Minerva finds herself in danger at Grimmauld Place. Will Albus save her in time? Read on to find out.
Should be suitable for all readers on the board.
I don't own anything, I'm just playing in the sandbox.
Danger at Grimmauld Place
The small, silver grey tabby purred to herself as she lay contentedly in the sunlight coming in the window of the room she shared with Albus at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. It had been a long time since she had been able to change into her animagus form. Poppy Pomfrey had finally allowed her to begin changing into her tabby form a week ago. She had lived with the daily, enforced, rest periods, the walking stick (thank goodness that was gone), and the work restrictions that had kept her tied to the castle for the last month or so after the stunner attack by Umbridge and her 'hit wizards' from the ministry, but she had dearly missed being able to change into her animagus form.
Minerva rolled over on her back and stretched as far as she could from her nose to the tip of her long striped tail and extending her legs to flex her claws. Oh, that felt so good. She shivered with pleasure. Normally, she wasn't too fond of Sirius's house. It was much too dark and dirty to suit her, and it reminded her of him so much. She felt old sometimes when she thought of all the bright, young students she had out lived due to this horrible war.
Minerva spent the afternoon moving from spot to spot, to catch the sunlit patch as it moved across the floor, as the hours went by. She napped from time to time. That would please Albus. In her mind, he still worried too much about her and her health. She was fine and ready to take on anything again. She was anxious to get back to work for the Order. When she was awake, she heard the grumble of voices as Albus, Remus, and Alastor discussed Order business in the library and was aware that other people came and went during the day.
She really missed Molly Weasley's company…sometimes. The Weasley's had returned to the Burrow for the summer. Oh, she really didn't miss the constant mothering she had received from the other woman; still it was nice to know someone cared about her. It was just that she was much like her animagus form…extremely independent. It grated on her nerves when people tried to do too much for her, and refused to listen when she insisted that she was able to do it herself. She and Albus had had many disagreements about what she was able to do over the last month.
The little tabby cat rolled over and stretched again. Her warm patch of sunlight had disappeared during her last nap, and the evening chill was beginning to take over. She felt the need to get some exercise. Her sharp ears picked up the sounds of rodents in the walls. She was sure she could find one to chase. She trotted purposefully toward the door that led out into the hall. It was darker out there. Keeping to the shadows, she crept down the hall and onto the staircase. About halfway down, she became aware of footsteps approaching. They were loud and noisy and the person, a man, was very unsteady on his feet.
Minerva pressed herself up against the wall and waited quietly for the man to go by. Her eyes narrowed as her nose picked up his scent. Her nose wrinkled up. He smelled of stale tobacco smoke and Ogden's Firewhiskey. From the way he was moving up the stairs, she could tell he had been drinking. Her fur stood on end…Mundungus Fletcher…that thief. She did not like him at all, although Albus assured her that he was very valuable to the Order. It seemed that he could go places and obtain information that even Severus Snape couldn't get. Albus could trust him all he liked, but she didn't trust him at all.
As Mundungus approached the place where she was, she drew even further back into the shadows. Instinctively, she hissed her disapproval at him. Instantly, he spotted her. He grinned…evilly, she was sure…at the small tabby on the staircase.
"Well, hello there, beautiful. I haven't seen you before. What are you doing here? Aren't you a pretty kitty? Come here, come to Papa." He reached out a hand to pet her.
Minerva eyed him warily. She had no intention of going anywhere near him. She began to creep down the stairs, hissing at him again for good measure. She could feel his eyes following her.
"No, no, no, Kitty. You're not getting away from me. You are too valuable. I can get a lot of galleons selling you to the Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley."
Mundungus began taking off his coat. He reached for Minerva again and was rewarded with several long, red, bleeding scratches. He cursed loudly and shook his hand in pain.
"Kitty cat that was a mistake. I'm going to get you, and I don't care if I am gentle or not."
The wizard quickly cast a silencing spell on the staircase. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. Using his wand, he transformed the box into a cage. Minerva watched in horror. He had followed her down to the landing and now she was backed into a corner. She was terrified, so terrified that the thought of transforming back to human form never occurred to her. Her green eyes darted one way then the other. She had always known he was dangerous, and now he was proving it. Finally, she could take it no longer; she quickly darted to the left to try to go around him. Mundungus flung his coat over the scared tabby and bundled it and her into his arms. Oh, she was furious with him. She struggled and squalled and yowled. She did her best to get loose of that infernal coat so she could shred him up one side and down the other. There was a glint of murder in her eyes. If only looks could kill, he would have already been dead.
Mundungus shoved the small tabby cat and the coat into the cage. He shook his hand again. It hurt.
"You know something, kitty. I was going to sell you to the Magical Menagerie, but you have been so much trouble, I think I will sell you to Madam Twichit in Knockturn Alley. I'm sure she will be able to use your pelt in her dressmaking shop. She will pay me a pretty galleon for a cat with fur as sleek, and beautiful as yours."
Minerva cringed in the back of the cage. She was going to be a fur collar on some rich, pureblood's cloak. Tears of frustration came to her eyes. Try as she might, she could not transform inside that small cage. She also realized that she was foolish enough to have left her wand on the bedside table. She was defenseless. No, she would scream bloody murder as soon as they left the silenced staircase.
Whistling a tune, Mundungus walked unsteadily down the stairs toward the entrance hall. He could hear Albus, Remus, and Mad-Eye in the library. He really did not want to run into any of them before he got out of the house with his prize.
Meanwhile, in the library, Albus was starting to get the feeling that something was wrong. It was pricking at the back of his mind. He frowned.
"Albus, what's wrong?" Remus asked when he noticed the worried look on the Order leader's face.
"Something is not right in the house. I just haven't put my finger on it yet." Albus replied, concentrating on his legilamency skills.
Alastor Moody was eyeing the wall of the library with his magical eye. "Did you know that Dung was in the house?" The other two men shook their heads. "He's sneaking down the hall toward the front door for some reason. Looks like he's got a cage with him, seems to be an animal inside of it." Albus jumped to his feet, that was it, that was what was bothering him. Minerva was in danger.
"Dung's got a cat in that cage" Alastor announced.
At just that moment, Minerva realized that the hallway wasn't under the Silencing spell. She reached through the bars of the cage to slash at Mundungus's hand and let out an unearthly screech at the same time. He yelled and dropped the cage. Immediately, Albus, Remus, and Mad-Eye were in the hallway. Dung was standing there, holding his injured hand with the other one, while glaring at the cage. They could all hear the mad growls coming from it.
"Mr. Fletcher, I believe you have my cat inside your cage." Albus spoke very quietly, but they could all feel the anger and power radiating from him. This was the power that made him the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared. Dung cringed in the face of that power.
"Yo..yo..your cat, p..p..professor?" Dung stuttered.
"Yes, Mr. Fletcher. A small, silvery grey tabby cat. She is mine, and I prize her very much. I would suggest that you leave the cage on the floor and very quickly leave this house, because I wouldn't want to bet on your chances of escaping in one piece once she is out of that cage."
Licking his lips, Dung tried to salvage some of his plans for the kitty. "If you prize her so much Headmaster, perhaps you would be willing to part with some galleons for her?"
"OUT! MR. FLETCHER! NOW. BEFORE I DO SOMETHING THAT I REGRET!" Albus Dumbledore was a sight to behold. Power surrounded him and washed against everything in its path. Mundungus took one last look at him, squeaked, turned tail and ran out of the house. Two blocks later, he slowed down and looked back. It would be quite some time before he had enough courage to return to Number 12 Grimmauld Place. When he did, he stayed as far away from the Headmaster as he could. He never quite figured out why the Deputy Headmistress glared at him so evilly. She even hissed if he came too close to her. Somehow, that always made his hand throb badly too.
Meanwhile, in the hallway at Grimmauld Place, Alastor eyed the cage. He asked in amazement, "Minerva, is that you?" Remus glanced at him in surprise. "Minerva?" he said questioningly. "How did you ever get in such a spot?"
Albus opened the cage and the traumatized tabby shot out of it and into his arms. He stroked her gently while she glared at the other two men. She calmed down quickly under Albus's magic touch. She was finally somewhat calm enough to transform back into a rather ruffled Minerva. Immediately she began sputtering angrily.
"Albus. You have got to get rid of that man. Do you know what he was going to do to me! He was going to sell me…to a shop in Knockturn Alley! He said that they would use my pelt to make clothes for pureblood wizards! He is a despicable excuse for a wizard. Albus, I swear I am going to scratch his eyes out the next time I see him…or worse…"
Her rant was suddenly stopped as Albus pulled her to him in a gentle hug. He kissed her passionately and she responded and returned his kiss. He looked down at her and saw tears running down her face.
"I'm so sorry that had to happen to you, my Tabby. I promise I will always try to keep you safe."
"I know Albus, I was just so scared. I didn't think there was anyway you would discover what had happened in time to save me. I was so shook up that I couldn't even transform when I wanted to. I always try to be strong. I feel like I failed this time."
"Minerva, you are one of the strongest women I know. I love you with all my heart and I am so glad you are my wife. Never, ever, feel like you have failed. You will never fail me or yourself"
"I love you, Albus."
"I love you, Tabby. Let's go upstairs now. You can tell me all about it and I promise to take care of you and keep you safe." Albus bid the other two men good-bye and escorted Minerva upstairs to their rooms.
In silence, Remus and Alastor watched them go, then returned to the library for a well deserved glass of firewhisky.
"Well, all's well, that ends well." quoted Remus.
"Hmmm?" Alastor questioned.
"Shakespeare." Remus stated.
Alastor just looked at him.
Remus shrugged and held up his glass.
"To Albus and Minerva."
Alastor echoed his toast and they drank in silence.