Title: You Call That a Yule Log?
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Content Notes: Fluff, established relationship, no epilogue
Summary: Harry and Draco have their first Christmas together. Or their first Yule. Well, it would be their first Yule if Harry would stop questioning everything.
Author’s Notes: Another Advent fic, for sassy_cissa, who asked for H/D, post-war, first Christmas together.
You Call That a Yule Log?
“No, seriously,” Harry insisted, sitting back from the fireplace and eyeing the flames dancing over the huge log in it. “You call that a Yule log? I thought it would be enormous!”
“That is enormous,” Draco said, fighting not to snap the way he would have when they were back in third year.
“Maybe compared to a toothpick.”
Draco closed his eyes and rubbed his hand over his face. He had thought this would be a nice simple celebration when Harry first took it into his head that they should establish Christmas traditions, and had also confessed that he had no traditions of his own except opening a small pile of gifts his friends sent him (bloody Dursleys). So they were going to use Draco’s Malfoy traditions instead.
“Why do you have live fairies in the lights?”
“They did the same thing at Hogwarts,” Draco snapped, taking his hand from his face. “If you’d paid attention to anything beyond the end of your nose when you were there, you’d know that!”
“I was young and oblivious then.” Harry switched his glare from the lights strung along the ceiling of the great hall to Draco’s face. “Take them down.”
“No.” Draco shook his head. “They’re part of the traditional Malfoy decorations. The traditions that you agreed to for this holiday. Remember?”
There was a more than slightly bloodthirsty gleam in Harry’s eyes as they focused on the lights, but after a second, he nodded and glanced at the Yule log. “You could still get a bigger one than that, though.”
“Fine,” Draco said with a sigh, and signaled the house-elves to go out and find a bigger log. It wasn’t as if they would actually deplete their supply of firewood for this; they rarely used the huge fireplace except for Yule, after all. And within seconds, a bigger log was there, what looked like most of the dead apple tree from the corner of the Manor’s grounds, snapping and glowing with bright blue flames when the fire found something hidden inside the wood.
“Now?” Draco suggested, and held out his hand.
Harry smiled at him, said, “Now,” and let himself be drawn into Draco’s arms for the traditional dance that the younger generation of the Malfoy family always did in front of the fire. It had been Draco alone, for so many years. Now he had someone who would rest his head on his shoulder and sigh and move in his arms like fluid water.
Even if it had taken hours of dance lessons that Harry complained he couldn’t master during the days before this.
For now, Draco smoothed his hand over Harry’s forehead and let himself be taken away.
Draco woke up with a yawn, and groped beside him. Immediately, he frowned and turned his head. The fire was guttering, filling the room with dim light that wasn’t complemented by dawnlight from the windows yet, and the bed was cold. What reason would Harry have to get up and leave him in the middle of the night?
A sharp tinkle sounded downstairs.
Draco flowed out of his bed with his wand in hand. Even though nothing had happened in a long time, he still remembered the people who had attacked his family right after the war. And there were still people who wanted Harry dead.
More now than ever, since he’s dating a Malfoy.
Draco worked his way out of the bed and down the stairs, listening all the while. House-elves should have confronted an intruder, but still there were no noises. Draco crept along with his ears wide open.
Then he did hear something. A muffled, swearing voice.
Draco didn’t want to relax, but he did a little anyway. At least whoever had managed to sneak into the house past the wards—or perhaps a section of the walls around the grounds that had been broken in the war and not mended since then—wasn’t a professional criminal.
Resolving to tell Father that that wall would have to be mended no matter how much he complained about the low amount of Galleons in his vault, Draco reached the bottom of the stairs and peered around the corner.
Harry stood in the middle of a circle of broken glass on the floor, glaring up at the string of fairy lights above his head. Surrounding him further out was a circle of house-elves, all of them wringing their ears in unison.
Draco blinked and put his wand away. He couldn’t figure out what Harry was doing until the fire flared and settled and gave him a better look at the string of fairy lights.
Most of the lights were broken, and the fairies were wandering around the room in a helpless daze. Even as Draco watched, Harry tried another spell that broke one of the lights, and then had to dodge the rain of glass that fell.
“Harry!” Draco barked, moving forwards.
Harry ducked the freed fairy who zoomed down towards his hair, and then turned and raised an eyebrow at Draco. “What?” he asked. There was blood leaking from his heel where he must have stepped on one of the shards of broken glass.
“I didn’t agree to any tradition that tortures living creatures!”
“They aren’t being tortured,” Draco said, and he made his voice as gentle as he possibly could. “They’re always set free again when we’re done with them. And the lights are opened, not shattered the way you’ve done.”
“Because they enjoy being in the lights, right?” Harry glared at him, arms folded. “And there isn’t a restraining spell that’s dazing them right now, because they can’t believe that they have their freedom back.”
“Well,” Draco began, and stopped.
Harry nodded, still glaring, and stomped past him. “Enjoy the way the room looks with most of the lights gone,” he said, and then incanted a nonverbal, extremely specific Blasting Curse that normally would have left Draco very impressed. It broke only the glass, nothing else in the room, and it broke the restraining charms and the far glass window as well. The fairies immediately streamed out, moving with purpose now.
“And now enjoy the way the room looks with all the lights gone,” Harry went on. “And how your bed feels without me in it.”
Draco waited until he heard the sound of a door closing upstairs before he sighed and directed the house-elves to clean up the glass on the floor.
And thought of what he was going to do about the less visible mess.
Draco sighed and managed to keep himself from rolling his eyes, but it was hard work. "Harry."
This time, Harry only shrugged one shoulder as an indication that he'd heard Draco. He was sitting on a windowseat near the top of the house and looking out over the gardens, all planted with hardy white flowers under Warming Charms that could survive the winter season. Staring at his back, Draco wondered if the chill the charm was trying to fight off could compare at all with the chill in this room.
"I want to know what I can do to give you a happy Christmas," Draco said, speaking quietly and standing behind Harry without trying to sit down. "I realize now that the fairy lights were thoughtless."
"Yes. I understand that the fairies reminded you of that cupboard you used to find yourself cooped up in, and--"
"Don't make this about me!"
Draco started and fell back a step. Harry had surged to his feet and was staring at him with cold, furious eyes. He folded his arms and seemed to project that stubborn insistence on doing the right thing that Draco hadn't seen directed against him in six months now. If anything, Harry usually fought battles for him, telling people who argued against them dating that Draco had sent apologies, made donations, tried to take actions that would atone for his mistakes, and deserved the same forgiveness that people had extended to other Slytherin students Marked as Death Eaters. It was unnerving to be reminded that that cold fire could burn against him just as easily.
"Don't make this about me," Harry repeated, more softly but more firmly. "The crime wasn't seeing the fairies that reminded me of me and imprisoning them because of that. The wrong thing was imprisoning them. If they'd agreed to be used as decorations, that would be one thing, but they obviously hadn't."
Draco looked at him, shallowly at first, then more deeply. "I see," he said.
"Yes. I really think I do." Draco tried to lower his voice and make it as compassionate as he could. "The same way that it wouldn't be wrong to mistreat house-elves because other humans object to it. The wrong thing would be mistreating them."
Harry relaxed. "Exactly."
"Then why don't you object to us having house-elves at all?" Draco continued, his mind running along a different track that he no longer thought, as he had for a few minutes, led to Harry's hypocrisy. It seemed to lead somewhere else altogether. "You didn't object to making that mess for them to clean up."
"You reassured me that you were treating them well, and I did ask them, the first time I came here, if they wanted to be free. They told me they didn't. It would have been right to listen to Dobby when he first said he wanted to and free him. But different elves have different desires."
Draco blinked. "Is that why...that night we stayed with Theo, he lost that house-elf? Marli?"
Harry nodded furiously. "She wasn't well-treated, and she didn't want to stay there. I freed her. She went to Hogwarts. She's been living there happily ever since."
"Why didn't you tell me? Did you think I would take Theo's side against yours?"
"No. I didn't want you to have confront--to choose between siding with your friend and siding with me." Harry looked exhausted. "It's not right, so I had to do something about it, but I didn't have to shove it in your face."
Draco took a delicate step forwards and reached out to slide his hands around Harry's shoulders. "I never want you to feel that you have to lie to me," he whispered. "I want you to come to me when you have problems."
"Like the fairy lights?"
"Especially the fairy lights."
"But I know it's a tradition that was important to you." Harry sighed. "I got angry about it, but I was going to break the lights and let them go and let you wonder how it happened. I wasn't going to force you to think that it got me upset."
Draco sighed in turn and leaned his forehead against Harry's. "Let's start a new tradition."
"About being honest with each other. Even if we think that we'll have a fight. You and I being able to speak to each other is more important than anything else."
Harry hesitated. "More important than the traditions your family has celebrated for years?"
"I wouldn't want them if they cost me you. And all traditions have to start somewhere." Draco clasped his hand. "Shall we? Be honest and show up in the morning and leave my parents wondering where all the lies have gone?"
Harry was still beautiful when he smiled. "Of course. But we can do something else, too."
"Continue a tradition we began months ago." And Harry leaned up and kissed him.
The "tradition" ended with Draco buried inside Harry, moving gently, slowly, with Harry's eyes closed and his gasps echoing through the bedroom. Draco closed his eyes and let the memories of all the other times they'd done this--though admittedly, never in Malfoy Manor--wash through him, along with memories of seeing Harry hold out his hand for the first time, watching him smile, seeing him turn his head at the sound of his name with an inexpressibly dear look in his eyes--
It never lasted long enough, but at least Draco came with a cry of sweetness ringing in his ears, and helped Harry do the same. He curled around him afterwards, and watched Harry smile at him in sleepy delight, one finger tracing down the curve of Draco's neck and the tendons arching there. They didn't need to say anything else about traditions or fairy lights. They understood each other.
Of course, Draco was drifting off when he heard Harry mutter something. "What?" he asked, shaking himself back to consciousness with a yawn.
"I still think the Yule log is too small."
Draco laughed and buried his head again. "We'll talk about it in the morning."
And--along with gifts and the scandalized looks on his parents' faces when they saw Harry entering the drawing room with a limp and Draco with bites on his neck--they did.