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FESTIVE 500s - Multi-Fandom Ficlets

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Chapter Text

“I see myself holding a pair of thick, woollen socks,” Albus says. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

He keeps his voice light and measured, smiling at Harry and wondering—not for the first time—how this messy-haired boy is going to grow into everything he needs to be in order to face what’s yet to come. Albus knows better than to underestimate the power and strength of the young, but he wishes Harry could enjoy the innocence of magic for a little while longer, before he makes the inevitable discovery that magic is rarely innocent at all. Even that wish for a reprieve is perhaps a futile endeavour. Harry already knows the unforgiving brutality of magic better than most, its indelible mark etched on his face whenever he looks in the mirror.

Harry looks up at Albus with wide, green eyes, his pyjamas soft and his frame small and vulnerable. There are many things that Albus has come to regret during his lifetime and leaving Harry with the Dursleys is one that weighs heavily on him when he’s sorting through his memories. It was all so very different then. A strange, dark time, during which wheels were set in motion. The path has already been set in stone, the players are in place. There is no undoing, only doing. Meddling with time and dwelling on past regret is nothing more than a fool’s errand, and Albus Dumbledore is no fool.

When Harry goes back to bed, Albus stands in front of the mirror. He’s older now and the mirror reflects the weight of his years back at him with unflinching precision. The lines of age bring back the countless times he laughed and cried, the tumult of conflicting emotions leaving him breathless. The furrows in his brow are a cruel reminder of unhappy decisions, etched onto cloudy silver like a vicious sketch. Something is coming. The promise of it crawls through Albus’s bones, his mind weighty with the unknown. Even as he dreads it, dark anticipation mingles with the perverse thrill of unleashing his power in future battles. The bitter, beguiling taste of Dark magic always looms on the horizon, like a far-off cloud heralding the oncoming storm. Albus doesn’t know when, or why, or how; he simply knows the sky is already grey and swollen with rain.

It’s so easy to lose himself in silver-spun memories and dusty glass. The face of his present flickers and fades, giving way to a face that will always define his past. Whenever Albus encounters Erised he clings on to the hope that the person staring back at him may have changed, but it’s always the same taunting, handsome smile. It’s a reminder of love that burned relentlessly, fuelled by passion, power and the flames of unquenchable desire. Gellert Grindelwald. Suspended in time, forever young. Despite all the terrible history that sits between them, when Albus presses his hand to the glass, it's Gellert’s palm that rises to meet his own.

The ache of wanting claws at Albus on his darkest nights. He could almost crumple under the pain of impossible love and loss. His dreams are haunted by a reckless, unwavering desire for a man that could have been so much better. The ghost of the person Albus always wanted Gellert to be stares back at him in the mirror. Gellert's never been more flesh and blood than when he smiles bright enough to hurt. The restless curl and twist of countless neon spells bring light to the darkness behind him. That brilliant, devastating mind and the unerring thrum of Gellert's captivating power still draw Albus closer. There's a glint in Gellert's eyes and the whisper of a seductive promise that makes Albus listen, even when everything between them is dust and glass. If he presses his palm hard enough against Erised’s surface, Albus can almost imagine the heat of flesh against his own. His lips burn with kisses of the past, the taste of Gellert's mouth and the memory of losing himself in sensation as the shadows cradled them. Erised shows Albus stolen moments through a hazy, dreamlike filter. It wasn't a dream. It isn't. Albus swears his body still bears marks that should have long since faded; the round bruises from fingers pressed into flesh and the indentations left by crescent moon nails. With every grip and twist of the two bodies fighting for climax, Albus presses closer to the mirror and lets its images warm his body like the glimmer of sunrise at the end of a cloudy night.

Finally the passion burns itself out and it's just Gellert that blinks back at Albus, the corner of his mouth tilting into a small smile. “I don’t believe I will ever stop loving you,” Albus says. He could just as easily have said hate, but when it comes to Gellert, love and hate blur into one indistinguishable whole.

Albus presses his palm against the glass once more and for a fleeting moment he imagines he can feel pulse against pulse, skin against skin. Their fingers curl with perfect synchronicity, as if they might finally twine together. The air fills with a swoop of familiar laughter and Albus has to bite back the wretched howl that threatens to spill from his lips. Their space is too small to contain any of it.

When Albus finally wrenches himself away from the glass he is quite alone, and the room is silent and still.

There’s nothing left but a dusty mirror, full of ghosts and shadows.

Chapter Text

“It’s freezing cold.” Harry watches Draco lick his ice cream in a very distracting fashion. “Nobody eats ice cream at this time of year.”

“I do,” Draco replies. He licks away an errant drop of creamy vanilla and smirks at Harry over the top of his cone. “Something the matter, Potter?”

“No.” Harry adjusts himself in his trousers and tries not to stare as Malfoy flicks his tongue out, gathering a little more vanilla on it and letting out a low mmm which goes straight to Harry’s cock. “Can you hurry up and eat that?” Harry pleads, not at all desperately.

“Why?” Draco gives Harry an innocent look, running his tongue over his lips. “I can’t believe my eating an ice cream is bothering you so much.”

“It’s just…stupid.” Harry glares at Draco, strongly suspecting he knows exactly what he’s doing. “There’s no need to fellate it.”

Draco coughs back a laugh. “Filthy, filthy mind.”

“Bugger off.”

“I think you’re really a bit of a pervert, Harry.” Draco licks from the rim of the cone upwards, his eyes glinting. “I’m trying to enjoy a festive treat—perfectly innocently I might add—and here you are, talking about blow jobs.” He tuts under his breath, letting out another sinful groan. For some inexplicable reason he arches his neck as if to expose the curve of his throat, the bob of his Adam’s apple and the angular slant of his jaw. “I refuse to be objectified.”

“Malfoy.” Harry’s voice comes out in a low growl as he steps closer to Draco.

“Yes, Potter?” Draco gives Harry a beatific smile. “Can I help you with anything?”

Harry bites back a groan and pulls Draco into a fierce kiss, which he eagerly returns. His mouth is cold from the biting winter air and his kisses taste vanilla-sweet and decadent. Harry is dimly aware of the splat of an ice cream on the cobbled street as Draco surges closer to Harry and kisses him with wild abandon.

“Your ice cream—” Harry mumbles against Draco’s mouth.

“Fuck the ice cream. Do you think you can Apparate us without splinching yourself, or are you too horny to remember how to do magic?”

“You’re impossible.” Harry pulls back from the kiss and tries to glare at Draco, but his face refuses to cooperate. I’m trying to be cross because you're a bloody tease quickly slips into sappy smile territory and Harry rolls his eyes at himself. He brushes Draco’s hair back from his face. “Impossible,” he repeats, fondly.

“I try.” Draco laughs, his face happy and expressive. The realisation that he can make Draco look so at ease and unburdened still makes Harry's heart flip. It took a long time for Draco to lower his guard, the pinched, drawn expression on his face slowly smoothing out into something resembling contentment. Seeing Draco so unfiltered and relaxed makes Harry warm all over, like sitting by a toasty fire drinking mulled cider. “You owe me an ice cream.”

“I do.” Harry clears his throat and leans in for another kiss, slower this time. Even those soft kisses still get his heart racing and he pulls Draco close against his body until the kiss isn’t soft and slow at all. He pulls back just enough to catch Draco smiling like a Cheshire cat. “I could make it up to you?” Harry offers.

“I think you should.” Draco looks at his ruined treat, watching the liquid seep into the cracks between the cobbles. “I’m very sad about my ice cream.”

“I bet you are.” Harry grins at Draco. “Maybe I can cheer you up with another one?”

Draco snorts under his breath and Apparates them back to their bedroom, unbuttoning his coat and yanking off his scarf. “I’m sure you can think of better ways to make it up to me. Perhaps something less vanilla?”

“Yeah.” Harry tugs off his jumper and settles over Draco on the bed, sinking into another gloriously sticky kiss. “I can do that.”

Chapter Text

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Nick's boyfriend is obsessed with romantic comedies.

There was the time Nick came home to find a very naked Harry, lounging on his sofa eating grapes. Nick, Harry said, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls. Nick wasn’t even allowed to blow Harry until he made an attempt at sketching Harry’s knob with a stick of charcoal. He made it smaller than usual, just out of spite. A few months later during an unexpected thunderstorm, Harry refused to take shelter in a nearby pub. Instead he started quoting Rachel McAdams and looked particularly doleful, soaking wet and shivering. Nick took pity on him, dutifully delivered Ryan Gosling’s lines and gave him a snog so they could fuck off inside and get a pint of lager.

When it comes to Harry, because Nick is what the movies might call a fool in love, he entertains Harry's interests. He doesn't complain when Harry puts on Nicholas Sparks films to accompany their brilliant Sunday roasts with lashings of gravy. He listens to every peculiar Nick and Harry version of Harry’s favourite rom-coms. He goes along with whatever ridiculous ideas Harry comes up with, and that fond ball of warmth inside his chest swells a little more every time.

Nick’s always ready to indulge Harry's propensity to go straight for the romantic comedies section on Netflix. Which explains why he’s currently rowing a boat in the lake by a posh country house, feeling very Hugh Grant off of Bridget Jones.

“I think you’re more of a Mark Darcy than a Daniel Cleaver,” Harry says. He eats a strawberry and holds out the punnet. “Want one?”

“Can’t.” Nick nods at the oars he’s currently holding in a vice-like grip. He's just discovered a deep-seated fear of lake slime and the beady-eyed fish that keep flopping out of the water. “I’ve got my hands full rowing your lazy arse around.”

“It’s not lazy. You love my arse.” Harry grins at Nick and looks around, before shifting closer. It makes the boat wobble alarmingly and Nick clutches the oars tighter. “Do you remember when they fell in?”

Nick does remember, and the very idea of it is more horror than romantic comedy. “Oi. Get back in your seat, you pest. There’s nothing sexy about pneumonia.”

“I’d look after you,” Harry says, solemnly. He would, too. Nick’s heart gives a little flutter. “Champagne?”

Nick decides to let go of the oars because booze does sound like an excellent idea. Asti Spumante from ASDA isn’t exactly champagne, but it also costs a fiver and weekends in the country don’t come cheap. Nick’s job at Yorkshire FM isn’t going to stretch to a bottle of Bolly and neither is Harry’s job as a wedding singer. The sweet, fizzy wine bubbles against Nick’s tongue and he finds he doesn’t care about any of it. He loves that Harry pretends their shit bottle of cheap plonk is posh champagne. He loves that Harry made him come out here to row them around like a twat. Most of all, he loves that Harry always wants Nick to star opposite him in all the films he rewrites in that weird, earnest way of his.

“I’ve never felt like much of a romantic hero,” Nick says.

“You’re mine.” Harry grabs the Asti and necks it from the bottle, swiping the back of his hand across his lips. “Always have been.” Nick can just sense a film quote coming. “You had me at hello.”

“Don’t tell fibs.” They were friends long before Harry pounced on Nick coming out of the bathroom in a grotty club in Manchester. The corridor stank faintly of piss and they both tasted like vodka Red Bull, but it was the best snog of Nick's life. Nick still can’t quite believe Harry had been pining over him for years before that. He doesn’t like the thought of all that wasted time for a start, but it’s also Harry. Fit, lovely, charming Harry with the nice house in Holmes Chapel and half the town in love with him.

“I’m not fibbing.” Harry shrugs. He gets on his knees and the boat teeters towards the reeds. “Reckon anyone would see if I gave you a blowie? I brought a blanket.”

Nick isn’t a prude but there are three people fishing, a posh couple walking their dog and a healthy amount of ducks flapping around in the ripples caused by their boat. He’s pretty sure they couldn’t get away with it and he doesn’t fancy being arrested for exposing himself to a disgruntled Mallard.

“Save it for later.” Nick leans forward and gives Harry a kiss to placate him. His lips are sweet from the strawberries and Asti. “Tasty.”

“You too.” Harry shuffles around until he has his head in Nick’s lap. He blinks up at him, his lips curving into a smile. “This okay?”

“Yeah.” Nick runs a hand through Harry’s hair and tugs lightly at one of the curls. “That’s okay. Keep it PG, Styles.”

“Only until later,” Harry replies. He shoots Nick a wicked grin and sucks on a strawberry in a way that’s guaranteed to give Nick an inconvenient semi. “Do you think they’ll do them chocolates on the pillow? Proper romantic, they are.”

Nick gives himself a mental pat on the back for picking up a box of Thornton’s from the garage when Harry was off getting Nick a shit coffee from one of those Costa machines.

“If they don’t, I reckon we’ve got it covered,” Nick says.

“Yeah?” Harry beams up at Nick.

“Yeah, maybe.” Nick picks up the oars again and rows them away from the reeds. “It’s nice, this.”

“Really nice,” Harry agrees. He smirks. “It’s going to be even nicer when you’re shagging me later.”

“Oh my god.” Nick rows more quickly, suddenly eager to get back to shore. “You’re a bloody terror, you.”

“I am not,” Harry says, affronted. He stretches his spidery arms and closes his eyes, letting the rays of the autumn sun warm his face. “I'm just a boy, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love me.”

Nick smiles down at Harry and wonders if he looks as misty-eyed as he feels.

“You're actually lying down,” he replies. “On that bum I'm going to be copping a feel of later.”

Harry laughs, a great belly laugh that makes Nick warm to the tips of his toes. When Harry opens his eyes he's looking a bit misty-eyed himself, his eyes shining with mirth and something else that makes Nick's heart do an odd flip in his chest. “You're so romantic, Grim.”

“Thank you,” Nick says, proudly.

Harry makes Nick warble Moulin Rouge songs all the way back to shore, and Nick’s so stupidly in love with him it hurts.

Chapter Text

Minerva is of the view that Severus Snape and a good glass of Scotch go very nicely together.

Minerva knows what the students say about Professor Snape and there’s no doubt that Severus has his flaws, but as she has yet to meet anybody without any faults, she pays them little mind. He has a sharp mind, acerbic wit and Minerva rather enjoys his company when Hogwarts is quiet and the long winter evenings stretch out ahead of them.

“I do believe Albus was wearing earmuffs the other evening,” Minerva says. She sips a mouthful of her peaty whisky and sighs contentedly. “Can you imagine?”

“Unfortunately, yes.” Severus wiggles his toes in front of the fire, holes in his black socks fastidiously darned and the heel almost worn through. He curls his fingers around his glass; black, fingerless woollen gloves keeping his hands warm. “Albus has never met an appalling fashion statement he didn’t like.”

“Very true.” Minerva checks the cuckoo clock on the wall, watching the ‘Albus’ hand ticking slowly. “He should be joining us shortly.”

“I suppose I shall have to listen to more Potter-related updates.” Severus mutters something impolite under his breath. “That wretched child is going to be the death of me.”

Minerva politely declines to mention that might actually be true. “Now, now. He’s a boy, Severus. He’s also nothing like his father, however much you choose to remain blind to that fact. Besides, remember our pact?”

“I’m not allowed to be rude about Gryffindor—or Gryffindors—if I wish to continue drinking your whisky,” Severus grumbles. He purses his lips. “It’s quite challenging. At least I’m allowed to speak freely when I’m sharing rhubarb and custard flavoured brandy with Albus.” Severus shudders. “I would be quite happy to stop drinking that.”

Minerva laughs. “I can’t imagine Albus tolerates anti-Gryffindor sentiment for one minute.”

Severus pulls a face. “Sometimes he gives me a lemon sherbet to shut me up. The fact that I enjoy the company of Gryffindors over the staff members from my own house is simply another cross I have to bear.” He heaves a dramatic sigh and gives his toes another wiggle, sliding his chair closer to the fire. “Although I have long suspected Albus would have done well in Slytherin.”

“I imagine Albus would have done well in any house,” Minerva replies. “Are you prepared for the holidays, Severus?”

Severus arches an eyebrow at Minerva. “Of course. I finished draping the last strands of tinsel over my cauldrons yesterday evening. I plan to bake some mince pies tomorrow singing along to whatever festive classics I can find on the wireless. You really must come and see the dungeons when you have a spare moment. My Christmas tree is quite something.”

Minerva snorts and tops up their glasses with a flick of her wand. “I think you gave yourself away with tinsel on the cauldrons.”

“Really?” Severus taps his finger against his lips. “I thought the festive songs would have done it.”

“Do you have a tree?” Minerva asks. She hasn’t visited Severus’ quarters in recent times, largely on account of the sign that says Go Away on the door. He seems to prefer visiting the Tower in any event. In part, Minerva suspects, because he’s nosy, in equal part because the dungeons are freezing. Severus seems to prefer belligerently wrapping himself in endless layers rather than casting a heating charm he could perform with his eyes closed.

“Of course I don’t have a tree.” Severus rolls his eyes. “I have a Venomous Tentacula that’s particularly vicious at this time of year and a new pot of Thyme which I hope might keep Peeves away.” He sniffs and studies his hand. “Besides, you have enough festive fripperies for both of us.”

Minerva hardly thinks her tasteful candles and small, largely undecorated pine tree count as festive fripperies but she decides to let it slide. She looks at the carefully wrapped parcel for Severus under the tree—socks, a bottle of Scotch and an excellent text on potions. Next to the cheerful, burgundy bag is a small, lumpy gift, plainly wrapped in brown paper and adorned only with a name-tag that reads M. McGonagall in spidery hand. The sight of it leaves a strange lump in Minerva’s throat, and she has another sip of her drink to chase the maudlin feeling away.

“We could toast the season together on the day if you find yourself feeling unexpectedly Christmassy,” Minerva says, quietly. “I have no plans.”

Severus’ cheeks flush, although that could be on account of the heat from the fire. He takes another sip of his whisky and meets Minerva’s gaze, his eyes dark and his expression solemn. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Minerva replies. She watches the fire’s embers crackle and burn, choosing her words carefully. “You will always be welcome here.”

They drink their whisky in comfortable silence, broken only by the hiss and spit of the fire and the flames burn brighter as shadows creep over the walls.

Chapter Text

Severus isn’t entirely sure why he’s standing in Ottery St Catchpole on a bitterly cold winter’s evening, clutching a bag of poorly wrapped gifts. It’s possible he has finally succumbed to the senility of old age. He’s certainly getting far too soft in his later years. He’s too easily swayed by Potter blinking at him earnestly through his wire-rimmed glasses, or a watery-eyed Arthur telling Severus he feels like family now. Severus doesn’t think brewing a few potions for Molly and Arthur’s eldest or having regular Friday evening drinks with Potter makes him family, but Arthur has always been prone to gross exaggeration and moments of Gryffindorish sentimentality. Even Hermione Granger—usually the most sensible of the bunch—tried to trick Severus into doing something enjoyable by acquiring a rare potions text from the Ministry library and dangling it like bait in exchange for the promise of a festive visit Ottery St Catchpole.

“You’ll come to The Burrow on Boxing Day won’t you, Professor?” Granger seemed reluctant to hand over the book until she had all but elicited an Unbreakable Vow from Severus. “I do think Harry would be happy to see you.”

“Potter and I see quite enough of one another as it is,” Severus replied. He extended his hand and took the proffered book. “But I suppose I can make an appearance if it’s that important to you.”

“It is. To me and to Harry.” Granger had left looking pleased with herself.

Standing here now with the twang of music from a boisterous family party filtering into the still night air, Severus feels distinctly out of place. He’s not even sure what one wears to a party. He settled on a plain black jumper and a pair of nearly-black trousers, in the hope that his sombre outfit might ward off rambunctious Weasleys hoping to engage Severus in fun. Severus Snape is not the partying sort. After much deliberation he decided Muggle clothes would be best. As tempting as it was to wear his old school robes and terrify the living daylights out of Granger's newly betrothed, he can’t imagine Potter in anything other than those scruffy, form-fitting jeans and soft jumpers he’s so fond of wearing. Not that Severus pays a great deal of attention to what Harry wears.

Severus glares at the door, before knocking on it. He sincerely hopes he hasn’t been invited over for an engagement announcement. Harry continues to insist his relationship with Ginevra Weasley was nothing more than a fleeting passion—I’ve got my eye on somebody else, Severus—but the holidays have a tendency to stir up romantic notions. Gryffindors are particularly vulnerable to being tempted into making grand gestures after a few too many mulled wines, in the presence of a roaring fire and a twig of errant mistletoe.

Thank goodness Severus is not susceptible to such foolishness.

“Severus.” The door opens and a warm gust of cinnamon-scented air assaults Severus. Harry’s smile widens, and he nudges his glasses higher on his nose. “You came. I wasn’t sure if you would.”

“Neither was I.” Severus peers around Harry’s shoulder, trying to decide if it’s too late to return home to his plum brandy and his annual seasonal read, A Christmas Carol. He feels something of a kinship with Ebenezer Scrooge. “I have gifts.” He shoves the bag of gifts towards Harry, who takes it with a look of surprise.

“Blimey. That’s good of you. You really didn’t have to do.”

Severus glares down his nose at Harry, impertinent child that he is. He appears to have a poorly-knitted Christmas pudding on his jumper. A man has no right to look handsome in an atrocious jumper like that.

“I believe it’s what one does at Christmas, or am I mistaken?”

“No, of course you’re not mistaken.” Harry stands to one side. “Come in, you must be freezing.”

“How good of you to notice, Potter.” Severus rolls his eyes and steps inside. He debates leaving his coat on so he can make a quick exit, but Harry seems eager to take it from him. With a long-suffering sigh he unbuttons the coat and yanks off his scarf, handing both to Harry who takes them with all the eagerness of a house-elf. He watches his coat and scarf float off with a couple of flicks of Harry’s wand and resigns himself to an evening making small talk with a gaggle of ginger-haired Weasleys.

“The kids have gone to bed,” Harry says. “It’s just us adults now.”

Severus bites back a thank Christ for that because he doesn’t think Harry—or the new parents—would appreciate his relief at being spared the company of their offspring. Severus has even less time for children than he does adults.

“I hope there’s booze.”

“Lots of it,” Harry replies, cheerfully. His eyes are bright and his cheeks ruddy with the warmth of the house. He smiles up at Severus in a way that makes Severus’ chest tighten. It’s likely indigestion from the rich food.

“Good evening, Severus. Welcome.” Arthur claps Severus on the shoulder when he enters the living room. As expected, the small space is full of Weasleys—Bill and his wife Fleur (Severus never understood the attraction with Veelas, but then his inclinations lie elsewhere), Ron and Hermione who will always be Weasley and Granger to Severus, Ginevra, Molly and Charlie. George and Percy Weasley are notable by their absence.

“George had too much port. He’s gone to bed with a headache.” Harry fills in the gaps, gesturing vaguely at an empty chair. “Percy’s at work. He came for lunch yesterday.” Harry seems strangely nervous, chattering on as if to fill in any awkward silence. “Would you like some fruit cake? Or some booze. Why don’t you have some booze? Everyone, Severus brought presents.”

“They’re really not much—”

“—Oh how kind.” Molly gives Severus a hug looking oddly tearful. She sniffles and lowers her voice to a watery whisper. “Do look after our boy, won’t you Severus?”

“Excuse me?” Severus pulls back, looking around to see if anyone else heard Molly’s words. What boy? He hopes he’s not been asked over to babysit. Nobody else seems to be paying any attention, all of them tearing into their gifts with enthusiasm. He can't help but smirk when Weasley eyes his new book—Defending Oneself From Horrible Hexes—with trepidation. It's a book every Auror should read. If he chooses to believe Severus might be planning to hex him, well. Severus can hardly be blamed for such outlandish presumptions. He has precious little time for hexing anybody, these days.

The doorbell rings and Ginevra gets to her feet, whispering something to Harry which makes him flush. It sends a spike of jealousy through Severus and he has a good mind to tell them both it’s rude to whisper in company.

“It’s such an emotional time of year, isn’t it?” Suspiciously misty-eyed, Molly pours Severus a piping hot mug of mulled wine. “This is a secret family recipe.” She smiles at him. “And of course, you’re part of our family too.”

“Thank you.” Severus isn’t quite sure what to do with himself, standing awkwardly with his mug of wine as everybody crows over their small gifts. He notices Harry frowning at the empty bag, before folding it carefully and placing it under the enormous tree. Potter curses when a bauble falls off and bounces off his head.

“That was really kind of you.” Rubbing the back of his head, Harry moves next to Severus and helps himself to a mug of wine. “Dead thoughtful.”

“Hmm.” Severus isn’t sure quite why he didn’t include Harry’s gift with the others, but the sentiment behind it left him feeling exposed. The rare silver Snitch charmed to bring light in places where simple spells won't work was an extravagance Severus rarely indulges in. It shows he's paid far too much attention to Potter's witterings over the last few months—I'm not scared of much, but I don't really like the dark. Sometimes I dream I'm trapped somewhere and there's no way to turn on the lights. It's rare for Severus to be quite so thoughtful and the small gift burns in his pocket. He glances at Harry. “Your gift is elsewhere. I would prefer to give it to you in private.”

“Oh.” Harry’s glum expression clears, and he looks at Severus. A strange expression crosses his face. “Thanks, um. Mine too. For you. The others got you gifts. They’re under the tree. We can do that later, if you like?”

Severus harrumphs because he sincerely hopes he can leave after this drink. “Yes. Perhaps.”

“Mum, dad.” Ginevra returns with a broad smile on her face, clutching the hand of a very familiar Slytherin. “This is Millie.” She gestures to the others. “You remember Millicent Bulstrode, I’m sure.”

Millie’s eyes widen as she clocks Severus, and she turns to Ginevra. “You didn’t tell me Professor Snape was coming.”

“Yes.” Ginervra winks at Bulstrode. “Harry invited him.”

“Really?” Bulstrode runs a hand through her dark, cropped hair. “Well I never.”

The chatter continues around them and Severus takes a large gulp of his wine, deciding that if he’s not going to be allowed to leave soon the least he can do is take advantage of the free booze.

*

On his way out of the bathroom, Severus bumps into Ginevra and Potter having a tête-à-tête in the hallway. Severus really should know better than to earwig on private conversations, and yet curiosity gets the better of him. He slips back into the shadows, straining to catch their hushed words.

“I wish you wouldn’t take the piss. It puts me right off my game when I’m trying to flirt.”

Ginevra laughs. “You’re rubbish at that at the best of times.”

“Yeah,” Harry agrees. He sounds like he’s smiling. “Millie seems nice.”

“She’s brilliant. I’m potty about her.”

“I can tell.” Harry clears his throat. “I’m going to raid the pantry for some mince pies. Want to come?”

“No.” Ginervra gives Harry a hug and Severus resists the urge to hex her. “Good luck.”

“Thanks. I’ll need it.”

Severus can’t abide mince pies, but he follows Harry nevertheless, curious what kind of luck might be required to indulge in festive treats. Harry turns to Severus when they enter a small, dark kitchen, lit only by the twinkling magical fairy lights on a messy Christmas tree.

“You’re not very good at spying, you know. Didn’t you do that for ages?”

“I’d thank you not to remind me of that.” Severus runs his tongue over his lips and watches Harry closely. “You’re trying to flirt?”

“I might have been.” Harry grins. “With you, actually. I have been for a while. Didn’t you get that?”

Severus turns his eyes heavenward. “No, Potter. It's rare that people have either the inclination or the audacity to flirt with me. I’ve become so used to not being flirted with, it’s hardly something I pick up on when it’s happening. I’m afraid you will need to speak more plainly, in future.”

“That’s rich, coming from you.” Harry extracts his wand and flicks it, a lumpy present floating precariously towards Severus. “Your present.”

“Oh.” Severus looks at it, before extracting the gift for Harry from his trouser pocket. He puts it on the counter next to Harry, resisting the urge to brush his fingers against Harry’s appalling Christmas jumper. “I suppose you may as well have yours too, if we’re exchanging gifts.”

“Thanks.” Harry turns the gift in his hands. “When I went through the bag, I thought you might not have bothered with something for me.”

“As you’re the sole reason I’m here, that would have been rather a strange approach,” Severus replies.

“I am?” Harry looks up. He’s close enough that the warm huff of his breath ghosts across Severus’ face. “I thought you came because of Arthur. Or Hermione’s book.”

Severus snorts. “I appreciate the extra effort, but no. I came because for some foolish reason I missed our usual Friday drinks.”

“Yeah.” Harry gives Severus a warm smile. “Me too. I’m glad you came.”

“So am I,” Severus replies. He’s surprised to find he means it. The evening is already a good deal more tolerable when he’s in Harry’s company instead of fending off cryptic comments from Molly Weasley. “I thought I might have been invited to babysit.”

Harry nearly chokes with laughter. “Why the fuck would anyone invite you to do that?”

Severus scowls, because there’s no need for Harry to be quite so rude. “Molly mentioned something about looking after her boy.”

“Oh.” Harry’s cheeks flush and he runs his tongue over his lips, holding Severus’ gaze. “That would be me.”

“Is that so?” Severus puts his unopened gift on the side and takes Harry’s from his hands, moving closer. He slides his hand over Harry’s arm and hums thoughtfully. “You don’t strike me as the sort to need much looking after. I’d warrant you’re quite capable of looking after yourself. And you are certainly no longer a boy.”

“Definitely not.” Harry’s breath shakes and he pushes close to Severus. “I’m all man.” He gives Severus a wide grin.

“You’re a brat.” Severus frowns at Harry but keeps him close, hot and eager in his arms. “A cheeky one, at that.”

“I was going to wait until everybody went to bed so I could get you by the fire and talk to you properly.” Harry chuckles under his breath. “Although I hoped we wouldn’t be doing much talking.”

Severus laughs. “I’m not sure Gryffindors should be trusted by roaring fires during a season that encourages the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. It makes them prone to sentimental declarations.”

“Perhaps.” Harry tips his head to one side and contemplates Severus. “Would you have turned me down?”

“It's been some time since I have been able to deny you anything.” Severus slides Harry’s glasses off his face and puts them on the counter. “As strange as I may consider some of your desires to be.”

“I put your coat in my room,” Harry says, breathlessly. “That was my other trick.”

“How very Slytherin of you.” Severus slides his hand down to Harry’s backside and pulls him closer, pressing his lips against the warm skin on Harry’s neck and tasting the steady thrum of his pulse.

“Rubbish idea, really.” Harry arches his neck with a soft groan. “I’m sharing a room with George and Charlie.”

“Then it’s a good job I have a perfectly adequate bed at home, that I’m not sharing with anyone.” Severus moves his lips over the slant of Harry’s jaw, the light prickle of stubble rough against his kisses. “Other than you, that is,” Severus murmurs. “I'm quite content to share my bed with you, with very little persuasion.”

Their declarations have held such languid candour, it takes Severus by surprise when Harry surges forward to kiss him. Their mouths connect with an oomph and Harry proceeds to kiss with the kind of fire and heat Severus supposes he should have expected from Potter. Severus presses Harry back against the counter and pushes his hands into Harry’s hair, returning the gesture until they're both breathless. The kiss is hot, open-mouthed and filthy and the slide of Harry's tongue against his own ignites fires in Severus he thought long since extinguished.

Harry grinds closer, his breath leaving him in ragged grunts. He works chilly hands under Severus' jumper and in an uncoordinated, desperately charming fashion, appears to be trying to get as close as he can to Severus. It's as though simple kisses and the press of body against body simply isn't close enough. As Severus growls against Harry's lips and slides a hand down to squeeze his delectable backside, it dimly occurs to him they’re making a spectacle of themselves in Molly Weasley’s kitchen. Not that he cares. It's been a long time since Severus has made a public nuisance of himself and he has no desire to slow things down. Months of conversation and dancing around the question of their comfortable companionship being anything more than friendship is quite enough foreplay, as far as Severus is concerned.

“Severus?” Harry pulls back from the kiss, his eyes bright and his lips red. “Care to Apparate us back to this nice, quiet bedroom of yours?”

“Something on your mind, Harry?” Severus can’t resist a smirk.

“Yeah, you could say that.” Harry pulls Severus close for another kiss, gentler this time. “I’d like to get on my knees and suck your cock, for a start,” he mumbles.

Severus grabs their presents and Apparates them quicker than you can say thanks for the mulled wine we’re leaving now and walks Harry back towards his bed.

Perhaps he could get used to seasonal Gryffindor declarations, after all.

Chapter Text

“Tell me.” You whisper it quietly enough that there’s always hope he might not hear.

You can’t hide the thrum of your heart from the press of his cool palm against your hot skin, or the way your breath gasps and stutters when he touches you. You can hide this, though. The deep-seated fear that this is the moment he leaves. You can hide the nervous quake in your belly and the feverish workings of your mind. Knowing is worse than not knowing. Harry's been teetering on the brink of saying something all night, and the weight of his unspoken words have driven you to the darkest places. He ate chocolate fondant and laughed about one of Weasley's stupid jokes while you fought to maintain a modicum of composure as your imagination conjured up the thousand different ways he might break your heart. You didn't push when you had a nightcap at the Leaky Cauldron and he picked at a bobble on his jumper before slipping his hand into yours. You didn't make him talk when you decided to take a stroll in the moonlight, walking off the drinks and dinner. You didn't ask when he pushed inside you and looked as if something he saw in your face made him hurt.

You ask him now. Sweaty, spent and satiated. You make sure that this time, he hears it. “You've had something on your mind all night.” It sounds bright, breezy, couldn't-give-a-fuck. “Tell me.”

“I love you,” Harry replies. The raw, unexpected simplicity of the words seem to take him by surprise. Shutter-sharp, bold consonants and the curve and lilt of vowels prick and slide against your skin. His breath is warm with the heat of his confession, his heartbeat solid against yours.

You’re a Malfoy and you know etiquette. You know it’s polite to say I love you too or to cut off the sentiment with a half-hearted thank you.

You say neither of those things. You put on the smile that father always said would melt a young witch’s heart. It’s difficult to say much at all when everything between you is sweat, heat and an impossible dream finally finding its voice.

“You don’t have to say it back,” Harry adds. His words are hurried, spilling from his lips with the eager ease of his earlier kisses. “It’s too soon.” He laughs and rubs the scruff on his jawline, giving you the kind of sheepish smile that turns everything inside out. “I’m not one for beating around the bush.”

“You’re not one for bush at all,” you say, because apparently you’re a twat when your boyfriend confesses his love.

Harry raises his eyebrows and laughs, his cheeks flushed pink. “No. That’s true.”

“Neither am I.” You want to take your words and mold them into something better. You want to craft them like clay with quick precision and the deft artistry of somebody who knows how to love, how to let themselves be loved and how to say I love you back. You could recite Ludo Bagman’s most complex work verbatim. You could talk about Ministry politics with the casual air of somebody who knows their history, their present and has a very sharp eye on the future. You could say all manner of impressive, clever things, but somehow your throat is so tight you can barely even say his name.

Harry clears his throat. “Did you think I didn’t?”

“Perhaps.” You take a breath, filling your lungs with night air. Now would be the time to mention that Harry’s love has always been something you don’t believe you deserve. Instead, you chew your thumbnail and count the shadows on the ceiling. Not for the first time, you wish you were braver.

“Yeah, well.” Harry shrugs and turns onto his back. He looks up at the ceiling too, and blinks. You miss that he’s no longer looking at you. “I do. I think I have for a while. I don’t know much about love—not this kind of love, anyway—but I do.”

Silence becomes easier than the possibility of saying it all out loud. You worry that as soon as you start to voice your feelings you might never stop. It’s been a long time coming, this declaration under the glow of the night’s silver moon. It’s been months of pretending it’s just fucking. Months after that of awkward dinners that slowly became comfortable dinners that flowed into cosy breakfasts and stretched into another restless night. This is just another shift, another turn, another spin, but it’s different to the rest. This is the one where you have to tear open your chest and let him see your heart. One minute you can pretend you're safe, the next you're lying in bed wondering how to tell Harry Potter I love you too.

“You’re quiet.” Harry’s voice is low, the curtains flicking against the wall in the night’s breeze. “It doesn’t matter if you’re not there yet.” You tilt your head to the side and watch his throat bob. “It doesn’t matter if you’ll never be there.” He sounds like he’s trying to convince himself. You know him well enough to understand he’s trying to fill the silence with words because it’s better than listening to the dull ache of quiet rejection.

“Harry.” You manage to say his name, which is progress. “Don’t be stupid.”

He turns to you and frowns, the hurt etched on his face. “I’m sorry?”

“I said don’t be so fucking stupid.” You let them come, those words. You take his face in your hands and you kiss him until you’re both breathless. “Of course I love you. You’re such a stupid prat.” Now you’ve started you can’t stop, laughter bubbling from your lips without any filter. I’ve been in love with you for such a long time your mind whispers, too quiet for him to hear.

“Dickhead.” Harry sounds so fond it warms your body all over. He huffs out a shaky breath. “You had me worried there.”

“Sorry.” You sober, the words no longer quite so big or quite so hard. “I’m not very good at any of this.” What you want to say is this need for you terrifies me and I’m scared of telling you, in case it terrifies you too. “Father said it’s gauche to share too much emotion.”

Harry grunts. “He did, did he?” His angers simmers and you can hear the note of irritation in his clipped response.

“You disagree?” You run your fingers through the thatch of hair on Harry’s chest before resting your cheek there, so you can draw courage from the steady beat of his heart. A lion’s roar.

“I disagree.” Harry doesn’t say I think your dad’s a cretin or anything that might offend you, even when you both know exactly what your father is. You appreciate his discretion. “I don’t think there’s anything gauche about it at all.”

“No. Neither do I.” You turn your head and press kisses to his chest, moving down, down, down. “I can’t believe you thought I wouldn’t say it back.” You lick the gentle slope of his belly and muffle a laugh against his skin.

“I can’t believe you said it back.” Harry slides a hand into your hair and presses up. “Not so difficult after all, was it?”

“No,” you reply.

It's the easiest (and hardest) thing in the world.

Chapter Text

“There’s this singer.” Wil adjusts his tie—it’s a he sort of evening tonight. His first performance as what the Muggles call a drag king seems as good a night as any for it. “Young lad, wears a lot of expensive floral. More money than sense if you ask me.” He brushes his finger over the starched, white collar of his shirt and adjusts the satin lapels of his blazer. “I thought I’d take a leaf out of his book. Floral suits aren’t nearly as pricey if you can make your own. It might appeal to the young people.”

“I think you’re going to appeal to young and old, looking like that.” Min’s eyes flash with a possessive heat, and she meets Wil’s eyes in the mirror. “You look splendid.”

“I look weather beaten,” Wil corrects. The lines of age crease Wil’s face and his hair has the thick wiriness of grey, the black quiff he loved faded away forever. His face has the crevices and dips of years well lived and his lips have lost their youthful plumpness. His hands are gnarled and wrinkled from decades of tending to the garden during the summer. He finds he doesn’t mind, though. Very few lines on his face were caused by grief, and the majority are reminders of happy times. Wil has laughed a lot and proposes to continue to laugh without reserve for a long time yet. “I won’t be able to do any onstage acrobatics, I’m afraid.”

“In a suit like that you don’t need fancy gimmicks.” Minerva pats the bun, neatly knotted at the back of her head. “Do you have a little time before going onstage?”

“Minerva McGonagall.” Wil snorts with laughter and turns from the mirror to look at Minerva properly. He lights his pipe, puffing on it and giving Min what he hopes is a very rakish grin. “You saucy minx.”

“Wil.” Min rolls her eyes, but her smile widens. “You’re making me sound like a teenager.”

“Exactly as it should be. Tonight’s a perfect night to behave like youngsters again,” Wil says. He loves that Min still seems to be interested in sneaking off for a cheeky fondle somewhere. All the he today, she tomorrow business and the fact Wil is typically quite content without being on the receiving end during their intimate moments could have made things quite challenging with the wrong person. Wil has never been terribly good at explaining himself and has a tendency to trip over his words when he tries to talk about serious things. Minerva—wonderful, intelligent, brilliant Min—takes it all in her stride, just as she does with everything else.

Will picks up his guitar and gives it a quick strum. “Do you think they’ll like it,” he says, anxiously. “The music might be a bit old fashioned for some.”

Minerva tuts under her breath and Wil has the distinct impression he’s about to be scolded.

“If anybody has any complaints, they will have to take them up with me.”

“Aye.” Wil chuckles under his breath. “In that case, I’ll be fine.” He frowns and loosens his tie a little. It’s getting a bit warm in the small room. “I’d kill for a glass of Rosmerta’s special brew.”

“Save the special brew for after your show,” Minerva says, amused. “Rosmerta was flirting with you earlier.”

Wil puts down his guitar and moves closer to Minerva. “With you and me both. Rosmerta’s always flirting with somebody. She’s a good lass, I don’t know many that would put me on stage with my creaky bones and even creakier guitar playing.”

Wil.” Minerva glares at Wil. “If you don’t stop that right now, I’m going to have to give you a good talking to.”

“Sorry, love.” Wil presses a kiss to Minerva’s cheek. “I’m nervous.” He wraps his arms around Min and rests his head on her shoulder. Minerva has wonderful tartan capes which are soft and comforting to the touch. Wil rubs his cheek against the material with a sigh of pleasure. “Dance with me?”

“Always.” Minerva turns them round the room. It’s a slow shuffle initially, until Wil decides to show off and twist them around until they fall into a heap on the nearby sofa.

“Minerva McGonagall, I’m hopelessly in love with you,” Wil says, breathlessly. “Even if you did just step on my poor toes.”

“I did no such thing.” Minerva laughs and pushes herself off the sofa, handing Wil his guitar. “It’s time, Wil. You’re going to knock ‘em dead.”

“I just might, with my singing. It’ll be like Avada Kedavra, the musical.”

“Honestly.” Minerva tuts. “Would it help if I said break a leg?”

Wil shakes his head, gloomily. “Not particularly. There’s a good chance I might do that, too. My knees haven’t been the same since that bout of gardening got a bit too energetic and you know how my arthritis has been playing up.”

“Wil?”

“Yes?”

“Do shut up. How about you get through your songs and then we can continue being young and foolish in your quarters for a while? That suit has been getting me all worked up since you put it on.”

Wil grins at Minerva. “There’s nothing young and foolish about the things we get up to, Min. Like a fine wine, you and I simply get better with age.” He winks. “That goes for the things we do in my quarters, too. Nobody knows one another like we do.”

“You’re a terrible flirt.” Minerva stands and gestures to the door. It looks almost as if she’s blushing, which is nigh on impossible because Minerva never blushes. “Go out there in that dashing suit of yours and sing me a love song.”

Wil nods at Minerva and takes a breath. “That, I can definitely do.”

He walks through the rickety corridors of the Three Broomsticks and steps through the curtain, to take to the bright lights of the stage.

It might only be the Three Broomsticks on a Thursday night, but that doesn't stop Wil's hands from shaking with nerves. Rosmerta winks at him as she wipes down the bar and one of the Weasley boys cheers far too loudly. Min must have told him to do that. The bar is busy but not full, and the magical microphone gives a little hoot when Wil stands too close.

When Wil's eyes find Minerva's she gives him one of the smiles that make Wil feel warm and gooey like a good caramel. He picks up his guitar, strums the first chord and the little stage suddenly feels like home.

Chapter Text

Scorpius is driving Harry fucking insane.

It started when he put on a shirt so sheer Harry could see the outline of his torso, the dusky peaks of his nipples, the small H tattoo just above his hip and the swirl and curve of the phoenix feather tattooed on his arm. It continued throughout the evening, as Scorpius slid his fingers over Harry’s thigh, running them up the seam of his jeans and murmuring all kinds of filth in Harry’s ear. By the time they finally left Draco’s dinner party, Harry thought he would be safe. Turns out, he was wrong.

“I think you should blow me right here,” Scorpius says. His breath is hot against Harry’s jaw, his mouth working over the tightly clenched line of it. “In the back of the taxi.”

Harry didn’t know why the fuck Scorpius wanted to Apparate to Piccadilly Circus just to get a taxi back to Grimmauld Place, but after half an hour with Scorpius practically sitting in his lap, he’s beginning to get the picture.

“Stop, will you?” Harry gently pushes Scorpius back and glares at him. “You’re a bloody menace.” He checks to make sure the driver isn’t paying them any attention and leans in to speak against the shell of Scorpius’ ear. “Anyone would think you’re after a spanking.”

Oh god,” Scorpius breathes. He presses sinfully close to Harry and squeezes his thigh roughly. “Please, can you?”

“Only if you’re good.” Harry tries not to smile. He loves when Scorpius gets all worked up, but he really needs to be less transparent about working Harry up. That goes for his shirts, too. “Tease.”

“A bit.” Scorpius grins and puts his hands in his lap. He cocks his head to the side, contemplating Harry. “Why do you always make me want to climb you like a tree?”

Harry bursts out laughing and the driver glances at them in the rear-view mirror, rolling his eyes.

“You’re so romantic.”

“I know.” Scorpius wriggles in his seat. “I’m also fucking horny. I thought father was going to have a fit when he saw my shirt.”

“I thought your father was going to have a fit when he found us snogging in the downstairs loo,” Harry comments, drily.

That had been too close for comfort. Harry only wanted a piss, but Scorpius had other ideas. It’s taken a while for Draco to get used to the idea of Harry and Scorpius as Harry and Scorpius, and Harry has a feeling that tolerance is largely due to the fact Draco’s convinced himself that Harry’s a eunuch and Scorpius is still a virgin. Harry’s quite happy to encourage those assumptions. He definitely doesn’t want Draco to know the things he gets up to with Scorpius. The thought makes Harry break out into a sweat, and not the good kind.

The taxi pulls to a stop outside Grimmauld Place and Scorpius bounds out, waiting for Harry to pay. Harry rolls his eyes and tips the driver, waiting for the cab to turn the corner before going inside. Scorpius hardly gives Harry time to close the door behind them, before kissing Harry like he’s starved of affection.

Harry is more than happy to oblige when Scorpius is like this, his cock already half-hard from the earlier teasing. He shoves Scorpius hard against the wall and catches his whimpers and pleas in a series of unrelenting kisses. He gets his hands on Scorpius’ gorgeous bum and pulls him close, grinding against him and biting lightly on the most sensitive part of Scorpius’ neck. He knows Scorpius likes this. Harry enjoys it too. He enjoys all of it. He likes it slow, slick and sweaty, when they manage to draw the night out endlessly. He enjoys the times when they experiment, with Harry using toys and their favourite flogger until Scorpius trembles and begs. Harry is probably a dreadful sap, but he also loves the mornings after the night before when Scorpius curls against him, sleep-warm and needy. They spend the day watching with Scorpius bundled up in Harry’s lap, dozing on and off as they drink hot chocolate in their pyjamas. Thank god for the new telly charms that mean they can watch old episodes of Midsomer Murders and snooze on the sofa.

Harry also enjoys nights like tonight just as much as Scorpius does. The nights where Scorpius starts out on a mission to work Harry up to half-hard and desperate, whispering in Harry’s ear that he wants it rough, wants to feel the stretch and thrust of Harry’s cock, wants to fall apart in his arms. Scorpius trusts Harry so completely to hurt him in all the right ways and none of the wrong ones that it makes Harry breathless. He loves every single moment of it. He loves Scorpius. He loves the sex and what comes after it, lying awake as night turns to day. On those nights when sleep evades them, Harry traces words on Scorpius’ skin with hot fingertips and succumbs to the maddening pleasure of Scorpius’ lips and tongue. The morning after brings a piping-hot coffee, the exchange of sections of the Prophet and watching one another when they think the other isn’t looking. Those mornings are lazy and slow; warm with the afterglow from the night before.

“I’ve wanted you all night.” Scorpius pulls Harry from his thoughts and takes the stairs quickly. When they get to the bedroom, Scorpius pushes Harry onto the bed and straddles him. “I always want you. You’re so fucking fit, Harry.”

Harry flicks his wand and murmurs a spell to leave Scorpius naked. He slides a finger over Scorpius’ hole and finds he’s already cast a lubricating charm. Harry presses his fingers into the fleshy part of Scorpius’ backside, spreading his cheeks and biting down on his shoulder. “Presumptuous.”

“As if you’re not going to fuck me,” Scorpius says around a laugh. He groans and arches his neck, stroking himself slowly. “You’re so hot I don’t know what to do with myself.” He rocks over Harry’s cock with a groan, pressing his lube-slick backside against the bulge in Harry’s jeans. He leans in for a fierce, messy kiss and mumbles desperately against Harry’s lips. “Spank me after for being naughty. Tell me I’m a bad boy. Just get inside me, please.”

Harry flicks his hand, vanishing his clothes to fuck knows where. It always gets Scorpius hard when Harry does wandless, non-verbal magic, and tonight is no exception. Harry’s not one for showing off as a rule, but he does when he’s around Scorpius. Harry sometimes looks in the mirror, the flecks of grey in his untameable mop of hair and the laughter lines around his eyes. He wonders what on earth Scorpius sees in him that leaves him like this—panting and trembling with need. Harry doesn’t plan to question it. If it’s middle-aged, overworked Auror that gets Scorpius going, Harry certainly isn’t complaining.

The pulse of Harry’s magic in the room ripples through Scorpius and he grips the base of his cock with a shaky moan of pleasure. When they started doing this the way Scorpius was so finely attuned to every twist and pulse of Harry’s magic came as something of a surprise. Harry hates people who treat him like a big, powerful hero, but he can’t deny that being in bed with someone who responds so perfectly to his magic is beyond enticing. Scorpius never treats Harry as if he’s someone to be revered, but in bed he seems to drink in the power of Harry’s magic until he’s shaking with need. Harry always enjoyed sex—all kinds of sex—but Scorpius likes it rough and Harry slowly discovered the pleasures of topping in a way that took him by surprise. Scorpius makes him want to do the filthiest things and after bending, breaking and fucking, there’s still a hot, sweet kiss and a mumbled I love you at the end of it.

Harry nudges Scorpius out of his lap and onto his hands and knees, because he wants to take control of the pace and depth as tempting as it is to lie back and let Scorpius ride him. He positions himself and pushes into Scorpius in one swift movement. It makes Scorpius arch his back, his pleas cut-off with a gasp and stutter. One advantage of age is that Harry knows he can make this last as long as Scorpius needs. He understands that Scorpius is a permanently horny twenty-something, but it’s not as though Harry’s desires slipped away with the years. He still wants Scorpius just as much as Scorpius—inexplicably—seems to want him, but he can control it in a way that lets him work Scorpius up to the kind of desperate they both enjoy so much.

It’s not just Scorpius that knows how to tease, after all. Scorpius sometimes forgets the Sorting Hat nearly put Harry in Slytherin. Harry knows just how to look at Scorpius in a way that’s warm with the promise of later. He knows how to say Scorpius’ name in a way that sounds innocuous to everybody else that’s fully designed to remind Scorpius of the previous night’s activities. The fact that Harry chose to wear a particular belt to dinner was no accident. He knows it drives Scorpius mad when he wears something that delivered such a hot, delicious spanking the night before.

Harry grins and gives Scorpius’ backside a smack. He can give as good as he gets. He likes that Scorpius keeps him on his toes and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve to make sure Scorpius doesn’t underestimate Harry’s potential to get him to this point. He murmurs a spell to slick his hand and watches Scorpius buck and arch. He grinds into him, rolling his hips before giving Scorpius exactly what he wants. He fucks him hard and fast until they’re both sweaty and gasping for breath. With a low growl of pleasure, Harry slides his slick hand over Scorpius’ cock and gives him the couple of strokes needed to bring him over the edge.

“God. Oh god.” Scorpius hisses through his teeth as he comes, collapsing onto his forearms and looking over his shoulder at Harry. His eyes are glazed and bright, his cheeks flushed with arousal and exertion. He’s so fucking lovely. Harry pulls out of Scorpius and gestures to the floor, his voice rough and unsteady.

“On your knees, head back.”

After taking a moment to catch his breath, Scorpius complies. He slips to the floor in one swift movement. He kneels at the edge of the bed, his face tipped up and his eyes closed. With a low groan, Harry positions himself and works his hand over his cock. He strokes his free hand over the sharp line of Scorpius’ jaw and rubs his thumb over Scorpius’ bottom lip, which parts eagerly. Pushing his thumb into the welcoming heat of Scorpius’ mouth, Harry brings himself to climax with a grunt of pleasure. He takes a moment to catch his breath and runs his fingers through the come on Scorpius’ lips, cheeks and neck. Even though he’s sated, he knows Scorpius well enough to know he’s still buzzing from the build-up earlier in the night.

“Come on,” Harry settles back on the bed and pats his thigh. “Get up here.”

Scorpius straddles Harry’s lap and gives him a fierce, messy kiss. His face is still damp and sticky with come, his lips salty with perspiration. His hair is all askew in white-blond tufts and bits of his fringe sticking to his forehead. He’s so lovely, Harry doesn’t know quite what to do with himself. He squeezes Scorpius’ backside and rubs his fingers over Scorpius’ hole, pushing in with his thumb which draws a hiss from Scorpius.

“Tease.” Scorpius huffs with laughter and wriggles in Harry’s lap.

“Yep.” Harry gives Scorpius’ backside a light swat to make him stay still. “Takes one to know one.”

Scorpius mumbles into Harry’s neck. “Have I been very naughty?”

“No, love.” Even when he’s about to give Scorpius a thorough spanking, Harry can’t quite bring himself to make it a punishment. He tugs Scorpius into a slow kiss, before breaking away. “It’s possible I might have been teasing you too.”

“I bloody knew it,” Scorpius says, outraged. “That fucking belt. I thought I was going to lose my mind.”

“Sorry.” Harry laughs. He really isn’t.

Scorpius wriggles in Harry’s lap. “I’m always so desperate for you,” he says. “Do you mind?”

“Why the fuck would I mind?” Harry rolls his eyes and slides his hands up Scorpius’ back. He traces his fingers over the knobs of his spine and takes in the heat of his skin, damp with perspiration. “I’m pretty desperate for you too, you know.”

“Good.” Scorpius seems satisfied with that response. “Good,” he repeats. He leans in and kisses Harry, slow, sweet and just on the cusp of filthy. “Sometimes I can’t believe you want to keep me around.”

Harry draws Scorpius closer, murmuring against his lips. “Sometimes I can’t believe you want to stay.”

They sink into another languid kiss, the earlier desperation ebbing away as they wrap around one another and let the soft fingers of the night’s shadows hold them close.

Chapter Text

Draco gets a phoenix tattooed on his torso during one of the warmest summers on record. A magical one, with fluttery wings and the smallest spots of colour that glow brightly when the lights go out. Blaise says it’s stupid looking and Draco tells him not to be a prick. Magical tattoos hurt like a bitch.

Draco wonders if Zabini knows the full truth when he says Draco has a type, faintly and with a hint of judgment. The phoenix isn’t exactly subtle. Maybe Blaise makes the connection, maybe he doesn’t, but mercifully he lets it slide.

Draco’s not foolish enough to get a tattoo based only on daydreams. It’s not like he had a lightning bolt and a giant HP tattooed over his heart.

The phoenix might be about Potter in some ways, but in other ways it isn’t about Potter at all.

*

It’s not easy, being surrounded by oil paintings that remind you of your past. Draco leaves the Manor for a flat where the darkest nights don’t hum with the furious magic of broken ambition. It’s a space where shadows are just shadows, instead of living, pulsing monsters that cling to him like veils of mourning. He paints the bland Muggle walls stark white and doesn’t hang a single piece of art. Electricity is an unexpected boon, which allows him to keep a small light on even when he’s sleeping. He doesn’t like to wake up in darkness anymore.

He presses his fingers to his tattoo when his memories return as sharply as they always do on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. The phoenix reminds him of bravery and battle; of cowardice and pain. It reminds him of help that comes from unexpected places, and the gradual dawn that brings with it the promise to be a better man. It reminds him that even when everything burns, you can still pull life and fire from the ashes. Even when all seems lost, there’s a boy with mud and blood on his face and a heart full of hope.

This decision isn’t one of those big ones. It’s like waking up and making tea instead of coffee. Planning to go to a gay bar for the first time doesn’t bring comfortable acceptance, or the bright light of knowing oneself properly for the first time. Draco knows exactly who he is, and what he wants: the thrill of being kissed on a dancefloor and the heat of finding an unexpected someone.

It might not be a big decision, but as he walks through the busy streets of London it feels like the right one.

It’s Draco’s city, Draco’s night, Draco’s moment.

He’d better make it a good one.

*

“Fancy seeing you here.” Potter looks delectable, sipping a pint of beer and contemplating Draco over the rim of the glass. “I read about it in the Prophet,” he says. It, presumably, being the article about Draco’s proclivities that his father tried to silence.

“I read about you too.” Draco takes a steadying sip of rum and coke. He fancied something sweet and strong. Now he finds himself standing in front of Potter, he’s glad he asked for a double. “It came as something of a surprise.”

“Did it?” Potter’s eyebrows rise. He shrugs. “To you, perhaps.”

“To most people.” Draco narrows his eyes. “Why are you drinking somewhere Muggle?”

Potter snorts. “Why are you?”

Draco resents the implication of age-old snobbery in Potter’s question. “I live in a Muggle flat. I’m thinking of getting a Muggle job.”

“Oh?” Potter sounds surprised. “Weird.”

Draco grits his teeth. “Why the fuck is that weird?”

“Dunno.” Potter frowns. “I didn’t think you’d be good at doing stuff without magic.”

“You’re so annoying.” Draco glares. “I’m not incapable of functioning without a wand.” He sniffs. “Besides, I still do magic. I just do it discreetly.”

“Do you dance?” Potter gives Draco a curious look, nodding his head towards the heaving dance floor where bodies shimmy and shake to the latest Muggle pop songs.

“No.” Draco drums his fingers on the bar. It’s sticky with spilled drinks and the wet surface leaves a damp mark on his shirt. “I’ve never been here before.”

“I thought not,” Potter replies, as if he comes here every night, wise, gay sage that he is. “Do you go out in Dalston instead?”

“Fuck, no.” Draco pulls a face. “I don’t go out anywhere.” He looks around, basking in the heat, sweat and the vibration of the music beneath his feet. “This is my first.”

Potter seems surprised. “How do you meet people?”

Draco orders another drink and pointedly doesn’t meet Potter’s questioning gaze.

“I don’t.”

*

“I can’t actually dance,” Potter confesses, to the surprise of no one. They’re three drinks in and he’s warm and solid by Draco’s side, leaning in to speak in his ear over the music. Draco has half a mind to tell Potter their proximity is likely cramping both of their styles, but because he quite enjoys Potter’s company, he doesn’t.

“What do you come here for, then?”

Potter runs his tongue over his lip and pushes a hand through his hair. “There’s another room. At the back of the club.”

“Oh.” Draco doesn’t know what the other room is for, but he can guess. The air between them crackles and hums and he shifts a little bit closer to Potter. “It sounds better than dancing.”

“Yeah.” Potter’s fingers brush Draco’s arm, his eyes dark. “It is.”

*

After four drinks and an unbearable length of time standing close enough together that they could be embracing, it seems only natural to follow Potter through the club. The room towards the back is full of shadowy bodies, the lighting low. Draco can still make out enough to understand what he’s here for, his body thrumming with arousal that’s been steadily building all night.

“Why did you bring me here?” He asks, stopping when Potter leans back against a wall.

“Why did you come?” Potter pulls Draco close and he smells divine. It’s curious, seeing this side of Potter. Draco wonders what he looks like when he’s fucking.

“Because I want to say thank you.” Draco swallows, his mouth dry and his heart pounding in his chest. “For saving my life.”

“Oh.” Potter’s eyes widen, and he slips cool fingers underneath Draco’s shirt. He gives Draco a thoroughly disarming, lopsided smile as he slips off his glasses. “I’m not sure I want your gratitude.”

“You’re probably after something else,” Draco replies, boldly.

“Yeah.” Potter brushes his lips softly against Draco’s. “I probably am.”

Potter’s kisses are communion and their bodies grind together as if they were always designed to be perfectly aligned. The friction is unbearable and Potter’s skin tastes like sweat and salt, his lips sweet and boozy. It’s almost embarrassing, the need that floods through Draco from a simple press of Potter’s lips against his own. He surges forwards and kisses Potter with all the fierce, pent-up desire that’s been building under his skin all night. Potter seems equally into it, his fingers tight on Draco’s hips as he hauls him in. The shadows are just for them, the night is Harry and Draco’s. Draco worships every inch of Harry, drinking in the taste of his lips, the steady slide of his tongue. He moves his fingers over the hot, solid frame of Harry's body with careful reverence. His heart skips and thumps with the far-off music at the way Potter's breath stutters and gasps when Draco touches him in all the right places, his whispered grunts and moans falling from his parted lips like a prayer. Draco's heart beats frantically in his chest, drumming out its silent confession, I’ve loved you for longer than I ever hated you, and they come together in blissful union.

Sometimes that’s all there is, and that’s all there needs to be. The sound of the disco sirens, the pulse and energy of the night and being close enough to someone else that you’re breathing the same air.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Draco greets his future with the hurried warmth of restless kisses and the sharp, white-hot memory of a messy-haired boy. His mind fills with the image of a man’s face in the middle of a crowded city, a familiar smile on streets full of lost, lonely faces and a bar, with a rainbow flag above the door.

He grips onto Potter tightly and the shadows no longer feel oppressive as they wrap around him like a cloak. Draco whispers something—anything—that makes Potter groan against his lips, each kiss burning hot enough to leave Draco’s body in flames. It might have been I want you, it might have been I need you or it could just have been Harry Potter’s name falling from his lips on the back of another searing kiss and a moan of desperate pleasure.

“Come home with me after this,” Potter whispers. His voice is rough, the syllables jagged with want. His hands are strong and sure, his body pressing against Draco in all the right places. His words are warm with promise, his lips curving into a smile against Draco's mouth.

“Yes.” It’s all Draco can manage as his body responds to every touch, thrust and the talented slide of Harry’s fingers over his aching skin. It’s been so long, and he’s been so alone. Another lost face in the crowd, looking up at the sky in the hoping of spotting a shooting star burning through a velvet night.

Draco shakes himself free from the embers of the past as in the shadows of a gay bar he spreads his wings and learns how to fly.

Chapter Text

“I don’t want to.” Ginny’s voice is muffled under the pillows and she tugs the duvet higher. “Let me sleep, will you?”

“We have to go. It’s Draco.”

“Fuck Draco.” Ginny lowers the duvet and blinks at Pansy. She’s gorgeous like this. Sleepy, grumpy and beautiful, her red hair fanning out on the pillow. It makes Pansy’s mouth water, looking at her. She wonders if too knackered for Draco’s wanky champagne brunch means too knackered for a tumble. Pansy taps her fingers against Ginny’s skin.

“That’s not very nice, darling.”

“I don’t care. And don’t call me darling.” Ginny huffs and stretches, cat-like. She sucks in a breath as Pansy’s fingers slide a little lower. “I know what you’re doing, Parkinson.”

“I’m helping you wake up,” Pansy says. It’s true, in a manner of speaking. “You work too hard.”

“That’s rich, coming from you,” Ginny mutters. She yawns and stretches again, a soft sound escaping from between her lips as Pansy’s fingers continue their idle slide downwards. “You’re impossible.”

“Do you mind?” Pansy already knows Ginny doesn’t, but it seems polite to check.

“You know I don’t.” Ginny gives Pansy a crooked smile and stills her hand, her eyes glinting with humour. “But I don’t think people that make their poor, overworked girlfriends go to some tossing event to watch their ex fondle Draco Malfoy’s arse deserve to have nice things.”

Pansy laughs. “I don’t think Draco lets Potter feel him up in public.”

“I think he absolutely does.” Ginny shudders. “I’m still not over the trauma of seeing them doing whatever they were up to at Zabini’s wedding. They could at least have waited until after the food was served, it put me right off my onion tart.”

“Poor love.” Pansy smirks when Ginny releases her hand, content to let Pansy continue her explorations. “I know you’re probably still heartbroken.”

“Yeah, that’s exactly it.” Ginny rolls her eyes. She glances at Pansy, a small smile curving at the corner of her lips. “You do know I don’t actually fancy Harry anymore, don’t you?”

“I know.” Pansy believes it, even if she isn’t entirely sure why Ginny would choose to move her cat, a ludicrous number of broomsticks and a stuffed Niffler in with Pansy when her and Potter could have swanned off into the sunset together. It’s not easy competing with someone who was busy saving the world, while Pansy was busy being—as Ginny affectionately puts it—a stuck up knob. “Will you come with me to the brunch?”

Ginny groans, followed by a small hmm of encouragement as Pansy’s hand travels lower. “Or we could both come down with Spattergroit.”

“How dreadful.” Pansy pulls a face. “Why on earth would we do that.”

“Oh!” Ginny lets her legs fall open to give Pansy easier access. She’s already hot, wet and even after all these years, touching Ginny makes Pansy’s heart beat faster. “Because—Merlin yes—we can spend the day in bed instead of having to talk to people.”

Pansy considers that. She did see Draco earlier in the week and his brunches are always well-attended. As a rule she doesn’t like to renege on her social commitments but she and Ginny have been working harder than usual and Pansy can’t remember the last time they managed more than a quick, heated climax before going off to do other things. As she slides her fingers through Ginny’s slick heat, the idea of getting out of bed is starting to sound a lot less appealing.

“I suppose I could Fire Call Draco,” Pansy says.

“Pans?” Ginny tugs her bottom lip between her teeth and pushes into Pansy’s questing fingers. “Do you mind not talking about Malfoy when we’re doing—ah ah—this?”

“Sorry.” Pansy leans down and kisses Ginny slowly, the steady pressure of Ginny’s mouth becoming increasingly wet, warm and eager as Pansy’s fingers continue their steady tease, up, down and then dipping inside Ginny for a moment. She reluctantly pulls back and reaches for her wand. “Fuck it, I’ll send a Patronus.”

“Bit dramatic.” Ginny props herself up on her elbow, watching Pansy with a fond expression as the silvery cat leaves Pansy’s wand and hurries off to deliver the message about a mysterious twenty-four-hour flu has hit the Weasley-Parkinson household. “You’re good at that, now.”

Pansy stares at Ginny. Lovely, Quidditch-playing Ginny. If she were so inclined, Pansy could tell Ginny how she can pinpoint every single moment that gave her the right kind of magic to strengthen the Patronus she had never been able to properly cast until recently. She could tell Ginny that each one of those moments belong to her.

“I’m a very talented witch,” she says instead.

“You are.” Ginny takes Pansy’s hand and moves it back into place, her breath catching. “Very talented.”

Pansy sinks into another kiss with Ginny and determines to spend the rest of the day showing off about the other things she’s good at doing. Hopefully, several times over.

Chapter Text

James is impossible. Even when he’s not trying, he worms his way into the feverish parts of Sirius’ brain with his devastating smile, long, athletic limbs and shaggy mop of hair. His eyes flash with the tease of his unspoken promise and his lips mouth the shape of the word later.

Sirius knows what later entails. Mad, foolish tumbles under a cloudy sky. James breathing hot and heavy against his lips, mouth whisky-slick and persistent. Later leaves crescent-moon indents on skin and marks on Sirius’ pale neck that Remus comments on during terse meetings of the Order, his face tight and stony. Moony doesn’t like that James and Sirius fuck around. He knows it’s James, even if Sirius never tells him as much. Sirius has had so many witches—Ravenclaw, real tom-cat or Hufflepuff, liked to scratch as well as bite, you should see my back—he’s starting to think it’s not just Moony that’s got his suspicions. He pushes his doubts to one side, because Moony knows Sirius better than most. Sirius has a Prongs look, as Remus called it once, mouth curved into a wistful smile.

The pain of mucking around with James is as brutal as it is beautiful. It’s not that it hurts physically—Sirius isn’t into that kind of pain. It hurts in all the other ways and the sting of it lingers like a bruise that refuses to fade. He supposes he must be a masochist of sorts because no matter how hard he tries, he can’t stop going back for more. He knows that there’s something more than friends between James and Lily and that every promise exchanged underneath the nights shadows is just one more thing to be broken. He knows that Remus thinks James and Sirius are behaving like idiots, just as selfish and reckless in their pleasure-seeking as they were at Hogwarts. He knows, but he doesn’t want to think about it.

When he’s with James, Sirius doesn’t want to think about anything. Damn the consequences. A war’s coming and with each desperate tumble under the stars, Sirius can’t help but feel that it might all be over in a flash. He does things to James that they don’t talk about when the sun comes up. Filthy, gorgeous things like eating James out or fingering his hole until he comes in sticky stripes over his belly. He lets James talk him into stupid shit, too. Sirius never had his hands tied up with magical vines before James, but it’s the kind of thing they like to try to extend the high and heighten the exquisite euphoria. Part of Sirius can’t help but wonder if they have to find new things, so James can say it’s just another experiment, Padfoot, just one more thing to try, part of growing up. Boys will be boys. They can share furtive hand jobs and suck each other off just to see what it feels like, but they can’t envisage a future together. James has his eye on a future with Lily and whenever he’s reminded of it, Sirius just wants another shot of Firewhisky to chase away the pain.

Tonight, there’s a blindfold. Sirius has his hands raised above his head and he’s plunged into darkness.

“It’s going to make everything feel better,” James murmurs. His fingers press into Sirius’ skin, his breath is hot and ticklish. “It makes it more intense, the books said.”

“Oh well, if the books said.” Sirius huffs and flexes his fingers. They’re tingling from the unforgiving bindings around his wrists—vines again. Perhaps he does like a bit of pain after all. He blinks behind the blindfold and his eyelashes rustle against it. It’s unsettling, not being able to see James.

It doesn’t take long to build Sirius up to the frantic need that burns through him on nights with James. It turns out the blindfold does heighten the pleasure, after all. There’s something weird about being unable to see what James is doing, but it means everything he does is an unexpected surprise. He alternates between using his tongue, his lips and in a final, filthy slide he pushes two fingers into Sirius where he’s already slick from lubricating spells. Sirius arches and pushes up into the heat of James’ mouth. James knows how to get Sirius off by now, and he brings him to the brink of pleasure with enthusiastic efficiency. It’s so good being with James, Sirius is never sure if he knows that he’s the only person Sirius does this with. Sirius talks the talk, but he doesn’t have half the experience he pretends to. He wonders if James tells the truth too, when he says I want you so much, Padfoot. Most of all he wonders if wanting someone can ever be enough in a world filled with people that would fight to keep you apart.

In the absence of sight, the sounds are louder than ever. The slide of James’ mouth over Sirius, wide and accommodating. The rustle of grass, the whispering of trees. The grunts and groans from Sirius as James pushes his fingers inside Sirius, harder, faster, deeper. The cool night runs its chilly fingers over Sirius’ chest and every gust of wind makes his overly-sensitised body shiver and tremble. It doesn’t take long before he reaches a powerful climax, biting back a curse as he bucks and twists beneath James. The air is thick with it. Heavy with the scent of sex, sweat and the rough breaths that catch on the night’s breeze and slip away into the distance.

Sirius reaches out with trembling hands to find James, warm and solid just where he said he would be. It makes him panic unexpectedly and James shushes him sliding off the blindfold and tugging Sirius into his arms, holding him close. Of all the intimate things they’ve done, the simple act of burrowing into James’ arms feels more important—more telling—than anything else.

“I thought I’d lost you,” Sirius murmurs. His words are thick and heavy, his throat tight. He clutches James tightly, breathing in his familiar scent. “I thought you’d gone,” he whispers.

“Don’t be soft.” James kisses Sirius’ head and huffs out a small laugh. “Where would I have gone?”

“I don’t know.” Sirius steadies his breathing and looks up at James. Beautiful, bright-eyed and eager. He knows every inch of James, and yet tonight it’s like he’s seeing him for the first time. He swallows and leans in for a kiss, pushing his hands into James’ hair. When they break apart, his breathing is slow and measured once more. “Don’t go anywhere, alright? I need you, James.”

James snorts. “I’m not going anywhere, you daft sod.”

Sirius flexes his fingers, the marks from the vines red against his pale wrists. The marks remind him of how fallible humans are—even wizards. Despite James’ reassurances, Sirius can’t shake the persistent image of blindly reaching out into the darkness and finding only silence, and air.

“Let’s not do that again,” Sirius says. “We’ll try something else next time.” He doesn’t want to find himself lost to the darkness, if he can’t trust that James will still be there next to him when the blindfolds come off.

“Whatever you fancy.” James gets to his feet and throws Sirius a wide smile. “You can blindfold me instead, if you like?”

“Maybe.” Sirius picks up their things and watches as James disappears ahead of him into the thickness of the forest, until the only things left in the clearing are Sirius and the whispering trees.

Chapter Text

James is fond of a good party game. Coercing a group of people to join him in raucous revision’s shit, let’s get wankered parties was kind of his thing during his last year at Hogwarts. His dad saved the world, Albus is apparently a genius and Lily is the youngest Quidditch Seeker since…well…since his dad. James needed to have a thing, and it wasn’t going to be school, Quidditch or being a hero, so he decided to be the one who organised amazing parties with copious amounts of Hagrid’s Homebrew. Come on, his dad was asking for it with namesakes like James Potter and Sirius Black.

At any Hogwarts party, James was always the first to suggest Spin the Wand, even if he was positive that Charlotte Biggins used magic, so James ended up kissing her and never anyone else. He liked getting off with someone when he was just the slightest bit tipsy. Liked the way the booze gave him a jolt of confidence and enjoyed the taste of sweet liquor and alcohol on someone else’s lips. It made the whole thing feel a bit decadent somehow, and James enjoyed putting on a show for people watching.

Kissing is another thing James is excellent at. He’s quite proud of the fact that despite his time at Hogwarts mainly consisting of illicit booze and snogging, he still managed to pass his N.E.W.Ts. He likes to show off about that when Al has his nose in a book. Albus just rolls his eyes, calls him a tart and gets back to reading something dense and complicated about the importance of an anti-clockwise stir to a potion James has never heard of. James couldn’t give a fuck about potions. Who has the time to count wand rotations or calculate the correct angle for slicing flobberworms? James is more of a dump everything into a cauldron and hope for the best sort. That’s probably why Snape’s portrait used to call him Mister Potter and scowled at him a lot.

James likes to throw himself into things. Caution to the wind, and all that. He’s always the last to leave a party and he’s never met a Truth or a Dare he didn’t like. That’s why it’s so odd to find himself at someone's twenty-first, confronted with the very first party game he wishes he could say no to. He stares at the cupboard in the corner of the room, half expecting his Boggart to jump out.

“Jamie?” Teddy sounds amused.

“Give me a minute.” James takes a swig of his beer and tugs his t-shirt from his throat. He’s never played Seven Minutes in Heaven before. He gets the gist because Alex Clearwater came out of the cupboard about five minutes ago, all giggly and flushed. That was about two minutes before the magical orbs of light selected to choose two people at random settled above James’ head and Teddy’s. Teddy. Not someone who came to the parties James used to organise, mainly because he was busy being an adult and doing boring Ministry things. James swallows. It’s not exactly the way he wanted this to go. The idea of being in a cupboard with Teddy makes him flush all over and he takes another long gulp of his beer.

Teddy opens the door to the cupboard and gives James a grin. “We can just chat about Quidditch if you like.”

“Fuck that,” James mutters. He steels himself with typical Gryffindor courage and steps into the cupboard ignoring the whoops and hollers from people around him.

James closes the cupboard door behind them, and the air is thick, hot and sweet with the scent of the apple sours people have been drinking all night. You’d think a drink with sour in the name wouldn’t be sweet at all, but these are. James clears his throat, hoping he might adjust to the darkness any minute now. He can vaguely make out the shadowy shape of Teddy, the hint of blue in his hair and his teeth, which means he’s smiling. That’s something, at least.

“I didn’t know the orbs would choose two blokes,” James mutters. Ha bloody ha. Leave it to magic to work out the secret James has spent a number of years keeping pretty close to his chest.

“Oh.” Teddy sounds surprised. “I, umm. I don’t think it means anything. Just magic going wonky, isn’t it? It’s probably my fault. Must have thrown them off.”

“Because you’re gay,” James says. He wonders if Teddy can hear how quickly his heart is beating in his chest, and he shifts closer. “It shouldn’t work if it’s just one person though, should it?”

“Dunno.” Teddy’s voice is tight, his breath warm on James’ cheek. “You tell me.”

James takes a breath, plucking up his courage once more. “I’m bi. Mum and Dad don’t know, not yet. But it’s not just witches I like. Never has been, although it took me long enough to work it out.”

Teddy’s voice is low and soft, his fingers unexpectedly hot, brushing over James’ arm. “Listen, love. That’s a big thing. We don’t have to do anything just because some bloody magical orbs decided—”

“—Fuck the orbs. They did me a favour.” James moves closer to Teddy, even as his stomach flips with nerves. It’s not finally saying it out loud that’s making his palms clammy and his body flush with heat. Bisexual. He already knows exactly what he is. It’s the giant, Teddy-shaped thing in his chest that’s stopped him from saying it out loud to people who know Teddy for so long. It’s not that he’s scared of being with wizards, but he’s terrified of making things weird with Teddy. Brilliant, fit-as-fuck Teddy. It’s easier, he finds, to say it in the darkness when he can’t read Teddy’s expression properly. Like saying it to himself in his room at night or telling one of his mates after a couple of pints in a way that’s just casual enough to hide the hammering of his heart no big deal, no big deal.

James takes a breath and pushes forwards. He twists his hands in Teddy’s soft, cosy jumper and in the dark, hot space he kisses another wizard for the first time. It’s messy, hurried and lacks any finesse whatsoever and James is starting to think he’s not that great at kissing after all. He pulls back and rubs his jaw, quite glad that he can’t see Teddy’s expression in the darkness.

“I’m better at kissing witches,” James mutters. He looks down.

“I don’t know about that.” Teddy presses against James, impossibly close. James falls back against the cupboard with a thud and their lips connect again as Teddy mumbles, “let’s try that again.”

It turns out James is alright at kissing wizards too, but Teddy is bloody terrific. It’s difficult to focus on being an excellent kisser when your brain feels like it’s going to melt out of your ears and you’re literally going weak at the knees. Teddy’s mouth is hot, searching and persistent and his tongue slides against James’ as each kiss becomes filthier than the last. One of them groans and Teddy grinds into James, making him whimper. The dark, cramped space gives the whole moment a charged, electric feel and James can’t remember the last time he got this blindingly hard over a bit of a kiss. Teddy smells so good—musky, boyish and gorgeous. His hands keep James firmly in place, strong and confident. His hot fingers tickle against James’ belly, pushing under his t-shirt and sliding lower over the hard line of James’ cock. He’s so turned on and the thick denim of his jeans is too rigid to get much friction, but Teddy still seems to know how to press and rub with maddening intensity.

James is fairly certain the sound he makes can only be described as a whine, his hands shoved into Teddy’s hair as he exposes his neck for more of Teddy’s kisses. The cupboard practically rattles in place as James tries to yank Teddy closer to indicate that kisses are good—better than good—but they’re not enough. He wants Teddy so badly, wants to taste every inch of him and stretch out on a bed where Teddy can fuck James, hard and desperate. He can only imagine what it would be like to have Teddy over him, to taste the curve of his smile in the light where he can see it properly. The lopsided grin that does things to James’ insides, the flash of desire in his eyes. He wants to make Teddy’s hair turn whatever colour it turns when he’s horny. He wants to get on his knees and suck Teddy until every bloody Timothy, George or whoever the fuck Teddy’s been getting off with disappears entirely. He wants to hear how his name sounds when Teddy is close to coming. James.

“Jamie, you’re so—” Teddy’s voice catches and he growls low in his throat. He squeezes his hand again and it’s so good James wants to sink to his knees there and then, the party be damned. The metallic clink of James’ belt buckle being opened, and the rough pull of the zip mingles with the heavy sound of their breathing. It doesn’t take long for Teddy to push his hand against the curve of James’ prick through the cotton of his boxers. James would really like to show Teddy he has excellent self-control, but at the minute that’s just not true. He can’t stop himself from pushing into Teddy’s hand and with another couple of rubs it’s all over. James comes inside his boxers, the bitten-off cry caused by his climax captured in another heated kiss.

James knows his cheeks are hot and he’s thankful Teddy can’t see them as he fumbles in his pocket for his wand and mutters a quick cleaning charm before some wanker can open the door and catch James with his dick half out and come on his pants.

“I want to—shit.” James isn’t used to feeling weird and embarrassed after coming, but he’s also not used to snogging Teddy in a cupboard so he supposes there’s a first time for everything. He just wishes he could have played it cool. Been a bit less obvious about the whole obsessed with Teddy Lupin thing he’s been trying to ignore for a while now. He's not even sure how he would finish that sentence in the first place. I want you is too bold a statement, even for James. He's already come out to his best friend, been kissed senseless and demonstrated he has absolutely no control when Teddy's hand is firm and talented against his prick, wringing every last bit of pleasure from his sensitised body.

“You're perfect.” Teddy at least is bolder than James, his voice is gruff as he gives James a kiss on the shell of his ear, his breath hot and ticklish. He pauses and then pulls James into a tight hug, his lips mouthing a line over the curve of James’ jaw as he shifts back just a little. “Want to stay at this party of yours or go somewhere else?”

“Like where?” James speaks only when he trusts he can manage it without his voice cracking.

“My place.” James can feel Teddy shrug. “If you want?” He sounds almost hesitant, as if there’s even the slightest possibility James doesn’t want. It makes him wonder if perhaps this is weird for both of them. Maybe, by some miracle, James makes Teddy nervous too.

“I just came in my pants, Teddy.” James snorts under his breath and squeezes Teddy’s hand. “I think it’s pretty clear I’m going to want to go wherever the fuck we can do that again.”

“Brilliant.” This time James can hear Teddy’s smile rather than see it, and it makes the whole space warm.

“Time’s up! Come on, give someone else a go.” The door to the cupboard is yanked open and James is very glad indeed that he managed to do up his trousers and cast a quick freshening charm before anyone could start making jokes.

James steps out of the cupboard, aware he must look dishevelled, starry-eyed and well-kissed. He can’t bring himself to care, particularly not when Teddy wraps a solid arm around James’ shoulder and gives him a kiss on the top of his head.

“Is this okay?” Teddy sounds uncertain again and shifts away from James, which won't do at all. James pulls him back into another kiss that makes people cheer.

“I think I just came out,” James says. It's dizzying, how freeing it feels. Standing in the circle of Teddy's arms waiting for another heart-stopping kiss feels as right and as good as anything ever did.

“Congratulations.” Teddy squeezes James' hand and tugs James’ earlobe between his teeth. He keeps him close, nuzzling his neck and it occurs to James that he hasn't returned the favour for Teddy, yet. It makes him desperate to go somewhere they can be alone, away from people staring and whispering about James Potter and Teddy Lupin. He wants a moment that's just for them, when the world outside doesn't matter. “You're good at that," Teddy says. “Kissing.”

“I know.” James grabs two beers. “Wait until you see my other moves.” He doesn’t actually have any other moves, but Teddy doesn’t have to know that. His confidence returns, the embarrassment of his earlier eagerness dulling because Teddy makes things okay, just like he always does. He grins at Teddy, with his well-kissed lips and messy hair. It's sticking up and James lifts a hand to smooth it down, smiling wide enough to make his face ache. His heart gives a happy, fond kick. “Fancy getting out of here?”

“Let’s.” Teddy’s hair is bright and blue, with flecks of purple and pink. He looks gorgeous. He gives James a sweet, soft kiss on the lips. “It’s nice doing that when we’re not in a cupboard.”

They should probably talk about what this all means at some point but as James looks into Teddy’s eyes and sees the warmth in them, he relaxes. Jamie and Teddy against the world.

With a lightness in his step, James follows Teddy from the house and out into the open air.

“I like you," he whispers out loud, quiet enough that Teddy—looking for somewhere they can apparate from without Muggles seeing—doesn't hear. “I like you so much.”

Tonight has been full of firsts and he's not sure he's ready to reveal his heart just yet, but as Teddy gives him a quizzical look and beckons him closer, there's nothing frightening about the part of his chest that swells, kicks and trips for Teddy Lupin anymore.

Nothing frightening at all.

Chapter Text

Remus knows that Sirius has spent his whole life protesting against the idea of being good or pleasing people, just because part of him supposes he should. He packed up his bags and left his family home to go and live with James and used bluster and bombast to pretend he didn’t care. Rejection, he told Remus once, is a part of life. He took a deep swig from a bottle of cheap booze and said mother can get fucked, jaw clenched and face as cold as granite.

He’s still pretending he doesn’t need it now, beautiful and wanton on his knees with his head tipped back as Remus jerks himself slowly.

“You’re such a good boy,” Remus mutters. Sirius isn’t a boy at all anymore—neither of them are. They’re weather-beaten, war-beaten and older than they probably should be at this point in their lives. He who lives more lives than one, more deaths than one must die, Remus thinks. A poem, half-remembered. Sandwiched together with a haphazard group of quotes from the books he no longer reads. He tips Sirius’ chin just a little more, sliding the fingers of his free hand over the five o’clock shadow that’s rough like sandpaper beneath his skin. “So good for me, cub.”

“I’m not your fucking cub.” Sirius laughs, but it tapers off into a groan as Remus stills his face with a firm grip on his chin. His torso flexes and Remus can see how turned on he is—cock hard and leaking at the tip.

“Aren’t you?” Remus gives Sirius a grin, his hand moving in a slick slide over his cock. He’s been teasing himself for ages, squeezing the base and pushing aside his climax for one more blissful moment of watching Sirius. “Don’t you like being good for me?”

Sirius whines, breathless and eager. His eyes flare with want and even as his jaw works, he nods.

“Yeah. Yeah, it’s alright.”

“Alright?” Remus slides his hand off his cock and kneels in front of Sirius, so they’re nose to nose. Sirius’ breath is warm against his lips and Remus wants to kiss him so badly. “I want it to be better than alright.”

“You know it is,” Sirius whispers. He’s quieter like this, too. Remus knows at times that Sirius is tempted to play up or stop whatever it is they’re doing in its tracks, before he exposes too much of himself. I’ll never be vulnerable again, Moony, Sirius promised on one particularly starless night, even though he was, he is, and he will be again. Sirius thinks there’s a shame in wanting, that a moment of fragility is something to be feared. If one crack starts to show the rest might pulse outwards from it, web-like. He said as much once, pissed and moody as they stretched out under the night’s blanket. What do you reckon would happen if everything holding a person together started to come undone?

Remus licks his lips and glances at the sky. “Nearly a full moon.” He brushes his lips to Sirius’ neck, his voice rough. “I like it when you’re good for me. It makes me horny.”

“A drunk Niffler would make you horny around the full moon.” Sirius laughs, his lips meeting Remus’. They kiss for a bit and Sirius tastes like Scotch and the cold night air. When he pulls back, his voice is quiet and jagged. “Tell me I’m good. That you’re proud of me.”

“I’m always proud of you.” Remus gets to his feet again, meeting Sirius’ pleading gaze. “Touch yourself, pet. Be good for me.”

“Yeah. Yes.” Sirius hisses, his lips kiss-bitten and plump. He’s gorgeous in the moonlight. Handsome and strong, complex and pulsing with restless energy. It’s invigorating, how lovely he looks on his knees. “Is this what you want?” He rubs his thumb over the slit of his cock, back arched, putting on a show. Want doesn’t even begin to describe it. Remus could take him with a snarl and pound Sirius into the damp grass; could make a mess out of both of them right here in their little garden where they sometimes choose to play. Outside in the open air, but private enough that they can let themselves go. On the nights they go outside, Remus is overwhelmed with a primal instinct to kiss, bite and love with more passion than he’s ever put into any fight.

“So good. My favourite boy.” Remus’ breath catches as the desire to claim rolls through him. He increases the steady jerk of his hand, tugging his cock faster as Sirius looks at him for affirmation, wide-eyed and desperate. Remus gives it to him. He tells him how lovely he is, how he’s Remus’ perfect boy. He tells him how good he is when he waits patiently for Remus to come first in hot stripes over Sirius’ face. He tells him he’s the best boy ever (mine, all mine) when Sirius shakes and trembles through his orgasm.

When it’s done, Remus gets back on his knees and kisses Sirius until the cold night becomes infinitely warmer.

“You make me feel safe,” Sirius says, voice lazy with the sleepiness of a post-orgasmic haze. “Like I’m needed. Wanted.”

“I’ll always want you,” Remus replies.

Remus stares at the stars as Sirius moves into his arms and wonders if Sirius will always want him too.

Chapter Text

Dean frequently describes himself as a tits and ass kind of guy.

What he mentions less frequently is that he’s more than happy if the tits are on a well-muscled torso that makes his body hot in all the right places. He lowers his sunglasses, watching as a lifeguard stretches in tiny red shorts like he’s getting ready for a stint on Baywatch. The lifeguard turns, bends and yeah. Dean’s definitely an ass kind of guy too. This dude’s ass in particular is really something. The sun is too damn hot, and Dean’s bored and sweating his balls off, but there are upsides to his current vantage point.

The lifeguard stops stretching, turns and stares at Dean. He has dark, messy hair and a slow smile breaks across his face. Tattoos in a language Dean doesn’t understand curve and curl against his ribcage, his chest flexing as he stretches. He turns again and Dean adjusts himself, swallowing back a pulse of arousal as he drinks in the sight of the lifeguard’s back. He has dark wings tattooed across the tanned breadth of it, and when the sunlight catches them they look almost real. There’s something else about the lifeguard that pulls Dean in. Something familiar, that he can’t quite place. His brain skips and falters, names on the tip of his tongue. He presses his hand against the tattoo on his chest that he doesn’t remember getting. You’d think he would remember the sting of the needle and the sharp pain of being inked. He was probably drunk. Too much Jim Beam after another night of hustling.

Dean shakes himself from his thoughts and focuses on the lifeguard now approaching Dean’s sun lounger. He stands and brushes sand from his crotch, noticing how the lifeguard looks down and lingers for a beat too long. We’re doing this, then, Dean thinks. He doesn’t care about casual hook-ups—his whole life is a string of casual sex and liquor-drenched nights with strangers—but he doesn’t like getting sand on his dick and Miami beaches aren’t exactly quiet.

“You were watching me,” the lifeguard says. It’s a statement, not a question. There’s something formal about the way he speaks, an undercurrent of bemusement as if he doesn’t quite understand why Dean might be looking. Lifeguard dude should realise that kind of stretching wouldn’t look out of place in a low-budget porno before he starts getting accusatory. Ass like that, people are going to want to look. Dean’s only human, after all.

“You were the one putting on a show, man.” Dean shrugs, shoving his sunglasses back on his face to hide his eyes. He’s starting to wish he hadn’t been quite so obvious in his staring. At least he doesn’t have a boner.

“Was I?” The lifeguard frowns and then has the audacity to wink at Dean. “Maybe I was.”

“You think?” Dean rolls his eyes even though the lifeguard can’t see. He shoves his hand out, because you can’t say hey baby, can I get you a drink on the middle of a fucking beach. “I’m Dean.”

“Pleased to meet you, Dean. I’m Cas.” The lifeguard—Cas—shakes Dean’s hand and squeezes it long enough to let Dean know he’s definitely interested. “Do you have a last name Dean?”

“Most don’t ask for them,” Dean replies. Even his last name evades him, like the missing lyrics to music he can’t quite place. “You?”

Cas shrugs. “I don’t usually need them either.” He swipes his tongue over his lips and gives Dean another languid stare. “Cas is short for Castiel.”

“Castiel.” Dean tries the name out and it rolls off his tongue as if he’s said it hundreds of times before. He narrows his eyes. “Do I know you, buddy?”

“No.” Cas watches Dean, his face blank and perfectly proportioned. “I really don’t think you do.”

The sun beats down on them and Dean can feel his back starting to burn under the intense midday heat of it. He glances over his shoulder and winces at the tightness in his skin and the dull ache of the oncoming sunburn. It’s gonna hurt like a bitch. He’s starting to get sick of cryptic conversations with lifeguard Cas or whatever the fuck his name is. There’s only so long two dudes can make small talk, and if Dean isn’t going to get blown he’ll try his luck elsewhere. The hot little thing that’s been giving him the eye from her sun bed all day might be a good place to start.

“Look, man.” Dean leans closer, making sure the volleyball playing college students nearby can’t hear their conversation. He’s no longer skittish about the dude thing but he doesn’t have to advertise it. It’s not like they’re on Fire Island. “Are we doing this, or aren’t we?”

Cas raises his eyebrows and he leans in, his breath warm and somehow achingly familiar as it ghosts over Dean’s neck. “I’ve got a hut.”

“Yeah, whatever.” Dean pulls back, wondering not for the first time what’s got him so restless and itchy. He probably needs a drink, something to chase away the weirdness for a while. He follows Castiel with a sigh, dutifully going inside a tiny hut that doesn’t look like the kind a lifeguard would have. It’s really more of a shed—dilapidated and covered with weird graffiti like the tattoo on Cas’s ribcage. He curls his hands into fists, because if Cas thinks he’s going to steal Dean’s favourite aviators that cost him more than he can afford, he’s got another think coming. Just because he’s got a great ass and a cute smile doesn’t mean Dean’s falling for—

His thoughts are interrupted as Cas pushes Dean against the wall. His hands are everywhere, and Dean grips him tight and strokes his fingers over the exposed flesh where he remembers the tattoo of the angel wings. Angel wings. Where the fuck did that come from? Dean groans and drops his head back against the wall, his cock already hard and aching as Cas sinks to his knees and yanks down Dean’s trunks. He pushes his hands into Cas’s hair, the coarse wiriness of it pleasing to him and the expression on Cas’s face as he looks up making his heart twist and clench.

“Dean Winchester,” Cas murmurs. “Your name is Dean Winchester.”

Before Dean can reply, Cas takes Dean into his mouth and goddammit it’s good enough to make Dean forget all of his names. It’s as if Cas can read Dean’s mind, as if he already knows all the right buttons to press. He does the thing Dean likes with his tongue—lets his teeth scrape just enough to bring a sharp edge of pain to heighten Dean’s arousal. He slides his hands over Dean’s thighs, squeezes his fingers into the flesh of them and sucks with glorious, efficient abandon. It’s dizzyingly good, better than any of the strangers seem to manage. At least Dean guesses it’s better than any of the strangers. He can’t remember much about them, either.

You haven’t been sucked off until you’ve been sucked off by an angel, Sammy.

Dean’s heart flickers and thuds, the tattoo on his chest burning inexplicably. “Cas. Fuck me, Cas.”

“I don’t have anything.” Cas pulls back, wiping his lips with the back of his hand. “But I can if you want me to.”

Christ.” Dean hauls Castiel to his feet and pushes him against the wall, breathing heavily. His dick’s so hard and it’s difficult to be threatening with your prick hanging out when you just want to get your rocks off. He slams his fist against the wall, just next to Cas’s head. Cas doesn’t even flinch. “Who the fuck are you?”

“You know,” Castiel breathes. “You know exactly who I am.”

It’s either punch him properly or kiss him and Dean decides kissing is more likely to sort out the wood he’s currently sporting. He growls into the kiss, their lips slotting together as if they’ve been kissing for half of their lives.

No offence Cas, but the last time someone looked at me like that I got laid.

I’m the one who gripped you tight and—

“—raised me from perdition.” Dean breaks away from the kiss, the force of his returning memories assaulting him as he stares at Castiel, whose eyes flicker and spark with mirth. “Dramatic asshole.”

Castiel grins, clearly pleased with himself. Lazy nights in craptastic motel rooms with the taste of Cas’s sweat on his lips slowly filter back to Dean. He’s almost disappointed in himself for letting some demon or whatever the hell take those memories away, even for a minute. They were some of his best moves. Fuck whatever hellhound made him forget that night in Ontario with the ropes, the weird German porno and Castiel fucking Dean like there might not be another chance.

“Dean?” Castiel sounds hopeful, his palms cool against Dean’s hot skin. “Are you back?”

“Sorta.” Dean rubs his jaw, the scruff of it rough beneath his fingers. He gives Castiel the once over. “Dude, why the fuck are you dressed like an extra from Baywatch?”

“What’s a Baywatch?” Cas looks confused.

“Never mind,” Dean sighs. “Tell me later.” He squeezes Cas’s ass and it’s every bit as good as it looked—feels every bit as good as he remembers. “You’re keeping those shorts.”

“Kinky,” Cas says. He’s learning. “Sam’s waiting.” Cas glances at his watch and gives Dean a slow smirk, eyes bright, tattoo fluttering beneath Dean’s fingers. “I said we might be a while.”

“Thank fuck for that.” Dean leans back against the wall and watches Castiel sink to his knees again. Angels really do give the best head. “It’s good to be back.”

Castiel doesn’t say as much, but the next half an hour tells Dean that Cas is glad to have him back too.

Chapter Text

Draco’s hot and exhausted, his whole body aching from practicing duels and spells and he doesn’t think he has another spell left in him. There’s something about the encouraging look on Harry’s face though that makes him want to try one more time. He’s never been strong when it comes to this kind of magic. It's why he and Potter make such good dueling partners, each ones areas for improvement identified by the others strengths. Not many people Draco knows are good at this kind of charm, and he tells himself he doesn’t need a Patronus anyway, now the Dementors are safely contained.

Draco glances at Harry. His t-shirt has a streak of dirt on it, the front of it damp with sweat. His jogging bottoms are loose, grey, athletic things which show off the toned muscle of his thighs and the line of his cock. His hair is rumpled as ever and he nudges his glasses onto his nose, his gorgeous fingers wrapped around the base of his wand. The previous night comes back to Draco in a rush. The tension between them that built after hours of private sessions practicing for Auror exams finally reached a head. He can still taste Harry against his lips—hot and sweet. He can almost hear the low, filthy cadence of Harry’s voice—because it turns out Harry Potter is a kinky fucker—as he whispered all sorts of delicious things in Draco’s ear. The grip of Harry’s fingers on his wand reminds Draco of the way Harry’s fingers wrapped around Draco’s cock, the flex of them as he got Draco off slowly and promised him the most mind-melting array of sexual experiences as he did so.

Draco swallows, his mouth watering at the sight of Harry now. He’s got a raw, untidy masculine appeal and he’s so fit, Draco doesn’t know what to do with himself. It’s a wonder he didn’t straddle Harry half way through practice, taking what he’s been after from the moment he experienced the blissful pleasure of having Harry’s cock in his mouth not more than twenty-four hours ago.

“Something on your mind, Malfoy?” Harry sounds amused and a little bit too smug for Draco’s liking.

“Nothing at all, Potter.” Draco glances at Harry and drinks in the sight of him once more. He focuses on the searing heat of Harry’s kisses and the delicious promise of more where that came from if you fancy going for dinner sometime. He focuses on the way his heart gives a reckless flutter and his body warms when Harry moves close, when they’re duelling together in a way that feels more like foreplay than battle. Draco pulls all of those emotions together into one last ball of energy that crackles with the force of his desire. He extends his wand with a shout. “Expecto Patronum!

“Holy shit.” Harry’s voice reminds Draco of his presence, and he follows the line of light from his wand which catches the dust in the room like a ray of sunlight. Towards the back of the room a silvery creature struggles on its gangly legs, before bowing its head in Draco’s direction when it rights itself. It looks as though its antlers haven't finished growing yet and the lines of its body aren't sharply defined, blurred and obscured by little, cloud-like wisps. The heat of Harry’s body is warm against Draco’s, as they stand shoulder to shoulder. “Expecto Patronum,” Harry mutters. This is a spell that comes easily to Harry and even without the force of Draco’s spell, his Patronus is more clearly defined and vibrant, solid enough to feel as though you could reach out and touch it.

Harry’s stag makes its way towards Draco’s somewhat wonky Patronus and for one, breathless moment Draco thinks their antlers are going to lock. That’s all he needs. A Patronus that’s going to start fighting Potter’s, particularly when the odds are his would lose. They don’t lock antlers, however. Instead they nuzzle against one another and makes soft sounds before they slowly shimmer and fade away to nothing.

“Malfoy?” Harry’s voice is low and quiet. “Is there a reason your Patronus is the same as mine?”

“I have no idea.” Draco tries to keep his voice smooth. “An unhappy coincidence, I expect.”

“Mmhm.” Harry’s hand is warm when it settles on Draco’s hip. “Anything in particular on your mind when you cast the spell?”

“I was thinking about beating you at Quidditch,” Draco retorts. “It was a very happy thought.”

“It must have been.” Harry sounds amused. “To result in a Patronus like that.” His breath is warm on Draco’s lips and their wands clatter to the floor as Harry yanks off his glasses and pulls Draco closer. “It must have been a very happy thought.”

“I suppose it was okay.” Draco pushes a hand into Harry’s hair and pulls him close. “Tell me, Potter, are you planning on getting out of your sweaty trousers and t-shirt anytime soon?”

Fuck.” Harry pulls Draco into a fierce kiss and it’s just as hot and glorious as the last.

Draco kisses Harry back and allows himself a moment of smugness for being brilliant enough to come up with the idea of private practice sessions in the first place.

It worked like a charm.

Chapter Text

He wages bloody wars with demons and archangels. He fought with Sammy the other day—the kind of dumb fight brothers have when they’re cooped up in crappy rooms for too long. Dean’s so tired of fighting. Tired of being so pissed all the time, tired of being so angry. In Dean’s darkest moments he frightens himself—thinks he’s got enough rage bottled up inside that releasing it could bring the whole world to its knees.

Some nights, he wants to. He wants to light the match and explode like gasoline against a naked flame. He wants to punch, kick and scratch his knuckles up breaking the closet walls that he built to keep himself on the right track. He learned how to scrap and kill and bleed just to feel like a man. He wants to keep going until he’s bloodied and broken, if he isn’t already. Submitting to anything—anyone—doesn’t come naturally to him. It’s a constant craving, the taste of it making his mouth water and his body hard and aching with need. That voice in the back of his mind, the persistent images that won’t disappear when he’s jerking off to good, wholesome American porn. At the end he closes his eyes and lets the clamouring voices in as he goes slack-mouthed, hand covered in jizz and body sweating out his shame.

Perhaps it’s the lonely cry of the battle-weary warrior that brought them together like this. Maybe it’s why he needs Cas. Needs this kind of sex with Cas. Two broken souls thirsty for another battle, drinking the spilled blood of demons down like liquor as they claw their way out of Purgatory all over again.

It still surprises Dean that Cas just got it. Not right away, when they were still fumbling around with each others dicks and Cas looked to Dean to show me, when Dean only had fantasies, hook-ups he’d been trying to forget and a whole heap of issues. It’s not easy to show someone how you want them to do you, when you can’t jack off to it alone without some asshole inner voice telling you it’s wrong. Turns out, Heaven’s as kinky as the rest of the world, Cas is a quick learner and understands human brains better than Dean. Once they got over the awkward sometimes pain feels good, Cas moment, some kind of lightbulb went off and even if he’s the worst at reading a room, Cas seems to be able to read Dean as well as anyone ever has. That’s probably how he knew not to leave after, too, even if Dean gave him shit for it and pretended he didn’t care.

“Is this some telepathic angel crap?”

“I want to stay. I think you need me to.”

Maybe angels have hearts after all, although Dean’s starting to doubt it because Cas let him come once—so he could get fucked the way he loves—and then tied Dean up, determined to make him beg for it. Dean doesn’t beg, so Cas is gonna be waiting a long time if that’s his plan. Dean flexes his fingers, wrists bound above his head. If he fought—really fought—he could probably untie the rope and get the hell out of here. Cas planned it that way, Dean’s sure of it. The ropes are just loose enough that they both know Dean’s sticking around because he wants to.

I’m sorry, Cas, Dean wants to say. It’s not that I don’t want it, it’s that I don’t want to want it. The two things couldn’t be more different. Dean’s all kinds of fucked up when he thinks about it. Playing kinky games with an angel he’s half in love with and struggling to let the word Castiel leave his lips in case it leaves his heart bloody and exposed, beating in the palm of Cas’ hand and ready for the taking. He tells himself it’s the weight of his secret that fuels his rage, that takes him to places other people won’t go when he’s fighting. If he allows himself to be happy it might take away his edge.

“Okay, Dean?” Cas’s voice is rough and patient as ever. Slow and steady, sliding over Dean’s bare skin like treacle. It makes Dean’s cock twitch expectantly and he wishes he could reach down and give it a slow, satisfying stroke. Cas is big on making him wait, be patient. Cas is an asshole.

“Stop asking me, Cas. Get the ropes off if you want me to fuck you again.” Dean swallows back anything that sounds like please, but he suspects Cas sees it in his eyes. The battle rages within him as it always does, caught between white-hot want and desperate shame that claws through him and strangles the words lodged in his throat.

Cas runs his tongue over his lips and places down the flogger. Dean misses the kiss of leather against his skin already. He doesn’t know why he wants this so badly, only that he does. He needs it. Every last moment of it.

It started—as Dean’s more reckless moments often do—with booze. Cas telling a joke that didn’t land and promising it’s funnier in Enochian in that serious way of his. It made Dean want him more than he thinks he’s ever wanted anything and in one moment of madness, Dean said your jokes suck, Cas and bold as brass Cas said sometimes I suck too. Kinky fucker. They tumbled and scratched like tom-cats. Got into a rhythm after the first few fumbles and boned until they ached all over—fingers sore, bodies sweaty and sated and smiles on their faces too big to hide. Dean hasn’t stopped smiling since. Sammy’s starting to think he’s possessed again.

“You haven’t had enough,” Cas comments. He undoes the ropes and slides a hand down Dean’s chest. “Have you?”

Dean swallows and shakes his head. No, he hasn’t had enough. He hasn’t got to the place he likes to be with Cas. A place of blissful oblivion that brings him crashing back to earth the next day—like an angel falling from Heaven, he told Cas one quiet morning after when words tumbled from him, unfiltered.

“Let’s just fuck,” Dean decides. He brings a hand to his cock, catching the disapproval in Cas’ eyes and stopping just short of touching. “What the hell, Cas. I’m dying here!”

“I don’t think so.” Cas nudges Dean’s thigh. “Get on your hands and knees.”

The familiar urge to fight surges within Dean, making his chest tight. His jaw clenches and he stares at Cas, resolutely refusing to break eye-contact. In the end, Dean relents. Resistance is futile. Goddammit, he’s already had his cock in Cas, got sucked off, been tied up, flogged until he nearly lost his damn mind and made a joke about calling Cas Daddy that he’s never making again. He might as well get his ass spanked, too.

“Like this?” Dean turns to look at Cas over his shoulder when he’s in place. Cas has a dark, hungry look in his eyes that sends arousal thrumming through Dean’s veins. His chest tightens as Cas looks up, his lips taking on the familiar tilt of his smile. Dean doesn’t know why he fights this. He doesn’t know why Cas has to be a dirty little secret.

“Perfect,” Cas replies.

Dean isn’t sure how long it takes before he reaches a point where everything gets hazy and unreal. The leather flogger teases over his skin then falls with a whisper, the sharpness of the edges of the leather increasing with each precisely targeted lash. Cas uses slick fingers to bring Dean to the edge, fucking him with them until Dean’s practically yelling for release. Cas is good with his hands. Good at bringing them down with stinging slaps against Dean’s ass and his thighs. Good at stroking his fingers inside Dean and hitting that sweet spot that isn’t sweet at all. Good at taking Dean apart until his thighs are shaking and he can’t focus on anything other than the place between pleasure and pain, the white spots in front of his eyes and the way everything blurs and shimmers as sight and sound are overtaken by sensation.

Dean is wrung out, spent and exhausted when he finally gives in. He stops fighting—stops battling with the demons in his chest and the voice in his brain that tells him he loves all wrong—the one that says he doesn’t deserve saving. He snaps at the unexpected tenderness of kisses against stinging, marked-up flesh. He focuses on the shadows of angel wings, on the image of Cas laughing just before Dean kissed him. He lets his heart beat, loud and resilient in its defiance.

He closes his eyes, spreads his wings and lets himself fall.

*

They’re eating toast with lashings of butter, when Dean tells Sam. Not all of the details, of course. There’s some stuff brothers don’t need to share.

“Okay.” Sam pauses in the middle of eating. He shrugs and returns to his toast after a heartbeat too long. “Is he staying?”

“Who?”

Cas.” Sam rolls his eyes. “Is he staying with us? There’s something happening in Texas.”

Dean snorts. “There’s never anything happening in Texas.” He stomach rolls and he pushes his unfinished toast to one side. “Sammy—”

“Don’t.” Sam’s eyes glint with humour and he glances up, looking to Dean’s left. His eyes flick up and down and his lips curve into a smile like he’s about to make a joke about something. Dean hopes he’s funnier than Cas. “Morning, Cas. Long night?”

“I don’t know what you mean. Angels don’t need to sleep.” Cas does the dutiful don’t tell Sammy we’re fucking routine and slips into the seat next to Dean, serious and implacable. The sight of him fresh from the shower makes Dean’s heart skip and his mouth water. Instead of swallowing it back, he lets himself enjoy it. It’s fun, being horny. Even if the things that make him horny these days are the things he’s spent longer than he cares to remember lying to himself about.

“Morning, Dean.”

“Morning, Cas.” Dean rolls his eyes when Sam winks at him. He takes a breath and drops his hand to Castiel’s leg, squeezing briefly before returning to his toast. “I told Sammy about…it.” He hates that he can’t say us but he’s trying. It’s a lot more than he’s said in the past.

“Oh.” Cas glances at Sam, his brow furrowed, then leans in to Dean, lowering his voice. “You said if I told anyone about the spanking, you would put me in a circle of Holy Fire.”

Dean damn near chokes on his coffee, wincing as Sam snorts with laughter. He points his crust of bread at Sam. “Not a word.” He turns to Cas. “I didn’t exactly go into details, Cas.”

“It sounds like you two have a very profound bond.” Sam grins, the smug asshole.

“I’ll kill you both if you don’t shut up.” Dean finishes his toast and stretches an arm across the back of Cas’ chair. It takes more courage than the nastiest, kinkiest crap they’ve done. His heart hammers in his chest, but the world doesn’t fall apart. There’s no match, no gasoline, no hands trying to pull him into the depths of hell.

Sam looks as though he has a lot of questions—nosy fuck—and Dean braces himself for Cas and his knack for oversharing. They’re going to have to have a conversation about the things little brothers should—and shouldn’t—know. For someone that managed to pick up the finer points of S&M in a hot second, Cas sure could use a lesson in oversharing.

A ray of early morning sunlight filters through the gap in the dingy curtains and bathes the cramped table in warm light.

Dean listens to Cas and Sammy shooting the shit and for the first time since he and Cas started doing this, panic quells, rage dulls and the thrum of his heart is steady, sure and strong.

Chapter Text

“You look like a right twat.” Harry looks gloomily at his reflection in the spare room mirror and pulls a face. He adjusts himself in the leather trousers Draco inexplicably decided would spice up their activities in the bedroom. Leather fucking trousers. Harry’s already sweating his bollocks off and he feels like a tit. He should have gone for a bigger size because these trousers show everything. Besides, nobody’s trousers should creak when they walk. It’s just weird, uncomfortable and he looks like a dickhead. “You’d better be wearing the knickers,” he mutters.

That was the deal. If Harry wears the leather trousers, Draco wears the knickers. Silky things Harry picked up on a whim when he was trying to find some new slippers for Molly for Christmas. He ended up looking like a perv, browsing the underwear section and selecting a pair of fancy black satin briefs he could just imagine on Draco.

“Oh, how lovely.” The woman at M&S had beamed at him. “A Christmas gift for your girlfriend?”

“Err, yeah.” Harry put the Agent Provocateur box in his bag as quickly as possible and decided just to go with the flow. He’d made his way out of Marks like he had just been caught buying sex toys in the kind of seedy shop he and Draco sometimes visit when they’re feeling adventurous, his neck sweating and his cheeks flushed with heat.

He didn’t even give Draco the gift for Christmas—he ended up hiding it away in the wardrobe, until Draco—the nosy fucker—dug them out and asked if Harry was having an affair with that Hufflepuff witch that keeps bringing you muffins at work. After a bit of stumbling and stuttering, Harry finally confessed his newly discovered fetish for Draco in lingerie which is how he now finds himself squeezed into a pair of too-tight leather trousers, because apparently Malfoy has a fetish of his own.

“How long does it take to put on a pair of leather trousers?” Draco’s voice filters towards Harry from their bedroom where he’s hopefully wearing knickers and not getting the camera ready to take the piss.

“I’m coming, for the love of Merlin. You’re such a bossy brat, and these trousers and the fucking worst there’s nothing sexy about—”

Harry stops in his tracks and stares at Draco.

“You were saying, Potter?” Draco smirks, sliding his hand down his belly. He’s stretched out on the bed with everything on display apart from the hard line of his cock, currently covered in delicate lace and satin. It’s better than Harry imagined. It’s mind-blowingly hot. The black knickers are a stark contrast against Draco’s pale skin and they leave absolutely nothing to the imagination. They show off the hard, curved line of his cock and his balls nestle inside the material. The tiniest spot of dampness on the silk indicates Draco’s already far more turned on than his smug look might indicate.

Harry doesn’t miss the way Draco’s eyes flare with interest at the sight of Harry, either. He might feel like a tool, but Draco doesn’t seem to think there’s anything ridiculous about Harry’s trousers. His eyes get the dark, hungry look that reminds Harry of an oncoming storm. As he studies Harry, Draco’s neck flushes with the early heat of his arousal and his breath catches as he palms himself lightly through the knickers.

“Do you know, dressed like that I think I might have to start calling you Da—”

“No time for talking, Malfoy.” Harry advances to the bed as quickly as possible and shoves Draco’s hand out of the way. The feeling of the satin against is palm is as slick and silky as he imagined, and the heat of Draco’s cock warms his skin as he rubs his fingers over it. The movement makes Draco gasp and his parts his legs, letting Harry take in his fill.

“You like them, then?”

“Yes, I fucking do.” Harry moves down Draco’s body with a fierce growl and gets his mouth on the delicate knickers. He makes them damp with saliva as he mouths over the shape of Draco’s cock and balls, never once taking the knickers off. Draco writhes beneath him and inexplicably, the leather makes everything feel even kinkier. Harry isn’t exactly the most dominant person in bed, but he has his moments and Draco seems to like it when he has one of his moods. Now, Draco completely naked apart from his frilly knickers, and Harry fully clothed from the waist down, he feels more in charge somehow—like he wants to ruin Draco.

“I want you to make a mess of yourself.” Harry brings his lips to Draco’s ear, tugging on his earlobe. “Get those knickers of yours nice and wet for me.”

“You’re a terrible pervert, Potter,” Draco drawls. His breathlessness is the only thing that gives him away. That, and the way he’s squirming beneath Harry as Harry teases him with his hand, rubbing Draco’s cock through the satin.

“I’m going to make such a mess of you. Then I’m going to get you to bend over the bed and take you, just how you like it.” Harry’s voice is practically a growl, his words rough and his hand equally so on Draco’s prick.

“You could even spank me in trousers like that,” Draco offers.

The suggestion goes straight to Harry’s cock and he groans against the shell of Draco’s ear, kissing him fiercely, spit-slick, messy and so hungry. He pants into Draco’s neck and grinds into him, noticing how Draco moans at the feeling of the leather trousers against his skin.

“I can do that. Take you over my knee, messy with your own come. Tell you what a naughty boy you are coming all over your nice new knickers from Da…” Harry trails off, clearing his throat. “Your nice new knickers from me.”

“You can say it, you kinky fuck.” Draco sounds delighted, his voice rough. “I want you to spank me then fuck me. Treat me like a naughty boy. Tell me how bad I’ve been. Make me come until I’m aching. Oh fuck, Harry.” With a hiss, Draco arches into the persistent press of Harry’s hand and comes with a deep groan of pleasure. The dampness of his come against the satin and lace makes Harry even more horny than it probably should.

“You’re so gorgeous, darling.” Harry’s probably rambling now, hard and desperately aroused. “So hot.”

“Mmm.” Draco sounds blissed out, in his post-orgasmic haze. He grins at Harry and pushes him back a little. “I think I’m ready for my spanking now.”

Harry gets himself into position, taking a moment to ogle Draco’s excellent arse and when Draco drapes himself over Harry’s knee in his lovely, lacy, satin knickers, the leather trousers don’t feel half as stupid anymore.

Harry brings his hand down with a firm smack and can’t help but wonder how spanking Draco might feel if he had a nice pair of leather gloves.

Chapter Text

As per the notes above, due to length I have posted this fic as a separate standalone work.

You can follow the link to find LONDON RAIN ON AO3 and LONDON RAIN REBLOGGABLE TUMBLR POST

Chapter Text

As per the author's notes above, due to length I have posted this fic as a separate standalone work.

You can follow the link to find ONLY A KISS ON AO3 and ONLY A KISS REBLOGGABLE TUMBLR POST

This also concludes my Festive 500s! Thank you so much to everyone who has commented, reblogged, left kudos and followed along with all or some of the chapters. It's been a huge amount of fun playing with lots of different pairings and ships and I've loved exploring all sorts of themes.