"Mrs. Norris?" Filch heard her pathetic yowl and rushed out of his bedroom and into his living corridors. That yowl wasn't an angry one. Or the type she used when she was incensed. It was desperate. Hurt. Pleading. His heart raced and then skipped as he saw her form, lying sideways on the stone floor. "Mrs. Norris!" he stumbled and fell beside her and reached down, trying to pick her up.

But something was off, she wasn't trying to sit up, she was just lying there, and when he lifted her she was a dead weight in his hands, her breath short and coming in spurts.

Horror, hot and cold, dull and sharp, stabbed through his chest- his throat- he felt as if he himself were the one unable to draw in air, and not she.

"What happened?" he asked almost kindly, gently lying her back down, her head propped in his hand, his other stroking her fur, trying to feel if she'd broken something- -

But no. He wasn't sure- - She was so old now. She'd been slowing down, losing weight, yowling every now and then in pain, and had stopped wandering the castle. She'd taken to staying in his rooms and sitting by herself. Not even to cuddle with her master.

She spasmed and he felt pain pound through him.

What was he to do?

Even healers- - medi-witches- - veterinarians, could not stave death.

Death was a thief.

But unlike normal thieves, death was not picky, and in the end, would rob all, stealing dearly loved ones and leaving those behind desolate.

She was having trouble breathing and her pathetic whines for aid were rending his heart in two. "Oh love- - what did you do? I can't do anything- -" She was too far gone. She mewed imploringly. Beggingly. Oh if only he could lay his life for hers. His mind supplying several different ideas on how she could be saved just in the nick of time- - Each one as likely and hopeless as the next. "I'm so sorry- -" he whispered brokenly, tears building in his eyes. "Oh please, stop hurting--" as if she could. She lay dying and he felt as if he'd never understand how truly terrified she must feel. But oh if only she knew how he felt as if he were dying with her. "I'm here love, I'll not leave you...." he shifted her body so that it took less pressure off of her, if only to allow her a better position to breathe.

She spasmed and jerked in his arms and he let out a moan of misery as she whined- - her voice cut off as pain overrode it.

He sobbed, tears not yet in his eyes- - but oh how close those tears were.

No. She couldn't die... Not now.

Slowly- - decades- years- months- days-- no. Minutes later, she stopped breathing.

Coldness washed over him, her limp body in his hands, still warm. But no longer tense with life.

"Mrs. Norris?" an infinitesimal moment paused where nothing, not even the air, stirred. " Mrs. Norris?" he felt his body shake with barely controlled misery- - it threatened to break through and Mrs. Norris became a blur of colours. "Oh..." the word was laced with pain and loss.

He bent down and placed his cheek to her body. No she wasn't dead- - just catching her breathe. She'd be up and purring by tomorrow.


Weaving between his legs for attention- - catching those rotten children and eating mice--


She had to - -

His eyes cleared as he rubbed them angrily, her bright eyes staring vividly-- dully- at nothing. At everything. Accusingly. Forgivingly.

Oh how he wished they were closed- -

"G- good b-bye." he choked on the words, sobbing out his heartbreak for the only one who'd ever loved him.

Author Notes : My cat of 13 yrs, died today (July 14, 2am) and I did not take, watching my cat die in pain, very well. I think I have a new sympathy for Filch if he were to ever lose Mrs. Norris. Forgive the spelling errors, I'll be correcting it later when I'm no longer so upset.

So I guess this is a rather morbid story dedicated to my now deceased kitty, Banning.