Word Count: ~750
Rating: PG this part, NC-17 overall
Challenge: hp_may_madness 2016 Day #27: True Colors, Comfort, Nuts
Author's Notes: Unbeta'd. So, of fucking course, the night when I have barely any writing time due to packing and needing to get to bed early for my flight, my internet goes out. I managed to type this up on my phone, only to realise that today was supposed to be Charlie's POV...Super annoyed at myself, but no time to write something else, so I guess we'll get a double dose of Charlie next. Fingers crossed I'm able to update tomorrow! <3
"Have you given much thought to what you'd like to do after Hogwarts, Mr Malfoy?" McGonagall's stern face stared impassively at Draco from across her desk, a plate of untouched ginger nuts piled on a plate between them.
"It really depends on my N.E.W.T.S, ma'am."
"Yes, of course, but assuming you do well, what is your plan?"
McGonagall had been meeting with all of the seventh and returning seventh year students to talk about what they'd be doing after their time at Hogwarts was over. The house heads had, of course, already been meeting with their student, but as headmistress, McGonagall also liked to learn where her students were going. It was a little terrifying being stuck in this office with a woman he knew had no small reason to dislike him and his family. Not to mention that being in this office sent pangs of guilt and regret and sadness shooting through him—the last time he'd been in here, his godfather had been headmaster, and Draco's life had been a living hell. Draco knew now that Snape had done more for Draco than he'd realised at the time, more than he could ever repay. He'd always regret not being able to thank the man in person.
Draco blinked, trying to shake off the melancholy thoughts. This meeting was about looking to the future, not dwelling on the past. "To be honest, I'm not really sure. I'm..." Draco paused, unsure how candid he wanted to be with the headmistress. But she had always been fair, a kindness that had been particularly hard to come by this past year. "I'm not entirely sure what options will be available to me, no matter how many N.E.W.T.S I have, given my past."
McGonagall nodded sharply, seemingly pleased with his practical approach, or perhaps with the fact that Draco said this without any bitterness. He'd made his bed, and now he had to lie in it.
"Well, I see here that you've been performing admirably in all of your classes, particularly Care of Magical Creatures. Have you given any thought to working with Magical Beasts and Beings? The Department for the regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is the second largest division at the Ministry of Magic. There may be something there that interests you."
Draco had actually been thinking of that possibility for several months. The Magical Beasts division numerous fascinating positions working with creatures—something that Draco had realised in the past year was a possibility that greatly interested him. Unfortunately, that department was inside of the Ministry of Magic, and Draco was fairly certain they wouldn't be jumping at the chance to hire Draco. His face must have shown his thoughts, because McGonagall seemed to know exactly what he was thinking.
"If you do well on your N.E.W.T.S and have a solid recommendation, there's no reason for them not to hire you. I can't say it will be easy. Wizards have long memories and the wounds from the war are still fresh. But if you're truly passionate about something, and dedicated to making a difference, then the struggle will all be worth it, wouldn't you say?" Draco nodded. It would be hard, but working anywhere in Britain was going to be difficult, and Draco had no intention of leaving the country. McGonagall smiled. "I'm sure Professor Weasley would be happy to write you a letter of recommendation. He speaks quite highly of you."
Draco felt a blush creep over his cheeks, and he prayed that McGonagall would assume it was simply from pleasure over Charlie's innocent praise, and not because the simple act of hearing Charlie's name sent a wave of heat washing over him.
McGonagall's stern expression suddenly softened. "This may be a small comfort, Mr Malfoy, but you should be proud of the way you've conducted yourself since the end of the war. You were a frightened boy who made horrible mistakes, and it's only right that you suffer the consequences, but I don't think that foolish boy was the real you. I believe you've shown your true colours this past year at Hogwarts. I hope I'm right, and that you continue on this path."
"Thank you, Headmistress." Draco's face felt pleasantly warm. It felt good to be seen as someone different from the boy he'd been.
"That is all. And here," she said, holding up the plate of biscuits as he stood to leave. "Have a biscuit."