A Casual Conversation

Harry and Draco had met in Hogsmede that day quite by accident.

Ron and Hermione were having their 'alone time', and Harry had no qualms about giving it to them. He certainly didn't want to sit awkwardly and avoid watching while they cuddled and kissed across the table from him.

Draco had just been wandering by himself, having separated himself from Pansy and her troupe of giggling girls, and he had no inclination to find them again. They'd met outside Madam Puddifoot's just before the storm broke, and had rushed inside to avoid the dulge.

Having found no better options inside the crowded teashop, they sat down together at the last available table and ordered. They'd struck a truce at some point that year, Harry and Draco. They didn't fight nearly as often, and sometimes even shared a friendly word or two. This was quite different from sharing a table at Madam Puddifoots, but both seemed willing to try, as the only other option was trudging through the pouring rain outside.

"So," Draco said after their tea had arrived. "Have you ever been in here before?"

"Once," Harry said hesitantly. Draco frowned slightly, but indicated that he continue. "With Cho Chang, in fifth year."

Draco raised his eyebrows slightly and took a sip of tea.

"It was terrible," Harry said bluntly. "Well, at first I suppose it wasn't so bad. Kind of awkward, though." Harry sighed and shook his head. "Then she started going on about Cedric Diggory and how Roger Davies took her here too. As if I want to hear that!" Harry was warming to his topic, as it seemed he had a sympathetic audience. Draco nodded in all the right places, and looked properly shocked when Harry wanted him to. "Then, after I mentioned needing to meet with Hermione - that was the day I gave that interview for the Quibbler - she talks about Cedric some more, then bursts into tears and storms out! It was mortifying!" Harry shook his head as he finished, taking a sip of tea and glancing up at Draco, who had a small smirk on his face.

"The worst part though, is that I think I could've prevented all that. If I'd just taken her hand from the start, or something like that. But I couldn't!" He looked up at Draco with a grimace on his face. "Her hand was inches away, and I couldn't reach out that close and take it. Pathetic, huh?"

Draco eyed Harry for a moment, then said, "Potter, you've got to be confident about these things."

"What do you mean?" Harry asked with a slight frown.

Draco thought for a moment. "Did you ask her out?"

"No," Harry responded, flushing slightly. "Well, sort of. But she was the one that asked if I was doing anything that weekend."

Draco grinned. "Well. She obviously liked you then. Meaning she wouldn't have hexed you for holding her hand. She wanted you to.

"Look, pretend I'm you and you're her." Harry raised an eyebrow, but nodded. Draco continued. "You've got to know how to do it. Casual confidence is key. Start talking about something. Anything will work. Or even let her talk."

Draco set down his teacup, watching Harry carefully.

"Keep eye contact, right? Then, when her hand is on the table," His eyes darted down to Harry's hand, which was resting by the sugar bowl, and back up to hold his gaze again. "You casually twine your fingers together with hers." He wove his and Harry's fingers together. "And then lift them so that only your elbows are touching the table." He did so, still staring into Harry's eyes. Harry looked right back, and unconsciously shifted closer to the table.

"If you're doing well, she'll shift closer to you," Draco said, smiling almost imperceptibly. "Continue the conversation, casually. Don't acknowledge what you're doing."

He tipped their hands toward his side of the table, causing Harry to shift to the edge of his seat.

"Tilt your hands back, and she'll move even closer. Hopefully close enough that all you have to do is lean...in...a little..." He leaned over the table, fingers still entwined with Harry's, until they were close enough that their noses brushed slightly. "And kiss her."

His lips were mere centimeters from Harry's, and he held himself there for a moment, still gazing into Harry's eyes, which now looked a bit glazed.

Harry tilted forward slightly, and Draco sat back in his seat.

"After your first little kiss," he said, slightly out of breath, "You go up to the bar to refill your drinks and give her time to catch her breath."

Draco stood, picking up his and Harry's teacups. "Be right back," he said over his shoulder.

As soon as Draco left, Harry collapsed back in his seat, trying desperately to even out his breathing.

"What was that?" he muttered softly.

By the time Draco returned a minute or so later, they were both composed enough to continue the conversation.

"Draco," Harry asked thoughtfully. "How does that go again?"

He looked into Draco's eyes, which had widened slightly at the name, not to mention the question. "I'm me and you're her, yeah? Casual conversation? Say I start talking about the Kestrels chances this season?"

Draco frowned slightly and tapped his finger on the table.

"What if I'm not interested in Quidditch, Harry? But yeah, casual conversation."

Harry nodded, and still watching Draco carefully, took his hand and laced their fingers together. "So then I just take your hand?"

"Yes," Draco responded softly, inching closer to the table.

"And tilt our hands a bit?" Harry tilted their hands back, and Draco shifted closer, eyes still locked on Harry's.

"That's right," Draco said quietly.

"Then I just...shift...and..." he moved carefully, until he and Draco were once again centimeters apart.

"Kiss me." Draco murmured.

"Okay," Harry murmured back, then closed the miniscule distance between them and kissed Draco carefully on the lips.

He pulled back a few moments later, and looked cautiously at Draco for his reaction.

Draco grinned slightly, and said, "See Harry? It's all about the casual confidence."