(Thanks to everyone who's reviewed so far. You guys and your comments are what brighten my day and keep me writing. Here's a fluffy bit of closure for my first story, so that I can focus on You and Me for a while. It's a fair bit shorter than the previous chapters, but it is an epilogue. ^^)
"Dad. Dad." Harry blinked, his story – and his train of thought – completely interrupted. He looked across the table at Lily, who was looking exasperated with him. "You've told us that story like a thousand times," she reminded him patiently, her arms crossed over her chest. "We know that one by heart at this point."
James grinned, looking from his sister to his father. "Dad always tells that story around this time of the year. He's feeling sentimental." Harry flicked a small bit of carrot at his oldest child, but he was grinning, too, despite the blush heating his cheeks.
"Well, it's one of my favorite stories," said Draco with a smirk, leaning back in his chair studying his family, wondering once again how he had ever gotten so lucky. James flicked the carrot at his stepfather, but a wordless wave of Draco's wand had it quickly repelled back toward the boy, nailing him in the forehead.
"One day you have to teach me how you do that without a spell," complained James, rubbing his forehead. Draco's smirk grew.
"Maybe one day."
Scorpius shifted in his chair, glancing around the table. It still seemed odd to have so many people there, and most of them rambunctious and loud. It had never been like this when it had been just him and his father. Even when his mother had still been around, it had always been quiet and a relatively quick affair. Now everyone talked at once and they could lose track of time and be sitting at the table for an hour, sometimes even more. He was beginning to enjoy it quite a lot. He especially enjoyed all the extra time he got to spend with Albus.
"Dad." Salazar, the word felt odd on his tongue. But it was how their family worked. Harry was Dad, and Draco was Father. Harry looked at Scorpius, smiling encouragingly. The Potter children had taken to their new Malfoy family very quickly, but Scorpius was adapting more slowly to the changes. Harry tried to do all he could to make the boy feel comfortable, but it was a work in progress sort of thing.
"Could you tell us why Mr. Weasley always calls my father a ferret?" The older blonde choked on his drink and Harry patted his back helpfully, laughing.
"I don't think Draco likes that idea. It's a bit of a sore spot for him. But I don't see why I couldn't tell you anyway." Draco glared at him, his steely gaze promising vengeance later. Harry looked forward to it.
"Your Father was a prat in school. He was mean and he liked to make fun of me and Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione all the time. We made fun of him, too, of course, but he always started it." Draco sniffed.
Harry grinned and waved aside his complaints. "I'm telling the story here. Anyway, so there was a new professor that year, Mad-Eye Moody." He didn't see any reason to delve into the complicated events surrounding 'Moody's, presence at the school. The kids didn't need to know that it was Barty Crouch, Jr. pretending to be Moody. That story was for another time. "And he was walking by when your Father and I were arguing one time… what was it about again?"
Draco smirked. "My father and I were betting on how long you would last in the tournament. My money was on you lasting longer, if you recall." Harry rolled his eyes. Trust Draco Malfoy to remember details like that after so many years.
"Anyway, your Father and I were arguing, and I turned to walk away and your Father got out his wand. Whatever were you planning to do to me, by the way?" Draco merely arched a brow and remained silent this time. Harry made a mental note to ask again later, when they were alone. It was obviously something serious to refrain from mentioning it in front of the kids. That, or Draco was just messing with his head. Either way.
"Well, Moody saw it and he got really angry. It's really poor sportsmanship to hit someone with a hex from behind. So he stopped your Father from hexing my by turning him into a white ferret, then he – " Draco interrupted, squeezing a little more forcefully than necessary with the hand perched on his husband's knee.
"I think that's enough of that story," he said firmly, his gaze daring Harry to press onward. On any other night, Harry would have. But it was nearly Christmas, and he was in a good mood. And he knew if he completely humiliated the blonde by finishing the tale the whole evening would be ruined because he would spend the rest of the night sulking. He would simply have to finish it later.
"Father?" Draco looked over at Lily, a smile immediately curving his lips, completely banishing the stern look of a mere moment before.
"Yes, darling?" Harry smirked at the adoring tone. Draco had fallen hard for Lily from the very first time he had formally met her. He blatantly spoiled the girl at every opportunity now that she was his daughter, and Lily didn't mind exploiting her new father's generosity. Harry tried to control them as best he could, but whenever they went out shopping alone they always came back having spent far more than they should. Lily was a Daddy's girl, and Draco played right along with it. Harry couldn't have been happier. Sometimes.
"Maybe you could tell the story of when you proposed to Dad." She sighed romantically. "That's the very best story of all."
James snickered. "You could probably tell it yourself. You know it by heart; you make them tell it so many times, especially at Christmas."
Lily stuck out her tongue at her oldest brother. "But Father tells it the best," she explained, and smiled sweetly at Draco. The man simply couldn't refuse, especially when she looked at him like that. He was a sucker for a sweet smile from his darling Lily.
"Of course, darling. Anything for you." Every other male at the table rolled their eyes. They were all thankfully immune to Lily's charms.
Draco cleared his throat. "Well, your Dad didn't visit much at first, even though he promised he would. He came by just a few times each semester, usually whenever he had lectures, just to talk and maybe flirt a little, if I was lucky." He winked at Harry, who blushed, and had all the kids laughing a little. They enjoyed seeing their fathers so happy together. There had never been flirting at the dinner table before, for any of them. "It didn't take me long to fall in love with him. I'd had a crush on him in school, you see, and once I really got to know him it just grew from there, like a neglected flower that was finally being tended as it deserved."
Lily sighed softly, heart fluttering at the romance of it, while her older brother scoffed softly but didn't interrupt. Albus and Scorpius shared a quick glance, and then quickly looked away again. Their knees brushed under the table.
"Your Dad was always suspicious of me, at first. I'd buy him gifts, and he'd want to know what the occasion was, or what I wanted from him, what favor I might possibly be trying to bribe him for. He was really rather hopeless, I must admit. Completely unromantic." Harry bristled, as always, even though the blonde said the same thing every time he told the bloody story. He simply couldn't help it.
"I can be romantic!" he insisted. Draco smiled at him indulgently, causing his spouse's irritation to spike even higher.
"Of course, Harry. As I was saying," he continued, smirking at his husband's pout, "your Dad simply refused to let it go as a simple gift without a reason. He poked and questioned and harassed until I figured out something to tell him that would satisfy him, or I managed to distract him." James grinned and made obnoxious kissing noises until somebody threw another carrot at him to shut him up. "I suppose we'd been dating, if that's what you want to call it, for about six months when I finally decided I wanted to marry your Dad."
Harry blushed as Draco glanced over at him, lifting his hand so their matching golden bands glittered in the light overhead, and kissed his knuckles tenderly. Lily sighed again, and this time Albus flicked a pea at her and he and Scorpius chuckled over it while she glared at them around James. Harry couldn't find it in him to scold them with Draco's story mellowing his mood so completely, but he did attempt a stern glance at the boys, though it probably would only work for a few moments before they started stirring up trouble again.
"Of course, I knew he'd be as stubborn about agreeing to that as he had been about everything else, so I knew I had to plan it just right. I made sure he didn't have any plans, and I called your Dad to come and meet me. It was Christmas Eve, and he was annoyed at me because he'd been in the middle of poring over another case that he knew would still be there after the holidays for him to obsess over. Now, being the wonderful and giving person I am, I tried to help him relax." He ignored the giggles that followed this statement, his attention focused on Harry. The fierce emotion shining there had Harry's breath catching in his throat.
"I poured him a little wine, I had prepared his favorite food, and I tried to rub some of the tension out of his shoulders. I was a very sweet and helpful boyfriend. But your Dad was determined to complain and stay miserable, and he seemed determined to make me miserable, too. But I had a plan, and Malfoys always stick to the plan, even in the face of stubborn Gryffindors. So I told your dear old Dad to shut the bloody hell up and let me speak for five minutes without him interrupting me to whine about something or other."
Harry flushed again, knowing it was true and despising himself for his actions that night, but his attention was as focused on the story as the children's was, even though he had actually been there. Lily was right; Draco told this story the best.
"Well, he listened to me, for once." More giggles as Draco glanced at Harry with a small smile. "And I got down on one knee, right there in the Three Broomsticks. I could have cared less whether it was empty or at full capacity. All I cared about was your Dad. I pulled this ring out of the pocket in my robes, and I took his hand in mine." Their fingers laced as Draco's smile grew, just a little. "By then your Dad was quite speechless anyway, and I was losing my nerve because he looked so shocked to see me there, proposing."
Draco squeezed Harry's hand. "And I asked him, 'Harry James Potter,' I said, 'Will you make me the happiest bloke in all of Europe and marry me?'"
Harry smiled. "But I couldn't have let him win that easily. Your Father was too used to getting what he wanted. I knew I had to make him work for it." Draco grinned, and the blonde's face lit up. Harry felt privileged, as usual, to be allowed to see such a depth of emotion on the face of the usually controlled man. He was only ever like this when they were alone, or with the children. Never in front of anyone else.
"This is the best part," whispered Lily, and nobody hushed her or argued with her. They were, as usual, captivated by the joint telling of the story that had brought their little family together. Every time they told it, they always ended it this way. It wasn't planned, it just always seemed to work out that way. And it really added to the story, so nobody ever complained.
"So I stood up." Harry rubbed his thumb in a gentle caress over the back of his husband's hand.
"And I was terrified he was going to walk out on me."
"I took his other hand in mine."
"Merlin, my heart beat so fast I thought it would leap clear out of my chest."
"I put down the ring on the table beside us."
"I was going to get angry if he didn't say something soon."
"And I told him we could only get married on one condition."
"I would have promised him anything at that point."
"And we danced."
(I couldn't bring myself to write anymore. It's simply too perfect just to end it there. It's just the feel I wanted. I hope you guys feel the same, and again I'm sorry it's so much shorter than the other chapters. Please review! I'm working on the next chapter of You and Me now that I have this fluffy fic off my chest.)