Minerva had expected the Headmaster to teach Severus to become an Animagus.
But, as Albus had confided to her, that was not an option, because his own Animagus form had become oddly weak. Almost mutable, he had said.
"But why?" she had asked.
"Why, indeed?" Albus had responded, blue eyes flashing.
He had become something that she didn't understand, something totally different. And in one instant, he was kind and grave; in another, he said over run by his burdens; and in another, he was an angry vigilante.
She looked at his hands, curling curiously, the blue veins rising up like mountains. And Minerva understood.
She and Severus met in her Transfiguration classroom, and she fixed him with a look.
"You want to be an Animagus, Severus?"
"I do. It will be particularly useful for my…services to the Order."
This, she understood too.
He was an incredibly quick student, picking up each lesson rapidly, though it had been years since he had actually sat in her class. But now, even as he looked at her with a spy's eyes, though he knew the end was coming as Potter was aging, inching closer to seventeen, she saw the child again.
Minerva saw his form soon too, though she did not speak to him about it. But the flash of golden, the power in the body was unmistakable.
He heard him muttering to himself one day: "Something small. Something small. Something useful. Something small."
"You can't force the form!" she berated, suddenly fearful. "You'll be small if you are small, Severus. Your soul decides, you know."
Severus stared at her dispassionately.
The day he turned into a lion, she was absolutely unsurprised.
He moved his head, feeling the brush of his mane against his neck. Her gaze traveled down his lean golden body to his left leg, where a dark splotch stood out. He looked at her with onyx eyes, thinking.
And then he pounced – not at her, but close enough. And then he was running around the room, running from something unseen, roaring at odd moments. Until he stoped, quivering in a corner.
Minerva didn't conjure a mirror as she normally would. He has already seen all that he wanted to know.
When he finally managed to turn into a human, he stared at his hands, as tears spilled down his cheeks. His keening was reminiscent of his lion's cry.
Minerva knelt next to him, touching him gently.
"What did you do?" he accused.
"I showed you your soul, Severus," she whispered apologetically.