I own nothing but the plot!
During the late hours of the night, Minerva McGonagall patrolled the drafty corridors of Hogwarts as her feline counterpart, a gray tabby cat with square markings around her piercing green eyes. She pawed her way through the dimly lit hallways, parts of the castle rarely used by the mast body of Hogwarts students, checking to see that things were as they should be. She had a nagging feeling in the back of her mind that something wasn't right within the castle. Her tiny form continued to roam the corridors until she happened upon an old wooden door on the 6th floor of the castle, a door leading to an unused classroom.
Her tiny ears perked up as she heard something within the room. Her tiny paws traveled closer to the door that was cracked open just enough for Minerva squeeze into the classroom unseen. As soon as she entered the room, she recognized the noise she had heard as sobbing, uncontrolled sobbing that broke her heart. Her intense green eyes searched the dusty room for the source of the tears. The figure of a girl was huddled against the far corner wall sobbing uncontrollably. Minerva recognized the girl as a third year Gryffindor. Quietly Minerva transformed into her human form and made her way to the troubled girl. "Miss Granger," she said softly.
Hermione Granger was startled by the unexpected voice and immediately looked for the person that had spoken. Her watery chocolate eyes met the emerald eyes of her stern Transfiguration teacher and she hurriedly wiped her tears with the sleeve of her pink sweater. I was just leaving Professor, she said in a rushed tone as she attempted to get up.
Minerva frowned at the obviously troubled child and gently laid a hand on the girls shoulder to keep her in place. Puffy brown eyes watched as the stern professor slid down the wall and settled next to her. "What causes you so much grief Hermione," the teacher asked in an uncharacteristically soothing voice.
Hermione eyed the dark-haired witch before her carefully, cautiously, before taking a deep breath. Minerva pushed a stray curl from the young witch's face with her finger then allowed her hand to stroke the girl's hair gently, encouragingly. "I received a letter from my parents today and they want me to withdraw from Hogwarts, attend a normal school they claim. They gave me a choice, withdraw from Hogwarts or not come home at all. I simply cannot leave Professor," the girl cried then added, "I will not be subjected to their every whim."
"I am sure you misunderstood their meaning," the older witch said unsurely, not at all believing what the younger girl had said.
Hermione shook her head furiously before continuing, "My parents are serious. They are afraid of the Magical World; afraid I will end up like my birth mother and are attempting to prevent that from occurring by any means necessary. They do not realize that magic courses through my body, my soul, I could not leave it behind. I would rather stop breathing!"
"Birth mother," Minerva repeated she hadnt known the girl was adopted.
"Yes my birth mother," the younger one admitted. "I was adopted by the Grangers a few hours after I was born. My birth mother died in an attack by a Dark Wizard or at least that is what I was told."
"Your biological father," Minerva asked curiously.
Hermione chewed her bottom lip nervously before answering, "I don't even know who my father is."
"Perhaps it is for the best," Minerva said, understanding reflected in her eyes.
"If you say so Professor," the girl whispered before burying her face in her professor's robes and sobbing once more. Minerva wrapped her arms around the shaking form and rocked until the young witch fell asleep.
Two hours later, Minerva was still sitting on the cold stone floor leaning against the wall watching Hermione sleep, fitfully but sleeping nonetheless. Every few minutes the older witch would stroke the younger witch's hair and whisper soothing words. I am too old for this, she thought bitterly before shifting to find a more comfortable position.
"Minerva," a hard voice questioned, thoroughly startling Minerva.
She tenderly stroked Hermiones hair to sooth her fitful movements before raising her gaze to the owner of the harsh voice. A figure in billowing dark robes glared at her; however, she could see his concern as he stared at the sleeping girl. She unlike many of her colleagues understood the harsh strictness from the wizard in front of her and respected him because of it. It was the strictness that helped Hogwarts students become aware of the dangers surrounding them. "I came across Miss Granger while patrolling the castle. She was an emotional mess and poured her heart out to me then cried herself to sleep. I simply haven't the heart to wake her just yet," Minerva answered softly.
Severus Snape nodded briskly before silently making his way to the two witches. He withdrew his wand from its place in his robes and slowly levitated the sleeping girl up. The wizard politely offered the older woman his hand which she grasped to hoist herself up from the ground. "Thank you Severus," she offered as she dusted her robes off with her hands.
"No need for thanks," he sneered then headed out of the abandoned classroom with the levitating witch following behind him.
Minerva shook her head in bewilderment at the complexness of Severus Snape before hurrying after him. She figured she would never completely understand the man known as the sour potions master. She once thought she knew him quite well; however, that had been years ago. Since then a lot had happened and a rift had been formed between them. He had kept an air of mystery surrounding him since his return to Hogwarts so many years ago and for the most part ignored her altogether. Minerva longed to find the secrets he hid from her and rebuild their relationship but she doubted that would happen.
Hermione woke to the bright sun flittering in through the huge bay window. She raised her arms above her head and arched her back stretching her stiff muscles. Her eyes widened when her foggy mind rationalized that her room did not allow much sunlight to flitter in and that she was obviously not in her dorm room in Gryffindor Tower. Cautiously she opened her eyes and glanced about the room. It was quite a lovely room with dark wood furnishings contrasting against the deep red fabrics and warm wall colors.
"Did you have a nice sleep," a familiar yet pleasant voice asked.
The young witch turned towards the voice and saw Minerva McGonagall standing near the door. Instead of bulky teaching robes, she was wearing a simple light blue dress that showed more curves than the teacher normally did. Her raven hair was put up messily at the base of her neck and it softened the older witch's appearance dramatically. "Yes Professor," she answered shyly, feeling quite out of place and embarrassed at the moment.
Minerva saw the conflicting emotions on the young girls face and quickly made her way to the bed. She settled herself on the side of the bed and pulled Hermione into her embrace. She felt the teenager tense up and started to rub soothing circles on her back in the hopes she would relax. The young witch relaxed against the older one which caused a small smile to appear on the teacher's face. "You never should feel embarrassed around me Hermione," she cooed then added, "You are precious to me."
"Me precious," she stuttered with obvious doubt.
The older woman pushed a stray lock of hair out of the girl's face before clarifying, "Yes you are very precious to me."
Minerva settled further into her bed and encouraged Hermione to resettle against her. The older of the two gently ran her fingers through the girl's untamable locks while gathering her courage to explain why she cared for the girl so much. "I like to think if my daughter had survived she would be just like you."
Hermione lifted her head off of Minerva's shoulder and asked, "You had a daughter?"
Minerva nodded her head slightly before continuing her story, "She was an unexpected gift and one I knew from the start I would not be able to keep. I was unmarried and frequently dedicated most of my time to Hogwarts business. I knew I could not raise a child and had decided to give the baby up for adoption. Unfortunately my daughter died a few hours after her birth."
"That's horrible," Hermione whispered sadly as she snuggled closer into her mentor's embrace. "It must have been so hard for you to lose her."
"It was," the teacher whispered in a broken voice before admitting, "I was absolutely void of any emotions until you came to Hogwarts. I seem to have claimed you as a surrogate daughter without even realizing it."
"I'm glad you feel that way Professor," the girl said moments later then confessed, "I sometimes dream that you are my mother. In my dreams you rescue me from the Grangers cruelty and whisk me away to live with you."
"Are the Grangers cruel to you," Minerva asked suddenly concerned for the young witch in her arms.
Hermione chewed on her bottom lip nervously before admitting the truth, "Sometimes."
"Explain," came the brisk reply from her fierce Head of House.
Hermione realized her mentor was attempting to control her emotions and didn't mean to intentionally snap at her. Taking a deep breath the young witch answered, "Sometimes I am backhanded or locked in my room without food for a couple of days if my sarcasm or sharp tongue gets the better of me." Hermione took another deep breath and shakily continued, "Other times when my dad drinks I become a substitute for my mum."
"A substitute for your mum," the older witch said confusedly until her eyes widened in realization as the meaning of her words sunk in. "He touches you inappropriately?"
"He does more than touch me," Hermione sobbed then buried her face in her mentor's dress once again.
"How dare him," the older witch said, her Scottish accent more pronounced then usual. "You will not be going back to those people anymore."
"Honest," the younger witch asked hesitantly, unsure even, completely out of character for the brainy friend of Harry Potter.
Minerva nodded her head before she said, "You will be required to tell Professor Dumbledore and a few people from the Ministry of Magic about the abuse you suffered at the hands of the Grangers then magical families will have to fill out forms petitioning for your acceptance into their families."
"Petitions," the girl asked suddenly frightened by the idea. "Couldn't I just live with you?"
Minerva frowned before answering, "I am an unmarried witch and the Ministry of Magic usually frowns upon placing a child with a single parent unless there is a biological bond. The only way for them to place you with me would be if I was somehow biologically related to you."
"I don't know anyone biologically related to me," the girl complained then asked, "Will you still petition for me?"
"Nothing could stop me," the older whispered then planted a soft kiss to the girl's hairline.