Harry Potter is © J. K. Rowling and all other companies with rights to the HP universe. I own none of this copyright, and this work of fanfiction makes no money.
Pairings: Harry/Draco (eventually), implied Ron/Hermione
Warnings: Non explicit m/m slash, some bad language. Nothing much in this one :)
A/N: This story was inspired by Bellatrix, my 6-month-old kitten that we recently acquired from the same place that Harry's cat keeps ending up in the beginning of this fic. This little story came to me whilst I was in the cattery, choosing our new cat.
This story is fully intended to be a light hearted, humorous story. Fluff in abundance! I don't know the exact length yet, but it's not going to be exceptionally long. 20-30k seems about right.
A little note: I've also recently uploaded a story called Invisible to thehexfiles and AO3. It's unsuitable to upload to ffnet, however due to its explicit content, but if you want to read it then you can find the link to my other accounts in my ffnet profile.
Harry pushed open the glass door of the Stubbington Ark RSPCA centre and hesitated slightly before entering. It was the fourth time this week he'd received a call from them, telling him that, yet again, his cat had been found soaking wet and in the garden of an elderly neighbour miles from its registered address, and could he please come and collect him at his earliest convenience? He sighed, unsure whether to feel exasperated or amused.
"Hi, my name is Harry Potter," he said to the now familiar-looking girl with hair plaits behind the desk. "Um, you have my cat? Er, again?"
"Yes, Mr Potter," the girl- Hannah, according to her name tag with a picture of a Labrador on it- replied, somewhat irritably, Harry thought. But then again, it was Friday, and he'd been here every day since Monday with the exception of Wednesday. He was fed up with the blasted animal too. "I'll get someone to take you through."
"Thanks," he said, and sat down on one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs in the waiting area. Five minutes later, a young man with a stupid pointy goatee beard appeared. It was the same man who had shown Harry to his cat last time. And the time before that, too. Bugger.
"I was extremely surprised when we had a call from a concerned resident, reporting the cat in her garden again, Mr Potter," said the man. "This is a new record for us. Having the same cat picked up and brought here four times in a lifetime is a lot; four in a week is unheard of."
"I'll pay for his care, of course," Harry replied quickly, pulling out a Muggle wallet filled with notes that Kingsley Shacklebolt had given him for emergencies. He wondered whether this counted as an emergency or not. The man- Chris- held up a hand.
"That's not necessary, sir. Just please keep the animal at the address his collar has him registered at. Which is thirty miles from here. If he comes into us again, I'm afraid we may have to begin proceedings to confiscate the animal."
"OK," Harry said, inwardly wondering how many people he would have to Obliviate to make forget that he was ever here at all. There was Chris, Hannah, the girl who worked on Monday... "Can I get my cat now, please?"
Chris led Harry to the now familiar cattery located a short walk from the main entrance. He began to walk past the pens of cats until he reached the pen in which his cat was located.
Situated inside was an extremely pissed-off looking pure-white, slender cat, sat stiffly on the ground, pointedly ignoring the cat bed and climbing post with a most haughty, petulant expression on its face. It was twitching its tail slightly in great annoyance, and looked as if it might scratch anyone who were foolish enough to put their hand in with it. It was clearly thoroughly fed up. Harry bit back the laugh that was threatening to boil over.
"Hello, Draco, did you miss me?" he cooed at the cat, and the cat turned a pair of angry grey eyes to him. Harry was quite positive that the cat was glaring. Chris opened the cage and scooped the cat out of his pen.
"Unusual name for a cat," he commented. Harry sniggered.
"Yeah, well, he's an unusual sort of cat," he said. "OK, Draco, into your basket." He held open the door of the wicker cat basket that had now become an essential item to keep shrunken down in his mokeskin pouch. The cat refused to get in. "Oh come on, kitty." He picked the cat up and scratched its ears. The cat purred almost in spite of itself, and reluctantly got into the basket. Harry closed the door.
"You know, that cat is not neutered. We could do it for you here for forty quid," Chris said. Draco hissed from his basket, and Harry somehow managed to keep his face straight.
"Thanks, but I don't think he'd like that too much. Besides, he's not really a fan of the female cats, if you know what I mean. You don't need to worry," Harry replied, deadpanned, and took a moment to enjoy the confused look on Chris' face. Despite the awkwardness of the situation, and the fact that Kingsley was more than likely going to give him a bollocking yet again for this, he couldn't deny that this whole thing was rather amusing. "I'll, er, be going now then, shall I?"
Ten minutes later, and after a lot of paperwork and apologies, Harry emerged from the Ark, complete with feline. He waited until he was sure he was out of earshot, then uttered to the cat, "Malfoy, I'm going to fucking kill you." He dashed off the path and into the hedgerow and, once he was certain they were alone, he cast a privacy ward around them both and opened the cage; the cat immediately sprung from it. Seconds later there stood naked a five-foot-eleven-inches tall man where the cat had been, looking as arrogant as it was possible to look when one was cupping their genitals in a desperate attempt for modesty and wearing a red velvet collar (complete with an Automatic Extension Charm so it didn't choke him), name tag and bell. Harry pulled out a shrunken set of Auror robes from his pouch, resized them, and then handed them to Malfoy.
"Potter, I-" Malfoy began, but Harry cut him off.
"Tell me, Malfoy, what part of 'Stealth and Tracking' did you not fully understand?" he snapped, as Malfoy yanked the collar over his head and pulled on the robes. Harry was satisfied to note that Malfoy looked incredibly flustered after his little visit yet again to the cattery; his cheeks were tinged pink with what Harry guessed was embarrassment. He reached into his pouch once more and retrieved Malfoy's wand, handing it to him. "All you had to do was lie low in the rose bushes for an hour and try to gather some evidence, and you couldn't even manage to do that right. Kingsley's going to have our arses for this, you know." He pulled the Muggle woollen jumper from his own body and pulled on his own set of Auror robes. "Let's get this over with, then." And with a crack, they both Apparated to the Ministry.
"…fourth time this week!" Kingsley yelled. "I really should pull you both from the case, you know. I cannot successfully bring Brockway and Peterson down if the two Aurors I'm relying upon to gather evidence for me is a pair of blundering, blithering buffoons!" He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed deeply. Harry thought he looked tired. He knew the feeling.
"A couple of gophers would have made a better job of this case than you two so far," Kingsley said eventually. "It's been weeks and we've got nowhere. I cannot have precious Auror time devoted to incompetent employees who keep needing to be rescued from animal shelters because they cannot keep themselves hidden enough to even escape the attention of eighty-six-year-old Muggles whilst supposedly hiding in their garden." Harry gave Malfoy a smug expression, not missed by Kingsley. "And you, Potter- you've been trailing Brockway now for a fortnight! What have you learnt?" The smugness slipped from Harry's face instantly.
"I've got it all in my files, sir," he said, somewhat sulkily. He really didn't want to be taken off this case. Brockway and Peterson were two known petty criminals in the wizarding world, both having spent time in Azkaban in the past for thievery and fraud. The Ministry now suspected that they were involved in producing illegal hallucinogenic potions and supplying them to patrons in the new 'trendier' wizarding pubs that had opened in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Harry and Malfoy had been assigned a suspect each, and their role was to find out as much about them as they could. Harry had been assigned to Brockway, whilst Malfoy had been given Peterson. OK, so Harry had not managed to find any concrete evidence as such, but he hadn't been a complete imbecile. He'd found a list of plausible suspects that were potentially linked to the case, and even had the names of a few witches and wizards who had taken the potion and were prepared to talk, in return for immunity from prosecution. It was a damn sight more than Malfoy had achieved, anyway; Malfoy's list of 'achievements' seem to consist of lying in the rose bush in the garden next to Peterson's house and spying on him that way, before getting caught by a concerned old lady who was worried that the 'poor little kitty' was going to freeze to death in the harsh January weather. It was unfair that Harry's reasonable progress was completely hindered by his useless twat of a partner.
"You know, if this was Robards in charge of this investigation, he'd have removed you both as soon as Malfoy was caught the first time," Kingsley said. He sighed deeply. "You're both deeply lucky that Malfoy's Animagus status is top secret and not even Robards is aware of it, meaning I'm in charge of this case." He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands. "Against my better judgement, I'm giving you one more chance. This is your final chance, your final warning. If, by this time next week, I have no firm evidence, I'll have no choice but to remove you both and assign Lancelot and Sydney to the case."
"Thank you, Kingsley," Harry said, whilst Malfoy nodded with a stiff, curt jerk of his head. Malfoy was well aware that the only reason he was granted permission to work alongside Harry was because he was an Animagus. It was supposed to be the Ministry's secret weapon on this case, the ultimate disguise; both Malfoy and Harry were very aware, however, that so far Malfoy had screwed up far too many times.
"I won't say 'you're welcome', because I don't yet know if you are," Kingsley replied, but Harry thought he could see a small smile amongst the weariness. "Just don't let me down on this, OK? Harry, I want you to work with Malfoy for the next couple of days. I can't trust him not to end up back in the RISPA, or whatever the Muggles call it. Now, why don't you go and speak to some of your witnesses or something." Harry recognised the dismissal for what it was and left the office, Malfoy trailing behind him.
By Monday, Harry was in a bad mood. Keen to prove to Kingsley that he wasn't useless, he'd worked all weekend, even cancelling Sunday dinner with Ron and Hermione to do so. Malfoy had joined him on Sunday, and the pair had worked tirelessly until the middle of the night, before returning to their homes to wash and grab a few hours' sleep before starting all over again. Harry was now tired, grumpy, and hungry. He was also cold.
"Bloody Brockway," he mumbled to himself as he emerged from 'Tarantallegra', the newest dance club in Diagon Alley, where it was believed Brockway's associates had been dealing the previous night. The owner had called in the Aurors after he became suspicious when a patron had begun acting bizarrely, but by the time the team had arrived, the patron had gone. Harry had been to interview the owner, but he'd not managed to get much useful information. Wizards needed a form of surveillance, he thought to himself again, something not unlike Muggle CCTV cameras. It would solve a lot of problems. Harry vowed to speak to Kingsley about it again next time he was in the Auror Office. He popped into a café and grabbed himself a hot, juicy bacon sandwich with ketchup and a large black coffee in a polystyrene cup to take away, not having time for anything to eat before starting work that morning, then Apparated away to a park near to Peterson's house in Winchester. He sat down on a nearby bench and began to attack his breakfast with gusto.
A faint pop in the distance some time later told him that somebody had just Apparated into the park. Harry looked in the direction of the noise and saw it was Malfoy, who was standing in a patch of thick trees. Harry checked his watch; Malfoy was late. Harry watched Malfoy as he looked surreptitiously around for early morning dog walkers and joggers before transforming into his Animagus form. A minute later, Harry was joined on the bench by the pure white cat. It sniffed hopefully at the bacon in Harry's sandwich and make a small mewing noise whilst staring at him with wide, pleading grey eyes. Harry grinned, ignored him, and took a large bite, letting some bacon grease drip down his chin, which he licked off with a deliberately exaggerated groan of delight. The cat hissed in annoyance and extended its claws threateningly. Harry laughed and took another bite of his sandwich.
"That was a waste of time this morning," he told Malfoy slyly, between bites. "The owner didn't notice anyone other than the girl herself acting oddly. I got no names, no descriptions. Nothing. I'll go back tonight when the club's open and talk to some of the regulars." Malfoy let out a small 'meow' to show he was listening. "Give me two secs to finish this, then we'll go to Peterson's." He ate the rest of his sandwich quickly (taking pity on Malfoy and giving him a piece of bacon, which earned him a loud purr as a reward) and downed his still-too-hot coffee. Then, with a reluctant Malfoy in his arms, he threw his Invisibility Cloak over them both, and Apparated the short distance to the street in which their suspect lived.
As soon as they landed, Malfoy removed himself from Harry's arms, ducked out of the Cloak, and stalked up to Peterson's front door, then disappeared around the back into the garden. It was clearly the only magical dwelling in the area; unnoticed by the Muggles, Harry could clearly detect the shimmering of wards around the property, and sensed the presence of a Muggle-Repelling Charm. He slowly made his way around the property, casting subtle detection spells. Just then, Malfoy came sprinting around the corner. He gave an urgent meow in the general direction he knew Harry, currently invisible, was, and darted off back towards the garden again. Harry followed, and as soon as he turned the corner, he could see what had gotten Malfoy so animated. There, towards the far end of the garden, was a small greenhouse, protected by an all-weather atmospheric charm. Harry had visited the property with Malfoy on Friday afternoon, after rescuing him from the cattery and receiving the bollocking from Kingsley, and the greenhouse definitely had not been visible then. Harry concluded that it must have been warded from view before. And if it was visible now, it could only mean one thing.
The greenhouse was currently in use.
Harry, Cloak firmly in place still, made his way across the lawn, being careful not to make his footsteps heard on the harsh morning frost which lay on the grass. Malfoy was already inside the greenhouse; Peterson was not currently there but the door had been left open. Harry watched as Malfoy, nose far more sensitive in his Animagus form than it was as a human, began sniffing all the plants and mewing softly at some of them. Excitement bubbled in Harry's stomach. Was this where Peterson and Brockway were growing the ingredients for their illegal potion? Was this finally the break Harry and Malfoy had been looking for? He began to take a close look at the plants that Malfoy had responded to. Asphodel, silverweed, Star Grass… all three were known ingredients in the illegal potion. We've got them, Harry thought in triumph.
"Well well well, it's a little kitty cat. Ain't you a bootiful thing, huh?" Harry froze in place at the voice. It belonged to Brockway- after weeks of trailing the man, Harry was certain he knew his voice- and Harry turned as silently as he could towards the man. He looked on in extreme caution, his hand on his wand in his pocket, as Brockway strode across to Malfoy and bent down. He extended a hand out towards his white fur, his yellowing, tobacco-stained fingers just inches from it. Don't lose your head, Malfoy, Harry willed. They have no possible way of knowing who you are. Just keep calm. We're finally getting some decent, concrete evidence against these two. He held his breath. Malfoy hissed in warning and backed up. Brockway chuckled.
"I ain't gonna hurt ya. Come 'ere." He made to grab Malfoy, and Malfoy struck. He sank his sharp feline teeth into Brockway's hand, with such force that even Harry winced. Brockway howled in pain and drew his hand back with a jerk. Harry could see several puncture wounds that were dribbling blood onto the stone floor of the greenhouse.
"Ow! You fucking furry bastard!" Brockway yelled, and drew his wand. With a bang, the greenhouse door slammed shut, trapping both Harry and Malfoy inside. Harry watched Malfoy run and hide underneath one of the shelves. He was still debating whether to draw his wand or not. He glanced out of the window and internally groaned; Peterson was coming out of the back door and making his way across the garden. He made his decision; he was going to Disarm Broackway, find Malfoy, and Disapparate out of there as quickly as possible. He took a step forward, preparing to cast. And stood on a twig. It gave an audible crack, and Brockway whipped round to the source of the sound. A nasty look of dawning crossed his face as Harry swore violently under his breath.
"Homenum Revelio," he said. A sneer crossed his face. "Interestin'. Very interestin'." He turned to the shelf where Malfoy was hiding. "There's two of ya in here. You ain't just a pretty cat, are ya? And your mate, huh? Where's he hidin'?"
Three things happened simultaneously then. Peterson came into the greenhouse, and left the door wide open. As he did so, Malfoy pelted for the door, and Harry pulled off his Cloak, wand in hand and trained on Brockway. He was gratified to see the colour drain from Brockway's face when he saw exactly who stood before him.
"Aurors! Drop your wand!" he commanded, and Brockway did so immediately. He may have been a petty criminal, and had even served previous time in Azkaban, but clearly not even he was stupid enough to duel Harry Potter, vanquisher of the Dark Lord. Harry Summoned the wand to him with a flick of his own, and pocketed it inside his robes, before binding the man in conjured ropes. He had no time to relish in his victory, however, because Brockway called to Peterson, "Stop that effing cat! It's an Animagus!"
Peterson dived back out into the garden, baring his wand, jets of amber light pouring from its tip. Harry ran out after him. He aimed his wand at Peterson, the Full Body-Bind on his lips, when Peterson cried out, "Felis Aeternum!"
There was another jet of amber light, and this time the spell hit its mark: Malfoy gave a meow of terror then froze, just as Harry bellowed, "Petrificus Totalus!"
Harry's spell hit its target squarely in the back, and he toppled over, falling face first onto the grass with a dull thud. With Peterson now immobile, and Brockway incarcerated in ropes, Harry ran to the bush, under which the terrified and trembling form of Malfoy was hiding. Harry tried to pick him up, deeply concerned for his health after the unknown spell had hit, but Malfoy back away, hissing and trying to scratch with his razor-sharp claws.
"Malfoy, it's me," Harry said. He reached out again, and the cat meowed in fear, its white fur standing up on end. "Hey, Draco," Harry said, softly this time. "It's OK."
Whether it was the gentle tone of his voice, the use of his first name, or what, Harry didn't know, but it worked; Malfoy tentatively sniffed the back of the hand that Harry offered, and visibly calmed. Harry managed to coax him out from the bush and he scooped the cat up into his arms. He felt its tiny body relax in his arms, and quickly checked the cat over, searching for damage from Peterson's mystery spell. There didn't seem to be any physical injuries.
"Change back," Harry said, after his examination was complete. "This place is hidden from Muggle eyes. And we have two suspects we need to get into Auror custody urgently. Plus I think someone at St Mungo's needs to look you over and find out what that spell you were hit with was."
"Mew," Malfoy replied. He began to purr and rubbed his cheek against Harry's.
"Yeah, I'm happy we've finally got them too," Harry said, laughing. "But I need you back as a human to Side-Along Peterson to the Ministry. Come on, Malfoy." This time Malfoy licked at a small patch of dry skin just below his bottom lip with a wet, rough tongue, before nudging him with a moist nose. He began to knead Harry's chest with his paws, his claws prickling Harry's skin as Malfoy flexed and retracted them repeatedly. A horrible dawning feeling of dread came over Harry. The spell… surely it didn't-
"Malfoy, turn back," Harry said, his voice growing urgent. "For fuck's sake, stop messing around and become you again. Now." The cat simply looked at him, grey eyes fixed onto his, head cocked slightly to the side. He yawned, then rested his soft feline head against Harry's chest, and closed his eyes. Harry gulped. He knew now what the spell Peterson has cast did. It had somehow, inexplicably, not only trapped Malfoy in his Animagus form, but seemed to have given him all the behaviours and mannerisms of a feline. For all intents and purposes, Draco Malfoy was a bloody cat. And Harry didn't have the faintest idea how to reverse the spell.