Disclaimer: I'm not J.K. Rowling; I'm only visiting her universe for nonprofit fun and edification. (No profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended).

***

It deeply disturbed Draco that Hermione had told him the whole tale with an expression of chastened seriousness, behind which he saw her face twitching in the attempt to suppress laughter.

It also didn't help that it was Saturday morning, and he hadn't slept well, because he was missing the vigorous exercise that had become customary on Friday nights.

It was true, then, about Muggle-borns, he reproached her; they really didn't understand.

She fully admitted this, while plainly having no idea how profoundly disgraceful the whole thing was. Draco had been appalled to learn that all the rumors about his father were true, and more. In particular, he really didn't want that picture with the slippers. Not to mention all those cards with the cute little animals on them the color of poisonous sweets, and the television, and the tapes...

… and he really didn't want to think about his mother and Percy Weasley in bed discussing engineering tolerances for chemical process plants, because that was beyond disgusting.

He really would have liked to spurn her, as the bearer of bad tidings. And he had broken it off with her, hadn't he?

She was saying that they could take up where they left off, less the Polyjuice. That it was him she wanted. That, as far as she was concerned, he was the original. She didn't go so far as to say she'd made a mistake, but after all this time he knew that she wasn't likely to say that in so many words.

On the other hand, she said that if it was over, she really ought to return his school ties; after all, they had been a temporary loan.

He couldn't help a quiver of regret as the cool silk dropped into his outstretched palms.

He absently fingered the fabric and remembered, very much against his will, how nice that silk had felt against his wrists, not to mention the occasional times it had served as a blindfold…

He knew that she had prepared this speech, because it was all too smooth, as she told him that she would treasure the memories of their time together. No doubt those words had come right out of some up-to-date Muggle manual on gracefully breaking up with your … whatever he was to her. Or had been.

Worst of all, she insisted on theorizing about the whole thing, how the Purebloods' forbidden kinks played out a coded version of their ambivalence toward the Muggle world from which they had exiled themselves three hundred years before. This disquisition was the coldest of cold comfort. It was fine for the likes of Arthur Weasley to putter about with plugs and flying cars, but Draco's father had a social position to uphold, even as a paroled Death Eater …

… a paroled Death Eater and professed Muggle-hater whose at-home togs included bright yellow Pikachu slippers. Fuzzy slippers, in the likeness of a winsome cartoon creature with a lightning bolt for a tail, in Hufflepuff colors, which added a fortuitous layer of just plain wrong to the horror of it all. What was worse, the slippers were only the most obvious indicator of his addiction to Pokemon. His collection of cards was one of the most extensive in the British Isles, Muggle or wizarding.

Draco hoped that at least the breadth of the collection represented an outlay of bribes or other exercise of nefarious means. Otherwise he was left with the picture of his father playing a rather ridiculous card game with a succession of Muggle children.

His mother's kinky secret life was even worse. He blamed himself, now, for the paperback copy of The Hunt for Red October that he had bought at his renegade Aunt Andromeda's book shop, which volume his mother had promptly discovered and confiscated.

Rather than incinerating it with a quick Incendio, she had read it, in the spirit of vigilant Pureblood motherhood, to see what trash was corrupting the younger generation.

As he understood it, the story concerned some murky business with Muggles, but that wasn't the main point of it; there had been page after page of lovingly detailed descriptions of machine parts and the power plant, and in fact the whole thing gave away the plans to the submarine. (His mother hadn't been sure at the time what a submarine was, and Draco was fairly sure it was nothing he wanted to know more about.)

Apparently the whole thing had gotten her rather hot and bothered, and being a true daughter of the House of Black, she couldn't stick to fiction. One thing led to another, and eventually Lucius had found her stash of industrial quality control journals, as well as a whole set of the ISO standards. On being found out, she had confessed that the postwar trip to Sevres, to replace the teacups so carelessly smashed by the late Dark Lord (who had been notoriously testy about the proper proportions of milk and sugar in his tea), also had included a secret assignation with her lover, Percy Weasley. The two of them had visited the Bureau international des poids et mesures and then gone back to their hotel to indulge themselves in scientific investigations of a rather more private nature.

As for her lover, his insatiable lust for precision had descended the slippery slope from wizarding cauldron bottom thickness to Muggle industrial specifications.

Hermione said she had read that Red October book herself years ago, or parts of it, at the insistence of one of her Muggle cousins. It had been quite boring, she said, and it never would have occurred to her that some might fancy it as machine porn.

She tried (unsuccessfully) to suppress her giggles at the notion of his mother's kinky idyll with Percy Weasley.

"Really, Granger, this isn't funny," he said.

But she didn't hear him, because she was on about his father's television set and collection of cartoon tapes and comfy couch. She said, to no one in particular, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition…" and then doubled over laughing.

There was nothing remotely funny about the Spanish Inquisition, and he wasn't sure if she hadn't gone mad.

"… and Neville's plant hates your father," she added, trying not to choke. Then she stopped laughing, and looked at him speculatively. "You were right, Malfoy. Your father is very, very dull."

You were right, Malfoy. He had never thought he'd ever hear those words from her lips.

"And you're definitely the kinky one."

He wasn't going to tell her that he had since read the reassuring (if deflating) advice that his predilections were healthy and normal for wizards of his age and social background.

He remembered the Slytherin school ties still in his hands, and threw them back at her. "If you say so, Granger, you swotty Mudblood."

She caught them, narrowed her eyes, and said in a silky, dangerous purr, "Malfoy, I think you need to be taught a lesson. I leave you alone for a day, and you get completely out of hand."

***

At Hermione's prompting, Draco finally persuaded his father to go to the confidential St. Mungo's support group for spouses of the Muggle-obsessed. It was turning out well, though it made him nervous that in recent weeks, Lucius had been talking rather a lot about Molly Weasley. Draco suspected that his father's sentiments toward Mrs. Weasley were something more than gratitude in the matter of his late Aunt Bellatrix, because he had been saying how cuddly she looked sitting across from him.

As well, she appeared to be knitting him a jumper.

Putting that worry aside, Draco was really, really happy that his girlfriend was back, teaching him a lesson he wouldn't soon forget, all weekend every weekend, and that he didn't have to drink Polyjuice to satisfy her.

It was wonderful to be appreciated for himself.

***

Author's notes: This chapter is a high-water mark for popular culture references in my work. Tom Clancy, Monty Python, and Pokemon all in the same chapter.

Special thanks to Neville Longbottom, for the cameo appearance in chapter 2. tenoh27, to whom this piece is dedicated, seriously fancies Neville, and someone had to be the parole officer.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.