Cody The Pikachu: Hey there, everyone, and welcome back to Nightfang Potter And The Order Of The White Lotus! Why I had switched the names around is because Avatar: The Last AirBender has Order Of The White Lotus, and Harry Potter has Order Of The Phoenix. Just a little reminder, everyone. Anyways, many people had been asking me when I was going to upload certain stories, and I said I'd get there. In fact, I've even thought of working on a story or two on FictionPress for a bit. So if you don't see any of my stories on here being uploaded, I might be over at FictionPress, working on certain stories about animals. That, or maybe a little romance.
So with that out of the way, here's the disclaimer.
Disclaimer: Who owns Harry Potter and Warrior Cats? Not I, of course! They belong to J.K. Rowling and Erin Hunter.
Uploading Date: June 26, 2014
The Ancient House Of Black
"I want you all to go straight to bed," Hollywhisker meowed as they padded upstairs. "We've got a busy day tomorrow. Leafheart might be asleep, so try not to wake her up," she told Fawnwillow quietly.
After Fawnwillow said her goodnight and they padded up to the next floor, Berrytail muttered, "Yeah right. If she's not lying awake to hear everything they said downstairs, then I'm a worm."
They made it to the second landing, Hollywhisker pushing the bedroom door open and meowing, "All right, you two. Off to bed."
They went inside, and the door closed behind Nightfang with a sharp snap. The bedroom looked even danker and gloomier than it had before, the blank picture on the wall breathing slowly as if its invisible occupant was asleep. Nightfang leapt into his nest and curled up into a ball while Redstone tossed Owl Treats up on top of the wardrobe to calm down the two owls, who were clattering around and rustling their wings.
"It's sad, but we can't let them out to hunt every night," Redstone explained as he leapt into his nest. "Silverstar doesn't want too many owls swooping around the square because it'll look suspicious. Oh...one more thing..."
He crossed to the door and bolted it.
"What was that for?" Nightfang asked curiously.
Redstone turned off the light. "It's Critter. The first night I was here, he came wandering in at three in the morning. Trust me, you do NOT want to wake up and find him prowling around your room. He looks scarier at night. Anyways..." He leaped into his nest, curled up into a ball, and looked at Nightfang with glowing blue eyes. "So what do you think of that?"
"Well, they didn't tell us much," Nightfang meowed. "I mean, all they said is that the Order's trying to stop the sabertooth cats from joining Red-"
Redstone gave a sharp hiss, but Nightfang continued firmly, "-Helmet. Great StarClan, when are you going to start using his name? Padfoot, Wolfclaw, and Silverstar do."
The ginger tom ignored this last comment. "We already knew nearly everything they told us, you're right about that...and that's from using the Extendable Ears. The only new bit of news was..."
"Shut up, or Mom'll be back up here."
"You two landed on my spine!"
"Sorry; it's harder in the dark."
Nightfang saw the silhouettes of the Weasley twins leaping down from Redstone's nest. Cherrynose then leaped up onto Nightfang's nest, the bed squeaking from the weight of extra cats on it.
Cherrynose meowed, "So what'd you think?"
Redstone sounded a bit nervous as he mewed, "I hope it's our side."
"If it is, Silverstar might end up keeping it," Berrytail replied.
"I'm betting it's at the Forest," Cherrynose added. "That's where he hid the Elixir Stone."
"But don't you think a weapon's gonna be a lot bigger than the Stone?" Redstone asked.
Berrytail meowed, "Yeah, but size isn't everything. I mean, look at Leafheart. She's the youngest out of all of us, but she's got quite the temper."
Interested, Nightfang asked, "What do you mean by that?"
"Trust me, you do NOT want to be on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Booger Hexes," Cherrynose snickered.
Suddenly, Berrytail hissed, and the toms fell silent. Pawsteps were coming up the stairs, and then there was a loud crack as Nightfang felt the weight vanish from his nest. A few seconds later, they heard the floorboard creak outside the door; Hollywhisker must have been listening to check if they were sleeping or not. Both owls hooted softly, and the floorboard creaked again as Hollywhisker headed upstairs to check on the twins. Redstone gave an exasperated sigh and curled up into a ball.
Nightfang knew he would not be able to fall asleep; the evening had been so packed with things to think about that he fully felt like lying awake and thinking about it. He wanted to talk to Redstone again, but Hollywhisker was coming back again, and once she was gone, he heard others making their way upstairs. In fact, many-legged creatures were walking softly up and down outside the room, and Badgerstripe Hagrid the Care of Other Animals mentor was saying, "Beauties, ain't they, kid? We'll be studyin' weapons this year..." and Nightfang saw animals with cannons for heads wheeling to face him...
The next thing he knew, he was curled into a ball, and Cherrynose's loud voice was echoing across the room. "Mom says get up, get your breakfast, and get to the drawing room. There are loads more venom moths than she thought, and she found a nest of dead roaches under the sofa."
Thirty minutes later, Nightfang and Redstone, who had groomed and eaten quickly, entered the drawing room, a high-ceiling room on the first floor with dark green walls covered in dirty tapestries. The carpet exhaled clouds of dust every time someone set paw on it, and the moss green velvet curtains were buzzing as if they were swarming with invisible bees. It was around these that Hollywhisker, Fawnwillow, Leafheart, and the twins were grouped, all looking rather peculiar as they had each tied a cloth over their nose and mouth. Each cat was also holding a large bottle of black liquid with a nozzle at the end in their muzzles.
"Quick. Use some rags to cover your faces and take a spray," Hollywhisker told Nightfang and Redstone when she saw them, pointing to two more bottles standing on a spindle-legged table. "It's powerful insecticide. I've never seen an infestation this bad since the swarm twenty years ago. What has that lemur been doing for the last ten years?"
Fawnwillow had part of her face covered by a rag, but Nightfang saw her look reproachfully at the Weasley matriarch. She was meowing, "But Critter's pretty old. He probably couldn't manage-"
"You'd be surprised what Critter does when he wants to," Padfoot meowed, having just entered the room carrying a bloodstained bag of supposedly dead rabbits. "Don't worry about the bag; it's just rabbits. I've just been feeding Buckbeak," he added, seeing Nightfang's questioning look. "I keep him upstairs in my mom's bedroom. So about this writing desk..."
He dropped the bag of rabbits into an armchair, then bent over to examine the locked cabinet which was shaking slightly. Nightfang had realized that he hadn't seen it shaking until now.
Padfoot padded up to the keyhole and looked in. "Yeah, this kinda looks like a shaper, but we should let Mad-Eye look at it before we let it out. Knowing my mom, it could be worse."
"Alright then, Padfoot," Hollywhisker agreed.
They were both speaking in carefully polite voices. Nightfang could tell that neither cat had forgotten their argument from last night.
A clanging bell sounded loudly from downstairs, followed at once by the screams and wails caused by Tonks crashing into the umbrella stand.
"Damn! I told them not to ring that!" Padfoot growled, hurrying out of the room. They heard him hurrying down the stairs as his mother's screeches echoed up through the house once more: "Stains of dishonor! Filthy half-breeds! Breed traitors! Spawn of filth!"
"Nightfang, could you close the door please?" Hollywhisker asked.
Nightfang took his time to close the drawing-room door; he wanted to hear what was going on downstairs. Padfoot shut the curtains over his mother's portrait because she had stopped screaming. He heard his godfather going down the hall, then the clattering of the chain on the front door was heard and then a deep voice was meowing, "Paleflower's just relieved me of duty for now, so she's got Mad-Eye's Invisibility Pelt. I thought I'd leave a report for Silverstar to hear."
Feeling like Hollywhisker was watching him, Nightfang regretfully closed the door and rejoined the moth party. He wanted to hear what else Jumba was meowing.
Hollywhisker was checking the page on poison moths in Gloryhound Lockhart's Guidebook to Household Vermin (Why does she still got that? Nightfang thought), which was lying open on the sofa. "All right, be careful. These moths bite hard, and their teeth are poisonous. I've got an antidote bottle here, but I doubt no one will need it." She sat up, positioned herself squarely in front of the curtains and beckoned them all forward. "When I say spray, spray right away. They'll fly out at us, but one good squirt should get them. When they're stunned, throw them in this bucket."
She stepped carefully out of the way and raised her own spray bottle, finishing, "Ready...get set...and spray!"
Nightfang had just been spraying only a few seconds when a fully-grown venom moth fluttered out of some cloths, shiny beetle-like wings whirring,, its fuzzy body covered with thick black hair. The black tom caught it full in the face with a blast of the insecticide, and the venom moth froze in midair and fell with a surprisingly loud thunk onto the worn carpet below. As quick as stealing the last can of Who Hash, Nightfang picked it up and threw it in the bucket.
"Berrytail, what in StarClan are you doing?" Hollywhisker suddenly asked sharply. "Spray it and throw it away!"
Nightfang looked around to see Berrytail holding a struggling moth between his claws.
"On it," the ginger tom meowed brightly, spraying the venom moth quickly in the face so that it fainted. But the moment his mother's back was turned, he put it in the bag on his shoulder with a wink.
"We want to experiment with venom moth venom for our Skipping Snackboxes," Cherrynose meowed to Nightfang under his breath.
Spraying two moths that flew at him, Nightfang moved closer to Cherrynose and mewed, "Skipping Snackboxes?"
Cherrynose nodded quickly. "Yeah. They're a range of sweets to make you sick...but not seriously sick. Just sick enough to skip class when you feel like it. Berrytail and I have been developing them over this greenleaf. They're double-ended, colour-coded chewables. If you eat the green half of the Puking Pastries, you puke. Once you get out of class, you eat the purple half..."
"...you recover, letting you pursue your own leisure activity during an hour that would otherwise be wasted on the boring activity that is boring boredom," Berrytail added, taking a few more moths. "That's what we're saying. But they still need to be worked on a bit. For now, our testers are having trouble stopping themselves throwing up long enough to swallow the purple end...and the testers are us, by the way," he added with a wink. "We take it in turns. Cherrynose did the Fainting Fruities, and we both tried the Nosebleed Nugget..."
"And Mom thought we were fighting," Cherrynose piped up.
"So how're you doing with that joke shop?" Nightfang asked, pretending to check for more moths.
Berrynose dropped his voice lower as Hollywhisker stopped to breathe before going back to work. "Ah, we haven't had a chance to get far yet, so we're doing a mail-order service at the moment. We put advertisements in the Daily Warrior last quarter-moon."
Cherrynose grinned. "Thanks to you, buddy. Thank StarClan Mom doesn't know about it. She won't read the Daily Warrior anymore because of it telling lies about you and Silverstar."
Nightfang smiled back at the twins. He had forced them to take the thousand Galleons prize money he had won in the Tri-warrior Tournament to help them open a joke shop, but he was still happy to know that Hollywhisker did not know his part in furthering their plans. She did not seem to think that running a joke shop was a suitable career for them.
The spraying of the curtains took most of the morning. It was past sunhigh when Hollywhisker leaped onto the armchair to relax...only to spring up again with a cry of disgust, having sat on the bag of dead rabbits. The curtains were no longer buzzing; instead, they hung limp and damp from the intensive spraying. At their paws, the unconscious moths lay stuffed in the bucket beside a bowl of black eggs, at which Garfield was now sniffing and the twins were shooting looks of mischief.
"We'll get to those after lunch." Hollywhisker flicked her tail at the dusty glass-fronted cabinets standing on either side of the mantelpiece. They were crammed with an odd assortment of objects: rusty daggers, claws, a coiled snakeskin, a number of tarnished silver boxes inscribed with strange languages and an ornate crystal bottle with a large opal set into the stopper. Nightfang was really sure that was full of blood.
The clanging doorbell rang again while Mrs. Black's screeches started again from below. Everyone looked at Hollywhisker, who snatched up the rabbit bag and meowed firmly through the mouthful of bag, "Stay here. I'll bring up some sandwiches."
She left the room, closing the door carefully behind her. Right away, everyone ran over to the window to look down on the doorstep. They could see a familiar basset hound at the front door, pulling behind him a wagon of pots stacked on top of each other.
"That must be Dung," Fawnwillow mewed. "Why'd he bring over those pots?"
"Probably looking for a safe place to keep them," Nightfang replied. "Isn't that what he did the night he was supposed to tail me?"
"You're right about that," Berrytail meowed as Dung was let inside. "Damn...Mom ain't gonna like this."
The twins padded over to the door and stood beside it, listening closely. Mrs. Black's screaming had stopped, and Berrytail frowned.
"Dung's talking to Padfoot and Jumba...can't hear right," he muttered. "You think we can risk the Extendable Ears?"
Berrytail nodded. "Yeah, sure. I'll go upstairs and get some-"
But that didn't need to be necessary, for an explosion of sound boomed from downstairs. It was Hollywhisker shrieking, "FOR STARCLAN'S SAKE, DUNG! WE ARE NOT RUNNING A HIDEOUT FOR STOLEN GOODS!"
"I love it when Mom yells at someone else," Berrytail purred and opened the door an inch or so to ley Hollywhisker's shrieking voice to permeate the room better. "It makes such a nice change after getting the brunt of it."
"...COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE OF YOU!" Hollywhisker screeched. "AS IF WE HAVEN'T GOT ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT WITHOUT YOU DRAGGING STOLEN MERCHANDISE INTO THE HOUSE!"
"They're letting her get on with it," Cherrynose meowed, shaking his head. "You gotta make sure you calm her down early or get an earful of yelling for hours. And she's been dying to get at Dung ever since he ran off when he was supposed to be there for you, Nightfang...shit, there goes Padfoot's mama again."
For Hollywhisker's yowls were abruptly lost amid the fresh shrieks and screams from the other portraits. Then suddenly, before Cherrynose could move over to close the door, a lemur edged into the room.
The lemur looked very old...and very odd. Its fur was coal black with gray coarse hairs, there was a quantity of white hair growing out of its large batlike ears. Its eyes were round and yellow like an owl's, and two of its fingers looked longer than the rest...Nightfang could recognize this animal from the zoo. This lemur...was an aye-aye, a rare and endangered lemur from Madagascar.
The aye-aye did not turn to look at the cats. Acting as if it hadn't seen them, it shuffled along, slowly and doggedly, towards the far end of the room, muttering under its breath in a raspy voice like a bullfrog's.
"...smells like a drain and a criminal too, but she's no better, nasty breed traitor with her brats messing up my mistress's house...oh, my poor mistress! If she knew, if she knew the scum they've let into her house, what would she say to old Critter? Oh, the shame of it, kittybloods, wolves, dogs, and traitors...poor old Critter, what can he do?"
"Hey Critter," Berrytail meowed very loudly, kicking the door closed with a snap.
The lemur stopped and froze in his tracks, giving a pronounced yet unconvincing start of surprise. "Critter did not see young master there," he said, turning around and bowing to the ginger tom. Still lacing the carpet, he added nastily and loudly, "Nasty little breed traitor."
"What was that?" Cherrynose asked. "I'm sorry; we didn't catch that."
"Critter said nothing. Nothing bad," the lemur said with another bow, muttering, "And there's its twin. Nasty brutes."
Nightfang had no idea whether to laugh or not; was this lemur really joking? The aye-aye straightened up, eyeing them all contemptuously, apparently convinced that they could not hear him since he continued to mutter. "...and the kittyblood, standing there bold as brass!" he croaked. "Oh, if my mistress knew, how she'd cry...and there's a new cat here. Critter doesn't know him. What is he doing here?"
"This is Nightfang, Critter," Fawnwillow cut into his mumblings. "You know...Nightfang Potter."
Critter's pumpkin-colored eyes widened as he muttered faster and more furiously. "The kittyblood is talking to Critter as if she is my friend. If Critter's mistress saw him in such company...oh, what would she say..."
"Hey! Don't call her that!" Redstone snapped. Beside him, Leafheart hissed at the aye-aye angrily.
Fawnwillow stepped back, meowing, "It's fine. He just doesn't know-"
"Oh, he knows what he's saying," Berrytail replied, eyeing Critter with dislike.
"Is it true?" Critter was still muttering, his eyes now on Nightfang. "Is it Nightfang Potter? Critter can see the scar on his head, it must be true. That's the cat who stopped the Dark Bear...but Critter wonders how he did it."
Cherrynose rolled his eyes. "Don't we all, Critter. So what're you doing here anyways?"
Critter's huge eyes swiveled to him. "Critter is cleaning," he said evasively.
"As usual," a voice growled behind Nightfang.
Padfoot had come back, glowering at the aye-aye from the doorway. The noise in the hall had finally faded away; perhaps Hollywhisker and Dung had moved their argument down into the kitchen.
At the sight of the dark tabby, Critter flung himself into a ridiculously low bow that flattened his bat-like ears on the floor. However, Padfoot growled, "Stand up straight. Now what're you up to recently?"
"Critter is cleaning," Critter repeated. "Critter lives to serve the House of Black."
Padfoot glared around the room. "And it's getting blacker every day."
"Master always liked his little joke," Critter said with another bow...before muttering, "Master was a nasty ungrateful swine who broke his poor mother's heart."
"My mother had NO heart, Critter," Padfoot snarled. "She kept herself alive out of spite."
Critter bowed a third time as he spoke. "Whatever Master says," he said and then muttered furiously, "Master is not fit to wipe slime from his mother's feet. Oh, my poor mistress, what would she say if she saw Critter serving him? How she hated him, what a disappointment he was to the family."
Padfoot glared at him. "I asked you what you were up to," he meowed coldly. "Every time you show up pretending to be cleaning, you sneak off with something so we can't throw it away."
"But Critter would never move anything from Master's house," Critter said...and then muttered very fast, "Mistress would never forgive Critter if the family tree was thrown out, seven centuries it's been in the family. Critter must save it, he will not let Master and the breed traitors and brats get it..."
"I heard that, and I thought it might be that," Padfoot meowed, casting a disgusted look at the opposite wall. "I bet she'll have put another Lasting Sticky Charm on the back of it. But if I can get rid of it, then I will. Now enough of your bile, and go away."
It seemed that Critter did not dare to disobey. Still, the look he gave Padfoot as he shuffled out was full of deepest contempt, and he muttered on his way out, "...comes back from Alcatraz ordering Critter around. Oh, my poor mistress, what would she say if she saw the house now, riffraff living in it, her treasures thrown out? She swore he was no son of hers and that he should have rotted...and he's back! And they say he's a killer too..."
"You keep muttering that, and I WILL be a killer!" Padfoot spat irritably as he slammed the door shut on the aye-aye.
"Padfoot, he's gotten old," Fawnwillow tried telling him. "I don't think he thinks we can hear him."
Padfoot grunted, "Yeah well, he's been alone for too long. Taking orders from my mom's portrait and talking to himself, but he was always nasty."
Fawnwillow then mewed hopefully, "If you could just set him free, then he could-"
"-tell our enemies about us," Padfoot interrupted with a glare. "Anyways, the shock would kill him. So go ahead and tell him he can go, see how he takes it."
With that, he stalked across the room to where the tapestry Critter trying to protect hung the length of the wall. Nightfang and the others followed him.
The tapestry looked ancient; it was laded and looked like venom moths had gnawed it in some places. Nevertheless, the golden thread on it still glinted brightly enough to show them a large family tree dating back possibly to the Middle Ages, a time when cats were persecuted. Large words at the very top of the tapestry read:
The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black
Nightfang scanned it closely before looking back at Nightfang. "You're not on here!"
"Well, I used to be," Padfoot replied, flicking his tail at a small charred hole in the tapestry. "My mom blasted me off after I ran away from home...nice old cat. And Critter's more than happy to repeat the story over and over again."
"You ran away from home?"
"Yeah, when I turned sixteen. I have had enough of the place and the bunch of them."
"Where did you go?"
Padfoot looked into his eyes briefly. "Your dad's place. Your grandparents sorta adopted me as a second son. Yeah, I camped out with your dad during school holidays, and when I was old enough, I got a place of my own. My Uncle Sharpnose had left me a decent bit of gold; I guess that's why they wiped him off there too. Anyways, I was soon old enough to look after myself, though your grandparents always welcomed me over for Sunday dinner."
"But why did you..."
"Leave?" his godfather finished as he smiled bitterly. "I hated them: my parents with their pure-breed shit, convinced that to be a Black made you royal. Don't forget my idiot brother, soft enough to believe those lies."
Padfoot poked a paw at the very bottom of the family tree, at the name "Tigerstripe Black", a date of death of fifteen years following the birthdate. "That's him right there. He was younger than me...and a better son, as they so constantly reminded me."
"But he died, right?"
Padfoot snorted. "Yeah. Stupid idiot joined the Demon Cats." Noticing the shock on his godson's face, he added testily, "Hey, haven't you seen enough of this house to tell what kind of cats my family were?"
"Were your parents Demon Cats too?"
"Nah," Padfoot replied with a shake of his head. "But they believed in what Red Helmet preached, purifying warrior blood, slaughtering kittypet-borns, and having purebred cats in charge. They weren't alone, either; there were quite a few people, before Red Helmet showed what he really was, who thought he had the right idea about things...then they jumped ship when they saw what he would do to get power. But I bet my parents thought Tigerstripe was a hero for joining up at first."
Nightfang looked back at the name. "Was he killed by an Aura Cat?" he asked carefully.
Padfoot shook his head again. "Nah. Red Helmet killed him...or so we thought. I doubt Tigerstripe was ever important enough to be killed by Red Helmet personally. From what I found out after he died, he got in so far and then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to run away. Well, you don't just hand in your resignation to him. It's either serving for life or death; he's not gonna accept insubordination easily."
"Lunchtime," Hollywhisker called, coming up the stars. She was holding her tail-wand high above her, balancing a huge tray loaded with some chicken on its tip. She still looked angry, though. The other cats headed over, eager for a bite, but Nightfang stayed with Padfoot, who had leaned in closer to the family tree.
"I haven't looked at this for years," the dark tabby murmured. "There's Sparrowstar Nigellus, my great-great-grandfather; he was the least popular leader in the Forest ever. And Frostyflower Meliflua...my mom's cousin...tried to make a bill to make kittypet-hunting legal in Alaska. And there's dear Aunt Goldenwater; she started the family tradition of beheading lemurs getting old. Of course, any time one member of the family has good values, the rest disown them. I see Tonks isn't on here. I guess that's why Critter won't take orders from her. He has to do whatever anyone in the family asks him."
Nightfang did a double-take, surprise. "Wow...you and Tonks are related?"
Padfoot nodded while looking closer. "Hell yeah, her mother Oceanwave was my favourite cousin...no, she's not on here either." He pointed to another small round burn mark between two names, Ivybreeze and Frozenbrook. "Those two are still here because they made lovely and respectable purebred marriages, but Oceanwave married a kittypet-born cat named Thunderbolt, so...bam, she blasted her off," he added with a sour laugh.
Nightfang didn't join him. Instead, he stared around at the names to the right of Oceanwave's burn mark. A double line of gold linked Frozenbrook Black with Blizzardclaw Malfoy, and a single vertical gold line from their names led to the name Iceheart.
"Wait a minute," he mumbled, backing up and blinking. "You're related to the Malfoys?"
Padfoot nodded. "Yeah, but the pure-breed families are all interrelated. If you're only gonna let your kits mate with pure breeds, then the choice is very limited; there are hardly any purebred warriors left. Hollywhisker and I are cousins by marriage and ancestry, and Weaseltail is something like my second cousin once removed. But good luck trying to find them on here; if ever a family was a bunch of breed traitors, it's the Weasleys."
Nightfang looked at the name to the left of Oceanwave's burnt mark: Ivybreeze Black, which was connected by a double line to Blackwater Lestrange. The name had stirred something up in his brain; he knew it from somewhere, but he couldn't think where, though it gave him a weird wriggling sensation in his belly.
"They're in Alcatraz," Padfoot suddenly meowed brusquely. "Her mate Blackwater came in with Crouchclaw Crouch and his brother Crabtalon. And Ivybreeze named herself Devilscreech to match the Demon Cats' group name."
Now Nightfang remembered it all. He had seen the black she-cat in Silverstar Pensieve, the strange pool in which thoughts and memories could be stored. He recalled seeing the frizzle-pelted black cat with blood-red eyes, who had stood at her trial and confirmed her loyalty to Red Helmet, her pride that she had tried to find him after he fell the first time and she would be rewarded.
"You never said she was your cousin," Nightfang remarked.
"It doesn't matter if she's my cousin," Padfoot snapped, his eyes glittering dangerously. "And as far as I'm concerned, they're not my family, her least of all. I haven't seen her for ages unless you count a glimpse of her coming into prison. You think I'm proud of being related to that repulsive cat?"
Nightfang looked away. "Sorry. I didn't mean...I was just surprised, that's all."
Padfoot growled softly and looked down at his paws. "Nah, you have every right to be surprised. I just don't like being back here. I never thought I'd be stuck in this house again."
Hearing that, Nightfang understood how his godfather felt, when he was grown up and thought he was free of the place for ever, to return to the Dursley cats.
"Still, it's a good place for Headquarters," Padfoot added and looked back up. "My father put every security measure known on it when he lived here. It's unplottable, so Twolegs could never come and find it, and now Silverstar's added his protection. You'd be crazy to find a safer house anywhere. Silverstar is Secret Keeper for the Order; nobody can find Headquarters unless he tells them where it is. And you know that note Moody showed you last night? That was from Silverstar himself. If my parents could see the use their house was being put to now, they'd be rolling around in their graves."
He scowled for a moment, then sighed. "I just wanna get out of the house and do something useful often. I've asked Silverstar if I can escort you to your trial in disguise so I can give you moral support. Would that be good?"
Nightfang felt as if his belly had sunk into the floor. He had not thought about the trial once since dinner last night; in the excitement of being back with the cats he liked and hearing everything that went on, it had not crossed his mind. When Padfoot mentioned the trial, however, the crushing sense of dread and fear returned to him. He stared around at Fawnwillow and the Weasley cats, all eating lunch, and thought how he would feel if they returned to the Forest without him.
"Don't worry, kid," Padfoot meowed, having been watching him. "I'm sure they'll clear you. There's definitely something in the International Act of Privacy about being allowed to use magic to defend yourself."
Nightfang looked down. "But if they do banish me...can I live with you here?"
Padfoot smiled sadly. "Who knows? Maybe when this is over, we'll see."
"I'd feel better about the trial if I knew I didn't have to go back to the Dursleys' ever again," Nightfang went on.
"They must be bad if you prefer this place," Padfoot mumbled gloomily.
Nightfang nodded. "Except for Daniel, he's nice for a Twoleg. And Buck too."
"Hurry up, you two, or there won't be anything left," Hollywhisker called.
Padfoot sighed again and glared at the tapestry before he and Nightfang joined the others.
Nightfang tried not to think about the trial while he emptied the cabinets for the rest of the day. Fortunately, it required concentration, as many of the objects seemed reluctant to leave their dusty homes. Padfoot had gotten burned by an old cigar lighter; within minutes, the fur on his paw had burnt away until it showed slightly-charred skin.
The dark tabby tom calmly studied the burnt paw with interest before tapping it lightly with his tail-wand, restoring the skin and the fur. "Ah, it's okay," he told the others. "I think there must be Wartcap powder in there.'
He threw the box aside into the sack where they were depositing the debris from the cabinets. In the corner of his eye, Nightfang saw Cherrynose place his paw carefully in a cloth and sneak the box into his already venom moth-filled bag.
They found a silver instrument shaped like a comb that nearly bit Nightfang if it hadn't been for Padfoot flinging it out the window. There was a musical box that emitted a faintly sinister, tinkling tune when wound, and they were falling asleep before Leafheart finally closed the lid. There was also a heavy locket that none of them could open, ancient seals, and an Order of Star, First Class, that had been awarded to Padfoot's grandfather for his work in the Government.
"It means he gave them gold," Padfoot growled, throwing the medal into the trash bag. "Lots of it."
Critter had also sidled into the room and tried to steal things away, muttering horrible curses every time they caught him. When Padfoot took a golden ring bearing the Black crest from him, Critter burst into furious tears and left the room, sobbing under his breath and calling his master mean names Nightfang had never heard.
Padfoot tossed the ring into the bag. "That was my father's. Critter wasn't quite as devoted to him as to my mom, but I still caught him making out with my father's old cape last half-moon. Seriously, he was."
For the next few days here, Hollywhisker kept them all working, taking three three days to clean up. Finally, the only undesirable things left in it were the Black family tree, which resisted all their attempts to remove it from the wall, and the writing desk. Mad-Eye had not dropped by Headquarters yet, so they could not be sure what was inside...unless if there was a raven in there.
They moved from the drawing room to a dining room on the ground floor where they found ants as big as golf balls lurking in the dresser (Redstone left the room in a hurry and did not return for two hours). The china, which bore the Black crest and motto, was thrown into a bag by Padfoot, and the same fate met a set of old photos in silver frames, all of whose occupants squealed as the glass covering them smashed.
Brokenfang could refer to their work as "cleaning", but they were actually waging war on the house, which was putting up a fight, helped by Critter. The aye-aye kept appearing wherever they were congregated, his muttering becoming more offensive as he tried to remove anything he could from the trash sacks. Padfoot went as far as to threaten him with putting a sweater on him, but Critter glared back and and said, "Master must do as he wishes," before turning away and muttering very loudly, "But Master will not send Critter away, no, because Critter knows what they are up to. He is plotting against the Dark Bear we serve, yes, with these kittyblood and breed traitor trash..."
At which Padfoot seized Critter by his tail, yelled "OUTTA HERE!", and threw him out of the room.
The doorbell rang several times a day, which made Padfoot's mother start shrieking again, and for the cats to eavesdrop on the visitor, though they saw very little from the brief glimpses and bits of talk they were able to sneak before Hollywhisker called them back to work. Brokenfang flitted in and out of the house several times more, though thankfully, they never came face to face. Nightfang also saw his Transfiguration mentor and deputy of the Forest Thistleheart McGonagall, looking very odd with a groomed pale tabby coat, and she also seemed too busy to stay. Sometimes, however, the visitors stayed to help.
Tonks joined them one sunhigh in which they found a rowdy old ghoul lurking in an upstairs toilet, and Wolfclaw, who was staying with Padfoot but who often left to work for the Order, helped them repair a grandfather clock that had gotten a habit of shooting heavy bolts at others. Dung had finally redeemed himself slightly in Hollywhisker's eyes by rescuing Redstone from purple robes that had tried to strangle him when he removed them from their closet.
Despite still sleeping badly and having dreams of hallways, Nightfang still had fun for the first time this greenleaf. As long as he was busy with doing something, he was happy. When the action faded, however, or whenever he laid in his nest, the thought of the looming Government trial returned to him. Fear jabbed at his heart like pine needles as he wondered what would happen to him if he was exiled. The idea was so terrible that he did not say it aloud, not even to his friends, who followed his lead in not mentioning it despite looking concerned. Sometimes, he could not prevent his imagination showing him a faceless Government cat slicing his tail-wand to bits and ordering him back to the Dursleys' as a kittypet...but he didn't want to go back there. He wanted to come back here to this old house and live with his godfather.
He felt as like a brick had dropped into his belly when Hollywhisker turned to him during Wednesday dinner and meowed, "I've ironed your collar for tomorrow morning, and I want you to wash your hair tonight too. You know, first impressions are very important."
The Weasley kits and Fawnwillow all stopped talking and looked over at him. Nightfang tried to keep eating his porterhouse steak, but his mouth had become so dry he could not chew properly.
"And I thought this place was a scream," Nightfang joked, trying to sound unconcerned. "How am I getting there?"
"Weaseltail's taking you to work with him," Hollywhisker replied gently.
Weaseltail smiled encouragingly at the black cat across the table. "You can wait in my office until it's time for the hearing," he meowed. "It won't take long."
Nightfang glanced at Padfoot, but before he could ask the question, Hollywhisker quickly answered it, saying, "Silverstar doesn't think it's a good idea for Padfoot to go with you, and I must say-"
"I get it, I get it," Padfoot growled through clenched teeth, making Hollywhisker sigh. "You think he's right."
"When did Silverstar say that?" Nightfang asked.
"He came over last night while you were sleeping," Weaseltail replied.
Padfoot sighed, but he said nothing as he poked at a potato with a gloomy claw. Nightfang lowered his eyes until he was staring at his paws. Silverstar having been in the house on the night before his trail, and not asking to see him made him feel worse.
To be continued...
Cody The Pikachu: Here you go, folks, and I hope you liked this chapter. If not, then let me know what's wrong, and I'll fix it. By the way, who's ready for Legend Of Korra Book 3 tomorrow! I hope you're all excited about it, 'cause I'm excited too, and I'm not missing it! Plus, I got it recorded, and it'll be fun to watch it over and over again to see the excitement!
Remember to read and review, folks! Those who do so will get a virtual figurine of Avatar Korra since tomorrow is the start of Book 3: Change. I allow advice, questions of any kind, or constructive criticism as long as you're polite about it, but I do NOT allow flames onto here. Any flame I see will be used to burn the firewood in the backyard.
See ya next time! And Happy almost Legend Of Korra Book 3 Day!