Happy Christmas Harry
Harry paused before opening the front door to his home. He always needed a moment to collect himself before walking inside, to force a smile on his face and act like his life was perfect.
Truth be told, he was only truly happy when he was at work these days. Training as the next Seeker for Puddlemere United was hard work and was a great distraction. Flying seemed to be the only thing he was sure of. The rest of the time he felt this tugging depression, this feeling that something was missing.
Harry took a deep breath and walked inside. He hung up his coat on the coat rack, looking around at his beautiful home. He had restored an old farmhouse in Godric's Hollow all by himself. It took two years and three months but it was finally finished, and absolutely perfect.
Harry kicked off his boots with a sigh. His house was perfect, his job was perfect – so why was he so unhappy?
"Harry, is that you?"
"Yeah Gin," Harry called out as he came up the hallway into the large kitchen where his red-headed girlfriend was just taking some food out of the oven.
Harry smiled at her before giving her a perfunctory kiss on top of the head and helping himself to some of the crisps out of the packet on the bench.
"Stop it," Ginny admonished, smacking his hand. "Go sit down or you'll ruin your appetite."
Harry popped one more crisp into his mouth with a cheeky grin before going to the dinner table and sitting down in the end chair.
Ginny walked over with the rest of their meal and a bottle of red wine.
"Wine?" she asked, hovering at his side.
"Sure," Harry replied as he busily helped himself to the steaming hot shepherd's pie.
Ginny seemed to hesitate slightly before resolutely pouring Harry half a glass.
"Thanks Gin," he said without looking up as he began to eat.
Ginny seated herself in the chair opposite and gazed at him sadly. She gave her head a slight shake before picking up her knife and fork. "You should try the wine Harry," she said. "It's delicious."
Harry picked up his glass and took a large gulp. "Mmm…" he said, licking his lips. "That is quite-"
Harry stopped as a wave of heat and dizziness suddenly overtook him. He set the glass down with a loud thump, splashing some of the red liquid up over the rim onto the tablecloth, his other hand coming up to clutch at his spinning head.
Harry looked up at Ginny through a haze of nausea and pain to see her sitting there watching him soundlessly.
He frowned and tried to stand but instantly fell to the floor in a heap beside his chair, smacking his head violently on the hardwood.
With an involuntary groan Harry drifted into unconsciousness….
"Harry? Harry love… wake up baby."
Harry moaned through dry lips and tried to move, feeling as though his body were full of lead.
"That's it love, come back to me Harry."
Harry frowned, wondering who on earth was talking to him. No male he knew would call him 'love' or 'baby.' Emerald eyes fluttered open in confusion, squinting against the harsh light as he looked around. He could just make out the fuzzy outline of a blond wizard seated next to him on his bed.
"Here, put these on love."
Harry jumped a little as his glasses were gently placed on his nose by the male stranger.
"What the…?" Harry rasped, throat sore from disuse. "Malfoy?"
"You're alright," Draco responded with a relieved smile.
"I…I…." Harry stuttered, desperately wanting to back away from the Slytherin but unable to move.
"Shh… love, don't stress."
Harry's eyes widened at the endearment. He swallowed and tried to calm his racing heart and rapid breathing. He licked his lips and took a deep breath, steadying himself.
"Why…are you here?" he managed to get out shakily.
"Where else would I be?" Draco replied, still smiling warmly at him. "I've been here all week waiting for you to wake up."
"I don't understand," Harry replied, feeling slightly sick to his stomach. "What happened? Where's Ginny?"
"Ginny?" Draco frowned. "Ginny Weasley?"
"Of course Ginny Weasley!" Harry snapped, suddenly feeling irrationally angry that nothing was making sense. "She is my girlfriend."
Draco's brows rose to his hairline in surprise before he suddenly burst into laughter.
Harry's blood boiled. "Why are you laughing? She is my girlfriend!" Harry paused in his rant, trying to think back to the last thing he could remember. "She might have poisoned me though…" he thought aloud, remembering the look on her face and how she just sat there watching while he felt as though he were dying.
Draco only laughed harder. "Oh Harry, you hit your head and this is what you dream of? Being in a heterosexual relationship with Ginny Weasley?"
"Huh?" Harry blinked and turned back to the amused blond.
"Harry love, you hit your head while playing quidditch and ended up in the hospital," Draco explained patiently.
Harry frowned in confusion, not remembering any of that. "But… that still doesn't explain why you're here Malfoy."
Draco looked at him pityingly. "Because I'm your boyfriend Harry."
Harry's lips parted in shock. He couldn't form a coherent sentence let alone a coherent thought. His whole body froze.
"Harry?" Draco questioned worriedly, reaching out one hand towards him.
Harry jolted back, trying to avoid contact.
Draco stood, hovering uncertainly. "Maybe I should get the healer," he said in concern. "You may have hit your head harder than they thought."
Harry felt as though he were on the edge of passing out. He tried to rein in the overwhelming panic, he did not want to pass out again. Or maybe…
"Maybe this is a dream," he said aloud to himself, looking at Draco.
Draco carefully lowered himself back onto the edge of Harry's hospital bed, grey eyes full of concern. "Harry, you're not dreaming. You are a Seeker for Puddelmere United, you're twenty-two years old. We live in a beautiful house that you practically built from the ground up. We have two cats; one that you love and one that you detest. We went on holiday last year to Thailand. We've been together for three years now, and I love you, more than life itself."
Harry could only stare at Malfoy, at this almost complete stranger, in total shock.
Draco bit his lip, watching Harry's reaction.
"I'm going to fetch the healer," he finally decided, standing up and giving Harry's hand a light squeeze before leaving the room.
Harry stared down at where Malfoy had touched his hand. He couldn't even begin to comprehend the situation. If this wasn't a dream, then what was going on? Why were the last few years of his life a complete black hole, he didn't remember any of the things that Malfoy mentioned, especially the part where he was in a relationship with the Slytherin.
It just didn't make sense, he wasn't gay. He wasn't attracted to Draco Malfoy, never had been.
Harry squirmed a little.
Alright maybe he'd always been drawn to the other boy, but not sexually… Had he?
Harry shook his head and closed his eyes. Maybe if he just went back to sleep he would wake up in the correct reality again.
After a moment he opened his eyes and looked up at the ceiling.
Did he want to return to reality again?
Harry looked over to see Draco walking back into the room with a wizard in white robes.
"Love, this is Healer Spadina," he said, introducing the other man who smiled down at him. "He just wants to check you over before he releases you."
"Release?" Harry repeated questioningly.
"Yes, you get to come home with me today," Draco replied apprehensively.
Harry swallowed in dread.
"How are you feeling Mr Potter?" the Healer suddenly asked, sitting in the bedside chair on Harry's left. "I hear you have some memory loss."
Harry turned to look at the man's kind face. "Uh… I suppose. I kind of don't know what's going on," he said.
"What's the last thing you remember?"
Harry took a breath, thinking carefully. "I came home from work to find Ginny, my girlfriend, in the kitchen cooking dinner. We sat down to eat and I started to feel really hot and dizzy, I think there was something in the wine, then I think I must have fallen out of my chair. That's it. That's all I can remember."
The Healer exchanged a look with Draco.
"What?" Harry demanded, watching them. "What is it?"
Healer Spadina crossed his legs, resting his clipboard on his thighs. "It does seem that you may have some memory loss."
"Are you saying that never happened?" Harry asked. "Why would my brain make up this alternate past? One in which I'm straight?"
Draco smiled a little.
"I can't answer that Mr Potter," the Healer replied honestly. "Perhaps going home with Mr Malfoy will kick-start your memory again."
Harry glanced at Draco. "But… I can't go home with him. I don't live with him, I don't know him."
A wave of sadness washed across Draco's face and Harry almost felt guilty.
"I think that's the best thing for you Mr Potter," Healer Spadina continued. "Just try it out, take it slow. Sometimes it just takes the brain a little while to get its wires uncrossed after an accident like yours."
Harry hesitated before finally nodding. "Fine, I'll try it."
The Healer nodded in satisfaction before getting to his feet. "Glad to hear it. You may leave any time now, and please keep me posted on your progress. We'll need to see you here again in a week for a check-up."
"Of course." Draco nodded. "Thanks for your help."
Harry watched as the Healer exited the room, leaving him alone with Malfoy once more.
"Uh, are you ready to go Harry?" Draco asked hesitantly, keeping his hands in his trouser pockets and looking slightly nervous.
Harry looked at him. He finally nodded mutely, deciding to go along with this strange dream to see how it played out.
"Do you… need help getting dressed?"
Harry blushed to the roots of his hair and shook his head, only just realising that he was dressed in a thin papery hospital gown.
"Okay," Draco said. "Your clothes are there on the chair. I'll just be outside."
Harry waited until the door had shut before pulling back the covers and reaching for his clothes. He quickly slipped on the pair of jeans, the black jumper, warm socks and winter boots before standing. He swayed slightly before regaining his equilibrium once more.
Harry frowned, wondering how the hospital was letting him go already when he'd only just woken up from a week's coma.
There came a knock on the door followed by Draco's voice. "Are you alright in there Harry?"
Harry cringed at the familiarity of Draco's tone. The blond had spoken so sincerely earlier that there wasn't any doubt in Harry's mind that the blond really did care for him. He still couldn't wrap his mind around the idea of dating Malfoy, and of Malfoy being in love with him. How did that even start?
"I'm fine," Harry called out. He walked over to the door and opened it.
Draco smiled in relief at the sight of him. "Let's go home, love."
Harry blushed. "Erm, could you maybe not call me that?"
"Oh, of course," Draco replied. "Sorry, I should've realised."
Again Harry felt that little flash of guilt. "It's okay, I… I just need some time. I hope."
Draco nodded and led the way down the long sterile corridor, watching Harry carefully as the brunette moved slowly along at his side.
"Do you feel well enough to Apparate?" Draco asked as they reached the hospital's Apparation point.
"Could you maybe help?" Harry asked quietly, definitely not feeling strong enough to perform magic.
Draco nodded and gently clasped Harry's hand before Disapparating them both to Godric's Hollow.
Harry felt a momentary flash of nausea when they landed on the other side but it quickly subsided and he opened his eyes.
They were standing outside of his house and it was just as he remembered it – except for the black mailbox out the front that had 'Potter & Malfoy' written on it in pretty gold lettering.
Harry stared at it, feeling a strange warmth that he hadn't been expecting.
"Ready lov- Harry?" Draco asked, taking a step towards the front door.
Harry nodded, not bothering to remove his hand from Draco's as he led him up the walk.
Draco opened the front door with his wand and they walked in. Harry looked around, things were slightly more different on the inside; the paint colours and floors were the same but the furnishings were different.
The small touches that Ginny had made in the four months that they had lived together were gone. The furniture was definitely more male dominated now, and looked much more expensive than Harry would have ever picked out.
"Do you want to go to the bedroom or the lounge?" Draco asked as he helped Harry off with his heavy boots.
"Lounge," Harry replied hastily, not quite ready to see the room in which he apparently slept with Malfoy every night.
Draco gave him a knowing smile as he straightened up and led the way down the hall into the large homey lounge room. The fireplace was already crackling merrily, filling the place with warmth.
Harry let his blond companion settle him comfortably onto the lounge, pulling a soft plaid blanket up over him and fluffing the large pillow behind his back.
"Thanks," Harry said gratefully, still feeling embarrassed.
"Not a problem," Draco smiled as he sat on the cozy two-seater opposite him. "So… any memory triggers yet? Do you remember the house?"
"The house is the same but some things are different," Harry replied, looking around him. "But… I still only remember living here on my own, and with Ginny of course."
Draco's brows pulled together as he fiddled with the small throw pillow on his lap. "I know this must be hard for you, but do you think there's any possibility that you might be able to accept the truth?"
Harry sighed as he ran an agitated hand through his mussed up hair. "Problem is, this doesn't feel like the truth, it still feels like a dream."
"Not a nightmare?" Draco interjected with a smile.
Harry smiled in return, relaxing a little. "Not quite. If you had said I was in a relationship with Snape or Voldemort then that would be a nightmare," he joked.
Draco chuckled, looking slightly more at ease too.
"So…" Harry started, wondering where to begin. "We went to Thailand?"
Draco's smile grew as he nodded. "Last year. It was wonderful, the beaches were beautiful."
Harry chewed his lip as he tried to picture it. "I wish I could remember…"
Draco's face suddenly lit up. "Wait, I've got photos. Hold on."
Harry watched in amusement as Draco jogged out of the room and up the staircase. He was back only a minute later with a thick leather-bound photo album.
"Do you mind?" Draco asked before sitting next to him on the lounge.
Harry shook his head and Draco dropped onto the couch close to him, opening the album and flipping through to find their holiday pics.
Harry caught a whiff of Draco's cologne. The smell didn't trigger any memories but it smelt… safe.
"Wait!" Harry said, putting a hand on the flipping pages. "I want to see all of them," he said, catching sight of a photo of the two of them outside of the house, holding hands and grinning.
Draco looked down at the photo fondly. "That was the day I moved in," he said quietly.
Harry scanned the picture intently; the photo version of him grinned and waved back, looking extremely excited. Photo Malfoy wasn't waving but he was smiling and Harry could see the happiness in his eyes.
Draco flipped back to the beginning of the album.
Harry gaped at the first photo in the book. It was a picture of the two of them snogging. He didn't know who took the photograph but it looked like the two of them were completely oblivious, off in their own little intimate world.
He instantly felt embarrassed but couldn't seem to pull his eyes away. Somehow it didn't look wrong or out of place, they just looked so…. in love.
Harry glanced up and caught Draco watching him closely. The blond smiled a little wistfully before looking back at the photograph.
Harry looked back at the picture for a moment then quickly flipped to the next page, and the next, and the next…
He looked at every photograph in the album; three years' worth of memories, in various stages of their relationship.
The final photographs were of their holiday in Thailand; the two of them on the beach, snorkelling, dining out…
Before Draco could shut the album Harry flipped back to that first photograph once more. He couldn't help but be entranced by that version of himself. He couldn't remember ever having felt that sort of passion for someone.
Harry shook his head, feeling more confused than ever. This was Draco Malfoy he was thinking about.
Harry looked up at the object of his thoughts and found the blond watching him with that same sad wistful expression on his face. He couldn't believe that he felt sorry for Draco Malfoy but he did. As hard as this was on Harry, he knew that it must be ten times worse for Malfoy – if everything he said was true.
Harry shut the photo album and passed it back to Draco. "Thanks… for that," he said.
Draco nodded and hugged the book to his chest as he stood up. "You're probably tired, I know I am," he said with a forced smile. "I'll be upstairs if you need anything."
"Thanks." Harry shot him a tiny smile, feeling as though he should be saying more but didn't know what exactly.
He watched the blond leave the room and heard him climb the stairs to the second floor, then the sound of a door shutting.
Harry almost wished Malfoy had left the photo album behind, he wanted look at it some more. He squirmed as he thought about the kissing photo again. He'd only ever been with Ginny, and while their sex life wasn't great, he didn't think it was bad either. But after seeing that picture… He knew he'd never kissed Ginny that way.
"But it's not real," Harry murmured aloud, giving his head a shake. "It looks perfect because it's not real, it's not real life. Real life is getting married, going to work and having kids. It's not tripping around the world with another man."
He pushed the blanket back and stood up, still feeling a little weak and dizzy. He needed to move, to get outside of his head for a bit. He made his way into the kitchen to look for some food.
The kitchen held all sorts of shiny silver appliances on the bench top, most of which he had no idea how to operate or what they even did. The plates and cups were all in the same cupboards and drawers as before, they were even the same ones that he remembered. He supposed Malfoy must have let him keep a few things of his own.
Harry opened the fridge, his eyes widening at the sight of all the wrapped gourmet dishes on every shelf. Now that was different. Neither he nor Ginny was much of a cook.
Harry plucked out one of the dishes and unwrapped it. It looked like an assortment of little vegetarian appetizers.
Harry popped a few of the little treats into his mouth. "Mmm…" he hummed appreciatively as he bit into grape leaf wrapped rice with dip. Everything was delicious and had so much flavour. It made him question his theory that this was all a dream.
After he'd eaten his fill, he placed the rest back into the fridge and turned around, wondering what to do next.
There was a bookcase in the lounge that housed some knick-knacks, books and what looked like some framed photographs.
Eager to see more, Harry wandered over to the shelves to take a look.
Some of them were just re-prints of the ones in the album but a few of them were new. There was one in particular that made him gape in shock. It was a snap of Ron and Hermione with Harry and Draco. It was of the four of them sitting around a restaurant table, holding up champagne glasses and toasting something. All four of them were smiling and laughing. The strangest part was that Ron was seated next to Malfoy, and it looked like Draco said something aside to Ron to make the redhead laugh as though they were the best of mates.
Harry shook his head in amazement and placed the frame back down on the shelf. He bent down to inspect a smaller frame on the bottom shelf. It was a silver frame with embossed hearts that twinkled with tiny diamonds.
Harry immediately picked it up to examine closer. He frowned, wondering why on earth this photograph was so special.
It was a picture of Harry standing in the doorway of his old flat, the last place he lived in before moving to the house. The Harry in the photo looked quite embarrassed yet pleased at the same time; he kept ducking his head and fidgeting with the wand in his hand, a tiny smile on his face.
"That was the day I first asked you out."
Harry whipped around, startled, dropping the frame to the floor and wincing when it shattered.
"Sorry, didn't meant to startle you," Draco apologised, removing his wand and fixing the frame with a quick swish and flick. The repaired frame floated back into place on the shelf.
"That's okay." Harry swallowed. "I thought you were napping, I didn't mean to snoop."
Draco laughed but his eyes were sad. "It's not snooping when it's your own house Harry."
"Doesn't feel like it," Harry uttered, looking around.
Draco nodded, knowing what he meant and trying not to take it to heart. "What can I do to help?"
Harry sighed heavily and rubbed at tired eyes. "Truthfully, I don't know."
Draco looked at him helplessly, he wanted nothing more than to walk over there and take the weary Gryffindor into his arms and hold him. To tell him that it was going to be okay. But he didn't know if it would be, if Harry would ever accept the truth so that things could return to normal.
Then he had an idea. "What if you spoke to Ginny Wesley?"
Harry looked up with interest. "Yeah…. that would help. I think that would definitely help."
Draco smiled and immediately went to call her.
Harry began to pace back and forth. "Okay," he thought. "This will be the test; if Ginny has no idea of our past and is happily married to someone else then that will prove that this isn't some elaborate trick."
Harry looked up when he heard the distinct pop of Apparation and waited.
Draco walked back into the lounge room with Ginny Weasley in tow.
"Ginny." Harry smiled in greeting.
Ginny smiled at him. "Harry, you're alright," she said with relief. "We were so worried."
Harry walked over to the couch and sat down, waiting for her to sit next to him. She did, brown eyes looking him over for any obvious injuries.
"How's your head?" she asked.
"A little sore," Harry admitted, briefly touching the bruised spot on the back of his head. "But I'll live."
Ginny nodded with a satisfied smile. She glanced uncertainly at Draco before continuing. "So… Draco tells me you have some memory troubles?"
Harry took a deep breath. "Yes. I don't really remember my relationship with Malfoy, what I remember is being with you."
Ginny's eyes widened and she looked like she was torn between laughter and fear. "Uh…. that's interesting."
"So…" Harry continued. "We never dated? Never lived together, here in this house?"
"Harry, I don't know what to tell you," Ginny replied. "We've never been more than friends. I mean, I had a crush on you when I was a kid but that's it. You're like a brother to me."
Harry nodded miserably. He found that he wasn't so much disappointed that Ginny wasn't with him, but that it just meant that there really was something wrong with him and he didn't know how to fix it.
Ginny placed a warm hand on his thigh. "I'm sorry Harry, is there anything I can do to help?"
Harry looked up and shook his head, forcing a smile. "No, thanks Gin. That helped a lot actually."
Ginny glanced at Draco. "I'd better get back to work," she said, turning back to Harry. "But please call me any time. And be sure to talk to Ron and Hermione too, that might help. Walk with me outside Harry?"
Harry stood and followed her out of the room, leaving Draco behind. He stepped outside to wait with her on the front stoop.
Ginny closed the door behind them and turned to face him. "Harry, look, I know this must be very confusing for you but you have to believe me that you and Draco are together. I've witnessed your entire relationship and I've never seen two people more perfect together than the two of you."
"But… it's Malfoy," Harry said, waving a hand towards the front door. "How could I ever have become involved with that git?"
"He's not the same Draco Malfoy from Hogwarts though is he?" Ginny said. "Has he acted like a git? Has he treated you poorly once since you woke up?"
Harry paused. "No, he hasn't."
Ginny nodded. "He loves you Harry, more than I think even he knows. And I know for a fact that you love him just as much in return. In fact…" she paused, chewing her lip uncertainly.
"You were going to propose to him this Christmas," she replied quietly.
Harry's eyes widened and he took a step back.
Ginny placed a consolatory hand on his arm, trying to placate him. "Just give him a chance Harry. If you fell in love with him before then you can do it again, right?"
Harry looked away from her, wrapping his arms around himself in the cold December air.
"Bye Harry," Ginny said with a fond smile. "Don't worry, it'll all work out, you'll see."
Harry watched silently as the redhead disappeared from sight with a loud pop. He stood outside for as long as he could in the cold before turning to head back inside.
Draco was still standing in the same position that Harry had left him.
"So…" Draco started, looking unhappy. "I suppose that visit just confirmed your feelings for Ginny?"
Harry blinked in surprise. "I…"
"I saw the way your face fell when she said that she wasn't your girlfriend."
Harry watched Draco's pained expression. He felt like everything he said was tearing the blond's heart into two, and if everything Ginny had told him was true, then he really didn't deserve it.
Harry walked right up to him. "Draco," he said, intentionally using his first name. "I think we should go on a date."
Draco's head came up sharply as he met Harry's determined gaze. He seemed to be searching Harry's face for any hint of mockery but found none. "A date?" he finally managed to repeat.
Harry nodded. "If I went on a date with you once then surely I can do it again?" he said, feeling exceptionally embarrassed but pressing on. "Ginny said that she'd never known two people more in love than us – and I want to know what that's like."
Draco's grey eyes widened. "But weren't you in love with Ginny?"
Harry cocked his head considering. "Honestly I don't know. I certainly cared for her a great deal and we had a good time together but… I always felt something was missing."
Harry blinked at him then burst into laughter. "Perhaps," he finally managed to reply.
Draco smiled. "So… you don't want to pursue her again?" he asked, wanting to confirm what Harry was telling him.
Harry hesitated only a second before replying. "No. I'm willing to give this a chance, whatever it is."
Draco's answering smile was so bright that Harry couldn't help returning it.
"I suppose I'd better wow you on our date then, eh Potter?"
Harry chuckled. "Yes, our entire future rests on it."
Draco looked panicked for a moment before he saw Harry's teasing expression. "Prat."
Harry's smile was interrupted by a yawn and Draco quickly had him back on the lounge beneath the blankets and nestled into the thick pillows.
"Sleep Harry," he said affectionately after tucking him in. "We'll have our date when you wake up."
Harry nodded, his eyes already falling shut.
He had thought Draco had left when he suddenly heard a quiet murmur accompanied by a gentle hand softly stroking his cheek.
"Come back to me Harry."
. . . .
"A quidditch match?" Harry said incredulously. "This was our first date?"
Draco nodded, tucking his arm through Harry's to keep him close in the crowd. The blond had told him that he was going to recreate their first date, right down to every single detail, including the same outfits. So Draco had Harry dressed in his brown cords and blue jumper and Draco had worn dark jeans with a black sweater.
"Come on," Draco said, leading him through the throng of people and looking very proud of himself. "I got the same seats."
Harry smiled at the back of Draco's head. He couldn't believe how much trouble the Slytherin had gone to for him.
"How on earth did you remember what we wore?" Harry asked, speaking loudly to be heard over the stadium noise.
Draco glanced back with a grin. "Because your outfit was so cute and clueless that I could never forget it."
Harry blushed and glanced down at his clothes. He supposed it was something that he would've worn when he was eleven, but it was comfortable.
Draco settled them both in the top box, conjuring a warm blanket and throwing it over their laps. "I like the outfit Harry," he said reassuringly.
"Hey, I let you keep it didn't I?" Draco said. "Our first date was three years ago and you still own it."
Harry chuckled at him before turning towards the action on the field.
It was an exciting game; Chudley Cannons against the Falmouth Falcons. The Cannons were trounced of course but it was still a fast-paced game with lots of action and plenty of big hits.
Harry clapped along with everyone else at the final whistle. "So what teams did we watch the first time?" he asked Draco as the crowds began to slowly file out.
"Cannons against the Kestrels," Draco replied as they stood up. "Cannons were annihilated then as well."
"Must be a good omen then," Harry said over his shoulder as they headed for the stairs.
Harry missed the hopeful smile on Draco's face at his words.
Harry started down the dozens of flights of stairs at the stadium – the price of having the best seats was the long walk down from the top.
Harry paused about halfway down, feeling slightly dizzy and out of breath. He leaned against the railing and closed his eyes, hoping that the world would stop spinning.
"Harry?" Draco said in concern, touching his elbow and looking at his pale face.
"I'll be alright," Harry replied breathlessly. "Just a dizzy spell."
Draco slipped an arm around his shoulders, protecting him from the passing crowd, and waited until everyone had passed them by. "Do you want to sit down?" he asked. "Everyone is gone."
Harry opened his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths. "It's alright, I think I'm okay now." He turned and smiled gratefully at Draco. "Let's go."
Draco smiled in relief but kept a firm hand on Harry's arm as they made their way down the rest of the stairs to the bottom and out the wide exit doors.
"So, where to next?" Harry asked brightly and Draco was glad to see the colour back in the Gryffindor's cheeks.
"Dinner and a film," Draco promptly replied.
"Really?" Harry asked. "A muggle film?"
Draco shrugged. "It was your idea. You thought I might like to experience a muggle blockbuster, as you put it."
"And did you?" Harry asked, curious.
Draco smirked. "I'm hopelessly addicted."
Harry chuckled as Draco whisked them away to their next destination, a tiny little Indian restaurant on the outskirts of London.
The interior was decorated in deep plums and maroons and the goblets on every table were made of shining gold brass.
They took their seats next to the window, the same table as the first time, Draco informed him smugly.
Harry grinned as he picked up the menu. "So what did I have to eat?"
Draco glanced at the menu. "You had…. the chicken korma." He looked up suddenly. "But maybe don't have that one again."
"Why?" Harry frowned.
Draco's lips twitched. "You kind of got food poisoning."
"What?" Harry exclaimed. "And you brought me back?"
Draco laughed. "We've been here a hundred times Harry. The only time you got sick was on our first date."
Harry snorted and shook his head. "I think I'll play it safe and go with the vegetable korma instead, and some garlic naan bread."
They gave their order to the waiter and he collected their menus before heading off to the kitchen.
Harry leaned his arms on the table and looked across at Draco. "I don't know anything about you, besides what a prat you were in school. What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a chef," Draco replied proudly. "I own quite a successful restaurant in Hogsmeade as well as a new small scale version in muggle London."
"Wow," Harry replied, impressed. "Why didn't we go there for dinner?"
"It wouldn't be the same as our first date then," Draco said, then hesitated. "Plus all the staff knows us there. It might've been awkward for you."
"Oh," Harry said, comprehension dawning. "And I wouldn't know any of them."
"I was also kind of hoping that this repeat date might trigger something for you," Draco added hopefully. "Anything?"
Harry smiled sadly and shook his head. "No, sorry."
Draco nodded, disappointed but trying not to show it.
"But I'm having a really good time," Harry quickly added.
"Really?" Draco said, looking pleased.
"Yeah, I can't believe we haven't fought once."
Draco laughed. "Oh we still have the odd little tiff Harry, we're both too stubborn to back down most times, but after a few hours we normally make up."
Harry smiled. For the first time he could actually picture their domestic life together. Ginny never argued with him, she was too sweet and always tried to keep the peace. Draco, he imagined, would not back down from his opinion. Life would never be dull.
Their food arrived then and they tucked in heartily.
"Can I ask you something?" Draco said as he picked up a piece of naan bread and tore it into pieces for dipping.
"According to your memory, where do I fit in to your life? Are we friends? Do you even know me?" he asked curiously.
Harry shook his head as he swallowed. "I haven't seen you in person since Hogwarts."
"In person?" he questioned.
"You're in the paper every once in a while," Harry replied, frowning thoughtfully. "I think you do something in banking and live in a fancy flat in Diagon Alley."
Draco wrinkled his nose in distaste. "How pedestrian of me."
Harry snickered. "Yeah well, I guess my comatose brain wasn't very creative."
Draco chuckled. "So, you think this might actually be real then?" he asked.
"I don't know," Harry said thoughtfully, taking another bite of rice and vegetables. "This certainly feels real. The food tastes real, the smell of curry, the cold air outside, my sore head… It's all very convincing."
Draco nodded. "And the idea of us? Still crazy?"
Harry looked at him speculatively. "Maybe not so crazy."
Draco gave him a quick smile before ducking his head and taking another bite of his food.
Harry had seen the flash of emotion in those grey depths though before the blond had turned away. It made his stomach flip-flop strangely, to know that someone loved him to such an extent that their very happiness rested on Harry simply caring for them in return. It was kind of exciting and… comforting at the same time.
Was he really attracted to him though? That was the next question. They could obviously get along as friends but was he physically attracted to another man? To Malfoy?
They finished their meal in companionable silence and walked from the restaurant to the movie theatre.
They stood outside, looking up at the available titles.
"I guess the same film isn't playing now?" Harry asked with a smile.
" 'Fraid not," Draco replied. "You pick."
"Hmm…" Harry wondered if they should see an action or a comedy.
"That one's supposed to be quite good," Draco interrupted, pointing at 'About Time.'
Harry shrugged. "Sure. What sort of movie did we see last time?"
"Do you remember a movie called Inception?"
Harry nodded, remembering the Leonardo DiCaprio psychological thriller.
"I think this one is a bit more on the romantic side, if that's alright," Draco said as he approached the ticket booth and paid.
Harry felt slightly nervous, wondering if it was going to be awkward. He didn't know anything about this film, what if it was a gay film?
Draco smiled at his expression. "Scared Potter?"
That broke the tension.
Harry grinned and purposely linked his hand with Draco's. "You wish."
The two bought some snacks before heading into the darkened theatre and taking a couple of seats at the very back.
"I'll let you know when the food poisoning kicks in," Harry joked as the previews rolled.
Draco chuckled. "That wasn't until the end of the date, completely ruined the goodnight kiss."
Harry laughed. "I imagine it would."
They both sat back once the film had started, contentedly munching on popcorn. The only talking they did during the entire movie was near the beginning when Draco leaned over and whispered, "is it just me or does that ginger-haired fellow remind you of Weasley?"
Harry sniggered, poking him good-naturedly in the side.
Draco grinned and turned back to the screen.
Harry was surprised by how much he enjoyed the film; it was simple and quite thought-provoking, and not overly romantic at all.
The lights came up and Harry turned to his companion. "So, what did you think?"
Draco turned to him with a smile. "Loved it."
"Me too." Harry smiled at him; his insides still warm and fuzzy.
Harry suddenly realised that they had been smiling at each other for longer than was socially acceptable and he quickly coughed and looked away.
As they made their way out of the theatre, Harry tried not to think too much. He didn't want to overthink anything, he just wanted to feel. His gut would tell him what felt right and what didn't.
"Now what?" Harry asked, slipping his chilled hands into his coat pockets.
"Well, last time we were headed for a late night coffee when you suddenly said that you needed to go home," Draco replied with a smirk.
Harry laughed. "Did you think that I wasn't interested in you?"
Draco nodded, still smirking. "You completely destroyed my ego Potter. I thought the date had been going so well too."
Harry smiled and hesitantly placed his hand in Draco's. "It is."
Draco's smirk turned into a fond smile as he clasped Harry's hand in return, stroking his thumb across Harry's smooth skin.
Harry waited for the revulsion to wash over him but it never came. "How about that coffee then?"
They finished up their date in a quaint little coffee shop in Godric's Hollow, each of them ordering peppermint mochas topped with whipped cream and candy cane pieces.
"When's Christmas?" Harry asked, looking at his holiday-themed drink and suddenly remembering that it was December.
"Tomorrow," Draco replied causally, taking a sip of his hot drink and trying unsuccessfully to avoid getting a whipped cream mustache.
Harry smiled in amusement but didn't say anything. He was somewhat amazed when he realised that he thought it was cute. Malfoy cute? He had to swallow the threatening giggle with some effort.
"We don't have to do anything though if you'd rather not," Draco continued, oblivious.
"Did we have plans?" Harry asked with interest.
"Yeah, we do the same thing every year, open presents and laze about the house until dinner with Ron and Hermione, followed by a game of quidditch."
Harry smiled as he took another sip of his delicious drink. That sounded…perfect. "I think I'm up for it," he said, already looking forward to seeing his friends.
He was definitely feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside again – and it had nothing to do with the film or the hot drink.
"Life is good, isn't it?" Harry suddenly said aloud.
Draco laughed at the abruptness of the question but nodded. "Life is perfect."
Harry's answering smile suddenly turned into a frown.
"What's wrong?" Draco asked, brow creasing with worry.
"My life, as I remember it, wasn't perfect," he replied seriously. "It was flawed but I didn't know why I wasn't happy." He stopped and looked up at Draco. "The fact that this life is so perfect…"
"Makes you question its authenticity?" the blond supplied knowingly.
Harry set down his mug with a sigh. "I hate going round in circles but I can't help wondering if this is too perfect, too dream-like."
"You think it's perfect even though you're with me?" Draco asked quietly.
Harry looked up and met Draco's sombre grey gaze. "We're perfect together, aren't we?"
"Yes," Draco replied without hesitation.
Harry licked his lips. "Let's go home."
Draco immediately set down his half-finished drink and stood up. Without another word, they both slipped into their winter coats and walked outside. Each lost in his own thoughts; the short walk back to Harry's house was silent and seemed to take no time at all.
When they reached the front door, Harry suddenly stopped and turned to Draco. He needed to try something, the last verification of this strangely perfect world.
"Harry?" Draco questioned when the other man stopped.
"I… I just need to do something," Harry said nervously.
Draco's heart sped up as Harry's gaze zeroed in on his mouth. He held his breath as the brunette took a step closer and oh so gently touched his lips to Draco's.
Harry's heart was hammering in his chest as he closed his eyes and kissed Draco. Somewhere in the back of his mind he was screaming that he was kissing a boy, that he was kissing Malfoy, but his heart didn't seem to care. The taste and the warm smooth feel of Draco's lips against his own almost made him melt.
Draco hesitated before carefully pressing back against Harry's mouth, deepening the kiss just a little.
Harry didn't want to stop. He wrapped his arms around Draco and pulled him close, Draco's arms quickly coming up to embrace him in return. Harry's hand came up to the base of Draco's neck and toyed with the baby soft pieces of blond hair there. He'd never had a kiss like this before, it was passion and want like he'd never experienced in his whole life, it was-
Harry gasped, breaking away from the kiss as his head suddenly gave a sharp throb of pain. His knees began to collapse beneath him and he would have fallen to the ground if it hadn't been for Draco's strong hold on him.
"Harry!" Draco cried out, lowering them to the ground and pulling Harry onto his lap. "Harry, what's wrong?"
Harry moaned as his vision turned blurry and his stomach heaved. He felt dizzy and hot, everything was spinning, and he knew he was about to black out.
"Harry, love, please talk to me!" Draco pleaded desperately, sounding near tears. "Hold on Harry, I'm going to get help. I love you, please hold on…"
Harry so wanted to comfort Draco but he slipped into nothingness and everything went black.
. . . .
Harry let out a moan, frowning as someone kept calling his name, trying to wake him from an extremely deep slumber.
He suddenly remembered what had happened and snapped his eyes open, searching for Draco.
Ginny was perched on the edge of his bed, smiling down at him. "Harry, you're awake," she said in relief.
"Ginny?" Harry said, confused. "What happened? Where's Draco?"
"Draco?" Ginny repeated, brows rising in surprise. "I should've known," she muttered.
"Where am I?" Harry demanded, tired of the constant shifting realities.
Ginny sighed. "You're in the hospital. Do you remember what happened?"
Harry's brow creased in thought. "I was in a quidditch accident."
Ginny shook her head. "No Harry, you weren't."
Harry's expression cleared. "I passed out during dinner."
Emerald eyes hardened. "Did you poison me?"
"Not poisoned, no," Ginny said, wringing her hands together. "It was a special potion."
"That did what exactly?"
"It was supposed to show you what your heart truly desired."
Harry could only gape. "What? So it was all a dream?" His heart dropped and he actually felt suddenly bereft, as though he'd lost a loved one. In a way, he had. "How could you do that to me?" he asked weakly.
"I knew you weren't happy Harry," she said. "But I also knew that you didn't know what you wanted, you were doing what you thought was right, what you thought was expected of you. But the passionate boy I used to know was gone. I knew something needed to be done to steer you in the right direction. I was just trying to help…"
"Help?" Harry repeated in disbelief. "You made me fall in love with Draco Malfoy! With a Draco Malfoy that was sweet and caring and that was head over heels in love with me – and now that's gone! It's not real. How does that help me at all?"
"Malfoy might not love you now, but the possibility is there," Ginny quickly explained. "The potion will only show you what is actually possible."
"So now I have to make Malfoy fall in love with me?" Harry spat angrily. "How am I supposed to just show up out of the blue and do that?"
Ginny regarded him quietly. "He did it to you."
Harry paused. She was right. He wondered if Malfoy would be as open to the idea as Harry had been though, without all the evidence that they'd already been in a wonderful relationship together.
He looked back at Ginny. "What about you?" he asked her.
Ginny smiled, brushing away a tear. "I'll be fine, I have them lined up out the door," she joked. "Besides, I don't want to be in a relationship with someone who isn't really in love with me."
Harry smiled a little. If this worked then he would owe her his happiness. "Thanks Gin."
"No problem," Ginny stood waving one hand dismissively. "I'm just sorry you hit your head, that wasn't part of the plan."
Harry winced as he felt the bruise on the back of his head. "That's okay, it'll be worth it. I hope."
Ginny smiled. "I can't believe I'm going to say this but, go get him."
Harry looked up at the red door, his palms sweaty and heart racing. Part of him cringed at the idea of walking up to that door and talking to the old Draco Malfoy, but the braver part of him reminded him of that kiss and the look in Draco's eyes…
Harry squared his shoulders and strode up to the door before he could change his mind. He knocked and waited.
Draco opened the door and frowned when he saw Harry standing there nervously shifting his weight from foot to foot.
"Potter?" he questioned in confusion. The blond looked over Harry's shoulder to see if anyone else was around. "What in gods name are you doing here?"
Harry looked into those now familiar grey eyes and saw no hatred buried there, only confusion and… interest?
Harry smiled. "I was wondering if you'd like to catch a quidditch game with me?"
~ The End ~
* A big thank-you and a very Merry Christmas to all my readers! Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts and encouragement. Hope you enjoyed reading this little holiday one-shot as much as I did writing it.