"Well, Ciarán...or whatever you name is... you found your way here, you should have no trouble finding your way back"
Severus fought the urge to simply toss the cat out the window. True to be told it would be rather satisfying to just kick the insolent furball out and watch as it ran away terrified. But considering his owner was his new neighbor, it would probably be more prudent to just show him the way out. Miss Black was petulant and intrusive enough as it was, mistreating her cat would only bring him more annoyance, and quite frankly he was in no shape to deal with it.
So instead of indulging on his more aggressive urges, Severus merely opened the kitchen to and let the cat out. It sat there on the windowsill for a few moments and left, making him breath a sight of relief...
Where was he, again? Oh, yeah...Cofee...
Alas..no coffee, and no tea...Actually, no nothing...When was the last time he had gone grocery shopping?...Hell, he couldn´t even remember...Might want to take care of that now...Starving to death was not a very noble way to go...Dying of starvation and having his body discovered weeks later once it started to smell wouldn´t look too good on his obituary...Death by snake attack would have been more decent. But the mere thought of washing, changing into presentable clothes and going out to run such a mundane task bore him to death...
Grudgingly he washed, changed and left.
Two hours...Two bloody hours just to walk to the nearest market, pick up a few bare essentials, pay for them and come back home....Damn... He knew muggles had a different way of life, and that not having magic entailed a certain difficulty of getting things done that was unknown to wizards, but that was effin´ridiculous...Nobody need magic to know how to properly queue or change money...
Severus locked the door and kicked off his shoes. Tea and a decent meal...Finally...
"What?..." He almost dropped the grocery bags as he felt something touching his leg. He looked down and saw pair of big amber eyes looking up at him. In the dimness of the living room it was almost impossible to see clearly, but he didn´t have to see it to know exactly what the diminutive creature trying to climb up his leg was. "You again?"
Cursing through his teeth, Severus let go of the bags and picked the cat up by the scruff of the neck, nearly tossing it outside the door. Dear Merlin, was Miss Black so intent on getting on his nerves she had trained her cat to annoy him? He slammed the door shut and headed the kitchen as the cat stood outside mewling and scratching the door.
Trying his best to ignore the noise outside, he proceeded heat up a frozen meal. Luckily he was awake enough now to use his wand. For the life of him he would never reach an agreement with that old rusty stove in the kitchen. Opening the metalic container, he reached for a fork inside one of the kitchen cabinets and sat down to eat his undercooked Salisbury steak and bland macaroni and cheese with a side of nicotine.
Then the mewling and scratching finally stopped.
"Peace at last!" Severus mumbled to himself, welcoming the silence. Silence...his constant companion for months...Lately even the sound of his own thoughts had become unbearable to him at times... silence was all he could take...It was the closest to non-existence he could get... The sounds of his house, book pages turning, the kettle on the stove, the click-clack of glasses and silverware, the ruffling of his bedsheets...That was all he could bear without having a bloody migraine...
Damn it, his wounds hurt more than usual today...Maybe the dressing was too tight...Should check up on that after lunch...For now he´d just have to mind it when swallowing...Couldn´t very well go for another round of anaesthetics right now, had taken those before leaving the house...The cigarette would have to do as far as calming his nerves for now..
Morosely poking his steak with the fork as he watched the tip of his cigarette burn, Severus started to plan the day ahead of him. If anything the little black invader had, at least, helped him become alert enough to catch up on his reading. His teaching left him very little time for any kind of parallel intellectual pursuit...And with the business of having a bloody war to tend to, he couldn´t quite remember the last time he had sat down with a book for the simple pleasure of just reading an interesting story. Last time he had tried he didn't have the chance to reach the third chapter...
Just as he silently agreed with himself that the rest of the day would be better spent in Dostoyevisky´s fine company, Severus felt something touch his bare feet. Something furry... Severus bolted to his feet, just as the lean little silhouette walked from under the table and sat down on its hind legs, looking up at him.
"That´s it!" Severus was fuming. "I suppose I need to have a word with your owner about responsible pet-owning and common civility!"
Fighting the urge to hex the living lights out of cat, he picked it up and marched to the next house of the street. He banged on the door, probably with enough strength to yank it out of its hinges. Nothing... He tried again and again...nothing. Apparently nobody was home...
"So that´s why you snuck out..." He looked at the cat purring happily on his arm. "All right then..."
Severus had just noticed one of the front windows was partiality open. He carefully placed the cat on the windowsill and nudged him to enter. The animal merely looked up at him, seriously and mewled softly. Severus tried to make him go inside, to no avail. The cat looked inside the house then back at him and simply sat there, almost as if it couldn´t bring itself to enter.
"What the devil?..."
After a couple more futile attempts at making the cat get back inside, Severus simply stood in front of the window, wondering what could ever make the animal so reluctant to get back into his own home. Considering Miss Black had just moved, maybe the cat wasn´t yet used to the new environment, although it was obviously very comfortable at his house. Nevermind, he tought, could just as well just leave the creature there on the windowsill...
As Severus walked away, he could hear the diminutive beast mewling following him. He didn´t really have to look back to know it was right after him. Stubborn little...Reaching his doorstep, Severus looked over his shoulder, and surely enough there was the cat, sitting on the side walk.
Accepting defeat, Severus opened his door and stepped aside, as the cat leisurely strolled in.
It was the tenth time he had to go back and re-read the same page. The damn cat had been prancing about, hoping on the piles of books scattered about the floor, climbing up the shelves and dropping whatever object it could get its little filthy paws on. At the present moment it hd just finished smashing a glass of water on the floor and was proceeding to menacingly make its way towards the antique wooden clock sitting on one of the shelves by the fireplace.
Closing his copy of The Bothers Karamazov, Severus walked up to where the little insolent fur ball was and proceeded to remove him from the shelf. It merely jumped from his arms onto the floor and walked over to the fireplace, lying lazily in front of it. Severus took a deep breath.
"Ok, so be like this." The cat simply looked at him and yawned.
The cat was tired of wrecking havoc, apparently. Good. Back to his book, then. Hopefully he´d get to finish that page now. But just as he sat down, there it was again...The bloody cat mewling at his feet. Without taking his eyes off the book, Severus pushed it away with a foot, but the unbearable creature would have none of it. It just leaped squarely onto his lap.
"I´m not petting you, damnit!" And back to the floor it went, mewling in dismay. Only this time it made no attempt to climb back. Instead it just sat quietly, as if listening for something.
Seemingly no longer interested on Severus, the cat walked briskly towards the door. Soon enough it was scratching it and mewling anxiously.
"Oh, so now you want to leave...Fine..."
Relieved, Severus opened the door and let the cat out. It sat on the pavement and looked on as a red Volvo approached. The car pulled over right in front of Miss Black´s house, and the cat mewled joyfully as none other than Evelyn Black herself exited the auto. Severus watched as the woman distractedly opened the trunk of her car and started to retrieve a mountain of shopping bags and grocery bags from it. Her high heels made a pleasant and regular little click-clacking rhythm onto the pavement as her dark jeans, red sweater coat and red crochet headband painted dynamic brushstrokes of bright colour onto the dull grey canvas of Spinner´s End.
"Well, there she is, at long last..." Severus crossed his arms over his chest and turned to go back inside. The cat, however, stayed exactly where it was, looking up at him.
"Just go already! She´s back." The cat mewled, still looking up at him.
"You don´t want me to escort you, do you?" Another mew. Scowling, Severus picked up the cat carried him on one arm as carefully as he would carry a stale baguette, slamming his front door behind himself. "Miserable little runt"
He walked up to Miss Black just as she was starting to unlock her door.
"Hey!" He yelled curmudgeonly, making her turn around, startled.
"Is this yours?" He asked, carelessly holding up the cat.
"Ciarán!" She dropped the bags and almost ran up to him, taking the cat from his hand and gently cradling it on her arms, showering the little pest with caresses. "You were sleeping when I left, how did you get out?"
Severus rolled his eyes. Crazy woman talking to her bloody cat as if it was a baby....
"Thank you so much for finding him" She smiled at Severus, her Irish accent becoming slightly ticker.
"I didn´t find him...he found me."
"Oh, I see...I´m so sorry he bothered you...In any case, thank you for taking care of him while I was out"
You should thank me for not turning him into a stew; Severus thought to himself, but kept his silence and just nodded.
"Why don´t you come in for some tea?" She offered, opening the door.
"No, it´s not necessary"
"I mean it, it´s really no nece.."
Without as much as letting him finish the sentence, Evelyn put the cat back on the ground, and picked up the grocery backs she had just dropped.
"It will only take a minute. If you could just help me with these bags" Not even noticing (or not minding) his resistance, she handled him the bags and walked over to her car. "We can just put those in the kitchen and I´ll fix us something to eat in a second. I just bought some muffins on this new bakery downtown, people say they are excellent...."
As she continued to babble and pull shopping bags out of the trunk of the car, Severus stood there like a fool holding one shopping bag on each hand, completely at a loss of words...