Written for the LJ Community, Luvlikerocketz Halloween. Fic for little_dollface! – Drabble: Crookshanks is missing. DISCLAIMER: JK Rowling owns Harry Potter and all his cronies. ;) I own nothing, sadly.

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"Malfoy?" Hermione called from the stairway leading to her bedroom. "Have you seen Crookshanks?"

Sweat broke out on Draco's forehead as he pursed his lips. "No," he whimpered.

Coming down the steps, she looked at him oddly. "Are you all right? You look… pained."

"Extra Quidditch practice today, Granger," he explained. "My backside is just a bit tender."

Her eyes widened. "Oh!" She looked askance, embarrassed. "Do you need some liniment for – "

"No!" he yelped, practically jumping off the sofa in their shared common room. "I mean, no, thank you." He cleared his throat. "I just want to relax for a bit before Potions."

She eyed him speculatively for a moment then shrugged, heading for the portrait guarding their dorm. "Well, if you see him, will you put him in my room and lock the door? He keeps getting out and nibbling on the sweets the house-elves leave in the dish on the mantle."

"The sweets have definitely not helped his sour disposition," Draco muttered under his breath.

"What was that?" she called near the entrance.

"I said, I'll lock up the pain in my arse!" he nearly screamed, twitching on the couch, but settled once more after a moment. "I mean, I'll lock him up in your room if I see him, Granger."

Staring at him, she shook her head in confusion. "Erm, thanks, Malfoy." She left, contemplating his puzzling behaviour.

Making sure she was gone, Draco quickly stood and stared at the cushion he'd been sitting on, rubbing his abused bum. "You hellish flea bag!" he hissed, looking at the vacant indentation on the pillow.

A threatening growl issued from the spot, his Silencio spell apparently having worn off, and his Incarcerous seemed only to keep the creature pinned, not sheath its razor-sharp claws.

He looked behind him and noticed red pinpricks dotting his Quidditch uniform trousers. "If you think I'm going to release you after what you – "

The growls turned into outright snarls that increased in pitch, causing Draco's hair to stand on end. "Fine, I'll let you go, you annoying pest," he conceded, hoping that it would shut the thing up. "On one condition."

The invisibility charm still held, so he could only hear its tail thumping in agitation. There were no grumbles this time.

"You know I like Hermione." Hearing a low humming vibration, he continued. "If I let you go, you've got to let me save the day by 'finding' you," he posed, priding himself on his ingenuity for hiding Crookshanks in the first place. "Then I'll look like the hero and I'll have a chance of really getting to know her."

He honestly didn't think a cat capable of laughing, but that was exactly what the noise coming from the sofa sounded like… and it was an evil laughter at that.

"I'm going to let you go, now," Draco advised. "So just lie there like a good puss and we'll get along just fine." He waved his wand. "Finite Incantatem."

No sooner had he finished the spell than Crookshanks was revealed and his bindings released, allowing the half-Kneazle to attach himself with great pleasure to the front of Draco's shirt, sinking his claws in.

"You mangy feline!" Draco howled as the cat clawed his chest and bit him on the hand. "I swear to Merlin, if I didn't want Hermione bad enough, you'd be a pelt on my den floor!"

"Draco, I forgot—" Hermione stopped at the sight that greeted her on her return trip to the common room.

In the middle of the room, Draco stood with his fists embedded in Crookshanks fur, desperately trying to free the cat from his now bloodied shirt. His hair was all askew and he had a pleading expression on his face.

"Help?" he moaned.

"Crookshanks!" she cried, rushing over to retrieve him. She pried his claws from Draco's skin, wincing in sympathy at the rivulets of blood making their way down his pectorals. "I'm so sorry," she apologized.

"No problem," he bit out, taking off his ruined shirt. "I've got plenty others." He sunk to the sofa and laid his head on the back, sighing heavily.

Hermione held up her cat and scolded him. "You've been naughty, Crookshanks." The animal just glared at her.

Deciding on the best course of action, she moved away from the Head Boy and went up the steps to her room, grabbed her first-aide kit, shut her pet inside and locked the door. She then returned to where Draco was assessing the patchwork pattern of scratches on his chest.

"I really am sorry," she said quietly, sitting on the coffee table in front of Draco. "Usually he's better behaved."

He gave her a dubious look. "Since when? Before tonight, I caught him gnawing on my brand new dragon-hide Seeker's gloves."

"I told you I'd replace them," she reminded him in an annoyed manner. "It's just, they're expensive, and I need to save up to order them."

Watching her open the kit and take out a fluffy white ball, he wondered what she was doing, as she poured a clear liquid from a brown bottle onto the piece of fuzz. "What is that?"

"Peroxide," she said, leaning towards him to dab the fluid on his scratches.

"Holy shite!" he yelled, startling her so that she dropped the ball. He then scrambled away from her to the other end of the couch. "That stuff's as bad as Snape's wound-cleaning potion!"

"That's essentially what it is, Malfoy," she groused, plucking another cotton fluff from the box. "But since Kneazle scratches can't be remedied by magical means, I believe this will work. Now, come here, coward, so I can clean your cuts properly."

"Not a coward," he grumbled, though he moved back to his original position. "That snaggle-toothed menace is a bloody monster."

"Well, you'd be cross, too, if someone had sat on you," she said, trying to hide her smirk, as she patted the sodden white fluff across his wounds.

His head shot up and he stared at her. "You knew?"

"Not at first," she admitted, laughing lightly. "But I overheard your conversation with my cat." Finished cleaning his gashes, she sat back, and assessed him. "Since Crookshanks approves of you – "

"Wait," he stopped her, looking at her incredulously. "That beast approves of me?" He shook his head in denial. "How, in Merlin's name, did you come to that conclusion?"

Closing the lid of her kit, she leaned forward until her nose was touching Draco's. "Because he didn't claw off your face." She softly pressed her lips to his, luxuriating in the feel of his mouth against hers. "And you still have your bollocks attached," she added with a giggle.

Cupping her cheeks with his hands, he smiled and kissed her forehead. "Seems the little blighter kept his end of the bargain."

"What bargain?" Hermione asked, tracing his dark brows with her fingertips.

"We agreed that if I let him go, he'd let me be the hero and I'd get the girl," he said, nuzzling into her palm.

"I don't know about you being a hero, Malfoy," she snorted.

Taking her hand in his, he pressed his lips to the inside of her wrist. "That's okay, Granger." He smirked at her. "At least I got the girl."