Length: 854 words
Book or TV verse: TV with a heavy nod to the books
Summary: Cats are never what they appear to be.
Author's Notes: Just a bit of fun to explain why Harry suddenly has a cat in Storm Front, which then disappears. Not meant to be anything more than randomness. Kudos to Ama, who's a big Mister fan and who lets me read my stories aloud to her.
Mister was a cat and, like most cats, he was unaware of this fact. He believed himself to be a person, just like the two people he lived with. He may have been shorter and had more facial hair and a strange preoccupation with socks, but that was hardly relevant. Mister liked to think of himself as a member of the family and even useful, occasionally.
What Mister was unaware of was that, unlike most cats, he was, in fact, a real person. He didn't remember this, however. His memory only stretched back a month or so. He didn't think this strange, because he didn't know that he was supposed to remember more. As far as he knew, he'd always been a cat, always been called Mister and always lived with the skinny wizard called Harry and the grumpy man called Bob. This was, in fact, wrong.
Mister had been born in Chicago with the name Hayden Baxter and had, for most of his 45 years of life, been a wizard. Quite a good wizard too, as a matter of fact. Good enough that a skinny young man once came to him for a little advice. This sparked a long friendship that resulted in drinks at a bar about once a year (beer for the skinny wizard, rum'n'coke for him) and comparisons on various magical affairs or how hard it was to try and have a steady relationship when demons kept trying to eat your girlfriends.
For Harry Dresden, Hayden Baxter was a bit of an intimidating person. This was why, for as long as he had known him, he had always called him Mr. Baxter. Mr. Baxter was just one of those people that you would always call Mr. Baxter because calling him anything else was silly. So, when a large orange tabby cat was delivered to his house one day, with a note explaining that Mr. Baxter had some trouble with a mobster called Gentlemen Johnny Marcone and had turned himself into a cat for a little while until things calmed down, calling him anything but Mr. Baxter seemed wrong. Even if he was now a cat. Bob had suggested Horatio, but Mr. Baxter he remained, eventually shortened to Mister as time went on. For, though Mr. Baxter was a talented enough wizard to turn himself into a cat, he had not counted on the fact that Harry Dresden had no idea how to return him to human form.
Thus, Mister settled into a routine in the Dresden apartment. He quite liked the one called Harry, who was inclined to pet him and give him coke to drink and consult him on his cases. It made Mister feel very important and affectionate towards the skinny wizard, and he showed this affection by barreling into his legs and attempting to knock him over at every opportunity. Mister was not sure about the apartment's other inhabitant, who never pet him, had no legs to barrel into at all and rarely spoke to him except to shoo him away from the skull Mister was fond of batting off the table.
Harry, for his part, began to become very fond of Mister and often forgot that he was not a cat, but a cat-like version of his friend. It was easier to just pretend that Mister was a cat he'd adopted, especially when he licked Harry's nose or slept draped across Harry's legs in bed. Otherwise, those situations would be awkward.
Thus, life went on for four or five weeks, during which Mister was often assured that Harry and Bob 'were working on IT'. He wasn't sure what 'IT' was, but it seemed important and Mister always felt very happy when he was assured of IT, because IT seemed to mean that he was being looked after.
It was rather a rude awakening, then, when one day Harry chased him down and set him on the table in the room that Harry and Bob liked to argue in. It was even worse when Harry began to rub something all over his fur (his fur that he had just spent a large portion of the morning cleaning) and it made him feel all tingly. Harry attempted to soothe him by explaining they'd figured 'IT' out and Mister was rather upset to discover that 'IT' was not anything good at all, but some form of torture Harry and Bob had been creating for weeks.
Hayden Baxter was surprised to find himself crouching on a table in the middle of Harry Dresden's lab, and more than a little confused. He had vague memories of being a cat, most of which consisted of being petted by very pretty women who hired Harry for their cases. He felt a very strong feeling of let down as he left Dresden's apartment. Also, a curious urge to steal some of Harry's socks.
"Good luck," Harry said to him. "Thanks for being my cat. Sorry it took me so long to bring you back."
Baxter shrugged. "Doesn't matter. I think I liked you better when I was cat, anyway."
Drinks at the bar were never the same after that.