8. Venice: Ghetto & La Fenice

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Minerva's eyes blinked open. At first, in the darkness, she was unsure what had woken her, but then she heard Albus mumbling in his sleep.

She couldn't make out his words, but he seemed calm enough, not twisting or thrashing as he sometimes did in the throes of a nightmare, so she decided not to wake him and turned over to go back to sleep.

No sooner had her eyelids fluttered closed than he spoke again.

"Mi ... you ... no ... no ..."

The gasped words changed her mind about waking him, and she shook his shoulder.


When he didn't react, she leant over, put a palm on his face, and feathered a kiss on his lips.

He let out a sudden puff of breath.


She stroked his cheek. "You're talking in your sleep."

"Am I? I'm sorry."

"It's all right. I'm sorry to wake you. Can you go back to sleep now?"


She kissed him again and smoothed the covers over his chest.

They slept peacefully after that, and Minerva woke in the morning to find Albus climbing out of bed.

"Good morning," she said.

"Good morning. I tried not to disturb you, but I need the loo."

"Come back to bed when you're done."

He did, and they snuggled together under the bedclothes. She yelped when he put his feet up against her legs.

"Your feet are freezing."

"It's cold this morning."

"Let's just stay here for a while, then," she said, wriggling closer and pressing her back against his chest. "We don't have any urgent plans this morning, do we?"


They fell back to sleep, Albus's arm around Minerva's chest, until Albus's stomach began to protest in a series of noisy rumbles that woke Minerva and made her giggle.

"It sounds as if someone needs breakfast," she said.

"I'm famished," Albus admitted. "Our dinner was a bit light last night."

"You should have said."

"You were sleeping so soundly. Besides, it's so nice tucked up here with you, I didn't want to end it."

She turned in his arms and pecked him on the lips. "It is lovely. But I'm hungry too, now that you mention it. Shall we get up?"

"As you wish."

The Tempus Charm Minerva cast told her they had slept until nearly ten-thirty, so they both made quick work of their morning ablutions and went down to see if they could find an early lunch.

They had to walk a while before they found a restaurant that was open. The day's chill prompted both of them to opt for a warming risotto with porcini mushrooms to start and a hearty duck ragú to follow, alongside radicchio sautéed with tangy-sweet balsamic vinegar. It was too early for wine, so they drank sparkling water and followed the meal with a pair of espressos.

When they emerged from the restaurant, a frigid wind bit at their cheeks, and Albus insisted on casting a wandless Warming Charm.

"The Muggles will notice the warm spot," Minerva whispered.

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