Authors Note: This is my retelling of 'Fair Warning' by Kiss This – originally a HG/RL fic – so with their kind permission....................enjoy!
Minerva McGonagall was sitting in her office, they had recently finished repairing the damage to the school and the students had all taken their exams. Needless to say this generated an inordinate amount of paperwork, she also had her normal marking to do and in addition Snape had left stacks of unfinished work behind him. It had been days since she had managed to eat more than tea and biscuits, surviving with meagre sleep she was running on caffeine but the end was in sight.
A confident knock sounded on her office door. Minerva muttered something under her breath, irritated beyond belief at the countless interruptions she had experienced over the last few weeks. She didn't want to spend the summer vacation at Hogwarts catching up on paperwork, she needed a respite after a stressful year and people constantly disrupting her work did not help. She dropped her quill onto her blotter, suddenly feeling very tired.
"Enter." The single word held as much ire as Minerva's voice could possibly contain without actually being rude. She glared up from her paperwork as the door slowly opened, the expression on her face softened as she recognised her protégé. "Good evening Miss Granger." She smiled warmly, truly glad to see the young woman, her irritation completely forgotten in that instant.
Hermione walked inside the room quietly closing the door behind her. She stood just inside the threshold, with her hands stuffed in her trouser pockets – Minerva frowned, even Hermione's posture was slightly uncharacteristic, a little odd. It was also strange for the young woman to be out of her uniform and in muggle clothes this early in the evening.
"Good evening Professor."
"If you are here regarding the grading of your extra credit work........."
"No, I'm not." She shook her head with an understanding smile. "I know that you have a lot to do and I am in no particular hurry."
"Thank you." Minerva's words were heartfelt, she had so many demands on her time that it was a relief not to be harried by the eager young woman. She had actually been saving Hermione's essays for the times when she was swamped under inferior work and needed something to restore her faith in basic human intellect.
"Is there anything I can do to help Professor?"
"I am afraid not Miss Granger but I do appreciate the offer."
"Then may I make a suggestion?"
"By all means."
Hermione paused, "It has been several days since you have had a meal in the great hall, the elves are planning some kind of celebratory feast, perhaps you would attend?" Her words were couched extremely diplomatically, not wanting to offend Minerva.
Minerva glanced again at the huge stack of paperwork with a sigh, "Perhaps I should." She hesitated for a moment knowing that she would need to tidy herself up, "I will be down in a few minutes."
Hermione nodded understandingly but made no move to leave the doorway, nor did she say anything.
The Headmistress looked at the young woman intently, her behaviour had been odd from the moment she had walked into the office. She was still standing with her hands in her pockets, her continuing behaviour making Minerva more concerned by the second. "Was there something else Miss Granger?" She frowned.
Finally Hermione's hands came out of her pockets, her footsteps quiet as she walked across the room to stand in front of Minerva's desk. She engaged the older woman in a moment of intense eye contact before crossing her arms over her chest, Minerva couldn't read the expression in those chocolate eyes, didn't know if Hermione's arm position was defensive or resolute.
"I have something that I need to say Minerva and it's important that you don't interrupt me or say anything until I am finished."
Minerva was shocked, Hermione had never used her first name before nor had she ever invited the younger woman to do so. Hermione's brown eyes were deadly serious, imploring Minerva to do as she had asked.
She leant back in her chair giving Hermione her full attention. "O...K..." She drew out her assent, knowing that Hermione was smart enough to understand her reservations about giving her consent.
"I like you."
Minerva raised an eyebrow in shock.
"More accurately I am attracted to you and I have feelings for you."
Minerva retained enough presence of mind to close her mouth once she realised that her jaw had dropped open in surprise at Hermione's statements.
Hermione held one hand up warningly, "You promised to let me finish remember. In your head you are probably going through all the problems with this, believe me I have already done that."
Her posture was ramrod straight, resolute and unbending. "Shall we go through them together? I am not under the influence of anything; this is not a dare, a game or a mere crush. I am not reacting to the recent trauma of the battle of my experiences during the last year, nor am I drunk. I've told Harry and Ron how I feel and they're fine with it. I couldn't care less if you were a leprechaun much less a woman."
"I am well aware of the age difference between us and I do apologise for putting you in an impossible position. I've been attracted to you... have cared for you for as long as I can remember. For the longest time I tried to ignore my feelings but I cannot deny them any more." She shrugged for a moment before turning that intense gaze back onto Minerva.
"Maybe it's the passion you have for your work, your immense intelligence, the sound of your voice as it washes over me. Or the way that your eyes change colour with your emotions, how they sparkle in the sunlight or gleam in the light of a candle that makes me want you."
She took a deep breath, "I cannot fight the way that I feel, nor can I help it. I never intended to tell you but this past year has made me reconsider what is important, so I wanted to give you forewarning..."
Unblinking intense eyes met Minerva's in a bold, daring, yet tender communication, "Graduation is in seven days... on the eighth day I will be at your door. The question is...will you let me in?"
For a long moment the two women stared at each other silently, Hermione unfolded her arms and cleared her throat. She had said all that she needed to and Minerva seemed shocked into speechlessness.
"See you at dinner Professor." Hermione politely excused herself and left the office.
A.N. So..........What do you think? Shall I continue this?