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Make Me a Headline (I Want to Be That Bold)

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There are, Draco thinks, a number of fairly obvious conclusions to draw from the war. Dark Lords: terrible house guests, generally not to be trusted. Parents: occasionally quite useful, but disappointingly fallible. Epic battles: more terrifying, less exciting than advertised. Politicians: exceedingly stupid, unfortunately promiscuous in their receptivity to favours. No loyalty anymore, his father had proclaimed shortly before leaving the country, as though hearkening back to some probably-mythical age when Wizengamot members had been loyal flunkies.

No matter. The Cuffe family had been just as stupid, in considerably greater need of fluid assets, and offering a far less revocable exchange. For 250,000 Galleons, the Malfoys had purchased the Prophet and, with it, unlimited good press, the appearance of ethical standards, and a renewed handle on politics; Ministry types are even more responsive to bad press than to bribes, and the interactions are considerably cleaner.

And, at times, considerably more interesting. Particularly when they involve the delivery of semi-pornographic photos to one’s desk on a Monday morning.

Mondays are a particularly ripe time for it, with all the photographs from the weekends’ events developed and ready for perusal. It doesn’t hurt that Draco has trained the head of Fashion and Lifestyle to bring him only those items that might require special editorial consideration. Which is to say, the really salacious bits.

This morning is no exception. Draco gives hearty approval to a set in which Gwenog Jones is using a table for a dancefloor and Dai Llewellyn as a pole at Firewhisky Mist. He vetoes ones of Mrs Zabini, wand out, “wooing” one of the lesser Muggle royals poolside at Shoreditch House, but gives Higsbee permission to print Oliver Wood stumbling drunk from the Fourth Broomstick with an arm around the girl Weasley. Good for circulation; Wood’s star may be fading, but Weasley’s isn’t.

Higsbee passes him the last folder with a promising eagerness. He may be a squeaky, fumbling sort of a man, but there are solid reasons why he’s editor, among them that he understands the advantages of leaving his editor-in-chief smiling.

Draco takes the folder eagerly. Even with eight years under his belt, the whole process still rivals caffeine for a Monday morning pick-me up.

The first few photos are so grainy that Draco has to spell open his office curtains and cast a Lumos over the image. He spares a frown for Higsbee, who urges him to keep going.

The next few are clearer. Much clearer. Two men, caught in a passionate – well, embrace might be a bit generous.

Though “generous” is not a concept Draco’s particularly concerned with when he realises who he’s looking at. The height, the dreadlocks, the line of a face caught in profile. Oh, yes. He can certainly work with this. It’s material for the front of the section. Probably would be even if Lee Jordan hadn’t turned him down in favour of the WWN.

He grins at Higsbee and is a bit surprised to be met with a look of hesitation. His approval is rather hard to come by. Usually, it leaves Higsbee so flustered Draco has to kick him out.

“Out with it.”

Higsbee coughs. “Er, as it seems you can see, sir, the identity of one of the figures in this set is fairly easy to discern. It’s the other we’re a bit concerned about.”

“Hmm.” Draco pulls the photos towards him and takes another look. The man’s on the ground before Jordan. His face is mostly hidden inside of Jordan’s pea coat, but his head is moving just enough to make it abundantly clear what they’re up to. Draco squints, and looks down again. The other man’s wearing a leather jacket. His hair looks like it doubles as a wildlife conservatory. Still not enough to go on.

He reaches for a magnifier and places it over the photo. The man’s jaw looks familiar, though there’s not much of it to see. Draco scans down the tiny, black-and white form. He’s got a nice arse. One hand braced against the brick, one knee on the ground, the other raised, and—

Draco’s heart plummets. He grips the magnifier, doesn’t move, certain that he can’t afford to have a reaction. Couldn’t even if his underling wasn’t just across the desk.

Apparently, Higsbee takes his silence for focus and starts in on a ramble. “You see, sir, policy is unclear.”

Draco can feel his heart all the way to his eardrums.

“Between his hair, his height, and the way his face is turned, we can clearly identify Mr Jordan as a public figure, in which case we are able to print.”

The tips of his fingers have gone numb. He breathes. Reminds himself to blink.

“It’s the other man, the man Jordan’s— er. That he’s, um—”

“Face-fucking?” Draco spits the word as though it’s distasteful. It is.

“Er, yes, sir. That he’s – as you said.”

Draco schools his features and looks up. There’s a nervous flush creeping up Higsbee’s neck, which at least does something to put Draco at ease. “And?”

“It’s a question of editorial policy, sir, and possibly of liability. We can’t definitively identify the other man—”

“You can’t?”

“Er?” Higsbee furrows his brow. “No, sir. None of us in Fashion and Lifestyle can, and if it’s a private citizen or someone with business interests…” He trails off at Draco’s glare. “I – should we be able to?”

Draco ignores Higsbee’s question in favour of his own. “You really can’t?”

“Er.” Higsbee’s cheeks colour. “No, sir. I’m sorry, sir.”

Without looking at them, Draco returns the set of photos to their folder and shoves them into his desk. “I’ll handle this.”

“Sir?”

“I will handle this.”

“I – sir, are you able to identify—”

“You’ll have an answer by tomorrow.”

Higsbee hesitates.

“I trust you have something else to run in the meantime?”

“Of course, sir!” He’s starting to resemble a tomato.

“Very well.”

Higsbee pauses, awaiting further instruction.

“You’re dismissed.”

“Oh!” He jumps to his feet and stumbles out towards the cacophonous newsroom, barely remembering to close the door behind him.

The folder is back on Draco’s blotter in an instant.

He grabs the reading glasses from the back of the drawer as well, and brings the photos in for closer scrutiny. The unkempt hair, the stubby fingers at the end of a leather sleeve, the hair, the knobbly knees, one raised for stability. Raised so he can really take it.

Draco knows exactly who this is. And if his heart is pounding, if he can’t feel his toes, it’s just surprise. It’s been years. He never thought he’d see this again.

Besides which, it’s a shocking lapse from his employees. The Prophet’s editorial team is in a constant, ceaseless, high-priority hunt for pictures of Potter, and when several land on their desks they don’t even recognise him.

He looks again. The hair is the same as it had been, then, as is the way he moves. Draco follows the line of his arm, thinks he can make out Potter’s fingers spread against the brick.

He looks for the other arm, wonders if Potter’s habits have changed at all. Then realises his arm is concealed. By Jordan. Realises it’s not just a picture of Potter sucking cock; it’s a picture of Potter sucking someone else’s – Lee Jordan’s – cock.

The pictures are shoved haphazardly to the back of a drawer before a sudden wave of nausea can turn into something more serious.

He pushes back from his desk. Forces himself to inhale slowly, count down from ten, exhale slowly, repeat. Tries to slow his racing mind.

Draco has a drinks cabinet in his office for the obvious reasons: loosening informants’ lips, putting troublesome staff at ease before a good bollocking, an occasional congratulations for some intrepid reporter or other, drinking.

It’s the last of these that inspires him to make for the cabinet, but he pauses with his hand on the door.

The cabinet serves another purpose: the discrete storage of an array of useful magical objects. His Pensieve has pride of place among them.

He may know, but it’s apparent that his staff are less familiar with the intricacies of Potter’s habits. And, he reasons, what if they’re right? What if he’s opening the paper to liability by misnaming Potter? He has to be sure. Has to check, for the sake of thoroughness. For professional obligation.

One unlocking and two levitation spells later, Draco pops the well-worn cap off a memory and pours its contents into the bowl.

He bends forward, and lets himself fall.

Suddenly, he’s twenty again. Or, the version of him in the Pensieve is. Twenty and just this side of properly drunk and leaning against Harry Potter’s kitchen worktop with a pint in one hand, and laughing at some inane joke of Potter’s. He was so full of them, all the time. In those days Harry’d been so eager to laugh. To make Draco laugh. Desperate for it, almost. And he’d succeeded, time and again.

He does in the memory. Leans in, slips his arm between Draco’s hip and arm so he’s leaning on the worktop too. He nips Draco’s ear before he whispers, “What do you get when you mix holly and hawthorn?”

Draco’s younger self peers down at Harry, bemused. “A Herbology lesson?”

“No.” Potter laughs, his breath ghosting over Draco’s neck, and Draco—older Draco—still remembers that better than he’d like to. The heat of it, the trace of hops. “Our wands, rubbing together.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.” It doesn’t, but that doesn’t matter. Older Draco is embarrassed at the speed with which his younger self colours, at his involuntary bucking when Potter’s hips suggest a deeper meaning to the punchline.

“Does if you try it,” Potter mumbles, dropping his free hand to younger Draco’s trousers.

“Oh?”

Potter makes quick work of Draco’s flies and slips his hand into Draco’s pants. “Need a demonstration?”

“Yeah,” younger Draco whispers. “Volunteering?”

“Oh, yeah.” Potter nods. “Though…” He trails off, palming Draco’s erection.

“Harry,” Draco pleads.

Potter’s eyes lock onto him. He looks hungry and intense, halfway to combusting, and he kisses Draco with a still-unrivalled intensity that makes Draco’s—both Dracos’—knees threaten to give way. Potter nips at his bottom lip and breathes into him, and younger Draco is visibly bereft when Potter pulls away.

Until Potter drops to his knees, pulling Draco’s trousers and pants down to mid-thigh as he goes. He looks up at Draco with that same insatiability, and he doesn’t look away as he swallows Draco’s cock.

Draco bucks into him with a throaty groan. Potter doesn’t back away. He hums his approval and meets Draco’s hips. He raises one knee to steady himself, braces a hand against the cupboard, and opens his throat. They establish a rhythm, Draco fucking Potter’s face and Potter urging him on with a flick of his tongue. Potter’s fingertips dig into his arse to pull him closer until Draco is gripping Potter’s mad, flyaway hair and chanting, “I’m gonna come, fuck Potter, I’m gonna shoot down your throat, fuck, you’re gonna taste me for days, fuck, fuck, yeah, like that,” and Potter still doesn’t pull away. He smiles around Draco’s cock and buries his nose in the blond curls at Draco’s base and hums and sucks until Draco comes, gasping for air and yelling for Merlin. Potter sits back and waits until he catches Draco’s eye, pointedly swallows, and grins up at him looking so fucking satisfied.

Draco watches himself reach down to run a thumb over Potter’s jaw, over his chin, to rest the pad of it on Potter’s flushed bottom lip, matching Potter’s grin with one of his own.

He shuts his eyes tight and pulls himself out of the memory.

The breathlessness that had made sense in the memory is an embarrassment in Draco’s office. He leans back in his chair, eyes still closed, and shoves a hand into his trousers to do away with an erection he doesn’t want to have, and knows won’t go away. He comes in his pants, lips pressed tightly together to trap any errant groans or, worse, names. He doesn’t lift his lids until he’s groped for his wand and cast a cleaning charm. Until all the evidence is gone.

All that’s left, then, is the decision.

Printing the photos would take Jordan down a peg. A well deserved reprisal after the glory hound insisted on going to work for Draco’s competitors. It would look awfully bad for a man who’s made his name in investigative journalism to be caught in an illicit dalliance with the Deputy Head Auror. Depreciate the WWN’s investment in Jordan’s contract, perhaps considerably. It all sounds amusing enough for a Monday morning, in any event.

Then there’s the possibility of a libel suit. But Draco’s certain, wholly certain, that this is a picture of Harry Potter sucking Lee Jordan off in the alley behind the Funky Merlin. Certain enough to risk a lawsuit. Potter would never be able to testify under Veritaserum that this isn’t him, and Draco could testify under Veritaserum that it is.

No, if Potter reacts, it won’t be in the Wizengamot. Potter’s always valued his privacy. As much as the Prophet has, not unsuccessfully, tried to dismantle it, they’ve never caught anything like this before. Potter’s never been so careless before. For all Draco knew, he’d spent the last decade celibate.

Point being, there hasn’t been anything to print that would’ve put Potter at risk for such un-heroic exposure. Nothing that would’ve used something Potter’s done or somewhere he’s been to put any member of his inner circle in line for public scrutiny, and if Draco ever knew him at all, that’s more likely than anything to set him off.

He reaches for a quill.

Higsbee –
Print, early edition, top of the section with front page teaser.
Use Jordan’s name. Don’t worry about the other man.
-DM

*    *    *

Four major war and post-war expenses had almost put a noticeable dent in the Malfoy coffers: Voldemort’s extended stay (for someone supposedly obsessed with world domination, he’d had a surprising amount of attention left for scrutinising wine labels, place settings, and guests lists); “donations” to charities (and “charities”) run by members of the Wizengamot; the purchase of the Prophet; and Draco’s redecoration of the Manor. In company, Draco would maintain that the last was a matter of simple preference.

In practise, though, sitting down to breakfast at a table that has never been graced with the Dark Twat’s presence, in a sunny room, in chairs that are far too comfortable to ever be repurposed for actual or social torture, is entirely necessary. It’s peaceful. Quiet. Pleasant. Usually.

“Draco. Draco!

He doesn’t look up. “Tea?”

“What?”

“You’re screeching. As it’s a bit early for drinks, I’ll assume you need caffeine.”

“What I need, Draco, darling,” Pansy spits, “is your attention.”

“Busy.”

Blaise is, happily, more amused than annoyed. “Don’t you generally take reader correspondence at the office?

“Yes.” Draco sets down one letter and takes up the next, ignoring Pansy’s crossed arms and pout.

“So you’ve had it sent on to the Manor because…?”

“Because you invited yourselves to breakfast.”

“As we do at least thrice weekly without any meaningful objection,” Blaise muses.

“If your plan was to ignore us, we would’ve just gone to Pennifold’s of Diagon Alley,” Pansy adds with a sniff.

“It could not have been my plan to ignore you, as it was not my plan to have you for breakfast at all.” Draco pulls the paper from under a pile of discarded parchment. “C1. What do you see?”

Pansy brightens immediately and snatches the paper from Draco’s hand. Blaise stands to lean over her chair. They bow their heads together, scrutinising, whispering, while Draco tried to focus on another letter.

To no avail.

“Oooooooh,” Pansy breathes. “Jordan, eh? Well done.”

“Indeed,” Blaise adds. “Good catch. Because he went to the WWN?”

“Mmm,” Draco agrees.

“And the other fellow? He’s not named.”

“Oh, true.” Pansy sits back, surprised. “Couldn’t get a name?”

Draco drops the letter and raises an eyebrow. “You can’t tell?”

Pansy and Blaise share a puzzled look and Draco suppresses a sigh. Pans is one of the best gossips in wizarding England, knows most everything about everyone. If she can’t figure it out, there’s little hope that anyone will.

“No,” Pansy breaks the silence first, pulling the paper closer towards her. “How would we, darling? It’s hair and a back.”

“And a hand and a knee,” Draco grumbles

Blaise quirks an eyebrow over the top of the broadsheet. “Not exactly identifiable features.”

“Apparently,” Draco mumbles, gesturing to the pile of correspondence scattered across the table. “Everyone’s got an opinion on Jordan or wants to know who his mystery man is, but nobody’s got it right.”

Pansy sets the paper down in front of her. “And you do?”

“Of course,” Draco scoffs, quickly adding, “it’s my business to know.”

“Private investigator?” Blaise asks, dropping back into his seat.

Draco stares at him, suspicious. “Common sense and a good eye. You really can’t tell?”

“Obviously not.” Pansy answers for them both with more than a hint of impatience. Blaise concurs with a nod.

“You know him.”

Blaise takes a turn at eyebrow-raising. “Do we?”

Pansy reopens the paper with a frown. “It’s not a woman is it?” At Draco’s shake of the head she continues. “The hair - McLaggen? No, his is curlier. Too short to be Abercrombie. Baddock’s got longer fingers. Harper’s vegan now, and that jacket looks like real leather.” She looks up with a sharp laugh. “It’s not a Weasley, is it? That would be rich. And about right, come to think of it.”

“You really don’t see it?”

“We might if you’d bloody well tell us.”

Draco frowns, squares a pile of letters and pushes them aside. “Pass the strawberries, would you?”

*    *    *

Draco hears versions of the same conversation all morning. Which, on the one hand, means they’ve got another exclusive that has chins wagging from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade, and he can order a second printing before lunchtime.

And, on the other, means Draco is more firmly convinced than usual that he is surrounded by blind idiots.

Jordan releases a statement shortly after lunch. Unexpectedly, it affirms, in so many words, that he is indeed a desirable young man with an active social life who appreciates the Prophet’s support in his campaign to become one of Witch Weekly’s Most Desirable Bachelors.

He does not, however, mention his mystery man, much to the public’s consternation. The buzz infiltrates even the Prophet’s own newsroom. Draco can’t leave his office without overhearing such a ceaseless stream of questions–“Who’s the lucky bloke?” “What I wouldn’t give to trade places…” “Do you think he’ll come forward?”—that he’s half-tempted to release Potter’s name just to be free of the speculation.

He decides not to think about why he’s not done it already. Except that there are perfectly reasonable reasons. It would be clumsy to release the information after the fact. It would be more transparently pointed, and while the Malfoy name is in far better standing than it was a decade ago, anything that appears to smear Potter remains inadvisable. He could frame it as a scandal though, he realises. They’d need to cook up some twaddle about photo verification processes to explain the delayed release of information, but he could do it. Some sensationalistic headline implying that Potter was a dirty Auror, or Jordan reliant on corrupt inside sources. Isn’t that the whole point of owning the press, after all?

But then, Draco reasons, what if there are more useful things to be gained from it all?

He shuts his office door and pulls out quill and parchment. It’s not easy to strike the right tone and it takes him several tries, but he is, after all, a Slytherin, and a Malfoy to boot.

Dear Mr. Potter,

As a longtime subscriber, we here at the Prophet would like to remind you that your home delivery will be coming up for renewal.

The Daily Prophet is at the centre of the wizarding world, bringing you the best in politics, news, sports, and – perhaps of particular interest – fashion and lifestyle. From nightlife to Wizengamot votes, the Prophet has you covered.

Our customer service department offers many excellent offers for loyal readers like yourself. Don’t let your subscription lapse!

Yours sincerely,
Draco L. Malfoy
Editor-in-Chief, Daily Prophet

When he sees the owl take to the sky, parchment attached to its ankle, Draco smiles. Which makes it easier to ignore the distinct queasiness that’s made a sudden appearance.

He decides to chalk it up to hunger and goes home.

*    *    *

Draco’s Wednesday starts with a bang. Quite literally, as his office door slams open at five past nine, reverberating against the wall on impact.

“What the bloody motherfucking hell do you think you’re doing?”

Draco freezes. There’s a lot to take in at once.

Potter cuts an imposing figure. He isn’t taller than he was at 20, nor has he filled out much in the intervening decade, but that much Draco knows from the papers. From the relentless parade of photos he prints—has to print, really, to compete with Witch Weekly.

But photos don’t capture everything.

Potter clearly isn’t as self-conscious as he’d once been and his magic—his magic has always been able to fill a room, but nine years in the field has made it an extension of him, something he can shape and direct without even meaning to. Draco can almost feel it reaching for him, surrounding him.

Though it doesn’t feel as though there’s anything intentional behind this display. It reeks of Potter’s unbridled anger. Passion. Whatever one wants to call it, it’s more familiar than it has any right to be.

“Good morning, Potter.” He plasters a smile over his shock. “To what do we owe the honour?”

“You bloody well know what, you fucking wanker.”

With a wave of his wand, Draco closes the door. “Wanker? If you’ll recall, that was never my preference.”

Potter eyes fill with rage. “Fuck. Off.”

“You’ll have to be more specific, I’m afraid.” Draco leans quickly to the right, cleanly dodging the familiar-looking piece of parchment Potter hurls at his head. “Use your words. This is a newsroom, not a nursery school.”

“You’re a right piece of work, you know that?”

“Yes.” Draco folds his hands neatly on the blotter.

Potter gapes, working his jaw open and shut wordlessly.

“Use your words, Potter. This is a newsroom, not an aquarium.”

Somehow, Potter manages to rise to the occasion. “Why did you print it? And why, having printed it, like a more-invasive-than-usual fucking dickhead, did you send me that worthless fucking piece of—first letter in ten years, Draco, and it’s a fucking subscription notice.”

“Form letter.”

“Bullshit. It was personalised and in your handwriting.”

Draco’s teeth are beginning to hurt from biting down on his smile. “Magical form letter.”

“Liar. You’re such a liar.”

“Believe what you want, but do it elsewhere.”

“The photo. You’ve never printed anything like it before. Why?”

Draco’s blood runs cold. He doesn’t say that it’s because they’ve never had anything like it to print before, nor does he ask whether there should have been, whether his photographers are off the ball and public blow jobs are actually a regular routine of Potter’s. Instead, he doubles down on his smile. “We didn’t print your name, as you undoubtedly know. Consider it a professional courtesy.”

“A prof—” Potter splutters. “You fucking–professional courtesy?? Since when have we ever been about professional courtesy? And,” he rants on, thankfully taking the burden of a response squarely off of Draco’s shoulders, “if all it’s bloody about is professional courtesy, you might want to try having some. Lee’s worked damn hard for his career and you have no business trying to ruin it with your petty fucking salacious allegations.”

“Salacious? Have you been reading the dictionary?”

Potter gives a disdainful snort. “Don’t change the subject. Why? That angry he went to work for someone else? Still brassed off about his Quidditch commentary? Decided to give up on the idea of scruples full stop? Or is it not actually about Lee?” He ends with a pointed stare, which Draco elects to ignore.

“You’ve come all the way over here and barged into my office uninvited to protect Jordan’s reputation, have you?”

“He’s my friend,” Potter bites out. “And you’ve crossed the line.”

“Your friend doesn’t seem to mind in the least.”

“Lee has a great sense of humour. You, on the other hand, were petty and cruel and you have no right to defame upstanding citizens.”

Draco leans forward, lacing his fingers together so tightly his knuckles ache. But it’s worth it. He’s wholly determined not to rise to Potter’s bait. “And kneeling citizens? Anything to say about them?”

“It’s none of your bloody business who I kneel for. You made damn sure of that.”

“Ah, but it is my business.” Draco takes his first full breath as he feels the conversation moving to more familiar territory.

“How the hell do you figure that?”

“Quite literally. Printing that photo got us almost a full double run, between Jordan and that bit about Jones and Llewellyn. Imagine the numbers if we’d named you. If we named you now.”

“So?” Potter snorts. “Go on then, Malfoy. Show the world the kind of operation you’re running.” His eyes flare. “It’s exactly what your father would’ve wanted.”

Draco’s out of his seat before he even realises it. “So sanguine, are you? Think it’s all just a game?”

“I’ve never been the one playing games.”

“No? Your career, then? That’s not a game to you?”

“Of fucking course not.” Potter looks at him, incredulous.

“You’re treating it awfully carelessly, then.” He continues on at Potter’s confused expression. “How do you think it would look, Potter? The Deputy Head Auror on his knees for the WWN’s top investigative journalist? Not much room for discretion between your mouth and Jordan’s cock.”

Potter pauses at that. “You’re joking.”

“Professional ethics?” Draco schools his features into the very picture of gravitas. “I would never joke about such a thing. Improper information sharing between a high-ranking Auror and the press…that’s no laughing matter. I’m sure the witches in Political Journalism would agree. Not to mention how poorly it would look for Jordan.”

Potter’s pause lingers until he shakes his head as if to clear it. “Irrelevant. It’s irrelevant. You can’t prove anything.”

“Can’t I? I’ve got dozens of memories that say otherwise, a very sophisticated verification team to prove it, an in-Pensieve camera in development, and a public that’s all too happy to believe what they want to believe.”

“A Pensieve? You—publicly?” Potter stares at him, speechless.

“A Pensive,” Draco affirms.

“You wouldn’t.”

“I wouldn’t? Replay filthy memories for the Wizengamot to avoid a libel suit?” He laughs. “Their reactions alone would make that worthwhile.”

“You wouldn’t,” Potter repeats.

“Try me.”

“I did.”

Silence hangs uncomfortably between them.

Potter repeats it. “I did. I tried. I asked. I fucking begged and you wouldn’t say a word about us to your friends, let alone the fucking Wizengamot.”

“Perhaps these incentives are a bit more compelling.”

He may as well have slapped Potter in the face for the look that gets. He can feel Potter’s magic shrink away from him.

Draco turns to face the window. “If it’s even necessary. There must be dozens of men who can testify to the particulars of your technique.”

“You fucking arse.” Potter’s voice is cold and small.

“So you do remember.” Draco ignores the roiling in his stomach. “That was my preference far more than wanking.”

“You expect me to believe this? Any of this?”

“I wouldn’t advise testing me.”

There’s an explosion behind him. Draco turns just in time to freeze the pieces of his water glass mid-air. He levitates them to the bin with total focus. “Now, now, Potter. Such a lack of control hardly suits a Deputy Head. But then”—he dries the spilt water—“that’s rather how you wound up here in the first place, isn’t it?”

From the corner of his eye, Draco can see Potter’s chest rises and falls quickly, his fingers fisting and releasing, fisting and releasing. “You arse—”

“Yes, yes, I’m a very bad man. Not even points for originality.”

“You—You’re not, you know I don’t think—” Potter splutters. “You fucking, fucking—”

“Is that a request?”

Potter’s mouth snaps shut.

Draco summons a new water glass. “You’ll be the first to know if we decide to print. Depending on when your paper arrives, anyway.” He pauses, glass in hand, and finds that he’s suddenly very certain that he wants to continue on. “I’ll send an owl directly if there’s room for negotiation.”

“Negotiation?”

Draco gives him a tight smile. “I think we’re done here, don’t you?”

Potter stares at him and doesn’t move to leave.

Draco casts an Aguamenti and sits. He pulls an article off the top of a pile and makes as if to mark it up. He doesn’t look at Potter. He mostly doesn’t look at Potter’s upside-down reflection in his water glass. He remembers to move the quill across the parchment.

Long seconds pass. Finally, Potter turns and leaves the office. Draco tries not to notice that his fingers linger over the handle, as if, for a moment, he thought about turning back.

*    *    *

The moment the door clicks shut, Draco flips over the parchment and begins to write.

Possibilities
- Crime scene access
- Official crime scene photos
- Criminal profiles
- Interview access for new arrests
- Official crime reports
- Exclusive interview w/HP
- Exclusive photoshoot w/HP
- Sexual favours
- Personal connections
- Public appearances

He reads it, considers the options, and quickly crosses off those things that Potter won’t do, or that he could accomplish as easily through other means.


Possibilities
- Crime scene access
- Official crime scene photos
- Criminal profiles
- Interview access for new arrests
- Official crime reports
- Exclusive interview w/HP
- Exclusive photoshoot w/HP
- Sexual favours (??)
- Personal connections (Useful? Redundant? Only Weasleys?)
- Public appearances

He grabs another scrap of parchment and starts a new, much shorter list.

Amended Possibilities
- Sexual favours (??)
- Public appearances

One has more appeal. The other would do more lasting good. He considers how he would feel after each, and quickly decides that it’s an ill-advised line of inquiry. One item on the list has question marks next to it; he’ll go for the other.

He grabs one more fresh piece of parchment.

Potter -
My office. 6pm tomorrow.