Well, it's been absolutely FOREVER since I've updated ANY of my fanfictions, and really this shouldn't be the first to get an update because it's one of my least popular, buuuut it's had most of a chapter written for ages, so it didn't need all that much added to it when I finally returned to writing.
Life's been super busy. Got married, moved in with my in laws, Mother-in-Law got super ill, my mental health took a downward spiral. All of which meant that I didn't have much time to write, and when I did have the time I didn't have much motivation. BUT I'M BACK!
A week passed and Harry found that the whispers didn't dissipate as he had expected. If anything the whispers had increased. This was probably due to the fact that the Ogre and his group hadn't left Hogwarts. Luckily, none of the students, apart from Ron, Hermione, and Neville, knew the truth of why Shrek was at the castle. Harry didn't know if he could cope with everyone knowing when he hadn't even made his decision yet.
He just didn't know what to do. He didn't want to be in charge of people, but at the same time if he didn't take the throne he could throw Far Far Away into chaos. Harry had done a little research, via asking Hermione to look it up for him, and because he was the only heir the most likely result of him abdicating would be a civil war. Harry didn't know if he could live with that on his conscience. People die in wars.
But Harry loved Hogwarts.
The school had been what had gotten him away from the Dursleys for the majority of the year. He had fallen in love with the magical world, and although it wasn't anywhere near as idyllic as it had first appeared, it was Home. He couldn't just abandon the magical world.
It was a huge dilemma; which was why Harry found himself sat on the wall at the top of the astronomy tower pondering over the situation. He had to give Shrek and answer by the end of that evening. He had had a whole week, and Shrek couldn't just wait on his decision forever.
But nobody else could make the decision for him. It was something that was completely up to him to decide.
"Hola." A soft voice came from behind him, jerking him out of his thoughts. He turned around to see the cat that had come with Shrek and the donkey.
"How are you, chico?"
"I'm fine. Uh, what was your name again?" Harry asked. He didn't think that he had actually been introduced to the cat. It was really weird to be talking to a cat, but then again it was no weirder than Harry's ability to talk to snakes.
"I'm Puss." The cat said, putting his hands on his hips, "Puss, in Boots!"
"I'm Harry, but you knew that already." Harry replied, making Puss chuckle lightly. The two of them sat in companionable silence, staring out over the Hogwarts grounds as the sun set and the light began to fade. Harry was on edge initially, expecting the cat to be pressing him for an answer. But Puss did nothing but watch the view. Harry found himself relaxing in the cat's presence.
"Aren't you going to ask me what my decision is?" Harry blurted suddenly, unable to keep his mouth shut any longer.
"No. It is your decision to make Chico. It would not be fair to you to pester you for an answer."
Harry blinked. He felt a sudden warmth towards the cat. It felt like the whole castle was putting him under pressure to make a decision, but Puss didn't seem to care.
"So, uh, Puss. I- How do you- I mean-" Harry stuttered, trying to spark a conversation with the cat, but tripping over his words.
"How do I speak, chico? Magic." The cat chuckled. Harry sighed. Of course it was magic. Harry somehow thought that he wasn't going to get an answer out of the cat as to exactly what sort of magic enabled the communication in the Human Tongue.
"So, what's your story?" Harry asked, "Seeing as you already know my mine."
Puss grinned and tipped his hat. He waited a few moments before speaking, Harry supposed Puss was getting his thoughts together; deciding what exactly to share with him.
"Through the years I have been known by many names: Diablo Gato,The Furry Lover, Chupacabra, Friskie Two-Times, and the Ginger Hit Man. But to most... I am Puss In Boots!"
Puss launched into an epic tale that Harry found himself enraptured by. Puss told of how he was abandoned as a kitten in a basket, which somehow found its way to the doorstep of an orphanage in a Spanish town called San Ricardo. Puss was taken in by the head of the orphanage, Imelda, who became his foster mother. Puss told Harry about what Harry dubbed as 'The Magic Bean Fiasco' and of how Puss had met Shrek and Donkey, and how that life debt had grown into a firm friendship.
Harry found himself being able to relate to Puss. Both of them were orphans, although Puss had found a new mother, which Harry didn't have due to his Aunt hating him. Both of their lives seemed fantastical when one looked at them as a whole. Harry and Puss continued to talk long after Puss' life story had been told and Harry found himself becoming fast friends with the cat.
Harry hopped off of the wall the two of them had been sat on, wiggling in an attempt to get the blood circulation back into his legs and butt.
"You should probably head to bed Chico." Puss said with a smirk as Harry yawned. Harry rubbed the back of his neck and grinned.
"Paw-don me, but are you sure that you're not the one that needs a cat nap? Be-claws I'm purrty sure I saw you yawn just meow too." Harry said, a full blown grin on his face.
"Cat puns? Fur real chico?" Puss said with a groan. " You're Hiss-terical."
"What can I say? I'm just feline Claw-ver tonight."
"Mew have some Tail-ent, chico. Un-fur-tunately fur mew I am fur Su-purr-ior cat this." Puss said, flicking his tail.
"Con-cat-ulations. Mew are both Meow-velous," A sarcastic voice from the stairwell said, making the two of them jump. "but I think Mr Potter here fur-cat about his purr-few."
Harry felt the blood leave his face momentarily. His head of house had caught him out after curfew. Depending on Professor McGonagall's mood, she would either let him off with just a warning, or Harry was going to have to suffer through even more detentions on top of his overwhelming amount from Umbridge. Harry's brain then registered the puns in what the professor had said and breathed a sigh of relief. If McGonagall was punning with them, then she was definitely in a good mood.
"Paw-don me Purr-fessor. Puss here was helping meow-t and we lost track of time." Harry said, turning to face Professor McGonagall with a grin. There was a glimmer of a-mews-ment in her eyes and it was in that moment that Harry knew that he wasn't going to get in trouble for his breaking of curfew.
"You're as bad as your father, Mr Potter." Professor McGonagall said with a fond shake of the head. Harry's eyes widened at the casual mention of his father. He knew that The Marauders were pranksters. Had they dared to pun at Professor McGonagall? "Every other word from James or your godfather was a pun of some sort."
"Now off to bed, Mr Potter."
Harry woke early the next day, the sun only just starting to make its appearance beyond the horizon. However, Harry didn't make any move to vacate his bed until the sun was well risen.
He had made his decision.
Harry had to at least give Far Far Away a chance. He couldn't just abandon the kingdom to turmoil, without at least having visited. Harry would go with Shrek. He didn't know if he would abdicate quite yet, but that was a decision that he could make when he was more informed of the situation at hand.
Once dressed, Harry headed down to the kitchens for breakfast, glad that it was a Saturday and he could get away with doing so. The chaos of the house elves darting about the kitchen, all doing their daily tasks, was oddly comforting to Harry. It was easy to get lost in the chaos. Harry revelled in his anonymity. Here he was just another mouth for them to happily feed. Harry was pretty sure that these were going to be some of his last moments of peace for the next few months.
Harry soon finished his breakfast of fruit and toast and made his way out of the kitchens and towards the headmaster's office. It didn't take long for Harry to get there, despite having to climb several flights of stairs. He only saw a handful of students on his way there, which wasn't odd as most students spent their spare time either outside or in the common rooms.
As he approached the entrance to the headmaster's office, the gargoyle opened, as though sensing that he was allowed entrance. Seconds later Harry realised that this was just because the runes professor, whose name Harry could not remember, was leaving the headmaster's office. They nodded politely to each other as they passed, Harry using the opportunity to enter, not knowing if the password had changed, and so was grateful for the timing.
He knocked on the door.
"Enter." came the headmaster's voice from within. Harry walked into the room, "Harry, my boy, how nice to see you!"
"I've made my decision, headmaster."
"I'm going with them."
Harry looked at the man in shock, "How did-"
Dumbledore just smiled, a twinkle in his eye. "Lemon drop?"
Harry declined the headmaster's offer. Dumbledore conjured his patronus, a shimmering phoenix, and sent it off. Harry presumed that it was fetching the envoy from Far Far Away. A fleeting thought passed through Harry's head, wondering what memory the headmaster used to fuel his patronus. But he didn't dare ask, it was far too personal a question. Harry may have been rude enough to ask Dumbledore about what he saw in the Mirror of Erised, but that was when he was a stupid firstie. He was pretty sure the headmaster lied to him about the socks anyway, precisely because it was such a personal matter.
It wasn't long before there was a knock on the door behind Harry. In through the door flooded the ogre and his companions. They all looked at him expectantly. Nobody said a word until Shrek seemed to lose his patience.
"Well, what is it kid? We haven't got all day!"
Harry took a deep breath in.
This was it.
He was leaving Hogwarts.