Cats' Serenade

She almost fell asleep when she heard cat's mating concert – and honouring her, the old maid!

»Who am I, not to obey the call of destiny!« Mrs. Norris thought, following the model of crystal ball Trelawney and crept silently towards the conqueror of her heart.

Soon there was two-voiced mewing heard on the coridors.

Hermione was rolling on the bed angrily, listening to Parvati's and Lavender's giggling. The gossip-girls were shrieking that loudly that she couldn't hear what was going on with her kitty. Lucky him, though his task wasn't easy. He had to try hard to gain Mrs. Noriss' favours. Apparently he cared lots for that scrawny, old, vicious and sneaky cat with bloodshot eyes.

She woke up because of high-pitched squealing. This time it was Crookshanks, not her two childish room-mates. He was totally beaten-up, with frayed ear, bitten neck and bloody snout.

Hermione took him to her arms and went to the hospital wing: 'Good day, Madam Pomfrey ...'

'You should have better said good morning! What is again?'

'My kitty got into a fight,' Hermione misinterpreted love-bites, 'look at the poor thing, how he looks like ...'

'Show! Ah, that's nothing.' Crookshanks didn't agree with the matron, for he wanted to jump out of his (frayed) skin already when she was disinfecting.

Madam Pomfrey healed his war-wounds in a minute and inculcate in Hermione's mind not to leave her cat unsupervised. Hermione obeyed that advice. She borrowed the Sneakoscope from Harry, but for the night she switched off the whistling.

Shaking woke her up and she undertook Crookshank's path, who sneaked out of warm and safe bed in desire fot Mrs. Norris. This time Hermione caught him mewing on the roof together with Filch's monster.

For the life of her, Hermione couldn't understand why Crookshanks was competing for such a scarecrow. Hermione didn't know how elegantly this excuse for a cat can lick her fur.

As always she respected privacy and drew back. But the retire to Gryffindor tower was unlucky. On the corridor she met Professor Snape, who as by design always appeared there, where he could make Gryffindors' life most miserable. He didn't even let her speak: 'Silence, Granger! Have you got no shame to roam the school – I shall take twenty points from Gryffindor! No, I shall not tolerate no excuse-'

'But I only went to fetch my kitty-'

'I know perfectly well what your kitty is doing! Your monster shall be punished, you too, of course, only more severely! How dare you let out this rascal so he can prowl the school at night and attack innocent little animals!'

'Mrs. Norris is no innocent little animal but a real butcher! Madam Pomfrey will tell you what mess she made out of my kitty yesterday!'

'If so, off to the hospital wing!' he let Hermione go first, but this gentleman-like gesture was accompanied with a sinister swish of his cloak.

Madam Pomfrey kindly explained to Snape: 'Severus, but this is the very nature of cats, now it's yet their mating season – such accidents are perfectly normal.'

'I SHALL RIP OFF HIS EARS, TAIL AND EVERYTHING ELSE!' Filch stormed into the Great Hall. In between tears he was roaring with rage: 'That criminal bastard has made my kitty bear young! When he gets into my hands, I will beat him like doormat! Cursed, wicked, scabby, foul creature! That brat shall be responsible for it! I shall hang her by ankles under the ceiling-' Students were roaring with laughter and everyone thought in their own way Filch and his cat deserved such punishment.

'Argus, calm down, will you,' the Headmaster interrupted his howling.

'What – to calm down! Do you know, what that criminal cat has done! He's after my kitty!' The Hall would explode with laughter. Only the Headmaster, his assistant McGonagall, the always-dark-looking Snape and of course the criminal cat's owner could remain serious. Snape, however, whispered something into Filch's ear and smiled cruelly.

In the middle of confusion McGonagall fired some explosions to establish silence. Dumbledore asked the caretaker: 'Argus, have you seen precisely which cat is guilty of that catastrophe?'

'Noooo, there's always murky in my office,' he whined and added combatively: 'Anyways, I managed to kick him!' When Hermione heard the word kick, she jumped up and crashed her head into the table (before she was very busy with her shoelace). She repeated indignantly: 'You kicked him? That's animal torture ...!' Filch pointed his finger at her and yelled: 'Now I know! This brat has set her monster upon my kitty!'

'I haven't set him upon anything,' she defended herself energetically but it wasn't enough. She looked defiantly at Snape and muttered offendedly: 'This should be denouced – as for me, anyone who kicks a kitty, deserves ...' From this mantra McGonagall interrupted her: 'Hermione! Where is your cat? Go check immediatelly!'

'I'm on my way, Professor!'

When there was heard the calling: 'Crookshanks, my kitty, come to mummy!' the students started laughing again, but Hermione didn't hear them. She was so absorbed in searching for her kitty that she didn't notice even the advancing poltergeist: 'Mister Filch is, as one may hear, pretty upset,' he giggled contentedly but enviously at the same time, for to enrage Filch was his domain. 'Do you have a hand in this crime?' Peeves imitated McGonagall.

'I could have a chat with Baron about your attitude,' she threatened him. A mention of Bloody baron was enough that Peeves whistled away. He made a few loopings in the air and mewed cat's mating concert from safe distance.

Although enraged, Hermione ignored him because she wanted to find Crookshanks as soon as possible and to whitewash him of any guilt.

Apart from a few scratches he looked in perfect health, capable of criminal deed, as Filch would have said. She shut him in her room and reported in the Hall that Crookshanks has been in her room for whole night but poor kitty was so quiet she didn't notice him at all.

During her report the vividly orange cat was sharpening his claws. He's made quite a mess out of crimson rug. As long as everything was in Gryffindor shiny colours, it was allright!

In words of her favourite student McGonagall subtly perceived traces of guilt so she decided to investigate further. When the time is convenient, she shall interrogate Crookshanks – in kittystyle, of course.

Her schoolmates congratulated to Hermione because her Crookshanks has made so much trouble and drove Filch to the brink of despair. She was advocating him fervently, although silently she suspected him, too. He's always been a true Casanova-cat.

Also the happy father of the coming kittens was very proud of himself and his achievment. But he better didn't show it in public for every day he was being more terrorized, proportionally with the growth of Mrs. Norris' belly (a neccessary note for the not informed: cat pregnancy lasts approximatelly nine weeks).

In staffroom Professors mostly tried to inspire Filch with optimism: 'Think how joyful your office will be! Little kitties will turn it upside down!' squealed Professor Flitwick enthusiastically.

'Cats' tomboyishness increases to the third power of their number,' Professor Vector agreed, 'I read it in the last issue of Numerological Journal.'

'You won't find a single rat in your dungeon anymore,' McGonagall was pragmatic.

'I shall personally inscribe this joyful event into Hogwarts: A History,' Dumbledore earnestly nodded at him and winked at McGonagall. He wanted to add also in golden letters but he took pity on Filch.

Espacially Hagrid, fancier of monsters of any kind, was very glad to hear the news: 'Twas bout time! Her bio-clock is ticking, 'ts good that Mrs. Norris still could be tha' fit …!' Filch did not have any comment to such insolence, but Hagrid didn't mind. Monsters (a category that undoubtedly included Mrs. Norris) were his favourite animals and he was looking forward to the youngsters. At the beginning it was possible for Snape to console his low-spirited friend that it was all about false alarm but Snape's mouth were shut by Mrs. Norris corpulence. He also tried with a thesis about fake pregnancy but Madam Pomfrey quickly overthrew this thesis. All the ado about the coming litter couldn't possibly cheer Filch up.

Out of sympathy for Filch, Snapa was in even worse mood than usually. During Potions he was consequently enraged and pedantic, but yet, Hermione's both theoretical and experimental work was always flawless!

Cheerful Hufflepuff gang in the corner was guessing, if Mrs. Norris shall be named Mrs. Crookshanks from now on. They were even collecting bets. Hermione marched up to them and explained: 'I don't know why are you interested in such nonsense guessing. Not it's the cats' mating season and I'm very much aware of that. I've been shutting up my Crookshanks all this time and I'd never let him tramp around the school. One must discipline oneself ...'

'It's cool,' Ron dragged her away from Hufflepuff gamblers, 'they've got it. Just you don't get a joke.' All the same, Hermione was still worried, what discredit Filch has brought upon her good kitty.