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Draco paced in front of the fireplace, his hands behind his back. With each step he took, his face grew more crimson.
"I presume those documents have not arrived yet," Lucius began.
Draco scowled. "No, they have not."
Lucius shifted until most of his weight was on his cane. "I'm sure they will come soon enough."
Draco approached his father. "I know they will arrive soon, but for the love of Merlin I wish I didn't have to sit in front of a fireplace and wait for them to be hand delivered to me."
"That is the drawback of doing business with New York," Lucius noted.
"There has to be a better way than this," Draco muttered.
Lucius clacked his cane against the ground. "According to you, there might be."
The flames erupted behind Draco. He raced over to the fireplace. "Hello."
Draco's expression softened. "Hello Carina. What do you need?"
"I was wondering if Grandpa Lucius was with you," Carina replied.
"I am here," Lucius called.
"Good," Carina replied. "I need to speak with you."
Lucius glided over to the flames. "What do you need?"
Carina answered. "I wanted you to know that your stock in Trebank went up, as promised. You have officially doubled your investment in the past two weeks."
Lucius' eyes lit up. "Oh what a brilliant girl."
"I've learned from the best," Carina answered.
"I am thrilled that you have doubled your grandfather's investment," Draco interrupted. "Unfortunately I need this floo line to remain open so my associate can give me this month's financial overseas earning report."
"Then may I enter and discuss my latest achievement with Grandfather?" Carina asked.
"You never need to request an audience with me," Lucius answered.
"No," Draco replied. "You do not."
With a few flicks of Draco's wand, the wards were lowered. Draco stepped backwards, allowing Carina to step into the mansion.
"I apologize of I sounded cross earlier," Draco began. "This report is taking longer to arrive than I'd anticipated."
"There is no need to apologize," Carina replied. "I know how stressful a late earnings report can be."
"Indeed," Draco refocused on the fireplace.
"Tell me, what does the future of my stocks hold?" Lucius asked.
"If my arithmancy predictions are correct, stocks should be stable for the next week, but they are going to take a slight dip afterwards. I do not believe you should panic, but to be on the safe side I plan to sell off a few of them. You can buy grandmother a nice dinner in Venice, amongst other things."
Lucius embraced his granddaughter. "That sounds like an excellent idea."
"I was planning on taking your mother out sometime this evening," Draco muttered. "Assuming my report comes in sometime today."
Carina swallowed. "I'm sorry you're having so many problems getting the report."
"It is not your fault the floo network requires a person on each end," Draco replied. "Merlin knows the Wizarding World has more important things to worry about than getting information from one continent to another in a timely manner."
"It is rather disappointing that muggles are better at internationally sharing information than we are," Carina replied.
"Indeed it is," Draco grumbled.
"It makes one wonder if the Wizarding World should begin research into something akin to the muggle information sharing system."
"I would be completely unopposed to a Wizarding version of the internet."
Lucius leaned on his cane. "Why don't you take steps to research a Wizarding equivalent and obtain the resources to implement it then?"
Draco glanced at Lucius. "I am not going there with you."
"Where did you think I was going?" Lucius asked before winking at Carina.
"I know exactly where you're going, and I am not going there with you," Draco argued.
"Where exactly do you think I'm going?" Lucius asked in the most innocent voice he could muster.
"You want me to be the Minister of Magic so I can implement the new communication system I've been proposing for years."
"I only want what's best for you. If that includes you becoming the Minister of Magic then all the better."
"No, you want me to be the Minister of Magic because it's in your best interest."
"How would your career choice be in my best interest?"
"For one, it would give you an excellent opportunity to live vicariously through me."
"I have no desire to live vicariously through you."
"Then stop pushing me to accomplish the one dream you could never fulfill."
"All my desires have been fulfilled. "
Draco furrowed his eyebrows. "That is not true, and we both know it."
"Grandpa has done almost anything a wizard could imagine doing," Carina chimed in. "What more could he possibly accomplish?"
"Becoming the Minister of Magic would have been quite the feather in his cap," Draco replied. "And he knows it."
The fireplace erupted.
Draco turned around and forced himself to smile. "Hello, Mrs. Manning."
"Hello Mr. Malfoy," she replied. "I do apologize for the wait. Our international floo system was down for a half hour. It's only just now been repaired."
He reached his hand into the flames. "Do not worry about a thing. Unforeseen circumstances such as this occur."
"Thank you for your understanding," she replied.
Draco pulled out a manila folder from the fire. "Thank you again for this. I will let you know if I find any causes for concern, or if any congratulations are in order."
"I appreciate that," Mrs. Manning answered.
"Have a great rest of the day," Draco replied.
"You too," she responded.
The flames died.
Draco exhaled. "It would be so much easier if there was a nice, simple place where documents, or at least copies of them, could be placed without needing to wait two hours for them."
"If muggle could invent such a device then there is no reason a wizard could not," Carina noted.
"My thoughts exactly," Draco strolled over to the cream couch.
"You would need an obscene amount of resources to invent such a system," Lucius noted. "Even if you could invent it, you would need to implement it in a large enough population so it would prove useful."
"Agreed," Carina answered.
Draco set the folder on the coffee table.
"Such resources and methods of implementation are available, but only if you grasp them," Lucius replied.
Draco frowned. "I am not running for Minister of Magic."
"Why not?" Carina asked. "You would make a brilliant Minister of Magic."
"I have had enough run-ins with the Ministry to last a lifetime. I do not need anymore," Draco answered.
"That's exactly why you should run," Carina insisted.
Draco twisted his lips.
"You know what it's like to be unjustly targeted by the Ministry, and you'd do everything in your power to prevent such corruption to occur ever again. You would use the Ministry to accomplish a dream and make life better for all of us, not to wield power like a weapon," Carina continued.
Draco kissed her on the forehead. "While I appreciate your support, I do not want to put your mother in between her family and me again."
"Uncle Percy is a blowhard and Mum knows it," Carina argued. "I do not think she would be bothered if you ran for Minister of Magic in opposition to him."
"I refuse to add any stress to your mother's life," Draco replied.
"Why don't you ask her how stressful a campaign would be?" Carina asked. "You might be surprised at how eager Mum is to assist you in your political aspirations."
Draco shook his head. "You're as insistent as your grandfather."
"She knows I'm right," Lucius replied. "You need to run for Minister of Magic."
Draco picked up the documents. "I wish I could remain here longer, but I did promise your mother a lovely dinner on the French Riviera. I do not want to keep her waiting any longer."
"Please consider what we've said," Lucius replied.
"I will consider the fact that you have never been the Minister of Magic despite your most ardent desires," Draco replied.
"Dad," Carina drawled.
Draco locked eyes with Lucius. "I refuse to become Minister to satisfy your deepest longings."
"Then do not speak with me about your internet idea again," Lucius replied. "If your internet idea is not worth pursuing then it is not worth complaining about."
Draco gave Carina a small grin and kissed her on the cheek. "I love you Baby. Congratulations again on the increased profits."
"Thank you," Carina kissed his cheek. "And I love you too, Dad."
Draco nodded before strolling out of the room.
"He is running out of excuses not to run," Lucius noted.
"He is," Carina replied.
Lucius sat down on the sofa. "It will only take one incident to convince him to run against that blasted Weasley."
"What kind of incident do you have in mind?" Carina asked.
"I do not know," Lucius admitted. "But I suspect it will happen soon."
This is beyond idiotic.
Rose leaned back in her emerald padded chair. She exhaled.
I cannot believe that I am wasting valuable time meditating on Percy Weasley's tantrum. My attention should be focused on these essays, not on the circumstances surrounding my conception.
She picked up an essay and gave it a glimpse. No matter how long she stared at it though, none of the letters formed cohesive words. Instead, her mind honed in on the image of a six year old clinging to her father's every word.
"Now, Little One, you must be careful when adding the pearl dust to the Amortentia," Severus dropped the ingredient into the golden cauldron. "If you add too much then you are liable to poison someone."
"Would someone who was poisoned hate you?" Rose asked.
Severus began mixing the potion. "No, quite the opposite. A poisoned individual will stalk you, read bad poetry to you, and kiss you even when you do not wish to be touched."
"I see," Rose answered, her eyes fixed on the motion of his hands.
"Do you see what color the potion is?" Severus asked.
"It looks like a hazy white," Rose answered.
"The correct color is mother-of-pearl," Severus replied. "Though hazy white is a close enough approximation."
"Do you smell anything?" Severus asked.
Rose sniffed, but frowned. "No."
"Understandable given that you are only six," Severus replied. "When you fall in love with someone, the potion will take on that individual's scent."
"Oh," she replied.
Severus inhaled its aroma. His eyes glistened. "To me, the potion smells of omelets, roses, and your mother's hair care products. I cannot imagine that it will ever carry any other scent."
"I hope it never smells any differently for you either," Rose replied.
Severus embraced her. "I only hope one day you can experience the kind of love your mother and I have."
Rose slammed the essay down onto the pile of others.
Dad is infamous for holding grudges. If he could hold a grudge against a boy for being born into the wrong family, then he would have little difficulty holding one against his wife for lying about conceiving his daughter. Yet, there has never been an underlying level of hostility between my parents. When Mum looks into Dad's eyes, she does not see a man infuriated with his wife for almost keeping him from his daughter. Instead she sees a man who is devoted to her with every ounce of magic in his being.
Yet there is another side to Dad, namely that of the meticulous potions master. One must be diligent in his line of work. Every ingredient has to be measured out precisely, every ingredient has to be added perfectly. I can count on one hand the amount of times Dad had made even the slightest error. No, Dad is not known for obvious oversights, nor is he known for his inability to create a potion. This only leaves one unanswered question:
How could a conscientious potions master forget to give his secret lover a contraceptive potion?