Story Title: Happy Hour
Author Name: bk11
Story Url: Story Link – The author’s LJ account was deleted as of July 2011
Content Rating: Adult
Story Summary: The war has ended for them. Ron and Harry are at the point where they can be the kind of people to forgive Draco Malfoy for all that he’s done. But she’s not sure if she’s that kind of person. And she’s not sure if she wants to be that kind of person.
In many ways, this is a hard story for a fluff-monger like myself. But I feel like I grew from reading it, which is perhaps the best thing one can say about any story. In addition, it has stayed with me, even years after my first read-through. The story is extremely well written, of course. But it’s also a rather angsty romance. The story isn’t simply about misunderstandings that need to be resolved between the prospective couple; you’ll find nothing as simple as the misunderstandings between Elizabeth & Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, or as amusing as those between Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, nor as familiar as those in any other classic or derivative romance novel. This is far less funny and far more complicated than I’m used to seeing in the majority of novels I encounter. It’s a realistic-feeling post-war picture of how a bunch of messed-up individuals get along together and try to move forward with life. And just because there is peace (and grief and regret and healing) in their post-war world, doesn’t mean there is understanding quite yet.
The author climbs inside the heads of her protagonists and helps us understand how they can be complete wrecks inside but still deserving of happiness even when they don’t believe that themselves. The close friendship between Draco, Harry and Ron is startling at first, but when put into the context of the war and the tough decisions that had to be made, it really makes sense. Hermione’s feelings about Draco are very conflicted and angry and messed up, and that makes sense, too. But it’s Draco’s gut-wrenching remorse and self-described “Daddy issues” and his grief and anger and hope which take center stage for me. This is quite possibly the best look at Draco I’ve seen in long, long time.
There’s far more depth in this story than I feel I can touch upon without spoiling the story. So I’ll just point to the author’s note HERE and encourage you to read it after you finish the story. I was amazed when I learned long after reading the fic what the author’s goal was, because I so often walk away from a story wondering if the message I absorbed had anything to do with the author’s intent. In this case, she hit the nail on the head, and I really felt I learned something about myself as a result of reading this fic.
J.K. Rowling has said in interviews that she worries about those who idealize Draco and Snape out of a misguided notion that being the bad boy is cool and that the right woman can reform such men. Bk11 obviously understood JKR’s Draco very well, which is why this story’s pairing is so amazing. Whether or not you’re a Draco/Hermione shipper, I think you’ll find a believable situation here. And for the author to take such an unflinching look at the flaws in these characters and figure out how to ultimately create a romance between them without glossing over any ugliness was truly profound.