Harry arrived at the Three Broomsticks alone. He glanced around for a sign of Hermione, Ginny or Ron, but the pub was so packed full of Hogwarts alumni that he could not pick them out. A vaguely familiar Hufflepuff girl brushed past him, muttering the word "Potter" under her breath. Harry waded through the crowd toward the bar. Ten years had passed since he had last been to the Three Broomsticks, and yet the stench of rotting wood, sweat and frothing butterbeer rekindled forgotten memories.
Hermione grabbed Harry's arm. "Harry, there you are. We were afraid you wouldn't make it."
Harry smiled, glancing first at her tarnished wedding band and then at her beaming face. She pulled him into a hug.
"It's good to see you, Hermione. Where's Ron?"
Hermione gestured to the corner of the pub where Ron was chatting with Neville, Ginny and Seamus over a bottle of mead. A few feet away from Ron stood Draco Malfoy. Malfoy spotted Harry and for a moment Harry detected a faint smirk.
"So how are you, Harry?" Hermione asked. "Please tell me that you're finally going to stay in London. Ron is doing quite well at the Ministry. And the kids… well… they're difficult, of course. But what about you? All those travels… Ron and I have been so worried."
"What?" Harry stammered, breaking eye contact with Malfoy. "I'm… um… fine."
Hermione looked at Harry uneasily. "We miss you, you know that?" she said. Their eyes met.
"Of course I know that," Harry said. Harry leaned over the bar and ordered a beer. He paid the barman and turned back toward Hermione.
"Are you coming to sit with us?" she asked.
Harry locked eyes with Draco, then looked back at Hermione. "I'll be over in a few minutes."
Hermione smiled halfheartedly and walked off. Harry made his way through the crowd, out the back door, and over to an empty table on the deserted patio in the back. He sat down and sipped his beer.
Draco approached him. They looked at each other silently.
"Have some beer," Harry finally said, sliding his mug toward Draco.
Draco sat down on the chair across from Harry and took a swig. "Thanks."
Their eyes met again. Draco's irises were almost silver in the moonlight.
"I'm Draco," the blonde bloke said.
Harry looked at him peculiarly. "Excuse me?"
"You bought me a beer, so I figured I'd introduce myself," Draco said, taking another sip.
"I know your name, Malfoy," Harry said.
"Of course you do. But have you ever wondered what it would have been like if we had met at a different time. Now, for instance?"
Harry eyed Draco suspiciously and then grabbed the beer out of his hands and sipped it, before placing it back within his reach.
"You're serious?" Harry said.
There was a awkward silence.
"So what do you want to do? Pretend?" Harry asked.
"Follow my lead," Draco replied. Draco leaned towards Harry and, in a hushed tone, said: "You arrived at the pub an hour late. I could sense you watching me."
"I arrived at the pub for a reunion," Harry said. "I was looking for an old grade school friend when I spotted you lingering in the shadows."
"You couldn't take your eyes off of me," Draco said.
"You smiled at me and I… bought a beer."
"To dull the senses," Harry replied. He took another swig.
"You walked out onto the patio and waited for me to follow," Draco said.
"I needed to sit down," Harry said.
"You offered me a drink."
"I didn’t know what else to say," Harry replied. "You were seducing me with your eyes."
"You couldn't stop looking at me, so I claimed my beer and introduced myself."
"You were very forward -- it made me uncomfortable."
"I was very forward -- it made you nervous," Draco replied. "And then you asked me to dance."
"I asked for your hand," Harry said.
"You asked for my hand and led me to the dance floor," Draco said, nursing the beer.
"We danced in the moonlight… in the darkness… away from the crowd."
"There was no crowd," Draco said. "Only us… the moonlight… and then you kissed me."
"I couldn't take my eyes off of you," Harry said.
"You kissed me because you didn't know what to say."
"I kissed you because I was afraid of what I would have said," Harry replied. "I was dazzled. It was dark. I could taste the spattered beer on your lips."
"You led me back to your place. You promised me a date and offered me your company," Draco said.
"I led you to the woods. You promised to hold me and I promised to let you."
"And then you kissed me again," Draco said.
"In the woods," Harry replied.
"You made love to me in the darkness," Draco whispered.
"And then I asked for your…"
"You didn't speak a word," Draco responded. "You entered me and I let you in. I could taste your ravenous desire as you took me."
"I gave you what you wanted," Harry said.
"I gave you what you needed," Draco replied.
"I needed to be held," Harry said.
"You needed to loved," Draco replied.
Draco's breath ghosted over Harry's face as he reached over and clasped Harry's clammy hand. They stared at each other desperately.
"It was cold," Harry said. "The woods were cold. I said that we should probably be heading back."
"The room was cold and so I held you close," Draco said, clutching Harry's hand. "You were smiling. You were finally warm."
"There was no room. We were lost in a thicket of trees. And I was cold even after I had loved you."
"I warmed you in the darkness," Draco stated adamantly.
"No, I was cold," Harry said, jerking his hand free. "Because you weren't really there."
"You wouldn't let me in."
"You didn't know who I was."
Tears welled up in Draco's eyes as he clasped the empty beer mug. "Of course I knew who you were," Draco stuttered.
"You never even asked my name."
Harry stood and walked away.