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Chapter 24

Do You Feel That Animal Spirit?

Hermione Granger was mad and all of Hogwarts knew it.

While normally not very fearsome, she was a hurricane of wind-tossed brown hair and furious eyes now as she stormed through the halls. Anyone with half a brain could see that she was terribly annoyed at someone and they got very quickly out of her way. Even those that would rather spit on her than give her the time of day because of her relationship with Harry got out of her way.

She finally stormed her way into Snape's classroom, frightening the second years within out of their wits, and slammed a book down on his desk. He turned calm dark eyes up at her, not even mentioning the fact that she'd very nearly smashed his hand with the heavy book.

"Yes, Miss Granger?"

White teeth were bared into a feral parody of a smile in response and Hermione growled, "Can I speak to you privately, professor? Now."

Snape just looked at her then rose slowly, peering over her at his students.

"Continue your work. And if I hear one word spoken in my absence or a single explosion, I shall have the soul responsible cleaning my cauldrons until the end of next year."

The second years didn't make a twitter at that statement, as they knew very well he'd go through with the threat and continued diligently with their work as Snape ushered Hermione into his office. Once the door was closed and the numerous connected wards on the small room raised, the professor turned with an eyebrow arched at the young woman.

"Shouldn't you be in class right now?"

"Class can go to Hell," she spat vehemently in response. Then she dropped the book on his desk and snapped, "Now explain to me just what this is about!"

The dark wizard blinked then moved to stand beside her, nudging the book's cover open. It was then that he recognized it as the book he had ordered for Harry at the beginning of the year and wondered what in Merlin's name the young man was doing now.

"It appears to be a book on Animagism."

Hermione gave him a cold look at that and snapped, "I know that. Would you mind explaining to me why it was lying next to me this morning with white fur scattered around it and a note that said I should see you if I was confused?"

Snape groaned and silently cursed the young man who was surely romping about the Forbidden Forest at that very moment in his tiger form. And laughing his head off, more than likely.

Sighing, he said, "Hermione, it was very likely Harry that left this for you."

Mud brown eyes narrowed at him.

"Harry doesn't have a white hair on his body."

Snape took a moment to avoid responding to that comment as he wanted to – in a severely childish manner that Meru had managed to awaken in him – and instead said, "Perhaps not. But his Animagus form does."

The young woman in front of him blinked and stared at him in silence for a long moment, shocked speechless. Then the fire gathered again in her eyes and she shouted, "WHAT!"

"His Animagus form is a Siberian tiger." He laid his hand on the book and continued, "And I sense that he wishes you to attempt this yourself. I daresay it would be a good idea, myself."

"Why on earth would I…"

"Given your relationship with him, a proverbial ace in the hole would be a useful thing," intoned Snape, looking straight into her eyes.

Hermione's mouth snapped shut and she stared for a moment before looking down at the book. Then she looked up at him again with a light blush in her cheek and apology in her eyes.

"I went a bit overboard, didn't I?"

"Just a hair," replied Snape with a gentle smile. He then picked up the book and handed it to her, saying, "Now, the book gives you all you need to know. Study it and get the rascal of a young man to help you."

She chuckled at that and said, "He set you up, didn't he, Severus?"

"Indeed he did. When you see him next, inform him that I'm very cross."

Hermione nodded, a cheerful little bob of her head, and smiled wickedly.

"Oh I will."

Snape chuckled at that and said, "Now that we have that settled, I shall return to my class before the second years blow something up. And you, Hermione, should actually go to whatever class you're missing."

"Oh, I don't have to do that," said the girl offhandedly. "I've already done what we were doing today. Goodbye, sir!"

She was out the door and gone then, leaving the professor to blink after her. He finally shook his head and muttered, "He certainly has had an odd sort of influence on that girl," before he ventured back out into his classroom to see what mess his students had made.

- - -

Certain Animal Spirits and Their Meanings

NOTE: These are base or powerful spirits. Just because your spirit is not listed here does not mean we missed it. It just has the same meaning as whatever it is in relation to; such as a lion spirit would be the cat spirit. Also, your spirit does not necessarily represent your Animagus form. Example: if you are of the oriental dragon, you may simply be some type of lizard.

Phoenix: Symbolizes regeneration of man's indestructible spirit.

Winged Dragon: The serpent body represents earth's life energy; the wings are the spirit.

Oriental Dragon: A supreme celestial power – to overcome him is to attain self-mastery.

Owl: A sacred magical bird – providing protection and enlightenment.

Stag: Signifies life force and growth.

Wolf: A symbol of nurturing and intelligence.

Eagle: The spirit rises upward towards the higher self.

Bear: Represents supernatural power, strength, and invincible courage.

Griffin: Protector of the treasures of heaven and earth.

Dolphin: Symbol of wisdom and happiness.

Turtle: Symbolizes the earth, provides longevity and endurance.

Unicorn: Strength of mind, innocence.

Pegasus: Symbol of truth and the flight of the spirit in pursuit of enlightenment and wisdom.

Horse: Symbol of great endurance and strength.

Frog: Symbolizing cleansing, peace, emotional healing, and well-being.

Cat: Symbolizes watchfulness, nobility, and integrity.

Hummingbird: A symbol of beauty, harmony, and joy.

I wonder which I will get, thought Hermione as she sat in front of the fireplace in Harry's rooms…no, their rooms…curled up in a chair with the book propped on her knees. She had moved everything she had into his suite of rooms at his insistence and both Dumbledore and McGonagall's agreement. Since she knew Snape wouldn't have a word against it, she hadn't even bothered to ask and neither had the Headmaster apparently.

She heard the sound of the portrait opening and sat up in her chair, turning to see who had entered. Emerald eyes winked at her from the door and Harry rumbled a greeting in neko as he headed past her towards the bathroom. Tilting her head, she watched the movement of his backside for a moment before she called out to him.

"Oh, Harry…"

He froze at the singsong tone of her voice and turned to regard her with a nervous look.

"Hai?"

Hermione smirked and said, "We have something we need to talk about when you get cleaned up."

He blinked then glanced down at the book in her lap before grinning sheepishly. Then he fled for the bathroom with his tail practically between his legs and she nearly fell out of her chair in a fit of laughter.

Half-demon he might be but he knew that when she was annoyed at him, he was in trouble.

Chuckling, she curled back up with the book and reread over the list, trying to figure out through the descriptions which she might possess. If any at all.

It wasn't long before Harry slunk back into the main room, one hand toweling his long hair dry as he cast a drying charm on his tail. The fur immediately puffed out as it went from sopping wet to dry in a matter of seconds and he hissed irritably at it. In annoyance, he curled it around his waist as he sunk down into the chair across from her, letting the towel fall across his shoulders.

"Er…"

Hermione peeked over the book at him and he grimaced, biting his bottom lip. One of his fangs poked out over it and she couldn't help but giggle at the sight, which was – to her – immensely cute.

He smiled sheepishly then and said, "I suppose I have some explaining to do?"

"You would," replied Hermione, "if Severus hadn't already done so."

"You went and saw him?"

"I scared the wits out of most of the school when I went to see him."

Harry blanched and shook his head, muttering, "Poor sensei."

She scoffed and said, "You could have just told me."

"Hai, I could and I am sorry. Sumimasen, aisuru. But I was not certain how you would respond and you're rather good with cursing and…"

"You were getting out of the possible line of fire," finished Hermione, causing him to nod.

"Hai."

Harry then looked at her and asked, "Are you mad?"

Hermione just laughed at that and rose, setting the book down in her chair before she crossed over to his. Carefully setting herself down in his lap, she flicked a strand of still wet hair off his cheek then leaned forward, kissing that same spot. With a smile, she snatched the towel from his shoulders and started drying his hair, carefully moving about his ears.

"No, I'm not mad," she replied as she worked, delighting in the fact that he kept rubbing his head against her hands. Then she felt his hand climbing up her leg underneath her skirt and lightly batted his ear. "None of that now!"

"Naze de nai?"

"What?" asked Hermione, pausing for a moment to look at him.

He smiled sheepishly in response and flicked his claws lightly across her skin, making her shiver.

"Why not?" he repeated, eyes focused on her face. She felt his claws flick across her skin again and watched as his cat-like pupils dilated.

She leaned close to him then and purred, "Because I'm not letting you get the pillows I sleep on wet."

"Point made," Harry said with a nod and she smirked before continuing her work. She was disrupted a moment later when he picked up her, making her give a little shriek and drop the towel. He grinned at her from behind a mass of still-damp dark hair that clung to his forehead and growled, "But I want the wet pillows."

"Sex-fiend!" she admonished as he carried her across the room and dropped her on their bed.

Mate, he responded in neko with a rakish smile. He then cast a milder drying charm on his hair before he pounced on her with a playful snarl. They tussled on the bed for a few moments, giggling wildly, before the playing moved to careful caresses and gentle kisses.

As it ventured on into something else, Hermione reached out and snatched her wand from the dresser, flicking it at the lights in the bedroom and the room beyond. They all sparked out at the same time, leaving on the firelight streaming through the doorway as a source of light.

Her wand hit the floor then and after that there was nothing on either of their minds but the other.

Translations

Naze de nai: Roughly 'why not.' Uncertain if it should just be naze nai.

Author's Note

Time for another guessing game! This time it's what type of Animagus form will Hermione have? It will be among the animals listed but it won't necessarily be one of them (remember, Harry's a cat-type spirit with the specific being a Siberian tiger). It won't be something magical (I already did that in VVBane and I'm not repeating it) and it also won't be a repeat of anything she's been before – which as I can recall right off the top of my head is a phoenix (VVBane) and lioness (Snake and Wolf series). So start guessing!

Same prize for guessing as the others: you create a character and I'll use him/her in story. So far, we've only got one with Kumiko, who was listed last chapter and will make an appearance.

Also, did anyone ever guess what Minister Masamune was a reference to?

Also also, I'm going to aim to finish this story up in 30 Chapters. That means after this there's six chapters left. This isn't a concrete plan but it's what I'm going to try and aim for because I don't want another Not Myself (600+ pages, oh my!).

Also also also, the descriptions of the animal spirits come from a piece of paper I got at Islands of Adventure in Florida from a place there that made coins with different designs emblazoned on them.