Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of this work of fiction. They belong to JK Rowling.

A/N: Written for livejournal's Harry Potter LAS (and voted against), but I kind of like the story anyway.

In Love with a Beast

Hedwig always felt safest at Hogwarts. She was certain that her boy felt the same way too. His Muggle relatives did little to make either of them feel welcome, something that Hedwig couldn't seem to wrap her mind around. By all means, they should love the boy even more than she did. It was clear to her, however, that quite the reverse was true. If anything, they seemed to hate him more than they hated her.

Maybe it's a Muggle thing, she thought as she preened herself.

True, she didn't know any other Muggles with which to compare the Dursleys, but prejudices were often based on a single negative experience, and she had, unfortunately, had more than one bad run in with the Dursleys to fuel her own prejudice against the lot of them. In her mind's eye, all Muggles were lowly, volatile creatures who lacked intelligence. Her thoughts grew heated and she squawked in pain as she accidentally nipped herself.

Mirthful chitter floated over to her and she turned her head, narrowing her golden eyes dangerously as she searched for the owl who dared to laugh at her. Sighting the diminutive Scops owl out of the corner of her eye, she turned to look at it, effectively quashing its banal twittering with a single, pointed glare.

Humph…she snickered. It was that tiny dimwitted fool of a bird that belonged to that obnoxious red-headed boy.

What was its name again? Pigwing? Pidwiben? Piggiewiggie? Its pig something. Whatever it is, it's a stupid name for a stupid owl anyway… she bristled indignantly. Such small owls are an abomination, she thought unkindly.

She snapped her bill loudly, indicating her displeasure with the younger, excitable owl. Thoroughly chastised, Pigwidgeon looked away from the clearly angry owl and contented himself with watching the antics of a mouse that'd accidentally wandered into the owlrey. He wondered how long it would remain undiscovered. If he had any appetite left after spending a couple of hours in the Gryffindor common room, he would have gone after the mouse himself. It would be far more entertaining to watch the other owls scramble after it.

Last week a barn owl and a Western Screech owl had collided mid-air chasing after a mole. They crashed to the stone floor in a flurry of scrabbling claws and scattered feathers. The resulting scuffle had amused Pigwidgeon to no end as he watched it covertly from a corner high up in the rafters. Several other owls joined in the ruckus, and it devolved into an all-out battle. It had taken the intervention of the hobbled caretaker and his trusty feline companion to break the squabbling owls apart. The mole escaped, but he'd seen where it had gone and would keep an eye out for it. With any luck, he'd be able to secure it for himself.

Carefully eyeing the majestic snowy owl that'd chastised him, Pigwidgeon doubted that she'd ever stoop so low as to fight over an ordinary castle mole. As a matter of fact, he doubted that she deigned to do a great deal many things which most owls found customary.

"And what, pray tell, are you gawking at?" Hedwig barked at the petite owl.

Pigwidgeon started and swiveled his head, checking to see if there were any other owls in the vicinity. Crap! Being close to dusk, the owlrey was nearly empty, save for himself and a few other owls who slept during the day and hunted at night. Her gilded glower was aimed at him. His sense of self-preservation kicked in and he backed away from the quickly approaching owl.

"N…nothing," Pigwidgeon stammered. He was at a loss for words. He knew who she was. She was a celebrity of sorts, being Harry Potter's owl.

"Humph," Hedwig snorted as she perched next to the pocket-sized owl.

Though she really didn't need to, she puffed out her chest, making herself look even bigger and more intimidating. The wide-eyed look her involuntary roost-mate gave her sent a thrill of pleasure through her which she deftly brushed aside with a ruffle of her feathers. It wouldn't do to be smug.

A brief image of Vernon Dursley sneering at her boy caused her to nearly lose her footing and she quickly tempered her actions. She did not want to be like that great oaf of a man and shuddered at the thought that she was anything like him and his simpering fool of a wife. It unnerved her that she'd been acting like the Dursleys and she calmed herself considerably, much to the obvious relief of the microscopic owl next to her.

Pigwidgeon puffed out his chest in pride and looked around the owlrey, deflating minutely as he remembered that the only owls present were sleeping. No one was here to witness this moment of personal triumph. Tucking in closer to the bigger owl, he spied the mole creeping out of its hideaway.

Pigwidgeon swooped downward in a complicated series of loop-de-loops he knew would impress the regal owl who watched him. Though the mole was almost as big as he, it was no match for his razor sharp claws. Pigwidgeon felt some remorse as he dug into the mole's back with his talons, drawing a pain-filled squeal and blood from his prey.

Weighed down by the struggling mole, Pigwidgeon flew in a zigzag pattern toward the object of his affections. Hedwig blinked in surprise at the gift before shrugging and tearing at its flesh with her beak, grasping it with her formidable talons as she ate.

Pigwidgeon watched in awe as the she owl ate. Bits of flesh fell from the curve of her beak. Blood specked her white chest with crimson droplets, and her eyes glinted dark gold in the waning light. It was a gruesome sight to behold and Pigwidgeon shivered in delight. It was no use lying to himself. He was wholeheartedly, irrevocably in love with a beautiful, monstrous beast. Now, to make her fall in love with him…