Daily Deviant
- there is no such thing as 'too kinky'
Kinky Kristmas Fic: Nine Ways of Looking at a Book (Hermione/Minerva) 
13th December 2016 12:00
Kristmas Wish Fulfilled for: [info]kelly_chambliss
From: [info]pauraque

Title: Nine Ways of Looking at a Book
Pairing: Hermione/Minerva
Rating: R
Kinks/Themes Included: Erotographomania, book kink
Other Content: Cross-gen (no underage, Hermione is an adult), not epilogue compliant
Word Count: ~1600
Summary: Hermione has come back to Hogwarts to teach history. She finds herself looking to the future, too.
Author's Notes: Inspired by Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens. Thank you to my beta, the prompter, and the mods!

Nine Ways of Looking at a Book

i.

It hasn't been that long, and Hermione hardly feels any different. But now she watches the black-robed children hefting schoolbooks that seem nearly as large as they are, scurrying from class to class with urgency and awe, and she is no longer one of them.

"Hi, Professor Granger," pipes up a little first-year girl whose name, Hermione realises with embarrassment, she can't immediately remember.

"Oh— hello."

Is that what a professor ought to say? Is she wearing the right type of grown-up smile? Hermione wonders how long it will be until she no longer feels like a child playing dress-up — a fraud. Her face is warm, and she hopes it isn't red as she strides quickly down the corridor, forgetting for a moment where she was going.

Her feet carry her to the little study near the Charms classroom, and she pauses at the door. Minerva is there, absorbed in a book, sitting in front of a great round window that frames her with the rich blue of the fall sky.

At the sound of Hermione's footfalls, Minerva looks up, and her face brightens. "Professor Granger," she says with mild surprise, and when she says it, Hermione almost believes it. She raises an appraising eyebrow. "You look as though you could use a walk."


ii.

They walk together by the side of the lake, treading on faded, fallen leaves, and carefully round the still-green bunches of pillwort that worm their way up from the muddy shore.

"I mean to get outdoors more than I do," Minerva confesses, her crows' feet deepening as she squints out over the water. "We ought to make a habit of this."

The long rushes that pierce the lake's surface remind Hermione of something she once read about Egyptian papyrus, and she finds herself sharing it with Minerva before she remembers to be embarrassed at how the small things she learns in books stay so long in her mind.

But Minerva is listening, and smiling at her with interest, not with mockery. When she answers, she touches Hermione's hand, and her skin is warm, so warm despite the air's growing chill.


iii.

Hermione sits hunched over her desk marking papers until she realises the reason she can no longer see them is that her window has turned from blue to black. She pauses only to light the candle, and goes on. There is a sting in her neck each time she turns from the scribbled, tentative students' parchments to the solid half-uncial lines of the history book from which she is trying to teach them.

A thought slips into her mind like light beneath a door: Minerva's hands on her shoulders, rubbing firmly and sweetly. The imagined sensation melts through her body and unwinds her muscles' knots, and settles into a secret tingle between her legs.

She lets out a small, unguarded moan, which sounds louder than it is in the near-silence, and makes her blush fiercely even though nobody is there.


iv.

On the day that the first snowflakes gather delicately on the windowsills, still too light to crush one another, Hermione and Minerva are engaged in the delightful work of taking books out of the Restricted Section.

"Quite a few of these were only ever here because they reveal what the Ministry considered to be uncomfortable truths," Minerva says in grim remembrance, standing on tip-toe as her fingertips walk along the volumes on the very top shelf. "Propaganda by omission. History is only dull when you're afraid to tell the interesting bits, wouldn't you agree?" She adds another book to the stack Hermione is already holding and gives her a hint of a satisfied smile.

Grinning back, Hermione shifts under the weight, hefting these glorious volumes of once-forbidden knowledge that threaten to slip from her too-small hands. The musty scent of their age makes her heart flutter; she longs to simply spread them out on the floor, open all at once, and learn.

"Ah," says Minerva, her smile broadening as she reverently pulls a tiny, ancient book from its place. She gazes at it like it's a dear old friend, and gently brushes the dust from the silvery-blue cover.

Hermione cranes her neck to see, and gasps. "Poems of Rowena Ravenclaw? I didn't think any had survived."

A knowing chuckle — an almost cheeky look in Minerva's eye as she places this book on top of Hermione's stack and taps it with a fingertip. "You may find them interesting. Perhaps not for the classroom, though."


v.

As Hermione struggles through with an Old English dictionary, each of Ravenclaw's lines opens like a flower, gradual and exquisite. She feels no time at all passing as pages turn from puzzles to poems in her mind, one pleasurable eureka after another in the soft pool of light at her desk.

She doesn't understand why this book was in the Restricted Section until close to the end:

Alone I lie, missing her touch like a secret at midnight, sweet as the honey between her thighs...

Flushing, Hermione checks and double checks her translation, surprised at how fervently she needs it to be right.


vi.

Even in the fleeting afternoons of winter, dim and hushed as evenings, they walk.

Their feet crunch softly in fresh snow. As they move through the white-clothed stillness past the slumbering greenhouses, Hermione feels Minerva's gloved hand slip into hers; their fingers intertwine.

Hermione's heart beats hot within her, making the cold feel delicious against her face. She is afraid to look, nearly afraid to breathe — fog moves lightly over her lips — unwilling to dare any careless misstep that could shatter this. She fights the mad urge to run ahead and jump into the snow like an overdelighted child.

To hold hands with Minerva is perfect, like an illustration in an illuminated manuscript. They walk on, observed only by the round, yellow eye of an insomniac owl.


vii.

On Christmas Day, among Hermione's gifts she finds a letter bearing the Headmistress's seal.

Dear Professor Granger,

It has been such a pleasure to have you here this term. I could not have imagined anyone better suited to fill Professor Binns' position. As you share your passion for history with this new generation of students, I cannot help but think that they will be forever enriched, as well as powerfully encouraged never to repeat the errors of the past. I hope to count you as a colleague for years to come.

Let's be sure to carry on with our walks. I haven't felt so healthy in ages.

Merry Christmas,

Minerva McGonagall

In bed, Hermione reads the letter over and over again. She traces the slanted, elegant lines of Minerva's handwriting, feeling the warmth of pride and the heat of desire both growing within her as she touches the dreamt-of words: pleasure and passion.

Her hand slips from the page and slides down her own body; she is nude beneath her blankets. She imagines herself nestled in Minerva's strong arms, imagines it is Minerva's fingers softly stroking her sex, delicately playing with her lips like turning the pages of a secret diary.

Her need grows quickly, curling her toes, arching her back. But she forces her shaky hand to go softly, easily. It's like a book she never wants to end, feeling the pages grow lighter in her right hand and reading slower, slower, slower, savouring every word.


viii.

All day long, Hermione's body has felt glitteringly, wonderfully, terribly awake. When she walks, the brush of her own robes against the backs of her thighs sends rivulets of pleasure coursing through all the little channels inside her, as does the texture of a book's cloth-bound edge when it rubs against the tip of her thumb.

But now books and marking are pushed to the edges of her desk. Every muscle tense, she holds the quill in an iron grip, inches above the parchment, as though she can force her feelings to form themselves into coherent words by will alone.

She writes: Minerva,

Then she writes: I

Minutes pass.

With a grunt of a growl, she scribbles out what she's written, so hard that the tip of the quill snaps. She crumples the parchment into a ball, squeezing it as hard as she can, and then throws it to the floor.

After another minute, she rises and takes the book of Ravenclaw's poems down from the shelf. She gets out a fresh piece of parchment and an undamaged quill, and turns to the last page, one she has read so many times that she doesn't need the dictionary anymore.

She writes it as she reads it. Probably not the best translation, but it's what she reads.

O goddess wise, born full-grown
Lie with me like page beside page
With your owl's eyes all-seeing
And read in my heart the rarest runes.


ix.

Winter's chill emanates from the castle walls as Hermione walks the midnight corridors, envelope in hand. Several times she passes by the long hall that leads to Minerva's chambers, convincing herself each time that this is mad, impossible.

At last she slinks up to the door, and quickly, before she can stop herself again, she slides the envelope underneath with a trembling hand. Flooded with relief and fear, she moves stiffly away, feeling dizzy, like treading on clouds.

She doesn't make it all the way to the end of the hall before the door clicks open.

She turns, and Minerva is there in her blue nightdress, bathed in the yellow light from within, holding the opened envelope. Minerva's lips are parted in astonishment and her eyes glisten with tears, looking at Hermione as though scarcely daring to believe what she sees — a chance at a storybook end.
Comments 
13th December 2016 13:05
I love your opening lines and the way they situate the "new" Hermione in the "old" Hogwarts; the way she feels both distinguished and alienated, exactly the same yet completely different from when she was a student. It's probably true for most anyone in a similar situation, but especially for Hermione, who's always been proud of her intellect and accomplishments while having moments of deep anxiety and insecurity.

Our first glimpse of Minerva and her first two lines establish her character incredibly well. So much done with so few words. Well, that's true of this entire piece, really. Every line holds a detail that makes the scene incredibly vivid or further develops the characterizations. I doubt that there's a single wasted word in here.

Grinning back, Hermione shifts under the weight, hefting these glorious volumes of once-forbidden knowledge that threaten to slip from her too-small hands. -- There are so many fantastic lines in this fic, but this one really stood out to me. The dual nature of it. A literal reading of this bit creates vivid details that almost make me feel and smell the books, but there's also the underlying feeling of one's hands being too small and, perhaps, insignificant, to bear the weight of so much history and knowledge.

Flushing, Hermione checks and double checks her translation, surprised at how fervently she needs it to be right. -- There's something both poignant and hilarious about that. Oh, Hermione! :D

The relationship between Hermione and Minerva develops quietly, peacefully, and as naturally as the turning of the seasons or the hours spent bent over books. The lyrical writing produces a sense of the solemn, persistent passage of time punctuated by Hermione's frustration and stern will and determination as she becomes intent upon communicating her feelings to Minerva. And the way that she does finally communicate them is brilliant and absolutely perfect.

The allegorical representations of the body as a book and sex acts as reading are wonderfully done. So much lovely, gorgeous writing...!
16th January 2017 10:25
I doubt that there's a single wasted word in here.

This is always exactly what I strive for when writing!

Thank you so much for taking the time for such lovely and detailed feedback, even in the midst of your modly duties. ♥
13th December 2016 18:20
WOW, just wow. That was absolutely stunning, MA! The writing here was just breathtaking, so poignant and lyrical, and I adored the style and the broken out sections. I felt Hermione's feeling so very clearly here, and the pacing was absolutely fantastic. I can't believe you made me feel SO MUCH with so few words. Beautiful work.
16th January 2017 10:25
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
13th December 2016 19:08
Oh, this is beautifully written. The snippet of poetry at the end? *swoon*
16th January 2017 10:41
Thank you!
13th December 2016 21:02
This is just absolutely gorgeous.
16th January 2017 10:41
Thanks so much!
13th December 2016 23:50
Oh, wow, this is utterly fabulous. I've had a quick, hungry initial read-through, and I will be back tomorrow for a more leisurely visit to this feast (and a more thorough comment). Thank you, thank you, MA. I've hit the fest gift jackpot.
14th December 2016 12:52
This is so lyrically beautiful. I love the poetry which serves to bring them together (and will never look at Rowena Ravenclaw in the same way again).

Flushing, Hermione checks and double checks her translation, surprised at how fervently she needs it to be right.

This - when you discover something and you want - need - want it to be true. I could feel Hermione's need.

And this at the beginning:


Is that what a professor ought to say? Is she wearing the right type of grown-up smile? Hermione wonders how long it will be until she no longer feels like a child playing dress-up — a fraud.


SO TRUE! OMG, so accurate. Beautiful. I can imagine Hermione worrying about it and hiding it well.

This was a wonderful read.
16th January 2017 10:41
Thank you for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed!
15th December 2016 12:58
The musty scent of their age makes her heart flutter; she longs to simply spread them out on the floor, open all at once, and learn.

slfkjas;lfjasl;fjasl;f

I don't know if you meant that passage to be so sexually charged, but good lord does that perfectly encapsulate this pairing told at its best! It, and ever other line of this fic was perfection!

♥♥♥
16th January 2017 10:43
Part of the prompt was "book kink", so yes, that was quite intentional. :D Thank you!
15th December 2016 13:27
Thirteen ways of Looking at a Blackbird is one of my favourite poems ever. I'm so glad that you used it for inspiration. And you did a brilliant job. This story was amazing!
16th January 2017 10:51
It's a favorite of mine too! For a long time it's been a source of inspiration for me, as an example of how to move and fascinate the reader in just a few simple words. It was great fun to get to make a more direct tribute to it, and seemed like a good fit with Kelly's literary-themed prompts. I'm glad you enjoyed the read!
15th December 2016 22:45
I'm back for further squee and thanks. Truly, Mystery Author, this piece is simply outstanding, and I am privileged to receive it. It's everything I love about these characters and about the possibilities of fanfic. I adore book!fic and wordsmithing and sexy intellect and precise language and strong, sexy, smart women, and you've given me beautifully-crafted doses of all of these things.

I'm going to indulge myself by going through this fic to comment section by section, because each one is a little jewel.

i. The opening line is terrific, encapsulating as it does exactly the feeling one has (or at least, the feeling I had) when beginning a teaching career. The physical distance between being in front of the desk and being behind it is very small, but oh! the metaphorical distance is immeasurable. And of course, the imposter syndrome! I've never fully gotten over it, and I've been in the classroom for thirty years.

ii. how the small things she learns in books stay so long in her mind.

Oh, Hermione! Such a spot-on observation. I suspect this experience is universal for book-lovers. (And of course, we teachers can never resist the temptation to tell these things to others, even if the others would rather not hear /g/).

iii. A thought slips into her mind like light beneath a door:
Great simile

iv. The musty scent of their age makes her heart flutter; she longs to simply spread them out on the floor, open all at once, and learn.

Like Tjswhatnot, I adore this line, both for what it says about books (honestly, there's no smell I like better than old books) and for what it says about Hermione and her feelings about books and Minerva. This...THIS is the epitome of the erotographia.

Propaganda by omission Indeed. An apt description of much standardized education, unfortunately.

v. each of Ravenclaw's lines opens like a flower, gradual and exquisite.
"Exquisite" just like this line.

no time at all passing as pages turn from puzzles to poems in her mind
Love the alliteration here, the notion of "puzzles to poems" -- just how translation works. Love that Rowena's work is in OE; of course it would be.

Hermione checks and double checks her translation, surprised at how fervently she needs it to be right.
Love your Hermione.

vi. The hot/cold contrasts in this section work beautifully. And overseen by the owl of wisdom, of course.

vii. I love Minerva's letter. It's a great way for us to hear her voice in this story -- through the written word, a letter that is careful and crafted; one can almost see her choosing each word.

as well as powerfully encouraged never to repeat the errors of the past.
Until the political events of recent months, I once had this faith in the teaching of history, too. I fear I no longer do. I hope, for the world's sake, that the future proves Minerva right and me wrong.

feeling the pages grow lighter in her right hand and reading slower, slower, slower, savouring every word.

Again, the perfect merging of reading and desire -- it's every reader's and every lover's experience.

viii. she holds the quill in an iron grip, inches above the parchment, as though she can force her feelings to form themselves into coherent words by will alone.
Great description -- the power of the pen (or maybe I should say, the quintessence of the quill)

Love the poem; just brilliant all around. Four-stress lines, just as we'd expect from Old English verse; I think Hermione's got the hang of this translation thing!

O goddess wise, born full-grown
Lie with me like page beside page

From the head of Zeus!
That simile is just so evocative -- another perfect blend of book and bed.

With your owl's eyes all-seeing
And read in my heart the rarest runes.

Yes! Back to our owl of Section vi. That last line is perfect.

ix. feeling dizzy, like treading on clouds.

I can imagine. I do so hope that they both get their storybook ends!

Thank you, MA. I can't wait to find out who you are.
16th January 2017 11:05
To get this comment was a double delight, both to realize that I'd written for you (in retrospect, how did I not know?!) and to see that you so thoroughly got everything I hoped to say with this story. That's the best thing a writer can ask for. Thank you for that, and thank you for the excellent prompt, which was far too good to pass up. I'm so glad I chose it and that you enjoyed what I did with it. ♥
15th December 2016 23:47
This was sublime. Like Hermione, it was a story I didn't want to end. Perfectly in character, intelligent and deftly written with maturity and elegance. Thank you, MA, for such a delightful story.
16th January 2017 11:05
Thank you!
16th December 2016 10:46
Wow, this is so gorgeous! I love the idea of a book that never ends, and you have such lovely turns of phrase. I especially loved the last line and the perfect title. Thank you for this.
16th January 2017 11:05
Thanks for reading, I'm glad you enjoyed!
17th December 2016 20:50
Oh wow, this is truly beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing. :)
16th January 2017 11:06
Thank you for reading!
17th December 2016 20:55
Simply stunning -- gorgeous!! What beautiful prose, poetry, imagery, characterization ... and my heart swells at the hope you leave us with at the end.
16th January 2017 11:06
Thank you. ♥
10th January 2017 18:29
Oh this gave me chills -- good ones, obviously! It's so beautifully written, and Hermione's awakened sense of what and who she wants is palpable! Gorgeous piece!
16th January 2017 11:06
Thank you so much!
11th January 2017 07:50
This is exquisite! Deeply romantic, incredibly sexy and all whilst staying true to the characters.

It was a delight to bask in your masterful use of language; the way you built Hermione's feelings so delicately was a joy to read, and so often bordered on poetic.

I adore the way books played such a role in their developing relationship, and so many turns of phrase really stood out to me. Not least:

Hermione wonders how long it will be until she no longer feels like a child playing dress-up — a fraud. – Oh, isn't that just how being an adult feels at times? So beautifully captured!

...she forces her shaky hand to go softly, easily. It's like a book she never wants to end, feeling the pages grow lighter in her right hand and reading slower, slower, slower, savouring every word. – Absolutely gorgeous simile.

Both instances of Minerva framed by the window took my breath away.

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece of writing. I enjoyed it ever so much.
16th January 2017 11:07
Thank you for your kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed. :)
11th January 2017 11:54
This story is so delicate, quiet and sensuous, it's hard to write a comment for because no matter what I say it is going to sound clunky and inadequate to what your story made me feel as I read it. Your writing is just so lovely, and I feel the heightening attraction and anticipation, with all its accompanying hope, delight and fears, like a thrumming restlessness between the lines. I opened this tab with the story a few days ago, after I'd seen the masterlist linked from LJ, and as I scrolled down the first time my gaze fell on the poem by Rowena Ravenclaw that Hermione copies and I thought it was something by Sappho. So beautiful. The entire story reminds me of that. And your prose, too, is close to poetry, intricate and precise in its imagery, but at the same time it just flows so ensnaringly simple and feels artlessly honest - a gentle love story that tugs on our hearts as it finds its happy end - which I suspect must take a lot of careful wordsmithing to achieve.

I could easily quote 90% of the story here in search of favourites, but here are just two of many, many lines and paragraphs that delighted me:

As they move through the white-clothed stillness past the slumbering greenhouses, Hermione feels Minerva's gloved hand slip into hers; their fingers intertwine (...) She fights the mad urge to run ahead and jump into the snow like an overdelighted child. The lovely peaceful description, contrasted with the turmoil of excitement within. Also, just one of several places where Hermione's thoughts and reactions were completely endearing. <3

All day long, Hermione's body has felt glitteringly, wonderfully, terribly awake. When she walks, the brush of her own robes against the backs of her thighs sends rivulets of pleasure coursing through all the little channels inside her, as does the texture of a book's cloth-bound edge when it rubs against the tip of her thumb. This is so viscerally erotic, it puts words like 'hot' and 'sexy' to shame. :)
16th January 2017 11:08
Thank you so much, my dear. ♥ I'm glad you enjoyed.
26th January 2017 00:10
What can I say that hasn't been said?
This is beautifully lyrical, poetry really.
Love this Hermione, this read so like her, and Minerva was magnificent.
Wonderful work!
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