DISCLAIMER: "Harry Potter", Hogwarts" and all associated characters are the property of J.K. Rowling. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit has been or will be made.


By Romana


Yellow eyes glinted in the dark corridor, moving silently through the shadows. The hunt was beginning. A bright shaft of moonlight shone through a tall arched window, dust particles hanging in the still air. The animal moved into the beam and its silver-grey coat shone. It paused, searching for an elusive scent. But the hunt would not end inside. It never did. The wolf was both hunter and hunted and it trembled in anticipation as its silent journey through the dark halls continued. It moved slowly down the huge, ever-changing staircase, careful not to let its claws click on the cold stone.

Finally free of the confining walls, it was all the wolf could do not to let out a joyous howl, but the game was in progress and she didn't want to give herself away. Instead of bounding off across the chilly grass, she kept to the shadows of the building, still searching for the maddening, familiar scent that was teasingly absent.

The object of the wolf's intense concentration had forgone the familiar game of cat-and-mouse through the corridors and jumped lithely from the window sill of an empty classroom onto the roof of the greenhouses. This meant she was well away from the building before she ever touched the ground. She stretched happily in the cold night air and dropped silently onto the grass. Cats have a tendency to look pleased with themselves. This one looked positively ecstatic as it bounced across the rolling grass towards the forest, trying to disturb the ground as little as possible on the way. It was going to set an ambush.

The wolf growled quietly to herself and peered around the side of the building, sniffing the air. They were usually well aware of each other's presence long before either of them made it outside, but tonight, not a sniff. She made her way cautiously into the herb garden. And stopped dead. There it was. Just faintly. So faint that she took a moment to get the direction. Up above her. Recent, but the cat was obviously well ahead of her.

The cat sat patiently on the branch, perfectly straight, her tail curled around her and over her feet. She had run on across the clearing so that her trail did not end at the bottom of her tree. She waited.

The wolf moved quickly across the ground, using her size to her advantage, hoping to catch up with her adversary. She quickly reached the edge of the forest and slowed. The trail had come straight here. None of the usual misdirections. Something was going on. She moved into the shadow of the trees cautiously, but the trail continued following the well worn path. Winding further into the depths, the path led her on. Her senses strained, but the trail didn't waiver. Up ahead was a clearing she slowed and hesitated under the last tree. The trail continued straight on.

That moment of hesitation had been what the cat was waiting for. She dropped from her branch, landing squarely on the wolf's back. With a yelp, the wolf jumped and the cat leaped forward and ended up directly in her path, looking smug. With a growl, the wolf snapped at her, and picked her up by the scruff of the neck. Instinctively the cat went limp and hung from the wolf's powerful jaws as the larger animal turned and bounded back the way it had come.

Back in her room, the wolf leaped onto the bed and deposited the bundle of tabby fur between its front paws. The cat began to purr and there was a moment of confusion as the shapes of the animals changed. The purr blended into an indignant voice.

"...may have carried me back, Xiomara Hooch, but I still won!"

"I know you did. But I think I win the prize." she smiled down at the woman beneath her, black hair out of the usual bun, spread across her pillow.

"Oh no, that's mine." purred Minerva, wrapping her arms around her lover, pulling her down for a long, hungry kiss.


Author's note: I know that as far as 'canon' is concerned, it hasn't been established that Hooch is an Animagus, but something about her in the film suggested 'wolf' to me. The eyes, I think.

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