ST STEPHEN'S TAVERN
Wednesday 28th February, 4:30 pm
"You used magic, didn't you?"
Draco sat back in the booth and regarded the MP for Bermondsey--inasmuch as one could see in St Stephen's for the thick haze of cigar smoke--with amusement. Potter cultivated an air of scruffy liberal righteousness that was made all the more offensive by his blinding good looks. If the man had been pig-ugly and still more rabidly socialist than Lenin, Draco would have slammed the door on him the first time the prat had waved around the draft of his bloody Private Member's Bill1, and arranged for his secretary to deliver copies of a few incriminating photographs over to whatever rabbit warren Harry occupied in the Commons.
As it was, Harry was terribly attractive, there were no damning pictures to be found, and they pretty much had each other by the balls with the whole closeted wizard business. So Harry was trying to rouse the Commons around an addendum to the House of Lords Act2, and Draco, being the youngest Lord in the House and the very last one to ascend those lofty heights through sheer virtue of birthright, was trying to thwart him.
"It may pain you to realise, Harry, that at the time of my gaining title, I was merely seven weeks old. And as much as I will grant you the tremendous prodigy of my talent--" Draco glanced up at the television screen in the corner, his flow interrupted by the division bell (not the bell for the Lords, thank fucking Christ) "--my powers of speech were pretty much limited to gurgling--"
"--You know that's not what I mean," Potter interrupted.
Draco pointed up. "School Meals and Nutrition Bill3, second reading. How absolutely riveting."
Potter glared at him and slugged back the last of his scotch. "We're not finished, Draco."
"Ooh, I sincerely hope not. Will you come back and tell me how the members vote on jam roly-poly?"
1. PRIVATE MEMBERS BILL: Proposed legislation dreamt up by delusional backbenchers. Runs very little risk of ever becoming law.
2. HOUSE OF LORDS ACT: A horrifying wake-up for hereditary peers, who lost their automatic right to sit in the House of Lords in 1999. Those already ensconced were permitted to remain; further reforms have stalled.
3. SCHOOL MEALS & NUTRITION BILL: Draco did not make this up. Rather, Jamie Oliver had something to do with it.
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT (LORDS)
Friday March 2nd, 12:20 pm
Potter had been in his office (Draco liked to think of it as his salon, in the French style) for forty minutes and had only just started with the tiresome foaming-at-the-mouth routine. Draco chalked it up to the better blend of Lapsang Souchong down his end of the building, and discreetly flicked his eyes back to his book to give Harry a chance to work up a good froth.
"Because it's exactly people like you who shouldn't be in positions of political responsibility," he was saying, but it did seem to lack any kind of edge. Indeed Harry looked like his own position was rather comfortable, stretched out on the vast leather couch.
Draco considered that. He also considered a pleasant mental picture of liberal debauchery, realised that Harry might have to stand on a couple of volumes of Hansard4 to get just the right angle, and congratulated himself on his ingenuity.
"I assure you, Harry, I try very hard to avoid positions of responsibility. Especially political ones." He turned the page with his little finger.
Harry sat back in a manner that Draco supposed must be disgust. Not disgusted enough to refuse the macaroons, though--peering at the plate, it seemed Harry was on his fifth. Draco made a mental note to look up any adverse interactions of coconut and Veritaserum in preparation for his next visit.
"The other Lords declare their conflicting interests. They fund charities. They patronise museums, they assist under-funded Bills through parliamentary sub-committees. They use their privileges for--"
"Sport." Draco had been waiting for this. "I donated exorbitant sums of money to the refurbishment of Centre Court5."
"You demanded your own reserved seat!"
"Ah, but I also had a strawberry farm established just down the road. That's terribly public-minded."
Harry snorted and picked up his tea. "Draco. You bulldozed the recreation centre of a council estate."
"Incredibly public-minded. English tennis owes me, Potter. How else do you think Henman6 met his sticky end?"
There was a flicker of a smile that Harry tried to hide behind his teacup. "That was you?"
Draco winked and swung his legs down from his desk. "Was there a point to today's interrogation, or shall I entertain you with my advance copy of the brilliance that is Piers Morgan's secret diaries7?"
"How did you get that?"
Draco grinned, amused by Harry's completely endearing inability to hide his thirst for gossip. "Mutual interests. Including an abiding hatred of your gimpy Blair--"
"Sorry? Oh. I always forget. I shouldn't really," Draco mused, strolling over to the table for one of the biscuits, "given your history with redheads. Gosh, did Kennedy8 have a charisma bypass, do you think?"
"He's a very earnest man who believes strongly in liberal ideals," Harry deadpanned. "Read the bloody book."
4. HANSARD: The public parliamentary record, containing a record of all sessions since c. 1771. Contained in large bound volumes, originally of goatskin, only modernising to the radical technology of paper in the 20th century. Now online.
5. CENTRE COURT: The main tennis arena at Wimbledon.
6. TIM HENMAN: The Englishman who never won Wimbledon, yet did not let this stop him from the embarassment of persistence.
7. THE INSIDER: The riveting and juicy recollections of Piers Morgan, enfant terrible, ex-Editor of the Sun and the Mirror.
8. CHARLES KENNEDY: (Ex) Leader of the Liberal Democrats. A conversational, good-hearted Scot. Resigned Jan 2006 after revelations he liked a few too many.
THE LORDS CHAMBER
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
Monday March 5th, 3:14pm
Draco glanced up in time to catch the Baroness Chalker of Wallasey deposit her stately frame back onto the bench. It really was cruel to make all of these pensioners stand up when they wanted to make a point. The Lords Chamber probably had the highest concentration of hip replacement candidates in the country.
Suggest amendment to speaking procedures, Draco wrote in his notebook, obtaining eternal gratitude of all 65+. He murmured the indexing charm and the sentence began to slink off the page to a section he'd thoughtfully labelled Ingratiation.
To the casual observer (Draco always sat himself discreetly at the back of the chamber amongst a bevy of greyhairs he privately called the Dozy Earls; casual observers were not so much of an occurrence, snoring was) the Viscount Northallerton sat listening attentively to the debates, chin propped on his palm, occasionally taking a salient note and nodding in agreement with points of discussion.
Glamours were good like that.
Today Draco had done the crossword in the Times, the Telegraph, and the Guardian; annotated the editorials in the Guardian with a series of pro-hunting remarks and saved them for inter-office mail to Potter; continued his project to identify anyone in the House with any magical ability and crossed off two names as definite not-a-chance-in-Hades; and eaten an apple, an egg mayonnaise sandwich, and half a packet of Walker's Pickled Onion Crisps9.
The robes he didn't mind; they were the habit of a lifetime if one would pardon the pun, and he'd long since replaced the abominable Muggle dressmaking with something altogether more dashing. But the wig.
The wig was an atrocity that called for more censure than the war-thingy in Iraq.
Abolish wigs, he wrote hopefully, but his notebook flipped straight to Hopeless Fancies in papery exasperation.
9. WALKER'S PICKLED ONION CRISPS: His parents despaired of him, too.
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT (LORDS)
Wednesday March 7th, 4:15 pm
"Why did Blaise Zabini just ask me to sign your visitor's register?"
"In light of concerns about parliamentary security and confidentiality, Estates and Services sent a memo--"
"I do work in this building as well, Draco. Let me ask you another way: Why did Blaise Zabini just ask me to sign your visitors register?"
Draco was taking advantage of the south-facing windows by sunning himself on the couch. He cracked open an eye to see Potter looking all ruffled and sanctimonious, his arms crossed around a yellow folder.
"Blaise is my secretary." He closed his eyes again and willed Harry to be sitting up on the desk, maybe leaning back invitingly on his hands, when he looked again.
"Mmm." Draco peeked. Bugger. Pedestrian footwear still firmly on the carpet. "Press the blue button on the intercom, if you would."
There was a chiming sound before Blaise's bored drawl broke in. "Yes, Minister?"10
Harry spluttered. Draco smiled.
10. YES, MINISTER: A bit of a private joke.