Chapter 4

~ / ~ / ~

Severus had his back to the bedroom door when he heard Minerva step inside, and he waited for her to cross to him, not moving until he felt a light hand on his arm.

When he finally turned to her, he saw first that she'd removed her glasses, and then that she'd actually done as he'd asked: she'd let her hair down to fall over her shoulders, long and straight and silvery-black.

It was the first time he'd ever seen it loose, and the thought of how it would look brushing against her bare breasts was enough to make him abandon his vague plans for lengthy foreplay. Instead, he pulled her towards his bed, opening his robes as he went.

~ / ~ / ~

Once she lay naked before him, he realised that her skin was nearly as pale as his own; she would probably bruise easily, the way he did. The idea wasn't displeasing to Severus, and he bent over her, tracing his lips along her collarbone and then nipping sharply at her neck.

She cried out, and he felt her legs open under him. A flush of triumph surged through him.

"Desperate for it, are we, Minerva?" he whispered, squeezing her breast, which filled his hand as nicely as his fantasies had suggested. In answer, her hand went straight to his erection and closed tightly around it, taking him just to the exhilarating edge of pain before she eased off. She knew exactly when to stop, and it occurred to him briefly that Minerva's past might be more interesting than he'd ever suspected.

Then there was no more space for thought as she began stroking him, softly at first, and then harder, the fingers of one hand wrapped hotly round him, the thumb of the other brushing lightly over the head of his cock.

He tried to bite back his groan of pleasure, but failed, and she chuckled. "Desperate, are we, Severus?"

He snorted with what he hoped was sufficient disdain, but inside he relaxed a bit. This was a game he knew well: one way or another, it was the one he and Minerva had played for years. Back and forth, one up, one down - - that was his relationship with her in daily life, and as far as he was concerned, it made for a fine dynamic in bed, too.

With a sound that even he wasn't sure whether he'd call a snarl or a laugh, he leant back to balance himself and then took hard hold of her, pulling her hands off him, muttering a charm that pinned her wrists to the bed. She was at his mercy.

But he'd reckoned without Minerva's abilities with wandless magic. Suddenly he was frozen in place, and tantalizing prickles of heat and cold - - he could scarcely tell which - - began to trail down his back and then around to his abdomen, the touch feather-light and highly arousing. She was the one in control now. He couldn't move, his cock was throbbing, it was almost too much. . .and then just as suddenly as the sensation had started, it stopped. Either Minerva couldn't maintain the spell for long without her wand, or else she didn't want to wait any more than he did.

Whichever, it didn't matter. Severus was ready. As soon as he could move again, he levered himself over Minerva and entered her swiftly. It felt good - - glorious, in fact - - but not so overwhelming that he missed the satisfying way he'd made her gasp and arch beneath him.

He paused, motionless, until she wrapped her legs around him and lifted her hips, which was probably as close to begging as she'd ever bring herself. Only then did he release her hands and begin to move.

~ / ~ / ~

Severus awoke to a thin, grey dawn and the unaccustomed heat of another person in his bed. He lay still for a moment, feeling nothing in particular, certainly none of the awkwardness he might have expected, given that he'd spent the night having sex with a woman older than his mother, a woman he'd once thought he disliked and who could still thoroughly unsettle him.

Things will change, Minerva had said, and of course it was true. Change was something Severus knew well. Lily Evans had once been his life, and now she was little more than his convenient shield against the world. Albus Dumbledore had once been his saviour, and now he seemed just another demanding master. Lord Voldemort had once been dead, and now he was alive.

What could any new change matter after those?

He turned to look at Minerva. She slept on her side, facing him, her expression as stern in sleep as it was in waking. At some point, she'd thrown off the blankets, and now he took the opportunity to appraise her body as he had not been able to do the night before, what with the dim candlelight and the bedclothes and his own driving need.

She was old, the Dark Lord had said, but Severus's experiences with the naked young were not so numerous that he had much to compare her to. Her skin might be a little less taut, her breasts a little less firm than had been true of his other few bedmates, but she had felt the same - - wet and warm, a potent combination of soft and tight, her lips smooth on his chest, her nails sharp on his back.

He had no complaints.

And if she were to conduct a similar appraisal, what would she think of him? He knew what she would see: a man pale, lean, and bony, his chest only sparsely-haired, his feet absurdly narrow, with that long second digit his mother had called "the Snape toe." "A toe like a finger," she'd say, and Severus had always felt its oddity.

Well, Minerva hadn't seemed to object to him when she'd been lying underneath him, urging him on with her hands on his arse. He'd not been particularly gentle with her, but she hadn't seemed to want him to be. Nor had she been gentle in return; she'd met him thrust for thrust with an intensity that he'd liked and supposed he should have expected. Minerva was fierce and hard and demanding in everyday life; why should she be any different in bed?

He touched her throat lightly, grazing the mark he'd left there; he wondered if she'd keep it.

And he wondered if she would be willing to continue sleeping with him, for the summer, at least. The Dark Lord would expect the relationship to continue, and Severus admitted to himself that he wouldn't mind it, either. No strings, of course. . .but an affair could help them both pass a time that always felt out-of-joint to Severus, outside of real life. Especially now.

What might happen when the summer ended, he didn't let himself consider. With the Dark Lord back, he saw no point in planning much of a future.

But for the short-term. . .

For the short term, maybe he could share his bed with Minerva. If she wanted to. If the idea didn't repulse her. Maybe they could even manage to keep the liaison a secret from Dumbledore.

He found himself anticipating their next encounter. They could take things slowly, could tease and tantalise and test each other. They could even kiss, something he didn't think they had done, this time. They could. . .

Next to him, Minerva stirred and turned over, curling in on herself. She might be cold, Severus thought; his room was chilly. He considered drawing her into his arms, spooning behind her and warming her, but he didn't.

Instead, he drew his old quilt over both of them. Then he settled on his side, his back to Minerva, and let sleep take him once more.


A/N - - And here "Mutability" ends. I hope this final chapter isn't too disappointing for those of you who prefer more closure, but like Samuel Johnson in Rasselas, I often write "conclusions in which nothing is concluded." I like stories that are ambiguous or open-ended.

But I can promise you that I'll be writing about Severus and Minerva again; I find that I'm not yet finished with them.

My grateful thanks to all my readers and especially to those of you who have sent me such kind and welcome reviews. I'm always so pleased to hear from you.