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The Mercy Seat

Chapter Text

 May 14th, 1998

 

 

Paperwork is a lot like homework. It’s for the best is it’s done properly and on time, and no one actually wants to do it.

 

Henry bought the bar nearly two years ago, out of irritation with Gilman’s policies on bands they deemed sell-outs, whatever that meant. Too many of his friends were told they weren’t allowed to play, and while, yes, NOFX isn’t exactly struggling to get a show nowadays, but there’s something about the comforts of home, and being banned from one of the first, best clubs to play at? It’s disheartening.

 

So, Henry bought a bar. Well, Sirius bought a bar, but it was at Henry’s request, with Henry’s money— for insurance reasons, you understand. Insurance rates go up when a teenager buys a property with a liquor license.

 

It’s name, officially, is Cardy’s. This has led to some confusion within the community thanks to two different groups of people— people Henry knows, who automatically go to his house, and people Henry doesn’t know, who go to the bar. It’s a bit funny, really, though it’s led to more than a few explanations when a stranger wanders through the never-locked front door to catch the dishes washing themselves or some such thing.

 

The policy that has been established by the wizards on Bay Street is as follows: Don’t talk about magic, but don’t hide it, either. For one, Muggles are an oblivious lot. They don’t notice nearly as much as wizards seem to think they do, and the things they do notice can often be explained away without the wizard in question ever saying a word. For another… well, most of the Muggles Henry has come to know since coming to America are more than willing to keep a few secrets within their community, and the ones who aren’t are never believed by the greater population, anyway.

 

There’s a knock on the door. Jerking, Henry realizes that the last three pages of inventory he’s supposed to be looking over hasn’t been absorbed at all, which is… annoying.

 

“Come in!”

 

The door swings open, and a familiar blonde woman steps inside.

 

“Hey, Daph.”

 

“Hello, Henry.” Daphne glances at the papers on his desk. “Am I interrupting?”

 

He sighs.

 

“Nothing that can’t be handled later,” he says, setting aside the inventory book. “What’s up?”

 

Daphne rarely visits the club is she can help it. Cardy’s is a dark, grimy, dirty place— perfect for punkers who spill their beer and toss their cigarette stubs on the floor. It’s less perfect for high maintenance heiresses, however, and there is a certain, absurd quality to the contrast Daphne makes in her pink-and-white striped sundress against the ragged posters glued to Henry’s office walls when she sits down in the creaky chair across from him.

 

“Draco’s sent me news,” she says. “The rebel leader Dumbledore died four days ago. Severus Snape has been named the new headmaster of Hogwarts.”

 

Henry’s mouth pinches. He reaches for his cigarettes.

 

“How’d he die?”

 

Daphne shrugs.

 

“No one knows,” she says. “But his body’s on display at the Ministry, according to Percy.”

 

Percy, dear Percy. Still working at the Ministry despite the clear regime change. He’s a clever one— he has to be. Otherwise he’d’ve been dead long ago.

 

“So,” Henry says. “What now?”

 

“Well, the Purity Act has pushed through,” Daphne says. “Muggleborn children will no longer be able to attend Hogwarts unless they can prove a Pureblood relation— which of course will be impossible, as they won’t be getting letters anymore.”

 

He sighs, rubbing at his forehead unhappily.

 

“This is all kinds of fucked up,” he says.

 

Daphne nods.

 

“Yeah, it is,” she says. “Molly says she’ll be sending over Bill and Fleur next week. Fleur’s pregnant, so Bill’s finally agreed to the move.”

 

They’ll have to ready another room, Henry thinks absently. Ginny and Astoria probably won’t mind sharing, if the rumors are to be believed.

 

“I’ve already had Astoria move her things,” Daphne adds, correctly reading the thoughtful look on his face. “They have a place in the Weasley House.”

 

“Good.”  Henry leans back. “Anything else?”

 

“... Percy got what he wanted,” Daphne offers. “He’s been transferred to Muggleborn Offices, to help with cleanup.”

 

“To get him out of the way, more like.” Henry sighs. “Regardless of how loyal he may have proven himself to be to the Ministry, he’s still a Weasley.”

 

“My thoughts exactly,” Daphne says, nodding. “We may have to arrange for his removal soon, too.”

 

Oh, that’s going to be a joy to deal with. Nobody else knows that Daphne’s befriended the asshole brother except Henry. Everyone thinks he’s gone Dark.

 

“Right,” Henry says, tapping his desk unhappily. “Anything else?”

 

“No, that’s about it, for now.”

 

Thank God. “Where’s Ron?”

 

“Still at the studio with the Pawns,” she says. “He’s having trouble with their drummer, he said. Doesn’t know how to play on beat.”

 

“That does seem like a problem,” Henry agrees. “Considering that’s what a drummer does.”

 

Daphne hums noncommittally.

 

“He said he’ll probably be home for dinner,” she says. “Jenny’s promised to drag him out by the ear if he stays late again.”

 

The image makes him laugh, mostly because he’s witnessed it before. Jenny has little patience for artistic vision when it cuts into her alone time with her boyfriend.

 

“Henry?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“You aren’t planning on getting involved, right?”

 

Henry sighs.

 

“Not personally,” he says. “I don’t want to fight, Daphne. Not after the bullshit they tried to put me through before.”

 

“I know.” Daphne pauses, uncertain. “How would you feel if… some of us got involved?”

 

Henry levels her a sharp look.

 

“You’re not going back to fight,” he says flatly.

 

“No! No, of course not.” She shifts. “I’m just thinking… I mean, I left behind contacts. Perhaps I could… use those contacts.”

 

“How?”

 

“... How would you feel about potentially getting a few more boarders?”

 

Henry sighs.

 

“I’d have to expand again,” he says. “Take a look at the stocks, maybe juggle a bit.”

 

“But you could do it?”

 

“It depends on how many people you’re thinking about bringing through.”

 

“How does ‘every Muggleborn classmate we’ve ever had’ sound?”

 

Henry sighs.

 

“Guess I’ll be looking at real estate listings.”

 

That’s the thing about Henry, Daphne thinks when she circles the desk to hug him. He’s inherently a good man. Selfish, perhaps, in his need to avoid the gore of war at all costs, but willing enough to help others find their peace once they’re out of the thick of it. She made a good decision, taking him on as her first client, and has continued to make good decisions since.

 

Not many people can say that kind of thing.