A/N: Definite, DEFINITE IitC Spoilers


THE SEEKERS - 4 - WHISKERS IN A TWIST


"Potter."

Harry looked up from the stack of reports at the blonde wizard stood in front of his desk, and scowled. "What?"

Draco Malfoy's face was the picture of cool disdain, "Have lunch with me, would you?"

Harry dropped his eyes to Draco's hands, which were clasped lightly in front of him. The right middle finger was tapping a gentle rhythm against the left knuckles. Harry rose from his chair, grabbing his cloak from the seatback. "Let's go."

"I beg your pardon?" Draco gave him a look of confusion.

"I said, 'Let's go," Harry gestured exaggeratedly towards the door to the DMLE.

"Where's the exasperated sigh, the 'really ferret'? The 'not now I'm actually a very important auror'?" Draco's eyes had narrowed in suspicion.

"Normally your requests are less of the polite variety and more in the run of 'come on, loser, we're going for lunch.'" Harry started walking as he spoke, and Draco followed behind him.

"I've never called you a loser."

"You've called me many variations on the theme." Harry pressed the button for the lift, looked up and down the deserted corridor, and then met Draco's eye. "Are you going to tell me what's got you all worked up now, or should I wait until we're out of the building?"

Draco's expression didn't change, but two spots of pink crept into his pale cheeks as he followed Harry into the lift. "What makes you think something's up?"

Harry sighed, lifting his glasses to rub at his eyes. "You're twitchy, Malfoy. And you asked me nicely to come to lunch with you." As the bell pinged to announce their arrival at Atrium level Harry stepped out and strode towards the Flooplaces. "We're not doing that, by the way," he said over his shoulder.

"Not doing what?" Draco hissed, catching up to Harry just as he took a handful of Floo powder from the pot.

"Going for lunch. I'm going to need alcohol before I can cope with whatever's got your whiskers in a twist, so we're going to the pub." He didn't wait to hear Draco argue with him before he stepped into the emerald green flames and yelled, "The Leaky Cauldron!"

By the time Draco had stepped from the fireplace and was dusting imaginary soot from his immaculate robes, Harry had placed an order at the bar. When the blonde wizard reached his side he slid two glasses towards him.

"What is this?" Draco frowned.

"Boilermaker," Harry said, tipping back his shot of Firewhiskey, "Aah! Muggles and their endless innovation, eh."

Draco winced slightly, but lifted his own shot glass and swallowed the contents before grimacing, "Merlin, Potter, I thought you were rich. Why are you buying broomstripper?"

Harry shrugged, "If I was buying it to savour it, I'd buy the good stuff. I'm not, so I won't. Cheers," he said, raising his pint glass to Draco's.

The blonde rolled his eyes, a habit he'd managed to acquire from Hermione over the last couple of years, and Harry fought to suppress his grin as Draco begrudgingly clinked glasses with him.

"So," he said, after they'd sat in silence sipping their ales for a good five minutes. "Did you just want the pleasure of my company or -"

"I got promoted." Draco murmured, more to his half-empty glass than to Harry.

"Oh no," Harry's eyes widened, "That's the one where they give you a more important job and more money isn't it." He clasped Draco's shoulder, "Mate, that's terrible."

"You're fucking hilarious Potter." Draco's voice was still low but Harry realised suddenly that he sounded truly miserable.

"Well," he said evenly, "Why don't you explain to me why this promotion is a bad thing."

"It's Junior Envoy -" Suddenly things started to seem a little clearer " – in New York."

Harry whistled a sigh, "How long for?"

Draco grimaced again, "At least two years."

"And Hermione starts at Cambridge in –"

"September."

Harry squinted down into the bottom of his suddenly empty pint glass. "Ah. Yes. Why aren't you talking to Theo about this?"

There was a drop of moisture on the bartop and Draco pushed at it with his finger, a tiny nudge of silent, wandless magic. "He's still at that monastery in Tibet with Luna." He looked up at Harry, face pained. "She sent me a howler last time I tried to Floocall, Potter. A howler. From a silent retreat. It was fucking disturbing."

Trying not to grin, Harry asked, "And Blaise?"

Draco waved a hand, "On location somewhere. Lots of muggles, can't get close to him."

"Pansy?" Harry heard the whine of desperation in his own voice.

Draco shot him a pained look, "Are you joking?"

"Yeah, yeah." Harry muttered. "I think we need another round."

Signalling to Tom, Draco drained the last from his own glass, then set it down carefully on the polished wood and fixed Harry with his pale gaze, "Do you think I should take it?"

Harry frowned, "It's the Junior Envoy position to the Magical Congress of America. I thought you had designs on being head of the Department for International Magical Cooperation."

"I also have designs on Granger not breaking up with me."

About to take a sip of his fresh beer, Harry screwed up his face in confusion, "I don't see how the two are linked?"

"Because, Potter!" Draco's voice was an angry hiss, "I want her to come with me."

"Well ask her, then. She'll understand, you know. Hermione's very pragmatic."

"If she comes with me, we have to be married. They won't issue her a visa otherwise."

"Malfoy." Harry tried very hard not to let impatience bite at his voice, "You two have been engaged for nearly five years. I don't think Hermione has a problem with the idea of marrying you."

"Potter you don't understand!" Draco's voice had acquired a distinct edge of panic, and Harry looked at him in alarm. "It's…sort of a joke how long we've been engaged, and we've always said we'd get married after she finished studying, and I want it to be perfect, not some rush job for the purposes of convenience, and I'm asking her to give up her life here and change her plans and actually marry me and -"

He stopped when Harry started laughing. "What is funny?"

"Oh Godric," Harry wheezed, "Malfoy. Draco. You're such a prat."


(For LightOfEvolution)