His offices looked nothing like what she had pictured. No bubbling chemicals (like Professor Snape's workbench), no stacks of papers and obscure clutter (like the Headmistress's office), no gloom and soot. Well lit and gleaming white, as if the walls had just been washed down. No torches, no candles, light pouring down from the ceiling as if the sun had been bleached to snowy white and hung to light his work.
He offered her tea, with a pat of butter floating in it, and she accepted, sipping at the salty bitter brew. "It's the OWL I plan to sit for next term," she said, and then filled him in on the OWL examinations, the different requirements, and her plans. He nodded, asking careful dissecting questions at intervals. Spike was surprised to find out how much there was to know, and where the holes in her knowledge were. She ended with an explanation of her plans to construct a chimera of her own, and he sat back, beaming. The cherubic smile never rose above his rosy cheeks.
"Hands-on experience is always . . . preferable to pure theory," he started, "and hybrid vigor is often encouraging." She head something rustle from behind the closed laboratory door. He'd walked her down a hallway of doors, leaving the Hounds in the vestibule. She hadn't seen a thing he didn't want seen. "Have you considered how you're going to get the insect parts to blend with the dragon?"
Spike began to answer, but was interrupted as something began to sob softly. His expression didn't change as he snapped his fingers for Tick to go and attend it. Spike realized why her Hounds always arranged themselves so someone was on either side of a door; so you always knew who was there. "I'm not certain," she admitted. "Shouldn't the rule of similarity apply, scales are scales are scales?"
"It's a matter of, you should pardon the expression, scale." And they went on for an hour plotting, with the scherblocken sketching diagrams on scraps of parchment, with Spike asking the probing questions, circling sections of the sketch, drawing arrows and underlining parts for her own edification and research.
Near the end, Spike stood and stretched. "One more question, sir. I'm thinking about a special History of Magic OWL for the term after . . ."
"Planning ahead, are we? That's your father in you. Good to see that trait bred true."
"So . . . what can you tell me about re-creating someone who has gone on before? Like an Inferii, but not so . . ."
"Evil? You want to animate the actual corpus, or are you looking to bring back a ghost?"
"Well . . . neither, more like . . ." and she started to explain.