Cat Amongst the Pigwidgeons
Draco had been somewhat surprised to be summoned home in the middle of the term, but after all, he reasoned, who was he to complain about an Exeat? As things turned out, of course, he would have done better to have stayed at school…
His father leaned back in the chair. "Draco," he said, "I may as well come straight to the point. Your great-great grandmother was rather too fond of her pet kneazle."
"With due respect, father," said Draco, "that hardly constitutes coming to the point."
"I'm afraid it does," replied Lucius, "it means that the Malfoy line is not quite as pure-blooded as we would like."
"You mean she shagged a kneazle?" said Draco. "Do you mind me enquiring just exactly how this was possible?"
"I'd rather not go into the details, but I believe that a harness and 'Engorgio' were involved somewhere along the line. The important thing, however, is that what with all the selective breeding in the family, the kneazle genes have had a chance to come out – in you, in fact."
"And what precisely does that mean, Father?"
"You might take on a few of the physical attributes, ears, tail et cetera, but what is certain is that you'll start behaving more and more like a kneazle, including with regard to your sexual urges. There's a reason for the 'morals like a Knockturn Alley kneazle' saying, which is why the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures brought in the rules."
"You mean this has happened enough times that they had to make rules about it?" asked Draco.
"More often than you'd think," replied Lucius, sadly, "and we haven't even managed to find a way to blame the muggles for it. Anyway, according to the rules, you have to find an owner before you go into heat for the first time or I have to have you spayed."
"Spayed!" shrieked Draco, erupting from his seat.
"Well, technically speaking it's castration since you're a boy, but you get my drift." Lucius rose to his feet and extended a hand to his son. "Anyhow it's been nice having this little chat," he said, heartily. "Let yourself out. I'll be upstairs getting your mother pregnant again. Got to ensure the continuation of the family line, and all that."
Draco spent the journey back to Hogwarts contemplating his fate. On the one hand he was going to turn into some kneazle-like creature and would have to find an owner or lose his balls, which was just terrible. On the other hand, when he thought about the kind of life a pampered pet led, it didn't seem quite so bad. It could also be a really good way of avoiding having to join the Death Eaters and getting that frightfully tacky tattoo.
Kneazles were intelligent cats, and even the mangiest of common moggies seemed to have an uncanny way of making their owners do precisely what they wanted of them – just look at Mrs Norris. So, he just had to find the right owner. He had his standards, of course. They had to be wealthy and not too desperately bad looking. One other thing - they also had to be male. Enamoured as he was of his own appearance, Draco simply couldn't imagine being attracted to anyone who wasn't at least vaguely like himself physiologically-speaking.
Draco mentally reviewed the field. He knew that the Slytherins were a no-go area – they'd see through his wiles in a moment. The Hufflepuffs were just too far below the salt to contemplate and a Ravenclaw would have him on the dissecting board before you could say 'Jankin son of Hrodberaht'. That just left the Gryffindors with their absurd sense of heroics.
Now who in Gryffindor would he love to have pandering to his smallest whims?
Draco's first step was to discuss matters with his Head of House. He came clean with Snape about his predicament and outlined his decisions to temper necessity with a slice of revenge. Snape, as it might be imagined, was cynical.
"Potter?" he said.
"Yes, Potter," replied Draco. "He's perfect - rich, famous and likely to die young and leave me his fortune. More to the point, he'll also hate every moment of it."
"And you won't?" asked Snape.
Draco shrugged gracefully. "I don't want to have to attach myself to anyone, but at least this way I'll know that we'll both be miserable. So, can I count on your support with the Headmaster?"
"Hrumph," was apparently as far as Professor Snape was prepared to go in committing himself, but it would have to do.
Having been assured that the business-like aspect of the plan was in hand, Draco decided that he needed someone to appeal to Dumbledore's softer side, and who better than their resident batshit insane sentimentalist? Draco made his way up to Trelawney's tower, having first raided Pansy's magical make-up collection to ensure that he was looking suitably pale and wan.
"Professor Trelawney, I am in desperate need of your advice," he said with a sigh. "It is a Matter of the Heart."
"Sit down, dear, and tell me all about it," said the Professor.
Draco sat in the overstuffed armchair, favouring Trelawney as he did so with the biggest mistiest-eyed stare that he could summon up. "Well," he said, "I have fallen hopelessly in love with someone. I know that we are Meant To Be, but he just doesn't seem to want to see it."
"And who is the lucky object of your affections?" asked Trelawney, reaching out and taking Draco's hand in both of hers and patting it.
"H…h...Harry p…Potter," stuttered Draco, withdrawing his hand and burying his face in the lace handkerchief he had purchased especially for the occasion. "But he doesn't want me!" he wailed into its snowy white folds.
"What a brute!" said Trelawney.
"Oh no, not a brute," said Draco quickly, worried that the seer might decide to find someone more worthy of his attentions, "just, sniff, misguided. If only someone sensitive could show him The Truth."
"Don't worry, Draco dear," she replied, "I'll make sure he sees the error of his ways." And thus it was that the currently oblivious Harry was somewhat surprised to find Professor Trelawney hissing 'Monster!' at him as they passed in the corridor near Dumbledore's office on the following day.
A couple of days later saw Harry perched nervously on the edge of a chair in Dumbledore's office. For once, he hadn't the faintest idea why he was there – there had been no unfortunate potion-related incidents of late and his scar wasn't even slightly painful.
"Ah, Harry," said Dumbledore. "Welcome. Fancy an aniseed ball?"
"No thank you, Sir," replied Harry. "May I ask why you called me here?"
"It has been brought to my attention that a rather delicate situation has arisen concerning yourself and another student," said Dumbledore.
"Which student?" asked Harry.
"Draco Malfoy," replied Dumbledore.
"Draco Malfoy!" said Harry, "I should have guessed. What's he done now?"
"Fallen in love with you, it would appear," replied Dumbledore, without even the faintest trace of irony.
This was not, of course, the reply that Harry had been expecting. Not that he had been expecting a particular type of reply, you understand, but it certainly wasn't this one. "Pardon?" he croaked, once he had regained the ability to speak.
"Draco Malfoy has come into his magical heritage and needs to bond with another wizard or else uncomfortable and embarrassing things will befall him," explained Dumbledore.
"And why should I care?" asked Harry. "Uncomfortable and embarrassing things seem to be pretty much what Malfoy deserves."
"Now, now, Harry," twinkled Dumbledore, "poor Draco is in a bit of a fix, surely you can see your way to helping him out?" Then he stopped twinkling and fixed Harry with a gimlet stare. "Is it not your duty?" he asked.
And with that Harry's fate was sealed.
"So," said Harry, once he was finally face to face with Draco, "what the hell is this all about?"
"Due to an unfortunate predilection on the part of one of my ancestors, it turns out that I'm part kneazle. According to Ministry rulings, I have to find an owner or submit to having various delicate parts of my anatomy removed. I have therefore decided that you are to be the companion of my future life."
"And I don't get any say in this?" asked Harry.
"No, not really," replied Draco.
"Oh," said Harry, who was after all fairly used to being forced into unfortunate situations not of his own making, "and what exactly does this owner thing entail?"
"The reason for the Ministry ruling is that part-kneazles have the same indiscriminate sexual urges as their feline counterparts. In order to prevent their offspring from taking over the world, they are either forced to magically bond to a single partner for the whole of their lives or have their sexual drive removed."
"I have to have sex with you?" squealed Harry, focussing for once on the most important part of the statement.
"Lots of sex, and you should be grateful that I'm prepared to take on someone with your obvious lack of experience," scoffed Draco.
"I'll have you know that I have had sex many times," said Harry, "with women."
"Pull the other one, Potter," replied Draco, "you're as gay as the day is long."
"Well, it takes one to know one!" retorted Harry; somewhat childishly it has to be said.
"Yes it does," said Draco… which rather put an end to the discussion.
The bonding ceremony took place in the Room of Requirement, which appeared somewhat schizophrenic in its decorative choice, switching periodically between a tart's boudoir and a torture chamber – which turned out to be pretty much the same as it happened, except one had more red satin. Professor Snape stood in for the groom's father, Lucius being otherwise engaged, and a scowling Hermione (who had taken the sensible step of stupefying Ron for the occasion) stood by Harry. The 'wedding night' itself, however, was not nearly as unnerving as Harry had feared, for by the time he ran out of excuses and made his way to their newly-assigned rooms, Draco was sound asleep on a pile of Harry's newly-laundered robes.
As the days went by, Harry became used to his bonded status and life would have been relatively tranquil were it not for the fact that Draco increasingly began to take on the form and behaviour of his feline ancestor. The first sign was when Draco's pupils became slitted, which Harry found quite attractive, though he wouldn't have admitted it for the world. Then meals became difficult as Draco persistently shunned the food on his own plate in favour of stealing that which was on Harry's and then rubbing it on the floor before eating it. Lessons were no easier given Draco's newly-acquired habit of going to sleep at a moment's notice, and not just in History of Magic. The advent of Draco's lion-like tail not only caused a wardrobe crisis for Draco, but the acquisition of fur brought with it the added inconvenience of hair balls.
Draco also became increasingly amorous and it was only Harry's stubborn belief in True Love that prevented him from allowing Draco to jump his bones on a regular basis – well, that and the fact that every time Harry was tempted to dive in for a good long snog he remembered the occasions upon which he had come back to find Draco attempting to lick his own bottom.
The most dramatic event occurred when Harry and Hermione returned to Harry and Draco's room one day for a spot of revision only to find Draco perched on the bed with a protesting Pigwidgeon in his mouth.
"Distract him somehow, Harry," hissed Hermione, who did after all have a certain amount of experience with kneazles.
"How?" asked Harry, who did not. "The only thing he seems to be interested in apart from eating and sleeping is my dick, and I'm certainly not waving that around in front of you."
Hermione sighed, wondering inconsequentially whether Harry was prone to waving his dick around when she wasn't present. "Men," she muttered and then, holding her wand out in front of her, she advanced slowly on the now growling Draco.
"Hey!" objected Harry, "there's no cause to do anything rash."
"Shut up," she replied, never taking her eyes off of Draco. "Who's a clever one, then," she cooed, swishing the wand to and fro at the level of Draco's eyes, as a stream of small, multicoloured sparks issued from the end. Draco followed the lighting display and reached out a slightly clawed hand to paw at them. Hermione slowly backed away, making Draco reach further and further for his prize. Then, when he could no longer reach, he leapt from the bed, spitting Pigwidgeon from his mouth as he did so. At that point Harry jumped forward and gathered the angry bundle of fluff into his arms.
"Give Pig to me and then tell Draco how wonderful he is," instructed Hermione.
Harry gathered Draco into his arms and ran his fingers through the blond hair until Draco began to purr. "What am I going to do with you?" Harry mused, shaking his head. Of course, as any cat owner could have told him then and there, it was entirely the wrong question - but by the time Harry had managed to work that out for himself, he was face-down on the Axminster and it hardly seemed to matter any more.