The castle had never been more repulsive. Glancing around the Great Hall, Draco felt his lip curl in disgust. Overnight, the walls seemed to have exploded in pink and red hearts. Everything around them was dripping with decorations, making it seem as though everyone in the room had somehow been swallowed by a large creature with hundreds of tiny hearts and they were all being forced to stare at its insides. Pink and red ribbons were hung across the ceiling like limp innards draped above them. The sight was putting Draco off his breakfast, and he pushed his plate away with a sneer.
God, he had always hated Valentine's Day.
"What the hell did they do to the place?" Pansy asked, sounding nearly as disgusted as Draco felt. "I mean, honestly. I haven't seen the castle look this bad since Lockhart decided that interior decorating was his true calling in life."
"Well," Blaise grinned, continuing to eat his breakfast as though their surroundings were not as upsetting and traumatizing as Draco knew they really were—because they fucking were—, "at least there are no singing Cupids anywhere yet, right?"
Draco rolled his eyes. The second he spotted even the slightest glimpse of a dwarf wearing wings and carrying a damned harp, he was leaving that castle forever, classes be damned.
"Hey," a cheerful voice said above, and Draco's head snapped up, an automatic smile spreading across his face as Harry took the empty seat next to him and leaned forward to press a kiss to Draco's mouth. "Have you seen the place?"
The absurd question made Draco snort. As if he could've missed it. "If only I could somehow avoid seeing it," he drawled, brushing some of the confetti drifting from the ceiling off his shoulder.
"There's no way McGonagall really did all this though, right?" Pansy wondered, glaring at Blaise as he dumped a handful of confetti onto her head. He laughed at her glare before scooping up another handful and tossing it at her again.
"Stop it, you prick!" she huffed, retaliating by throwing confetti into the tea he had been about to drink.
"Just wanted to give you a little Valentine's cheer," he grinned, completely unrepentant.
Pansy responded with a flash of her middle finger.
"So, Potter," Blaise continued, turning to Harry. "Let's get this over with now then, just so it's out of the way."
Harry looked confused. "Er, get what over with?"
"Don't play daft," Blaise said patiently, "you know exactly what I'm talking about."
"Rarely, if ever," Harry said in a dry voice.
"Come on then, Potter," Blaise said, snapping his fingers, "let's see it already."
Harry turned to Draco. "Draco? What the hell is he talking about?"
"Blaise," Draco sighed, glaring at the confetti spread across the table, "it's far too early and the room is far too nauseating to deal with you and your annoyingness. For Christ's sake, just tell us what you're talking about."
"Such a little ray of sunshine you've chosen yourself, Potter," Blaise said, and his sarcasm made Draco try to toss a handful of confetti at him, only to watch it all flutter uselessly through the air before drifting back down to the table, and Draco grit his teeth as Blaise laughed.
"This is why you're the one who's single on Valentine's Day," Draco huffed, throwing a piece of cold sausage at Blaise's dumb face.
Blaise waved the words away with one casual hand. "I've simply yet to find anyone good enough for me is all."
"Yeah, right," Draco huffed. "More like you haven't found anyone willing to lower herself enough to be with you."
"There's always Pansy," Harry grinned, earning a squawk from the girl in question.
"Excuse me?" she said with a glare. "First of all, I would never lower myself to anything, so how dare you. Second of all, how fucking dare you. Third of all, it would be Blaise who would have to raise himself up to my level, you prick."
Harry shrugged unapologetically. "Hey, all I'm saying is that both of you are single. May as well spend the day together, you know?"
The glare on Pansy's face deepened. "I don't know any such thing, Harry Prick Face Potter."
The statement made Harry laugh. "Can you imagine that name on a Valentine's card? 'Happy Valentine's Day, love Harry Prick Face Potter'."
Pansy's lips twitched at his amusement. "Yes, well, it's not my fault you were given such a ridiculous name. Names do reflect their wearers, you know."
Harry chuckled into the goblet of pumpkin juice he had stolen from Draco. "Would that make your full name Pansy Shrill Parkinson?"
Her mouth fell open as Draco and Blaise laughed. "I will hex your hair bright pink, so help me god!" she threatened, but Harry only grinned.
"Do it," he shrugged. "I look good in pink."
"Don't you dare," Draco warned her sternly. A boyfriend with pink hair would be embarrassing enough, but pink hair on Valentine's Day? No, there were just some things that Draco would not stand for.
"But he looks good in pink, Draco," Blaise said, trying to force his face into an innocent expression.
"Not his hair, you twat," Draco said with a roll of his eyes. "And stop trying to make your face do unnatural things."
Blaise adopted a look of outrage. "You take that back, my face only does lovely things!"
"Draco," Pansy said patiently, "we've talked about discussing Blaise's unnatural face right in front of him. You know it only upsets him, darling."
"Your faces are the unnatural ones," Blaise muttered, sulking into his confetti-filled tea.
Draco snorted. "If you like, we could ask the most respected person in the entire nation for his opinion. Harry?"
Harry smiled, leaning forward to press a kiss to Draco's mouth. "The only thing unnatural about your face is how unnaturally gorgeous you are."
Across the table, Blaise pretended to vomit, but Draco ignored the stupid prat. He would never admit to it aloud, but the statement made his insides melt just a bit. Justa bit, of course.
"Nothing about my face?" Pansy asked sarcastically, making Harry chuckle.
"You have a pretty normal face for a flamingo."
Blaise snorted into his confetti tea, forgetting to sulk as he laughed. "Five points to the Chosen One, I'm afraid, Pans.
"Now, Potter," Blaise said abruptly, eyeing Harry with a serious look, "as much as I love talking about Pansy's unnatural bird face—" he broke off with a wince, reaching down to rub at the leg Pansy had kicked, "but as we were discussing before, where is it? Let's see it already."
A loud sigh escaped Harry as he rolled his eyes. "You still haven't even told me what I'm meant to be showing you."
Pansy sniggered, opening her mouth to respond, but Draco cut her off before she could.
"Don't you dare, Pansy," he said, holding up one finger in warning. Sighing, she sank back in her seat with an air of disappointment.
"What day is it today, Potter?" Blaise asked patiently, gesturing to the ghastly decorations flooding the Great Hall.
"Er…" Harry's nose scrunched in confusion, "Thursday, isn't it?"
The three Slytherins all rolled their eyes as one. "Saturday, actually," Blaise smirked, "but good effort."
"Is it?" Harry glanced around in surprise, and Draco could not tell if he was faking it or if he really was ridiculously off on his internal calendar.
"I know you got me a Valentine, Potter," Blaise continued, "so let's just see it already and get it out of the way."
"I would," Harry snorted, "if only everything you're saying wasn't one big fat delusion you're having. The Hospital Wing is still open on Saturdays, you know."
"Don't act like you didn't get me one," Blaise said, sounding like an idiot.
"I got Draco one," Harry corrected.
"But I'm the whole reason the two of you are even together!"
Harry pretended to think that over for a second before shaking his head with a grin. "I'm pretty sure it was mine and Draco's insatiable attraction to one another that's the real reason we're together. But you were definitely there if that makes you feel better."
"It was definitely me!" Blaise argued, gesturing to himself. "I'm even the reason you two got back together! That's worth two Valentines! If you're not going to reward me with monetary compensation, I'll at least take the bloody Valentines!"
Harry and Draco rolled their eyes at the same time, something that made Draco feel even closer to Harry than before.
"We would have gotten back together eventually with or without you," Harry said in a casual voice.
"Bollocks and you know it," Blaise huffed. "I am a hero, thank you very much, and I would enjoy being treated as such. At least give me some of your enormous chocolate stash I know you've got hidden away somewhere."
"Stash?" Harry said in amusement. "What stash?"
Blaise huffed again, even louder than before. "Don't act as though you haven't been drowning in Valentine's cards, Potter."
"I haven't," Harry said with a shrug. "I haven't gotten a single one so far. I think people have finally realized how serious I am about Draco and decided to respect our relationship." His words were serious and expression hopeful, and Draco had no choice but to pat him on the cheek in the least patronizing way he was able to.
"Oh, Potter," he sighed. "You are just too precious."
Harry frowned. "Why? I'm being serious, I haven't gotten a single Valentine yet."
Draco patted him again, smirking as he noticed McGonagall making her way in their direction. Sweet, lovely Harry.
"Mr. Potter," she said as she neared, gazing down at all of them in a way that reminded Draco instantly of Dumbledore. "There you are. I'm not sure what you would like to do with the gifts you've received so far, but a large portion of them are ready for you whenever you would care to collect them."
He stared up at her in confusion. "Gifts?"
"Yes, your Valentine's presents," McGonagall said, sniffing her nose at the confetti drifting through the air. "Filch and several house-elves are still sorting through them, but a large portion is ready to be collected now if you would like."
The confusion on his face grew. "But…I…"
"They started arriving around dawn," McGonagall continued, staring at him with an expression that Draco would almost consider to be pity if not for the fact that it was McGonagall the expression was attached to. "It was far too much to allow to arrive by normal post, so they're being collected and sorted in the north tower."
At the thought of a bunch of anonymous randy fanatics sending Harry love cards, Draco grit his teeth.
"Don't you worry, Professor," Blaise cut in, grinning like a maniac, "we'll help Potter collect them all."
"Mr. Malfoy," McGonagall said, turning to him, and Draco felt his eyes widen in surprise. "We have a few for you as well."
"Me?" If possible, Draco felt his eyes widen even more, until he was worried they might just slip from his head. They had Valentine's presents for Draco? But Draco never got Valentine's cards! Other than Pansy's hopeless attempts at seduction when they were younger, of course.
"We couldn't allow those to come directly to you through normal post," McGonagall explained, eyeing him sharply, "due to your…" she paused, searching for the right word, "reputation."
"Have any of them been dangerous?" Harry asked instantly, eye narrowing.
McGonagall said nothing, offering Draco an almost sympathetic look.
"Great," Draco laughed hollowly, "you get love letters and chocolates, and I get poison. Sounds about right." Stupid wankers.
"Nothing so far has been deadly," McGonagall said unhelpfully. "And there is a fair number that has been deemed harmless. The ones that are safe to collect are in the north tower as well. I also instructed Filch to throw away the…" she paused again, "less polite letters you received."
"Thank you, Professor," Harry said, speaking in a quiet voice. Draco heard her walk away, but he did not want to look up from his confetti-covered plate. Stupid Valentine's Day. He had never even wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day. It was without a doubt the most useless holiday ever invented.
Well, he thought to himself, other than Gobstones Day, of course. Honestly, though. Who the hell had ever decided to make an entire holiday celebrating gobstones? He decided in the next second that it was most likely a holiday invented for sad virgins. The poor, sad, untouched, gobstone-loving virginal freaks.
"Draco?" Harry said, voice cutting into Draco's extremely deep and interesting thoughts.
"Well, should we go now then?" he asked, trying to keep any speck of emotion out of his voice. "Your hundred million presents awaiting you will most likely take hours to sort through."
Harry reached out to cover the back of Draco's hand with his own. "Draco."
"Come on then," Draco sighed, climbing to his feet and waiting for the others. "This place is making me nauseous."
With a final glare at the decorations, the four of them left the Great Hall, but Harry tugged on Draco's hand, slowing him down once they reached the corridor.
"You two go on ahead," he said to Pansy and Blaise.
"Okay," Blaise shrugged, shooting a sharp-eyed look between Harry and Draco. "But don't expect all the candy to still be there by the time you two arrive."
"It's yours," Harry snorted, waving them off.
Draco watched the two Slytherins walk away arm in arm, and he wondered idly just how much candy they really would get through before Harry and Draco joined them.
"Draco," Harry started, sounding uncertain, but Draco interrupted before he had the chance to speak.
"They really will eat all your chocolates, you know, if we don't hurry."
"Sod the chocolates," Harry said with a roll of his eyes. "I never even asked for them. I honestly wasn't expecting anything from anyone."
A strange sinking sensation echoed through Draco's insides at the final statement. Was Harry not even expecting a present from Draco? Did he think Draco was selfish, or a bad boyfriend? Stupid unassuming Potter. Draco could be romantic if he wanted to be.
"I just want to spend the day with you, Draco," Harry said, stepping close and cradling Draco's hand between their chests. "You're the only Valentine's present I need."
The words made Draco pause, feeling torn. A large part of him wanted to scoff at Potter and mock him for his ridiculous sentimentality, but an even larger part of himself wanted to simultaneously melt at the words and also hug Harry hard enough to somehow fuse them together so they would never have to be apart.
"You realize you're the only person in the world who's ever described my company as a gift," Draco told him, fighting the blush he could feel in his cheeks.
Harry grinned at him, pressing a kiss to his knuckles. "That's because nobody else has ever seen you naked."
The words made Draco laugh and broke him out of the strange tension that had settled over him at McGonagall's words. "And you are so very welcome for the gift my naked body is."
Harry chuckled and leaned forward, pressing a kiss to Draco's hair. "We don't have to go to the north tower, you know," he murmured, resting his forehead against Draco's temple. "I'd much rather have you as a gift than look at a bunch of cards from strangers."
"And I'd rather have you look at me rather than a million love letters from people all dying to have a piece of you."
"They can't have any," Harry whispered. "I've already given all the pieces to you."
And Draco would never give them back. Maybe he really was selfish—not definitely, just maybe—but he wanted every single piece of Harry that the man was willing to offer. He wanted Harry all to himself, no matter what the rest of the world desired. They could desire Harry all they wanted, but Draco was the only one who could touch him, the only one who could kiss him, and the only one who could earn a shiver from him for the simple act of running one finger lightly down the brunet's spine.
"Blaise is in the north tower…" Draco hinted, pressing a kiss to Harry's chin, and Harry grinned.
"He is, isn't he?"
"So…" Draco continued, ignoring the two fourth-year girls staring openly at them as they walked past. Little creeps. "The dorm is all empty and everything…no annoying warthogs anywhere around…"
Harry's smile widened as he stole a kiss. "Lead the way."
"They're not coming, are they?" Blaise drawled, shaking his head at the closed door of the tower they were sat in.
"I wouldn't bet on it, no," Pansy said calmly, plucking another chocolate out of the large heart-shaped box they had chosen from the enormous pile of presents Potter had already received so far.
Blaise reached over to grab a square chocolate, tossing it in his mouth. "Randy slags. Whatever. If Potter won't come to collect, I have no qualms about eating all his expensive chocolates." They really were nice chocolates.
"Here, Pansy," he grinned, handing her a small stuffed bear and an unopened box of chocolates from the large pile. "Happy Valentine's Day. Love, Blaise."
She raised one eyebrow as she accepted the presents in disbelief. "Did you just speak a Valentine's Day card at me? And regift someone else's presents right in front of me?"
He shrugged, smiling even wider. "Feeling seduced yet?"
She snorted. "Is that what you were going for? A seduction?"
The questions made him pause as he shifted uncomfortably. No, he wasn't trying to seduce her or anything. Obviously. He was just joking around. Dumb Pansy, trying to confuse him with questions.
"What?" he said, coming back to himself. "No. I just—I—Just eat the chocolates, woman!"
A smirk crossed her face. "It gets more and more romantic with every word you say."
Blaise could feel a frown turning down the corners of his mouth. He wasn't sure why, but he was feeling flustered in a way he wasn't used to. Pansy had never flustered him before. At least, not really. Only sometimes. Rarely ever, even.
Damn it, Blaise should not be getting flustered!
Deciding the best route to take would be to ignore how flustered he most definitely was not, Blaise turned back to the stack of presents. "Draco's not going to like most of these cards," he said, glancing down at a shockingly obscene letter that he was amazed had passed Filch's inspection. Of course, it was always possible that the man could not actually read. Blaise wouldn't be surprised. "I mean, honestly. A pornographic Valentine's card that rhymes? Although, I suppose it is interesting to know just how many words rhyme with 'suck'."
Pansy snatched it from his hands with a laugh, scanning it and laughing so hard she collapsed against Blaise's shoulder. "Oh lord, can you imagine Potter the prude reading this with Draco standing right behind him glaring at everything? Oh, that has to happen. I am showing this one to the both of them myself."
The warmth of her body pressing against Blaise was making it harder to deny how increasingly flustered he was becoming. Damn it, why was this happening? Had he eaten something funny at breakfast? Maybe the horrid decorations from the Great Hall that morning had inflicted some sort of subconscious trauma on him that he had never heard of before. Was that a real thing? Trauma through overexposure to excessive holiday decorations? It certainly—mostly—sounded impressive in his mind. Fuck, what if it was terminal? What if it was the first recorded case in history and there was no cure?
Blaise wondered idly if that meant he would get the disease named after him when he died. The Blaise virus did have a certain ring to it. Then he wondered if that would be more of an honor or more of a public humiliation.
"So then," Pansy said, the two words interrupting Blaise's confusing internal crisis. She sounded far too cheerful for the situation, considering the fact that he had just discovered he had a terminal fucking disease eating away at him from the inside. "Let's see the rest of the letters then! God, I hope they're just as good as this one."
A smile spread across Blaise's face as they both tore into a stack of envelopes, laughing themselves stupid over the ridiculous—and damn embarrassing—gushing letters, all proclaiming their undying love for the Chosen One and practically begging him to love them in return.
Pansy snickered and leaned closer to show Blaise a letter, the long strands of her dark hair brushing the bare skin of his arm and making him shiver. The warmth of her body was making his heart pound faster, not quite touching but close enough to almost feel. He swallowed, feeling the blood pooling in his face, cheeks turning red at the sound of her soft laughter. In the safety of his own mind, he could admit to himself that Pansy really did have the most beautiful smile.
She nudged him with her shoulder, laughing again, and he was unable to fight the smile that spread across his own face in response.
There was no denying it.
He was flustered.
"So," Draco smirked, rolling his head to the side to peer at Harry. "Best Valentine's present ever?"
"Ever," Harry agreed, scratching the bare skin of Draco's back lightly with one hand. They were laying on Draco's bed, grinning at one another like fools. Draco lay on his stomach, head pillowed on his folded arms. Harry lay beside him, staring up at the ceiling with a dreamy, content expression that made Draco feel smug. He had put that expression there.
"That, er, isn't your only present though," Draco said, clearing his throat and feeling awkward. He wasn't sure if men really did get Valentine's presents for each other, but he had purchased it anyway and it was in his trunk and now he had no other option but to man up and give it to Harry.
Or I could claim it was all a joke and try to laugh it off as unawkwardly as I can and save myself the humiliation of giving Harry a present he may not like.
Yes, Draco mused, the latter was also an option as well. A very good option. Probably the best option.
But then damned Harry had to turn his head in surprise and smile at him so softly, eyes glistening with something ridiculous like affection or hope or fondness or something else monumental and annoying. Fine, Draco grumbled to himself, climbing from the bed and pulling his clothing back on. He would most certainly not be giving someone a Valentine's Day present with his dick out. There was nothing romantic about someone's naked penis jiggling awkwardly about, no matter how large and impressive it happened to be.
Behind him, he could hear Harry getting dressed as well. Taking a deep breath and reminding himself that he was a strong, tough, extremely brave man—who had survived a bloody war, for god's sake—Draco crossed to his trunk, opening it and pulling out the velvet box balanced atop his belongings. Christ, he was nervous. Was it normal to be so nervous? All he was doing was handing someone something, it shouldn't be so sodding nerve-wracking. His heart was hammering in his chest, and he wondered if Valentine's-induced heart attacks were a real thing. He wondered idly if he would be the first person to ever die from one.
Hmm, he supposed that was one way for someone to get their name etched into history.
"So, um," Draco began, feeling his neck prickle with sweat. "I, er, didn't wrap it." He glanced down at the plain box in sudden panic, wondering if Harry would be disappointed with the presentation of the gift. He had learned at a young age that presentation was always important—how could he have forgotten such a thing so easily? Damn it, Harry at least deserved a proper presentation for his gift! It was the very first Valentine's gift that Draco had ever given to anyone and he had already fucked it up!
"It's okay," Harry said, the two words piercing through the growing bubble of Draco's anxiety. "Whatever it is, Draco, I'll love it. I don't need wrappings. Just the fact that you got me a present is enough."
"Oh, sure, right, okay," Draco babbled, unable to stop himself and unable to actually hand Potter the gift. "I mean, I could wrap it if you like though. Right now. It probably wouldn't take too long. If you just give me a minute, I mean…maybe I could…" He trailed off, staring down at the velvet box in his hands in confusion. Could he wrap it? Did he even know how? Draco had never to his knowledge ever actually wrapped a present himself. Maybe one of the house-elves could do it for him. Yes, that was it, he would go find a house-elf and have them wrap the present for Harry! And it would surely look much better than if Draco attempted such a thing himself, so that really was the best solution.
Nodding to himself, Draco turned to march from the room, intent on running to find a blasted sneaky house-elf, but Harry reached out to snag his arm before he could pass.
"Draco," Harry said patiently, a hint of a smile in his tone, "I don't need it wrapped. Really. I already know I'm going to love anything you got me." As he spoke, he pulled Draco into his arms, pressing their foreheads together. "So just show me already. I mean," he pulled back to grin at the blond, "from your reaction, anyone would think I'm either terrifying or difficult to please."
"You, terrifying?" Draco snorted, still fighting the frantic hammering of his heart. "As if. Only people who have never met you would think that."
"Exactly," Harry agreed, still smiling, "and you have met me. So don't act like I'm so terrifying."
Damn. Harry had tricked him with logic. He knew how much Draco hated logic.
"Very well," Draco sighed, grudgingly handing over the box still clutched between two sweaty hands. "Er, happy Valentine's Day," he finished uncertainly.
The look on Harry's face softened as he accepted the present, staring at it in awe for several moments before slowly opening the lid, and Draco heard the other boy's breath catch at the sight. Nestled inside the box was a heavy signet ring with a large emerald glittering up at them. The band was silver and thick, carved in sharp lines and molded into a masculine design that Draco hoped outweighed the fact that it was a bloody ring he had gotten him.
"Draco…" Harry murmured, staring up at him with wide eyes.
"It's not an engagement ring!" Draco blurted out. "I-I know what it looks like! But the girl in the shop said that jewelry was the best present, and I couldn't get you a necklace, because that would be even weirder. And none of the necklaces had emerald, which obviously I had to get! You know, because of your eyes. And also, it's a Slytherin color. So…it was like a theme, you know? And I couldn't get you flowers or chocolates, because flowers are quite possibly the most useless and ridiculous present ever invented and don't even really count as a sodding present. And the chocolates would have been gone in about five minutes, and I just don't see the point in getting someone a present that isn't going to last, you know? So I saw the ring and I thought it was perfect and I bought it, but if you don't like it, I can go back and get you a necklace! I can get you chocolates and I'll even get you flowers if you like, even though they really are the daftest present ever, but that's fine, I'll still get them! I'm not judging you if you like daft things! Lots of people like daft things! Pansy likes lipstick and Blaise likes to stare at himself in mirrors, and it doesn't get much dafter than that, right? So, um, erm, flowers? I can go right now if you like! I—I mean—" his wide-eyed ramblings were suddenly interrupted by a kiss, Harry yanking him forward to press their mouths together.
"I love it," Harry whispered, kissing him again. "I'm not even going to ask how much money you spent on this. Just the fact that you got me a present…it…I don't know how to…I'll wear it forever," he finished, smiling as he plucked the ring from the box before sliding it onto his finger, where the ring magically adjusted itself to fit. "It's perfect."
"Perfect," Draco breathed, staring down at the ring on Harry's hand. Even if it wasn't an engagement ring, everyone who looked at it would know that Potter was taken. "You really like it?" he asked in a small voice, giving in to one of his very, very rare moments of insecurity.
Harry flashed him a genuine smile. "It's never coming off."
"Good," Draco sighed, relaxing in the embrace and allowing himself to finally breathe again now that the hard part was over. Lord, he hoped that giving Valentine's presents would get easier as the years went on. If he had to go through that every single year, he wasn't sure how many Valentines he would even survive. And he would really prefer not to die, considering the fact that the kiss Harry was currently giving him was a million times better than the cardiac arrest from two minutes earlier.
"I have a present for you too," Harry confessed, still smiling down at his new ring. "I just—I hope you like it. It's not nearly as expensive as this…"
"What is it?" Draco asked curiously, glancing around as though Potter had left clues out for him to follow. "You know I adore receiving gifts."
"Yes, I know," Harry chuckled, rolling his eyes. "I, er, close your eyes."
The strange, sudden request confused Draco. "Close my eyes?"
"Yeah," Harry shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck nervously, and Draco was glad to see that he was not the only one anxious about giving gifts. "Just—close your eyes for a sec, yeah? Please?"
Sighing, Draco did as he was told, closing his eyes and holding his hands out in expectation. He heard a whispered spell a moment before something heavy and flat settled on his palms.
"I shrank it to fit in my pocket," Harry explained, speaking in a quiet voice. Draco could practically feel the man's gaze on his face.
"Can I open my eyes yet?" he asked dryly, and Harry laughed, a nervous, somewhat high-pitched laugh.
"Oh, right! Sure, yeah. Open them."
Snorting, Draco opened his eyes, surprised to find a book. "A book?" he asked slowly, running one hand over the handsome leather cover. The book was thick and wide, and he opened it curiously, surprised to find his own face staring back at him. "A photo album?" Harry had given him a photo album? He flipped through the pictures curiously, noting that they were all pictures of Harry and Draco together. Smiling at one another, kissing one another, walking toward the lake, sitting with Pansy and Blaise in the library…
Wait. Draco's eyes narrowed. "These are the damned photos from the Daily Prophet!"
"Yeah," Harry said, smiling nervously.
"But…" Draco flipped several more pages, certain that he hadn't seen all of the photos in the book before, "some of them are new. And they're all in color."
"They're the originals," Harry explained, still sounding nervous. "I, er, wrote the Prophet and asked if I could have them. Nobody over there even believed it was really me at first," he said with a laugh. "They thought I was some pervy imposter who wanted the photos to wank over or something, I dunno. I ended up having to ask McGonagall if I could borrow her office to Floo them. And I can't even tell you how awkward it was to have to explain to her why I needed to contact the paper." He laughed again. "But they gave me all the originals and even a bunch of photos that never made it to print."
Draco nodded, continuing to flip through the book in fascination. When he had seen the pictures printed in the Prophet, it had made him furious. Seeing them had felt like a violation. But seeing them in a different context, in color, all lovingly put together in a book by Harry himself, who had obviously put quite a lot of time and thought into the gift…it made Draco's insides tingle with that soft, melty feeling he only ever got in Potter's presence.
"So, er, what do you think?" Harry wondered, the question dripping with anxiety. "I mean, I know that photo albums aren't really a traditional Valentine's present or anything. And I know that you've already seen a lot of these pictures and sort of hated them…" his voice trailed off for several moments. "But…one of the most meaningful presents I've ever gotten in my life was a photo album. I never had any pictures of me as a child. It's sort of like the first decade of my life never happened, you know? And I had nothing of my parents after they died. But Hagrid gave me a photo album when I was eleven, with all sorts of pictures of my mum and dad and me as a baby, and it just…I dunno how to describe how much it meant to me. So…" he paused again, struggling for words. "So I figured that…I dunno, that it might mean something to you too to see actual concrete proof of how much I love you. 'Cos you can see it in every single one of those pictures."
Draco stared at him, completely unsure how to respond.
"Please tell me what you're thinking," Harry said pleadingly. "Do you like it? Is it okay? Should I have gotten you something else? Because I totally can if you'd rather get something from a shop! Fuck, I probably should've done that in the first place. Shit, Draco, I'm sorry! Just tell me what you want and I can go get it! The shops are open right now, actually, we can go together and you can pick out whatever you like! I can—"
But Draco interrupted before the rambling could get out of hand, deciding that the way Potter had snapped him out of his earlier anxiety was the best solution. Leaning forward, he pressed a kiss to Harry's mouth, chuckling against his lips.
"Christ, Potter," he murmured, refusing to pull away, "your insecure rambling is just as bad as mine."
"Is it?" Harry chuckled, kissing him back. "Does the kiss mean you like it, or does it mean you just want me to stop talking?"
"Yes," Draco said vaguely, deepening the light kisses to something more intense. He did not want to have to admit out loud how much the present really did mean to him. He had never been gifted a photo album before, especially from someone who meant as much to him as Harry did.
"I love you," Harry whispered, tossing the photo album on the nearby bed so he could wrap Draco up in a tight embrace.
"I love you too," Draco confessed, the words making Harry tighten his hold, pulling back just enough to look at Draco, and he felt his breath catch at the small, genuine smile Harry gave him.
"Do you?" he asked softly, swaying the two of them gently.
The question made Draco's cheeks heat. "You know I do, Potter," he huffed, praying he wasn't blushing as brightly as he was sure he was. Stupid pale complexion that couldn't hide a blasted thing.
The smile on Harry's face widened by a centimeter. "Nice to hear though. I'll never get sick of hearing you say it."
The blush on Draco's cheeks darkened and he ducked his head, hiding it in Harry's shoulder. It was true that he didn't say the words as often as Potter, but that didn't make them any less true. He loved Harry.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Draco," Harry said, offering him a warm smile, and the sight made Draco's insides melt even more than they already had, which, now that he thought about, might very well be dangerous. Insides surely should not be melting as easily as his had melted just that morning. Organs were clearly meant to be intact, after all. Damn Harry Potter and his damn sweetness and damn affections that made Draco melt as easily as ice cream beneath a summer sun. And damn Draco himself for loving the feeling.
He gave Harry a warm smile of his own, glancing down at the emerald ring on Harry's finger once more.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Harry."