The first time Harry saw Draco in the lift, he was almost too caught off guard to say anything at all. "Malfoy," he said, with what he hoped was a look of indifference on his face.
"Harry Potter," he drawled, his famous smirk tugging at his lips. As the lift doors slid slowly open, the Slytherin glanced at Harry and looked him over from his messy hair to his converse sneakers.
Then, he winked.
He exited the lift without another word and headed down the corridor to the Wizengamot, leaving Harry to process this strange turn of events by himself while the lift brought him to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The doors nearly slid shut on him before he remembered himself.
He squeezed past them and tried to forget about Draco Malfoy for the rest of the day.
He almost managed it, too. Almost.
The second time, Malfoy walked into the lift, his gaze sliding over Harry as though he wasn't there at all. Harry had the bizarre urge to do something ridiculous, like make the doors open on every floor, just to make him look at him. "Quiet, Potter," Malfoy murmured, his grey eyes staring straight ahead.
Harry blinked. "I didn't say anything."
"No, but I can hear you thinking from over here, and it's very distracting." Harry studied the man's profile, bemused, while the dial overhead ticked past the floor numbers like a countdown.
"What am I thinking then?"
"You're thinking that you want to get my attention, but you're too worried about making an arse of yourself to try." Malfoy's gaze slid over to Harry with an amused half-smile on his lips.
Harry blinked. "How'd you know that?"
Malfoy's grin grew. "I didn't. But I do now."
Determined not to be cowed by the other man, Harry stared resolutely up at the dial and tried to give off the impression that he felt just as powerful as he actually was. He was the Head Auror… he was the Savior of the Wizarding World… he was The Chosen One. But he was also a man who felt like running away from his childhood enemy as soon as the door opened so he could stop making a fool of himself. "Yesterday, you-"
Malfoy laughed and his aristocratic face creased with sheer joy at Harry's expense. "Oh, that. I do that to everyone. Don't worry, I still loathe you with every fiber of my being."
Harry set his jaw and said nothing. Neither of them spoke until the lift doors opened to let Malfoy out. He paused mid-step and tilted his head slowly toward Harry with a gleam in his grey eyes that both concerning and intriguing. "Just so you know, Potter… I'm a liar."
Harry didn't see him at all over the weekend, so by Monday, he felt as though he was losing his mind. He had torn apart Malfoy's words until they were undistinguishable and repeated them to himself so many times that they no longer sounded like English. Instead, they sounded like gibberish, strung together and twisted around his neck like a noose by a man whose smile had haunted his sleep like the Cheshire cat.
When the lift door opened, and Malfoy stepped inside, Harry was waiting for him in his Auror uniform complete with brass buttons and white gloves. If he was going to regain any authority in the situation, then he needed to look the part.
"My, my… who're you all dressed up for?" Malfoy's smile was a curved blade that seemed to prick Harry's skin, as though in warning.
Harry fiddled with his cufflinks and tried to look bored. "I have a meeting with the Minister today." Malfoy's smile was relentless and god, Harry just wanted… no, needed to make him stop. He imagined slamming him up against the wall of the lift, his wand at his throat, and watching as that smile slipped off of his face and dissolved into pure fear.
"How fascinating," Malfoy drawled in reply. "Are you certain there's no one else?"
Harry gritted his teeth and shot Malfoy a venomous look. "Very."
Malfoy simply stood there, looking very unruffled and nonplussed. Harry's answer seemed to bore him, even though he had been the one to ask the question. As the lift dinged and the disembodied voice announced their arrival to Malfoy's floor, the blond stood still for a moment. "Then there are two liars in this lift."
As he walked away, Harry wondered how it was possible for someone to look so impossibly smug from the back.
The next day, someone else stepped into the lift just as Malfoy did, and they carried on a witty, amusing conversation the entire way to his floor, where they both got off. Malfoy didn't once look at Harry, much less say anything to him.
Harry was livid.
The fifth time Harry saw Malfoy in the lift, he slammed the doors shut himself to make sure no one else could sneak onboard. The slim blond raised an eyebrow but otherwise seemed fairly unconcerned with Harry's sudden aggression. "In a hurry?"
Harry pushed Malfoy up against the wall, just as he'd imagined, with his forearm pressed under his pointed chin. His free hand pinned Malfoy's wand arm against the siding to stop him from hexing him, though he couldn't imagine he was stupid enough to try. Malfoy gave him a calculating look and smiled.
This wasn't going at all to plan.
"Lie to me again, Malfoy." Harry's nose was mere centimeters from Malfoy's.
"I hate you." The lift's disembodied voice seemed to taunt Harry's apparent inability to move or to say anything or to do anything, and as the lift doors slid open, Malfoy pushed Harry unceremoniously away and dusted himself off. "I'll ask you not to manhandle me again, Potter. I'm not a criminal."
He grinned wryly. "Not anymore."
Harry had to figure out a solution to his problem. It was gnawing away at his sleep at night and seeping into every corner of his consciousness like a ghost that lingered, waiting for answers.
The answer did come to him, thankfully, but it was not in quite the way he'd expected. Only one thing could be done to catch Malfoy off guard and to finally wipe that filthy smile off of that perfect, pointed face. The next time he saw Malfoy in the lift, he resolved to put his plan in action. Malfoy was, in a word, doomed.
The sixth time Harry saw Malfoy in the lift, he stayed quiet for a long time until he noticed Malfoy shift uneasily. Harry grinned.
"Is something amusing, Potter?" When he looked over, he was still smiling, although he seemed markedly less certain about it than he had in the days prior. Harry rocked back on his heels and kept his eyes on the dial that slowly ticked toward Malfoy's floor. It was so strange how time seemed to move so much faster when your heartbeat sped up, as though the two were somehow interlinked.
Harry bit down on his bottom lip and glanced over at the blond, whose grey eyes were narrowed and suspicious. As they should be, Harry thought smugly.
When the dial finally moved to Malfoy's floor and the doors began to slide open, Harry moved to block his path. "Potter, what is the meaning of-"
His smile disappeared. Harry considered this a small victory. "Once more, Potter. In English this time, if you please…"
Harry swallowed nervously but he didn't dare look away from Malfoy's face in case he missed the tiniest tick that would somehow tell him more than what his words might. "Do you want to go for coffee with me?"
Malfoy straightened his robes and ran a hand over the back of his hair fretfully. "I suppose that would be acceptable." He paused and glanced at Harry, apparently bemused. "After work, then. We'll meet in the Atrium." Harry nodded and watched him go.
But this time, it was Harry's turn to smile, and he did all the way up to his floor. And if anyone happened to see him walking away, they would probably wonder how it was possible for anyone to look that smug from the back.