Christmas morning, Harry and Pansy were awoken by Axel's barking. Pansy pulled up her pillow and pressed it over her face. "He's like a kid," she said into the fabric. "It's so early," she whined.
Harry pulled away the pillow and kissed her. "Not that early," he said against her lips.
"We do need to go deal with Axel's barking though," Pansy told him, moving to sit up, the flannel pyjama top of Harry's she was wearing slipping down to expose her shoulder.
"Why?" Harry asked, nipping at the bare skin of Pansy's shoulder.
She shrugged. "It's Christmas."
Harry stood to pull on the flannel bottoms over his boxers and then moved his back to the bed. "Climb on," he told Pansy, and she threw her arms around his neck. Harry grasped her arse and carried her out into the hallway and down the flights of stairs.
"When does the bandage come off your neck?" she asked, pressing her lips at its edge.
"Soon," he told her as they found Axel furiously barking at the door to the basement. "What's this?" Harry asked them, carefully letting Pansy off his back. Axel looked up at them and swiftly went back to pawing at the door.
"Let's see," Pansy said, twisting open the door handle. Out bounded Bastard, who was instantly knocked over by Axel. The dogs playfully wrestled with each other on top of Harry's feet, before he dropped down to his knees.
"Who are you?" he asked, pulling the half-crup into his lap.
"Greg named her Bastard," Pansy told him with a smile. "His names generally suit so I'm not sure what we'll be up against."
"Bastard, huh? Aren't you the sweetest?" Harry asked as Bastard shifted to open her belly to him. Axel tried to worm his way under Harry's arm to get his share of Harry's attention.
"Merry Christmas, Harry," Pansy told him, sitting down next to him, attempting to corral Axel onto her own lap.
"You chose her for me?" he asked.
"Yeah," she told him, bumping her shoulder into Harry's. "And Ax likes her, which was critical."
Bastard rolled over on Harry, squirming up to place her paws on his shoulders. She darted her face towards his, tongue extended. Harry tried to move his face out of the way. "You go kiss Axel," he told her playfully. "Ax, you can stick your tongues down each other's throats instead of mine for a change," Harry laughed, eyes sparkling with delight, releasing Bastard to go play with Axel.
"We can only hope," Pansy added, turning to face Harry. "I have another present for you," she began, sweeping her sleep-tousled waves out of her face with a quick sweep of her hand.
"More than this excellent pile of fluff?" he asked with a grin.
Pansy nodded. "I quit."
The mirth faded immediately from Harry's face and a clear panic set itself in its place. His fingers fell away from Bastard's fur and he turned toward Pansy. "Wait…" he paused, processing. "You're leaving? How is that a present? Is that what Bastard is for, a poor replacement for you and Ax? Pansy, how could you…" he asked as he fisted his hands into his hair, releasing his hair only to grasp his hands around her upper arms, wetness clouding his eyes. "I don't want this...I don't want the crup or the mind healer or anything, Pansy, if you're not with me. Not without you."
Harry's strong, immediate reaction shook Pansy into action, and she crawled into his lap, threading her fingers into his hair. Her kiss was infused with everything she felt for him, reassuring him through the pressure of her lips on his.
"I'm not leaving you, you arsehole," she panted. "I'm quitting as your healer because I want to fuck you and be with you and stay with you longer than just this month," her fingers traced his face, feeling the muscles shift under his skin as his expression changed to reflect his understanding of her words. "I made sure the fucking crups get along, you arsehole. Trust you to be oblivious to the most fucking romantic thing I've ever tried to do."
Harry shifted Pansy backwards until she was lying on the intricately patterned rug running through the hallway. "Resignation accepted," Harry said. "Thank fucking Merlin," he said, tracing his hand up her bare thigh.
"The name's Pansy," she drawled, drawing her hands around his bare back.
"You scared the shite out of me," he told her, hooking his thumbs in the waist of her knickers, following them as they trailed down her legs with a barrage of kisses until he slid the knickers off her feet.
Pansy's fingers had made quick work of the buttons of Harry's pyjama top and Harry looked up in time to see it falling down her arms. She crawled over to him and slipped her hands in the waist of his pyjama bottoms, urging them down along with his boxers. When he stood to fully divest himself of the garments, Pansy moved to kneel in front of him, reaching out to capture the length of him in her hand. Her mouth followed as she tentatively swept her tongue from base to tip before engulfing the head of his cock between her lips.
Harry groaned, but shook his head. "Not this time," he exhaled and Pansy released him from between her lips with a questioning expression. He dove for the floor and took her down with him, capturing her lips as he went. His fingers found her thigh again and they danced up her skin, teasing until they met her core.
"Oh fuck," Pansy moaned. "I need…"
"You," Harry breathed against her mouth as he entered her. "Always fucking need you," he said, as he moved and she moved and they moved until they came, one after the other, in an avalanche of feeling with the background sound of two happy crups wrestling two rooms away.
Harry fell back to the rug, turning Pansy into his side to bury his face into her hair.
"I can't believe we just fucked for the first time on the rug in the hallway outside your basement door," Pansy said with a weak laugh.
"Sounds about right for us, actually," he told her.
"Ugh, you're probably right. Next time let's aim for somewhere scenic, or at least a bed," she told him, patting his chest.
"How about my bathroom?" he asked.
"Sold," she replied, punctuating her answer with a kiss.
Harry drew Pansy by the hand into his bathroom. He silently moved to remove the bandage that Luna had stuck over the back of his neck.
"I've never seen a magical tattoo being done before...why was Luna able to leave Greg's uncovered but had to bandage yours?" Pansy asked him, helping him peel the rest of the bandage down.
Harry smiled at her in the mirror. "It didn't really need to be covered," he admitted. "I wanted to keep it a bit of a secret," he said as he held her gaze. "And she used a new technique with me, something I've been talking to her about trying. Sympathetic magic, like you said once. A conduit." The rest of the bandage fell away, revealing a cluster of pansies in several colors: deep blue, gold, royal purple, violet, burgundy and orange. Pansy's fingers traced the edges of each flower in turn before bringing her lips up to press a kiss in the middle of the tattoo.
"Harry," she whispered, awestruck.
"Feel something," he directed her. "Feel something you want me to feel, and then touch the tattoo."
Pansy closed her eyes and pressed her finger to his inked skin. "Tell me," she whispered, her breath warm against his back.
"Calm," he said. "Warmth and calmness and…" he broke contact to turn around and face her. "And…" he said, green eyes shining into dark eyes.
"And," Pansy said. "Possibility. Respect. Trust. Affection. Devotion. Maybe even…"
"Yes," Harry affirmed, wandlessly aiming to turn on the taps for the bath before lifting Pansy up to sit on the vanity top next to the sink, marble cool under her naked arse. "Yes," he said, capturing her lips as her arms wound themselves around his back, pulling him close into her.
"Yes," he whispered, breaking their kiss to rest his forehead against hers. He touched her with the tip of his cock and her hips jolted forward to take him in. "Yes."
After, they reclined together in the steaming bath kept from turning tepid by a powerful warming charm. Harry brushed the wet strands of Pansy's hair from her shoulder and traced kisses down her damp skin. "There's something else I wanted to talk to you about," he told her, a serious tone to his voice.
"What's that?" Pansy asked, her head lolling back on him, relaxing under the movement of his hands on her arms and shoulders.
"There's something else I wanted to give you for Christmas," Harry began. "But I'm not sure how you're going to feel about it."
"And why's that?" she asked, twisting her head to try to meet his eyes, but giving up to return her head to his chest when the angle proved to be too uncomfortable.
"I know you and Hermione have plans to go look at buildings close to Diagon in a couple of days, for your treatment center," Harry said.
"Yeah, so?" Pansy asked, grasping one of his fidgeting hands between hers.
"I have one already. A building, I mean. And I'd like to give it to you, if you want it."
The water splashed over the edges of the tub as Pansy shifted around, surprise blooming on her face. "You have a building. A whole building. And you just want to give it to me?" she asked.
"Yes, if you want it. If it suits," Harry said. "You know, Sleekeazy's?"
Pansy nodded, the slight movement of her body triggering ripples across the bathwater. "For which everyone attending the Yule Ball fourth year was thankful, taming the wild nest of Granger's hair."
"Right," Harry said, with a quick shake of his head as if trying to clear the distraction away. "That was my grandfather's potion. Fleamont Potter invented it, and I own his workshop."
"Harry…" Pansy started. "You have so little left of your family. How could you just give it to me?" she asked.
He shrugged. "I'm not using it, and I don't need it for anything. I'd rather it be full of people getting the help they need, like I did," Harry said, reaching out for Pansy's hand. "I'll take you tomorrow. You can see if it suits."
More water fell in waterfall out of the tub as Pansy launched herself at Harry. "I can't believe you," she told him
That night, after all of the gifts from their friends and family were opened, after meals cooked together in the kitchen with two happy half-crups crowding around their feet, and after finding several locations throughout Grimmauld Place more scenic and comfortable than the hallway floor next to the basement door, they lay in their bed. Their feet were pinned to the mattress by their familiars snoring in alternating rhythms. With limbs entwined and eyes fluttering shut as sleep crept over them, Harry simply said, "Yes."
"Yes," Pansy agreed, and they fell together into sweet, dreamless sleep.
A/N: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, happy whatever else you celebrate! The epilogue for this story will be up before New Year's. Thank you so, so, so much for reading and following along, and especially for sharing your comments with me. This project has been one of the very best parts about this holiday season for me and I'm so glad others have enjoyed it as well!