A/N This chapter is definitely M rated... just warning you :-)

Chapter 31

There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

- Hamlet

"Professor Dumbledore," Dippet said in a voice that was too calm for comfort. "Miss McGonagall. Pardon the interruption. The Ministry needed these documents delivered immediately, and I could not reach you, Albus. I thought perhaps you'd gone on holiday. As it appears, you were merely temporarily… indisposed."

"It's not what it looks like, Sir," said Minerva, avoiding his eyes.

Dippet raised an eyebrow. "I'm quite certain it is, Miss McGonagall."

"I'm quite certain that you are correct, Armando," added Albus, and Minerva actually felt her cheeks redden. "But Minerva is famous for telling people that she's sure it cannot be what they think it is, even when we all know that it is precisely as we think."

"She's practically a child, Albus!" Dippet exclaimed, slamming the parchment in his hands down on the desk with a faint thud.

"I assure you, Armando, that Minerva is no child."

"She was your student! She is your student!"

"She is not a Hogwarts student. She is merely continuing her studies at Hogwarts."

"Is that… is that why you arranged… It's been a well over a decade since the last time you agreed to take someone on for Animagus training."

Albus quickly strode to his desk, facing Armando, who was on the opposite side.

"Are you asking me if I brought her here to be my mistress, Armando?"

Minerva felt her stomach flutter. How could the Headmaster think such a thing of her?

"Minerva!" snapped Albus. "I've grown rather tired of this desk."

The young witch was momentarily perplexed. "Excuse me?"

"Armando, you are going to write, on this piece of parchment, what you would like to see in place of this desk. Make it specific. Then, you will hand it to me. I will look it over to be sure it is possible. Then, without looking at the paper, Minerva will do the necessary Transfiguration."

Minerva shook her head. "But, I…"

"You can do it," he dismissed with a wave of his hand. Hurriedly Dippet scribbled something on the parchment and handed it to Albus, who continued with his instructions. "Just remember, as is true with Animagus Transfiguration, you must start by clearing your mind."

"Oh!" Minerva exclaimed, catching on.

"Really, Albus," Armando started, "What will this prove?"

"You think that I would waste time bringing a woman here for anything other than education purposes? Do you think that Miss McGonagall earned this position using something other than her incredible mind? I will show you a little of what she has learned."

And with that, he looked into her eyes, and she felt him entering her mind. Rather than force him out, as she had become accustomed to doing, she kept her head clear and empty, and waited for him to plant a false vision. Suddenly, clear as if she were seeing it right in front of her, she was looking at his desk as it changed itself. She took off her coat. She pulled out her wand. She smiled.

With a wave of her wand, using wordless magic, the desk became an ornate fountain. In the center stood a statue of a male warrior. Around the base swam a single beautiful swan.

For a long moment, no one spoke. Finally, Headmaster Dippet nodded and looked at Minerva.

"You have always been top of your class. This Transfiguration, though exceptionally advanced, does not surprise me. I am curious, however, as to how it was you managed to read my mind."

"Transfiguration is not my only talent, Sir," she said simply.

He snorted. "Clearly." She felt her cheeks flush with anger.

"I am not the kind of girl to go around sleeping my way to success, Headmaster! I will have you know that, on my NEWTS, I scored-"

Albus cut her off before she could finish her sentence. "Now you've angered her. I'd advise you to stand back. Things tend to explode when she gets terribly angry. Not on purpose, mind. She just hasn't learn to properly or completely control that particular emotion yet. We're working on it."

To illustrate his point, Minerva's non-wand hand flicked just slightly, and one of the vases on Albus's mantle shattered.

Her lover smiled at her fondly, as if she had just scored top marks on a difficult exam. "See?"

Armando sighed. "Yes, of course, I do apologize Miss McGonagall. I intended no disrespect. It's merely… a shock, that's all."

"I am sorry that you found out this way," said Albus in a calm, quiet voice.

The Headmaster nodded. "Just one thing. One question I must have answered. How long, Albus?"

"That seems to be the most important query for those very few who have discovered our secret: 'How long.'"

"If she was a student, Albus," the Headmaster began, but his Deputy interjected.

"She most certainly was not."

"She's so young, Albus. Miss McGonagall, you should be out in the world, making friends, finding your own future, meeting nice young men…"

"I'm quite content just where I am, Sir."

Dippet sighed. "If the Governors learn of this…"

"They will not. Unless you tell them. In which case I hope you would have the decorum to avoid the use of Miss McGonagall's name, as a woman's reputation is of the utmost importance in our society."

"Yes, well… of course, of course I would not… Just, please, Albus, for my own peace of mind, how long, how long exactly?"

"Only since Christmas," Albus lied, and it was Minerva's turn to raise an eyebrow. Why hadn't he told the truth? They hadn't done anything wrong!

"So this is, this was…"

"We have just returned from our very first date," Albus supplied. "Isn't that right, Minerva?"

Minerva nodded. At least that much was true. They had never been on a date prior to the matinee that afternoon!

"A relationship! Here, at Hogwarts, where anyone could discover it!"

"Is a relationship here at Hogwarts really such a foreign concept to you, Armando?" Albus blue eyes twinkled. "Shall I ask Galatea her thoughts on the matter"

"That is entirely… that is to say… nothing similar in those situations… I mean, not that there is a situa… Very well then. If you keep this quiet, I will. But tread carefully, won't you? If any of the Governors learn about this… or the Wizengamot… or anyone else for that matter… Albus, you will be fired. No questions asked. Understood?"

Without waiting for an answer, Armando Dippet hurried from the office, papers in hand.

Suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of emotional exhaustion, Minerva shrunk back against the wall. "You lied to him, Albus," she said weakly. "You lied."

"I know, Min. And I'm sorry if it put you in an awkward position. But what was I going to tell him? That we've been sleeping together behind his back for months? That I made love to you that night he came knocking on my door after catching your friends out of bed? That I kissed you in the hallway over the summer, when you were pregnant and vulnerable? That I had you on your back on my couch the eve I returned from fighting Grindelwald and though I stopped when you asked me to, I certainly did not want to. Should I have told him that I found myself on top of you in my bed four days later, that I held you close to me all night, that I wanted you so much it hurt? Or should I have been completely honest and revealed that I lusted after you when you were in my seventh year Transfiguration class, studying for your NEWTS. That I love the way you look so determined when facing a difficult task, biting your lip until it starts to bleed, the way your eyes light up when you find success, and how even then I wanted to…" his voice trailed off at the realization he'd confessed more than he'd ever intended.

"You noticed me when I was a student?" she asked.

"I… I'm not proud to admit that, Minerva…" He avoided her eyes but took a step forward.

"That night, in your bed, when we just slept… you wanted me then?"

"Oh, Minerva, wasn't it obvious? I'm ashamed of myself for that, too, Min. You were so… so vulnerable. Exposed, fragile. In pain. You needed comfort and reassurance and… and you did not need to be lying beside a man who had been inappropriately fantasizing about you for months…"

She reached her hand out toward him and he stretched his to meet hers. "But you didn't act on it," she pointed out, pulling him to her.

"No, I most assuredly did not act on it." He allowed her to pull his hand until their intertwined fingers rested beside her thigh; their bodies nearly flush against each other. "I had no intention of taking advantage of you. But I desperately wanted to. It was a struggle, every time we were near each other. I had to force myself not to pick you up and carry you to bed and show you how I felt about you. How I feel about you. And that is why I am so ashamed of myself."

"You have nothing to be ashamed of, Albus," she whispered.

"It was a terrible… I was terrible… I should not have been thinking about you in that way. Not then. And especially not when you were a Seventh Year. That was… for lack of a better word, Minerva, that was… bad. It was wrong."

"There is no good or bad, Albus," she countered, "But thinking makes it so."

He stepped back, away from her, just a little. "Hamlet," he said. "You certainly have been doing a lot of reading, haven't you?"

She leaned forward, just the tiniest bit. "Tonight I plan to start Act One of Macbeth."

He laughed and rested his body against hers. "I do love you."

"You know," she said quietly, her lips barely an inch from his ear. "You could have had me. Any of those times. Even when I was a student. I would have given myself to you."

"And that would have been very wrong," he countered, but she heard the way his breathing hitched a little.

"You could have given me detention," she went on. "I might have had to make up for my previous transgression by doing some sort of menial labor. Physical labor. Dusting the desk, perhaps. Straightening out your papers. Polishing the wood…"

"Minerva," he groaned. He tried to back away but her hands moved to his chest and took hold of his coat, pulling him back. He allowed her to unbutton the coat and push it off his shoulders onto the floor. "That would have been very wrong," he repeated with less conviction.

"I could have taken advantage of you, Professor. You could have been sitting in your chair, watching me work, when I'd turn and without warning slide onto your lap, in just my blouse and skirt, and I would have kissed you and you would have liked it. And we might have ended up just like this, on top of the desk, just like…"

"Min," he interjected, but rather than finish his thought he captured her lips with his in a kiss that was rougher than any the two had ever experienced together. He pressed against her, pinning her against the wall, and she elicited a moan as his mouth moved to her throat. Suddenly she felt herself being lifted off the ground. Instinctively she wrapped her legs around his waist as he pushed even harder against her. She could feel his desire through his Muggle trousers and she moaned again.

"Right here," he whispered huskily. "I'm going to take you right here."

She gasped as one of his strong hands gripped her thigh and the other slid around to her lower back, between her body and the wall. "Yes, yes, please."

"I don't care if it's wrong," he said as he moved his mouth to her neck.

"There is no right or wrong," she replied, "but thinking makes it so."

"You make it, difficult, for me, to think, sometimes, Minerva," he admitted between kisses. She heard the sound of his zipper and felt his weight shift. "I need you, Minerva," he said, and in response she pressed her lips to his in another searing kiss. "Shall I take you to bed?"

"I thought you were planning to take me right here," she replied. He needed no further invitation.

He slid her skirt up to her waist and with a flick of his hand her panties disappeared. She gasped with pleasure when he entered her.

"Oh Albus," she sighed into his shoulder. "How I love you."

"I don't want to hide, Minerva," he said as he thrust into her. "I don't want you to be my secret. I want to take you to the highest tower and shout to the world that I love you. I want to put a ring on your finger and a baby in your belly and give you a home and a future and my name. I don't want you to go out and make new friends or meet nice young men; I want you to be mine, to be with me, to stay with me. I've never felt this way about anyone, Minerva. Not ever. Not like this. I love you. I love you."

"I know, Albus, I know," she replied as he exploded inside her, physically and emotionally exhausting both of them. "I only want you, ever."


Sorry this took awhile! Lost power for over a week thanks to Hurricane Irene. Lame. Then went back to work the day after the lights came back on. Slowed me up a bit, but I'm good now. Got the next two and a half chapters almost ready for posting, though I'm tweaking things a little. I have two ways I might go with this fic. One would involve it ended in about four chapters, but leave possibility for a sequel. The other would mean it would be a bit longer, but no sequel. Or, I suppose, I could make it a lot longer and write the sequel as part of this fic. IDK. Any opinions? I'd love to hear! Thanks for reading and reviewing, and thanks for the PMs!