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DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter and crew belong to JK Rowling, Scholastic books, Warner Brothers and probably a slew of other people I don't know about. This is a non-profit, amateur effort not intended to infringe on those rights. The concept for the Slyth Academy belongs to Siubhan, who created the idea for the Star Wars universe and who should get all due homage and adulations over at http://www.siubhan.com/sithacademy. The concept of SA is being used with her kind blessing. =)

Slyth(erin) Academy:
Draco Malfoy Gets A Pet
by The Brat Queen
August, 2000

Thanks to: TBR for bunny steroids, Lady of Shalott for proving that Draco/Harry was actually an interesting idea, and all the Sith Academy authors who inspired some of the best SA running gags (some of which are found here).

"And that, class, is why you must never put oregano into your flight potions," Professor Snape said. He finished writing the last of the class notes on the blackboard and then turned his attention to his students. "Right, any questions? From anyone except Potter? I thought so. Well then, fifty points from Gryffindor just on general principle and class is - wait for it… - dismissed. Clean up your equipment and get out. Except for you, Malfoy, I need a word."

Draco Malfoy looked up in surprise. Normally Professor Snape never held him back after class. That was a fate usually reserved for -

"Potter," Professor Snape said, glaring at Harry, "stop pretending to mop up the floor and go eavesdrop somewhere else for a change. Why don't you try listening at the door to Dumbledore's office? I'm sure it would give you quite an education. Don't ask 'in what?' if you don't know I'm certainly not going to tell you! And take Longbottom with you! The instruments are dirty enough without him licking those knives all the time."

Chastened, and not a little frightened, Harry picked up his things and left, dragging a confused Neville behind him.

"Complete and utter loons," Professor Snape said, shaking his head as he looked after their departing figures. Snape swooped around the classroom once more then, satisfied that no one else was in the room, closed the classroom door and sat down across from Draco.

Draco did his best to look unaffected by all of this. "Professor, I -"

"Shut up, Malfoy," Professor Snape said. He looked Draco up and down critically. "I'm not sure you're ready for this but you'll have to do."

Draco frowned. "Do what, professor?"

"Malfoy," Snape said, making himself comfortable, "you're a nasty, evil little bastard, there's no getting around that."

"Thank you, sir!"

"But," Snape added, staring down Draco's pleased response, "you are no where near ready to rise up and join the Dark Lord."

Draco drew himself up squarely. "I am so! My father -"

"Your father has spent the past seventeen years setting land speed records for how quickly he can kiss Voldemort's ass at the same time he runs like a squirrel at the sight of any actual danger," Snape said, "and don't think you're any different! I've seen the way you react whenever any real work needs to be done. You're all talk until some actual blood is involved."

"'ve got an allergy," Malfoy mumbled. He reached into his pocket and fingered the note from his doctor which said that Draco was excused from any activities involving blood, sweat or feathers on account of medical reasons.

"To real work, you mean," Snape scoffed. He folded his arms on the table and leaned forward to look Draco in the eye. "In my opinion you're a waste, Malfoy, and if it were up to me I wouldn't have anything to do with you."

"I can accept that."

"But," Snape continued, ignoring him, "it's not up to me. It's up to Voldemort, and he thinks you're useful."

Draco blinked. "Why?"

"Because, Malfoy," Snape said, "at your age you can do certain things that the rest of us cannot."

Draco frowned, still not quite getting it. "What does my age have to do with this?"

"You're eighteen now, Malfoy," Snape said, "which means that in most countries you're legal and can now do things that would normally get you or anyone even remotely near the area arrested."

"Like vote," Malfoy said.

"Yes, like - no, not voting, you idiot!" Snape buried his head in his hands. His lips twitched as he clearly counted to ten for patience. "Look, Malfoy, the last thing I want to do in my life is draw you a picture of this because, believe me, if I have to my next step will be to take my own life. So for right now let's just leave it at the fact that you're legal enough to do what Voldemort needs of you, all right?"

Draco nodded, wondering if what Snape was referring to was serving in the army.

"So, your age combined with the fact that your entire class has been left back a few years due that unfortunate incident in your sixth year that we are not allowed to speak of, puts you into the unique position of being able to get Harry Potter."

The light dawned. Draco smiled. This he could understand. And to think that Voldemort trusted him - him - with the valuable task of pounding Harry Potter's face into a pasty, yellowish goo while Harry begged for mercy and -

"Now I know he's your boyfriend but you can't let sentiment get in the way of our ultimate goal," Snape said.

Draco felt his jaw drop. "What? My - Professor, Potter is not my boyfriend!"

Snape looked at him in disbelief. "All this time and you haven't bagged him yet, Malfoy? That's a pathetic showing, even for you."

Draco shook his head. "I don't want to bag him! I don't even want to touch him!"

Snape's only response to this was a chuckle.

"I don't! Anyway," Draco added, "why would you even think that?"

"Oh I don't know, Malfoy," Snape said dryly, "maybe because you're always staring at him, maybe because you make it a point to constantly bump into him in the hallways, maybe because of that time last week when you tricked him into wrestling with you inside of a tub of Jell-O while he was only wearing his gym shorts and a smile. I mean the mind just boggles."

Draco nodded, not really listening to Snape as much as he was remembering what Potter had looked like after the match was over. His hair had been completely mussed and his shorts had been knocked somewhat askew so that if you looked you could almost see -

"Malfoy!" Snape slapped his hand down on the table to get Draco's attention. "Back to the point."

Draco shook his head, clearing it of the memory of Harry Potter on top of him when he had - when Draco let him win the match. "What?"

"You're my punishment for leaving the Death Eaters," Snape said. "I've just decided that. I thought it was having to spend 17 years pretending to like Dumbledore, but no, it's you."

A thought occurred to Draco as Snape said this. "That's right! You left the Death Eaters! Aren't you supposed to be good now?"

"Don't be such a child, Malfoy," Snape said. "Do you think Voldemort would get anywhere if all of his supporters went around cheerfully proclaiming their alliance to the Dark Lord? I think even Harry Potter might be able to catch on to a scheme like that, don't you? No, unlike your father most of us are smart enough to keep our big mouths shut and do our jobs. And my job, God help me, is training you."

Draco had this sudden vision of being made to do hundreds of menial tasks just to fulfill Snape's bidding.

"Hardly," Snape said, reading his thoughts. "What do you think this is, Coruscant?"


"Nevermind," Snape said quickly. "The point is that a real Death Eater doesn't waste his time on mundane tasks when there's real evil to be done. And that, my dear Malfoy, is where you come in. Voldemort has put me in charge of teaching you what real evil is all about so that you can help him destroy Harry Potter."

Now Malfoy felt real pleasure. He knew that this was the sort of thing that was precisely up his alley. "Excellent, professor! Where do I begin?"

"You begin by getting a pet."

There was a long, significant pause.

"Come again?"

"A pet, Malfoy, I'm sure even you have heard of the vocabulary word before."

"But I've already got an owl."

"So does Harry Potter. It hardly makes him the second coming of evil now does it? No, you need a pet, Malfoy, something that you can use to hone your skills with and something that you can teach to be just as evil as you are. An apprentice, if you will."

Draco frowned. "If you want me to take on an apprentice why don't I just use Crabbe or Goyle?"

"I was thinking you should start with something that had a modicum of intelligence."

"Good point," Draco admitted.

Snape pulled some papers out of his pocket. "Here. This is a pass into Hogsmeade and this is an address for a pet shop which I think will have just what you need. Go tonight, and," Snape added, with a glint in his eyes that Draco could swear almost looked like purple lightening, "don't disappoint me."

Draco nodded, suddenly knowing deep in his heart that angering Snape would be a bad idea. He quickly gathered up his things and left the room, tripping over Harry Potter in the process.

"Oh!" Harry said. He had fallen to the floor after Draco had bumped into him. From where he fell Draco could tell he'd just stopped Harry from overhearing his and Snape's conversation. "Um… Hi, Draco!" Harry waved at him cheerfully, as if nothing were wrong.

"Drop dead, twit," Draco said. He enjoyed seeing the crushed look on Potter's face. In a strange way it almost reminded him of when Potter had climbed out of the Jell-O tub. With a feeling of curious satisfaction, Draco continued on his way.

When Draco arrived at the pet store hours later, he began to feel his first pangs of doubt. The store was in an otherwise abandoned part of Hogsmeade, it was dark, it was filled with a sense of foreboding and it contained at least five hundred items that Draco couldn't even begin to try to identify.

Plus Draco had a problem being around leashes since that unspeakable incident in his sixth year, but he tried to put that out of his mind.

"Can I help you?"

Draco looked up. After a few moments of peering through the gloom he located the woman who had spoken behind the counter. She was an attractive woman with long, dark hair tied in a braid that fell down her back. Some sort of glowing box sat in front of her and every so often she tapped on some buttons in front of it irritably.

"Oh like he'd actually have a teddy bear," she said, tapping the buttons once more. "Well," she added, "besides Obi-Wan but even that's pushing it."

"I'm sorry but was that English?" Draco asked.

"Hum?" the woman asked. She looked up in confusion then spotted Draco. "Oh, you still here? What can I do for you?"

"I need a pet," Draco said. He moved forward and tried to read the woman's name tag. Upon doing so he knew without the shadow of a doubt that he'd never be able to pronounce it properly.

The woman, for her part, looked him over critically. "Oh so you're doing that, huh? Well, I suppose you had to start somewhere." She waved her hand in the direction of the store. "Take a look around. Let me know if you find anything interesting. Feel free to ask questions."

Draco nodded, moving away from the woman whom he was fairly and uncomfortably certain could kick his ass if she needed to and began to examine the animals around him. Not wanting to deal with anymore feathers he ignored all of the birds and moved on to things that had four feet. The puppies were too cute, the rabbits were too small, however menacing they seemed, and something inside of him said that hamsters were right out.

"Having problems?" the woman asked.

"Yes," Draco said. "I need something that embodies evil. Something intelligent. Something brutal, but elegant. Something that can help me eventually take over the world!"

She nodded as though she'd heard all of this before. "I've got the perfect pet for that."

"Really?" Draco asked. Things were looking up.

"Yeah," she said, grinning. "Her."

Draco followed the direction that the woman pointed in and spied something. Something small. Something furry. Something grey and white striped with a name tag that said "Hippolyta."

Draco felt himself go pale. He swallowed, painfully.

"Not quite up to the challenge?" the woman asked.

"No! Er - I mean yes!" Draco said, backing away from the cat which continued to look at him innocently. "I mean, I am but not that!" He turned to look at the woman, trying to recover what remained of his dignity. "I'm a wizard. I need a magical pet. Something which befits my skill and ability."

"Sure you don't want a hamster?"

"Something in my gut is seriously telling me no."

The woman grinned. "All right, if you say so. Here, I've got just the thing." She vanished as she bent down under the counter then returned with a two foot tall cage. She removed the cloth that covered it with a small flourish and revealed the form of a baby dragon.

The baby dragon opened its eyes, yawned sweetly, then let out a blast of fire which turned most of Draco's clothes into fond memories.

"It's a Canadian Rainbow Crested," the woman said helpfully, pointing out the colors on the dragon's skin. "Very valuable. Lovely plumage."

"I'm sure," Draco said. He did his best to rub the soot out of his eyes. "Are you sure this is all you've got?"

"There's always the cat," the woman suggested.

"Right," Draco said, realizing that suddenly days of ash and fire didn't look so bad. He picked up the cage and tried to ignore the way the dragon immediately began gnawing at his wrist through the bars. "What do I owe you?"

"Oh nothing," the woman said. "I've already charged it to Harry Potter's account over at Grignotts."

Draco paused, looking at her in shock. "We can do that?"

The woman grinned. "Now you can, yes. Consider it a perk of your training."

Draco's mind reeled, contemplating the sheer possibilities of what was in front of him.

"Can I offer you one word of advice before you go?" the woman asked.

"Yes, of course, what?" Draco said, still enjoying the rush of gratitude for the knowledge about Potter's bank account alone. Certainly Draco had enough money on his own, but the thought of slowly draining Potter's resources, forcing him into poverty, making him come to Draco on his knees and begging for help and mercy….

"Kilts," the woman said.

"Beg pardon?"

"Just trust me," the woman said, "You'll know what it means when the time comes."

"Kilts," Draco repeated, wanting to be sure he'd heard it right.

"Kilts," she said. A sound from the glowing box beside her turned her attention away. "No, no, no!" she said, quickly hitting the buttons again, "How many times do I have to tell you people that his tattoo goes all the way down? Honestly!"

Shifting the dragon's cage so that he could carry it under his arm, Draco left the pet store feeling slightly more confused than when he came in, but found himself feeling hopeful all the same.

The dragon, for its part, peed on what remained of Draco's clothes.

"Well, well, well, my pupil," Snape said as he joined Draco in his room the next day. He studied Draco's new pet. "A very good choice. Not quite as ideal as a cat, of course, but still I feel this creature will help you."

"They were sold out," Draco mumbled, feeling a shiver go down his spine as he remembered the look in the grey cat's eyes. "Anyway, what am I supposed to do with this thing now that I've got it?"

"Use it as a tool, Malfoy," Snape said. "Keep it with you for the times to come. I think you'll find it will be very useful."

"I'm assuming that I'll find that out before it grows large enough to eat me, yes?"

"Don't be such a sniveling coward, Malfoy," Snape said. "How can you expect to handle your duties to Lord Voldemort if you can't even handle a little baby dragon?"

"Fine, you try feeding it dinner next time."

Snape took a look at Draco's heavily bandaged hands. "Er, no. It needs to bond with you Malfoy. Anyway, I've an allergy to scales."

"Funny, that," Draco muttered. He stared at the dragon which had made itself comfortable in the middle of his bed. Draco didn't want to think about the kinds of potions he was going to need to get the smell of it out of his room. "Anyway, I don't see how this big lump is going to help me in my task to get Potter. I can't even get it off of the bed!"

"You'll see," Snape said cryptically.

Just then the dragon's head jerked up, as though attracted by a noise from outside. It lashed its tail, knocking over a glass of water on Draco's bedside table and letting out a puff of smoke that covered Draco's blanket in a shower of sparks.

"What the -?" Draco began, but was cut off as the dragon roared into life, spread its wings so that it could fly past him and Snape, slipped out through the window Draco opened to let some fresh air in and swooped down to the grounds below.

Both Draco and Snape smiled at the resulting screams that followed.

"Yes," Snape said thoughtfully, "that sounds like a good start."

And then came the sound that Draco would never, in all his years, forget.

"Hedwig! NOOOOOOOooooooOOOOOOOooooo!!!!!"

Both Draco and Snape smiled as they looked out of the window and watched Harry Potter try to chase after his owl and save it from the hungry dragon's mouth.

"Oh yes," Snape said, patting Draco's shoulder in satisfaction, "a very good start indeed."

[to be continued?]

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