Draco reached the corner and stopped.
"There must be something you can do, Professor," Granger was saying. She sounded upset. Draco was tempted to pick another route and avoid an irate Granger, which was always a wise decision, but then decided he would not be cowed, and he stepped into the corridor leading to the Potions classroom and Slytherin dungeons.
The sight that met his eyes was ever so slightly surprising. Granger stood glaring at Professor Slughorn, arms wrapped around a strange furry creature that looked rather unhappy and restless. Adorably so. It was possibly the most adorable thing Draco had ever seen in his life. So much so, he wasn't even ashamed to admit it. Because really. Who wouldn't think so? With those fluffy ears and smart, sad eyes. All Draco wanted was to pet it silly.
"It will wear off, Miss Granger," Slughorn said, smiling fondly at the creature, apparently unable to resist its cuteness. He reached out to pet its head.
Granger stepped out of reach. "When?" she snapped.
"Soon?" Slughorn looked uncertain and possibly a little miffed that he wasn't allowed to pet.
Granger sighed heavily. The creature in her arms wriggled and twisted, and then suddenly it turned to look straight at Draco, and stilled. Helpless to resist, Draco smiled at it.
"Fine," Granger said. "Just fine." She turned away from Slughorn.
"Accidents happen, Miss Granger," Slughorn called after her joyfully. "It's not a tragedy."
Draco heard Granger huff as she walked away.
Granger spotted Draco only after she reached him. She scowled, said, "Malfoy," and moved to bypass him.
Draco stepped in front of her. The creature was still staring at Draco. It was a curious, benign sort of stare that kept pulling the corners of Draco's mouth into a smile.
"What sort of creature is it?" he asked.
Granger looked annoyed. "It's an animal. A Muggle animal. It's called a koala." She stepped to the left and so did Draco. "What?" she snapped again. The creature, the koala, was wriggling in her arms again, trying to get away.
"I don't think it likes you very much," Draco informed her.
"I'll keep that in mind," she said in a clipped tone. She moved to the right, but the koala extended its long arms towards Draco and Granger nearly dropped it.
Draco hurried forward to catch the thing.
"Let go!" Granger exclaimed, but the creature had already wrapped its arms around Draco's neck and all Draco had to do was give it a little tug and free its legs. In a second, the creature's limbs were wrapped around him, clinging tightly as though Draco was his much-awaited rescuer. "Honestly!" Granger shook her head in disbelief.
Draco hugged the koala and beamed. It was warm and soft, and it hugged him so enthusiastically, Draco suddenly believed in love at first sight.
"It likes me," he told Granger. "It likes me better," he added, smug.
Granger crossed her arms on her chest. "Oh? Have I mentioned this is actually Harry? Transformed into a koala by accident?"
Draco burst out laughing. "Nice try, Granger." He ran his fingers through the clingy animal's fur. "It clearly has Potter's personality. What with the hugging and all." Draco snorted. Of all the things she could have said. She should have suggested the animal had fleas, then Draco might have been persuaded to let it go. But the thought of Potter being such a cute animal, hugging Draco like Draco was his best friend, was ludicrous. Animal transformation did not affect one's mind, just the body. If this were Potter, he would be kicking Draco and scratching his face.
"I'm serious," Granger insisted. "Harry and I came to see Professor Slughorn to find out if he has any antidotes for—" Granger narrowed her eyes and pressed her lips together. "He gave Harry the wrong phial," she gritted out.
Draco squeezed the creature tighter. "She's quite mean, isn't she?" he cooed into the creature's ear. "Saying you're Potter. I see why you don't like her."
"Oh, for the love of—" another voice groaned.
Draco looked sideways at Weasley, who had just appeared beside them, holding a phial in his hand, his cheeks flushed and his forehead sweaty. He must have been running.
"What is that?" Granger asked, eying the phial and looking hopeful.
"Pomfrey said he should drink this." Weasley scowled at the creature and Draco alternatively. "It should speed up the reversal process."
Granger snatched the phial from Weasley's hand. "Hear that, Harry? You have to drink this." She moved closer to Draco and Draco took a hurried step back.
"How do I know you're not trying to poison it?" The creature hugged Draco even tighter and Draco took another step backwards. "And it doesn't want to drink it. So back off."
"Harry," Granger all but growled.
"Stop saying that!" Draco annoyance grew. "It's not Potter."
Weasley burst out laughing. "If only," he managed.
"Harry," Granger said, tone low. She was staring at the creature's back intently. "How's this? You drink this and —" She gave Weasley a look. "And we'll leave you alone. With Malfoy."
Weasley stopped laughing and spluttered. "What? Alone? With... No! Hermione!"
"Oh shush, Ron," Granger said. "Malfoy won't hurt him. Obviously." She grimaced. "He thinks Harry's cute."
"Actually, his name is George," Draco declared. "And whatever you paid for it, I'll pay you double. Just stop bemoaning the fact that your new pet doesn't like you. It happens, you know."
Granger ignored him. "Harry," she said again.
The creature didn't even twitch.
"Oh, fine." Granger looked furious. "Fine, fine, fine. Be like that. See if I care." She grabbed Weasley's hand. "Come on, Ron."
"But..." Weasley was reluctant to leave. "He needs an antidote. He just needs an antidote," he insisted.
Granger sniffed. "I'm beginning to doubt that," she said sadly.
Weasley gave Draco a fierce glare. "If you dare to hurt him..."
Draco sighed. "It's not Potter, Weasley. Get over yourself."
Weasley sighed too, like a proper martyr, and let Granger pull him away.
As soon as they were alone, Draco dropped a kiss to the creature's warm head. "And they're gone," he said victoriously. "You're all mine now."
The creature lifted its head and looked at him. Draco was ready to swear that the thing was smiling. He bent his neck to rub his nose against the creature's wet snout.
"Muggle animals are not allowed to be this cute," he said. The creature just hugged him again. "Just so you know," Draco whispered into its ear, "when we get back to the common room, I'll call you annoying and say you're full of fleas, but I won't mean that at all."
The creature wiggled and wrapped its legs more tightly around Draco's waist.
Draco snorted. "Potter, indeed."
When Draco entered the Slytherin common room with the koala wrapped around him, it earned him some very strange looks.
"It's a rare dark creature," Draco told the gathered crowd that was predictably reduced to helpless cooing. "The Gryffindors tried to poison it so I rescued it... That's enough, Pansy," Draco said sharply and Pansy retreated her eager fur-petting hand.
"What will you do with it now?" she asked.
"Wash it. It's full of fleas."
The crowd took a collective step back and Draco was free to retreat to his dormitory. Once out of their line of sight, he grinned.
Draco spent the rest of the evening studying on his bed and being hugged within an inch of his life. He supposed it was a little awkward to have something so warm and furry wrapped around him at all times, but he honestly couldn't remember the last time he was so happy. Or the last time he felt so loved.
Granger and Weasley's insistence that this was Potter had never seemed sillier. It couldn't have been Potter, or any other person for that matter. Draco could think of no one, besides his parents, who would be so eager to hug him.
"I should shower and get ready for bed," Draco said at last. It was late and Draco's dorm mates were mostly asleep. Blaise and Greg had tried to pet Draco's furry hugger, but had retreated quickly when Draco pointed his wand at them.
"I mean it. I have to go," Draco added, burying his nose into the creature's fur and dropping light kisses all over it. No one could see him; his curtains were drawn, so he could kiss it as much as he wanted. The koala didn't move. "Truly," Draco said. "I have to change my clothes and..." The creature lifted its head and loosened its grip. It looked up at Draco, apparently inventing new ways to look as cute as it could.
The last thing Draco wanted was to separate himself from its attention but needs must. He gently set the creature on the bed and promised, "Be right back."
Draco showered in record speed. When he returned, he found the koala curled into a fluffy ball on his pillow. It lifted its head when Draco showed up and was staring at him intently.
Draco found himself blushing as he removed the towel wrapped around his hips and pulled on his pyjamas, because the koala kept staring at him and that was just a little wrong.
However, Draco forgot all about his discomfort once he crawled into his bed and the koala promptly wrapped its arms and legs around him, settling its head on Draco's chest. Draco hugged back and concluded he could easily get used to this.
Soon, he drifted off into a deep, nightmare-less sleep.
It was still dark when he woke up. He supposed he shouldn't have been surprised to find a naked Potter draped all over him, but he was.
Draco kept still as Potter stirred and lifted his head. He looked sleepy and ruffled and somehow even cuter than the koala. Draco swallowed thickly.
"There's something wrong with you, isn't there?" Draco asked. "With your mind. It's all muddled. That's why you needed Slughorn to give you some sort of antidote." It was just Draco's luck. He wanted the furry, hugsy creature back, but obviously it didn't even exist. The thought made him sad.
Potter looked around, blinked, and then he seemed to realise where he was. He smiled. "That's what Hermione and Ron thought," he said brightly. "They thought someone gave me a love potion and that's why I..." He fell silent and grinned again, almost shyly this time. Which was ridiculous considering he was naked and still hugging Draco.
"Suppose they're right." Draco wriggled to free himself of Potter's grip. Potter held on tight. Still a part-koala, obviously.
"No, they're really not," Potter said.
"I'm dreaming," Draco realised. He snorted. "Of course I am."
Potter cocked his head and then his hand sneaked beneath Draco's pyjama top to pinch Draco's nipple.
Draco shuddered. It hurt. In a nice way. "That doesn't prove anything," he insisted.
Potter appeared to ponder this. "If I suck you off, would you believe it's not a dream, then?"
Draco blinked. "That would just confirm it."
Potter squirmed around and ended up above Draco, leaning on his elbows with his legs between Draco's thighs. "I could do it anyway," Potter said, quite eagerly.
"You could," Draco agreed, because really. It was a dream and Potter could suck him off in a dream if he really wanted to. There was no need to complain about that.
"Okay," Potter said happily and slid down Draco's body only to disappear beneath the covers.
Something warm and wet engulfed Draco's cock, slowly sucking it to hardness, and Draco closed his eyes and let himself dream.
Bright light pressed on Draco's eyelids and he opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was Blaise, standing next to his bed, arms crossed and eyebrow quirked.
"Got rid of those fleas, then, eh?" Blaise asked.
Draco didn't dare to look down and see who was hugging him — the koala or Potter. But there was no need to look. Not really. Whatever was hugging him, it was not at all furry.
Draco swallowed. "Still working on it," he said.
Blaise rolled his eyes and left, mumbling about idiots and bad taste in men.
Draco looked down. Potter's dark head was resting on Draco's chest; he looked sound asleep. His arms were wrapped tightly around Draco, his hug fierce, even in his sleep.
It was no koala hug, but Draco hugged him back happily and concluded he didn't really mind.