|Growing Up Kneazle
Author: Manatocfox PM
On the cusp of Harry's third birthday an impressive display of accidental magic will change his life forever. When Harry is rediscovered nearly nine years later, what will become of our intrepid hero when he finally attends Hogwarts? Sequel now posted!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - Harry P. & Ginny W. - Chapters: 40 - Words: 217,803 - Reviews: 1,063 - Favs: 956 - Follows: 903 - Updated: 08-28-12 - Published: 01-27-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6690487
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I do not own any intellectual property rights to Harry Potter or JK Rawlings work. All use here is purely for entertainment value and not intended to make money. I would like to thank Ms. Rowling for graciously allowing all fanfiction writers to play in her world.
Hi All. I would like to thank everyone who takes the time to read this story and assure you that more will be coming soon. It is my first fanfiction and as such please be patient with formatting errors and the like. Credit for this story idea goes to The Natural Animagus written by wsbenge. The basic idea and some of the plot points you may recognize, but I wanted to do a larger story with more in depth action. Currently the plan is for this story to span years 1-3. Thank you for reading.
The two year old boy.
In a small suburb of Surry England lived a very normal family in a very normal house located at number four privet drive. The Vernon and Petunia Dursley were proud parents of a large two year old boy. They were also guardians of another boy the same age. His name was Harry, and despite his relation through his mother's side it was still the Dursley's deepest held fear that someone would discover the small child existed.
They had found little Harry one morning barely a few months old on their doorstep with a note explaining how Harry's parents had up and gotten themselves killed, and it was now their responsibility to take care of the orphan. A few choice phrases were all that stopped Vernon from dropping the small child at the local orphanage that morning. Unfortunately for Harry despite the distain from his current caretakers he was quite a precocious child. At his current tender age of two he could use the toilet on his own, had a surprising vocabulary and remarkable two legged mobility. This stood in stark contrast to his cousin who was what most psychologists would say was a 'late bloomer'. This only fueled the resentment the Dursleys felt towards their unwanted ward and did nothing to help improve Harry's home life. All in all an outside observer would note that this boy was headed for a long and rather unpleasant childhood, and in another world he might have been except for a stroke of fate, the good hearts of a few of the local feline population, and the unobservant nature of an old widow.
Arabella Figg had graciously accepted her assignment from Dumbledore two days after the miraculous defeat of you-know-who. She was a squib and unable to properly use magic in her own right. While her parents and brother were understanding, she had felt positively useless throughout the whole war. Dumbledore and her brother Sebastian had assured her that her small assignments were critical to the war effort, and just as valuable as those that tracked down and disposed of the dark lord's followers.
That's why when asked to watch over the young savior of the wizarding world she jumped at the chance. Mrs. Figg had moved with the help of the Order from the house she shared with her brother in Ottery St. Catchpole to a small unassuming house not two blocks from the residence of young Harry Potter. It was perfectly close enough to allow her to maintain her protective surveillance and far enough away that the Dursley's hating of all things freakish wouldn't be aroused by her odd tendencies.
Apart from her minor inclusion in the recently disbanded Order of the Phoenix and her close relationship with her brother, the only real chores on her time were to care for the family's pride of kneazles. A kneazle is a wizarding equivalent of a house cat but can grow up to 15 kilograms and far more closely resembles the North American bobcat except for their long fluffy tails. Most people thought they were Manecoons.
Arabella quickly became a fixture in the local community. Although regarded as somewhat odd she was tolerated none the less because of her willingness to child mind at all hours and for very reasonable rates. Everyone knew that she had lost her husband in a steel accident, which was true, and that with no other relatives nearby the companionship of children was a welcome one. In truth the old woman was hoping that one day the Dursleys would allow young Harry to periodically find his way to her house so she could more easily keep an eye on him. Despite the assurances of Dumbledore she was not hopeful.
Thus it came as some shock one morning when the silver haired widow opened the door and found a immaculately groomed but scowling Petunia Dursley fiercely holding a disheveled and scared two year old Harry Potter. "You're the Figg woman?" Petunia asked.
"Yes, is there something I can do for you?" Mrs. Figg responded hesitantly. She wasn't at all sure where this conversation was going.
"Yes, our little Duddykins needs his booster shots today and he's such a tenacious child I was hoping you could watch this terror while we're gone. I talked to Victoria yesterday and she said you had a good hold on children."
"Well I have been known to child mind from time to time. He's not too much trouble I hope?" The old woman asked tentatively. She had heard stories about the boy's father and his friends when they were at Hogwarts and imagined that if he was indeed his father's son... Her train of thought was cut off by the sudden trill of Petunia's voice.
"Well I wouldn't trust him alone in my house, but if you just shut him in one of the bedrooms he'll be fine. Just hide the cookies and your checkbook."
"Well I..." Mrs. Figg was once again cut off.
"Fine, we'll pay you double if that's what it takes!" Petunia shrilled.
"No no... I think five pounds an hour is more than reasonable Mrs. Dursley. I'm sure little..." Arabella faltered. No magic was required to act and Arabella Figg had at one time fancied herself quite the leading woman.
"Yes, I'm sure young Harry here won't be a problem. He isn't allergic to cats is he? I do have quite the number of them."
"I'm sure he's not. We don't have any of course. We'll be back to pick him up this evening." With that Petunia Dursley roughly shoved Harry into the odd house of Arabella Figg and her... cats. As soon as the door shut several of the large furry animals came forward to investigate the new arrival with eager noses and curious eyes.
An interesting, but little known fact about Kneazles is that they can sense the magical core of a human like a dog can scent or an artist can separate colors, the Kneazle can identify a witch or wizard by their magical signature. Mrs. Figg watched from across the room as her furry charges one by one came out to greet the new visitor. First the Father of the pride and several older sons came to identify if the boy was a threat, then many of the younger males came to investigate if the small child would be a decent playmate.
Arabella smiled softly. They did this to everyone, but the inquisitiveness of her Kneazles was always amusing. They had been angry with her for some time for packing them from their ancestral hunting grounds in Ottery St. Catchpole, but they had refused to leave her and since she was coming here they did as well. By now they had taken to the neighborhood well enough she supposed.
The old woman's eyes nearly bugged out of her skull; in sauntered the pride mother leading her four kittens to meet the boy-who-lived. In the year or so she had been living here never had the pride mother come out to investigate a child staying at the house.
Having spent her life raising and caring for her Kneazles Arabella Figg had become somewhat of an expert on the subject matter. Kneazles were by default social creatures not unlike humans and their canine companions. Although the proper term of a den of the magical felines was a Pride, Arabella always felt they had far more in common with wolves. They lived thirty years or better, and only the top male and female produced any kittens with the rest of the pride protecting the female and her kittens. For the Mother to come with her new litter was astounding.
Harry was staring intently at the posse of large cats surrounding him, and with very little encouragement he was soon rolling with them and playing hide-and-go-seek. He loved the way their fur felt and the tickle of their whiskers. Hours passed and before he knew it Harry was sound asleep on the couch, when a loud rapping awoke him.
Harry saw the meaty form of his uncle in the doorway and felt a surge of fear.
"Boy!" His uncle bellowed. "Come here! Time to go home."
Why? Harry wished, not for the first time that day that he could just stay in that house forever. Even with its odd smells today was still the best day his two year old mind could remember.
"Boy! Come Here!" In three strides his uncle had crossed the living room floor and grabbed the back of his neck. A series of hisses was heard as all but one or two of the largest cats fled for the safety of the basement.
"We might be bringing him back next week for Dudley's birthday." Vernon huffed, as he slapped a fifty pound note on the coffee table and stormed out.
That night Harry was confined to his bedroom once more. Really it was a cupboard under the stairs, but his uncle was determined to convert it into a living space and so had fixed a piece of plywood to hinges on the frame, at least until the carpenter could come out next week to set it right.
The dark haired boy's green eyes pooled with tears once more, as he wished with all his might he could be a cat just like the ones he played with this afternoon. He wanted to run free and feel the wind on his face and the grass on his feet. With that happy thought he drifted silently off to sleep without feeling the warm rush of accidental magic.