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[personal profile] mindabbles
title: The Best I've Ever Had
author: [personal profile] mindabbles
recipient: [personal profile] woldy
pairing: Minerva McGonagall/Poppy Pomfrey/Rolanda Hooch
rating: NC-17
summary: Perfection is not something I strive for at my age, but if this – the best I've ever had – remains the worst I'll ever see, I'll count myself among the most fortunate of women.
warnings: none really, unless a threesome is a warning.

Written for [personal profile] woldy's prompt "Hogmanay" at her informal HP femslash exchange. Thanks for your lovely idea and for making this happen!



I chose Minerva for her predictability. We chose Rolanda for her vivacity. I think that they each chose me because everyone needs someone to take care of them on occasion. It's not perfect, but then what is?

Any potion needs to be blended with balance in mind – curative ingredient, active ingredient, and stabilizer melding until they become one. One without the other, or two without the third, leads to a lack of balance, discord, and, very often, indigestion.

"There you are," Minerva says, as if I've been gone ages instead of twenty minutes.

"Here I am," I say. "And here you are." I hand her a juniper branch, as long as my arm, thick as my wrist, and heavy with greenery and small, silver-blue berries. It smells of ancient woods and steep climbs.

"Lovely specimen," Minerva says. She takes the branch and her fingers close for a moment around mine. She puts it on the hearth and charms it to stand, where it will burn later, cleansing the rooms we share for the New Year. "It will do us well."

"Bloody waste of would-be gin," Rolanda says, nodding at the branch. She's coming from the bath, skin pink and hair dark curling around the collar of her dressing gown. She's, no doubt, been out with the few students who've stayed behind for the holidays, unable to resist a quick match on the unusually fine afternoon that's coming to an end.

"I'm sure there will be no shortage of drink, our squandering a few berries aside," Minerva says as she taps her wand to the sideboard and the dishes fill with biscuits, cheese, shortbread, trifle, and a fruitcake that smells as if it would ignite from the light of a strong lamp.

"No sweet tooth here," Rolanda says. She has changed into dark blue robes, moving with a quick, decisive grace that always makes me feel safe and like a lesser species in turns.

"Don't worry yourself," Minerva says. "There will be more than a fair share of savouries at the feast. This is for after. What's got into you?" she asks, raising an imperious eyebrow at Rolanda's churlish tone.

"Let's not go," I say. I'm a little surprised at myself. I've been thinking this for days, but I never intended to say it aloud. Minerva looks at me with horror bred of generations, and I can see her mind working to comprehend the concept of not attending the Hogmanay feast.

"Not go?" she says. "Away with you. Don't be ridiculous."

"No,Minnie," Rolanda says, bouncing on the balls of her feet. Anyone else would find themselves at the business end of Minerva's wand for the use of that particular nickname. "That's brilliant. Just this once. Just us."

Minerva, for all she is reputedly stuffy, and it is only reputedly, loves a party. And while Minerva is certainly not known for pining, if she pines for anything, it is the proper ringing in of the New Year. She'll need coaxing.

*

"There, that's us sorted," Rolanda says. There's a desperation to her assistance with the preparations. She avoids gatherings of more than a Quidditch team with the tenacity befitting her Saxon roots. She clutches her pennywhistle in her fist with a slightly demented expression on her face, as if to say, there will be music and to waylay Minerva's last possible line of argument.

I'm quite pleased to have a night in as well, but my reasons stem more from wanting to expend my remaining energies with Minerva and Rolanda than any misanthropic tendencies.

"And here," Rolanda says, handing Minerva her wide, flat drum. She turns and tosses the bone that Minerva uses to beat out rhythms older than this castle, and Minerva catches it deftly without seeming to look. "We'll make our own music and it will be a hundred times better than Flitwick's warbling."

Minerva twirls the bone between two fingers and I can see that she is relenting. But not ready to give completely just yet, she says, "And if no one knows we're in the castle, then no one will stop by after midnight."

"I think that's the point," I say. I realise that I have rearranged the spread of food on the sideboard about six times out of pure boredom with this conversation. Rolanda – and I – have won. Minerva's simply not ready to admit it yet. "We don't have to listen to Slughorn pontificate on the most recent accomplishments of his hangers-on."

"That's all very well and good," Minerva says, "But you're missing the point altogether. There's to be a first foot."

"You're tall, dark, and handsome," Rolanda says, with a sly smile. "You go out the door at midnight, wait a moment, and knock." She summons a hunk of coal from the fire, cooling it as it zips toward her, and hands it to Minerva. "I'll let you back in, I promise, and you present us with this. Long may our lum reek."

Minerva makes a noise like a balloon with a slow leak. "And where's my luck to come from, then?"

This is the one night of the year that Minerva admits a nodding acquaintance with superstition.

"We'll invite Flitwick round for trifle," Rolanda says. "He's tolerable."

"Flitwick?" Minerva says.

"We'll make our own luck," I say.

*

Rolanda's cheeks flush a becoming shade of pink as she plays. Her fingers fly on the pennywhistle and I find my foot tapping without realising I've moved. Minerva's wrist twirls as she gets more varied sounds out of that goat skin than I would have thought possible. They rush to the peak, reaching it together, like two children racing breathless up a hill only to tumble hell-for-leather down the other side, neither wanting to leave the other behind.

I clap, my hands as rogue as my tapping foot.

"Sing with us next time, Poppy," Rolanda says, grinning and it strikes me that it is a shame there's no audience to witness their brilliance, despite the fact that there is nothing here I want to share.

Minerva offers up one of her rare true grins – a token for happiness in the coming year, and I'm gripped by a memory of her kissing me at midnight, years ago when it was just the two of us, and whispering, "May you aye be just as happy as I wish you now to be."

"It's nearly midnight," I say. The warmth of the fire and the glow of the lamps seem to be gathering in my chest.

Minerva fairly leaps from her seat and bustles about the room. With quick, precise movements that would suggest anger to someone who didn't know her as I do, she tidies the sideboard, pours three glasses of Firewhisky, and sets the juniper branch alight.

"Don't do that," Rolanda says. She moves to place a gentle hand on Minerva's back. Rolanda can't abide what she would call Minerva's bouts of carefully-controlled frenzy. "Slow down. It doesn't suit you."

"It suits me perfectly," Minerva says. She turns and with a wave of her wand, the three whisky glasses drift to each of is. "It's a minute to midnight."

Some might not believe that a look of expectant happiness suits Minerva McGonagall, but they'd be dead wrong. She looks about the room as if something grand is going to happen when the clock strikes twelve. Rolanda and I share a conspiratorial glance, Rolanda's a touch beleaguered, mine infused with affection.

The clock that belonged to Minerva's grandmother, that she winds every fortnight with a careful spell, gives its first melodious chime. Minerva waits, her glass aloft, until the last chime sounds.

"Happy New Year!" We three exclaim together and I taste the whisky, its astringent earthiness – the taste of Minerva – on my tongue.

Minerva leans to kiss me, her lips a gentle press on mine. "May the best you've ever had, be the worst you'll ever see," she whispers against the skin of my cheek.

Rolanda enfolds me from behind and her lips touch behind my ear as she says, "Happy New Year, love."

I let me head fall back onto her shoulder and melt against her as Minerva reaches to wrap her hand around Rolanda's head and pulls her into a kiss. Their lips meet just next to my cheek.

My body feels warm and open, from the whisky and the closeness, and I am again so, so pleased that Rolanda insisted and Minerva relented.

Rolanda's lips tug at my earlobe and Minerva's body presses against mine.

"Shouldn't we sing?" I ask, shocked that Minerva is on a path to let this tradition slip by.

"We've had a cup and we've taken hands, and I shouldn't think we're in any danger of forgetting what's gone before," Minerva says, and there's that smile of happy expectation again.

"Then show me what's to come in the New Year," I say, taking one of each of their hands and starting toward the settee.

"But a first foot," Rolanda blurts out. "You've to go out and come back in again."

Minerva looks as if she's sat upon something prickly and I burst out laughing.

"Well, if it isn't Madam Mercurial insisting on tradition," Minerva laughs. "All right then. Never let it be said I shirked the duty of my stature."

Minerva strides to the door and pulls it open. Filius is standing in the hallway, his hand raised in a fist, about to knock.

"Filius," Minerva says. "What – has Albus sent you?" Minerva asks. Her tone is not unkind, but, understandably, Filius bristles a bit nonetheless.

"This isn't a deputation, just offering my regards," he says. "A Happy New Year, ladies." He places a bottle of the sherry I fancy (on the odd evening), Firewhisky for Minerva, and mead for Rolanda on the table, and Minerva visibly relaxes. He might not be the first foot she'd hoped for, but what he lacks in stature, he makes up for in generosity.

"They here?" A deep voice calls from the corridor, and Hagrid's frame fills the open door.

Bubbles of near-panic percolate through me as both my bed and the ways I had hope to set the stage for the New Year slip farther from my grasp.

"Where would we be?" Minerva asks. She steps back to let Hagrid enter and he deposits a sack of coal on the hearth.

"There ye are," he says. "That's me, tall and dark, and there's yer prosperity. Can't ask fer more 'an that."

"I need a drink," Rolanda says, uncorking the bottle of mead. For a moment, I think she's going to swig it right from the bottle.

"Don't mind if I do," Hagrid says.

Filius and Hagrid sit down on the settee. Filius begins to hum Auld Lang Syne as Minerva pours them both whisky.

"Well, as my little dad used to say, may you aye keep hail and hearty 'til yer old enough to die," Hagrid says and he lifts his glass.

"And you, Hagrid," Minerva says. She's happy that they've come and I shoot Rolanda a quelling look to stop her from ordering them to leave – as much as I'd like to do that myself.

*

Minerva's hair is thick and dark, the absolute texture of luxury, and the antithesis of her stereotypically frugal ways. I sometimes think that's why she always wears it pulled back so tightly – such hair would certainly spoil her reputation. I work my fingers through it, pulling gently at tangles. My other hand falls to Rolanda's curly head.

The only sounds now are the crackling of the fire from the nearly extinguished juniper branch, our soft words and softer breaths. Just past midnight, Hagrid and Filius were joined by Sinistra and Albus, who were joined in turn by Sybil and Pomona. Music filled our rooms and our quiet night in became a proper party.

Rolanda hung on as long as it was reasonable to ask, but when Sybil pulled a crystal ball from her robes and offered up readings about the coming year, she knew it was her moment. There was no chance of Minerva objecting to an interruption of that.

And now, if the hours after midnight on the first of January do indeed set the stage for the coming year, and if these moments with the dawn creeping in still count, I am in for wealth beyond my wildest hopes.

Minerva's long, slim body stretches beside mine. Her hand cups my breast, her thumb brushing over the nipple again and again. Her head is on my chest and I close my eyes, waiting for the warmth of her tongue on my other nipple. I open my mouth in a quiet gasp when it comes.

"Mm," Rolanda hums. She kisses the crease where my thigh joins my body. "Do that again," she tells Minerva. She licks along my vulva at the same moment as Minerva sucks my nipple into her mouth and I can't help but cry out, making Rolanda laugh softly. She's the most vocal of the three of us, and delights in coaxing any manner of sound from either Minerva or me.

Minerva strokes my breast, my ribs and stomach. Her tongue circles my nipple and Rolanda's is firm on my clit. They move in tandem, as if they can feel the pleasure racing through my body, sharp and hot, between them. Minerva holds me, steady and solid, her lips and hands complementing Rolanda's frantic passions.

My blood pounds in my ears and my whole body feels open and lush. Sometimes, in the haze of bliss that comes from being the centre of these two women's attention, I cannot remember what I've done to deserve this fragment of the sublime.

Minerva gasps, a puff of warm breath on my neck, and Rolanda laughs again. The deep sound vibrates through me and I force my eyes open, pulling myself back as from a trance. Rolanda has reached across my hips to touch Minerva, her fingers disappearing between her legs.

I arch my hips, moaning some garbled combination of their names, pressing onto Rolanda's warm mouth. "Please, please," I hear myself beg, as I urge her to lick in long, broad strokes.

Minerva's hands tighten on my body and her mouth is open over my breast. She shudders and her breath stutters over my skin. Rolanda's arm moves over me, pressing into my abdomen as she pushes her fingers into Minerva, and I know she is dragging them over Minerva's clit every time she pulls out, in just the way that always, always nudges Minerva over the edge.

"Oh, yes," I say, the s a long hiss of breath. Minerva's tongue is back on my breast and Rolanda's fingers, wet from Minerva, tease over my arse, pressing in at that most sensitive spots. Something full and sweet unfurls inside me and I come, with that incomprehensible babble of both of their names spilling from my lips.

Rolanda moves like she's mounting a broom, fast and strong, as she straddles my hips. She bends over me, kissing deeply. Minerva is behind her, holding her up, and I can tell from how Rolanda moves that Minerva's fingers are in her, on her. It's all I can do to kiss back, to hold on and give Rolanda a safe place to land.

She does collapse onto me, her face in my neck. She flops onto her back and half-laughs, half-sings the chorus to "Auld Lang Syne," shamefully neglected earlier in the evening. Minerva tuts from my other side, apparently unable to summon the energy to scold Rolanda for pronouncing syne with a Z – something she does every year to torment Minerva.

The morning light, finally winning its struggle to climb past the mountains, streams through the sheer curtains. To me the first light, not the first foot, has always meant the coming of the New Year. That was the day that my mum met with the other witches in our village – healers to the Muggles who lived around the hamlet – to clear out old, and brew new, potions. The kitchen filled with thick steam and strong smells, pungent and sweet, acrid and rich, from morning until night. The women would let me watch and sometimes let me help, as they told me stories of their lives.

Rolanda sighs sleepily and curls onto her side, hair every which way. Minerva pulls the blanket up over us all and ties her hair deftly back into its bun. And so, it's the beginning of another year. Perfection is not something I strive for at my age, but if this – the best I've ever had – remains the worst I'll ever see, I'll count myself among the most fortunate of women.

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