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Green Sweater

By Zandra Gorin

Romance

Green Sweater

And he has the nerve to ask why I don’t want him near that place. But then again, Harry supposes he has his own issues on spending horrendous amounts of galleons on things that can be bought at lower, more reasonable prices.

The food items, he can handle. The cutlery and pots and pans and kitchenware, he can let slide (who was he to argue when it benefited him and his curious attachment to the kitchen). The furniture and drapes and little trinkets around the house... he closes his eyes and tuts and staggers and grudgingly accepts. But the shoes and the coats and the scarves and the clothes, oh good Godric, the clothes... he can never wrap his head around why he needs so many and why they have to be so expen—

“What the fuck is this?” Harry half-groans, half-yells— one hand on the banister, another clutching a dark green sweater with a price tag that suggests how the galleons, in his opinion, could have fed three small families.

“That’s cashmere, in a shade of green that’s particularly difficult to find,” says an amused and partially exasperated voice, and the sound of it makes Harry’s aggravation melt just a little, “And you are defiling it with your clutching. Give it here.”

He looks at the other bags, neatly placed in a row beside the fireplace, mind reeling just at the thought of how all the other purchases would be just as, if not more, expensive than the article of clothing he now holds.

It’s green, and yes, the color is easy on the eyes but he fails to see what sets this kind of green as different from all the other green things in their closet.

“Draco,” Harry sighs as he eyes the offending price tag. He hands over the lumpy green thing reluctantly. “You have a massive pile of sweaters. Do you really need another one? Another expensive one?”

“I have long given up on trying to reason with you,” Draco sighs, “And this isn’t for me, you great big prat. It’s yours.”

Harry tries to keep a frown off his face. It’s not like he doesn't appreciate it when Draco buys him things, because he does. Appreciate it, that is. But he doesn't need an expensive green sweater— not when he has a perfectly fine one upstairs. “Draco...”

“No, that thing that you call a sweater is not perfectly fine and yes, you need this,” says Draco, raising his eyebrow.

“There’s nothing wrong with my sweater,” says Harry, slightly indignant.

“Have you seen the state it’s in? It would be a more acceptable lump of cheese than it would be as a sweater.”

“Well, it’s a lump of cheese that I’m particularly fond of,” says Harry, “Besides, I’m sure Molly will—”

“Alright,” Draco snaps.

Harry blinks. He is startled at the abrupt change of tone. “Er, Draco?”

“I’ve went ahead and got a head start at the gifts, if that’s alright with you,” says Draco, motioning to the row of bags that Harry had indeed seen.

“Of course it’s alright. Draco—”

“I’ll be in my study, then.”

Harry sighs, and then reaches up to rub his face. Draco is upset. Again. It hasn’t slipped his notice that these episodes were becoming alarmingly common. He says something. Draco says something. One or both of them snaps. And it was disheartening that this was happening so near the holidays.

He eyes the sweater that Draco has left on the couch, picks it up, and runs his fingers along the stitches before trying it on. It's soft, and it feels marvelously warm and comfortable on him.

He thinks of the faded yellow jumper that Molly has sent him last Christmas and he can't help but feel a twinge of guilt. It is a bit tattered and worn-out and it now does next to nothing at keeping him warm and... and maybe Draco was right. He does need a new sweater if he wants to get through the unbelievable coldness of this winter.

Harry trudges upstairs and into the study, still wearing the green sweater, and sees Draco standing in front of the large window, obviously lost in thought. The lamp next to him casts shadows across his face and Harry aches at the sadness and beauty of it all. He crosses the threshold and stands beside the blonde man.

“It’s snowing,” Harry murmurs. He looks to the gray sky. It looks like the beginning of a storm.

Draco mutters in assent, pale gray eyes flickering to Harry once before turning his attention back to the snowy landscape.

“What’s happening, Draco?” asks Harry in a voice that is soft and just about cracks around the edges.

“I don’t know.”

They are simple words, but Harry knows Draco well enough to hear the hidden plea. Fix it. Fix us. Please. And he wants to fix it, of course he does. The only problem is that Harry is just as lost as Draco. He doesn't know what to say to close this sudden gap between them. So he doesn't say anything at all. Instead, he reaches out and holds Draco’s hand, clutching it like a lifeline. And when Draco squeezes back, Harry breathes out. It isn't much, but it's enough.

Harry pulls the hand closer and feels a warm glow when Draco leans slightly on his arm.

“I do like the sweater. It’s very warm,” Harry says.

“It is, isn’t it?” Draco mutters.

Harry lifts their entwined fingers and puts a soft kiss on the back of Draco’s hand. “Thank you.”

There's a slight pause before Draco shrugs. “I saw you shivering last night in that beat-up old jumper. I know that you would’ve just waited for Molly’s gift instead of replacing it yourself,” Draco rolls his eyes, “But Christmas is weeks away, and that office of yours seems like it was built to wage war against warming charms. You would have frozen yourself while going through all that paperwork.”

“I didn’t notice.”

“Of course you didn’t. You hardly notice anything when it comes to your health,” says Draco with a disapproving frown on his lips.

Harry smiles slightly, “Like you’re any better.”

Draco shrugs. “Yes, well, that’s why I have you, isn’t it?”

And in a sudden flash of comprehension, Harry understands. Yes, Draco has him and lets Harry take care of him. But that isn't what the beautiful, maddening man beside him is trying to get across.

You have me, too. Let me take care of you.

Harry nods. “And I have you.”

Draco turns and gives him a quick kiss— a simple brush of the lips, and sighs. “Yes, you do.”

And when Harry's eyes flicker open, he sees that the earlier distress has gone. Draco is looking at him-- a smile on his lips, all warm grey eyes filled with that something that he can never name but makes his stomach leap and gives his chest pleasant bouts of warmth-- and he knows.

They would be alright.

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