alisanne: (HD bring it)
[personal profile] alisanne
Title: The Campaign
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Recipient: [personal profile] huldrejenta
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Ron/Hermione, Lucius/Narcissa, Neville/Pansy, Blaise/Millicent.
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~17000
Warnings: Institutional homophobia, mild angst, mature language, drinking, family issues, a hint of current political affairs.
Content/Enticements: UST, banter, teasing, first time, sex with feels, anal sex.
Summary: When Draco puts his hat in the ring to become Minister of Magic he doesn’t realise how much it will change his life.
Author's Notes: Written for the 2018 [livejournal.com profile] hd_erised fest. This was a fun story to write, huldrejenta! Your list of requests were so fabulous I wanted to include all of them, but alas, I couldn’t quite manage that. Hopefully, what I ended up managing to include pleases you. Happy Erised! ♥
My heartfelt thanks to my beta readers, Badgerlady and [personal profile] torino10154, and to the lovely and patient mods.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.



~

The Campaign

~

There are moments Draco wishes Potter hadn’t interfered and saved his father more prison time in Azkaban. Not often, of course. Draco does love his father, but there are times he can be trying. Take now, for instance. Please take now.

“…even listening to me, Draco?”

Exhaling, Draco pastes a smile to his face and turns away from the view of his mother’s winter garden to look squarely at his father. “Of course, Father. I always listen to you.”

“Ah, I see. You just don’t obey me.” Lucius sips from his teacup, his eyes glinting as he watches Draco over the rim. Draco’s sure the cup contains more than just tea, even though it’s ten in the morning. But they don’t discuss such issues. If Lucius wants to drink himself stupid, he’s more than earned it, or so he claims.

Inclining his head, Draco replies, “You taught me to think for myself, Father. Surely you’re not upset that I’m obeying your directive?”

Narcissa, seated across from Lucius, smirks. “An excellent answer. Worthy of a politician.” She raises an eyebrow in a look that makes Lucius’ eyes skitter away. “Although I believe we agreed there would be no political talk at breakfast?”

“Sorry, Mother.”

“I didn’t mean you, dear.” Narcissa eyes Lucius pointedly.

“I didn’t say anything political,” Lucius mutters. “I was merely—”

“You were merely haranguing our son about running for Minister of Magic. Again.” Narcissa sighs, wiping her mouth with her napkin before setting it down. “He’ll decide to run on his own if he wishes. Until then, you need to let him make his own decisions.”

“But he needs to make a decision! Someone needs to defeat that upstart Drumpf. And if I’m to introduce him to the important Wizengamot members whose votes he needs to court, I can’t—”

“Lucius.” Her voice is soft, but with an undertone of steel. “Enough.” She turns to Draco and smiles. “Didn’t you have plans to see Pansy today, dear?”

Draco takes one last sip of his own tea before pushing away from the table. “I still do, so I should be going.” Rising, he walks over to Narcissa’s chair, bending down to kiss her cheek. “Thank you,” he whispers.

“Of course, dear.” Narcissa murmurs back. “Have a good day.” She glances once again at Lucius and her smirk deepens. “I’ll handle your father.”

“Handle me?” Lucius scowls at her, his cheeks flushing. “And how do you plan to do that, woman?”

Narcissa smirks. “As I recall, dear,” she says, her tone silky, “you enjoyed it when I handled you last night.”

“Right,” mutters Draco, spinning on his heel and heading towards the door. “That’s definitely my cue.” Once he’s outside, Draco Summons his winter cloak before heading for the nearest Floo, the click of his dragonhide boots loud on the polished marble floor.

He hurries, looking neither left nor right as he walks, even though it’s just them in the Manor. They haven’t entertained visitors since Volde—he was killed.

Memories crowding him, Draco reaches the Floo and tosses some powder in. “Diagon Alley!”

His breathing eases once he arrives at his destination, and although he despises how the Muggle propensity for having a coffeeshop on every corner has permeated even this place, he nevertheless inhales deeply as he walks. The swill doesn’t smell half bad. Sadly, Draco has never developed a taste for it.

Opening a discreet door, he enters a dark panelled tavern, scanning the dim room, eventually spotting the person for whom he’s looking. Sasha’s is a hidden gem of a tavern, popular with Ministry workers. It’s Pansy new favourite spot to meet, and Draco does enjoy the ambience.

“There you are!” Pansy waves at him from a table, and of course she’s already had several if the martini glasses in front of her are any indication. Draco’s never beaten her to anything where alcohol is involved. “Finally! You know how I hate drinking alone.”

Eyebrow raised, Draco settles into the seat across from her, shrugging off his cloak. “You’re hardly alone,” he points out. “There are people all around you in here.”

“They don’t count.” Pansy executes a dismissive wave of her hand before signalling for another drink. From the way her eyes are dilated and the relaxed set of her shoulders, Draco judges she’s had a rough morning.

“It’s a bit early to get drunk,” comments Draco.

“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s never too early.” Picking up her glass, Pansy drains its remnants. “Plus, if you’d had the morning I’ve had, you’d drink, too.”

“Hm. Like that, is it?” Draco sighs. “Lost a case?”

“Do I ever? No, I got the bastard acquitted.” She looks away, her eyes going distant. “Sometimes I think we take this ‘everyone deserves a good defence’ business too seriously.”

“Sir?” The serving elf appears, dressed in a proper uniform, his manner obsequious. “Would you care to place an order?”

Draco eyes Pansy’s glass. “Yes, I’ll have a cosmopolitan.”

Pansy’s face lights up and she grins. “You’re joining me? Brilliant. I‘ll have another martini, three olives this time.”

The elf bows and disappears.

“Yes, I’m joining you.” Draco exhales. “You’re not the only one who’s had a rough morning.”

“Your father again?” When Draco nods, Pansy purses her lips. “Have you considered perhaps he’s right?”

“Merlin, not you, too.” Rolling his eyes, Draco scans the room to be sure no one is listening. Leaning forward, he continues, “I can’t go from disgraced Hogwarts student to Minster of Magic,” he hisses. “I mean, perhaps my son or daughter, if I ever procreate, could manage it, but—”

“Nonsense.” Pansy tosses her head, her sleek, bobbed hair shifting around her face. “You’d be a perfectly acceptable Minister. You’d certainly be better than Drumpf, anyway. All people recall about the war these days is who helped Potter win. You can do anything. It’s not as if you tried to betray the Saviour to the Dark Lord in front of the entire school. Like me.”

Sitting back in his chair, Draco studies his friend. She’s changed since the war, but on occasion he sees the insecure girl who cried for weeks after the war ended, convinced she’d never amount to anything in their world after trying to betray its saviour. That girl is nowhere in sight, however. Pansy’s made something of herself over the years, and seated before him is one of the youngest and most successful barristers in the Wizarding world. In fact, the only person on a steeper trajectory to the top is Hermione Granger-Weasley. “Potter publicly forgave you for that,” he reminds her.

“He forgave you, too,” she shoots back, “and spoke at your trial. In fact, for a moment there, it almost looked as if you two were going to be friends.”

“And then the moment passed.” Looking away, Draco focusses on the people walking past on the street.

“Fine, don’t tell me what happened. Although you could do worse than cosy up to the Saviour.”

“Ugh, not you, too.” Draco huffs. “That’s all Father talks about these days. It’s why he thinks I should run in the first place. He thinks I need to capitalise on Potter’s good will before people forget he spoke for me, or before he does anything to ruin his reputation and, by extension, mine.”

There’s a pause, and then Pansy laughs a full-throated laugh that makes everyone else in the place turn to look at them. “You know, I rarely agree with your father,” she says in between chuckles, “but in this case, I think he’s right. Although it may be too late.”

“What does that mean?”

Their cocktails appear and Pansy stops laughing long enough to sip hers and make an approving noise. “Mmm. Two or three more of these should do the trick.”

“Don’t try to change the subject.” Draco sets his martini aside, glaring at her. “What’s happened? Is something going on with Potter?”

Pansy raises an eyebrow. “You really should keep abreast of the news, darling.” She smirks. “The Minister is expected to know all about current affairs, after all—”

Draco makes a rude gesture which only makes her smirk deepen. “Do not make me hex you, woman. What are you talking about?”

Pansy’s expression says she’s enjoying his ignorance. “I should have thought you’d know. It was all over the Prophet when it happened.”

“You know I don’t read that nonsense.”

Pansy shakes her head. “You need to read the papers, Draco. That way you wouldn’t need to rely on me for your news.”

“I hate the Prophet, and there aren’t any other reliable news sources available. At least not in print. I suppose I could listen to the wireless, if it wasn’t dominated by Gryffindors.” Draco finally sips his drink and hums. It’s delicious. “Now, will you please just tell me what’s going on?”

“Not that much.” Pansy shrugs, but the smirk she’s still wearing belies her words.

“What’s so funny, then?” Draco scowls as Pansy continues to giggle.

Shaking her head, Pansy leans close. “All right. Much of this is rumour, admittedly, although Skeeter hinted about it in her last column so it’s only a matter of time before—”

“Are you ever going to actually tell me what this news is or am I going to have to tie you up and force it out of you?” Draco hisses through clenched teeth.

Pansy raises an eyebrow. “Sounds kinky. If I didn’t know how very bent you are, I’d make you follow through on that.” She chuckles as he gives her a flat look. “Fine, fine. Relax. The gist was, Potter’s left the Aurors.”

Draco blinks. “That’s it? That’s the big news? I already knew that.”

Leaning forward, Pansy says, “Did you know he left because he was caught in flagrante delicto with a coworker? A male coworker?”

Draco goes still. “Potter’s gay?” he chokes out.

Pansy shrugs. “Or bi, the rumours aren’t clear on that. Either way, his lapse in judgement meant he was called to the Head Auror’s office and castigated. I hear they had a loud and heated discussion which resulted in Potter summarily resigning. The other bloke recanted, claimed Potter ‘corrupted’ him or some such rot, and he’s back on the force. Arse.”

Draco scowls. “Who was it?”

“His name was withheld to ‘protect the innocent’.” She shakes her head.

Tossing back his drink, Draco signals for another. “Fuck me. So what’s Potter doing now?”

“He’s a lobbyist on behalf of werewolf rights.” Pansy snorts. “And he’s a pretty effective one, I hear.” Raising her glass, she eyes him over the rim. “I see a fair bit of him at the Ministry these days, usually from a distance, but still. If you ran for Minister, you’d be sure to encounter him. In fact, I’m sure he’d love to…lobby you.”

“Only you could make the word ‘lobby’ sound indecent.” Draco snorts. “And I’m not running for Minister just so I can see Potter more often,” he says, but his voice is weak, and Pansy, damn her, hears it. He begins fiddling with his empty glass.

She shrugs, the casual gesture not fooling either one of them. “If you did, we’d see each other more, too. In fact…” She worries her bottom lip with her teeth for a moment. “…if you decided to run, I could be your campaign manager.”

Draco gapes at her with what he’s sure has to be a gormless expression on his face. “That’s not an option—you can’t! You have a job.”

“I do, but running your campaign would give me something worthwhile to do. Given the number of rich, scumbag wizards I defend, it would be nice to do something worthwhile for a change.” She runs a finger across the rim of her martini glass, her expression pensive.

“You’re actually serious,” Draco breathes. “Salazar.”

“I’m always serious.” Pansy tosses her hair as he snorts. “All right, fine, perhaps not, but yes, this time I mean it.”

Draco studies her. “Won’t your bosses have something to say about it if you do this?” he finally asks.

“They’re always telling us associates to get more involved in politics.” Pansy slowly smiles. “How can they argue with me for following one of their directives? Come on, it’ll be a lark. Even if you don’t win, it’ll be fun. What do you say?”

Draco stares at her, his mind swirling. Merlin help him but she’s persuasive. He almost snorts aloud. Of course she is, it’s what she does for a living, after all. “Fine,” he mutters. “I’ll do it. But you get to tell my father he’s not managing my campaign.”

“Done!” Pansy crows. She beams. “And if I’d known dangling Potter in front of you would persuade you, I’d have done it sooner.”

“I’m not doing it for him!” Draco protests.

Pansy nods distractedly, pulling out parchment and quill from somewhere in her skimpy business robes. “Right, of course not. This has nothing to do with your lifelong Potter obsession.”

Heat suffuses Draco. “It doesn’t! And I don’t have a Potter obsession!”

“Mmhm.”

“I don’t!”

Looking up at him, Pansy raises an eyebrow. “I’m agreeing with you, Draco. Take the win. Now, this campaign will require some planning since we’re starting so late. Fortunately we’re not too late to file your intent to run. We’ll need someone to oversee publicity, security, campaign donations—”

As Pansy happily plans political strategy, Draco sits back in his chair and sighs. It seems he’s running for Minister after all. Salazar help me.




“…not his fault his father was a werewolf. So why should he be stigmatized because of an accident of birth? Plus, as a Metamorphmagus, he can definitely be a useful member of society.”

“That’s just one werewolf boy. What about the others out there?”

“What about them?” Harry counters. “I just happen to know of Teddy’s situation because I’m his godfather. But who’s to say what other gifts other werewolves aren’t using to benefit our society because we won’t support them?”

Hermione clears her throat. “Plus, there’s data showing the younger werewolves are when they start taking wolfsbane, the less dangerous they can be once they’re adults because their minds mature along less aggressive tracks.”

“Exactly,” chimes in Harry. “But we’re forcing werewolves as young as five to be on the run in the wild because we won’t allow them into our society. Think of all the talent we’re wasting.”

Wizengamot member Edgar Midgen shakes his head. “You make a persuasive argument, Mr Potter, Mrs Weasley. Very well, I don’t see why we can’t try it your way. If your werewolf rights legislation gets introduced by another member, I’ll review it and if it looks good I’ll consider voting for it.”

Harry smiles. “Thank you, that’s all I ask.” He purses his lips. “And it’s my understanding Muriel Sinclair intends to introduce a resolution in time for the holidays, so you may have an opportunity sooner rather than later.”

Midgen stiffens. “Sinclair? Is that so?” His eyes narrow. “Well, perhaps I should work on something myself.”

Harry inclines his head and suppresses a smirk. “As you wish. The more choices there are the better, after all.” Standing, he shakes Midgen’s hand. “Thanks so much for meeting with us.”

“Of course, of course.” Midgen looks distracted as first he shakes Harry’s, then Hermione’s hand. “Would you send my secretary in on your way out? We really should get started on this legislation if I’m going to beat Sin—I mean, get something done.”

“I’ll send her right in,” promises Harry.

After Harry and Hermione exit the office, and Harry passes on Midgen’s message to his secretary, Hermione murmurs, “I thought you hadn’t met with Sinclair yet.”

“I haven’t.” As soon as they’re in the hallway, Harry smirks. “She and Midgen have a bit of a feud going, they’re quite competitive. So now that he thinks she’s introducing legislation, he’ll want to do it first. And once I meet with her this afternoon and tell her he’s coming up with something—”

“She’ll be trying to beat him.” Hermione shakes her head. “Harry Potter! You’re deliberately pitting those people against each other!”

“Yep.” Harry steers her towards the lifts. “It may be sneaky, but it works. And once I meet with Sinclair and let her know Midgen’s eager to come up with something, she’ll produce competing legislation within a day. She can be efficient when motivated.”

“But you lied to Midgen.”

“Not really. I only said it was my understanding Sinclair was writing something up. And by this afternoon, she will be.”

Hermione is still laughing when they exit the lift and enter the Ministry’s atrium. “Are you sure you don’t want to be a barrister? I think you’d be brilliant.”

“Not a chance,” says Harry as they walk towards the exit Floos. “You know I hate public speaking. Lobbying Wizengamot members one-on-one is fine, but speaking in front of a large group?” He shudders. “No thanks.”

“You may not like it, but you do it brilliantly.” Hermione smiles as he shoots her a flat look. “You do! All that testimony you did after the war—”

“Don’t remind me.” Harry shakes his head. “I broke out in a cold sweat every time I had to do that.”

“No one forced you.”

“I know. It was just the right thing to do. I didn’t enjoy it, though.”

“Even when you spoke for the Malfoys?” Hermione raises an eyebrow.

“Even then. I didn’t mind speaking for Narcissa or Draco. Lucius, however, was another story.” Harry rolls his eyes.

“I’m sure.” Hermione eyes him for a moment. “Speaking of, have you heard from Draco?”

“No. Heard what?” Harry asks. He frowns. “Has something happened?”

“Not that I’m aware.” Hermione’s eyes seem to be piercing his soul. “You just seemed awfully caught up in his case back then. It almost looked like you two were going to be friends. And then—”

“And then he got acquitted and he disappeared.” Harry looks away. “I tried owling him but— No, I never heard another word from him. I did get a nice thank you letter from Narcissa, though.”

“Hm.”

“What does that mean?”

“Nothing.” Hermione exhales. “Anyway, you do seem happier these days.”

Harry grins. “I am. What I’m doing now is much more my speed.”

Hermione nods. “You do seem to have found your niche.” Clasping his arm, she pulls him out of the way of a witch hurrying past. “And you don’t miss the Aurors?”

“I…” Harry sighs. “I can’t say I don’t miss certain things about it. The impact I made while in the corps was a bit more direct. I went out and caught the bad guys. It takes a bit longer to see results with lobbying.” He scowls. “But the circumstances made it impossible for me to stay. Plus, Paul’s still there, although I hear he’s being transferred, so—”

“Have you spoken to him?”

“No. And I hope I don’t. I dunno what I’d do if I ran into him at this point.” Harry shakes his head. “He always seemed so—”

“Nice?”

“Genuine.” Harry shrugs. “Just goes to show what comes of trusting people. I should have known it wasn’t going to work when he didn’t want my or his friends to know.”

Sighing, Hermione says, “I hope that experience, painful as it was, doesn’t prevent you from finding someone with whom to share your life, Harry.”

“We’ll see.” Harry eyes lock with hers. “If I ever do, I refuse to hide, though. I refuse to hide something that important from the people I care about. I’m going to be out and proud.”

“I imagine you’ll have little choice about that. It’s sure to be front page news eventually.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“I do.” Hermione smiles faintly. “It does give you reason to lobby for gay rights and have the regulations governing Ministry employees changed so that perhaps one day you can return, though.”

“That has occurred to me, although I’m never going back, not while Robards is in charge.” Harry scowls. “Can you believe when I came out he actually added a codicil to Auror contracts saying they can’t be ‘morally corrupt’? As if being gay or bisexual is somehow immoral?”

“Oh, I believe it.” Hermione sighs. “In my experience, the Wizarding world is decades, if not centuries, behind the Muggle, especially when it comes to social justice issues. It’s such a shame Kingsley decided to retire.”

“That it is. There’s no time or political will for him to change anything now he’s leaving.” Harry runs a hand through his hair. “I only hope the next Minister will have a more…modern outlook.”

“You’re not joking. Wizards simply cannot continue to live in the eighteenth century!” Hermione shakes her head. “It’s madness.”

“Which is why we do what we do.” Harry smiles at her. “I know I’m preaching to the choir here, Hermione, but it’s just so frustrating.”

“I know it is.” Hermione pats his arm, then squeezes it. “Which is why I was puzzled you didn’t say anything to Midgen about it. I honestly thought you would.”

“If this had been last year I would have.” Harry exhales. “But in the past few months of doing this, I’ve discovered Wizengamot members can only concentrate on one thing at a time, if that. Bringing up gay rights along with werewolf rights would have just muddied the waters, and Teddy’s situation’s more urgent right now. But trust me,” Harry bares his teeth, “I plan to speak to Midgen about gay rights at some point. I plan to speak with everyone, especially the candidates for Minister, once they declare themselves.”

Hermione nods. “Good. Thanks for letting me follow you this morning.” Checking her watch, she sighs. “Lunch? I’m starved and I’ve several cases to review this afternoon.”

“Sure. I’ve some appointments scheduled this afternoon, including that one with Sinclair. How about a sandwich at Seamus’?”

“Perfect.” Hermione chuckles. “At least his antics should take our mind off the state of the world.”

“Sounds good to me,” says Harry, leading the way. “I could do with a break from politics for a couple of hours.”

They both turn to walk towards Seamus’. “Brr.” Hermione casts a strong Warming Charm. “Damn, you’d think I didn’t even cast a charm! It’s shaping up to be a cold winter.”

Harry grins, linking their arms. “That answers what I’m getting you for Christmas.”

“What?”

“Ah, ah, that would be telling. In the meantime, we can share body warmth.” Mentally, Harry checks her off his gift list. Self-Warming Cloaks are all the rage, she’s sure to love one.

As they approach Diagon Alley’s newest pub, Hermione still trying to get him to tell her what he has in mind for her gift, Harry smiles. Seamus’ is one of his favourite places to eat, and it helps that when Seamus married Parvati, she decided to take over the kitchen. The menu often changes, but Harry’s never had anything that’s not delicious there.

Seamus waves hello when they walk in. “Hey, Harry, Hermione. Lunch? We’ve a chicken tikka on offer today. It’s Parvati’s mum’s recipe.”

“Sold,” said Hermione, making a beeline for one of the few free tables. “And a cider.”

“Same for me,” said Harry. “Except I’ll have an ale with mine.”

“Coming right up!”

“Busy here today,” remarks Hermione as they sit and she cancels her Warming Charm.

“It’s probably all the early Christmas shoppers,” says Harry. “Speaking of, I really need to get mine done. It’s great that I now know what I’m getting you but what should I get Ron?”

Hermione shakes her head. “I haven’t managed to come up with anything for him yet myself.” She sighs. “To be honest, it gets more difficult every year.”

“Merlin. If you don’t know what to get him, what chance do I have?” Harry groans.

“You’ll think of something. You always do.” Hermione inhales as dishes of fragrant curry appear in front of them. “Mmm, I needed this.”

“Me, too,” admits Harry, picking up his fork. “Lobbying Wizengamot members is exhausting.”

“Worse than being an Auror?”

Harry draws breath to reply, then grins at Seamus, who steps up to their table. “Hey, looks like you’re busy today, mate.”

“Innit great?” Seamus beams. “This holiday season is going to make all the difference this year.”

“Why? Have things been tight?” asks Harry, biting back a moan as the flavour of the curry hits his tongue. “Merlin, this is good.”

“I’ll let Parvati know.” Seamus nods. “And yeah, the last couple of months were tough. But this will more than make up for it. At least we’ll be able to keep the doors open another few months.”

“That’s wonderful, Seamus,” says Hermione, eyes trained on Harry as she speaks. “Do pass on my compliments to Parvati as well, will you?”

“Will do.” Seamus squares his shoulders as a large group walks in. “Gotta go. More customers!”

As Seamus walks away, Hermione stares at Harry, narrowing her eyes and pointing her fork at him. “No.”

Harry blinks. “I didn’t say anything.”

“You didn’t have to.” Hermione sighs. “I recognise that look. You’re thinking about giving Seamus money so he can keep the business afloat.”

“Shows how much you know,” Harry retorts. “I was actually thinking I could invest in his business since it’s started doing so well.” He holds her gaze as long as he can before looking away. “Is it so bad if I want to help my friends and I have the money to do it?” he adds, tone soft.

“No, of course not. Helping is one thing, but—” Pausing, Hermione sips her cider. “You just really have to get over this need you have to solve everyone’s problems for them, Harry,” she finally says. “It’s not healthy. You can’t save everyone.”

“What a terribly defeatist attitude,” drawls a voice which makes Hermione frown and which stiffens Harry’s back immediately. “I thought saving everyone was in the Gryffindor code.”

“Parkinson.” Hermione’s tone is cool. “Was there something you…needed? Or were you just eavesdropping because spying on people is in the Slytherin code. Such as it is.”

Expression closing, Parkinson inclines her head. “Believe it or not, Weasley, I’m not here to pick a fight, I saw you seated here and thought I’d let you know I will no longer be handling the Morrison case, so it may land on your desk.”

Hermione stares at her, her mouth dropping open. “You’re giving up a case?” Her eyes narrow. “Why? What’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing’s wrong with it.” Parkinson shrugs. “And I’m giving up several, actually. I’ve picked up a…new project which may take a fair bit of my time to manage, so I’m lightening my case load. With the blessing of the partners, of course.”

“Oh?” Hermione raises an eyebrow. “And what project is that, may I ask?”

Parkinson’s smirk tells Harry she’d hoped for just that question. “Why, I’m managing Draco’s campaign for Minister of Magic. You’re amongst the first to know he’s running.” Tossing her head, she moves away. “Anyway, I thought I’d give you a heads-up in case you have any questions on any of my cases. And since I know you have a specific interest in Morrison, I recommended you for it—”

“Did you just say Malfoy’s running for Minister?” Harry cries.

Several people from the surrounding tables look over. Parkinson’s smirk deepens. “As I just indicated.” She hums. “And thanks for the publicity, Potter. It is much appreciated. Lovely to see you.” With that, she saunters away.

The buzzing in the room matches that in Harry’s head. Blinking, he stares at Hermione for a long moment. “Bloody hell,” he finally mutters.

Picking up her cider, Hermione downs it and raises her hand for another. “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”




“Right, how are we doing with financing?” Pansy turns towards Millicent, who’s seated in one of the richly upholstered chairs favoured by the Parkinsons.

The room is brightly lit between the evening sun streaming in and the lamps flickering to life. Exhausted, Draco rubs his eyes and contemplates conjuring sunglasses before dropping his eyes to the book in his lap. He’s lounging on a chaise, pretending to read the book on politics Pansy handed him the moment he arrived, but he’s actually contemplating his awful afternoon.

“We’re in the black, donations are pouring in. We’ve surpassed our first month’s fundraising goal by thirty percent.” Millicent sounds smug.

“You didn’t threaten them with violence, did you?” asks Draco, closing the book and looking up. “It’s not going to play well if it gets out my campaign staff is bullying people into giving me money.”

“Of course not!” Millicent looks affronted. “Is it so difficult to believe I can be persuasive?” Sitting up straight, she glares at him. “And why do you even care what methods I used? After all, the reason I’m doing it is so you can stay above such trivial concerns and keep your lily-white hands clean in case I do need to browbeat people.”

“Not that that should be necessary,” interjects Pansy. “And relax, Millie, it wasn’t a criticism, was it, Draco?” She shoots him a warning look. “Just a joke, right?”

Shit. “Right.” Draco inclines his head in mute apology. “A joke. And no, I don’t suppose I care at all how you get the money. Anything’s fine. As long as I don’t have to involve Father with this campaign, it’s worth it. Thank you.”

“Anything legal.” Pansy winks when they all look at her. “Just to clarify, should anyone from the Ministry ask.”

Draco rolls his eyes. “Anything legal, of course,” he echoes. “Not that Millie would do anything illegal on my behalf.”

“No I wouldn’t.” Clearly mollified, Millicent smiles. “And you’re welcome.” Beaming, she settles back in her chair and, for a moment, Draco appreciates what Blaise sees in her. She’s actually pretty when she smiles. “Honestly, most were happy to contribute. Especially when I told them you’re planning to bring the Wizarding world into the future rather than living in the past.”

Draco frowns. “Why would you tell them that? I never said that.”

Millicent shrugs. “I tell people whatever they want to hear so they’ll give us money. Plus, anything that differentiates you from Drumpf is good.”

“As true as that may be, you also stick to what you understand are Draco’s positions when you fundraise, I’m sure.” Pansy is scribbling notes along the margins of some parchment as she speaks. “Though people do need to know political positions can often…evolve. You do explain that, right?”

Millicent snorts. “Right.”

Draco sighs. “Erm—”

“Blaise,” Pansy interrupts, focussing on the man perched on the arm of Millicent’s chair. “Your turn. Any updates on campaign publicity?”

Blaise, his arm casually slung over Millicent’s shoulders, nods. “I spoke with Barnabas Cuffe and they’ll be doing an in-depth feature on all the election hopefuls. They were going to do it in alphabetical order, but I convinced him to use…alternate criteria when they list the candidates.”

“What alternate criteria?” asks Pansy, eyes narrowing. “And tell me money didn’t change hands. They’re being especially vigilant about bribery this election season.”

“Of course I didn’t bribe anyone.” Blaise scoffs. “Don’t be ridiculous! As if I’d be so heavy handed. No, Cuffe’s wife, Winifred, has been longing for an invitation to join the Ladies League of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. I just mentioned that Draco’s mother is the vice-chairwoman, and that maximizing his chances of exposure in the paper would go a long way to getting her seen as a contender for League.”

“Salazar.” Draco groans. “We can’t promise something like that! The application process for the Ladies League takes years. It would look like a quid pro quo if Mother suddenly submitted her name. Plus, she will not be amused if I start trying to trade on her influence to—”

“Relax. Winifred’s aware she may not get into the League. She’d just be pleased if her name were to be mentioned as one to be considered. She’s already applied, she’s sure to be satisfied if it moves up a couple of spots. Plus, my mother’s in the League, too. If it comes down to it, we’ll just say it was a favour for me since I’m not running for anything.” Blaise waves a hand in a dismissive gesture.

“Okay.” Pansy raises an eyebrow. “What criteria are the newspaper using to list the candidates?”

Blaise, visibly pleased with himself, hums. “At my suggestion, they plan to list them by age, youngest to oldest.” He winks at Draco. “And, coincidentally, you happen to be the youngest person in the race, Draco, so you’ll be first, thus ensuring you’re on the front page.”

Pansy laughs. “Well done, Blaise. This plan is actually coming together.”

Shaking his head, Draco says, “Whatever happened to doing this for a lark? You’re acting as if you think I may actually win.”

“Would that be so bad?” Millicent sits forward in her chair, fixing Draco with a piercing look. “We could do worse. You’ll be better than Thicknesse.”

“Not a high bar,” mutters Draco. “He was a wanker.”

“So he was. Even if he was under an Imperius, or so he claims.” Pansy closes her folder. “Almost anyone would be more competent than he was. Well, anyone except Drumpf. What a moron.”

“I think everyone agrees on that,” chimes in Blaise. “Alas, he’s a rich moron, and I hear he’s spreading it around liberally.”

“And illegally, not that anyone will care about that since he wasn’t a Slytherin.” Pinching her nose with her fingers, Pansy sighs. “Well, there’s nothing we can do about his campaign. My hands are full enough running this one.”

“I can try to sabotage him if you like.” Blaise freezes as they all turn to stare at him. “What?”

“No sabotage!” cries Pansy. “Have you forgotten Slytherins are always blamed when anything goes wrong? No, just stay away from him.” She exhales. “Anyway, I think we have all our bases covered for now. Did you see the interview schedule I set up for you, Draco?”

Reaching into his pocket, Draco pulls out a parchment. “Yes. Although I think it’s a bit…aggressive.”

“Aggressive?” Pansy makes a rude noise. “You realise you’re the last to declare, yes? All the other candidates have probably been lobbying the Wizengamot members for months. We only have a few weeks.”

“They all know me,” Draco says. He knows he’s whinging, but he’s tired. “Can’t I just send them a letter or something?”

Blaise mutters something nearly inaudible that makes Millicent snort. Pansy sighs. “Thank you, everyone. We’ll reconvene here next week as scheduled.” She eyes Draco, who shifts uncomfortably under her gaze. “Draco and I need to talk.”

“Right.” Blaise helps Millicent up. “Have fun, you two.”

Once Blaise and Millicent leave — Blaise’s arm tucked possessively around Millicent’s waist — Pansy points to a chair. “Sit.”

Huffing, Draco does, crossing his arms across his chest. “What?”

“That’s my question. What in the name of Salazar is wrong with you?” Walking over to the chair, Pansy looms over him. “You’ve been pouting all evening. Did something happen?”

“I tried to visit some Wizengamot members, but only one would see me.”

Pansy frowns. “What? Why?”

Leaning back, Draco rests his head on the backrest, closing his eyes. “In a word, Father. Apparently he used to be rather heavy-handed when he saw them, so none of them want to see his son. On top of which, when I went home, Father was waiting for me. He’s miffed he’s not running my campaign and he harangued me about visiting Wizengamot members with me. I think he wants to bribe them to vote for me.”

“Damn,” Pansy whispers. “Did you tell him some have refused to allow you into their offices because you’re a Malfoy?”

Snapping open his eyes, Draco glares at her. “Are you mad? Of course not! I don’t want to hurt his feelings, only he will not let it alone!” He groans. “What I need I someone else to persuade the Wizengamot to see me. Someone they’ll listen to. Someone famous who will shut Father up and yet satisfy the Wizengamot.”

Pansy sighs. “Yes you do.”

“Someone influential with an impeccable reputation,” Draco continues. “Someone…unassailable.”

“Well, that’s definitely not me. My family’s reputation’s worse than yours.” Pansy shakes her head. “I’m all out of ideas on that one. Unless—” A slow smirk blooms across her face.

“Whatever you’re thinking I’m not going to like,” says Draco standing up. “I can tell from that glint in your eyes.”

Pansy holds up her hands in a placating gesture. “Just hear me out.”

Rolling his eyes, Draco waits.

“We’ve established you need to get in to speak with the Wizengamot members to make your case about why you should be the next Minister. As it happens, someone you know and who would never be refused entrance into anyone’s office is essentially doing the same thing. Well, perhaps not the same thing, but a similar thing. You could ask Potter—”

“No,” snaps Draco. “Absolutely not. That is something my father would suggest and I refuse—”

“To what?” Hands on her hips, Pansy glares at him, eyes flashing. “To do the sensible thing and at least ask Potter if he’ll get you in the door?”

“I refuse to owe him any more than I already do.” Draco shakes his head.

“No. That’s not it.” Stepping up to him, Pansy lays a hand on his arm. “You’re worried if you spend too much time together, he’ll figure out you fancy him.”

“I do not—”

“Draco.” Pansy’s voice is soft, but the underlying steel is unmistakable. “Lie to yourself if you like, but do not try to lie to me. You have been pining for Potter since you first laid eyes on him. How many times have we all heard about how you wished you’d known it was him in Madam Malkin’s that day? Or about how you wished he’d just shaken your hand that evening before the Sorting?”

“I do not pine.” Draco huffed. “I have never pined for anything in my life, except perhaps for an end to this conversation.”

“Ugh, you are impossible.” Leaning in, Pansy murmurs, “Would it be so bad if you at least tried?”

“No. Yes.” Draco’s shoulders sag. “Salazar, Pansy. I’m not sure I could take it if he—” Searching for words, he finally says, “—rejects me.”

“And if he doesn’t?” Pansy shakes her head. “He may actually agree to help you and you could even become friends.” She winks. “Or more.”

“That will never happen. I could never disappoint my—” Draco squares his shoulders. “Anyway, I’d be lucky if he didn’t hex me on principle. Why should I open myself up to that?”

Pansy stares at him for a moment before putting her arms around him and hugging him. Surprised, Draco stiffens. Then, as her warmth surrounds him, he relaxes into the embrace, his arms going around her. “You can’t know what he’ll do, Draco,” she whispers into his chest. “He could surprise you. And it’s not healthy to cut yourself off from people like this. You could be missing out on a lot of opportunities. We all need someone in our corner.”

“I thought you were in my corner,” he replies, trying for a light tone.

Drawing back, Pansy smiles. “Always and forever, you know that. But unless you’ve suddenly decided you like women, I can’t fulfill all your needs.”

Swallowing hard, Draco replies, “You should talk. You’re not dating anyone either.”

Pansy smirks. “Shows what you know.” Checking her watch, she continues, “In fact, he should be here any minute, at which point you will need to leave.”

After gaping at her for a long moment, Draco says, “You have a boyfriend? Who is it? Why didn’t you tell me?”

Rolling her eyes, Pansy steps away from him, smoothing down her robes and tossing her hair. “Yes, I do. You’ll see who he is soon enough. As for why I didn’t tell you—It’s…new so I didn’t want to jinx it, but I’m hoping it goes somewhere.”

“Now you’re just being coy.” Narrowing his eyes, Draco says, “It has to be someone of whom your parents approve, since he’s coming here. Is it Theo?”

Pansy hums, clearly pleased. “You’ll see soon enough.” Walking over to the Floo, she draws her wand, taking down the wards. “And yes, my parents approve.”

Draco draws breath to ask more questions but is interrupted by the Floo flaring and a familiar figure emerging. Speechless, he watches as Neville Longbottom smiles at Pansy before pulling a beautiful bouquet of flowers from behind his back, which he hands her with a flourish.

“How lovely,” says Pansy, accepting them with a smile. Then, tucking her hand in the crook of Longbottom’s arm, she turns towards Draco, who’s still gaping at them. “You remember Draco, I’m sure.”

Longbottom’s expression shifts to one of wariness as he inclines his head. “Of course. Malfoy.”

“Longbottom.” Draco exchanges a long look with Pansy as they communicate wordlessly. Stepping forward, he offers Longbottom a hand. “Nice to see you.”

Several expressions flit across Longbottom’s face until he finally settles on cautious friendliness. “Likewise, Malfoy.” He clears his throat. “I hear you’re running for Minister.”

“I am.” Draco flicks a glance towards Pansy. “Pansy’s running my campaign.”

Longbottom nods. “You couldn’t have a better campaign manager.”

Pansy presses closer to Longbottom, smiling up at him. “What a sweet thing to say, although you are biased.”

“True.” Longbottom grins, leaning down to kiss her lightly. “But that doesn’t make it inaccurate.”

Draco clears his throat. “Well, I should leave you two to your…plans. Have a good evening.”

“You could join us for dinner,” says Longbottom. “Especially if you need to talk about your campaign—”

“That’s not necessary,” says Draco, noting how Pansy’s shoulders relax once he declines. “Plus, I have plans of my own.”

“Maybe another time, then,” says Longbottom.

“Of course.” Draco gestures to the Floo. “I’ll just—”

“I’ll see you off,” says Pansy, disengaging her hand from Longbottom’s arm. “Make yourself at home, Neville. I’ll be right back.”

Once they are out of Longbottom’s earshot, Draco whispers, “Right. How in Merlin’s name did this happen?”

Pansy smirks. “Maybe I’ll tell you one day.” She raises as eyebrow. “What’s this about you having plans tonight? Liar.”

Draco snorts. “Would you rather I joined you for a romantic dinner?”

“No. Definitely not. Thank you.” Leaning up, Pansy kisses his cheek. “Please consider my suggestion about talking to Potter. And Draco, you really need to own your own happiness.”

Rolling his eyes, Draco turns away. Arriving at the Manor, he walks slowly, quietly to his rooms. Once inside, he exhales. I can’t face Father tonight. “Inform my parents I’m tired and I’m eating here, Tippy,” he tells the elf he summons.

Over dinner, he looks out at the moonlit gardens and sighs. Pansy had been the last of his single friends. Hell, even Greg’s dating someone! “Unacceptable,” he says. Taking a swig of wine, Draco meets his reflection’s eyes in the window. “Tomorrow, I’m talking to Potter. And he will listen!”




Seated crossed-legged on his rug, Harry’s surrounded by parchment. He has quill ink on his fingers and probably all over his face. “That’s it. I’ve lobbied half the Wizengamot and almost all the candidates for Minister.” He holds up a parchment with most of the names crossed out.

“Except for Malfoy,” says Ron. “And Drumpf.”

“Except for them, yes. And I plan to avoid Drumpf like the plague since he’s made his feelings on werewolves and gay people clear.” Groaning, Harry drops the parchment back into the pile and rubs the back of his neck. “Malfoy’s filing was recent, and no one seems to know anything about his campaign. Is it even worth talking to him, you think?”

“He’s a legitimate candidate,” says Hermione, curled up on the sofa beside Ron. Her feet are tucked up under her, and she has a quill in her hair. Placing the book she’s been reading in her lap, she leans forward. “Why are you so reluctant?”

“Because I don’t know why he’s running.”

“Why are any of them running except for power?” she replies. “It is rather a thankless job. I don’t blame Kingsley for resigning, although I do wish he’d stay on.”

“Me, too,” mutters Harry.

“What have the other wankers said when you’ve asked why they’re running?” asks Ron.

“Oh, you know, the usual.” Harry makes a face. “To help people, maintain peace in the Wizarding world, maintain the Statute of Secrecy while at the same time improving relations with Muggles, blah blah. Although that tosser Drumpf talking about ‘wizards first’ and ‘make the Wizarding world great again’ reminds me of Voldemort.”

“Yes, I’ve heard his speeches.” Hermione shudders. “He seems horrible.”

“He won’t win,” says Harry. “No one will vote for him.”

“Let’s hope not.” Hermione sighs.

“Never underestimate people’s stupidity.” Ron shrugs as they both look at him. “What? It’s one of Dad’s favourite sayings. Anyway, you’ll probably never truly know why any of them are running, so why does it matter why Malfoy’s doing it?”

Because it’s Malfoy. “Right. True.” Harry purses his lips. “And I suppose most people run for power or for notoriety, and I don’t think Malfoy’s up to something nefarious per se, but I just—”

“You think he’s up to something nevertheless.” Ron rolls his eyes as Harry nods. “What could he possibly be up to, mate? The war’s over, the trials are over, and honestly, after listening to his testimony, even I felt sorry for him. Plus, there’s no way he’s plotting anything evil, everyone would be after him in an instant.”

“Okay.” Harry squares his shoulders. “Who are you and what have you done with Ron Weasley?”

Ron snorts. “I haven’t been Imperiused or anything, I just think people deserve a second chance.” He sighs as both Harry and Hermione stare at him. “Okay, fine. So you know how Neville has a new girlfriend?”

“Unless Neville’s girlfriend is Malfoy, I fail to see what this has to do with the topic at hand.” Harry crosses his arms.

“Neville is dating Parkinson, who is running Malfoy’s campaign.” Ron nods as Harry inhales sharply. “Exactly. And Neville is a good judge of character.”

Slowly, Harry nods. “Yes, he is. So he thinks Malfoy’s running for good reasons?”

Ron shrugs. “Yep.”

“So you think I should talk to Malfoy? Lobby him?”

“If only so you’ll stop obsessing about him? Yes.” Ron smirks as Harry flushes. “Or you could just skip the political nonsense. It’s clear you still fancy him, so ask him out, and see what happens.”

“Still fancy him?” Harry scowls. “Who says I ever fancied him in the first place?”

“Hermione.”

Blinking, Harry looks at Hermione, who’s staring at Ron, her mouth open. “I did?” She frowns. “When was that?”

Ron grins unapologetically. “Okay, so you didn’t come out and tell me tell me, Hermione, but you remember when you spoke for him at his trial, Harry?”

Harry nods.

“Well, Hermione kept asking me if I still hated him, and would I be upset if you two got closer.” Ron sighs. “I can’t say I was thrilled with the idea, but it did make me watch how the two of you were together, and you seemed to…fit. Anyway, I came to the conclusion that if you asked Malfoy out I’d give him a chance.” Ron’s expression hardens. “Although if you start dating him and he hurts you I will end him.”

Harry groans. “Bloody hell, mate, I’m not going to date him ever—It’s not like I even fancy him now—”

“But you did before, that much was clear.” Ron’s eyes narrow. “So what changed?”

“I don’t know that anything changed, really. He’s just been through a lot, you know? And he’s managed to overcome his upbringing, so he deserves credit for that, not to mention the brave way he protected me when they caught us in Malfoy Manor. Plus, he’s witty and funny, totally gorgeous—” Pausing, Harry exhales. “Fuck me. I suppose I do rather fancy him.” He eyes Ron. “And when did you get so bloody observant?”

“I may not be an Auror anymore, mate, but I’m still a trained observer.” Ron smirks, tapping his index finger against his forehead. “And I’ve deduced you fancy the pants off him. Don’t deny it.”

“Well fuck.” Burying his face in his hands, Harry mutters, “Why do I always like the difficult ones? First Paul, now Malfoy.”

“I’ve decided that’s just your nature.” Ron holds up his hands in mock surrender as Harry raises his head, shooting him a flat look. “Hey, don’t blame me because you always go after the problematic people.” He smirks. “I hear Slughorn’s still single. How about an older man? I bet he’s love to collect you.”

Holding up two fingers in a rude gesture, Harry grits out, “Fuck you very much.”

“Mm, and on that note, we should be leaving.” Ron winks. “We have plans this evening. Turns out you’re not too far off the mark about what we’ll be doing later.”

“Oi! I thought we agreed. We do not share details about our sex lives,” Harry cries.

“That wasn’t detailed.” Ron hums. “Telling you I’m hoping Hermione will use my favourite strap-on on me tonight would be, though.”

“Ronald!” Hermione, clearly embarrassed, closes her book with a snap. “That’s enough. Stop teasing Harry.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Ron beams. “I’ve been bad, haven’t I? Maybe bad enough to have earned myself a spanking, too?” His expression is hopeful.

“Oh, for Godric’s sake!” Harry shakes his head, placing his hands flat over his ears. “Lalala, I can’t hear you!”

“I can speak louder,” says Ron helpfully. He laughs when Harry just glares at him. “Guess not.”

“You just wait until I have a sex life,” threatens Harry. “Revenge will be sweet!”

“Ha. Malfoy will keep you too tied up for you to have time to taunt me.” Ron waggles his eyebrows. “I’m betting he’s a kinky sod.”

“Enough!” Shaking her head exasperatedly, Hermione stands and, with a flick of her wand, gathers her books, Levitating them into her bag. “Goodnight, Harry,” she says, leaning down to hug him on the floor. “You really should talk to Malfoy,” she whispers.

His eyes meeting hers, Harry nods. “I’ll think about it.” His eyes flick to Ron. “It’ll give me something to contemplate other than what you two will be doing tonight.”

Still laughing, Ron waves as he grasps Hermione’s hand and leads her towards the Floo. “Bye, mate. Good luck with that!”

Once they’re gone, Harry stands up and stretches. Padding into the kitchen, he makes himself a cup of tea, carrying it back into the living room when he’s done. Sitting down on the floor once more, he sips his tea and stares at the parchment with the candidates for Minister written on it. Malfoy’s name stands out as the only one without a line through it. “All right, Malfoy,” he finally whispers. “Time to find out what you’re up to.”




The Ministry’s Atrium is buzzing with people hurrying here and there, all obviously on important business. Draco steps out of the main area as soon as he Floos in and looks around. He’s not sure where Potter spends the majority of his time, but there’s only one way in or out of the Ministry, so he’s bound to walk past at some point.

Draco doesn’t garner much attention as he all but hugs the wall and casts Warming Charms against the winter chill. And as he watches people pass, the occasional person spots him, inclining their head in mute greeting.

Looking around, Draco takes in the changes the Shacklebolt administration made to the place.

Gone is the ‘Magic is Might’ statue, replaced by a carved white marble fountain where all manner of magical creatures including witches, wizards, goblins, centaurs and elves frolic in an ever-moving dance. The fountain sends shimmering lights up onto the high ceiling where magical symbols move and fade in and out. Shacklebolt’s smiling face is on large banners which read, ‘Your Minister, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Welcomes You’ in golden letters.

There are memos flying about, newspapers floating by, people and creatures hurrying to and fro. The pace of the place is frenetic and Draco loves it. He’s always loved the Atrium; even when he was a kid and his father occasionally brought him on his visits to see politicians, he would always beg to stay there and people-watch.

Lost in his contemplation of the room, it’s only when Draco hears his name called that he snaps out of his daydream.

“Malfoy!”

Turning around, Draco stares straight at Potter, who’s making a beeline for him. “Potter,” he says once Potter’s close enough to hear him. “Just the man I was looking for.”

Potter blinks. “That’s funny. I’ve been looking for you, too. We really should talk.” Looking around, he frowns. “But not here, too many people.”

“Don’t you have an office here?” asks Draco.

“No. Hermione lets me use hers sometimes, but she’s busy today.” Lips pursed Potter studies him. “How do you feel about coffee?” he asks.

“Love it,” lies Draco.

Potter nods. “Right, there’s a Muggle coffee shop just outside Diagon where we shouldn’t be overheard. Is that all right?”

Inclining his head, Draco gestures towards an exit Floo. “Lead on.”

Neither of them speaks as they walk, huddled in their winter cloaks, although Draco can’t help but sneak looks at Potter. There’s a confidence to him that’s appealing, he’s clearly a man on a mission, and Draco clenches his hands into fists in his pockets, digging his nails into his palms to centre himself. Pain had always grounded him, and he can’t afford to forget himself around Potter. Not now.

The coffeeshop is all but empty. “Do you have Muggle money?” Potter asks as they approach the counter. “Election rules say I can’t give you anything too valuable because it could compromise your campaign, and while a cup of coffee isn’t that expensive—”

“I’ll manage,” says Draco.

“Okay.” Potter smiles at the waitress. “Hello. I’ll have a cappuccino.”

“Sure thing.” The girl eyes Draco. “And you?”

“What he said.” Draco digs around in his pockets, producing some Muggle money. “This enough?” he asks Potter.

“It’ll do.” Taking some coins, Harry hands them to the girl, along with his own money. Then he grasps Draco’s elbow and guides him to a table. “We should be able to chat freely here,” he says. “She’ll bring our drinks when they’re ready.”

Draco swallows hard, still feeling the warmth of Potter’s touch even after he’s seated. “How did you find this place?” he asks.

Potter smiles faintly. “It’s a long story. Let’s just say it was one stop along my journey during the war.”

The waitress shuffles over, placing their coffees in front of them. Without a word, she walks away, her jaw working as she chews gum.

Eyeing his cup with suspicion, Draco lifts it to his mouth, swallowing a mouthful. “Ugh, that’s revolting.”

Potter ducks his head as his smile widens. “Yeah, that’s what Ron said the first time we came here.” Scanning to be sure no one saw him, he taps his finger on his cup and the contents change colour. Raising it to his lips, he sips. “Mm. Hot cocoa.”

“Why, Potter. I’m shocked at such a flagrant flouting of the Statute of Secrecy, especially with you being a former Auror.” Smirking, Draco does the same, humming as he sips a proper cup of tea. “Much better. Now, what is it you wish to discuss?”

“You’re running for Minister of Magic.” Potter’s eyes bore into his. “Why?”

The glib, standard answers he’s prepared for this question hover on his tongue. Then, Draco exhales and smirks. “Do you want the political answer or the real one?”

Potter’s eyes narrow. “The real one, of course.” He raises an eyebrow. “I presume the political one is all about how you want to serve the people, etcetera?”

“Naturally.” Draco sobers. “I’m running because my father wanted me to, because my best friend asked me to, and because someone needs to counter that idiot Drumpf. Not that I think I’ll win, necessarily—”

“What if you do?” Potter asks.

“I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” Draco stares into his cup. “I suppose if that happened I’d do my best to be a good Minister. And I’d hire the most competent people I could find.” He hums. “From what I can tell, a large part of being Minister is delegating, and I know how to do that.”

Potter chuckles, and the sound makes Draco look up at him. “You’re not wrong. Kingsley’s quite competent, of course, but even he can’t do it all and has to delegate some duties. And would you look at that, it’s snowing.”

Turning his head, Draco looks out the windows of the cafe to see snowflakes floating down onto the street. “So it is.”

“I should let you get back to the Ministry so you can continue your interviews.” Potter tosses back the rest of his drink. “That is what you were doing there, right?”

Draco hesitates. “Not…exactly. That’s…I was waiting to talk to you, actually.”

Eyebrow raised, Potter waits.

Exhaling, Draco says, “I haven’t been able to get many interviews with Wizengamot members. For some reason the Malfoy name is not the automatic entrance into any office it once was.” He shakes his head. “Now if only I could persuade my father of that…”

“What?”

“Nothing.” Pasting a blank look on his face, Draco continues, “I understand you’re lobbying members on behalf of werewolf rights? I was going to ask if I could tag along to get my foot in the door and—”

“Lobby for your own position along with me during my appointments?” Potter blinks. “Wow. Well, my first instinct is to say no.”

Draco clutches his cup and strives to keep his tone light. “Of course. Why would you help me, Death Eater spawn that I am?” Biting his tongue against the bitter words that want to spill out, he says, “Well, it was worth a try. Nice seeing you, Potter—” He’s halfway to standing when Potter clutches his arm.

“Stop, I wasn’t finished!” Potter’s hand tightens. “Just…please sit while I work out what to do, all right?”

With his every instinct urging him to flee, Draco nevertheless inclines his head and sits, his body stiff. “What is there to work out? You said no.”

Potter snorts. “No. I said my first instinct is to say that, but I’m an adult, and as such I can dig deeper when problem solving. Now would you please relax for a moment while I work out what to do?”

Sitting back in his chair, Draco studies him. He looks the same — well, perhaps a bit older — but the ridiculous hair is still…ridiculous. Draco bites his bottom lip as his eyes do a slow perusal. I take it back. He’s changed. While he’s still on the short side, it’s clear there’s muscle under his clothes. Auror training was obviously good for him, and somewhere along the way he changed his glasses. They suit his face, making him look less like a stray waif begging to be taken home and fed soup, and more like a bloke begging to be taken home and—

“Like what you see?”

Wincing, Draco drags his eyes back up to Potter’s face. At least he’s smiling and doesn’t look insulted. “I was merely giving you time to think.” Mustering a smirk, he continues, “I know how difficult it must be for you.”

Potter laughs, a full-throated laugh that makes Draco want to join him. “There you are! I’ve missed your insults, Malfoy.”

“Is that so?” Draco’s smirk widens. “If I don’t win the position of Minister, perhaps my next job can be to follow you around and insult you.”

“As…fun as that sounds, I don’t think it will come to that.” Potter clears his throat. “So I think I’ve worked out what to do about your problem.”

“I’m listening.”

“You come with me while I lobby Wizengamot members.”

Draco crosses his arms over his chest. “I believe that’s what I suggested in the first place.”

“I’m not done.” Potter leans forward. “You come along with me as my assistant, we both lobby the member on my topic, and we slip into the conversation the fact that you’re also running for Minister.”

Draco ponders this. “I’ll need to brush up on my werewolf rights talking points since I’m not up to date on the topic, but I can try.”

Potter’s eyes glint. “Oh, that’s not my only cause. I’ve already persuaded the majority of members to think about werewolf rights. I’ve moved on to a different subject. One that’s also close to my heart.”

“Oh? And what’s that?”

“Gay rights.” Eyes narrowed, Potter watches him carefully. “Are you all right lobbying on behalf of that cause or is that against your principles?”

Slowly, Draco begins to laugh.




“I get why gay rights,” says Malfoy as they exit Mafalda Gleason’s office. “But why werewolves?”

Harry eyes him thoughtfully. In the few days they’ve been visiting Wizengamot members together, he’s been polite, thoughtful, even kind at times, and although Harry’s made it a point not to discuss Paul (he’s not that important in the grand scheme of things), he has told Malfoy about why he’s personally invested in gay rights for the Wizarding world.

Malfoy’s never pried, although sometimes Harry catches him eyeing him, speculation in his eyes. Since Harry’s been speculating about Malfoy a lot as well, he can hardly hold it against him.

And, well, Malfoy is funny. He doesn’t suffer fools lightly, tending to flay them with his sharp tongue, but it’s on the right side of mean: never malicious, merely amusing. Harry’s finding he likes it more and more. Likes Malfoy more and more.

“Did you hear me, Potter?”

Blinking, Harry focusses on Malfoy. “Huh? Oh yes. Werewolves. Because of Teddy.”

Malfoy frowns. “Who’s Teddy?”

“You don’t know?” They enter the lift, which is mercifully empty, and Harry presses the button for the Atrium. “Teddy Lupin. You’re related.”

“If I knew, would I ask?” Malfoy crosses his arms. “And all wizards are related. We’re a small community. So who is he? A new boyfriend? Are you dating werewolves now, Potter?”

Harry blinks. Malfoy almost sounds jealous. “I’m not dating anyone at the moment,” he replies mildly. “Teddy is my godson, Remus Lupin’s son.”

“Professor Lupin?” Malfoy frowns. “Wait, he married—”

“Tonks.” Harry exhales. “Nymphadora. She was your cousin, so I suppose technically Teddy is your cousin, too. He’s an orphan, so Andromeda is raising him.”

“Oh. Right.” The lift arrives and they both exit into the Atrium. “I’ve never met him. Mother and Aunt Andromeda haven’t spoken in years, so—”

“Would you like to?”

Malfoy’s steps falter. “Meet him?” At Harry’s nod, he exhales. “I suppose so. I’d hoped that after the war Mother would…” He shakes his head. “Well, I suspect that’s a futile hope, so yes, I’d like to meet him. And my aunt.”

“I’m planning a visit out there this evening,” says Harry. “You can come with me if you like.” When Malfoy remains silent, he continues, “Unless you have plans. A date, perhaps?”

Malfoy smirks. “Subtle, Potter. In answer to your questions, no I’m not dating anyone either at the moment.” He squares his shoulders. “And yes, I’d like to go with you to meet my cousin and aunt. As long as they are all right with it.”

“I’ll Floo and ask Andromeda first,” Harry says. “But I can’t imagine she’ll say no. Teddy takes a while to warm up to new people, though, just be aware.”

Malfoy nods. “I’ll manage. Where and when shall we meet to go?”

Harry studies him and decides to take a chance. “We could go and have a bite to eat somewhere and then just go from there,” he says, his heart speeding up in anticipation. “You know, since neither of us has a date this evening.”

Malfoy raises an eyebrow. “Are you asking me out, Potter?”

“It’s strictly work related, I assure you.” Harry smiles. “I wouldn’t want to compromise your campaign, after all.”

“Oh yes, we can’t have that.” Malfoy smirks. “And in that case, yes. I accept your invitation.”

“Brilliant. Have you ever eaten at Seamus’?”

Malfoy frowns. “I can’t say I have.”

Slowly, Harry smiles. “You’re going to love it.”

It looks as if his prediction is right, at least if the way Malfoy inhales Parvati’s samosas and chicken korma is any indication. Sitting back, he watches Malfoy sip his ale and lick his lips. Watching Malfoy has become a bit of an obsession, different from when they were in school. Now he suspects the only thing Malfoy is plotting is something similar to what’s on his mind.

“Is there something on my mouth?” asks Malfoy. “You’re staring.”

Swallowing hard, Harry pastes a smile on his face. “Perhaps a bit of curry on the corner of your mouth.”

Malfoy wipes his mouth with his napkin. “Better?”

Harry doesn’t say anything, he just reaches out, moving slowly lest Malfoy not welcome his touch, and when he doesn’t jerk away, Harry uses the pad of his thumb to wipe the corner of Malfoy’s mouth. “There,” he says, voice hoarse.

“Right,” Malfoy breathes. “Good.” Clearing his throat, he says, “Shouldn’t you be Floo-calling my…Andromeda?”

Blinking, Harry leans back. “Yes. Yes I should. I’ll just go and do that now. Be right back.” He stands, walking away from their table, all the while feeling Malfoy’s eyes on him. “Hey, Seamus, may I use your Floo?”

“Sure.” Seamus nods towards the Floo. “I have to say, you look awfully cosy with Malfoy.” He leans over to look past Harry. “And I think he’s checking out your bum.”

Harry can feel the flush spreading over his face. “It’s not like that,” he says, fumbling for the Floo powder and trying not to flex said bum.

“No?” Seamus hums, grabbing a cloth and wiping down the bar’s counter. “I could be wrong. After all, I just spend all day watching people.”

Rolling his eyes, Harry ignores him, tossing in the powder and calling Andromeda’s coordinates. Andromeda is as gracious as always and, while she seems surprised at Harry’s request to have Malfoy visit with him, she quickly acquiesces.

“It will be nice to see him,” she says. “I only ever met him once, just after he was born. Does he favour his mother or father?”

Harry shrugs. “He’s like…himself.”

Andromeda shakes her head. “A helpful answer.” She laughs. “I’ll see you soon.”

Closing the connection, Harry moves back, almost stepping on Seamus, who’s been there listening shamelessly. “Not like that, hm?” Seamus winks. “Keep telling yourself that, mate.”

“Shut it,” mutters Harry. “And we need our bills.”

Shaking his head, Seamus waves him off. “You’re good, mate. It’s on the house. It was worth my while to see this.”

Once back at the table, Harry tells Malfoy the good news. “And Seamus just gave us lunch for free.”

Malfoy frowns. “Why would he do that?”

Harry shrugs. “Who can tell? Maybe he was feeling generous.” He offers his arm. “Since you don’t know where they live, I thought I’d Apparate us both. Shall we?”

“Of course.” Malfoy stands up and when he rests his hand on Harry’s arm, Harry feels his warmth, feels his magic seeping into him. For a moment, Harry pauses, savouring the sensation. “Is there a problem?”

Harry blinks. “No, no problem. Ready?”

“Any day now, Potte—”

The words fade as Harry Apparates them and, when they land on Andromeda’s front step, Malfoy is still talking.

“—r. Merlin!”

“Are you all right?” Harry asks, grinning.

“You sadist,” Malfoy gasps, releasing Harry’s arm to glare at him as his chest heaves. “I should throw up on your fine dragonhide boots just so you’ll never do that to me again.”

“I asked if you were ready.” Harry steps back. “Although if you do have to vomit, I’d appreciate if you’d do it in that direction.” He points to the colourful holly shrubs lining Andromeda’s walkway.

“And I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t vomit at all.” Andromeda, looking serene as always, sails up the path. “Hello, Draco. I haven’t seen you since you were quite small. My goodness, you resemble your father. It’s uncanny.”

Both Malfoy and Harry turn towards her as she approaches. Malfoy blinks a few times as if unable to countenance what he’s seeing. “Hello—” He hesitates.

“You can call me Aunt Andromeda. It is the truth, after all.”

“Aunt Andromeda.” Malfoy’s voice is thick, and Harry turns away to give them some privacy as they hug. “You look just like—”

“Bellatrix and I could sometimes pass for each other when we were kids, depending on how we dressed,” Andromeda says softly. “Of course, once she went to prison, our similarities became…less pronounced. I’m sorry if it was a shock to see me.”

Malfoy mumbles something Harry can’t hear and Andromeda replies equally quietly. Then comes a murmured conversation. Stepping away, Harry bends down to closely examine the holly bushes.

“You can look now, Harry, it’s safe.” Andromeda sounds amused.

When Harry turns back, he sees Malfoy step back, his usual aplomb settling into place before Harry’s eyes. “I understand I have a young cousin?” he says.

Andromeda holds out her hands to Harry, who moves closer, clasping them. She pulls him in and kisses his cheek. “Yes. Teddy is inside, playing with some blocks. He knows Harry’s coming to visit, and I told him he could also be meeting his cousin. He’s excited.”

Excited is an understatement for Teddy’s reaction when he sees Harry. “Hawwy!” He emits a high-pitched squeal which borders on painful, and the blocks with which he’s playing and which are floating in the air above his head immediately hit the floor as he jumps up and races towards Harry.

Bending down, Harry scoops Teddy up, swinging him around before pulling him close to his chest for a hug. “Hey, Teddy Bear! How are you?”

“Good! Gwandma put pwesents under the twee! And some awe fow you! None fow me!”

“I bet there will be some for you, too.” Harry grins at Teddy, bouncing him on his hip. “Although, since we all know you like to investigate your presents, maybe your grandmother has hidden them until the proper time.”

Teddy blinks as if that’s never occurred to him, then his eyes widen as he sees Malfoy. Suddenly shy, he buries his face in Harry’s neck and mumbles something.

“Hey.” Harry speaks gently. “That’s your cousin. Don’t you want to meet him?”

Cautiously, Teddy raises his head to look at Malfoy. Slowly, he nods.

Malfoy, thankfully, moves slowly as well, approaching Harry and Teddy with a small smile on his face. “Hello, Teddy,” he says softly. “My name’s Draco.”

“Dwaco,” repeats Teddy, his eyes trained on Malfoy’s face. He sees something in Malfoy’s expression that moves him because within moments he’s reaching for him, and Harry hands him over.

Ten minutes later, Malfoy is on the floor, Teddy on his lap, and they are playing with the floating blocks, Malfoy showing Teddy tricks, making the blocks twirl around.

“He’s a natural,” murmurs Andromeda. “Teddy doesn’t warm to just anyone, you know. I like him.”

“Yeah.” Harry watches them, something warm blooming in his chest. “I think I do, too.”




Draco is humming when he steps out of the Floo and begins walking quietly towards his rooms. The lamps are low since it’s later than he usually gets home, which is why he doesn’t immediately spot the figure sitting in a chair by his door.

“Welcome home, dear.”

“Merlin!” Draco has his wand out and pointed at the person before he registers it’s his mother. Exhaling, he pockets his wand, breathing heavily. “Mother! Why did you do that? I could have—”

“You could never hurt me.” Standing up, Narcissa walks into the light. She’s smiling, but her eyes are serious. “You’ve been avoiding me. I wanted to speak with you, so I waited.”

Draco sighs. “I haven’t been avoiding you. Father perhaps, but never you.”

Chuckling softly, Narcissa walks up to him and tucks her hand in the crook of his arm. “The two of you are so similar in so many ways.”

Draco huffs. “No need to be insulting, Mother.”

“Enough, Draco.” The rebuke is soft but firm. “I know you love your father and, whether you believe it or not, he loves you, too. As someone who adores both of you, seeing you at war is painful.”

“I’m sorry.” Draco exhales. “Of course I love him, I just don’t like him much right now. And I apologise for causing you pain.”

Narcissa nods. “Walk with me, darling. We need to talk, and we both think more clearly and calmly when we’re moving. It’s a Black trait, I suspect.”

As they slowly walk the hallway, Draco ponders how to tell her how he spent his day.

“Just say it.”

Draco blinks. “Are you using Legilimency on me?”

“Of course not.” Narcissa smiles up at him. “I’ve never needed to use that with you or your father. I just know you well enough to know when something is bothering you. Are you going to tell me?”

“I visited Aunt Andromeda today. And I met Teddy Lupin, her grandson, my cousin.”

Narcissa’s stride falters momentarily, barely long enough for Draco to register it, but it happens. She sighs, lowering her head. “How did she look?”

“Like a healthy, sane Aunt Bellatrix.” Draco laughs darkly. “I almost fell over when I saw her. She…hugged me. And she asked me to tell you she misses you.”

Narcissa stops dead in her tracks, pulling him to a halt. “She did?” When Draco nods, she blinks rapidly a few times. “Do you think she would ever…entertain a visit from me?”

Draco smiles, placing his free hand over hers and squeezing. “I think she would love that.”

They resume walking, the silence and dim lighting providing comfort rather than menace. Draco starts to hum once again. “You’re happy. Things must be going well with your campaign.”

Draco swallows hard. “It’s…going.”

“I see.” Narcissa inclines her head. “And I never asked. How did you discover the location of Andromeda’s home?”

Clearing his throat, Draco chooses his words carefully. “You recall how I mentioned Potter was letting me accompany him to his appointments with Wizengamot members? As it turns out, he is Teddy’s godfather and he invited me to visit with him—”

“I see.” She puts layers of meaning into those two words. “Things must be going well with him, too.”

Draco sighs. “It doesn’t mean anything! Potter would probably have invited anyone to go with him.”

“I highly doubt that. It’s my understanding Potter is protective of those for whom he cares. If he didn’t trust you, he wouldn’t have let you anywhere near his godson.”

His mouth dropping open, Draco gapes at her. “How would you know—?”

Narcissa pats his arm. “You’re not the only one who has studied Potter thoroughly, Draco. And I’m not blind. I saw how well you both got along during the trial. You were on your way to a friendship with him. Alas, something interfered. I do hope you didn’t think your father or I would disapprove.”

Draco goes still. “You wouldn’t? But I thought—”

“Thought what?” She searches his eyes, then sighs. “Oh, darling. I am so sorry. That was it, wasn’t it? That was the reason you didn’t pursue a friendship with Mr Potter.”

Ducking his head, Draco murmurs, “He may not have been interested in—”

“Of course he was. It was there for anyone to see.”

Closing his eyes, Draco says, “It doesn’t matter now.”

“I’m not done. Look at me.” Narcissa faces him, her expression sombre. “We just want to see you happy, dear. That’s all we’ve ever wanted. I know you think your father and I have…expectations of you, and we do, but all any of us can do is live our best lives. And if that’s with a man…well, at least you’ve chosen a heroic one.” She sighs. “You can always adopt.”

“Mother! You’re making a lot of assumptions! And I haven’t chosen anyone. There’s nothing between us!” Draco huffs. “Not that he’s up for anything, anyway. Evidently he had a bad breakup.”

“Then perhaps you can help him get over it. Sex can be good for that.”

“Mother!” Gobsmacked, Draco stares at her.

She simply gazes back serenely. “That is what you’re hoping to do, isn’t it?”

“No!”

“Don’t try to lie to me, Draco. I always know when you do it.”

“I’m not lying!” Draco rolls his eyes. “Why does every woman in my life think I’m lying to them?”

Chuckling, Narcissa disengages her hand from his arm, turning towards a door. With a start, Draco realises they’ve walked all the way to his parents’ quarters. “Perhaps because you’ve chosen wise women to counsel you. Do think about what I’ve said. Goodnight, dear. Rest well.”




“Hermione tells me you’re working with Malfoy now.” Ron slaps his forehead with his hand. “That’s not what I said to do, Harry.”

“It’s more like he’s working with me, and he’s good at lobbying, so what’s the problem?” Harry eyes Ron. “Your advice was to ask him out, but this is even better because I get to see him close up every day so I can get to know him. You see? Two Seekers, one Snitch.”

“Don’t you think you’re taking this need to solve everyone’s problems a bit too far?” Ron crosses his arms.

Hermione clears her throat. “I’m sure Harry’s only doing what he thinks is best, Ron. Right, Harry?” She sends him a pointed look. “And I’m sure you’re proceeding slowly.” She smiles. “Also, what are his views on gay rights?”

“Did you know he’s gay?” When neither of them reacts, Harry huffs. “Why did no one tell me?”

“I never thought we’d have to tell you,” says Ron. “I mean it’s rather obvious, isn’t it? Look at him!”

Harry scowls. “And what’s that supposed to mean? Gay people have a look?”

Ron groans. “I didn’t mean it in a bad way. It’s just…in Malfoy’s case, all you need to do is study him. Poncy dresser, not a hair out of place, slender build—”

Harry eyes him flatly. “I’m gay and I’m his exact opposite.”

“You’re the exception to the rule…” Ron trails off. “I should stop talking now, shouldn’t I?”

“I think that would be for the best. Why don’t you eat something, keep your mouth busy?” says Hermione, rolling her eyes and thrusting a plate of biscuits at him. “How are you managing Malfoy’s need to lobby for Minister, Harry? Have any of the Wizengamot members been upset when he’s mentioned it during your appointments?”

Harry grins. “No. In fact, they’re usually relieved to switch topics to something less contentious than gay rights. It’s almost amusing to watch.”

“So this is working out well for both of you.” Hermione nods. “Excellent.”

Exhaling, Harry smiles. “It’s about to be tested, though. We’re…going on tour.”

“What does that mean?” Ron’s words are muffled by the biscuits in his mouth.

“Several members of the Wizengamot are in their country homes for the holidays, not here in London, so we’re planning a tour to see them.” Harry grins. “In fact, their staffs have been happy to set up those appointments.”

Hermione nods. “What a brilliant idea, Harry! And it may be easier to persuade some of them away from the hubbub of the Ministry.”

“That’s what we thought. Although you should know, it wasn’t my idea, it was Parkinson’s.” Harry watches her frown. “Why don’t you like her?”

“It’s not that I dislike her.” Hermione sighs. “She’s…a competent barrister.”

“Yeah…” Slowly, Harry nods. “You definitely don’t like her.”

Ron chuckles. “Not even a little, mate. Hermione thinks she’s a sneak and turncoat for wanting to hand you over to Voldemort. And, if I’m honest, I agree. I’m really not sure what Neville sees in her, except for the obvious.” He moves his hands, making an obscene gesture.

“I’m right here and I can speak for myself,” snaps Hermione. Her eyes narrow. “And what, pray tell, do you mean by the obvious?”

Ron’s eyes go wide. “Erm…” Shoving a biscuit in his mouth, he shrugs, pointing to his mouth and miming not being able to talk.

Huffing, Hermione turns to Harry. “Do you know to what he’s referring?”

Holding up his hands, Harry shakes his head. “Hey, I’m gay, remember? Leave me out of this. I just wanted to know what’s going on with you and Parkinson.” He coughs. “She’s Draco’s best friend, though, so if this…whatever this is between us becomes anything, you may end up seeing her socially on occasion.”

“Damn.” Hermione groans. “I suppose you’re right.” Her eyes narrow. “How likely is that.”

“I dunno. I’m following your advice and taking things slowly.” He winks.

She rolls her eyes. “Since when have you started listening to me?”

“I always listen, I just don’t always do what you suggest.” Harry smiles, patting her hand as he stands up. “And with that I need to go. I’m meeting Draco at the Atrium. Talk to you later!”

Draco, hm?” Ron snorts. “Just so you know, even if you do start sleeping with him, I’m calling him Ferret.”

“As long as you don’t mind if he calls you Weasel,” Harry tosses over his shoulder before Disapparating.

Draco’s already waiting for him by the Floos. “You’re late,” he snaps, checking his pocket watch.

Harry shrugs. “By maybe half a minute.” He looks around. “Where’s Parkinson?”

“She’s not coming. She had a prior commitment, so it’s just us. And you’re a mess. Honestly!” Stepping forward, Draco reaches out, smoothing down bits of Harry’s hair. He’s been doing that recently, touching Harry a lot. It feels intimate, although whenever Harry flirts back, he stops. Drawing back, he inspects Harry, shaking his head. “That will have to do.”

“Thanks.” Harry smiles. Naturally, Draco looks perfect. “I’m glad you wore the grey robes today. They match your eyes.”

Something flares in said eyes before Draco looks away and clears his throat. “Nice of you to notice.” He gestured to the Floo. “Shall we?”

“Yep.” Harry consults his list. “Our first stop is Wizengamot member Watkins.”

“Ugh.” Draco makes a face. “I remember visiting him once years ago with Father. I always thought he looked like a turtle.”

Smothering a chuckle, Harry nods. “That hasn’t changed. And he does have a tendency to sound like one, too. But he’s powerful. If we get him on our side, it’ll go a long way to getting our legislation passed.”

“And to my getting elected.”

“Yes.”

Watkins’ estate, set in a park in Northumberland, is covered in snow. It’s beautiful, with snow-covered trees and rolling hills. They approach the front door, and Harry raises his hand to knock, barely making contact with the wood before it opens.

“Messers Potter and Malfoy. You is expected. Come with Biffy.”

Watkins really does look like a turtle, his face shrunken and his shoulders hunched, but his smile is welcoming. “Come in, gentlemen,” he says as they appear before his study door. “How can I help you?”

Harry shoots a look at Draco, who smiles. “It’s we who can hopefully help you, sir,” he says, and they launch into their usual pitch.

As they each do their back and forth approach, a part of Harry remains detached, marvelling at how well they work together. They each have an answer for Watkins’ many questions, even his trick ones, and when Draco seamlessly transitions into his explanation of why he’s running for Minister, and what he brings to the table, Watkins seems impressed.

“You’ve given me a lot to consider, gentlemen. Unless something unusual comes up, I can definitely see myself supporting you in your causes.” He smiles at Draco, his eyes wrinkling. “And perhaps the next time we speak, Mr Malfoy, I’ll be calling you Minister. Now, Biffy will show you out.”

Once they’re back in the foyer, Harry exhales. “Wow, that went well.” He claps Draco on the back. “And he seemed impressed with you. You know, with him backing you, your chances have improved significantly.”

For a moment, Draco looks nervous. “Merlin. Really?”

“Really.” Harry places a hand under Draco’s elbow, steering him toward the door. “Now come on, we have two more appointments to make.”

The weather gets steadily worse as they Apparate first to Cumbria and then to Durham, and by the time they’re done with their last appointment, it’s getting dark and the snow is falling thickly around them as they exit the gates of Morris Castle. “We probably shouldn’t try to Apparate in this weather,” says Harry, looking up at the sky.

Draco sighs. “Much as I hate to agree with you, you’re right.”

Harry frowns, turning towards him. “Why do you hate to agree with me?”

Snowflakes have settled on Draco’s eyelashes and hair; he looks like a feral winter creature. The impression heightens when he smiles, his eyes dancing with mischief. “It sets a bad precedent. If we start agreeing with each other, who knows what could happen.”

He’s wearing his hair loose and bits of it are flying everywhere in the wind. He’s gorgeous, and Harry’s mouth goes dry. “I know what I want to happen right now,” he whispers, moving closer to Draco.

Expecting Draco to retreat, Harry’s surprised when, instead, he doesn’t back away, but presses up against Harry. “And what’s that?”

Draco leans in, or perhaps it’s Harry who does (he doesn’t actually care who makes the first move) and as Draco’s lips, slightly dry and cool, collide with his, Harry closes his eyes, tilting his head to fit himself better to Draco’s body.

Harry edges his tongue against the seam of Draco’s mouth and, as their mouths open and they press closer, their tongues entwine, at first tentatively, then with more enthusiasm. Moaning, Harry wraps his arms around Draco, clinging to him.

It’s Draco who finally pulls back gasping for air. “Harr—Potter, we’re outside in a blizzard! This is hardly the place—”

“You’re right.” Harry closes his eyes, resting his forehead against Draco as he fights to catch his breath and calm his racing heart. “We need a place to go. And I just had my tongue down your throat, the least you can do is call me Harry.”

“Fine. Harry, then.” Draco shivers. “I’ll call you fucking Merlin if you find us someplace warm.” He shivers again and Harry tightens his embrace.

“There was an inn on the road about a mile back. It was small and Muggle, but—”

“But at least it’s a roof over our heads.” Draco’s eyes meet Harry’s, the look in them full of promise. “And we won’t need separate rooms.”

All the breath leaves Harry’s lungs. “I wish we could Apparate there,” he wheezes.

“Afraid I’ll change my mind?” Draco smirks. “I’ve been thinking about this far too long to do that, Harry.”

“Me, too,” says Harry, pressing one more hard kiss to Draco’s mouth. “Right. Let’s go.”




The Muggle inn is plain, utilitarian, and the innkeeper barely gives them a second glance before handing them keys to one of the few rooms left. Harry grabs Draco’s hand, dragging him down the hall and tossing a mischievous smile back over his shoulder at him as they hurry towards their room.

Once inside, Draco has about a split second to glimpse the bed, a plain affair with nothing luxurious about it, before Potter—Harry presses up behind him, driving all thoughts of substandard decor out of Draco’s mind.

“How do you want to do this?” he whispers hotly in Draco’s ear, grinding his hardness against Draco’s arse and fumbling with his robes as he tries to touch him. “Bloody hell, why are you so…buttoned up?”

Smirking, Draco turns to face him, walking him backwards until Potter’s body is pressed against the door. “Because it’s winter, and most people wear layers to stay warm.”

“Since when are you most people?” Harry grins. “And I can keep you warm.”

“I’ll just bet you can.” Draco leans in, his mouth only a hairsbreadth from Harry’s. “I’m up for anything. What were you hoping we’d do?”

“I just want to get laid.” Harry pushes back, propelling Draco towards the bed. “I’m up for anything, too.”

“Good to know.” The back of Draco’s legs hit the bed and he allows Harry to push him down, falling back onto it while Harry crawls over him, straddling him.

The next few moments pass in a frenzy, with Harry shrugging out of his shirt and kicking off his trousers while Draco wriggles out of his robes until finally, Harry removes his glasses, placing them on the side table. He looms over Draco, staring down at him, his expression unreadable.

Draco waits as long as he can before breaking the silence. “Changed your mind?”

Harry’s slow smile is dark, dangerous. “I finally have you naked under me. What do you think?”

The room is still dark. Neither of them has taken the time to light the lamps, and so the only light they have is that streaming in through the window and across the bed, delineating Harry’s muscles in sharp relief.

Reaching up, Draco curves his hand around Harry's neck, dragging him down into a toe-curling kiss that leaves them both panting. “If you haven’t changed your mind about fucking me,” he growls, “then you should hurry up and get on with it.”

Harry’s expression morphs into one of predatory interest. “And what if I want to take my time with you?” he whispers, thumbing Draco’s nipple and sending shocks of pleasure through him. “Do you have some objection to that?”

Groaning, he wriggles his hips to try to urge Harry on, but Harry only smirks. “I should have known you’d be a pain in the arse,” grumbles Draco.

“Ah, but if I do this right, there shouldn’t be any pain.” And before Draco can respond to that, Harry casts a swift Lubricus before pressing a spell-slick finger inside him.

Biting down on a moan, Draco closes his eyes and tries to ride Harry’s finger, writhing as he does so. “More,” he gasps. “Please—”

“Fuck but you’re gorgeous,” breathes Harry. He sounds awed. “I knew you’d be like this—” He presses another finger in, and Draco spreads his legs wider, encouraging him wordlessly. “You should see yourself.”

Opening his eyes, Draco stares up at Harry, who’s watching him closely, various emotions flashing across his face. “Come on, Harry,” he says. “Do it. I’m ready.”

“Godric, I hope so,” says Harry, slicking his cock with what’s left of the lube. “Because so am I.”

Draco’s had sex before, of course he has, but something about the careful way Harry’s touching him makes this time feel special. Eyes locked with Harry’s, Draco arches up, all the while reminding himself it’s just sex. It’s just sex, nothing special—

“It’s special to me,” whispers Harry, smiling as Draco gasps.

“You…Legilimency?” Draco’s stomach flutters as Harry’s strong hands raise his legs, positioning them over his shoulders before guiding his cock inside Draco.

Ducking his head, Harry breaks eye contact as he breaches Draco’s hole. “Can’t…help it sometimes—” he gasps. “Didn’t mean to…pry.”

“It’s okay.” Reaching for him again, Draco seals his mouth to Harry’s in a searing kiss. They breathe into each other’s mouths as Harry goes deeper, and it’s only when he’s bottomed out that they break apart. “Fuck,” Draco chokes out.

“Still okay?” Raising his head, Harry looks into Draco’s eyes. “I can go slower—”

“No!” Growling, Draco clenches around Harry’s cock, gratified to see his eyes glaze over. “Fuck me.”

The words seem to break something in Harry, who withdraws before tunnelling back in smoothly. He thrusts in and out with slow, gliding, rhythmic strokes that quickly make Draco’s world go hazy, that drive the air from his lungs.

Harry moves faster, his body covering Draco’s, his thrusts making Draco have to brace himself against the rickety headboard. He’s panting, his eyes still riveted on Draco’s, drinking in his every expression.

Laid bare, Draco watches him back, sees every emotion as it crosses Harry’s face, and when his orgasm rises up in him to burst out of him through his cock, it’s almost a surprise. His nails digging into Harry’s shoulders, Draco’s body arches as pleasure rolls over him.

Harry waits until Draco’s done, until he’s panting and boneless, before he shoves deep and comes, his body shuddering through its own orgasm before he finally collapses in a sprawl over Draco.

Draco stares up at the ceiling as he regains his breath. Harry, his face tucked into the curve of Draco’s neck, whispers, “You all right?”

Tightening his arms around Harry, Draco hums. “I’m not cold anymore, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Snorting, Harry says, “That’s not exactly what I meant, no.”

“Hm.” Draco smirks. “You do realise you just gave me something, yes? Doesn’t that violate campaign rules?”

“Are you saying my cock is valuable?”

Draco laughs softly. “Better than a cup of Muggle coffee any day.”

“Well, that’s something at least.” Raising his head, Harry kisses Draco, a slow soft kiss that puts into words things Draco’s been biting back. “Care for seconds?”

Smirking, Draco rolls Harry onto his back, straddling him. “I don’t mind if I do.”




“I don’t know why I bothered to have a watch party,” mutters Draco. “It’s not as though I was ever likely to win.”

Harry, standing beside him, rests a discreet hand on the small of his back. “Because you like parties. And you don’t know you won’t win. There’s still a chance.”

“Actually, I don’t think there is, mate,” says Ron as he walks past them carrying drinks. “Looks to me like Drumpf’s running away with the whole thing.”

“Unbelievable,” says Hermione, shaking her head as she accepts the glass of wine Ron hands her. “What on Earth possessed them to elect that idiot? Didn’t they hear a word he said? And he’s such an awful chauvinist—”

Parkinson, Neville hovering protectively alongside her, snorts. “How can you be surprised? Drumpf is the king of flattery. Plus, I’m sure he paid them all off. I’m surprised the other candidates got any votes at all.”

“…and this just in, we here at Nightly Necromancer News are declaring Ronald Drumpf the new Minister of Magic with ninety percent of the Wizengamot vote now counted—”

Hissing, Lucius Malfoy Summons a bottle of gin, clutches it to his chest, and stomps towards the door. “I told you! You should have done it my way,” he growls at Draco, shooting a venomous look at Harry before leaving.

Narcissa Malfoy sighs, getting to her feet. “Feel free to continue the festivities, everyone. You’re welcome to stay as long as you like. Goodnight.” On her way to the door, she pauses long enough to hug Draco. “I’m sorry you didn’t win, darling,” she murmurs. “Although I think you did well for a first time candidate.”

“Thank you, Mother.” Draco kisses her cheek.

Narcissa glances at Harry and smiles. “Shall see you both tomorrow for dinner with Andromeda and Teddy?”

“Absolutely, yes,” replied Harry.

“Excellent.”

Once she’s gone, the rest of the people gathered seem to relax.

Looking around, Harry blinks. If anyone had told him he’d be at a party including Blaise Zabini, Millicent Bulstrode, Gregory Goyle, Theo Nott, and assorted other Slytherins whose names he only vaguely recalls, he would have called them mad. Yet there he stands alongside Draco, one of only a smattering of non-Slytherins, all there to support Draco. And somehow he suspects they could all be there to support him, too, if needed. It’s not a bad thought.

“He even talked about grabbing women’s wands!” Parkinson’s still ranting about Drumpf and to Harry’s surprise, Hermione is nodding in agreement. “—believe he actually said witches aren’t as magical as wizards! As if he can talk, he’s practically a Squib. Some smart witch needs to run against him at the first opportunity! I would run her campaign in a second.”

“You’re right,” says Hermione. “Someone should run.”

The two women exchange speculative looks.

“We’d need a good candidate,” says Parkinson, sounding thoughtful.

“You need Headmistress McGonagall,” chimes in Ron. “Rumour has it she’s thinking about retiring, and she’d scare the snot out of him.”

Everyone goes still. “That’s brilliant!” Hermione’s smile is truly frightening. “She would wipe the floor with him.”

“She would,” agrees Parkinson. She smirks at Hermione. “So, who’s going to approach her?”

“You should both do it,” says Neville. “You both came up with the idea.”

“So we did.” Hermione extends her hand to Parkinson. “Shall we shake on it?” As they do, Hermione glances over at Harry, who grins in response.

“Why do I feel as though I’m witnessing the beginning of a dangerous collaboration?” mutters Draco, watching them plot Drumpf’s downfall.

Harry hums. “Because you’re smart. Drumpf doesn’t stand a chance.”

“You’re right.” Draco’s smile is positively evil. “He really doesn’t.” Turning his back on their friends, he says, “My problem now is, what am I going to do with my life now that I’m not Minister?” He sighs. “If only I had some sort of…backup plan.” Placing his palm on Harry’s chest, he eyes him through his lashes.

Harry laughs. “You have a backup plan, as you well know. You’re my assistant lobbyist and chief insulter, remember?” He grins. “Or has all the shagging we’ve been doing addled your brain?”

“One doesn’t like to assume.” Draco smirks, leaning closer. “Does this mean we’re formalising our arrangement?”

Harry raises an eyebrow. “In what way?”

“You know.” Draco’s eyes are sparkling. “We need to work out the kinks. For example, what does this position pay? Are there any…bonuses?”

“Payment? Hm.” Harry pretends to contemplate the question. “I’ll have to see what I can do. There are sure to be bonuses, though. And, since the campaign’s over, I’m now free to give you gifts.”

“I like gifts. That sounds promising.”

“Oh, just get a room already, you two,” cries Parkinson. “Honestly.”

Glancing over, Harry sees all their friends watching them, most with smiles, some with resigned expression on their faces. Their friends. It occurs to him, everyone he cares about knows. He exhales. “I think that’s good advice, don’t you?” he says to Draco, holding out his arm. “Come on, let’s go celebrate.”

“Alas, celebrating is for winners.” Draco sighs. “My campaign was unsuccessful.”

“No it wasn’t. You ended up getting me in the end, didn’t you? I’d call that a success.”

“Fair point.” Smirking, Draco inclines his head, taking Harry’s arm. “Goodnight, everyone,” he announces. “We’re off to take Pansy’s excellent advice and get a room. You lot can let yourselves out.” His eyes meet Harry’s, and Harry feels the intensity of that look down to his toes. “Harry and I need to celebrate.”

~

Date: 2019-02-01 08:54 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] openidwouldwork
*dances*

Date: 2019-02-02 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] openidwouldwork
Very happy! *bounces*

Fic is BRILLIANT!

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