No actual smut, much to Minerva's chagrin. Still, lots of making out, so, once again, if it makes you uncomfortable. Though, thid is more an odd attempt to show Minerva as the awkward teenager she really is.

Hurrah for ilex-ferox, fabulous beta.


Quinquatria

She recognised that this was not the romance that every mother wanted for her daughter. Losing her virginity in a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere, Ireland, to a scarred, forty-something murderer?

Shrugging to herself, she supposed it was lucky that she no longer had a mother since, ever since she had been old enough to start fantasizing about losing her virginity, a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere, Ireland , and a scarred, forty-something murderer were exactly what she had imagined.

Well, maybe the 'where' had, occasionally, been somewhere a bit more upscale, but the 'who' had always been the same. And murderer was such a relative term.


The night she told him she loved him she fell asleep soon afterwards, her brief attempt at sobriety giving way to her drunken body. She woke up to find herself tucked into the spare bed, missing only her coat and shoes. Climbing groggily out of between the blankets, Minerva frowned, tugging at her dress as though offended by its very presence.

The kitchen was empty when she left her room with an armful of clean clothes. She poured herself a glass of water and drank it slowly, wondering where Butler had got to. The clock above the gas stove read 5:30 am. He was usually up by now. Shrugging, she set the glass on the counter and made a beeline to the bathroom to brush her teeth; she couldn't take the taste inside her mouth a minute longer.

She ended up showering as well, and felt nearly human again when she left the bathroom. The sky was beginning to whiten. There was still no sign of Butler. Minerva eyed his bedroom door, then her own, on the other side of the kitchen. She looked down at herself, then at the bundle of dirty clothes in her hands. She put the bundle on a chair and went to his door.

Hand raised to knock, she paused. Then, before she could think about it further, simply opened the door and let herself in.

Butler was still in bed. The curtains were drawn but they were thin enough, and the sky behind them pale enough, for her to be able to make out the shape of him lying on his back with his hands laced behind his head.

She closed the door behind her, though there was no one else there to interrupt them.

"Good morning," said Butler, staring at the ceiling.

"Good morning," she said, and crossed the room.

He didn't look at her as she made her way to him, not even when she paused at his bedside. She refused to be alarmed by this. Delicately, she picked her way across the double bed until she was sitting next to him, her legs curled alongside his chest.

He did look at her then. "How do you feel?" he asked.

"Clean," she said. "But also a little worried."

"Worried? About what?"

"About the lecture you're planning to give me."

"Am I planning to give you a lecture?"

"You're still in bed, staring at your ceiling, when you would normally be starting breakfast after having already done your morning exercises. But please, feel free to prove me wrong. Tell me you've spent the last hour and a half thinking of whether or not you'd prefer pancakes or waffles this morning."

He laughed quietly. "How did you guess? I'm leaning toward waffles at the moment."

But Minerva was not in the mood for games. She lay a hand on his chest and felt his muscles contract at her touch.

"Do you know what I'm thinking about, Butler?"

He licked his lips. "Would I be right in guessing it isn't breakfast menus?"

"Yes, you would be." Her hand began to move, but it didn't get far before it was engulfed in one of his.

"Minerva-"

"No," she said, her voice suddenly weak, "Butler, please don't-"

But then, somehow, she was on her back, looking up at him, instead of down. Her eyes went wide.

"You were right," he spoke softly, keeping his weight off her, "I was thinking about you."

She swallowed, suddenly afraid again. "And?"

"And I thought that now really isn't the time for you to try to sneak into bed with me because I'm starving!" His pensive expression vanished and he grinned, kissing her suddenly and making her squeak with surprise. Wrapping an arm around her so that he took her with him, he rolled off the bed and onto his feet.

He set her down gently in front of him, but she still gripped his T-shirt to steady herself, feeling decidedly weak in the knees.

"Are you sure you're starving?" she asked, pouting.

"Yes," he told her, disentangling her from his shirt. "Though, you're very cute when you sulk."

She drew herself up. "I am not sulking!"

But he was already heading out of the door.

"Butler! But- Ugh!" She threw up her hands in disgust and followed him to the kitchen. Her walk was more of a skip.


"Butler," she said, "please."

"You know, you act as though I were doing this because I want to."

"Well, don't you?" she leaned back, eyeing him quizzically.

"I know I come off as an emotionless robot..."

"I have never said that-" she began indignantly.

"... but, trust me, this is taking a lot of self control," he finished, removing her arms from around his neck and placed them in her lap as she straddled his.

"Then why are you bothering?" she asked for the umpteenth time.

"Because I love you and you are very young and I want you to be absolutely sure and, call me old fashioned, I would like it to be ... well, romantic."

"I am sure, and you are old fashioned, but would you say that again?"

"Say what again? What I just said?"

"Yes. All of it." She sat in his lap as though it were a throne.

"Because I love you and-"

She interrupted him, mm-ing happily and smiling, her body doing an unconscious, happy little wiggle that did not do anything to help his case. He tried to think about other things.

"You're going to have to get off now," he told her, when thinking about other things didn't end up working out very well.

She looked down, then up at the ceiling, as though to check if heaven would be witnessing her good behaviour. Then slowly, grudgingly, she slid off him and onto the couch. Smoothing her skirt, she made a face. He watched her out of the corner of his eye.

"It's really very thoughtful of you," she said eventually, turning her head to look at him.

"Thanks," he said.

"And I'm sure I'd appreciate this more if I wasn't a hormone-addled teenager."

"I'm sure you would too."

"But, seeing as I am a hormone-addled teenager..." she raised her eyebrows hopefully.

He laughed, and kissed her forehead.

She sighed disgustedly. "You are so sweet it's revolting, Butler."

"That's part of my training, actually."

She looked at him, her face soft and fond and incredulous. "I love you," she said finally, and laid her head on his shoulder.


"I should go in the morning," she told him. It was three days since she had stumbled drunkenly over his doorstep. His face fell.

Putting down her fork, she reached across the small table to run her fingertips along his lips. "Your façade's slipping," she said. "Where's that emotionless robot I once knew and loved?"

He laughed. "When will you be back?" he asked.

Something in her stomach somersaulted at the idea that he wanted her back before she'd even gone.

"Two weeks," she said, "Next weekend we're staying with cousins in Spain." She made a face.

"Two weeks?" he smiled. "So soon?"

"I don't have lectures on Friday," she lied, "so I can come for the weekend."

"Won't your father worry about you being away from home so much?"

"Butler," she smiled, "you're the only person who worries about me. And, trust me," she held up a hand to forestall whatever he had opened his mouth to say, "you worry enough for ten fathers and several husbands."

He raised his eyebrows. She changed the subject.

"I don't suppose my impending departure will change your mind vis à vis the timeline for the consummation of this relationship, will it?" she asked with feigned indifference, playing innocently with her risotto. Butler shook his head. She slumped back in her seat, blowing out her fringe.

"Next visit?" she asked after a minute, her face lighting up.

"Mm," Butler pretended to think, "doubtful."

She rolled her eyes. "Hélas. Oh, well, hope springs eternal."

Though, when it came time to leave and she found herself crushed against the front door with her hands running under his shirt and his hands running lower still, she decided she wasn't so hard done by after all.

Her lips were still swollen when she landed in Nice.


"Is it the age of consent issue that bothers you?" she asked him one day as they played Cribbage while, outside, the Irish weather did what it did best.

"No," he said. "You're old enough to know what you want. Especially if you've wanted it for so long."

"Yes," Minerva agreed, tapping a finger on her chin thoughtfully, "I have wanted you for so long, haven't I?"

Butler chuckled as he dealt. "Subtle, Minerva."

"I try," she said. Looking at her new cards in mild distaste, she continued, "Because if it were the legalities that concerned you, we could always spend a weekend in France. We're much more practical about these things there."

"It's your go," Butler told her, shaking his head.

"If only," she muttered. Butler laughed.

Butler won, Cribbage being mostly to do with luck, and, afterwards, they lay on the couch and argued about whether or not they actually needed to go the grocery store before dinner. It was raining after all. He let her work her way underneath him, so that his weight would have pinned her down had he let it. He didn't understand why, but she seemed to have a secret love of being smothered. Maybe it was a security thing? At any rate, she hmm-ed happily, her eyes half-closed, and finally agreed to walk to the store with him.

Resting one hand on her hip, he kissed her throat and so that she hmm-ed again and smiled.

"Just as long as you don't think cuddling me is going to distract me for very long," she told him, her eyes falling shut.

He smiled to himself. He hadn't hoped it would.


His couch was not really wide enough for them to lie beside each other so she lay on top of him instead. She found she quite liked his couch.

His head was resting on one of the cushions and hers was tucked up under his chin. She was fascinated by the way her whole body fit on to his and there was still extra space left over, probably almost enough for a second her. She wondered if his size should frighten her. It didn't. In her mind, the words 'Butler' and 'frightening' did not belong in the same sentence. Idly, she ran her fingers along the muscles of his abdomen and smiled to herself.

"Penny for your thoughts," Butler said, one hand combing through her hair, the other behind his head. She loved the feel of his voice as it rumbled below her.

"You're in very good shape for your age," she said, propping her chin up on his chest.

"Thank you?" he replied, bemused.

"Does it bother you much?" she asked. "The Kevlar, I mean. And the ... ageing."

"Oh ... well ... Sometimes. When I have to run up stairs the Kevlar gives me grief like you wouldn't believe. But," he shrugged, "you get used to it. I'm slower now, but then, that was always going to happen one day. Along with all of these bloody grey hairs." He scowled up towards his scalp.

Minerva giggled. "They're dignified," she said.

"Maybe, if I had a proper haircut."

"Well, I could always-"

"Camouflage."

She sighed, letting her hand wander again. Almost absent-mindedly, she kissed his collar bone, his chest. Her fingers found the hem of his work-shirt and, gently, they played along the skin just below it. His head drifted to the side and his eyes closed. Quietly, Minerva licked her lips and, painfully slowly, began to rearrange herself so that she faced him, one arm supporting her weight. He felt her shift and turned back to look at her. She kissed him softly.

The hand behind his head came down to stroke her cheek as they kissed. A tiny bit of her always expected his lips to be hard as well, but they never were. The hand in her hair moved, travelling down her spine.

This time she wasn't surprised when she found herself suddenly underneath him, pressed into the couch cushions. She loved the feeling of being held down by his weight. She loved knowing he would never let her bear the full extent of it.

Her legs came up around his hips, holding tight. Briefly, she wished they were longer so that she could wrap them right around him, but then she was distracted again.

Pressing her closer, his hand made its way down the length of her body, up her thigh, where he pulled her tighter to him, then back down again and under her shirt. She whimpered softly when his fingers brushed over her stomach, up her ribs, and navigated the bottom of her bra, running down and around toward the clasp. She tightened her hold on him, arching her back.

His mouth began to move as well, away from hers, down her neck, into the dip between her breasts.

She wasn't sure what it was, maybe the obstruction of her shirt, or maybe he simply realised what was happening, but he paused there, with his lips on her breast bone, and she closed her eyes, knowing it was over. He raised himself to look at her and found her, lips trembling, head thrown back, hair sweeping the floor, trying desperately not to cry.

"Minerva," he called softly.

"Don't stop," she whispered, eyes still closed. "Please."

"Minerva," he said again, reaching out to brush his thumb along her cheek, wiping away a stray tear.

"This isn't about me anymore, is it?" she asked, bringing her head back up. "That was very romantic. How was that not romantic enough? What's wrong?"

He shook his head slightly. After a lengthy pause, he said, simply, "I'm afraid."

She pushed herself into a sitting position, forcing them both up, his hands resting on her thighs as they lay splayed across his lap. "Of what?" she asked, honestly at a loss.

He opened his mouth, then paused. "I'm not sure, exactly. Of – well – this would make it final. This would make it real. I would be sleeping with a school girl."

"I'm doing a master's degree at the moment, actually," she pointed out. "There would be no knee high socks or pleated skirts involved. Though," she eyed him, "if you want me to wear–"

"Minerva." His hands tightened on her legs.

"Sorry," she said. She licked her lips, looking towards the rain-spattered windows, before turning back to him. "Do you not want this to be final? Or real?"

He laughed mirthlessly. "God, you have no idea how much I would love for this to be very real-"

"So what is the problem, then?"

"Minerva, I am so old." In his agitation, he ran his hands back and forth along her thighs unconsciously. "How can you possibly want me?" His face was tragic.

Using his shoulders as support, she pulled herself up into his lap once more. "Very, very easily," she whispered, kissing him. For a moment he refused to respond so she bucked her hips into his and forced his lips apart. Instantaneously, one hand came up to her small of her back, pressing her to him while the other clenched around her thigh.

"Butler," she said eventually, putting her hands to his face and speaking between gasps, "you simply have to stop worrying. I can't say or do anything more to prove to you exactly how much I want you and no one else. Please believe me."

He smiled wanly. "You are very convincing, when you want to be."

"Good," she said, and kissed his forehead, smoothing back his wild hair. "Can we have lunch now?"

He raised his eyebrows. "That's a new one. Is this some kind of reverse-psychology?"

"No, but I know you're not going to let me get away with anything more and I'm hungry. It takes a lot of energy to keep up with you." She paused a moment. "Actually, if you think about it, it's probably a good thing I never knew you when you were a teenager, I would never have been able to match your stamina."

Butler burst out laughing, his forehead resting in the crook of her neck. Smiling happily, she brought her arms up to cradle him to her, resting her cheek on his hair.


So, perhaps, this was not every mother's dream, Minerva thought, as her lover led her to his bed. No awkward first dinner with the parents, no "what a nice boy he is" afterwards, and certainly no big white wedding beforehand. Nothing but a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere, Ireland, and a scarred, forty-something murderer.

And, as he lay her down in his sheets, undressing her so gently it made her want to cry, she knew that this was all she would ever want.