Summary: Harry meets a man and falls in love. All goes well, until their real identities are uncovered... Slash. Harry/Draco. Rated PG-13. (Post-Hogwarts.)

Disclaimer: Put simply, they don't belong to me.

A/N: This is a bit of a background chapter - call it a prologue if you're into that sort of thing. Just so you know, I'm planning for this fic to be 4 chapters long in total (unless I change my mind!).

Important A/N: Hopefully it should be fairly obvious who the three people in this chapter are. (HINT: they're all using different names and appearances!)

1. James Griffin.

"You should have seen her, James. It was like all her Christmases had come at once," Martin said to the man sitting next to him.
"Oh, it was not," Hetty complained playfully. "He's exaggerating."
"Yeah right, Hetty. And I suppose you're going to say it's just an honour to be asked?"
"It is. And do you have to call me that?"
Martin grinned.
"Oh, come on. It's only when Jim here graces us with his presence. Besides, it's not that bad; I'm sure I could think of worse."
"I thought your brothers already had?"
Martin's ears glowed a shade of red, highlighting the ginger in his brown hair.

"So, anyway," James interrupted, knowing only too well that his two best friends could easily continue in the same vein for hours. "Are you really going to do it? To edit the revised edition of Ho- er, Eton: A History?"
"Well, it is an excellent opportunity. I might even be able to persuade the author to mention the slavery that still goes on in such a respectable establishment."
Neither of the two men with Hetty made any comment.
"Are you ready to order dessert?" a waiter asked, saving James the trouble of having to change the subject.

They were in a restaurant in a Muggle part of Manchester that James had been meeting Martin and Hetty in regularly for the last couple of years. The restaurant staff knew this blue-eyed man with unruly brown hair by now; he was polite and usually tipped quite well, but prefered not to be fussed over. The waiter served their next course then left again.

"So, how's Noah?" Hetty asked as she began delicately gathering a mouthful of tiramisu onto her spoon.
"Noah? Has it really been that long?" James asked. "We split up weeks ago."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
James shrugged. "It's no big deal. We were only together about a month. I don't think he was over his ex."
Hetty nodded. "So, is there anyone new?"
James saw Martin roll his eyes.
"Leave the poor bloke alone, Hetty; I'm sure he'd tell us if we need to start booking a table for four instead of three," he said.
"What? There's nothing wrong with wanting your friends to be happy."
"I am happy," James told her. "I've got a job, a flat and friends, I'm not constantly looking over my shoulder any more and I don't get gawped at when I walk down the street. Just because you two tied the knot straight out of school doesn't mean the rest of us can't be happy without a ring on our finger."

Hetty sighed.
"I know, it's just... well, it seems like every time we see you you're with someone new. We never even get to meet them."
James couldn't help but smile.
"You make me sound like some sort of... what is it your mum calls them?"
"Scarlet women?" Martin supplied.
"Exactly. But there haven't been that many. I've only slept with - what - five men in the last two years. That's not that bad."
"But they don't seem to last do they?"
"Charming. Make me feel like a failure why don't you? Besides, what about Paul? We were together for nearly four months."
"Yeah, we're only twenty, Hetty. Let him have some fun. You're beginning to sound like mum."

Hetty turned to look straight at Martin, a dangerous spark in her eyes.
"Martin- Martin..."
"Smith?" James suggested.
"Martin Smith, I'll have you know that, as lovely as she is, I sound nothing like your mother and secondly, are you suggesting that a stable, long-term relationship can't be fun?"
"I wouldn't dare," Martin mumbled.
James snorted and faked a coughing fit over his ice-cream.

To be continued...

In Chapter 2: A rather attractive man walks into James' life.

A/N: Well, there you go - just a little snippet of conversation to set the scene. I hope it wasn't too confusing with the aliases. Just in case, there'll be a bit of catch-up at the beginning of the next chapter.
Note: we'll be PG-13 from Chapter 2 onwards.

This is a bit different from what I usually write (i.e. it's slash - and Harry/Draco, no less!) so feedback (comments, compliments or constructive criticism) would really be appreciated, especially in later chapters.
Until the next chapter,
myrtille et mure,