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Title: Never Tickle A...Well Maybe Just This Once
Author/Artist: [info]eruditefics
Recipient's LJ name: [info]midnight_birth
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Charlie/Harry (mentions of Ron/Hermione)
Word Count: 8300
Warnings (if any): mentions of bacon
Summary: Harry has to get away for a while, or he is positive he’ll spontaneously combust. Luckily, Charlie Weasley is accepting houseguests. Author/Artist notes:Thank you to C for the very speedy and thorough beta job. I really hope this tickles your fancy, [info]midnight_birth! It’s fairly light, pretty sweet, and quite smutty. There are a few underlying themes of slight angst, but nothing to be afraid of!


“They’re just words, Harry,” Luna said, laying a hand on his arm and gazing at him with her wide, blue eyes. “He’s your best friend, you can say anything to your best friend.”

“This isn’t just anything, Luna! How am I supposed to tell Ron I’m gay? How will he be able to look at me after that?” Harry said, falling back against Luna’s bed to look up at the painting of Ron in her “friends” chain on her ceiling.

It had been one month since Harry and Ginny broke up. And exactly 29 days since Ginny sat him down and made Harry face the reality that had been bubbling with him in the months after the war. He was gay. He wanted to be with men. He desperately loved Ginny, but he was also certain he couldn’t love her in “that way.” Since then, he’d been agonizing over having to tell Ron, who was still waiting patiently for Harry to explain the surprisingly amicable breakup between himself and Ron’s little sister. Ginny and Luna didn’t understand why Harry was so afraid, but then how could they?

“You don’t understand,” Harry said, looking at his fingers and trying not to look to volatile.

“Then help us to, Harry,” Ginny said, handing him a warm butter beer and putting her arm around his shoulders. He sighed and decided that he was tired of keeping everything so caged up.

“When I was ten years old, we went to London to see a show. Vernon and Petunia didn’t want to take me, but Mrs. Figg was ill so I had to go along. We were walking down the pavement when two men walked by, obviously holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. Dudley pointed at them and shouted, ‘What’s that?’ to Vernon. He answered something to the effect that those were queers and should be killed. Then, he turned to me…” Harry stopped, as he noticed his lip was quivering slightly. Luna grabbed his hands.

“Harry?” Ginny said, scooting closer to him.

“You little freak! You’re probably as gay as the day is long! I’ll tell you this right now, boy. If I ever find out for sure that you’re a little pouf, I will kill you with my bare hands!” Harry shouted in his best impression of Uncle Vernon. Ginny gasped and leaned back, and Luna’s eyes began to water.

“Oh, but Harry, that’s just-“ Ginny began.

“And then, there was all that stuff about gay rights on the news, and I thought Vernon was right. I thought they were hated. So I decided not to be gay,” Harry finished, feeling suddenly small.

“It isn’t that way here,” Luna whispered, and Ginny nodded. Harry wasn’t sure he could believe them. He didn’t know a single wizard who was openly gay. The Weasleys may be nicer than the rest of the world, and Luna is a ifferent bird altogether. He wasn’t sure Ron would be nearly so understanding. His best mate was more than a little obsessed with sex and girls…even if it was just the one girl. Harry was tired of being different than everyone, he just wanted to be normal like Ron for once.

“Do you trust Ron?” Ginny asked, her voice suddenly sharp enough to pull Harry out of his stupor.

“With my life,” Harry answered back immediately.

“Then what makes you think he’d ever hurt you?” Luna said, resolution in her voice that Harry had scarcely heard.

“Maybe I’m just scared,” Harry said forcefully, leaping up from the bed. Before he could go into the angry and fearful outburst that was coursing through him, Ginny stood up and handed him a small slip of paper.

“What’s this?” Harry asked, staring down at the series of different apparition coordinates.

“That’s how to get to Charlie’s in Romania,” Ginny answered, grinning.

“But, Gin, you’ve been excited about that trip for ages!” Harry said, shoving the paper back into her hands.

“Yeah, but I need to get those Harpies auditions done before I go back to Hogwarts in September. It’s August, Harry. I can’t miss this chance,” Ginny said, looking flinty and determined.

“Well what about-“

“Bill has a home to rebuild, Percy has a new girlfriend he won’t leave for a second, George won’t leave his room, and you know as well as I that Ron and Hermione are planning an escape together for some alone time before she goes back to school,” Ginny finished with an exasperated sigh.

“I hear Romania is rife with plimpies!” Luna added unhelpfully.

“Harry, it’s only been three months. You need to breathe, and you’re not doing it too well here.” Ginny’s deep brown eyes were beseeching him.

“I don’t know, Ginevra, his lungs seem to be working fin,” Luna said, putting her ear next to his chest.

Harry knew it was settled before he could even nod his assent.

()()()()()()()

Romania looked like paradise in August, much to Harry’s surprise and delight. The mountains curved simultaneously verdant and rocky, weaving through villages and guiding rivers. He was currently walking a short path up to the Eastern European Dragon Reserve, careful not to use magic so near to dragons, at the advice of the wizard at the consulate. He was enjoying the time alone with his thoughts in the mild breeze of the evening. He couldn’t wait to explore what he heard was the best lake in the country just over one of the shorter hills.

Harry was just about to whistle some sort of cliché and jaunty tune when the wrought iron gates of the preserve appeared in front of him. He rang the bell, and a small, feeble looking, old man leaned his head out of the doorway that had appeared directly to Harry’s right. “Business?” he squeaked.

“I’m here to see-“

Harry’s voice caught in his throat as Charlie walked up the now-visible path toward the gates. He was wearing a thick, dragon-hide jacket, leather gloves, muggle jeans, and boots that rose up to about the middle of his calf. Every piece of clothing fit him like second skin, and Harry imagined he could see every muscle in Charlie’s body. Charlie was slightly taller and a lot more broad than Harry was. Harry found himself rendered completely speechless, his face flaming and his fingertips tingling to touch the other wizard. Charlie just jogged up toward him, grinning.

“Hiya, Harry! Bleedin’ Saviour of the World right here in our own humble reserve,” Charlie said, winking. Harry knew he was being wound up, but couldn’t seem to find a witty retort. Instead he just focused on picking up his luggage and walking further down the path.

“Thanks for letting me stay for a few days, Charlie. The place is beautiful,” Harry said, pretending his racing heart was just due to the mildly strenuous activity. He had been at the Dragon Reserve for all of five minutes and already his inexperience and social awkwardness were threatening to humiliate him. He bit the inside of his cheek to try to keep himself from saying anything at all stupid.

“Oh it’s a pleasure, mate. I’ve cleared my schedule. I only have to look after the eggs for the next three days. So I’m completely yours.” The side of Charlie’s mouth lifted in a smirk, and the glint of his eyes made Harry feel nervous and excited.

“Oh! You didn’t have to do that. I am happy to just wander about and relax a bit,” Harry said, putting his best nonchalant smile on display. He couldn’t believe he went from relaxed to stressed out and ball of nerves in a matter of a few apparations.

“And relax you shall,” Charlie said, leading him up a worn path up one of the surrounding hills. There were cabins scattered along rolling green foothills on the side of the mountain range, and Charlie pointed out that the Dragons themselves were housed in large cages in the valley. They were let out every day for exercise and food under the care of the wizards and witches in charge, but relatively free to roam the caves and peaks of the reserve as long as they could be brought back. The reserve covered 10 square miles of land complete with lakes and streams. Besides the giant fire-breathing beasts, it was a veritable playground.

Charlie’s little cabin was made of a beautiful and fragrant pine, and the smell was something like Harry had never experienced before. He couldn’t help but close his eyes and finally breathe. When he opened his eyes, Charlie was dangerously close, his brown eyes positively boring into him and his expression unreadable. Then, he winked again and bowed as he held open the door. Harry looked around. There was one large room with the dining area and living room, as well as a kitchenette with the countertops jutting out to make room for bar stools. The furniture looked worn and comfortable. There was a hallway with one door indicating a bathroom and the other door showing one bedroom.

“It’s nice,” Harry said, grinning and slowly letting the tension leave his body.

“Sorry you’ll have to kip on the couch,” Charlie said, gesturing to a pile of blankets.

“It’s gotta be better than Ron’s camp bed!” Harry smiled, feigning neck pain.

“Why haven’t you started in on Grimmauld yet?” Charlie asked.

“I just…it’s just…I can’t,” Harry finally finished lamely. He couldn’t find any words to express how much it still hurt to sit in there and be constantly reminded of everyone he lost, or how awful it seemed to face his evenings alone. He knew Ron was planning on taking care of George for a while, and he was afraid at the prospect of being by himself. Harry jumped when a large hand rested on his shoulder for a moment, taking it’s time to linger on the flesh of Harry’s back before leaving. Harry had to fight to not lean into the touch.

“I understand,” Charlie said, clearing his throat and shifting uncomfortably for a moment. “I can’t believe I’m still wearing this thing!” the ginger man suddenly exclaimed, unzipping his jacket. “I’m nowhere near fire and it’s fucking hot outside.”

Harry wanted to respond, but Charlie was wearing nothing but a sweaty, thin tee shirt underneath his protective gear. His arms were tanned, scarred, and covered in a sleeve of tattoos. Some of them writhed and moved. Harry gazed at the artwork on his body with open curiousity, forgetting his discomfort for a moment in favor of awe. He could make out a dragon swirling up and down Charlie’s left arm, with stationary flowers, trees, broomsticks, and runes covering the rest of his skin. The dragon even let out a puff of smoke that read ‘Fred’ every time it passed over the runes.

“I’d let you have a closer look at them all if I wasn’t so odorous,” Charlie said. “I’ll just take a quick shower and then I promise I’ll be an excellent host.”

Harry wondered why he had never noticed all of Charlie’s tattoos before. He assumed the moving dragon was fairly new, but wouldn’t he have registered the rest? Looking back on his times with Charlie, Harry realized they were all in the winter, and Charlie’s bare skin was rarely on display. Even at Bill and Fleur’s August wedding, Charlie was in shirtsleeves in the summer heat. Harry smiled to himself at the thought that Charlie probably had to keep himself covered whenever he was around Mrs. Weasley.

Harry shoved his luggage under the coffee table to make sure it was out of the way and then sat heavily on the couch. There was a thick book open in front of him, with wizarding photographs stretched across the page. The page Charlie had stopped on was one with Fred and George over the years, from when they were babies throwing food around the kitchen, to one that must have been taken just after the shop opened and showed them beaming with pride under their ‘U No Poo’ sign. Harry felt a lump rise in his throat and was entranced by the fleeting glimpse into an unfinished life.

“Just not ready to let go yet,” Charlie’s voice whispered near Harry’s ear and he had to suppress a shudder.

“It’s only been a few months, Charlie,” Harry whispered back, turning his head so that his lips were nearly brushing along Charlie’s jaw.

After a brief pause, Charlie cleared his throat and practically ran into the kitchen. “Are you hungry? I know I’m positively starving. I make a passable, stew, but maybe we should go out… somewhere crowded,” Charlie said, wiping his hands on his jeans.

Harry couldn’t figure out Charlie’s mood, but he felt positively foolish. This was going to be a long and decidedly un-relaxing three days.

()()()()()()()()()()()

Well, getting on-his-arse drunk was one way to solve his situation, and if the spinning room was any indication, Harry had achieved a lofty goal. He was surrounded by men from the reserve, and Charlie hadn’t left his side all night. Even in Romania, the blokes all wanted to by The Saviour a drink, and Harry wasn’t at all bothered by that fact. The drunker he got, the less precarious his little problem was. He was finding himself attracted to his best mate’s brother, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. Harry threw his head back and laughed at his own realization.

“Well, at least you aren’t a mean drunk,” Charlie chuckled, tipping back another pint with quick and heavy gulps.

“Guess not,” Harry grinned, imagining what it would be like to run his lips up and down Charlie’s throat until he whimpered. Harry almost couldn’t hide a whimper in his own voice.

“Hey queer!” someone shouted from across the pub. Harry immediately tensed looking around for the source.
“Who told-“

“Oh sod off, James!” Charlie shouted, leaping over Harry to greet an obvious friend. Harry was still apprehensive when Charlie brought over a very tall, very broad, and extremely handsome, dark-haired man. “James, this is-“

“Harry bleeding Potter!” James said, a sarcastic expression on his face as he leaned and kissed Harry’s proffered hand. Harry could feel the blush rising in his cheeks. James’s lips felt amazing on his skin. The other man’s blue eyes met his over their clasped hands and he let his mouth linger a little longer than it should have.

“How ‘bout a pint?” Charlie said loudly. Harry could have sworn there was a menacing look in his eyes as he signaled James toward the bar. When James left, Harry’s mouth took over control.

“Why did he call you queer?” Harry blurted out.

“It’s not an insult,” Charlie said, furrowing his brows. “Especially since I am.” Harry could only blush. He talked James’ ear off the rest of the night. He tried to forget about what Charlie had said, but the revelation had his drunken imagination working in overtime. So instead, he decided to enjoy the fact that for the first time since realizing he was gay, there was an attractive man hanging on his every word. With every pint, James scooted closer and closer, and Charlie got quieter and quieter.

Nearing closing time, James whispered a filthy joke in Harry’s ear and Harry threw his head back and laughed.

“Fucking Christ, James, he’s straight!” Charlie shouted, rising from his chair and knocking it over in the process.

“No, I’m not,” he answered. Time stopped, though it had to have been only a second before Harry heard Charlie gasp. Suddenly he needed to get out of that stuffy pub or he was surely going to suffocate. He tripped over three barstools and two angry, fur-laden wizards before making his way outside, running around the corner, and pressing his back against the wooden siding.

It only took thirty seconds before Harry heard footsteps. He seriously considered apparated, and risking the splinching if it meant he didn’t have to face Charlie. His head was pounding, he couldn’t find his footing, and he was sure he was going to die of embarrassment. He saw Charlie stop beside him and lean against the wall. He was obviously waiting for Harry to say something.

“I’ve been here less than 12 hours and I’ve already come out to you. Congratulations on being person number three,” Harry groaned, rubbing his face in his hands. “Is there such thing as a sobering charm?”

“No, there isn’t. Please tell me my sister knows about this. I’m not looking forward to ruining your pretty face,” Charlie said, smiling.

“She was person number one. Seriously, Charlie…you can’t say anything!” Harry said, suddenly panicking. His mind was racing but he couldn’t seem to hang on to a single thought. “Ron doesn’t know.”

“Why, Harry?” Charlie asked, his voice so gentle that Harry closed his eyes and let it float over him for a moment before he realized what was going on.

“What if he hates me?” Harry mumbled.

“He doesn’t hate me.”

“I’m beginning to think this is yet another area of my upbringing that was severely lacking,” Harry said, trying to shake the haze out of his mind.

“I have no idea what you are talking about, but I think you need to get in bed,” Charlie said, gripping Harry’s arm and leading him back toward the reserve. Harry had to resist the urge to say something about being in Charlie’s bed that he knew he would regret, and hoped to Merlin everything was back to normal in the morning.

()()()()()()()()()()()()

Harry woke with a pounding in his head he hadn’t felt since the days of Voldemort invading his mind. His mouth tasted bitter and he felt like he would vomit at any moment. He felt around for his glasses and found them after he stubbed his shin on the wooden table. When he shoved his familiar spectacles on his face, he heard the scrunch of paper against his forehead.

Of course, there was a note taped there.

Harry,
Going to see a Lady (dragon) about some eggs. There’s a potion for you on the counter if you can make it off the sofa.
-Charlie


Harry drank the sweet potion, feeling cool and instant relief flood over him. He was about to remark that someone should bottle that stuff, when he realized he was holding the bottle. He chuckled to himself and looked down, horrified to find he was only in his y-fronts. He frantically ran toward his luggage and threw on the first pair of jeans and tee shirt that he could find. He tried not to dwell on the fact that walking talking Adonis, Charlie Weasley had seen his scarred, scrawny physique.

Harry felt his stomach growl painfully, and now that his nausea had passed, he was feeling decidedly hungry. He rooted around in Charlie’s fridge until he found some eggs and cheese. He managed to find enough ingredients to make a passable omelet for himself and Charlie, secretly hoping Charlie would be back soon. Before he knew it, Harry was whistling a Weird Sister’s song while he placed their breakfasts on some of the mismatched plates Charlie kept in his cupboards.

Harry turned around to get the coffee poured, and nearly screamed when he saw Charlie standing in the doorway, leaning against the jam. His arms were crossed and there was a pleased smile on his face. Harry blushed, and turned around to try to hide it.

“I just…I didn’t mean to intrude. I was hungry and I thought that you might-“ Harry stammered.

“Shove off! I’m starving and this looks bloody perfect. Where’d you learn to cook?” Charlie said, grabbing their plates and sauntering over to the table.

“To be honest, I’ve rarely cooked just because I wanted to. I mean, we cooked over a fire last year while we were camping, but Hermione did a lot of that,” Harry explained as he plopped some ice in his pumpkin juice and sat down across the table from Charlie. “At Hogwarts the elves did it. At your house-“

“Mum would murder you or cry about her failures if you tried to cook your own food,” Charlie added with a lopsided grin that echoed Ron’s. Harry had to try hard not to think about Ron while he was ogling Charlie. “But what about before then?”

“I…it doesn’t matter,” Harry took a bite of his toast, his face turning red as he realized he was about to go into some sort of ‘woe is me’ monologue that no one wanted to hear.

“It’s okay, Harry. My little brothers stole a car to help you escape from that place, and my parents told me about what you were like those first few years. I’ve got a good idea of what life was like before Hogwarts,” Charlie said, with such an alarming amount of tenderness in his voice that Harry wanted to curl up next to him and never leave his side. The ache he had been feeling since his arrival in Romania deepened significantly.

“I cooked for them. Every meal when they were home, I was in the kitchen filling their plates and meeting their demands until they were full, then I could have what was left. Sometimes, if they thought I wasn’t behaving properly, I’d prepare the whole thing and then they would send me away and not allow me to eat. Other times, Dudley would finish off every last morsel just so that I couldn’t have anything, and then I was lucky if they would let me have a sandwich. I was hungry a lot when I was little,” Harry finished, the end of his explanation trailing off into a mumble.

When Harry met Charlie’s gaze, his deep, brown eyes held something akin to pity, and Harry immediately hated himself. He did not want to be a poor orphan boy in the same way he didn’t want to be everyone’s hero. Even worlds away, in a place untouched by the media and focused on dragons of all things, Harry still felt like he was different…like he went against the grain. He continued to eat and tried not to focus on Charlie doing the same, and became so caught up in his meal that he didn’t notice Charlie get up to clear his plate.

Charlie rested a hand on Harry’s shoulder, and Harry could feel his bitterness rise. However, when the other wizards thumb brushed against the bare skin of his neck and dipped for a moment below his collar, chills overtook Harry and he immediately needed to feel that touch over every inch of his skin. He bit back a moan and craned his neck, trying to show Charlie that he enjoyed it, but not too much. When Charlie went to rinse off his plate, Harry did the same, smiling brightly and acting as though nothing had happened.

“So I’ve got a few more nests to check out, and it’s going to take some serious hiking. I thought we could make a day of it, pack a lunch, and see the sites. We can’t use much magic on the preserve, so maybe we can just sort of melt into the background and relax,” Charlie offered.

Harry closed his eyes, imagining the sun on his face. “I can think of nothing better.”

()()()()()()()()()()

The first nest was easy to get to. The Ridgeback mother had decided to nest in a large, hollowed out tree trunk, and all Charlie had to do was check the temperature, number, and quality of the eggs. They were on their way from that one before the mother could even find her way back. The next nest was up a slight, rocky crag, and Harry happily climbed up first and let down a rope for Charlie, glad he could show off his athletic prowess and trying hard not to flex in front of the ginger wizard.

As they hiked deeper in the forest, Charlie started to get a look on his face that would put Fred and Geo...that would put George to shame. Instead of making Harry nervous, however, Harry was excited to see just what Charlie was ready to spring on him. He hoped it was something that he knew he was never going to get, but they had been walking a while and Harry had always been prone to daydreaming. When they reached a clearing where there was very little grass, but plenty of soft clay ground, Charlie decided to make that their luncheon spot.

“It’s sweltering hot today!” Charlie suddenly exclaimed as Harry pulled out their wrapped turkey sandwiches. He yanked off his t-shirt and Harry failed to stay focused on putting mustard on his sandwich. When he looked up, Charlie winked at him and took off running toward a small bramble at the edge of their clearing. Harry, of course, ran after him.

Harry caught up with Charlie just in time to see him fly off the edge of a cliff and tuck his feet up. Harry let out a choked cry, but when he skidded toward the edge, he saw a large, deeply blue lake below. The water perfectly reflected the sky, and it looked like Charlie was falling towards the clouds instead of into the water. When Charlie hit the water and his bright orange head promptly returned to the surface, Harry yanked off his clothes and jumped in after.

The water was shockingly cold, but it felt so perfect that Harry’s body erupted with sensation. He stretched out his arms, reaching for the warmer part of the surface, and when his head found the air, he gasped in a full cleansing breath. He felt more alive in that moment than he had in months. He let out a laugh even before he could shake his hair from his eyes.

“It only took you maybe a second to go in after me! It took Fred and George ten seconds of doing that creepy twin arguing before they jumped!” Charlie exclaimed, still smiling, but with a slightly more haunted look on his face.

“Yes, well, I am the courageous hero,” Harry snarked, dunking his head back under the water to smooth his hair back. When he got back up, Charlie was looking at Harry with an intense, but unreadable expression.

“Tell me this then, Hero,” Charlie’s voice was gravelly in a way that went straight to Harry’s cock. “Why don’t you just go for what you want, then, if you’re so courageous?”

Harry suddenly noticed that Charlie’s body was dangerously close, and his kicking legs kept brushing against Harry’s bare skin. Charlie’s hand brushed along Harry’s back, in what could have been seen as a routine swimming maneuver, but to Harry was so much more. He could feel his heart speed up and his mouth go dry, but knew he had to find an answer or risk looking foolish.

“I’ve never had the chance before,” Harry whispered.

Charlie was so close, just a few inches more and Harry was sure he could capture the older wizard’s mouth in a searing and desperate kiss. That thought alone scared him. Harry never got a chance to just be. First, he was a victim of his surroundings, and then a victim of his past and then his duty. Now, he was floating away, completely lost, and unsure of what his next move should be. No one was making decisions for him any longer, and Harry couldn’t help but be slightly terrified at the prospect.

Harry swam away, back toward the rock face, hoping that one more jump would distract him from what he really wanted. When he finally got back up to the top, he looked down at Charlie to find him just smiling up at Harry, radiating warmth and looking so inviting that Harry found himself aiming for the dragon tamer on his second jump. They swam until the hunger pains got to be too much, and then feasted in companionable silence.

()()()(_)()_)()()()()()(_)()()()()

As soon as Charlie drained his butterbeer, he declared, “One more nest, Golden Boy, and this one is a doozy!”

Harry felt a thrill bubble at the thought of an adventure, and quickly gathered his pack and redressed in his dry clothes. He followed Charlie quickly up a winding path that became rockier and steeper with every step. Finally, when Harry’s legs protested that he could not possibly go on a second longer, the arrived at a cave, the entrance to which was resting on a pile of rocks about ten feet high. Apparently, Harry could climb just a little bit longer.

Charlie was the first to go up, slinging a rope over a jagged rock and hoisting himself forward. His strong legs flexed with each move. Harry was close behind him, climbing up the end of the rope and trying not to look at Charlie’s arse, as they made their way to the entrance of the cave. Of course, that was an exercise in futility, as Charlie was one of the most fit men Harry had ever seen.


“Stop looking at my arse, Potter!” Charlie said, shaking his rear end as he walked over to the opening of the cave. Harry swallowed hard, but decided he was courageous enough to stop being such a blubbering idiot.

“Can’t help it,” Harry said smoothly. “It’s a very nice arse.”

Harry could have sworn he saw Charlie blushing as they entered the dark cave. He made sure to stay very close to the other wizard, even though he wasn’t very afraid of their situation. There was the occasional flap and screech of bat wings, and a drip of water, but otherwise the cave was quiet and Harry could just focus on Charlie’s breathing in the darkness. Harry chanced running his hand down Charlie’s warm back, and was rewarded with some much quicker breathing that he reveled in, even against the sound of his own pulse quickening in his ears.

Harry was just about to slam Charlie against the wall, and fuck all the nerves and the propriety, when they came upon a stream of light pouring in from the cracks between two large rocks. In the ray of light was a nest of three large eggs, nestled unassumingly on a bed of moss and leaves. They were blue with white speckles, and Harry felt an overwhelming urge to reach out and stroke one of them. Charlie grabbed his wrist just as he made his first attempt.

“It’s just like with birds, Harry. If we touch them, the mother may reject them. She can’t smell wizards on these eggs, for the sake of the babies,” Charlie whispered urgently, and Harry felt inexplicably sad at the possibility of lonely, little, dragon kids. “But if you are very careful, you can stick these temperature reading tapes to the tops and tell me what color they turn.”

Harry took his new task willingly, and pinched the small strips of paper between his thumb and forefinger to gently place on the top of each egg. Just as he was putting on his final one and noting yet another healthy green color, the egg began to tremble. Harry immediately jumped back and lifted his hands up where judging eyes could be assured he did not do anything.

“Oh shit!” Charlie shouted.

“I didn’t do it. They were just-“

“They are hatching. We have to go right now!” Charlie said, grabbing up his pack with one hand, Harry’s arm with the other, and bolting back the way they came,
into the darkness.

“Charlie, what is going on?” Harry said, the panic in the air sparking his adrenaline and causing him to run faster than he had in months.

“The mother can sense when they hatch. These buggers are days early. I thought we were safe. She will kill us on sight to get to those hatchlings,” Charlie shouted breathlessly as he pulled Harry along. Harry began to fumble for his wand.

“But we won’t stand in her way!”

“She’ll see us as a threat no matter what we do,” Charlie said, reaching into his shirt and pulling out his wand. Harry did the same. “We might as well arm ourselves since nothing worse could happen.”

As Harry saw the billow of fire flare inside the cave, he drew his wand and shouted “You’re wrong!” At the top of his lungs. Their simultaneous shield charms happened just in time to protect themselves from the flames.

Harry and Charlie ran toward the source of the fire, because as it stood, that was their only exit. As they ran, Harry remembered the rope. Something dry and very flammable wasn’t ideal, but something that could fling them into the shadows as fire raged around them was very ideal. He stopped and Charlie immediately stopped with him. Harry hooked his rope around a stalactite and watched Charlie echo his actions. Just as the dragon caught them in her sights and opened her mouth, Harry and Charlie both swung themselves against the walls of the cave, effectively hiding them from the blinding, orange light by swinging the two wizards into the dragon’s periphery.

Harry wasn’t unscathed, however. He could feel the agonizing sting of a burn on his forearm and a slice from the jagged rock across his cheek. But the dragon was on her way to her babies now, the light fading with every step the dragon took off in the other direction. And he was not dead. Harry looked over at Charlie, who didn’t have a mark on him, and had an exhilarated grin on his face. Harry jumped down from his vantage point along the wall and marched over to Charlie, expecting to chastise him for being such an arse.

“Oh fuck it,” Harry said just as darkness took over.

He grabbed Charlie’s face with both hands and pulled his lips down to crash against his own. He forced Charlie’s larger body against the rocky wall and pressed his chest to him until there wasn’t a whisper of air or smoke or cave dust between them. Harry moaned when Charlie’s hands came up to his arse and the other wizard gripped him firmly. When Charlie’s tongue began to trace Harry’s mouth, he thought his knees would buckle.

For being the first man Harry ever kissed, Charlie felt remarkable. There was no question of his skill, no nagging voice in the back of his head telling him something felt wrong, and no overwhelming urge to run. Instead, he just felt, like there was fire running through his veins, and he wanted nothing more than to prolong and magnify the entire experience.

When Harry pressed his erection against Charlie’s, they both groaned out. Charlie fisted one of his hands in Harry’s hair and used the other to brush underneath the waistband of Harry’s pants. Harry was shocked at how ready he was to push against Charlie’s hand and let him touch him as much as he wanted. When Charlie’s lips started to ghost along Harry’s jaw, he could only imagine how his lips would feel across the rest of his body.

“Charlie, please,” Harry groaned, beyond comprehension. He just needed.

“What, Harry? Anything. Anything you want,” Charlie whispered, his hands brushing against the front of Harry’s jeans.

“Everything,” Harry groaned. Suddenly, Charlie Apparated them directly into his cabin. After Harry regained is equilibrium, he looked up to find Charlie staring at him with a devious glint in his eye.

“I know we aren’t supposed to do magic much on the reserve, but if anyone asks, this was an emergency,” Charlie said, immediately pulling Harry’s shirt over his head.

“You’re fucking right it is,” Harry answered, not even bothering to tug at Charlie’s shirt. Instead, he ripped it off in one swift, desperate motion.

Charlie let out a growl that made Harry clench his fists, and the red haired man hauled Harry against him, slamming their bodies against the hard, wooden walls. Charlie was grinding into him, and Harry was aching for more friction. He reached down to the button of Charlie’s jeans, but Charlie’s hand closed over his wrist. Harry let out a whine and immediately blushed in embarrassment.

“Am I going too fast?” Charlie whispered, his grip still firm on Harry’s arm.

“Not fast enough, Charlie. I know I’ve never done this before, but I want you. That’s enough.” Harry whispered, lifting a hand and running his fingertips along Charlie’s jaw. When his lips turned up in a smile, Harry felt his own smile in answer, and another pulse of desire. “You don’t need to be that careful.”

“Fuck, you’re perfect. I’ve wanted you for a lot longer than I should have,” Charlie groaned. Harry laughed and licked up the side of Charlie’s neck, his confidence surging.

They undressed each other quickly, though without anymore clothes-ripping. When Harry was finally naked, Charlie wrapped his powerful arms around Harry’s back and kissed him tenderly; letting his lips linger and pulse against Harry’s own. Their heated skin touched, and they both moaned. Harry winced as Charlie gripped the burn on his arm. The other wizard immediately leapt back.

“’S nothing, Charlie. Just had a run in with a dragon not too long ago,” Harry smirked, pulling Charlie back against him.

“Lie down,” Charlie croaked. Harry swallowed a lump in his throat but moved toward the bed.

Charlie turned away from his bed and grabbed his wand. Harry marveled at the on Charlie’s arm again, and this time grew excited over the thought that he would get to touch his painted skin soon. Charlie’s erection bobbed in front of him and Harry’s mouth watered with the urge to taste him.

“You look good enough to eat, Harry Potter, but first,” Charlie said. He pointed his wand at Harry’s arm and healed his burn easily. He also healed the scratch along Harry’s face as he climbed into bed next to him.

They kissed hungrily, hands scrabbling over bare skin, and cocks throbbing against each other. Harry wanted to cry out for more, for something, for anything, but Charlie just backed away and began to kiss down Harry’s chest. Harry’s stomach flipped with possibility. Charlie licked the crux of His thigh and Harry bit down on his lip hard to keep from coming like an embarrassing First Year.

“Do you trust me, Harry?” Charlie said, looking up at him over his abdomen. Harry nodded, though his nerves were on fire at the implications. “Turn over.”

“Charlie, I’ve never…” Harry started, sitting up and blushing.

“I know,” Charlie whispered, kissing along Harry’s shoulder. Harry ran his hands up and down Charlie’s back, committing every scar and ridge to memory. “Just relax. I promise I’ll stop if something doesn’t feel right.”

Harry rolled over, trying to keep his body from trembling. Charlie guided his legs up, and Harry hid his face in the pillow, embarrassed and being so exposed. He jumped when he felt Charlie’s hands caress his cheeks and part them slightly.

“You’re so perfect, Harry,” Charlie whispered, one of his hands moving up and down Harry’s spine. He kissed along Harry’s back, easing his muscles until Harry felt his grip loosen on the sheets. This time, Harry moaned when Charlie pulled his cheeks apart and revealed his needy entrance.

Charlie growled, and then Harry felt his warm, wet tongue glide over his entrance. Harry groaned and pushed back against Charlie’s face almost instantly. Charlie answered by teasing Harry with his tongue until Harry was begging for more. Finally, Charlie’s tongue slowly entered his body, and Harry could feel his orgasm building. When the dragon-tamer wrapped his hand around Harry’s throbbing cock, the dark haired wizard came with a cry, his body collapsing and Charlie holding him up so he didn’t fall against the bed.

“Fuck, Charlie…that was….fuck” Harry said between breaths.

“I know,” He whispered, running his hands up and down Harry’s chest and kissing his neck. Harry felt Charlie’s hardness grinding up against his arse, and Harry could already feel his arousal stirring again.

“Please,” Harry whimpered, knowing exactly what he was asking. He tried to bend back down, but Charlie stopped him.

“Are you sure?” He said gently. Harry turned around and met Charlie’s deep brown eyes. They were nearly black with lust, but they held so much reverence, that Harry could feel his heart begin to pound in his throat. In that moment, he had never been surer of anything.

“Yes,” Harry said, pulling Charlie against him. He pressed Charlie’s hips into his own burgeoning erection and kissed him with an echo of his answer. When he went to turn back around, Charlie stopped him.

“I want to see you,” Charlie explained, summoning the oil from his night stand. He spread Harry’s legs and Harry held them against his chest.

When Charlie breached him with a thick finger, it stung, but Harry took some careful breaths and soon, he was fucking himself on Charlie’s finger. Charlie’s mouth was half open in awe, though his eyes remained focused on the task, and he slowly slid in another finger. This time, Charlie brushed up against something that shot something through Harry’s body and made him cry out. With a few more thrusts of Charlie’s scissored fingers, Harry was begging for more.

Charlie settled himself between Harry’s legs and kissed him, sliding his tongue inside of Harry’s mouth. When Charlie’s cock began to enter Harry, the younger wizard couldn’t help but close his eyes and pull away slightly from Charlie, at the burn. Charlie just pressed his face against Harry’s neck and whispered soothing words until Harry nodded.

Finally, Charlie was fully sheathed inside Harry. The burn was still present, but he also felt this remarkable fullness that moved through his entire body in waves. When Charlie began to move, that same spot was hit and Harry found himself echoing Charlie’s thrusts with his own. Harry’s orgasm built, and soon he was clutching Charlie’s shoulders tightly and thrusting his hips with abandon.

“Fuck, yes, Harry. So perfect. You’re mine…fuck…nghhhhh,” Charlie grunted, and Harry could feel Charlie’s cock twitching inside of him, filling him. The feelling of Charlie spilling himself inside of him made Harry’s body coil with heat, and he came hard, crying out Charlie’s name and seeing stars behind his eyelids.

He barely registered Charlie cleaning him up and throwing the blankets over him, but he sighed with contentment when he felt Charlie’s chest press up against his back.


()()()()()()()()()()

Harry was avoiding waking up. He knew that once he opened his eyes, he’d have to face the questions swirling around in his head:

What if this was just a one off?
Do you want it to be a one off?
Do you want to stay here with him?
How many ways will Ron find to kill you?
Is Charlie going to regret this?
Is Charlie embarrassed?


“Can you make some bacon and then come back to bed. Your thinking is interfering with my sleeping,” Charlie answered with a gravelly voice. He threw an arm over Harry and pulled the younger wizard against his chest. Harry knew he wanted to wake up like that as often as possible, but had no idea how to convey that thought.

“Make your own damn food,” Harry smiled, kissing Charlie softly. Their kiss quickly turned into something much more and their hard lengths rubbed against each other in desperate need for friction.

“I can’t believe you have to leave today,” Charlie murmured between kisses. Harry felt his heart plummet at the realization that Charlie wanted him to go.

“Yeah, I should pack,” he croaked, as nonchalant as he could possibly be while Charlie’s hand gripped his cock.

“You have to, Harry, at least for a little while,” Charlie explained. “I have to make up these easy days, and you have some important conversations to have.” He nuzzled his face against the sensitive skin of Harry’s neck.

“Should you be included in these talks?” Harry couldn’t help asking, tempting the sexual Fates of his eventual orgasm against his constant need to know where he stood.

“Give me a little time,” he said softly, trailing his fingers down Harry’s arm. “And besides, I want to be there when Ronnie’s head explodes.”

Harry laughed; feeling decidedly less confused and infinitely turned on. “I don’t have to leave just yet.”

They made love again before either of them left the sheets. And then again in the shower. When Harry was finally ready to go to the International Portkey Office, he was reluctant to open the door. His hand lingered on the knob and he took a few deep breaths. He eventually mustered his courage and turned back around to face Charlie.

Before Harry could say the words falling off of the tip of his tongue, Charlie was on him again with one more passionate kiss. Harry rose to it, gripping Charlie’s arms so hard that he had to be bruising the other wizard. When they pulled back, Harry was breathless and bereft.

“I’ll be in England in a week, and I’m taking you out,” Charlie said. Harry knew the set of implications behind those words. He wanted Charlie, and he wanted to be with Charlie. However, he had to talk to Ron and Hermione first.

Harry kissed Charlie again before Apparating to the portkey station in a bundle of nerves.

()()()()()

Harry checked Mrs. Weasley’s old clock one more time to ensure that everyone was where they should be. George was ‘working’, though that probably meant sitting alone in the back room of the shop. Ginny was ‘exercising’ which was the clock’s way of saying she was warming up for quidditch trials. Molly and Arthur were ‘visting’, and Harry made sure they would be at Andromeda’s for at least an hour. Percy was ‘sleeping’, which was likely code for ‘in bed with Audrey’, since he definitely wasn’t one to sleep at 4 in the afternoon. And Ron was marked as ‘traveling’ which means he and Hermione were due back from Australia at any minute.

Harry quickly laid out the plates full of food. There was roasted chicken, buttered mashed potatoes, gravy, and some of the best blueberry pie that Harry could even imagine making. He topped it off with a bottle of Ogden’s finest, and dropped the ice cubes in the glass just as he heard footsteps on the front porch.

“I’m home!” Ron called up the stairs, looking around at the empty house. It took him only a few more seconds before he noticed the food, and then immediately sat down at the table. “Hey Harry! Mom went all out in the middle of the day?”

“No, I did it!” Harry said, smiling a little too widely and hoping his plan to butter Ron up with food and booze would work.

“You feeling okay, mate?” Ron furrowed his brows, but didn’t stop tearing into his chicken leg. When Harry didn’t answer, he put his food down.

“Never better. How about some Firewhisky?” Harry said, anxiously shoving the glass toward Ron, and then wiping his sweaty hands on his jeans.

“Harry, are you trying to make me drunk and sleepy? Because if you wanted a snog, all you had to do was say something,” Ron said, licking his lips. Harry gasped and dropped his Firewhisky. Ron waved his wand to clean it up.

“What the fuck was that supposed to mean?” Harry tried to sound like he was laughing, but it only came out as growling.

“I was joking. Seriously, Harry, what the fuck has been up with you? You’ve been walking around the house like a ball of nerves for weeks. I thought Romania might have helped you clear your head a bit,” Ron said, pushing his plate away. “If something is up, I can help you. I’ll always help you.”

Harry collapsed into the hard wooden chair, putting his head in his hands and gripping his hair tightly. Nothing was going according to his plan. He had intended to get Ron relaxed and happy, drop some hints, and if he was warm enough to the concept, then he would tell him in a very careful way that he preferred the company of blokes. Harry hadn’t counted on Ron being so perceptive.

He heard the chair scrape against the floor beside him, and Ron’s shoulder was pressed against his. They sat there in silence while Harry regained his courage. Ron didn’t say a word, but he did reach for the food and scoop a bite of mashed potatoes in his mouth. When Harry met his eyes, Ron just grinned and put his hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“Ron…”

“Harry?”

“Oh fuck. I’m gay, mate. I like blokes. I want to date blokes! I want to bugger and be buggered and I’m a big fucking poof!” Harry shouted, and then quickly put his hand over his mouth. He slammed his forehead against the table.

“Harry?”

“MMMMM?” Harry said against the scrubbed wood.

“This chicken tastes incredible.”

“And?” Harry said, his hands shaking slightly.

“And that affects me more than you being gay.” Ron said simply. Harry looked up at him and knew he had ‘what the fuck’ written all over his face.

“Ron, I just…” Harry started to try to explain himself.

“You’re my best friend. We’ve literally been through fire together. I’ve walked through hell and back with you. Who you want to screw changes nothing,” Ron said, taking another bite of his chicken. “Well, almost nothing.”

“What changes?” Harry asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.

“The strippers at your stag night.”
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