Draco Malfoy slouched casually in a chair in the Minister of Magic’s waiting room.
He yawned, closing his eyes and wishing he could’ve gotten a few extra moments of precious sleep. Earlier that morning – much too early, if you asked Draco – his mother had shown up on his doorstep, ecstatic to help him get ready for his job interview.
He, of course, had an entirely different outlook on the situation as a whole.
Draco didn’t particularly care about this job. To be frank, he was just bored with his life. His days passed seamlessly with no purpose. He drank with his friends during the day and slept with beautiful women at night. The only variation was that sometimes he drank alone during the day and then passed out in a drunken stupor at night. The main reason he’d shown up was because his mother had looked so excited.
And, if he did get the job, his mother would probably stop showing up on his doorstep at random intervals during the day, just to pop in and see how her beloved son was getting along without her.
He was twenty-one years old, for fuck’s sake! And he was doing just fine without his mother there to hold his hand.
The position had come up and it had piqued his interest a bit, which nothing else of late had even come close to doing. If Draco was the Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, he would get to travel, and that would get him out of his flat. His flat, which at one time was a proclamation of his maturity and his single status, now seemed to be closing in around him.
Draco loved his flat dearly – what young man of his age didn’t take extreme pride in the dingy little shithole they called home? And he loved lazing about all day with his mates or spending a weekend locked in with his newest conquest. But his mother had told him she missed the pitter-patter of young feet across the floor, and that had alarmed Draco for two major reasons.
One, he was spending far too much time with his mother. Two, if Draco didn’t get a job, he was going to have to get a wife. And he disliked the idea of getting married far more than getting a job.
So here he was, slouching in a rather uncomfortable chair and drinking the cup of coffee that the Minister’s pretty assistant had handed him with a spectacular smile.
Draco half-heartedly listened to the low rumble of voices coming from the other side of the Minister’s door. He was waiting for the pretty assistant to return so he could pinpoint exactly where he remembered her from, and finally get on with what was most likely going to be a wreck of an interview.
A moment later, she exited the Minister’s office, aiming another spectacular smile at Draco.
“It’ll just be a moment. Can I get you anything?”
Draco shook his head curtly.
Nodding, Astoria seated herself behind her desk and silently started to work, moving papers about and making notes busily with her quill.
In all actuality, she was attempting to run the requirements through her head, trying with a practiced air to look inconspicuous.
Astoria chanced another look at him, only to find that he was looking at her with a mildly confused look on his face.
When he realized that she was looking at him, he sat up straight and aimed a charming, lopsided smile at her that, she noticed with a small pang in her side, didn’t quite reach his eyes.
Even so, she flushed slightly.
“Sorry, but do I know you from somewhere?”
Draco looked almost desperate, and he asked the question in a weird way, like he should know who she is, and that because he just asked she was liable to explode on him.
Astoria shook her head softly, her curls bouncing slightly, the soft blush still adorning her face. She was hardly biting back a smile. Did Draco think they’d spent a night together once upon a time?
“Hogwarts, possibly?” Astoria lowered her head back to her desk, and a second later, looked up at Draco through her eyelashes for a fleeting moment.
Val would be so proud.
The normal Astoria, definitely not the Astoria that was so enamored with the man before her that she hadn’t even run through the requirements yet, would have promptly informed Draco that her sister, Daphne was in his year at school. She then would have given him an instance of their running into each other in the common room, to jog his memory effectively.
But this enamored Astoria was playing a card that she rarely even considered pulling out of the deck – demure, on the border of innocence, even.
And Draco Malfoy was falling for it, hook, line, and sinker.
He knew this full and well, yet he continued to gaze over at the petite blonde, his mind still reeling from the fraction of a second of eye contact he’d held with her sparkling green eyes.
Was the girl flirting with him?
Draco racked his brain quickly. Had something happened with this girl, and he just didn’t remember? That was highly unlikely, as during the later years he’d spent at school – the ones that everyone else would be making memories that were worth forgetting for any seventeen year old – his mind was otherwise occupied.
His left arm twitched, and his face contorted for a moment with a flash of rage.
Draco forced himself to steer his mind back to the subject at hand.
Before The Dark Lord had taken over almost all of his thoughts, he had given himself a meaningless distraction in the shape of Pansy Parkinson.
In short, no. There was no chance he’d even given this girl a second glance when he was at school, let alone done anything that would be considered banter worthy now.
So that meant she was just flirting with him. Flirting for the sake of flirting, it seemed.
That was really the only reason that there was left to consider. Earlier in life, Draco had had the arrogance to assume that he was good – great, even – enough to have girls flirting with him because of his power, or his blood status.
Or, Merlin forbid, his good looks.
Now, girls didn’t flirt with him. The places he went – the pubs he made himself known at, didn’t exactly hold the type of girls that went through the motions of a relationship before they got down to what they knew the men really wanted.
They just got down to it. And Draco was content with that. He didn’t want a relationship any more than he wanted a wand in the eye. Girls around him seemed to gather this position from the way he carried himself these days.
And now, here this girl was, flirting with him – why? Because he’d smiled at her?
The last time his smile had stirred anything with anyone was an extremely distant memory. And even then, he’d been smiling at girls just to show off – just to prove that he could turn a girl into even more of a dithering mess than she’d been five seconds before.
As Draco was pondering this turn of events, Astoria was watching with a bemused expression on her face.
Soon after she’d dropped eye contact with him, she’d snuck yet another glance at him, only to find that he seemed to thinking something over with a ferocity that almost made her want to giggle.
And she hadn’t even gone through the requirements.
Astoria stood up to ask the Minister if he was ready to see Draco, smoothing out the nonexistent wrinkles in her skirt as she went.
After a quick rap of her knuckles against the door, she opened it and slid inside.
“What do you think?” Kingsley asked in his deep, rumbling voice.
“Oh,” Astoria sighed, a dreamy smile on her face, “he’s wonderful.”
“Horrible!” Astoria cried later that night, when she and Val were seated at a small table in the back of an equally small pub that was right around the corner from their flat. “It was horrible.”
Val put her drink down, giggling.
Astoria put her face in her hands. “Kingsley wasn’t even talking about Draco! He was talking about his bowtie, like he always is. And I just sighed like some sort of twit! Oh, Merlin, it was horrible.”
“I know, Tori.” Val rubbed her friends shoulder. “You’ve said so about ten times now.”
“But it was.” Astoria moaned. “I never do that. I always have control. Always!”
“Mr. Perfect has arrived, everyone!” Val said. “And Astoria isn’t happy!”
Astoria sat, glaring at her friend. “Piss off.”
“Ooh.” Val giggles, mimicking Vi. “Testy.”
The pair exchanged a glance and then burst into laughter.
“Oh, I wish it was Friday!” Astoria cried.
“Because then I could get properly shitfaced and forget that the whole thing even happened, and I would be in control of things once again.”
“Sorry to disappoint, love, but when you’re shitfaced you’re not exactly in control. ‘Cause you’re shitfaced.”
“Piss off, Val.”
Astoria took this silent moment to look around the pub. The same faces still inhabited the pub that Val and Astoria would often nip into the pub before going home, to have a girls-only chat before going home and being interrogated by Vi.
Vi wasn’t exactly the stay at home type, but with no one at home during the day to kick him into gear, his laziness took over. Every day, before he would go out and get plastered, he had to have his fill of gossip from Astoria and Val. They were more than willing to share, being gossips themselves, but sometimes their friend’s opinion on everything was less than wanted.
And sometimes it was annoying to listen to him talk about whoever they were talking about sexually.
If nothing else, you could always count on Vi to put a sexual spin on the situation.
He obviously took great pride in this.
“Is Kingsley going to hire him? Val asked after a moment.
“He usually doesn’t even consider hiring anyone that young, especially for such a high position. But Draco must’ve made a good case to go along with his shoddy resume, because Kingsley seems to like him an awful much.”
“I wonder who his secretary is going to be.” Val looked at Astoria with a large smirk.
“I get paid almost double what I’d get being Draco’s assistant. And everybody knows that, so everybody would talk. Anyway, it’s not like the old secretary got sacked too.”
“We don’t like her.” Val pouted.
Astoria nodded. “She’s a gossip.”
Val smirked. “I mean, gossiping about your boss’s affair?”
Astoria giggled. “Huge mistake. You keep your boss’s secrets.”
Val nodded. “And tell everyone else’s. She’s worse than us.”
Astoria took a sip from her drink. “That’s saying something.”
“’Cause we’re bitches.” Val laughed.
“Whoever said politics is vicious –”
“Has obviously never been a part of the elite circle.”
Val and Astoria had identical smirks of satisfaction spread across their faces.
The elite circle of secretaries is what they spoke of, and it was just that: an elite circle. If you’ve never been a part of it, you couldn’t possibly know of the cutthroat society that thrived on gossip, gained when others suffered, and ran the lives of those who ran the world. And they did it all with a pretty smile set on their pretty faces.
“Obviously.” Astoria rolled her eyes.
Moments later the girls were bent over in a fresh bout of giggles, all thoughts of Draco Malfoy out the window – for the time being.
A/N: Tell me what you think in a review, please! Love and cookies, earthfarie