Said Auror jumped and then whirled around to face his superior with a look that was bursting with innocence and subservience. His superior didn't buy it.
"This is the fourth time this week you've been late! What's your excuse this time, you son of a bitch?"
He put up his hands and said, "I'm sorry, it won't happen again. It was an emergency! My wife and I had a fight last night and she burned all my shoes in our oven. I had to go out in my slippers and try to find some for today, but because it was so early none of the shops were open yet. I waited and waited and then finally I got a pair and ran the whole way here."
There was a moment of silence and then Harry demanded, "Where do you come up with excuses like that?"
"Well, it's true!"
Harry groaned and rubbed his temples at a furious pace, "Just…don't let it happen again. Now, are you going to bring that kid we picked up last week into my office so I can get a story from him? He says he won't talk to anyone but me. Damn kids."
McClelland saluted, "I'm on my way, sir!"
"Go on, get out of here," Harry shooed him away and trudged back to his office. On the way he spotted one of secretaries misfiling the reports and had to demonstrate to her why certain files such as who won what Quidditch game didn't belong in the Auror database. She looked as though she'd had some sort of religious experience of enlightenment by the time he was finished.
It made him wonder how humanity managed to not kill itself off yet.
He sat at his desk and tried to make some room for his actual work. His desk was cluttered with the fan mail his secretary continued to deliver to him, possibly out of malice, and framed photographs. There were ones of him from school with Ron and Hermione, a picture of him at their wedding smiling as they kissed, and numerous ones of them throughout the years with a steadily-growing number of children accompanying them. Hermione was pregnant with their eighth child, having left Fleur in the dust with her three offspring.
And then there was just one graceful bronze frame with Draco turning to smile at him when he was busy teaching Luna's twins how to spin a top.
He touched the photograph with his fingertip, smiling. He only needed one photograph of Draco to make even the most hellish of days bearable. And today was going to be a bad one; he just knew it in his gut.
On cue the door opened to admit his most slatternly Auror (who was unfortunately excellent in the field and therefore too great of an asset to sack) and yet another young delinquent that didn't think they'd get caught.
There was something criminal about this young man. It was in the tight trousers with the obscene bulge in the front, the cigarette behind his ear, and the red leather jacket. Perhaps he was a male prostitute. It was possible, even likely.
Harry dismissed McClelland. Once the door was shut he gestured to the chair in front of his desk, "Have a seat."
The kid sat.
Thirty minutes of frustration and a mounting desire to never look at another adolescent ever again, he found out that the youth, Timothy, admitted to attempting arson on his best friend's house because he had stolen the girl he'd fancied since primary school. He also admitted to owning a love potion that he meant to use on the girl. He was convinced that she could learn to love him if she only paid him some attention.
It was all very pathetic and completely ruined the youth's attempt to look tough by wearing more leather than is healthy. Harry dismissed him and filed the report.
The rest of his day was, in a word, chaos with brief moments of peace during which he did paper work and drank enough tea to replace his blood. Finally it was time to go. He made a run for the Floo before anyone could ask him to do them a 'quick favor' or buy them dinner for some imagined reason.
No lights were on when he got home so he supposed Draco was still at work.
He puttered around the kitchen chopping vegetables and doing complicated things with a slab of beef loin. Two hours later he was as calm as a mountain lake and there was a dinner fit for Hogwarts sitting on their dining room table. Draco still wasn't home. He leaned against a counter and thought about it. If he ate without his husband Draco would be sullen for the rest of the night. If he didn't eat something soon, he would pass out.
The solution was to have a piece of toast and read something non-work-related while he waited. He no longer worried if Draco was late from work. It was fairly common for one of them to get sucked into their respective departments and not released until all available energy and spirit had been sucked out of them to further the goals of the Ministry.
He'd made some progress in his silly Muggle-written novel when the Floo ignited suddenly to emit Draco. From his rumpled state and hunted expression, he had indeed been victimized by the Ministry's Department of Human Resource Management yet again. He removed his shoes sluggishly and slumped onto Harry's lap. Harry put his marker in his book and began to smooth Draco's fair hair.
Draco revived after a few minutes of tender care and took notice of the dinner spread across the table with the glimmer of a heating charm preserving it. He smiled at Harry and gave him a sleepy kiss.
"I forgot there was a reason I liked Fridays!"
Friday was 'If Harry is Home He Makes Something Complicated and Delicious to Eat Day'. Saturday was 'Stay in Bed Half the Day Having Sex Day', in case you were wondering. Needless to say, Friday and Saturday's traditions fought with one another for prominence.
They settled down to eat. Once Draco was completely himself again, if tired, Harry asked him what kept him at work this time.
"Oh, nothing but the continual corporate waste of allocated resources of course; I swear to Merlin, if I have to explain to Posy Simmonds one more time why we are only allowed to spend our budget and not everyone else's too, I will scream. If she wasn't the Minister's niece she would've been sacked on her first day."
Harry prodded his foot under the table and smirked at him.
"And even then she's sleeping with the Secretary."
Draco snorted, "We don't know that for sure."
"Oh come on. Everyone knows she isn't working when she stays late."
"Don't be mean!" Draco took a bite of potato and began to smirk. His noble moment was over and he sank into catty comments about the other people in his Department. Harry used to think he was making things up, but one visit to the Department for a meeting revealed that things were even worse than Draco let on. Human Resources somehow had the reputation as the place for easy desk jobs, which meant that every son-in-law and relative given a job at the Ministry through connections and not merit was transferred there. As the one qualified person in the entire sprawling Department, Draco was ready to tear his hair out.
Draco was meant to do the dishes when they were finished. Harry ended up helping somehow as usual, not that he minded. It was hard being away from Draco all day no matter how long they'd been living together. They tried to have lunch together, but it was only feasible maybe once or twice a month. Their departments were on opposite sides of the Ministry and they were rarely allowed to escape from their desks in the first place, much less somehow meet in the middle, have lunch, and then get back to their desks before something exploded.
Draco gathered the wet cutlery into a posy and placed them in a clean but undried pitcher. He went on washing and left the drying to Harry.
After attending to the plates and glasses, Harry removed the spoons and forks one at a time to dry them with a towel. Harry found excuses to touch his husband as they worked side by side. He would brush against his arm as he reached for something, or tuck his hair behind his ear when it hung in his eyes. Draco began to smile and responded by twisting his head around when Harry made to kiss his cheek. Their lips bumped and they laughed softly.
Draco put his warm soapy hands on Harry's neck and kissed him in earnest. Pulling away when he was satisfied that they were both feeling a little muzzy, he whispered, "I missed you."
Harry waited until they'd finished with the dishes before taking Draco's hand and leading him upstairs to their shared bedroom. They passed out from exhaustion before they managed to completely undress one another.
End Friday Fatigue
Concept, concept, concept!