A/N:: Well, I started on one story tonight and ended up finishing another. haha. I've had the concept for this story for a long time now, but I've never been able to develop it. Oh, and this is my 100th fic! ((throws confetti))

FanFic 100 Challenge #:: 012- Orange

Whispers on the Wind

She smiles as the autumn wind tosses her hair wildly in her face. Albus chuckles silently as he finds himself secretly envying the breeze that is caressing her robes, cheeks, and hair. She does not know he is watching her, but she can somehow sense a friendly presence. She kicks a path in the fallen orange and brown leaves, enjoying the rustling sound made as they return to the ground. Though the darkened clouds above seem to bring the promise of bitter weather ahead, she does not dread the cold. Instead, she envisions herself spending countless hours sharing numerous cups of hot chocolate with Albus in front of a roaring fire; the mere thought of this gives her a warming feeling from the inside out.

From a safe distance, Albus marvels at the gracefulness of his dearest friend. She walks lightly but consistently as if she never fails to have an exact destination, though she is now only wandering about the castle grounds. Albus feels his breathing become shallow as he is filled with a surge of love and devotion for his dear Deputy. As he watches her, even at this distance, he knows he is gazing upon the most exquisite creature he has ever laid eyes upon.

A tingle of peace runs up her spine; she feels she is connected with the nature around her. More surprisingly, she realizes, is the way in which it seems she can "see" a part of Albus in so many pieces of the world around her. His soft-spoken words are the wind. His childlike joy is the melodious song of the birds in the trees. She closes her eyes briefly to get a deeper sense of the harmony of nature. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but it is as if she can feel the nearness of Albus now, as if he is somehow calling to her…

"Oh, Minerva," Albus whispers.

He senses it is time for her to return to the castle before too many others notice her absence, so he turns to make his way inside. Before he leaves, he whispers a last few words to her onto the wind, as if in the form of a first confession.

"I love you. I always have, and I always will."