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Taming the Serpent

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Harry remembered the first time he realised that he liked guys and was not at all interested in girls. It was the summer before his fourth year and he had been staying at The Burrow in anticipation of the Quidditch World Cup. One morning, before the day of the Cup, he had stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom, intending on having a shower before breakfast. The door had been closed which wasn’t uncommon but was unlocked. Assuming because the door was unlocked, no one was in there, he walked in and froze.

Before him was a magnificent slab of muscle. Thick thighs lightly furred in red, led up to a generous cock nestled in a thatch of red curls. Deeply defined abs connected to a broad chest and shoulders, arms currently raised to rub a towel over damp red hair. Every inch of visible skin was littered with burns and scars and a magnificent dragon tattoo reared up over one shoulder blade.

He must have made some kind of noise because the towel was dropped, and Charlie turned to look at him.

“Did I forget to lock the door again?” He sighed.

Harry could only swallow, trying and failing to keep his eyes from tracing over every inch of the body in front of him. Charlie quirked an eyebrow and turned to face the younger boy fully.

“Harry?” A wicked grin began working its way over Charlie's face.

The brunet squeaked, eyes snapping up to the older boys’ face and flushed a red that rivaled the Weasley hair before fleeing.

Harry spent the rest of the summer at The Burrow avoiding Charlie during the day, but his nights were filled with dreams of the Dragon Tamer.

The disaster of the Quidditch World Cup pushed any thoughts of his budding sexuality aside and Harry had barely any time to settle into his fourth year before he was thrust into the Triwizard Tournament. When Hagrid took him out to see the dragons, he had caught a glimpse of the fierce Dragon Tamer, his strong arms directing and commanding the magnificent beasts and something in Harry ached to be held, made to feel safe by them.

Soon Charlie left, taking the dragons with him. The Yule Ball had been as big of a disaster as he had expected, forcing himself to go with a girl instead of asking someone he could actually like. He wasn’t ready to make waves about his sexuality, his aunts’ words about unnaturalness and abominations ringing in his ears every time he thought to confide in someone.

The end of the Triwizard Tournament and the death of Cedric Diggory, the rebirth of Voldemort quickly killed any sex drive he could possibly have had. The low-level ache in his scar and the horrendous nightmares reducing him to simply functioning on a daily basis. Something inside him broke when he was sent back to his relatives at the end of his fourth year, left alone with his grief and guilt, he was bereft of any sense of security or family.

When he was eventually rescued before his fifth year, things went from bad to worse. His encounter with the dementors had never been eased, the coldness clinging to his heart long after he had been retrieved like a forgotten package. The farce of a trial at the ministry and Dumbledore’s avoidance of him only made him feel more alone and isolated than before.

Fifth year was a disaster, he made the mistake early on of pissing off Umbrage who took it upon herself to ritually punish him every chance she got, irrespective of whether he had done something wrong. His occlumency lessons with Snape only made it worse. The man seemed to relish in digging up his worse memories and playing them over and over again. Harry couldn’t help but feel gouges being taken out of his heart every time the man disregarded the blatant evidence of the abuse he had suffered in favour of taunting him.

His mind and soul were chipped away at slowly all year until finally he was granted the vision by Voldemort, luring him to the Ministry for their showdown. By some fluke, Harry had managed to defeat the man, his destruction coming before the wizarding world was even willing to acknowledge his return. Unfortunately, it was too little too late and the last of his family had been taken from him. The death of Sirius tearing away what little warmth he had left.

He was abandoned again, irrespective of the death of Voldemort, Dumbledore insisted Harry return to his relatives, citing the ongoing Death Eater presence and finally, any trust Harry had had in the man disappeared. He was left alone but this time, there was no grief, no tears, only a pervading numbness and apathy.

Eventually, they deigned to remove him from the loving embrace of his family, it was now late in the summer before his sixth year, tomorrow would be his 16th birthday. Well technically it was today, it was currently 1 am and he was sitting alone by the fire in the sitting room of Grimmauld Place. He had found Sirius’ stash of Firewhiskey and hangover potions and had been slowly making his way through the remaining third of an already opened bottle.

Everyone had gone to bed hours ago, it had been exhausting keeping up the pretence that everything was fine because he was so tired of the worried looks and the gentle questions. Instead, he had taken to plastering on a smile and just pretending like nothing was wrong. Except for the echoing hollowness in his chest. He rolled the crystal scotch glass between his palm and the side table, allowing the flames to capture his mind, sinking into the emptiness as he stroked the scar Wormtail had given him.

Suddenly the flames flared green and Harry blinked, not even bothering to reach for his wand. What was the point after all? Soon, Charlie stepped out, dusting himself off and blinking in surprise to find Harry sitting in a wingback in nothing but sleep pants and a mostly empty bottle of Firewhiskey beside him.

“Harry?” Charlie queried, dropping a duffle bag on the ground by the hearth.

“Hello Charlie. Wasn’t expecting you.” Harry murmured, eyes barely leaving the flames to acknowledge the older man.

The redheads' eyebrows snapped together, taking in the long lithe form slouched in the chair. Pale feet stuck out of the bottom of black satin sleep pants. The firelight created grooves of the muscles on the younger man’s body. Most alarmingly was the littering of what looked like lash marks and knife cuts over the visible skin. When Charlie shifted, he could make out ‘FREAK’ carved messily over Harry’s heart and something in him clenched in pain.

“Harry what’s going on?” Charlie couldn’t help but ask quietly, watching as Harry took a quiet sip of the amber liquid.

The younger boy hummed in response, eventually dragging his eyes away from the fire. “Nothing, Charlie. Would you like a drink?”

Charlie hesitated, something was clearly wrong with the brunet if he was sitting up at this hour of the night drinking, alone, while underage. His instincts told him that asking what was wrong would get him nowhere, so with a shrug, he shucked off his coat and jacket, rolling up his sleeves and tugging off his boots before sinking into the matching chair beside Harry’s.

“I would love a drink; international portkeys are rubbish. Following it up with a floo only makes it worse.” He pasted on a crooked grin and watched as Harry simply raised a hand, a matching crystal glass slapping into his palm from the sideboard. The teen poured a healthy measure into the glass and offered it to Charlie without looking.

When Charlie failed to take it, too caught up in surprise from the casual display of wandless magic, Harry finally looked over with a small frown creasing his forehead.

Rolling his eyes at the surprise on Charlies face, Harry let go of the glass but instead of crashing to the ground, he gently floated it to the side table next to Charlies chair. The teen went back to staring into the flames, slowly sipping the Firewhiskey and rolling his glass between his palms.

Charlie eventually shook himself out of his stunned stupor, picking up the glass and taking a heavy swallow. He took a moment to sink back into his chair, allowing the stresses of travel to wash away with the warmth from the liquor and the fire. The pair allowed the silence to settle, something quiet and comfortable. Charlie relished being home in Britain without the chaos of his family just yet, while Harry appreciated being allowed to sit quietly without judgement or questions.

“I am sixteen today.” The teen commented eventually.

Charlie had no idea what to say to that so simply hummed and took another sip of Firewhiskey. The silence settling again.

Suddenly, Harry barked a laugh, turning a crooked smile on the older redhead. “Do you remember Charlie? The first time we met?”

The redhead simply tilted his head, unsure where Harry was going with his comment.

“It was just before the Quidditch World Cup, you were showering and forgot to lock the door. I walked in on you and you were naked. I realised in that moment I was gay.” Harry threw back the last of the Firewhiskey in his glass, throat working as he swallowed, before pouring himself another and offering the bottle to Charlie.

“I haven’t told anyone, didn’t seem much point with everything happening, and I had no idea how anyone would react to it. I got the impression that you didn’t mind me looking though.” Harry trailed off, his expression pained.

Charlie paused, blinking. This was not what he had expected, then again, nothing in this was what he expected. He poured himself another glass, setting the bottle on the floor between them before taking a sip. The redhead tried to figure out what part he should respond to.

“No Harry, I didn’t mind you looking, I don’t judge at all, even though some do.” Charlie couldn’t help but sigh. Prejudice against gays was just as rife in the wizarding world as it was in the muggle.

“Ah, so you’re not…?” Harry trailed off.

“I am… Not gay, I’m also not straight though, I like… Who I like.” The older man shrugged, it was difficult to explain, he liked people, had been with both men and women, but for him, it was more about what was on the inside than anything else.

“Ah.” Was all Harry said, sinking back into his chair and taking another swig of his Firewhiskey.

For the first time in two years, Harry felt something, in his chest, that aching coldness that had filled him since Sirius died had softened just a little. Twisting to the side, he curled up his legs, leaning back into the wing of the chair to observe Charlie. Something in his unadulterated ruggedness felt genuine. Charlie must have felt him staring because he eventually turned, noticing the unashamed staring and shifting in his chair to match.

“Will you tell me about your scars? Any of them?” Charlie asked finally, wanting to start a conversation somehow.

Harry blinked in surprise, considering his options, with a mental shrug he dropped his arm that wasn’t cradling his whiskey. “See the circular scar on my forearm?”

He watched Charlie nod, leaning forward to peer at it curiously. Flipping his arm over, Harry showed the slightly smaller round scar on the underside. A flash of amusement ran through Harry, which was surprising in and of itself, as he watched as Charlie leaned further forward, eyes flicking up to Harry’s who just smiled a little. Charlie eventually got out of the chair, moving over so that he was kneeling in front of Harry. His eyes flickered up again as he reached out, hesitating before touching. With a nod from Harry, his fingertips made contact, gently tracing over the scars, trying to work out what would have caused it.

Harry’s eyes slid shut. It had been so long since anyone had touched him. His friends knew from long experience that he didn’t like to be touched, but sometimes, he missed human physical contact. It was just so hard to trust. He exhaled softly, reveling in the soft touches from calloused fingers. He couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if they touched him elsewhere. Something in him was awakening slowly, unfurling a little from under the cold apathy that swamped him on a daily basis.

Charlie's voice was soft when he finally spoke, fingers still tracing over the scar. “This looks like a fang puncture, but not even dragon fangs get this big.”

“Basilisk.” Harry sighed out finally, so lost in the sensation of being touched gently for once in his life that he didn’t notice his growing arousal.

He felt the pressure on his skin increase, Charlie's breath stuttering a little and Harry finally opened his eyes. Charlie was staring at him, eyes fixed on the growing tent in Harry’s pants. Only the lightest blush stained Harry’s cheeks and he casually adjusted himself to make it less obvious. Charlie finally looked up, lust glazing his eyes a little.

Harry took another sip of Firewhiskey, tilting his head back to show off the long lines of his throat. He heard Charlie swallow heavily, grip tightening momentarily on his forearm. Harry couldn’t help but smirk a little, watching Charlie struggle with himself. After all, Harry was barely sixteen, while Charlie was twenty-five.

Taking pity on the older man, Harry decided to continue explaining. “It was my second year, Ginny had been given that cursed diary and was opening the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts. When she was taken down, Ron and I figured it out and went after her. I was the only one who could open the chamber, I’m a Parselmouth. It ended up just being me down there, against the ghost of Voldemort and his pet Basilisk. I killed it, but not before it bit me. Phoenix tears were the only thing that saved me that day. Unfortunately, I was still left with the scar. But really. What’s one more?”

As he was speaking, Harry could see the lust fading from Charlie's eyes, and he felt… sad? Odd. With a sigh, Harry threw back the last of the Firewhiskey in his glass, before standing, arm slipping from Charlie's grip.

“I’ll show you to your room?”

Charlie stood, rising into Harry’s space and staring down into shuttered green eyes. The moment stretched with neither moving, their chests almost brushing together whenever they breathed. With a sigh, the older man nodded, finally turning away to gather up his things.

Harry moved to lead the way, winding up the staircase before stopping in front of a guest room.

“I’m staying in Sirius’ old room.” The comment was oblique and the pair turned to share another long look before Harry finally turned and walked away, leaving Charlie standing at his door and feeling like he had missed something.

******

Later that day, Harry behaved like nothing had happened, smiling for his friends, laughing at their jokes, faking appreciation for the gifts they had given him. But Charlie could see, there was an emptiness behind the green eyes. There were moments where Harry would turn to talk to someone only to realise they weren’t there. His eyes would go blank, a beat would pass, and he would turn back to the group and pretend like nothing had happened. The thing that killed Charlie, was no one noticed. Not Ron or Hermione, not anyone else there. None of them could see that Harry was dying slowly.
Realisation slowly dawned, Charlie was the only one who could see, the only one who stood a chance of making any difference in the teen’s life. He knew there was little he could do here, now, but perhaps later… The redhead shook himself, he would have to be careful, the teen had grown up from the awkward boy who had walked in on him in the shower. Last night seeing him in nothing but black satin sleep pants, the long expanses of creamy skin with so many stories carved into it. He ached to know those stories, to wash away the pain tangled up in them.

Resolved, Charlie kept back, watching and waiting for his moment to reach out once more to the broken boy in front of him.

*****

Harry sighed, he was finally tucked away in his room, everyone had left him alone. He had pled exhaustion, but in reality, he just couldn’t bear to keep the façade up any longer. He hadn’t exactly ignored Charlie but hadn’t made any efforts to seek him out either. The feelings incited by the fireplace last night were exciting and scary at the same time. It had been so long since he had felt anything that the prospect of his heart waking up was daunting.

Sleep was far from his thoughts as he curled up in the window seat of Sirius’ old room. He had found his godfathers favourite leather jacket and donned it, the cool leather soft against his bare chest, black satin sleep pants once more clinging to his hips. He gazed out the window, moonlight dappling the street below. It was a full moon, so Remus hadn’t been at his birthday either and it had settled the ache deeper in his chest.

Time drifted away, the only marking of its movement was the slow shift of moon shadows. A light knock on his door echoed through the room and he twitched.

“Yes?” He called, not bothering to look around.

He heard the door ease open and bare feet pad into the room. The door eased closed again and still, he didn’t look around. He felt a body settle across from him on the window seat, their feet tangling together.

“Firewhiskey?” Charlie’s voice was soft as he held out the bottle to Harry.

“Thanks.” Was the quiet reply as Harry took a swig directly from the bottle before handing it back. Charlie copied the movement before allowing the bottle to dangle between his knees.

The silence settled between the pair again, just as easy and comfortable as the night before. Their feet pressed together as they passed the bottle back and forth. Occasionally Harry would tuck his nose into the collar of the jacket, inhaling the smell of his last family member.

“I am only in town for a couple of days, I have to head back to Romania soon. It’s hatchling season so I could only get away for a little while. I would like to write to you, if you are up for it. We don’t have to talk about anything in particular, but…” And here Charlie lost his nerve. He knew there was something, a possibility, a tiny whisper of an ember between the pair of them.

Harry blinked and focused on the redhead. The silence stretched again, and Charlie felt his heart sink, perhaps he was too late. But then Harry moved, shuffling his feet underneath himself and rocking forward to kneel. He lent over and without pausing or hesitating, pressed his lips to Charlies’.

Something sparked between the pair as soft lips moved together. Charlie couldn’t help but gasp as fingers tangled in his hair, tugging roughly until Harry could slip his tongue in. There was the heat, the fire, the passion, and for a moment, Charlie allowed himself to get lost in it. Rising up he pressed back, tugging the teen closer and slanting his mouth so their tongues could slide together. They moaned into each other’s mouths, tasting Firewhiskey.

Breath eventually became a necessity and they broke apart panting lightly. Harry lent his forehead against Charlies, that crooked smile on his mouth again. “Writing sounds good.” Was all he said before sitting back as he was before, leaving their feet to tangle together before he snatched up the Firewhiskey bottle for another swig.
More time slipped away as the pair worked their way through the bottle. Eventually, Charlie moved to leave but a hand wrapped around his wrist before he got far.

Harry was staring fixedly at their feet when he whispered. “Will you stay with me? I think having you here might keep the nightmares at bay.”

Charlie swallowed heavily, some part of him knowing that it would be a bad idea but nodding anyway. He cast a complex locking charm on the door before making his way over to the bed and slipping in, holding up the corner for Harry to join him. The younger man shucked the leather jacket and crawled in, the pair settling down with Harry tucked against Charlies chest and soon, they drifted off to sleep.

*****

The few remaining days that Charlie was there passed much the same. Charlie and Harry acting like nothing was different during the day, but Charlie sneaking into Harry’s room late at night so they could drink a little and then curl up to sleep. Harry had been right, the nightmares stayed away while he was wrapped up in the dragon tamer. While they barely talked, Charlie content to let the teen move at his own pace, they understood that something was there, and given time, it could work. They didn’t speak of the kiss, for which Charlie was grateful. His resolve had been sorely tested in those moments and he did not want to push his luck further.

All too soon, Charlie was leaving, his international portkey set for the afternoon, so the pair didn’t even get a final night together. Instead, as Charlie was hugging everyone goodbye, he casually tugged Harry into one, whispering ‘owl me’ in the teen's ear before moving on to the next one. Charlie went back to his dragon reserve in Romania. Harry went back to the empty solitude of his life.

Harry got better at the lie, his friends stopped asking if he was ok. He drank more in secret, somehow it made the aching hollow in his chest feel less. He perfected brewing the hangover potion, making sure he kept a stock of it in his bedside table to take before anyone saw him in the morning.

All too soon, he was going back to Hogwarts. Without the looming threat of Voldemort or his minions, who had all been caught over the summer, he was expecting a rather boring year. He was not disappointed. Days blurred into weeks blurred into months.

He applied himself to his classes, laughed at everyone’s jokes and pretended he wasn’t dying inside. Ginny persistently tried to gain his attention and he had to become harsher in turning her down until finally, when she had hugged him without permission for what felt like the millionth time, he finally shoved her away, telling her he wasn’t interested and never would be.

Ron stopped speaking to him. Hermione badgered him to confide in her. He didn’t. There was nothing to say. He had attempted a couple of times to suggest casually that he wasn’t interested in women. Their responses had been far from encouraging and he realised that coming out to his friends as gay would be a disaster. He retreated from contact with everyone, knowing that even if someone would accept who and what he was, he couldn’t risk the gamble of telling the wrong person. He became progressively more isolated as the year wore on.

The only thing that kept him going as each grey day blended into the next was his letters with Charlie. Initially, they talked about nothing, Charlie sharing stories about his travels and experiences with Dragons. One day though, Harry shared the story about his first year at Hogwarts. He told of how he had been so beautifully manipulated into going after the stone, resulting in him killing his professor. Irrespective of the fact that Quirrell was probably dying from being possessed by Voldemort, Harry still contributed to the man’s untimely demise.

Harry spent the next week after sending the letter walking around in a haze. Convinced that Charlie would not reply, that he too would turn on Harry as everyone else had. But, like clockwork, Hedwig winged into the Great Hall, letter clutched in her talons from Charlie. The older man was equal parts enraged and sympathetic. While Charlie had no idea what that would have been like, the fact that Dumbledore had facilitated such a thing was wrong on so many levels.

Charlie would always share a new story in his letters, regardless of whether Harry shared something himself. Some weeks, Harry found himself penning detailed stories, describing his years at Hogwarts, others, he was barely able to pen a response to what Charlie wrote.

The Dragon Tamer always wrote back. Without fail. Providing the teen with what little stability in his life he could find. Whenever Harry received a letter, he could feel another small part of his heart thaw, occasionally allowing his grief and pain to flow onto the pages he sent to what felt like his only friend. Charlie never judged, he never pitied, simply accepting whatever Harry was willing to give.

The year slipped by. Without the distractions of Ron’s procrastination and Hermione’s nagging, Harry actually did well. He got outstanding’s on most things. He had arranged at the start of the year to study Ancient Runes and Arithmancy independently with McGonagall. He no longer desired to be an Auror like everyone expected, not that he told anyone that. Instead, he was considering being a Curse Breaker. He would be able to travel, see the world as he had always wanted. Charlies’ stories had awoken something in him that almost felt like life.

Devoting all his spare time to his two extra subjects, Harry and McGonagall anticipated that he would be able to take his NEWTS with everyone else at the end of his Seventh Year. His OWL’s in the subject were scheduled for the end of summer, meaning he would be tackling two years’ worth of material in one.

With some degree of enthusiasm, Harry informed Charlie that he would not be returning to his relatives, instead heading straight to Grimmauld Place. He would be there all summer with only Dobby and Kreacher for company. Stating Charlie was welcome if and when he could visit.

Charlie couldn’t help the thrill of excitement that ran through him at the possibility of seeing Harry without outside interference. He managed to organise taking the week off around the teen’s birthday, arriving on the 30th of July and leaving on the 5th of August. He explained to Harry that he would have to spend time with his family, but had lied about his arrival, stating that he wasn’t getting into the country until the 2nd of August.

*****

It was 1 am on the 30th of July. Harry was once again in the sitting room, nursing a bottle of Firewhiskey in nothing but black satin sleep pants. Firelight was the only thing that lit the room. The second wingback chair was next to him, side table already set up with a tumbler of Firewhiskey. He wasn’t sure when Charlie would be arriving, only knowing that it would be today. He was too excited to sleep and so, sat drinking and waiting.

Unlike this time last year, Harry was not waiting for the end, was not waiting for the dawn to bring in another dreary day filled with sameness. Instead, he was waiting for his only friend, his confidant, his reason to continue existing for a little while longer.

Some part of him was convinced it was all a dream. That their first night by the firelight had been a figment of his grief-stricken mind. That he had never kissed Charlie, cementing that something between the pair. He occasionally thought he had hallucinated the whole thing, but then would pull out Charlie's letters that he had read so many times the creases had been smoothed out of the paper. He would read the stories, see the affection and care that underlay everything. Each week those words reminding him that he had something left to live for.

Harry was a third of the way through the bottle and the first rays of a false dawn were creeping through the window. The fire flared green and Charlie stepped out. The Dragon Tamer sighed, stretching and dumping his duffle on the hearth. He smiled at Harry, amused and touched that the scene had been set so similarly to the first. Shucking his outer layers, he slumped into the chair and tossed back the Firewhiskey waiting for him.

The silence settled, Harry shifting so he could drink in the sight of the older man, knees curled up into the seat of his chair, Firewhiskey cradled in his hands. Eventually, Charlie noticed, tugging off his boots and curling up in the mirror of Harry. They shared the bottle of Firewhiskey, the teen casually levitating it between them.

They were about halfway through and had both gotten a pleasant buzz when Harry sighed and stood. Setting down his empty glass, he stretched, arms above his head, long lines of his torso twisting and flexing, pants slipping a little lower on his hips. With a shudder, he grabbed Charlie's duffle and looked to the older man, whose expression was rather dazed.

“Bed?”

With a jerky nod, the redhead mirrored the teen, gathering the rest of his things to follow up to Sirius’ old room. Harry watched, waiting quietly while Charlie changed out of his clothes and into sleep pants, the pair crawling into bed and curling up together. For the first night in a year, Harry slept without nightmares.

*****

Charlie was the first to wake the next morning, international portkeys always threw him for a loop. Easing out of bed, he completed his morning toilet and made his way back, leaning against the bedpost to take in the vision of loveliness before him. Harry was on his belly, sprawled out in the middle of the bed, the early morning light creeping in through the curtains just enough to highlight the alarming number of scars on the teens back. Charlie had never had the chance to see the brunets back before, especially not by the light, and while his front was disturbing, the damage done to his back is heartbreaking.

They had yet to talk about Harry’s childhood, but the evidence of abuse was here to see. Layered on top of each other are lash marks, some faded and silvery white, others more raised and pink. None looked less than a year old indicating that it was clearly his relatives’ tender mercies that inflicted the dense scarification. Shifting, he could occasionally make out words carved into the pale skin. Leaning in he could make out another ‘FREAK’ just like the one over Harry’s chest, and across his lower back was a rather messy ‘FAGGOT’.

Harry sighed heavily but didn’t move. “Ask. No one else has.” His tone was not quite resigned.

“How has no one asked? You shared a dorm with other boys for six years. How has no one seen this? Seen what your relatives have done to you?”

The teen rolled onto his back, stretching like a cat and Charlie tried to ignore how his mouth went dry.

“In my first year, I tried to tell Dumbledore, begged him to let me leave the Dursleys, but he insisted. I had to stay there for my own good, family was family after all and they did love me, even if they were harsh sometimes. I believed him of course. This great benevolent wizard telling me that what my family was doing was normal, that I deserved it? What eleven-year-old wouldn’t? Of course, that’s ignoring that I was already so much smaller than the rest of my year, that it took me a whole month before I could eat a normal sized meal at Hogwarts because my stomach was so shrunk from routine starvation. I kept a shirt on most of the time, hiding the worst of my shame.”

Charlie could only stare in horror as Harry wriggled around on the bed, slowly shucking the sleep pants revealing his nakedness underneath. His eyes snapped up to Harry’s face, desire warring with confusion.

“Open the curtains.” Harry directed, stretching out fully, apparently unashamed.

Charlie obeyed, tugging back the curtain and allowing morning light to spill over the bed. What was being hidden by the pants made his breath catch. Cane marks were in neat rows down his thighs, he couldn't begin to imagine how hard the hits would have been to cause scarring like that. Carved deeply into slim thighs were the words ‘WHORE’ and ‘USELESS’. He couldn’t help the noise of distress in the back of his throat. Without realising it, he was on the bed, hands hovering to cover the hateful words.

“This is me Charlie, this is what I am. You have a choice here, take what I have, whatever little it is, or go.”

Charlie could see how much this was costing Harry, to lay himself completely bare before another and ask whether he was enough.

“Oh Harry.” Charlie couldn’t help but sigh, stretching out next to the youth, he finally caved to their mutual desire, leaning down and pressing a soft kiss to tender lips.

He could feel the surprise radiating from the teen and Charlie felt his heart ache. Harry had found the courage to lay himself bare, fully expecting to be rejected, abandoned by the one person he felt he had left in the world. Suddenly Charlie couldn’t bear it anymore, something in his heart cracked, breaking open and bleeding.

The kiss turned demanding, heated, passionate. Teeth and tongues and the faint taste of Firewhiskey from the night before. He felt Harry melt into him, completely surrendering when Charlie wrapped his arms around the smaller boy, rolling onto his back and tugging him on top. The redhead tangled his thick fingers in raven hair, controlling the kiss, preventing Harry from going anywhere. He could feel Harry’s hands, tracing over his hair, cheeks, throat, down his sides to grasp Charlie's hips.

Harry’s knees slid to either side of Charlie's hips so he was straddling the older man, gasping as their cocks were pressed together. The redhead ran his hands down Harry’s back, grabbing onto his arse as the pair began to rock together. He swallowed down the moans and sighs falling from the teens' lips, feeling Harry’s fingers slide into his hair.

Time ceased to mean anything, the sunlight dappled their bodies and they moved together, rocking and grinding as they chased completion. All too soon, Harry was crying out, tearing his mouth away from Charlie as he arched his back and came, white ropes splattering over tanned skin. Seeing Harry so lost in pleasure was enough to tip Charlie over and he came with a shout.

The teen collapsed onto the older man's chest, panting heavily. He noticed the cooling come between them and with a negligent wave of his hand, vanished the mess. Charlie couldn’t help the surprised noise he made at the sensation, tugging Harry’s chin up so they could look at each other.

Charlie knew he had to do something in return for Harry giving so much of himself over to the redhead. He smiled softly at the teen who was looking more and more nervous as the seconds ticked by.

“I know I am older than you Harry, I know you have a history and baggage, but we seem to fit. Writing to you has made this past year something more than I have ever had before. I know you have another year to go to finish school, but if you are willing, I would like to date you. You could do whatever you liked after school, or you could come stay with me in Romania, whatever you decide to do, I will be here either as your friend or your partner. I am just glad we are in each other’s lives.” The redhead paused, watching to growing amazement in green eyes.

“I guess the question is, what do you want Harry?” Charlie asked softly.

“You, I want you.” Harry breathed, pressing a kiss to Charlie's lips.

“I don’t know how I am going to get through the next year, I guess it will be much like the last. Thank you for everything Charlie you have no idea what you have done for me. You saved me. No one else could see, no one else wanted to see, but you did.” Harry tucked himself up under Charlie's chin, feeling burly arms wrap tightly around his small frame.

The pair drifted together, lost in their own thoughts, comfortable in the moment they had together.

*****

They brought in Harry’s 17th birthday with passionate kisses, tender touches, and more Firewhiskey. The only gift Harry received was from Charlie, the older man hesitantly bringing out a small chest.

“Harry, I know you are… unhappy with the scars on your body. As a Dragon Tamer, we get a lot of scars and damage done to us, so we have access to some of the best healing materials for reducing such things. I have put together a collection of the best products to help reduce scarring. You don’t have to use it, I don’t care if you are scarred or not, but if you want, it’s here.”

The redhead handed over the box slowly, unsure of the reception. Wide green eyes took in the multitude of vials and jars, tiny hand-written instructions for use written on each. The box was gently set aside before Charlie had his arms full of a very happy brunet.

Harry pushed Charlie to lay back on the bed, kissing his way down Charlies toned body until he reached the pair of tight trunks, stripping them away to Charlies splutters and protests, Harry didn’t hesitate to suck down the thick cock laid out in front of him. He heard Charlie choke in surprise, protests slowly fading into moans and sighs of pleasure.

The teen was inexperienced, after all, who would want to touch someone as scarred and damaged as him? Enthusiasm made up for lack of knowledge though, tongue laving sensitive skin as he worked his way down the long shaft. He carefully tucked his teeth away, suckling at the soft cock head and tasting precome on his tongue.

The teen felt thick fingers ease into his hair, gently tangling in the unruly strands, not to control but to caress. Harry felt warmed from the inside by the tender touch, sliding the cock as far into his mouth as he could. He had spent some time reading up on how best to do with and with a deep inhale, he relaxed his throat and tried to sink down further. He did his best to ignore the reflex to gag, instead turning it into a swallow that had Charlie shouting and tugging at his hair to try and pull him away.

Garbled words indicated that he was close and instead of retreating, Harry swallowed again and was rewarded by a thick salty treat pouring down his throat. Squeezing his eyes shut, he swallowed as quickly as he could before finally retreating with a gasp. Charlies softening cock slipped from his mouth as Harry panted to get his breath back. Glancing up, he could see the redheads' eyes were filled with hazy pleasure and amazement. Harry couldn’t help but smirk a little in satisfaction, turning back to the generous cock in front of him and licking it clean. He finished just as Charlie was whining at the oversensitivity and pushing him away.

Crawling back up next to his partner, Harry cuddled into him. “Thank you for understanding.” He murmured quietly.

Charlie tightened his arms around the smaller man, pressing his nose into unruly hair. “Will you tell me about them? You other scars?”

“I will.” The brunet sighed. “Not now, I just want to be here with you, in this moment.”

The rest of the day slipped by with quiet moments and soft touches, Harry could feel his heart opening, something warm blooming in his chest every time Charlie touched him without hesitation. Every time he looked at Harry with kindness and affection.

He realised late on the thirty-first that he could feel all the grief and pain from the previous years welling up and knew it would soon be time to face it all. It was time to allow all the feelings that had been denied and suppressed over his life to be aired, to be accepted and let go of. Charlie was giving him the strength to face the pain at his centre. But not yet. Harry refused to spend what little time he had with Charlie grieving.

As the thirty-first blurred into the first of August, their touches became a little more desperate. Charlie, knowing that Harry was a virgin, refused to have sex with him until after he had graduated. Instead, they revelled in the small intimacies they found. Sharing tea and Firewhiskey by the fire. Bathing and sleeping together, just spending time existing in their skins feeling accepted wholly and completely.

When Charlie noticed the sadness building in Harry’s eyes, he would tell a story, sharing his experiences from around the world. He knew that Harry would suffer while alone, but there was little that could be done. His family wouldn’t accept Harry back into the fold after his rejection of Ginny. He knew the Twins continued talking to the brunet as a business investor, but some distance had grown between them. His family ignored Charlie’s bisexuality, or whatever people were calling it, assuming one day he would find a nice girl and settle down to pop out some babies. The idea gave him hives.

As he gazed down at the sleeping face tucked against his chest, he felt his heart swell and ache. He had never felt like this before, generally sleeping with whatever caught his fancy and moving on before attachments grew. He was devoted to his work and scratching the occasional itch was enough for him. But this, what he had with Harry was real. He was willing to fight for it but knew that Harry would struggle to cope for a whole year if his lovely brother Ron knew the truth. They would escape once his final year was over, it would have to be enough.

Realisation dawned, Harry would need something, some gesture, some object to keep, to remind him of what they were working for. Mulling it over, Charlie gently extracted himself from Harry, tucking him into the bed. Checking the time, he knew he had just enough to run to Diagon Alley before the shop closed, hopefully they would have what he needed. Throwing on his robes and tugging his hood up to hide his face, he scribbled out a note and floo’ed to the Leaky.

*****

Harry woke alone, and for a moment, his heart stuttered in his chest. Jerking upright, he spotted the sheet of parchment sitting on the pillow in front of his face and snatched it up, stomach churning in fear.

Had to run a quick errand, will be back soon. -Charlie

It was hastily written with ink splattered at the end. Curiosity warred with fear. Unable to cope, Harry snatched up the bottle of Firewhiskey and moved to the window seat, clutching the parchment as his thoughts raced. Charlie had been so patient, so kind with him, breaking down all his walls and warming his cold heart. Some part of him still expected to wake up from the dream or find it was some elaborate prank orchestrated by Ron. He tried to cling to the memories of the moments they had shared over the past few days, shoving back the sadness that threatened to overwhelm him.

He heard the floo ding and took another swig from the bottle. He could hear Charlie shuffle into the room, shucking his cloak and clothes until he joined Harry on the window seat. Finally, the teen looked over at the redhead, only to see a small box being held out to him. The older man tugged away the bottle of Firewhiskey, shoving the box into his hands as he took a swig.

“Open it.” Charlie instructed, noticing his note was crumped in Harry’s hand. His heart lurched, knowing that he had made the right choice.

With a suspicious look, Harry cracked the box and his mouth dropped open. Sitting inside were two rings. They were old looking, tarnished to a matte silver and black. One was a snake eating its own tail, the other looked the same but had a small set of wings tucked against its back.

Blinking, Harry looked up at Charlie. “I don’t understand?”

“I’m not asking you to marry me or anything, not yet anyway. This is a promise. A reminder, something for you to keep, to remember what we have this year. We will have to go back to our lives, with nothing but letters to each other. I wanted to give you something more.” Charlie couldn’t help but watch as the emotions washed over Harry’s face. He was so different now than he had been a year ago. Then he had been closed off, cold, quietly dying on the inside. Now his eyes were lit with inner passion, his fire burning brightly, all for Charlie.

With a strangled noise, Harry threw himself at the older man, tucking his body close and kissing him deeply. Thick arms tightened around his body and he sighed, knowing, in this moment, he was safe.

“Which is mine?” With a soft chuckle, Charlie extracted the dragon ring and slid it onto Harry’s left index finger. Doing the same on himself with the snake before dropping the box to the floor.

“If we ever decide to get married, we can just move the rings to the correct finger. This way, you won’t have to face any awkward questions at school.” Charlie wrapped Harry up in his arms again, the pair simply revelling in the warmth shared.

“Why the snake?” Harry couldn’t help but ask.

“You have always been more of a snake than a lion Harry.” Was the only reply and the pair shared a chuckle.

*****

The first faded into the second of August and soon, Charlie had to leave. His heart ached to see how small Harry looked, curled up in the armchair by the fire.

“I will be fine Charlie,” Harry assured him, thumbing the ring. “I have a lot of studying to do if I want to get my NEWTs in Ancient Rune and Arithmancy like everyone else. I will get lost in my studies just like I have been for the past year. I did it before and I can do it again.”

The brunet unfolded himself, reaching out to cup the older man’s chin and press a tender kiss to his lips.

“Go see your family. They are waiting for you. Write me when you get back to Romania.” With a gentle nudge, Harry pushed Charlie towards the fire, watching as the man he was slowly falling in love with stepped into the green flames and disappeared.

With a sigh, Harry headed back to his room, pulling out his study materials and getting down to work. The days drifted by, the daylight hours filled with frantic studying while the nights were spent allowing his grief and pain to overwhelm him. For the first time in years, Harry cried, allowing the tears to wash him clean.

He passed with Ancient Rune and Arithmancy OWL’s, permitting him to carry on with the accelerated learning programme to get his NEWT’s at the end of his Seventh Year.

By the time September First rolled around, he was ready to face school again. He was no longer hollow and empty, instead filled with a warmth given to him by the unassuming affection by Charlie. He had accepted his past, allowing it to settle into place in his life but no longer holding onto the guilt or pain. It was not his fault that he had been used, moulded into the perfect weapon for Dumbledore to utilise. He had been young and ignorant, overly trusting. But now he knew better, he had grown beyond societies expectations of him and was no longer willing to bow to others at the loss of his own happiness.

Charlie and Harry continued writing. Charlie sharing more of his stories while Harry slowly allowed himself to open up about the abuse suffered at the hands of his relatives.

Harry began using the kit Charlie had given him, relishing in the slow reduction of the scars littering his body. While at school, he went to Madam Pomfrey, asking if there were potions that would help correct malnutrition and abuse. She blinked at him in surprise before casting a few diagnostic charms on him, her face going white with shock. Her indignation warmed him, and he had to spend a while soothing the woman, assuring her that the abuse was no longer an issue, but he would like to rectify the damage none the less. She prescribed him a series of different potions to help with his bone density, growth and weight gain. He requested she keep the secret of his condition, which she did begrudgingly and with a lot of muttering about meddling old fools.

The year slowly slipped by, Ron, Hermione and Ginny continued to give him the cold shoulder. Neville had reached out to him and they were working on a genuine friendship. Luna tended to hang out with them whenever she wasn’t stuck in class.

Harry ignored Dumbledore, not showing up whenever the man requested his presence, much to the older man’s irritation, but there was little he could do. The meetings were nothing to do with school and as his Head of House had not been invited, Harry was not obligated to attend.

Unfortunately, what Dumbledore wanted to discuss could not be done in front of Minerva who would have his head if she found out. The Headmaster had always known about the abuse, ignoring it in favour of having his perfect weapon. Unfortunately, the final battle had not gone as planned, Voldemort was defeated too soon, and Dumbledore’s control of the wizarding world was slipping. With Harry refusing to cooperate and Ron and Hermione no longer speaking to him, he had lost all leverage with the boy. Allowing Sirius to die had clearly been a mistake but it was too late to take it back.

Harry and Charlie continued to write, the teen refusing to tell anyone who he was talking to, enchanting the letters into parseltongue so that no one else could read them after Ron tried to steal them.

Under the potions regime from Madam Pomfrey, Harry finally began growing, shooting up to 6 ft 2”. He took to exercising in the early mornings when he couldn’t sleep, his body filling out rapidly. He noticed Snape watching him, something curious and suspicious in the dark man’s eyes. But the man never said anything. He was no longer antagonistic, and Harry began flourishing in potions, excelling beyond everyone’s expectations.

After Ginny tried to steal his ring, he enchanted it so that only he could remove it. Hermione began badgering him about who it was from when she noticed how much he fidgeted with it. Harry worked at ignoring them, but sometimes his patience was tested. He reminded himself that while Charlie was different from his family, it was still his family and would be unlikely to appreciate Harry hexing Ron and Ginny into oblivion.

Harry couldn’t help but start teasing Charlie in his letters, expressing his hopes and desires, talking about what he wanted to do when he had graduated, telling of his dreams and fantasies. He could sense Charlie's mounting frustration and desire in his replies.

He reached out to the Twins, trying to see if he could repair their damaged relationship, trying to share his side of what went down with Ron and Ginny. The pair were hesitant at first, but ultimately came around. He developed with them, a similar understanding to what he had with Charlie. They would be his friend but the rest of the Weasleys would never know.

Harry didn’t tell them or anyone else about Charlie.

He buried himself so far into his studies that by the time their exams rolled around, Harry was the top of the class, beating out the Head Girl, Hermione and the Head Boy, Draco Malfoy. The exams passed by in a blur of stress and sleeplessness.

Harry was named valedictorian of the class and suffered for it from his peers. The only ones who congratulated him were Neville, the Twins, and Charlie. Everyone else was convinced it was favouritism and that Harry did not deserve the title. Charlie and the Twins pre-warned him that they would be at graduation but would be unable to talk to him due to the families ongoing hatred of him. Molly had not forgiven him for taking her two babies to the ministry, putting their lives in danger. Arthur was a push over and while Bill didn’t have any issue with him in particular, they also had no relationship to speak of.

Graduation day dawned and Harry’s heart twisted in his chest. It had been the full moon last night so Remus and Tonks would yet again be missing. He was almost convinced Dumbledore scheduled it on purpose. Standing in front of his mirror as he smoothed his robes down, he allowed the sadness and loneliness to wash over him one last time. He had given instructions to Hedwig to fly ahead to Romania, so now he was truly alone.

Soon he would be leaving this place, leaving the wizarding world that had done nothing for him and finding his own way. Soon he would be happy, home and whole. He thumbed his ring, allowing a soft smile to wash over his face. He was not really alone and never would be again. Shrinking down his school trunk, which was already full of everything he owned, he slipped it into his pocket and walked out.

Soon he was being called up onto the stage to give his speech, knowing that Dumbledore would soon be plotting his murder.

“Good morning everyone.” His voice was calm and steady, he avoided looking at Charlie, instead focusing on the trees behind the rows of chairs on the lawn.

“Well done to the class of ’97, we made it. What an adventure it has been! We have faced so much in our early years that it is hard to imagine where to go next. It is hard to imagine what the world will be like outside of these walls.” He paused, before plunging on.

“Most of you feel like you know me, Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, Defeater of Voldemort. Somehow, you all feel you are entitled to my life or my story. I have had to learn how to be human under the lash of hatred, loathing, and disgust. I have been routinely abandoned and ignored for my life to date. I would like to thank you all for the absolute neglect you have inflicted on one child for the sake of the greater good. You have made me into the man I am today.” The silence was stunned.

“At every turn, I was cast aside, my needs place below those of others. Every time I reached out to an authority figure, my fears and concerns were brushed away, deemed irrelevant and silly. Yet I was right, every time, and still, you did not learn.

“The wizarding world creates its own villains. You create monsters then vilify them. You abandon those most in need because it is too hard to look beyond yourselves. Instead of standing up and taking responsibility of the world you create through your day to day actions, you push responsibility onto others. Onto a child.

“I would like to take a moment here, I want you all to think of a child you know, someone just starting or about to start Hogwarts. I want you to imagine the expectation of the wizarding world being placed on those child’s shoulders, the expectation that somehow, that child will defeat a wizard much older and stronger than them. Now I want you to imagine leaving the child with little to no support or defenses.

“Take a moment to appreciate the horror of what you all did. I was a child, completely ignorant of the wizarding world and my place in it until you dragged me into this world and set me up to be a martyr, because I am quite sure that is what I was meant to be.

“Irrespective of the lessons that you tried to teach me, I persevered. I realised I did not have to be what you wanted me to be. I found myself amidst the chaos and the pain.”

He turned towards his year, seeing expressions ranging from sadness to horror to cold hatred. With a shrug, he continued. “My advice to my year mates is simply this. Find what makes you happy, whatever it is. Find one moment of joy and cling to it, shape your life around it, fill yourself with it. No one else will grant you happiness. If you forever follow what others say you should do, you will always feel like something is missing from your life. I won't promise that you will always succeed, it is quite likely that you will fail often and hard. But these are learning curves that shape you into who you will become. All I can do is counsel finding your joy and following it.”

Turning back to the assembly, Harry could see the same mix of emotions scattered across the crowd, He forced himself not to look at Charlie, instead steadying his resolve. “It is unlikely you will ever see me again. I am leaving this world that has done so little for me and I have no intention of returning. When the next Dark Lord rises, and I guarantee, unless you change as a society one will, do not come looking for me. I will be busy, leading my life far far away from you all. Thank you.”

With that, he stepped down from the podium and begin walking away. Ignoring the rising shouts behind him and allowing his eyes to connect with Charlie for just one moment. So much love was conveyed in that one heartbeat that it allowed Harry to stiffen his spine and continue walking. Casting a subtle shield charm behind him, he walked all the way to the edge of the wards, turning around one last time as he prepared to disapparate to see the masses running towards him, spells being flung and voices commanding him to stop.

With a cheeky grin and a crack, he disapparated, reappearing on the steps of Grimmauld Place. Calling to Kreacher, he requested that the house elf pack all his things away into trunks, advising he was preparing to leave. The house elf happily complied. Moving to the floo, Harry tugged his invisibility cloak from his pocket, tossing it over his shoulders before stepping through to Gringotts.

Moving to a goblin, he requested a meeting with his account manager where he sat down and asked that his vaults be emptied and closed. Advising them to purchase whatever trunks would be needed to store everything and converting half of his currency to muggle cash in various currencies. The goblin blinked before complying. Two hours slipped by before finally, a goblin walked into the office levitating a trunk.

“Everything is within the trunk; your belongings have been sorted into different compartments that will cycle through. There are approximately 50 compartments and each time you close and open the trunk a new one will pop up unless you request something specific. The fee for the purchase of the trunk and for closing down your vaults has already been extracted. It was a pleasure doing business with you Mr. Potter. I hope we can work together again.”

Harry respectfully bowed to the goblins, thanking them for their assistance before heading back to Grimmauld, once more wrapped in his cloak. Stepping out into the sitting room, he could hear shouting from the kitchen and cursed himself for forgetting to close the wards. With a whisper, he called for Kreacher who appeared with a pop, handing over another trunk that Harry shrunk down and deposited in his pocket along with the other two. By the looks of it, the house elf had stripped everything, the sitting room was empty of everything that wasn’t fixed to the wall.

His curiosity got the better of him and after casting silencing and disillusionment charms on himself and wrapping the cloak tighter around his body, he made his way down to the kitchen. Dumbledore and McGonagall were having a down and out row while the rest of the order were scattered around the room. Harry tuned out the strident tones of his Head of House and the patronising voice of his Headmaster, instead, wending his way to Charlies’ side.

Ever so gently, Harry pressed his hand to Charlies’, the man twitched but otherwise remained still. Shuffling so that his mouth was as close as he could get it to Charlies ear, he breathed out.

“I am going to stay at the Great Northern. Ask at the front desk for Hamish Evans, they will be expecting you and only you. Come to me when you are ready to leave.”

Charlie twitched his head in a brief nod, pressing his hand back into Harry’s before the younger man slipped out. No one noticed as he made his way out of the kitchen and to the front door, but he made sure to slam it behind him, just to fuck with everyone. He dropped his wand on the stoop, no longer needing it to cast, his wandless magic had become so strong. He knew that by leaving it behind, they would never be able to track or control him again. With a happy exhale, he disapparated with a crack to an alleyway by the hotel.

Removing the charms and shucking his invisibility cloak, he cast a few minor glamours and transfigured his cloak into a trench coat before striding into the hotel. He managed to obtain a room with little to no confunding and was soon settled.

He relished in the quiet solitude, so alike what he had at Grimmauld Place but without the depressing ambiance. Sinking deeper into the bathtub, he kept an ear out for the door opening but realistically knew it could take a few days for Charlie to get away. Drying himself off, he curled up in bed, allowing sleep to claim him.

The next few days drifted by, Harry began looking through the unexpected treasure trove in the Gringotts trunk. There were mountains of jewels and currency, but what really grabbed Harry was the books. There was about 30 sections just full of books covering any and every topic. So, with not much else to do, Harry began reading, devouring the knowledge at an alarming rate while he tried to push away his worry for Charlie.

*****

It took three days after the disastrous graduation ceremony for Charlie to extract himself from his family. Dumbledore had insisted on sending out a search to find the missing Boy-Who-Lived, insistent that he take his rightful place in the wizarding world. Charlie couldn’t help the aching sadness that filled him. Harry had been so right, they didn’t care about him, only what he represented. McGonagall had been furious after Harry’s speech, tearing into Dumbledore, the man had been convincing her all along that there was nothing wrong and Harry had consented to everything. His speech had made it abundantly clear that had not been the case.

No one’s diplomas had been handed out at the ceremony so McGonagall had to eventually organise for them all to be owled out. Dumbledore had been too fixated on locating Harry to bother with anyone else.

Charlie and Bill stood together to the side of the chaos, not aiding or hindering anyone. At one point Bill had tugged him aside, gathering Charlie's hand with the ring on it and peering closely at it, blue eyes searching his. Charlie bore it quietly, allowing Bill to draw his own conclusions. Eventually, Bill straightened and inclined his head.

“Was he telling the truth?” The older brother asked quietly.

Charlie only nodded, refusing to commit words to the conversation, unwilling to compromise Harry further.

“Are you happy?” Was the next question, and Charlie couldn’t help the beatific smile that lit his face.

Bill blinked in surprise before grinning back. “Alright brother.” Charlie was tugged into a hug and he relished in the acceptance of his older brother.

The pair abandoned their conversation when their mother called out shrilly that dinner was ready. With a sigh, the pair headed back in.

“Hey Mum, I need to be getting back to Egypt and work. I can’t afford to take any more time off.” Bill commented as he sat down at the dining table.

“I don’t know why you insist on going off to some other country to work Bill, you could get a nice job working at the Ministry like your father and Percy you know.” Molly fussed around everyone. “And I wish you would get a haircut dear, you look so unkempt with it long.”

“I like my hair the way it is mum, and I like my job, I like working in Egypt. I am leaving tomorrow.”

She started wailing, frustrated with the dramatics, Charlie cut in. “Mum I have to get going too. I could only get a few days off for the graduation, but hatching season has just finished, so we have a lot of juveniles on the reserve, they need me.”

Molly broke down in sobs, complaining hysterically that her babies were leaving her again. Irritated, Charlie rose from the table and headed upstairs to start packing. While he was throwing his things into his rucksack, he noticed Bill leaning against the door frame.

“I can’t deal with it here anymore, I’m going, try to stop them following me please?” Charlie paused to look beseechingly at his older brother.

“‘course Charlie. Just stay safe alright? Keep in touch.”

Charlie finished packing, tugging his older brother into a fierce hug before trotting down the stairs and out of the house before anyone else noticed. Jogging to the ward line, he quickly apparated away.

Just to be safe, he did a few jumps over London before ending up in an alley near the Great Northern. Walking in, he asked at the front desk for Hamish Evans as instructed and was given a key and directions to the room.

Easing the door open, and wandering into the bedroom, he froze. Harry was sprawled out on the bed asleep in nothing but a pair of tight black trunks. The heavy scarification across his back had almost entirely vanished, leaving a smooth creamy expanse of muscled skin he ached to run his hands over. Putting down his bag, he shed his clothing, stripping down to nothing and crept over to his partner. Unable to resist any longer, he trailed his hand up one exposed thigh. Palming the curve of an arse cheek, Harry began to stir as his fingers ran up the pale spine. Harry had filled out since last year, he was taller, more muscled.

“Hello love.” Charlie murmured quietly, letting Harry know who was beside him.

Green eyes blinked open muzzily before finally focusing on Charlie and a beautiful smile lit the face gazing up at him.

“Charlie!” Harry cried, throwing himself at the older man, wrapping himself bodily around the redhead.

Charlie couldn’t help but chuckle, tipping them onto the bed.

“Charlie, I was so worried, I wasn’t sure what was taking so long, I wondered…” He watched the brunet trail off, staring fixedly at his ring.

With a sigh, the redhead tucked a finger under Harry’s chin and dragged his eyes up. “I’m here Harry, I’m not leaving, not ever again.” He pressed a tender kiss to Harry's lips, feeling the youth melting into him.

Hungry and filled to the brim with need and desire, Charlie tugged Harry so he was sprawled out on top of him, kissing furiously. Pulling away the brunet pressed their foreheads together.

“Please Charlie, I need you.”

The raw desperation in his voice cracked what little resolve Charlie had left and he caved. With a tender kiss, Charlie nudged Harry off him, pushing the books off the bed and shuffling them around so that the brunet was laid out in the middle of the bed. He could see the confusion in Harrys eyes when Charlie got off the bed and went to his bag, retrieving a bottle of his favourite lube he moved back.

Pressing kisses from the brunets foot up to his knee and along the inside of his thigh. Reaching his hips, Charlie tugged the trunks down and tossed them away, revealing his prize. Charlie paused, rubbing his thumb over Harry’s hip and gazing into his eyes steadily.

“Are you sure Harry? Are you ready?” Charlie had to ask, this once, just to hear it.

“Yes, please, I need you.” Harry begged, there was an edge of desperation to his voice and Charlie knew if he left now, the man in front of him would shatter irreparably.

“Shhh love, I’ve got you.” The redhead pressed a tender kiss to his lips before moving back down. “This might be uncomfortable, just try to relax and work with me.”

Slicking up his fingers, Charlie grasped the flushed leaking erection in front of him and swallowed it down. Harry jerked under him in surprise before moaning and relaxing under his ministrations. The redhead continued working the cock, not trying to get him off, just giving him pleasure. Once Harry was relaxed, Charlie began tracing one slicked finger over his entrance. Harry was so lost in pleasure that he didn’t notice until the digit slipped inside, gently thrusting in an out.

Charlie lost himself in the rhythm, sucking Harry slowly as he gently worked him open. Soon, the brunet was a babbling begging mess as Charlie rubbed three fingers against his prostate. He pulled off Harry’s cock with a dirty pop and finally looked up. The teen was a mess, hair wild, body flushed and sweating, eyes glazed, bottom lip bitten and red.

He couldn’t hold back the moan at the vista spread before him. “Harry?” He called, still working his fingers in and out of the youth.

“Charlie, please I need you, I need to feel you, please… please…” The brunet was almost crying and finally, the redhead accepted that this was happening, that Harry wanted him, was giving everything to him.

With a soft smile, Charlie slicked up his cock, removing his fingers and immediately replacing them with his cock head. He began slowly pressing in, groaning when the head popped past the tight ring of muscle at Harry’s entrance. The youth was a shaking moaning mess under him as Charlie continued sinking in.

Finally, he was fully seated in the other man, Harry gazing up at him, green eyes filled with wonder and adoration. Charlie felt overwhelmed, unworthy and something of it must have shown on his face because the brunet reached up to cup his face, pressing a soft kiss to his lips.

“Please Charlie.” Was all he said, and so he moved.

Charlie began rocking in an out, easing a little more of himself in and out each time. Harry arched under him so beautifully, moaning with each thrust. Soon the redhead was pulling out almost the entire way before pushing back in, relishing in the cries and sighs from the man under him. It was so exquisite, to see pale skin so ruddy with desire, green eyes blown wide with pleasure, black hair mussed.

The older man could feel his orgasm building and reached down to grasp the younger man’s cock, a few quick tugs and he was coming, white ropes splatting over pale skin. The clenching rippling muscles of Harry’s channel was enough to tip Charlie over the edge too and he arched back, roaring out his pleasure as he filled the youth with his come.

Charlie tried his best not to collapse onto Harry but he was so exhausted and exhilarated. Pulling out with a wet sound, he tugged the blankets down as the teen waved a hand to clean them up. Coaxing the brunet to his chest, the pair curled up and soon drifted off the sleep. Happy, whole and content at last.

Tomorrow they would go to Romania, their lives together beginning there where no one would judge or bother them. For now though, for now, they were together and that was all they had ever wanted.

Chapter Text

 

"Charlie! I'm home!" Harry called as he stepped through the front door of their home.


"In the kitchen!" the reply was called and a soft smile lit his face as he made his way through the comfortable lounge room.


Leaning against the open frame that was the entry to the kitchen, he drank in the sight before him. Charlie stood at the stove, stirring something in a large pot that smelt suspiciously like his favourite stew. He was wearing faded blue jeans and a T-shirt that was half see-through with wear and clung indecently to his muscles.


"I love how you welcome me home." Harry murmured, stepping forward to wrap his arms around his partner's waist from behind.


There was something about the domesticated bliss of it all that made his heart sing. Harry knew it was a bit weird, but Charlie only laughed gently when he figured out just how much Harry loves when someone cooked for him and proceeded to do it every time he was due back from being away.

Harry was away a lot. Six months after graduating Hogwarts and leaving England forever, he was hired by the Romanian branch of Gringotts into their Cursebreaking programme. It was hard work, but Harry loved it. Two years later he had finished the programme and been assigned a cursebreaking team.

The only black spot had been the devolving political situation in Britain. Dumbledore had gained control of the British Wizarding political system and, after spending three years searching fruitlessly for him, had declared him an outlaw and had closed the borders to him. The international uproar had been immense. Dumbledore couldn't provide an acceptable reason for his behaviour and so many of the other wizarding communities had unofficially placed an embargo on his administration.

After Harry had graduated and before his first overseas assignment, the goblins had approached him with a simple solution. They gave him a ring with a permanent glamour built into it, one that changed his face just enough so that he couldn't be mistaken for himself, but was still based around his general looks. He grew his hair out, allowed a bit of a beard to grow and suddenly he looked like a different man. Coupled with the tan he got from spending time outside working at home and on jobs, he could walk by the Weasleys without any of them the wiser. He started going by Haimish and his disguise was complete.

With everything set up, Harry ventured forth into the world and after his first job, had stopped waiting to be recognised. Five years had trickled by since he had graduated without any disasters, without the world ending or anyone finding him.

He shook himself from his recollections and buried his nose into Charlie's neck, inhaling the smell of his dragon tamer. The redhead chuckled lowly and rocked his hips so they rubbed tantalisingly against Harry. With a groan and a squeeze of his arms, he started littering kisses on the exposed throat in front of him.

"None of that. You know the rules, food first, then sex otherwise you pass out before I'm done with you." Charlie laughed, giving him an admonishing look.

Harry whined. "But I don't wanna wait." He slid one hand down Charlie's abs, cupping his cock and giving it a gentle squeeze.

"Merlin Harry." the redhead breathed, momentarily relaxing back into his hold before straightening. "The stew is done, we can eat now."

Harry laughed, kissing him lovingly before allowing Charlie to serve and user him to their dining table. He couldn't help eyeing off Charlie, playing a little footsie under the table as they ate.

He loved his life and his partner. He couldn't dream of it any other way. Harry thanked Merlin for the umpteenth time since Charlie had come into his life.