It's Not Christmas Without You

Author: Debbie
Rating: PG-13 for swearing and a few snogs
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is entirely JK Rowling's creation -- what an amazing woman!
Author's Note: For 7Q Christmas fic challenge. Many thanks to Liss and Hah for beta-reading. Warning, there's some time hopping between past and present -- I hope it's not too confusing. Also, this fic contains slash (same-sex relationship). If your only response is "ew", hit the 'back' button now.
Feedback: Yes please. Even short notes mean a lot to me. I accept constructive as well as positive remarks.

1. Somebody must say "Merry Christmas" in a foreign language. 2. Dobby must knit/have knitted someone socks. 3. Someone must kiss someone else for the first time under mistletoe - and we're not talking a peck on the cheek! 4. Someone must bake something. 5. Someone has to give a quill as a gift. 6. There must be a snowball fight. 7. Someone must say the line "You're looking quite nice this evening. Either that, or someone spiked the egg nog."

"Forget it, Malfoy." The anger was back in Harry's voice.

Draco's eyes narrowed at the sound of his surname.

"Who's going to stop me? You? Oh, right. I forgot. The great Harry Potter. Well, guess what, Potter? The world may race to do your bidding, but I won't. Deal with it."

And with that, Draco yanked his cloak off its peg, and left with nothing more than a resounding *bang* as the door slammed shut in his wake.


Harry sat on the floor by the Christmas tree, the chaos in front of him bringing a small smile to his lips. It was always pandemonium when all nine Weasleys got together; throw in Hermione and the fact that it was Christmas morning, and the level of chaos only increased. Torn wrapping paper and knotted ribbon were everywhere. Fred and George had pulled off their jumpers, complaining of improper fit, but declared complete satisfaction after trading garments and yanking the new ones over their heads. Ron and Hermione were curled up together on the sofa; Ron was trying to look interested as Hermione excitedly read bits from the latest "Wizard's Desk Reference". Harry shook his head in amusement; Ron had been the one to give his girlfriend the weighty tome -- he could hardly complain if she expressed her enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Mrs Weasley was calling for her eldest three boys to pose for a picture, ignoring protests that they were still in their pyjamas, and Mr Weasley was excitedly showing Ginny the new stapler Harry had given him.

Meanwhile, Harry sat apart from it all, nursing his mug of hot chocolate, picking idly at a loose thread in his socks. They were old socks -- six years old, if he remembered correctly -- the first in a long line of socks Dobby had knitted for him. They were getting rather thin, and the Snitches and broomsticks were rather faded, but Harry had worn them on Christmas day every year since he'd gotten them. By now, they were only fit to wear on Christmas day -- too much additional wear and they'd probably fall apart.

But Harry had dug them out yet again, needing their comfort. Although as he enjoyed spending the holiday surrounded by friends and family (the closest he'd ever had to family, anyway), he couldn't help but feel depressed.

I'm not supposed to be here. I should be home. With Draco.


Lucius Malfoy had died at the hands of his master, shortly after Voldemort's return to power. What he had done to displease the Dark Lord had never been publicly revealed; however, from what Harry had seen, it didn't take much to put Voldemort into a killing rage. Narcissa had disappeared at the same time; whether she had died or had fled for her life was yet another mystery. The fact remained, however, that Draco had been left an orphan. Just like Harry.

Because so many students had gone home to be with their families that Christmas, the Hogwarts' staff had decided to bend the rules. For the first time, all remaining students would be gathered into a single House; it was safer, Dumbledore said. This meant that Draco would be sharing living quarters with Ron, Hermione, Harry, Fred, George, and the two Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs who also stayed. And because the majority of the students were Gryffindors, it was their House that served as the host.

As expected, sharing quarters with Malfoy was initially very trying, especially for the Gryffindors. Harry, Hermione and Ron alternated between ignoring the blond boy and trading insults with him. Then, one night, the Slytherin came across Fred and George planning their next caper and stopped to critique their strategy. The twins accepted his advice grudgingly, but when their prank -- finally achieving their dream of stealing a Hogwarts toilet seat and sneaking it past Filch -- went off without a hitch, they began to warm towards Malfoy. The rest of the group was slower to follow suit, but the tension did eventually ease, even to the point of good-natured teasing. And although he was loathe to admit it, Harry actually enjoyed his new camaraderie with Malfoy. It was a false atmosphere, created by the temporary cocoon that was their common room, and they all knew it. But it didn't lessen their fun.

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, everyone was feeling relaxed and in the mood for some holiday cheer. Hermione had asked Professor McGonagall for permission to decorate the common room and, surprisingly, she had acquiesced. While Sir Robert the Ragamuffin leant out of his portrait to nibble on a nearby popcorn garland, Harry hung the mistletoe, with Malfoy holding him aloft with a levitation charm.

"Thanks," Harry said, as Malfoy returned him to ground level. After a quick check to assess his work, he looked over to the corner where Hermione was showing Ron and one of the Hufflepuffs how to cut out paper snowflakes.

"Come here for a sec," he called.

Ron looked up, a piece of tattered paper in his hands. "What?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Just come here. You too, Hermione."

For weeks, months, he had been watching his best friends dance around each other, obviously interested, but neither one willing to take the first step and admit it. A kiss under the mistletoe, Harry mused, would provide the necessary nudge to finally get Ron and Hermione together.

"What's this all about, Harry?" Hermione asked as she approached. She handed him a stack of perfect paper snowflakes. "Is this what you needed?"

Harry grinned. "No. What I need," he gestured over their heads with his chin, "is for the two of you to take advantage of the situation."

As one, Ron and Hermione looked up, saw the mistletoe, gasped, blushed, and looked back down at their shoes. Harry had to prod them a little more fervently before they finally leaned in and exchanged a quick and embarrassed peck.

Malfoy sighed in exasperation. "You're pathetic. Weasley, you've got about fifty older brothers -- didn't you learn anything from them?"

Harry noticed that, while the mistletoe hadn't exactly produced the desired effect, Hermione did lace her fingers supportively through Ron's as he defended himself. He hid a grin.

"Well, it's not like I spent all my free time spying on their romantic liaisons," Ron countered. "I suppose you've kissed every girl in Slytherin?"

Draco had the grace to redden a little. "No, not really." Then he regained his composure. "But come on, it's mistletoe. It's Christmas. Surely you can put a little more grandeur into it; a Malfoy always does things with style -- like this."

Before Harry knew what was happening, the blond boy had grabbed him and was sweeping him back into a dramatic dip. He started to protest, but then Malfoy's lips pressed against his, surprisingly soft and warm, and all other thought was driven away. Rather than recoiling, Harry found himself responding to the kiss; he couldn't explain it, but he couldn't stop it either. A bolt of fire ran through him as he parted his lips and arched up toward the other boy's mouth; the Slytherin responded with equal heat. Then, abruptly, the dry coolness of the room replaced the damp warmth of lips; through a haze of hormones and confusion he realized that Draco -- when had he ceased to be Malfoy? -- had set him back on his feet and stepped back.

Harry supposed he should have said something -- either yelled at Draco or brushed off the whole incident by turning back to Ron and Hermione -- but he found himself paralyzed, pinned by the grey gaze opposite him. All he could manage to think, and somehow he knew Draco was thinking it too, was

What the hell just happened?


"Care for a bun, dear?"

Harry shook himself from his reverie and accepted a cinnamon roll from the tray Mrs Weasley was holding in front of him. He smiled inwardly as he remembered the flour fight Fred and George had gotten into while making them. Although Mrs Weasley had been furious, Harry was privately glad that she'd been there to supervise the twins. God only knew what they might have created if left to their own devices -- Blackbird Buns or something equally mischievous, probably.

He finished the roll, licked the icing off his fingers, and then decided it was time to rescue Ron from Hermione's in-depth praise of her book. He pulled a long thin box from under the tree, got to his feet, and made his way over to the sofa.

"Here," he said, cutting off Hermione's enthusiastic recitation of the latest charm theories. "This is for you."

Ron smiled his silent relief as Hermione pulled off the bow and carefully undid the wrapping paper. She lifted the lid and pulled out a quill, an eagle feather.

"In honour of your always being so sharp-eyed," Harry explained. "I just thought maybe you could use it, now that you've got that new research position. Ron's always telling me how much writing you do."

"Oh, Harry." Hermione suddenly leaned over and threw her arms around him. "Thank you. It's perfect."

It wasn't so unusual for her to hug him, even though she was with Ron -- it was all in friendship. Harry gave her a quick hug back, but it took everything he had not to lean into her supportive warmth, to hold on longer than necessary. It had only been a few days since he'd last shared body contact with anyone, but it felt like aeons. And while he missed it desperately, the faint scent of Hermione's perfume tickling his nose reminded him of who was really in his arms. Abruptly, he rose and excused himself to go upstairs and change. Wrong person, wrong person, he thought miserably, as he reached the shelter of Ron's room. He wrapped his arms around himself, trying to remember how it felt to have the right person hold him.

Oh god, I miss you so much. And it's all my fault.


It was an odd experience, to go from hating Draco to liking him. Then again, Harry realized, maybe it wasn't so odd after all. They say the opposite of hate isn't love, it's indifference. And he had certainly never been indifferent to Draco Malfoy. He had watched him for years, hiding what he now knew to be his real feelings under the equally real layers of animosity. But there, in the artificial world the housing situation had created, with hostilities set aside, he and Draco discovered what lay beneath -- a very different sort of passion.

Still, once the winter term started and everyone went back to their own House, the spell that had brought them together seemed to be broken. They returned to their old habits, their own circles. A chance assignment from Professor Sinistra two months later brought them back together at the top of the Astronomy Tower, and it was there that they rediscovered each other, discovered that perhaps it was possible to be themselves and be together after all. They had their differences, naturally, but underneath it all they shared a similar drive for perfection, a need for acceptance, and a special need for stability in compensation for their orphan status.

For the remainder of their fifth year, and throughout their sixth, they met in secret, finding odd moments and odd nooks whenever and wherever possible. Ron and Hermione weren't overly thrilled at Harry's choice but, as Draco's attitude continued to be tolerable in their presence, they did their best to support their friend. They even covered up for him when necessary, so the two boys could have even those brief moments together.

By their seventh year, Draco decided he no longer cared what Crabbe and Goyle, or even Millicent Bulstrode thought; he was sick of sneaking around.

"You've been worried about what Crabbe and Goyle think?" Harry teased. "You mean they think at all?"

Draco responded by smacking his lover on the head to shut him up, and then ensured Harry's silence by occupying his mouth in other activities.

"We'll have to sneak around anyway, of course," Harry managed, after they'd come up for air. "Not even Ron and Hermione can get away with snogging in the halls, you know."

"I know," Draco answered calmly. "But at least we can be together. Talk to each other, sit next to each other at the library, all that everyday stuff. That's all I care about anymore. Trust me -- I've had enough of being alone to last a lifetime."

Harry looked down. "Yeah, me too."

I don't know what I'd do if I lost you. Nothing would feel right anymore.

- - - - - -

After graduation, they found a place for themselves and moved in together. It was a comfortable, cosy flat, where afternoon sunshine slanted in abundance into the living room. The next two years passed quietly; Harry was predictably recruited as a junior Auror, and Draco, who had maintained his public ties to the Death Eaters on Dumbledore's advice, followed in Snape's footsteps by becoming a double agent.

It was a stupid fight -- or at least, it started off that way. Harry had come home to find Draco in the midst of cooking a nicer-than-average meal. "I'm moving up in You-Know-Who's ranks," he told Harry. "And when I told the Ministry, they gave me a corresponding promotion, too. They said that since I'll be privy to some of the higher-level information, I should be able to convey that to higher-level people." He beamed. "So I thought a little celebration was in order."

Harry smiled as he kissed Draco. "Congratulations." But his smile faded as he bustled around the kitchen, helping get things ready for the table.

"Where's your salad dressing?" He pulled open the cupboards for the third time, to no avail. Nothing. The bottle of his favoured dressing was sitting on the counter, ready to go, but the concoction Draco preferred was nowhere to be found.

Draco looked up. "Ooops. I must have forgotten to tell you. I think I finished the last bottle yesterday. I'm sorry. I'll just use yours tonight, it's ok."

"Dammit, Draco!" Harry was suddenly and inexplicably furious. "I just did the shopping two days ago - you should have said something! Now I'll have to go back, and I really don't have the time for that."

"Look, I said I was sorry. And I also said I'd be content to use yours."

"Sure, and then *I* won't have any either, and then where will we be?"

Draco frowned. "What is the matter with you? It's just salad dressing."

"No it's not," Harry bit back. "You always do this -- do stuff without thinking about how it will affect me. You never have time for the market, so every time you forget you're out of something, I'm the one who pays. And now, with this new job stuff -- you'll be going right into the lion's den, and you're happy about it! What about me?"

"What about you?" Draco crossed his arms and glared at the dark-haired man across from him. "This is my job, not yours. Would you care to explain how it's suddenly about you?"

Harry was nearly shouting now. "Because you don't seem to care that something could happen to you once you get in Voldemort's inner circle! And I'd lose you." His voice suddenly dropped to a whisper. "I'd lose you."

Rather than feel moved by Harry's obvious distress, Draco found himself getting even angrier. "Do you think I'm helpless? What do you think I've been doing these past two years? Going around completely blind and clueless? I've gone through some damn hard training, Harry -- you know that. I'm not stupid -- I wouldn't have lasted this long if I was. I'm taking this promotion and you know what? I'll probably be damn good at it."

"Forget it, Malfoy." The anger was back in Harry's voice.

Draco's eyes narrowed at the sound of his surname.

"Who's going to stop me? You? Oh, right. I forgot. The great Harry Potter. Well, guess what, Potter? The world may race to do your bidding, but I won't. Deal with it."

And with that, Draco yanked his cloak off its peg, and left with nothing more than a resounding *bang* as the door slammed shut in his wake.


Percy slid into the seat next to Harry's as the family gathered for the traditional Christmas dinner.

"Prettige Kerstdagen," the red-haired man said with a smile. Harry marveled at how Percy could manage to sound both friendly and pompous at the same time.

Ron rolled his eyes. "Perce, we all know you've just returned from a Ministry trip to Holland. And we've heard all about how it was a smashing success due to your incredible linguistic skills. Many, many times. Can we move on now?"

His brother scowled. "I wasn't saying it to you."

"No, he was saying it to the Dutch Minister of Magic," Fred cut in.

"Yeah," George continued, "Percy's language skills are so good, he can make himself understood even from here."

"Boys." Molly Weasley was waving her wand over the table, coaxing the potatoes to move over so there'd be room for the roast duck. "It's Christmas. Can't you manage to go one day without antagonising each other?"

"Nope," Fred said cheerfully. He grinned at his mother. "By the way, you're looking quite nice this evening. Either that, or someone spiked the egg nog." Mrs Weasley merely rolled her eyes at her son's cheek, a resigned smile escaping her lips.

But even Fred fell silent after his plate was filled. Like the others, he was too busy eating to manage much talk. After everyone had had their fill, all the crackers had been pulled, the pudding consumed, and the table cleared, everyone settled down in the living room for a quiet spell. But Harry was restless. After staring out the window for long moments, he murmured a few words to a rather sleepy Ron, slipped on his cloak and went out for a walk.

It was beautiful outside -- the air was crisp and cold, but the sky was clear. The afternoon sun hung halfway to the horizon, but there was still plenty of light for him to see where he was going. He walked around the tiny nearby village for a while, not paying much attention to anything other than his melancholy thoughts, and finally headed back when the sun was low and his snow-covered feet were getting numb.

It was when he was just reaching the Burrow that it happened. *Thwap*! A snowball hit him on the back of his neck. Harry turned around quickly, intent on telling a Weasley twin or neighbourhood poppet to knock it off, but instantly froze when he saw who the culprit was.

Draco. And he was already shaping a second snowball in his gloved hands.

Quickly, Harry bent and grasped his own handful of snow.

*Pow*. Snow splattered all over the front of Draco's cloak. Harry took a responding shot to the ear when he chanced to turn his head at the wrong moment.

After that, it was no holds barred. They hadn't even spoken a word to each other yet, but somehow it wasn't necessary. The snowball fight became a means for them to vent their pent-up frustrations and fears. Running, dodging, using every bit of their highly trained Seeker reflexes, they pushed the snowball fight to the limits. When Draco tried to pry a snowball out of Harry's fingers, the battle became a wrestling match. Into the snow they tumbled, each man struggling to come out on top. Finally, the blond declared victory.

"Just don't say anything for a minute, will you?" he panted, as he sat atop Harry's own heaving chest. He held the other man's hands pinned down into the snow, but all his attention was focused on those green eyes.

There were a million thoughts, questions, and potential rebukes on Harry's tongue, but he merely nodded, waiting. After a long pause, Draco finally spoke.

"I'm sorry."

"And you convey this sentiment by throwing snowballs at me? How did you find me, anyway?"

"Shush." Draco somehow managed to shift his weight so he seemed heavier, as if to emphasise his point. "To answer your second question, where else would you be? You weren't at home, so I figured this was the most likely place."

Harry had to admit there was perfect logic in that. He would hardly have run off to the Dursleys, and Sirius was still forced to live in hiding.

"As for the first? I don't know." He shrugged. "Seemed like a good idea at the time. But I meant it -- I'm sorry."


Draco sighed. "Are you trying to make this as difficult as possible? For accepting a more dangerous assignment without telling you first. Isn't that what you wanted me to say?"


Draco frowned. "Then I Apparated here for nothing, apparently." He let go of Harry and started to get up. "Sorry to have wasted your time."

"No, wait." Harry reached up and pulled Draco back down, ignoring the way the cold was rapidly seeping through his cloak. "I meant, I don't want you to apologise for that. I should be the one to apologise. You're right -- you're damn good at what you do, and I need to trust that. I mean, I do -- I just get scared sometimes. We've both lost so much already. I may lose you and I may not. But if we don't trust each other, what will it matter if we're both alive? It will be meaningless."

His partner merely looked at him a long moment. Then, with a swiftness to match the speed of the oncoming night, he bent and kissed Harry, a long, slow kiss.

Harry smiled weakly at the shadow-clad figure above him. "I assume this means you accept?" At Draco's nod, he half sat up, as much as Draco's weight on top of him would allow. "Then would you be so kind as to get off?" He gave the other man a light shove with his numb fingers. "I'm freezing down here."

With a smile, Draco rose gracefully and extended a hand to pull Harry up.

"Thanks." Harry dusted himself off and then glanced over at the Burrow. "I should probably go in and let them know I'm leaving. You want to come in with me?"

Draco shook his head. "No, I'm good. As long as you don't take forever saying goodbye to all twelve thousand of them in there."

"There's only ten."

"Ten thousand, then."

Harry rolled his eyes and bit back a retort. He knew Draco was only joking, but he wasn't much in the mood for even lighthearted sparring. Their serious fight had only just been repaired, and he didn't want to push it. In minutes, he had explained things to his hosts, collected his bag, accepted a small plate of biscuits from Mrs Weasley to take back home with him, and slipped back out to rejoin the man he loved.

"Come on, let's go home," he said, as the two prepared to Apparate out.

It finally feels like Christmas.


Main Authors Offsite Recs
DC Slash Harry Potter Ros. Hetero Ros. Slash Ros. Other