Disclaimer:  I own nothing but the pain. *wink*

It was one of the classic ironies in the wizarding world, or at least so Minerva McGonagall thought as she curled up around her hot water bottle and tried to ignore the feeling that someone had imbedded a flaming meteor in the cradle of her pelvis.  She was part of a hugely advanced culturally diverse nation, and yet they still hadn't been able to come up with an effective treatment for period pain.  It didn't seem like too much to ask, really.  At this time of the month she was choosing to blame it in the fact that potion brewing tended to be an art perfected by men, who naturally had little interest in such things.  It wasn't like it was always this bad, but it was Murphy's Law that the first month after Albus had been chased out of the school by that monster, that she would be woken in the middle of the night in not an inconsiderable amount of discomfort.  If she was honest, she should have been expecting it after the way she had torn into Dolores Umbridge even more regularly than was normal for her, but in any case that wasn't helping hugely at the moment.  She could tell by the way the sun was shining through the curtains that she was going to have to get up soon if she had any hope of being down in time for breakfast.  As she swung her legs over the side of the bed though, she came to the conclusion that maybe she could live without breakfast if it meant an extra half hour in bed, or even better, in the bath.  What she really wanted was to lie back down and have Albus rub her back.  To have him offer her chocolate frogs and to ask if she wanted him to cover her classes for her.  She wouldn't have said yes in any case, but the thought would have been there.  Just as she was pulling herself upright and trying to start rationalising the pain, she heard a gentle knock on her door.  Assuming it was a student she grabbed a dressing gown and threw it on before heading out to the living room.  Halfway there she paused to lean against the back of her sofa as a particularly strong wave of pain shot outwards, but quickly pushed it out of her thoughts again and continued on quickly.  To say she was surprised by whom she found standing there was something of an understatement.

"Severus?"  She asked shading her eyes against the brighter light that poured into the room from the corridor.

"Yes, it's me." He replied and she would have sworn there was a hint of amusement in his voice.

"Right…well you had better come in then."  She said opening the door a little further and stepping out of the way.  He did just that, and she noticed with a little regret that he was fully dressed and as well turned out as ever.

"I think we had better sit you down before you pass-out on me."  He said again with the hint of gentle amusement in his voice.

"What…?"  She asked feeling like she'd been left behind somewhere along the line, as he placed a guiding hand on her elbow and lead her towards the sofa.  He sat her down and handed her a pillow he had thoughtfully placed a warming charm on.  Curling up in the corner she broached the subject of why exactly he was there.

"Let's just say…" he began, "that I was a little concerned about your mental health after Monday's outburst."  She was fairly certain she blushed at this point in the proceedings.  "In any case I might have mentioned it to Albus in passing when I saw him yesterday."

"Oh."  Was all she said.

"Well, I didn't think you'd appreciate a back rub from me quite so much but… well, I couldn't sleep last night so I threw together something that might just help."  As he finished, he produced a flask from a pocket somewhere inside his robes.

"Thank you."  She said automatically as she took it from his out stretched hand.  She received one of the potion master's rare genuine smiles in return. 

"Well I didn't want Slytherin to loose any more points than was strictly necessary."  She smiled this time.

"I'll do my best."

"Yes well…. Anyway, one measure every four hours or so ought to do it.  It's pretty potent so don't over do it and if you have any side effects do let me know – I'd hate for any of my work to be considered unsatisfactory."  And with that he stood and left, closing the door quietly behind him and leaving Minerva staring after him in a state of shock. 

A/N:  I'll give you one guess what time of the month this was written at *wink*
Thanks to my fabulous beta, M – and please review *grin*