Title: Dangerously Cute
Spoilers: S7 for BTVS, OotP for HP.
Summary: Luna’s always been a bit odd, but add in a mysterious kitten and a slew of uncharacteristic behaviours, George concluded that something was afoot . . . Fic-A-Thon for Restive.
TTH Name: Restive
MAX RATING: FR21
THREE THINGS WON'T READ:
kink, incest, rape
THREE THINGS WANT TO READ:
Harry Potter; Highlander; Lord of the Rings;
Anya; Buffy; Cordelia; Dawn
Doyle; Faith; Giles; Joyce;
Oz; Spike; Tara; Willow; Xander
There was nothing quite like winter time at Hogwarts. The air was cool and crisp, snow covered the grounds like a beautiful white blanket, and everyone cheerfully greeted the weekend for the opportunity to take a break from studying and tackle that beautiful blanket with their friends. It was happy; it was cheerful; it was downright magical.
And it was the perfect time for a Weasley twin to shine. Well, perhaps shine was not the right word. Perhaps ‘scheme’ was better suited. Regardless of how you looked at it, it was a time that the Weasley twins were widely recognized for their feats. They might not entirely endear themselves to anyone, but they could hardly be ignored.
And this year would be like all other years, if only a bit more focused than usual. It wasn’t like them to limit their brilliance to only a few members of the student population, but the months leading up to this lovely snowfall had been different than previous years. Both Fred and George had agreed that the Slytherins had taken their taunting and disparaging of Harry to new lows in this year. Harry had had a horrible time as of late, and was becomingly uncharacteristically volatile because of it. Slytherins gits were only making the situation worse, and were treating the terrible events of the past June with a crudeness that was beyond comprehension. Of course, even if the Slytherins had been behaving themselves around Harry this year, their vomit-inducing worship of the toad Umbridge would have been more than enough to earn them what was coming.
It was spectacularly coordinated, some of their best work in years. The plan was to go for a two pronged attack. All they had to do was wait for Malfoy and his merry band of idiots to come together (as they always did) and find an outlet for all their ill-will (which was usually someone who would be alone and too scared to fight back-a first year or Neville). Once that had happened, phase one of the plan would go into action. Fred had commissioned a group of first and second year Gryffindor to build an army of snowmen, which he and a few other seventh years would bring to life. The army would be turned on the Slytherins, who would put all their attention that way, and thus be ignorant to the army coming from behind . . .
It was brilliant. The Slytherins would be down for the count, and they’d be able to identify no one. And much fun would be had at their expense. Who knows? Harry might even crack a smile by the end of the campaign.
Of course, the entire plan rested on timing. If even one side was a little bit off, the Slytherins might have enough time to slime their way out of the trap. George had to be focused, keep his army focused, and remember to stay in synch with his brother.
This was why he wasn’t all that happy when Luna Lovegood appeared at the edge of the battlefield.
The girl was as oblivious to her surroundings as always. Though, to her credit, she seemed to be absorbed in something that wasn’t all imaginary today. She had this red kitten, stuck in the front of her coat and bundled up against the cold. She seemed to be whispering to it as she gently stroked its ears. It made for quite an adorable sight, if only she hadn’t been about to ruin the best Weasley winter offensive of all time.
George swore under his breath, got up from his hiding place, and scooted his way over to the Ravenclaw. He did an admirable job of staying out of sight, though he was really pushing his ability to complete his end of the plan. Luna, bless her dumb little head, didn’t seem to be aware that she was walking into the middle of an imminent snow fight. Even with the five or so Gryffindors trying discretely to capture her attention from their hiding places. Her attention seemed to be wrapped up entirely in that little red kitten-she even seemed to be having a nice little chat with it.
She wasn’t called Loony for nothing.
“Luna!” George hissed once he was at least ten feet away. She seemed to have heard him, for she frowned and looked up from her kitten. Her eyes slid to the left and the right, scanning the area around her until she finally managed to spot George. Her eyes lit up with recognition, and then narrowed as she burrowed her brow in confusion.
“George-why are you whispering?” Well, at least she was smart enough to not shout back at him. But she was still making too much noise. He pressed a finger to his lips, signalling that she should be quiet. She nodded, though obviously still confused. He beckoned her over, and she came quietly enough. As soon as she was in reaching distance, he clamped a hand down on her wrist and began to tug her away from the area. He could hear the approach of the Slytherins, and knew he had to get her out of there fast-otherwise the whole thing would be for naught.
“Where are we going?” she asked in a whisper.
“Out of here,” he whispered back. “You’re in the way.”
“The way of what?”
“Of our plan to stick it to the Malfoy and his cronies.”
“Oh,” and she shut up after that. He led her back to his original position, made a shooing gesture to show her which direction to go in, and settled back down.
She settled right down next to him.
He shot her a weird look. “Ah, Luna-you need to go that way,” he pointed in the right direction again.
Yes, why indeed. George wracked his brain for a reason that wouldn’t offend the girl. “Because I wouldn’t want you to get caught in the cross-fire,” he managed to stammer out, voice sounding insincere even to his ears.
Luna didn’t seem to notice. “I’m sure I could handle a bit of snow.”
“But what about your kitten?” George blurted out, desperate to get her clear of the area lest she ruin the plan. “She might get caught in the cross-fire, and then she’d be even colder. And the poor dear looks cold enough already.”
That gave her pause. Luna looked down at the aforementioned kitten, which really did look rather cold, and then back at George. He struggled not to flinch under her unrelenting gaze, nearly sighing in relief when she gave him a small smile. “You know, you’re right. How thoughtful of you to notice poor Kitten’s plight at this moment.”
He flashed a trademark Weasley smile, and then faltered. “You named your kitten Kitten?”
“Well, she isn’t my kitten, so I can’t very well name her something else,” Luna gave him a funny look. “What if she already has a perfectly good name she likes, and I give her another that she hates. It’d be an awful shame.”
This girl was weirder than the rumours made her out to be. “Right, well, Kitten really should get to a safer place.”
“Very well, have fun at snow war George.”
Such was his relief at her leaving that it was only later that he noticed she had called him by the right name. Not many people could tell him from his brother.
Several days after the brilliant plan had come together, and after much rejoice had been taken at the sight of dripping, howling, unhappy Slytherins, George caught glimpse of Luna again walking the grounds with her Kitten huddled in her jacket. He frowned, thinking that even if the girl was a bit daft she should at least have the sense to leave her poor cat inside where it’s warm. Poor creature looked miserable out in the cold, constantly shaking and trying to burrow deeper inside Luna’s jacket to get warm. It was a plain as day that the cat was cold, and should be inside rather than accompanying the Loony on her walks about campus. He mentioned it to Ginny in passing at dinner, figuring she at least knew Luna well enough to bring up the suggestion. He hadn’t expected the blank stare he got in response.
“What are you on about, George? Luna doesn’t have a cat. She’s had an owl since first year.”
Perplexed, and now slightly embarrassed at having revealed that he expended any energy on noticing anything about the strangest girl on campus, George relayed the story of meeting Luna before the snow fight and of seeing her kitten.
Ginny shrugged. “Maybe she just got it. If you’re so hung up about it, I’ll mention it to her.”
And thus progressed an entire meal of George being harassed by his family for being ‘hung up’ over something to do with Loony Lovegood.
He told them to shove off. They just laughed.
Sometime in February, Luna began bringing the kitten to DA classes. That first day, she set the kitten down gently and then took to shrugging off her school-bag. Instead of taking off to explore the new room, Kitten remained near Luna, even tailing after her during the course of the lesson. George thought that to be very odd behaviour for a cat, especially when there were spells flying every which way. Any other cat would have taken off for safer grounds instead of sitting serenely in the midst of it. Didn’t it seem odd?
Fred snorted with laughter. “The only thing ‘odd’ around here is your obsession with Loony and her kitten.”
Obsessed? He wasn’t obsessed! He was curious, and Fred was just being ridiculous. Even so, he spent that class with his face beet red.
His brother could be a real jerk some days.
In March, Luna began bringing Kitten to the dinner table, hiding her not-so-well inside her school bag. She usually came in late, ate quickly, snuck some bits of food into her bag for Kitten, and then left before the plates were even cleared. George also noticed she was in the habit of bringing her jacket with her to dinner. Why would she need her jacket? It was odd, so very odd.
“Honestly, this Luna Lovegood thing is getting kind of annoying.”
Ron and Ginny agreed with Fred. Hermione tried to hush them, while Harry only shrugged. George flushed and then busied himself with dinner.
He’d be the laughingstock of the entire school if this kept up.
In the second week of March, Luna Lovegood was caught wandering the halls well past curfew. It was odd, considering there wasn’t a DA meeting that night, and therefore Luna had little reason to be wandering the halls at night. Especially not with her Kitten at her side.
She had gotten a detention for it. At breakfast the next time, she looked tired and sad as she rubbed absently at her left hand. Kitten was out of the bag and sitting right next to her keeper. Every so often, Kitten nuzzled Luna’s arm in a comforting manner. Ginny had gone off towards the end of breakfast to talk with Luna, coming back to report that the words ‘I must obey curfew’ were now seared into the poor girl’s hand. Luna had been talked some about her detention with Umbridge, but not a word on why she had been out and about in the first place.
“I’m thinking George was right. She is acting odd-well, odd for Luna.”
He never felt so vindicated in all his life.
In the third week of March, George and Ginny snuck out after curfew in order to trail after Luna Lovegood. Harry had graciously offered up his Invisibility Cloak for the occasion, and after a few minutes of squabbling, it was decided who would use it. George got to go because he was the first to notice the oddness of Luna’s behaviour; Ginny got to go because she was closer to being Luna’s friend than the others were.
They parked themselves out by the Ravenclaw dormitory an hour after dinner, and waited for Luna to show up. About an hour and a half later, the dorm door opened and out came Luna Lovegood. She seemed more cautious than usual, looking up and down the hallway before tiptoeing off on her way. George and Ginny followed at a safe distance, having to take extra care to be quiet as Luna proved to be quite jumpy this night. They followed her up and down hallways, until they ended up in the strangest place-Moaning Myrtle’s washroom.
“This can’t be good,” Ginny muttered as they watched Luna enter. “I hate this washroom.”
They both knew why, and George knew enough not to say anything about it. They waited a few moments, making sure no one had followed them or that Filch wasn’t nearby, and then they followed Luna.
“About time you two showed up,” was the greeting they received. Luna Lovegood sat in front of the front toilet cubicle. She had her back towards them, and she appeared to be bending over something. The two Weasleys were shocked at having been detected, especially since they knew the voice that had spoken did not belong to Luna. Nor did it belong to Moaning Myrtle.
Rather, it belonged to Kitten.
George flung the cloak off, revealing both him and his sister. He pointed a shaking finger at Kitten and demanded of Luna: “Did Kitten just talk?”
Luna started and turned at the hip, gracing both redheads with a smile before responding. “Oh, hello you two. Kitten said you had been following.”
“Kitten can talk,” Ginny said it more like a statement than a question, and her disbelief was evident.
“Yes, Kitten can talk, what’s it to you?” That was from Kitten, who sounded very surly for such a cute kitten.
Oh, and another thing. “Kitten’s American?”
“Yes, Kitten’s American, Kitten can talk, and Kitten would like you to keep your voice down!” the cat in question gave him a hard look. “Do you want that Filch idiot storming the place? Keep talking that loud and you’ll bring him and his crazy cat down here.”
George shook his head, not quite grasping the situation as of it. “Kitten’s mean?”
“She’s not mean,” Luna protested, again turning at the hip to look at them over her shoulder. “She’s just a little high-strung. She’s only been a kitten for a few months, and the change hasn’t been easy.”
Ginny’s legs gave out and she sank to the floor ungracefully. She gazed stupidly at the cat and then frowned. “What’s going on?”
“Oh great, more people to bear witness to this debacle,” Kitten rolled her eyes and then motioned with her front right paw for George to take a seat as well. Completely floored by this overly human gesture, George tumbled to the floor in much the same manner as his sister had.
“All right, we’re only doing this once, so keep up,” Kitten seemed to glare at them. “I’m not a cat. As Luna said, I’ve been stuck as a cat for a few months. I am, in fact, a human. I live in Italy, and I’ve been the victim of some seriously unfriendly magic. I came over here to visit a few friends and business associates, and in the midst of a few pressing business matters, someone hit me with the kitty-whammy. Next thing I know, I’m a cat and I’m wandering down the streets of some place called Hogsmeade. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s a magic town that has no pay phones. So even though I have my voice, I can’t use a phone to call for help. And I certainly can’t find anyone to help me, because I can’t be sure that there’s anyone around that I can trust. So off I go, trying to find somewhere with a phone, and I wind up in that crazy ass Forest back there. And by the way, why the hell would you build a school for children near a place that has freakishly large spiders, antagonistic centaurs, and other oogetie-boogeties in it? That’s just not good planning! Of course, maybe I’m just upset because one of the freakishly large spiders tried to eat me!”
Kitten paused, shaking her head and muttering something about ‘sheer negligence’ under her breath. After a moment, she managed to collect herself and looked towards the shell-shocked pair in front of her. “Luckily, I managed to shake the thing, only to run into the crazy dead horses. It was here that I finally met Luna, who got me out of there as fast as she could, not even blinking at a cat who cursed vividly in English. She saved me from becoming horse food, and a bond formed. After spending a few days with her, I came to see that she’s someone I can trust, so I ask her to help me out. She sends an owl off to my friends, explaining the current situation. We get an owl back saying my friends are glad that I’m okay, they couldn’t come get me because stuff was still funny over in London and they can‘t really find this place anyhow because they can‘t see it, but they had found a counter spell that could get me out of cat form. Spell turned out to be very intricate and difficult, and made use of a lot of materials that aren’t easily found. Luna offered to help me with it, and we’ve spent the last two months trying to track all this stuff down. Some of it we got during Hogsmeade visits, others from the Oily-man’s storage room, but some of it we had to get from the crazy ass Forest. After way too many close calls, and that hellish detention with that awful Umbridge woman, we finally have everything we need. Luna’s brewing the potion now, because I really don’t have the right tools to do it. If all goes well, and that Filch moron is kept away, I can take the potion tonight and get back into my own skin. So, the two of you can stay, but do not, in any way, mess this up. If you do, I’ll be cranky. And I’m not good when I’m cranky.”
Luna nodded. “She scratches fiercely once irritated.”
Kitten nodded as well, and then flicked a claw in their direction, as if to remind them of her threat. “Any burning questions before I put you on guard duty?”
“Guard duty?” Ginny repeated.
“Yeah, your invisible jacket thing will be real handy in the lookout for Filch. Just stand outside and warn us if he gets close.”
“What makes you think we’re going to help you at all?” George managed to sputter indignantly.
“Oh, I told her you would,” Luna answered for Kitten, flashing him a dreamy smile. “You are rather nice; the both of you, so I told her it wouldn’t be much of a bother to let you keep following us.”
“Hold on, why should we trust you?” Ginny suddenly asked. “I mean, you could be anyone. You could be working for You-Know-Who, for all we know. Maybe you’re dangerous and we shouldn’t de-cat you.”
“Oh, not to worry, she works for the Council,” Luna interjected once again.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Luna looked at Kitten, who looked back at her, and then frowned. “Well, I suppose it’s a bit of a secret, so I can’t really tell you. But I promise I know you can trust her. Just believe me.”
George and Ginny exchanged glances. Believing Luna was not something that most people did easily. It wasn’t that she was a liar; it was just because of the Nargles and other weird things.
“Why didn’t you tell a teacher about this?” Ginny asked, hoping to avoid the belief issue.
“Kitten didn’t really want anyone else to know,” Luna explained with a shrug. “It is rather embarrassing, I suppose. And anyways, I asked Daddy if he thought it was a good idea, and he thought it was.”
Luna’s dad sounded right mad.
“Listen, we can yap all night, or we can get on with it,” Kitten broke into the conversation. “Think about it this way, the quicker we get this done, the quicker we can all forget this ever happened. I go home, you guys go back to doing whatever it is that you do here, and life is back to what it should be. Don‘t be such dorks about it; just go stand guard.”
“Kitten’s a bit snotty, isn’t she?” Ginny grumbled to her brother.
“Can it with the wise-ass remarks,” Kitten ordered. “I’m short on patience.”
“You could ask nicely,” Ginny argued with her.
“Hey, you try being turned into a cat and see how nice you’d be about it!”
Though there was a bit of a row between Ginny and Kitten, in the end it was decided that it would be a much better idea for George and Ginny to help the process along rather than hinder it. Quite frankly, after a few more moments of conversation with Kitten, George was convinced that the best thing in the world would be for him to get her far away from Hogwarts as possible.
Ginny was right, Kitten was a bit snotty.
Sometime after midnight, Kitten was no longer a kitten.
The potion, dispute being brewed under less than desirable conditions and by someone with a dreadful history in Potions class, worked as it should have. Gone was the adorable kitten with reddish fur and big blue eyes. She had been replaced with a tall brunette girl with big blue eyes and slender legs that seemed to go on forever. The only thing that appeared to be the same was the attitude. Kitten was still miffed over her feline-experience.
“Honestly, when I get my hands on whoever did this . . .” Kitten shook her head and pulled a face. She looked odd, standing there dressed in eye-popping mismatch of Luna’s clothes, hands on her hips, and a frown on her face. “Well, it won’t be pretty. Luna my friend, you’re a godsend.”
Luna only smiled in response. It was Ginny who chose to speak up, her tone suggesting that she still wasn’t all that impressed with Kitten. “How exactly do you plan on getting off the grounds?”
“Don’t worry about me,” Kitten brushed off her question carelessly. “I’m in a lot better shape now that I’m not a kitten. And I’ve got me a plan. I’ll be safe in my own bed by tomorrow evening.”
“And that’s it?” Ginny demanded. “You’re just off, and we can forget about ever meeting you?”
“What? You gonna miss me?” Kitten snorted. “Hey, if your heart pines a bit too hard, just have Luna pass along a message. Her owl knows how to find me, I’m sure. But what we need to do right now is get out of here before that Filch dude comes back along. Or that crazy ghost comes back. I can manage to scare her off for a few hours, but she always ends up coming back.”
George leaned towards Luna. “What does she do?”
“You don’t really want to know.”
“Can the four of us fit under your Invisi-Jacket thing?”
Ginny glared at her. “Not well.”
“But we could try,” George shrugged.
“Good, we need to drop off Luna, Little Red here, and then you’re taking me outside.” She said it like it was already decided, and only Ginny looked like she wanted to argue. In the end, they did as Kitten indicated they should, painstakingly making their way back to the Ravenclaw dorm. Though they had seen Mrs. Norris the one time, they had managed to escape the cat before Filch caught up. But still, they were pushing their luck, especially since Umbridge expected to catch students out of bed, planning rebellion and subversion into the wee hours of the night. Her paranoia would be funny, if that wasn’t what the DA was about. As it was, she was too close to the truth for comfort. Having the Weasleys caught out of bed would lead her right to Harry, and then more trouble would start.
Kitten and Luna seemed to respect the need for speed, but they wouldn’t be rushed on their farewell. There was much hugging and expressions of gratitude, pledges of friendship and letters that seem to take forever. George had started feeling a bit comfortable about it, but it thankfully ended without tears. He was useless with crying girls, utterly useless.
Even still, Kitten was sniffling as they made their way to the Gryffindor dorm. Ginny and Kitten had a less than heart-warming goodbye, though Ginny did promise to wait for George to return before telling the waiting Gryffindors what had happened. Once she was gone, it began easier to navigate the halls in the Cloak. Though they were still hunched over, they could take longer strides, and therefore take less time. There were a few more close calls, this time with Filch himself and a few of the portraits, but they made it outside safe and sound. Kitten guided them towards the edge of the Forest, pulling them behind a tree before yanking the Cloak off.
“Thank God!” she muttered, handing the material over to him. “I am so ready to get out of this place.”
George frowned and felt a little affronted on Hogwarts’ behalf. “It’s not that bad of a place.”
Kitten glared at him. “Try living it in Luna’s shoes. More than half of the student population is ridiculously mean to her. Little snots in her dorm even take her stuff and hide it. Not to mention all that ‘Loony’ garbage people are tossing at her.”
George felt his cheeks flush in momentary shame. Kitten snorted at his silence. “You guys aren’t so bad. You don’t treat her as bad as most do. I’ve seen the way you are at your little club. I mean, you could be nicer, but at least you aren’t openly hostile. It’s still shame, you know. Luna-she’s a great girl. I wouldn’t have made it one week without her. She’s a good friend to have.”
George probably should have ignored the slightly need to defend himself, but it tugged at him anyway. “It’s just that she’s a bit . . .”
“Weird?” she finished for him. “Everyone’s weird in some way. Luna’s just more open about it than others. Anyway, you at least should be nicer to her, considering.”
Kitten rolled her eyes. “Typical,” she shook her head. “Considering Luna likes you. And before you get weird, just letting you know that any mean remark at this point will get your ass handed to you. I’m cranky as it is, dissing Luna won’t make me any better.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Don’t know, didn’t really plan to. Actually, what I really wanted was to give you this.” She slipped him a piece of paper with some numbers and writings on it. “It’s the contact information for the Council. If you need help with your Voldy guy, let us know. We’re good with these sorts of things.”
George felt his mouth go dry. “What makes you think-I mean, what would I do-”
“You’d be amazed at what people say when they think they’re alone, save for a kitten wandering around,” she smirked at him. “Just give that to your dad, and let him know about the offer. He might be glad for it in the future.”
She paused and turned around to gaze into the Forest. “Well, this is as good a time as any. I’m so outta here. Remember what I said, about Luna. She really likes you. She even says that you’re cuter than your clone, which is nonsense because you’re exactly alike. But if she managed to spot a difference in your favour, then it just goes to show you how highly she thinks of you.”
“What am I suppose to tell my friends about you? They’re expecting some sort of story, and I don’t think you want too many people knowing about this.”
“You know, Luna actually thought about that. She suggested that you tell them that the two of us were on the hunt for Blibbering Humdingers, as cats are known to be their natural hunters.”
George stared at her blankly. “Known by whom?”
“Watch it, you’re dangerously close to dissing my girl there,” Kitten flashed him a quick smile. “I’ve got to jet. Tell your friends whatever you think is best, and remember, Luna’s a great girl. Be nice.”
Kitten waggled her fingers and took a few steps deeper into the Forest. George blinked and turned to her. “You know, we don’t even know your real name. Calling you Kitten is just ridiculous.”
She turned and laughed. “Call me Sunshine, then.”
“Your name is Sunshine?”
“As close to it as you’re getting,” was her response. She turned back to the Forest, waving a hand lazily at him. “Later Georgie.”
It seemed the second he walked into the Common Room, he was pounced on by a herd of Gryffindors. Ginny, true to her word, had said not a thing until he arrived. This silence had agitated their friends beyond belief, and now they demanded the truth.
George stared at the sea of curious faces before locking eyes with Ginny. His sister shrugged, as if to say ‘it’s up to you’. He almost wished she hadn’t, because now he had a decision to make. He could either tell the truth, which was confusing and most likely to upset people, or he could make up a lie. He was relatively good at lying, but there was the off chance that they wouldn’t believe his lie. Of course, considering what the truth was, there was a chance they wouldn’t believe him then either. Though unhappy with his choices, George made his decision. He handed Harry his Cloak, settled down into an armchair, and then told them what they needed to hear.
When he was finished, silenced reigned. Facial expressions reigned from disbelief to sheer exasperation, and no one seemed to know what to say. And then, finally, Ron spoke:
“What’s a Blibbering Humdinger?”