The Kneazle ChroniclesChronicle One
"Lily? Where are you, honey?" James Potter entered the small hallway of his home, peering around myopically to see where his wife was, keeping one hand on the front of his robes to keep them shut; effectively stilling the squirming bundle inside.
"In here, James!" came the muffled answer from the kitchen towards the back of the cottage. James hurried to the back room and pushed the swinging door open to reveal his very pretty, very pregnant wife, setting tea things out on the kitchen table. The sunlight that flowed into the room from the large window, lit her up and infused her with such a golden glow, it took his breath away. To him she looked like a Madonna.
She smiled at him as he came in and set the steaming teapot on the table next to a plate of his favourite biscuits, brushing her hair back from her face so she could see him better.
"You look fantastic, Lily. How're you feeling?" he asked as he walked over to give her a hug.
"I'm fine – for a beached whale," she mused, rubbing her hands over her belly with a slight grimace as she let him help her sink down onto one of the padded farm chairs.
"Well, not much longer and you'll be able to see your feet again." He moved around to the other side of the table to pass her the teacups and plates.
"Alice flooed me today," she commented as she began to pour out. "She's starting to get false contractions." She handed the filled cup over to her husband and placed a few chocolate and raspberry biscuits onto a plate for him.
"Maybe you'll deliver the same day?" he half-joked.
She raised her eyebrow up at him, but gave him a small smile. "It's a possibility," she agreed. A mew from the vicinity of James' chest startled her, however. "James Potter, what is in your robes?" She rounded a half-hearted glare in his direction.
James had the grace to look sheepish as he set his cup down and reached into the front of his robes, pulling out a tiny orange ball of fur and held it out for her to inspect.
"I was visiting the school today to get Harry registered and Hagrid's latest crop of Kneazle kittens were weaned. This one sort of attached itself to me. I thought you might like to have a cat around the house; it could grow up with Harry!" His face took on the goofy grin that Lily loved whenever he spoke of his unborn son. She took the tiny creature from his hands and looked into its tiny squashed face. It yawned at her, nearly splitting its face in half as it opened its mouth wide and stuck out its little pink tongue. Blinking its yellow eyes up at her, she fell in love instantly.
"Part Kneazle, huh – let's see: boy or girl? Ah, boy, and what a handsome fellow you are, too!" she crooned at the little orange puffball. She set the kitten on her burgeoning tummy, cupping it with one hand as it settled down – stretching and kneading her robes with his tiny, needle-sharp claws, which she tapped to make him re-sheathe them. He curled up against her hand and purred as Lily stroked a finger down his back.
"What a mighty purr…" she murmured. James relaxed as his wife bonded with the baby critter and then laughed with her as Harry turned over in her tummy, disrupting the cat in its trance by thumping it from underneath. The kitten hissed in irritation as its warm bed began to move – seemingly – of its own volition. A feline glare later, he had settled down again with his paws tucked under and his tail wrapped to one side as it permitted Lily to continue her petting.
"He's delightful, James, thank you!" Lily beamed up at her husband.
"I'm glad you like him, what are you going to call him?"
"I don't know… wait, I've got it!" she said with a huge grin on her face. "I'll call him Pyewackit!"
James eyed the little bit of orange fluff perched on his wife's tummy. "A bit long for a short bit of stuff like him, don't you think? Where's it from?"
"Oh, just an old Muggle film my mother loved. It was the name of the magical cat," she explained as she nibbled on a biscuit. "We could call him Pye for short until he grows into it."
"Sounds good, I like it," he approved.
"James, James!" Lily was shaking her husband's shoulder trying to wake him up. She was panting as another contraction gripped her belly. They weren't strong yet, but they were definitely regular. The problem with James was that he was not a light sleeper. You could set off a whole Zonko's firework show under his nose and he wouldn't budge.
Pyewackit was watching the antics of his humans from his perch on top of the headboard. He had lived with them now for several weeks and had already grown some. He was still a scraggly orange kitten, but his tail was starting to get some length and filling out, and he was able to leap around more.
He could feel the agitation from his mistress and knew she wanted her mate to open his eyes, but was having no luck. Well, Pye could do something about that! He jumped down onto the pillows and before Lily could stop him, had taken a very sharp swipe at James' nose with his razor-sharp claws, jumping clear as the man awoke with a yelp.
"What the bloody…" James reached a hand up to his offended proboscis, tenderly feeling the scratches that, when he pulled his fingers back to look at them, he could tell were bleeding profusely.
"James!" he heard from beside him. The sleep-fog quickly lifted from his brain as he took in his clearly agitated wife and he forgot his scratched nose.
"I've been trying to wake you up for the last five minutes! Pye was only helping. It's time, James, the baby is getting ready to come!"
His eyes grew rounder than his glasses as he took in the message, then he hurriedly tumbled out of bed, grabbing his frames and wand from the night table and rushing about the room.
"How soon, hon?" he stopped to ask as he grabbed a set of robes from the back of a chair and threw them on over his pyjamas, then hurried to the other side of the bed to help Lily stand up.
"We have some time, but we should floo to Hogwarts now."
"Of course, of course… where's that bag?" He anxiously peered around the room looking for the pre-packed night bag, forgetting to help his wife lever herself out of the bed.
"Over by the tallboy, James," Lily said with a slight sigh as she manoeuvred herself to the edge of the bed and swung her legs around. She truly hoped he would settle down soon. She grabbed her own set of robes off the back of a nearby chair and began to waddle across the room.
"Right!" He loped over to the bureau and grabbed the case, shrinking it and putting it in his pocket. He managed to assist Lily down the stairs to the parlour Floo, threw in a handful of powder and called out "Hogwarts' Infirmary" before stepping in with his wife.
Pyewackit watched as the green flames whisked his humans away, then curled up on the hearthrug to await their return.
James was getting Lily settled onto a bed as Pomfrey bustled around the room grabbing everything they would need, when the infirmary Floo flared for a second time that night and Frank Longbottom stepped out assisting his wife, Alice. Lily groaned a bit as she espied her friend and the two women grinned at each other and said simultaneously, "Not you, too?"
This caused both couples to chuckle as Frank helped his wife onto the bed next to Lily's and Pomfrey clucked to herself as she set a pile of items on the tray at the end of Lily's bed and turned around with a roll of her eyes to go grab another set. "Are there any more due today?" she quipped as she hustled between the two women.
"Not that I know of, Poppy." James grinned as Frank slapped him on the back in a friendly manner. The Medi-witch just huffed to herself as she set out receiving blankets, potions, flannels and basins of water under warming charms, then cast diagnostic charms on the women in labour.
"Well, make yourselves useful, gentlemen; we are in for a long day. I predict these boys won't be born until late tonight or early tomorrow morning." Both husbands groaned as they took in the fact the sun was just now rising over the top of the Forbidden Forest that they could see through the tall windows at the end of long room.
"Is that Harry, James?" came the whispered question from Sirius Black as he peered over his best friend's shoulder. James was sitting in a rocking chair next to Lily's bed, cradling a little blue bundle of receiving blanket against his chest. Only a small red face, with a tuft of flyaway black hair at the top, could be seen peeking out of the blanket. Harry's eyes were closed and every now and then his little mouth would move in his sleep. Sirius' heart was captured from the start.
James looked up at his son's godfather and grinned. "This is Harry!" he said proudly. "Would you like to hold him?" The other man looked frightened at the prospect, backing away a few steps.
"Merlin, James! He's so tiny, I'd be afraid of hurting him!"
"Nonsense. Come on, sit down!" He stood up from the rocker indicating with a nod of his head that Sirius should take his place. Sirius sat down gingerly and, following his friend's whispered instructions, tentatively took the newborn into his arms. When it appeared that nothing disastrous was going to happen, he relaxed and began to hold the baby with more confidence as he gently rocked to and fro, murmuring inanities to the little boy.
James chuckled to himself as he conjured a chair to straddle, resting his arms across the back of the chair, and smiled up at Remus as he quietly came over to join his mates.
"How's Lily?" Lupin asked as he, too, sat in a conjured chair, sparing a glance for the sleeping woman who looked blissful but exhausted.
"Fine, she pulled through like a champ. Frank and I were the crazy ones. No one was sure who was going to be born first! But Alice delivered little Neville around eleven pm and Harry was born just after midnight."
Remus looked over at the other new family grouped around the bed on the other side of Lily's. Augusta Longbottom was cooing over the grandson in her arms who had opened his eyes and was peering around sleepily. He got up to offer Frank and Alice his congratulations.
A gasp from the rocking chair caught James attention as Sirius whispered, "He's awake! Hello, Harry!" He ran one finger alongside the boy's cheek then offered it to the flailing fist that had escaped from the bunting. He smiled joyfully as the infant grabbed the digit and held on with a strong grip.
"Good grip, mate! That'll do you well in Quidditch!" He looked over at his best friend. "He looks like you, Prongs – but with Lily's eyes."
"I know," agreed James.
Sirius looked closely at James' face. "Merlin, James, what happened to your nose?"
James was startled a bit, he had totally forgotten about his nose! "The cat assisting Lily in waking me up!"
"Bad luck, mate! Did it work?"
"Oh, it worked all right…"
Both were startled when Harry scrunched up his face and body and began wailing like a banshee. "What'd I do wrong? James, make him stop!" cried Sirius, quite panicked.
A chortle from the bedside got their attention as Lily stretched and began to hoist herself up to a sitting position, James jumped up to help her and set several pillows behind her and another on her lap, then took the crying baby from the nervous godfather and placed him in his wife's arms. "He's hungry!" she said to Sirius as she positioned Harry so he could latch on easily and gave a very pointed look at the men in front of her.
James clapped his friend on the back and steered him away from the nursing duo, gathered up Remus and Frank and led the men down to the kitchens for a late celebratory breakfast.