The twinkling stars of the Great Hall's enchanted ceiling reflected upon the frosted room, giving it a silvery sheen. Mistletoe and ivy hung strategically throughout the hall as if awaiting to initiate the kiss of an unsuspecting couple. Music wafted softly across the dance floor, keeping in time with the gentle descending of snowflakes.
Albus smiled to himself from across the room as he watched Minerva dust half-melted snow from the sleeves of her dress robes. She met his eyes and pursed her lips together in an effort to suppress a giggle. Albus felt his stomach leap forward as she began walking in his direction. Minerva stopped in front of him, looking almost at a loss for what to say. He cleared his throat.
"Would you care to dance?"
Albus held out his hand. Minerva smiled, gave a nod, and took it. They walked out onto the dance floor and stood face to face. He slipped his arm around her waist, and she moved closer to him. They took turns leading and following each other's graceful steps. As a new, slower melody began, Minerva rested her head in the crook of Albus's neck. He held his breath, enjoying the feel of her tender skin against his.
"You look beautiful tonight," he whispered.
Minerva raised her head and looked into his eyes.
She smiled as a pink rush of color played at her cheeks. They continued to dance until the music faded and the snow ceased to fall.
Albus found himself searching the Great Hall for Minerva with no luck. After the previous song, Rolanda Hooch and Poppy Pomfrey had asked her to join them. She had promised him that she did not want to leave and that she would be back soon. Fifteen minutes had passed. Albus had found himself in numerous uninteresting conversations in order to pass the time. Perhaps she had found someone else... He decided to leave.
Albus began making his way through the crowd until a familiar voice called to him.
He turned around and laid his eyes upon Minerva McGonagall.
"Albus, I'm sorry it took so long. I couldn't get away to find you. You aren't leaving, are you?"
"Then you'd still like to dance?" she said.
"Well, I don't know," he said, turning to look at the dance floor. "This is slightly more upbeat music than I am accustomed to."
"Don't worry," she said. "I'll teach you."
Minerva took his hand and led him to the middle of the floor. She put him at ease with her confident movements. Albus began dancing and watching the happiness in her eyes.
Minerva winced in pain at the weight of Albus's foot stepping hard on hers. He stepped back and allowed his jaw to drop. By the look on her face, he was almost certain she was about to cry. Instead, she started laughing!
"That's okay," she said, letting go of her surely bruised foot. "Just make sure you're paying full attention to your foot movements."
Albus loved seeing Minerva smile, but even more so seeing her laugh.
Minerva looked around. Less than half of the Yule Ball guests remained. Albus followed her gaze.
"We're the only teachers still here," she said.
"So we are. Are you ready to...?"
"Can I walk you to your rooms?" he asked.
"That would be lovely. Thank you."
They left the Great Hall and stopped at the snoozing Fat Lady's portrait, holding hands all the way. Minerva looked up into his eyes. She leaned forward on the balls of her feet and gave him a soft but passionate kiss.
A small whimper from about two feet away caught their attention. Neville Longbottom stood still as if in shock.
"Goodnight, Mr. Longbottom," she sad.
Minerva moved from in front of the portrait to let the boy pass. Albus shook his head and chuckled.
"Poor Neville.. Now, where were we?"
He kissed her.
"Goodnight," he whispered. "I'll see you in the morning."
Minerva watched him walk away. Just as he was about to turn the corner, Albus looked back at her. She smiled, and he nodded. There was nothing more to say.