Daily Deviant
- there is no such thing as 'too kinky'
Kinky Kristmas Fic: ????? (Severus Snape/Narcissa Malfoy/Minerva McGonagall/Tom Riddle, Jr/Nagini) 
20th December 2011 12:00
Kristmas Wish Fulfilled for: [info]pre_raphaelite1
From: A Miraculous Member

Title:?????
Characters: Severus Snape/Narcissa Malfoy/Minerva McGonagall/Tom Riddle, Jr/Nagini
Rating: NC-17
Kinks/Themes Included: corsets, clothing!porn, kinky gadgetry, bestiality
Other Content: Steampunk!AU, fivesome, voyeurism. Prompt: "the dawn of a new age"
Word Count: ~~15,000
Summary/Description: It's 1894, the dawn of a new age, and Severus Snape, shipping clerk, wants a bit more magic in his world. But few know better than he that life is always a big question mark.


~~~~~

The afternoons Severus spent with Mrs Riddle, improving his Charms and Transfiguration skills, or with Narcissa, learning to brew potions.

He found that he both enjoyed and was unsettled by Charms and Transfiguration lessons. They often required him to be quite close to Mrs Riddle as she guided his wand arm or corrected his swish-and-flick, and though her behaviour was always quite proper, even prim, he frequently found himself thinking completely inappropriate thoughts about the firm bosom that occasionally pressed against his back, or shivering with pleasure at the touches of her hand against his.

She wasn't arousing him on purpose, of course she wasn't, but he couldn't help noticing just what a fine figure of a woman she was, tall and regal, with lovely curves of waist and breast that he thought could only partly be explained by a well-designed corset. As to what that corset might look like...no. He did not let himself think of it. At least not while she was still in the room.

And then came the day that she fitted him for his set of stage clothes. They were to be Transfigured, of course, from older clothes, and she stood close to trace the outlines of his body with her wand, letting it imprint his dimensions into her Transfiguration spells. She knelt to measure his inseam, and the sight of her dark head bending so close to his crotch...To his horror, Severus felt an erection grow.

Mrs Riddle paused, and he could tell she'd noticed, even though the thickness of his wool trousers.

"Enjoying the view?" he snapped before he could stop himself; channelling embarrassment into anger was something he'd been doing since childhood.

"Don't flatter yourself," she snapped back, straightening at once and glaring at him. Her eyes sparked with her own anger, and her lifted chin revealed her pale neck, and it was all he could do not to grab rough hold of her and kiss her. That would shock her, the old cat.

But then, as if she felt the heat between them, she stepped quickly away and said mildly, "Such things happen, Mr Snape. Nothing to be ashamed of. If you'll call for Beckley before you leave today, he'll have your new suit waiting. You'll need to return it to him every fortnight so that I can recharm everything. Yes, Transfigurations are only temporary," she added, seeing his surprise.

Then she smiled, lighting up her stern face wonderfully. "But don't worry. I won't need to measure you again."

And she was gone before Severus could decide whether her final comment was a relief or a disappointment.

The evening clothes, duly delivered by Beckley, were the equal of those worn by any posh gent in the dress circle; that night, Severus spent an hour standing in front of the cracked mirror above his lodging-house washbasin, practicing swirling charms on his new cape of sapphire silk.

Lessons with Narcissa were less fraught (if also less interesting in certain ways). He found he had a gift for potions, and she was quite skilled at them, too. They could create scents that would cause the Muggle audiences to laugh harder, applaud longer, feel more excited; they could create ways to change their own appearances with just one draught.

It was a heady power, and he enjoyed working with Narcissa. But unlike with Mrs Riddle, he felt no spark of attraction to the languid, icy prettiness of Miss…Riddle? He realised that he didn't have any clear idea of her name or her real position in the household. She lived in; Riddle called his "daughter" while on stage, yet his wife Minerva had said she wasn't Narcissa's mother… Perhaps Riddle had had an earlier marriage?

"Who are you, really?" Severus said abruptly to Narcissa one day as they stood over steaming cauldrons. "Are you Riddle's daughter?"

Narcissa laughed, a hearty sound quite unlike her usual silvery trill, so he assumed it represented genuine amusement and not affectation.

"Gracious, no," she said, arching her long neck in that way she had and touching elegant fingers to the complicated arrangement of her fair hair.

"His niece?"

"No. No relation."

Severus waited, but when it became clear that she intended to say no more, he felt a strong flash of irritation. He'd had just about enough of these people and their cryptic coyness. Being mysterious was all well and good in the "act," but if he were going to stay with them, he needed to know what lay behind the façade. He was going to get to the bottom of this bizarre ménage, if he had to make a truth potion to do it.

"What are you, then?" he demanded roughly of Narcissa. "And what in god's name are they?" He let a jerk of his head indicate the Riddles.

Narcissa gazed at him, unruffled; it seemed to be part of her personal "act" never to allow herself to appear agitated. Finally she gave a soft sigh.

"My parents are Muggles," she said. "Titled Muggles. When they found they had a magical daughter, they were…well, let us simply say that they were not pleased. My father's affairs with servant girls were merely life as normal, but an odd magical child who sometimes spontaneously caused strange occurrences -- that was a potential scandal. So they sent me away, to a school for girls. Not a pleasant one. I…did not care for it, and when I was fifteen, I ran away. Tom Riddle found me and brought me to live with him and Minerva. They taught me magic, I discovered I was quite good at it, and now here we are."

Narcissa's delicately-shaded pauses told Severus almost as much as her actual words. That there must be a great deal more to the story was obvious, but he'd learnt enough for now.

"Here we are," he said. "Quite."

~~~~~

Severus would not have thought that his life could change more significantly than it already had, but he would have been wrong.

It was in Torquay that the next change occurred.

For it was in Torquay that he first watched.

"I fancy a holiday," Riddle had said unexpectedly one evening after a performance in Shoreditch. "A few days away from the bustle of town will set us up nicely. We are resting next week, are we not?"

Severus had refrained from snorting at this piece of disingenuousness. They were indeed "resting" -- which he'd learnt was theatre talk for "not working." Riddle's always-dicey temper had recently got the better of him, and he had hexed an elderly gentleman who had pushed his way backstage to denounce the Querys and their "infernal machine."

It wasn't the first time the magic show had been attacked as the work of the devil, so Severus was unsure why this particular old man had so roused Riddle's fury. But rouse it he did. Riddle had raised his wand to the old man, who dropped to his knees, gasping and clutching his throat. He'd turned first red, then puce, and had Minerva not intervened, Severus was sure that Riddle would have let the man die.

It had taken quick and clever magic by Minerva and Narcissa to smooth over the incident -- Confundus charms and even, Severus suspected, the dangerous taboo of Obliviation. But some unease must have remained, for the manager had later told them that he was going to have to cancel their booking for the next week.

Minerva had been decidedly displeased, and Severus assumed that Riddle's suggestion of a holiday was an attempt to placate her. But no matter -- when he realised that the Riddles intended himself and Narcissa to be part of the party, he was pleased. He had never had a real holiday before.

Thus they had found themselves in a small villa overlooking the sea in Torquay. The Muggle owners of the home appeared to be away -- Minerva was very good, Narcissa confided, at locating convenient lodgings that were both luxurious and free.

"It takes quite a bit of initial spellwork," Narcissa explained, "to ensure that no one can see us, but once all the wards are set, we don't need to worry."

Nor did they. It was a thrilling experience, Severus discovered, to walk brazenly amongst scores of Muggles and not be noticed. Shopkeepers didn't even blink when Narcissa helped herself to baubles, and Beckley the house-elf somehow managed to produce delectable meals without any actual cash outlay for food.

Evenings were spent quietly, with books and games and nightcaps of firewhisky. Severus taught Narcissa and Minerva to play backgammon; they taught him a game that turned out to be a magical version of Hazard, with dice that could change form in mid-roll. In their first match, Severus won five knuts from Minerva, who merely smiled and said, "prepare to lose sickles next time, sir."

They seemed to fit well together, the five of them (for Nagini was always part of the group; she sometimes even rested her head in Severus's lap as he played cards, and he now felt only the smallest inner twinge.) Hitherto, circumstance and temperament had made a loner out of Severus; he was surprised to discover that he didn't object to some congenial company.

And then things changed yet again, two days before the holiday ended.

Most of the day had been spent innocuously enough, with an invisible visit to a warm-water spa in the morning and a leisurely stroll with Minerva along the Strand in the afternoon. Riddle had been away -- where he had gone, no one said -- and Narcissa had pleaded a headache. So Severus and Minerva had set out together.

She had held his arm as they'd walked. "You appear to be settling in well, Mr Snape," she remarked. They'd progressed to Christian names in the privacy of the family apartments, but in public, she was always scrupulously formal, even when Disillusioned. "Magic becomes you." She paused, and then added archly, "like a set of well-measured evening clothes."

He wasn't sure how, but he knew the comment was a challenge, a gauntlet thrown. Could he match her in a duel of words?

He rather thought he could.

"Well," he said, "you know what's been said about the magic of well-tailored breeches. I hear that having a perfectly-cut pair can help a man make a match of ten thousand a year."

"No doubt," was all she replied, but he didn't miss the amused quirk of her normally-stern lips or the approving lift of her always-eloquent eyebrow. He'd passed whatever test she'd set him.

They walked on, her body warm against him despite the many layers of clothing that women seemed to require. By the time they returned to the villa, he had been both unsettled and deeply aroused.

He'd still been thinking of that walk when the household retired for the night. Tom had returned in time for the evening meal, and afterward, Severus had treated himself to the luxury of reading in bed.

He'd just extinguished his candles, intending to lie in the dark and take care of the needs engendered by the memory of an afternoon spent with a woman he found increasingly compelling, when he heard a soft moaning that seemed to come from the Riddles' bedroom down the corridor.

He should have minded his own business, of course -- Tom and Minerva were a married couple, after all, and conjugal intimacy was to be expected -- but instead, he summoned his dressing gown and left his room. After all, what if someone were ill?

The corridor was dark; the only light was that which spilled from the Riddles' open door. Without giving himself time to reconsider, Severus moved towards it and peered surreptitiously in.

The sight that met his eyes stiffened his already half-hard cock: Minerva lay on her back in the large bed, her velvet dressing gown untied to reveal a satin corset of narrow blue-and-black stripes. A frilled petticoat had been pushed up towards her waist, and Severus could see the tops of her stockings. They were black, with red garters, and they ended half-way up her thighs.

It was those thighs, smooth and milky and slightly parted, that caught Severus's breath in his throat and sent his hand inside his pyjama bottoms to free his aching cock. At that moment, he would have given his very life for the chance to bury himself to the hilt between those thin, enticing legs.

As he watched, mesmerised, Minerva gasped, and the sound finally forced his gaze away from her thighs to her face.

The view here was equally arresting. Her head was tipped back, her eyes closed, her mouth open. And her hair -- Severus understood now why a woman's hair was so often called her "crowning glory." Long black coils streamed across the ruffled pillows and outlined Minerva's pale throat; thick locks curled down over the swell of her still-corseted breasts, making him nearly groan aloud with the desire to see them uncovered.

Other details now became clear as well. Severus did not consider himself straight-laced, but he felt a jolt of shock when he realised that Minerva's wrists were tethered to the bed-posts, one on each side, held there by strong magical hands that seemed to spring from the posts themselves.

There were several disembodied hands, Severus saw now: in addition the ones that pinned Minerva in place, there were others stroking her arms and tracing the line of her exposed collarbone. As Severus watched, a hand dipped inside the corset to -- finally -- expose first one pale, dark-tipped breast and then the other.

The sight sent Severus's own hand sliding along his cock; he tightened his grip as he watched the magical hands continue their ministrations.

Suddenly, the long fingers of one of the hands transformed themselves into two hinged golden circlets lined with tiny metal teeth and linked by a gold chain. They were fasteners of some sort, Severus realised, and he stared as the chain threaded its way across Minerva's chest, the shining clamps attaching themselves to her nipples.

She groaned and arched her back, opening her legs further. "Tom, please," she whispered.

Riddle was standing next to the bed, fully-clothed, his arms folded across his chest. He smiled his shivery smile, and his response, when it finally came, was in a voice Severus barely recognised -- like sheathed steel, implacable and controlling.

"Not yet," he said. "And perhaps not at all; we shall see. But do feel free to beg. Or call for Nagini. She is more obliging than I."

Nagini? The thought was both deeply shocking and deeply arousing, and Severus was mere seconds away from what he had no doubt was going to be the best orgasm of his life, when he became aware of a presence at his side.

Almost simultaneously, two events occurred that shrivelled his erection faster than had even the freezing-cold hipbaths of Primrose Academy:

Narcissa chuckled in his ear, and Minerva opened her eyes to look directly at him.

~~~~~

Without quite knowing how he got there, Severus found himself back in his room, panting with shock, embarrassment, and anger. To his consternation, Narcissa followed him in.

"What are you doing here?" he hissed. "Get out."

"Why, Severus," she said, opening her eyes wide like a caricature of a stage ingénue. "Why did you leave? The show was just getting interesting."

"She saw me!" Severus raged. "Damn it all, I was watching, and Minerva saw me!"

"Of course she did. She wanted you to watch, they both did. Why do you think they made so much noise and left their door open? She's a witch, don't forget. If she hadn't wanted you to hear, you wouldn't have."

Severus knew he was gaping, but he couldn't help himself. "They wanted…"

"You to watch, yes. They like to be watched. And to watch, when the opportunity presents itself. It comes of being on the stage, I think," she went on, reflectively. "Something about life as a performance."

"Spare me the philosophy of perversion," Severus snapped. "Are you telling me that I will be expected to perform…sexual acts for them?"

"Not unless you want to." Narcissa tilted her head speculatively and then dimpled. "Severus, you're not a virgin, are you?"

He was not, as it happened, though he had no intention of discussing the issue with her. He'd had exactly two sexual experiences -- involving other people, that is, and not counting the youthful experimentation that had been part of the Primrose Academy fagging system. Neither encounter had been particularly satisfying, although one had been…acceptable.

The first had taken place two years earlier, when his colleague Fellowes had cajoled him into going on an "adventure" to the East End. They'd ended up with two Cockney streetwalkers in an alley off Hanbury Street. Severus had been uncomfortably aware that just a few years before, one of the Ripper's victims had been killed not far from where they stood, but the women had not seemed to mind. Or if they had, they had not said so. And what could they have said, anyway? They had to eat, murders or no murders, and the shock of even those terrible killings had not changed the world sufficiently to offer them a less perilous way to make their livings.

So Severus had had rather pathetic sex against a rough wall damp with the fog that swirled endlessly round them, his nose full of the scent of offal from a nearby butcher's. The position had been an awkward one, and he didn't think he'd even actually penetrated the girl; she'd had him spend himself just by rutting between her thighs.

It wasn't an experience that left him with a very high opinion of sex, though his cock still insisted on jumping to life with maddening frequency. But Fellowes assured him that the Hanbury Street encounter had not been typical and had urged him to another attempt, this time in an actual brothel with a proper bed. The prossie had been young and giggly and kind in her own way, and, in talking later to Fellowes, Severus had allowed that the encounter had not been unpleasant.

But he had never had sex with a woman who might actually want him, an older woman like Minerva, someone sure of her own mind -- a woman whom he realised that he very much wanted in return.

He'd thrust the word "perversion" at Narcissa, and thought that what the Riddles did in bed probably qualified as such, but he wasn't actually put off by the idea. On the contrary, he found himself quite intrigued indeed.

He came back from his reverie to find Narcissa still looking at him, a faint smile on her smooth face. Part of him wanted to sneer something cutting at her, so that he could recover his tattered dignity. But another part simply wanted to talk to her; he suddenly had more questions than he knew how to ask.

"You seem well-versed in the Riddles' bedroom habits," he said, making sure to include no note of censure in his voice. "Do you…er…lie with him?"

Narcissa smiled and touched her blonde plaits. "'Lie' with him? Aren't you quaint?" she said. "Yes, I 'lie' with him. With her, too. With both of them, when we choose to. But they don't require it of me, if that's what you're thinking. It's not the melodramatic price I pay for their protection, or anything of that nature. I do it because I want to."

She had sex with Minerva?

Severus had known, of course, that people could engage in carnal activities with members of their own sex; he'd seen plenty of examples at Primrose, of course, at least involving males. He supposed he'd known, too, that women could behave similarly. In theory. Yet never had he given the practicalities a thought; he'd never even considered what women might actually do together. Now, however, he found his mind suddenly filled with visions of blonde hair and black, mingled on a single pillow, of two sets of pale limbs, entangled...

With a snarl of annoyance -- at Narcissa, at himself, at the world, at his bloody damn cock, which was hard again -- he stalked away (a trifle awkwardly) to stare out the window into the darkness.

"Since you're being free with information about what you want," he growled at Narcissa, "suppose you explain just what it is you want now? Why are you in my room?"

"Do you wish me to leave?" she countered.

"What I wish is to be given some explanations! Why do you really stay with the Riddles? How did you really come to know them? And why did they really leave their magical world?"

Narcissa looked at him consideringly, and he could see her come to a decision.

"Sit down, Severus," she said. "If you want to hear my story, we might as well be comfortable."

There were two armchairs in front of the fire, and they settled into them. Severus refreshed the flames with his wand and watched their light flicker across Narcissa's pale face. She looked fragile in the shadowy glow, but he knew better than to think her weak.

"I told you that I left school at fifteen," she began, "and so I did. As you might imagine, there were not many opportunities available to an untrained girl whose only assets, at least as far as the world was concerned, were her face and figure. I ended up in a brothel, of course -- but a good one. I had the looks and the education to do well in a high-class establishment, and I developed quite a bit of skill. Madam Rosmerta, who ran the house, thought I might even be able to make a reasonable marriage eventually."

She was neither boasting nor apologising, Severus realised; she was merely presenting the facts of a business, one at which she apparently had been fairly successful.

"Then one night," Narcissa went on, "Tom Riddle was one of the patrons. He recognised my magic, and, well, I think you can guess the rest. He offered to train me and help me find my rightful place in the magical world, and I accepted."

"Yes, but," Severus objected, "you aren't in the magical world, are you? And neither are Tom and Minerva. It can't just be for the money; they look to have made a pile by now."

Narcissa leant forward. "Here's where things get complicated. Something happened in the wizarding world, but I don't know what. I still see Madam Rosmerta occasionally -- she's magical; she's the one who told Tom about me in the first place -- and she's let slip a few things. There were some disappearances or something, I don't know. People missing. Something to do with Hogwarts." She looked at Severus a bit uncertainly. "You've heard of Hogwarts?"

He nodded.

"It's where they met," Narcissa explained. "Tom and Minerva. They were students there together. They didn't actually like each other at first, because they were both the smartest members of their houses and were always competing for top honours, but eventually they came to realise that they were simply meant for each other."

She gave a little sigh, and Severus realised that underneath that cool, imperturbable exterior beat the heart of a romantic.

"But they seem…" Severus searched for tactful words and settled on "so very different."

Which was an understatement, to say the least: Minerva reserved, upright, and severe; Riddle flamboyant, mercurial, and no doubt dangerous. He didn't understand what could draw them together…but on the other hand, he had to admit, their attraction to one another was palpable.

Like Minerva, Narcissa possessed expressive eyebrows, and she raised one now. "On the surface, they are different, perhaps. But there are hidden depths to both of them, hidden darknesses. I don't make the mistake of thinking I really know them."

The unspoken warning, of course, was that Severus should not make that mistake, either, not that he had any intention of doing so. But still, he didn't object to learning more details.

"They are truly married?" he asked.

"You mean, married in the Muggle way?" Narcissa's shrug was eloquent in its unconcern. "I have no idea. But they are magically bonded, I do know that -- a particularly complicated form of bond. It's why Minerva's family disowned her. She's a pureblood, of excellent lineage, according to Madam Rosmerta, and of course her parents expected her to make a brilliant match. And Tom is just an orphan with no family at all. But once Minerva willingly performed the bonding ceremony with him, any other match was impossible, of course."

"Magically bonded?" The notion sounded horrifying to Severus. "What does that mean?"

"Why, that they cannot be parted."

"They have to stay in the same physical space at all times?"

Narcissa laughed. "Of course not, silly. But they are emotionally connected. After she bonded with Tom, if Minerva's parents had tried to force her to marry someone else, she would have withered and eventually died. And the people who parted her from Tom would also die. As I said, it is a very complicated bond. So Minerva's family was furious, and they refused to have anything further to do with her."

"These bonds," said Severus, still disturbed by the idea. "They can never be severed?"

"Oh, they can. But it's difficult, and both people must genuinely wish to. I do not believe that Tom and Minerva will ever wish to. In everything, she always chooses him. And he always chooses her."

Whether she heard the wistfulness in her tone, Severus could not tell.

"Any way," Narcissa said, "after Minerva's parents cast her off, she and Beckley -- for he is her own house-elf, left her by her grandmother -- took up residence with Tom, and Tom went to work for Bourgin and Burke, a magical firm. But somehow he lost his position there, and Minerva had to earn their living by teaching at Hogwarts. She had to keep their bonding a secret, because of course the school would not engage a bonded women as a teacher. Everything worked out for several years, apparently. I think Minerva enjoyed teaching."

"Why did she leave? Because of what happened with Tom?"

"Yes, whatever that was about; I'm not certain. As I said, Tom got into some trouble at Hogwarts, and his bond with Minerva was found out, and she was dismissed, and there was more trouble, and well…the wizarding world is no longer safe for the Riddles. They tried to go back several years ago, Madam Rosmerta says, but they had to leave again. I suspect some of it is to do with Tom's beliefs about Muggles."

"What beliefs?" asked Severus, though he thought he already had a good idea. Riddle made no secret of his disdain for Muggles nor of his conviction that it was wizards, not non-magical folk, who should rule the British Empire.

"Oh, he thinks Muggles should all be moved to Madagascar or somewhere," Narcissa said, shrugging again. "I don't listen too carefully, frankly. Of course Muggles aren't as significant in the grand scheme of things as wizards, but they have their uses. Better just to teach them their place than to try to move them."

"Hmmm." Severus was deliberately non-committal; political machinations held little interest for him. His only real political concern was with the sovereign entity that was Severus Snape. And just now, he needed to know where he fit into this Republic of Riddle.

"How long have you been with the act?" he asked Narcissa.

"Six years. We've toured everywhere in the Empire; you'll enjoy it."

"What about Minerva?" he asked, with what he trusted was the right note of casualness. He preferred to keep himself to himself; no need to telegraph to Narcissa the fact that he found Minerva desirable. "Does she ever take the stage?"

"No. She doesn't consider it seemly for a woman of her age and position. She does the props and costumes; she's expert at Transfiguration, as you know. And she's the one who arranges our bookings. Some of the agencies and managers don't want to deal with her; they'd prefer to negotiate with a man, but she's insistent, and in the end, they all give in."

Severus had no doubt of it.

~~~~~

He lay awake long after Narcissa had returned to her own room, reliving the entire bizarre evening in his mind. He supposed he should feel more affected by the news that Narcissa had been a whore and Tom Riddle might be a murderer, but he found that he couldn't get very exercised about these facts. He couldn't see how either situation would affect him: he doubted that the wizarding world would bother tracking down Riddle as long as he continued his Muggle exile, and as for Narcissa, well…as far as he was concerned, her past life was her own.

Of more importance to him at the moment was the question of what -- if anything -- he should say to Minerva in the morning. She'd seen him watching her; according to Narcissa, she'd wanted him to watch. Why? What was he expected to do? What did she want from him? She must have felt the spark that sometimes ignited between the two of them: was she trying to tantalise him? Make him jealous? Laugh at him?

This last thought forced him out of bed; he knew he'd get no sleep this night. Instead, he paced through the ground floor of the Muggle house, threading his way through the fussy, over-furnished rooms, idly turning over the few books he found there (these ridiculous Muggles apparently read nothing but Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management and The Gardener's Assistant). But mostly, he tried not to think about Minerva and Tom Riddle, asleep now (or so he assumed) just a few feet above his head.

In the end, he decided to say nothing. If Minerva had wanted him to see her…well, he had seen her. The next move was up to her.

~~~~~

He didn't have to wait long for her to make it.

During the remainder of their stay in Torquay, Minerva behaved as if the scene in her bedroom had never occurred, and after they returned to the city, the whole episode began to seem unreal to Severus, so unlikely that he began to wonder if he had merely dreamt it.

Then came a week's engagement in Holborn -- the week that Severus was first to appear on stage as part of the act. His magical training had progressed rapidly, and Tom Riddle had pronounced him ready to try a trick or two in front of an audience. Their work on the magic-driven mechanical horse was not yet complete, but Riddle's interim idea was for a tiered basin festooned with the sort of dummy wires and gauges that fooled the Muggles into thinking they were looking at advanced science.

Out of this basin Tom and Severus together would conjure any number of startling effects with very little magical effort: aguamenti spells to create jets of water that would spray towards the audience and disappear before anyone actually got wet; rabbles of brightly-hued butterflies that would flitter out into the crowd, only to be transformed by the flick of a wand into soap bubbles. And then the grand finale: dozens of hopping mechanical frogs to that would perch all over the stage and footlights to croak out a chorus of "God Save the Queen."

Minerva had pursed her lips at this last touch. "Is there some sort of competition that I don't know about?" she asked. "A contest to see who can mount the most tawdry spectacle in all the music halls? Well, congratulations, Mr Riddle. I believe you and Mr Snape are the winners."

Tom gave a bark of laughter. "When it comes to Muggles, my dear, there's no such thing as too vulgar." Then he'd cocked a suggestive eyebrow. "As to mounting…"

Minerva had rapped his arm smartly with her fan, and Severus had felt himself becoming unaccountably warm.

But at last the fountain was ready for a formal rehearsal, and all the Querys had taken it (suitably shrunken for convenient transport) to the theatre one morning.

Their footsteps echoed loudly as they reached the stage, for without orchestra, patrons, and barmaids, the place was decidedly cavernous. Severus stood looking out at the empty house. The gilt-trimmed boxes, the long tables, the red-velvet curtains: all looked very different in the pale daylight that filtered down through the now-uncovered skylights.

It felt odd to be the only ones about, but as he and Tom and Narcissa plotted out their movements, Severus began to feel a stirring of excitement. He imagined the theatre as it would be in the evening, full of customers who had come as much for the drink and the outing as for the actual entertainment.

Yet, one by one, they would become transfixed by the "Querys" and their "magnificent magical modern machines" (as the programme had it), and they would fall silent, watching in awe.

And then, with gasps, screams, applause, and cheers, they would pay tribute to the power of real magic.

He thought he was beginning to understand the lure of the limelight.

His exalted mood persisted as he made his way backstage, leaving Tom and Narcissa to work on a Levitation act they were planning. Down in the dressing room he found Minerva meticulously checking each of their costumes to see which might require additional transformation.

She wore a high-necked dress of dark-green wool and looked, Severus thought, exceptionally handsome.

"Severus," she said, glancing up and smiling. "You are finished?"

"Not unless you have decided I'm not fit to continue as part of the act," he said, deliberately misunderstanding.

She snorted. "Persist in your cheekiness, and I might decide exactly that."

Then she eyed him thoughtfully. "Do you know," she said. "I'm thinking that it's time you moved with us at Westbourne Terrace. It's wasteful for you to continue to take lodgings when we have sufficient room. Would the change suit you? Shall I send Beckley round to fetch your things?"

Severus considered. It would mean a loss of independence, but it would save money. And it would put him closer to magic and...things. "All right," he said.

Minerva nodded and held his eyes just a fraction too long before turning back to her wand.

He was suddenly acutely aware of her, of how close they stood, the cramped, dingy dressing room allowing them virtually no walk space between the chintz-skirted dressing counter and the narrow horsehair sofa heaped with costumes and props. The gaslight flickered wildly -- for some reason, stability charms on the flames never lasted at cellar-level -- casting softening shadows on her pale skin and highlighting the thin bands of silver that streaked her hair.

"I saw you," he blurted to her back.

She didn't look at him, or even pause her precise wand movements, but he could see her shoulders tighten under the green wool.

"Did you, now?" she asked, amusement -- or something -- thick in her voice. "And tell me, Severus Snape, did you like what you saw?"

She turned round then and traced the line of his jaw with the tip of her wand. "Perhaps more to the point, would you like to see more?"

"I -- " Severus's cock gave a jump, and he could feel his face flush; he hoped the room was dim enough to conceal it. Him. Everything. "What do you mean?" he asked, immediately cursing himself as seven kinds of a fool. What an idiotic thing to say.

But the tart retort he expected from her didn't occur; instead, she put her wand down and stepped closer to him, until her breasts brushed his waistcoat and her fingers twisted into the stock at his throat.

"I mean this," she said, and pulled his head down to kiss him.

~~~~~

Her dress was gone, though whether it had been Banished or removed by Muggle means, Severus couldn't have said. All he could think about was the image that filled his sight now: Minerva in her corset, the whalebone and lacing curving her waist and pushing her breasts nearly over the top of the bodice. Their creamy swell was almost too much to bear, and he reached for her, intending to pull her free; he thought that if he didn't have her breasts in his hands in the next minute, he would expire.

But she forestalled him, catching his fingers and bringing them to the front of the corset. "Take it off properly," she ordered. "I won't have you pawing me like a common gutter boy."

She waited until he began to fumble with the ties before she added, "Not this time, at any rate."

The notion of a gutter-y next time nearly floored him, and it took every ounce of concentration to focus on undoing the corset. The fastenings were a jungle of hooks, eyes, ribbons, tapes, and strings; Severus had never felt so clumsy or so near shrieking in frustration.

Just when he thought he couldn't get any more painfully aroused, he felt Minerva's hands on the buttons of his trousers, opening first one, then the second, then moving to his drawers. Unlike his, her movements were deft and quick, and soon she had allowed his rock-hard cock to spring free.

Though for a moment the exquisite pleasure of that release was breathtaking, the next moment brought almost unbearable anxiety, for he knew that if she actually touched him, he'd be lost, spurting over the front of her petticoat like an over-eager schoolboy.

"Don't -- " he began.

She didn't.

What she did was to enchant one of the pale blue satin ribbons that threaded through the eyelet lace at the top of her corset. Severus didn't notice the ribbon until it had almost worked its way out, its long, free end curling in the air next to him. Then, as soon as it was completely loose, it darted away.

He would have been confused, except that the next moment, he understood: his trousers and drawers disappeared, and he could feel the ribbon snaking its way around his testicles and the base of his cock, tightening until it was almost, but not quite, painful.

The urge to come now receded, leaving him still highly excited, but no longer in imminent danger of spilling. He groaned in pleasure and relief.

"There," Minerva whispered, her lips close to his. "I hope you weren't in a hurry."

Severus pulled her to him with a kiss and slipped his free hand inside the corset. The hell with taking it off "properly"; she was going to get her "gutter boy" at once.

"Don't let me interrupt."

The voice came from the doorway.

Tom Riddle.

The shock hit Severus like a blow, and had it not been for the enchanted corset ribbon, he would have lost his erection at once. As it was, he tried to push away from Minerva. Where was his damned wand? He probably had no chance against an enraged Riddle anyway, but without his wand, he definitely couldn't…

A hand clamped on his shoulder…but only to squeeze it.

"I'm in earnest, my boy; don't let me interrupt." Riddle sounded actually genial, and Severus had to resist the temptation to gape at him like one of those giant goldfish he'd once seen at a Japanese garden (the one excursion he'd taken during his years at Primrose). Despite what Narcissa had told him about both the Riddles liking to watch and be watched, Severus couldn't truly imagine that any man -- let alone one with a temper like Tom Riddle's -- would want to stand by while his half-naked wife was enjoyed by another man.

But it soon became apparent that Riddle had no intention of merely standing by. With a light hand on her chin, he turned Minerva's head towards him and kissed her deeply; a wave of the wand in his other hand sent her hair falling loose around her shoulders.

Severus felt paralyzed, half his instincts telling him to flee, the other half urging him to melt further into Minerva's touch, to continue to knead the breasts he now realised he had completely freed from the confines of the corset.

Finally his body took over, and when he felt Minerva's hand begin to stroke his shaft lightly, he gave up any attempt to make sense of the situation. He just leant back and let himself feel.

Tom Riddle, meanwhile, had moved to stand behind Minerva, twisting one hand in her hair to pull her head back towards him so that he could kiss her again; the other hand he used to fondle the breast not already taken by Severus.

The sight of Minerva's arched neck and two different men's hands on her breasts -- it was almost enough to tip Severus over the edge, ribbon round his cock or no. But Riddle didn't remain long in his position; he stepped away quickly and found his wand again, flicking it to send the piled costumes floating off the sofa and…away somewhere, Severus wasn't really interested in where.

With another wave of his wand, Riddle lifted Minerva off her feet and away from Severus, who felt keenly the loss of her warmth and touch. It was all he could do not to take his cock in hand himself, but he knew it would be a mistake to finish now. Whatever the others' plans for him, he didn't want to miss them.

He soon learnt their intentions. Riddle lowered Minerva to the sofa so that she was on her hands and knees, a sight that set Severus's cock to throbbing anew. Her breasts tumbled forward, as did her hair, and her face wore such an expression of desire -- at least partly for him -- that Severus found it hard to breathe.

A few more wand flicks, and the sofa adjusted itself so that it was at exactly the right length for Riddle to stand directly behind Minerva and push her petticoats up over her waist, no doubt baring her to him; Severus felt a pang at being denied the sight.

But then he realised that the sofa was also now at just the right height for him: Minerva's face was almost level with his own cock. Could it be…? Was she going to…?

The sound of the dressing room door opening distracted Severus, sending another flare of shock to his gut.

It was Narcissa, and when she took in the tableau before her, she smiled her Sphinx-like smile and spelled silencing and locking charms onto the door.

"Do join us, Narcissa," said Tom, and with a pat of her fingers to her crown of blonde plaits, she dipped her head in gracious acquiescence, moving behind Riddle to whisper in his ear.

Severus closed his eyes as Minerva's fingers found his body again, this time moving behind him to feather against his buttocks. Another groan escaped him.

He'd never expected. ..he should feel ashamed, standing bare-arsed in front of three people whom he'd known only a scant few months., but somehow, he did not. He'd also never expected that it could feel so good to have one's backside stroked, and…oh, god! Was she touching him there…?

She was. Light fingers found an orifice that he'd never considered anyone might want to…ahhhhhh.

In his surprise at how good it felt to be penetrated by Minerva's gentle digit, Severus opened his eyes once more, only to be faced with yet another astonishing vision: Narcissa, standing behind Riddle in only her petticoats and corset, fingering one exposed breast, its aureole such a pale pink that it was nearly invisible. Around her thighs there appeared to be a harness of some kind, and from it protruded…for god's sake, it seemed to be a man's cock.

Reason asserted itself before Severus could say anything stupid. A prosthetic penis; he'd heard of such things. The sight of it standing at attention from Narcissa's skirts was as arousing as anything Severus had seen on this most astounding of mornings, and he closed his eyes once more, resolving to be surprised by nothing else that might happen.

Here was blonde, elegant Narcissa about to penetrate the arse of probably the most dangerous man Severus had ever known, a man who was himself about to penetrate the body of the first woman Severus had ever really wanted, and that woman was evidently about to take Severus's cock into her mouth…oh, god, just the thought of it…

Yet there was still one more shock to come. Suddenly, around his naked calf (Severus realised with detached amusement that he was still wearing his shoes and hose), he felt a cool, dry slither.

Nagini. The great snake's presence in the room was no surprise, of course; she was never far away from Riddle. Severus was about to move aside -- for he assumed he must be blocking her path -- when he realised that the snake was moving up his leg very purposefully, the end of her tail flicking against his inner thigh just as if she understood about giving pleasure…

The snake rose higher…higher…

The others, Severus saw with a start, had paused and were watching him, their expressions various -- Narcissa amused, Riddle devilish, Minerva with one eyebrow raised in what he was sure was a challenge.

When Nagini's tail nudged Severus's opening, he nearly gasped, but managed to keep himself silent. There, Minerva, he thought, reaching out to let his fingers brush her face, top that for control.

The snake's tail, in the meantime, continued to flutter back and forth against Severus's arse, and now Minerva again touched his cock, and the sensations were altogether almost more pleasurable than he could stand.

"Severus?" Minerva asked at last, and he groaned "yes" without quite knowing what he was agreeing to; all he knew was that he didn't want to stop these feelings.

Then several things happened at once. Tom Riddle spoke a few words -- a spell of some sort -- and Severus suddenly felt a soothing, warm lubrication in his arse. Almost immediately, he felt Nagini's tail penetrate him, very slowly, and there was a brief burst of pain before the pleasure began again. He could see Narcissa push herself forward, too, and Tom bent over slightly, grunting in satisfaction before wrapping Minerva's hair around his hand once more and tipping her head up.

"Take him, my dear," he said, and Severus finally found his cock sheathed in her warm mouth, felt her fingers slip the corset ribbon off his balls, setting off a rush of sensation that had him shouting aloud despite himself. Her head was in his hands, he was thrusting hard…

And then Minerva was being taken, too. He could tell the exact moment that her husband entered her; her back arched and she sucked Severus in sharply and it felt wonderful, pleasure from more places than he'd ever imagined, spreading and joining until his entire body was burning with it, he had one hand in Minerva's hair and the other on her breast again and his cock was thrusting into her at the same time that he was being thrust into, and….oh god oh god oh god

~~~~~

If he'd thought about it in advance, Severus might have expected the aftermath of such an experience to be awkward or humiliating. But instead, when all was finally finished, the others had simply stood up matter-of-factly, putting their clothing to rights as Minerva briskly cast a cleaning charm over all of them.

The spell prickled comfortingly over Severus's skin, and he saw that this was life as usual for his companions. It was their "normal," and if he wanted it to be, it could be his as well. They had accepted him; he had only to choose to accept them.

He looked at Narcissa, patting her plaits as she checked herself in the dressing table mirror. She caught his eye and stared back, her face impassive. Then she dimpled at him and winked.

He looked at Tom Riddle, who was adjusting his cravat, his dark, mobile face at once handsome, disturbing, and compelling, his magic so powerful that Severus could almost see it shimmering around him.

He looked at Minerva, her black hair now firmly in place atop her head, her spectacles resting on her nose, every inch the respectable woman of position and means. She was pinning on a large hat that she'd Transfigured from a pair of gloves; she was going out to meet a theatrical booking agent. The squeeze she gave Severus's arm as she left was a light one, but the press of her fingers stayed in his mind.

He looked at Nagini, curled in her basket near the blazing grate, the management's typically meagre fire enhanced by Minerva's warming spell.

He looked at the tiny dressing room, crowded with the pieces of their lives, and made up his mind.

~~~~~

Severus Snape, impeccable in a gold-buttoned waistcoat and pristine white shirt, his stock tied just so, a sapphire-satin cape tossed over his shoulder, stood waiting in the wings of the Holborn Grand Music Hall. To his left, girls from the dance troupe were giggling, their short skirts rustling. To his right stood Tom Riddle, dark and imposing, his linen dazzling, his coat superbly cut. From the stage came the sturdy singing voice of the ever-popular Marie Lloyd, the audience joining with raucous delight in the chorus of her double-entendre-laden hit song -- "She Sits Among the Cabbages and Peas."

Beside him, Tom chuckled. "And Minerva frets about our tawdry spectacles," he said.

Miss Lloyd finished her set to tumultuous applause, and Mr Norton, the master of ceremonies, bustled onto the stage.

"Ladies and gentleman!" he cried. "Men and women of the world! I know I don't have to tell you that the universe is a dark and mysterious place. But we live in a time of modern miracles, my friends…the dawn of a new and exciting age! And here to show you some of its marvels, the act you've been waiting for, the answer to all your deepest questions, the one! the only! The Query Family!"

In a swirl of red satin, Tom Riddle swept out onto the stage; with a swirl of blue, Severus followed. Together, they pointed their wands at their magical fountain and brought it to smoking, flashing life.

The audience cheered, and Severus bowed.

He was on his way; it had begun.

The dawn of his new age.


Back to Part 1
Comments 
20th December 2011 22:28
Oh, this is so absolutely awesome! I am in love with the late-Victorian perfection. The mill job and the diphtheria, the survival of not the fittest but the canniest, the dim, cheap, surreal, feel of the music hall (with Charlie and his adoring girl, and the darling Mrs Peters), Narcissa's and Tom's pitch-perfect sprititistic act ...

And Minerva. Oh, my heart rate. Corsets, hair, intelligence, and again that perfect late 19th-century shrewd woman's way of navigating conventions and opportunities, of keeping up appearances, the better to do as she pleases. I also love that she has quite some criminal energy here. And a nice taste in houses. And a way of getting Severus to react as she wants him to, in various ways.

"Enjoying the view?" he snapped before he could stop himself; channelling embarrassment into anger was something he'd been doing since childhood.
"Don't flatter yourself," she snapped back, straightening at once and glaring at him. Her eyes sparked with her own anger, and her lifted chin revealed her pale neck, and it was all he could do not to grab rough hold of her and kiss her. That would shock her, the old cat.
-- Love this exchange.

Narcissa, too, is gorgeous. So is the fivesome. Narcissa with a strap-on is an image that stays with one, and not in a bad way at all.

By her Majesty the Empress of India's ample knickers and all the oysters of Torquay, I will be re-reading this.

20th December 2011 22:30
Sprititistic? Spirtirtistic?

What them mediums do, anyway.
9th January 2012 02:26
Thank you so much for the lovely comment and for the LJ rec and for all your support with this story. It means a lot. If I can please one of my favorite historians with a period piece, I can rest easy!

21st December 2011 16:21
I'm a sucker for magical steampunk, especially if it involves Severus Snape, and this certainly didn't disappoint. Love your wary Severus, and can just see Tom Riddle playing the magic showman. The 5-way was breath-stealing! Just a word of advice, though, Severus - don't trust Nagini too much. ;)
9th January 2012 02:27
Thank you for commenting! Severus just seemed a natural for steampunk. Glad you enjoyed it.
21st December 2011 21:49
Bravo! This was fantastic. I love the music hall atmosphere. Severus finding his way in this exciting new world is fascinating to follow, and your Minerva is simply perfect. A wonderful wonderful read.
9th January 2012 02:31
Thank you so much for the kind comment and for your LJ rec; it really meant a lot to me to see this story generate a fan. It several ways, it was my most ambitious fic of the year, and I'm glad to know it worked for you.
22nd December 2011 18:08
Wow! So wonderfully atmospheric. The whole Victorian setting is brilliant, and I love all the backstories. So very believable all of them. And Madam Rosmerta!

A very IC tale, with a perfectly-acerbic Minerva, and for once a Riddle who shows the great charisma the man must have had. With underneath the utter darkness.

Superbly done!
9th January 2012 02:32
Thank you, my dear -- and as always, thanks for all your beta work and support. Everything I write is so much better for your input.
1st January 2012 19:28
First of all, I'm so sorry for the delay. Life has been very rocky and I've been traveling sort of constantly over the holidays. So many apologies!

Secondly, THANK YOU! Oh this is beautiful. It's got such a captivating atmosphere to it. Beginning with the contraptions and the magic show was just a fabulous way of drawing us into the world here.

Your characterizations are lovely, particularly with Snape and his occasional irritation with existence, the way he gets angry in embarrassment and his frustrations with his own self, and the way he response to challenges (some of which might not even exist); these are so very him.

I love the small details that make this work for the period (mill work and clerking, charity schools and epidemics, Australia and Ripper). It really fits together ideally.

Using Sev's point of view really makes this work, especially with the sex. His want is so clear and palpable and hot! I love that his focus is so clearly on Minerva (one of my fav. pairings) and his getting caught up in everything even helps ease past the inclusion one of my only dealbreakers. He's just so overwhelmed with everything but still registering other, mundane things that I want to pat him on the cheek.

Thank you so much! I definitely will be rereading Part 1 to enjoy all the nuances and atmosphere you've developed as I'm sure I missed things in my excitement!
1st January 2012 20:21
Just as a follow-up...

I really adore the dynamic between Sev, Minerva, and Tom. It's intense, believable, and spot-on with characterization and so very much what I think the three of them would, believably, be like together. The three of them really drive this fic!
2nd January 2012 01:06
Anonymous
Oh, I am so sorry! I was horrified to read that I'd included a deal-breaker. I truly didn't do it on purpose; I had to go back to look at the prompt to see what it might have been. And I see now that it's Tom and the penetration, of course. He had just become such a top in my mind as I wrote that I didn't see it as submission but as just a part of his directing the scene and deciding how he wanted it played. But that's not what you asked for, and I do apologize.

I will rewrite the offending section and PM it you after reveals. If you like, I will also ask the mods to replace this current version with the new one.

Sorry!
2nd January 2012 17:40
Oh I know you didn't do it on purpose! *squishes Anonymous!you*

I completely understand the logic here and it doesn't read as submission at all. You've conveyed exactly as you thought you had. I figured you'd been caught up in the awesomeness of the fic and had remembered only the "sub!Tom" from the list. I was very honest when I said that Sev's point of view and his near flail made it much less of an issue- that was really intended as a compliment. It was such a small point, even in the narration, in an overwhelmingly incredible gift.

*squishes again* You are lovely and amazing and so is the fic!
9th January 2012 02:45
So glad you liked it and that the deal-breaker didn't actually break the deal too seriously. I thought it must (understandably) have bothered you or you wouldn't have mentioned it, and I was quite annoyed with myself. So I do appreciate your reassurance. Thank you for the excellent prompt and for the feedback.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the fic; I'd have hated to spoil your KK gift, especially considering all the pleasure that your fine writing gives me throughout the year. Happy Deviant New Year!
8th January 2012 06:43
Stunning. Truly stunning. The creativity of it, the touches of canon mixed so expertly with this world you've conjured. I just adored it. Even the parts that terrified my delicate sensibilities were more intriguing and titillating than I would have ever expected. Great job!
9th January 2012 02:48
Thank you! And thank your delicate sensibilities for letting you persevere /g/. This fic was a first for me in several ways: first period AU, first multiple-partner scene, first bestiality. So I really appreciate knowing that the whole thing worked.
9th January 2012 03:28
This was really well done - love the details you've included, and the realism you imbued Muggle turn-of-the-century England with. Minerva and Severus' interactions were perfection and then the steamy, sexy scenes.... guh.
10th January 2012 20:42
Thanks for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it; I had a fine time writing it.
9th January 2012 15:06
I love all the detail in this - it's a very absorbing universe. The steampunk touches are fascinating (I'd love to see the mechanical thestral!)

As I was reading I was quite worried that the sex might spoil the ambience, but it fits in perfectly.

Though I think my favourite bit is Severus learning cape-swirling spells from Riddle.

Would love to see more in this universe.
10th January 2012 20:45
Thank you! It pleases me no end that you think the story creates a full universe; that's one of the things I was aiming for, and I'm glad it seems to have worked.
19th January 2012 00:21 - This story has been nominated!
Anonymous
Dear kellychambliss,

I am writing to inform you that you've been nominated for this story for the following category for the Spring 2012 Round of The HP Fanfic Fan Poll Awards (http://hpfanficfanpoll.livejournal.com):


BEST ALTERNATE UNIVERSE


The nominations period will end on January 22, 2012. The voting period (open to all HP fanfic fans) will be from February 1, 2012 to March 31, 2012. We will tally up all votes and announce winners on or before April 15, 2012. Winners will receive a banner with the information about their win, and all bragging rights for having placed.

We'll also have "I've been nominated" banners up within the next day or two if you want to post those on your blogs. Check back at our website (http://hpfanficfanpoll.livejournal.com) for those.

You need not take any other action at this time. If your story wins in its nominated category, you will be notified.

However, please feel free to nominate other writers in this fandom for the awards ceremony, if you feel inclined. Please read our Over FAQ (http://hpfanficfanpoll.livejournal.com/1530.html) and our How To Nominate A Fic page (http://hpfanficfanpoll.livejournal.com/1640.html) if you'd like to recognize any other writers for any of the categories mentioned, under the themes that are allowable for this Round.

Congratulations on your nomination!

Sincerely,

Melissa, The HP Fanfic Fan Poll Awards Moderator
http://hpfanficfanpoll.livejournal.com
19th January 2012 17:15
Anonymous
I had to be pushed to this one repeatedly until I finally got to it now ;-)...my snake-phobia vanished the moment I looked at the series of art you had linked as an inspiration: what beautiful pictures of all of them (Nagini could be a little less huge, but ;-9 ).
You are really so gifted creating highly interesting and believable AUs - what a glamorous world (in the direct sense :-) ), and what a group of powerful magicians indeed! Not something I will be likely to forget *gg*!

Minervas_Eule
25th January 2012 04:01
Thanks for reading! I know it's no easy task to get past a snake phobia (I don't think I'd be able to read a story about cockroaches /g/), so I'm doubly appreciative of the feedback.
26th January 2012 15:37
OMG! This is absolutely brilliant!!! Once I'd started, I simply COULD NOT stop reading. I love the universe you've created (I'd echo the comments above pleading for more of it), and all the little details that make the world so vivid. While I wouldn't normally picture all these characters together, it really works; I adored how they became Snape's family over the course of the story. Your words illustrated how they had come to care for him and he for them. This may be one of my favourites of your stories, Kelly. Considering how many of your stories I LOVELOVELOVE, that's saying something. ;)
28th January 2012 23:33
Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it; it's turned out to be one of my favorites, too.
1st February 2012 21:07
Oh my, oh my! What a story, how much I enjoyed reading - and partially rereading - it! I have to control myself not to go way over the top with superlatives and heaps of praise for you and this Victorian Universe you created.

It's full of very vivid, beautiful and exciting imagery, from the machine on the stage, the public in the hall, the house, the costumes and the magic, till these four, or I should say five, characters you have brought to life.

Narcissa with her plaits and her past was believable and intriguing and I could 'see' her. Same goes for Riddle, who has more depth here and his dangerous yet alluring charm makes it easy to envision a whole future herd of loyal followers, fighting for his attention...

The relation between Minerva and Riddle, with the magical bonding and their mutual attraction, their - how to express this - intense and 'faceted' sexual life...you painted it in such a way that I didn't question it for a moment. I don't think that ever before did I like to read about Minerva and Tom in a relation, but here I did.

How fascinating and admirable and sensual a woman you made out of Minerva and, like mentioned before, also with that bit of malice. Moulding her (muggle) surroundings to her benefit.

Snape too has a very interesting story and I like how opportunistic he is in getting magic in his world and later, sex.

But oh, Minerva and Severus, the heat between them is palpable and hot! The image of her in her corset and he with the ribbon around his bits, in the grip of desire for her...

You totally pulled of the fivesome, which would have seemed unimaginable, had I thought about it. It felt natural and fitting in the story.

Only remark would be for the title, it made me almost overlook the fic as I didn't recognize it as such. But, one might argue that an unusual title befits an unusual story and I'm sure you would have given it a good deal of thought.

You gave me a great time and Steampunk (had to look up what it meant) is from now on on my list. :)

Well deserved nomination for the ff-poll!
4th February 2012 00:13
The sexual relation between Minerva and Tom keeps coming back at me. What at first felt simply hot, isn't so simple and not only hot either, I think now.

What I wonder about is, if what I think I'm seeing is right: that it's Minerva and not Tom who is (mostly) winning the power 'game'?

They are complicated and intense people with frustrations, which is reflected in their love life. And then there are the power issues too. Tom must be thinking it's he ho decides what happens and Minerva is 'his' and she can have what he agrees to let her have...but I'm almost sure it's very much Minerva who controls what happens. She knows how to manipulate Tom, to get what she wants. (And how desirable she'll feel to have two men crave for her like that:))

I love the depth you have woven into it.
16th February 2012 05:38
Ooh, thank you! This is just what I hoped to do -- create a really complex dynamic where the balance of power is ambiguous. I like to think there are layers that we aren't seeing. I see Minerva and Tom as trading off their equality, back and forth, each one keeping a little something back from the other.
16th February 2012 05:35
What a lovely review; thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story; it's turned out to be one of my favorites, and I'm really pleased that others like it, too. It was tremendous fun building this steampunk universe. I'm glad, too, that you think the characters make sense and are believable, because, on the surface, it doesn't seem as if they could possibly do so. I know that if I were looking for a story to read and saw one with a snake fivesome, I'd be pretty skeptical /g/.

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