A/N: This is set when Minerva returns home from St. Mungo's in Order of the Phoenix. Of course Albus would be there.


Albus watched with bated breath as Minerva, her face drawn from the pain that so relentlessly coursed through her body, sank carefully down onto the bed. His heart broke as he was forced to watch her suffer, yet he was unspeakably thankful for her return. He had missed her here – the sound of her voice, the smell of her skin, there mere sight of her in their bed... Oh, how long and cold the nights had been when they were apart!

He had worried about her, just as he still did, not because he doubted her strength or courage, of course, but because he could not fathom a world without the sweetness of her presence. She was still strong and resilient, yes, but neither of them were as young as they once were. He intended to take good care of her as she continued to recover, even if she stubbornly fought him tooth and nail every step of the way.

"Are you going to stand there all night?" Minerva asked at last, her voice strained but her tone clearly light.

Only then did Albus realize how long he must have been standing there gawking at her, looking quite foolish as he did so. He wanted to give some witty, playful excuse for being caught dumbstruck, but his mind was so overwhelmed that he could simply think of none.

"I'm just so glad to have you back," he admitted honestly as he approached her.

Minerva remained silent as he sat down beside her and took her hand.

"You look tired," he said, stroking her cheek with the bend of his index finger.

She closed her eyes, savoring the feel of his touch, and nodded slowly. Albus stood and silently began pulling back the covers and fluffing her pillow.

"Lie down," he instructed her gently.

It pained him again to watch her hurt as she lowered herself into a resting position on the bed.

"Are you going to join me?" she asked, noting that he seemed somewhat hesitant as he pulled the covers over her.

"I'm right behind you," he replied softly.

He was careful as he lay down in bed, so as not to cause her any more pain with his movements.

"Are you planning on staying all the way over there?" Minerva teased as Albus remained as far away from her in bed as possible. "You won't hurt me," she added, addressing his unspoken fear.

He was still hesitant as he moved closer to her, but he was eager to feel her nearness once more.

"That's better," she said as he rested beside her.

"Goodnight," he whispered before kissing her tenderly.

"Goodnight," she repeated, her eyes growing heavy with exhaustion. "Don't leave," she said as she closed her weary eyes.

"Where on earth would I go?" he asked with a chuckle.

Minerva did not respond but instead began breathing deeply and slowly as she moved even closer to her husband. Albus rested as the rhythmic sound of her breathing soothed him, but he did not join her in sleep. Rather, his mind swam with various thoughts and scenarios until he found that he was not so tired after all. He worried when Minerva began to stir in her sleep, but after she had adjusted her body so that it was angled slightly away from him and her back was nestled against his side, she grew still and relaxed once more.

Minutes ticked into hours, yet Albus still did not feel the lure of sleep. He watched Minerva in the darkness, glad that she was here and getting much-needed rest but worried that she was sleeping too still. He lay as motionless as possible as he watched for the rise and fall of her chest, as he had not been able to hear her soft breathing since she had turned earlier. Every so often, he thought he saw slight movement, but he wasn't fully convinced that it had not been a trick of his anticipating imagination.

He knew he shouldn't bother her, but he would certainly never be able to get to sleep without knowing she was okay.

"Minerva?" he whispered.


"Minerva," he called, somewhat louder this time.

Nothing still.


She groaned as she stirred out of her slumber.

"Minerva, are you all right?" he asked, moving to lean over her.

"I was before someone decided to wake me," she mumbled, only half awake.

"But you're okay?"

"Ask me in the morning."

She was grumbling now, but this was better than nothing at all.

"I love you," Albus said warmly as he snuggled back down against her.

"Why did you wake me?" she asked, sounding slightly annoyed but willingly molding into Albus's embrace.

"I had to know that you're all right."

"Was there any question?" she asked with a tired chuckle.

"Well... You were sleeping so soundly..."

"Have you been to sleep?" she asked with concern.

"Not exactly..."

Minerva sighed as she pulled his arm snugly around her waist.

"Get some sleep, my love," she said sternly yet lovingly.


"I'm going to be just fine," she promised.

"Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes," she replied, stifling a yawn and burying her head into Albus's chest. "Stay here with me... but do get some rest."

The End