Chapter 113

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Tim still tried to plan an afternoon nap into every day in spite, and most days Hadrian actually slept in addition to the more than eight hours sleep Tim made sure he was getting a night, albeit after other activities. Hadrian hadn't realised how sleep deprived he had been. As he felt less exhausted their lovemaking picked up until Hadrian began to wonder how he could have thought that Tim was no longer interested. Clearly Tim had needed the holiday as much as Hadrian did, even if it was part business trip.

Tim had a couple of book signings for his new book. He always liked book signings in England, not only did it remind him how he and Hadrian had met, the general public were more respectful of his boundaries than they were at home. Hadrian had accompanied him to a couple of them, making sure the promoters were keeping Tim supplied with coffee made just the way he liked it and not letting the crowds mob him. But after a few he tended to take a walk around the local area before returning to make sure Tim was allowed to finish on time and before his hand cramped up too much. Book signings were relatively short and he'd heard patrons complain about waiting in line only for the author to run out of time. Hadrian began to help by spelling Tim's signature into the books so Tim only had to write the personal messages. It didn't speed up the process much but it did help with the cramping in his hand.

-o0o-

They met Draco and his wife Astoria for dinner one night. They'd insisted on a public place not wanting to be alone with him but had agreed to a wizarding restaurant so as not to make the two Malfoys too uneasy. It was fancier than something Hadrian would have chosen for anything other than a special date but the formality was on a par with what Hadrian expected from Draco and Neville and Hannah told them the food was good.

Hadrian and Tim got their early and positioned themselves in a corner with good view of both entrances to the room. Hadrian had a house elf on standby to get Tim out of there at the first sign of trouble, not that they were actually expecting any, well not from their guests at any rate, and the restaurant wasn't the type of place the Weasleys would patronise but he was always uneasily aware how vulnerable his husband would be during a magical attack and overly protective of Tim in the wizarding world. Tim was uncomfortable dressed in wizards robes but Hadrian thought that it was better not to draw attention to themselves by dressing in muggle fashion. Hadrian had changed his hair colour to a dark red which without wearing glasses he thought would be enough to avoid notice from anyone who didn't actually know him.

Draco was clearly nervous but Astoria entered the restaurant confidently, cheerfully chatting with the waiter.

"Draco welcome, thanks for coming," Hadrian got in first hoping that the Slytherin would take the hint and stick to first names not to draw attention to them.

"Hadrian, it's good to see you looking well, how are the twins?" Draco greeted. "This is my wife Astoria, Storie this is Hadrian and his husband…"

"Tim, pleased to meet you both. Hadrian told me about your assistance with the Wizengamot," Tim greeted.

"Pleased to meet you Astoria," Hadrian said.

"Husband?" Astoria said uncertainly.

"It's one of the reasons we don't live in Britain. Same sex marriages and the children born of same sex couples are fully accepted where we live," Hadrian said.

"You have children, children that are yours and Tim's?" Astoria asked shocked. "That's wonderful. I didn't know that was possible. How old are they?"

Draco looked at Harry uneasily, he'd never told his wife anything about the attack on Harry Potter that his mother had arranged and paid for. He'd never told anybody and while he knew Hadrian had been pleased to be able to carry his husband's children, the idea of his mother being responsible made him want to avoid the subject of how unheard of male pregnancy was in the British Wizarding World.

Hadrian grinned. "Our eldest is my godson, Teddy who's eight, Rosie is nearly four, Daisy is two and a half and the twins Liam and Hunter are nearly ten weeks."

"Five children, I hope you have a good nanny elf, Scorpius runs me off my feet and he's just one child, I want one more but I couldn't cope with five. Scorpius is three," Astoria said laughing.

"I have an extremely good nanny elf, several house elves that help out with the children when they're not busy with the house and cooking, and a nanny witch as well. We try to do as much of the hands on childcare as we can and I have the next four months off before I go back to work but I'm not sure how I'm going to fit that in," Hadrian replied.

"Did you bring the children with you?" Draco asked.

"No they're at home, it's school term and we didn't want them to miss any, and I needed a break from the twins. I couldn't sit back and let anyone else look after them when they were with me and I was wearing myself into exhaustion," Hadrian replied.

"Has Rosie started having accidental magic? I thought I was looking forward to Scorpius being magical but it was much easier before he started summoning things?" Astoria said laughing.

"Rosie and Daisy, we've had to ward most of the house to stop them when Tim and Teddy's muggle friends are visiting," Hadrian said chuckling.

"Teddy's a squib?" Astoria asked.

"No, he's definitely not a squib, he started magical school this year and is doing very well. However, we live in the nonmagical world and he went to a nonmagical school until he was old enough to start his magical education and he likes to keep up with his friends from last year, Rosie and Daisy have nonmagical friends too but their friends are young enough not to think anything is odd if they see magic so as long as their parents don't see it, we're good," Tim replied.

"How have you been Draco?" Hadrian asked quietly as they ordered their meals.

"I've been well, business is prospering. Are you attending the Wizengamot next week?" Draco replied.

"Yes, it's the day before we leave, Neville has sent me the agenda. I can't say I'm looking forward to another session arguing against some of those proposals, I honestly don't know how you and Neville can stand having to attend every month," Hadrian replied.

"I'm sure Neville will be glad of your support," Draco replied, chuckling.

"I'm sure he is, but it was Kingsley who asked me to be there," Hadrian said.

"His equal punishment regardless of blood status bill," Draco said nodding. "I would've said he didn't have a hope of getting it passed even if you speak in favour of it."

"Perhaps not the whole bill, but there are things in it that would make much more of a difference than most people outside of law enforcement might realise that we might be able to get passed," Hadrian said calmly.

"You do realise that the vast majority of seats are held by pure-bloods," Draco said amused.

"Yes but even many of them have half-blood grandchildren or great grandchildren they will be motivated to protect," Hadrian pointed out.

"Are you going to drag out the education reforms again?" Draco asked.

"Definitely. Hogwarts needs to be dragged into this century, kicking and screaming if necessary and our arguments aren't swaying the school board," Hadrian replied.

"What's wrong with Hogwarts. It's the premier school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world," Astoria demanded.

"I'm afraid it isn't. There are only a few schools left who don't teach muggle subjects and skills like critical thinking. Most of the seventh years are struggling to find apprenticeships particularly internationally because they just cannot compete with the education provided in the America's Australia, New Zealand, Asia or Africa these days," Hadrian replied.

"Hadrian's right. Grandfather said that in his day nearly a third of his class went abroad for further study in our year I don't think a single student was offered an apprenticeship or traineeship outside of Britain, that said none of our masters have taken an non-British citizen as an apprentice in a decade or more either," Draco said.

"But that was because of the war," Astoria argued.

"No, that's what I thought too. The lack of international witches and wizards choosing to come to Britain has only partly to do with the war and I was certainly told that Britain had chosen to isolate itself from the rest of the world, and that travel outside Britain was restricted because other countries closed their borders to us in attempt to stop Voldemort gaining a foothold in their countries, but it wasn't true, plenty of the Death Eaters managed to flee the country at the end of the war to escape justice when it became apparent that they weren't going to be able to bribe themselves out of being convicted this time. I was top of my Auror class in Britain and yet I arrived in my new country and had to spend years in school part time trying to catch up with everyone else," Hadrian said. "I was lucky I was seconded from Britain because I'm not sure I could have even passed their Auror Academy entrance exam much less qualify as a fully trained Auror when I first arrived."

"Is that why you're not planning to send your children to Hogwarts?" Draco asked.

"You don't want your children to go to Hogwarts? How can you say that?" Astoria exclaimed in shock.

"It's a big reason but not the only one. I don't want my children learning the bigotry that seems endemic here in Britain. At home lycanthropy is considered an illness and only matters during the full moon, muggleborns aren't looked down on and they aren't taught to look down on their parents for not having magic. The parents of muggleborn students are as welcome in the school as anyone else's parents, they're on the board, some of them even teach at the school," Tim replied.

"But how can muggles teach magic?" Astoria asked confused.

"They don't teach magic, they teach reading and writing, mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, history, geography, legal studies, commerce, Latin and other languages, physical education," Hadrian replied.

"But why would magical children have to learn all that?" Astoria asked.

"It's good for them, where we live the magical world is much less isolated from the rest of the world and many witches and wizards work in jobs that exist in both worlds," Hadrian replied.

"Subjects like literature and history and the way that nonmagical people teach sciences like biology, chemistry and physics teach more than facts, they teach children to evaluate the world around them, to think for themselves and evaluate what they read for truthfulness or misleading arguments, to understand potential hidden motives and secondary motives in people's actions," Tim added.

"It is suspicious that the only subject that might have taught those skills has been so badly taught for decades at Hogwarts, and even potions and Herbology didn't teach any experimental and evaluation processes at Hogwarts level." Hadrian said.

"You think Dumbledore kept Binns on deliberately for that reason?" Draco asked.

"The problem is far more long term than that. Dumbledore with the permission of the Hogwarts Board of Governors chose not to replace him in the last few decades but they didn't originally hire him or set the curriculum, the Board's predecessors, Headmaster Dippet and probably the headmaster before him were equally guilty of continuing his employment," Hadrian replied.

"Do you really believe that that was their motive?" Draco asked.

"I believe it was Dumbledore's motive definitely, he wanted to be followed blindly when he declared himself leader of the light and not have his actions questioned the way they should have been, it was probably also one of the motives for whoever set the history curriculum and British OWL requirements for History. For some of the others it could have just been a financial decision, after-all ghosts don't need to be paid, fed, clothed or even cleaned up after, and I doubt Hogwarts has operated at a profit for decades with enrolment so low. Either way they let the students down," Hadrian replied. "There were a lot of professors in my six years there that would have been immediately fired or arrested for some of their actions at almost any other school in the world, and yet nothing was done. Even those that didn't return weren't sacked or asked to leave except Lupin."

"I'm surprised you included Lupin in the list of Professors that should've been fired," Draco commented.

"He was a friend of my father's and my godson's father and the best DADA professor we had in the classroom. If he'd taken adequate precautions to keep the students and other staff safe, I would argue against the actual reason he was asked to leave which was because it became known he was a werewolf, but as one of three students he put at risk the night he forgot to drink his wolfsbane potion and failed to lock himself away before the moon rose, as a parent I actually agree with his removal from the school, though I was unhappy about it at the time. Snape risked his life to prevent us from being bitten or killed that night," Hadrian replied sadly.

"My godfather should never have been allowed to teach children either, he hadn't the temperament for it and he let his personal feelings affect the way he treated students," Draco admitted as the first course arrived.

"He saved my life multiple times and from attacks by at least two other professors who should not have been allowed to teach students, not to mention how many students he tried to protect from the Carrows in your seventh year. He was a horrible teacher and a petty man who could hold a grudge longer than anyone else I've ever met, but we would have been much worse off without him there, he worked hard to keep us all safe which was more than you could say for a lot of the professors, not that it should have been necessary in a school. But you can lay the blame for his tenure on Voldemort and Dumbledore, I cannot believe he would've chosen to teach of his own free will and as a potions master he definitely could've earned more galleons brewing potions elsewhere," Hadrian agreed.

"Hogwarts is much safer now, McGonagall and the Board of Governors are much more particular in their hiring, my sister is on the Board of Governors," Astoria said.

"You'd know her sister Daphne, she was one of the Slytherin girls in my year," Draco said.

"Yes Hermione said she was smart and one of the nicer Slytherins, they had Runes and Arithmancy together, but I don't recall that I ever spoke with her," Hadrian recalled.

"My sister was a bit of a snob in school," Astoria agreed cheerfully.

"No more than I was, and at least in her case it wasn't so much about blood purity as the fact she thought most boys including both of us were idiots," Draco said laughing.

Hadrian laughed, "I can't say she was wrong. We were all idiots being blindly led around and manipulated by people we ought to have been able to trust."

Tim smiled sadly as Draco agreed, what had been done to both of their childhoods was a tragedy, but they'd both broken free of the conditioning and they were taking steps to guarantee it couldn't happen to another generation.

There was still some tension between Draco and Hadrian, they came from such different upbringings and lifestyles but they had common goals for peace in their world and safety for their families even if they had some different ideas of how to achieve them, and each of them was clearly trying hard to present their points of view in a way that informed without antagonising each other but Astoria was a very capable mediator and a breath of fresh air. She was as pure-blooded and ignorant of the muggle world as Hannah Longbottom but was eager to learn about it and openminded about the differences in culture.

Hadrian wasn't surprised to find that Draco was a loving father, after all for all his faults, Lucius Malfoy had also appeared to love his son, even if it that hadn't been enough to prevent him from killing Draco's siblings when they were proven not to be magical.

-o0o-

They also had dinner with Ron and Hermione, this time in a muggle restaurant of Hermione's choosing. Ron wasn't particularly comfortable but the little hole in the wall pizzeria in Camden town was full of bohemian types and his eccentricities would probably be overlooked though they were a little older than the rest of the mostly late teen and young adult crowd. Ron quit complaining once the pizza's arrived and the only behaviour that would have attracted the staff and fellow diners attention after that was quite how much pizza the skinny red head could eat.

They chatted about their children, laughing about how much their Rosie was like Hermione in personality and looks, while Ron and Hermione's Rose took after the Weasleys so much that she and Hermione didn't have much in common at all.

"I swear if our Rose didn't look so much like Ron I would think that they had been switched at birth," Hermione laughed ruefully.

"Daisy is much more like your Rose, the only time she's still is while she's sleeping," Hadrian said.

"She's such a daredevil in the water and on her toddler broom and she always wants to go faster and faster when I take her up on mine that I dread to think what she's going to be like when she gets a proper broom of her own. She's going to give us all a run for our money that one."

"What about Teddy, is he more like Remus or Tonks or like you and Tim?" Hermione asked.

"He's intelligent and serious like Remus and Tim but he's also a fantastic flyer and has a real sense of fun, though I can't say who he inherited that from. Remus can't always have been as serious as he was when we knew him, he was a Marauder after all and I can't picture Tonks as being naturally serious," Hadrian replied. "But they grew up in the shadow of the war, and in Remus' case the bigotry he faced with his condition, who knows how that changed them. Teddy is growing up in an environment of peace love and security."

"They grew up during one war only to die fighting the next. It's like that whole generation was decimated, I hope that isn't our future too" Hermione said.

"Yeah, every Gryffindor in their year was gone before they turned 40, and they weren't the only ones. But we're making changes to stop it from happening again," Hadrian replied.

"I heard you had dinner with the Malfoys," Hermione said while Ron was at the bathroom.

"We did, Astoria Malfoy was a refreshing surprise and my cousin is trying hard to rehabilitate his family's reputation. He's given us a lot of support in the Wizengamot," Hadrian replied.

"But he's a Malfoy, what's his hidden agenda?" Hermione pressed.

"If I had to guess, I would say the safety of his son. Malfoy has done more to put an end to squib deaths and attacks on families in any future conflict than anyone else in Britain, including me," Hadrian replied. "He's not the arrogant young boy too brainwashed by his father or afraid to have conflicting opinions to his patriarch that he used to be."

"Are you telling me he's not still a prat?" Hermione asked amused.

"I expect he will always be a bit of a snob about power and influence if not the purity of his bloodlines but he has grown up. We had quite a pleasant dinner, and he's not really any more isolated in the magical world and influenced by pureblood traditions than Hannah Longbottom and Ernie MacMillan. He bought a smart phone to keep in contact with me, and has been taking lessons on how to use it from Neville," Hadrian said.

Hermione broke out into peals of laughter. "Isn't that the blind leading the blind?" she asked. "I can't even teach Ron to use a landline or payphone."

"You'd be surprised, they both send me texts and call or facetime me regularly about items on the wizengamot agenda and Neville's looking at buying a smart phone so we can share photos of the children," Hadrian said. "I know Neville received a fair bit of training into fitting into the muggle world as an Auror, since Robbards pegged him as one of the more level headed officers and assigned him as a police liaison."

"Well that answers one question which has always baffled me, how the ministry appointed Arthur as an expert on crimes against muggles," Hermione said giggling.

Hadrian didn't laugh, "I'm afraid that was probably due to the pureblood only hiring practices they had back when he graduated Hogwarts. Of the purebloods he was the most interested in muggles, even if he did seem to think they were not really human."

"But still, why are you even making an effort to get to know Draco Malfoy?" Hermione persisted.

"I am head of house Black, Hermione. Draco is family. I am honour bound to protect him and his son," Hadrian replied wearily.

"Have you met the kid?" Hermione asked.

"Not yet, Draco's told me quite a few stories about him and shown me photos but we only met Astoria for the first time last night," Hadrian replied. "How did you hear about it anyway?"

"Dennis Creevy was working at Pegasus, waiting tables that night," Hermione replied.

"Hadrian frowned. "I didn't see him. Waiting tables, he deserves better than that and he'll lose his job if he gets caught gossiping about the customers, but he wouldn't accept help from me."

"He doesn't need your help. He works as a muggle lawyer, he waits tables when they can't get anyone else because he is dating one of the chefs," Hermione said.

"I don't know that, that's not worse. He'll lose his girlfriend if she wants to keep her job and if his bosses hear about it he'll potentially lose his position there too. Nobody is going to want a lawyer who can't keep his mouth shut when he's supposed to," Hadrian replied.

-o0o-

Hadrian may have been physically much more comfortable sitting in his wizengamot seat this session without the twins trying to play football with his bladder, but the session itself was far more tedious, and achieved much less. Each bill was argued about extensively but very few were accepted or rejected outright as they were written, most votes were either deferred until amendments were made to the bill or the vote was too close or too many people abstained from voting so neither side had a majority and the decision was deferred to be voted on again next session.

Hadrian couldn't see how Neville and Draco could stand to go through this every month, let alone how Draco and Susan could claim to enjoy it. The school reform bill was rejected in spite of Hadrian's very vocal support for the changes. He tried to make it clear that he would be sending his children to a school that had the more rounded curriculum he was aiming for, but the purebloods refused to believe there was any value to be had in a muggle education and it was so well fixed in their minds that there was no school on a par with Hogwarts they believed Potter was just making idle threats. Of course Potter would send his children to Hogwarts where generations of his family had attended.

The bill Kingsley presented for uniform sentencing regardless of the blood status of the victim and the perpetrator was defeated but when Potter proposed dividing it in half the motion was passed that half-blood victims should receive the same justice as their pureblood counterparts. It was not everything they wanted but given that approximately 60% of wizards were half bloods according to the British classification system it did move criminal sentencing closer to fair than it had been before so it was something of a win, even if the muggleborns were still overlooked and pureblood perpetrators were still likely to be given lesser sentences which infuriated him. Hadrian reminded himself that he wasn't part of that system anymore. Any British criminals he caught were tried and sentenced through MI-7 who didn't care if the victims were magical or mundane or who they were related to or how much money they had available to pay out in bribes. He douted that he would be able to accept returning to the British Auror Corps while they were still hampered in their ability to prosecute crimes fairly by the wizengamot, even if he had wanted to return to Britain.

Kingsley was grateful for his influence to get even part of the bill accepted and wanted to meet to plan their approach to the next wizengamot session but Hadrian begged off. "Send me an owl Kingsley, I've had as much backwards politics as I can take for one day, this is my last night of vacation, I have plans," he said tiredly.

Kingsley chuckled, "You go take advantage of your last child free night for a while. We'll schedule a facetime meeting in a week or so."

"Thanks Kings."

A/N: Thank you to all those who reviewed followed or favourited this story for your support.

Stay safe everyone.