Joy and Longing

This story is set while Minerva is teaching at Hogwarts.

The silvery moonbeams danced across the roofs of Hogwarts, silhouetting the small tabby cat against the night sky, as she sat on the roof gazing at the full moon. The soft breeze ruffled her grey fur gently as she perched motionless on the tiles. as a cloud passed the face of the moon obscuring it's light for a time, the tabby sighed as though in response and crept soundlessly from the rooftop. Taking the same route back to her chambers that she followed after every one of her night time escapades. A path that would take her past the window of Albus' chambers, where she would spend a few forlorn minutes with her nose pressed against the cold glass gazing at him.

Often he would be asleep, only his silver beard and hair visible above the covers. Other times he would be sitting in front of the fire reading or humming happily, as he sipped a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Sometimes he would be pacing back and forth anxiously, shoulders drooping as though the cares of the entire world pressed heavily upon him, and Minerva would long to go to him and comfort him, as her heart reached out to him through the cold hard glass.

The warm golden glow of his window reached out across the rooftops to her, and as she often did Minerva raged at this weakness. To behave in such an inappropriate manner as to perch unseen outside the headmaster's window and spy on him. She would not have tolerated such behaviour in anyone else, why did she tolerate it in herself ? The silver tabby stiffened, muscles taut with fury and determination. Tonight would be different, tonight she would take another route to her chambers, and yet the golden beams from the window called to her like an invitation, whose lure she could not resist. She had to see him if only for a few brief moments, before returning to her chambers to dream of him.

Albus sat crosslegged on the floor of his chambers, soft silver hair and beard flowing in waves around him. In front of him was a huge brightly coloured bowl filled almost to overflowing with bubbles galore. As Minerva watched, Albus plunged his hands joyously into the sea of bubbles, his eyes sparkling like stars in the night as he lifted the shimmering bubbles into the air, releasing them to dance around the room. 'He's such a child.' Minerva thought in exasperation and enchantment as despite herself she continued watching.

'What do I see in him ?' She queried as Albus contined to fling handfulls of bubbles around the room, oblivious of the water that flowed over the edges of the bowl, wreaking havoc with a five hundred year old carpet. Oblivious also of the silver tabby perched on his window sill.

Minerva shook her head in something approaching disbelief as Albus raised a handfull of bubbles to his mouth and blew on them as hard as he could, then laughed merrily as the bubbles flew across his chambers. If cats were able to roll their eyes, then Minerva would have rolled her's at that point, instead she simply inflicted a disdainful feline glare upon Albus' unaware shoulders. Just as she was about to turn and leave, Albus flicked his wand gently causing a flurry of sparks to cascade from the tip of the wand, forming into iridescant golden globes that hovered in the air like fireflies at dusk, transforming each bubble into a crystal prism that captured the glowing light and turned it into a multitude of rainbows.

Though Minerva would never have admitted it, not even to herself, she was enchanted by the childlike joy and wonder in Albus' face as he watched the bubbles drift around his chambers. Captured as always by his spell she could not bring herself to leave, instead she pressed ever closer to the unyielding glass as though she would break it apart with her love and be in his arms at last.

As Minerva continued to watch Albus whispered another spell. Instantly the room was filled with a tune of magic and joy that flowed out into the night air, as from each shimmering bubble a different incandescant note sounded. As Minerva watched entranced, Albus waved his arms as though conducting an orchestra, his wand the conductor's baton as sparkling rainbow prisms danced around him playing a song to the wonder and glory of life. Lost in the music Minerva's grip on the window ledge lessened. Horrified she felt herself begin to slip.

Claws digging desperately into stone, sheer will power prevented her tumbling to the ground below. As Minerva strove for balence she lurched against the window so hard that it swung open and catapulted her into the room, where she landed head first in the tub of foaming suds. As the water flowed over her and gushed into her open mouth which was about to yowl in terror, feline instincts took her and panic overcame her as death seemed imminent.

Suddenly a firm gentle hand lifted her from the water, concerned blue eyes gazed at her and a soft voice murmured a charm which restored Minerva to human form. Senses still in disarray Minerva was vaguely aware that Albus Dumbledore held her securely in his arms, in a grasp that was just as warm and strong as she had imagined. His gaze flitting across her drenched form with a mixture of concern and something unfamilliar.

Gazing at the tall witch still held in his arms Albus felt as though he were captured in a timeless moment, one that he had dreamed of so often, to hold her like this and never let her go. He was awed by her beauty, the rainbow bubbles that adorned her raven hair like glistening stars against a midnight sky, the way her soaking emerald green robes clung to her body, so that every curve was outlined. He was speechless before her, unable to do anything more than admire her and hold her for as long as she would permit.

As Minerva regained her senses she battled to free herself from the intensity of the feelings, that being held by Albus evoked in her, to regain her self discipline. In desperation she resorted to the familliar and glared fiercely at Albus expecting his normal humourous response to her embarrassing entrance, but Albus stood silently gazing at her with a strange expression in his eyes. Something in his eyes reminded her of the way he'd looked at her on the night of the yule ball, when they'd danced together for what felt like all to brief a moment.

As the silence continued between them, Minerva's worries and confusion increased. Was he angry with her for spying on him ? Did he keep silent in an attempt to control his anger ? Fear and dignity made her resort to stiffness as she freed herself unwillingly from his grasp, and unable to find words turned silently to leave, determined not to let him see how her heart lurched within her.

Suddenly fingers slipped into hers, a gentle questing hand grasped her's. "Minerva ..." He whispered like a sigh of love.

His hand was so warm and soft in her's, he had touched her before - a brush of his hand on her shoulder, the soothing caress of a friend but not like this. Something different flowed from him into her as though long held passion had been released at last. Though his fingers were motionless as they rested lightly against her skin it seemed to Minerva that he caressed her. Hope and longing danced in her emerald eyes as she raised her face to Albus and invited him into her soul. Reflected in his eyes she saw the same message of disbelief turned to hope, as he reached with a trembling hand to caress her face with such longing and love that she thought her heart would cease to beat from sheer joy.

Author's Notes

This story has been an image dancing in my mind for the last two days, inspired by something so mundane as bubbles in a bowl of washing up. Writing it gave me great joy, and I hope will give everyone who reads it the same happiness. :) Reviews will be treasured just as Albus treasures candy. :D So please review.

This story is unashamedly fluffy, for which I make no apologies for I adore fluff. ;) I melted multiple times while writing it.

I was also horribly distracted by laughing at my accidental pun when Minerva was Catapulted into the bowl of water. :D My cruel side was tempted to either have a cliff hanger and leave Minerva clinging precariously to the window ledge, or to have an angstier ending where Minerva returns alone to her chambers and Albus continues playing with bubbles unaware that she was ever watching him, but I just couldn't do that to him. For though it may not come across in this story Albus does long for her just as she longs for him.