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26 December 2011 @ 07:53 pm
Harry Potter: Of Career Fairs and Miniature Owls  
Of Career Fairs and Miniature Owls
Harry Potter: (pretty much gen) Harry Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, Albus Severus Potter, Draco Malfoy; mentions of AS/S
PG, 4258 words
It's Hogwart's 10th Annual Career Fair, and Harry's been assigned to Scorpius Malfoy. As always, things don't go as he plans.
A/N: originally posted here. written for interhouse_fest 2011, for prompt #123:
It's work experience week. Each 6th year Hogwarts student will spend a week with a randomly chosen ministry worker who is a parent of another student in the 6th year. Harry gets Scorpius and Draco gets Albus. Scorpius asks questions constantly and writes everything down. Albus is bored and thinks it's all a waste of time.


Harry stared in despair at the owl perched on his desk.

The owl stared back for a few seconds before giving a woeful hoot and pushing over a stack of reports with an extended talon.

“How am I supposed to explain to Malfoy that I turned his son into an owl?” Harry asked, throwing his hands up in the air as he collapsed into his chair.

“I dunno, mate,” Ron said, equally helplessly. “Want me to ask Hermione?”

“Merlin no, she’ll kill me herself, never mind that it’s Malfoy’s kid.”

Ron gave him a sympathetic shrug. “Well, it wears off at least, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, in like, twenty hours.”

“Well, you’ll just have to hide him until then,” Ron said with a decisive nod.

Harry groaned and buried his face in his arms as the owl gave another hoot and started pecking at Harry’s desk.


~


It all started that morning, when Harry had gone to Hogwarts for the annual sixth year Career Fair. Albus had been chattering excitedly about the event for months, asking Harry if there was any way for him to be paired with a parent in the Department of Magical Games and Sports. Unfortunately for Albus, the pairings were completely random and magically drawn out of a hat a day prior to the Career Fair. Harry himself wouldn’t even find out which sixth year student he’d been assigned to until he arrived.

Which was how he ended up stepping into the greeting room – beautifully set up by Hermione, no doubt – at his assigned time and coming face to face with a miniature version of Draco Malfoy.

“I’m Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter,” mini-Malfoy said, shuffling a lined Muggle notebook and a self-inking quill into one hand so that he could stick out the other formally. He had a pair of thick, black-rimmed glasses perched on his pointy nose and his hair is shockingly blond. Also, he was tiny - at least half a head shorter than Albus, who isn’t exactly a giant himself. Harry wanted to coo at him, even if this was Malfoy’s son, and if Harry screwed anything up, mini-Malfoy would probably go home and tell his father all about what a tool Harry Potter was.

Mini-Malfoy coughed delicately.

Realizing with a start that quite a few seconds had passed and he hadn’t made any sort of response, Harry quickly grasped the offered hand and stuttered out a greeting.


The interview that followed was somewhat of a disaster. Mini-Malfoy studiously wrote down every useless word Harry said, but even though Harry has been in his department for more than a decade, he still had no idea how the legal technicalities or paperwork trail or any of the topics mini-Malfoy asked about worked. After all, Harry had never exactly been the office type, and after Voldemort, no one had really expected him to be. In reality, most of Harry’s job consisted of going after the bad guys whenever they popped up. That said, unlike his father, mini-Malfoy at least had the decency not to point exactly how much of a useless disaster the interview is.

In fact, he seemed rather disappointed. Even the aristocratic repression undoubtedly bred into him from birth couldn’t hide the slump of his shoulders and the way he looked deflated, somehow, as if someone had stuck a pin in him when Harry wasn’t looking.

Which was why Harry opened his mouth and made, in hindsight, the stupidest offer he’d made yet.

“Do you want to come in with me to the Auror Office and see what it’s like in person?”

He knew it was a bad idea as soon as the words left his mouth – after all, students were supposed to stay on Hogwarts grounds unless they had explicit permission from the Headmistress – but he couldn’t regret it when mini-Malfoy immediately perked up.

“Really? Now?” he asked, eyes lighting up the way Albus’ did whenever someone mentioned Quidditch, and Harry tried to tell himself that it wasn’t adorable at all.

“Yeah, why not,” he said, failing to hold back a grin. The fireplace Harry had used to get to Hogwarts would be unlocked for the rest of the day, which meant they could Floo directly into the Auror Office without any problems. As he grabbed a pinch of Floo powder and threw it into the flames, Harry checked the time. It was still early, barely mid-morning. They would be back in three to four hours, tops – no one would even know they’d been gone. Everything would be fine.

Famous last words, as it turned out. When had things ever gone smoothly for Harry?


~


The first hour went great. Harry took mini-Malfoy – and he should probably stop calling him that – around the whole office, introducing him to other Aurors who were currently in. Scorpius took great delight in questioning Euan Abercrombie, the secretary and official paperwork filer of the office.

During the second hour, Ron flooed back into the office and did a double take at the sight of Scorpius. “Are you sure he should be here, mate?” he asked. “Hermione’s going to have your hide if she finds out you took him without permission.”

“It’ll be fine – I’ll get him back before anyone notices,” Harry said, waving away his concern. “And what are you doing back so early? Who were you assigned to?”

“I got Louisa Ackerley – some Ravenclaw?” Ron shrugged. “She had this massive list of questions she wanted me to answer, and she said I could go when I was done.”

“I’m done here,” Scorpius announced, shuffling to Harry’s side and finally looking up from his notebook. Judging from the amount of scribbling on there, Euan seemed to have answered most of the questions Harry hadn’t known the answer to. “Can we go look at your office?”

“Er, I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Harry began, but relented almost immediately at the badly hidden crestfallen expression on Scorpius’ face. “Fine, we can go.” He ignored the amused look Ron shot him. “But only if you promise not to touch anything,” he added quickly. The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes had sent up several shipments of enchanted artefacts a few days ago related to a case Harry had been working on, and most of them were still scattered around his office.

“Okay, okay,” Scorpius said, bouncing on his toes a little. Harry thought to himself that it was utterly unfair that someone like Malfoy would have ended up with such an adorable kid.

Of course, that was when disaster struck. Harry should’ve known – from experience, if nothing else – that regardless of any extracted promises, the lure of enchanted artefacts would’ve been too much for any overly curious teenager to stand.

Scorpius managed to look and not touch for all of five minutes before he caught sight of the dragon-egg shaped crystal Harry had placed on the table in the corner of his office. “What does this do?” he asked, eyes wide, and he reached for it before Harry could stop him.

“Don’t!” Harry yelled, but his warning came too late.

There was a blinding flash of light, and instinctively, Harry shut his eyes. When he stopped seeing white being his eyelids, he carefully looked down.

His heart sank.

Where Scorpius had previously stood was the tiniest owl Harry had ever seen.

It was about half the size Pigwidgeon had been originally, and its fluffy dark feathers were mingled with tufts of blond. Also, there was an odd marking by its eyes – the kind usually seen on the Animagus forms of people who wore glasses. As Harry stared at it, the owl gave a small hop and a pitiful hoot.

It couldn’t be.

But even as he tried to come up with alternate possibilities, he knew that there were no other plausible explanations.

Flinging open his door, Harry took a deep breath. Then he yelled as loudly as he could for Ron.


~


Harry stared at the owl some more as he paced back and forth in his office. “How exactly am I supposed to hide him for a whole day without anyone finding out Scorpius’ missing?”

“What if you call up McGonagall now and tell her you’re taking Malfoy off school grounds for a while?” Ron said. “She’ll probably agree – it’s not like she has a reason not to, yeah? Then he at least has an excuse for being off grounds for the rest of the day.”

“Right, that’s a good idea,” Harry said. “I’ll go do that right now.” Walking over to the fireplace, he paused, then turned back and cupped the owl fluttering around his desk in his palms, ignoring its little indignant squawk. “Ron, can I leave him in your office while I make the Floo call?”

“Only if you come get him as soon as you’re done,” Ron said. “Shacklebolt’s supposed to come by in a little bit to brief me about my next case.”

“Deal.” Harry passed over the feathery bundle with a sigh. “Thanks, mate. I owe you one.”

“Don’t worry about it – just get out of this without Hermione finding out, because you know she’ll yell at me too.”


Headmistress McGonagall raised an eyebrow at his request, but otherwise didn’t protest. “We haven’t had many requests to take students off grounds, but I don’t see why Mr. Malfoy can’t take a tour of the Auror Office if you’re fine with it,” she said. “I’ll have someone go let him know.”

“Oh no, you don’t have to do that,” Harry said, and then quickly backtracked when the headmistress gave him a strange look. “What I mean is, I can let him know myself – it’ll be a surprise.”

“If you insist, Mr. Potter. Please remember that Mr. Malfoy should be sent back before the end of the day,” McGonagall said sternly. Harry thanked her in what he hoped was a natural and non-awkward manner before the fireplace went dark.


“McGonagall said it’s fine,” Harry told Ron with a sigh. “He should turn back by tomorrow morning. Now all I have to do is hide him until then.”


~

As it turned out, hiding an owl that was actually a Hogwarts student for twenty hours was harder than it sounded.

Things went fine for the first four hours. Scorpius spent most of his time fluttering around Harry’s office after Harry cleared all the enchanted artefacts into a giant box, which he stuffed under his desk. At one point, Scorpius managed to get himself stuck between two shelves, but Harry had quickly gotten him out before anything else could happen.

The peace didn’t last long though. During the fourth hour, there was a loud outburst in the hall, and then Harry’s office door magically flung open with a bang.

“What have you done with my son?” came Draco Malfoy’s dulcet tones, and Harry groaned while frantically making a grab for Scorpius, who was perched on the back of his chair. Unfortunately, Scorpius chose that moment to take flight and relocate to the top of the bookshelf, and Harry overreached. His chair rolled backwards and hit the wall with a resounding bang, sending Harry crashing the floor just as Malfoy stepped into his office.

“What are you doing there?” he demanded when he saw Harry sprawled on the carpet. “Where’s Scorpius? What have you done to him?”

“I fell,” Harry managed, biting back the urge to say something more insulting as he stood with a wince. “And what are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about trying to contact my son, only to be told by McGonagall that you took him out hours ago!” Malfoy scanned the office as if Harry had his son hidden behind the furniture. “Where is he?”

“Er,” Harry said, glancing nervously at Scorpius, who’d discovered Harry’s supply of owl treats and was slowly working the bag open with his beak. “Scorpius is busy with uh. An Auror training exercise.”

“A training exercise?” Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “Isn’t that dangerous?”

“Oh no, not at all!” Harry said, an idea forming. “We put all of our new recruits through it for practice, and I thought, since Scorpius is graduating in a year, he might be interested in a preview.”

“Really, now.” Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “Well, I demand to see my son immediately.”

“Well actually, you can’t. The training happens in a simulated magical environment, and the participant has to stay in it until it’s over. There’s no way anyone can get in or out during that time unless it’s an emergency.” This part was actually true of the real training. “You won’t be able to see him until tomorrow.”

Tomorrow?” Malfoy asked. “Are you kidding me, Potter? Do you think I’m that gullible? You want me to believe you put my son in an unstoppable, simulated environment that’s going to last overnight?”

“For Merlin’s sake, what do you think I’m going to do to Scorpius, kill him and hide his body?” Harry asked, throwing up his arms for emphasis. “I’m an Auror, Malfoy – I’m not going to harm your son. The simulation is only until later today, although it might be late by the time he gets out since he just went in.” He put on what he hoped was a convincing scowl. “I only said tomorrow because I figured Scorpius would want to go back to Hogwarts and sleep first once he gets out.”

“Oh,” Malfoy said, and seemed to deflate a little. “Fine.” He narrowed his eyes. “But if I don’t hear from Scorpius tomorrow morning, you’ll regret it, Potter.”

Harry waved him in the direction of the door, giving an internal sigh of relief as Malfoy turned to leave. Unfortunately, at that moment, Scorpius decided to launch himself at Malfoy’s hair.

“What the hell,” Malfoy said, whipping out his wand.

“Don’t!” Harry said, grabbing his arm before he could irreparably curse his own son. “It’s just my owl.”

Malfoy sniffed haughtily. “Control your pet, Potter – although it figures that something you own would attack any guest who walks through the door.” He shot a parting sneer over his shoulder before finally leaving Harry’s office.

Harry scowled at the door for a moment before using a levitating charm to float Scorpius off the bookshelf and back onto his desk. Scorpius gave him an unimpressed hoot, ruffling his feathers in annoyance.

“This is all your fault,” Harry told him glumly. “Why did you have to go and touch that crystal?”

Scorpius pecked his hand in response.


~


That should’ve been the end of hard questions related to Scorpius. His excuse to Malfoy had been impulsive, but it made sense and should, theoretically, hold. Unless there was some reason his dorm mates decided to tattle (unlikely – Ravenclaws were probably too smart to make an enemy of a roommate without a good reason), no one would know Scorpius wouldn’t actually be in his dormitory tonight.

What he hadn’t counted on was questions from Albus, of all people.


Harry had just gotten back to the flat he’d bought after his divorce with Ginny when he heard his son’s voice coming from the fireplace.

“Hang on, I’ll be right there!” he called out, settling Scorpius on the spare perch next to Hedwig’s before rushing to the living room. “Albus! How was the Career Fair? Did you have fun?”

“Er, not really,” Albus said with a glum sigh. His expression was gloomy. “I got assigned to Mr. Malfoy.”

Harry stared. “You were with Draco Malfoy?” The assignments were supposed to be random – what were the chances?

“Yeah, him,” Albus said morosely. “Did you know he works as an Unspeakable? I had some questions about his job, which he refused to answer, and then I asked him to tell me about his typical day and current projects, but all I learned was that every single thing to do with Unspeakables is classified. It was the most boring interview ever.” He huffed. “Also, it means I have nothing to write my report on.”

“What a prat,” Harry said sympathetically. “If you want, I can look up some public information for you.”

“Yeah, that would be great, Dad, thanks. And er, by the way, I heard Scorpius was assigned to you?”

“Where did you hear that?”

“Uh. Scorpius told me this morning.”

Harry raised an eyebrow. This line of questioning, he hadn’t been expecting. “I didn’t realize you and Scorpius were on speaking terms, Albus.”

“Er, yeah, we kind of are.” Albus mumbled, looking uncomfortable. “Um, dad. Actually, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”

“What is it?” Harry shifted in his seat, wondering where this was going.

“Scorpius and I. We, uh. We’ve actually been talking for a while.”

“Oh, so you’re friends?”

“Yeah! Yeah, we are.” Here, he mumbled something else Harry couldn’t quite catch.

“Speak up, Albus, I can’t hear you. And I’m proud of you – I know how hard it can be to look past the prejudice sometimes, but not all Slytherins are bad.”

“I know, Dad. This is, er, kind of related. Scorpius and I - we’re kind of. Well. That is. We’re dating.”

What?” Harry wondered if someone has hexed him with a hallucination charm without his noticing.

“You’re not mad, are you?” Albus rushed on, looking stricken. “I wanted to tell you earlier, I swear, but I didn’t know how, and you and Uncle Ron have always hated Scorpius’ father and – I just didn’t know how to bring it up without disappointing you.”

“Of course I’m not mad, Albus.” Harry took a deep breath. This was not the time to freak out. “You know I’ll always support you no matter what. This is just… a big surprise.” Another thought occurred to him. “Wait, what about Rose?”

“What about her?”

“I thought you liked her?”

“Dad! No!” Albus gave him a horrified look. “She’s like a sister!”

“Okay, okay, my mistake,” Harry said quickly. “But yeah, Scorpius was assigned to me. Is… something wrong?”

“Nothing wrong, I guess.” Albus gave a small shrug. “It’s just that Scorpius was supposed to meet me in the library after dinner today so that we can study for Ancient Runes, but he never showed up. I don’t know what happened.”

Harry felt guilt twist in his stomach. “Well, I’m sure he was just detained.”

“No, I think I’ve upset him.” Albus wrung his hands worriedly in a gesture oddly reminiscent of Hermione. “He seemed kind of distant yesterday – I’m worried that he’s mad at me.”

“I’m sure that he’s not, Albus.” Harry sighed. He couldn’t leave it like this. “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but actually, Scorpius was really busy today.”

“Busy?”

“I actually brought Scorpius to the Ministry so he could see the Auror Office, and he wanted to do a training exercise. He was really tired afterwards though, so I sent him back to Hogwarts to get some rest. He probably forgot about your appointment.” Harry smiled in what he hoped was an encouraging manner. “I’m sure you’ll see him tomorrow.”

“Oh, okay. If that’s all, I guess I was just worrying for nothing,” Albus said, perking up. “Thanks a lot, Dad.”

“Anytime.” Harry kept the smile on his face until Albus’ face disappeared from the flames before let it drop with a sigh. He should probably feel guilty about lying to his son, but telling more people what happened was definitely a bad idea. Besides, Albus would just worry.

He went to check on Scorpius one more time. The owl was already asleep, although he opened one eye and gave Harry a sleepy hoot when Harry ran a finger over his feathery head.

“You better change back tomorrow,” Harry told him solemnly before heading to bed himself.


~


Harry was woken the next morning by a loud crash.

Rushing out half-dressed with wand in hand, he stopped at the sight of Scorpius Malfoy sitting next to the area where Harry kept the owl perches, looking thoroughly confused. The racket had woken Hedwig, who clicked her beak in annoyance and flew down to give Scorpius a sharp peck on the arm before returning to her perch.

“Ow,” Scorpius said, rubbing at his arm. “What’s going on? Where am I? I thought… wasn’t I in the Auror Office?”

“Do you know what happened?” Harry asked cautiously.

Luckily, it seemed like Scorpius could remember nothing from his time as an owl. Harry hesitated, wondering briefly if he should explain what had actually happened, before sticking to his story. The less people who knew, the better.

”Ah – er, don’t you remember? You wanted to try a training exercise.”

“A training exercise? Why don’t I remember what happened then?”

“It’s um, due to the memory charm we added to the environment. For secrecy.” Harry swallowed. “You know, because you’re still a Hogwarts student, and technically the exercises are for Auror trainees, and, uh. We can’t have you telling anyone what you did.”

“Oh. Okay,” Scorpius said after a pause. He seemed slightly skeptical, and for a second, Harry was worried that he remembered something – but then Scorpius looked down at himself and began straightening his clothing. “I suppose I’d better get back to Hogwarts then. Breakfast is starting soon.”

“Er, yes, about that.” Harry cleared his throat, hoping he looked more convincing than he felt. “All students taken off school grounds were technically supposed to be returned there last night, but because of… circumstances, you were out all night.” Harry paused, considering his words. “It would be really… helpful if you didn’t mention that to anyone though.”

“Got it,” Scorpius said, not even blinking at his request. “Can I floo back from here?”

“Yeah, of course.”

He watched as Scorpius threw a pinch of powder into the fireplace, and breathed a sigh of relief when the blond disappeared in a swirl of green.


~


“So. No one found out then?” Ron asked later, his feet propped up on Harry’s coffee table.

It was a Friday evening – which meant their small group of friends would be showing up any minute for their weekly dinner. Ron had come around early to check up on the owl situation.

“No, it all worked out,” Harry was happy to report. “I sent Scorpius back this morning, and he didn’t suspect anything either.”

“I have to say I’m surprised, mate! I thought Hermione would bust us for sure.”

As if summoned, the fireplace turned green for a second, and Hermione swept into the flat, still in her teaching robes. “You wouldn’t believe the day I had!” she said, sweeping Ron’s feet off the table and ignoring his yelp as she dropped the pile of markings she had to do after dinner on it instead. “Are Neville and Luna here yet?”

“Not yet,” Harry said. “Neville actually owled earlier to say they might be a little late today, so we should get started without them.”

Hermione hummed, nodding as she disappeared into the kitchen.

“So happened at school?”

“Some Gryffindors decided it would be a good idea to plant dungbombs in the Slytherin table’s food, of all things! Those long-lasting ones your brothers invented last month, Ron – it was disgusting. We had to clear everyone out of the Great Hall and I spent all of my breaks cleaning up that mess. Oh, and on top of that, Filius came down with the Dragon Pox, so I said I would deal with any Ravenclaw House-related duties this week.” She paused. “Harry, don’t you have any food in here?”

“Don’t bother with the fridge, Hermione, I took it all out already,” Harry told her. “Chicken and ham pie is cooking in the oven – although I just put it in so it might take a while. There’s salad washing in the sink, and some boiled potatoes in the pot. The roast beef is already done.”

“I’m glad to see you’re finally using those cooking spells I taught you,” Hermione said approvingly. “And oh, you know what else happened? I volunteered to help Madam Pomfrey run some of the health and nutrition groups, and we were covering Cibus Revealeus –”

“What’s that?” Ron asked around the bite of roast beef he’d snuck.

“It’s supposed to give you a list of everything you’ve eaten in the last forty-eight hours. It’s useful, see, for patients, when they forget whether or not they’ve taken their potions, or when you’re trying to monitor your food intake. Anyway, Scorpius Malfoy’s been eating owl treats, of all things, even though he swears that’s never happened – but the spell never lies! It was the most bizarre thing.” Hermione popped her head out of the kitchen. “Harry, do you have any wine left?”
“Uh, yeah, in the top cupboard,” Harry stuttered out.

“Oh, there, I see it,” Hermione said, grabbing the bottle and some wine glasses before coming back into the living room. She settled herself on the couch next to Ron. “So what’s going on? Are you two okay?” She looked back and forth between Harry and Ron. “Why are you so red, Ron? Did you two break out the Firewhiskey before I got here?”

“Nah, he just choked on some roast beef – he’ll be fine,” Harry said before Ron could open his mouth. He grabbed the wine bottle out of Hermione’s hands and poured them each a cup.

“To the end of another crazy week,” Hermione said, raising her glass.

Ron clinked her glass with his own, and then they both turned to Harry expectantly.

After a small pause, Harry followed suit with a laugh.


 
 
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christina ϟcaptivantes on December 27th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
THIS IS SO CUTE!!! T_______________T~

He turned into an owl, lol.
没有你日子很黑白: I will miss you until you return againpapered on December 28th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
:3!
Shivshiv5468 on December 27th, 2011 09:42 am (UTC)
Gigglesnort. Harry seems to have got away with it
没有你日子很黑白papered on December 28th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)
♥, he does indeed. :) Thank you for reading!
it's weird to have a vibrating cat on your head: {hp} h/d: mistletoemeiface on December 27th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
screams, this is adorable. OMG TINY FLUFFY OWL SCORPIUS. Harry being total fail at the paperwork and rules bits of being an Auror, of course. And Ron still the partner in crime in keeping things from Hermione. I can't believe they got away with it, lolol but it's so cute. ♥

lolol Albus being glum at his lack of report. Oh, Draco, completely unhelpful. I can just imagine how that interview would've gone.

SO CUTE. :DDDDDDD

though psst you have a bit of a tense switch in the third paragraph of the second section
没有你日子很黑白: the sky was made for us tonightpapered on December 28th, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC)
OH MY GOD mei WHAT IS YOUR ADORABLE ICON???!!!?! did miinty_sticks do new pictures or is that an old one I somehow never discoverd? either way, IT IS SO CUTE. *__________* /coos at it

and hehehe, I'm glad you liked this, ♥ - I had a lot of fun writing it. (did you notice how random and off-prompt I was?) and thank you for pointing out that tense switch!
it's weird to have a vibrating cat on your headmeiface on December 29th, 2011 02:08 am (UTC)
Ummmmmmm idk I stole it from someone else?? I think it's probably old but I am not really sure, lol. IT IS ADORABLE THOUGH!!
ojuzuojuzu on December 27th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
I love your Harry! That feeling of 'I thought I was good at my job, and then you started asking me all these questions whose answers I don't know' is extremely familiar. Other things I love: Scorpius the tiny adorable teenager (and owl), Ron the strategist, the fact that they got away with it in the end (sometimes the frantic lies & excuses really do work!), and Scorpius' inability to not poke shiny enchanted objects.
没有你日子很黑白: [HP] dumbledore's armypapered on December 28th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
thank you so much! :) I'm so glad you enjoyed this.