I Will Carry You

Minerva lay as still as possible in bed. She felt the urge to toss and turn to ease her restless mind, but she refrained from doing so in order to keep from waking her slumbering husband beside her. Judging by the faint hazy glow of dawn peeking around the velvet curtains, she knew that it would be several more hours before he would want to rise for the day. She sighed silently and stared up at a spot on the ceiling, her mind transforming the random paint strokes into various recognizable objects.

She struggled to breathe under the emotional weight that was pressing down on her chest. A war seemed to be waging insider her; she felt the fear, the determination, the desperation... yet she didn't know how to relieve herself of her anxious thoughts or of the fear and sadness that pooled in the pit of her stomach. The cause of her mental turmoil was not so simple as to be tied to one dilemma, which unfortunately made her problem significantly more difficult. Despite her "calm, cool, and collected" exterior, Minerva was a worrier. She couldn't help herself; too often, she inadvertently allowed her smaller fears and frustrations to build up for long periods of time, leading to nothing less than an explosion when her long-suffering, yet ultimately finite, strength wore thin.

In moments such as these, Minerva did not want to hear that everything would eventually be okay. She had no doubt that it would, but hearing it as an endless mantra did nothing to soften the blow of the anxiety and frustration she felt now. She wondered what Albus would tell her. He was her voice of reason, even though he could be somewhat childlike at other times. His gentle, honest words were like a stronghold to her, even when she had felt she had no hope left at all. Tenderness towards her husband welled up inside her, and she reached over to ever-so-lightly touch her hand to his, simply to feel a physical connection with him. She closed her eyes tightly against the familiar sting behind her eyes and nose that signaled the undesired threat of tears. She could feel her face begin to flush, but she would not cry; surely it would be silly of her to do so.

"Minerva?"

Albus's soft, tired voice was a welcome break to both the humming silence around them and the shouting thoughts in Minerva's head. He squeezed her hand lovingly as he leaned up in bed to quietly gaze at her, seeming to already sense that something was wrong. Slowly, as if afraid that she would pull away from his touch, Albus smoothed the back of his fingers along the curve of Minerva's cheek. She held her breath – he was certainly not making it very easy to resist breaking into tears.

As Albus began stroking the long, flowing locks of her hair, Minerva finally mustered the courage to lift her eyes to meet his. She waited for the words that she knew were forming on Albus's tongue, though she couldn't quite read exactly what he would say.

"Let me carry that for you," he spoke at last, his voice hushed and soothingly deep.

She narrowed her eyes at him in slight confusion. Perhaps she had misunderstood him.

"What–"

"That burden you're carrying," he replied before she could finish. "I can see it so clearly in your eyes. You've carried it too long. Let me carry it for you."

Minerva swallowed hard. She was stuck between not knowing whether to laugh or cry, as she often was when facing emotional overload. She compromised by uttering a whispered "I love you" before rolling Albus over to his back. He chuckled up at her as she leaned down to place a lingering kiss on his smiling mouth.

"I love you too," he replied, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear and enjoying the tickling sensation of her tresses cascading down around him.

Minerva buried her face into Albus's warm chest, already feeling her pressing emotional weight lifting somewhat as he tenderly wrapped his arms around her. The difficulties she faced were not completely erased by gentle words spoken in her husband's deep, resounding voice or by the sweetness of his kiss, she knew, but the bitterness of her uncertainties were at least partially chased away for these brief sacred moments, and that, for now, was good enough for her.

The End

A/N: It got pretty fluffy at the end there. I was starting to wonder if I had lost my ability to write fluff. haha. I'm not sure that many people will like this particular story very much, but it means a lot to me because I have been able to relieve some of my own anxieties and frustrations through writing it. Please do let me know what you think.