Disclaimer: Does not belong to me! I am only writing for personal amusement and not monetary gain of any kind. All rights, characters, etc. belong to J. K. Rowling and associates.
Pairing: Harry/Draco, brief mentions of Ron/Hermione
Warnings: SLASH – This story has boy/boy themes. If this is not your cup of tea, please do not proceed. Fluff lots & lots o' fluff, minor (very minor) flangst.
Summary: Draco has a little secret. Harry discovers it. The question is, what will he do with his newfound knowledge?
Author's Notes: This started out as a stand-alone drabble on LJ and quickly turned into an entire series. All parts are posted here as one chapter. Loveage to dysonrules for her beta work throughout! Please see my profile for a link to the podbook of this series.
As the Catboy Purrs
Part 1 - Meow
Harry wandered the halls with no particular destination in mind. He heard footsteps and glanced up to see Malfoy approaching. Harry sighed and debated ducking into a random classroom, but decided it would only make things that much worse the next time he encountered the blond. He plodded resolutely forward. However, as he got closer to the Slytherin he noticed something... odd.
They stopped three feet apart and before he could stop himself Harry blurted, "What have you been up to?"
Draco sniffed, sneered and then replied in a pompous drawl, "I have been working on my animagus form, Potter."
Instead of looking impressed, as he was sure the Slytherin wanted him to, Harry grinned. "Let me guess, a cat of some sort?"
Draco gaped at him and sputtered, "How... how did you know?"
"You still have.. um..." Harry pointed at his head, trying to suppress a laugh.
Malfoy immediately dug his hands into the platinum locks and then froze as his fingers encountered two furry cat ears sticking up on either side of his head. His look of utter shock was priceless.
"They're a very pretty grey, I must admit." Harry said, crossing his arms and staring at the new appendages in mock appraisal. "Tell me, do you also have a tail?" He tried to peer around the shell-shocked boy.
At that Draco's eyes went wide and he quickly reached around behind his back. His startled squeak a moment later answered Harry's question.
"You.. ah.. you might want to go see Madame Pomfrey about that," the Gryffindor informed him carefully, torn between the urge to fall on the floor laughing at Malfoy's predicament and wanting to pull him close and comfort the obviously distressed Slytherin. And where the hell had that urge come from?
Draco nodded absently and then took off toward the Hospital Wing at a run. He was almost to the end of the corridor when Harry called out to him.
Surprisingly, Draco stopped and turned, his face quizzical but not annoyed.
"For the record, you make a pretty hot catboy."
Draco blushed to the tips of his adorable grey ears and then disappeared from sight. His rapid footfalls echoed for several minutes.
Harry grinned to himself and began to whistle as he continued on his way.
Part 2 - Here, Kitty, Kitty
Draco spent the next week perpetually tense, waiting for the backlash from Potter finding out about his little Animagus mishap. Each day he would wake up wondering how it would happen. Would the Weasel start calling him CatFerret or FerretCat? Would Granger give him pitying looks and try to slip him pamphlets called things like Achieving Your Animagus Form With Poise and Dignity? Would the entire Gryffindor table meow and hiss at him when he walked by?
But each night he went to bed, as yet unscathed. He could never decide if he was relieved or terrified by this fact.
One week rolled into two and he was beginning to relax, thinking that perhaps he had dodged a hex due to Gryffindor nobility. And then Potter snagged him in the hall after Potions. Most of the Slytherins were already halfway to their dorm so he had no one to call out to as he was dragged unceremoniously into a hidden alcove.
Harry had spent the last week observing Draco Malfoy with an intensity that would have concerned Ron and Hermione, if they'd caught on to what he was up to. As it was, he managed to elude the suspicions of his best friends while he watched Malfoy's every move.
At first Harry thought that Madame Pomfrey had corrected Draco's catboy problem but upon closer inspection, he realized this was not the case. If he looked very carefully he could see the blond's hair shift, as if moved by the twitching of invisible ears. And Harry swore he saw the occasional flick of a tail beneath the hem if the Slytherin's robes.
Deciding that Malfoy's feline traits were simply hidden under heavy glamours, Harry finally decided to test his theory. To that end he caught up with the boy after Potions one afternoon and dragged him unceremoniously into a hidden alcove.
Part 3 - Cat and Mouse
Without preamble Harry reached up and waved his hand over the top of Malfoy's head. Before the Slytherin could anticipate what he was up to, Harry's hand encountered a velvety cat ear. Instinctively, the Gryffindor scratched behind it.
Draco's reaction was instantaneous and apparently completely involuntary, his back arched and he tilted his head to allow Harry better access.
Harry, shocked at the sudden change in the blond, stopped scratching. Malfoy's eyes popped open and he scowled. For a second Harry wasn't sure if he was mad because Harry'd scratched his ear, or because he'd stopped.
"What do you think you're doing Potter?" the Slytherin snarled, stepping back and crossing his arms defensively.
"I wondered if you were still a catboy. Apparently so," the Gryffindor replied easily.
Malfoy glared at him. "What of it?"
The dark-haired boy tilted his head inquisitively. "Tell me, was Madame Pomfrey unable to get rid of the ears? Or did she fix them and you have them back because you've been practicing your Animagus form again?"
The Slytherin narrowed his eyes but refused to answer.
"Please," Harry said softly, "I promise I'm not asking out of spite or meanness. I truly want to know."
Harry fidgeted with his jumper, suddenly very aware of how close he was standing to Malfoy and what he was contemplating. "I.. um.. I might be able to help."
Part 4 - Negotiation
"I.. um.. I might be able to help."
Draco stared at the Gryffindor for several minutes, trying to decide if the other boy was being sincere or if Potter was working on some nefarious, secret plot to humiliate him. The blond couldn't fathom why Potter would offer to help him at all, there had to be an ulterior motive. On the other hand, he was a Gryffindor and he had a hero complex, maybe this was normal for him. Still, one couldn't be too careful.
"Why?" The Slytherin asked again.
"Because I know... because I know a few tricks," Potter replied carefully.
Irritation flashed across the other boy's face for a moment but was quickly smothered. "Just... trust me would you?"
Draco arched a brow in disbelief. "You're kidding, right?"
"I know I can help you," Potter yelled in exasperation. "Unless," his gaze suddenly turned calculating, "you want to spend the rest of your life with ears and a tail. Tell me, would kitty like a little green collar? Maybe we could even find one with a bell."
The blond's irritation immediately bubbled to the surface at Potter's taunt and then, surprisingly, dissipated. He hadn't told anyone about his Animagus accident because he dreaded their reactions. His father would be gruff and blatantly disappointed. His mother would coo and try to reassure him, which always made him feel worse. His housemates would either simper that the new additions looked good on him or they would see this as an opportunity to try and usurp him from his position of power within the House. The school at large would, of course, jump on an opportunity to get a little of their own back for all of the times Draco had teased and taunted them.
Yet here was Potter, the person with the most right to tease and taunt, offering to help. The boy was definitely suffering from a hero complex.
On the other hand, while Draco was proud, he was not stupid. If Potter wanted to help, who was he to argue?
"Name your terms," the Slytherin said smoothly.
The dark-haired boy frowned. "Terms?"
Draco rolled his eyes. "Yes, Potter, your terms. What do you want in exchange for helping me?" The Gryffindor continued to look confused and the blond huffed in annoyance. "You never would have survived in Slytherin," he muttered.
Potter's face transformed with a swiftness that was both amazing and terrifying. One minute he looked like a lost puppy and the next his gaze was far too sharp for Draco's liking. When he spoke his voice practically dripped honey. "I think you would be surprised at how well I could have managed in Slytherin. As for my terms, as you so eloquently put it, the only thing I require is the knowledge that I helped you achieve your full Animagus form. I'll know that every time you transform you'll think of me because I made that transformation possible. Fair enough?"
The blond could only nod in wide-eyed fascination at this new, almost dangerous Potter. Draco suddenly knew without a doubt that the Dark Lord would lose to a scrawny orphan who'd been raised by Muggles. It was a sobering thought.
However, before he could ponder that revelation further, Potter's face changed again. His lips split into a wide grin and his fathomless green eyes sparkled with delight. Gilderoy Lockhart had nothing on this boy. "Excellent. Shall we meet at the Room of Requirement at around two tomorrow?"
Draco nodded again and then Potter was gone. Slumping against the wall, Draco covered his face with his hands. Merlin, what had he just agreed to?
Part 5 - Harry's Animagus Training 101
Malfoy arrived just as the door to the Room of Requirement appeared before Harry.
"Right on time," Harry said with a grin, gesturing for the Slytherin to follow him in.
Draco crossed his arms and replied haughtily, "Malfoys are always punctual."
Harry rolled his eyes and entered the Room. Glancing around critically, Harry was pleased to see everything was set up exactly the way he wanted it. They were standing in a cozy sitting room decorated in browns and blues. Nice, neutral colors, the Gryffindor thought with a smile. A large, comfortable looking couch dominated the room and faced a set of French doors that were open to reveal a lovely little patio with a large garden beyond.
"Where are we, Potter?" Malfoy asked cautiously. Harry smirked and opened his mouth, but before he could snarkily reply with 'The Room of Requirement' the blond caught his mistake and hastily corrected it. "I mean, what is the purpose of us being here?"
Again, Harry attempted a snide remark but a quelling glare from silver eyes stopped him. Deciding to go easy on his companion, he gestured broadly about the room and replied, "Well, to achieve your Animagus form you have to be both relaxed and in the mindset of your chosen animal. If your form was a rabbit, a large garden full of carrots or maybe a field of clover would help put you in the mood, so to speak." Harry felt his cheeks flush but he carried gamely on. "If you were a dog, perhaps a large park with a pond and lots of room to romp about would be best. Since your animal is a cat, I thought a nice sunny room with a lawn full of bugs to chase might be the way to go. There's also catnip in the garden if you're interested."
Malfoy glared at him. "I'm not chasing bugs, Potter."
"Alright, well, there's cream on the table." Harry pointed at a wrought iron table that had appeared on the patio. A large pitcher sat upon it, gathering condensation in the sunlight.
Irritation flowed off of the Slytherin in waves.
The dark haired boy felt his Gryffindor courage begin to wilt under the steely gaze of his companion. "I have... um... toys... you can play with." He pulled a small ball with a bell from his pocket and jingled it weakly.
Part 6 - Progress?
"I have... um... toys... you can play with." He pulled a small ball with a bell from his pocket and jingled it weakly.
"Have you gone mental?!" Malfoy shouted, causing Harry to jump. "You do understand that an Animagus merely takes on the form and traits of their chosen animal, they don't become that animal, don't you? Merlin, next you'll be suggesting that I try chasing mice."
The Gryffindor blushed and the blond's eyes widened. "You actually expected me to chase mice didn't you?" he asked incredulously.
"I'm just trying to help!" Harry shouted back, embarrassed and frustrated that this wasn't going at all how he'd planned. Malfoy was supposed to show up, relax, transform and then be eternally grateful. Perhaps he'd even stop harassing Harry and his friends out of thanks. He wasn't supposed to glare and shout and belittle all of Harry's ideas. Apparently the Gryffindor had forgotten who he was dealing with.
"If you want to help, why don't you try suggesting something useful for a change instead of these idiotic, nonsense ideas of yours?"
Harry gritted his teeth. "Alright, fine. Come here." He grabbed the Slytherin's wrist and dragged him bodily to the couch. Harry sat at one end and pulled the other boy down beside him. "Lie down."
Malfoy gaped at him. "What?"
"Lie down and put your head in my lap."
"I'll do no such..." The blond tried to stand but Harry snagged his arm again and forced him back onto the couch.
"I'm not going to molest you, you great prat. Now LIE. DOWN," the dark haired boy snarled, eyes flashing.
The other boy struggled for a moment before finally growling and flopping down in Harry's lap with far more force than necessary. "Here. Happy now, you Gryffindor pervert?"
Instead of deigning to reply, Harry pulled his wand and cast Finite Incantatum on the glamours surrounding Malfoy's ears and tail.
"Potter, what are you... oooohhh." Malfoy's complaint was cut short as Harry began to scratch behind his right ear. After several minutes of Harry's gentle ministrations, the blond visibly relaxed.
"Better now, are we?" the Gryffindor asked with a small chuckle.
The only response was a rumbling, "Hmm" of agreement. A "hmm" of agreement that didn't stop. Harry paused and listened. "Malfoy, are you... purring?"
The noise stuttered and then ceased. "That's preposterous, Potter. Malfoys don't purr," a sleepy voice murmured. "Do the left ear again would you?"
Harry complied and then grinned as the non-purr immediately started up again. Conjuring a book, the dark haired boy continued to pet his sleepy companion. He even went so far as to occasionally run his hand down Malfoy's spine in a soothing caress.
Some time later Harry opened his eyes. He stretched and decided he must have dozed off for a bit. Reaching down to wake the Slytherin, Harry gasped when he realized he had not a blond haired boy, but a blue point Siamese curled up in his lap.
"Malfoy!" he shouted, far louder than he intended.
The results of his yell would have been hysterical if the ensuing injuries hadn't been quite so painful. The Siamese jumped a foot straight up, puffed out its tail and landed back in Harry's lap with all claws extended. Claws which promptly sank into the tender flesh of Harry's thighs. Harry shouted again, this time in pain. The cat looked at him and hissed. It then turned back into Malfoy, who proceeded to fall off the couch with a loud thump.
"Potter, what the hell?!" Malfoy yelped, sitting up and punching Harry in the leg.
The Gryffindor growled, "So help me Malfoy, if you do any more damage to me I'm going to..."
"Damage to you? What about the damage to me when you pushed me off of the couch?"
"I didn't push you off of the couch. You fell off after you transformed back." Harry explained, clutching his throbbing thighs.
Malfoy blinked at him. "After I transformed back?"
Harry nodded. "Yes, when I woke up you were in full Animagus form. You're a Siamese, apparently."
"Really? I was fully transformed?" The blond broke into a grin that took Harry's breath away. "I can't believe I finally did it! And in my sleep, too. I wonder why." He ran his hands through his hair, and froze. The grin fell away from his face and was immediately replaced with stony anger. "I wonder why I STILL HAVE CAT EARS!?"
Part 7 - Backtracking
I have reconsidered your offer of support. Meet me in the Room of Requirement to discuss this matter further.
Perhaps I was a little overhasty in my assessment of the situation on Saturday. I would appreciate your meeting me in the Room of Requirement to continue Animagus training as planned.
When I called you a useless Gryffindor on Saturday, I meant it in the nicest possible way. Please meet me in the Room of Requirement so that we might continue with your gracious offer of assistance.
'Bloody bastard' doesn't begin to cover my behaviour last weekend. I'm sorry.
Draco groaned and threw away yet another piece of very expensive parchment. He'd been trying to compose a letter to Potter for over an hour with no success.
When he'd awakened in the Room of Requirement to discover that (a) he'd succeeded, briefly, in achieving his cat Animagus form and (b) he still had cat ears and a tail in human form, well, he'd thrown something of a temper tantrum. He'd said a number of things that he didn't really mean. Alright, he meant them at the time, but he certainly didn't mean them now, not in light of the new information he'd gotten from Madame Pomfrey.
So here he was, struggling to figure out a way to coax Potter into helping him again. Draco sighed. There was no way this would work. If Potter had said the same things to him that he'd spouted at Potter, all of the begging and groveling in the world wouldn't convince him to offer up his assistance a second time.
He stood and walked over to his mirror. After casting a locking charm on the door, Draco removed the glamour from his ears and looked at himself critically. The ears weren't so bad, really. They were a nice color at least. The tail was a little annoying but he was sure he could get used to it. His shoulders slumped, who was he kidding? He looked ridiculous and his only hope of getting rid of them lay with Harry bloody Potter. Perhaps that's what his letter should say, Help me Harry Potter, you're my only hope.
Draco stared at his ears for another moment then glamoured them invisible again and marched back to his desk. Taking up his quill, he scribbled a quick note, folded it up and sent it with his owl. He'd given up on explaining himself in print. Draco just hoped that he could talk fast enough to change Potter's mind before the Gryffindor hexed him into oblivion.
Part 8 - Renegotiating
Potter crossed his arms and continued to glare. Draco fidgeted.
"So..." The blond cleared his throat and tried again. "So, you came."
"I'm not sure why. All your note said was, Potter, Room of Requirement, 7pm tonight, Malfoy. Since I know you're not here to apologize, please be so kind as to enlighten me about your reason for this meeting." As soon as he was finished speaking, Potter clamped his jaw shut and went back to glaring at Draco.
The Slytherin realized he was playing with the sleeve of his robe. He hadn't done that since the summer after his second year when his mother had caught him playing Quidditch in the drawing room and had given him one of her very rare scoldings. Dropping his hands to his sides, Draco started pacing instead.
"Listen, Potter, I may have overreacted on Saturday."
The green-eyed boy interrupted him. "You called me a Gryffindor idiot."
"Technically, I call you that all the time."
"You insulted Ron and Hermione."
"Weasel and Mudblood are just my pet names for them."
"You spoke ill of my dead parents."
"You called Hedwig an ugly, overstuffed pincushion. What has Hedwig ever done to you?"
"I'm sorry alright!?" Draco finally shouted, just to stop Potter from reciting every single barb he'd hurled during his fit of anger. "I was out of line and I'm sorry. There, happy now?"
The Gryffindor blinked in surprise. "Actually, I am. Thank you, Malfoy, apology accepted."
Draco opened his mouth to speak and then shut it again. He frowned. "Really?"
Potter nodded. "You catch more flies with honey, Malfoy. You'd be surprised how far a well placed please, thank you, or I'm sorry will take you."
"Why would you want to catch flies?"
His companion rolled his eyes. "It's just a figure of speech. Now why did you really ask me to meet you?"
"Maybe I really did just want to apologize," Draco shot back defensively.
Potter simply stared at him.
"Alright, I talked to Madame Pomfrey and she said that I won't get rid of the ears and tail until I can transform into my Animagus form on my own. But she also said that transforming with your assistance the other day was a step in the right direction." He took a deep breath. "So, Iwaswonderingifyou'dkeephelpingme." The request came out in a jumbled rush and Draco looked at Potter with pleading eyes, begging the boy not to make him repeat it.
Potter stood silent so long Draco began to worry that he hadn't understood him after all. He'd just opened his mouth to ask again, more slowly this time, when the dark haired boy replied.
"Okay, I'll help you. But my terms have changed."
Part 9 - Harry's New Terms
Harry kicked up clods of dirt as he raced full tilt down the hill. He'd been running non-stop for almost an hour now and his breath created steam in the midmorning air as he panted heavily from exertion. When he got to the bottom of the hill, he searched frantically through the weeds. Finally, he found what he was looking for and turned around to tear back up the grassy slope.
The green armchair looked more than a little out of place in the middle of the large field but Harry didn't mind. He dropped his prize at the feet of the chair's occupant and waited expectantly.
Malfoy peered around his book, looked at Harry, looked at the ground, and looked back at Harry again. With a sigh he leaned down and retrieved the stick. "The Boy Who Lived To Play Fetch, Merlin this is ridiculous."
Harry barked in a 'shut up and throw it already' kind of way that Malfoy apparently interpreted correctly because, without further complaint, he cocked his arm back and flung the stick in a high, wide arc. Harry, currently in his Animagus form of a large black dog, took off like a shot across the expansive meadow the Room of Requirement had provided for his playtime.
As he ran, paws pounding the ground, ears flapping in the wind, Harry considered his current situation. He knew that when Malfoy had asked him to continue helping with his Animagus training Harry could have made the Slytherin do pretty much anything he wanted as payment. A number of options crossed Harry's mind, everything from a general request like 'leave me and my friends alone for the rest of school', to something humiliating 'you have to wear a Gryffindor girl's uniform to meals for a week', to the impossible 'I'll only help you if you swear to never join Voldemort'.
In the end, Harry went for mundane. Yes, it was silly to ask Draco to play fetch with him but no one else would (Hermione always told him he should be studying and Ron lost interest quickly) and the exchange seemed fair. Harry got to practice using his Animagus form and Malfoy got to do the same.
A chuckle escaped his lips, sounding raspy and strange coming through a dog's vocal cords, as he remembered the first time the Slytherin saw Harry's Animagus form. Malfoy had been late to their meeting so, out of boredom, Harry had transformed and was lounging by a convenient fireplace when the door to the Room of Requirement opened. The blond took two steps into the room, spotted Harry, jumped up in a chair and hissed loudly. He hadn't even been in his cat form at the time. So much for not acting like the animal he becomes, Harry thought with a doggy grin.
Finally tiring of his game, he loped over to where Malfoy sat and barked once to get his attention. The other boy glanced around for the stick before looking at Harry. "Finally done?"
Harry barked again.
"Good. Now turn back so you can shower and we can work on my Animagus practice."
Harry was about to comply when a wicked thought entered his head. With a yip and a pounce he flung both of his muddy front paws into Malfoy's lap.
The Slytherin shouted and tried to throw him off. "Argh! POTTER! What have I told you about jumping on me? Bad dog!" He bopped Harry on the snout with his book.
The Gryffindor immediately transformed back into himself. "Ow! Malfoy! What was that for?" he asked, rubbing his injured nose.
"It was for putting your dirty paws on my clean robes, you slathering beast. Now get off of me!" Malfoy huffed in annoyance.
Harry, realizing that his hands were still on the blond's legs, scrambled up quickly. "I'll, um... I'll just get my shower then." The Room morphed into a casual sitting room with an attached bath.
"You do that," the other boy snarled, casting several hasty cleaning charms on his soiled garments.
Part 10 - That Thing You Do
Draco tapped his foot in frustration as he waited for Potter. He'd been working with the Gryffindor for two weeks now and, while he was closer to achieving his Animagus form on his own, he hadn't quite mastered it yet.
It annoyed him to no end that he needed Potter, of all people, to help him with this task. Unfortunately, unless he wanted to tell someone else about his predicament, he was stuck. He sighed and cast a Tempus Charm. Realistically, Potter never took long showers after playing chase the stick; it just felt that way.
And how ridiculous was that, anyway? The idiot could have asked Draco to do anything he wanted and what did he want? He wanted Draco to play fetch with him every afternoon.
Granted Potter was pretty adorable as a puppy, at least as far as smelly dogs that ruined your good robes go. However, Draco's favorite part of their sessions together wasn't the stick throwing, or the Animagus training, or Potter petting his ears, although that came in a close second. No, the Slytherin's favorite part of the day was...
The door to the loo clicked open. The blond lifted his head slowly, trying to look casual. Potter wandered myopically into the room, feeling around on various tables. Draco smiled. His favorite part of the day was watching Potter walk around in a towel while he looked for his glasses. Whether the Gryffindor deliberately removed his glasses before he went into the loo was anyone's guess. Draco rather suspected it was accidental but he certainly wasn't going to complain. He leaned back and his lips still stretched in a wide grin. Today Potter's glasses were on a table beside the couch. The dark-haired boy would have to walk right in front of Draco to fetch them.
For some reason he never asked for Draco's assistance during his search. That was just as well considering the fact that the Slytherin's mouth went inexplicably dry and his ability to speak became rather limited any time he gazed upon that delectable, Quidditch-toned chest. Potter finally came toward him, walking close enough that Draco could see individual droplets of water as they ran down his damp skin. He debated snatching the towel away but decided against it. The last thing he needed was to offend Potter's Gryffindor sensibilities by turning him into an unwilling exhibitionist.
His companion finally found his glasses and shoved them rather forcefully on his nose. "Ah, there you are, Draco."
The blond bit down a snide comment about the fact that he hadn't moved since Potter left. Instead he replied, "Draco? Since when am I Draco to you?"
Potter blushed as if realizing his slip, and glanced down. His blush darkened as he apparently remembered he was clad only in a towel. "Let me... um... let me just fetch my clothes shall I?" He bolted for the loo.
Draco couldn't resist one last remark. "No need to get dressed on my account, Harry."
The Gryffindor froze with his hand on the door and turned. "Is that so?"
Now it was Draco's turn to blush. Before he could formulate a reply Potter gave him a decidedly wicked grin. "I'll be sure to keep that in mind, Draco."
As soon as he was gone the Slytherin flopped back on the couch in a most un-Malfoy-ish manner. How did Potter always manage to get the better of him?
Part 11 - Harry's Dilemma
Harry shut the door to the loo and leaned against it heavily. His face was hot and he was sure his cheeks were pink. How did Malfoy always manage to get the better of him? He wanted to bang his head in frustration but he didn't dare for fear the blond would hear it.
He dressed slowly and then slipped his glasses back on. The first time he'd forgotten them had been an honest mistake. However, after seeing how Draco's gaze tracked him around the room as he searched, Harry started 'forgetting' his glasses on purpose.
He had been shocked to discover that he had something of a crush on Draco Malfoy. At first he thought his feelings merely came from the pleasure he usually derived from helping someone in need. Then he spent four hours helping Neville with a potions assignment. Harry hadn't experienced the first warm fuzzy feeling from that little ordeal, so he knew what he felt toward Malfoy was something different.
He just liked spending time with the prat. And wasn't that a kick in the bollocks after he'd spent so many years actively hating the Slytherin?
And now, instead of hating the boy, Harry got all hot and bothered stroking his ears. Harry had almost embarrassed himself twice now with the evidence of just how much he enjoyed helping Malfoy.
Of course he had no idea what to do about all of this. If Malfoy were a girl he might try an awkward date request, or possibly even a fumbling snog. Harry had no delusions about how inadequate he was when it came to relationships. His tongue seemed to tie itself in knots when he even considered asking someone out.
The problem was, while most girls tended to let you down easy if they weren't interested, Harry was sure that Malfoy would laugh himself silly. He'd probably put up posters in the Great Hall and take out a full page ad in the Daily Prophet.
POUF POTTER ASKS OUT MALFOY HEIR
Draco Malfoy gives an exclusive interview about his encounter with the Boy Who Lived. "He was so awkward, it was sad really. His face turned three shades of Gryffindor red. He had to repeat himself four times before I even knew what he was saying…"
Harry gave in to temptation and banged his head on the door.
Part 12 - Transformations
After taking several more minutes to compose himself, Harry finally exited the loo. The outer room appeared to be empty at first but further inspection of the couch revealed a blue point Siamese cat. Harry stared at it for long moments before the full implication of what he was seeing sank in.
Draco had finally changed on his own.
Remembering his painful experience the first time he had startled cat Malfoy out of sleep, Harry crouched and stroked a hand gently down the animal's back.
"Malfoy. Draco. You did it," the Gryffindor whispered.
The cat opened its eyes, blinked, stretched, and then sat up. When Malfoy cocked his head and gave a quizzical myaow, Harry's excitement finally got the better of him. He scooped the cat up, tucking it close to his body and did a quick spin. "You did it!" he whooped.
Everything happened very fast after that.
One minute Harry was cuddling a cream colored cat and the next he had an armful of blond boy. Draco staggered and grabbed Harry's shoulders to steady himself. Grey eyes full of wonder shifted to meet a twinkling green gaze.
"I did it," Malfoy breathed, sounding like he couldn't quite believe what had happened. "I did it!"
"Yes!" Harry nodded emphatically.
Draco began to laugh, a happy sound that the Gryffindor had never heard from him before. Harry quickly joined in. Soon they were giggling and slapping one another on the back like best mates.
As they started to come down from their euphoria, Harry realized just how close they were standing and how tightly they were clinging to one another. Malfoy must have noticed this fact at the same time because his eyes widened suddenly and his breath hitched in his throat.
Harry was never sure who leaned into whom, but one second he was wondering if Draco's lips were as soft as they looked and the next second he had his answer. The kiss was tentative, but firm. Harry quickly decided it was easier to do and not think. He wasn't sure if he would break into hysterical laughter or dissolve into the floor if he thought too hard about the fact that he was currently kissing Draco Malfoy.
He was just wondering how to go about deepening the kiss when a hesitant tongue swept across his lower lip. That tongue was Harry's undoing. He groaned loudly and dragged the Slytherin impossibly closer, tangling his fingers in Malfoy's robes and hair. For a second Draco melted into him, but the next instant Harry was holding an empty cloak and a Siamese cat was darting from the room.
It wasn't until much later that Harry realized something--when he'd had his hands in Draco's hair, he had not encountered the cat ears. They were completely gone.
Part 13 - Grumpy Kitty Needs a Nap
For the second time that term, Draco waited for a Gryffindor attack. For the second time that term, it never came.
Draco had considered launching a preemptive strike against Potter. He was sorely tempted to tell his fellow Slytherins how the great Harry Potter had kissed him in the Room of Requirement. However, there were two flaws in that plan. First, he was certain they would want to know why he was in the Room of Requirement with Potter in the first place. And while Draco was sure he could fabricate some reason that didn't include him receiving Animagus training from the Gryffindor, his close friends would see through that in an instant and want to know the real reason. Secondly, he wasn't entirely sure just who kissed whom. Potter probably had just as much right to claim that Draco kissed him.
Potter didn't even try to speak to him about the incident. Okay, perhaps he had tried to speak to him once or twice, but Draco's habit of diving into the nearest loo whenever the Gryffindor came close seemed to dissuade the dark-haired boy after a while. At first Draco was relieved when Potter finally left him alone. However, as the days passed, he grew more and more angry about the ordeal. How dared Potter kiss him and then not say anything? The git hadn't even tried to owl him. Surely the situation warranted an owl. The fact that Draco probably would have hexed the animal and sent it away was beside the point. Potter should have tried.
As his mood steadily blackened, Draco's housemates took to diving for cover whenever he entered the Common Room. None of them knew what was wrong, they just knew that he was apt to suddenly start throwing hexes without reason or provocation. After he'd cursed Millicent Bulstrode with a particularly nasty case of boils (that only improved her looks if you asked him), Pansy had yelled at him and threatened to cast several nasty curses on him herself if his attitude didn't improve immediately. Draco wasn't entirely sure that she even knew how to cast a few of the things she'd named, but you could never be sure with Pansy. In a huff, the blond had stormed to his room, throwing open his bed curtains in preparation for flopping on his bed and having a good, long sulk.
Instead of doing so, however, he froze when his eyes landed on the item lying innocently in the middle of his green satin comforter. Draco gingerly reached out and grasped the t-shirt between his thumb and forefinger. As he raised his arm the red material unfolded to reveal a Gryffindor crest. Intrigued, he grasped the shirt in both hands, turning it this way and that. He was amazed at how soft it felt. A quick search of his bed revealed no note of any kind, however, when he pulled the garment close he caught the distinct scent of Potter. He checked again for a note, casting several Revealing Charms but there was nothing.
What was Potter up to?
Part 14 - A New Approach
Harry turned the page of yet another ancient tome and sneezed as a cloud of dust erupted from the parchment. He was pretty sure he heard one of the other books say, Bless you. Opening up another volume, more carefully this time, he scribbled down a few notes and then sighed. His idea had seemed brilliant a few days ago, but Harry was quickly discovering that the information he needed was not nearly as prevalent as he had hoped.
The Gryffindor leaned back in his chair, working the kinks out of his back as he did so. He suddenly realized he'd been sitting in the library far longer than he had intended. Harry grinned as he packed his books away, thinking about his best friends' reactions to his strange behavior of late. When he'd first started disappearing for his 'tutoring sessions' Hermione had been cautiously pleased. Ron of course thought he had a girlfriend so he would grin and wink every time Harry slipped away. Now that Harry was spending his afternoons in the library instead they were baffled.
At first Ron suspected it was another ruse, until they discovered Harry at a corner table, alone, surrounded by books. His best mate had speculated to Hermione, in front of Harry, that Harry's new study habits were some sort of coping mechanism after he'd been dumped. Ron was sort of right.
Hermione had taken one look at the various books on magical creatures Harry had been pouring over and immediately got a knowing gleam in her eye. Harry guessed she would figure out what he was up to soon. He hoped that he would have things sorted out with Malfoy by then. He'd been tempted to ask for Hermione's help on this project; he was sure she would be pleased with his unique approach.
Harry looked down at the meager list he'd compiled and sighed again. Sadly, most of the books in the library dealt with magical creatures. There was only so much useful information to be had from books like "Your New Kneazle and You" and "Raising Crup Pups". Except for one small pamphlet shoved haphazardly between two leather bound encyclopedias there hadn't been very much about normal, non-magical cats and dogs.
Still, the pamphlet had given him a few good ideas. He never would have thought of the "Introduce your cat to the dog's scent before you allow the animals to meet face to face." Malfoy had already met him face to face of course but after their kiss in the Room of Requirement he'd bolted. After several unsuccessful attempts to talk to the blond, Harry decided to try a different tact. That's where "Old Dogs, New Cats: How to Make Your New Pets Get Along" came in to play. If Malfoy wouldn't talk to him like a human, Harry was going to communicate with him like an animal.
Harry had already left one of his Gryffindor t-shirts in Draco's dorm so that the Slytherin could get used to his 'scent'. Now it was time for step two. "Place the animals in the the same room for brief periods of time. Be sure both animals have an escape route." Would Malfoy run a second time? Or would a more gentle introduction to Harry's presence soothe his nervousness?
Paer 15 - Draco's Best Friend
Draco couldn't decide if he was frustrated or flattered by Potter's antics. The Gryffindor, instead of having given up as Draco originally assumed, was now employing a new tactic.
Things started out simple enough. Draco would spot an animal that could only be Potter, in Animagus form, across the grounds or at the base of the Quidditch stands; but Potter was never there when Draco arrived at the place he'd seen the black dog. The first few times this happened, Draco thought that he was just seeing things but soon Potter was everywhere. He was in courtyards that Draco passed through, waiting for the Slytherin between classes, and wandering random corridors that Draco happened to use. Potter almost had to be using a Time-Turner to be in so many places at once.
However, anytime Draco tried approaching him, Potter would disappear back into the crowd. Draco soon got used to seeing the black dog and, little by little, Potter started coming closer. Soon the Gryffindor puppy was escorting Draco to meals, sleeping at his feet in the library and playfully stealing Draco's quills as he tried to study by the lake. One night the blond even found Potter curled up, fast asleep at the end of Draco's bed. He briefly considered kicking him out, but in the end he just scratched behind one of the dog's ears and slipped under the covers.
Most people simply thought that Draco had been given some sort of rare Crup breed as a pet. He did not dissuade them from this idea. A few students, like Pansy and Granger, gave the dog more speculative looks but, for whatever reasons, they held their tongues on the matter.
A month passed quickly by and Draco didn't realize quite how much he'd gotten used to Potter's company. Until Potter disappeared.
Draco woke up on a cool October Saturday to find that the Gryffindor was not in his usual spot at Draco's feet. That was slightly unusual since Potter tended to spend weekends almost exclusively with Draco these days. Still, the Slytherin did not think too much of the matter. He dressed and headed to the Common Room, fully expecting to see his furry friend waiting for him outside the entrance to the Slytherin dorm. Draco had never bothered to question how Potter got into Slytherin. For one thing the dog couldn't have answered him, and for another he found that he didn't much care as long as Potter stayed in his Animagus form. A Gryffindor dog in the Common Room wasn't a big deal, a Gryffindor student was another matter.
The corridor was empty when Draco stepped out and he frowned a bit. By the time he reached the Great Hall worry was making him irritable. How dare Potter plague his steps for weeks on end and then disappear? He grunted at his housemates as he sat down for breakfast.
Blaise glanced around. "Where is your shadow, Draco?"
"Drowning in the lake for all I care," The surly blond replied, spreading copious amounts of marmalade on his toast. The door to the Great Hall opened and Draco's head automatically jerked up. Granger and Weasley entered but Potter was not with them. Draco glared and returned his gaze to his meal.
He missed Pansy's calculating look, but he definitely heard her when she said loudly, "So, Blaise, as I was saying. I hear Potter's been injured."
Draco tensed but did not immediately fall for the bait.
Blaise looked confused. "You weren't... ow! Oh, oh yes, Potter. Right. Injured at Quidditch practice last night, I hear."
"That's no surprise," the blond said nonchalantly, "Everyone knows Potter is clumsier than a Hippogriff in a crystal ball shop. He'll be his usual obnoxious self in no time, I'm sure." He returned to his meal with a smirk, pleased at how well he'd handled himself.
"I don't know about that," Pansy replied, "He took a pretty bad blow to the head. Madame Pomfrey looked him over but said there was nothing to be done until he regained consciousness."
"Regained consciousness?!" Draco yelped and was immediately annoyed when he saw the flash of triumph in Pansy's eyes. He'd played right into her hands.
The dark haired girl grinned at him. "Yes. They say none of the normal spells will wake him and after trying all night Poppy finally had his friends take him back to his dorms so he could be comfortable. Weasley and Granger are supposed to be watching him."
Draco's eyes shot to the Gryffindor table where the two people in question were in the middle of an angry discussion. "But they're right over..."
"I don't see Longbottom. Maybe he's watching Potter instead," Blaise piped in.
"LONGBOTTOM?" Several heads turned at Draco's outburst but he did not seem to notice. "If you'll excuse me. I have a... Potions paper to work on."
With that he fled the Great Hall.
Part 16 - What's New, Pussycat?
Harry was dreaming. He had to be. There was no other way to explain how Draco Malfoy had somehow ended up in bed with him, gloriously naked, doing wicked things to Harry's neck with his tongue. Still, it was a brilliant dream. Harry took the opportunity to slide his fingers down dream-Malfoy's smooth back. With his other hand he touched the white-blond hair that was every bit as soft as he remembered. Harry carded his fingers through Malfoy's hair and encountered... a fuzzy cat ear. At the same time he reached the base of Draco's spine only to realize with a start that the Slytherin was sporting a tail.
"Malfoy, your cat features are back. What happened?" he asked in alarm.
The blond drew back slowly and regarded Harry with wide, grey eyes. He opened his mouth and... yowled.
Harry jerked awake with a start. The yowling continued. Thinking that Crookshanks had snuck in to torment Ron again, Harry lobbed a pillow in the general direction of Ron's bed. The horrible noise continued. Harry cast Finite Incantatem at his alarm clock. If anything, the yowling seemed louder. Finally Harry was able to shake off enough of his sleep induced stupor to realize the noise was coming from just outside his room. Flinging the covers off, Harry stomped over to the door. He did not care that he was wearing just his pants. His only thought was to end the wretched noise through any means possible.
He threw open the door and stepped forward, intent on shouting down Gryffindor tower until the yowling stopped. Instead a cream-colored blur shot past him and into his room. Harry turned just in time to see a very familiar Siamese cat disappear only to be replaced with an equally familiar Slytherin.
"Potter, you're awake," Malfoy breathed, sounding quite relieved.
Still cross over his rude awakening from such a spectacular dream, Harry folded his arms and glared. "Yes I am, thanks very much. That's quite a wakeup call you have there."
"I couldn't think of any other way to get in the room. Where's Longbottom, anyway?"
"Neville?" Harry frowned. "You snuck into Gryffindor and woke me from a sound sleep to ask about Neville?"
It was Draco's turn to frown. "Sleep? They said you were unconscious."
"Who is they?" Harry asked suspiciously.
Malfoy suddenly seemed to realize where exactly he was and who he was talking to. "Um, would you like to put on some clothes before we continue?" he asked carefully.
Harry looked down. He then proceeded to squeak in alarm, turned a bright Gryffindor red, and dove under his covers, all in rapid succession. He had been standing there, talking to Malfoy, wearing just his pants and still sporting a very obvious interest in the content of his dream. Merlin, where was a high cliff when you needed one? Perhaps he could will himself to the top of the Astronomy Tower so he could fling himself off. He'd done it when he was little, surely the circumstances now were dire enough to warrant accidental Apparition?
Draco's voice came to him from the other side of his covers. "I know you're still in there, Potter. You may as well come out." Harry bit back a hysterical giggle at the implications of that statement. "I wasn't saying I was unimpressed, you know. I just thought you might be more comfortable talking to me with your clothes on."
The Gryffindor slowly pulled the blankets away from his face. In for a Knut, in for a Galleon. "What if I'd rather talk to you with more of your clothes off?" Harry asked, half-nervous, half-defiant.
Malfoy seemed to consider the question. "I'd say you haven't spent nearly enough money on me yet, Potter. Talking with less clothing requires at least two expensive meals and a nice gift. Preferably jewelry or a rare item of some sort."
Pulled out of his embarrassment by shock, Harry sat up fully and allowed the covers to pool at his waist. He didn't fail to notice the way Draco's eyes lingered on his chest for longer than was strictly necessary. "Merlin Malfoy, if it takes all of that to get you out of your clothes, what's it going to cost me to shag you?" Harry's eyes immediately widened as he realized what he'd said. With a meep of distress he slithered under the blankets again.
A moment later the bed dipped and Harry waited tensely for Draco to cast his first hex. Instead the covers were inched down until Harry's terrified, green eyes could meet calm grey.
"Let's just start with kisses and go from there, shall we?" the Slytherin asked quietly.
Harry nodded and then reached up to pull Malfoy closer. As his fingers carded through silky, blond hair he suddenly encountered... a fuzzy cat ear. Harry pulled back and looked at Draco sharply. "Your ears are back."
It was Draco's turn to blush and look a bit sheepish. "I, um, I know how much you liked me as a," he coughed, "a catboy so I learned how to show just the ears." There was a pregnant pause. "And the tail."
Harry grinned widely. "Will you wear a collar for me, too?" he asked cheekily.
"In private?" the dark-haired boy added huskily.
The Slytherin pretended to be unconvinced, but Harry saw a glint of interest in his eyes. "Perhaps," he finally conceded, "but only if you agree to brush my fur at least once a week."
"Deal," Harry replied and pulled Draco down for a kiss.
Several days later Ron and Hermione were sitting at one of the study tables in the Gryffindor Common Room. Hermione was diligently recopying her Charms notes while Ron pretended to review his Potions homework.
"Did you know there was a rumor going around that Harry was injured during Quidditch practice last Friday?" he asked, hoping to pull her into a conversation and away from actual work.
"Hmm. I know, I helped start it," she replied absently.
Ron looked at her incredulously. "You helped start it? Why would you do that?"
"Long story," was the mumbled response.
Ron kicked his feet, tapped his quill, and turned several pages in his book. Finally he looked over at the fireplace. "Say, isn't that Harry curled up by the fire?" he whispered, not wanting others to know that Harry was an Animagus.
Hermione glanced up. "Looks like him." She returned to her work.
"Wonder who that is with him?" the red-head asked, indicating the Siamese cat curled up on the black dog's back. "Think it's the girl he's been sneaking off to see all this time? You know, I tried to follow him a few times but he kept running into Malfoy. Bloody Ferret, getting in the way of Harry's love life."
His companion continued to write.
"Speaking of the Ferret, have you noticed that the poncy git was wearing a collar the other day? Studded with emeralds, no less. How much more ridiculous can you get?"
Hermione raised a brow but didn't look up. "You pay an awful lot of attention to Malfoy, Ron. Is there something you'd like to tell me?"
Ron refused to dignify her comment with a response. Instead he asked, "So who do you think she is? Harry's girlfriend, I mean."
Hermione sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger. Finally she looked up at her adorable, but oblivious, boyfriend. "Ronald, I believe you are correct in your theory that the animal in question is the Animagus form of the person Harry has been spending his time with lately. However, if you'll look closely, you might take note of the fact that it is most definitely a male cat."
"MALE!?" He shouted. Realizing that half of the Common Room occupants were now staring at him, he ducked his head & whispered fiercely, "Male?"
As if on cue, the cat in question raised its head and hissed at him.
"Do you have a problem with that, Ronald?" Hermione asked in her best professor voice.
Ron blushed. "No. Just came as a shock, that's all."
"Good. Then you also shouldn't have a problem with the fact that the Animagus in question is also wearing a collar. An emerald studded collar." The bushy haired witch mentally counted down in her head. Just as she reached zero the light bulb went off over Ron's head.
"HARRY'S DATING THE FERRET!?"