I don't really know where this came from. I'd been missing these two and the idea was sort of floating around half-baked in my mind for a few weeks and then, all of a sudden, it decided to come out. And now we have this.

Not beta-ed, as I'm sure you'll be able to see in Minerva's rambling dialogue. Post-resurrection of Artemis/TLG so I'm pegging Minerva at about nineteen. However, if her talking bluntly about sex with - oh, why am I bothering? It's a B/M fic. If you're not comfortable with the ship doing/talking about things that all ships eventually do/talk about, go read something else instead. That said, enjoy!

Talking Nonsense

Wearily, Butler ran a hand over his bald head. The reflection in the mirror showed him a man old beyond his years; it showed him a man who looked even more tired than he felt. Butler sighed.

From behind him, squirrelling underneath one massive arm, she appeared in the mirror.

"Didn't feel like inviting me to the pity party?" she enquired.

"It's not a pretty sight," he said.

"Oh, I don't know, I think this new suit really," her lips twitched, "suits you."

He cocked an eyebrow at her. "Can't even say it with a straight face?"

"Ah, mais non, cheri, ça te va bien. It's just your silly language that's funny, not the suit."

Butler fingered his crow's feet. "That's not the only funny thing in the room," he said, his voice bitter.

Minerva met his eyes in the mirror. "Something on your mind, Butler? Something you'd like to talk about? Share with the class, perhaps?" Her face was expressionless. He knew she was angry. He sighed again.

"Minerva, look at me. I'm a wreck of a man. For heaven's sake I haven't even got eyebrows anymore." He held her gaze.

"Actually," said Minerva, reaching up to stroke his cheek, "I rather prefer you this way. It makes such a nice change from the wild man I used to visit on weekends."

Butler chuckled despite himself. She stood on her tip-toes and kissed his jaw, which was as far as she could reach.

"You're distracting me!" he growled, gently pushing her down. "This is serious."

Minerva sighed, flipping her mane of hair over one shoulder. "Haven't you noticed a pattern yet, cheri? You get all depressed because apparemment you're so old, like it's the veritable end of the world, and then I kiss you until you stop talking such nonsense and then we have sex and start talking about more important things like how awful movie theatre popcorn smells and everyone is happy again. You see?" She smiled up at him winningly.

"It's not nonsense, Minerva." He ignored the fish lips she was making and persevered. "Honestly, Holly says my heart is borderline useless these days. Apparently that death-ray thing really did a number on me."

"Yes," said Minerva, shaking her head solemnly, "those pesky death-ray things always getting in everyone's way. For heaven's sake, they have one thing – one thing! - to do and they can't even do that correctly. I mean, it should be called a hair-removal-ray thing, shouldn't it? "Death-ray thing" is just bad advertising. Really, if they marketed it right, they could probably make quite a bit of money off a new hair-removal system." Her eyes met his in the mirror once more and he felt love rise in his throat, making it difficult to swallow.

He licked his lips. "What if it's so bad I can't even have sex anymore?"

Minerva mimed horror. "Though, actually," she said after a moment, "I think that's probably a highly desirable way to die, having sex with a young blonde."

Butler cocked an eyebrow at her. "Are you sure you're not secretly a teenage boy?" he asked.

Minerva looked down at her – frankly, well-endowed - body. "Well," she said thoughtfully, "I suppose it's possible. I do know a very good plastic surgeon, after all. But, whatever my gender, hear me out; this is serious business. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there is in fact a Heaven, and that you do indeed die mid-coitus because it was simply trop bien (for, of course, I am a genius and amazing at everything) and so you find yourself at the pearly gates waiting in line to see Saint Peter, because it's been a busy day for Death and so there's a queue to get in, and everyone's feeling quite sorry for themselves and sharing death-stories. You know, 'I was run over by a truck full of smuggled giraffes!' or 'My wife's secret lover murdered me with the hedge clippers!', that sort of thing, and then at last they get to you and, instead of whining like the rest of them, you get to say 'Well, actually, I was in the middle having some extremely good sex'. Everyone will go 'Ah' and be jealous of you for the rest of the afterlife. Until I die, at least, after which they will hate us both as we will be having noticeably more fun than they are. Because, let's be honest, Heaven sounds like a bit of a boring party."

"As lovely as that all sounds, I'm not sure Saint Peter will let me in after that," Butler pointed out. "I think they have rules about sex and marriage."

"True," said Minerva. "I hadn't thought of that. Goodness, good thing you did though, I could have damned your immortal soul without even realising! I suppose there's only one thing for it: we'll have to get married. And now, preferably, because I brought something special for tonight and I really hate waiting."

Butler looked down at his diminutive lover. "Minerva–" he began.

"No, I'm not finished yet." She turned back to the mirror, her blue eyes suspiciously bright. "Butler, obviously I don't want you to die. And I also don't want you to leave me just to spare me the pain or whatever half-baked noble scheme you've concocted. But, most of all, I don't want you to leave me only to die somewhere that I'm not. Franchement, I'd rather you die during sex if it comes to that. I mean, it would be horrible and I'd scream a little and then I'd cry for, well, possibly for ever. But it would be better than getting an e-mail from Artemis one day telling me you've died and would I like to view the body? Because that – that I could not do. That I won't do. I will not."

He looked at her in the mirror. A few treacherous tears had spilled out and now clung to her lashes, unsure. "I suppose you had better start kissing me, then," he said slowly, "before I keep talking such nonsense."

She laughed and followed his suggestion.