My Beloved Ferret
Ficlet inspired by a Challenge that was issued by Elle-Gee at Portkey.Org
Disclaimer: Draco and Ginny aren't mine. They belong to JKR.
It was not funny.
He would have been very quick to reassure anyone of that fact. Things just weren't supposed to turn out this way. It was twisted, it was cruel, and it was just plain wrong.
A person of his character and stature should be graced with the Animagus form of a wolf, a snake, or most ideally, a dragon. Yes, he thought with his trademark smirk, a dragon.
He was not supposed to undergo all of the preparations and paperwork, the days of waiting anxiously, and then finally turn to the mirror expecting a magnificent creature; only to be faced with… with… he couldn't even think it. It was a complete humiliation. He could never face the wizarding community again, not knowing that his inner animal was a… was a…
Damn that Mad-Eyed-Moody. Damn Potter, Weasley, Granger, and that insufferable Creevey, too, just for good measure. He would be doing a lot of damning as long as he looked like this. Damn that little Weasley too, the only female, for always moping around. What did she have to complain about? Her inner animal was probably something respectable, like a fox.
But that was beside the point. The point was, Draco was a ferret, and knew, just knew, that somehow the unbearable Golden Trio was to blame.
Or perhaps it was just bad luck. They were all the same to him in his state of fury.
And the very worst part was, the first time you change into your Animagus form, you had to stay that way for at least two hours, for the process to complete itself. So even if he never transformed back again, he was still stuck this way for two hours. Two bloody hours, to wobble around like a ruddy little rodent.
He hopped down, off of the bureau, and nosed the door to his room open. As long as he was a ferret, he might as well go find some first year's ankles to bite. At least he could get some humor out of the situation.
His toenails clacked on the stone dungeon floors, and echoed out around him faintly. A few Slytherins sauntered by, and Draco quickly retreated into a classroom. They seemed very large compared to his position as a tiny figure on the floor. He would have to be careful to not be stepped on.
The stairs were a tricky situation; he had to hop up each one individually. It took ages until he finally reached the main floor landing, and saw that it was nearly empty. It was a Saturday evening, so there were no classes in session. Students were milling about as they pleased.
Ginny Weasley was wandering the hallways, like she did when she was upset. She was always upset, it seemed, and today was no different.
It didn't help that she was painfully unpopular. Quiet, shy, and troubled were only more negative ingredients thrown into the mix.
It was tough being the only girl in a family. It was tough being youngest, it was tough having red hair, and it was tough to be nearly invisible to everybody in the school.
And today's dilemma was only another stick in the fire. Ron had taken complete control of Pig, and her parents had told her she couldn't get a pet of her own right now. Money was tight.
Ginny turned and gave the corridor wall a good punch. The Weasley's money was always tight. And yet every other one of her siblings had had pets, if they'd wanted them. Heck, Ron had two.
Sure, one turned out to be an escaped Death Eater, but that wasn't the principle of the matter.
Ginny wanted an animal of her very own. To hug and talk to and care for.
Ginny Weasley wanted a friend.
Despite the inane amount of stairs, Draco was making his way slowly to the upper floors of the castle. He hadn't found anybody worthy of bothering yet, and was hoping to have better luck upstairs. He'd better, after all the work he'd suffered getting up.
He was getting used to having four short legs, and he had to admit- having a tail was kind of interesting. But he still hated it- being a ferret was definitely not something to brag about at parties. It was not very likely to attract females, either.
Ah. There was a lonely second year sitting against the wall. Draco used his newfound stealth to sneak up beside her, and clamp his tiny jaw down on the skin above her worn tennis shoes.
The young girl cried out in pain, and jumped from her sitting position. Draco was gone from sight before she knew what'd happened.
If ferrets could chuckle, Draco would have been rolling around on the ground by now.
He scampered off, tottering down the hall at a giddy trot.
He was in search of his next victim. It only took a few turns of dimly lit corners before he found her, sitting against the wall as well. This one wasn't a first year, however, or anything like it. This one was the source of Draco's earlier irritation, and he was only too glad to take it out on her ankles.
Ginny was sitting with her head in her hands, most likely crying. Draco used his prior moves to get closer to her, and when he was a few feet away, he stopped.
He didn't want to just bite her. This was the youngest Weasel, and if he was stuck like a ferret for another two hours, she should have to suffer too. Just because he was cruel like that, and couldn't suffer on his own. He wanted to torment her for a while, as well. He inched his way closer, until his nose was nearly touching her cloak. Nudging the black fabric a few times, she finally looked up.
He'd expected a shriek. A scream. Maybe even a disgusted look and then her jumping up and dashing away.
But never did he expect what Ginny Weasley did.
"Oh, aren't you just adorable?" She scooped the furry creature up and held him gently before her face.
This was the closest Draco had ever been to Weasley's face. He was anticipating bad breath, squinty eyes, or irregularities in her skin… but she wasn't half bad looking.
But adorable? Draco was not adorable. He was masculine, chiseled… this was not going as planned.
She started feeling around his neck, making Draco squirm. "Who do you belong to, little ferret?"
So she was looking for identification tags. He could take that. But not little ferret. He was cringing at the name.
"Hm…" Ginny said aloud. She gave him a few soft pats on the head before dropping him in her lap, one hand securely around his middle. Draco was sitting on Weasley's lap. This was getting weird.
"I don't think you belong to anyone, little ferret. Do you have a name?"
He glanced up at her with his dark, beady eyes. He tried to nod indignantly and say "Malfoy" with pride, but then he remembered that he couldn't talk. Damn ferrets.
She smiled. "I'll just have to give you one myself. Let's see…"
She picked him up again, and Draco could feel himself getting queasy. This was like a ride on a broomstick through a windstorm, all this up and down business. He didn't like it. He tried to bite her fingers.
Sadly, he didn't succeed. He ended up giving her fingers a soft lick. A soft lick that made Ginny giggle. Gross.
"I've got it. I'll name you Muffin. They're sweet, like you."
Draco wanted to spew. He vowed to never eat another muffin as long as he lived. This was now not only gross, but also sappy. Why a ferret, he screamed silently to whomever might be listening.
Ginny's tears had dried and been long since forgotten. In fact, her face seemed to light up like he'd never seen before- or perhaps never noticed? He didn't make a hobby of staring at Weasels. But in the given situation, he didn't have much else better to do.
And besides, she was scratching him behind the ears, and it felt rather nice.
All thoughts of biting her were lost as she put him gently back on her lap, and began petting his back.
Her hand absently moved in a rhythm across his body as she thought of how coincidental this was. She'd been crying all morning about not having a pet of her very own, and here one wandered up to her. It was almost magical.
The ferret was, as she'd said before, adorable. He was lighter in color than other ferrets she'd seen; his skin was almost a pale yellow color. As she squinted her eyes, he almost looked familiar, but Ginny couldn't place from where. It was a ferret, anyhow. How many ferrets had she seen in her life? Close to none.
"I'm glad you found me, Muffin," she said soothingly, still petting him in a motherly way. "I don't have many friends."
Draco didn't move. He didn't want the petting to stop. If he had to endure Weasley's sob story for that, so be it.
"All my life I have always been underneath somebody else. Never top in the class, always the youngest… do you know what it's like to get hand-me-downs your whole entire life?"
Actually, Draco didn't. It sounded terrible though. Imagine… used things.
"I know you're just a silly little ferret, and can't even understand me… but I'm sure you'll make a terrific friend. You wont abandon me like my ruddy brother does all the time, will you?"
Nope, thought Draco. Not for another two hours, at least, as long as this petting thing doesn't cease.
"A lot of people make fun of me, too. There is this one boy; his name is Draco. I used to think he was wicked cute, until he opened that fat gob of his. He's a horrible boy. And well… okay I still think he's cute."
Of course you do, it's because I am. Draco couldn't help but let his ego soak in her words, save for the horrible boy part.
She picked up the ferret then, and held him right in front of her eyes. "You know, you kind of look like him. But don't worry, I don't think you're horrible." She winked, before setting him down again. Up and down. Up and down. Draco wished she would just pick a spot and leave him there. Even if her touch was gentle.
He wanted to protest at her observation. He does not look like a ferret! It may be his inner animal, but when he was a human, he didn't resemble his Animagus form. He hoped not. Damn ferrets.
"Are you hungry? Can you eat crackers?" Ginny was digging in her bag. He made himself more comfortable on her lap while she pulled out a small bag of crackers.
Something very deep down inside of him told him not to eat contaminated Weasel food, but it had always been his dream to be waited on, hand and foot. So he let the Weasley feed him crackers. She didn't even mind when he dropped crumbs on her lap.
He could seriously get used to this. Even though he would never answer to the name Muffin.
"You're probably thirsty. I'll take you down to the kitchens to get some water. Come on, ride in here." She picked him up and stuffed him in her cloak pocket. It was long enough to fit him, and yet he could peek his head out of the top. This beat the hell out of tackling those stairs by himself.
He'd never been expected to drink water from a dish before. But yet, he stood on the counter before a small saucer of water, and Ginny watched expectantly from beside the counter. In fact, he'd never been offered beverages in anything but a goblet before, in his entire life. This was not right.
But a ferret couldn't very well drink from a goblet, now, could he?
Begrudgingly, Draco leaned forward and lapped a bit of water up with his tiny pink tongue.
Ginny smiled. The hoped she was taking good enough care of Muffin… she'd wanted a pet so badly and this had already been, by far, the best day she'd had in ages.
He got an idea. Draco pushed his furry nose into the water dish, and did his best to flick some up at Ginny. It hit her on the hand, and she laughed.
"Silly Muffin." She took the dish and dumped it over the ferret's back.
Draco tried to scowl in a ferret way. He soon found that ferrets don't scowl. In fact, being a ferret made it very difficult for him to be moody at all.
But then he got another idea. Her hand was resting on the counter, and he took off, up her arm, until he was balancing his furry body on her shoulder. Before Ginny could pull him off, he was rubbing his dripping wet fur across her cheek.
She laughed again. "I suppose I deserved that." She then picked him up from her shoulder, and held him close to her chest. "This should dry you off."
This was the closest he'd ever been to Weasley's chest. It was a whole day of firsts for Draco Malfoy. Instead of protesting, biting, whatever he had envisioned earlier, he snuggled into her embrace. His fur was wet, anyway. He didn't want to catch cold, that was all.
When he was good and dry, Ginny left the kitchens. Instead of dropping the ferret back into her pocket, she kept holding him close. She didn't want him to catch cold, after all.
It was growing darker out. Ginny had wanted to take Muffin outside, to let him play a little bit, but she feared it was getting late. Instead, she made her way back up to the Gryffindor Tower.
Draco was thrilled. He'd never been inside Gryffindor Tower, and this new knowledge could prove useful in the future.
Ginny approached the fat lady, who was watching her curiously.
"Have a new friend, Ginny?" the fat lady inquired, raising an eyebrow.
Ginny nodded, not to be bothered. "Loyalty," she mumbled, and the portrait swung open; the fat lady displeased that Ginny had not wanted to chat.
Draco was not surprised at Gryffindor's lame password. Trust them to be sappy about everything. Slytherin's current password was 'manacle', inspired by Filch's old punishment methods.
Ginny covered her new ferret with her cloak as she made her way across the Common Room. Draco was bummed; he'd wanted to take a look around. But he realized that Ginny didn't want anyone to ask questions. He was glad, too. He didn't want any other filthy Gryffindors touching or petting him.
The ride got a bit bumpier as she went up the stairs. Her grip on him got a little bit tighter, but not unbearably so.
And before he knew it, they were in the sixth year girl's bedroom. Alone.
Another first for Draco, despite the rumors. He'd never been in a girl's dormitory before.
Ginny dropped him on the bed, and then walked casually over to her trunk. It was only when she pulled out a pair of soft blue flannel pajamas that Draco realized what was coming next.
Too good to be true.
Weasley, practically stripping for him.
Unknowingly, of course. She pulled off her cloak, and threw it across the foot of her bed. Next she reached for the hem of her shirt, and began pulling up on it.
Draco moved forward a bit. He had to see this. It would be great to throw in her face once he was able to change back into a human. He had to think of the meanest, nastiest way to say it. Oh sod it… he had to respect her privacy. This wasn't right.
Seemingly interested in a piece of string on the bedspread, he turned his ferret body around. He was a bloody pansy. Weasley was undressing behind him and he wasn't even bloody watching.
When had he turned soft?
Moments later, Ginny came back over to her bed, picking the ferret up once more. "It's not quite time to go to bed yet but there is no one else I feel like talking to. So we can stay up here. No one will be up for another hour at least. And then you can sleep in my bed! With me!"
It was any teenage boy's dream. Except, of course, that Ginny didn't know she was talking to a teenage boy. If she did, she probably wouldn't talk about 'beds' and 'sleeping' so freely.
Ginny thought she was talking to a furry rodent. DAMN ferrets, Draco thought for the third time that day.
She set him back down on the comforter. She was pulling back the covers. She got underneath them, but sat up in her bed. Draco was wandering around the top of the bed. This was getting awkward, but only for one of them. Ginny was as giddy as could be.
"You're the best little ferret… better than any ruddy pet Mum and Dad could have gotten me." She picked him up, and Draco nuzzled his face into her cheek.
He didn't know what possessed him to do it, but he turned his furry nose and flicked out his pink tongue. She smiled, and tightened her grasp on him, as many lonely children do with kittens. He was licking the corner of her mouth, where her lips met her cheek. She scratched behind his ears in response.
Draco was getting a funny feeling in his stomach. One that he didn't like at all. This was a very disgusting position that he was in, honestly. Licking Weasley?
But he soon realized that the funny sensation wasn't from lust, or any confused hormonal emotions. The dawning realization made him panic. Oh no, he thought. Oh no.
Ginny was surprised. It was just a small animal, but allowing herself to be close to something had made her happier than she ever thought she could be. It was just a silly little ferret, which ate and slept and did nothing else. Save for cheering her up from her day-to-day gloom.
Being able to cuddle with it was something she'd always wanted in a pet, and was the reason she'd been crying earlier. There was nothing like soft fur to cheer you up.
Suddenly she felt rather strange. She realized her eyes were closed, and that she wasn't holding a small ferret anymore. But she was still holding something, and that something was still licking her. Or rather… kissing her?
Her eyes flew open, and a blurred image greeted her. Of blonde and pale skin and… she tore her lips away. "Draco Malfoy?!"
He seemed as shocked as she. He looked down at himself. "It does look that way, doesn't it?"
Freckled hands automatically flew to her lips. "But- how… I was holding Muffin and then- kissing you…"
She stopped. She remembered now, of holding Muffin and thinking he looked familiar. The pale fur…
"You're Muffin." Ginny's eyes widened larger than they were meant to go.
Draco raised a perfect eyebrow. "No, love, I'm Draco. Keep a secret?"
She was surprised he hadn't called her a Mudblood-lover, or childishly wiped at his lips. Because of this, she found herself trusting him. "Of course."
He bit his lip and lowered his blonde head. "I've just gotten my Animagus License. And I'm completely displeased with the results. A ferret, can you imagine how embarrassing that is?"
She nodded absently. "Oh yes, must be terrible… completely displeased, you say?"
He could barely answer, as he was watching her lips. And her lips were begging his own to come back. "Well… maybe not completely… even though I doubt I will ever find this animal form useful. How many situations am I ever going to run into that require ferr- "
She smirked and cut him off. "I can think of a couple."
He picked up her meaning. "Oh can you? Like what exactly do you have in mind?"
"Just shut up and kiss me, Muffin."
He was happy to oblige, despite the annoying nickname he was sure to never live down.