LbN: Written for a challenge at The Teachers' Lounge
He thought it would be different once she was gone, but it wasn't. Divorcing Pansy had, if anything, made the Daily Prophet more vicious. "The Frail Prince," they called him. And he supposed he saw their point, he thought generously. He was in a normal desk job at the Ministry—not too much power or "people work"—and his wife ran round very publicly cheating on him. With everyone.
Boot (that stung, because he really was a prat).
Weasley (Ginny this time).
She'd even given an interview after the divorce had been finalized. They hadn't left him alone for months after that. The thing was, even though Potter had gotten him off of all charges five years ago, the Wizarding world in general was still pretty keen on making Death Eaters pay for their…war time extracurricular activities…. The practical offset of this was that they tried to make the ones who hadn't gone off the grid, into some sort of everyday villain. That wouldn't work with Draco. He wasn't showy anymore. He wasn't mean or rude to those around him. He'd treated Pansy like a bloody princess when she'd been around. So that's what they attacked—his lack of…forcefulness in life. Basically, since they couldn't get him for being a dick, they got him for not being enough of one. It was vexing.
He walked down the streets of a small Muggle town, sipping his tea. There was a short red door with a brass knob to the right. He knocked quietly and stood back.
"Evening, Draco," Blaise said, opening it and stepping aside. "I see you've gotten your monthly Starbucks fix."
"I know you hate making tea."
"Too right. Sit, get comfortable. I know it's been a long trip."
Draco slipped off his shoes and sat on one of the squishy armchairs by the fire. "Your children?"
Blaise chuckled and nodded. "Being a child psychiatrist is actually pretty fulfilling. I thought I'd have to adjust to a non-magic job, but it's been easy. Besides," he said, pulling open the table drawer and taking out his wand. He flicked it, and a plate of snacks came zooming in. "I still use it here at home. Thinking about going off the grid like the rest of us?"
"It's a shock at first, I'll tell you that. You have to get used to some things. But I'll help you…er…make the transition."
"You met anyone out here?"
"This place look like it has a thriving gay wizards' scene?"
Draco laughed. "Want to go get a bite to eat?"
"So what's it like? You know…changing into this," Draco said, indicating the Muggles around them with a nod.
"Mostly it's knowing your resume, and keeping track of numbers," Blaise answered. "We have contacts all over... discreet people who will show you how to make up your transcripts and be references for employers and such. You just have to keep track of the lies you're telling. If you told your boss you graduated from Cambridge, remember that you graduated from Cambridge. Don't come in one day saying you went to Oxford. That's like a Hogwarts student messing up and saying they went to the Welsh School of Magic."
"After that, it's just adjusting while you're out in public. Remembering how to use your credit card, and not to yell when you're on the telephone. It's all little things that you get the hang of after a few months."
Draco nodded, a pensive look coming to his face….
Harry put the paper down. Under the Evening Prophet's headline "Another Death Eater off the Grid" there was a picture of Draco Malfoy. "They're wrong, you know."
"About what?" Ginny asked.
"He's not weak. Draco, I mean." He was quiet for another long moment. "It takes strength to be able to walk away."