Never Say Never
By Alexandra Ravensblood
Rated R for language/explicit sexual themes
Genre: Romance/Comedy

Summary:

When Harry's stalked by every pre-menopausal witch in Hogwarts, he enlists the help of one of his oldest friends to help him marry the object of his affection: Minerva McGonagall.

For the real Rowena, who walked into my house a week and a half after I started this story and hasn't left yet.

Disclaimer: Did I mention that I don't own this? I mean, if someone handed me the rights to HP, I wouldn't turn them down, but I don't have them right now, more's the pity. They do however, belong to a nice lady named Jo Ro, who's probably going to sue me for simply writing that...

Part 1/5

Never Have I Ever...

"I think my cat likes your cat," Harry said sitting down next to Hermione in the Great Hall. "Ro's been caterwauling ever since she met Crookshanks."

She pulled her nose out of her book—Advanced Charms for Intermediate Charmers—and smiled. "Does this mean we're going to be grandparents?"

In between bites of eggs and kippers, Harry shook his head. "No. Far as I can tell, your cat seems to think he's too good for my cat and is ignoring her. Personally, I think he has a tendre for McGonagall."

"Are you calling my cat a snob?" she asked, amused.

He grinned. "Hey, if the paw fits..."

"On behalf of my cat, I resent that."

"No, he resembles that." But the banter stopped when he noticed something red peeking from beneath the yogurt dish in front of him. "No. No. No!"

Hermione's gaze followed his to land on the scrap of red material under Harry's dessert. As Harry backed away from the table, she picked it up and revealed a crotchless red thong. She let out a low whistle.

"Now this is devotion, Harry."

"What did I do to deserve this?" he whimpered, his head clutched in his hands.

She studied the undergarments, amazed at how little material there was and how amazingly uncomfortable it must be. "I dunno, Harry. Saving the world inspires hero-worship. Not to mention you're young, rich, handsome..." She eyed the three strings. "Though this must be true love."

He snatched the underwear from her before she could make any more comments. "If I had known this would happen given Old Voldey my blessings."

"Poor Harry," she chuckled. "How many is that this week?"

"It's the second one today!"

"And it's only eight-thirty. Which classes have you got?"

He put his head down on the table. "Sixth and seventh-years, all houses. Double class with the seventh-year Ravenclaws and Gryffindors."

"Your most devoted fan-base. So sorry." She sounded anything but. For months Hermione had been struggling to rein in her laughter as the sixth and seventh-year girls threw themselves at Harry, tried to trap him in compromising positions, sent him underwear, chocolates, baked him pies, casseroles, and altogether made his life a living nightmare. While most of the staff felt pity for the new professor, she, Snape, McGonagall, and Dumbledore had been waiting for the imminent explosion.

Snape had asked if he could sell tickets and even managed to procure the services of Colin Creevy should an opportunity for pictures arise.

His eyes narrowed. "This isn't funny, Hermione. I came to teach at Hogwarts to escape the fortune-hunters and hero-worshippers."

"Of course it's not funny."

"Then are you laughing so hard? If you weren't my best friend, I'd hex you."

She raised an eyebrow. "No, you'd have hexed Ron ages ago. You're afraid I'll retaliate."

He looked scandalized. "Not so loud! I'm supposed to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Preeminent curse-breaker and demon-hunter. Defender of the Innocent and all that stuff. It's not good for my reputation if it gets out that I have a deep, well-ingrained fear of our sweet little Charms professor."

She chuckled, even as she smacked his arm. "Dammit, Harry, say something to your students. You smile and tease them, and they think you love this! You're going to get slapped with another paternity suit if you don't put a stop to this."

He muttered something under his breath that she thought sounded an awful lot like "hard to father children by yourself" but she wasn't certain.

"Do shut up, Harry. I don't want to hear about your love life, or lack thereof," she hissed, hoping that no one overheard them.

Harry just glared at her while shoveling yogurt down his throat.

"I could see if you were twelve doing that, but you're not. Didn't you learn any etiquette anywhere?"

Thankfully, he waited until he swallowed before he spoke. "Sure. Probably absorbed it from you. However, I am diligently trying to repulse my fan-club with my disgusting eating habits."

"You're an idiot, and only disgusting me. They probably want to reform you. Go teach your class and do try to tell them to leave you alone."

As he finished—really, it couldn't be healthy doing that—he gave her a jaunty salute, and she rolled her eyes. Even knowing Harry Potter for fifteen years, she still had the simultaneous urge to laugh and strangle him.

She wondered if she'd ever get over it.

_________

"A dementor is a creature that once guarded Azkaban prison. They feed off the positive emotions of... yes, Miss Gardner?"

She giggled, and he silently groaned. "Well, we all heard that when you were a third year—"

He interrupted her before she could begin extolling his long and glorious virtues, all while twirling the long hair that hovered just above her glorious bosom. "Yes, yes, that was a long time ago, and I was very lucky not to be killed. As I was saying...yes, Miss Hingle?"

The Ravenclaw girl looked up at him with what were unmistakably 'bedroom eyes'. A number of the boys in the class shifted. "Professor, were you scared?"

Lauren Bacall's husky tones had never sounded so good on a seventeen-year old. However, it just grated on Harry's nerves. "Of course I was. I was thirteen," he gritted out. "Now, as I was saying, the dementors feed off the positive emotions of humans and wizards; after prolonged exposure..." He sighed when he saw another hand in the air. "Yes, Miss Bedford-Browne?"

"Is it true that your Patronus is a stag?" This was asked as Miss Bedford-Browne uncrossed and re-crossed her legs, and then leaned forward to expose the cleavage exposed by her scantily-buttoned cardigan. More boys shifted.

Harry felt his rather strong patience snap. While it had taken 'til February, he'd felt it fraying for a long time.

The air crackled around him and the green eyes that usually sent the sixth and seventh-year witches into swoons were burning with anger.

"That's it! If I have one more interruption of any kind, your entire class will receive detention with Mr. Filch, and I will take fifty points from both houses. Is that clear?"

Everyone seemed startled at their laid back professor's temper. If they'd ever wondered how their mild-mannered teacher managed to defeat the greatest Dark wizard in nearly a century, they didn't now. "Yes, professor."

"Good. Wizards exposed to dementors for too long lose their powers..."

___________

Snape shook his head in patent disgust. "That's it?"

"Apparently," Hermione said, disappointed. "But I don't think this is the end. My guess is they think he's playing hard to get."

He chuckled softly. "I almost feel sorry for him." Then he noticed Harry, disheveled and harried, entering the Great Hall for dinner. "I never thought I'd ever feel pity for James Potter's offspring, but..."

Hermione snorted. "He brought this on himself. If he'd just make an announcement or something, he wouldn't have to worry anymore."

Snape sneered at her and she had the strange feeling that she was eleven again. "Miss Granger, that's just stupid."

Okay, so she'd acknowledge that, but not to him. "That's Professor Granger to you."

He smirked, then snorted when he saw the fear in Harry's eyes as he sat down at the Head Table. "The great Potter brought down by teenage girls?"

Harry's eyes narrowed. "I'm not going to dignify that with an answer."

"Poor—" Hermione stepped in to prevent herself from being caught in the line of sarcastic fire.

"If everyone doesn't stop 'poor Harrying' me, I'm going to explode."

Hermione held up her hands in surrender. "Just trying to offer a little sympathy."

Instead of answering her, he piled his plate with roast turkey, scalloped potatoes, grilled goat cheese, and steamed vegetables. "I need a plan," he mumbled.

"You need a backbone," she retorted.

He turned his gaze to hers, and she felt the rumblings of a crush she'd never completely quashed and probably never would. "Would you help me?"

She could fight with him and lose in the end, or she could give in and make it seem like it was her idea. "What's your goal?"

"For all of the witchfolk to stop seeing me as the Quidditch World Cup trophy. Permanently."

She made a face. "Then you have three options."

"Just three?"

"Just three," she confirmed. How he'd like any of them was anyone's guess.

"Well?" he asked, shoving some asparagus into his mouth.

"Welllll....first you could become a hermit."

"No."

"Thought not. Ok...you could announce you're gay, but that'd just get all the wizards stirred up."

"Especially Malfoy," he added maliciously.

"He's not gay; he's been married for a year!"

Harry shrugged. "He's bidding his time."

"I'm not discussing this with you. Your last option is marriage, though Merlin, Harry, with the way you eat, it'd be impossible to get someone to tolerate you," she said, averting her eyes before she was forced to turn him into a pig and insult pig-kind.

"Marriage?"

Frankly, she was surprised that food didn't shoot out of his mouth.

"Yes, you should get married, if only to scare off the fortune-hunters. But then you've got to worry about the home-wreckers..."

His face fell. "My bachelorhood, my poor bachelorhood."

She rolled her eyes. "What bachelorhood? That implies that you date, socialize, and meet new women."

"I meet new women..."

"Eleven-year olds don't count."

"I go to the Three Broomsticks every other week—"

"As a chaperone! Face it, Harry, you've got less of a life than Madam Pince. Dumbledore probably sees more action than you!"

Snape, much to his chagrin, decided to listen in at that moment. "Gods, Granger, I did not need to hear that." He shuddered. "Excuse me, I need to give some Gryffindors detention to get rid of that unholy thought."

"See, Hermione, you're even scaring Snape away," Harry complained. "Plus, I've got this horrible visual running through my mind..."

"Come off it. So, we need to find you a wife. Preferably one not attending Hogwarts as a student."

"And someone that won't be easily intimidated by the media or students throwing themselves at me."

"Someone who commands respect in the wizarding world, as well, as of course, having yours," Hermione added.

"She has to be kind and like cats—"

"Are you looking for a nanny or a wife?" Hermione smirked. Still, she couldn't prevent the first stirrings of unease from knotting in her stomach.

A brilliant idea struck Harry. He wondered why he hadn't seen it sooner. It was perfect. The most wonderful solution to all of his problems and she'd been right in front of him for most of his life.

"Oh no, Harry, I don't like that look," Hermione protested.

"She's the perfect answer. Well-respected, well-liked, loves cats, almost impossible to intimidate, a professor here at Hogwarts, and commands the respect of all the students here."

Hermione blushed. "Why, Harry—"

"She's been staring me right in the face since Day One. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner."

She smiled beatifically. "Well, you can be a bit thick sometimes, but—"

"I mean, Professor McGonagall's absolutely perfect, don't you think?"

"Pro-pro-professor Mc...Gonagall?"

"Sure you're all right, Hermione?" he asked, distracted. He was already thinking of where he could find gold and red roses to send to the Deputy Headmistress.

"I...I...I'm fine." She looked confused, then stared at him as if seeing him for the first time. "Harry, are you all right?" 

He smiled reassuringly. "Never better. Do you think she'd like Swiss chocolate?"

To be continued...