speedgeek: (Phoenix)
Title: Karma
Author: speedy
Fandom(s): Harry Potter
Pairing/Characters: Draco/Hermione, Ron, Harry, Neville, Lucius, OC
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine. Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and whatever conglomerate that owns the rights.
Warnings: References to minor violence
Summary: Four months after opening his apothecary, Draco Malfoy was beginning to think he'd made a mistake. No one wanted to buy potions from a couple of ex-Death Eaters and a crazy old seer.
Notes: Phoenix!verse, EWE, post-DH 5-7 years, Snape survived the bite. Mention of real people and abuse of Boots UK's history. Set well before Bonfire Night and Master of Puppets, very early in Draco/Hermione's relationship (if it can be called that at this point). Unbeta'd (will take volunteers).



Four months after opening his apothecary in Hogsmeade, Draco Malfoy was beginning to think he'd made a mistake. He had few steady customers, mostly Hogwarts girls.

And Hermione Granger.

He was more than happy to give Hermione whatever she wanted; the "jobs" she'd let him in on – her quiet, little crime spree – had provided the capital to open in the first place, with his grandfather's clairvoyant, less than sane and Muggle-friendly sister Jacqueline as a partner. Hermione had helped him convince Severus Snape to come on board as a brewer, which having a Potions Master on board allowed them more flexibility in their products. He had a good, solid business plan and the post-war economy of Wizarding Britain was finally beginning to boom. He wasn't expecting instant success, but…

He was competing with Boots Apothecary, which had been in Hogsmeade for centuries and run by an influential family that had been on the "right" side of the war. No one really wanted to buy potions from a couple of ex-Death Eaters and a crazy old seer. The Malfoy name meant less than nothing, especially with war hero-cum-Auror Ronald Weasley badmouthing him at every single opportunity.

He'd rushed to be open by the first Hogwarts weekend, even stocked some Muggle items his great aunt had recommended. The first weekend had only had four customers. It had picked up a bit on the following Hogwarts weekends. A few Muggleborns – or Muggle-raised, in Severus's case apparently – preferred pills over potions for headaches, allergies and the like; and the girls seemed to love the Muggle hand lotions and bath junk.

The rest of the time, the shop was pretty much dead. A few of the old pureblood families, the ones that had openly supported Voldemort and were now frozen out of Wizarding society, had begun to patronize his shop, out of solidarity for one of their own. Potter had stopped by after he'd heard Draco's potions were brewed by Snape. And Hermione came by once a week, just before closing, for aromatherapy bath beads, usually sticking around long after closing just to annoy him.

He would've assumed she had better things to do on a Friday night.

"Why would you think that?"

He rolled his eyes. "Of course, how silly of me to consider the possibility you might have a life."

Jackie slapped him lightly on the arm. "Of course a pretty young thing like her has a life! It's early still yet, maybe the two of you youngsters can go down to the Three Broomsticks for a drink?"

"Still banned, Aunt Jacqueline," he gently reminded her.

"Oh yes, I forgot…"

Draco just shook his head. His great aunt would forget her head if it weren't firmly attached. She was probably the only person in the whole world who had to remind herself who Voldemort was. Of course, she'd spent the entire war in the Americas, where Tom Riddle and the Death Eaters were little more than names in the newspaper.

"I'd suggest the Hog's Head," Hermione said, "but the crowds on Fridays are always a little rough."

"I thought you liked rough, Granger," he teased, smirking.

She tilted her head in mock innocence. "Do I?"

Jackie interrupted them again oblivious to their flirting. "Maybe you could take her to that nice restaurant in Diagon Alley? Oh, what's the name…"

Draco glanced down at his watch. "It's almost eleven. I doubt anything's still open. You should be getting home. Father's probably worrying himself sick by now."

The yelling from outside didn't catch any of either Malfoy's notice.

She rolled her eyes and let out a sharp exhale. "I've been living on my own since before that boy was born. Worse than having a mother, he is."

Hermione stifled a laugh. Jackie may not have noticed, but Draco did. He shook his head a little. "He worries because he cares."

"He is such a sweet boy."

Hermione cracked herself up at that, even Draco smiled. Jacqueline Malfoy was the only woman who would ever call Lucius Malfoy "sweet". "I'll tell him you said that, Aunt Jacqueline."

Something caught Jackie's attention. She walked over to the window, then she threw open the door. "Oh Sweet Salazar, there's a fire!"

Draco and Hermione followed her outside to watch the roof of Boots Apothecary go up in flames. Fire was already consuming the inside.

Jackie pulled out her wand. "We should go help!"

To Draco's surprise, Hermione held her back. "No, there's enough people over there already. We'd only be in the way."

Draco took a long look at Hermione and then turned back to the chaos. He'd been around dark wizards long enough to know when not to notice things, like the total indifference in her eyes, the hint of an upward curve to her lips, or the covetous way she stroked the amethyst – or was it a sapphire? – pendant she always wore.

He knew better than to even wonder if she was responsible.

~*~

As soon as MLE Patrol officers had taken their statements and released them, Draco closed up shop, not bothering to complete his work, and escorted his great aunt home. As expected, his father was waiting up, near frantic.

"Draco, you close at seven! It's midnight! Did you have any idea how worried I was? I even flooed the shop, but you didn't answer!"

Jackie waved him off. "I've told you before, boy, I'm a grown woman. Stop treating me like a disobedient child. I don't like it."

"Aunt Jacqueline, I'm just trying to look after you. The healers said…"

"Healers! What do they know? I'm not crazy, I don't need a nursemaid!"

She stormed out of the room, her long white hair flying behind her. Lucius turned on his son.

Draco had the good sense to look contrite. "I'm sorry we were late, Father, but we were unavoidably detained. Boots Apothecary burnt down tonight."

Lucius nodded in resignation. "I suppose we'll be playing host to the Aurors soon, then."

"I'll try to keep the damage to a minimum this time."

"Don't put up a fight. It just gives them an excuse to break our things."

Lucius patted his son on the shoulder as he followed his aunt upstairs. Draco poured himself a drink and sat in the darkness of the drawing room, waiting.

He didn't have to wait long before Ron Weasley and several others burst in, a crying elf trailing behind them. He sneered.

"What took you so long, Weasel?"

~*~

Harry Potter watched silently as Neville Longbottom administered Vertiaserum to Malfoy. He suspected this would be like every other interrogation they'd put their former rival through and they'd get nothing from him.

He hated bringing suspects without evidence. It rarely broke a case, and never with Malfoy.

"We're gonna get him this time," Ron said confident, next to him. "I know it."

Harry sighed. It was late and he didn't want to deal with Ron's tunnel vision. "That's what you said last time, and the time before that."

"You think it's just a coincidence his main competition burnt to the ground?"

"I think you've got no evidence at moment."

"You sound like Robards," Ron sneered disgustedly. "We're never going to take down the Malfoys if we don't take a few chances."

Harry didn't respond. They'd had this argument many, many times and it usually ended with Ron telling him he thought too much like a Muggle. Harry didn't think that was a bad thing.

Ron walked into the interrogation room and sat at the table across from Malfoy. "Okay, Death Eater scum, where you at approximately 10:30 tonight?"

Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Same place I am everyday, in my shop."

"Alone, I bet."

"Actually, no," he replied with a smirk. "I was with my great aunt and Hermione Granger."

Ron jumped up and leaned across the table. "Liar! Hermione would never spend time with you!"

Malfoy remained calm. "Ask her. Or ask the patrol officers that took our statements."

Ron sat back down. "How's business, Ferret?" he asked with a smirk.

"None of yours, Weasel."

"Convenient for you that your main competition is put out of commission, when your business is failing."

"I suppose that depends on definition of failing. Business is picking up. Not the way I'd like it to," he shrugged, "but customers are customers. I'm doing fine."

"Not likely after everything I've done…" he grumbled, but loud enough that both Malfoy and, thanks to the amplification spells in the room, Harry heard what he said.

Ron just stopped short. Harry was as surprised as Malfoy. He saw the blond's annoyance turn to anger.

Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "Go ahead, Weasley, finish your statement. What have you done? Have you been interfering with my suppliers? So help me Merlin, I'll have you up in front of the Wizengamot…"

"Think your daddy's gold is going to help you out this time? Think you can buy off the Wizengamot again?"

Malfoy lost his cool. "I've done no such thing!" he shouted. "And I didn't burn down Boot's place!"

Harry walked back out into the squad room. He wasn't entirely surprised to see Hermione talking to Neville and reading the case file. "Hey, Hermione. I've got a question for you."

She didn't even look up. "Yes, I was at Malfoy's shop tonight. No, he didn't disappear to set fire to Boot's shop."

Harry smiled. "Saw me coming, huh?"

She looked annoyed. "No, I knew who Ron would arrest first, whether he had cause to or not. Besides, the fire was accidental."

"How do you know that?"

Neville answered first. "Terry Boot's statement. He interrupted a burglary and they knocked a candle into some explosive potion ingredients. He couldn't get the fire put out before it spread."

Hermione handed the file to Harry. "He needs to work on his fire protection charms. You'd think someone who works with potions would have more safety precautions. Or at least a fire extinguisher."

Harry frowned and skimmed through the file. Not surprising, there wasn't anything remotely connected to Malfoy. Boots was burglarized, and they had descriptions of the perps, matching two squibs that were known to frequent Knockturn Alley with stolen goods.

He handed the file back to Neville. "Have you been spending much time with Malfoy?" he asked Hermione.

She looked at him, guarded. "I'm in there every so often. I like some of the Muggle stuff he carries and Jackie's interesting."

"Has he mentioned any business problems around you?"

"A couple weeks ago he was complaining some of his suppliers had gotten the idea he's about to be arrested by the Aurors. He had to get a statement from Robards verifying he wasn't under any active investigation."

Harry sighed. He didn't need to ask where that idea had come from and Robards certainly didn't either. It wasn't the first time it had happened.

He went back into the interrogation room. "Malfoy, you're free to go."

"Finally."

"What!"

Malfoy stood and walked out the door. "Next time, Weaselbee!" he said mockingly as he walked down the hallway.

Ron tried to follow him out of the room, but Harry held him back.

"Let him go."

"I almost had him!" Ron argued.

"What you have is another harassment complaint in your file first thing tomorrow, Ron. You arrested him without evidence and then you all but admitted in an official interrogation you were trying to ruin his business. You'll be lucky if Robards doesn't suspend you."

"I could've gotten him to confess."

"He has an alibi," Harry told him. "Hermione backed him up. And according to the victim's statement, the fire was accidental." He patted Ron on the shoulder. "Give it up, Ron."

Ron shrugged him off. "Not until he's in Azkaban where he belongs."

"One of these days that bloody obsession is going to cost you your career."

~*~

Draco wasn't entirely surprised to see Hermione the next day. He was leaning in his doorway, watching the last of the Hogwarts students head back up to the castle. He'd been busy all day with students needing supplies. It was the best business day he'd had since he opened.

She stopped next to him and leaned against the window frame.

"So, what's the ruling?" he asked quietly.

"Accidental. A candle was knocked over in the course of a burglary and Boot failed to maintain proper fire protection charms." She turned her head towards him. "I'm surprised you didn't file a complaint against Ron. You had a valid one, given what he said in the interrogation. Harry even asked if he'd accidentally gotten into the Vertiaserum himself."

"What's the point?" he said, shrugging. "It's not like they're going to do anything to him. I told you; I gave up on that ages ago."

The hint of a smile returned. "Draco, do you believe in karma?"

"Not really," he replied, stepping back inside.

She followed him, closing the door behind her. "Have you ever noticed the Boots stores in Muggle London?"

He nodded. It was the nearly identical signage that had caught his attention.

"It was started in the mid 19th century by a Boot family squib. He was abandoned as a child, just left alone on a London street, with a few meager possessions, including a hidden copy of the family potion recipe book. A few years later, he ran across Moste Potente Potions and Advanced Potion Making in a bookstore."

"Wait a minute, in a Muggle bookstore?"

"Sure, I've gotten several old books that way, including my own copy of Moste Potente Potions. Usually, it's the family or friends of a deceased Muggleborn that either doesn't know what to do with the books or just flat doesn't know what the books are, and sells them off to the local used bookstore."

"And the Ministry doesn't do anything?"

"The Ministry doesn't know and besides, most Muggles don't think magic is real. They get stuck in the occult section or occasionally gardening. Nobody cares. Can I finish my story now?"

He gestured for her to continue.

"Anyway, John Boot learned what potions he could brew without magic. He started his business with those potions. By the time his magical relatives discovered what he'd done, he was dead and neither his son, nor anybody else working for the company, knew anything of magic and they'd long since moved on from simple potions. The Boot family tried to sue the company for patent infringement, but they were turned away by the Wizengamot on the basis the suit would violate the Statute of Secrecy. Every generation, a Boot tries to revive the suit and fails. Terry got quite creative with documentation when he tried to circumvent the Wizengamot last year.

"Now, a hundred and fifty years later, Boots is the largest chain of chemists in the UK and the little family apothecary is nothing more than ashes."

"Divine retribution?"

She smirked. "I suppose you could say that."

He chuckled. "I always knew you had a high opinion of yourself, Granger."

"You said it, not me." She kissed his lips softly. "File the complaint, even if it doesn't go anywhere. He'll get what's coming to him eventually. You just have to be patient."

Enough built up complaints could be used as ammunition, especially if someone of good standing were to bring abuse of power charges against Weasley. He wasn't considered of good standing anymore, but Hermione was and she was definitely plotting something.

"Whatever you've got planned, I wouldn't want to be the Weasel. Not that I want to be him at all."

"You know," she said, grinning, "this leaves open a lot of new opportunities for you. Hogwarts will be looking for a new potion supplier."

"They don't brew their own potions?"

She shook her head. "Boots has had the contract for anything not brewed in-house for centuries. Severus is the only Potions instructor to take on all the brewing for the school in two hundred years. He even did it as Headmaster."

He remembered his Head of House brewing all the time and complaining about it, but he never realized it was by choice. "I'm pretty sure McGonagall and the Board of Governors still hate me."

"Draco, stop being negative. The Governors have no say in this decision, especially given the circumstances, and McGonagall has never hated you. Tell them you're willing to supply them at cost and Severus will be doing the brewing. Minerva still feels guilty for doubting him the last year of the war. You'll be a shoo-in."

"You're sure about this?"

"I'll cover the difference if it's a problem."

He thought it would be nice to have something good attached to his name again. It wasn't like he actually needed the money. "I suppose it couldn't hurt my image. It certainly would be good publicity for the apothecary."

She flashed him a bright smile. "Exactly."

She was such a Gryffindor. The gleam in her eyes left no doubt in his mind she had plans for him and his little shop. He smirked. "You are so obvious. Plotting requires subtly."

"Maybe I have no reason to hide anything from you."

"What do you have in mind this time?"

"I have some funds that need cleaning. Interested?" She reached up and brushed the hair from his forehead, her hand fleetingly resting on his cheek. "I'll give you ten percent off the top for the trouble."

Hermione's ideas had been profitable in the past; Draco had no reason to say no now. In fact, he looked forward to working with her again. "We might be able to come to some sort of arrangement, after you explain what I'm meant to be doing. Let's go in the back and talk."
◾ Tags:
Date/Time: 2011-08-03 00:32 (UTC)Posted by: [identity profile] bunney.livejournal.com
I can't begin to tell you just how much I LOVE the Phoenix!verse! Having just watch The Godfather last night (for the millionth time!) I can really appreciate the plot you've created here :) Hermione makes a brilliant mob boss!

I can't wait to see where else you take this story.

Speaking of which, how many stories are in this series so far?
Date/Time: 2011-08-04 14:45 (UTC)Posted by: [identity profile] lovetotype.livejournal.com
Though I missed more romance between them, I enjoyed a lot the fic. Nice done!
Date/Time: 2012-04-20 23:12 (UTC)Posted by: (Anonymous)
I'd *really* like to see more things written in this 'verse. I think it's an interesting one, and deserves attention.

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