Draco toppled forward into the snow landing heavily against the nearly compact surface. His breath exited in a painful huff as his fingernails scrabbled for purchase in attempt to provide a stronghold that would allow him to make his way back to his feet.
Shrill screams rose from behind him, a reminder of the war currently taking place, and a shiver of fear, the thrill of the situation, however improper, raced up his spine.
He could feel the seeping wetness from where he had been hit begin to make its journey down his back and his shoulders moved unconsciously as his body and the Earth finally cooperated and allowed him into a small, protective space.
"No point in hiding, Malfoy! I know where you are! It's only a matter of time now until you know defeat!"
Another shiver, this one more defined, felt in the bones rather than merely upon the flesh, raked Draco's body over. That voice always provoked similar reactions from him, war or no.
"I refuse to be taken down as a coward, Potter! I am a Malfoy and Malfoys do not know defeat!" As Draco's words were flung to his opponent, riding the brisk wind that swept through the clearing, he could see reinforcements heading his way.
Allies working from one mound of snow to another, moving closer with every step; fear slithered backward on its slimy belly and allowed Draco a moment's smirk.
"Prepare yourself, Potter! I do not stand alone!"
"Nor do I, Malfoy! Drop your pretences! Let's fight!"
The bellow rang across the open grounds, was caught by the far barrier of trees, and pitched back in reverberating levels of tease and taunt. Draco surged to his feet, body twisting gracefully in midair, to meet his challenger head on.
And suddenly the air was alive with snowballs; slush falling way and catching victims unaware. The shrieks and screams and penetrating cries lifted in a crescendo of joy provided only from being so well embraced in a moment of adventure. Everyone's face bore the markings of a smile but it was the man of Draco's focus who stole the cold air straight from Draco's lungs for a second time.
He found Harry appealing on a daily basis but with his cheeks stained from the cold, his eyes alight in contentment, happiness, and mischief… he was the picture of what it meant to be alive and for a moment Draco faltered.
The blunder served him well; one snowball to the shoulder to accompany the one he had earlier received to the back of his head. He gasped as the frozen moisture clung to his skin, rendering his Warming Charm ineffective and cocked his arm back to retaliate.
The whispered warning carried excitement, a bit of petulance, and helping of happiness. For Draco, however, it bore the message of time constraint and thus, inspiration.
Holding his weapon aloft he charged Harry, relishing the surprise that transformed Harry's smile into a perfect rounding of his lips.
Draco's attack neither slowed nor stuttered as he reached where Harry stood. Instead, the two of them flew sharply backward from the momentum Draco had built until they crashed resoundingly into a snow bank, sheltered from view of the house.
"Lunch time children! Come on now, you can play more later!"
Grumbles and laughter and the sound of snow crunching underfoot faded as the collection of 'warriors' headed towards the warmth awaiting them. Harry's breathing was loud, a perfect match for Draco's as they grinned foolishly at one another, enjoying their seclusion, however short lived it was.
With one side of his lip curling up just a smidge more than the other, Draco successfully smashed his snowball into Harry's hair but caught the dignified squawk Harry released within his own mouth.
Every time kissing Harry was a new experience but today, with family and good food waiting, with the promises of a million tomorrows, the breeze of incoming winter, and the crisp scent of rebirth and purity playing across the English air… it was a moment near perfection.
Harry sighed deeply when Draco finally pulled away enough to dapple teasing kisses to his lover's jaw.
"Can every year be like this?" Harry murmured, a hint of wistfulness creeping into his tone.
Draco abandoned his games then and propped himself up on his elbows, staring straight into Harry's eyes and reading the every emotion broadcasted there.
"Every year from now until eternity." Draco was solemn as he made his vow, knowing Harry would see and understand that Draco would do his very best to ensure every year was as joyful and carefree as possible.
"You are my happy place," Harry whispered, a slight smile playing once more at his lips. It was a silent exchange between them, the promise and the acceptance, but they had long learned how to convey entire conversations without the aid of simple words.
"And you are my everything," Draco returned, lowering himself for further snogging.
"Boys!" The voice shot across the air and caused both Harry and Draco to wince before grinning madly. "I thought you heard when I called the children in! That did not exclude the two of you!"
"Yes, Mrs. Weasley!" They called back cheerfully, righting themselves and heading hand in hand to the open door of The Burrow.
Mrs. Weasley stood in its frame, mock scowl twisting her features before giving way to an open and warm smile. She shook a wooden spoon in their direction before tucking herself back into the finishing duties of their honorary Thanksgiving meal.
While the tradition may have been American, those who had lived through and survived the war had adopted the day as an offhanded way to celebrate their lives and fortune without the weight of significant war dates pressing heavy hands upon them. Harry didn't mind the additional excuse to eat Mrs. Weasley's cooking, either.
Draco's lips quirked once more as they neared the house, Harry walking obliviously at his side. Draco's fingers slipped from Harry's hand, found quick purchase as they pinched Harry's bum, and then took to flight as he raced away from his yelping boyfriend into the shelter of The Burrow, laughing all the way.
Harry boxed Draco's ears as he flopped heavily into the only remaining seat at the extended table, sagging with the weight of food it bore. Draco grinned and brushed a quick kiss over Harry's cheek just before being passed the mashed potatoes.
He helped himself quickly, now accustom to the fast pace set at the Weasley table and his grin grew. Yes, another thousand years like this would be fortunate, and more than just a little something to be thankful for.