slumber: (fics)
[personal profile] slumber
Title: How I Married Your Mother
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Draco/Astoria, some Theodore/Daphne, Blaise/Pansy, Roger/Astoria
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~7500
Summary: When Daphne and Theodore get engaged, making sure Astoria follows through with maid-of-honor duties becomes the best man's responsibility. But aiding and abetting was hardly what Draco signed up for.
Additional Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] hp_canon_fest for the prompt "Asteria is a criminal mastermind, Draco is her reluctant sidekick. The crime in question could be the heist of the century or something as simple as stealing an apple. Means, motivation, success up to the author." Original posting can be found here, although in this version I switched the spelling back to Astoria. My betas [livejournal.com profile] carlyinrome and [livejournal.com profile] todaythesamesky did rock star stuff for me! Any further mistakes are mine post-beta. Also, the shameless allusion to a popular prime time TV show sort of extends past the title.

This is the story of how I married your mother.

Don't confuse it for the proposal story, because that one's different. Anyone can ask a question; it's making sure you get the yes that you've got to worry about, isn't it? That's what I told your Uncle Theodore, but he worried himself sick anyway, planning every little detail like forgetting to get the right kind of wine will change Daphne's mind.

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"You've been together for how long now? Seven years?"

"Eight years, three months, five days. But not discounting the time we weren't speaking in seventh year, I suppose, in which case it would actually be seven years, eleven months--"

Draco shot Theodore a look that told him he wasn't interested in hearing the math. "You've been together long enough, Nott," he said, picking up a piece of Theodore's dessert and biting into it. "This cake's good."

"It's mine, is what it is," Theodore said, yanking the plate away from Draco's reach. "I don't see your point."

"Were you never taught to share?" Draco asked. "And anyway, my point is if Daphne had no plans of marrying you at all, she had all of the last decade to say so. Clearly holy matrimony is where you're both headed, so why act like you're about to ask her if she'd like to take it backdoor?"

"It's eight years, three months, five d-- Draco."

"What? It's true." Draco shrugged. He Summoned the cake and took another piece for himself. "Look, it's not that hard."

"What isn't hard?" Daphne asked, returning from the bathroom and sliding into the seat beside Theodore.

"Going backdoor?" Theodore winced as soon as the words left his mouth. Daphne raised an eyebrow. "Erm. Draco was--"

"Hey Daphne, when are you marrying my best mate?" Draco asked.

Theodore had a bit of a minor coughing fit, and Daphne flushed. "We're not-- we aren't engaged..."

"But would you be, if you were asked?"

"I don't know." Daphne glanced at Theodore. "Am I being asked?"

Theodore could only nod. He cleared his throat a couple of times before stumbling out of the booth, falling onto one knee as he scrambled for the little square box he'd been carrying with him for the last five months. "Daphne Greengrass--"

"Yes!" Daphne said, beaming as she threw her arms around him. "Of course I will!"

Theodore glared at Draco from over Daphne's shoulder, no doubt for ruining his best laid plans, but Draco only beamed and gave Theodore a thumbs up.

***


"I don't understand; why is Draco the best man?"

Draco shot Blaise a dirty look. "Because I'm Theodore's best mate."

"Hardly." Blaise scoffed, turning to Theodore. "Tell him you made a mistake, Teddy."

"He doesn't like being called Teddy," Draco said smugly. "Right?"

Theodore just shrugged. "This isn't really a big deal. Daphne and I just had to decide on our entourage and we figured Blaise would prefer to be paired with Pansy instead of Astoria, and since she's maid of honor--"

"That's right, Theodore and Daphne just thought to neglect their dearest friends," Pansy sighed, plopping herself onto Blaise's lap. "Don't worry, darling, we'll keep ourselves entertained during the wedding."

"You're secondary best man and maid of honor," Daphne said hastily. "Just-- you know. Behave. Please?"

Pansy laughed. "Oh don't worry about it, Daph. We're just teasing."

Daphne didn't look the least bit convinced. "You know my family would turn it into the scandal of the century if I didn't pick my own sister for maid of honor."

"Where is she anyway?" Pansy asked.

***


All things considered, the Louvre was hardly as secure as it claimed to be. A slight Confundus charm here, an almost haphazard Reducto charm there, and before she knew it, Astoria was in. She blew a bit of powdered Sleeping Draught the guard's way as she snuck behind him, catching him as he fell and tucking him behind the lobby desk. She snipped a strand of his hair and added it to the flask stashed in her pocket. She emerged moments later, clad in his robes and dressed perfectly for the task at hand.

The halls of the Louvre could easily confuse any visitor. The Museum was expansive, wings upon wings filled with numerous valuable pieces, but Astoria knew this place well, and had in fact done nearly this exact same job twice already in the last year. There was one lady left to collect.

She walked down the hall of the Denon Wing, strolling as though she were on night duty. She even stopped in full view of the security camera that she knew was perched high on the wall, yawning and stretching her back before she scratched her balls. She yawned again to hide the smirk on her face. That would do for now.

It took a few more whispered charms to disable the cameras and alarms in the room, during which she knew she only had two minutes before the charms wore off. Crossing items off in a mental checklist, she set to work:

  1. Take item out of pouch. Place it nearby. (00:05)
  2. Reducto. (00:48)
  3. Switch. (00:05)
  4. Engorgio. (00:47)
  5. Exit. (00:15)


By the time she returned to Fred-- that was the guard's name, according to his badge-- the so-called eyes of the building would have noticed a blip in the footage, radioed Fred to ask what was going on, received a gruff response in return and, convinced nothing was out of place because the cameras seemed to be back up and look, there's Fred grabbing his balls again, returned to their sudoku puzzles.

By the time Fred woke up-- leaning against the desk, as if he'd just nodded off by accident—the Winged Victory of Samothrace would have already exited the Louvre, been carried a few blocks away, loaded onto the nearest cab, and made her way back to a hotel three miles away for a short overnight stay before getting placed front and center in a bustling Diagon Alley hotel, with no one the wiser.

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I bet you think it's hard to imagine a time when wizards didn't care at all for Muggle contraptions, but back then, Blaise was a pioneer. He'd noticed there was a growing interest and fascination with all things Muggle, and he didn't just jump on that train, he practically drove it too. Muggle-style shops, stores that sold Muggle gadgets, even Muggle clothes started becoming high fashion. Mugglemania? He started it, with Hotel Muggle at its heart. Apart from running the entire place without magic-- can you imagine? Everyone ate that up!-- Hotel Muggle was also decorated with an assortment of Muggle items. You've seen it. And the museum that's adjacent to the hotel, the one filled with all sorts of Muggle memorabilia?

That's where your mother came in. She was a terrific… procurement specialist.

It helped that she had always been pretty good at Muggle Studies. Even as a young girl at Hogwarts she'd displayed extraordinary insight about Muggle society.

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"And that is how Muggles are able to protect themselves even without the use of wands," Charity Burbage concluded, beaming at her third year class. "Any other questions?"

"If a wizard uses a gun to shoot a Muggle, will they be tried by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement or the Muggle equivalent? And if a wizard uses a gun to shoot a wizard, will the Aurors know how to find him?"

"Ms. Greengrass!"

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Other wizards didn't always understand or agree with her interest, but after the war, I guess you could say the political climate swayed them to have a change of heart.

In any case, Blaise had her pretty busy. She went around the world and back looking for unique Muggle artifacts, and then she'd purchase replicas and acquire them for the hotel and the museum. Sometimes, he'd even connect her with other wizards who would give her a large amount to purchase the things she found. She says she gave Blaise a discount because he paid for her travels, but between you and me, I think she really enjoyed what she was doing at the time.

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"So you sent her out on a job today?" Pansy asked, making a face. "Blaise, you should know better!"

Blaise raised both hands in surrender. "Don't look at me, I told her the job could wait. She's the one who took my Floo connection to Paris and said she'd be back before this morning."

Daphne shook her head. "Why couldn't she just meet up with the seller earlier? Or reschedule? I don't understand how those meetings could always take so long anyway-- can't she just show up, give them the money and take the first Floo back?"

Blaise, Pansy, and Draco shared a Look, which Theodore completely missed. Being the second pea in a Daphne-and-Theodore pod, he would never have been able to keep a secret from her, and was thus not privy to this one.

"You know how some negotiations can go," Pansy said. "Astoria's got to make sure Blaise here gets the best deal possible."

"Exactly!" Draco said. "That's why Blaise hired her. She's the best in the business."

"Sometimes," Blaise added, "It's almost like I never pay anything at all."

If Theodore or Daphne wondered what caused Draco and Pansy to simultaneously choke on their drinks, neither of them showed it. Instead Theodore squeezed Daphne's hand and stood up.

"I think I'll need to open a few more bottles of wine for us," he said. "Draco, would you like to come help me?"

Draco wrinkled his nose. "Not really."

Theodore frowned. "Best man duties?"

"I'll go if Draco won't," Blaise offered.

"Oh, sit down, you scheming bastard," Draco told him, heaving a sigh as he pulled himself out of the chair. "If you must pull that card on me."

"I was trying to get you alone subtly," Theodore said when they were in the wine cellar and out of earshot. He shook his head, looking for a few good labels to bring back upstairs.

"You should have just said that."

"I didn't want Daphne to know."

Draco cocked his head to the side. "Know what? Is this about the engagement? Are you getting cold feet? Mrs Greengrass driving you crazy yet?"

"No! No, it's not that," Theodore said. "Sort of. Look. Daphne's pretty upset."

"Okay?"

"Since she asked Astoria to be part of the wedding, we haven't really heard back from her," Theodore said. "And to be honest, she's worried we never will."

"You know her job keeps her a bit busy--"

"She can still take time here and there," Theodore argued. "This was an afternoon we had planned for weeks. This is important to Daphne."

"I see that, but what do you want me to do?"

Theodore shrugged. "I don't know, but I guess it would be really helpful if Daphne didn't have to chase her sister all over town to get her to show up," he said. "She could be around more often, I suppose."

"So you want me to baby-sit."

Theodore hesitated. "Yes?"

"I don't even know where she is half the time, Theodore."

"It's the only thing I'm asking you since you're my best man."

"You already asked me to come down to the cellar with you," Draco pointed out, rolling his eyes when Theodore gave him a look. "Alright. I'll do my best. I'm not promising anything, but I'll do my best."

Theodore smiled. "Thanks, Draco. That would mean a lot to us."

"I'm not going to turn it into a full time job," Draco warned. "I'm busy enough as it is with my real one."

***


Caerphilly was a shithole. For one thing, it was in Wales. For another, it wasn't about to be relocated outside of Wales. If the town's selling point, besides a Quidditch team that last won the Cup in 1967, was that it was within commuting distance to Cardiff, then it had a real problem.

But Pavel Makarov was its star Seeker, and his contract was about to run out. The team, cash-strapped, was playing hardball, but Makarov somehow wanted both a hefty raise and to stay in Caerphilly. Draco, having discovered Makarov in the Russian league and brought him to the British and Irish Quidditch League as his client, had flown in for a game against the Montrose Magpies to try and negotiate something closer to what both sides wanted.

He sat himself in one of the bleachers, where the best view of the entire game could be found. Unlike the others in the stands with him, he didn't carry with him any snacks or drinks, and neither was he wearing either team's colors. Instead, he was dressed in business robes of dark emerald green, binoculars in hand and a short stack of parchment in the other. He kept watch over Makarov as well as his other clients, Fedorov and Filatov, the Magpies' Beaters, but mostly he was busy jotting down notes and memos that were Owled to clients, potential clients, and various Quidditch executives' desks.

"If Filatov asks later, tell him that Bludger he sent Carmichael's way was a thing of beauty."

"What?" Draco looked up, confused. The game had stopped; the Caerphilly Catapults trainers were out on the field checking on Carmichael. "What the bloody hell happened?" he asked, turning around to the voice that had snapped him out of his work. "Astoria? Where'd you come from? What are you doing here?"

Astoria laughed. "I told you; Filatov happened. Yes, it's me. I came from over there, and I saw a friend, so I thought I'd say hi," she explained. "Pity a real fan couldn't sit where you are and enjoy the game properly."

"I'm working." Draco scowled. "Does your sister know you're a Magpies fan now?" he asked, noting her robe colors.

"Oh, I am this season," Astoria said, nodding at one of the Magpies, Davies #10, who just whizzed by. "I've started seeing Roger."

"Congratulations," Draco said. "I thought you said you were too busy for a boyfriend."

"We're both too busy, truth be told, but we Owl a lot and if we're both available then we meet up," Astoria said. "It's a mutually beneficial arrangement, even if the sex is extremely mediocre."

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Yes, that's really what she said. Go ask her if you don't believe me. But you heard it here first: Roger Davies is not that good of a lay. Those MVP trophies? Overcompensation.

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"Too bad you're not having the best sex of your life ever. Yet," Draco said. "Hang on. Wasn't he engaged to his agent?"

Astoria sighed. "She left him for another one of her clients. It's a little awkward."

Draco winced. "I can imagine," he said. "Oh, speaking of engagements, have you put some thought into what to do for Daphne and Theodore's? I thought maybe we could--"

"Oh, yeah, absolutely," Astoria said. "I've got a couple of ideas in mind."

"Great, so maybe we can keep in touch about that and--"

"Of course! I'll give you an Owl when I have more details," Astoria promised. "Listen, it was great running into you, but I should head back and make nice with the other girlfriends over there." She nodded at a private section to their right. "Between you and me, I don't think they're too happy about me being the new Katie."

"Hey," Draco said, catching Astoria's wrist. "I'm thinking about taking on a couple of British clients anyway. If you want, you could set up a meeting with me and Roger, maybe I can convince him to take up with a different agent?"

"Oh, would you?"

"Yeah, why not?" Draco said with a small, non-committal shrug. "It's the least I could do."

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Look, the way I saw it, I had to find a way to get in touch with her, so I could make sure my best friend's wedding didn't go to shite.

Plus, as Roger Davies' agent I would now have three things: Another talented client, which would add more legitimacy to me as an agent and would allow me to start speaking to potential clients in the country; access to your mother's schedule and availability, plus a modicum of control over where she could end up being; and Theodore's unending gratitude, which if I wanted, could persuade him to give me his firstborn. Didn't I tell you that's where you came from?

Just kidding. Don't look at me like that.

On the first point: all of my clients up until Davies were Eastern European. After the war, they were the only players who would talk to me about anything, so I went east to scout for talent. Even then, it was hard to get any of the teams in the British League to meet with me and sign the players, but Makarov, as luck would have it, was just too talented to ignore. Now, I don't actually mind representing Eastern Europeans, but that meant watching more Quidditch in places like Belarus and Siberia and sometimes, I'd much rather be in Caerphilly. Davies was a good way to tell British prospects I could still speak a bit of English and would do good things for them, that was all.

As for the second point: Remember when your mother said she and Roger often coordinated schedules to meet up when they were both free?

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"What's wrong with lunch tomorrow, Davies?" Draco asked, barely looking up from his desk as he spoke to his newest client. Roger, face a glowing green shade in the fireplace, shook his head.

"It's not free anymore," he said.

"It was free yesterday."

"It got booked today. I thought the point of sharing my calendar with you was so you could check before you schedule anything with me?"

"Your contract's up soon. We need to talk about what you'd like from the Magpies, figure out the starting point for negotiations." Draco glanced over at the copy of Roger's calendar, infused with a variation of the Protean charm. "I like the little heart around AG that you've now added for the 12pm slot, but I don't know what that means."

"I was going to have lunch with my girlfriend," Roger mumbled.

"Oh! Astoria Greengrass, of course," Draco said, feigning enlightenment. "Well, it'll only take half an hour, tops. Why don't you have her join us? I had a couple of things I wanted to check with her about her sister's wedding anyway."

***


"Why don't you let me know what you think?" Draco asked, slipping a roll of parchment towards Astoria.

Astoria's lips twitched, but she put on a smile and took the parchment anyway. "Thanks, I'm sure these are all great."

"The engagement party is the weekend after next," Draco said. "The Magpies are off then, aren't they? Why don't you and Roger come together?"

"We are free that weekend," Roger said. "What do you think?"

"But Roger--" Astoria paused, trying to form her thoughts. "Well. I don't want it to be too awkward for you. You won't know anyone else there, I mean."

"He knows me," Draco said. "Besides, Theodore and Daphne are nuts about Quidditch; they'd make him feel right at home."

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True story: Your Uncle Theodore's tried to buy about three different Quidditch teams in the last couple of years. He's still trying.

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"I don't know about that," Astoria said, looking slightly dubious.

"They're big fans of yours," Draco told Roger. "They think you should come play for the Falcons next season."

"Oh, are they Falcons fans, then?" Roger asked.

"They wish they could have won the Cup, but they knew they couldn't have done it since you were flying for Montrose during the Finals instead of Falmouth."

Roger laughed. "Is that so?"

"It'll mean the world to them if you come with Astoria," Draco said. "Can I put you both down for sure?"

"Of course!"

***


"Roger Davies just walked into our engagement party," Theodore said.

"Did you notice he walked in with Astoria?" Draco asked. "You're welcome, by the way."

"Unless you've poisoned that filthy Magpie's drink, he has no business coming in here and ruining our--"

"Theodore. Astoria is here. Look how happy Daphne is."

"She's glaring at the scum you invited to our party."

"I thought you'd be pleased," Draco said. "Best way I can get hold of your future sister-in-law, which, if I'm not mistaken, is what you asked me to do in the first place."

"Yes, but." Theodore wrinkled his nose. "A Magpie."

"You both have to get used to it if you want to see Astoria around at all," Draco said.

Theodore sighed. "Fine. Merlin, why is he heading this way?"

"He may or may not think you secretly own his robes, and he may or may not be on his way here to sign them," Draco said, thrusting a small bag towards Theodore. "The robes may or may not be in this bag. Look, there's Astoria! I'm going to grab her and talk about Daphne's hen party, yes? Okay, see you later!"

***


"Don't think I don't know what you're up to," Astoria told Draco.

"I can't just say hi to a friend?"

"Daphne hates the Magpies. Everybody hates the Magpies," she said. "What's all this 'Oh, they're big fans of yours' spiel that you gave him?"

"If they didn't win so damn often, maybe they'd be more likable."

"Not the point!"

"If you'd bother to show up by yourself when your sister invites you, maybe no one would have to get an aneurysm seeing a Magpie at this party," Draco pointed out.

Astoria sighed. "I don't have to be at every little event."

"You're the maid of honor."

"Only because Mum made her."

"Well, no one else is, so try and give it a shot, okay?"

"I have a very busy schedule."

"You can try to work around it. Blaise says he lets you set your hours."

Astoria glared. "Fine."

"Really?"

"With a few conditions," Astoria said. "I'll help plan either the hen party or the shower, and I'll show up at fittings and the rehearsal, but that's it. This wedding isn't going to take over my life too."

***


"Why can't we use Blaise's hotel?" Astoria asked.

"Because," Draco said. "It's all Muggle-y. That's not their thing."

"They're old-fashioned and outdated," Astoria mumbled. "A Slytherin theme?"

Draco wrinkled his nose. "Overused."

"You can decide what to plan, then," Astoria said. "I've sat here making suggestions and you've rejected every single one."

"There's a reason it's called brain-storming," Draco said.

"Medieval times?"

"No."

"Founding fathers?"

"How is that even-- no."

"Carnivale? Under the sea? Magical creatures?"

"Guys?" Roger piped up. "Are you going to be done anytime soon? The team party's in about an hour."

"Just a minute, Roger," Astoria said, turning to Draco. "What do you think?"

"Eh," was Draco's reply. "How's the hen party going, by the way? Remember: Daphne said no strippers."

"Strippers?" Roger echoed, looking worried. "You're not having strippers over for the hen party, are you?"

"Of course not, don't be silly," Astoria said, laughing nervously. "What about just colors? Pick a classic pair."

Draco wrinkled his nose. "Just colors? That's a little lackluster, don't you think?"

"I don't know, then!"

"Well, what colors did you have in mind? Blue-and-orange? Black-and-white?"

"Any pair!" Astoria said. "Pink-and-purple, red-and-black, gold-and-pearl, green-and-silver, but I guess you don't want the Slytherin colors, do you, maybe grey-and-white for the Falcons then--"

Astoria paused and caught the look Draco gave her.

"Quidditch," they both exclaimed.

***


"This is all your fault," Astoria sobbed, fire-calling Draco at, Merlin's balls, was it two in the morning?

"What are you talking about?" Draco asked, yawning as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "'storia, d'you have any idea what time it is? Is that a stripper behind you? Merlin, didn't we talk about this?"

"I don't care," Astoria growled. "Daphne doesn't mind. Right, Daph?"

"Please don't tell Theodore!" came Daphne's plea, her voice a little muffled by the crackling of the fireplace.

Draco frowned. "Astoria, I don't understand--"

"Roger and I broke up," she wailed, pausing in between sobs to down a few gulps of firewhisky. "Because of this stupid wedding."

"But why?"

"Because," she whined. "Now he's got it in his head that I want to settle down and have babies and be his wife and make him dinner, and I don't want that, Draco. I just want to have really crappy sex."

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Look, she just didn't know any better then, alright? But that was what she was essentially saying. Will you let me finish? Thank you.

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"So we fought, and now he's pissed, and it's your fault."

"But Astoria," Draco said. "He's the one who can't see reason here."

"He is?"

"Of course," Draco said. "He doesn't understand where you're coming from at all."

"He's an idiot."

"Exactly."

"Bloody Magpie."

"Everyone hates them for a reason," Draco agreed.

"They shouldn't even have won the Cup," Astoria mumbled. "The poor Falcons. Crosby never saw that Bludger coming."

"Clearly, he'll need to pay."

Astoria sniffled. "Yeah," she said, saying little for a long moment, before: "Draco?"

"Hm?"

"When's the shower again?"

"Next Saturday. Why?"

Astoria wiped her eyes. "I think I know how to make him pay. Will you help?"

"What?" Draco yawned. "Uh, yeah, sure."

***


"Draco."

Draco shifted, tossed, and turned over.

"Draco!"

Draco groaned, stretching. "What?"

"Wake up."

"Go 'way-- Astoria?" Draco sat up. "What are you doing here?"

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You know how sometimes you spend an entire night drinking, and you come home and you realize you've been sweating cocktails this entire time and you really just need to take a shower but you end up passing out instead, so when you wake up the next morning you're twice as smelly?

No?

Well, your mother never got that way either. Even after a night out, she smelled wonderful. All the time.

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Astoria leaned towards Draco, her balance unsteady. "Wake up."

"I am up," Draco said before he recoiled from the overwhelming smell of alcohol on her. "Merlin, what have you been drinking?"

Astoria frowned, then crossed her arms. "You told me you'd help."

"I didn't mean right now," Draco said, glancing at the nearest clock. "It's almost four. What happened to Daphne?"

"Don't worry, I tucked her in myself. Nearly left with the stripper, but I took care of it."

"She nearly what?"

"She's fine," Astoria said. "I need your help. Come get the Cup with me."

"What cup?" Draco asked, yawning. "D'you want coffee?"

"No. The Quidditch Cup. We should have it on display for the shower."

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It's the hardest championship trophy to win in all of sports. If you think winning the Quidditch Cup is tough now-- well, obviously you weren't living in the 2000s. Those were the glory days, they were. And if you bled grey-and-white, you despised anything Montrose.

The Falcons and the Magpies met in the Finals at least five grueling and bloody times, thrice consecutively. About a dozen players on each side, easy, were injured during that span. The Magpies won four of those games, and the Falcons wouldn't win until their last meeting, in 2009. Those four losses were our fault, by the way. "Our" as in, your mother's and mine, not the general Falcon fanbase. But I'm jumping ahead.

Now, this was in 2004; that rivalry was still a bit fresh. The Magpies had just won their first Cup against the Falcons that decade, but on a truly horrific technicality. I won't get into it, but let's just say the Magpies had been lucky the game was in Montrose and not Falmouth. And that the officials were on their payroll.

The Cup, clearly, was the missing centerpiece for your Uncle and Aunt's shower. I don't know how we completely forgot all about it.

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Draco didn't look any more enlightened. "We do have it on display. Remember? We asked Tracey Davis to bake it as a cake?"

Astoria shook her head. "I don't see why we can't have the real thing," she said, a distinctly Slytherin smirk on her face.

"Are you mad?"

"It's on tour right now, to some schools and little towns, before it goes back to the League office in the Ministry."

"No."

"It isn't heavily guarded at all; Roger told me the Keeper's got a particular weakness for rum, and if you'll help me--"

"Absolutely not!"

Astoria narrowed her eyes. "Fine," she huffed, turning on her heels and walking away. "I'll do it myself."

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So I told your mother that it was a wonderful idea and we spent the entire night constructing a replica of the Quidditch Cup.

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"This is a terrible idea and you're going to get us arrested!"

"Will you be quiet?" Astoria hissed, hopping onto her broom and flying up the wall of The Witching Hour, Hogsmeade's largest inn.

"Astoria!" Draco called, sighing before he mounted his own broom and following her as she zig-zagged through the windows. "What are you doing?"

"Quiet!" Astoria reminded him, stopping suddenly somewhere on the fifth floor. "Aha!"

"What? What'd you find?"

"One, two, three, four--" Astoria muttered, counting the windows from the edge of the wall. "Write this down. We're looking for the seventh door from the south-east-facing corner. Fifth floor."

"Why?" Draco asked.

"That's where the Cup is," Astoria said, descending into the back area of the inn.

"Do you think maybe we should sit down somewhere and talk this through first?" Draco asked in an attempt to buy himself some time. "I don't think you're in the best position to be--"

"Relax, I've done this plenty of times before."

"You've stolen from Muggles," Draco said. "This is the Quidditch League here. They're not going to fall for whatever-- what is that?"

"Hm?" Astoria looked up from the numerous, carefully-labeled vials she'd laid out on the ground. "Help me look for the commissioner."

Draco sat down, reading through the labels. "You have the entire Magpies roster on this one. Here's Aladair Maddock-- how on earth did you get a hair sample from the British and Irish League's Commissioner?"

***


"You're a very good dancer," Aladair said, leering. "Andrew Price is very lucky to have you."

"Oh, Commissioner," Astoria laughed. "I told you; I came here with Roger Davies."

"Ahh, the Chaser," Aladair murmured. "Yes, that's correct. Dear me, sometimes I have such trouble remembering these things."

"I don't do Keepers," Astoria said.

"I used to be a Keeper. Are you sure I cannot help change your mind?" Aladair asked, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Ow. Did you just pull my hair?"

Astoria folded the strands of hair into her hand. "I like to see how it would feel," she murmured, giving him a wink.

***


"I have my ways," was all Astoria said. She picked up a flask and tossed Draco another one. "Put Ludo Bagman in there and drink up."

"Why should I?" Draco asked. "This is crazy; we're going to get caught and I could lose my license!"

"Then I go in alone," Astoria-as-Aladair said. She coughed, clearing her throat a few times before she spoke in a voice trying to be at least two octaves lower. "How are you doing, my good man? I am Aladair Maddock. Sit down, how are you?"

It wasn't very successful.

"Oh, Merlin." Draco groaned, wrinkling his nose before he downed his Ludo Bagman cocktail. "We're going to be so fucked."

***


Daniel Devorski had a very important job. As Keeper of the Cup, it was his responsibility to keep the Quidditch Cup safe as it traveled the country, visiting hospitals and towns and bringing joy and awe to all. It also involved a lot of cleaning.

He didn't go to Hogsmeade very often, but the new Hogwarts Headmaster was a big Quidditch fan who had friends in the League, and had requested an appearance for the final House Cup game of the school year. Daniel was supposed to bring the Cup in later that day and set it up on the pitch before the game started. He didn't have to get ready until at least 9, which was why a knock on his door at 6 am caught him by surprise.

"Commissioner!" Daniel said, wishing he'd decided to try and look more respectable before opening the door. "And Mr. Bagman. I wasn't expecting either of you today."

"Quite alright, Devorski," Ludo Bagman told him. "Aladair and I were just in town for a few, thought we'd pop in and see how things were going."

"Ah, yes, of course," Daniel said. "Erm. Come on in."

"My niece just started at Hogwarts this year, did you know?" Ludo asked. "She's very excited to see the Cup. This is really early in the morning, my good man; would you have any coffee around?"

"I'm sure many of the students are. Er, yes, I do. Should I make you both some?"

"Yes, please, thank you. Black for me, two sugars and some cream for Aladair. She was sorted into Hufflepuff, little Nelly was," Ludo went on. "Long line of Gryffindors, and we finally get a badger. Do you have anything against Hufflepuffs, Devorski?"

"Er. No, sir. I was one." Daniel set down two cups for his guests, holding his own cup in his hands. It was definitely too early for this. "Is there a more specific reason you and the Commissioner are here?"

"Well--" Ludo glanced over at the Commissioner, who only nodded back at him. "Honestly, we're here to check up on you."

"Me?"

"We've been hearing things, Devorski, back at the Ministry," Ludo said seriously. "And we're a little worried."

"Things? What things?" Daniel asked. "Is it Matt Dunay, from Operations? Because it was just that one time and I swear--"

"Daniel," Ludo said. "We know you're a very capable man. That's why you have this job. We wouldn't trust the Cup to just anyone else."

"Of course, sir, and I'm very good at my job."

Ludo didn't look very convinced. "Someone told us there was a smudge on the rim, when it arrived for the ribbon-cutting at Quality Quidditch last month."

"There was not! I clean that Cup every single day I'm with it, in the evenings and the mornings, just to be sure--"

"Is it clean now?" Ludo asked.

"Yes, of course!" Daniel said. "Wait here, Mr Bagman, Commissioner. I'll go get it and show you right now just how clean I keep it."

Daniel hopped up from his seat, moving into his suite and taking out the large trunk that contained the Cup from inside the specially made vault the League had commissioned to safeguard it. "Mr Bagman, I've got it right here."

"Brilliant. Aladair and I have our full faith in you," Ludo said as Daniel set the Cup onto a low table. He stepped back to allow Ludo and the Commissioner to inspect it.

"Please, take a seat while we inspect the Cup," Ludo told Daniel. "Have a cup, we shouldn't have interrupted you so early. This is all just a formality."

Daniel did as he was told, taking a sip of his coffee. "Thanks, sir."

“Please, just call me Ludo."

***


"Daniel? Daniel, wake up."

"Hm? What?" Daniel rubbed his eyes. "Oh, Merlin, did I doze off?"

Ludo laughed. "It's quite alright, my good man," he said, patting Daniel on the shoulder. "It's only been a few minutes. We do realize we showed up very early."

"I am so sorry," Daniel mumbled, mortified. "I would never fall asleep--"

"The Cup is in excellent condition," Ludo told him. "As we expected."

"It is? Oh, well, yes, of course it is."

"Thank you for your time, Daniel."

"You're welcome, sir," he said. "Er. Ludo?"

Ludo smiled back at him. "Well, Aladair and I will have to get going now. Plenty of meetings scheduled for the day. Right, Aladair?"

The Commissioner nodded.

"Will you be at the game later, then?" Daniel asked, making sure to handle the Cup carefully as he returned it to its case. Perhaps it was the effect of Ludo Bagman's kind words, but Daniel thought the Cup felt lighter than normal. He was certainly feeling much better about his job now than he did a few minutes ago.

"Perhaps, perhaps. We'll see you around, Daniel."

***


“You're sure he didn't notice?" Draco asked, pacing his living room.

"You had him eating out of your hand," Astoria told him, lounging on his couch. "Even if he did-- which he didn't, because I'm brilliant at Transfiguration, thank you very much-- he wouldn't have said anything out of fear."

"What if he noticed something?" Draco asked.

"The way you turned it onto him, made him want to prove himself? That was pure genius," Astoria said. "We could be really good at this."

"We?"

Astoria smirked. "Muggles are so easy to fool," she said. "It's gotten quite boring, honestly. Wizards would be a bit more challenging, don't you think?"

Draco frowned. He shook his head and sat down beside Astoria. "I don't really need the money."

Astoria giggled. "Wanna know a secret?" she asked, dropping her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "I haven't needed the money since the Mona Lisa either."

"That was over a year ago."

Astoria laughed. "It was just a lot of fun. Didn't you think so?"

Draco stared at her for a second or two. "Maybe a little bit," he admitted, glancing at the 35-pound Cup sitting on his coffee table. He laughed. “Merlin, what the hell are we going to do with this thing until Saturday?"

"Oh, I'm sure we'll come up with something," Astoria said. "Daph and Theodore better appreciate what we went through for them here."

***


"Great centerpiece, you guys," Daphne said, running up to Draco and Astoria and giving them both a hug. "It looks so real!"

"It was all Astoria," Draco said. "She's really skilled at, erm, Transfiguration."

"I think it feels a little bit heavy, but I think you did a really good job on it," Daphne told her sister.

"There's always room for improvement, right?" Astoria said.

"Exactly!" Daphne said. "Hold on, I think I need to break Pansy and Blaise up before they put on a show in front of the grandparents."

"Talk to you later," Astoria said, turning to Draco once Daphne had left. "A little bit heavy?"

"It's probably better that she thinks that," Draco said, finishing the rest of his little snitch-shaped dessert. "Good choice on the menu, by the way. Care to dance?"

"I have exquisite taste," Astoria bragged, putting both arms around Draco.

"Mmhm," Draco hummed, resting his hands on her hips. "One of them is planning to apologize and woo you back, actually."

"What?"

"Davies," Draco said. "It's on his calendar. Tomorrow morning. Surprise brunch at your place. I know you hate surprises, so I thought I'd warn you."

Astoria wrinkled her nose. "That's unfortunate," she said. "I've got to work tomorrow morning."

"Oh? Has Blaise given you another assignment?"

"It's freelance work," Astoria said.

"Who for?"

"Me," she said simply. "I'm trying to decide between the Gryffindor sword and the Hand of Glory."

"Equally good choices, but you definitely want the Hand of Glory," Draco told her. "It would be wonderfully ironic. I think it's back at Borgin and Burke's. The Ministry definitely didn't think it needed to be returned to me, but I'm sure Borgin and Burke's wouldn't mind if we took it off their hands."

Astoria raised an eyebrow. "We?"

"You don't expect to walk in there and convince anyone you're Borgin or Burke, do you?" Draco asked. "One word out of your mouth and--"

"You just like being able to run the show," Astoria murmured.

"It's a bit of a rare opportunity when it comes to you," Draco said, laughing a little. "I think I'd like to take my chances when I can."

"But are you?" Astoria asked.

"Am I what?"

"Taking all your chances."

"Do you normally make a habit of hitting on your partners?"

"Sidekick," Astoria corrected, a smirk on her face. "And no, not normally. Just the blond ones."

Partner.” Draco laughed, leaning down to press his lips against Astoria's, who purred quite contentedly into the kiss and deepened it even as she tangled her fingers around Draco's hair. "Ow. Did you just pull on--"

"Sorry. Force of habit," Astoria mumbled. "But I was also just--" She tugged again, playfully this time. "I like to see how it would feel."

Draco flushed. "Ahh," he said, licking his lips. "Maybe we can--"

"Daphne and Theodore probably wouldn't--"

"The kitchen should be empty by now--"

"We can just--"

"Yeah."

"Okay."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Anyway, the Cup was such a hit at the couple's shower that we brought it out again for the reception at Daphne and Theodore's wedding a few months later. We really couldn't bear to part with it even after that, so your mother and I kept it around. It was just a good reminder of what fun we had that night. By the time you were maybe four or five years old, we thought we had enough good reminders surrounding us that we could let it go.

Coincidentally, the Falcons won their first Cup since 1975 the year after we removed the replica Cup from the manor. I guess there's something to be said for having it around before your team's won it or something. But your mother and I had done a lot of, erm, Transfiguration work over the years, so we had no regrets. We had a lot of fun, your mother and I. We still do. That's important.

That's also the best advice I could give you, son. Now I know you were worried, but I have seen you with her, and I think you're good for each other. You have my full blessing, and in fact, your mother and I were just talking about it the other day, and we think we'd like to meet her. Get to know her a little bit, you know? Bring her over for dinner sometime, but uh. Let us know when so we can take down the replica sword from display. And maybe it would help if you don't mention it to her. It's a little embarrassing since her father has, ah, the real one.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"That," Astoria declared, exhaling as she fell back on the bed. "Now that was brilliant."

"Which part?" Draco asked, lying down beside her. "When I used my fingers or when I used my tongue?"

Astoria giggled. "Your Ronald Weasley impression, actually," she said.

Draco made a face. "Never again," he vowed. "Dirtiest I've ever felt, let me tell you."

"You're one to talk," Astoria said. "I had to pretend to be Granger."

"You would think Potter would notice something," Draco murmured.

"Seems a bit thick for Head Auror, I thought," Astoria said, rolling over to settle against Draco's chest. "Where should we put the sword, do you think?"

"Forget that sword," Draco said, rolling her onto her back. He smirked. "I've got one right here and I know exactly where to put it."

Astoria laughed. "Merlin, that's got to be the worst line you've used on me yet."

"I've yet to find one that doesn't work," Draco reminded her.

"Don't flatter yourself," Astoria murmured, moving her leg up against his.

"I'm just saying," Draco whispered, peppering her neck with feathery kisses. "It could be a while before I do."

Date: 2011-05-20 04:10 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-22 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slumber.livejournal.com
Thanks! :)

Date: 2013-08-01 10:06 pm (UTC)
starduchess: (fancy)
From: [personal profile] starduchess
Just came over here from last year's [community profile] hp_podfic_fest. Cute story! I loved it. And the little bit about Potter and Scorpius/Lily Luna at the end was funny. Super Kudos!

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