A/N: This is a Harry/Draco one-shot I wrote for my best friend and platonic partner. She gave me the original idea: "There's a girl who works in a coffee/chocolate shop. Draco comes to the shop to buy something and ends up talking to her about Harry, asking for advice." The story is written from that (Muggle) girl's POV, and focuses on the relationship between her and Draco (friendship) and the relationship between Draco and Harry (romance). It's a very mild T rating. I will probably try to write another version from Draco's POV, for reasons that will likely become obvious after reading this story. Readers, let me know if you'd be interested.

Please inform me of any errors, and I will do my best to correct them. Reviews are love. Enjoy!

Strangers are Just Friends You Haven't Met Yet

Lina first noticed the blond-haired man on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-February. It had begun to rain several minutes before, a dense, heavy downpour. He rushed into the café just behind a pair of women with ostentatious turquoise and lavender umbrellas. As they quickly snatched up the last two armchairs by the fireplace, he stood to the side of the doorway, brushing the water from his black pea coat and his hair. Then he went straight up to the counter, which Melanie was currently working, and ordered a hot ginger tea.

Melanie raised her eyebrows at Lina when she called back the order (needlessly, because Lina had been listening when the blond man placed it). The eyebrow-raise was one of Melanie's codes: The higher her eyebrows went, the more attractive she thought the customer. Lina shrugged and jerked her head slightly in the direction of the counter, where the women with the vivid umbrellas stood waiting. As Melanie turned to take their orders, Lina finished making the tea and scanned the room for the blond man. He had settled himself at a table in the back corner of the room, near the window that overlooked the main road. Lina picked up the large cup and saucer and maneuvered her way over to him.

The blond man was staring pensively out at the rain when she arrived. He had taken off his coat and hung it on the back of his chair. Underneath it, he wore a navy blue button-up shirt that nicely complemented his pale skin and light hair. He was a nice specimen, Lina thought, studying the slender build of his shoulders and the defined shape of his chin. More than that, there was an intriguing air about him. He had the kind of proper presentability one came to expect from the wealthy; his jeans looked expensive, and he had the prettiest nails Lina had ever seen on a boy. At the same time, Lina thought she detected some level of grief in his demeanor, as well as a trace of uncertainty. She found herself considerably curious.

"Awful day to forget the umbrella," she said conversationally, setting the cup down in front of him.

The man looked up sharply, as though he hadn't heard her approach. "Oh. Yes, I suppose so. Thank you," he added, pulling the cup towards him. His voice was a little higher than she had expected, but soft. He picked up the spoon from the edge of the saucer and gave the tea a stir.

"Hopefully you can head straight home after this," Lina continued. "No more errands today?"

"No, no more errands," he agreed, still staring down at his tea.

Lina hesitated, wondering if she could possibly keep this bloke talking; he didn't seem very inclined towards opening up. Then, abruptly, he turned to face her again. His grey eyes were probing.

"I'm sorry, but I... I need advice, and I'm not sure... Could I ask you a rather strange question?"

Lina, doing her best to contain her excitement, gave the man what she hoped was an encouraging smile. "Of course. Go ahead."

"It might take a few minutes," the man said cautiously. He gestured to the chair across from him, indicating that Lina could sit if she wanted. Lina glanced around the room. No new customers had come in since this man and the two women with the umbrellas. Melanie was sitting on a stool behind the counter and looking down at her lap – undoubtedly reading some novel or other until another patron arrived. Lina had time. She promptly took up the chair.

"I'm Lina," she told him, holding her hand out to shake.

"Lina," he echoed. He looked a little overwhelmed by the introduction, as if it were more intimacy than he had bargained for. He recovered himself quickly, however, and reached out to grasp her hand lightly with his. "Draco."

"Draco," Lina repeated, enjoying the sound of the unusual name. She knew she would have no trouble remembering it. "So. What can I help you with, Draco?"

The corners of Draco's lips turned down in a fleeting grimace. "It… It's difficult to know where to begin," he admitted, his eyes apologetic. He leaned back into his chair, wrapping his hands around the warm teacup and fixing his gaze on the table. "Suppose," he said slowly, "that someone you used to hate, and someone who hated you equally, did something to help you. He did this something without your knowledge or your permission. It's been years since it happened, but you only just found out recently. Do you forget about it and move on, or do you try to contact him?"

"Hmm," Lina said, trying to decide on the best way to extract more information. "I guess it would depend on what he did to help me. And on how much we hated each other."

"Everyone who knew us would have called us enemies," Draco explained. "For the seven years we spent at the same boarding school, we argued and fought and did our best to get each other expelled. We almost killed each other on more than one occasion. I'd be lying if I said it was always accidental."

Lina's eyes widened of their own accord. "Killed…? Damn. I didn't realize boarding school rivalries got so intense."

"Perhaps we were a little atypical." Draco shrugged, but didn't seem inclined to say any more on that subject. Reluctantly, Lina let it drop.

"If I hated this bloke that much," she told him, "I'm not sure I'd want to contact him. But then, it would still depend on what he did to help me. Even if it was something small, like putting an extra coin in my expired parking meter to save me a ticket, I would probably want to write him a note to say thank you."

Draco looked up then, and peered at Lina for several moments as though he were examining her for visible signs of weakness. He took a shallow breath and held it briefly. Then he exhaled in a sigh and said, "He saved my life. Twice, actually. The first time I was quite aware of, even though I never thanked him properly. We were still actively enemies when it happened, and I have to admit, there was a lot going on at the time, and I was a little distracted. But the second… I had no idea about it."

This was turning out to be much more interesting that Lina had first imagined. "How?" she asked. "How does somebody save your life without you knowing it?

Draco rubbed the back of his neck, frowning. "He gave evidence in court that kept me out of prison," he said.

"He…" Whatever Lina had been expecting, that wasn't it. She stared at Draco, unable to think of a single rational response. After a few seconds of her silence, Draco's eyes widened in sudden comprehension and he hastened to explain.

"It isn't how it sounds! I was young. My family was involved in something… sordid, you could say, and I got dragged into it before I realized the full weight of what they were doing. Once the court knew the whole story, they ruled that I wasn't directly responsible for my actions. They said that because I had been threatened and coerced, and because I had acted out of self-preservation, I wasn't to be blamed for my role in the thing. I still blame myself to some degree, but I guess that's irrelevant. The point is: if Potter hadn't secretly testified in my favor, I might have been sentenced to life."

Lina's mind was racing, creating a million different scenarios. She could tell that Draco was being purposefully vague in order to avoid giving her a full explanation. As much as she wanted to question him about his family and their activities, she suspected he wouldn't answer her. Before she could think of something appropriate to say, though, Draco continued.

"I wouldn't have expected that from Potter. No, I would have expected him to leave me to my sentence, or maybe even testify against me. We had really hated each other, after all, and I'd never exactly tried to tone down the rivalry. But, for some reason, he… I'll never forget the day I learned that I wasn't going to spend my life in a prison cell. They told me someone had given evidence that cleared me of guilt, but that this person had only done so under guarantee of anonymity. I've spent the past four years wondering, wishing I knew who could have done such a selfless thing for me."

"How did you find out?" Lina asked, finally settling on a question Draco might actually answer.

"A friend of mine works for the court system. They recently had a… an accident in one of the offices, and a lot of the records were damaged. She, along with a few other people, got stuck with the job of rewriting and re-filing case reports. Apparently she found mine. Even though it was confidential, as soon as she had a moment alone in the room, she read it. She's always been too nosy for her own good."

"What does your friend think you should do?"

Draco rolled his eyes. "She wants me to confront Potter. She's also always been a bit of a drama queen, so she's more likely to guide me towards unnecessary conflict than away from it. No, I generally mistrust any advice she gives me."

Lina nodded. "And so you resorted to asking me for my opinion. Logical enough, I suppose. Now, let me review. This guy helped you out of a tight spot, but clearly didn't want you to know what he'd done. You don't want to cause trouble by trying to talk to him about it, because it's been a while and you weren't on speaking terms to begin with, but you still desperately want answers."

"Also, I feel somewhat indebted to him for saving my life, but I have no idea how I can ever repay him," Draco added. "Other than that, your summary sounds accurate."

Lina thought silently for a moment, while Draco watched her anxiously. At last she declared, "I would contact him."

"You would?" Draco's tone was dubious.

"Absolutely," Lina said firmly. "If I were you, I wouldn't be able to let it go until I had thanked him. I might even try to do something for him in return, but from what you've said, he sounds like he would refuse anything of the kind."

"Oh, I'm sure he would," Draco sighed ruefully. "And in any case, I wouldn't know what to do for him. Still… I think I knew I would do it in the end; I just wanted to hear it from someone else." He looked down at his teacup, seemed to realize he'd forgotten about it, and took a sip. His nose twitched. "Ahh, it's cold," he murmured.

"I can heat it for you," Lina suggested. "It would only take a minute."

Draco pulled a pocket watch from inside his coat. "No, it's all right. I have somewhere I need to be. I should probably be leaving."

"I'll put it in a travel cup," Lina told him. Without giving him a chance to refuse, she took his cup and strode over to the counter with it.

Melanie looked up, grinning widely, as she approached. "Got a number yet?"

"Nope," Lina said simply, leaving Melanie to puzzle over the single word as she heated the tea, poured it into a cardboard cup, and snapped on a plastic lid

"Well, then, can I try?" Melanie asked at last, as Lina slipped a cardboard sleeve around the cup.

"I wouldn't recommend it," Lina said. "He's too complicated for you."

Melanie shrugged, acknowledging that Lina was most likely right, and went back to her book. Lina took the tea back to Draco. He slipped on his pea coat and took the travel cup with a grateful smile

"Thank you," he said. "For this and for your help."

"Not a problem," Lina said. She very much wanted him to come back and tell her all the new developments, but she feared that asking might seem a little too forward. After all, they didn't really know each other. Instead she said, "Good luck with everything."

Draco smiled again, and nodded at her, and then he was out the door and walking down the road. Lina sighed. Maybe she should have asked him to keep her updated. But it was too late now. Unenthusiastic, she went behind the counter to clean out the hot chocolate maker.

Draco didn't come back for six full weeks. It was another Wednesday afternoon, and Lina was making several complicated coffee drinks for a group of American tourists when she heard the bell on the door. She glanced up and immediately began to beam. Draco was once again standing to the side of the doorway, but this time he was scanning the room, obviously searching for someone. He found Lina quickly, and, with a small wave, he pointed at the main counter. Finishing the tourists' drinks as quickly as she could, Lina went to meet him there.

"Well?" she asked expectantly.

Draco gave a little half-shrug, but his eyes were a mixture of amusement and incomprehension. "Well… We had dinner last night."

Lina's jaw dropped. "You had… Okay, I really want to hear this. Hold on."

She looked around hurriedly. John was just pulling a bagel out of the toaster, a part of the order from the group of tourists. Lina called over her shoulder, just loud enough for him to hear, "Oi, John! Can you keep an eye on things for a bit? Please? It's kind of important."

John cocked one eyebrow at her and then at Draco, who responded to the scrutiny by standing up straighter and thrusting his chin out in a complacent manner that might have been interpreted as a challenge.

"Sure, I guess," John acceded, still peering suspiciously at Draco. "But no fooling around in the break room, got it? I'm not here to do your job while you snog your boyfriend."

Draco looked mildly affronted, but Lina just laughed.

"He's not my boyfriend, and we aren't planning to anything of the sort," she said. "Besides, you're one to talk. What about all the times I've covered for you when ladies showed up asking after you?"

John shook his head, but he was smirking. "Yeah, all right, then. Off with you."

Lina turned and beckoned to Draco. He followed her obediently behind the counter and into the back room where supplies were kept. They walked up to several overturned crates, which, Lina told Draco, the staff liked to use as chairs during their lunch breaks. Lina sat down on one, and Draco, taking the hint, sat down across from her.

"I'm sorry if I'm causing problems for you," he said tentatively.

"Oh, you're not," Lina told him. "Don't worry about it. And don't pay any attention to John. He comes off as a bit of an arse, but he's really not such a bad guy. He only bullies me on principle. Now, tell me what happened with Potter before I die from impatience."

Draco didn't need any further prompting; he launched into the tale.

After talking to Lina in February, Draco had made up his mind to do something for Potter. Even though he understood that nothing he could do would properly repay his debt, Draco still felt an obligation to Potter, and he decided to act on it. He had spent a week or two pondering the subject before the perfect idea had occurred to him: The World Cup, the largest competition in Potter's favorite sport, was taking place this summer.

"Do you know much about sports?" Draco asked Lina then. Lina shook her head and replied that she didn't know a thing, and Draco looked inexplicably relieved. "That's fine. It's not really important. Suffice to say, the World Cup is a big deal, and I was certain he would want to go. The games start at the end of May. Tickets for the final match in July went on sale last week. I know someone who works for… the ticket sales company, and I cashed in a favor. He let me buy four tickets the day before they were scheduled to go on sale. I was worried that Potter might buy them himself, you see. Then I wrote him a letter, explaining how I had found out about what he'd done, and how I wanted to do something to thank him. The extra tickets were for his closest friends, because I knew he would want to take them with him. I also told him not to even think about repaying me, because I wouldn't accept it – that's something Potter would try, and I wanted to head him off.

"Anyway, I arranged that the letter would get to him the next morning, before he had a chance to buy himself tickets. I told the deliverer to make certain he received the letter, and to make certain he opened it. I wasn't expecting to hear anything back. But a couple hours later, I got a small note that said, 'I would like to speak with you in person. Please join me for dinner at such-and-such restaurant, on this day, at this time. I've already made reservations. Don't even think about repaying me, because I won't accept it.'"

Lina chuckled. "The bloke has a sense of humor."

"Either that or he's incapable of gracefully accepting a gift." Draco rolled his eyes. "It wouldn't surprise me. Anyway, I toyed with the idea of not going, simply because I wasn't sure if I wanted to see him. But eventually I decided I was too curious not to go."

The restaurant, he told Lina, was a moderately elegant place, and moderately expensive too, but with food of the highest quality. Potter had reserved a private table in the back of the building, where they could talk without risk of being overheard. The appetizer course was mildly awkward, as neither Draco nor Potter seemed sure how to begin discussing what they wanted to discuss, and thus spent almost twenty minutes engaged in small talk. But once they had finished the appetizers, Potter seemed to come to his senses and quickly got down to business.

Without Draco having to ask a single question, Potter explained everything. He had testified for Draco, he said, because he understood that Draco had been forced to act in order to stay alive. Most of Potter's understanding of Draco's situation came from a shared experience that only Potter could verify, because the only other person who could have corroborated the events had died shortly afterward. Therefore, Potter knew it was up to him to reveal what he knew and ensure that Draco got a fair trial.

Then Potter told Draco something that Draco had never heard before. It turned out that Draco's own mother had helped Potter out of a very dangerous, life-or-death situation. This made Potter especially determined to help both of them: he had testified for Draco's mother as well, which had reduced her prison sentence considerably. Draco told Lina that learning about this went a long way towards explaining why Potter had helped him.

"And then, of course, he tried to convince me to take back the tickets, or to let him repay me for them." Draco snorted. "I knew he would. But I refused him point blank, and then I distracted him by speculating on which team will win the Cup this year. Then we talked about work, and families, and what both of us are doing with our lives, and we ate dinner and dessert, and… actually, it was a really pleasant evening."

Draco said this with such utter shock in his voice that Lina couldn't help it; she burst out laughing. Draco wasn't amused. He scowled magnificently at her.

"You don't realize how serious this is, Lina!" he reprimanded. "When we were in school, we couldn't be in the same room without harassing each other. Our loathing was so infamous that, if people saw us about to walk down the same hallway, they would immediately turn in the opposite direction. Hell, even today, if you were to tell someone from our class that Potter and I could have dinner together and behave with complete cordiality the entire time, they would tell you to check into the closest mental infirmary!"

"You forget, Draco: I didn't go to school with you," Lina reminded him. "And I still don't see why this is such a big deal. People change, don't they? Why shouldn't you be able to have dinner one time with someone you didn't like when you were in school?"

To Lina's confusion, Draco flushed a faint pink. "Yes, well, there's more to the story."


"Over dessert, we were talking about how I'm going to see this play next week, and Potter said it sounded really fascinating. I've already bought an extra ticket, because I was planning to invite Pansy to go with me – she's my friend who works for the courts, who told me about Potter's involvement in my acquittal. But, instead of asking her, I… Well, impulsively, I asked Potter if he wanted to go. And he said yes."

Lina noticed that Draco's cheeks became a shade pinker as he said this. That was intriguing. "And?" she said nonchalantly. "I mean, you only asked him because you're still trying to repay him for helping you, right?" Draco seized upon the notion immediately.

"Of course," he agreed seriously. "After all, he did save me from a life imprisoned. Even World Cup tickets aren't equal in value to that. But still… It may have been a bad idea for me to ask him. I mean, we used to be so violently opposed to each other. What if this dinner was some type of fluke? We could be back to violence by the next time we see each other. And then they might never let me back into that theater, which would be a tragedy."

Even though Draco's tone was facetious, Lina could sense the legitimate nervousness behind the performance.

"I doubt it," she told him frankly. "If you enjoyed the dinner, I bet you'll enjoy the play too. Use it as an opportunity to learn more about him. And if you decide you don't want to spend any more time with him, then don't. But don't bow out by pretending to be ill. You'll regret it."

Draco blinked at her. "How did you know I was considering that?"

"Lucky guess," Lina said with a shrug.

"But are you sure I'd regret it?" Draco asked wryly. "This could be my self-preservation instinct kicking in. Maybe it's justified."

"Or maybe you're just being a coward," Lina retorted, to which Draco responded with a wrinkle of his nose and a dismissive flap of his hand. Lina flapped her hand back at him, and they exchanged several more jocular hand-flaps before the sound of the back door opening startled them into stillness.

Melanie came in, having just finished her late lunch and smoke break. Her eyes widened at the sight of Draco, and she gave Lina a look that promised interrogation later. Then she reminded Lina that the afternoon crowd would reach peak in the next half an hour, when they would both be very much needed in the front. Draco, having no desire to be in the way, hastily took his leave, but only after promising Lina that he would come back to tell her what happened with Potter next.

Lina could hardly believe her good luck. She'd been intensely interested in Draco's story, and rather worried about how things would work out for him. Now they seemed to have struck up a strange sort of friendship, and she couldn't wait to see how the relationship progressed – theirs, yes, but also that between Draco and this Potter bloke. It sounded to her like Draco and Potter would be seeing a great deal of each other in the near future.

Two weeks later, and once again on a Wednesday, Draco arrived just as Lina was about to take her lunch. He sat with her in the supply room while she ate, and told her about how he and Potter had gone to the play last week, and then out to another dinner a few nights later. They had even planned a trip to the newest exhibit at one of London's museums this upcoming weekend. Draco put on a fairly good show of acting like the prospect didn't affect him as much as it really did, even though Lina suspected otherwise. But he had no difficulty in expressing his bewilderment.

"I just don't understand it," he exclaimed, shortly after he had finished describing the second dinner-date to Lina. "Why does he want to spend time with me? I'm not complaining or anything; I am enjoying it. But that baffles me too. Why the hell do I enjoy it? Sure, as it turns out, we share some similar interests, and we have no trouble at all with conversation. But damn it, we used to hate each other! Where did the hatred go?"

In three weeks' time, Draco was back to describe the museum visit and a later breakfast outing, as well as a weekend adventure taking Potter's godson to the park. Furthermore, after Draco had mentioned his plans to do some house-cleaning on his family estate, Potter had eagerly volunteered to help.

Naturally, Lina demanded to hear more about this estate. Draco explained that, because both of his parents were currently in prison, he had become the temporary possessor of their property – which happened to be rather extensive. Because of his negative associations with the place, he had taken a flat in London rather than continue living there. But Draco's mother was being released within the next six months, and, seeing as the house had been abandoned for nearly five years, Draco knew it would need some work. Even though Draco had assured Potter that he could manage the task alone, Potter refused to accept the declination of his offer. They had arranged to spend a couple days a week working at the manor, and had begun their project the previous Saturday.

Draco seemed so astonished by the turn of events that he couldn't properly express it. "I just… Never in a hundred years, would I have expected… Potter and I are cleaning the Manor!" He laughed, shaking his head at Lina, his eyebrows raised in disbelief. "This is just too strange. It's like…It's like we're friends or something!"

Lina collapsed into giggles at this exclamation, and laughed for five minutes solid while Draco looked on in horror and asked repeatedly what she found so funny.

A full month passed before Draco came for another visit. On this Wednesday, Lina thought he looked distinctly unsettled, similar to the way he had when she first met him. It was half an hour to closing, and he waited patiently, sitting at the table closest to the counter, while Lina and John closed up shop for the night. Then John bid them goodnight, and Draco and Lina set off down the road, walking in the direction of Lina's flat.

The sun had just begun to set, the colors spread vividly across a thick curtain of clouds. Draco watched it for some time, while Lina waited for him to gather his thoughts.

"Tell me about you," he said finally.

Lina frowned. "What do you want to know?"

"Anything. Whatever you want to tell me." Draco ran a hand over his hair to smooth it. "I've been selfish, coming to see you only to natter on about my drama. I've always been selfish. I should have asked you about yourself."

"It's all right, I don't mind," Lina told him honestly. "The first time you asked for my advice, well… Actually, it was exactly what I wanted. I was really curious about you. See, I love listening to people, and helping them if I can. It's the main reason I work at the café; I get to watch people, and sometimes chat with them, and learn from them. So, you've been playing into my hands, really."

Draco stared at her, his brow furrowed. "You are incomprehensible, you know," he said.

"I think I'd prefer the phrase 'especially inquisitive.'"

"Whatever you like." Draco shrugged his acquiescence. "But I regret to inform you, I won't feel comfortable telling you anything more until you tell me something in return."

"Hmm," Lina murmured. "Let's see. My parents are divorced. I have a younger sister. I dropped out of university because it was too expensive – and besides, I hated having to jump through all those hoops just to be rewarded with a little slip of paper. I love walking in the city late at night. Sometimes, when I'm really stressed, I order Chinese take-away and watch crap TV until I can't see straight. I splatter-painted the walls of my flat without telling my landlord. It drives me mad when people refuse to talk about their feelings, because I think it's unhealthy to pretend or to bottle things up. And on that note, I think you should tell me whatever's on your mind before that twitch in your right hand becomes permanent."

Draco started, glowered down at the betraying hand, and promptly stuffed both into the pockets of his jeans. He opened his mouth, thought for several seconds, and closed it again. Then he bit the inside of his lip, pulling the left corner of his mouth inward. At length he released his lip and heaved a sigh.

"I think I'm in love with Harry Potter," he declared.

For almost a full minute, neither of them said a thing.

"In love?" Lina repeated.

Draco's eyes squeezed shut, but he nodded. "I think I always have been, actually." He opened his eyes to stare at his feet. "You know how children will pester and harass someone they like, simply to get that person's attention? Well, I've always been a bit of a child. Insulting Potter was the only way I knew how to make him look at him. I didn't really want to hurt him; I just wanted him to notice me. And, okay, maybe I did want to hurt him a little, when he refused to look at me the way I wanted him to, but like I said, I'm a child. I wanted us to be friends, and my pride was hurt when he turned me down. But I didn't exactly make the smartest choices after that."

They had come to a stop in front of Lina's apartment building. Lina sat down on the wide steps, patting the cement next to her. Draco sat slowly, pulling one hand out of his pocket to massage his temple.

"And now," he continued, "I have no idea what to do with this… this thing Potter and I have going on. I mean, I want this – oh hell, do I want this! – but I'm terrified that I'll accidentally say or do something, and Potter will run away screaming, and I'll lose what I've been subconsciously longing for since I was eleven years old. But at the same time, I'm not sure I can live with not doing something. The other day, when we were cleaning out my father's study, we were talking, and in the mirror in front of me, I saw him reach out for me but rethink it and pull his hand back. And sometimes, the way he looks at me, I think… I don't know." Draco glanced up at Lina with a self-depreciating smile. "I'm a basket case, aren't I?"

"Yes," Lina said bluntly. "What do you want to do about it?"

"Lord, I…" Draco trailed off, and then said, "I want to tell him I love him, and have him say he loves me back."

"Then why not do it?"

Draco gave Lina an incredulous look. "You've got to be joking."

"Of course not," Lina said. "It doesn't seem to me like this Potter bloke is the type to run away screaming. I mean, it's been how long now, and he's still hanging around, helping you tidy your house and whatnot. And you said it yourself: you can't not do something about your feelings. But ultimately, I think you've got to trust your own judgement. After all, you probably already know what you're going to do; you just want to hear it from someone else."

Draco frowned, perplexed, and then he began to laugh, a quiet chuckle that came from deep in his throat. They sat in companionable silence for some time. The clouds cleared and the sky darkened. The street lights came on. Finally Draco stood up and brushed the dust from the backs of his pant-legs.

"Thank you, Lina," he said.

Lina just nodded.

To Lina's dismay, three weeks passed with no contact from Draco. Although she was not usually given to panic, Lina found herself steadily progressing into panic-mode. She told all of her coworkers to call her immediately if Draco showed up at the café on one of her days off. She asked her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Price – who had broken her hip a week before and couldn't leave her flat – to keep an ear out for Lina's doorbell. Lina had also taken to compulsively searching through the phone book for men named Draco living in London; no matter how many times she looked, she couldn't find a single one.

At last, one Wednesday afternoon, when Lina was outside cleaning the large café window, she saw him.

Draco was walking up the road towards her, accompanied by another man. As they drew closer, Lina observed that this man was slightly shorter than Draco, with messy black hair and a pair of dark-framed spectacles. He and Draco were holding hands. Draco leaned over to whisper something in his ear, and the black-haired man smiled. Lina stood up straighter, wiping her hands on the skirt of her apron.

The two men came to a stop directly in front of her. The black-haired man had a friendly face and the most stunning green eyes Lina had ever seen. He was examining Lina with barely masked curiosity; Lina wondered what Draco had told him about her. Draco himself was smiling, the most genuine smile Lina had even seen on his lips.

"Lina, this is Harry."