It was looking for food and it didn’t care where it found it. The kitten had spent almost an hour struggling with the lid on the garbage when it finally managed to dislodge it with a loud clang of metal. But now, as it stared down at the bags, it mewled pathetically because how on earth was it supposed to find food now? There was a sound behind it, and the kitten scrambled, twisting so fast that it fell into the garbage can with a spitting cry of anger…
“No!” Amycus said, slashing his hand in a downward motion to make it clear just how serious he was. “Gritzle punished herself by dropping the iron pot onto her foot just because she burnt the cookies she wus making. And you know how I feel about that, don’t you?”
Gritzle worried her long-fingered hands together, her ears drooping as she said, “Yes Master Amycus, but… but Gritzle wasted Master Amycus’s food and Gritzle had to punish herself so-”
Amycus crossed his arms over his broad chest, glowering ice-blue daggers at the elf as he said, “And I’ve told you that I don’t like you punishing yourself and you’re not allowed to do it. So I don’t want to hear anamore about it. I’m doing it!”
Gritzle tried to limp forward again, shaking her head as she said, “B-but… but Master cannot…” she whimpered. “Please… please Master Amycus, Gritzle won’t do it again and-”
Amycus hefted the garbage up, a bag in each hand, and said, “I know Gritzle won’t, otherwise I’ll…” Amycus paused at the door, frowning because he honestly didn’t know what he’d do. Taking out the garbage generally did the job but she’d still hurt herself…
He whirled back as inspiration struck and said, “Otherwise I’ll do the dishes! By hand!”
Gritzle looked like she’d faint.
Amycus nodded, gave the elf one last glower, then hefted the bags outside to the bins, satisfied with himself. That’d teach her. She wasn’t with Master Carrow anymore. He wasn’t going to see his Elf running around in pain. Not ever again. She was like a mother to him.
He was still smirking to himself when he heard the first hiss. He frowned, looking around in surprise, then blinked when he caught sight of one of the bins with the lid off and heard a strange sound coming from it. He immediately transferred his burden to one hand and pulled out his wand, looking around for an enemy…
Only to hear another mewling cry echo from the garbage can.
He frowned in confusion and moved forward warily, wand at the ready and murmured a quick lumos when he got close enough, then blinked in shock when he caught sight of the tiny little furball sitting atop the garbage bags.
“Whut the-” he muttered, dropping the bags without a thought as he moved closer.
The kitten backed up but Amycus held up his now-free-hand with a soft, “Hey, hey it’s ok… it’s ok, I’m not gonna hurt you…”
He moved forward slowly until he could finally reach in and offer a hand. The kitten at first backed away, half-crawling up the side of the can with it’s back-legs as it attempted to move away from him, but when his hand got close enough it leaned forward to sniff uncertainly and when he didn’t attempt to attack, it finally gave in and allowed him to touch.
Within moments Amycus had the tiny little baby out of the bin and cradled against his chest. He came back into the kitchen to find Gritzle inside, still worrying her hands and looking like she’d committed some evil sin. At the sight of her Master with the animal, however, she forgot her worry and moved forward, blinking as she said, “Master Amycus?”
Amycus was shaking slightly, unable to speak and explain ‘why’ he was upset. He was just holding onto the kitten and petting his hands along it over and over, trying to soothe it even as he tried to keep himself calm.
And Gritzle remembered one stormy night when Amycus had been home for the summer. He’d been around 12 and he’d found a cat in the gardens. He’d brought it in, wanted to keep it.
Avitus didn’t like cats. He liked purebred dogs with careful bloodlines and he liked horses whose breeding could be traced for hundreds of years.
The cat had been used in Amycus’s ‘lessons’.
Amycus looked up, tears shimmering in his brilliant blue eyes as he whispered, “I… I h-have to h-hide h-him Gritzle. H-have to h-hide him so they can’t-”
Gritzle took charge then. She settled her boy into a chair with his kitten and brought over a saucer of milk for him to feed to the kitten. She taught him how to hold it and encouraged him to keep petting it.
And she reassured him over and over that this was his house now. He could keep the cat if he wanted to. No one would take it away.
In the end, Amycus managed to avoid a panic attack by a knife’s edge. He named the kitten Acheron and slept on the living room sofa with the kitten curled up on his chest, purring contentedly, and Gritzle curled on the rug at his feet, holding his free hand.