Written for the final round (10 years!) of dmhgficexchange on livejournal.
This was also written for my dear friend almondoil, but I also dedicate it to our hard-working, wonderful and amazing exchange mods, eucalyptus, geewhiz and reetinkerbell.
Please note, the story is complete, just taking my time to edit and upload.
The Art of Diplomancy [NC-17] for almondoil
Title: The Art of Diplomacy
Disclaimer: I do not own any of JK Rowling's characters and no money is being made from this fanfiction. I write purely for love of writing, constructive feedback and occasionally, cookies.
Warning(s): Mild infidelity.
Summary: The end of Voldemort heralds the signing of the first Wizarding Peace Accord, allowing Purebloods and Wizarding Citizens to co-exist under very strict rules. But the Accord requires more than just optimism to work. It requires the art of diplomacy.
Author/Artist Note(s): The idea for this story comes from my dad, who once told me that he required Kissinger-grade diplomacy skills to live harmoniously with my mum. I'm pretty sure this isn't the 'ultimate Draco/Hermione fanfiction' and I tried my best at 'dissecting identity and love', as per almondoil's challenging request. It's a change of pace for me to write exclusively from Hermione's POV. My dear almondoil, it was a pleasant surprise to receive your prompt and I hope you are happy with my efforts. Apologies to the mods for being so late in handing this in.
I didn't want the stupid job and was convinced they'd made a mistake. Tried to tell them, didn't I?
Did they listen?
I made myself quite clear that morning by marching past Shacklebolt's harried secretary and hurling myself into the Minister's office, casually ignoring the fact that he seemed to be shaving at his desk.
I announced in no uncertain terms, "I don't want this stupid job and I'm convinced you've made a mistake."
Kingsley Shacklebolt is unflappable. He honestly is. He wouldn't flap even if he was standing in high winds wearing a suit consisting entirely of flaps. He put down his straight-razor and addressed me. In hindsight, I realise how fortuitous it is that our Minister has such steady hands.
"Miss Granger, it is most definitely not a stupid job."
I was petulant. Petulance comes easily at twenty-two. "Is too."
"Is not," he insisted.
I had had enough of the Ministry's unilateral decision making processes. Harry may have let them bully him, but I'd be damned if I'd suffer the same fate. "I'm not the person you want."
"You're exactly the person we want," said Shacklebolt. "We didn't choose without due consideration, Hermione. An entire committee was responsible."
He continued his shave. It occurred to me that he always seemed to be at the Ministry exactly when you needed him. This was probably due to the poor, overworked man living out of his office.
Lovely, I thought. I was sacked from work I genuinely loved and was good at, only to be appointed to what was unequivocally the worst job in the wizarding world, via bloody committee. Like that made it more palatable! I said a few more things to the Minister; colourful things with accompanying gesticulations. But Shacklebolt's known me since my early teens and if he's forgiven me that, he'll forgive me this.
Give me a desk, I pleaded with him. Preferably attached to a library. Give me books and research and spells and a computer and I'll make miracles happen. I'd done the whole risking life and limb thing, dodging spells I'd never even heard of, getting injured, captured, tortured and literally saving the day on a few occasions. Does anyone even rememberthe whole Time Turner business from my third year at Hogwarts?
I'm done with that, I told him. For the love of God, put me where I am most at home, where I can be of most use to the community!
"What's Harry doing?" I demanded, defensively. "This is so his job, isn't it?"
"But it's not," said Shacklebolt, "and I'll not insult your intelligence by explaining why."
OK, so what if he was right? Strategic diplomacy was never Harry's strong suit, if only because he tends to be quite a linear thinker. Don't get me wrong, he's excellent on the fly, in the middle of a hex storm that would have the rest of us cowering under our hands. But long-term, strategic thinking? No, that wasn't Harry. Bless him, though. I love Harry. Everyone loves Harry and he's a great leader of troops, but the poor dear can't even lie properly.
"We need you," he said, and with that, effectively settled the matter. Not that I would give him the satisfaction so soon.
I wracked my brain for another candidate. "Padma Patil!" I exclaimed, with the desperation of someone clinging to a sinking ship. "She's actually studied wizarding diplomacy, speaks seven languages and has the best penmanship I've ever seen!"
Yes, I was desperate.
"Miss Patil is most definitely an asset and will be part of the new department that you will head," said the Minister, with the kind of finality that meant I was obliged to go away and let him finish his morning shave.
He expected me to be impressed with the fact that I'd been given an entire department to run at such a young age. That did little to assuage my anger. It wasn't just that I didn't want to take the job, it was the way they had approached the whole thing. I took my disgruntled person to the door, muttering my displeasure the whole time. I knew he wasn't finished with me, though. Like Dumbledore, Kingsley Shacklebolt enjoys dispensing what I refer to as 'Doorway Wisdom'.
"Oh and Hermione?"
I paused, doing my best impression of an ice berg, because honestly, the whole plan had 'Titanic' written all over it.
"No one has better handwriting than you."