Usurp

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This pairing was discovered by me, so please gimme a little mention if you write them! Thanks! It is one of many of Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings, which you may find in Mor's and my forum, "Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings Fan Stories," found here (Just take out the spaces!): http : / forum. fanfiction. net/ forum /Mew_and_Mors_Weird_Pairings_Fan_Stories /76194 / Read, review, and enjoy! And check out and join the forum FUN! This is a COMPANION piece: It involves events from the second Jamestin (James Sirius/Justin—another M&MWP of my finding) oneshot, "Things That Tie Us Close." Though I suppose you don't have to, you might enjoy this better if you read that first.

- ^-^3

How many years had it been? How many? And still he acted as though Padma could work magic! Er, well…you get the point!

Padma Patil stomped back downstairs to the level of the Ministry of Magic where her boss worked. She slammed the folders in her arms down on the nearest desk and walked over to a big, shiny black door. She grimaced at her reflection in the onyx surface; she had to smile and not let him get to her. Padma summoned all her strength and plastered on a smile. She knocked and opened the door. "Minister…"

Kingsley Shacklebolt turned around in his chair and grinned. Anyone else would've thought he looked all fine and pleasant, but that smile Padma knew to be treacherous. Every time she saw it, it felt as though she had ten extra things to do! "Padma."

Her heart leapt just the slightest bit at the way he said her name. Sure, she had a few decades' worth of experience with it, but she couldn't deny that she still liked it. Often she thought that it was just a little crush—a silly, schoolgirl thing, she'd muse—but it never went away. So she'd come to recognize the feeling and accept it. Having done that, she found it easier to work around the man, however frustrating he could possibly be.

"Thank you for going to that meeting in my stead." His eyes were soft as his grin shifted into one of actual gratitude. "You are a reliable asset to this Ministry."

She rolled her eyes and glanced away, hating that that feeling was resurfacing again. "Well, I ought to be, right? I'm your undersecretary…but why just me? There used to be two! A senior and a junior! I'd be fine training a Junior Undersecretary!"

"But you do so well, Padma."

She gave him a look. "Do you even realize what my day's like?"

Kingsley frowned, and she started to regret having said anything. "Is it that bad? I can find you a Junior Undersecretary if you want. Just say the word—I'll do what I can for you, Padma."

Padma winced on the inside. She hadn't meant to sound so whiny. "No, no, I don't—I just get tired sometimes." Besides, if she had to train someone else, not only would that take even more time, but someone else would get her minister's time, too, and she wouldn't have as much… Stop it! she told herself. You need to go out and find a better way to spend your free time, Pads.

"All right… By the way, could you postpone the meeting with the Ludicrous Patents Office? I have a special appointment."

She bit the inside of her mouth to keep from screaming. "When's the appointment?"

He looked at his watch and she grimaced—he never looked out-of-place or hurried; never was his suit wrinkled, nor his tie or shirt… Despite all his years—barely twice hers—his face didn't appear to have any wrinkles either! Padma was suddenly feeling disheveled when he said, "Two minutes, I think."

"WHAT?"

He grinned that fox's grin and adjusted his tie. "Thank you very much, Padma."

She sighed and grabbed the files for the Ludicrous Patents Office and left the room. As she rounded the corner, she couldn't help but wonder if Kingsley really relied on her so much…or if he enjoyed toying with her. Most of the time it felt like the latter option… She sighed again and looked up. She gaped at whom she saw. "Justin?"

Justin Finch-Fletchley smiled. "Hi, Padma."

She put her files on the nearest desk and grabbed Justin for a bear hug. When she pulled away, her messy plait almost hit him in the face. She smiled. "Haha, oh… Merlin, how long has it been?" This was a pleasant distraction after dealing with that child—er, the minister.

"A couple of years," Justin replied. "I only ever see you at the war anniversary memorials on the decades." He shrugged out of his over-robe and draped it over his arm. "So, is Kingsley in?"

Ah. Things clicked in Padma's brain. Justin was the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts…he had been for a long time…but he had to be the appointment Kingsley had mentioned. "Yes," she said with a nod. "Ugh, he only told me you were coming this morning," she griped to her old friend and fellow Dumbledore's Army member. "He left me to rearrange several meetings and—oh, don't think you're an inconvenience!" she hastily added when his face fell. "It's not you, it's the minister!"

"What's the minister?" came that unmistakable deep voice from behind her. She forced down a groan as his office door clicked shut and she looked at him over her shoulder. He smirked playfully at her, those lips hiding that ever-troublesome grin. "Miss Patil…"

Padma nodded and rolled her eyes before facing her boss. "Minister Shacklebot, Justin Finch-Fletchley is here to see you," she introduced as she noticed someone behind Justin, "as is…aw, you must be James Potter!" She couldn't believe Justin's companion was Harry's oldest child. He had to be—what? Sixteen, seventeen now? She grinned. "I remember when you were this little!" she said, gesturing at a height a little above her knee.

Surely James had heard that quite often, as he politely ignored it and looked to Kingsley. "Hello, minister," he said, awed. Padma smiled a little; most people were the same way when they met the Minister of Magic in person.

Kingsley smiled broadly. "Ah, James. You know and remember me, too. Please—just 'Kingsley.'"

"I thought friendly business wasn't allowed at work," Padma remarked to her boss, but if he heard it he ignored it as he had Justin and James follow him into his office, where they'd escape the other noises. When the door closed, Padma deflated, knowing she'd have to get back to work. "Oh, bugger…"

For a couple of hours, Padma struggled with her fellow Ministry workers to sort out the mess that had been Kingsley's schedule for the day. The Ludicrous Patents Office begrudgingly rescheduled, and Padma had a feeling she'd have to be on the look-out; if their glares were any gauge to go by, some new crappy invention would be out to get her.

The Portkey Office and Floo Network Authority were a lot better to Padma. Daphne Greengrass, who worked in the Portkey Office and was a sort of mate to Padma in these, their Ministry years, even offered her a sympathetic word as they rearranged the minister's meeting. "You've endured worse, Padma," Daphne said to her. "Wasn't it last month when he went to work with the Aurors and you…well, you technically filled in for him?"

"Don't remind me. I often have so much power around here—but I really don't."

"Shall we grab some drinks later, then? You know, ease off on the stress. We could probably even find Michael at his desk in the Office of Misinformation…and Theodore's likely strolling, since he barely does anything as an Unspeakable…"

"It's all right. I think I'll have something to do later."

Daphne frowned. "He works you to the bone."

Padma smiled. "But I do love my job."

Daphne didn't press the subject any further as Padma left and returned to the first floor. The Indian woman came back just in time to see Kingsley pull Justin aside for a word and then Justin and James left. Padma watched them go and then faced her boss. She put her hands on her hips.

"So what made that 'appointment' so important?"

Kingsley raised an eyebrow. "So nosy, Miss Patil?"

"So thorough, Minister Shacklebolt."

He walked back into his office and she followed him, instinctively moving around the room, cleaning up papers and things here and there. "It was something about working a spell. James needed a spot of tutoring."

"Ah." Padma pushed the thought from her mind that that had been so silly compared to a day's work… A day, she thought. She realized she should probably catch an early dinner if she wanted to wrap up some work before heading home.

"Miss Patil…"

…although, if she finished quickly, maybe she could catch a drink with Daph, Mike, and Theo…

"Padma."

She stood up straight, her name with his voice being the one thing that could always bring her back into focus. Padma swung her braid over her shoulder and watched Kingsley walk away from his desk. He gave her a sympathetic look. "You're tired. Please, sit down."

She pursed her lips, but obliged with his request. When she sat down in the patent leather, she released an involuntary sigh. Comfy things really were the best when she was so exhausted…!

Padma jolted when she felt hands on her shoulders, but Kingsley chuckled and said, "Relax. I was just going to rub the knots out of your shoulders for you."

The witch leaned into his hands then. "That's very generous of you… The last time I sat in this chair, you went playing with the Aurors. Are you leading up to that again?"

He chuckled again. "Heavens, no. I pride myself on being unpredictable. It's what's made this Ministry work after the war." Then he shut up as he let his hands do the talking and bring a comforting warmth to her aching muscles.

Padma enjoyed the attention, but…she had to ask. She paused before saying, "Kingsley…"

His hands stopped moving and rested on her shoulders. He used her first name in private, but she rarely used his at all. At least he realized she was trying to have a serious conversation by doing so.

"Are you… Do you toy with me?"

"Friendly teasing is allowed between coworkers, isn't it?"

Padma braved herself to look up at him, only to be surprised and find him looking down at the same time. "Well…yes, but…"

"What's bothering you, Padma?"

A million things came to mind, almost all of them work-related, but he was at the top of her list. So she repeated what she'd said to Daphne earlier: "I often have so much power around here—but I really don't."

His expression was cryptic and unreadable, but he didn't look away. Kingsley wasn't that type of person. He always faced subjects head-on. Rarely did her ever skirt around serious topics. "I'll try to act more like a minister, then," he gently joked.

"Then do me a favor and—and take this a little more seriously, okay?" Padma bent her head back down, suddenly understanding her "this" could refer to his job…or his games like the one unfolding right now.

Kingsley was quiet for a full minute. Then he stated clearly, "Just say the word—I'll do what I can for you, Padma."

She frowned, knowing she'd heard those words earlier. She looked back up at him. "You say that, but do you mean it?"

In answer, his arms enveloped her, cradling her into him. She thought it awkward for two reasons—A)it was a weird position as she was still sitting and he was so bloody tall and B)perhaps she felt…this way, but was he really implying…?

"Oh."

He released her and she stood. "You have more power around here than you realize, Padma."

"Oh," she repeated, blood rushing to her face.

"Not anyone can fill this seat and be trusted so to do so."

Thwack!

She'd punched him in the shoulder. "Did you have to bring that up?" she fumed. "And before you ask, no, I'm not going to fill in for you again!"

"Padma!" He caught her hand. "I didn't mean it that way. I meant…" He sighed and cursed. "Bloody… I meant that you're the only witch I trust." He looked at her and found her smirking.

"Oh, I figured you meant that. I just wanted to hear you say it," she said with a smile. "Ravenclaw, remember?"

"And the only one who'd ever get away with assaulting the Minister of Magic," he commented as he drew her into his arms again. "I was thinking… Let's call it a night."

"There's so much else to be done—!"

Kingsley grinned at her, but Padma no longer felt as though she'd be getting the raw end of the deal. "Dinner, Miss Patil?"

Her cheeks flushed, but she smiled. "Yes, Minister."

- ^-^3

:D YAY! Hey, Padma one-upped him towards the end, *lol*. I think they're super cute, though! X3 I hope we see them again in more Jamestin stories… :DDD I do love Kingsley; he's a classy, sweet guy, and he gets Padma to come out of her shell, be more…proactive. Btw, the shoulder rub came out of nowhere mainly because when I wrote this, my shoulders were killing me and I could've done with one…! Xo

Anywho… Points-of-interest—the others' jobs. If you can name all the other fics where I first wrote Daph in the Portkey Office, Mike in the Office of Misinformation, and Theo as an Unspeakable, I'll write you another Padmingsley! ;D No joke. You can hold me to it. And if more than one person gets it right, then there'll be more than one Padmingsley.

Thanks for reading and please review!

-mew-tsubaki ;3

P.S.—THIS IS MY 250th FIC! CELEBRATE WITH MEEE! I'VE WRITTEN ABOUT 200 FICS IN UNDER 12 MONTHS! XD