A/N: Yes, yes, I know, I should be working on Chapter 20 of TSIB. Unfortunately, writer's block has struck once again. I hope that by writing a few one-shots (such as this one), I'll be able to cast off my writer's block. But you know, that might not work. -.- Anyway, enjoy this humorous piece.
Anyone who's reading this is probably familiar with my work, but if you're not, this is a Remus Lupin/Minerva McGonagall romance. As with all my stories, I am going with my intital guess to Minerva's age from reading the books, which is around 41 or so. Don't flame saying otherwise. Flames shall be used for marshmellows.
DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter belongs to the goddess that is J.K., not me.
A Compromising Situation
Minerva uncomfortably pulled at the sleeve of her Muggle dress. She honestly didn't understand how Muggle women wore them all the time; she much preferred the loose, flowing sleeves of her own robes that could be easily pushed back when needed to the tightly fitting material of the dresses. But the need to look as 'normal' as possible was important, so that Muggles would not suspect anything—and therefore, the Ministry wouldn't suspect anything. So Minerva forced herself to don one of her few Muggle dresses every time she left the castle to head for 12 Grimmauld Place to attend an Order meeting.
She turned attention back to Mad-Eye Moody, sighing slightly as she realized that the man had been rambling on for the past forty minutes. He had held the attention of everyone in the room for the first half-hour, but as his speeches dwindled down to every other sentence consisting of 'Constant vigilence!', it seemed that only her attention was not wavering.
Sirius was leaning back in his chair, his feet up on the table. Since it was his table, no one could really protest the rude gesture. After all, Sirius didn't after to agree to let the Order headquarters be at his childhood home. He was twirling a quill between his index finger and thumb, a look of bored haughtiness on his face. Minerva was reminded of the boy she had known from her Hogwarts days. Certainly, Sirius had been three years below her, but his attitude was legendary throughout the school, and as a prefect—and later Head Girl—she had had more than one run-in with him.
At least Kingsley Shacklebolt seemed to be paying attention, Minerva noted with approval. He was scribbling down notes on what Mad-Eye Moody was saying. She wondered how many times 'Constant vigilence!' was on that parchment.
However, she discovered upon closer examination, Shacklebolt was simply drawing different plays for Quidditch. He finished one play with a flourish, ripping the piece of parchment it was written on and slipping it in the pocket of his robes (Minerva noted with surliness that he had been permitted to wear his robes), no doubt to give to Fred and George Weasley later on that day. If she remembered correctly, Shacklebolt had played as a Beater for Ravenclaw.
Remus was attempting to pay attention, she noted, though the gaze he had on Mad-Eye Moody was a bit glassy, as though his mind were a million miles away. He tapped his own quill restlessly against the table—apparently, he had been taking notes but had stopped when Moody fell into his usual speech. Due to her duties for the upcoming school year, Minerva was unable to attend every meeting, and even she had lost count of the times Moody had gone off track during meetings. She supposed that for the ones who attended every meeting, as well as seeing Moody outside of the meetings, had it much worse.
The sleepy silence, save for Moody's rants, that had fallen over the room was abruptly opened as Molly Weasley opened the door, carrying a tray of cups of pumpkin juice in her hands. Nymphadora Tonks, known just as Tonks, hovered at her side, a sheepish look on her face, as Molly used her foot to slam the door with all her might in the eager, inquisitive faces of Fred and George.
"Sorry this took so long," Molly said crisply, seeing the tray down in the middle of the table. "We had a few mishaps."
"Mishaps?" Arthur asked of his wife, taking a cup and setting it in front of him.
"I'm very sorry, Mrs. Weasley," Tonks apologized for what Minerva supposed was at least the third time, judging by the fact that Molly seemed to be paying little attention to her as she handed out the rest of the cups.
"Tonks spilled a few cups…quite a few times," Molly said, as Minerva received her glass. "We had to do some cleaning after that," she added.
"I'm really sorry, I'm just so clumsy sometimes," Tonks tried to amend again, but Molly waved her off.
"Don't worry about it, dear. Now," she said, turning to Arthur. "What did we miss?"
"What did you think you missed, Molly?" Remus said, glancing at her with a sparkle in his eyes. Of course, he wouldn't dare say anything outright against the Auror's speeches, but Molly seemed to know exactly what Remus was referring to.
"Oh," was her reply as she settled into a seat next Arthur and Shacklebolt. She leaned over to see Shacklebolt's parchment, and he quickly tried to hide it from her view. "Really, Kingsley," she scolded, but didn't say anything else upon the suspicious glance of Mad-Eye Moody. Shacklebolt smiled sheepishly, stuffing the parchment and quill into his robes once more.
"Er, Molly dear," Arthur started timidly. "While you were gone, Kingsley and I were doing some chatting…" he trailed off, clearing his throat nervously. Minerva didn't blame him for being uncomfortable—Molly had that way of making anyone feel as though they had done something wrong, just by looking at them. She would have made a good teacher, Minerva thought to herself. No one could ever lie to Molly Weasley.
"Yes?" Molly asked, an edge to her voice, as though she knew was was coming.
"Well, we were discussing…you know, Fred and George are of age, and well, perhaps they should be allowed to attend the Order meetings…" Arthur was cut off by a disgusted snort from Molly.
"Not you, too!" she exclaimed, throwing her hands up. "Those boys may be old enough to attend, but they certainly aren't mature enough! And they're still schoolboys, Arthur, for heaven's sakes! I simply refuse to allow them to attend until they've graduated!"
"Arthur," Minerva cut in now, "I really don't think that allowing them to attend would be a wise idea. We're having a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher this year, of course…Dolores Umbridge. She's nothing more than a spy for Fudge, appointed by Fudge so that he can keep a tab on Dumbledore," she spat in disgust. "But I would suggest keeping any student at Hogwarts out of the Order meetings…I shudder to think what lengths Umbridge would go to to extract information, if she learned that two of the students were part of a group that would be considered against the Ministry. And we all know that Fred and George aren't the most—er—reclusive of students."
"Do you see?" Molly asked
angrily. "Only you think it's a good idea, Arthur!"
"Actually, I thought it was a good idea, as well," Shacklebolt said, coming to Arthur's defense.
"You be quiet!" Shacklebolt slunk down in his chair as Molly snapped at him, and Minerva bit back a laugh before checking her watch. It was three in the afternoon…Severus would be arriving in half an hour for his turn to talk with the Order. With Dolores Umbridge already 'inspecting' the castle, the three members of the staff who were in the Order of the Phoenix—herself, Severus Snape, and Filius Flitwick—had to carefully arrange their time at the Headquarters so that only one was present at a time, and all three spent a good amount of time at Hogwarts to divert suspicion.
She cleared her throat, standing up and smoothing the wrinkles out of the dark green dress. "I should be heading back to Hogwarts now," she informed the occupants of the room. "Severus should be arriving within a half an hour or so."
Sirius made a low growling noise in his throat that caused Minerva, Remus, and Molly to all look sharply in his direction.
"Sirius…" Molly started warningly. Sirius simply folded his arms, staring defiantly at the ceiling with a look of sour hatred on his face.
Minerva reached for the small handbag she had brought with her. Most Muggle women seemed to carry one around with them wherever they went, and she had decided to add it to make her seem even more like part of the scenery on her way to the Order meetings. It also served to hold a few Galleons, should the need for them arise, some parchment and a quill for note-taking, and most importantly, her wand.
Remus pushed back his chair, rising to his feet as well. "I'll walk you to the front door," he offered, walking around the table to Minerva's side.
Sirius snorted, obviously still in a bad mood. "Afraid she'll lose her way, are you?" he asked, but there was a glint of teasing in his eyes and voice as he glanced at Remus.
Remus smiled calmly at Sirius and responded with a simple, "Stuff it, Sirius," before taking Minerva's arm and leading her out of the door.
Once the door was safely closed behind them, Remus slipped his hand from Minerva's arm into her open palm. The two headed towards the front door, their footsteps echoing loudly in the large halls.
"I've missed you," Remus told Minerva quietly as they walked, his hand squeezing hers briefly as he gave her a sidelong glance. "Besides the meetings for the Order, you haven't come by the headquarters lately."
Minerva sighed. "Dolores Umbridge is very suspicious of the Hogwarts staff. Severus and myself the most, it seems. I can't get away too often. Plus I have to prepare for the upcoming school year." Now it was her turn to give him a glance. "You haven't come up to the castle to see me lately, either."
"I thought perhaps you wouldn't want me coming up there while Dolores Umbridge is teaching there. That woman most certainly doesn't approve of me," Remus told her, a bitter note entering his voice at the end of his sentence.
Minerva sniffed impatiently. "There would be nothing wrong with you coming up to the castle, it would just make the old toad seethe." She paused to consider this. "In fact, I think you should come up to visit as soon as you can." Remus let out a snort of laughter at this.
"I hope that the chance to royally annoy Umbridge isn't the only reason that you want me to visit," Remus replied in a light tone.
"You know it isn't," Minerva insisted. "I would want you to come no matter who was teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts." Her eyes twinkled. "Causing Dolores Umbridge to fume is simply a bonus."
They stopped in their walking as they approached the base of the grand stairway, which was just a few feet away from the door.
Remus sighed, turning towards Minerva, dropping her hand and letting his fingertips come to rest lightly on her waist. Though she certainly hadn't seen as much as she would have liked to last year, this year was even worse. When she did manage to get away from the castle and Dolores Umbridge's suspicious eye, it was only to attend Order meetings. Usually she would only be able to catch a few words with her fiance, and usually she would have to slip away back to the castle before the meeting had ended, meaning she could only catch Remus's eye across the table and know that he couldn't leave, and that she would have to hope that maybe next time they would have some time together.
She knew that the work they were doing was important—vital to the survival of their world. And she wouldn't want to be sitting on the sidelines while other witches and wizards risked their lives for the innocent while she slept soundly in her bed. No, in the midst of the battle was where she belonged, and where she had always belonged. But still, it was hard to tell herself not to be selfish when she collapsed in her empty bed at the end of a long day, without the comforting presence next to her.
"I've missed you, too," she murmured, allowing her hands to come to rest on his shoulders. "Too much for my own good, I'm afraid." Her eyes traveled over his familiar features, trying to drink in as much as possible. She didn't know why she did it time and time again; she had memorized his face long ago. The small lines that marred the corners of his eyes despite his relative youth, the thin scar right below his left ear, his sharp nose and the lips that always had a hint of a smile on them, it seemed. But most of all she could always recall his eyes—warm hazel eyes that burned right through you and held a hidden sadness that few knew of, despite the gentleness on the surface. Of course, no picture in her head to keep her company on lonely nights could possibly compare to his actual presence.
The corners of his eyes crinkled as he grinned at her. "I was beginning to worry about your lack of a response."
"Now that's not very nice," he
scolded. "I thought you missed me."
"That doesn't give you any reason to be smart with me," Minerva answered tartly, laying her hands on his shoulders but giving him a stern look over the top of her square frames.
Remus nodded solemnly. "You're absolutely right," he declared before leaning closer to her, a mischeivous glint coming into his eyes. "How can I possibly make it up to you?" he murmured.
Minerva rolled her eyes and turned her head as Remus leaned in further, so that his lips brushed her cheek instead of their intended mark of her lips. He gave a slight snort as he pulled away from her.
"You certainly don't act as though you've missed me," he said, raising his eyebrows at her.
"I have missed you," she replied primly. "I just don't believe in mixing business with pleasure." She gave him a sharp look as he opened his mouth. "And I came here for business." He closed it again.
"Well, what's your excuse for our—what was it Snape called it? ah yes—torrid love affair while I was at Hogwarts." He leaned in with a grin on his face, resting his forehead against hers. "You certainly didn't seem to mind blending the two then."
Minerva swatted him away,
annoyed. "That was very different."
She didn't answer, merely shrugged with a slight smile playing on her lips. "Well, then, if you're so unhappy, perhaps I should find someone else, then?"
Remus didn't reply—he instead took this chance to pluck her glasses off the end of her nose, placing them in the small handbag that hung from her arm, and teasingly dropped a light kiss on her lips, pulling her tightly against him. After only a few seconds, he released her. "Well, that's all I wanted," he replied cheerfully. "I'll let you go now, I wouldn't want to keep you from your business."
Minerva glared at him, narrowing her eyes. "I despise you, you know," she muttered before dropped her handbag to the floor and pressing against him again, pulling his head down towards hers.
She sighed quietly in contentment as Remus eagerly responded to her kiss, and leaned against the wall right next to the grand stairwell. It was quite unfair how quickly Remus could…distract her, she thought to herself as he trailed kisses along her jawline. She twined her hand through his hair, smiling slightly as she remembered how she was always telling him that if he would just get it cut, it would look so much more neat. Of course he refused every time, and that was the only reason she bothered him about it. Truthfully, she really liked that his hair brushed the back of the high collar of his robes; it suited him. Everything about him was perfect, from the grey strands in his scruffy hair to his patched robes.
He had one arm wrapped tightly around her waist, his other hand cupping her cheek as he found her lips again. "I really have missed you," he murmured briefly before pulling her even closer to him and kissing her again.
Oh, yes, everything about him was perfect—especially his lips, Minerva dimly thought as he teasingly brushed his lips over hers before kissing her more deeply. These few moments, always so scattered, were undeniabley precious to her, before she would have to leave again and have only her workload for company…quite a poor substitute…
A small squeak of surprise from the stairway immediately brought Minerva crashing back to reality. She shoved Remus away, her head snapping up to the landing in shock. She realized a moment later that she couldn't see who was standing there without her glasses, and she reached down to grab her handbag. As she did so, she knocked over the bag and sent all the materials in it—Galleons, her wand, parchment, quills, and her glasses—scattering across the floor. She muttered a curse softly under her breath, falling to her knees and, ignoring all the contents spilled around her, swiped her glasses off the floor and stuck them on her face, snapping her eyes back up to the landing.
Hermione Granger stood there, still as a statue, her brown eyes wide with shock. Her mouth hung open, and she blinked rapidly. Minerva took in a sharp breath—she hadn't been even aware that Hermione had come to stay for the summer. The things she wasn't told. Minerva glanced over at Remus briefly, and guessed, judging by the slightly amused expression on his face, that she had the same shocked expression on her face as Hermione did.
And oh, what she must think of her! Minerva felt her face flush red with embarrassment as the shock began to pass. She had always tried to be professional, and now one student had witnessed her behaving as though she were an overhormonal teenager. She had ruined her stainless reputation among her students—how could Hermione Granger ever look at her the same way, after this?
Remus noticed that Minerva was shaking with humilation, and decided to be the one who spoke up. "Hermione," he said, his voice calm and smooth despite the heat in his face. "Er—I thought you were going out with Ron and Ginny for the day."
Hermione still seemed to be in a state of shock—she moved her mouth wordlessly before seeming to find her voice. "I…" she squeaked, "I decided to start working on my essays for school."
Minerva began to compose herself, standing up and clearing her throat, though her face was still flushed with humilation. "Well, you don't seem to be working on your essay now," she said sternly, putting her hands on her hips. "I am certain you have been told more than once that during Order meetings, you are to remain upstairs." She looked over at Remus out of the corner of her eye for confirmation, and he nodded slightly in reply. Minerva pressed on. "I must say, Miss Granger, it is very out of character for you to decide to ignore what you have been told."
"I…I'm sorry," Hermione managed to croak out. "I just…I heard your voice, Professor, and I had a question about our essay on cross-species transfiguration in the medical field…" she trailed off.
Minerva sighed. "Miss Granger, you know very well that if you have questions, you must send an owl to me."
"But I don't have an owl!" Hermione blurted out. "And I didn't know you would be—er—busy."
Minerva stared at Hermione off the top of her glasses. "I am afraid, Miss Granger, that I am here on Order business—not to be your personal tutor for your essays."
"Yes, Professor," Hermione replied meekly.
"I'm afraid, Hermione," Remus cut in, "that due to her workload, Professor McGonagall can only attend a small number of Order meetings, so she must use her time accordingly. However, I'm certain that she would be more than happy to help you with your schoolwork at another time."
"Of course, I understand," Hermione said hastily. After a moment, a sort of smirk came across her face. "She has to use her time accordingly…"
Minerva felt her face burning up again. "Well, Miss Granger, if you are truly having trouble with your work, send a note with Potter's owl. However, I have a feeling that you are simply making empty excuses. If I remember correctly, you scored perfect scores on your previous three summer essays, and I find it hard to believe that you are having trouble. You really must learn to think of more plausible excuses."
Hermione beamed, and Minerva knew that she had heard her veiled compliment under the critism. "I'll work on it, Professor," she chirped.
"Er, Hermione," Remus started. "Professor McGonagall and I would be most grateful if you would not mention anything to anyone, especially to Harry or Ron."
"Mention what?" Hermione asked innocently, and Minerva narrowed her eyes. The silly girl simply wanted to hear Remus or herself admit to it. Though, Minerva had to admit, she was a clever silly girl.
"You know perfectly well what," Minerva said, her voice holding a slight warning note to it.
"Oh, of course, Professors," Hermione said with a mischievious smile.
"I do mean it, Hermione," Remus replied, raising an eyebrow.
"I swear I won't say anything,"
Hermione swore, shaking her head so that her bushy brown hair swung around her
face. "And it's really easy to keep things from Harry and Ron, they're boys,
Minerva looked up at her strangely. She had certainly gotten over the awkwardness of the situation quickly. As for herself, her stomach was still doing flip-flops as though she had been caught in the Astronomy Tower at midnight by the caretaker, rather than in a foyer by a student in the middle of the day.
Remus smiled warmly at her. "We appreciate it, Hermione. I know that you're very good at keeping secrets—after all, you did keep mine."
The corners of Hermione's mouth twitched upward again. "Don't worry, Professor, I'll keep your—ah—secret."
Minerva cleared her throat uncomfortably. "Well, what are you waiting for?" she asked impatiently, tapping her foot. "Your essays certainly aren't doing you any good sitting untouched in your room while you stand here gawking."
"Yes, Professor," Hermione said obediently, turning on her heel and trotting down the hallway. Minerva heard her mutter under her breath as she walked away, "Order business…I wasn't aware that snogging Professor Lupin qualified as Order business…"
Remus chuckled softly as Minerva turned ever redder than before. She glared at him once she had composed herself, and he stopped mid-laugh.
"And that," she said crisply, reaching down to scoop the things back into her bag, "is precisely why I don't believe in mixing business with pleasure." She straighened back up, placing her bag on the crook of her elbow.
"And is that precisely why you decided to start a romance in a school?" Remus teased as she smoothed her dress and patted her hair to make sure it was in place.
"Well," she said with a wicked grin, "I daresay that there are no students who know where my rooms are, and so the chances of being caught are very slim." She glanced around nervously, staring up at the stairwell for a few long moments before leaning up and pressing a light kiss on his lips. She pulled away only a centimeter or so, so that her lips moved against his as she said, "You should remember that." She gave him another quick kiss. "I love you."
He made a soft sound of protest as she pulled away, trying to grab her again, but she swatted him away impatiently. "Now, we don't want a repeat of what just happened, do we?" she asked tartly, reaching to unlock the door. As she pulled it open, she turned and gave him a soft smile. "Don't be such a stranger, Remus. I hope to see you besides at just Order meetings."
"I'll try to come up to the castle
soon," he promised. "After all, we still have a lot of Order business to
Minerva felt a bit confused at this. Usually Remus was anything but eager to spend their few moments together talking about the Order and it's work." But soon things were made very clear.
He leaned over, taking her arm and murmuring in his ear, "After all, apparently 'snogging Professor Lupin' has become Order business."
Minerva let out a snort of laughter, pulling her arm out of his grip. "Yes, I'll keep that in mind," she told him with a sly smile before leaving 12 Grimmauld Place, shutting the door firmly behind her.
There we have it. Hopefully my writer's block will clear soon—if not, expect a few more one-shots. Sorry to everyone who's been reading TSIB…I appreciate your dedication!