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Towards the Disputation of Territory

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Severus awoke to a feeling of warmth and pressure upon his chest that bore no similarity to the feeling of Hermione's bosom, which did not, of course, come to multiple, pricking points.

"What?" he demanded, opening one eye to meet two—and the pale rays of a precipitate sun.


"Hermione, your 'cat' hungers."

Hermione didn't reply; Crookshanks did, sharply.

"Damn it! Get off!"


"'Mrr', indeed. Off!" ordered Severus, but the inscrutable feline menace merely dug in more deeply.

Carefully turning his head so as not to move his torso, Severus looked to Hermione's side of the bed. She wasn't there. The fact that he hadn't known of her absence had to do with her installation of a dragon-size bed to prevent, as she called them, "territorial disputes."

"Hermione?" called Severus, as Crookshanks issued another, more forceful, Mrr. "Why have you abandoned me to this hostile pile of fur?"

Mrifff! spat Crookshanks, as he lashed his tail back and forth over the coverlet.

Severus listened to the whispery sound it made for a moment, trying to recall what might have got Hermione up so ridiculously early. . . and then he heard another sound, that of laughter, that of two people laughing.

"Is there a man here?"

Crookshanks' gaze seemed to indicate that he'd been pondering the same question.

"Well, don't just sit there, beast. Let me up!"

With one last, entirely unnecessary digging in of claws, Crookshanks flicked his tail and leapt off the bed. Severus followed him, Summoning his wand and spelling himself dressed as the laughter emanating from the sitting room grew louder. Severus peered into the room.

"Oh, Richard, how clever!" Hermione exclaimed, with brittle politesse.

Ah, Severus thought, noting the unwelcome presence of Dickie Rogers and his trick-performing Crup, dogs. He turned an accusative eye upon Crookshanks.

Obviously indignant at the silent reproach of his character, Crookshanks made a magnificent puffing of fur.

"Oh, very well," said Severus. "I'll get rid of them."