Recipient's name: femmequixotic
Pairing(s): Harry Potter/ Draco Malfoy/ Severus Snape
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and those to whom she has licensed her creations, including without limitation Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. I make no money from this and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: Severus learns an intriguing bit of information about what Harry and Draco get up to on Boxing Day and he wages a one-man war of seduction to secure his invitation for Boxing Day.
Warnings: food smut; everyone bottoms and everyone tops; a little bit of power exchange; frottage; sex in public places; voyeurism; a tiny bit of foul language; and a silly little man named Edward.
Author's/artist's notes: Thank you to my wonderful betas—you know who you are
Potter’s wrist peeked out from behind a hastily shoved back sleeve. Memories flooded Severus at the sight of a crescent-shaped bite mark—hovering just beyond the sleeve’s edge. Higher up, smudges of ink masked blue veins traversing pale skin. Severus had the overwhelming urge to lick the ink away.
Severus tore himself away, but only just. No measure of Occlumency could keep the image of Draco, in the throes of lovemaking, taking Potter’s wrist and laving it with his tongue until he bit down hard. Potter had thrown his head back, groaning in capitulation while his hips snapped back and forth, possessing Draco. The sight of them had been incredible. Desire awakened, an ache grew deep in his belly, and old dreams now haunted him.
“Professor Snape? Severus? Are you all right?”
Severus shook himself and looked up into green eyes, not gray. His eyes narrowed with disappointment. He didn’t respond with words, only an icy stare with which Potter was all too familiar.
Potter pursed his lips and looked away. He swallowed. If only he’d tipped his head back a bit more when he’d swallowed, Severus was sure it would have been exactly like that moment when Draco had--
Potter turned back, his gaze meeting Severus’s. He was still as defiant as he’d been as a child. A good match for Draco in that regard. Really, Severus berated himself, he needed to stop thinking about naked young men licking and biting and sucking each other.
“Have you finished making the corrections I require to the outline for the Defense curriculum?” Severus asked as he shifted in his seat.
“Yes,” Potter said, the tone clipped and controlled—completely different from the guttural, panting ‘yeses’ that had flown from his mouth when Draco had bitten his shoulder before ejaculating all over him.
The wrist with the crescent-shaped bite mark reappeared. Severus stood and snatched up his cup, desperate for a good cup of tea with a liberal splash of vodka. He was furious with himself for letting such adolescent, prurient desires affect him so.
“What’s that urn looking thing?”
Severus didn’t answer. Instead, he released the spigot and breathed in the rich aroma as chestnut colored tea poured into the tempered glass. He swirled in a generous pour of vodka before returning to his seat. He took a long sip before answering.
“That is not an urn, Potter, it is a samovar.”
Potter raised his eyebrows in question.
“Does your lack of worldliness know no bounds? I’ll take your silence as a yes. Far be it from me to educate you. If you want to know what it is, take an extension course. Idiot.”
Potter’s brows furrowed and he set his jaw for the fifth time since their meeting had begun.
“Oh for the love of Merlin,” Severus spat. “Consider it a Russian teapot, and no, I’m not going to say anything about it further. Now, we must discuss the Potions component to the integrated curriculum the Headmistress is forcing us to devise.”
“Are those little glass cups in the silver holder things Russian as well?”
Potter gestured towards Severus’s tea.
“Does your idiocy know no bounds, as well?”
Potter cocked his head to the side, looking as though he were the cat in the cream. “Careful, Professor. You’re the one who keeps answering my questions.”
Severus almost found him attractive like that. He didn’t like Potter, but he could respect him when he unsheathed his claws instead of brooding like a little boy. “I suppose I do, don’t I? A terrible habit. One I’ll have to rid myself of immediately. For old time’s sake, yes, this is Russian. It is a podstakanniki. It’s . . .consider it a Russian tea cup, if you must consider it all.”
“Oh. It’s nice. Unusual. I’ve never seen anything like it. Or that urn, er, sam-samovar thing. Over there. On your counter.”
“Yes, well, if you’re quite finished discussing and cataloguing the location of my antiquities, perhaps we could return to the focus of this meeting?”
Potter shifted in his seat. “I was just trying to make conversation.”
“You’re not here for conversation. You’re here to discuss curriculum concerns, and that is the only reason you’re here.”
“You still don’t like me very much, do you?”
Severus blinked and sat back, amazed by the depths of Potter’s obliviousness. Potter actually seemed surprised that Severus didn’t like him. “The answer to that question is so patently obvious, my intelligence quotient would drop precipitously if forced to answer.”
“So, that’s a yes, then?”
Painful visions of Potter fucking Draco, of Draco kissing Potter, of Draco loving Potter sped past his mind’s eye in rapid fire. “Of course it’s a yes. I loathe you.”
“I just thought—well, I mean, after the war and all . . . and Draco, of course . . . I just thought that you—that we might get along. At least understand each other a bit better, maybe.”
“Why would you possibly think that? Just because you skewered a raving lunatic with a dinner knife and now fuck Draco Malfoy doesn’t make me like you or, god forbid, want to understand you.”
“You’re such a bastard,” Potter said. It was said without rancor or venom. It was as if Potter was stating dispassionate fact.
Severus found that amusing. So much so that his lips quirked up at the corners. “Quite. Now, as I was saying before you engaged in your quest for the inconsequential, we must reach a consensus on the interrelated Defense and Potions assignments.”
Potter nodded. He licked his lips and scratched the back of his head. His hand fell heavily to the table. Severus’s eyes followed its smooth arc, settling on the expanse of Potter’s wrist. Still marred by ink. Severus still wanted to lick it away.
“I do love him, you know. It’s not—it’s not just about sex,” Potter said.
Images of flushed, sweaty skin drifted around the periphery of Severus’s mind. Potter could say what he liked, but for Severus, it was about sex—the intense, needy connection. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, collecting himself. “We have an initial report due to McGonagall tomorrow.”
Severus sagged against the heavy door. His hands pressed against the wood, as if they could reach out and snag Potter back. Perhaps he could hold him hostage until a riled Draco came to fetch him and had to bargain with Severus to reclaim him? Perhaps Draco would offer to do anything to get his erstwhile lover back? Perhaps he would lave Severus’s wrist and bite his shoulder and ejaculate all over his belly? Severus’s hands curled, his nails digging into door. Maybe Draco would press him against the door and fuck him and, perhaps later, he could fuck Potter. Or, maybe, he could just watch the two of them fuck each other, glorying in his rapt attention. He might not like Potter—strictly speaking, of course—but he could appreciate beauty as much as the next man.
Severus turned away from the door with a hard snap of his robes. He wished he’d never gone searching for Potter a fortnight ago. He wished he’d never wondered about the door to the Prefect’s bath being ajar, or seen robes and shoes hastily thrown about the room, or found himself staring at Potter and Draco fucking each other senseless on a pile of soft towels. He wished he’d never seen any of that, because now it was all he could think about. It was all he wanted.
“Harry tells me you’ve been working together on creating an integrated curriculum for Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts,” Draco said. His fork flaked off a delicate chunk of red snapper. He brought it to his mouth, his pink tongue darting out to catch the snapper and the pregnant drip of buttered caper sauce clinging to one of his fork tines.
Severus didn’t answer. Instead he cut savagely into his rare steak as Draco’s eyes fluttered closed and he moaned.
“God, the snapper is brilliant here,” Draco said. He flaked off another chunk and brought it to Severus’s mouth. “Fancy a bite?”
Severus blinked. He wondered if, perhaps, this was what Adam had felt like when propositioned with the apple. What in the nine levels of hell was happening to him? “I don’t care for fish,” he sneered, cutting so hard into his steak that his knife scraped across the plate, making it wobble.
Draco shrugged and ate the bite himself. “You didn’t answer my question.”
“About the integrated curriculum. How’s that going?”
“As well as can be expected when forced to work with a vapid dunderhead who has the cultural and linguistic skills of a lower-form mammal.”
Draco laughed, the sound unrestrained and happy. Like Potter’s. Severus’s hand curled more tightly around his knife. “I do wish you’d try and get to know him,” Draco said. “He’s . . . there’s a lot of hidden depth there. There are scores of things you might like about him, you know? I think he might just find you tolerable.”
“Need I remind you that he is a vapid dunderhead?”
Draco laughed again. “Have you said any of that to Harry yet? If not, I’d like to be there when you do. He gets quite randy when he’s worked up.”
Severus’s silverware clattered to the plate. A bright bulb flashed in his mind, leaving behind the over-exposed image of Draco sucking the side of Potter’s neck while Potter moaned and writhed. Severus blinked and the image faded. He longed for it to be his neck, to be the one moaning and writhing under Draco’s expert touch. “That’s it. You’ve put me off my lunch with that. I’m really not interested in your sexual exploits.”
Draco looked askance, a nascent smirk teasing his mouth. “But it’s so much fun to see you so flustered. Cool, confident, sexy Professor Snape, undone by the thought of Harry Potter having his wicked way with Draco Malfoy.”
Severus choked. “Don’t you ever say that again.”
Draco smiled. “Whatever.”
“Must you always regale me with your intimacies?”
Draco shook his head. “You’re so stiff. I worry about you. I wonder if you’re happy. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and well, you just seem—you seem lonely, Severus.”
“Loneliness is for fools.”
“Everyone deserves a bit of happiness. Wherever you can find it. However you can find it.”
“Like you’ve found with Potter?”
“You should try it. It’s quite nice to be attended to. Loved. Desired.”
Draco’s tongue darted out and licked his lips. Longing swept through Severus, lingering in the folds of his bitterness.
“Though you strike me more as the pursuing type.” Draco cocked his head to the side and let his eyes roam over Severus. His cheeks pinked slightly. “You’re still young. Fit. Attractive—very attractive—in your own way. Striking.”
“That’s just another way of saying ugly. Don’t flatter me. I know exactly what I look like.”
“No, I don’t think you do. You are attractive, Severus. Handsome? Hardly. But striking, arresting, powerful? Yeah. All of that describes you. Even Harry thinks so.”
Severus felt a migraine coming. He pinched the bridge of his nose, thinking he finally understood what was going on. “I told you, I’m not making that Animagus potion so that the two of you can find out what it’s like to fuck each other that way.”
Draco laughed. “That’s not what this is about. And we’ve given up on that anyway. I just want to see you happy. That’s all.”
Before Severus could question Draco further, a man in his late forties walked past their table before circling back and staring at Draco.
“Draco?” the man asked, completely ignoring Severus.
Draco’s head turned. His mouth fell open in surprise. “Edward. Er, hello. I—I didn’t expect to see you.”
Edward smiled. His hand caressed Draco’s shoulder. Severus’s fingers wound tightly around his steak knife.
“It’s been too long, Draco,” Edward said, almost crooning Draco’s name. Severus’s fingers curled tighter.
“It has. How have you been?” Draco asked, his tone hesitant.
Edward leaned in. His smile was almost predatory. “Fine, fine. We should get together again, soon.”
“That might be possible.”
Edward’s hand was too familiar, Severus thought. His eyes narrowed as Edward laughed again and squeezed Draco’s shoulder.
“Call me. Give Harry my best—tell him I miss him, as well.” Severus watched Edward squeeze Draco’s shoulder one more time before he walked away.
“Why are you holding your knife like that?” Draco asked when he turned his attention back to Severus.
Severus looked down. He held the knife in his hand as if poised to stab someone. “Who was that ill-mannered idiot?” he asked, his fingers uncurling from the knife's hilt as he put it down.
Draco smirked again. “No one. Now, are you ever going to answer my question? How are the curriculum plans going?”
“No one? He didn’t look like ‘no one’ to me. He didn’t act like ‘no one,’ either.”
“It doesn’t matter. He’s just someone that Harry and I know. He just wanted to say hello.”
“I have many acquaintances. They don’t say hello in such a salacious manner to me.”
“Yes, well, perhaps if you weren’t such a repressed, self-loathing bastard--”
“Repressed and self-loathing as I may be, you’ve not answered my question. How do you know him?”
“You’ve never mentioned him.”
“I wasn’t aware that I needed to share my every acquaintance with you. He’s no one important. Let it go.”
“How does Potter know him, then?”
Draco smiled. “You aren’t going to let this go, are you? We’ve, uh, worked together on a number of projects in the past. There’s really not much more to say.”
Severus wasn’t satisfied, but nodded anyway.
“Glad to see that settled. Order tea? I’ve got to use the toilet,” Draco said before slipping away.
Severus watched him go. Tall and lithe, Draco had become a beautiful man.
“Excuse me,” someone said to Severus’s left. He realized he’d been staring after Draco for far too long. He looked up, expecting the waiter, only to find Edward the Fop smiling at him.
“What do you want?” Severus spat.
Edward’s smile faltered for a moment. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. I was just looking for Draco and, well, thought it would be rude not to say anything when we’d made eye contact. Just a moment ago?”
Severus stared at him dumbly, not having any idea what he was talking about.
“Anyway, I thought I’d say hello. You’re a lucky man, I must say.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Not a friendly man, are you? Not sure what Draco and Harry see in you, but well, they’ve always had a taste for the unusual. The striking.”
Severus paused. That was the third time he’d been referred to as striking in less than an hour. There was something off about the whole thing and he intended to get to the bottom of it. He had no idea what Edward was talking about, but Edward obviously assumed he did. “I apologize. You caught me off-guard. I was thinking about something when you approached me.”
Edward smiled and sat. “I wondered if that was it. I thought you were staring at me as I left the gents. I suppose I shouldn’t have assumed, but when I saw you with Draco--” Edward shrugged. “Well I thought it was worth stopping by and saying hello.”
“I’m glad you did. Draco will be back in a moment—would you like to wait?”
“Actually, I thought I’d pass along some advice. I assume you’re hoping to be invited on Boxing Day, yes?”
Severus quirked a brow.
Edward seemed to take that for assent, because he leaned forward, his eyes dancing with conspiracy. “I was invited last year, you know. Quite a coup, I think. Don’t let them fool you. They’re beautiful, sexy young men, and you’ll have a night to remember, no question. But they’re not casual about it. Not really. And they’re not casual about each other. Just so you know. Don’t even think about playing one off the other.” Edward shuddered. “Trust me when I say that that will not go over well.”
Severus’s mouth fell open, and if the burning sensation across his cheeks was any indication, he imagined he looked like a rather scary clown.
Misinterpreting Severus’s reaction entirely, Edward winked. “Good thing you’ve started early. No telling how many are in the running.” Edward stood to leave, but turned at the last minute. “I shouldn’t be giving away all my secrets, but you strike me as the sort of man that could use every advantage available.”
Severus made to protest, but Edward kept speaking.
“Draco’s got a spot, right above his left hipbone, that sends him to the heavens with the proper ministrations. And Harry,” Edward’s eyes glazed over with what Severus could only define as wistfulness. “Harry has a thing about his wrists. And biting—both giving and receiving. Quite an oral fixation that one has, if you take my meaning.”
Severus couldn’t have missed the meaning if he’d been in a magically induced healing coma. What was worse, Edward’s waggling brows made the meaning all that more obvious. Which got Severus to thinking.
Severus felt as though he were at some sort of crossroads, but before he could think too hard on it, a naked Draco pranced into his head, pushing away any concern he had. Severus eyed the direction of the gents. Draco was nowhere to be seen. “So, I take it you started early, as well?”
Edward’s grin was sly. “Met them in October. Stuffy little party in Chelsea. The pinot was ghastly and the caviar cheap. Thank gods the company was far better. Chatted up Harry—he’s really quite oblivious to his charms, isn’t he? Anyway, met Draco a bit later. Night and day they are. We had drinks a few more times, a dinner or two and then . . .” Edward shrugged and grinned again, as if Severus was his oldest friend and he was privy to Edward’s best secrets. “Well, I got my invitation, didn’t I?”
“Did you know?”
“Not a clue. It was a lovely surprise, let me tell you. I thought they were just ignoring my subtle advances. Turns out they weren’t.”
Severus rather doubted that there was anything subtle about Edward. “Was it just the once?”
“Sadly, yes. Somewhat of a tradition, I think. Though it’s all very hush-hush. Didn’t find out about the tradition myself until later. They like to be pursued, I think. They’re quite formidable, aren’t they? Not many men with the right stock to handle them. I always got the impression--” Edward craned his neck.
“Draco’s on his way. I best be off. It’ll be Christmas before you know it. Happy hunting,” Edward said as he hurried away.
“Indeed,” Severus said to himself, suddenly preoccupied with Boxing Day.
The samovar gleamed in the firelight. A pot of strong, dark Keemun sat on top, followed by a smaller pot of Severus’s own blackberry herbal blend. The smells of sage, cherry wood, and rich tea permeated the air. Severus shuffled the tray of biscuits and dark chocolate truffles back and forth, finally hissing at his idiocy. What was keeping that blasted idiot?
As if on cue, there was a short series of knocks at the door before it opened. “Professor Snape?”
“So nice of you to join me, Potter. And look, you’re only fifteen minutes late this time.”
Potter shuffled through the door. At least he had the decency to look chagrined. He stopped at the sight of the laden table. “I . . . I thought . . . Sorry to have interrupted. I’ll—have I gotten the date wrong?”
“What are you on about?”
Potter gestured at the table. “You’re expecting company.”
“No. I just thought you might appreciate some tea.”
Severus pinched the bridge of his nose. “Yes, you. We’re colleagues, are we not?”
Harry stepped forward, eyeing the samovar as if it were a Dark Artifact. “We’ve been colleagues for quite a while now. You’ve never once offered me tea. In fact, you’ve outright refused to give it to me when I’ve asked.” Potter spied the plate of biscuits and chocolate. His nose twitched. Potter’s chocolate cravings were legendary. “Are those the Special Select Dark Chocolate Truffles from Honeydukes? The ones with the bits of fae toffee?” Potter licked his lips, still staring at the tray. “What’s going on? What horrendous blow are you softening now?”
“Must you read an ulterior motive into everything?”
Potter’s head jerked up, his eyebrows shooting to his hairline.
“Point taken,” Severus said. “Perhaps I was simply tired of all of your ridiculous questions regarding my possessions? Thought I’d just pull it all out at once and let you get your curiosity out in one go.”
Potter snorted. “Hardly. You keep everything so buttoned up, it’s more likely you’re getting ready to tell me that you and Draco have decided to run away together and you thought chocolate might ease the pain,” Potter said, his fingers inching towards the chocolate.
Severus felt that ridiculous burn in his cheeks again. “I have no such intention.” Now the possibility of running away with the two of you . . .
“Of course you don’t,” Harry said with a bit too much ferociousness in Severus’s opinion.
“Nevertheless, we still have that report to finish, but a bit of tea beforehand wouldn’t be amiss.” Severus pulled down the smaller pots, filling half of Potter’s cup with the Keemun and blackberry herbal and half with hot water from the samovar. “Here. It’s strong,” he said as he pushed it towards Potter.
“This is for me?”
“No. It’s for the invisible Centaur standing right beside you.”
“You’ve been to funny school, I see.” Harry took a sip of tea, his eyes crinkling as he swallowed. “Needs sweetener.” He glanced around the table and spied a small silver dish of honey. “Brilliant.”
Before Potter could scoop up any honey, Severus reached over and covered Potter’s hand with his, the feel unexpectedly pleasant. “Don’t.”
Potter looked up in surprise. “What--”
Severus hesitated for a moment, but remembered what he wanted and the lengths he would have to go to get it. He took the spoon from Potter’s fingers and dipped it in the honey. He brought it to Potter’s lips.
As if he were a toddler confronted with strained peas, Potter’s brows furrowed and his lips pursed.
“Open,” Severus said.
“What--” Potter tried to say again, but Severus didn’t give him the chance. He pushed the spoon in and watched with satisfaction as Potter’s lips closed over it.
“This is not English tea. My grandmother always said that in Russia the tea wasn’t sweetened, per se. She said we should savor the bitterness of it, following it with the sweetness from a swirl of honey or jam. Go on. Lick it.”
Potter eyed him speculatively, but did as he was told. His eyes fluttered closed as his cheeks hollowed around the spoon. Severus felt himself harden at the sound of Potter’s soft sucking.
When Potter was done, and once again staring at Severus, Severus withdrew the spoon and placed it on the small dish next to the honey. “That’s how one should drink tea.”
Severus drank from his podstakanniki and gestured for Potter to do the same. When Potter returned his cup to the table, Severus once again swirled the teaspoon through the honey and brought it back to Potter’s lips. Potter’s mouth popped open and his lips and tongue eagerly sucked in the spoon, slurping at the overflowing honey like a greedy bear cub. A thin, glistening trail of honey slipped from the corner of his mouth.
“Another lesson?” Severus asked, unable to look away from the honey still clinging to Potter’s lips.
Potter looked away, his face flushing. His tongue laved away the honey as he shook his head in answer to Severus’s question. Severus smiled to himself. It seemed Edward hadn’t lied.
“We should finish the report,” Severus said, pretending not to notice Potter’s distraction. He spread out his parchments and Potions’ texts, while Potter chewed the inside of his cheek. “Have you given any thought to the viability of using Re’em blood in conjunction with a Strengthening Charm in order to combat battle fatigue?”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Are you daft? The Headmistress requires it. Now, the Re’em’s blood has a terrible aftertaste, and there is that rather unfortunate hair growth side effect, but--”
“No, not the bloody, er, blood. The tea, the chocolate. The, uh, the honey.”
Potter squirmed in his seat and looked away. Severus took another sip of tea, ostensibly to gather his thoughts. The timing of this was delicate. “You were right about what you said at our last meeting. We should try and understand each other—if only for Draco’s sake. I care about him very much. He loves you, obviously, so it makes sense to put our enmity behind us.”
“Oh. Do you . . . do you really mean that?”
“Have you ever known me to do or say anything I didn’t mean?”
The slap of that single word stung more than Severus cared to admit. Even if he wasn’t thinking about Boxing Day, he would have—grudgingly—admitted that Potter wasn’t careful around him like so many others were. It was refreshing in a stinging sort of way.
“I assure you, Potter, I mean it now.”
Potter nodded. He seemed lost in thought as he fingered the delicate filigree of the podstakanniki’s silver base. There was a chip on the edge of the glass cup and several parts of the silver had turned.
“How many of these do you have? These, erm, podstan-podstanknacki--”
“Just the two.” Severus debated whether to say the rest. The earnest curiosity in Potter’s gaze convinced him to say more. “They were my grandmother’s. The whole set was.”
“Oh. I thought you were English.”
“I am. My grandmother, though, grew up in a small village in the Central Urals, near Kungur. She immigrated to England and married a man by the name of Prince.”
“Eileen Prince was your mother’s name, right?”
Severus was nearly caught off guard before he remembered Potter’s sixth year. “Ah, the ill-fated Potions book. I’d nearly forgotten.”
“Somehow I doubt that.” Potter fingered the small silver cup again before looking up. “It’s nice to have something of your family, isn’t it? A tradition or two to remember. I think that’s what keeps people sane, or grounded, or something. Connected.” Potter shrugged. “And when you don’t have that . . . sometimes you just have to make your own traditions.”
Severus wondered how Boxing Day fit into one’s traditions, but he scuttled that thought. Something else that Potter had said resonated with him on a much deeper level. Traditions kept people connected. Who better than Potter and Severus would understand the weight of those words? He didn’t like the idea of identifying with Potter—with feeling connected to him—but the sensation wasn’t nearly so ghastly as he thought it would be.
Severus took another sip of tea, pleased with the admiration Potter showed his own podstakanniki.
“Harry tells me you made him tea.”
Severus nearly choked. “What of it?”
“Nothing, I suppose. Just that you’ve never made him tea—outright refused to give it to him, in fact—in the three years you’ve worked together.”
“He made good points about understanding each other.”
Draco cocked his head to the side. “You’ve never cared before. What’s changed?”
“We have to work closely with each other. It doesn’t make sense to hate one another.”
“Harry hasn’t hated you in a long time. Just so you know. And that’s not a reason, anyway. You’ve worked with McGonagall for years and could care less about understanding her.”
“That’s my employer you’re insulting.”
“Still avoiding the question, I see. You must be hiding something. Finally recognizing what a beautiful man Harry’s become? Should I keep him cosseted away?”
Draco had been more robust than usual in his Potter commentary. Severus guessed that Draco felt the need to lay his claim. No time like the present to turn the tables. Boxing Day was only getting closer.
“Hardly,” Severus said as he dabbed his napkin at the corner of his mouth. “Seen Edward lately?” He smiled to himself when Draco almost choked on his wine.
“Why would you care about Edward?”
“Your reaction to him last week was most peculiar.”
“He surprised me. I hadn’t seen him in a long while.”
“But you said you worked with him. Several projects, you said. Why was it such a surprise?”
“I didn’t mean that I’d seen him recently.”
“Worked together recently, you mean.”
Draco’s silverware clattered to his plate. “Yes, worked together. What is this? An inquisition?”
“I want to know who he is, and you’re lying about it.”
Draco leveled a stare at him. “Do you really want to know? Because I don’t think you do.”
“Do not presume to know what I want.”
“Whatever.” Draco sneered signaled for the waiter. “I’ve got to get back. Next week, then?”
“Who was that man? How does he know you and Potter?”
“It’s none of your business.”
“I’m making it my business. Both of you are still targets. I’ve spent my life keeping the two of you from being snapped up by the jaws of death—despite your collective insistence on insinuating yourselves between its eyeteeth. I deserve to know who that strange, overly affectionate, rude man was.”
“You presume too much. You don’t have the right--”
“Tell me. Now. Or I tell Potter all of your little domestic fantasies.”
Draco’s mouth popped open in surprise for the second time. “You fucking bastard.”
Draco toyed with the rim of his wine glass. “Harry and I like to have fun and Edward was fun. That’s all you need to know.”
“What kind of fun?”
“Occasionally, when we’re both in the mood and we like the bloke, we have a night of fun.”
Severus feigned incredulity. “Him? You expect me to believe you bedded him? He’s old enough to be . . . well a young uncle in any event.”
Draco paid the check and stood. “What can I say? We liked him. He liked us.”
“Do you do this often?”
“No. In fact—No. We don’t do it often. And there’s nothing wrong with an older man. There’s something to be said for that, actually.”
“Why do you do it at all?”
Draco shrugged. “Why not? What’s wrong with it? We’re all consenting adults. It’s not something that challenges or changes the way I feel about Harry or vice versa. It just makes it better.” Draco hesitated. “It’s nice to be wanted, pursued. It’s nice to be able to share what we have with someone else.”
“Someone like Edward.”
Draco smiled—rather like that Mona Lisa woman people prattled on and on about. “Yes. Someone like Edward.”
The words, the enigmatic smile, were practically an invitation.
Draco turned to leave. Before he could get too far, Severus stood and grabbed him by the upper arm.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?” Draco asked, trying to pull away.
Severus paid no attention to Draco’s protests as he strode out of the dining room and hauled him into a hidden alcove. He pressed Draco against wall and leaned against him, one arm pressed above Draco’s head, the other pressed on Draco’s other side. Draco’s eyes glimmered with challenge—Severus had seen it often enough to know what it was. A small, thin smile crept across his face.
“I always figured you for the jealous type,” Draco said, pretending not to notice Severus’s close proximity. That was one of the things Severus liked best about Draco—he could be direct with him. The hand closest to Draco’s shoulder slithered over to Draco’s arm, fingers brushing idly across fabric and skin.
“He could be dangerous, did you ever think about that?” Severus whispered.
Draco made a squeaking noise in the back of his throat. Severus could feel him trying to keep his hips from bucking forward. “He’s not a danger,” Draco managed to choke out.
Severus leaned in closer so that his lips were next to Draco’s ear. “You don’t know that.” His fingers lingered before pulling away.
“I, I--” Draco swallowed. A soft whimper escaped. “It was just the once, anyway.”
Severus stepped back, feigning concern. “You’re awfully flushed. Are you feeling all right?”
Draco looked away. “I’m fine, you bastard. You’re doing this on purpose.”
“I have no idea what you mean,” Severus said as he shifted his feet and let his erection brush against Draco’s hip.
Draco stiffened for a moment. He turned back and smiled. That dangerous glimmer was back. “You know exactly what I mean,” he said as he pushed forward in response. “But I don’t play alone. That night was a long time ago and well before Harry.”
“I’m well aware of your ‘playing with others policy.’ You and Potter are more possessive of each other than a child with a favorite toy.”
“Sounds to me like you have a bit of a problem, then.”
Severus smiled. “We’ll see about that.”
Draco licked his lips and arched one of his eyebrows. “I suppose we shall. Do you mean to pursue us, Severus? Looking for a night of fun? Like Edward?”
Severus bristled at the reminder of Edward. “What if I was? I know my advances wouldn’t be unwelcome to you. Unless things have changed.”
“No. They haven’t,” Draco said, several beats too fast, Severus thought.
“But Harry . . . he’s quite the challenge for you, isn’t he? You’ll have to get him to agree. Good luck with that.”
“Are you going to tell Potter about this?”
Draco laughed—that sexy, throaty laugh that went straight to Severus’s groin. “Why would I do that? That rather ruins the fun. And the game,” he said, bucking his hips forward again, emphasizing his point.
“Indeed.” Severus stepped back.
Draco pushed away from the wall with a smirk before sauntering off.
Severus watched him go, pleased with himself. Draco would have figured things out, so it was better to have him know what was going on from the beginning. At least part of it. No one knew that Severus knew about Boxing Day, and Severus intended to keep that little secret to himself.
“We’ll never get this stupid report done,” Potter groused. He took a long swallow of tea before swirling a teaspoon of honey across his tongue. If Severus hadn’t been sure that Potter was completely distracted—and thus oblivious to just how obscene the dipping and curling of his tongue was—he would have given Potter house points for making a professor very, very hard.
“Temper, temper, Potter.” Severus shifted in his seat to relieve the pressure on his cock.
“Sorry. I just--” Potter bit his lip in that way that had, over the past few weeks, transformed from annoying to enchanting.
“Go on, you’ve started now. You’ve captured my attention, you may as well finish me off.”
“It’s just been a bad week, really. Between dealing with that Corner prat and keeping the third years from hexing each other, and then, well--”
Potter stopped. He looked down at his notes and swallowed.
Severus, much as he was loathe to admit it, found himself leaning forward, hoping Potter would continue.
Potter looked up, but not at Severus. Instead, he stared at the fire and chewed the inside of his cheek before saying anything further. “Nothing. Do you miss your grandmother?”
The conversation change was so startling, Severus found himself answering without thinking.
“Of course I do. What kind of inane question is that? Not that it’s any of your business to begin with.”
Potter looked down at the table. His fingers traced the lines of the wood grain.
Severus sighed. “She died a long time ago. While I miss her, the pain of her loss has since dissipated.”
“Did you get to spend a lot of time with her?”
Severus stopped himself from snapping back with a scathing retort, but only just. Potter was clearly upset about something and perhaps it was a small price to pay to talk about family in order to gain his trust. “I spent my summers with her.”
“Why didn’t you spend your summers with your parents?”
“My father . . . we didn’t see eye to eye on many things and my mother found it easier for all concerned to send me to my grandmother’s.”
“Did you and your mum get along?”
The conversation was becoming more and more uncomfortable. “That’s none of your business, Potter,” he barked.
Potter looked away and nodded. He shuffled some of his papers and tried to concentrate on a particular one. It looked to be upside down to Severus. Severus sighed and snatched up his cup, finishing it off in one long swallow.
“I didn’t really know her,” Severus said at long last.
Potter looked up and waited, saying nothing.
“She was a potions maker, but not a Master. She was quite good and could have become a Master, I think, but my father was against the idea.”
“Is she—is she still alive?”
Severus looked away. “I don’t know. When she found out that I’d taken the Dark Mark, she cast a very old Heredity Hex that prevented me from ever knowing her or finding her again. A very effective way to cut ties with one who displeases you so.”
Potter snorted. “My uncle would have liked that hex, I think. Probably would have thought it was the only good use of magic that existed.”
Severus refilled his cup and did the same for Potter.
“Thanks,” Potter murmured. “But your grandmother—you got along with her?”
“Yes, I did. She died when I was fifteen, but for a long time, she offered a respite from the world.”
Potter nodded as if he understood that, and perhaps he did.
“So, Potter, turnabout’s fair play. What’s got you so moody?”
Potter’s gaze dropped to the table. “I told you, it’s nothing.”
“Lover’s spat with Draco, perhaps?”
“No. It’s—it’s nothing. Leave it.”
“This better not be about Black,” Severus spat. “You’ll get no sympathy from me on that score.”
“I wasn’t aware I’d get any sympathy from you on any count.”
Severus’s lips quirked at the corners again. He inclined his head. “All right then, let me put this in practical terms for you. We have quite a bit of work to do and whatever’s causing your mood is interfering with that. You might recall I do not suffer wasted time gladly.”
Potter rolled his eyes and said something under his breath before turning fully and staring Severus in the eye. There was a hint of challenge to his gaze, as if daring Severus to minimize whatever was troubling him.
“Tell me,” Severus said.
“Sometimes--sometimes it really gets to me, you know? I mean, it’s stupid. But . . . I miss them. Even if I never knew them.”
Severus was bewildered for a moment before he realized what day it was. He’d forgotten that they’d both begged off the Halloween Feast, telling McGonagall with false earnestness of a desire to sacrifice a night of frivolity in order to work on their joint curriculum report. If McGonagall had caught a whiff of the duplicity, she’d not let on.
“Ah, yes. October thirty-first,” Severus said as he fiddled with the small horn caviar spoon—caviar which had been utterly wasted on Potter’s plebian palette.
He debated about what to say next. Through his overtures, he and Potter had become friendly. Initially, he’d simply wanted to warm Potter up so that he wouldn’t be adverse to welcoming Severus to his and Draco’s bed. He’d reveled in Potter’s confused and flustered responses. But now Potter needed something beyond trite flattery and teasing seduction. He needed compassion of a sort. Severus found himself reluctant to withhold it.
“They wouldn’t want you to mourn them,” Severus said finally.
Potter turned towards him, his face expectant.
“My grandmother used to say that death never takes a wise man by surprise; he is always ready to go.” Severus’s finger made small circles on the table. “Your mother was quite wise, I think.”
Potter pursed his lips and blew an angry snort of air through his nose. “But not my father, right?”
Severus hesitated. He would not lie, but neither would he be unnecessarily cruel. “If nothing else, your father had the good sense to believe in her.”
Potter sighed. “Thank you. I—you didn’t have to say all of that. About my father, I mean. That thing you said, about death not taking a wise man by surprise.” Potter’s eyes cut to Severus’s before looking away again. “Erm, Professor Dumbledore said something very similar to me once.”
It was Severus’s turn to look away. It was amazing how—after all this time—a name could undo him.
“Even if they were ready to go, perhaps--” Potter paused, as if considering his words carefully, as if what he said next was the measure of things between them. “Perhaps we aren’t ready for them to leave. I don’t think survivors are ever ready to let their loved ones go. Regardless of the circumstances. And grief makes you do stupid things.”
“There’s no use dwelling on it. We cannot change the past. You, Draco, me—we know that better than most, I think,” Severus said.
“Quite a happy little threesome we make.” Potter’s eyes were bright and hopeful.
Severus’s hand twitched towards Potter’s. It would have been so easy. Potter was vulnerable and Severus could easily take advantage. It would get him much closer to securing an invitation for Boxing Day. He had only to touch, to look, to nudge.
He withdrew his hand and placed it in his lap.
“You’re looking a bit worse for wear tonight, Potter. It’s been a trying day for you, I’m sure. Why don’t we try this again next week?”
Potter bit his lip and looked away. “I’m sorry about all that stuff about my parents—I never meant to get into any of that. I just--”
“No need to explain. I understand more than you know. Perhaps we both need a night to remember those we’ve lost. Why don’t we try again next week?”
Potter nodded and opened his mouth to say something else. He blushed a brilliant red before looking away. “Next week, then,” he said, which was surely not what he’d meant to say. He packed away his books and parchment and stood. He fixed Severus with a keen stare. “Thank you. You were . . . thank you.”
Before Severus could say anything in response, Potter turned and left.
Severus stared at the door for quite awhile, trying to figure out why he’d let such a golden opportunity slip through his fingers. He knew the answer; he just didn’t want to admit it. He was beginning to like Potter. He was beginning to want him on his own merits, not just so he could have Draco. The world as he knew it was shuddering to a halt.
Severus closed his eyes, considering abandoning his ridiculous idea of seduction and—at the same time—clinging to it with profound desperation. He couldn’t let it go, though. If he did, he’d never know what he could find with Draco and Potter. He’d started the game with a single night in mind, seduction without remorse because he wanted them. The ironic twist to his plotting was the burgeoning realization that he wanted something much more than just Boxing Day.
The teaspoon clinked against the side of the porcelain cup before Draco dropped it on the saucer with a loud clang. He’d been distant during lunch and quite prickly every time Potter’s name had come up.
“So,” he finally said after dabbing the corners of his mouth with his napkin. “How’s the seduction going? Any closer to luring Harry into your bed?” Draco savaged a scone with his fork, piercing it so violently that the plate wobbled.
Severus had no idea how to respond. How they’d gone from almost rubbing each other off three weeks in a row to cool distance and savaged scones, he didn’t know.
Draco took his hesitance as an invitation to continue. “Quite an arsenal of wooing tactics you have. Though, I must say, using the dead parents . . . that’s one I never figured you for.”
“What on earth are you on about?”
Draco snorted. “Right. So when Harry came back last week, all unsettled and pensive, talking about how he thought the two of you had turned a corner, that, perhaps, you understood each other for the first time. All of that—that talk about his parents—that wasn’t a way to get into his trousers?” Before Severus could respond, Draco turned his head away with a sniff.
Hot anger ripped through Severus. He grabbed the collar of Draco’s robes and yanked hard, causing Draco to fly forward, knocking over his teacup along the way. For once Severus didn’t care that he was calling attention to himself. “You listen to me, you ungrateful little troll. That you would think I would stoop so low as to curry favor with Potter by touting the good deeds of his dead parents smacks of insult without bounds.”
“But it certainly worked to your advantage, didn’t it? All he could talk about was how stunned he was by your compassion.” Draco rolled his eyes. “How he didn’t see through it, I’ll never know. Just a testament to his desire to see the good in absolutely everyone.”
Severus curled his hands in the folds of Draco’s robes tighter. They were shaking, he realized. It had been a long time since he’d been so angry. “I provided both the truth and comfort that night and I did it because I wanted to, not because I wanted Potter to drop trou in thanks.”
“But you wanted him to drop his trousers, didn’t you? I bet you hoped he’d drop to his knees and give you the best blowjob of your miserable, pathetic life, didn’t you?”
“Certainly not. It may escape the vapid universe settled beneath your blond head, but I actually have compassion. I actually consider Potter a colleague and friend. Do I find him attractive? Do I hope to make you both realize that after I’ve had the honor of fucking you you’ll never want another? Yes. Do I want it by manipulating a man through the tragic memories of his parents? How dare you.”
Severus let Draco go and watched as he fell back and floundered to keep his seat.
“Perhaps this idea was ill-conceived,” Severus said, rising to his feet. A hand on his forearm stopped him.
“Don’t go. I—I’m sorry. I had to be sure.”
“Sure of what?”
“That you weren’t using him. Manipulating him so that--”
“So that I could bed you? Secure his token agreement so that we could feel better about this?”
“Don’t look at me like that. You can’t possibly be scandalized that I would suggest such a thing. It’s common knowledge that you don’t like him. What was I to think? You want to seduce him as well so as to be with us both? I find that hard to believe.”
Severus sat back down, sneering at a portly man two tables over who teetered on the edge of his seat, eavesdropping. He waited until the man started and returned his attention to his lunch companion before answering.
“Things change, Draco. You more than anyone should know that.”
Draco cocked his head to the side, his eyes narrowed. He looked Severus up and down for several moments before nodding his head. Draco’s lips quirked up at the edges. “I thought your feelings might be changing, but I had to be sure.”
Severus had been had. He’d been had by Draco Malfoy, of all people. “You underhanded--”
“But let me make it perfectly clear, Severus. You hurt him or manipulate him unnecessarily and it’s me you’ll answer to. Do we have an understanding?”
“We do.” Edward’s words about not playing them off each other came back to Severus. Not that he intended to, of course. But still, it was amazing how possessive they were of each other, given their history.
“Good.” Draco sat back in his chair and ran his finger along the edge of his plate. “You really should get on with things, you know. I’m surprised you’ve taken things so slowly. I half-expected to come home one afternoon and find Harry walking around in a daze, his shirt untucked, his hair sticking out more than ever, covered in love bites.”
Severus fixed Draco with a sharp gaze. “I wasn’t aware we were on a timetable. Is there a particular date I should be aiming for?”
Draco looked away and shifted on the seat. Severus crowed in triumph inside. He was still in the running.
“Er, no. Not as such,” Draco said. “But you know how things are. Perhaps you should consider prodding things along. Harry’s not terribly swift about catching on to things as subtle as your brand of seduction.” Draco licked his lips and cocked one of his brows.
“Are you mocking me?” Severus asked, lust rising in his gut. Draco could excite him with little more than a glance. “It’s never a good idea to mock someone, Draco, when that person knows your weaknesses.”
Draco’s face contorted into confusion that quickly changed to shock as Severus’s foot slipped out of its shoe and traced the line of Draco’s leg, coming to rest at his crotch.
“What are you doing?” Draco choked out.
“Giving you a lesson in subtlety. Perhaps it’s one you can teach Potter on a later date.”
Severus flexed his foot. He smiled at Draco’s small gasp. Draco’s eyes darted around the room, as if the other diners could see what Severus was doing.
“Stop it,” Draco whispered.
Severus noticed Draco made no effort to move away. He smiled. “The game’s afoot, you said, didn’t you?” he asked, flexing his foot once more, rubbing it against Draco’s erection. “I like to play my games carefully. Planning is everything don’t you agree?” he asked, continuing to rub his foot across Draco’s cock.
Severus felt Draco’s hips buck forward.
“I asked you a question, Mr. Malfoy, and I expect an answer.” He curled his foot just so, delighting in Draco’s sharp inhale and low groan.
“Mr. Malfoy, I’m waiting.”
“I—yes—I agree,” he stammered, closing his eyes at the end and biting his lip.
Severus pressed his foot further. “Agree to what, Mr. Malfoy?”
The plates and glasses jumped as Draco’s knees hit the table from below when Severus made a particularly inspired move. Draco gripped the edge of the table with both hands and with as much subtlety as he could muster, began thrusting against Severus’s foot.
“That—that—fuck—that games, something about games . . . planning.”
“You seem out of breath. Shall I call over the waiter?” Severus asked as he pressed harder and harder against Draco.
“No!” Draco exclaimed in a strangled gasp. “Just . . . just--” He whimpered. His knuckles turned white, so hard was his grip on the table’s edge.
“Is this what you had in mind, Draco? When you advised me to step up my efforts? Tell me? What is your assessment of my progress?”
Severus gave one more hard press with his foot and felt Draco shudder and jerk against him. Draco stiffened. His eyes fluttered closed. Severus thought he heard a soft grunt.
When Draco’s fingers uncurled from the table’s edge, Severus removed his foot and slipped it back into his shoe. “I think I’ve made my point,” he said as he stood. “Next week?”
Draco looked up. His face was flushed and he was still panting. “Turnabout’s fair play, you know,” he wheezed.
Severus’s lips curled into a smarmy smile. “I’m counting on it.”
PART TWO | PART THREE