Disclaimer: If you think I'm JKR, you should turn back now or face being sorely disapointed.

A/N: A quick one-shot. It was a great way to stay awake during the movie in my Progressive History class. So everyone say thank you to Dr. Vantine for allowing time for this. :)

Single-handed?

Minerva sat on the floor in front of her fireplace. Her teaching robes had been exchanged for red silk pajama bottoms and a gold silk top decorated with little red lions. She played absentmindedly with the threads of her plush burgundy rug, while thinking over the events of the evening.

Taking a sip of the short scotch she'd poured herself upon returning to her rooms, she wondered where Albus was and what he was doing.

"He will not be single-handed!"

Minerva shook her head at the thought of her words. Albus' reply had been sharp, but the look in his eyes as he spoke had made a shiver go down her spine. She feared she had revealed too much in that one sentence. Did he now know how she felt after all these years? And more importantly, did he feel the same?

Minerva took down her hair, drawing it over one shoulder and running her fingers through the long locks. She began to fantasize that he did know now and that he returned her feelings. She wished she could know for sure.

A soft knock at her door startled Minerva. Wrapping her tartan robe tightly around her, she stood and went to the door. She opened it to find no one there. Taking a step forward to look down the hall, fully expecting to see a student running away, she instead ran into an invisible wall, an invisible wall smelling suspiciously of chocolate and lemon.

Blushing, Minerva stepped back, waited a moment, then shut the door. Turning around, she saw a greatly amused Albus Dumbledore standing before her.

"Sorry, my dear. I didn't wish to alarm anyone of my presence by speaking," Albus said with a large smile. "I knew you would figure it out!"

Minerva continued rubbing her nose, which had run straight into Albus' sternum. He stepped closer until they were just inches apart. She lowered her hand and gazed into his eyes, which held the same look they had in his office only hours before. Albus leaned even closer as he brought his lips to the tip of her nose.

"A kiss to make it better, my dear." He took a step back. "After all, I can't afford to lose my most loyal support."

Minerva smiled. She remained silent, feeling awkward as she dealt with the rush of emotions Albus' closeness and kiss had brought on.

"Cat got your tongue, Minnie?

Minerva's eyes snapped harshly to meet his, the small smile that had been present replaced by a scowl.

"Albus, how many times do I-" She stopped as Albus began to laugh. Realizing he had riled her on purpose, first with the cat comment then with that dreaded nickname, Minerva joined in his laughter.

Motioning for him to have a seat, Minerva poured Albus a scotch and collected her own before sitting next to him. She began to ask all the questions that had been bothering her since earlier that evening.

"Albus, where will you go? Where did you go? What are we going to do? What am I go-" Minerva nearly spilled her drink when Albus took her hand and kissed it. He continued to hold it between his large, warm hands.

"My dear Minerva, before I answer all the questions I can see have been turning through your lovely mind the last few hours," Minerva blushed at the compliment, "would you please answer one of mine?"

"Albus, you know you may ask anything of me."

Minerva realized that for the first time that evening, Albus seemed nervous, almost frightened. She squeezed his hand in reassurance.

"Whatever it is Albus, just ask it."

"Minerva." Albus took a large sip of his drink before he stood and began to pace back and forth in front of her.

"Minerva," he began again, closing his eyes as he walked. "Dear Minerva, I have tried my hardest but in vain. I'm old, old enough to be young Harry's great-great-great-grandfather, and these are trouble times. How can I ask this now? I have no real expectations of reciprocity and in fact I have always expected revulsion. Yet something must be done. I've waited too long perhaps but I don't believe I can stop myself any longer. This evening was the last straw for me. There may be a better person. You may already have one in mind. But I had to know." He opened his eyes and stopped abruptly in front of her. "Do you understand why?"

"Albus, I don't even understand what you are saying, much less why you are saying it!"

"Yes. I can see you are surprised, shocked perhaps. I know I am too old and too late. I understand. I should go."

Minerva watched as a tear began to roll down his face. As he finished his drink she thought over what he had done and said that evening: the look in his eye as he kissed her nose, being too old, and her having someone else. Suddenly she realized what he was saying.

Albus had already picked up his invisibility cloak when he felt her slim arms go around his waist. He turned and looked into green eyes filled with tears that matched his own.

"I didn't understand, but I do now, Albus."

"You do?"

"I do."

Albus sighed happily, feeling his tension melt away as Minerva's hands made their way up his chest and around his neck. "Then I have one more question for you."

"As before, you may ask anything of me." Minerva smiled as he wrapped his arms around her waist and she felt his fingers play with her hair.

"Are you busy tomorrow evening?"

A/N: Hope you enjoyed! Happy reading and reviewing (hint, hint, hint...lol)! OSUSprinks

A/N revisted: As I glanced through this again when I was mailing a printed copy to my mom, I realized I never said that Albus' nervous state and confused clutter of statements, which our Min thankfully is able to untangle, were inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice's Darcy. That was probably somewhat clear from his first line of it, but wanted to make sure you knew I knew where I was stealing from:)