Disclaimer: Don't own it, never did… The characters and the song belong to JKR and Frank Loesser respectively. Hope you all enjoy this bit of Christmas fluff.
Title: Ice~~ Baby, It's Cold Outside
"Brrrrr… It is a cold one out there folks! And just in case you're wondering; our resident witch weatherologist, Aunt Muriel, has informed us here at WICH that there is a large blizzard and ice storm on the way. So I suggest you get where you're going before the one o'clock in the AM hour," the announcer's voice trilled brightly from the Wizard Wireless in Albus' rooms.
Albus stood in front of his mirror, turning this way and that. He was checking his robes for about the eleventh time, the ice-blue velveteen with silver trim making the blue of his eyes look even deeper. As he looked in the mirror they sparkled with pent-up tension. He felt like he was the most nervous man in the entire wizarding world; in the entire world for that matter. But he had laid all his plans very carefully; very carefully. Oh, yes, he had very secret, well-laid plans for Minerva, and she had no idea. At that thought, his eyes twinkled with delight.
Albus chuckled to himself as he thought of how she would react to the first stage of his plan, 'irritation.' But he couldn't have her ruining all his plans for the evening before they ever came to fruition. Aunt Muriel had informed him just last week, when he inquired of her art of weather divination, that there would be a terrible ice storm on Christmas Eve, and it would have everyone rather snowed in for three days hence, at least.
During all the years he had known her, Minerva always traveled to her family home on Christmas Eve. They had been courting now for a while, and just last year, she had invited him to join the McGonagall family festivities. It seemed all Minerva's nieces and nephews were gathered at the McGonagall Estate and put to bed to wait for Father Christmas while the adults indulged in Christmas crackers and spiked apple cider or hot cocoa each Christmas Eve. This was their tradition, and Albus had found he enjoyed it immensely.
Last year, Albus had had one spiked hot cocoa too many and had bonded, somewhat, with Meryc McGonagall, Minerva's father. This, in and of itself, had proven very beneficial to his present plans. Because, while Minerva's family knew they would not be in attendance tonight, she did not. But no one knew the true reason why except one wizard. Albus winked at himself. "And that would be yours truly!" he exclaimed aloud as his image in the mirror winked back.
Glancing at the wall clock, Albus quickly moved to his Wizard Wireless and sighed. He hated to do this, but it was part of his plan. He had to do it manually, just in case Minerva had any suspicion that magic was involved. In one fluid movement, he picked up the Wireless, held it high over his head, and dropped it on the table where it broke into a dozen pieces. Then, humming a Christmas carol to himself, he moved back to his position in front of his mirror as if he did such an action every day.
"Hmmm," he spoke aloud again and looked over at the clock, frowning, then muttered under his breath, "three… two… one…."
"Albus? Albus!" Minerva called to him as she entered his rooms. Her face was red, and he could see anger in her features. Her lips were in a tight little line, and her cheeks had a flush. He sighed. She was always so beautiful to him when she was in a temper. It must be because I love her spirit so, he thought.
"Yes, my dear Minerva?" he inquired, raising his brows, and his eyes softened. She took his breath away as she moved into the room. Her dark ebony locks were swept into a soft French twist midway up her head which was twined with glittering stones and sequined hair clips. Her slender form was enrobed in soft, velvet dress robes of silver with white trim which clung to her body and revealed her curves. The white trim had a tiny filigree and jacquard pattern woven into it, and the long sleeves tapered at her elegant wrists forming a V. This complimented the generous V at her neck, accentuating her supple bosom, and the creamy skin of her neck. The winter color of her robes made her dark, emerald eyes more prominent, and her rosy lips more delicate. With her porcelain skin, she made him think of a snow princess.
He cleared his throat. "What is wrong, my dear?"
He followed her gaze to his Wizard Wireless. She sucked in her breath and let out a hiss. "I see that Peeves has been here, too," she told him with a note of irritation in her voice, her Scottish brogue prominent in her anger.
His brows rose in surprise as he looked at the mangled radio. "Oh, dear! Did you want to borrow it, my dear? What is wrong with yours?" He asked the last question with a small smile she didn't catch because she lifted the instrument to study it. Minerva turned a knob, and the radio gave a sickening warble, then seemed to die.
"Well, I wanted to see what the weather would be like this evening." She put down the radio distractedly and went to the window to stare out at the white landscape on the grounds below. Snow fell gently and quietly to the ground and settled there, covering the courtyard in a pristine, white blanket. "It's been snowing all day, and if there's a storm coming, I wanted to leave the ball early." She turned and looked at him, her eyes finally resting on him and taking in his appearance. Her pupils dilated with desire as her gaze floated down his length.
Albus caught her look of desire and immediately felt a pull in his groin. His breath caught in his chest, and his eyes narrowed a little. "If you keep looking at me like that, neither one of us will be going anywhere," he growled as he moved closer to her.
He took her in his strong, comforting embrace, and their lips met. She smelled of lavender and tasted of ginger as she opened her lips more fully when he nibbled her bottom lip. Her arms slipped around his neck, her fingers threaded his hair, and he heard a moan escape her throat. As he leaned into her softness, he knew she could feel his desire growing, and she answered by rubbing her body more intimately against him.
Their tongues twirled, and she suckled lightly on his then broke the kiss to travel and nuzzle his neck while they recaptured their breath. "I wish you would reconsider coming with me," she murmured near his ear.
I really can't stay
But, baby, it's cold outside
I got to go way
But baby, it's cold outside
This evening has been
Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice
"I know, my darling, but I have that conference, and it has been planned for a long time. At least we will be together into the small hours of Christmas Day—unless you have changed your mind about going to the exhibit with me?" He leaned back and searched her eyes with what, he hoped, was a worried look.
She stepped back, looked up at him and exclaimed, "Oh, no! It sounds delightful." But then she frowned thoughtfully and said, "Nine degrees, you say?"
He chuckled, "Yes, my dear. They have to keep it cold, otherwise it will melt."
"What will melt?"
"Why, the ice, my dear!" His brows rose as he explained.
"Ice," she intoned with finality.
"Yes, ice. You will see soon enough, my dear," he told her and placed his hand on her shoulder to guide her to the door. "Now, my love, it is getting late, and we need to make our appearance at the ball." His eyes sparkled madly as he had completely distracted her from the Wizard Wireless and any thought of finding out the weather.
"Yes, you are right," Minerva noted the time and began to move ahead of him.
"Do you mind if I escort the most beautiful witch in the castle?" he asked from behind her. She turned with a warm smile, just for him.
"Of course, only if I can escort the most handsome wizard," she told him and laughed when he looked around. "You silly man, of course I mean you!"
He looked back at her and wiggled his eyebrows, then leaned in to kiss her, stopping her laughter by stealing her breath. When they broke from the kiss, a knowing look passed between them. Past them, snow glistened as it fell heavily outside the window; white and fluffy and ice-cold. Arm in arm, they made their way to the Great Hall and the Christmas Eve Ball at Hogwarts; Minerva oblivious to Peeves as he hovered and snickered behind them when Albus winked at the poltergeist over her shoulder.
The night was wondrous. As the couple entered the Great Hall, they gasped at the Christmas decorations created by Hogwart's own Charms professor. Over a dozen large Christmas trees hung suspended in the air, decorated in an old-world style. Each tree was covered in red bows, bundles of cinnamon sticks, and apples. Candles were nestled and glowing on each bough while garlands of popcorn and cranberries, which filled the hall with a wonderful, warm scent, were strung from branch to branch. Neatly arranged among the limbs, snow globes hung, containing scenes from Christmases past that moved and drew attention to each one, beckoning admirers to move closer and inspect each inviting image.
The candles on the trees cast a warm, glowing light on the hall below where round tables were distributed to create a dance floor and provide seating. Every table had a centerpiece which consisted of a wreath with the same decorations as the trees, and a graduating trio of thick, ivory candles flickering in the center.
From his place at the head table, Albus' eyes glowed as he took in the décor. It reminded him of his childhood, and he smiled warmly at Minerva, who smiled endearingly up at him when he took her hand and patted it; their glances reflecting their love for one another which grew with each passing hour.
Albus cleared his throat, let go of her hand, and spread his arms wide to the large group of faculty and students gathered around the room. "Everyone, please join us as we celebrate traditions, past and present. Please dance, eat, and enjoy yourselves this Christmas Eve, and have a Happy Christmas!"
The ball continued into the night as Albus swung Minerva from one dance to another. Soon, not only was she breathless, and had not thought of leaving him again, it was time for them to make their way to his office and Portkey to his hotel, and the exhibit they were to attend.
After arriving at the hotel, Albus checked in and made a few arrangements with the concierge while Minerva waited. When they approached the exhibit, they were presented with bright-blue, metallic parkas. Minerva eyed the parka questioningly as a fair-haired gentleman explained they needed to put on the garments to guard against the frigid temperatures inside. Following the gentleman's instructions, Albus put on his coat and helped Minerva into hers.
"Thank you, Albus." She gifted him with her bright smile as they made their way through plastic slats guarding the way.
As they entered the exhibit, Albus heard Minerva suck in her breath. He also felt her shiver slightly as the temperature took a dramatic plunge to nine degrees from the warmth of the hotel on the other side. Their eyes traveled over the scene before them. The interior of the hotel was a mock scene of a winter ice-land with a night sky. A full moon hung large and bright over the white landscape below, and a giant castle loomed before them. While in front of them, there was a home scene with a Christmas tree and a fire place, complete with stockings hung.
After that, there were scenes of a train, an igloo, and a nativity, which included a giant angel, her wings spread in an enormous span. Then, scattered around, there were sculptures of various life-size animals. But the most intriguing part was that they were all made of ice; brilliantly carved, colored, and lit ice.
Albus and Minerva walked through each scene and passed each sculpture hand in hand, both speechless at first, but then Albus seemed to find his voice. "Do you like it, my dear?"
"Albus…" Minerva broke off as she looked at him, her breath hitching in her throat. "It's—it's so beautiful."
He squeezed her hand, and his eyes glittered as he spotted a gigantic ice slide and an archway beyond. He pulled her toward the slide and felt some resistance. Turning, he eyed Minerva who looked up at the slide with trepidation and shook her head.
"Oh, come on? Where's your sense of adventure?"
"I left it at the school. Besides, it is really getting late, and I need to go…" she began, trailing off as she looked up at the slide.
"Minerva, please? Just once—for me? I will keep you safe," he pleaded and noticed her look of resignation as she gave in.
Gleefully he dragged her to the top. She shuddered as she looked down. "I can't believe muggles actually did all this without magic or some wizards help," she told him incredulously, taking in the view from the top of the slide.
"I know, pretty ingenious, these muggles. Now, you sit down, and I'll get behind you." She looked at him wearily but sat down anyway.
Sitting behind her, he snuggled her and held her tight as they began the long descent to the bottom. It was over far too quickly for his taste, but Minerva seemed pleased to have it done with. After the slide, he pulled her along to the archway, which was a gathering of trees painted white and covered in fairy lights with an ice floor. He glanced around in delight and held Minerva's hand, just enjoying the moment.
Minerva seemed taken with the scene as well. But after they lingered there a while she began to protest. "Albus, I really need to go. My mother and father—"
"Alright, my love, just a small nightcap before you go, then?" he interrupted quickly.
She looked up at his endearing face and gave in again. "Oh, alright!"
They made their way to his suite, and as they entered, Albus used a bit of Wandless magic to start a fire in the fireplace. The room was elegant. The paneling along the walls a dark oak with a few simple and tasteful pieces of art placed around. There was a sitting room with a large, dark-brown leather sofa and matching chair which faced the hearth. A desk was in the corner near a large sliding door with filmy, sheer curtains drawn against the night. Beyond the sitting room, there was a door leading to a bedroom with a large four poster, antiqued-mahogany bed, and the bedding consisted of rich, gold hues which seemed to cast a golden glow on the cream carpeting.
Once inside, Albus took Minerva's hat and cloak to reveal her dress robes from earlier. His eyes traveled and left a hot path as he drank in the sight of her. He chuckled when he saw her blush as she noticed his gaze. He took her hands in his, "My dear! Your hands are like ice! Here, come over by the fire and get warm." He pulled her gently and led her across the room.
The moment they reached the fire place, there was a knock at the door. "Now who could that be," Minerva asked incredulously. Albus' eyes shone as he winked at her and went to the door.
Albus returned with a waiter, pushing a trolley, in tow. "Hot toddy, my dear? That should warm you up."
"Oh, yes, Albus, thank you!"
Albus thanked the waiter, tipped him, and let him out. He then moved to the trolley, poured Minerva a drink, and quietly slipped something into it. He turned to her, eyes sparkling with mischief, and his hand trembled slightly when he handed her the drink.
"Now, just sip it, my darling, don't want to burn that beautiful tongue of yours," he told her with a serious look.
She smiled at him and took the cup from him. Her eyes met his in gratitude. "Albus, this is lovely. Just this one drink, though, then I really do need to go." Her eyes fell on a radio sitting on the mantle.
His gaze followed hers and he asked, "Would you like some music?" Turning, he switched it on.
Minerva took a sip of her drink and heard a clink. "Albus? I think something is in my drink," she frowned intently into the mug.
I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
My mother will start to worry
Beautiful, what's your hurry
And father will be pacing the floor
Listen to the fireplace roar
So I'd better scurry
Beautiful, please don't hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more
Put some records on while I pour
The neighbors might think
Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink
At that moment, Albus switched on the radio. "Weeelllll… It's one AM on Christmas Day, and I really hope all you boys and girls got where you were going for the next few days! Brrrrrrr… Because it is definitely a White Christmas. The entire city and countryside is covered in a thick layer of ice, and the snow continues to fall. This blizzard isn't going to let up anytime soon, and authorities say it is best to stay inside and cuddle up. It's gonna be several days before we'll be able to dig out once it stops, so just curl up by the fire, sip your hot beverage, and cuddle with the one you love. Here's some slow Christmas music to snuggle up to," the announcer finished, and the strains of Silent Night began.
Hearing the announcer, Minerva looked up, set down her drink, and moved determinedly to the sliding door. Once there, her face showed astonishment as she tossed the curtains aside to reveal a wall of white. The snow was so thick you couldn't see even the darkness of the night. She shuddered; she could only imagine how cold it was out there. Worriedly, she looked at Albus. "Albus—Albus, I need to go! Quickly, before it gets too bad!" She moved to his side and gazed up at him while ringing her hands.
No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how
Your eyes are like starlight now
To break the spell
I'll take your hand, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
Mind if I move in closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried
What's the sense of hurting my pride?
I really can't stay
Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside
"My dear! You heard what the announcer said. It is impossible now. Apparating would be a bad idea in this storm, and I'm afraid this, being a Muggle hotel, you won't be able to Floo through or Floo call. I am sorry, my dearest, I had no idea it was this bad." He looked at her, attempting his most sorrowful look. She looked at him and immediately looked sad.
"Albus, you know I love you, and I do want to be with you, but it's tradition. Besides, what will my parents think? They know I am with you; and all the presents for my nieces and nephews? Oh! And what will Aunt Muriel think? Or the staff at the school?" she went on in a rant.
He moved to her and kissed her gently. His lips lingering over hers a moment as he enjoyed the feel of her in his arms. Their bodies generated heat between them, and he moved away a little to ease her fears. "I'm sure she will be fine, my love. Do not fret so. Finish your drink, and we will think on this. I'm sure we can think of a solution."
I simply must go
But, baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no
But, baby, it's cold outside
This welcome has been
How lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm
Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious
Gosh, your lips look delicious
My brother will be there at the door
Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious
Eww, your lips are delicious
Well maybe just a drink more
Never such a blizzard before
Minerva sighed, "Alright." Tentatively, she moved to the side table and picked up her hot toddy once more. As she tipped it to her lips, she heard the clink once more, and as she drank the last of it, she felt something solid bump her lip. Bringing the cup away, Minerva saw a circular object at the bottom of the mug.
Albus stood by the fire and watched her. Frowning into the cup, she retrieved an item from inside it, and he heard her breath escape in a hiss. In her hand was a beautiful ring. It was a one-carat, radiant-cut diamond in a white-gold setting. The diamond was flanked on either side by two slightly smaller, exquisitely cut emeralds, turned to reflect their diamond shape. The three stones glittered up at her as her breath caught in her chest. Tears gathered in her eyes as she raised her head to gaze at him. "Albus—" she broke off as her breath hitched, and she looked at him questioningly.
I've got to get home
But, baby, you'll freeze out there
See ya, say, lend me a comb
It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand
I thrill when you touch my hand
But don't you see
How can you do this thing to me?
There's bound to be talk tomorrow
Making my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied
If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay
Get over that old out
Ahh, but it's cold outside
"My dear," he began and quietly moved to her. He tipped her head up higher with one finger and tears slipped from her eyes. Gently, he used his thumbs to wipe them away in a loving gesture, then pulled her into his embrace and looked longingly at her mouth. When he lowered his lips to hers they caressed her tenderly. He nibbled her lower lip, begging entrance, and she slowly opened her mouth, allowing his invasion. Slowly, his tongue circled hers, and she moaned into his mouth. With the ring safely around her thumb, her hands gripped his robes and pulled him closer. Her lavender scent filled his senses as his mouth plundered hers, and his arms held her up when her knees buckled. He then lifted her in his arms and laid her gently on the sofa.
She felt his arms wave in another bout of Wandless magic, and the room around them changed its appearance. Suddenly, it looked like it was entirely chiseled from ice, except for the cushions beneath them. Snowflakes fell from the ceiling, cascading down to land lightly upon them both. However, when any snowflake touched them, it gave off a sparkling blue glow and a feeling of warmth as it disappeared.
He eased down beside her, gathered her in his arms, and looked at her intently. "I thought, my dear, we might start some new traditions of our own. That is… If you'll have me?"
She smiled through her tears as understanding dawned on her. Hugging him tightly, she told him breathlessly, "Oh, Albus! Yes! You know… It is cold outside, but it is so wonderfully warm in here," she told him in a thick voice, and he smiled at her. They snuggled closer, and with slightly shaking fingers, he slipped the ring onto her finger as the glowing snow fell softly all around them.
A/N: The descriptions of the exhibit are real. It is the "Ice" exhibit at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Kissimmee(Orlando), Florida. They have the display up every year at Christmas time. If you want to check out a video about it, just go here: .com/watch?v=LqepxY-p1JU (No, it isn't my video, I found it on You Tube. It isn't the greatest, but you get the idea. The last one I had linked was the "BEST," but Gaylord Palms said it was being infringed upon somehow. Go figure. Happy reading!! =o)