Warning: contains multiple beastialities, 'm'preg, and Gryffindors





Well, this is just brilliant.

Draco Malfoy ran as fast as his legs would carry him.  Tall blades of grass smacked him in the nose and tickled his bare feet.  The hum of the night reverberated around him: predators on the hunt, crickets fiddling, and the timpani of his heart beating against his breast.  Overhead, the moon glowed brightly, making the starry sky appear midnight blue. 

His ears strained and his nose ticked, but he couldn’t tell if he was being pursued.  His surprise toss over the gates of Hogwarts had probably set off all sorts of alarms.  His only recourse was to run and hope he wasn’t caught before finding a place to hide.

When Snape had said he was sending Draco away for safety’s sake, Draco had pictured polyjuice maitais on the Côte d’Azur or hot butterbeer glamours in Interlaken.  Having a horrifying, remembered spell shot at him, side-along apparating to Scotland, and then being pitched onto school grounds didn’t factor into any part of his imaginings.  Snape had obviously had one too many crucios to be thinking clearly. 

Luckily, Draco’s mother was safe already at Azkaban.  The conniving witch got herself arrested purposely by the Aurors in order to escape the Dark Lord’s wrath for Draco’s failure to kill Dumbledore himself.  Unless the Dark Lord won, which Draco now believed would be a Very Bad Thing, his parents would be protected in prison.  Knowing Narcissa, she would be out the instant the war ended and somehow schemed a way for Lucius to be released with her.

Draco would’ve joined them in Azkaban, if given half the chance, but medical care had been necessary after reporting to the Dark Lord, and once Snape had him up and walking again, he’d been ensorcelled and thrown onto his enemy’s doorstep.  Just because the Dark Lord was no longer on his Ten People I Admire (Even Though I’m Better Than Them) list, didn’t mean the Dumbledore Cheer Team would welcome him with open arms.  After all, it was he who caused Dumbledore’s death and as faux pas went, that took the biscuit.

(Except for the time mother had dressed him in summer whites after Ministry Day.  He’d never live that down.)

Draco heard the screech of an owl and squeaked in panic.  He craned his neck back, searching the air for the winged beast.  Not watching where he was running, he tripped in a divot in the grass and tumbled forward onto the muddy shore of Hogwart’s lake.  He found his footing and looked at his coat.  Mud spattered the glossy white fur.  He scowled unhappily.

The still surface of the lake reflected the moon, the starry sky, and Draco’s pointed features as he approached the edge of the water.  His gray eyes widened and his whiskers twitched in dismay.  He dipped his paw in the water and began washing the dirt from his muzzle.  Ferret or not, a Malfoy was never filthy.

A rippling of the water drew Draco’s attention.  The paddle shaped end of the giant squid’s tentacle broke the surface of the lake not too far away.  Draco wrinkled his nose in disgust, hesitated over dipping his paw in the water again, but resumed grooming.  He hoped he wasn’t spreading squid slime on his fur.

The shadow passing overhead was his only warning before he was seized around the middle and yanked into the air.  “Eeee!” he screamed.  The squid had him!  “Eeeeee!”

Draco clawed and bit at the rubbery tentacle holding him captive as he was lifted over the lake.  He froze when he met the single black-eyed stare of the squid.  The squid rolled in the water, its pointed head disappearing beneath the surface as its mouth emerged.  The bird-like beak snapped several times. 

“Kek-kek-kek-kek-kek!”  Draco’s fast, vehement panicked noises echoed across the water.  He was going to be eaten!  He emptied his bowels in fright and resumed his terrified struggling.  “Kek-kek-kek-kek-kek!”

The squid’s tentacle lowered, bringing Draco closer to death.  The shorter, blunt arms of the squid churned the water around it.  Draco’s eyes rolled wildly in their sockets.  “Kek-kek-kek-kek-ke—”

Draco’s voice cut out mid-kek when he felt a squid arm poking in a private place.  He stiffened, horrified.  The shovel-shaped tip of the arm left, then returned.  He could feel individual comb-like fingers bump against him as the arm slid inside.  It didn’t register that the squid was probing a hole that shouldn’t exist; he was too focused on the fact that the squid was molesting him.

“Meep,” he whimpered, and promptly passed out.

The next thing he knew, he was sailing through the air, the wind whistling past his ears.  He landed in the shallows with a splash and sucked a litre of water into his lungs.  He broke the surface, coughing and wheezing, and ferret-paddled to shore.  Hoisting himself onto the bank, he collapsed in a wet heap, feeling violated and getting muddy all over again.

A loud snuffling lifted his head and he blinked fast at the hot gust of breath against his face.  A deep woof made him rise and back unsteadily away, hissing at the large, scarred dog standing in front of him.  Puffy slashes of pink slashed across the dog’s black muzzle, head, and forelegs, and a deformed pink blob sat where his ear should’ve been.

“Wha’cher got there, Fang?”  Hagrid lumbered up behind the dog, and Draco didn’t know whether to be relieved or scared.  He continued backing away and hissing until his rear paws touched the water’s edge.  He shuddered and hunched, hackles raised.

“A ferret, eh?  Good boy.”  Hagrid tugged lightly at Fang’s one ear, bent and snagged Draco with surprising swiftness.

Being seized again sent Draco into panic once more.  He let out a loud cry, wiggled wildly in Hagrid’s grip, and bit down on a meaty finger.  Hagrid seemed unaffected as he held Draco in the air.  “Best check ‘n see iffin’ ‘e’s a ‘e or not, first,” Hagrid said, and brushed his thumb against the fur at Draco’s groin.

“Eeeee-kek-kek-kek-kek-kek!” Draco screamed and thrashed.  First, a squid molested him and now he was being felt up by a half-giant!

“It looks like yer a miss, not a fella,” Hagrid said, drawing his hand away.  He rubbed his thumb against his fingers, the moonlight catching a glistening slime on his digits.  “Hmm.  Seems the squid’s been busy again, too.  Sorry ‘bout that, girl.”

Girl?  Girl?  Draco stopped struggling and glared at Hagrid.  How insulting.  He knew he didn’t have the biggest wand, had suffered through the laughter because of it, but he most certainly wasn’t a girl.

“Lucky fer you, though, eh?” Hagrid said to Draco.  “Iffin’ you were a fella, I woulda broke yer neck and fed ya t’Witherwings.”

Just call him Dracana.


New wood patched singed holes in the roof and fresh paint coated portions of the walls in Hagrid’s hovel.  Scorch marks blackened the stone of the floo-connected fireplace.  A few pieces of knocked-together furniture and stacks of half-opened boxes labeled ‘To Hagrid’ filled the otherwise Spartan rooms.  Fang slept on a pile of rags near a hinged dog door, and other beasts of various shapes, sizes, and viciousness sat in cages in the groundskeeper’s shack.

Draco’s solitary cage, with its food and water dishes and a tea towel for a nest, balanced on a three-legged stool near Hagrid’s bed.  Whilst eating regular meals and having a seemingly safe place to stay was good, it didn’t counter the horror of getting front row seats for Hagrid’s slap and tickle sessions with Madame Maxime from Beauxbatons.

“Oh, Olympe.”

“Ooo, ‘Agrid.”

It was so disgusting that Draco couldn’t turn away, each time it happened.  He didn’t know who was hairier: Hagrid or Madame Maxime, or that halfbreeds could contort in those positions.  And he wasn’t turned on at all by the size of Hagrid’s prick or Madame Maxime’s melons. 

“Dook-dook-dook-dook.”  Draco rubbed his groin against his tea towel to scratch at his… um, fleas.  “Dook-dook-dook.”

The nights lengthened, snow piled on the ground outside, and Draco’s furry life took on a comfortable routine.  He ate, slept, taunted Fang and the other beasts, and explored the nooks and crannies of his new home when let out of his cage.  Hagrid left for periodic stretches of time and returned complaining about the war.  The Dark Lord held the wizarding world in a terrified grip, the other side waging a losing battle.  Hagrid mentioned Harry Potter’s name occasionally with a slight tone of contempt that caused Draco to smirk.  It seemed the Chosen Prat and his sidekicks went off repeatedly without telling anyone where they were going or what they were doing.  Apparently, it was a bone of contention with a majority of the Anti-Dark Lord followers.

As Hagrid nattered on about his latest trip to the City, Draco lifted his hind leg and licked at the swollen skin at his crotch.  The area felt hot.  He hoped he hadn’t gotten an infection from the tea towel from Madame Maxime’s last visit.

“Then ‘e goes, ‘I wish I could tell ya, Hagrid.  Here’s a new canary instead’,” Hagrid groused, clomping around the room, refilling water dishes.  The yellow canary rode on his head, twittering incessantly and streaking his hair with bird doo.  “Not that a canary isn’a lovely gift, but I’d rather be helpin’ than brushed aside.”

Hagrid reached Draco’s cage and opened the door.  Draco glanced at him, licking away, as Hagrid poured water in the water dish.  He was surprised when Hagrid picked him up next.  “Eee!”

“Easy, lil’ girl,” Hagrid said, exposing Draco to the light.  He massaged his thumb against Draco’s swollen groin area.  Draco would’ve bit him if it hadn’t felt kind of good.  “Looks like I need t’find a fella fer ya.”

“Ooo-dook-dook-dook-purrrr,” Draco replied, arching into Hagrid’s touch.

Hagrid chuckled and plopped Draco onto his broad shoulder, much to Draco’s disappointment.  The canary peered over the side of Hagrid’s head and twittered at Draco.  Draco shot the canary an evil look, climbed down Hagrid, and scampered off to explore the contents of the box Hagrid had brought home with him.

Ooh, shiny.

Two days later, Hagrid took away the scrying crystal Draco’d nicked and gave Draco a roommate, instead.

“Dook-dook-dook!” the brown and beige ferret said loudly and sniffed the air.  “Dook-dook!”

Just because Draco had been turned into a ferret, didn’t mean he automatically knew the language.  “Dook,” he said, and sniffed the air, too, then sneezed.  The other ferret had a very strong odor, heavy on the musk. 

Stinky came closer, sniffed Draco, and laughed excitedly in his ear.  “Dook!  Dook-dook-dook-dook!”

Draco winced at the noise.  He shot Stinky a withering glare and turned his back dismissively.   He yelped when he felt a nose nudge his posterior.  “Eeeep!”

“Dook-dook-dook!” Stinky exclaimed, spun in a spastic circle, and advanced on Draco.  His nose twitched rapidly as he sniffed the air some more.

Draco panicked, backing into a corner of the cage.  “Kek-kek-kek-kek.”

“Dook-dook!”  Stinky leapt.

“Eee-oof!”  Draco lost his breath when Stinky landed fully on him.  Stinky laughed and turned around and sniffed at Draco’s crotch. 

A pair of ferret balls rested on Draco’s nose.  Draco sniffed them before he could stop himself.  The musk was concentrated heaviest there and he felt his groin tingle in response.

Oh, no.  No, no, no, no, no.  A ferret was not turning him on.

“Dook-dook-dook-dook-dook-dook-dook,” Stinky chuckled, sniffing away.

“Kek-kek-kek!”  In a panic, Draco scrabbled against Stinky, throwing him off.  Leaping to his feet, Draco bolted, but there was nowhere to run in a cage.  Stinky gave merry chase, with a dooking jungle cry.

Stinky tackled Draco from behind and they tumbled around the bottom of the cage.  Draco ended up with his face in Stinky’s crotch again and he got a deep whiff of musk.  The tingle intensified, his lower body heating in the still swollen area.  “Dook-dook-dook,” he found himself saying before his eyes widened in dismay.

“Dook-dook!” Stinky exclaimed joyfully, jumped around, and clamped his teeth on the scruff of Draco’s neck. 

Draco tensed in fear, but Stinky only started pushing him around the cage.  The hold on his neck was too strong to break.  Draco slunk in circles, feeling the vibration of Stinky’s soft chuckles against his back, and gradually, he relaxed.  The musky scent permeated his fur, surrounding him.  His swollen groin began to itch and throb with heat.

By the time he felt the poke in the place he wasn’t supposed to have, the pleasure at having the itch scratched outweighed any lingering repulsion.  And really, what was there to be repulsed about?  It wasn’t like a squid was molesting him again.  Stinky was a ferret; Draco had the body of a ferret; and Merlin, that feels good.

Stinky rode him slowly, mouth clamped on the back of Draco’s neck, continuing their lazy circling around the bottom of the cage.  Draco lost himself in a haze of bliss.

But all good things eventually came to an end in thrusts and spurts, and Draco’s moan of dismay rose from his throat when Stinky released him.  He wobbled to his feet and faced Stinky.  “Dook,” he implored softly, hoping for more.

Stinky ignored him and continued licking at the pink protrusion of his penis.

Draco huffed at the dismissal, slinked under the tea towel in the corner, and settled in for a nice, long sulk.

When Draco eventually reemerged, Stinky was gone, but Hagrid brought him back later that night.  Stinky dooked and sniffed Draco’s crotch, wanting another go.  Draco gave it up readily and got shagged for much longer as a result.  The sex was better than what he’d had in the past, squid and human alike (though, he still had to put up with the laughter).

Hagrid took Stinky away again as soon as he’d finished, leaving Draco satiated and alone.  He snuggled in his nest and fell soundly asleep.


“Swellin’s gone,” Hagrid commented, rubbing the fur at Draco’s groin.  Draco peered over the hand around his middle, curving his lower body upwards to see.  Sure enough, everything looked normal again, for a ferret.  “Congratulations.”

Draco tilted his head curiously, wondering why Hagrid was congratulating him on being rid of an infection.  “Dook-dook.”

Hagrid scratched behind Draco’s ears with a smile, then shifted his gaze as an owl knocked on the window.  Hagrid set Draco on his shoulder.  Draco scrambled for protective cover under Hagrid’s beard.  “Hedwig!” Hagrid said, opening the window.  “Come in.  Come in.”

The snowy owl coasted through the window and landed on a perch.  The canary flapped down from the rafters, settled beside Hedwig, and whistled.  Hedwig barely gave him a glance and extended her leg to Hagrid.

“A letter from ‘Arry?”  Draco poked his nose out further from the bushy beard at Potter’s name.  “Seems Witherwings’s bin called inta service.”

Draco laughed at the bitterness he heard in Hagrid’s tone.

Hagrid sighed and tucked the letter in his pocket.  “Reckon I’d best get ‘im ready.”

He removed Draco from his beard and put him back in the cage.  The canary started singing the moment Hagrid walked out the door.  Hedwig looked startled, as the serenading canary snuggled against her side.  She inched down the perch.

So, Potter needs a hippogriff.  Draco caught his reflection in his water dish, twitched his whiskers at the mussed fur behind his ears, and groomed it smooth.  He contemplated what Potter would want with such a vicious beast.  Sharpbeak, or Buckshot, or whatever that creature had been called, had nearly torn Draco’s arm off back in Third Year.

Maybe that’s why Potter wanted Witherwings.  Perhaps Potter wanted to sic the beast on poor, hapless Death Eaters and watch them be ripped to shreds.  Potter was a bloodthirsty git, Draco remembered vividly.  He licked the spot where his human skin had been slashed.

“TaWEEEEEEEETadeedleeedleeedle-tweet-tweet-tweet,” the canary sang, causing Draco to turn and see the canary cozying against Hedwig again.

Hedwig tried to move further away, but her foot fell off the edge of the perch.  An expression of dismay crossed her face.

Hagrid came back inside, thumped the snow from his boots, and shut the door behind him.  The canary fell silent, but continued staring up at Hedwig with moony eyes.  Draco watched as Hagrid retrieved ink and a quill and scratched a reply on the back of Potter’s letter.  The letter was tied to Hedwig’s leg.  “Take tha’ back t’Arry.  Witherwings’ll be right behind ya.”

Visibly relieved, Hedwig launched immediately into the air.  Her wing knocked the canary from the perch and into an open bag of floo powder.  Hedwig’s hooting laugher followed her out the window.

Hagrid closed the window, and then came over to Draco’s cage.  Draco watched as he stuck a peg in the door lock.  Confused, Draco pressed his front paws against the door and rattled it slightly.  He glanced up concernedly at Hagrid.  Hagrid smiled sadly and rubbed one of Draco’s paws.  “No worries, girl.  I’m sure ‘Arry’ll letcha out once you’ve arrived.”

Arrived?  Draco had a sinking feeling in his stomach. 

The canary rose from the bag covered in powder and flew blindly into the fireplace.  “Tweet!” the canary exclaimed, and vanished in a green flash of smoke.


Hagrid placed Draco’s cage in a bag and, from what he could tell, tied it to Witherwings, which was rather stupid considering hippogriffs ate ferrets.   Draco spent the rocking, jostling trip burrowed under the tea towel, hoping not to become the mid-flight snack.  Witherwings landed, however, without Draco becoming a meal, but he stayed under the towel as a precaution until he heard disgustingly familiar voices.

“It’s really that far?”

“If my calculations are correct, then yes.”

“I reckon we should Apparate as close as we’re able before using Witherwings.”

“We’ll have to Apparate in stages, especially with a side-along.”

“We risk picking up a tail that way.”

“I don’t know if we have another choice,” Potter said.  Draco felt the cage dip and rise, and then Potter sounded like he was standing right beside him.  “Hello, boy.  Did you have a good flight?”

Witherwings made a noise that could have been an affirmative, or it could have been gas.  The cage moved again.  “Here, Ron.”

“Which is the bag with the girl ferret?” Weasley asked.

“I’d definitely say the one in your hand.”  Potter sounded sickened by something.

“I cannot believe Hagrid would think we’d condone breeding ferrets just to send them to their deaths,” Granger complained.  “It’s barbaric.”

“Witherwings has to eat,” Weasley said.  The cage thumped on the ground beneath Draco’s paws.

“I don’t care what Hagrid says, we won’t be feeding him any of the kits when they’re born.  Witherwings can have food bought from the grocers like the rest of us.”  Light appeared at the top of the bag and Draco backed further under the tea towel when he saw Granger’s bushy head of hair.  He heard the brush of heavy cloth against the side of the cage and the light grew brighter.

“I don’t see any ferret,” Weasley said.

“She’s probably afraid and hiding.”

Afraid?  Draco sniffed haughtily.  He wasn’t afraid of anything, especially not these three gits.  He poked his head out from beneath the tea towel, chin tilted imperiously.

“Eee!” he screamed in fright.  Granger and Weasley’s hideous faces were pressed up to cage.  They were horrifying!  He darted back under the tea towel.  “Kek-kek-kek-kek-kek.”

“Brilliant.”  Potter laughed, a light, girly sound that Draco didn’t think he’d ever heard before.  “Give the poor ferret a fit, why don’t you?”

“I’m sure she’s merely shaken from the trip,” Granger said snootily.  “I’ll fetch her some water.”

Draco peeked out from beneath the edge of the tea towel when he heard the cage door open.  Granger’s beefy hand reached inside.  “Kek-kek-kek.”

“I’m only getting your water dish, sweetie,” Granger’s tone became syrupy, “Would you like some food, too?  Huh, pretty girl?”

Draco saw Weasley mock-gagging behind her head.  He heard Potter stifle another laugh.  Granger’s face screwed up and she huffed as she withdrew her hand, holding the dishes.  She shut the cage door and glared at Weasley.

“What?” Weasley said, all innocent.

“You know exactly what, Ron,” Granger said, rising to her feet.  She shot a dark look at Potter and then stalked from the room.

“You’re going to get it now,” Potter said. 

Weasley smiled dreamily.  “I know.”

Draco retched.

“Oi, you don’t think the ferret’s sick, do you?” Weasley said, peering into the cage.  The tip of his big nose poked between the wires.  It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. “Yeow!”

“Dook-dook-dook-dook-dook,” Draco laughed and jumped in a circle.  Weasley clutched his hands to his bitten nose.

Potter laughed again, and Draco spun to a stop, facing him.  Arched attic beams and a straw covered floor filled the room.  Potter stood beside Witherwings, petting the beast’s gray-feathered neck.  He looked pasty and worn around the edges.  His smile split his chapped lips and gave him premature wrinkles.

“Sod off,” Weasley said, wiping his bloody nose with his sleeve.  “Hagrid didn’t say she was vicious.”

“You’re right.  His letter said she was very docile.”  Potter tilted his head, as Witherwings began combing his hair, the sharp beak sliding through the mid-length strands.  “Hermione’s probably spot on about her being shaken from the trip.”

“Yeah.”  Weasley leaned close to the cage again and retreated before Draco could take another bite.  “Uh, Harry.  Does this ferret look familiar to you?”

Potter glanced at Draco and his brow furrowed.  “Now that you mention it, yeah.”

Uh-oh.  Draco backed casually towards the tea towel, a thread of panic weaving through him.

“You don’t think Malfoy’s been turned into a ferret again?”  Weasley grinned maliciously.  “That would be wicked.”

“Kek-kek-kek,” Draco chattered fearfully.

Potter drew his wand in a blink and aimed it at Draco.  Finite.”

“Eeeee!”  Draco dove for his nest, but he was too late.  He felt the spell hit, the slight burn running along his skin.  He slammed his eyes shut and waited for the curses to be thrown.

A bird chirped.

“Guess not,” Potter said, and Draco opened an eye cautiously.  He was still at foot height. 

The spell to cancel other spells hadn’t worked.  Draco slumped in relief when he saw he had four paws and perfect white fur.  Either Snape was a brilliant caster, or Potter really sucked.  Neither boded well for Potter’s side of the war.

“She really does look like Malfoy did when Moody- I mean, Crouch cursed him, though.”  Potter walked around the cage and knelt beside Weasley.  He peered through the wires.  Draco stared back.  “She has Malfoy’s gray eyes and everything.”

Potter knew the colour of his eyes?

Weasley gave Potter a funny look.  “You know the colour of Malfoy’s eyes?”

“Well, yeah.  Don’t you?” Potter said.

“I don’t even know what colour Hermiones are.”

Potter’s cheeks pinked, making him splotchy.  “I reckon I’m just more observant than you.”

“Uh-huh.”  Weasley’s lips twitched.

Potter shoved his shoulder.  “Sod off.”

Weasley snickered, and Potter stuck his wand up his sleeve.  He opened the cage door, placed his hand on the lip, palm up, and wiggled his fingers.  “Come here, girl.”

Draco gave Potter’s fingers a glance and arched a ferrety brow.

“I guess that’s another reason we probably should’ve known it wasn’t Malfoy,” Weasley said. 

“What’s that?”

“She’s a chit,” Weasley said.  He rubbed his tooth-marked nose and winced.  “Even if she’s got the same attitude as Malfoy.”

“Hagrid could’ve been mistaken,” Potter said, wiggling his fingers again with a doe-eyed expression.

“Yeah, but I doubt Malfoy would’ve let himself get buggered by a ferret, with Hagrid watching.”

Draco cringed.

Weasley’s mouth stretched into another malicious grin.  “Then again, he might’ve, the freaky pillow-biter.”

Hey!

“A-hem.”  Potter cleared his throat and leveled a hard glare at Weasley.

Weasley put up his hands  “Not that all pillow-biters like getting off with ferrets.”

Potter snorted and shook his head.  He clucked his tongue and tried to get Draco to come to him again.

Draco sniffed in Potter’s direction.  His hand smelled like hippogriff, but that didn’t provide an answer as to what to do.  Since the finite spell hadn’t worked, Draco was safe in his ferret disguise.  That meant if he wanted, he could move about freely, perhaps find out what Potter and his chums were up to that had them at odds with Hagrid and the Ministry.  He only had to allow Potter to touch him.

“Come here, girl,” Potter said softly.

Draco slinked forward, sniffing reflexively.  He could smell broom polish under the hippogriff.  He supposed if he survived being molested by a squid, he could handle Potter touching him.  It wasn’t too much of a step down.

A slight curve rounded Potter’s lips, as Draco bumped Potter’s hand with his nose.  Potter opened his palm flat.  “You can come out,” he urged.  “Come on, Draco.”

Draco?

“Draco?” Weasley echoed his thoughts. 

Potter lifted a shoulder.  “She needs a name, and she does look like ferret Malfoy…”

Weasley eyed Potter like he was barmy.  “You’re barmy.”

“So I’ve been told.”  Potter grinned stupidly.  “Besides, Malfoy’d have a fit if he knew we’d named a ferret after him.”

Draco would, indeed, have a fit, if he weren’t the ferret in question.  And it was his given name.  He’d know if anyone was talking about him if they used it.

“Draco,” Potter sing-songed quietly.  The name sounded odd coming from his tongue.  “Come out, Draco.”

Draco decided to take the invitation and darted out of the cage.  Potter caught him around the middle with a laugh, as Granger re-entered the room.  “Hey, Hermione, meet Draco.” 

“Draco?” Granger set down the water and food dish on top of the cage. 

“Harry’s gone barmy,” Weasley said.

“Have not.”  Potter scratched Draco behind the ears.  Draco squirmed in his grip and pretended the petting didn’t feel good.  “She needed a name, so I gave her one.”

Granger bent and peered closer at Draco.  Draco hissed in her face.  “She does have Malfoy’s eye-colouring.”

“Ha!”

Weasley rolled his own eyes.  “Forgive me for not having stared long enough at the git to know his eye-colour, like you two apparently have.”  He paused, and then gave Granger a sharp look.   “Hey!  What are you staring at Malfoy’s eyes for?”

“It’s called being observant, Ron.”

“Ha!”

“Shuddup, you.”  Weasley knocked into Potter’s shoulder.  Potter merely grinned.

“Hmm.”  Granger leaned even closer to Draco.  “You don’t think…” She drew her wand.

Draco’s gaze widened in alarm.

Potter pulled Draco close, suddenly.  “We checked already.”

“You’re sure?” Granger said.  Potter nodded, as did Weasley.  Granger slid her wand back in her belt.  “All right.”

Draco was cuddled protectively against Potter’s chest, and he could feel the warmth radiating from beneath Potter’s robe.  Potter started petting him again.  He didn’t like it at all. 

“Dook-dook-purrrr.”

Okay, maybe he liked it a little.

“We should probably bring her stuff downstairs,” Potter said, rising to his feet, Draco cradled against him.  “Witherwings might get the cage open and Draco will end up hippogriff chow.”

“Where do you want to keep her?” Weasley said.  He picked up the cage, after Granger lifted the food and water dishes.

“My room, I guess,” Potter said.  “I can keep an eye on her at night, since you two are usually busy with each other.”

Granger coloured slightly.  Weasley waggled his ginger eyebrows.  Draco was going to be ill.

They headed out of the room, leaving Witherwings behind, and went down a set of stairs “How long before I need to start checking for babies?” Potter said.

Granger and Weasley were breeding?  Now, Draco really was going to be ill.

“In forty days,” Granger replied.  Draco curled his lips derisively.  It figured she would have it calculated out.

“Good.  We won’t have to worry about being gone, then.”   Potter nudged open a door along the dark corridor with his foot.  He carried Draco into a rather sad-looking bedroom.   A double bed with blue and gold threadbare curtains stood near a tall window.  A writing desk crammed a corner next to a wardrobe cabinet.  Clothing lay in piles on the carpeted floor.

“Where d’you want this, mate?” Weasley asked, raising the cage.

“On the night table, I reckon would be the best place,” Potter said.  He rubbed Draco’s ear between his thumb and forefinger.  Draco tried not to coo.

“If we’re still going tomorrow, we’d better get back to work,” Granger said, setting the water and food dishes inside the cage.

“Yeah.”  Potter came around side Granger and stuck Draco in the cage, too.  Draco harrumphed unhappily.  Potter didn’t care, closing the door.  “See you later, Draco.”

“It’s so weird to hear you say that name,” Weasley said, as they headed out of Potter’s bedroom.

Draco was left alone.  He glanced around at his new living quarters.  Shabby, but doable.  He drank some water, fixed his nest in the corner, and settled down to plot how use the situation to his best advantage.

After he took a little nap.


Potter stumbled into the room and collapsed face-first onto the bed.  A small, tacky-looking cup fell from his Quidditch-gloved fingers and settled against the pillow.

Draco pawed at the wire door, wanting out.  He’d been stuck in the cage and ignored since he’d arrived three days ago.  Potter had been in the room once, to sleep, and had mumbled a “Bye, Draco,” before leaving again.  Draco joined the ranks of people who were annoyed by Potter’s disappearances.

Potter lifted his head wearily and squinted in Draco’s direction.  His glasses rested crookedly on his nose.  “Oh.  Hi.”

‘Oh. Hi.’  That was it?  Draco’s nails clicked impatiently on the cage door.

Potter blew out a heavy breath of air, pushed himself to his knees, and straightened his glasses.  He inched to the side of the bed and opened the latch.  He caught Draco mid-leap from the cage to the bed.

“Tssss,” Draco said irritably, wiggling in Potter’s grasp.

Potter flopped back onto the bed, carrying Draco with him.  The cup rolled towards Potter, a wrought handle bumping against his shoulder.  He gave it a disgusted glower and knocked it onto the floor.  “Bloody Horcrux.”

Draco paused his escape attempt and looked in the direction the cup had fallen.  A Horcrux?  What was a Horcrux?

“It’s evil,” Potter said, making Draco wonder if he’d spoken human English until Potter tapped his nose in warning.  “Ferrets shouldn’t play with that cup.  No cup.”

Draco scowled.  As if he would listen to Potter.  That cup is mine.

“I probably shouldn’t leave it around where you can get to it, then, eh?”  Setting Draco on his chest, Potter pulled off his Quidditch gloves and threw them on the floor, as well.  He began petting Draco, a pensive expression settling on his face.

Draco kept still, lest Potter move the cup.  If Potter could be lulled into a sense of complacency, he’d forget about it being on the floor and Draco could nick it.  He only had to wait, and suffer through the petting while he did so.

“Dook-purrururr-dook-dook-dook.”

Who knew Potter could be so good with his hands?

Potter’s lips quirked and his eyes fell shut.  He seemed to relax more and more with each stroke of his fingers.  His hand smoothed the fur down Draco’s back over, and over, and over, and over.  Draco’s eyelids drooped.

Potter’s hand stilled, and Draco’s head jerked upright.  He blinked the drowsiness away.  Potter’s full lips parted and he let out a soft snore.

Potter was asleep.  Draco stared at his school nemesis.  Potter was completely vulnerable.  Great Salazar, the things Draco could do… if he were human.  Draco cursed.  Potter was at his mercy, and all Draco could do was possibly smother him with fur. 

Actually, that wasn’t a bad idea.

Draco slinked from under Potter’s heavy hand and crept cautiously forward.  Potter didn’t stir.  Draco’s paws slid against the curve of Potter’s cheeks and chin.  Potter continued snoring. 

Smirking, Draco curled his body and settled right over Potter’s nose and mouth.  The snore cut off.  He could feel Potter’s warm exhale against his underbelly.  He knew the next inhale would be blocked—

Ah-choo!

—but he hadn’t factored in his fur tickling Potter’s nostrils.

Potter’s head flung forward with the force of his sneeze, and Draco tumbled off his face with a squeak.  Potter swiped his hand under his nose, grunted, and rolled onto his side.  Draco scrambled not to be crushed and waited for the yelling or stuck back in his cage.

Neither happened.  Potter was still asleep.  His glasses magnified the fan of his eyelashes against his skin.

Draco sighed in relief and then perked up.  The cup!  He jumped from the bed and scurried around to where it lay.  The fading sunlight coming through the window glinted off the gold rim.  Ooh, shiny.

Draco stopped his approach abruptly, as a wave of unease washed over him.  He sniffed in the cup’s direction.  The fur on the back of his neck rose.  Lowering his body close to the ground, Draco crept nearer.  His discomfort grew the closer he got to the cup.  He sniffed again.  The cup smelled… evil.

Draco knew about dark arts objects, had a manor full of them, and was smart enough not to touch.  He caught sight of Potter’s Quidditch gloves.  Black streaks marred the brown leather of the palm and fingers of one glove.  Potter obviously knew not to touch, either, but that didn’t explain its presence.  What was Potter doing with a dark arts object?  Why would he risk whatever curse had been put on the cup? 

Draco recalled Hagrid’s griping on Potter’s unknown adventures.  If obtaining the cup was one of the results, what else had Potter collected?  And why?

Draco’s curiosity grew tenfold.  Spying on Potter took on a higher level of significance.  Messing about with dark arts items wasn’t something he’d pictured Saint Potter doing.  Potter was too noble to stoop to that level.  He might use his fists like a brute, but he always fought face-to-face.  It’s why Draco thought the Dark Lord would win; a Slytherin didn’t have qualms about cursing someone in the back.

What are you up to, Potter?  Draco glanced at Potter’s elbow, sticking out over the side of the bed.  The material of the robe was nearly worn through at the point.


Taking a final sniff of the cup, Draco went prowling in search of other dark arts objects.  His nose twitched rapidly as he sniffed his way through the room.  He found a lot of dirty laundry, empty chocolate frog packages, an uncapped inkbottle, which he knocked over, and a tattered copy of Quidditch Through the Ages.  Under the bed, a dust bunny bared its teeth at him, but no evil-smelling items (aside from Potter’s pants) crossed Draco’s sensitive nose.

Potter had mentioned removing the cup from the room, Draco recalled.  If he had a collection, it had to be kept somewhere.  Draco trotted across the bedroom to the door.  Potter hadn’t closed it completely and Draco was able to squeeze through the gap.

Shadows bathed the hallway outside Potter’s bedroom.  Draco remembered coming down a set of stairs from one direction, so he set off the opposite way.  Light shone from a cracked-open door further along the corridor.  He could hear Granger and Weasley’s voices coming from inside.

“I still think we should get rid of them now,” Weasley said, as Draco slunk into the room. 

Granger sat on the edge of a bed with a burgundy duvet.  The bedroom was larger than Potter’s and cleaner.  Twin wardrobe cabinets bookended a writing desk stacked with books and scrolls.  A lit candelabrum stood on the night table.  Burgundy draperies hung closed over the tall window across from the door.  A laundry basket stood in a corner, which Draco darted to hide behind.  “We’ve discussed this, Ron.  We don’t know if Voldemort—oh, honestly, stop flinching.  We don’t know if he’ll feel a backlash and figure out what we’re doing.”

“But what if something happens to us before we can destroy them?”  Weasley pulled his robe off over his head and tossed it towards the laundry basket.   It landed partially in the basket, partially on Draco’s head, blinding him.

“Fred and George know the Horcruxes must be destroyed,” Granger said.  “It’s pointless to worry otherwise.  Nothing can be done until all of them are found, and we’re still missing one.”

There was that word again: Horcrux.  Draco wormed from beneath Weasley’s smelly robe and promptly wished he hadn’t, when he saw the pale, freckled globes of Weasley’s arse. 


Weasley picked up his pants and threw them over his shoulder.  They landed right in front of Draco.  Draco repressed a gag and retreated back behind the basket.

“Don’t remind me,” Weasley said.  “I was nearly toast getting Helga Hufflepuff’s cup.  What’s gonna happen when we go after the last one?  Me becoming jam, is what.”

Draco’s ears flickered.  The evil cup in Potter’s room had belonged to Helga Hufflepuff?

“Good thing I love jam, then,” Granger said.

“Oh, really?”

“Mm-hmm.  Especially brave, heroic jam.”

“And where do you like spreading this jam?”

“Lock the door and I’ll show you.”

Draco’s stomach churned in dread.  Did he just hear what he thought he’d heard?   Creeping forward, he peeked from behind the basket.

A naked Weasley sauntered from the door to the bed, his burgeoning erection swinging with each step.  Draco’s stared in revulsion as Weasley and Granger began devouring each other’s faces.  He glanced at the door, hoping to escape, only to see it closed completely.  He was trapped.

Two thumps drew Draco’s attention back to the horror unfolding in front of him.  Weasley had dropped to his knees in front of Granger.  He grinned, lifted the hem of her robe, and ducked his head beneath it.  A moment later, a pair of knickers sailed in Draco’s direction.  They landed on top of Weasley’s discarded pants.

Draco spun around and dove back under the robe.  He heard Granger gasp, followed by moaning and slurping, and he tried covering his ears with his paws.  It didn’t work.  Curled in a ball with his eyes tightly shut, he listened to Weasley and Granger rutting and wished he were still with the Dark Lord; anything done to him would’ve been less torturous than this.


“Mornin', Harry.”

“Good morning.  Have you guys seen—”

“Kekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkekkek…”

“Never mind.”  Draco heard Potter say behind him, as he bolted down the hallway, getting as far away from that bedroom as fast as he could run.  The portraits along the corridor craned their necks, watching as he flew past.  He hit the edge of a set of stairs, took a tumble, but caught his footing and kept on running.

“Eee!” he squawked, when a strong hand grasped him abruptly about the middle.

“Hey, there,” Potter said, tucking his wand in his belt.  “Where d’you think you’re going?”

“Kek-kek-kek-kek-kek-kek-kek!” Draco stated, stricken by what he’d been forced to endure.

“Sh-sh-sh.”  He was cradled against a solid chest that smelt of pine and laundry soap.  “It’s all right, lovely one.  I won’t let you get locked in Ron’s room again.”

Potter petted Draco soothingly.  Draco buried his nose in the crook of Potter’s elbow and let himself be coddled.  After the horror of the prior evening, he deserved it.


Breakfast included nibblings of biscuits, which was terrible for his figure but much tastier than dry ferret kibble, and bits of toast with butter.  Draco sat comfy in the sling the robe made between Potter’s thighs and ate what was fed to him, while Potter read the Daily Prophet and made disgusted comments about it.

“Bloody Rita Skeeter,” Potter muttered.  “It’s not only my war.”

They sat in a library, books piled on every surface available and stacked waist-height on the floor.  Bookstones held open scrolls of note parchments on the triangular table, with three chairs pulled around, in the middle of the room.  Empty inkbottles, brittle quills, and odd-looking nubs of painted wood were scattered about the tabletop.

“Harry,” Granger’s grating voice came from the doorway.  She stood with her hands on her wide hips.  “Is that all you’re having for breakfast?”

Potter glanced at the nearly empty plate of bread and biscuits near his elbow.  “Er, yes?”

Granger shook her head.  “You really should eat healthier.  It’s no wonder you were so tired yesterday.”

“Being chased around by a hungry manticore might’ve been more the culprit,” Potter said wryly.

Draco peered up questioningly at Potter.  Manticore?  What manticore?

“You were riding Witherwings,” Granger pointed out.

“You try riding a hippogriff upside down while dodging certain death and see how winded you are.”

Draco made a sound of contempt.  Upside down on a hippogriff?  He didn’t believe it for a second. 

“You were not upside down.  You would’ve been crushed,” Granger said, repeating Draco’s thoughts.

“Nearly, then,” Potter said.  “I couldn’t have reached the cup otherwise.”

Granger pursed her lips, but didn’t comment on it anymore.  She glanced around, instead.  “Where is the cup?”

“In my room.”

Harry,” Granger said in the same exasperated tone as previously.  Potter merely grinned.  She threw her hands in the air and clomped off.

Weasley entered the library shortly thereafter, with a bag of cockroach clusters held to his face like a horse’s feedbag.  “What’s Hermione up-in-arms about?”

“I left the Hufflepuff cup in my room, instead of putting it away,” Potter said.

“Ah.”  Weasley sprawled, limbs akimbo, in one of the chairs at the table.  “You’re going to get lectured again.”

“Since when does Hermione not lecture?” Potter asked, with a playful tilt of his head.

“I can answer that,” Weasley replied, lasciviousness dripping from his tone.


Draco dry-heaved.

“Whas’up wit’da ferret?” Weasley said, after dumping cockroach clusters in his mouth.

“I think you and Hermione traumatized her last night.”  Potter ran his palm comfortingly over Draco’s fur.  “She was locked in your room.  Who knows what she saw?”

Weasley cringed.  “The thought of anyone named Draco seeing Hermione and me getting off is sort of disgusting.”

Yes, just sort of.  Draco tasted bile in his throat.

“Imagine how she feels.”  Potter scooped Draco up and held him face-to-face.  “Isn’t that right, my lovely one?  Did Ron’s big, freckled prick scare you?”

Draco was certain he turned a sickly green.

“How do you know I have freckles?  I thought you promised not to look,” Weasley said, covering his lap with the bag of cockroach clusters.

                       

“You’ve waved that fluglehorn around the dorm since First Year.”  Potter smirked, still looking at Draco.  “It’s probably what made me gay.”

Draco blinked.  Potter was gay?

“Harry!” Weasley exclaimed.

Potter laughed.  “You know it’s not true, Ron.  I didn’t even figure it out until last Christmas, remember?”  He set Draco back down in his lap.

Draco glanced at the vee of Potter’s thighs, his heart oddly racing.  Potter was gay?  No wonder he handled a broom so well.

Weasley chuckled and raised the bag of cockroach clusters to his mouth again.  “You thought you were cursed.  Ginny wished you were cursed.”

Potter shrugged.  “Better I realized it before things progressed between us.”

“Ron, will you open the cache, please?” Granger said, as she came into the library, carrying the gold Hufflepuff cup with a Gryffindor scarf.

Weasley dumped the cockroach clusters on the table and leapt to his feet.  Over Potter’s leg, Draco saw Weasley pull a series of tomes partway off three separate bookshelves.  A loud click sounded, and Weasley pushed up an entire shelf, revealing a secret cache.  The shadows prevented Draco from seeing what else was hidden within, as Granger stuck the cup inside.

“Fascinating,” Granger murmured, examining the black residue marring the scarf.

Weasley frowned.  “Is that my scarf?”

Potter nicked a cockroach cluster, broke off a leg, and offered it to Draco.  Draco ate it readily.  “The last Horcrux: we’re certain it’s made of bronze?”

“No, but it makes the most sense,” Granger said, tossing the scarf over the back of a chair before taking a seat.  “Bronze, silver, and gold are the most commonly used precious metals, and we already have a silver piece and now a gold piece.”

“Riddle’s diary was paper and the Gaunt ring had a stone,” Potter said, stroking Draco’s head.  “And the Gryffindor—”

“We have to start somewhere, Harry,” Granger interrupted.  “Searching for one item embossed with Rowena Ravenclaw’s emblem will be difficult enough, as it is.”

“True.”  Potter sighed and popped the remaining cockroach cluster into his mouth.


After righting the bookshelf, Weasley straddled his chair.  “It’s back to work, then.”

Draco continued sitting in Potter’s lap, as what appeared to be revision got underway.  Apparently, collecting these Horcruxes, which were somehow tied to the Dark Lord, was what Potter and his mates had been doing all these months.  Draco wished he could ask questions; like, how were the Horcruxes actually connected to the Dark Lord?  How many were there?  Why did they need to be destroyed?  How could they spend hours reading through books without dying from boredom?  Draco had fallen asleep just thinking about it.

Ron-ALD!”

“Eee!”  BANG. 

“Draco, are you all right?”  Potter lifted Draco from his lap and gently touched where he’d banged his head on the underside of the table.  The screeching voice had startled him awake.  He hissed at Potter, embarrassed and sore from the smacking.  Potter had the audacity to chuckle.

“You’re closer to your namesake than I realized,” he said.

Draco bit him.

“I’d better go and see what Mum wants now.”  Weasley pushed back from the table and muttered as he left the room, “Too bad someone won’t bother to recast the fidelis charm and then conveniently forget to tell her where I am.”

“Ron does have somewhat of a point,” Granger said, lifting her gaze from the open text in front of her.  We've asked you time and again and you still haven't given a decent answer: why haven’t you recast the fidelis charm?  Anyone who knows about you inheriting this house can come and go as they please.  Although, they have respected your privacy.”

Potter tugged Draco off his thumb.  “It’s not worth the bother.”  He grimaced at the tooth marks.

“Isn’t it?  Or are you still hoping someone in particular will show up?”

Potter said nothing.  Draco stopped wiggling for freedom, intrigued.

“Harry,” Granger said, not unkindly, “he would’ve appeared by now, if he were going to do something.”

“That’s what he’d want you to think, lulling you into a sense of complacency and then—” Potter slammed his fist on the table, causing both Draco and Granger to start,  “—avada kedavra!”

“Harry—”

Potter shoved back from the table.  “I need a break.”  Carrying Draco, he stalked out of the library. 

Upstairs, Potter dropped Draco on the bed, his bedroom door closing with a resounding SLAM.  Draco circled nervously, watching as a fuming Potter stomped around picking up laundry from the floor and shoving it into a basket unearthed in the corner.  It would be amusing, that Potter relieved his anger by cleaning, if the thunderous expression on his face wasn’t quite so scary and the furniture wasn’t vibrating from displaced magic.

Abruptly, as if someone had cast a disabling spell on him, Potter collapsed on the floor in front of the overflowing laundry basket.  He removed his glasses and rubbed his forehead irritably.  The furniture came to a rest.

Draco settled at the edge of the bed, chin on his paws, eyeing Potter warily.  Potter slipped his glasses back on, sighed heavily, and noticed Draco.  He smiled wearily and crawled across the floor until he was kneeling beside the bed.  “Sorry, pretty girl.  Talk about Snape makes me a bit stroppy.”

Draco tilted his head contemplatively.  Obviously, Potter hadn’t taken Dumbledore’s death well.  And all that anger could’ve been about him if he’d completed his task.

Potter stroked his hand down Draco’s back.  “But don’t worry, lovely; you may be named after Malfoy, but Snape’s the only one I want dead.”

Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t such a bad thing that he’d failed.


“Chapter Six: The Language of Ferrets,” Potter said, taking another biscuit from the plate balance on his stomach.  He lay in bed, book propped against his upraised knees, with Draco curled beside his head on the pillow.  He bit a chunk out of the biscuit and then offered a bite to Draco.  Delicious.

It had become a routine between them, one that Draco refused to admit he enjoyed.  Every evening after supper, Potter would retreat to his room with Draco and a plate of nibblies, and they’d laze about on the bed reading.  Usually, Potter would thumb through Quidditch Through the Ages and Draco would read silently over his shoulder, but he’d recently taken up a pet care book and read parts of it out loud, as if Draco would understand he was reading about him.  It was rather endearing, in a sickeningly sweet way, because normal ferrets wouldn’t have a clue what Potter was actually saying.  Draco did, though, and the timbre of Potter’s voice was pleasant enough that Draco didn’t try and shut him up.

“Ferrets,” Potter read, “communicate with a variety of noises, the two primary ones being: kekking and dooking.”  He took another bite of biscuit, his mouth overlapping where Draco’s had been.  Kekking occurs when the ferret is panicked, frightened, in pain, or upset.  The faster the kek-kek-kek sounds, the more intense the emotion.”

Draco watched Potter’s tongue dart out and lick crumbs from his lips.  He missed a spot at the corner of his mouth, closest to Draco.  Dooking is the opposite,” Potter continued.  “Ferrets make a dook-dook-dook sound when they are excited, happy or content, or being playful.  Many people say it sounds like the ferret is laughing; a deep chuckling coming from their throats.”

Draco stretched and licked up the crumbs.  Potter turned his head slightly and smiled.  “Are you giving me kisses, pretty one?”

Draco reared his head back, eyes widening.  He hadn’t even realized… He’d only been thinking about the delectable biscuit!  Really!

Potter chuckled and scratched Draco behind the ears.  “You were probably just after biscuit crumbs.”

Yes!  Biscuit crumbs!   Draco hadn’t been kissing Potter.  The accusation was completely unfounded.  The mere thought of it made his stomach flutter uneasily.

Potter picked up the half-eaten biscuit from the plate and offered it to Draco.  “Here you are, lovely.  It’s no surprise you’re hungry.”

The biscuit scent assailed Draco’s nostrils and he had no choice but to take it.  He carefully didn’t touch Potter’s fingers with his mouth in any way.

Potter went back to reading, but Draco only half-listened.  He became too aware of the shape of Potter’s lips as he formed words and ate biscuits.

The chapter ended eventually, and Potter set aside the book and plate of biscuits.  He sat up, swung his legs of the side of the bed, knocking a few stray crumbs from his robe.  After toeing off his trainers, he gave Draco a pat and stood.  “I’ll be back.”

Draco watched Potter leave the room, closing the door behind him.  His gaze swung to the leftover biscuits.  His heavy body depressed the pillow as he padded over to the night table.  He really shouldn’t have any more.  Potter ate sweets and biscuits constantly and always fed Draco some, too.  But while Potter remained fit, Draco had gotten fat, which was completely unfair.  His rounded belly hung obscenely, covered by thinning white fur, as he stretched across the gap between the bed and night table.

“Rworrrrrr.”

Draco stilled mid-biscuit nicking and looked towards the sound.  The bedroom door stood partway open.  Granger’s orange, flat-faced monster crouched on the threshold, an evil gleam in its beady eyes.

In the four weeks Draco had been living with Potter, he’d run into Crookshanks once before on his own while exploring the house.  He hadn’t left Potter’s sight since, unless he was locked up in the bedroom.  But the door must not have been closed completely, and now Draco stood as tender prey to a kneazle.

“KEK-KEK-KEK-KEK-KEK-KEK-KEK!” Draco shouted in panic and shoved away from the night table, as Crookshanks came bounding into the room.  He dove for cover beneath the duvet.  “KEK-KEK-KEK-KEK-KEK!”

Scrambling towards the bottom of the bed, his body trembled in fear.  The weight of Crookshanks landing on the mattress made him scream in fright.  “EEEEEEE!”

“Rwarrr!” Crookshanks pounced on his back, flattening him beneath the duvet.  He screamed and cried and fought to get free.  He lost control of his facilities.  He didn’t want to die. 

Please, help me!  Potter!  Where was the hero when you needed him?  He’d give Potter a million kisses if the prat would save him.  HARRRYYYYYY!

“Crookshanks!” 

The kneazle screeched and its weight vanished suddenly.  The door slammed, and Draco heard the wonderful sound of Potter’s fearful voice.  “Draco!  Draco, where are you?”

“Kek-kek!” Draco cried.  The duvet flew off the bed and Draco was caught up against Potter’s bare chest immediately.  He tried to stop shaking as Potter cuddled him close.

“Are you okay, Draco?”  Potter’s heart hammered as fast as Draco’s beneath his breast.  “Did Crookshanks hurt you?”

Draco buried his face in the curve of Potter’s elbow.  “Kek.”

“Let me see.”  Potter ruffled Draco’s fur, poking him in a few places, before grasping him beneath the arms and lifting him in the air.  Draco hung from Potter’s hand, belly exposed, as Potter peered closely at him.  “There are no scratches.  Good thing.  Hermione would be short one kneazle if there were.”

Craning forward, Draco licked Potter’s nose.  One down…

Potter’s face slid into a smile.  “I know there aren’t any crumbs this time.”

Draco hoped his fur hid his heated cheeks.

Potter bussed a kiss to the top of his head.  “My pretty, lovely girl.”  He set an embarrassed Draco down on the pillow, retrieved his wand from the night table, and spot-cleaned the bottom of the mattress.

Draco blamed his near-death experience for his continued tremors as he watched Potter root through the wardrobe.  He hadn’t noticed, until now, that Potter wore only a striped towel around his waist.  Skin the color of a fish-belly stretched taut across broad shoulders and a solid chest.  A black trail of hair arrowed downward from Potter’s navel beneath the edge of the towel.  Strong arm and calf muscles flexed and bulged with every move.

He’d seen Potter disrobed on a fairly regular basis since arriving.  He shifted on the pillow, dooked softly, and set his chin on his paws with an unhappy sigh.  Witnessing Potter in a state of undress was the absolute worst thing he’d been forced to endure since becoming a ferret.

Because while Weasley and Granger rutting had turned his stomach, Potter turned him on.


Draco had to use the toilet desperately, but for some reason he couldn’t go.  Modesty went only so far in a wire cage and he’d gotten used to having an audience.  Besides which, he was alone.  Potter and the other two had gone to the Weasleys, leaving Draco locked in Potter’s bedroom.

Draco waddled uncomfortably to the laundry basket in the corner and climbed inside with the dirty clothes.  The weave of cloth rubbed against his rows of nipples and he winced at their sensitivity.  His fur had gotten very thin on his belly and the dark protrusions had ached all week.  Licking soothed them slightly, but rubbing against them hurt.  He wished he could ask Potter what was wrong with him, but his one attempt at creative pantomime had resulted in Potter giving him multiple belly kisses.  After that, Draco had been so flustered he’d hid in his cage the rest of the day.

Draco circled and scratched in the dirty clothes pile, making a nest.  Potter’s scent surrounded him, a mixture of pine soap and sweat and maleness.  It comforted him in a way that had to be because of his ferret senses, just like his female hormones caused his attraction for Potter and had nothing to do with being gay.  He settled down, stretched out on his side, and tried to relax enough that he could use the toilet.

He hadn’t expected to start going suddenly.  He didn’t even get a chance to move when wetness gushed from between his legs.  And he wasn’t finished.  His back cramped and pressure built intensely at his crotch.  This was going to be messy.  Potter was going to throw a strop for soiling his ratty robes.

There was no stopping now, though.  Draco bore down and a pain not unlike the slashing spell (for which he still had to get Potter back) tore at his guts.  Agony flared white-hot at his groin, and he whimpered as he expelled.

Panting harshly, his guts still ripping apart inside, he pried open his eyes as a bitter stench assaulted his nose.  “Kek-kek.”  His heart leapt to his throat in panic, blocking further sound.  Millimeters from his groin lay a bloody, pinkish blob the size of a galleon.  He’d shat out an organ!

Agony speared his groin again and he curled with a choked cry.  He pushed another organ from his body, unable to stop.  He sobbed in despair.  He’d been cursed!  He was expelling his innards and Potter wasn’t home to save him. 

His lower body seized again in pain and he knew this was the end.  He was going to die.  Goodbye, Harry.  I lo—

“Cheep.”

Did his pancreas just cheep at him?

Draco opened an eye and stared at the organ.  The organ cheeped.  “Cheep-cheep-cheep.”

A third organ joined the first two before Draco was able to sniff at the cheeping blob.  The bitter odor made his eyes water further.  The second organ started cheeping in counterpoint to the first, waving its legs.  Since when did organs have mouths and legs?  And why did they sound like birds?  The pain must’ve made him delusional.  He shifted, curving his body towards his groin, to smell the other two expelled. 

“Eep,” he gasped, startled, when the first organ latched onto his nipple near his lower body and began sucking.  Pleasant warmth built around that nipple, soothing the sensitivity of the dark teat.  As he continued staring at the organ, a face formed behind the bloody goo covering it.

He looked at the second organ, then the third, as pressure built in his groin again.  Faces appeared where before he’d seen none in his panic.  And the legs – the organs each had five.  Or rather, four legs and a tail.

Shocked, Draco blinked several times and then swiped his tongue across one of the faces.  He could now see a nose, a mouth, two closed eyes and silly-looking ears.  He hadn’t shat out any organs; he’d shat out three animals!

His body seized in pain.

Four animals!

Fine hairs tickled his tongue as he licked one of the animals clean.  The bloody goo didn’t taste much like anything.  The pinkish blob became distinguishable as a faintly haired, cheeping critter that suddenly reminded Draco of one of the pictures he’d seen in Potter’s ferret pet care book.  The picture labeled: ‘Newborn Kit’.

Draco felt light-headed.  The extreme pressure returned, and he lifted his leg.  A small, bloody muzzle poked out from his female bits, not his arsehole.  He lowered his leg, head spinning.  He wasn’t going to the toilet; he was giving birth.

Draco might have passed out, if kit number five didn’t demand entry into the world.  Pain seared his loins, and he would laugh insanely if it hadn’t hurt so badly.  He was having babies!

Soon, four kits cheeped for attention, while a fifth sucked on Draco’s tit.  Draco’s mind blanked in hysteria.  He felt detached, like he was watching himself from a distance as he guided all the kits to individual nipples and, while they were sucking, cleaned them with his tongue.

“Oh, Draco.”  Draco lifted his glassy eyes and found Potter kneeling beside the laundry basket.  He hadn’t heard Potter come into the bedroom.  “How brilliant.  You’re a mum.”

“Dook,” Draco said dazedly, the taste of afterbirth lingering in his mouth.

“They’re tiny.”  Potter’s tone was filled with awe.  He reached out to touch and hesitated.  “May I?”

Draco butted his nose against Potter’s fingers.  Potter caressed him behind the ears, and then stroked a gentle finger along one of the kit’s backs.  He thought he saw tears in Potter’s eyes.  “Precious.  Oh, Draco, they’re so precious.  Look what you did.”

Warmth filled Draco’s belly, radiating outwards where the kits nursed.  The fuzz faded from his mind, as he looked at the five baby ferrets that had come from inside of him.  Tiny paws kneaded him, while little mouths suckled with barely audible happy noises.  They squirmed slightly, tails coated with thin white fur twining together. 

“It’s hard to believe you made them from nothing,” Potter whispered roughly, carefully petting another kit.  “A completely different kind of magic that I could never master.”

Pride swelled in Draco.  He’d done something Potter couldn’t!

Potter cleared his throat, pushed up his glasses, and wiped his eyes.  He gave Draco an emotional smile and scratched him under the ear.  “Congratulations, mum.”

Draco leaned into the touch.  “Dook-purr-dook-dook.”

Potter laughed softly, kissed him on the head, and Draco felt like he’d done the most brilliant thing in the world.

His gaze shifted back to the kits nursing contentedly.

Maybe he had.


The kits grew extremely fast, becoming tea cake-sized, gray poufballs just outside of a week.  They primarily ate and slept, though hardly all at the same time, making it difficult for Draco to move around.  Luckily, Potter doted on them as if he were the father, spelling away the messes in the laundry basket, feeding Draco by hand, and appearing anytime there was a noise.

(The cheeping turned out to be a normal sound for newborn kits, much to Draco’s relief.  He worried enough that they were going to sprout squid tentacles, without the added concern that he’d been molested by the canary at Hagrid’s when he wasn’t looking.)

Potter lay on the carpet in front of the basket, dressed solely in pyjama bottoms, much to Draco’s deligh— er, consternation.  Hand propping his head, a plate of biscuits near the curve of his belly, Potter read from a book spread flat on the floor before him, occasionally commenting on the text.

“Rowena used too many big words,” Potter grumbled.  “‘Your loquaciousness titillates.’  What the bloody hell does that mean?”

It means Rowena Ravenclaw could be seduced by words.  Unsurprising, considering her braininess.  Draco bet she fell for Slytherin in her time, as future Slytherin House members were master word manipulators.

“What ever happened to a simple ‘I fancy you’?” Potter said.  “Or poetry.  Poetry is nice.  ‘There lived a wizard in Bond, who had a really big wand…’”  Potter grinned suddenly.  “Well, maybe not that one, unless you want to get slapped.”

Draco snorted, nosing his sleeping kit away from his tender nipple.  Of course Potter would like limericks, the lowest of lowbrow poetry.

“Sending love letters seems cowardly, though.”  Potter took a bite of biscuit, sending crumbs raining down on the floor.  “Like you’re not man enough to say your feelings to their face.”

Miracle of miracles, all the kits were asleep simultaneously.  Draco took advantage of the reprieve and slinked from the laundry basket to stretch his legs.  He felt the pull to return immediately, the moment his paws touched the carpet.  He glanced back at his kits, making sure they were safe and didn’t need him.

“Eep!” he squeaked in surprise, when Potter scooped him up.  He gave Potter a dirty look, as Potter rolled onto his back and held Draco over his head.  It would serve the git right if Draco pissed on his face.

“I love you, Draco.”

Draco froze.

“See, it’s not that difficult,” Potter said, or something like it.  Draco was finding it hard to hear over the pounding of his heart.

Potter set Draco on his bare chest and began petting him.  He lifted his head, a frown marring his brow.  “Draco, what’s wrong?  You’re trembling.”

Draco stared gobsmacked at Potter, heart racing, his stomach fluttering madly. 

“Draco?”

Harry… loves me?

Potter sat up, cradling Draco in his arms, fingers moving concernedly over Draco’s body.  “What is it?  Are you hurt?”  Green eyes peered anxiously at him from behind thick glasses.

Draco rose on shaky hind legs, balancing his front paws on Potter’s chest, and licked a kiss on Potter’s lips.  He dropped immediately and buried his burning face in the crook of Potter’s elbow.

Potter’s stupid laugh filled the air.  He scratched Draco behind the ears.  “Sweet girl.”

“Cheep-cheep.”

The calling of a kit had Draco thanking Merlin and scrambling for the safety of the laundry basket.  He found the one who’d woken, guided her to a nipple, and half-hid behind the pile of sleeping kits, flustered and self-conscious.

Potter flopped back on the floor, ate another biscuit, and returned to his reading, uncaring that he’d just turned Draco’s world upside down.


“Honk-honk-hooonnnk.”

Draco huffed and chased after the kit who’d escaped from the nest.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw another slipping away with joyful honking.  He cursed and longed for the days when they were still helpless and stayed put.

Harried, Draco seized his son by the scruff of his neck and carried him back to the laundry basket.  A chorus of honking greeted his return and Draco wanted to cover his ears.  It was like living in a park filled with geese.  Potter had mentioned, when the sweet cheeping gave way to this cacophony, that the kits would stop honking around eight weeks of age, when they’d be considered fully grown.

Three more weeks, Draco thought, wincing at a particularly off-key honk.  It seemed like a very long ways away.

“Honk-honk-honk-honnnnk.”

Draco rubbed his face against his paw, and then went after his daughter.  He’d had four girls, one boy, and one giant headache since they’d become mobile.  He knew why some animals ate their young.

“Hooeeeenk!”  Draco’s mouth closed over the back of his daughter’s neck and he carted her to the nest.  His nipples ached, indicating it was lunchtime.  Though they ate dry ferret kibble, they weren’t fully weaned.  He had to feed them all at once now, so he’d be free to rescue his kits when they left the laundry basket to play.  They managed to find trouble even in a ferret-proofed bedroom.

Draco circled around the squirming, honking bunch, getting their attention, then laid down on his side.  The kits attacked the rows of exposed nipples with ravenous hunger.  Draco winced as their sharp, little teeth nicked him.  You’d think I was starving them to death.

Draco swept his gaze over the suckling kits and pleasant warmth washed through him.  He licked the nearest one.  Every time he fed them, he was reminded that he’d made them.  His milk nourished five living beings that came from inside his belly, created from nothing but a really good, pervy shag.  My beautiful babies.

Potter thought they were beautiful, too, which proved he wasn’t blind despite his glasses.  But he’d grown annoying, with all his love and adoration of the kits, petting them, playing with them, giving them Draco’s kisses – not that Draco wanted kisses anymore.  Kissing reminded Draco that Potter loved him and that made his stomach nervous.  He didn’t know what to do about the declaration, so he threw his whole self into being the best mother ever and sometimes sneaked into Potter’s bed and cuddled with him as he slept.

Idiot Potter, with his stupid hair and stupid smile and stupid love—

SMASH.

On the other side of the bed, the window exploded inward and shards of glass rained down.  Draco screeched in surprise and panic and jumped to his paws.  The kits dangled partially under him, protected by his body.  Glass thumped against his back and head, cutting him in spots, his fur protecting him otherwise.

EEEEEYYAAAAA.”  A predator’s call reverberated against the walls and struck Draco with pure terror.  His gaze shot upwards and his heart leapt to his throat.  A huge golden eagle soared through the broken window and circled the bedroom.

Draco shook his body hard, dislodging the kits painfully from his nipples, and dove for the edge of the basket.  He snagged the hem of a robe and pulled hard and fast.

“Honk!” the kits squawked, as Draco yanked the robe over them.  The mound they made wiggled and writhed.  “Honk!”

Draco leapt on top of his kits, shielding them, and hissed at the eagle, his teeth bared and hackles raised.  His body shook with fear and fury, with his kits endangered.

Thick brown and golden feathers coated the eagle.  Yellow-bronze eyes glinted in the sunlight streaming through the broken window. The eagle swooped down, hooked claws extended.  Draco didn’t want it near his kits and launched himself at the eagle with a screech.  EEEEEEEEE!

Sharp talons scraped his sides and crushed his body as he was caught.  He bit down on the eagle’s leg, his teeth piercing rough flesh.  The eagle squeezed him tighter and flapped towards the window.

Draco stopped fighting abruptly.  Wheezing, he mentally urged on the eagle.  Yes.  Take me.  Leave my babies alone.

“Honk-honk!” he could hear their cries, and blew them silent kisses goodbye.  A golden feather drifted towards the ground.

The bedroom door slammed open.  Reverto transformatio!” Granger cried.

A bluish light engulfed Draco and the eagle, and his chest seized.  The eagle stiffened and dropped like a rock.  Draco hit the ground, the eagle landing hard atop him.  Cracking and popping echoed in his ears, his body twisting painfully under the eagle.  His tearing eyes closed tightly and he gasped for breath.

The pain faded, but the heavy pressure stayed, and Draco opened his eyes to find Potter looming centimetres from his nose.  “Malfoy?” Potter whispered.

Draco blinked once, slowly, becoming aware that he felt a lot colder than he’d been before.  His gaze roved over Potter’s shocked features, hovering on his lips.

Granger’s “Oh!” and Weasley’s bark of surprise caused Potter to rear back.  Draco lifted his hand, turning it over in front of his eyes.  Four fingers and an opposable thumb.  Fingernails.  Human flesh.

Human…

“Honk!”

Draco sat up swiftly, conking his forehead against Potter’s face.  His head swam dizzily, but another cry from his kits yanked at his very being, and he pushed weakly at Potter, struggling to free his legs from underneath Potter’s straddle.  He made a panicked sound in the back of his throat.

Immediately, Potter drew his wand from the belt of his robe, his eyes flashing in anger.  Bits of feathers stuck in his hair.  “Malfoy—”

“Kek-kek-kek-kek-kets. Kets.  Kits.”  Draco’s mouth had trouble wrapping around the word, as he pawed awkwardly at Potter’s chest.  “Kits.  Kits.”

“Honk-honk!”

Draco got his legs out from beneath Potter, his cotton pyjama bottoms sliding partially down his hips.  The wand that had been in the waistband fell to the carpet.  Draco’s hand landed on top of it, then moved away, as he half-crawled, half-stumbled from Potter.  His limbs didn’t seem to work correctly, and he smacked into the bedposts rounding the bed.  He got carpet-burn on his bare elbows and forearms.  He ignored Granger and Weasley standing by the open door and scrambled over to the laundry basket.

He caught one of the kits as she popped out.  She was tiny in his palms; hints of brown and white coloring from her parentage were starting to show in her fur.  With a choked noise, he cradled her against his bare chest.  “Honk!” she declared, and promptly latched onto his nipple.

Draco knew right away there was no milk for her.  Even if there were, it would be human, not ferret, and not what she needed.  “Change me back,” he said, his voice becoming shrill.  “Change me back.  Change me back!

“No.”

Draco’s head whipped around and he flinched at the look on Potter’s face.  Utter loathing twisted Potter’s features, directed solely at him.

Potter flicked his wand and the window repaired itself.  Without another word, he elbowed Weasley and Granger aside and stalked out the door, Draco’s wand and a bronze eagle statuette gripped in his hand.

A knifing pain suddenly pierced Draco’s heart.

Stupefy.”

There was a flash of red spell-light, and before he could protest, everything went dark.


My babies!

Draco bolted upright and clutched his spinning head.  He'd regained consciousness in an unfinished bedroom he didn't recognize; dressed in the same pale blue pyjama bottoms he'd been wearing at Snape's before his misadventure had begun.  He shook off his dizziness and clambered from the bed.  He had to get to his kits. 

Sunlight filtered through the window opposite the door.  Draco grabbed the knob and twisted.  Unsurprisingly, it was locked.  “Let me out.  Let me out!”  Draco banged on the door with his fists and jerked on the doorknob with all his strength.  “Potter, I mean it! Let me out!”

His shouting went unanswered, though he shouldn’t have expected otherwise.  He stopped banging when the sides of his fists began aching and rested his forehead against the door.  His kits needed him.  He had to get out of the bedroom.

A cloud passed in front of the sun and the light dimmed in the bedroom.  Draco looked over his shoulder at the tall window.  Of course.  He hitched up his pyjama bottoms and hurried to the window.  The latch unlocked easily and the window swung open on its hinges.  A gust of sticky air buffeted Draco’s bare skin.

Draco leaned out the window and peered down.  He was on the second floor, a good four meters from the ground.  He gulped, his fingernails digging into the windowsill.  The last time he’d gone out the window this high, he’d severed his spinal cord on a sharp rock and ended up stuck in bed forever as Snape’s healing potions did their work.

But he needed to get to his kits and he’d be jumping, not falling accidentally while under the Cruciatus Curse, out the window.  Knees shaking, he climbed onto the sill, grasped the sash, and closed his eyes.  I’m coming, my precious ones.

Draco opened his eyes and jumped.

Pain shot through him as he landed on the grass and tumbled onto his side.  Sitting up, he rubbed his shoulder and eyed the distance he’d leapt.  He let out a relieved breath to have made it uninjured, rose unsteadily, and bit down on a yelp when he put his weight on his left foot.  Brilliant.  Gritting his teeth, he hobbled towards the door he saw, tried the knob, and thankfully found it unlocked.  He opened it and poked his head in cautiously.  The door led to an empty kitchen.

Voices drifted from further up the narrow corridor outside of the kitchen.  Draco hobble-crept up the hall, his bare feet cold from the hardwood floor. 

“Whoever cast it merely changed the genitive on the spell,” Granger was saying.  Draco inched around the edge of the stairwell, keep out of view from the library doorway, where the Gryffindors had congregated.  “Otherwise, it’s a standard transfiguration.”

“So, he knew exactly what was going on, then.  Listened and understood every word we said,” Potter said flatly.

“Well, yes,” Granger said.  “As in all human-to-other transfigurations, Malfoy retained awareness of his conscious self while his physiology had been completely transformed into that of a ferret.”

“And then he got himself up the duff, and gave birth!” Weasley exclaimed gleefully.  “This is the best day of my life.”

Draco made it up the stairs and hurried as quickly as he could down the second floor hallway, Weasley’s braying laughter following him.  The portraits eyed him warily as he passed.  It took a moment for Draco to recognize which was Potter’s bedroom door, as he was seeing it for the first time from a different perspective.

The door was closed, but unlocked, and Draco didn’t hesitate in entering.  Cries from the kits for their mother greeted him like a slashing curse, and Draco’s own cries joined their voices as he ran painfully over to the cage.  “I’m here.  I’m here.  Shh.  I’m here.”

Draco hefted the cage onto the bed, climbed up beside it, and unlatched the door.  His kits leapt into his arms, sniffing and honking wildly.  “Honk-honk-hooooonnnnk.”

“I know, I know.”  Draco shoved the cage off the bed, letting it crash to the floor, and curled onto his side in the empty spot.  He curved his arm around the kits and drew up his knees.  The kits climbed over one another in the space made by the circle of his body, sniffing and nipping at his chest.  His vision blurred, his throat closing, as he petted their tiny heads.  What am I going to do?

Someone had to be willing to turn him back into a ferret.  Maybe the house elves at the Manor would do it, if he ordered them.  He’d have to rely on them to care for him and his kits, as well.  The thought made him nervous, as did going to his friends.  He wouldn’t trust them not to botch the transfiguration and then where would his kits be?

“Malfoy.  I see you escaped from the other room.”

Draco sat up quickly and rubbed a hand across his damp eyes.  “No thanks to you,” he said thickly.

The bedroom door snicked shut and Draco stiffened.  He cupped his hands protectively over his noisy kits.  “Don’t.”

“Don’t what?”  Draco could feel Potter’s eyes boring into the back of his head.

“Either turn me back or leave us alone,” Draco’s voice cracked uncontrollably, “but don’t take me away from them.”

Potter was silent.  Draco swallowed the lump in his throat, preparing to grovel if necessary.  He’d do anything he had to, to remain with his babies.

“Changing you back won’t do any good,” Potter said eventually.  “You won’t have any milk to feed them.  That’s a different kind of magic non-transfigurable with a wand.”

“But they aren’t fully weaned, yet.”  Draco chanced a look over his shoulder, his kits nibbling on his fingers.  Potter leaned back against the door, his wand dangling from one hand, an invisible black cloud hovering over his head.  He was unhappy, to say the least.

“Hermione’s gone to the pet shop for information on what to do,” Potter said.

Draco refused to be thankful to the mudblood on principle, though secretly he was glad.  He licked his lips anxiously.  “What’s going to happen to me, then?”

“You’re stuck here, for now.”  Potter’s lips curled in disgust, though whether it was aimed at Draco or to himself wasn’t discernable.  “You’ve heard everything and we can’t chance you telling anyone, even at Azkaban.”

Draco’s stomach clenched at the mere mention of being sent there.  “I haven’t done anything!”

Potter scoffed.  “Spying on us is the least of your offenses.”

“I wasn’t spying on you.  I could care less what you Gryffindors are up to,” Draco said.

“Right.  You just happened to be turned into a ferret and sent here, out of anywhere in Britain.”

“No, I was turned into a ferret and tossed over the gates of Hogwarts,” Draco stated, corralling his son before he escaped the bed.  “Apparently, Snape thought I’d be protected there.”  Draco snorted.  Fat lot he knew. 

The bed suddenly began vibrating and inkbottles rattled on the writing desk.  Draco cringed and hovered over his kits protectively.  “Potter!  Get a bloody hold of yourself!”

“Honk-honk-honk-honk-honk!”

The shaking halted abruptly and Draco rounded on Potter.  “Don’t you lose your temper around my babies.  If anything happens to one of them, I’ll kill you with my bare hands.”

Potter glared murderously at him.  “Snape sent you here?”

“Snape didn’t send me, he got rid of me under my mother’s orders,” Draco snapped.  “Do you think I wanted to be a ferret?  Do you think I longed to be a girl, so I could experience birth and feed my babies with my own nipples?  Do you think I wanted to find out that the best part of my life has been the past five months spent with you?”

Draco felt the heat burning up his chest to his cheeks the second the words escaped his mouth.  Obviously, the trauma of the day had made him touched in the head.

Luckily, Potter seemed not to believe him.  “Whatever, Malfoy.  Pack up the kits and the cage.  We’re moving you to another bedroom.  I’d lock you in again, but none of us wants to be responsible for taking care of you.”

Draco glanced warily at him.  “What’s the catch?”

Potter smiled, though it wasn’t nice.  “We’ve just cast multiple charms.  You won’t be able to tell anyone where you are, and bad things will happen to you if you mention anything you’ve overheard.  If you leave the house, you’ll never be able to find it again.  Oh, and we’re keeping your wand.”

“But you won’t separate me from my kits?” Draco asked the most important question.

“They’re all yours, Malfoy,” Potter said dismissively.  “Actually, I’d prefer not to see any of you again.”

Draco nodded and gathered his kits.

The hurt he felt was solely because of his ankle.


“HooOOONNnnnk!”

“Be patient.  You’ll get your turn,” Draco chastised his son, Thuban, who was leaping in circles on the pillow.  He cradled his firstborn daughter, Eltanin, against his chest, feeding her milk from a small bottle.  His other three girls, Altais, Arrakis, and Alsafi, had been fed and were sleeping in a furry pile in their cage.

Perched on the edge of his bed, Draco watched Eltanin suckle from the bottle, squeaking and snorting as she did.  His nipples ached every time he bottle-fed his kits.  They would be weaned fully soon and the phantom tenderness in his chest would cease.  He didn’t know whether to be happy or sad about it.

Draco lifted his head and looked outside.  Twilight cast long shadows over the yard and the fence gating the property.  The warm summer air wafted through the partially open window.  The evening beckoned him into her arms.

He could leave anytime he wanted, he knew.  He could pack up the kits, their supplies, and floo home, or simply walk outside and keep walking.  Spare wands were hidden in nearly every room of the Manor.  The pet care book he’d found outside his bedroom door one morning told him everything he needed to know about caring for his kits.

He wasn’t really welcome to remain, either.  He ghosted the hallways, avoided or ignored by the Gryffindors, except when Weasley yelled at him to stay invisible or be hexed.  He found himself just as alone as he’d be at the Manor, and since he had no compunction to report what he may have overheard, there was little keeping him at Potter’s home.  Leaving would probably be the best thing all around.

Draco fed Thuban and then the kit joined his sisters in the cage.  Collecting the five empty bottles, Draco left the bedroom and headed downstairs.  He hesitated at the bottom, as usual, when he heard Potter’s voice coming from the library.  He gave in to his pathetic desires and sat quietly on the lower step.

“—sure the Ravenclaw horcrux won’t turn you into an eagle again?” Weasley said.

“I carried it down here without any problems,” Potter said.  “It reckon it was a one-time curse.”

“I’d have to concur,” Granger said.  “It was a very powerful transfiguration, much stronger than the one that changed Malfoy into a ferret.”

“Do you mind not mentioning that git’s name?”  Potter said.  “It’s bad enough knowing he’s here without being reminded of it.”

Draco winced.

“Harry,” Granger said, “I’m not going to censor my words because you’re in a strop.”

“I’m not in a strop.”  Something banged in the library.  “I just don’t want to hear that name.”

“I wouldn’t mind not hearing it, either,” Weasley said.

“Fine.  May we move on?” Granger said.  “We’ve a lot to decide and it’s getting late.”

Draco propped his chin on his clasped hands, elbows resting on his knees.  The bottles clinked softly in his lap.  He really should move on, from the stairs, and from the house.

If only he wasn’t in love with Potter.

It hadn’t been as much of a shock as Draco would’ve thought, realizing his feelings.  Somewhere between the kisses and being called pretty, Potter’s laughter and constant affection, Draco had fallen for Potter. 

Draco let the conversation from the library wash over him, fighting the urge to burst in and demand attention.  He doubted that would go over well.  He no longer fit in Potter’s lap, anyway.

He missed it a lot.  He missed curling in the vee of Potter’s thighs or snuggling against his chest.  Getting hand-fed biscuits like royalty, as he deserved.  Being petted and kissed, and freely kissing Potter back.  Though, I wouldn’t mind kissing Potter as a human, either.

The thought made him tingle in some places and swell in others.  There had to be a way to get Potter-kisses again without getting hexed in the process.  Simply being cute wasn’t the answer, or Potter would’ve been all over his human-self. 

No, what Draco needed was a plan.  A cunning, clever plan.

A sly smile spread slowly across his lips.

Mwahaha.


The first thing Draco needed to do was get Potter’s attention again.  Being treated as if he were invisible had to end.  He couldn’t simply pick a fight, however, not if he wanted kisses instead of curses.  Potter’s attention would have to be caught as all men’s attention was caught: by looking eminently shaggable.

Draco did have the advantage of looking eminently shaggable without even trying and, therefore, when he put a bit of effort into it, he could become drop-dead gorgeous.  Potter’s being gay helped, too; though, Draco knew he could also turn any straight boy’s head.  He’d seen others watching him from afar, giggling amongst themselves as he strutted past.  Obviously, they’d been too awestruck to approach, but he could’ve had any of them if he wanted with a snap of his fingers.

Draco pawed through Potter’s wardrobe, searching for something suitable for seduction.  The blah, threadbare robes hanging from the rack needed to be burned, not worn.  If only Draco had his own clothing from home, Potter would be panting at his feet the instant he waltzed into the room.  But if he left the house, he couldn’t come back, and so he was stuck working with what little material he had.

Granger had given him some clothes the same day she brought the bottles and instructions for the kits, but Potter had seen him wearing those already.  They also weren’t the best quality or most flattering for his figure.  He couldn’t find anything decent of Potter’s to wear, either.  Sorting through the garments folded on the shelves revealed tacky jumpers, oversized t-shirts, and pyjama bottoms. 

Draco pulled one of the pyjama bottoms off the shelf and snapped the legs unfolded.  He’d never seen a pair like this before.  The fabric was soft and tough at the same time.  He liked the colour, a very dark blue that would offset his pale skin nicely.

Draco stepped out of his own pyjama bottoms and pulled on Potter’s.  The material scratched at his groin, but not too badly, once he figured out the fastenings.  The waistband was loose, as Potter was larger than him, making the pyjamas droop.  He looked better in form-fitting garments, but he had to work with what was available.

After depositing his discarded pyjama bottoms in the laundry basket back in his bedroom, Draco checked his reflection in the mirror.  His hair was still damp from his bath and it curled wetly around his ears and against his neck.  “How do I look?”

“Honk!” came the response. 

“Shh, not so loud.  You’ll wake your sisters,” Draco scolded Thuban, who was clinging to the metal side of the cage.  The girls nestled together under the tea towel in the back corner, noses and paws barely peeking out. 

“Honk-heeenk-honk!”

Draco popped the latch and caught Thuban as he leapt out.  He closed the cage door again and cradled Thuban in the crook of his arm.  “I shouldn’t reward you like this,” Draco said, as he carried Thuban with him downstairs to the kitchen.  “But I don’t want to punish your sisters, either, by making them listen to your noisiness when they’re trying to sleep.”

“Honk-Honk!”  Thuban licked Draco’s forearm, and Draco forgot all about being stern.

In the kitchen, Draco put Thuban down on the table, after checking for Crookshanks, and set about making tea.  If he timed this correctly, Potter would be coming into the kitchen shortly to prepare a tray for himself, Weasley, and Granger to bring back to the library.

He gave Thuban a biscuit to keep him occupied and nearly tripped on the hems of his borrowed pyjama bottoms on the way back to the kettle filling in the sink.  Falling on his face wouldn’t be attractive, by any means.  He bent forward and started rolling the cuffs.

A sharp gasp preceded a mouth-filled “Hmmnk” from Thuban, and Draco shifted to look behind him.  Potter stood on the threshold of the kitchen, holding the swinging door open with one hand, staring fixedly at Draco’s arse.  Yes!

Draco wiggled more than necessary as he finished rolling the cuffs.  He heard another whoosh of breath, straightened casually, and sauntered over to the sink.  He shut off the water, picked up the kettle, and pretended to be startled when he turned and saw Potter standing there.  “Potter!  Sneaking up on people isn’t very Gryffindor of you.”

Potter jerked his head, as if realizing he’d been staring, and shot Draco a look of contempt nearly overshadowed by confusion.  “What are you wearing?”

“I needed clean pyjamas,” Draco said, setting the kettle on the stove.  He turned on the flame. 

“Those aren’t pyjamas, they’re denims.”

Draco shrugged and scratched his belly.  He smirked inwardly when he saw Potter’s focus drop to his hand.  “Whatever they’re called, they’re comfortable—,” Draco hooked his thumb in a belt loop and tugged the waistband downward, exposing a tuft of white-blonde curlies, “—even if they’re a little loose.”

Potter’s face flushed and he swallowed visibly.  Draco bit his tongue to keep from crowing, instead saying offhandedly, “I hope you don’t mind my borrowing them.”

Potter’s head jerked again and he cleared his throat, looking away.  “Next time, ask first,” he said, attempting to sound firm.  The crack in his voice ruined it.  He pivoted on his heel and walked stiffly out of the kitchen.

Draco’s face broke into a huge grin the moment the door swung closed. 

The game was on.


The kits climbed over his bare back, tugged at his hair, and sniffed and honked in his ears.  Draco lay on the bed, knees bent, feet kicking back and forth slowly in the air.  The nicked copy of Quidditch Through the Ages leaned propped against the footboard.

“‘The first Bludgers (or “Blooders”) were, as we have seen, flying rocks’,” Draco read aloud, catching Arrakis before she tumbled off his shoulder, “‘and in Mumps’s time they had merely progressed to rocks carved into the shape of balls’.”

From the corner of his eye, he saw someone pause in the hallway outside his cracked-open bedroom door.  A glance at the clock showed that Potter was right on schedule.

“‘These had one important disadvantage, however’,” Draco continued, turning the page. He winced as his underarm hair was yanked.  He shifted his weight, lifted his arm, and looked at Eltanin and Altais, who stopped wrestling to stare back at him.  “Are you sillies even listening?  This is important stuff.  You’ll never grow up to be successful Quidditch players if don’t pay attention.”

He heard a laugh from beyond the door, which was smothered quickly, and suppressed a grin.  Potter finds me amusing, rather than disgusting.  Check another objective from his plan.

“‘The rocks could be cracked by the magically reinforced Beaters’ bats of the fifteenth century, in which case all players would be pursued by flying gravel for the remainder of the game’.”


Draco strode into the library, carrying Alsafi.  Potter, Granger, and Weasley sat around the triangular table, scrolls and maps spread before them.

“What are you doing in here?” Weasley snarled. 

Draco ignored him and held Alsafi up to Potter’s face.  “Alsafi wants her father.”

On cue, Alsafi licked Potter’s nose enthusiastically.

Potter blinked owlishly behind his glasses and took her slowly.  Draco gave him a small smile and left.


“Potter,” Draco said, holding a small, striped handtowel in front of his bits, as he met Potter outside the toilet.  Water droplets clung to his skin and his hair hung damply against the nape of his neck.  “We’re out of bath towels.”

“O-Okay,” Potter said, his cheeks ruddy.

Draco nodded and continued down the hall to his bedroom.  He felt Potter’s eyes on his naked bum the entire way.


“Do you want a sandwich?” Draco asked, cutting two slices of bread from the loaf. 

Potter stared at him as if he’d grown a second head.  “Are you offering to make me one?”

“It’s just as easy to prepare two.”

“Um… all right.”

Draco cut another two slices of bread.


“Potter!”  Draco gave him a fake-terrified look.  “I can’t find Arrakis!”

Potter leapt immediately to the rescue.

Draco pushed Arrakis’s head back down into his pocket and rushed to follow.


Draco kicked lightly at the bedroom door, carrying his kits, Quidditch Through the Ages tucked under his arm.  Potter opened the door, wearing only green pyjama bottoms and glasses.  “Malfoy?”

“My babies can’t sleep,” Draco whispered.  “I’d read to them, but I seem to have lost my voice.  Will you?”

Potter stared at Draco in disbelief, but eventually stepped back from the door.  “All right.”

Draco gave him a grateful look, swept into the room, and climbed onto Potter’s bed.  He arranged the kits in a pile on his lap and then looked up.

Potter’s dumbfounded expression nearly made Draco giggle.  His lips tugged up on one side.  “We’re ready,” he whispered.

Potter started as if surprised, rubbed the back of his neck, and closed the bedroom door.  He hesitated at the side of the bed.  Draco held out the Quidditch book to him.

Potter took it carefully, slid onto the end of the bed, opened the book and cleared his throat.  “‘Usually the lightest and fastest fliers, Seekers need both a sharp eye and the ability to fly one- or no-handed…’.”


“Malfoy, you all right in there?”

Draco banged against the cabinet beneath the sink, mussed his hair artfully in the mirror, and then sat on the ground.  He quickly fluffed his package.

“Malfoy?” Potter called worriedly, the door handle turning.

Draco dropped back and moaned as the door swung open.  Potter made a choked noise at his first sight of Draco in tight y-fronts, sprawled on the floor.  Draco buried his laugh in another moan. 

“Mal-foy,” Potter’s voice cracked, “did you slip?”

“Brilliant deduction, Potter,” Draco said, extending his arm.  Potter grasped it automatically, his expression dazed, and began pulling him up.  “Last time I’ll wank in front of the mirror.”

Draco’s arm was nearly wrenched from its socket.


Draco opened the cage and his five kits leapt to the bed.  Their fur had more brown and white in it, and they’d gotten so big since they’d been weaned.  “Hello, my precious babies.”

“Uh, Malfoy?”  Potter nudged open the bedroom door, holding a plate of biscuits in his hands.  He looked uncomfortable.  “Do, um, do you want some biscuits?”

Draco felt his heart flip.  He hadn’t planned this one.  “We’d love some.”


“Dook?”

“What?”  Draco’s head swiveled and he stared at Thuban.  “What did you just say?”

Thuban rose on his haunches and pawed the air.  “Dook-dook.”

Draco’s throat seized. 

Potter wandered into the kitchen, and Thuban began jumping in circles, dooking in excitement.  “Dook-dook-dook-dook-dook-dook-dook!”

“Hey, sounds like someone’s no longer a baby.”  Potter looked at Draco and frowned.  “You look like you’re about to cry.”

Draco waved him off and turned to face the sink.  He rubbed the back of his hand across his eyes.  “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Malfoy?”  He felt a tentative touch on his shoulder.

Draco spun around and buried his face against Potter’s neck.  His hands clutched the front of Potter’s robes.  “My baby isn’t a baby anymore,” he said thickly, eyes stinging.

Potter’s arms raised tentatively and he patted Draco gently on the back, just like Draco had planned.  Really.

Sniff.


Draco carried his yawning kits down the hall, towards Potter’s bedroom.  The portraits snored as he passed.  He pushed open Potter’s door, heeled it closed behind him, and nearly tripped over a pile of clothes in the dark. 

Potter’s wandtip lit with an unspoken lumos spell.  He squinted in the light, glasses removed.  “Malfoy, what are you doing?”

“Nightmare,” Draco said, climbing in bed beside Potter.  “It was terrible.  We don’t want to be alone.”

Potter stared at him as if he’d lost his nut.  “You must be joking.”

Draco piled the kits between them and slid under the covers.  “Douse the light.  We’d like to sleep sometime this wretched evening.”

“Malfoy, I’m not sleeping in the same bed as you.”

Draco rested his head on the pillow, looking plaintively at Potter, and used the secret weapon he’d been saving for this moment.  “Harry, please.”

Potter’s mouth opened and closed like a fish.  He scowled suddenly.  “Fine.  But just for tonight.”  The room went dark.  “And stay on your own side, or else.”

Draco smothered his glee with the pillow.  It wouldn’t be much longer, now, until Potter gave in and snogged the stuffing out of Draco.

He couldn’t wait.


 

"Nk-nk-dk."  Draco shifted onto his back, raising his arm above his head.  He clicked his tongue, wakefulness lapping at the edges of his dreams.

A small body leapt onto him and began jumping up and down.  “Dook-dook-dook."

"Arrakis," Draco murmured, "stop dancing on mummy’s bladder, sweet."

He heard a chuckle and cracked open an eye.  Potter sat cross-legged beside him on the bed, fully dressed, being climbed all over by ferrets.  Arrakis bounded over to Potter with a final kick to Draco's belly.

“‘Mummy’?” Potter said.

“They already have a father.”  Draco watched a war of discomfiture and bashful pleasure play over Potter’s face.  Draco raised his other arm above his head and stretched.  The duvet slipped downward, exposing his bare chest.  He caught Potter staring and grinned.  “Like what you see?”

“Shove off, Malfoy.”  Potter’s cheeks tinged and he caught Eltanin before she jumped from the bed.  “Why are you here?  And don’t give me that crap about having a nightmare.”

“It’s not crap.”

Potter snorted.  “Right.  You always run to sleep with your mortal enemy when you have bad dreams.”

Draco propped himself on his elbows.  “No, I don’t.  Weasley snores.”

Potter’s eye twitched.  “You know what I mean.”

“Potter,” Draco turned the tables on him, “if you didn’t want us in here, you just should have said so.”

“Of course I don’t want you in here!”   Draco winced at the stab of rejection. “It’s not like you’ve ever came to me before when you had nightmares,” Potter said.

Despite last night’s bad dream being false, it didn’t mean others in the past had been.  Draco looked pointedly at him.  “That’s because I was already sleeping with you.”

“Don’t remind me,” Potter muttered, dark clouds rolling across his expression.

Draco sat up completely, needing to fix things before he lost the progress he’d made.  The kits dooked and sprang happily between Potter and him.  “Really, Potter, I’m the same wizard now as I was then, and you certainly seemed to like me before, if all the kissing and adoration was any indication.”

Potter’s lips thinned.  “Draco’s dead.  You’re only Malfoy.”

The solid verbal punch knocked the wind out of Draco.  He dropped his chin, blinking rapidly to clear his blurring vision, and tried to gather his kits.  They thought it was a game and darted over to Potter with cheerful dooks.

“Eltanin, Arraksis, Altais, Alsafi, and Thuban, get over here right now,” Draco snapped in a tight voice.  “Potter doesn’t want to be with you.”

His five children cowered at his tone, burrowing into Potter’s lap.  Potter put his hand over the kits.  “I don’t mind them.”

Draco’s hands curled into fists, his fingernails digging into his palms.  His chest ached fiercely.  “Right.  Of course not them.  How stupid could I be?” 

Completely, totally, wholly, and utterly stupid.

“Bring them back whenever.” Draco climbed out of bed and strode stiffly to the door.  “I trust you.”

In his own bedroom, Draco wrapped his hands around the bedpost and rested his forehead against the beveled wood.  Eyes closed, he fought the urge either to rage or cry.  Neither one would do him any good; Potter would still hate him in the end.

He should’ve gone back to the Dark Lord.  At least then he would’ve been protected from a broken heart.


Insufferably polite was the course Draco decided to take until he figured out what to do about Potter.  His plan had failed; it was the kits Potter had bonded to and not Draco. (Potter did still lust after him, but that was something everyone did and therefore held no meaning.)  Draco quashed his first compulsion to leave, because his kits had bonded with Potter in return and Draco knew what it was like to have a parent taken away suddenly.

So, Draco took the kits down to Potter’s room or allowed Potter to visit with them in his own room.  He kept up a blank-face cordiality, responding to questions and vapid conversations with a nod and a smile.

“The kits have grown tremendously.”

“Yes, I would enjoy a biscuit.”

“Weasley’s hair does match the Chudley Cannon’s colours.”

“That’s all right.  I shall fix something for myself later.”

“My, what lovely weather we’re having.”

Potter watched him a lot, now, with a strange look on his face, obviously perturbed by Draco’s behavior.  But what else was Draco supposed to do?   Pound Potter’s head against the wall while screaming ‘I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU, YOU STUPID, SPECKY GIT!’?

Hmm…

“Dook!”  Thuban jumped in circles by Draco’s feet, stopped suddenly, and wobbled a few steps before attacking Draco’s sock-clad toes.  “Dnmk-dnmk-dnmk.”

“What are you doing?” Draco asked him, wincing as sharp teeth bit into his skin.  “Why don’t you go and play with your sisters and leave my poor feet alone?”

“Dnmkrrr.”  Thuban started tugging at Draco’s big toe.

Draco poked him in the side with his other foot.  “Eep!” Thuban leapt in surprise and darted beneath the hem of Draco’s robe.  Draco chuckled and glanced around the bedroom.  Dust motes danced in the afternoon sunlight streaming through the window.  An empty lunch plate balanced on the cage beside the bed.  He saw hide, nor hair, of his other four children.

“Where are your sisters, Thuban?” Draco said, putting aside his book.  Not setting up encounters with Potter left extra time on his hands.  Luckily, he had access to the library once the Cruel One and his mates cleared out in the evenings.

(He had thought to endear himself to Potter with his brilliance by solving whatever problem the Gryffindors were working on that was scattered on the table in the library, but… nah.)

“Arraksis, Altais, Alsafi, Eltanin!” Draco called, listening carefully for them.  The bedroom door was shut and the room ferret-proofed, so they had to be somewhere.

“Dook-dook!”  Three heads poked from the small opening between the wardrobe cabinet doors.  “Dook!”

“That’s three of you.  Where’s the other one?” 

Arraksis, Altais, and Alsafi disappeared back into the wardrobe.

Draco shook Thuban from beneath his robes and climbed out of bed.  Arraksis, Altais, and Alsafi’s bottoms greeted him when he knelt in front of the opened wardrobe and peered inside.  “What are you up to?”

Alsafi turned around and gave him a lick on the nose before rejoining her siblings.  Sniffing and snuffling rose from the three, and they jostled each other to get at whatever they’d found. 

Draco plucked one, two, and three from the wardrobe, exposing a hole in the floor of the cabinet.  A nose peeked out, sniffed the air, and disappeared again.  “Eltanin!”

Draco leaned into the wardrobe and tapped the edge of the hole.  “Eltanin, get out here this instant.”

Arraksis, Altais, and Alsafi hopped back into the wardrobe and dove for the hole.   The scrabbled at each other, fighting over who’d go in.  Draco nudged them aside and stuck his hand in the hole.  “Eltanin, come here!”

Eltanin butted her head against his fingers and then moved from reach. 


Grumbling, Draco leaned further forward, balancing his other hand against the back of the wardrobe, as he pushed his hand further in the hole.  His robe sleeve snagged on the edges of the chewed wood.  Eltanin kept out of reach.  “You’re making me mad, Eltanin.”


A weighty thump on his back was followed by a war cry.  “DOOK-DOOOOK!”  Thuban launched from Draco at Arraksis, Altais, and Alsafi, and they let out a scream.  “EEEEE!”

The four began fighting, raising a ruckus right by Draco’s ear.  He caught a paw in the face.   “Hey!  Knock it off!”  He tried pulling his arm from the hole, to put a stop to their antics, only to find it stuck.

Bloody hell.  Draco shifted his weight and yanked at his arm.  The material of his robe ripped on the jagged edges of the wood, but his forearm didn’t come free.  It was stuck firmly in the hole. 

Eltanin nipped the tip of his finger.

Draco scowled, tried again, and failed.  Wiggling it did nothing but stab him with the wood edges.  Arraksis, Altais, Alsafi, and Thuban rolled around, knocking into him.  He reached awkwardly across his chest and stuck arm to sweep them from the wardrobe cabinet.  His hand got attacked instead.

“Malfoy?”

Wonderful, Draco thought sarcastically.  He dropped his head on his crossed arms, imagining the picture he created: head and torso in a cabinet, arse in the air, with one hand stuck in a hole and the other being mauled by horribly noisy critters.  “Go away, Potter.”  He wasn’t in the mood to be polite.

“What are you doing?”  Potter clearly thought go away meant kneel down beside me and poke your nose into things.  It would be so much better if Potter would dislike him from afar, instead of being nice for the kits’ sake.

“I’m playing with my kits alone, if you don’t mind,” Draco said.

Thuban, Arraksis, Altais, and Alsafi decided that leaping on Potter was more fun than gnawing on Draco’s fingers.  Potter laughed.  Draco glowered and yanked hard at his stuck arm, hoping to free it before Potter noticed. 

“Is your arm stuck in that hole?”

So much for that.

“Eltanin’s stuck in the hole.  I’m trying to fetch her,” Draco said.

“Why don’t you simply accio- oh, right.  You don’t have a wand.”

Draco craned his neck and glared at Potter.  “Lovely of you to notice.”

“Here,” Potter leaned forward into the wardrobe, wand drawn, “budge over.  I’ll get her.”

Draco pinched the bridge of his nose and wondered what he’d done to deserve this.

“Malfoy, move.”

“I can’t.”  Draco dropped his hand with a sigh.  “My arm’s stuck.”

A crooked grin bloomed on Potter’s face.  “Oh, shove off,” Draco said, and Potter laughed.

With a wave of Potter’s wand, Draco’s arm popped free.  Accio Eltanin,” Potter cast, and caught her mid-surprised squeak.  He handed her to Draco.

“You are in trouble, little girl,” Draco said, rising with Eltanin in his hands.  “Seal up that hole, Potter.  Eltanin, you know you’re supposed to come when I call.  And don’t give me that look, you know you did wrong.”

Eltanin peered up at him with huge eyes, head lowered shamefully.

“You’re going into the cage and you’ll stay there until you’ve learned your lesson.”  Draco set her inside the cage and latched the door.  Eltanin cried sadly.

Draco turned his back to her, hardening his heart before he cuddled her with apologies for parenting her.  Potter stood near the wardrobe, watching him.  “Was there something you wanted?” Draco said.

“I came to let you know we’re leaving.”

“Lovely.  I shan’t expect you for tea, then.”  A racket of screams erupted from the wardrobe.  “Get me a bag of cockroach clusters while you’re out.  Arraksis, Altais, Alsafi, and Thuban, stop fighting!”

The wardrobe went silent instantly.  Four furry bodies slinked out of the cabinet a moment later and padded over to sit at Draco’s feet.  Draco folded his arms and gave them stern frowns.  “Onto the bed with you.”

They crashed into one another and Thuban hit his head on the bedframe in their scramble to comply.  Draco shook his head and caught sight of Potter still standing there.  “What?”

Potter gave him an oddly fond smile.  “Take care of those precious ones, Malfoy.”

Draco scowled.  “Don’t tell me how to parent my own children.”

“Don’t worry.  I think you’re doing brilliantly,” Potter said, walking over to the door.  He paused with his hand on the knob and looked back at Draco with a strange sadness in his eyes.  “Goodbye.”

“Cockroach clusters, Potter.  Don’t forget.”  Draco turned back to his misbehaving kits, who sat huddled together in the middle of the bed, wearing matching expressions of contrition.  He heard the bedroom door open and close behind him.  “What am I going to do with you four, eh?”


Draco marked his page when stomach rumbled and rose from the bed.  Streetlamps brightened the darkness of the neighborhood beyond the window.  Draco saw Crookshanks perched on the fence in the yard, tail swishing agitatedly, before he closed the bedroom draperies. 

The kits hardly stirred at his walking around, the five curled together on the tea towel in the corner of the cage.  Draco put on a pair of socks under his pyjama bottoms and headed downstairs to the kitchen to fix a bite.  The house was quiet, eerily so, but Draco shrugged it off.  Potter had said he and his mates were stepping out.

Carrying a plate of crisps and a sandwich, Draco detoured into the library.  He was nearly finished with the book he was reading and would have time to start a new one that evening.  He set the plate on the table, casting a curious eye over the broken objects piled in the center.  He recognized the Hufflepuff cup, which was cracked in half.  What might have been a beak curved out of a blackened lump of metal beside it.

Draco picked up a locket dangling from a chain.  It disintegrated in his hand.  He tossed the chain back on the table with disgust, wiped his hand on his pyjamas, and walked over to one of the wall shelves.  He ran his finger along the book titles.  Now, where is that Grimoire I wanted to read next?

Alsafi was awake and crying softly near the cage door, when Draco returned to the bedroom.  “What’s wrong, lovely?” he asked, letting her out.  She licked his chin, then snuggled close beside him after he settled on the bed.

Draco smiled, petting her gently.  She was his cuddler, always wanting to be nearby.  He balanced the plate of food on his stomach and picked up his almost-finished book.  The Grimoire sat on the night table.  Draco saw Alsafi eye his sandwich and clicked his tongue.  “That’s not for you.”

Alsafi turned huge, begging eyes on him.  “Dook?”

Draco caved instantly.  “Fine.  But don’t let the others know.”  He broke off a corner of the sandwich and fed it to her.

“Dmnk-prrr-dnk,” she said around her mouthful.

Draco laughed quietly and opened his book.


Crack.

Draco’s eyes flew open, startled out of sleep.  The dark bedroom surrounded him.  The duvet covered him to the waist.  He felt Asafi move under his arm and heard her sniffing the air.  The other kits made waking noises from the cage.  His heart beat quickly in his chest.  What had woken him?

The sound of the doorknob jiggling made him sit up swiftly and switch on the lantern.  The flame self-lit and the room brightened.  He squinted in the direction of the door, as his hand groped for the plate on the night table behind him.

“Potter,” Draco said with exasperation, tossing his means of protection onto the bed beside him.  Alsafi leapt for the plate and began licking the remaining crumbs from it.  “Knock first before scaring the magic out of people.”

Potter stood in the doorway, looking pale and filthy.  “Sorry.”

Draco rubbed the sleep from his eyes.  “You better have brought my cockroach clusters, or I’ll be very cross.”

Potter stared at him incredulously for a moment, then started laughing.

“I’m not joking.  Hand ‘em over.”

If anything, Potter laughed even harder. 

Draco stared as Potter bent in half, holding his stomach, the raucous noise filling the bedroom.  The kits woke fully and pressed their noses against the side of the cage.  Alsafi stopped polishing the plate and cocked her head in Potter’s direction.

Potter fell to his knees, still laughing, and Draco became concerned.  What’s so bloody funny?  He crawled out of bed and approached cautiously.  Potter’s laughs grew jagged edges that cut Draco’s eardrums.  Draco crouched beside Potter’s bent figure.  His hand hovered above Potter’s head.  “Potter?  Have you been hit with the tickling charm?”

“You don’t know—” Potter started, before his laughter choked him.

“I know everything,” Draco said, “including that you’ve gone round the bend.  Let’s get you to Granger before you hurt yourself.”

Potter shook head, gasping for air between laughs.  “Hermione’s at the Weasleys,” he managed to say in a rush.

“St. Mungo’s, then.”  Draco hooked his hand under Potter’s arm, intending to pull him to his feet.  He didn’t like this at all. 

“No, no.”  Potter struggled to stop laughing, sitting upright.  “I’m fine.”

Draco looked at the tear tracks streaking through the dirt on Potter’s reddened face.  Potter’s glasses had a crack on one of the lenses.  “You’re scaring me— my kits,” he corrected quickly.  “You’re scaring them.”

Potter glanced over at the cage and Alsafi.  Alsafi hopped from the bed and approached Potter.  She put her paws on his knees and made a soft sound in her throat.  He stroked his hand down her back.  He began to catch his breath.  “I didn’t think I’d get to see them grow up.”

“What are you on about?” Draco said.  “We’re not going anywhere.”

Potter blinked several times, as if coming out of a daze.  He looked at Draco.  “Only because of the spell.”

“Right.”  Draco shifted on the balls of his feet.  “Because of the spell.”

Potter drew his wand from his robe belt, made a complex design in the air with the tip, and Draco felt the faint tingle of wizardry.  Potter lowered his arm.  “Not anymore.”

Why did the action, which actually showed Potter’s trust, make Draco feel wretched?  Oh yes, because I’m in love with the prat and now I don’t have an excuse to stay.  Draco lowered his chin and stared blankly at the carpet.  His mind raced.  There had to be some other excuse he could make up.  Death threats from Death Eaters?  Parents imprisoned, leaving him impoverished?  He’d seen the Gryffindor Light and wanted to repent for his wicked ways?

A gentle brush of fingers combed through the hair behind his ear.  Draco stilled at the touch.  “You’re hair’s just as soft,” Potter murmured.

Draco slowly lifted his head and met Potter’s stare.  Potter was looking at him like he’d never seen Draco before.  Maybe Potter actually had lost his mind. “Potter, what are…,” he trailed off, as Potter’s gaze dropped to Draco’s lips.  Draco’s heart fluttered.

“Hermione says you’ve been trying to seduce me,” Potter said, almost to himself, “but I didn’t believe her, because you’re Malfoy.”


Draco flinched, moving his head away from Potter’s hand.  “That’s right.  I’m only Malfoy,” his voice dripped with contempt.  He shoved to his feet, anger covering his hurt.  “You’d best leave before I remind you what that means.”

Draco stalked over to the cage, to check on his kits.  They licked the back of his fingers through the wire. 

Potter moved behind him, robes rustling, and Draco turned with a glare at the tap on his shoulder.  Potter held out Alsafi.  “Don’t forget her.”

“I’d never forget any of my kits.”  Draco took Alsafi a bit harsher than necessary.  Alsafi nipped his thumb.

“I know.”  Potter looked contrite.  “You’re a good mum.”

Draco stuck his nose in the air.  “I’m a brilliant mum.”

A lopsided smile appeared on Potter’s face.  “Yeah.  I reckon you are.”

“You’d better believe it.”  Draco tucked Alsafi in the cage with the others, and then turned back to Potter with folded arms.  “Now, where are my cockroach clusters?”

Potter started laughing once more.


Draco paused on the kitchen threshold the next morning and watched Potter shift between the stove, counter, and the sink wearing only those pyjama denims of his.  They fit him much better than they had Draco, molding perfectly to the curve of his—

“Buns?”

Draco gaze shot up and his face heated when he met Potter’s amused over-the-shoulder look.  He scowled and stalked to the icebox. 

“I asked you a question, Malfoy,” Potter said, his voice dripping with laughter.  “Would you like some sticky buns?  I’m making them fresh.”

“Whatever, Potter.”

“I’ll take that as a yes.” 

Draco poured himself a glass of pumpkin juice.  “I doubt there’ll be any leftover for me once Weasley gets to them.”

“Hermione and Ron aren’t here, remember?”  Potter returned to his food preparations.  “They probably won’t be back until tomorrow at the earliest.”

Draco grunted, drank his juice, and ogled Potter out of the corner of his eye.  The kits were still asleep in their cage upstairs.  Morning sunlight drifted through the window over the sink and set in the back door.  The smell of baking sticky buns drifted from the stove.  Potter’s bicep bulged as he stirred something in a bowl, his lower arm moving in a decidedly suggestive manner.  Draco was glad he’d taken the time to put on robes before coming downstairs.

A tap at the window above the sink drew Draco’s attention from studying the muscular lines of Potter’s bare back.  A delivery owl hovered outside the glass, a rolled newspaper clutched in its claws.  “Get that, will you?” Potter said.  “There’s a sickle and an owl treat in the basket.”

Draco opened the window and the owl flapped inside.  The owl dropped the newspaper into Draco’s outstretched hand.  Draco found the money and owl treat in a heart-shaped woven basket on the counter near the sink.  The owl hooted in thanks for both and flew off. 

Draco closed the window, untied the ribbon, and unrolled the newspaper.  The headline screamed at him, tinny voice echoing against the kitchen walls.  YOU-KNOW-WHO DEFEATED!  Confetti shot from the O’s in the words, pelting Draco in the face and chest and raining down around him.

Draco spit out confetti and brushed it off the front of his robes.  Potter snickered.  “Naff off,” Draco said, shaking the newspaper.  A few extra bits of confetti floated to the ground. 

The headline had surprised him, and not because of the scream or confetti.  The Dark Lord was defeated?  To be honest, Draco hadn’t thought it would happen.  Disassociated with the Dark Lord or not, Draco wasn’t that happy with the news.  What would happen to the wizarding world now?  Oh, well, at least mother and father are safe.

Assured he wasn’t going to be bombarded again, Draco read the article.  He wanted to know how the greatest dark wizard since Grindelwald had met his end.  Did the horcruxes Potter, Weasley, and Granger had been searching for have anything to do with it?  Or maybe the Ministry Aurors actually managed to do their jobs.

Doves Released Over Ministry of Magic
Wizarding World Press, London

At approximately half-past the Witching Hour this morning,
The Chosen One, Harry Potter, 18, fulfilled his destiny
and defeated He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in a drawn out
duel at the Riddle Estate, Little Hangleton, Yorkshire.

“It was scary,” said Ronald Weasley, 18, best mate of
the Boy Who Lived.  Undergoing Skele-Gro treatment at his
parents’ home in Ottery St. Catchpole, Weasley and affianced,
Hermione Granger, 18, reported that getting close to You-Know-Who
was the hardest task.  “After that,” said Weasley, “we just had to
hope Harry would finish Vo-Vol- him off.”

“I had complete faith that Harry would do it,” said Granger.

Requests for interviews have been unable to reach our world’s Savior,
who, we are told, is recuperating at his home in the London area.

Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, spoke with the press—

Draco stopped reading and looked up slowly from the newspaper to stare at Potter.  Potter bent in front of the stove, pulling out a tray of baked sticky buns.  He set the tray on the stovetop and cursed when he burned himself on the edge of the hot tray.  There was nothing to indicate that he’d fought against the Dark Lord.  He wasn’t bragging and hadn’t commented on the screaming headline.  He hadn’t even mentioned it in passing, or said anything when he’d shown up in Draco’s room last night.  Draco wouldn’t have known about it at all if he hadn’t read the newspaper.

Draco’s eyes widened as realization set in.  He wouldn’t have known at all.  Potter had left yesterday to battle the Dark Lord and he hadn’t said anything.  He could’ve been killed and Draco wouldn’t have known.  He would’ve been waiting for Potter to return with a bag of cockroach clusters, having zero inkling that Potter lay dead somewhere, glassy green eyes staring sightlessly at the sky.

“How could you?!” Draco roared.

“Ow!”  Potter turned around and raised his arms as Draco hit him again with the rolled newspaper.  “What are you doing?”

“You git!  You complete and utter berk!”  Draco smacked him with the newspaper as hard as he could.  “How could you do that?!  How?!”

“How could I do what?  What did I do?”  Potter said, attempting to ward off the blows.

“You went off to fight the Dark Lord and didn’t tell me!” Draco yelled.  “You just left and I might never have seen you again!”

“I told you we were leaving.”

“And I told you to bring me back cockroach clusters.  Cockroach clusters!” Draco rained hits on Potter’s down-turned head and arms.  He wished he had his wand.  “Obviously, I had no idea you were waltzing off to your death!”

“Ow!  Malfoy, calm down.”  Potter grabbed Draco’s wrists. 

“Calm down!  I will not calm down.”  Draco struggled against Potter’s grip, newspaper bent and crushed in his hand.  His body was shaking.  “I never would’ve known, don’t you see?  You could have gone forever and I never would’ve known.”

“But I’m not gone,” Potter said soothingly, as if gentling a feral animal.  “I’m right here.”

“You said goodbye,” Draco rasped and ceased his struggles.  He stared at Potter with stinging eyes.  “You said goodbye to me like you knew you weren’t coming back.”

“There was a chance that I wouldn’t,” Potter said.  “But it doesn’t matter now, because I did come back.  I came back to you.”

“Potter…” Draco’s voice choked on emotion.  Potter searched his gaze, and his breath hitched softly. Slowly, as if barely moving at all, Potter leaned forward, over their clasped arms, and pressed his lips against Draco’s.

The newspaper crinkled in Draco’s grip.

Potter drew back just as slowly, nervousness on his face.  “Was that okay?”

Heart hammering wildly, Draco licked his lips, rubbed them together, and closed his eyes as he inhaled a shaky breath.  He exhaled audibly.  “Don’t ever do that again.”

“Don’t kiss you?” Potter sounded distressed.

Draco opened his eyes, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth.  “No.  That you should do often.  In fact, I demand that you do.”

Potter slumped in relief.  “Oh, good.”

“But no going after the Dark Lord without telling me.”  Draco pulled his wrists free of Potter’s slackened grip and whapped him with the newspaper.  “You’ve made me resort to common brutishness because I’m so angry with you.”

Potter gave him a cockeyed grin.  “Er, sorry?”

Draco smacked him with the newspaper again for good measure.  Then once more because he could.

Potter laughed and caught Draco in his arms.  His chest was solid and warm under Draco’s palm.  “I promise I won’t go after Voldemort again.”

“See that you don’t,” Draco said, tossing the newspaper aside as he slid his hands around Potter’s neck.  “The kits would be devastated if they lost their father.”

“We can’t have that,” Potter said.  “Draco—”

“Oh, so now it’s ‘Draco’, is it?”  Draco couldn’t find it in himself to be actually upset with the name thing again, not after nearly losing Potter.  “Give a bloke a snog and he thinks all’s forgiven.  Well, you’re wrong.  It’ll take two snogs.”

A smile stretched across Potter’s face.  “What’ll happen if I snog you more than twice?”

“Why don’t you try it and find out.”

“All right,” Potter said, and kissed Draco again.

Draco melted into Potter’s embrace with a sigh.  The kits would be ecstatic for them, and he made a mental note to send Snape a thank you card, too.

It turned out to be just brilliant, after all.



End


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