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Misery at the Ministry (Theseus Scamander, M - SS for VividBubbles!)


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Fantastic Beasts fandom, Theseus Scamander, M Cold


Surprise, @VividBubbles! I'm your Secret Santa! :D I wanted to write for one of your preferred fandoms but unfortunately I wasn't very familiar with any of them. So hopefully you aren't too disappointed with this! I had fun writing this overworked gent ;)


    Theseus Scamander pushed yet another case report back on his desk, finally clearing the surface of the last of his files. He leaned his elbows onto the leather-topped surface and rested his chin in his palm, closing his eyes for a brief moment. He'd begun his day with a headache and it wasn't letting up despite a pain potion he'd taken at his morning break. Without opening his eyes, he reached for his wand and flicked it towards a teapot on top of a nearby filing cabinet. It floated over to rest next to him and filled magically with water, gurgling as it began to boil. 


    Forcing his weary eyes back open, he dug in his desk drawer for a teabag and popped it in the chipped mug he usually carried around. With a cup of fresh tea in hand, he reached for a fresh stack of files. This was going to be a torturous afternoon.


    The backlog of Auror reports he needed to get through stretched to a pile beside his desk and another on a side chair across the room. He flipped open the file on the top of his latest stack, he leaned back into his hand with his palm pressed to his cheek and began to read. Auror Barnes' scribbled notes were barely legible on the very best of days, but today they seemed to all blur together into a sludge as Theseus scanned the report. There was something there about a surveillance mission, but he couldn't make out the second line...


    Squinting at the letters, he re-read the passage, feeling sure that his bleary-eyed vision was just part of the general exhaustion he'd felt all day. He leaned in to the file, trying to focus, but there was another annoyance that plagued him: a slow leak from his left nostril that would not seem to stop in spite of much sniffling. Lifting his head, he pressed the back of his hand to his nose and sniffled thickly. There was no way he was going to be able to decipher the report; it was illegible.


    Gathering his strength, he stood and crossed the small office to the door that lead to the rest of Auror headquarters. Outside, the din of office chatter and the quiet hum of surveillance equipment seemed deafening after his solitude. He crossed down a line of small office spaces in search of Barnes in hopes he could clarify what he'd written. When Theseus reached Barnes' desk, it was vacant.


    “Where's Barnes?” he asked, leaning over to the next desk. Augustine Mayweather looked up from her work inspecting a report on unlicensed Apparation.


    “What?” she asked. “Oh, he's out for the day, sir. There's an awful cold going around.”


    By the looks of it, Augustine knew this first hand. Her ears were trailing the tell-tale smoke of a Pepper-Up Potion dose and her nose was tinged a bright pink. As if to demonstrate the very thing she'd just noted, she suddenly scrambled for a handkerchief from her desk and turned away from Theseus, sneezing softly.




    She gave her nose a tight pinch with the handkerchief and turned back, apologetic.


    “Excuse me.”


    “Bless you,” Theseus said. “Sounds like you're in the same boat. I think it's probably best that you go home and get some rest, Augustine. We can't have you missing the meeting on broomstick licensing on Thursday.”


    “But I have some other things to finish,” Augustine protested. “My report on Apparating without a licence isn't finished.”


    “I'll make your excuses to Auror Yarrick,” Theseus said. “The report can wait.”


    She sighed and rolled up the parchment on her desk.


    “I suppose you're right,” she agreed. “Do send an owl if anything important comes up.”


    “I will,” Theseus promised. “Feel better.”


    “Ta,” Augustine said, gathering her coat. As she shrugged it on, she peered up at him with a critical eye. “You look a bit peaky yourself. I hope you haven't got it too.”


    “Just tired, that's all,” Theseus said. “I'll be fine. See you when you're back in.”


    He shuffled back to his office and shut the door behind him, tossing Barnes' report aside for the time being. Slumping in his chair, he picked up another and flipped it open. A report on an unusually aggressive Doxy infestation in Kent....thrilling. Why wasn't this the duty of the Department of Magical Creatures, again?


    Scanning the report, he felt his eyes growing heavy with sleep and he reached for more tea, trying to stay awake. His left nostril was still leaking a steady stream of clear mucus, pooling across his lip despite his best efforts to stop it. He sniffled a hardy, aggressive inhalation but that only served to make his sinuses tingle with irritation. Putting the file down, he dug in his robes for a handkerchief but wasn't able to find it before he was forced to raise his hands to shield his files from the inevitable...




    He sneezed a deep and damp-sounding sneeze that scraped at his throat as it tore out of him with more force than he'd expected. He'd barely taken another breath before he was at it again.




    A knock rang out on his office door and the voice of Head Auror Yarrick boomed through the wall. 




    Theseus reached blindly into his robes and finally located the handkerchief, raising it to his nose for a swipe. Confident that he wasn't a snot-nosed mess, he called out,


    “Come in!”


    His voice sounded hoarse and tired to his own ears. The door swung open and his boss stepped inside.


    “Sleeping in here, Scamander? The briefing on Grindlewald's activities in Cornwall starts in five minutes in Room 4X. I'm surprised you're not on your way down.”


    Shit. The meeting.


    “Just gathering my last few files, sir,” Theseus lied, shuffling some papers about in front of him. “I'd misplaced one.”


    “You don't need files. Let's go.”


    Theseus rose reluctantly from his desk chair, tucking the handkerchief back into his robe pocket for easy access and refilling his mug of tea before he followed his boss down the winding halls of the Ministry's Auror offices. 


    There was already a dozen people waiting in the meeting room, all sitting around a large marble table. Theseus sat in one of the two vacant chairs, dismayed to see that Yarrick's seat was next to his own. The last thing he wanted was everyone looking towards him while Yarrick led the meeting...


    “Hiya,” Ross Grandin greeted him from two seats down. “Missed you this morning at break. We were talking about last night's Cannons game.”


    “Let's get started, please,” Yarrick boomed, quieting the room almost instantly. Theseus shrugged in apology towards Ross and focused on his mug of tea, taking a sip to soothe his dry throat.


    “What's the latest, Grandin?” Yarrick asked. The young Auror stood and began making his report on their surveillance in Cornwall.


    Theseus tried to pay attention, but his continued pounding headache seemed to reverberate through his skull, as if a tiny Snitch were in his head tapping to get out. He pressed two slim fingers to the pressure points between his brows and sniffled. 


    Bad idea. 


    His sinuses were irritated by even the slightest change to the pressures in his head and he felt the sharp tingle of a building sneeze. He pressed the back of his hand to his nostrils, fighting the tickling sensation. Moisture pooled against his knuckles, leaking around them and down his lip. He sniffled again and tried to subtly reach for his handkerchief, extracting it from his robe pocket with much more ease this time. He kept it clenched in his free hand, just in case.


    The tickle was becoming more urgent and he felt his breath hitch with anticipation, but he pressed his knuckles harder and gave a violent rub to his nose. The tickle faded down to a dull irritation and he gently pulled his hand away, giving his nose a very quick swipe with the side of his hand to clear away the lingering congestion.


    “Scamander?” Yarrick's voice boomed, cutting through his distracted thoughts. “How goes the reports? Any connections you've found.”


    Theseus swallowed the post-nasal drip that was leaking down into his mouth and then cleared his throat.


    “No, sir,” he said, trying to keep his voice as loud and steady as possible. “Some potential leads but no clear connections to Grindlewald. I'd like to look further in to Auror Mayweather's connection with that illegal broom seller, though.”


    “Is there are reason Auror Mayweather isn't at this meeting then?” Yarrick asked, looking around the table.


    “I sent her home,” Theseus explained. “She was unwell.”


    “That's another one fallen victim to this flu,” Yarrick sighed. “You lot need to stop spreading this thing around. I can't have another Auror off duty this week. Scamander, can you finish up the stack of those files I pulled for you by the end of the day and report back to me directly? I'd like to get some boots on the ground by the end of the week.”


    “Yes sir,” Theseus replied, though he felt his stomach sink at the thought of getting through that stack in his current state. 


    “Very good lad,” Yarrick said before turning his attention to Auror Leatty at the end of the table. Theseus slumped in his chair a little, carefully tending to his nose once more with a swipe of his handkerchief. Just the brief amount of talking left his throat feeling scraped raw. He cleared his throat softly once more and reached for the last sip of his tea. 


    Something went wrong between the time the tea met his lips and him swallowing, and he choked for a moment. It was all downhill from there. He coughed hard, sputtering and hacking into the crook of his elbow, all the while trying to keep quiet but failing. 


    “Sorry,” he rasped between coughs. “Went down the wrong pipe.”


    Several people in the room continued to stare at him as the coughs died down.


    I feel like shit, he wants to say. Being at home in his little flat would be wonderful. Maybe Leta would be sweet enough to come over with some soup... no...he didn't want her to see him like this.


    There's no way he's going home anytime soon, though. The meeting resumed and he tried his damnedest to remain engaged, despite the ache in his head that felt like it'd begun to migrate through the rest of his body. When the reports from the other Aurors were finally finished and they'd all been dismissed, Theseus found himself on auto-pilot towards the men's loo. 


    Shutting the door behind him, he sat down on the closed toilet lid and let his head drop into his hands. Everything that he'd been suppressing in the meeting seemed to tumble out at once. He coughed painfully into his arm and that triggered the buzzing in his nose to return. With his handkerchief at the ready, he sneezed a hard and wet explosion.




    He pinched his tender nose and gave it a congested honking blow. The very last thing he wanted was to be back at his desk with his files, but he had little other choice. Gathering his strength, he stood and went to the sink to wash his face. After he splashed a handful of water on his cheeks, he looked up at himself in the mirror. The sight that stared back at him made him cringe. He looked awful.


    Around his eyes, deep shadows had formed. His prominent nose was tinged pink and looked shiny at the edges where congestion would not stop pooling. He reached for his wand and concentrated, setting a glamour spell on his face. It wasn't perfect, but it hid some of the signs of his cold.


    He went back towards his office with his chipped mug, ready for more tea and dreading the work that waited there for him.


    Safely behind his closed door, he set the teapot to boil again and slumped into the embrace of his large leather desk chair. Was it really warm in the office or...?


    He shrugged off his heavy robes and sat in his button-up shirt and trousers. Reaching for another file, he flipped it open and began to read. Within minutes he was light-headed and feeling so wretched that he stopped and leaned back in his chair. A few minutes to nap wasn't going to kill him and he so desperately needed it....


    Setting a timer charm with his wand, he allowed for a half-hour to sleep. He locked his office door and shut his eyes, drifting off almost instantly.


    When the soft buzzing of the timer charm woke him again, it felt as if he'd barely slept a wink. Peeling his eyes open, he groaned as all the aches and pains rushed back into his consciousness. He was sweaty and achy and his nose felt blocked solid. He took a testing sniffle and confirmed this with a snorting sound. He swallowed hard and exhaled through his mouth noisily. Crap. There was no way he was going to make it to the end of the day.




    A sneeze burst out, flooding his nose and the handkerchief he'd barely contained it in. He coughed wretchedly and put his head down on his desk, feeling his burning forehead as he rested it on his forearms.


    “Scamander!!” a voice boomed from outside. Too weak and ill to even try to reply, Theseus flicked his wand towards the door, unlocking it. Auror Yarrick stepped inside with another bundle of folders in his arms.


    “I changed my mind. These are a priority,” he said, not noticing his star employee's poorly state. He dropped the stack onto Theseus' spare chair.


    “Yes sir,” Theseus croaked, raising his head up.


    “Merlin, Scamander!” Yarrick exclaimed, getting a proper view of the man. “You look awful!”


    The glamour charm had clearly faded during his brief nap. He was full-on red-nosed and circled eyes complete with his fringe stuck to his forehead in a sweaty mess. He coughed lightly into his shoulder and then spoke to his boss.


    “Just a bit under the weather, sir,” he confirmed. “I'll take a potion soon.”


    “There's no potion that's going to cure that today,” Yarrick said. “I told you lot to quit spreading this thing around! Now pack up and Floo home before someone else gets it.”


    “Sir--” Theseus began.


    “That's an order, Scamander,” Yarrick added. “Home. Bed. Now.”


    Theseus tried to come up with an excuse, but his nose proved too great a distraction. He sniffled miserably, feeling the impending explosion of yet another sneeze. His breath hitched sporadically and he hovered with his hands in front of his face, waiting for the inevitable.




    It would not come. Yarrick furrowed his eyebrows, confused at the sight.


    “What's the matter, Scamander? Do I need to call the Knight Bus for you?”




    The sneeze tore out of him with a loud, throaty sound and he buried his nose in his sodden handkerchief. He'd need to perform a cleaning spell soon, he thought.


    “Bless you!” Yarrick exclaimed. “You should've said you were unwell. I wouldn't have made you sit here with all those files.”


    “They needed to get done,” Theseus said in a croaky voice. “I'll take a stack home.”


    “The files can wait. Go. I'll send an owl to check in on you tomorrow. Feel better, Mr. Scamander.”


    His boss shut the door softly, leaving Theseus alone in his office. Bed did sound like a very inviting idea. He shrugged his robes back on and gathered up his briefcase, sliding a few folders inside in case he felt well enough to do some work from bed. Grabbing his quill, he scratched out a quick message to Leta.


    Hello darling. Feeling rotten. Going home to bed. Stay away tonight and we'll do dinner when I'm well again. xo - T 


    He passed the note to an owl at the mail centre on his way towards the Ministry Floo access. Taking the Floo with a cold was risky; there was always the change of a congested voice or other symptom messing with a clear pronunciation of your intended location. Theseus took as deep a breath as his mucus-clogged system could manage and stepped into the flames, announcing his home. 


    He tumbled out of the fireplace into his cozy flat, coughing and sputtering.


    “Merlin!” he exclaimed wearily, sinking into his couch and steepling his hands over his mouth as the coughs kept coming. He flicked his wand towards the kitchen, summoning a glass of water, and drank it between hacks. 


    There was a sharp tap on the window and he looked up through watering eyes. Leta's owl was sitting impatiently on the sill. He opened the window with another flick of his wand and the owl fluttered inside, dropping the note onto his lap.


    Nice try. I'll be there at 6. Get comfortable. I'll bring some soup and tea and potions. - L

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    This is why I love Secret Santa so much! I get to enjoy brilliant stories written by brilliant people. I really really enjoyed this story ❤️

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    Ahhh! I have my last final tomorrow morning, but I just saw this and had to comment before I go to sleep. Thanks so much for giving me something to look forward to after my final! :)

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    Wow, it has been a crazy day and a half but I finally got to sit down and read this and I just... :drool:

    You managed to tick so many of my boxes with this fic. There's contagion, Theseus being a hypocritical sick boss and sending home his less sick colleague, him trying to tough it out and work through it. And all of it is. SO. GOOD. :heart:

    Again, thanks so much for my gift, Dusty!! Happy Holidays!

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    I have such a soft spot for Theseus and this fic made it even bigger! Absolutely amazing!

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