A/N: I had thought about just ending with that last chapter, but I had this chapter in my head since I started the fic, so I had to do it. It's short, but I couldn't think of more to add right now. I want to thank everyone for reading my story. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And I had to add something in here about Jo's revelation that our esteemed headmaster bats for the other team, if you know what I mean.
- April :-)
It had taken several futile attempts to leave Albus' quarters before the new couple finally managed to make it through the portrait door – largely thanks to a loud rumble from Albus' stomach.
They walked down the hall arm in arm, both of them so wrapped up in the other that they failed to notice the portraits' whispering amongst themselves as they passed.
"Albus," Minerva said, "have you seen any of the staff since we came back?"
He wrinkled his brow in thought. "Now that you mention it, I don't believe I've seen or heard any of them."
"You don't suppose anything has happened?" Minerva ventured, the war with Voldemort still fresh in her mind.
Albus shook his head and patted her hand. "No, no, I don't think anything bad has happened. Remember, this is the first summer in a long time that no one has had to worry about Death Eater attacks or Tom Riddle jumping out of a broom closet to say, 'Boo!' I would hope that everyone took a vacation like we did."
Minerva laughed out loud. "Boo?"
He smiled at her. "I dearly love the sound of your laugh. I shall bring it upon myself to make you do it more often."
"Just promise me you'll never do it when I'm drinking anything. I'm terrified of the idea of liquid shooting out of my nose. It happened once when I was a First-Year and it was the most embarrassing moment of my life."
Just as they were at the doors to the Great Hall, Albus winked at her. "Oh, I doubt that, my dear. You are, after all, married to an eccentric old coot now."
Minerva shook her head and untangled her arm from his as Albus moved to opened the door for her. "I could never think of you as…"
Albus and Minerva stopped in their tracks as the room erupted in applause, whistles, and fireworks. The room was filled with Hogwarts staff, Order members, ghosts, some students, and even people that they didn't recognize. They exchanged puzzled glances before noticing the rather large, bright banner hanging in the middle of the Great Hall.
'CONGRATULATIONS, MR. AND MRS. DUMBLEDORE!'
Suddenly, they were bombarded with handshakes, hugs, and kisses. "Minerva, you sly thing, sneaking off to Las Vegas to elope with the Headmaster!" cried Poppy Pomfrey.
"Poppy, what in Merlin's name is going on? How did everyone find out?" Minerva asked frantically.
Hermione Granger answered the question before Poppy could open her mouth. "You're on the front page of the Daily Prophet!" The young witch handed her the paper and Minerva saw one of their wedding pictures. It was taken with a Muggle camera, so it was unmoving. Above it in bold letters were the words, 'Esteemed Headmaster runs off with Deputy.' She read on a little.
'Not wasting any time now that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has been vanquished, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has surprisingly eloped with Minerva McGonagall, Professor of Transfiguration and Deputy Headmistress of the same school.'
Albus made it back to her side and she showed him the paper. They read more together.
'Just how long has this relationship been going on? I, Rita Skeeter, plan to find out. Look for my column in Sunday's edition as I delve into the secret romance of Hogwart's leaders. Were they really talking about school business during those late night meetings? What does this mean now for the school's administration? And are there any other hidden relationships amongst the rest of the staff?'
Albus, trying to find the humor in the situation, laughed at the insinuation of his staff members having sordid affairs with each other. "Watch out, Poppy. You and Hagrid might be found out!"
Poppy swatted him playfully and whispered quite loudly. "Shhh! You promised you wouldn't tell."
Minerva, however, found nothing funny in the situation. She was furious. "I swear, if I ever see that woman again I am going to tell her just what she can do with that Quick-Quotes Quill of hers. Albus, how did the Daily Prophet get a hold of – it was that photographer! What was his name? Biggerton! Ooooh, once a Slytherin, always a Slytherin."
Albus let Minerva finish her tirade before patting her on the arm. "Can you excuse us a moment, Poppy?" He sat Minerva down and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "I know this is unexpected, but everyone was going to find out eventually anyway. Besides, they all seem to be happy for us. Perhaps everyone else saw something between us even before we did?"
She sighed loudly. "I know Albus, but now the whole of the wizarding world will know about our night of drunkenness. No doubt Biggerton will be giving an exclusive interview about how we stumbled into the chapel in the middle of the night smelling like a winery. What will they think of us?"
"Who cares! I've lived long enough to discover that as long as you are happy with yourself, it doesn't matter what others think. Our closest friends will support us, so why do we need the rest of the world."
Minerva brought her hand up to caress his face. "I'm sorry. I guess I overreacted a bit. I suppose I'm not as secure with myself as you are, dear. You know, for a old coot, you can speak wisely sometimes." Albus laughed at that and her trepidations started to melt away. "Rest of the world be damned, then." Forgetting about the celebration going on around them, she leaned in and kissed him heartily.
"Ohhhh, that's so sweet!" cried Hermione, squeezing Ron Weasley's hand tightly.
"Ugh!" Ron exclaimed. "I didn't need to see that. You know I always thought the old boy was gay."
"Ronald!" she shouted before giving him a well deserved smack on the back of the head.
Oh, sorry…THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER