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Memories in the Garden

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Draco stepped out of the Floo, exhausted from his long day at St. Mungo’s. He was training a new assistant in the lab, and even though she was very bright, the intricacies of potion brewing at his level were difficult for the best minds. He shrugged his pale blue robes from his shoulders and walked into their entrance hall, hanging them on the hook near the door and running his fingers through his hair. Harry’s Auror robes were hung neatly next to his, his black boots in their space beneath the bench against the wall. The space next to the boots was empty, and that told Draco everything he needed to know about where his husband was.

They’d found the cottage the year after they’d married. They hadn’t really been looking to buy, and yet the small, thatch roofed cottage on the edge of the quintessential British village had spoken to something fundamental in both of them. It had a full basement, which they’d turned into a lab for Draco, and a cozy master bedroom with a fireplace in the corner that they both loved on chilly winter evenings. The kitchen was smallish but serviceable, which worked for the cook in Harry, and the ghost of the little old woman who’d owned the cottage before them turning up occasionally to stand at the hob waiting for water to boil really didn’t bother them. The part that had really sold them, however, was the garden.

The first time they’d seen it, it had been overgrown and something of a mess. But Harry had looked at it and been able to see what it could be. Once they’d moved in, he’d spent every second he had away from the Ministry clearing weeds. He’d staked out an area to grow the ingredients Draco needed for his potions, a kitchen garden for herbs and vegetables for his cooking, and a large patch from flowers. And Harry had a true gift with all of it.

Draco walked out through the door that led to the gardens and sighed in delight when the late afternoon sun kissed his face. He wandered along the cobblestone pathway, admiring the new growth on the lilacs he used for sleeping potions and noted how large the mint bushes were that lined the house’s foundation. Those larger leaves went into stomach cures and burn lotions. When he rounded the corner of the house, he caught sight of his husband kneeling in a recently turned bed, wearing a disreputable pair of ratty jeans, the ancient trainers that had been missing from the entryway bench on his feet, sleeves of a long-sleeved undershirt shoved to his elbows. There were two bags on the dirt beside him, and he had a trowel in his hand, digging neat holes one after the other, dropping what looked like grizzled heads of garlic into each depression, the ones along the fence considerably larger and uglier than whatever it was that would grow in front.

Draco strolled across the vivid lawn between him and Harry, his hands sliding into the pockets of his trousers. He stopped at the edge of the flower bed.

“Cut out early today?”

Harry turned his head and looked at him over his shoulder, a smile creasing his sunburned, handsome face. “Things are pretty quiet,” he said, turning back to his task. “And I wanted to get these into the ground now before it gets too cold at night.”

“And if you can’t take leave early when you want, what’s the point of being Head Auror, anyway?”

Harry chuckled. “And there’s that.”

Draco was about to ask him what he was planting when he noticed writing on the bags. One read ‘stargazer lilies’, and the other ‘narcissus’. He stilled, his head angled and his heart abruptly filling with a sweet ache.

He’d lost his mother during the summer. She’d been fine, and then she’d been gone. Her loss had devastated him; they’d always been close, more so after the war than before. Harry had been his rock through the whole of it, holding his hand, silently supportive during the funeral, holding him at night when the pain peaked but he wouldn’t allow himself to cry. He stared at the names of the blubs on the bags, and blinked away the sudden stinging in his eyes.

Harry stood up, brushing his hands on the seat of his jeans, turning, carefully stepping through the flower bed with its summer blooming flowers to come to him. He kissed Draco gently, and slipped his arms around his waist. Draco leaned into his slim strength and laid his head on his broad shoulder, his face turned toward Harry’s ear.

“Lilies,” he said.

Harry nodded.

“And narcissus.”

“Yes.”

Draco swallowed the lump in his throat. “Together. They’ll be lovely.”

“I think they could have been friends, you know? If not for…”

“The fact my mother was a horrendous snob and yours a bright eyed idealist?”

Harry chuckled, pulling Draco closer. “That, too.”

Draco sighed softly. “Thank you, for this.”

“Of course. I told you they’re not really gone. Not as long as we don’t forget them.”

“So you did.” Draco pressed a kiss to Harry’s sweaty throat. He smelled of heat and sun and work warmed man, and Draco loved it, loved him. “I think I’ll keep you.”

He could feel Harry’s grin when he turned his head and pressed his lips to his cheek. “Good to know.”

They stood in the warm afternoon sun, holding one another, for a long time.