Summary: AU. Slytherin Raised!HP. At age 23, the charming Mister Potter figures to be the youngest Minister in history. Read as he deals with political intrigue, an arranged marriage and rumors of a dark resurgence.
Word to the Readers: This is my first story after reading much fanfiction over the years. It starts off a bit slow, I'm afraid and from the POVs of various characters. This is because I feel it would be a cop out to just give you a paragraph explaining what has happened unto this point. Instead, I've written 6,000 words from various people who were both important and not so in Canon!Harry's life. Starting with Chapter II, the story will be Harry-centric and will have much more action though it is a politically driven story.
"Mr. Potter, the youngest candidate for Minister for Magic in history, turned twenty-three today," drifted the rich voice of a Wizarding Wireless reporter.
Mrs. Weasley, who was busying herself in the family kitchen, cast a glare at the device as the man continued - "The ever popular Boy-Who-Lived appeared briefly in the marketing district to cheers of good will before retiring to his estate in Wizarding Edinburgh, where he will enjoy a very small and very private party."
Sources privy to the Opposition Leader's schedule disclosed he will be leaving for London in the morning, in preparation for his grand wedding to the lovely Miss –"
A tap of the wand and the formal voice of the reporter was replaced by Celestina Warbeck's lilting and upbeat tone in 'You've Jinxed Me'.
Mr. Potter this, Mr. Potter that. Mr. Potter did this, Mr. Potter will be doing that. Molly Weasley had had quite enough of the infallible Mr. Potter for one afternoon, perhaps the week.
"Mum!" a surprise voice said.
"Don't 'Mum' me, Ginny Weasley," came the soft tempered reply as Molly floated the dirtied pots, pans and dishes from that day's lunch into the slightly worn sink. She cast a cleaning charm on several of the brushes in the sink and as the instruments began their chore, she cast a glance out the window near the old fashioned oven.
All her children had visited, a rarity with them being grown up and out of the house, and all save her very stubborn daughter had gone out to play Quidditch in the yard.
"You know they won't be here for long, dear," she said in an almost pleading voice, "Charlie leaves in the morning and Bill the next day and you won't find an afternoon more wonderful than this." It was then that she cast another charm that rinsed the soap off before adding, "You really ought to go outside and join them instead of listening to pointless gossip you can pick up on any day of the week."
That did it.
The pretty daughter to whom she'd spoken to look scandalized. "Pointless?" the girl reiterated; "Any day of the week?" she whispered – "He'll only be married once!"
"Oh dear God, I hope so," the mother practically breathed, dropping her wand in the sink and covering her mouth.
"What?" she recovered, "What's wrong with hoping they live happily ever after?"
"Who wants them to live happily after?" she questioned, an amused look on her face. "That's no fun – they have to be miserable."
"Well, look at the kind of daughter I've raised," Molly said, turning to look at her youngest, a twenty-two year old, slightly shorter than average woman with not a care in the world. She sat in a rickety swivel chair, rolling back and forth, humming to the tune that poured out of the wireless.
Noticing she had her mother's attention, the girl pouted and Molly gave in – "Well, it is an arranged marriage."
Ginny grinned and flicked her wand, changing the channel.
It was outside, seated at a bench that stood in the shade of an ancient tree that had seen many Weasleys come and go that Arthur Weasley and Cyrano Lovegood heard a very exasperated "Ginny!" pour from an open window near them.
Arthur, a man in his fifties with quickly disappearing hair, laughed and said "No doubt they must be discussing Mr. Potter again; you know how smitten Ginny is."
It was Lovegood who chuckled next, newspaper in hand. He scanned the front page which held a large picture of a stoic looking, young man whose lips moved, showing he was speaking but no words came from the page. Putting the paper down, he spoke.
"It seems everyone is smitten with Mr. Potter these days, Arthur. I wasn't that surprised when I found out even my own daughter seems quite taken with him. Although," and he gave a chuckle, "I must say, she's not that interested in his… political achievements. I don't think she ever cared for anything other than his 'vibrant green eyes which remind me oh-so much of Humdinglers'," he quoted, shaking his head.
Arthur smiled for a moment and then frowned; he voiced his worry. "Still, it's hard to believe the SMRP is going to have enough votes to take control," he bit his lower lip and cast his eyes out over the green fields that stretched in every direction. In the distance, he could see six of his children lobbing a red ball towards a makeshift wooden hoop that leaned slightly to the left. "It's not right, you know," he continued, "It's not a foregone conclusion, either; they could come up a seat short – God knows the center district will be tough – but still, can you imagine the change? I mean… the radical purebloods back in power? They'll undo half a century of hard work."
"So you think," said Cyrano, browsing the sports page; the man looked defeated for a second when he stumbled across the footnote that said his team had lost for the fifteenth consecutive time. He looked up and sighed.
"I said it when Potter got into politics; I said it when he got party head, last year. 'The kid's got moxie, he'll go places. He'll be minister one day.' But you never listen to me Arthur," he joked.
Arthur took a look at that man in front of him. He'd like to think Mr. Lovegood wasn't as… well… eccentric as his daughter. But truth was, he hardly knew the man. He was a charmer with a warm sort of personality that much he knew. But his political allegiances? His thoughts on blood supremacy? He had no inkling for he wasn't one to bring religion and politics up often.
But today he dared. "You can't possibly think they'll do good?" he questioned, giving him a pointed looked. "A mess of Slytherins and former Death Eaters running both chambers and you think muggleborns won't suffer?"
"Ah, layoff it Arthur," Cyrano responded, eyeing the article about a murderous goblin – weren't they all murderous, he wondered. He finally looked up to see Arthur's expectant face.
He blinked lazily before giving in to Arthur's question.
"It isn't our fathers' SMRP," he started, "It isn't Grindelwald's SMRP. They've been changing since the early 70s. You-Know-Who comes along and sets them back a couple of decades – what do you think? Things take time. All they've needed is the right person to lead the party. They've found him. A half-blood, mind you."
"A half-blooded Slytherin," Arthur shot in, "Might as well be a pureblooded one. No doubt he pretends it. Hard to believe Lily and James's boy ever ended up in Slytherin though."
Cyrano raised an eyebrow at the man; he knew where this would lead. Arguments. He wasn't for anyone really, but he supported Mr. Potter and the traditions he would uphold in office. Frankly, he didn't want to lose a friend over it however, and so he moved to end the conversation.
"Stranger things have happened, Arthur – I mean, have you ever witnessed the Crumple-Horned Snorkack mate?"
Arthur just gave him a look.
It was many miles to the north, in Hogwarts Castle that Professor McGonagall, a woman just reaching midlife, sat in silence within her office, patiently waiting.
On her desk lay a rather thick tome, opened to a specific page with the header, "Hogwarts Roster, 2003 in the Year of our Lord."
It was a rather important day, she thought, in many ways. It was every year that she sent out owls to the fifty or so magical persons that Hogwarts deemed eligible for learning and it was always July 31st that marked the day when all letters of acceptance must be received.
There were no exceptions.
She bristled at the very thought of someone sending an acceptance on the first of August. Such a move wasn't out of character for the graying lady; it was how she was – punctual, by the book and maybe, maybe if you knew her, truly knew her, you'd get a smile.
It was as another letter of acceptance came in – this one belonging to a Gerhardt Worthington – that her thoughts drifted to the other reason July 31st held such significance.
Harry Potter, of course. Such an interesting child, she thought. In truth, the Professor had grown worried. She'd always been worried, she realized, as she reminisced of all the events the young boy had gotten caught up in. She was never more worried than now however, on the eve of grand sweeping change unparalleled in recent memory.
Had he gotten caught up with the wrong sort? Minerva was a Gryffindor and so of course there were the tendencies to look more at the color of the badge rather than the person who wore it when it came to Slytherin House.
Was he happy? It was as she tried to remember Harry Potter smiling and enjoying something that a voice startled her.
"Lemon drop for your thoughts, Professor McGonagall?"
She let loose a 'hmm' before looking up – Albus Dumbledore stood before her, regal as ever, though there was a frown upon his otherwise kind face. She attempted to regain her composure at once and half-coughed.
"Albus," she declared, bowing her head slightly; the Headmaster of Hogwarts returned the gesture.
"Odd that I should find you, Professor McGonagall, so lost in your thoughts on a day with so much work to be done," he started, his tone very serious. Minerva was at loss for words – was he serious? It was then, still recovering from her trip down memory lane, that she realized just who she was talking to.
When had Albus Dumbledore been serious?
She caught the laughter his eyes held and the corners of his lips which fought hard not to belie his true feelings; she smiled a genuine smile at him. Albus chuckled a moment later, his ruse disappearing behind a gentle smile.
His visage swept the entirety of her office, taking in all the wonderful Myrddinian Era paintings, the soft pitter-patter of the teapot and the mahogany everything. Satisfied, he tented his fingers before sitting down in the chair before the Deputy Headmistress's desk.
The wizened man took a look at the tome upon her desk, 'hmm'ing before remarking, "It would seem some still have yet to reply. Though… I imagine the owls to your right would have something to say about that," he finished, smiling kindly.
She half-coughed again as she looked to her left, and indeed, there stood several very stern looking owls, each with a letter of acceptance tied carefully around their right foot.
Her nose twitched. "So it would seem."
Albus could only chuckle.
She diligently began transferring information and checking off names and marking them in the tome. "Is there anything the matter, Minerva?" Albus pushed.
"Oh, nothing at all," she lied, realizing in hindsight that it indeed would come off as rather odd behavior for Minerva McGonagall of all people to be lost in the clouds. Realizing she was caught in a lie, she sighed, "If you must know," and here she gave him a look of insecurity, perhaps wondering if her thoughts were wasted and silly, "I was thinking of Mr. Potter."
"Ah-ah," he said, in understanding, withdrawing a sweet from his pocket and devouring it. "Perfectly understandable, Minerva; nothing wrong in that," he continued, his sweet tooth sated, "In fact, I sincerely doubt there is a wizard or witch alive today who hasn't thought about Mr. Potter every July and October 31st of every year since that dreadful night so long ago. We owe so much, after all."
He glanced at Minerva, who was listening intently, "Even more so has it become important to think of Mr. Potter, as he has positioned himself for Minister for Magic. It would be prudent for you to think of him; it is your civic duty to, after all."
Minerva only shook her head, smiling.
"Laugh if you want, Minerva. It falls upon every witch and wizard in this country to vote once government is dissolved and general elections are held. Far be it for someone to spend some time thinking about the person instead of voting along party lines as has become custom with your average wizard," he lamented.
"So you think of him then?" she inquired.
Here Dumbledore looked pained for a moment before exhaling a somewhat shaky breath. He took his glasses off, tapped him with his wand and replaced them. "Only on days when the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Minerva," he finally said.
Minerva's eyebrows raised in confusion and seeing this he continued, "There wasn't a day that went by after I placed him at the Dursleys' in which I didn't contemplate my actions. Was I too brash, I often wondered. Had I cut someone off from a world that was rightfully his? Was I setting him up to hate me?"
He tented his fingers once more. "Hundreds of questions, Minerva. All plagued me until a small, undersized boy with green eyes entered our world."
He sniffed, "Something happened in those opening days, Minerva, in which he prepared for his first year of Hogwarts," he revealed, going farther than Minerva expected him to, "Something I did not intend. I must admit, now on the cusp of perhaps the most radical change in government in forty years, that I had intended young Harry to be as normal as one could be under such conditions as were his."
Alas it was not to be. Something happened. He was not as excited as I anticipated he would be; not as friendly nor as open to people as I predicted," and his eyes seem to lose focus as he recalled a particular shaky day from young Potter's childhood. "And when he sat upon that stool, for the first time in my life, I did not know."
It only made Minerva more curious as she leaned forward, paying close attention to every detail.
"I did not know who this child was who sat before a crowd eager to make their problems his. I did not know who he would become or whether he would make the decisions that seemed so right to make when I placed him upon that footstep so long ago."
"Better be... SLYTHERIN!" The voice of the sorting hat echoed so clearly in his mind.
"And it was as he was sorted into Slytherin," he continued "And it was as the tables all sat in confusion for the briefest of moments, they too not knowing, that I realized what that unexpected something was."
Minerva waited, hands on desk, breath drawn – "It was me, Minerva," he clarified. She deflated; it was not the answer she was expecting – perhaps something evil but before she could think further on it, he pressed on, "Albus Dumbledore, who sat as Headmaster of Hogwarts, guilty of perhaps nothing… and then again, guilty of perhaps everything."
You see, Minerva – it was I who had held all the cards up until that very moment. It was I who had positioned myself to become the most important person in young Harry's life. And what was so unexpected?" he questioned himself, sighing, "What was so unexpected was realizing in that moment how wrong I could be; how wrong my actions could be. It was not in that moment, however, that I understood that I had failed someone so terribly, so incontrovertibly."
He sighed, rubbing his hands along the mahogany desk of his protégé. "I had known nothing; I had understood little about this child and had gambled everything. I had played a game with someone else's life. And my opponent, Minerva – oh ho, my opponent, whoever he may be, has been making me pay ever since," he concluded, looking away from Minerva's torn face.
"So you gave up?" she asked, hesitantly. Dumbledore, who was staring out the window at the setting sun, ignored her for a moment before telling her that was not the case.
"Oh no, I did not give up easily on Mr. Potter. It's as I said – it was not in that moment that I realized I had lost whatever war I was waging. It came much later. It was in his early years that I believed it would be essential for him to not tread a path resembling that of another student's, who came before him, long before him – one you may know very well, Minerva," seeing no sign of understanding, he decided that was a story for another day, "For another time, Minerva."
You must understand how hard it is to not know, Minerva," he continued, almost in sorrow, "To not know when all you've done is know is a feeling I was not ready to accept. And instead of reevaluating my thoughts, slowing down… and perhaps making a wiser judgment, I went recklessly into Mr. Potter's life, though I doubt he knew it. He may still not."
Minerva's interest was piqued again as she nibbled on a biscuit taken from one of her drawers. "I tried so very hard to court him through desperate means… means far from legal, Minerva – far from," he revealed, making Minerva stop chewing, "I lost him completely, despite those efforts."
Albus slouched in the chair and tilted his head to one side, his face taking on a look of pride, though where he directed it, Minerva did not know until he spoke again. "He was such a good student," he offered, smiling, "I don't think he ever received less than Outstanding, did he?"
"No Albus, he didn't," Minerva agreed, a bit impatient with Dumbledore's detour, but not unsympathetic, "But what is it that happened, Albus – what is it that could make it so impossible for you to reconnect with Harry at a later time?"
Dumbledore's face darkened, a sight Minerva was not accustomed to and as such, she leaned back, allowing him room.
"Lucius Malfoy," he finally stated and Minerva went 'ahh', "I should've seen the signs, really. Perhaps it was even him who changed Mr. Potter upon his entrance into our world; one can never be too sure with Hagrid doing the reporting," he said, smiling, "It was a foolish thing to do, sending Hagrid. But it was an even more foolish thought on my part that blinded me – to think that just because Harry had defeated Lord Malfoy's master he would steer clear from such a boy. Oh no, I should've foreseen that but I was too busy being so directly concerned for him that I missed even the obvious."
Dumbledore stared beyond Minerva as he thought of what one Arabella Figg told him – that Mr. Potter had not been treated kindly at the Dursley home; that he had in fact been party to mistreatment not worthy of the most spoiled of children.
He licked his lips, "Lucius courted Harry, took him under his wing and as I suspect, during the summer months tutored him," Dumbledore revealed, "It was all legal, a first I'm sure, for Mr. Malfoy." This drew a smile from Minerva, "He got permission from the Dursleys, the snake charmer. No doubt that was the easiest part. And then he got permission from Harry, which to this day makes me curious."
"Curious as to what?," she asked, concerned, "Do you think he coerced Mr. Potter unwillingly?"
"At first perhaps," he said, shrugging, "One cannot be too sure, then again Harry may have gone willing, even despite his apparent disdain for the man's child."
Minerva chuckled. "Ah yes," she interjected, "Mr. Potter was never too fond of young Master Malfoy, was he?"
Dumbledore smiled as well, "No, Minerva – I don't think it would matter a great deal what house Mr. Potter found himself in. Some people just don't like arrogance and young Malfoy's brand was particularly lacking in subtlety, wasn't it?"
Minerva nodded, prompting Dumbledore to continue, "You may wonder as to how I got such information – it was all done in secret you see. Well within the law. It would be from an abused House-Elf, one Dobby, who Mr. Potter grew fond of, that I learned what it was Lucius was teaching Harry."
"Spot on. Politics and tradition. Lucius Malfoy was feeding a knowledge-deprived child who starved for some inkling of understanding of the world around him, all he could possibly eat."
Dumbledore sighed. "An already brilliant student in his non-elective years, Mr. Potter easily took top honors in each class and subject starting in third year, much to the chagrin of one Hermione Granger, if I recall correctly."
Minerva smiled, thinking of her favorite student, "Yes, she was rather miffed by it all. Didn't play too well when it came to arguments between the houses. Blood superiority in all," she finished, bitterly.
"Indeed," Dumbledore agreed, "He surprised us all, didn't he?" he asked to no one in particular, "And his affinity for charms… it was not expected. Another errant thought on my part; to think he'd do better in Defense Against the Dark Arts just because he stopped a curse with his mother's love. It was in some of my wilder thoughts that I imagined Mr. Potter perhaps breaking the curse that has been upon the teaching position ever since Lord Voldemort visited."
"He's a Master in Charms, no?" she asked, not sure. Apprenticeships happened after Hogwarts, after all and the newspapers rarely talked of anything other than his political ambitions… well, and his dashing smile. She smiled for a moment before Dumbledore answered.
"Yes. And a Lord Chronicler of History," Dumbledore added. It was a prestigious position. One didn't Master in History, they were instead invited into a prestigious organization ordained by the monarch centuries ago to keep history and keep it well. "He was really an enigma in his years, no doubt, though he was more controlled in that regard, no doubt due to the respect he had for Lord Malfoy and his teachings. When he spoke, people listened, even if the badge upon his heart was green."
"Unheard of," commented the Transfiguration Professor, dryly.
"I was frantic in those days, Minerva," he stated, looking at her with saddened eyes, "I began revisiting my pensieve almost nightly, searching into the past, trying to see if he was going down the path… if he was becoming something this world never needs to see again."
I did not. Again, I who has made a habit of knowing everything, did not know if the savior of our world was becoming dark."
Such an admission shocked Minerva, though she fought hard not to show it. Albus Dumbledore was the strongest man in society in almost every one's book, light or dark, traditionalist or progressive, pureblood or not.
"I was frightened I had lost Lily and James's child, when I had made an oath to protect him; frightened I had failed; frightened that I was perhaps wrong."
He sighed, closing his eyes and leaning back in his chair. He reopened them, looking up, "It came as no surprise, for a change, that when he finished his apprenticeship in charms that he joined the Sorcerers' Magical Reform Party. Almost all Slytherins do, regardless," he clarified, "But maybe I held out hope. No such luck."
He was charismatic; intelligent – he could speak eloquently about anything and he has never once lost his nerve like Lucius is accustomed to. He is everything the SMRP needs and he easily won a seat at the age of eighteen," he said, coughing slightly. Age, he thought. Time was catching up with him.
He remained silent for quite sometime and it was as the ebbing of orange and purple faded into night that Minerva voiced a question she had held for quite some time.
"He renounced his seat in the Chamber of Lords – why?"
He smiled. "Now that did surprise me, Minerva. Although, in hindsight, it was perhaps the most brilliant political move in several hundred years of rather stale government."
The SMRP has been changing, Minerva," he conceded, although it was not without much reluctance on his part, "They are not as bad as they once were though one would always be looking up if your party was anything like Lord Grindelwald's was in the late 30s and early 40s. They've been moving closer to the center while retaining much of their tradition. They've admitted Half-Bloods into the fold, obviously, but it goes deeper than that."
They needed someone that would resonate with the people. Mr. Potter was positively brilliant. To renounce Lordship and to totally remove the Potter name from the upper house? I don't know if I envisioned such a thing, even in the days when I thought Harry would be sorted into Gryffindor."
When James did it, it sent quite the ripple through Pureblood society – not many, however, who don't take the upper house seriously," and both smirked at that, "cared, for lack of a better word."
But when Harry Potter, by the Laws of Lordship renounced his claim to the seat citing wishes to 'run as a citizen normally would'," and Dumbledore shook his head, "Oh ho, I don't think I've ever seen someone so loved by the press nor the people in all my years of living, Muggle or Magical."
Minerva nodded and added, "It was then you could see the writing on the wall."
"Yes," Dumbledore added, dryly, "The party which had issued the Dirty Blood Edicts nearly a century ago, forbidding those of 'inferior blood' from voting and partaking in government – the very party which has persecuted half-breeds and half-bloods and countless others who did not fit their bigoted and misguided views and who have prevented said people from ever holding a significant job in our world for hundreds of years… elected the quintessential half-blood in a landslide vote to party head."
Dumbledore shook his head once more, still unbelieving a year later, "Some days it just pays not to get out of bed, Minerva." The Professor's eyebrows shot up; Dumbledore could only chuckle, "They've been mainstreaming for quite sometime but it's not enough, my friend. Their views of Muggleborns and half-breeds and creatures is far from adequate."
I really don't see how he'll get elected. I don't see the Center District yielding that many seats to their party. Alas... it's not a very favorable hypothesis at the moment as everyone else seems to think it's set in stone - maybe they see something I do not."
"And if he wins?" asked Minerva.
"If he wins," Dumbledore answered, "If he wins, we will see a return of tradition. Something not inherently bad, although a bit costly if I do say so myself. But we also see the push for rights for werewolves, centaurs, goblins and house-elves stop completely, and in some cases, reversing. I doubt it will come to taking rights away though. They wish to retain the lower house and they wouldn't do it in that manner."
Dumbledore had gotten progressively more depressed as the conversation turned more political; Minerva looked to change focus as he seemed not destined to leave the office any time soon, "Speaking of tradition," she ventured, "This girl he's marrying – an… an arranged marriage? No one seems to find it a bit distasteful, Albus. It's all very confusing – wasn't it just a few years ago that the press was all over young Master Malfoy's arrangement?"
Dumbledore tutted, "Yes, well, that was Malfoy; this is the Boy-Who-Lived, you see," – seeing Minerva's face, he coughed and got serious, "Yes, well, an arranged marriage would receive scorn in 1998 but the world works in pendulum swings, Minerva. From Medieval to Renaissance to Victorian and so forth; attitudes change when people tire of the same thing for so long. Which is why the SMRP is poised to win – it's a new era in the making; a return of tradition, a return of being more careful with your galleons and of gentlemen and ladies and all the pomp that goes with it. I still wonder if people are not the least bit crazy to be handing the keys over to a party that Voldemort could have easily led had he been a bit more patient."
Lucius Malfoy perhaps saw this," Dumbledore continued, "And upon Harry's 16th birthday struck a deal with her family in secret, to be revealed upon the turn of the century. I hear the money exchanged and the political alliances formed from that single contract were tremendous. Then again, the family has always bred beautiful women; I doubt it wasn't unexpected. It's even from my understanding that Mr. Potter gained a speechwriter that day."
"Mr. Diggory? Really?" asked Minerva; Dumbledore nodded. The things you learn, she thought.
"Regardless, it was a smart move," he said, "I have no doubt Lord Malfoy was testing the waters with his son's arranged marriage. But perhaps Mr. Potter loves this girl now. They've had a long time to court – it would be a good thing, from what I hear of her. She is a very nice girl, or so my sources confide in me."
"Yes, yes she is, from what I recall of her," she concluded, remembering the girl, "Though I cannot seem to recall them ever dating during Hogwarts."
"Mr. Potter never dated anyone," Dumbledore corrected, "And unless he's devised a way to fool me, he never took any lovers either." Minerva didn't want to even know. "Outside of Hogwarts, it's a bit harder to track but the same sources say his only love is politics and the occasional card game."
"He's a very dignified boy, Albus," Minerva stated, "I was very worried for him; I still a bit am, no doubt. It's hard seeing Lily and James in every feature of his." She thought of the handsome face that adorned many a poster and news article in her world, "And seeing the exact opposite in almost everything he does. It's difficult with the attachment to the old Order."
"As I said, Minerva: not a day…," he looked very defeated then, lost amid his own thoughts and perhaps what he perceived as past failings. "He is a very good boy."
Minerva smiled at him, looking down at the tome once more. "A full roster, Albus. All of them have accepted."
Dumbledore shared a smile as well.
"An opinion poll last week put Minister Fudge's approval rating at twenty-four percent, which ties him with the late You-Know-Who's and puts both exactly two points behind Magical AIDs in terms of popularity."
Blaise Giovanna Zabini bit the bottom of her lip, smiling, attempting to control her laughter; her body quavered slightly, however, which prompted a response from her father.
"Hold still, woman," said the disgruntled voice. The man was very tall, even despite being kneeled at the woman's side and his hair was a light brown intermixed with various shades of gray. He looked to be in his late fifties, though truly, he was nearly a hundred.
"Of course, father," came the daughter's reply, though it was put to the test with lack of success a moment later when the man on the wireless cracked yet another joke.
"Do you want this dress to look good?" he snapped, using his wand to draw fabric from a basket at his feet. Slowly and with precision he weaved it into the half-complete white dress the daughter wore. She moved again; he sighed and said: "Or would you rather it look like a mess so the vultures in the press have something to talk about?" and he grumbled – "God knows they have nothing better to report on than you or that damn boy."
"But I thought you liked Harry," she said, amused.
"Don't be stupid. Of course I like Harry," he spoke quickly, making figure eights with his wand, pulling the fabric together and strengthening the area around the tip as if the wand were starching it.
Truth be told, Mr. Zabini was a master tailor well renowned throughout the Wizarding World for his masterpieces; that didn't mean he could work miracles however and when his daughter moved again he dropped his head into his hands.
"This is your wedding dress, Blaise," he informed her, "You know, the dress you'll be wearing in front of your future husband and countless other lowlifes who have nothing better to do? You are marrying him, are you not?" he snapped, impatiently.
"Oh I don't know father," she replied in an amused tone, "I haven't quite decided yet."
The man only blinked. He threw down his wand and began grumbling; it was at this time that her oldest sister joined in.
"Is everything alright?" she asked, poking her head around the doorway.
"No," the father said, "No it's not. Your sister is terrible. She won't stand still for one god damned minute," it was then that the man on the wireless drew rounds of laughter from the audience as well as Blaise with yet another joke, "And I'm going to personally see to it that that man on that damned show gets hit with a shovel," he finished, pointing his finger in the general direction of the device.
The sister sighed, "Oh Blaise, can't you go a day without that show? It is your wedding dress after all."
"Conspiring against me," the brunette replied, "Always conspiring against me. Fine, fine."
"It's your wedding dress!" her sister exclaimed, "You don't have to get all defensive and scrunch your face up like a skrewt."
"Like a skrewt," Blaise breathed, astonished, "My face is not…" she started, getting defensive; she glanced in the mirror adorned on the east side of the room and then back at the woman she was forced to call sister. "Oh, you're so clever. Well… well, fine," she said lamely, "I'm done for today. No more," she got in, before they could protest, "We'll finish it tomorrow."
She stepped off the elevated platform her father had fixed and removed the dress, hastily and without care. She tossed it to the floor which caused Mr. Zabini to go "ab-ah!" as he fell forward to catch it but it was to no avail. The dress crumpled to the ground, forcing the man to sigh heavily as he began rubbing his forehead with his left hand.
More cleaning charms, he realized, spotting a bit of dirt. Definitely more cleaning charms.
He finally shot a look at the remaining daughter.
"You're older? How?"
Closing Word: Thank you and an fyi: Voldemort hasn't returned yet (if you couldn't tell). I don't think the story would be very much the same if Harry was sorted in to Slytherin though I do believe the prophecy calls for the inevitable return of our favorite villain. You shall see.