Title: Holiday Happiness
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG 13
E-mail address for feedback:: firstname.lastname@example.org
Series/Sequel: Third in the Holiday Trilogy; sequel to 'A Christmas Truce' and 'New Year's Resolutions'
Disclaimers: Harry Potter belong to me? I could only wish. Nope, not mine.
Notes: This is from Harry's and is the conclusion of the series.
Summary: The holiday draws to a close.
Warnings: mild slash . mild violence. This story takes up with Harry's P.O.V. on New Year's Eve, before they go to the Chamber of Secrets, if you haven't read the other two in the series, this will make no sense.
Harry sighed and stared up at the canopy of his borrowed bed, wondering at the odd turn his life had taken recently.
To his right, Gregory Goyle was snoring happily away.
To his left, the much quieter soft snuffling of an apparently dreaming Draco Malfoy could be heard.
And above him the emerald, silver, and black canopy swayed gently from an invisible breeze.
How in Godric's name had he ended up here? Willingly sleeping in enemy territory?
Turning on his side, he curled his arms around the snitch pillow he'd brought down from his dorms and held it close to his chest. An odd snorting noise drew his attention to the boy in the bed directly in front of him. Harry couldn't help the small smile that slipped out as he made out the faint outline of Draco's face. What a priss.
The memory of the kiss they'd shared suddenly seared the boy's mind and he brought one hand up to softly touch his lips.
Hermione had once kissed him on the forehead and Ginny had surprised him with a quick peck under the mistletoe the year before. Those were the only two kisses Harry Potter could remember having ever received. And neither of them had been like Draco's.
The blonde had tasted far sweeter than he would have imagined. Somehow, if he'd imagined it at all and he didn't think he had, he would have imagined something closer to sour grapes or perhaps the pumpkin juice which seemed to be the aristocrat's favorite drink. Instead, he'd tasted of apple cider and smelt of fresh cinnamon.
A sudden stirring in certain parts of his anatomy that he wasn't prepared to deal with had Harry up and moving before he'd even fully processed the thought.
He dressed swiftly and was out the door in minutes, the Slytherins still tucked away in their own happy little dream worlds.
Stalking through the halls, he didn't let himself think about the blonde as he headed up to Gryffindor Tower.
There were far too many other things to worry about than how it might feel to kiss Draco Malfoy again.
Like the Chamber of Secrets.
Unconsciously, he reached down and rubbed his right arm. The phoenix tears had healed the wound completely. There was nothing left but a very faint starburst shaped scar. Nothing to cause the phantom pains that streaked through it every now and then. Madam Pomfrey had examined it thoroughly when he'd first complained about it and had assured him that it was just his imagination.
Only Professor Dumbledore and Ron knew anything about what had happened down in the Chamber in second year, and they only knew the abbreviated version of events that he'd given them. Ginny's memories of the whole year had rapidly grown hazy and by the first day of third year, when Harry had asked if she was okay or if she ever had nightmares, she'd looked at him like he was insane. Her brother said it was the weirdest thing he'd ever seen, how she just seemed to forget the whole incident.
Harry wished he could forget it.
Those nightmares had long since been replaced with others, but this whole harvesting business had stirred them up again.
He could kick himself for having brought the matter up with the Headmaster in the first place but really, he hadn't felt that he had a choice. The school apparently needed the potion's ingredients badly. Even if he had fallen asleep in the middle of Draco's lecture about the usefulness of basilisks, he'd still managed to get that much. The school needed it and he just happened to know where a basilisk was. Of course, he didn't think there'd be much left of it now, after all this time, but who knew?
Startled, Harry looked up to see the sleepy portrait of the fat lady waiting expectantly. He hadn't realized that he'd come so far. "Err.. Chudley Cannons." Ron had been allowed to choose the password last quarter and while everyone told him that it was too obvious, he'd refused to budge.
It took only a few minutes to find suitably warms clothes and robes. Then he gathered up his Firebolt and headed out to the Pitch.
His mind was whirling and flying was the only thing that had ever truly calmed him completely.
He was going to get what calm he could now, because he knew the day was going to be hell.
Harry felt nauseous as he stared at the eggs on the plate in front of him. His stomach was churning and he just couldn't bring himself to actually eat anything. Instead, he just pushed the mess around with the vague idea of making it look like he'd taken a few bites.
Flying had let him forget for a little while, but the second his feet had been back on solid ground, all his troubles had been waiting to pounce on him once more.
Dumbledore was watching him with a sad knowing look, but Harry couldn't bring himself to face the old man. He was afraid he might say something he'd regret later.
Likewise, he didn't look up when he felt the presence of his holiday companions at his side.
"Are you all right, Harry?"
It wasn't a question he could answer really. He wasn't all right and probably never would be. But who wanted to hear that? So he only shrugged.
A sketch of himself and Padfoot was pushed into the spot he'd been staring at for the last half hour. He smiled faintly at the memory of the Christmas morning spent with his much loved godfather. The visit with Sirius and Remus has been wonderful and he was touched that Greg had given him something to remember it by.
"Thank you, Greg." He could feel Draco's eyes on him but refused to meet that piercing silver gaze.
From the edge of his vision, he saw the tow headed Slytherin frown and narrow his eyes. Harry almost groaned. The other boy was obviously determined to get answers and he'd already spilled far more than he was really comfortable with.
Fate saved him this time in the form of an owl crashing into the table before them.
Harry glanced up and had to suppress a near hysterical chuckle at the sight of the Weasley family owl. "Good morning, Errol."
Grateful for the excuse to get rid of more of his breakfast, he pushed the plate over in front of the hapless old bird before taking the three letters it was carrying.
He winced at the scarlet Howler that had 'Open Me First' scrawled across its front in Ron's almost illegible handwriting. His hands shook as he spread them out. The second was from Ron as well and the third bore 'Mione's painfully neat writing.
Taking a deep breath, he gathered the letters and stood.
The Gryffindor just wanted to crawl away somewhere to be yelled at in peace, but knew that he couldn't. After he'd decided to continue his new friendship with the Slytherins, he'd written Ron and 'Mione. He'd rather hoped their responses wouldn't arrive until after this whole basilisk thing was over, but he supposed he should have known better. It would have been completely against his typical luck to be allowed to deal with one problem at a time.
He'd talked with Dumbledore several times over the school year, as well as Sirius and Remus through the post, and they all had agreed that if Malfoy or any of the other Slytherins were to offer an olive branch he should accept it. Harry really didn't have the energy to deal with more enemies than Voldemort at the moment. If the new friendships turned out to be genuine then he could always use more friends and if it wasn't, then it was best to keep possible spies in a position where he could monitor what they might find out. And honestly, except for the entire Mudblood argument, he'd found them to be quite nice in a stuck up sort of way.
His letters had explained that all as thoroughly as he'd known how. Still, he'd known neither of them would be happy. He supposed he could thank his lucky stars that Ron hadn't shown up to hold him at wand point until he could prove that he hadn't been cloned or something.
Harry gave the pair a hard look before loosing a sigh and shrugging. "You might as well come along. I suspect these are about you anyways."
The pair were quiet as they followed him out of the Great Hall and outside to the Lake.
Once there, slender fingers shakily pulled off the Howler's seal and tossed it to towards the ground away from them. It rose up and opened itself.
"Harrison James Potter! Have you gone Stark Raving NUTTERS?! Make FRIENDS With MALFOY?! I'm right aren't I? You have gone nutters? Or Else they've POISONED you! I can't believe you'd seriously write me a letter like that! This is MALFOY!!! You DO Remember Right? MALFOY? THE AMAZING BOUNCING FERRET MALFOY?!?! THE SAME MALFOY THAT CALLS ME WEASEL, YOU POTTY, AND 'MIONE MUDBLOOD?!?!?! The SAME Malfoy That Has Made Hogwart's a Living HELL for us for Almost SIX YEARS NOW!?!?! Is ANY of This Coming Back to You Now?!?! As Soon as I Get Back, You're Going Straight To Dumbledore. And if He Says You're Not Poisoned or Under a SPELL, Then I'm Going To SLAP YOU SILLY!"
The roaring voice sputtered out as the thing blew them a raspberry and shredded itself up.
"Well," Though he tried to calm his voice, he knew it was as shaky as his hands had been. "He took that rather well, don't you think?"
"Harry?" Draco's his voice sounded small and timid and Harry wondered about that for a moment. The Slytherin hadn't been the one who'd just been reamed out by his best friend a la a scarlet letter.
He fiddled with the second letter for a moment thinking about it. Finally, he realized that his behavior over the last couple of days had probably not been very encouraging. Upset over the prospect of going back down to the scene of one of his many nightmares, he'd withdrawn. Draco and Greg had probably taken it as a sort of rejection. Unlike the other Gryffindors, they didn't know that that was just how he dealt with his problems. "I told you before that I haven't got so many friends that I'd give any up willingly. And it didn't seem right to just spring it on them when they got back." He shrugged, uncertain now. A single rejection years ago had led to a bitter rivalry between them, something they'd only just managed to get settled. Would this set them back again? "I thought I'd give them time to get used to the idea."
"Thank you, Harry." He stiffened as Greg picked him up in a gentle hug that belied his much larger size. Then, hesitantly, he returned the gesture with a small smile. Between the pair of Slytherins and Sirius and Remus, he'd been touched more in the last three weeks than he had in all the time spent with the Dursleys. It was odd, but he kind of liked it. His smile grew a bit as the burly boy put him down just as gently as he'd picked him up. He'd often found it hard to believe over the hols that this gentle boy was the same one who'd bullied him and his friends so much over the years.
Draco didn't move to touch him, but his smile was so big that Harry was sure his face would break from the strain of it . "That's not a bad idea. We should probably do that to, just so's none of our friends do anything stupid on the train."
He chuckled faintly at Ron's second letter, the relief that his friend was no longer angry at him nearly making him dizzy.
The pale blonde at his side looked up and smirked. "Erratic thought processes."
"That's Ron for you." Ron was hard to explain. His mind always seemed to jump from subject to subject completely at random. It drove 'Mione crazy when they were trying to study.
"What happened last year?" Draco's concerned voice broke into his thoughts and he tensed.
It was a well known fact in the Gryffindor upper year dorms that Harry was prone to violent nightmares. Fifth year and the summer that had followed had been amazingly full of trouble, even for him. Run ins with rogue Dementors, over-zealous Deatheaters, and two particularly bad encounters with the top nutter himself had moved those nightmares into his waking moments as well. By the time school had started again, he'd been a mess. Someone coming at him from a bad angle would have him reaching for his wand, certain sounds pushed the memories right back into the forefront of his mind. Two weeks into the school year he'd actually put three Gryffindors, one of them Ron, into the infirmary because they'd surprised him at a particularly bad moment. He'd been put in isolation himself for a couple of weeks where the medi-witch had done her best to help him sort his head out.
After the articles from Fourth year by Rita Skeeter had so thoroughly tarnished his reputation, the house of the lion had made a pact. No one outside their walls sans Madame Pomfrey and Professor Dumbledore would ever find out about Harry's illness. Not even the gossip mongers like Lavender Brown or Colin Creevey could be persuaded into telling anyone why Harry Potter was in the infirmary for two weeks.
His flashbacks became one of the best kept secrets in Hogwarts. If you weren't of the scarlet and gold, then you didn't know about it.
He shrugged. "I'd rather not talk about it." He quickly smoothed out the last letter. He didn't want to talk about what had happened. Instead, he read 'Mione's letter. She said basically what he'd expected her to say. He blushed a bit towards the middle. He and Draco certainly hadn't spent the last two weeks fighting, not really anyways. And he smiled as she basically parroted what Sirius had said about the idea of being friends with Malfoy. The fugitive had also added that if they'd been nicer to Snape and more aware of Pettigrew, then perhaps neither wizard would have ended up in Voldemorte's services at all. Perhaps a little kindness shown to them would have saved his parents lives.
He was starting to depress himself again and was thankful when Hagrid's cheerful bellow echoed from the direction of the castle. Even though he didn't consider the message he passed along to be good news, it was at least a distraction.
Ever so slowly, Harry made his way out of the dark abyss that had overtaken his mind. The faint sound of snoring, the distant ticking of a clock, the sharp smell of medicinal potions....
He knew where he was before he even opened his eyes. He'd certainly spent more than enough time in the infirmary to recognize it instantly.
Blinking a few times, the patient tried to focus his eyes enough to confirm his whereabouts. A fuzzy blonde head swam into vision and he realized that Malfoy was sitting next to his bedside staring at him. He cocked his head to the side and squinted a bit trying to make the image more clear. The movement apparently alerted the other boy because quite suddenly, he found himself embraced.
"You're awake! We were worried." Though he wondered who 'we' was, Harry made no comment, just gave a lopsided smile and tried to push himself into a sitting position, wincing as the aches and pains made themselves known. The blonde helped him up and fluffed the pillows behind his back before sitting back down in the chair he'd claimed.
Once he was settled, he asked the most pressing question on his mind. "What happened?" He had a vague recollection of being disgusted as he labeled jars of basilisk blood. After that, everything went sort of fuzzy.
"Flashbacks. Professor Snape had to hit you with a particularly forceful Stupefy to stop you and you fell back and hit your head. Do you feel all right?"
"Well, that explains the headache anyways." Harry pinched the bridge of his nose. Merlin but his head hurt. It hadn't felt this bad since one of the Weasley twins had accidentally nailed him in practice with a bludger. "How long was I out?"
Draco shrugged and looked around for the clock. "Almost midnight now, so eight hours or so? Madam Pomfrey didn't seem to think you'd be up before morning though."
"You should have gone to sleep, Draco."
The pureblood bit his lip. "I wanted to be here when you woke up, Harry."
"Why?" Harry just didn't understand. It was late and he knew Draco had to be tired.
The taller boy shrugged with exaggerated nonchalance. "Isn't that what friends do?"
Harry was skeptical but didn't want to call his companion a liar. Still, even Ron and Hermione waited to visit him until after someone let them know he was awake.
Of course, what with everyone gone for the hols he supposed that there really wasn't anything else to do. Looking around he spotted Greg a few beds down snoring away and he smiled a bit. Whatever their reasons for staying, it was nice not to wake up alone. "Thanks."
"Why didn't you tell us about the flashbacks, Harry?" The Gryffindor was startled at how hurt Draco sounded. Almost as if he was taking the lack of confidences personally. "Or about the Chamber of Secrets."
"I don't talk about a lot of things, Draco. Not just to you. I never even told Dumbledore everything that happened down there." Harry leaned back into the pillows and stared up at the ceiling. "I'd rather just forget it happened at all. A lot of my life is like that."
His pre-wizard life with the Dursleys hadn't exactly been a barrel of laughs, but there were plenty of days when he wished he could go back to it. Back to the days before he'd ever known the name Voldemort. Back in his safe little world of darkness and comfort in the tiny closet under the stairs.
Sometimes, ignorance really was bliss.
On the other hand, those were also the days before he'd known about friendship and love. On the whole, he decided that the good outweighed the bad.
The hushed apology drew him from his wandering thoughts and Harry looked up to see Draco wrapping his arms around his legs. He looked small and vulnerable and not at all how Harry was used to seeing him. "For what?"
The Slytherin Seeker, usually so calm and collected, shrugged uncertainly. "Anything. Everything."
He could see the sincerity in the miserable silver gaze. Draco really was sorry, he realized. Sorry for everything bad, real or imagined, that had ever happened to him. Harry wasn't used to that. Most people tended to overlook the bad things. They forgot that while he was their precious Boy Who Lived, he'd lost his parents to do it. There was a bad side to every good story they told about him. Even his best friends forgot that from time to time and they usually had to deal with the bad stuff too. "That's a pretty broad range of things to be sorry for, Draco. But thank you."
The pair sat there in comfortable silence for a moment before something occurred to Harry and he spoke again. "Is it midnight yet?"
Draco looked back over at the timepiece. "Um... About five minutes, why?"
"Do wizards have any New Year's traditions? Like, making New Year's Resolutions or anything?"
"Must be a muggle thing. I've never heard of it."
Harry chuckled. "Why am I not surprised? So what do you do to celebrate?"
"We throw a lavish party." The pureblood announced with obvious pride.
The muggle raised boy rolled his eyes. "Purebloods and parties," he mumbled. "Muggles have two main New Year's customs. The first being 'The Making of New Year's Resolutions'. It has to be something that you wouldn't normally do- or haven't been doing, at least. Like, exercise or stop smoking. My main New Year's Resolution is to study more. Like 'Mione said, I'm almost failing potions."
"I can help you with that," Draco interrupted. "If you want, that is."
Smiling, Harry agreed. He'd been worried about failing, but even Hermione had admitted that Draco really was the best Potion's student in the entire school. A person couldn't get a more ringing endorsement than that. And he just couldn't control his laughter at the Slytherin's insistence that he would decide on a resolution the next day. The imperious look on his face when he said it was just too much. Only an aristocrat would ever think that traditions should be broken especially for them. He couldn't even remember how often had he seen that very look when Draco announced to anyone who would listen that his father would do this or that.
"What's the other one?"
Gaining some measure of control over himself, Harry looked at him, confused. "The other what?"
"The other muggle custom. You said there were two."
His face heated up and he sputtered. The memory of the kiss suddenly flooded his mind. He'd been doing his best not to think about it, but now, with midnight approaching, he couldn't help it. He'd never stopped to think about his sexuality really, his life was far to complicated these days to allow much time for deep introspection. After Cho, he'd never really been all that interested in anyone of either sex. Oh, he'd noticed in an abstract sort of way that some of his classmates were attractive, but he'd never considered pursuing any of them.
Not until Draco had kissed him, anyways.
He wanted to do it again and, asking Draco to mark the time, he knew he had the perfect excuse. "Ten... Nine... Eight..." Draco's voice was pitched low as he began the countdown. Ignoring the pain that flared up again when he moved, Harry shifted closer. "Seven... Six.... Five... Four..."
Lightly, he grasped the handsome face and Draco startled. "Harry?"
The kiss was chaste. He didn't feel confident enough to make it more and Draco didn't seem inclined to do so either. Instead, strong arms came up and wrapped around his waist. For once, Harry didn't freeze up at the contact. Instead, he sighed and lay his head on Draco's shoulder, face turned towards the neck. "It's muggle tradition to welcome in the New Year with a kiss."
"Mmhmm.." Harry murmured sleepily.
"Well.. I guess Muggles might have a few good ideas after all."
He smiled at the shaky words. "Happy New Year, Draco."
"Happy New Year, Harry." Enjoying the closeness, the raven haired boy made no move to disentangle himself from the embrace. It had been a hard day and even though he'd apparently spent a large portion of it unconscious, he was still quite tired.
Snuffling a bit, he cuddled closer and let himself drift back to sleep.
I know, I know! I've been working on this for the better part of two years. _ I'm so sorry. There's been lots of support for the first two parts of this trilogy and plenty of people who've poked and prodded and asked when this part was going to come out. The main problem has been a toss up between the fact that I have so many other fics being juggled in other fandoms and that it's just so damned hard to write holiday fics when it isn't the holiday, ya know? I am working on it though. Like the last, this part picks up towards the end of it's predecessor and will continue on for the last week of their winter break. My HP muse has finally shown his face again recently and I've been working on this and 'Betrayed' pretty steadily. With luck I'll actually be able to finish this one at least before he vanishes again. I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed the first two fics. You guys are awesome. ^_^ -NemKess
ps. I know it's a lame ass title, but I haven't been able to come up with anything else. Any suggestions would be welcome!