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Ginny, Elise, and the other ladies were dealing with an absolute melt-down in their dormitory. Both Hermione and Madam Pomfrey were about to melt from nervousness. Hermione was wearing a beautiful pink colored dress. Her hair was in curls. She even wore makeup. She looked like an angel instead of head of the class, regular, every day looking, best friend Hermione. She had been helping Ginny and Elise get Madam Pomfrey ready, but as the hour drew near she began to be so nervous the only thing she could do was pace, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Meanwhile, the other party the girls needed to get ready, was in her nicest dress robes. Elise was putting beautiful curls into her Grandma's hair. Due to her nursing profession Madam Pomfrey usually wore it up under her white cap, but tonight it would be loose and long down her back. Ginny worked on a little bit of makeup for her.

"I think I'll go up and take her a rose. I bet she and Elise and Hermione and the other girls are up in their dorms." He went down to the gardens in his dresses robes and picked one. Albus Dumbledore was as nervous as he had ever been. Once he had picked a rose and hidden it in his robes he headed up to the Gryffindor common room. "Bubblegum." He gave the fat lady the password and she swung forward to admit him. Dumbledore crawled through the portrait hole, muttering that maybe he was getting too old for this job. He headed toward the staircase to the girls dormitories and he didn't make it two steps up before he felt a strange pulling sensation, then he felt like he was apparating.. no... this was NOT apparition he was FALLING! His next thought was being surrounded by a bunch of laughing Gryffindor girls and a few guys standing to the side giving him looks that clearly said, "Ouuuch mate.. I feel your pain!" He looked back up the stairs for a long moment before whispering. "Danged enchantments!! I really am too old for this job!"

As it turned out, Dumbledore and his rose had to wait at the bottom of the stairs until Elise, Madam Pomfrey, Ginny and Hermione came down to meet their dates. When he saw her his heart began to beat. He hadn't seen her dressed up like this since he didn't know when. Poppy looked down at Albus Dumbledore waiting to take her to the dance and she felt a bit breathless. She couldn't believe what was happening, wait, was anything actually "happening?" "Hello Poppy."

"Hello Albus." She said, having to remind herself she needed to breathe. He reached out his hand for hers, trying to ignore the stares and whisperings from all of the Gryffindor students standing in the common room watching.

"Do you um... ever.. feel like you're in a fish bowl?" He asked quietly.

"Only just now."

"As I, erm, thought... Let's go downstairs."

"That would probably be a good idea." Poppy turned to the students, "Come on children, let's go downstairs." She said, feeling incredibly embarrassed. They turned reluctantly and headed out of the portrait hole. The rumors ran rampant before Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey had even reached the ball room!

"I think I'm in time warp." Albus whispered, upon hearing the loud, rockish type music of the Weird Sisters. The two stood together for several moments, welcoming guests, watching the four contestants of the Tri-Wizard tournament and their dates walk in, and eating hors d'oeuvres. They talked of old times, memories, being students at Hogwarts, first being employed there, other memories...

"Remember how James and Remus and Sirius used to get into everything?"

"Do I ever! Then they came running to you!"

"They claimed it was because I never asked any questions."

"Funny... Harry said the same thing when he and Ron managed to turn Hermione part feline with a Polyjuice potion."

"That figures, he certainly favors his father." Poppy whispered, memories flooding her mind.

"Whatever happened to us?"

"I don't know...you became a professor... and.. I.. got hired as the nurse.. what did happen to us?"

"I wish I knew." Before things could get too sappy one of the older students with a camera came up and offered them a picture. Once the pictures were taken they each had a glass of punch and continued to talk. All of a sudden a new song began to play. It was Celestina Warbeck. Poppy smiled slightly. This was her favorite singer. "Well, this is more.. my style.. a little less low key." Albus stated with a slight laugh. "Would you.. care to dance?"

"Yes." Gently he took her hand and pulled her close. Shivers ran up and down Poppy's back as his hand settled at her waist. Slowly she laid her cheek against his shoulder and they swayed back and forth, back and forth to the music.

All of a sudden their eyes met. Before she could realize it he was leaning forward. Poppy wondered if he was going to kiss her. Gently Albus tipped her chin up to look into her eyes and there was just the two of them. She felt his lips pressed upon hers. Her arms went round his strong shoulders and she gently kissed him back. They stood, melding into each other, kissing, for the longest time before they finally drew apart. "I think I'm still in love with you." He whispered. Poppy pressed his hand to her heart. "And I know I'm still in love with you." She murmured as she felt their lips join once again. His kisses felt like Heaven. She was drawn away on high. He knew that he could be anything when she was with him and had faith in him. Finally, they drew away again. Both of them knew full well they would be questioned thoroughly by any students and be the butt of several jokes by the next morning. The strangest thing was, they didn't care.

Elise caught up with Hermione and Ginny at the snack table while getting a glass of punch. "So?!" Ginny demanded

"Soo... he's a good dancer." She whispered, turning a bit pink.

"Oohh!" The girls began to giggle.

"How're they doing?" Hermione asked, pointing over her shoulder to Madam Pomfrey and Dumbledore, who were getting their picture taken. When the picture was done the two wandered off, hand in hand, to stroll through the gardens.

"Think we should follow them?" Elise whispered.

Hermione nodded, "If they start getting too sappy we can always come back. I don't think Viktor will miss me for a few minutes."

"Nor Neville me..."

"Good! come on!" The girls quickly slipped away from the dance and followed, going from shadow to shadow, finally stopped to rest behind a bush while the "love birds" as they called them, stopped to stand by the edge of the lake, looking up at the moon.

"I'm glad you asked me. I don't think I would have been brave enough to ask you. Not after all these years. Funny... how supposedly the greatest wizard of my time, the one Lord Voldemort is scared of, the one everyone fears... doesn't have the courage to ask the lady he likes to the Yule Ball." He mused.

"What?! But... I got your invitation last week. Of course you asked me!"

"But... I... I didn't ask you.. I got your invitation last week also."

"I never sent an invitation."

"I never sent an invitation either!"

"Oohhh shoot!" Hermione, Elise, and Ginny whispered, covering their eyes with their hands, afraid to look. "This wasn't part of the plan, Sherlock." Hermione whispered.

"Sherlock?"

"Holmes...Muggle detective...tell you later."

Luckily, no one heard the girls' frantic whispering from behind the bushes. "I think we were set up." Poppy said with a slight laugh.

"I think so too."

"Must you always agree with me on everything?" Poppy asked with a laugh, pretending to thwack Albus with her program.

"Only most of the time."

"You tease." She whispered, still laughing. "I love you anyway."

All of a sudden he dropped to one knee before her. "I waited for you, all these years. I was busy, you were busy, but more than that I was just plain chicken. I thought you'd forget, and fall in love with someone else but…that never happened. I’m tired of pretending I don’t feel… I think you might be too. I don't want to ignore it any longer. I’ll always love you. Poppy... will you marry me? Sometime."

Poppy was so overcome with shock all she could do was nod as Albus slipped his ring onto her finger. "It'll do... until we get a real ring, won't it My Love?"

"Oh yes! It will do!"

"EEEEK!!" Exclaimed Elise and Hermione, completely forgetting that they were supposed to be hiding. Ginny tried to cover up their shrieks, but it was too late. Both of them pushed closer to try to see better and all of a sudden they heard the bush crack and all three were falling forward. They landed at Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey's feet, cheeks red as roses at being caught. "This isn't part of the plan either, Sherlock." Hermione whispered.

"You girls had this planned all along really?" Dumbledore asked, lending a hand to help them both up.

"Harry helped too, a little! he told us what you're writing looked like, and even Grandma helped without knowing it...!" Elise defended with a slight smile. "Besides! We had to do something. We were bored and thanks to Grandma's picture books with your first picture..."

"Oh good gracious.... please remind me to keep those three girls very very busy in the hospital wing next time."

"Remind me to thank them for this someday." Albus whispered, cuddling Poppy close as they watched the three giggling matchmakers head back to the ball.

"Oh I will."

"Goodnight My Love." Poppy whispered.

"Goodnight Love." he replied, kissing her gently. In the back of his mind, Dumbledore's only thought was. "It's lucky it's dark...I haven't blushed so much since Poppy told me she liked my new earmuffs!"

Fin











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