The wonderful Minerva Fest has just ended and the reveals have been posted.
My contribution was a long-ish short story, “Exotic Matter.”
Title: Exotic Matter
Characters: Minerva McGonagall/Severus Snape; Hermione Granger/Ron Weasley, plus a host of other characters you’ll recognize from canon.
Summary: When Hermione is asked to update the National Dictionary of Wizarding Biography, she discovers some surprising things about her favourite professor. An angsty, nerdy time-travel romance.
Rating: R (for brief sexual content and some violent imagery)
Word count: 17,000
It was going on three o’clock when she rose from her bed and removed the wards from the box that was Concealed at the top of her wardrobe. Gazing into it, she made a decision. Or rather, she acknowledged the decision she’d made the moment she looked into Harry’s blank eyes.
Three hours later, she used the privilege of her position to Floo directly to Albus’s quarters, surprising him before he’d risen from bed.
“There may be a way to save them.”
“Tell me,” he said, pulling on his dressing gown and gesturing for her to sit
He listened to her without interruption, seemingly without reaction, but she’d known him long enough to understand that the slight twitch of lips meant she’d surprised him.
When she finished her tale and showed him the item in question, he said, “Are you certain it will work properly?”
“It did forty years ago.”
He looked into her eyes, and she waited to feel the press of his Legilimency against her mind, but it didn’t come.
“You haven’t used it since?” he asked.
He was silent, looking at her appraisingly, and she understood that he was recalibrating her in his mind, reconciling the Minerva McGonagall he’d thought he knew with one who could make the only functioning prototype of a dangerous magical instrument and keep it a secret for decades.
“Why did you take it?”
His question surprised her. They almost never spoke of personal matters, of their whys and wherefores. That path would be too fraught with hazards neither wanted to engage.
Because I was angry, she wanted to say. Because they didn’t deal fairly with me. Because Rufus kept his bloody job, while I was tossed out without a reference. But he knew all that. He wanted to know the excuse she gave to herself, wanted to judge whether her private lie should affect his actions. He was not a scholar of time travel, but he was a man who understood that a lie could affect the fabric of reality just as surely as the tiny instrument that hung from a chain around Minerva’s neck.