Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with the Harry Potter series and will not make any profits off of my story.

Note: This is just an AU drabble that I wrote when I couldn't sleep—it does not correspond with any of my other stories. Lily is alive in this world, though she does not make an appearance. Harry is nine and very excitable. Enjoy!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Just a Boy

By Ponytail Goddess

I hear the sound of my clumsy nine year-old's feet and quickly throw a pig's eye into my half-completed cough serum before spelling the potion into a stasis. He only runs like that when he's really excited about something and I have ruined many a potion because of him distracting me. However, today will not be one of those days.

A moment later, the door to my basement lab has been ripped open and two graceless feet rattle down the wooden stairway towards me. I turn to see Harry, sweaty and tan, running towards me with a large jar in his hands. His knees are scratched up and coated with a thin layer of dirt. His hair is sticking up in several places and there are a few pieces of freshly cut grass tangled in there, which I can both see and smell.

Basically, he looks like he's been having the time of his life.

"Dad, dad, dad! Look what Ron and I found in the woods! It's a huge butterfly with spots!" Harry exclaims, thrusting the jar up into my face before I can get a word out of my mouth.

"Harry…" I say in my warning voice, having seen the jar approach my teeth at an unhealthy speed. I grab the jar with both of my hands and pull it far enough away from my face so I can examine the poor creature.

"Ah, Lepidoptera Saturniidae," I say, immediately classifying it upon seeing it's large, hairy body.

"Lepord-dop…what?" Harry questions, his green eyes large and filled with curiosity as he eyes the moth, which is clinging for dear life to a small tree branch inside the jar.

"Lepidoptera Saturniidae, or a Saturniid moth for short. Quite a lucky catch, Harry" I say, mentally reminding myself to be patient with the boy. After all, he is just that: a little boy. He doesn't know any better at this age, or so Lily keeps telling me.

"It's a lucky catch? Why's it lucky?" he asks, clearly intrigued by the sciences, as many witches and wizards are.

"Well, see these hairs? When plucked, they can be used in several different Invisibility Potions. His feathery antennae can neutralize a potion that contains an excessive amount of bicorn horn, preventing dangerous explosions. The scales on his wings have healing properties and can be used in an assortment of external healing salves—of course, we'd have to sort the scales by color and size first, which is a bit taxing. Oh, and let's not forget the Shakespearean Love Potion, which uses all of those ingredients. Really, it's best to throw the entire moth into that particular potion while it's still living, as it is more potent that way.

"So, what would you like to do with him? I could show you how to harvest the scales-"

"Dad!" Harry shrieks, making me look down from the jar in front of me. I find that my son looks rather horrified for some reason. He tugs at the jar I'm holding until I allow him to jerk it away from me. "Can't I just show it to mum and set it free?"

Ah, so he's become attached to the moth. As I watch the boy hold the jar protectively against his chest, I admit to myself that I probably shouldn't have talked about decapitating the moth. From an early age, Harry has shown a natural affinity for respecting wildlife, which I should not be squandering. If anything, the boy should be commended for his care and concern for the beings living around him.

It's such a good catch though… Really, the boy is going to have to get over this by the time he's 11. During Potions class, he's going to have to dissect much nastier things than moths.

I sigh. He's just a boy; that will come in time.

"That is very kind of you Harry, to think of the moth's freedom. Make sure you release it very close to where you found it so that it's in its natural habitat" I tell him, patting him on the shoulder as I turn back to my potion.

The boy doesn't run back up the stairs immediately though. Instead, I feel two twiggy arms embrace my waist from behind me. "Thanks dad!" he exclaims, his chin digging uncomfortably into my spine.

A moment later, the stairs groan under his stomping feet as he speeds away to find Lily. I smile as I start to chop some dried rose calyxes. Indeed, Harry is still just a boy…

…and I don't think I'd want him any other way.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

All comments are welcome! Thanks for reading!

-P.G.