"And when did the incident occur?"
The witch slumped her shoulders a little further down, mumbling into the scarf around her neck. "Last night, sir."
"Were there any other witnesses?"
Slowly, the hat facing him swung side to side, in a glum no.
Draco scratched his quill against parchment with sharp, brusque strokes, noting every necessary detail in shorthand to be deciphered by a clerk later. The department was always swamped after a holiday, with Valentine's and Christmas proving the worst.
"Miss Thatcher, I do apologize for your unfavorable experience. A Ministry Obliviator will be around Mr Lamprey's place within the hour to eradicate the compromising memories."
Penny Thatcher sniffled a few times but didn't burst into tears all over his desk like some did; the last wizard he'd processed left great piles of tissue all over the cubicle.
"If you'd like to speak to Lorna," Draco continued, much softer than before, "you can make an appointment with June on the way out. She makes it a bit easier to swallow, I find."
With one choked sob followed by a watery smile, a nod of thanks, and Miss Thatcher left his cubicle to move on with her day, and eventually her life.
Thankless. He made the process as bearable as possible, but there was no reward in watching a parade of magical people each week reporting they needed a licensed Obliviator to finalize their break up. Work in the Magical Detachment Facility, a special branch monitored by the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, was a delicate cure to Muggles rejecting their wizarding partners. He never blamed the witch or wizard at his desk for attempting to bring them into their world, he loved the wizarding world after all, but if wix didn't take the proper precautions the whole operation would be blown. Only their love for their partner really saved the Muggles from botched Obliviations. St. Mungo's didn't need more than one Lockhart.
"Mr. Malfoy?" called a voice outside his cubicle. The flimsy walls hid nothing from each section without silencing charms, and when the girl outside tried to lean against it, pulling the strap of her shoe more securely over her heel, she almost knocked over the whole department.
Draco shot up to balance the secretary and his makeshift walls, grumbling banal assurances under his breath to make her stop apologizing and get on with it, he still had several hours of heartache in front of him.
"What?" he snapped, turning around; eyes wide, hair unkempt from running his fingers through it too many times…Potter stood outside of his cubicle the day after Valentine's.
"Get lost on the way down from the DMLE, Potter?" Draco asked, folding his arms and raising a brow.
Harry's cheeks turned from bronze to red under Draco's scrutiny, but he didn't retaliate, and the slow realization creeped over Draco's skin as he noticed Harry was holding a ticket with a number and his name was next on the list he was still holding for the secretary. Clearing his throat, Draco dismissed the still apologizing girl and strode back to his desk.
"Name?" he asked, burying his face in his paperwork.
"Malfoy, could we just-"
"Your name is not Malfoy." Draco looked up at Potter through his lashes, his fingers pinching the quill so tightly they trembled, wondering if the dark circles under the other man's eyes were from lack of sleep over Auror business or whatever brought him into his office on the worst day of the year.
"I know it's not," snapped Potter, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his bright red Auror robes. "I just want this done quick as possible and you're the only one they promised could process me quick enough to get through my lunch break."
Draco tapped the quill gently on the parchment, to avoid ink stains, but also to release the pressure building in his body. It really was not his day. "I can process you, and quickly, if we do this the right way. Now. Name, full given name?"
"Harry James Potter," through clenched teeth.
"Not yours, the name of the Muggle."
A sharp intake of breath, the sound whispering in the air before a firework exploded. "Jeffrey Barnard Richardson."
Draco's quill stuttered, but continued to skitter over the parchment, words exploding in dark ink over the crisp form. "Length of relationship?"
"Ten months, four days."
"Could I just fill out the form myself?"
"No. Living arrangements?"
"I could return it to you by the end of the day, or you could just give me the temporary license to do this myself."
"Potter, I will have you detained for obstruction of justice and threatening a Ministry employee while on duty. Living. Arrangements?"
"We share a flat," Potter whispered. Draco could feel his eyes boring into the top of his head. "Shared a flat, I guess. It's his flat, he can have it back, I banished my stuff back to Hermione's anyway, it's not like it was a lot-"
"Potter how much magic did you perform in front of Mr Richardson?"
A click of teeth as Harry stopped babbling. "None, before last night."
Draco looked up at him then, trying to make eye contact with the extremely fidgety Auror filling his tiny cubicle with blood red robes, dark and perpetually messy hair, and the sudden realization that the Boy Who Lived was gay. Blaise would win a bag of galleons off of him after all, if he ever found out.
The rest of the processing took seven minutes. Throughout, Harry never once made eye contact with Draco, moving his hands from his robes, to folded on his lap, to his hair, to under his thighs, repeat. The same platitude he gave to Miss Thatcher he also gave to him, but the dismissive shrug of shoulders told him everything he needed to know.
Before he could bolt, rushing off to whatever greasy food cart would provide his lunch that miserable day. Draco stood to stop him.
"You have to sign," he explained, presenting the form to the taller man.
Harry reached over to take the quill from Draco's hand, and he took the opportunity, gut clenching, to rest his fingers against the back of his hand in what he hoped was a reassuring way. Frozen beneath his touch, Draco moved his hand up to Harry's forearm.
"This is normal," he intoned, pulling every tactic from his training he could think of in that stifling moment. "We'll make sure he's taken care of."
Releasing a breath that washed warmly, sweetly, over Draco's face, Harry nodded and signed his name at the bottom of the form. "Thanks, Malfoy. Let me know if you need anything from the DMLE for this."
Draco couldn't find his voice with the suddenly attainable face of Harry Potter a foot from his. When did he notice how lovely his hair looked, messy on top of his head but shaved on the sides and the back? He didn't want to answer that. After the last flash of red left his cubicle, and before his wits failed him, he flipped the sign outside his office to Lunch,told the receptionist he was taking his thirty minutes, and ran after Harry.
"Your stomach must be in knots," he said, grabbing Harry's shoulder to slow his marching pace. "You can't go to that greasy spoon today."
A small moue of surprise, covering the ache of rejection and despair hanging on his clothes from the night before, filled Harry's face. "How did you know-?"
"You're interrupting me again, Potter," Draco teased, finding solace in needling the other man.
His hand still on Harry's shoulder, Draco led him up through the Atrium and up to the streets of London to seek out a lunch where he could learn more about this new Harry Potter.