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Spying Lord Potter outside of the parlor is, perhaps, Draco Malfoy's worst nightmare. 

Though, he supposes that might be a bit too melodramatic. It isn't as if Potter making an appearance at the Deputy Minister's private party is the end of all things.  It does sting a bit, however, knowing that, once again, Harry Potter has beaten Draco to something he wants. 

In this case, being a very carefully curated invitation to a very exclusive dinner party.  

Deputy Minister Riddle was well known in high wizarding society for hosting some of the most exclusive evenings a witch or wizard could find. With delicacies from distant places and entertainment that everyone whispered about for days, weeks, months afterward.  Draco had wanted an invite since he'd heard Aunt Bella boast about hers three winters ago.  

And finally he'd received one, only to find Potter had beat him to the chase-- if his closeness to Riddle was anything to go by.  

They were tucked away in a corner, half down a hall, and it's pure chance that Draco stumbles across them speaking in hushed tones.  He'd merely been interested in the Gaunt family tree, not whatever tryst may or may not be occurring.  It seemed an odd pairing, if it was one at all.  Potter was at Riddle's throat more than Draco's on the Wizengamot floor.  

"Is this a test?" Potter asks, standing there with his arms crossed, and he's dressed in shockingly fine robes, considering Draco knows he generally abhors the cumbersome nature of them; he has since their Hogwarts days.  "Are you testing me?" 

His tone is far too sharp, considering their difference in status.  Draco expects Riddle to reprimand him, the way he always does in court, and he blinks when Riddle only sighs. 

"What would I need test you for?" he asks.  "If I recall correctly, there have been far more obstacles for me." 

Potter frowns up at Riddle, and Draco can't see Riddle's face from this angle, so he can only guess as to why.  

"I never asked you to, you know," Potter says, something clipped in his words.  "Are you trying to scare me off?" 

Riddle barks out a laugh at that.  "Hardly.  I'd like to see someone attempt to frighten you off.  It is… a request, Harry.  Nothing more, nothing less." 

Draco was so very busy being surprised by Riddle using Potter’s first name that he nearly misses the way Potter shuffles closer, lowers his voice, and does something Draco can't see that makes Riddle hiss.

"You're lying," Potter mutters. "With you, there's always something more." 

Riddle seems to hesitate.  "It's a request.  I'd like to see you try it.  That's all." 

Potter hums, tilting his head. He opens his mouth to reply, but then there is a bell coming somewhere, indicating that the first course would be beginning soon.  Draco whips around, despite knowing where their host is, and is caught up instantly in the entrance of dancers and servers, all with far too much skin on display, jewels chiming with the music, in silks of crimson.  

He accepts a glass of something bubbling and blue, smiling when he spots Blaise Zabini accompanying his mother across the parlor.  He came here for all of this, after all.  Oddly enough, in a room filled with red and gold, Draco feels right at home. 

*

Riddle is rather brilliant, he'll give him that much. 

He soaks his guests in liquor before taking them into dinner, and Draco would hardly call the little bites of delicacies and fruits proper sustenance when their drinks refill on their own.  It's a move that has most of his guests perfectly pink-faced and loose-lipped.  Draco, of course, would never fall for such a thing. 

"Deputy Riddle," Draco says upon catching their host, and Riddle, as always, greets him with that unwavering smile; charming sod, his father never shuts up about him.  "You know, I could've sworn I spotted Lord Potter earlier, but I haven't caught sight of him since." 

Riddle's jaw ticks tight; his smile never wavers.  "Yes, I'm afraid we had some business to discuss, but he's unfortunately taken his leave." 

Draco feels something like triumph buzz to life behind his molars, and it is really quite difficult to keep himself composed.  "He wasn't invited?" 

Riddle blinks down at him, and then his smile grows a bit wider.  "On the contrary, he declined." 

Draco feels his stomach drop.  "Oh." 

"Now, Mister Malfoy," and Draco thinks he says it just so because he knows Draco despises his lack of lordship and Potter’s claim to two.  "I believe it is time for dinner." 

It is an impressive showing, the sudden dimming of the lights; the opening of two large doors that lead them into a room lit by candlelight, floating and shimmering blue, like a hundred tiny stars.  It's stunning.  The low light above a table elegantly dressed in something that looks a cross between silver and gold, laid out on a satin so dark it looks like an oil spill.  The room is draped in long , purpled shadows. 

It makes the vision on the table even more startling. 

Draco blinks, near faltering in his step as they are guided in and to their seats.  He doesn't quite know what to make of it. Doesn't quite know what to say, if anything at all--

"Oh, Thomas," Madam Zabini coos, apparently more than happy to fill the quiet.  "You've out done yourself." 

Riddle, it seems, hesitates for a fraction of a second. If Draco had to name the look on his face, he'd say that perhaps it was a brief glimpse of shock, and a little bit of awe.  However, considering he'd been the one to arrange things, Draco's not sure why he'd have such a response, unless the final outcome was meant to be a surprise for him as well. 

Not that Draco blames him much for the awe.  For, at the center of their table, there is a man bound for display. 

The position itself leaves much to be desired-- on his back, legs long and slightly spread, hands flat on the table at his sides-- but it is the method with which he is bound that steals Draco's breath. 

Serpents.  Dozens of them, tangling the man up in tight coils of black.  It's looped over his arms and binding his wrists. Trailing down his chest, one of the large ones in the tangle constricting and relaxing, over and over, making the man's breath catch.  They sneak up his legs, to his thighs, to disappear beneath the only shred of cloth on the man, draped elegantly over his groin in a splash of red that highlights the flush already clinging to his skin.  Over his eyes, a mask of delicate and twisted burnished gold sits, emeralds where his eyes should be.  His skin itself gives off something like a shine, an unearthly glow, as muscles shift and twitch and pull taut underneath in something that looks like a slow, relentless agony-- or, perhaps, ecstasy. 

He looks like a fallen god, caught purely for the entertainment of mere mortals. 

There's ashen feathers and wilted petals; a scent of lavender hangs in the air.  Next to one of his hands, just out of reach, a golden apple sits, a bite taken.  

"My very own eden," Riddle breathes, as if he is presenting something very precious to them, and as he gestures, they all take their seats. 

Draco is whipping his napkin into his lap, eyes never leaving the figure slowly writhing on the table.  He listens, with half an ear, but he cannot stop staring. 

There is a snake wrapped around the man's throat, curled up his jaw, sliding into his mouth. 

"The snakes, of course, are an enchantment," Riddle says because Draco thinks someone asks.  "Not real, but real enough for such a display.  Ah, but they will bite, if you attempt to touch what isn't yours." 

Draco feels rather warm. He thinks he drank too much.  

Dinner, it seems, goes by in a blur after that.  There are moments, bright like fireworks, that Draco does not think he will ever forget, but it seems the clock runs quicker when all one wants is for it to stand still.  

He remembers being unable to take his eyes off of the vision of rapture on the table. Remembers brief snatches of conversation and the taste of wine sharp on his tongue. Remembers nearly choking on said wine upon witnessing the man on the table come apart the first time. 

Merlin, the first time. The way his spine had arched. The muffled keen; the choked moan. The sweet shuddering of his limbs. His fingers clawing at the tablecloth. His toes curling. 

Draco witnessed more than one guest excuse themselves early, faces flush and arousal blatant.  Draco's pride was likely the only thing that kept him seated through dessert. 

And throughout the entire evening, their host sat at the head of the table, smile as congenial and amiable as always as he conversed so easily course after course. He nursed his drink, sat back, relaxed enough to loosen his tie.  Looking for all to see as though the entertainment on their table was simply that: entertainment. 

"Well," Riddle says, smile crooked as he pulls out a pocket watch, making a show of checking the time.  "As much as I am loath to cut a good conversation short, I'm afraid it's well past time for our nightcap.  Shall we?" 

He escorts them all on shaking limbs-- though, some are faring better than others; Mrs. Zabini hardly looks disturbed beyond her general delight of anything debauched-- back into the lovely study from earlier in the evening and passes around a final drink for the night.  It's a cool thing, rich with cream and cinnamon, and it helps bring Draco down from that blinding desire that had made him so utterly dizzy.  Instead, the heat settles into his limbs and his head, dragging him into a comfortable slouch on one of the settes. 

“Quite the show, wasn’t it?” Blaise asks, and Draco blinks at him, not quite certain when the man appeared.  “Makes you curious.” 

Draco hums.  “Curious.  Why curious?” 

Blaise sips his drink and arches a brow.  “You don’t want to know who Riddle hired to hide under that mask?” 

Blinking again, Draco’s gaze darted to their host.  Their host who was wishing them all a good evening, the floo opened for their departure as soon as they finished their drinks.  Their host who was stepping away, who was heading back through those large double doors that led to the vision Draco is certain will haunt his fantasies from now until, perhaps, death.  Their host who leaves those doors open; just a crack. 

“Curious,” Draco mutters, and then he downs his drink. 

*

Tom Riddle has always prided himself on his control.  He exercises it daily, afterall, dealing with so many small minded fools that circulate in and out of the Ministry.  

So he is rather shocked to find that it is a singular person, a singular man, that can push him beyond the boundaries of all reason.  Beyond simply out of control.  

He shouldn’t be surprised by it anymore-- not nearly three years into a courtship and seven months in something very close to a monogamous relationship-- and yet. 

And yet his hands shake as he makes his way over to the table.  The table still set from dessert.  The table he’d spent the last hour wanting to wreck just to get at the man still writhing in the middle. 

His breath has grown shorter, wetter, throughout the evening.  Sweet little gasps and hitches as he twitches, jerks, pulls taut under the heavy coils of the serpents binding him so perfectly for Tom’s indulgent, greedy gaze.  There’s sweat in his hair and on his skin.  His spend glistens on his belly, the cloth covering his groin damp.  Tom thinks he might be crying. 

“You lovely thing,” he says, and his voice sounds rough, even to his own ears, but he does not care, not as he rounds to the head of the table, eyes never leaving his display.  “You always manage to surprise me.” 

It wasn’t meant to be him.  Tom never had a thought that he would actually submit to something such as this.  He’d wanted it, certainly; dreamed of it in his most possessive fantasies.  

But he’d certainly never expected Harry to give it to him. 

“I nearly sent them away,” Tom admits, bracing his hands against the table, fingers bunching in the fabric of the tablecloth.  “As soon as I saw you, I knew it was you, and I nearly ruined my whole plan by sending them all away to have you then and there.” 

He knows Harry can hear him.  Knows that it’s all he can really do: listen.  All night, bound and blinded and on display just for Tom.  

He’d even put up with the gag Tom had fashioned to keep the others from hearing just how truly desperate he’d sound as the evening progressed, the metallic serpent still resting past the part of Harry’s lips.  He’d put up with that and worse-- Tom’s control slipping more and more as the dinner progressed.  

Tom is clutching at the tablecloth now.  His chest, his breath, feels heavy.  His want practically chokes him. 

“You stunning, brilliant, maddening creature,” Tom hisses, and he loosens his spell just enough-- just a little-- so that he can hear Harry gasp.  

The snake keeping all those lovely sounds bottled up eases out, a string of saliva following until it moves to finish its coil in a loose loop around Harry’s throat; Harry keens.  “Tom, please--” 

The dishes shatter against the floor as Tom drags the tablecloth forward, jerking Harry along with it.  He climbs up, already reaching for Harry as his magic swells to dissipate the rest of the dark coils holding Harry in place.  Clumsy hands reach back for him, and Tom is leaning down and tearing off his mask and the glamours that accompany it so that he can take Harry’s face between his palms and draw his mouth up to meet his own.  

It is a desperate and fumbling meeting.  Tom has been on edge for most of the evening and Harry is more than spent, sensitive to every touch, glassy eyed and so pliant for him that Tom thinks it might all just be some very lovely and elaborate dream.  

But Harry is already wet and loose and ready for him.  But Harry wants him, clutching at him with trembling hands, kissing him like he might crawl right into Tom’s mouth.  

He can barely get his trousers open, can hardly get himself out of his own pants.  He wants everything, all of it, in that very moment.  Feels like he might come right out of his own skin if he doesn’t.  Feels like he’ll burn right up. 

Harry meets him halfway.  Gasps against his mouth and spreads his legs and pulls at his hair.  A wild thing, something untameable, practically begging to be held down.  

Tom obliges.  

As he buries deep, as he kisses the pleasure from Harry’s mouth, he catches clutching hands with his own and twines their fingers.  Presses Harry’s down against the table.  Drives in and takes and takes and takes-- 

Harry breaks apart with a sob.  Tom is soon to follow, stuttering and groaning and burying his face against the heat of Harry’s throat.  

In the aftermath, in the quiet of their heavy breathing, Tom sinks in heavy against Harry’s body.  Covers him.  Consumes him.  

Harry huffs and squeezes at one of his hands. 

“I guess you weren’t joking about wanting to see me try it,” Harry says, and his voice sounds so worn; Tom kisses at his throat with a blind hum.  “Was it everything you wanted?” 

Tom grunts.  

“Nonverbal,” Harry breathes, and he sounds so tired despite the cheek he’s still offering.  “Impressive.” 

“I would marry you tomorrow,” Tom says. 

He can feel Harry hide a smile at his temple.  “Yeah, well.  Tomorrow’s a bit too last minute, isn’t it?” 

It isn’t quite a yes, but it is the closest that Tom has ever gotten.  It’s what makes him pull back so that he can look down at the teary mess of Harry’s face and his sleepy, indulgent smile.  

Before he can lean down to taste that smile for himself, before he can ask if Harry really means it, Harry arches a brow. 

“So,” he says.  “Did you also get whatever else it was that you wanted out of this?” 

Tom freezes, and if he were one to blush, he very well might under Harry’s sharp gaze.  “There’s been a mut sniffing after you for a while.  I was sending a message.” 

“I take it that the message has been delivered?” Harry asks, as unimpressed as he is mildly amused, and it’s one of the many reasons Tom cannot and will not let this man go; Harry has never, not once, looked upon him with disgust.  

Glancing over at the large double doors that lead to the study, at the crack in the entry, Tom grins.  “I do believe it was.” 

“Weirdo,” Harry accuses and then pinches at Tom’s side just hard enough to sting a bit and make him hiss as he glances back down at him.  “Take me to bed and clean me up, would you?  I didn’t just go through an abundance of awkwardly arousing humiliation for you to leave me a mess on your dining table.” 

“Ah, but it was arousing, wasn’t it?” Tom grins, all teeth, and Harry rolls his eyes.  

“Please get over yourself at any moment, Deputy Minister.” 

“Forgive me, Lord Potter.” Tom breathes, leaning down, nosing at Harry’s cheek, kissing at the corner of his mouth.  “Let me make it up to you for the abundance of awkwardly arousing humiliation.” 

Harry laughs.  Tom is grateful that their guest lingering in the doorway has already departed and isn’t there to hear it.