Leaps and Bounds

Dear Filius,

As I write to you, the ground is shaking. Why? Because there's a colony of giants having a wrestling match two miles from where I sit. Does it sound like I'll be coming home soon?

Minerva sighed and balled up the roll of parchment, tossing it over her shoulder into the bin behind her, where it joined the small mountain of other, unfinished letters to Hogwarts' current headmaster.

'Nice shot,' someone remarked conversationally from her doorway.

Minerva balled up her last attempt and shot it at her visitor without turning around. It missed.

'Violence never solved anything, Minerva,' Dumbledore said cheerily, striding uninvited into her tent and making himself at home. 'What exactly seems to be the trouble?'

Minerva groaned and threw down the abused quill she'd been twisting in her hands. 'Can't you write to Filius?' she said instead, doing her best not to whine. 'I'm in a terrible mood, and everything I write makes it sounds like I'm plotting someone's death. Which I will be, in a moment.'

Dumbledore chuckled, picking up the quill. 'Perhaps you just need something to cheer you up, Min,' he suggested with a smile, his eyes twinkling.

'I'm open to suggestions,' Minerva agreed tiredly.

'Perhaps a break?' Albus said, standing and holding out his hand. 'A walk?'

'A sit,' replied Minerva firmly. 'Right now, in fact. If you don't mind,' she added as an afterthought, rising to her feet.

Dumbledore observed her carefully for a moment, as if gauging her mood, before he nodded and took her hand. They made their way over to the couch and sat down, where he wrapped his arm around her and she sank into his shoulder.

They'd been away from Hogwarts for almost three weeks, now, and Minerva was getting impatient. She missed her friends, and her students, and she missed teaching. Even (almost) those obnoxious fifth year Slytherins.

They'd made progress in the last few days. There had been a small breakthrough, and Dumbledore had had a quick audience with the Gurg that hadn't ended in a bloodbath. There had been one additional meeting since then, and though Minerva was hoping to be sent home, she wasn't optimistic. They needed her to keep the passages open.

Still, things had been looking up until two nights ago, when another fight had broken out amongst the giants. Crisis control was shaky, and they were still picking up the pieces. It didn't look like Minerva, or Albus, would be going home soon.

There were good things about it, though. The flip side to the Galleon, if you will. The people were nice (most of them), and Hagrid was always there to talk to. And Albus. The rustic background could have been romantic if it weren't for the threat of war that hung over their heads.

It was this thought that prompted Minerva to shift forward and brush her lips against Albus'. He didn't pause before lowering his head and returning the kiss, taking her face gently in his hands. The soft kiss was warm and light and comforting, but suddenly Minerva didn't want comfort. She didn't want softness right now, or gentleness, or any of Albus Dumbledore's eternal understanding.

If Albus was surprised when Minerva's movements became more demanding than sweet, he didn't show it. He gripped her hips tightly and returned her kiss roughly, burying one hand deep in her hair and wrapping the other possessively around her waist. He broke away to gulp at the air before mouthing along the underside of her jaw. She threw her head back and arched into him.

'Minerva, Minerva,' Dumbledore said after a few minutes of this, his breath coming in deep pants and his face flushed. 'Stop a moment, please.'

Minerva drew back and considered him. 'Was there something you wanted?' she asked, and the words could have been teasing if they hadn't come out so acerbically. Dumbledore ran a hand over his face and shifted so that he sat beside Minerva instead of under her. And then, with a feeling as though a great weight had been lifted from him, he spoke.

'I am committed to you, Minerva,' he said. 'I hope you know that.'

Minerva looked at him, the faintest suggestion of surprise lifting her features, but did not speak. Albus continued.

'I know we haven't discussed this in detail, and I understand if you feel this is too much,' he continued, feeling as though she expected him to speak. 'I thought perhaps you might want something a little more concrete to hold onto – my experience with witches hasn't really provided me with enough information from which to draw with any degree of confidence – but I was under the impression that –,' but he was cut by Minerva's lips on his.

'Committed?' she repeated thoughtfully once she had drawn away. 'Yes, I suppose I like that. We,' she said, gesturing between the two of them, 'are together, then?' At Dumbledore's nod, she nodded thoughtfully again, the movement almost businesslike. She thought of Filius, always a romantic, and grinned when she thought of how he would've cringed had he witnessed the moment. 'Well, good, then.'

Albus observed the smirk that Minerva shot at him, but what had more value to him was the smile of genuine happiness that hid underneath.

Dear Filius,

We're just fine here, love, there's no need to worry. Things are improving, and I hope to be home within the month. I attached the list you asked for at the back of this letter.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day, Fil! Kiss a pretty witch for me.



Sorry for the length, and the wait. Constructive criticism welcome as always. :) The Journey will most likely be undergoing some reconstruction soon, fixing grammar and plot holes and such. Thanks for reading :)