The Sugar Quill
Author: peachpicker  Story: Crookshanks' Magical Staff  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Crookshanks' Magical Staff

Disclaimer: It's the usual one you read everywhere. Harry Potter, his friends, and his world are owned by J. K. Rowling. The one possible exception is Crookshanks, who just may own J. K. Rowling. With felines, one can never be certain. I should rate this story PG-9 or PG-10, although Crookshanks would laugh at such caution if he had a sense of humour. (I've noticed that felines have a well developed sense of fun, but seem to totally lack a sense of humour.)

Author's Notes: This outtake refers to events in Fleeing Hogwarts and takes place two or three days after the beginning of Aftermath. It is not necessary to have read either story since Crookshanks has arranged for you to see that his viewpoint is what really matters.

Suddenly I become fully alert in my spot in the sun when I hear those distinctive popping sounds. Humans are coming! Is my Designated Mother one of them? Yes, I see her bushy hair and her walk, which is less clumsy than that of the taller redheaded male beside her. Don't they know yet how to walk without sound? I show them time and again but they never learn.

My humans have been unacceptably absent for more than two days and nights. I watch them check for dangers, but I already know that there are none. They do not understand that I would not be there if there was danger anywhere near the cottage.

My Designated Mother waves her stick and speaks the noises only humans have some strange need to voice. I have learned to distinguish some of their noises, but I have chosen to not use any for communication except 'kitty' and 'something-to-eat'. I have trained humans to call 'kitty' when they think there is something of interest to me. Their understanding of my interests is hardly reliable, but I let the practice continue by responding often enough that the humans are not discouraged from using the noise. The noise I have had most success teaching them is 'something-to-eat'. These humans! They understand so little of True Speech. They are all crippled by lacking the graceful body needed for expressing it. There is another noise that my Staff use around me often: 'Crookshanks'. I think they may be saying it because they recognize my presence, but I am not certain of this, so I usually ignore that odd noise.

At last they approach me. Since they have been away for far too long, I must communicate my displeasure at their absence. Oh, the training of my Staff is so tedious! I sit straight and tall with my back just so. I still watch my Designated Mother out of the corner of my eye, so I may judge her reaction to my overly exagerated gesture in True Speech. She understands so little! She did not even arrange for another human to present me with appropriate food. I actually needed to eat my own prey!

"Awwww. Poor Crookshanks. We left you all alone. Poor kitty." I still ignore her obvious overtures and turn further away, to reinforce my communication. One must exaggerate so much, when training humans! They open the door so I may follow them into the cottage. I see that everything has been rearranged by the humans in black clothing that took away the redhaired female. Now I must memorize the new arrangement of furniture. How tedious!

No, perhaps not. My Designated Mother and her mate are waving sticks and making those odd noises. The furniture is moving back to where I remember it and the books are replacing themselves on the shelves. I approve of this, of course. I wait until they finish. I see burned places and torn cloth become whole. The redheaded male makes a noise and waves his stick, and another stick comes out from under the couch in the corner. I wish to chase it, but he picks it up. I have seen the redheaded female play with it. The redheaded male seems very pleased. And now I am pleased because I already know this arrangement of furniture. This very night I shall run and jump on it to give it a final test.

"Ron, there was something else. Where is my list?" She examines a paper. "Harry's Invisibility Cloak! I dropped it in the tunnel." She steps outside and the redheaded male follows her as he so often does.

She disappears with a small pop, just as the tall one is saying, "Wait. That space is too small to..." He sighs and seems worried. Shortly, a tiny pop signals her return. She has made herself almost transparent. She is under that fascinating cloth that they prevent me from playing with. Oh, this is interesting! She is behind him now, as he looks around, apparently not seeing her as easily as I do.

"I heard you come back, Hermione. Where are you?" She taps him on his left shoulder and quickly steps to his right side. "Oh, it's like that, eh?" He suddenly reaches out but his hand swings through empty air. Then laughing, he turns to quickly grab the air at his other side. She is just out of reach, one hand at her mouth. Then he looks down and then turns to where she is standing in the grass. "Ahah!" She dashes away from him, laughing now, and dodges to one side and he runs past her. He stops and raises one hand to scratch his head. He turns around slowly, carefully looking at the grass again. I become curious about what he is looking for, and walk over to him, but see nothing unusual. Then the transparent cloth catches my interest and I stroll over to sniff its edge where it touches the ground.

"Hah! Accio cloak!" I am disappointed as the cloth flies out of reach. He has it now, and he is running after her. She is laughing as she runs into the house and slams the door. I hear a click from the doorknob, that frustrating object that I have not yet learned to manipulate. "Alohamora!" Then he opens the door and I scurry in just after him, before the door closes again. Chasing things is such fun!

Then he begins that awkward stalking that humans do. He looks one place after another, and when he reaches the other male's sleeping room, he puts the fascinating cloth in a trunk and closes it. Now I cannot play with it. I have not found a way to open the trunk, although I have tried many times. Then he finds her behind the door in the room where they sleep. He pounces, and she squeals and laughs, and they touch mouths again.

Oh, they are getting caught up in another of their mating rituals. Mouth to mouth? It still seems so odd. Rubbing faces and biting the back of the neck where you carry a kitten - that is the proper way to use mouth and teeth. The whispers they do are so much less satisfying than the singing that felines do. Oh, the singing! I think fondly of the tabby I met recently. We make beautiful music when we are together. I am bemused by these poor limited humans with their laughs and giggles and other odd noises!

I wish to study the rest of their mating patterns, but they never understand my curiosity. Every night they eject me from the room they occupy, despite my persistent communication that I wish to remain. Will they ever learn? Training them is such an endless effort. And now they eject me again as they sometimes do in the daytime. I hear their laughing and giggling, their squeals, hums, and many quiet noises that only humans seem to make. Then there are more of the noises they make when they touch mouth to mouth. The door remains closed when I push it, so of course I seek a suitable place to nap. Yes, the sun shines on a couch now, so I will take my rest there. I am purring as I curl into the place that the sun has made warm for me.

Later, I awake as I hear the noises I have taught my Designated Mother: 'kitty' and 'something-to-eat'. I stroll into the food area and, yes, they have my food where I prefer it. There is no need to eat my own prey again today. As I eat, I notice that I am purring. Then I arch into her hand as she rubs my back. Now everything is as it should be.


Author's Notes: It is said that dogs consider their humans to be part of their Pack, whereas cats consider their humans to be their Staff. The more discriminating cat may choose one or more humans to be a substitute mother who has the privilege of carrying out additional duties assigned by the cat.

To Crookshank's ears, there is no significant difference between human laughing and canine barking. Both are pointless and totally incomprehensible. Human giggles, titters, and the like resemble bird noises, but do not signify that there is something to hunt. What can a cat do but completely ignore such absurdly inappropriate behaviour and seek a comfortable place to doze?

A technical point must be made. Why didn't Mrs. Norris see Harry and others under the Invisibility Cloak? Unlike Crookshanks, the unfortunate Mrs. Norris is not part Kneazle, and therefore does not have the needed magical perception.

By the way, I am strongly allergic to cats, but not to cat stories. I do hope that my wonderful beta reader, NightZephyr, has no such conflict in her life.

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