Disclaimer: These characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not to me. I'm just having some fun with them and make no profit in doing so.~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Minerva didn't love Severus at first sight. He was only a runt then, wearing resentment as his cloak, frightening intelligence and determination shining from wary eyes.
She didn't even love him the five-hundredth time she saw him—an angry boy in ill-fitting teaching robes, with a branded arm and a heartbroken, haunted look in his familiar dark eyes.
Yet all these years later, when they've talked until the wee hours, when she contemplates his thoughtful, intense expression, warmed by firelight, and her heart aches at the thought of his leaving—then she knows that she loves him, all the same.
Minerva smirks at Severus' snoring. Warmth and good whisky have lulled him to sleep, and his glasses are teetering precariously on the curving promontory of his nose.
"Daft boy," she murmurs, reaching out to rescue them. She freezes when she notices his eyes, open and focussed on her. They're drowsy, but they're also dark and intense in a way that makes her heart beat faster.
Now, Minerva thinks, now everything changes. She feels anticipation tingling against her skin, and inside her, a wave of tenderness rises so high that she knows it must spill…
But before it can, Severus speaks.
"I… should go."
Minerva shivers at the sound of his voice. It's beautiful— a silken snare that twines around her senses, binding her to him. With a gift like his, even his most poisonous attacks are devastatingly lovely.
His endearments, she thinks, might actually kill her.
He hasn't attacked Minerva in ages—not since That Night, which still chokes her with remembered guilt—yet his voice pierces her heart like an arrow nonetheless.
"I should go," he repeats. He stands, his expression reluctant, uncertain.
"Don't," she says, reaching out to bridge the gap between them before he can widen it again.
Minerva has always thought of Severus as sharp—a silhouette slicing through crowds, a wounding wit, an incisive intelligence that spares nobody, not even himself, in its pitiless pursuit of knowledge—but now she's surprised at his soft warmth as he relaxes in her embrace, as fragile as anyone—more fragile, perhaps, than most.
She absorbs the revelation of each detail: the scratch of his stubbled jaw, his scarred, vulnerable neck, the fluttering heartbeat that betrays his worries.
In Severus' eyes, she sees heat, desire, need—and his old, constant enemy: doubt.
Fortunately, Minerva is Gryffindor enough for them both.
"Do you want this?" she asks boldly.
"That's a foolish question," Severus snorts, as though the answer is obvious. Perhaps it is: she can feel his arousal between them. "But you… couldn't possibly. I've never been that lucky. And you've been drinking…"
"Bollocks," Minerva snaps with exasperated affection. "Which one of us had a kip because he couldn't hold his whisky?"
He looks quite good when he's blushing, she decides.
"I'll do what I please, and I've wanted to do this for a long time," Minerva declares. "This, too."
When she tilts her head forward, his lips meet hers halfway.
It's not a perfect kiss.
Their noses bump, and Minerva is out of practice. Severus is clumsier, although enthusiastic; she suspects he's never been in practice.
Yet there is dizzying heat in this kiss, a smouldering spark. Minerva has been kissed many times before, but she can't recall the last time it left her so breathless.
"We should do that again," Severus marvels, as though his dearest wish has been granted.
They do. Minerva feels the spark again, flaring higher, brighter. It will become an inferno if they dare to fan the flames, she knows…
She smiles and kisses Severus harder, happy to be consumed.
Note: Dedicated to Droxy, who gives so much to the fandom and deserves to be fangirled in return.