A/N: Notes at the bottom. Apologies for the time this took; I have no excuses.
Malfoy had not touched Harry's room during his cleaning spree. Harry figured that was actually smart of Draco; he was not sure how he would feel if Malfoy had rifled through his things without permission. However, it was in desperate need of cleaning, so before he left his bedroom that morning, Harry removed some classified auror documents and personal belongings so that he could give Malfoy permission to clean it today. He also put his dirty underwear and socks in the laundry bin himself. That's when he began to smell something burning. He grabbed his wand and quickly made his way to the kitchen.
He was prepared to fight an entire fire, but instead found Malfoy cursing under his breath at a frying pan with an unidentifiable substance on it. He was surprised that the other man had even managed to turn on the stove since Harry had added muggle features into Grimmauld's kitchen.
"What were you trying to make?" Harry coughed and tried to wave away the smoke filling the room. He was grateful the entire pan wasn't on fire, but it might as well have been with the amount of smoke in his nose and lungs.
"Fucking eggs!" Malfoy snapped, poking the said food with his wand and it finally did burst into flames.
"Merlin, were you never taught to cook?" Harry shouted, shoving him away from the stove and managing to grab the handle of the pan. He dumped the flaming eggs into the kitchen sink and ran cold water over it. The water met the eggs and pan with a loud hiss, and steam billowed into the air.
"I've never had to cook before. And why the fuck would you replace everything with muggle appliances, of all things?" Malfoy retorted angrily.
"You've clearly never been in a kitchen a day in your life," Harry growled. But he sighed. He had to give Malfoy credit for attempting to cook with no culinary knowledge. "It's alright," Harry checked the pan, and there was no permanent damage, so no harm, no foul. "Thank you for trying," he stopped the tap, the fire was gone and so were the so-called eggs that had blackened and gone down the sink drain.
Malfoy nodded silently. Harry wasn't sure what was going through his mind at this moment, but he decided to change the subject since this incident was not a big deal and the crisis had been resolved safely.
"I don't really eat breakfast in the mornings before I go to work," Harry said by way of apology. "So it's okay. I'm sorry, I should've told you yesterday."
"Oh." Was all Malfoy managed. Harry stole a glance at him, and his face remained impassive.
"And I know it said that cooking was a requirement in your contract, but it's really not. I know how to cook."
"I doubt you're any better than I am," Malfoy scoffed, folding his arms across his chest. Harry grinned, but turned away to hide it, busying himself with the pan.
"I'll cook you dinner tonight, then," Harry said nonchalantly. His heart thudded in his chest. Did he just ask Draco Malfoy to dinner? He supposed not, since they already lived together.
"Fine!" Malfoy huffed. "We'll see about that tonight." Did Malfoy just accept to go on a date with him? No, he was probably just really overthinking everything. Still, his stomach fluttered in excitement.
"Good. Now, let me show you how to actually cook eggs. I prefer them scrambled, which is really easy to do." Harry said kindly. Malfoy made no movement to near him, but while he demonstrated, Harry checked his facial expression, which was paying rapt attention to him but otherwise emotionless. While the eggs cooked, Harry also showed him how to use the toaster and make coffee.
They ate scrambled eggs, toast, and drank coffee together standing around the kitchen island. While the ate their breakfast, Harry spoke, "Can you clean my room, please?" he felt awkward asking, and he shifted uncomfortably on his feet. He wasn't sure how to give his newfound assistant orders without sounding like a prat. "You can go to any room you want, except Sirius's. He was my godfather and I just . . . " Harry trailed off, and strategically chose to shove a forkful of scrambled eggs into his mouth at that very moment. Harry had chosen to move out of Sirius' bedroom some years ago, but also chose to preserve the state it was in because it felt like he could still be connected to his godfather in that room.
Malfoy was looking at him critically, and Harry felt his face heat. "Yes, I suppose I can do that." The blond man said evenly in acceptance.
"Great!" Harry beamed. "Also, I know you threw a lot of the furniture and stuff into the rubbish," Malfoy opened his mouth to speak in defiance, but Harry quickly added, "Which is totally fine, it belonged there anyway. But I am due some replacements, so I'll leave a few galleons on the counter before I leave for you to shop?" He ended his statement with the inflection of a question, and Malfoy nodded his assent.
"Okay, good. Er," Malfoy didn't look like he appreciated being spoken to like a dog. Harry supposed his excessive praise was a bit much. "So, I'm going to go shower and then leave, and you just . . . do what your thing, I guess." Harry chose to leave it at that and left to shower and dress for work.
Merlin, what a mess Draco's morning had been. He had woken up just before sunrise and had been unable to fall back asleep, so he had showered and dressed early and went to the kitchen to arrange something for breakfast. While Draco's culinary skills were lacking, he was fairly certain he could figure out how to do some basic cooking with a little magic within the standard wizarding kitchen, but to his disgust, the majority of appliances that would normally grace a wizard's kitchen had been replaced by muggle rubbish.
But he did some searching, and after engaging in a wrestling match with pots and pans that he quickly put a silencing spell on, Draco managed to locate a carton of eggs in a very cold metal wardrobe-type thing. He used his wand to crack the eggs into a pot and studied the stove carefully. There were multiple numbers above dials and short words such as 'high' and 'low', and a scale of numbers one through six. Draco supposed that eggs needed to cook with a lot of fire, so he placed the pan on top and pressed high, and turned the dial to six.
Bluish and then a normal red orange fire erupted from the stove with a clicking noise and the eggs began to sizzle. Draco, already impatient, muttered, "Incendio," under the eggs and then again under the pan, and although by some miracle a true fire did not appear, heavy smoke began to fill the air.
Just as he began to curse under his breath, Potter entered the room to fix his kitchen crisis. After their short altercation, the fire was out and Potter was thanking him? And even apologizing? Draco was confused. Merlin, why wasn't he sacked by now? Potter even taught him how to make proper scrambled eggs, and it was very simple once the machinery was explained to him.
The eggs weren't terrible, either. And it turns out that Draco was pretty decent at making coffee. Before leaving for the ministry, Potter stopped by the kitchen again (Draco had started washing the dishes while Potter was in the shower). He had a small bag that he dropped on the kitchen counter with a thud.
"Here's the money for stuff . . . you can get whatever you want with this, I don't really care," Potter did the thing where he shifted his weight on his feet.
"I don't need your charity," Draco snapped, aggressively scrubbing a coffee mug.
"Right, well, I wasn't really offering it to you," Potter narrowed his eyes. Instead of retorting, Draco bit his tongue and relaxed his shoulders. Their banter was strangely comforting to him; he had been concerned that Potter would try to befriend him further, but they were strictly acquaintances and nothing else.
"Good," He could see Potter staring at him in his peripheral vision, so he turned to glare. "What?" Draco snapped irritably.
"Nothing," Potter looked far too attractive after a shower. His hair was wet and pointing in different directions – it gave him incredible sex hair.
Draco could imagine what he looked like in just a towel under his waist, his chest wet with little droplets of water and dripping down the V of his abdominals and sliding below the towel to his –
Potter finally spoke again, "I like to put the mugs in the kitchen cabinet above the sink," Draco obediently set the freshly cleaned mug in the new location. "I'll see you tonight," he nodded his farewell and flooed to the ministry.
"See you tonight." The words were out of Draco's mouth before he could stop them.
That was not the strangest morning of Harry's life, but it was probably one of them.
He stepped from the fireplace and into the ministry, and people turned to look at him as he strode down the halls on the way to the auror department. Harry had long since grown used to staring, but when it was as intent as this he knew an issue had presented itself to the public, and it was most likely unflattering.
But if Harry thought the staring in the atrium was bad, it was nothing compared to the death glares he got from his own department. He decided to stop by Ron's office to steal a copy of The Daily Prophet, which was probably where this new rumor of some sort had erupted. It was too bad he had left for work before a copy had reached his house.
But Ron's office was empty – quite literally, it seemed. The desk drawers were left open and bared, the bookshelves were clear of the items and knickknacks, and even the rubbish bin lacked its crumpled balls of parchment and empty food wrappers.
Harry had a sinking feeling in his stomach, and he turned to go to Kingsley's office, but the minister was already walking up to him. "Kingsley – what's happened?"
"Let us go to your office, Auror Potter." Kingsley said gravely.
"Is Ron okay?" Harry asked, reaching into his robe pocket to hold his wand. He was about to apparate to his and Hermione's flat, or perhaps to the Burrow.
"Ronald is in perfectly good health," Kingsley assured as he gestured for Harry to sit in his office chair, and the minister himself sat in one of the two chairs in front of his desk.
"But – why?" Harry wasn't sure what to ask.
"I sacked Ronald after you left yesterday," Kingsley said calmly. Harry straightened in his seat, opening his mouth to reply, but Kingsley held his hand up in a silent plea for patience. "You and I both know his performance has been below adequate. This was inevitable."
"But sir, Ron – "
"Will no longer be working as an auror," Kingsley interrupted smoothly. "However, he will continue to act as a paid consult for attack strategies when we call upon him."
Harry relaxed a little. Maybe Ron wasn't completely sacked, and if he was still a helpful asset then he could perhaps earn his job back over time.
"However, I refuse to hire him as a full time auror again, and he is strictly forbidden from fieldwork." Kingsley sighed. "He did more harm than good in the department, and you know it, Potter."
Harry looked away, fighting his emotions. He knew he should be angry, he should be defending Ron, but he also knew that Ron shouldn't really be working in the auror department, either. And he felt guilty for accepting the sacking of his best friend without a fight.
"There's nothing else we can do for him?" Harry asked. He was grasping at straws, he knew. "What's Ron supposed to do now?"
"I hear from the Department of Magical Games and Sports that Hogwarts is in need of a new Quidditch referee and flying instructor," Kingsley suggested. "I thought perhaps you could let him know that the position is open later today." He slid an envelope of what Harry presumed to be the job offer across his desk.
"Alright," Harry said grudgingly. "Thank you for your honesty, Kingsley." He really did appreciate Kingsley's lack of bias and his ability to make objective decisions.
"Harry," Kingsley sighed, and Harry looked up at the use of his first name. It was rare for Kingsley to ever refer to him as anything other than his surname while at work. Something was wrong. "Have you seen the Prophet?"
"Not yet," Harry said cautiously. The feeling of dread came back into his stomach, and Kingsley retrieved a copy of The Daily Prophet from his robe pocket (which was expanded to fit multiple documents). He unrolled the paper and passed it to the young auror. His face turned ashen, and then anger took over, "What is this?" his voice rose angrily.
Potter Exchanges Weasley Sidekick for Malfoy Pauper?
By Rita Skeeter
It is common knowledge that Ronald Weasley and Harry Potter have been friends since they attended Hogwarts together, but an altercation yesterday afternoon seems to have changed things. Witnesses within the Auror Department saw a three-way argument between the Boy-Who-Lived and his sidekick, and their longtime enemy and ex-Death Eater, Draco Malfoy. Further investigation reveals that Mr. Weasley is responsible for putting Auror Joseph Montague in St. Mungo's hospital exactly a week ago due to a careless mistake made by Ronald Weasley that almost cost Mr. Montague his life and allowed for the escape of notorious Death Eater, Rodolphus Lestrange. For more information on this mass murderer and the mission gone awry, see page eight.
Montague reveals in his statement, "Ron Weasley has done nothing but hurt the auror department since he arrived here. He's lazy and stubborn and makes all of us look bad." Other sources within the department confirm this statement, so it was no wonder that Ron Weasley's supposed best friend, Harry Potter, sacked him yesterday afternoon. Not only has he been fired, but Weasley seems to have been replaced that very same day by none other than Draco Malfoy, who has been left underprivileged for his crimes against the ministry during the war. The majority of his property has been seized and expunged by the ministry. The Malfoy fortune has seen a significant decrease in their Gringrotts bank account, leaving Draco Malfoy poor and homeless, and unable to find work within any of the departments within the ministry.
So what did Harry Potter do? He hired him, of course! Our favorite martyr is paying the Malfoy heir to wash his laundry and do his dirty work. From here, all we can do is speculate how deeply the connection between Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter goes, but who knows how long it has been going on? Perhaps they have been closer than publically known since even before the war ended, since Potter boldly chose to testify for the Malfoy family during the Death Eater trials. But all we know for sure is that Malfoy the Maid has a nice ring to it, and that Ron Weasley was so terrible at his job that his best friend has cut his connections with him and hired his worst enemy instead. (For further details, see page six.)
There was also a picture under the caption of the argument between Harry, Ron, and Malfoy from yesterday, where Ron was stepping away from Harry and Malfoy, and a smaller one in the bottom corner of just Harry and Malfoy walking down a hallway together, and Harry smiling while Malfoy nodded his head.
Harry scoffed and threw the paper down on his desk. "I didn't fire Ron, you did!" he shot Kingsley an accusatory glance.
"Would you rather the entire world knew that the Minister for Magic had to fire him? No one would ever hire him again. I'm afraid my hands are tied, Mr. Potter. I was only trying to protect what little of his reputation he had left."
Harry ran his hand through his hair, frustrated. Kingsley continued, "I know it looks bad, but Ron already has a job offer. He can move on with his life, and he will still have a connection to the Auror Department as a consult."
Harry groaned. "There isn't even a connection between firing Ron and hiring Malfoy. Malfoy is my personal assistant, and Ron was a ministry employee who worked under me. It would be different if I was giving Malfoy Ron's job,"
"I've already requested a retraction from The Daily Prophet, but I'm sorry, Harry. The damage is done." Kingsley said gravely.
Harry made a frustrated noise, yanking at his hair, "I know," he had no choice but to accept the fact that Ron was probably never talking to him again, and he had just further ruined Malfoy's reputation. Hell, he wouldn't be surprised if he came home and Malfoy was gone.
Something else came to Harry's mind, and he cursed himself for not wondering earlier: "How did they know?" he murmured. Harry sat in his chair, his eyes narrowing but not focusing on anything in particular.
"I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that, Mr. Potter," Kingsley said, concerned at the look on the auror's face.
"How did they know I hired Malfoy as my assistant? Who leaked this to the Prophet?" Harry's voice trembled with the fury that was igniting in his veins.
"I do not know, but there is little we can do now," Kingsley said pityingly. "I already told you that I am attempting to have it retracted."
"That's not good enough!" Harry shouted. "We need to fix this!" he brought his fist down on his desk. A picture frame of him, Ron, and Hermione laughing together at Hogwarts fell face first. He took a deep breath and sat down, trying to tame his anger. He propped the picture back up, glancing at the photograph. Harry knew that Kingsley was right; the damage was done. Kingsley had reached out to try to fix what he could, but now it was up to Harry to fix his relationships with his friends.
"Thank you for bringing this information to me, Kingsley. If there's nothing else, I'd like to get some work done today," Harry said in blatant dismissal. There weren't many people who could just dismiss the Minister for Magic so flippantly, but Harry was one of the few.
Kingsley nodded and they said their goodbyes. Harry watched the door click shut behind him, and he sat up quickly, rummaging around his messy desk for blank parchment and a quill. Finally locating some, he wrote a hasty note:
We need to talk in person today. I have to explain everything to you. The Prophet spun things out of control. It's not what it seems.
Harry folded it and placed it to the side, and began his second letter:
I don't know who leaked this information to the Prophet, but I promise you that they will pay. I hope you'll allow me to explain tonight, if you haven't quit and left already, that is. Please know that I would never willingly disrespect you like this.
Harry also folded it and stood, looking at the photograph of him and his friends once more before exiting his office at a fast stride to the ministry owlery, where he sent both letters off, and from there he made his way to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
It was time he paid Hermione a visit.
End Part II.
A/N: I guess I'm turning this into a multi-chapter thing. It'll definitely be very short, though. No more than three or four parts. I'm working on the next one now, and it'll be up way sooner than the amount of time it took for me to post this chapter. I know I promised smut last chapter, and it will happen, but I really am having too much fun with this plot. On a side note, while it may seem like Draco is kind of just a maid at the moment, he'll have more work to do soon, specifically, in Harry's office.
Thank you for your patience, and your amazing comments from last chapter. They were much appreciated. J Please, please REVIEW!