Disclaimer: I own nothing. NOTHING.
So this was going to be the first installment of a sidefic to my Improbable-verse. Specifically, a deeper exploration of All My Aurors. But then it pretty much just turned into The Office, Hogwarts Style, only not as awesome or as coherent, woe.
Malcolm considered it one of the great injustices of the universe that Harry Potter wound up being his boss. It wasn't that Potter didn't make a disgustingly good Auror--he was practically prodigal when it came to violence and nosiness, after all--but an administrator he was not.
"Sir," Malcolm said sharply, cornering Potter in his own office the second his superior stepped through his personal Floo connection. Late again, he noted absently. "Have you read my report on the Illegal Kneazle Breeding Ring Incident yet?"
Potter froze, running a hand through his ridiculously untidy hair--sloppy, everything about him was sloppy, Malcolm thought disdainfully. Green eyes glanced automatically at The Desk, a near impossibility of existence--the surface hadn't been seen since Potter's second week as Head Auror, and paperwork was piled so high and so precariously that there was no explanation for how it managed to stay in place aside from 'magic'. Those bizarre little 'post-it notes' that had recently come into fashion practically plastered the sides, until the only glimpse Malcolm could get of the desk itself was its legs. Charmed memos fluttered in constant low orbit around both The Desk and the chair. Malcolm and Su Li had once done a little late night investigation and discovered that ignored howlers had burst into flames deep within the pile, creating charred caverns of ash invisible to the naked eye.
Suddenly Potter looked at Malcolm--no, not at him, over his shoulder. Bespectacled eyes went wide. "Look," he cried dramatically, pointing a finger. "A fuzzy puppy!"
Malcolm didn't mean to turn and look, but instincts honed by seven years in Slytherin had him pivoting on one heel, his other foot already raised, ready to kick. It wasn't that he particularly disliked fuzzy puppies, but kicking them was just what one did when one was in Slytherin.
The office was empty of canines, and when Malcolm whirled back around, eyes narrowed, it was empty of Potters as well.
Hmm. Malcolm was not generally in favor of office warfare, but clearly something had to be done.
The Desk was impervious. Malcolm stared at it in frustrated fascination, the scritch of Su Li's quill against parchment barely registering. She was taking notes, and he couldn't blame her.
Nothing worked. Whizzing Whizbangs failed to budge the petrified slab of old reports. Repeated hexes were absorbed into the pile. Shoving only led to bruises and multiple papercuts. Parchmentcuts. Whichever. Probably both, knowing Potter.
"Maybe if we had lava," Su Li said thoughtfully.
"It's fighting back," Malcolm said, ignoring her. He was grimly certain of it--somewhere along the line, The Desk had acquired a life of its own, a bloody-minded sentience. It wouldn't easily let itself be denuded--Malcolm was almost certain it had even started grumbling at him at one point, and the words it hadn't quite been able to pronounce had all been rather filthy.
"How does Potter stand it?" Su Li asked incredulously. "Perhaps we should just...send in a house elf?"
"You fool, Granger would rip out our spines!" Malcolm cried. "And return them to us by shoving them down our gullets!"
"Graphic, but accurate," Su Li sighed. "Perhaps we should send in Weasley, then."
Malcolm considered it, but reluctantly shook his head. "No. Not until we've exhausted every other possibility. First, I want to alert the Minister."
Su Li smiled slowly and viciously. "Checkmate."
Minister Shacklebolt took one look at his old office and shuddered. "My God," he breathed. "I'm not going near that thing."
"We were thinking that since Auror Potter is responsible," Malcolm said began suggestively, and when Shacklebolt just stared at him with dark, unfathomable eyes, finished, "that. Ah. He should clean it."
Shacklebolt looked puzzled. "I'm not sure I understand why you're so concerned by this."
The Floo flared at that moment, and a few seconds later, Potter stumbled through. He was yawning, his glasses on crooked, his wand tucked away behind one ear and his robes on backwards. He blinked sleepily at them, raised a hand in greeting, and said, "Hey, Kingsley. Did you need something?" He batted an urgent memo (it was sparking at the edges and flashing red) carelessly out of the way, wrinkling his nose when it let out a high-pitched squeal in protest.
"Shouldn't you read that?" Malcolm asked irritably.
"Eh," Potter said, shrugging. "It's just faking. The real urgent ones do more than just spark a bit when you ignore them."
The Minister shuddered. "I lost an eyebrow once," he recalled darkly.
Potter snorted. "An eyebrow? Take a look at this," he said, rolling up one sleeve and showing of a small burn scar on the inside off his forearm.
Shacklebolt's eyes narrowed very slightly. "That's nothing," he denied immediately, and hiked up his robes and slacks to bare a long, shiny scar on his calf. "Three at once."
"Oh, you think that's bad?" Potter retaliated immediately, contemptuously. "If you want hardcore, just look right here--"
Malcolm and Su Li exchanged a long, blank stare. "Let's get out of here before clothing is actually removed," Malcolm suggested wearily.
Su Li hesitated, eying both Potter and Shacklebolt speculatively. "Removed, you say," she murmured.
It was the last resort, but Malcolm was sure this would work. Granger would never stand for The Desk.
Granger took one look at Potter's office and went a bright, furious red. Potter looked trapped, and actually backed away, until he was nearly pressed against his own wall.
"Harry," Granger said dangerously.
"Hermione," Potter said shakily.
"Malcolm," Su Li said facetiously.
The Desk, apparently feeling left out, rumbled. Malcolm edged away.
"What," Granger said, the words clipped and sharp, "is that?" She didn't bother pointing to The Desk, or even looking at it--she didn't need to.
"S'my desk," Potter mumbled. And then, incredibly, he seemed to turn twelve years old in front of Malcolm's eyes, peering up at Granger through his messy fringe, lower lip jutting out just a bit. "You can't ask me to clean it up, Hermione," he said, imploring. "At this point, it'd be murder. I'd have to book myself."
"I'd do it for you," Malcolm muttered, but very quietly.
"Murder," Granger repeated, sounding like she was considering it herself.
"I'm pretty sure it's alive," Potter said sheepishly. "I, uh, apparently cast an interesting mix of spells to keep it quiet and in place and, er, not on fire, and now sometimes it starts...moving. And making noises. I'm teaching it to say my name," he added brightly.
On cue, The Desk grumbled something that sounded suspiciously like "Rrry Pttr". Malcolm groaned.
"Psst," a new voice chimed in quietly, from right over his shoulder, and Malcolm glanced back to see a the horrifyingly freckled face of one Ronald Weasley entirely too close to his own. "What's wrong? What's going on? Why's Hermione here?"
"Shut up," Malcolm said, in what he felt was a suitable response to all three questions.
"Oh," Granger said, blinking at The Desk. Malcolm watched in gloomy resignation as her face visibly softened when she turned back to Potter. "Well. It was very irresponsible of you to let this come to pass, Harry, but at least you're taking care of the life you created."
"I'm an uncle?" Weasley gasped, loudly. Malcolm winced and unsubtly covered the ear nearest to the other Auror. "I'm going to be an uncle? Harry, you and Ginny--"
"What?" Potter asked, staring.
"Oh no," Granger sighed.
"This will be wonderful," Su Li predicted.
"You utter bastard, you--and my sister--you--" Weasley sputtered incoherently. Malcolm had never met anyone else whose ears went purple in distress.
"Look, Ron," Potter said desperately, pointing to the ceiling. "A damsel in distress."
He was gone by the time Granger and Weasley overcame their Gryffindor reflexes and looked back down. "Every time," Weasley cried. "He does that every time!"
Malcolm was beginning to wonder if, perhaps, Potter wasn't slightly more manipulative than he'd ever let on at school. And he was almost positive, by the strange raspy shuffling noise The Desk was making, that they were all being laughed at by a piece of furniture.
"Rrry Pttr," it said fondly, and one of the memos burst into flames.