Yes, you. You with the unoccupied lap. You're a first year, eh? I can always tell - your robes still smell new.
Couldn't help but notice you have some milk left in that cup there. If you'd just let me jump up and share that, I've a story that might entertain you.
There we go. Good human.
You see those two over there? The red-haired boy and the girl with the bushy hair. Well, she's my person. Just look at the two of 'em, sitting in that chair together and, err, washing each other, or whatever it is you humans do. (Whatever it is, it looks like there's tongues involved.) That's all thanks to me, y'know. I'm the one that finally got them together.
You see, they'd been sniffing at each other's tails, so to speak, for as long as I've had her. I liked her right from the start, of course, as soon as she came into the shop for me to adopt her. Him I really didn't care for. Well, it was mostly that "rat" of his. Obviously they've never actually smelled a rat, or they would have known something wasn't right about him. Of course, I knew from the first whiff that he was bad news. I had to protect my human, but I know I was just making the boy mad. Couldn't be helped.
Oooh, yes, there, right under the chin. Ahhhhh.
Anyway, after I got rid of that rat, I thought my person would finally get together with her boy. But no, they just kept hissing and spitting at each other. He's lucky she doesn't have proper claws, that's all I have to say. She even got herself all groomed and washed to go with some other bloke. Odd sort, he was - talked funny. Nice enough in his way, but it was obvious to me that there just wasn't anything there.
You want to know how obvious they were? Even during the summer, I could tell they were strutting around each other with their tails all fluffed up. His ruddy little owl kept showing up in her bedroom, and she'd put something on his leg and send him back. We don't mess with owls, as a matter of courtesy, you understand (and also because, well, those talons and such), but if I ever got up a taste for owl, that little git would be first on the menu. Annoying, he is. Anyway, half the time she'd be furious after he showed up, and half the time you could practically hear her purring. And you think we have strange moods?
In fact, we're much more sensible about the whole thing. When a lady wants a little friendly company, you know, she's not shy about letting us know. So you just go up to her, and well, if she doesn't fancy you, you'll know right quick, and if she does, well... a bloke's got needs, you know?
Oh dear, is that a speck of dirt on my foot? Must wash.
Right then. Well, things didn't get any better once I brought her back here. They were stuttering and stammering around each other worse than ever. Too bad you humans don't have fur all over, because blushing is apparently pretty embarrassing.
It was about Christmas (you humans and your strange holidays) when I realized that I had to do something. My person was tossing and turning in her sleep and mumbling his name all the time, which was bad enough even before she managed to kick me in the head. Twice in one night, yet. I tried sleeping with her boy's sister, but she was just as bad, only it was that messy-haired boy's name. Honestly. I finally gave up and started sleeping down here on the couch.
Most everyone was gone, except my person and her boy, and his sister and that messy-haired boy. They gave me lots of crinkly paper to play with – it had all been wrapped around funny lumpy things under the tree, and they got mad at me when I tried to take it off myself. I don't understand why – I was just trying to save them the trouble. Anyway, they all threw the paper aside and kept the things that had been wrapped in it, who knows why. Red-haired boy had some long orange yarn thing that he put around his neck right away, and he actually hugged my person after he unwrapped it. I think that shocked all five of us. She turned about the same shade of orange, anyway.
Later that night, my person went upstairs to wash herself like she usually does at night. All that water! Why can't you just sit down and lick yourselves? Her boy had taken off that orange thing and put it on the sofa next to him, and I curled up on it and pretended to sleep. When I heard the water stop upstairs, I sprang into action. I grabbed the orange thing in my mouth and started towards the stairs. He saw me and started to come after me, just like I planned, so I led him up the stairs. My timing was perfect, of course. We came around the corner just as my person was coming out into the corridor, and she was wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around her. Red-haired boy was so startled that he ran right into her and they both fell back against the wall, with him pressing up against her. They just looked into each other's eyes for a minute, sniffing noses or something, and I was all set to congratulate myself when her towel started to slip off, and he looked down, and she yelled at him. He blushed really red and ran off, carrying that orange thing, and she glared at me (the nerve!) and ran into her room and slammed the door.
They didn't speak to each other for a few days after that. Bloody awkward, considering how few people were around. My next chance came a few days later, when red-haired boy and his friend went outside to go flying. My person sat on the sofa in front of the fire with a book, and I jumped in her lap and purred and made a big show of being affectionate. You see, we have the mysterious ability to put you humans to sleep whenever we want, just by sitting on you and purring. I won't tell you how it works, but it always does. Sure enough, before too long she put her book down, laid her head back, and went to sleep. When the boys came back in, messy-haired boy saw her first and told her boy to be quiet. Messy-hairy took both their broomsticks and went up the stairs, and red-haired boy came and stood next to my person for a while, just looking at her. Then he sat down next to her and reached over to pet me. (See, he's not so bad.) When he did, I moved just a bit to wake my person up, and their hands touched. They looked at each other, and he whispered something about being sorry about the other day, and she said she was sorry too. He brushed her hair back from her face leaned towards her, and I thought maybe this was it... but then messy-haired boy came stomping back down the stairs and spoiled the moment.
I left a hairball on his pillow.
Things were a little calmer between them after that, though. A couple days later, everyone else came back to school. My person and her friends kept muttering about studying for owls, which I never did quite understand, but it kept them so busy that they wouldn't have had much time for, umm, grooming each other, even if they had wanted to. I noticed they were sitting close together most of the time, though. A few times they even held hands when they didn't think anyone was watching.
Things started to get tense again about six weeks later. I really don't understand this Valentine's Day thing at all, but my person was getting nervous about it. She kept scribbling things down, shaking her head, and throwing them away, moaning about how there was no way she could send him something like that. She even asked her boy's sister for help, which seemed to involve a lot of giggling and blushing. What they didn't see, though, was that I grabbed one of the wadded-up pieces of parchment and batted it under a dresser. I knew she was trying to come up with something to give her boy, and this one was one of the attempts they had decided was a little too bold. Well, that suited me just fine.
Valentine's Day finally arrived, to judge from all the pink decorations everywhere. Even Priscilla had a pink bow on, which I told her went quite fetchingly with her eyes. (What are you looking at me like that for? Yes, her name is Priscilla. You wouldn't expect me to call her Mrs Norris, now would you?) I was hoping that the two of them would finally figure things out on their own, but no, my person got mad at her boy and went up to sit on her bed, and he went up to his. I think they were both hoping the other one had sent them a card or something, but my person never came up with anything she wanted to send him, and as for him, it should be obvious by now that he's hopeless about this sort of thing.
At any rate, that was when I knew I had to play my last card, as it were. I ran up to my person's room and grabbed the parchment out from under the dresser; she just gave me a strange look and went back to crying. When I got to her boy's room, he was sitting on his bed just staring into space. When I dropped the parchment in front of him, he picked it up and started to throw it, but then he unfolded it and looked at it, and his eyes got big and round. Even then, though, the bloody git just sat there looking stunned, so once again I took the initiative. I jumped up on the bed, grabbed that foolish orange thing from his bedpost, and took off with it.
He followed me, of course, yelling at me to stop, with that parchment still in his hand. When we got to the door of my person's room, and I ran over to her and dropped the orange thing in front of her. She looked at me, then looked at him and saw the parchment he was holding, and her face somehow went ghostly white and blood red all at the same time. (I have a very clever person, you see.) They just looked at each other for what felt like hours, and finally she lowered her eyes and smiled just a little. He whispered her name and walked towards her... and just as he reached out his hand, I streaked between his legs, and he stumbled and fell cursing onto her bed... on top of her. I stopped, of course, and turned around to watch. He looked down at her, she looked up at him, and finally he lowered his head and did... well, whatever it is you call that. He pulled back from her to see if she would protest, and she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him back down to do it again. And my work was done.
Several minutes later, Hermione finally sighed reluctantly and pushed Ron back so she could sit up. She picked up Ron's orange Chudley Cannons scarf, forgotten where Crookshanks had dropped it on the floor, and laid it over her shoulders absently. "Ron..." she whispered, before her voice took on its usual practical tone. "We shouldn't be doing this in here, you know. What if Parvati or Lavender comes up and catches us?"
Ron brushed her hair back from her eyes and grinned. "They'll see it sooner or later anyway, you know. I don't want to hide this from anyone, now that I've finally kissed the prettiest witch in the school and all..."
Hermione started to object, but the compliment caught her by surprise and she blushed. "Well, maybe once in a while, but not on my bed, Ron. We -" She flushed even deeper and fumbled desperately for a way to change the subject. "Oh, look at Crookshanks curled up over there, the sweetie. He looks so smug - I suppose he thinks this is all his doing. Honestly, what a -"
Whatever Hermione had been about to say was abruptly forgotten. Ron took the scarf in his hands and pulled her close with it, and his lips covered hers until she stopped objecting and resigned herself to being kissed. It didn't appear to be much of a struggle.
From Lavender's bed, Crookshanks watched the couple closely for a moment, and then curled up in a satisfied little ball and purred himself to sleep.
So that's the story. It's been two weeks now, and they've been like that almost every night. They must have the cleanest faces in the school now, with all that washing, I swear. And now you know it's all because of me.