Kitties

A/N: This was inspired by a fic Shadowcat wrote. With her permission, I wrote this.

After a long day of never-ending meetings at the Ministry, Albus Dumbledore was drained. In an attempt to revitalize himself before dinner, he decided to go for a walk around the grounds of the school. No matter what the season, a walk always managed to clear his head and give him the strength he needed to press on. That, or a talk with Minerva, his Deputy, but he hadn't seen her upon his return from the Ministry. Deciding to puzzle it out later, he went for his walk.

He was passing one of the overgrown courtyards when a soft giggle reached his ears. Wondering who it could be, he silently approached the entrance to the abandoned courtyard to find an unusual sight. Minerva McGonagall was sprawled on her back in the sunshine, with four kittens of varying colors and markings clambering all over her. Unmindful of the grass and leaves getting in her long black hair, which was coming loose from her customary bun, and all over her emerald green robes, she giggled as one of the kittens' tails tickled the palm of her hand.

Enchanted, Albus attempted to move closer without being heard. Unfortunately, he stepped squarely on a twig, startling Minerva and the kittens. She sat bolt upright at the sound, dislodging the kittens curled up on her chest and stomach. "Who's there? Show yourself!"

"Calm down, Minerva," Albus replied, stepping out where she could see him. "It's only me."

Minerva set her wand, which had been within her reach on the grass, down with a sigh. "You startled me, Albus!"

"I do apologize," he replied, coming closer as one of the kittens managed to climb up onto Minerva's shoulder. "I did not realize that you had kittens."

Minerva blinked and seemed to notice the kittens clambering all over her like a jungle gym. "Oh! These aren't mine! One of the neighborhood strays had these four. She lets me play with them from time to time."

"She...lets...you play with them?" Albus asked, his eyes twinkling, as the kitten on Minerva's shoulder managed to climb on top of her head. A second took over Minerva's shoulder and a third had curled up in her lap. The fourth was sniffing curiously at Albus' robes.

Minerva started to nod, but stopped when she realized it would dislodge the kitten on her head. "Yes, she did. She said she knows she can trust me to take good care of them."

"She's right, too," Albus commented, offering his hand to the kitten sniffing at his robes. The kitten sniffed it for a few moments before licking the tip of his finger. "You would protect these kittens as if they were own. Just like your cubs."

Minerva blushed, ducking her head. The kitten on top of it tumbled to the grass between them, yowling indignantly. "Oops."

He couldn't help it. The situation was just too hilarious: he started to laugh. Minerva stared at him incredulously, but slowly succumbed to her own laughter. She laughed so hard that she fell onto her back in the grass, holding her stomach. The kittens, disturbed by the laughter, wandered off to find something else to amuse themselves. "I'm sorry, my dear, you seem to have lost your charges."

"That's all right, Albus." She smiled and stretched for a moment. "As long as I can still see them, they're fine."

Chuckling, he stretched out beside her on the grass. Their shoulders just barely touched. Side by side, they gazed up at the clouds drifting lazily across the summer sky. Albus was almost asleep when he felt one of the kittens climb onto his chest and curl up there, purring. Opening his eyes, he noticed that two had curled up together on Minerva's stomach. The fourth had curled up between them. Smiling, he closed his eyes and let sleep claim him.


It was the chill in the air that awoke him. The kittens were long gone and he was surprised to realize that he was holding Minerva in his arms. Her head was pillowed on his shoulder and one of her arms rested across his waist. One of his own arms encircled her waist and his free hand rested on top of it. He was loathe to move, wishing to enjoy the feel of holding her in his arms a little longer, but it was too cold to remain where they were. Reluctantly, he moved his hand from her waist to her shoulder and shook her. "Minerva, wake up."

"Mmph." She buried her face in the crook of his neck, a warm breath telling him she'd sighed.

He shook her shoulder again. "Minerva, please wake up."

"Mm-mm." He could only presume it was a negative response, as the arm around his waist had tightened slightly.

He pondered the situation for a moment before deciding on a course of action. She might slap him for it, but he was sure it would be worth it. Carefully tipping her head back, he kissed her. For several moments, she didn't move or respond. Then, slowly, her lips moved under his and her arm moved up to encircle his neck. He waited for her to pull away, to slap him, but she didn't. She only sighed into the kiss, enticing him to deepen it. Rather than give in, he pulled back. As he watched, her eyelids fluttered open and she stared at him with bleary green eyes. A sleepy smile curved her lips. "This is a nice dream."

"It is no dream, my dear," he replied, combing his fingers through her hair, which had come undone completely.

Her eyes widened, the sleep vanishing from them to be replaced by anger. "Why?"

"Why what?" he asked, confused.

She struggled from his embrace, getting to her feet and backing away. "Why did you kiss me?"

"It was the only way I could think of to wake you," he replied, getting to his feet, feeling stung. "Rest assured that it will not happen again."

He bowed stiffly and turned to leave. Her voice stopped him. "Why not? Didn't you like it?"

"I did like it," he replied, refusing to turn and look at her. "Obviously, you did not."

He was unprepared to have her move in front of him. He was completely blown away when her mouth covered his in a warm kiss. When she ended it, there was a warm smile on his face. "I was upset because I thought you didn't mean it."

"I meant it, my dear," he answered softly, cradling her face between his hands. "I've been wanting to kiss you for years."

She smiled radiantly, tears of happiness shining in her eyes. "Oh, Albus, I love you so much."

"I love you, Minerva," he told her, his gaze locked with hers. "With all my heart."

Unable to express the feelings flowing through him any other way, he kissed her again.

Finite