Friday 1st July 2005
Harry Potter was dying. The heat in the office was killing him, it was the hottest day of the year so far, and he had to be stuck in the stuffiest, hottest office in the whole of the Auror department. He had cast as many cooling down spells as he could think of but it was no use he was too hot. He had taken as many clothes off that he could without exposing too much flesh; he even had taken his shoes and socks off, luckily no-one could see under his desk unless they walked behind his chair.
He swung his desk chair side to side losing concentration when he was supposed to be writing up his report on the now-closed case he had been working on for the past two weeks. Being an Auror wasn't as fun as he thought it was going to be, he knew it was going to be hard work, but it was hardly defeating dark wizards every day, and chasing down wizards who were up to no good. Most of the time he was stuck inside filing paperwork and checking up on old cases that may have been missed out.
Focus Potter, Focus.
A knock came from the other side if his office door and he called them in sitting up straight just in case it was someone important. It was only his secretary, Annabel; she walked in with purpose her nose turned up slightly and lips pursed which always reminded him of his Aunt Petunia, she was wearing a pinstriped pencil skirt and tucked in pale pink blouse, her hair was always in a tight grey bun that never had loose strands. "A letter has arrived for you Mr Potter," She said snidely and handed him an envelope with neatly recognisable handwriting on it.
"Thank you," Harry said, trying to keep his tone as even as possible. He had no idea why, but Annabel hated Harry, since their first meeting she looked at him like he had let off a dung bomb, she only really spoke to him when she had to or wanted the rest of the day off, but she was efficient and hard working so he couldn't really get rid of her. He waited until she closed the door behind her to open the letter from his ex-girlfriend, Ginny Weasley.
Ron has told me you refused to go to Neville's engagement party tomorrow night, I think that is entirely unacceptable, Neville is one of your closest friends you can't let him down just because you don't have a date to go with you.
So I spoke to Hermione, and she talked to Hannah, and we have set you up with Ernie Macmillan, he has liked you for a while and is looking forward to it so you can't say no, he is Hannah's best friend and she will be very angry with you.
See you tomorrow.
P.s. I would suggest getting some new robes from Madam Malkins, Hermione said yours are out-dated.
"Seriously?" Harry said after re-reading the letter, he cast incendo and watched the little paper shrivel and burn then instantly regret it when the heat from it made the room even hotter.
He felt a tightening around his left leg and looked down to see his brown-patterned Boa constrictor snake wrapping around him squeezing him tightly. "Haven't I told you before not to do that Morty?" Harry spoke to it in Parseltongue.
Harry had rescued a snake, two years ago, it was something that worried the people that were closest to him as Lord Voldemort had a snake, but Harry didn't see owning a snake as a bad thing. He felt it was something that was meant to be, as his first conversation was with a Boa constrictor in the zoo when he first realised he could talk to snakes. Morty had been trapped inside a box in a shop down Knockturn alley when they had raided it; it was almost dead by the time Harry had found it, but managed to heal him in time and decided to take him home.
He had no choice but to take him to work with him as he would go home to a mess as Morty would purposely knock things over with his tail when he was in a mood and hungry, which was all of the time.
"Sssso Hungry," Morty hissed unwrapping himself sulkily.
"I have fed you twice already, so don't give me that," Harry replied sternly, folding his arms.
"Sssso unloved, abandoned, misssstreated." Morty moaned slithering towards the potted tree in the corner of the room.
"Don't be so dramatic, Morty, or you will be abandoned," Harry said half-heartedly standing up and walking to the small box next to the tree and taking out one of the little dead mice and chucking it towards Morty's eager open mouth.
Morty swallowed the mice and wrapped himself around the tree pleased with himself, "Thanksss."
Harry sat back down in his chair once more and tried to refocus on his paperwork which was still difficult with the heat, and the fact that he had to worry about going on a date with Ernie Macmillan, who he knew perfectly well fancied him, as every party they go to he can't help but follow Harry around like a lost puppy, and try to flirt with him. He supposed he could pretend to like him for one night.
When lunchtime came, he fed Morty again to stop him having a hissy fit and left the office to go to Madam Malkin's to get his new dress robes. He did have to agree with Hermione and Ginny about that; he hadn't bought new dress robes since last summer when he had his 24th birthday. Hermione and Ron threw him a surprise birthday party, which wasn't a real surprise because it was leaked in the daily prophet, Hermione still never found out who leaked it and still holds a grudge.
He arrived in Diagon Alley practically blinded by the sun and walked through the heat to Madam Malkin's trying to avoid as much eye contact with as many people as possible. Otherwise, they would want to talk to him and get his autograph. It wasn't as bad as it used to be most of the witches and wizards that were in Diagon Alley saw him there nearly every day and was used to him, but the school holidays were the worst as families would be out in force trying to get a head start on buying school supplies.
The door jingled open as he walked inside announcing they had a customer, he heard Madam Malkin tell him she would be with him shortly as she was on her own today. Harry decided to have a browse around at the robes, he didn't want to dress to impress Ernie, but he did want something that looked good on him. The store was split into male and female sections he walked over to the men's section which was smaller than the female section. He avoided the school robes and went to the more high-end suits and robes hoping to see something that would flatter him.
He saw a dark purple velvet suit in the corner of his eye that grabbed his attention; he wondered if it would suit him or just look ridiculous.
He picked it up off the hanger and held it up to himself and looked in the mirror, it wasn't terrible he thought, but could he pull it off?
Madam Malkin drew back one of the dressing room curtains and saw Harry standing in front of the mirror. "Mr Potter, so good to see you again, would you like to try that on?"
Harry turned to look at the old witch who was beaming at him like so many witches did when they were in his company, even though she has seen him since his first trip into Diagon Alley. "Erm, yeah, I guess it won't hurt to try it on," He said unsurely.
"Excellent, I am just with," She began, but didn't need to finish when Draco Malfoy pulled back open the curtains she had come out from.
"Potter," Malfoy greeted with a small nod and a smirk.
"Malfoy," He said returning the nod and then looking him up and down. He was wearing a velvet suit similar to the one Harry was holding in his now clammy hands, but he was in black. His white blonde hair was how he had last remembered it to be, and his face as pale and pointed as ever, so why did Harry feel his heart thumping hard in his chest?
"No fighting this time, you hear me?" Madam Malkin warned remembering the last time they were in her shop at the same time in their sixth year.
"I can assure you there will be no fighting this time," Harry said politely to the nervous looking witch.
"As can I," Malfoy said, staring at Harry interestedly. "My days of petty fighting are behind me."
"Right, well Mr Malfoy if you go back into your dressing room, I will go find that material for the collar, Mr Potter you can go try that suit on in that dressing room," she pointed to the empty dressing room next Malfoy and hurried to the back of the shop.
Neither of them moved they just looked each other over. "Engagement Party?" Draco asked flatly.
"Yes, are you?" Harry asked curiously.
"Yes, unfortunately," Draco sighed. "Blaise is making me go."
"So is his girlfriend, Ginny." Harry said, frowning "Making me go, that is."
"Odd, isn't it? Blaise and your ex-girlfriend Ginny," Draco smirked, then returned to his dressing room. "I suppose I will see you there then Potter."
"I suppose so," Harry replied, trying to hide a pleased smile.
Harry heard Madam Malkin return as he was changing into to the suit, he could hear Malfoy tell her off for the needles poking him accidentally, which made Harry laugh inside. He heard her tell him to stop moving and they wouldn't prick him.
He looked at himself in the mirror and was happier in the suit than he expected to be, it wasn't half bad it actually suited him, he had to admit Malfoy looked a lot better in it than he did but, Malfoy looked good in any suit, he thought frowning slightly.
"I think that's you done, Mr Malfoy," He heard her say a couple of minutes later.
"Thank you," He heard Malfoy reply, then a few moments later, "Goodbye Potter." The sound of the door jingling open then closed told him he had left.
The dressing room curtains opened to Madam Malkin walking in, and the tape measure got to work quickly whizzing lengthways and widthways up and down his body, then the pins started darting about; he tried to stand as still as he could, telling his reflexes this was normal and not a danger to him.
"Excellent choice of colour, by the way, it really suits you. Mr Malfoy was tempted by it also, but it would clash with his hair colour I told him, so he settled for the black," She said smoothing down his shoulders and refolding the collar over.
Harry didn't respond to her; he was too busy trying to get the image of running his hands through Malfoys hair out of his head.
After he got dressed back into his clothes, he happily paid her ten galleons for the whole outfit they had picked out and tailored and left to get some lunch before he had to go back to his office.
He sat down in the small cafe down one of the alleys and was shortly greeted by his best friend, Ron Weasley. He hadn't seen thought about meeting him for lunch as they rarely got to see each other at work, Ron was usually out chasing after petty thieves.
"Harry," Ron grinned, taking a seat in front of him. "I didn't know you were here."
Ron was in as little as clothes as Harry was, his navy tie was undone and the top three buttons on his white shirt were unbuttoned revealing his bare chest. Harry wasn't attracted to Ron in any shape or form, but since he told Ron last year, he preferred men to women he unintentionally acted more cautious around Harry and buttoned up two of his buttons.
"Your sister told me I had to get a new outfit for the engagement party tomorrow," Harry said bitterly.
Ron smiled guiltily at him, "It slipped out that you weren't going," he said apologetically.
"You could have given me a heads up, the girls have set me up with Ernie," Harry frowned,
Ron let out a small snort, "I am so sorry."
"No you are not," Harry said, pulling a stop laughing face. "I would rather go with a mandrake."
"Ernie is not that bad; he believed you back in our fifth year if you remember?"
He thought back to when he held the DA meetings when Umbridge had taken over Hogwarts in their fifth year, and people thought he was attention seeking and crazy saying that Lord Voldemort had returned. Ron was right Ernie Macmillan had believed him and wanted to learn Defence against the dark arts from him, he also remembered seeing him everywhere he went that year, it was slightly unnerving.
"Probably because he is obsessed with me," Harry argued.
"What can I get you guys?" The bored witch asked, walking over holding a quill and parchment.
"Just a tuna sandwich for me, thanks," Harry said scanning the menu quickly. "And a bottle of cold butterbeer."
Ron spent longer looking at the menu before which made the waitress tap her shoe and click her tongue impatiently. "I will have beans on toast with three slices of bacon and two sausages," he finally said. "Oh, and two cold butterbeers," he added as she was walking away. "Charming isn't she?" He said when she was out of earshot.
Harry didn't reply. Instead, he just stared at the salt pot in front of him. When she returned carrying three bottles of butterbeer, she looked even more annoyed when Ron asked her for three glasses.
"Why do you need three?" Harry asked quietly when she walked away.
"One for you and two for me," He replied like it was apparent.
"Why don't you just pour the second bottle into the first glass?"
"Because it would be dirty," Ron replied.
Harry shook his head. "Ok, whatever," He said, giving up on the conversation.
The waitress came back again with the three glasses and two plates of food hovering in front of her. They rested on the table, and she walked away after scoffing at Ron.
Ron tipped the salt all over his plate and cut up his sausages; Harry watched him with a slight look of disgust on his face, he didn't know how Hermione put up with his barbaric eating habits. "Must you?"
"What?" Ron replied with his mouth full.
"Never mind," Harry replied, shaking his again. "Oh, guess who I saw in Madam Malkins before."
"Malfoy," He smirked. "He is going tomorrow also, I assume as a plus one for Blaise, I couldn't imagine Hannah or Neville would invite him."
"No, he was invited, he helped Neville get rid of a few dangerous artefacts last year, and they actually kept in contact."
Harry raised an eyebrow and lowered his sandwich from his mouth. "Dangerous artefacts?"
"Yeah, it's his job, Dad's his boss, how did you not know this?" Ron looked at him incredulously then took a big mouthful of beans.
How did he not know? He thought, trying to remember if he did know and just forgot. "He works at the ministry? I have never seen him."
"He works outside the office most of the time; he is more of an independent agent, dad says," Ron replied then added. "He is usually there first thing in the morning to hand in his reports and get his assignments, then leaves."
Harry ate the last of his sandwich thinking the new information over in his head; it was hard to believe a snobbish git like Malfoy would have a job, he probably didn't even need the job he was that loaded. Technically Harry didn't need to work thanks to the inheritance he got off his parents and godfather and thought it would bore him to be at home while everyone was at work, and he liked to be out catching dark wizards when he actually got a chance to get out, so he supposed Draco thought the same as him.
He gulped the cool butterbeer and slammed down the glass, "I better get back to work, I will see you tomorrow."