Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed,
And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow;
If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed
A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know:
Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses;
And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses

~ Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis

Minerva quickened her pace over the early summer clover that covered the grounds like a cottony blanket. She had just seen the last students to the gate and off to Hogsmeade Station for the summer holidays. It was not, strictly speaking, part of her regular duties, but she had found she enjoyed watching the students she had come to know over the school year, now taller and wiser—she hoped, although she had her doubts about some of them—as they chattered excitedly about this and that, comparing holiday plans before they scattered to parts unknown.

She was eager to finish putting her classroom to rights for the summer and to attack the tedious piles of paperwork that accompanied the end of term. There were owls to be sent, supplies to be inventoried and ordered so they would arrive in time for September, expenses to be totalled up and accounted for; it would take several hours. This wasn't her favourite part of her job, but putting it off for a few days, or even longer, as some did, was inconceivable. She would never be able to relax until everything was in order.

When she had completed her last report, she summoned a house-elf, and when she arrived, asking in a hopeful voice, "Professor McGonagall needs something?"

"Yes, Trixie."

Minerva handed her a folded and sealed note. "Please take this to Professor Dumbledore. I believe he is in his office, but if not, you may leave it on his desk. If he's there, please wait for a reply. I'll be here for another few minutes."

"Yes, Professor."

Albus was sitting at his desk, completing some correspondence, when Trixie appeared in the office with the note. "Thank you . . . Trixie, isn't it?" he asked, unfolding it.

"Yes, Headmaster, sir," she said, beaming at him.

The wizard smiled when he read the message:


I have completed my duties for the term and await your instructions as to my next assignment. When you receive this, kindly send your reply directly, as I am most eager to render any service you might require.


M. McGonagall

P.S. You're slowing down, old man. This is the third year in a row I've beaten you.

"If you'd be good enough to wait for a moment, I'll have a reply for you to deliver," Professor Dumbledore said to the elf.

"Very good, sir."

He took a fresh piece of parchment and dashed off a few lines, sealing it with the Headmaster's ring. The house-elf took it and Disapparated with a pop.

Minerva was pleased to see Trixie reappear in her office again so soon. She took the reply the young elf held out to her and broke the seal.

Professor McGonagall,

I must congratulate you once again on your efficiency. As you have surmised, I do indeed have an assignment for you and look forward to going over it with you in detail.

Please join me in our customary meeting place at 4:30, as I anticipate being able to devote my full attention to you then.


A. Dumbledore, Headmaster

P.S. My apologies for my tardiness; I fear it has become habit. Perhaps Horace can provide a remedy. Although I must say I am beginning to enjoy being bested by you.

Minerva folded the note again and placed it in her pocket.

"Thank you, Trixie, that will be all."


Minerva arrived in his office at precisely four twenty-nine. She performed the spell that opened the bookcase hiding the door to his private quarters, then went into the sitting room that adjoined the office.

She had got to the bedroom door and was about to open it when it surprised her by flying open of its own accord. An invisible force pulled her into the room and deposited her at the foot of the large, four-poster bed that had dominated the room since the first time she had been in it more than twenty years ago.

Lying in the middle of the bed with his hands tucked casually behind his head and a sheet covering him to the waist was Albus Dumbledore. He was not wearing a nightshirt.

"Professor McGonagall, you are two minutes late," he said, grinning at her.

"Not at all, Headmaster Dumbledore; my wand says it is precisely four thirty," she countered, casting a Tempus Charm so he could confirm it for himself.

"I stand corrected," he said with a sparkle of mischief in his eyes. His burgeoning erection had distorted the line of the sheet conspicuously.

"So I see. And how may I be of service?"

"You are most observant. You were kind enough to notice that advancing age has robbed me of some of my former nimbleness, so I thought perhaps you would be willing to assist me with one or two of my more strenuous obligations."

"It will be my pleasure, Headmaster," she replied, unhooking her teaching robe, which, having been shrugged off, floated over to a side chair and folded itself neatly on the seat. "If you'll give me a moment to prepare, I'll get started immediately." She stepped out of her shoes and climbed on the bed after pulling down the sheet covering the Headmaster's midsection.

She hitched up her skirt, and he was not surprised to see that she wore no undergarments. It had been part of their end-of-term routine for years, but it still sent shock waves of excitement right to his centre to see her that way. His stiff cock twitched in anticipation as she straddled him, teasing it with the glossy, black curls that concealed her sex.

He rose up on his elbows and kissed her as she leant her upper body down to meet his, carefully preventing further contact between the lower portions of their anatomies. She allowed his tongue to explore her mouth and ran hers along the inside of his lower lip, tasting the lemon drop he had undoubtedly just enjoyed. As they kissed, he pulled her down so her hands were on either side of his shoulders. His fingers found the buttons of her blouse and began the task of unfastening them. When he had completed it, he left the now-open blouse on her shoulders and ran his palms over the lacy cups of her beige silk bra. He slipped his hands under them rubbed her hard nipples between his fingers.

She unpinned her hair, allowing it to fall around her shoulders, and slid against his swollen cock, eventually allowing just the tip to penetrate her moist passage. When she pulled her hips back, he gave a very satisfying groan. She continued to tease him that way—allowing him to enter so far, only to withdraw a moment later—for several minutes until he could stand no more. He pulled his hands from under her brassiere and grabbed her hips, pulling them towards his roughly, raising his pelvis to meet hers.

She cried out as his penis hit her cervix. It hurt, but at the same time it felt glorious.

"Minerva . . ."

"Hush!" she said, emphasising the instruction by tightening around him mercilessly. He bit his lips to keep from moaning aloud and released his hold on her hips, allowing her to set the rhythm and depth of their coupling. She rose to her knees and rode him, sometimes gently, sometimes harder, watching his face the whole time to gauge what he liked best. It all felt wonderful, but she needed more to reach her own climax. He closed his eyes in ecstasy, and as she read the familiar signs of his impending orgasm, she reached between her legs and began to stroke herself where it felt best. When he was nearing his release, he opened his eyes and saw what she was doing, then exploded inside her, sending her over the edge in turn.

She didn't call out as the waves of pleasure peaked, then ebbed, her core contracting around his still-pulsing cock, making him shudder and groan; the only sound to betray the powerful orgasm that had just taken her was her ragged breathing.

Once he stopped spasming, and her breath was back under her control, she climbed off him, wandlessly Banishing her remaining clothing, to lie bare in his arms, enjoying the sensation of his cool, dry skin next to hers, which was moist with perspiration.

As they were drifting off to sleep, drunk with sex and delight, he murmured, "Minerva?"


"I adore you."

"I know."


That evening they sat, Albus in a large, well-upholstered club chair, Minerva on the ottoman between his legs, her own limbs tucked under her, resting her back against his chest, both in their most comfortable clothes. For Albus this meant a plush, purple dressing gown. Minerva wore a long, tatty cotton tartan dressing gown that her fellow former Gryffindor dorm-mates would have recognised.

They had enjoyed their traditional dinner in his quarters: lake salmon, mushroom risotto, and the last of the spring leeks—a feat made possible only by the departure of the students—and were sipping the fine Puligny-Montrachet grand cru that had accompanied it. A stack of Muggle phonograph records sat on the side table. They were listening to Muggle opera—Verdi's La forza del destino, as it happened—which was part of their long-established end-of-term ritual.

Minerva was utterly at peace. Albus was lazily massaging her scalp, which she loved. After the tight bun in which her hair was trapped by day, she luxuriated in the feeling of literally letting her hair down.

After the pianissimo strings had finished shimmering Leonora on her way to heaven, Minerva heard a sniffle.

"Albus Dumbledore, how can that still make you cry after all this time?" she teased, handing him, without looking, the handkerchief she had stowed in the pocket of her dressing gown when she saw the evening's musical selection.

"How can it fail to?" he asked, in his usual way of answering her questions with a question. It no longer infuriated her. "Bigotry, war, familial strife, doomed love—how can you not cry, Minerva?"

"I prefer to save my tears for the living."

"Ah, but you're a cold-hearted lass, my sleekit bonnie bride," he replied in his worst imitation of her accent.

"Tha' daesna seem tae fash ye any when ye're buried in my wairm duille," she retorted.

And the two of them burst out laughing.

When their laughter had died down, Albus got up to pour the last of the wine.

"There's something I've been wanting to discuss with you, my dear."

The peaceful feeling she had been enjoying evaporated.


"Diophantus's retirement has left us in a bit of a pickle."

She didn't fail to notice the "us". That meant she was about to become involved in something, whether she wanted to or not.

She said, "I thought you had already engaged Septima Vector for the Arithmancy post. A good choice, I thought."

"Indeed. Her credentials are impressive, and she seems eager to leave pure research and try her hand at teaching. I suspect she will be rather good at it once she's had the benefit of watching you in your element."

Minerva suppressed an urge to roll her eyes. She knew from experience that if he was buttering her up like this, he was going to ask her for something difficult.

He said, "The problem is that she's young, and a bit . . . chilly. I don't think she would make a good fit for Head of House."

Minerva held her silence. She now knew what was coming: Professor Lemmas had been Head of Gryffindor House, and his retirement left a vacancy. She had been relieved when Albus had settled on Vector to replace him as Arithmancy professor; Septima had been a Gryffindor herself, and thus a candidate for the post of Head of that House. Minerva had thought that meant that Albus didn't plan to ask her, Minerva, to do it, but here it came, nonetheless.

That was the way with Albus and her: just when she got her bearings, and they had settled into what she thought was a comfortable—or at least bearable—set of routines, he'd bring her up short by changing things. She didn't know if she loved him because of it or despite it. Probably both.

She would acquiesce, of course. She usually did, for him, and this was important. A Head of House had a great deal of responsibility and influence on the students. But she would not go down without a fight, however foreordained its conclusion; she simply wasn't built for it.

She stood

"Albus, no. You can't mean you want me to do it?"

"You are the best choice by far, Minerva. The students respect you, even fear you sometimes—and I can't say I blame them," he added when he saw the look on her face, "but they also love you. And I do believe you're fond of them."

And it was over without her even firing a salvo.

"I thought I was a cold-hearted lass," she said, reluctant to show the white flag without firing a shot.

"Only when it comes to Verdi. You have a hidden font of warmth that comes out with the children—when they behave, that is." When she didn't reply, he added softly, "You would have made a wonderful mother, I think."

That was unfair, and he knew it. She never spoke about their mutual loss—more than a decade ago now—but it still ached in a way he couldn't possibly understand, and he knew that, too. He was not an unobservant man.

He said, "I know it will be a sacrifice, but that's what we committed to when we became teachers."

There was that "we" again.

"We have so little time together as it is. With the added duties of a Head of House, I'll be even busier. Not to mention the fact that I will have to spend every single night in my own quarters in the tower."

"And that will be my sacrifice, my love," he said, taking her by the waist and pulling her close to him.

And with that, the thing was decided.

She hated that what little time they were able to steal together would be even harder to come by, but she conceded that she could hardly complain at this late date.

After all, she had chosen her path years ago in that dingy room in the Hog's Head, deciding that a part of Albus Dumbledore was better than the whole of anyone else. She asked herself now if she regretted it and decided she didn't. She loved him. And she didn't go in for regrets.

"There'll be an increase in your wages, of course," he said.

As if she cared.

"And we'll still have the summer holidays."

"You don't have to try to sell it to me now, Albus, I've already agreed," she said, trying to wriggle away from him.

"And what else do you suppose I could get you to agree to?" he asked, undoing the tie to her dressing gown.

"Nothing." She batted his hands away. "I think I've given up enough to you tonight."

"Let me try to make it up to you," he murmured, kissing her neck where it joined her shoulder, grazing his teeth over her skin in the way he knew drove her crazy.

"You can't," she whispered, letting her head fall to the side to give him better access.

"I think you'll find that I'm a man of many resources," he said, sliding the dressing gown off her shoulders.

"Too many, Albus, too ma—" she said, and opened her mouth to the kiss that cut off both her words and her reason.


More in the Epithalamium Series

For anyone who is interested, there are links and information on the backstory for characters and events in the "Epithalamium universe" on my website ( ).

If you'd like to know more about Minerva and Albus's adventures, you might enjoy the following stories, set in the same universe.

Bonnie Wee Thing | Epithalamium #0.5 ~ A short story that takes place on the day of Minerva McGonagall's birth.

One to Keep an Eye On | Epithalamium #0.72 ~ Young Minerva has her first Transfiguration class. It does not go as Albus expects.

From Jupiter's Head | Epithalamium #0.75 ~ Thorfinn McGonagall observes his daughter, Minerva, as she grows up, and finds that she is a very unusual witch.

Epithalamium | Epithalamium #1 ~ An epic romance novel that follows Minerva McGonagall from her seventh year at Hogwarts through her first year of teaching.

1945 | Epithalamium #1.5 ~ An excerpt from Epithalamium. Albus Dumbledor travels to Germany to confront Gellert Grindelwald.

Come Autumn, Sae Pensive | Epithalamium #3 ~ A novel following Minerva McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore through an unexpected pregnancy and its aftermath.

Winterreise | Epithalamium #3.5 ~ A short story about tension between Minerva McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore.

Familiar Rituals | Epithalamium #3.6 ~ A short story about some end-of-term rituals and how Minerva McGonagall became Head of Gryffindor House.

Mammals of the Order Chiroptera | Epithalmium #3.7 ~ A short story in which Severus Snape observes members of the Order of the Phoenix at closer range than he would perhaps like.

Ca' the Yowes | Epithalamium #3.8 ~ A fluffy short story featuring Minerva McGonagall just after the Stunner attack in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart | Epithalamium #4 ~ A novella about the lengths Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape must go to in the prosecution of the war after Dumbledore's death.


This work of fiction is based on characters and settings created by J. K. Rowling. All recognisable characters, settings, and plot elements are copyright © J. K. Rowling.

The author believes this work falls within the scope of the Fair Use Doctrine as a transformative work. For more information, see the Organization for Transformative Works.

All original characters, settings, and plot elements are copyright © 2010 Squibstress.

This work of fiction is available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.