Summary: At the end of an Order meeting, Arthur plucks up the courage to ask Albus something he'd been wondering for quite some time.
A/N: This is slightly AU, and set during OotP. It deals with the back-story that I'd really wanted to read during DH :D It was a response to Challenge #81, but I finished too late to really put it forward.
Disclaimer: I'm not J.K Rowling. Bet you're shocked.
The meeting came to a close as Albus finished giving out the last of the jobs he needed doing and despite Molly's protests that everyone should stay for dinner, everyone started to file out - they had jobs to do.
"Headmaster," Molly said in a desperate attempt to get someone to stay for dinner, after all he was the only one left.
"Not tonight I'm sorry my dear, I promised Professor McGonagall that I'd meet her this evening."
"Very well then," sniffed Molly, "just don't push her too hard, four stunners to the chest at her age." Molly said, shaking her head, with a slight warning in her voice as she left the room.
"Well," Albus said, turning to Arthur, "I really must be off, I will see you soon."
"Uhm, Albus," Arthur called out, just before Albus could leave.
"Yes?" Albus asked pleasantly, his blue eyes twinkling.
"Could I talk to you a moment? If you have time of course." Arthur asked, somewhat nervous.
"Of course, of course," Albus said genially, sensing the younger man was ill at ease.
"Well," Arthur started as Albus sat back down. "I was just wondering," taking a deep sigh he plucked up his courage to ask the one question he had wondered at since he had been a student. "What is your relationship with Minerva?" he asked quickly, and regretted it even before the words had finished leaving his mouth. He hadn't intended to be quite so direct, hadn't wanted to seem so nosy. "I mean, if it's none of my business, but I was just curious. You always seem to be able to tell what each other is thinking." He said quickly.
Risking a glance back up at Albus, Arthur was surprised to see the old man didn't seem angry. On the contrary, he was smiling quite broadly.
"Do you know, I think all of our friends must wonder that, the looks they give us, but you're the fist person who's ever plucked up the courage to ask me directly?" Albus chuckled, before growing more serious. "Normally I wouldn't talk about my relationship with Minerva, we prefer to keep it quiet, but I hardly think you want to know just so you can shoot your mouth off about it. And I trust you Arthur. You remind me of myself, years ago." At the comparison Arthur blushed - that was quite a compliment.
"I became involved with Minerva a couple of years after she started teaching at Hogwarts. We'd been friends for years of course, had barely lost touch after she'd been a student and she helped me to defeat Grindelwald."
"Minerva helped you defeat Grindelwald? I didn't know that." Arthur admitted.
"No, not many people do. But, before Minerva started teaching, she had been an auror, but because she'd worked so deeply undercover hardly anyone knows it."
Arthur looked surprised but did not say anything, eager for Albus to continue with his story.
"We ended up getting together after Professor Dippet died; Minerva comforted me when I found out the news. I had been very close to the previous Headmaster." Albus paused for a moment, clearly remembering the day his life had changed so much. "I've spent everyday since then thanking God she was there when I needed her. Before her, I always thought I'd end up dying a lonely man, but now…" Albus trailed off, clearly unable to put into words just how much Minerva meant to him, and Arthur understood, he often found himself that way when he thought about Molly.
"But, I'm afraid, I really must be off, Minerva will be wondering where I am," Albus said, standing and walking once more towards the door. "I trust you will keep this to yourself."
"Of course," Arthur murmured, deep in thought, but Albus left before he heard his reply.
Several minutes later, Molly came bustling into the room a duster following behind her, wiping the table. "I'll just get this room tidy whilst tea's busy cooking," Molly said, almost to herself, and Arthur smiled. How he loved that woman!
Walking up behind her he linked his arms around her waist and pressed a kiss to her cheek.
"You alright?" she asked him, surprised but smiling broadly.
"Will you be my shoulder," he asked, pressing another kiss to her cheek, "when I'm grey and older?"
"I expect so," Molly said smiling, pressing a kiss to her husband's lips.