Fic: Beyond layers (Minerva/Poppy, R) for mindabbles Author:redsnake05 Recipient:mindabbles Title: Behind layers Rating: R Pairing: Minerva/Poppy Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. All characters engaging in sexual activity are 16 years or older. Summary: In a world where witches are barred from working in the war against Grindelwald, Minerva and Poppy carve out a life for themselves in the Muggle war effort. The compromises are hard, and Minerva finds herself tucked away behind doors and blackout curtains, and even the lipstick that sits heavy and waxy on her mouth weighs her down with secrets. In some things, though, there are no compromises, no hiding, no layers to bar you from view. Warnings: Witches not allowed to work in the wizarding war against Grindelwald, OFC present in plot Word Count: 3100 Author's Notes: mindabbles, I was just in the mood to write Minerva fic, so thanks for giving me this opportunity. I hope you enjoy this fic. I am intrigued by the possibilities for Minerva's youth, and can imagine her as brave and idealistic and wanting to do something, anything, to feel useful. Poppy is her companion in all this, and I hope I captured sweetness and tenderness and hotness for you. Many thanks to T, my fantastic beta reader. She helped a lot with the niggly little things, and helped make this fic much better than it was before. All remaining mistakes are mine.
Minerva pulled her heavy red coat around herself tightly, fumbling the belt with fingers gone cold in the gathering dusk. She found her bike in the rack outside her prefab and looked wearily at the black metal curves, the heavy leather seat. The reflexive itch of her fingers for her wand was always strongest after a long day, with the prospect of an uncomfortable bike ride ahead of her. Sighing, she pushed the bike a little way down the lane, the last of the sun glowing orange on the black metal, sparkling off the top of the thermos stashed in the wicker basket on the front. Thank goodness Muggles could do a few simple things, like keep things warm for lunch. Gliding forwards, she pulled her leg through the middle of the bike and settled down to pedal steadily, steering carefully down the potholed lane, avoiding the puddles, gravel crunching under the heavy tires.
Waving to a few other girls, also heading home for the night after a long, long day, Minerva pulled up at the checkpoint and handed over her ID. The soldier on duty smiled, like he always did, waving her through the big, wrought iron gates. She smiled wearily back, feeling her lips stretch under the layer of waxy lipstick that she wore as if it was armour against unguarded words. She was too tired for this tonight, legs sore after a day standing and leaning and walking back and forwards between prefabs and the main wing of the Manor building, heels clicking crisply on the wooden floors.
She wanted to pull her wand and Apparate away in the gathering dusk, but her wand was sitting on the table by the door at home, so she pulled her Muggle coat even tighter and started pedalling slowly through the gates and towards home. Bletchley Park was nearly invisible as the grey dusk closed around it, hundreds of small, square windows all muffled and curtained. Minerva knew they were still packed with people and buzzing on the inside, even as she wearily snaked around yet more potholes, heading for the little cottage at the end of the village, wanting to shut herself inside and rest.
Bright yellow lamplight flared briefly as Minerva opened the door and slipped inside, shutting out the grey night, shutting herself in to the warmth. Tucked away inside the thick stone walls and heavy curtains; at least she no longer had to compromise her magic. "Home, finally," called Poppy. "I'm sure you're late on Thursdays just so I have to peel all the vegetables."
Shrugging out of her coat and hanging it neatly next to Poppy's warm green coat and Chloris's long yellow jacket on the rack, Minerva smoothed her dark hair back and smiled, some of the weariness slipping away already. She had forgotten it was Thursday, the day for Muggle cooking.
"Today's code was even more difficult that usual," she called back, "it's nothing to do with the potatoes."
A splash from the kitchen was followed by a muffled curse. "I don't see why we have to cook dinner the Muggle way as well as work like Muggles," complained Poppy. Minerva walked in from the hallway, catching the tail end of the entreating glance Poppy sent Chloris, who didn't even look up from her parchment.
"We only cook the Muggle way twice a week, Poppy," said Chloris. She raked her hand through her greying hair and made a few more notations on her parchment. "And you need to know a little about it, just in case. Minerva, have a cup of tea and sit down. You can cook the chops when Poppy's got the vegetables boiling."
Minerva paused, hand hovering over her mug. "Chops," she repeated, in tones of disgust. "I have to cook chops. I don't think it's likely that we'll get invited to a Muggle household for dinner, and, even if we did, why would I need to know how to cook chops?"
"Better cooking chops than getting your hands all wrinkled and prune-like," said Poppy, smirking and sticking out her tongue as she deftly cubed the last of the vegetables and tipped them into a big pot. "But I agree, the chances of us having to cook the Muggle way are slim. If you insist, though, Chloris!" Chloris just smiled absently and made a few more notes on the parchment.
Minerva shook her head and filled her mug at the huge pot in the middle of the table. "I'm glad we draw the line at Muggle authenticity when it comes to tea," she said, tipping a little milk into the piping hot brew. Chloris glanced up.
"We make the compromise work, don't you think?" she asked. Minerva smiled at her, taking in the smudges of ink over her fingers and the neat writing covering the heavy parchment. Chloris had given them a place to live when they made the decision to turn their backs on the wizarding world and work in the Muggle war effort. Minerva had spent the last few years watching the lines around her eyes deepen, her stock of hope for change dwindle. She tried to keep her voice light as she answered.
"Most of the time. Cycling home tonight was no fun. I hate trying to avoid potholes in the dark. I'm sure I have mud on my stockings."
"Better than blood," said Poppy, cheerfully, setting the pot on the range and grabbing her own teacup, coming to sit next to Minerva at the table.
"You're the one who wanted to be a medi-witch," retorted Minerva.
"No scouring charms when you're an undercover nurse in a Muggle hospital," Poppy reminded her.
"It could be worse," said Chloris. "At least you get to do something in the Muggle war."
"Another petition to the Wizengamot?" asked Minerva, flicking the edge of the parchment.
"Yes. Not that I hold out much hope of convincing them that it's a waste of resources to refuse to utilise witches in the war, much less convince them that it's unfair." Chloris sighed and pushed back her hair again. "I'm getting tired of the argument." Poppy reached over and patted her shoulder. They both knew how much Chloris had done for them by accepting them here and helping them integrate into the Muggle world.
"We're glad you're making it," said Minerva, gripping Chloris's hand comfortingly.
"Yes," said Poppy, "and Dumbledore doesn't seem as hidebound as the rest of them. Things might change."
"And in the meantime, you can learn to cook the Muggle way," said Chloris, obviously fighting off her gloom and changing the topic onto something lighter.
"I was hoping you'd forget about that," said Minerva. "I can't believe you're making me cook chops."
Poppy pulled the curtain tightly across the window and turned away from the blanked out sky, hair shining gold in the candlelight. Minerva was already curled up on the bed, reading the latest mathematics paper on cryptography. She looked up as Poppy sank down onto the bed next to her, plain white petticoat clinging to each curve in lines more graceful than any of the blunt Muggle equations could ever hope to be. Poppy skimmed a finger over the cheap paper pages, looking at the type that was bleeding together in a blur. Minerva rubbed her eyes wearily, gathering up all the papers and shuffling them into order.
"Is it worth it?" asked Poppy, face pensive. Minerva shrugged, tired in a way she had seldom experienced before, not even when she'd been sitting her NEWTs. "Hiding our magic, compromising our abilities, just to do a little bit in the Muggle war?"
"You tell me. Is it worth it for you?"
"I don't know," replied Poppy, face troubled. "I'm scrubbing bedpans and changing drips and I could be doing so much more."
"It makes me so angry," confided Minerva. She put the sheaf of grimy Muggle paper on the table next to the bed and twisted the end of one long braid around her finger. She stretched a little, trying to put some blood flowing to cramped muscles. "I'm poring over codes and numbers and lines, and all I can think of sometimes is how I should be working on Grindelwald's coding systems and applying arithmantic analysis to his new spells, and how much it hurts the wizarding war effort that I'm not."
Poppy nodded, eyes sombre in the flickering candlelight. Minerva knew that Poppy understood, that the same anger and bitterness wound through her days too. She had seen Poppy studying for her exams, seen her flick her wand in complicated charms with a precision born of long hours of practice and dedication. She knew that Poppy's fingers could smooth out a coiling bandage even while her wand controlled the spilling blood, knew that Poppy was wasted at the Muggle hospital. She looked down at Poppy's hands, resting work-roughened and competent on the bedspread, knowing that Poppy would make a real difference in the spell-damage wards at St Mungos, or in the makeshift tents scattered over half of Europe.
"You don't need me to tell you how angry I am," said Poppy. "I can see it in you, everytime you leave the house without your wand. It's like that for me too."
"But is it worth it?" asked Minerva, echoing Poppy's question back to her. Poppy was silent for long minutes, fingers moving restlessly on the cover, petticoat wrapped around her like a scrubbed cotton halo.
"I don't know. Maybe. Better than doing nothing, sitting at home or doing what witches are allowed to do. I don't know."
Minerva took a deep breath, leaning forward to press a soft kiss to Poppy's lips. "I think it's worth it. We're doing something, aren't we?"
"Yes," said Poppy, very quietly, so quietly that Minerva wouldn't have been able to hear her, had they not been sitting so close together on the big feather bed. "It's better than sitting at home, struggling with knitting spells for the brave wizards at the front, surrounded by wool and denial and fear in great choking heaps; women barred from any actual work." She paused, breathing in deeply and Minerva buried her face in Poppy's neck, smiling to herself. Poppy poked her shoulder. "What are you laughing for?"
"I'm just imagining sending some brave, tortured wizard the product of my knitting spells, and imagining his face as he tries to figure out if it's a pair of socks or a jersey," said Minerva, face still buried in Poppy's neck.
"You're odd," announced Poppy. "Good thing I don't mind."
"It's very good," agreed Minerva, sighing happily as Poppy's hands came up to rub over her back in long, slow strokes, relaxing tense muscles and building a slow wave of heat through her belly. She nuzzled a little into Poppy's neck, biting very gently on the tender flesh before pulling back to kiss over it apologetically. She worked her way up Poppy's neck with slow swipes of tongue and gentle kisses, reaching up to tilt her chin just right and lean that little bit further to capture Poppy's lips. The kiss was soft, slow, lush with affection and promise and comfort. Then Poppy's teeth dug into Minerva's lower lip and tugged, just a little, before easing the sting with a voluptuous swipe of her tongue.
Minerva gasped, off balance, as Poppy took charge of the kiss and opened up her mouth. One of Poppy's strong hands still spanned her back while the other moved around to cup one of Minerva's breasts and deftly tease the nipple through the thin cotton of her petticoat. Minerva gasped into the kiss, one hand dropping to Poppy's knee and starting a slow slide up her thigh.
"Slow," said Poppy. "I want to be slow and deliberate. We might be tucked away and invisible, but I don't want to be like that with you. I want to see everything." Minerva trembled at the heat of passion in her voice, the considered weight of her certainty.
"Good," she said, edging back a little on the bed, taking Poppy's hand and pulling her back too, until they nestled side by side on the thick patchwork quilt. White skin and white cotton pressed together on the bright blocks of colour, luminous in the candlelight. Minerva pushed forward this time, kissing Poppy. Their hands wandered over each other, rucking up the petticoats where they could, teasing through the material when they couldn't. Minerva felt the heat start to smoulder and let her fingernail drag over Poppy's nipple, catching the smothered gasp in her mouth, enjoying the little roll of her hips. Minerva did it again, then pinched gently. Poppy drew back from the kiss, her lips full and red and open. Minerva wriggled down just a little, bending her head to capture the hardened nipple in her mouth and suck slowly.
"That's lovely," moaned Poppy, hand sliding over Minerva's head, tugging gently on the thick plaits that hung down her back. Pulling back, Minerva smiled and reapplied her fingers to the wet cotton, teasing the sensitive flesh with more pinches and strokes. "Clothes off," demanded Poppy. Minerva sat up, helping her work the petticoat up her body and over her arms before dropping it over the edge of the bed. She pulled at the edge of her own petticoat, impatient to be skin against bare skin with Poppy. They had never been able to hide from each other, even before they became lovers just before they left school, and Minerva loved it that way.
"You're beautiful," said Poppy, eyes avid as Minerva emerged from the cloth. Raking her eyes over Poppy, Minerva enjoyed the sight of blonde hair twisted into a thick braid over one smooth white shoulder, the lush swell of her breasts and the dizzying curve of her hips.
"You're beautiful too," said Minerva. Poppy smiled and pushed Minerva onto her back, settling on top of her and kissing her again. Minerva settled against the patchwork squares below her, spreading her legs to let Poppy settle comfortably, one thigh pushed between Minerva's. The kiss was slow and aching, and Minerva couldn't help the rock of her hips up hard, dragging her clit over the smooth skin of Poppy's thigh.
"Slow," said Poppy. "Want to see you come apart."
"I'm not sure I can wait," confessed Minerva, feeling the slow coil of orgasm building at the base of her spine, tendrils of pleasure radiating out and working themselves higher and tighter everywhere her skin touched Poppy's. "I want you, Poppy. Please."
"Merlin," breathed Poppy, and Minerva arched in gratification as Poppy ground down against her. "You're gorgeous like this, open for me. I'm the only one who gets to see you, aren't I?
"Yes," said Minerva. "I don't hide in boxes and behind curtains with you."
Poppy reached a hand down between them, feathering a finger over Minerva's clit. Minerva moaned and pressed up into the fleeting touch. Poppy propped herself up on one elbow, finger circling teasingly around the sensitive little nub of flesh. "Touch yourself," she breathed. "Touch your nipples, how you like me to do it."
Minerva cupped her breasts, rolling the nipples between her fingers. Watching Poppy's face, she revelled in the rapt expression of lust on her lover's face. Poppy flicked her finger firmly over Minerva's clit, eliciting a low groan. Eyes slipping closed, Minerva felt herself get closer to the edge, hips rocking involuntarily and toes starting to clench with the need to come. Poppy stroked harder, directly over her clit, again and again, just how Minerva liked it. The ecstasy started to fracture in long, jagged shards that Minerva rode through, head thrown back and hips bucking.
As she relaxed back onto the bed, Poppy bent over her, pressing a harsh kiss to her open mouth before slithering down the bed and parting the damp lips of her pussy, settling in with her tongue. Minerva jerked beneath her, starting the climb back to orgasm already. Poppy hummed happily, sliding two fingers inside her as well. Minerva whimpered, clenching her hands in the sheets, close again. Poppy's tongue was as demanding as her fingers had been and Minerva came apart underneath it. Twisting and panting, she raced back up the slope to orgasm, her body clenching and tightening as she dropped over the edge into her climax again.
Poppy pulled away, breathing hard and wiping her face with the back of her hand. Minerva opened her eyes, body languid and boneless on the bed, sated and well-fucked. "Just a minute," she murmured, gesturing weakly towards Poppy. Smiling, Poppy straddled her, fingers skating down her body. Minerva felt a residual stab of arousal at the thought of the fingers that had been inside her, still sticky and wet from her pussy, were now slicking over Poppy's clitoris, circling and pressing and driving her close to her orgasm.
"Can't wait," said Poppy, working herself in firm, quick strokes. Minerva could tell she was getting close by the arch of her spine, the way her head hung back and her hips thrust forward into her fingers. She unravelled in long, slow waves, each curve a piece of perfection that stilled for a moment at the crest before crashing. Minerva gathered her close in to her body and waited for her breathing to slow.
They slowly untangled themselves and slipped under the covers. Minerva extinguished the candles with a muttered Nox and felt Poppy's arms pulling her close. She settled against her willingly, listening to her breath slipping in and out, slow and gentle.
Maybe tomorrow, things would be different, thought Minerva, hearing the low roar of planes in the sky, hidden by the heavy blackout curtains. Maybe tomorrow, Dumbledore would listen, maybe things would change and she and Poppy would be able to do what they were best able to do, with no need to compromise. They could fly and soar and not hide anymore. More likely, though, she would weave through potholes in her heavy Muggle coat on the way to Bletchley Park, cheap lipstick waxy red on her mouth, covering all the things she could never say.