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The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
-Carl G. Jung
Wednesday, July 11th ~ Afternoon



Draco had been bothered since his party by recollections of this 'Philip Parish'. Had the resemblance really been that strong, or had he drank a bit more than he had thought at that point? There had definitely been drinking after the man had left...

Common opinion seemed to be that the man really had looked like Vasily - but again, the drinking. Draco vaguely recalled the stand-off and obtaining confirmation that it wasn't him - along with something else.

Parish had mentioned developing Hogsmeade. Which, Draco assured himself as he brushed by the protesting assistant and into the man's office, was why he was here. As a concerned citizen and major property holder. Not to 'confirm identity' again. Right.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Philip was leaning back in his chair, looking out the window into the square below when the noise in the outer office reached his ears.

"Martin, if the schematics for the bank aren't resubmitted by the end of business I'll have to have a little talk with your Andrea about the sort of fiancé she's chosen," he called back over his shoulder in a slightly teasing tone. "Perhaps go out and find her a young man or woman with a future."

The welcoming smile on his face faded to be replaced with wariness when he turned around and saw who was there. It wasn't his junior clerk who'd barged into his office — it was one of the deranged wizards from Hogsmeade.

The scion of the Malfoy family, he seemed to remember.

"Seemed to remember." Yes, that's a way to put it.

"Ah! Hogsmeade has decided to export its lunatics instead of waiting for me to come to them. Well, not so fast."

Philip rolled forward slightly, to put himself closer to both his wand and the alarm system.

"I am going to require a proper appointment before submitting myself to yet another round of unfounded accusations and threats."
Draco was amused and slightly impressed by the man's reaction. Ignoring the objection to his presence, he crossed the room and took a seat before the desk. "I'm a Malfoy, we don't make appointments, others make them with us.A drink would be just lovely, thanks."

Studying Philip, he raised one eyebrow. "Lunatics? Not the immediate reaction of most, at least not the one that they voice. Especially at the wand-point of the Idiot 'Savior' and the two ex-Death Eaters that helped him bring down Snakeface."

Draco tapped his chin in thought and nodded. "More original than 'please don't kill me', certainly, but I can't give you points for it. Stupidity or bravery, which one? Although I warn you, I tend to think they're rather the same thing," Draco told him with a grin.
Philip's executive assistant was hovering at the doorway, shifting from foot to foot uncertainly.

Rather unusual behavior for a woman who could intimidate senior Ministry officials with a mere flicker of an eyelash, but then, senior Ministry officials rarely trumpeted their Death Eater pasts.

Philip gestured for her to come in and fix his ... erm, his guest ... a drink, settling into his role as host.

This was his office, his territory, after all.

"Thank you, Sheila."

He waited until they had privacy before saying anything more, using the bit of time to study the grinning man across from him. What did this little meeting mean?

"The same thing, and you're a bit of an expert at both? Brave enough to get out of You-Know-Who's plot but stupid enough to get enveigled in the first place? With résumés like that, one would expect you three would know your business better and not simply wave your wands about for no reason."
The grin on Draco's face stiffened as he allowed the end of his wand to slide out of the arm holster and his voice cooled considerably. "Stupidity it is. I'm disappointed, you intrigued me the other night. Seeing as how I've never heard of you, I suppose you fled?"

Draco flicked a strand of hair back from his face and ignored the cup of tea the woman sat near him. "No matter. Now that you've answered that, there is merely the matter of business to attend to. I want to know how you intend to 'develop' Hogsmeade."
"Oh, I'm sorry."

The side of Philip's mouth curled up slightly. Apparently he was supposed to be some sort of doormat, seeking this man's approval? Hardly.

"Was I supposed to be flattered by your interest, as well as forgiving of being held at wandpoint? Pardon me for assuming you and your illustrious friends were not, in fact, joking around."

Thankfully it appeared that entire incident could now be safely relegated to the past. As could his personal history, as far as Philip was concerned. He hadn't fled from the war, being at school in Rome since well before the fighting started, and so ignored Draco's baiting.

"The Minstry has expressed interest in reclaiming the land where the Dementors made their nest near Hogsmeade. They came to this firm because of our signs of success in renewing the Blighted Lands."

An entire area in Germany, cursed by Grindewald and his followers, where nothing would grow and no buildings would remain standing, no matter which spells went into their construction. It had been a fascinating problem to help solve.

"The Muggle world is encroaching, and a wizard-only village is an attractive prospect for many families. They're going to need all the room they can get."
Draco rolled his eyes as Parish talked - if he had thought they were anything but deadly serious - well, if he hung around Hogsmeade long enough, he'd learn. So far as Draco was concerned there was nothing on his part that needed forgiving. Show up looking like an exact replica of a being that had threatened the town (and Draco personally... well, not all of it had been what Draco would call a threat or bad really, but- gah!) and what do you expect? They had released him unharmed (and unless he was dead, enjoyably felt up by a gorgeous bloke) and even invited him to stay and join the party. Win-win all around then!

"The Ministry?" Draco's wandering mind snapped into focus at those words and other concerns forgotten. Draco's eyes narrowed slightly in suspicion, watching for signs of subterfuge. "This is a housing development then?"

There was no guarantee of course that Philip knew their true plans for the area, but he might. Either the Ministry was up to something - or there would most likely be an effect on the rental properties Draco himself held.

Prices could go up with demand - or down with more available housing and a low demand. Either way it might not be a bad idea to keep the man near until he could find out all that he could.

Draco smiled cordially now and took a sip of his tea after giving it a discreet sniff. "I own several commercial and residential properties in the area, as does a friend of mine, so naturally any development raises concerns."
Draco's words had Philip imagining this particular government getting involved in council housing. He had to suppress an inner shudder — that would be tragic all around. Thankfully the Ministry's involvement would be minimal.

"The area will be zoned for both residential and commercial development. The Ministry is overseeing only as far as zoning is concerned. Once the land is considered safe for development it becomes an entirely private enterprise."

He drew his wand, waved it lazily at the wall and two full-color planning charts unfolded.

"If you have concerns about the scope of the project, I recommend you speak with the investors yourselves. For that matter, I believe they are on the verge of bringing in more investors to raise capital."

He shrugged. If Malfoy and his friend chose to get involved to protect their other investments, it made no difference to Philip. He'd worked with challenging clients before.

"I'm not a money man. I'm in it for the challenge — how to make land that Dementors once bred on fit for human life. Who signs the checks is irrelevant to me, as long as they're wise enough to take my advice on how best to go about building."
"You really think people are going to be lining up to live where Dementors once did the nasty? Quite the story, but I'm not sure of the widespread appeal," Draco asked with a slight grin and small laugh. He raised his tone in imitation of a females, "'And here, in the approximate location of the dining table is where it is believed that the Dememtor that kissed so-and-so lost their virginity!' Do you suppose they tell the sexes apart by the size of their mouths? That's rather disturbing actually," Draco murmured with a shudder.

He took a sip of his tea while glancing at the charts on the wall. Parish seemed to be telling the truth - as he knew it anyway - but one never knew. He had confidence in his work, and that was always a selling point in a possible investment.

"I'll look into it," Draco finally managed to say, trying to dispel the doubt from his voice. By that he meant that he'd make one of his solicitors dig around until they had come up with every scrap of information on the project, down to the smallest investor's childhood pet's nickname - never mind what they thought was and wasn't in their job description.

Draco turned back to study his host, intrigued again, despite himself. "You enjoy this," he said, waving his hand lazily toward the plans, "then? Taking a seemingly impossible situation and turning it around?" Draco subdued a small shudder and let his voice go husky, "Or is it more of taking something wild and taming it?"

Draco straightened, speaking as if to himself. "Yet, when mistaken for someone who poses a threat, you become defensive and insulting." Raising an eyebrow at Philip he asked, "Because you were at a disadvantage? Control issues?"
"It's inevitable that the land will be used," Philip answered, getting to his feet. "I just intend to hasten the process along. By several decades, most likely, if not more."

He moved across the room to look at the charts up close. If Malfoy and his friends did join, that could speed up timelines and extend the scope ... but even if no one added to the investment pool, he'd still succeed. It would simply take longer.

"This is a long-term project, not a fly-by-night. It's what I do." The charts rolled back up and Philip turned to look at Draco, hearing the change of tone. "Reclaim. Renew. Build. Tearing down is the easy bit — the challenge is in the creating of something new.

"Which has little enough to do with becoming defensive when being accused of kidnapping and worse. Surely it's understandable that such a thing would upset a person without having to accuse me of having issues."

That Vector's reaction and Draco's upon encountering him were very different had been quite evident. The woman's abhorrence he understood. Malfoy, on the other hand, (hands and lips both) seemed to be of a double mind about Philip's Dopplegänger, and something about that rankled him.

He was intrigued by his response to Draco, but the knowledge that the other man was probably seeing someone else when he looked at Philip didn't sit right.

"Or is it just that difficult to separate the two of us?" he asked quietly.
"Touche," Draco made the concession with a small nod.

He frowned, brow creasing as he gave the quiet question serious consideration, rather than his usual sarcastic response to personal inquiries. "You would think so, wouldn't you? But judging by the fact that I've neither killed nor... whatever-ed you, then killed you by now, I would say not."

Truth be told, aside from the initial confirmation that he had not been mistaken the other night, Draco hadn't thought about Vasily. Which left him a bit confused.

Although he might not say no to 'checking' again.

Draco ran a hand back through his hair and studied Philip. "I can't deny that it drew my - attention," Draco snorted with the inadequacy of the word, "at first. But then we start talking - trading barbs, whatever - and I'm trying to see who you are and how you react." Draco blinked and ran his fingers through his hair again.

"And I can't believe I just told you that."
Philip found himself laughing suddenly in response.

"I shouldn't complain, as that's a good thing for me, but do I have to say I think that's bizarre."

Bizarre, and something of a relief.

"You're a unique person, Mr. Malfoy. ... Draco."