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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:02 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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Just how relaxed Potter seemed to be about what Draco had just said took him by surprise. He would have thought that it would have freaked out Potter a bit more, him being the chosen one and all that, and supposedly still having a lot to live for.
Thus, the question took him a little aback, but maybe it shouldn’t. Potter had been an auror for many years and the threat of death probably wasn’t new to him, so maybe Draco was just going to have to take it in his stride as Potter did. After all, it was new to Draco to have someone to have to talk to about the conclusions that he came to, so it was probably for the better like this.
“It doesn’t seem to be currently, no,” he stated, having found that the magic seemed to be dormant and not doing any more harm. However, he also wasn’t sure if he could trust that it would stay like that, but that seemed unnecessary to bring up while Potter was so uncaring about the entire thing.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:33 pm 

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"Oh," Harry responded, sounding thoughtlessly relieved. To him, it greatly impacted the sense of urgency of their situation, almost managing to bring a smile to his lip. Aware of how a smile might be interpreted as disrespectful, Harry’s eyes dipped to hide it, hands finding the seam of his opened shirt.
"If you didn’t have any further tests to run tonight, why don’t we pick up in the morning, yeah?"
Harry glanced back up at Malfoy in search for a confirmation, though he had already started doing his shirt up. There was no ill will behind his suggestion, only a sense of practical actionability. Harry would have accomplished nothing in his life if he had lingered at the loom of his impending death. "We can check if it has moved overnight, and then we can judge if it’s worth worrying about."
This time, the smile tugged at the corner of his mouth quicker than he could suppress it. His eyes left Malfoy, looking past him with the smile still firmly on his lips. Upon noticing the abandoned sandwich on his desk, Harry nodded towards it, doubting it had been Malfoy’s tea.
"Have you eaten yet?" he asked, wanting to deflect, the smile finally off his lips as his gaze returned onto Malfoy.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 2:15 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 didn’t want to, he couldn’t help but feel calmed down by just how calmly Potter was taking it all. To him, it meant that maybe he wasn’t as bad at conveying his information as he had thought that he would likely be, and that made him calm down. If he had to be studying Potter, he was going to have to be able to communicate his findings back to him, even if it really didn’t suit him very well.
“I haven’t,” Draco admitted, not something out of the norm for him. In fact, he very rarely remembering to eat more than once a day, and that only because Coote absolutely bothered him to do so. He was busy with his work and he wanted to be present with his work, rather than wasting time on eating. It was his passion and he knew just how much work it took to be able to get the results that he had gotten so far.
“I’ve been working ever since we parted,” he added, not sure it was necessary, but a part of him wanted Potter to know just how much effort he was putting into this and just how passionate he was about it. He knew that he was the only one who was likely to be able to find answers for Potter, and he was desperate to see if all of his studying had born fruit.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 2:48 pm 

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The way Harry’s expression faltered proved that he had done the math and found that to be entirely too long, especially under the assumption that Malfoy hadn’t taken any breaks through out it. Though Harry didn’t feel any guilt for how the day had transcribed, he did wonder if Malfoy had felt pressured into working through the night.
Having done up all his buttons, Harry let his hands fall from his clavicle.
"I appreciate the effort," he said, the same polite smile settling onto his expression as he had on when thanking coworkers for their overtime. He found it to be easier not to note on the root cause of that effort. "This seems like a fitting point to call it."
At some point, Harry would digest the fact that Malfoy thought the magic to be deadly, though Harry felt certain it wasn’t going to be tonight. The worst distress seemed to have dissipated from Malfoy’s brows, something Harry considered to be a great feat; it certainly made tomorrow easier to tackle.
Needing to ease the unavoidable tension lingering in the air of the study, Harry grinned. "You’ wanna invite me for dinner, then?"


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 3:15 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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While Draco didn’t much like to agree with Potter on much of anything, he also found that he was tired, having worked himself through rather obscure texts and was a little lightheaded. Maybe dinner wasn’t an entire bad idea, even if the idea of sharing said dinner with Potter made his stomach churn with nerves.
It had been Draco’s own choice entirely to live alone and as isolated as he did, having preferred to be alone with his thoughts and his guilt. However, once in a while he was forced to interact with other people, and while it was rarely anyone but his mum and Pansy, it always caught him off guard and made him realise just how much socialisation was a muscle that you needed to keep practicing with.
God how Draco was out of shape.
“Right,” he said, unsure what would actually be the proper protocol, but he figured that Coote would be able to figure something out for the two of them. It felt embarrassing just how lost Draco felt when Potter tried to be polite, and yet Draco knew that there was absolutely no way he would be able to cover up just how out of practice he was with social niceties.
“Of course, I’ll have Coote make us something.”

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 5:51 pm 

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________

It had been considerably harder to settle in for the night without a sense of utter exhaustion weighing him down. Even considering the toll Malfoy’s tests had had on Harry, he had only been awake a few hours before returning to his room; while Malfoy’s preliminary diagnosis didn’t haunt him, Harry had spent most of the night going over its implications, retroactively looking for any signs that might help contextualize the gravity of it all. He had finally given up at 5 in the morning, having only gotten a few hours of restless sleep.
Showered and dressed in his uniform, Harry had ventured out into the morning chill of the Manor; this time around, he wouldn’t have needed a guided path to the kitchen, though the lights marked it none the less.
He had spent the morning mentally listing out a series of letters he wanted to write and send before the morning rush at the Ministry. In the early hours of the morning his guilt had finally crept up to him, and he wanted to deliver on his promise to Malfoy to assist with any relevant documents describing the incident.
His mind preoccupied, Harry stopped dead in his tracts in the doorway to the kitchen. It didn’t surprise him to find the kitchen empty, not having expected to see Malfoy on this side of dawn; what had caught Harry unprepared was the teapot and the still-steaming pitcher of milk, neatly prepared on the dinette.
It made Harry blink, and then it made him smile, huffing a touched chuckle into the silence of the room.

Malfoy’s house elf – Coote, Harry finally retained upon meeting him, though not for a lack of repetition – was considerably more amicable than Kreacher, readily and willingly offering Harry a blank stack of unmarked stationery and quill to write on. He had, however, seemed hesitant at the prospect of letting Harry use one of the Manor owls to mail them, and Harry hadn’t bothered pressing on the matter. He figured it would be worth passing them through Grimmauld Place anyway, not yet certain he wanted Robards to know he had ignored his Healer’s orders to go home and rest.
Instead, the dutifully written letters were stacked as Harry wrote them. He had written three by the time Coote refilled both the pot and the pitcher, and Harry had written another four by the time he asked for butcher’s twine to tie them all together. With considerably shoddier penmanship, Harry wrote a note with directions for Kreacher, pinching into the twine writing side up.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:12 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 had been another early morning for Draco, who couldn’t remember the last time he had actually slept through a night. His sleeping was always restless, never really able to ind peace, no matter how exhausted he actually was. He didn’t know if he had expected anything different now that Potter was there, but in the early hours of the morning, Draco realised that he wasn’t likely to get more rest and decided to go to the lab.
It had been his routine for years and while the routine had been broken by him making sure that there was milk for Potter’s tea, wanting to make sure that he was a good host finally, that particular morning in the manor was no very different from the many mornings that he had spent there alone over the past many many years.
He had only just gotten into a nice flow of work when Coote poked his head into the study to inform Draco that Potter had woken up and was taking his tea and breakfast in the kitchen. Draco immediately dismissed him and told him that he would join Potter momentarily.
He didn’t even glance at the clock once he worked, but he knew that it had been a lot longer than what momentarily would imply, and he simply had to hope that Coote hadn’t passed the message of him joining Potter for breakfast along.

Entering the kitchen, a place where he found himself often but rarely for eating, and seeing Potter sitting there was a strange feeling. There was something so inherently wrong about seeing his childhood nemesis in a place that seemed so intimate to him, but he knew that it was only his own doing, so he really had no way, nor even a reason, to complain.
“Good morning,” Draco stated as he entered the kitchen, having no real grasp of what time it actually was, but Potter didn’t strike him as the type to care too much about details like the time of day.
Once again, it became painfully obvious to Draco just how unaccustomed he had become to having people over, and much less how to make any amount of regular small talk.
“Slept well?” He asked as he sat down in the chair across from Potter, struck by how painfully intimate it seemed; but also feeling certain that that it was only him who felt like that.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:25 pm 

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Harry’s eyes darted up at the sudden movement in his peripheral vision. It wasn’t real surprise that showed in his expression, not in any true sense of the word. He hadn’t forgotten where he was, and he hadn’t expected anybody else to enter through the kitchen doorway; and still, he found every new sliver of Malfoy to be continuously unexpected. Harry had never considered what Malfoy might look like at 8 o’clock in the morning, and yet there he was.
"’Morning," Harry returned with a smile, leaning back into the chair to better eye Malfoy as he approached.
His forearms still rested at the edge of the table, letting the envelopes slide between his fingers, the edges tapping against the tabletop as if to straighten their alignment; in reality, none of them budged, firmly strung together with twine.
"I did," he replied, and despite his restless sleep, that remained the truth. Had he known what else to do to pass the time, Harry would probably not even have attempted to sleep. It didn’t reflect poorly on anything but his own upturned circadian rhythm.
With the stack of letters, Harry tapped at the side of his half-full cup, the tea in it cloudy with milk.
"Thank you," he added, to both the question and the gesture, small but not unnoticed. Harry’s smile widened another fraction, genuinely appreciative.
As soon as Harry tossed the letters aside, the quill and inkpot disappeared off the dinette, undoubtedly Coote making room at the small table for his Master from somewhere out of sight. "How’re you feeling about it all today?"


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:57 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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As Draco poured tea into the cup that had recently appeared on the table, Coote probably only thrilled that Draco was actually taking his tea sitting at the dinette today, he was struck by just how uncomfortable it was to have Potter in his home. Maybe it was just the fact that he had managed to hide from the public eye for so long, but there was something incredibly public about having Potter in his home, even if it was Potter alone and absolutely no others.
“This is still quite new to me, so I am honestly trying to not expect too much from anything,” he stated, having very limited experience with the actual influence dark objects would have on a person; despite it being something that he had been desperate to study for years.
This had not been the way he had hoped that a study like that would go for him, but he was going to take what he could get. It definitely seemed like a curse that the only way he was going to get source material would be through Potter, but it was something he was going to be willing to work through.
“A regular dark object I can pick apart and look at its parts separately, can’t very well do that with you,” he stated, taking a sip from his tea. Black tea.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 2:33 pm 

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The corner of Harry’s mouth quirked, figuring that to be an excellent point.
"Let me know if there’s anything I can do," he encouraged, wanting to be able to meet Malfoy halfway. He knew he was asking a great deal – something which had only become that much more comprehensive when Malfoy had urged to stay at the Manor during the initial tests – and though Harry was working on correcting that on a professional level, he personally wanted to be of help, too.
His mind stalled, taking too much notice of how Malfoy took his tea.
"Hopefully, I’m better at answering questions than a cursed jewelry box."
The addition came with another smile, his eyes darting back up to meet Malfoy’s. He then made a little face after a moment of consideration as if wanting to retract that statement, not sure that Malfoy would actually agree with that. "If not about this, then about something else."
Harry didn’t mean to sound conceited, but he wasn’t blind to the unspoken trade-off of their interaction either. He felt certain Malfoy wouldn’t even have considered his case had he not been scientifically interested in the practical matters of the issue. Harry didn’t think he was wrong in assuming he was Malfoy’s best if not only chance of getting to ground his theories in reality.
Wanting to take the edge off the interaction, Harry smile widened, an unspoken punctuation to a still-open invitation.
"What’re you having for breakfast?" he instead asked, preemptively looking to avoid once again helping himself to something Malfoy didn’t stock. It wasn’t that he had actively waited for Malfoy to eat, and yet that suddenly felt like the way the cards had played out.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:48 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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Just how self assured Potter seemed to be drove Draco absolutely mad, annoyed that the confidence probably was warranted and having no desire to give Potter any level of confirmation to the fact. Instead, he took another sip from his tea, trying to weigh the words in his head, unsure what he wanted to say, or if he even wanted to say something in the first place.
It was easier when Potter brought up the topic of breakfast, though not by a lot.
It was rare that Draco ate more than one meal per day and that meal very rarely was breakfast, both of which were facts that drove Coote insane. Draco knew that it was stupid to not take more care of himself, but he had also lost the interest for it and would much rather just dedicate himself to his work.
“Tea,” he stated, lifting his cup as if to underline his point. The mere idea of eating anything made his stomach turn, completely unaccustomed to getting anything solid before noon.
“But I can have cook prepare you something if you are hungry,” he added, figuring that that would be what a good hose would do.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:11 pm 

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Harry’s eye dipped to the teacup at the gesture, another little information being revealed about Malfoy. Harry wasn’t particularly interested in policing Malfoy’s eating habits, much less based on the few hours he had actually spent in his company, but he hadn’t failed to notice them.
When Harry’s eyes returned to Malfoy, he did so with no intention on commenting on anything.
"If its not a bother," he replied, doing only a decent job of feigning that level of politeness. He knew it wasn’t a matter of whether or not Coote would cook for him; frankly it was probably whether or not Malfoy even wanted to feed him anything at all. "I’d take some eggs, if you have any."
He thoughtlessly turned into the void of the kitchen as he spoke, the addition spoken just as much to Coote as it was to Malfoy.
"I was also wondering, if I could use your Floo," Harry said, figuring there was no point in spacing out his requests, not even if Malfoy found him to be unreasonable. His eyes found Malfoy, brows raised in a question. "I assume it'd be safe to use if I only want to send some letters through it."


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:30 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 none of Potter’s requests were unreasonable, they still managed to annoy Draco, finding it terribly annoying that he had to do anything at all for Potter. It seemed that his guest was mostly intend of managing on his own, but it would still require for Draco to even be somewhat of a good host for Potter to be comfortable, something that Draco both wanted and hated was even on the table.
It really was so much easier to just work with objects and not having to take other people into consideration, but Draco was also extremely fascinated by the case that Potter was presenting for him, that it seemed impossible to send him away. It meant having to work through his hatred of guests though and he was endlessly thankful that he had Coote around to help him out with the basics.
“I’m sure Coote is already working on your breakfast as we speak,” Draco stated, knowing that if he wasn’t already, he would be with that statement.
“Go right ahead with the Floo, powder is in the box on the mantle,” Draco added, nodding towards the kitchen fireplace, which held an ornate silver box on the mantle. While it was difficult to see from the dinette, it didn’t take a lot of imagination to know that the decorations were all snakes.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:30 am 

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There was some relief in realizing the kitchen fireplace was connected to the Floo; somewhere in the pit of his stomach it resolved some of the tension Harry still carried regarding the formal Mantle room of the Manor, relieved that there were ways to avoid it, still.
His eyes drifted, taking a moment to consider the order of proceedings, and whether or not the polite thing would be to wait for after breakfast.
Harry eventually did stand, taking the bundle of letters with him. If Kreacher would be arsed to immediately send them off by owl, they would arrive to their respective office before the first round of internal mail traffic increased at 9 o’clock. Harry, however, figured it was best to plan for the contrary, budgeting for the fact Kreacher just didn’t enjoy him all that much.
Pinching a portion of the powder, Harry chucked it into the fireplace, the flames turning green.
"12 Grimmauld Place," he said, the address making the fire crackle in response.
Unceremoniously, Harry tossed in the letters, too. He waited for the Network to disengage, the flames returning to red embers, before rubbing his fingers together to rid himself of the last lingering grains of the powder; it vanished at the friction with small green flicks of light.
"Let’s see how that works out," Harry breathed, if only to say something to fill the space. His back was still turned to Malfoy as he spoke, gingerly closing the powder box.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 3:57 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 simply watched Potter as he threw the letters into the fireplace, trying not to get stuck on how intimate it felt to see Potter use the kitchen floo, rather than the main floo. However, Draco also knew that the formal Mantle room also held a lot of bad memories, probably for the both of them, so it was definitely the better option to just use the kitchen floo.
Draco didn’t comment on Potter’s statement, focusing on drinking his tea and just allowing the silence to sink over the small kitchen.
Time had changed both of them remarkably much, Draco probably more than Potter, and it seemed impossible to believe that they both once had cared about petty things like school and quidditch. No such thing had mattered any to Draco since the war, having seen too much to be able to do much but keep working on something that he desperately thought was going to help.
“We’ll see,” he eventually settled on, finding that the silence was too intimate for their relation. He had no desire to grow closer to Potter and was eager to get him back out of his home again.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:21 am 

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_____________

Harry had spent the day in the kitchen, allowing Malfoy to retreat to the study without a comment. Harry had figured Malfoy would, in time, let him know if he were needed or wanted, and he understood they could both do with the space it allowed for. It had, however, been exasperatingly boring, constantly having to suppress the urges to go exploring in the Manor, wanting to at least offer Malfoy that courtesy. Instead, Harry had had a bucketful of milk tea.
It had been 4 hours by the time his ministry issue Tawny owl pecked at the kitchen window with the first few return envelopes. Harry had depended on Coote’s help to let her in, awkwardly aware of the Manor’s wards and careful not to activate any in the process of opening the window. Only an hour after that, the Floo lit green and another bundle of envelopes were tossed through, undoubtedly delivered to Grimmauld by owl and redirected by Kreacher. Along with the ministry envelopes was a rough note that said a chest with a change of clothes would arrive to the esteemed Malfoy Manor before nightfall. Harry credited that ingrained sense of awe in the house elf for the speedy reaction.
Every expected file in hand, Harry set about finding Malfoy. It was approaching lunch time, and Harry hoped that the timing would work in his favour, not too keen on interrupting Malfoy’s work anymore than necessary. Somewhere in the pit of his stomach, Harry figured the best way to avoid fostering a sense of animosity was to stay out of Malfoy’s way whenever possible.
He knocked on the study door regardless, finally feeling like he had something to offer Malfoy that warranted the interruption.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:44 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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Despite not having eaten breakfast for several years, Draco had still felt obligated to stay with Potter through breakfast, having little to no idea what Potter would consider a good host and what he would consider a bad host. Draco had even managed to eat an orange before retreating to his study, something that seemed to be a relief for the both of them and Draco was thankful that he wasn’t the only one of them to find their interactions painful and awkward.
Throughout the day, Draco had tried to replicate the results he had found in Potter, but in an object instead; however he also knew that there was no way that he would be able to conjure magic that dark and that powerful without setting something off at the ministry, and he could really do without more visitors to the manor at the current moment.
Once again, Draco had no concept for time as he worked, letting the hours fly by as he conferred with his notes, wanting to make sure that there wasn’t some link that he had missed somewhere.
It was only when he heard a firm knock on the door to his study that he was pulled out of his line of thought, fairly bothered to be disturbed while he was working. However, when he conferred with his clock, he realised that he had been in his study for several hours and that it probably was becoming time for lunch, another meal of the day that he rarely gave much thought.
“It’s open,” he stated, rubbing his temples as he looked at the notebooks and parchments sprawled out in front of him, some of them held down with antique looking objects.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:11 am 

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Harry opened the door, unsurprised to find Malfoy at his desk. It wasn’t immediately comforting, however, how quickly the other man appeared overworked. It suddenly made Harry doubt immensely that Malfoy had just woken up when he had joined Harry for breakfast.
"I’ve got some mail for you," Harry said, quickly wanting to justify his interruption. Even with the enchanted envelopes the ministry used to compact large files, Harry still held 5 in his hands, amounting to a considerable stack when he lifted them to his eyelevel.
He didn’t pause for any further invitation, shutting the door behind him and approaching Malfoy at the desk. His eyes had dipped, flipping through the envelopes to find the two that had arrived from Admin.
Harry offered them to Malfoy.
"A contract for consulting work on behalf of the DMLE, and the form for you to be added to payroll."
For a moment, there was a clear sense of muscle memory in Harry’s reaction, having to actively suppress the instinct to sit down in a visitor’s chair that wasn’t there. It really shouldn’t have surprised Harry that Malfoy hadn’t decorated his study for the purpose of entertaining.
It stalled Harry’s train of thoughts, instead making him glance around the room.
"May I?" he asked, referring to the armchair tucked away between two other workspaces.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:40 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 fact that Potter had already gotten answers probably shouldn’t be a surprise to Draco. It wasn’t like anyone at the ministry would want to deny their golden boy anything, yet Draco found it hard to harbour much resentment for the speed with which all the letters had arrived.
After all, it meant that Draco would be able to get more work done, finally having something that could potentially tie his notes together with things that was already known about Potter. There was likely to be some link that Potter hadn’t considered himself and Draco hoped that his research would be able to highlight something from the files.
The thing that left him stumped was Potter suddenly talking about contracts and consulting work, much less being paid for said consulting work. While Draco knew that Potter wasn’t in a place to ask for favours just for favours sake from him, he had never expected that he was going to get paid for it.
“Go ahead,” he said as he accepted the envelopes emblazoned with the logo for the ministry of magic. It was definitely official and Draco found it exceedingly hard to believe that Potter had convinced the department of mysteries that he had to get paid for his work, much less that he should appear on the official pay roll.
Once he opened the envelope, he immediately realised what the motivation behind the entire thing likely was, as the first thing that met him was a non-disclosure agreement.
“You know, you don’t have to pay me anything to stop me from blabbing,” he stated, feeling a little offended that Potter would find it necessary. Not that Potter had much reason to trust him, but he thouight that their tone together would at least be better than this.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:03 am 

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Harry called the armchair closer with a muttered, wandless accio, only turning his attention back to Malfoy when the chair started moving carefully through the workspace. It took Harry a moment to regather his thoughts enough on the content of the envelope, but as soon as he understood Malfoy’s offense, Harry grinned.
"That’s standard for any employee hired in the department, it allows me to show you classified files," Harry offered as context, sitting back into the armchair, barely checking its presence behind him. The ease of his posture, how he crossed his right ankle over left knee, showed little consideration to the implied breach of his own NDA when he had showed up at Malfoy’s doorstep a few days ago. "We’re not paying you hush-money, Malfoy, it’s a salaried position."
Harry hadn’t looked over the contract, the envelope per standard practice remaining unbreeched before handing it over to the new hire, but he had requested the terms himself. "It’s a flat rate of 22 galleons hourly, and an additional 18 galleons for each day I stay here, standard allowance that the Auror department allots for board and lodging."


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