Author's Notes:

1) Per canon, Pygmy Puffs are usually only sold at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. However, there is an in-story reason as to why the Magical Menagerie has a few in stock.

2) If you do not like, or cannot abide, F/F romantic themes, then please read no further. I do not tolerate abusive or inflammatory reviews (please do not misunderstand: if you have genuine reasons for disliking the story itself, my writing style, or the plot, then feel free to say so; I don't mind concrit, or fully-honest reasons for disliking a story, I only mind intentionally hurtful or mean-spirited comments that aren't actually reviews).


Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters or creatures.


THE PYGMY PUFF INCIDENT

Luna made a peeping noise, her lips folding inward as she pointed to the top of Pansy's head.

Pansy had gotten to know the girl well enough in their time working at the Magical Menagerie that she recognized the sound as an attempt to hold back a giggle. Her features twisted into a scowl. She hadn't needed the other witch's reaction to know—she could feel the silly thing sitting up there.

Though there was no possible way she could actually see it, she rolled her eyes upward, toward the Pygmy Puff that had seated itself atop her hair. Shoulders slumping, she then cast her gaze about the shop's aisles. The fluffy bunches of pink and white fur were absolutely everywhere,making cute little noises, and bouncing and rolling all over the shop's cramped aisles.

"Dear God, I hate you, Draco," she said in a seething whisper.


Just a few minutes earlier . . . .

The Grandfather clock behind the counter chimed nine and Pansy lifted her head from her folded arms. "Luna? It's closing. Go lock up the front."

Luna poked her head out the door of the backroom, her arms weighted down with empty, freshly cleaned cages. She looked past Pansy to the front of the shop—to which the sleepy, dark-haired witch was closer—and pouted. "I'm really sorry, Pansy, but you'll have to get it."

And just like that, the blue-eyed girl with the soft, lilting voice had vanished again.

With a heavy sigh, Pansy slipped from her stool and rounded the counter. "I swear, it's like I have to do everything myself," she muttered, swallowing a yawn as she reached the shop's front door.

Whatever, it wasn't as though she'd had any expectation of getting to watch Luna flit through the shop. With her long, pale-gold her and perfect, slender limbs.

Scowling, she spared a moment to bat her forehead against the wood frame of the door. Honestly, working with animals all day must've driven Pansy mad at some point, because she could think of no other reason why she'd become so fascinated with the flighty, day-dreamy girl.

If only the post-War reforms hadn't been deliberately designed to hit traditionalist pure-blood families hardest of all, she and her friends wouldn't be stuck taking on menial work like this. Their family fortunes were being picked to the bone to repair damages throughout Wizarding Britain.

The travesty of it all!

She never would have had to take this job, otherwise. Draco was the lucky one, swooping in and taking the open position at Flourish and Blotts before anyone had even realized they were hiring. Blaise had somehow convinced Old Man Olivander to take him on as an assistant. By the time Pansy had dragged herself to look for a job, the silly creature shop was the only place left in Diagon Alley willing to hire on a Slytherin witch.

If she'd been a day, two days earlier, maybe she'd have hired on somewhere else. Anywhere else. And then she wouldn't be here, getting butterflies in her stomach every time Luna handed her something and their fingers accidentally brushed. Every time she thought she caught Luna looking at her while she wasn't paying attention.

Every time Luna bumped Pansy's hip with her own, in that cute little scooting-in maneuver she did whenever she joined Pansy behind the counter.

Pansy's entire body drooped as an unattractive groan tore from her throat. Honestly, she was hopeless.

A knock from the other side of the door startled her and she stepped back, peering through the glass. She frowned at the face staring back at her as she pulled the door open.

"Draco, what are you—?"

He pushed past her and into the shop, cutting her off. "Just dropping by to see how you're doing, is all."

"Yes, because that's so like you."

Nodding, he couldn't help a smirk. "Yeah . . . . Actually, just finished my shift, thought I'd pop by on my way to meet Granger."

"Oh, hullo, Draco," Luna called out from one of the aisles as she went about placing creatures back into their cages.

The sudden way Pansy's posture stiffened, and how her dark eyes darted in the direction of the other girl's voice, spoke volumes.

Draco's shoulders slumped. Just as he thought, Pansy hadn't said a word. And now he owed Granger five Galleons.

He dropped his voice to a whisper. "Just talk to her already, you sour, stubborn little woman."

Pansy pursed her lips, but didn't bother being insulted by his words—it wasn't anything she hadn't heard from him a million times before, and it was hardly the worst thing he'd ever said. "I . . . I talk to her every bloody day."

His brows drew upward and he simply stared at her.

"What?"

"You like her."

Pansy's eyes shot wide, but she only snapped at him. "Oh, how would you know?"

"Because the way you look at her is the same way you used to look at me during all third year," he said, a smug grin plucking the corners of his mouth upward.

"Maybe I was simply wondering how your hair doesn't blind people when you're under direct sunlight."

He chuckled. "Cute."

"Hmph."

"We're technically closed," Luna said, seeming to bounce over to them out of nowhere. "But since it's you, we can make an exception."

Draco looked from Luna, to a fuming Pansy, and back, granting the blonde girl a charming smile. "Well, aren't you a darling? Thank you."

Luna shrugged her petite shoulders, beaming. "Any boyfriend of Hermione's is a friend of mine."

Brow furrowing, Draco glanced back at Pansy—who winced and shook her head—before following the other girl through the shop toward the counter. "First time I've heard that. Okay. So, I was thinking of getting Granger a little something. Not a familiar, that mangy, ginger Kneazle-beast of hers is still alive and well. Just . . . something small, cute . . . .

"Something like . . . ." His gaze slid in Pansy's direction for a split-second before he continued. "Well, something like you, only a fluffy little animal. That'd be perfect, don't you think so, Pansy?"

Pansy, when he glanced to her, again, was not listening. She had turned away and appeared far too busy once more batting her forehead against the door to pay him any mind.

He noticed the quick drift of Luna's eyes toward the other girl; noticed the faintest tinge of pink dot her fair cheeks.

She covered it easily, smiling broadly as she nodded. "I actually think we have just the thing!"

Luna disappeared down one of the aisles. Draco's head bobbed side-to-side, scrutinizing the myriad of knick-knacks behind the counter was he waited.

Until a sudden jab in his ribs made him jump. Clamping his hand over his side, he feigned a wounded look as he met Pansy's gaze. "What was that for?"

Standing on her toes to lean up into his face, she said in hissing whisper, "You are a total arse!"

"Oh." He grinned winningly at her. "Thank you! I have been practicing."

She lowered her heels to the floor as she scowled. His sense of humor had really gotten better since he'd started up with Granger. He was so much less angry these days than he'd been when they were children.

And she hated it, a little.

"Here we go!" Luna was beside them suddenly, setting a fluffy, pink-and-white ball on the counter.

Draco's eyebrows shot up as he found himself face-to-face with a particularly chipper-seeming Pygmy Puff. "I . . . thought they only sold these things at Weaslebee's joke shop."

"Usually they don't have enough to meet demand, but recently . . . . Well, they had a . . . few extra, and so they let the owner take some off their hands."

"A few extra?" he echoed, his gaze leaping from one girl to the other.

Pansy shrugged. "They were trying to increase their stock, so instead of carefully breeding them, they decided to just stick the males and females in the same cages. And, well, turns out those randy little buggers put bunnies to shame."

Draco snorted a laugh at the mental picture of the joke shop being overrun with the tiny, puffy bunches of fur.

He pursed his lips to hide a grin as inspiration struck.

Luna spun to face Pansy, her expression oddly serious. "Can you handle it from here? I really should get back to the cages."

It seemed to Pansy that a few, strained heartbeats passed of her simply holding Luna's big, blue-eyed gaze before she managed a nod. Really, it couldn't have been more than a couple of seconds, but it had felt like forever.

Luna flitted down the main aisle and vanished around a shelf.

"How much is it?" Draco asked, snapping Pansy back into the moment.

No, she told herself adamantly. She had not been watching Luna walk away!

"Um," she said, shaking her head and rounding the counter for the shopkeeper's ledger. Really, she should welcome the distraction, shouldn't she?

She ticked off the price to him, only half-paying attention as she took the money he set on the counter beside the little fluffy thing. Only half-paying attention as she handed him the appropriate creature care scroll, and mentioned items he might want to purchase, on Granger's behalf, for upkeep of the animal. All helpfully noted in the ledger.

Until she heard the spell he muttered under his breath.

Pansy stilled and lifted her gaze. There, beside Draco's purchase was a second Pygmy Puff. Another one poofed into existence on the opposite side, right before her eyes.

Dark eyes widening, she straightened up as the counter slowly filled with duplicate Pygmy Puffs. "Draco, what did you do?"

He gave her a mystified look, as though he didn't understand the sudden worry in her face. Picking up Granger's Pygmy Puff, Draco pretended not to notice the others, still multiplying, as he delicately petted the top of its tiny head with the tips of his fingers.

"I thought you could . . . use an excuse to stay a bit late tonight. As the saying goes, the customer is always right, after all." Finally, he looked at the growing collection of fluffy creatures around them. "Seems like it'll take you and Lovegood quite a while to get a handle on this."

He backed away slowly to the door, grinning wickedly the entire way. "Suppose I'll just be going, then."

"Wha—?" Pansy darted a glance about. "Draco, no, you have to help me with this!"

Draco opened the door and set a foot outside. "Sorry, I would, but . . . that rather seems like a task for the people who work here. Night."

And like that, he was gone.

Pansy squeezed her eyes shut as she hollered for Luna.

The other girl's panicked voice brought Luna running from the back of the shop. "Pansy, what's wro—?" She managed to skitter to a halt just a few steps from where the excess of Pygmy Puffs were spilling over the counter to land on the floor.

Blinking rapidly, she watched as they started scurrying about the shop floor, starting toward the aisles and bottom-most shelves to explore in their adorable, rolling, wobbling movements.

"What happened?"

"Draco happened. He thought it would be funny to play a little prank on me."

Luna giggled as some of the more adventurous little fluff-balls brushed against her sandaled feet on their way to wander about. "Well, at least their cute!"

"Luna!"

Kind, but unflinching blue eyes met Pansy's as Luna said, "I know you're upset, but don't be cross with me. You're the one who let him in the shop."

Making a little disgusted noise in the back of her throat—oh, sure, she let him in, but she wasn't the one that gave him that first, silly little beast, in the first place—Pansy carefully picked her way through the puffy creatures to stand before the other witch. "Stop making sense, and help me!"

Luna blinked rapidly a few times, processing the request. "Funny, usually people want me to make sense."

Pansy's shoulders drooped as she whined. "Luna!"

"Okay, okay," Luna said, though she couldn't help laughing as she spoke. She reached out, her movements tentative, and circled Pansy's wrists with her fingers.

Pansy's gaze snapped from Luna's, to the hands holding her arms, and back. God, she hoped that was a faster snapping, than it felt like. She supposed she should be grateful that she was managing to keep her blush in check.

Though she'd only done it to be certain she had Pansy's full, currently-panicky attention, Luna found that she had to mindfully refrain from stroking her fingertips along the insides of the other girl's wrists in a soothing gesture. Those pretty, dark eyes were clouded with worry—she probably feared that if the excess Puffs caused any damage, she might lose her job—and that bothered Luna more than she knew it probably should.

Definitely more than Pansy would probably like. But then, sometimes the way Pansy looked at her, Luna couldn't help but consider that maybe she was wrong.

"Look," she finally said, wondering if Pansy had noticed how long it'd taken her to start speaking, again, "the spell will wear off, and then they'll all be gone. All we have to do is keep them from damaging anything while they're still here."

"Okay, okay, yeah." Pansy drew a breath and let it out slowly. Before she realized she'd even done it, she shifted her wrists in Luna's grasp so that the other girl's hands now clung to her own. Luna's frame seemed to stiffen a bit, but Pansy tried not to read anything into that, squeezing Luna's hands gently in a sign of . . . gratitude.

Yes, that was it, gratitude for being the calm one in this utterly absurd situation, that was all.

"What do we do, first?"

"We'll . . . ." Luna thought as she raked her gaze over the flood of pink and white fur covering the shop floor. "We'll treat them like regular creatures until they vanish! Put them in cages, give them food and water, and just wait for the spell to run its course."

"Yeah, yeah. That sounds good." Looking about, as well, Pansy asked, "Do you think they've stopped multiplying?"

Luna's grip tightened on Pansy's hands ever so slightly as she stilled, listening. "I think so. I don't hear that poof sound them were making when they appeared. I'll go get the extra cages from the storage room, you get the feed and dishes for water."

Pansy nodded, thinking there was a reluctance to the movement as Luna's hands slipped from hers. But there she went, imagining things, again. She turned away, heading for the feeding supplies.

Unable to help watching the other girl drift across the floor, Luna bit her bottom lip to hold in a smile. She was almost certain, from their exchange just now, that she was wrong. Pansy was looking at her exactly the way she thought the Slytherin girl had been.

Thrilling at the wild sensation of butterflies zinging through her stomach, Luna turned and made her way—carefully moving around the veritable colony of Pygmy Puffs—to the stairs which led to the storage room.

When Luna returned with the first armload of cages, she found that there were, in fact, more Pygmy Puffs that'd poofed into existence.

And, worse yet, a few of them had managed to bounce up the shelves. As she set down the cages and tried to assess how many more they might need, one of the exploring Puffs fell from a tall shelf.

That was the moment Pansy felt a Pygmy Puff land on her head, and she proceeded to curse the very day she'd met Draco Malfoy.

Fortunately, the Puffs were tiny, so more of them fit into each cage, with room to move about and play, than they'd first thought possible. Some of the creatures seemed to notice the others being snatched up, and weren't having it, bouncing and scurrying away, rolling beneath shelves and behind cages.

Twice the girls had literally tripped over each other in their dash to catch the more slippery ones.

"Oh, my God," Pansy said, laughing in spite of herself as she sat on the shop floor in the midst of a cluster of filled cages. "That was a nightmare.Did we really get all of them?"

Luna swiped the back of her hand across her forehead as she leaned back against the counter. "I think so. Not sure this plan helped at all, though. Seems we managed to make more of a mess than the Pygmy Puffs."

"I'm going to get fired for this, I just know it." Sleeping on the job? Owner let that slide. Being late every now and then? She was reprimanded, but that was the end of that. Being generally unhelpful? Luna always dashed over to save the day, swearing Pansy would get the hang of it all, soon enough.

But tearing up the shop in an effort to contain an explosion of Pygmy Puffs, which had only occurred because she allowed her friend in after closing? Oh, yes, she could hear it, already. Fired from a creature shop. How embarrassing!

Disliking the misery in the other girl's tone, Luna stepped around the cages to sit on her heels before Pansy. "Don't worry, I'll help you clean up. No one will ever know it looked like this."

Pansy bit her lip as she held Luna's gaze. "Really? But I've been awful to you."

With a light shrug, Luna smiled. "Oh, I don't take that personally. You're awful to everyone."

A surprised laugh bubbled out of Pansy, and Luna couldn't help but smile. She liked the sound of Pansy laughing—genuinely laughing, not that mean, shrill sound she used to make when they were students.

"Actually, as I'm pretty sure you've never cleaned anything a day in your life, you can help me clean up."

"I can do that!" Honestly, Pansy had been a little worried at the notion of being in charge of a terrifying thing like tidying up.

"Good."

Pansy was certain the words would burn her tongue on the way out, but she said them, anyway. "Thank you."

Luna simply looked at her for a long, quiet moment. She was pretty certain that Pansy—along with never cleaning—had never thanked anyone before, in her life. Yet, the longer she held Pansy's gaze, the more she felt her skin warm.

And she was certain this time that she saw the faintest bloom of red flare in Pansy's cheeks.

Unsure what to do with Luna staring at her like that, Pansy cleared her throat and glanced down the main aisle. "I suppose we'd better get started."

Nodding, Luna hopped up to stand and offered her hand to Pansy.

Though Pansy was a little nervous to touch her again, she lifted her arm. Slipping her hand into Luna's cool, slender fingers, Pansy let the other girl help her to her feet.

It took a moment for Pansy to relinquish her hold, and in that moment Luna decided she'd had enough of tiptoeing about. She bounced forward, closing the meager distance between them to brush her lips against Pansy's.

The dark-haired witch blinked rapidly, a deep blush flooding her face. Her eyes shot wide as Luna leaned back, again.

"Wh—?" Pansy cleared her throat and shook her head, painfully aware of the tingly warmth in her cheeks. "What'd you do that for?"

Luna pouted, uncertain why she had to ask. "I thought you wanted me to."

"Why would you think that?" Pansy wondered if she'd really been so obvious.

The Ravenclaw shrugged, the bewilderment in the other girl's dark eyes causing a tiny, painful twinge in the center of her chest. "Because I've seen how you watch me."

Pansy was dumbstruck—clearly she had been obvious, and she hadn't the foggiest idea of it. Well, no, she had an idea of it, but she'd hoped she hadn't been.

Luna nodded, taking Pansy's lack of response for an answer. Her clear blue gaze fell to the ground as she forced a gulp down her throat.

"I noticed because . . . . Because I've been watching you, too, so I thought . . . ." Luna shrugged, her voice tight as she let her words trail off.

Certainly, Pansy was difficult, and coarse, and sometimes a right pain in the arse, but that was simply who she was, and she wasn't afraid of it. Luna liked to think of Pansy as someone who was fearlessly herself, regardless of what others thought. Just as she was, and Luna couldn't help but like her for it.

Perhaps she'd misjudged, though. She did that sometimes, after all. "Sorry. I . . . I didn't mean to trouble you." She turned her head away, looking toward the mess littering the aisles now that the excess of Pygmy Puffs had been tucked away. "You know what? You go home, it's fine. I—I'll take care of the mess and lock up."

Pansy's brow furrowed as she watched Luna drift away from her. There'd been the oddest pang behind her ribcage as she'd seen Luna's face crumble only a few, strained heartbeats ago. As she watched some of the brightness leave those blue eyes.

She should let this drop, she knew. Let Luna walk away, and leave it be. That would be proper, after all.

But if she did, this might be unfixable, and she'd miss her chance. And what good had being proper ever done for her, anyway?

"Luna, wait," she said, her voice escaping her in a shaky whisper.

Luna was pretty sure she felt her heart skip a beat as she paused, mid-stride. She pivoted on her heel to face the other girl.

Hurrying to cross the few steps between them, Pansy slipped a hand around the back of Luna's neck and pulled her close. For a moment, she froze. Luna's sweet, minty breath was warm on her lips, making the delicate skin tingle.

"You were right," she murmured, her mouth brushing every so lightly against Luna's as she spoke. "You were right, I did want you to."

Dark eyes drifting closed, she tipped her head to one side and pressed her lips to Luna's.

Luna held in an ecstatic giggle as her arms circled Pansy's waist. The mirthful sound slipped out as the other girl's tongue darted between her lips.

Pansy's head snapped up and she scowled at the blonde witch, but she made no move to pull away, or to slip from Luna's gentle embrace. "Well, that's a bit rude!"

Luna sank her teeth into her bottom lip as she grinned. "Sorry! I was just excited you were kissing me."

Smirking, Pansy arched a brow. "Okay, fine. Don't suppose I can be upset over that, now can I?"

Her expression turning serious, suddenly, Luna lifted a hand to trace Pansy's lips with the tip of her finger. Pansy felt her breath come up short at the sensation.

"So, is this actually a . . . are we a thing, now?"

Pansy waited for Luna to meet her gaze before she answered. "If you want."

A broad smile playing on her lips, Luna nodded.

"After we get this all sorted, and lock up the shop, maybe . . . we can continue this chat?"

Again, Luna nodded. "I like that sound of that. You're actually going to still help me clean up, aren't you?" she asked, as she stepped backward, slipping out of Pansy's delicate hold.

Pansy's eyebrows shot up, disappearing beneath her bangs. "Oh, Merlin's Beard, woman! I said I would," she said with a laugh. "But just this once."

Giggling and rolling her eyes, Luna turned away and summoned the broom to her hand. Yes, Pansy was difficult, and coarse, and a right pain in the arse.

And Pansy was hers.