November Third (part nine)
@o0o-chibaken-o0o more drarry your way comes (can you tell I’m running out of things to put here?)
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Draco was an idiot. He’d completely forgotten it was November third. He’d been thinking about the day all week. And all the day prior as well. But this morning, he’d gotten up and headed straight to his favourite coffee shop without thinking. He’d sat down at his usual spot by the door with his usual caramel macchiato (with extra foam), forgetting there was nothing usual about the day at all.
Because, barely a metre from where Draco sat, Harry Potter had just walked in the door.
He hadn’t seen Draco just yet, thank Merlin. Draco was a mess. He hadn’t even showered this morning! He always showered before leaving the house. Always. But today, on the one day when it fucking mattered, he’d left the house in a daze, just for a quick, lazy coffee. He’d run a comb through his hair at least, but still! He wasn’t even wearing a collared shirt for fuck’s sake. He looked positively pedestrian.
Potter walked past Draco without so much as a glance, heading straight for the counter near the back of the cafe. It gave Draco time to think. Potter would surely see him when he left if he was getting takeaway - or worse, if he were to dine in, he might end up at a table close to Draco, and then Draco would be forced to acknowledge him out of sheer politeness.
Draco ran a hand through his hair nervously. It had grown out a bit since school, and wasn’t slicked back like it usually was. Perhaps Potter wouldn’t recognise him. Perhaps if he just slouched and kept his head down, Potter wouldn’t notice him at all.
He took a large sip of his coffee and used the opportunity peek out over his cup to see where Potter had gotten to. He must have finished ordering, because he was hanging around the counter now, one hand tapping on the back wall of the cafe. Takeaway it was. Draco dropped his cup and turned away before Potter looked up.
Draco caught a glimpse of his reflection in the glass of the window beside him. How could he have ever left the house like this? Even his eyes looked tired. It would be insulting if Potter recognised him today - Draco didn’t look like himself at all.
Draco played with his hair in the reflection, pulling it back so it was slick against his head and wishing he had gel or a hair tie on him to keep it in place. Even that would make all the difference and make him somewhat presentable. Then there was the open necked shirt. Clearly, that was a mistake. And there was no quick fix for it.
He caught movement in the glass and quickly dropped his hair, turning his face down to his table, but straining his eyes up to watch - it was Potter, coffee in hand, heading towards the entrance, eyes fixed ahead, not even acknowledging Draco in the slightest.
So this was their November third interaction this year; passing each other by in a coffee shop. What would happen next year? Would they just happen to be in the Ministry on the same day, on different floors, and never once see each other? And the year after that, would they simply be in the same country as each other and that was that? Would November third cease to be anything at all? Would Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy cease to be anything to each other at all?
“Potter!” Draco called out with Potter already halfway out the door. He was going to regret this.
Potter ducked his head back around the door immediately, smiling as soon as he saw Draco. “Malfoy! I can’t believe I didn’t see you there.”
“Well, you always were unobservant,” Draco said in what he hoped would be perceived as a chilly manner. He’d been the one who had to initiate conversation after all, since Potter had been all too happy to ignore him. It was only right that Potter put in the effort now.
“I guess I’m lucky you have a sharp eye then,” Potter said, painfully smooth. He took a step closer to Draco’s table, holding onto the back of the opposite chair.
Draco understood the implication clearly. There was no need for Potter to be quite so obvious. “By all means, Potter, sit if you must,” he said, making sure Potter knew it was less of an invite and more a resigned agreement.
Potter sat down without hesitation, not even attempting to play it cool. It was actually a little intimidating how little Potter seemed to have to control his actions. Draco could only aspire to reach that level of comfort in himself.
“Your hair’s long,” Potter pointed out with all the conversational skills of a seven year old. Draco was about to tell Potter exactly that when he added, “Just so you can’t call me unobservant again,” with a playful wink.
Shit. Potter had grown up. He was somehow more confident than he was in eighth year, back when he’d given Draco a - well, last November third. And Draco was only just now noticing the shadow of stubble around Potter’s chin - so light that it was as if he’d shaved the night before to allow time for the shadow to form before morning. Which seemed much too carefully planned and deliberate for someone like Potter.
Draco drew his eyes up from Potter’s jaw - had that widened as well? No, Draco was reading into things now. He hadn’t seen Potter in months. Not since the end of school. A lot had changed, but plenty hadn’t. The hair - that made Draco feel slightly better about his own - so untamed and unpredictable, never committing to a single part line, the smile, cheeky and knowing and above all, warm, and those eyes, just as piercing and still framed by those boyish round glasses.
Draco snapped out of his stare. Oh fuck, he hoped Potter hadn’t noticed. “What?”
It took a second for Draco to understand what Potter meant. A snarky “with what?” fell back down his throat when he recognised the sound. He shoved a hand down into his pocket and threw the awful muggle device on the table. It had been buzzing on and off, ever since he’d received it, with no discernible pattern and it was driving Draco up every single wall in his house.
Potter looked from the device to Draco with a questioning look. “Aren’t you going to answer it?”
“Answer it? I haven’t been sent anything.”
Potter laughed, a short sound, like he was trying to hold back for Draco’s sake. “Malfoy, do you know what this is?”
Draco didn’t appreciate the implication. “Of course I know what it is.” He paused, taking a sip of his coffee to give himself time to remember the name they had told him in his course and - yes, that was it. “It’s a phone.”
“Okay,” Potter said slowly. “Do you know what it does? How it works?”
Draco took another sip of his coffee, hoping his stalling tactic wasn’t too obvious. He made sure he had the correct information before repeating the definition from memory. “It’s a popular muggle tool for communication via direct voice interaction and modern messaging features.”
The phone stopped buzzing.
Potter picked it up. “You have 18 missed calls from Pansy.”
Is that what the noise had been? “I don’t know why she doesn’t just floo call me,” Draco said. “It’s so much easier.”
“It’s really not,” Potter said with another laugh. Draco tried not to let how it affected him show in his face. Potter was playing with the buttons on the phone now, his eyes on the screen.
“Wait, what are you - “
Potter tossed the phone back to Draco and stood up with his coffee. “Call me when you work it out,” he said. And left.
“When I work what out?” Draco called after him, but he was already walking past Draco’s window, sipping his coffee with that traitorously cheeky smile that Draco hated with every fibre of his being. Because he loved it with every fibre of his being.
Why the fuck hadn’t Draco put on a collared shirt this morning?
Bingo progress under the cut…