Harry stopped the shower and listened carefully for a moment. No, he wasn't imagining it and there really was someone trying to come through his floo. He swiftly wrapped a towel around his hips and made it stick before padding into the living room and flicking his wand to allow entry to whomever it could be. Who else of course, he thought when Draco stepped through, pausing at the sight of the dripping Gryffindor.
"Is this some sort of a reverse of me coming round to yours when you were in just a bathrobe?" Harry asked with a raised brow, folding his arms over chest.
Draco looked at him for a long moment, startled by Potter's disregard for boundaries. Not that he was in any way proper most of the time, but this was Potter for Merlin's sake! His sharp gaze took in the black ink that spilled over both of Potter's shoulders and halfway down his right arm. In the intricate design of tree branches and other small images, he could even see the deathly hallows symbol. He never would have thought Potter desired that particular reminded of his youth permanently on his skin. It seemed he was wrong, as he often was when it came to Potter lately.
"Malfoy, you are staring and I am dripping on my teak floorboards. Why are you here?" Harry prompted, surprisingly not minding Malfoy's observation. Well they've been here before really, what felt like a life time ago at Hogwarts while sharing bathrooms, but still. It might have been the fact that the blond was not wearing his usual work robes or a suit as well. The light grey summer slacks and a navy polo looked designer but at least much less formal. That in itself was a surprise, for Malfoy being so casual was an unknown sight to Harry.
Draco cleared his throat and patted his shoulder bag. "I know you're officially on vacation but I had the day off and was wondering if you'd go over a few cases with me. It's mostly reviewing your arresting protocols and remembering any details that could help me in court."
Harry looked at the clock above his fireplace and nodded. "Have you eaten?" he asked, not answering Draco's question.
Draco raised a brow but shook his head. "Not yet."
"Good. Have a seat, I won't be long." Harry said and disappeared back around the corner.
Draco took off his bag and looked around the warm welcoming space. It was dynamic in its use of bold dark colours and contrast, but at the same time there were fabrics that invited to rest and relax. He sat in one of the armchairs and waited patiently, flicking his wand to dry the puddle Potter left behind on the wooden floor.
Harry soon returned, dried and fresh, sticking to comfort in his own home with some black jeans and a tee, his feet bare so he could feel the warmth of the wooden floors. They may still be on last name basis but he saw no point in not being himself. "What kind of coffee would you like?" he asked, motioning for Draco to take a seat at the table in the kitchen just around the corner.
"Is there a chance of a cappuccino?" he asked, wondering whether Potter knew what he was doing. The kitchen did however look like it was quite used and by the way Potter reached around the shelves with practiced ease, he had no worry.
"So, how many cases did you bring?" Harry asked while he picked up one of the knives from the magnetic strip and readied wooden boards before heading for the fridge.
"Four." Draco took three slim and one rather file out of his bag and set them on the table before him.
Harry raised a brow but his lips stretched in a light smirk nonetheless. "Do you ever do anything else other than work, Malfoy?" he asked suddenly, looking at his hands as he cleaned and cut up fresh strawberries.
Draco was taken aback for a moment at such a seemingly random enquiry. "Do you have a point, Potter?" he returned in imitation of the brunette's question.
Harry chuckled this time, pausing to look at the blond a moment. "I'm on a holiday, and you are lucky you didn't come round half an hour earlier because you wouldn't have even found me here. I am enjoying doing anything that has nothing to do with work. And here you are, with one day off to enjoy yourself and you decide to discuss work. With me. So I wonder, what is it that you do other than work?" he asked again and threw some butter onto the heated pan to melt with a soft hiss.
Draco leaned back in his seat and just watched Potter move around the space, managing the coffee maker, the skillet and the chopping board with practiced ease. "And what if this is the highlight of my free time? What if watching you make me a cup of coffee has always been my deepest fantasy and only just now is it coming true?" he drawled sarcastically.
Harry was not beyond responding by giving him the finger, something he last did when they were only 16, but did grin a moment later at the sound of Malfoy's laughter. Imagine, the two of them having breakfast in his flat and joking about insults instead of fighting and hexing each other's ass. Was he still asleep? The hot frothed milk brough him out of his musings and he swiftly cleaned up, pouring the milk over the shot of coffee and sprinkled cinnamon and cocoa over the top. He set it on the table along with his dark double espresso. "Breakfast first, I'm starved." he said, his belly rumbling in confirmation.
He set the plates before them and summoned the pitcher of fresh pear juice his neighbour brought over just last evening. "Enjoy. I guess it's not your usual spread but this is what I eat, so that's what you're getting today." he shrugged and sat down, diving in for the eggs.
Draco raised a brow but he had to admit it looked and smelled rather appetising. Scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and a bowl of fruit salad. "No burnt toast or treacle tart? I remember your fondness for both..." he teased but began eating with appetite as well.
Harry took a sip from his coffee. "No complaining about lack of pancakes and croissants? I remember your fondness for both..." Harry replied with a grin, looking at the blond over the rim of his cup.
Draco watched him for a moment as he chewed slowly. "There is something about you, Potter... I don't know whether it's dropping the weasel and Granger behind, or just generally coming to your senses but you actually aren't half bad for company..." he drawled teasingly but honestly.
"My, what high praise coming from a Malfoy." Harry deadpanned and pushed his empty plate away to enjoy his coffee better.
"What? No compliment back? My soul is wounded, you should be basking in my glorious presence.." Draco shook his head in reprimand.
Harry chuckled into his coffee. "My apologies, your highness. It is an utmost pleasure to share this humble spread with your glorious self this morning." he imitated a perfectly posh accent flippantly.
Draco grinned. "Malfoys always get their way."
"And Potters always challenge Malfoys." Harry replied cheekily just as the floo roared to life once more.
"UNCLE RYRY!" Teddy called and began running around the apartment on his still unsteady feet, finally finding them in the kitchen.
Harry had just enough time to stand up and catch him with a chuckle, lifting the happy boy onto his hip. "Hey there, squirt." he tickled the boy's side and pressed a kiss to his forehead. "How is my favourite godson today?"
Teddy beamed and hugged him tightly before noticing the blond at the table. "Hooo tis?" he asked, pointing at the man.
Draco sat back and watched with amusement as Potter handled the child. Who would have thought.. If he was right, this boy was the son of his cousin, Nymphadora. And the heir of the Black inheritance, which made them sort of cousins as well. Draco himself never took interest in children, and considering his own parentage didn't know whether he would be apt at raising a child differently than his own father did. But he had to admit the curious look and the rainbow hair was rather endearing, even though he wouldn't say so out loud even under cruciatus.
"That is Draco Malfoy, a friend. And if I'm not wrong, he is family as well." Harry mused, raising a brow at the blond in question.
Teddy squirmed in his hold, trying to get down so Harry let him. He padded over to Draco and stood before him, looking up curiously with his golden eyes. "Drey-ko?" he asked, trying to make up his mind whether he liked the blond or not.
Draco nodded. "Hello...Teddy." he said softly, looking at the charming little boy.
Andromeda found her way after her wayward grandson and paused in the door at the sight before her. "I'm sorry, you said you were free today? I didn't know you had guests." he said, eyeing Draco with composure but it was clear she was not sure how to react to him.
Harry picked Teddy up again and Draco stood from the table walking closer and pressed a kiss to the back of her hand, his manners impeccable as always. "Lady Black, a pleasure." he said, not sure they have ever been introduced before.
Andromeda looked him over and inclined her head almost imperceptibly. "Charming. I would expect no less from the son of Cissy and Lucius." she said, acknowledging him in her own way before turning back to Harry. "Is it not a good time? I know we are a little early..."
Harry shook his head. "You're always welcome, early or late." he smiled and ruffled Teddy's hair. "Would you just wait here a moment while I say goodbye to..Draco?" he asked, sharing a look with the blond who nodded and packed up his files.
"Of course." Andromeda eyed them both for a moment before seating Teddy at the table to wait for his uncle.
Draco nodded to Andromeda and headed for the floo where he waited for Potter to join him. "Thanks at least for the breakfast." he surprised the brunette.
Harry nodded, slipping his hands into the back pockets of his jeans. "Yeah, you're welcome. No matter how interesting your timing was." he grinned. "Are you back to work tomorrow then?"
"Yes, I only took the day off so I could work from home." Draco explained and looked towards the kitchen. "A little trouble never hurts but Lady Black didn't seem happy to see me."
Harry shrugged. "I know little of family according to your definition so I can't judge, but I better get back in there before Teddy discovers that banging a wooden spoon against pots is fun. Again." he grinned at the blond. "Hey, uhm..you need those cases reviewed by tomorrow, right?"
Draco nodded. "Two of them need to be passed to the Minister as head of Wizengamot, and two to my head of department first thing in the morning."
"And are you free tonight?"
Draco looked at him in surprise. "I have no plans, for the moment." he admitted.
"Well I will be getting Teddy back to Andromeda at 6, so if you want, I'm free after that discuss the files as long as a dinner is involved." Harry offered, knowing he will be starved after the active day with his godson. But one day of work couldn't hurt and he might have teased the blond earlier but he was surprisingly enjoying the sarcasm and banter.
Draco contemplated the offer a moment longer. "Alright, shall we say at 7 then?"
"Sounds good. Where?"
"Well we can't possibly eat in a Wizarding restaurant. Can you imagine the gossip?" mused the blond.
Harry rolled his eyes before an idea struck him. "Do you like Italian food?" and waited for the blond to nod before continuing. "I have a favourite restaurant in the muggle neighbourhood. If you want, we can have dinner or coffee there and discuss the cases in relative privacy."
"Not bad, Potter. Where is this establishment?" he asked, adjusting the strap on his shoulder.
"Here in Soho, not far from my flat. Why don't you floo over here and I can apparate us straight into the alley behind it?" Harry suggested.
"Alright then. See you later Potter." Draco extended his hand towards the brunette.
Harry shook it firmly and watched the blond leave for a moment before a loud bang from the kitchen made him rush in. Not the pots...
8:00 PM, SOHO
"...no, I mean the suspect was particularly hostile and resisted arrest to the point where he hurt Auror Pidyfoot. In one moment he even tried swinging at me while he kept the others at bay magically, which you can imagine was not the smartest of strategy." Harry shook his head at the idiocy of the young man they arrested a week ago.
"No, I imagine not. He sounded only partially challenged, judging by the statement taken on the day of arrest. But to use magic on a couple or Aurors and fists on the one who vanquished the Dark Lord, that is pure idiocy." Draco mused with amusement, even though the memories of war were still the cause of his nightmares sometimes. After two years, he was at least capable of talking about his teenage years and life back then. Not with Potter though, yet at least.
Harry rolled his eyes. "I just mean the fact that he let himself be surrounded and did not use his magic in a balanced manner. But that's all I remember, really." he said and sipped some more of his wine. He looked around and smiled, relaxing much more than he ever did in a magical restaurant.
'Casa de Botticelli' was a small hidden restaurant in Soho, where everyone was welcome no matter who you were and what you believed in. Harry chuckled when he was greeted by Piero, a grinning waiter in elegant black shorts, a smart white shirt...and red platform heels. The Gryffindor was a regular customer, knew the owners, and always had Piero sit with him for a few moments if it wasn't too busy. Draco was a little bemused when he saw the restaurant at first but once they stepped in and he let the atmosphere draw him in, he relaxed and chose the wine for them. They took their time over antipasti, deciding to deal with work first before enjoying the authentic food properly afterwards.
"Are you still talking about the boring stuff?" Piero asked as he picked up their empty plates.
"Now now, my friend, you know how much I love being an Auror." Harry grinned and chuckled a moment later at Draco's warning gaze. "Relax, Piero is a squib." he revealed to the blond who relaxed again.
Piero returned with another bottle of water for them to share and sat on Harry's leg for a moment while he took out his notepad. Draco's eyebrows near disappeared into his hairline when Potter merely took another sip from his wine and leaned back in his chair so the young man straddling his knee was comfortable.
"So what can I get you? Will you have your regular, my darling?" he asked Harry, turning to look at him over his shoulder flirtatiously but mostly teasingly.
Harry just chuckled and shook his head. "I'm in the mood for Giulia's home made pasta. Can I get it filled with pecorino and pears?"
"Sure you can, if you get me a cushioning charm for my feet. My ankles are starting to hurt but these are just too gorgeous to be taken off." Piero sighed, looking at his heels longingly.
"Deal." Harry grinned, glad he took his wand with him.
"And what would you like, handsome?" Piero smiled brilliantly at Draco. His eyes were dark and tantalising, olive skin smooth and inviting.
If Draco didn't know better, he would have thought the waiter a siren... "I'll have the frutti di mare risotto." he said kindly but with little interest. Italians were passionate lovers and partners, but Draco prefered them for one night only. And if this place provided good food, he would perhaps like to come here more often, which would be awkward if he slept with the waiter who seemed to be loved by everyone.
Piero pouted but wrote it down and stood up. "Alright then, be that way." he told Draco before turning to Harry. "Meet me in the bathroom?"
Harry nodded and chuckled as his friend sauntered away. "Would you excuse me for a moment? I am going to ensure I get the right plate."
Draco nodded silently and watched him disappear after the waiter. Strange, so very strange. First the way he behaved in the morning, and now this. He was uncovering a facet of Potter's personality previously unknown to him, and observing behaviour that he never thought he would see in Potter. The confidence in his identity and body for one, like a rebirth. Perhaps it was, for both of them, this new life and a new chance. And maybe they could now be more than just ex-rivals. Either way, Draco decided to stick around and see if they could be friends with Potter.
Harry returned soon and poured them both another glass of the delicious wine. "Sorry about that but Piero sometimes brings me a different plate to make me eat new things. And tonight I'm in no mood to argue with him." he explained.
"You know him well, this Piero. It almost looks like the two of you..." he waved his hand a little vaguely, but his meaning was clear. He didn't want to presume crudely though.
Harry chuckled as he realised what he meant. "Oh no, I didn't lie when I said I haven't been with a man yet. Plus, I'm not his type. Neither is he mine."
"Oh? What is that? Ginger I presume." Draco teased, remembering Potter's interest in the Weasley girl clearly.
Harry shook his head before taking a sip from his glass. "Blond and beautiful, actually." he said almost nonchalantly, looking towards the kitchens. He wasn't sure what made him say that, as he was open to appreciating a person no matter their appearance. But it was true that he had once been obsessed with watching Malfoy's every step in sixth year, and ever since then his head would occasionally turn after a man or a woman of similar looks. "Oh look, that is us I think." he said just before Piero arrived at their table.
"There we go, your risotto and pasta. Enjoy and give me a wave if you need anything." the Italian smiled brightly. "And thanks for the charms, my darling. Kinda feels like flying when I walk." he bent down to press a quick platonic peck to Harry's cheek and hurried off.
They finished their dinner mostly in companionable silence, sharing a few more words about work and the restaurant before parting for the night with another handshake. That night when Draco let the shower wash away his day, his mind wanted to return to the plentiful information Potter provided him, but instead it kept returning to the Gryffindor's nonchalant admission. It looked like he had much to contemplate when it came to the Chosen one.