Draco was not a dramatic man.
Sure, he’d given in to the stereotype over the years, laughing about it with his friends and letting them neatly label his erratic behaviors and eccentricities as such, and at times, had even leaned into it, getting away with actions and ideals because of this simple belief his friends had in him.
But the thing was, Draco was not, in fact, dramatic.
There was just a certain order to things. Things were meant to be the way they were meant to be. And as any civil and educated member of society, he trusted and upheld that those practices, ideologies, and traditions had meaning to them. That they gave way to a more poignant, established, and refined lifestyle.
Which was why, under no circumstances, he was making this man’s order.
“But,” the man practically sputtered, “I’m the customer.”
Draco hitched an eyebrow. “And I’m the owner, and I say absolutely not.”
The disbelief and uncertainty was almost comical, had it not been leading to his coffee shop’s financial decline. Well, not a fatal decline, given it was late into the evening and most of the seats were still occupied, surely assisted by the decline in weather and onset of exam week. But still, every dollar counted. To someone poorer than him, Draco speculated. But still, on principle.
“But it’s what I want, and I’m paying you to do it.” The man pushed the money closer to Draco, as if bribery were going to suddenly peel away his sense of morality. He’d like to see this man try and break down Draco’s strict sense of self.
“You’re asking me to make you a latte with five shots of espresso and about half the bottle of vanilla to compensate. If you’re this desperate into your exams and are in need of a heart attack, I would recommend letting your marks come out and having things run their due course, no?”
Draco was impressed with this man’s persistence, if anything. His glasses hung crooked on his nose, drawing attention away from his rather startling green eyes, and Draco, though strongly disinclined to touching strangers, was fighting back the urge to smooth down his great tuft of hair. Instead, he feigned clearing a smudge off the face of the register.
Draco looked up, quickly relaxing his face to veil the shock. His mouth pulled to the side, and he shifted his stance.
“So what’ll it be?”
“Just a latte then, I suppose.” The man, to his credit, didn’t look as frustrated as Draco was sure he felt.
Draco did end up putting an extra shot in, out of pity.
The night after, he was back.
“Okay, listen, I know it’s a bit unconventional, but I have not slept in weeks, and I need to pass this class. My friends like this place, so I can’t go elsewhere. Can I please have a five shot latte with extra vanilla syrup?” He was breathing a little harder than he should’ve been, impassioned by his short speech, his ragged flannel undulated with the rise and fall of the man’s sturdy-looking chest. Draco, although amused, was a hard man to crack.
The man pursed his lips, looking up at the sky. He turned on his heel, and back to his table, where his two friends, one a young woman with bushy hair and an air of efficiency, and the other looking hopelessly lost with his material, looked up at him, and then right at Draco. The young woman stood harshly, letting the legs of the chair scrape against the floor, drawing the attention of the nearby customers, and stalked over to the register.
She took a deep breath before talking. “Can I have a-”
Draco was doing his best not to smile. “No.”
She looked taken aback, eyebrows furrowing together. “But you haven’t even heard what I’m asking for.”
Draco gave her a level stare. “You’re going to ask for the drink that I won’t make your friend, and my answer is still no. It’s not even coffee at that point, just a stroke waiting to happen.”
“This has got to be illegal.” She stated, very matter-of-fact.
“If you can find the law, then I’ll follow it. Best of luck.” He countered.
She pursed her lips, letting out a sharp breath through her nose. “Fine. I will.”
He almost believed that she actually would, too.
The next time the man came, he came alone, and sat with his head buried in books for the better half of the night.
Draco was nearly intrigued. Why come here with no friends if he couldn’t even get his order?
The customers were fairly sparse tonight, and Draco was getting a bit tired of wiping down the same mugs and rinsing out the same milk pitchers. So, he decided to take a chance, deviate from himself for a bit. Just to see what would happen. Not because he wanted to. Naturally, he would never tell anyone about this, lest his reputation be completely ruined.
Five shots and half a bottle of vanilla it was, if that would allow him to sit across from this man and ask him what compels him to bring on his own early demise.
He made the drink, reeling with disgust the entire time, almost threw it out on two different occasions, but found himself placing it on the man’s table before Draco really had the time to figure out what he was going to say. He stood there, like a complete nitwit, while the man looked down at the cup and then back up at him.
“I’m Draco.” He said.
The man hesitated, uncertainty and confusion written clearly in the open mouth, cocked head, and wrinkled forehead. “Uh… Harry Potter.” He finally settled on.
Draco made a face he hoped came across as pleasant. “What are you studying for?”
Harry blinked at him, and then startled down to his textbooks, as if he forgot they were there. “Oh, uh, business.”
“Business, good.” Draco said, like a fucking idiot.
Harry nodded, just a small nod, and gave a flash of a smile that was really more polite than welcoming.
“Right. Well. Enjoy.”
Draco sauntered back to his counter, wanting to dissolve into the ground and melt right into hell. That was terrible. God, where did his wit go? He might as well close up shop and move locations.
Not that, under any circumstances, Draco was dramatic. This was a completely normal reaction to making a fucking buffoon of oneself in front of someone that might, objectively, be considered attractive.
“But you made it last time!”
“Then why did you make it in the first place?”
“You looked so pathetic, sitting there all alone. I was hoping the caffeine would make you do something worthwhile with yourself.”
Harry took a deep breath, the kind that is more a warning, a threat, than just a breath. “You know what? Fine. Okay. Just give me a regular vanilla latte then.”
Draco made his special drink, and said absolutely nothing of his own atrocities. God, who was he turning into?
“Here’s your latte.”
“Thanks for nothing.” Harry grumbles.
Draco watched the back at Harry as he walked away, watched his stupid sweater stretch over his broad shoulders. Maybe he should throw in some whip-cream next time.
“He fancies you, you know.” The bushy-haired friend was back, this time with a much more agreeable mood. She handed him her card, and he mindlessly swiped it through his machine.
Draco’s stomach muscles clenched. Why on earth would he do that?
“Why on earth would he do that?” He said, holding her card out between them.
She took it, and laughed. “I don’t know either, not to be rude," she added, after looking at his face, "but you should say something, I don’t think he will. He’ll just keep coming here and be miserable the whole time.”
“Hmm, that sounds like a personal problem.” It was an interesting development. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with the information.
He placed her coffee on the counter--"thank you"--and went back to wiping mugs, totally not purposefully avoiding looking over at his table, but rather… circumstantially always finding things to do that required the back wall.
Draco nearly-- nearly, because he’s fucking good at his job-- messed up the next drink that came through, and blamed it on the fact that he didn’t get much sleep the night before. Can insomnia cause a racing heart?
Draco was not a dramatic man.
He simply believed there was a way to do things properly, and that you couldn’t casually ask someone out over coffee at your own coffee shop. Things like this required dinner, maybe flowers, a candle or two, hair gel, and some confidence.
Which is how he found himself closing his shop early, turning the sign to Closed hours before he normally did, and waiting on his own front steps for nearly a fucking hour before the golden trio came trekking to his store, bags heavy and books in hand.
“What are you doing?” Harry asked, as if it wasn’t obvious Draco was waiting for someone. Harry’s scarf was hanging askew on his neck, and Draco wanted to stand up and fix it for him.
“Waiting, obviously.” Draco said, looking him dead in the eye, expression perfectly neutral.
“For…” Harry dragged out the 'r', leaving the question mark behind, waiting for Draco to finish the sentence.
Harry’s bushy-haired friend’s eyes widened, and she tugged the red-headed boy’s arm fervently, who looked altogether baffled. “We, uh, I actually need to run to the library quick. Bye, Harry!” The red-head sputtered a rather futile protest before being swept away. Draco was secretly grateful for her rather poor excuse.
“Wait--” Harry started, turning his head in between Draco and the now-vacant spot where his friends had previously stood.
Draco stood up, suddenly conscious of the empty space between them where a counter usually occupied. “If you can make it one night without studying, would you like to go to dinner?”
Harry’s eyebrows shot up on his forehead, just about reaching his daft mess of hair. He simply stood there, books in hand, scarf askew, breathing in the cold air as if Draco hadn’t said anything at all.
“Hello?” Draco tried again.
“Yes, I would… yes. Tonight?” Harry said.
“That was the plan.”
“Uh, okay. Sure. Where are we going?”
Draco smiled, just a turn up of one side of his mouth. “I know a place. You just can’t order anything stupid and ridiculous. And no coffee, god, you’re probably going to die of a heart attack.”
Draco was not a dramatic man, nor was he prone to making rushed decisions and leaping to conclusions.
He was methodical, careful, calculating, and did not take kindly to strangers invading his personal space. He valued his privacy, his sanctuary at home that was undisturbed by the outside world. He usually didn’t date, and would never consider adopting a pet. He liked being alone.
But he was pretty sure he was going to keep this man.
(And never, ever make him a five shot latte again, not if he wanted his boyfriend alive.)