in embarrassment and rubbing the back of his neck.
Narcissa waved her hand in dismissal.
"In any case, I wanted to make it clear to you, Harry." She said, and there was no humour in her eyes anymore as they met his, but such a sincere and honest gratitude that Harry's breath caught in his throat, startled to see such a naked emotion aimed at him when he was least expecting it. He opened his mouth to say something, but the words died before they even reached his throat, as he felt Narcissa's warm hand covering his. "You've been considered a part of this family long before you started dating my son." She continued, and all of a sudden Harry's throat felt just a little bit tighter. "We owe you everything we have today, including our lives." Her hand squeezed his, and the soft smile on her face reminded Harry of another he had seen once in an enchanted mirror when he was only eleven year old. "I know you don't have a lot of reasons to trust us, or even like us, but I do hope that maybe someday, Wiltshire would feel like home to you, too."
Chapter 5: Hogsmeade
A really short one this time. Oop.
"You can't be serious."
"This is where you take me on our first official date?" Harry turned to the side with his arms crossed, fixing his boyfriend with a dry look.
"Really Potter, it's not like we are two blushing kids that need to impress each other with overly romantic gestures." Draco drawled, using the same dry tone. "I've already had your cock shoved in my arse. Unclench."
Harry snorted into his gloved hand, coughing as he looked around them with pink cheeks, making sure no one heard them.
"I really do hate you." He said, smiling as rubbed his nose to cover his embarrassment.
"Not more than I do you." Draco smirked, looping his arm around Harry's and dragging him into the small café he'd chosen.
The last time Harry had been to Madam Puddifoot on a date, the day had gone extremely bad. Cho and he were not compatible in the least, and with the whole Umbridge mess, it wasn't that surprising that they didn't last.
Who would have thought that three years later, with nothing worse than his eighth year's N.E.W.Ts to get through, he'd be back there with Draco Malfoy on his arm of all people, prepared to have a sweet, romantic date with the guy he'd loved even before he knew what love really was.
"I still think it's too pink." He said, just so he could say he tried, but still let Draco lead him to a small table in the corner, where a small Christmas Star sat glowing in the middle, inviting them in. Harry smiled.
Maybe this date would go slightly better than the last.
Chapter 6: Holly
"Harry, have you seen my wand?"
A blond head peeked into the Grimmauld Place living room - no longer gloomy and dusty but recently renovated and redesigned into a real home - frowning at the dark-haired man that waved a suspiciously familiar wand at their Christmas tree, making strings of red and gold to wrap around the naked branches.
Once he was certain his sticking charms would last for the next few weeks, Harry lowered his arm, turning around to look at Draco with a sheepish smile.
Draco narrowed his eyes. "That's mine, you know."
"I couldn't find mine," Harry shrugged. "And yours works just as well for me."
"Well, not all of us are masters of numerous wands." Draco huffed, marching over and stretching his palm impatiently for his wand. "Thief," he accused as soon as it was in his hand.
"If I admit to the crime, could I steal a kiss as well?"
"You disgust me, Potter." Draco sneered, but leaned in anyway.
Christmas morning found Draco still in bed, pulling a blanket over his head to block out the pale winter light and cursing Harry's awful habit of leaving the curtains open every night so he could, "Watch the stars and see you in them, Draco." as he always explained with that impish grin plastered on his face. As if Draco couldn't see right through that load of sap.
Still, Draco knew Harry had an entirely different reason for wanting to be in as an open space as possible when it was getting dark, and if he didn't want to say that out loud, Draco wasn't going to make him. He knew.
On Christmas morning though, that meant that all of his plans of sleeping in were shot as soon as the first rays of soft winter dawn lit up their dark bedroom.
He couldn't breathe under that bloody blanket. Groaning in annoyance, Draco slithered one arm out of the warmth of the covers, reaching blindly towards the nightstand where their wands were. He murmured a sleepy, "Operio," and sighed in satisfaction as faint darkness fell over the room once more. He let the wand fall onto the covers near his head, wriggling closer to Harry's warmth with a yawn and coaxing him to drape an arm around his waist.
"Did you just use my wand?" Suddenly came a sleepy mumble and a warm breath that ruffled his hair.
Draco's eyes snapped open. He blinked the sleep away, his lips parting in surprise as he watched Harry's thin hand picking up the wand from within the mess of covers, lazily rolling it between his fingers.
"I guess I did," He breathed.
"Why so surprised?" Harry asked curiously, stifling a yawn. Draco shrugged, taking the wand from Harry to turn in over in his hands.
"Just... never thought Holly would work for me. It's typically made for would-be heroes."
A hand came to rest over his, stilling his motions until he tore his eyes from the Holly and Phoenix feather wand, grey eyes shifting to the side to meet green.
"It is." Harry agreed. He plucked the wand out of Draco's hands and put it back on the nightstand before burrowing himself back under the covers and pulling Draco under with him. Draco scowled.
"Well then it shouldn't work for me. I was no hero, Potter."
"You were mine."
Draco was silent for a long moment, searching Harry's face for any sign of insincerity or an attempt to placate him, and found none. His scowl turned into a mock sneer, and he opened his mouth to say-
"You disgust me, Potter." Harry announced, and Draco couldn't stop the snort of laughter that burst out of him even as he shoved at Harry's face.
Chapter 7: Letter
"Go wash up for dinner. You're filthy." Draco ordered as soon as they stepped out of the fireplace, giving his son a pointed look as the newly eleven year old boy tried to hide his dirty hands behind his back with a sheepish smile.
"Listen to your father." Harry plucked the new maroon beanie off Scorpius's head, running his hand through the signature Malfoy silvery-blond hair. "You smell like snow and mud, you little jarvey." He smirked, pretending not to notice the way his husband glared at him as their son bolted up the stairs to clean up, already familiar with the argument that never seemed to end.
"You promised." Draco accused.
Harry laughed. "I didn't break any rules! I said jarvey, not ferr-"
"Alright, alright." Harry smiled, pushing himself onto his tiptoes to kiss the corner of Draco's frowning mouth, watching the scowl melt away. "I apologise for trying to find a loop hole in our deal. Although you really have only yourself to blame, to be completely honest. You can't expect me to be married to a Slytherin and not pick up anything."
"Excuses." Draco accused, but still sneaked an arm around his husband's waist, pulling him towards the kitchen. "Now come, you heathen. I'm starving."
Half-way through dinner, a small rapping noise came from the window, where a tired looking tawny owl was standing impatiently, clutching a thick envelope in its beak.
They all knew exactly what it was.
Nearly falling out of his seat in his haste, Scorpius jumped up excitedly, rushing towards the window to let the owl in. He snatched the envelope from the grip the owl had on it, patting it distractedly as an apology before the disgruntled bird puffed its feathers indignantly and flew to land in front of Harry, who fed it a few bits of his dinner, stroking the owl's beak.
"I've been accepted!" Scorpius cried excitedly, rushing back to the table, waving the thick, rich parchment.
"Shocking, indeed." Draco rolled his eyes, but there was a proud smile on his lips. Harry snorted.
"Don't listen to him," he said to his son as Scorpius came to present him with his very own Hogwarts letter, shuffling through the pieces of parchment to find the list of books they would need to buy. "We are very proud of you, honey."
Scorpius smiled, reading his letter again, and again... and then his smile faltered.
"Dad?" He asked, his voice an expression hesitant, but there was a sly glint in his eyes that made Harry more than a little suspicious. "When I'm Sorted..."
"Yes?" Harry asked kindly nonetheless.
"What if I'm in Slytherin?"
The words were barely out of his lips before he had to duck, squealing in laughter as he had to escape the stinging hex Draco swiftly sent his way as Harry burst into peals of laughter that perfectly matched their son's.
"This is all your fault, Potter!"
Chapter 8: Ice Skating
Short and disgusting.
"It's not that hard."
"You have to try it at least once!"
"Potter, you make me look like an idiot standing here waiting for you."
"Serves you right for dragging me here. I'm not going to go out there just to fall on my arse for your enjoyment, thanks."
Draco sighed, sliding a little backwards and twisting back, gesturing around him. "Look, there are lots of people here who can't skate, but they learn, just like you. I promise no one is going to laugh at you but me. Please?"
"You make such a compelling argument."
Draco snorted. "I know." He smirked. "You already have your shoes on, just stand up and take a step." He encouraged as he watched Harry's resolve wavering. He wouldn't say it out loud - especially now that he was on the verge of getting his boyfriend to come out of his shell - but Harry looked quite fetching with his cheeks rosy from the cold and his lower lip trapped between his teeth as he glanced around, trying to make sure no one was watching. No one was, Draco knew. That was the entire reason he'd chosen a muggle site for their Christmas vacation, where no one would recognize them. He stretched out a hand to Harry, inviting and open, and a slow grin spread on his face when Harry finally gave in and grasped it, allowing Draco to pull him to his feet and onto the ice.
"Hold on to me," Draco instructed, slowly and carefully pulling Harry with him, feeling the warm swell of pride in his stomach as Harry slid beside him, gripping Draco's arms as if his life depended on it.
"Don't let go." Harry warned, looking like a newborn fawn. Draco smiled.
Chapter 9: Glass Dragon
This is one of the drabbles the warnings in the tags refer to, please mind them.
"Open this one now," Harry grinned, handing Draco a small box, wrapped in blindly brilliant green and silver wrapping paper that made Draco raise an eyebrow.
"Now?" Draco asked, eyeing him suspiciously before looking back at the box that Harry still held out to him. "And Slytherin-themed? Honestly, Potter." He rolled his eyes, but took the gift anyway, his haughty expression somewhat softened by the tiny upwards curl of his lips.
"Just shut up and open it," Harry chided, still smiling. "I know it's not exactly traditional for Christmas Eve, but I really think you'll like it."
"If this is a prank I swear to Merlin, I am going to get Hagrid to set one of his skrewts on you." Draco threatened, sitting down on the large sofa and carefully unwrapping his present. He lifted the lid off the box and looked inside, sucking in a sharp breath.
"Do you like it?" Harry asked hesitantly, sinking onto the sofa beside him, fingers nervously playing with the hem of his left sleeve. Draco reached inside, slowly pulling out a small glass dragon figurine, completely transparent except for the light purple and silver shine it gave when the light from the fireplace hit it just right. He stroked it with a single finger, his eyes fixed in the way it nuzzled against him, its long body wrapping around his wrist like a bracelet. He looked up at Harry, his eyes unreadable. "Well?" Harry asked again, now feeling extremely self-conscious.
Draco's eyes softened, a ghost of a smile lifting the corner of his mouth. He leaned in, placing a gentle kiss on Harry's lips. "It's beautiful," he murmured. "Thank you."
"What are you thinking about?" Harry asked quietly as he burrowed himself closer to Draco's side, pulling his socked feet up on the sofa. He watched the tiny frown between Draco's eyebrows as the blond lazily played with the glass dragon, longing to reach out and smooth that frown away. Draco hummed distractedly, still staring at the squirming dragon.
"He used to whip us." He said quietly.
Slowly raising his eyes up, horrified green met grey, and Harry held his breath, not daring to move.
"Well, not with an actual whip," Draco continued in the same quiet voice, looking back at the little glass dragon that curled up inside his palm. "But he didn't need one. Every time something went wrong, or he was angry, or even when was just bored, sometimes. Mother tried to shield me from it. She always does. But when the Dark Lord wishes something to happen, there's very little someone like mother can do."
Harry closed his eyes, resting his forehead against Draco's shoulder. A heavy sigh escaped past his lips, his hand moving to curl around his boyfriend's fingers in comfort. He didn't know what to say. He wasn't even sure there was anything he could say, anything he should say. Draco'd never spoken before of the year he had spent trapped in the Malfoy manor with Voldemort and the rest of his cruel followers. Harry felt tears sting the back of his eyes, and he squeezed them shut harder.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
He didn't say it was alright. He didn't say he was fine now. He didn't say it was over. Harry already knew it wasn't.
But this was a little step in the right direction, a brief glance behind the glass, and Harry couldn't ask for more than that.
Chapter 10: Reindeer
Could be read as a sort of prequel for "Yule".
"Come on, hurry up!"
Draco felt his hand being grabbed seconds before he found himself stumbling down the uneven slope leading towards the Gamekeeper's hut. He only just managed to regain his balance when Harry's hand, still warm despite the freezing air that filled the grounds and holding fast onto his, pulled him along as the excited Gryffindor turned to look at him with a happy grin.
"For Merlin's sake, Potter, would you slow down?" Draco huffed, but the bright smile on Harry's face was infectous, and Draco could feel his own mouth twitching as Harry ignored him. "Where are you taking me, anyway?"
"It's a surprise," Was all Harry was willing to say, and still grumbling under his breath about demanding boyfriend, Draco resigned himself to a mystery trip through Hogwarts' grounds.
Despite the school being exceptionally full for the Christmas holiday due to the ball that was planned as part of the triwizard tournament celebrations, the outside of the castle was oddly empty. Draco could understand why. While the smooth snow and gleaming lights and Christmas decorations that were littering the entire castle and turning it into a beautiful winter wonderland were enchantingly appealing, the freezing cold and biting winds were enough to keep most people inside.
Draco shivered. Oh, how he wished he could still be inside.
"Ta-da!" Harry's proud exclaimation and the fact that they'd stopped walking while Draco was busy pitying himself tore him out of his thoughts and he looked up from their joined hands, blinking at the white-spotted trees that surrounded them.
"Potter," Draco said slowly. "Are we in the forbidden forest?"
Harry's sheepish, slightly guilty grin told him the answer.
"Are you mad?" Draco demanded. "Do you have any idea what sort of things live in here? Have you bloody forgotten the last time-"
"Draco, relax!" Harry laughed, cutting him off. "We are not that far in, just the fringes. In any case, I brought you here to see something." He shoved his hand into his pocket, pulling out a small brown pouch. Draco eyed him curiously.
"What is that?"
"My surprise," Harry smiled, tugging him gently. "It's supposed to be here somewhere, we just have to be quiet... there!"
Draco's eyes followed his boyfriend's line of sight, slowly widening in surprise, lips parting with a whooshing breath. Right there, in a wooden enclosure so shabby it could only still be standing by magic, were the largest reindeers Draco has ever seen.
Taller than a grown man and as fluffy as a sheep, the animals stood in a small herd, huddled together for warmth. Draco took a step forwards as Harry rummaged through his pouch, taking out a bunch of mushrooms and holding out his palm.
"Where did you get that?" Draco asked curiously, watching as a young one, still hesitant and awkward on his feet and not as large as the rest of the reindeers broke away from his herd, carefully approaching the spot the two of them stood at.
"The kitchens." Harry said, grinning as the young buck sniffed his hand and picked out a single mushroom with his long tongue. "Hagrid showed them to me last week. He said they were here for the Yule Ball. Dumbledore apparently came up with the idea of 'romantic sled rides across the grounds'." He quoted, but the way he looked at Draco was everything but cynical.
Biting his lips, Draco looked at Harry carefully. He knew what the hopeful look in his eyes meant, and he knew what Harry wanted. Deep inside, Draco knew he wanted the same.
"You want to come out at the Yule Ball?"
Harry wiped his hand on his winter cloak, moving away from the pen. He reached out to grab Draco's hand again, his fingers playing with a loose string on his boyfriend's wool gloves. "Yeah," he said slowly, his cheeks tinted with pink Draco knew wasn't from the cold. "I'm tired of hiding, I'm tired of sneaking around and stealing kisses so nobody sees. I want everyone to know and to be able to hold hands with you and kiss you whenever I want. I just want... well, you."
"Potter, you are such a bloody sap," Draco whispered, pulling on Harry's hand to close the distance between them. "No idea why, but I still like you."
"Does that mean you will ride with me?" Harry asked hopefully.
"Yeah, I guess so." Draco smiled, leaning forwards to rub his nose against Harry's. "Even though Skeeter would have a stroke, and I should probably expect a howler from my father... I do. I think it'd be really nice to be able to kiss you all the time."
The smile Harry gave him was blinding.
"Well, in that case," Harry murmured, his breath white but warm against Draco's lips. "We should probably practice."
Chapter 11: Fire
Sighing in resignation, Harry tightened the blanket around his shoulders and shuffled towards the depressing drawing room of no.12 Grimmauld Place, a steaming mug of hot cocoa cupped in his hand.
It's been two years since Harry had finally moved into his godfather's old house, after having worked very hard on making it inhabitable again and getting rid of the many dark artifacts that littered the house, surprisingly, with Kreacher's help. The war and the destruction of Regulus Black's horcrux had mellowed the old house elf, and although he was by no means a cheerful little companion like Dobby used to be, he became much more accepting of Harry and his makeshift family, and has proved himself helpful enough that Harry didn't mind his presence anymore.
And yet, despite their best efforts to get rid of the darkness in that house, there was still a certain gloom that clung to the very walls that Harry couldn't get rid of. Perhaps it was the fact that there were no living beings in the house but Harry and Kreacher - Harry still couldn't bring himself to get a new familiar after Hedwig - but there was something about the lavish, large space that was all his that made Harry feel lonelier than he'd ever been.
No, scratch that. Today was the loneliest Harry had ever felt. Today was Christmas, and while Harry would usually spend it with Ron and Hermione and the rest of the Weasleys, he couldn't this year. Ron and Hermione were still on their honeymoon, and while Molly did invite Harry to join them in Romania to visit Charlie, Harry politely declined, feeling very uncomfortable and out of place to join the family without Ron there to act as a buffer, especially after he and Ginny had broken up. Things at the Burrow has never been the same since Fred died.
Harry flopped onto his sofa with a sigh, shivering as he wrapped himself in the blanket like a burrito. A small flick of his wand had the fireplace burst into life, filling the bleak drawing room with light and warmth that his pitiful Christmas tree could not. Stretching his sock-clad feet up on the table in front of him to warm in front of the fire, he took a sip from his mug, closing his eyes as he let the hot, sweet drink fill him with what he could only call a substitute for human contact.
He didn't even manage to fully absorb himself in self-pity when his fireplace suddenly roared to life, flashing green as the flames shot up and spat a very disgruntled... Malfoy?
His dress robes were covered in soot and his usually perfectly styled hair was in disarray as the tall, blond young man stumbled out of Harry's fireplace and dusted himself off, all the while muttering to himself and ignoring Harry, who was sitting there with his mouth open and his hot cocoa threatening to spill from his loosely held cup.
Draco finally looked up, his lips pressed together in displeasure as he waved his wand over himself one last time. He scowled, crossing the room in a few brisk steps and dropping onto the sofa beside Harry with an annoyed grunt.
"Draco...?" Harry tried again, still staring dumbly as the man he'd only recently started calling a friend made himself comfortable on Harry's couch, snagging a corner of Harry's blanket to himself.
"Oh. Right." Draco said as if in an afterthought. "I forgot to ask. Is it alright if I crash here for a few nights?"
"What? Why?" Harry squeaked, hastily clearing his throat to cover the embarrassing, panicked noise.
"My parents." Draco sighed dramatically, rolling his eyes as he pulled a bit more of Harry's blanket and draped it over his lap. "I only just escaped their dooming clutch. I am lucky to be alive."
Harry snorted into his mug of hot cocoa, his heartbeat calming down now that he's somewhat gotten used to Draco Malfoy's presence in his house. "What happened?" He asked, trying to ignore the way Draco's fine hair tickled his ear as the blond leaned against him with another sigh.
"They tried - for the hundredth time - to introduce me to another pureblood girl from a nice, respectable family," he said in a mocking voice that Harry could only imagine was supposed to belong to Lucius. "They just don't get it."
"Did you tell them you l-like boys?" Harry cursed himself for stuttering, and hoped Draco didn't notice. Fortunately, Draco was so busy being offended he didn't see the pink that stained Harry's cheeks.
"Of course I did." He replied indignantly. "It doesn't matter to father, though. Mother is better about this than him, she's already accepted it by the time I turned fifteen. But father still believes in traditions."
"Well, if anyone can knock some sense into your father, it's her."
Draco nodded, the movement of his hair making Harry's nose twitch. "That's what I'm counting on." He agreed, snuggling closer to Harry, chasing away the cold. "So, can I stay here for a couple of days?" He asked quietly, looking up at Harry through dark blond lashes, looking hesitant for the first time since his sudden, bold arrival. "I'm not interrupting you in the middle of any holiday celebrations with the redhead clan, am I?"
Harry shook his head, quickly taking a sip of his hot cocoa to hide the smile he found he couldn't fight off. Draco was bold, entitled and so self-centered it still more often than not drove Harry up a wall... but for some reason, Draco, with his haughty presence and his polished shoes and his demanding air made the gloomy no.12 Grimmauld Place look just a little bit warmer, and Harry couldn't help but think that maybe, even though his entire makeshift little family was elsewhere... this Christmas wouldn't be so bad, after all.
"It's alright," Harry said, letting his cheek rest against Draco's fine hair as he pulled the blanket over them both, closing his eyes contently. "You can stay."
Chapter 12: Snowman
I like to think I'm funny.
Harry Potter was having a very unusual day.
It had started when he first left the Ministry at the end of his shift. With the holidays coming up, the Office for the Removal of Curses, Jinxes, and Hexes was flooded with people coming in with pranks gone wrong and cursed Christmas trees, and Harry was exhausted. Mrs. Gelfman was back again with another cursed necklace, this time one that made the wearer burst into Christmas carols, and Harry had to spend over three hours trying to get her to stop singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen".
Wrapping his cloak tighter around him, Harry stepped outside into the freezing afternoon, shivering a little at the cold breeze. He nodded his goodbyes to some people he knew from the DMLE, and looked around, frowning at the snowman that stood at the bottom of the outer grand staircase, surrounded by piles of snow.
Shrugging, Harry dismissed the curiously-placed snowman as an overenthusiasm of some of the more whimsical employees. It wasn't too odd to see the occasional over-festive charm blow through the different offices in someone's attempts to spread the Christmas spirit.
Harry puffed out a white breath, shaking his head. He wriggled his fingers in his cloak pocket, mentally counting the coins he had there, both muggle and wizarding. Draco had finished the last of their milk that morning, he thought, and they could definitely use some more shampoo and lotion... and Harry knew that the little shop three streets down sold Draco's favorite brand of chocolate, which would be nice to surprise his boyfriend with, later.
His mind made up, Harry made his way quickly across the busy street, passing a few more acquaintances he knew from the Ministry, and some he didn't but were still easy to spot, as wizards were still rubbish at blending in with muggles. He grinned at one elderly wizard who'd passed him by, wearing a floral apron over a navy blazer and a pair of striped pajama pants, and then paused.
There, at the turn of the street, stood a lone snowman.
"What the..." Harry muttered to himself, marching over with purpose until he stopped in front of the snowman, frowning. He stared at it, inspected it, even touched it. It was cold, somewhat hard and definitely snow, with its beady black eyes staring at him blankly over a long carrot nose. There wasn't anything abnormal about it, aside from the fact that it seemed to follow Harry. The possibility of a prank had crossed his mind, but no one he knew would do something like this. Ron was currently away on a ski vacation with Hermione in Sweden, and George... after the war, George wasn't up for as many pranks as he used to.
Frown deepening, Harry gave the snowman one more look, hesitantly stepping away from it as he found his way back to the road.
Quickly finishing his impromptu shopping trip and putting his purchases into a bag with the extra box of chocolates - "For that blond boy of yours," Mr. Greenwell said with a wink as he shoved the second box into Harry's hands with a shake of his head at Harry's flustered attempt to pay - he thanked the old shop owner once more and stepped back into the cold December afternoon.
The street outside the shop was nearly empty, as opposed to the square surrounding the front of the Ministry - disguised as an old constructions site promising to open soon - and was perfect for a small, hidden apparition point just farther down the street, which was where Harry was headed before he had to pause again.
"You gotta be joking."
There, at the end of the street, inside one of the old, abandoned phoneboxes, was a snowman.
Now thoroughly annoyed and definitely suspicious, Harry stomped towards the red phonebox, his hand on his wand. He glared at the still snowman, inspecting the side of the box with narrowed eyes.
"What the bloody hell is this." He growled, his temper hanging by a thread at the empty black eyes that stared back.
And then, the snowman giggled.
Harry froze. Only years of training stopped him from showing any sign or giving any indication that he'd heard the giggle, but the hand gripping his wand tightened, and then relaxed.
He knew that giggle.
Putting everything he had into the effort of keeping his frown intact, he straightened up, pointing his wand at the snowman.
"Whoever is doing this, I swear I'll find out." He threatened darkly, and then swiftly turned around and strode away towards the apparition point, all the while fighting off a smile.
"You wouldn't believe what happened to me today."
Harry huffed in mock annoyance, disguising his twitching smile by shrugging off his cloak and hanging it by the door. By the time he turned to look at Draco, his face was a perfect mask of irritation. He stomped over to where his boyfriend was sitting curled up on the couch, looking far too innocent with his potions magazine spread on his knees. Draco only managed to pull the magazine away before a dark-haired head flopped into his lap with a long-suffering groan, and now it was Draco's turn to fight off a grin.
"Oh?" He murmured in interest, running his fingers through the dark curls. "Do you want to tell me about it?"
Squashing the triumphant flip of his stomach, Harry began the tale of his extremely bizzare day, pretending to ignore the gleeful shine in Draco's eyes or the tremble of his belly that was pressed against Harry's head. When Harry reached to part of the snowman in the phonebox, and how he had threatened it, Draco couldn't hold back any longer, and burst into laughter.
"It was me, Potter! I can't believe I got you! Finally, sweet revenge," He laughed, full and rich and beautiful.
Draco had always been careful with his smiles, his laughter and his joy. Always guarded. And yet the sound that filled Harry's ears in that moment was so carefree and open, Harry couldn't look away, his eyes shining in awe and his lips stretching into a smile of his own.
He didn't have the heart to tell him he knew it was his giggle all along.
Chapter 13: Glass Deer
Sequel to Glass Dragon.
The soft light of a pale Christmas dawn filtering through the gaps in the curtains was what woke Harry up.
He opened his eyes for a brief moment before shutting them again, sighing in discontentment as he burrowed closer to his still sleeping boyfriend. He yawned into Draco's shoulder, raising a lazy hand to rub the sleep from his eyes before looking up, a slow smile stretching his dry lips, tongue darting out to wet them before another yawn cracked his jaw. Draco's usually guarded, closed expression has softened his features into a slack, worry-free mask in his sleep, and Harry loved those short moments alone right before the sun came up, where he could wake before Draco and drink in the relaxed face he only rarely saw outside of early mornings.
Running a gentle finger over Draco's lax jaw, Harry blinked slowly, rolling onto his back and stretching carefully, not wanting to wake Draco and rob himself of those few precious moments. He yawned again, his gaze landing on the small glass dragon that was resting curled up on Draco's nightstand, it's tiny body rising and falling with fake breaths as it slept.
The smile slid from Harry's face as he watched the sleeping dragon, memories of last night trickling back into his mind. He thought about what Draco had shared with him on Christmas Eve, couldn't actually fall asleep for a while from thinking about it. It had taken a lot for Draco to open up to him, and Harry felt both honoured and guilty. They've been together for almost two years, and Harry knew that the secret pains and past trauma they were both keeping under a tight lid were affecting their intimacy. Communication and sharing were never their strong suit, but Harry knew this had to change.
Harry's thoughts wandered to the plain silver ring that was resting in a tiny box at the bottom of his drawer. It wasn't the most expensive or the most fancy one in the store, but the delicate scaly pattern that ran along the rims and the green-ish shine the silver had when light hit it caught Harry's eye, and he knew this ring had to be Draco's. He'd bought it a while ago, but couldn't muster enough courage to ask yet. Not when Draco still didn't know the things he was hiding.
Last night had been his chance, he thought bitterly, disappointed with himself. He could have just told Draco then, and then the worst part of himself would have been exposed, and Draco would accept him anyway as Harry knew he would, and they could finally move on.
"Stop thinking too loud." The hoarse, sleepy voice tore Harry from his thoughts, and Harry jumped, blinking away the melancholic fog in his mind as his gaze focused on Draco's face, green eyes meeting steady grey.
"Sorry, did I wake you up?" Harry murmured, reaching up to stroke a lazy thumb over his boyfriend's cheek. Draco didn't look away, keeping eye contact as he watched Harry carefully.
"What were you thinking so hard about?" He asked quietly, turning onto his side and grabbing Harry's hand to bring it to rest over the pillow, covered with his own warm hand. Harry's gaze flickered over to the glass dragon that was still sleeping on his nightstand, looking hesitant as his lower lip was dangerously close to becoming a chew toy, and Draco squeezed his hand for a brief moment, encouraging. "Harry?"
"I was thinking about what you told me last night," He finally murmured, feeling Draco tense beside him. "And... I want to tell you something about me, too."
"Harry," Draco began. "You don't have to feel obligated just because-"
Harry shook his head. "No, I want to." He said, letting his thumb stroke Draco's palm. "I've wanted to for a while now, but I've been too much of a coward to do so."
"You're not a-"
"I grew up in a cupboard." He said quietly, and Draco closed his mouth with a snap. "Under the stairs. My aunt and uncle were afraid of magic. Hated it, in fact. So they also hated me. They tried to beat it out of me, and made me live in that tiny cupboard, often locking me up for days without food or bathroom breaks as a punishment." He could audibly hear Draco swallow hard beside him, and appreciated that he didn't say a word, letting Harry get all of it out. "For most of my childhood, I thought this was normal. Freaks don't deserve food or freedom or friends. It'd taken me years to stop believing that. Sometimes, when we fight or when I mess up, I still look at the cupboard we have under the stairs here and think I should go in there to punish myself." He paused, eyes flicking down to where Draco's hand had his own in a death grip, and smiled sadly. "Don't worry. I won't do that. I know now that this isn't normal. I just wanted to tell you about it, so you'd know who I am. I don't want to hide from you anymore."
There were tears in Draco's eyes as he leaned in to kiss away the ones that slipped out of Harry's. He didn't say a word.
The next day, though, when Harry came home, he found that the door of the cupboard under the stairs of no.12 Grimmauld Place was gone, and on the single shelf inside rested Draco's gift dragon, curled around a small, glass deer.