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A/N: The Potterverse belongs to JKR, I only borrow.
Originally written as a gift for cabepfir during the Hoggywarty exchange 2014 on livejournal.
Many thanks to my wonderful beta Karelia!
'Wha's'm't'r?' Slughorn's eyes shot open, his hand fumbling for his wand before he realised that there was nobody in the room except a house-elf who was collecting empty glasses.
'Oh.' He peered around him. 'Right.
'Party's already over, then.' He heaved his considerable bulk out of the armchair, snagged the last mince pie from the plate on the table and shuffled out of the staff room, failing to notice the two witches standing in the corner by the window.
'Dear old Horace,' said Irma with a little smile and a raised eyebrow.
'Always the first to arrive and the last to leave,' Minerva said. 'Some things just don't change. Speaking of which, fancy a cuppa?'
Which in itself was almost a rhetorical question since for the last twenty years, Minerva and Irma had always shared a cup of tea or three after the annual Christmas staff party. First in Minerva's rooms in Gryffindor tower or in Irma's rooms next to the library and then these last years up in the headmistress' residence. After all, the events of the evening had to be properly discussed and analysed.
So Irma's reply didn't come as much of a surprise. 'Don't mind if I do.'
Shortly afterwards, they were comfortably ensconced in Minerva's living room, steaming mugs of tea in front of them. The fire in the fireplace gave off a pleasant warmth, infusing the room with a soft golden light. The bookshelves were decorated with sparkling fairy lights in red and green, revealing a very different side of the usually so stern headmistress.
Minerva leant back with a sigh and kicked off her high heels before she put up her feet on the couch, revealing a glimpse of shapely legs as her slit bottle-green velvet dress robes fell open across her knees.
Irma felt her eyes drawn to the expanse of creamy skin on the couch and nearly missed Minerva's next remark.
'Rather interesting party this year.'
Dragging her eyes back to Minerva's face, Irma asked, 'Would you be referring to Severus and Miss Granger?'
Minerva nodded. 'The boy deserves some happiness. Plus, they make a good couple.'
'Took them long enough. You owe me two galleons by the way.'
'Hmph. I really thought she would make a move sooner. '
Irma couldn't quite prevent the rather smug grin from spreading across her face. 'Told you she'd want to be certain.'
'Perhaps there's such a thing as waiting too long.'
Their eyes met, and time seemed to stand still, the air suddenly heavy with infinite possibilities. Had she ever before seen how very green Minerva's eyes were behind her spectacles? Or how the firelight danced across her skin?
'Maybe,' Irma admitted, and then the moment was gone. 'Mind you if she breaks his heart, something really nasty will happen the next time she tries to check out a book.'
'I do notice you're not worried about him breaking her heart,' Minerva said with a wink.
'I think Miss Granger is very well able to take care of herself. Remember what happened to young Mr Weasley when she caught him cheating on her?'
Minerva sniggered. 'The Prophet had a field day with that one.'
The tea in her mug had become tepid. Minerva stifled a yawn before she stretched in a way reminiscent of her Animagus form.
It was getting really late, and she felt tiredness creeping through her veins like lead, but for some reason she didn't want the evening to end. Ridiculous. They had sat like this countless times and surely would again. And yet, it felt like she would break some sort of enchantment if she got up now and announced that she was going to bed.
Not to mention that Irma looked rather nice, sprawled in the armchair before the fire, several strands escaping from her usually tight bun. Minerva wanted to go over to her, take one of the salt-and-pepper tresses between her fingers and tuck them gently behind Irma's ear.
Instead, her stomach gave an audible growl. She grinned at the woman sitting across from her. 'How about a late night snack?' She looked at her watch. 'Or rather a very early breakfast.'
'Sounds good,' Irma said.
'I don't like to bother the house-elves at this hour, so we'll have to do with what I have up here.' Minerva got up and padded in stockinged feet over to the small kitchenette that was part of the headmistress' rooms.
She opened the fridge to inspect its contents. 'I've got some eggs and there should be some bread somewhere. Not much else I'm afraid, so that and some more tea will have to do.'
'Eggs are fine.'
With a slight wince, Minerva straightened up.
'You're all tense.'
Irma's voice purred into her ear, and Minerva barely suppressed a little sigh.
Warm hands on her back, thumbs loosening knotted muscles. This time the sigh did escape Minerva as she felt the tension seeping out of her shoulders. Only to be replaced by an entirely different tension, the sort that spread upwards from her belly. Another little sigh.
And suddenly Irma's hands were entirely still and time seemed to stop – again.
When did that happen? They'd been friends for years, had known each other for decades.
She'd always found Irma's knowledge, her curiosity for all aspects of magic, her love for books and learning fascinating. And more than once she'd noticed that the other woman was beautiful.
Perhaps, it was all there, and they just didn't see it. Or didn't want to see it.
Minerva turned around to find Irma looking intently at her, a question in her eyes. She took one of those loose strands of hair – it was just as soft and silky as she had imagined earlier - and tucked it carefully behind Irma's ear, her hand then lingering on the side of her neck.
There was a small moan from Irma that went straight down to Minerva's core. She bent forward a little and touched her lips to the other woman's. They were warm and soft and very welcoming. As she pulled Irma closer and repeated the action, she was met with an eager response, and both forgot about the late hour, about being tired and hungry, becoming completely lost in the sensation of the other.
All I Want by Dreamy_Dragon
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.