A/N: Thanks to MMADfan for the idea of sending Minerva and Albus on a camping trip. We hope you will enjoy their little adventure.
Rating: T … just to be on the safe side.
A Camping Adventure
"Albus Dumbledore, this has to be the barmiest idea you've ever had," Minerva announced, shaking her head as she stared at her husband. "Didn't you get enough living outdoors when you were chasing Grindlewald all over creation back in the forties?"
Albus stood and walked from behind his desk until he was close enough to gently grip Minerva's upper arms. His smile was broad and the sparkle in his eyes was more pronounced than usual. "My dear, you know as well as I that those were not pleasant days or memories. This trip ... well, it would be for fun. Think about it. Just the two of us, alone on the moor, sleeping in a tent beneath the stars, no duties or schedules. What's not to love about it?"
Minerva patted his chest then cupped his cheek. "When you put it like that, there's nothing to dislike. But most people our age take tamer adventures, wouldn't you agree?"
"Perhaps, but we've never exactly followed the normal patterns for people our ages, more specifically, my age," he teased. He paused and gave her the saddest expression he could, imploring her with his eyes to agree. "Please, Minerva. It will only be for a few nights, and later in the summer, we'll plan a trip that you'd like to take. Hmm?"
She knew from the moment he announced his grand idea that she would cave, though she hadn't expected to give in this easily. It was those eyes of his, and the way he was able to plead his case. With a sigh of resignation, she cupped his cheek. "Can we at least agree to camp on the McGonagall lands? We know they're safe and free from Muggles."
Albus wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her as he twirled her around in excitement. "Excellent, Minerva, just ... thank you!" He leaned down and kissed her hard on the lips, leaving her breathless. "And since we'll be on family grounds, we can do this the proper way."
She raised an eyebrow in question. "And what, pray tell, would be the proper way?"
She didn't think it would be possible, but his smile seemed to grow even broader. "The Muggle way, of course. We'll do everything as if we were Muggles camping out in the wilderness. We'll fish for our food, take some water with us, use a tent and sleeping bags, and of course, cook with a campfire."
"Albus ... " But her words were lost before she ever gave them a voice. The excitement on his face was like that of a child at Christmas. She didn't have the heart to tell him that their ideas of camping were vastly different. A nice cabin with a roaring fire, meals she could easily prepare in a kitchen dressed only in her dressing gown, long soaks in a sunken tub beside large windows overlooking the heather. She sighed. That wasn't to be her camping trip this time, but Albus was always doing so much for others, she couldn't deny him this pleasure. She'd simply have to make the best of it.
Per their agreement, Albus and Minerva set off the following weekend for their adventure. Earlier in the week, he'd made a special trip into London to see about picking up the necessary camping gear while Minerva had spoken to a few of her relatives, alerting them that they would be visiting and not to be alarmed. She also used part of her day to choose a prime location for their campsite. She needed something close to the water, a little sheltered, and not too far from the main house. Yes, if she was careful, this might not be such a bad trip after all, and it would make Albus happy.
With all their provisions packed, Minerva Apparated them to the spot near the small lake. It was a picturesque location and Albus was thrilled with her choice. After a quick kiss to her lips, he set to work on pitching their tent while he asked Minerva to gather some sticks and rocks which could be used for a fire.
Taking her chance, Minerva wandered off in the direction of the house. She would Summon a few twigs and larger pieces of wood on her way back to the campsite, then worry about gathering some rocks from the lakeshore. But while Albus was distracted with the tent, she wanted a quick word with the house-elves to remind them of their previous chat.
When she returned, Albus was sitting in the middle of the field, no tent in sight. "Something wrong, love?" she asked, sweetly.
"What? Oh, um, just taking a break," he lied. "I was working on the tent and decided to take a moment to enjoy the sunshine. Care to join me?" he asked, patting the grass beside him.
She placed her fire materials off to the side, brushed off her robes, then sat beside him. After several long moments of staring off at the ripples on the lake, she finally broke the silence. "You could use your wand to put it together, you know. It's just us and I won't tell a soul."
He looked at her with an expression of mild shock. "Muggle way, remember? We said we didn't want to use magic this time."
"Correction ... you said YOU didn't want us to use magic on this trip. I'm not against it if the situation warrants. And I would say this is a warranted situation, if ever there was one."
Albus shook his head and scoffed. "And what would make this one of those situations? We have more than a few hours before nightfall, and once the tent is up, I'll fish for our dinner. We can cook it over the fire that I'll build."
Minerva leaned over and kissed his cheek. "We have less than two hours before those dark clouds behind you reach us, and if I'm not mistaken, they're storm clouds. If we're not using magic to start the fire, Merlin only knows how long that will take us, and we're assuming you'll be lucky at catching some fish."
He turned to face her, a look of hurt in his eyes. "You really didn't want to come on this trip with me, did you? I'm sorry if I'm making you so miserable, but I think it can be quite fun. Please, trust me."
Hearing the hurt in his voice, she wrapped her arms around him tightly and kissed him hard on the lips. "You worry about the tent, and I'll brave the lake to see about some fish. Dad used to take me fishing with him when I was a little girl so I'm not completely inept at it." She stood and paused, taking a moment to brush a lock of hair from his face. "I love you, so much," she said softly before turning to walk away.
Leaving him behind, Minerva walked until she was sure she was out of sight, then doubled back over the hills towards the house. They might be cold and wet, but they'd at least be having some fish for dinner. She was more thankful now than ever that she'd spoken to the elves about their help.
Meanwhile, Albus was still struggling with the tent. He'd get one side secured and then hardly start on the other side before a gust of wind would come along and undo all his hard work. He was at his wit's end, but determined not to use magic, when a little elf from the house popped to his side.
"Master Albus needs help, yes?" the little elf said softly as she bounced up and down on her little feet. "Maisie is only too happy to help Miss Minerva's Albus," she said with a broad grin.
"Hello, Maisie. I wasn't expecting to see you out here."
"Miss Minerva said you'd be camping this weekend. Wanted our help with things if she asked. Maisie thought she'd be helpful and offer before it was needed," she admitted shyly.
Albus sat down and nodded his head, indicating that the little elf should take a seat, too. Then, when the elf was comfortable, he asked Maisie to tell him about the conversation she'd overheard Minerva having with her parents earlier in the week.
"So, you see, Master Albus, Maisie was only trying to be a helpful elf. Maisie didn't mean to tell Miss Minerva's secrets."
He laughed and held up his hand. "Shh, none of that. You did just fine, Maisie. In fact, if you can keep a secret, we'll play a little joke on Miss Minerva. How's that sound?"
Maisie thought about it for a moment. "Won't she be angry when she finds out Maisie and Master Albus tricked her?"
"You let me worry about that, and make sure you don't go home and punish yourself for anything. Do you understand?" he asked, firmly. When she nodded, Albus grinned and instructed the elf to help him with a few things.
Minerva returned over an hour later fully expecting to be drenched by the rain shower that was growing increasingly nearer. Instead, what she found was a roaring fire, the tent pitched and fully functional, and some wild berries Albus had picked to go with their wine. Albus had even kicked off his shoes and changed his attire into something less constricting. She stopped in her tracks, her mouth hanging open as Albus turned to greet her.
"I was about to get worried and come looking for you. You've been gone quite some time, and if we don't get those fish going, we'll be eating at midnight or having them for breakfast," he teased.
Minerva handed him the fish and mentally shook herself. "Congratulations on the tent and the fire. I'm very impressed. You managed to get everything ready for us, and I have to admit that it looks very cozy, indeed."
"Wait until you see the inside of the tent. I didn't like the idea of sleeping in separate bags, so I spread one out and thought we could use the other as a blanket. Won't that be snuggly and warm?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
She swatted his arm and shook her head. "Randy old codger. You just wanted to get me out here in the wild so you could have your wicked way with me, isn't that right?"
He tried to look innocent. "I have nothing but the purest of intentions. It's not my fault that your mind traveled down the path it did, which led you to the thoughts you're having now about ravishing me once we're in our sleeping bag and tent. If you're truly concerned about our sleeping arrangements, though, I'm sure I can easily return the bags to their previous state, though I can't promise you'll be as warm, especially those icy feet of yours," he teased.
"My feet are not always icy. And you love it when I ask you to get them warm for me and you know it!" she challenged. "Some of our more amorous nights have started that way, if you'll recall."
His cheeks warmed as more than a few mental images flashed before his eyes. "Game, set, and match, my dear. As always, you are correct." He closed the distance between them and kissed her softly. "Go change into something more comfortable and I'll get these going," he said, holding up the fish. "We can do a bit of snuggling while we wait for them to cook.
"Better cast a charm on the fire, though, or the rains will put out the flame," she suggested. "Then we'll be cold and hungry while we snuggle."
"You let me worry about that. I've got it all sorted, sweetheart. I'll join you inside in just a few minutes. I'll get the fish going and secure the shelter for the fire, then we'll sip some wine inside our comfortable tent. I've already put some potatoes into the fire to give them a head start on the fish."
When she entered the tent, Albus looked down at the fish and grinned. He was going to thoroughly enjoy their camping adventure.
Assured that his plan was well in motion, Albus stepped into the tent and his breath hitched in his throat. Minerva had slipped into one of his nightshirts and was brushing her long hair. She looked at him over her shoulder and gave him a seductive smile. "Guess I forgot to pack a nightgown. I hope you don't mind me borrowing something of yours," she said with a purr as she stretched out her long, shapely legs.
Albus felt his body react to her teasing. "Not in the least," he managed to say. "I feel quite overdressed now, though."
She reached out her hand and gripped his, pulling him down beside her. "I'm sure that can be easily remedied." Her hand slipped from his and began to work on the buttons keeping his robe closed.
He leaned forward and began to lightly kiss her, his lips ghosting over her skin from her shoulder up to her ear and back down again. "We mustn't get carried away," he said with a groan. "The fish ... we don't want to burn them." His voice was shaky as she slipped her hands inside his robe to caress his warm, solid chest.
"Plenty more fish where those came from," she offered, pushing his robe from his shoulders until it pooled at his waist. Her lips and hands travelled over his chest and sides, teasing him and arousing him as only she could.
It took all his resolve to stop her from proceeding further. "Later, my sweet, later, I promise." He sighed in frustration and could easily recognize the same emotion in her eyes. "Some wine now and food in a little bit, then I'll be yours for the taking," he said as he pulled his robe on loosely. "I'll just go check on the fish and potatoes."
A few minutes later, Albus returned with two plates of food. "Didn't take long at all to cook the fish and the potatoes were ready," he said, handing her a plate. "Just in time, too," he announced as the rains started to pelt the fabric of the tent.
Minerva looked at the fish and back at Albus. "I thought it would take them longer to cook, especially with no magic involved."
"Not so long when you cut them as I have and then cook them. And the fire really was hot. You managed to find some very good wood for our fire. You're better at camping than you let on in the beginning," he teased.
Minerva blushed. "Beginner's luck?"
"Don't be so modest, love. You're very good at this, and I'm very glad you're here. Otherwise, I might still be fishing or trying to build a fire while it's pouring outside." He tucked into his meal, occasionally glancing at Minerva to see her reaction and to make idle talk while they ate.
After dinner was finished, Albus placed their dishes off to the side and took Minerva back into his arms. "Shall we pick up where we left off earlier?" he whispered into her ear.
"Hmm, you'll have to remind me of just what we were doing," she answered as she rolled her head to one side, allowing his lips to caress her neck. Gently, he eased her back onto the sleeping bag and took his time in giving her pleasure while taking some for himself.
Later that evening, Minerva was wrapped securely in his arms, her nails gently raking over his arms and causing him to shiver slightly. She sighed happily and snuggled deeper into his embrace. "This is the part I like best about camping," she said softly. "Who knew that listening to the rain from inside a cozy tent while making love could be so erotic. I quite enjoyed this evening."
"So, you don't regret coming with me on this camping trip? I mean ... what sort of wizard am I to send a lady off to do her own fishing and gathering materials for the fire while he rests by the bank with the tent?"
Minerva shifted in his arms and turned her head so she could see his face. "Don't say that. It's not fair for you to have to do all the work, either. I didn't mind helping and it wasn't hard."
"No? Well, then, shall I leave breakfast to you, as well?" he teased. "I'm sure with your ingenuity and resourcefulness, we could have a full English breakfast by daybreak."
She rolled him onto his back and stared down into his face, searching his eyes until they both burst into laughter. "What gave me away? How'd you know?"
He leaned up and kissed her, grinning as he pulled back. "My first clue was when you went to catch fish with no fishing pole or bait. And my second clue ... let's just say I had an unexpected visitor who was more than eager to help me after she overheard a conversation you had with her parents earlier in the week."
Minerva smacked his chest then kissed the same spot. "You let me go on and on about the fish and gathering the wood. You knew all along, didn't you?"
"Not until I spoke to Maisie. And in the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit she helped me with the fire, the tent, and while we were in here, she replaced the fish you brought with cooked fish from the main house."
"You cheater! I knew that fish couldn't have cooked that quickly," she scolded, though her words held no hint of anger or displeasure.
"You're one to talk about cheating, though if that's truly how you feel, we will go back to Hogwarts tomorrow and I'll cancel our other reservations."
Minerva sat up and looked down at him. "Reservations? What other reservations?"
He sat up and slipped the back of his hand across her chest then across her throat and shoulder. He cradled her head in his hand as he leaned forward and brushed his lips along the hollow of her throat. "While Maisie took care of the tent and fire, I went to the house and used one of their owls. We will be going to a small chateau in France by Portkey tomorrow. Still secluded and with a very scenic view, but with all the modern conveniences we both enjoy. It even has a large tub, which I believe will be just perfect for a hot bubble bath and sipping wine with your husband."
Minerva wrapped her arms around Albus' neck, and for the rest of the night, she proved over and over again just how happy she was to be on his camping trip, especially when he read her mind.