Title: Mon Petit Gâteau
Author: Reiko Katsura
Fandom: Harry Potter
Warnings: EWE, emotional eating, flangst, mature sexual content, chubby!Draco.
Summary: So an ex-Death Eater walks into a pastry shop…and the rest, as they say, is history.
Author's Note: This was originally supposed to have been written for hp-kinkfest ages ago, but I ended up dropping out and never completing it. The recipient was vaysh11, and some of the amazing prompts she provided were "fat admiration", "lonely!Draco", and "baker!Harry".
Disclaimer: This is non-profitable fanwork. I own nada.
Mon Petit Gâteau - Part I.
Harry hadn't noticed him at first. The tell-tale Malfoy hair should have been his first clue, but everything else about the man argued that it wasn't him. Not Malfoy, the skinny, pointy, hateful git who'd lived to make Harry's life miserable during Hogwarts. But the more Harry looked at him, the more suspicious he became. He couldn't see too clearly stealing glances through the window of the café door, but the shape of the man's face, though plumper than he'd last remembered it, was familiar. The man also had a familiar gait; a brisk, graceful walk, despite his size, that gave an impression of gliding. And the hair. Harry had never seen any witch or wizard with that same shade of silvery, platinum blond.
Harry observed the man who was currently eyeing—and quite intensely, Harry could tell—their selection of tartelettes, before shaking his head and turning away from the door.
It probably wasn't even him, he told himself, heading toward the sink to wash his hands. There was no way the pompous, egotistical, narcissistic Draco Malfoy would ever let himself go. The boy he knew at Hogwarts would have probably preferred being put under Cruciatus before getting fat.
But he's not a boy anymore, and we're no longer in Hogwarts.
Harry sighed and returned to his station. Samielle, his apprentice, shot him a curious look as if to ask why he'd been staring out the window for Merlin-knew-how-long rather than working on the day's special like he was supposed to, but he shook his head at her. She shrugged her shoulders and continued adding Coulis to the batch of Sheetcakes he'd earlier prepared, and Harry followed her example and reached for an empty ramekin.
Malfoy or not, Harry had a job to do. Clearing his head of all (blond) distractions, he reached for a tray of butter and got to work.
The man eventually left, but by then Harry was too distracted to notice.
The next time the man came in, Harry was lucky enough to have been mingling at the front of the store, rather than working in the back.
Just like the last time, the man—Malfoy, Harry's mind persistently supplied—immediately headed for the tartelettes and stood there, arms crossed, going over each row as if his very life depended on it. Mark, one of the newer employees, began to move around the glass counter to offer his assistance but Harry stopped him by placing a firm hand on his arm, grinning, and moving towards the customer himself.
He'd never handled curiosity well.
Harry, baker's hat stuffed into his apron, moved to stand beside the man and cleared his throat. "May I be of some assistance to you, sir?" he asked, flashing his "customer smile" (as Hermione liked to call it) to the best of his ability.
The man shook his head and started to say, "No, it's alright…", before glancing up from his perusal of the desserts and freezing altogether.
That, more than anything else, confirmed that the person was Malfoy. Harry couldn't imagine a complete stranger reacting in such a way (and he doubted he was handsome enough to attribute it to his looks).
Malfoy's mouth began to open and close as if he wanted to say something but couldn't quite find the words. Harry cut in and saved him the trouble.
"I knew it was you," Harry said, lips thinning. "What are you doing here?"
As if a bucket of water had been thrown over him, Malfoy shuddered and shut his mouth. He drew himself to his full height—three or four inches taller than him, Harry observed in irritation—and sneered.
The sight made a ripple of laughter form in Harry's chest, but he shoved it down quickly. Malfoy, with his chubby cheeks, looked like an angry chipmunk. Harry found it oddly—and horrifyingly—adorable.
"Potter," Malfoy said, and Harry found that Malfoy could at least still say his name as if shite was attached to it.
"What are you doing here?" Harry demanded again, folding his arms.
Malfoy gave him an irritated look, one that fully read as 'are you an idiot?', and planted a hand on his hip.
"I am—I was—shopping, Potter. What the bloody hell else do you think I've been doing? If anyone should be pointing fingers and demanding "what" here, it should be me."
Harry snorted, unable to hold it back. It was almost reassuring to know that Malfoy hadn't changed all that much outside his appearance. He couldn't figure out why, but it was.
"I work here, Malfoy," Harry drawled, and gestured at his apparel.
Malfoy sneered again. "I hadn't noticed."
Harry refrained from grabbing a nearby pastry box and bashing him over the head with it. He doubted it would inflict the kind of damage that he'd intend on, and really, he'd rather not anger Malfoy too much—there were few people who knew where Harry Potter lived and worked, and he preferred keeping it that way.
"So now that you know that I work here I take it you'll be leaving?"
Malfoy stared at him and it took everything Harry had not to fidget.
"No, actually, I don't think I will be."
And with that he turned around and walked in the direction of the dining area, then promptly sat down at a table.
Harry wanted to break something. He stalked over to Malfoy's table and hissed, "What the hell are you doing, Malfoy?"
Malfoy gave him another one of his 'you can't possibly be that daft' looks and tapped the menu.
"I'm ordering, scarhead. Why else would I have taken a seat at a table and opened a menu?"
"To irritate me?" Harry gritted out.
Malfoy smiled. "And that, too."
Harry let out a long, deep breath, closed his eyes and counted to ten, and then opened them to give Malfoy a final fierce glare. He then turned on his heel and stormed across the shop, quickly disappearing behind the swinging café doors.
He hasn't changed at all, Harry thought as he moved toward the sink, turned on the tap, and harshly began to wash his hands. He's the same cruel, stuck-up git he used to be in school, only now there's more of him.
When Harry's hands were clean of soap he wiped them on a nearby towel before turning off the water. He then moved to his work station, ignoring the curious looks he was garnering from the rest of the staff, and began to pull out the necessary supplies for an Amelie Rose.
Harry forced all thoughts of Draco Malfoy from his mind, turned on the stove, and got back to work.
The next time Harry saw Malfoy wasn't at La pâtisserie d'Étienne, surprisingly, but at the park. It was Sunday, and as most small shops in France, the Patisserie was closed for the day. Normally Harry spent his Sundays sleeping in, then later on popping in to see Ron and Hermione for a late lunch, but his friends were out of town visiting Hermione's parents, and Harry had been restless enough to roll out of bed even before the sun had properly risen, throw on jogging-wear, and hit the road for a run.
Harry began his routine just as he regularly did; he made a brisk walk to the nearby park and started on the South-East route, which ran beside Lac Chauvet. Usually he jogged the 5.6 kilometer track from start to finish, but today there'd been something nagging at him to do things differently. To break routine. So halfway into his run he switched onto the West lane heading North, a route he'd only taken a few times before because of the disappointing lack of scenery.
The new route made it almost impossible to tell just how far he'd run, so Harry waited until the pain of exercising overrode the joy of running before slowing down. He made a full stop at a grove of beech trees and, still panting, settled himself against one, using the thick trunk as a resting post to support his trembling legs and the high, scattered leaves as a shield from the overcast sun.
He'd been shrugging off his bag to retrieve his thermos of water when he noticed him from the corner of his eye—Malfoy, sitting by himself on a wooden bench, going through a rather heavy looking book with a red, ballpoint pen. Harry couldn't help but stop and stare at him. Malfoy's hair shone like light underneath the sun's rays, glittering in ways that should not have been possible. Despite how he felt about the prat, Harry had always admired his hair. It was smooth and straight and perfect, so unlike his own disheveled and intractable curls. More than once while they were at school Harry had imagined what it would have been like to run his fingers through Malfoy's hair.
Probably like silk, he couldn't help but think when Malfoy tilted his head forward and his blond fringe moved with him. Certainly not rough like mine.
Harry continued to watch Malfoy do whatever it was he was (angrily) doing to the book as he pulled out his thermos and took a large swig. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and zipped the bag back up, bottle still out, and hoisted it onto one shoulder. When another few minutes passed and Harry had enough of feeling like a voyeur, he pushed away from the tree he was leaning on and made to walk away. But then Malfoy's face suddenly contorted in a way that was dangerously close to looking as if he were going to cry and Harry froze.
The book Malfoy'd been writing in was roughly knocked to the floor. Malfoy then leaned forward until his elbows were on his knees and buried his face in his hands. Alarmed, Harry wondered if Malfoy was actually crying. By the way his shoulders were shaking he wouldn't have ruled it out. To his relief, however, Malfoy lifted his—fortunately dry—face and slumped into the bench. He turned his head up, facing the sky, and Harry was momentarily struck by just how lonely Malfoy looked. Like someone who was at his wits end and desperately needed someone to lean on.
Malfoy slowly grabbed a white paper bag from beside him, opened it, and pulled out what Harry was quite sure was a doughnut. He eyed the dessert with frustration, as if warring with himself whether or not he should eat it, then resignedly closed his eyes and brought the round cake to his lips.
It was that, more than anything else, that prompted Harry into moving. Before he was fully aware of what he was doing he was steadily walking towards Malfoy. Testament to just how long it had been since Harry'd been on the run from Death Eaters, Harry clumsily stepped on a twig not ten feet from Malfoy and cringed at the loud sound it made as it snapped in half beneath his trainers.
He cringed again when Malfoy's head shot down and swiveled in his direction.
Smooth, Potter, he thought glumly, and inhaled sharply when Malfoy's mouth dropped open.
Harry watched as Malfoy's expression morphed into one of surprise, then irritation, then wariness. He said nothing to him as Harry plopped himself down on the same bench, though a good distance away. Harry eventually sighed, and like Malfoy had done, tilted his head back and looked up into the trees, where spots of white sunlight peaked through the gaps of the leaves.
Finally, and surprisingly without much heat, Malfoy asked, "What are you doing here, Potter?"
It was on the tip of Harry's tongue to admit that he thought Malfoy had looked lonely, but he bit the words back before they could cause him trouble. He could quite clearly recall the last time he caught Malfoy in a vulnerable situation, and truly did not want his intentionally noble act of impulsiveness (which, really, had been a stupid thing to do now that he thought about it) to escalate to a fight. Harry was sure that commenting on the man's obvious vulnerability would only accomplish just that.
Besides, Harry was confident that (after possibly hexing him) Malfoy would retort with something along the lines of him preferring loneliness to being subjected to the presence of the likes of Harry. Not in any particular mood to be cut down by Malfoy's sharp tongue or be at the opposite end of his wand, Harry said instead, "Resting."
Malfoy's reply was scathing. "I hadn't noticed."
Harry shrugged. "Just looked like a good seat is all."
"Right." Malfoy snorted. "Clearly there'd been so much sweat in your already useless eyes that you were completely incapable of seeing me sitting here. And now that you have—"
"I saw you," Harry interrupted. "Still thought it was a good seat, though. There's a nice breeze here, and not enough sun to be annoying."
When Harry turned to face Malfoy, it was to see him looking at him incredulously.
"I think the blood has gone to your brain, Potter."
"Probably," Harry said, oddly unconcerned. It was certainly possible, for why else would he have willingly gone to sit next to Draco Malfoy?
"Right," Malfoy said, slowly, as if convinced that at any moment Harry was going to do something even crazier, like get up and start singing. "Well, I'll leave you to your…insanity, then, Potter. Good day."
Harry heard Malfoy's paper bag crumble and saw him wipe his hands and stand, and he jumped to his feet and blurted out before he could stop himself, "Wait!".
Malfoy paused and settled him with an impatient look.
"What is it now, Potter? I don't have time for whatever it is you're playing at, so if you'll excuse me—"
"—Have dinner with me," Harry found himself saying.
Malfoy's eyes widened, and Harry fought the urge to smack himself on the forehead. If there was ever a time where Harry's inability to think before he spoke seemed like something that might have been an actual mental affliction, it was then.
With dread he watched as Malfoy began to scowl. The paper bag in his hand was being crumpled so hard Harry was surprised it didn't crumble into dust. Malfoy took a threatening step forward, and Harry bit his lip and determinedly stood his ground.
"I don't know what fucking game you're trying to pull me into, Potter, but I swear—"
"I'm not playing anything!" Harry said forcefully.
Malfoy snorted. "Have dinner with me," he mimicked pointedly.
Harry flushed. "Just to—you know, talk and stuff."
"Right. Because we have so much to talk about."
Harry crossed his arms defensively. "It was just an idea, alright?"
"A stupid one," Malfoy snapped.
Harry glared at him. "Obviously. I thought you'd have at least grown up a little since Hogwarts, but apparently not."
Malfoy returned his glare, but didn't say anything. Instead he grabbed his book and tucked it beneath his arm, pulled out his wand, and disapparated.
Harry stared at the spot Malfoy had disappeared from and shook his head. Wondering why he'd been foolish enough to have bothered in the first place, he scanned the area to make sure the coast was clear, pulled out his own wand, and followed Malfoy's suit.
"Oh. It's you, Potter."
Harry blinked in astonishment, more than a little surprised to see Malfoy there. The last time they'd spoken, which had been nearly a month ago, things had hardly ended well, and Harry had been quite positive that they'd never see each other again. It wasn't as if they followed the same circles, and as far as Harry knew, Malfoy still lived in England.
So bumping into Malfoy now, only a block away from his workplace, made Harry instantly suspicious.
"Malfoy," he returned in the same drone. "What are you doing here?"
Malfoy's eyes slid quickly to the left and back, and Harry would have laughed at what a cruddy liar he was if it'd been anyone else. As it was, the fact that Malfoy almost seemed to be nervous just put Harry all the more on guard.
"Just in the neighborhood," Malfoy said, and Harry would bet on his favorite paring knife that the git was lying through his teeth.
"Hm." If the light flush that rose on Malfoy's cheeks was any indication, Harry must have sounded as disbelieving as he felt.
"What?" Malfoy snapped, eyes narrowing.
Harry lifted his brows but didn't say a word.
They remained like that, facing each other in the middle of the street, neither of them uttering a thing. Harry could feel the curious gazes of the few pedestrians who were wandering about at that time of night, but ignored them in favor of staring Malfoy down.
Ron and Hermione used to tell him that being on the opposite end of Harry's stare was unsettling, and it must have been as Malfoy, proud as he was, was the first to look away. He quickly turned his head, gaze riveted on something across the street and lips dragging down to form a scowl.
Harry sighed, because this felt way too much like being back at Hogwarts for his personal liking.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" He asked. The tone he used was soft and cajoling, as if Harry were trying to persuade an angry kneazle to let him have a look at its injured paw all the while hoping he wouldn't be scratched in the face for his trouble.
Malfoy's posture seemed to relax a little at his question. He glanced at Harry for a moment, opened his mouth, then promptly closed it was a frustrated huff. His hair swayed as he shook his head and took a quick step back.
"Nothing," Malfoy said under his breath bitterly, almost too low for Harry to hear. Harry strained his ears to catch his next words. "I don't want anything."
He then turned on his heel and strode away.
Harry, stumped, could do little else but watch him go.
A week later Harry caught sight of a flash of blonde hair hurrying past his shop.
He didn't run out to see if the hair belonged to who he thought it did, but he had wanted to.
Harry told everything to Ron and Hermione a few days later.
They'd both rolled their eyes, which was insulting enough, but then Ron had muttered "Here we go again" and Hermione had nodded in agreement, as if what had happened then and what was happening now was in any way the same.
Harry left their house earlier than usual that day, and the next time he visited didn't bring Malfoy's name up once. None of them did.
Sometimes, Harry wondered if Malfoy still had scars.
And sometimes, Harry dreamed he did.
"Are you alright, boss?" Samielle asked, biting the inside of her cheek as she was prone to doing when she was nervous but trying to hide it.
"I'm fine," Harry said shortly, quickly placing the fourth batch of Gougères on the sheet pan. He blinked at the ball of dough he'd just set down, frowned, and moved it. There, that was better. He scanned the pan, making sure there was an inch of space between each ball, then carried the tray off to the oven. He made sure the dial was set to 204°C before opening the door and sliding it onto the middle rack. He closed the oven and stood, not surprised in the least to find that Samielle had followed him.
"Are you sure?" she asked.
Harry nodded absently as he moved around her to clear out his station.
She grabbed the whisks and spoons and carried them off to the sink. Harry picked up the rest of the supplies and followed.
"You've been really distracted lately," she continued, turning on the faucet and soaping the sponge.
Harry made a noncommittal sound.
Samielle shot him a sideways glance, grabbed the supplies he held, and began scrubbing everything clean.
"We've been worried," she said at last, obviously referring to herself and the rest of the kitchen crew.
"Nosy, more like," Harry muttered under his breath. He hadn't been as quiet as he'd thought if the sharp glance she sent his way was anything to go by.
"More worried, though." She said, not even denying it.
Which is why Harry had chosen her as an apprentice rather than the dozens of other applicants who'd sent official queries, baking talent notwithstanding. Samielle had turned up at his Patisserie out of the blue one day, wearing battered jeans with rips at the knees and a white tee with the words "Go Fuck Yourself" emblazoned on the front. She'd strode up to him, demanded to know if he was the Harry Potter who'd graduated from Camille's école de patisserie with honors, and once confirmed, promptly told him that she might not be the best (barely managing to scrape by at Camille's) but she fucking loved pastries and would work her motherfucking ass off.
Harry had been charmed and accepted her proposal on the spot, to the surprise of just about everyone, save Hermione and Ron. She'd been working under him for two years, and never once had Harry ever regretted it.
Even now, when she was clearly stomping over the line of a traditional master-apprentice relationship.
When she was finished washing, Harry rinsed his hands and dried them with the napkin Samellie provided. She followed him back to his station, and Harry had to give her credit for her persistence.
"I'm fine," Harry told her again.
"Not to mention a really crappy liar," she huffed. She looked appropriately contrite when Harry frowned at her, but Harry didn't buy it for a moment.
They both finished clearing out his station in silence. It was already well past 10:00 p.m., and as always, they were the only two there. Harry's presence was pretty self-explanatory; he was the head baker, but that aside, practically lived for his career. Spending a few extra hours doing a job he loved was no hardship at all.
Harry didn't know why Samielle chose to stay as late as she often did, but after the first time he'd tried asking, never brought it up again.
It had been the first time he'd ever seen her about to cry, and unless she initiated that particular conversation, Harry was never going to be the reason for putting that expression on her face again.
"Does it have to do with that blond guy who's been hanging around all the time lately?"
Harry promptly knocked a saucepan off the table.
"I'm going to take that as a 'yes'," she continued dryly, watching him retrieve the pan.
He stood up quickly and placed the pan back on the table, never mind that if it had been anyone else he would have given then a stern talking to.
"Malfoy's been hanging around?" Harry asked sharply.
"If you're referring to that big guy with the white hair, then yup. He drops by almost every day. Doesn't always come in, though." When Harry made a gesture for her to get on with it, she rolled her eyes but did so anyway. "Sometimes he just stands in front of the shop like he's debating whether or not to come in. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't."
Harry frowned and pondered that.
"Has…has he ever said anything to anyone? Er, like why he's been hanging around?"
Samielle's look was way too coy. "Nope. He usually just comes in, orders something quickly, then runs back out." She paused for a moment, then snorted. "And sometimes he doesn't even do that much."
Harry ignored the look she was giving him and tried to picture someone like Malfoy doing what Samielle had just described.
Perhaps he wouldn't have been able to connect the Malfoy of old with the nervous, indecisive bloke who'd been pretty much stalking his shop, but the Malfoy of now? The one who'd looked like he'd been about to cry that day at the park, and the one who'd so obviously been desperate to tell him something but had walked off dejectedly after never having said a word? Yeah, that Malfoy he could easily see doing just that.
Harry exhaled deeply and looked Samielle squarely in the eye. The coy look she wore fell away and she immediately straightened, her expression sobering.
"Samielle," Harry started. "I have a favor to ask…"
Two days later, when Harry was in the middle of filling a dozen Bichonau Citrons, Samielle rushed in, eyes wide and cheeks flushed, and nearly shoved Emilie out of the way in her haste to reach him.
"He's here," she spoke quickly, gesturing with her head towards the fast swinging doors. "The guy you asked me to keep an eye out for. He's here."
Something in Harry swelled.
He swallowed thickly and glanced from the café doors to his unfinished pastries.
Samielle rolled her eyes at him and stalked over to the sink, lifting up her sleeves in preparation to wash her hands.
"I got it, boss," she said.
Harry dropped his piping bag, ignored the mess it was undoubtedly making of the table, and all but ran to the doors, stuffing his hat in his back pocket as he went.
He pushed through the doors, heart beating with something he couldn't describe, and nearly wilted with relief as the man he hadn't been able to stop thinking about for the past few weeks looked up and caught his gaze.
Grey eyes widened in alarm and Harry, feeling a bit like he'd been hit by a hippogriff on a rampage, thought oh.
Suddenly Ron and Hermione's last comment about him and Malfoy made a lot more sense.
Inhaling deeply, Harry took a step forward.
"Malfoy," Harry started, then abruptly stopped, mind going pathetically blank. And to think he'd had what amounted to a speech memorized only a few minutes before.
"Potter," Malfoy said coolly. The wideness of his eyes and the downturned quirk of his lips betrayed whatever nonchalance he'd been attempting to convey.
Harry didn't know how long they stood there staring at each other, or even if they were causing a scene. All he knew was that Malfoy's eyes were a shade of grey that shouldn't have existed and that he was looking at Harry with such poorly concealed yearning that it made the breath catch in Harry's throat and warmth pool in his stomach.
"Have dinner with me," he blurted out.
Malfoy quirked a brow, expression morphing into one of disbelief.
"Please," Harry added.
Malfoy just continued to stare at him.
"I'm an excellent cook," he continued, nerves prompting him to babble. "I mean, I'm not as good at it as I am at baking, obviously, but cooking and baking are like cousins—distant cousin, really—and you can hardly do one without knowing how to do the other to some extent. So I'll cook. Though you could, if you wanted! It's just an idea, anyway. We could also go out to eat or, or something. I know this great place that—"
"Potter," Malfoy cut him off.
Harry's mouth snapped shut.
Malfoy huffed and rolled his eyes. He gave Harry a long, undecipherable look and then bobbed his head sharply.
"Is that a yes...?" Harry trailed off, uncertainly.
Malfoy glanced away.
A small smile bloomed across Harry's face despite his best efforts to keep it at bay.
"Eloquent as ever, Potter," Malfoy snorted, but there was no bite to it. In fact, if Harry didn't know better, he'd go as far as to say that Malfoy sounded pleased.
"When and where would be good for you?" Harry continued, feeling a smite less nervous now. "I get off at five today."
"Someone's eager," Malfoy said, tone cool but eyes teasing.
Harry just looked at him.
Harry watched, enraptured, as Malfoy's cheeks pinked and he dropped his gaze once more, his fringe falling over his eyes. Harry's fingers twitched with the effort it took not to reach out and brush it aside.
Don't get too ahead of yourself, Potter, Harry reminded himself sternly. The last thing he wanted was to be too forward and scare Malfoy off.
Scare Malfoy off. The concept was a surreal one.
"I can meet you here at seven," Malfoy said after a long pause.
"Alright. I mean, yeah, that's great. Any preferences for dinner…?"
Malfoy shook his head.
"We'll dine out, then," Harry said firmly, thinking that perhaps inviting Malfoy over to his place wasn't necessarily the best idea.
"Fine," Malfoy said evenly. He then turned on his heel and, without another word or a backwards glance, swept out of the patisserie.
Harry stared at the doors longer than could be considered dignified. Heart still racing in his chest, he ignored the patrons around him—though there weren't many—and walked over to a chair and slumped down. His wiped his sweaty palms on his apron and rubbed a hand over his face.
What did he think he was doing?
He wasn't thinking, and that was the problem.
A part of Harry was convinced he should have left Malfoy well enough alone. They'd only ever brought out the worst in each other, and nothing good ever came out of their interactions. It would have been easy to have avoided him, and eventually Malfoy would have lost interest and disappeared. Harry hadn't seen Malfoy in years and he hadn't suffered for it. In fact, he'd barely thought of the prat at all (Harry studiously ignored the voice in his head that whispered liar). This, whatever it was, wasn't necessary. Moreover, it'd probably lead Harry on a path of hardship. And Harry had had enough of that to last a lifetime, thanks.
However, there was another part of him, a part that he found more difficult to ignore, that couldn't stop thinking about the way Malfoy now looked; soft and curvaceous where everything had once been bony, pointed, and sharp. He couldn't get the sight of Malfoy looking at with him wide, beseeching eyes while his mouth formed words that would make a lesser man flinch. Couldn't not think about the way he'd looked that day at the park, hunched over like he'd wanted to disappear, his loneliness nearly a visible shroud around him.
But it was the thought of Malfoy consuming that doughnut, his face contorting as if each bite caused him physical pain and emotional anguish, that Harry obsessed over the most. He was a baker; sweets were his specialty. He'd chosen his profession not only because he was good at it, but because he took great pleasure in creating things that brought others joy. To Harry, desserts were the epitome of happiness. There were countless studies that supported the idea that sugar and various other ingredients used in baked goods sent dopamine signals to the brain, resulting in instant pleasure. Harry was of the mind that it was the memories associated with sweets that brought the true elation, however. People's favorite desserts were reminders of good times—holiday sweets, trips to the carnival, gifts from those they loved best. Harry himself was almost always reminded of his first ride on the Hogwarts Express and the best friends he'd made on the journey.
The purpose of dessert was to make people happy. Which was why Harry found it so inherently wrong that Malfoy had looked as if each bite had caused him unimaginable torment.
Harry dreamed about that expression. He thought of it while on his way to work, and in between prepping and baking and decorating, and after meetings, and during meals, and in the blissful moments before sleep. Malfoy's face in that moment haunted him, and before long Harry had started thinking that he wanted more than anything to replace it with something more fitting—something happier. When, exactly, he started fantasizing about being the one to do so, he had no idea. He only knew that one day the thought came and simply never left.
Harry didn't think that was going to change any time soon.
With a an embarrassingly long, melodramatic sigh Harry pushed himself up from the chair and made his way back to the kitchen. He had a lot of work to do, and if he was going to leave on time then he had best get back to it.
To be continued in Part II.
Chapter Notes: I apologize for any inaccuracies you come across. I've never been to France and I don't speak French so I used Google for just about everything. Sorry. If anyone fluent in French happens upon this story I hope you'll correct me.
1) Mon Petit Gâteau – "My Little Cake" or "My Cupcake".
2) La pâtisserie d'Étienne – Stephen's Patisserie. (Thanks for the correction, Bilnur!)
3) Lac Chauvet – Lake Chauvet, while a real lake in France, is mainly a fictional setting in this fic.
4) If you're interested in what the city Harry resides in looks like, I sort of based the idea on Saint- Étienne, a city in Eastern Central France.
5) Camille's École de Patisserie – Camille's School of Baking, basically.