Chapter 1: Winter Sunset
"Let's go somewhere," Harry said as they ate a late dinner.
"Pardon?" Severus looked up in surprise.
"Away. Somewhere that's not here," Harry said.
"Harry!" Severus put down his fork. "What's wrong?"
Harry sighed. "Nothing special." He poked at his dinned and put his own fork down. "Just, well, I was in Professor Hardy's office and the sun was setting... It was beautiful and, well, you weren't there."
"You're so close to finishing the term," Severus protested. "And the holidays are just after the end of the term. Where would we go?"
"That's just it, I don't know... and I really don't care," Harry answered. "I just wanted to sit with you in the sunshine and not have to hare off to class or meetings or... whatever."
Severus considered. "Let me see what I can do."
Chapter 2: Snowball Fight
Startled, Harry whirled, wand starting to drop into his hand, ready to defend himself. A series of possible counter-hexes automatically ran through his head.
The sound of running feet and laugher percolated through his senses. He spotted a group of students running across the quad, throwing random snowballs at random walkers. Harry had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A trickle of cold water ran down his back.
"Bloody hell!" Harry swore as the cold water soaked into his sweatshirt. He looked around and realized he was in too open a space to bring out his wand and cast a drying spell. He loved attending the Muggle university, but that put a serious limit on the magic he could do in public. He swore again. It was another fifteen minute walk to anyplace reasonably private. He really needed to work on his wandless charms.
He was cold and miserable by the time he got home. He immediately cast warming and drying charms but he was chilled through.
"Harry?" Severus called.
"Just got hit by a snowball walking across campus," Harry shivered briefly. "Couldn't get warm until now."
Severus smirked. "I think I know how to warm you up."
Severus guided Harry to their favorite room -- the den with a small fireplace. Severus settled Harry into the couch and pulled out a blanket from the basket next to the couch.
"Comfortable?" Severus asked as Harry wrapped the blanket around himself.
"Join me?" Harry begged.
"In a moment," Severus said. "I have a couple of tasks that need minor attention before I can sit down."
"Okay, but don't take too long," Harry smiled.
"Ten minutes," Severus promised.
"I'll keep track!" Harry replied.
Severus went to the kitchen and started some water heating. He reached high into the cupboard for a paper bag he kept there. He knew Harry knew he kept his 'stash' up there, but Harry humored him.
Severus set up tea service, placing some fruit and the treats on a tray.
"Peppermint toads!" Harry grinned when he saw the tray.
"I know your sweet tooth," Severus said.
"Join me," Harry lifted a corner of his blanket.
I'll bet you were expecting smut! You were, weren't you! ::grin::
Don't worry, we'll get there!
Chapter 4: Fruitcake
Harry picked up a pear from the tray.
"Thank you for not getting fruitcake," Harry said, sitting back before taking a bite of the pear. "It was one of the few things Dudley wouldn't eat. So I was generously allowed to eat all I could stomach." Harry took another bite of the pear. "Most of it was pretty bad. But it was filling."
"It can be... interesting," Severus agreed, holding Harry close, as if he could take those memories away. "Although I will admit Molly makes an edible fruitcake."
Harry laughed. "I think there's more firewhiskey than anything in Molly's fruitcake. I'm surprised it doesn't come in a bottle."
"I suspect you are right," Severus smirked.
Harry finished the pear and set the core on the tray. "This is nice. I like when we can snuggle together."
Severus wrapped the blanket around them both, keeping Harry close.
Chapter 5: Frozen Pond
Severus coaxed Harry to bed, who slept heavily through the night.
There had been a cold snap overnight, which meant the slush that had started to melt was now solid ice.
Harry drank his coffee looking out the window to their back yard, feeling better and thinking about the papers he needed to get done this weekend. The standing water looked frozen solid, although Harry suspected that was more of an illusion than anything.
"Feeling better?" Severus asked, sitting down at the table.
"Yes, thanks," Harry replied.
"Remind me when your classes are finished," Severus prompted.
"Another ten days," Harry sighed. "And I have three more papers to finish before then." He finished his coffee and put the cup in the sink. "But I should be able to finish one today, thanks to a good night sleep."
Harry leaned into Severus for a soft kiss. "Thanks."
Severus tapped on the door to the office Harry shared with three other graduate students. He was meeting Harry so they could go to lunch together.
"Hope I'm...." Severus knew his voice trailed off as he caught sight of the young lady barely clad in a Santa costume sitting with Harry. He forged on, "... not too early."
Harry beamed as he caught sight of Severus. "No! We're just done here!"
"And I've got to go and meet the others," the young lady said.
"Severus, meet Nathalie. Nat, this is Severus," Harry introduced them with a vague wave of a hand.
Nathalie stood, turned to face Severus and held out her hand. "I've heard so much about you," she smiled. "Glad to meet you."
Severus made sure to make eye contact as he shook hand with her. "And I am glad to meet you," he said solemnly. He firmly kept his eyes on her face.
"Gotta run! Bye, Harry! See you in class!" she said as she left the office.
Severus looked at Harry who was trying not to laugh. "You should see the look on your face!"
"How is she not cold?" Severus said, before he realized he had said that aloud.
Harry did laugh outright.
Day 6 of 'ice sculpture' just didn't happen... such is life!
Chapter 7: Winter Wedding
"Professor! Harry! Welcome!" The restaurant hostess greeted them cheerfully.
"Tonette." Severus nodded his head in return.
"Sorry, but your usual table has been taken over by a group that just came in," she warned them. "But I do have a quieter table in the back."
"That will be adequate," Severus agreed, with a small frown.
She had them settled and the barmaid quickly came over. "If you know what you want, I can get your order in ahead of that group. You won't have to wait as long for your meals."
"I'd like the Shephard's Pie, then," Severus announced. "And a pint."
"A burger and chips," Harry added. "And a pint for me, too."
She scribbled their orders on her pad and nodded. "I'll have your drinks out as soon as I get your orders in."
Harry and Severus watched the group in the other end of the restaurant. They were cheerful and seemed to celebrating something.
"What's going on over there?" Harry asked as the barmaid brought their pints.
"It's a wedding party," she told them. "Couple on the end just got married."
Severus watched an odd emotion flash across Harry's face but it was gone in a moment.
Chapter 8: Church Bells at Midnight
Just pretend I've been writing the prompts all along and we've had drunken elves, cookies, tinsel, warm winter evenings, and more! ;-)
The mild weather enticed Severus to offer, "Would you like to take a stroll?"
Harry looked up from his book and then out the dark window.
"It's pretty late!" Harry said.
Severus shrugged. "It is a nice evening, not too cold, and dry," Severus said. "And it will be quiet."
"Oh!" Harry smiled. "I'd love to! Let me get a cloak."
As they went out into the moon lit night, Harry took a deep breath of the crisp air.
Severus nodded and held out a hand to Harry. Harry took his hand, entwining their fingers.
They walked close together, Harry enjoying the closeness and the warmth of Severus' hand in his.
They ended up at the park next to the local church. In the daytime, it was often full of shouting children and gossiping mothers. At night, it was calm and quiet, lit by the glow of lights from the church.
The bells called the hour as late comers scurried into the church for the midnight service. The swell of the choir's song drifted into the night.
Severus cast a warming charm on a bench and they sat close together. Severus put an arm around Harry, who leaned into the embrace.
"While we said we would not exchange gifts, I thought perhaps it would be appropriate to give this to you now," Severus murmured. He handed Harry a box wrapped in gold paper.
"Severus!" Harry protested. "You weren't supposed to do that!"
"I know," Severus replied. "But... open it."
Harry turned his head, and leaned in to give what was going to be a quick peck on Severus' cheek. Severus turned to intercept Harry, and turned it into a warm kiss.
"Thank you," Harry said, turning back to the present.
Severus watched as Harry carefully opened the package. He held his breath as Harry opened the box.
"Severus?" Harry breathed the question.
Severus reached into the box and pulled out the ring that sat nestled in velvet.
"Will you marry me?" Severus whispered.
Harry laughed, and threw his arms around Severus and hugged him close.