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Posted: Aug 24 2007, 01:13 AM
Group: Slytherin *
Member No.: 19
Joined: 15-November 04
(This is a storyline I'm playing on another board. I only have two of the characters I need to tell the story so I decided to post it here as I work through it. Hopefully, I'll get what I need. If not, I'll just change my plot.
So, I present a story of stupidity, angst, love triangles and angst.)
I'll Stand By You
It had started out as a crap day. First, it was raining. Granted, Harry lived in London and it always rained, but today was different. The rain had an odd taste to it. Not that you would drink London rainwater. It was just that, when you were exposed to it for too long, an acidic-metallic-sour-rotten-eggy taste would settle in the back of your mouth. It was rancid. At most, you could brush your teeth and scrub your tongue and hope you didn’t offend when you spoke.
At most, if you weren’t a Muggle or Muggle-born.
They were becoming sick. So sick that the Muggle hospitals were over filled and Saint Mungoes wasn’t much better with the Muggle-borns.
The Ministry had contacted the Muggle Prime Minister and they were working together to see if it could possibly be environmental. Kingsley Shacklebolt, current Minister for Magic, allowed the PM to believe that, in fact, it was environmental. Unfortunately, that morning’s meeting spoke a different tale.
“So, Potter,” Shacklebolt said, looking down the bridge of his nose. Harry hated when he did that. He’d offer them all seats and then walk around them, almost reminiscent of Snape. “The last mission I sent you on, three men were hurt, severely. You almost caught the perpetrator to bring in for questioning, but instead you pushed your partner into a trash bin and then you tackled the perp to the ground and beat his head into the pavement until he lost consciousness. Is this correct?”
“Yes, sir,” he began, “but he had pulled a knife out and was threatening to cut someone. I had to do something. Cr-Crys Cryssol- whatever his name is, he got in my way and almost got stabbed. And I didn’t beat Jackman’s head into the pavement. His head hit the pavement when I hit him.”
Harry looked confused. “Excuse me, sir?”
“Chrysanthemum. Your partner, or should I say, your former partner. Ajax Chrysanthemum.” Shacklebolt sat on the edge of his desk and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Former? But you said-” Harry began.
“Yes, I said that if you scared off another partner you would be out of this department and working a desk job for all eternity. Potter, despite the fact that you may have once been the Boy-Who-Lived, you are now an Auror under my employ. Your own department head doesn’t even wish to deal with you. Your violent outbursts and unstable behaviour has made you a bane on this Ministry. I hate to say it but you are a loose canon.” The Minister offered Harry nothing in the way of commiseration.
Standing up, Harry said, “But sir, if you just give me one more chance, I promise I’ll try to remain in control. It is just that, once I get my mind on an objective…well…I just…”
At that moment, there was a soft knock on the door and it opened.
Shacklebolt looked up to see the new entry. His expression did nothing to reveal who may be standing at the door. Instead, he said, “Come in, Mr. Malfoy. I’ve been waiting for you.”
Draco’s day had started out horribly. It was raining. As usual, the rain did horrendous things to his hair and this always put him in a foul mood. Pansy would just tell him to wear a hat, but she never quite understood the Malfoy Family Code of Conduct. Rule #42 clearly states that no Malfoy should wear any form of head gear, unless it is for a higher calling or evil deed-doing. Which meant, cloak hoods were all right, as long as they were part of your job or part of your pasttime if and only if you were some form of clergy or a Death Eater. And surely, Draco couldn’t wear his former Death Eater robes to work. People questioned the Ministry’s sanity for allowing him to become an Auror already, let alone if he arrived in full Death Eater garb. Though, he would have loved to see the look on Potter’s face if he did.
So, needless to say, no hat, wet hair.
He hated his hair wet and in his eyes. He tried to sneak off to go dry it, but an urgent meeting with Kingsley Shacklebolt called him away from the mirror.
This didn’t bode well. If Shacklebolt had called him it could only mean he was in trouble. Which would stand to reason, considering his last assignment.
He knocked on the door and was shocked to see Potter in the room.
“Come in, Mr. Malfoy. I’ve been waiting for you,” Shacklebolt said and Draco shuddered. Draco thought the man had dead eyes. They utterly creeped him out. “Late again, I see. What was it this time? Muggle transport was late? Or did your hairdresser take a vacation? From the look of it, I’d say the latter.”
Draco knew he was only trying to egg him on, so instead he flashed is winning Malfoy smile and took a seat.
“Potter, sit. Let us get to the point of this meeting.” Shacklebolt walked to his seat behind his desk and sat. Potter sat as well, though he seemed to be having some sort of fit, or something, as his eyes were wild and large and he was wringing his hands together. Perhaps, Draco thought, Potter had finally gone off the edge and Draco was getting all his case-work. That would be fine with him, as Potter seemed to get the more interesting jobs. Draco usually got crap, or the assignments no one wanted for fear of death.
It didn’t pay, being a former Death Eater.
Shacklebolt pulled two thick files from a drawer within his desk.
“These are your files. These are the complaints against you, the citations that have been written up on you and every psych evaluation you’ve ever had. Gentlemen, your future careers as aurors do not look to healthy. I’d say that they are rather poorly and I’d sooner bet on a snowballs chance in hell then seeing either one of you celebrating your tenth anniversary as an auror.”
Draco thought that was rather harsh.
The Minister opened the thicker of the two files and began to skim it. “Now, seeing as I’ve already given Mr. Potter his breakdown, here is yours Mr. Malfoy. Last month you were placed on the assignment of catching and removing a sea serpent from the coastal town of Chirping Willow. Said creature was destroying boats, killing wizards and scaring away the local fish. You and three others were set to coarse to take care of this. It should have been simple and routine.” He closed the file.
“I was,” Draco said, simply.
Shacklebolt frowned. “It was? You are telling me that creating an elaborate plan using popsicle sticks, paste and a spoon is routine? You are saying that three men being attacked and having to spend a month in Saint Mungoes is simple? Why is it that you weren’t hurt, Mr. Malfoy?”
Draco mumbled something under his breath.
“What was that, Mr. Malfoy?”
Draco glared at Shacklebolt and said, “Because I can’t swim.” He shot Potter a look, almost daring him to laugh. But Potter seemed involved with his own inner turmoil.
“Because you can’t swim,” the Minister said. “Well, that is lovely. When did you plan on telling the Ministry this tidbit of information?”
“I didn’t think it was relevant.”
“You didn’t think it was relevant?” Shacklebolt seemed to be trying his hardest to not kill the two men who sat before him. Malfoy first.
“I have honestly had it with the pair of you. I do not go a single day without hearing stories or getting reports of your antics or wild behaviour. Potter destroying an office. Malfoy, guarding the coffee pot and growling at anyone who comes near it. Potter jumping off the roof of a building and barely making it to the next while chasing a perp. Malfoy almost getting shot by a Muggle after he apparated in the middle of the man’s living room.”
“Yes, but it was the only safe place to apparate…”
“It doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that you are both on the verge of finding your sorry arses in queue at the unemployment offices. Not that either of you need the money, which is why I don’t really understand why you are even working in the first place.”
“It isn’t about the money,” both men shouted. They seemed as startled as Shacklebolt at their shared words. Potter gave Draco on odd and searching expression before Shacklebolt interrupted.
“Regardless, you are both dangerous and I cannot continue to put other aurors in danger.” He paused to open a third file that he pulled out of the same drawer. It was much, much thinner.
“But sir, you can’t fire me,” Potter began, “Remember what happened the last time I wasn’t working.” His green eyes seemed to be pleading with Shacklebolt. Draco didn’t know what happened last time, but rumour had it that Potter had a nervous breakdown and was singing showtoons in a padded room next to Gilderoy Lockheart over in Saint Mungoes.
With a deep breath, Shacklebolt finally said, “I’m not firing you. Instead, I’m making you both partners. At least if you kill anyone, it will most likely be the other and I’ll have one less to deal with.”
“Partners? With him?” Draco said, shooting out of his seat with outrage. “Are you mad? He’s already tried to kill me. Multiple times. Are you mad?”
“I think the sheer fact that you are both remaining employed as aurors proves that I’m mad. Now sit down, Mr. Malfoy so I can give you your assignment.” He pointed from Draco to the chair behind Draco.
Potter remained unnervingly silent.
Clearing his throat, Shacklebolt said, “I want you to investigate this odd rain we’re having.”
This seemed to wake Potter up. “Rain? It isn’t like we’re weathermen. What does rain have to do with us?”
“Yeah,” Draco added, lamely. But Potter seemed to have covered his thoughts exactly.
Shacklebolt gave them both an odd look. “People are becoming sick. Some of my aurors are even becoming ill. There is something odd about this rain. It seems to be stationary over London at the moment but the Muggle meteorologists seem to believe it is spreading and heading North.” He paused to look at them. “I know we live in London, but haven’t either one of you noticed that is has been raining for almost a month?”
The pair seemed to look confused.
“I’ll take that as a no. It seems that the Muggles are becoming very ill. They believe it is some sort of epidemic. Other countries are beginning to ban British flights and travel to the U.K. Muggle-borns are becoming ill as well, Saint Mungoes is packed full. We need to find out what is in this rain and who is causing it. Malfoy, you had the highest grades in Potions, both in Hogwarts and in Auror training. Potter, you have the best tracking skills I’ve seen in years. Between the two of you and your vast networks of resources, I expect you to both do well.” He closed the third folder and looked at them both, squarely. “Or kill each other in the process. Either way, make sure you finish the assignment first. You are dismissed.”
Draco blinked. Potter seemed to startle. They were being dismissed and they weren’t sure what had just happened. Shacklebolt pushed the third folder toward them and they both stared at it. Draco wanted to grab it, but he knew Potter would flip out. Potter seemed unsure of what to do. It figured.
“Well one of you take the bloody thing and get out of my office,” the Minister shouted and Potter grabbed the folder and turned to leave. Draco glared at him, but Potter didn’t seem to notice. They left and made their way back to the Auror Department and to their newly incorporated office.
Harry was shocked by Shacklebolt’s news. Unfortunately for Malfoy, his shock had turned to irrational anger by the time they’d reached their office.
Slamming the folder onto the desk, Harry immediately began to rant. “What the hell? What the bloody hell was that all about?” He threw himself into his chair.
“Obviously, it was about your horrid behaviour. Perhaps, if you slammed a little less and smiled a little more, he may cut you some slack,” Malfoy said, picking up the folder and scanning it.
Harry focused his eyes on Malfoy, as if just noticing him in the room. “Why you? Why not anyone else on this bloody planet?”
Malfoy looked offended. “Oh, and you think that you are my idea of a dream partner? Get over yourself, Potter. We’re stuck together or we’re out on our collective arses. Honestly, I need this job.”
Harry gave him a searching look. “You need this job? What happened to your huge Malfoy fortune?”
Malfoy closed the folder and pushed it away from him. His silver eyes were molten with unhidden hatred. “For your information, Potter, father is in Azkaban. The Ministry was so kind as to claim all my ‘fortune’ and give me an allowance to live by. If not for your beloved Dumbledore and his offer to protect me, I would probably be just as dead as my mother. They wouldn’t even give me the benefit of having a funeral for her. So, before you begin on your usual journey of self-pity, I suggest that you shut the bloody hell up and let us get started on this assignment before I strangle you and I end up like my father.” He leaned back in his seat and resumed his perusal of the file.
Harry sat stunned for a moment. He was used to Malfoy’s usual rants, but he wasn’t used to them making so much sense. He remembered the night on the tower, the night when Dumbledore almost died. He remembered the offer the old wizard had given Malfoy and he remembered Malfoy’s acceptance. They escaped before anything could happen. Unfortunately, they never did get to Narcissa Malfoy fast enough. Harry heard that she was torn to bits by werewolves, though some believe that Voldemort himself had personally seen to her destruction. Either way, the rumours weren’t pretty. He couldn’t deny that Malfoy truly did need this job. He had proven time after time that he was no longer apart of the Death Eaters.
Harry had been witness to the day Malfoy had turned his back on the Dark Lord.
It was the day he’d heard of his mother’s passing. They were all huddled in the Great Hall, trying to recuperate from the battle the night before. Harry was pretending he hadn’t overheard the conversation between Dumbledore and Malfoy, when a raven flew through the room and landed before the pale blonde.
The whole room seemed to hold its collective breath. Raven’s were only used to deliver death notices.
Malfoy only stared at it in disbelief. Parkinson sat beside him and seemed to know as well, seeing as how she was trying to console him. Malfoy suddenly stood up and turned to face Dumbledore. He pointed a pale finger at the man and in a deadly voice croaked out the words, “You promised.”
Dumbledore remained silent, only bowing his head.
He turned to Snape and in that same voice said, “Tell Him I am no longer His. From this moment on, this Mark,” he pulled up his sleeve, exposing the Dark Mark that burned on his forearm. “This Mark means nothing to me as my mother meant nothing to him. From this moment on, I will not rest until He is dead.”
Harry would never forget that scene, nor would he forget the feeling of remorse and sadness that he felt for Malfoy. Unfortunately, it didn’t change the fact that he hated the blonde and still did.
But the berk was right, they needed this job.
He took a deep breath and said, “What does the file say?”
Malfoy looked at him from over the edge of the folder, his eyes scrutinizing Harry, searching for sincerity. “It says that someone has poisoned the sky with a potion that is making Muggles and Mudbl- Muggleborns sick. I can work on reverse engineering the potion from a sample of the rain, but I’m going to need help.”
“But I’m crap at potions, you know that.” Malfoy only gave him a long-suffering look. “But I can find someone to help you,” Harry offered lamely.
“Granger,” was Malfoy’s one word answer.
“Are you deaf as well as angry?”
“I heard you, I just don’t know what Hermione has to do with anything,” Harry said, obviously puzzled.
Malfoy rubbed his eyes and sighed. “You said you would bring me someone to help. I want Granger. She is the only other person, besides Snape, that is aces at potions. I’d ask Snape but it isn’t as though the Ministry likes him anymore than the like me. But Granger is liked and respected. This way, if we come to the same conclusions, they will most likely agree with us.”
Understanding began to dawn on Harry. Unfortunately, his mouth hadn’t caught up. “But she hates you.”
Again, Malfoy sighed. “I know this. I don’t exactly wish for her to bear my bushy haired progeny, but we work for the same establishment and she is all about the better good, is she not?”
“Yes, but-” Harry began.
“You did say you could bring me anyone I wished. I wish for Granger. Now drag your sorry excuse for a person down to the Department of Mysteries and knock on Miss Granger’s door and tell her to get her big, bushy brains up her and help me.”
Harry stood up but paused. “Only if you stop calling her names and you talk to her like a person.”
Malfoy had already begun to read the file once more. He waved his hand dismissingly. “Yes, yes. I’ll stop calling her a person and talk to her like a name.”
Harry rolled his eyes as he left the office and made his way down to the Department of Mysteries.
To Be Continued...