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That Time of the Month

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No one really talked about it. He seemed kind of embarrassed about it, so maybe that was why. Either way, Harry Potter didn't know until the two of them became aurors; until Harry was legally required to know for his safety and the safety of others.

 

"Mr. Potter," Robards sighed. "You know, of course, that you are a... special addition to this department."

 

Harry nodded. There was no need for beating around the bush, he knew what that meant.

 

"You have been assigned a partner whom I hope you will be able to keep an eye on better than some at this establishment. You already know him, so I believe it should make things easier." He frowned. "However."

 

"However, sir?" Harry prompted.

 

"However, you should know that your potential partner has given us a bit of crucial information, as required upon entry, about a medical condition."

 

"Alright," Harry replied hesitantly. "What kind of condition?"

 

"Lycanthropy."

 

Harry's eyes widened. "Oh. That-- won't be a problem."

 

"As kind as that is, Mr. Potter, I'm not telling you because of the discrimination he may face. I'm telling you in case anything gets out of hand."

In other words, in case he tries to kill me, Harry realized, but said nothing.

 

"You'll be given a regulation pamphlet explaining anything you might need to know, in general or in emergencies."

 

Harry nodded, biting his lip.

 

"And for obvious reasons, he will be taking three days off work each month during his..."

 

"Transformation," Harry offered before he could say anything offensive or pandering.

 

"Yes." Robards traced the edge of his desk with a finger. "Everything will be in the pamphlet," he said again, casting a charm under his breath. The pamphlet popped into existence in front of Harry, and he cringed at the cliché title: So Your Coworker is a Werewolf. There was a drawing of a wolf with a tie around its neck on the cover.

 

Harry forced himself to smile. "Thank you," he said between gritted teeth. "And may I ask," as it's the more important part, I'd wager, "who is my partner?"

 

"Draco Malfoy."

 

***

 

Harry peeked over the edge of the cubicle, trying to be sneaky.

 

"Hello, Harry."

 

Harry started and stepped out from his hiding place. "Oh! You-- you saw me."

 

Malfoy-- no, Draco; they were coworkers, and even partners now-- looked up at him, smirking. "You're not very subtle."

 

Harry swallowed. "Right, well..." he stuck his hand out to Draco. "I've just been told we're partners."

 

He expected Draco to sneer, refuse his hand, and make some catty remark. Instead, he smiled and shook Harry's hand.

 

"Glad to be working with you," he added amicably, and pulled his hand back.

 

"Really?" Harry asked.

 

"Really. I'd like to put all of the nasty things I said and did to you behind us." He winced. "I grew up with some pretty bad influences, so I want you to know I'm working on not being such a brat."

 

Harry couldn't hold back his laugh. "You really were a bit of a brat, huh?"

 

Draco chuckled. "I hope we get along from now on. I've always thought we had great chemistry."

 

Harry had a bit of déjà vu, back to before they had even been sorted, to when Draco had tried to convince him they'd be great friends. This time, Harry didn't feel as wary.

 

But then he remembered.

 

"Ah. Right. He also told me--" Harry cleared his throat and leaned close. "If it's uncomfortable for you to talk about," he hissed, "I understand. I just want you to know that I know."

 

Draco raised an eyebrow. "Know? Know what?"

 

"About--" Harry glanced around and leaned yet closer. "About your condition."

 

If it was possible, Draco's face grew even paler. He drew a sharp breath, eyes wide in contrast to his small pupils. "Oh. Yes. That."

 

Harry tried to smile. "I'm not against it or anything. I just thought you should know."

 

"Right." Draco seemed frozen, unblinking and staring feverishly up at Harry. "I suppose it's important they tell you that sort of thing."

 

Harry nodded. "Right, well, they gave me some pamphlet or something. Might not read it, as long as--" he cut himself short. "Nevermind. He said it was important, so... I should read it. Right. I'll read it."

 

Draco nodded, but he was clearly somewhere else. "Alright, then."

 

Harry swallowed and leaned back into a relaxed position. "So, uh, I guess this is my desk?" He pointed to the desk beside Draco, who nodded again. "Great. Um. Awesome."

 

"We've got a few files to look over," Draco murmured, the little color he possessed returning to his face.

 

Harry nodded and sat at his new desk, feeling about as numb as Draco looked. He opened the file.

 

***

 

Harry had almost forgotten. It had been three weeks since he'd started his job, and he and Draco were actually getting along quite well. Then, that Tuesday, Draco didn't show up to work.

 

Harry waited a few minutes, looking at the latest case, before growing restless. He slipped out of his seat and walked to Ron's little cubicle.

 

"Hey, mate," Ron said, grinning. "What's going on?"

 

"Have you seen Draco?"

 

Ron blinked owlishly at him. "Today's his... you know. His day off."

 

"What day off?"

 

Ron winced. "You know. That time of the month or whatever?"

 

Harry's heart leapt into his throat. "Oh. Tonight's the--"

 

"Last night, actually." Ron frowned. "I thought you were supposed to know, being his partner and all."

 

Harry blushed. "I guess I expected him to say something... he didn't even acknowledge it yesterday."

 

"Would you?"

 

***

 

"Draco!" Harry practically squealed when his partner entered the office after three days of absence.

 

Draco looked up, caught off-guard. He had dark bags under his eyes. "Hello?"

 

"I missed you," Harry smiled.

 

Draco flushed.

 

"Ah-- no, that's not what I-- I was worried when you left!"

 

Draco nodded slowly. "Um... thank you, I suppose."

 

"I hope it wasn't too bad," Harry added.

 

"I usually don't remember much of it, so it was fine, I guess." Draco rubbed at his eyes. "Tired, mostly."

 

Harry sighed. "Thank goodness."

 

Draco looked confused. "People don't usually ask."

 

Harry shrugged. "You're my partner! Besides, I can't imagine going through all of that. You're super brave."

 

Draco stiffened, silent.

 

Harry shifted his weight. "I'll try not to make a scene like this every month. Let's get back to work, alright?"