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Pop goes the Kneazle, Part I - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Pop goes the Kneazle, Part I

The great archivist painless_j, deserves whatever she wishes, given all she does for fandom. 

 

From this:

 

http://painless-j.livejournal.com/409992.html

 

thus, although it is not precisely what she may have had in mind:

 

POP GOES THE KNEAZLE

for that indefatigable archivist, Painless_J.

_________________________

‘You, boy!’

 

Draco nearly dropped the flagon he was carrying.  Damned portraits.  Bloody Phineas Nigellus Black.

 

‘The Headmistress’s office, at once! And do not Floo there, if you value keeping a whole skin.’

 

Savage old sod, thought Draco, and nodded, curtly.  He was not going to waste the acid of his wit upon animated pigment.  No wonder Severus had always been in such a bait: the life of a Potions master – any master – at Hogwarts was not precisely congenial, and when one had undertaken it as a sort of penance-cum-community-sentencing-and-control-order, well….

_________________________

Entering McGonagall’s office (the password, characteristically, had been, ‘Arbroath’: not for Minerva a catalogue of sweets), Draco schooled himself to conceal his dismay – and not only at the by now accustomed muddy-coloured tartan that swathed every available surface (typical of McGonagall to prefer ancient and hunting setts, muted and drear).  Severus and Dumbledore were all but leaning out of their frames, intent upon whatever was afoot, and the Heroes of the War were present in full force, from Deputy Headmasters Flitwick and Longbottom to every Weasel in creation.  And, of course – of course – there in their midst was bloody Potter.

 

This did not bode well.  The last time the clans had thus gathered, Scarhead had effectively lectured the castle itself, replaced half the Governors, and barricaded himself in the office with Dean Thomas until Snape’s portrait could be completed, animated, and put up next Dumbledore’s – in which process Harry had learnt more about the spells and charms involved than he’d any right to do.

 

‘Och, Mr Malfoy.’  Minerva’s tone was coldly correct – as was her failure to accord him the professorial title to which he was, in fact, not as yet entitled.  ‘We maun consult wi’ ye aboot a matter o’ grave import.’

 

‘Are my skills as a – reformed criminal – hmm, or those as a maker of potions, your object?’

 

‘You are to assist Poppy.  Mak’ your own conclusions frae that, mon.’  Minerva’s trick of double-tongued discourse, mixing academic English with, amongst her intimates, ‘braid Scots’, was as unnerving as had been Dumbledore’s incessant damned twinkling – and had the same object, of putting her antagonists off their strokes.

 

Draco smiled, sourly.  ‘And to what crisis do I owe this … honour?’  He paused, and let his distaste show.  ‘Do not tell me that Potter here has managed to stuff things up, yet again.’

 

‘Draco –.’  Severus’s voice was sharp, and minatory.

 

‘Actually,’ said Potter, with what was meant to be a disarming smile, ‘I am, actually, the one seeking your assistance.’

 

Draco exhaled heavily – Malfoys do not huff, or sigh – and resorted to one of his stock defensive mannerisms.  ‘I see,’ said he, taking a small silver box from his robes, ‘that my penance is not yet completed.’  And he opened the box, preparing to take an aristocratic and disdainful pinch of snuff.

 

‘Don’t –!’  Severus was unable to warn him in time, and his whip-crack command served only to cause Draco to start and drop his snuffbox, the fine grains spilling forth with their notes of cocoa and marc.  There was an almighty sneeze – evidently Potter’s was the most sensitive nose there – and a sudden whoomph of displaced air.

 

Draco fell backward, against the perpetually-gritty chimneypiece, as a huge, black, indeed melanistic, panther pounced upon him playfully, green eyes gleaming.

 

‘Mister Potter,’ said Dumbledore, very plainly suppressing a chuckle, ‘has developed an allergy, it seems.  One with some curious effects, not least upon his Animagus transformations – yes, dear boy, that was a plural noun.  We have chosen you to assist Poppy and Severus in researching a cure.’

 

Draco’s answer was muffled – he did after all have a large cat kneading his tummy with barely-sheathed claws – and justifiably wavering.  ‘If Severus is involved, why am I being dragged into this?’

 

‘Your brewing skills,’ sneered Snape, ‘are … adequate.  Passable.  Not wholly insufficient.  But your assistance is – required – in another … form.’

 

‘Headmistress!  You – that was told you in confidence!’

 

‘Indeed, dear boy,’ said Dumbledore, no longer bothering to suppress his amusement.  ‘And Minerva is a pillar of discretion.  If you will insist upon training yourself in the sight of the notoriously gossiping portraits of Hogwarts, my dear Draco, you’ve only yourself to blame if your secrets do not remain precisely secret.’

 

‘You mean –’ began Granger – Weasley now, he really did want to bear that in mind – ‘you –’, said she, and stopped.  Where Draco had been pinned down by an unnaturally friendly panther, was now an extremely disgruntled lilac-point Siamese cat, glaring (rather adorably, if truth were known) up at the big cat.

 

‘I always said he was a p- –.’  The Weasel’s remarks were cut off sharply, no doubt by an elbow in the ribs on the part of his bushy-haired wife.

 

‘For my ain pairt,’ said the Headmistress, ‘I should hae been gled to assist, but that I’ve a scuil to manage.  So it is to you, Mr Malfoy, to – Mister Potter!  Dinna nose o’er that jar!

 

The Floo-powder crashed to the hearth, sparkling and effervescing in green and purple, and, with a mighty sneeze, Harry stood, back in human form.  ‘My apologies, Minerva, but needs must.  And I’m sure Malfoy would prefer to stand.’

 

Transforming back into himself, Draco did precisely that.  ‘I suppose,’ said he, icily, ‘I’ve no choice in the matter.  I’m sure you’re longing to throw that incident in the Room of Requirement, some years ago, in my face, as requiring that I assist you.’

 

‘Not at all,’ said the Weaselette, crisply.  It was amazing, really, she’d not spoken out – or screeched like her appalling cow of a mother – before now.  It was equally amazing to find the formerly hero-worshipping former schoolgirl so articulate: the years of living in the glare of the public eye since leaving school had obviously schooled her.  ‘It’s not five years since the war ended.  Harry may be to you an old school rival, to me, simply a fond and occasionally maddening husband, to the others here a friend and colleague, but to our world at large, he is, I’ll remind you, seen as the bastion between them and the last of the Death Eaters and their sympathisers, and against evil generally.  I can almost admire the fact that you don’t see him as the mob does – hush, darling, they are a mob: you’re sworn to protect them, not to pretend they’re not sheep – but you, Malfoy, cannot be ignorant of what would happen – not least to your own hide – if his incapacity were known.  I can assure you that nothing less than the prospect of that would reconcile me to leaving him with you and Snape – for several reasons.’

 

‘Several’?  Draco could think of a good few, but none of his reasons seemed to justify the rather curious note sounding in her voice.  Still and all, her placing the matter on the footing of his own naked self-interest was almost worthy of a Slytherin.  Perhaps there was more to her than he had thought.

 

‘I’ll go tell Kingsley to put out a good story on Harry’s being out of the public eye for a bit,’ said Ron, his tone resigned.  ‘May as well involve his snooping about Hogwarts and Hogsmeade in an Auror-like fashion, so people will expect to see him pop up and vanish; their own imaginations’ll put the wind up the evildoers.  Nev?  You and Min make certain he’s safe and well, will you?  Come along, Hermione.  You can come back tomorrow and take up residence in the Restricted Section.  I’ll have Percy look in as well.  And George – he wants the distraction, and he’s probably cleverer at potions than Snape and the Ferret together, at bottom.

 

‘Best of British, Harry.  You’ll need the luck, by the look of it.’

 

‘Weell, off tae the Infirmary wi’ the both o’ ye, then,’ sighed Minerva, who had clearly washed her hands of them what time the Weasel had called her, ‘Min’.  ‘There’s portrait space enough for you and Severus, Albus, in Poppy’s snuggery.  I’ll charm the canvases to ward awa’ the cocoa.’  Her gimlet eye caught an abortive movement on Draco’s part.  ‘Dinna be a fool, lad!  Ye canna Floo there, ye maun wauk the way.  Off wi’ the both o’ ye, noo.’

 

Draco tossed his head, pettishly, and strode out, not waiting to see if the speccy git followed.

_________________________

Poppy was as ever brisk, efficient, harried – that was rather felicitous, wasn’t it – harried, and affronted.  ‘I thought I’d seen the back of you, Mr Potter, when you left school, but, there, you do attract trouble, you may as well take up permanent residence here and be done with it.  How ever do you manage it?  A walking A&E ward.  Up you go, then, we haven’t all day, although Heaven knows I’ll quite likely be spending days on this, thank the Lord it’s the summer hols –’

 

‘I knew I could count on you, as always, Poppy.  What would I do without you?’  Insinuating sod, that Potter; Old Pomph was actually blushing, faintly, with the praise and confidence.  Draco suppressed a snort.

 

‘Clothes off, please.  Yes, you as well, Mr Malfoy, you’re our control, as the only male, feline Animagus to hand.  Now, you may feel a slight pressure as I cast these charms….’

 

In the canvas they were currently sharing, Severus yerked Albus in the ribs.  ‘Do not leer, Albus.  Even if you have been posthumously outed, it’s bad form.’

 

‘My dear Severus!  I spent the greater part of my life suppressing and sublimating my appreciation of male pulchritude.  It’s unutterably freeing to be able to be open about it – although discreetly so – as a portrait.’

 

‘And much good that did us all.  I still cannot but suspect that had I been as handsome as Black and he as ill-favoured as was I, things should have turned out much differently when I was victimised by that murderous “prank” – if it was a prank, which I beg leave to doubt.  Or had you had time for Pettigrew, who was, as your old friend Oscar once said, unfortunately and pitiably ugly: perhaps had you been as attentive to him as you were to Potter, he might have turned out less badly.’

 

‘I note that your famous infatuation with Lily Evans as was, did not blind you to the charms of James and Sirius – and indeed Remus, I’m sure.’

 

‘I was in love with Lily.  Desperately so.  That did not mean I was immune to a perfectly natural boarding-school fascination with the outer integuments of Potter and Black – for a time.  It was the inner man in both cases that was justly despicable.’

 

‘And you yet hold that grudge, and that view.  No wonder your relations with Harry were so strained.’

 

‘Don’t pretend nescience with me, you manipulative old bugger.  You knew main well of my love for Lily and brief infatuation with Potter when you set me to teach their son.’

 

Dumbledore, reluctantly, tore his gaze from the now naked forms of Harry and Draco – only to find that Severus was watching them with an avidity equal to his own.  ‘Old, certainly,’ said he, ‘and manipulative with it, but – ought you, of all men and at this moment, be speaking pejoratively of buggers?’

 

Snape snarled.  ‘It’s flesh-hunger, nothing more: we’ve neither of us been portraits so long as not to miss touch, of any sort and from any source.’

 

‘Yes,’ chuckled Albus.  ‘You tell yourself that, dear boy, if it at all helps.’

_________________________

Draco was determined to hide his unexpected disappointment when Poppy allowed them to get dressed again.  He had a strong suspicion that Dumbledore, at least, had been perving merrily away on the both of them; if Severus also – well, it didn’t bear thinking of.  He should have made an issue of it, were it not that he also had felt unanticipated fires building in him, fires that did not bode well for his impending marriage to the Greengrass chit.  Perhaps the Weaselette was more prescient than he had imagined.

 

This was not good.  Not good at all.

 

Mister Malfoy!’

 

‘What!’

 

Poppy was looking at him with a steely glint in her eye.  ‘You’ve not attended to a word I was saying, have you.  I prefer not to speculate as to the reasons –’

 

Potter laughed, the bastard.  ‘You’re not an Animagus, are you, Poppy.  Cat and panther, wolf and dog, any two Animagi of like species are bound to spend time in sizing one another up, and calculating dominance – or, for avian Animagi, the pecking order.’  Oh.  Not a bastard, then.  Good of him to save the situation.  ‘Best, I think, for you to make your charts and have speech with Albus and Snape.  Hermione will doubtless be here before brekker, and we can all have a good, intellectual, medical natter then.  I think Malfoy and I, here, want to spend a few hours on our own, discussing the Animagus side.  You can ask me all the medical questions – history, symptoms, and so on – in the morning.’

 

‘Very well.  I’ve scheduled the two of you for Isolation Ward Three.  The house-elves will attend you.  I’ll take your wands, now, thank you.  And if there is the merest whisper of trouble, the two of you, I’ll –’

 

‘Poppy, love, we’ve saved one another’s lives, and grown to manhood.  We’re no longer inky, schoolboy rivals, we’ll be fine.  We’d not risk your wrath, in any case.  Coming, Malfoy?’

 

Draco ignored the connotations of that unfortunate choice of words, and rose, nodding sharply.  Before Potty could take the lead, Draco swept regally away, and towards Isolation Ward Three.

 

He was only just inside the door when Potter strode in and shut it behind them.  He heard it lock, and winced as he felt a rush of wandless and nonverbal magic, even as the room around them transformed into Queen Anne and Georgian luxury, and the sharp smells of the Infirmary gave way to the smell of leather, brandy, and cigars. 

 

‘Kreacher?’

 

An ancient but well-kempt house-elf appeared with the faintest of pops.  ‘Master Harry calls Kreacher.  Kreacher answers.’

 

‘Thank you.  We’ll want nosh, the best from my cellar to drink with it, and absolute privacy.  Excellent.  Ta, Kreacher.’

 

The aged elf vanished, and Potty turned the full force of his personality upon Draco.  ‘Now, my sweet, prissy, spoilt little kitten, we’re going to size each other up and calculate … dominance.’

 

Draco swallowed, audibly.

 

‘That’s a sound I intend to hear more of,’ purred Potter, as he stalked impossibly close to Draco.

_________________________

‘Find your own frame, dear boy.’

 

‘You’re as aroused as I am, you old sod.’

 

‘Yes, and I intend to attend to that – in a canvas of my own.  I’m not going to share a frame with you whilst we both wank.  No, don’t deny it, Severus, your endowment is now clamantly evident, and, may I say, something to be proud of.’

 

Severus snarled, and slammed out.

_________________________

‘Y- you.  You’re married.  I’m engaged to be married.  You’re meant to be the paragon of virtue!’

 

‘I was meant to be the hero – and the sacrificial lamb, my sweet kitty.  I did that.  No one ever said anything about virtue, only courage.’

 

‘But – what about the Weaselette?’

 

‘My wife?  Mother of my children to be?  Can you possibly be worried about her?  You don’t even like her – and I’m beginning to see, quite … pointedly … why that is.  Jealous, kitten?’

 

‘No!  Yes.  No.  I don’t like her, but this.  This is.  This is wrong.’

 

‘Why, kitten!  You’ve acquired a moral compass.  Albus always thought you’d one, concealed – very well concealed, I may add – about your person.  I wonder, should I search your person for it?’

 

‘If you force your unwanted attentions upon me, Scarhead, Auror or no Auror, Saviour or no Saviour –’

 

Harry – no: Potty – looked down, and then drew his gaze slowly back up to meet Draco’s eyes.  ‘Unwanted?  Really?  Because from where I’m looking….’

 

‘You utter, unutterable bastard.’

 

The speccy git grinned.  ‘Scared, kitten?’

 

Draco tried mightily to answer with the ritual response of, ‘You wish’; the words stuck in his throat.  ‘Yes,’ he whispered at last, brokenly.

 

‘You pass, then.  With flying colours, as I believe it goes.’  Harry – and it was now and would ever now be ‘Harry’ hereafter – hugged him, briefly and without a hint of passion, and fell negligently and gracefully into a leather armchair that would have been fought over amongst the members at White’s.  ‘Have a brandy, you’re in want of it.’

 

Draco did not so much sit, as his knees gave out in serendipitous proximity to a chair.

 

‘Now I know I can trust you, at once to be honest and to at least wish to do right, let’s talk about this Animagus situation.’

_________________________

 

 

 

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6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: May 26th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)
"Yes, and I intend to attend to that – in a canvas of my own. I’m not going to share a frame with you whilst we both wank."

Please assure me there is some neat, discreet, wandless magical way of accomplishing this, because the picture of a 150-yr-old dead guy with his withered hand up under his robes...

aaaagh. embolism, aneurysm. whatever: every orifice in my skull is about to spout blood....
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 26th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes, yes.

You've now seen Part Deux.
ravenpan From: ravenpan Date: May 27th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Pop goes the Kneazle

I'm really enjoying this - and the style's a lot of fun, too! I feel like I'm reading high fiction from ages gone by :)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 27th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you. vy much.

You're vy kind to say so. I'm glad you are enjoying it.
dreamwind83 From: dreamwind83 Date: May 29th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
When I asked for Cat!Harry fics at the Snarryficfind, I had't thought that anyone would actually be inspired to write one. But I must say that I am glad that you did. This story is highly amusing! I can'y wait to read part 2.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 29th, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Even though I'm sure it's not quite what you were wanting, as I am fatally tied to H/D.
6 comments or Leave a comment