Disclaimer: All Harry Potter people, places, things, or ideas (Harry Potter nouns) belong to J.K. Rowlings. Olivia McGonagall, Ferris Longbottom, and Eudora are mine.
Chapter 13: A rainbow and clear skies.
Livie turned, hearing visitors. "Mum!" she exclaimed as Minerva raced over to her and threw her arms around her. "Mum, you're hugging me too tightly; I can't breathe."
Minerva instantly lessened her hold. "I'm just glad you are alright. The healer said you'll spend another day here and then go back to the Hogwarts infirmary for a few days."
Severus walked over and hugged Livie also. "Everything will be fine, Poppet, just as I told you."
When they pulled back, Livie smiled and shook her head. "No, Dad, things will be fine just like I told you."
"Dad? Oh bloody hell!" Ron declared.
Severus looked over his shoulder at the others and sighed. "You have a few other guests if you feel up to it."
"Oh, I would definitely like to see them," Livie responded.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny surrounded the bed. "How are you feeling?" Hermione asked.
Livie smiled at them. "I'm quite well, thank you."
Harry took a deep breath before speaking. "I can't tell you how sorry I am about your being hurt because of me. I should have paid more attention to my surroundings. If I had only-"
"Stop blaming yourself for something that wasn't your fault. You could not have prevented it. I don't hold you responsible in any way," Livie interjected. "Am I not a Gryffindor? A defended my friend and that is what matters."
"Alright then. In that case, would you like us to bring your homework to you when you return to Hogwarts?" Harry asked.
She smirked. "You had better."
Livie returned to Hogwarts the following day and was sitting in her usual seat in her classes later the same week. The Gryffindors were delighted to have her back and celebrated by playing Exploding Snap in the Common Room. Minerva and Severus had returned from dinner in the Great Hall to a quiet cup of tea in her rooms and a game of chess. They chatted halfway through the game.
Minerva's bishop sat on c3. "It's so nice to have her back. Bishop to a5," she stated.
Severus nodded and glanced at his rook on h6. "And I trust that the Gryffindors will keep a few things secret for now? Rook to h5."
"I'm certain that they would do nothing to purposefully put Livie in harm's way. Pawn to f5," she mentioned.
He grimaced as if he had eaten something sour. "Potter's still not the best person to befriend because of the trouble that tends to follow him. Rook to h3."
The rook pulverized the pawn and she rolled her, wishing that her other knight was still at g1 instead of d2. Then she remembered her other bishop, surprised that he had missed it. "One of these days you'll learn to give him a chance. Bishop to h3."
"Has the equator frozen over recently? Queen to h5," he remarked.
She sighed and shook her head. "I understand, but because I am the head of Gryffindor, I still must stand up for those in my house. You're too harsh on him. Bishop to f1."
He paused in his deciding between two moves and looked up at her. "Perhaps it's what he needs, to know someone won't let him get away with anything because of his notoriety. Queen to h4, check."
"I hadn't thought of it that way. I know you went to Hogsmeade the other day. Did you find anything interesting? Knight to g3," she added.
He grinned mischievously. "Wouldn't you like to know? I'll explain later. Queen to g3, check."
She scoffed as his queen stabbed her knight. "So, you've decided to keep secrets from me because I kept secrets from you? King to e2."
"No, I just have other plans, which I will explain in time. Queen to g4, check," he told her rationally.
She had crossed her knees under the table when something brushed the suspended foot. When she jumped in surprise, she hit her knee on the table, knocking over most of the remaining chess pieces. She glanced across the table at him and noticed the smug grin plastered onto his face.
"You're such a scoundrel. I know you did that on purpose this time," she chided him.
He laughed. "I hadn't intended for the pieces to fall over though."
She shook her head and smiled wryly. "I suppose it is late and we ought to call it a night and retire for the evening."
He nodded and stood as she put the chess game away. Cupping her face in his hands, he leaned toward her as they reached her door. Suddenly she found herself pressed up against the wall. He kissed her tenderly and she could not find the will to pull away and kissed him back.
"I'm tired of always letting you leave," she whispered.
"And I'm tired of leaving," he told her, kissing her passionately. Slowly, almost reluctantly, he pulled back and did something that she considered odd.
With great effort, he got down on one knee and fumbled with is robe, looking for something. Minerva raised an eyebrow. "Severus, what are you kneeling for? You have bad knees," she commented.
He seemed to find what he was looking for as he removed a black velvet box. Taking her left hand, he spoke. "This is the plan I mentioned earlier. I should have been telling you every day how much I love you. I realized what a fool I had been when Livie was hurt. All these years and I never told you anything."
"I didn't have to hear it to know that you loved me. Sometimes what is understood is more important than what is said," she remarked.
Opening the box, he removed a ring of white gold with three small diamonds in it and two emeralds on the sides. "I love you, Minerva McGonagall, with all my heart. I would be honoured if you would be my wife. Will you marry me?"
She gasped in surprise, having not expected anything like that. Then she touched his face. Making a motion for him to stand, she leaned in to kiss him lightly and slipped the ring onto her finger. "I love you, so very much. I would be most honoured to be your wife. My answer is yes."
Both were grinning like Cheshire cats, not quite certain what should be done next. Then he kissed her deeply. She responded and the two exchanged kisses for several minutes. Having undone her collar slightly, he began kissing her neck and then her collarbone. Their foreheads met for a moment.
"Stay," she whispered.
"I want…" he trailed off, unsure of her reaction.
Her eyes met his with anticipation and… longing? Both saw the depth of feeling in the other. One look explained everything they had been through together over the last twelve years. "Yes?" she asked.
"You," he replied. Their lips met again with passion as he kissed her hungrily. Somehow they made their way to Minerva's room.
Severus did not leave that evening. An alarm clock buzzed the following morning and Minerva reached out to turn it off. As she became more conscious, she realized something was not quite as it usually was. Having uncovered her arm to shut off the clock, she realized that she was cold and tried to gather the sheet again. Then she noticed her robes in a pile on the floor.
Why on earth are my clothes on the floor? Oh Merlin! Of all the things to… she thought to herself as she looked to her right. Severus lay there snoring. Oh well, there are worse habits than snoring I suppose. I probably purr in my sleep. She wrapped the sheet around her and nudged him. "Severus, it is morning."
He became only semiconscious. "Yes, and I believe it is Saturday as well. Minerva, I must say your couch is better than usual."
She held the sheet over her mouth to muffle a giggle. "Severus, open your eyes."
He blinked and then fully opened his eyes when he realized where he was. A blotch of pink appeared on his cheeks when he noticed is robes in a pile on the floor as well. He turned back to her and had trouble meeting her eyes. "It would seem that things may have gotten a little carried away last night, and I do apologize for-"
She cut him off with a light kiss and pointed out that she still wore the ring he had given her the previous evening. "Last night was twelve years overdue and I will not have my fiancé apologizing for something we both consented to."
"In that case, I'd like to get dressed and freshen up in my own rooms and then we can find something for breakfast," he stated.
"I'd like a morning shower first myself, but after that breakfast sounds reasonable," she responded. "It's a good thing Livie stays in the dormitory with the other students. We forgot to use a silencing charm last night."
He chuckled as he made his way to the door of her room. "We also forgot to lock the door."
She placed a hand over her mouth to muffle the laughter, but failed. "Oh dear. That one will definitely have to be remedied."
Livie was ecstatic when they told her that they were engaged. Minerva and Severus were married two weeks later in a quiet binding ceremony with only family and close friends. They took a weekend to Egypt for their honeymoon and returned to teach classes wearing wedding bands. They decided that keeping the previous last names would be safer at the moment, especially for Livie. Though their wedding bands were in plain view of the students no one, except a few Gryffindors who already knew, thought that they had married each other.
In June Livie, Severus, and Minerva were eating lunch as the sun glowed through the windows around noon. As Livie finished, she excused herself from the table to retrieve something. "What do you suspect she has?" Severus asked Minerva once Livie had left.
Minerva smiled. "I don't know what she has, but it is Fathers' Day."
He raised an eyebrow in curiosity. "Are you telling me that this year I can call myself one?"
She placed her hand on top of his, her wedding bland glistening. "You certainly may, and I'm sorry for denying you this for so long."
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. "I love you, for better or worse. Forgiven."
Livie emerged and politely cleared her throat. "I have something for you, Dad. Because it is Fathers' Day, I have made you a card." She handed him the card and he smiled brightly as he read it.
You have always been a father to me, even before I understood what one was. You have never let me down and you have always encouraged me. Thank you for being exactly the father I needed, and for always taking care of Mum.
Your daughter Livie."
He tried not to seem emotional as he pulled Livie into an affectionate hug. "Thank you, Poppet, for the card, for being who you are, and for helping your parents to see things clearly."
When he released Livie, Minerva walked over to him and leaned toward him. She kissed him soundly and whispered, "Happy Fathers' Day, Severus."
(my thanks to Quill of Minerva, Clove, MoroTheWolfGod, Lady of the Twilight Woods, Lou McGonagall, and Morgana-Alex for reviewing; I hope all of you have enjoyed reading this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it :D)
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