Title: P&T Muggle Adventures
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: All rights belong to J.K. Rowling. I do not claim any ownership of the characters or settings contained within. This story is for entertainment only and is not part of the official story line.
Pairings: Harry/Draco, Dean/Ginny, Ron/Hermione
Warnings: Contains mature language and sexual content
Summary: Dean Thomas and Harry Potter start a leisure business for wizards that specializes in giving tours of muggle London. Everything goes well until they receive a booking neither one of them wants to take. Harry embarks upon what he suspects will be the worst trip of his life.
Author's Note: I thought I was done writing Drarrys for now, until this idea popped into my head. If anything, this story reaffirmed my love for this pairing.
Diagon Alley was alive with activity. The late afternoon August sun slanted over the rooftops and set the cobbled street aglow as vendors hawked their wares and families darted from shop to shop with their back-to-school lists in hand. Piles of cauldrons spilled out onto the walkway, cages of owls added a rustle and coo to the thrum and buzz of the crowd of wizards. Everywhere one looked there were happy faces, alive with the delights of the shop-lined street.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle was one face, not alive with delight, but rather exhausted and weighed down with a lumpy pack of supplies and a smudge of dirt across his forehead. Harry Potter trudged up Diagon Alley towards the most meager shopfront the district had to offer. A wooden shingle dangled from an iron bracket above the door to the narrow business. It read "P&T Muggle Adventures" in hand-carved, burnished lettering. Harry hefted his heavy pack and shoved the door open with his hip, stumbling through with his awkward load. Dean Thomas jumped to his feet and braced Harry's arm before he could tumble across the threshold. The pack landed with a thud and a host of camping supplies clattered and rattled and rolled across the time-worn wood plank floor. Harry flopped into one of two wingback chairs that practically filled the lobby and lolled his head against the cushion.
"Not there," Dean frowned. "You'll get the upholstery dirty."
Harry cursed under his breath and dragged himself behind the counter to the rolling office chair.
"Didn't go well?" Dean asked mildly.
"It went fine," Harry sighed. "Except I'm not much of a camper, and they certainly weren't ready to rough it."
"The brochure explained the experience," Dean plucked a tri-fold glossy pamphlet from the pile on the desk. "Were we not clear enough?"
"We were clear," Harry removed his glasses and deposited them onto the laminate countertop. "But we may be overestimating what wizards are willing to consider 'roughing it.'"
"Too rough?" Dean cocked his head. "Maybe we should stick to the London excursions, then. Table the camping package for now."
"Agreed," Harry hauled himself out of the chair and scooped the camping supplies back into the sack. He grunted and heaved it up onto his shoulder and then stumbled his way up the stairs to the small flat he and Dean shared above the shop. He dumped the pack onto the courtyard balcony, then took a quick shower and collapsed onto his bed. His room overlooked the busy street below, and with the window cracked he could close his eyes and listen to the comforting cacophony of his new home. At times he felt it was poetic, Diagon Alley had been his first introduction to the wizarding world, it was fitting that he would come back here to start his life after Hogwarts.
After the war the recent Hogwarts graduates of Harry's class had been thrust unprepared into the adult wizarding community. Their frayed nerves and dreadful common experiences had made them close. Somehow it was easier to be around people who knew what it was like to face the Dark Lord and to be tortured at the hands of Death Eaters, even if they didn't talk about it at all. So they clung to each other for support and for a sense of community and for the sheer necessity of friendship. They met every Friday night at the Leaky Cauldron for a pint and fellowship, for laughs and sometimes tears. They had lost so many friends and loved ones during the war, and this weekly gathering ensured they wouldn't lose each other, too.
When Dean had mentioned his idea for a muggle-style holiday adventure for wizards, everyone had laughed. But as they joked about the mundane, non-magical things he would include, they realized there might be something to it. Ron was their test subject, having little experience in muggle culture. Words like cinema, Tube, launderette, and DIY meant nothing to him, and he asked wonderingly what they were as ideas floated around the table. The more they told him, the more he wanted to learn. And after a while it didn't seem like such a hilarious notion, it seemed like a plausible venture.
What Dean lacked was the capital to launch such an endeavor. That happened to be exactly what Harry could provide. Plus he had a muggle background and more than a passing familiarity with muggle culture. And since the war had sucked the desire to become an Auror right out of him, he had no other plans. He had spent the first year after Hogwarts as a lazy layabout with no goals and no ambition. He could choose to continue on that path or he could fund this startup with Dean and make an honest go of it. He chose the latter.
"Harry," Dean tapped politely on his door. "I've got a last minute reservation for next weekend. Is the house ready?"
"Yes," Harry called without opening his eyes. "Sort of. I'm heading over there tomorrow to check the patch-work in the foyer, and the pantry needs to be stocked up. But other than that it's ready."
"Good," Dean said. "I'll have them book it."
"Brilliant," Harry smiled sleepily. They had only been open for two months but they were already starting to bring in customers. Just a few, and they were still working out the kinks, which meant they gave out more discounts than they could afford, but it was something. He fell asleep before the sun was down, and dreamed fitfully of trying to light a campfire with nothing but kindling and matches.
The next morning Dean had pastries and coffee set out on the counter, which Harry gratefully gulped down before heading downstairs. His business partner was already behind the counter, tapping the keys of an old secondhand laptop computer. There was no connectivity in Diagon Alley so they had to keep a drawer of charged batteries to run the thing, but they had agreed it would add to the adventure if they started their customers' muggle experience in the shop. So they had stocked the cramped space with a computer, office supplies, glossy printed pamphlets with non-moving images, and they dressed in muggle clothing for the world outside.
"What's that you're working on?" Harry asked as he checked the supply closet for his jacket.
"Pricing out a couple of new package ideas," Dean muttered thoughtfully, his mind focused and occupied with the spreadsheet on the screen. Harry sipped his coffee and leaned over Dean's shoulder.
"Dairy farm?" He grunted in surprise. "We don't have a farm."
"I thought we could piggyback on a muggle farm and add a surcharge for our guests. If we get enough interest we might be able to negotiate a lower rate with the location and keep more profit."
Harry stepped back and eyed his partner appraisingly. "How'd you get so smart about this sort of thing?"
"Dunno," Dean smiled slightly, his eyes still fixed on the screen. "Just sort of made sense."
"You really think wealthy wizard families will pay to milk cows and collect eggs?"
"We'll be clear in the brochure," Dean reassured him.
Harry grimaced. He thought of the previous weekend, stuck in the woods with six pompous, wandless witches and wizards who expected him to do everything. He didn't relish the idea of wrangling livestock on behalf of rich clientele.
Dean was, without question, the brains of the operation. Harry was more of a man of action, which meant he was usually on the hook for leading the excursions. He didn't mind the London trips, though they'd only had three so far. The camping package, on the other hand, was miserable.
"I'm also going to price out a premium package," Dean finally swiveled in the chair to look at Harry. "Still a full muggle experience, but we'll opt for nicer restaurants and transportation, and maybe a luxury box at the football stadium. High society stuff."
"I'm not sure I can do high society," Harry winced.
"No problem, we'll take an etiquette class," Dean grinned.
"I'm heading over to Grimmauld. Need anything while I'm out?"
"Bring me a latte on your way back," Dean turned back to the computer.
"I might not be back until late." Harry said.
"I don't care. I just want one."
Harry chuckled as he tossed a handful of Floo powder into the fireplace at the back of the shop and stepped through. He stepped out into the drawing room of the house at 12 Grimmauld Place, his most significant capital investment in the business.
The biggest challenge he and Dean had faced at start-up was figuring out how to move wizarding families into muggle London with ease and comfort. They couldn't just Apparate in their robes and capes and peaked hats without attracting attention, and many would find the outside world intimidating if dropped directly into the bustling city. While some magic folk were able to travel through the muggle world without detection, many families had chosen isolation to avoid the discomfort of adapting to a whole different society. The house on Grimmauld Place provided a safe haven, an easy place to adjust before setting out into the world, and with its many bedrooms it made for quite comfortable lodging. It was more than just a place to stay the night, it was a refuge for the overwhelmed.
The problem was that the house had been trashed by Death Eaters at the peak of the war. When the fighting was over, after Sirius had died, after Harry had died and come back, after Voldemort's followers had been rounded up and accounted for, Harry had been left with little more than a shell of a house to his name.
At first he had considered abandoning it. Too much work and too many memories. Technically he could have gifted it to Andromeda Tonks as the rightful inheritor of the House of Black. But Sirius had left it to him, and walking away from his inheritance would have felt like a betrayal. And then Dean had his bright idea to launch a muggle themed leisure service and the house had a purpose once again.
They had put a lot of blood, sweat, and charms into the refurbishing. And because there was only so much a good Reparo could do, some things had to be fixed by hand. They sanded and refinished the floors, painted the walls, and Scourgified the rugs. They replaced the bedroom furnishings and rid the place of its strange collection of accursed and enchanted objects, many of which found their way into the cabinet of curiosities that dominated the Headmistress' office at Hogwarts.
Fixing up the old house had taken a significant investment but in the end it was a sight to behold. Or rather, it would be when the last revision was complete. There was the small matter of the foyer to deal with first.
At some point in the house's history someone, although no one knew who, had thought it would be a good idea to permanently affix a portrait of Walburga Black just across from the entryway, to greet visitors in her own particular and not terribly welcoming way. Walburga had been the family matriarch prior to her passing, and the house had surely felt empty without her presence. But Walburga had been an opinionated sort, as many of the House of Black were, and her favorite axe to grind was the maddening matter of muggles.
At first they tiptoed around her portrait, hoping not to set her off on a screaming rant about blood purity. But twice, once each on a London booking, one of the excited guests had uttered the m-word in the foyer and Walburga had shrieked until Harry hung a sheet over the frame.
What is one to do when one is burdened with the politically controversial opinions of a dead pureblood portrait that is permanently stuck to the wall? One takes down the wall. Ron and Harry had spent the previous week cutting down the wall on which the painting hung, and then repairing the hole before Harry had to leave for his rather unpleasant four-day camping trip. Now he needed to check the work and put down a coat of paint so he could call it done.
He skipped down the stairs to the ground floor and eyed the patch job critically. They'd actually done a rather nice job for a couple of inexperienced handymen who'd had to learn as they went. The texture was smooth and once the paint was dry they could hang new artwork and cover any remaining flaws.
He took his time painting, a bit nervous up on the ladder as he stretched to reach the edge of the crown moulding. When he was finished he had sprinkles and splatters of buttercream yellow all over his skin and clothes. He went out and bought groceries without cleaning up and then applied a second coat of paint.
He pulled out his mobile to check the time and wondered what he should do with his afternoon. It was too late to call on Hermione and Ron and see if they wanted to grab dinner. It was too early to head back to the flat for the night, especially since Dean and Ginny had resparked their relationship and she would undoubtedly be there. He wasn't jealous, he knew himself better now and knew she wasn't right for him. But the idea of spending the evening listening to them sweet talk each other made him nauseated. He turned on the telly and watched something mindless for a while, fixed himself a quick supper and washed his dishes.
He reveled in the unspectacularly mundane tasks. This was his house, he cared for it with his own two hands, he cooked his own meals. No spells backfiring, no mysterious potions, and no one died when the pot of rice boiled over. Since the war had ended he found himself seeking the safe comforts of the non-magical, at least for a few days at a time.
When night fell he decided to clean up and pop out for a quick pint, and told himself he wouldn't stay out late this time. Using the one magical convenience he couldn't live without he Apparated to an alley just down the road from his favorite venue, a club by the name of The Magic Hat. He appreciated the irony.
It was busy for a Monday night, which Harry guessed must have something to do with the nearby university starting up its fall semester soon. His pulse quickened in anticipation. Lots of new people to meet, if he was lucky. He ran his hand through his hair to tame the mess a bit and approached the bouncer.
"Harry!" The burly fellow in the fitted t-shirt hugged him with one strong arm. "Never mind this lot, go on in."
"Thanks, Steve," Harry patted him on the shoulder and entered to the distress of the people waiting in line. He squeezed between a pair of wallflowers that crowded the entrance and felt himself relax as the thrumming beat of pop music washed over him. He didn't recognize the song, he hadn't been back long enough to be up on current hits, but it brought a pleased smile to his lips.
It wasn't crowded compared to the weekend, but for a Monday it was over the top. It took Harry two tries to claim a stool at the bar as the men around him scrambled for service. He craned his neck to see who was working and caught sight of the person he was looking for.
"Harry!" The bartender called as he mixed a gin and tonic for an impatient boy in a fedora.
"Alright, Colin?" Harry called back.
"A bit busy but what can you do?" Colin winked. He pulled a lager and placed it in front of Harry without asking. He leaned across the bar and deposited a kiss on Harry's cheek, stubble rasping lightly across his own.
"When do you get off?" Harry hoped the low lighting was enough to conceal his blush. The question had sort of slipped out on its own, in spite of his recent vow to stop asking.
"Here till close," Colin ignored the throng of young men trying to place orders. He leaned forward on his fingertips and eyed Harry with interest. "Haven't see you in days."
"I've been busy," Harry ducked his head evasively. "Work, DIY, that sort of thing."
"Well" Colin pulled a drink for one of his agitated customers. "I've missed seeing you."
"Yeah," Harry took a long drink and kept his response noncommittal. They had been down this road before. Colin was a free spirit who didn't want to be tied down. Harry didn't mind a little free-for-all but he was more interested having in a relationship. Colin had put the kibosh on that notion right away, and Harry had taken way too long to accept that.
"Hi," a slim blond boy slipped between Harry and Colin, interrupting their line of sight. He looked to be around Harry's age, built entirely out of angles. He nodded to Harry's beer, "Been trying to get one of those all night," he said.
"Are you cozying up to me because I know the bartender?" Harry asked with mild amusement.
"No," the boy looked offended, then winked.
"Colin," Harry called again. He pointed at the blond boy and held up two fingers. Colin smirked and slid two lagers over to them. Harry knocked his first one back and picked up the second. He nodded for the blond boy to follow and made his way to the dance floor.
They danced with their glasses held carefully so as not to spill. The other boy hugged up close, grinding his hips against Harry's in a way he felt was a little too easy. Easy turned him off.
The boy finished his drink in four big swallows and dashed to a table to set his glass down. Then he dashed back and wrapped his arms around Harry's neck with a seductive gleam in his eye. He swayed to the beat, pressing his groin against Harry's and threading his fingers through his hair. He slid his hands to Harry's face and tried to remove his glasses, but Harry reeled back and frowned disapprovingly, eliciting a cowed pout from the other boy.
"You have beautiful eyes," the boy leaned forward and shouted in Harry's ear to be heard over the throbbing bass.
Harry didn't answer. He finished his beer and handed it to the other boy to set down. The boy complied happily, which was another turnoff. But he was rather good looking and clearly up for it, and Harry wasn't in the mood to turn down an offer, and Colin wasn't available, and Harry had vowed to stop pursuing him anyway, so when he returned and tugged Harry's hand towards the loo, Harry didn't resist.
The boy gave a mediocre blowie, too much saliva, not enough pressure. Harry leaned against the graffitied wall of the cubicle and looked down at his busy head, one hand working the base of Harry's knob while the other hand worked his own. He liked the blond hair, always a preference if he had the option, but the eagerness to please did nothing for him. He ran one hand through the boy's hair and squinted.
Dark roots. Dye job. Meh.
He closed his eyes and thought of other men, and he was able to come without too much trouble. The boy on his knees spat delicately into the toilet and wiped his mouth with a square of bogroll before mopping up his own mess. He finally stood and dropped a quick, tight kiss on Harry's mouth, then winked and exited without fanfare. Harry sighed and thudded his head against the cubicle wall, grateful that he hadn't had to come up with an excuse to withhold his name and phone number.
He had only done a restroom hookup a few times, enough to know they rarely met his expectations. At first he had gotten off on the sheer naughtiness of it, the taboo of the same-sex stranger in a public space doing things he'd only felt safe fantasizing about. But now that he knew there was a whole community of like-minded men who weren't ashamed, the thrill of the forbidden had dried up. Now he wanted more. Unfortunately, the only man he had met so far who he wanted more with preferred to keep things open.
Harry had unintentionally become a regular at The Magic Hat four months ago, hooking up with Colin whenever he was agreeable, hoping every time that it would lead to something, but ultimately it lead nowhere. For a while he told himself that it was better than nothing. He knew well enough to play it cool, to pretend he was fine with it, but Colin's flightiness tended to make him a bit miserable. Tonight, in spite of this self-awareness, he felt a bit miserable.
He made his way through the crowd to the bar so he could settle his tab. He tried not to grimace when he saw Colin leaning attentively towards a lean brunet man with a pencil thin mustache. He waited patiently and smiled bravely when Colin finally noticed his presence.
"Leaving already?" he asked as he accepted Harry's cash.
"Painted all day," Harry said ruefully. "I'm beat."
"How's life otherwise? Good?"
"Going great," Harry said with false brightness. "Just got back from a camping trip. Got another outing reserved for this weekend."
"Sounds like business is picking up," Colin tipped his head approvingly. He knew Harry ran a leisure venture, if not the details.
"Going great," Harry nodded, wincing internally at his repetition.
"I'll see you around, then," Colin reached out and caressed Harry's ear. "Don't be a stranger."
"Goodnight," Harry backed away and pushed through the crowd to the door.
He told himself he was fine. He'd had a couple of drinks, got an okay BJ from a good looking blond, and that wasn't bad for a quick outing. But the hollow ache in the pit of his stomach denied him the satisfaction of self-delusion. He wasn't fine. He wasn't sure why not, but he was not. And that was doubly not fine.