Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Author's Note: Hello everyone, and how are you doing? It's been a long, long time since I've written anything at all.

For the past few weeks, I have thought about restarting all the stories that I have been writing for fanfiction, and then I got the idea for this new one. I know that my track record for completing stories has been really shoddy, and I have spent the past little while thinking up ways in which I can improve it. I have decided to keep some notes so I know where I'd like to go with each story, something I haven't done before which I think will serve me well.

For those of you who are reading any of my other stories, I should have chapters written for them in the next few days. In the meantime, I will introduce this new story.

I must admit, when I first read the part in Goblet of Fire with "Draco Malfoy, the Amazing Bouncing Ferret," I laughed like crazy. I thought the whole thing was hysterical; Draco Malfoy was finally getting what had been coming to him. I was 14 years old when I first read that scene, and when it came out in the movie, the way it was done was pretty hilarious too.

But with time and maturity, I realize that there is a lot wrong with that scene, which will be expressed in this story. The idea for this sparked in my head, and I hope you enjoy it. My plan is to start at the ferret scene and take this fic to the very end of fourth year, with a sequel maybe after that. I'll have to see where my imagination takes me once I get to that point.

Anyway, please enjoy this first chapter and please let me know what you think. Reviews and constructive criticism are always welcome.

No Laughing Matter

By: ChoCedric

Fourteen-year-old Harry Potter gazed, transfixed, at the scene taking place around him. Standing next to him was his best mate Ron Weasley, an enormous smile plastered across his face, barely able to breathe for laughter. Hermione Granger, his other best friend, stood next to Ron, a disapproving frown on her face, but she did nothing to curtail the laughter coming from Ron. Other Gryffindors stood all around them, with varying expressions of glee on their faces.

And it made Harry feel sick.

Moments earlier, he had wanted nothing more than for Malfoy to be humiliated, for him to be insulted and made to feel worthless. Lord knows, that had happened enough to Harry in his life, and he didn't constantly go around insulting people, like Malfoy had just done to Ron and his family. Harry's insides still burned with anger at the snide jibes Malfoy had unleashed as he read the article from the Daily Prophet at the top of his lungs, an article which denegrated Ron's father. Harry had then let out his own insult, asking if Malfoy's mother always had that nasty look on her face, or whether she looked like that only because Malfoy was around.

And then, the fight had truly escalated from a match of insults to almost a physical duel when Malfoy had thrown a curse at him when his back was turned. For once, Harry hadn't felt like continuing the fight and had begun to walk away when Malfoy, in a cowardly move only he could pull off, fired the curse at him.

But what Harry hadn't expected was the bellow of "OH NO YOU DON't, LADDIE!" and for the frightening, grizzled Mad-Eye Moody, a moniker befitting his name perfectly, to transfigure Malfoy into a ferret and start bouncing him around the stone floor. With each bounce, the boy-turned-ferret would let out an agonized squeak, causing peals of laughter to come from many of Harry's fellow Gryffindors. Of all the ways to punish Malfoy for his vile comments, something was terribly wrong about the way this was transpiring.

Suddenly, Malfoy was no longer Malfoy: he was a skinny, unhappy-looking, malnourished boy with untidy hair, dull emerald eyes, and cellotaped glasses always on the verge of breaking. Mad-Eye Moody was no longer the Auror who had been Headmaster Dumbledore's friend for decades. He was a purple-faced, extremely livid Uncle Vernon who was calling Harry's parents every disgusting swearword in the book, dragging Harry by the hair and throwing him to the floor, once, twice, three times, then screaming and spitting at him, "Freak! Waste of space! No-good, lazy scum! Just like your worthless parents! You should have died with them!" as he threw him, one final time, into his cupboard and locked the door. And the laughter of the Gryffindors around him was now the laughter of Dudley's gang as Dudley landed fierce, meaty punches upon Harry's battered body.

And at that moment, there was a shift inside of him; the world spun, and something primal rose to the surface. Before he knew what he was doing, he had separated himself from the knot of laughing Gryffindors and was standing right next to Moody, who was still manhandling a shrieking ferret. "Cowardly! Vile! Scummy thing to do!" the man roared, spit flying from his mouth. His one normal eye looked wild and crazed, like he was a thing possessed, while his magical one was spinning around in its socket in a terrifying manner.

"STOP IT! STOP IT!" Harry suddenly screamed, the words tearing themselves from his lips and his heart racing a mile a minute. "Professor, he doesn't deserve this!"

Moody swivelled around, staring at Harry with that crazed, insane expression still upon his face. "Sorry, Potter, but I don't like people who attack an opponent when their back is turned!" he growled menacingly.

But Harry did not back down. "I'd rather people not attack each other at all," he said angrily, his disgust with the man only intensifying. "Whether their back is turned or not! Turn him back, now! That's enough!"

For a moment, the only sound in the entrance hall was Harry's pounding heart in his ears. The laughter surrounding him had gone silent; the Gryffindors were now staring wide-eyed at him. He looked at the incredulous expression on Ron's face and, instead of feeling angry, an intense wave of sadness washed over him. If only Harry had been able to live the life Ron had, he thought, misery threatening to swallow him. As much as his best friend complained about how good Harry had it, and about how much his parents and siblings drove him mad, he would have switched places with him any day.

"Fine, boy," Moody sneered at him, bringing Harry's mind back to the present and making his anger return. "If that's what you want. But little devils like this," he snarled as he glared at the ferret with pure and utter contempt, "deserve every bad thing that will come to them." He flicked his wand, and there, in place of the ferret, was a thoroughly shaken Draco Malfoy.

For a few seconds, he and Harry stared at one another, and Malfoy's expression morphed from one of pain to one of loathing. "My father will hear about this," he said in a voice weak with pain as he attempted to get to his feet. He glowered at Harry and added venomously, "And I don't need people like YOU sticking up for me, Potty." And with the help of Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy Parkinson, he escaped from the scene. Not only was his body thoroughly wounded, but his pride was, too.

Harry only shook his head at Malfoy's nasty remark and the juvenile name he had used for him. He glared at the so-called Professor Moody one last time and, without a backward glance, walked back to his fellow housemates.

Little did he know that this incident would lead him down a path that would change his life forever. In years to come he would sometimes wonder what would have happened if he had laughed along with all the other Gryffindors. And, after a moment's contemplation, he would always realize that he didn't regret a thing. He would have done absolutely nothing differently if he had the chance to redo it.

As he looked at his housemates, he saw the questions in their eyes, some purely astonished that he, of all people, had put a stop to the barbaric treatment. Harry Potter's enmity with Draco Malfoy was well-known throughout the school. There probably wasn't a single person at Hogwarts who didn't know that the two boys heckled and insulted each other at every opportunity that was presented to them.

But as Harry got ready to defend his actions, his resolve remained firm. No one, absolutely no one, deserved to be treated like that.

No one.