All characters and rights to the amazing J.K. Rowling. I own nothing. Just an idea that I couldn't leave alone.


The muggle clock on the wall ticked the seconds by at half past ten. The corridors of the Ministry had been deserted for hours by now, the auror department silent as well minus the scratching of his quill on fresh parchment.

A few strands of white-blonde hair rebelled and fell into his eyes. He cursed under his breath and brushed them back into place, making a mental reminder to get a haircut soon. He couldn't stomach the idea of his hair growing too long. He'd look even more like him than he already did.

A door two offices over shut with a click and Harry Potter pushed his way into his office. He straightened his glasses with one hand, his other trying to slip his cloak on over his robes.

"Come on, Malfoy. Even gits like you have to sleep sometime." Harry rolled his eyes at the look he shot him but didn't budge. "Seriously. You're overworking and if I don't make you stop then everyone will start to whisper that I've cursed you or something. Now let's go."

Draco grumbled but stood anyway and reached for his own cloak near the door. If Harry hadn't been the head of the auror office, he'd have hexed him out of sheer annoyance.

The two walked side by side as they moved to the exit. The floos were already shut down for the night so they'd have to reach the first apparation point.

"Ginny's planning a small dinner next week. Wanted me to invite you over. Something about you not getting out enough and it being rather pathetic."

Draco sneered but it was halfhearted. "Lovely. Tell her thanks but no thanks."

Harry turned to face him head on and quirked an eyebrow. "She won't be there if that's what you're worried about." He watched as Draco narrowed his eyes in warning but pressed on. "She has a meeting at Hogwarts with McGonagall. Something about a guest lecture with the students in the spring."

He sighed and turned his eyes up towards the sky. The stars seemed brighter tonight, lifting his mood just slightly as it would be ideal for stargazing.

"Fine. What time and what shall I bring?"

"A bottle of wine would do. Ginny always appreciates your choices in wine. And seven. Neville will be there as well as George and Angelina."

Draco quirked a pale eyebrow. "Is Longbottom still dating that pygmy puff?"

Harry chuckled and shook his head. "If you mean Hannah Abbott, then yes."

He shrugged and moved aside a bit to have space to apparate. "Sorry but she's awfully…frilly. Reminds me of those little fuzz balls."

"Whatever keeps you civil, Malfoy. See you tomorrow."

Draco gave a curt nod and was off before Harry could even mutter 'lumos'. The sensation of apparating never felt natural no matter how long he'd been doing it. What, six years now not including the year of his probation after the war.

He felt as though he'd been pressed into himself but before he knew it he was standing in his dark living room. He flicked the wrist of the hand holding his wand and lit the area. With a deep sigh he trudged up the stairs of the spacious home and lit the hall and bedroom as he went.

He placed his shoes neatly in the closet, noting how scuffed they'd become this week and that he'd need to add it to Bitsy's list over the weekend. She'd be thrilled. He hadn't had nearly enough chores for her to do, she'd complained to him just last week.

He almost chuckled at the thought. His house elf being comfortable enough to complain without rushing off to try and iron her ears.

"Silly creatures," he muttered to himself.

Draco hung his robes neatly and stripped out of his suit to get a quick shower. He made a fast dinner of soup in the microwave he'd purchased last month. He still didn't quite understand how the contraption worked but it fascinated him nonetheless and who could argue with the speed.

The soup was adequate but nothing special. He hadn't had the energy to cook anything from scratch in days.

Belly full, he doused the lights and trudged up the stairs to his bed. He climbed into the massive bed and collapsed against the soft mattress and navy sheets.

The room was dark and quiet as he preferred but it was lonely, even he knew it. He reached for his wand on the nightstand and flicked it at the long curtains to reveal a slice of the windows. He'd count stars to get to sleep tonight. He just couldn't shut his mind off.

He hardly slept a wink as much as he tried. By the time he woke up at six a.m. he was as grumpy as usual. He heaved himself out of bed with a sigh and turned the light on with a flick of his wand.

Another day as any other, he mused to himself. Granted, he was thankful to be free and to have a job.

Draco went about his usual routine, brushing his teeth and dressing in an immaculate, grey three piece suit. He walked down the stairs as he tied a crimson tie around his collar.

Odd color choice for himself but it'd been a present last Christmas from Ginny Potter at their annual Christmas party. They had everyone draw names and she'd somehow managed to get his. The smirk on her face when he saw the color could be described as nothing but triumphant. He'd merely rolled his eyes with a polite thank you. He hadn't stayed long though. When she showed up in the green flames of the floo, he knew it was time to make his exit, despite Potter's demands otherwise.

"Good morning, Master Draco," Bitsy smiled brightly as he entered the kitchen.

"Good morning, Bitsy," he greeted the house elf with a nod. "No time for breakfast."

"Bitsy was certain Master Draco would say that," she nodded to herself. "Bitsy made Master a bacon and egg sandwich to eat at his desk."

"Thank you." He reached for his robes to slip on over his suit and grabbed his briefcase with the sandwich. "I left a pair of my shoes in the closet that could use a shine if you will, Bitsy."

"Bitsy would be glad to, sir," she grinned up at him.

"Owl me if you need anything," he waved as he made his way to the fireplace in the living room.

He often preferred to get to the ministry early if possible. Less foot traffic and commotion. Harry would likely threaten to hex him for overworking again but he could go spar a hippogriff for all Draco cared. What else did he have to do with himself?

The familiar green flames consumed him and with hardly a blink he stood in a ministry floo. He stepped out and brushed off his robes at the same time as someone else to his left. He looked up, prepared to offer a customary, polite nod when he locked eyes with Hermione Granger.

She stood there for a moment just staring at him, forgetting about dusting her own robes of debris. Her back stiffened noticeably before she dipped her chin just slightly and turned to march off towards her office on the third floor.

Were they in the past he would have snarled out some insult about her blood status or the fact that she'd been an annoying know-it-all, but now all he could do was grimace to himself.

"Morning, Granger," he muttered to no one at all.

There was nothing left to do but stalk off towards the aurors' offices. He ignored the interdepartmental memos that zoomed around his head in the lift and exited as soon as possible when the doors opened. The office was quiet when he entered his office. He dropped his briefcase and hung his robes on the coatrack near the door.

Draco sighed as he took his seat at his desk and shuffled through the reports. He was sick to death of arresting ex-deatheaters for harboring dark artifacts. He just didn't understand why it was so difficult to give it up already. Life was a lot more peaceful without all of the nonsense.

"Morning, Malfoy," Harry called as he passed his doorway on his way to his own office.

"Morning, Potter," he called back without looking up.

He lifted a pale eyebrow curiously when he heard the distinctive clicking of heels on the marble floor. It couldn't be Angelina Johnson who also worked in the office. She was one of only two female aurors and she hated heels. Claimed they weren't functional for an auror.

He lifted his gaze finally from the report when the sound continued to come nearer still. For the second time that morning he locked eyes with Hermione Granger. He noted the way her gaze narrowed at him before she turned to the left, clearly heading towards her best friend's office.

Draco lifted his wand and gave it a quick flick, shutting his office door with a definite click.

On the other side of the door, Hermione rolled her eyes and continued towards Harry's office. She rapped her knuckles on his open doorframe and smiled when he looked up.

"Morning, Hermione," Harry smiled, pausing to adjust his glasses as he pulled some files from his briefcase.

"I've brought you that file on the centaur's assault. I've reviewed it and I think you definitely have a case against Tameron Rodgers. Just let me know if you need any help."

"Brilliant," Harry nodded. "I might need you to act as an expert witness on that one. The other prosecutor is bloody good at his job."

Hermione crossed her arms over her chest and smiled in amusement. "I've been telling you to find a better lawyer to represent the aurors' office. I hear Susan Bones has an excellent case record."

He rolled his eyes but nodded. "I know and you're right. I'll have Malfoy look into it for me. I'm a bit overloaded and they keep telling me I need to delegate better."

She nodded though just the sound of his name made her squirm uncomfortably. "I understand. I'm having to do the same."

"Potter, have you—" Draco trailed off when he approached and saw she was still there. "Sorry," he muttered.

Hermione stiffened and averted her gaze. "I'll see you at lunch, Harry."

She didn't so much as glance back as she slid past him and left their offices.

Harry nodded as he watched her leave and then glanced at Draco. "I think she's warming to you, Malfoy," he joked.

Draco shrugged a bit uncomfortably. "Might be because I closed my door when I caught her eyes on her way in here."

Harry just shook his head and sighed. "One day the two of you are going to have to get over the past and be civil and speak to one another."

The blonde rolled his eyes and tossed a file to his co-worker before retreating to his office. He slumped into his office chair with a huff and propped his chin on one fisted hand.

Speak to each other? Easier said than done.