“Harry. Time to wake up.”
Harry stretched and stirred, slowly. Then he rolled over on the riverbank and held up a hand without looking at Lucius. Lucius took his hand and eased him into a sitting position. Harry still didn’t open his eyes, tilting his face towards the sunlight and enjoying the warmth that slid down his cheeks.
“Are you going to open your eyes and look at me?”
Harry carefully moved his face until he was looking in the direction of Lucius’s. Then he opened them, equally carefully. “Hello,” he breathed, stroking Lucius’s cheek and moving to trail his fingers through the strands of his long hair.
Lucius shook his head, although his eyes brimmed with amusement. “Harry.”
“You’re smiling again.”
“Yes,” Lucius said, and after all he didn’t tug Harry to his feet, away from the lush green grass of the riverbank and the chattering sound of the water next to them and the clusters of bobbing lilies along the bank, but lay down next to Harry. His smile softened and widened at the same time, and Harry searched, but couldn’t find a trace of the masks that he wore so often in his eyes. “I can’t help doing that around you.”
Harry leaned in and kissed Lucius on the lips, on his high cheekbones, on his eyelids that closed beneath him, vulnerable and utterly his. Harry didn’t kiss his hair, though. He just skimmed his lips through the air above it, but Lucius took a heavy breath and his eyes fluttered as though Harry had kissed it.
“Lucius,” said Harry, and tilted his head down, until his face was aimed almost at the ground.
“Yes? What do you want, love?” Lucius said the last word so softly that someone two feet away couldn’t have heard. There had been a time when Harry didn’t think he’d heard it, either, and had refrained from replying. He didn’t want to embarrass Lucius, didn’t want to ruin this delicate flower blossoming between them.
But now he knew he heard it, and he drew Lucius down on top of him, shivering at the sparking feeling of Lucius’s hair brushing against his shoulders and chest. Well, he was still naked, after all. It would probably have felt stranger not to get those flickers of sensation. “Make love to me.”
“This is still open country even though it’s one of my estates,” Lucius breathed. His hands were warm and soft on Harry’s arms, smoothing up and down as though he wanted to memorize the contours of Harry’s muscles. “Someone could come along. A wizard could Apparate here to illegally fish, and find us.”
“I don’t care.” Harry arched his neck and back, lazy as a song, and drew Lucius to him with the clasp of his naked legs. “Mount me.”
Lucius’s eyes dilated so fast that Harry got to watch most of their color disappear. Harry smiled lazily at him, and nodded. “You’re the one who keeps going on about country estates,” he said, a little whispery as Lucius flicked his wand and a charm made Harry’s arse slick. “So think about animals and mating and lust. Mount me.”
“Yes.” Lucius spoke the word in a voice as thick as his hair, and thrust into Harry with an ease that probably wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t still been open and ready from their lovemaking earlier that afternoon.
But he was, and he reached out to embrace Lucius with a ripple of appreciation. Lucius braced his elbows on the grass and moved above him, gaze locked on Harry’s face.
“You’re incredible,” Lucius said, and his voice was distant and soft and full of wonder. “And you chose me, of all people…it makes me wonder what I did in some past life to deserve you…”
Harry turned his head and closed his eyes. He felt the soft rustle of Lucius’s hair above him, unbound and sweeping across his cheek now. He felt the thrust of Lucius’s cock into him, and smiled.
It was strange, the way that Lucius always turned the conversation to him deserving Harry. As if Harry didn’t think he had done something marvelous in another life to make him deserve Lucius.
They shifted back and forth, joined and moving in the soft grass, with the soft chatter of the stream nearby, and when Lucius came within him, that was soft, too. Harry reached out and intertwined his fingers with Lucius’s, and felt them close down hard in the same moment as Lucius pulled back and used his free hand on Harry’s cock. Harry tossed his head back and closed his eyes the way he had when he was dozing in the sun.
He gave it up to Lucius with a shudder and a muffled cry, but he opened his eyes in time to surprise that smile on Lucius’s face.
That smile he had seen for the second time a year ago, when he’d seized all his courage and gone up to Lucius in Diagon Alley to ask him out.
“This is…unexpected, Mr. Potter.”
“I know that.” Harry kept his hands folded behind his back, toying with his wand, the better to Apparate out quickly if it turned out that Lucius wanted to refuse him. For now, he could present a calm, unruffled façade. “But I really like the way you look and the way you’ve improved since the war.” And the way you smile. “I want to go on a date with you.”
Lucius only looked at him as if he expected someone to spring out from behind Harry any second and start clicking a camera. Then he shook his head a little and said, “Is there a reason you asked me in the middle of Diagon Alley?”
“Technically it’s the middle of the Leaky Cauldron.”
“Nevertheless,” Lucius said, resting his hands on the table in front of him and leaning forwards a little, “the question stands.”
“It’s the only place that you seem to come with any regularity,” Harry said quietly, and met Lucius’s eyes, and managed to banish the uneasiness that raged in him and the desire to bubble over—with excitement or nervousness, he wasn’t sure which. “I don’t want to come to the Manor and intrude on your privacy there. But I think you come here for some social interaction you can limit if you want to, and you can always walk away from me if you want to. I hope you won’t, but it’s still your own decision. I respect your freedom too much to interfere with it.”
Lucius stared at him very hard. Harry stared back. He didn’t think Lucius knew Legilimency, but even if he did, there was nothing in Harry’s intentions that he would be ashamed for someone else to know about.
“You know that Narcissa divorced me because of the—strain our marriage was under during our year of house arrest.”
“Yes.” She’d been open about that to the papers.
“You know that I am currently a notorious Death Eater.”
“I have my own kind of notoriety.”
“Fame. Call it what it is, Mr. Potter.”
“All right, I will. But I’m no stranger to people staring at me and whispering, if that’s what you mean.”
“You will receive worse than stares and whispers, if you date a Death Eater.”
“I can put up with them.”
“You are prepared to put up even with the accusations of betrayal that you are not settling down with a nice young witch to raise a family?”
“I’m already dealing with that every day that I’m not dating a woman or actually producing kids. And if I was interested in women, I’d still get people saying that I married the wrong one—for her blood status, or her looks, or her ‘fitness’ to be matched to a man who’s a war hero, or something ridiculous.” Harry tilted his head and let a small smile curl his lips. “And I can’t hope but notice that none of your reasons are that you’re not attracted to me.”
“It would be absurd.” Lucius was studying him with narrowed eyes. Then he glanced around the Leaky Cauldron and shook his head a little. “And why is everyone only staring at this conversation instead of interjecting?”
“That would be the Silencing Charm I put up around us before I started talking to you. Well, Lucius? What about it?”
“It would be absurd.”
“Why? Because we’re both men, or because we were on opposite sides of the war, or because you’re older than me, or because you’re a Malfoy and I’m a Potter?”
“A—concise statement of the reasons that I was about to give, Mr. Potter.”
“The thing is, I don’t care about any of those.” Harry took a step towards the table. “Those are things that other people could care about. If you care about them, too, then I’ll go away and there’s no more to be said. But if you don’t…are you really going to let other people’s opinions stop you?”
Lucius looked at him with the piercing eyes of a hawk. Harry met them without trouble, though. He’d thought long and hard before he came here, and finally had to admit that none of those things did matter to him, not the way they would have when the war was still on. Lucius was the one who had to make the decision now.
“Courageous, Mr. Potter,” Lucius said at last. “You know that I might turn this into a public rejection even though you have taken precautions against it?”
“I know that.”
“And yet you came to me anyway. Was the chance to sleep with someone worth it?”
“You are worth it.”
Lucius reeled back without leaving his seat, his eyes widening. Harry went on bearing that wide gaze. It was possible that Lucius wasn’t attracted to him, he repeated again and again in his head. But if so, he hadn’t said it yet.
And then Lucius smiled.
Harry felt his heart thrill and soar. He’d caught a glimpse of that smile after the trials, when he’d stumbled across a Ministry corridor where Lucius had been standing and looking out a window and thought he was alone. And he’d wanted to see it again ever since.
Now he was.
“In that case,” Lucius said, “I would be honored, Mr. Potter.” He hesitated, and Harry wondered if he was about to add a condition, like what they would do if things didn’t work out, but he ended up saying only, “No. Harry.”
Harry reached forwards and grasped his hand, and then bent down to kiss Lucius’s knuckles. Lucius watched without moving away, but Harry also heard his breathing quicken.
Yes. This is what I want. This is what I am going to have.
He dissipated the Silencing Charm, and ignored the immediate shouts, questions, demands, and splutters. Instead, he put his arms around Lucius and murmured, “I have a more private spot in mind for our first date, if you’re willing.”
And Lucius, who had so much reason to distrust someone who’d fought on the opposite side of the war Apparating with him, only bowed his head a little and murmured, “Yes, Harry. Let’s go.”
Harry grinned and Apparated them home.
Harry let the memory go and wrapped his arms around Lucius’s neck. Lucius was kissing him lazily, with the motions that meant he would probably fall asleep in the middle of them. His voice had already trailed off, and the kisses were slower each second.
But his smile remained.
Harry stayed propped up on the bank of the river for a long time after, watching Lucius, and stroking his hair, and seeing how the smile seemed to widen over his face as the sun wheeled across the sky and gave them its light.