Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Harry/Draco, various background pairings but the main one will be Fred/George/Lee.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings/Squicks: Manipulative!Dumbles. I wouldn't go so far to say Weasley!bashing but um, I'm close. A few minor character deaths are mentioned, but not any of the main characters. More warnings may be added as I write the story.
Summary: Harry's graduated from Hogwarts, turned eighteen and defeated a Dark Lord. Now what is he going to do with his life?
Beta'd by the wonderful Suki Bluec. Thank you dearest!
Notes: First of all, I tend to totally ignore HBP and DH. I tend to think JK lost the plot sometime halfway through OotP, but that's just my opinion. So yeah, this is a total AU after book five. Don't look for quick updates with this story, I'll try to put up a new chapter once a month. Oh, and for any HP reading that haven't read my Spander epics, I tend to suck at writing smut so there will be much on the friendship and THEN the relationship and then a tiny bit of smut. LOL Hope y'all enjoy the show!
Underneath the rubble of the Three Broomsticks, Harry found the ugliest dog he had ever seen.
He wasn't even supposed to be in Hogsmeade. Despite the fact that he'd graduated Hogwarts and had finally managed to destroy Voldemort, Dumbledore had ordered Harry to stay locked up at the Dursley's. Like that was going to happen. He was an adult and no longer under the Headmaster's thumb. Witches and wizards were coming from all over to help Hogsmeade rebuild so Harry had performed a cloaking spell to hide his magical signature and figured the Old Coot wouldn't find him as long as he kept to the back alleys and side streets of the old town.
The dog – puppy really – was obviously of Fang's get, his son or daughter. Hagrid had always called Fang a boarhound and Harry had often got confused about that. He had the boarhound's size but also had a mastiff's floppier ears and jowls. Either way, Fang had been the biggest, kindest dog he had ever met, as well as the biggest coward.
Well, up until the end of course. Hagrid had fallen protecting the entrance of Honeydukes when the Death Eaters had launched their final attack. For once in his cowardly life, Fang had attacked, trying to protect his master. Neither survived.
Now that the funerals were over, the wizarding world was trying to clean up. Harry had been forced to hide his magical signature not only so Dumbledore couldn't find him, but also the various owls, house elves bearing messages, and annoying reporters. He'd even gone so far as to buy a charm so that if anyone took his photograph their entire roll of film would be ruined. He was tired of being hounded for public appearances and speeches. He'd done what he had been forced to do, and now all he wanted was to be left alone.
The puppy was abandoned, and Harry could find no sign of his mother, and it was a him. The dog was weaned at the very least; that was probably why it had been rummaging through the garbage behind the Three Broomsticks for food. From the looks of it though, Fang's girlfriend had been an Irish Wolfhound. The puppy was mostly black but had some brindle marks on his back and there were spots of wiry hair in odd places. Not a total coat really. Either something had caused the pup to lose over half its hair or it was born that way. Either way, it looked like the dog had been caught in some sort of explosion or curse and had been singed. It also had Fang's slobbering jowls, but its ears were much smaller. It gave the pup a rather lopsided appearance.
Despite not quite reaching Harry's knees, its feet were as big as his hands. Once it was grown, it was going to be huge. Probably taller than Harry. While on all fours.
A part of Harry wondered if Fluffy had been Fang's lady friend, but that thought was rather disgusting and he pushed it from his brain. Ick, urgh, ick.
He knelt down and made a clicking noise with his tongue. "Hey, little guy." Now there was a joke if he ever heard one. "Where's your mum? Are you all alone?"
The puppy scampered over to him, wriggling around and wagging its tail in happiness. Of course, the force of the wagging almost knocked Harry onto his arse, which just seemed to encourage the pup more as he tried to wriggle into Harry's lap. A large tongue, one that seemed too big for the pup's mouth, appeared and licked Harry's neck and face.
"Urgh! Stop that, you little monster!" The words did nothing to chastise the pup. If anything, he wriggled even more and tried to climb under Harry's shirt. Harry, for the first time in what seemed like forever, started laughing. While the puppy was ugly, it was enthusiastic in a way only a young creature could be, sure that anyone would love him. The more Harry laughed, the more he was licked and wriggled at until Harry ended up flat on his back in the rubbish and dust.
All laughter fled when Harry heard that voice and he looked up to see Remus Lupin at the end of the alley. His feelings towards Lupin changed as much as the moon that controlled the werewolf. Remus had supposedly been a friend to his parents as well as to Sirius. Then again, Remus believed that Sirius was guilty and belonged in Azkaban and had ignored Harry for years. After Sirius' death, Remus had promised to be there for him, and then disappeared again. Oh, he said it was on Dumbledore's orders, but if one of his good friends had a child and was left alone, Harry would do anything for him or her, including telling the Old Coot to sod off. He couldn't understand why Lupin wouldn't do the same.
Harry just wasn't sure what to make of the man. Just seeing him made Harry's stomach twist about uncomfortably, and he pulled the pup closer to him. He wasn't sure if he was trying to protect the dog, or if he was hoping the dog would protect him.
"Harry, what are you doing here? Why aren't you with the Dursleys?"
Harry frowned and stood up, awkwardly jostling the puppy in his arms. Lupin was towing the Headmaster's line, trying to make him feel guilty for not staying around to be abused. Evidently Harry either had to place himself under house arrest at the Dursleys or Grimmauld Place despite the fact that he was now over the age of eighteen and had fought and defeated a Dark Lord with little to no help from the Old Man.
Bollocks to that.
He held the dog close and closed his eyes. His Apparition skills were good, but this was the first time he was attempting to Side-Along Apparate an animal as big as this dog. He visualized his destination -- the sitting room of the flat he'd rented temporally in Redhill -- and Apparated.
When he opened his eyes he was in his flat, and the puppy was not happy. He set the dog down and it started sniffling around. The flat he was staying at was an older one and was mostly empty. Oh, there was a couch and tables and chairs, but no pictures or nick knacks that you'd see in a person's home. The only thing that gave his rooms any personality at all was the perch his owl, Hedwig, was sitting on by the window. It was just a place to stay until he figured out where he wanted to live. Looking down at his newly acquired pet, that was going to have to happen sooner rather than later.
The puppy went to sniff at Hedwig's perch and acted as if he was about to lift a leg. Harry jumped to stop him, but before he could, Hedwig opened one eye and let out a loud hoot. The puppy started and soon there was a wet patch on the floor.
Harry sighed and sat down on the couch. As if he didn't have enough to worry about with Lupin and Dumbledore, now he had to train a puppy. He pulled his wand out of his holster and with a wave both the mess and the puppy had been cleaned to a certain extent. That would have to do for now.
"Well, puppy, it looks like you're mine now. What are we going to call you?" The puppy came over and wriggled more, causing Harry to laugh again. He could have kept the dog just for that reason alone, despite his connection to Fang. He hadn't had enough reasons to laugh in the past two years or more. Since Sirius died, really. Sirius would have liked the puppy, too. The thought crossed his mind to name the pup Padfoot or Snuffles but he rejected it almost as quickly. The puppy was his own person, dog, and didn't need the burden of a name pressed upon him.
Harry knew about that all too well.
A lick on his neck and ear made him laugh again and drew him out of his thoughts. "Right. We'd best get you kitted out, because I don't think Hedwig would appreciate you taking another piss on her perch, or eating her owl treats." He gently shoved the pup off of him and stood up, grabbing one of Dudley's old shirts from the back of a chair. He Transfigured it into a stout collar and lead and put them on the squirming animal. His Transfigurations wouldn't last more than six hours, but that was long enough for him to walk down to Pets At Home and go shopping. Thank god it was only a twenty minute walk.
Three hours later, he returned with a puppy ready to sleep and himself wanting a bath. How Muggles got through the day without shrinking charms, Harry didn't know. Then again, they had cars with large boots and didn't have to carry things. He made a mental note to see if he could find someone to teach him how to drive. The puppy hadn't liked Apparating and, to be truthful, Harry wasn't too fond of it either. Oh, it would be fine to travel somewhere quickly, but for trips to the store, a car -- or better yet a Land Rover -- would be much more practical.
The first thing he did once he'd unshrunk everything was dig out the stainless steel doggie bowls and the dog food. He mixed a can of wet food with two scoops of dry, his nose wrinkling at the smell. He set it on the floor and the puppy perked up, coming over to eat as Harry filled the water bowl halfway. It was enough to give the dog a good drink but not overfill his bladder. He'd already spent a good half hour talking about paper training to one of the shop assistants and now knew more about potty training than he'd ever thought possible.
As the still-nameless dog ate, Harry dug out the collar and lead. He'd have to take the dog on another walk after he ate so he'd do his business outside. The assortment of grooming items, and vast amounts of nylarbones, squeaky toys, tug ropes, kong toys and treats were all unpacked and placed in different piles on the small kitchen table.
With a sigh Harry realized that the dog had more stuff than he did. He really needed to go shopping. He then came to the conclusion that he'd have to find a place to live permanently first, that way he'd have less stuff to move.
A few hours later, Harry finally crawled into bed. The puppy had been walked twice, bathed for real instead of a charm that Harry could only halfway do, and had been brushed and played with. He'd even remembered to give the puppy a treat every time he took him outdoors, trying to re-enforce the idea that using the toilet outside was a good thing.
He'd also spent time with Hedwig, preening her feathers and just talking to her. He was hoping to find somewhere out in the country to settle in because it was just impossible for the bird to join he and the dog on their walk -- one rarely saw owls in Redhill Town Center. He'd bought a few feeder mice at the store and had given Hedwig a couple as a treat.
He'd also fed two of them to his pet snake, Edmund. After Sirius's death, he'd been shipped back to the Dursleys, and while he was to write a letter every day to assure everyone that his relatives hadn't killed him yet, he hadn't been allowed to talk to any of his friends, and Hermione had never tried to phone. As if Voldie would ever stoop to eavesdropping on Muggle telephones about OWL scores.
Many of the Order of the Phoenix had disagreed with Dumbledore trying to isolate him yet again, but only Hagrid had done something about it. He'd bribed Mundungus Fletcher to bring Harry his birthday gift a bit early – a common black adder.
After listening to the snake complain that everyone except for him and Harry were intellectual morons and how he was surprised the Dursleys hadn't stopped breathing simply because they were too stupid to continue, he'd named the snake after the Muggle comedy series. Edmund made Professor Snape seem positively charming, the only difference being that Edmund considered Harry to be intelligent because he had the forethought to have a wonderful snake like himself.
Edmund, and Hagrid, had saved his sanity that summer.
But thinking about Hagrid had led to thoughts on earlier that day, and how Dumbledore and the Order wanted him back under their thumbs. The sooner he found a place to live, the sooner he could cast Fidelius and feel safer at night. Those depressing thoughts had led to Harry taking the puppy out for a walk again, if only to laugh at the dog when he found some sort of interesting smell and wriggled.
As he climbed into bed he refused to think about anything more than letting Hedwig out for a fly and trying to keep the puppy from taking over the bed. Everything else could be dealt with later.