Crookshanks was purring contentedly, lazily sprawled across the rug in front of the hearth in the meetingspace-of-his-servant-and-the-other-humans-residing-around-her. Rather like a dog, actually. Somewhere in the back of the tomcat’s mind, this observation received some protests. Dogs where the enemy. They stank. They where dumb. But then again, canines couldn’t be entirely stupid, now could they? Where that so, the felines would have wiped the infernal creatures out long ago. And there had been that dog-that-wasn’t-stupid that had befriended him back then... Well, he had been part human... But still, half dog is still dog. And Man-Dog had been nice and smart.
Much like the Woman-Cat. She was too much cat-like to be called human, even at the times she was one. Her actions as a cat had led Crookshanks to grant her the title of Honorary Feline, which was the greatest honour most humans could ever hope for. If only she would accept him, Crookshanks would have also made her his mate. Each of them was powerful among their kind, together, they would be magnificent! But she was in no position to accept his offer, as she had made clear repeatedly and forcefully.
Crookshanks was an open-minded tomcat, and accepted this with much graciousness, if also with sadness.
Reaching this conclusion for the umpteenth time that day, Crookshanks returned his attention to more pressing matters. Relaxing. Basking in the warmth of the fire. Enjoying the sedated feeling his last meal had left him as a souvenir. Those kinds of things.
Crookshanks was, overall, a happy cat-kneazle half-breed.
Well fed, comfortably housed, provided with plenty of game to play with in and around his housing, a nice servant...
He had an absolutely wonderful little servant.
He had taken a liking to her as soon as she had come into the crowded species-warehouse he had spent so long in. Instantly recognizing her as a cat person (after having chased the foul Man-Rat away) and a good, pliable human, he had done his utmost to attain her. And, of course, had succeeded.
It was a human female, rich with magic and brains, with a righteous mind, a good heart, and a wonderful nest of hair to boot. Crookshanks sometimes liked to curl up around her head at night, the thick curls that spread around her head like warmth around a burning waxen stick trapped underneath him. He was truly fascinated with that hair. No other creatures but humans and every feline’s big male cousins, the lions, had that kind of bodily hair. Crookshanks adored it. Sometimes, when his puppet was sleeping, he even chewed on it.
He wouldn’t do that to her when she was awake, off course. Not only did she hardly ever rest her head somewhere in Crookshanks’s reach when she was awake, let alone spread her hair out like that, but he also knew that even servants had their limits. He, being the magnanimous cat he was, allowed this, as long as she performed her duties to his contentment.
For please him with her services she did.
Her caresses where to beg for. She knew all his favourite spots, instinctively felt when he wanted her to stop or change the ministrations, and never pushed or discomforted him during sessions.
His lovely servant was very tactile. She was a female going through a period in life that absolutely no other life-form Crookshanks had ever encountered, went through. It brought about random outbursts of anger, tears, cravings for things that just should not be eaten together, pimples, and randiness. Crookshanks could always tell when the latter got to her. Not only did she steam with nice smelling pheromones at those occasions, which made laying in her lap a very enjoyable experience indeed. She also worked off her piled up affection, that she, for some to Crookshanks inexplicable but not unwelcome reason, didn’t choose to spend on the tall-ginger-male-hanging-around-her, on him. Those moods made her even more touchy-feely than she already was.
She let him sleep in the crook of her arm at night, or the hollow of her knees, when she fell asleep on her side. Sometimes, she even pulled him up on her chest, where he could lay his head on her strange human chest padding, while she stroked him until either she or he fell asleep. Crookshanks genuinely appreciated it. The nest she slept in was soft, she was soft, and getting softer ever still, especially around the upper body. Crookshanks liked soft. Always had, ever since he had run into an impudently hard wall as a kitten.
It made Crookshanks’s days and nights.
Of course, his little servant wasn’t perfect. She broke the rules sometimes. Much like all the other humans did all the time... Disrespectful creatures. The arrogance of the other humans proved once again that those beings simply could not be let loose. They needed masters to keep them from sinning.
Keeping Crookshanks away from game, for example. That delicious little pygmy puff the ginger-female-from-the-same-nest-as-the-ginger-male-that-his-servant-clung-to had brought in... The intriguing little owl... Such wonderful toys, and the humans kept Crookshanks away from them. He sometimes wondered how they dared it, the infernal apeoides.
As a cat, he could not let that sort of behaviour go unpunished. It would damage his image among the other cats. He couldn’t have that, for it would damage the entire structure of the hierarchy of the feline population of Hogwarts.
Mrs. Norris was enough of a disgrace to the cat-populace of the castle as it was, the way she served the human-male-without-magic-that-smelled-of-all-kinds-of-filth. Her behaviour went against every rule of catdom. Did she have no shame? Did she have no dignity? Of course, the human had saved her from being drowned by a band of humans as a kitten, and he had earned some respect with that. However, this was in no way an excuse to sell your soul to the human and serve his every whim for the rest of your life. Loyal as a dog. Loyalty was the job of dogs and servants, cats were supposed to be the masters!
It made Crookshanks’ blood boil just thinking about it. He quickly calmed himself with the knowledge of Mrs. Norris’ punishment, before his slumber would be ruined.
No tomcat or kneazletom in the castle would mate her as long as she remained by the side of the human-male-without-magic-that-smelled-of-all-kinds-of-filth, which condemned her to spend her time in heat extremely frustrated. The entire feline populace of the castle was also on many separate individual missions to thwart the human-male-without-magic-that-smelled-of-all-kinds-of-filth at every appropriate occasion; leaving hairballs in the tiled-backyard-for-humans he had just cleaned, leaving dead mice and birds in the hallways and accessible rooms-of-heavy-brain-labour, distracting him when he was hunting their servants,. It was the only thing all the cats, kneazles and half-breeds in the castle were ready to co-operate for. Where normally every cat - excluding Mrs. Norris, of course - took care of him- or herself and took orders from no-one else, this cause united the felines. Disputes about territory and servants were put aside temporarily to combat the rotten patch of catnip in their midst: Mrs. Norris and her owner.
The atrabilious satisfaction that came with the knowledge of his role in the organisation of these operations only lasted for as short while, though, after which Crookshanks’ mind wandered on in search for more.
The natural hierarchy amonst the various species always pleased Crookshanks.
Every cat had at least one permanent servant, who took them home for the summer and sometimes a few days throughout the year. Depending on the status within the feline community, a cat would have a small or great number of additional servants, who offered special services the permanent servant did not grant, such as the contribution of delicacies like cheese, chicken, fish and crisps. Some cats, who lacked any form of power over humans and lived on the streets, had no status and were shunned by the established order, though no responsible cat would outright mistreat the often dangerous outcasts.
Crookshanks, while being one of the most powerful felines in Hogwarts, had only few such additional humans; his powers followed from a different source than the usual ones.
Grace, Mysterious Beauty, Cuteness and the infamous Kitty-Eyes clashed with Crookshanks’ appearance, leaving him with only his innate charisma and rugged, worn Charm of a Vagabond. Those subtypes of feline Power-of-Persuasion weren’t less effective as such, only attracted a different, more limited breed of humans. Like his wonderful little servant, and the ginger-female-from-the-same-nest-as-the-ginger-male-his-servant-clung-to, although the latter had shown a great willingness to serve all cats from the very beginning, and often did not even need to be persuaded.
On the other paw, it was the same ginger female that had brought the pygmy puff in and had proceeded to keep it away from Crookshanks. Crookshanks remembered that she still had an outstanding punishment for that.
He began lazily recreating various options of discipline in front of his mind’s eye, marking one as appropriate and the next as either too soft or ineffective against the servant in question. Small jerks of his paws, tail and the corners of his mouth were the only indication that Crookshanks, who lay sprawled out on the rug seemingly fast asleep, was very busy indeed. The castle, in itself, rendered many of the conventional techniques, such as strategically placed hairballs, dead birds and mice, ruined padding of furniture and shredded curtains and - though Crookshanks had never understood why it was such effective punishment - marking of territory, useless, as there were House-Elves (who already punished themselves on a regular basis) to clean up the mess and charms to undo any damage with a mere flick of the wrist. Or to prevent it from even happening.
It forced Crookshanks to be creative. And creative he would be.
He would clamber up her replaceable-human-fur, slowly, sinking his nails into the flesh underneath as deep as he could. He would chew up the toys that the adult humans demanded she scribble on and hand in to them, so that she would have to do it all over again. Who would believe her if she blamed the masters? He would take up all the time and physical contact with the blackhaired-male-that-hung-around-his-servant-and-clung-to-the-ginger-female, so that she would become as frustrated as Mrs. Norris during mating season. And once the human mating season started, it wouldn’t end for decades... He would forego his own servant’s nest and sleep on hers, where he would poke and knead until he was satisfied and she bruised and irritated, and then, after mere moments of resting peacefully on or against her awkwardly draped form, he would start all over again. He’d attack the string toys dangling from her replaceable-human-fur and carrying-pouch. He would sneak up on her in dark corridors when she could least afford to cry out and jump in the air in fright. He would not, in any case, succumb to her pleasurable ministrations, her addictive games and toys, or her mother’s special delicacies.
Repeat, he would not succumb to the ginger female.
And he would not purr at the thought of her and her temptations!
Abruptly, the peacefully dozing cat-kneazle jumped up and started gnawing and fiercely licking at his fur.
Pinch - must - pinch - not - pinch - purr! - Pinch! Crookshanks furiously lapped his ginger coat, ridding himself of all sinful thoughts along with the dead hairs on his skin. But no matter how hard he scrubbed, the guilty feeling that he’d degraded himself to the level of a pet would not leave him. It was horrible.
Crookshanks decided to go out. Another round of hunting wouldn’t hurt, and he’d be able to (slightly) redeem himself by leaving his plunder in the ginger female’s bed.
Crookshanks upped and left. Just like that. Like a true cat.