Ah, the delightful life after the war. What with Ron, Hermione and himself, Harry Potter, being around each other just like an old married three way - naughty, Harry, real naughty - and with no otherwise great peril ahead he had expected to lay low and dawdle for the rest of his life.
Sadly, no such thing ever occurred.
The entire Wizarding world had decided, shortly before his return to Hogwarts, that it was about time to throw joyous, over the top, out of his way parties left and right, here and over there too. Diagon Alley was bustling with cheer, the Leaky and all other watering holes brimming every night of the week with merry drunkards. Even the nasty little goblins at Gringotts were seen wearing a different loud colour every day of the week.
Harry thought that perhaps such a thing was needed to subdue the long cast shadows of the recent funeral season. Regardless, he complained to Hermione often enough because what did any of it have to do with him? Well, it seemed that being saviour and all that rot meant that he was personally invited to absolutely everything.
His dorm room at Gryff had become an exhibition of parchment, a collection of parcels in every size and colour. Someone from the Ministry of Magic had arranged for a huge bin with Harry's name scrabbled on it to be placed at the Hogwarts Owlery and now, everything that was dropped in it fell down next to his bed from somewhere high up in the ceiling. The owl post trickled down for most part of the day and needless to say, Harry dreaded coming back to his dorm at night.
How bad could it be, right? Except that daily he got at least two signed envelopes from the Ministry of Magic bloody himself for fancy receptions, ludicrous charity balls, many poorly named committee gatherings and lately, for the inauguration of several galleries of war relics. I'm a war relic myself, Harry thought, and promptly slipped down to the floor in an intimate tangle with the growing height of parchment. Hurriedly, he buried under the covers of his bed after having the drapes decidedly shut.
"Mate, you have to come up out or we'll be missing black pudding Friday. Think of all that warm spicy grease!Ó Ron, bless his freckled heart, spelled the whole pile of owl post away on a grumbling stomach.
Hermione, lovely and wise friend, had offered to research spells that would catalogue Harry's post for him - catalogue all those preposterous gifts and job offers! The sweets and pastries were harmless, the monographed pens and handkerchiefs were sensible enough, but the money that was transferred to his accounts from impoverished widows, the whole estates that were inherited to him, the merciful Merlin bloody marriage offers! Harry was dropping by Gringotts each weekend to burst a different vein in his forehead each time. This is nothing next to surviving a bloody war Harry, give yourself a breather mate - and were those his own words or Ron's he was hearing? Anyway, he could hear himself laughing hysterically in his head often enough as it was.
"If you're around the alley, you could check on Ginny y'know," Ron would hint at times and Harry would groan each time because it was such a terrible idea. Ginny had taken flight from Hogwarts to help George run Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, to the outrage of Mr and Mrs Weasley. You have seen how he is, haven't you? I can come back anytime. This is more important, she had wrote him as farewell. Honestly, Harry was ashamed because he hadn't been able to offer her any help or comfort. She didn't need him around; Ginny Weasley was a force of nature to be reckoned with on her own merit.
"Don't push him, Ron. He has enough going on as it is." Even though she excused him every time, Hermione wasn't all that better from Ron, claiming Harry needed a break or even, that he might be afflicted with some kind of illness. It was understandable that he was a bit stressed out, Harry thought, because most folk now thought of him as Harry Potter, all capable and powerful. He had become a symbol for the whole of Wizarding society, Hermione had explained, for all that was righteous, brave and whole on the world. "It's an incredible burden. I can't even start to think - Harry, what will you do?" Hermione faced him with bright concerned eyes after admitting she didn't know how to handle all those expectations, either. But that was all right, really, Harry already knew he would do his best not to fail anyone ever again.
That was the main reason Harry needed to pull his act together and obtain the five N.E. required to legitimately apply to Auror training. For that reason alone he had answered McGonagall's invitation and returned to Hogwarts with Hermione, Ron and the rest of the students who had wanted to complete their education. There was much for him to do if he wanted to be of any help to anyone.
But he couldn't. With all that was happening and the way he was being Harry knew he was doing a lousy job of keeping on top of his schoolwork, much less aiding the reconstruction of Wizarding Britain with anything. He studied every afternoon and still he couldn't commit to memory or understand any of the material. He read and reread and tried again and again but he couldn't deal with anything but Defence. He was really struggling with himself this time and what a model wizard he was turning out to be!
Unsurprisingly, his nightmares were now comprised of a grave looking councils composed of Headmistress McGonagall, Minister Shacklebolt, several other professors and a framed portrait of Snape with a great unimpressed sneer, discussing his inadequacy and vanishing him from the Wizarding world forever. Once, he had dreamt of Sirius Black, beloved godfather, nodding reprovingly his way, very softly.
Harry would wake up at midnight hardly doing any breathing from amidst the vehement admonishments of all living and dead. He admonished himself every time because he knew fully well that his dreams were utterly ridiculous. He was being fucking sensible and panicking about everything and over nothing. He would reason with himself calmly and pull himself from all that crazy, and he did it admirably well too. Except maybe Hermione had picked up on something that wasn't even showing and that's why he was all but dragged to the infirmary that morning.
Madam Pomfrey prodded at him. "Oh. Yes, this might quite be it. Mm-hmm..."
Harry and Hermione were greeted by the minimal condition of the infirmary short of a month since eight year started; the sheets looked fresh and unused, Madam's instrument were carefully arranged on a tray and a couple of wooden cabinets in the walls where stacked full with commonly used remedies. Outside, just behind a monochrome laminate of common hexes and their counters, Harry could make the soft hooting sounds that came from the Owlery far up above.
"Mr Potter, please focus for a moment dear." Harry opened his eyes and fixed them on the patient ones of Madam Pomfrey.
"What were the symptoms again?" Madam took a quill and her notes and revised them alongside Hermione's clinical narrative.
Hermione stood next to him with her arms around herself, like she did a lot now when she was worried about something. The tone she used with Madam Pomfrey, however, was aloof and scholarly. "It might have started before the term. His motor skills have deteriorated; he's been tripping and falling around more often than not. Also, he's been sullen and awfully distracted; he takes to mope around the castle when he thinks his friends are otherwise engaged."
"Hermione!" Harry cried out, embarrassed, but Hermione only shrugged and smiled lazily at him. She shouldn't do that, Harry thought, and stop picking stuff up from Ron like that all together since it was messing his brain up further.
"It could be important, Harry," she placated him with a half disapproving stare. "Your magic has been acting on you, right?" Harry nodded and was rewarded with a regular all-knowing smile.
"Anything else?" Madam continued scribbling.
Hermione had the good sense to give a questioning glance his way; Harry nodded, not feeling otherwise helpful.
"Harry has been attempting regular Animagus unveiling exercises."
Madam nodded promptly and tapped her wand at her notes.
"Well, it seems Mr Potter's magic is growing back, so to say. The medical term is magical re-synapse, inelegantly named by the American research community." Madam peeked briefly at Hermione's attentive stance, probably aware that there would be much perusing of all the subject related books known to wizard kind. "You strained yourself tremendously last year dear," Madam coiled a loose tendril of hair behind Harry's ear with a long finger.
"Since your core is brimming with wilful magic, I would call it another four months. It's better not to interfere with magical aids. Do get plenty of sleep and exercise and refrain from using extraneous magic for at least another month and darling -"
Harry tilted his head up and listened intently.
"-You better halt any Animagus related magic until you're all yourself again."
He answered nothing but rightfully groaned out loud on the inside.
It was back in Grimmauld Place where Harry found several tattered tomes on Animagus magic while sorting through Sirius remaining belongings. Not having much to do besides ignoring the correspondence addressed to him currently piling up in the attic - which would later prove to be the greatest post-war mistake ever - Harry decided to give it a go. How difficult could it be?
Not much or very much so, he supposed. It turned out that most of the setup for a successful transformation involved self-awareness exercises. He spent a whole week listing all his sensorial preferences on loose parchment all the while trying to find clues on what animal or creature would better suit his magic. There weren't any major breakthroughs since there just wasn't that much to him, really, besides napping to make for all last year, going down the kitchen for soup and sandwiches, and watching loads of telly.
That was until once, coming down the kitchen at night, Harry caught a horrendous creature scurrying down the hallway that made the hairs on his neck stand on end all at once. He violently flung the water glass he had been holding right at the creature before he realized what he had done. The rodent screeched and made its escape through a breach in the wall. After that, Harry became aware of the hateful creatures and their presence in all rooms. Funny, now that he recalled those impressions, he could tell that the rodents had been what had untimely driven him out of the place. Well, not only that but also the nostalgia. But he hadn't been nostalgic about Potions, no; he was fine with never stepping into that classroom again.
No matter, both him and Hermione were late to Advanced Potions again; they scrambled to their seats once Professor Slughorn properly excused them. Harry was quite mortified with the way to professor pandered to him and showered him with generous smiles regardless of anything - why, it had been only last class that a green viscous liquid had shot out of Harry's botched cauldron and made its home on the ceiling where it was to remain. Nonetheless, Harry followed Hermione to their usual table right at the front of the classroom, close to the bustling professor and next to Draco Malfoy.
When their eyes met, Draco Malfoy nodded at Harry. Malfoy had returned to Hogwarts with a courteous poise that Harry had grown to respect. Harry stood up as straight as possible before nodding back to Malfoy.
Bloody Draco Malfoy, the studious pointy git, had some kind of monstrous growing spurt over the last year; seemingly, he would one day become as tall as his horrible sodding father. The blond had a good couple of inches on Harry, who cheered himself remembering that Ron remained the tallest of their year by far; it seemed moot, however, because Malfoy's shoulders also seemed comparably broader and he also dressed impeccably to flatter his frame. Git.
Seated next to Malfoy there was Gregory Goyle, as burly and oblivious as ever, frowning down at some notes his buddy Malfoy had most certainly prepared for him. Harry had thought it odd indeed that Gregory Goyle had been about the only student to obtain a Potion's O.W.L of the several who attempted so at the start of the school year. The feat had already earned him Hermione's notice and several intrigued commentaries that made Ron turn green with jealousy like one wouldn't believe.
But Harry couldn't put the work to bear ill will towards the blond, or his bulky friend for that matter. He had noticed that Malfoy seemed to harbour some type of grudging respect towards him, perhaps even gratitude. Ha, wishful thinking Harry Potter, you simple fool! Anyways, it was better that the self-serving prick never realized that Harry was more than a little sympathetic towards him.
"It's late to be out, scarhead," Malfoy had called out to him one night, close to midnight.
That night, Harry had roused from bed bent on having some treacle tart in the Owlery. It was very important he did it because it was about the only exciting thing he could allow himself to do in days. He didn't question the otherwise baffling combination, he just didn't. So he had sneaked out of the kitchen with two portions of warm tart wrapped in cheesecloth and was positively skipping his way to the Owlery when Malfoy had spoken out to him.
He had stopped mid skip, turned and stared back wide-eyed at Malfoy. Like he said, Malfoy had been nothing but quiet and respectful since returning to Hogwarts.
Right then, Malfoy puffed out his chest showily and contorted his face in a subtle, more elegant version of his trademark sneer. Harry immediately knew something was off, and he could see right away what it was - there was no real hurting intent anywhere. It was amusing and not at all expected and it gave Harry a very warm, matey feeling.
Harry waved a large carefree smile. "Hullo Malfoy."
Malfoy arched a single golden eyebrow and inquired, "Potter, where's your cloak?"
"In my bed. At my dorm." Harry had forgotten it! So intent he had been on the tart and the birds and on daydreaming the rest of the beautiful night away.
The blond stepped closer and Harry smiled because Malfoy was eying him with something close to acknowledgement.
"Don't think I won't duck points out of you if I find you arsing around," the blond threatened half seriously and then, with his prefect badge and dark long robes, turned and left in a perfect impersonation of fifth year Snape. Harry was momentarily overtaken by emotion, glad that Snape's memory continued to be honoured - especially in this hilarious mock display of the Professor's bigotry and disdain of old.
"I would expect you too!" Harry called after Malfoy and went on his way. Only that once he was merry in the company of wide-eyed owls, Harry had opened the cheesecloth and found only one piece of tart. He couldn't explain it to himself, he had been so careful! To the day he couldn't guess at where he could've dropped it.
Anyway, that little exchange was precisely why Harry had been furious on Malfoy's behalf at the weekend Prophet two days later. Lucius Malfoy's Azkaban imprisonment had been announced first page alongside a very inappropriate picture of a distraught Narcissa Malfoy, holding her husband and whispering intimately to his ear just as they violent seized him away. It had been an utterly despicable piece of journalism; even Ron had cringed a bit at the article.
Hermione elbowed him hard in the ribs and he came back alive to Advanced Potions - as alive as anyone could be, really, because Advanced Potions was as dreadfully boring and convoluted as ever. Out of a sense of respect for Snape, however, Harry had prepared to give his all to the subject from day one.
"Harry m' boy, I've seen you do so much better than this," Slughorn admonished, holding Harry's latest essay close to his tubby chin. "I'll have you know I was terribly dismayed, out of the essays I marked yours was the most lacking."
His resolution to do well in Potion's must have been quite weak. He made a quick apology to Snape, who was either singing in the choirs of heaven, burning in hell or doing whatever there was to be done in between - perhaps mixing potions in purgatory! It was a good thing the former Potion's master had never expected much of him - or any.
Oh yeah, he had to gag an answer, "It won't happen again Professor, I have been distracted."
Hermione seemed about to say something but frowned instead. After Slughorn wrapped the lesson, she hinted at the full implications of his essay being the worst in class. "Harry, does that mean -?" she hinted and it took Harry full five seconds to realize what she was so unsettled about. In cue, both of them turned their heads towards the doorframe, just in time to catch Draco Malfoy and Gregory Goyle stepping out of the classroom.
Gregory Goyle. Goyle's essay had done better than Harry's.
Hermione stood transfixed for long moments, if more impressed or besotted Harry couldn't tell. More importantly, Harry wondered if Malfoy did all of Goyle's homework for him the entire damn time or if he really was a miracle worker hell of a tutor. Also, he briefly entertained the notion that Malfoy and Goyle had become closer after the shared tragedy of losing Vincent Crabbe.
Oh Merciful Merlin, had the right bastards high-fived each other? Surely it mustn't have been that! Harry shook the outrageous image out of his head and couldn't.
Harry stalled and told Hermione to go ahead without him. No, this had all the signs of being the work of Slytherins, the well-instructed acolytes of evil. Hermione rolled her eyes in her best impression of Ron yet, leaving him alone to his disparaging thoughts. They were being suspicious enough, the pair of them snakes, and his friends were too deep in the intricacies of the laws of elemental transfiguration to protect the school anymore. He planned to eavesdrop on Malfoy and Goyle's scheming, follow them closely for weeks perhaps, until they wore out of keeping their secrets and let on something, anything on what they -
"Today's time, right Draco?"
He had only been trudging a couple of feet behind them when he heard that line, they weren't being careful at all, but Harry had a shit eating grin all through dinner anyway.
After dinner and ready under his invisibility cloak, Harry followed Malfoy and his buddy Goyle down the dungeons. On their way to the Slytherin common room, the pair of Slytherins stopped right in front of a lustrous aquamarine tapestry. Malfoy whispered the password and a flight of stairs appeared - the way to Malfoy's prefect room no doubt. Harry slipped inside after Goyle and looked around the room once inside.
Malfoy's prefect room turned out to be spacious and well illuminated, with several windows displaying beautiful views of the lake from underwater. From looking at the glass panes one would think that the lake was suffused with a soft green and blue glow; there were colourful algae, sponges and other creatures he couldn't name clinging to the glass from outside, curiously alive.
There was a huge old cabinet facing the stairs. Harry became paralyzed and stared at it for long moments until he realized it might just be a regular, harmless, storing cabinet. He angrily reproached Malfoy in his mind, almost hysterically so. Honestly, Malfoy and dark furniture! Next to it, there was a bookcase full of seemingly harmless texts and Malfoy's desk facing another one of those large gleaming windows.
Malfoy and Goyle settled next to an unlit fireplace, on a table transfigured from a sofa and two chairs transfigured from cushions, and went ahead to unpack books, parchments and quills. Harry was honestly baffled at the perfectly proper scholarly behaviour and finally, after a while, settled next to them, careful to keep his breathing shallow. After a long and surprisingly bubbly back and fort question and answer on potion facts and properties, Harry had spread his arms and legs on the carpet, his soul dry from boredom.
"What are the common usages of desiccated mandrake leaves?" Malfoy affably inquired at his housemate.
That wasn't an easy question at all; Harry would be hard pressed to answer himself. Oh, but Goyle answered with two common usages well enough. The pair of them Slytherins almost didn't look at each other or made any eye contact, Harry noticed, with all the reading and furious scribbling they were doing each.
Malfoy reminded Goyle patiently, "They're also used in some paralysis antidotes, noddy."
"I'll get it next time Malfoy!" Goyle was quite pleased with himself, the goofy bloke; he smiled, stretched and cast Tempus. "It's Wednesday right? Isn't it time for the potion?"
Potion? Malfoy agreed and said he'd go get it. Harry rolled up and watched attentively as Malfoy stepped closer to the cabinet, opened it and made for a flamingo pink coloured vial. Harry furrowed his eyes and quickly put two and two together, that substance - they were using it to study!
"Ah Ha!" Harry uncovered himself in a hurry and promptly fell on his arse like a right berk. He became disorientated but bounced back quickly on his feet - luckily, he wasn't stunned or worse on the spot.
"Potter, you imbecile! What the bloody fuck - " Malfoy sputtered full of honest indignation. "Have you gone completely around the bend?" he finished less hurriedly and more aware of an intruding Gryffindor arse materializing in his private quarters. Goyle was startled into inaction, mouth open agape and pencil hanging mid sentence.
"You're the one that's barmy Malfoy with all this cheating!" Harry bellowed at him, his inner Hermione Granger in a great right fit, snapping pencils in two all over the place. His inner naughty Harry, though, seemed to be cheering wildly at this new development.
Malfoy stretched every one his words when he bragged, "Your precious Headmistress McGonagall is well aware of this."
"What? Why? How in fuck -?" Harry spluttered
Malfoy sighed but went ahead in full lecturing mode anyway. "This potion, Potter, it's a variant of a commonly used trance potion that's sold in Diagon Alley. Since this concoction is new, there's no legislation made against it. Besides, this aid does not grant unfair advantage on test day," Malfoy tapped his head slowly, the blond prat had quite noticeably done something sleazy with the word unfair there. "It merely allows access to untapped mental capacity while studying."
Harry took a moment to work his head around this new information. "That's amazing! It can make anyone smarter then, right?" He wanted to know more even if it sure seemed like nothing but trouble, old Hogwarts style. "Where did you get it?"
Malfoy frowned but seemed quite pleased at the attention nonetheless, "It doesn't make anyone smarter, you twat. But it does help if your head is fuddled from cramming. I made it." And my, wasn't the bastard laying it on thick!
But hope was shining on in Harry's head - Yes, this could work for him. If he could manage to concentrate and do well in his studies, perhaps he could stop relying so much in Ron and Hermione and get into Auror training rightfully on his own merit!
"Give me some," Harry requested shyly at first, staring down at his shoes. Then, he gathered some resolve, stared right up at Malfoy's face and requested more firmly, "Give some to me."
"What do you need it for? Why would I give anything to you Potty?" Malfoy glared back distrustfully with hands behind him, covering his precious potion stash with his tall, solid frame.
"I need to do well on the NEWTS and my mind has been elsewhere..." Harry went off when he realized he was all but spilling his guts to his childhood enemies from the dark rival house. "I need some," he finished.
And after a pause, since Malfoy didn't seem to know what to make of him, Harry added desperately -
"C'mon Malfoy, you owe me big time anyway"
- Which actually got the git fuming purple at him!
"Fine! Go ahead and take a vial. Merlin knows you need all the help you can get!"
And he did. Harry Potter stepped past Draco Malfoy and took a pink vial from the cabinet, uncorked it and swallowed it all down in one go.
It was sweet and minty and what the hell had he done? He wasn't very bright on his own, was he? Harry just about realized that perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to start dabbling on magical drugs after-hours. "Well, I don't feel any different."
Much later, Goyle stirred the ashes of the conversation, "It feels funny the first couple of times. There's less noise overall."
Harry sat on the floor, put his arms on the table and waited. Malfoy and Goyle stared at him intently and waited, too.
That seemed to be true, at the least. There was less noise around already. The emptiness that was flooding his ears mounted up quickly after that last thought, and it was really dense. Malfoy seemed quite agitated; the cheating prat seemed to be working himself into a right fit. And what had been worrying Harry? It had been important, right? Harry felt light and content like he hadn't in the longest time, feeling the most like himself and the least like the Harry Potter he had hoped to become. The two boys there with him were suddenly loud and huge and they started to scream and make a ruckus around each other like two disgruntled Hippogriffs. Harry couldn't make a thing of what they were saying and on a whim, slipped under the sofa.
"The merciful bloody fuck happened, he turned into a cat!" Draco Malfoy stared at the empty vial of potion, examined the batch hurriedly and sat up and sat down again a couple of dozen times staring dazedly at nothing, muttering to himself. Meanwhile, Gregory Goyle, much more sensibly, crouched next to the table and called, "Come here, kitty Potter, kitty."
Draco Malfoy marvelled out loud, "I didn't think anything like this could ever happen." He then proceeded to outburst in worry. ÒWe have to do something! Try talking to him!" he snapped at Gregory Goyle, who shrieked of his own, "Potter the kitty seems to be falling asleep!"
Neither of the Slytherins had ever known Harry Potter to be an Animagus, much less an adorable looking golden kitten with swirly dark marks. They threatened to leave him on the forest, they jibed at him on his choice of friends and finally they attempted to coax him with sweets and still they got no result. Kitten Potter was purring obliviously and falling around all over himself, disoriented. About half an hour later since the incident, Draco Malfoy became desperate and admitted so out loud.
"Hey, do you think he's stuck?" Gregory Goyle asked. Draco Malfoy chewed on his nails, which he never did because he thought such things were better left to the uncouth. Both Slytherins finally agreed to take kitten Potter to the infirmary, surely under Madam Pomfrey's care he would snap out of it and come to his senses.
But much wishful thinking didn't amount to much.
Everything was huge and hazy around the edges and he couldn't shake himself off it; it wasn't that he was tired, but that every time he tried to focus on something he couldn't and was instead driven towards some other bright coloured, eye-catching thing. Harry tried moving forwards and found that now he could run short distances before his stumpy legs knotted and he tumbled down on terribly tender paws.
He tried prancing very slowly, bouncing up and down on his springy joints. Harry saw a something trailing after him and he froze. Swiftly, he raced around in circles and nipped at it, immediately letting the soft fur go and crying out in pain - Meow! When he twisted, he saw that it trailed after his every movement. No matter, Harry found that if he twisted further and curled on himself he could reach and lick the soft fur of his tail.
A white flying cap person had been murmuring and prodding at his belly to his great discomfort. Now, the white flying cap person was waving a feathery object close to his muzzle. The feathery thing was pretty and Harry reacted by following its compelling motion and pawing at it repeatedly and mewling excitedly. He was able to pin it down and nibble on it, which made him grow suddenly disinterested. The white flying cap stood still and addressed elsewhere when she said, "Mr Malfoy, you'll trap flies if you leave your mouth open like that, dear."
Harry pounced on the quill again. He quickly got tired and tried out pawing at other things, getting a feel for how his claws itched, came out and retracted. He had been thrilled shredding gauze when he was lifted up and smothered in large meaty arms; Harry thrashed his little kitten arms and shoulders while he was being carried away. Eventually, he was dropped on an high glossy surface that tasted salty when he dabbed his tongue at it. He stilled under the grave gaze of a scary spectacled witch.
"Is this Harry?" Harry turned to the voice and meowed happily when he faced Angry Freckles, his best mate.
"He is. He has Harry's magical signature." Goody, his Bossy Bushy friend was here too.
"What happened? Wait! What is he -? Malfoy!" Angry Freckles outline was fuzzy, but Harry saw him becoming larger and threatening before his eyes; he shrunk back again when a stern voice commanded, "Mr Weasley, unhand Mr Malfoy right this instant."
Harry couldn't understand what all the confusing shapes and sounds around him meant, but he did have enough intuition left on him to know everyone had gathered on his account. The grave voice of Scary Spectacles boomed in the room again, "Let's all sit down. You too, Mr Malfoy and Mr Goyle."
Scary Spectacles was not commanding his attention anymore so Harry turned around and glanced at the other faces gathered around him. His Bossy Bushy and Angry Freckles friends were right ahead of him and next to them - a very pretty and almost sparkly, shiny golden haired person.
Harry tentatively moved forward and examined his luminous find. He mewled, and everybody in the room stilled at the happy, friendly greeting. Harry stepped on his hind legs and coiled up and down, reaching out with his paws to the frowning pale and shiny haired boy. The noise in the room got louder and Harry sat back down on all fours, feeling chastised.
Angry Freckles bellowed, "Merciful bloody Merlin - he's playing with bloody Malfoy!"
"Mr Weasley, if you would please refrain at least while in this office I wouldn't have to regret calling you all here," Angry Freckles turned brighter and redder. Scary Spectacles lips twitched before she said again, "Mr Potter himself was responsible for this turn of events; he ingested a variant of a trance inducing potion which resulted on his collapse to Animagus form."
Angry Freckles lifted his voice again, "Really! Why would he ever get around to something like that?"
"Mr Weasley!" Scary Spectacles was rightfully irritated and Harry tried to apologize in behalf of his friend by approaching her; he was rewarded with a very special smile and caressing fingers on the top of his head. "Mr Malfoy prepared the potion that Mr Potter ingested; perhaps you would care to elaborate Mr Malfoy?"
"We were using it to study." Harry licked Scary Spectacles fingers before turning his head towards the pretty shiny haired boy, whose noises were also pleasant but very small to hear.
Angry Freckles harrumphed. Bossy Bushy's voice was much more nicer and even, though, when she concluded. "So Malfoy's study potion combined with Harry's current magical disposition resulted in him turning into a Bengal kitten."
Harry didn't like the ensuing silence mostly because Scary Spectacles had stopped petting him. Harry became moody but brightened considerably at the prospect of playing with Shiny Hair, Bossy Bushy and Angry Freckles. Harry was currently staring down the edge of the glossy, brown surface and wondering manically if he could jump anyone's face from it.
Bossy Bushy broke the silence, "What now Headmistress?"
Scary Spectacles sighed and answered, "This is an induced mental state. There is nothing stopping Mr Potter from returning to human form, other than perhaps his lack of Animagus training. We will have to wait for Mr Potter to realize his condition and transform back. Currently, he seems to be deeply absorbed in his transformation and unaware of his surroundings."
"That's right, he obviously can't recognize friend from a Death Eater prick!" Angry Freckles was loud and Harry pawed at him to quiet down, less he got into trouble again.
"Ron!" Bossy Bushy was scandalized and apologetic, saving Harry the trouble. "I'm very sorry for all of this, Professor!"
"I can take care of him in our dorms," and Harry felt himself agree with his angrily freckled best mate, whatever it was that he had said. He turned to find Scary Spectacles eyes on him and when their eyes met, she smiled warmly at him.
"Mr Potter will need attention and a proper environment, of course," Scary Spectacles resumed talking, never taking her off Harry. She addressed Angry Freckles when she finally said, "A dorm room full of friends and distractions isn't conductive to introspection, Mr Weasley."
Angry Freckles leaned on the glassy, brown surface, his large blue eyes puzzled. "No student has access to anything like that Professor!" He studied Harry momentarily and nodded, and Harry mewled back at him, in mutual acknowledgement.
Scary Spectacles gathered her hands together; she had made up her mind, it seemed. "Someone here in the room does have access to a suitable enough space for Mr Potter. Someone that is also partly responsible for this, I might add."
Bossy Bushy seemed taken aback by this, "Headmistress, you can't mean to say that -"
Shiny Hair gasped loudly, "No! No, no. No! You have to be -" And Harry was preoccupied, what was pretty Shiny Hair suddenly upset about? And would he feel better if he cuddled with Harry?
"This is a very serious matter Mr Malfoy. Surely, you would understand," Scary Spectacles finished with a grave spectacled finality before excusing herself and leaving the room.
The mood was wretched after that; Angry Freckles and Shiny Hair quarrelled several times right there in the room. Harry was concerned for both of them, somehow, and hissed angrily at them both to behave; Angry Freckles sputtered and glanced away while Shiny Head blushed fetchingly and gaped at Harry. Nevertheless, Bossy Bushy was more than capable of shutting them up when she had to.
"Will you both put a sock on it and agree on something, finally?"
Harry grew tired after a while and coiled in on himself to get some sleep, which he couldn't with all the incessant rattle going on around him. Much later, meaty arms smothered him again and carried him out; Harry didn't feel like fighting anymore so he allowed his body to go limp. This time, he was put down on a luxurious green carpet on which he coiled warmly on himself. Before Harry fell asleep, however, he heard pretty Shiny Hair mutter, ÒJust one more thing to see through, I suppose."
Early next morning, Harry woke up and looked around sleepily, quickly becoming hypnotized by the friendly looking jellyfishes behind the gleaming surfaces of the windows. There were loud shower the sounds flowing thickly through the room. After many futile attempts to approach the glass on the windowpanes, Harry headed towards the massive oak door from where the shower sounds came from and scratched it, meaning to inquire
A clicking sound was heard and Harry meowed happily and swiftly moved aside. Milky pale feet stepped into the room alongside a cloud of hot steam and a wonderful whiff of freshness and musk. Harry pranced happily around the feet and when they stopped next to the bed he rubbed the whole length of his body against them, sticking his backside up the air slowly and purring in delight. Harry was pretty content while the long milky limbs and the edge of fluffy white he had noticed remained motionless; he was wondering if he could climb and play with this very enticing, very lovely and male -
"Damned cat. Potter, fuck - Go away!"
Ah, it was pretty Shiny Hair of course. Harry swished his tail all the while he angrily nipped at the socks and at the trim of the trousers that eventually covered the fragrant, warm skin. After a while, Shiny Hair twisted his feet away and placed them on soft leather shoes instead, rising up and crossing the room. Harry meowed and called after him, but Shiny Head didn't spare him a glance. After taking some items with him, Shiny Hair disappeared swiftly through a thick brick wall that wouldn't budge an inch for Harry.
Harry entertained himself well enough for the first couple of hours by closely examining his surroundings and every new object he found. The scent he had picked out from the pale milky boy could be found everywhere; it was fresh and musky like the rocks at sea and it was all over the fabrics and cushions, corners, and even on the wood surfaces of all the furniture Harry tasted and scratched. Stretching belly up in the carpet, amidst the subdued light, Harry was reminded of drifting at open sea.
The room was pleasantly cool; Harry didn't felt either unpleasantly hot or cold; he also had a bowl of sparkling water, a bowl of delicious smelling food and a nice wooden box filled to the brim with mildly enticing sand he had marked as his own spot. It wasn't that Harry didn't love the place with its friendly looking jellyfishes, its compelling musky scents and all its amenities, but being by himself like that for so many long hours slowly made him realize that something was horribly, horribly wrong.
Harry jumped and scratched relentlessly at the wall where Shiny Head had disappeared through long after his paws turned raw and slippery with sweat. He was upset because he wanted to leave and go up, very high above many stairs, where it was warmer and friendlier. Harry moaned in pain as his legs gave out, weak from the effort.
Shiny Hair came back much later in the evening, after Harry had ripped off his cushions and the leg of his couch in a frustration he couldn't voice nor understand. Meaty Arms arrived, too, and frowned when he pointed out, "Draco, I think Potter, umm, the kitten is upset." Shiny Hair answered back nonchalantly, ÒHe's fine; he's been fed twice already."
Harry meowed and pranced around them but pretty, cruel Shiny Hair wouldn't look his way. Meaty Arms did look at him a couple of times, but always went back to ignoring him afterwards. Sulky, Harry curled against Shiny Hair, who gasped, muttered and shifted away every time, spurning Harry.
Harry almost formed a complete thought right then, Who are they? Why are they like this to me?
Harry would listen intently when Shiny Hair and Meaty Arms talked amongst themselves. Meaty Arms would annoy Shiny Hair sometimes, too. "Shut up about Potter, Greg," Shiny Hair rubbed his eyes slowly and Harry did notice how he seemed to hide his eyes from Meaty Arms, who Harry had gathered to be his closest mate. "It's not like we can do anything but upset him further. Let Potter be."
Potter - was Shiny Hair talking about him? Harry's head hurt and his eyebrows furrowed because it didn't feel right. He was just - his thoughts were slippery, elusive and wouldn't linger for long. Harry couldn't figure out anything. He was - his chest ached and his eyes prickled. His throat was dry, his stomach was full of air and he didn't feel like playing on his own anymore. After an exhausting and long day, Harry finally passed out on the carpet.
By the next evening, his desperation had mounted up and became unbearable. Harry was on his own and he couldn't reach out to anyone; he whimpered and tumbled down a lot while drifting aimlessly through the room. Harry couldn't reach out to the friendly looking jellyfishes up there in the gleaming green, not to Meaty Arms who looked his way from time to time but otherwise ignored him callously, and definitely not to the hateful Shiny Hair prat, who knocked him out with a stick that night. Oh, it had been a wand and what did that meant? Harry's uneasiness followed him into his dreams.
Everything light, dark, sounding, shape became incomprehensible. There was nothing he could do and no one that could help him with the drumming in his temples, the ache in his belly and with the paralyzing fear that assailed him. The edge that he crossed when he dreamed wanted to take him to - No. Harry shivered and muffled his whimpering, he had to be silent, or else - there had been a heinous dark laughter and a slithering, terrible creature taunting him with its sharp teeth, wanting to shred him and devour him whole. And Harry would be devoured, any moment now, because at the very end he hadn't prevailed, he had been much too frightened to do it, or had he?
Harry didn't want to remember and he didn't want to be found, either, so he burrowed in the darkest corner he could find. The only light that reached him was the light seeping from under the edge of a door; the edge swirled and he was terribly alone, all by his helplessness as he waited, terrified, because he was forever lost.
And finally a sound broke him entirely.
And the pregnant silence that followed wouldn't let him breathe, either.
"Potter, come out," the familiar voice called out again, anguished.
More terrible shuffling was heard, and again, the voice. "Merlin, there you are. Come out, what -?"
Milky pale hands reached for Harry in the dark, tentatively. The movement was horrifying to Harry; he growled, terrified, and lashed his claws at the scrabbling, pale flesh.
"Ouch! Potter, what the fuck -"
Harry could hear much terrible shuffling and he kept still, very still. No, no, nonononono - But when he was savagely enfolded by two warm human hands and dragged out from his hiding place, under the canopy bed and into the hurtful light, he couldn't help it either.
"You look a wreck, Potter," his Shiny Hair cruel prat exhaled loudly.
Harry's furry ears had been shut to his head but now that there were apologetic fingers scratching very gently at them, they began loosening and allowing warmth in. He was held on a very solid arm, with creamy soft skin that enveloped and calmed him. Slowly, very carefully, Harry was brought back from his stupor to find himself tired and inconsolable; he meowed pitifully and trembled.
"You have to calm down now," Shiny Hair breathed to him.
Those very careful pale fingers treaded on his fur and kneaded his small mobile shoulders and neck, so very intent and patient until Harry felt warm and loose and finally could close his eyes in surrender. New, unfamiliar emotions flowed over him because it all seemed so very incredible, so very new. It dawned on him that, most likely, no one had ever touched him like this before, held him so close and for such a long time. It was overwhelming and Harry felt like weeping in gratefulness.
Next morning found him snuggled close and warm to creamy pale skin, enveloped by the scent of sea; his once enemy had forgiven him and he had forgiven the hateful blond prat, too.
Much later on the same day Shiny took him up many, many stairs to a red and gold room where Harry was greeted by the warm and friendly smiles of Angry Freckles and Bossy Bushy. Harry swished his tail and purred; he was ecstatic.
"Don't coddle him Granger or he'll never turn back," Shiny Hair admonished before releasing his grasp on Harry. Harry was passed from solid creamy pale arms to the equally careful but thinner ones of Bossy Bushy, who also had longer brown hair that Harry could chew on and thread on his teeth, which he happily did before he was put down on the carpet.
"You could make an attempt with some of Potter's belongings. I will be coming back at eight," whatever Shiny Hair was saying Harry wouldn't have any of it, not before he marked the prat with his own musky scent by sticking his backside and rubbing a bit. Bossy Bushy stared at them openly and wondered out loud, "Why are you doing this, Malfoy? You almost seem - pleasant."
Shiny Hair snapped, "Work it out Granger! To get rid of him faster, of course." He stepped firmly away from Harry and left, even after Harry had meowed and called after him. Bossy Bushy lifted him carefully but Harry trashed mildly in her arms regardless because he was being left behind again. Also, Harry didn't like how Angry Freckles was gaping at him; his jaw wide open like it would split and drop to the floor at any moment. Bossy Bushy said after a while, "Ron, would you bring Harry his wand and his cloak? We might as well try."
Harry played for a bit under the watchful gaze of Bossy Bushy, who tickled his belly and giggled prettily when he rolled over for her. Then, a wood stick was in front of him and a silky, cool piece of cloth was draped over his head. This was his - his wand. And this over his eyes was - his invisibility cloak! These things were his belongings and he was a boy - a boy named Harry Potter. He was Harry Potter.
Harry looked around and sure enough there was Ron Weasley, loyal mate with a face full of angry bursting freckles. Oh Merlin, giggling Bossy Bushy was Hermione Granger of course and that pretty Shiny Hair, he was -
Harry hissed, mortified, and ran around maniacally in short circles while his mind positively reeled, because he remembered absolutely everything. Ron had the gall to prod fun at him and laugh anyway, "It sure seems like something happened, didn't it?"
Harry stopped his whirlwind panicky running, breathing harshly. He couldn't go back with that prick! Malfoy would be his death, or worse, Harry would end up liking the prat! He had to turn back into human now!
"Don't rush it Harry!" Hermione prodded at the puffed out, exhausted body of Harry Potter, cat Animagus, after several failed attempts of willing himself into humanity by withholding his breathe. Not his brightest, Harry realized.
Late in the evening, Malfoy showed up in the Gryffindor common room to retrieve Harry. "You're done molesting him, aren't you Granger, Weasel?" Malfoy had seemed awfully possessive when he took Harry from Ron's reluctant arms, but Harry reasoned that it might have been the pure animosity between them. It was fine by Harry anyway, he had loved spending the afternoon away with Ron and Hermione but he was exhausted already. Harry yawned in Malfoy's arms, wanting to fall asleep as soon as they arrived to the prat's rooms.
Hermione called out to them sweetly sweet as they were crossing the threshold, betraying Harry like the double-crosser she really was. "Oh, Draco, Harry seems to be back on himself so don't let him play you for a fool. Have a good time!" Malfoy stopped for a moment and peeked at Harry's face, curling his lip and arching an unimpressed eyebrow his way; Harry blushed. Yeah, Harry wanted to fall sleep as soon as possible, thankyouverymuch.
Malfoy didn't drop him to the floor like a hot potato, regardless; Harry was carefully carried all the way down corridors and stairs. The whole thing was absolutely mortifying. Yeah, the sooner he fell asleep, the sooner he wouldn't have to deal with this thing that had been growing between him and Malfoy while he had been completely out of it. It was warm, like friendship, but it also made Harry stomach feel abnormally funny, very unlike friendship at all.
Upon arriving, Malfoy placed Harry on a low cushy footstool transfigured from Merlin knows what and said, "Alright, Potter, listen up!" The blond was smiling mischievously at Harry, like he was about to let him on some brilliant scheme of his, and it all gave Harry a very warm matey feeling so he complied and mewled attentively in response. What the hell, right?
"You, Potter, will be my pet kitten from now on. You will be a Malfoy's pet, so you will have to behave accordingly -" and Harry was immediately laughing out loud at the unbelievable giant prat, rolling on his belly and pawing at thin air. "Elegance and proper pedigree behaviour are expected of you at all times," Malfoy continued his little speech for the longest time, too! And suddenly -
"Oh! I know," Malfoy brightened mid rant and headed towards the top drawer of his desk. "There was a leather strip somewhere -," he mumbled while he rummaged for something. Harry wanted to see what the blond was up to from close, and called out to him. Malfoy must have understood too, for he absent-mindedly picked Harry up by his middle and placed him atop the desk.
Inside the top drawer there was a world of small objects; collectible galleons, quills, labelled potion vials, a Muggle CD, chocolate frog cards, some Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products and a pair of glasses that looked uncannily like Harry's. Harry made for them and held them by the rim on his mouth, questioningly.
"Oh, you dropped them," Malfoy offered as a petty excuse.
Harry did not and mewled as such.
"You did. They were on the changing rooms after some Quidditch game."
Still, Malfoy should have returned them; they were stolen, anyway. Actually, all of this...
Everything was a stolen item! Harry flinched, an ominous feeling he didn't like one bit climbing up his back. That brought him back to that time he had been out at midnight, coming from the kitchens and then running up with Malfoy -Malfoy had taken Harry's tart from him!
And Harry pounced on the thieving blond prick, claws gripping on his stupid poncey dress shirt. Malfoy had the gall to laugh out loud, trying to placate a furiously scratching Harry by caressing the top of his head, "There, there kitty," and laughed out loud again he did.
And how had he done it? Had he used some type of wandless object switching spell? And Harry's kitten frame shuddered all over while he peered at Malfoy's laughing grey eyes. It couldn't be. No. Way. In Fuck. Harry couldn't possibly imagine a more devastating spell. The three unforgivable curses suddenly seemed like measly spells against this great mother of all dark magic. And why was Malfoy only remarkably talented when it came to pure undiluted evil?
Malfoy kept laughing like the silliest prat alive. Amidst his little maniac episode he had transfigured a thin dark green collar out of the leather strip he had picked out from the drawer. And that too, Malfoy was driving him insane with all the transfiguration he did all the time! What were his original belongings like anyway? The prick was buried to the top in filthy riches and did he have any non-magicked possessions at all?
Harry was quite hysterical himself so, when Malfoy stared intently at him from up close with a large friendly smile and reached to his neck with long fingers, he let himself be collared. When the clasp snapped shut, Harry had the gut wrenching realization that Malfoy could be striking when he was carefree, that his own little heart was going a bit too fast and, terrifyingly, that maybe he was working himself over a bloke.
Shiny - Malfoy all but whispered to him. "Here. I'll be able to summon you, and you'll be able to come in and out of this room. You would like that, wouldn't you Potter?"
Yes, Harry would like that very much. Perhaps Malfoy had been but showing off to Harry, allowing him to believe whatever he wanted to believe, but the friendliness was real enough and it pulled the little remaining breath out of Harry's chest.
Malfoy slipped under the covers of his bed. All the lights were extinguished and in the welcoming darkness, the soft creaking noises of the mattress and the dull shine of the windowpanes were augmented and made sharper. Harry hadn't been daring at any time since the war, but that Gryffindor boldness was surging inside him again. He held onto it, because it hadn't visited him in a long while; it made him climb up and slide close to the blond on his warm, lovely bed. He couldn't help feeling relieved, however, when, even after much long suffering complaining about filthy flea-ridden kittens and pure-blood allergies, Harry was allowed to stay.
"You can understand what I'm saying, Mr Potter?"
Harry meowed and nodded. It took a bit more sitting still, and answering McGonagall's yes-or-no questions for the later to be certain of Harry's lucidity and growing ability as an Animagus. Finally, he was allowed to attend lectures with Malfoy, which was perfect since both of their schedules were almost identical - Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfigurations, Potions and Astronomy. He purred and frothed against the git, being halfway grateful and all, just to aggravate him.
"Don't Potter! Stop!" the mortified prat coloured like the ripest beet of the season.
Now that Harry was very much aware of everything going around him, Malfoy took delight in submitting him to much harmless ridicule while parading him around the school.
Malfoy would approach anyone impressionable enough and profess, while he puffed his chest and waggled his eyebrows obscenely, "Yes, Potter is my pet now. And before you might ask, yes; there might be a lineage of Potter bred kittens in the future."
Nothing would deter him from calling Harry outrageous pet names, either; for all that Harry smacked the prat's nose furiously and scraped his carefully transfigured couches out of recognition, "Come here, Potter! You deranged pussy boy."
At other times, Malfoy would lift his hand in Potions only to flash disgustingly inoffensive smiles and pronounce ludicrous statements such as, "Potter is doing much better at Potions now, isn't he, Professor?" Both Hermione and Slughorn had to cover their faces in cynical disbelief at the blond's antics.
And he would also resort to the absurd at times, especially when Ron couldn't manage a word around all the furious spit coming out of his mouth. "Why, are you having kittens, Weasel?"
Oh, and how could one forget Malfoy's favourite obnoxious line when the prat repeated it at least twice daily? "Why, yes, Potter is very smart and talented isn't he? - For a grubby feline!"
It was all received with general amusement and local chagrin. "I swear I'll kill him mate, you know I will!" Ron threatened, cursed and fumed all at once. "Time's up Weasel," and Harry's collar tugged him in the general direction of Malfoy's voice.
Some of it had brought interesting results, Harry thought, like the whole scarf ordeal.
While in lectures, Malfoy would wrap a miniature Slytherin scarf around Harry's kitten frame. Harry had taken to wearing and coddling on said garment because he got cold in the classrooms otherwise. He sure had been aggravated at first, shredded the first one to pieces actually, but quickly became amused at the inter house competition that had started when Ron had changed the garment to Gryffindor colours. Each time Harry's scarf was tampered with, Malfoy would grumble and turn the scarf back to silver and green.
Once, in the Great Hall, Malfoy had turned his eyes up from his bangers to check on Harry, who was getting his fill of premium elf cat food from a bowl atop the Slytherin table, and tossed his cutlery aside in outrage because Harry had been wrapped in a yellow and black Hufflepuff scarf. Greg's pumpkin juice had spurted three feet out of his mouth when he noticed himself.
Malfoy had transfigured the scarf back to silver and green and mentioned flippantly that Harry might as well become a Hufflepuff with how easy he was being these days. That had the twat a mouthful of cattail in the face.
Now that Harry was very much aware of everything going around him, he took delight in embarrassing Malfoy by acting sweetly sweet around him and rubbing, rubbing, rubbing his own musky scent all over the prat. Who would have guessed that to restrain Draco Malfoy, malevolent rude tosser, one only had to express a sickeningly unreal appreciation of him?
It started that one time, when Malfoy had been catching up with his Slytherin best mates - Goyle, Nott and Zabini. Their common room rendezvous mostly entailed the bragging of fortunes, accomplishments and dates, the sharing of pureblood gossip and the tooting of each other's horn, mostly. The Slytherins would act standoffish, belligerent and then laugh raucously together at turns. It all seemed pretty mad to Harry, who thought that if that was how all Slytherin were like perhaps they weren't all that evil but just misunderstood. Misunderstood like crazy, you see.
Anyway, since that time, one joke or absurd comment on Harry's behalf and Harry would jump up to the sofa's edge and slink sensuously towards Malfoy, seeking out his gaze. By then, everyone would be staring wide-eyed at the terribly realistic mock seduction and Malfoy would be red in the face and calling it quits. Harry would mewl in appreciation, regardless, and rub his neck slowly against the entire length of Malfoy's trembling arm. Afterwards, the blond tosser would splutter and complain but would also be invariably quiet and disturbed for some time. As for Harry, he would laugh uproariously at the blond's discomfort and at their wide-eyed, gaping public each time.
Ron and Hermione witnessed a similar albeit slightly more adult display in the Great Hall once, because yes, that was possible.
"Mate, that was -," Ron's lips trembled as he clutched his stomach, clearly traumatized.
Hermione would sooth the redhead with silly arguments each time, "It's regular kitten behaviour Ron. Harry is probably marking Malfoy because he can't stand the scent of him!"
Hopeful ginger eyebrows furrowed. "Yeah... yeah that's it, isn't it? For a moment I thought-" Ron laughed more easily and said, "Good thing you're never wrong 'Mione."
"Of course I never am," and she glared disapprovingly at Harry. Look what you have done to him, you irresponsible twerp! her eyes accused. But Harry shrugged noncommittally; it was all in good fun.
But all in all Malfoy kept Harry safe and played with him all the time too, if that's what their angry scuffles in the carpet and in Malfoy's bed where all about. Malfoy could overpower him easily now but never did; he actually allowed Harry enough room to pounce him, smack him and nip back at him after the blond had held him down or restrained him firmly for a while. Harry could barely acknowledge that he never pulled out his claws, either.
It was fun and warm, what Harry got up to with Malfoy. Sometimes, though, it all seemed unbelievably embarrassing. Harry wouldn't want Hermione, much less Ron, to know about this side of himself that he was just getting around to know. It must be an Animagus thing, Harry, he reasoned with himself. But Harry also had a very painful inkling that told him he was stepping somewhere decidedly different and unknown.
A very pretty, very lovely auburn owl shot out of Malfoy's wand and hooted as it flew across the room. Harry was immediately spellbound and approached it very carefully. He could make out Malfoy's shuffling feet and surprised laughter in the back of his head but that was fine, let the evil prick have some fun in a while and all. Harry was ecstatic at the opportunity to hunt his afternoon away. When he finally took a very satisfying nip of feathers, the owl popped and vanished.
Yeah, shacking up with Malfoy hadn't been so bad after all, Harry thought fondly.
And nothing could have prepared him for what the weekend mail brought, anyway.
That evening, Harry returned to Malfoy's prefect room from hours of play and sat by Malfoy's feet near the sofa to lick clean the soft fur of his legs. He had gotten so used to the daily hanky-panky that he hadn't noticed his roommate's mood at all. Harry called out to Malfoy, wanting to scuffle or take a nap next to him, but the blond wouldn't scoff or smile at him, either. It was when he looked up that Harry noticed Malfoy's vanished grey eyes and his lost, pained expression.
Harry sobered quickly and mewled very softly, his little chest tightening around his heartbeat in sudden angst. Was Malfoy ill? He didn't seem hurt, but was he? He pawed at Malfoy's feet and nipped at his trousers even though the blond didn't respond. Did he get a bad mark? Had he fought with Greg? Harry pushed against the blond's leg with his whole body and meowed, which finally made the blond stir and shake him away.
But when his gaze fell on Harry, Malfoy stiffened and his expression snapped wholly shut. "Why won't you ever fuck off?" the blond bellowed at Harry and kicked him away. Harry cried out, falling upright some scarce feet away, his sided aching painfully after the swift impact. Malfoy wavered a bit but stormed to the bathroom and closed the door shut nonetheless.
Harry was angry and hurt, in more than one way- he would certainly shred some of the hateful prat's precious trousers when he got the chance! He turned to the parchment that lay forgotten on the carpet, fully intent on reading. It was a letter from St. Mungo's and as Harry read his gaze flickered upwards to the bathroom door.
The letter read that Narcissa Malfoy had been hospitalized at St. Mungo's and Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, her only son, wasn't allowed to see her because allegedly it could "further strain her condition." There were promises to send him daily reports and to forward him paperwork, as needed, as Draco was, after Lucius Malfoy, the unofficial next head of family.
Harry tail hanged low between his legs - it sounded horrible.
Harry waited for hours, crouched low on the plush carpet, full of his own regrets. He hadn't been able to sympathize with Draco Malfoy for the longest time until the washroom incident Harry had cocked up so bad, and there after he hadn't given another thought to the blond since he had naively thought there couldn't be anything else to him. But Draco Malfoy had been there, and now here, always giving his best, because he had people to care about. And like the Weasleys, the Malfoys would have to pull together and find their way after the war.
The light in the bathroom clicked off before the door opened and Malfoy stepped out. Quietly, he made his way across the half-light of the evening that seeped through the waters that surrounded everything. Harry looked up and not only did he notice the blond's red-rimmed eyes and downcast demeanour -
Harry's mostly stared, captivated, at the bare expanse of creamy pale skin on Draco Malfoy's very solid and broad chest.
Malfoy went to bed, where he lay with his back to the headboard; he stared away at the gleaming windows like if he had all but forgotten about Harry's presence. Painfully concerned, Harry hopped on the bed and approached Malfoy's long warm thigh. Harry knew what he would've liked himself, because he had done his share of brooding that year, so he rubbed his brow against the blond's luxurious cotton pants, soothingly. He was rewarded with a long drawn out exhale and Malfoy's hand over the fur of his shoulders and back.
Harry thought that he could help the blond like this, by doing him some company, so he closed his eyes and remained still. Malfoy rubbed lazily but meaningfully enough, his whole hand gripping Harry's pelt loosely. Harry could have fallen asleep, the closeness was wonderful, and his body was loose and relaxed all over. He almost yawned but was instead taken aback when Malfoy's hand wandered back over his rump and lingered.
Before Harry could cry out or move away, the heat had spread from in between his legs, smouldering his whole body until his face also heated. Harry purred instinctively and stretched his body, trying to get Malfoy's hand closer to -Oh Merlin. His rump was itchy and vulnerable like it was swollen and Malfoy's gentle hand kept pressing against him, maddeningly so. Harry was ashamed but the pleasure was so marvellously dirty and intense he didn't want to try and stop it.
Harry yodelled very softly, unable to stop himself.
Malfoy seemed suddenly unsure and Harry, mortified, burrowed his head down and forced himself to still completely, even if his rump lifted imperceptibly, closer to Malfoy's hand. It was insane, but something inside Harry wanted to tempt the blond, as it was, so that he would give Harry more of this, more of this -
Oh Sweet Merlin - such intense pleasure.
But Malfoy's whole body stilled and moments later, the blond let out a loud heavy sigh and retreated his hand and the length of his warm body. The bed dipped and rose in waves Harry acutely felt in his tummy and below so he didn't dare move or make a sound. Harry's sense was clouded from the languorous pleasure, so he couldn't help it when he stretched and rubbed himself more slowly and intently against the mattress, hungry for more contact.
Harry stopped, suddenly ashamed and distraught; Malfoy had been upset and he had all but molested him. Keep still Harry, keep still, breathe, and let it out - Merlin. Harry tried to reason that his had to be a natural reaction of his feline anatomy, but Malfoy could have done with some support, at least some company, and Harry had ruined that for him.
It had been the hand of a boy, the tender hand of Draco Malfoy that had temporally turned him into a messy, wanton thing, that had made him want Malfoy to go further and - Oh, Harry whimpered and rubbed down more forcefully against the mattress, seeking more pressure, seeking sweet release -
Suddenly Malfoy called out loud in the dead silence of the room, "Potter."
Harry whimpered, subduing the pleasure and shame, and stilled his needy, trembling body.
Malfoy requested evenly, "If Greg comes about, keep him away would you?"
But Gregory Goyle never showed up to Malfoy's room uninvited, and Harry and Malfoy both knew that well enough. Harry meowed in affirmation, regardless, and Malfoy didn't add another word.
It got dark in the room and Malfoy had fallen asleep. Harry was ashamed and whimpered; he gnawed at his ankles and at his tail until the heat left and he had calmed down somewhat. Even with all that, it took Harry a long dreadful time to fall sleep.
Harry pondered, thoughtfully, about how daily routine deafens the meaning of all things.
At sunrise, Malfoy would wake Harry up with all the drowsy mumbling he did every morning. Then, Harry would stretch all his limbs, lazy and content, and afterwards make an attempt or two at sneaking into the bathroom with the blond. Decidedly, there would be much indignant yelling but Harry wouldn't have a care in the world but to get another eyeful of that wonderfully strong male body. He was afraid of naming it, but he wanted, wanted -
"Licentious miscreant, away with you!" There would be much disgruntlement indeed, but also hints of softness in Malfoy's face and Harry would be right there with him on that.
They would attend classes in the morning and catch lunch together after noon. Harry would go back and forth between house tables in the Great Hall, arousing and quelling bickering with the sweetness that only a kitten bent on naughtiness can muster. Later, in the evening, Harry would either study at Gryffindor with Hermione and Ron, play with the Slytherin first years or follow Malfoy around into whatever the silly blond got up to.
Most of the evenings, Malfoy would be found studying in his room with Greg Goyle going over Potions or filling elaborate number charts. Often, he would write long, detailed letters to Pansy Parkinson, to whom he seemed to be disgustingly close to. Also late at night, the blond filled lots of St. Mungo's paperwork and sometimes mailed back and forth with a rude little goblin that seemed to be currently in charge of his state.
Only that now, after that, ahem, bonding happenstance in Malfoy's bed - Merlin-Dumbledore Harry, stop recalling it and giving it overly fond nicknames, you're only amusing yourself! - Harry acknowledged the pull of those stormy grey eyes, that he couldn't help nettling the blond into a tongue-tied red-faced mess whenever he had the chance and that he couldn't help being greatly amused by the blond's many crazy quirks.
Lying on bed, Harry buried his muzzle in his paws and acknowledged he was partial to Draco Malfoy.
When he wasn't with Malfoy, Harry did become uneasy about the whole thing. Yes, that thing, whatever it was. He would be going over convoluted magical theory with Ron and Hermione and finding it comparably easier than when he was human and oh, it seemed Ginny had inquired about him days ago.
Harry would panic and remember that he needed to turn back human right away, on that very instant. He would remember that he couldn't keep on staying with that prick! Malfoy would be his death, or worse, the blond prat would eventually turn Harry into a fangirl of his, just like he had done with the poor noble soul of Gregory Goyle! Harry and Greg, Harry could see it, they would wear matching jumpers and wave banners with simplified caricatures of Draco Malfoy's face at Quidditch events, for instance.
"The hell are you trying to do, you simple minded kitty?" the blond prodded at Harry when he had found him staring intently at the floor mirror in the bathroom, not breathing and trying to will away the swirly patters of his fur away. And Harry took in a breath, after being annoyed by Malfoy's obscene waggling eyebrows in the mirror, and pounced the bastard right there from the floor, sinking his claws into his trousers and ripping them apart. You owed me that, bastard! Harry would have yelled as battle cry.
Malfoy bellowed thunderously and chased Harry around, red faced and fuming. And Harry realized that he couldn't stop it, this thing; Malfoy was a really fun bloke to be around and Harry liked playing around with him the best.
And Malfoy was being odd around Harry too, Harry was almost sure of it; for one thing, the pale blond had stopped complaining whenever Harry climbed to bed with him. And then, to Harry's absolute horror, the blond had stopped wearing pajama shirts to bed all together. What was Malfoy playing at? Harry couldn't help pressing himself against Malfoy's skin, couldn't help daydreaming about licking those sweet rosy nipples and about the pained sounds Malfoy would have to let out in his sleep... and then what, Harry? Oh boy, don't dare go into that.
The tosser had plenty of hateful moments, too. Like that time in the tower when they had been sitting for an Astronomy lecture; Harry had been looking up to the stars when he noticed Malfoy staring quite intently at something. That something turned to be Lavender Brown's astrolabe, and what could be so damned interesting about it? Harry supposed it was well-made artefact, with what looked to be swirly golden brocade on its many plates. When Malfoy's stare had become greedy, however, Harry had been furious; he hissed at the blond, warningly, but the unbelievable git made for his wand, anyway. There will be no thieving on my watch! Harry thought as a battle cry as he jumped the bastard, dislodging Malfoy from his chair and unto his back in the floor with a tremendous clatter that had all the tower lights on in no time.
Under the recriminating light and the glaring eyes of his classmates, Harry Potter, kitten Animagus, was found straddling Draco Malfoy's chest. Defiantly, Harry acknowledged that he liked Draco Malfoy. There.
After that realization, Harry had retreated and hidden, his cheeks burning with embarrassment on account of the rampant flirting he did all the time. When he burrowed himself in Malfoy's neck and purred early in the morning, or when he climbed up his lap demanding to be petted, or even when he joined the half naked blond in bed ... Harry was embarrassed because, what was he trying to accomplish anyway?
It was decidedly a thing on its own, an unstoppable, demanding thing.
And the thing was edging somewhere, too. Their scuffles, they were mostly innocent but sometimes Malfoy would pin him down with sudden intensity and Harry's breath would come up short and he would mewl heatedly and Malfoy's eyes would daze.
Harry became determined to make sure there was such a thing, and that it was edging somewhere too, because maybe he was messed up and making shit up all the time now. That's why the next night Malfoy had been particularly sleepy and undemanding, Harry climbed up the bed and made directly for the blond's chest, crept up and curled.
Malfoy protested, mildly, but Harry was quite stubborn himself. After a little while, the blond breathed out, scratched Harry's head a bit, and fell down asleep without further complaint. The distressing, maddening thing turned bittersweet in an instant because Malfoy had allowed him to sleep curled on his chest, warm and comfortable, close to his delicious scent and lovely creamy skin. Before falling asleep, Harry thought it would be nice to be a human again if it meant he could sleep curled against Draco Malfoy like this.
Next morning, Malfoy stirred up and mumbled crazily, as always. Harry was sleepy and purred in the crook of Malfoy's neck, flicking his tongue to taste the skin. Malfoy began rising up soon enough, more unsettled than usual.
Harry stretched and found his two very human arms around Malfoy's neck, because Harry Potter's naked human body was draped on top of his.
There were knocking, sharp hipbones and the warm friction of taut limbs before Harry rolled away in an instant and fell to the floor in a tangle. After a moment, Malfoy sat up on his bed and asked, "Potter, you all right?"
Harry tried answering anything for distraction, anything that could spare him some embarrassment, because Malfoy most likely had seen, felt all of him; what came out of Harry's throat was a pained half mewl. Harry looked up at Malfoy's expression and, because it was so very complex, lost all the nerve he had mustered.
Malfoy said something, but before he could've offered anything, Harry had grabbed a sheet and fled the room, stumbling all over himself.
With shaking legs and a wobbly centre of gravity, he bolted through the halls, hell-bent on reaching Gryffindor even though he fell and scraped badly, several times. Once through the portrait, he bolted through excited whispers and catcalls, straight to his dorm room where he was lucky enough to stumble into Ron coming out.
The startled ginger clutched Harry's shoulders and steadied him, "Harry, you're back!"
"Ron!" Harry was able to make out, "I'm... alive!"
"Of course you are alive, Harry," his best mate answered, smiling widely.
Harry shook his head, intent on making his point across, "No, what I mean is that we came up back alive. You know, even after all that."
Ron seemed concerned, and frowned. "Yeah, I know, your head might be a little funny yet mate."
Harry stepped into the dorm with Ron's help, his heart beating loud in his hears like when he had been running. The shapes of Malfoy's body were imprinted on his skin, on his mind, and his warmth had been - for a moment there, Harry had thought their bodies fitted nicely together. It hurt like a bitch, it made no fucking sense whatsoever, and he might be in over his head but for the first time since the war he was thrilled about something, thrilled to have gotten back, thrilled to be able to keep going, thrilled to be alive.
Their dorm room was quiet and abnormally clean; the light that streamed through the curtains seemed harsh in comparison to the subdued light from the lake that bathed Malfoy's prefect room. Ron led a naked Harry by the arm and made him sit on top of his red and gold bed covers. Warily, Harry eyed the irregular, tall columns of mail and coloured packages next to his bed; up above, a wood panel had been nailed to the ceiling, and Harry signed loudly, picturing the likely mess in the Owlery.
If Harry wasn't shivering it was only because Malfoy's warmth remained on his skin.
"Mate, you sure are fine?" Ron eyed the large bruises marring Harry's legs and arms. Harry thought it funny that Ron wasn't calling anything on Malfoy, even after he had showed up looking like this, like the redhead would have once done for sure.
Harry wasn't ready to look Ron straight on the eyes, but was able to reassure him nonetheless that he needed but a few moments to himself. After Ron left, Harry found his wand and his glasses next to his bed, where most likely they had waited for him the entire time.
Harry gripped his way to the bathroom and stared at his own reflection. He sighed at the bespectacled, unsure looking boy in the mirror; he was human again.
Harry sat on the toilet. He wielded his wand and tried a few spells; he smiled a bit because he had missed his magic dearly. He cast Episkey a few times, healing the bruises on his legs and arms. In the shower, Harry scrubbed his body clean and allowed himself to weep, taking his face in between both of his hands, until most of the shame and grief had washed over him and he could trust himself to carry on again.
After the bath, he was steadier and able to dress uneventfully, putting on his regular Gryffindor robes. Harry looked at himself again in the mirror and found that he seemed well put together, once again, and made up his mind not to worry anymore. He made for the Gryffindor common room, going down the stairs carefully, a step at a time.
Ron and Hermione welcomed him back with huge smiles and arms spread open.
Everyone in Gryffindor was enthusiastic and welcoming about Harry's return, there was even talk of a party in his name. McGonagall caught his eye and toasted him in breakfast. Later, Madam Pomfrey would tell him he seemed to be on a speedy way to full magical recovery and that his time with Malfoy seemed to have done him some good. No shit, Harry thought. The friendly gestures warmed him a bit even if he wasn't up for sharing any of his so-called Animagus adventures, or hugging anyone, really.
Harry had missed three weeks of Charms. Taking all he had missed, he had a whole pile of work to turn in: three potions essays, four transfiguration exercise, two astronomy charts and two pending charm tests on top of whatever was due from defence. Harry managed to pull through the workload by confining himself to the library. Between composing essay paragraphs, however, he would close his eyes and become attentive to any wayward hooting sounds, daydreaming about the friendly looking jellyfishes behind Malfoy's windows. And when the workload seemed too oppressive, Harry would close his eyes and daydream of being a kitten again and free to pounce on Malfoy as he desired.
If he hadn't been avoiding Malfoy like the plague, he would have been demanding some of that trance potion because he definitely could have done with some. Nevertheless, he managed to become current in his coursework after three intense weeks.
Ron, the freckled backstabber, told him on Hermione; he probably said something about him being tetchy and exhausted. Whatever his two closest friends had discussed about resulted in Hermione pestering him to take afternoon naps in between studying for the N.E. and doing homework. Harry refused her advice sternly because he wasn't fond of being mollycoddled, and he sure didn't want to do any more sleeping unless it involved cuddling with Draco Malfoy.
Anyway, it didn't take much for everything to go down to hell again, either.
"Alright," Slughorn announced one day, "Today we are going to prepare the spirit of a family of potions for the treatment of several magical maladies." The professor tapped his wand to the blackboard, unveiling many lines of complex instructions. Harry was feeling uneasy to the bones by then, but couldn't quite place the reason.
Slughorn continued, "Please take your ingredients and collect your specimens-"
"Specimens?" Harry asked out loud in rising alarm.
"-Begin!" Slughorn flicked his wand and a wooden crate full of squeaking sounds levitated to the room from the cupboard.
"No!" Harry bellowed. Before he could bolt out of the classroom at full speed, however, the first wretched creature had already slipped from Terry Boot's grasp, who fell back on his arse promptly and left the crate wide open. Harry could do nothing but stare in rising revulsion at the ensuing chaos; the grey fat monsters scurrying in the floor and his classmates trailing uselessly after their tails.
Harry hissed and made for his wand.
"Mr Potter!" Slughorn called, but to no avail. Harry had crouched on his hind legs atop his table, knocking cauldrons and books left and right. Hissing loudly and drawing out his arm, Harry spelled three of the rats away.
"Ouch!" Harry swivelled towards Malfoy's voice.
The last rat had been scurrying alongside the wall to the room exit and Harry, flicking his wand expertly, vanished it away. With another flick and a muttered Episkey, he stopped the bleeding of Malfoy's hand and his own heartbeat eased.
But there still was the matter of seeing to Malfoy's scent, slightly tarnished by those odious creatures.
Harry mewled out loud, in trance, as he approached Malfoy; Malfoy seemed to be appraising him, sweating profusely as Harry sauntered towards him and pushed him back on his chair. Harry straddled his lap, clamping his legs at Malfoy's sides, and purred on his neck.
"Potter-" the blond murmured, bewildered. Malfoy was immediately silent, however, when Harry took his hand in for closer inspection. Under the vile whiff, Malfoy's fresh and musky scent remained strong all over his sinfully creamy skin. Harry purred and lifted the hand to his mouth, giving small licks to the tip of his fingers.
"Harry, that's enough!" Hermione berated out loud and Harry turned to hiss back at her. She waved her wand towards Harry and apologized, "I'm sorry Harry but you're giving everyone a heart attack."
Once Hermione's spell hit and Harry swayed, Malfoy's arms steadied him on his lap. He's going to be furious, Harry thought but peeked at Malfoy's eyes and marvelled at his warm, lenient expression. Harry tried to cling to that kindness, see to it, but nevertheless, he wobbled and fell unconscious.
Two hours later, the gossip was all over the school grounds and it was infamous, some going as far as to claim that Harry had shamelessly dry humped Draco Malfoy in the Potions classroom that morning. In the infirmary, Harry buried his head in his hands permanently; Hermione asked what was wrong and patiently listened to his ensuing rambling. Everything, everything was wrong with him and he told Hermione as much. "It's your magic Harry, you'll get better," she tried to reassure him, but he couldn't be reassured because he knew better than that.
As testament to his condition, his magic rose and ebbed, like a second heartbeat, all at the wrong times; there was something growing back inside of him at a draining speed and it sure made him crazy at times but it wasn't only that. It was the dreams and the painful erections, the way his arse heated and ached for touch.
He was gay. He was gay and probably in love, with Draco Malfoy.
And he had to apologize, because Malfoy was a total prat but the blond had meant well by him - nothing whatsoever had been his fault, and now he would also have to deal with the rude stares and the gossip on top of... on top of everything else he had to look out for.
But Harry regretted it immediately, however, when he followed the blond after dinner and cornered him in the hallway; Malfoy's musky scent knocked down all his inhibitions.
Malfoy asked, annoyed, after flicking his wand and making sure their conversation remained private, "What do you want?"
Harry had inched closer with eyes closed in delight, taking in Malfoy's scent; he fluttered his eyes open and purred. Malfoy snapped back at him, red faced, "Control yourself, Potter!"
Malfoy's harshness jolted Harry from the haze; he shook his head and apologized quickly, "Listen, I'm sorry for what happened."
Malfoy nodded curtly and turned away but Harry had to go out and call, "Wait! I wanted to apologize because we were getting along and -"
Malfoy shoulders stiffened before he turned, indignant, and sneered, "Getting along Potter?" He lashed at Harry, laughing unkindly, "You thought we were getting along."
Harry's throat was parched dry, taken aback he mumbled, "But - "
Malfoy shook his head slowly, staring down, and when he did look up his face was distorted with hate. "I had to take care of you Potter; you were my charge." He continued, unyielding, "What do you think would have occurred to me if the saviour hadn't been properly cared for and happy?" And finally, he added more silently, "What do you think would have occurred to what remains of my family?"
The thing twisted and broke, along with Harry's heart. Harry lashed back with all the betrayal and heat he carried inside, "What if your mother hadn't changed sides, Malfoy? I did everything I could for both of you already, so you can shove it, arsehole! Your father got exactly what he deserved."
Harry stopped mid-rant at the quivering that momentarily disturbed those impassive grey eyes. The blond didn't add anything but glowered and stomped away. Harry reached with his right hand to him, but stopped, suddenly unsure.
Harry regretted his words immediately because they had been nothing but crude and selfish; of course Malfoy knew all that already, he had proved that he understood it well, better than Harry himself would ever do. Harry stared dejectedly at Malfoy's back; his gaze long remaining on the spot where the blond had turned and disappeared. Had something broken inside Malfoy too? Harry didn't know what to hope for anymore.
Hang in there Harry. Soon, it will Christmas break. In the festive season everyone will forget about you, no witch or wizard will expect you to fulfil their petty requests or participate in their selfish designs and the owl post will stop falling in on your head, accordingly. And after that, before jumping into the next big thing, you can take some time for yourself, because you aren't all capable and invincible, as everyone would have it... but that's pretty all right, too. Soon, you'll have enough strength to refuse them and to step away from the limelight. Soon, you will be able to search inside yourself for guidance. Soon, you'll be free to be who you are.
Harry was hopeful and full of expectation; he would work to see his Holidays and everything that came after that become just as he envisioned. Until then, he braved lectures, assignments and a great inner turmoil that had settled into a quiet bonfire that spurred him onwards.
He stared openly at Draco Malfoy, who pointedly ignored him back. Harry laughed hysterically in his head nowadays because the thing hadn't broke, it had merely withdrawn momentarily and now it surged inside Harry with a new impetus that demanded closure. He wanted Malfoy to hold his hand, he wanted Malfoy to whisper something to him, anything, he wanted Malfoy to reject him firmly, punch him even, hard and in between the eyes, preferably, because that would definitely still his heart for good. Harry was being downright confrontational, he hoped, as he openly stared, in the classrooms, in the hallways, in the Great Hall - now that he was on top of his schoolwork, especially in the Great Hall.
It was freeing because Harry knew Ron knew that Hermione knew. Ron would sigh and change the conversation abruptly whenever Malfoy came up, which was more than supportive enough coming from the redhead. As for Hermione, she would snap at anyone who tried to bother Harry about being gay, like it wasn't anyone business but hers; she got better with her Ron impressions too, she could sputter red faced when it got too bad and it could intimidate even the most war hardened bloke into submission.
"You foul mouthed little thing, Harry can't be your 'mate' if all you want is into his pants. Scram!"
So that was what all that had been about, huh? Harry was un-amused. Besides, the reason anyone would want into his pants, he didn't know. Harry was somewhat used to feel awkward about his body, his ribcage was broad and nice and yet he was sure he would remain positively skinny forever. Any popularity he enjoyed was mostly due to the saviour bit, not to him being exceptionally handsome, he thought.
Hermione brightened noticeably after that cocky fifth year pulled back and she suddenly announced, "Harry! I have something for you." She met him in the common room late in the evening and handed him a heavy tattered tome, not very unlike the Animagus volumes Harry had worked with back at Grimmauld Place.
Harry leafed through the pages and asked, "What's this, Herm?" Hermione grinned and waved her hand for him to try harder; Harry looked more closely at the pages. Oh! It was a record of the postage addressed to him sorted by columns. Harry moved to the last written page - it was updating in real time too. It was incredible!
"Just tap the letter you want to read and it'll appear on hand," Hermione added, smug. Harry smiled fondly, was she imitating Draco Malfoy, now? Harry was thrilled and commended her with enthusiasm, "Hermione, this is pure brilliance."
Hermione beamed at him. "Thanks! George and Ginny helped me string the protean charms together; both of them send their regards. We want you to try it so we can improve it and sell it on the shop." And then, she ushered him away, "Well, go ahead and get to your post Harry."
Harry breathed out; the idea that had been incubating in his head cracked its shell open, relieving him tremendously. Fuck this shit. "I've been thinking Herm, I might hire a rep to handle this things. It's not like I can't afford one." Harry pointed at a record where a PR had sent him a marriage proposal on her client's behalf. Hermione was sincerely amazed at what she said was an incredible brilliant and resourceful idea. They discussed it for a bit and Harry agreed to interview agents right after New Year.
Harry had been skimming the pages of the Tome-O-Post -working name- when his eyes stopped intently on an entry. Hermione inquired him about it and Harry pointed at the page, showing her a record dated last week. It was a letter from Pansy bloody Parkinson - Oh Merlin! Harry laughed anxiously out loud because, what could Pansy Parkinson want with him? Harry tapped the page with his wand and a dark purple envelope appeared, wedged in between the current pages. Harry opened the envelope and read, with Hermione peeking over his shoulder.
You did something to him. You fix him, twat.
- Pansy Parkinson
Hermione gasped, "Oh my God! Does she mean -" Harry blushed madly but sweet Hermione took pity on him, regardless and asked instead, "Once you patch things with Malfoy, do you think you can talk Gregory into interviewing with me sometime?"
Harry stared agape at Hermione, bashfulness all but forgotten. Gregory as in Gregory Goyle, Slytherin bully? Was she mad? "No! I'm with Ron, Harry, you know that!" And she added, somewhat dreamily, "Besides, Gregory is not a bully anymore. I've read his essay on water conjuration and he might be onto something, you know? It's purely academic interest." Harry nodded, totally dumfounded. Yeah, of course Harry could arrange something for her. Greg wasn't all that bad, after all; they could all be friends together, hang out and all. Right.
But Hermione and Pansy Parkinson had it all wrong, Harry thought as he climbed the stairs to his dormitory and prepared for bed, so much for female intuition; Draco didn't want anything of that sort with him. It was one thing to cuddle up with a kitten, but now that Harry was fully human and male - Malfoy most likely had become disgusted with the entire thing.
However, Harry had this letter now as evidence that something had happened both ways. He smoothed the letter, reread it, stashed it safely in the pages of the Tome-O-Post, and reread it again, lingering on every word.
Harry blushed. What had Draco told Pansy? The letter was cryptic... did Pansy want Harry to try and apologize again? Harry buried his head in the pillow because he would have given it a shot in due time, regardless; he knew he would give Draco all the time in the world.
For the time being, Harry went to bed with a huge smile, snuggling with a warm spare pillow, because no one could take from him the certainty that this treasure brought; because most likely, it hadn't been only him.
Harry slept but for a couple of hours and stirred after midnight, all his limbs strained and twisting in the covers. Tingly from the night chill, Harry believed he was a kitten again and mewled in the dark accordingly; it didn't seem to matter that he was able to reach down his soft human stomach and under the band of his trousers easily enough. Harry's absolute want provided a ready picture for him, too - if Malfoy would only hold him down and test the firm strength of his shoulders and back against his willing body...
Harry purred and caressed his own navel. If the blond wanted anything at all, Harry thought, he would gladly give it to him. His breathing became shallow; if Malfoy wanted it, Harry would close his eyes and spread his knees for him, so that he could reach down and be as forward as he desired.
Swiftly, Harry reached under his bed for the collar Malfoy made for him and scrambled to the bathroom mirror, where he closed the clasp around his neck and stared at his reflection. He wasn't a kitten; he was a panting, human boy. Harry caressed the green leather with the tips of his fingers and closed his eyes, breathing out the need running through his arteries until it congealed on the mirror's surface. When he opened his eyes, the slight curve of his erection caught his attention and made him moan.
But when the collar began pulling at his neck of its own volition, Harry froze up.
Harry froze because Malfoy was summoning him, summoning him after midnight for no apparent reason. Harry wouldn't believe it, remaining very still until the insistent pulling bruised the soft skin on his neck. I'm being called, Harry thought, and put on a shirt and wrapped his invisibility cloak around his shoulders even though he was dizzy, almost sick from want. He had to brave the chill, go down the dungeons and step in front of the aquamarine tapestry. And Harry didn't think any of it either when the tapestry showed him the way inside; Draco had spelled it that way for him.
He stepped inside and was greeted by the warmth of the fire. And he found Draco there, sitting on his precious transfigured sofa and facing away to the bone of the fire. Then, Harry saw and Sweet Merlin, felt the intimate pull of the collar on his neck and yodelled softly, the heat coming up his throat, because the rocking movements of Draco's right arm, his laboured breathing and the sweat covering his naked back gave him away.
Draco shuddered, straightened his back to the sofa and breathed loudly. After regaining a measure of composure, he buried his head in his hands and breathed out, "What are you doing here?"
Harry trembled but the longing made him move closer and whisper back, "You summoned me."
Draco's retorted with rising confidence, "You wore the collar."
Harry's body shook and edged towards kitten form and Harry fought it, because even if Draco wouldn't reject him as harshly that way, that wasn't what he had really come here for. "Draco, I..."
"Shut up, Potter." The forceful command stilled Harry's body in human form; Harry tilted his head down and swallowed, clinging to a single, mad realization: He was thinking about me and pleasuring himself.
Draco's hips tilted upwards and he called, broken beyond recognition, "Come here, kitten."
Harry mewled because he could do as asked; it was after all, familiar. He slipped down at the blond's feet, concealing his red face and the wild beat of his heart. Harry purred and rubbed his fringe against the blond's knee, in a gesture he had done many times already, seeking reassurance.
Draco's left hand smoothed Harry's shoulder, travelled upwards and seized the back of his neck in one hand, and with his other hand he pulled out his - Sweet Merlin, pulled out his cock. Harry closed his eyes but the reek of sex filled his nostrils and made him throb; this was sinful, this was debauched, this was right.
Draco whispered sweetly, "You want this, kitten, don't you?"
Draco had tilted his hips out and pulled Harry's head closer and yes, it was an impressive beautiful hard length, dark pink and giving off an incredible fragrant warmth. Harry wanted to kiss it with the fleshy undersides of his lips, wanted to lick clean the spunk and sweat from it. He didn't exactly know what it entailed, but yes, he wanted it, and moaned as such. But Draco snarled and pulled Harry upwards, to sit on his lap.
Draco pressed their bodies together and the warm firmness made Harry undulate against the blond, uninhibitedly. Draco took Harry jumper away and brushed their mouths together, panting and reverent. Draco's tongue and lips turned demanding, and the kiss turned hotter and wetter when Harry surrendered his mouth open. Harry mewled into the heady kiss and groped the sweat-slicked muscles of Draco's chest, arms and back.
Chest against chest, warm and intimate, Harry curled as close to Draco as he possibly could and kissed the blond with all the emotion in his heart. Draco's hands teased warm trails down his sides and made a pause to insinuate tingly patters on his lower back before squeezing Harry's arse cheeks with both hands, covetously. Draco's warm open hands spread the painfully trapped heat, soothing him; Harry purred needy sounds like warm honey down the blond's throat and pushed his arse back on those generous hands, inviting the blond closer to his heated core, where he most needed him.
Harry kept pressing against those hands that made him felt so wanted, so needed; Draco caressed and pinched his arse until it was incredibly hot all over and Harry's testicles ached, so wonderfully full and ready. Harry gripped fistfuls of Draco's hair and called, "Malfoy..."
Draco scratched the sensitive skin of Harry's perineum and whispered back, Draco.
Harry begged, beyond himself, "Draco. Touch me."
Draco nipped his ear and spanked him softly. "Tell me more, Harry."
Harry heated with shame, but he wanted to say it, it tingled on the tip of his tongue. "My cock. Touch my cock."
Draco kneaded his arse. "Shh, naughty little minx."
Fuck. Harry's testicles pulled closer to his body, making him moan loudly. But Draco had stilled him on his knees by the shoulders, withdrawing his body and all the sweet friction. Harry couldn't stop the angry tears that slipped from his eyes or the dry sobbing that made up his throat, and he couldn't help arching his back and rolling his hips closer to Draco's navel. And there was no stopping the thick fluid that spurted out of his cock and that splashed Draco's chest with an embarrassing sound, either. Harry was mortified and shocked, the pressure had eased but there had been no relief and his erection remained angry red and hard. Only after he had emptied, Draco's knuckles brushed the sides of Harry's erection, and - the fuck are you doing, wait... It hurts, it hurts so bloody good.
Draco pulled him closer and kissed his shoulder, apologetic, "I'll be really good to you, kitten. You'll see."
Harry whimpered, intoxicated from the heavy, rough pleasure; he pressed against Draco with abandon and kissed him on the cheek, tenderly. When a finger brushed against his anus, Harry purred deeply into Draco's pale, creamy neck.
Draco whispered, and Harry couldn't keep up because it was maddening, "Naughty mite. You played me like a bloody harp, kitty. Now, I will have my way with you."
Yes, please. The sweet intimacy had disarmed him completely, Harry was completely done for and hung his head in shame; Draco had him and could do with him as he desired.
"You have it all wrong kitten, you have me," Draco breathed to him and his thick length leaked against Harry's thigh. Harry gasped; had he said something out loud? And did Draco really mean that?
"Come, come on top of me," Harry purred against Draco's lips, invitingly, but Draco bit his lips fiercely and growled instead, displeased.
Draco grabbed his wand and transfigured the coffee table into a full-length mirror. Harry laughed hysterically but became immediately silent when a firm hand on his neck pushed him down until his hands and knees fell to the thick, luxurious carpet. He lifted his head to watch his messy hair fall all over his face and scar, his arse lifted up the air and Draco behind him, face full in shadow, waving his wand.
"Ah!" Harry cried and buried his head between his arms. His passage and his thighs, they were wet. It was incredible; he wanted, he wanted - Harry knew what he wanted. He purred and wriggled his arse in Draco's face.
There were hands all over Harry's back and buttocks. Draco pushed Harry's neck down firmly and pressed the bulging head of his cock against Harry's entrance, stretching Harry's rim around him with mutual groans. Harry sobbed and pushed back until he was fully penetrated from behind, with Draco sweat drenched body draped on top of his.
The penetration was sweet; the pressure that pierced Harry was filthy and intense, dragging against his insides relentlessly, threatening to make him burst again. Draco's movements were intent but measured; there was something on Draco's cock, something wrapped around the base that bumped against Harry's rim on each thrust. Was that - Oh Merlin. Harry mewled, frustrated, and squirmed against Draco's hold on his hips, needing to provoke him further until he broke apart.
This must be what being in heat is like, Harry thought, and twisted under Draco and under the incredible, insurmountable heat.
Draco snarled and pushed Harry down firmly by the neck, snapped his hips into place and thrust into him with a punishing vigour that had all his strength into every one push; he shoved his entire length inside Harry, stretching his rim around his thickness back and forth, back and forth. Harry cried feverishly, his whole body turning pliant until his knees couldn't support him any longer. Harry moaned and thrashed with all that he had until the desire trickled down his neck and spine, caught his hips and balls in an embrace and had him shooting to his chin; it left him a throbbing, weak mess on the carpet.
"Oh, Fuck," Draco muttered and whispered a raw, Evanesco. A rough, pained groan wrenched Draco and Harry was greedy for his release, so he pushed back when a large volume of thick spunk spurted and filled him up to the brim. Draco shuddered and collapsed on Harry's back, sated, all loose limbs and tears, ready to faint.
That was crazy, Harry thought and looked up at their reflection in the mirror; Draco's sweat slicked, matted hair was a bright halo next to Harry's, his pale hand were flopping alone at each side of him and their laboured breathing - their breathing was a perfect match to each other. What Draco had to him had been amazing, but did he knew that Harry wanted him regardless? Harry threaded the fingers of his left hand against Draco's warm soft ones, closed his eyes and fell sleep.
When Draco pulled out and away from him, Harry stirred awake and hissed; suddenly bereft, he leaned on his elbows and shivered.
Draco was staring down the floor on his bare knees, shoulders hunched and transfixed. "I'm sorry," he mumbled after a while, still not looking up at Harry.
But Harry had been warm, very warm all over and was now seriously displeased. "You're being an idiot," Harry replied and pulled Draco down by the arm, until the perplexed blond fell on top of him again. "This is better."
Draco seemed withdrawn, his mouth a soft whisper against Harry's hair. "You really are with me now?" He let out in a small, timorous voice, frayed and unconvinced, like he hadn't all but owned Harry in their lovemaking. And Harry understood what was left unsaid because he nursed a similar ache since that terrible final battle.
Harry Potter was acquainted with disbelief, too.
Harry kissed Draco in the cheek very softly, because he wanted to, and replied roughly, because there was no other way, "Yes, you huge prick." Draco exhaled and reached for him in return.
Their hands touched and wandered over each other, without pretence. Draco laughed with a new softness around his eyes that Harry found awe inducing; he brushed their mouths together softly until they panted against each other and their cocks hardened together. And suddenly, just like that, time was endless and Harry knew he had all the time in the world with nobody to answer to but himself, his friends and Draco Malfoy, because he choose to. And if he needed a break, he could damn well take one after the school year ended and for as long as he needed.
For once, Harry felt free and insane with happiness.
Draco had to go and spoil the entire mood with his own crazy rambling, "Excellent. Potter, you're a Malfoy's partner now! You should -"
But Harry quieted the unbelievable prat with a burning kiss that had Draco pulling roughly at his hair in no time. Time was endless and Harry would make the most of it, there onwards.