Disclaimer: I own nothing, all is Joss's or Rowling's. Woe is me.THIS WAS AT ONE POINT MEANT TO BE THE START OF A TRILOGY, BUT THE TRILOGY HAS NOT YET AND MAY NEVER BE FINISHED. IF YOU START READING THIS STORY, PLEASE BE WARNED THAT AT THIS POINT THE AUTHOR HAS NO PLANS TO FINISH SAID TRILOGY, THEREFORE WHAT YOU WILL BE READING IS THE BEGINNING OF AN ARC. IF YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOU CAN READ A BEGINNING WITHOUT GETTING TO A MIDDLE OR AN END, FEEL FREE TO CONTINUE. IF NOT, HOWEVER, TURN BACK WHILE YOU STILL CAN. ♦♦♦Why Dawn Should Not Be Playing With Magic♦♦♦
Dawn stretched luxuriously, putting her front paws as far forward as they would go and arching her back until her furred belly touched the ground.
This whole 'kneazle' gig wasn't so bad. Ok, the whole 'being an animal' thing was a sort of hard to adjust to, but she had been desperate. Buffy had no time for her, Spike was obsessed with his Slayer, and Xander was with Anya 24/7. So she had gamely tagged along to England with Giles, Willow and Tara, conveniently forgetting that all three would be busy with the redhead's recuperation and 'black magic detox.'Idle hands are the devil's playground,
mused Dawn, I certainly proved that to be correct... except for the 'hands' part.
At the first chance she had nabbed a few magic books. She really felt that she could not be held culpable for succumbing to her klepto impulses in this instance; they had been just laying there, collecting dust! After a quick skim of a few of the 'easier' magics, she had taken to practicing when her fellow Sunnydalers were all out of the house (one of the members of the Devon Coven rented beach houses during the summer and was perfectly willing to allow the Americans to stay). As they were out nearly all
, she got a lot of practicing done. So much so that she got a little over-confident.Ok,
Dawn admitted to herself, A lot over-confident…
And decided to try out one of the cooler-looking self-transformations she'd found. The 'Animagus' Transformation allowed the caster to become their true inner animal. After going through and completing all the preparation - a task which took her well into June - she had at last been ready to begin.
Standing in the circle, she had concentrated, oh how she'd concentrated! Until she felt something beginning to change. As per the spell's instructions, she had kept her eyes shut and continued to concentrate on her chanting, determined to get it right on her very first try.
Her vocal chords changed rather quickly, but that was to be expected, so she continued the mantra in her head. When she felt a reasonable amount of time had gone by, she opened her eyes.
Low to the ground, very
low to the ground. Dawn was now short enough to easily determine spot the mistake she had made in her runes. It wasn't a BIG blunder: she'd stroked left, when she should've stroked right. Not so bad in the grand scheme of things… right?
Wrong. As she quickly discovered when she tried to change back. She was stuck.
Stuck as what?
Using her new improved, muscular legs (all four of them), she leapt up to the vanity and looked herself over in her mirror. She was… a cat? A very odd-looking cat: her ears were large and rounded, like a lionesses' and her tail had a bit of a tuft on the end of it. Her coat was the same brown color as her hair, but it seemed to add to the overall 'queen-of-the-jungle' look she had going on. Her eyes, she was relieved to see, were the same bright blue as ever.Darn,
she had thought, Might as well go exploring until everybody gets home and I get grounded till I'm thirty.
That stupid, fateful decision had led her to where she was right now. Stuck in a pet shop. Not just any
pet shop, but a magical
one. She had known from the instant she'd been brought here when the owner of the shop, a rather pleasant but dim-seeming woman, had tapped her with a long wooden stick, causing her glossy new fur to glow green for a moment.
"A pure-bred kneazle!" The blonde woman had said with surprise, "You wouldn't think so from her coat, now would you?"
The man who had kidnapped her shuffled his feet, "A'course, would I bring you anything' but a pure one, Dora m'dear?"
Two pairs of eyes rolled, one kneazle, one woman. "Of course you would, Dung, if you thought you could get away with it," the shopkeeper scolded. "But you've done good, she's not even been registered yet. You say you found her wandering the streets?"
"Yes'um, now about my pay…"
"You'll get your pay, you rap-scallywag, just as soon as I get this little beauty settled."
Dawn relaxed in the woman's grip, she had such kind eyes.
"I know!" 'Dora' exclaimed, "We'll call you Regina! That's the Latin name for the Alpha female in a lion pride, and you look like such
a little lioness!"
Before Dawn knew what was happening, she'd been shut into a room with almost a dozen other 'kneazles' and assorted pillows for said animals to lie on. Looking from her paws to the doorknob, the teen mourned the loss of her opposable thumbs... though the claws were kinda fun.
And that was how she'd spent the last month. Lying around on cushions while wizard after wizard walked by, hoping one of these kneazles would be their Familiar. In all the time that she'd been here, Dawn had only seen one true
Familiar bond occur:
A wizened old witch had entered the shop looking rather grim, when one of the kneazles - a black-on-gray-spotted one - had stiffened suddenly. The kneazle and witch had looked into one another's eyes for a long time before the witch suddenly broke away with tears streaming down her wrinkled face.
"Never thought it'd happen again, after m'Isabella died," the old witch had sobbed, clutching the furred body to her ample chest, as 'Franco' the kneazle purred ferociously in her ear.
"There, there," said Dora the shopkeeper comfortingly, "They say that, like love, those who've had a true Familiar once are more likely to find one again!"
It was now the beginning of August, and more and more young wizards and witches were coming through the shop. Apparently their school-year started at around the same time as the 'muggle' academic year.
Dawn was bored: bored with being petted too roughly by young children, bored with being stuck in this shop, bored with being a kneazle!
The little bell above the door tinkled, letting Dora know that someone had entered. Dawn felt an odd tingling sensation between her ears and shook her head violently. If kneazles could frown, she would have done so, as she looked out and surveyed the newest customers.
There was a tall woman in all black with beautiful long blonde hair, beside her was what Dawn assumed to be her son. Blue eyes widened, he was a Spike-alike!
The strange tingling increased, and Dawn found herself being propelled forward until she was twining around the Spike-alike's feet.
She dodged his hands as he bent to pick her up, preferring to climb up his robes until she could settle herself around his neck. A picture of comfort formed in her mind, and with an instinctive push
she sent it to the boy. Not boy,
she reminded herself, He looks like he might even be older than me!
"Well, Draco," an amused female voice drawled, "It appears that you've found your Familiar after all!"♦♦♦♦♦♦♦