“Fancy meeting you here.” Harry watched amusedly as Malfoy whirled around in surprise and almost dropped his champagne flute.
“Potter.” He sounded breathless, caught off guard. “I thought you were in Egypt on some mission.”
Harry cocked his head to one side and gave Malfoy a quizzical glance.
“I see you’ve been keeping tabs on me.”
“That’s not-” Malfoy’s cheeks turned rosy as he quickly looked away. “Your name is always all over the paper.”
“This was a secret mission,” Harry replied, trying not to snicker.
“Yeah, well… It’s- it’s hard to escape you. People talk about you everywhere. Everywhere!”
“Sure,” Harry said, taking a sip of champagne.
“Auror Potter! Auror Potter!” A small, middle-aged man behind Malfoy began waving frantically at Harry, almost jumping up and down in his excitement.
“Oh no,” Harry muttered. Malfoy took a look over his shoulder and rolled his eyes.
“Auror Potter! We didn’t expect you to be back so soon,” the middle-aged man said, clasping one of Harry’s hands and shaking it vigorously.
“Mister Franklin,” Harry said, barely able to hide his annoyance.
“You were on a mission I presume? Was it undercover? Did it go well?”
Harry sighed and briefly closed his eyes.
“Mister Franklin, a gala is hardly the place for an interview, is it?”
Mister Franklin chuckled and clasped Harry’s hand even tighter.
“You know how it is with us reporters, we never rest.”
“Oh yes, I know,” Harry said. “However, I am currently unavailable for a statement.”
“But Auror Potter-”
“If you will excuse me, Mister Franklin,” Harry interrupted him, freeing his hand from the other man’s grip and placing it on Malfoy’s back. “I have important business to attend to.”
He ignored the incredulous looks Mister Franklin and Malfoy were giving him and pushed through the crowd. Harry noticed how Malfoy’s body twitched under his touch. It made Harry’s stomach flip. He hadn’t planned to be so bold but escaping a reporter from the Daily Prophet always took priority.
He hoped Mister Franklin wasn’t following them. But even if he left them alone, almost every other person in the room was sure to assault Harry sooner or later. But he couldn’t leave yet. He had promised Kingsley he’d stay at least two hours. And now, after bumping into Malfoy, he had another reason to stay.
When Harry spotted the double doors leading to one of the balconies, he let out a sigh of relief. That could work. He gently pushed Malfoy outside, who was completely flustered at this point.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he snapped, slapping Harry’s hand away and smoothing down his robes.
“What? I really didn’t want to talk to that reporter,” Harry said shrugging.
“But why did you drag me along with you?” Malfoy studied him suspiciously and Harry noticed how he was clutching his champagne flute.
“I wanted to keep talking to you,” Harry said, surprised Malfoy had to ask.
“And what gave you the impression I wanted to keep talking to you?”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Harry said, knitting his eyebrows together. “Feel free to go. It wasn’t my intention to bring you out here against your will.”
Malfoy narrowed his eyes. After a moment, he turned and walked to the edge of the balcony, resting his elbows against the railing.
It took Harry a moment to realise Malfoy wasn’t leaving after all. He was waiting for Harry to join him. Harry made sure the goofy smile had somewhat vanished before he stepped up beside Malfoy, mimicking his pose, and looked out to the garden below.
“It’s a little bit like Romeo and Juliet, isn’t it?” Harry said, relishing the sudden quietness around them.
Malfoy let out a snort and Harry was pretty sure he was rolling his eyes.
“For that you’d have to be standing down there, you knobhead.”
“I didn’t mean… I just meant the setting reminds me of-” He raised an eyebrow. “Are you saying you’d want me to be standing down there, serenading you?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Malfoy muttered. But Harry had the impression his cheeks were getting pinker by the second. “Besides, Romeo didn’t serenade Juliet.”
“He didn’t? Huh. I thought he did,” Harry said frowning. “Well that’s good I guess. I’m rubbish at singing.”
There was a long silence after that and Harry wondered what Malfoy was thinking about. He heard him take a deep breath before he finally spoke again.
“I guess we are a bit like Romeo and Juliet.”
Harry looked at him in astonishment.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, our families weren’t exactly enemies but I have often wondered what would have happened if my father hadn’t- if it weren’t for my father…maybe it wouldn’t have been impossible. Or forbidden.”
“Forbidden,” Harry repeated dumbstruck. “You mean to say…”
“I’m not saying anything,” Malfoy said quickly, clamping his mouth shut.
“I think you just did,” Harry insisted, giving the other man a toothy grin. “I have to admit, when I saw you tonight I didn’t think it would lead up to this.”
Malfoy didn’t reply and just stared at the fountain in the middle of the garden below them.
“It’s not too late, you know,” Harry said quietly. “We could still… well, how about we start with dinner?”
“Dinner?” Malfoy sounded skeptical. When he gulped down the rest of his champagne, Harry couldn’t contain a snicker.
“Dinner.” He turned to Malfoy and bit his lip. “All you have to do is say yes.”
When Malfoy didn’t say anything, Harry tentatively moved his hand down the railing and placed it on the other man’s.
“Just say yes.”
Harry watched as the corner’s of Malfoy’s mouth twitched and his body gave a little shiver.
“It’s that easy?”
“Yes,” Harry said. Malfoy cleared his throat and kept his eyes on the garden while his lips stretched into a smile.
“Is that a yes?” Harry asked. Malfoy turned his head to look at him, his eyes shining brightly.
Sebastian: Is god awful at it, but will participate nonetheless. He will make the jankiest pumpkin face, carved with minimal tact, eyes lopsided, zero fucks but having a good time. As the honorary Dad of the group, he will be the one scooping the guts out of everyone’s pumpkin before hand. Is there to spike his apple cider and eat all the candy. Terrible Halloween puns all night.
Joseph: The exact opposite of Sebastian. Will carve the IDEAL, classic jack o’ lantern: two perfect triangle eyes, a triangle nose, and a perfectly curved mouth. No, he did not use a template, he’s just that good. Will collect all the pumpkin seeds to roast them for a healthy snack later on while everyone works. Is probably wearing an apron to avoid ruining his clothes.
Juli: “What is this and why are we doing it?” Never had a normal childhood, grew up with hyper-religious family who thought Halloween was sacrilege. Will tentatively poke the pumpkin with the knife before going hard, carving that shit like she was made for Halloween, “Fuck you mom and dad, this is awesome.” Actually doesn’t come out too bad for a first attempt. Will make a second, cat faced one. Has a ridiculous hankering for Twizzlers and will dig through the bowl for every last one.
Leslie: Starts out with a knife. Please someone take the knife away from this jittery man. Ends up with at least 7 small cuts on his hands, covered with colorful bandaids, before Sebastian suggests painting the pumpkin instead. Listen, this pumpkin looks fucked up but it’s an adorable kind of fucked up. He is very proud of it. “Oh, wow…Leslie…that is. Abstract.” says Laura Victoriano, nervously smiling. Will drop everything he’s doing at that current moment to go watch ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.’
Ruvik: Bitter that he was invited to this party, would’ve been equally as bitter if he wasn’t invited. Only does a pumpkin because Laura insisted, not because the artistic side of him secretly wanted to. Remember the murals he did on his walls? That level of intricacy on a pumpkin. Is at the table working on it the longest and will get relentlessly teased for it by Sebastian. Will threaten to carve the same pattern into his skin if he keeps talking.
Laura: Brought the apple cider and will chew anyone out if they drink it cold; “What’s the point of that? It’s just apple juice then, is it not?” Also will blow on Leslie’s cup to make sure he doesn’t burn himself. Is there to paint a pretty pumpkin, be supremely encouraging to everyone, and to embarrass Ruvik by dotting. Will help Joseph bake cookies and decorate them to look like spiders, her personal fav.
Jimenez: Wasn’t invited. Lol bye.
Tatiana: Is giving herself a cute Halloween themed manicure. She is not wrecking these by pumpkin carving. Gives Leslie little painted ghost nails while they watch Charlie Brown. Really digs Kidman’s cat pumpkin.
Stefano: Pumpkin carving?? No. Too basic. Is in the backyard blowing up pumpkins and taking artsy slow-motion pictures of their demise. Ruvik is watching from the window, rolling his eyes. Everyone is concerned, no one knows who invited him.