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Notes: Crookshanks is jealous. A tender little femslashy story in which Hermione finds a new companion...
The carpet was warm beneath his paws. Rain pattered against the window, and firelight flickered over the endless stacks of scrolls that cluttered Hermione's desk. Crookshanks stared at them idly--he wasn't hungry, but he imagined that the creamy curls of parchment, a dull orange in this light, looked a lot like the curls of icing that had decorated yesterday's Christmas cake. He stretched lazily; and heard, to his surprise, another purr from across the room.
No. No. Not her again.
Crookshanks turned his head to bare his teeth, ineffectually, at the scene behind him. It was irritatingly familiar, and he felt the tug of jealousy unsettle his old, tired heart.
Hermione was sitting on the armchair, bare legs stretched out towards the fire. Her wet hair was wrapped in a towel, and her bathrobe smelled--Crookshanks twitched his nose--like heat and soap and sweat.
And there--curled on her lap in a puddle of contented, hateful fur, was Crookshanks' nemesis.
He felt his hackles rise as Hermione's warm hands stroked that fur--hands that used to be his, and his alone--
He'd accepted it at first. That tug of foreign scent, annoyingly female and slightly distracting. Unpleasant with a strange, not-quite-natural tang that smelled more like rough wool than cat's fur. He'd accepted the stranger because the tabby seemed to make Hermione happy, seemed to cause her mouth to smile and dimple in a way it hadn't done for years. Crookshanks envied this too. He envied how he was relegated more and more to the hearthrug, while this... he hissed--pretender--took his rightful place in that warm, musk-scented lap; ran her tongue along those smooth-tipped fingers. He missed the taste of Hermione's hands--ink, paper and morning tea--along with something else, something that tasted warmer, like butter, and that Crookshanks had never tasted on anybody else.
The tabby yawned kittenishly--ha, as if she were young!--and Hermione smiled.
Crookshanks huffed sourly into his rug. The yawning never worked when he did it.
'Bed now, Minerva?' Hermione got up, cradling the auburn bundle gently, brushing her lips along a tender ear.
Hermione startled, looking at him guiltily--but that pretender, damn her, only ran a pink tongue across her whiskers in a decidedly smug fashion. Hermione's mine now, the slitted gold eyes seemed to say.
'G'night, Crookshanks. Milk's under the table...' And Hermione yawned too; walked to the bedroom with the still-purring stranger in her arms.
Bloody cats, Crookshanks thought, in a decidedly unpatriotic moment.
Good night indeed. How was he supposed to sleep when... Hmph.
He sighed. And tried not to prick up his ears when breathless giggles broke through the bedroom door, and the low purr turned, sensuously, into a grown woman's deep laughter.
Another one of those nights. No hope for sleep sleep then. Huffing again, Crookshanks lurched onto his old, calloused paws. He padded over to the kitchen, where his yellow bowl was placed by the dining table. He sniffed at it, scent of fresh milk and dust. Hermione smelled like that too, in the mornings. Plopping down on the cool tile, Crookshanks rested his furred chin on bowl's gentle edge. There was a low moan from the bedroom--and Crookshanks, letting the tip of his tongue touch the smooth milk, let out a purr of his own.