Pairing: Harry/Draco, various background pairings but the main one will be Fred/George/Lee.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. .
Warnings/Squicks: Manipulative!Dumbles. I wouldn't go so far to say Weasley!bashing but um, I'm close. A few minor character deaths are mentioned, but not any of the main characters. Mpreg of secondary character. More warnings may be added as I write the story.
Summary: Harry's graduated from Hogwarts, turned eighteen and defeated a Dark Lord. Now what is he going to do with his life?
Beta'd by the wonderful Suki Blue. Thank you dearest!
Notes: First of all, I tend to totally ignore HBP and DH. I tend to think JK lost the plot sometime halfway through OotP, but that's just my opinion. So yeah, this is a total AU after book five. Don't look for quick updates with this story, I'll try to put up a new chapter once a month. Oh, and for any HP reading that haven't read my Spander epics, I tend to suck at writing smut so there will be much on the friendship and THEN the relationship and then a tiny bit of smut. LOL Hope y'all enjoy the show!
Additional Author's Note: YAY! Merry Christmas! WHOO! I'm actually posting something. This has been to my dearest Suki once but I may have screwed it up again so any boo boos are my bad. Hope y'all are having a good holiday!
"Merlin! What is this place?"
Harry had to smirk at the wonder in Draco's voice. They'd had lunch and Draco had a short nap while Harry had popped to Grimmauld Place and the cottage in Brighton. The small cottage was about a half a kilometer away from Brighton Marina, and looked out of place sitting in between the mews. It was a small, two-story cottage with the bottom floor being a rather large, open area with the sitting room, dining room and kitchen all in one open space. There were three bedrooms upstairs with two full baths and a toilet downstairs. A large patio deck out back had an old, 70's era grill and a boardwalk that lead to the beach.
It was small, but would be a nice place to visit the beach. Hell, for that matter, Harry wouldn't have minded living there. It was much nicer that Privet Drive even though it was decorated for the disco era. Penny and the Elves were delighted to clean and redecorate the place, as well as Grimmauld. Grimmauld had been mostly empty since Sirius's death; Harry had popped in on the day of his eighteenth birthday, claimed the house and Obliviated and given Kreacher clothes before going on to the safety of the Twins and Lee's flat.
Today he'd left Penny and one of her Elves, Francie, supervising the cleaning. Total demolition was more like it. The Elves were tearing down walls, stripping the floors bare and everything from furniture to paintings were being moved to a storeroom in Caer Gwydion where Harry could check everything for dark spells and curses in his own time. The portrait of Sirius's Mum had been shrieking at the top of her lungs as a semi-circle of Elves gathered around and blasted a hole in the wall.
Harry definitely needed to find a Pensive. He wanted to remember the look of fear on the old shrew's face as long as he lived.
After leaving the Elves happily destroying walls and the cabinetry in the name of cleaning, Harry had gone back to the castle to drag Draco awake, and they had a spot of tea with sandwiches and scones and clotted cream. Harry loved it; he'd made many a tea during the summers for Petunia and her group of stuffed biddies but hadn't had much time at Hogwarts to enjoy such a thing.
Now he'd dragged Draco, kicking and screaming quite literally at times, into the Muggle world. They had Gringott's cards, which worked much like Muggle debit cards, so there was no need to exchange money. Harry had Apparated the both of them to a car park off Brompton Road and had all but put Draco into a headlock to get the blond to follow him into the afternoon crowd of Muggles walking the street.
Of course, once Draco saw their destination, all protests had stopped and the man's jaw had dropped. Harry smirked and answered his question. "That, my dear fellow, is Harrods. Four and a half acres of selling space of some of the finer Muggle clothes, accessories, products and services. Men's wear, shoes, fine jewelry, posh spices and foods ... this is where the upper class of the Muggle world comes to shop. Members of the British Royal Family come here. There are even twenty-eight restaurants so I told Brownie we'd have dinner here, you can pick anything from pub grub to haute cuisine, so I'm guessing .We'll find something you'll like."
A greedy gleam started to spark in Draco's eyes. "Really?"
Harry laughed. The blond was so predictable. "You're in for a treat, there's a special display in the shoe department right now, some designer made a pair of sandals with rubies, diamonds and sapphires and they've got a live Egyptian cobra guarding the case they're displayed in. It just launched today, I've been waiting for it before visiting. There will probably be loads of people in there but it should be fun. You up for mingling with Muggles?"
Draco sniffed and brushed imaginary dirt from his trousers. They were both wearing black trousers but Draco was in a linen, long sleeved shirt while Harry had gone for comfort and pulled on a nice t-shirt with a long sleeved shirt over it. "As long as they don't do anything disgusting, like push or spit on me."
Harry grabbed Draco by the arm again and pulled him towards the entrance. "Come on, your Lordship, I'll protect you from the commoners."
"See that you do, Potty! And watch the arm! Linen tears easily, not to mention if you tug on my arm too much it might grow."
"It's better than pulling your finger."
Harry shook his head. "Never mind, it's a Muggle joke I saw on the telly."
"Urgh. How ... pedestrian."
Maybe Harry should have dragged the Twins and Lee with them. Yeah, it was a Monday so they were working but at least they'd get his toilet humor.
What followed was the most insane day Harry had ever lived through, and that included the final battle at Hogsmede when he'd blasted Voldie to atoms. Draco dragged him through the entire store, even to the lower ground level where they'd bought everything from designer shoes to a few bottles of wine so Harry could add them to his wine cellar.
It was, for the most part, fun. While Harry didn't necessarily need posh clothes, it was great to have things that felt nice. Silk shirts, soft cashmere pullovers, woolen trousers that didn't itch. Soft leather deck shoes that didn't cause blisters or rub.
Still, Harry had to put his foot down several times. For instance, Draco had tried to make Harry buy a suit. The blond had fallen in love with a morning suit and had tried to get Harry to buy something double breasted with big shiny buttons.
They had almost caused a scene when Harry refused. He'd finally given in and bought a blazer, just to get Draco to shut up. Harry had also refused to buy cuff links, silk ties, silk handkerchiefs and tie pins. He decided if he refused to wear a tie, he didn't need a tie pin either.
"Carrying a silk handkerchief won't kill you, you know."
Harry pushed his glasses up his nose. "I use them for my glasses but that's about it, there's no need to buy silk ones."
Draco looked at him incredulously, "Are you kidding? One doesn't use a silk handkerchief, one just carries it. It's an accessory ... well, unless a lady is crying and in need of it, then you graciously give it to her."
Harry chased the last of his lasagna around on his plate. "Draco ... I don't plan on doing anything like that. For one thing, the silly wenches would probably auction off anything I might gave them, would probably even say that there's real Harry Potter bogies in the deal. Secondly, only a couple of girls I do know would actually break out in tears at the drop of a hat."
It was true. Luna, Su Li and Sally-Ann from Ravenclaw were all too logical to cry without damn good reason. Well, Su Li And Sally-Ann were, Luna was just too ... odd. That thin line between genius and insanity was non-existent for Luna but she was a good friend and Neville loved her so it didn't really matter to Harry.
Hanna and Susan, his female friends from Hufflepuff, were strong women. When they cried they did it behind closed doors, in private so no one would know. And Pansy, the only Slytherin female he would even consider calling a friend, was more likely to poison the reason for her sorrow rather than break out in tears.
"Ah. You're right, the only girl to break out in tears is your psycho stalker and her sidekick. Best not to encourage them any more than you have to."
They were eating at a pizzeria in Harrods and the food was wonderful. Harry felt full as a tick about to burst. Still the conversation reminded him of his last attempt at eating out with friend and how that bombed. "Ginny crashed a lunch with Ron and Hermione Saturday, and I told her that I wasn't interested in her that way. Again."
"Potty, she's not going to listen because she doesn't want to hear you. Same as all those other wenches that send you marriage proposals by owl, they've deluded themselves that they are your soul mate or some other such tripe and no amount of logic will work. The Weaslette is the worst because she's come into contact with you because her brother was your friend and that makes her think she has a chance."
Harry shrugged. After Saturday's confrontation he wasn't all that inclined to defend Ginny, and a lot of what Draco was saying was true. "I had to say it again though, to make sure it got through to not only her but to Hermione and Ron."
Draco shook his head. "I don't understand why you give those three ... ignoramuses such leeway when you hold a grudge against half of the staff of Hogwarts, as well as Lupin and Tonks."
This was an uncomfortable subject for Harry, but he figured he could talk to Draco about it. As much as he loved the Twins, he tried not to complain about their family too much. "Ron and Hermione, and even Ginny are kids. Yeah, they're the same age as us but ... they've been so protected."
"Brainwashed into the Cult of Dumbledore more like."
"That too." Harry sighed. "But Ron and Hermione are about to enter the adult world. Ron is going to learn that his temper has consequences, and Hermione will learn that the real world is unlike anything written in books. We've both learned that growing up changes how we look at the world. I'm hoping that they'll mature a bit and figure out how shortsighted they're being."
"What about the elder Weasels? Or Lupin for that matter?"
Merlin. Harry hated thinking about this stuff. Typical Draco would make him talk about it, thereby getting him back for making Draco talk the day before. "Look, Lupin, the teachers, Arthur Weasley and the Aurors who were part of the Order, they were adults. They know better. Lupin especially should have looked out for me. Fuck, a birthday card once a year from my distant Uncle Remus would have been great. Stopping by Privet Drive and taking me out to lunch once a year ... but he didn't do any of that, not even when I first met him on the Hogwarts Express. I sometimes wonder if the whole mess with Wormtail and Sirius hadn't come about, if the man would have ever told me he was a friend of my parents. That's a bloody crime if you ask me, one I don't think I can forget. The rest of the Order is just as bad. They knew my parents never wanted me to live with the Dursley's and yet they followed Dumbledore's plan just because he said so."
Harry closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. While he'd never really gotten the hang of Occlumency, he was damned good at repression. Problem with that was, if he got on one of the topics he didn't like, Harry could almost feel his magic swirling around him, wanting to strike out.
One of these days, he was going to find himself a good therapist before he went around the bend and ended up at whatever ward St. Mungo's had set aside for the barmy. That is if he could find a Muggle therapist who wouldn't faint dead away at the mention of witches, wizards and dragons and the like.
A warm hand fell on his arm and Harry knew if he opened his eyes Draco would be looking at him with concern. He couldn't look though, because Harry knew he'd fall apart at the first sign of true sympathy.
Draco seemed to sense this and, after a moment, drew his hand back. "I thought the Headmaster made a deal with the Muggles to keep wizards away from your home."
Harry's anger sparked again. "Petunia Dursley wouldn't know a wizard from a Muggle unless they were wearing robes and waving their wand around. For fuck's sake, Dumbledore had one of his pet Order members stationed down the street, and she became my babysitter! The Dursleys would have never left me with her if they'd known! How hard would it have been for Lupin or others from the Wizarding world to visit their "Old Aunt Arabella"? I can understand why they wouldn't tell me, but Lupin still could have visited and became friends with me. Yeah, he would have been stretching his promise or whatever, but Dumbledore has never had a problem going back on his promises for his so-called 'greater good', so I don't see why my Muggle Aunt had his knickers in a twist."
Draco sighed. "I can't bloody well believe I'm saying this, it just goes to prove that associating with Gryffindors makes any and all brain cells degenerate. Don't forget that Lupin owed the Old Man quite a bit, what with hiding his hairy little secret for years and even allowing him to attend Hogwarts. Lupin all but worships Dumbledore, has since he was young from what I've heard. You've got to take that into account."
Harry snorted. "I'll give him that for the first few years of my life ... but not after Sirius died. He, Nymphadora, Moody and Arthur Weasley threatened dearest Vernon at Kings Cross. Tell me, Draco, what would a nasty bully do to the object of his hatred after being confronted in public and dressed down?"
Draco looked as if he was trying not to flinch. "Strike out."
"We didn't even get three miles from the station before Vernon pulled over and beat the crap out of me. I could barely walk to the house, much less drag my trunk up the stairs and that old biddy Figg saw it all from her house. Yet no one came to my rescue, like they promised. When I wrote those damn letters Remus requested Vernon was standing over me, but I managed to put a bit of blood on the paper. Enough for anyone to notice, not just a werewolf. Either no one really noticed or they didn't care. A week later I found Tonks tripping and falling in Petunia's compost heap and told her what was going on. She said she couldn't do anything or remove me from the house, Dumbledore's orders. I got sarcastic and asked if she could at least bring me bread and water since I hadn't eaten and wanted to have the full prison experience. She didn't even give me her lunch that she'd brought with her. No ... the adults knew better and did shit all for me, so I'm not so forgiving. But Ron and Hermione have been brainwashed in different ways to follow authority. We'll see what happens when they grow up a bit. Then if they're still gits I'll get pissed off."
They were quiet for a few minutes, and Harry sat back and watched as people of all sorts walked past in the store. He desperately wanted to change the conversation but felt like he owed Draco his honesty after pulling the story of his parents' deaths out of the other man.
Besides which, if anyone could understand holding a grudge no matter how illogical it was, it would be Draco Malfoy.
Thankfully Draco seemed to sense Harry wanted the subject closed, and for once was being nice about it.
"I still think we should get you kitted up with a pair of leather trousers."
Then again Draco could have been just looking for a chance to mock him. Harry snorted and pushed up his glasses. "Yeah, so not going to happen, Draco. I'm not a leather trouser sort of person, you can carry the look off but I'd look bloody stupid."
"No you wouldn't."
"Yes, I would. I'm a rugby shirt and jeans sort of bloke. I'm too much of a geek to wear something like that. You're the one who's all posh and stuff. You can get away with wearing anything."
Draco leaned back in his chair and stretched and Harry had to clench his drool to keep from jawing. Or possibly just clench his jaw to keep from drooling. Merlin, the blond could drive him mad! "I must agree with that, I am the epitome of perfection and would probably even make bargain robes look good. Still, half of it is attitude and self confidence. You've just got to believe you can carry it off."
Harry sighed. That was his problem. On the inside, he wasn't the Boy-Who-Triumphed or whatever the newspapers were calling him these days, hoping to get an interview. He was the same scruffy, scrawny boy in bad clothes who tried desperately just to disappear. Whether at Hogwarts or the Dursleys, things always went better for him if he blended into the background and more than once Harry had envied Neville's ability to do just that.
"Draco, me wearing leather is like you wearing ... a pink frilly dress. It just wouldn't work, I'd look like a git."
"Don't be such a ponce, Harry, I thought Gryffindors had courage."
"When facing a Dark Lord we have it in spades. Trying on leather trousers is an entirely different thing."
Draco was smirking at him and Harry wanted to either hit him or kiss him. Of course it didn't help that he'd been sitting here eating dinner with Draco on what Harry, if he had the bollocks, would have called a date. Draco had eaten pasta, which put him on edge. Who knew that spaghetti could be eaten sexily? Now Draco wanted to see him in leather trousers. Harry was unsure if the blond was flirting or just being a prat. Probably being a prat.
"And I'm brave enough to admit I'm a chicken."
Somehow or other, Harry had forgotten what a commanding presence Draco had. Two hours later, not only was he paying for both his and Draco's gelatos but among the jeans and dress slacks was a black and a brown pair of leather trousers. He'd also purchased a leather duster and if that wasn't bad enough, Draco had managed to convince him to buy three silk shirts: one black, one blood red and one with a snake pattern in silver.
As they left the store to Apparate home, Harry made a mental note. Never go shopping with Draco again.
End Note: Harrods really did have a display with a cobra! To find out more, take a look at this chapter on my Insane Journal for the linkage.