It was the day before Christmas holidays and the castle was covered in heavy snow. Most of the pupils were excited about the break. Hogwarts would be shut down this year for the holidays to renew some of the wards and everybody would be spending Christmas at home with their families. Harry would enjoy the holidays at the Burrow with Ron and his family, and only Hermione would be alone. Her parents would visit an aunt in the USA and Hermione didn't want to go with them. Not that her parents were sorry about it. She had become a stranger to them since she started attending Hogwarts and there was nothing she could do about it.
The young woman spent her last evening in the library, reading a book about Transfiguration when she heard the familiar voice of her headmaster.
"Good evening, Miss Granger. I trust everything is all right." The legendary Albus Dumbledore stood right beside her, smiling gently, wearing his favourite night blue robe and his eyes twinkling as usual.
"Yes, thank you Professor. I'm just enjoying the silence." Hermione sat a little straighter in her armchair, knowing that there was more to come.
"I see. I wondered if I might have a word with you in my office." His eyes suddenly seemed to lose a bit of that twinkle.
Hermione stood up immediately, nervously shifting her weight from one foot to the other. "Of course, Professor. Did I… I mean…hm…"
Seeing his student's distress the old man chuckled slightly. "No, my dear. You've done nothing wrong. Why is it that everyone thinks there is something wrong when I just want to talk? "
Hermione knew that the question was rhetorical, but the answer left her mouth before she could stop it. "Because there usually is something wrong when you want to talk with a student."
He couldn't help but laugh out loud. "You sound very much like a certain Transfiguration mistress I know. She told me just the same."
He offered her his arm and they slowly made their way to his office.
Being led to a small sitting area in front of the fire, Hermione sat down nervously, watching her headmaster conjuring two cups of hot chocolate.
"Now Miss Granger, I think you, unlike any other person here at Hogwarts, already know that your Professor McGonagall and I are in a relationship?"
The young woman couldn't look him in the eyes and blushed a deep shade of pink. "Well, I didn't know for sure, but I thought that much."
"It's all right Miss Granger. I trust you with our little secret, but that's not why I wanted to talk to you. I'm going to ask you a huge favour and I want you to know that I won't think any differently of you, should you choose not to do it." He looked at her very seriously.
Hermione could only nod. She was not comfortable at all with this situation and the headmaster began to scare her.
"You know that Hogwarts will be shut for the holidays and Professor McGonagall and I will spend Christmas at our manor. What you can't know is that she usually is very tired at this time of the year and needs as much rest as she can get. As you may have noticed your Professor is still suffering from the stunners that were cast upon her, and despite what she wants to make us all believe, she is not well. She needs care and that is where the problem lies. Sadly I need to spend many hours renewing the wards at Hogwarts and can't be there for her all day. I don't want her to be on her own during the holidays and I know she is very fond of you. That is why I ask you now if you would consider spending Christmas with us in our manor."
"Oh, well… I'd love to spend Christmas with Professor McGonagall and you." Hermione felt very relieved. No one was dead or hurt and she would not be alone during the holidays, but spending time with her two favourite professors instead.
"Are you sure?" He smiled reassuringly, wanting her to know that whatever decision she'd make would be all right.
"Yes, I'm very sure!" The young woman smiled brightly, wondering if Professor McGonagall knew of her husband's plans.
"Wonderful. Now we have little obstacle to master." The twinkling was back in his eyes as he looked at her hesitantly.
"Yes?" Of course there would be a catch in it…
"I don't think it would be wise to tell your Professor that you are coming over for Christmas to look after her, would it?" He sipped his cocoa, giving her time to let the new information sink in.
Hermione was deep in thought for a while. She didn't like the idea of lying to her beloved professor, but she knew the headmaster was right.
"No Professor, it certainly wouldn't. What can we tell her though?"
"I'm not sure, Miss Granger." Of course he knew what he'd like to tell her. The truth. That she needed Hermione as much as Hermione needed her this Christmas.
"Hm… maybe we could make it about me. That I don't want to be alone over the holidays or something." The young woman felt much better, knowing that she wouldn't exactly lie to her mentor.
"Yes, I think that sounds responsible. It'll be best if you take the train tomorrow and I'll come and pick you up at four." He smiled at the girl that so desperately tried not to lie to his wife. 'She really is a bright young witch. No wonder Minerva is so very fond of her.'
Hermione nodded in agreement and stood up, heading for the door. "Good night Professor Dumbledore."
"Good night, my dear. Sleep well," he said as he followed her to close the door.
Hermione didn't bother unpacking her belongings. Soon Professor Dumbledore would come to pick her up.
Exactly twenty minutes later he apparated with a small 'pop'directly into the living room, where his young student was sitting, reading a book.
"Ah, Miss Granger are you ready?" he greeted smiling gently at her.
Hermione stood up at once, eager to get away from this lonely house. "Yes sir. I didn't unpack. How do we get there?"
"We'll apparate," he said cheerfully, grabbing the young woman's bag. "Just hold on to me."
A few seconds later Hermione found herself in a small room with beautiful furniture.
"This is your room, Miss Granger. Do you want to unpack first or shall we inform my wife of your presence?"
"I think I want to meet Professor McGonagall first." Hermione replied nervously.
"It's all right Miss Granger. She will be delighted to see you." He patted her shoulders soothingly. "Come on."
I hope you liked it. Please review! …and thank you my dearest beta!!!