Sitting behind a desk all day is really beginning to wear on my nerves, Harry thought as he rubbed the back of his neck, attempting to remove the ache that was forming there. He leaned back in his chair and slowly removed his glasses from the bridge of his nose, placing them carelessly among the stacks of paper littering his desk. When he joined up the Aurors, he was not aware of the vast amounts of paper pushing he would have to toil through. There wasn't much action since the war ended and it left many a hero doing paperwork for a living.
"Oy, Harry!" a voice called, jolting him out of his revere. "You don't agree with Malfoy, do you?"
Staring blankly back up at the fuzzy image of his best friend, Harry just gaped, "What?"
"Hermione. Do you agree with Malfoy?" Ron asked. Harry sighed and dropped his glasses back upon his nose.
"Where is this coming from? Hermione still in a snit with you from two nights ago?" he wondered, surprised that the witch had stayed angry for so long. She was usually the one who broke up the fights between herself and Ron; not kept them going, that was Ron's job.
Ron sighed and ruffled his hair in exasperation, "Hmm, that's what it would appear like, wouldn't it? I just don't understand. I mean we've gotten into fights before, but never for this long."
"It was only two night ago, Ron. I mean give her a little time. You were a little rude to her," Harry pointed out.
Ron huffed loudly at Harry's comment, "So you do agree with that asshole, Malfoy."
"Now I didn't say that…"
"So now I'm not good enough for you either? What is it with you two? All I hear now is about that ferret!" Ron snapped. "Forget it! Forget I was even here."
"Ron…" Harry started. He was cut off by a blur of brown rushing towards his desk and practically tackling his friend.
"Wha-" Ron wondered. Looking down he saw the beaming smile of his girlfriend hugging his chest. Harry, deeply shocked at Hermione's behavior, laughed at her appearance.
"Hermione, what are you doing here?" he questioned.
"Oh, Ron!" Hermione laughed. "You shouldn't have! I wasn't really all that mad!"
Still puzzled by Hermione's reaction, Ron just continued to mumble, "What?"
"I mean I know I always bugged you about showing some romantic tendencies; but really, a bouquet of red roses for every year we've known each other? That was a little more than even I can handle, but I'll forgive you. Oh, it was definitely a wonderful surprise this morning when I got to work," Hermione giggled. She pulled her unwilling boyfriend closer to her and planted a swift kiss upon his startled lips. "Love you, too, darling."
"Mental," Ron whispered, but couldn't keep the blush from rising in his cheeks and ears. He returned her smile with a goofy grin of his own.
"So, guess you're not angry anymore, Hermione?" Harry interrupted.
Hermione paused slightly and turned her face upwards to Ron's hesitant one, "Well, I'm still a bit miffed, but I can get over something as silly that."
She leaned over Harry's desk, scrunching her nose up at the mess he had made with all his paperwork, and pulled out a thick envelope. It was the same one from a couple of mornings ago, the one with the fancy family crest sitting in the left hand corner. Harry had taken it to the office with him; but since Ron hadn't mentioned anything about attending any sort of ball or function, Harry had thrown it to the side and quickly forgotten about it. Hermione gave a light squeal and opened to the invitation.
"You got one! Oh, I knew you would," she exclaimed. Ron peered over at the invitation, puzzled at the type of reaction it had forced out his normally level-headed girlfriend. "I'm going, too!"
"What is it?" Ron asked, reaching for the envelope to get better a look.
"Nothing," Harry snapped, snatching the letter out of Hermione's hand. "Don't worry about it."
"Really, Harry, what is the problem," Hermione frowned, hands on hips. "I mean honestly, you don't have to be rude about it."
Harry dropped down into his chair and threw the envelope, invitation included, into the already over overfull rubbish bin in the corner of his cubicle. Hermione frowned disappointedly at her friend's childish behavior. Ron continued to look lost between the two.
"I don't see what the big deal. It's just silly ball," Harry rationalized to the irritation of Hermione. "So, I don't go. Ron's not going."
"I'm not going to what!" Ron yelled exasperated by being left out of an important conversation.
Hermione rolled her eyes and brushed a stray strand of hair out of her face, "Oh, really. Is that the best you have? And for your information, Ron is going. He wasn't sent an invitation since he would just toss it out. I was sent one as well and instructed to bring a date. Therefore, Ron will be attending."
By this time Ron was tired of all his questions being ignored and angrily slammed his fist upon Harry's desk, upsetting all loose items to the floor. Taken back by their friend's outburst, Harry and Hermione jumped back away from the irate red-head.
"Well? Going to explain to the oblivious one over here what's going?"
"Sorry," both mumbled. Hermione hesitantly placed a hand upon Ron's arm, instantly calming him down a bit, "It's nothing serious, Ron. Malfoy has invited us to a very special ball. The three of us have been invited and I'm trying to convince Harry here to attend with us."
Harry huffed and began to pick up the papers that had fallen to the floor. Ron, instead of blowing up in anger like Harry expected him to, sheepishly rubbed the back of his head and slowly bit out, "Would that make you happy, Hermione, if we went?"
Shocked at her boyfriend's mature behavior, Hermione could only manage to nod her head. Indignant that his best friend had become a traitor to his cause, Harry snidely commented, "So everyone's going to that snobby ball now?"
"Really, Harry, I expected more out of you. Especially after last night when you appeared to be all cozy with Malfoy in that booth. If I hadn't known any better, I would have assumed you two were about to get – "
"Hermione!" Ron cried in shock. Harry, on the other hand, was trying to hide a blush from rising in his cheeks. He definitely remembered the way Malfoy's leg had been pressed up against his at the club and absently began to wonder if the rest of Malfoy's body was as hard and muscular as his thigh. He was brought out f his musings by Ron's gasp of astonishment, "Harry would never even consider dating a man, much less that scum Malfoy!"
Hermione eyed the blushing brunet who was desperately trying to keep her from saying anything more incriminating, "Whatever, Ron."
"I mean really, the idea that Harry here-"
"That's enough, Ron. You've defended my honor sufficiently," Harry sighed, trying to calm down his erratic heart rate. For a moment he was worried that Hermione would admit to her (and his if he allowed it) suspicions about his sexuality. It wasn't something he had truly worked out for his own and he didn't need to deal with Ron's possible prejudice while coming to grips with his preference.
"Good," Ron proudly smiled. "Now, about this ball. I'm willing to put up with all the pureblood bigotry because you, Hermione, want to go. But Harry's got to come, too. I want someone normal I can talk to while Hermione's off playing nice with her new boss."
Hermione grinned widely and hugged Ron tightly, "Oh, thank you so much, Ron, for being so mature about all this. See, I knew you were a gentleman all along! You must come, Harry, Ron here will be so bored without you."
Looking at their pleading expressions, he knew he would end up giving in eventually, "Fine. I'll go, but I'm not staying long. Oh and if there's any press there, I'm hightailing it out of there. I'm not standing around as a photo opts for those rich snobs."
"Understandable," Hermione agreed, "But I don't think you'll have anything to worry about. This is a private ball. Very exclusive."
Ron gave her a puzzled look, "Then why would Malfoy invite us? He hates us."
"I guess you'll just have to ask him when you see him next," Hermione replied slyly, "Now I've got to dash. Got to turn in some information on my big project. You two try and get some actual work done today!"
Both Harry and Ron rolled their eyes at her bossiness and waved her off, Ron getting one more peck in before she headed off to the Floo.
Elegance and wealth practically danced off the walls in the room Hermione found herself in upon leaving the Floo. The room appeared to be some sort of foyer with wood paneled walls, painted an off-white color. The designs carved into the walls were edged in gilt paint, giving the room an aristocratic feel. Gold chandeliers hung from the ceiling, though were held there by magic since the ceiling opened up to a skylight above. The light from the ceiling was reflected off the white marble flooring, but softened with royal blue Persian carpets and a plant or two arranged throughout. It was definitely a welcoming sight, especially after leaving the mess that Harry and Ron called an office.
She had left the two men with the intent to head straight for her office and finish up some paperwork, but just as she was leaving, she had spied Harry gingerly removing his invitation from the rubbish bin. It was all she could do not to giggle at her pleasure and decided that the information she had gathered for Malfoy could not wait. She had called out 'Malfoy Enterprises!' and was now headed towards the rather large front desk in front of her.
Reaching the desk, Hermione smiled sweetly down at the receptionist who seemed to be reading some sort of romance novel. Turning red at being caught in such a position, the other woman, a curly red-head, stuffed the book under her desk and haughtily demanded, "Can I help you?"
A little put off by the woman's demeanor, Hermione's smile faltered slightly, "Yes, I would like to see Draco Malfoy please."
Eyeing Hermione's plain clothes and messy bun, she smiled in a not so sweet way, "Do you have an appointment?"
Frowning now, Hermione huffed, gripping the briefcase in her hand a bit more tightly, she replied, "No, but I-"
"No appointment, no admittance. I'm sorry," the red-head sniffed, "it's a company policy. I'm sure you'll understand."
Angered at the woman's dismissal, for that was exactly what it was, Hermione snapped, "I'm sure you'll understand that he's expecting me. I just haven't called ahead."
"If he hasn't informed me that you're to be expected there's nothing I can do."
"I didn't have time to call ahead!" Hermione impatiently cried.
"Then I'm sorry. Come back tomorrow when he's given you clearance."
Trying desperately not to lose her temper, she dropped her briefcase on the ground and placed both hand s upon the receptionist's desk in a threatening manner, "Listen. Send him a message and ask to let me in. Simple as that."
The receptionist rudely replied with a "He doesn't like to be disturbed."
"If you don't disturb him I'll-"
"Amanda, bring up the Altair file," ordered a familiar commanding voice.
"Malfoy!" Hermione cried.
Shooting Hermione a glare, the receptionist began to apologize, "Sorry, sir, this woman here has been trying to get in to see you. I know how busy you are and-"
"Granger?" the voice asked.
"Yes, that would be me. I've brought along the-"
"Right. I'll be down in a few minutes to bring you on up. If you wouldn't mind waiting for me, that is."
Giving the bitchy receptionist a hundred watt smile, Hermione agreed, "I'll be waiting."
"Thank you. Amanda, the Altair file!"
Hermione daintily picked up her briefcase and sauntered over to a comfortable looking cream sofa, lowering herself into the seat. She ignored the disgruntle woman behind the desk and picked up one of the magazines laid out upon the mahogany coffee table. It was useless bit drudgery, but it helped fill the time waiting for Malfoy to finish what ever sort of business he had been dealing with before she arrived.
After sitting for a few short minutes, a door to the left of the large front desk appeared and out marched the figure of Draco Malfoy. Instantly, the woman labeled Amanda straightened her shoulders and smiled enticingly over at her boss, "Is there anything I can get for you Mr. Malfoy?"
Ignoring the witch out front, he held out his hand to the slightly shocked brunette, "How are you today, Ms. Granger. I must say I was surprised to hear your voice in my office. I was sure it would be some time before I would see you again."
Laughing at Malfoy's flirtatious mannerisms and his receptionist obvious assumptions about the relationship between the two of them, Hermione grasped the hand in front of her, marveling at its smoothness, and answered in turn, "You know me. Once I get a hold of a challenge I like to see it through."
Raising an eyebrow at the woman's tone, Malfoy began to lead Hermione through the door he had just frequented. Hermione threw one last wink at the offending Amanda, giggling to herself at the expression of absolute horror on the other woman's face.
After walking through the terribly complex office building that headed Malfoy Enterprises, the two made their way into a spacious room where an older witch was diligently filling out forms and paperwork. She had dark hair streaked with grey and pulled back in a rather severe looking bun. She looked up for a moment, acknowledging their presence, before continuing along with her work.
"Madge, reschedule my appointment with new contractors and should anyone show up needing my attentions, tell them I'm busy until further notice," Malfoy ordered, as he opened the door leading into his own personal office.
"Of course, Mr. Malfoy. It will be taken care of," the older woman replied.
Hermione was immediately swept into the other office and placed into a rather comfortable chair, facing a large oak desk. Malfoy sauntered over to his own desk chair and lowered himself slowly, as to appear like he was in no special hurry to hear what ever it was that Hermione had brought.
He ushered a hand in her direction, "Well, what sort of information have you brought?"
Rolling her eyes at the man's antics, she pulled out a thick folder from her briefcase and carefully handed it over, making sure no loose parchments were dropped, "I went through in a my spare time and located the medical records of the wizards in our country. It was actually rather interesting what sort of-
'Merlin, that woman can talk,' Draco sighed to himself, getting impatient to hear her news. He opened the file and rifled through the medical profiles on each wizard. 'Interesting. I wasn't aware McNair had had-'
"Are you even paying attention, Malfoy?" Hermione huffed. "I'm giving up my lunch hour in order to assist you, so the least you could do is pay attention to what I'm telling you."
Draco looked up from where he had been perusing each profile. There were a few there that had been a little disappointing, especially upon discovering that some of the wizards he had been seriously considering where in fact straight XY males, "I was in fact paying attention to what you saying, Ms. Granger. I'm greatly in your debt for helping me through my time of trouble and if you ever need anything you have only just to ask."
Taken back by the Malfoy charm, Hermione could only nod, "Yes, well… So I marked the ones with the desired XXY chromosomes for easier reference."
Draco nodded, making his way through the N's, "I see that. I was not aware that XXY males are such a dying breed. I would have thought there would have been more available, especially in the pureblood families."
"I agree. As I was this information up, I decided to do a little side research on them. It seems the mother during pregnancy need some sort of magic surrounding her during the final stages when gender is created. This is why muggle XXY males can't give birth like wizards can, there's no magic surrounding them. The magic recognizes that the mother is in a safe place and therefore breeding is safe. The ability to breed then gets passed on down to her son. I'm assuming with the war going on, few mother's felt safe enough for their magic to allow a XXY male to be created," Hermione informed.
"Hmm," Draco intoned, acknowledging that he heard. He had reached the P's and noticing fewer and fewer choices for a possible mate.
"My problem is that I was not able to access the German or French records. They have some sort of procedure that keeps foreign wizards from gaining their information."
"No French," Draco muttered. He had reached one such profile that had kept his attention. There in black ink recorded Harry James Potter as a XXY male.
"What? You're removing the French names from you're list?"
"Hmm, yes, well the male ones," he absently explained. 'Potter was a breeder? He could give birth?'
"I guess that does solve half of my problem," Hermione mused. "They were the ones giving me the most trouble. I think I have a friend over in the German records building. Going to be some problems. What with their history of having so many different governments and being split up into tiny dukedoms for so many years. Definitely will be a challenge."
"Yes, yes," Draco murmured. Potter could give birth to tiny Malfoy heirs. Beautiful blonde-haired green eyed children. And they would be beautiful, what with own looks and Potter's combined. It was a wonder someone else hadn't snatched up such a prize. Wealth, prestige, beauty, and not to mention the stories of how Potter was in bed. Now that was something to look forward to…
"I guess I will go now and try to get a hold of the German records…"