Lord Lucius Abraxas Malfoy watched with interest as a tall, broad-shouldered man with dark hair entered the Hall of Government laughing, his head angled slightly toward the shorter wizard who accompanied him as they continued an avid discussion. The man was wearing fine black silk robes with a velvet brocade pattern throughout; a deep red, tailored shirt with black velvet fastenings; high quality black woolen trousers; and interesting boots made of some type of reptile, the surface of which seemed black til the light revealed an odd, iridescent sheen. His black hair was bound in a simple tail, secured by a clip made of the same material as his boots. Silver eyes narrowing thoughtfully, Malfoy catalogued the visible details about the unknown wizard, trying to place him within his encyclopedic memory. The man had to be a Lord; that was a certainty. Only Lords of the Ancient and Noble Houses or Lords or Regents of the Noble Houses who held a Seat in the Wizengamot would be able to enter this Hall through the Lord's Approach doorway. All others – members of the press, witnesses, clerical assistants, etc. – would have already been required to enter through the Public Gate and be already seated in the Gallery. Lord Malfoy recognized the unknown Lord's companion as Lord Gabriel Zabini, one of his own good friends and political allies. Still contemplating, he watched the two gentlemen approach him and, to his surprise, take the seats to his left and his right.
Raising his eyebrows in question, Lord Malfoy greeted Lord Zabini politely and glanced at the Lord seated to his left. "Lord Zabini, a pleasure to see you again. Are you well?"
Lord Gabriel Zabini smiled broadly, an expression that lit up his somewhat swarthy face, and replied, "Lucius, until they issue the Call to Order, how about we keep it informal? I can tell by your expression that you don't recognize my friend to your left, so allow me to re-introduce you." Lucius's expression was briefly puzzled before it froze into shock at Gabriel's next words. "Lord Lucius Malfoy, please say hello to Lord Harrison Potter."
Potter laughed in commiseration and offered Malfoy his hand. "Gabriel has been looking forward to doing that to you for weeks now, Malfoy. For what it's worth, you have my deepest sympathies on your unfortunate luck in longtime friends."
Lucius was startled into a laugh as he met the amused, green gaze. After the briefest of moments, he clasped the proffered hand and shook it firmly. "I can well imagine," he said dryly with a reproving glance at a chuckling Gabriel. "And thank you for the sentiments; it is comforting to know there are others who share my pain."
People glanced around at Harrison's deep laughter, and Lucius noticed that many appreciative gazes remained fixed on the trio of handsome Lords. With practiced ease, he ignored the public attention; he was, after all, the Paterfamilias of one of the twelve Most Ancient and Noble Houses, and he was quite accustomed to such interest. Casting a privacy shield, he smirked at the disappointed looks from the would-be eavesdroppers and returned to the conversation. "Although I should probably make an effort at showing my customary disdain for all things not me and give you another demonstration of my obvious superiority, I think the effort would be wasted as Gabriel has clearly known you long enough to tell you too much about me. So, humor me and tell me what I want to know before the Call to Order, please."
Gabriel clapped him on the shoulder and added a bit of a blurring spell to the privacy shield. Now, to anyone watching, it would seem as if they were looking through heavy, wavy glass, thus making it impossible to clearly view expressions or read lips while still allowing the three to see and hear everything in the room without hindrance. "We will share the whole story if you will consent to join us for a late dinner after the meeting?" At Lucius' affirming nod, Gabriel continued, "Then here is the synopsis. Harrison is now eighteen. He has been working with me for two months, learning everything I've been able to teach him in that time regarding our role as Lords and High Lords, the status of all legislation that has been before both the Wizengamot and the House of Lords over the past decade or so, the allegiances and enmity that exists within the groups and how they have impact, etc. He took legal control of his Lordship and his finances at his seventeenth birthday, but had hired himself some powerful trainers & advisors when he met with Ragnok at Gringott's the summer he turned sixteen. He has great barristers, a lethal investment team, is wealthier than you and I together, and has three Seats to vote: Potter, Chaparral and ….. are you ready?...," grinning manically as Lucius' eyes got wider and wider and he placed a gloved hand over his mouth to contain his jaw-dropping reaction, "….DUMBLEDORE!"
That did it. Lucius could not prevent his own dumbfounded expression. 'What? WHAT?' was all he managed to make his thoughts produce for several moments, as Gabriel and Harrison waited with deep amusement. Just as he began to recover and was leaning over to demand more information, the three saw the gathered members taking seats and Albus Dumbledore himself came strolling in, all blinding robes and twinkling eyes and affability, to take his seat as the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and the First Lord in the House of Lords. Gabriel leaned in to Lucius and quickly said, "Follow my lead, support everything Harrison says and does, back him up, and we'll tell you everything you want to know later. I swear on my magic, Lucius, you will not regret it." He did not drop his gaze from Lucius' silver assessment until Lucius nodded slowly, and simply said, "Agreed."
Turning to his left, Lucius met Harrison's confident eyes and raised an eyebrow in challenge. "However, Lord Potter, you will owe me an explanation that fully satisfies my interest. You will not stop explaining until I feel entirely informed." Without hesitation, Harrison replied, "I will give you a full explanation of what we have briefly discussed, and you may ask questions, which I may or may not answer, in whole or in part. I will share only the information I wish to share at this time. Believe me, Malfoy, you will greatly enjoy what I have to tell you….. And, to sweeten the offer for your cooperation through the next couple of hours, I will throw in one bottle of your choice from the Chaparral wine cellar."
Harrison turned his attention to Dumbledore, knowing full-well that Malfoy's cooperation was assured. No person of such refined taste as Lucius Malfoy would decline an opportunity at a vintage Chaparral. His certainty was confirmed as Malfoy took down the privacy shield and sat regally in his chair, attention forward. Had the man disagreed, he would have sat back in his chair in order to keep Harrison in view. Harrison smiled to himself, and noticed that Gabriel had assumed a posture of controlled anticipation. As Dumbledore issued the Call to Order, Harrison felt a subvocal growl vibrate in his chest. Let the games begin.