Disclaimer: I own nothing and make no profit

Acknowledgments: Rpeh on the beta work.


December 25, 2006

"Time to get up, Chéri," Harry said, sitting up in the beach chair and peering out over the ocean as the sun beat down on him.

"No?" his wife said from the chair next to him.

"Yes," Harry said. "Or we'll miss our portkey."

"But it is warm here," Gabrielle Potter replied.

"I'm sure it won't be that bad in Bordeaux," Harry said.

"But it is wonderful here," Gabrielle said.

"It is," Harry agreed. "We'll come back."

"Promise?" she asked, sitting up and looking over at him.

"Well, coming back means I get to stare at you in a bikini all day. So yes, I promise," Harry said.

"I do look very good in this black one," Gabrielle said.

"Very," Harry agreed, taking the opportunity to leer at her and regretting that they had to be responsible adults so he couldn't take it off her. Of course, he knew she'd let him right now. But then they'd get an earful as to why they were late. And that was a conversation that was best avoided.

"I assume you left us enough time to shower and look presentable before we go to my parents' house?" Gabrielle asked.

"I have to look presentable?" Harry asked, faking alarm.

"Yes," Gabrielle said.

"How presentable?" he asked, narrowing his eyes as he attempted to glare at her.

"Nothing with a bat on it," she said.

"But that's like eighty percent of my wardrobe!" Harry complained.

"Are we going to have to stop in Paris and get you suitable clothing?" Gabrielle teased. She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted at him. It was annoyingly effective even in the midst of a fake argument.

"Shopping in Paris with you? We'd never make it to your parents' party and I still wouldn't wind up with any clothing," Harry teased.

"We could always invite the entire family and see if Fleur and I could bankrupt you," Gabrielle teased, her smile widening on her face sending a shiver down his spine as he pictured the French girls attempting just that.

"Or we could be responsible adults and go back into the villa, clean up, and get ready to impress the rest of your family," Harry said.

"But they already like you the most," Gabrielle said.

"Well duh, my only competition is Bill and he actively raids historic sites and puts himself in imminent mortal peril while doing so," Harry said.

"And you let Titus Button hit metal balls at your head," Gabrielle countered.

"If Titus is hitting them at me they're charmed to not deal damage. And if anyone on the opposing team gets too close to me, Titus or Trent show their appreciation with a well-placed barrage," Harry argued.

"For some reason I do not think that helps your cause," Gabrielle said. She stood and stretched her arms over her head. It wasn't an unappealing sight.

"We'll have to disagree on that one," Harry said. He reached out and caressed her leg gently.

"You said we did not have time for that," she responded with a glance down to his hand.

"We don't," he said as he pulled himself to his feet. He kissed her once and led her into the beach-side cabana they'd spent the last ten days in.

"That is a shame," she sighed as the artificially cooled air hit them when they entered the building.

"Go shower," he laughed, knowing she'd take longer than he would.

"Fine," she sighed. She kissed him as she turned to move toward the bathroom. "But I'm going to hex you if I come out and you're asleep."

"I'll make sure I stay awake then," Harry said. He followed her into the bedroom but when she turned to the bathroom he moved to the bed. He threw himself on it, enjoying how her scent surrounded him as he reflected on the first two weeks of married life.

They held the wedding at a small church in Bordeaux. The choice of venue surprised him, given that none of the Delacours showed any interest in religion. But he soon learned it was the same church where Louis and Apolline were wed, as well as five previous generations of the Delacour family. Even Bill and Fleur held a small ceremony there shortly after their wedding in England.

Gabrielle told him that was where she wanted the ceremony the day after he proposed. She'd taken him to see it the next time they visited her parents. It was a small, baroque building that Harry assumed could seat about seventy-five to a hundred.

In his head he was expecting numbers more than that, but Gabrielle had simply raised her thin eyebrows and asked him how many people he wanted to invite. The answer had been fewer than he'd expected. Although a couple of surprising names did make the list.

Then came the date. They'd decided on one nearly a year from his proposal. She wanted a wedding around Christmas. She said she'd always dreamed of her wedding as a festive affair. Harry had no real qualms about that and decided if that was what she wanted, that was what she should get.

The local priest seemed thrilled to be putting together another Delacour wedding and made sure the specific date they wanted would be free. He was an older man, one about to give up his church for a life of quiet retirement, and he seemed thrilled at the concept of one more wedding before he did.

They planned the reception after as well. They booked a large banquet hall in Bordeaux and went about getting everything set up. It took a lot more work than Harry expected, but Apolline and Gabrielle took care of almost all of it. He provided his opinion on things, Apolline often pressed him to do so saying it was his wedding as well. But most of his decisions mirrored Gabrielle's and, despite the work involved, it all seemed easy.

The hardest part ended up being deciding who would get invited to the wedding itself and who would only be invited to the reception. Harry found himself staring down at a blank piece of paper as he wondered if he was slighting people by not inviting everyone who knew Harry Potter.

Titus and Sophie were obvious, they were the first two names on his list. If Harry was being honest he was rather surprised that he was beating the two of them to the altar. But the topic of marriage never really came up with Titus. But he also hadn't ever tried dating someone who lived on another continent.

Ron and Hermione joined them a moment later. Both had been rather surprised both when he told them he was dating Gabrielle and when he told them he was marrying Gabrielle. But he'd grown apart from them in the last few years. It was hard not to. Ron was working hard at the joke shop and Hermione was working her way up the ministry.

Of course, they'd started meeting more for dinner and the like now that he was with Gabrielle as quite a few things were easier as a double date. Not that Ron and Hermione ever made him feel uncomfortable about their relationship. Gabrielle always seemed a bit more nervous at these outings than she did whenever anyone from Quidditch was around, but she was the outlier in the group so Harry figured that was to be expected.

But after those two couples he ran out of ideas. He knew he had to invite the Weasleys. They'd done more for him as a family than anyone else he could name. But that thought didn't sit well with him. He wondered if it would be odd for the family if only Bill and Ron were invited to his wedding. He figured the twins would rather attend the reception than the wedding itself, but they at least warranted an invitation.

And Arthur was the closest thing to a surrogate father he had. He still talked with the Weasley patriarch a few times a month. And had gifted him tickets to World Cup matches and Bats matches when requested. Harry liked Arthur and his earnest way.

But Ginny and Molly? He frowned inwardly at the thought. Molly had done a lot in his life. She'd supported him through some of the hardest challenges he'd faced. And they'd been a constant boon during the war. He couldn't leave them off. So, he added their names to the list, knowing that he'd feel better if he wasn't nagged by a petty grudge.

After that a few of his Hogwarts friends made it onto the list. Neville Longbottom was a guarantee. Harry's involvement in his budding brewery put them in contact more and more often. And Neville, he was sure, would bring Hannah Abbott with him.

Ernie MacMillan was also another easy add. The former Hufflepuff now worked for Nimbus designing brooms and he and Harry had hit it off while testing one of the league models a few years earlier. Ernie and his wife, Tamsin, invited him and Gabrielle out almost as often as Ron and Hermione.

Hagrid, Dean Thomas, and Luna Lovegood joined them as he flushed out his list.

But after that it turned into, more or less, a who's who of British and International Quidditch. The entire Bats contingent all wound up on his list. As did quite a few people he knew through international play and the English team. Some of them wouldn't be able to make it due to scheduling conflicts, but most would come.

He'd frowned when he's showed his completed listed to Gabrielle, saying that it felt like there was far too much Quidditch on it. Gabrielle seemed confused for a moment and then shrugged and showed him her list. Which, aside from a handful of old Beauxbatons friends, including her Maid of Honour and best friend Josephine, consisted primarily of people she knew through the orchestra.

Quidditch, she'd said, was his family. And she knew that the people on his list were all happy for him and would be honoured to attend his special day. Her words reassured him. She did glance at his list and then, in a small voice, state that he thought he should have added a few more.

He'd balked at the Dursley's as she scribbled their names onto the paper. Her argument was simple. They were family. He at least exchanged Christmas Cards with Dudley. It was the proper thing to do. They may not come, but that was on them. He was better than they were. And the invite helped to prove that.

And besides, she'd argued, they'd get to meet her. And she would be all dolled up in a gorgeous white dress looking as angelic as humanly possible while hanging off his arm and staring at him like he was the best person in the world. All while being surrounded by people who revered him at a lavish venue and party that was shaping up to cost a small fortune. They'd either be happy for him, or insanely jealous at the realisation of what could have been had they been better people. And all he'd have to do was smile and thank them for coming. And hell, she'd do that part for him if he wanted.

He'd hesitated but left the names on their tentative list. And eventually, sent their invites with the batch that went in the muggle post to most of Gabrielle's orchestra friends. His aunt and uncle never responded. But Dudley RSVP'd with a plus one just a couple of days later, one of the first to return the invitations. A short congratulatory note came with it, written in a distinctly feminine hand.

After that it all came together quickly. A year flying by in the blink of an eye. And, at almost the exact time he grew accustomed to introducing Gabrielle as his fiancée rather than girlfriend, he found her title about to change once more.

The chosen date was unseasonably warm and sunny. He heard a comment or two from the gathered crowds as they filed into the church that they couldn't have asked for any better weather.

He found himself shifting his weight back and forth as he stood next to a priest and Titus Button. Both he and Titus wore expensive suits from a magical designer out of Italy. He'd come to Ballycastle to fit them and it had taken the better part of six hours after a practice one day. They were magical garments but designed not to look out of place to all of the muggles in attendance.

"It's good to know you are capable of being nervous," Titus said, peering over at Harry. "After all those years of Quidditch you never looked fussed. Now I'm worried I should have brought a bucket."

"Very funny," Harry said as he watched the guests filter into the church, a free hand lazily twirling a snitch cufflink. Gabrielle kept most of the winter decorations, garlands lining the aisle.

He watched Dudley show up. His cousin took a seat in a half-filled pew on the Groom's side of the church. He'd looked good, Harry thought. He'd lost a lot of weight and looked far healthier than Harry remembered him. He did look surprisingly uncomfortable. But Harry figured that could be attributed to the fact that Luna Lovegood sat next to him and appeared to be talking to him. The mousy brunette with him peered over at Luna, her expression distinctly confused as Luna seemed to stop paying attention mid-sentence.

"Weasley looks like he wants to hex me," Titus said as his eyes drifted over the guests entering the church until he found Ron and Hermione sitting near the front of the church.

"He wasn't very happy when I picked you over him," Harry admitted. "Less so when Gabrielle and I decided to only have one each. I think he thought that at some point he and Hermione would be up here with Ginny and me," Harry said.

"Still?" Titus laughed.

"No. I think he knew that would never happen. But saying it aloud made it real," Harry said.

"Also, when did Hermione get hot?" Titus asked.

"Do I need to point out that Sophie Sinclair is sitting in the literal row behind her?" Harry asked.

"Why do you think I noticed Hermione?" Titus responded. "Speaking of, I forgot to tell Gabrielle to make sure the bouquet doesn't wind up anywhere near Sophie. I wonder if there's still time to send her a message."

"Oh?" Harry raised his brows and looked at Titus. "I thought you two were just 'enjoying life' and 'not interested in settling down,'" Harry said. His eyes slid to the row behind Sophie. Arthur and Molly Weasley sat with their twin sons Fred and George. Arthur and the twins were talking excitedly about something, no doubt a product for the joke shop. Molly had her arms crossed over her chest and was looking anywhere but at Harry.

"We are. And then you and Elle started talking about your wedding and she got all starry eyed and looked at me like she expected me to propose right then and there." Titus said.

"And you didn't," Harry said.

"I did not," Titus said.

"What's stopping you?" Harry asked.

"She lives in Montreal and I live in Ballycastle? Time difference and international portkeys are a pain to deal with daily," Titus said.

"You spend the entire off-season living with her," Harry countered. "And there's a Quidditch league in England as we're all aware."

"There's one in Canada too, you know," Titus said.

"But you know you don't want to play without me and that I won't go to Canada," Harry said.

"We're both worried playing against each other would sour our relationship," Titus frowned.

"So, you're both scared," Harry said.

"Hey now," Titus growled. Harry shook his head and laughed.

"If you love her," he shrugged his shoulders, "you'd make it work. I get having qualms. But things you make out to be a big deal wouldn't end up being one. And if you're thick like me just ask her about it directly."

But before Titus could respond the music started and Harry, like the rest of those gathered turned his attention to the entrance of the church. Victoire entered first, in a pale gold dress with a basket of flowers.

Harry's attention turned to those following her though, until his eyes landed on Gabrielle and Louis. He had tears visible on his face. Hers was obscured behind the thin white veil. She wore a sleeveless white dress with gold filigree around the bodice and hem in a design that reminded him of snowflakes. His world stopped as he saw her, the only thing in it in that moment was her as she moved closer and closer to him.

And then she was there, her blue eyes shining with happiness as she stood next to him. She handed the bouquet of flowers to Josephine and he held both of her hands as the officiant started. Harry barely followed the man as he welcomed the attendees and spoke a few words about love.

He kept his eyes locked on Gabrielle, even when it was his turn to speak, promising to love her and cherish her for the rest of his eternity and to do everything in his power to make sure she was happy as well.

And then he listened as she promised the same. His heart aching in his chest as the tears welled in the corners of his eyes. He wondered how he was so lucky, how he'd gotten her to love him, and what he'd done to even deserve it.

Then, finally, the officiant asked them both a simple question, and they each said the two words that, at least according the movie they'd watched on their first night together, made everything official as he slid another ring onto her left hand.

After he lifted her veil and stared into her eyes as he was told just what he was allowed to do. He kissed her as lovingly as he could, his hands squeezing hers, before he turned both of them to face the crowd, their first action as man and wife.

Photos and other traditions followed in a blur. Including a shot of the two of them that he was sure would grace the cover of far too many publications in the coming days. And then a sea of people joined him as they left the church and moved on to the reception.

It wasn't until hours later, after speeches, bouquets tossed into the air, quite a few glasses of champagne, a catered meal and a piece of cake that wound up far more on his face than in his mouth, that he finally had her in his arms.

They moved slowly in a small circle on the dance floor. His eyes locked onto hers as they started the dancing. He took in every inch of her, wanting to remember exactly how she looked, every detail of the intricate bun she'd done her hair into, every detail on the gold and pearl tiara intwined through her locks, every detail of her dress, her face, her everything, down to the polish on her nails.

Others joined them, dancing in circles around them, and the moment felt entirely perfect for him.

Even Dudley and his girlfriend seemed to be having a good time. Dudley cornered them after a dance, his face flushed with alcohol and his expression nervous. Harry's jaw set as he introduced Dudley to Gabrielle and Dudley introduced them to Helen.

But the women saved them. Helen gushed to Gabrielle about how beautiful everything was, and how wonderful everything was, and how great it was for them to have an excuse to spend a few days in France together.

And Gabrielle was every bit the angel she said she would be. She teased Helen about the bouquet she'd caught and talked to Dudley with such charm that he'd just stared at her, like he couldn't believe she was even speaking to him.

After Helen told him they'd bothered the bride and groom for too long and they should return to the dance floor, Dudley told her he'd join her in a second. He turned to Harry and thanked him for inviting them and then struggled with more words. Harry clasped him on the shoulder and nodded and they both knew that would be enough. They would likely never be friends. But they just might be family.

Dudley had taken one last glance at Gabrielle and then looked back and just whispered 'wow' at Harry, slapping him on his back and leaving to re-join his girlfriend.

"You are amazing," Harry said, turning back to her.

"I know. You can reward me later," she said. And then others joined them, gushing about the wedding and telling them how happy they were for them, congratulating them. And then, finally, Louis Delacour slid next to them as Apolline gathered the attention of the guests.

He led them over to the floo and let them slip away from the ending of the party. They stepped into the lobby of a magical hotel in Paris where they would spend the first few days of their honeymoon before shipping off to the Maldives.

He carried her up to the room, she giggled the whole way, kissing him as they went, until finally they were alone in a candlelit suite. It didn't matter that he'd had her before, that he'd loved her before that day, that he'd known for a while he wanted nothing more than to be with her, making love to Gabrielle Potter for the first time was easily a highlight of his life.

A pillow hitting him in the face snapped him out of his reflective nature.

"I'm awake," he said as he saw Gabrielle start to dress.

"I know. Or I would have hexed you," she said as he stood. He moved behind her, sliding her hair away from her neck and leaned down to kiss her soft skin as his arms slid around her. She tilted her head to the side and sighed as he did. He peered in the mirror to see her biting her lip before she shifted around in his arms and kissed him.

"I love you," he whispered, finding it hard to not say it every time he was around her.

"Go shower," she said with a coquettish smirk, pushing him toward the bathroom. "Otherwise we will be late for the party and that would upset my husband."

"We wouldn't want that," Harry said as he stepped into the shower.

When he emerged she was already dressed. She'd decided on jeans and a Christmas jumper and had pulled her hair into a ponytail. She was sitting at the vanity touching up her makeup.

He changed into a similarly casual outfit of jeans and a t-shirt before packing up his bag and sending it to the front desk via magic. He stepped out of their bungalow and looked over at the beach and the water for one last time.

She joined him a few minutes later, her purse slung over her shoulder as she rested her head on his shoulder.

"It is really beautiful here," Gabrielle said as the both peered out over the water.

"Yes it is," he said.

"I can't wait to come back," she said.

"Me too," he agreed, hugging her close to him.

"Shall we check out and head home?" she asked.

"Yes," he said. They walked together, hand in hand, past the other bungalows and into the lobby of the hotel proper. Harry spent a few minutes checking out while Gabrielle shifted off to the coffee shop. She returned with two cappuccinos about the same time he finished checking out of the hotel.

They took the hotel's floo to the Portkey terminal and waited a few minutes for their return Portkey to France. Judging from the gazes that shifted their way, a few people recognised them. But only one came up to him to ask for an autograph during the short wait for the portkey.

And then, moments later, he found himself at the Portkey terminal in Bordeaux. This time, though, there wasn't a Weasley waiting for him. Of course, this time he knew where he was going, and had an even better guide in the event that he somehow got lost.

Minutes later they were in the same inn he'd arrived at on his first trip to the Delacour home. And then they walked up the same path he'd walked all those years ago. They could have apparated, but as they held hands it seemed that walking was the better option.

"Did we send the gifts ahead?" Gabrielle asked as they approached the door.

"No. Fleur told me she'd stop at our flat and get them before they came over," Harry said. "I'd wrapped them while you were at your final performance before the wedding."

"I should have helped with that," she frowned.

"Yes, they'd have looked a lot better had you helped," Harry teased.

"If my mother comments about the lack of skilled wrapping I am blaming you," Gabrielle said.

"I would expect nothing less," Harry said as they walked to the side entrance of the home. Gabrielle opened the door without fanfare and stepped into the kitchen, where her mother was arranging a plate of fruit.

"We are here," Gabrielle said as she entered. Her mother looked up at her and beamed.

"Elle! Harry!" she squealed and rushed to them, hugging them each and kissing Harry on both cheeks.

"Hello Apolline," Harry smiled.

"You two are so tanned!" she gushed. "You will have to tell me all about the Maldives!"

"Oh, it was gorgeous maman!" Gabrielle responded. "The beaches especially. We had our own private bungalow and it was a magical time."

"I am surprised you spent enough time outside to get a tan," Fleur teased as she entered the room. She two hugged both Gabrielle and Harry.

"We had to stop to eat you know," Gabrielle teased while flushing crimson.

"Stop what?" Victoire asked as she followed Bill into the kitchen.

"Nothing Vic," Harry said, kneeling by the little girl. "You were beautiful at the wedding. I never thanked you for your help."

"Oh," Victoire hesitated but then smiled. "It was fun, Uncle Harry, even if there was a lot of talking and standing around."

"I thought it was fun too," Harry said. "Enjoying your Christmas?"

"Mommy and daddy got me my own Quaffle!" Victoire said. "I'm going to be a chaser!"

"Not a seeker?" Gabrielle asked, kneeling next to him and ruffling Victoire's hair.

"Nuh-uh. I want to be the best. And Uncle Harry is already the best seeker," Victoire said.

"I might be retired by the time you go professional," Harry teased.

"I want to score goals," Victoire countered.

"With that determination I am sure you will," Gabrielle teased.

"Can we open presents now?" Victoire asked. "Grandmama said we had to wait until you got here. And you are here now."

"I don't know," Gabrielle said.

"Not yet," Apolline said. "Let Harry and Elle get settled and get some breakfast and coffee into them and then we can gather around the tree and you can open your gifts."

"But that could take hours," Victoire pouted.

"It will not be nearly that long," Fleur said. "Now go play with Louis and Grandpapa."

"Okay," Victoire frowned before looking at Harry. "Want to see my Quaffle?"

"Vic," Fleur scolded.

"Sure," Harry responded, getting a slight glare from the girl's mother. He followed her into the living room where Louis and little Louis were playing with a magically enchanted train. He sat near Victoire as she tossed the Quaffle at him. He caught it easily and tossed it lazily back to her. She grabbed it with both hands and giggled.

They continued tossing it back and forth until Gabrielle entered with a silver tray bearing a pot of coffee and a few mugs. She placed it on the coffee table and started filling the mugs as her mother entered with a tray of breakfast snacks. Gabrielle handed him a croissant and a mug of coffee.

"Thanks love," he said as she settled onto the ground next to him with her own mug. Victoire giggled and threw the Quaffle at her. Gabrielle managed to catch it and not spill her coffee.

"Should we be doing that inside?" Apolline scolded.

"No," Victoire frowned, pouting and looking away.

"It's my fault," Harry said. "I started it,"

"Well, maybe continue it outside after presents," Apolline said.

"Presents?" Victoire perked up immediately and ran toward the tree. Gabrielle and Harry moved to a couch. Victoire pulled Louis over to the mound of gifts as started rummaging through them.

"Don't just look for your own love," Bill said. "Distribute them."

"I can do that," Harry said. He stood and moved over toward the tree, passing out the gifts. The adults each had two or three, but the two kids had a small mountain each and soon started in with a wild abandon, Victoire helping Louis whenever appropriate as the living room turned into something that more closely resembled a war zone.

"Kids really do love Christmas," Harry laughed as he sat back down next to Gabrielle and examined the carnage.

"They do," Bill said, eyeing both of his children with a bright smile on his face.

"And they change your perspective on the holiday," Apolline said. "Once you have your own."

"I am sensing an expectation in there," Gabrielle said, eyeing her mother as Harry slid an arm around her on the couch.

"She will wait at least a year before asking why you are not pregnant," Fleur teased. "At least we had the excuse of the war!"

"Nonsense. I was not that bad!" Apolline said, blushing as she spoke.

"You were," Fleur accused with a smile.

"It came up quite a lot," Louis Delacour agreed.

"Well Gabrielle will not have to worry about that," Apolline said. "Fleur already gave me grandchildren. Gabrielle can do so whenever she pleases."

"A few years yet, I think," Gabrielle said quietly, blushing and looking up at Harry.

"I think that sounds perfect," Harry said.

"Me too," Gabrielle agreed, burying her blushing face in his chest to avoid being teased about it while the attention of the group turned to Victoire squealing about a new gift she'd opened.

Harry kissed Gabrielle's hair as he watched the girl wave the animated plush toy around by its ear. He smiled. They'd teased Victoire about getting her a dog for the last few months. Fleur had been against it completely. So, they'd compromised on a magical doll that the girl was now hugging to her chest. She rushed over to thank both Harry and Gabrielle and they helped her come up with a name for it.

The party continued on with Gabrielle resting in his arms. He found himself reflecting on the first time he'd been in this house. He remembered feeling like an outsider, the one not at home among the Delacour and Weasley family members gathered together for a holiday.

Now, he had a hard time rationalising why he'd felt that way. They'd never treated him like an outsider. He knew that. And despite what happened to him after they'd believed him, even if Apolline had been somewhat icy. They'd trusted him. They loved him.

He'd wondered how Gabrielle could have been so cordial, almost happy to see Dudley Dursley. And how in a moment when he couldn't even open his mouth to utter anything kind, she'd managed to make everything just fine. But now, as he looked around his family, he knew.

It was because they were family. He might not have grown up with enough of one to impress that into his head. But Gabrielle had. And she knew that despite it all, family deserved something extra. She would, without even realising it, be the better person, and link the remaining family he had with him. And her doing so made him a better person. He made a mental note to write to Dudley after it was over. He may never like his cousin, but he knew that family should at least have the opportunity to be family.

But now he had more of a family. He was a Delacour, even if she'd taken his surname. Apolline and Louis had told him months earlier they already thought of him as a son. And as Gabrielle shifted away from him on the couch to hug Fleur and thank her for their gift he knew he'd be growing even closer with the woman who was now his sister.

And, once the carnage ended and he offered to help clean up, they didn't chastise him for being a guest. He was one of them. He felt oddly complete as he helped vanish the remnants of the wrapping paper and organise the assorted toys. He was home.

He levitated the tray of coffee and mugs from the table as he finished cleaning up and moved to the kitchen. Gabrielle, entering to grab the same tray, instead ducked around him as he placed it down on the kitchen counter.

He turned back to the living room only to find her standing in the doorway, smiling at him and peering up at the door frame.

"Mistletoe," she whispered at the sprigs hanging from it. Harry took her into his arms and kissed her, holding her to him as her arms slid around his neck. When their lips parted he shifted them to her forehead, placing one soft kiss there before gazing lovingly into her eyes.

She looked back at him with the same expression he knew was on his face. Her eyes were shining, her lips curled into a smile she couldn't even attempt to contain. She was looking at him like he was the only thing that mattered in the entire world. And the look made him think that maybe, just maybe, he was. Her look made him feel complete and he knew that as long as there were moments where she looked at him like that, they would be able to overcome anything that could come their way. He felt his lips curling into a smile as a rush of joy ran through him. He stared down into her eyes and said the only words that came to him on that early afternoon.

"Merry Christmas," he whispered. Her smile widened as she lifted herself closer to him.

"Merry Christmas," she responded as she kissed him once more for good measure.