A/N: Written as a gift for Cielita when she was feeling a little burned out, the title was originally just 'Busy', but I like the new one she came up with.
He was not sure what he would find when he peeked into the office of the new Deputy Headmistress. The last few times he had stopped by, she'd been busy with one thing or another. Writing lesson plans, signing Hogwarts letters, putting together course schedules, or something else related to being not only the Deputy Headmistress, but also the Head of Gryffindor and Transfiguration professor. When he actually peeked in, however, he found her doing none of those things. Her head rested on her folded arms on top of her desk, a quill still in her right hand, even as she slept.
Feeling his heart twist in his chest, he stepped forward and gently eased the quill from her hand. She stirred but did not wake as he placed the quill with the others. Moving behind her chair, he gently maneuvered her into a sitting position in her chair, her chin resting on her chest as she slept on. Casting a levitating charm on the chair, he guided it through the corridors of the school and up to her rooms. Once in her bedroom, he lifted her out of the chair and onto the bed. She rolled to her side and cuddled a long body pillow to her and he took the opportunity to remove her shoes and stockings before summoning a light tartan blanket. He draped it over her sleeping form and kissed her forehead before leaving her to sleep in peace.
She woke slowly, a little puzzled. The last thing she remembered was sitting at her desk, working on lesson plans for her Transfiguration classes, her eyes scratchy from lack of sleep and her head felt heavy. Deciding to indulge herself just once, she'd laid her head on her arms and closed her eyes, which eased the scratchiness. Now she was in her bedroom, her favorite tartan blanket draped over her and a glorious sunset filled her room with warm orange light. How did she get from her office to her rooms while she was still asleep?
She sat on the edge of the bed and thought for a few moments before deciding to go to the Headmaster about it. Pulling her shoes and stockings on--when had she taken them off?--she made her way up to the Headmaster's office. Before she could knock, though, the door opened. Dropping her hand to her side, she stepped into the office, which still looked like a mess, even after three weeks. Looking around, she spotted the Headmaster seated in an armchair and reading a book. "Albus?"
"Hello, Minerva, did you have a nice nap?" he asked, looking up from his book.
That confirmed her suspicions and she folded her arms across her chest. "I must say I was rather surprised to find myself in my rooms upon waking rather than in my office."
"I thought you would sleep better if you were more comfortable," he explained, beginning to look a trifle nervous.
She raised an eyebrow. "Albus, do you have any idea how much work I still need to do? I do not have the time to take naps in the middle of the day."
"You would not need to take one if you were getting a proper amount of sleep at night," he countered, gazing at her over the tops of his half-moon spectacles.
Damn him. She raised the other eyebrow. "What makes you think I have not been sleeping at night?"
"Your impromptu nap is a rather obvious sign, my dear Professor," he replied, rising and approaching her.
Sheer force of will kept her from retreating. "That is the first time it has happened, Albus."
"Knowing you, it will not be the last," he responded, looking thoughtful.
She narrowed her eyes at him, feeling her spine stiffen. "What do you mean, Albus?"
"I mean, Minerva, that you have been running yourself ragged since you took on your new responsibilities," he informed her quietly. "If you are not careful, you could end up in the hospital wing and Poppy would not be pleased."
She took a deep breath to calm herself. "Are you threatening me, Albus?"
"I am telling you the truth, no more, no less," he clarified.
Were his eyes twinkling? Did he think this was a joke? "Albus, I have too much to do to take time for naps."
"Then you need to get a proper night's rest," he contradicted. "You need the sleep, Minerva, or you won't be able to perform any of your jobs come fall."
She sighed and dropped her arms, the fight going out of her. "Why do you have to make sense?"
He chuckled at that, picking up her left hand and patting it. "My brother asked me the same thing when we were younger."
"And what answer did you give him?" she inquired curiously as he tugged her over to the area in front of the fireplace.
He merely smiled and indicated the sofa. "Please, have a seat."
"Albus, you are avoiding the question," she pointed out, fighting back a smile of amusement.
He smiled benignly and walked over to his desk to rummage in the drawers. Minerva decided to drop the subject and sat down, sighing as she sank into the wonderfully soft cushions.
He rummaged through the drawers in his desk, looking for a particular item he had managed to procure several days ago. He finally found it on top of his desk, buried under a stack of parchment. Shaking his head bemusedly, he returned to where he'd left Minerva to find her fast asleep, reclining on the sofa. "Oh, my dear Minerva, you are more tired than you think."
She stirred at the sound of his voice, but didn't wake up. Setting the item on the table beside the sofa, he sat down to watch her sleep. In moments, he, too, was asleep.
This time, when she awoke, it was to find herself being held by the Headmaster. To say the least, she was disconcerted. She'd often wondered what it would be like, but this wasn't the exact scenario she'd envisioned. As she lay there, however, she found that she was rather comfortable and loathed the thought of disturbing him by getting up. So, she stayed where she was and enjoyed this rare chance to be held by the man she'd lost her heart to so many years ago. She was mortified when his quiet, deep voice asked several minutes later, "Are you comfortable, Minerva?"
"Oh! I didn't know you were awake." She scrambled into a sitting position, or tried to. His arms tightened around her and kept her where she was. "Albus, please."
He gently turned her so he was looking into her eyes. "Please what, Minerva?"
"Please--" she abruptly stopped when she realized that she was sprawled on top of him in a manner that she rather liked, but hardly appropriate. "--let me go."
He trailed one of his hands up her side to cup her cheek and she leaned into the caress. "On one condition, my dear."
"What condition is that, Albus?" she asked, very aware of his body under hers.
As he gazed at her over the tops of his spectacles, she noticed that his eyes weren't twinkling in the slightest. "That you take the time to rest properly, either at night or by taking a nap." She opened her mouth to protest, but he pressed his finger against her lips to stop her. "I need my Deputy to be beside me and she cannot very well do that when she lands herself in the hospital wing due to sheer exhaustion."
She felt her breath hitch in her chest, wondering if there was a deeper meaning behind the words. Slowly, reluctantly, she nodded and he released her. Very reluctantly, she got to her feet beside the sofa and felt cold almost at once; he was so warm and comfortable, she longed to cuddle up against his side and go back to sleep. To keep from acting on that longing, she kept her back to him, staring into the fire. "I hope you do not expect me to take a third nap today, Albus. I still have much to do before term begins in September."
"That is several months away," he reminded her as he stood up--she heard his robes rustle. "You need your rest as much as the next person." She didn't know what to say, so she said nothing, gazing into the fire as if her life depended on it. If she didn't, if she looked at him, she would act on the feelings she'd kept hidden for so long and that would only ruin their friendship at this point. "Minerva, look up." Rather puzzled, she did so. "Now, turn to your left." She did and found herself looking up into his eyes. "I will do everything in my power to make sure you get all the rest you need."
To her horror, she felt tears pricking at the back of her eyes. Taking a shaky breath, she nodded. "Thank you, Albus, but that really is not necessary."
"I think it is," he answered quietly, his eyes intense. "As I mentioned before, you have been pushing yourself to your limits and will wear yourself out if you are not careful."
She closed her eyes, unable to hold his gaze any longer. "Albus, there is no--" His lips upon hers effectively silenced her protests. Surprised, she stepped back and opened her eyes. His face was mere inches from hers, his eyes unreadable. Her eyes locked with his, she raised a hand to touch her lips, tingling from the all-too-brief kiss.
"I apologize, Minerva, that was--" She silenced him the way he had silenced her: with a kiss.
When she pulled back this time, she was smiling. "Albus, I have wanted to say this for years, but never found the courage. Until now: I love you."
"I love you, too, Minerva," he replied, the twinkle appearing in his eyes once more.
She was still smiling when he drew her into another kiss.