A Night By the Fire

It was nearly midnight when the stern Gryffindor Head of House and Transfiguration teacher, Minerva McGonagall, finally put down her quill for the evening. While, normally, she did indeed look strict, she looked quite different tonight. For starters, her hair was down out of its customary bun and she was very relaxed. It wasn't that she was tired, being in the Order had her used to long nights. She simply had decided that straining her eyes in order to grade her sixth years' papers was ridiculous. There would plenty of time for that the following day. She sighed and looked over at her best friend and lover. She rose from her armchair and walked behind Xiomara Hooch to massage her shoulders. Knowing the answer even before she opened her mouth to speak, she asked, "What are you reading?"

Xiomara groaned. "That feels so good. Very relaxing." She closed the book, but kept her page, and lifted it to show Minerva the answer to her question.

Minerva laughed. "Quidditch through the ages, again?" she asked. "Don't you know that entire book by heart?"

Xiomara turned in her chair and looked at Minerva with fake indignation. "For your information, I had almost forgotten the founder." This was a rouse. In actuality, Xiomara Hooch was one of few who had the entire book memorized, cover to cover, even before she had ridden a broom.

Minerva glared while trying not to laugh, "You lie. You have never forgotten a single piece of information even slightly related to quidditch. The only reason you knew my name, all through our first year of dating is because I had been on the quidditch team with you."

Xiomara shrugged and dropped her act. "You know me all too well. I can't hide anything from you. But that's not entirely true. I knew your name. And it had nothing to do with the fact that you were a fantastic chaser. It was more to with…" her eyes strayed from Minerva's face down her body.

Minerva laughed and hit Xiomara playfully on the arm. "Now stop that! You cannot honestly tell me that you only remembered me because of my body!"

"That wasn't the only reason. It was also because I had heard a rumor. Which, by the way, was not a rumor, if I say so myself." Minerva looked shocked.

"What was the rumor?"

"That you were an amazing shag." Xiomara laughed.

Minerva's eyes widened farther. "People heard about that?"

"It was true?" Xiomara asked, honestly shocked.

Minerva's lips spread in a playful smile. "You weren't the only one who got around while waiting for a date." she informed her lover. Xiomara had been known to have been quite the… Well, let's just say she got around. Minerva then began to walk away.

Xiomara caught her by the hand. "Who?" her eyes pleaded.

Minerva gave in. "If you must know, and apparently you must, Albus. And Severus. And Poppy." Hooch's eyes widened considerably. Minerva bit her lip and sat down on the arm of chair opposite Xiomara. "And Sibyll." she finished.

"DAMN, Minnie! You bedded the headmaster? Not to mention, the crazy old bat? And… Severus?"

"Well, I had been very depressed, cause I had just heard that you had hooked up with Lucius Malfoy, again, and I had too much fire whisky… And Albus had found me sitting by the quidditch pitch, drunk off my ass, and he offered to help me back to my room. On the way, I had started talking. And I got him talking. And he admitted that he was in love with me. And, as I said, I was drunk off my ass, so, on the way to the common room, I pulled him into his quarters. And… let's just say the fire whisky went to my head and the next morning, I awoke in his bed and I put two and two together. He refused to look me in the eye for several years after that." Minerva laughed.

"That doesn't explain Severus." Xiomara said, also laughing. They were far past the jealousy stage. They both knew that they were meant for each other.

Minerva groaned. "Do I have to?" Xiomara nodded. "Well, that was an experiment, one might say. See, I had realized that I didn't like men, at all, but I wanted to, you know, make sure." Minerva laughed. "I explained it all to Severus and he was all too willing. I suppose he also had heard the rumor. It had, after all, happened after the whole thing with Albus. I wanted to not be drunk, though. Since I was drunk when I had been with Albus, I couldn't remember if I had liked it or if I had felt anything. " Xiomara's eyes widened. "Emotionally, you dolt." Minerva laughed again.

"But Sibyll?" Xiomara repeated.

"I notice that you haven't asked about Poppy at all." Minerva pointd out.

"Well, yeah." Xiomara said. "You weren't the only one who got with her." Xiomara and Minerva laughed.

"I cannot believe it. All these years and you finally admit that you were only interested in me because of rumors and my body." Minerva laughed.

"Don't be ridiculous, Min. I was interested in you because I knew what a caring soul you were. I was elated when you had said yes. You body, while a gift from God himself, was not the reason I liked you. It was something I liked, but it was not the reason. If it had just been your body, I would've asked you out long before I did. You meant so much more to me than that." Xiomara said honestly, immediately removing the playfulness of the whole conversation.

Minerva's eyes shone with tears. "Oh, 'Mara!" Minerva jumped from her seat and ran to Xiomara, engulfing her in a hug. "I love you!"

Xiomara, while shocked, was pleased. She returned the hug.

When Minerva released Xiomara from the hug, she said, "I'm going to bed. Coming, darling?" Minerva walked to the room they shared.

"No. I'm going to stay up a little later. I'm not tired." She opened her book and began reading.

"That's," Minerva began from the doorway, "kind of the point." Xiomara put down her book and turned to stare at Minerva. She had done a spell by this time and she was wearing her night clothes, and they were quite see-through.

Xiomara Hooch grinned. "I've clearly taught you well!"

"You didn't teach me everything. In fact, there are quite a few things I've been wanting to teach you." Minerva McGonagall turned around and sauntered into their room.

It took Xiomara Hooch a full thirty seconds to jump out of her arm chair and sprint into the room that Minerva had just gone into, throwing her book in her hurry.

Giggles were heard as Quidditch Through the Ages, which had landed in the fire, burned in the fireplace.

There would be no more reading this night.