A/N: This story was written in honor of two special birthdays: MMADfan and Minerva McGonagall. Hope both ladies have a FANTASTIC DAY!!! JUMBO HUGS!!
Summary: She didn't think she'd ever see this day. He didn't believe he'd live to see it. Let's see how they celebrate being wrong!
A Grand Celebration
It was a cold, crisp October morning, and the sun was still sleeping happily behind the nearby mountains. Albus Dumbledore had been awake for over an hour, his mind churning with thoughts of this day and what it would mean. No longer able to remain still in bed and not wishing to wake his beloved wife, he gently removed his arms from around her, smiling softly as she groaned in sleepy protest at the loss of his warmth against her. He placed a light kiss to her lips, then drew the blankets around her a little tighter, hoping she would remain asleep.
They had talked about this particular day off and on for years, both with happiness and a twinge of sadness. But, time marches on and nothing would stop the inevitable. The future was always so uncertain, and they had learned long ago that the best laid plans are the ones that fail miserably when they mean so much. However, Albus was determined to make this one particular day memorable for they would never see it again.
Donning his bright purple slippers and matching dressing gown, he eased the bedroom door closed with a soft click then called for Daisy, the house elf. Quickly, she popped into the room, a broad grin covering her little face. She was wearing the special tartan tea towel Minerva had given her as a Christmas present so the little elf could make herself some new clothes. Albus chuckled as he remembered the expression of sheer joy on Daisy's face when Minerva presented her with the bit of cloth. Two bright blue eyes staring up at him stirred him from the cozy memory.
"Daisy, today is a very special one and I hope you remember everything we've discussed," he said, gratefully taking the steaming mug of cocoa the elf had brought with her. The soothing warmth of the liquid seemed to relax his mind and body from head to toe.
"I remember, Headmaster. You won't be disappointed. I remember everything," she said, bouncing up and down on her heels and tiptoes. "Anything else you need before I leave?" she asked, a sound of hope filling her voice.
He smiled sweetly down at her. "No, I think that will be all for now. I need to leave for a bit so if she wakes and calls for you, please tell her I will return soon and not to worry. But, under no circumstances are you to tell her where I've gone." That wouldn't be a hard thing to do since he hadn't planned on telling Daisy where he was going. With a nod of understanding and a soft pop, the little elf disappeared, her tasks for the day already laid before her.
Albus finished his cup of cocoa and watched as the first rays of sunlight began to peek over the mountain ridge. He'd always loved this time of the day, when the world was still half asleep and anything was possible. It had always given him hope, even in the most desperate of times. This was a day he was certain he'd never see, but here he was … sipping cocoa and anticipating the events to come. As he reached the bottom of his mug and knowing that Minerva would be waking sooner rather than later, he transfigured his attire into something suitable for outdoors.
After half an hour of looking at the various plants in Professor Sprout's greenhouses, Albus sat down on a nearby bench and sighed. He'd been certain the Herbologist would have several varieties of blooming flowers from which he would take his pick. He hadn't entertained the possibility that she would have nothing suitable for such an occasion. With a quick check of his watch, he made the only decision possible … a trip to Hogsmeade was in order.
Dashing to the gates of Hogwarts, more quickly than he thought he could move these days, he Apparated into the little village and was thrilled to see that the only florist in town was just opening his little shop. His friend was already working hard on the centerpieces for the evening but perhaps he would have something Albus would like for this morning.
"Ah, Hubert, I'm so thankful you're open this morning. I need some flowers," Albus announced, startling the tall, thin wizard just as he reached for a delicate looking vase.
Catching the vase just before it hit the ground, the florist spun around and grinned broadly, though his heart was pounding in his chest. "Albus, you seem to be in a hurry. Didn't forget what day it is, did you?"
Albus chuckled and shook his head. "It's a day I never thought I'd see. I'd have a better chance of forgetting my name and that I'm a wizard than I would forgetting the date or the significance of it. That's why I'm here so early this morning."
"I'll admit I'm a little surprised to see you, especially so early. I thought you'd still be at Hogwarts. Have you even had breakfast, yet?"
Albus chuckled. "My stomach can wait. Minerva, on the other hand, cannot. As a matter of fact, I left her sleeping soundly, none the wiser that I had left the comfort of bed to make this early morning dash."
"Then far be it from me to keep you from completing your task and heading back. What can I help you with this fine morning?"
Albus began to explain the significance of the day, though Hubert already knew the date and what it meant to the Dumbledores. However, he had been completely unaware of just how special and momentous until Albus explained it a few weeks ago. Now, as he listened to Albus explain what he wanted, Hubert's excitement grew by leaps and bounds. While Albus was busy describing what he wanted the flowers to represent, the florist began quickly summoning flowers of varying shades, sizes, and even types. The longer Albus talked, the larger the bouquet grew.
When both men were finished, the bouquet of flowers was stunning. Every care had been taken to ensure that the arrangement would be one never to be forgotten and rivaled anything either wizard had ever seen. "It's beautiful, Hubert. I'll let Gringotts know that you'll be sending over a bill and they're to pay it, regardless of the amount. I am glad I came to you. Anything I could have done would have surely failed in comparison."
"No bill, Albus," he said, holding up his hand to stop the protest before it began. "Just tell Minerva that I was pleased to be able to assist you both today. Please, give her my best and tell her to stop in the next Hogsmeade weekend. See you both, tonight."
Albus thanked his old friend and made a mental note to send him an invitation to the next Quidditch match between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. He felt certain Minerva would also send him a thank you owl at the first opportunity. Not wanting to use the floo and damage the flowers, Albus Apparated back to Hogwarts and quickly called for Daisy as soon as the gates closed behind him.
"Yes, Headmaster. You were gone much longer than expected but Professor McGonagall still sleeps."
"Very good, Daisy. Would you please take these back to my rooms for me? I don't wish to carry them any longer in this chilly air nor do I want them seen by others who might be stirring at this hour." With a nod and a pop, the flowers and the house elf disappeared.
Albus had one last stop to make before returning to his rooms. He hoped that he would be back in bed with Minerva before she even knew he'd been gone, but that would depend on how quickly he could get in and out of the Hogwarts kitchen.
After tickling the pear and watching as the secret passageway opened for him, Albus was greeted with several enthusiastic elves, all bidding him a pleasant morning and hoping to be of some service. He explained that he'd spoken to the head kitchen elf, Aiden, and that he was merely there to pick up a few items.
Aiden, the old elf who'd been there for as long as Albus could remember, waved away the eager young elves as he made his way to Albus. "Headmaster, your basket is ready. I did exactly as you requested and all is ready. We will be here if something isn't correct or you need additional items. Merely call upon us and we will be glad to serve."
Albus bowed his head in acknowledgement and honor. "Thank you very much, Aiden. Your kitchen staff is to be commended on a job well done. I'm sure Minerva will wish to thank you as well. But for now, I must hurry back before she wakes." All the little elves bid him a cheery goodbye then returned to their tasks, happy to be of service.
Within a few moments, Albus slipped back inside the sitting room and took a moment to look through the picnic basket full of food. Sure enough, Aiden had seen to it that everything was perfect, down to the freshly squeezed orange juice being chilled in a charmed carafe. With a few flicks of his wand, his robes were once more transfigured back into the dressing gown and slippers. He took a second to warm his hands by the fire before easing open the door and slipping quietly back into bed with Minerva.
"Mmm, Albus?" she asked groggily.
"Yes, my dear. I'm here," he whispered, shifting closer to her beneath the blankets to warm himself and her.
"I dreamt you were gone and I was so cold. I couldn't wake myself to snuggle closer to you but the bed suddenly felt so large and empty."
He kissed her softly on the temple then tapped the end of her nose. "Shhh, it was just a dream, love. I'm here and we can keep each other warm for as long as you wish to remain in my arms."
"Hmm, forever then," was her simple reply.
"Forever," he repeated, softly. "But I do think we'll want to get up at some point today, don't you? It's already shaping up to be a beautiful day."
Minerva opened her eyes and looked up into his face. His cheeks were infused with a faint pink tint and his eyes were twinkling madly. "What have you been up to this morning?" she asked, suddenly sounding more like Professor McGonagall instead of Minerva Dumbledore, his loving wife.
"Whatever makes you think I'm up to something today? Do I have to be up to something to be pleased to see my wife first thing in the morning?"
"Albus, you've seen my face nearly every morning for … well let's just say a longer time than I care to utter aloud. Surely, I'm nothing special to look at after a night of sleep."
Albus shifted so that Minerva was on her back and he was hovering over her slightly. "Ah, but you are. Your eyes sparkle with the promise of a new day. Your lips hold the words which will encourage, inspire, and support me. Your hair, gray though it may be, still shines as the light catches it, and your body is still as warm and alluring as the sweetest siren's song to a sailor."
Minerva felt warm tears threatening to fill her eyes and spill down her cheeks. "Still a flatterer after all these years," she teased as her hand skimmed across his cheek and her fingers threaded through his hair.
"Still telling the truth as I see it, that's all." He closed the remaining distance between them and brushed his lips against hers, softly at first but soon more demanding in pressure and intensity. Her lips soon parted for him, enticing him to deepen the kiss and to share a passionate morning in bed with her.
Over an hour later, both were gasping for breath and laughing at the way they'd greeted the morning. "Every time is as good or better than the last," Albus remarked, drawing the blankets over them to ward off the chill in the air.
"And you never cease to amaze me with your talents. You still find new ways to excite me."
He felt a surge of pride. "I take the utmost pleasure in seeing that you are well loved and cared for … in every way."
"You'll hear no complaints from me, sweetheart. I've always been very well looked after and the sex is amazing with you."
Albus chuckled. "I'm glad to hear it. I'd hate to know you'd been suffering through it all these years."
Minerva smacked his chest playfully. "Never, lover, never. When we first married, I had no idea how good we'd be at making love by now," she finished with a wink and a gleam in her eyes.
"Ah, well, practice makes perfect, as they say." Just then, his stomach gave a very loud grumble, his cup of cocoa being long gone by now. "Care to join me in a spot of breakfast?"
She shifted and rested her head on his chest. "I'd love to but I'm too comfortable to move. I wish we'd thought to have breakfast sent up. It's not every morning that I get to enjoy a leisurely start to the day."
Albus waved his hand and watched as the door to the sitting room opened slowly and a picnic basket came floating into the bedroom. "You were saying …"
Minerva gasped in surprise. "I knew you were up to something today!" She started to say something more but her breath and words were stolen from her as the most dazzling array of flowers followed the picnic basket into the room. "All of this … for me?"
He kissed away the tears from her cheeks. "All of this and more, my dear. Happy Birthday, my beautiful centenarian. Welcome to the exclusive club of those of us who've celebrated 100 of these special days."
She threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. She hadn't been looking forward to this day at all. She was sure that once she turned 100 years old, she would feel every one of her years and more. But, she was thrilled beyond words that Albus had survived the war and was here to help her celebrate her special birthday. "I could die a happy woman, right now."
"Oh, no, you don't! I've already started planning next year's celebration. Don't you go leaving me anytime soon," he teased, putting a smile back on her face as the picnic basket began to unpack itself. "And don't forget, this is only the beginning of your day. Everyone is looking forward to the party this evening. Hubert will be here this evening so you might wish to thank him for arranging the flowers for me. I was most pleased with the outcome this year."
Minerva poured them each a glass of juice and placed a scone and some berries on both plates. "I'll never know how you arranged all of this for me, from this morning all the way to the party planned for tonight. But, I'm ever so grateful you did. I would have been just as happy spending a quiet evening by the fire with you, reminiscing about all our yesteryears."
He took a strawberry and held it for her to bite, then kissed her soundly. "Who's to say we can't sneak away from the party a little earlier than planned? As a matter of fact, how do you know that's not in my plans for this evening," he said, wiggling his eyebrows at her and popping a handful of blueberries into his mouth.
Albus had, indeed, planned to whisk Minerva away for a quiet weekend of celebration in Venice. It has always been one of Minerva's favorite vacation spots and they'd shared many happy days there. For now, though, she needn't worry about anything but enjoying her special day.
"Happy 100th birthday, my love."
She smiled and caressed his cheek with her hand, her eyes locked with his. "Thank you for everything and I'm especially grateful you're here to help me celebrate."
"I can't think of anything, on heaven or earth, that would keep me away from you today," he answered softly, suddenly realizing just how many times he'd cheated death, only to be rewarded with another year and another and yet another.
The party at Hogwarts that evening was a spectacular hit. The kitchen elves pulled off a feast to fit any king or queen, the flowers and fireworks were awe-inspiring, and Minerva reveled in seeing so many of her friends gathered together. When it was time for them to depart, Albus called Fawkes to him and the three of them disappeared in a ball of flames from the middle of the dance floor, leaving the guests to wonder where they'd be celebrating this year.