Disclaimer: JK Rowling created this fanbrilliant-tastic HP world and all rights and merit go to her for having such a gorgeous mind.
Before you say (those of you who are familiar with my fics) Karina should be writing The Hermit!! I should say that I needed some holiday cheer and well lets face it- Hermit is hardly a barrel of laughs at the mo is it? Lol
So feeling the festive mood I wrote this one-shot, and I've had rather a good time going over it with my Beta!
Warning: OOC. Non-Magic AU to the max. One-Shot. Fluff n' stuff.
Background info; None really other than Draco and Harry live in London and are in their twenties. :o)
Thank you to my lovely, gorgeous, scrumptious beta, Coffeecat who I might just eat for Christmas dessert! Merry Christmas Darling xx
Draco pressed his car remote once and watched as the alarm lights flashed amber twice. He tucked his keys into his pocket and ambled through the car park towards the brightly lit building. The car park was jam-packed and he was astounded how such a place could still be so busy at this time of night. He rubbed his hands together and blew hot breath into his palms, trying to warm them up against the chilly air. It was bloody cold. Two degrees.
He reached the entrance and spotted the steely bars of the stacked trolleys and let out a misty breath as he neared them. Reaching out, he yanked a single trolley hard and it came loose with a loud clatter. Pulling a piece of paper from his pocket he tucked it under the clip of the tiny board that was fixed on the front of the trolley and pushed it through the large automatic doors.
Immediately he was enveloped in noise and bright light; greeted by a throng of people, wheeling to and fro frantically and he marvelled at all the manic energy that was being displayed. It was twelve-thirty in the morning, two days before Christmas and Draco had foolishly thought that there would be less of a rush at this time of night. He had hoped that it would be quite safe to quickly nip in and get what he wanted and be out and driving back home within twenty minutes. It appeared that he was quite wrong to deduce such an assumption as his eyes wandered over the long queues at the tills. Looks like everyone else had the same idea as me, he thought irritated.
Sighing, he looked over his shopping list.
Last-minute Christmas food shop
Vegetables to get FRESH
2) Green Beans
4) Brussel Sprouts
Bla, bla, bla, Draco thought as he proceeded to pass by the flowers and plant section; the magazines and books section. His mother had also added ''items forgotten'' from her food shop a few days earlier.
Aunt B's Yorkshire BAKE Puddings.YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS!!!!
Ok, he got it; he chuckled in his head, Yorkshire puddings. Must not forget. He casually pushed along the trolley towards the fruit and vegetable section and let out a stifled yawn. There was something very intrinsically boring about food shopping. The idea of shopping for food was just incredibly dull.
Dull, dull, dull.
He picked up some luxury Christmas crackers that caught his eye from a nearby stack and threw them into the empty trolley. His head did an involuntary nod as Dean Martin's White Christmas cascaded from the speakers. His lips twitched at the corners of his mouth as he listened to the seasonal tune. It was rather nice listening to cheerful Christmassy music in December. It immediately filled you with warmth and excitement. Well it did for him anyway. Probably not everyone enjoyed Christmas but that wasn't really his problem.
He spotted the green beans' shelf in between a mother and her pushchair and hung back for a second as the mother jostled the large pushchair with a sleeping child in it towards the side. Prams got on his nerves and he hated being polite and waiting for them to move out of the way. But he was perfectly polite and stood by smiling pleasantly until the mother flashed him a grateful smile and moved away. He returned a fake smile back and then gave her another one that was rather genuine.
Well, he thought, she was probably just trying to give her family a nice Christmas lunch or dinner and it wasn't easy shopping with a small child. He always felt a little softer at this time of year, mainly because he loved it so much. Always had. He grabbed some green beans and then quickly reached for the asparagus before anyone else came forward. He could be nice when he wanted to but he still had a shopping list to complete. With the two items crossed off his list, he moved onto the next equally boring item.
He ripped off a clear bag from the roll and bundled in about fifteen carrots. Tying the bag in a little knot, he chucked it into the trolley.
''…May your days be merry and bright. And may all your Christmases be white…''
He pondered over the harsh, bright lighting found in supermarkets as he strolled along. They made the ugly people look even uglier and the good-looking people even better looking. Weird. Well he knew what category he fell into; he smirked happily and moseyed along with his trolley.
Two aisles down, Harry Potter was also pushing a trolley with a little list crumpled in his hand.
1) Cranberry sauce.
He wanted to have cranberry sauce this year. He had never had it before and thought that it was about time to try it. He scanned the numerous shelves and found a small jar and placed it into his trolley.
He looked further down his list;
He wound his way through the trolleys and people and found himself in the cold freezer section. He stared at the contents in the giant fridges for a while and then opened the stiff doors and chucked various items into his trolley. Nat King Cole's Christmas Song gently boomed from the speakers as Harry went down the aisle with the coffees and teas.
''….chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose...''
He hummed along with the song and realised how lonely it suddenly made him feel. It was a bittersweet song that always made him smile with a small ache in his heart. It was so nice to have family this time of year. He wished he had one.
He eyed a hot chocolate pack and threw that into the small heap in his trolley. Now on to the vegetables. He rubbed his right eye behind his lenses and pushed back his floppy fringe from his forehead. He just wanted to do his shopping and get home quickly. He had almost not even come out to the supermarket but decided that he really did have nothing to eat on Christmas day and that would be a shame, so his inner voice had needled at him till he had grabbed his coat and car keys.
He spied the crate labeled ''Brussel Sprouts'' and wheeled over to it. He extended his hand out and reached for the last netted bag….
And the bag strangely resisted. He frowned and tugged at the bag and realised that there was another hand also holding onto the bag. Rather determinedly he noted, feeling a flare of anger spark. His eyes travelled to the owner of the offending hand and his brows furrowed over the tops of his glasses. Standing there was a blond man with his unwelcome hand gripping the netted bag.
'Hey,' Harry said, 'that's mine.'
'No it isn't,' the man said defiantly and tugged the bag from Harry's hand. 'It's mine.'
Harry tugged it back. 'I saw it first,' he insisted whilst looking at the man crossly. What was wrong with him anyway? Anyone with a shred of decency would just back off. Obviously if someone is holding an item in their hands - it's theirs. Theirs to buy.
'Yeah?' the blond man persisted otherwise. 'That's what you think but how can you even suggest that you saw it first? I could have seen it metres away.'
Harry's mouth opened incredulously as the man carried on speaking. 'Besides,' he said in a lofty tone, 'I have more of it my hand so that means that it is mine. Just get some other vegetables, what's the big deal?'
Big deal? Harry gripped the small bag with white knuckles as he fumed. The man was tall and one of those perfect looking men that just didn't seem real. Not real enough to be shopping in a supermarket anyhow. With perfect jeans and a black coat and perfect hair - and just looking so perfectly put together - the kind of people that seemed to look good all the time and made you feel just plain irritated. Not that Harry thought he was ugly. He knew he wasn't. He knew he wasn't particularly good looking either but he wasn't bad looking…just not perfect looking like this idiot standing in front of him. The man probably thought he had some God given right to all the vegetables in the store or something.
Harry made a face at the infuriating man and grit his teeth, still not letting go, 'it isn't a big deal. Only that I grabbed them first; so, out of principle, I should be the one to buy them. Go and ask the staff if they have any more out the back.'
The blond man yanked the bag his way again, 'out the back?' he spat out patronisingly. His eyes narrowed as if he couldn't believe that Harry was naïve enough to believe such a thing. 'There is no such thing as ''out the back''. Everything they have in the store is on the floor and obviously this is the last of the Brussel Sprouts. And I am so not going to any other supermarket to get another bag. So, if you'll just let go, I'll be on my way.'
'No!' Harry shot back tugging the bag near to him, feeling annoyed. What the hell was wrong with this man? He thought as they had a small tug-of-war with the netted bag. 'You have all those other vegetables in your trolley, why do you need more?'
''..on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree..''
'Because,' came a pointed response, 'my mother wants Brussel Sprouts for our family dinner. And I aim to get them for her. Besides they have other vegetables that would suit you better. They have lots of beans. Runner beans, green beans, broad beans. You name it, they have it. Just let go of the sprouts,' he hissed.
'Urrggh,' Harry said. So this man thought that he, Harry, would be suited to other vegetables? What kind of analogy was that? Why were people so petty? Why? He sighed and shook his head and let go of the bag, springing the blond man's hands backwards along with the sprouts. 'Fine then, have them. I hope you choke on a floret,' he said grumpily, pushing away his trolley from the irksome shopper. Honestly some people were so flipping selfish and stupid and he really couldn't be bothered with them.
''…..five gold ringssssssssssss..''
Meanwhile Draco smirked in satisfaction grimly, as he smoothed the back of his hair against his nape. Really, some people. What was their problem? Honestly, arguing over vegetables when he, Draco, clearly had a firmer grasp on the bag than the other man had. Why were people so petty? For goodness sake.
Obviously the man was one of those irritatingly trendy types, with his dark hair flopping around his face and artful glasses that were just fake probably because they looked good on him. Like maybe he was a model or something with his faded blue jeans and brown cord jacket slung over a white T-shirt - casual attire that just screamed ''I'm a model but I don't care about my appearance!'' As Draco strolled away, he pressed his lips together thinly, feeling annoyed.
As well as looking like a model, Draco bet that the man was some kind of activist. Like a demonstrator or something - appearing to be a do-gooder but really a prissy little sod inside. Yeah, that's what he was, Draco nodded. He put the Brussel Sprouts next to his other vegetables. You couldn't have Christmas dinner without sprouts, everyone knew that. They had them every year and he wasn't about to disappoint his mother out of politeness to a complete stranger.
Now what was left on his list…
He strode quickly towards the open freezer section, pushing various people out of his way without seeming to.
Harry glowered inwardly feeling embarrassed and aggravated. And hot. He felt hot. The nerve of that man… He fingered the collar of his t-shirt uncomfortably that lay underneath his jacket. It was like below five outside but he was feeling all hot and bothered. It was a bad idea to come food shopping he decided. He looked at his trolley and threw in some pot noodles for the sake of it as he pushed himself along to the open freezer section to cool off. He wanted Yorkshire puddings. The baking ones. He was sick of the four-minute, quick-bake ones. They went hard as crackers the minute you took them out of the oven. The twenty-minute, bake ones were much nicer and softer and fuller. They actually rose as they warmed up unlike the stiff four-minute ones.
He neared the freezer compartment and sighed as it appeared that they had run out of them. Typical. However, he edged near and saw one, sad looking box at the bottom of the silver lined freezer. Oh good, he thought. He reached for it, reading the big yellow star on the box that said ''twelve puddings plus two bonus ones for the same price''.
As he wrapped his fingers around the box his arm was immediately jostled.
'You've got to be joking!' came a voice that sounded all too familiar.
'No, but you must be,' Harry replied heatedly, gripping the box tightly. The blond man hadn't much grip on the box and Harry flicked it away smartly from his hands.
'But it's the last box!' the man exclaimed.
'Exactly, and it's mine,' Harry said stubbornly.
The blond man shook his head and licked his lips and Harry rolled his eyes. Perfect looking wanker, that's what this man was.
'Yeah, but look at your trolley. I mean it is quite sparse no? There is nothing in your trolley that would go with the Yorkshire puddings. On the other hand, I have lots of vegetables and sprouts,' he emphasised. 'So really I think I should get the Yorkshires.'
'You must be nuts, seriously,' Harry said placing the box in his trolley and ignoring the bargaining tactics of the afore-mentioned wanker.
'No, I am not,' the man edged near to him and Harry leaned back, away from him, scrunching his nose at the nerve of the man. 'What do you need them for anyway?'
'The same reason as you perhaps,' Harry said steering away. 'To eat? I'm gonna bake them and eat them.'
'Ah a man who bakes. That's nice,' the wanker said flashing him a quick smile with perfectly white teeth. Harry looked at him with a fed-up expression trying to manoeuvre his way in the opposite direction.
'Look, I really need those Yorkshires,' the blond man now dropped his fake smile and looked at Harry sombrely. He pointed at the box and Harry wasn't much moved by his appealing gestures. 'My dad is going to mess them up when he tries to bake them himself and my mum wants back up pudds.'
Selfish! Harry thought. He could feel prickles of frustration heat his skin. This was turning into a horrible food shop. He should have followed his gut instinct and not come.
The blond man smiled at him coaxingly again and Harry wondered if the man thought he was stupid enough to fall for a warm smile and just hand over the puddings. It appeared that the man thought he really was that charming as he looked at Harry earnestly. This was really beyond a joke. Sure he was good looking, but puuleese! The man was starting to talk again and Harry shook his head, feeling at the end of his tether.
'You know what?' he said loudly, surprising the man enough to get him to stop talking. 'Have the bloody Yorkshires.' He reached for them, feeling his metaphorical thread breaking. 'You want anything else?' he said sarcastically with dark raised brows. He shoved the box at the blond man and the man took it looking taken aback.
He opened his mouth about to speak again but Harry cut him off.
'Here you want cranberry sauce?' Harry reached for the small jar. 'Did I get the last one of that too? Here take it.' He placed it into the blond man's trolley realising that he was going too far in his tirade but unable to stop himself as he was on a roll.
'You want hot chocolate? Here take mine,' and he flung his packet of hot chocolate in the man's trolley.
The man's expression went from shocked to looking downright amused. 'Hey,' he said in a sensitive voice watching Harry getting all worked up. 'I don't want your hot chocolate. You can keep that; they still have lots of them on the shelves.' He tried to appease Harry with a low voice and a phoney constructed look of concern.
Harry gave him a narrowed eye glare, feeling his words quieten down in his throat.
'It's all right;' the man eyed him cautiously, indicating with his hands that yes indeed it was all right. NOT. 'Clearly Christmas is a stressful time for some people,' he carried on saying in what he probably thought was a soothing voice. 'You know what with all the shopping and dinners and family. It can be stressful.'
Harry let out a deep breath and then frowned. Oh my God, he had made a scene. He had a made a scene in Tesco's! He couldn't even bear to look around to see if any other shoppers had witnessed his meltdown. He wished he could vanish about now. The man warily kept his eye on him as he picked up the packet of hot chocolate and put it back into Harry's trolley.
'And here,' he said. 'You can keep the Yorkshires.' He was still holding the box in his hands and put them into Harry's trolley.
'I don't want them,' Harry said crabbily, trying to cover up his mortification.
'Go on keep them,' the man cajoled. 'You already let me have the sprouts,' the man smiled and Harry did the exact opposite and pressed his mouth into a firm line. He looked at the man's face properly then and observed that he had grey eyes. Grey eyes were unusual weren't they? He hadn't met anyone with grey eyes before…. What colour eyes did Ron have? Harry hardly ever noticed small details like that. He never really looked. Hermione had brown eyes didn't she? Crap, what colour were Ron's eyes? He frowned and the man frowned back at him. Harry shook his head and rubbed his neck.
'Well I'll be going then. You keep those all right?'
Harry gave a small nod and was glad when the man gave him a last look and then wandered off.
Well that was interesting, Draco thought. He had just witnessed his first major Christmas freak out. He didn't see too many of those. The poor guy looked all flustered and upset over a box of Yorkshire puddings that Draco felt compelled to let him have them. Maybe he had had a very bad day and just couldn't take it any more. People like that did exist. He had looked really embarrassed afterwards, Draco could tell. That's why Draco thought he would make a quick exit and walk away. Perhaps the man had been dumped by his girlfriend or something, Draco mused.
He had very pretty eyes, Draco reflected. Draco always noticed beautiful eyes, males and females alike. And the man's eyes had been very green and bright and very pretty. Model definitely or an actor or been told he should be on TV…Maybe he had been in an argument, Draco thought. Lots of things could have happened to make him go hysterical over frozen goods. Besides, Draco wondered graciously, the Yorkshires were only a back up. The other guy looked like he needed the Yorkshires more than Draco did. He would just have to tell his mother that the shop had run out - which was true. They had now. There were officially no more Yorkshire puddings left in the building to buy. His mother would understand.
Mother, he frowned. Shit, he had nearly forgotten. Chocolate Liqueurs. For his mother. She hadn't put the liqueurs on the list but he knew how much she enjoyed them with a drink after dinner. She ate them every year. He went over to the confectionary shelves and picked up her favourite ones.
Harry tried in vain to look for the shortest queue he could see but they all seemed equally as long as each other. Sighing inwardly he pushed his trolley along to the nearest one and waited patiently. He glimpsed at other people's trolleys and saw them laden with items. He looked down at his own trolley and it looked rather pathetic in comparison.
He scrunched his nose slightly – it would be nice to get Christmas crackers etc but there wouldn't be any point. He had no one to pull crackers with, he was alone this year. Hermione and Ron were spending Christmas with Hermione's parents. If Harry went and had dinner with the Weasleys, it would feel weird without Ron even though he knew he was welcome. He had told Hermione that he had made plans for Christmas day and that had instantly vanquished the concerned frown on her forehead.
He looked around some more. There simply had to be another queue for less items surely…
But it didn't appear that there was; so feeling resigned, Harry slumped forward on the trolley bars and watched the conveyor belt next to him slide along towards the cashier.
Three minutes later it seemed as if the person's trolley in front of him wasn't lessening and, muttering under his breath, Harry stood upright, grasped his trolley and pushed it out of the line. There simply had to be a shorter line.
He carefully looked around and spotted that till number three did seem to be going a lot quicker than the others. He quickly sped up and went to join the queue and was glad to see that there was only one trolley ahead of him.
'Hello again,' Harry heard and looked up startled. It was the blond man again. He was looking at Harry with a small smile and Harry would have groaned aloud if he were less than polite. He managed an awkward smile that resulted in a lopsided grin and replied back, 'hi.'
'The cashier here really isn't wasting any time - I think she wants to get home.' The man indicated with his eyes. 'That's why her hands are moving so fast.' He was leaning back casually against the steel counter of the till next to them.
Harry nodded as the man reached for the next customer bar and placed it on the moving belt and started to load up his items on the end of the conveyor belt. He watched silently as the man carefully arranged his items into groups of edibles and non-edibles and frozen and non-frozen.
'I'm sorry about earlier,' Harry said after a moment, fidgeting with the hem of his t-shirt.
The man chuckled pleasantly as he now leant against his trolley and shook his head.
'Its all right, I am too. I've never fought over food before,' he smiled at Harry and it was a rather nice and open smile which Harry returned.
The man seemed to hesitate for a moment and then straightened up and extended a hand.
'I'm Draco by the way.'
Harry stuck his own hand out and shook it firmly.
Draco nodded and moved ahead a few more steps as his items got closer to the cashier.
'So,' Draco said striking up a conversation, 'do you live around here?'
'Yeah,' Harry told him, 'this is my local supermarket.'
Draco nodded his eyes on the conveyor belt.
Harry cleared his throat, 'do you live near here?'
Draco faced him and nodded in response. 'Yeah I do, just down Temple Parade, house with the black wrought iron gates, with little snakes carved on it.'
Harry's eyes widened slightly at the unexpected piece of extra information and Draco looked away for a moment and then locked his eyes with Harry again. Draco's family must be very rich if they lived on Temple Parade. That was the road with the massive houses and driveways that looked like small lanes.
'So you're having a very big family dinner?' Harry asked as they both budged along a little in the line.
He put a ''next customer'' bar on the belt for Harry and Harry said, 'thanks,' and started to haul his meagre items upon it.
There were some small shelves filled with chocolates and Draco grabbed a bar. He held it up for Harry's inspection. 'Snickers, my weakness.' He grinned and placed it on the counter.
Harry smiled and brushed his hair away from his eyes. 'Well that is what they are there for, to tempt you right at the last minute.'
'Well it works,' Draco said ruefully. 'Every time. I get my chocolate addiction from my mother.' He looked down on the belt at a box of fancy chocolates. 'Those are for her. I buy her liqueurs every year on Christmas. She says that the day just wouldn't feel right without them. She has to have them after Christmas dinner with a drink,' he grinned.
Harry smiled good naturedly as Draco moved to the other side of the cashier near the steel slide as his items slid down. He started to put his shopping into bags as the cashier totalled up his bill. Harry watched as Draco took out his wallet and handed over a credit card for the cashier to swipe. She did and Draco came forward and signed. Harry noticed that he had a rather nice looking signature. Quite complicated though. Harry's signature was quite simple looking.
It didn't take long for the cashier to total up Harry's items and Draco was still putting his things away as Harry joined his side and put away his things.
'It's busy isn't it?' Draco commented and Harry looked at him as he put his things away.
He looked around, 'yeah it is. I guess everyone thinks it will be quieter at night.'
'And they'd be wrong,' Draco said as he started to place his bags into his trolley.
Harry had filled one bag already and saw all his frozen and to be fridged things still laying in a heap. He moved the bag aside and tore off another carrier bag and put the rest of his things inside. Draco had four bags now in his trolley and Harry picked up his own two and walked along side Draco towards the exit.
As they reached the doors, Draco flashed him a quick smile.
'So have a nice Christmas.'
'Yeah,' Harry said, 'you too and Happy New Year.'
'Thanks, I'll be sure to enjoy the sprouts and you enjoy the Yorkshires all right?'
Harry laughed, 'yeah I will.'
They went outside and the cold air wafted around them immediately.
'Well bye then,' Draco said giving a small nod.
Harry returned it, 'yeah bye.'
And they both walked off into different directions in the huge car park.
Harry got back to his flat about half past one and wanted to do nothing more but curl up in his bed and fall asleep. He forced himself to put away the frozen goods and the items that needed to be put in the fridge and then finally let fatigue win. He placed the other bag on the counter without unpacking it and switched off the light to the kitchen.
Four o' clock in the afternoon on Christmas Day; Harry unpacked the sorry carrier bag that was left unattended on the counter. Yesterday he had gone out with friends for drinks at lunch and had not come home till the evening by which time laziness had prevailed so he still hadn't bothered to unpack the bag.
Today he had eaten breakfast, opened his presents and then watched TV. Then he had eaten lunch, watched TV again and now, in the late afternoon, he stumbled into the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea. He eyed the white carrier bag rustling on the counter and grinned at the sheer idle behaviour on his part. He walked over and grabbed it and started to take out the shopping. A second later, he looked puzzled as his hands grasped a box of chocolates. He took it out and stared at it blankly. There were small wrapped chocolate bottles of liqueurs. They weren't his; he hadn't got himself any chocolates. He paused for a second and then it came to him. These were Draco's. He must have picked them up by accident as they were packing up their shopping. Draco said that he had got them for his mother.
'These are for her. I buy her liqueurs every year on Christmas. She says that the day just wouldn't feel right without them, she has to have them after Christmas dinner with a drink.'
Their items had been sitting together as they were packing them away and Harry must have picked up the box of chocolates by accident. He looked at it for a moment. He wondered what Draco would have told his mother and if he had gone back to the shops to get her some more chocolates. He must have figured out what had happened.
He made himself a cup of tea and took it back into the sitting room. When he finished and took his cup back to his kitchen he could see the box of chocolates from the corner of his eye. What should he do with them? Eat them? Nah, he didn't really like liqueurs… throw them away? That seemed a bit mean. He guessed he could just keep them and save them for when he had guests. Someone would eventually eat them - hopefully before the sell-by date. There was another option open to him but he didn't think he really ought to consider it.
He went back into the sitting room and flicked through some more channels and he couldn't find anything to watch. He got up to wash the few dishes that were in his sink. When finished, he wiped his hands and eyed the box of chocolates again. He could, technically, walk over to Draco's and give back the chocolates. Temple Parade wasn't all that far really and he could do with getting some fresh air. He was getting bored watching TV - he had been watching it literally all day. And it might be a nice thing to do… Draco might not have had a chance to get any more chocolates for his mum and so Harry would be doing something nice on Christmas day.
Of course it could be construed as being slightly creepy. Would it be creepy IF Draco came to his house and handed him back a mixed up item? Harry thought about it for a few seconds… not really. He would appreciate it and think that it was quite thoughtful of Draco to come on over and give him something back….
Reaching a decision he ran his fingers through his hair and went into the passage to put on his coat. He wrapped a scarf around his neck and grabbed the box of chocolates from the counter. He took a quick look in the mirror to make sure he looked presentable enough for public viewing and then reached for his house keys and stepped outside.
It took him twenty minutes to reach the top of Temple Parade. Temple Parade was a long and windy road that was situated in a borough in the suburbs of London. The houses were huge on this stretch of the road and each house had acres of land for a garden. He wondered if he would easily be able to spot Draco's gates from the pavement. Lots of houses had large gates separating them from the main road. He started to stroll down the slope and kept an eye out.
After several more minutes, he began to get agitated. How long was this road anyway? It seemed to go on forever. He had never walked it before; he had always driven past it and driving along it only took a few minutes. He had seen six houses with black coloured gates so far but none with a serpents crest. He squinted thoughtfully, what if you couldn't see the gates from the roadside? What if this was a complete waste of time and he was never going to find the house? What if…. He shrugged lightly and persevered onwards.
A few minutes later he was rewarded for his troubles. In sight, there were two large intricately designed black iron wrought gates. He stepped closer and made out a serpents crest in the middle of them. Draco's house. He spotted an intercom by the side of the gates and walked over to it.
Clearing his throat he pressed the button on the intercom. He heard a faint ''zzzz'' of the buzzer and then took away his finger and waited for a reply.
A minute later there was a crackling noise and then a, 'hello?'
A male voice.
Harry cleared his throat and went closer to the speaker, 'uhhh hi, umm well this will um sound a bit weird but err well, the other day I met a man called Draco in Tesco's? And I seemed to have accidentally picked up a box of chocolates that were his so….'
'Harry?' came a surprised sounding voice.
'Yeah?' Harry leaned in closer to the small speaker.
'Hi, it's Draco,' there was a warm chuckle, 'come on up, I'll let you in.'
Harry heard another ''zzzzzzz'' and the black gates began to open slowly, allowing him access to the driveway. He tentatively stepped forward onto the smooth gravel and the gates started to close behind him. He thought he could see a camera above the gates and he glanced at it before puffing out a misty breath. He began to walk up the winding driveway. A minute later he confirmed his theory that the driveways on this road were like small lanes. He was still walking up the driveway and he couldn't even see the house from here.
He eventually came up to a small bend and continued onward toward the house. He smiled slightly as he saw the driveway open up into a semi circular in front of a very large house, and on the front steps stood Draco who gave him a small wave.
'Hello,' he said to Harry as Harry walked up to him.
'Hey,' Harry said, and smiled in return. He held out the box of chocolates to Draco and Draco chuckled and took it from Harry's hands.
'Thanks,' he said. 'I thought that was what probably had happened or maybe I actually left it on the... um thing. But I didn't get a chance to go back to the shops actually so my mum will be happy.'
Harry sniffed, his cheeks and ears reddened by the cold wind and nodded, 'yeah I thought well you know….' he sniffed again. 'I mean I don't live all that far actually and thought I could go for a walk and hand these back to you soo...' he swallowed.
'You look frozen,' Draco said, his eyes looking a little concerned.
Harry shook his head, 'oh no I'm all right….'
Draco inclined his head towards the front door, 'hey, why don't you come in for a drink? It's the least I can do.'
'Oh uhhh, I'm…um…expected at my friend's home later…for dinner.' Harry hesitated, feeling guilty about lying, and cleared his throat. He didn't want Draco to think he had come over here fishing for an invite inside his house or anything. What if Draco thought that's why Harry had come over? Harry looked at Draco's face and saw that the grey eyes appeared to be genuine. Well he guessed it couldn't hurt….just for a few minutes…he didn't want to appear rude and he was cold.
'Well come in for a little while,' Draco said invitingly. 'You can warm yourself up a bit.'
Harry bit his lip as he thought about it and then smiled and nodded, 'ok umm thanks.' Draco slipped inside the hallway and Harry followed him in, wiping his shoes on the front mat.
He looked around as he walked further into the house. He was currently in a very large hallway, all mirrors, lights and tasteful festive decorations. He pressed his lips into a small smile as Draco held out his hands for Harry's jacket. He shrugged it off and handed it to Draco who went over to a side closet and hung it up. Harry loosened his scarf from around his neck and Draco pointed at the banisters, 'just hang it there, it's all right.'
Harry nodded and slung it over the dark oak wood and straightened his shirt over his jeans as he walked over to Draco who was leading him into another room.
'You have a lovely house,' Harry commented at Draco's back and Draco turned around.
'Thanks, I built it myself,' he quipped and Harry laughed lightly.
Draco had walked into the kitchen, though the word kitchen seemed a little ordinary when describing the actual grandeur of the room. It was massive and had all sorts of glinting pots and pans hanging up about a large island in the middle of it. Dark granite counters that gleamed and the smell….Harry's nose immediately appreciated the delicious cooking smell that filled the room. Roast potatoes and the unmistakable smell of turkey sizzling in the oven. Harry felt his stomach rumble embarrassingly and he felt ravenous even though he had eaten lunch.
Draco put down the box of chocolates next to a vast array of Christmas crackers and Christmas puddings on one of the counters.
'I hope you don't mind,' Harry began to say.' I mean you said where you lived so I, you know…'
'No, 'Draco interrupted. 'It's fine, really. Thank you for being so thoughtful.' He smiled at Harry warmly and then walked over to an overhead cupboard near the sink. He was wearing dark blue jeans again and a beige coloured polo shirt. He managed to look quite casual yet smart at the same time. Some people just had the knack for looking so well put together. And he had very blonde hair, Harry noted. He knew Draco had blonde hair, he had noticed that the other day but still, it was rare to see such a light colour on a man. Draco took out two glasses and then walked over to the fridge.
'Did you drive or..?' Draco's brows rose in question and Harry shook his head.
'I walked over.'
'So I can offer you a glass of champagne? Do you drink alcohol?'
Harry nodded again, leaning against the counter, 'yeah I do...thanks…that would be um nice.'
Draco took out a bottle of champagne and uncorked it. Harry watched as the bubbly liquid poured golden into the glasses and Draco handed him a glass.
'Thanks,' Harry said and Draco clinked his glass and said, 'Merry Christmas.'
'Merry Christmas,' Harry clinked back and they both drank a few gulps. It was humid in the kitchen and Harry felt strangely surreal, drinking champagne in a virtual stranger's house. He caught Draco's eye and smiled into his glass as Draco's eyes crinkled warmly.
Just then came a soft female voice calling out, 'Draco? Who was at the door?'
Draco turned and held his glass away from his mouth as he called back, 'someone kind enough to return your chocolates, mother.'
'Is that so?' the voice said as it came closer. Harry turned his head to see a woman walk into the kitchen. She was obviously Draco's mother but she really didn't look it. She was very tall and statuesque. Very blonde and very slim. And looked rather young to have a grown man for a son. Thought it was easy to see where Draco got his good looks from.
'Hello,' Harry said, putting down his glass and holding out his hand. 'I'm Harry,' he said as she slipped her hand into his hand and shook it.
'Hello, Harry,' she said. 'That was very kind of you to return the chocolates,' she gave him a gleaming smile and went over to the oven. She ducked down to peer through the glass door. 'Did you check the turkey darling?'
Draco shook his head, 'nope,' and put down his glass of champagne on the counter. 'Dad said to do that pokey thing in about twenty minutes.'
'Mmmm,' she murmured. 'Well turkey is your father's responsibility so he can do the pokey thing.' She straightened up and flashed Harry a smile before looking back at Draco. 'Well I will leave you to it,' she said. 'Just turn the heat down on the carrots will you?' she said over her shoulder to Draco as she walked out of the room.
Harry looked on the stove and saw two large saucepans filled with brussel sprouts and carrots, simmering on the blue flames. He felt guilty now for having took the Yorkshire puddings home. He should have just had let Draco have them. They would have gone to better use here.
Draco went over to the stove and turned the heat down on the carrots and then pointed towards an archway that led to another room. 'Let's go into the other room, we can sit down,' and he grabbed the bottle of champagne taking it along with him.
Harry traipsed after him and walked into what he assumed to be both a lounge and dining room. There was a huge dining table by the large bay windows on the other side. Near them was a fireplace by which stood a very large and beautifully decorated Christmas tree. There were opened presents that were stacked high up underneath it and Harry smiled softly.
'Here sit down,' Draco gestured towards a large leather armchair that reclined back slightly as Harry put his weight on it. He carefully held his glass. The last thing he wanted to do was spill his drink on the expensive sofa and rug.
He gazed at Draco against the backdrop of the twinkling tree, 'looks like you had quite a morning.'
Draco gave him an impish look, 'yeah, I'm still a big kid.'
Harry looked around the elegant room and it was easy to imagine a family laughing with one another and having a wonderful time in it
'So what was your morning like?' Draco asked easily and Harry felt himself tense slightly and was glad when he saw a man enter the room, muttering under his breath.
'Draco, do you have any batteries?'
'No,' Draco answered and Harry quickly concluded that this man was Draco's father. The resemblance was definitely there and Draco was quite the combination of both his parents. The man was also quite tall with very light blonde hair and a touch of silver around the hairline. With a black v-necked wool jumper and herringbone jeans, Draco's father, like his mother, wore his years well.
'Mmm,' Draco's father murmured.
'Dad? This is Harry,' and Harry got up as Draco's father extended his own hand and shook Harry's hand firmly. 'The bringer of chocolates I heard,' he smiled and Harry nodded.
'What do you need the batteries for, dad?' Draco asked as Harry sat back down and drank another mouthful of his champagne.
'The musical Santa your aunt got your mother last year. I took it down from the attic and thought I'd put it in the hallway.' He shook his head, 'no matter, I'll look in the kitchen,' he said and walked out of the room.
'So how was your morning?' Draco asked again conversationally.
'It was all right,' Harry answered.
'Did you spend Christmas morning with your parents?'
'Oh umm no. I uh don't have parents...'
Draco looked at him with a ''huh?'' expression and Harry quickly elaborated. 'They're dead. I mean I had them obviously, but um they're dead so…' Oh my God, shut up, stop talking, Harry scolded himself as Draco's face looked stricken.
'I'm so sorry,' he looked awkward now. 'That must be awful…' He said compassionately.
'It's all right,' Harry rushed on, 'they died when I was a baby. I don't remember them....'
Draco nodded but still looked a little shell-shocked and Harry gulped some of his champagne. What was wrong with him? Why did he have to go and say something like that? Talk about conversation killer. But holidays such as Christmas always made him act a little strangely. He knew that. He couldn't help his subconscious digging at the pit of loneliness in his stomach. He wished he had a family….he let out a deep breath and gave Draco a small smile to reassure him that all was well.
They were quiet for a moment as they both drank their champagne.
'Looks like you're having quite a big gathering,' Harry said trying to get the conversation back on track.
Draco nodded. 'Well ummm my family is coming over. My Nan, who I see fairly regularly, and my mum's sister, her husband and their daughter. We only see them like a few times a year even though they all say they should see each other more. But it's nice at Christmas.'
'So you never told me your last name,' Draco said, hooking one leg over his knee and resting his glass of champagne on it.
'Oh it's Harry Potter,' Harry smiled.
'Harry Potter, so what is it that you do, Mr Harry Potter?' Draco paused, and Harry felt his gaze look him over. 'Are you a model? Or a presenter or something. You have the look….'
Harry gawped at him feeling stupefied. A model? Him? His brows furrowed in confusion and his cheeks flamed at the unexpected compliment. He stammered out,
'Oh no err no…' He laughed self-consciously and Draco gave him an amused smile. 'Uh actually I err finished my law degree this year and I'm looking for a place to do my articles. And, uh, I have two firms that are interested and both positions start at the end of January, so uhhh yeah that's about it,' he took in a deep breath and then said, 'what about you?'
Draco leaned back in his chair, his grey eyes looking at Harry's face fixedly. 'I'm starting my Masters in Architecture and Design in April, and I'll be living at home for that. I moved away when I did my Bachelor's and my mum convinced me to stay here in London. Not that I really needed much convincing.' He laughed, 'I missed the house and my parents so…. it will be nice.'
Draco reached over to the champagne and topped up Harry's glass. He asked Harry about where he went to university and they got into where and how and who conversation that lasted for over twenty minutes.
Draco was laughing at story that Harry was telling about one of his professor's when the doorbell rang. Harry stopped speaking as he heard Draco's mother rush into the corridor to answer the door. He looked at Draco as Draco stood up from his seat.
'They're early,' he commented.
Harry nodded and quickly drank the rest of his champagne. He sat up in his chair, 'um I should be going then…' he trailed off and Draco quickly shook his head.
'No, don't go so soon…' Harry's brow's rose in surprise at Draco's earnest tone. But he really ought to be going; after all Draco's family had arrived and wouldn't it seem a little weird to have a stranger sitting amongst them?
Though Harry didn't get far in his ruminations as Draco coaxed him further,
'Everyone is just going to chat for a while and stuff. Have some wine or uh eggnog, you haven't had my mother's eggnog yet.'
Harry cleared his throat and blinked at Draco, 'well umm if err your parents don't mind....'
'No,' Draco reassured him shaking his head. 'They won't mind at all.' Just then Draco's family spilled into the room and there were lots of excited voices and hugs. Harry stayed sat in his seat taking in the scene.
Draco untangled himself from his aunt's arms and gestured towards Harry.
'Everyone this is Harry. Harry this is everyone.'
He heard a, 'who's Harry?' and Draco's mother saying, 'Harry is Draco's new friend.' Harry felt an involuntary warm glow at being included in their conversation. ''Draco's new friend'' that was so sweet, his lips quirked bashfully and he lifted his hand in a shy wave and was greeted with a chorus of, 'Hello, Harry.' He smiled as the new members of the family shrugged off their coats and separated into the direction of the toilets and kitchen. Draco's cousin hung back and flopped off her puffy white jacket onto the sofa.
'Draco, can you get me some coke? I'm parched,' she said and Draco nodded and caught Harry's eye. Harry nodded back and Draco left the room as the girl sat down onto the sofa and began to peel off her knee boots.
'I'm Tonks by the way,' she said, her blonde and pink highlighted hair falling over her face as she struggled with her footwear. Finally a few seconds later she was free of her boots and shook out her shoulder length hair and straightened her fluffy, cream jumper across her waist.
'Aunt Narcissa got me this gorgeous jumper so I had to wear it to dinner. Course I'm really hot now and I'll be sweating over dinner.' She snapped her bubble gum in her mouth and gave Harry a cheeky grin.'So you and Draco been friends for long?'
'Oh uhh no,' he said hurriedly, pushing his hair back from his eyes. 'We just met actually.' He fidgeted slightly under her scrutinising gaze and then sat back in his seat. She nodded knowingly.
Harry awkwardly gave a half nod in reply.
'Here, Tonks,' Draco said as he came back in and handed his cousin a beverage. She drank a few gulps thirstily and then pulled at Draco's sleeve as she swallowed vigorously.
'Draco, put the TV on quick. The Snowman's on - we have to watch it.'
'You've seen that like a billion times,' Draco protested but nonetheless reached for the remote and flicked over the channels. There was a large plasma TV on the wall and Harry looked at it impressed by the quality of the picture.
'Stop, there it is,' Tonks cried out and pulled the remote away from Draco as she settled into couch.
'You simply have to watch The Snowman on Christmas - don't you?' She looked at Harry pointedly and Harry nodded feeling like he didn't really have any choice but to agree with her fierce look.
Draco smiled at him easily, 'she watches it every year….' he looked over at his cousin who now hunched forward over the cushion with a rapt expression.
'Oh no,' she whispered, 'he's going to melt.' Her face crumpled and she abruptly got up and Harry looked up at her in surprise.
'I can't watch the ending,' she sniffed. 'It's just too sad…' and with that statement she padded out of the sitting room.
'And she does that every year too,' Draco stated, looking after her as she retreated from the room. 'I don't think she has watched it till the end for like ten years.'
Harry chuckled, 'well it is a little sad,' and Draco looked at him with a soft smile.
'Yeah it is…' he stared at Harry for a second longer than necessary and Harry felt his cheeks heat up.
'Are you going out with someone?' Draco suddenly asked rather directly and Harry blinked at him for a second before replying.
'Um, no,' he stared back at Draco, 'err you?'
Draco shook his head, 'no.'
Harry nodded and looked down at his lap, scratching away a piece of lint on his jeans.
A minute later there was a shrill voice and then Draco's mother called out, 'Draco, Nana is here!!' Harry looked up in time to see Draco shoot him a small smile and get up off the sofa. 'Excuse me- it's my Nan- she always comes through the back entrance. I'll just go and say hello.'
'Yeah ok,' Harry replied and wondered if he really should be leaving about now. A second later he was joined by Tonks who handed him something that looked like Ribena. Harry eyed it and she grinned at him, slurping the top of her own glass, 'it's vodka and cranberry, is that all right?'
Harry nodded and sipped at it and she gulped more of it to about half way through the glass, 'I was aiming for a festive drink - cranberry was as festive as I could manage.' Harry smiled, feeling all the sudden intake of alcohol fuzz warmly through his body. He sat back in his chair as Tonks flicked through the channels, purposely avoiding The Snowman.
Draco was in the kitchen greeting his Nana. She hugged him tightly and kissed him soundly on both cheeks.
'Um what is that you're holding?' his mother enquired appearing by his side and looked at her mother-in-law a little suspiciously.
'Holding - what does it look like Narcissa dear?' his Nana said in a prim voice.
'Well it looks like a mantle and well we don't have one this year as it doesn't go with our tree.'
'Yes,' Nana said and shrugged off her coat handing it to Draco's aunt who was trying not to smile. 'I thought you wouldn't have a swag so brought mine from home.'
Draco's mother smiled and shook her golden head, 'but it doesn't match, mum.'
'Nonsense,' Nana said and handed Draco the mantle piece. 'It's a swag - it's Christmas; of course it matches. Draco, go and put it on the mantle piece.' And Draco grinned at his mother as she rolled her eyes and hugged her mother-in-law tightly.
Draco chuckled and walked back into the living room. Harry was sitting alone on the sofa and Tonks was by the windows on her mobile phone. Harry looked up at him and Draco smiled back. 'It's a swag,' he said waving the prickly item at Harry. He suddenly remembered something and held out the swag to Harry.
'Here do you mind opening it up and setting it on the fire place, I'm going to get some lights.'
Harry set his drink aside and got up, 'no, not at all,' and took it from Draco's hands.
Draco went into the kitchen and kneeled on the floor as he opened up various cupboards and began to search for fairy lights.
'Draco,' Nana said. 'I heard you have company tonight.'
'Huh?' Draco said peeping at his Nana from above the cupboard. 'Um yeah his name is Harry.'
'You just met this Harry then?'
'Mmmm mmm,' Draco mumbled.
He heard his mother chuckle, 'Draco likes him I think.'
'Mum,' Draco protested lightly though not denying it.
'So what does this Harry look like then?' Nana inquired, shuffling towards the door and poking her head through the archway. 'Mmmmm nice. Good body....'
'Nana!' Draco exclaimed loudly as his mother grinned broadly along with his aunt.
'Look at the way he is setting out my mantle,' his Nana cooed. 'All that concentration, Draco - that's good. Let's wait for him to turn around….'
Draco pulled out a box of fairy lights and shook his head in amusement.
'Ah nice, Draco. He is charming. How sweet. He looks adorable, Draco.'
'Ask him where they met, mum,' his mother said unhelpfully and Draco frowned at her as she shrugged back at him and went to check on the vegetables.
'Where did you meet, Draco?' Nana asked as she poured herself a glass of red wine.
'In a supermarket,' Draco said casually and his Nana blanched.
'Supermarket? Like those single Tesco nights they used to have?'
'Nana! No! What do you think I am?' Draco protested as he opened the box up and pulled out a small string of lights.
'He told Harry our address…' his mother said breezily as she walked past to get some utensils from the drawer.
'Ah forget about breaking and entering Narcissa. Draco is giving out invites to strangers in supermarkets. Did you hand out flyers as well?' she said sternly but Draco caught a twinkle in her eye.
'It wasn't like that, Nana, and besides he's different.'
'How can you tell?' his Nana persisted.
'Because…I can just tell,' Draco shrugged and gave her a pointed look.
He smiled smugly and he could hear his Nana laugh pleasantly as he left the kitchen.
Harry had finished setting up the mantle piece when Draco walked back in. He pinned in the lights and plugged them in and then switched them on. They lit up prettily and he looked over at Harry who was gazing at them with a gentle smile on his face.
'Thanks for putting it up,' Draco told Harry and Harry returned his praise with a sweet look that made Draco think that Harry was rather adorable.
'There wasn't that much to it,' Harry offered modestly. Draco carried on looking at him and imagined what it would feel like to run his fingers through all that mass of silky black hair. Harry caught him looking and lowered his eyes for a moment before lifting his face again.
'Your Nan's here?' Harry asked after a few seconds and Draco nodded trying not to notice Tonks standing behind Harry and wiggling her eyebrows suggestively at him before vacating the room.
'It's nice, you have a big family,' Harry said with a slightly wistful look on his face and Draco suddenly felt a pang of empathy for him by looking at his expression.
'Yeah,' he said softly. Harry smiled gently at him and Draco noticed how pretty Harry's eyes looked right now and how cute he looked highlighted in the glow of the fairy lights.
Just then Draco's Nana walked into the room with an armful of festive napkins,
'Draco, here we are,' and she put a bunch of them into his hands. 'You want to set the table with your friend.'
She turned to Harry and stuck out her hand, which Harry shook politely.
'Hello,' he said, blushing, a little shy, and Draco smothered a smile and gestured to his Nana from behind Harry's back. 'Stop it,' he mouthed but she merely raised a brow in reply and smiled at Harry and then went and fussed about the tree as Harry and Draco laid out the napkins.
'I'm so sorry about this,' Draco said to Harry as they rounded the table. 'You're supposed to be a guest and you're helping out with everything.'
'I don't mind,' Harry said looking sincere. 'It's nice actually.' Draco nodded quietly and a minute later they stood back and looked at the table proudly.
'It looks good if I do say so myself,' Draco stated and Harry shared his sentiment with,'mmmm.'
'All right, Draco,' called his mother from the kitchen. 'Where is your father? Call him to take the turkey out.'
'Coming,' Draco shouted back. 'Be right back,' he said to Harry and went to look for his father who was in the billiard room enjoying a cigar with his uncle. A minute later, he walked back into the kitchen. 'He's coming, mum,' and his mother nodded.
'Your friend is staying for dinner, yes?' his Nana said, as she came back into the kitchen. She started to take out a few bottles of wine from the wine holder.
'Dinner?' Draco said blankly at first and then his eyes widened. 'Shit,' he swore under his breath and hurried off to find Harry.
'Harry, God I'm so sorry!'
Harry looked startled, 'why?'
'Look at the time,' Draco pointed to the clock.
'Oh,' Harry said, with a look of understanding passing his features.
'I'm sorry, have I made you late for your dinner? I mean by the time you leave here and pick up your car and join your friends - it might be late, no?'
Harry remained silent with an unreadable expression.
'Will they be waiting for you?' Draco said anxiously. 'Cos by the time you get there, the food might be cold and they might be annoyed at you….' he gestured helplessly and Harry took in a deep breath still not saying anything.
'Why don't you stay here for dinner,' Draco asked quickly as Harry's eyes widened in surprise. 'Because we're just about to serve dinner and after all you did help lay the table and everything. Maybe you can call your friends and explain…'
'Ummm,' Harry unsurely.
'I don't want you to have a cold Christmas dinner or something just because I kept you here too long you know…'
'Er…' Harry looked a little uncomfortable and smoothed back his hair. 'I shouldn't really; I've taken up enough of your time.'
'No,' Draco protested quickly. 'It's fine - it's been nice hanging out with you.'
'But your family would mind, I mean I'm a stranger…'
'They won't mind,' Draco said honestly. 'Really, it's no bother. They like you.'
Harry's cheeks reddened and Draco smiled at him reassuringly.
'If you need to go then that's fine but just…I'd like you to stay if you want.'
Harry bit his lip and looked at Draco with a worried expression. He really didn't want to impose on Draco's family. He hadn't been invited or anything and wouldn't it seem very rude to accept the invitation? Even though he didn't actually have any real plans and was going to go home and eat something frozen for Christmas dinner - alone. All the food and the company here seemed so tempting but he couldn't stay here - really? Could he? Deep down he wanted to, his stomach was starting to rumble and nothing at home was as appetizing as the food that he would eat here. Well, apart from the Yorkshire puddings…
'Ummm…' he said feeling a little stupid and watched as Draco's family started to file into the dining room.
'I guess I could stay?' he offered timidly and Draco smiled broadly.
'Great, you phone your friends and I'll let my mum know okay?'
'If you're sure' Harry swallowed feeling a little apprehensive. What if they thought he was some sponger who was taking liberties from their generous hospitality?
'Harry, you are staying for dinner, aren't you?' Draco's Nana patted him on his arm as she walked to her seat.
'Well...if it wouldn't be too much trouble?' Harry said.
'Nonsense, we would be glad to have you. Perhaps you can teach my grandson some manners while you are here,' she said in amused voice as she looked at Draco spluttering over a glass of eggnog and making fake choking noises.
Harry smiled and said, 'I'll be back in a minute,' and excused himself and went outside to the hallway and slipped out of the front door. He felt bad, pretending he was phoning his friends and cancelling dinner. He was lying and that was bad but what could he do? It would look truly sad if he admitted the truth wouldn't it?
He sighed and felt silly again as he heard laughter from inside the house and the lights and the shadows through the curtains. He looked at the sight for a minute and then straightened up his spine and walked back into the house. He came back into the dining room and Draco's mother gestured towards a seat next to Draco and Draco looked up and said, 'everything all right?'
'Yeah,' Harry replied slipping into the seat next to Draco.
Over the next few minutes, everyone pulled open their crackers. Draco stuck his out to Harry and Harry grabbed one end of it. They both pulled and there was the small cracker sound as Harry was left holding the larger part in his hand.
'You won,' Draco said simply and picked up Harry's hat and handed it to him. Harry took it and his fingers brushed across Draco's hand. He felt a pleasurable jolt as his skin touched Draco's and averted his eyes away so Draco didn't notice the sudden blush on his cheeks.
'I got tiny, little cards,' he said, picking up a small deck that had fallen onto his plate.
'Yep,' Draco said, 'and you even get to wear the hat.'
Harry laughed and placed the golden crown on his head as everyone else was doing. He snapped Draco's cracker with him also, which Draco won.
'These are good ones,' Draco stated as he looked at his new penknife. 'Remember that year, mum, when you got the ones with like the plastic fish in it by accident and you were all disappointed?'
His mother grinned and prodded his father, 'that was your father's fault, he was rushing me in the store and so I picked up the first ones that came into my hands.'
Harry smiled at the easy conversation around him. Tonks, who was sitting on his other side, passed him a glass of wine and he accepted as he looked down at his plate that was heaped full to the brim with all sorts of Christmas delicacies. He tucked in along with the family and half an hour into dinner, Draco nudged him and said, 'I'm really glad you stayed for dinner.'
Harry smiled back happily, his guilt a vague memory as he consumed more wine and laughed and chatted with everyone. 'Me too,' he said without really meaning too but Draco smiled back at him widely and Harry felt like he couldn't have said something so bad in that case.
After the meal, Draco's parents went to the kitchen and brought out a large chocolate Yule log and some smaller Christmas puddings with custard. Everyone gave a small groan but in spite of protests of too full stomachs, still managed to consume heaps full of dessert. Harry had never felt so stuffed in all his life as he sat back licking his lips. Soon after Draco's uncle leaped up and announced that everyone should have some coffee and tea to wash down the meal with.
'Dad, I'm going to die,' Tonks exclaimed loudly as she began to clear some dishes away from the table along with Draco and Harry.
'No, you won't,' said Draco's uncle from inside the kitchen.
Harry looked around him and was amazed to realise that he didn't feel at all uncomfortable sitting here with Draco and his family. They had been so accommodating and nice. He leant over to Draco's mother who was looking at a pair of earrings she had received as a present.
'I just wanted to say thanks so much for dinner, it was really nice.'
'Harry,' Draco's mother smiled at him. 'It's fine; we've liked having you here.'
She looked like she meant it genuinely and Harry nodded. Just then Tonks waved over at him and he walked over to her to the other side of the room.
'Draco and I are trying to decide what board game to play,' she said. 'We always play something when we have tea.'
'Oh,' Harry said as Draco opened a side cupboard, which was housing many boxes of games.
'Monopoly, Draco,' Draco's father called out from the dining table and Draco looked at Harry with a questioning look.
'Yeah I like that,' Harry said and they took the box out. Draco's mother and uncle went to make tea whilst Harry, Tonks and Draco set up the game on the large table. Soon they were happily engrossed in the game, whilst eating chocolates and drinking coffee and tea.
An hour later…
'Hand it over, Draco,' Draco's father laughed putting his hand out.
Draco rolled his eyes, 'dad – God you're such a money grabber.'
'Yes well,' Draco's father smirked, 'you have chosen to stay in the most expensive hotel. You think I'll let you in for free? Cough it up.'
Harry chuckled as Draco winced and reluctantly handed over thousands of pounds in rent money.
'Fine, fine, made bankrupt by my own father. I surrender,' Draco threw his hands up.
'You can help me,' Harry said soothingly.
'I can, can't I?' Draco shuffled his chair closer to Harry. Harry felt Draco's breath against his cheek for a moment and looked at Draco just as Draco looked at him. Their eyes met and Harry licked his lips nervously as he felt an odd quiver in his stomach.
'Hey!' Tonks exclaimed, jolting Harry out of his momentary lapse. 'They're playing as a team.'
Tonks's dad laughed, 'it's all right, Harry doesn't have that much money, Tonks.'
'Do not underestimate the underestimated, uncle,' Draco warned, wagging his finger at his uncle.
Another forty-five minutes later and Draco's dad was announced the winner with Harry, the underestimated, coming second.
The game was put away and they all tumbled over to the sofas and went and sat down.
Draco's Nana looked at the time and sat up, yawning from her soft indented corner on the sofa. 'It's late, folks, the old woman has got to go.'
Draco's father patted her on the arm, 'old mum? You'll outlive me.'
'Oh you,' she said and swatted him on the head gently.
Draco's aunt and uncle also got up as they were dropping off Draco's Nana. Harry looked around and rubbed his forehead. He really ought to be going to. He must have over stayed his welcome surely.
Draco's mother went to fetch the coats and everyone hugged and kissed goodbye. Even Harry.
'It was really nice meeting you all,' he said truthfully and was given a warm hug by Tonks.
'It was fun tonight,' she said and Harry nodded.
The house suddenly seemed a lot quieter as seven became four.
'Let me put the wine away,' Draco's father said and went into the kitchen. Draco's mother went to the bathroom and so Harry and Draco were left alone sitting on the sofa.
'Um…' Harry scratched his knee and cleared his throat. 'I should be going too… I mean it's really late…'
'Oh uhh right…I guess...' Draco said vaguely and they sat silently for a moment before getting up.
Draco followed Harry into the hallway and Harry picked up his scarf from the banister. 'I'll just put my coat on and then go and thank your parents....'
Draco nodded and gave him a lopsided smile as he watched Harry wrap the scarf around his neck.
'Thanks again…' Harry said and Draco shook his head.
'It's fine really. You fit right in - it was really nice having you over. Who knew hey…' he gave a slight laugh and Harry looked at him, feeling a little peculiar.
Draco nodded to nothing in particular. Harry shuffled his feet.
'My mum will be right down, so ….'
'I guess I should get my coat,' Harry said and Draco bobbed his head again but made no attempt to move to the cupboard under the stairs.
'Did you see the dirty Santa?' Draco said suddenly and Harry shook his head.
Draco led him to a table by the door where there stood a small Father Christmas on a stand with a naughty grin on his face.
'He winks at you,' and he pressed the hat of the Santa that made him to start to jiggle his hips to a Christmas song, ending with a wink.
'My aunt got it for my mum.'
Harry smiled and then looked at Draco who was looking at something over his head.
'What?' he asked.
'You're standing under the mistletoe....'
'Oh,' Harry looked up and sure enough there were a few sprigs of mistletoe hanging from the light shade. He stood frozen to the spot and felt his stomach flutter again.
Before he had a moment to blink, Draco leant forward and pressed a soft kiss on his lips.
He parted his lips slowly and then finally looked into Harry's eyes.
'You have to always kiss a person under the mistletoe when you find them standing under it. It's tradition,' he stated solemnly.
'It is?' Harry squeaked, his voice going funny.
'Yeah,' Draco answered softly.
They both stared at one another and Harry was starting to feel a little warm and dazed as he looked into Draco's eyes. Draco wet his lips and Harry's eyes lingered on his mouth as he started to speak again. 'Well I can only see two options here. One, that you're going to hit me for doing that or two, you'll kiss me back' He paused as Harry still gazed at him stunned.
Draco shrugged, 'well I can't believe you would be completely indifferent to that so….I hope I haven't read the wrong signals and over stepped horribly, but if I have then I apologise…'
Draco's face was so close and Harry could feel his breath whisper against his face. He'd been kissed and it had felt so nice and Draco was so nice, and everything had been so…nice. Harry tipped his face forward till it touched Draco's forehead. He licked his lips and took in a deep breath. He slowly raised his head, feeling his nose brush past Draco's and then their lips touched. Harry pressed his lips together against Draco's in a small kiss. He heard Draco's breath hitch slightly and feeling reckless he suddenly gripped Draco by the shoulders and gave him a hard, long kiss.
Draco moaned into his mouth and Harry felt Draco's arms reach around his waist, just as Harry held Draco's face in his palms and continued to kiss him for a few more breathless moments.
He felt his whole body tingle pleasantly, his stomach lurching giddily as he trailed his fingers down Draco's shoulders and arms.
Draco smiled against his mouth a minute later and gripped Harry's scarf in his hands and pulled Harry even closer.
'I wasn't wrong then,' Draco murmured in his obvious statement. Harry closed his eyes and let his lips track soft open mouthed kisses down Draco's right cheek. He kissed Draco's jaw gently and then said, 'no,' quietly into Draco's ear. He wasn't quite sure what he was doing and whether he should be or not, but hell it felt good.
They kissed languorously for another minute and then Harry pulled back, feeling flushed.
'I should umm really be going…'
He swallowed thickly and looked at Draco a little dazzled.
'Let me take you home,' Draco whispered and Harry felt a shiver run down his spine.
'Take me....' he cleared his throat and tried to focus on Draco's words as Draco suddenly chuckled, '…home?'
'Yes, let me take you home,' Draco repeated. 'You seem a little tipsy…' he smiled gently at Harry and kissed him on the nose.' It's cold and I don't want you walking all the way back home alone like that. I'll drive you ok? I want to make sure you get home safe and sound.'
Harry's brows rose in surprise and he felt ridiculously liked all of a sudden.
'Umm,' he began, still standing in the circle of Draco's arms. 'But didn't you have some drink? I mean drank some stuff?'
Draco ran his hands up Harry's back and shook his head, 'not really. I had two mouthfuls of champagne with you earlier.'
Harry tried to remember, but found he couldn't. And Draco looked quite sober actually.
'Ok,' he said and Draco ran a gentle thumb across his lips. 'I should say goodbye to your parents though…'
Draco nodded and then pulled back, 'mum, dad,' he called out. 'Harry is going home now!'
Harry cleared his throat and tried to smooth back his hair, hoping he didn't look too thoroughly kissed by their son when they saw him.
Draco's dad came through from the kitchen and Draco's mother came down the stairs.
'Umm I just wanted to say thanks a lot for having me over for dinner... .' Harry said.
'Ahh it's ok, Harry,' Draco's mother said. 'It was a pleasure really. You should come again.'
Harry flushed a deep red and he could feel Draco smirking next to him.
He shook hands with Draco's father who enquired how he was getting home.
'I'm dropping him off, dad,' Draco said.
'That's good,' Draco's father said. 'see you then, Harry.'
Draco had taken out Harry's jacket from the closet along with his and Harry took it from his hands.
'Thanks again,' he said sincerely, slipping his arms in.
Draco grabbed his car keys and opened the front door. Harry walked outside in the cool, fresh night. He took a few lungfuls of air to clear his head.
'I'll just take the car out of the garage ok?' Draco said and Harry nodded in reply. Draco disappeared back into the house and a minute later he saw the garage door opening and a sleek, black sports BMW pulling out of it.
Draco leaned over and opened the door for him and Harry got in.
'Nice car,' he said appreciatively.
Draco smiled at him, as he shifted the gears, 'thanks.'
'Call out directions yeah?' Draco said as they took off down the driveway.
'Mmm mmm,' Harry said, sinking back into the leather seats.
A few minutes later they neared Harry's house and Draco parked smoothly at the front of it. He looked at Harry affectionately as he switched the ignition off. Harry turned to face him and smiled shyly and Draco leaned over and ran his fingers through Harry's hair.
Harry offered his lips and they kissed slowly for a moment before Harry moved back.
'Erm…' he said, 'would you like to come in?'
Draco's brows shot upwards, 'come in like come in, come in?' He gave Harry a suggestive smile and Harry shook his head grinning.
'Oh you don't mean shag like bunnies come in, you mean make out and have something to drink come in…'
Harry laughed, 'something like that.' He reached over and stroked Draco's face with the pad of his thumb and Draco felt his chest lurch pleasantly.
'We can have pudding,' Harry said softly.
'Like dessert?' Draco waggled his brows animatedly and Harry shrugged.
'We can have Yorkshire Pudding…with chocolate sauce.'
Draco looked at him pointedly, 'hmm have to say, never ate Yorkshire Pudding like that before but I'm always open to suggestions.'
'They'll only take like twenty-five minutes to make,' Harry said opening the car door.
Draco got out also and came up behind Harry as they walked up the small path.
'I'm sure we can think of something to do whilst they bake,' he gave an alluring smile and Harry kissed him again before finding his keys and fitting them into the latch.
'You sure you want to invite me in?' Draco said in a husky voice and Harry looked at him, his green eyes staring directly into Draco's.
'I'll take my chances,' he answered back in a low voice.
And he opened his front door and let Draco in.
Forty-Eight Hours Earlier…
Draco kept his eye on Harry as Harry started to put his items onto the belt. It was weird but the more and more he looked at Harry the more and more he felt an odd attraction to the man. He was horribly endearing, with his slender frame and masses of jet-black hair. Harry smiled good naturedly at him as Draco put away his shopping.
He wasn't sure why he had even told Harry where he lived, but it had just come out of his mouth. But what to do with it? He didn't want to ask Harry for his number - that was so blatant and Harry might find it odd - being picked up in a supermarket. And of course Draco wasn't sure if Harry was susceptible to male charms. The cashier totalled up his bill and Draco went over and paid for it.
He went back to his bags and carried on putting his things away as Harry's items were priced.
It didn't take long for the cashier to total up Harry's items and Harry joined Draco as they put away their things together.
He could smell Harry's aftershave as they stood together. It smelled very good. He snuck a look at Harry's face – at the bright green eyes and smooth lips. Making a quick decision he looked down at the last item left for him to put away. His mother's chocolate liqueurs.
'It's busy isn't it?' Draco commented casually and Harry looked at him as his hands reached down for the next item to go into his bag. Draco discreetly slipped the chocolates by Harry's fingers and watched Harry grip them as his head swivelled around the shop floor.
'Yeah it is. I guess everyone thinks it will be quieter at night.'
'And they'd be wrong,' Draco said and watched carefully as Harry put the chocolates into his bag without looking. He hid his triumphant smile as he started to place his bags into his trolley.
Harry now looked down at the steel tray and saw all his frozen and to be fridged things lying in a heap. He tore off another bag and chucked them all in the bag. Finally he lifted his two bags up. Draco wheeled his four bags in his trolley and Harry walked along side him towards the exit.
As they reached the doors, Draco flashed him a quick smile.
'So have a nice Christmas.'
'Yeah,' Harry said, 'you too and Happy New Year.'
'Thanks, I'll be sure to enjoy the sprouts and you enjoy the Yorkshires all right?'
Harry laughed, 'yeah I will.'
They went outside and the cold air wafted around them immediately.
'Well bye then,' Draco said giving a small nod.
Harry returned it, 'yeah bye.'
And they both walked off into different directions in the huge car park. Reaching his car, Draco put away his things in the boot and then got in.
He knew he had taken a risk by giving Harry his mother's chocolates but he had already emphasised how important they were to her; and, if he had read Harry correctly, then he was sure that he would be seeing Harry again.
He smiled at his reflection in the rear view mirror. Christmas was a time for wishes and gifts and so far there never had been a Christmas where he hadn't received what he had wished for. He was sure that this year wouldn't be any different. Draco Malfoy always got what he wanted.
Thanks for reading guys!! Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year