1) This is intended as light, goofy amusement, not at all serious, or plot-heavy (this opening chapter may feel a little bland, I apologize for that). The 'mystery' in this is also not super difficult to figure out when the pieces start coming together, so if you find what you think is a plothole as to 'well, they should've realized everything as soon as 'this information came out' . . . yeah, no, lol. When I say it's goofy amusement, not at all plot heavy, this is exactly the sort of thing I mean, there isn't really a deep or complicated mystery to solve here, and there isn't meant to be. Please, just kick back and enjoy the read. ;D
2) I know there are already many (many) ferret-Draco fics out there, but for some reason, I just couldn't help myself.
3) Chapters are intentionally 'bite-sized.'
As of 7/14/15: This story also appears on this site in German, thanks to the wonderful Alea Thoron. Link on my FFN profile page.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters, and make no profit off this story.
Harry frowned, his eyes drifting closed as he rubbed his forehead with his fingertips. The mingled calls of animals, combined with the excited chatter of soon-to-be first years, choosing their first familiars, had given him a headache nearly the second he'd followed Hermione through the shop door.
"Remind me why we're doing this?"
His best friend's chestnut eyes rolled as she shook her head. Her gaze drifted along cages and bins, carefully considering each animal's face, in turn. "I just want to do something nice for Ron. After what happened with Scabbers, he never got another familiar, so I thought a new one would make a good gift."
"Nothing whatsoever to do with him not really forgiving you, yet, for breaking up with him?"
She shot him a withering look over her shoulder. "There wasn't anything to break up. We never officially became anything. He just assumed we were because of that . . . that stupid kiss I now wish had never happened."
Harry nodded, though he was really only half-listening, as he trailed behind her through the cramped aisles. "Was it that bad?"
"It wasn't bad at all, it was actually quite nice, and I think that was the problem," she said with a laugh as she shook her head.
His mouth puckered in thought as he watched her press her nose to the glass of one seemingly-empty case. "So . . . . Wait, what?"
She braced her palms against the glass as she stood on her toes, trying to peer into the darkest corners, under some artfully-placed shrubbery. "Had it been awful, he probably would have just let it be that one kiss. But it was nice, so he got it in his head that it meant we were together. I didn't even realize until he exploded because I hugged Neville." Once more she glanced over her shoulder at him. "It was Neville, and a hug—a hug that happened in celebration of winning the Second Wizarding War. Honestly! You'd think he walked in on me shagging Dean Thomas."
Harry hid a snicker behind his hand. The comical mental picture of battle-worn Ron losing it in the background as Hermione held Neville Longbottom in warm, friendly embrace distracted from the ache pounding at his forehead. "I guess I can understand you putting your foot down."
She shrugged, sighing as she murmured, "I suppose this is why you don't kiss someone you have a history with . . . . Not unless you're absolutely certain about what you want, anyway."
The leaves in the cage shook a bit and a tiny, pink nose poked out. Biting her lip, Hermione's head tipped to one side as she waited for the creature to show itself. A long, pale-gold snout, followed by a sleek, furry body slowly emerged from beneath the plant.
Its eyes were a strange, slate-grey shade she wasn't certain she'd ever seen on a—"Oh, my God! Harry, look!"
Her giggly gasp made him curious, and he stepped up to look into the cage over her shoulder. His eyebrows shot up over the wire rims of his glasses as he found a ferret staring back at Hermione.
The creature moved strangely, as though it was confused, he thought. It neared the glass, reaching out to scrape the transparent surface with its tiny claws, and then hopping backward a bit.
She giggled again. "Isn't it so adorable? This is the one! Just look at those eyes! Aren't they so pretty?"
Harry chewed his lip as he watched the ferret tip its face side-to-side. He got the unsettling impression it was trying to understand her words.
"I don't know," he said after a few moments. "It kind of reminds me of that time Draco got transfigured."
She turned on a heel to look at him. "But don't you see? That's exactly what makes it perfect!" Spinning back toward the cage, she grinned. "With that whole 'we're better than you' thing the Malfoys used to do to his family, he's got to see the humor in having control of something that resembles them!"
A smirk tugged one corner of Harry's mouth upward. "I guess I can see that." He stepped up to the side of the cage, examining the breeding documentation affixed to the outside. "Should we name it Lucius, then? Says here it's a male."
"No," she said, crinkling the bridge of her nose as she leaned closer, her gaze fixed on the ferret's. There was one name she heard in her head as she imagined reprimanding the creature for incorrect behavior. "Draco. We're definitely calling him Draco."