It’s not the first time he’s seen them, although it’s never been like this before.
They’re surrounded by people—a few other couples, a bunch of families with small kids—but when the first glimpse of green lights up the Scottish night sky, Harry wiggles a bit closer to Draco, snuggling against his side, their knees brushing. The undulating stripe of green grows, and Harry smiles at Draco’s small gasp—at the way he grasps Harry’s arm in excitement.
Lucius Malfoy pulled his son to his feet, ecstatic. Harry held his breath when Draco’s face appeared before his, so close he could hear Draco’s uneven breathing.
“Well? Is it him? Is it Harry Potter?”
Harry couldn’t help it—he looked Draco in the eye.
A glint of green flashed between them. Draco’s eyes widened—Harry’s heart jumped. Draco stumbled backwards, looked away.
“I don’t know,” he said quickly, and then he was gone.
The memory of the green light, though, stayed with Harry for a long time after their escape.
“Mommy, the sky is on fire!”
Some of the people from their group chuckle, but Harry has to agree with the boy. The northern lights do remind him somewhat of the flames of the Floo Network. Like if he looks closely enough, he’ll glimpse the face of a loved one behind the stars.
He murmurs as much in Draco’s ear and earns a chuckle, an ‘idiot’ pressed into his cheek as Draco nuzzles him.
Harry leans his head against Draco, and together they watch as the Northern Lights paint the sky with brush strokes of green.
The last thing Harry saw before his dead body hit the ground was a flash of green.
It was also the first thing he saw when he pulled the Invisibility Cloak over himself and rose from Hagrid’s feet as chaos reigned around him: a green light that was just slightly fainter than the Killing Curse—that shifted before his eyes and followed him when he turned his head, as though it were a reflection in his glasses. He took them off, but the light was still there in the blur.
When he put them back on and turned to the castle, the battle unfolding once more around him, he held his breath.
It was a thread.
A thread of green, waving light linking him to somewhere—to someone—inside Hogwarts.
‘My thread of fate,’ thought Harry weakly, almost angrily, as he followed the masses toward the castle in his search of Voldemort, ‘is the Killing Curse?’
Was he really that broken? Was this really his fate? Had Dumbledore lied when he’d said Harry was whole again after dying in the forest?
In that moment, Harry didn’t care that there was someone inside Hogwarts who was mourning his death so strongly the thread had materialised between them. He hated that person. He hated whoever his soulmate was almost as much as he hated Voldemort.
“So, what do you think?” Draco murmurs. “I think ours is prettier.”
Harry chuckles. “I like the starry sky behind it, it makes the green stand out more.” A thought crosses his mind. “We should have married at night.”
“That’s the worst idea you’ve had in a while,” Draco says lightly. Harry smiles.
“When we renew our vows, we’re doing it at night.”
“And how do you know our feelings will be strong enough to make the thread shine at that point?”
They’re looking at each other now; Draco’s biting down on a smile, his eyes glinting mischievously.
“I dunno,” Harry quips. “Maybe I won’t love you as much by then.”
“Mmm,” Draco sniggers, and the sound soon turns into a hum when Harry kisses him softly.
“Love you,” Harry whispers, pressing their foreheads together.
“You too,” Draco mumbles. “But we’re not renewing our vows at night.”
“Boooring,” Harry whines as he rests his head on Draco’s shoulders and looks back up at the sky.
Harry didn’t turn around. After a moment Malfoy approached him, and Harry rested his forehead on the glass of the window, hoping Malfoy would get the hint and leave him alone.
But Malfoy just sat in front of him on the window ledge, knees against his chest, and looked out into the night as well.
“Can’t sleep either?” he asked quietly.
“No,” Harry admitted.
He missed Ron and Hermione. He wanted nothing more than to be with them for Christmas, but he hadn’t had the courage to spend the holidays at the Burrow. Not after what had happened to Fred. Not when they needed to be alone with family the most, without Harry as a reminder of the war.
Ron had told him he was so much more than the war to him and his family, but Harry hadn’t believed him. He saw the war in himself every time he looked in the mirror. Heard it in his voice, glimpsed it in the spells he cast with his wand, in the scar on his forehead.
In his thread of fate.
He hadn’t seen it again since the battle, but he hadn’t forgotten. How could he? It had been all the proof he’d needed that coming back from King’s Cross had been a mistake.
“Sorry about earlier,” Draco said. “It was shitty of me to go off at you like that.” When Harry didn’t reply, Draco blurted out, “I know you wanted to be alone and I shouldn’t have taken it personally. I’d promised I wouldn’t use the war against you and then I went and told you that you just thought yourself better than anyone else—”
“—I wasn’t any better.”
“Yeah, well. Still, I wanted to apologise.”
“Malfoy,” Harry said.
Draco raised an eyebrow at him, but did shut up, and turned back to the window.
It was a clear Christmas Eve, the stars a bright silver, the night dark. It was soothing, sitting in the common room with the lights off and getting lost in thought, staring at the forest stretching beyond sight.
It was soothing sitting in silence with Draco, too, and Harry wondered when exactly they’d gone from reluctant dorm mates to… tentative friends—if that was even what they were now.
He didn’t know how long they’d been sitting there when he caught sight of it. Green, waving in the sky above the Hogwarts gardens. Heart in his throat, Harry pushed the window open to get a better view of it.
“Woah! What are you—”
“What’s that?” Harry pointed at the sky. “Is that the Dark Mark?”
“What?!” Draco frowned. It seemed to take him a moment to see what Harry was seeing. “No, that doesn’t look like it.”
“Then what the hell is it?”
They stared out in silence. It was freezing, but Harry didn’t care. That wasn’t why he was shaking.
That shade of green…
“Could that be the Aurora Borealis?” Draco said after a moment.
“The Northern Lights, idiot.”
Harry squinted. He’d heard of students who’d seen them from Hogwarts before, but…
“Aren’t they supposed to be a thousand colours?”
The green was spreading, waving above their heads, its corners shining with violet before they melted into the black sky.
“I thought they were. They do almost look like…” Draco paused. Exhaled. “Oh. So that’s what it is.”
Harry looked at him. Draco was still staring out the window, but he turned his head, too, after a moment, his eyes finding Harry’s.
“You didn’t know, did you,” he said after a long moment of silence. When he realised Harry wasn’t going to reply, he dropped his gaze. “I’ve been meaning to tell you, but I didn’t know if you knew. If you’d seen during the Battle. I—You were under the cloak, and I didn’t know where you…” he drifted off. Bit his lip.
Harry looked out at the stars—at the Northern Lights, breath caught in his throat.
“I don’t expect you to do anything about it, though, if that’s what’s worrying you,” Malfoy blurted out. “We’re barely even friends, it’s not like I suddenly want to—date you, or anything like that—”
Harry glanced at him. “Stop talking.”
Draco’s shoulders slouched as Harry closed the window.
They watched the Northern Lights unfold in silence, and Draco eventually fell asleep with his head against the glass. He looked relaxed, Harry thought. Younger than usual.
Tentatively, Harry brushed his fingertips over Draco’s hand, which was resting on the stone of the windowsill.
It should have been upsetting, but instead, Harry realised, it felt… soothing. Scary, and weird, and real all of a sudden, yes, but soothing.
Draco had been the first person to not make him feel like he was broken after the war after all.
They arrived at the hotel roughly at 3 am, the group silently scattering around, parents carrying sleeping kids to their rooms.
It’s more of a cottage than an actual hotel, designed for these kinds of nightly trips to see the Northern Lights. Their room is a small, cosy attic with a low wooden ceiling, and the sight of it makes Harry impatient to crawl under the covers and curl in a small ball in Draco’s arms.
Although, looking at Draco at that moment, seeing the way he’s taking off his scarf and going for his gloves…
“You know,” Harry says, touching his fingers to Draco’s still gloved hand, “we’ve never tried snow gloves before.”
Draco snorts. “You want to use these in bed?”
“Okay, maybe not. They don’t look body safe. But if we conjured some black leather ones…” Harry rakes his hand down Draco’s back, resting it on his bum.
Draco shakes his head with a chuckle—leans into the touch, walking into Harry’s arms and hugging his waist.
“Not tonight. I’m dead on my feet.” He catches Harry’s mouth in a chaste kiss. Slips a hand in the back pocket of Harry’s trousers, leans into Harry’s shoulder. “Ask me again tomorrow when we’re home, ‘kay?”
“Mmm.” Harry sneaks his hand under Draco’s jumper to caress his back, but Draco winces—jumps in shock.
“Hey! You’re freezing!”
Harry giggles to himself as he gets ready for bed.
The wooden doors opened, and the whole room turned to look at him. Harry wanted to smile at his friends and family, but found he couldn’t look away from the aisle. A sea of green had flooded it—had exploded into it, almost. It felt like it was vibrating out of him, so strong he could feel Draco at the other end of it, vibrating, too, with the strength of his emotions. It grew stronger as Harry walked to the altar, and by the time he finally stood before Draco, taking his hand and looking him in the eye, it felt like a giant sphere of blinding light was pulling them together.
Teddy brought them their rings once they were done reading their vows, followed by little Rose and, apparently, Veronica Goyle, too, who had followed her older friends despite her parents’ efforts.
Draco slipped the ring into Harry’s finger, and the green light expanded impossibly alongside the exhilaration that was filling Harry’s chest. Just after Harry did the same, he realised the kids were still standing there.
“Green,” Rose said, mouth agape. Veronica toddled forward as if to reach out between Draco and Harry.
Ron quickly stepped in and picked Rose up, taking Veronica’s hand in his and ushering Teddy, who turned to Draco and him before retreating and, beaming, said, “Your Northern Lights are showing.”
Draco shed a tear, and Harry was sure he could hear Molly crying from her seat on the first row, too. He laughed, overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by love, by gratefulness; by the fact he was standing in front of everyone he cared for, his overflowing love for Draco plain as day for everyone to witness. It was so terrifying and breathtaking and right that Harry had to take a moment to laugh at the whole situation before the officiant could proceed and pronounce them husbands.
“Did you catch glimpses of violet?” Draco asked him later that day, sat on the balcony of the hotel where they’d organised the reception. The sun was but a mound of red on the horizon, soon to disappear behind a hillock, and the sky was a cloak of orange over the town, just a few small clouds waving the day goodbye.
“Violet?” Harry repeated. “You mean on the altar?”
“Yeah. I saw it flickering in between the waves of green while you put your ring on my finger.” As he said that, Draco played with said ring, twisting it right and left and watching the light from the lamp on the building wall reflect on the small line of emerald that decorated its centre. “It looked almost like it did that night,” he added, voice low, smiling to himself as he stared down at his own hand.
“I think I was a bit too busy looking at you,” Harry admitted. “And panicking about the fact that everyone was seeing the light.”
Draco’s smile widened. “You know,” he said after a moment, “Mother asked me last night what the first thing I wanted to do as a married man was.” He looked up at Harry. “I told her I wanted to see the Northern Lights with you again.”
Harry huffed. “Tough luck, since you decided we should get married in summer. But we could go back to Scotland at Christmas if you want. Plan it properly. That’d be nice.”
“It would be a lovely Christmas gift for sure,” Draco agreed.
“Are you implying I’m gonna be the one who pays?” Harry laughed.
Draco kissed him chastely. As Harry turned his gaze back to the sight before them, the last edge of the sun descended under the horizon.
“I’m implying you’re a thoughtful, loving husband that’s not afraid to show the world how much he loves me.” Draco leaned in again and kissed the line of Harry’s jaw. “And I’ll pay for tickets to the Quidditch World Cup for your birthday.” When Harry grinned at him, Draco raised his chin, smirking. “See, I can be a thoughtful, loving husband too.”
Draco’s remark was light-hearted, but Harry was suddenly overflowing with feelings again. He hid his head in the crook of Draco’s neck, breathing in his scent, breathing through the overwhelming happiness.
“Husbands,” he repeated, barely a mumble. Draco hugged his waist.
“Husbands,” Draco nodded.
Above them, the first stars of the night blinked into existence.