This ficlet came to me earlier today and I just had to write it. It's a companion piece to 16 minutes and takes place almost a year later, so I strongly recommend you read it before reading this.

Disclaimer: of course this belongs to JK Rowling and not me.

Minerva McGonagall was sitting in her office, slowly sipping a glass of wine. The clock was half past ten, so it was yet half an hour until she could retire to her bedroom.

Ridiculous, really, she thought. Why must I stay in my office until 11pm on Sundays, even though nothing ever happens on Sunday nights?

And thank Merlin for that. She had had a long week, and the last thing she needed right now was another incident. Mr Philip Holloughby, a fifth-year Gryffindor, had earned himself a month's detention earlier the same day by trying to kill a Slytherin boy, a Mr Evan Collier. Had Mr Collier been even slightly more hurt, Mr Holloughby would have found himself expelled.

I don't believe my heart could handle another shock today.

Suddenly, a Patronus burst into her office, and Minerva immediately recognised Hermione's otter.

What on earth could Hermione want me, and at this time of night? Well, I suppose it isn't that late, but I am 70 years old. Had I had it my way, I would have gone to bed ages ago.

The Patronus then opened its mouth to deliver its message, and suddenly the deep, rich and very distinctive voice of Severus Snape filled the room.

'I'd like to announce my and my fiancée's engagement. If you can't guess both our identities, I shall think you a dunderhead indeed. Goodnight.'

His voice was a little slurred, as if he'd have a bit to drink, but it was undeniably Severus Snape.

The – the Patronus, it was – it was Hermione's, but you can't send messages with other people's Patronuses, which means that his Patronus must be an otter now, which – which means that he must be engaged to . . . Hermione Granger.

Minerva's heart was beating somewhat erratically, and she found it rather hard to breathe, but otherwise she felt calm enough. Almost too calm. A bit disconnected, really. She wasn't going into shock, was she? Oh no, she couldn't be. She never had, and she was certain she never would. Then again, the news of Severus and Hermione's engagement had indeed been rather shocking . . .

Before she had time to finish taking mental stock, another Patronus entered the office. This one was a large, heavy snake, and Minerva had a sneaking suspicion that she knew to whom it belonged.

'I'm sorry, everybody. I hope Severus didn't give you a heart attack, and I hope I'm not giving you one now. I'm afraid my fiancé isn't quite sober at the – Severus, stop that! Stop! Stop tickling me right this very moment; I'm trying to record a – ah! Severus, back off! . . . Thank you, love. Er . . . as I was saying, he wouldn't have sent that Patronus if he'd been sober, so I expect you won't hold it against him once he is again. I believe that's all. Goodnight, everybody,' Hermione's voice said, and the Patronus disappeared.

Minerva, blinking slowly, stared at the spot where the snake had been a moment before.

'I'm not sure what to say,' she mumbled weakly, before the world faded to black and she fainted in her office chair.

Poor Minerva! I do hope she'll be alright.

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