A tale set in the Harry Potter universe by JK Rowling.
Author's note follows.
This story is a side story to a new series I'm starting, called the Cosmic Network.
I found this in my set of WIPs, nearly finished, and decided to complete and post it... I have another partly completed story in this AU ' verse that I will eventually finish and post. This story is part of a crossover universe I have in my WIPs that will eventually be finished. Real life has been having its way with me for some time now, but in a good way...
Now, to business.
Usual disclaimers apply - The characters are not mine and I didn't create them. JKR did.
The events in the story are not meant to resemble any real world events, though it was inspired by one. Any resemblance to the real world is coincidental.
Aurora Borealis, the Aurora NL 1, and the Happy Hippogriff are my own inventions.
Characters here are Harry and Draco. Others will be mentioned, but won't appear in this story, unless they mug my Muse. This story takes place about 10 to 12 years after the defeat of Voldemort.; I consider parts of OotP to have a part in the story, but I will call this an AU. HBP is not part of the story. This is a one shot, but there are more stories in the AU, coming eventually.
This story is not a slash - love to read it, don't measure up to the best writers of it.
This is based on a real life event that happened to me a few years ago. Lori, where ever you are - you'll probably never read this, but this story was to let you know that I got the point and that I forgave you right then. Good luck where ever you go.
Harry exited Gringotts Bank, having withdrawn a small bag of Galleons from his account. He planned to visit various stores in Diagon Alley that day, not the least of which would be Flourish and Blotts and a new customized broomstick emporium, Aurora Borealis, begun by Neville Longbottom, of all people.
Harry chuckled quietly to himself thinking of Aurora Borealis.
After Neville left Hogwarts, he surprised all who knew him there when he took on an apprenticeship with the broom makers that created the famous Silver Arrow series and after two years there, spun off his own customized broomsticks that blew away even the famous Firebolt for sheer maneuverability and speed.
Harry knew it to be true - he'd been the test pilot for Aurora NL 1 - and had beaten his own world records for speed of catch on England's national Quidditch team on his first exhibit on the broom. Within six months of that famous flight, Neville's brooms were the professional broom of choice on the world Quidditch and Quodpot circuits; Neville's name now was known worldwide and not just for his propensity for blown-up cauldrons. Harry, who'd seen the potential in the testing brooms, became one of Neville's backers, as he had so long ago for Fred and George Weasley's now internationally successful Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. This venture was proving just as profitable as investing in the twins' idea had been.
Juggling a tall armload of "finds" from a satisfying day of shopping, Harry exited Flourish and Blotts, where he'd purchased a pair of hard to find books - one was for Hermione, who'd taken on the Transfiguration professorship this past year after Professor McGonagall finally retired, and also for the new Headmaster of Hogwarts, where he was scheduled to visit in a couple of months. Suddenly, packages flew everywhere on impact as Harry walked headlong into another person going into the wizarding bookstore he was leaving.
"So sorry about that, didn't see you coming. All these packages...
"My mistake, really.
The two young men stared at each, appraising the differences the years out of Hogwarts had made of the other. They stared at each other for what seemed to be a long time as busy patrons of Diagon Alley streamed around them.
Finally, Malfoy spoke, breaking the tenseness of their stares, with words - and a tone - that Harry'd never thought he'd ever hear out of his long time rival's mouth.
"It's actually . . . good to see you again, Potter. I know we weren't even close to being friends, but I'm actually glad to see you again . . ." Draco said, looking a bit . . . unsettled, like Harry had never seen his school rival before. "I don't expect you to say yes, but ... could we go have a pint somewhere and talk?"
Harry felt his jaw hit the ground as Malfoy stuck his hand out - not with a wand in it, to attack - but for a handshake.
Harry surprised himself even more (and from the look on his face, Malfoy as well) when he said, simply, "Yes - I know a little bar near Weasley's Wheezes. It's new, but I can guarantee we won't be disturbed there... Let's go..."
The two young men made their way to one of the newer pubs in Diagon Alley - during the final war with Voldemort, many buildings and shops of Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley had been badly damaged and destroyed, and the remaining shops and shopkeepers decided to "revamp" the whole areas, replacing some of the original and less savory - or totally demolished - places with new ideas and shops The resulting area was called Nouveau Alley. One of the most popular new establishments in between what had been the border between Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley was a Nouveau Alley pub known as the Happy Hippogriff, which was all the rage for the under 35ish wizarding set. They brought in new and innovative wizarding - and wizard/muggle bands, new foods and drinks, some directly brought from the Muggle world, but in combinations that would have made a Muggle's eyes cross, and it was the hottest pub going in Nouveau Alley. Harry's old friends Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas, along with an older ex-Ravenclaw, had begun the bar about 2 years after the end of the war, and it was a spectacular success.
Harry and Malfoy made their way inside, and Harry was hailed by Seamus, who happened to be managing the house that night. After a few quiet words to Seamus, the two young men made their way to a quiet room reserved for impromptu parties and other special occasions. Seamus gave them a tablet that would take any orders they might wish to make down, and let them know that their orders would be delivered on priority.
After he left, Harry and Malfoy settled down in the private room's comfortably-padded chairs and ordered their first pints. Harry, having been here often, knew the house's Pale India ale was sublime and ordered a tall pint. Malfoy, surprising Harry again, ordered a muggle beer - a Guinness Stout. Harry, knowing the menu well, decided to order a double order of Vegemite and chips, deciding that if Malfoy wasn't interested, he could finish it off. There was an uncomfortable silence, interrupted by the arrival of the food and the drinks, then, finally, Malfoy broke the quiet.
"I suppose you're wondering why I wasn't the usual prat you used to know, eh, Potter?" Malfoy looked less arrogant and a lot more, well, human, than Harry'd ever seen him. Harry nodded.
"One day, about a year or so after the Dark L . . . er, Voldemort fell, I had time to really think about things during a summer holiday from college. My family - I - lost so much due to following that madman - most of our fortune, most of our honor, the good reputation of the Malfoy name, our pride as Purebloods - I could go on and on; I realized, like the sun breaking through the clouds, that everything that I'd thought and believed - about you, about Weasley, Granger, the wizarding world in general - I'd been wrong.
In that unguarded moment, Draco showed an expression on his face that Harry had never expected to see when Hermione was mentioned. Draco's face was radiant with emotion, exposed for the world to see.
"You love her." Harry said.
"I have for a long time, Pot-- Harry," Draco said, looking pensive now. "At least since third year. I could never tell her - she hated me because of how I treated you - and her - during those years at Hogwarts. I never have expected her to return my feelings. The "great" Draco Malfoy, brought low by a little Mu--- Muggleborn that was the best friend of my old enemy and school rival- you."
It's amazing what a few shared pints with a longtime rival will do toward loosening a grudge match that's persisted for years.
*Pity Severus Snape and all of the Marauders couldn't be persuaded to do this just once before the opportunity slipped away,* Harry thought. *Then again, Severus did make up with Remus after Voldemort died. I suppose that counts for something on the cosmic scoreboard.*
"You know, Harry, I think the best way to really do this - to really end the, well, competition, in the right way is to start over again, like it was the beginning again.
Draco stuck his hand out in a friendly handshake
"Draco Malfoy, nice to meet you."
Harry met him halfway.
"Hello, Harry Potter, ordinary, everyday wizard. It's a pleasure to meet you."
The new chapter began that day.