Author's Note: This one-shot has now been betaed, again by the fabulous mccargi.
Just a silly one-shot that I had going around my head thanks to constantly reading one of my son's story books to him. I wrote it up and thought that I might as well post it. Just be grateful it's not about stopping a pigeon driving a bus, which is my toddler's favourite story (and highly recommended by me if you have toddlers: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems).
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all his wonderful friends belong to JK Rowling. That's Not My Dragon is the title of an Usborne touchy-feely book by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells.
That's Not My Dragon
Hermione stood shivering at the edge of the dragon reserve in Romania where she was waiting for Charlie to let her in. She was grateful that he had cleared her visit here and was going to escort her around personally. However, she was cold and tired, as she'd spent the better part of the last fortnight trying to work out what had happened to Draco sodding Malfoy.
When she had transferred from the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement she never imagined that she'd be chasing her childhood nemesis around in her first month on the job.
"Hey Hermione, how are things going?" Charlie asked good-naturedly as he opened the gates to the reserve for her.
"They've been better. This new job is more demanding than I imagined."
"If anyone enjoys being challenged then it's you," he pointed out.
She nodded in agreement. It was true, after passing several laws that improved the conditions of house-elves and other magical creatures, Hermione had found her previous job was starting to get dull and all too familiar. She was looking forward to tackling a new challenge and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement certainly offered that. They had been trying to headhunt her for the past five years, impressed with the quality of her proposed legislation.
However, that was before Draco Malfoy had disappeared in unusual circumstances and the case had dropped in her lap.
The terms of his probation, after being the only Death Eater to avoid Azkaban, were that he would have to check in with the Ministry every week for the next fifteen years. Two weeks ago, he had failed to turn up to his weekly appointment for the first time in a decade. Trust it to be the month that Hermione had finally decided to take Arthur Weasley up on the offer he had been bombarding her with for years.
After years of toiling away in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, Arthur had taken his promotion to head the newly created Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects in 1996 and never looked back. With the Ministry in disarray after the fall of Voldemort in 1998, Arthur had been promoted to head the entire Department of Magical Law Enforcement. When Ron and Harry became Aurors not long after, there were murmurs that Arthur was abusing his new position of power. Rita Skeeter had written some predictably nasty pieces in the Daily Prophet but these soon quietened down with the great job he did. Hermione had expected eyebrows to be raised when he promoted Harry to head the Auror office in 2007, followed quickly by her taking up his offer to manage the Investigation Department but none had come, possibly because Skeeter had finally retired from journalism, which had been a welcome relief.
However, she wasn't so thrilled with her new position now that she was running all over Europe trying to find the illusive Malfoy.
"How exactly can we help?" Charlie asked.
"I need to inspect all new dragons you have. I know that you are by far the largest reservation in the world and that all the dragons that are known to be in existence in Europe are rounded up and passed on to you."
"Why exactly are you inspecting dragons?"
Hermione sighed; it was a valid question. "Well, as you know I've been tasked with tracking Draco Malfoy down and I've received a tip that Draco Malfoy may well have cursed by an unhappy merchant in Knockturn Alley, who has taken his name literally and possibly turned him into a dragon."
She was sceptical about this and the expression on Charlie's face showed that he was too. "That sounds pretty far-fetched."
"You're telling me! I know, but I've run out of all other leads and so am now reduced to following this up. Although if it turns out to be true, I'll be tempted to leave him as a dragon and see how well he fares with the others."
He cracked a smile. Dragons weren't the nicest of creatures and he couldn't imagine a human, albeit one in dragon form, would fare too well spending the rest of their life trying to navigate the dragon's strange world.
"Any idea of when this would have happened? It may help us narrow down which dragons you need to look at?"
"He failed to turn up for his ministry appointment two weeks ago so anywhere in the last two to three weeks."
He ran his hands through his hair, "I was worried you were going to say that."
Hermione cocked her head in enquiry at her redheaded friend.
"We had a large family nest of dragons come in ten days ago. There are about eight of them."
She groaned. Her day was getting better and better. "How long do you think it will take to inspect them all?"
"Depends on what you want to do."
"I have some spells that should reveal any curses or residual magic on a dragon."
"Well, hopefully that shouldn't take too long but I wouldn't get your hopes up too high. We sometimes have to use magic against the dragons ourselves, especially when transporting them."
Hermione's shoulders slumped in defeat. This case was doing her head in. She been sent on one wild goose chase after another and Narcissa Malfoy hadn't been much help, disclaiming any knowledge about any possible whereabouts. Not that she blamed the Malfoy Matriarch for being wary of Ministry authority after the decade that family had but, still, it grated that Narcissa was so reluctant to give any useful details that could help track down her missing son.
"Are there any other ways that we might be able to distinguish an individual dragon? Possible characteristics from a human form that may well be passed on to them as a dragon?" she asked.
Charlie scratched his head. "I don't really know. I mean, all dragons have distinguishing characteristics but I've never heard of or seen a case where a dragon was originally a human to know if any of their human traits exchange over."
"Well, here's hoping that they do. At least Draco Malfoy has some unique aspects for us to look out for."
They travelled to the part of the reservation that had been reserved for the new family of dragons whilst chatting about this and that, catching up with all the gossip from their mutual friends.
Hermione gulped when she saw the size of the dragons that they were going to be inspecting. The last time she'd seen a dragon, she'd been fleeing for her life on the back of it. In the interim period, she'd forgotten their sheer size and how terrifying they were close up.
"What dragons are these?" she asked, confused, as they seemed to be of varying height and colour.
"To be honest, this group of dragons has stumped us. We have a variety of dragons here, three Hebridean Blacks, two Ukranian Ironbellies, one Common Welsh Green, one Peruvian Vipertooth and one Antipodean Opaleye. It's rare to find a family of dragons of the same breed but none of us have ever discovered dragons of different breeds banding together," Charlie informed her.
"Hmm, that could be important," she said. "If this group is breaking dragon norms then maybe this merchant has cursed more than one customer she doesn't like."
She set about performing the spells that revealed any traces of magic on the dragons and was disappointed to find that all of them had been hit with spells in the recent past.
"I guess we're going to have to try to do this using characteristics," she sighed. "You remember what Draco Malfoy looks like right?"
"Yep, blond, grey-eyed, and impossibly pale skin with a sneer that could curdle milk."
"Got it in one. Let's start trying to separate them out."
It soon became clear to both Charlie and Hermione that these dragons were very different. None of them had typical eye colour for their breed. None of the Hebridean Blacks had red eyes but two had brown eyes and the third had blue eyes.
"Why did none of us notice this when we took charge of them recently?" Charlie mused, perplexed as to how the dragonologists could have over-looked this striking trait.
A couple of hours passed and Charlie and Hermione had the potential Malfoy dragon down to three possibilities: the two Ukrainian Ironbellies and the Antipodean Opaleye. The Ukrainian Ironbellies had a silvery-gray metallic colouring that could be the distinct platinum Malfoy blond whilst the Antipodean Opaleye shared a similar colouring but with grey eyes.
"I'm glad you used particularly strong stunning spells, Charlie. I didn't think it would take nearly the whole day to rule out this lead of mine."
"So, which of these do you think could possibly be Malfoy?" he asked. There was no further doubt in his eyes that these weren't 'normal' dragons – there were far too many differences for them not to be humans transformed into dragons.
"I don't know. The colouring on all three could be him. I guess we need to look for further distinguishing marks," Hermione replied.
"Ok, well you take the Opaleye and I'll take the Ironbellies. Give me a shout if you think you find anything."
Hermione started the usual checks, peering into the still eyes to see if she could trace any Malfoy-ish looks. She sighed with frustration. The trouble with stunning them meant that they were lifeless and didn't interact. She was sure she'd be able to pick Malfoy out by his preening, arrogant stance and distaste at being touched by a Mudblood or a Weasley. Bending down to inspect the legs, she gave a shout for Charlie.
"Hey! I think this has to be Malfoy," she said beckoning the redhead over.
Charlie ambled over and stooped down to look at the dragon's left front leg.
"I never thought I'd be grateful for Malfoy being a Death Eater but surely this is the Dark Mark," she said, pointing a distorted tattoo out.
He laughed and high-fived his friend. "Looks like you managed to find your man, Hermione."
"Right, now to perform the counter curse that I was given," she said, slightly disappointed that she felt obliged to observe the rules. She'd have liked to see Malfoy living out the rest of his days as a dragon.
She waved her wand and muttered the incantation, squeaking as her spell revealed that she had indeed been right and the Opaleye was Malfoy. But, sadly, the dragon didn't transform back into a Malfoy with clothes.
Hermione blushed and quickly spun around, "Get some clothes on him, Charlie, quick!"
Charlie laughed at his friend and withdrew a pair of trousers, jumper and cloak that he had stashed in his rucksack, anticipating this outcome. He swished his wand, murmured ennervate and silently held out the clothes in preparation for Malfoy putting them on.
"About bloody time," the blond drawled, as he woke up feeling groggy with the mother of all headaches.
He gazed around and took the clothes being dangled in front of him. He took in the red hair and freckled face.
"I take it you're a Weasley. The dragon keeping one, right?"
Charlie looked steadily at the blond, "Charlie," he said by way of an introduction.
"And there's no mistaking that bush of hair. Although you'd think she'd earn enough at the Ministry to afford a hairbrush. Granger, you can turn round now, I'm perfectly decent," Draco sniped.
The bushy-haired witch spun round, her face flushed with anger.
"You're such an ungrateful prat, Malfoy. Not even a minute as a human again and you can't help but throw insults around."
Draco shrugged, Granger's criticism rolled off his back like water off a duck. "Some dragon reserve this turned out to be. I manipulated us being sent here and it took you this long and a visit from Granger to notice that we're not your run of the mill dragons. I'd heard that you were a gifted dragonologist, Weasley."
Charlie pursed his lips, Malfoy was right. It was pretty lax of them not to have investigated the strange nature of their new dragon intakes. There was not much he could add to that and he was damned if he was going to apologise to a Malfoy.
"So, Granger, what happens now?" the Slytherin asked.
"I take you into custody for skipping probation," she smiled. It was sweet to think that she got to arrest Malfoy. It made up for the last two weeks spent pissing about chasing after him.
The blond scowled at the smirking witch, "Why do I get arrested? You should be arresting that old hag in Knockturn Alley who did this."
"That's your version of events. Why should I believe that you didn't turn yourself into a dragon to escape from Ministry scrutiny?"
Malfoy shot her disbelieving glance, "I thought you were meant to be smart," he scoffed. "Besides, the other human-cum-dragons will testify to what happened. Some of them have been stuck like this for years. Good job someone as intelligent as me came long for them really."
She rolled her eyes at the arrogant git. Other people might be embarrassed by their predicament, but not Malfoy - only he would try and turn it into some kind of personal triumph.
"Hermione, why don't you go ahead and apparate back to the Ministry with Malfoy. I'll turn the rest of the faux-dragons back but I'd appreciate it if you could send some officials over here to help me deal with them," Charlie said.
She nodded, "I'll send a couple of my Investigators over. They'll need to take statements anyway to corroborate Malfoy's story."
As Hermione went to Apparate, she was stopped by Malfoy dragging on her arm. "What's wrong, Malfoy, too inbred to apparate?"
"You really are more hair than brains, Granger. How can I apparate without my wand?" he snapped.
She stomped over to the smug blond and grabbed his hand before twirling on the spot and disappearing.
Charlie grinned at where bickering pair had stood seconds before. He remembered a bet that the twins had with each other years ago. Fred had sworn that if given enough time and proximity, Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy would end up getting together. Charlie was pretty sure he'd jokingly bet George one hundred galleons. Now his brother was rich, he was thinking of collecting that bet on behalf of Fred. Five minutes in the company of the argumentative pair had convinced him that his deceased brother might well have been a seer. Mind you, the unresolved sexual tension was pretty thick in the air so it didn't take a genius to work it out.
Hermione strolled through the Ministry happily pointing her wand at the back of Malfoy's neck. She revelled in the power she currently had over the Slytherin as she led him into one of the interrogation cells. She sat him down on the chair reserved for suspects and sent off a flying memo to inform Harry that she'd found her man and asking if he wanted to sit in on the interview. You never could be too careful and this was an ex-Death Eater they were talking about. He could have manufactured the whole dragon thing just to cover some nefarious activity.
"Are you going to offer me coffee at least?" Malfoy asked. "I have the mother of all headaches here."
Hermione looked at the blond. She could be a bitch and deny him any comforts but then her pesky conscience had to get in the way, decrying her mistreatment of a prisoner, even it if was Malfoy. So she organised some coffee as well as a pastry for him.
"Do I get some socks and shoes? My feet are freezing on this marble," he asked once again.
She was really tempted to leave him bare footed. Somehow she didn't think his Malfoy dignity could cope with having no shoes. But then she looked at his feet and got a flashback of the brief second she'd seen him naked. She blushed as she remember how toned he'd looked. He could carry off the ridiculously pale look with aplomb.
She shook her head. Stop it! she berated herself. Malfoy is in no way, shape, or form attractive. But her mind was stupidly stuck on the image of him looking fit in the nude.
She was pulled from her daydreams by Harry coming in.
"This day just keeps getting better and better. What's wrong, Granger, can't interrogate a suspect without Potter holding your hand?" Malfoy asked, sneering.
Hermione ignored him and filled Harry in on the finer details of the case whilst the obnoxious blond yawned and looked bored.
"Any decision yet on whether I can have some shoes and socks?" he asked when she'd finally finished.
Harry looked down at Malfoy's bare feet and look quizzically at Hermione. She felt her face reddening again as she thought once more about Malfoy naked. Bad mind! she admonished herself.
"He… er… transformed back with no clothes. Luckily Charlie had some spare but no shoes or socks," she explained.
"I guess I can get him a pair of socks," Harry said, disappearing out the door.
"You even need Scarhead to make your decisions for you? Wow, Granger, you really are pathetic."
She scowled at the handsome wizard. "Shut up, Malfoy."
As they waited for Harry to return, she shuffled through her case file and ignored Malfoy, who was staring at her. His silver gaze was making her uncomfortable and she'd bet her last knut that he knew it.
"How long has it been since we last saw each other, Granger? A good five or six years? We bumped into each other in the apothecary at Hogsmeade if I remember correctly."
"I remember, Malfoy, you were your usual obnoxious self," she replied.
He smirked at her. "I only asked if you and the overgrown Ginger ape had gotten married."
"You didn't ask, you sneered and implied we were both too ugly to marry anyone else."
"Maybe Weasley, but you… you've filled out since your Hogwarts days."
Hermione was so shocked by this that she forgot she was trying to ignore him and looked up into his grey eyes.
"Yep, definitely improved. It'd be a waste if you'd married the Weasel. You've actually gained some curves and that hair looks like you've just been laid and vigorously rather than just an overgrown bush," he said, staring into her eyes with a burning gaze.
She was actually rendered speechless. She could think of nothing but his naked body pressed up against hers. She got even redder and was frantically searching for something to say in return when Harry walked back in, a rolled up pair of socks in his hands. Hot on his heels was a grinning Ron.
"As I said, Granger," Malfoy smirked, disdainfully looking the redhead up and down. "It would be a waste."
"Ron," Hermione greeted. "Do you have any more information on the case? Have you heard from Charlie?"
"Nope, I just came to see the high and mighty Malfoy in custody."
The blond just rolled his eyes and said, "Are we ever going to get on with this?"
Much to Ron's disappointment, Malfoy's story checked out. Confirmation came from one of her investigators, who'd returned from Romania several hours later. Malfoy took the news in good stead, took the wand that Hermione had in her possession as evidence and sauntered out.
Before he made it completely out the door, he turned back to Hermione, "Thanks for tracking me down, Granger. Maybe I'll see you around," he said with a wink, looking her up and down.
Harry had to grab onto the back of Ron's robes. He'd gone puce with rage. "Malfoy, you bloody pervert! Don't you dare look at Hermione like that!" Ron yelled.
But Malfoy had already gone.
Harry and Ron both turned to their female best friend. "What was that about?" Harry asked.
"The typical Malfoy tactic of winding you two up, especially Ron. He knew it'd drive you nuts and he had to regain the upper hand somewhere."
Ron seemed pleased with this answer but Harry looked at Hermione shrewdly and she couldn't help flushing a little, remembering how gorgeous Malfoy had looked naked.
Really, she scolded herself. You are old enough to get over seeing a naked man. She needed to get her mind out of the gutter it was currently residing in.
The rest of the week proved much calmer and Hermione finally began to settle into her job properly. She told herself that it was good that Malfoy hadn't contacted her. She'd thought for a brief minute that he would actually ask her out and was a little disappointed not to receive even an owl from him. She would've turned him down, of course.
Saturday came round warm and sunny. Too nice to stay indoors, so she decided to browse in the shops down Diagon Alley. It'd been ages since she'd had some time to just window shop, or buy a new book or ten.
She was looking through the Ancient Rune section of Flourish and Blotts when she felt a presence behind her.
"Well, well, Granger, fancy seeing you here."
She turned around and saw Malfoy leaning on the wall opposite.
"Malfoy," she acknowledged.
"Seen anything you like?" he asked, pointing at the books. "Other than me, of course."
She scoffed at the arrogant snake. "I just saw a great book on dragons. I should get one for Harry's kids. You have to go through various dragons until you find the one that is yours. Does it sound familiar? Maybe you had a copy when you were younger."
The blond narrowed his eyes at the dig. "Speaking of dragons, I never thanked you for turning me back. If anyone else was on that job, I'd probably still be in dragon form. Fancy an ice-cream as a token of my thanks."
Hermione frowned at Malfoy. Something wasn't right here. He was being nice and was he actually asking her out?
He became annoyed at her hesitation. "Come on, Granger. It's an ice-cream, not a life-long commitment to each other."
Put that way, she felt stupid about questioning the offer. "Okay, let me pay for these," she said, pointing to the books in her hand.
Malfoy gallantly pulled a seat out for her at the ice-cream parlour. "So, Granger, I see you're doing pretty well for yourself at the Ministry. You got some good legislation through regarding the treatment of house-elves a few years ago."
She waited for the 'but' and the snarky comment to follow but, surprisingly, it didn't. Instead, he just looked at her, waiting for her to respond.
"Er… yes. It was nice to finally put something in legislation to protect them. So what are you up to these days?" she asked politely.
He rolled his eyes. "Please! As if you didn't turn over every inch of my life when you were tracking me down."
Hermione pursed her lips in annoyance. "I was being polite and giving you an opportunity to tell me in your own words. Your family and friends were pretty reticent when it came to giving me any details of your life."
The former Slytherin smiled. "Yes, well, you can never been too sure what's going to be pinned on you when the Ministry come sniffing round."
She was about to make a comment in defence of the Ministry but realised that Malfoy had a point. Many of the old pure-blood families had been targeted, whether they were supporters of Voldemort or not. As for Malfoy, he'd pretty much been hounded by the Ministry for the first couple years after the war.
She nibbled her lip before responding. "You have a point. But I hope that you know that I would never abuse my position in the Ministry."
"Relax, Granger, I know you have iron clad morals. You couldn't pin anything on your worst enemy without your conscience nagging at you about it."
"I did contemplate leaving you as a dragon," she teased the blond.
He smiled back at her, looking devastatingly handsome with the sunlight glinting through his hair. "I guess I probably would rate as your worst enemy, so it is reassuring that you couldn't."
The unlikely pair got strange looks as the afternoon wore on and they remained at the table talking about anything and everything. Hermione hadn't enjoyed herself so much in a long time. Only when the sun started setting and it began to get chilly did she notice the time.
"Oh! I better go," she said reluctantly.
He looked her as if analysing something. "Fancy grabbing some dinner together?"
"That'd be nice," she replied, all the while wondering what on earth she was doing.
"I never thought I'd spend the day with you," Hermione commented as they got settled at a table at the Bubbling Cauldron.
Malfoy laughed, "I know. I can't imagine what my teenaged self would have made of today. He'd probably secretly revel in your company whilst throwing insults at you and running off."
Hermione couldn't believe that Malfoy, Malfoy, was sitting across from her and laughing at himself. She didn't think he had a sense of humour that didn't involve poking fun at those less fortunate.
"What? Surprised that I can recognise my own faults?" Malfoy asked, clearly amused.
"I must admit I didn't think your ego would allow such a thing."
"There's a lot about me that you don't know. And I think you can call me Draco after spending the day with me. Calling me Malfoy all the time makes me think I'm back at Hogwarts and I keep expecting McGonagall to shout at me for corrupting her star pupil."
She raised her eyebrows at that. "Corrupting me, Malfoy? I think I've done many more exciting things than spend an afternoon with a spoilt school nemesis."
"Hey! I'm not spoilt and who said I'd done the corrupting yet?"
There was a return of the hungry gleam in his eyes and Hermione gulped a little. Her heart rate sped up and her palms felt a little sweaty. She should feel disgusted at the idea he was insinuating but she didn't.
"Malfoy, I'm not sure…" she started.
He leant across the table and gently put a finger over her mouth. "Shush, Hermione, there's no need to panic, I'm not pushing you to do anything you don't want to. And didn't I tell you call me Draco?"
Hermione blushed a little at the contact. She licked her lips, which had suddenly become dry and that blasted image of Malfoy naked was back, firmly embedded in her mind.
"Malf … I mean Draco, I'm not sure what's going on here," she said nervously.
He gave her a knowing look. "It's pretty obvious, Hermione. We fought like cat and dog at school but I was always horrendously aware of you. I pretended that it was due to your friendship with Potter and the fact that you were Muggle-born, but the reality is that I found - and still find - you very attractive. Can you deny the same?"
Hermione reddened and found her breathing was constricted. She couldn't deny that she was attracted to him, as much as she didn't want to be. "I guess you're-"
"Sinfully sexy?" he interrupted
She glared at him. His arrogance knew no bounds but he did nothing but grin at her from across the table. Who knew Malfoy would have such a gorgeous grin? She could feel herself melting.
Hermione groaned as she heard the noise of her Floo connection. She was sleepy and blissfully warm. She pulled the pillow over her head and snuggled back under her duvet, preparing to ignore whoever it was in her living room. Her wards only allowed her closest friends in and it wouldn't be the first time Ron had abused this privilege in the middle of the night, hungry and wanting to raid her fridge. Besides, he didn't need her help in locating food.
It was the gasp from her door and the realisation that she was being pulled back into a warm body that jolted her fully awake. She pulled the pillow off her head, looked at the pale arm encircling her waist and then up at her two best friends currently standing in the doorway, staring in shock.
Memories from the previous day came flooding back. Draco and her getting ice-cream, going to dinner, her inviting him back for coffee, feeling deliciously like she was living dangerously once more, his heart-stopping kiss and then the pair of them tumbling into her bed.
A pale blond head poked up past her shoulder and glared at the duo in the doorway. "Piss off Potter, Weasel. We had a late night," Draco snarled before snuggling back down and nuzzling her neck.
Harry and Ron looked at her, looked at each other and walked back into the living room without saying a word.
"Wait!" Hermione called, scrambling free from the blond's arms and scrabbling around for her dressing gown.
She dashed out into the living room. "Hang on, it's not how it looks," she said to her upset friends.
"Not how it looks? How can it not be what it looks like?" Ron yelled.
Hermione flushed, "Okay, so it's exactly how it looks but-" she stuttered, coming to a halt when she didn't have anything to justify her actions.
"What were you thinking, Hermione? It's the ferret," Harry said, visibly upset.
"We bumped into each other down Diagon Alley and he wanted to thank me for rescuing him from being a dragon and things just kind of escalated," she offered lamely.
Harry looked at her in disbelief, "Escalated to the point that you slept with him."
"We actually didn't do much sleeping," Malfoy said, sauntering out the bedroom with just his jeans on. "Now it looks like you've killed any chance of me getting more sleep here so I'm going home."
Hermione couldn't stop staring at the vision Malfoy made. His hair was slightly mussed making him look delectably dishevelled. She licked her lips and then blushed a vivid red as the three men followed her actions.
Malfoy passed close to Hermione, leant down and whispered in her ear. "See, I told you I'd corrupt you."
He walked across to the fireplace before smirking at the other two men. "I'll owl you, Hermione," he said blowing her a kiss and disappearing into the emerald flames.
Harry just banged his head on the wall, realising that he'd be seeing a lot more of the snarky blond Slytherin thanks to Hermione.