Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any of its characters. I'm a poor college student and not lucky enough to get paid for anything I write.
We Happy Few
This fic is for sarahyyy and will be either three or four parts long.
She requested a post-war Draco/Hermione romantic comedy that included Ron.
I hope you like it! The next chapters will come soon!
Part I: A Favor
"Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness."—Carl Jung
He doesn't do happiness.
He just doesn't.
He doesn't do happiness, kindness, shyness, awkwardness. He doesn't do a lot of things.
More than anything, he doesn't do favors.
He does do anger.
He does anger, bitterness, sarcasm, and intimidations. It's what he does.
And he still doesn't do favors. He really, really doesn't.
Or at least, he didn't.
"I said no, Potter."
"Come on, it wouldn't hurt you to do her a favor."
"I don't DO favors. I just don't."
"Right. I forgot about your Malfoy code, or whatever that shit is you spout off all the time."
"It's called the Malfoy Canon. I can't expect you to understand, growing up in a cupboard and all."
Draco's office grew silent and he lifted his eyes to gage the intensity surrounding the boy who didn't die after all. He wasn't sure if he had taken it too far. This kind of bickering was normal for them, but every once in a while Potter had one of those days.
Relief washed over him as Harry let out a bark-like laugh and grabbed a small dragon figurine off the top of his desk.
"Tell me, O' sophisticated one, does rule number 347 say, 'Thou must have fruity little ornaments on thy Auror desk'?" Harry snickered, taking the liberty of seating himself on the edge of the desk.
"Yeah," Draco smirked, taking back the dragon, "and rule 348 says if a prat with an ugly scar mocks said figurine, a Malfoy must then proceed to shove it up said prat's arse."
"Hmm… well, let me know when you find him."
"Right Potter. Now get out of my office, I have work to do."
"Not until you agree to help."
Scoffing, Draco reclined in his chair and propped his feet up on his desk. Glancing at his posture, Harry was immediately reminded of the young Sirius he saw in Snape's pensieve.
"Potter, does Granger even know you're asking for my help? It's not as though we get along."
"She specifically asked for you."
Draco lifted one eyebrow delicately. He might have even allowed his mouth to drop open in shock, if rule number 11 didn't state quite clearly that "Malfoys are NEVER surprised."
"Did she now? What is it about the Golden Trio? I do a couple of decent things in the war, pass the order a little information, and suddenly all three of you are just dying to be my friend."
"Is that how it happened? Funny, I seem to remember a slightly different story." Harry pushed his hair away from his eyes to reveal an eyebrow cocked in a questioning manner. And Draco knew the question.
Do I really have to bring up that night?
Draco didn't want to do Granger any favors. He might have some sort of a truce with Weasley and Potter, if a truce includes sarcasm and a hell of a lot of alcohol, but it certainly didn't extend to Granger.
She didn't trust him, and he hated her for it. A day didn't go by that he didn't think of that night on the tower, and each day he busted his ass to make up for those mistakes. Why else would he spend every waking moment doing Auror work for the ministry when he had enough money to live his entire life without ever lifting a finger? Every ministry paycheck he received went straight to charity, usually a charity that Granger had mentioned.
But she didn't care. He didn't understand how Potter, his ultimate nemesis, could not only forgive him, but count him a friend, yet she still looked at him like the Dark Mark was tattooed across his face, not that he wanted her to look at him differently or anything. It just irked him. Malfoys were to be respected and desired by all, rule 38 said so.
He was interrupted from his musings when Potter snapped a finger in his face and said, "Did you hear me?"
"Sorry," he smirked, "I just assumed you were having another golden boy rant, so I tuned you out."
Harry jabbed a finger into his chest and said, "You're such a funny little ferret."
"Not to mention dazzlingly handsome. Don't tell me you have an animal fetish, Golden Boy."
Draco grinned, but it was diminished slightly when he saw the serious look on Potter's face.
"You owe me, Draco."
He didn't need the knowing look on Potter's face to understand what he meant. Memories of pain, blood, and his father sneering flashed through his mind. That's right, Potter had saved his life. And he was grateful. He was grateful even though rule 52 said, "Never owe anyone anything."
"The whole fucking Wizarding World owes you, Potter. Find another guinea pig."
He wasn't sure why he was letting Harry drive him out of his own office, but he moved towards the door anyway. He didn't like talking about things like this with Potter. He didn't like remembering the War. It only served to remind him that he had so much to make up for, so much more to go.
He was no fool. Draco knew very well, that Potter had used his given name twice in the last minute. That brought it to a grand total of three times in his entire life.
Harry sighed and ruffled his hair in frustration, "I'm not sure, but she asked for you. She made me promise."
"And what if I say no, what then?"
"Then I'll send Hermione to ask you. And I'll make you come to every Sunday lunch at the Burrow"
Draco might have actually paled, "You wouldn't. I won't go. Besides, Granger wouldn't come talk to me anyway. In case you haven't noticed, we're about as friendly as a vampire and its next victim."
"Ten galleons says you'd be the victim."
Draco growled, but Harry continued," And she will. You didn't see her. She can be pretty damn stubborn, and for whatever reason, she wants you to help with this experiment."
Draco paused and glared at Harry, wondering if he might be lying.
"I don't understand why she needs me. What is this project exactly?"
"I don't really know. She and a couple other Unspeakables finished it about two weeks ago. Normally, they just test it amongst themselves, but apparently they need more test subjects. I know it's something they developed specifically for the ministry."
Draco fixed him with a calculating stare, and knew he wasn't lying. Potter was a bloody awful liar.
"What do I get out of it?"
"You'll no longer be indebted to me." Harry said in a grave tone.
Surprised, Draco asked, "Are you sure? You get one favor from me, Scarhead, only one. Do you really want to waste it for Granger?"
"I owe her." He answered simply.
Draco was itching to question further. What did Granger have over Potter? Merlin, he was curious as hell. He locked his eyes on Potter, but Harry had shut him out. He knew Potter would never tell. Draco wasn't stupid, whatever this project was, he was getting off easy. Out of all the things Potter could have asked him to do, this was nothing.
Hermione fingered the chain around her neck nervously. Never in the history of the Department of Mysteries, had someone sought outside help. But she had to; otherwise, they'd be testing this invention for years. The more people they tested it on, the sooner they would find out exactly how it works.
You see, this project had begun as something rather simple, but had become something so much more.
Scrimgeour was convinced that the Wizarding populace as a whole was depressed, especially those who worked in the ministry. The war may have been over, but it still acted as a parasite, sucking the happiness out of even the most joyous of occasions.
People weren't quite sure whether they were allowed to talk about the atrocities that had occurred just a few years ago or if they should pretend that everything was back to normal.
He had approached her with an idea. He wanted her to make some kind of invention that would boost the morale, help everyone hold on to the happier moments of life. Originally she had toyed with the idea of using a cheering charm in some way, perhaps casting one on the entire ministry building, but that was hard to maintain.
She'd been at the Burrow when inspiration had struck. It had been Charlie's birthday, an occasion that was far from happy, because Charlie hadn't made it to his 30th birthday. He'd died in a raid a week before the final battle.
The Weasley's weekly Sunday brunch had been a somber affair indeed. Molly had barely asked Fred to pass the potatoes before she burst into tears. Ron had immediately left his food forgotten and retreated into the house.
Ron had spent far too long being the supportive one, being the one trying to help everyone else. He was hurting, and he did the only thing he could that made him feel any happier.
When Hermione entered the room, he'd been sitting on his bed with a black stone basin snuggled securely between his legs.
She made no noise to alert him to her presence, but had watched as he replayed his happiest moments, there in that finite basin.
That was when the idea had struck her. What if something was made available to the public, something that could be taken with you everywhere that held your happiest memories?
It had started off as just a miniature pensieve, but had become so much more, by accident really.
It had started off with minor improvements.
How does one go about choosing your happiest memories? She tried to think of what she might choose as her favorite memories, but each that came to mind was tainted with a bitter blur that reeked of the war. She wasn't sure she had any happy memories left in her past
What if you can't think of any happy memories? What if everything that once made you happy, only reminds you of everything that makes you unhappy?
She didn't have to ponder that question much, because one day, they stumbled upon a spell that did it for them. Somehow, the spell enabled the invention to choose the appropriate memories for the user.
She ran her hand across the necklace again, and shuddered. They had done it, they had created something that could detect and store a person's favorite memories.
Everything had been perfect. The colleagues that acted as test subjects reported excellent findings; it appeared that the experiment had been a success.
They had begun to make the product in mass supply, for distribution to all ministry employees, when she had first tested the product for herself.
Resting her head in her hands she remembered that day—the day when she discovered that the invention she'd been working on for months didn't work. Well, it didn't work how it was intended, for her at least. She feared that it was all a failure.
But she couldn't know for sure. She steeled her resolve and told herself to stay positive. She didn't know anything for sure yet.
She needed to test it on more people, and there just weren't enough Unspeakables.
She needed to know if the invention worked on everyone, if it worked the same in every case. She needed to know why things were different for her, and if they were different for anyone else.
She had a tingling feeling in her chest that her creation, might just do more than she'd ever intended it to do.
Her head left her hands to stare up into gray eyes that looked as hard and cold as metal.
"You're early." She replied.
"I'm prompt," he replied, "There's a difference."
"Well, its 1:55, and I told Harry and Ron to be here at 2:00, which means we've got ten minutes until they actually get here."
He snorted, and took the seat across from her in the meeting room. He fixed her with a cold stare and waited for her to speak, when she didn't he decided it was time to get some answers.
"So, bookworm, care to tell me why you needed me?"
"I needed some people to help me test a new product, people from the ministry."
"Uhuh." He nodded slowly, noting with curiosity that she was wringing her hands, hands that were probably sweating. She was biting her lip delicately and doing everything to avoid eye contact with him.
He stayed silent for a few moments, never letting his gaze waver, and she could feel it burning through her. Why did his gaze make her feel as though he could see her every little secret with one intimidating glance?
"Care to tell me the real reason you needed me?"
"That is the real reason, Malfoy."
"Oohoo…" He smirked, "for a second I almost believed you, Granger. With a little practice, you might make a decent liar."
"I hope you never have children, Malfoy. They might be the closest thing to Satan the world has ever seen."
He just chuckled and replied, "Speaking of Satan, you really should sell your soul for better hair. An eternity of suffering is worth getting rid of that thing."
"Really? Well, let me know when you're available for an appointment and I'll sign it right over."
"Feisty." He raised an eyebrow and continued, "I like that. If I ever need any help running Hell, I'll let you know."
"Ugh!" She groaned, "I hate how you can make even that an insult."
He sighed and leaned back in his chair, "It's a gift."
"You should find a way to give it back."
"No. I don't think I will," he smirked, "I'm quite enjoying how red your face is right now. "
"Bastard," she mumbled underneath her breath and her face only reddened. .
"No. My birth was quite legitimate actually. So why don't we save the insults for later and talk about why I got suckered into this."
"I didn't sucker you into anything."
"No, but Potter did. Why exactly did he owe you by the way?" He asked, his eyebrow returning to that lifted position that just screamed condescension.
Her head snapped up, and she looked him in the eye for the first time. The anger from earlier had dissipated to be replaced by nervousness. He wanted to take pleasure in her anxiety and the way she was sputtering in search of an answer, but in a way it worried him.
Never in his life had he seen Granger in such a mess, not even when facing Voldemort.
He didn't have time to question her any further because in that exact moment, Potter and Weasley came barging in.
Potter took in Hermione's anxious form, and Draco's daunting presence opposite her, and seemed to conclude that an interrogation had taken place. He shot Draco a warning look before taking the seat next to him.
Draco watched as Weasley bent down and placed a sickeningly sweet kiss on Hermione's cheek, which only seemed to frazzle her more. He was certainly becoming intrigued by her behavior, not that he hadn't always been.
She'd always been such a fascinating creature, even in their days at Hogwarts. He had a way with women, could read them like a book, but no, not her.
He just didn't get her. At first he chalked it up to her Muggle heritage, but during the war he started to think it went beyond that. He didn't understand how she could be so many things, so many people all at once. When he looked at her, he saw a little bit of Potter, Weasley, Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall, and even something a little bit like himself. She seemed to take the best things about people and soak them into herself like a sponge.
When she was angry, he could see himself in her. That, perhaps, was why he'd spent so much time hassling her, just to see it. Her eyes would light up with something akin to fire, but then turn cold as steel, and it did something to him. It gave him a feeling so deeply implanted in his body, that he had no way of naming it. Now, he thought it just might have been pride, pride to know that she saw something in him worth copying.
He'd spent so much of his youth trying to figure out what part of her menagerie of personalities was uniquely her own, and he still hadn't quite figured it out. He'd always thought that besides her heritage, she belonged in Slytherin. It was downright cunning the way she fooled everyone, but she didn't fool him.
"Alright," she began, "Well, all three of you know that I'm an Unspeakable, so it goes without saying that by extension, you're involvement in this is to be kept silent. When you signed the paper, you signed a contract, and believe me, you do not want to face the consequences of breaking that contract."
The Golden Trio shared a laugh, and he heard Weasley mumble the name, Marietta Edgecombe. He tried not to feel left out, because Malfoys are never left out (rule 211). It's not as though he wanted to be a part of their little group. The trio was meant to stay a trio; it seemed the world worked in threes.
Taking a steady breath to calm her laughter she continued, "Our invention was inspired by a pensieve, but designed to be more advanced, and more manageable. Scrimgeour came to me because he believed that people, specifically workers at the ministry, were unhappy."
Draco snorted, and changed positions in his seat. Hermione gave him a look that wasn't quite angry, but certainly not friendly.
"I know what you're thinking. And this isn't some ploy by politicians to force everyone to be happy; it's not that kind of magic. Basically we've created a portable device that identifies and stores the user's happiest memories. Memories which can be used for reflection, whenever the person may need a slight pick me up. It was Ron, actually, who inspired the idea."
Ron only blushed, and Harry gave him a friendly clap on the back.
"But there's a few kinks we need to work out. Originally, we had only intended it to be a transportable pensieve, but we stumbled upon a spell that made it even more advanced. We found that it could now detect the memories for itself, but in some cases, the memories were not what the testers had assumed would be their memories. Other times, they weren't even real memories at all, more like happy fabrications. We also aren't sure if the invention has the capability of updating when new happy memories are made. Because we can't control what memories we make, or whether or not they make us happy, it's been difficult to test the product, which is why we needed more people. All I ask of you three is that you use the product for the next few weeks, and notify me if anything is unusual or if your memories change at all."
She finished with a small smile and folded her hands neatly in her lap. Draco was the first to speak, but she still didn't quite meet his eyes.
"What exactly is this product?"
"Well, we don't really have a name for it yet, but here are yours."
She reached into her bag and pulled out three golden chains with pendants swinging steadily at the bottom. She passed them to each and Draco noted that Harry received a snitch and Ron a broom.
His hand closed around his own, and he brought it up for inspection. It was a small golden dragon with eyes that sparkled a magnificent silver, and he looked up to find her looking at him. He wasn't sure what to think. Most people gave him things dealing with Quidditch or snakes or anything to do with Slytherin really. He wasn't sure whether she had chosen it simply because of his name, or because maybe she knew a little more about him than he gave her credit for.
She unbuttoned the first button of her shirt and Weasley looked like his eyes might just explode above his ridiculously freckled nose. She pulled from underneath the material her own necklace, adorned with a golden book, and Draco was not surprised in the least.
He noticed Potter grinning, and she smiling sheepishly back at him.
"Are you telling me you want me to wear a bloody necklace?" Draco sneered.
Her chin rose defiantly, her eyes met his, and he noticed the flame and the coldness that followed.
"I seem to remember you toting around that ridiculous snake pendant when we were in school, and trust me, this is no worse."
He thought he saw a trace a smirk on her lips and he had to fight off a smile. She may as well have grown blonde hair and changed her eyes to molten silver. It never ceased to amaze him how similar she was to him in moments like this.
At his staring, her eyes became guarded and she seemed to become self-conscious. He wanted to tell her not to stop, but he knew that would be ridiculous.
She tore her eyes away and removed the necklace from around her neck.
She opened the pages of her pendant like it was an actual book she was preparing to read, and motioned for them all to do the same.
Draco fiddled with his dragon for a moment, before finding the seam and opening it up. He had to hold his tongue to keep from mentioning that he might wear a necklace, but only poofs wore lockets.
"To begin, place one of your thumbs on the left side of your locket. Leave it for thirty seconds while the necklace determines the memories it will choose. When you wish to view the memories, place your thumb on the right side of the locket. The memories will be replayed in your mind for only you to see. If you wish to show your memories to another, you place a thumb on each side of the locket and the memories will recreate themselves in miniature form above the locket, just like a pensieve."
Draco's thumb began to grow hot, and it made him slightly nervous, or it would have, if rule 9 didn't say that, "Malfoys are never nervous."
The heat stopped, and Hermione told them that it was done.
"If you would like, you may stay and watch your memories, but you may leave if you wish. All I ask is that you contact me every few days to tell me if anything has changed."
Draco was staring at his locket with an uncharacteristic expression on his face, something akin to worry. Which by the way, Malfoys never did (rule 19)!
He didn't notice as Potter and Weasley stood and said their goodbyes. He would admit that he was a little wary of this object. After all, Malfoy rule number 1 states clearly that Malfoys do not feel, especially happiness. If you depend on happiness, you show an easy weakness to be exploited. His father had always said that life wasn't about happiness.
Draco had once questioned him as to what life was about, if it wasn't about happiness. His father had said power, but Draco had yet to find an answer to that question that suited him.
What if he had never truly been happy? What would the necklace show then?
He noticed then that the room had grown silent, and the wonder boys had both left the room.
Hermione was still seated across from him; he was a little surprised she hadn't left with the others. He looked back down to his pendant, but was interrupted by her words.
"I heard about your donation to the Lycanthropy Research Fund. It was quite generous. Lupin would have been grateful."
Draco just nodded. It was the first time she had ever mentioned anyone of his attempts at redeeming himself, and just hearing her words, he felt as though he'd accomplished so much more.
"You're wasting your time, you know, with me as a test subject."
"Why is that?" She asked.
He paused and debated whether or not to tell her. He wasn't sure how it would sound, and he didn't want her pitying him. He reminded himself that this was Granger, and though she might spare pity for houselves, werewolves, and any other needy creature, she never had any feelings to spare for him.
"There's nothing happy in my past to remember."
Her eyes grew wide, with something that wasn't surprise. She nodded once, and they returned to silence. After a few moments, he closed the pendent and placed it gracefully around his neck.
When he looked up, her eyes were focused on the small dragon glinting against the pale expanse of his chest peaking from beneath his white oxford. He remained still for a moment, watching as her eyes remained fixated on his locket, on him.
When she looked up again, she appeared frightened and didn't meet his eyes. Clutching the necklace in her hand, she stood abruptly.
She nodded by way of excusing herself and retreated to the door. She stopped and rested her hand carefully against the door knob. She seemed to be struggling with something. She took a deep breath, steeling her resolve and whispered quietly with her back still facing him.
"Thank you for the favor," she opened the door and was almost completely out before she added, "Draco."
A/N: Well, there's part one, more to come soon.
For those of you who read Moments of Sanity, an update is coming soon there as well!
Happy Twenty O' Seven all!