Draco has to sit down when he finds the engagement ring.
He tugs open the drawstring of the black suede bag from Stardust & Sylvans — a rather fancy shop in Diagon Alley that specialises in engagement rings, Draco notes with approval — and up-ends it on his palm.
Out tumbles an engagement ring with a small teardrop aquamarine gemstone set in the centre of the ring. It’s a beautiful ring — Draco carefully turns it, admiring the blue of the stone sparkling when it catches the light — but it’s a rather flashy ring for a man. Besides, he would much prefer an emerald stone; green is his favourite colour, and it’d be even better if it was a green in the shade of Harry’s eyes-
Draco catches himself and shakes his head. Oh, what is he going on about? He’s got Harry’s engagement ring for him right in the heart of his palm and here he is, quibbling about its style and setting. He nudges it towards his ring finger. It looks rather small, but Draco wonders if it’ll fit him perfectly, just like how Harry has fit so wonderfully in his life.
When he suddenly hears the flare of the Floo and Harry’s voice calling out his name, Draco scrambles to replace the ring back to its original position in Harry’s drawer. As Harry’s footsteps trudge closer, he looks around the room with wild eyes and settles for draping himself sexily across their bed.
“Hey,” Draco greets, trying to keep his voice steady and his eyes from darting to the drawer where the ring is.
Harry raises an eyebrow and grins at the view. “Hey. Bloody amazing, coming home to this every night." He shrugs off his red Auror robes and strips down to his underwear, yawning all the while. “I’m absolutely knackered,” he complains and stretches his arms high above his head, wincing at the creaks of his spine.
“You’ve been coming home at nine every night this week,” Draco points out with no accusatory tone in his voice. He knows that Harry's been working overtime because of his week-long holiday for Christmas next week.
“Yeah. I'm so glad that today’s my last day in the office for a while,” Harry mutters and steps into the shower.
When Draco hears the water running, he waits for a few moments before hurrying to the drawer and making sure that everything is exactly as he’d found it.
It’s only now that the significance of the ring hits him.
Sweet Salazar, Harry’s going to propose. Knowing the great big sap that he is, he's probably going to do it around Christmas time.
Draco knows he’s supposed to be jumping for joy, but it’s just… too much too soon, isn’t it?
I’m going to be Harry Potter’s husband.
Getting married would be the next logical step, he rationalises. They’ve already started living together, they’ve been a couple for three years and he knows deep down that he wants to spend the rest of his life with Harry.
But still… Draco begins to pace, his mind reeling with echoing disbelief. They’ve never really talked about marriage. What sort of wedding does Harry want? What are his expectations in a life-long partner? How is it really like, living with him? Sure, they’re currently staying together, but they’ve only moved in three weeks ago. And what about… what about kids?
This is when panic begins to set in.
Draco stops pacing and plops down on the bed. He begins to narrow down his options, counting them off his fingers.
He could say no, but he’s not going to do that. It would break Harry’s heart, and that choice doesn’t make sense because at some point in time, he would very much like to get married to Harry. He could say yes, but it just feels so… fast.
Perhaps he could say yes but request for a long period of engagement before the wedding itself? A year, perhaps? He could use the time to wrap his head around it, they could sit down and have a proper chat about marriage, but hang on, don’t people usually do that before the proposal? Draco thinks, wrinkling his nose.
He closes his eyes and imagines a future with Harry — that aquamarine ring glittering on his finger, exchanging vows with him and staying with him in this very house until they’re old. Harry has his annoying little habits: not capping the toothpaste properly after he’s finished with it, hogging all the covers at night and subscribing to way too many Quidditch magazines. They have fights too; horrible, fiery fights that end in furious words and the harsh sounds of slammed doors echoing off the walls.
Despite all of that, Draco knows that they both love each other very much.
“I’m going to get married to Harry Potter,” he whispers.
It doesn’t feel so strange when he says it out loud a second time.
It's been four days since Draco has found the ring and Harry hasn't said a single thing about it.
He's not desperate to get engaged, but Draco's never been particularly good at waiting for presents. It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop, he thinks and stifles a sigh. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Harry edge a curious glance at him as they stroll along the river. They've just had dinner in a fancy restaurant, and Draco had thought that Harry would pop the question there and then.
Harry nudges him with an elbow. "Is everything alright? You've been out of sorts lately."
Draco's about to shove out I'm fine, but the thing is he's not, because he knows he's been exceptionally distracted and jittery the past few days. He can't predict Harry's reaction if he says it out loud, but he doesn't think he can keep Harry's secret anymore. Draco gestures for them to stop walking. They stop and lean over the balustrade to look at the swirling river below them, Draco taking this chance to marshal his thoughts. Harry sweeps a layer of snow off the balustrade and rests his arms on it.
"You know you can talk to me about anything," he says, concern in his eyes.
Draco takes a deep breath. "Harry, I found the engagement ring."
"What engagement-" He frowns, but his confusion dissipates after a few seconds. "Oh, that engagement ring! It's not for you," he assures before he looks absolutely stricken at what he'd just said.
A short silence passes as Harry opens and closes his mouth without a sound, at an utter loss of words to say.
"You might want to explain yourself further," Draco drawls blandly.
"Okay, you know our house-warming party tomorrow on Christmas Eve?" Harry starts, fumbling a bit and running his gloved hands through his hair.
Draco nods. It was Harry's idea to host a house-warming party on Christmas night for his horde of Weasleys and even invite Draco's parents and friends we always celebrate at the Burrow, we've got enough space here for all of them, and it's Christmas, a time for family-
Draco almost had a fit at that suggestion. It had taken him two long years to get along well with the entire Weasley clan; he often tagged along with Harry for Sunday brunch and major holiday occasions, but their gatherings were always so exhausting for him. And the thought of his parents and the Weasleys under the same roof for a party was enough to give him a massive headache. Plus, the amount of food that had to be prepared and the mess that would be left in their brand-new house... Besides, he didn't want to share Harry with anyone on Christmas night in their new house, he wanted Harry all to himself. They had a terrible fight over it, but eventually both of them compromised and decided to hold it on Christmas Eve, with Molly Weasley and a few other Weasleys arriving early to help with the food.
At Draco's nod, Harry continues. "Ron's gonna propose to Hermione at the party. He asked me to take care of the ring until tomorrow. So, the ring is for Hermione, not... you."
Draco lets out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.
He trains his eyes straight ahead, gazing towards the lit-up buildings on the horizon. He doesn't know what he's supposed to feel — relief that marriage isn't on the cards for them now, anger at himself for jumping to conclusions and anger at Harry for not telling him about it, or feeling silly for psyching himself up to be Harry Potter's husband.
"So that's it then. A misunderstanding. Perhaps you'd like to notify me before you leave engagement rings lying about our house," Draco mutters and storms away in sheer indignation, leaving a flabbergasted Harry in his wake.
He only manages three steps before Harry yanks him back. He's about to say something, but his words wilt on his lips when he sees something else in Draco's expression. "I... I thought you were angry, but you're... disappointed!"
Harry gasps dramatically.
"Bloody hell, Draco, you're disappointed that I'm not going to propose! You want me to propose to you!"
His face engulfed in a hot blush of embarrassment, Draco shakes Harry's arm away. "We've got a house together and a joint Gringotts account, for Salazar's sake! Where did you think this was going?!" He pushes his hair out of his eyes, injecting some semblance of anger into his glare. "Imagine if it were you that found the ring, would you not have come to the same conclusion as I did?"
Harry murmurs Draco's name and lets out an affectionate sigh. He laces their fingers together and guides them to a nearby bench.
"I'm sorry, I should have told you about the ring," Harry says, suitably apologetic.
Draco leans back on the bench, mollified.
Harry squeezes his hand, and when he looks up at Draco, his gaze is equal parts shy and nervous.
"But... d'you really want me to... you wanna... you want me to propose to you?" He winces at how inelegant he sounds, but Draco's faring no better.
"Er..." Draco mumbles and looks down at their joined hands. "I didn't... I mean... I just saw the ring and I kinda thought... you know..." He flaps a hand in the air and lets it drop when he realises he's not making a jot of sense.
Seconds tick by as they sit there on a park bench in a dark and snowy night, their tongues tied and their faces glowing with pink blushes.
Eventually, Harry clears his throat.
"D'you think we're ready?" He asks, his words hushed. "Don't get me wrong, Draco, I really like being with you and everything's wonderful. Even though we fight half the time, I love it when we work through things and come out stronger than before. I think..." His blush deepens, and when he speaks, his voice is barely above a whisper. "Sometimes I think I would like to spend the rest of my life with you."
The beat of Draco's heart almost drowns out Harry's words.
"But I think we're not ready for marriage yet. If you ask me why, I can't give you an answer. As of now, I'm not ready for it," Harry trails off, his eyes frantic and searching Draco's face for any clues hinting to his emotions.
Harry's face falls when Draco pulls his hand away.
"Don't be angry," Harry pleads. "I can't lie about something like this-" He stops short when Draco pulls the glove off his own right hand and Harry's glove off his left hand. He twines their bare fingers together, basking in the warmth of Harry's touch. He presses a string of kisses along Harry's jawline.
Harry visibly relaxes.
Draco rests his head on Harry's shoulder.
"When I saw the ring, of course some part of me was thrilled, but I was panicky and anxious about it. We haven't even had a proper talk about our expectations of marriage and here I am, holding a ring that I thought signified your proposal."
He starts to run a finger up and down Harry's knuckles.
"I spent the past few days trying to work myself up to being your husband; seeing you with fresh eyes and thinking of you as my husband... and I..."
Harry gulps. "Yeah?"
Draco smiles. "I like what I see." His smile dims slightly. "But I'm not ready for it either. I don't think we're ready for such a big step forward." He squeezes Harry's hand and flashes a cheeky grin. "Yet."
They laugh and stay there for a while, enjoying the companionable silence and each other's company.
"Besides, I wouldn't buy you a blue engagement ring. I know your favourite colour is green," Harry pipes up.
"Don't be so pleased with yourself. For your information, I might be the one doing the proposing."
"Oh, really? And what colour would my ring be?"
"You'll know when the time comes, you prat."
The Weasleys are utter chaos.
Draco slumps into their bedroom, shuts the door behind him to drown out the mayhem of the party, tips his head back and sloshes the entire glass of Firewhiskey down his throat. Wincing at the strong burn of alcohol, he thumps the glass on the bedside table and collapses in bed, limbs sprawled all over the sheets like a starfish.
The party was in full swing when Draco took the chance to slip upstairs for a brief respite; Aunt Andromeda and his parents were huddled together near the fireplace deep in conversation; the Weasley kids, half of the Weasley adults and surprisingly, Draco's friends — Pansy, Blaise and Greg — who had popped by after dinner were being entertained (to varying degrees of amusement) by the Weasley twins' newest joke shop products in the magically-warmed garden; while the rest of the Weasleys were lounging in the living room, talking in small groups or dozing off the dinner feast.
Draco closes his eyes and rubs his fingertips over his eyelids in slow, calming circles, sighing when he feels knots of tension ebbing from his body. It had been a long day preparing for the party; doing up the Christmas decorations, tidying up the house, making sure the living room and garden was safe for Teddy and Victoire and stocking up on alcohol.
Having a never-ending supply of alcohol was extremely important since his parents and the Weasleys had to break bread together.
While Harry and some of the Weasleys were cooking this afternoon, Draco made a few last-minute runs to Diagon Alley to pick up some extra food. When at a loss about the amount of supplies to buy, he had cast his mind back to Ron's appetite during family feasts...
... and promptly heaped a second basket with more food.
It was tough, but worth it when he saw how delighted Harry was at seeing everyone together in their house. And it hadn't been an absolute disaster that Draco had envisioned it to be. Of course, there were tense moments between Father and Arthur Weasley during dinner, but that was alleviated when their wives made appropriate soothing noises, with Mother refreshing Father's wine and placing a calming hand on his thigh under the table.
Draco could scarcely believe his eyes when he saw his parents' choice of attire for the evening.
Lucius Malfoy was wearing dark blue Muggle jeans and a black collared shirt, his long blond hair hanging loosely around his shoulders. Narcissa Malfoy was dressed in a cheery sunflower-yellow sleeveless dress that accentuated her slim figure, complementing her hair, which was styled in an elegant chignon.
Draco had to hold the kitchen counter for support, while beside him, Harry's jaw dropped.
Father walked stiffly towards them and held out a bottle of finest elf-made wine from the Malfoy cellars. The strappy kitten heels on Mother's feet clicked on the floor as she reached both Harry and Draco. Draco bent down to kiss her cheek and Harry greeted her with a cheerful hello.
Harry's greeting to Father was much cooler as he accepted the wine.
"Good evening, Father," Draco said formally to Lucius, who nodded, zeroed in on a glass of champagne and moved away to a corner of the living room.
"Why are you dressed like that?" Draco hissed under his breath, darting another look at Father in jeans, for Salazar's sake-
Narcissa patted his hand. "We know how important this party is for Harry and you. It's a big occasion, is it not? It's the first official gathering held in your first house." She became quite misty-eyed as she stared off into the middle distance. "It reminds me of the first ball that Lucius and I hosted in the Manor right after our wedding, along with the in-laws-"
"It's not the same thing, Mother!" Draco cuts in, flapping his hands. Beside him, Harry bit his lip to hide a smile.
Narcissa waved his protest aside. "The point is; I do not think that we would fit very well with the general... spirit of tonight if we come dressed in formal wear. Lucius protested about this, but eventually I was able to turn his mind around. Hence this," she explained, gesturing to her dress. "I didn't expect it to be so... comfortable."
She cleared her throat discreetly and angled her body towards her husband, her eyes lingering almost... appreciatively on his figure.
"I also did not expect Muggle jeans to be so... tight," she murmured, much to Draco's horror when he realised that his mother was checking out his father's arse.
Draco had to chug a can of beer after that conversation.
The highlight of the party was Ron's proposal to Hermione right after dessert. After a very teary yes, Ron simply lifted her straight up from the floor and kissed her hard, surrounded by whooping and cheering Weasleys; Molly was openly sobbing and the twins had struck up some song which made Ron and Hermione blush. Even Draco's parents were clapping politely at the scene.
Draco spotted Hermione sneaking glances at the aquamarine ring on her finger for the rest of the night.
The bedroom door opens, chasing Draco away from the memories of the party.
"Hey," Harry says, poking his head inside. "Wondered where you were." He enters the room, closing the door behind him. "You okay?" He asks, lying down beside Draco and squeezing his upper arm.
"Yeah. Just tired," Draco replies, moving closer to the other man.
"Thank you for tonight. I know it hasn't been easy for you, but I'm glad we did this," Harry murmurs, his brilliant smile sparkling like the faint shimmers of leftover snow on the windowpane. He slides a hand down to the small of Draco's back, leans in and kisses him.
The kiss quickly gets heated when Draco pulls Harry on top of him and toys with the hem of his shirt. He’s barely spent any time with Harry since the guests began to arrive, and it's such bliss to finally get him alone.
"Wait," Draco stutters when Harry begins to kiss his way down his throat, his hands undoing the buttons on Draco's shirt one by one and his mouth following suit, dropping a hot trail of kisses down Draco's chest. "We have guests downstairs, we can't... oh God, Harry," Draco's protests end in a thrilled moan when Harry, having popped the last button free to reveal his bare torso, snakes a hand down to Draco’s crotch.
"Wanna reward you for being so good tonight," Harry says, his voice rough and low. Draco props himself up on his elbows and bites his lower lip when he sees Harry between his legs, the hunger on Harry's face turning him on even more.
Draco throws his head back and gasps, anticipation buzzing in his blood when nimble fingers get to work on his belt and the zipper of his trousers.
Eh, Draco's absolutely sure the Weasleys are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves.
"Yeah, Harry," he encourages breathily, threading his fingers through Harry's hair and lifting his hips when Harry slides his hands under the waistband of his trousers and briefs. Draco gulps, his body throbbing with longing-
An explosion echoes from the garden.
Both men freeze and stare at each other, their eyes wide with trepidation and horror.
A chorus of raucous cheers, led by Fred and George Weasley, pierces the night air.
Harry and Draco groan in unison.
With slumped shoulders and closed eyes, Draco lets his head fall back against the pillows and starts to button his shirt. Sighing in disappointment, Harry reluctantly zips Draco up.
"I swear on Merlin's pants, if they've blown up the rose bushes..." Draco grumps as they emerge from their bedroom.
Harry, the cheeky little shit, simply shoots him a winning smile and says in a smooth glib tone, "If it'll make you feel any better, I'll make up for that too, after the party."
The Christmas tree — the centrepiece of Diagon Alley’s winter decorations — is magnificent.
It's so massive that Harry and Draco have to take two steps back and tilt their head all the way up to see the glowing Golden Snitch — the size of two Bludgers combined — fluttering at the top of the tree, its iridescent wings catching facets of moonlight here and there. The tree is decorated with large winding trails of tinsel in every shade of the rainbow and Christmas ornaments speckled with golden dust dangle from the edges of each frost-tipped frond. Ballerinas in snowflake dresses and prancing reindeer adorned with sleighs chase each other around the tree, leaving puffballs of pixie dust behind them.
Harry grins and sweeps some pixie dust off Draco, who’s still staring in wide-eyed wonder at the tree.
“Harry, it’s beautiful!” He exclaims, tugging on Harry’s hand and gesturing in pink-cheeked excitement to the glittering and beribboned presents crowding the base of the tree. “Look at all those presents!”
“You and your presents,” Harry says around an affectionate laugh. He bumps his shoulder against Draco’s and entwines their gloved fingers together. Draco tugs his black knit cap over his conspicuous blond hair and inches closer to Harry until their arms are pressed flush against each other. He revels in the heat of Harry’s body that’s so much better at warming him up than his mug of mulled wine. He inhales deeply — the Gryffindor scarf wound around his neck still smells like Harry.
He can hear the strains of a saxophone from the street band they’d passed shortly before they arrived at the Christmas tree. The tree looks wonderful against the backdrop of the night sky with stars strung against the velvet sky sparkling like heart-cut diamonds. A full moon rests, proud and resplendent, just like a Christmas ornament that someone had hung. A playful gust of wind gathers around their ankles, picking up snow flurries in its wake.
Harry squeezes his hand. “Come on,” he whispers.
Draco turns back to the Christmas markets of Diagon Alley, filled with small wooden huts festooned with garlands of green and cheery sprigs of holly. They had threaded through the heaving markets just moments before, marvelling at the wares on sale: traditional handicrafts, delicately-embroidered lace, handmade stained glass jewellery that winked coquettishly up at them. Scarves, hats and gloves adorn stands, flapping gently in the breeze. Draco breathes in; he can smell the fragrance of roasting meats in large ovens and sausages simmering in huge pans. There are kids running wild with small red Santa hats fringed with white trim tucked in their hair, their shouts and giggles echoing in the air while frazzled shoppers weave between shops, their arms brimming with last-minute Christmas purchases. The mood is festive and busy, but the hustle and bustle of the jostling crowd is beginning to wear on Draco.
Tonight, on Christmas night, he wants to be with Harry, only Harry.
With matching grins, Harry and Draco laugh and scurry off to a quiet corner tucked just beyond the high street of Diagon Alley.
The air is still and sweet here, and everything’s brushed with a coat of twilight. There are snow crystals melting in Harry’s hair, and his gorgeous green eyes blaze with an intensity that robs Draco of his breath. A frisson of thrill and need shivers up his spine when Harry pulls off Draco’s knit cap and threads blond hair between his fingers. In response, Draco drops his mug — splashing wine against pristine white snow — to graze his fingers on his own Slytherin scarf looped around Harry’s neck.
They kiss slowly and sensually in the snow and moonlight, their heads tilted, eyes closed and hands smoothing up and down waists and shoulders. Draco eagerly wriggles a hand under Harry’s layers of clothing to settle on the small of his back. In return, Harry cups a hand on the nape of Draco’s head — Draco loves it whenever he does that — to deepen the kiss.
Three years together, and it still feels like it’s the first time.
Arousal grips Draco like a pincer when they grind their hips together. They have to move this to somewhere more private right now-
Harry pulls away, his eyes cloudy with lust. When he speaks, his voice is hoarse with desire.
“Let’s go home.”
They wear their afterglows like halos.
Draco hums in satisfaction and leans into the crook of Harry's shoulder. He loves how Harry keeps him warm as they sit ensconced in a great fluffy blanket on the squashy couch in their living room: the heat of his body pressed flush against Draco's skin; their legs bent and bare feet resting on the edge of the coffee table, and most importantly, a fresh mug of Harry's home-made hot chocolate in his hands. Draco prods happily at the snowman-shaped marshmallow — dusted with cocoa powder — bobbing in his hot chocolate. He takes a long gulp of the drink and relishes the rich, smooth slide of liquid chocolate down his throat.
Draco closes his eyes and lets out a bubbly sigh of bliss.
It's not Christmas without Harry's chocolate.
"Hmmm?" Draco opens his eyes when Harry nudges him away to reach over the arm of the couch. He sighs when a grinning Harry pulls out a particular soft toy that Draco is... er... rather well-acquainted with.
"Really, Harry," Draco mutters. He tugs the plushie out of Harry's grasp and rests it against his stomach, turning its face towards the crackling fireplace.
On hindsight, Draco should have hidden his childhood toy better. He still remembers how Harry had stumbled onto a box of his while they were unpacking in their new home. Draco took one look at the box and suggested as subtly as he could, despite his pounding heart, that they leave the house at once for dinner. Perhaps Harry had got much better at reading Draco, because one corner of Harry's lips hiked up into a half-smile, before the other corner followed in an upwards curve, which meant that Harry was going to be a right cheeky arse about things.
"Well, what's this then? One of your dirty little secrets that I've yet to know about?" Harry had drawled (three years with Draco had significantly improved Harry's drawling technique) and inched a hand closer to the box.
Draco's eyes skittered between Harry and the box. "Harry. Let's go out for dinner. Now. We can unpack later, can't we?" But Draco knew that he was fighting a losing game because Harry has always been too curious and too stubborn for his own good.
Draco's face was engulfed in a deep shade of mortified pink when with a triumphant cry, Harry flipped open the box and pulled out...
...a Harry Potter plushie.
"Wha-" Harry dropped the box and stared, stunned, at the item in his hand. It was medium-sized, running the length from Harry's wrist to elbow. It had Harry's jet-black hair, although it was much neater than the real Harry's usual riotous hair; it wasn't bespectacled, and the green of its wide eyes was a lighter shade than Harry's forest-green eyes. But there was one thing about the doll that was accurate — the lightning bolt-shaped scar on its forehead. It was rather ratty and old — small patches of cotton stuffing were leaking out from its seams and its red robes had faded to pink from sun exposure.
"Harry. Move away from the doll. Now," Draco ordered, his tone calm and imperious, although the lingering blush on his cheeks betrayed him. He took a step forward when Harry placed the doll nearer to his face-
"Don't smell it, for Merlin's sake!" Draco wailed and passed a hand over his eyes.
"I thought it was something you had as a kid, but it..." Harry takes another sniff.
"But it smells of you now. Like your cologne and your natural scent..." Harry had trailed off to stare at Draco with eyes wide in surprise and wonder. "You still hug it! You still hug it to sleep! That's why whenever I visit the Manor you make some excuse to disappear before I'm allowed to enter your room! To hide the evidence!" He crooned in delight and admired the doll again. "Well, I don't think my eyes are that close together, but well... it's rather flattering to know that you have a Harry Potter doll."
Draco had had enough.
His nostrils flaring and his eyebrows knitted in annoyance, he strode over to Harry, yanked the doll out of his hands and promptly whacked him over the head with the Harry plushie.
"Don't look so bloody pleased with yourself!" Draco snapped and bounced the plushie off Harry's head again for good measure. "Yes, for some absurd reason I took a liking to it when it went on sale after your one-year-old defeat of Voldemort. Father hadn't been best pleased about that, but Mother got it for me in the end. According to Mother, I carried it everywhere when I was a child. When I got older, I had other things instead, such as books, but I've always... I..." He plopped down on the couch and twirled a finger around the plushie's small scarf.
Harry sat down beside him.
"Yeah?" He murmured in an encouraging tone.
"When I realised we were the same age, I thought that I might see you at Hogwarts and perhaps we could be... friends," Draco mumbled and looked away, his fingers squeezing the sides of the doll lightly. He met Harry's highly amused gaze and drawled. "Imagine my horror when I met the real thing and found out he was a prat of the highest order."
From that day onwards, the Harry Potter plushie has occupied a place of honour right in the middle of their bed, seated snugly between their fluffed-up pillows and its chubby legs tucked under their duvet. Draco still hugs it to sleep sometimes, although Harry, too, has developed a fondness for it.
Draco pulls himself back to the here and now when Harry brandishes a box wrapped in Christmas gift paper.
"I... er... thought that it's been looking rather lonely in that big bed," Harry mutters, ducking his head and rubbing the back of his neck, a sheepish smile winking on his lips.
"Don't tell me you-" He places his hot chocolate on the table, pops open the box and peers at its contents. "Oh sweet Salazar, you did."
He slowly pulls out a Draco Malfoy plushie. The soft toy is obviously hand-made: one grey eye is slightly larger than the other, its smirk is a bit too lopsided, while one arm is about an inch longer than the other. The stitching is uneven at some parts, especially on the curves of the doll. But what's more important is-
"Is there a particular reason that the Draco doll is practically naked?" Draco asks, arching an eyebrow at the doll's tiny Gryffindor-red briefs — the only thing it's wearing.
Harry waggles his eyebrows mischievously at Draco, leering. "In my perfect world, you're naked all the time."
Draco huffs. "When did you do this? And... how?" He asks, tilting his head in question. He doesn't feel any hint of magic on the doll.
"I learnt how to sew the Muggle way from Molly. I couldn't work on it here because you'd definitely catch on, so I sewed it at the office."
Draco blinks in astonishment. "So the entire week that you've been working late..." He says slowly, putting two and two together. At Harry's nod, Draco can't help but throw his head back and laugh, a fresh peal of laughter bursting from his lips. He imagines Harry's office, his table strewn all over with life-and-death case files, and Harry hunched over right in the middle of it, surrounded by balls of stuffing, clicking needles and rolls of fabric and felt, hard at work with sewing a Draco doll.
It mustn't have been easy for Harry to create something like this.
"Thank you. I like it a lot," Draco whispers. With a bright smile on his face, he picks up both plushies — a half-naked Draco doll and a fully-clothed Harry doll — and perches them on the coffee table, turning them to face both men.
Draco looks at the dolls. "They look good together."
"We look good together, you mean," Harry says, grinning.
Draco lifts a shoulder in a half-shrug. He reaches over his side of the couch and retrieves Harry's Christmas present.
Harry's eyes widen when he sees the photo album. "Oh, wow!" He exclaims, his face breaking into an explosive smile. Pleased at his reaction, Draco sips his hot chocolate while he watches Harry flip through the pages in an excited flurry.
It's an album documenting the renovation and shift to their new house. There's dozens of photos in the album, complete with annotations, but a few photos have caught Draco's fancy: a picture of Harry and Draco napping on the couch together, clad in paint-smeared clothes, along with messy scrawls of paint-smudged hair (Hermione must've taken that photo); Ron and Arthur Weasley attempting to assemble an IKEA bookcase, much to their abject confusion and everyone else's hilarity; Narcissa and Draco sitting in the half-furnished garden and talking about flowers; Pansy and Blaise gesturing to a painting in one of their guest rooms; and a photo of Ron, Hermione and Harry laughing in the kitchen, taking a break over biscuits and tea.
Draco had been waiting for an occasion momentous enough to deserve a photo album, and moving in together surely qualified as such. About a year into their relationship, Harry had sat him down and hesitantly showed him the photo album that Hagrid had given him during his first year of Hogwarts.
"They loved me so much, you know," Harry whispered, his eyes sad and faraway as he flipped to a picture of Lily kissing a young Harry's hand and James dropping a kiss on the top of Harry's head. Draco listened while Harry, aided by the photos of Ron, Hermione and Harry, chattered on about the adventures that the Golden Trio had shared then.
Draco had decided then and there that he had to give Harry a photo album.
Besides, Harry's never been one for extravagant presents. Sure, he's alright with spending money on himself, judging by the expensive brooms that he owned (well, to be fair to Harry, he did need those brooms to give Draco a run for his Galleons during Seeker's Quidditch), but he disliked receiving expensive gifts. Draco had learnt it the hard way when he had given Harry an expensive watch for their first Christmas together. They had a terrible row about it when Harry admitted that he couldn't appreciate such fancy tastes and Draco had taken offense.
"Draco... it's brilliant," Harry says in awe, beaming at the last photo — the group photo taken during yesterday's housewarming party.
"I'm glad you like it."
Harry closes the album and places it on the table, beside the two dolls. He lunges towards Draco and kisses him so soundly and intensely that Draco forgets how to breathe for a moment. Harry draws back after a while; his smile so dazzling that Draco wishes he could press the pause button on the world at this very moment.
"I won't say no if you propose," Harry murmurs, his thumbs rubbing the apples of Draco's cheeks, and his dark lashes batting lazily. And once again, his eyes are so damn intense, accentuated by the firelight from the fireplace reflected on his glasses and dancing across his cheek.
Draco drops a kiss on the tip of Harry's nose and nestles them back on the couch, drawing the blanket close around them. Closing his eyes, Draco smiles when he feels the steady rise and fall of Harry's chest.
He thinks of lazy Sundays spent in bed with Harry, of burnt toast and scrambled eggs and rained-in days. Despite all their fights and arguments, Harry's changed his heart into a star that would never dim; Harry's untangled the knots in his heart and the jumble in his head with just one touch, one word when Draco gets too lost in his nightmares of their past.
Draco knows — it's as clear as day — that he would very much like to be Harry's husband someday.
Draco snuggles closer to Harry. "I... I won't say no if you propose."
A giddy little smile spreads across Harry's face, but he pauses and wrinkles his nose.
"Hang on. Did we just get engaged?"
"It's not that easy to propose to a pure-blood, you know," he points out in a conversational tone.
Harry snorts in amusement. "What's that supposed to mean? I gotta… slay a Hippogriff and present it to your parents or something like that?" He jokes, chortling.
Draco shrugs. "Perhaps. Or something equally heroic. There are actually books detailing traditional pure-blood proposals."
Harry's smile fades and falls off entirely.
"What? What, really?" He pales. "It was difficult enough telling your parents that we were going out! Wait, how about..." He brightens. "How about you propose to me instead?"
"Taking the easy way out already?" Draco says dryly, elbowing him in the ribs.
Harry chuckles. "Happy Christmas, Draco."
Draco looks at the snow falling gently outside the windows, at the pair of Harry and Draco dolls sitting on the table and finally, at the photo album. This is their first Christmas spent in their house, and he's together with Harry, who always knows the best way to keep him warm, both inside and out. A suffusing sense of contentment courses through Draco's body. He's never felt so full and warm before, with pure happiness tugging at his heart like stolen heartbeats in love stories.
"Happy Christmas, Harry," Draco whispers. "And here's to many more Christmases spent like this."
With that, he pulls Harry even closer and kisses his sweet, gorgeous smile all over again.