The Shadow Drabble Series (Collected Drabbles)
1. Making Friends (G; Neville, injured cat; 100 words): Neville tends to a new friend. (Originally written as an IJ 400 Friends Drabble for medawyn, who prompted me with Neville Longbottom: territory, feline, green.)
Neville wrinkled his nose against the strong feline scent in Greenhouse Three.
Clearly a tom marking its territory, he thought, creeping about and lifting green fronds out of his way as he searched for it.
A shadow skulking against the back wall near some fire ficus caught his attention.
"Well, hullo there."
The shadow flattened and hissed; Neville knelt to see the injured cat, who was holding up one bloody paw.
"Lose a fight?" Neville asked, pushing forward bowls of conjured water and fish bits.
When the cat had eaten and settled itself, Neville asked, "Let me look at you?"
2. Making Do (G; Neville, Shadow; 100 words): Neville spends the night amongst plants with his new friend.
Neville had conjured a camp bed and settled down next to the tom at the back of Greenhouse Three; it was warm enough, thanks to the fire ficuses—and anything was better than being somewhere expected, what with his gran having refused to leave Hogwarts after he'd refused to return home with her.
"There's work to be done. I have to stay," Neville murmured, glancing at the tom.
"Shadow" blinked in apparent disdain.
But sometime during the night, Neville awoke to a slightly sharp, ticklish kneading of paws as Shadow made do with the warm pillow that was Neville's robes-covered groin.
3. Making a Diagnosis (G; Neville, Sprout, Shadow; 100 words): Neville seeks to sort out Shadow.
"—was near-shredded. He'd been worrying it with his paw."
"Poor mite," said Sprout, stroking Shadow's head. "You seem to have patched him up well enough, but he seems shaky to me."
"You think so?"
Shadow gave Neville his back and a ridge of fur rose along it.
"That rough purring means he's in pain. Best take him to Hagrid."
Hissing, Shadow leapt from the table and slunk off to hide under the fire ficuses.
"You don't think Fang—"
"Don't be daft, Longbottom! No doubt Shadow ran afoul of some Venomous Tentacula. Trust him to Hagrid. He'll know what to do."
4. Making Balm (G; Neville, Shadow, Hagrid; 100 words): Shadow spurns Neville's caring side.
It had been ugly, painful, and fruitless, attempting to hold Shadow still for Hagrid's examination—until Hagrid had scruffed the cat between two fingers and held him high.
Neville had never heard anything make such menacing sounds. "Damn your claws," he muttered at Shadow, who was curled up by the hearth in Hagrid's hut against a protective, albeit wary, Fang.
"There now, see tha'? They like each other."
Stirring the cauldron of Scar Balm, which Hagrid had assured him had venom-leeching properties to benefit Shadow's wound, too, Neville thought of the fire ficuses. "Fang's warm, is all. Shadow's a rank opportunist."
5. Making Trouble (G; Neville, Shadow, Original Feline Character; 100 words): Shadow recovers and makes a new friend, himself.
Shadow took to following Neville, sniffing, hissing, and spraying as he did so. The balm had done wonders for Shadow's health, if not his disposition. While Neville was sorting out a tangled Tentacula one morning, a strangled yowling met his ears.
Brushing the dirt off his hands, he entered Greenhouse Three to find Shadow circling a fluffy white, orange-speckled cat, who was rolling and occasionally presenting herself—only to swipe at Shadow when he drew near her.
"Right, no kitten-making for you," Neville admonished, brandishing his wand. "Shoo! Bad cat! Leave her alo—oh, well, then. I'll just give you your privacy."
6. Making a Date (G; Shadow, Queenie, Hagrid, Augusta, Neville, Hannah; 100 words): Shadow disapproves of Neville's technique.
Shadow and "Queenie" snuggled by the hearth against Fang. Hagrid smoked a pipe and shared recipes with Gran. And Neville and Hannah—who were in no way on a date even if they did have too many chaperones—sat in pleased, blushing silence.
Neville had been meeting at the Leaky Cauldron with some of the other students who'd stayed at Hogwarts to help. That's where he'd found Hannah, who was learning the publican trade.
"Are you ready to sit for your exams?"
Shadow hissed; Queenie bit him on the head.
"They're unusual cats."
"Yeah," Neville replied, feeling like a berk.
7. Making Foot-Warmers against Worry (G; Neville, Shadow, Queenie; 100 words): Neville finds comfort where he can.
Ginny was holding Shadow and telling him not to worry about her. Neville was worried about her; he could see the wounds that Amycus Carrow had inflicted upon her before Snape had got to the Quidditch Pitch. It was surreal, how elements from "Seventh Year," as he euphemistically thought of the occupation of Hogwarts, kept creeping into his dreams to blend with his reality.
It hurt, how much he missed Ginny, how confused Harry was, and how worried the Weasleys were.
But it was a comfort, having Shadow and the now very pregnant Queenie keep his feet warm at night.
8. Making Royalty (G; Neville, Shadow, Queenie, Sprout; 100 words): Neville has kittens.
A queening—Neville had never witnessed one, and it was alarming. Shadow thought so, too; he'd stormed about yowling so loudly that Queenie had attacked him, sending him flying into the fire ficuses.
It hadn't surprised Neville at all to find the cats tucked up in Greenhouse Three for the birth. It was warm and clean, and Shadow had always seemed to feel safe there.
"It's all right, young man," Sprout cooed at Shadow. "She knows what to do, and Hagrid's not far away should something go wrong."
Shadow laid his ears back and wailed.
Neville thought he might be sick.
9. Making His Mark (G; Neville, Harry, Shadow, Queenie, Original Kitten Character; 100 words): Neville learns something magical about Shadow's family.
"—only one kitten, which strikes me as odd, but Shadow's entirely devoted to the wee thing—and to his Queenie. Wait until you see," Neville told Harry, as he followed Neville into the greenhouse.
Neville's eyes widened at the bizarre, blurring sight before him. Animagi! "What the hell?"
"They seem all right," Harry said quietly, walking around Neville to kneel before the camp bed. "Easy there, Dad. I won't hurt your family, promise."
Shadow's low growling reached Neville's ears, but Queenie, who was nursing her black kitten, allowed Harry's petting.
Shadow leapt off the bed and began spraying the fire ficuses.
10. Making Sense (G; Neville/Hannah; 100 words): Neville tells Hannah what he saw.
Hannah blinked. "Are you feeling well, Neville?"
"I'm serious. I saw them. They're—"
"Animagi, yes, I understood that part. I also understand how hard you've been working—"
Neville sighed. He hadn't thought Hannah would believe him, but he'd felt compelled to tell someone.
"—and I think you might . . . take a break, is all."
"It can't be good for the baby, being transformed like that. What do they think they're doing?"
Hannah laid a hand on Neville's right knee, and he felt beads of sweat collect at his hairline.
"If you're right," she said, "then the best they can, I suppose."
Note: It was fun playing with the drabble-story format, but if I write a sequel to the Shadow Drabble Series, it will most likely be as a proper story.