Many thanks to my beta reader Verlor (id: 11113787)!
The roar of hundreds of voices grew louder and louder, like the hum of an approaching swarm of bees, as Harry strode through the deserted corridors, Ron and Hermione at his side. He felt himself starting to get nervous, even if it was no comparison to his first speech in front of the Wizengamot so many years ago.
So much had changed since then. He had delivered speeches, made alliances, and introduced bills, all intending to improve the lives of witches, wizards, muggles, and magical creatures of all kinds. He realized that to prevent events like the rise of Voldemort and the past Wizarding Wars, the country had to change fundamentally. And, as history had so often proved, this was best done from the center of power.
That's why now, on a beautiful summer evening, he was on his way into the ministry's atrium, where the winner of the election for the next minister was to be announced; and the reason why Hermione had been going on and on to him for several minutes.
"... meet the heads of departments," she just finished a sentence. "Maybe you should also seek one-to-ones before –"
"Hermione," Harry interrupted his friend. "Before that, I have to win the election in the first place. Daphne is a tough opponent, it's not a foregone conclusion that –"
"Rubbish," Ron interjected. "Daphne may be the most brilliant speaker this country has ever seen, but you're the Man-Who-Conquered, the savior of the wizarding world. Of course you'll win!"
"Ron's right," Hermione spoke up again. "And above all, you touch people's hearts. You're down-to-earth and authentic. And you have so many great ideas. By the way, I think that in the first 100 days we should... "
Harry sighed. His two friends were right, of course; there was no denying that he had certain advantages, but he preferred not to sell the fur before shooting the bear. Except maybe in the face of the bearess herself. After all, their arguments were more like dances rather than hunts…
They reached the atrium, which was already full of people. A platform with a table and several chairs were built at the magnificent golden fountain, where the electoral commission would later announce the result.
As soon as Harry stepped through the gate, he was greeted by a thunderstorm, triggered by the reporter's smoking cameras, and the shining eyes of his followers and admirers.
Harry's eyes, however, immediately searched for his opponent and finally found her standing on the edge of the crowd, along with her campaign managers, Tracey Davis and Pansy Parkinson. They seemed to be deep in conversation, even if Daphne was wearing her usual bored expression. With her long blonde hair and navy-blue robe, she looked as sublime and graceful as ever, truly a model politician.
Smiling, Harry strode towards the three women, Ron and Hermione in tow, who were getting rid of overly eager supporters. When Harry was only a few feet away, Daphne turned to him, an eyebrow raised.
"Hello, Harry," she greeted him, while their campaign managers were already talking excitedly a few steps away, probably throwing the book at each other. He and Daphne, however, were above such ordinary things.
"Hello, Daphne," Harry replied, suppressing a big grin. "You don't hold it against me if I'm about to inflict the most devastating defeat of your career upon you, do you?"
Daphne's eyebrow went even higher as she smirked mockingly at him. "Big words, Potter. But pride comes before the fall, you know?"
"Says the one who carries her head so high in the clouds that she probably doesn't even know what colour her shoes are," Harry laughed. "But seriously, you've had a good campaign, even if of course the better candidate, that is me, will win today."
"First of all, my shoes are beautiful black dragonhide," replied Daphne with a twinkle in her eyes. "Probably very expensive. Not that I know, since they were a gift." Harry smiled at her words. "Second, in a democracy, it is not necessarily the better candidate who wins, but the one who knows better how to get the masses on their side. And, of course, your populist program strikes a chord with many witches and wizards. I'll even admit that you mean well, but the truth is, your ideas would completely ruin our economy. The public spending ratio is already –"
"Enough of that," Harry interrupted her flow of speech with a laugh. Once Daphne started complaining about taxes, social programs, and threats to the free market, she didn't stop anytime soon. He had had to learn that the hard way himself. "We hashed and rehashed that in our radio debates ad nauseam, don't you think? Let's agree to disagree, deal?"
Daphne twisted the corners of her mouth in a mischievous smile but nodded nonetheless. "Agreed. But remember, the next Wizengamot session is just around the corner."
That almost sounded like a threat, Harry thought amused, but before he could reply, the crowd suddenly moved. Everyone turned to the platform by the fountain on which the electoral commission had stepped, led by Harry's friend Percy Weasley. In addition to him, the commission consisted of five other witches and wizards, who now all took their places behind the wooden table.
The moment of decision had come. In a few moments, the whole world would learn who would become Britain's 38th Minister for Magic. Both political camps held their breath.
Percy cleared his throat before speaking into the microphone, making his voice echo throughout the atrium and numerous radios around the country. "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," he said calmly. "As chairman of the electoral commission of the Ministry of Magic, I will now announce the result of the election for the 38th Minister for Magic." He picked up a sheet and read aloud, "The candidate Harry James Potter received a total of 8,735 votes. Candidate Daphne Elizabeth Potter received 4,203 votes. Therefore, Harry Potter is Britain's next Minister for Magic. Mr. Potter, please come forward to accept your election."
Immediately a storm of cheers broke out in the atrium. People trampled, clapped, and rejoiced as if England had just won the Quidditch World Cup. Harry could already feel the crowd rolling towards him, but the first and most important congratulator was his wife.
Daphne threw her arms around his neck, kissing him hard on the lips as if they were both alone and not surrounded by hundreds of observers. Tenderly, Harry returned her kiss, feeling like the happiest person on earth.
Breaking away from his lips, Daphne's eyes shone with loving teasing. Bringing her mouth to his ear, she whispered, "Congratulations, darling. You'll be a great minister, even if you are far too idealistic and wasteful."
Hugging Daphne very closely, Harry in turn whispered in her ear, "Would you repeat that in public?"
Daphne's following bright laugh made Harry's heart sing. Merlin, how he loved that sound.
However, the answer of his wife and worst political rival was anything but surprising. "Never, and you know that," Daphne replied with an amused undertone. "Now go and accept your election, Mr. Minister. Your admirers are already waiting as well."
With that, she broke away from Harry, who was indeed surrounded by numerous waiting people, eager to congratulate and celebrate with him.
"Yes, Mrs. Opposition Leader," Harry responded with a grin, before turning to Hermione, Ron, Neville, and his many other friends, acquaintances, and sycophants.
Apparently, the entire wizarding world wanted to shake his hand, so it felt like an eternity before Harry finally stood in front of Percy to take his oath of office.
If someone had prophesied to Harry ten years ago that he would one day be a man of politics, Harry would have just laughed at them. Yet the twists and turns of fate were often unfathomable, as were the decisions of an ambitious, vain, and at times conceited former Slytherin student.
Chance had brought them both together, but love had bound them. Love and heated debates that were certainly not detrimental to their love life. Harry chuckled remembering their numerous passionate nights after intense Wizengamot sessions. After all, some political differences were only the icing on the cake of married life.