Authors Note: Enjoy the update folks.
It's now 11 days until my next trip to the USA, hopefully I will put out the next chapter of Exile by then too.

Minerva stirred slowly the next morning, feeling muscles complain when she moved. Her sleepy eyes looked over at the other pillow to see a mass of tangled unruly curls spread out over the smooth cotton. With a smile she reached out to caress Hermione's hair and began to remember the night before.

The softness of a full breast cupped in her hand...

Tasting Hermione's skin, suckling on a hard bud...

Feeling hips buck beneath her...

Loving the sounds that Hermione made in response...

Minerva's eyes began to dilate and her caress changed. The memories were having a predictable effect on both her hormones and her body. A tongue flicked out to moisten suddenly dry lips as she remembered...

The sweet earthy taste of Hermione's arousal...

Damp folds that parted under her tongue...

Wet curls tickling her cheeks...

The slick channel gripping her fingers...

Pulling the sheet from Hermione's naked body, Minerva gazed hungrily at the expanse of pale skin. Wantonly she ran a hand across the rounded globes of the young womans backside before shifting her own weight. Even unconscious Hermione's body responded to the caresses she was receiving, her skin began to break out in goosebumps.

Hermione throwing her head back...

Spine arching in a violent spasm...

A hoarse voice screaming Minerva's name...

Collapsing together into a sweaty heaving heap...

Minerva was partly lying atop the younger woman, one thigh nudging her legs apart as she began to grind her pelvis against Hermione's ample ass. Her right hand stopped trailing along the brunettes' spine and slid between the mattress and soft skin. Nipples were already pebbling in response and reassured Minerva's hand moved lower. She moaned as she felt fresh moisture pooling under her fingers.

Plunging inside that wetness...

Hips thrusting upwards with gusto...

Lapping at swollen flesh with her tongue...

Hands clutching at the young womans hips tightly...

Slipping her fingers into dripping folds Minerva began to rub at the sensitive flesh. Her teeth found the back of Hermione's neck and she pressed her own body closer still. It was with a moan on her lips that Hermione awoke.

"Mmmm... Min...erva...wha'...Ooooohh!"

It was an extremely pleasant way to wake up.

Lunch was about to begin when Filch brought a guest into the Great Hall. Molly Weasley walked behind him, smiling greetings at the students that she recognised. Cool but somewhat guarded blue eyes met first Minerva's and then Hermione's. It was fairly obvious that the Weasley Matriarch was here on business. Rising from her seat Minerva greeted the red-haired woman warmly, as though nothing had changed.

It was a hot sunny Saturday, unusual in Scotland and the students were in high spirits. Mainly dressed in muggle clothing they were blatantly itching to finish their lunch and return outside. As such only one took notice of the visitor. Ginny Weasley stared up at her mother, knowing that her presence had something to do with Hermione and Minerva. While Molly was wearing her only suit which meant that she was here for official reasons, there was also an expression on her face that her daughter recognised – it was one that she wore whenever she was about to interrogate her children about a perceived misdeed. Ginny gave Hermione a sympathetic look but was glad she could leave unscathed.

"The board had an additional meeting last night and have asked me to come and explain our conclusion in person."

"What conclusion?" Minerva was immediately on the defensive.

Molly turned away from the Headmistress and turned to Hermione. "We were all very impressed with your exam results."

"Thank you. I had a great mentor."

"How would you like to continue teaching Transfiguration for the rest of the school year?"

"I thought that the board did not want me teaching."

Molly shook her head, "They do not want a student teacher working with NEWT students. We are happy to have you teaching the others. The board proposes that you continue to teach and asks that Minerva take the older students. And if you take your more advanced teaching qualification during the holidays... there is no reason that you cannot apply for the job for next term."

Hermione smiled. "I'd like that." She glanced at Minerva, wanting to check that the older woman agreed with her decision – the huge grin on the elegant face was more than enough to reassure her.

"Given how well you did on your transfiguration exams... it shouldn't pose a problem for you."

The plump woman settled back into her chair, indicating with her body language that the formal part of this meeting was over. "Was there something else Molly?"

"Is... this... serious?"

"You are referring to the relationship between Hermione and myself?"

"What else?"

Minerva sighed, resenting the interference but knowing that she only had Hermione's best interests at heart. "I love her Molly."


"I love her too. With all my heart."

It was at that moment that a knock sounded on the office door. "Enter."

A nervous and visibly upset third year poked her head around the door. "Sorry Professor McGonagall, I wanted to speak with Madam Granger..."

Hermione stood and excused herself, taking the girl with her.

Minerva and Molly watched the young witch walk gingerly across the room. The Headmistress winced, suddenly terrified that she had inadvertently hurt Hermione in the heat of passion. "And just what were the two of you doing last night?"

The ebony haired witch answered Molly's smirk with one of her own. She flashed back once again to the events of the night before, how tender but passionate the young woman had been and how she herself had responded – more intensely than she had ever done with any lover. A Scottish accented voice deepened with remembered desire, "She is the most incredible..."

There was a brief pause. "It occurs to me Minerva that in all the years I have known you... this is the first time that I have heard you speak of personal matters."

A laugh. "Well aside from the fact that I was raised to keep my personal business private... this is the first time in more years than I care to remember that I have had personal matters to speak about."

"I was unaware that you were... um... gay?"

"I have never looked at another witch before Hermione." She stood, not without difficulty. "Tea?"

Molly grinned again as she watched the normally elegant witch walk across the room to the teapot. She wasn't sure if the John Wayne impersonation was due to proud strutting or soreness, either way it was fairly obvious that she had 'enjoyed' the previous evening.

"Minerva, I'm glad to see Hermione happy again – it's been a very long time since I had last seen her smile. Thank you."

"Why are you thanking me?"

"Because... I feel like I failed her. We were all so absorbed in our grief that we shut Hermione out. I could see that she was in pain and struggling but I didn't help her."

"Molly you had just lost your son."

"The boys told me everything that they knew about what had happened to Hermione at Malfoy Manor but she hadn't even confided in them about her whole experiences."

"Hermione came to me because she had no where else to turn. She needed somewhere safe to heal. She started having nightmares about that day but would not tell me the details. I did get the Ministry file on the incident but I have never read it – if she chooses to tell me she will."

Molly smiled once again, reassured by Minerva's attitude. She knew that the protective witch would watch over her young love. "How did you fall for her?"

"How could I not?" At that moment in Minerva's mind it really was just that simple.

Hermione dealt with her distressed student; listening to the girls' problem and offering comfort. That in itself did not pose a problem for her but it had started a chain of thought that had driven her to the solitude of the lake.

The water looked calm but it was concealing merpeople and other denizens of the deep below the surface. That was how Hermione felt deep inside, as though something hidden was stirring underneath her skin. When she had been soothing her student, she had remembered the person who had always comforted her...Minerva.

She loved the older woman, she truly did which was what was causing her pain now. Her reticence about her experiences in Malfoy Manor was unfair to Minerva, it was long past time to break that silence. Knowing that and actually acting on it were two entirely different things, Hermione remained sitting on the shoreline, without the mental strength to move – her arms wrapped around her knees, knowing that her love would come to find her.

It was an hour later that Minerva settled behind her young lover, without hesitation strong arms wrapped around a slender waist. Hermione leant her head back and allowed it to rest on the older womans shoulder. Several minutes passed without words being spoken.

"I should have told you before my love."

"Mione... what prompted this?"

"It's long past time isn't it?" It was a rhetorical question, one that only Hermione could address. Lips brushed her neck in a wordless 'are you sure?' and despite her trepidation the young witch smiled, knowing that Minerva loved her – would never judge her and that the knowledge would not change the way the older woman looked at her.

Hermione kept her gaze out on the lake, watching the light begin to change colour as the sun set – it was far easier to begin to speak without looking into those emerald eyes. "We were caught by a group of Death Eaters. It was stupid really, I should have seen it coming... All I could do was disguise Harry and then we were locked up, without wands to protect ourselves."

Brown eyes were almost black with repressed emotion and while the young womans voice was almost steady, it was obvious that her control was tenuous. "It didn't take them long to figure out who we were, who I was... She looked at me with so much hatred in her eyes, so much contempt."

Hermione's voice was sharp, the cadence oddly staccato. "It wasn't just my heritage, my blood status... for some reason she hated me. I wish I knew why... She tortures for fun – did you know that?"


"I remember screaming but it didn't stop her and no one came..." The young witch took a deep breath, trying to force the words from her throat. "I didn't tell her anything and when I couldn't scream any more – she changed tactic... forcing her way into my mind, trying to get information."

Slender hands clenched into a fist, not realising that she was shaking.

"It wasn't about the Horcruxes or Harry any more... not after she saw my memories of Anna... and my thoughts of you... She cackled... this mad crazy sound and moved closer."

The shudder that ran through Hermione's body gave Minerva a very clear idea what the young witch was about to disclose. "She... she touched me. I tried to move away butIwastiedup..." The brunette paused for a moment, trying to slow down her speech. "She asked me if I liked it... if I..."

Tears were running down both women's faces. Hermione could feel convulsive tremors in the arms that held her, could feel Minerva's uneven breathing against her neck. Slowly piece by piece she began to reveal the full extent of the sexual degradation visited upon her by Bellatrix Lestrange.

The Headmistress was enraged, upset and feeling her lovers pain as though it were her own. In that moment she could have committed cold-blooded murder, would have killed the insane Death Eater if Molly hadn't beaten her to it. She simply contained her anger and held Hermione, knowing that at this moment the young woman needed her more than ever before.

When Hermione ran out of words the sobs began; the heart-wrenching, soul-crushing sobs of a person consumed by more pain than they could possibly handle.

The brunette felt hands turn her around, felt strong arms pull her onto Minerva's lap and into an embrace. Lips brushed the hair at her temple, the top of her head. Between gentle kisses the older woman murmured comforting words, simply holding the woman that she loved until the tears ceased... forever.

Two days later

"You know Hermione..."

The young witch grinned up at her lover, recognising the teasing lilt in Minerva's voice. "Mmmm?"

"My bed is far more comfortable than yours, larger too."

A cheeky grin spread across full lips, "It is?"


"And your point is?"

Hermione bent down smoothing the sheets with her hand, having some idea what the older woman was getting at but loving the opportunity to tease the stoic Headmistress.

"Perhaps we could sleep in it..."

Brown eyes twinkled, "What exactly are you asking?"

Hermione stood up to her full height, a daring expression on her pretty features.

"Move in with me?"

Those four simple words... Hermione had been waiting to hear them for so long... However she still couldn't give up on her teasing. She walked towards the door, throwing her next words over her shoulder. "You'll have to make an honest woman out of me first."

The Headmistress was beyond shocked by the young womans joke. An inner voice urged her forward, 'why the hell not?'

Her hand was on the doorknob when Minerva spoke. "Now that you mention it..."

Hermione heard the odd note in her lovers' voice and she turned to see the ebony haired witch drop to one knee pulling a ring box from a pocket in her robes. "Minerva...?" Her voice was a whisper.

This wasn't how Minerva had planned it, she had a table booked at the most expensive restaurant in town, she had been planning... She realised in that moment that whatever she had planned – THIS was the right time, the right place. "Hermione Granger, I love you more than mere words could ever say. You are the woman I want to spend the rest of my life loving. Will you marry me?"

There were tears in the young witches eyes, "Yes, of course I will. I love you too."

Four Years Later

Hermione awoke with a start recognising the symptoms of someone in bed with her having a nightmare. It took her a moment to come to full awareness and she took a small body into her arms, rocking her son, soothing his dreams away. Minerva's hands joined hers and together they held their child, as his breathing evened into real sleep.

"He snuck into our bed again." Minerva sighed sleepily, knowing that they both had to get up really early in the morning.

"I'm sure it's just a phase."

Emerald green eyes twinkled in the dim light, "I remember a certain young woman who snuck into my bed and never left."

"You weren't complaining."

"No love. You're the best thing that had ever happened to me, you know that do you not?"

"I think it's the other way around."

"Although... I need my sleep."

Reaching around her son Hermione took an elegant hand in her own and pressed it to her swollen stomach, letting the older woman feel their unborn daughter kicking. "Face it Minerva, we've lost any sleep we were going to have for a few more years."

The Headmistress laughed, leaning in to kiss her wife. "I love you."

The End

Authors Note 2: Nightmare has been a very personal project for me for a variety of reasons and I hope that you have all enjoyed it.
We have covered many sensitive subjects over the chapters (I'm not interested in flames BTW) - with one overriding theme, troubles shared are troubles halved. A cliche but it's true.