"Harry!" Harry heard a voice call. Looking over in the direction it came from, he tried to spot the two ingrates.
There they were. Cedric was sitting at the bar, mug raised as high as his arm could reach, and Krum, glowering off at anyone, everyone, and nothing in particular, all at the same time.
Really, he shouldn't have needed to have looked, the two reprobates were in the same booth as always.
"Hey," he said, falling into the booth next to Krum.
Ignoring the prompting, Harry looked 'round the table and found his hard-earned prize: a mug full of golden bliss.
Reaching out, he took hold of it and tipped it over when it reached his mouth.
"Ahh," he said, smacking his lips. "That's better."
He went to swap his empty for the next full one, but Krum snatched his wrist. It was like his arm was caught in a vise.
With just a demanding grunt, Krum beckoned him to reply with a raised eyebrow.
"Fine, fine," Harry said as a benign smile formed on his face. "PANDAs really aren't too bad. A bit cute and cuddly, aren't they?"
"Oh, come off it," Cedric cried, placing his mug down with an audible thunk. "PANDAs are known to make people have mental breakdowns! McGonagall said she slept for nearly two weeks and Flitwick took two attempts to complete his!."
Harry looked up with a grin that was glittering with self-satisfied smugness. "I've got stamina for days," he said, palming his mug. "How else could I keep up with three wives?"
Looking Cedric in the eye, he gave him a wink and greedily gulped at his beer.
"You're such a prick," Cedric said with no malice as he scowled. "I'm going to find Daphne as soon as I get to the Ministry tomorrow and get the actual story."
With a roll of his eyes, Harry held his hands up. "They were brutal and I'm only here because I took a Pepper Up."
"Yah," Krum said, raising his mug with a dip of his chin. "It was easy to spot. The redness on the edge of your cheeks."
"What?" Cedric said, turning to him. "Easy?"
"You think we go to press and talk for so long after hours and hours of flying without Pepper Up?"
Cedric dropped his head onto the table. "This is what I get for being friends with you bastards," he said as he repeatedly tapped his head on the table.
He sat back up and shook his head.
"There's got to be worse things than friends with the only wizard to ace a PANDA and the youngest player to ever captain a squad to the World Cup." Harry used his elbow to bump Krum's shoulder. "Wouldn't you say so?"
With a puckish grin, Krum bobbed his head. "Imagine complaining about that."
"Oh, sod off."
Harry exchanged a look with Victor prompting the two of them to start laughing.
After studying rigorously for months, it was great to be out with the boys. And for as much as Cedric downplayed himself, he had a bright career in international politics burgeoning. Engaged to Cho, best friends with two internally famous phenoms and with his boyish charms, stellar reputation and being the kind of guy you couldn't help but like the second you met him, he was well on his way to a long, prosperous career.
That he and Daphne got on like tar and feathers only made things better for Harry.
He might not know all their schemes, but those two were amongst the most forward thinkers he'd been around. Especially when you threw Patrice and Apolline into the mix.
Harry shrugged. "I'll be a tosspot so long as I never need to take another Prostratingly Arduous & Nauseatingly Debilitating Assessment again."
"Dah," Krum echoed. "Another World Cup for me."
"Hey! Wait," Harry exclaimed. "I said I don't want another PANDA."
It was Cedric who rolled his eyes this time. "Right," he said. "You're done now. Completing just one PANDA when Dumbledore finished three."
He turned to Krum. "Somehow," he said. "I don't believe him."
"I hope he doesn't," Krum replied. And as he turned to Harry, the corners of his mouth upturned. "He'll have to make me a broom as soon as I get my second cup."
Cedric's head whipped around to Harry. "A broom?" he demanded.
After shooting Krum a nasty look, Harry sighed. "I'm not making one."
"Not until I win the bet," Krum agreed with impossibly casual arrogance.
"If you make him one, I'm getting one too," Cedric said, crossing his arms as he leaned back.
"I'm not making one!"
"Until I win," Krum agreed.
"I supposed I can find my Bulgaria gear for the next World Cup," Cedric said.
Dropping his head into his hands, Harry shook his head. "I don't even have a broom prototype!"
"Ah, yes, 'prototype'," Cedric said, doing air quotes. "But probably a dozen mock-ups."
Harry looked down into his half-full drink as he chewed on his lip. "If, and that is an if, I make one, you'll both be helping me test and refine it," he said after a moment. "But between preparing for the next PANDA, the women, and the project I'm tinkering with, it's not even on the docket at the moment."
"Until I win the cup again next year."
Just as Krum said that Harry's head rolled forward, and he barely kept himself from slamming his face into the table.
"Harry?" Cedric said, worry colouring his voice.
Before Harry would have had a chance to respond, Krum was holding him up. "Potion's worn off," Krums said, grabbing hold of Harry's arm. "I'll get him home."
"I can help."
"No, no," he said. "You finish your beer. I can handle him."
Cedric picked up his half-finished beer. "Cheers then," he said as Victor helped Harry to the door.
He'd just finished his drink when the waitress came back. "Here's the bill," she said. "You can settle up at the bar whenever you're ready."
Cedric's nose wrinkled as he glanced down at the bill. He looked for Harry and Krum, but the two were standing just outside the door laughing, vigorously waving at him.
"Those. Bloody. Bastards!"
Eh, it's been a bit since I'd dabbled in the ITT world. Just a bit of fun/fluff.
As always, thanks for beta reading Nauze.