Warning: Hi, I'm Overblown Fangirl #303, and I'll be destroying canon in this story. I will also smash characterisation until it bleeds, and the only thing recognisable is the character's name, a vague physical description, and perhaps one personality trait just for effect. But, hey, I can spell!
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 3K words
Summary: It's not a true Slytherin who does not bartend in a goth club. In the dark.
Dedication: xylodemon, imadra_blue, fandom_wank
Note: This was born because a phrase like "bartending in the dark" should not go to waste. I do it for the love of words. I will overcharge for shipping of this story if you order it on eBay.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
The sky above London was the colour of a switched-off television set.
Harry Potter was walking through a vaguely dark alley, his trench coat bundled tightly around him to keep out the annoying drizzle. What he wouldn't give to get out of this city for good, but there was work to be done. A noise from his left startled Harry; he turned around and saw a cloaked figure stooping in a decrepit doorway, rasping, harsh voice whispering to no one in particular. The figure looked up at Harry - it was a wizened old man with wrinkles so deep they could have been burrows left by some oversized insect - and bared his teeth in a soundless snarl. The old man held out his hands and said, "Look!" as sparks of a putrid green colour danced around his fingertips. Another mutant.
They were everywhere these days, hiding among the rubble in the ruins of what were once upstanding Muggle establishments. The war against Voldemort was won but at great cost - just before he finally keeled over, the man who was once Tom Riddle freed his magic, affecting the equivalent of a hundred city blocks of Muggles with it. Some died instantly, others became quasi-wizards (mutants was the official name used by the Ministry of Magic), yet others now carried magic and were walking time-bombs, likely to produce misshapen wizard babies whom no wand would ever suit. The world stood on the brink of a new generation of evil overlords, or at least that was the official party line.
Harry checked the clock display on his lenses; he had been off-duty for fifteen minutes and therefore this mutant was not his responsibility. He signalled to headquarters and walked on, turning up his collar in an effort to stave off the bitter wind that was making week-old newspapers and crushed lager cans dance in the alleyway. He didn't even turn around when he heard the sound of Stunning spells behind him. It wasn't his problem. He felt a stinging pain behind his eyes - or, rather, the spot where his eyes used to be.
His eyes had burned out completely under the onslaught of Voldemort's swan song. The Ministry had recruited the best Muggle doctors, computer technicians and Hermione to rewire his vision using tiny microchips and cables thinner than eyelashes. There were times during his adolescence when Harry dreamed of the day he'd take off his glasses and get laser eye surgery. He'd never imagined it would be something quite like this. As weird as it was to be constantly walking around wearing what looked like sunglasses, the optical implants were handy: he could check time, communicate with headquarters, watch extended weather forecasts and news reports, and even remotely activate his coffee maker.
The biggest downside to the implants were the headaches; the only thing that helped against those was alcohol, preferably of the Muggle variety. Harry looked around - the crumbling buildings and gleaming lampposts were punctuated with occasional neon signs, but he couldn't see any places where he could have a drink, and it was too dangerous to Disapparate here; someone could be watching from one of the still-inhabited flats above. As his headache got more and more insistent, Harry spotted a sign to his left that read "Fatal Attraction" - the letters were decorated with uninspired-looking red-and-gold flames despite the Gothic-style font. Ignoring the stench of urine around the entrance, he gripped the metal handlebar that served as the doorknob - it was clammy from the drizzle and felt slimy - and walked inside.
It was mostly dark, but strobe lights pulsated all along the walls and ceiling. Multicoloured spotlights swept the entire area at regular intervals. The music was a throbbing, reverberating techno beat Harry wasn't accustomed to - it thundered in his chest, making him feel slightly queasy. There was a second floor almost at the rafters, suspended from what looked like chains, but the rickety hanging stairs were barred and it was obvious that only select people could access the upstairs. Unnamed things moved in cages lining the far walls; Harry could only see occasional flashes of blood-red fur (or was it hair?) and sharp, large teeth.
The patrons were all dressed in the strangest attire Harry had ever seen; and he'd thought that Arthur Weasley got his Muggle outfits wrong. Shiny clothing, metal and fishnets were everywhere; lots of people wore face paint decorated with sharp, precise designs. No finger-paints for this bunch. Harry spotted two women snogging on the dance floor, then a group of several men fondling one another by the far wall, their forms flickering in and out of his vision as a strobe light flashed. Bodies moved in and out of existence as he took in the dance floor - many of them half-naked, glistening with sweat. A woman dressed in nothing but a leather thong and a studded collar walked past and Harry stared at the Celtic knot-work tattoo that ran across her breasts. She regarded him for a moment with a vacant-imperious glance, then shrugged and walked on.
Dizzy with his headache, which was only made worse by the roaring music, Harry stumbled along a path to the bar, which was in total darkness. Mild panic gripped his chest - what if the bar was closed? A quick check of the clock in the opticals confirmed that it was far too early for any self-respecting bar to be closed, but who knew with these… weird people? Harry walked up to the bar and tried to squint into the blackness, then remembered he couldn't squint. It was taking far too long to get used to these stupid implants.
He was just about to turn on infrared vision when a voice no doubt belonging to the bartender said, "Hello, Potter."
Harry started. "How do you know that name?" The official party line was that he'd died in the battle against Voldemort.
"I know a lot about you." A warm tenor that Harry was sure he knew. Who was this?
The music changed and a woman began wailing something about being frozen inside without somebody's touch. The song seemed to incite a small riot on the dance floor as people began to shake fists, chains, and various sharp-looking implements at the deejay. Harry thought he saw the burst-flash of an automatic weapon. He prepared to jump off the stool and flee - who wanted to get shot, honestly? - when a hand gripped his shoulder.
"Don't worry, Potter," said the mysterious voice from behind the bar. "Nobody needs you to save them. It happens every night. Sebastian likes to turn the song on just to fuck with people. What brings you by, anyway? I thought you were dead."
Harry sat back down and glared into the darkness. A light behind him briefly illuminated the speaker and time seemed to slow down.
It was Draco Malfoy, wearing a shiny black vest over a bare, hairless chest, tight jeans and a smirk. There was a realistic-looking tattoo on his shoulder - a man's hand (complete with knuckle hair) squeezing a surprisingly anatomically precise heart, blood running down the wrist. Malfoy's white-blond hair was held back in a ponytail but a few tendrils had strayed and were framing his pointy face in a fashion that Harry suspected took Malfoy at least half an hour to achieve. The light in the back went out and Malfoy was plunged into total darkness again.
"What are you doing here, Malfoy?" asked Harry.
"Oh, feel free to call me Draco. It's not like the whole teenage angst-ridden rivalry thing matters, anyway. Besides, I have better things to angst about."
"O-kay, er, Draco. You still haven't answered my question."
"What are you doing here?"
"Bartending. In the dark."
The latter was accompanied by a very significant pause, so much so that Harry felt a bit uncomfortable. Was he missing something? He tried to squint again, to see Draco in the pitch-black darkness of the bar, then remembered the infrared. He switched it on and instantly he could see a blue-grey shadowy outline of Draco. He looked like he was wiping a glass.
"So what's with the specs, Potter? Aside from the whole thing where you're supposed to be dead, that is."
"I'm not dead," said Harry.
"Why thank you for that fine forensic analysis; I'd never have known had you not told me," said Draco. He leant over and did something under the counter, causing stripes of a low purple light to come on all around the bar. Harry switched off the infrared and glared at Draco, though he supposed it didn't have much effect, what with the opticals and all.
"Whatever happened to bartending in the dark?" he asked.
"Oh you know. It gets old sometimes. Especially when my supposed-to-be-dead school rival shows up and I want to actually look at him. Because he looks so bloody ridiculous, wearing sunglasses in the dark."
"Not any more ridiculous than bartending in the dark," Harry shot back. "Aren't you going to ask what I would like? I did come in for a drink, you know." His headache, which had temporarily relented due to the acute surprise at seeing Draco, was returning in full force.
Draco gave him a sceptical look and folded his hands across his chest. "What's a nice not-dead boy like you doing in a scary place like this?"
"I'll have a whiskey, thanks. Make it double," said Harry, rubbing his forehead.
Draco rolled his shoulders in a disdainful manner but pulled a tumbler from a rack behind him, then used a summoning spell to fetch a bottle of Bushmills. Harry was going to say something, but there was nothing in the law about wizards using magic in front of other wizards; the Muggles in the club couldn't see them. Draco poured the amber liquid into the tumbler and slid it across the counter to Harry. Harry knocked it back, not bothering to point out that there was far too much water in this for it to be Bushmills. He set the glass back down and massaged his temples.
"So what's a - er - pointy boy like you doing in a place like this?" he asked, turning slightly sideways to lean against the counter. Damn, but this seat was uncomfortable.
Draco, who was apparently done glaring for the "pointy" remark, sighed. "Here at FA? The atmosphere, I guess. I worked at Barcode for a while, but it was too cheery and happy for my tastes," he said.
Harry's eyebrows shot up. "Barcode?"
"But that's a gay bar."
"Oh really? Thanks for telling me, I never would have known otherwise," said Draco with a mock simper. "You really are thick, aren't you? I'm gay."
"You are? But what about carrying on the bloodlines and all that?"
Draco snorted. "Yeah, like that matters these days, what with the mutants. Just because I can't find decent work in the wizarding world doesn't mean I've completely left it, you imbecile."
"So… you were gay and worked in a gay bar. Now you're working in a goth club, does that mean you've - er - embraced the subculture?"
"No, it really doesn't. I am my own subculture."
"But Draco," Harry started to say, gesturing towards Draco's attire, but he was interrupted.
"Goth? I don't think so. Prep like whoa. These are my work clothes," said Draco, buffing his fingernails against the front of his vest.
"Oh yeah, that tattoo is really prep. Don't make me laugh."
Draco flushed visibly. "Don't start about the tattoo, Potter. It's none of your business. Stupid Gryffindors."
"You still see the world in shades of Gryffindor and Slytherin? Not tired yet?"
"Why would I be? It's a great way of putting people into boxes that are too small for them. I love it."
"Well, I reckon that my sorting was pastede on," said Harry to his empty tumbler, not looking at Draco.
"Yay," said Draco without enthusiasm. He swiped at the counter in front of Harry a couple of times with a wet, greasy-looking rag but only ended up making more of a mess. Draco threw the rag into a shadowy corner behind the bar and leant on the filthy counter, dark glove-clad elbows like daggers against the faded wood. "So you no longer uphold Gryffindor values." It was a statement yet there was hesitation in his voice.
Harry snorted. "Please. Gryffindor values. Let's all go and get ourselves killed. For great justice."
"All your Dark Lords are belong to us," remarked Draco, leaning slightly forward. "You haven't answered my question."
Harry cocked his head to one side and pushed his whiskey away. "Come on, Malfoy. Take a look around. You really think the Hogwarts houses are a good way to divide people?"
"As long as there's Slytherin, I couldn't care less," came the reply. Draco's mouth was a straight line, lips trembling slightly. "And I thought I told you to call me Draco."
"Oh, come off it, Malfoy - er - Draco - why does it matter what the hell I call you, anyway?"
Draco tossed his head back in a decidedly girly fashion and gave an exasperated sigh. He waved a hand in front of Harry's face. "Earth to Potter. Here I am, waiting for the useless Anselmo - this is his shift I'm covering - to show up, and who should grace FA with his presence than Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lives Despite Being Dead. Clearly, it's a sign from fate that we should bury the hatchet. Honestly!"
Harry frowned. "That doesn't really follow, though. You have no idea about me. Maybe I was sent here to kill you."
Draco backed away from the counter, looking alarmed. "Were you?"
"No," said Harry.
"So why did you come here?" asked Draco, his pale eyebrows knotting together in suspicion.
"I had a headache and needed a drink," said Harry truthfully. "I was just coming home from work. I get these headaches a lot."
At that moment, Draco was called away by a burly man dressed in black from head to toe. He mixed some sort of strange glow-in-the-dark drink for the man. Harry noticed that Draco used his wand to conjure crushed ice into a glass and the "Ministry regulation violation" alarm began to flash across the surface of his left implant. Harry quickly erased it and the record that stored the memory.
When Draco returned, looking sulky, Harry asked for another whiskey.
"Aren't you afraid that a Ministry official might walk into the bar one day-" he started to ask, but Draco interrupted.
"Please, Potter, that sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke. What would a Ministry official be - oh." He stared at Harry. "You work for them?"
Harry smiled. "Ever heard of the death squads?"
Draco's eyes widened. "You're the Enforcer."
"The same," said Harry. He lifted his tumbler and saluted, then drank it down in two large gulps. His head was feeling a lot better, despite the watered-down whiskey.
Draco smirked. "Isn't it a little stupid to be telling me this? I could tell everyone, you know."
Harry matched the smirk with one of his own. "Right. You're going to walk into the Leaky Cauldron and announce that the Enforcer is Harry Potter. That sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke, if you ask me, what with me being dead and buried."
"But you're not."
"Yeah, but only about six people know that. No one would believe you."
Draco was about to say something, but he was interrupted by a high falsetto voice, thick with a Spanish accent.
"I am very sorry, Mister Draco! I am very sorry! My wife, she was shopping and got into car accident, it was her fault. Please to be forgiving, Mister Draco!"
Harry turned and saw a tiny man with darting, birdlike eyes and curly hair hopping up and down impatiently as he tried to get the door to the bar stand open.
"I don't care about your excuses, Anselmo," barked Draco. "If you're late again, I'm telling Mr Boss Man and you'll be out on your arse sooner than you can say PCP."
"I am sorry! I am grateful!" squeaked the little man. "You have good sleep now!"
Draco shook his head and sauntered out of the bar area. He stopped beside Harry, close enough to touch. "I'm going home. You staying?"
Harry hopped off his stool. "No. Don't you want money for the drinks?"
Draco smirked. "It'll be on Anselmo's head, anyway. I was supposed to be gone three hours ago."
Harry shrugged, took out his wallet, and tossed several notes on the dirty counter. "All the same. D'you want the tip?"
Draco gave him a sideways look. "You're going to pay for having had the pleasure of my company? Didn't know you were that desperate."
"Actually," said Harry, stepping closer and pulling Draco towards himself. "Now that you mention it, I am pretty desperate."
Draco jumped back as though Harry's hands burned him. "Aaah!" he said. "You can't be serious."
Harry pursed his lips. "What's your first clue? That I didn't leave as soon as I had my first drink? That I'm leaving at the same time as you are? That I've obviously been staring at you for the past half an hour? Of course I'm bloody serious, but if you're going to play hard to get, then you're right, I'm not serious."
"I'm not hard to get! I am, in fact, very easy to get. For you. I didn't mean that." Draco's face went an alarming shade of pink, though perhaps it was just the annoying purple lighting around the bar. The music changed again, this time a sort of screeching wail no doubt produced by some hellish kazoo. Draco said something again but Harry couldn't hear him for the horrible noise. He tugged on Draco's arm, pulling out of the club and into the street. Only there did he realise that Draco was still wearing his "work clothes" and the outside temperature wasn't exactly ideal for someone in nothing but a PVC vest and flimsy jeans.
"You don't have a jacket?"
Draco shook his head, shivering. "I always j-j-just Apparate here, there's a s-s-spot behind the-"
"You lose at life, Malfoy."
"omg I know!" choked Draco. He threw his arms around Harry's shoulders and began to weep. Harry stumbled slightly backwards in surprise, as Draco wailed something about unpaid bills and "fucking customers", clutching at Harry's trench coat.
Harry sighed and slipped his arms around Draco's waist.
It was going to be a long night.
Since the war, Draco suffered periodic memory lapses; every once in a while, he would disappear and it sometimes took Harry weeks to find him and yet more weeks until Draco remembered everything. Every time he found him again - and Draco was always bartending. In the dark. Harry suspected it was some sort of childhood fixation - he had to act like he was seeing Draco for the first time in years.
The doctors said that it would be traumatising otherwise, and Harry never wanted to hurt Draco.
He would, however, hurt whatever brute had tattooed Draco's shoulder.