Summary: Harry is in France, brooding as most teenage boys do, trying so very hard not to be noticed, when Fleur spots him. She stops him right in his tracks (literally) and they end up having "coffee" - as Fleur so delicately puts it.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
A/N: This little plot bunny attacked me while I was watching Sex & the City (when Carrie was in France), but it's got nothing to do with that, really. Many thanks to my beta reader, Vanishing Act AKA Amena.
CAFFEINE ADDICTION IN PARIS BY AGENT BAMBI
The crowds were pressing in around him, and Harry felt utterly lost amidst all the people. This, however, did not bother him; the sole reason he had come to France was that he wanted to get lost in the crowds. People weren't as accustomed to recognizing him in the street here and he felt more at liberty to act as he pleased, rather than acting to please everyone but himself.
He knew, of course, that if he had truly wanted to disappear from the remarkably perceptive eyes of the Wizarding world, he could easily have vanished into the Muggle world, never to be seen again. He wasn't here because he wanted to rid himself of the problematic world of magic that had had him fighting bad guys back-to-back every year since his eleventh birthday. No, he was here because he simply wanted a break.
Finally having completed his seventh year at Hogwarts, he was now one of the few graduates that had yet to decide what career paths they wanted to pursue. Had he allowed himself to be swept by other people's opinions, Harry would have undoubtedly found himself living the dangerous life of a nineteen-year-old Auror for the Ministry of Magic. Or at least, the slightly less dangerous life of a nineteen-year-old wizard in Auror training.
However, he wasn't entirely sure that this was what he wanted – having faced so much evil over the years hadn't exactly made him hungry for more.
Too absorbed in brooding over his prospects, Harry didn't realize that somebody was calling his name.
Fleur Delacour was twenty-something, unemployed and – for the first time in her life – single. She was currently indulging in what she liked to call retail therapy. While other girls turned to chocolate to console their woes, Fleur was far too obsessed in maintaining her perfect figure to even dream of such a thing.
Food was bad, she had decided at the tender age of thirteen, or at least in excessive quantities. Fleur prided herself on being able to learn from others' mistakes; she had seen too many a desperate, single, overweight woman to realize how crucial it was to steer clear of carbohydrates and proteins.
But that hardly mattered now. She was shopping! Having visited all the boutiques within walking distance of her apartment, she had now ventured into Chemin de Traverse, France's equivalent of Diagon Alley, to do a different sort of shopping – boy shopping. Nothing delighted her so as to see cute wizards swooning before her feet. It did wonders for a girl's confidence.
Passing La Librairie Magnifique, she noticed a face in the crowd traveling towards her that sparked a minute pang of familiarity within her. As he passed by her, she realized that – with a mop of untidy black hair, green eyes and a lightning-shaped scar to boot – it was none other than Harry Potter.
"'Arry!" she cried, loud as she could over the noise of the magical community bustling around her, but he did not seem to hear. A ghost of an indignant pout played on her lips. Fleur tried again – "'Arry! 'Arry Potter!" – but to no avail. Harry continued walking.
"Hmph! Zat will not do!" she exclaimed in frustration. She muttered something under her breath, and watched with a smile as Harry Potter stopped dead in his tracks.
"'Arry," she whispered in his ear from behind him. Coming around to face him, she was greeted with Harry's shocked expression.
"Fleur?" he said after a beat, flabbergasted.
"'I 'it you with ze Impediment Curse," Fleur announced, beaming as if this was quite a normal way to stop someone that you wanted to talk to.
"Yes," said Harry flatly, not quite knowing how to respond to the blatant revelation. Or perhaps it was a confession? Fleur didn't exactly look apologetic to him…
"We must 'ave coffee!" she declared, not offering an apology or even a justification for her actions. Hooking her arm underneath his, she dragged Harry to the nearest café.
Harry sat in an armchair covered with plush cushions, across a round table from Fleur. She was staring at Harry expectantly, as if he should be the first to offer a topic of conversation.
"So," Harry began uncertainly. "What – um – what are you doing here? I heard you were working at Gringotts in London?"
Fleur shook her head dismissively, her golden hair dancing around her pretty face. "Oh, I quit zat job last year!" She wrinkled her nose delicately. "It was too dirty for me."
Harry nodded understandingly as if he knew what Fleur was talking about. But he had no clue what he was doing in a café the heart of Chemin de Traverse, sitting with Fleur Delacour of all people – much less what Fleur was talking about.
The waiter arrived, saving Harry from an awkward silence that had shifted over the conversation. He ordered an espresso, his usual choice of beverage these days.
Casting an appraising eye over the waiter, Fleur ordered a café au lait in a silky voice and the waiter blushed to the roots of his hair. Mumbling something that Harry did not quite catch – undoubtedly in French - he disappeared back into the café.
Fleur was not only beautiful but she liked to flaunt it, too. But even without her haughty attitude, boys and men of all ages were drawn to her; she was part Veela. Harry remembered to when he had seen full-blooded Veela for the first time at the Quidditch World Cup. He had wanted to jump off the railing in the hopes of "impressing" them with his heroics. And although Fleur was only part Veela, Harry desperately wanted to say something witty or to make her laugh - or anything, for that matter.
But nothing came to his mind, so after a moment, he prodded hesitantly, "So…are you still seeing Bill Weasley?"
Fleur laughed haughtily, again shaking a mane of beautiful white blonde hair. "Of course not! Zat was last year! I am single, now," she admitted, lowering her eyelashes demurely.
The waiter returned, still blushing furiously, and set their coffees on the table in front of them. Harry gulped down the rich, black coffee. Here he was, sitting across the table from a beautiful woman. And she was single. And he had nothing to say to her.
"I live nearby," Fleur said casually. "Maybe you will come to my place for…coffee?" She batted her eyelashes suggestively.
Harry choked and spurted coffee everywhere. Fleur, who had been playing with his feet under the table, had now taken off her shoes and was sensually massaging his inner thigh with the toe of her foot.
Fleur giggled. "Just for coffee, silly," she said in a faux-scolding tone.
"Coffee?" Harry said weakly as Fleur stood up and placed some foreign coins onto the table, leaving her cappuccino untouched on the table.
- fin -
A/N: Review please!