AN: So here is the final chapter. I hope you have enjoyed reading this story and that this chapter will live up to your expectations. Happy reading!
Minerva looked at herself in the mirror for the twelfth time that day. She just couldn't decide whether she looked good or not. Usually her appearance was the least of her problems as she had much more important issues at hand but today was an exception. Today she had to look perfect. Dabbing her cheeks with powder she felt utterly ridiculous, pampering herself for a girl that would probably not even want to have anything to do with her. "She must hate me" Minerva thought and felt the familiar sting in her chest. Her eyes looked back at her, they were filled with regret. She kept staring at her own reflection and wondered why her cheek was wet. Then she saw the tears, tears that she hadn't shed even when Dumbledore had died. She simply hadn't allowed herself. Until now.
Hermione exhaled deeply and took three steps forward. Then she waited. Minerva pretended to be busy with her conversation but Hermione knew she had noticed her. The old man became weary of her intrusion and excused himself, leaving the two of them alone. Minerva looked abashed but Hermione saw she couldn't keep herself from staring. "Hah! Good thing I left the cleavage"
"You've been following me" She said startling them both. That's not what she had planned to say, but now it was out. She had realized it only moments earlier, as soon as she had seen her. Minerva had followed her in her animagus form, making quick escapes possible.
"I'm sorry" Minerva's voice was small and it broke Hermione's heart. She wanted nothing more than to take this woman in her arms. But she couldn't.
"Why?" Hermione asked, not caring about the people around them who were beginning to listen in on them.
"Not here. Come" Minerva began walking and Hermione followed. They stopped behind the shed where Arthur kept his muggle gear. Hermione was aware this might be suspicious to some people and felt a bit better knowing Minerva knew that too but didn't seem to care. It was a small comfort.
"I missed you Hermione. I needed to see how you were faring" The older woman spoke with a solemn voice. Their eyes locked and Hermione was the one who broke eye contact first. She kept her gaze on the ground, her eyes fixed on a candy wrap the Weasley twins must've left behind. Suddenly she felt a hand on her arm. Minerva came closer and wrapped her arms around the younger woman. Hermione didn't respond and this seemed to put her off as she let go and stepped back.
"All my life I've done things my own way, I've followed my path and my heart and always knew what to do when dealing with a specific situation. I have never doubted myself. Until now. I just don't know what to do with you, all I know is that I want you"
Minerva's words etched into her soul. Hermione felt her lower lip quiver and she knew she wouldn't be able to keep tears from spilling if she kept standing here.
She closed her eyes and after a few seconds felt the others lips press against hers. Her body responded immediately and soon they were both engrossed in a passionate kiss. Minerva nipped at her bottom lip and Hermione moaned softly. It was gentle and caring. Hermione could smell the older woman's perfume and felt herself intoxicated with the scent.
"I love you"
She heard the words being spoken but wasn't sure who had said it. Opening her eyes she saw expectant eyes searching her own.
"I love you too" Hermione answered honestly and without hesitation. Yes it was true, but she still remembered the pain, she was still hurt.
"I'm still angry" she said and Minerva nodded in understanding.
"I'm not your student anymore"
They held each other's gaze for what felt like forever before she heard a commotion on the other side of the house. Hermione saw a figure in a black cloak appear in the corn field and her eyes became wide with fear.
"Death Eaters, Hermione run!" Minerva whispered as she prepared herself for battle. Hermione ran a short distance before she turned around and ran back, her lips crashing against Minerva's. They kissed feverishly until the sound of an explosion made them jump apart and Minerva pushed the girl away from her.
"Run! Harry needs you Hermione"
Hermione didn't hesitate. She ran. She ran as fast as her heels allowed her to, until she remembered and transfigured them back into sneakers. She collided with Ron and Harry and they apparated mere seconds later. Holding onto their hands she had to fight the urge to vomit and was relieved when she felt steady ground beneath her. She took a look around and saw where she had taken them. A deserted alley in London.
"Here" She pulled out a set of clothes from her bag as her mind tried to suppress what had happened mere minutes earlier. The feel of Minerva's lips against her own was still there, she could still taste her. The boys changed quickly and so did she and soon they found themselves walking aimlessly on the street.
The Death Eaters were ruthless, setting fire onto the tent and everything around it. Minerva saw the trio gather together and apparate. She didn't have time to grieve; a Death eater was using crucio on the old man she had conversed with earlier and she sent a well-aimed curse, hitting him straight in the chest. A familiar cackle erupted from the figure and Minerva felt her chest tighten. Bellatrix Lestrange. They dueled for a while, Bellatrix sending jets of green light which Minerva deflected easily at first but she soon grew tired; she wasn't young anymore and the Black sister took advantage of that. Minerva tripped on something and fell to the ground. She saw with horror how Bellatrix raised her wand and mouthed the word 'crucio'. Minerva tried not to scream but the pain grew worse as the witch intensified the curse and soon she heard herself screaming until her throat was sore. Bellatrix gloated while standing over her, her half-rotten teeth exposed as she laughed. Suddenly it ended. Bellatrix and the other Death Eaters withdrew and Minerva knew she had nearly escaped death. She sat up coughing, her throat feeling dry and raw. People were laying across the field. Someone had managed to put out the fire, smoke lingering in the air. Someone was crying. Minerva stood on shaky legs and saw others do the same. Nobody seemed to be seriously injured which was a relief. Some had suffered the cruciatus curse but that was the extent of the damage the Death Eaters had done.
Minerva looked at the spot where Hermione had apparated with the others. Mixed feelings were stirring inside of her. She was happy they had sorted it out before the invasion but wished they could've had more time together. There were still a lot of things they needed to discuss.
"Be safe" she whispered and closed her eyes, remembering the kisses they had shared only moments ago. In spite of everything that had happened she smiled. Deep inside of her she knew that Hermione would be alright.
"Minerva! Are you okay?" She could hear Molly asking as she stepped over debris to get closer to the older woman.
"Yes my dear. I'm fine" She answered and the two shared an embrace.
"My son" Molly whispered as she cried silently into her chest.
"He'll be okay, ssch" Minerva held the ample woman as she kept soothing her. Soon Arthur took over and Minerva joined the group of aurors that had gathered in front of the house, everyone's eyes on her as she took the spot in the middle.
"Harry and the others are finding a way to defeat Voldemort. And we'll do everything in our power to help them" She spoke while the others nodded in consent. Inside she felt something she hadn't felt in a while, an intense rush of adrenaline, war was upon them and she had to fight for her loved ones. She had to fight for Hermione, the woman whom she loved and who loved her back. It was bittersweet, many would suffer, many tears would be spilt but she was ready.
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