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The Mountains Eat the Stars

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When the rain comes low over the fields, misting them grey, Draco and Harry always go for a walk.

They leave their little cottage behind and head into the fields and woods. Through the little wooden gate, along the meandering paths, over the little brook. Draco likes to stride through the tall grass, letting the raindrops catch on his sleeves. Harry ambles along at a much slower rate, though sometimes he abruptly leaps into action and chases Draco until both of them are soaked, and when he catches him, Draco puts his nose in the air and says loftily, “I wasn’t playing, Potter,” and stalks away. Later, he hides near the grove of hazel trees and waits for Harry to walk beneath them. Then, with a flick of his wand, all the water drops from the trees. It happens every time, but Harry still walks under the trees and acts outraged by the treacherous ambush, and Draco smiles the exact same way he did the very first time he did it.

Afterwards, when they’ve returned to their home, they peel off their water-heavy cloaks and damp clothes, and Harry lounges about invitingly by the warmth of the fire and pretends he’s got no idea what Draco’s little glances mean, until Draco gets fed up and drags him to the bedroom.

On this particular occasion, however, they are interrupted long before the cosy fireplace and little glances. Just as Harry’s meandering into the hazel grove with a carefully manufactured expression of casual blandness, a voice carries clear across the field.

“Harry! Harry!”

He turns. Hermione is running through the grass, her robes getting tangled in her legs, her cloak billowing out behind her. She arrives breathless and tousled, her cheeks red with cold.

“Harry,” she says, stepping with him into the hazel grove, “The Healer did the spells this morning, and everything looks perfect, and the baby is — ”

The trees bend their boughs all at once, bringing a great rush of water down upon them. After a moment, Hermione blinks at Harry through her mop of drenched hair. Then —

Draco Malfoy!” she shouts. “You better come out right now and apologise, you little — ”

“What? The baby is what?” Harry asks impatiently.

Hermione lifts her hair with dignity and wrings it out. “It’s a boy. Come to dinner on Sunday, you can suggest some names. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go and hex Draco.”

Harry, perhaps slightly meanly, doesn’t argue with that.


“Albus,” Harry announces.

Everyone groans. 

They’re sitting around Astoria and Matthew’s old oak table, drinks in hand, content and mildly sleepy after the usual Sunday roast. Sophie is eyeing off the pudding, considering the possibility of coaxing a second serving out of her parents. Ginny is still in her Quidditch robes and manages to look quite comfortable anyway. Ron and Hermione are sitting together, picking over the remains of the roast duck.

“No,” Hermione says, waving a wishbone at Harry. 

He frowns. “But— in honour of — ”

No.”

“But he was the greatest — ”

“He was not,” Draco says indignantly. “Merlin was the greatest wizard.”

“I thought Socrates was the greatest wizard,” Ginny adds. “Apparently he’s well-known in the Muggle world too.”

“What about Augustus McVicar, the father of modern potions?” Astoria asks. 

“It doesn’t matter,” Hermione says firmly. “I am not naming a lovely, adorable baby ‘Albus’. I’m not.”

“Fine.” Harry hesitates. “What about...Severus?”

They all groan again. “You’re banned from naming things,” Draco tells him.

“What? Even you don’t like it? He was your godfather — ”

“Even Severus hated his own name.” Draco takes a sip of wine. “Who calls their beloved child Severus?”

“I had a favourite uncle called Balbinus Aubrey Greengrass,” Astoria says. “Should I inflict his legacy upon an innocent child? No.”

Harry pauses. “Aubrey’s not actually that bad, really, it’s — ”

“For Merlin’s sake!”

“No!”

“Absolutely not!”

Ginny leans over and pats Harry’s hand. “Sometimes,” she says fondly, “you have terrible taste. Just awful.”

“Fine,” Harry says, sitting back and folding his arms across his chest. “I won’t name anything, then!”

“Oh, thank Merlin.”

“Yes, excellent choice.”

“Well, that’s a weight off my chest,” Draco says. “I was thinking about getting a Niffler, but...”

“Imagine what Harry would call it,” Ginny says. “Merlin Albus McWizard.”

Matthew brightens. “What’s a Niffler? Sounds interesting. Astoria, you have to tell me.”

“Ugh, no. Ask Hermione, she likes explaining things.”

“It’s Ginny’s turn,” Hermione retorts.

Ron contemplates the remains of a roast potato, reaches for it, then changes his mind and settles back in his chair. “We’ve got some names in mind, anyway,” he says.

Hermione brightens. “Yes. Ron suggested Bronwyn for a girl, and Eric for a boy. I quite like both of those names.”

Harry laughs. “Bronwyn and Eric? After the last two captains of the Chudley Cannons?”

There’s a short silence. Ron looks panicked. Hermione turns and stares at him.

Draco clears his throat. “I’ll clear the table,” he says, picking up the nearest plate and hurrying to the kitchen. 

Excellent idea. Come on, Sophie, help clear the table,” Matthew adds, standing up; Ginny and Astoria are practically on his heels. 

Harry looks around the near-empty table, glances at Hermione’s expression, then says meekly, “Well...guess they might need some help...” and joins the others in the kitchen, shutting the door behind him.

Astoria rounds on him at once. “Honestly, Harry! Does your brain cell ever get lonely in there?”

Matthew laughs. Harry glares at him.

“Sorry,” Matthew says, not looking the least bit apologetic. “It was a good joke.”

“You could try to show a little tact,” Ginny says, frowning at Harry. “You know they’ve been arguing about names forever, it took them so long to finally agree on a couple of names. Even Draco kept his mouth shut.”

“Because he doesn’t know about the Chudley Cannons,” Harry protests. “That’s the only reason he didn’t say anything — ”

“Excuse me,” Draco says. “It’s Ron’s favourite team, of course I know about it. Frankly, you’ve hurt my feelings.”

Harry scoffs. “You are not — ”

“Harry!” Ginny looks at him in disapproval while Astoria pats Draco’s shoulder. “Don’t be awful. It’s not Draco’s fault you’re insensitive.”

Draco smirks at him over Astoria’s shoulder. 

“What’s a Niffler?” Matthew demands, hoisting Sophie onto the kitchen counter. She eyes the leftover pudding with a calculating expression.

Harry glares at Draco. “You’re doing it again.”

Draco shrugs. “Doing what?”

“Making all my friends like you more than me.”

“That’s ridiculous. They’re all my friends. Astoria, tell him.”

Astoria dumps an armful of cutlery into the sink. “Harry, don’t be ridiculous. We’re all Draco’s friends,” she says absently.

Harry gestures frantically. “See? Like that!”

“I can’t help it if I’m perfectly charming and you’re...” Draco gestures broadly at Harry.

“Not,” Ginny finishes helpfully. 

“At least you like me,” Harry tells Sophie. “I’m your favourite uncle, right?”

She looks at him, then at the pudding. “Of course you are,” she says meaningfully. “Can I have a second serving?”

“Absolutely,” Harry says smugly, fetching a serving spoon.

Draco huffs. “I don’t have to buy people’s affections.”

“If nobody tells me what a Niffler is, I’ll pour custard into the fireplace and ruin your stupid Floo thing,” Matthew says.

The door opens and Hermione storms in, her hair an outraged cloud and her expression terrifying. “Harry! I hope you didn’t have plans for Saturday!”

“Oh, actually, I was thinking of — ”

“Cancel it,” Hermione says crushingly. “You are going shopping, you will buy every baby name book you can find, you will bring them to the Burrow and help me and Molly write down names.”

“But you said I was terrible at — ”

“You are. You will not speak. You will not make any suggestions. You will sit in silence and think about what you’ve done.”

Harry looks around the room, hoping for rescue. “Draco,” he says pointedly.

Draco puts his wineglass down. “What?”

“Hermione’s being mean to me.”

“Good,” Draco says, and he picks up his wineglass again.

Ginny and Astoria look far too amused.


Later, they push the table back and play the worst records Matthew manages to find in Astoria’s notoriously terrible collection. They begin with Under the Bridge and Over the Valley: Mountain Troll Yodels, then onto A Very Merry Scream: The Banshee Christmas Collection, and then finally the old classic: The Greatest Love Songs of Celestina Warbeck. Sophie giggles as Harry sweeps her off her feet and dances around the room with her. Matthew and Astoria laugh helplessly as they absolutely butcher a foxtrot. Draco watches over the proceedings like royalty holding court, Hermione by his side and chatting about the latest Ministry news.

The last light always fades too soon. The dancing slows down into standing and swaying, and Sophie is sent to bed despite her half-hearted protests. The house settles into the night, comfortable and quiet, until even the warbled lyrics of ‘You’re My Cheering Charm’ seem sentimental rather than saccharine. Draco acquiesces at last for a dance with Harry, when the room is dark and lit only by dusk and a little lamp, and they hardly move anyway, just hold each other and stand in the middle of the room. Harry can hear the distant noises of others drifting through the home. Hermione and Ginny are in the sitting room, by the warm fire, reminiscing about old times, their voices rising and falling. Ron and Matthew are washing the dishes in the kitchen; Matthew is sagely passing along parenting advice to a mildly nervous Ron. Harry can hear the clink of dishes and the murmur of their voices. Astoria is coming down the hallway, humming to the music, having just finished Sophie’s bedtime stories. 

When the last song plays and the record needle rises and stays still, it’s the unspoken end to the evening. Draco and Harry draw apart again. Hermione and Ginny stand up and leave the cosy fireside. Ron puts the last dish away. They converge in the kitchen to say their farewells.

“Can’t believe Christmas is nearly here,” Ginny says.

“Went quick.”

“See you all on Christmas Day, then?” Ron asks, settling his cloak around his shoulders. “Fair warning, Mum’s gone overboard this year and made matching scarves and hats for everyone.”

Matthew brightens. “And socks? The ones I got last year were so comfortable.”

“Yeah, I expect so. The — ugh! What the — what is this? Who poured custard in the fireplace?”

Draco starts laughing; Ron points an accusing finger at him.

“You prat! Knew it was you or Harry. All smug with your stupid Muggle car while the rest of us have to take the Floo – ”

“It was Matthew,” Astoria says angrily. “I recognise exactly the sort of childish, petty — ”

“I told you,” Matthew says with not a trace of repentance. “I told you. I said, if nobody tells me about the Niffler – ”

“Oh, for Merlin’s sake.” Ron waves his wand at the fireplace. “Scourgify! You’ll get your chance on Christmas Day, anyway, you and Dad will ramble about Muggle and magical stuff like usual. You’re not getting socks now, though!”

He departs with a handful of Floo powder before Matthew can retort. Hermione follows in a more dignified manner, kissing Astoria’s cheek and thanking her for dinner before stepping into the green flames. Then Ginny, giving a cheerful wave as she goes. 

“Here’s the bit where your filthy rich ex-husband thanks us for the dinner we just made for him,” Matthew says, a mischievous glint in his eye. “Are you sure I shouldn’t be jealous?”

Astoria rolls her eyes. “At this point, I feel I’ve more reason to be jealous. You and Harry are terribly good friends. Terribly.”

“What can I say? He’s a good-looking bloke,” Matthew says slyly.

Harry grins.“Nothing wrong with spending time with a very good friend.”

Astoria and Draco both turn to look at them, and Harry and Matthew laugh.

“Look at them! So disapproving. Identical expressions,” Matthew says. “Like two angry peas in a pod.”

“They should get married or something,” Harry adds, much to Matthew’s amusement.

“Think you’re funny, don’t you?” Draco and Astoria say simultaneously. They pause and look at each other while Harry and Matthew laugh harder.

“Look at what I have to deal with, Draco,” Astoria says with exasperation, waving vaguely in Matthew’s direction. “Your spouse is a bad influence on my spouse. Take your Harry and go, please.”

“Come on, then,” Draco says to Harry, looking irritated. But as they turn and walk to the door, his expression softens. “My Harry,” he repeats. 

Astoria pulls a face. “Go home and be sentimental there.”

They do. Harry thanks them for the meal, and promises to see them at the Burrow on Christmas Day, and says Sophie might have perhaps too many presents this year, and Astoria admonishes him for spoiling her. Draco was the one who bought all the presents, but Harry — in penance for his earlier jokes with Matthew — takes the blame. They linger by the front door, full of farewells, and then step into the cold night, drawing their cloaks around themselves —  and then they’re gone. 

Night has fallen. Astoria’s house is cloaked in darkness saved for a single light glowing from the kitchen, and Harry watches the light become smaller and smaller in the rear-view mirror. 

The old Renault bumps over the uneven country road, the brakes grinding a little, and Harry frowns as he steers around a corner. “Needs another service,” he tells Draco.

“Again? Should just replace the old thing,” Draco says.

Harry doesn’t believe that for a second. Draco always says that, every time yet another service has to be scheduled, but somehow they never get around to looking for a new car, and Harry has the feeling they’ll be driving the Renault until it’s held together by sheer determination and a little bit of magic. 

The headlights cut clear across the road. Draco talks for a while, of a conservation project he’s working on along the south-west coastline, growing and preserving rare coastal plants needed for potions. He plans to visit the coastline on the weekend, and Harry complains about his enforced plans with Hermione. 

“Honestly, Potter. You never learn, do you?”

“What? I did her a favour.”

“A favour?”

Harry nods. “I mean, imagine if she’d found out afterwards. Ink freshly drying on the birth certificate, and then someone casually lets slip that she’s named her kid in honour of Chudley Cannon’s third-worst captain.”

“Fourth-worst. You’re forgetting Mulgrave.”

There’s a pause, then Harry starts laughing. “Merlin, you really do listen to all Ron’s rants! If I didn’t know better — ”

“Oh, shut up.”

“ — I’d say you were rather fond of him.”

“I am not.”

“That’s so sweet.”

Draco makes an angry noise. “I’m going to file for divorce.”

“We’re not married yet.”

“I’m going to propose to you, spend six months planning an elaborate wedding, pay ludicrous amounts for a caterer and live music, go on a honeymoon to Italy, have an amazing time, and then file for divorce.”

“I’ll hold you to that. Oh, speaking of Italy, Neville’s returned. Got some new specimens he wants to show you.”

The conversation idly turns to other matters, until eventually it wanders into comfortable silence. Draco settles back in his seat, looking sleepy. Harry drives. On and on and on it goes, he thinks. On and on. It’s a long way home, but distance has never bothered him. 

Especially when he’s covering it with Draco. 

The highway unravels before him, an invitation onwards. He should take Draco to Snowdonia again, he thinks. It’s been too long since their last visit. They’ll sit beneath the ancient Welsh oaks and watch Neptune rise over the towering mountains. I wanted to find a place where nothing had changed, Draco had told Harry once. Harry likes thinking about that. One day he’ll stand in Snowdonia and look over his shoulder, and he might see all the other Dracos and Harrys who came before him. The very first Draco who found his way there, a lonely ghost stuck in time. The very first Harry who arrived there, eyes wide open, and thought he was going to tumble into the stars and never stop falling. 

Draco touches Harry, drawing him from his reverie, and curls his fingers over Harry’s hand. 

“Thought you were asleep,” Harry says. 

“I was, I think. Just for a minute or two.” Draco doesn’t open his eyes.

“I was thinking about Snowdonia.”

“Were you?”

“I’ve never been there alone. Is it different when you’re alone?”

Draco opens his eyes, watching the darkness roll past. “It’s quiet. Bigger, somehow. Emptier. The mountains seem to eat the stars.” He closes his eyes again, leaning his head against the cool glass of the window. “It’s better with you.”

“What’s better with me?”

“Everything,” Draco murmurs. 

Harry drives on, one hand resting on the steering wheel, the other still held by Draco. 

Everything, he thinks. Everything.

He drives on and on. 


Saturday arrives and Harry loiters around the kitchen as Draco makes his coffee, until Draco finally points a teaspoon at him.

“Absolutely not, Potter.”

“But — ”

“You’re not coming with me. You don’t need to. And I’m not pretending you do, because Molly will see right through that and she’s terrifying when she gets indignant.”

“But it’s not my fault — ”

“It most certainly is. Go away. I’m not getting you out of this.”

“The whole day!” Harry says forlornly, trailing after Draco. “Baby names. And you get to go down the coast. To Cornwall.” He pauses, then — mentally cataloguing Draco’s weak spots and deciding to go for the kill — adds, “Bet you’re going to Treknow. Remember last June? In that little seaside cottage. The one Astoria’s aunt owns. It would be nice to see it again.”

Draco stirs his coffee briskly, his back set to Harry, and says nothing.

“We could sneak in there,” Harry says. “The key’s under the mat.”

“I’m sure Astoria’s aunt will have a few choice words about that.” Draco keeps stirring the coffee despite Harry knowing the sugar has long since dissolved.

He grins, though he’s careful to keep his voice casual. “She’ll never find out. She only stays there in the summer. There’ll be nobody there except us.”

Draco finally puts the teaspoon aside. “Get that look off your face.”

“You can’t even see my face!”

“Get that look off it,” Draco repeats stubbornly. He takes a sip of his coffee and mutters, “Stupid git.”

Harry laughs.


The beaches near Treknow are abandoned at this time of the year. 

The ocean vanishes into a desolate horizon. The sand is wet and dark with rain. The sky is white with winter. Draco and Neville search among the sandy tussocks, murmuring to each other and collecting their specimens. Herbology has always been serious business between them; Neville helps Draco grow the rare ingredients needed for his potion business. There’s a lot of talk about sustainability and conservation and the like, and Harry’s content to leave them to it. He sits on a tussock of coastal grass instead, a long piece of driftwood resting against his leg like a rifle. He gazes up into the bleak sky, then drops his gaze to the ocean. The waves crest over and over. Rain speckles the sand. Draco is a lone figure searching amongst the coarse grasses. 

Harry gathers his cloak around himself and hums as he idly digs in the wet sand. Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly...

The sand mites scuttle away from the stick. The sand flecks Harry’s shoes. 

Blow bonnie breeze, and bring him to me...

Draco steps up behind Harry and rests his chin on his shoulder. “Hello,” he says, leaning his weight against Harry.

“Hello.” Harry closes his eyes against the white sky, feeling the warmth of Draco against him. After a moment, Draco loops his arms around Harry’s waist, pulling him back gently into an embrace.“Did you find what you were looking for?”

“Yes.”

“That’s good.”

“Yes, we can get out of this wretched weather,” Draco says. 

But he doesn’t move for a long time, and Harry’s content to stay there too.


On Christmas Eve they drive, drive, drive, and it’s quiet and dark and the long roads are endless, but this is their time. 

Tomorrow, on Christmas Day, they’ll go to the Burrow. It will be bright and cheerful and full of voices and song. All the Weasleys will be there, arguing over things and making fun of each other, and Ginny will get into arguments with Ron about Quidditch, and Mrs Weasley will over-feed everyone. Matthew will make a beeline for a delighted Mr Weasley and contentedly spend the entire day firing off questions about the magical world. Sophie will be spoiled terribly by everyone. Teddy will be there, and he’ll just be at the age where he pretends not to care too much when he sees all his relatives, but later on he’ll beg Harry for daring stories about his old escapades at Hogwarts, and he’ll watch in awe as Draco casts beautiful enchantments for him. Do the stars again, Harry can almost hear Teddy saying. The stars. Every year Teddy requests it without fail, and every year Draco shrugs and says, oh, that old spell? and then turns every ceiling into a star-filled sky as though he hasn’t spent the past few months practising that complex transfiguration just for Teddy. And Mrs Weasley’s expression will go all soft, and Andromeda will smile, and Teddy will laugh and cheer. 

In the afternoon, they’ll visit Narcissa, who will be perfectly cordial to Harry and greet him with a perfunctory kiss on the cheek, and it might be easy to mistake her cool composure for a hidden chilliness. But Harry knows better, and later on Draco will most certainly notice that Narcissa’s gift to Harry is slightly more expensive than her one to Draco, and will accuse her of blatant favouritism, and Narcissa will laugh and say nothing. Later on, in the evening, they’ll go to the drawing room, and Narcissa will drag out all the childhood photographs of Draco, much to Harry’s delight and Draco’s dismay. 

But tonight, it’s just Harry and Draco, driving nowhere. 

Everywhere.

This year, it’s Draco’s turn to drive.

“Well, it’s north, wherever it is,” Harry says as Draco drives, the streetlights flashing past.

“Don’t let me miss the Birmingham exit.”

Harry bolts upright. “You are not — ”

“What’s wrong with — ”

“ — absolutely not wasting our annual Christmas Eve trip on Birmingham.”

“You’re being very judgmental. You know, Birmingham has its charms. For example, Moseley Bog is quite nice this time of — ”

“You are not — ”

“The Hippodrome, can’t forget that. I’m actually quite excited about it.”

Harry narrows his eyes. He spots the upcoming exit for Birmingham and watches it like a hawk until they pass it by.

“Happy?” Draco asks, smiling at him.

“Yes,” Harry says firmly, and he settles back in his seat.

The motorway goes on and on. Harry watches the cars go by, thinking of all the other people going places. Going away, coming home. Always leaving.

Always coming back.

Draco exits the motorway, following an arterial road, and then stops seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

”Here?” Harry asks with surprise, looking around. They’ve stopped along a dark, narrow road, lined with snow-touched fields. Harry glances at Draco uncertainly, then opens the door and steps out. The icy night air bites him hard, and he shivers. He doesn’t remember this place. Why would Draco choose here for their annual Christmas Eve trip?

”This way, Potter. Away from the car, you know it doesn’t like magic.”

Harry follows Draco a few steps away from the car. “Where are we?”

”We’re not there yet.” Draco holds out his hand. “I’m afraid the trip is too long, even for us. Magic will take us the rest of the way.”

Harry looks down at Draco’s hand. A little portkey, in the shape of a Christmas bauble, rests on his palm. 

He looks at Draco again, then reaches out.


They arrive in a dizzying rush of magic, and Harry stumbles forwards into deep snow. He notices the darkness first — this is a place untouched by the lights of nearby cities. Above, the stars are so clear they seem to clutter the sky. 

“I got McGonagall’s permission,” Draco says. “No need to worry about the wards.”

Harry looks ahead.

Hogwarts rises up from the Scottish wilderness like a craggy mountain of stone and turrets. It glitters in the darkness with a hundred tiny lights. There’s a glow coming from the Gryffindor common room, and a matching one in the Ravenclaw tower. Though most of the students would have gone home for Christmas, the castle still seems so alive somehow. Harry can picture the corridors lined with candles and restless suits of armour. The stairways worn down with centuries of footsteps. The portraits yawning and shifting. In the Great Hall, the professors would be busy hanging garlands of holly and ivy. The kitchens would be a hive of busyness as the house elves prepared the great Christmas feast. 

Draco’s breath hangs silver in the dark air. Their footsteps crunch into the thick snow. They make their way past the Forbidden Forest and Draco pauses to say, “Detention in first year — ”

“Oh, Merlin. My first proper adventure.”

Draco smiles wryly. “I wouldn’t really call it an adventure. I was terrified out of my mind.”

“You ran. You ran and took the only lantern with you, you prat. Yes, I’m still mad about it.”

Draco laughs, and the sound echoes and bounds around the dark, still night. Overhead, a startled owl hoots. “Look,” he says, pointing ahead. “The old pitch.”

Harry makes his way across the untouched snow of the pitch, leaving a trail of footprints behind him, and looks at the goalposts. They always look so small, he thinks, when he’s in the air flying. But here, standing at the foot of one of the posts, it looks enormous. 

He looks up into the sky suddenly, as if he heard someone far above call his name. For a moment, he can see it: himself as a young child, thin and small, reaching out to catch his first ever snitch. Wide-eyed and full of wonder, his mind full of funny little spells and castles and cauldrons and broomsticks. His friends, cheering him on. The stands full of young students waving banners and flags. All the way back then, he thinks. Before he had even the slightest inkling of what his future might hold. 

Then he blinks, and it’s dark and cold and silent, and he’s gazing into nothing but a sky full of stars, every one of them white and crisp and perfect.

He glances at Draco. He’s staring into the sky too, and after a moment, he seems to sense Harry’s gaze, for he looks at him and says, “Just remembering.”

“When we were eleven.”

“Yes. When we were eleven.”

Harry looks up again. “I like to imagine the memories are all here. If you look hard enough. All the ghosts.”

After a moment, Draco says, “This is where you found the timeturner.”

Harry starts, and looks around. “Yes. Somewhere around here.”

“What are the coordinates?”

Harry is sure Draco’s setting up an elaborate joke, most likely beginning with the fact that Harry knows the coordinates by heart. He stubbornly refuses to fall into that trap. “Erm, let’s see...I’m not quite sure...”

Draco’s smiling at him. “You know it by heart. Don’t try pretending otherwise, Potter.”

Harry pulls a face at him, draws his wand, and mutters a navigation spell. “There. Near the goalpost.”

“Well, off you go.”

Harry gives Draco another suspicious look, although a certain nervous feeling is beginning to stir in his stomach. He goes to the area marked by the spell, glances at Draco, and then waits uncertainly. 

“See if you can find another timeturner, then,” Draco says, still smiling, his hands jammed in his pockets to keep them warm.

Harry pauses. “Defodio,” he says cautiously, watching the snow gouge itself from the earth, soon followed by the soil itself. In the darkness, lit only by the high stars of the Milky Way, he misses the tiny wooden box, but he hears the distinct thud, and he picks it up, brushing dirt from it. The box is plain, without markings, and held shut by a simple latch. After another glance at Draco, he flicks the latch and opens the box.

Six years ago, he stood here and found a silver snitch clasp. Now, he finds the same clasp – but it’s been amended. Now, the silver snitch is set into a simple ring.

“Oh,” he says, and he tries to pick up the ring but drops it; his hands are trembling a little. Draco will no doubt be amused, he thinks, but Draco doesn’t laugh. He comes over to Harry and leans down to pick up the ring, brushing the snow from it, and hands it to Harry. 

“Another memory for this place,” he says. “Two more ghosts. Of me and you.”

Harry closes his hand around the ring, feeling the icy metal against his palm, and then reaches out to touch Draco’s chin, drawing him forward into a kiss.

They stay there for a long time, the snow falling and the stars rising. 

Everything, Harry thinks.

Everything.