A/N: this is an AU fiction. Mostly in the sense that Harry and Ron also chose to go back to Hogwarts to finish their final year but there are a few other obvious alterations. Enjoy!
A/N2: This one-shot came to my mind as I was re-reading PraiseBeFandom's "The Growing Flame HGMM". (I plead guilty, but one does have to read every now and then between updating their own stories, right? *winks*)
THE PERILS OF BEING TOO BOOKISH
Hermione hurried along the seventh floor corridor, leading to the newly restored Room of Requirement. It had taken a rather long time for the curse breakers to extinguish the fiendfyre that git had unleashed but eventually the room was restored to its original glory. She wondered why her favorite professor would ask that she meet her there of all places when their usual weekly meetings had always been at Professor McGonagall's private chambers. Nonetheless she quickly donned something less formal than their dreadful school uniform and complied without a question.
Minerva McGonagall stood from her desk as an owl appeared in her window, apparently bearing a note addressed to her. What took her by surprise upon coming closer was that it was a Hogwarts owl. 'Now this had better not be some kind of silly prank...' Her first thought was instinctively that of suspicion as she had learned during her nearly forty year of teaching career that children were rather adept at thinking up the most creative ways of pulling pranks on teachers. Although she had hoped that they would be sufficiently preoccupied by the amount of Easter essays they had received. Admittedly, she was tempted to ask her staff that they go easy on the kids considering that the first anniversary of Voldemort's demise was upon them, but eventually she just chose to leave it to their judgement.
She was surprised to find the familiar scrawl of one Hermione Granger on the bit of parchment, requesting that she meet her... in the Room of Requirement? 'I wonder what Hermione might be up to...'
Harry had to bite his bottom lip in order to stifle a decidedly unmanly giggle that almost erupted from his lips when Headmistress Minerva McGonagall promptly existed her office, not five minutes before the time 'Hermione' had requested her presence in the Room of Requirement. He was silently observing the woman from behind his invisibility cloak, hoping that the witch's sharp animagus senses had not picked up on the muffled sound.
Having done his part, he snuck back into the Gryffindor Common room, where most of his fellow Gryffendors and some representatives from the other houses were eagerly waiting for his return.
After requesting to enter the room in which she was to meet Professor McGonagall, Hermione was somewhat surprised to find herself in what looked like a very cosy but empty tea shop, not unlike her favorite in London. And it really was empty, no sign of Minerva McGonagall just yet. Hermione, her interest piqued, proceeded to sit down on one of the two chairs that stood by the only table in the middle of the room.
"Well?" Seamus inquired. He was quite livid yesterday, ranting about how he had not come back to Hogwarts to complete his seventh year a second time only to fail for lack of resources.
"McGonagall left her office five minutes ago..." Harry supplied the answer.
"And Hermione is already in the Room of Requirement" came the report from Ron.
"Remind me why we needed to trap the both of them?" Neville asked.
"Because Hermione fancies ol'McGonagall so she should keep her preoccupied long enough to..." Harry started to explain. Before he was finished most of his peers were grinning at him devilishly.
"Great...now the hard part...how do we get in?" Neville asked.
Harry grinned mischievously as he mentally flashed back to third year when Hermione busted Sirius from his tower-cell. "I think I know a spell..."
"Ah... Miss Granger. What an...interesting choice of scenery. To what do I owe this pleasure?" Minerva asked upon entering the Room of Requirement and seeing the lovely frame of her favorite student. 'Merlin in pajamas, she's only a student for another three months or so...' She thought absentmindedly as she took the gorgeous sight.
Hermione, however, furrowed her brow in confusion. "I was about to ask the same thing Professor. It was you who requested my presence..."
"I assure you I have not. I have received an owl from you not more than an hour ago, 'humbly requesting my presence' in the room of requirement" Minerva frowned, suddenly suspicious that they might been set up. She went over the short list of colleagues who would even have the necessary knowledge that would prompt them to do such a thing, crossing out the ones that would not actually have the courage to do so and ended up with a single name. Filius Flitwick. The possibility that this could have been the scheme of a student was completely out of the question as far as she was concerned. 'How would they even know to do this unless...?' Minerva connected some highly unlikely dots, resolving to get to the bottom of the matter.
"Humbly requesting your presence?" Hermione echoed the odd phrase, frowning. They had never in their lives been that formal with one another. "That sounds like something Ron would assume I'd say to you."
"Oh?" Minerva asked, still standing by the table, debating if she should sit down.
"When Ron's in the mood to tease me he lisps these ridiculous mock conversations that he assumes we are having..." Hermione said without thinking. She only realized how she had given herself away after seeing the odd expression Minerva's face, causing her to blush furiously. She had caught herself borderline flirting with the Headmistress on a number of occasions and to her delight she had the distinct impression that a handful of times the venerated animagus had flirted right back. However, she dared not get her hopes up quite yet. 'Although...now might be a good time to find out.'
"A Vampire's Monologue by Amarillo Lestoat"? Harry read out the title of the first book he picked up.
"Me!" Parvati Patil piped up, grabbing hold of the book.
"Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland" was the next book.
"That's for me." Ron said.
"Ancient Runes Made Easy"
"Me!" Luna replied dreamily.
"And why would Mr. Weasley tease you about me?" Minerva asked, fighting to suppress a smile. 'In for a penny in for a pound...'
"I...uh...um..." Hermione stammered. She had resolved to be upfront with the woman, being fairly sure that their attraction was mutual but apparently her Gryffindor courage was leaving her as she , chickened out at the last moment. "Do you want to sit down Professor?" She tried to evade the question.
Minerva graciously accepted, keeping a keen eye trained on the young woman before her, hunting for signs. Seeing that the younger woman was struggling with whatever she had on her mind she chose to give an example of what it meant to be in the house of the brave.
"Unless I am mistaken we...are far past the point where titles are still appropriate?" She asked. "Call me Minerva dear."
Hermione could feel her skin heat up as she blushed yet again. "Thank you, M-minerva." she stuttered over the name, her tongue not quite used to forming those three syllables out loud. "Call me Hermione?"
"Hermione..." Minerva replied, emerald orbs boring into chocolate brown. "Why would Ronald tease you about me?" She asked again, intent on getting an answer.
Hermione's mind seemed to blank out yet again. 'Do I tell her? What if she says no? What if...' She internally debated, weighing the pros and cons. 'Dammit woman, transfigure yourself some balls and do it already!' She berated herself for being such a coward and after taking a deep breath she blurted the words, "Because he knows I fancy you..."
Minerva was the poster picture of a kitty cat caught in the headlights. She most certainly had not expected the woman to be quite so upfront about her attraction. However, she found herself liking it quite a lot. Hermione stared at her openly, willing her to react, challenging her to admit or deny the fact that the attraction was mutual. Remembering all the times her eyes surreptitiously roamed the young woman's shapely...everything, all the agonizing times the woman seemed to put herself on display, stretching to her full length as she got up off her sofa at the end of an evening they shared over tea and biscuits. Realizing that she was well in the process of falling head over heels in love with the young woman she was fortunate enough to get to know more and more, it became infinitely clear that there was only one good way to answer.
Hermione was pleasantly surprised when upon her bid for truth Minerva grabbed the front of her sweater and after pulling her from her sitting position proceeded to plant a chaste but sure kiss on her lips. It only took her a moment's hesitation before she replied in kind, and the soft, exploratory kisses soon turned into passionate snogging. As lips parted tongues lashed out eagerly, caressing one another until both women were in such need of oxygen that they were forced to break the kiss, panting heavily.
"Well...that...went better than expected." Hermione panted out, her characteristic Cheshire cat grin plastered on firmly.
"Indeed." Was the animagus' graceful reply.
"So...what next?" The younger witch asked, tone a shade more flirtatious than it had ever been.
"Dinner date tomorrow?" Minerva wiggled her brow suggestively. "I'm the Headmistress. I can apparate us out of here." she said, grinning. Hermione looked at her in shock for a moment before both witches burst out laughing. Hermione had never seen the woman this relaxed. In fact, she had never seen her so unreserved. It so completely different from the usual stoic teacher persona that Hermione would not have believed anyone if they said that Minerva McGonagall wiggled her brows. Ever. 'Gods woman, I could fall in love with you so easily...'
"Yes." She said beaming at the woman who was now not sitting across from her but right next to her. Both witches leaned in at the same time, lips meeting again for another mind-blowing kiss.
It was some fifteen minutes before either of them found the will to break contact long enough to actually utter full sentences. "You know... you are still my student." Minerva whispered against soft lips, their foreheads resting against each other's.
"Don't care...we'll just have to be careful..." Hermione replied. "It's only about three months...and it's not like I'm under age..." Internally wincing she mentally kicked herself for bringing up the massive age gap of over forty years between them. Sneaking a peek she was relieved to see no trace of panic in the wonderfully green eyes.
"Knut for your thoughts?" Minerva said with a smile.
"I was wondering if you were going to freak out because of the age difference." Hermione said truthfully, wondering why she was being this honest. It seemed like she was unable to keep any of her secrets tonight.
"Should I?" Minerva replied saucily.
"If you haven't yet, then by all means, don't you dare..." Hermione growled playfully, pecking the woman on the lips again. "Not after a kiss like that..."
"That being settled then..." Minerva said in a mischievous tone "all that's left is to determine who had the guts to pull this prank on us and why."
"I'd bet just about anything that Harry and Ron had something to do with it." Hermione said thoughtfully. "God knows they've been pestering me about it non-stop."
"And here I thought that Mr. Weasley might be upset that your interests were caught by someone other than himself." Minerva answered cheekily.
Hermione could only guffaw at the notion. "HELL no. Minerva I came out to them as gay in 4th year when I realized that Ron was acting so stupidly because he was developing a crush on me. He's had ages to suck it up..." She grinned, a happy memory flashing into her mind about how supportive her two friends were after they digested the information. "All they've been doing for the last two months is tell me how I should ask you out because according to them you've been mooning over my for almost as long as I have over you..." She said finally, a devilish grin lighting up her beautiful features.
Minerva, not knowing how to verbally respond to such a completely well-founded accusation, did the only thing that came to her mind. She kissed the smugness right off Hermione Granger's face.
It was nearly time for curfew when Hermione and Minerva emerged from the Room of Requirement, never even noticing that they would not have been able to leave the room earlier. After sharing a final kiss just inside the door each of the donned a blank mask as if nothing had happened.
She arrived at the Head Girl's room just in time to change back into her uniform before she had to help make the rounds in search of misbehaving students. She did not mind this chore, especially because the perks were much too superior. The Head Girl and Boy basically had their own en-suite inside the castle, with a bedroom, and an adjoining study room that she had made full use of. It was much to her satisfaction that she had an entire room to herself where she could work in quiet, her concentration exponentially better than it ever was in the library.
As she rounded the last corner she was shocked to see that her door's lock had been basically blasted open with a Bombarda minora spell. 'What the bloody hell...' Her first instinct was to barge in and confront whoever, if anyone, might still be inside but she thought better of it. Instead she sent off her patronus to Minerva with a short message, requesting her help.
It took Minerva less than three minutes to arrive at the scene of the crime as she printed down the deserted halls in her animagus form. When she arrived at the appropriate corridor she was relieved to see that Hermione was unharmed. Transforming back into her human form she could not keep herself from caressing the younger woman's cheek. "Are you okay, darling?"
"Quite. Although whoever had the audacity to break into my room is not going to be for very long." A rather irate brunette said. She managed to work herself up rather well while she was waiting for Minerva to arrive.
"Indeed." Minerva supplied her characteristic reply and snuck closer to the door. Her animagus senses picked up a soft sound that seemed to be rather out of place for their current predicament. 'It...almost sounded like so many pages of books being turned...' She silently motioned for Hermione to come closer and when the two witches were at the closed but ruined door, wands at the ready, Minerva opened the door with such force that it slammed against the wall.
Inside, at least three dozen students screamed in terror, dropping quills and books and knocking over ink bottles as they jumped at the sudden sound. Their terror only intensified when they saw a furious Hermione and an almost equally unhappy Minerva McGonagall storm through what used to be a doorway, their wands pointed at the lot of them.
Hermione's eyes bugged out at the intrusion and she yelped incredulously. "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU ALL DOING HERE?"
Harry, being the brave man that he was, did not back down from his best friend's challenge. "Well what do you think 'Mione?" He answered with a grin. "You borrowed all the damn books from the library... and we need to finish our assignments too...so we decided to...distract you while we...borrowed them from you."
Before anyone could answer all present company was completely taken off guard by the never-before-heard roar of laughter coming from Minerva McGonagall. When her laughing fit had lessened to such an extent that she was able to speak without her voice breaking she said "10 points to everyone in the room." Finally looking at dumbstruck Hermione she put a hand on the girl's shoulder and whispered in her ear. "Come on, I'll...show you my personal library so your poor peers can have a chance at finishing their assignments..." The suggestive grin on her face told Hermione of so much more than just the opportunity to get her hands on rare books.
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Constructive criticism also very welcome! Leave a message below *wink*