Even watching them makes him feel like a voyeur. It's a private moment, Draco thinks, but it's just... riveting. He's riveted. Leans against the cloister, freezing cold stone, and keeps watching.
Potter is playing. Frolicking. Something like that. With that beautiful snowy owl of his, who has feathers the colour of the snow piled in the courtyard. Everything is blinding white except for the owl's brown beak and Potter's black cloak sprawled lounging against the fountain and Potter's black hair. His hair with fucking snowflakes in it. The owl nuzzles against Potter's cheek and hoots, stretches her wings out and launches up to catch whatever he threw for her. Potter tips his head back to follow her progress against the white sky and Draco hears him whoop softly when she catches the tidbit in a talon.
"Clever Hedwig." He holds out a gloved arm for her to land on but she swoops down to his head and nuzzles there again, hollowing out a space between his neck and his shoulder.
Draco pulls in a breath of the cold air and reluctantly shifts his gaze away.
When Quetzal lands by his breakfast plate the next morning with the newspaper Draco feeds him bits of bacon and absentmindedly tickles the owl under his ear. He watches his pale fingers sink into the bird's black feathers and thinks about contrasts.
With five years of practice, Draco isn't looking around the Great Hall for Potter, and doesn't linger on Potter's puzzled panicky expression when Hedwig doesn't arrive with the other owls.
It is Christmas, and there aren't that many students around. Draco doesn't find himself watching Potter get up and leave his breakfast half-eaten.
Draco hopes Hedwig is alright.
He looks livid, Draco thinks, and watches in surprise as Potter grabs the ends of his green and silver scarf and hauls him out of the chair.
"You - you have that bloody black owl, don't you." Potter's practically spitting at him.
Draco is not happy to be dragged - pulled by his scarf! - from his weakly sunny seat by the library window. There is far too much of Potter in his morning and it's making his stomach churn. He peers. Maybe the boy has finally gone mad. He has little feathers scattered over his robe and and he isn't blinking. "Well?"
"What is your problem, Potter?"
But he is already striding away, yanking Draco's scarf from his neck.
He catches up with Potter at the door of the owlery. The air is close and hushed, a curious effect from the scores of owls sleeping and grooming. There are occasional hoots, and the bird-smell is earthy. Draco hisses quietly near Potter's ear. "What the fuck is going on? What's your problem with Quetzal?"
Potter snorts at him. "Quetzal. Is that it's name?"
Draco wants to shake Potter, and hard. He looks around to his owl's normal perch. Not there.
"Your... disgusting pet," Potter looks pained, inbetween throwing up and crying. "Has... interfered with Hedwig."
For a moment Draco thinks that maybe his owl had developed a homicidal streak but then he follows Potter's gaze to a far corner of the owlery turret. Quetzal is there. So is Hedwig.
Looking like. Oh, no. Too delicious.
Potter is biting his lower lip, staring in the middle distance. He's twisting Draco's scarf around and around in his hands. "They're making. A nest." He looks so downcast that Draco momentarily feels sorry for him. "My beautiful owl is going to have... mongrel, Malfoy babies."
Draco can't help it and laughs delightedly. The owlery is filled with disapproving hooting from the disturbed birds. He giggles. "*Mudblood* owl babies, Potter. And you should be *thanking* me. Quetzal is a pedigree owl, I'll have you know."
Potter glares. "Bloody Malfoys." He moves and tucks Draco's scarf in the little corner where their owls are sitting. They immediately make themselves comfortable on it, ruffling feathers appreciatively. Hedwig darts up to Potter's shoulder and tugs on his hair, pulling a few strands out. Draco laughs again when she drops them on the piles of leaves, twigs, and scarf.
It's worth it, Draco thinks, to lose his scarf for this. Watching Potter looking forlornly at Hedwig, he feels oddly comfortable. It doesn't bite, then, when Potter looks over his shoulder.
"Oh, just sod off, Malfoy."
Owl babies. Indeed.