This story was written for Rae (KieraRaelyn) in The DG Forum Fic Exchange - Summer 2018 by a member of our forum. For more details, please visit our page.
"What the hell are you doing, Parkinson?"
As she often did, Pansy ignored Draco and continued doing as she pleased. Which was, at the moment, petting the—the thing she had just put on his desk. The thing was a creature that was small and brown and far too fluffy, with big, watery brown eyes that kept watching Draco. It looked like some type of rodent. Draco leaned back in his seat, trying to put as much distance as he could between himself and the creature.
"If you don't get that—that mouse off my desk, I'll—"
"You'll what?" Pansy asked coolly, lifting her eyes to look at Draco fully.
He glowered at her. She knew very well Draco couldn't afford to act out, not here. He was at work, trying to look over contracts. If he embarrassed Gringotts by screaming at her, the goblins would surely fire him.
Of course, Pansy would use that to her advantage.
Draco desperately needed some new friends.
"And it's not a mouse, Draco. Honestly, did you listen at all in Care of Magical Creatures?"
"Of course not. Silly question. What is it, then?"
He asked the question out of hope that if he showed some interest in Pansy's new pet, she'd be satisfied and leave. This wasn't the first random thing Pansy had taken interest in, and Draco knew it wouldn't be the last. Usually, however, Pansy didn't barge into Gringotts to force Draco to pay attention to her new hobbies.
The creature let out a loud mewling sound and Draco cringed. If someone heard that…
"A Kneazle. I found it in Knockturn Alley only a few minutes ago. Poor thing must've been abandoned."
Draco's lip curled in disgust. It was some sort of street cat? That's what Pansy decided to plop down on his desk, next to his very, very important files for work? The thing probably had fleas!
"Gringotts is not the proper place for a pet," Draco said through clenched teeth. "Why did you bring it here?"
Ah, yes. Wednesday. Wednesday was the one day each week that Pansy went back to her childhood home and tried to convince her mother to love her again. It was almost a joke at this point, since Pansy's parents hadn't spoken to her since the war. After the Ministry trials, her father had been thrown into a quaint cell next to Draco's father in Azkaban, and her mother holed up in their house, shamed. The fact that Pansy had been acquitted of any wrongdoing and was allowed to keep a portion of her inheritance when the Ministry had taken almost everything from the Parkinsons for their contributions throughout the war had soured her relationship with her parents.
Of course, the war had been nearly a decade ago.
Her parents could certainly hold a grudge.
"Take that blasted thing with you," Draco said, waving his hand in the direction of the Kneazle. "I've no time for it."
"I'm not ready to be a mother. I barely had a mother myself, and I can't ruin this thing's life like my mother ruined mine. It wouldn't be fair. You need to take it."
The creature meowed and Draco sneered.
"I don't have time for this, Pansy. Take it."
"I can't. Theo is allergic."
Merlin, help him. Draco inhaled deeply through his nose as he fought the urge to grab his wand and hex her.
"What do I care if your roommate is allergic? Take it to the shop down the road. Drop it off with a little note begging for help."
"Oh, I couldn't, Draco," Pansy half-cooed. She ran her hands through the Kneazle's fur lovingly. "Kneazles are far too smart. If I were to run into it later in life, and it remembered me, that could spell bad news for me."
"Have you had many issues running into pets you've abandoned?" Draco questioned, cocking his head. "Either way, this thing is not my problem. Get it off my desk before one of the goblins eats it."
Despite the fact that the goblins he worked with rarely entered his office, Draco had high hopes that this threat would convince Pansy to take the creature and go away. He was up to his ears in paperwork; Draco was rather certain that the goblins purposely gave him useless work simply to keep him away from them—not that Draco wanted to talk to them, anyway.
Honestly, Draco didn't work for them. Rather, he was supposed to help them negotiate arrangements with curse breakers around the globe. Curse breakers were individually contracted to Gringotts; otherwise, they could sell their services and anything they found to whomever they liked. Draco was supposed to keep both the goblins and curse breakers happy.
"Darling, this has been fun, but I have to go. You know what Wednesdays mean to me."
"They mean you always end up at the manor or a pub, inexcusably drunk, irritating me or whoever else you force your company upon."
Pansy's eyes narrowed, but that was the only sign that what he said had annoyed her.
"Well then, I suppose it's fine to meet you and him—" she pointed to the thing on Draco's desk, "later tonight at your place. I expect a bottle of wine to be opened before I arrive."
Before he could say anything, Pansy turned on her heel and headed out of his office. She slammed the door shut behind her. Draco rushed to his feet and ran to the door, yanking it open. He had hoped she'd be waiting outside, ready to laugh at his expression, but she wasn't. No, he spotted her walking briskly towards the exit of Gringotts.
Draco held back a groan.
Now he was stuck with the rodent. Cat. Kneazle. Whatever. Leaning against the doorway, Draco tried to fight the panic rising in him. He'd be done work soon enough. Then he could take this thing back to the manor with him and lock it outside with the peacocks until Pansy showed up. She wasn't planning on actually leaving him with it forever, right?
No, that would be far too cruel, even for Pansy.
Draco's eyes skimmed the marble hall as his thoughts wandered. The goblins were stationed in their regular spots at the long counters, assisting customers and counting money. The clink of coins moving through their fingers echoed throughout the hall. It helped calm him. Gringotts had always fascinated Draco as a child. Now, years later, there was still a sort of wonder to it that working day in and day out didn't ruin.
A flash of red caught Draco's attention and he straightened. It disappeared behind a pillar and Draco shifted in the doorway, trying to find it again.
Was it William Weasley? Or, Draco though with a sneer, Bill, as he kept telling Draco to call him.
Draco had been in direct contact with Bill for the past few weeks, trying to get the annoyingly stubborn man to sign a new contract with the curse breaking team he ran. Bill had been a curse breaker in Egypt and was held in high regard there. Now he handled the logistics for the team that was currently stationed in Egypt.
Perhaps the man was coming to talk to Draco. Maybe he had finally realized the contract Draco offered was the best he would receive. If that was so, Draco would certainly gain more respect around Gringotts. At the moment, the goblins looked down their long, pointy, bumpy noses at him as if they were somehow better than him. Bill finally signing the contract would take a lot of stress off Draco's shoulders—
But no. The figure that came out from behind the pillar, smiling at the goblin behind the counter, was certainly not Bill. It was Ginevra Weasley, the infuriatingly famous Quidditch player.
Draco scowled and turned around, slamming his door behind him.
He stopped when his gaze fell on the Kneazle again. It had made itself at home atop a pile of new parchment on his desk. The parchment would surely be crinkled and unusable now. Probably would smell, too.
Inching towards the desk, Draco kept his eyes locked on the ball of fur. The Kneazle was incredibly small; did they always start out this little? Or was it undernourished? Pansy had said she found it in Knockturn Alley. There was a chance someone had dropped it off there, not wanting to take care of a runt. But Kneazles were expensive pets to buy and a sign of wealth in some parts of the world, so Draco couldn't help but wonder who would leave the small thing to fend for itself.
Slowly, Draco sat back down in his seat. The Kneazle was still curled in on itself. Its chest rose and fell in long, steady breaths. It had fallen asleep.
Running a hand tiredly over his face, Draco leaned back in his chair. He really didn't have time to deal with this thing. And if his mother found out he had brought a pet home, she'd be less than pleased, even if she was currently in France. What had Pansy been thinking? That she would rescue the thing and then drop it off with the person who wanted it least?
Something caught Draco's eye on his desk and he stilled, trying to figure out what he had seen. Then it happened once more. A tiny, black insect jumped high in the air before landing on his desk again. Was that—was that a flea?
"Bloody fuck!" Draco shouted, pushing away from his desk roughly.
His chair tipped backwards and he crashed onto the floor. He heard the Kneazle let out a high-pitched screech before all the parchment on his desk went flying.
Fleas! Weren't they—weren't they some sort of parasite? They infested places! Draco briefly recalled his first year at Hogwarts when some Hufflepuff's cat had fleas. The little bugs had overrun the Hufflepuffs' common room. Was his office contaminated now?
Draco brushed at himself, feeling incredibly itchy as he looked to see if any of the bugs were flying at him. He was going to kill Pansy! She'd be the one paying for his office to be cleaned, not him! The goblins were never going to let him live this down! And how was he supposed to get that creature out of here without touching it? He was thoroughly fucked—
"Hello? Everything okay in here?"
The door to his office opened and Draco hurried to his feet. He quickly ran a hand through his hair as he lurched forward for his wand.
"A minute, I need one minute—"
But the person had completely opened the door. Draco's face flushed when he realized who it was.
"Merlin, Malfoy, what happened in here?"
Her large eyes roamed over his office, her mouth parted in surprise. She was clutching an envelope to her chest as she walked in.
"Can't knock, hmm? Just going to barge in without permission?" Draco snapped, finally locating his wand on the desk.
He tried to think of what spells to use that would straighten the fallen parchment and his toppled chair and kill all those fleas, but his mind was elsewhere. What if those bugs latched onto him? What if he brought them home to the manor? He'd have to burn everything. Everything!
"Bloody hell, I didn't realize you were such a slob," Weasley said, walking in further to continue peering around.
Draco huffed, his cheeks growing warmer.
"Why are you here—"
His words were drowned out by a loud, high-pitched cry. Draco flinched at the sound as Weasley shrieked, jumping back and slamming into the door behind her. The door shut as she fell against it. Something bolted towards Draco and he stared in surprise when he realized what it was.
"What the hell was that?!" Weasley screamed, eyes wide and hair wild. "You have rodents in here? That's disgusting!"
"I don't live in a barn! It's my—my—" Draco bent and picked up the small, whimpering creature. "It's my pet! You tried to kill my pet, you wench!"
"What? What are you talking about?"
But his words had had some sort of calming effect on Weasley, for she straightened, pushing her hair from her face. She stared at him.
"You heard me! You barge into my office, then trample my pet, and then try to tell me I have rodents! You have some nerve!"
Weasley hesitantly stepped closer.
"You don't have any other animals hiding in this mess, do you?" she asked cautiously.
"Why are you here?"
Weasley blinked. Abruptly, her expression hardened, as though she remembered who she was talking to.
"My brother knew I was stopping by Gringotts and asked me to give this to you." She lifted the envelope in her hand so he could see. Then, her voice softened. "Is he okay?"
"How should I know? He's your brother."
Weasley stared at him for a second before rolling her eyes.
"I can't tell if you're serious or not. I meant your pet. Is he okay? Did I hurt him?"
For a moment, Draco had forgotten about the shaking creature in his hands. He frowned as he looked down at it. Other than being startled, the creature seemed fine. But… had his tail been bent that way before? Draco couldn't be too sure.
"I think you might've broken his tail with your large feet."
Weasley glared at him but there was no heat behind it.
"I didn't mean to! Look, we can take him down to the Magical Menagerie. They'll have someone there who can look over him. I'll cover the cost if he's hurt."
Draco glared back at her. If the goblins saw him leaving his office holding this thing, they'd surely question him about it. And he couldn't stuff it in his cloak, not now that he knew it had fleas. Grabbing said cloak, Draco put it on and clasped it around his neck with his free hand. Then he walked up to Weasley and held out the Kneazle to her.
Her eyebrows rose.
"What? Why are you—"
"Hold him for me, will you? And give me that envelope from your brother. I need to grab some… some of this parchment to take home with me tonight."
Draco looked around helplessly. His office was an absolute mess. Weasley distracted him, though, by taking the creature from his hands and giving him the envelope. She must've been feeling particularly guilty, for she didn't have anything to say about his orders.
Shoving the envelope into his cloak pocket, Draco walked around his office, grabbing whatever pieces of parchment he thought he'd need to bring home. He'd clean the rest of his office in the morning. He walked briskly towards Weasley.
"Care to move so we can go?" he snapped when she didn't step out of his way.
Her eyes narrowed but she said nothing, stepping aside for him. Draco opened the door and walked out, not bothering to check if she was behind him. The familiar noise of Gringotts relaxed him once more as he headed to the exit. None of the goblins seemed to pay him any mind.
Pansy was going to pay for this. None of this would have happened if she had left the thing in Knockturn Alley. Of course, she'd probably blame him for the fact that the creature had gotten hurt within the first half hour it was left with Draco. But that wasn't his fault either! If that stupid Weasley girl hadn't come into his office uninvited, he would've been able to hide the fleabag and Weasley would've been none the wiser.
"Malfoy! What's his name?"
Draco turned, surprised at Weasley's loud tone.
"Why are you yelling?"
"Because I've been asking you repeatedly for his name and you've been ignoring me," she growled.
"I should get an award, then. I'm not sure many could properly ignore such a shrill voice."
She didn't respond to his insult, instead lifting her eyebrows as she waited for the answer. Draco frowned. He didn't have a name for the creature. He couldn't tell her that or else she'd realize it wasn't his pet. He wasn't sure what the consequences of that would be, but he didn't want to find out.
Without any thought at all, he responded.
"Mouse?" she repeated doubtfully.
Weasley looked down at the little thing in her hands as they exited Gringotts.
"I guess I did think it was some sort of rodent when I first came in…" she said, shrugging.
Its tail was broken. The woman who ran the store, Ms. Libby Smith, had looked over the Kneazle with a fond smile before declaring that Weasley had managed to break his tail. Weasley looked rightfully abashed, apologizing profusely to the Kneazle for a solid five minutes before Draco told her to shut up and stop talking to his pet.
"Looks undernourished too, for such a young thing. Could be why his tail broke so easily," Smith said, as she placed several potions on the counter. "He also has fleas."
I knew it!
Draco resisted the urge to scratch himself as he glared at the fleabag on the counter.
"But I gave him a potion for that, which will deal with them quickly. Where'd you buy him?"
Noting the look Smith gave him, Draco frowned. What, exactly, was she trying to accuse him of?
"I found him in an alley," Draco lied sharply. "Only two nights ago. I hadn't any time to come here so I've been bringing him to work with me."
"You'll need to get him registered at the Ministry, then, love. They like to keep track of anyone who owns a Kneazle. Might even be able to find out who abandoned him, if they properly registered his parents. I'll have to send the Ministry a letter that you brought him in here; they give about a week before they'll send notices or fines. There's also a chance he's the offspring of a Kneazle and a regular cat, which would make him only a half-Kneazle, but I'm not sure yet. He's still too young to tell."
Weasley made an excited sound at that. Smith continued speaking.
"Either way, here's some nourishment tonics for Mouse. He'll need a lot of care over the next few weeks, between his tail and getting him to his correct weight. I hope you'll have enough time for it. If not, you might want to think about leaving him here with us."
Tilting his head, Draco thought about what she was offering. It would get Mouse off his hands. Pansy wouldn't continue bothering him over the thing. And he wouldn't have to worry about fleas…
"I am rather busy. I wasn't expecting to deal with a broken tail, either," he replied, pointedly frowning at Weasley.
Her face flushed unpleasantly.
"That's fine," Smith told him, reaching under the counter to pull out some pieces of parchment. "If you sign here, I can—"
"No, look, okay," Weasley interrupted, her cheeks becoming redder as she turned her full attention to Draco. "I'll take him to the Burrow and my parents and I can help take care of him. I hate the idea of leaving him here."
Smith's eyes narrowed.
"No offense!" Weasley cried out, realizing the insult. "It's, just, you know, Malfoy found him and Mouse deserves full attention as he heals and my mum is really quite nurturing, she enjoys nursing things back to health, and she has plenty of time on her hands now that I'm the only one living at home—"
As Weasley rambled on, an idea began to form in Draco's head. He needed to get Weasley's older brother to sign the contract Draco had for him. But Bill wouldn't. Maybe by hanging out with the youngest Weasley, he'd learn enough about the eldest Weasley to convince him to sign the bloody contract so that Draco didn't have to think about any Weasleys anymore.
This could be his opportunity, his moment. This could get him the respect he deserved at Gringotts. Before he knew what he was doing, Draco cut Weasley's ramble short.
"Attempted murder and now theft."
She blinked in surprise, her mouth hanging open. Then she collected herself, her eyebrows furrowing.
"You heard me. First you try to murder Mouse, stepping on him and leaving him to suffer, and now you're trying to steal him from me!"
"I did not leave him to suffer!" Weasley snapped.
Smith let out a long sigh before putting the papers back under the counter. Mouse inched his way over to where Draco's hand sat on the countertop. Draco almost jumped when he felt the furball press against him.
Surprise and uncertainty fought for dominance on Weasley's face, her eyes drawn to Mouse nuzzling Draco's hand.
"I'm not trying to steal your pet, Malfoy." Her tone was gentle.
"Certainly seems that way to me. Doesn't it?"
Draco turned, hoping Ms. Libby Smith would be able to help prove his point, but she was gone. Instead, a young boy manned the register, looking worriedly between the pair.
"Were you going to buy all this, then?" the cashier hesitantly inquired.
Draco ignored him as Weasley offered the boy a smile that was far nicer than any expression she sent his way. Then, she looked back at Draco, her smile falling.
"I don't know how else I can help," she told him through gritted teeth.
"Perhaps, next time knock before you enter someone's office."
Her eyes blazed as she stared at him. It was clear she was trying not to hex him. Remembering the curse she shot his way fifth year, Draco took a tiny step back.
He was not in the mood to have giant bogeys fly from his nostrils.
"How about I buy all of this and I'll… I'll send an owl to make sure Mouse has started to heal in a few days. You won't have to deal with me at all. If you want to leave him here, that's fine. I was only trying to help—a concept, I'm sure, that is foreign to you."
"You can stay with me."
Normally cool under pressure, Draco was dismayed to feel warmth flood his face. Weasley opened her mouth to respond then closed it again.
"I don't have time to sit around and fix your mistake," he elaborated, trying to remain collected. "The Manor has more than enough room."
"I'm not staying at your house. Th—that's mad." She took a deep breath. Mouse let out a pitiful mewl, almost perfect timing. "Why would you get a Kneazle if you didn't have time for it?"
Draco's lip curled.
"I found it, Weasley, remember? I was trying to help it."
She frowned but he saw some cracks in her conviction.
"How about I'll come around whenever I need to give him the potions," Weasley offered slowly.
They stared at each other.
"About once a day, then," the cashier said, looking over the potions on the counter.
"Once a day, I'll come over and give Mouse his potions. Does that work?"
It wasn't like Draco actually wanted Weasley to live at his house. His mother would likely throw him from the balcony if she found out he let a Weasley sleep in one of his ancestor's bedrooms. This was certainly a better arrangement.
"Okay." Weasley turned back to the cashier. "I'll buy all of this. Can you get me instructions for each of the potions, too? Thanks."
Once the cashier finished ringing up all the items and putting them into a bag, Weasley grabbed the bag and shoved it into Draco's chest. The impact almost made him lose his breath. Merlin, she was strong.
"Abusive wench," he hissed.
"See you tomorrow, Malfoy."
Weasley gave Mouse a pat on the head before heading out. When she was out of view, Draco turned to the cashier.
"I need whatever food this thing eats owled to my manor. And you're sure it doesn't have fleas any longer? Also, I need something to keep him in."
The cashier stared at him.
"Are you deaf?" Draco snarled. "Hurry up!"
Author's Note: Thanks for reading! This story was fun to write and I hope everyone enjoys it! Special thanks to my beta—you're a lifesaver and your help made this story much better! I appreciate you so much!
Rae's Prompt #3
Basic Premise: Ginny injures Draco's pet. He rants at her about it and she decides she will nurse it back to health herself. Well, he's not about to let her steal his pet, so he insists if she must take care of his animal, that she will do so at the Manor. Shenanigans ensue, they end up lovers.
Must Haves: Lots of humor.
Rating Range: Any
Bonus Points: The pet is not Malfoy's, it had just been following him around at the time. It was all a ploy to get Ginny to his house for a time.