30 June 1993

Mrs. Norris stretched luxuriously on the carpet before the fireplace in Mister's small bedroom. It felt so nice to be back to herself—she didn't know what had come over her—one moment, she had been patrolling the corridors for Mister, examining the large puddle of water that the cloudy thing had once again managed to flood the corridor with, and the next, she had woken up in Mister's arms, feeling very stiff and sleepy. And hungry.

Her stomach growled, and she thought rather listlessly of getting up to find something to eat. But no—she did not feel well enough for that just yet. And, just as she realized this, Mister came over to where she was curled and set a bowl of milk before her.

What a good pet he made, Mrs. Norris thought happily. Mister always knew exactly what she needed, and she never had to ask him to do anything. He was, in fact, the best pet she could have hoped to find, she mused, rolling up onto her belly to lap up her dinner. He was her friend, too. Perhaps even a best friend.

Mrs. Norris stopped drinking and shook her head suddenly. Where had that come from? Good cats don't make friends with their pets, she thought. It made it that much harder when they had to leave their pets behind. That was what Mrs. Norris had always told herself.

Then again, Mrs. Norris thought, resting her head on her forepaws, perhaps spending all this time with these small Misters who took up the space in her castle—and who were really nothing like Mister at all, but dirty, and smelly, and loud—was starting to wear her down. After all, the small Misters liked traveling in groups—they were friends. But, Mrs. Norris reasoned, little Misters were a mischievous bunch, around here especially—being friends meant mess and mayhem!

Mister knew this too, and he spent a lot of time suffering and cleaning up after these nasty littler ones. Mrs. Norris thought this disgraceful, for Mister was her pet—why should the small ones occupy his time so much? So, as a way of protecting her investment in keeping Mister around, Mrs. Norris took to following the little ones, making sure they behaved themselves.

Then again, Mister was a wonderful pet. And she liked him very much, just as the small Misters seemed to like one another, however repellent they could be. She would never want Mister to go away…Mrs. Norris lifted her head again, shocked at herself. Was she truly coming to think of Mister as a friend, one that she had to keep?

And suddenly, Mister was bent over her, stroking her ears gently. Oh, that did feel nice, Mrs. Norris thought, rolling her head around to show him where to scratch. What a very good pet…

"Come on, now," Mister said, still scratching her ears. "Aren't you hungry?"

Oh, he needn't fuss so much, Mrs. Norris thought, giving Mister a reproachful glare. He still needed training, she thought with a sigh. Good pets are hard to find. Then Mister started rubbing her belly, and Mrs. Norris let out an involuntary purr.

Mister gave a wheezy little chuckle, as Mrs. Norris turned onto her back, exposing her stomach for more convenient scratching, when Mister had the nerve to get up and walk away!

Quick as lightning, Mrs. Norris flipped onto her belly, frowning. Had she really just witnessed that? Well, she thought snootily, perhaps good pets were not only hard to find, they were hard to keep, as well!

Rather irritated by Mister's newfound lack of manners, Mrs. Norris got up and followed him over to the bed, where he was pulling down the blankets, getting ready for bed. She reached up and whapped his leg. He glanced down at her, smiled and turned away from her, walking over to the shelves on the wall and rummaging around.

Well! Mrs. Norris thought indignantly. Of all the nerve! She trotted after Mister, springing lightly up onto the counter, and glared at him fiercely. He smiled at her again, and—Mrs. Norris had to stop her jaw from falling open in surprise—he walked away again!

Well, this would never do, this was all wrong! Mister had lost all of his training, he was ill-mannered, disrespectful, and—what was that? What was he doing over there, to her bowl of milk? Mrs. Norris leapt down from the counter. She was going to eat that! How dare he? Mrs. Norris chased after Mister, who was carrying her milk away from the hearthrug back to the counter. She sat on the floor at his ankle, glaring beadily up at him.

Her tail twitched back and forth, clearly indicating her extreme displeasure with his bad behavior. Mister didn't seem to notice, and she reached up to bat his leg again, this time with a reproving yowl.

"All right, all right, Missy," he said, plainly not paying her any attention at all as he continued to mess about with her dish of milk. Mrs. Norris, now thoroughly offended, made a noise of great disapproval, turned her tail on him, and stalked stiffly back to her place by the hearth. She curled up in a tight ball and buried her head in her paws, denying Mister any of her own attention.

As she lay curled there, Mrs. Norris grumbled to herself about poor training and impolite pets. Ha! A friend, she had thought! How ridiculous! Mister was barely a good pet! She was seriously considering making a demand to be let out, so that she might teach him a lesson about behaving himself, when she felt a very familiar, gentle hand on the back of her head.

Hmf. He thought he could win her back with his marvelously deceptive petting! Ha! Never. Mrs. Norris tucked herself into an even tighter ball.

"Got a treat for you, Missy," said Mister softly. Mrs. Norris's stomach growled. She lifted her head a fraction of an inch, watching Mister through narrowed eyes. Sitting before her was her bowl of milk. She looked back at Mister, who was still stroking her ears, smiling crookedly at her.

Mrs. Norris tentatively stuck her nose out and sniffed. Her milk was warmed now…well, that was nice, she had to admit…and—wait—her eyes went wide and she sat up a bit, putting her nose closer to the dish—honey! Oh, he had put honey in her milk, just the way she loved it!

With a mewl of appreciation for Mister's thoughtfulness, Mrs. Norris crept closer to the dish and started drinking eagerly. Before long, her stomach was full, and she was quite warm and cozy on the hearth. Sleepy and peaceful, she looked around for Mister. He was sitting in his armchair, reading something shiny, square, and bright purple with a grumpy frown on his face.

Mrs. Norris sighed. Poor Mister, she thought, he was still trying to learn these odd little squares of purple. Getting to her feet, Mrs. Norris padded over to Mister's chair and rubbed against his leg once. Mister looked down at her, setting down the purple. Mrs. Norris hopped into his lap and looked up at him. For some reason, it felt like ages since she had last seen him.

Mister smiled at her and started petting her gently. Mrs. Norris rubbed against his hand, indicating that he should keep going, and curled up against his stomach. The little Misters had all gone home today—how fast things had happened lately, Mrs. Norris thought. It seemed as though they'd just arrived in her castle. Ah well, she thought. It meant she had plenty of time to spend here with Mister, free of nasty, smelly small ones and their messes.

"Heh," Mister chuckled, scratching her belly. "Thought I'd forgot what you liked, hm?"

Mrs. Norris purred. Of course not, she thought lazily, though she was much too content to actually voice this. Perhaps good pets weren't so hard to hold onto, after all—and Mister was a good pet. A good friend, even—though she would never tell him that. And, purring contentedly, Mrs. Norris dropped off to sleep.

Teehee! My second submission for the Best Friends Competition! Mrs. Norris hates kids...but we all knew that... XD Just made me laugh to make her so self-important! And I love making Filch into a total softy for her, because we ALL know he is! Hope you like!