Disclaimer: Characters are, of course, owned by J.K. Rowlings. I own nothing, but do SO love to borrow Harry and Draco.
A/N: A very short look into the future of the Checkmate universe set five years after the ending of the Checkmate epilogue. Written for Easter 2004, I posted a slightly edited version of this short story only on my LiveJournal without saying it was Checkmate futurefic. ;-)
Rabbits and Eggs
Harry woke slowly, surrounded by warmth and comfort, the familiar tangle of bedclothes, arms, and legs adding to the lazy sense of security he felt. Draco was still asleep, burrowed under the covers, and sprawled half on top of Harry. Then a dawning sense of urgency crept up on Harry – there was something he should be remembering about this morning. "Draco?" he called softly, moving a little to look at his sleeping partner.
"Mmm," was the only answer as Draco burrowed closer.
Then Harry remembered. He rolled over and sat up. "Draco. Wake up, love. Did you remember to hide the eggs last night?"
"What . . . eggs?" was the sleepy, mumbled reply. Draco tugged at Harry and the blankets. "Lie down," he said, in a drowsy, annoyed tone, ". . . you're letting in the cold air."
Harry pulled the covers down further, exposing his lover's neck and one bare shoulder. He leaned over to kiss the side of Draco's face and spoke directly in Draco's ear. "The Easter eggs. Did you hide them last night?"
Draco turned onto his back and blinked up at Harry, obviously still not quite understanding.
"I did the Easter basket last night, remember?" explained Harry. "You were going to hide the eggs we colored in the yard. For Lily. Did you?"
"Oh, hell," muttered Draco. "That Muggle ritual thing with rabbit eggs is this morning?"
"You know it is," sighed Harry. "You didn't do it, did you?"
"No," said Draco in a very martyred tone. "I forgot."
"Well, Lily is going to be up any minute and want to look for them. You are going to have to go out there now and do it.
"Bloody hell." Draco pulled the covers back up. "It's cold out there."
"Not so cold, the sun's out already." Harry poked him. "Get up. You need to hurry."
Draco squirmed away from Harry's invading fingers, then moaned and sat up, rubbing one hand through his hair. "Come help me?"
"Oh, no. I did my part. It's not my fault you forgot."
One blond eyebrow went up, and gray eyes, awake now, fixed on Harry with a smirk. "It was so." Draco grinned suggestively. "You're the one who got chocolate on you."
Harry grinned back, memory making his ears burn. "That was an accident. You didn't have to lick it off . . . the way you did."
"Ah," said Draco with a low laugh. "Yes, I did."
Just then there was a quiet tapping at the door, and a small head poked into the room with a soft query. "Daddy? Uncle Draco?"
"I'm up, sweetheart," answered Harry.
Lily ran across the room, still dressed in her nightgown, and bounced onto the bed, all wide grin and black curling hair dancing around her face. Harry caught her up and she laughed, hugging him around the neck. Then she drew back, her green eyes huge and earnest. "You were right, Daddy," she said in an awed whisper. "He came!"
Harry nudged Draco under the covers with his foot, and pretended to be puzzled. "Who came, sweetie?"
Lily grinned, her excitement bubbling over. "The Easter Bunny, silly! You told me yesterday he would, and he did. There's a big basket on the windowsill in the parlor – just like you said!"
"An Easter basket? In our parlor?"
"Yes! Come and see!" Lily giggled and jumped on the bed, then pounced on Draco. "Come see, Uncle Draco! It's so pretty, with ribbons and everything!"
Draco gave her a doubting look. "Ribbons, even? I don't believe it."
"Oooh, just come on!" squealed Lily. "Just come see!"
Harry laughed. "Okay! We're coming! Run get dressed, while we get up. Uncle Draco is going to go outside and check to see if the Easter Bunny left anything out in the yard."
"That's right, my wild poppet," said Draco, giving her a hug, then shooing her off the bed. "I've been told these Easter rabbits lay eggs in the grass and under the bushes during the night."
"Hide eggs," whispered Harry, kicking him under the covers.
Draco rolled his eyes. "I thought you said – "
Lily burst out laughing. "Rabbits don't lay eggs!"
"Oh, I don't know," said Draco, a look of mock insult on his face. "If these rabbits can leave baskets on our windowsill – and with ribbons, mind you – who knows what else they might do."
Harry grinned at Draco, then turned to Lily. "Run on now, and get dressed, so we can find out. And close the door," he called, as she scampered from the room. The door hung open for a moment, then forcefully banged shut.
"I'll keep her busy with the basket until you get the eggs hidden in the yard," said Harry. "It's probably better this way, anyway, than having eggs out in the yard all night."
Draco put his feet out of the bed and gave Harry a reproachful look. "I don't know why these rabbits can't come after lunch – that would be better."
Harry slid over and slipped one arm around Draco's waist. "Lily's going home after lunch, remember?" He kissed the back of Draco's neck, his fingers skimming lightly up Draco's bare arm and over his shoulder, trailing a shimmering cascade of pale gold sparks. "And I saved some of that chocolate – for later," he whispered, as he kissed the spot right behind Draco's ear.
"Oh, did you, now?" said Draco, turning his face into Harry's for a moment. "I guess I can play Easter Bunny for that long, then."
"Thank you," said Harry sincerely. "You know I never got to do this, when I was a kid. It means a lot, to be able to do it with her."
Draco shrugged slightly. "You don't have to thank me. I love her, too."
"I know," said Harry. "And for that . . . I can't thank you enough." Their eyes met, the five years of shared history between them surfacing, a bond deep as forever felt in an instant.
"I might think of some ways," replied Draco softly, after a moment. He grinned. "Later."
Harry grinned back. "I'm sure you will." He pulled away and got out of bed. "Right now, though, we'd better get dressed. Before my imp of a daughter comes back to find us."
They had barely pulled on jeans before the knock came at the door again. "Dad-dy," came the insistent small voice. "Aren't you ready, yet?"
Harry grabbed his shirt and glasses and went to the door. "Ready," he said. "Let's go see this basket." He went with Lily to the parlor, and together they took the basket to the sofa and began unpacking all the goodies. After a few moments, he heard Draco slip quietly into the kitchen, and then out the back door into the enclosed yard behind their home.
In the basket, there were jelly-beans, and a chocolate rabbit, little marshmallow chicks, and foil-covered chocolate eggs in bright colors. Lily was fascinated by the white sugar egg with a round hole at one end. Inside it was a detailed scene of spring flowers, colored eggs and a white bunny. "Is that him?" she asked. "Is that the Easter Bunny?"
"It might be," said Harry, thoughtfully. "But no one's ever actually seen the Easter Bunny."
Lily smiled at him, caught up in the mystery. "He's like magic, then," she said.
"He is," agreed Harry.
Lily looked down at the now empty basket, and then up at Harry with a slight frown of disappointment. "But . . . my rabbit isn't here."
"Your rabbit?" repeated Harry, genuinely puzzled. Then it hit him.
"You know," Lily said. "The little glass one that I loved, from the shop next to where you work. You said we couldn't buy it, but the Easter Bunny might bring it to me."
Harry felt sick. He had meant to go get it yesterday, but then had forgotten all about it. "I'm sorry, sweetie," he said. "I said he might. Maybe we can go buy it after all, before you go home."
Lily shook her head. "It isn't there anymore," she said sadly. "Mama and I looked, before she brought me here."
Draco came in just then, and Harry gave him an agonized look. Draco raised one eyebrow in a question, then turned to Lily. "I've been out in the yard," he announced, "and it looks like rabbits have been laying eggs all over out there!"
Lily looked up, her face brightening. "Really?"
"Well, come see for yourself," said Draco, grinning. "I would never make up something like that."
"Here," said Harry, as she jumped up. "Take your basket. You can put all the eggs in it."
She grabbed the basket and ran to Draco, who scooped her up in his arms and carried her out to the yard.
Harry followed them out and stood watching while Draco gave her some directions.
"They're all over out there," said Draco, "so you have to be careful where you step. I'm not eating anything you step on." She laughed at him, then set off, and almost immediately bent down with a soft squeal. When she stood up, she was holding a bright pink colored egg. "That's one," called Draco.
He turned to Harry. "What was the long face about in there?"
Harry sighed. "I screwed up," he said, running one hand through his hair. "I forgot that glass rabbit, the one she wanted from the shop next to our office."
"Ah," said Draco, nodding. "So you did."
"She was really disappointed. And evidently, it's been sold, so I can't get it for her now."
"Hmm," said Draco. "That's too bad." He turned back to watch Lily. "I think I'll go help her find the rest."
Harry watched Draco walk across the yard and take the now heavily laden basket from his daughter. The sun was warm on Harry's face, and the lilacs just coming into bloom filled the air with a sweet perfume. He watched Draco kneel down, his arm around the little girl, as they discovered one last egg, and saw them share a smile. It was a source of continuing wonderment to Harry, that Draco had accepted this child in Harry's life, in their life together, without a hint of reserve. Harry smiled too; it had almost been a perfect day. Then Draco was lifting her into his arms and walking back.
"Daddy!" called Lily, as they got close. "I found so many eggs!" She put out her arms to be held and Harry took her from Draco. She wrapped one arm around Harry's neck, and showed him the egg she held in her other hand. It was bright purple. "Uncle Draco said this is a very special egg."
"Very special. Hold it carefully now," said Draco. He pulled out his wand.
Harry held her tightly as she let go of him to cradle the egg with both hands.
Draco tapped the egg with his wand three times and whispered something that Harry didn't catch. The egg cracked down the middle and fell open. Draco reached over and took away the empty eggshells.
Lily gasped in delight. "My rabbit!" She looked up at Harry with adoration in her eyes. "The Easter Bunny did bring it!"
Harry looked down at the little glass rabbit cupped in his daughter's hands, then up at Draco. "I guess he did!" said Harry, amazed.
Lily threw her arms around Harry's neck and hugged him, the little glass rabbit firmly gripped in her hand. "I love the Easter Bunny, Daddy."
Harry met Draco's eyes, touched to the heart. "So do I, sweetheart," he said. "So do I."
--- fin ---