A/N: Finally, I have got a Beta to help me out with this fic. Some minor changes were made to smoothen out the flow of the story. Me and my Beta, Majerus started to edit this fic from the very beginning. It's a cumbersome process, still as I have promised before; I will finish this story eventually.


With or without you: Chapter 1

It was a warm, busy summer morning with people rushing to work. Harry's watch told him that he was running late. Pondering whether to have breakfast or not before apparating to the ministry, he saw a muggle café which he passed everyday. Already being late, Harry saw no point in keeping his growling stomach empty. He opened the door of the café and a cool breeze hit him in the face. The café didn't have many customers. A grumpy looking old man sat by the counter reading a newspaper. The other two men, around their mid-30's, were jabbering in fluent French at a corner table. Harry chose the table at the far corner. The waitress came to his table for his order, she suddenly reminded him of Professor McGonagall with her serious face and her hair pulled into a tight bun. He smiled a little and ordered some fried bacon and a cup of coffee.

He sat there, watching as people passed the café, thinking, all these people have their loved ones waiting for them after their hectic work day. Who did he have? No one. Well, he had his friends, Neville, Seamus and Dean, but they were his mates, not family. All four of them rented a big flat at the heart of London when they started their auror training 3 years ago. They wanted some privacy and comfort of their own which surely would have been hard to find in ministry designated auror-trainee flats. From the age of 11, wherever Harry went he was forced to endure people staring, pointing and talking behind his back. But he needed his peace after the war, so he agreed with his mates to rent a flat. At least his friends understood him better than those new trainees.

Now, all four of them are fully qualified aurors but they hardly see each other in their flat. All of them are sent on different operations so often, that if they meet for a night, all four of them together, it becomes a wild night. Harry smirked in his head thinking about his friends. His thoughts were interrupted as the waitress came with his order. She asked if he needed anything else, he said, "No, thanks".

At that moment the door opened and a cheerful, musical voice exclaimed, "Mooooooooorning Susieeee.."

A girl around his age came in. She was smiling and threw her arms around the waitress.

The waitress said, "Well, someone is in a good mood".

The girl smiled again and said, "Look at the day Susie, it's wonderful."

"I wish I could say that, only 5 customers since morning," Susie sighed.

The girl rolled her eyes and said "Nobody can get away from the magic of Susie's café. Just look at me; I have been coming here since I was 4. You just wait and watch, customers will be pouring in no time."

"If all my customers were so loyal and sweet like you, I would have been running chain cafés around the world."

The girl laughed at Susie's sarcasm.

"Now, I have customers to attend to. Grab your seat and I'll bring your usual," Susie said.

The girl sat two tables away from Harry and Susie came towards his table again.

"Sir, I think your coffee got cold. Should I bring another one?'

Harry wasn't paying attention to Susie or to his coffee. He was looking at the girl who was sitting two tables away. His brain seemed to stop working and he could only mutter two words under his breath.

"So beautiful."