127 Cats and Rats
Ron gave a slight shrug.
"Well he should still ask McGonagall if he can go."
"Ron!" said Hermione. "Harry's supposed to stay in school."
"Plus, as I mentioned earlier, Black theoretically could be lurking in Hogsmeade."
"He can't be the only third year left behind," said Ron. "Just go ask professor McGonagall, go on, Harry —"
"Yeah, I think I will," said Harry.
"Well as long as you aren't stupid enough to go sneak out of Hogwarts with that invisibility cloak of yours."
"I promise I won't."
"Don't promise, you are probably going to break it anyway."
Hermione opened her mouth to argue, but at that moment Crookshanks leapt lightly onto her lap. A large, dead spider was dangling from his mouth.
"Does he have to eat that in front of us?" said Ron, scowling.
"Err... it's quite natural for cats to present their owners with prey that they caught themselves."
"No one asked you Arth."
"Clever Crookshanks, did you catch that all by yourself?" said Hermione.
Crookshanks gave a slight nod before rubbing its head onto Arth's legs. Arth was infatuated.
"Awww... you little adorable thing... how intelligent and smart you must be. Who's a good boy."
Crookshanks purred and slowly chewed up the spider, his yellow eyes fixed insolently on Ron.
"Mental honestly. How the hell could anyone love him? Just keep him over there, that's all," said Ron irritably, turning back to his star chart. "I've got Scabbers asleep in my bag."
"I really need to start working on homework. Got loads to do and I lost most of my time due to quidditch practice."
"You can copy mine, if you like," said Ron, labeling his last star with a flourish and shoving the chart toward Harry.
Hermione, who disapproved of copying, pursed her lips but didn't say anything. Crookshanks was still staring unblinkingly at Ron, flicking the end of his bushy tail. Then, without warning, he pounced.
"OY!" Ron roared, seizing his bag as Crookshanks sank four sets of claws deep inside it and began tearing ferociously. "GET OFF, YOU STUPID ANIMAL!"
Ron tried to pull the bag away from Crookshanks, but Crookshanks clung on, spitting and slashing.
"Ron, don't hurt him!" squealed Hermione; the whole common room was watching; Ron whirled the bag around, Crookshanks still clinging to it, and Scabbers came flying out of the top —
"CATCH THAT CAT!" Ron yelled as Crookshanks freed himself from the remnants of the bag, sprang over the table, and chased after the terrified Scabbers.
"Er... please catch the cat with care... don't hurt him."
George Weasley made a lunge for Crookshanks but missed; Scabbers streaked through twenty pairs of legs and shot beneath an old chest of drawers.
Crookshanks skidded to a halt, crouched low on his bandy legs, and started making furious swipes beneath it with his front paw.
Ron and Hermione hurried over; Hermione grabbed Crookshanks around the middle and heaved him away; Ron threw himself onto his stomach and, with great difficulty, pulled Scabbers out by the tail.
"Look at him!" he said furiously to Hermione, dangling Scabbers in front of her. "He's skin and bone! You keep that cat away from him!"
"Crookshanks doesn't understand it's wrong!" said Hermione, her voice shaking. "All cats chase rats, Ron!"
"There's something funny about that animal!" said Ron, who was trying to persuade a frantically wiggling Scabbers back into his pocket. "It heard me say that Scabbers was in my bag!"
"Oh, what rubbish," said Hermione impatiently. "Crookshanks could smell him, Ron, how else d'you think —"
"That cat's got it in for Scabbers!" said Ron, ignoring the people around him, who were starting to giggle. "And Scabbers was here first, and he's ill!"
Ron marched through the common room and out of sight up the stairs to the boys' dormitories.
Arth patted Hermione on the shoulder as she was looking like she was about to burst into tears.
"It's alright Hermione, you did nothing wrong. Ron is just defensive."
"Well maybe it would help him to be a little more considerate!"
Hermione glared at the direction where Ron had disappeared into and stormed off.
Arth sighed and glanced at Harry.
"Why do they never learn how to concede? Everything would be much more simpler."
Harry shook his head.
"I dunno mate. I dunno."