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What Loneliness Brings

By CEA

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She was drowning.

Minerva could feel it, swirling about her trying so hard to suffocate her, and she was crying, her tears mixing with the water, the dark, blood-red water, pressing against her. She tried to scream for help, but no one heard. No one cared. No one cared enough to save her, anyway. It was a crushing blow to her heart, and she stopped struggling, sinking lower and lower into the abyss. Let her drown. Let her drown...

She awoke abruptly, sitting straight up in bed, her hand over her pounding heart as she took great gulps of air. Standing up, she fumbled on the nightstand for her wand, and once she'd found it she tapped it once against the lamp beside her to turn it on.

Grabbing the tartan dressing gown off of the hook on the back of the door, she walked out into the living area and sat down at the couch. It was still dark in their, but one muttered charm and she was flooded with light. She leaned back against the couch, her usual ram-rod straight posture discarded for the moment. Her first thought was that she could use some tea or hot chocolate, but the thought of hot chocolate brought him to mind, and immediately she felt more alone then she had in years.

She missed him.

She wanted to curse Fudge, now that she thought on it. Why on Earth had he determined it necessary to call the Headmasters of all of the European schools together for 2 weeks? It made no sense to her whatsoever.

Sighing, she stood and entered the hallways after throwing the dressing gown over her head. She walked swiftly to the staff room, her head low, barely even registering where she was.

As she closed the door and leaned back against it, she tried to think of something - anything - else. She sat down on the couch and set the fire going, heating up the kettle and grabbing a mug. But still, the fact remained.

Minerva McGonagall was unbearably lonely.

Curled up like a cat on the couch and sipping a steaming mug of Albus's famous hot cocoa, her stomach felt empty, like her heart. The feeling in her womb would not go away as she tried to think of anything else.

Sighing again, she turned her head away from the dancing flames in the hearth. She could feel tears threatening, and she quickly pushed them back, sucking in a great gulp of air and sitting up straight, falling easily into the enclosed mask of Professor Minerva McGonagall. Minerva McGonagall hadn't truly cried in over two decades. She wasn't going to start now.

The door creaked open and she looked up into deep ebony eyes. She felt him look through her, and it was a rare and unwelcome feeling. She wasn't use to having her emotions invaded, and she knew they were written clearly in her eyes at that moment.

"Are you alright, Minerva?" he asked, seeming somehow more human with the slight concern in his usually cold voice and the firelight dancing across his face.

"I'm fine, Severus," she said calmly, her mask taking firm hold as any traces of emotion were wiped from her face. But it was too late; he knew that Minerva McGonagall had been sitting there trying not to bury her head in her hands and scream in frustration.

"Afraid to crack the shell?"

"Aren't you?" she retorted.

He smirked, all human traces wiped away instantly. "Amazing, isn't it?"

"What?"

"How alike we can be sometimes."

She glared angrily at him and stood, rigid as normal. "I'm shocked you even have the gall to say that. How on Earth didn't your bloody Slytherin pride get in the way?"

"Ah, Minerva, must we be so cold to one another?"

"Yes," she said simply, and made to go past him. He reached out and gripped her arm.

"Don't you ever tire of being the strict, cold-hearted shrew?"

"Don't you ever tire of being the strict, cold-hearted bastard?" she said, wrenching her arm away and walking hurriedly away. He watched her go and sat down in the chair she had just vacated, smiling softly.

"She has a bad case," he commented to the dying embers.

Minerva didn't know of any of them, though, as she irritably made her way back to her own rooms.

She slammed the door behind her and leaned back against it, closing her eyes. "I hate this," she whispered to the cold, still air.

"Hate what, my dear?" came the calm voice he knew so well.

Minerva's entire body went rigid the second she heard his voice. Her eyes opened and flicked outward, meeting crystal clear blue ones across the room. Too far across the room. "Albus?"

"It seems that out dear Minister received several complaints about the Headmasters being away from their school so long. Strangely enough, they were all anonymous. I for one would like to know who sent them," Albus said casually, but the tone of his voice gave his feelings away.

Minerva blushed despite herself as she heard that, proving his assumptions correct. He smiled softly as he viewed her. He contemplated walking slowly over to her and gently pulling her into his arms. He contemplated running over to her and crushing his lips to hers. He contemplated throwing her on the couch and showing her how much he had missed her. But he never really had to make a decision, because suddenly she smiled brightly and ran across the room, throwing her arms around his neck. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tight against him, and burying his head in her sweet-smelling hair. It felt better then he'd imagined, holding her again after only a week and half of being without her, but she wasn't just any person. He pushed her away slightly and leaned down to claim her mouth in a tender, passionate kiss. She responded eagerly, and he smiled. It felt good to know that you were missed.

She pulled away again and buried her head in his chest. "Don't you do that to me again, Albus," she threatened, her voice slightly muffled by his robes.

He chuckled throatily. "I wouldn't dream of it, my dear," he said honestly, placing his chin atop her head and once again embracing her tightly.

After standing like that for a few minutes, Minerva gently tugged away and grasped his larger hand in two of her small ones as it came down. Smiling softly at him, and lead him to their bedroom and hung the tartan bathrobe back upon the hook. She pulled the covers back and lay down as she waited for him to get ready, and then he lay down beside her and pulled her into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his waist and his went around her back, and for the first time in many nights, both of them slept contentedly.

-FINE-

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A/N: Lord this is fluffy. What else can I say? Oh, yes, there is something else: PLEASE READ/REVIEW LIKE MOTHER LIKE DAUGHTER!!! EVEN IF YOU HATE THIS!!! I WANT REVIEWS!!! I FEEL ABANDONED!!!

Thank you.

Love,

~*CEA