A/N: Huge thanks to all those who have reviewed this story. I'll be going back over it at some point and tidying it up - especially the earlier parts as they relate to the later, but for now it's all over!
November 1st 1978
Minerva stirred. She could feel something on her hip. Its presence was unusual but her sleepy eyes would not open. Perhaps it was her wand she thought hazily, then realised that she was not quite fully awake yet. As her consciousness began to return she noticed that she was lying on her side beneath sheets that were unfamiliar to her. They were not as coarse as her own, and their silky texture caressed her skin like liquid.
It was the first night she had spent with Dumbledore since Kalypto had vanished from his office three months ago. The evening had started off innocently enough. A lot of the time was spent in the Great Hall devouring the Halloween feast with the students and other members of staff. The staff had become decidedly warmer towards Dumbledore and Minerva in the recent months, the cause of which was probably the sudden change in the air between the Headmaster and his deputy. The coldness and indifference was gone, and their familiar friendly teasing and intelligent debates had replaced any previous awkwardness and formality.
After the feast the teachers had had a small party of their own – an unusual occurrence but one that was keenly welcomed by the staff of Hogwarts. Minerva on the other hand was inexplicably nervous. She had had a feeling about how the night was going to end and her stomach was annoyingly wriggly all night.
Minerva, thought back to the end of the party and Dumbledore's silent confidence as he led her back to his rooms instead of walking her to hers.
With her eyes still closed as she lay beneath the sleek sheets, she smiled. She knew she could still only feel a fraction of what she had felt for him before the Disunion, but it was enough to appreciate how deep her affection for him had really been in the end.
Her eyes flickered open slowly. It was dark in the bedroom but for a slither of deep grey light fracturing the blackness of the room through a break in the curtains. Minerva was facing away from the sleeping form beside her and knew now that it was Dumbledore's hand which rested on her hip; the rest of his body was at a distance from hers but she imagined he was facing the same way.
She smiled again. The night had been an introduction as well as a reminder to Minerva, just as she had felt when he had first kissed her in his office three months ago. The familiarity had blended with the sense that they were just beginning and left Minerva feeling equally relaxed and fascinated.
A deep and heavy breath suddenly filled the silence of the bedroom and Minerva felt the hand on her hip move a fraction higher. As gently as she could she turned under the sheets, moving onto her stomach first so that Dumbledore's hand slid round to her back.
As she twisted her body round to face him she saw him open his eyes. The dusty grey beam from the window was brightening quickly and his eyes glistened in the early morning light. His hand now rested on her other hip.
"Morning," he said in a voice deep and husky with sleep.
"Morning," Minerva replied, her voice equally hoarse.
"Can you see me?" Dumbledore asked.
Minerva frowned momentarily at the unexpected question. Her eyes were adjusting to the dark and the features of his face had become almost as visible as his eyes.
"Yes," she replied. "Why?"
"I love you, Minerva," he said deeply. "I can feel it returning."
Minerva's smile spoke her words for her. She could feel it too, and it would grow, just as Kalypto had said, to become as intense an emotion as it was before. She slid forwards and felt Dumbledore's hand slip around her waist to her back. She put her palm on his beard against his chest and pushed him onto his back. Her hair fell forward slightly as she looked down at him.
"Can you see me?" she asked.
"Yes," Dumbledore replied smiling...
In the Transfiguration classroom the scarab beetle stone floated several inches above the desk.