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Hermione's Betrayal by forever_dreaming
Chapter 1: 1.
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Crookshanks didn’t notice Hermione’s odd behavior, not at first.
At first, it didn’t appear odd at all; he had grown used to her absence during the day after six years of schooling and one year where she was off running around doing Merlin knows what. He’d begrudgingly gained enough patience to lie on her bed, waiting with some modicum of patience, licking his paws. He’d realized quickly, after all, that there would be consequences if he tried to run around the castle looking for her.
(The green-robed humans were not very kind to cats).
(Also, Crookshanks thought that the ragged old ginger cat who looked a lot like her owner might have taken a liking to him… he did his best to avoid her corridors at all costs).
Crookshanks had learned to expect Hermione to come back to her dorm just before midnight, generally with droopy eyes and arms full of books and scrolls of paper. He had learned to expect Hermione to crawl into her bed, leaving him enough space to curl up beside her, and then doze off. He’d grown so accustomed to this, in fact, that he often couldn’t go to sleep without the sounds of her soft breathing.
So, the first time he noticed her odd behavior was when she came home long past midnight.
He’d immediately pounced on her when she finally returned to her dorm. His golden eyes were narrowed and his fur was ruffled; he wanted to rant at her, do you know how worried I was? Do you know much sleep I’ve lost?! But his eyes roamed over her features and he noted that she looked… different. Her dark skin was flushed with red and her eyes were brighter than normal. His golden eyes narrowed into slits. This was not Hermione-like behavior.
She gave him an apologetic smile, reaching down and stroking his neck right where it—oooh,that felt good. Ah. She always knew where to stroke him…right there!
He was supposed to be angry with her!
With a huff, Crookshanks slipped out from under her hand, swiveling to her face with an accusatory stance. He demanded some answers—how dare she deny him his sleep? Where had she been all this time?
Hermione didn’t seem to pick up on his questions though; she yawned, stretched, and headed toward her bed, sliding under the covers. She patted the covers, calling out his name, but Crookshanks turned away from her, wrapping his tail around himself and shooting her a disgruntled look over his shoulder. Really, did she expect him to forgive her that quickly? When she hadn’t even offered him an explanation? The nerve. He would not be won over with a back rub even a dog could give.
Besides, it wasn’t like he needed her anyway. He could sleep by himself just fine. He managed that for an entire year, hadn’t he?
Yawning himself, Crookshanks put his head down, closing his eyes and attempting to sleep.
Crookshanks didn't get a single wink of sleep.
He’d tried to sleep, really; he’d shifted around positions multiple times, finally settling into something sort-of-comfortable–only to get an itch a moment later and shift again. But the floor was hard! He was used to the softness of Hermione’s bed. And it was cold too; normally, he had a nice warm blanket and a pillow and a human to snuggle up too. And everything had seemed too quiet without Hermione’s soft breaths beside him. So Crookshanks hadn’t gotten any sleep at all, which meant that he was even crankier than usual.
When Hermione awoke, Crookshanks was positioned in front of the door leading to the staircase. Yes, he had thought this through very much—he was no idiot, unlike those dumb dogs. He was going to use his sheer willpower to prevent Hermione from disappearing down the stairs, and he was going to demand some answers, because he deserved it, goddammit!
His watchful eyes tracked Hermione’s motions as she rose from bed, running a lazy hand through her bird’s nest hair, then groggily slipped out of bed. He watched her almost trip in her clumsiness and catch herself. What was abnormal was that she had a smile on her face. It was the morning–Hermione never smiled in the morning! This was a point of similarity between the cat and the owner; neither Crookshanks nor Hermione were morning people.
She hadn’t even had her coffee yet!
Why was she smiling?!
(On a side note, Crookshanks really didn’t understand why she loved that coffee so much. He’d tasted it once and it tasted like bile. Dogs probably liked it. He’d tried tea once though, and that was delectable. Obviously the more sophisticated choice).
Crookshanks huffed a little, feeling rather disgruntled by Hermione’s unusual cheeriness. She was like an alien from a different planet—Crookshanks regarded her with the appropriate suspicion. Maybe she’d fallen and hit her head and that was why she was acting so strangely. Maybe she was sleepwalking!
(That buffoon redhead human boy did that a lot. He almost stepped on Crookshanks’s tail one time. Crookshanks and the redhead human boy did not get along.)
When he saw her face, though, Crookshanks noted a strange alertness in Hermione’s eyes. She definitely seemed awake. He narrowed his eyes again, now perplexed and all the more eager to find out why she was acting like this. He meowed loudly, trying to get her attention as she shifted through her belongings to gather her materials for the day, having barely spared him a glance since she’d woken up. (Yes, that had definitely irked Crookshanks—he was not the sort of cat to be ignored, he’ll have you know).
She jumped a little in surprise at the sound—had she forgotten about him?! Her most loyal companion?! The nerve!—and turned to face him directly, a sheepish smile on her face. She was starting to say some things, possibly some sort of excuses, but the damage was already done. She’d ignored him and she was keeping secrets from him–there was only so much disrespect a cat could suffer, only so much pride he could lose, before he had to turn his head up and walk away.
He raised his head defiantly, shooting her a look over his shoulder as he turned and slinked down the stairs. There were some very comfortable arm chairs in the Common Room, and some humans with warm laps. Those humans generally did not ignore him, often flocked to him because let’s admit it, he was a rather fetching cat. At least those humans appreciated him!
It was only after he was already curled up in Lavender Brown’s lap (she always smelled nice and petted him with her soft hands–she was one of the humans that he could tolerate more than others, this was for sure) that he remembered that he was supposed to have prevented Hermione from leaving her dorm room.
After berating himself a little for his idiocy—really Crookshanks, you had one job!—he set out through the halls of Hogwarts, hunting for his owner. He was a cat possessed; he trotted through the hallways faster than he ever had, not even checking the ground for spots of dirt as he normally did. Even though it was a blindingly bright summer day and many a times he was beckoned by the call of a wonderful patch of grass or a large stone he could drape himself over, Crookshanks was determined. He would not be deterred this time!
After what felt like a few hours (but was most likely just a few minutes) of searching, Crookshanks started to feel tired and bored. It was rather tiring, running around frantically like this…and more than a little unbecoming of a cat like him. Running was something that dogs did. Perhaps Crookshanks could just wait somewhere where he knew Hermione would be—let her come to him. Ingenious!
He grinned a little at his own ingenuity—honestly, he amazed himself sometimes!—and trotted up the stairs to the fourth floor. The library was, of course, the perfect place to go; he knew that Hermione spent almost all of her time there (and carried home the dust from some of the books, which made him sneeze—really, she had no regard for his needs!). With his tail pointing straight up, the cat skipped up the last step, landing on the fourth floor. He could hear the chatter of the other humans and followed the sound, until he heard a familiar voice.
“Draco! Stop that!” Hermione giggled.
Crookshanks froze. Giggled? Did his owner, the respectable woman that she was, just giggle? He’d never ever heard her giggle before.
He heard a male chuckle follow and his hackles raised a little. A human boy? Was that the reason that Hermione was acting so strangely? Honestly, he would’ve thought that she would be better than that—he supposed then that he could not be so proud of his Hermione. She was, apparently, just as fallible to silly human follies as everyone else. He huffed a little, turning in her direction, ready to give her a piece of his mind.
When he caught sight of her though, his words dried up in his throat and his eyes widened in fright.
A green-robed human!
She was standing with a green-robed human!
She was–oh Merlin! Her lips were touching a green-robed human’s lips!
Crookshanks shrieked in outrage, turning around and running away as fast as he could.
A/N: I hope you liked reading this as much as I did writing it!