A/N:: This was just an idea that came to me suddenly. Enjoy!

Dumbledore's Duties

It was well past two in the morning when Albus Dumbledore stepped onto the spiral staircase leading up to his office. His weary sigh reverberated off the surrounding stone wall as he traveled upward, wondering to himself whether the staircase was actually moving slower than usual or if it only seemed so as a result of his sleep deprivation. For almost a month now, Albus had been at Cornelius Fudge's constant beck and call at the Ministry of Magic, with tonight including a particularly long mission that Fudge had insisted he could not do without Albus's help. Now that the mission was complete, Albus could think of nothing more than returning a few papers to his office and then crawling into bed next to his lovely wife.

Albus gasped slightly at the sight that greeted him upon entering his office. There seated perfectly statue-like in the Headmaster's high-backed chair was Minerva herself, looking quite regal with her arms propped on the armrests and her long, dark hair falling in soft waves below her shoulders. Her thin but beautiful lips were pulled into a distinctive frown, and her eyes shined at him in the candlelight like freshly cut emeralds. Her name slipped from his tongue in something so barely over a whisper that he wondered if she had heard him at all. Minerva, however, raised her chin upwards and blinked languidly in acknowledgment, proving that she had.

"Have you been here all night?" Albus asked hoarsely.

Minerva nodded curtly, her mouth still drawn into a frown.

"The Ministry needed me," he said needlessly, dropping his gaze to the floor.

"Every day this week?"

"It was very important…"

"Really?" Minerva hissed, standing up and pulling herself to her greatest height. "Forgive me, Albus. I was not aware that you're married to the Ministry."

"I'm sorry," Albus replied, desperately wishing he could express to her just how remorseful he truly was.

Minerva closed her eyes tightly and sighed.

"I'm sorry too, Albus," she said bitterly, opening her eyes again and moving towards him. "I'm sorry that I've forgotten how to blindly accept your promises that things will get better. I'm sorry that I'm selfish because I'd rather have my husband here with me than off doing some 'work' for our incompetent Minister−"

"I'm not going back," he said definitely, cutting her off. "I told Cornelius tonight that he will have to manage the Ministry without my help from now on."

Minerva's features softened as she fell silent. She weighed his words carefully to herself; she had not at all expected this.

"I've been neglecting my duties here at Hogwarts," Albus went on. "But most importantly, I've been neglecting you, Minerva, and I cannot bear the thought of ever losing you."

"You've always been far too noble," she replied gently.

It was an observation rather than a derogatory statement. Albus took Minerva's hand into his own and kissed it softly.

"I've always been far too foolish."

"Do you expect me to believe that this is the end of the Minister's pleadings for your assistance?" she asked, not willing to let her defenses down so easily.

"No," Albus said seriously. "But I would like you to believe that I will no longer surrender to his every wish. I am not the Minister of Magic, after all, and it is not my job to act as such."

Minerva nodded thoughtfully.

"And what if the Minister refuses to take 'no' for an answer?"

"Then perhaps I will have to allow you to confront Cornelius personally," he teased.

Albus winked, and for the first time that night, a smile crept onto Minerva's face.

"Fair enough."

Albus reached out and gently tucked a wave of Minerva's hair behind her ear. She sighed blissfully as he kissed her neck and squeezed her hands lovingly.

"It's been too long, Minerva," he whispered, his blue eyes twinkling.

She nodded silently in understanding before leaning forward to kiss him deeply on the lips. After a knowing glance passed between the two of them, Minerva allowed Albus to lead her by the hand back to their rooms. They were ready to make up for lost time, no matter just how long it was going to take.

THE END