Don't Call Me Kitty
by Seagull Laridae

A/N: Here we go with my seventh reply to a METMA challenge... maybe this time I’ll remember to disclaim the characters before I start writing the story, so I don’t have to scroll back up... uh... anyway... (btw, the last story got 1st place again as well...) I’ll be poking fun at some pairings, including slash pairings (I have nothing against slash, this is an equal-opportunity poke), in this fic, no offence intended to anyone who likes the pairings mentioned.

Our noble founder hath set us an almighty task once more... but I shall rise to the challenge... *wanders off singing “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor*

*sticks head back around the corner* HA! You thought I was going to forget the disclaimer, didn’t you? Well, I have to say that the Harry Potter characters do not belong to me, but to J.K. “Bet-She-Made-Him-Sign-A-Pre-Nuptial-Agreement” Rowling. The plot requirements belong to what’s-her-name who shouldn’t go to any author’s conventions because all her fans glomping her at once would kill her... hi Gred. Oh, and the title is half-borrowed from, um, Madison Avenue, I think... *wanders off again, this time singing “Don’t Call Me Baby”*

The owl circled the Gryffindor table and landed in front of Harry, who eyed it curiously. He hadn’t ordered anything, and so far as he knew there were no problems with Sirius... so who was writing to him? Then he recognised Hagrid’s familiar scratchings on the front of the note, and untied it from the owl’s leg.

“Harry –
Got a new pet today. Come down after supper and visit. I’ll meet you in the front hall – don’t want you in the grounds on your own.
-Hagrid”

“Here, Ron, Hermione, look at this,” Harry said, passing the piece of paper over. Ron and Hermione were sitting unconventionally close together (and the R/H shippers all cheered), and Ron took the letter to read it while Harry kept eating his breakfast.

“We’ve got to wait all day!” Ron complained. “Why so long?”

“There are classes all day, it’s very important we go to them. It’s the first day of term, after all,” Hermione said. (A/N: I think they’re in their sixth year now. “A Heavy Load” was at the start of the year and these are kinda in chronological order.)

“And we’ve got Defence Against the Dark Arts now,” Harry said. He groaned. “Look at this – we’ve been put with the Slytherins.”

“At least we’ve got Charms after that,” Hermione said. “You know Professor Flitwick will have something interesting for us to do.”

“I wonder who the new DADA teacher is?” Harry wondered.

“Who cares?” Ron said, his mouth full. “Let’s just finish breakfast first, then we can worry about it.”

There was plenty to worry about, unfortunately. As soon as they entered the DADA classroom, they realised why they had been put with the Slytherins for the class.

Lucius Malfoy was the new DADA teacher.

“Oh well,” Hermione whispered comfortingly to Harry, who was standing rather dumbstruck in the doorway and staring at the malicious git behind the teacher’s desk, “at least we can be fairly sure that he’ll die, or turn into a mindless sap, or not really be Lucius Malfoy.” The school’s previous track record with DADA teachers was, as everyone knew, not the best.

Someone ran into Harry from behind.

“Oi, watch it,” Harry said before he turned around and saw that it was Draco Malfoy. “Oh, hi Moose-boy.”

Malfoy glowered. He was wearing a large badge which said, rather inexplicably, “SOD”. Although it was an accurate description, the Gryffindors had to wonder why Malfoy was finally admitting it.

“Sod?” Hermione questioned. “Finally letting your true colours show through, Malfoy?”

“It’s not “Sod”,” Malfoy said. “It’s “S-O-D”. Star Of Dada.”

“Sod Of Dada sounds better. Move, Sod. You’re blocking the doorway.” Harry pushed past the red-faced Slytherin and, his cronies flanking him, went and sat down.

“Today,” Lucius Malfoy said, “we are going to study Hexes.” He aimed his wand at Harry, of course. “Potter, any idea how to block a Hurling Hex?”

“Uh...” Harry stammered. Lucius was clearly about to cast the hex at him. The proper counterspell failing him, he simply raised his wand and yelled out, “Inrideo!”

The blue flash of the hex that had begun to streak towards him turned mid-air into a bowling shoe, and thumped down onto Crabbe’s desk, exuding a faint but noticeable odour of cheese. Or maybe that was just Crabbe himself.

“Right.” Lucius glared at Harry. “A wise guy, eh?”

“Huh?”

Lucius turned into Professor McGonagall. “You’re good, Potter,” she said. “And Miss Granger, five points to Gryffindor for spotting the trend that nasty things happen to Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers here at Hogwarts.” She put her head down on the desk. “Now off you go and play in the sunshine.”

“Huh?” Harry said again. “Professor?” He was bamboozled, flummoxed, and a tad confused as well. He went up to her and tapped her on the back of the head.

“No me molestos!” Professor McGonagall yelled.

“She speaks Hebrew and Spanish,” Hermione said, envious.

“Anche parlo l’italiano. Allora, andate via,” McGonagall said, waving a hand at them. (A/N: “I also speak Italian. Now go away.”)

The DADA class shuffled out of the classroom and into the gloomy corridor. There was still over an hour until break, and then Charms for the Gryffindors, so Harry, Ron and Hermione decided to do as McGonagall had suggested and go outside into the sunshine.

As it was the beginning of term, it was rather cold. An icy wind blew around them, entirely negating the effects of the sunshine. Hermione shivered, and Harry and Ron had a brief scuffle over who got to casually sling an arm around her (entirely to help her keep warm, of course, not because they were sixteen-year-old males and therefore driven entirely by high-octane testosterone.), which neither of them won as Lavender joined them and the two girls huddled together in Lavender’s over-sized drizabone (which her uncle had sent to her from Australia).

“H-how are you, H-Hermione?” Lavender shivered.

“All right,” Hermione said, wondering why Lavender had decided to come and pester her. “You?”

“N-not b-bad,” Lavender said. “I-is H-Harry single?”

“Yeah, at the moment, although I think he’s in line to have an enlightening experience with Ron... then this afternoon he’s supposed to be dating me, Draco, you, me, me, Snape, and Ginny,” Hermione said, checking her Fan-Fic Assignations Calendar™. “You could get lucky.”

“All right,” Lavender said. She looked at her own F-FAC™. “Looks like I’m down for some femmeslash with Parvati in about five minutes.”

“Where is Parvati, anyway?” Hermione asked.

“Over there.” Lavender pointed at Parvati, who was tap dancing on the new outdoors stage Hogwarts had apparently had built when J.K. Rowling wasn’t looking.

“And here I was thinking that “Swan Lake” was a ballet.”

“You should see the Tap Dogs do “Giselle”.” Lavender smirked. “How are YOU going on the relationships front?”

Hermione looked at her F-FAC™ again. “I’m due for another touching scene with Draco for “Sea Mist” in about three minutes. Mind you, it won’t be until about “Sea Mist Six” or whatever, since we’re a year behind on that fic.”

Lavender nodded understandingly. “Well, I’d better go snog Parvati. See you in Charms.” She took her drizabone and left.

A shaft of sunlight shot through the trees and illuminated Hermione’s face. She really had grown more beautiful since their first year at the school. Draco Malfoy, watching her, thought she had never looked more radiant.

“Oh, Hermione, be mine!” he swooned. He fainted at her feet, and Hermione looked down.

“What the?”

Draco was followed in short order by Harry, Ron, Neville, Snape, Parvati, Ginny, and generally most of the characters, who could all be converted in fanfic to believe that Hermione was some kind of Goddess – Aphrodite, maybe.

“Yeah, right,” Hermione said, stepping around the forlorn freaks and wandering towards the castle. “I’m gonna go study some charms so I can be extra brainy for our next class.”

*** (which means instead of just changing scene, the story goes into RL)

“Oh no,” said the noble METMA founder, staring at her computer screen. “Rabies has gone crazy! Something must be done!”

She quickly e-mailed her friend in Australia to find out what was going on.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“Huh?” Seagull Laridae replied. “I’m fine!”

“You’re writing crazy stuff! You’re not fine!”

“Oh,” Seagull said. “Right. That not fine. Must be the chocolate. Or maybe it’s just ‘cos FF.N is back up.”

“Are you SURE you’re OK, Rabies?” Gred (Mandy) asked.

“Yes, Gred! Quick! To the Batmobile!”

“Huh?”

“Just testing you. Let’s get back to the fic and find out what Hagrid’s new pet is!”

“Okie! Toodles!”

“Ciao!”

***(which now means we’re going back to the fic)

There was a nice little hole in the plot which meant nobody had to worry too much about what happened during Charms (although I am duty bound to tell you that it involved Professor Flitwick’s new trend, some rainbow-coloured shoelaces and a pair of fluffy bunny ears), or most of the rest of that day, in fact. Instead, everything just skipped to the moment when, Ron, Harry and Hermione having eaten supper, they were about to meet Hagrid and walk down to his hut.

“You students be careful out there in the dark!” Professor Flitwick squeaked as the trio left the Great Hall.

“One of your ears is bent, Sir,” Hermione called back. Flitwick tried to fix his bunny ear and the three made their escape into the front hall, where Hagrid was waiting for them.

“Bin waitin’ for yeh,” he told them. “Excitin’, isn’ it? This one’s not gonna be as much trouble as Beaky or Norbert, I promise yeh...”

“All right, Hagrid,” Harry said. “Lead on.”

“Er... what sort of animal IS your new pet?” Ron asked as they made their way down the dark path towards Hagrid’s hut.

“A cat,” Hagrid said.

“A CAT?” Hermione exclaimed.

“Yeah... ‘er name’s Stripy,” Hagrid said. “She’s lovely... eat right outa the palm of yer hand, she will... anyway, you’ll see her in a minute...”

There were three loud, piercing screams about a minute later.

“Well, she certainly was stripy,” Harry said breathlessly when they had run all the way back to the castle, up to Gryffindor Tower, and barricaded themselves in the common room.

“But I don’t know about eating out of the palm of your hand... maybe just eat the palm of your hand,” Ron said.

“I didn’t think you’d be able to get that kind of... BEAST around here any more.”

“I thought they were extinct.”

“Oh, you boys are cowards!” Hermione scoffed.

“Us? You ran as fast as we did!”

“You were first through the portrait!”

“Before it even OPENED!”

“Well, I’ll go back down tomorrow,” Hermione said decisively. “After all, it’s not every day you get the chance to examine a real sabre-toothed tiger...”

A/N: Heh, heh, heh... *puts on her bunny ears and smiles proudly...* Join METMA if you haven’t already! METMA forever!

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