Rating (T) for swearing and implied sexual situations.
Original A/N: SPOILER ALERT I don't own Harry Potter.
Draco Malfoy knocked on the office door in front of him three times. Putting his hands in his pockets, he let his eyes wander around the Auror Office of the Ministry of Magic, in which he was currently standing.
It was a large room, though fairly dark given that there were no windows. It was the conference room for Aurors, who all had their own private offices leading off. Each door had an Auror's name on it in golden script. The walls were all coated with pictures of dark wizards currently on the loose. However, there were substantially less wizards on the walls than in the past, given that the Dark Lord was dead and gone.
It had been seven years since the Battle of Hogwarts, where The Ever So Annoying Boy Who Lived had finally put Voldemort where he rightfully belonged. All the mysteries, Voldemort's immortality, the various disappearances, and Potter's fake death had all been solved. Since then, the Wizarding World had been light. All the Death Eaters who had survived were tried and sent to Azkaban, including Draco's father. Pure blood supremacy had been stamped out, with the Wizarding World cracking down on anyone who showed the slightest sign of bigotry. Knockturn Alley had been closed down and raided; all dark objects discovered had been destroyed on sight.
The Wizarding World had destroyed any remaining possibilities of the dark washing over and choking out the light until nothing remained. Draco didn't particularly mind.
The last year that the Dark Lord had been in power had been hell for him. He couldn't go back to Hogwarts because of his involvement with Dumbledore's death, so he was stuck with his parents and crazy aunt at the Manor. He had spent his time torturing prisoners and occasionally doing missions. He had felt so alone, so guilty and so…well, evil. He had quickly learned that everything he had ever known about purebloods and Voldemort had been drastically wrong. He could still remember the screams of the tortured, echoing throughout the stone dungeon…
Draco shuddered. He pulled his mind back to the present. He avoided thinking about that year at all costs. He had hated it. That year had represented everything he had ever wrongfully wanted and all the mistakes he had ever made. Surprisingly, though Draco still had no idea how, he had managed to escape Azkaban along with his mother.
His mother escaping Azkaban was understandable. She had lied to Voldemort and saved Harry Potter after the incident in the woods. That incident was now legend; everyone knew the tale of how Narcissa Malfoy had put her life in jeopardy to stop Potter's fraudulent death from becoming the knowledge of the Dark Lord. This had led to Voldemort's death at the hands of the Chosen One.
But Draco escaping Azkaban was still a mystery. He hadn't done anything good at all. He couldn't show any evidence that he didn't deserve a life in prison. He was responsible for Dumbledore's death, even if Snape has cast the curse in the end. Draco had tortured and killed. Even worse, he had stood back and watched people being tortured and killed. He had never protected anyone. He felt as though he should be punished for his sins. He was guilty.
Yet, he faced practically no punishment.
He had been pardoned by the Wizengamot and let back into the world. The only 'real' punishment was a heavy warning that if he ever so much put a toenail out of line, the court would get him a family cell for him and his Death Eater father.
The office door he had knocked on finally opened, shaking Draco from his thoughts. He looked at the man in the doorway. Blaise Zabini stood in front of him with a goofy, lop-sided grin on his face. Draco smiled at his best friend.
The tall, buff, and dark-haired man stood at ease in the presence of the ex-Death Eater. Blaise had been by his side throughout the entire process of the battle's aftermath and his trial. His other friends had abandoned him, even though they had also been involved. Blaise, with his exceptional morals for a Slytherin, hadn't been involved with the Dark Lord in the slightest. He hadn't even bullied people at the school level.
After Hogwarts, he had managed to get himself a place in Auror training. It was something he had always wanted to do but would never admit. Draco, who had known Blaise well enough, had put the clues together based on his choices for NEWT classes. When Draco had confronted him about it, Blaise had said:
"I don't want to be a Death Eater like the rest of you. I don't even want them to exist. I'd rather fight evil than take part in it. But there is no way in Merlin's name that I'm going to admit that surrounded by the offspring of dark wizards. I'm not a total moron."
Draco respected not being a total moron, as a rule.
So, Blaise had entered the Auror program, alongside the famous Harry Potter. Blaise, being a good guy, had shown no animosity towards the Chosen One. The Pothead had responded vigorously. Blaise and the boy wonder had struck up a friendship, and now seven years later, they were partners in the Auror Office.
"Draco!" Blaise exclaimed, his voice booming out. He pulled Draco into a hug. Draco knew there was no use resisting. Blaise was ridiculously strong, even if he was as cuddly as a giant teddy bear.
"How was Moscow?" Blaise asked, leading Draco through the door. His best friend's office was much brighter than the rest of the Auror Department. He had fixed windows, which shone into his office all day and night, (you've got to love magic). The walls were not covered with wanted wizards like outside. Instead, they were decorated with photos of Blaise's family and friends.
There was a picture of Draco right in the centre of the wall. His photographic self was continuously tripping over a chair. Blaise had gotten him pissed drunk and proceeded to take a photo as he fell over. Draco was usually agile and coordinated but being drunk had wreaked that God-given gracefulness. He had fallen face first onto the ground. He had been unconscious for hours.
"It was good," Draco replied, walking over and leaning on the desk. "The new office is up and running smoothly."
"Awesome," exclaimed Blaise, clapping him on the back. "We should go celebrate! I swear, Draco. Malfoy Industries will be worldwide soon enough."
Draco showed off trademark smirk. Malfoy Industries was his pride and joy. The company he had founded after the war was booming, in locations across three continents, raking in galleons from across the world.
"Sure, mate," Draco nodded. "I'm in need of some vodka. I am seriously missing Russia. Merlin, what a place."
"Yeah sure, you miss the vodka," Blaise chuckled, winking suggestively and wagging his eyebrows. "Are you sure it isn't a lady you're missing? Russian girls, oh Merlin."
Draco chuckled. Blaise was so predictable. "Aren't you engaged, mate?"
Blaise laughed again. "Yep, but Padma knows that she's the only girl for me."
"I still don't know how you managed to snag Padma Patil."
"Hey!" Blaise retorted, looking offended. He gestured to himself. "I'm a charming and handsome man!"
"Sure, Blaise," Draco said, trying to keep a straight face.
Blaise rolled his eyes. "Are we getting that drink or what?"
"Yeah mate," Draco said, turning so Blaise couldn't see the smile still on his face. "Shall we?" he said, gesturing to the door.
"Yeah," Blaise replied, grabbing his coat and exiting the office. "Ladies first," Draco muttered, still trying not to laugh, and followed him back out to the Auror Department.
Blaise pretended not to have heard him. He probably didn't even care though. Draco and Blaise bantered constantly. Insulting each other was their version of a conversation. It seemed to only strengthen their friendship. Screw logic.
They had just started to walk towards the elevators at the other side of the office when a voice called them back.
"Oi! Zabini!" the voice shouted. They turned.
Rushing up to them, his glasses lopsided, was the original Scarface himself, Harry Potter. Looking virtually unchanged, with his unkempt black hair, bright green eyes, and annoying scar, he handed a file to Blaise. Potter practically threw it into his hands, the Slytherin fumbling to catch it.
"Could you look into that for me?" Potter burst out. Blaise looked confused, but shrugged, nodded and opened the file, nonetheless.
"Hey, Scarface," Draco drawled.
"Ferret," Potter replied, nodding. Over the years, the two had learned to deal with each other, mainly because of Blaise. Their mutual friendship and respect for the moral Slytherin had changed things. Blaise had told Draco once that Potter thought that since he was friends with Blaise, he wouldn't hate on Draco too much, emphasis on too much. Potter was unwilling to cause friction between the two of them. Though the years of hatred could never be erased, Draco, though he would never admit it, was very thankful to Potter for saving his life in the Battle of Hogwarts. It had slightly lessened the quantity of annoyance Potter caused Draco.
"How was Moscow?" Potter asked him, eyes still on Blaise as the other man sifted through the file.
"Pretty good," Draco replied curtly. He had never really cared for small talk. Instead, he watched Blaise's eyes race over the file's contents, with Potter's never leaving the other Auror's face.
Blaise sighed and shook his head. "Harry, I really don't think…"
"Please Blaise," Potter pleaded, cutting across him.
Blaise looked like he wanted to refuse whatever Potter was asking. After a few seconds of looking over The Boy Who Lived Way Longer Than Expected, he sighed, obviously giving in, and nodded. Years with the pothead had made him soft, Draco reckoned.
"Thanks Blaise," Potter said gratefully.
"I wouldn't get your hopes up, Harry," Blaise replied, looking grim. "It's been years."
"I know," Potter said, looking pitifully downtrodden. "But I can't lose hope."
Blaise sighed. "I'll look into it, Harry, I promise. But right now, Draco and I need to go."
Potter smiled at Blaise, nodded at Draco, turned and left. Blaise looked after him, pity in his eyes. He started heading towards the elevators again with Draco trailing after him. Once the elevator doors had safely isolated them from the rest of the Ministry, Draco turned to Blaise, his eyebrow raised questioningly.
"Granger," Blaise responded curtly, averting his eyes. Ah yes, Draco nodded, fully understanding.
For that was the one mystery left after the war: what had happened to Hermione Granger.
She had been there by Potter's side up until the battle, fighting against evil, searching for horcruxes, helping the wounded. She had even been there in the immediate aftermath, making statements, cleaning up the world and helping Potter, who had seemed to go a little over the edge after killing the Dark Lord. Draco had personally thought he was just overworked.
Then, a week after the Dark Lord went six feet under, she had disappeared out of the blue. There was no trace of her anywhere. The Wizarding World had gone understandably ballistic. Everyone had thought the dark side was dead and gone, never to question the light again. But then Hermione Granger, best friend of the Chosen One, war heroine, and beacon of hope had disappeared from the face of the planet. Potter, using the influence that being The Boy Who Lived came with, had splashed her face across every wizarding newspaper in the world. He had sent hundreds looking for her; she was practically his sister after all.
Weasel King had been similarly distraught. After the war, he had been helping the same way Granger had, but the second the bookworm disappeared he had locked himself up. He stayed in his pigsty of a house for months before emerging and when he finally had, he had been pale, sickly, and skinny. Granger's disappearance seemed to have sucked the life out of him. Potter had been similar. It had taken the two of them years to even begin living again. Actually, Draco wasn't sure they ever had.
They had searched for her endlessly. The whole of society had looked all across the world for her, to no avail. Now here the world was, seven years later, no closer to finding her than the day she had disappeared.
Eventually, people had forgotten about Hermione Granger. She had been gone for so long that people did a little double take if her name was mentioned. The case was technically still open. Blaise was the head of it, but there was never any news. Hermione Granger was gone, physically and in the general consciousness. Draco hadn't even really thought about the bookworm in years.
"Did Potter find another lead?" Draco asked, a little dumbfounded that after all this time, Scarface still had hope.
"Apparently," Blaise replied. The elevator had stopped. The two of them walked out into the atrium. "But I'm pretty skeptical. It's been too long. I doubt we'll ever find her."
Draco nodded, completely in agreement. "Have you tried telling Potter that?"
Blaise shook his head. "The poor guy has lost so much in his life. He can't lose her. He'll break."
Draco nodded, somewhat understanding Potter's predicament. Practically everyone he had ever loved was gone: his parents, his godfather, professor Lupin, Dumbledore. He couldn't stand to lose his best friend as well. Even though the truth was that he had probably lost her the second she had disappeared.
"Leaky Cauldron?" Draco asked, trying to lighten the mood. Blaise nodded, still looking a little low. Draco knew that Blaise felt guilty about not being able to do anything more for Potter. He smiled hopefully, leading Blaise into a fireplace and floo-powdering them away. Hopefully after a few drinks, Blaise would be the happy teddy bear that he usually was.
Original A/N: Love? Hate? Let me know?