Silhouette of witch with tall hat and cape on broomstick. Banner underneath reads: "Squibstress"

Betrayal and the Art of Salvation

Minerva looks back over a not-so-happy relationship with Albus and comes to some decisions about what she will and won’t tolerate.

Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall
7,800 words

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Ouch! Truth hurts — a lesson well taught, Professor Squibstress.


Lovely story! I’m not a Minerva/Albus fan … but this is beautifully written, so I managed a (temporary!) conversion.


I loved this fic! The possibility of such a relationship between Dumbledore and McGongall always intrigued me … and this strikes me as a really plausible version of how that might work and how it might fail.


When did a win at Quidditch turn into an excuse for an orgy?

Minerva’s heels would have clicked angrily along with her thoughts as she swept down the corridor, except she was wearing slippers, it being well after midnight.

The scene in the Gryffindor common room had been amusing, if alarming. When she stepped—unnoticed, due to the din—through the portrait-hole, she took in the sight of several couples snogging sloppily among the dancers . . . and just where was Cormac McLaggen’s hand on Demelza Robbins, and exactly when had she divested herself of her shirt?

In my day, we would never have—Minerva started to think, but then she caught herself.

In my day, we were doing exactly the same things. She added disapprovingly, But never in public.

With a wave of her wand, the lights came back up and the music stopped.

Screwing her features into the very portrait of outraged spinsterhood, she said, “This is unacceptable. Not only is the music far too loud for this time of night, but I am very disappointed to find that some of you appear to have forgotten yourselves entirely.”

Miss Robbins hung her head and hurriedly tugged on her shirt. McLaggen, Minerva noted, just looked smug.
Some things never change, she sighed to herself.

“I expect this room to be tidied up—there’s no reason the house-elves should have to clean up after you—and you all to be in your beds within the hour. Do I make my-self clear?”

After the murmured assents, Minerva turned briskly and headed down the corridor to round up any stray couples who had (sensibly, she thought) adjourned to more private locations for their trysts.

“Mr Weasley, Miss Brown . . .”

The pair leapt apart when they heard their Head of House’s voice from the door-way.

“Might I suggest you close the door the next time you intend to engage in this kind of activity?”

“Yes, Professor. Sorry . . .” mumbled Ronald.

Minerva gave them a look that suggested they scurry off to the common room, which they, of course, immediately did.

She continued down the corridor, intending to roust the stray celebrants from the corners of the Tower and back into the common room, if not to their beds, when she was halted by the faint sound of luxurious sobbing.
The noise drew Minerva down the passageway as she cocked an ear to each closed door. When she had located the source, she pushed the door open to reveal Hermione Granger, crying brokenly on a rickety chair in the disused classroom.

“Miss Granger? Are you all right?”

“Fine, Professor.” Hermione wiped her eyes on her sleeve. “I’m sorry. I’ll get back to my dormitory now,” she said, rising and heading for the door.

“Just a moment, Miss Granger.” Minerva conjured a handkerchief and handed it to Hermione, who took it and blew her nose.

“Thank you, Professor.”

“Would your distress have anything to do with Mr Weasley and Miss Brown?” Minerva asked gently.

Hermione’s eyes widened, then filled with tears once again. She couldn’t speak.

“I thought as much,” sighed Minerva.

Once Hermione had wiped her eyes and blown her nose again, she asked, “How did you know?”

“I ran into Mr Weasley and Miss Brown a few minutes ago. The rest was not hard to put together.”

“You must think I’m an idiot,” said Hermione miserably.

“Not at all. It hurts when we are betrayed by the people we love. Or think we do.”

The child looked up at her teacher, stricken.

“I do . . . love him,” Hermione said. “But he’s just such a . . .”

“Git? Arse? . . . Man?”

Hermione smiled for the first time in hours. “All three. I don’t even know why I love him so much . . .”

You are a teacher. Teach.

“Miss Granger . . . Hermione . . . you mustn’t measure love by the degree to which someone is able to hurt you.”

A rare look of confusion passed over Hermione’s puffy features.

“Just think about it,” said Minerva, patting Hermione’s arm. “And about how much you are willing to give and what you need to receive in return. Then decide wheth-er or not Mr Weasley is worth your tears.”

Once the portrait-hole had shut behind her student, Minerva smiled to herself, a wry, sad smile.

Indeed, some things never change.

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