Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. They belong to J.K. Rowling.

Rating: T


Minerva sighed and stretched, trying to ease the pain in her lower back. The chairs left for visitors could really use some updating. The room was empty; the last of the healers had cleared out for the night not long before. It was dark and cool; the moon outside provided the only light. The light from the window cut across the room and brought his features into sharp relief, but she didn't need the light to see his face. She could see every scratch, every broken bone, and every bruise with the blink of an eye. She pulled her chair a little closer, cringing at the heavy scraping sound. She was the one that brought him back from Germany; she had brought him out of the bunker. She still had his blood upon her robes to prove it.

The healers had done their best work; his wounds were mostly healed. All that remained was the giant gash crossing his chest caused by a nasty cutting curse. They were afraid to aggravate it, so he would be forced to wait as it healed on its own. She had convinced the healers to leave his bathing to her. He was a private man, and after everything that had happened, she couldn't let a stranger take that last bit of dignity away.

Sighing, she re-gathered her hair in a ponytail and stood up, settling herself on the edge of his bed. She pulled the small cart carrying a steaming bowl toward her. She wrung out the cloth, letting the hot water sooth the ache in her hands as slid over them.

She leaned forward and touched the cloth to his forehead, stroking along the fine lines the war had left there. With every stroke, a bit more skin peeked through the mass of blood and mud that coated him. "I fell in love with you." She said softly, dipping the rag back in the bowl to ring it out. She brought it to the side of his face and uncovered the faint mole on his right cheek.

"It was the Christmas of my seventh year. One of the Ravenclaw firsties had fallen in the snow and twisted her ankle." She dipped the rag again. "The poor thing was in tears. I remember how you pulled out that ridiculous purple handkerchief of yours before lifting her into your arms to carry her into the castle. She looked so small, and you were so gentle. You could have just levitated her, but you cared about us too much for that. But, the moment came a few days later. She found you Christmas morning after breakfast. She handed you a little box and a pecked on the cheek." She stopped and gently traced the cloth over his lips, moistening them. "You blushed as she skipped away. That was when I fell in love with you."

She waved her hand, and the sludge in the bowl was replaced with fresh water, steam curling in the air. She lifted his arm and started from the top. "I knew you were, you are, fond of me, but I was a student, your student. Nothing could ever come of it, and I did everything possible to make the feeling go away. But you would smile and hold the door for me as I came for lessons, and it would hit me again ten fold." She held his hand in her own and massaged it as she continued.

"Graduation was the best, and worst, day of my life. It was the first time you used my first name, and then I was on a train home. I was thoroughly convinced I would never see you again. I cried for three nights together; my poor parents didn't know what to make of me."

She moved to his other side, bringing the bowl with her and conjuring a small table to set it on. "We began working in the same squad last year, and you were still the same gentle man blushing at an eleven year old's kiss. But there is a sadness about you now, a gravity that you try so hard to hide. I fell in love with you all over again. You were so close, still holding tent flaps and smiling." She set his arm down gently, squeezing his hand before moving onto his chest.

"I arrived just as Grindelwald hit the ground. The rest of the squad was busy tying up the lose ends and securing the area; we were alone. I have never been more terrified in my life as I was this morning. They stabilized you enough for transport to Mungo's. I hope you don't mind, but I told them I was supposed to remain with you. I know how you feel about healers and hospitals; I didn't want you to wake up here alone, helpless against the power of some potion happy healer. You don't know how to be contrary, so I'll be difficult with the healers for you. I still remember the lecture you gave me about making Madame Parsons cry in my sixth year. I could tell you were trying not to laugh; your mustache kept twitching. I still contend she deserved that tail; I did not need to spend the night in the Hospital Wing; people lose pints of blood all the time with no ill effect, and she managed to re-grow the bone on the spot. It was only a thirty-foot fall afterall." She finally set the cloth down, stood up, and raised the blanket a bit to keep him warm, smoothing out the wrinkles before wrapping her hand around his larger one.

"...took three days for it to fall off. She sat queerly for a week after." Minerva's head shot up as his scratchy voice met her ears. His eyes were barely open and his voice sounded horribly rough. She released his hand and stood, leaning over him. "Albus." She breathed.

His arm wobbled as he wrapped a hand around her bicep, a crooked, drowsy, smile crossed his face. "...was impressed. Always impressed by you." He gave her arm a squeeze and heaved a great sigh. "Not my student anymore, Min...erva. Too tired now...will ravish you later. Lay with me...need sleep." He gave her arm a tug, even as his eyes closed again.

Her mind was spinning even as Minerva pulled off her outer robes and boots to crawl onto the bed beside him. Gently she settled herself, refusing to analyze it. She rested her head on the pillow beside his, and she the tingle of his magic when her dress morphed. Maybe he was right; the slip was much more comfortable to lie down in. His head tipped toward her, and she felt his hand come to rest on the inside of her thigh, giving it a squeeze. His voice was barely above a whisper and a little slurred; the drowsy smile was back. "My Min."