Harry Potter is on fall break from a wizarding university in London after finishing his Hogwarts education. He’s popped into his favorite café, owned and operated by his best friend’s family, outside Diagon Alley and reconnects with an old friend. Ginny still lives at home with her parents and helps run the business. She’s in between life milestones and still figuring out her path. Harry makes a bold decision. #coffeeshopau #wheretheresacoffeeshoptheresaway #otp
Harry Potter’s “How-to-Guide” for Being Awkward but Adorable
The wind was cold and sweeping for early November. It cut through Harry’s wool peacoat and pricked at his winter-pinked skin. He shoved his fists deeper into the pockets and scrunched his shoulders to his ears, the lapels puckering just enough to keep the wind from his neck. Hermione’s admonishing voice echoed in his head. “Did you pack your scarf?” She’d cornered him in their flat before he left, a packing list and quill poised in her hands. “I checked the muggle news and there’s quite a significant chance of snow while you’re gone.” He’d ignored her and was paying the price, as always.
He was back in London for the first time in a long time, and had forgotten how hard the winters were when trapped amidst pillars of concrete. He tripped into a half-frozen puddle of grey-brown gutter sludge as he hurried down a narrow alley, and whispered a small thank you to last year’s Christmas gift from Hermione: handcrafted dragonskin boots that were keeping his feet warm and dry.
Snow had indeed started to fall by the time he reached the café, just enough to dust the tops of his shoulders and dampen his hair. A bell hung over the door jingled cheerily as stepped inside. Paused in the café’s entryway, glasses fogged over and slipping to the tip of his nose, Harry raked a hand through his jet-black hair and made a mental note to reschedule again with his barber. His academy courses had been so grueling lately he’d missed his last two appointments.
“Hi, welcome to The Burrow, what can I get started for you?” A clear voice cut through the low, humming chatter of the busy cafe. “We’ve got about a half hour left until the kitchen closes, but the pastries and coffee menu’s available all night.”
Harry slipped his coat off and hung it on an empty hook in the entry before crossing to the counter. He pushed his glasses up to the bridge of his nose and squinted at the giant, hand lettered menu board on the wall. He knew their menu by heart, but he always liked to take a minute to consider his options. Plus, the specials were accompanied by little chalk illustrations that always made Harry smile.
“I think I’ll just have a butterbeer and a pumpkin pasty,” Harry said. It was a boring order, but The Burrow Café had perfected the simple combination.
“Do you want that hot or iced?” The barista had her back to the counter as she refilled a massive urn with freshly ground beans. The tie of her apron was lost in the folds of a massive cream-colored cable knit sweater and the sleeves were rolled up to her elbows. Her cinnamon-colored corduroys ended just above her ankle and chunky socks were falling over the tops of well-worn black combat boots. A slender, smooth wand poked out of her back pocket.
“Hot, please,” Harry replied, bending down to examine a case of handmade chocolates and candies. “And could you warm up the pasty too, please?”
“Sure thing,” she said. She pulled her wand out of her pocket and gave it a wave before returning to her work refilling the coffee urns. Harry stood up and watched as an oversized mug floated out of a cabinet and onto the counter, followed by a mismatched tea saucer. A wad of paper napkins folded itself neatly under the edge of the saucer as the mug dipped itself underneath the spout of a massive keg built into the café’s wall. A foamy draught of butterbeer filled the mug.
The barista crossed to the keg and slid the mug onto the counter in front of Harry. Bits of sweetened foam dropped onto the butcherblock.
“Here you go,” she said, looking up at him for the first time since he’d walked in. “Oh!” she exclaimed. “Harry – I didn’t realize it was you.” Her cheeks blushed slightly, and she tucked a frizzy lock of ginger hair behind her ear. The bun on top of her head was haphazardly twisted and short tendrils had begun to escape the scrunchie.
“That’s okay, Ginny,” Harry replied with a soft smile. “Not like I’m the Minister of Magic or anything.”
“No,” she laughed, “but you do office just down the hall from him and that should count for something.”
“I only office down there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I don’t so much ‘office’ as ‘file papers and get coffee’ for the Aurors. The memos still aim for my face if that tells you anything.”
Ginny laughed again and rolled her eyes in joking exasperation. “If you say so,” she said with a grin. A bell dinged in the service window behind her.
“Order up,” came a lovely, singsong voice. A familiar face peered at Harry through the window.
“Harry dear,” Molly Weasley crooned. “Oh, I’m so glad to see you. Was the weather alright? It looks a fright out there right now. You didn’t forget your scarf, did you? Hermione wrote the other day that you’d been so busy lately you’d likely forget your own head on the way into town.”
“I’m alright, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry assured her. “Just a few snowflakes on the way, but nothing one of your perfect pumpkin pasties can’t fix.” He flashed her a smile and she beamed. Ginny grabbed the plate of steaming pasties off the ledge and slipped one onto the saucer in front of Harry.
A teenaged waitress appeared at Ginny’s elbow and handed over a few slips from her order pad. “That big study group in the back room finally decided they wanted just about one of everything from the menu,” she groaned. “Ginny, can you help me take these drinks back to them?” She pulled three serving trays out from under the counter and started counting mugs.
“No problem,” Ginny said. “Mum, she’s right. This looks like the whole run. Can you handle it or do you need some help?” She passed the slips through to her mother and rewrapped her scrunchie for a tighter bun.
Mrs. Weasley flipped through the order and clucked her tongue. “I should be able to get this started just fine, but I might need a spot of help with the finishes. Go on and get their drinks sorted then pop back here.” Ginny nodded and started on the drink order. Mrs. Weasley turned to Harry and smiled apologetically. “Harry dear, I’m afraid I’ve got to get back to work. You go find a seat and enjoy your order; I’ll pop out and see you proper here after this.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Weasley. I’ll be just over there,” Harry indicated his usual corner. “I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Don’t fret,” he added. She smiled again and disappeared back into the kitchen with a small wave of her wand. Harry heard pots and pans begin clanging and watched as a sack of flour floated by the window and land with a thud on the kitchen floor.
Harry scooped up his butterbeer and pasty and headed to his favorite table in the front corner. The side table was small, and the leather armchair was oversized. It was one of the only tables in the café without an electric outlet nearby, which meant it was almost always available. Harry loved it. From the corner, he could see the whole café and watch the world outside. It was quiet and warm and the familiar, homey smells from the kitchen swirled overhead.
For several minutes, Harry flipped through the small journal he’d tucked into his jacket pocket. Much to Hermione’s chagrin, Harry still hadn’t developed into the kind of student she thought he should be and his notetaking skills left much to be desired. Instead of painstakingly copying down their professor’s lectures, Harry preferred to bullet journal and add sketches. It made more sense to him than line after line of boring, dry text. He turned to a page that featured Unforgiveable Curses and the gingerbread man outline he’d drawn to help him remember what to look for in a cursed person.
He pulled a ballpoint pen out of his breast pocket and traced a few lines about the differences between hexes and curses, lost in the memory of resisting the Imperius Curse. His knees still ached at the thought.
“Ready for the holidays?” Ginny’s quiet, low voice broke through his concentration. Harry startled and looked up, locking eyes with his best friend’s sister. She stood relaxed but confident, the tray on her hip laden with mugs and plates.
“Holidays?” he sputtered. “Oh, right, yeah.” He took a sip of butterbeer to give his brain a moment to catch up and grimaced as the last dregs instead dribbled down his chin. Could he ever be normal around her?
“Yeah,” he started again. “Hermione and Ron are very much ready for the holidays. Hermione even found us a little tree for the flat and your mum sent a box of baubles so big it took two owls to get it to us. She’s got a stack of presents hidden in their closet that she’s unbelievably excited to deliver to you all.”
“I wish they could have come to town with you this time,” she said. “I feel like I haven’t seen them in ages.”
“They were quite upset to not be coming home during break, but Hermione’s got a huge project in the headmaster’s office that she’s desperate to button up before the holidays and, well, I suspect Ron was rather thrilled at the idea of them having the flat to themselves for a few days.” Harry laughed as Ginny’s face went sour.
“Oh please, no, let’s not go into more detail. Let’s just say that I miss my brother and leave it at that, shall we?” She shuddered and reached forward to swap out Harry’s empty mug with a hot refill. “This one’s on the house,” she added, as Harry moved to pull his wallet out of his back pocket.
“Thanks, Gin,” he said. “Cheers.” He tipped the mug toward her and took a sip. A sweet and gentle warming tickled the back of throat and he raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Is this –” he started to ask, but Ginny interrupted.
“Cheers, Harry,” she whispered with a wink. “Don’t tell Mum.” She pulled a small bottle of Madame Rosmerta’s rum cream out of her apron pocket. “Madame Rosmerta sent over a few samples of her latest batch with the butterbeer delivery and I’ve been keeping them hidden so Mum doesn’t chuck them in the bin. She’s so weird about this stuff, you know? I think she’s afraid that we’re all still so damaged we’re going to become vagrant addicts or something tragic at the first sip.” Ginny glanced over her shoulder before uncorking the bottle and taking a swig. “D’you like a nip?” She handed the bottle to Harry who tipped a quick swallow down his throat.
“Rosmerta’s getting quite good at this, isn’t she?” he asked with a laugh. “Glad to see she’s expanding operations again. Now if only she would open a Three Broomsticks near campus, then I’d really and truly be happy.” He tipped back another swig before replacing the cork and handing the bottle back to Ginny.
“Speaking of happy,” said Harry, suddenly emboldened by the liquid courage. “Ginny, would you like to get a drink with me sometime?” He stopped himself, “No, not sometime. Tomorrow. Tomorrow night.” He took a deep breath. “Would you like to get a drink with me tomorrow night? I know a great pub a few blocks away that serves these funny little firewhiskey cocktails that change colors.” He took another breath before continuing. “They change color with science! It’s not even magic. It’s just muggle science. Incredible, really. It’s something to do with butterfly pea tea and lemon jui—”
Ginny suddenly bent down and kissed him quickly, full on the mouth, cutting him off from his cocktail ramble. He looked at her with surprise.
“Love to,” she whispered in his ear. “Meet at my flat ‘round ten?” All Harry could do was nod. She smirked and brushed a piece of hair from his forehead.
“I like your hair like this, by the way. It suits you.”
Harry watched, stunned, as she spun on her heel and walked back around the café gathering up empty plates and sending the water pitcher around to refill glasses.
Blimey, he thought. Ron’s going to absolutely lose his mind over this…