Gambling is Not For Wizards

Title: Gambling is Not for Wizards
Author: ExcentrykeMuse
Pairing: Draco/fem!Harry
Summary: Isla went out to the balcony for some air.  What she didn’t expect to find was a charming wizard who was trying to avoid the gambling tables as much as she was.  fem!Harry/Draco

Warnings: gambling, secret identities

Isla—short for Isobel—Potter ran out of the room onto the balcony, breathing in the night air.  The curtains twisted about her like mist but she didn’t care.  She just needed to be out from all the loud noises and the alcohol.  Why did Neville ever think that taking her gambling was a good idea?  She refused to waste the Potter fortune on such trivialities such as chance, and he could do whatever he wanted with the Longbottom estate.  As far as she was concerned, it showed bad taste.

The relationship was over.

She just had to tell Neville that.

“Here,” a smooth drawl said, “you look like you need this.”

“I can’t bear the sight of another cocktail!” she replied, not even looking.

“Good.  It’s not one.  Oban 14.  Scotch.  It will settle the nerves.”  The voice was cool, arrogant, and Isla turned to look.  There, standing in the doorway, was a handsome man with platinum hair and gray eyes.  He must have been about her age.

“Er—thanks,” she responded, taking the drink.

He clinked his glass with her own and she shakily took a sip.  The burn was glorious.  “This is good,” she said inanely.  “Oban 14, you said?”

“Yes, my favorite,” he agreed, coming out to stand next to her.  “You’re British.  What brings you to Las Vegas?”

“My boyfriend,” she sighed, looking at her companion.  “Ex-boyfriend.  I just need to tell him.  This was the worst idea for a date he could have possibly come up with.”

The man looked at her assessingly.  “You have a wand in your handbag.  I can see the shape of it.  It’s rather odd for a witch to frequent an American casino.  Then again, I am a wizard, so I can’t talk.”

“Do you like gambling?” she inquired.

“No,” was the succinct answer.  “I find it rather dreadful.  A couple of friends brought me along, hoping that I would front them, but they were sadly mistaken.”

“We’re in the same boat then,” she murmured.  Then, negating all of the pureblood lessons Augusta Longbottom had drilled into her, she held out her hand.  “Isla.  Pleasure to meet you.”  She didn’t want to be the Girl-Who-Lived, not right now, not with this stranger, and she was hoping he wouldn’t recognize her name.

He looked at the hand and then carefully took it.  “Drake.”

“Drake,” she repeated.  “Can you internationally Apparate?  I’m afraid I never got the hang of it.”

“Finish your whiskey, then I’ll take you,” he promised.  “Where are we going?”

“Oh, London’s fine.  I’ll just go to the Leaky Cauldron and use the floo.”  She didn’t much like the floo but it was better than Apparition.

“I can take you to your home; it’s no problem,” he offered.  “It will just be a hop to my home in Wiltshire, I’m sure.”

“Oh, well,” she took another sip of her drink, “Godric’s Hollow, in Cornwall.  It’s a wizarding enclave?”

“Yes, I know it,” he answered, looking her up and down.  “May I be blunt?”

“Well, we’re unlikely drinking buddies, so I suppose so.”

“You have pureblood cheekbones, but you didn’t introduce yourself as a lady.  You’re with Heir Longbottom, I saw you with him, and his grandmother would never let him out with anyone but a pureblood.”

“Yes, well, I doubt Dowager Longbottom would approve of him gambling his fortune away,” Isla laughed.  “I got the cheekbones from my dad.  He was a pureblood.  An Heir.  But my mother was a Muggle-born, so I’m not exactly Lady quality, being a simple ‘miss.’”

He hummed.  “No, I doubt Dowager Longbottom would approve of his activities.  So, we both know that we hate gambling and are wizards who know the Longbottoms.  Tell me about yourself.”

“Oh, well, there’s nothing much to know,” she offered.  “I grew up with my mother’s family, which was wretched, until my father’s friend adopted me.”  She thought back to the day when Remus Lupin had come and taken her away from the Dursleys.  She had been an underfed nine-year-old.  “I never went to Hogwarts.  Instead I had tutors.  My godfather saw to that once—well, once he was able.”  She thought about Sirius getting out of Azkaban.  “I met Neville through him, actually.  A few other people, of course.  I’m wealthy enough from my father that I don’t need to work and really haven’t—well, not in the wizardng world.  Of course, Neville wanted me to just throw that money away tonight.”  She huffed.  “It’s utterly ridiculous.  My forefathers spent generations amassing our wealth!  Why would I just gamble it all away?”

“Quite,” Drake answered.  “Well, that explains why I didn’t recognize you, if you weren’t at Hogwarts.  My friends and I were all in Slytherin.  They like to throw it to the wind and forget the war every once in awhile.  Of course, usually I just have to put up with vaudeville, but they wanted a change, it seems.”

“Yes, the war was terrible,” Isla said, thinking about her own role in it—how she had died and defeated Voldemort in the end.  “Did you see much action?”

“At the Battle of Hogwarts and a bit before,” he admitted.  “Were you there?”

“Yes,” she told him.  “I had barely eaten for about a year, I was so sick with worry and, well, there was no food to eat because of the Ministry—“ She knew this made no sense, but she couldn’t tell Drake she was on a horcrux hunt “—so I was rather different looking then.  I was caught by snatchers at one point and my friend shorn off all my hair and spelled it a different color.”  She thought of her beautiful honey blonde locks that she had inherited from her grandmother, Dorea Black.  “I had to go to one of those over-priced stylists to have it regrown.”

“Yes, I noticed it wasn’t up in the traditional pureblood style,” he mused, as he looked at her long tresses that fell to halfway down her back.  “Your hair is lovely, though.  No one but your lord should see it.”

“If I find a pureblood worth his salt that I want to be romantically involved with, I’ll put it up, but until then, it remains down,” she countered.  “I don’t want to be considered to be putting on airs and graces.”

“I would highly doubt that,” Drake countered.  “You’re the most genuine person I’ve met in a long while.”  He breathed out.  “My family, they were captured by the Dark Lord.  It was rather horrible.  He threatened their deaths and made me do horrible things—I’m just glad it’s all over.”

Carefully, she put her hand over his.  They were both leaning against the railing, holding their drinks.  “I’m sorry, Drake.” 

He squeezed her fingers.  “It’s over now, and you have your wondrous hair back.—Finished with that drink?”

“All done,” she declared, and he took her in his arms.  She gasped as her gray eyes met his. 

“Hold tight,” he whispered and then they were being pushed through a small tube for what seemed like hours before coming out at the base of the statue of Isla and her parents.  Drake looked up at it.  “So much life lost,” he admitted.

“Yes,” she agreed.  “Well, thank you, Drake.  For the drink and the ride back.”

“You don’t think I won’t see you to your door?” he asked her debonairly.  “I don’t care if you are a half-blood, your cheekbones say otherwise.”

She laughed.

Leading him to a cottage that was small but well kept, she stood on the door and smiled at him.  “Well, thank you again.”

“This is Potter’s Lane, isn’t it?” he asked, looking around.

“Er—yes.  Yes, it is.”

“Goodnight,” he said, then he wrapped his arm around her waist and drew her into a kiss.  He tasted of chocolate frogs and whiskey.  He pulled away.  “Expect my owl.”  Then he turned on his heel and was gone.

Isla just stood there for several moments before she unlocked the little cottage that she had purchased once Voldemort was finally gone, and penned a note to Neville, ending their relationship officially. 

Drake was true to his word.  He’d even put a return address on his envelope.  “Drake M.  The Manor.  Wiltshire.”  He had asked her to tea in Muggle London.

“Afraid to be seen with me?” she teased as she entered the shop, wearing a summer dress, her hair in a ponytail.  “I didn’t know wizards came into Muggle London much.”

“I didn’t want to alarm my mother,” he answered truthfully.  “If this becomes something substantial, then of course I’ll tell her, otherwise I won’t throw a witch under her nose who may not become my wife.  She’ll merely start crying about my father’s death again.”  He sighed.

“The War?” Isla guessed.

“After,” was the frank answer.  “Some Muggleborn took it into their hands to murder a pureblood.  It was all over the papers at the time.”  He sighed.  “But onto happier things.  What do you do with your days?”

“You’ll think me silly.”

“Amaze me then.”

“I work in France.  Muggle France.  As a model.  I know I said I did nothing really—but most wizards think it’s terribly degrading.”

“Why France?” he looked genuinely interested.

“Well, I came to know the Weasleys, which included Bill Weasley.  He married Beauxbatons Champion Fleur Delacour and she took one look at me and told me I had the perfect coloring and body, and that I could easily pass as a Veela if my hair were a little lighter and my eyes weren’t so gray.  So, once the war ended, I let her give me an introduction.  And the rest, as you know, is history.”

“I didn’t know Veela modeled on the continent,” Drake mused.  “And, yes, your eyes are gray.  Any chance your father was a Black?”

“His mother,” she agreed.  “You?”

“My mother.  As we’re not siblings, though, it’s not incestuous by wizarding law.  I don’t know how much you were taught.”

“Enough to get by,” she admitted.  “I also know if you had been a close relation, the courts would have awarded me to your family and not my mother’s Muggle relatives.”

“Yes, they don’t like Muggles getting wizard children.”

Well, Dumbledore did.  That’s what started this whole mess.

“What do you do?  You said your friends wanted you to front them.  Are you independently wealthy or do you do something with your time?”

“Both.  I hold two seats on the Wizengamot and make myself busy there.  I like to influence law and how Hogwarts is run.”

She looked at him perceptively.  “You’re well dressed, even if you’re pretending to be a Muggle, clearly a pureblood, and don’t like frequenting Muggle gambling hotspots.”  She pursed her lips.  “You’re against the reforms.  Why?”

He looked at her, surprised.  “I think this past war was fought for many reasons.  One fact was that the Dark Lord gained many followers because pureblood culture was being overridden.  I’m trying to stop such discontent from happening again.  We need to preserve the old ways in order to march into the future.  Yes, perhaps we need new blood, some new traditions, but if we forget who we are, then we become nothing better than common Muggles.”  He paused.  “Do I surprise you?”

“Not really,” she said quietly.  “You have to understand, though, that most people I know believe differently.”

“But what do you believe?”

“No one’s ever asked me that before,” Isla said honestly.  “They just assume.”

“I’m not assuming,” Drake said, leaning forward on his arms.  “I am asking an intelligent witch what she thinks.”

“Did you know,” Isla replied, deflecting the conversation, “that I hold a seat on the Wizengamot?  I can’t occupy it because I’m a woman.  My husband would have to for me.”

“You really are from an old family,” Drake murmured.  “But what do you think, Isla?”

“I think I was raised by magic-hating Muggles and that magic saved my life.  I hate everything Muggle.  I may work as a Muggle model, but if you could hear my thoughts, you would blush.”

He looked at her assessingly.  “You have a portfolio?”

“Of course.”

“I’ll pop by around four tomorrow.  Have your portfolio ready and dress smartly in robes.  I’ll give you an introduction.  No witch worth her magic should be forced to consort with Muggles, even if it is just to ‘keep busy.’  What’s your working name?”

“How did you know I had one?”

“You’re from an old wizarding family.  You can’t be recognized.”

“Isla Grey.”

He looked at her again.  “Yes, your gray eyes and cheekbones rather give you away, I’m afraid, Isla.”

He did come round at about ten past four.  Isla was waiting impatiently, her folio by her side, and decked out in navy robes.  They were one of her newest so she knew they were in fashion.  Neither Remus nor Sirius had been one for fashion, but she’d read enough of Witch Weekly to be sure of the latest styles.

The man Drake introduced her to was obsequious and kept on bowing to Drake and calling him ‘my Lord.’  Isla suspected, considering that he also held two seats on the Wizengamot, that he was the Lord of some House.  She just didn’t know enough about Houses to recognize him.

The man, with a strange mustache, took her portfolio and flipped through it.  “You’ve worked in Paris?” he asked.  He then paused at one particular photograph.  “Yes, I’ve seen this on billboards.  You’re one of the faces of –, aren’t you, Miss Grey?”

“Yes.  I’m hoping to move back into the wizarding market,” she replied.  “The Muggle world, of course, has its merits, but there are also detractions.”

“The Statute of Secrecy,” he said perceptively.  “His Lordship also said you live here.  You can’t have any form of social life.”

“No,” she agreed.

“Well, I’m looking for a new model.  I work with Fawick designs, you’ve heard of them, of course, and we need a fresh face.  You are exactly what we’re looking for.  Pureblood, lithe, gorgeous, long legs.  You’ll be simply stunning in the latest fashions.  Oh, but you must only wear Fawick from the moment you start shooting.  You’ll be supplied with robes and dresses.  You will be one of the faces of the designer, and you must always represent him.”

“Of course,” she agreed.  “Thank you for the opportunity.”

“Any friend of his Lordship’s, especially a talented friend, is a friend of mine,” the man said.

“I don’t know what to say,” Isla said as they came out of the warehouse, which was the studio.  It abutted Diagon Alley but also had a Muggle exit.  “I didn’t expect—thank you—“

“You did all the hard work yourself.  I just cut through the red tape,” Drake insisted.  “Now,” he murmured as he came close, “I’m going to kiss you.”

“Is this your reward?”

He grinned with one side of his mouth, which she realized showed he was truly sincere.  “Don’t think of it like that.  It was a joint venture.”  He leaned forward and kissed her softly and she melted against him, her free hand coming to wrap against him.

When he pulled back, she quipped, “How un-pureblood of you.”

“We’re not engaging in a pureblood courtship.”

“No, we’re not,” she agreed.  “You simply must meet Remus, though.”

He looked at her strangely.  “Lupin?  The werewolf?”

“Don’t call him that,” she said defensively.  “He’s the friend of my parents who saved me from the horrible Muggles.  He brought me up until my godfather arrived and then after he died.  Remus is married now with a young son—he’s simply adorable—and you won’t have to meet him near the full moon.  Just, please, I know it’s only been one real date but you’re important—“

He cut her off with another kiss.  “Only if you give him a letter from me first.”

“You don’t want him saying your name, do you?” she guessed.

“No.”

“Well, that makes two of us.  We both seem to crave anonymity, though I’m sure for entirely different reasons.  You didn’t kill anyone, did you?”

A flash of pain crossed Drake’s face and she put her hand up to his face.  “Hush, I’m sorry.  There was a war on.  We all killed someone.”

“Yes, of course.”  He coughed into his hand.  “The letter, though, Isla.  Is Isla even your name?”

“Nickname.  A rather unusual one.  Drake, I take it, isn’t your actual name.”

“No,” he agreed. 

“You’re Lord Something-or-other.  Your mother would have a heart attack if you were seen with a model who had virtually no title!”

“I can always make her see reason in the end,” he promised. 

“Just why have an argument for nothing?” she asked perceptively.

“Exactly.”

“I still want you to meet Remus.”

“I promise.  Set it up.”

The full moon was the next week and Isla started working.  Magical shoots were a little different from Muggle ones because cameras would float at you from every angle and take shots that you weren’t expecting.  She’d been rather bewildered her first hour.

The man—Aurelius Charles—seemed to adore her and even took her to an exclusive club afterward where he bought her a few drinks and she danced the night away.  He became rather like an older brother to her and soon he was interrogating Drake whenever he showed up at the studio, demanding his intentions.

Remus and Nymphadora lived in a nice house in Devon on the edge of a Muggle village.  Isla had delivered Drake’s letter to Remus three days before and now they were standing on the step, dressed as Muggles, with a bottle of champagne.

Tonks opened the door.  Her hair was bright pink.  “Isla!” she greeted, pulling her into a hug.  “And here’s your young man.  Drake, was it?”

She looked at him perceptively.  “Yes,” he answered carefully.  “How do you do.”  He offered his hand.  It seemed like something momentous was occurring. 

Taking it, she smiled hesitantly.  “Come, Remus is waiting inside.  You’ll get to meet our son Teddy.”

Isla immediately kissed Remus’s cheek before swooping Teddy up for a hug.  He was seven years old now.  How time flew.

“Now, what are your intentions, Drake,” Remus demanded.  “We all know you’re a public figure and Isla is, too.”

“Remus!”

“It’s better he starts getting the picture now.”

“I’ve lived my whole life away from that.  By the gods, I don’t even read the papers in case they mention me!”

“You were mentioned again just last week,” Tonks put in helpfully.  “They mentioned Drake yesterday.”

“Yes,” Drake responded smoothly.  “They rather over-simplified the issue.”

“Quite,” Remus neither agreed nor disagreed.  “You’re dating her like a Muggle.  Why?”

“Mother.  It would kill her.”

“Oh,” Tonks put in.  “After your failed engagement a few years back.”

“Do we really have to–?” Drake asked, looking over at Isla.

“Well, you did call off the wedding a week beforehand and she committed suicide not six months later, writing a passionate love letter as her suicide note.”

Isla looked up horrified.

“How did I miss that?”

“You were at the Sorbonne,” Remus put in helpfully, “studying French.”

“I—“ She snapped her mouth shut.  “I’m so sorry, Drake.  That must have been traumatizing, even if the engagement had been broken off for whatever reason we don’t need to know about.”  She said this last bit to Remus and Tonks.

“Thank you, Isla.”  Drake took her hand and squeezed it before turning back to Remus.  “And to answer your question, my intentions are honorable.  I’m just not going by pureblood protocol.  It’s done nothing for me in the past except trap me in relationships that needed to be ended.  Isla doesn’t expect it, fortunately.”

“No, she wouldn’t,” Remus agreed.  “We didn’t bring her up to be a pureblood.  If this does progress, then she’ll make an interesting Lady of your House.  You’ll gain a Wizengamot seat, though, which should make you happy.”

“Remus!” Isla protested.

“Just stating the truth,” he quipped as he accepted a cup of tea from Tonks.

They saw much of each other in the Muggle world leading up to Isla’s premier but never acknowledged each other in the wizarding one.  It was rare that they saw each other.  Isla might be reading a book in Florean Fortescue’s when Drake might pass with someone Isla assumed was from the Wizengamot.  Their eyes would meet but nothing more.

Then the photographs broke and overnight she became an instant sensation known only as “Isla!”  Wherever she went, she was hounded by reporters, asking her questions from her favorite perfumes to where she got her hair done.

She was overwhelmed.  It was never this bad in Muggle France.

Seeing her face on the cover of Witch Weekly startled her, as did the children who lined up just to get her autograph.  Isla was starting to get a taste for what being the Girl Who Lived might actually be like.

“No comment!” the voice of Drake bellowed over the reporters.  “As far as I know, she’s not on a diet.  She’s just naturally slim.”

Isla laughed and completely missed his title when reporters started calling out to him.

“Isla is a very dear friend of mine and I hate to see her hounded by the press,” he replied.  “She was a model in France and I introduced her to the marvelously talented Aurelius, which has led to this nonsense.”

“Are you two related?” a perceptive reporter asked.  “You both have Black eyes.”

They looked at each other, trying to decide what to say.

“Yes,” Isla hesitantly admitted.  “Very distantly.”

An invitation to “The Manor” followed soon after that.  A stately woman with blonde hair was waiting for her in the parlor.  “I’ve had it all out of my son,” she opened with.  “You call him ‘Drake’ and have absolutely no idea who he is.  While I find it surprising, it’s a little refreshing that he has a friend who’s not after him for his wealth or his title.  You may simply call me ‘Dowager,’ if it suits.”

“Yes, Dowager.”

They shook hands and a tea set was laid out for them.  “Now tell me, Isla, why modeling? Why not put your mind to use somehow?”

“I’ve done quite of a bit of that in the past,” Isla admitted, remembering the horcrux hunt.  “I also wanted anonymity.  Modeling gives me that.”

“Writing novels would have given you that,” she sighed.  “Who put the idea in your head?”

“Fleur Weasley.”

“I should have known.  The French are so fanciful, and she had the misguided sense to marry a Weasley.”

“The Weasleys happen to be some of my only friends.”

“Yes, Drake mentioned you had a sheltered upbringing with few associates.  You should have gone to Hogwarts.  Perhaps then you wouldn’t be hiding in plain sight, Isobel Potter.”

Isla started.

“What, did you think I wouldn’t guess?  All the clues were there.  Anyway, I needn’t have bothered.  Drake has almost figured it out on his own.  I’d tell him next time you see him, otherwise he might feel betrayed.”

“And his own masquerade?”

“I can end that right now, if you wish.  We have just enough time to go to the Wizengamot.”  Dowager rose.  “Come, come.  That Fawick robe must be seen.  Isn’t that part of your contract?”  She arched her eyebrows.

They sat in two seats, marked 5 and 7.  Drake was a pale blond head in a sea of browns and grays and he was simply magnificent.  They were arguing over the classification of centaurs as beasts or beings.  Drake had apparently met some and was arguing strongly that they were beings.

Apparently, also, he was Lord Malfoy.  Isla had no idea what that meant.

“I’ll just slip away,” she told Dowager Malfoy at the end.  “I don’t want to invade his privacy.”

“That was the whole point.”

“Yes, well, I’m no more enlightened than I was before.  This entire thing is ridiculous.”  She apparated away from the Atrium to the front steps of her small cottage and breathed in heavily.

“Isla,” Neville said from right beside her and she started.  “What’s this about you and Lord Malfoy?”

“Oh, nothing,” she responded.  “He was merely helping with the press.”

“He had his hand around your waist.  Purebloods don’t do that unless they’re engaged.”

“Well,” she snapped.  “It’s not like that.  It will never be like that,” she realized.  “I’m a model and he’s—well—he’s somebody.  He’d have nothing to do with the likes of me.”  Then she opened the door and slammed it in Neville’s face, falling to the floor and crying, her blonde hair a mop about her head.

She wasn’t even certain what time it was when the knocking started.  At first she thought it was a pounding in her head.  Then she realized it was coming from the door.  She slowly stood and refreshed her face with her wand and opened it up to see a concerned looking Draco Malfoy standing there.  “Mother told me what happened,” he began, coming in and kissing her slowly, although she did not respond.  “I was afraid of that.—Mother had no right to do what she did.  We had our own time; we had our own schedule.  Ask me anything you want to know.”

“I don’t understand what being ‘Lord Malfoy’ means.”

“It means that apart from Lord Black—and there is no Lord Black—I am the most powerful man in wizardom.  I am most likely the wealthiest and the handsomest, obviously.”

“Obviously,” she agreed, rolling her eyes.  “But I inherited the Black fortune, along with my own.  My godfather was a Black as well as my grandmother.”

“How startling,” he began.  “We always wondered where it went.  Do you own Grimmauld Place, too?”

“Unfortunately.”

“You really are Isobel Potter then.”

She flinched.

“And here the world thought you had short, black hair.”

“I told you a friend of mine shorn it off and cursed it a different color.  And I’ve always preferred Isla, Draco.”

“Then ‘Isla’ you shall remain.”  He took a deep breath.  “You know, I won’t make you give up your modeling career if you agree to marry me.  I don’t care what other purebloods say.  I’m proud of you.  You’ve found a way to rise above all of the Chosen One nonsense.”

She smiled a little.  “Are you proposing, Lord Malfoy?”

“Only if you never call me that in private again.”

“Very well,” she agreed, leaning in for a kiss.  “I do love you, you strange man.”

The End.

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