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Awakened

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Draco was walking briskly through side streets in Diagon Alley, as he tended to do now that the war was over. If he strolled at his leisure or on the main strip, he invited nasty comments. Draco just needed a few ingredients for a potion, an overstep on his part. Getting his ingredients via owl order was his preference, as it spared himself the paranoia he felt when going out. He was always in fear of being cursed or stopped whenever he came to Diagon Alley. Even a few years after the war, everything was still raw. People hated anyone connected to the Dark Lord, let alone former Death Eaters. He pulled down his left sleeve at the thought, making sure the faded dark mark was still hidden.

As he continued to walk through the side streets, Draco heard a soft “mew.” Getting his wand out in case it was a trick, he stepped slowly towards the noise. The mews gradually increased in noise and speed, almost as if whatever was making the noise could detect his presence and wanted him to find it.

As he finally reached the source of the noise, he stuck a hesitant hand out. He could see now that whatever type of animal it was, it was small and needed help. Draco crept his hand closer, trying to show that he was friendly and just wanted to help. He looked away, in case the animal didn’t want eye contact. He heard another soft mew and saw out of his peripheral the animal cautiously making its way over the jagged cobblestone street, closer to his hand. He resisted the urge to cringe away from it, as that would only scare it. He felt a tiny nose touch his palm, and he tried to keep his hand as still as possible. He was sure the animal could hear his heart beating at a rapid pace but could do nothing about it but hope the animal didn’t think he was aggressive.

The nose remained at his hand, sniffing for a minute or so. Then, he felt something rub on his hand and arm. He finally turned his head back around and saw what he thought to be a baby kneazle, rubbing away at his hand. Draco looked at it in shock. Kneazles were notorious for being aggressive to people they saw as distrustful or suspicious, yet here was this baby rubbing away at him after barely a minute.

Draco sat down on the ground so he could pet the kneazle properly. It was a beautiful jet black and was barely bigger than his hand. When Draco sat down, it crawled into his lap immediately and started purring. He gazed at it briefly, dazed at the fact that this kneazle seemed to have chosen him for whatever reason.

“Right, well, I guess I should give you a name little one. If you don’t mind I’m gonna flip you over for just a moment to check something.” Draco murmured, soothingly.

He slowly flipped her around, and she gave a loud mew of protest but didn’t really struggle.

“So, you’re a little girl huh? Well, I suppose I can take you home and we can decide what to do then.” He said softly, flipping her back around in his arms. She started purring again and rubbed her face on his chest. Draco’s heart clenched, he was already getting attached to this little kitty, which did not bode well for him. She probably belonged to someone and ran away, so getting attached was pointless. Draco stood up and spun on the spot, holding her tightly in his arms.

He landed outside the manor and felt the familiar twinge of unease that he couldn’t shake off for the first few minutes at his ancestral home.

Even with his feelings of unease when at the manor, he couldn’t move away. After his father had been sentenced to Azkaban, his mother had never been quite the same. She needed him, and it was his duty as her son to stay with her as long as she needed.

As he walked through the gates and into the house, their house elf, Mimsey, popped up and offered to take his cloak. When she saw the kneazle in his arms, her eyes widened and she took a step back.”

“Mr. Malfoy wasn’t telling us that he was getting a pet sir,” she whispered while keeping her wide eyes on the cat.

“It wasn’t exactly planned,” He said tightly. Seeing her terrified eyes still on the cat, he sighed and continued, “Mimsey, it’s okay. She’s really friendly, look,” and he held the kitty out to her.

Mimsey put a trembling hand out to the kitty, who sniffed it and then rubbed on her. Draco gave the house elf a small smile and brought the kneazle close to his chest.

“If you could let Mother know, I’ll be in the sitting room and I’d like to speak with her.”

He walked into the overly formal sitting room, awaiting his Mothers arrival. As he sat there, the kneazle continued to purr on his lap and he stroked her back while thinking about what exactly he should do with her. While he could keep her, that probably wouldn’t be wise. He didn't even have his own life together, let alone enough to take care of a cat.

He could also bring her to an animal shelter, but that could go horribly. She was so small and he didn't think she’d fare well in a shelter. She might be bullied by the other animals, be completely terrified, or catch an illness. So, a shelter was out.

Maybe he knew someone that would want a baby kneazle? Pansy? He laughed a little at the thought. Pansy couldn’t take care of another living being. Blaise wasn’t very fond of animals and was extremely tidy, so a kitten would be the last thing he wanted. As for Greg, he wouldn’t really trust a baby animal to him.

His mother strolled into the room, and Draco breathed a sigh of relief. She would have some idea of what to do.

“Darling, the house elves told me that you brought a kneazle home, is that true?” Narcissa asked, curiously.

“Well, yes. I found her in a side street off Diagon Alley. She was meowing and when I approached her she basically jumped into my lap. I couldn’t just leave her there.” Draco said, hoping she would understand the plight and not be upset that he brought an unknown animal into the manor.

Narcissa approached Draco and reached a hand out to the kneazle.

“How adorable. What’s her name, Draco?” Narcissa asked.

Draco paused, he had just been calling her the kneazle in his head, had put no thought to giving her an actual name.

“Uh- Cassiopeia.” Draco said after a moment.

Narcissa lips quirked up, “The Queen?”

Draco nodded, “It suits her, I think.”

“I would have to agree” Narcissa murmured while stroking Cassiopeia.

“Mother, what do you think I should do with her? She’s so small and young, I don’t want to send her to the shelter, but I don’t know anyone that would be willing to keep her.” Draco said, imploringly.

“Well, why don’t you take her to the animal healer darling? I’m sure she could use a checkup and they might know what to do there.”

Draco thought on that idea, it would be nice to know that she didn’t have any illnesses and if she needed to get any vaccines. It wasn’t like they would have any issues footing the bill, and maybe the healer would know of someone looking for a baby kneazle.

“I think I will do that mother, thanks. I suppose I should just go now and see if they can accommodate a walk in.” Draco said.

“Send me a Patronus if you need anything Draco, and good luck.” Narcissa smiled at him and walked out of the sitting room.

Draco looked at Cassiopeia in his arms and saw she had fallen asleep. He watched her chest go up and down slowly and smiled softly.

“I think I’ll call you Cassi, little one. I only know of one animal healer in the area, Mother takes the peacocks there if they ever need anything. I’m sure they deal with a manner of creatures, so a baby kneazle shouldn’t be too difficult. We’ll floo there, I hope you can stay asleep through it." Draco whispered.

As he approached the fireplace he made sure she was secure in his arm and reached down for the floo powder with his other hand.

“St. Pauline’s Animal Healers” he spoke clearly.

He landed in the lobby for the animal healer moments later, it was a relatively quaint place, for a healers office, with wooden floors and soft lighting. There was a muggle television in each corner, probably to entertain anyone who had to wait. A few years ago this may have irritated and disgusted him, wizards using Muggle technology, but now he passed it without much of a glance, unbothered.

He approached the receptionist, still holding a sleeping Cassi in his arm.

“Good afternoon, I was wondering if you possibly had any walk-in appointments available, I found this baby kneazle on the street and I wanted to get her a checked up.”

“Let me check that for you,” she said, not looking up.

As the receptionist stood up to go into the back, she looked up and her gaze fell upon Draco’s face. Her eyes widened comically at the sight of him. He raised an eyebrow pointedly at her, and she blushed and hurried into the back to check if she could get Cassi an appointment.

Draco stood to wait next to the counter for her to come back, eyes falling on the muggle telly. He watched as some sort of cooking show played out. It all seemed very dramatic to him, with people crying because of some sort of cooking mishap. If they had magic, this show would be completely unnecessary. Nevertheless, it was entertaining to watch the muggles make funny mistakes.

The receptionist walked out of the back room and said “We can fit you in shortly. I just need to ask you a few questions and I’ll bring you back.”

“Of course, please go ahead.” He said respectfully.

“First, what is its name?” She asked.

“Cassiopeia.” He answered back.

She blinked a little at the unusual name, but continued.

“Where did you find her?”

“She was in a side street near Diagon Alley, I heard a bunch of mewing and found her in a corner.”

“Did she have a collar or any form of identification on her?”

“No. I’m not sure where she came from.”

The receptionist nodded, “I have to ask this of kneazles, has she shown any aggressive behavior or any other kind of unusual behavior since you’ve had her?”

“Not at all. She’s been really friendly to me and my mother. However, we are the only people she has met so far. I’ve just let her sniff our hands for a minute or so and she has been fine.”

“Interesting. Kneazles can usually tell if someone is distrustful or suspicious, so she must be able to detect no misgiving behavior from you.” She said and looked at him with a slightly less rude look than before. “You can follow me then and I will lead you into your examination room.”

Falling in line behind the receptionist, Draco looked around the hallway in the back room. There was door after door, sometimes vacant, sometimes with an occupant. Draco saw someone with a big brown owl through the glass, and in the next room, someone with a phoenix. Draco did a double take with that room, as he had never seen a phoenix in real life before, even though he knew Dumbledore used to have one.

The receptionist opened a door, and he followed her inside. The room was not as quaint as the lobby was, it was white, silver, and with a very sterile smell.

“Wait here for the nurse, please.” She said shortly and exited the room.

Draco heard a little noise and looked down. Cassi had woken up and was blinking and yawning. He smiled softly down at her and stroked down her back, and as he did so, she started purring. She gave him a few licks on his hand and settled down to enjoy the strokes.

It would be hard for him to give this little one up, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to properly take care of a baby kneazle. His blossoming potions business took up a lot of time, and he just wouldn’t be able to factor a kitten into it.

As Draco sat there in thought, the door opened, and Draco looked up at the nurse and laughed. Harry Potter had just walked in.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter had just walked in. Potter. This situation couldn’t get any more humorous. Of course, Potter would work here, because when did the universe ever give him a break?

“Potter,” Draco said, coldly.

He still couldn’t believe his eyes. He hadn’t seen Potter since the trials when he spoke on his family’s behalf. He couldn’t help the surge of dislike, confusion, and attraction that rose when he saw Potter’s face. He grew up hating him but also having what seemed to be a sick attraction to him he could never quite get rid of. No matter how much he pretended to like Pansy, at Hogwarts, he couldn't get the idea of Potter out of his head.

So, in addition to hating Potter because he had rejected his friendship, and then because he was on the wrong side of the war, he had resented Potter for what he had made him feel while growing up. He realized now that he was gay, and just found Potter attractive. A normal feeling, no emotions attached to it. So, while most of the resentment for that was gone, he still felt dislike stemming from the former rivalry they had in school.

“Malfoy.” Potter nodded at him, his mouth tight in a line.

Draco held no illusions that Potter liked him any more than he liked Potter. Potter brought a clipboard up, covering his face.

“So, you brought in a kneazle that you found on the street, correct?” Potter asked, face still covered by the clipboard.

“Well, yes, but Potter, what on earth are you doing here? I thought you’d be at the ministry, blowing up dark wizards and the like,” Draco drawled, with an underlying curiosity.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m studying to be an animal healer,” Potter grumbled, “I’m the nurse.”

Draco blinked at that information, Potter an animal healer? He supposed it made a weird amount of sense, animals tended to like Potter. There was that beast of a Hippogriff that the brute Hagrid loved, his snowy owl, the thestrals, and probably others. Potter had changed since Hogwarts, but Draco should’ve guessed that. How would he expect other people to see he had changed if he went around assuming everyone he went to Hogwarts with was unchanged?

“Well, Potter, this is Cassi. I found her on a side street near Diagon. I figured I could bring her in for a checkup and you guys may be able to tell me what in Merlin’s name I should do with her.” Draco told him.

Potter walked over slowly and stuck his hand out for Cassi to sniff. She had hardly even examined his hand for a second when she was already rubbing on him. Potter’s mouth stretched into a smile, and he rubbed the top of her head.

“She’s really cute, Malfoy,” Potter said softly, still rubbing on Cassi as she purred.

Draco bristled, he couldn’t believe Potter had gotten her love so quickly. Potter didn’t have the right to steal all her attention like that, it wasn’t fair. At that thought, he stopped himself in horror. This wasn’t his cat, he didn’t have the time or ability to take care of her. What was he thinking, getting jealous like that?

Irritated at himself, Draco snapped, “Well are you just going to sit there all day or are you going to do your job?”

Potter glared at him and opened his mouth to retort, but then paused and took a deep breath. Draco rolled his eyes at Potter’s act but managed to keep himself from lashing out again.

“Alright, let me do some diagnostic spells on her. Those will let me see if she has any injuries, if she has had any vaccines, and if she has a magical signature belonging to someone. This should only take a moment,” Potter retorted, taking another deep breath to calm himself.

Draco nodded in agreement and observed as Potter said an incantation. Potter was deep in concentration, so Draco took a moment to study him. He didn’t look too different than he did at Hogwarts, even if his behavior and personality were. He still had the incurably messy black hair, brown skin, and piercing green eyes. One thing that did change, Draco noticed appreciatively, was Potter looked more muscular and toned. Not fighting deranged dark wizards really seemed to be working for him. He then rapidly squashed any attraction he felt. They were not in Hogwarts, he was not a teenager, and he had bloody control over his hormones.

Potter broke off his train of thought by speaking, “Well it looks like she’s in perfectly good health. She’s a baby, only about 5 weeks old. I’m not sure what happened to her mother, but she doesn’t have anyone’s magical signature on her, so she doesn’t have an owner. She’ll need the proper vaccinations but you can take her home.” Potter explained.

Potter walked back over to Cassi and started stroking her again as Draco looked at him in disbelief. Did he not hear a single thing Draco had said about not knowing what to do with her? He couldn’t keep Cassi, even if part of him desperately wanted to.

“Potter, that was part of the reason I came to get her checked up. I can’t take her home. I don’t have time for a 5 week old kitten. I wanted some advice on what I should do,” Draco said.

Potter looked up again, and their eyes met. He stared Draco down and sighed.

“I guess I could make some calls and see if there’s anyone who will take her in. You’ll have to keep her for the night at least. I won’t be able to find anyone before then,” Potter replied, “Let me go get the vaccines I need to give her today, then you’re good to go.”

Draco nodded and Potter quickly walked out. Cassi gave a soft meow, and he looked down at her. She stared back up at him, her intelligent eyes almost peering into his soul.

“Listen, Cassiopeia, I don’t want to give you away, I really don’t. But, someone else will be a much better owner to you than me," he whispered, and she continued to stare at him, unblinking, "Stop looking at me that way, I wish I could keep you but I can’t.” Draco murmured, wanting her to understand.

Cassi then continued looking up at him, her expression unchanging. Who knew a kneazle could guilt him so much? Potter swept back in, and when he looked down at the scene, he raised an eyebrow. Cassi let out another meow at the sight of him, which made Potter break out into a smile. She meowed again and Potter walked back over.

“May I?” Potter asked, gesturing to the kneazle in his arms.
Draco looked up at him suspiciously but handed her over to Potter. Potter cradled her in his arms, fawning over how cute she was. Cassi let out another meow, and Draco frowned. He could hear the purring from here, and he couldn’t help the jealousy he felt as they bonded.

“She really is a great kneazle,” Potter said, and then laughed as Cassi gave him a little swat on the face because of his halt in stroking her.

Draco felt like a petulant child, but he couldn’t help but think that she had never done anything like with him, and he was the one who found her.

Potter then set her down on the examination table and gestured for Draco to watch her as he gathered together the vaccines he had to administer. He slowly walked back over, the first vaccine shot in hand.

“She’s not gonna like this, but we only have three to do,” Potter began.

“Three? As in three separate shots? Merlin, how are we going to be able to do three?” Draco said hysterically. He knew kneazles could be violent, especially if they didn’t like the situation they were in. He wanted to keep both of his arms, thank you very much.

“I’m just going to need your help, keep her as calm and still as possible and these can be really quick. She’s smart so if you keep her calm, we can all get through this unscathed,” Potter advised.

Draco gulped but started stroking down Cassi’s back, hoping that this would calm her. She started purring immediately and rubbed on Draco’s arm.

“Keep her as still as possible please,” Potter requested, and Draco tightened his grip on her.

“She can detect the energy in the room, so try to not be as tense, you’ll make her think there’s something to be scared about,” Harry instructed.

Draco tried to relax, but it was difficult with a potentially dangerous kneazle in his arms, unwittingly about to have a needle stuck in her. Draco took a deep breath and continued to stroke down her back, her purring unceasing.

Potter approached them and quickly found the spot on her back to stick the needle. Draco took a deep breath, still stroking Cassi, and Potter whispered “here goes” and stuck the needle in efficiently and quickly.

Potter had the needle out faster than Draco could blink, and Cassi just made a grumbly meow but resumed purring as he continued to pet her. He breathed a big sigh of relief, he shouldn’t have been so scared. Cassi made it clear over the past few hours that she was no regular kneazle, she was too sweet for that.

“Alright, next vaccine coming. Keep petting her, and this should go smoothly as well.”

Potter administered the next two vaccines, and nothing more happened than them both getting a grumpy look and a half-hearted meow. Draco smiled at the kitty and Potter brought out a treat to give to her.

“Who’s a good baby kneazle? Who’s a good girl?” Potter cooed at Cassi, dangling the treat over her head.

Cassi swatted at his hand and Potter laughed and gave her the treat. She sniffed at it momentarily and then carefully took it out of Potter’s hand. She chewed on it as both Potter and Draco watched her.

“Well, I can say that was the easiest set of vaccinations I’ve ever had to give to a kneazle.” Potter chuckled and gave Draco a warm smile.

At that smile, Draco’s traitorous heart skipped a beat. He was only human, he couldn’t help thinking Potter was attractive, nearly all the wizarding world did. Again, he stomped down the feelings of attraction, he was in control of his hormones, damn it, and then smiled back at Potter.

“Well, I suppose thanks are in order, Potter. So, thanks for the help with Cassi. I do appreciate what you have done,” Draco said politely.

Potter nodded at him and said, “Just doing my job. Anyways, it’s worth it for this cute little one. You better take good care of her tonight! Make sure you have a litter box and some good quality food. She should be eating every 4 hours or so so I would feed a mix of canned and dry food. I’ll owl you if I am able to find anyone that can take her in. Okay?”

“I think I can figure out how to take care of a cat for the night, thanks,” Draco snapped.

Potter must think he was really simple if he thought he didn’t know that a kneazle needs a litter box and food. He glared at Potter's stupid head and said nothing as Potter started petting Cassi again, who rubbed up against him, still standing on the examination table.

“Whatever, Malfoy,” Harry sighed as he rolled his eyes.

As Potter backed away from her and started walking out the door, Draco scooped her up and followed Potter out of the examination room. Cassi gave a little meow and then settled into his arms.

They walked back through the hallways leading to the lobby, saying nothing, with Cassi giving a meow every now and then. The room that previously held a phoenix was empty, as were most of the other rooms. Potter led him to the door, and opened it, gesturing for him to exit first.

“Alright, Malfoy, Penny will take care of you from here, helping you with any fees or anything else you may need,” Potter said, pointing at the receptionist, “I’ll owl you, as I said, if I can find someone who can take her in. I guess I’ll be in touch.”

Potter walked back into the back room, and Draco tried very hard not to stare at his arse as he walked away. As the back door swung closed, Draco turned his attention to the receptionist, who was staring at him with one eyebrow raised.

Draco blushed and snapped, “Well how much do I owe for this bloody visit then?”

The receptionist raised her other eyebrow, rolled her eyes, and slid a receipt over to Draco, which read that owed 8 galleons and 14 sickles. He took out his bag of coins and took out the proper amount.

Upon receiving the coins, she forced a smile and said “Thanks for choosing St. Pauline’s. We hope you choose us again for any of your future animal healing needs.”

Draco walked towards the floo again, and held Cassi tight and said, “Just one more time and we’ll be done for the night. Mimsey can go and pick up the litter box and food.”

Cassi gave a small meow and rubbed up against Draco’s chest. His heart tightened for a moment and he took a deep breath. He grabbed a scoop of floo powder and they made their way back to Malfoy Manor.

Chapter Text

Malfoy and Cassi stepped back into Malfoy Manor, and his mother was waiting for them, looking curious at what news he had to report. Before he told her anything though, he needed to send Mimsey off to buy the cat food and litter box for Cassi.

“Mimsey?” Draco called into the house.

With a loud crack, Mimsey appeared, her clean pillowcase hanging off of her haphazardly, as if he interrupted her in the middle of doing something.

“Yes, master?” Mimsey croaked, looking up at Draco inquisitively.

“Mimsey, if you would please go grab Cassi some cat food and a litter box, it would be much appreciated,” Draco asked her.

Mimsey nodded and with another loud crack, she disappeared, off to run errands. Draco looked down and saw Cassi was sleeping in his arms again. Her black coat nearly shined in the light of the manor, and she looked perfectly content sleeping in his arms.

Draco let out a big sigh and sat down in the sitting room with his mother once more.

“Well, Draco, you must give me the news,” Narcissa said.

“She doesn’t have an owner, she doesn’t have any infections or diseases, and she needed vaccines. Potter said—“ and at the name Potter, his mother’s eyebrows rose, “that he would ask around and see if anyone could take her in” he finished, avoiding his mother’s gaze.

“Harry Potter, I presume?” She asked, her eyebrows still raised.

“Well, yes. He’s a nurse at St. Pauline’s,” Draco said, his tone completely neutral, even though he could feel a blush starting to spread.

“Interesting,” Narcissa drawled, a knowing smile spreading across her face.

Draco huffed, he didn’t have to deal with this. Just because he found Potter mildly attractive meant nothing. He still disliked the annoying git, even if he did save the bloody Wizarding World. His mother didn’t know what she thought she knew.

“Cassi and I will be off now, Mother. We’re going to my room.” Draco said shortly and swept out, his robes billowing behind him.

Cassi was still fast asleep in his arms, but he was starting to get a major arm cramp from holding his arms in place for so long. The portraits of his ancestors glared down at him as he made his way into the room, saying nothing but radiating disapproval. Apparently, the Malfoy descendants didn’t approve of animals in the Manor.

Draco rolled his eyes at the portraits, apparently killing Muggles, Muggleborns, and who knows what else wasn’t something to worry about, but a baby kneazle was. He continued through the hallway of his ancestors until he reached the staircase, leading to the second floor and his bedroom.

He stepped into his room, the emerald green decorations immediately welcoming him. This room was his safe haven, somewhere he could always go to when he wanted to relax. During the war, he would take refuge up here for days at a time, asking Mimsey to bring him his food up here.

He sat down on his bed and lightly placed Cassi down on one of his pillows. After he set her down, he stretched his cramping arms out and then fell flat on his back. It had been an exhausting day, and he hadn’t even finished all the errands he was supposed to. The person who ordered the 12 vials of hangover cure would just have to wait an extra day.

When he looked over at Cassi sleeping on his pillow, he didn’t even mind a potentially disgruntled customer. He was glad he found her and she was infinitely more important than some drunk who needed too many vials of hangover cure.

As Draco sat there looking at Cassi, he started to doze off as well, his last thought before he fell asleep about what he was going to do when Potter found someone to take in Cassi.

***

He woke up from his impromptu nap to an owl squawking at him, looking at him accusingly as if it was his fault that this job was taking longer than it was supposed to. Draco yawned and stretched, then looked over at the owl, who was still hooting impatiently.

“Alright, what is it? Who owled me?” He yawned again, gesturing to the owl to lift up its leg so he could take the letter off.

He opened the letter, recognizing the seal at once. It was from Harry Potter. He skimmed it quickly, dreading what he was going to read inside.

Mr. Malfoy,

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I have not yet found someone who can take in Cassi. I have a few more calls I can make, and I will get back to you shortly.

Harry Potter

Draco felt a curious feeling of dread and happiness mixing in his gut. He knew he should be irritated that Potter hadn’t found a suitable owner for Cassi, but he couldn’t help but feel happy that she was stuck with him for a bit. However, Potter could still find someone, and he should be glad for that.

Draco sighed, the dread of losing Cassi still messing with his head. He should make the best of this while he had her, he shouldn't sit here and mope around about a cat he’s had for less than a day.

Although Cassi was still asleep, Draco woke her up by lifting her into his arms. She did a big yawn in his face and stretched her arms out.

Draco smiled at her and said, “We’re going to have some fun for the rest of the day today, sound good?”

She gave a meow in agreement and Draco rushed downstairs, nearly running through the hallway of ancestors to avoid their judgmental stares.

“Draco, Mimsey informed me that she got the litter box and kneazle food. They’re both in the kitchen waiting.” Narcissa called to him as Draco walked by her.

He nodded his thanks at her and walked into the kitchen. He closed all the doors leading to the kitchen, and then set Cassi down on the floor. She promptly ran around the kitchen, exploring all the nooks and crannies.

Draco went around making sure she couldn’t reach any dangerous kitchen utensils or food, but as she was still a baby, she couldn’t jump on the counters quite yet.

As she kept exploring, Draco watched her have fun and smiled to himself. What an innocent life she lived, where nothing but exploring a kitchen could be the most exciting thing ever.

He turned away from her and saw that her food and litter were both sitting on the counter, waiting for him. He grabbed a can of food and a bowl from a cabinet and emptied the food into the bowl.

At the smell of the can opening, Cassi ran over and started rubbing on his legs and meowing. He laughed and set the bowl down for her to munch on. As she gobbled down the food, he took a closer look at the litter box.

Mimsey didn’t spare any expense on the litter box, it was some special automatic litter box that had a clever charm that vanished the waste once it detected it in the box. Draco grabbed the litter and put it in the box, which he set on the floor for Cassi to use.

After a few hours of not going to the bathroom, she probably needed to use it. He looked back over to her and saw she was just finishing the food he set out. He waited for her to finish, then picked her up and set her in the litter box.

“So, if you have to use the bathroom, you use this box. Okay?” Draco said, feeling foolish.

He didn’t have the faintest idea how people trained kneazles to use the litter box, so he hoped she had some sort of instinct to do so. Cassi just looked up at him and meowed. She stepped out of the box and started exploring again, and Draco felt a flutter of panic. He had no idea if she got the message and he really didn’t want her relieving herself all over the house.

If she didn't use the box, his mother may get upset and refuse to allow Cassi back in the house, which he couldn’t allow to happen. Feeling irrational, Draco checked the clock and saw that it was after 6 PM. Potter should be home now.

Draco exited the kitchen and strode over to the fireplace, grabbed some floo powder, shouted “Harry Potter’s house,” and stuck his head through the fire.

He saw Potter eating at his kitchen table, and immediately regretted his irrational plan to ambush Potter with simple questions. As he was about to take his head out of the fire and never speak of this again, Potter looked over and jumped violently in surprise, spilling his tea all over himself. Then, Potter proceeded to choke on the food he was eating. Draco just stared at him in alarm, not knowing exactly if he should do something to help a man he disliked, even if it was his fault. Potter cleared his throat multiple times, his eyes watering, and looked back over at Draco, almost as if to make sure he didn’t imagine him in the fire.

“Malfoy,” Potter said, his voice sounding hoarse, “What are you doing here?”

“Well, I just wanted advice about Cassi,” Draco started, and felt his face begin to flush, which the fire happily hid from Potter, “So, I decided I would fire call you. My apologies for intruding. I should’ve owled.”

Potter cleared his throat again and said, “No, no it’s fine. If you want you can bring Cassi and come in for tea, and I can help you out with any kneazle related issues.”

Potter smirked down at Draco at “kneazle related issues” and Draco flushed once more. His knees were starting to ache from being pressed against the floor so he nodded and took his head out of the fire.

He wandered back into the kitchen, hoping that Cassi hadn’t gotten into any trouble. When Draco entered the kitchen, he saw Cassi staring up at the counter, as if judging whether or not she could make the jump. Not wanting to find out whether she could or not, Draco quickly scooped her up.

Cassi, now wanting to keep exploring rather than lounge in Draco’s arms as she had done for much of the day, gave a loud meow in protest. Draco rolled his eyes and kept a steady grip on her wiggly body.

“Merlin’s sake little one, we’re going somewhere and you’ll get to see a friend of yours!” Draco huffed impatiently as she tried to squirm her way out of his hands.

They exited the kitchen and approached the floo, and Cassi calmed down momentarily as she sniffed the floo powder in excitement.

They stepped in the fireplace and Draco called, “Harry Potter’s House.”

A second later, they were standing in Potter’s fireplace. He was still sitting at the table and looked up at them. When his eyes landed on Cassi, he beamed and stood up to greet them both. Draco and Cassi stepped out of the fireplace, Draco dusting off ash with his free hand. Cassi gave a meow when she saw Potter, evidently recognizing him from a few hours earlier.

“May I?” Potter asked when he reached them, gesturing to Cassi.

Draco handed her over and looked around at Potter’s place. It was a modest place, quaint but with not many decorations. There were Gryffindor colors all around the house, betraying Potter’s pride for his Hogwarts house.

It was small but warm, and Draco liked it immensely. At this point, he couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to live somewhere that made you feel safe and relaxed. He heard Potter making a coughing noise, and Draco looked up.

“So, Malfoy, shall we sit down?” Potter said, one hand holding Cassi and the other hand wiggling some kind of toy in front of her face.

Draco nodded and he and Potter sat down at his kitchen table, Potter letting Cassi down to explore his place. Draco noticed that the spilled tea and food were absent from the table. They both sat there awkwardly for a moment, eyes meeting, and then Potter opened his mouth as if to say something and yelled, “Oh yeah! Tea! I’ll go make that for us now.”

He ran into the kitchen and Cassi scampered after him, probably thinking they were playing some fun game. Draco’s lips quirked up at Potter’s rapid exit, apparently, he wasn’t the only one feeling a little uncomfortable with the visit.

“Milk or sugar?” Potter asked.

“Just sugar please,” Draco replied back.

As he heard Potter bustling around in the kitchen preparing the tea, he entered the kitchen, looking for Cassi. He saw her sitting on Potter’s foot, looking up at him, mesmerized. Draco gave a soft laugh and Potter jumped and startled Cassi away. She looked at Potter disgruntled and went to investigate a highly interesting corner of the kitchen.

“I keep startling you today,” Draco observed, slightly amused.

Potter looked at him and Draco could almost imagine a flush traveling up his dark skin, which, luckily for him, hid most evidence of blushing. He went back to making the tea, grabbed two teacups from the cupboard and poured tea from the pot into them.

“How many spoonfuls of sugar would you like?” Potter asked, acting like Draco hadn’t spoken.

“Just one is fine, thanks,” Draco said.

Potter handed him his teacup and murmured, “Careful, it’s hot,” as Draco grabbed it.

They walked back over to the kitchen table and sat down, tea in hand, and Draco finally swallowed down his pride to ask Potter for advice.

“Do kneazles…need potty training?” He asked hesitantly, afraid of sounding stupid. He looked up at Potter to see him grinning.

“No, no. Kneazles don’t really need potty training. They usually take to litter boxes quickly, but if they do have an accident, just vanish it and spray some cedar on the spot so they're encouraged not to go there again. They’re pretty smart, kneazles.” Potter explained.

Draco nodded, feeling foolish for having bothered Potter with something so obvious.

“Did you end up making those last few calls?” Draco asked, grasping at anything to change the subject from his dim question.

Potter’s face abruptly fell, and Draco’s heart raced at the sight. What did the face mean for Draco? Had he found someone that would take in Cassi? Would Draco have to give her up?

“Well. I wanted to talk to you about that, Malfoy. I wasn’t able to find anyone that could take her in.” Potter explained, his mouth in a frown, “So, unfortunately, you don’t really have many options here, you can either keep her or surrender her to a shelter.”

Upon hearing that, Draco’s heart soared. He had an excuse to keep Cassi, he didn’t have to give her up to some random person that wouldn’t give her the same level of care that he did. There was no question about it, he would not be giving her to any shelter.

“I suppose I will just have to keep her then,” Draco said, playing it off coolly.

Potter’s face broke out into a huge smile, and he clapped Draco on his back, much to Draco’s dismay. “I’m really glad you’ve decided to keep her Malfoy. I know she’ll be much better off with you, and I think you guys have really bonded with each other,” Potter said, still smiling.

Draco gave a hesitant smile back, but then raised his eyebrows and said, “Well, you’ll have to be on call for anything I need of course. I know nothing about kneazles.”

Potter laughed heartily, “I’d be happy to, anything you need, just ask. Maybe send a Patronus or something to warn me before popping in next time though.”

Draco nodded briskly at Potter. “Well, I suppose I ought to thank you again, Potter. We’ll definitely be seeing each other again. For right now though, Cassi and I will leave this hovel you call your house,” he sniffed, exaggerated, and went to find Cassi. It was time he introduced her to her new home at Malfoy Manor, instead of confining her to the kitchen.

“You're such a prat, Malfoy," Potter began, rolling his eyes, but he sounded amused, "Well, I never thought I’d say this but, I’m glad I could help you. Good luck with her,” he called out to Draco, still searching for Cassi.

Draco found Cassi in a kitchen corner again and picked her up. As he grabbed her, a realization had occurred to him. He and Potter hadn't actually fought this entire time he'd been over for advice and tea. “Wonders never cease I guess, huh, Cassi? Alright little one, it’s time for us to go home.”

Chapter Text

The morning after going to Potter's, Draco entrusted Cassi off to Mimsey’s watchful care to buy more kneazle food, and some toys as well. Ever since the war, he felt far too guilty to ask their house elf to do too much for him, so, he decided to run these errands and grab the potion ingredients he never got to earlier.

He stepped into Magical Beast Supplies, which wasn’t on the main strip of Diagon Alley. Magical Menagerie would be too conspicuous, and he wasn’t looking to attract attention. Better to remain as out of sight as possible, and hopefully nobody would bother him.

As he walked into Magical Beast Supplies, an owl squawked and the smell of various animal droppings and pet food hit him. He wrinkled his nose but looked for the kneazle section where he could find more of the kneazle food.

Draco walked into the aisle and saw endless bags and cans of food. Instead of trying to figure it out for himself, he strode over to the counter and waited for the clerk to finish talking to another customer.

When the clerk finished, he turned to Draco and his mouth immediately curled when he saw who he was supposed to be helping. Already feeling defensive, Draco asked, “Could you help me pick out a suitable food for my baby kneazle please?”

The clerk looked him up and down, gave him an awful smirk, and said “Sure. Follow me.”

Draco followed him back to the kneazle aisle, and the clerk looked back to him, “Any specifications I should know?”

“I just want whatever the best is for her, she’s only 5 weeks old.”

The clerk looked back over to Draco, glaring. “You know you shouldn’t take a baby kneazle from her mother until she’s at least 8 weeks old right? Anyone who knows anything about kneazles would be able to tell you that. Whatever breeder you’re using is extremely irresponsible. I guess this makes sense for one of your lot to do something like this. You should be ashamed.” The clerk huffed and rolled his eyes at Draco’s supposed stupidity.

Just like that, Draco’s defensive feeling turned into a wave of roaring anger. How dare this clerk just assume he’s an irresponsible pet owner? All he wanted was the best for Cassi and he didn’t need someone humiliating him for doing that.

“For your information,” Draco looked down at the clerk’s name tag, “Jacob,” he said, as snidely as possible, “I found her on the street, alone. And I think I’ll take my business elsewhere. I don't need a sniveling excuse for a wizard lecturing me, thanks for all your help.”

Draco strode purposefully out of the store and started making his way towards the Magical Menagerie. Even if incidents like this made him incredibly anxious, people didn’t have to know that. So much for avoiding confrontation, he thought. He was still furious at what the store clerk said to him, even if it wasn’t as bad as what he’s faced before. People always assumed they knew everything about him, as if there couldn’t be anything more to him than the actions he committed as a child.

He could almost feel the mark burning on his arm, branding him for life as someone to be hated and feared. As a teenager, it had felt like a great honor to be marked. Like someone was finally taking him seriously and believed in him. Of course, now he knew that he was set up for failure with that task, and all of the bullshit the Dark Lord spouted was just that, bullshit.

He mentally shook himself out of his morose mindset and prepared himself to step on the main strip of Diagon Alley. The only other animal supply store in the area was Magical Menagerie, so he would just have to hope the employees were more professional than the clerk at Magical Beast Supplies.

He put on his blank and controlled Malfoy face and made sure he was walking confidently as he merged into Diagon Alley. Immediately he could see people staring at him and whispering, but he wouldn’t give them the time of day by even looking at them. He kept his head high and marched over to Magical Menagerie, where he could hopefully get the supplies he needed.

As he walked into the store, he could feel the whispers of the other shoppers within, but he ignored the familiar rudeness and made his way to the kneazle section. There was a similar selection of food here as there was at Magical Beast Supplies, so he took a deep breath and made his way to the counter to ask an employee for help.

There was an employee sitting there, looking bored, so he went up to her and asked, “Hi, could you help me pick out an appropriate kneazle food please?”

She looked over to him as he asked the question, and he braced himself for a nasty comment. Instead, her expression remained unchanged and she just shrugged and said, “Sure. Follow me.”

Draco’s blank expression changed into a surprise, but he schooled it back to blank and in control. It was rare for someone to not react to his presence at this point, so he felt pleasantly surprised at the kind worker. He fell in line behind her, and they stepped into the kneazle aisle once more.

She looked at him expectantly once they stopped and he blinked once and then shook himself out of his reverie and said, “Well I have a 5-week old kneazle,” he paused and then quickly added, “that I found on the street.” He looked her in the eye and continued, “I just want the best food I can get for her. And whatever toys you think would be appropriate for a 5 week old.”

“Well, since you want the best for her and don’t seem to be short on cash,” she said and looked up and down at his expensive robes, “I’m going to level with you and tell you that the best and healthiest way to feed a kneazle is raw meat. Just go to a butcher and ask for a grind of muscle and organ meat, with a little bone in it. Kneazles adapted to eat this way, so it’s actually the healthiest for them. We only sell stuff full of carbs here, because it’s shelf stable. It’s not the best for the animal though.”

Draco looked at her appreciatively and said, “I appreciate the honesty. So a grind of organ and muscle meat with some bone it. Got it. And any toy suggestions?”

She led him towards the section of toys and pointed out a charmed mouse toy that moved by itself whenever the kneazle touched it, she also gave him a few simple toys that made interesting noises.

“You can also crinkle up a piece of paper into a ball, a lot of kneazles love to chase those because they roll easily on the floor,” She said, and smiled at him, “I think you’re going to be a good kneazle owner, Mr. Malfoy.”

He flushed at her kindness, not used to receiving compliments at this point in his life. The fact that she knew who he was and wasn’t being despicable towards him made him feel more optimistic about his future than he could describe. After years of nasty insults, which he knew he rightly deserved, he was beginning to get worn down. He had considered moving out of the country, but his mother wanted to stay in the Manor and he couldn’t leave her. However, this small act of kindness was making him feel hopeful.

“Thanks,” Draco said and gave her a small smile.

The clerk smiled back and said, “Well, if you don’t need anything else, I’m sure someone else needs some help. Have a good day and good luck with your kneazle!”

She walked away and Draco followed her with his eyes, feeling some regret that he would have to interact with someone else to pay for his items. He walked over to the counter anyway and put his items on the counter so they could tell him what he owed.

The wizard at the counter didn’t look up at him, just grabbed the items and said, “That’ll be 3 galleons and 2 sickles.”

Draco passed the amount due to him and grabbed his items. He passed the kind clerk on his way out and she gave him a smile when he waved. His mood significantly uplifted, he made his way to Slug & Jiggers for the potion supplies he needed.

He made sure to school his face into the blank expression again, but he didn’t feel as put down as he walked down the street. Although there were still whispers and stares, he let those slide off his shoulders and ignored them easily as he walked through Diagon Alley.

When he finally reached Slug & Jiggers, he braced himself for the familiar smell of bad eggs and rotten cabbage as he walked inside. Even with the horrible smell, the Apothecary felt familiar and homey. He always felt like he belonged in here, and loved the store for it. They were always very accommodating and allowed him to order most of his supplies via owl.

As he made his way further into the store, he passed a store worker who smiled brightly at him and said, “Hello Draco! What are you here for today?”

The employees and owners of the store knew him well, and he could always count on a friendly face here. “Evening Ciara! Just need a few ingredients for an order of hangover potions I’m working on. I hope all has been well today.”

She nodded and then looked down at the Magical Menagerie bag he was holding with all the cat toys. “I didn’t know you owned any animals Draco!” She said excitedly.

“I found a baby kneazle on the street just yesterday, actually. These are just some toys for her,” He answered, starting to grow tired of explaining how he found Cassi. Ciara started blabbing on about how her great aunt owned a kneazle and Draco nodded along while he gathered the potions ingredients that he needed. She continued to talk at him as he was paying until he interrupted her to tell her he really must go and get back to his own kneazle.

As he walked out of the shop he turned and waved goodbye at her and then immediately ran into someone on Diagon Alley. He turned around to snap at them to watch where they were going, but felt something wet hit his face. It was spit. The person he ran into just spat at him, and was laughing in his face.

“Death eater scum!” He yelled, too close for comfort, and Draco’s neck and face started to flush. This. This was the worst of the insults and nastiness. The man gave him a shove, and Draco fell over onto the ground.

He saw people passing by the spectacle, but they put their heads down as if they didn’t see what was happening. As he started to back away to try and flee, someone finally went up to the man terrorizing him and said, “War’s over mate. Let it go.”

Draco’s eyes were glued to the man’s face, so he didn’t see who spoke on his behalf. The man who spat at him looked a little chagrined, but glared at Draco as made his way to leave. Draco let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. He vanished the spit off his face with as much dignity as he could muster, and finally looked over to the person who intervened.

Of course, it was Harry Potter. Potter walked over and gave a hand out to Draco, to help him up. Draco swallowed down his pride and took the hand graciously. Potter always managed to see him at his most vulnerable, somehow. He stood up, his neck and face still flushed with embarrassment.

“Alright, Malfoy?” Potter asked, his expression genuine.

Draco nodded and tried to shake the encounter off, “I'm having to thank you entirely too much as of late,” he said briskly, still humiliated that he had to have Potter’s help in dealing with a bully.

Potter grinned at him, obviously relieved, "I think you've only actually said the words 'thank you' about once, Malfoy. You keep talking about how you should thank me, but never actually get around to the thanking."

Draco raised an eyebrow up at him in amusement, and the casual conversation slides into an awkward silence. The atmosphere was still a little tense, but Draco didn't want to think or talk about Potter having to help him. As Potter awkwardly twitched, he looked down at Magical Menagerie bag, much like Ciara did, and quickly grasped on that for conversation.

“So, you got Cassi some food and toys?” Potter asked.

Draco let out another breath, grateful for the change of subject. “Actually, I got her some toys but no food yet. The clerk recommended I get her a mixture from a butcher, said it would be best for her.”

Potter looked impressed, Draco guessed that most people didn’t know about what was best for their animal. Or, didn’t have the money to provide the best. Draco knew that the impressed look wasn’t necessarily towards him, more at the clerk who recommended it, but he couldn’t help feeling proud that he got something right for once.

“That’ll definitely be good for her,” Potter said, and they came to another awkward lull in the conversation. They both stood there uncomfortably for a second until they both began saying that they needed to go.

“I’ve got to go meet Ron and Hermione at the Leaky,” Harry smiled apologetically, and then looked vaguely uncomfortable momentarily, “I don’t suppose you’d like to go?”

“Oh Merlin no, thanks. I’ve had enough uncomfortable experiences for today,” Draco confessed.

Potter smiled at him, looking slightly relieved. “Well, I hope you have a good night Malfoy, I suppose I’ll be seeing you soon.” Draco looked at him, confused, and Potter added, “To answer any questions you have about Cassi, of course.”

He nodded politely at Potter and then said, stiffly, “Thanks again, Potter. I hope you have a good time with Granger and Weasel.”

Potter looked like he was going to retort something back but then shook his head and gave a light laugh, “See you around Malfoy.”

Draco watched Potter walk in the direction of the Leaky Cauldron, and felt a light flutter in his stomach. That flutter didn't bode well for him, but he wouldn't allow himself to feel more than a minor attraction towards Harry Potter. He was in control of himself and his feelings. Draco repeated that thought to himself as he apparated to the butcher his family used. He was in control of himself and his feelings.

Chapter Text

Draco was woken up in the middle of the night by something landing on his face, he startled awake and instinctively grabbed his wand next him on his bedside table. He rapidly sat up, his heart beating a mile a minute, and immediately whispered “Lumos.”

As his wand tip filled the room with light, he saw that the room was empty and there was no assailant here to attack him. His heart calmed down for a moment and he looked around curiously for what landed on his face. He then heard a protesting meow and saw that Cassi was next to him, looking like she wanted attention.

He groaned loudly, of course, Cassi would want attention at, he squinted at the clock across the room, 2:45 AM. “Cassi, you’re killing me,” Draco whispered at her and grabbed her to give her a quick cuddle. She started purring as soon as he picked her up, which made Draco roll his eyes at her antics.

However, just as soon as he had picked her up, she wiggled in his arms to get down. So, Draco set her down and she rapidly jumped off the bed and started running around the room, playing with her new toys. Draco fell back down on his back and yawned widely, but instead of letting him get back to sleep, she jumped back on the bed and meowed at him.

“Cassi, please please please let me sleep. You can play with your toys on your own,” Draco whined, desperately wanting to fall back asleep.

Cassi paid no attention to his whines and instead made her way up to his face again and sat down on his nose. She started purring and gave a loud meow, to which he groaned at her again and picked her up off his face. He sat up and set her down, and she excitedly jumped back off the bed, to play with her toys again.

Draco grabbed his wand and tiredly lit the candles next to his bed, then said, “Nox. Accio Cassi’s mouse toy.”

The toy zoomed into Draco’s outstretched hand and Cassi watched it zoom with fascination. Then, he threw the toy for her and she scampered after it, pounced on it, and tried to bite the mouses head off. Once she got bored biting the toys head, Draco summoned the mouse back to him, and as it flew over to him, Cassi leaped up to try and grab it from the air. Instead of succeeding, she fell ungracefully on the ground, which made Draco give a boom of laughter. She meowed at him once more as if to say, “Well? Get a move on,” and he threw the toy once more.

This time, she was luckier and caught the toy midair. Cassi then proceeded to bite the toy over and over again, and once she was finished, looked at him expectantly. He wondered exactly how long she would force him to play with her as he made the toy zoom over to him again, and threw it. Draco proceeded to play with her for the next half an hour, all the while cursing his luck at having a cat that seemed to love to play during the nighttime.

After a while, she seemed to grow sleepy and he got out of bed to pick her up off the floor. She started purring as he stroked her, and he set her down on the pillow next to him, continuously petting her. Once she was asleep, Draco mouthed “Thank you” at the ceiling, and then settled down to go back to sleep.

***

Draco woke up again to Cassi jumping on his face, and he groaned. This kneazle was going to kill him. He blearily looked towards the clock and noticed it was light in the room, after sunrise then. He squinted and saw the clock read 7:35 AM, he sighed and resigned himself to waking up for the day.

Thinking she was probably hungry, he scooped up Cassi and headed down to the kitchen to feed her breakfast. She started meowing and wiggling in protest, feeling too hyper to even be held. However, he kept a tight grip on her until they got to the kitchen, where he promptly sat her down and she went sprinting around.

He then grabbed the meat mix he got from the butchers the previous night, under a charm to keep it fresh. He yawned as he put a portion of it in Cassi’s bowl, and then set it down for her to eat. When she saw him set the bowl down, she ran over, learning fast what the bowl meant.

As she inhaled the food, he leaned back on the counter and rested his eyes. Before she was finished, Mimsey wandered in and squeaked at the sight of them. “Master Malfoy, Mimsey can be doing the feeding for the kneazle. Master shouldn’t bother himself with such things!”

Draco opened his eyes and gave Mimsey a small smile, then said, “Mimsey, I really don’t mind. She was hungry and she woke me up this morning. She’s my responsibility anyway.”

Mimsey looked at him disapprovingly but said nothing more. Draco smiled again, he didn’t often win fights about duties like this with Mimsey, so this was quite a victory.

The food bowl was now empty, and Cassi went back to running around the kitchen. Draco sighed once more when he looked at the time, feeling exhausted because of Cassi’s middle of the night play session. He really needed to start working on the hangover potions for his client, but all he could think about was taking a nap. He suddenly decided he couldn’t let this keep happening, and decided to owl Potter to see if there was a time today they could talk about Cassi’s behavior.

“Mimsey?” Draco said, waiting for her to respond.

“Yes, Master?”

“Can you watch Cassi while I go owl Potter? It will only be a few minutes.” He asked politely.

She nodded and bowed at him, and as he left the kitchen Cassi was investigating her food bowl again. He made his way into his father’s old study, which he hated going into. It was now dusty from misuse and had a rather musty smell.

He went looking for parchment and ink, and when he found it, he exited the room quickly. He could almost feel his father’s presence there, and it made him feel both uneasy and guilty. Draco preferred to think about his father as little as possible, but his mother made him visit Lucius every once in a while, which was always an all-around horrible experience.

Whenever he saw his father, he was reminded that he was the one that put them on the path they were on. He had coerced his wife and his only son to join him with the Dark Lord, and yet Draco and Narcissa were the ones dealing with the fallout from the Wizarding World while he rotted in Azkaban. The same thing had happened when he got arrested at the ministry in 5th year, his father had left him and his mother alone with a violent madman living in their house.

So, he avoided any and all things that made him think of his father unless he wanted to spiral off into existential thought. He strode over to the large dining room table and sat down to write Potter a quick letter.

Potter,

I need your assistance with something Cassi is doing. Please let me know when you’re next available.

DM

That should be a sufficient enough, he thought as he walked over to their mini owlery where they kept all the family owls. His eagle owl, Lupus, hooted as he walked into the room. Draco grabbed a couple of treats from a bag in a cupboard and fed them to Lupus. He preened appreciatively, and Draco smiled and gave him a few pets in return.

The other owls looked a little disgruntled that they didn’t get any other treats, but they turned away from Draco, ignoring him. He didn’t mind too much, as he preferred to use Lupus to deliver all his letters. He’s had Lupus since he was a child, and he was always a comfort to him whenever he needed it.

“Alright, Lupus, I have a letter I need you to take to Harry Potter, okay? I’m sure he’ll reply but if he doesn’t, try and make him, please. I’m not sure what his work schedule is and whether or not he works on the weekends, so if he isn’t there just come back here,” Draco instructed his owl.

The owl hooted once more in agreement as Draco attached the letter to his leg, then took off with a large swoop of his wings. Draco watched him fly away and noticed he had butterflies in his stomach. Was he actually nervous for Potter to reply back? He mentally shook himself, he was not a teenager anymore, and getting nervous about something like this was incredibly stupid.

The thing was, Potter had always made him slightly nervous. He could get under Draco’s skin like nobody else, and Draco had spent much of his Hogwarts years obsessing over him. Ever since Draco realized he was attracted to men, Potter had been there in his mind, almost taunting him. When Draco looked back at his Hogwarts years, he could see that what he thought was a rivalry was mostly a boyhood crush. He thought he was completely over Potter, that he would never have to see him again, but he was obviously wrong on both accounts.

Draco sighed as he opened the door to the kitchen, he knew he couldn’t let this get too out of control. From what he knew, Potter was still dating the girl weasel and was very heterosexual. Snapped out of his thoughts, when he looked at the scene before him, his mouth opened in surprise. The kitchen was complete chaos.

“Master Malfoy! Miss Cassi is being very bad!” Mimsey yelled at him as she was chasing Cassi, who had what looked like a sock in her mouth.

There was a variety of pieces of laundry sprawled across the kitchen, it looked like Mimsey had brought in some laundry to fold while watching Cassi, who must’ve thought the pieces of laundry were part of a fun game. Draco let out a light laugh at Cassi, who looked like she was having the time of her life running around with a sock in her mouth.

However, Mimsey looked incredibly stressed out chasing her, so Draco quickly stepped in to help. As Cassi ran past him, Draco picked her up before she even realized what was happening. She dropped the sock in shock, then meowed in protest when she realized she didn’t have the sock and was being held.

He chuckled again at her antics and said, “Thank you for watching her Mimsey, I’m very sorry for the trouble.”

Mimsey still looked frazzled, but, she bowed and replied, “Not a problem, not a problem, next time Mimsey won’t be doing laundry while watching Miss Cassi.”

Draco gave a small bow back, at which Mimsey looked extremely pleased. With Cassi still struggling for freedom in his arms, he left the kitchen. As he was leaving though, Mimsey yelled, “Master, your breakfast!” and shoved a plate with buttered toast and fruit into his free hand.

“Thank you!” He called back at her while leaving the room.

He then walked up the stairs to his room with Cassi still struggling in one hand and the breakfast plate in the other and prepared himself to wait for Potter’s response.

***

Draco heard a loud hoot from the window and stopped playing with Cassi in order to let Lupus in. Tied to his leg was a return letter from Potter, and Draco cursed his swooping stomach while he reached to untie the letter. He opened it, the cursed butterflies in stomach swarming,

Malfoy,

You can stop by for tea and biscuits around 11 if you’d like. We can discuss whatever is going on then. Let me know.

Harry Potter

Draco quickly grabbed a self-inking quill and wrote on the back of Potter's letter to respond,

Potter,

Cassi and I will be there at 11.

DM

He tied the letter back around Lupus’ leg and he took back off to take the letter to Potter with a hoot. Draco looked over to Cassi, who was entertaining herself with her charmed mouse toy.

“Well, little one, we’ll be spending some time with Potter today. How does that sound?”

At the sound of his voice, she gave him a loud meow, at which Draco smiled. He couldn’t believe that a few days ago, he didn’t even have Cassi. His life was already so much different, and he liked it. Who knew that seeing Potter regularly and having to take care of a living animal would make him feel happier?

Draco looked at the clock and saw it was already a quarter past 10, which meant he should start getting ready for tea at Potter’s. Pushing down the nervous feeling in his gut, he went into the bathroom attached to his bedroom to fix his hair and robes.

After meticulously styling his hair, and doing an ironing spell on his robes, he looked at the clock and saw it was nearly time to leave. He played with Cassi for a bit to pass the time, then at 11 sharp, grabbed Cassi and nearly ran to the floo.

When they walked out of Potter’s fireplace into his home, Draco called, “Hello?” into the empty sitting room. He set Cassi down on the ground, who then proceeded to start exploring the many parts of Potter’s place she hadn’t been to yet.

As Draco was about to call out again, Potter quickly exited a room to the right, probably a bedroom. He smiled broadly at Draco, whose stomach broke out into butterflies. “Hi,” Potter said when he reached him, “Sorry about that! I was just…erm…well trying to fix my hair.” Potter smiled ruefully.

Draco raised an eyebrow at him, Potter's hair looked the same as ever, impossibly messy, yet somehow the look really worked for him. At Draco’s eyebrow raise, Potter looked embarrassed.

“I can see how much fixing you did, Potter. Very flat looking,” Draco deadpanned.

Potter gave him a fake outraged look and then laughed, “Making jokes with Draco Malfoy. Never thought I’d see the day.”

Frankly, Draco couldn’t believe it either. If he told a teenage Draco that in 5 years he would be hanging out in Potter’s home, joking around with him, he would’ve told himself to lay off the firewhiskey. He never thought that Potter would be able to talk to him civilly again, let alone make jokes. Draco thought that the dark mark was a brand that made him someone incapable of making friends, let alone friends with the Chosen One.

After a while, Draco responded “Neither did I, Potter,” rather morosely.

Potter’s smile flickered at Draco’s tone, but he rapidly changed the subject to something more cheery, “So, what’s Cassi doing this time that you need help with?”

Draco groaned exaggeratedly, “She’s waking me up in the middle of the night to play,” he sighed and continued, “She jumps on my face to wake me up and then won’t let me go back to sleep until I play with her.”

As Potter deliberated on his situation, they walked into the kitchen and Potter started making tea for them both. “Well, firstly, I would recommend playing with her until she’s exhausted before you go to sleep. Then, feed her right before bed. Naturally, cats hunt, eat, and then sleep, so if you follow that pattern she may sleep through the night.”

Draco looked at him doubtfully, “Is there really nothing else you can think of to do other than play with her at night?” Potter bristled a bit at his tone and Draco added, “I already play with her all the time.”

“Just try it, Malfoy,” Potter said firmly.

Draco sighed inwardly but would try Potter’s method tonight. He could survive one more sleepless night and it would be quite humorous if he could prove Potter wrong. So, he nodded and watched Potter put two scoops of sugar in his tea, with no milk. The fact that Potter remembered how took his tea made him feel privately happy. Merlin, he was turning into a very sappy man.

He took his tea from Potter, who brought his own tea and a small platter of what looked like homemade biscuits. They sat down at the kitchen table, and Draco politely took a biscuit. It was divine. Draco couldn’t believe that Harry Potter could bake so well, where on earth did he learn that?

“These are great, Potter,”

“Thanks, Mrs. Weasley taught me how to make them.”

Draco remembered that the Weasley’s had basically adopted him into their family, “That’s nice,” he replied politely.

Potter’s mouth tightened, as if just now remembering how rude Draco and his entire family had been to the Weasley’s for some time. Draco could feel the tension mounting in the room, with Potter’s mouth forming a grim line and his eyes half glaring at Draco. Not wanting to lose this new and weird mounting friendship he had with Potter, he started speaking some of the stuff he’s never said to anyone before.

“I know you’re not over how I treated you, Granger, and Weasley—”

“And Hagrid! Dumbledore, Lupin, or anyone that wasn’t part of your dark little gang!” Harry interrupted him, angrily.

“Yes, and them too,” Draco continued, feeling slightly abashed, “Look. I know I was wrong then, and I was cruel. I was raised a certain way, and I’m still working on getting over my childhood. I’m not my father. I don’t believe what he believes and I know he and that mad man were wrong and evil. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m sorry. Growing up the way I did isn’t an excuse, I could’ve done better. But when my family and everyone I care about is at risk, I'll do pretty much anything to make sure everyone gets out alive. Everyone I cared about was on the wrong side.”

Potter considered this briefly and nodded. “I believe you. I know you were having second thoughts towards the end, I mean, you didn't identify me when it could've saved your family, it’s why I spoke on behalf of you and your mother during the trials,” Draco’s heart soared, Potter forgiving him this easily was better than he ever hoped for, “but, we’ll never agree on what you did. I know you had people you loved on the wrong side, but you could’ve asked for help. We lost so many people, Malfoy.”

Potter looked pained, and Draco swallowed, “You weren’t the only one who lost people that night,” he said softly, remembering his godfather and his childhood friend. Potter looked at him, pain etched across his face.

They both sat there, mourning those who they had lost, until Potter broke the silence, “I’d like to think we could be friends, Malfoy.” He stuck a hand out at Draco, who nearly laughed at the déjà vu. He thought about the last time he was in this situation with Potter, and how he could humiliate and reject Potter as he had done to Draco. Then, he reached out his hand and shook Potter’s.

Potter smiled at him and Draco smiled back, the moment feeling surreal. Then, they heard a crash from the other room, and their heads whipped over to where it came from. “I think that was my bedroom,” Potter said, panicked.

Wands out, they walked slowly to Potter’s bedroom. Once inside, they didn’t see anything other than a kitten, looking up at them innocently. Draco groaned, loudly, while Potter laughed. Cassi started rubbing on their legs and purring. Potter went into the bathroom, then came back out, “No worries, she just knocked over my soap dispenser. It’s an easy fix.”

Potter went back into the bathroom to do a quick reparo while Draco rolled his eyes at the destructive kitten and bent down to pick her up, “Cassi, that was very very bad of you. Do you understand?” She meowed loudly in his face and continued purring. Draco couldn’t believe it, his cat was evil.

When Potter walked back out of the bathroom, he walked into Draco trying to scold Cassi who would not stop purring and trying to rub on his face. Draco blushed and shrugged at him, and Potter merely laughed. This kitten would be the death of him.

Chapter Text

Draco was in his lab, working on a potion with Cassi was sleeping next to him, when his mother called to him about receiving an owl. The past couple of weeks had been going very smoothly with Cassi. To his dismay, Potter’s suggestion on what to do about Cassi waking him up succeeded, and when Potter had written him to follow up, Draco reluctantly admitted to him his suggestion worked.

Ever since, Draco had owled Potter every so often with kneazle questions, but hadn’t been invited for tea again. Although Draco would never admit it, he had been sending whatever questions came to mind about kneazles, whether or not they applied to Cassi. However, in addition to himself owling Potter, Potter had taken it upon himself to owl Draco funny stories he had from working at St. Pauline’s or random fun facts. It was to the point where they were owling each other regularly, which secretly pleased Draco.

The butterflies in his stomach were only getting worse whenever he thought of Potter or was expecting a letter from him. He knew his attraction to Potter was now way beyond just hormones or a teenage crush. Potter was just so likable, he couldn’t help it. Between Potter’s looks, intelligence, and smile, Draco was gone for him. He knew it was hopeless, there was no way in hell Potter would shack up with a former Death Eater, even if he had said he thought they could be friends the last time they saw each other.

Draco sighed, put a stasis spell on the potion he was working on, and got up to see who owled him, which wasn’t hard to guess. He left Cassi sleeping, but put a charm over the cauldron so she couldn’t get into it if she woke up while he was gone.

When he walked to the owlery, he saw not one, but two, owls there. He recognized one as Potter’s owl, but he wasn’t sure of the other one. His mother smiled at him slyly, “Letter from Mr. Potter again, Draco?”

He blushed under his mother’s gaze, unable to stop himself from having a reaction. He snatched the letter from Potter’s owl, gave him a treat, and he went flying back after he saw Draco wasn’t even opening the letter yet. Draco stuffed the letter into his pocket, determined to open it far away from his mother, and approached the second, unknown owl.

He took the letter of its leg and gave it a treat as well. It hooted in appreciation and then took off, back to wherever it came from. He opened it and recognized Pansy’s handwriting immediately, he scanned the letter quickly and gathered that she was in town for a while and wanted to get drinks with him.

He could see his mother look at him inquisitively, and he answered her unspoken question, “It was just Pansy. She’s in town and wants to get drinks.”

His mother nodded, “I’m sure it’ll be nice to see your old friend, darling.”

Truth be told, it would be nice. He hadn’t seen anyone other than his mother and Potter since he last went to Diagon Alley. However, that was a disaster, so he hadn’t been back. He and Pansy could laugh about Potter and maybe she could make him feel stupid enough about his juvenile crush that it would go away.

He smiled at his mother and nodded, and her eyes flickered to the letter jammed into his pocket. Pretending he didn’t see her gaze, he quickly grabbed a quill to reply back to Pansy with. She suggested going out for drinks at Blaze in a couple of days, and he agreed and suggested a time to meet.

Then, he strapped the letter onto one of their family owls, he would save Lupus for his reply to Potter. Lupus looked a little indignant that he wasn’t using him to send the owl, but Draco just gave him a treat and assured him he’d be sending his reply to Potter very soon. Preening under the care, Lupus looked satisfied. Draco saw his mother was still watching him, so he strode past her back down to his potions lab. He would just draft his reply to Potter in there, away from his mother’s knowing eyes.

When he opened up the door to his lab, Cassi was awake. It was a good thing he put a charm around the cauldron because she was doing her best to get around the charm and into the cauldron. Considering it was a hair growth potion, if she had gotten in, the black fur she had would probably be arm's length by now. When she saw him walk in, she meowed, as if saying “let me in!”

Draco smiled indulgently at her, but instead of letting her into the cauldron, he summoned some treats and a puzzle toy he got her. He would put the treats in the puzzle toy and she would go at it for hours, trying to figure it out so she could get to the treats she smelled. He laughed at her strangled meow when she saw the treats and dumped a handful into the puzzle toy. It had 27 different puzzles, and it was charmed to use a different one with every use. This particular time looked to include levers and buttons along with some easier to get treats in smaller holes so that the cat didn’t give up too quickly.

He put it down on the floor, and she immediately went after it. He watched her play with it for a moment, then took Potter’s letter out of his pocket. His stomach erupted into butterflies at the sight of it and he cursed himself for that. He opened it and it read,

Dear Malfoy,

You wouldn’t believe what happened at work. A lady came in yesterday with her kneazle and house cat mix, and it weighed 30 lbs! When I told her it was severely overweight, she told me that was impossible. So I told her the average weight for a mix like that was 10-15 lbs. She said she never took care of the feeding, her house elf did all of that, so she was sure that it couldn’t be overweight. So she went home and asked the house elf how much and what he was feeding the cat.

She came back today and turns out, the house elf didn’t know what kind of food to feed the cat since it’s the lady’s first one. So, he’s been feeding the cat human meals, 3 times a day. I ask her what the cat has been typically eating then, and apparently, it gets a pot roast or steak every day! Not to mention what it gets for breakfast and lunch. Can you believe a cat eats better than me?

By the way, Cassi is getting to the age where she is old enough to be spayed. Did you want to schedule that or are you planning on having kittens eventually? Let me know and I can schedule that for you.

Yours,
Harry Potter

Draco laughed lightly at the story, and his heart clenched upon reading “Yours, Harry Potter.” He quickly forced himself to stop thinking about then, and instead began thinking about what Potter said about Cassi. Would he want her to have kittens? At the idea of many Cassi’s running around, he shuddered. No, he didn’t want her to have kittens, that would be an incredible amount of work.

He went to pick up a quill to write back a quick response telling Potter to make him an appointment. After he finished, he ran back up to the owlery and approached Lupus. He hooted at his approach and Draco attached the letter to his leg. Knowing where to go without Draco telling him anything, Lupus took off to deliver the letter. Draco watched him fly into the distance, then went back downstairs to work in his lab.

***

Draco had just finished the hair regrowth potion when he heard a hoot from upstairs, signifying Lupus had just gotten back. He bottled the potion and grabbed Cassi, heading out of the lab for the day. When they reached Lupus, Cassi looked at him curiously, but seemed to know that attacking him would be a bad idea.

Lupus had a letter attached to his leg from Potter, so he picked up the letter and saw that Potter had made Cassi’s appointment for the same day he was supposed to get drinks with Pansy. He supposed it would be fine, as the appointment was in the early afternoon, so he didn’t send Potter a letter back to reschedule.

He was anxious to see Potter again, especially since he knew his feelings had changed since he last saw him. He wondered if Potter would be able to detect something different in the way he acted around him. Merlin, he hoped not. Potter finding out about Draco fancying him would be utterly humiliating. He could almost hear Potter saying that he was flattered but that they could never be together. No, Draco would keep this secret clutched to his chest until it eventually went away.

As he walked to his kitchen to get a snack for Cassi, he passed his mother in the sitting room, seemingly knitting a sweater. His mother had taken up knitting after the war ensured her husband was locked up for the foreseeable future and nobody wanted to interact with a former death eater. He knew she was bored, but there was nothing they could really do but wait for the Wizarding World to forget the Malfoy’s troubled history.

His mother looked up as he passed by and said, “Darling, could you come here for a moment?”

Draco walked over to, Cassi lightly wriggling in his arms. Narcissa reached out a hand to pet her and she started purring at the touch. “What did you need, Mother?” he asked after she was not forthcoming with why she asked him over there.

She looked hesitant, then quietly said, “I’m visiting your father next weekend. I know he’d love to see you, Draco.”

His face immediately hardened. His mother knew that he avoided visiting his father as much as possible. “I’m sorry Mother, but I can’t.”

Her mouth thinned into a line and she put her hand on his shoulder, “Draco, your father wants to see you. He misses you.”

“Well then maybe he shouldn’t have picked the wrong side and gotten himself locked up then!” Draco snapped at her and regretted it instantly when her face fell. They would never agree with his father’s decisions. His mother still believed he thought he was doing what was best for their family, while Draco thought he was a selfish bigot that was stuck in his ways. He started again, not wanting to upset his mother, “You know Father and I will never agree at this point, Mother. I love you and on some level, I’ll always love him, and maybe I’ll be able to visit him more in a few years, but it’s too difficult to right now.”

She sighed and then nodded, looking down at what she was knitting. Draco’s heart clenched and he opened his mouth as if to say something else, but there was nothing left to say. He freed a hand from holding Cassi, and place his hand on his mothers. He gave her hand a quick squeeze, then got up to go to the kitchen.

As he left the room, he could see his mother’s face carefully go into a blank mask, the same mask he uses when he went out in public. And this is why he had to stay at the Manor, for her, he reminded himself and walked out of the room.

***

In the few days following up to his appointment with St. Pauline’s, he and Potter exchanged several letters, even starting to branch out to topics unrelated to animals. It felt like they were becoming proper friends, and he didn’t know how he felt about it. While he had always wanted to be friends with Potter since he was a kid, his burgeoning feelings were just continuing to get worse with every letter he received.

Cassi’s appointment was later that day, and Draco was getting extremely nervous about it. He knew that it was a common procedure and that most likely everything would be fine, but he had gotten extremely attached to Cassi, and couldn’t imagine life without her. He knew Potter would do everything in his power if something were to happen, which made him feel a little better.

He looked at Cassi, who was currently cuddled up to him and sleeping tight. He smiled helplessly, this kneazle had completely changed his life and he loved her for it. He picked up a letter from Potter that he was reading before and skimmed it again. He explained the procedure and what was going to happen, it seemed pretty cut and dry. They mapped out the parts they needed to vanish with a series of seemingly complicated spells and then used a specific vanishing spell that was invented specifically for procedures such as this one.

There wasn’t much room for error, but if there was an incompetent wizard on the team, they could easily vanish the wrong part of her. In the letter, Potter assured him that they do so many of those surgeries every day that it was very routine, so Draco tried to let that calm his nerves. Unsurprisingly, it did not. It wouldn’t be until it was over and he could see with his own eyes that she was fine that he would be calm.

At least he could distract himself with potion making until the time came, and he would make sure to keep Lily as close to him as possible. He had already shipped out the hair growth potion, so he just had a couple of other client orders he had to work for.

After losing himself in his work for a couple of hours, he heard his mother call his name. He put a stasis spell on the potion he was working on and went up to see what she needed. When he got upstairs, he saw Potter, looking extremely awkward standing next to his mother.

Draco’s heart started thumping so loudly, he was surprised Potter couldn’t hear it. Did he somehow mistake the time and miss the appointment?

“Potter, what a surprise,” he said, as coolly as he could manage with his rapidly beating heart, “Did I miss Cassi’s appointment?”

Potter smiled at him and started shaking his head, “No, no. I thought I’d visit before the procedure because you seemed nervous in our letters. I wanted to reassure you in person.”

Narcissa looked between the two of them and smirked noticeably, “Well, I’ll leave you two alone.”

Potter looked back at her like he forgot she was there, “Thanks again for getting him for me Narcissa,” Potter said. His mother then walked away, off to do Merlin knew what, leaving him to somehow entertain Potter.

“Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” Draco asked, searching for something to talk about.

Potter shrugged, “Technically yes, but it’s really slow right now because we had a couple of cancellations, so my supervisor let me come here for a bit.”

Draco nodded and looked around awkwardly. It was like everything they had ever talked about vanished from his brain and all that was left was all the uninteresting parts of him. Potter looked around, still looking a little uncomfortable. After a few moments, Draco realized why. Potter hadn’t been to the manor since the Snatchers caught them and brought them here, years ago. He was probably remembering all the bad things that happened here.

“You didn’t have to come here, you know. I know this place, well, it can be uncomfortable, at the very least,” Draco admitted.

Potter shook himself out of whatever reverie he was in and confessed, “It’s pretty weird to be here. It feels like I was just transported back to wartime.”

Draco nodded and tried not to let his disappointment show on his face. Of course, Potter would hate to be here, Draco himself didn’t particularly like staying in the manor. “If you would like to go back to your home…?” he started saying, trying to offer Potter a way out.

“Oh no, no, Malfoy it’s fine. Trust me, it’s just a little weird here, but I’m over the war, I’ll be fine. Years of going to a mind healer weren’t for nothing!” he laughed, awkwardly, his hand rubbing the back of his neck. 

Draco wasn’t shocked that Potter had gone to a mind healer, after all the trauma he went through, he would’ve been more surprised if he hadn’t gone to one. Draco himself tried to find a suitable one shortly after the trials, but all of the best mind healers didn’t want to help a former Death Eater so shortly after the war.

Draco smiled lightly at Potter, who still looked uncomfortable after divulging that tidbit of information, “I tried to go to a mind healer too, Potter. I think after all we went through, most people in our class did.”

Potter nodded and then rapidly changed the subject, “Where’s Cassi off to?”

“Oh, she’s just in my lab, sleeping,” Draco replied, “Follow me and we can go retrieve her.”

Draco started towards his lab and Potter quickly fell in step beside him. He could see Potter looking around as the walked through the house, Draco supposed after living here for so long he got used to the oddities.

When they walked in the room, he saw Cassi was again trying to get through the charm that protected his cauldron. He laughed at her antics and saw Potter looking confused. “I just put a charm around the cauldron so she can’t get into it,” he explained to Potter.

Potter nodded and started looking around Draco’s lab, looking impressed. Draco knew his lab looked impressive to outsiders, but it was just like a traditional potion makers lab. His ingredients were in buckets stuck on the wall and there were so many of them they went from floor to ceiling. He had many different cauldrons lining the floor, each a different type of material, as some potions were finicky and brewed best in various conditions.

“Wow, Malfoy. This is amazing,” Potter marveled, and Draco preened a bit at the praise. His lab was pretty amazing, it took him a painstaking amount of time to gather all the ingredients and cauldrons and put them in order like they were.

“Thanks. This is nothing, any potion master will have a similar lab,” he said, modestly. He walked over to grab Cassi, still trying to get into the cauldron. When he picked her up, she gave a loud meow in protest, wanting to stay by the cauldron. He walked back over to Potter, who was still looking around his lab.

“So, what? You’re a potion master? I just realized I have no idea what you do,” he admitted.

Their conversations were always so centered on animals or Potter’s job that Draco supposed he hadn’t mentioned his potions work. “I actually run a potions business right now. Just a small one, but customers get potions via owl order and shops buy more common potions from me to sell to their customers. It’s not really lucrative, but I mostly do it because I enjoy brewing and need something to do,” he explained.

“Wow, that’s awesome, Malfoy! I guess you were always good at Potions in school,” Potter said, “Better than me anyway,” he added as an afterthought.

Draco laughed, “Potter, it wasn’t hard to be better at Potions than you. You were abysmal.”

Potter starting laughing with Draco, and it hit him how nice this was. Laughing with Potter, not at him. He was thoroughly enjoying his time being Potter’s friend.

“I never really imagined you doing something like this,” Potter commented, “I always saw you as more of a politician or advisor type person, like your father.”

Draco’s mouth thinned and he felt slightly offended, but he supposed that was fair. He had spouted his father’s bullshit all throughout school and if he hadn’t had a wake-up call, he probably would’ve been exactly like Potter said. So, Draco just let out a weak laugh and changed the subject by giving Potter Cassi to hold.

Potter cooed at her and she started purring, which didn’t make Draco as jealous as it had when he had first found her. He and Cassi had a special relationship, he knew that even though she may like other people, he was truly her favorite person.

Potter looked back up at Draco and said, “Really though, there’s nothing you need to be worried about for the procedure. It’s very standard, and I’ll be there, so you know I’ll be extra careful.”

Draco nodded, feeling reassured that Potter would be there, making sure Cassi came out fine. “I appreciate you coming here, Potter.”

“Listen, I’ve got to go back to the clinic now, I said I wouldn’t be gone long. Everything is going to be fine! I’ll see you and Cassi later today,” Potter said and smiled at Draco again, “It was lovely seeing your house and the lab.”

Potter handed him back Cassi, who was still purring. He watched as Potter walked away to the fireplace and back to St Pauline’s.

Chapter Text

When Draco dropped Cassi off to Potter and her appointment, they told him that he could go home and come back in an hour and she should be done. However, instead of going home, Draco sat in the waiting room. He was so nervous that he couldn’t stomach going home, he wouldn’t be able to get anything done anyway.

So, Draco sat there and watched the muggle televisions in the waiting room, his mind full of the things that could go wrong in the procedure, until the receptionist, Penny, told him Cassi was ready and he could follow her.

He walked to where she was located and saw a sleeping kitten laying there. He took in a deep breath of relief, glad that the worst of his imagination was just that, his imagination. He went to pet his sleeping kitten and waited for someone to come in the room and talk to him about the procedure.

A few minutes later, Potter walked in and smiled broadly at Draco, “The procedure went excellent, Malfoy! She’s asleep for the time being, but after she wakes up you just have to give her some of the prescribed pain potion every 8 hours for a couple of days while her system adjusts to the change.”

Draco nodded, any tension left in his body gone with Potter’s words. “Thanks, Potter. Really. I appreciate you making sure everything went okay during the procedure. You didn’t have to do as much as you did.”

Potter smiled at him, again, and if you told Draco that he would have Harry Potter smiling at him regularly a year ago, he would’ve thought you had a bit too much to drink. Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy? Smiling at each other? Willingly? But, no matter how he would’ve felt in the past, it was nice. Potter smiling at him. Someone showing any emotion aside from fear or disgust towards him made everything feel more okay.

He snapped out of his reverie at Potter saying, “It’s my genuine pleasure, Malfoy.” There was something in Potter’s eyes as he spoke that he couldn’t quite place, but he put that out of his mind and gave him a small smile back. Before Potter and he started the odd friendship they had, he rarely smiled, but now, whenever he saw Potter he became full of smiles. It was strange, but Draco decided to accept that as a side effect to being friends with Potter, smiling often.

Draco looked back at Cassi, who was still sleeping on the table, “So are we free to go then?” he asked, not sure what else there was left to do there.

Potter looked at him sheepishly, seemingly distracted by their short, but pleasant conversation. “Of course, sorry, yeah, you can follow me.”

He walked over to Cassi and scooped her up into his arms, and she didn’t move a muscle, still under magical sleep. As they walked down the hallways, Draco saw that nearly all the operating rooms were empty. He looked at his watch and saw St. Pauline’s would be closing in a few minutes, so there were few people left in their rooms.

“Well, here you are,” Potter said, leading Draco to the waiting room to pay for the procedure, “I suppose I should just…go clean up,” he trailed off, awkwardly, as if waiting for something.

Draco just stared at him, he had already said thank you, hadn’t he? What else did Potter want? Maybe he just wanted another thanks, and goodbye, so Draco said exactly that. However, when he said his thanks and farewell, Potter’s face fell, as if that wasn’t what he had wanted at all.

More confused than ever, Draco watched Potter slowly walk away, as if he was still waiting for Draco to say something. Draco, suddenly realizing he didn’t want Potter to go away, called, “Potter, wait!” Potter whipped around, his face looking hopeful rather than disappointed as he did before. “Would you like to come by the Manor afterward? I’m sure I’ll need help taking care of Cassi, I’ve never dealt with a kneazle right after a procedure before.”

Draco didn’t know what he was doing, inviting Potter over for a second time in one day. Of course Potter wouldn’t want to come over again, he had already said how weird it was to be at the Manor earlier today. But, as he was cursing himself, Potter grinned at him and said, “I’d love to, Malfoy.”

Shocked, Draco just looked at him and said, “Well, okay, great. Potter. I’m sure I’ll need all the help I can get.”

Potter nodded and said, with a note of sheepishness, “I actually do need to go clean, er, I suppose I’ll meet you at the Manor?”

Draco nodded in agreement, and as Potter walked away, approached Penny, the receptionist. He politely asked, “How much do I owe you?”

She looked at him, unimpressed, and replied, “That procedure will cost you 11 galleons and 4 sickles.”

Cassi still sleeping in his arm, Draco reached for his money bag in the pocket of his robes with his left hand, unknowingly jostling his sleeve doing so. When he took his money bag out of his robe, he heard Penny gasp. Confused, he looked down at where she was staring, and his heart went cold. He shook the sleeve to cover it immediately, but the damage was done. He looked at her face and saw that she looked disgusted, yet terrified. Ashamed, but not wanting to show it, he put on his blank, uncaring face and threw the money at her. Then, without waiting for a response and avoiding her gaze, he ran towards the Floo, trying to escape what just happened.

When he landed in the Manor, his heart was racing and he was panting, heavily. He took special care to keep the Dark Mark hidden, as it was usually a harsh reminder to him and the people around him of the worst years of his life. Yet, he let Potter distract him and get him flustered so that he wasn’t paying any mind to it. Stupid.

He took several deep breaths, trying to calm himself down, when Cassi gave a big yawn and started to wake up. Apparently, the sleeping draught they gave her was just now wearing off. He continued to try to calm himself, for her sake, but didn’t succeed. When she opened her eyes to look at him, she meowed and starting purring. He took a few more deep breaths and started to pet her, feeling the panic and self-hatred gradually leaving his body.

His mother walked in a few minutes later and when she saw Draco’s expression, immediately rushed over to him, “Draco, what happened? Is Cassi okay?” She looked down at Cassi, who was still purring as Draco pet her.

“Cassi is fine,” He murmured, “The receptionist saw my mark.”

At that, Narcissa’s mouth tightened. She nodded at him and asked, “Do you need anything?”

“Potter will be coming over via floo, can you fend him off please?” He looked down, wondering how he ever thought he could be friends with Potter, “Just tell him I’m ill, or something.”

His mother nodded and Draco, still holding Cassi, made his way to his room. As he was making his way down the hallway of judgmental ancestors, Mimsey popped up next to him. “Master will be taking supper in his room?” She said, questioningly.

Draco nodded, his panic completely gone, replaced by a morose feeling. Mimsey vanished, presumably off to prepare dinner, and Draco and Cassi reached his room. He sat down on his bed and placed Cassi right next to him. He let out a deep sigh and wished he could get his previous happy mood back. He wondered if he should also cancel with Pansy, the last thing he wanted was to go out right now, but decided to wait until she got here and ask if she wanted to hang out in the Manor. If anyone could annoy him out of a sulky mood, it’d be Pansy.

He heard his mother talking from downstairs, Potter would be here then. He looked at the door, grumpily, wanting to go downstairs and greet Potter. But, he knew he couldn’t be Potter’s friend. This afternoon was a reminder of that. Draco, a former Death Eater, couldn’t be friends with the Boy Who Lived. It made no sense, and Draco finally realized that. He heard someone come up the stairs and tensed up, wondering if his mother had let Potter come up after all.

He looked at the door as it opened, and Pansy stuck her head in, “Oi, warn a girl if she’s going to be surprised by Harry Potter when she walks in.”

“You’re early, Parkinson,” Draco said, mildly shocked at her abrupt presence when he had been expecting Potter. As she opened the door, he noticed she was dressed for a night out. Her short, black bob looked sleek and she had a shiny mini dress on, showing off her long legs. He knew if he had any interest at all in women, he would be drooling over her. But, he was very gay.

She raised her eyebrows at him and walked towards his bed, “Budge over,” she gestured towards him and Cassi, who he moved very carefully, as she had fallen back asleep. “Narcissa told me you’re in a mood,” Pansy commented.

Draco groaned, “She didn’t say that in front of Potter, did she?”

“Nah, she has too much tact for that. It was after he left,” She began, and then her lips transformed into a sly smirk, “Speaking of, what the bloody hell was Harry Potter doing in your house?”

His face transformed into a grimace, “Well, it’s kind of a long story.”

“Draco, I’ve got time.”

Chapter Text

Draco woke up next to Pansy and immediately groaned at the extreme headache he had. Instead of going out, Draco told Pansy all that had happened over the past few weeks, both of them drinking copiously during it. After getting very drunk, Draco’s story about Cassi and Potter got very off track and he had started talking about how he likes Potter very very much. At the thought of everything he said about Potter, to Pansy, of all people, he grimaced. There was no way he’d be living that down.

His head started pounding again, reminding him that he needed a hangover cure, desperately. He got up, trying not to disturb Pansy next to him, who was still sleeping, makeup smeared across her face and her hair a mess. He was about the only person she would let see herself like this, Pansy was the most put together person he knew.

As he got out of bed, he accidentally jostled her, and she groaned, just as Draco had when she got up. “Draco, hangover potion, now,” she said, her voice muffled by the pillow she had her head smashed up against.

Draco tried to smirk, however, it came out more like a scowl because of his own headache. He grumbled about how she should be getting her own hangover cure as he exited the room and headed towards his lab. If he had any sense, he would’ve put a couple of vials of hangover cure in his bedroom, but alas, in his mood last night he hadn’t had the foresight.

As he trudged to his lab, more memories from last night came rushing back to him. His mother, collecting Cassi from his bed to give her the pain potion Potter had brought with him. Mimsey, bringing Pansy and Draco food. Draco, telling Pansy about “stupid Potter and his stupid body.” He flushed at the thought of all he said last night as he finally reached his lab and the sought after hangover potion. He grabbed a vial for himself and tossed it down, grimacing at the taste. Almost immediately though, his headache subsided and he felt less hazy and in more control over his body.

As soon as the fog from his head was gone, he immediately wondered where Cassi was, as she wasn’t in his room when he woke up that morning. Supposing Mimsey might have her, he called “Mimsey, come here please!”

She popped up next to him, looking a little worse for wear, but bowed. “Master Draco called for Mimsey?”

“Good morning, Mimsey, you wouldn’t have happened to be watching Cassi while I was, uh, incapacitated, did you?”

Mimsey nodded, looking vaguely unhappy, and a surge of guilt rose up in Draco. He knew Mimsey didn’t like kneazles, yet she still watched Cassi anyway. He looked down at her warmly and said, “Thank you for your help Mimsey. You can bring her back to me if you’d like, I can watch her now.”

Mimsey beamed at him and bowed once more, then apparated away to wherever she was keeping Cassi. In less than 30 seconds, she was back and handed him a struggling Cassi, who meowed as soon as she saw Draco. He smiled and when she was near his face, she started rubbing all over him, as if to say, “I missed you!”

“Is there anything else you is needing from me, Master Draco?”

He shook his head, “No, thank you again, Mimsey,” he tried to think of some way he could repay her for putting herself in terror all night for him, and inspiration struck, “Why don’t you take a few hours off Mimsey?

Her eyes widened comically and he saw her awkwardly pull at the pillowcase she was wearing, he tried to smile kindly at her to put her at ease, but that seemed to alarm her even more. “Master is very kind but, oh, Mimsey couldn’t be taking any time off, sir. There is much to be doing!”

“Mimsey. I insist. If anything, do it as a favor to me. Relax for a few hours and then go back to your regular duties,” She looked around awkwardly for a moment as if looking for a reason to say she couldn’t, but then eventually nodded at him and bowed, “Thank you, Mimsey. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

He walked back up the stairs to his bedroom with Cassi in one arm and the vial of hangover potion for Pansy in the other. When he walked into his room, he saw Pansy was lying in the exact same position as she was previously. When he poked her with the vial of potion, she groaned once more, grabbed the potion, and downed it in one go. He could see the relief on her face almost instantaneously, the potion working its magic.

“What took you so long to get back here? Stop for a shag with Potter?” Pansy snickered and looked at him expectantly.

Draco rolled his eyes, he was already regretting everything he said last night, the mocking would be endless. “I got Cassi from Mimsey.”

He held up Cassi to Pansy, who stuck a hand out for the kneazle to sniff. Cassi didn’t seem very interested in Pansy, not like how she was when she met Draco, and Potter, his subconscious supplied helpfully. He irritably told that voice to shut up, then set Cassi down on the bed. Evidently, she spent most of her morning terrorizing Mimsey, because as soon as he had set her down on the bed, she curled up on his pillow and fell asleep.

After briefly looking down at Cassi, Pansy looked back up at him, “Cute cat,” she rubbed her hand across her face and looked horrified when it came back with makeup on it, “Fuck. I didn’t realize I didn’t take this shit off. Well, there goes my clean skin for the week.”

She walked into his bathroom, he heard her performing various cleaning spells to straighten up her appearance. He could probably use a few of those too, but instead of walking in there with her, he sat down on the bed next to Cassi. As he rubbed her, he thought again of what happened yesterday. His mark was a reminder of the worst mistake of his life, and lucky for him, it was displayed on his arm for everyone to see until he was dead.

He would always be known as Draco Malfoy, death eater. He hated that. It was why he couldn’t even be friends with Potter, even less so pursue a romantic relationship. He sighed deeply just as Pansy walked out of the bathroom. When she heard him sigh, she rolled her eyes, the expression on her face made it look like dealing with Draco’s issues was one of the most taxing moments of her life.

“Bloody hell Draco, stop feeling so sorry for yourself. Yes you were a death eater, yes you have the mark, and yes Harry Potter was the stupid savior. Doesn’t mean anything. Stop letting that fucking mark control your life. From what I could gather from your drunken babbling last night, you guys are good friends. Don’t ruin that.”

“But Pansy,” he complained, “People constantly go after me because of this damn mark. How am I supposed to move on like it’s nothing? You’re telling me to do the impossible.”

Pansy’s eyes flashed at that, she walked up to him and jabbed a finger into his chest, “There you go again Draco Malfoy. All I hear coming from your mouth is whining about how bad you have it. Yes, it sucks. But sitting on your ass and not making any new friends or interacting with anyone isn’t helping. Apologize to Potter. Move on with your fucking life. Don’t make me say this again, I’m leaving.”

She huffed at him and then glared as she gathered her stuff to leave. Internally, Draco was seething. How did she think she had the right to say all of that to him? But deep down he knew she was right. He couldn’t let a small incident like this stop his life. He wanted to keep his friendship with Potter, so he would.

Chapter Text

After Pansy apparated out of Malfoy Manor, Draco finally cleaned himself up from last night. He needed to pull himself together and stop feeling sorry for himself, like Pansy said. He made bad decisions when he was a teenager, but he couldn’t let that define who he was now.

As Draco cleaned himself up in the bathroom connected to his bedroom, he heard the sound of tapping on glass. He went back into his room and saw Potter’s owl, tapping at the window to get his attention.

Confused, Draco let the owl in, who hopped onto Draco’s arm and looked at him expectantly. “Listen, I don’t have any treats for you, this is my room, not the owlery.”

The owl looked at him, seemingly unimpressed, and hooted indignantly. Draco rolled his eyes at the owl’s demanding behavior and took Potter’s letter off his leg. The owl hooted once more and took off out the window, not bothering to wait for Draco’s reply.

Draco let out a short laugh at the owl's antics, marveling at Potter’s lack of training. None of the owls his family owned were every that bratty, but, to be fair, they had their owls trained by a certified owl trainer, something Potter obviously didn’t care to do.

He looked towards the letter in his hand and his heart started racing. He had been a complete ass to Potter last night, what could be inside this letter? Was it Potter telling him that he didn’t want to be his friend and he needed to take Cassi to another vet from now on? Was it him cursing him out? Was it him telling Draco all the bad things he had done and how he didn’t deserve to have Potter as a friend anyway?

Draco took a deep breath, trying to control his thoughts. He sat down next to Cassi on the bed, who suddenly woke up and moved so she was cuddled into his leg. She started purring as he began to stroke her fur, and Draco felt himself calm down.

He forced himself to look down at the letter again, and when he didn’t panic, opened it. 

Dear Malfoy,

I hope you’re feeling better! Your mom told me that you fell ill when I came over. Tell Cassi I hope she’s feeling better after her procedure. Let me know if you’d like to get drinks sometime.

Harry 

After finishing the letter, he immediately felt a tidal wave of guilt hit him. He really was an asshole to Potter last night. Potter knew he wasn’t sick, yet he was pretending that he was in order to make Draco feel better. He groaned and rubbed his hand down his face. Why did he make bad decisions whenever he got into a mood?

He grumbled at himself for a few more moments and then summoned some parchment and ink to write Potter back. When they zoomed across the room, Cassi perked up, wondering if they were going to play the mouse summoning game.

When he didn’t do anything more than pick up the quill and dip it into the ink, she fell back asleep, disinterested in what he was doing.

Potter,

I am feeling much better, thank you for the inquiring on my health. In addition, Cassi is doing very well. I’m sorry we were unable to entertain you last night, I hope you were able to occupy the night elsewhere. If you would like to do drinks tonight, feel free to stop by the Manor whenever suits you. Please keep me updated via owl if you decide to or not to come.

DM

Draco picked up Cassi, who yawned right in his face when he had her in his arms. “Lovely, thanks, Cassiopeia.” He grumbled but smiled indulgently at her.

He made his way to the owlery, Cassi in his arms, to send his letter to Potter since Potter’s grouchy and untrained owl decided he was too good to wait for Draco’s reply. When he got there, he held Cassi tight so that she wouldn’t be tempted to try and jump out of his arms, and strode over to Lupus. He gave him a couple of treats, attached the letter to his leg, and within 2 minutes the letter was gone.

“Well, Cassi, let’s hope Potter decides that The Boy Who Lived can look past my rudeness.”

***

Potter was supposed to be at the Manor in the next hours for drinks, and Draco was a mess. No matter what he did, he didn’t look right and damn it why did he have no robes appropriate for a drink with Potter?

Cassi was watching his meltdown from his bed, looking interested in Draco’s hysterics. He flopped on the bed next to her and mumbled, “This evening has to be perfect, because if it isn’t, Potter might not forgive me, and then how am I supposed to go on with my life?”

She meowed in response and Draco laughed. “You get it, don’t you Cassi?”

“Talking to cats now, Draco?”

He jumped and whipped his head up to see Pansy standing at the door to his room. He scowled at her and she smirked at him, then strode confidently into his room.

“What are you doing here again, Parkinson?”

“Oh, am I Parkinson now? I thought you’d be happy to see me considering you’re an absolute mess.”

His eyes narrowed and he looked her up and down, immaculate, as usual. How infuriating. “How did you even know to come over?”

“Your house elf said you needed my help for a date with Potter,” she smiled slyly at him, “Your welcome for that advice, by the way, so I cleared my schedule tonight to help you get ready, which you so obviously need.”

He glared at her, but said nothing, because, well, she was right. He did need her help. She looked at him, expectantly, so he gritted his teeth and spit out, “Thank you, Pansy. Please help me get ready,” and then, before he forgot to correct her, “It’s not a date by the way. We’re just having drinks here.”

She rolled her eyes at him, and Draco felt a prickly irritated sensation crawling up his throat. He didn’t want to think this was a date, because if it was a date, that was all the more reason to get nervous. Anyway, Potter was still dating Weaselette wasn’t he? So, if this was a date, Draco should be offended that Potter would think that he would be his other man.

Pansy gestured at him to get up, taking him out of his reverie. He stood up and she looked at him a moment before grabbing his arm and pulling him into the bathroom. “So, what seems to be the problem with your hair?” She asked, eyeing his hair critically.

“It won’t go the right direction and it just won’t cooperate!” He said loudly, frustrated and tugging on the strands. His hair was so messy, it was starting to look like Potter's hair.

Pansy nodded and started ruffling through her bag, “Well, luckily for you, I had the foresight to bring my hair products, which are far superior to yours.”

Draco kept his snippy comments to himself as she brought out a bunch of different products and started smearing stuff into his hair. “You’re lucky I’m such a good friend, this shit is expensive.”

As she worked on his hair, he tried to relax. He was very on edge for this meeting, which wouldn’t do him any good. It was just Potter. At this point, they had spent a decent amount of time together. If there wasn’t anything to talk about, he could just talk about Cassi. She was easy to talk about, and since they were having drinks at the Manor, they could always play with her as well.

He calmed down at the thought, Cassi would be their buffer. They didn’t really need to have anything to talk about as long as she was there. As the tension slowly drained out of his body, he noticed Pansy had stopped messing with his hair. When he looked up at it in the mirror, he was pleasantly surprised that it looked perfect.

He smiled at her in genuine relief, and she rolled her eyes at him again and smiled back. “You’re welcome,” she said, without even a snarky comment following it.

She walked to his wardrobe and picked out robes in less than 30 seconds. Confused at how quickly she picked them, he sauntered over to her. He saw her holding out robes that he never wore, as he thought the color didn’t suit him.

They were a dark black, as most of Draco’s robes were, and were accented with deep maroon, which always felt too Gryffindor for him. He eyed the robes with distaste, “Those don’t suit me. Pick out something else.”

Pansy rolled her eyes as if the world was testing her, “Yes, Draco,” she said slowly, as if he was a child, “The robes are Gryffindor colors. Potter was a Gryffindor.” She looked at him meaningfully when she finished.

And of course. Potter was a Gryffindor. It would only make sense to dress in Gryffindor colors. Unwillingly to let Pansy know he thought she was right, he scoffed, “That doesn’t mean the colors flatter me, Pansy.”

In lieu of an answer, she shoved the robes at him and raised her eyebrows. He took them without comment and walked into the bathroom to put the robes on. Once they were on, he observed himself in the mirror, and Merlin, did he look like he was an older Gryffindor student.

He shuddered in disgust at the thought, he may have changed his opinions on Muggles and Muggleborns, but he still thought Gryffindors were stupidly brave idiots. He swallowed down the revulsion at his robes and exited the bathroom. When he walked into Pansy’s view, he could immediately tell she was trying her best not to laugh.

Grumpily, he said, “Go ahead and laugh Parkinson, I know you want to.”

As soon as he finished speaking, she immediately burst out into laughter. Which continued for another 2 minutes straight, after which she seemed to calm down. However, as soon as she looked up at him, she started laughing all over again.

He gritted his teeth in displeasure, but waited for her to calm down. “Whenever you’re done laughing at me, I should probably finish getting ready,” he said, irritably.

She wiped a tear from her eye and nodded, saying nothing. He sullenly thought that if she opened her mouth she’d probably burst out in laughter at how ridiculous he looked in these robes once again.

However, instead of laughing, she busied herself finding some facial moisturizer in her bag. Once she found it, she slathered it over Draco’s face, and he grimaced at the slimy feel of it.

“Alright, there you go, you don’t look so fucking dry anymore. Big improvement.”

Draco rolled his eyes and went to grab the cologne he normally wore, a mixture of cinnamon and sandalwood. Once he smelled of that, Pansy looked him over and nodded. “I think you look good, Draco,” she smiled at him, looking genuine, and Draco was immediately concerned for her wellbeing. Pansy didn’t just smile, she only did so if a joke was being made or she was being an asshole.

“Stop smiling at me Pansy, it’s weird.”

She shoved him and said, “Shut up, Draco. I’m just happy you’re finally getting your life together. We’ve all been worried.”

He looked up sharply, We? Have his friends been talking about him behind his back? Another shove broke him out of his reverie, “Draco, stop overanalyzing it. Your friends are allowed to be concerned for you.”

Pansy was looking at him intensely, her shoulders in a determined looking stance, and Draco sighed and let the tension release from his body. “I’m happy too,” he whispered, looking away from her.

He could feel her relax next to him and she pulled him into a short hug. “Smiles and hugs? Who are you and what have you done with Pansy Parkinson?”

She laughed with mirth and started to walk away from him, “Good luck tonight, really. I’ll see you later.”

***

Draco was waiting in the sitting room for Potter to arrive through the floo and was trying to soothe his nerves by petting Cassi. Unfortunately for him, Cassi was not in the mood to sit still, so in no time she was running around and exploring, leaving Draco to dwell on his nerves with no distractions.

Right as Draco was thinking about how he needed something to do, the fireplace lit up and Potter walked out of it. When he saw Draco sitting on the couch, he smiled broadly and walked over. “Feeling better, Malfoy?”

“Much,” he said briskly, trying not to betray anything on the matter. He stood up and saw Potter’s eyes drawn to his robes. His eyes went wide and he looked momentarily frozen. Draco smirked, Pansy’s plan had worked. He cleared his throat and Potter looked up in embarrassment.

“Sorry, er, I thought I saw a stain on your robes,” Potter stuttered, looking around awkwardly.

“Oh, I thought you were distracted because my robes look like Gryffindor colors, but of course, it was a stain. What would I know?” Potter's discomfort had emboldened Draco, who was still smirking at Potter.

Potter cleared his throat again, “Er right, the stain. It was, uh, very distracting. Where’s Cassi?” He looked desperate for a change in subject, so Draco took pity on him.

“Oh, Cassi is around here somewhere,” he said, gesturing his hand around to the general vicinity.

Potter started clicking his tongue and walking around, and Cassi came out, curious about the noise. He smiled and bent down, holding out something in his hand. “It’s just a treat from the office,” he explained, seeing Draco’s curious look.

She sniffed at the treat cautiously, then grabbed it quickly from Potter’s hand and sprinted over to a corner to eat it.

“Well,” Potter said, clapping his hands together, “Shall we be off then?”

“Off?”

“To get drinks?” He trailed off, looking confused, “I thought we could go to the Drunken Owl?”

It was then Draco realized Potter was expecting them to go out for drinks, therefore meaning Cassi wouldn’t be there to break the ice and he would have to go out in public wearing Gryffindor color robes. However, no matter how much he wanted to say no, he really couldn’t. He had already been a dick to Potter the day before, he didn’t know how much bad behavior Potter would tolerate before he decided friendship with Draco wasn’t worth it.

“Right, of course, well, I need to find my mother to watch Cassi,” he said, not wanting to ask Mimsey to watch her for the second night in a row. He went over to the corner where Cassi was finishing up her treat and picked her up. “Mimsey?”

Mimsey popped up next to him, but when she saw that Draco was carrying Cassi, she blanched. “Master is wanting Mimsey to be watching the kneazle again?” she asked, quivering.

“No, no,” he said, and Mimsey immediately relaxed, “I was looking for my mother, do you know where she is?”

“Mistress isn’t being here right now,” Mimsey said, looking cagey.

Curious, Draco asked, “Where is she, Mimsey?”

“Mistress is visiting Master Malfoy,” she said nervously, “is Master Draco wanting to go visit Master Malfoy?”

“No!” Draco snapped, forcefully, avoiding Potter’s curious gaze.

Of course, she was visiting his father. No wonder Mimsey looked so nervous, she knew how often this argument came up between him and his mother. Trying to push down his frustration at his mother and still avoiding eye contact with Potter, he asked, “Mimsey, can you please let my mother know she is needed here as soon as she finishes with my father?”

She nodded and with a crack, was gone. Draco tried to look occupied with petting Cassi, hoping Potter would leave what had happened be, but of course, Potter had no tact.

“You don’t visit Lucius?” Potter inquired.

“No,” he drawled, “Surprisingly enough, Potter, I don’t feel like visiting the man who got my family involved with a murderous maniac that decided to live in my house. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, he taught me to be a hateful little prick growing up, something I’m still trying to work through,” He looked Potter in the eye and spat out, “So no, I don’t visit my father.”

Potter’s eyes had steadily widened throughout Draco’s rant, and at the end, he looked like a comic book character. “Listen, Malfoy, I’m—“

“It’s fine,” Draco forced out between gritted teeth, “Just a touchy subject.”

Potter nodded, looking a little uncomfortable, and Draco went back to petting Cassi, who had since fallen asleep in his arms.

"She really loves you, you know,” Potter said, hesitantly.

Draco smiled at her, previous anger gone, “And I love her. I never thought I would get so attached to an animal.”

“Yeah,” Potter said, wistfully, “I had an owl, Hedwig, it was like that with her. But, she died during the war. I think she might be the reason I decided to become an animal healer.” Potter reached his hand out and started petting Cassi, still looking deep in thought.

As they sat in slightly awkward silence, his mother popped into existence beside him. “Draco, darling,” she looked at Potter beside Draco, and got a knowing look in her eye, “Mr. Potter, hello. I was just with your father. What did you need from me?”

“Mother, could you watch Cassi while we go out for drinks? I would ask Mimsey, but, she’s terrified of Cassi and I didn’t want to ask her to watch her two nights in a row.”

Narcissa nodded at him and opened her arms for Draco to set Cassi in. When Cassi was moved, she started blinking and gave a big yawn. His mother cooed at her and started stroking her back. “I think she’s in good hands,” he muttered to Potter, who chuckled.

“Thank you, mother. We’ll be off.”

“Will you be coming home tonight, Draco?” She asked, smirking while looking between the two of them.

Potter immediately went beet red and Draco spluttered, “Yes mother, so inappropriate, I have no idea where you get such ideas, let's go,” he grabbed Potter’s arm and dragged him over to the fireplace.

Potter went in first and disappeared shortly. As Draco was climbing into the fireplace, his mother approached him. “Merlin, mother, what is it now? Going to ask whether I know protection spells?”

Narcissa laughed, her eyes twinkling, “No, Draco, I just wanted to wish you good luck tonight.”

He nodded, and her smile was the last thing he saw before he vanished away to the bar, where Potter awaited him.

Chapter Text

Draco woke up with his head pounding for the second day in a row, wishing for death to quickly fall upon him. He put his pillow over his face and groaned into it. Why did he think it was a good idea to drink to the point of a hangover? He heard the sound of someone shifting beside him and his heart stopped.

Had he and Potter? No. They couldn’t have. He took the pillow off his face and looked down at himself and saw he was wearing nightclothes. Thank Merlin his drunk self had at least some sense. However, he really needed to stop waking up next to people with a hangover. That definitely showed a lapse of judgment.

He forced himself up, ignoring how the pounding in his head immediately worsened. He needed to get more hangover potion before his head exploded. Then, a thought crossed over his mind, of course, now that Mimsey wasn’t watching Cassi, she could fetch him the potion and he wouldn’t have to move whatsoever.

“Mimsey?” He croaked, trying to be quiet.

With a loud crack, she appeared in front of him. At the noise, Potter startled awake and reached for his wand at his bedside table.

Immediately, Draco said, “Potter, it’s fine. It’s just my elf.”

Potter blinked and looked around, yawning. “I don’t remember falling asleep here?”

Draco rolled his eyes and looked at Mimsey, who looked way too peppy and happy for the morning. “Mimsey, will you please fetch two hangover potions from my lab, please?”

She nodded and with a crack, she disappeared. Draco looked back over to Potter, who had fallen back onto his back.

“God, why did we drink so much last night?” Potter whined, his face contorted into a grimace.

Draco chuckled at Potter’s dramatics, and sarcastically, said, “Generally, when you go out for drinks at a bar, you drink.”

Potter made a face at him, “it is way too early and my head hurts too much for sarcasm, Malfoy.”

At that, Mimsey popped back into Draco’s room, holding two vials of the potion. She walked over to his bed, where he and Potter were still laying. She handed one to Draco, who opened it immediately and downed it, and to Potter, who moaned, “Oh, thank god!” and downed it as well. Potter sat up, obviously feeling relief.

With Draco’s throbbing headache gone, he smiled at Mimsey. “Thank you, Mimsey. I don’t require anything else from you.” She bowed low and with a crack, disappeared again, off to do who knows what chore.

Potter was observing him, and after a moment said, “You’re very polite to your elf.”

Draco stiffened, he knew some of Potter’s lot didn’t care for people having house elves, and he really didn’t want to have to deal with that argument right now. Trying to remain neutral, “Yes, well, she does a lot of good work for the Manor and the Malfoy’s.”

Potter looked troubled, “I didn’t mean to offend, well, I only meant that, er, I used to know an elf that worked for your father and I didn’t get the impression he was treated well then.”

“Dobby,” Draco whispered, looking down.

Potter nodded, grief written on his face. Draco swallowed, this was going to be an uncomfortable conversation.

“My father, as you know, was a,” he paused, looking for the right words, “difficult man. He thought house elves were below him and made sure they knew that. He wasn’t afraid to punish them. But, I’m not him. I treat my house elves with respect because they deserve it.” Draco looked down, his fists clenched, “I’m sorry about Dobby. He didn’t deserve what happened to him at the end.”

Draco looked back up, trying to see Potter’s reaction to his words, but Potter was looking away. He raised a hand to his face, and Draco thought he saw him wiping away a tear.

“Thanks for saying that, Malfoy. It means a lot.”

Draco placed a single hand on his shoulder and squeezed, hoping he conveyed how sorry he was. Potter sniffled once, then seemed to compose himself. He looked back towards Draco and gave him a small, yet sad, smile. Draco gave him the same smile back and brought his hand back to his side. They sat in silence for a moment until Draco, searching for something to break the ice, said, “Well, shouldn’t you be getting home? I’m sure Weasley will be wondering where you are.”

Potter scrunched up his face, looking confused, “Why would Ron be wondering where I am?”

Draco rolled his eyes, was Potter being thick on purpose? “Not him,” he said slowly, as if talking to a child, “Ginevra. Your girlfriend?”

At that, Potter burst into laughter. “I’m sorry, you think, me and Ginny, are dating?”

“Were you not dating while we were in Hogwarts?” He was confused, but his heart was leaping. If Potter wasn’t taken, there was still a chance. An infinitesimally small chance, granted, because it was more than likely that Potter didn’t like men, but a chance nevertheless.

“Merlin, that was years ago. We briefly dated in sixth year, but after the war, we decided we’d be better off friends. And, well, I,” Potter paused, looking Draco up and down, almost as if decided whether or not he should say something, “Well, I actually prefer men to women. I like both, but, er, I lean towards men.”

Upon hearing that, Draco froze. Potter prefers men? Potter likes men? How could he have not known this? Surely, someone, anyone, would’ve told him? He could have a relationship with Potter. He could have a relationship with Potter. He tried to remain neutral, but his heart was leaping and his brain was running a mile a minute. He then realized Potter was talking again, and tuned back in.

“—Listen, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything, I know a lot of people are weirded out by it and your family is really traditional. I’m just going to go. I’m sorry, uh, have a good day I guess.”

Horrified, he watched Potter start to do an awkward shuffle away from him before Draco could make his mouth work. “Wait—“ he strode over to Potter and grabbed his shoulder. Potter tried to shrug him off but Draco turned him around until he was looking at him again. He looked embarrassed and Draco would do anything to take back the mistake he just made. “I’m sorry, Potter, you caught me off guard. I just wasn’t expecting that. Listen,”

“Malfoy. It’s fine. I get it, you feel bad that you’re disgusted by me. But just let me go. I’m sorry, I can’t be friends with people who won’t accept me for who I am.”

Potter turned to walk away again and Draco nearly screamed in frustration, “Potter, you prat, I’m trying to tell you that I’m gay!”

He saw Potter freeze, a couple of feet away from him. He whipped himself around, turning to stare at Draco. “What?” he said, aghast.

At that, Draco started laughing. This situation was entirely ridiculous. However, Potter didn’t seem to think so because as soon as Draco started laughing, his face hardened, “Is this just a joke to you, Malfoy? I thought you had changed, but apparently not enough.”

“Potter, for Merlin’s sake, it’s not a joke, just the situation. I’m sorry, I really am gay, I’m not making fun of you,” Draco said, sobering up immediately. Potter’s face broke down into relief, and Draco gave him a hesitant smile.

“Merlin, you’re such a fucking prat, Malfoy,” Potter said, and strode over to him and gave him a quick hug. Instead of freezing in the moment, which nearly lost him Potter last time, he tentatively hugged back, not used to casual intimacy with him.

Instead of showing that he was shaken, he just grumbled, “I’m not a prat, Potter.”

They stepped back from each other, and Potter grinned at him, “I thought the Malfoy I’d become friends with had disappeared. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear you’re just slow,” his grin was replaced by a smirk, “and gay, of course.”

Draco rolled his eyes and drawled, “Well, Potter, if you hadn’t been so insistent on leaving without letting me get a word in, maybe we could’ve avoided this misunderstanding.”

They grinned at each other for a moment, then Potter blurted, “I think it’s time we use each other’s first names, don’t you think?”

Draco stared at him, bewildered. Use each other’s first names? There was a certain intimacy and familiarity that comes with using someone’s given name, and Potter thinking they should use them must be a good sign. It would be weird though, as referring to someone as their surname for a decade makes one get used to it.

He stared at him for a moment longer and then smiled, “Yeah, I think that’s a good idea,” Draco took in a small breath, “Harry.”

Upon hearing his name come out of Draco’s mouth, Harry blushed, looking flustered. He smirked, loving that he was having an effect on him. He figured, if he was making Harry feel like this just from saying his first name, maybe a relationship wouldn’t be such a crazy idea. Harry wasn't the straight guy with a girlfriend he thought he was, no, he was a single guy who preferred men. He was pretty sure Harry thought he was attractive, given the fact that he nearly fell over when he saw Draco in Gryffindor colors, and he obviously liked his personality, given that they were friends now. He supposed he would just have to wait and observe more of Potter’s behavior, before making a real move.

Harry interrupted his thoughts by saying, “Listen, er, Draco, I do have to go. I need to get to work, but, this has been enlightening,” he paused, gearing himself up for something, “I’m really glad I’m your friend. You’re not at all what I expected but everything I wanted.”

With that, Potter apparated away, as if that one sentence didn’t just utterly destroy Draco, making him want Potter even more than he already did.

Chapter Text

“Remind me why I have to do this again?” Draco was sat with Harry, who he had finally gotten used to calling by his given name, and feeling extremely anxious.

Harry turned toward him and smiled, looking slightly exasperated. “Draco. Listen. This is a good idea. You’re a part of my life now and it’s awkward having you and my other friends completely separate. This lunch will break the ice and everything will be, OK. I promise. Nobody really holds a grudge. They aren’t those types of people.”

“Harry, there’s a difference between holding a grudge because someone said something mean to you and holding a grudge because you were tortured in their house!” Draco whispered, frantically, trying not to catch anyone’s eye.

Although being with Harry dissuaded anyone from being outrightly nasty to him, or even violent, he still got plenty of dirty looks. The Wizarding World did not like that their Savior and a former Death Eater were friends. In fact, Draco was sure there would be a vile article in the Prophet tomorrow morning about this very meeting.

“Listen, Draco,” Harry started, obviously gearing up for some sort of pep talk that he thought would cheer Draco up, “We were kids caught up in a war too big for us, we’ve all changed since then. They know that. You just need to apologize to them for being a twat growing up and it will be all good,” he said, smiling brightly.

Draco rolled his eyes at his bright demeanor, but let a small part of himself be comforted by Harry’s words. Whenever he thought back on how he treated Granger, he felt ashamed. Facing her would be the most difficult thing he’d done in a while, but he was going to do it. He owed it to her and to himself.

He looked back over to Harry and gave him a small smile. If someone had told him a couple of years ago that he would be friends with Harry Potter, and meeting with the Golden Trio willingly, he would’ve thought they needed to be checked out by a mind healer.

He heard the door open and looked away from Harry to see Weasley and Granger walking towards their table. They both looked carefully neutral when they saw him and Harry, and his heart started beating a little faster at that. He kept his face neutral too, it wouldn’t do for them to see how nervous he was about this little meeting.

“Malfoy,” Weasley nodded as they approached the table.

“Weasley,” He nodded back and looked towards his companion, “Granger.”
“Hello Draco,” She nodded primly and eased herself into her seat. Weasley followed suit and there was an awkward silence for a moment before Harry broke the quiet.

“Erm, well this is awkward, but, well, Draco, don’t you have something to say to them?” Harry asked and raised his eyebrows at him, anything but subtle.

At Harry's use of his given name, he saw Weasley and Granger exchange a look with each other, as if having a silent conversation. Draco sighed deeply, both in exasperation and to compose himself, before swallowing his pride and apologizing to people he had been cruel to his entire life. He closed his eyes briefly, and then opened them and looked back towards Granger.

“Granger, I suppose I owe you an apology most of all. How I treated you was unforgivable. I am aware that this doesn’t change the past, but, I’ve been learning and improving myself so I’m not the bigot I was. I’m not asking for forgiveness, but I hope one day we can move past this and perhaps become friends.”

As he finished, he saw Granger and Weasley share a startled look, as if they hadn’t believed Potter when he said that Draco had changed. It put a sour taste in his mouth, but he swallowed that down and ignored it. They hadn’t seen him since the war, it made sense for them to not believe he had changed. After they both remained quiet, Draco’s fingers clenched under the table. He didn’t think Granger would forgive him.

He looked at Weasley, fighting the urge to sneer at the sight of the signature red hair, and stiffly said, “Weasley. I’m sorry for how I treated you as well.”

Weasley looked away and grumbled about how Granger’s apology was much nicer than his and why didn’t he get a better apology? But he looked back at Draco and studied him momentarily before grinning and saying, “S’alright Ferret Face, I suppose. If Harry likes you then I guess we’ll have to get used to you.”

At the nickname, Draco’s mouth fell open in shock, and Harry let out a huff of laughter. Outraged, he began, “Weasley that is not-“

“Listen, mate, you bullied us for 7 years so you’re not getting out of being called Ferret Face. You’re just going to have to get used to it.” Weasley then proceeded to clap Draco on the shoulder, at which Draco looked at Harry, helplessly, who just grinned at him happily.

During all this, Granger’s silence was deafening, and the teasing laughter slowly died down until they were all quiet, Granger staring at him as if he was a dangerous puzzle she needed to solve. Potter coughed a couple of times, trying to break the awkwardness, but Granger continued to look at him. Draco did his best not to fidget, and put his neutral face on, but Granger seemed to be staring through the facade and into his soul.

After a few moments, Granger looked towards Harry, studying him for a moment, and whatever she saw in both of their faces must have convinced her, because she said, “Right, well, Draco, I don’t forgive you, not yet. I’m not sure if I ever will,” At this, Draco’s heart sank, well, there went any chance of having any sort of relationship with Harry. He was too loyal to his friends to be with someone that they hated. “Nevertheless, Draco, I believe we can move past this and I may eventually be able to forgive you. I do trust Harry, but I’d like to see for myself how much you have changed.”

After she finished, Draco felt his spirits rise, a bit. Not forgiveness, but not outright rejection. With how he treated her over the years, he felt that was more than he deserved. So, he gave her a small nod and said, “Thank you, Granger.”

At that, she rolled her eyes, “Merlin, please don’t call me Granger. I feel like I’m about 100 years old when people refer to me as that. Hermione, please.”

Draco nodded at her, “Hermione, then.”

After this exchange, Draco looked back towards Harry, who looked radiantly happy. His eyes sparkled and he seemed to have a permanent grin. His happiness was infectious, and soon the entire table was smiling as Harry launched into a story about some crazy animal at the clinic. Draco thought that, if anything, all this was worth it just to put that look on his face.

***
After lunch, they all exchanged some awkward goodbyes, Weasley called him Ferret Face again, and they apparated their separate ways. As he swept into the sitting room to greet his mother, Cassi meowed from her lap.
“Good afternoon, Mother. Hi, Cassiopeia.”

Narcissa looked up from her book, “Hello, dear. How was lunch with Mr. Potter and his companions?”

He sat down next to her, absentmindedly scratching behind Cassi’s ears, who purred in delight. “It was good. I apologized for how I treated them and Harry was really happy about that.” Draco smiled softly at the memory of how delighted Harry looked during lunch.

When he looked back at his mother, she saw him studying his face, looking smug. “Well, I’m glad you could make Mr. Potter happy, Draco.”

He rolled his eyes at his mother and watched as Cassi crawled from her lap to his, begging for more attention. He stroked her fur, her tail swishing against his arm, and he smiled, feeling more content than he had in a long time.

After a few minutes, Cassi jumped down, looking like she wanted to play. As Draco summoned one of her toys out of his bedroom, she started making a wheezing noise. Concerned, Draco kneeled down at her level and tried to pet her to calm her down. However, the wheezing noise turned into heaving, like she was trying to throw up. He looked at his mother in alarm, who looked horrified.

Cassi continued to heave, and Draco sat there like a fish out of water, frozen with his mouth open. After a couple of seconds, his mother seemed to snap herself out of her reverie and said, sharply, “Draco, Mr. Potter!”

Right. Harry would know what to do with Cassi. Draco quickly nodded at her and scooped up Cassi, who struggled in his arms, not wanting to be held. He ran to the floo, yelled, Harry Potter’s House, and a moment later was dashing into Harry’s living room.

“Harry?” Draco yelled frantically, as Harry wasn’t in the living room or the kitchen. “Harry, where are you?”

As Draco was about to open up the bedroom door, Harry strode out, looking alarmed at the tone of Draco’s voice. At the sight of Harry, Cassi, still heaving, although less severe than a few moments ago, wiggled her way out of Draco’s hands and onto the floor.

“She’s heaving and making this horrible noise, I didn’t know what to do, I just came here, I’m sorry for barging in, can you help her? I don’t know what to do or what’s wrong?” Draco was starting to panic, and couldn't get rid of the feeling that something was extremely wrong. It was warm in Harry's house, and his stress was making him sweat.

Harry squatted next to Cassi on the floor, observing her and listening to the noises she was making. After a moment, he said, “Ah, no worries Draco, she just has a hairball.”

At this, Draco spluttered, “Excuse me? A hairball is what is making her make that horrible noise?”

However, Harry didn’t answer, he was in the middle of casting, and when he finished, Cassi immediately stopped heaving, and then went over to rub on Harry’s leg. Harry stroked her briefly and looked up at Draco, grinning. Draco scrubbed a hand over his face, groaning. “I can’t believe a fucking hairball made her do that. I thought she was going to die!”

Harry stood up, looking at Draco warmly, “It’s wonderful how much you care about her. Hairballs seem scary, but as long as you take care of them they aren’t a big deal. Just so you know, you can make her a potion to prevent hairballs.”

Draco looked at him sharply, “And you didn’t think to mention this before?”

“Er, no. Sorry. Sometimes I forget people don’t have the same knowledge as me.” Harry looked sheepish, and Draco rolled his eyes. He was finally starting to calm down now and beginning to actually notice Potter. More specifically, Potter's attire. He was wearing nothing but a towel on his waist. His hair was damp, and he had obviously just gotten out of the shower.

Draco took a sharp intake of breath, unable to stop himself from staring at Harry’s chest. He was lean and muscular, and he looked like he took great care of his body. His eyes slowly went down until he saw the trail of hair leading under the towel, and he snapped his face up to look at Harry, flushing. Harry was flushed as well, obviously noticing Draco blatantly checking him out.

“Draco-“

“Well, I’m so sorry for bothering you,” Draco said wildly, scooping up Cassi and nearly running into a wall in his rush to get to the floo, “We have things to do, very busy, thanks for the help, got to go!”

As he yelled “Malfoy Manor!” into the floo, he heard Harry call his name once more.

***
Draco was pacing his bedroom, stressed about Harry Potter and his fucking towel, when he heard footsteps outside his door. He assumed his mother was trying to get him to tell him what happened when he heard a knock on his door and Harry’s voice. “Draco? Can I come in?”

Slightly strangled, Draco replied, “Sorry, Potter, very busy right now, as I said.”

“Really?” Harry said, drily.

Offended that he didn’t take his word for it, Draco marched to the door, “I’ll have you know I am-“

As he swung the door open, Harry cut him off by launching himself at Draco and kissing him. Shocked, Draco stood there for a moment, his arms full of Harry Potter and his lips tingling from being kissed. When unresponsive, Harry started to pull back and Draco could see his face was full of horror. Before he could get a word of apology or explanation out, Draco grabbed his face and kissed him back.

It was a slightly awkward kiss, as most first kisses are, but it was also perfect. Harry’s lips were soft, which was a delicious combination with his slightly prickly cheeks. He curled his fingers into Harry’s hair, and Harry had his hands on Draco’s waist. It felt as if time had stopped for a moment, like the universe was finally exhaling the deep breath it took the moment that Harry Potter rejected his handshake—and him.

Something made a loud noise, and then a meow. They broke apart and laughed as they saw Cassi had knocked over her box full of toys, and Draco felt the familiar flutter of butterflies in his stomach as he looked at Harry, almost shyly.

Harry grinned back at him, and said, “So.”

“So,” Draco popped the O at the end and raised an eyebrow.

“So you like me then?” Harry asked, looking sheepish but hopeful.

“What is this, fourth year?” Draco mocked him, keeping his tone light, he smiled at Harry and his eyes softened at Harry’s fidgeting. “Harry, I do like you, very much so. And I would like to keep kissing you if that’s okay?”

Harry nodded, his eyes bright and cheeks pink, and they fell back into kissing, with the sound of Cassi playing softly in the background.

Chapter Text

Draco was pacing, extremely nervous for what he was about to discuss with his mother. He was trying to devise the best way to talk to her about it, but was drawing up a blank. How does one bring up that they are moving out of their ancestral home and leaving their mother alone to go live with a boy?

This was ridiculous. He couldn’t move out. He turned to look at Harry, who was watching him, amused. “Listen, Harry, I just-“

At this, Harry walked towards Draco and put his hands on his shoulders, looking him directly in the eyes. “Draco. You have told me so many times that you hate it here. You basically live in my house already, we’re just making it official. You can tell your mother, I know she just wants the best for you.”

Draco glared up at the ceiling of the drawing room, irritated with Harry’s logic. Just because his mother wanted the best for him, doesn’t mean that he had to move out. Yes, he hated living here, but he also loved his mother.

Harry, as if sensing his little speech did nothing to soothe his nerves, pulled him into an embrace. Draco took a deep breath, inhaling the smell of Harry and enjoying the sense of safety he felt with him. He had made his decision, he was going to move out, officially, and he was going to tell his mother.

He pulled away from Harry, and nodded, both at Harry and himself, and said, “Right, well I suppose I should go talk to her.”

“That would be best, you’ve got this, I promise,” Harry smiled warmly at him, his eyes crinkling. In truth, it would be a relief to move out of the manor, which was stifling, and felt almost like a prison. He was constantly reminded of the war here, and the person he used to be, and he didn’t want to feel that way anymore.

He slowly walked out of the drawing room, and towards the sitting room, where he knew his mother spent most of her time. He took a deep breath, steeling himself, and put on a neutral face, trying to eliminate any sign of nervousness. As he marched into the sitting room, however, his resolve to tell his mother halted. There was a cat in his mother’s lap, but it couldn’t be Cassi, as she was safe in Potter’s home.

Confused, he walked over to his mother and sat down next to her, when the cat in her lap saw him, it yawned and stretched, but fell back asleep.

“Ah, Draco, dear. I’ve been wanting to introduce you. This is Abelia, my new kneazle I’ve gotten.”

Still utterly bewildered, Draco just mouths, “Abelia?” which his mother must think is confusion over the name as she began to explain how she named the kneazle Abelia so she wasn’t the only not named after a constellation in the family.

Not really hearing her explanation, Draco interrupts with, “Mother, when on earth did you get this kneazle?”

Lovingly, his mother puts a hand on his arm. “Darling, I’ve had Abelia for almost a week now. I know you’re not happy here, and I know you’ve been staying in the Manor just to keep me company,” she raises a hand to shush him as Draco begins to protest, “Please listen to me, Draco. I don’t want you to live somewhere that makes you miserable, and I know you and Mr. Potter have plans to live together. I want you to enjoy your life and be happy, that is all I’ve ever wanted. So, I got a kneazle in hopes that it would convince you I won’t be alone all the time. Dear, I’ll be fine. Your father will be out of prison soon enough, and I don’t want you to put a pause on your life for me.”

At the mention of his father, Draco’s face tightened. He still didn’t agree with his father, and probably never would, but if Harry and his friends taught him anything, it was how to forgive. Their relationship would repair over time, even if he still didn’t want to visit him quite yet. She smiled and moved her hand from his arm to caress his cheek. At this, his face softened, “Mother, I would do anything for you. Including living in this old house if that is what you need. You know that right?”

Narcissa nodded at him, tears shining in her eyes. They didn’t hug, but they didn’t need to. Everything that needed to be said had been said. Draco leaned down to pet the new addition to the family, and she started purring immediately. He smiled and look over to his mother, “I think she’ll be a good addition,” he said, softly. She nodded, and Draco felt at peace for the first time since he decided to move out of the manor.

Eventually, Draco left his mother and Abelia in the sitting room, making his way back to Harry, who was waiting for him in the drawing room. Upon seeing Draco, Harry rushed up to him, looking at him cautiously. “Everything okay?”

Draco nodded, smiling gently at Harry. When he saw the smile, Harry grinned wildly and gave a small whoop at the news. Draco felt light and happy, and hoped he would feel this way for a long time. He grabbed Harry and drew him into a deep embrace, and mumbled into his neck, "I love you," then gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

As they pulled apart, Harry grabbed his hand and gave him another quick grin, then stole a small kiss, "I love you too, Draco."

Draco rolled his eyes, but his heart fluttered. As they made their way to the floo, Harry whispered, “Let’s go home.”

The End