careful what you ask for


HPFC

Ultimate Writer Challenge - "Write a story about a character you dislike." - 1/1 complete

QLFC Season 6

Seeker: Appleby Arrows - Round 4 (Pet Me) - "Write about getting a pet for the first time and it turning out different than expected."

The Golden Snitch

Centaurus, Aurora - Through the Universe Challenge - "2. Ablation - (setting) Malfoy Manor."

Room of Requirement

Wand Wood Category Challenge - Cypress - "Write about a pureblood."

The Ultimate Hogwarts House Competition - Ravenclaw - "99. (colour) silver grey."


Draco swallowed hard, swinging his legs nervously beneath the dinner table. He glanced quickly between the plate of untouched food in front of him, then across the table to his father, who was too busy eating to even glance up.

Draco looked to his mother, who was seated at his left. She smiled gently, giving her seven-year-old son an encouraging nod.

Draco cleared his throat, twirling his fork around in his fingers.

His father finally glanced up from his plate, silver-grey eyes fixing on his son. "Yes, Draco? Is there something you need?"

Draco took a deep breath. "Father, I want a pet."

His father blinked, running a hand through his platinum-blond hair. "Excuse me?"

"I want a pet, please," Draco repeated, more slowly this time. His voice was shaking. "I- I already talked to Mother about it, and-"

His father's jaw tightened and that steely gaze whirled on Draco's mother. "You went behind my back, Narcissa?" he hissed. "Now, for the rest of his life, our son is going to believe that-"

"Let him finish," she interrupted, quietly but firmly, dark eyes narrowing. "He's been preparing this speech for a while now, Lucius. The least you could do is listen to him."

Draco chewed on his bottom lip anxiously, trying to gauge his father's reaction.

"Fine," Lucius said stiffly, turning back to Draco. "Continue."

Draco exhaled a sigh of relief. He set his fork down carefully on his plate and braced his small hands on the edge of the table.

"Father," Draco began, "since I'm not going to Hogwarts yet, I spend my days at home. And since I have no other siblings, I'm alone most of the time."

Lucius frowned. "Ask the house elf to entertain you. And you should be focusing on studying in preparation for school, not frolicking around with a pet."

Draco licked his lips. "I would ask the house elf to play with me, but I wouldn't want to stop him from doing the chores you assigned him around the house."

Lucius nodded slowly. "That… makes sense."

Draco smiled proudly. Mother had helped him come up with that reasoning, and he had even remembered the exact way she had wanted him to say it!

He snuck a look at her, practically glowing with her soft, curly brown hair and her proud smile.

"I promise I would keep up with my work, Father," Draco swore. "And I would take care of the pet so well that you wouldn't even know it was there!"

Draco sat back slowly, releasing a breath. That was it. He had no more reasons to offer, no more fancy words to prove his point.

He hoped it was enough.

There was a long, long moment of silence.

"You've thought about this a lot," Lucius noted.

Draco nodded eagerly.

"All right," Lucius conceded. "Fine. You may have a pet, but I don't want to see a single trace of it in this house. Understood?"

"Yes, thank you!" Draco cried happily. "When can we go to get it? Can we go tomorrow? Can we go now?"

"We?" Lucius echoed sharply. "No. I'll send the house elf to get it for you first thing in the morning."

Draco deflated slightly, but he tried hard not to let his disappointment show. He would still be getting a pet! What did it matter if he picked it out or not?

.oOo.

Draco woke the next morning unable to breathe.

His gray eyes flew open, darting frantically around his bedroom. But his view of the walls and floor and wide windows was blocked by a blur of cinnamon-colored fur.

Draco shoved the thing- whatever it was- off his face, relieved when a wash of cool air filled his mouth. He breathed deeply, pale face flushed.

He pushed himself into a sitting position on his enormous mattress, untangling his small hands from the silken green sheets, and glared accusingly at the thing sitting at the foot of his bed: a cat.

A cat.

Draco's anger dissolved into elation. "I have a pet!"

And it was a very cool-looking cat, too; with crimson-brown fur and luminous gold eyes, the creature cocked its head and watched Draco curiously.

Draco leaned forward, reaching out with his arms in an attempt to pull his new pet into a hug. But the cat simply leapt nimbly off his bed and onto the fluffy carpeting.

Draco frowned, jumping off the too-tall bed and landing on all fours on the carpet. Once again, he tried to snatch the cat into his arms, but the creature simply leapt nimbly out of his grasp.

Draco's eyes narrowed. Again, he tried, and again, he missed.

The cat slowly backed away from him, leaning back on its haunches. It was only then that Draco realized his bedroom door was wide open.

He stiffened. If the cat got out, and if his father saw it…

Almost as if the cat knew what he was thinking, in whirled around and darted out the door in a flourish of fluffy tail.

Draco shrieked and charged after it, still wearing his slightly-oversized pajamas. If Father saw him, he would be absolutely horrified that his son had left his bedroom before getting properly dressed.

As Draco turned down the corridor, sprinting for the staircase, he grinned. There was a kind of thrill that came from trying to conduct a secret chase around his house. It certainly beat feeling lonely, that was for sure.

Draco hopped off the final stair, landing on marble floor and crashing directly into what felt to be a solid brick wall.

He tumbled to the ground, hitting his elbows on the tiles.

With a grimace, he hauled himself to his feet and craned his neck upwards… only to meet the cool stare of his father, who was dressed in an impeccable business suit.

And in his father's arms…

Draco flinched. Wriggling around in his grasp was the cat.

Draco just stared for a moment, unable to speak.

Finally, his father huffed a sigh. "Is this yours?"

Draco nodded quickly. "I'm sorry," he whispered, his shoulders deflating. "I didn't think- I thought I would be able to control it, and-"

Lucius exhaled, long and slow, before bending down so he and his son were at eye-level.

The cat was still squirming, attempting to scratch at the fabric of Lucius's expensive suit.

"Look," Lucius said quietly, "I'm not angry with you."

Draco blinked. "You're not?"

Lucius just shook his head slowly before gently depositing the cat in Draco's arms. The creature went still before hissing at the both of them.

"I know you think I'm too strict," Lucius continued, somewhat gruffly, "but I just want what's best for you. Okay?"

Draco just nodded, stunned. "Okay."

And with that, his father straightened up and stalked off and out of sight.

Draco looked down in amazement at the cat in his hands.

"You're a magic cat," he decided. "You made Father be nice to me."

He smiled. For a moment, he had been truly terrified that his father was going to actually hurt the cat.

But he hadn't.

And maybe that meant his father wasn't a cruel person after all.

Draco grinned in satisfaction.

He knew getting a pet would be a good thing.