Author's Note: This Harry/Draco romance is completely Deathly Hallows (and epilogue) compatible! Impossible, you say? Very nearly impossible, but not quite. I am, as always committed to complete canon accuracy. If there is something that the books themselves don't cover, then I rely on some of JKR's comments about the characters' futures (as given by the Harry Potter wiki.) I used my imagination to fill in the blanks on everything else.
Warnings and Pairings: Rated M for the occasional sex scene, lots of swearing, drug use, non-monogamy, H/D, Harry/OMC, Draco/OMC, Harry/Draco/OMC, promiscuity (that's actually an understatement), themes of death, suicide and depression. Despite all of that, it really isn't a dark fic.
Disclaimer: Why yes, I AM JK Rowling…. OK, not really. No copyright infringement intended.
After the Fairy Tale
Chapter One – Secrets Revealed
Distantly Harry could hear the sound of giddy revelers and offensively loud music. It was the night when people took to the streets, dancing and drinking, but after so many years Harry still couldn't bring himself to celebrate it, this day that held so much sadness. He had fought against those who wished to name the day after him and won, though sometimes it was still referred to by his name. In the past he stayed home with Ginny and pretended the outside world didn't exist. This year, of course, was different.
Harry had come to the Leaky Cauldron often over the past few weeks. It was a familiar, friendly place. His old school friend, Hannah, had bought the building when Tom retired and she ran the place now. Hannah had learned not to call him by name when he was there, knowing that he didn't want the attention. Tonight it probably wouldn't have mattered. There were three people in the bar besides Harry and one of them was Hannah. It became tradition not to celebrate Victory at Hogwarts Day indoors. Harry couldn't argue with the reasoning for this. Too many of them had been in hiding when Voldemort was in power. When the war ended and they were free, they preferred to keep the parties out in the streets. Hogwarts began taking two days off from classes and opened up the grounds for the one night for people to gather, both to celebrate and to pay their respects to the large memorial that had been set up for the victims of the war. Madam Rosemerta hosted a huge party just outside of Hogsmeade and the students were allowed to go down to it. At her request, Harry went there on the first anniversary. He gave a speech (written by Hermione) about the rebuilding of the school and reforming the Ministry. People had congratulated him and thanked him. It had been exactly like the days immediately following the war. But with less grief. Harry hadn't gone back since.
His life had been quiet mostly. He became an auror right away to help Kingsley clean up the last of the Death Eaters. After Ginny's successful Quidditch career, they got married and had three children. He loved them more than anything else, but eventually even that wasn't enough. He had moved out of their home only a month ago. Now, instead of sitting at home, reminiscing with Ginny, Harry was on a barstool, sipping firewhiskey, wondering what the hell he was going to do with his life.
"What's this?" came a drawling, familiar voice. "Harry Potter doesn't celebrate his own victory?"
Harry didn't have to look. He wasn't even surprised that Draco Malfoy was there. It was fitting really that on the one day Harry didn't want to see anyone he would run into the one person he never really cared to see. Harry had only laid eyes on Malfoy three times since the end of the war. The first was after the battle when he gave Draco's wand back. The second was a few years later in Diagon Alley. They had nodded in acknowledgement, but said nothing. The third was just that past September when they were both sending their sons off to their first year of Hogwarts. Each time Harry found himself obsessing about Malfoy and his life since the war. He had spent so much time in school tracking Malfoy's every move that it was hard to not wonder what his life was like now. Rumor had it Draco spent much of his time out of the country and Harry figured that was easiest for him. The Malfoy name never did mean quite the same thing again. But then there had been a lot of other rumors about the Malfoy family over the years and Harry was never quite sure what to believe.
Harry took another sip of his firewhiskey and answered the sarcastic question. "You know, the first time he stayed dead for thirteen years."
Malfoy ordered a firewhiskey from Hannah, who scowled at him before getting his drink. "It's been twenty years now. Think we're safe yet?"
"All that means is we've been pushing our luck for the past seven years."
"When did you become so cynical?"
"When was I ever an optimist?"
Without asking whether he was welcome or not, Malfoy sat down on the stool next to Harry and lit a cigarette. He seemed so much more… sloppy than Harry remembered. Every time Harry had seen him over the years Draco was so stiff and proper. His clothes were always neat and fashionable, without a fiber out of place. He stood straight and tall and arrogantly proud. Tonight he was slightly more relaxed. He didn't appear to be drunk already, yet he leaned against the bar like any other slob.
"I never go to those parties either," said Malfoy conversationally.
"Why should you? Your side lost."
"The only side I was on was that of my parents," he spat. "I was never on his side."
The mention of Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy reminded Harry of something he read in the paper just a few months ago.
"I was sorry to hear about your father, by the way."
"I really doubt that, Potter."
"Okay. Well, I can't say I really liked the man, but I'm sorry for your family's loss. I saw him out with your son once in Diagon Alley and he seemed... changed. And your son seemed so happy with him."
"He was never convicted," Draco reminded him.
Harry snorted. "Because your mum saved me, not because he was innocent."
Draco wasn't foolish enough to try to deny that. He knew what his father was. His mother's actions changed their family's allegiance and that was what kept them all out of prison. Nothing else. He and Harry were silent while they each took another sip from their drinks.
"He regretted it," Draco said just above a whisper. "So much that he couldn't live with it anymore."
That did get Harry's attention. "The Prophet said it was an accident."
"You of all people know not to believe the Prophet. The accident was sitting down with a bottle of firewhiskey and his own self-made poison. He created it with no antidote, for that reason alone. Probably had been planning it for weeks. Can you blame us for keeping that out of the Prophet?"
"No. I'm sorry." Harry thought a moment. "So why are you telling me?"
"You don't have any reason to tell anyone else. If you did they would want to know why you were on such friendly terms with me." Draco slowly exhaled a puff of smoke, studying Harry closely. "So why are you here, drowning your sorrows when you could be at home making more little Potters?"
Harry hesitated. Somewhere in his mind he questioned the sudden appearance of Malfoy and his less than hostile demeanor. Why should he sit here and spill his guts to a man who he not only hadn't spoken to in twenty years, but whom he didn't even like in the first place? On the other hand, Ron and Hermione had sort of been obligated to side with Ginny in their whole situation. It wasn't creating any real problems within the family, but Harry got the distinct impression that Ron didn't want to hear Harry's side of it. Hell, he needed to talk to someone.
"Ginny and I aren't together anymore. We're getting a divorce."
"Shocking," Draco replied, although he looked quite unsurprised. The split had been the talk of the tabloids. Everyone in the country had heard. Harry remembered hearing about Draco's own divorce just before Christmas. "Nobody stays married anymore. So what happened with you and the Weaselette?"
"Would you not call her that? She may be my ex, but she's still the mother of my kids."
"Oh. I don't know. Why does anyone get divorced?"
"She divorced the savior of the wizarding world, so there must have been a reason."
"We just fell out of love. Nothing dramatic. Just realized that we weren't happy anymore. It's been happening for a couple years. What about you?"
Draco shrugged and took another drag from his cigarette. "She caught me fucking the gardener."
Harry's eyebrows shot up and he nearly spit out his drink. So the Prophet got one right... That was very intriguing.
"Are you serious?"
Draco smirked. "Didn't think I was actually a pouf, did you?"
"I had no reason to consider your sexuality at all, Malfoy. It's not something I really fixate on. Though I heard the rumors."
"And I heard some about you." Draco noticed how Harry's hand froze on his glass. "Though yours didn't make it into the Prophet. Apparently they feel they are above printing such obvious and slanderous lies about the great Harry Potter."
Harry cleared his throat in what he hoped was a casual-sounding manner. "So where did you see them?"
"Some of the less reputable publications have speculated for a while now. I browse them every now and then."
"Just in case you see a preposterous story about an old school rival so you can track him down in a pub and harass him?"
Draco actually laughed. "Don't flatter yourself, Potter. I don't care enough about you to make the effort. And you're not really my type."
"But I don't think the story was so preposterous."
Harry stared down into his drink. "Stop it, Malfoy."
Draco practically squealed in delight. "I love being right."
"You're body language says otherwise."
"You're watching my body? I thought I'm not your type."
For the second time in as many minutes Harry nearly spit out his drink. Draco only laughed and took another sip of his own.
"So how long have you known?"
"Known what?" Harry asked, resolutely not looking in the other man's direction. He noticed Hannah at the end of the room, out of earshot, but watching them closely.
"That you're gay, Potter."
"Just drop it, Malfoy." Harry stood up and set some coins down on the counter to pay for his drink. "And don't believe everything you read in the bloody papers."
Draco swiveled on his stool to watch him leave and smiled. He'd never really given a whole lot of thought on Potter one way or another. Not since school when all they did was fight. But now, knowing that the paper had gotten it right and that Potter was nowhere near comfortable with the topic, he decided that there were worse things to do than catching up with an old classmate. He just may have to find himself in a bar with Potter more often.