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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:07 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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Draco didn’t know how to properly answer Potter’s questions, mostly because he wasn’t actually sure what it was that Potter was asking him.
Physically, nothing of the Dark Lord lingered in the manor, Draco had made sure of that through several sweeps of the manor. However, the memories of what had went down lingered in Draco and there was nothing he could do to make them go away.
“I had nowhere else to go,” he stated with a shrug, not saying it to gain pity or even empathy from Potter. It was just a fact of that matter that Draco hadn’t had any other options rather than return to his childhood home. It wasn’t like anyone in the wizarding world would rent anything out to him, and he didn’t want to do like his mother and go to muggle London.
“None of the Dark Lord’s magic lingers in the manor,” he stated, feeling weird in talking about it, but also wanting to share his experiences with someone for the first time in his life. However, he also didn’t know exactly how to put it into words, so he tried the best he could and just desperately hoped that Potter would be able to follow him.
“The memories however do.”

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:52 am 

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Harry nodded, understanding the feeling. It wasn't a conincidence that Harry hadn't felt the need to explore the what laid beyind the few rooms they frequently utilized. Likewise, Harry had spent painful days on end ridding Grimmauld from monuments of somebody else's childhood trauma.
"You didn't go with your mother," Harry said, merely an observation. While it hadn't been revealed to him where Narcissa Malfoy had gone after the war, it was apparent she had left the Manor; only then did Harry realize that she mught have gone to France, another piece of that puzzle laid at the revelation that Malfoy had been raised partially in French.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:18 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 simply nodded at that, correctly observed from Potter that he indeed did not go with his mother. It wasn’t for lack of her trying though, having essentially begged Draco to leave the manor behind and go with her. It was hard to explain exactly why he had decided to stick to his life at the manor, but already then he had known that he needed to stay.
It meant long periods of terrible loneliness, but also the opportunity to completely devote himself to the work, where he definitely felt that he could make a difference.
“Much to her chagrin, yes,” he stated, feeling that Potter knew enough about his mum to be able to imagine the scenario.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:40 pm 

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The corners of Harry's mouth quirked at that, perfectly able to imagine a mother's dissapointment when her only child decided to stay behind. Withouth knowing anything about Narcissa's situation, or how far away she lived, Harry couldn't imagine it to havr been easy having to distance yourself not only from society but family.
Harry had wondered if his prolonged stay had interrupted any visits, or if Malfoy just didn't see her that often.
Shifting his seat, Harry turned slightly as to rest his arm over the backrest, knuckles resting to his temple to keep his head upright.
"How's it been having visitors for a month?" Harry asked, grin growing wider as he spoke. In passing conversations Harry had tried to get a sense of it, and Harry had gotten the definite impression that Malfoy preffered his space and quiet. "Has it been alright?"


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:54 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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The question caused Draco to smile, finding that line of questioning a lot easier to deal with than the heavier subject matter that they had been discussing earlier. Not that he had necessarily minded, he just rarely knew how to answer the questions that Potter asked him.
“Better than I had feared,” he stated, constantly reminding himself that Potter preferred honesty. Also, there really was no reason to beat around the bush and pretend that he had been a huge fan of Potter staying at the manor with him.
The time that they had spent together was a lot better than Draco could have ever hoped, finding Potter to be very good company. He was even able to enjoy himself while Potter was around, something that he had never thought would happen.
“You’re not bad company, you know?” He stated, figuring that Potter deserved to know, even if it was likely too much.
“How has it been staying here a month?” Draco immediately followed up, not wanting either of them to linger on the compliment.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:31 pm 

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Harry's smile widened in surprise, attention piqued enough that his cheek left his hand, straightening out his lopsided posture. While it was clear that Malfoy had wanted to bury the compliment, Harry couldn't help but relish in it.
Harry found that he rarely managed to live up to the expectations set for him, and much less so exceed them. The fact that Malfoy appeared to be pleasantly surprise was quite frankly one of the greatest compliments of his person Harry could receive; though he realized he had only exceeded Malfoy's expectations because they were likely to have been nonexistent to begin with. Harry gladly took it, anyway, a boyishly smug grin at his lips.
"I miss going outside," he admitted. The smile lingered though his reply was rather humble, not generally unsatisfied with his conditions. It wasn't like there were days he didn't step outside with the commodity that was a Floo connection, but the days were adding up and it was starting to affect him. "Miss the sun in particular."
Already partially up, Harry straightened his posture completely, forearms finding the lip of the table.
"Otherwise I'd day it's been perfectly civilized," he answered with a tentative tease, smile growing crooked as he pushed the plate to one side. In contrary to Malfoy, Harry didn't feel the need to be shy about compliments, eyes finding Malfoy as he added: "I'd even go as far as to say I've come to enjoy myself."


Last edited by Nymeria on Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:47 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 been the one that asked, Draco’s heart still dropped at Potter’s reply, knowing that it was his fault that Potter was stuck at the manor in the first place. There wasn’t much he could do though, knowing that messing with his wards could be very dangerous and dismantling them would be disastrous, yet he could already feel a certain desperation to do something for Potter settle in him.
He wasn’t going to say or even less promise Potter anything, but he was going to figure something out, such that Potter would be able to have an enjoyable stay.
Instead, Draco got stuck on what else Potter said.
It was stupid, but Draco’s heart flipped when Potter told him that he had been enjoying his stay at the manor, probably just a polite exaggeration, but Draco had to believe that that meant that he didn’t hate it here. That was more than Draco could have ever asked for and he was just happy that he wasn’t alone in actually enjoying their time together.
“No need to flatter, I know it’s just because Coote is a better cook than your house elf,” he stated with a crooked grin.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 2:21 pm 

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The tease made Harry grin, finding that to be a pleasant but recent addition to their shared vocabulary. Malfoy had significantly relaxed into their concersations, something that had greatly added to the general sense of enjoyment.
Harry hummed in agreement, the smile still playing at his lips. In the exhagerated tease of their joke, there was no point in arguing against what was a good point made; in reality, it hadn't even been a consideration of his.
"There's also nobody at my door every five minutes," Harry went on, not having been aware of how fragmented his workdays had become with coworkers stopping by at all hours of the day. If he stopped to think about it it hadn't been all bad working from home for a few weeks. "It's gotten me out of a staff meeting, too."
Harry had also missed out on a few dates, but looking back it hadn't been a significant loss. He didn't dare say it out loud, but he felt assured those could be rescheduled at his own wim and necessity.
"And then I think you're terrific company, too." It wasn't a punchline to a joke, but an outstretched olivebranch, at the very least wanting to assure Malfoy that it was his doing and not his house elf's. Harry's smile was genuine and good humoured, genuinely happy to have made amends with Draco. "Haven't shared an office in years, it's been nicer than I remember."


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 2:47 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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Even if Draco had been the one to start that line of complimenting, hearing it from Potter still caused heat to rush to his face, making Draco look down at the table in front of him; hoping to conceal the blush that he was certain rested on his cheeks.
The conversation almost felt too intimate, almost as if they were saying forbidden things to one another, when in actually they were just exchanging pleasantries. Draco was aware that his bar for compliments probably was very low, but it felt different coming from Potter. By all means, they should still not get along, yet it seemed so simple to hang out like this, as if everything was behind them and they actually had a future.
“I can start hosting staff meetings if it’s getting too comfortable for you,” he offered, purposefully ignoring that too heartfelt compliment that Potter was giving him. It was too much to wrap his head around anyway.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:18 pm 

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There was something in the idea of Draco conducting a staff meeting solely for Harry that made his heart jump, intrigued by entirely juvenile connotations. Draco was the epitomy of composed, authoritarian professionalism, and Harry would have no issue sitting in on a a meeting orchestrated by him, certain it would suit him spectacularly.
"I'd rather we implement Friday night pints," Harry suggested; despite his smile, it was a reluctant change of imagery. Harry had seen the flush bloom across Draco's cheeks, and while he found it to be absolutely charming, Harry had a nagging suspicion it might stem from utter mortification.
"Anything but a staff meeting, really," Harry grinned. "I'm not yet prepared to be held accountable for how we're going significantly over budget for this case."


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:54 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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There was something utterly comforting in the way that Potter always just seemed to be able to run with his jokes, making Draco feel like Potter was making an actual effort in them being friends.
It wasn’t something that was necessary for Potter staying at the manor, but it was definitely something that had made his stay much more comfortable. It also made Draco smile, as he was starting to feel more and more like a proper part of a staff, having to remind himself that he was on ministry pay roll. It felt absolutely bizarre, but whenever he did remember, he absolutely cherished it.
“I’ll see what I can do then,” he added with a soft smile, still amazed by how easy his smiles seemed to come around Potter now. It was something that Draco had decided not to give too much thought, but it was incredibly different not to allow himself to linger on it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:11 am 

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_________

The workday was almost over, but Harry had only recently gotten a chance to devote some time and attention to flipping through old case files. Graciously, Draco hadn't instituted any staff meetings in the passing days. The pace with which the case progressed was quite frankly embarrasing, and Harry had yet little to show for their efforts. Despite everything possitive that had come from working uninterrupted from the Manor, Harry could feel that Robards had reallocated most of Harry's team to different cases while he was absent.
Harry had been reading a year old case with great attention, knuckles holding his head up by the temples as he flipped through the material. Harry had reluctantly abandoned Towthorpe for now, and was instead reading up on magical contamination of a forest creek.
"Hey Draco," he asked, eyes not leaving the papers in front of him. The name slipped past him without consideraton or any real intent, the lines of how formal or how familiar they allowed themselves to become having started to blur over the passing week. It had been days since Harry had thought of Draco with the distance a surname provided, and he didn't register the fact that it was the first time he had callen Draco by his given name; it didn't sound foreign to him, having otherwise used it often.
"Do you have the medical journal from Whinlatter at hand? It might be labeled as -" Harry stalled having to flip back to the folder coverpage. He tilted his head slightly, before letting the cardboard slip from his fingers with a shuffle. "Uh, ADO eighteen thirteen."


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:46 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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The work day had been snailing on like usual, the lack of progress making both Draco and Potter restless and absolutely desperate for a breakthrough. Draco kept feeling that he was close to something, something that was just out of his reach and it was maddening.
He was so absorbed in yet another tangent of a thought that he barely noticed that Potter had even spoken to him, much less what Potter had called him. Once it hit him though, Draco felt completely shell shocked, finding that his name from Potter’s lips was a sweet, though weird, sound. It even felt weird to be referred to by his first name like that, having been used to only ever being referred to by his surname, at least that was how it had been for many years.
“Uh,” Draco started, brain completely buffering as he registered what Potter had actually said. It took him a moment too long to actually start looking for the file that Potter was asking him for, trying not to think about the shivers that had run down his back.
“I think so,” he managed, finally finding his words as he tried to decide whether or not he should ask about it.
It hadn’t seemed purposeful on Potter’s part, which almost made it worse to Draco, because it meant that he was just Draco to Potter and Draco wasn’t sure how to wrap his head around that.
“You said eighteen thirty?” He asked, trying to appear calm but unable to fully pull himself together.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 11:03 am 

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"Thirteen," Harry corrected, turning his head towards Draco when it became apparent that the other didn't have the folder immediately within his reach.
Harry's hand had left his temple, instead cupping his jaw as he watched Draco aimlessly look through the material on his desk. It brought a smile to his lips, not the first time humoured by the controlled chaos that was both Draco and his workspace.
Harry struggled to interpret the type and degree of interest Draco expressed, and it was becoming increasingly unlikely that that would ever be clarified. Harry wasn't terribly dissapointed with the uncertainty, though he had attempted to stop his attention and eye from drifting from his work to Draco over the course of the workday. Now that he had allowed himself to do so, however, it felt hard to justify why he had ever stopped, finding such great enjoyment in watching the other man work.
"You alright?" he asked with a grin after Draco had spent another moment fruitlessly searching for the file. It felt entirely plausible that Draco just didn't have it ahead of him, and yet the other seemed flustered by the fact that it didn't immediately jumpt out at him.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 11:57 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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Draco hummed as he started searching in a more determined manner, now that he actually knew what he was looking for. He had been determined to just let it go that Potter had called him by his first name, reckoning that it was a slip of the tongue and that it wasn’t going to happen again.
However, when Potter when asked him if he was alright, he didn’t feel like he could say yes without lying. It wasn’t necessarily that he wasn’t okay, he was simply a little shaken and trying to figure out exactly why that was.
“Yeah,” he said, as he finally got a hold of the file that he had been looking for, raising it over his head to show Potter that he had got it, but quickly lowering it again.
“It’s just...” he trailed off, unsure exactly how to put it into words. It wasn’t that he had minded the name, it was just new and completely unexpected but it seemed absolutely impossible for Draco to be able to put that into words in a proper way.
“You just called me Draco,” he ended on, carefully fiddling with the corned of the file, looking down at that rather than looking at Potter. He didn’t think that he would be able to actually bear looking at him.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 3:26 pm 

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As soon as Draco had flagged that he had found the file, Harry had stood to retrieve it. He, however, barely got a chance to step out if his chair before Draco continued on a tangent that he couldn't quite have prepared himself for.
Harry stalled at his desk, unsure how to proceed.
In part, Harry hardly saw the issue. While it wasn't the name they used for one another, Harry had always been aware of Draco's given name, and the fact that he remembered hardly seemed like cause for surprise. By direction of the defense, Harry had given his testimony in favour for the Malfoys using their given names, having been encouraged to do so as it was likely to highlight the familiarity between them, though it had been hardly non existent. Besides the passing weeks, the last time Harry had spoken about Draco Malfoy, albeit a decade ago, he had just been Draco.
And yet, a creeping sense of mortification settled in the pit of his stomach, suddenly fearing he might have crossed a line.
"Yeah," he eventually said, tentatively. While he couldn't remember himself saying it, he knew Draco had ceised to exist as Malfoy in his conciousness. That was, however, not a guarantee that Harry was allowed to denote him as such, suddenly aware of the fact that it might not just be uncommon but downright invasive for their meager relation.
While Harry had every intention of respecting Draco's - Malfoy's - preference, Harry found that he would very much like to remain on a first name basis.
"Is that alright?"


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 3:47 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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“Yes,” Draco said without a moment of hesitation.
It was definitely not because he had minded being Draco to Potter, it was just never something that he had thought that he was going to be, and that was what was hard to wrap his head around. It felt a little scary too, because it seemed to cement the fact that he and Potter were becoming genuine friends, and that was even harder for Draco to wrap his head around.
“Just new,” he elaborated, wanting for Potter to know exactly what was going through his mind with this. The only reason that they had even gotten this far was due to honest after all, so Draco liked it better when he got to just continue with that.
He finally looked over at Potter, who was now standing and Draco couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed about the entire ordeal. It shouldn’t even be a huge deal in the first place, but Draco felt it absolutely consume him anyway, having felt so incredibly unsure about what his real relation to Potter even was, yet every time Potter seemed to show him that he wanted to make an effort for Draco.
It was too much and not something that Draco could relax in, no matter how desperately he was trying to do so.
“But alright.”

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:46 pm 

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The smile that spread across Harry's lips was a sign of pure, thrilled relief. It was quite frankly a minute detail, a hurdle most people overcame within moments of meeting one another; though it had taken them 20 years, Harry was excited to have gotten there.
Not really feeling like it was right to linger much further on the subject, Harry resolved himself to nodding a confirmation. His attempt to suppress the smile only made him look boyish, as he glanced down to the table as if he needed visual confirmation of is precense to sidestep it.
Flipping closed the file he had been reading through, Harry took it with him as he approached Draco's desk.
Unlike other times, Harry didn't seat himself. Instead, he stopped by Draco's side, overlaying his file the files scattering the desk. Also a new nuace of their relationship, Harry didn't pause to hesitate it.
He opened the file, flipping through to where a quill marked his place.
"We registered a dip in the magical field moments before the object was contained," Harry started, the smile still reluctantly audible in his voice through the professionalism. This pointer finger rested beneath the annotation, barely a sentence between dozen of pages of material. 'We wrote it off as it simply being a pulse, but knowing what we know, something might have left  the object and latched onto me."


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:50 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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The return to professionalism sent a huge wave of relief over Draco, who felt a lot more suited to handle this situation, than one where he was going to be vulnerable with Potter. It was likely nothing to be so flustered about, but it was difficult for Draco to not overthink every single interaction he had with Potter, finding it incredibly difficult to know exactly what the other man was thinking about it all.
He never wanted to put their new, fragile friendship at risk, but he also knew that they had to get a lot of work done. It was all about balance, and Draco felt like he was constantly stumbling. He did feel a certain sense of relief in the fact that Potter seemed willing to help him find that balance all the time, never punishing him for not knowing how to react, or even just how to be around him.
For now, Draco turned his focus on the folder that Potter was pointing to, finding that he would take literally any lead in this case. Looking at the folder also meant that he almost got to ignore just how close to him Potter was, something that clearly was necessary if they both were to rifle through the file, but which also served Draco to feel slightly flustered.
“That doesn’t sound unlikely,” he stated, looking around at the rest of the rapport, but the words blurred together for him.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 8:01 am 

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_______

Over the course of the last few weeks, the pile of possibly-relevant files on Harry's desk only seemed to grow. It seemed like almost every case he brought to Draco's attention was a possible source of logded forgein magic, but never definitely the root cause. As Harry's fourth week at the Manor had begun, he had started to realize that maybe it was just his job to work with live dark magic, and that there wasn't really much a conspiracy behind that.
Harry had tipped his chair on its back two legs, balancing back and forth a few inches as he watched the fruit of his labour. Going back a decade, there were at least two dozen cases that fit Draco's initial bill; active dark magic that had either struck Harry or had reasonable cause to suspect his exposure. Beside it was another pile of about ten cases Harry had never felt satisfied with. It was a large sum of material to have isolated, but Harry was at a loss as to how to proceed with it.
His mind was reeling with ideas and dead ends, thoughtlessly picking as his thumb as he considered what would be a constructive next step.


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