A/n: This was written for sperrama2013 and Riya1112 as thank you for reading my Drarry multi-chapter story, Iridescent Lies. They wanted to read an Eighth Year!AU (and sperrama2013 wanted it to include Christmas). (I hope you don't mind me writing you both one story since you both wanted to read the same thing. :)) If any of my other lovely readers have a Drarry idea they would like to see written, do feel free to write it in a review or send me a PM and I'll be sure to write it for you!
Thanks to Emy for beta-ing this!
All prompts used are at the bottom.
Note: If characters seem OoC (Out of Character), it's because this is written from Draco's POV and his bias towards the other characters affects how they're portrayed.
Christmas Come Early
There were very few things in life that Draco Malfoy was certain he never wanted. One of them was returning to Hogwarts after the war to complete his seventh year. Another was reuniting with The Boy Who Lived, The Chosen One, The One That Rejected His Handshake.
Apparently both things were inevitable now, and his opinion on the issue didn't matter one bloody bit.
He stood before his unimpressed mother, trying his hardest to use the pout he had mastered at the age of four that had let him get everything his way. As it turned out, even The Pout had an expiration date—much to Draco's chagrin—and his mother's deadpan expression was the most it could now glean.
"Mother, please," he whined, resorting to begging and bribing as the last resort. "I'll even help clean out that old hov—Grimmauld Place. I swear. Every last visible dust particle."
An amused smirk much like his own tugged at the corner of her lips, and Draco straightened with hope, only to be crushed moments later when she said, "No."
"It is imperative that you finish your schooling, Draco, war or otherwise." She turned back to her flower arrangement, signaling the end of the conversation.
He inhaled deeply, expanding like an unwound spring ready to snap. Before he could speak, however, his mother added, "Your school robes and trunk are by the door. I'm sure you're capable of getting yourself to the station? Have a house-elf accompany you to carry your luggage."
Draco was still standing there, open-mouthed and hand half-raised to make a point, even after his mother bustled away and a house-elf appeared to clean up after her. He sighed in resignation, all sense of pride and purpose having deflated, and trudged up to his bedroom to get changed and confront the inevitable.
He hadn't expected the confrontation to be literal until he found himself standing face-to-face with none other than his second worst nightmare: Harry Potter.
He steeled himself and donned his trademark smirk. "Why, Potter, funny running into you here," he drawled. The Hogwarts Express tooted at him in disdain, chugging enough smoke to make Draco splutter and cough.
Potter frowned, and Draco awaited the snarky rebuttal. It never came, though, because just then Draco's least favourite pet peeves had arrived.
"Harry! It's good to see you, mate!" the obnoxious voice Draco wished he didn't know so well said from behind him.
Weasley and his horrible-haired girlfriend walked past Draco to stand on either side of Potter. The duo wore identical expressions of disgust as they eyed Draco—as though he was the undesirable pest.
"Weasley," Draco said, his tone of voice matching the look on the other's face. He gave the redhead a onceover, lip curling in revulsion. "Looks like the life of poverty is treating you well." He focused his gaze on the brunette next. "Tornado hit your hair, Granger? Or is that what passes off as style these days?"
He pinched the collar of his shirt, looking from one miserable face to the other as he awaited a response that would be nothing more than satisfactory after his A-plus insults. Potter only nodded somewhat tiredly at him before patting his friends on the arms and jerking his head towards the waiting train.
"It's good to see you in high spirits, Malfoy," Potter said with a resigned smile before walking away, leaving Draco feeling like he had been the subject of humiliation.
Three months had passed since he had returned to the dreaded school, and Draco was unhappy, to say the least.
Crabbe was dead. Goyle was probably lying in some ditch, pissed out of his mind. Blaise and Pansy were off making merry together in France. And Theo… was now seeing a Hufflepuff.
Draco was absolutely miserable, and every moment he spent in the almost-as-good-as-new castle reminded him why he had vehemently refused to return. He had no friends—the one that did come back preferred to snog his badger girlfriend than have intelligent conversation with Draco—nor did he have Professor Snape to idle the days away with, learning some new potion or the other.
Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he stormed out of the castle and down to the Black Lake, thinking bitterly that the last thing he needed just then was more alone time. He had just reached his new favourite spot—a mangled old tree hidden behind a construction quay—when he found it to be already occupied.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded.
Potter looked up at him, his eyes glazed and his expression empty, and Draco faltered. Ever since they had returned to Hogwarts for their eighth year, Potter always wore that expression. As though he was disillusioned from everything in the world and nothing mattered anymore. It was rather heartbreaking. But mostly disturbing.
Potter smiled. "Sorry, am I bothering you?"
"N-Not really," Draco stammered, unsure of how to react to this new Potter. He was no longer The Boy Who Lived or The Chosen One. He was… just Harry Potter. And that baffled Draco.
Potter patted the grass beside him, and Draco hesitated before sitting down. He glanced sideways at the other man, wary, wondering if he would be required to comfort him if he broke down crying or something.
"I didn't want to come back, you know," Potter said after a time.
Draco nodded. "Me neither."
"Why did you?"
"Didn't have a choice." He crinkled his nose. "Apparently finishing my education is all my mother cares about."
When there was no response, Draco turned to see a somewhat forlorn expression on the brunet's face. "What's wrong?" he asked, despite himself.
Potter chuckled, a small, hollow sound, and Draco swallowed, feeling a lump form in his throat. This man, that had supposedly saved the wizarding world, exuded so much sadness and misery that it made Draco want to curl up and cry.
"I never thought I'd come back here. Not like this, at least," Potter said finally. "It feels… weird, you know? Like I'm trespassing. Like I'm disrespecting the dead."
"Er," was the only response Draco could manage to that heartfelt and unexpected confession. "Why're you telling me this?"
Potter's smile was a little more genuine this time. He stared at Draco for long enough to make the latter feel uncomfortable, and as Draco was wondering if running away just then would make him even more terrible a person than he already was, Potter held out his hand.
It was Draco's turn to stare. "What?"
"I'm sorry," Potter said, "for rejecting your friendship so many years ago. I didn't know better."
Draco's jaw dropped, and he glanced between the outstretched hand and the man behind it for a long moment, unsure of how to react. Potter grimaced and retracted his arm. "Sorry. That must've surprised you. I just—never mind."
"No," Draco piped up, grabbing Potter's hand and shaking it, afraid that if he didn't, the other man may do something extreme—like fling himself into the lake. "I—sure."
Potter's eyes widened. "You forgive me?"
Draco laughed mirthlessly. "I should be the one saying that, Potter, not you."
"Call me Harry," Potter said, squeezing Draco's hand.
"O-OK then," he mumbled, trying to pull his hand away. "Har… ry?"
Potter's smile finally lit up his eyes and dispersed the aura of tragedy clinging to him so quickly that Draco found himself flabbergasted. His racing heart confused him, and he was still trying to pull his hand away when Potter—no, Harry—said, "Thanks, Draco."
Oh shite, was Draco's first thought. Had he gotten himself into something he couldn't handle?
Apparently he had, because Pot—Harry now behaved like they were the best of friends (which may have been a slight exaggeration, but still). Of course, that made Draco think no end of himself and fed his ego greatly, but it was also awkward because Harry seemed to spend quite a lot of his free time with Draco than his actual best friends, which led to more than one unpleasant confrontation from a particular, foul-mouthed ginger.
"You've cast an Imperius on him, haven't you?" was Weasley's latest way of getting in Draco's face.
"No. Now move," Draco snapped, trying but failing to walk around the gangly redhead. He sighed. "Look. If you have such a problem with your boyfriend hanging out with me, shouldn't you be talking to him instead of wasting my time?"
Weasley spluttered about boyfriend and went red in the face as the other half of the Troublesome Twosome appeared.
"What? You want to have a go at me, too?" Draco asked Granger, spreading his arms wide. "Fine. Get it over with already so I can move on with my life."
She cast Draco a sideways glance before grabbing her boyfriend and dragging him off with a, "Stop being a nuisance, Ron. I've lost too much valuable study time chasing after you."
Draco watched them disappear around the corner before shrugging and making his way outside. He jogged over to his usual spot, peering around the tree and smiling at the sight of crossed legs before catching and composing himself. It wouldn't do to seem too happy at the prospect of rendezvousing with Harry.
"Your friends were looking for you," he said, holding out the textbook Harry had asked for previously.
"Were they?" Harry asked with little interest as he flipped through the book.
Settling down beside the brunet, Draco watched Harry scan the contents of the book, an odd fluttering building in his stomach. Although he wanted to take full credit for it, he was still glad that the brunet was slowly but surely returning to the person Draco always knew him to be. He wouldn't admit it, but he loved the way Harry's eyes sparkled and were full of life when he laughed. Darco definitely preferred the happier version compared to the personification of sadness that he had become.
When Harry sensed Draco watching him, he looked up with a smile. "What is it?"
"You have long eyelashes," Draco murmured, absentmindedly reaching forward. Harry seemed to misinterpret what Draco was doing because he tilted his head and placed his cheek against the blond's palm with a questioning look. Draco's eyes widened and he withdrew his hand, causing Harry to jerk back, his cheeks colouring.
"I wasn't—I mean—"
"Y-You should talk to your friends," Draco said in a rush, hurrying to get to his feet.
"Wait! Draco!" Harry grabbed Draco by the arm, causing the latter to step on the hem of his robe and topple over with a yelp.
He lay sprawled over Harry, their limbs tangled together, until Harry shifted under him and Draco scrambled off, his face hot.
"I thought you wanted to see my eyelashes," Harry explained with a sheepish smile. "Sorry; guess I was wrong."
"Yo-You're really weird, you know that?" Draco exclaimed, brushing his hair out of his eyes. "Who just places their cheek in someone's hand?"
Harry laughed, unabashed, and Draco tried to focus on calming his racing heart. Harry Potter was all sorts of trouble, and if Draco couldn't understand him before, he was far out of the reach of Draco's comprehension now.
"I'm sorry," Harry said again, still laughing. "I don't know why, but I find myself relaxing around you."
"That's rather insulting," Draco huffed. "It's always been the other way around."
"That's true." Harry settled back against the tree, humming in thought. "I wonder why." Draco eyed him sideways, wary, and Harry snorted at him. "Anyway, what did Ron and Hermione say to you?"
"Weasley thinks I have you under the Imperius Curse."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Typical Ron."
"Well, in his defence—"
"You're defending him, now?" Harry interrupted, making an exaggerated gesture of shock.
"—you're always with me," Draco finished, glaring at the other man. "His anger is reasonable, even if his logic is flawed."
"I'm not always—" Harry began before cutting himself off with a nod. "Actually I am."
"I don't understand you."
"Neither do I," Harry replied with a grin, and Draco rolled his eyes and looked away.
"No wonder we never got along. You're such a twat."
"I'm as much a twat as you are a prat."
"Yeah, yeah," Draco said, rising to his feet again. "I need to finish an essay, so I can't waste any more time with the likes of you."
"I predict that you and Hermione will be good friends in the future," Harry called after him, and Draco walked off with a scoff. Him and Granger, friends? What a load of poppycock.
Harry's prediction may have had some merit, though, because the afternoon before Christmas, while Draco was avoiding the rest of the student population and the festivities by holing himself up in the library, Granger flounced over to him.
"Listen," she began, which was as sure a way to befriend someone as any, "I need you to do two things for me."
Draco looked up from his essay and regarded her with contempt. "Don't be mistaken," he said. "Just because Harry follows me around doesn't mean you and I are friends."
"Yes." She sat down across from him without his permission. "I'm devastated, as you can tell."
Draco pressed his lips together to keep from smirking in amusement. Granger always had a quick tongue, just as sharp as Draco's, if not sharper, and Slytherin's basilisk eat him alive if he ever admitted it, but he appreciated her sarcasm and dry wit quite a bit.
"What can I do for you?" he asked, crossing his legs and clasping his hands before him. "And if this is going to be like another one of Weasley's pointless tirades, then I suggest you quit while you're ahead."
To his surprise, Granger rolled her eyes and said, "Ron's stupidity is precisely why I'm here, asking you of all people for help."
Draco scoffed. "And how could I be of use?"
"Well, this is for later, but do you mind showing me your Transfiguration notes?" Draco blinked at the unexpected request, but she pushed on nevertheless. "I lost to you by three marks on the test, and while I would never have done this otherwise, Professor McGonagall told me your additional research notes would come of use." She stuck her nose in the air. "While losing to you was quite a hard hit on my pride, I can assure you that I will go to all lengths to be the best at what I do."
"So you're asking me to help you beat me?" Draco asked, amused.
She considered that for a moment and nodded once. "That's right."
Draco laughed despite himself, shaking his head and swiping a tear from his eye. "Merlin's beard, Harry was right."
"What about?" she asked with a frown.
"You and I will get along just fine, it seems," Draco replied with a smirk.
Granger regarded him for a moment before shrugging. "We would've gotten along just fine even before now if you hadn't been such a complete git."
"Touché." Draco cocked his head. "And what's the other request?"
She sighed and rose to her feet. "How good are you at stopping fist fights?"
As it turned out, the fist fight had been more of a prediction on Granger's part than anything—much to Draco's relief—because they arrived to stop Weasley just before he flung himself at Harry.
"You!" Weasley spat, spotting Draco. "This is all your fault!"
"Of course," Draco said in monotone. "When is it not?"
"Stop it, Ron," Granger scolded as Weasley swore. "I brought him so you could sort this out once and for all."
"What's there to sort?" Harry asked, his voice harsh. "Ron's just too immature and petty to believe that Draco and I can be friends."
"Oh, yes, that's right," Weasley yelled. "After all these years of hating him, you both are suddenly the best of friends and I should just take that in stride like it's completely normal? You're off your rocker!" He stabbed a finger towards Draco. "And you! Did you get so lonely without your minions that you decided to string Harry along?"
"I'm the one that asked him to be friends," Harry said, coming to stand beside Draco and holding an arm out in front of him protectively. "Don't take it out on him; he has nothing to do with anything."
Weasley threw his arms in the air, shaking his head in disbelief. "Nothing to do with anything, he says!" He directed his rage at Draco once again. "Why'd you decide to suddenly become friends, eh? I can't believe it was just because Harry asked."
"He saved my life," Draco said matter-of-factly. "I didn't see a reason to refuse him. Think of it as me turning over a new leaf, if you'd like."
"As though a snake like you—"
"Ron!" Granger snapped, slapping him on the arm.
"And you?" Weasley roared at Harry. "Did you turn over a new leaf, too? What's your reason, eh?"
Harry glanced at Draco then looked away, and Draco thought he almost looked… guilty. "I've been doing a lot of thinking," Harry began, to which Weasley scoffed and said, "Yeah, I'm well aware of all the brooding and moping around you've been doing." Harry tensed and clenched his fists but continued, nonetheless. "And I decided that I want to put the past behind me and move on. Or do you want me to continue being unhappy and mope around my whole life?" He was shouting now. "Is that what you want, Ron?"
"You know what I want, Harry," Weasley said, his voice suddenly quiet, like the silence following an explosion. He glanced at Draco and back at Harry. "And you being unhappy is the last thing on the list."
He spun on his heel and stalked away, leaving Granger looking from one to the other with a torn look. Harry sighed and waved his hand for her to go after Weasley, and Granger gave him a quick hug before running after her boyfriend.
"Well, that was a shitshow," Draco commented, eyeing Harry.
The other sighed and shook his head. "Sure was."
"Are you sure it's OK not to go after him?"
Harry made a vague motion with his hand and let his head fall back, closing his eyes and breathing as he tried to calm himself. Draco took the opportunity to look around the Gryffindor common room, startled by all the glaring colours but also envious of how warm and homely it looked. The eighth years had struck a deal with the professors to remain at Hogwarts for Christmas so they could finish the academic year sooner, and his mother had constantly sent him letters asking him to come home, perhaps thinking he was refusing to because she had forced him to return to the school.
"No," Harry said after such a long pause that it took Draco a few seconds to realise he was answering Draco's question. "There's no point trying to reason with Ron when he's like that. This isn't the first time he's done this. He'll be back eventually."
"He must feel pretty betrayed," Draco said, flicking one of the Christmas decorations by the fireplace. "I mean, I'd think you were a traitor too, if I were him."
"It's not like I replaced him with you. I may have overcompensated for other things, but he's still one of my closest friends." Harry reached over to grab the flute decoration Draco was fiddling with. "And as for 'traitor', he called me worse in the last few minutes alone."
Draco turned to face Harry and saw that he was looking up at something. When he followed Harry's gaze and spotted what he was looking at, Draco whispered, "Mistletoe."
"Ah, I don't know anymore," Harry said, and Draco only had a moment to look back at him before soft lips were pressing against his.
Draco stood frozen even after Harry pulled away and gave him a searching look. "Wh-What was that for?"
Harry smacked his lips. "I just wanted to kiss you. And there was mistletoe and everything so it only seemed right."
"Do you live on spinal reflexes alone?" Draco demanded, still stunned. "Do you not think before you act?"
"Wouldn't have killed Voldemort if I thought before every single thing I did," Harry said with a shrug. "Besides, dying once made me realise there's no point holding back anymore."
"You're… incorrigible." Draco's reason was slowly returning and un-freezing him. "I… have to go."
Harry didn't look too thrilled about that but let Draco go anyway. It was several hours after running away from Harry and their first kiss that Draco realised that Harry may have just done that as a quick way of getting rid of him. He wasn't sure if that was really the case, but his curiosity took the better of him and he went in search of Harry.
Draco found the brunet at their usual spot, wearing clothes that were a little too light to be outside in the middle of winter.
"What are you doing?" Draco asked, squatting down beside Harry and wrapping him with the heavy coat he had had the presence of mind to bring.
"Thinking," Harry said, shivering and pulling the coat close around him.
"I thought you didn't think before you act."
"I don't. I do it in retrospect."
"That's just stupid."
Harry laughed. "It is." He looked up at Draco. "I'm sorry I kissed you. That was uncalled for."
"It was." When Harry made a face, he added, "You've got to warn the other person before doing it." Draco leant forward and pressed his lips to Harry's, sitting back on the balls of his feet after a moment and grinning at Harry's expression. "Remember: I always get the last laugh."
"You're incorrigible," Harry said, eyes wide, and Draco laughed.
"Come on, let's go inside. It's freezing out here."
While on their way back, Draco asked, "Why did you decide to befriend me after all this time?"
"It's like I said—"
"There's something else, isn't there?" When Harry didn't reply, Draco added, "You can swear me to secrecy, if you'd like."
Harry chuckled. "It's not that. I just don't want you to take it the wrong way."
Draco hummed in thought. "Unless you're planning on marrying me for my money, I don't think I will."
That made Harry laugh again, and he finally said, "I don't know if she told you, but your mother saved me in the Forbidden Forest. I should've died. But she lied to Voldemort and saved my life."
Draco stared at Harry, speechless. Of all the things he had expected to hear, that wasn't even close. "Wow," he said, stunned. "That… definitely sounds like something Mother is capable of doing. Lying to the Dark Lord? That's Narcissa Malfoy for you. Don't ever tell her I told you that, though, or I'll be disowned."
They laughed at that, and as they walked towards Gryffindor Tower, Draco felt Harry's fingers brush against his. His stomach fluttered again, and he cleared his throat, pretending like he didn't notice, but he couldn't deny that it pleased him.
It still baffled Draco that befriending Harry had been so… simple. Although their personalities and interests differed quite a bit, their relationship so far was surprisingly easy and effortless. And Draco somewhat understood what Harry meant when he said he could relax around the other. Considering they had been two of the people tormented most by Voldemort, there was this sense of mutual understanding and acceptance that neither really had to talk about to get. It really was like they had succeeded in putting the past behind them and were steadily walking towards a future where a rejected handshake, years of bitterness, and a manic Dark Lord didn't matter as much as the fact that they could walk alongside like they were just then and just… be.
Just as they reached their destination, the Fat Lady's portrait swung open, revealing Weasley, who fixed his gaze on them both. He looked at Harry and said, "Can we talk? In private?" he added, glancing at Draco.
"Keep the coat; it looks good on you," Draco said, stepping away. When Harry looked like he would argue, he added, "Think of it as a Christmas present."
"Thanks," Harry replied, sounding unsure. Draco nodded and began to walk away, but Harry caught his wrist and stopped him.
"What's wrong?" Draco asked when Harry stepped closer.
"I take it back," he said, his eyes shimmering like raw, uncut emeralds. Draco frowned, confused, but Harry didn't give him a chance to speak as he leant closer to whisper, "The kiss. I'm not sorry about it." He then pecked Draco on the mouth before moving away with a wave. "Thanks for the coat!"
Draco stood staring at the portrait until the Fat Lady yelled at him for being rude and shooed him away. As he walked back to the Slytherin Common Room, fingers pressed against his tingling lips, he decided that he may have to re-evaluate the list of things he never wanted.
Divination - Crystal ball: Write about a rich person longing to be with someone (I've brought in the rejected handshake to represent this canonically too where Draco secretly wishes Harry had taken his hand in friendship). WC: 500-4000. Word: secrecy
Book Club - Wylan Van Eck: (word) disowned, (object) flute, (word) explosion, (scenario) running away, (object) letters, (dialogue) "And as for 'traitor', you've called me worse in the last few minutes alone."
Showtime - Doing This: (situation) First kiss
Days of the Month: Unfriend Day - Write about friends having an argument or being torn apart
Count Your Buttons - (dialogue) "Can we talk? In private?" (word) raw
November Event National Princess Day: Aravis - The Chronicles of Narnia - Write about a self-centered person.