Disclaimer:Bunch o' wizards belong to J.K. Rowling. Story's mine, la di da di da.
Rating:M, eventually. HUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUE!
Hi! I hope everyone's well, and that you're all having a lovely, lovely September so far!
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Those eyes were mesmeric, magical and sparkling. The kind of grey that glows – the kind that can illuminate even the darkest of rooms with its ethereal beauty.
The same set of eyes that were currently pinning her with a glare full of hatred and of disdain even in its current, helpless form.
Why, Draco Malfoy's, of course!
Those orbs were peering at her with such enmity and antagonism behind the bars that currently held him. It was a sight that Hermione would have admitted to thinking about frequently almost six years ago, just after the war. She would picture her looking at Malfoy, held behind the prisons of Azkaban, looking at her the same way he was currently looking at her right at this moment. In that same scene that she had imagined, Malfoy, much to her regret, was never acquitted of his so-called crimes by the forever-prejudiced-Ministry, and he was sentenced to imprisonment for the rest of his life.
However, that was just imagination. And truth is stranger than fiction.
Hermione often heard of that saying, but never before had she encountered any situation that would made her believe in it more than what she saw before her eyes at this very moment, never before with so much conviction.
For the bars that held the infamous Draco Malfoy was not of Azkaban's, but of a small cage. Or to paint a more accurate picture, a cat cage.
And Draco Malfoy was a cat.
A white, furry Norwegian Forest cat to be exact … fitted with beguiling grey eyes – the only recognizable trait left of his.
"How on earth did this happen?" Hermione looked at Harry first, then to Ron, and back to Harry again. Both of them had a funny mixture of amusement and guilt written on their faces, it made them look almost constipated if anything.
"We told you, 'Mione," Harry said – whined. "The three of us were sent on an Auror mission to take Umbridge into custody – word was she was delving into some form of sick punishment for children now. We were told to retrieve her and when we appeared at her doorstep, she bolted, we ran after her and somehow during the whole thing, she had hit Malfoy with a spell that turned him into this … this …" he turned to Ron, asking for help, but Ron was already biting his lip in a valiant attempt to not laugh, but he failed miserably and started giggling. Harry started giggling as well, in spite of himself, and an answering angry hiss came from the cage in Harry's hands and a white, furry paw armed with sharp claws shot out of the bars, attempting to mutilate Harry's hands.
"Oh, grow up, you two," Hermione said waspishly, secretly hiding the effort to laugh in Malfoy's face – Malfoy's cat face – but that would be so very mean. It had, after all, happened to her back in second year during that Polyjuice accident.
"But it's funny! I mean, Malfoy turned into a cat!" Ron started laughing, but it wasn't in a depreciating way, it was more good-natured. After the three of them had started working closely during Auror training, all the jibes and snide remarks were made in good humour. The three of them had formed an agreeable friendship with Malfoy. Malfoy was a frequenter to their weekly outings to the pubs, the Sunday dinners at Harry's, and so on and so forth.
Hermione and Malfoy had more of a rocky, tentative acquaintance. They talked when they met, and all encounters were short and brief and the only greeting they would give each other was just a nod and a mutter of each other's last names. She had figured that Malfoy was more like an acquired taste, and all they needed was time before they grew comfortable around each other.
At Ron's laughter, the same paw shot out of the bars and lunged at Ron, and Ron took a half-step back with an indignant "Whoa!"
"So yeah, we thought with your experience with Crookshanks," Harry continued slowly, diplomatically, "You'd be the perfect person to take care of him while the Potioners find a cure for him."
"And why do they not have one at the ready?" Hermione asked.
"Well, they do but the ones they have are just for mild Polyjuice accidents. This is a spell infused with Dark Magic, or so we think, considering it came from Umbridge. We don't want to take any chances," Harry finished.
"I see," Hermione said noncommittally, hunching a little and approaching the cage, so as to take a closer look at Malfoy.
"Hello there, Malfoy," she offered a mini-wave, and found that Malfoy retreated to the back of his cage slowly, into the darkness, until nothing could be seen except for his eyes that were currently glowing menacingly at Hermione. Norwegian Forest Demon Cat, then.
Hermione took a deep breath and said evenly, "There's no need for that kind of behaviour, you know. I'm going to take care of you, and believe me, I am as excited as you are," she quipped.
She straightened up and Harry literally pushed the cage onto her.
"Hey!" she cried out.
"Well, that's that. Thank you, 'Mione," Harry said in a breath, rushed forward to peck her on the cheek, and disappeared with a 'pop' right in front of her eyes.
Leaving Ron, alone, looking at her like a deer caught in headlights. He opened his mouth a couple of times but no sound came out.
"I … umm, Lavender … meeting her … umm, yeah," he stammered, and he also disappeared.
"Hey! What the fuck?!" Hermione called out to into the air.
She shook her head and brought her attention back to the cage that she currently supported. Walking back into her flat, she shut the door with her foot and tried her very best to not shake the cage, lest it annoyed cat-Malfoy.
Carefully and making as little movement as possible, she set the cage down and pulled the trap open. And she waited.
She was half-expecting Malfoy to zoom out of there and start running around frantically, meowing and howling as loud as he possibly could as a cat and shred her curtains into pieces.
What she didn't expect was silence. And that worried her, if only a little.
Maybe he died of a heart attack.
"Malfoy? You umm, you may come out now," she said in a little voice, approaching the front of the cage bit by bit.
Just as she was about to get down on her knees and peer into the cage, out stepped a perfectly groomed, furry, white paw. She watched as the movement was followed by an unfurling of a long limb, followed by the other, and finally the head emerged, with ears sprung up in alertness.
Malfoy stepped out of the cage graciously, and it reminded Hermione of how human-Malfoy carried himself. Always so full of grace, so slick and so smooth. Like a feline, of course.
Malfoy stretched leisurely, as if he owned the place, and then surveyed the place with roaming eyes and curious tilts of his head. After he was satisfied with his findings (or most probably, his judgements on how plain Hermione's house seemed), he sat quietly.
Cat-Malfoy really was a beautiful thing to behold. He looked like a royal cat – what with all that thick white fur and regal posture, the stand-offish air, the elegance and stealth all the same time. In all honesty, Hermione thought it was the same type of air he had around him when he was in human form. After all, that's what made Malfoy Malfoy. And that's what also made his human form all the more attractive.
No, Hermione wouldn't lie. Like any other right-minded woman, even she would agree that Draco Malfoy was indeed, well fit. Perhaps 'well fit' was an understatement, but she didn't want to go into thorough descriptions. Becoming obsessed with Malfoy would be the most inane thing to do, especially since he would never pay her any mind. Yes, Malfoy was sexy as hell, but that's that and that's where it should be left at.
I mean, of course I don't pay any mind to how well his trousers fit, how it exquisitely frames his absolutely grab-worthy behind, and how broad his shoulders and how delectable he looks in button-down shirts and –
Hermione's inner ramblings were cut off mid-way as the white head turned around and regarded her with indolent grey eyes.
And those eyes too. Imagine what they looked like in throes of passion, or when he was angry or when he was fond of something …
But the eyes currently looking at her were nowhere near passionate, not even remotely near angry and not even the slightest bit fond of what he was looking at.
It was more like was bored. Bored and currently looking into the depths of her soul. And that made Hermione uncomfortable.
"Well," Hermione cleared her throat, and started walking to her kitchen, "Let me show you around."
Much to her surprise, Malfoy followed without any fuss (again, she was expecting him to roll his eyes if it were possible and sulk in the corner), trailing behind her as she showed him her flat.
She took out Crookshanks' old litter box and made it fancier-looking for Malfoy, and positioned it right under the vanity in the bathroom. Hermione had no idea how to explain how to use the litter box to him, but he was watching her the entire time and she knew Malfoy was no idiot.
She also kept Crookshanks' old cat bed in the store room, so she Summoned it and placed it where Crookshanks used to sleep, right by her dressing table in the bedroom. She missed Crookshanks terribly, and she was meant to go get another cat … but it seemed like she had never got around to doing it. Perhaps after this Malfoy debacle clears up, she would take a visit to the pet store.
"So, yes, that's about it," Hermione said, after filling up Malfoy's water dish and turning to him. He was watching her expressionlessly, furry white tail swishing about. His whole air at that moment was screaming "TOUCH ME!" … (Then again, the air was the same when in human form).
Oh dear, Hermione thought, he is extremely adorable.
Impulsively, Hermione bent down and reached out to touch Malfoy's head – maybe pet him a little because he was just that cute to not touch – and Malfoy noticed this, and he immediately lunged backwards before throwing her a haughty look and slinked away, tail high up in the air, as straight as a rod.
Hermione let out a huff of laughter and crossed her arms.
"Looks like you're still the same old Malfoy, even in cat form," she called out to him. He did not even stop or look back, opting to just ignore her and continue on his journey to god-knows-where.
Reminding herself that she needed to get groceries and cat food, she grabbed her coat and put on her shoes. She had half a mind to tell Malfoy where she was off to, but sensing a dangerous vibe coming from the balcony where he watched the streets below, she decided against it.
She bought the best cat food there is, because what is a Malfoy if not a specimen of the finest quality and they should of course deserve everything of the finest quality. She came across some toys for cats but she didn't think Malfoy would appreciate that, and might elect to claw her to death while she was sleeping, his cat voice meowing 'YOU THINK THAT'S FUNNY, HUH?'
Getting everything that she needed sans cat toys, she Apparated back to her kitchen and set the groceries on the table, quietly procuring items she needed for that night's menu: fish and chips. In the midst of preparing her dinner, she glanced at the balcony, only to find that Malfoy wasn't there anymore. She moved out of the kitchen and glanced around her flat, wondering where the git had gone –
Oh. There he is.
Malfoy was perched in front of her front door, watching it intently.
Was he waiting for me to come home?
No, that probably wasn't it. He probably hated his current form and wished for nothing more than to wait for Harry and Ron to come through with the cure.
Hermione sighed and sympathized with him.
"Malfoy?" she called out.
Wide, grey eyes turned towards her, as if surprised to see her there.
"What are you doing there?" she smiled, trying her best to be friendly.
Malfoy stood and walked towards her, watching her with wide bright eyes until he sat and licked his mouth.
"Oh, I'm sorry, you must be hungry," she said and quickly beckoned Malfoy to follow her into the kitchen. She opened the new packet of food and put some into his dish. "Bon appetit."
Malfoy merely looked at her, and his dish, and back at her before sniffing at the fish-scented pellets. He sniffed at it for long moments and sat, not eating.
Hermione frowned and left him alone – maybe he didn't like people watching him eat – so she finished cooking her own dinner. She set it at the table and went to collect a plate for herself. When she turned back to her table, she found Malfoy on the table already, sniffing her fish and chips with growing interest.
"Fish and chips," Hermione informed him, taking her seat directly opposite the great white cat, "You won't like it, I think. Not in your cat form, at least."
She took a great bite and munched slowly, watching Malfoy who watched her and her food.
"What's the matter, Malfoy? You don't like the cat food?" she asked, "They are the very best in the market, you know. After all, Malfoys deserve the very best, eh?"
The cat watched her and she swore he rolled his eyes and even shook its head a little bit – well, it was more blinking slowly and moving his head left to right, but it had to count. Hermione laughed a little.
"Well, I'm glad your human consciousness is still there somewhere, Malfoy. Otherwise I would have felt pretty silly saying all these things to a pretty white cat," she grinned.
Malfoy continued watching her and her food while licking his mouth, and Hermione finally broke.
She stood up, grabbed another plate, set it in front of Malfoy and cut a piece of fish and a couple of chips for Malfoy.
And Malfoy started eating.
Hermione's eyebrows almost disappeared into her hairline as she watched Malfoy eat his – her – food avidly, enjoying every bit of it.
"Human food then," she noted.
Malfoy looked up at her, licked his mouth meaningfully and went back to eating his dinner.
She continued with her own dinner, smiling ever so slightly at the picture they both currently made – a woman and a cat eating dinner off plates at the table.
Malfoy licked his plate clean and looked up at Hermione again, signalled her to his plate with a tilt of his head. Hermione laughed and gave him some more fish and chips.
"You're so cute, Malfoy," she grinned. He looked up at her between bites, and Hermione rushed to finish her sentence, "I mean, as a cat."
As a human too, actually. But he does not need to know that.
After dinner, Hermione cleared the table and Malfoy snuck off elsewhere, and she went changed into her pyjamas and padded into the living room to get her daily dose of telly. They were showing a Muggle movie, and somewhere in the middle, Hermione noticed that Malfoy was watching from the doorway.
"Come sit on the sofa, Malfoy," she patted the space next to her. After many moments, Malfoy decided to get up and crept onto the seat next to her, watching the movie with a sort of fascination that belied any normal cat.
"Tell you what, I'll leave the telly on for you tomorrow when I go to work so you can watch, in case you get bored," she informed him.
Soon enough Malfoy was lying down, chin on his forepaws, eyes still trained on the Muggle movie. Hermione resisted the urge to card her fingers through that irresistibly touchable fur and concentrated on the movie.
At the end of said movie, Malfoy yawned widely and Hermione found that she had copied that movement after seeing it and switched the telly off.
"Time for bed," she announced quietly and got off the sofa and walked towards her bedroom. She left the door open just in case Malfoy followed, and true enough, he did. He jumped into the cat bed next to her dresser and made himself comfortable.
"Night night, Malfoy," she said before getting under her covers.
That night she had dreams of white cats with Malfoy's face on them.
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Her alarm rang the next morning for work and she immediately grabbed her wand under her pillow and made a little flick with it. The alarm stopped and as she blinked groggily, she realized two very pertinent things. One, was that she had forgotten to draw the curtains shut last night. And two, she felt something very foreign behind her.
That's weird, she thought, my neck feels heavier – and warmer.
She brought a hand up to the back of her neck, and immediately stilled when she felt soft fur brush her fingers. With absolute silence and minute movements, she turned her head ever-so-slowly.
All she saw was white – pure white. And it was breathing and purring and was radiating heat. It seemed to be in deep sleep.
Hermione bit her lip in an attempt not to laugh out loud. Malfoy had moved from his cat bed onto hers and fell asleep right behind her neck.
"This is going to be interesting," she whispered.
Read and review please! Teehee!
If you're interested, I've put as the cover of this story a picture of what I imagined Draco to be like in his cat form.