Title: Business Meetings

Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this for fun and not profit.

Pairing: Harry/Draco, mentions of others

Rating: R

Warnings: Creature!fic, angst, violence, sex, ignores the epilogue.

Summary: Draco leads a powerful group of vampires. Harry is their Ministry-appointed negotiator. Cue a series of once-monthly meetings where Harry and Draco argue about the various virtues of attacking the Ministry versus holding back from doing so, and, eventually, other things.

Author's Notes: This is going to be a fic with very short chapters, probably close to 1000 words each. I'm not sure yet how long it will be, but probably 15 or 16 chapters.

Business Meetings

Chapter One-The Ministry's Compromise

"I'm here under protest."

"Not the best beginning to a meeting such as this," Draco pointed out mildly, and leaned back on his chair, arranging his arms and lifting his head so that he would expose his heart and throat. Hopefully, Potter would have to prove he was still a hero, and that would rid Draco of both a long-standing rival and a Ministry impediment at the same time.

Potter only shook his head and leaned back in the chair that Draco had provided for him, made of cold black stone like his, but smaller. "Of course you would have a throne," he said. "Like Voldemort in a lot of things, aren't you?"

Draco felt himself shudder with the name, and hated himself for doing so, and hated Potter for seeing. He let his lips draw back from his fangs. Potter smiled back and then looked around the room of his mansion Draco had chosen for them to meet in.

Draco had no trouble seeing it with a stranger's eyes, since he had chosen the decor of his rooms mostly to impress, not for comfort. What need had a vampire for comfort, except the kind that came through the mouth? The marble walls, the gold-encrusted furniture, the dim torches sputtering in platinum sconces on the walls, the tiles covering the floors that winked with rubies and diamonds on the edges, had done a good job so far of intimidating the werewolves and other vampires who had come to negotiate with him and his flock, and with the sole Ministry representative who had ventured this far.

Of course, he realized a moment later, it did him little good when what he should be seeing with were Potter's eyes.

"Lots of stone," Potter commented, letting his eyes roam the walls and then drop down to the tiles. "And gemstone. Lots of big, hard things." He paused thoughtfully. "Compensating for something, Malfoy?"

Draco forced himself to hold still and not react, and to open his nostrils further. Potter had keen senses for a human-all those trained by the Aurors did-but it was nothing to Draco's ability to smell emotions and hear heartbeats.

But as he had not seen with Potter's eyes until he remembered who he was talking to, he had not felt with Potter's emotions. He heard a heartbeat slightly slower than human normal. He smelled dust and fire, boredom and smoldering anger. No fear.

"If you're here under protest," Draco said, and pitched his voice to echo from the walls, "you could leave again. Not hard, is it?"

Potter flashed him a smile. "The one thing in this room that isn't," he agreed, and slung one leg over the other. "But no, seriously, I'm here for the exact reason I told you. The Ministry would like nothing better than to kill you. A large flock of vampires with a powerful leader who retained his wizard abilities post-transformation? Bad news. I convinced them not to move too hastily, and then they gave me the task of glorified babysitter." He sighed. "So I come to you once a month, and tell you off for being a bad, bad vampire, and you snarl at me, and I go back to the Ministry and tell them that in my perception you're no immediate threat. Then everybody goes to bed happy." He paused. "Or to their coffins happy, I suppose."

"No immediate threat," Draco said, and tilted his head forwards again. "I think that is the most insulting thing you've said so far."

"Well. If you need to be convinced..." Potter leaned back, and Draco watched the smooth line of his neck tilt, watched the pulse come into view, looked at the fragile line of collarbone that seemed to say Potter had gained no weight since Hogwarts, despite developing muscles. "Come on, then."

Draco was flashing across the room while Potter's mouth still moved on the words. He leaped gracefully so as to land draping Potter's body with his own and with his mouth positioned firmly against Potter's neck-

And found Potter's wand against his ribs, at the angle that would strike a spell between them and explode the rotted mass that comprised his heart. Draco paused and then pulled his head back, turning it slightly so his fangs scraped the air above Potter's skin.

"No human moves that fast," he whispered. "What are you?"

Potter gave him a tired smile. "Not a werewolf or a vampire, if that's what you're thinking. You would have smelled it on me when I came in, wouldn't you?"

He paused, and Draco realized he was giving Draco time to nod. Reluctant though he was to give Potter credence for any of his ridiculous theories, he did. He couldn't allow Potter to doubt his abilities.

"I'm just a fast human with a lot of training, and a lot of experience anticipating what Dark wizards are going to do." Potter shifted, and nudged Draco in the thigh with one knee. Draco flowed off him, never taking his eyes from Potter's face. "And you don't need the trouble you would stir up by killing me. The Ministry can afford to lose a lot of negotiators, and there are some people there who think they could stand to lose me, but the wizarding world would demand they hunt you down."

"It might be worth it," Draco whispered, swaying nearer again so he could see what Potter would do.

A sharp little flame sprang up on the edge of Potter's wand in response. Draco fell back with a hiss. He knew that no ordinary fire would have that particular glare, that particular glow. This was sunlight.

Potter dismissed the sun-flame and cocked his head. "Really?"

No, Draco had to concede. When he became lord of the flock, he had put aside the temptation to follow old grudges, because the most important thing was the survival of all those minds he could feel pushing at his own, the minds that would be like starving stray dogs if he let go of them. He had formed the flock in the first place to stop the Ministry from destroying vampires, from destroying him. He was stronger with more of his kind around him.

And he wouldn't risk dissipating that strength simply to kill one of the Ministry's strengths. Besides, Potter was preferable to someone who stank of fear, if he must let a human visit his den and walk away each time.

"Very well," he said aloud. "I will expect you next month. On the third?"

"Works for me." Potter stood and nodded to him. "Good luck to you, Malfoy. You're more civilized than I expected."

"Living up to and past your standards is not difficult."

That won a faint smile from Potter. "Probably true," he said, and turned and left the dark room. Draco closed his eyes, focused his ears, and listened to him threading his way back through the rooms to the outside world, obviously remembering his path despite the dim lighting and negotiating them only once.

Yes, if Draco must speak with someone each month, someone as powerful, intelligent, and arrogant as himself was preferable.