Harry spoke up then, saying, "I've known cats all my life. Predicting them wasn't my problem." Harry took a breath, trying not to feel stupid and get angry. "I failed to predict people. My friends even."
Everyone was looking at him, and he tried not to feel like he had two heads. These were perfectly easy mistakes to make, he tried to reassure himself. They were also perfectly stupid, and that was why the reassurance didn't work at all.
"I thought about the cats I knew best, because I'd have the easiest time catching them." Harry said, and Nott looked vaguely approving. "However, they aren't my cats. Hermione's cat was a lot easier for her to catch than it was for me - and I had to get into the girls' dorm to boot!"
"Harry got in the girls dorm! To catch a pussy!" Zach said, his booming laugh not quite covering what he'd said. Other people were looking at him curiously, and he was suddenly glad that at least the Slytherins understood the wordplay. They were prickly enough without thinking that he was a damn creep!
"I wasn't actually inside, just flying outside the window." Harry said promptly.
"You can do that?" Padma wailed, "I'm going to need better curtains!"
Everyone laughed at that, but Harry could see considering looks on the faces of odd people. Malfoy, for one. "It appears there is a disadvantage to living in the Lion's Tower." he drawled, and Goyle cracked up - nevermind that Goyle wasn't anywhere near Malfoy at the time.
After everything had calmed down, Zach said, "I wound up trying to catch three toads."
"How'd that happen?" Harry asked, intrigued - and glad to see that there was something that could crack Zach's immense ego.
"They were rustling, and they sounded kind of like a cat, and you all know how cats like creeping into dark dens."
"Boxes, they like boxes," Harry said absentmindedly.
"So there I was, with my hands in that dark den..." Zach said, smiling cheerfully, and Harry reflected on how he had big beefy hands. "And a cat comes around the corner, clearly intent on stalking... whatever was in the den!"
"You caught it?" Nott said lazily, Harry belatedly understanding that Nott wanted to hurry the conversation along, and that he was a bit sick of the pointless embroidery. Harry hadn't minded. Perhaps Nott didn't like the study work they were doing today - well and good, he'd love Hermione's plans.
"Yeah, and didn't it howl, hideously irate at getting the muck I still had on my arm all over itself!" Zach said, smiling cheerily. Beside him, Nott rolled his eyes, and Harry found himself thinking that Nott's interruption hadn't saved a single word.
[a/n: Kerfluffle. Slytherins are like that - greasing wheels when they want something done their way. Leave a review?
Pardon for Narcissa last chapter, she said she was writing the letter whether I was ready or not.]