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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2023 4:39 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 could definitely understand the accusation, he still found it to be deeply hurtful. It had been exactly what Buchannan had warned him about and right in that very moment, he couldn’t help but wish that he would have listened to his warning those many weeks ago.
The way that Hannah was looking at him made his stomach churn, feeling awful that her opinion of him could change so radically so quickly. In a way, it had been what he had always expected from coming out and being around people again, but it was absolutely devastating to actually see it happen in real time.
“That’s not what it is,” he stated, a feeble attempt at defending himself. He knew that no matter what he told her, Hannah was never going to believe that that wasn’t how he got the job in the ministry.
“He came to me in a professional capacity first,” he tried to explain but he honestly had no idea how to even explain the way their relationship had ended up the way that it was. There was no way to explain how Harry had served as a relief for the searing loneliness that he had carried with him for years and how that seemed impossible to give up, now that he knew how it felt to be desired like that.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2023 4:29 pm 

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“Have you lost your mind?” Hannah snapped with such a force she leaned forward once more. Her patience had run dry at the sound of Draco’s poor attempts at a defence, continuing to hear him dance around the point.
Glaring at him, her expression had once again ignited with anger, horrified by how earnestly Draco wanted to think the best of Potter and the Ministry.
“Do you really think you would’ve gotten a seat at the table if it wasn’t for him?”


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2023 3:46 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 words are harsh but unfortunately not untrue.
They are nothing that Draco hasn’t thought to himself, ever since he started doing direct work with the ministry, and it was something that absolutely ate at him. He desperately wanted to have gotten in there on his own merit, but he was painfully aware of the fact that that particular door would have never opened for him, had it not been for Harry opening it for him.
It had been something that he had used to comfort himself in his relation with Harry at times, but now it just made his stomach churn.
“Of course I wouldn’t,” Draco snapped, knowing full well just how much he owed to Harry believing in him, however he didn’t know how to explain their relationship to Hannah, nor did he know if he should even attempt to do so.
“The ministry barely tolerates me as is, of course I would have never gotten to as much as set foot in here, had it not been for him.”

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2023 1:37 am 

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“The ministry does not tolerate you, they adore him,” Hannah quickly corrected, little remorse in having to be the one to shatter Draco’s expectations. The ministry barely tolerated her and she hadn’t done anything to warrant that suspicion; the fact that Draco had even been entertained as a consultant was a ludicrous display of Potter’s influence in any and every part of the department.
“I like having you you at the table, Draco. So does Paul, but you’re blind if you don’t realise just how many people are looking for even the most minor reason to fire you,” she said, and in the way her eyes skimmed across Draco’s features, there was a moment of a sorry sympathy.
“And you’ve willingly given them a major one.”


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2023 2:01 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 wasn’t news to Draco, obviously it wasn’t, Buchannan had told him the very same things only weeks earlier, however hearing it put that bluntly from Hannah just hit him differently.
It made him feel sick to his stomach, knowing just how much joy he got from having Harry around, but there also was no denying just how much he had enjoyed getting to actually work. He liked feeling like all the research he had done for so many years was finally being put to use, finding comfort in the fact that it clearly hadn’t been a total waste.
He had no idea how to put that into words for Hannah though, unsure how to explain to her just how difficult it was for him to let Harry go, even if he knew beyond any doubt that it was a bad idea.
“I’m not an idiot,” he stated and he knew he wasn’t, even if all the evidence definitely showed contrary. He just needed Hannah to know that he wasn’t unaware of his situation, no matter how stupid he looked.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2023 2:48 pm 

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Somewhere in Draco’s visible misery Hannah’s anger subsided into pity, and against all instincts she let out a huffed little chuckle, deflating some of the tension of the room. She wasn’t sure she agreed.
“You’re an idiot, but Potter’s the bastard who should get fired,” she instead settled on, the frustration audible in her voice no longer directed at Draco.
Once again, she slumped back in her chair, a subtle display of defeat in her mannerisms as she crossed her arms. “It's an abuse of power from a superior officer, and Robards couldn’t care less. He certainly hasn’t cared before.”


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2023 3:39 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 though Harry had never said, nor alluded, to anything about his sex life prior to sleeping with Draco, he couldn’t find it in himself to be surprised by Hannah’s comment. It still hurt him though, suddenly properly realising just how much of an idiot he had been.
Of course he hadn’t been the first coworker that Harry had slept with and he doubted that he was going to be the last, and now he couldn’t help but feel like an absolute fool for it.
“I can’t regret what I have done because I never would have gotten a foot in without it, but I definitely see your point,” he stated, throat closing up slightly by the end of his statement.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2023 4:32 pm 

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Hannah’s anger had slowly subsided when it became apparent that Draco harboured no real defences. It left her lips parted, so much more frustrations she felt like airing into thin air, much of those far bigger than Draco himself; as he sat in front of him, he seemed young and small and miserable.
“Don’t jeopardise it, then,” she pleaded, her voice as kind as it allowed her.
Silence had fallen at that, neither of them seeming to have anything more to add, and although the pressure between them had eased, it wasn’t entirely gone, loaded with what they both suddenly knew.
Hannah almost jumped when the door to the workspace opened without much pretence a few hours later.
“Hey, Draco,” Paul called through the open doorway, hand still on the doorknob. “Do you have a moment?”


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2023 3:53 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 was almost a relief to Draco when Paul came into their workspace, saving him from further dwelling on his relationship, if you could even call it that, with Harry. He knew that he was going to have to make a decision sooner rather than later, but for now he would just really like to get to focus on his work.
“Sure, what’s up?” Draco said, trying to shake his former conversation off of him, not wanting to seem to rattled around his boss. After all, Paul had already warned him about being engaged in a physical relationship with Harry and Draco really wasn’t in the mood to have both him and Hannah gang up on him over it.
After all, even if he knew that the proper choice would be to stop what he and Harry had going on, he was also painfully aware of the fact that it wasn’t that simple; not anymore.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2023 12:42 pm 

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Paul had arrived good humoured enough to miss the worried flash that ran across Hannah's expression, even as he turned towards her with the barely-there smile of two sharing the same secret.
“They have time to get you fitted for a uniform,” he said offhandedly as his attention returned onto Draco. It was, however, inevitable that a smile settled in his gaze, happy on Draco’s behalf to experience that the DMLE had stopped dragging its feet with getting him settled in his position, finally.
“If you want one.”


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2023 3:49 pm 

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

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_______
The rest of the day had passed without any further drama, Hannah clearly done with talking about it, and it had left Draco to ponder about his situation. He knew what he should do, what would be the right thing to do, however he was also far too aware of just how deep his feelings for Harry were.
It was a going to hurt, that much he already knew, but maybe it was going to be a relief to Harry in the end. After all, Draco doubted that Harry had any interest in making their relationship anything other than what it was, so maybe it would be a relief to be allowed to move on like that.
He sighed deeply at the notes sprawled out in front of him, having tried to look up something that he had discussed with Paul earlier, but he found that he had precious little focus.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2023 4:48 pm 

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Stepping out of the fireplace in Draco’s kitchen and finding it empty no longer managed to shake Harry, having grown tentatively accustomed to being in the Manor alone; there was a strange new domesticity in that pause where Harry simply took off his coat, already settling into the prospect of having to wait for Draco to come back from work. Harry had quickly found that Draco’s working hours had become no less odd by working in the Ministry.
It was all the more thrilling when Coote announced Draco’s presence in the study, the notion making Harry’s heart jump in a way that was becoming all too familiar.
This weekend in particular had been good to Harry, feeling more at ease in life than he thought would ever be afforded him, and so, he inevitably left the kitchen in search for the root cause of that ease.
Knocking on the study door, more an old habit than out of necessity, brought every feeling to the surface. Harry was already smiling when he opened the door, giddy at the mere anticipation of Draco.
“Doing overtime?” he greeted from the doorway.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2023 2:37 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 had been spending less and less time in his study with all the work he was doing at the ministry, he still found himself pulled completely out of time whenever he entered. He hadn’t even noticed how late it was getting until he heard the soft knock on his door followed by that voice he knew so well.
It was purely instinctual, the smile appearing on his lips before he had even looked up to confirm that it was indeed Harry standing in the door. It made his stomach churn, knowing exactly what he had to do but also desperately unwilling to do so.
“Hey you,” he said with a soft smile, trying to delay the inevitable for at least a little while longer.
“Paul and I were discussing something about auras around dark objects earlier and I was certain that I had something in my notes on that, but I forget when I wrote it down.”

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:54 pm 

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Finding that it only took Draco looking up at him for a thrill to run down Harry’s spine, it felt impossible not to be drawn to him, both emotionally and physically.
“Yeah?” he invited, crossing the room. While Harry had settled in the armchair when they were utilising the room more regularly, tonight he circled the desk, keen to bridge the distance between them.
Settling with his thighs resting against the edge of the table, as close to Draco as possible, Harry cast a distracted little glance towards Draco’s work as he crossed his arms over his chest, not really looking at the notes.
A smile continued to play at the corner of his mouth, widening when his attention returned onto Draco, entirely. “Are you going to keep looking for it, or could you be convinced to call it a night?”


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2023 6:14 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 wanted nothing more than to indulge that grin on Harry’s lips, wanting to let himself be convinced to call it a night and enjoy said night together with him. He knew far too well what said night was likely to entail and he was desperate to fall back into that and forget everything about what Hannah and Paul had said to him.
“We need to talk,” he found himself saying, the words tumbling out of his mouth with very little finesse, knowing that he had to rush them out before losing his nerve. However, now that the words were out, he desperately wished that he could take them back, a knot forming in his stomach as he looked at Harry, realising that this really was it.
When he had decided that he had to do this immediately, he hadn’t really taken the time to consider the fact that that would also mean that he would no longer get to come home to Harry; instead now having to get reacquainted with being alone in the manor. It made him sick.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2023 6:30 am 

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Harry’s face fell at that. He wanted to believe that he had seen the conflict in Draco’s mannerism the moment he entered the room, but he hadn’t, too caught up in this being as easy as every night that preceded it. It suddenly wasn’t, and Harry felt blind sided, tension creeping up his spine with unease.
Although struck with the urge to stand, Harry never did, instead awkwardly shuffling his seat, straightening his back and once again casting a glance towards Draco’s work. This time, the glance was anything but aimless. Harry caught himself hoping Draco had made a new finding, and that the talk Draco wanted to have with him was about his own mortality. It likely wouldn’t be.
“Alright,” he floundered with little infliction as his eyes returned onto Draco, because what else could one reply to that other than to let it happen?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2023 2:04 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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Seeing the smile immediately fall away from Harry’s face made Draco’s stomach drop as well, knowing that was he was about to do wasn’t going to make it easier, but Merlin how he wished that he wouldn’t have to. He wanted to tell Harry that he had been kidding or even just come up with some nonsense he could possibly want to talk about.
However, they both knew that this couldn’t keep going, Draco could see it on Harry’s face that he knew as well, so there really was no way around it.
“We can’t keep doing this,” he found himself saying, woefully unprepared on what to actually say to Harry.
It wasn’t a breakup, they didn’t have enough of an established relationship for that, but Draco still felt like he was being torn apart by what he knew he had to do.
“Look,” he started, feeling like he had to explain himself somehow, because he enjoyed spending time together with Harry so much that he wasn’t sure how to go without him. Looking at him made all those thoughts muddle together in his head, unsure where one starter and the other ended.
It was hell.
“I like you, I like this,” he explained, unsure what to actually say that would make this easier to explain.
“And I appreciate what you have done for me,” he continued, “but people at the ministry are looking for any reason to throw me right back out and I can’t afford to give them such an obvious one.”

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2023 2:52 pm 

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Harry would’ve rather that Draco had told him he was dying. He couldn’t pinpoint the moment he had stopped second guessing their relationship, but he knew it was his own mistake for having gotten this comfortable in it, realising now that it had been misconstrued.
“Right,” he said, his voice shallow. Draco’s every addition feeling more painful than the previous; on Harry’s end, like didn’t even begin to cover it. “I get that.”
Harry paused as though he was thinking, but really, his mind had gone blank. No matter the searing sense of loss that ached through his bones, it didn’t ever translate to a fight to keep Draco in his life. It never could have, not when Draco wasn’t asking but telling him.
“Of course you shouldn’t do anything to jeopardise your job,” he added, trying to refocus his gaze on Draco. Above all, Harry agreed with the sentiment; of course Draco seeing that opportunity through was far more important than this could ever be.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2023 2:57 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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Draco would honestly rather have Harry get mad at him, scold him him or at least in some way indicate to him that this was something he was upset about.
However, deep down, Draco knew that this had always been about convenience and it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to him that that meant Harry easily accepting that it was over. It still made him feel sick to his stomach though, knowing just how intense the feelings he had for Harry were and now he had no idea where to put those.
“I have to make the most of this,” he found himself saying, his voice soft, having been prepared to explain himself even further, but now he had all of these defences that simply weren’t needed.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2023 3:36 pm 

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Looking at Draco, there was something inevitably bittersweet about his phrasing. Harry wanted the same grace to be afforded their relationship, but realistically, they had already drained it for everything it was worth and more; it was never supposed to stick the way it had, realising he had grown greedy with it.
It didn’t reach his eyes, but Harry smiled nonetheless. “You should.”
Having spent the majority of his year in this very room, with Draco here at his desk, it took a long moment to realise he had finally overstayed his welcome. It crept up his throat as an unsettled nausea, forcing him to take a slow and deliberate inhale, eyes turning away from Draco; it didn't help that there, in a diagonal behind Draco, was the desk he had offered Harry to work at, ministry folders still cluttering it.
Suddenly, Harry was struck with a feeling that he didn’t know where he fit in his own life any more, if it wasn’t in reference to Draco.
“I better go, then, yeah?” he said, eyes still at the half-abandoned desk. He uncrossed his arms, hands gripping the edge of the table, though he never pushed himself off it, not sure if he could bear it just yet.


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