LS/LightningStrikes/theKid/Fan-rei's beta reader (for now) says: Review. You know you want to. And you have a good reason. This story rocks.

A.N. thanks for my new beta and all who reviewed my last chapter. I really appreciate your kind words. I'm sorry for the long delay between chapter. For your pain, I'm giving you two chapters today. Good reading and great Christmas!

14 . The funeral.

It was the day of the funeral and Hermione felt queasy. Fortunately Minerva stayed at her side and made it better somehow. They changed in black outfits, the respectable color for a funeral service. In true they looked like an hybrid between depressed people and penguins. The heavy rain that didn't cease to fall hard contributed greatly to the gloomy atmosphere.

Arthur Weasley arrived alone some time later. "I'm sorry it seems the ministry needed with urgency Albus Dumbledore and the aurors we managed to secure, but I'm sure all will be fine, there's Mad-eyes and Tonk with us, and we have all special training. Moreover it's not very probable He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named tempt anything anyway." So the signal the depart was given without further delay.

At the place where the funeral would be, Mad and Tonk took their role seriously and decided to check the perimeter. They would stay around and watch that all go as it should. Molly Weasley gathered the teenagers around her while her husband stayed near Hermione and Minerva who greeted the family and friends who come.

In all there were near thirty people. It would be best Voldemort stay warm at home or else there would be some damages. There was too much people to protect efficiently if hell broke lose. The muggle would certainly be caught in the fight with no luck to defend themselves. Arthur shook his head and his somber thoughts. Nothing would happen.

Finally the funeral began. The morbid music and the droning of the priest made it difficult to stay alert. It was very cold in the out like that, and the monotonous and repetitive litany dulled everybody. People had glassy eyes while some moved on place impatiently.

Minerva had put her arm around Hermione 's shoulder, holding her close for moral support and trying to kept her warm. The atmosphere was so depressing and boring. She hoped it would be soon over that she could take care of the shivering and somber young woman in her embrace.

It would seem the priest had heard her prayer or maybe he was just cold, and he finished rapidly. Hermione took a bit of earth and threw it on the empty coffins. At this moment she longed with fervor to see her smiling parents. She couldn't wait to rejoin them.

Minerva seemed to felt her thoughts and tightened her embrace. Hermione sank comforted in it. It felt good. Then the older woman kissed gently the younger one 's front making her blush. It infused Hermione with warm and she silently thanked her friend with a tiny smile.

Stayed the party and people to speak with. She mentally prepared herself taking courage in the affectionate presence of her friend and crush. Minerva was a tender and formidable guardian angel.

There had been no alert during the ceremony and people were beginning to relax thinking it would be soon over. The stream of family and friends trying to talk with the daughter of the Granger was not abating, but Minerva was at her side preventing any catastrophe. So the magical populace took position near the food and looked over them with smiles on their face. Minerva in her 'protective mode' was a sign to see.

Her face was colored with life, her eyes sparkling, and her Scottish accent was more pronounced that ever. Her body moved with the grace of a dangerous and attentive feline protecting her cub.

Her clothes finished this intriguing portrait. They were black, but nothing in rapport with her more normal and conservative dress. It was a 'dangerous' dark. She had a jean, a t-shirt, a leather blouson, and mean looking heeled boots. Her long ebony hear was held by a simple elastic. She made a striking figure.

Minerva saw easily the amused glances she was the object and felt a little annoyed. Why were they not patrolling around? It's not because nothing had yet happened, that it would stay this way. Moreover seeing them huddled in their side of the room was not a good strategic move and gave them the look of conspirators.

She sighed and returned her eyes on the beautiful if a little pale woman at her side. She felt so proud of Hermione for being so strong and calm in this situation. She had been concerned the party after the funeral would be too much and an unnecessary risk. But in the end Hermione succeed to convince her it was the right thing to do.

She saw through how it was rapidly tiring her friend and tried to lead them away for a moment. Alas she was the girl of the party and they left just a group of well-wishers to found another and another. Minerva felt increasingly irritated how they couldn't seem to understand their presence was more suffocating than comforting.

They talked and talked, never letting the young woman put a word. She just nodded and smiled. Minerva knew Hermione' s smiles and the one plastered today on her face was not one of her preferred. It was one forced and she didn't like it a bit, nor how people were so patronizing with her. It was obvious even if they knew her parents, their children was a complete unknown for them. Why couldn't they leave her alone!

Minerva felt she was rapidly losing her Scottish temper. One more insipid and empty of meanings discussion would be her undoing. There wouldn't need any death eaters when she'll take her wand. Somehow Hermione seemed to sense it and took Minerva hands in her caressing it gently.

The older woman sighed and closed her eyes a moment. She was the one who ought to do the protecting and it was this admirable young lady that was doing it. She shook her head ruefully. Strangely people who didn't seem to remark the tired face of the only child of the Granger were a lot more receptive to Minerva's ply and asked her if she was alright. It was at beating her head on the walls.

Hermione profited of the situation smoothly and lead her away to treat her 'awful headache'.

A good whiff of oxygen should do the trick… The rain had not abated yet so they would be wet but alone a moment. That was the most important.

She felt Minerva breath deeply behind her. She turned and looked at this most impressive woman, her beloved friend and protector, her knight in leather armor. A shrill spread along her body at the beautiful vision.

She hesitated a moment for her next action. But they were friends now and Minerva did enlace her already several time. So she did, offering and receiving warm and comfort from it. The heavy curtain of the rain sheltered them from the world.

Their eyes closed contently. They were alone. Their body pressed against each other. Minerva's head reposing on Hermione. The air smelled brisk and fresh, the downpour making the odor of the earth and plants stronger.

The usual noise of the city was drowned. They felt safe and good in each other arms. As if all was right with the world. Or maybe as if it had stopped for an eternity this perfect moment according peace to two troubled souls…