Author's Note: Hello! Even though I'm a total Potthead, this is the first Potter story I've written *bites nails*! I find the Malfoys (particularly Lucius) rather interesting so I thought I'd write a one-shot set post-Second War. After I found out that all the remaining Death Eaters were arrested except the Malfoys, my mind started whirring about what they did after the war. So here's the result...I hope you enjoy it!
"He that fails in his endeavors after wealth or power will not long retain either honesty or courage." – Samuel Johnson
Times of Change
"Why do you think you would be suitable for this position, Mr. Malfoy?"
Lucius winced at the emphasis on his last name. His eyes darted around the wood panelled office, flickering from one wizard to the next until he found a witch. Her face was very familiar to him but her expression wasn't; cold and detached as if she didn't know him at all. They had been friends once. All eyes were fixed on him. They were reminding him of who he was; as though he needed reminding. He had to face it every day.
"Well, I..." Lucius cleared his throat, finding his mouth dry and his hands shaking. "I, as I'm sure you all know, once held a seat on the International Confederation of Wizards and I feel..." He cleared his throat again. No one offered him water. "I feel that I could effectively use the contacts I gained there to aid me as a Senior Member of the Department of International Magical Cooperation."
"But will those contacts be of any use now, Mr. Malfoy? Now that you've shown your true colours, I mean." It was Isaac Cornish, the new head of the Department of Magical Transportation; Lucius recognised him from school. A muggleborn. Lucius remembered teasing him when he was fourteen. Cornish smirked behind his glass of water. "Times change, Mr. Malfoy."
So they did. They had changed so much that a member of a noble, pureblood family had to resort to practically begging for a job at the Ministry; begging for a job that was beneath him, anyway.
"Indeed they do." It was all Lucius could manage. Before the fall of the Dark Lord, there would have been no need for an interview. In fact, he wouldn't even have met his employers until he arrived. His name would have been enough to secure him a senior position at the Ministry.
"The question is, Malfoy: have you changed?" The Minister himself said from directly opposite Lucius.
"Minister Shacklebolt, I assure you – "
"I'm sure you do, Malfoy."
Lucius had no response and he was sure he wasn't meant to have one. Another silence fell and he looked at the floor, feeling the eyes of his once colleagues, condemning and cold.
"Why did you leave your last position here, Mr. Malfoy?" Another Head of Department asked. Lucius didn't recognise this one. He was small and meek.
"I...I had other commitments I need to honour." Lucius answered the best he could without mentioning the Dark Lord.
"And did you honour them, Malfoy?" Cornish asked, a glint of pleasure in his eyes.
"Well, I – "
"I don't think that's relevant to Mr. Malfoy's application, Minister." The witch cut across Cornish, addressing Kingsley Shacklebolt.
"How is it not relevant? Any applicant's past is surely relevant to future employers." Cornish bit back.
"Only past employment should be relevant. Personal history is just that: personal and we are entitled to only know so much, Cornish. I'm sure there's plenty of skeletons we could dig up about you but that's your business not ours." She finished rather forcefully. Lucius tried to catch her eye, to someone show that he appreciated her defence of him but she still didn't look at him. Shacklebolt straightened in his chair and said,
"Agreed Miss Darnell." He looked around the room at his colleagues, checking that there were no more questions before saying, "Very well, Mr. Malfoy. That'll be all. If you could just wait outside while we consider your application."
Lucius waited in a small alcove outside the office. People passing give him looks, some full of pity, some angry, others just disgusted. He felt every single one. A boy stood next to him, always lingering by his shoulder. As soon as he shifted in his seat, the boy fidgeted next to him, overly eager to do his job in looking after him. Lucius was about to coldly reassure the boy that there was no need when the boy himself said,
Lucius followed the boy's line of gaze and saw two men coming out of the lift. He looked down at his lap, keen not to be spotted but he knew it was useless. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley stood in front of him; Potter glanced at him before focussing on the boy. Weasley, however, didn't take his eyes off Lucius. Potter chatted easily with the boy, asking him how he and his family was since the death of his brother. Finally, when he was about to leave, he said,
"Hello, Mr. Malfoy. I'm surprised to see you here."
"H-hello, Potter." He stammered. As much as he may hate Potter, Lucius had to acknowledge that if it wasn't for Potter's intervention, both he and Draco would have gone to Azkaban.
"You've got some nerve coming here." Weasley growled. Potter placed a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Come on, Ron. Leave him to it."
Lucius breathed a sigh of relief as they left. The door creaked open behind him and a voice said, "We're ready for you, Mr. Malfoy."
The boy showed him back into the office and all eyes fixed on him again. Lucius noticed Cornish looked irritated; his knuckles were white on his quill. Minister Shacklebolt cleared his throat and said,
"Mr. Malfoy. We have considered your application and we would like to see you again for a further meeting. We acknowledge that your previous experience on the International Confederation of Wizards would aid both you and the Ministry if you were to be accepted."
Lucius nodded, unsure of the process now.
"You are dismissed. We will contact you regarding another meeting. Thank you for applying."
Lucius stood again, shook Shacklebolt's hand and left the office, the Heads of Departments exiting behind him. He knew he shouldn't, he knew he was asking for more trouble but he lingered outside and waited for Miss Darnell. She came out last, deep in conversation with Shacklebolt. When she noticed him, she excused herself and the Minister left, watching them as he left.
"What is it, Malfoy?"
He winced at her tone. "Veronica, please..."
"Why are you here?" She pushed back her dark blonde hair angrily. "Why are you applying for this job? It's not like you need the money, is it?"
"Actually, I do." Lucius said quietly, feeling his face burn.
"It cost you then; aiding the Dark Lord?" She said, finally looking him in the eye. A heavy silence fell over them before he replied.
"Yes. More than gold."
For a moment, he thought he saw sympathy in her eyes but it was fleeting. Instead, she glared and said, "Good." Before striding past him towards the lifts, leaving Lucius stood alone in the corridor, workers bustling past him as though he was invisible.
I hope you liked that! I'm also thinking about writing a few more one-shots set pre-Second War about the friendship between Veronica Darnell and Lucius Malfoy...not sure yet!
Anyway, please leave a review! I love them oodles!