A/N – Modified 25th November 2005.
Disclaimer – I don't own HP. Don't sue.
Draco Malfoy's return to his home country raised more than a few brows, at home and around the world. The knowledge that he had at last ceased his rootless wondering was greeted with skepticism, disbelief, and outright dismay – as long as he'd been a rootless exile who could be bought and hired by anyone with enough money, he had not been a true threat. But now that he had firm loyalties once again, he was dangerous – he had too much insider knowledge of too many groups, Ministries, and organizations, and he would use it all to devastating effect. He was not known for half-measures and compromise; everything he did, he did with extreme thoroughness.
There had been threats made against him and his wife, and pressure brought to bear, in the hope of scaring him off, and even a number of assassination attempts, but he had emerged unscathed from each trial. Such was his nature – he thrived on intrigue and challenges, and thoroughly enjoyed the dangers of steering a safe course through an increasingly dangerous world.
The Ministry may have declared the Death Eaters broken in Britain, but no one with any real intelligence truly believed it. The few who had fled overseas had spread to the continent and into the fertile breeding ground of the lawless, poverty-stricken, forgotten parts of the world, where, like a virus, Voldemort's creed had multiplied and mutated beyond all control. The war was by no means over, and the Death Eaters were by no means the only threat.
However, if Draco found himself more and more involved in the darker, dirtier aspects of internal and international security, there was always his wife to draw him back and centre him. She, and she alone, saw him as a private person, loving him for himself and not for what he could offer her. Together, they lived in a simple, homely house, with children they both wanted, and made a life for themselves with wizarding Britain's acceptance, if not its complete approval.
Malfoy Manor, imposing, impressive and ancient, played host to a gathering of luminaries, politicians, academics and socialites assembled to celebrate the birth of the third Malfoy son. It was entertainment on a grand scale, as the pureblooded political families had always done it, and Draco, as the latest head of the greatest pureblooded family, had not abandoned all of his traditions when he had married a Weasley and settled down to the serious business of playing politics working with the system, rather than against it.
"You have to admit it," Blaise said dryly, "I was right, wasn't I?"
Draco turned away from his absent survey of the ballroom, where couples danced and chattered, to face his oldest friend, the Deputy Minister. "Yes, this is an excellent vintage, Zabini. Your palate is exquisite."
Blaise ignored the conversational sidestep. "It was past time for you to return. You weren't happy out there, drifting with no real purpose. Look at you now – you're disgustingly content."
Across the ballroom, Draco caught Ginny's eye and they shared a very small, very private smile. The years since they'd truly, willingly accepted their ties to each other had been good – they steadied each other, gave each other purpose, and served as foils for their differing gifts and strengths.
Then he turned back to Blaise, still smiling, but eyes serious. "Yes, I am marginally grateful to you for having me dragged back to Britain in chains, Blaise. But that doesn't mean I'm going to support your latest proposal…"
Blaise raised his brows, and they got down to the serious business of running the country between them.