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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:02 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Despite having had a late night, Draco had still woken up early. Many years of having been unable to sleep was definitely showing on Draco, but he it wasn’t something he was going to think too much about, not when he had the chance to actually make a difference for once.
Once Potter had woken up as well and had joined him in the study, the day had passed by more or less in a blur.
The way that they had found an easy routine together, giving each other peace to work while also being able to get help from each other. It was nice though not something Draco was accustomed to but he found that it was slowly growing on him.
When Potter plopped down in the chair in front of his desk, a chair that was only there because of Potter in the first place, Draco was struck by the fact that this was new. Sure, they had both been doing separate work, so it was probably a good idea to compare notes and see what the other had found out.
“Yeah, sure,” Draco stated, only then properly looking up from the notes that he had been taking. He was probably due for a break anyway, something he was very bad at making sure to upkeep himself. It helped him, in that regard, to have someone around that reminded him to be human.
“Not that I have any amazing breakthroughs or anything.”

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:26 pm 

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"That’s alright," Harry assured with an easy smile. He was aware that this form of conversation was unusual for Malfoy, who, as had come apparent, only ever really communicated his findings to others through the publishing of research papers. Harry didn’t need that from him. "I just want to know where your head’s at as of late."
Wandless, Harry plucked the quill from the spine of one of the files. He had, reluctantly, asked Coote to replace it with a juvenile, enchanted quill that carried its own reserve of quick dry ink; there was still a blue stain on the side of his hand from last night’s sloppy work. Once again pinching the spine of the feather, Harry thoughtlessly pulled it between his fingers, keeping his hands quietly occupied.
At the office, Harry would have used this time to calculate payroll expenses; here, his attention remained entirely on Malfoy, intrigued.
He nodded towards the papers in front of Malfoy. "What’ve you been reading?"


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:42 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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It still seemed like an entirely new normal to Draco to have someone who was actually interested in his process, or even the results of what he was studying. The way that Potter gave him his full attention made Draco feel both anxious, but also proud of the way that he was doing, knowing that he was going to get somewhere with it.
“Some of the case files you gave to me and cross referencing them with your medical journals,” he said, still feeling weird about explaining his process to Potter, but mostly feeling good about it.
He had only just finished speaking when the tea appeared on his table, managing to find a free spot on his very cluttered desk. It made Draco realise just how much of a routine that they had fallen into, even if it had only been around five days.
It was comforting, in a way that something that you hadn’t really noticed happening to you could be and Draco tried not to think too much of it. He knew that thinking about it would only serve to make him panic, and that would not be helpful in their situation.
“So far, I see no correlations between any of them, but I feel like there is something that I am missing,” he stated, noticing how Potter again was fidgeting with something, seemingly always having something in his hands when they talked. It was something that Draco had taken note of and he really didn’t know what to do with that information.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:41 pm 

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Harry had found that this kind of back and forth usually worked best if he didn’t get hung up by specifics; in practice, not paying too much attention. Harry also found that to be difficult around Malfoy; the other shared to rarely that Harry too quickly became too invested, rarely working with specialists out of his own field.
He turned the quill in his hands, repeating the motion in the opposite direction. He took a moment to mull the information over.
"What do you consider to be a correlation?" he asked, out of curiosity rather than because the question was helpful in any way. "An odd case coinciding with an odd injury or symptom?"
Harry was only looking at half the material, his only immediate function to do a rough sort of the cases; the major part of the workload still befell Malfoy if this was how they were approaching their search. Eyes flicking between point on Malfoy’s face, Harry so wished he could be of more help, mentally considering different options for divisions.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:22 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Draco nodded at the question, causing a stray hair to fall out of the bun he had made on top of his head, wand once again stuck through it. He grabbed the tea pot and poured into both cups, leaving room for milk in Potter’s, as he knew that was how he took it.
“Yeah, terribly unhelpful I know, but it’s one of those things where I’ll know what I am looking for when I see it,” he stated with a soft shrug, knowing that it was very vague, but that was the downside to inventing science as he went. There was never going to be any references to help him out.
He glanced briefly over at his notebook, almost as if the answer would have magically been written on it in the time that he had looked away. It wasn’t that he didn’t think that he could solve it, but he was slowly running out of options and it was exhausting him.
“I keep feeling like I am missing something, but I don’t know what.”

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:35 am 

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Harry’s attention was caught by Malfoy’s movements, eyes instinctively dipping to the tea set.
"What has you believing there’d be any immediate symptoms?" Harry challenged, this approach constructive criticism coming easily to him with years of experience. Sometimes, it was productive to challenge assumptions, preventing them from becoming set in stone.
His mannerisms remained gentle, as he shifted forward to accept the cup Malfoy had offered, helping himself to the milk pitcher.
"If I was exposed to some volatile magic at Towthorpe it’s taken almost a month for its effects to show – even longer if it happened earlier."
Harry’s eyes darted up at Malfoy when he picked up the cup, brows quirking in a question as he relaxed back into his seat. He took a moment to consider it all, cup resting on the files in his lap.
"Have you considered off-setting the journal entries by one?" he suggested, the concept not fully coherent until he said it out loud. "Maybe we’re looking for correlation between the wrong things. St. Mungo’s might have misdiagnosed symptoms if they didn’t have a big enough picture."


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:55 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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While it made perfect sense when Potter said it out loud, it had never even occurred to Draco to cross reference medical journals with case files that were further apart. It had been silly of him to assume that they would have happened directly after one another, dark magic being finicky and sometimes taking a long while to actually work.
It meant that he was going to have to look at the files that he thought that he was done with once more, but it was going to be absolutely worth it, if it meant that he was going to finally have a break in the case.
“You’re right,” he stated, almost in complete disbelief.
It was such an obvious conclusion that it made Draco a little upset that he hadn’t considered it himself, but instead he just tried to be grateful that Potter actually wanted to help him out like that, rather than berating him for not having thought of that.
“That would make a ton more sense,” he added, taking a sip from his tea as he tried to rethink his approach.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:18 pm 

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The overwhelming sense of pride he felt having given valuable input felt a little silly, even to Harry, but it didn’t stop a warmth from blooming in his chest. He really wasn’t sure why that need existed in him, distinctly different from what he recalled from childhood where it wasn’t a matter of being good but better than Malfoy. Now it was more a matter of being able to prove he could keep up.
Trying to suppress a smile Harry, too, took a drink, allowing Malfoy to mull it over in his own pace. Harry himself was already growing too restless to handle scorching hot liquid, and he leaned forward to place the cup back onto the table.
"I know there’s still more case files than medical journals," he eventually had to retract, hands once again on the quill. "I don’t know how accessible it’s going to be in practice, but we can chat a bit about the case we handled before Towthorpe, if you’d find that helpful."


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:49 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Once again, Draco was struck by just how much easier it was to work on this case when he had Potter around to answer questions. It made it even better when Potter just offered information to him, mostly because Draco rarely knew what to ask for to get the information he needed, nor did he feel confident enough in their relation to ask for it.
This was one such case, where Potter just seemed to be naturally helpful and it was a fresh breath of air for Draco, who was not used to getting help from anyone.
“Yeah, if you don’t mind sharing,” he said in a soft voice, sipping his tea once more, feeling more and more at ease in talking with Potter.. Maybe it was not a bad thing that they shared the workload of this, or at the very least shared a workspace like this.
It was odd, but good.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:00 pm 

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Harry shifted in his seat, getting comfortable as he figured out where to start. While it was one of the files in his lap, Harry hadn’t found it to be particularly relevant in any other way that it being the chronological predecessor to the work carried out at Towthorpe.
Accepting that there wasn’t any point in beating around the bush, Harry decided to just start speaking, no matter how uncomfortable the subject matter might be for the both of them.
"We’ve had some complains of some teenagers impersonating Death Eaters and harassing half-blood families," Harry stated, voice plain "A few months ago they attempted to cast a Morsmordre in a mixed Muggle neighbourhood, so it alerted at the Ministry. They were arrested, but not before they attempted to duel their way out of the area."
By now, it wasn’t often that Harry encountered live resistance at work. Whoever had associations to Voldemort had either been arrested or their involvement had been so thin to begin with that they weren’t charged to begin with, and as expectedly mulled out into quiet shame. For the last few years, Harry had mostly worked with inanimate remains of the war.
This had knocked the wind out of him, having been genuinely appalled and struck by the notion of neo-Death Eaters.
"Nobody was hit, obviously."
Harry attempted to reengaged himself with that disclaimer, gathering his thoughts. He straightened his posture slightly.
"They’re teenagers," he repeated as if that was enough explanation, dismissively and deaf to his own duelling experience when he was their age. "One of them confessed to all of it immediately, and we had to go clear out a shed they’d been working in."


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:11 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Nothing could have prepared Draco for the case that Potter had been working on.
Sure, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to him that people were out there, impersonating Death Eaters, none of them knowing what it had meant exactly to be working under the Dark Lord. Yet, it still made Draco sick to his stomach, glad to know that they were just teenagers though and that they still had time to learn, such that they would know better.
He also realised just what a weird situation it had to be for Potter to be in, to tell Draco about people who were essentially impersonating him, and likely being around the same age as Draco himself was when he got the mark. It was sickening to think about, so Draco simply sipped on his tea instead, finding that easier to stomach than teenagers who didn’t know better.
“Were they working on something interesting?” He asked, finding that to be the safest question to ask. There were about a billion other questions that he would rather ask, but none of them related particularly much to their case, so he decided to stick with that.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:47 pm 

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Harry made a face at that, finding that to be a subjective stance that the Auror Department didn’t usually entertain.
"Not in the eye of the DMLE," he said, his tone of voice indicating that that was the official stance the Ministry had taken on the matter. "Nothing that added to their charges, anyway; they settled with a simple charge of harassment and disturbance of peace."
In theory, Harry agreed with the decision made by the prosecutors. Despite the personal discomfort that case had caused him, he thought it to be plenty punishment being expelled from Hogwarts, barred from returning for their spring semester.
However, Harry sat left with a feeling that Malfoy had asked him for his opinion. He adverted his eye, once again furrowing his brow in hesitation. He looked down on the folder, opening it to rifle through the material to revisit it.
"I don’t know," he admitted, reluctantly. "They admitted to having attempted to make a Horcrux, but not to ever having intention of killing a person."
Harry hadn’t spent too long wondering whether or not they had been truthful in that, by then the case handed over to the Wizengamot; he closed the folder, that line of thought no longer relevant.
Shifting in his seat, Harry inched forward far enough to offer Malfoy the folder.
"They failed their attempt at an animal sacrifice, so there was some trace amount of poorly executed magic still stuck in the shed. In the eye of the Ministry, that just amounts to, well," Harry hesitated, no delicate way around it, "- killing a cat."


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:13 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Draco listened eagerly to what Potter had to tell him, finding it easier to not think of the implications if their presence when he could shake his head at their pathetic attempt at a Horcrux. That was a kind of magic that was widely without study as well, mostly due to the nature of actually manufacturing one, and how the people who had made them usually weren’t much for any level of scrutiny.
It was interested how far the teenagers had managed to come in the process though, Draco having read up on the making of Horcruxes and knowing just about what it took to make one.
It was a disgusting piece of magic and Draco could definitely tell how going through with it would corrupt most witches or wizards who tried. He himself had barely felt that it was right to use magic directly after reading about it.
“Sacrifice is pretty far in the process,” he stated, unsure if Potter had ever looked into the making of Horcruxes, but he highly doubted it. It was highly restricted magic, and while he was certain that Potter would easily be able to get his hands on whatever information he needed, he was unsure if he would have even wanted to.
It wasn’t like Draco could blame him if he hadn’t.
Draco himself had spent years studying dark magic and there were several topics that he had skirted around for years before taking the plunge into them; simply having found that too much of it were still like an open wound.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:36 am 

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"Take it with a grain of salt," Harry had to say as he relaxed back into his seat, not wanting Malfoy to think it was something more than it was.
Certainly, it had been a nightmare, the vested interest those kids exhibited in Voldemort had been among the most personally discomforting things Harry had experienced on the job. The DMLE had simply found themselves unable to prove the connection between interest and intention to act on it. However, Malfoy had every right to set different lines for what should be considered tolerable or excusable.
"They didn’t have any proper source material available."
After the war, the Ministry had put restrictions on the sale of such books, scrubbed any and all public libraries clean of anything regarding the making of Horcruxes, beyond the superficial description stating that they cost a human life. By now, texts like that were considered to be out of circulation, though they hadn’t been able to prohibit private ownership.
Harry’s eyes had drifted to Malfoy’s vast expanse of bookshelves. As he plucked at the quill he wondered if Malfoy himself had any. It made Harry’s blood run cold.
"If my memory serves me right," he started back up, eyes returning onto Malfoy, not interested in lingering on that thought. With the folder no longer in his hands, Harry was unable to confirm their specific choice of spells.
"I believe their way around it was to simultaneously kill a cat and transfigure it into an object, unsuccessfully. I don’t think that’s considered to be dark magic, though the intention was rather bleak."


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:43 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Not feeling like he had a great lot of input to come with, Draco simply listened to what Potter had to tell him. It was a bizarre case after all, or maybe not as bizarre as Draco hoped that it was.
After the war, Draco had really wanted to believe that there would be no one left who would want to support the Dark Lord, especially as he had no chance whatsoever to come back. However, despite staying away from the public, Draco still had inklings that weird things were going on on the outside, things that involved people still worshipping the Dark Lord.
It never failed to make Draco’s stomach turn, not that he had ever been a great lot better, but he had definitely learnt his lesson and had completely distanced himself from everything that involved practicing dark magic. Even his studies had mostly been such that he would be able to help people in the future, wanting to outline different kinds of dark magic and how to make them harmless.
“Well, their guess as to how to make a horcrux is as good as mine,” he stated with a shrug, having never felt the need to look into that kind of magic. It seemed too scary, too all consuming, to be safely studied.
“But that is a place to start looking, failed transfigurations can definitely leave residual magic that can mess things up majorly.”

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:10 pm 

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Harry continued to turn the quill between his fingers, looking Malfoy over when he spoke of the making of a Horcrux. Harry didn’t have any reason to mistrust that, more than anything struck by the timing of that remark, that same question still fresh on Harry’s mind.
"There’s no medical entry to go with it," he said, wanting to manage Malfoy’s expectations. Harry still believed there to be logic behind offsetting the material, but the number of cases significantly outweighed the times Harry had been injured in the field.
"I was there for the arrest and the dismantling, but I didn’t personally enter their shed," he added, figuring that it was worth making that distinction. "I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble for you to read up on it, then."


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:45 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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It wasn’t a huge surprise to Draco that Potter likely would have preferred to take a backseat in a case like that, despite how long ago the war was, there were still unhealed wounds. The Dark Lord had really taken their youth away from the, so it seemed absolutely impossible to Draco, and to probably both of them, that anyone would be unable to see just how bad it was.
“Anything that gives me something to go on is good in my book,” he said with a shrug, liking to gather ideas from Potter, who was definitely going to be key in helping Draco solve this. After all, Potter was the one who had all the information, whether he knew it or not.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:32 am 

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__________

As it turned out, time didn’t move slower at Malfoy Manor. Monday had come and gone with the same unnoticeable fluidity as it would have at the office; between the required bureaucracy and reports and resource allocations, Harry hadn’t made as much process on the Towthorpe case as he would have liked.
When Malfoy had offered another bottle of wine, Harry had accepted gratefully.
For the first time yet, they had settled in the drawing room. Harry was undoubtedly slouched more comfortably in the antique sofa than what the design intended, feeling the weight of not only the world but two glasses on wine. He nursed his third, eyes skimming the room, a new corner of the Malfoy he had yet had an opportunity to explore.
"Have you lived here since Hogwarts?" Harry asked, breaking the silence that had fallen over them after dinner.
He tipped his head to eye wards Malfoy who sat at an angle from him in an armchair. Harry had made that subtle change in his vocabulary over the course of the past few days, noting the time passed in reference to their education rather to the war. Though Harry was surprised by how much they had talked this past week, they hadn’t at all talked about the past decade, and Harry had grown curious.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:52 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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While Draco had been the one to suggest that they move to the drawing room, having grown tired of spending all of his time in the study or the small kitchen, it still felt oddly intimate to entertain Potter in there.
It wasn’t made any less intimate by the wine in their glasses and their systems, making it much more casual than two coworkers who were relaxing after work. Through their work together, Draco really had started to think of Potter as his colleague more and more, finding it easier to interact with him as they got to spend more time together.
Potter’s question had broken the silence that had fallen over the two of them, Draco looked up from where he was swirling the wine in his glass, pushing down an urge to scold Potter for how he was sitting on the sofa. It didn’t really matter after all.
“I have lived here my entire life,” he stated, looking back at the wine in his glass before taking a sip from it, the warmth of the vintage wine serving to keep Draco more calm. The only two places that he had ever lived had been at the manor and at Hogwarts, something that he had never given particularly much thought and he had no idea why Potter would want to know.
Then again, it might just be small talk.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:14 pm 

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Despite the time they had spent together, Harry wouldn’t say he found Malfoy any easier to read. Perhaps it was the change of scenery that set Harry a week back, but the tentative understanding they had for each other suddenly seemed designated to only the kitchen and the study.
Undeterred, Harry nodded, straightening his head to once again look into the room. The wall across from him was covered in bookshelves; knowing for certainty that the Manor must also have a dedicated library, Harry couldn’t even phantom the number of books in Malfoy’s possession.
"Alone?" he added, softly, though his phrasing did not accommodate the fact that Malfoy had broadened the question on Harry’s behalf. He knew the Malfoys had been a traditional three-person household during their time at school, but he was surprised to find that Narcissa Malfoy didn’t still live at the Manor.


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