Thanks, as always, to beta-of-dreams, Melusin. The usual disclaimers apply. Please do not squeak about the profane language in this story, for once there is an actual plot point for it.

Spatial Transformation

Headmaster Snape was tired. Tired of spending half his time thinking of witty remarks that nobody ever laughed at. Tired of ensuring that the castle he controlled was peopled by those who at least half-feared his reaction to their every move. Most of all, he was weary of the relentless fight to keep (what he believed an American had termed) his "personal space" at least eight feet in diameter and completely empty, bar him.

He'd managed to get through his fiftieth birthday with the minimum of bother. Barely anyone noticed and nobody made a fuss. But on the ninth of January, it had occurred to the Headmaster that he wasn't even middle-aged, yet, and already his lifestyle mimicked that of a wizard in his final years. Quite frankly, he thought he ought to do something about it, although what that something was seemed to be shrouded in mystery.

When his Transfiguration mistress requested a meeting in his office, he nodded in silent acquiescence and hoped she wasn't being headhunted, or feeling like a change, or pregnant. She was a pretty good teacher, a pretty reliable member of staff and ... well ... pretty. The Headmaster's personal space felt a bit bleak when he thought about Professor Granger. It also seemed to perk up when she came near it and then sulk when she walked away again.


'I won't take up too much of your time, but I thought I'd better check with you before starting,' said Hermione, settling into the chair in front of Severus' desk and taking in the total lack of surrounding knick-knacks without any apparent qualms.

'Starting what?'

'Oh! I've been thinking about it so much, I'd forgotten we hadn't discussed it.'


'Transfiguration. Well, I should say, the Animagus sort of Transfiguration in particular.'

'And we'd discuss that why?'

'Severus,' Hermione said cautiously, 'you're being particularly curt. Should I come back tomorrow?'

The Headmaster sat back in his chair and crossed his legs. 'No.'

She huffed the sort of laugh that indicated he was utterly predictable and continued, 'I'm preparing to make my first transformation. It seemed appropriate to inform you and ask if there's any admin involved.'


'Form filling, assessment of skill, that sort of thing.'


She frowned. 'No?'

'If you're successful, then you register with the Ministry, of course, but there's nothing else.'

'Nothing at all? Not even here at Hogwarts?'

A forty-watt light bulb flicked on in Severus' head. It was followed by a halogen spotlight of untold candlepower, which caught in its dazzling beam an opportunity to get himself very much in Professor Granger's good books. He uncrossed his legs, leant forwards and looked closely at her.

'Hermione, would you feel better if you took an exam before transforming?'

She shifted in her seat and tucked her hair behind her ear. 'Well, yes, actually. I'd feel more comfortable with some sort of verification that I haven't forgotten anything important,' she admitted.

'I'd say the chances of that are slim.'

'That's very sweet of you, but "slim" just doesn't cut it when one can end up a mangled half-beast and die instantly. Or lose one's mind and have to remain whatever animal one has become. All these witches and wizards who train and make their first change in secret are blithering idiots as far as I'm concerned.'

Severus examined his fingernails. 'I'm not going to disagree with that.'

'I thought not.'

'Look, Hermione, there's nothing official, but I can sort out some sort of informal oral exam for you, if you like,' he suggested. The smile she gave him was so completely worth the bother he was about to experience that he smiled right back.

'You're a darling!' she exclaimed. 'When?'

He stood up and moved towards his office door, signalling the end of their meeting. Dinner would be ready in ten minutes, and it was toad-in-the-hole night every other Tuesday. He loved toad-in-the-hole. Especially when the elves put a few tomatoes in with the batter and gave him extra gravy – which they never did if he was late.

'I reckon ninety minutes should do the trick,' he said as they trotted down the spiral staircase one behind the other. 'An hour of theory and half-an-hour of the appearance transformation spells you use in preparation. I'll confirm things on Friday, but let's pencil it in for a fortnight's time.'

Hermione jumped the last couple of steps and smiled up at Severus nervously. 'Okay. I'll have to read through everything again, but it shouldn't be too bad.'

Remembering he was currently both sweet and a darling in her eyes, Severus cocked an elbow in her direction to see if she'd take his arm. 'Late night revision sessions are strictly banned,' he warned her sternly, once they were moseying down the corridor together. 'I'll get someone to cover your lesson the Monday afternoon before, but otherwise I expect it to be business as usual.'

'Business as usual?' Hermione murmured, squeezing his bicep meaningfully. 'This escort-to-dinner business is not usual at all, Severus.'

'I'm feeling benign.'

'Pull the other one.'

'You're lovely, and beautiful, and I find I can no longer keep my feelings for you hidden.'

She pulled away abruptly. 'For God's sake! Surely you've learned by now that there are some things you just don't take the piss about with women! You're such an arsehole sometimes!'


'Forget it. I'll see you later.'

Given the way his life had run its course, Severus was miffed but on the whole unsurprised that Hermione was capable of such clichéd behaviour. It almost put him off his toad-in-the-hole, though, and no one had done that since Voldemort.


Over the next few days, Severus found himself pondering how to get back into Professor Granger's good books. He'd been in them for a good three minutes, and they had felt extraordinarily nice. Hermione was proving elusive, however. He saw her at meals, and once or twice in the staff room, which he'd had refurbished after the war, and which now acted as a decent common room for the live-in members of staff. Each time he approached her, she met his gaze, flushed, and looked away angrily. Filius noticed. So did Poppy. So did Argus Filtch, which was extremely annoying.

'Nice bit of flesh-and-bone, that one,' Argus mumbled. 'Whatchoo done to get up her dainty nose?'

'I tried to make love to her in a corridor,' said Severus a tad despairingly.

Argus laughed like a drain. 'Nice one, boss. Your sense of humour has come on something chronic since the war.'


After sending a letter that had made him snarl softly whilst writing, and receiving a reply by owl that set his teeth on edge, Severus confirmed Hermione's exam for a week on Tuesday. He also confirmed that an empty classroom on the third floor would be the venue. Hermione listened to him and scanned his eyes earnestly as he spoke to her. He stood six feet away, and his personal space seemed to yawn – a dark, moping chasm – between them.

'Thank you, Severus,' she replied brusquely. 'I've restricted my reading and practice to the hours between seven and ten pm. I trust that's satisfactory.'

He considered telling her that she could read all night and fail to turn up for work the next day as far as he was concerned, as long as she smiled at him one more time before he died. Aware it was an incredibly drippy thing to think, let alone say, he restricted himself to a slow nod and: 'I just don't want you to get too tired, Hermione. You wouldn't have come to tell me about this if you weren't completely ready.'

She blinked and scanned his eyes again. If his life hadn't been a mass of dickheaded decisions and furious rejection, he could have sworn she looked wistful.


Early on Friday morning, five days before the exam, Severus had another light bulb moment. It was neither halogen and blinding nor forty watt and annoyingly dim. It was of the useful power and energy-efficient variety.

He got up, had a shower and made some coffee. Dressed in long johns, ski socks, robes and boots (it had snowed heavily overnight, and his breath steamed whenever he was three paces from a fireplace), he made his way to the library and quietly entered the large alcove that only the most astute Hogwarts pupils bothered exploring.

There was a beautifully carved, wooden sign on the wall above the shallowly arched entrance that simply read Abstracts. The shelves stretched from floor to ceiling, seemed to expand at will as one climbed the wheeled mahogany ladder, and held the annual abstracts of every non-fiction wizarding book and journal published in the English language since the birth of magical printing. The enormous tomes were cunningly indexed by author and subject, holding the difference between Outstanding and Exceeds Expectations NEWTS at their proverbial fingertips.

Severus headed automatically for 1889, the year that a precocious eighteen-year-old called Albus had got hold of a copy of Charles Sanders Pierce's paper, Deduction, Induction, and Hypothesis, and the modern scientific method – wizard style – was born. He heaved the volume off the shelf, flipped straight to "Index by Subject" and then to the first page with entries starting "Animag—". Still standing rather precariously on the ladder, he Summoned a self-inking quill and an extra-length scroll of parchment from Madam Pince's desk drawers and got thoroughly stuck in.

By lunchtime on Saturday, Severus had filled the entire roll of parchment with a reading list that he thought was more than satisfactory. A quick injection of very unfoolish wand-work sorted the list alphabetically by author and removed the worst of his impatient crossings out. He rolled up the scroll, conjured a length of red silk ribbon and tied it carefully around the much-handled tube. Then, he strode down to the Great Hall with a spring in his step and sat down to a handsome portion of cottage pie.

Professor Granger seemed to be dwelling over her stewed prunes and custard. Her nose was firmly buried in a book with gold-edged pages and 's's that looked like 'f's.

'Hermione,' murmured Severus, 'if you have a moment, I've got something I'd like your opinion on.'

She glanced up at him fuzzily, adjusted her focus and raised her eyebrows. 'What is it?'

'Just something that I thought might be handy for you to check before Tuesday.'

'Before Tuesday? Okay.'

He led her up his spiral staircase, through his office and into his sitting room. He pulled the scroll out of his pocket and handed it to her before collapsing onto the sofa and propping his feet on the coffee table. To his chagrin, Hermione ignored both the scroll and him, examining their surroundings instead.

'I'd forgotten how nice this room is. I've only been in a few times.'

Severus shrugged. 'The headmaster at Eton College and his wife have less room than me. So I am smug and thankful that magic castles exist.'

'How many bedrooms have you got?'

'Four. One doubles up as a study, though. I like having my personal paperwork separated from school life; it makes a nice change. I've got a kitchen, too, but I don't use it much.'

'Blimey. Suddenly my ideas on career progression are coming into focus.'

Severus chuckled and waved a carefully casual hand at the space next to him on the sofa. 'Stop avoiding that scroll and sit down, woman. You're making me nervous.'

Hermione perched gingerly. 'I don't believe that for a minute.'

'Over the last week or so, it has come to my attention that despite a reasonable level of vindication and recognition, people still regularly and completely disbelieve me when I tell them the truth,' Severus pronounced in a determined manner. 'I'm sure it won't surprise you to hear that it's somewhat frustrating.'

Hermione immediately became very interested in the beribboned roll of parchment she held. She untied it and pulled it carefully open, regarding the tightly scribbled contents with something akin to wonderment.

'Oh, Severus,' she said. 'Did you do this all by yourself?'

'Yes. It's purely for comparative purposes, but I thought you'd like to see what an unconnected and unbiased mind came up with in terms of what should be read regarding the art and science of Animagus Transfiguration.'


'It's a peace offering with a soupçon of wooing attached.'


'Am I scaring you?'

'No! It's just that I'm-I'm-I'm...'

'Nauseated? Considering the case for sexual harassment? Off the market, so to speak?'


He swallowed hard and stared at his knees. 'I have a feeling I'm dying on my arse, here. Have I got any chance at all, or should I literally sink through the floor? I think I can manage that, what with Headmaster's privileges and everything.'

Hermione dropped the scroll and grabbed Severus' right hand. He stared at her, a little perplexed. 'Unbreakable Vows are so last decade,' he murmured. 'I'm not a huge fan.'

'Hush! I'm just trying to get my head around this and stop you from escaping while I do it. Hang on for a sec, will you?'

Severus rubbed a meditative thumb over her knuckles and sat tight.

'You're serious?' she said.


'Should I frame this in terms of looking for a job in the summer holidays or what you'll be like in another fifty years?'

'I'll admit that in your case I have considered the latter once or twice, but it's really up to you, and how we, um, get along together.'

'I see.'

Ten seconds later, all the waiting turned out to be too much for Severus. He tightened his right hand, turned towards her, manoeuvred her chin with his left index finger and kissed her cheek gently. Then her temple. Then the corner of her mouth. Hermione made an odd noise, buried her free hand in his hair and proceeded to snog him good and proper in return. By the time they came up for air, her free hand seemed to have magically migrated to the inside of his long johns and his was somewhere very warm, soft and inviting indeed.

'Fuck me!' she gasped happily.

'Here or in bed?' Severus panted in reply.

'No! I mean, "Goodness me! This is surprisingly marvellous!" not, "Take me!"'

'Right. Sorry. Only it seemed feasible, given the circumstances. Oh God, your nipples are perfect. I think I'm going to come!'

And he did. Spectacularly hard and all over the pale skin of Hermione's inner forearm. He proceeded to prove that there was at least useful life in the old dog yet by spending three minutes gasping for breath and twenty on returning the fingery favour. Twice. In the process, his personal space practiced being their personal space and sighed contentedly.


The day of Hermione's exam dawned feebly, due to an Atlantic front of heavy rain that turned the powdery snow to lumps of grey slush and bare muddy patches. The air was warmer, however, and Severus abandoned his long johns in favour of a nice new pair of y-fronts. Things with Hermione had progressed no further than their sofa antics and the odd spell of frantically gorgeous kissing behind the nearest statue when she wasn't teaching or revising – and he wasn't fiddling the budget and placating school governors. Even so, little waves of happiness kept washing at their emotional shores. Severus was feeling shockingly optimistic and thought he'd better start at least registering the state of his underwear before he put it on.

Hermione was surprised, and pleased, to see Minerva McGonagall in the classroom the Headmaster had scheduled for her. 'I didn't think you and Severus were on speaking terms since the war,' she remarked unsubtly and a tiny bit accusingly.

'We aren't,' said Minerva. 'I made an exception because he sent a polite letter and because it was for you. I hope you haven't been practicing the Imperius Curse in your spare time, too.'

'I am capable of occasionally good-natured behaviour,' said a voice from the doorway. 'You might refuse to believe it, but please don't try to influence my friends.'

'Sod off, Severus. You're a sneaky, lying git and you always will be,' Minerva snapped. 'You should have told me—'

'I came to wish you good luck,' he cut in loudly, moving to stand before Hermione. 'Don't forget to breathe between sentences.'

She grinned and reached up to straighten his collar. 'Thanks, Severus. I'll see you at lunchtime. There's cheesy leek flan today!'

'I'll be waiting for it ravenously.'

Minerva listened to the Headmaster's language and watched Professor Granger's body language. Both things made her blink repeatedly and feel somewhat old and confused. The times, it seemed, really were changing. 'Right then, Hermione,' she began firmly, as the Headmaster shut the door on his way out. 'Tell me about the state of one's mind in the second before changing.'


Hermione passed her test with flying colours (and was convinced once she saw the marking scheme Minerva had prepared in advance). Over lunch, she admitted that the Headmaster had increased her confidence enormously, making a reading list on the subject of the Animagus transformation that, when compared with her own effort, had turned out to be a perfect match.

Minerva glanced along the table at Severus, who was quietly tucking into an enormous plate of winter vegetable and cheese sauce. His eyes scanned the Great Hall, calmly alert. The wiggled vein that used to stretch the skin on the side of his forehead seemed to sit more comfortably, now. For once in her life, she avoided the opportunity of calling him an ingratiating creep when it suited him to be so, and instead asked after the Weasleys.

'Still numerous, noisy and annoyingly talented,' Hermione replied vaguely.

'Do you see much of Ron?'

'Oh, yeah. He's much more bearable now he's got a decent girlfriend. It's amazing what the right woman can do, eh?'

Minerva retired from the scene gracefully. Much more so than when she'd actually retired—her leaving party was still the subject of fond reminiscence in the staff room.

In contrast, the Headmaster became an integral part of Hermione's final week of preparation. They even walked in the forest, observing the wildlife and discussing Hermione's reasons for becoming an Animagus (when they weren't gazing soulfully at each other and regretting the fact that the ground was far too wet for al fresco canoodling).

'Seeing Minerva transform in my first Transfiguration lesson was what finally convinced me that magic was real. Internal and integral rather than a sort of circus act. You have no idea how difficult it was to convince me and my family that magic is genetic without showing us some sort of DNA analysis. Even Diagon Ally seemed like a theme park.'

'You had cast spells, though, by that point.'

'Yes, a couple, but that just felt like trickery. Something an illusionist might manage if they were very clever.'

'Hadn't you done any instinctive magic when you were little?'

'Apparently, I once needed a filling, and the cavity magically disappeared overnight. Mum was still horrified at the possibility and banned me from eating sweets. And I think I might have started a couple of fires when I lost my temper;. I remember the telly blowing up once. Dad thought they were electrical, and the insurance company paid to have the house rewired, but I've always wondered.'

'Good grief! It's a good job you didn't have bad dreams. You could have perished in your beds.'

'Well, I made up for that later. I've obviously grown out of the fire thing.'

Severus stopped in his tracks and pulled Hermione into his arms. He felt her cold nose against his neck and suppressed a shiver of delight. 'Do you still have nightmares?' he asked her curly hair.

'Not very often at all, now. Do you?'

'I've slept like a baby and eaten like a pig ever since I woke up in St Mungo's. You have no idea how therapeutic a second life can be.'

'But apart from being much cuddlier and a lot less waxy looking, you haven't changed much.'

'Oh, yes I have. I told you the truth about my feelings for a start, even if you did think I was having you on.'

'Hmmm. You have a point. Give me a kiss, and we'll see if I believe you now.'


Two days later, Hermione finished her dinner and rested a gentle hand on Severus' shoulder. In a trance of as yet unfulfilled desire and apple crumble, he completely forgot himself and lifted it to his lips.

The Great Hall went silent.

'It's time,' Hermione whispered.

'Right,' Severus said, and followed her out of the hall, ears burning.

Twenty minutes later, they stood on the edge of the forest staring at each other.



'Definitely focussed?'


'If I think your human mind is abandoning you, I'll force you back, all right?'

'Yep. Here I go!'

Hermione's body, which was rapidly moving from "scrumptious" to "beloved" in Severus's mind, flowed away from him and became much smaller, thinner and lower to the ground. He found it slightly disturbing and realised how afraid he was that something would go wrong. Where she had stood, a largeish, stoat-like creature sat up on its hind legs and looked down at itself curiously.

'Fuck me!' exclaimed Hermione the Jarvey.

His primary thought was, Not this again. What he said was, 'Can you control your speech, Hermione? Try and talk to me.'

She opened her mouth. 'Bollocks nuts plums knadgers! Cock. Prick. Knob-dick-willy!'

Severus' lips twitched. 'Try again.'

'Slash vadge, camel-toe. Twat quim minge!' She snarled in frustration. 'Fuck! Fuck! Arse bugger bell end!'

By now, Severus was really laughing. His worry had evaporated as her mind was clearly still present; it just couldn't overwhelm her Jarvey instincts. 'One more try before you change back,' he managed.

Hermione scratched behind her ear, shook her coat out and stared right into his eyes. 'Cunt-licking, ball-sucking, tit wank!' she declared shrilly. 'Doggy-style! Reverse cowgirl! Hard, fast, butterfly!'

She shut her mouth with a snap of little teeth and lifted both front paws to her furry cheeks, looking as horrified as a Mustelid possibly can.

'Oh, Merlin!' Severus gasped between guffaws. 'You're so bloody rude. It's worse than a normal Jarvey!'

This was apparently the wrong thing to say. Quick as a flash, Hermione whipped around and set off back towards the castle. She scampered across the muddy grass, her body sleek and serpentine in the moonlight, and vanished into the shadows. Behind her, Severus stopped laughing. Just about. Realising he'd got an anguished Animagus on his hands, on top of a fervently gossiping castle, he followed her slowly, wondering what in heaven's name he could do to make her feel better and reckoning that the castle could go fuck itself for the moment. Hermione's vocabulary was possibly a bad influence.


It took a while to track her down. Of all places, he found her in the staffroom, sat cross-legged on the hearthrug, staring into the flames of the luxuriously large fireplace he'd had installed. He speculated whether she had sought company because she was more used to feeling miserable with at least two other people present, but decided not to ask that question. Not for a year or so, anyway.

As Severus entered the room, the quiet murmur of conversation ceased completely. The balls on the full-sized snooker table probably would have halted mid-revolution if Argus wasn't the man with the cue.

'Hermione told us she's a Jarvey,' said Daphne Grubbly-Plank simply, looking up from her favourite wing-backed chair. 'We've all congratulated her on her success, her safe return, and the fact she isn't a leech. I've offered to spend some time with her to see if we can't get that voice working on demand, and so has everyone else. Argus thinks he could do with an update on obscene slang, as he's never quite sure what graffiti to wash off first.'

Severus looked around the room at all the people who were pretending not to listen. 'That is very sweet of you all,' he said in his teaching voice. 'Now, do me a favour and bugger off.'

He received a rumble along the lines of, 'Right-ho. Goodnight, boss,' in reply, and everyone except Hermione filed out.

'Hello,' she said, once he'd kicked off his boots and sat cross-legged next to her.

'Hello. Fancy seeing you here.'

'Not witty. Not now. I'm not in the mood.'

'Fair enough. How are you feeling?'

Hermione actually paused for thought. 'Tired. My bones ache the way they do when you've got a cold coming on. Apparently it stops after a bit more practice.'

'That's good to hear.'

She moved to lie down on the rug, her head resting on his thigh, face hidden from his view. He couldn't resist sliding a hand under the weight of her hair and stroking the back of her neck. 'I'm never going to be able to transform in class!' she bleated. 'It's a disaster! And what must you think of me? I was so awful!'

Like most men, Severus attempted to deal with the problem first, rather than her appeal for reassurance. Maybe one day they'll evolve, but in the meantime, he chided her gently. 'Never say never. I noticed that when you were relaxed at the start, and when you got really angry, you had slightly more control. I bet I'll be having conversations with a Jarvey in no time.'

'I'm not sure I can handle the humiliation of practicing with you.'

Heart sinking, he asked unsteadily, 'Why not?'

'You'll think I'm some sort of deviant.'

Relief made him lie down behind her for a cuddle. 'Bloody hell, woman, don't be silly! Besides, it's not necessarily a bad thing.'


He laced his fingers with hers and tapped them all against her tummy thoughtfully. 'No, it's not. Hermione, what's a tit wank?'

She giggled and rolled over to look at him. 'Have you never had one?'

'At the risk of sounding self-pitying, there are many things I've never had.'

'Ah. Well. Give me a kiss and I'll show you.'

A little while later, she merrily nibbled her way down his naked torso, enjoying the breadth of his shoulders and the healthier bulk he'd amassed. She sucked his nipples until he shuddered and lipped at the hair surrounding his tummy button. His erection prodded her stomach and her ribs before finally lodging between her breasts. He groaned appreciatively as she straddled his legs and leant her whole weight against him.

'Give me your hands,' she whispered against his abdomen. 'Now, hold on to these and have a play. Be firm. Move your hips.'

'Oh, my God!'

'If you move your leg up a bit, I can—'

Severus lifted his head from the floor and gazed half-incredulously down at her naughtily smirking face. In the shadows below her chin his cock throbbed exultantly. He flexed his right knee, wiping away the smirk, generating a wiggle of her hips and a whine instead. 'I take it back,' he said. 'You're clearly a deviant and I refuse to have it any other way.'

Hermione laughed and slid back up her Headmaster's body for more kisses. She sat over him and watched his eyes in the firelight as he ran awed hands over her body, learning how to tease her desire onwards. She showed him where to put his thumb, adjusting it to the nearest millimetre and raising herself until his erection lodged tantalisingly against her. She used one hand to guide it and began to ease back down. 'Now I do want you to fuck me,' she said.

At first, she challenged him to keep everything but his hands still while she experimented. He bit his lip and quivered beneath her until she slid two fingers into his mouth and squeezed his cock when he sucked them. His hips jerked and they groaned in tandem. He juddered his thumb and thrust again. 'Oh, yes,' she breathed. 'So good.'

They negotiated a tricky rhythm. In fact, there was very little rhythm involved. Hermione's movements were shallow but quick and every now and then he thrust deeply. He clutched her hip for dear life, opening his legs further, bracing his feet and bending his knees, squirming with the unbelievable sweetness of feeling, wishing it could last forever. Gradually, their tempos began to match. She moaned something odd about floating and clamped down hard on him. Thumb still at work, Severus felt as if his eyes were about to pop out of his head until a truly magical shiver passed right through her and directly into him, via his cock. She cried out wordlessly and he plunged after her, following the call.

'You said something about floating,' he murmured once his heart rate was approaching normal and she'd conjured a blanket for them.

'It felt like I was floating. When you were, um, really going for it and I was nearly coming.'

'Interesting. Did you like it?'

Hermione snuggled closer and kissed his neck. 'God, yes.'

'You know I can fly. Perhaps we should experiment.'

'Add some new terms to my Jarvey vocabulary.'

'I think I need to learn a bit more about this doggy-style thing first, though.'

'I'm sure that can be arranged, Headmaster.'

He smiled at her and felt a ridiculous urge to wrap his arms around her and roll about on the floor with glee.

Later that night he discovered exactly how rude Hermione could sound when she wasn't in Jarvey form, and what it felt like to shag to the point of exhaustion. By the time they shrugged some clothes on and staggered bowlegged to the nearest bedroom (Hermione's), his personal space seemed to have fallen very deeply in love.

The End

Author's Note:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them describes the Jarvey as resembling an overgrown ferret in most respects with a conversation that tends to confine itself to short (and often rude) phrases in an almost constant stream. Good luck, Hermione!