The Amazing Bouncing Ferret
'That was very good for your first day, Elizabeth,' Professor McGonagall said, grabbing a pile of textbooks off her desk and waiting for Elizabeth to follow.
'Thank you, Minerva. It never ceases to amuse me how the first years gasp at your transformations, though. They're so cute!'
Minerva scoffed, barely concealing a smile, and they walked together towards the Great Hall. They were approaching the staircase, and suddenly heard an indistinct cry from the foyer.
'What was that?' Elizabeth asked, glancing over at her mentor.
'Sounded like the Weasley twins getting caught with some sort of prank.'
Elizabeth laughed, and as they reached the staircase, they found, not the twins, but Harry, Hermione, Ron, Crabbe and Goyle surrounding a small fluffy creature, to which Alastor Moody was chanting, "Never – do – that – again."
'Professor Moody!' McGonagall cried, continuing down the stairs.
'Hello, Professor McGonagall,' Moody replied. 'Hello, Elizabeth.'
Elizabeth nodded in response, and McGonagall asked, 'What – what are you doing?'
'Teach – Moody, is that a student?' she shrieked, dropping her books.
'No!' Running down the last few steps, she pulled out her wand and Draco Malfoy appeared, blond hair everywhere, his face pink. Coming up behind McGonagall, Elizabeth gently lifted Draco up as Minerva cried, 'Moody, we never use Transfiguration as a punishment! Surely Professor Dumbledore told you that?'
'He might've mentioned it, yeah, but I thought a good sharp shock – '
'We give detentions, Moody!' she exclaimed, scandalized. 'Or speak to the offender's Head of House!'
'I'll do that, then,' Moody agreed, glancing with contempt at Malfoy.
As Moody stood over him, Malfoy muttered, 'If my father – '
'Oh yeah?' Moody cut him off, limping forward, his wooden leg clicking off the flagstone floor. 'Well, I know your father of old, boy… You tell him Moody's keeping a close eye on his son… you tell him that from me. Now, your Head of House'll be Snape, will it?'
'Another old friend,' Moody growled. 'I've been looking forward to a chat with old Snape. Come on, you.'
As Moody marched Draco off, McGonagall collected her discarded books and waved the other students away to lunch.
'I should go and check on Draco…' Elizabeth started, staring after them.
'I'm worried about Alastor, actually,' McGonagall replied. 'If you wouldn't mind…'
'I'll check on them,' Elizabeth assured her. She transformed into a slim black cat, and followed.
Jumping down the familiar dungeon steps, she weaved through the corridors until she heard Snape's silky voice resonate from one of the farther classrooms.
'… would hope that in the future you come to me first before transfiguring one of my star pupils – '
'Who tried to curse the Boy Who Lived while his back was turned.' That was Moody, his growl echoing down the corridor.
'He insulted my mother-!' Draco exclaimed, but Snape cut him off.
'Silence, Draco. Regardless. No student may be transfigured, and I'm sure Lucius Malfoy would – '
'McGonagall told me as much about the rules, Snape, and the boy started in about his father. But you know as well as anyone, perhaps better than most, how well I know his father. And how well I know you.'
'Draco, go back to the common room. I will deal with you later.' The door opened, and Elizabeth saw her chance – she slid silently into the classroom, and hid under one of the desks, inconspicuously pretending to search for mice. Snape waited a moment, and continued. 'What exactly – '
'Some marks just don't come off a man, Snape.' There was a threat behind his words, and Elizabeth saw Snape move to grab his forearm. 'And if there's one thing I can't stand to see… it's a Death Eater that walks free.'
'Then be glad you're not seeing one,' Snape replied calmly. 'Dumbledore trusts – '
'Well, Albus Dumbledore is a trusting man, Snape. Me… well, I don't tend to give second chances.' He stopped, then, and, turning as if to leave, pointed his wand beneath the desk which Elizabeth was hiding under. It emitted a bright blue light, and she felt her body morph back into her human her shape. 'Elizabeth.'
'What are you doing here, Elizabeth?' Snape asked, blanching.
'Came to see you, obviously. I didn't realize Alastor was here, and I didn't want to interrupt but I obviously couldn't open the door – ' she wiggled her thumbs ' – seeing as my black cat figure isn't four feet tall and a mitten kitten, so, I decided to wait.'
'Why didn't you just knock?' Moody asked skeptically, looking her over with both eyes.
'What fun is that?' She smiled, and prepared her mind for an assault of legilimens, but it never came. Confused, she continued, 'So are you done, or should I scuttle off and chase some mice for awhile?'
'No,' Snape answered before Moody could get a word in. 'We're done.'
'They're serving dinner now, Alastor,' Elizabeth chimed in. 'Shall we walk up together?'
'No,' he replied sharply, shooting a contemptuous look at Snape. 'I'll be fine by myself.'
'See you later, then!' she chirped, showing him out the door. Shutting the door safely behind him, she waited until she heard the clunk of his wooden foot fade down the hallway, and then smiled cheekily at Snape. 'So.'
'Two words. "Thank" and "you". You could even make it three, if you were so inclined.'
'Oh, yes. "Thank" and "you" and, to be really appreciative, "Elizabeth".'
'And for what would I want to be appreciative?'
'For saving you from Mad-Eye's interrogation.'
'It was hardly saving me, Elizabeth.'
'Well, fine. Then saving you from a tedious conversation. Yes?'
Amused, he nodded, and motioned for her to sit.
'I wasn't kidding,' she replied. 'Supper's being served right now, and I've been with Minerva all day teaching. I'm famished.'
'Then why did you not go up to supper?''Thought it would be nice to drag you up with me, make sure you weren't lurking eerily in the dungeons all night.' Smiling, she moved towards the door. 'Shall we?'