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Protecting the Nest

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From my perch, they were easily seen: Albus and James sat watching the muddy ground. Well, Albus watched while James held a brolly over his head so that the light rain wouldn't disturb Albus' rudimentary "Puddlemancy."

Humans. Water. I've never understood the attraction.

"What do you see?" asked James. "What are they doing?"

"'Debating'," Albus replied, peering into his puddle.

"Arguing. So far so good. They in the kitchen?"

"James, we're late. They'll hear us come in. Everything in the Nest squeaks or shakes or—"


The boys, never particularly easy of hearing, started as I announced myself. I purred a little. Another cat would have recognised it as mildly disappointed laughter.

"Oh, hey, Midnight."

James failed to see my tail swish, so high was I situated in the tree, the leaves above so densely grown that they protected me from the elements. "Midnight," indeed. My name is magnificent in my own language. Of course, my human can't speak it, either, but he understands discretion—as head of this household, I can't be seen being petted by just anyone at just any time—and he dehydrates a very generous fish treat.

Turning our attention back to the curfew-breakers, the negligent, ungrateful things, I merely blinked at them.

"Yes, you trust us. Good—"


"Ow!" James spat, withdrawing his hand from the area of my person. "What's wrong, boy?"

"Boy"? did he think me a dog? Insulting kitten!

"He doesn't much like people," Albus said, continuing to study the puddle.

Sucking on his scratch, James told him, "Ee 'ikes 'everus."

Albus looked up at me and blinked.

I blinked back in trust. I had no expectation of his attempting to touch me.

"So what do you say, Professor M., would you take us in safely for a plate of beef?"


To you, that's "Raw?"

I took Albus' smile and rapid series of blinks—poor boy never was quite right, entirely too trusting—as confirmation of the state of my forthcoming meat, and leapt down onto James' shoulders under the safety of the umbrella.

"No, don't!" warned Albus, as James made to steady me with his free hand.

I dug in a bit.

"Damn it!"

"Shh! And be careful, James! He'll get us in if we're quiet."

"He's just a cat, Al."

I dug in a lot.

James issued a creditable growl.

"All right, then, Professor M.," said Albus, as we rounded the cottage. "Which way?"


Around the left, this way," Albus said.

Not right he may be, but he has always shown an aptitude for language.

"I can't believe you're taking direction from a cat."

"Shut it before Professor M. claws you again. He'd do that for me, you know."

If it amused me, that's true. Albus is sweet in his way, the harmless, hairy thing. Ah, but raw meat or no, his very harmlessness was a threat to himself, and my human's human had been spoiling me so long and so well that, unfortunately, the boys were soon to find themselves disappointed.

Turning my head into James' shoulder, I clawed him with prejudice.

"Merlin's balls, cat! Why'd you do—"


A localised sun spell burst upon us, and the disembodied voice of Harry Potter spoke: "Welcome home, boys. Please join us in the kitchen."


What remained of the "evening" wasn't so very unpleasant after that; my human's human has always been indulgent of his spawns' foibles and doesn't go in for shouting. More than that, Harry allowed Albus to make good on his promise of raw beef before he and James were ushered off to muck out the hen house under supervision, and Severus and I spent a lovely hour or so by the fire to ensure that I was dry and warm. I was so satisfied with my lot, in fact, that much later when I exited Albus' room through his window to return to my watch, I neglected to raise the alarm about his human's entrance through same.

I even permitted young Scorpius the privilege of stroking me behind the ears.