Albus wasn’t entirely sure what a feather duster was, exactly, but he’d confiscated it from that odd Creevey child in Gryffindor and believed it was used for Muggle cleaning. It was oddly shaped and had dozens of brightly colored feathers that, under normal circumstances, he might have enjoyed touching. Regardless, he had brought it to his office to investigate it more thoroughly, curious if it was something that Hogwarts could be used, never imagining he’d find the blasted thing competition in the affections of the one he loved.
He really should have known that first evening. Fawkes had been far too inquisitive about the Muggle item, after all. Flying over to the desk, poking and touching, and enjoying the feel of the feathers far too much. He should have tossed it in the rubbish that very moment. But he’d been distracted by a floo call from Severus, who was whining, once again, about his students and their ineptitude, which had resulted in sharing tea and listening while he allowed his mind to wander to thoughts of Fawkes and feathers against his bare skin.
That had been a week ago. Since then, he’d been unable to break Fawkes away from that ridiculous feather duster. Fawkes stroked and cooed and ruffled his feathers against that blasted thing, ignoring him completely. He’d been biding his time, waiting until the perfect moment to strike, and it finally appeared to be the most opportune. Fawkes was distracted with a new toy Albus had bought him at Hogsmeade so he wasted no time.
A quick wave of his wand, a couple of well chosen words spoken in a whisper, and his competition was no more. The Creevey boy would receive detention for bringing such a pointless Muggle item to school with him, of course, and Albus did not want to even consider that the boy shared his own fondness for feathers against bare skin. However, he did believe he’d keep an eye on Fawkes just in case.