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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:40 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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Another thing that helped Draco feel more at ease with the current visit was seeing how much more comfortable Harry was with Buchannan compared to Clarke. It made Draco feel less on guard, understanding why they would feel the need to check his wards thoroughly before sending any cursed artefacts his way. That had been his own reason for warding in the first place after all and it was a line of reasoning that he could respect.
“None, I specifically picked this room as a study due to its lack of other exits,” Draco explained, having given it a lot of thought before he started studying dark objects and dark magic in general.
It had been his biggest goal to not accidentally hurt anyone during his process, so he had to be certain that no dark magic would be able to leave the room.
“The only entrance is the one you just came in through.”

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:08 pm 

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Another solid answer, Paul could do little else but nod. It was refreshing to hear that Malfoy had had a sufficiently clear idea of the use of the room to influence its placement in the home, often finding that others didn’t have that foresight.
“Check 95, no,” he spoke to the quill, but did step away from the door to skirt the room, wanting to confirm it himself.
Wand drawn, the tip lit red as he traced the vertical seams of the back-to-back bookcases, examining the light for any distortion.
“What are these, walnut?” Paul commented as he started trailing the third bookcase, eyes not leaving his work despite speaking to Malfoy, interested in just how thoroughly he had furnished the room, given the span of his wards.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:48 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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“Acacia,” Draco stated promptly, having done a plethora of research into everything, right down to all of his furniture, before having made his study. In his research, he had learnt that acacia was unsuitable for wand making, due to it’s unyielding nature, and thus had come to the conclusion that it would be a good pick for his furniture in the study.
“Walnut picks up and remembers dark magic too easily and it risks bleeding into my artefacts or the rest of the room,” Draco added, even if he was absolutely certain that this was something that Buchannan knew and was likely just asking about to make sure that Draco knew as well.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 5:08 pm 

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Draco’s response made Buchannan’s eyes dart to Harry. Harry, who had failed to realize the question had been anything more than just polite conversation, raised his brows; in turn, his eyes found Draco, almost surprised.
Though Buchannan had yet to speak any praise, Harry had recognized the subtle acknowledgement visible in his gaze. Harry doubted he was nearly as discreet, a pleased smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, thrilled to witness Draco prove the value of his employment.
He bit the inside of his cheek to suppress it.

Despite having several other bookcases still to examine, Paul dispelled the exploratory spell, the red light extinguishing itself.
“Exactly,” he agreed, finding it inevitable to prevent a note of impressed acknowledgement from seeping into his tone. It was impossible that Draco Malfoy had been given access to a Ministry laboratory where the same standards had been implemented - to such an extent that workers carrying walnut wands were expelled - meaning Malfoy would have had to come by the information not by chance but through purposeful research. “Nicely considered.”


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 2:47 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 was careful not to let it get to his head, knowing that his research was sound was enough for him to feel well accomplished in what he had set out to do. While Buchannan wasn’t throwing praise about him, Draco could definitely tell that he was impressed and it made Draco’s heart swell, wanting so badly to be able to prove that he had merit in doing what he was doing.
“Thank you,” Draco stated, feeling himself standing taller every single time he managed to correctly answer one of Buchannan’s questions. “I am not interested in causing harm.”

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:02 am 

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Paul nodded; he could tell, though he didn’t say as much. When Potter had called him on the Floo and asked this favour of him, Paul had admittedly been weary at the thought - not necessarily because he believed Malfoy to be dangerous, but because of the immense trust Potter had had in him.
Reluctantly, Paul had to admit that that trust had probably been sustained over the course of a month and a half witnessing this exact quality of work.
“Anything else in the room you wish to declare?” he said as he looked around the room, a bland standard question as part of any inspection. He could have probably gone through every artefact cluttering the room, but after several hours of meticulous work, he had found nothing that warranted that level of suspicion.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 5:08 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 was such a new feeling to Draco to not be under constant suspicion of being up to no good that he could feel himself defending himself, even if Buchannan had done nothing to warrant him doing such a thing. It was simply muscle memory, acquired after several years of being under constant scrutiny and having to explain and defend every single thing he did.
“Nothing, I have already provided a list of every single item that I keep to mr Potter,” Draco explained, having seen it as a pure formality to even make such a list. However, he had also wanted to make sure that they had nothing on him, becoming a completely open book for them to read from.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 11:38 am 

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Buchannan once again turned towards Harry, clearly seeking some confirmation.
Harry had indeed received such a list when it had been decided that Draco’s study should be finely combed for potentially disruptive artefacts. He nodded.
“I’ll get you a copy before you leave,” he promised, well aware of the fact that he was unable to make such a duplicate; Buchannan would either receive the original or Harry would have to have Draco do it.

Satisfied, Paul’s attention returned onto Malfoy. “I think I’ve seen enough, then.”
Even glossing over some of the repetitions for every piece of furniture, they had gone through about twenty distinct itemizations, and he felt sufficiently certain that Malfoy hadn’t suddenly compromised the quality of his work.
“Will you show me the cellar?” he prompted, finally able to take Malfoy up on the offer. “I don’t need to see it all, only the wards put in place beneath this room in particular.”


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:52 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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Feeling more than a little pleased with himself, Draco nodded at Buchannan’s question, knowing that he wasn’t going to find anything to put a finger on down there either. It seemed that Buchannan was aware of that as well, mostly going through the motions and getting the answers that he needed for his form.
“Of course, follow me,” Draco stated, unable to stop himself from glancing over at Harry, wanting to make sure that he was seeing this as well.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 1:33 pm 

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Having spent close to two months at the Manor, Harry hadn’t expected to be caught off guard by any lingering haunts of the war. Stepping down the stairs into the cellars was distinctly different than moving around the ground floor, the ingrained discomfort making the hairs on Harry’s neck stand, more so than the cool air of the subterranean floor.
While still not an active part of the conversation, Harry was considerably less leisurely about it all, hands in the pockets of his trousers to keep himself from fidgeting about.

Paul had been pacing the area, eyes to the ceiling. The wards in place here were even more palpable than the ones on the walls of the study, feeling the pressure shift, becoming lighter, if he stepped away from the area altogether.
When he paused, he did so roughly below the centre of Malfoy’s study, twirling his wand as he took a moment to consider the feeling of the magic suspended in the bricks above him.
Then, he scuffed his shoes against the floor, the sudden sound seeming to startle Potter, seeing him flinch in the corner of his eye.
“The wards in the foundation,” he started. It wasn’t a question, not needing Malfoy to confirm that there was another ward radiating from below. “Are they yours or is that from the build of the house?”


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 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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Draco wasn’t blind to the sudden change in Harry’s demeanour, even if he wasn’t a part of the direct conversation, Draco was still painfully aware of his presence at all times. However, it didn’t feel like the time to ask about him right in that second, so he simply reminded himself to ask him about it later.
“Both,” Draco stated, attention back on Buchannan as he spoke. The manor was so old that it had a lot of preexisting wards when it became Draco’s, however, they had also not been very well maintained, so Draco had had to start over and make a lot of new ones.
“Most are mine though, the preexisting wards were outdated and poorly maintained,” Draco explained.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 2:38 pm 

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“What compelled you to ward the foundation?” Paul asked, his tone one of curiosity rather than one of disapproval as his eyes found Malfoy.
Wards going this deep into the foundation and subterrain was certainly not necessary for any of the dark artefacts Malfoy was likely to have gotten access to himself, but perfectly appropriate for the objects Potter had requested to be pulled from containment. Had they not already existed, Paul might have insisted that they were installed, but they couldn't have been needed for the work Malfoy had carried out so far.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:00 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 was uncertain how exactly to answer the question, knowing that it had mostly been driven by the fact that he had been alone and hadn’t had a lot of things to do. Rather than allowing himself to wallow in self pity, Draco had decided to master his craft, and that included experimenting with wards.
“The wards I wanted to do for the ceiling was incompatible with the assignment, so I simply decided to place them on the foundation,” Draco stated, unsure what the reaction to his honesty was going to be, but he kept figuring that honest was his best tool.
“I have had a lot of time to experiment.”

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:30 pm 

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Despite being a completely valid reason to do anything, Paul still seemed to be taken aback. The wards weren’t easy stuff to master, so despite the nonchalance of Malfoy’s reply, Paul knew that just wanting to had to have translated to weeks of intensive research, practice and work.
His eyebrows simply quirked, impressed and unable to fault Malfoy for it.
“Well, everything seems up to code,” he said, and even then he spoke of Ministry grade warding; Malfoy’s wards far surpassed anything Paul had ever seen in a private home.
He turned, waving the enchanted quill closer to dispel its task. “I have some questions regarding your Floo connexion, but otherwise we should be set for today.”


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:16 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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Feeling more at ease than he had for a very long time, Draco felt willing to show Buchannan anything that he asked to see, just wanting to prove that he was worthy of trust and that he was good at what he did. It seemed that Buchannan knew this as well and this really helped in making Draco want to show him more and tell him more.
“That’s no problem,” Draco stated, back straightened and a professional tone in his voice. He had everything to prove after all.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 6:20 am 

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Paul picked the quill and parchment out of the air, expertly rolling the report together.
“We can discuss it on the way out, it’s nothing major,” he clarified, taking a step back towards the stairs.
While Malfoy seemed to be just as alert as he had been throughout the visit, Paul himself had considered this the end of the formalities, his tone of voice much more conversational.
“How many fireplaces do you have connected to the Network?”

As soon as Buchannan shifted to leave, so did Harry, happy to finish up upstairs. There was such a feeling of dreadful anticipation about the space that Harry knew wouldn’t ever culminate to anything - not like last time, at least.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 1:45 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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“Two,” Draco answered Buchannan, allowing him to take the lead back upstairs, such that he could allow himself to reach out and touch Harry. It was a stolen touch, Draco only just grabbing a quick hold of Harry’s wrist, brushing his fingers against the more sensitive skin of the wrist as they made eye contact.
He didn’t feel like he could really speak out loud, but he hoped that Harry would understand that he was asking him if he was alright.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 2:29 pm 

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The sudden touch all but startled Harry, his mind having been somewhere completely different. When he turned to place it in the present rather than in the past, the gentle concern on Draco’s face made Harry’s heart jump, having not expected it.
He turned his hand in Draco’s grip, returning the touch where he could reach to place it; Harry’s fingers curled around Draco’s forearm, giving it a reassuring little squeeze.
He nodded a little confirmation, before removing his hand entirely. Instead, it found the small of Draco’s back, urging him to be the one to follow Buchannan.
“You’re doing great,” he encouraged under his breath, his thoughts finally coherent enough to allow a budding smile to pull at his lips.

“Which one’s the closest to your study?” Buchannan asked from the highest most steps of the stairs.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 3:19 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 no way that Harry had squeezed very hard, yet it took everything in Draco to stop himself from yanking his arm away from the touch; a sudden stabbing pain paralysing his entire arm, which disappeared the second that Harry removed his hand. The sensation made Draco’s head spin, but uncertain what it is what about, he didn’t want to alarm neither Harry nor Buchannan.
“Kitchen,” Draco managed, slightly out of breath, as he finally ascended the stairs, comforted by the soft touch to the small of his back.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 5:15 pm 

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It had taken another bit of bureaucratic back and forth to figure out the practical unloading of the items. Buchannan had seemed satisfied with everything he had seen, and though he had seemed to praise the fact that Draco’s study did not have a fireplace as a security measure, it would require Ministry personnel to bring the objects from the kitchen to the study.
The three of them had spent another while standing in front of the fireplace, Buchannan holding the Floo powder in his hand for most of it, ready to go but eternally seeming to think of another curiosity or detail to run past Draco, appearing happy to chat about the different security measures.
Harry hadn’t minded how the conversation had passed him by, much more at ease upstairs than he had been in the cellar.
When Buchannan finally took his leave, he did so with a good spirited promise to get back to Harry as soon as he had finalized the report. Harry had offered him his gratitude, before the fire flashed green with his departure and the two of them had once again been left alone.


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