A/N: Another new story from me! I love this story so far and I'm loving where it's going :) I hope you all enjoy it! See summary below for more details.
Summary: Harry is doing nothing in life except taking a much needed break. He visits a cafe every day at the same time and sees Draco there at the same time as well. They only nod at each other each day, but then one day, Draco walks in and something's different about him. Suddenly, Harry and Draco are thrust into a whirlwind romance that leaves each other dizzy. This story mostly takes place from Harry's POV. I think I have one or two chapters planned in Draco's POV and will clearly state it so it's not confusing.
I've heard or read or saw somewhere that if you love something set it free; if it comes back it's yours, if it doesn't, it never was. I always wondered truly what the meaning of that phrase was. Why would you let something go that you loved in the first place? You love it, right? Why not keep it? Then I realized that I didn't understand what it meant because I never had to experience it, until three years ago, today.
I sat in my usual place in the café; facing the door, eyes on all exits of the café and every window within steps from me. Every day I sat here. Well, since I completed my schooling and taken my NEWTs, and all of that. I had done very well, and was a shoe in for the auror program, but I kept making excuses for why I didn't want to go in just yet. I wanted to travel, I had hurt my leg, I was still suffering from the after effects of the war (that was actually true), or I had come down with the flu. Any excuse I could come up with I used. Frankly, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I had spent a better part of my life fighting wacked out wizards and witches and taken on an 'immortal' being at the tender age of 17. I hadn't spent one moment, practically, just breathing and relaxing. I always had to be on, just in case.
So, I decided to take my sweet time deciding what I wanted to do with my life. That was a year ago. I was going to be 19 in a month. My friends all had jobs or were fighting the good fight, doing something productive. Hermione was interning with magical creatures or something like that and Ron was gallivanting around with prospective aurors, working his arse off. Neville was doing something with herbology, and Luna was off on a year long expedition hunting some mythical creature that I've never heard of. All in all, they were moving on with their lives, choosing a career path, whereas I sat in this café, day in a day out.
Okay, so I did other stuff during my day. I worked out and I read some books and I went to the park. I cleaned my house up. I wasn't just being a lazy arse. I really did do stuff other than sit and drink coffee or cappuccinos. Alas, here I was though, sitting in my usual spot, sipping my drink when at the same time, nearly on the dot, he walked in the door.
Tall, lean, and blond, an air of arrogance still surrounded him, but not nearly the way it had been before. He had his moments of being humble. I had seen it many times in recent months. He wasn't as pointy or ferret-like any longer. He had become more handsome and I couldn't hide that I found him to be so. I always watched him from the moment he walked in, until the moment he walked out. We never talked, but we did nod and that was that. I didn't expect today to be any different. He was always so exact on his time. He must have an internal schedule or something because every time it took him less than two minutes to get in and get out, no matter how busy they were.
I watched him as I always do and today I noticed that he was distracted or something was off about him. I don't know what exactly, but I could tell that something was plaguing his mind. He hesitated at the counter which he never does, and then when he received his drink, he hesitated at the counter that contained the cream and sugar. I sat up a bit straighter, confused by this change. What was going on? I pondered. Then he turned and he looked at me. He full on stared at me and then he started over towards me.
I looked around frantically, trying to figure out my best exit strategy, but I was drawing a blank. He was coming over to me. He never does that! My heart was racing and my stomach turned. This had to be it. I was going to have to change café's, but I really like this café. I frowned at that thought. He was at my table now, looking down at me thoughtfully. I smiled weakly at him. I knew I was trembling.
"Do you mind if I sit here?" he asked. I stared at him in surprise, my response catching in my throat. I could only nod. He sat and then set his cup on the table. He continued to stare at me and I squirmed under his scrutinizing stare. "You are here every day at the same time. Don't you do anything else?" he questioned.
I narrowed my gaze at him in confusion. "Of course I do. You're here at this time every day, what do you do when you're not here?" I asked him, sounding completely lame.
Malfoy chuckled which sounded rich and wonderful. Yes, I did think that. Merlin, this is ridiculous. "Touché. So, Potter, what do you do when you're not here? I know all your friends are doing something, but I understand that you're not?" he questioned me.
I shrugged. "It's true, but I do things as well. I mean I have been reading a lot and working out and cleaning up my house. It's not like I lie around all day watching the tele," I replied.
Malfoy lifted an eyebrow at me. It was sexy and I wished I could do it, but I couldn't. I've tried. "I figured you would have been banging on the head auror's door as soon as you got your NEWT results. Not your cup of tea anymore?"
I glared at him this time. I had forgotten how presumptuous he was. He always assumed he knew me best and that simply wasn't true, to an extent anyway. "I am more of a fan of coffee these days or cappuccinos, depending on the day. I'm sure you've followed in your father's footsteps and gone into the family business," I responded. I instantly wanted to grab those words and shove them back inside. I knew I didn't mean he was doing dark wizard stuff, but whatever family business it was that the Malfoy's did to make their money, was what I was referring to. "I'm sorry, that did not come out right," I tried, but the look that was on Malfoy's face told me that I clearly was too late to apologize.
I cast my eyes downward feeling like a stone was sitting heavily in my belly. I wanted to grab my wand and curse myself. Really, Malfoy wasn't being too awful. He simply pointed out what I already knew. I needed to do something in my life that was far more productive than what I was doing.
"You're quite assuming, Potter, aren't you? You assume that I am doing what my father wants me to do which is stay in the family business. You assume that I am doing as he says and have taken over our family business, where in actuality, I have not. There is a reason my father fell from the top and it wasn't only because he chose the wrong path. His business ventures weren't the best. What I have done is overhauled the family business with his blessing. He wants to purge his former thoughts and ideals and start anew. He has retired from the business and has allowed me to overhaul it and make it a formidable business. That is what I am doing. It does give me the similar freedom that you have, but at least I'm doing something." Once he finished his tirade, I felt like a tiny speck of dust. This was definitely not how I imagined this first meeting would go. I imagined it much nicer. Of course, I had to muck it up more. I mean, what else could I do?
"Well, if you're doing what you want to do, then why did you look so confused and distracted when you came in?" I asked.
It was as if I was suddenly in a silenced bubble. The look of surprise on Malfoy's face was all I could see. I heard nothing. I seemed to have said just the right thing, as I always do, to make it worse. He looked surprised and yet more angry than he was before. "I don't know what you're talking about," he stated. He crossed his arms across his chest and looked away.
Well, he didn't know what I was talking about, so I told him. "You walked in here as you always do, but it was clear that you had something troubling on your mind. You hesitated at the counter and at the cream and sugar. Then for the first time in over a year, you actually walked over here, asked to sit down, and are now talking to me," I explained to him. It all seemed very clear to me. By the look on his face, however, it was clear that he did not need me to explain it and he had known all along. I really needed to brush up on rhetorical comments.
"Thank you for that detailed explanation," he said sarcastically. I frowned at him. Geez, you try to help a guy out and this is the thanks I get, sarcasm.
"Well, why don't you tell me what's troubling you?" I offer. He must clearly want to talk about it because he did sit down at my table and he never does that, ever. Remember, two minutes.
He stared at me for several moments; I'm sure having this internal debate about whether or not he should tell me. He sighed though, rolled his eyes, ran a hand through his hair and leaned forward, propped up on his elbows. Oh, he was getting serious. I straightened up more and leaned forward with interest. We might look a bit like we are conspiring, but I don't think that's what we are going to do, are we?
"Alright, fine. Since you have so nicely pointed out that I look troubled, I'm going to tell you that I am. My parents have dropped the ball on a marriage contract for me. I don't know who and I don't know when, but at some point in the near future, I am going to be forced to marry someone that I don't love. I've known this all my life, but now that it's getting closer, I can't stop freaking out about it. I'm not ready to get married. Hell, I don't even think I'm ready to be in a relationship with anyone. Contrary to popular belief, I was not some dating fiend at Hogwarts either, in case that is flitting around in your head at the moment (I shook my head at this statement. I really wasn't thinking that at all.). I'm just frustrated and mad and really wishing that I could just be more like, more like…." he paused, trying to come up with the right word.
"Me?" I suggested. I knew that's where he was going with this. He had seen me every day and knew that I wasn't doing anything in life really. I didn't have parents to make marriage contracts for me and I was currently unattached.
He blushed. "Well, yes, more like you," he whispered.
I nodded in understanding. "It may seem ideal, but even as messed up as your parents are, at least you've still got some to run part of your life." I said this nonchalantly, but of course, as it always did, admitting aloud that I have no parents still stings to this day.
Malfoy looked at me sadly, which I've never seen before and it startled me for a moment. I didn't think he knew any other emotions other than: git, arrogant, ignorant, stony, and cocky. This emotion almost made him seem like a real person. "Potter, I'm not sure what to say. I think sorry wouldn't even be enough," he replied.
I nearly choked on my cappuccino this time. He had thought about apologizing? Oh dear, I am so confused right now. Am I in some parallel universe? I must be if what I'm about to ask, is what I'm about to ask. "Would you like to have a day of no responsibilities? Well, at least in the sense that you don't have to work or stick to a schedule or do something productive?"
Malfoy lifted his eyebrow again. "What are you suggesting?" he asked.
I smiled at him. "Well, I was going to go to the market to pick up some stuff to cook at home. Then I was going to read or watch the tele, I haven't decided yet, and then I might go for a walk in the park or take a nap. I am suggesting that you come along. Take a break from your life for once," I offered.
Malfoy looked confused and intrigued at the same time. "You'd really allow me to come with you?" he asked in disbelief.
I shrugged. "It's entirely up to you. That's what my plan is for the day. You can partake if you like." I stand, throw a few sickles on the table and head for the door. I'm not going to force him to follow because that would defeat the purpose of my offer. Of course, I'm hoping that he'll decide to come. I mean, a man needs a day off once in awhile, even if the one day off has turned into a year.
"Potter, wait!" Malfoy calls out to me.