Last chapter: "The young witch walked around the corpses, one still clutching his chest the other a bloody mess of meat, and headed towards the distant trees. Minerva was a dark bloody shadow at her side." Our intrepid heroines escaped from the slimy clutches of Voldemort (or at least the manor they were being kept at) leaving a trail of bodies behind.

They stalk purposefully through the woods, Minerva animal senses easily at home in the dark. Hermione rests a hand gently on the furred shoulder beside her, letting the animagus' superior senses guide her instead of casting lumos and drawing attention to them. Minerva stops occasionally, lifting her head to scent at the air before changing their course slightly. Hermione can't see or hear anyone else but she's been fighting the war long enough to know better than to let her pride overcome her common sense. The young witch knows the manor is likely to be surrounded and patrolled by Voldemort's forces and just because they are outside the walls that held them prisoner doesn't mean they are safe. Not that Hermione knows where they could be safe. Magical England is at civil war, after all, and few if any places are truly safe during civil war.

Hermione quickly thought through the list of possible safe havens, dismissing a depressingly large number for being not as safe as required. St. Mungo's, the premier wizarding hospital is technically against Voldemort but they are a publically funded institution mandated to follow the rules of law that the wizengamot decides. The wizengamot itself has long been entrenched with pureblood idealists, loyal Voldemort followers, or those too scared to fight either faction. Hogwarts itself is under the control and headmastership of Snape, the man who supplied Voldemort himself with those infernal potions the Dark Lord than used to torture and twist Minerva. Number twelve Grimmwald Place, the de facto Order of the Phoenix headquarters, was firmly in the hands of Molly Weasly. Normally, not such a bad thing, but Molly had a history of being anti-magical creature. Her hatred and passive-aggressive blood purist ideology, apparent in her ostracizing of Fleur, being but the latest in a long line of incidents that suggest she would not react well to Minerva's current state. No, what Hermione was really looking for was a sanctuary where she and her former professor could recover and recuperate without judgement. Unfortunately, they were getting closer and closer to the end of the apparition wards without a single good idea entering Hermione's mind.

"I don't know where to apparate to." Hermione said softly, the words escaping her mouth before the idea of asking fully formed in her thoughts. The young witch paused and her feet stumbled at the sudden stop. She hadn't meant to say that, hadn't even thought about it. As a whole she didn't seek out other people to solve her problems. Indeed, it was often the other way around. She helped, she didn't need help. It was Ron, with his pure blood apathy, and Harry, with his muggle raised ignorance, that required her help. Hermione was too proud, too eager, too caught up in proving that she belonged to ever seek help. But, here she was, unquestioning and unhesitatingly seeking help. Hermione turned soft eyes on the animal form of the woman who guided and protected her for a large portion of her life. Purposefully, she spoke again. "I don't know where we should go. Can you think of anywhere?"

Of course, the problem with talking to a sentient animal is that while said animal is capable of thinking in speech, she is not capable of actually speaking. Watching Minerva's growing frustration at being unable to communicate should not have been as funny as it was. Her lips curled back from her sharp teeth and her muzzle furrowed. Minerva's tongue licked out at the air and her eyes seemed to cross. Hermione couldn't stop herself from giggling at the sight. The great cat beast, who was once a witch, sighed in exhausted futility and nudged Hermione with her large furry head. Hermione's giggles died as the pair once again resumed walking.

"I suppose it doesn't matter, really. Any place will do for now, as long as no one else could reasonably be there. A safe dry spot to rest up, just until you change back, is all we need." Hermione rambled quietly, half to herself and half to her partner. "Good thing my parents like to travel over the summer holi's I suppose. Rather, liked I should say."

Minerva purred her approval. It wasn't her plan, of course. But then, Minerva knew a number of facts that Hermione didn't and it was only to be expected that they would consider possible safe havens differently due to that. Minerva's first thought had been of her ancestral home.

The McGonagall estate had been near abandoned ever since the peace after the first war against Voldemort had seen the majority of what remained of clan McGonagall dead; including her closest cousins, aunties, uncles, nieces, and her nephew. Minerva had been born twenty-fifth in line for inheritance. By the end of her first war, against the fanatic Grindewald and his army of German muggles, she'd been twenty-third. Perhaps ironically, the following peace had not been kind to clan McGonagall. Her great-uncle had once explained to her that McGonagall's were built for battle. The hounds of war bayed in their blood. When Voldemort first rose Minerva had already become ninth in line for inheritance. Not a single McGonagall had died in the initial war against Voldemort. Nine more had died in the peace afterwards.

Minerva dug sharp claws into soft earth, feeling the power and youth in her muscles. Her senses, already heightened due to her animagus magic, felt foreign and overwhelming. She could hear the scrap of tree against wind; smell the scent of beetles and the faint trail of unwashed human more than a day old. Minerva felt like a pure elixir of vitality had been poured into her very blood itself. She was a McGonagall and like all McGonagall's before her she was war forged and stronger for it. Her paws flexed again, leaving deep furrows in the ground. Freedom thrummed in her veins and soon, soon, she would feel her mate under her. Minerva purred happily to herself, human and beast aspect so conjoined and jumbled that she no longer felt a sick sense of horror at her inability to stop herself from wanting to claim Hermione.

There was no sudden wall or shift in scenery to mark when the wards abruptly ended. No mundane physical sign was needed when the oppressive dank air inside the wards shifted to the light breeze of a fresh summer night between one step and the next. Both beast and witch paused just outside the boundary to draw in their first true breath of freedom since their unwilling captivity began days ago. Minerva pushed her head into Hermione's stomach, reminding her mate that they were not yet safe, not yet free to do what her pulsing blood demanded. The animagus drew in a deep breath and purred at the combined scents that met her nose. Hermione's thin covering did little to prevent the smell of semen and cum from filling the air.

The young witch rested a wand filled hand lightly against her former mentor's furred neck. While the cave she had found during a youthful exploration in an unremembered forest was a vaguer memory than she'd want to use for apparition it was almost guaranteed to be empty of Death Eaters and Voldemort's sympathizers. Muscles twitched in Hermione's neck as she nodded to herself. The cave, and the memory that contained it, would have to do for now. Hermione raised her short wand, tightened her grip on the surprisingly loose skin on her former teacher's neck, and apparated.

They landed rough. Not splinching rough, Hermione thanked fate for that one. In the near decade since Hermione had first seen the cave someone had seen fit to put a boulder in it. That, or Hermione had just forgotten more about the size and shape of the cave then she'd thought. Either way the soft sandy bottom of the dark cave now had a surprise thigh high rock in the middle of it. Hermione bit back her initial curses at the pain of her throbbing toe and cast a simple healing charm on her injured digit. Minerva, imperceptible with her dark fur blended perfectly with the dark cave, huffed a laugh. Just because she would maul any who dare harm her mate didn't mean she couldn't enjoy her mate's own near harmless foibles.

Hermione felt her lips turn down in a pout at the sound of feline laughter. Frail human eyes searched desperately in the dark to no avail for a few long moments before the young witch recalled the simplest of solutions to her new problem. Hermione shook her head in silent recrimination at her own stupidity even as she raised her newly liberated wand and cast lumos. The pale white light easily filled the small cave, outlining everything in stark detail and sharp lines. Glowing green eyes blinked slowly as Minerva let her eyes acclimatize to the sudden light.

Hermione frowned at the rock that was her recent attacker, if apparating mid-movement into it could be considered an attack. A few strokes of her wand and breathily whispered words transformed inconvenience into comfort by softening and enlarging the rock. Hermione pressed a cautious foot into her handy work and smiled triumphantly to herself when the rock gave gently beneath the pressure. "At least we'll have a bed to sleep on. I could probably make this sheet into something better too."

Hermione untied the sheet that contained her modesty and examined it for a moment. As a child, new to the reality of magic, she had thought that transmogrifying anything was a matter of will and magic. As a near adult she knew that most transmogrification masters spent their entire careers learning the plethora of particular spells required to transmogrify one object into another. Even something as simple as a different color could require a completely different spell is used; hence Hermione's earlier trouble with not being able to remake her sheet into clothing. Hermione could, she saw, remake the sheet into a plush blanket.

Hermione flicked the blanket out, and leaned over slightly to let it cover the whole of the rock when it fell back down. A cold wet nose brushed against her hip, startling a yip from the teen. The young witch turned reproving eyes upon her companion. Fur flowed around her like a living blanket as weight pushed her back onto the soft pseudo-bed. Massive paws were placed gently on either side of Hermione's wide-eyed head. Minerva shimmied between her mate's thighs. Soft fur became slick with the still moist remnants of their combined cum.

"Wait!" A high pitched voice squeaked out. "Wait, wait, wait."

Minerva stopped her movement at her mate's distress, eyes narrowed to examine the smooth body below her. Hermione's pupils were black pools, the whites of her eyes easily visible in contrast. Her breathing was quick and ragged. Desire made rivers on her thighs and fear pounded in her throat. Minerva arched her neck and licked her mate's collarbone, confused and needing reassurance. She tasted want and need tempered by fear and undercut with an artificial tang. The animagus huffed and leaned away from her mate, confused.

"It's not… I want you. I do. You can probably smell," blood rushed to Hermione's cheeks and neck and she left her sentence unfinished. "You make me wet. You fill me up so…" Her red tongue flicked out to wet supple lips. "I do want this, just, not with an animal. So much of what's happened has been forced upon us. I won't have this be one of those things. Please, Minerva."

Minerva cocked her head to the side. Her thought processes were a jumbled mess of instinct, intellect, and magic. She wasn't capable of understanding the entirety of the noises her mate was making. At the same time, she understood more of her mate's desires by her scent, her muscles, even her breath than her mostly human mind ever could. She knew, without understanding how or why exactly, what her mate desired from her. Hermione would be sexually pleased if she pressed forward. Her young mate would clench tightly around her cock, milk her for her sperm until she dug her claws into the rock to have something to hold on to while her world fell apart. It would feel wonderful while they fucked, just not afterwards. Minerva closed her eyes, concentrating all aspects of her mind on granting her mate her wish. The process was slow, steady, and inexorable. Fur flattened, liquidly shifting from black and grey into pale pink. Muscles and bones shrunk, reshaped themselves from the blatant danger of beast into the hidden danger of a human witch.

Hermione may have been disgusted, had she any attention for the process. All her attention was focused on Minerva's eyes. She felt like a voyeur, starring into the soul of the woman who became a beast to protect her body and a woman to respect her wishes. It wasn't until thick black hair tumbled into her face that Hermione realized the other changes that had occurred. They were not new changes, not in conception, but they had not been half as prominent before. Hermione's brown eyes opened wide in wonder as she examined the woman she's spent the past few days having sex with.

She looked young. Not as young as Hermione, flush with the fullness of newly discovered womanhood. Minerva's skin was soft, full without the lines or crevices a lifetime of truly living could imprint on flesh. Her muscles were no different but the subtle effect of gravities unending pull was missing from her pert breasts and thin frame. The young witch's silent staring was interpreted by the gentle pressure of full hips against her own. Hermione reached up and absently brushed the older witch's black hair behind her pale ear. A small smile curved at Hermione's lips as she drew her lover down to her. They shared a kiss, is such a gentle pressing of flesh and sharing of air that marked their mutual acknowledgement of mingling selves and contentment could be called a kiss.

Minerva drew back with a sly smile on her own lips. Even now her thoughts were fuzzy, feeling like not entirely her own and yet, at the same time, more her than any thought she's ever had. The animagus spared a fleeting moment of thought to wonder upon the marvel of having a singularly defined identity in the organic chaos that was living. Such philosophical thoughts were easily shoved aside in favour of feeling her mate's eager hands kneading at her back, wordlessly encouraging her to continue. Minerva flowed with the pressure, allowing Hermione to guide her into lying fully on top of her.

Their lips met in a soft rub, moisture causing their flesh to glide enticingly against each other. Hermione's full pink lips opened and her tongue flicked against Minerva's thinner upper lip. Hermione spent breathless minutes lying beneath her naked lover focusing solely on the sensations of lips, teeth, and tongue. To Hermione it felt like the first time she truly spent time just existing in connection with another person.

When they transitioned from heated make out to rolling penetration Hermione couldn't determine. All she was aware of was the slow aching in her body as she arched and stove against Minerva's solid body for a release from her growing pleasure, the fullness in her chest (her heart, a part of her whispered ignored in the back of her head), and the pressure of Minerva pushing relentlessly inside her as the older woman sought her own release. Above her Minerva's body tensed, hips grinding roughly against her clit, as Minerva's cock thrust deeply to coax as much of the older witch's sperm into her womb as possible. The thought of Minerva's seed being so deep inside her body was all that Hermione required to send her over the edge of orgasm.

Author Notes: So, for way too long I was stuck on this chapter, thinking it was the penultimate part of the story (the scene before the one that I actually wanted to write when I first started writing this story). I found that I had no idea how to make the transition to the one scene I wanted to begin with. I finally did an outline and discovered that there was a bit more that needed to happen than I expected (heh, it was an unexpected complication, you could say. Oh frack, that's a horrible pun). I know this year long wait between chapters is a pain (holy expletive, I can't believe how many of you stuck with this. I totally wouldn't. Although, it is really easy to reread when I do update so I might have.). This is posted because I want to write on Accidently (I'm in Love) and in part because of the reviews. So, shout out to all you reviewers for the motivation you provide me. As always, I'm with this story until it's done. Even if it will take a few more years (hopefully not though).

Author's Musings: I see this last scene as the first time they have mostly consensual sex for no other reason than they want to. In past chapters (in my mind but really I need to edit the entire thing to make sure) the potion wears off relatively quickly, typically after one mating. In the last chapter they were pushing the limits of drugged sex. This chapter, despite the 'fuzz' on Minerva's thoughts, they both want this for them and the pleasure it brings them. That said they didn't exactly have a conversation about it and there's a whole bunch of assumptions going on still to be dealt with.