Part One. In Which Harry Gets the Short Straw
"Merlin's left ball." Pansy Parkinson's eyes widened. "What's he doing here?"
"Gracing our fine establishment, of course," Draco Malfoy replied, turning a page of the Daily Prophet. "Our ad looks good. We should give Thomas a raise. He makes even me want to fuck men. Whom exactly are you talking about, by the way?"
"The holy of all holies," Pansy said gleefully. "Potter himself. And Draco, I keep telling you – the reason you want to fuck men is because you're gay, not because of Dean Thomas's advertisements."
"You're not going to fool me. Potter would never show his face here," Draco said dismissively, turning another page. "Really, do you think I'm a Hufflepuff? And Pansy, dear, you needn't be a bitch simply because I don't feel like endowing you with the cream of the Malfoy loins any longer. I'm not gay."
"Yes, you are, Malfoy," Millicent Bulstrode said, poking her head in the office. "Have you seen who's in the front office?"
Pansy rubbed her hands together. "Milk him, Milly. Take that stupid Gryffindor for every cent he has."
"You mean Potter's really here?" Draco dropped the Prophet and elbowed his way to the nearest Security Ball. "Hmph. At least he cleans up well."
"Gay boy. Has he filled out the questionnaire?"
"He's working on it now." Millicent crossed her arms across her ample breasts. "I'll do a Kwikkopy Charm and send it on it as soon as he gives it back."
"I wonder why he's here? I mean, really? Do you think it could be something to do with the Ministry?" Pansy frowned. "I've heard he's supposed to be some hot-shot Auror these days."
"You have to be the most paranoid person I know," Draco said admiringly. "You're right. Even if Potter were gay, he's so vanilla that Whispers would be the sort of place that he'd raid with his eyes closed. So why is he here?"
Gregory Goyle wandered in and took an apple from the bowl of fruit sitting on the table behind them. "He's here to fuck men."
"And how do you know that?" Pansy demanded.
"Weasley told me," Goyle said through a mouthful of apple as he bent to look at Draco's Security Ball.
"The Weasel? Since when are you on speaking terms with him?"
"Not him. Her. The girl one."
"Her?" Pansy sounded derisive. "And how did that come about?"
Goyle stuffed the rest of the apple in his mouth. "She was at the Leaky Cauldron. She says he dreams about fucking some guy." Small bits of apple flew out of his mouth as he spoke.
"Did they break up?" Pansy demanded.
"Dunno. Is there any cream cake left?"
"Draco ate the last of it."
"Fuck the broom you rode in on, Parkinson."
"What's going on here?"
The hoarse whisper caught all four by surprise.
"Sweet Merlin, sir, we didn't expect you back from the continent so early!" Draco smiled. "It's good to see you back. Any problems?"
"None," the man whispered. His dark eyes fastened on the Security Ball next to Pansy. "Is that Potter?"
"The one and only. He wants to join the club."
The man frowned. "Draco, use your Ministry contacts to determine just exactly what Potter is doing at Whispers."
Draco and Pansy looked at each other and grinned. "Yes, sir," Draco said.
"He's finished," Millicent announced. "I'm going down, now."
As she left, Draco shuddered. "Millicent going down. I need to get that vision out of my head. Pansy, break out the champagne. We've got a Gryffindor to fleece."
Harry still didn't know how Seamus had managed to rig the pool, but as soon as he found out, he was going to string the bastard up by the balls, preferably while Millicent Bulstrode grilled him about his non-existent gay sex life.
Not that his revenge fantasies were much help to him at the moment. In fact, the only fantasies that were playing in his mind right now were the ones based on that damned memory of Snape's.
A red cock, so hard it twitched …
"Have you had same-sex sexual relations before?" Bulstrode asked.
Harry knew that he'd turned seven shades of red. "Um, no."
… long fingers slick with lubricant, probing, stretching …
"Have you ever experienced an erection in reaction to an attractive man before?"
"Er, not that I can remember."
… rhythmic grunts, the slap of skin on skin, the flex of muscles …
"Are you sexually frustrated? Curious about man bits? Fulfilling the terms of a bet?"
... the ecstatic grimace of a face frozen in climax, surrounded by lank, black hair and dominated by a beaked nose.
Bulstrode wore glasses, seemingly for the purpose of looking stern and disapproving. Harry could have told her that she didn't need them. "Then why are you suddenly applying for membership of an exclusive gay sex club?"
Because the Ministry of Magic thinks you're laundering money for an Italian wizarding syndicate and Seamus Bloody Finnigan managed to get the long straw when the undercover assignments were drawn, Harry thought to himself. He sighed. Maybe it was lucky that Ginny had blown up at him when she had – it made a convenient cover story, especially since for the life of him, he hadn't been able to make one up. And he sure as hell wasn't going to use one of the crazy stories that his colleagues had volunteered between bouts of hysterical laughter. "Er, well, mygrlfrndthnximgay."
Harry carefully studied the ceiling. "My girlfriend thinks I'm gay. I'm trying to prove to her that I'm not."
"By joining a gay sex club?"
He squirmed in his chair. "She thinks I need to prove how much I love her. If I join the club but don't have se–" he paused, horrified, and corrected himself, "don't meet anyone, she'll believe me."
"Weasley's a fool," snorted Bulstrode.
He glared at her. "She's mistaken, that's all. She thinks I spend too much time with my –," he paused, "my male colleagues."
"So you've come to Whispers because your girlfriend is jealous of your job?"
"Um, sort of. Yeah. I guess."
Bulstrode sat back in her chair. "I was wrong, Potter. Weasley isn't a fool, you are."
"Look, can I get a membership or not?"
"It's your money," Bulstrode said. "If you want to spend it in order to stand around being sexually frustrated and harassed, who am I to stop you? Annual fees are 300 Galleons, or you can purchase a monthly pass for thirty Galleons. That's for the use of the facilities, including dancing, sauna, pool, Quidditch pitch, Jacuzzis, and fully stocked bedrooms. Bondage and sadomasochism services are available a la carte and cost extra. All prices include a thirty percent gratuity in addition to the usual Very Affluent Tax. We don't offer sub/dom services since so many of our members are already experienced in those areas and are eager to share their knowledge. On the first Monday and the second Thursday of every month we offer gratis colour palette classes, a "Love Your Leathers" support group or corset fittings, your choice. The restaurant has a daily set menu and the bar serves watered drinks."
"A month's pass, please," Harry said, trying to recover his dignity.
"An annual membership gives you a card good for one free drink."
"Right, then. You're in luck. There's a new member orientation scheduled for Saturday. Be here by nine a.m."
"Um, yeah. Thanks." Harry couldn't escape quickly enough.
Yeah. Finnigan would get his.
On the bright side, he thought to himself, Ginny will finally see that those dreams about Snape's memory don't mean a thing.
Not a thing.
Harry straightened his tie and looked at himself in the mirror.
The blond wizard conducting the orientation earlier in the day had mentioned that Muggle attire was the height of Whispers fashion, so Harry had burrowed into the back of his wardrobe and pulled out his all-purpose black suit and white dress shirt. It wasn't the height of fashion, but he was sure that it wouldn't look too out of place: Kreacher continuously lamented the suit's Muggle origin, but kept it pristine.
A gay club. He'd spent a very uncomfortable half hour researching 'sub/dom', 'bondage' and 'sadomasochism'. He'd nearly handed in his resignation on the spot.
But the Ministry's investigation was important. They needed to find the money trail for the drug racket that seemed to be taking over the continent. The Ministero Italiano di Magia had been nearly frantic in its insistence that the money was going somewhere in wizarding Britain, probably London or Hogsmeade.
Besides, there was that damned memory.
One would think that a dying man passing on vital information needed to end a war would be more focused than to include memories of a tryst with a male prostitute in amongst said vital information.
Yet that was exactly what Snape had done, the bastard. A courageous bastard, of course, but a bastard nonetheless. Harry still felt guilty that nobody had found Snape's body. He suspected that someone had used the opportunity to take revenge, and that Snape's body had been transfigured into some innocuous object, taken from the scene and destroyed.
He regretted it now. Harry silently wished that Snape, wherever he was, rested in peace.
He owed quite a few debts to Snape; not just life debts, he reflected wryly. The memory of Snape's sexual activities had been surprisingly useful. Ginny's shrill demands could be a bit off-putting at times, and he'd occasionally needed a boost to keep 'Little Harry' interested. According to Hermione it was perfectly normal to respond enthusiastically to the memory of hot, sweaty, male bodies in the throes of orgasm, cocks spurting. She called it 'projection'. Harry remembered when she'd badgered Ron to 'project' when she wanted him to ask for a rise from George, and Harry reckoned that what worked for one rise request should work for another.
The memory of Snape's thin hips pumping, his big red cock thrusting, flashed through Harry's mind. His cock hardened immediately.
Perfectly normal. Really.
After adjusting his tie once more, Harry picked up his cloak, checked to make sure his wand was in its holster, and Disapparated.
Goyle stood by the door, dressed in black and looking extremely intimidating.
"Potter," he said politely, inclining his head. It was a strangely elegant gesture to see from someone whom Harry remembered as being ungainly, huge and a bully. It reminded him of someone; Malfoy probably, though that didn't seem quite right.
"Er, hi," Harry replied.
They stared at each other. Harry wasn't sure what he was supposed to do.
"You can go inside, you know," Goyle finally said.
Harry glanced at the door. "Er, right then. Right. I'll just … go inside."
Taking a deep breath, he walked through the door.
Whispers looked strikingly different than it had that morning when he'd gone through the orientation.
Then the club's foyer had been elegant but businesslike, as impersonal as a hotel lobby, with black marble floors, a striking copper wall fountain spanning the width of the sitting area, groups of chairs scattered through the space and dozens of tasteful arrangements of plantings and flowers.
Tonight it reeked of sophisticated purpose. Candles floated in niches behind the sheets of water flowing down the copper wall, golden light fractured by the water's fall. A movement by his feet startled him; he looked down and realized the black marble was transparent, and exotic fish swam in dark waters beneath his feet. He looked up to see that the ceiling was charmed to magnify the night-time sky. The stars seemed close enough to touch. Real fairies flew amongst the plants while the soft sound of voices barely heard soothed and caressed.
And everywhere there were men wearing masks.
"Hi, Harry! Welcome to Whispers!" A flashbulb went off in his face.
Blinking, Harry turned. "Dennis? Dennis Creevey? Did you just take a picture of me?"
Dennis smiled with delight. "You remember me? That's so cool! We take everyone's picture, for the club records, you know. I use Colin's camera. I think he'd like that. It's really great to see you, Harry," he added, his voice breathless. "May I take your cloak?" Before Harry could reply, Dennis had slipped warm hands over his shoulders and relieved him of it. He draped it over his arm and reached for Harry's hand. "Follow me. You've got to get a mask."
"Yeah. All the members have to have one." He led Harry to the waterfall. "Reach in," he said.
"Er … "
"Just reach in," Dennis said. He leaned close and whispered. "It's like a wand, you know. The wizard doesn't choose the mask, the mask chooses you."
Harry eyed the water with misgiving. "What do you mean, the mask chooses me?"
"It's designed to express your inner sexuality," Dennis said.
Harry looked up in alarm. "Huh?"
Dennis looked at him with frank appreciation. "I can't wait to see what mask you get! I bet it's a Lion! Or maybe an Oak Tree. You can always tell what kind of sex a man likes by the mask he wears. I hope you don't get a Cobra or a Venus Flytrap – not that there's anything wrong with S and M, of course," he added hastily.
"Sorry," Harry said, though he had no idea what he was apologizing for. He eyed the water apprehensively – the last thing he wanted was to have a mask for sadomasochism leap out and choose him.
Finnigan was dead. Dead. Slowly, in stages.
Taking a deep breath, Harry plunged his hand into the water.
It ran cool over his skin. His fingers brushed against something smooth and hard; it slipped away before he could grasp it. He reached further in, but it seemed as if the deeper he went, the colder the water became. Then something warm bumped into him. He closed his fingers around the shape and pulled it out.
A golden mask was clutched in his fist. His heart sank.
"Oh wow," Dennis breathed. "The Sun."
"The what?" Harry said, eyeing the mask in dismay.
"The Sun! The Sun mask! Everyone wants it. Oh, Harry, that is so cool! They'll all be so jealous! You'll have men flocking to you! Not that they wouldn't anyway – you know, I wish I'd known you were gay a long time ago," Dennis said, his excitement turning to wistfulness.
"I'll put it back," Harry said. "Here. The whole thing is a bad idea, I don't think this is really going to work –"
"You can't put it back!" Dennis's eyes were huge. "The story –"
"What story?" Harry asked.
"Nothing more than a clever marketing ploy," a familiar voice drawled from behind him. "Everyone wants The Sun, but until now, nobody got it. Figures it would be you, Potter. Now we'll have to think of something else."
"Malfoy," Harry said, relieved, and turned with a frown. "You're one of the owners of this club, aren't you? Look, I'm not going to be made into some kind of a walking advertisement for, for sex," he said gamely. "Here. Take it back. I'll pick something else."
"Hard to return something that only works for you," Malfoy said. "It would be like returning a wand. No, I'm afraid you're going to have to embrace your inner gayness – quite a feat for your woefully limited imagination, I would think. I pity The Moon. And as for marketing, I imagine this will be all over the Prophet in the morning. 'Harry Potter, the Chosen Queer.'" He smirked and slipped away before Harry could form a retort.
Harry turned back to Dennis. "What's this about The Moon?"
"It's really romantic," Dennis said eagerly. "The Moon was the first mask made, but it disappeared before it could be added to the waterfall. Nobody knows who The Moon is, but rumour has it that The Moon will be revealed by The Sun." His eyes were full of the same kind of dumbstruck awe that had made Harry wince when he was younger. It was twice as bad now. Harry smiled weakly as his mind raced.
Even Trelawney would cringe at such an obvious marketing ploy. Harry wasn't sure how Malfoy had managed it, but somehow he'd arranged for Harry to get this stupid Sun mask.
So much for working undercover. He had no doubt that rumours would fly through the club and within the hour, everyone would know that Harry Potter was the person wearing the big gold mask. His job was well and truly fucked.
"Thanks a lot, er, Dennis. But I think this was all a bad idea. Here," he said, holding out the mask. "I'm sure that you can still use this."
"But you can't leave!" Dennis said. "Not now! Not when you just got here."
Harry shook his head and mustered a polite smile. "It was nice seeing you again." He handed the mask to Dennis, grabbed his cloak and nearly bolted across the dark marble and the swimming fish in his race to leave the club.
Dawlish should have known better. The Head Auror would kill Harry if he came back without infiltrating the club, but he'd just have to get another victim to play at being gay.
He paused to allow several men dressed in bright robes to pass him.
"The great Harry Potter," a voice whispered from behind him. "Running like a coward."
Harry jumped and whirled, wand drawn.
A man stood there, dressed in elegant black robes, his face shining white and pure as steel. It had to be one of the damned masks; Harry couldn't see the man's face, though he had an impression of hard, dark eyes that seemed to strip him bare. He shivered. "Who are you?"
"The Moon," the man whispered.
Harry lowered his wand, unaccountably disappointed. "Malfoy sent you didn't he? Well, he can just fuck off. I'm not going to be any kind of a marketing ploy."
"The magic of the masks doesn't work like that," the man said. His whisper rippled in his chest, almost a voice but elusive and sly as a Snitch. "We're fated to find each other."
Harry put away his wand and studied the man. In addition to the glow of the mask, long white hair bound in a ribbon cascaded down his back, a stark contrast to the man’s clothing which was as black as a starless night. He seemed relaxed, but Harry could sense an underlying tension, a sort of wariness that spoke of experience and caution. The man radiated power and sex. Under other circumstances …
Harry dismissed the thought before it could fully form and concentrated on the man's possible identity.
Draco Malfoy? The timing was right but the presence wasn't – Harry doubted that Draco would ever radiate anything but his annoyingly high maintenance personality. Lucius Malfoy? No. He was still on the run; rumour said that he was in Europe, hiding in some well-prepared bolthole. He wouldn’t be foolish enough to show his face in London. Yet something teased at Harry's memory. "Do I know you?"
The man moved closer. "Not yet. But you will."
"Nice try, whoever you are," Harry said. The entire situation was idiotic. This was no covert criminal, this was a man who was intent on using him to market Whispers. "Not interested. Good-bye."
He turned and started to walk away. Before he could take two steps, he was yanked back against a hard body.
"How far will you run, Potter?" The whisper brushed his ear. His heart beat faster.
"I'm not running so much as you're chasing," he said. The man's hands dug into his hips. He should be furious, but instead, his knees felt weak. He found himself wanting to press harder into the other man's body.
"You're running. But I can wait," the whisper mocked. Lips moved against his neck. "I'll know you as the coward you are unless you decide to return."
Harry shivered and jerked away. "Tell Malfoy I'm not interested," he said.
"I don't remember offering you Malfoy," the man said, sounding amused.
"You haven't offered me anything except aggravation," Harry said. "And a cheesy pick-up line."
"You keep telling yourself that," the man said. "But the next time you touch yourself, you'll think of me."
"I can't go back there!"
Dawlish threw the Daily Prophet on the desk. "You're in. That's all that matters."
"The Prophet will be stalking me the entire time I'm there," Harry said, running his fingers through hair that already nearly stood on end. "How can I get any work done?" He avoided looking at the front page, where he knew his photograph stared back, looking panicked. 'Potter Prefers Playboys!' the headline proclaimed.
"You'll figure something out," Dawlish said. He sat in his chair and put his feet up on the desk. "Now, what have you learned so far?"
"Not much," Harry said. He slumped into a chair in front of Dawlish's desk. "I think you're overestimating what I'll be able to do there with all the publicity. Can't you put me somewhere else? There are a couple of places in Hogsmeade. How about the London docks? Or better yet, take Finnigan off of Fortescue's and put him on Whispers."
"Finnigan stays where he is and so do you. Just do your job. Now, who did you see?"
Harry sighed. "Malfoy was there –"
"The young one? Any sign of Lucius?"
"Draco for sure. There was a man wearing a mask – I don't think he was Lucius, but he had long white hair like a Malfoy." He shook his head. "But I can't believe that Lucius would be that stupid."
"You never know," Dawlish said. "Maybe he counted on you to think that. Who else do you know with long white hair?"
"Nobody. But it could be a glamour."
"Why would he need a glamour if he was wearing a mask?" Dawlish asked. "No, scratch that, better safe than sorry, I suppose. Would you recognise him again if you saw him?"
"Maybe." Harry glared at the paper on the desk.
Uncharacteristically quick, Dawlish snorted with laughter. "You don't mean to say –"
Harry shot him a disgusted look. "Yeah. He was the one the paper was talking about."
"Even better." Dawlish took his feet off the desk, leaned forward and looked Harry in the eye. "He was right there, Potter. They planned for you, they anticipated your reaction and he was there. He's in the middle of it. Cultivate him."
The memory of The Moon's hard body against his made him flush. Harry looked away. "You mean have sex with him."
"If need be. We all have to be prepared to use whatever tools are available to catch Dark wizards and witches. You know what your problem is?" Harry looked up as Dawlish continued. "You confuse sex with emotion. They're not the same. As long as you get the information we need, that's what really counts. Take a few Watch-ems and set them around the place, get into the offices, read the records, see who else you can identify." Dawlish sat back and waved his hand dismissively. "And for Merlin's sake, Potter, enjoy yourself. You've got a plum assignment."
Harry glared at Dawlish, then stood and left the office.
Sex with The Moon.
Harry shivered again, Snape's memory fresh in his mind.
Once again dressed in his all-purpose suit, Harry was greeted at Whispers with open arms – Dennis's, to be exact.
"Harry! I'm so happy that you came back! I've got your mask right here for you!" Dennis hugged Harry enthusiastically. "Everyone is so excited!"
"Er, thanks." Harry yelped. "Watch it!"
Dennis winked and gave Harry's arse one last squeeze before he reluctantly released him. "You're going to be very popular, you know."
Harry stared at him, his face fiery red.
Not seeming to notice, Dennis prattled on. "I'll take you to a room where you can change, I'm sure you want to get out of your work clothes. There's a shower, too, and all sorts of great potions for you to put on your body –"
"I don't need to change," blurted Harry.
Dennis looked at him critically. "It gets pretty warm, you know. The less you're wearing, the better. Makes things quicker, too." He winked.
Harry could feel his face burn. "Er, I'll just keep my jacket on, thanks anyway."
"Sure thing, Harry," Dennis said. "Let me know if you change your mind. If you don't need to change, then all you need to do is put on your mask and you're set."
Harry took the mask and studied it. He'd remembered that it was golden, but he hadn't realised just how beautiful it was. Molten fire seemed to flow over its surface in seductive patterns, though it stayed cool to the touch.
He'd feel a right idiot wearing it.
"Go on, put it on. You can't go into the main area without your mask. It's a rule. Only employees have bare faces in there. You'll look great!"
After a quick glance at Dennis, Harry hesitantly put the mask to his face. As it touched his skin, he felt a tingle of magic and then nothing, as if the mask had disappeared. He heard Dennis gasp.
Harry looked around for a mirror, but there were none to be seen. He looked down at the floor and saw his face reflected back at him, familiar as everyday yet completely foreign, golden and flaming and ridiculously handsome. "That's not me," he said. A fish swam through his reflected mouth as if his words had taken form.
"That's you," Dennis said. "Wow."
Harry took the mask off. The glow faded immediately, leaving behind a reflection of his face wreathed in disbelief. "Wow," he echoed softly. He put the mask back on. Amazing. He still looked like himself, but – sexy. Really, really sexy.
He felt a rush of unfamiliar confidence and excitement. "Dennis, what does the mask do exactly?"
"It just shows who you are, the inner you, the lover you can be," Dennis said. "You know, like the brochure says. It's different for every man – some men look really different and some look sort of like themselves. You look like you."
Like the brochure. For the first time, Harry thought it just might be possible for him to pull off his assignment. The mask had the magic to disguise him. Well, not exactly disguise him, since everyone would still know that he was Harry Potter. But the mask had obviously done something to him to make him look so desirable – it was like wearing a costume. With the mask on, he almost felt like he could really pull a bloke if he wanted to. He felt his cock stir at the thought.
And it wouldn't be as if it would really mean anything. Dawlish was right, sex was sex. It was the mask making him so attractive, after all. He could just take it off and go back to being Harry again if he didn't like it.
Feeling a lot more confident, he smiled at Dennis. A second later, he was on his knees beside Dennis's prone body. "You okay?" he asked anxiously. "You must have slipped or something."
"Yeah, I'm okay," Dennis murmured happily. "Smile at me again, okay?"
Harry's eyebrows raised, then he tried another experimental smile.
The breeze of a dozen sighs broke across the room. Harry looked around to see men crowded around him, staring at him with bemused looks of lust stamped across their faces.
He decided he liked that look and grinned widely. There were one or two more thuds from the crowd as the rest smiled back.
He stood. Trailing a string of men behind him, Harry Potter entered the inner sanctum of Whispers.
Part Two. In Which Harry Investigates Further and Discovers the Joys of Man Sex
Half an hour's cruising later, Harry realised that being The Sun had some serious limitations.
On the practical side of his dilemma, he'd found it to impossible to plant his Watch-ems. All five were still in his suit pockets, waiting for the moment when he could slip away from his admirers and plant them in strategic locations throughout the club's administrative offices.
Less practically, his sexual frustration was growing. Men surrounded him in various stages of undress: tall, short – oh god was that Justin Finch-Fletchley over there? – red-haired, dark-haired, bald, fat, muscle-bound. He'd never really considered all of the shapes and sizes of the male body.
Yet even though half a dozen drinks were lined up for him when he reached the bar, no man would touch him. He tried to flirt, but either he was doing it completely wrong or men didn't respond to flirting the way that Ginny had. He could swear that he saw lust burning in many eyes, though it was a bit hard to tell, what with all the birds, plants and animals that masked the faces around him. There seemed to be an awful lot of Snakes and Spiders, he realised at one point, but even they gave him a wide berth and merely lurked in the shadows around him.
Hell, he was so worked up he'd fuck a Frog if one came on to him.
Harry downed the drinks in rapid succession, but only felt a pleasant buzz. Bulstrode had been right; the drinks were heavily watered. Eventually his bladder sent warning signals to his frustrated cock and he began to look for a loo.
He entered a bathroom to see a Daffodil, a Rose and two Irises standing in front of the urinals, with what seemed to be a swarm of Bees kneeling at their feet, busily sucking the flowers' cocks with hums of pleasure.
"Sorry," he said. "I'll just –" he waved vaguely at the stalls.
Flowers and Bees alike paused and gaped, hard, wet cocks bobbing in approval.
"Right," he said and barricaded himself in a stall.
After a few moments of silence, the happy humming began again. Harry relaxed and took careful aim. He counted backwards from a hundred until his cock softened enough to let his bladder empty. Finished, he shook off the last drops and contemplated his situation.
It should be more promising than it seemed. Not ten feet from him, men were having sex. It looked like good sex, too, he thought wistfully. Ginny hated sucking his cock and always took her mouth off him before he climaxed. Judging from the sounds outside his stall door, there seemed to be a lot more groaning and swallowing sounds than he'd ever heard in his bedroom.
Of course I'm just here to do a job, he thought suddenly, feeling somewhat embarrassed. He still hadn't planted a single Watch-em.
What good was being The Sun if he couldn't get lai– do his job?
Harry hung out in the stall until it sounded like the last of the men had left the room. The smell of sex hung heavy in the air. His cock resumed its salute and Harry groaned. His dress trousers weren't especially tight, but tonight they felt like they were strangling him. He adjusted himself and peeked out the door.
Nobody was around. Aching but determined – this might be his chance to plant the Watch-ems at least – he slipped out of the loo.
Strong hands pulled him into the shadows. Blinking, he found himself face to face with The Moon.
"What are you doing here?" Harry asked.
"Licking you," The Moon said, and proceeded to run his tongue up Harry's throat and across his lips. Harry gasped, his mouth automatically opening for a kiss, but The Moon pulled away.
"You taste of innocence," the whisper mocked.
Harry yanked The Moon closer and snarled. "Lick me again and see how innocent I am."
The Moon smirked. "I think not. You need to learn patience." He brushed against Harry's cock but drew away when Harry thrust his hips forward. "You've always had difficulty with that particular attribute."
"Never needed it," Harry said. He surged forward, pinning The Moon to the wall.
"So impatient," The Moon whispered. He sounded amused.
"You put them up to it," Harry said. "All those men, but no one touching me. You told them to do that."
"I told them nothing." The Moon's eyes glittered. "They already knew."
"Knew what?" Harry suddenly found himself whirled and pinned to the wall by The Moon's hard body. He grunted in frustration.
"That you're mine," The Moon said.
A blaze of angry lust filled Harry. "You think you can claim me?"
"You returned. That's answer enough."
"Try me," Harry growled as he tried to worm his hand between their bodies.
"I will," The Moon said. Harry gasped as he felt a hand at his crotch and heard the snick of his trouser zipper being lowered. A heartbeat later, his cock surged into the warm palm presented to him. He hissed as he was drawn out, the scraping bite of the zipper against his hot flesh unexpectedly exciting.
"Follow me," The Moon said, grabbing Harry by the cock.
Waddling awkwardly, Harry found himself being led to a darkened room, his cock clasped firmly in The Moon's grip. He was released and pushed backward without warning across a soft surface – a bed, he recognised a moment before his legs were lifted and his trousers and pants yanked down to his ankles.
"Nice suit." The Moon's hand wrapped around Harry's cock again and began milking it.
"Thanks," Harry said, his breath catching.
"Woefully out of fashion, of course, and inappropriate to a club such as this one."
"Erk," Harry replied, his hips thrusting up.
"Let me relieve you of it," The Moon whispered and yanked Harry's shirt open, buttons flying.
"Don't be silly, I didn't hurt you."
Harry gurgled in agreement as a hot mouth fastened on his left nipple. He squirmed, trying to rub his aching cock on The Moon's leg, but he found that he was pinned in place by skilful hands and strategically placed elbows, knees and hips.
"Touch me," he begged.
"I am." Cool breath flowed over his wet nipple. "In many places."
"Touch my cock."
Harry surged upward. "Yes!" A moment later the delightful pressure disappeared.
"I touched it."
"Yes," The Moon agreed and kissed him. The kiss was deep and wet and full of tongue and accompanied by the rasp of the man's whiskers against his face. Harry couldn't remember a more arousing play of lips on his. A subtle shifting of The Moon's hips made Harry instinctively open his legs. The Moon settled between them, and Harry groaned as he felt the hard shape of The Moon's clothed cock press against his bare member.
He reluctantly tore his mouth away. "I want to touch you."
The Moon snorted. "You're not ready, yet." He ducked his head to suck at Harry's neck, Harry turning his head to give him greatest access.
"Yeah, there, no, yeessss – I'm ready," he gasped.
"Have you touched another man's penis before?"
"Well, no, but –"
" – you know what you like," The Moon finished for him.
The Moon sat up, straddling Harry. Though Harry couldn't see his face behind the mask, he had the impression that the other man was laughing at him. He slid backwards, sitting on Harry's thighs.
"Do you like this?"
His hand once again closed around Harry's cock and began to pump it with a lazy twist of the wrist.
"Um, yeah." Harry swallowed. "Yeah, that's good."
"How about this?" A thumb swiped across his slit.
"Erk!" Harry jumped. "Passable."
"And this?" His foreskin was pulled over the head of his cock and pinched.
"Agh!" Harry panted hard. "S'okay."
The Moon leaned forward and pinched his nipple. Harry arched off the bed.
"Do that again!" he begged.
A finger slid under his foreskin and circled the head of his cock while his nipple received more sublime abuse. A wet tongue slipped into his navel. The stimulation had Harry writhing as much as he could with The Moon's weight on his legs.
"Keep on – augh! Yes, yes, yes right there – gah! More, damn you!"
"Look at me."
Harry opened eyes he didn't remember closing and met The Moon's dark gaze.
"I want to hear you," The Moon whispered.
At the sound of The Moon's voice, a fire ignited inside Harry. It flew swiftly from his feet to his torso and exploded out of his cock.
He grabbed The Moon's shoulders and hung on desperately as he jerked again and again, shooting come all over The Moon's dark form, his hips pumping into the other man's hand.
Finally he collapsed, breathing heavily and struggling to keep his eyes open. "So good."
"That's only the beginning," The Moon whispered. He rose with fluid grace. "You'll be ready when you can reduce me to the same state I've left you in." He turned to leave.
"Wait!" Harry struggled to sit up. "I want –"
"We all want," The Moon said. "That doesn't mean we receive." He left.
Harry stared at the closed door, his mind working furiously. He needed more experience. Immediately.
Snape's memory had worked with Ginny. Maybe it would work for The Moon, too. He dressed, eager to return home so he could examine the memory in more detail.
He never noticed that he'd dropped a Watch-em, much less that it had rolled into a strategic corner of the room hidden beneath a chair.
And even less that its spell had been activated.
"He took the bait!" Draco said ecstatically.
"We were supposed to get Shacklebolt," the white-haired man whispered. "We knew he was gay. Potter was never in the plan."
"You managed well enough," Draco said. "Potter's even better. I envy you – who wouldn't want to fuck the Idiot Who Saved Our Collective Arses? Your idea about the masks was brilliant, sir."
"As soon as I get my official pardon, this charade is over," the man said. "What have your Ministry contacts said about Potter's presence here?"
"Not much." Draco looked mildly concerned. "Just that there's some sort of sting being planned by the Auror Department."
"Keep trying. We need to know for sure."
"You couldn't do better than to tie yourself to Potter, sir," Pansy said. "He's a bleeding heart." She wrinkled her nose. "Plus, you'll be able to ditch him as soon as you've got what you need and he won't make a fuss. Too much publicity."
"The only saving factor in this farce." The white-haired man sighed. "Europe is in an uproar. It's no longer safe there."
"Perhaps you can move to America after this," Draco said slyly.
"Merlin forbid!" The man shivered. "A fate truly worse than death. No, I'll stay here and be damned. It won't matter so long as I'm free. We've got a good income from the club."
Pansy looked up from the Prophet that she was reading. "And thanks to all the publicity about Potter pulling The Sun mask, we're well set for an expansion. We can barely keep up with all of the new applications."
"You had something in mind?"
"Actually, yes I do, sir. A travel agency might be nice, don't you think? We could arrange gay excursions, complete with hosts."
"Great idea, Pansy," Draco said. "Members would get a discount, but we could open a certain number of seats to the public at a higher price."
"Blaise Zabini might be willing to take it on," Pansy said. "And while we're at it we could have him sell special club passes to the Slytherins from our Hogwarts year. They'd pay good money to watch you destroy Potter, sir."
"If I find that you use any kind of surveillance spells while I'm seducing Potter, I'll personally eviscerate you and mind-wipe any idiot stupid enough to take you up on the offer," the man whispered menacingly.
Draco and Pansy glanced at each other. "Of course, sir," Draco said.
The man stared at them from narrowed eyes. "Don't mess this up, Draco."
Looking contrite, Draco shook his head. "It means too much to all of us, sir. We won't let you down."
"See that you don't," the man said. He left the office.
Pansy leaned forward. "The articles have been brilliant. Money is pouring in. But I'm worried about what will happen to him after they find out his identity."
"He's safe," Draco said, waving his hand dismissively. "He wouldn't do it otherwise. He woos Potter, he and Potter have a torrid affair, he dumps Potter. We play up the romance while it lasts and make lots of money. Potter hates publicity so the break-up gets buried away, the public loses interest and then he slips back into society, blackmailing Potter as needed to re-establish his standing in wizarding Britain. Or at least, if he's smart that's what he'll do."
"He's got a thing for Potter, you know," Pansy said.
"And he's got a head on his shoulders. He'll do the right thing. You know," he said musingly, "tapes of him and Potter having sex would make us a fortune."
"Draco, he'd kill us," Pansy said.
"Then we'll just have to be careful, won't we?" He winked.
Pansy smiled. Then she frowned. "'Who wouldn't want to fuck the Idiot Who Saved Our Arses?'" she repeated. "And you still say you're not gay?"
She ducked Draco's Jelly-Legs Jinx and exited the room, laughing.
Seamus Finnigan's eyebrows threatened to fly off the top of his face.
"Holy Mary Mother of God," he said, watching the antics of the two men reflected in the Watch-em spell. He tilted his head. Yeah. It was Potter, all right. But a Potter transformed into sex personified.
"Hey, Broomer, Abbott, c'mere! Ya gotta see this!"
By shift's end, the entire squad was taking bets on whether Harry or The Moon would top first.
The odds weren't in Harry's favour.
… a hard cock pounding into a tight arse, the slap of heavy balls against skin, grunts and moans and a silver man above him, shining and oh fucking Merlin it was Harry's arse and the Moon groaned and pushed in hard, his face changing. "Harry," Snape moaned…
Harry awoke to wet sheets and an astounding lack of morning-after regrets. He had had sex with a man and then dreamed about it to the point of ejaculating all over his bed. He couldn't remember the last time he'd done that. The Moon, Lucius Malfoy, a stranger, Snape – it didn't matter in his dreams, obviously. The Moon could be anyone that Harry wanted him to be.
Then why did he dream of The Moon turning into Snape?
"It must be the memory," he whispered to himself. It made sense. His first stirring of interest in other men had started with Snape's memory. On top of that, he thought The Moon might be about Snape's age – well, Snape's age if he'd still been alive. Though Harry hadn't ever seen The Moon's face he had seen his body to some extent. While in shape, Harry suspected that the man was quite a bit older, especially with his air of competent experience.
Not that it mattered, of course. The Moon was gorgeous, all silver and shadows and what had felt like a big, thick cock –
Harry's eyes widened. Holy fuck.
He was gay.
He sank back into his pillow and contemplated the ceiling of his bedroom. "I'm gay," he said experimentally. "I like fucking men."
Well, that wasn't quite accurate, since he hadn't actually fucked a man, but he imagined that when he did, it would be quite nice. Still, in the interest of accuracy, he said, "I think I'll like fucking men. I know I like being wanked by one." Yes, that was better.
He jumped as someone started pounding on his front door. Getting out of bed, he put on a robe and went downstairs to answer it.
Ginny stood on his front step. "You BASTARD!" she shrieked.
The next thing Harry knew, he was lying on his back with an aching jaw and watching Ginny storm away. He sat up and looked at the copy of the Daily Prophet that she'd thrown on his chest.
'Harry Potter In Gay Tryst! (pictures on pages seven, nine and fourteen through twenty-five)'
With a sinking heart, he opened the paper.
The photographer had obviously been at the club the entire evening. Whoever it was had captured Harry with his crowd of admirers during the early part of the evening; most of the pictures were of him. Blushing at his blatantly sexual poses, he turned back to page seven and the single photo of The Moon.
The Moon shot him a wicked look from the page. Dark eyes flashed, taunting him.
"I'll get you yet," Harry told the picture. The Moon seemed to smirk and turned away, offering a profile that glowed too brightly for detail. His white hair was pulled back and tied with a black ribbon. Harry shivered as he remembered the feel of that hair brushing against his chest.
Muttering a healing spell for his bruised jaw, Harry stood. He was confused – something was wrong with him. He should be upset. Ginny was obviously furious. His sex life was splashed all over the Prophet. He hadn't planted any Watch-ems, or found out anything useful about how Whispers might be used for Galleon laundering, so he was due for a bollocking from Dawlish.
Yet when he went back inside to take a shower and get ready for work, he found himself looking forward to his next visit to Whispers.
"Where, pray tell, did these photographs come from? I thought our security was tighter than this."
Draco shook his head. "I'm not sure, sir. I'll have someone check it out."
"The Moon and The Sun turned out surprisingly well," Millicent observed. "I know that you don't like it, sir, but we can use this to our advantage. I'll get Thomas working on a new set of ads. Appeal to the romantic, I think." She wandered out, muttering about candles and mood lighting.
"I'm not romancing him," the white-haired man whispered. "I'm fucking him. There's a difference."
"Maybe Rita Skeeter is up to her old tricks." Draco smirked.
"If so, make sure you pump her for information. Your Ministry contacts have been worse than useless." The Moon whirled and stalked out of the office.
Pansy watched the older man leave. When she was sure he was out of earshot, she turned to Draco. "Thank Merlin he didn't notice that the photos were all taken from our security system."
"Even if he did, we'd find a way to explain it," Draco said. "How much are we getting from Wizards Wanking Wandsfor the bedroom footage?"
"A small fortune," Pansy said. "Potter is surprisingly hot. I think we can upgrade the Quidditch equipment to get those customized vibrating broomsticks that Nimbus offered to develop for us."
"The ones engraved with 'Whispers' that accelerate from zero to supersonic in five seconds?"
"Perfect. Make sure that we come to some licensing agreement with them. If Nimbus starts producing them quickly enough, I bet people would pay good money for a Whispers broomstick. I wonder if we could get Potter to endorse them," Draco mused. "In fact, get Bulstrode to license the club's name for a whole series of things. Think of it, Pansy: Whispers cauldrons, Whispers robes, Whispers quills and parchment sets…"
"Hmm, Potter astride a broomstick," Pansy said. "Think of the money."
"Think of the broomstick."
Pansy rolled her eyes. "You're so gay, Draco."
"Shut up. The broomstick vibrates."
"Draco?" Her voice was suddenly sober.
"Yes?" Draco's eyes narrowed. "What are you thinking, you evil witch?"
Pansy looked at him for a moment, then looked at the door again. "Do you think he might be getting in too deep?"
Draco glanced at the door, too. "He's been in too deep from the beginning, Pans. Potter's always been his blind spot – everyone at Hogwarts knew it. He can take care of himself."
"I hope so," she said. She turned back to Draco and smiled wickedly. "Say, what do you think about a line of Whispers toiletries? Maybe some lubricant potions?"
"Brilliant! Put me down as a tester. And make sure that there's plenty of lanoline involved; my skin is delicate, you know. And no," Draco snapped before she could say anything, "that doesn't make me gay."
"You keep telling yourself that," Pansy replied.
Harry's day went from bad to worse.
At the office, people were alternately whispering behind his back or smirking to his face. Dawlish finally called him in to his office.
"It's part of the cover," Harry said for what must have been the tenth time that day.
"Someone's watching you, Potter. Watching you closely. Did you get any work at all done yesterday? Aside from placing the one Watch-em in the worst possible place, of course." Dawlish sounded disgusted.
"Er, no," Harry said, frantically trying to think where he might have lost a Watch-em.
"Well, move it somewhere else and get the rest of them set up."
"Yes, sir." He'd have to retrace his steps. Oh god. What if he'd left it in the bathroom when he'd used the loo? He closed his eyes at the thought of the rest of the department watching him taking a slash.
"Well, get going. And I want results this time!"
Fuming, Harry tried to figure out where the Watch-em was by grilling his fellow Aurors, but all of them denied any knowledge of it, though they continued to snigger behind his back.
By the time he left the office that evening, he hated everyone even remotely connected to the Auror Department. He decided that all he wanted was a meal, a strong, un-watered drink and enthusiastic sex. Not necessarily in that order.
All of which he could find at Whispers. Except the drink.
His plate cleared of food – and really, the steak had been delicious – Harry pushed it aside and sat back to finish his beer.
The masks were amazing. Harry had no problem eating with it on. It was like the mask was a part of his face.
He idly watched as several Wolves rose from a nearby table and began to circle a small party of Sheep.
"I was watching you eat. You have the table manners of a goat."
Anticipation sparkled through Harry's blood at the sound of the deep whisper. "I used a napkin," he said. "What more could you ask?"
The Moon slipped into the chair next to him and snorted. "Enough culinary sophistication to distinguish between the food on your plate and the garnishes used to make it attractive. You shouldn't eat the kale, you know."
"It was kind of tough," Harry said, "but I was hungry."
"I'm hungry, too," The Moon whispered. "Shall we retire to sup?"
Harry shivered. Everyone in the room was watching them. Normally that would horrify him, but with The Sun mask on, he found the avid gazes exciting. "Sup?" he asked, striving for sophisticated nonchalance.
"To take food and liquids into the mouth a little at a time," The Moon said.
"But I just ate."
Harry smiled. A Wolf and two Sheep fainted. "We're going to have to remedy that, aren't we?"
"You seem to think that a remedy is a shared responsibility," The Moon said. "Perhaps I would prefer to sup alone."
"You came to me," Harry pointed out. "Besides, I've been doing a bit of research."
"Harry Potter studying gay sexuality. Be still my beating heart." The Moon leaned closer. "I didn't realise you knew how to research. Learning has never been your strongest skill."
Harry looked sharply at The Moon. "You said something like that before. It sounds to me like you have personal knowledge of me."
"Perhaps." The Moon sat back. "Or perhaps I simply know your N.E.W.T. scores."
"I passed," Harry said defiantly.
"Barely. I must say, your lack of academic accomplishments leaves me little hope of a stellar performance tonight."
"I might surprise you."
"So you might. Shall we retire?" The Moon stood.
Harry pushed back his chair, drained his beer and said, "Lead on."
The dining room burst into applause.
The Moon pushed him into the same room they'd used the night before. "Strip."
Harry took off his clothes and stood ready for inspection, his cock bobbing gently.
"You fool," The Moon said. "Just because I masturbated you once does not mean you should trust me."
"The whole point of this is the sex, isn't it?" Harry asked. "Much nicer without clothing, I've found."
"It doesn't make you less of a fool," The Moon said. "But I admit, you're quite pleasing to the eye." He advanced.
Harry stood his ground and smiled.
The Moon trailed a finger down the middle of Harry's chest. "Quite pleasing. I've always liked a lightly haired chest, with a thicker patch leading to a man's cock." The finger trailed through Harry's stomach hair. Harry's cock jumped. "Eager, I see. Turn."
Harry turned. A moment later, a strong arm was around his throat. "Never turn your back on someone you don't know," The Moon whispered in his ear, and tightened his hold. "Don't move," he added as Harry automatically grabbed at the arm that was choking him. Harry froze.
"Good boy," The Moon purred.
"What now?" Harry asked.
"Didn't the Aurors teach you anything about physical combat?"
Harry suddenly spun out of the hold and reached for The Moon, only to find himself spun in turn. Before he knew it, he was draped over The Moon's knees, his hands restrained with a spell and his bare arse pointed at the ceiling.
"They didn't teach us that move," he said, feeling some trepidation. He wriggled experimentally and yelped as a hand landed hard on his arse.
"You, you're – are you spanking me?" he sputtered.
"If it drives home the lesson, yes," The Moon said and commenced teaching in earnest.
Harry squirmed and cursed as the slaps systematically covered his entire arse. By the time the blows stopped, he was breathless and red and his arse burned. He was also startled to realise that his cock was rock hard.
"Your curses show a distinct lack of imagination," The Moon observed, and pushed Harry's bound body to the bed. "I expect better next time."
"Of course, there will be no next time if you manage to successfully evade my attacks in future. I don't anticipate that will be any time soon, though, based on tonight's dismal performance."
"You mean you're going to do this again?"
"Until you learn to defend yourself. Yes." He paused a moment and then nodded. Drawing his wand, he conjured a huge mound of pillows next to Harry. "I want you draped over those pillows."
"Difficult to do while I'm tied up," Harry pointed out. "You could release me, of course."
"I think not." The Moon studied him for a moment, then waved his wand and incanted, "Wingardium Leviosa!"
"What the –!" Harry felt an unnerving sensation in his stomach as The Moon Levitated him over the pillows, lowering him gently until he was kneeling with his torso rested comfortably on the top of the mound and his arse exposed. "Don't I get any say over this?"
"Hush." The Moon slapped his arse again and Harry jumped. The sting subsided to a warm glow and Harry squirmed into the pillows. He groaned in frustration at the lack of stimulation as he tried to rub his aching cock against their softness.
"Stop teasing me, damn you!"
The Moon rubbed soothing circles over Harry's arse and pulled apart his cheeks.
"Don't do that!" Harry could feel his face going red.
The Moon ignored him. "At least you appear to practice adequate hygiene. I expect my partners to be clean at all times."
"I'm clean!" Harry said indignantly.
"See that you remain so," The Moon replied. "Now, Mr Potter, I wonder if you've ever been licked."
Harry could feel himself blush once again. "Licked? As in a blowjob?"
"No," The Moon whispered. "As in this."
Harry felt The Moon's hair silky smooth on his skin an instant before he felt a warm, wet tongue slide up the length of his crack. He instinctively thrust his arse back for more, which earned him another slap.
"Hard to do with a tongue on your – oh, Merlin fuck a centipede, that's good!"
Harry tried, really he did, but the feeling was so amazing that he couldn't stay still, which earned him another slap, which made The Moon's cool tongue feel that much better as it thoroughly explored his arsehole and crack. The pattern was repeated again and again until he was sobbing with need. He could feel his arsehole twitching as he tried to draw the delicious tongue inside him. "More," he gasped.
The tongue plunged into his arsehole.
"Gah!" Harry's hips thrust involuntarily into the pillows, but the yielding surface offered no relief. Again and again the tongue thrust into him until he was moaning in an unbroken ululation of lust.
The tongue withdrew and he was Levitated again. He was lowered to his back, looking up into The Moon's dark eyes, the pillows now restacked and canting up his hips. "I need – " he begged.
"I know." The Moon's whisper was gentle. "You'll get it. I promise."
Harry sobbed as The Moon reached for a potion bottle sitting on the bedside table. Harry thought he'd never seen a sight more beautiful than The Moon's glowing skin and midnight shadows as he dipped a finger into the potion. Through his lust and need, Harry suddenly realised that he'd never felt this turned on ever before in his life. He moaned again, helpless to do anything other than accept whatever he was given and feeling extremely frustrated that he was in such a vulnerable position.
The Moon turned and fixed him with burning eyes. "You are marvellous," he whispered. "Your cock is so angry and hard, yet you can't do a thing about it. I'm the only one who can help you."
"Then help me, damn it!" Harry snapped.
The Moon smiled and Harry felt his lust grow in the cool light. The Moon positioned himself between Harry's legs and inserted his finger into Harry's arsehole in a single fluid thrust.
Harry arched. "Oh shite, fuck, oh fuck!"
The Moon's finger slid in and out of Harry, teasing already over-stimulated nerves. Then a second finger was added. Harry groaned at the additional stretch, his annoyance dissipating in the sensations that flooded his body.
"You can take it," The Moon whispered. Harry nodded and the fingers continued to thrust. A third finger was added and Harry hissed in discomfort.
Then, suddenly, he felt a jolt that made his cock leap and his balls contract. "What the fuck –? More," he begged.
The Moon watched him intently. Harry felt the fingers crook deep inside him and arched as another jolt of lust shook him. He bore down hard, trying to get more of the sensation.
"Do you want me inside you?"
"Please," Harry begged. "Now. I want you."
"There will be pain."
"Please," he repeated. "Put it in me. Now. Please."
The fingers were withdrawn. The Moon stood and methodically stripped off his clothing, folding it neatly and placing it on a chair as Harry watched avidly. His body was long and lean and scarred; thick silver hair ringed his nipples and plunged a trail down his torso to surround a fat, red cock that strained upwards.
Harry licked his lips and stared, fascinated and more than a little apprehensive. So big. So hard. Just like Snape's had been.
The Moon climbed back on the bed and laid warm hands on Harry's thighs.
"Are you ready?"
Harry nodded. Suddenly there was nothing more he wanted than to have this man sink that fat cock deep inside him.
The Moon lifted Harry's legs higher, encouraging Harry to drape them over his shoulders. He positioned himself and guided his cock to Harry's hole. Holding it there, the tip of his cock nestled against Harry's opening, he said, "You understand, you won't be the same after this."
"Get on with it," Harry said, shaking with need. "Fuck me."
The Moon steadied himself and slowly sank deep into Harry's body. Harry groaned and tossed his head until The Moon paused, fully in. The wiry hair at their groins mingled black and silver.
The Moon murmured a spell, and Harry's bindings fell away. "Hold on," he told Harry and leaned forward to devour his mouth. Harry gave himself completely over to him, grabbing the Moon's forearms with fingers still tingling with returning circulation, his mouth open and his body surrendered and eager.
The first thrust knocked their teeth together painfully, but neither broke the kiss. Harry's involuntary cry of pain was swallowed, as was the next and the next until The Moon was thrusting in a vicious rhythm and Harry could do nothing but hold on tight and pant open-mouthed against the Moon's hungry teeth and tongue.
A well-aimed thrust made Harry throw his head back and keen, breaking the kiss. "Yes," he cried. "There! Harder! Fuck me harder!"
The Moon angled his hips and thrust hard, hitting the spot inside Harry over and over again until all Harry could do was wail as his cock jumped and strained against The Moon's rough stomach, the fleeting contact not enough to bring him to climax. He let go of The Moon's arm and reached for his cock.
"Mine," The Moon growled, and knocked Harry's hand away.
"I need to come!" Harry said, his voice nearly gone.
A rough hand grasped the bottom of his cock and squeezed hard. "Not yet!"
Harry gasped and bucked his hips. "Fuck me," he pled. "Make me come."
The Moon pounded into Harry, his sweat dripping acrid and salty on Harry's lips. "Fuck me," Harry said again. "Hard. Oh, fuck yes, hard," he babbled, as sensation built higher and higher until he felt like he was flying, his cock and arse burning with need. The hand on his cock moved, finally, oh so good and he was coming, hard, thrusting into The Moon's perfect hand and feeling The Moon sink deep inside him, flooding him in short, hard strokes.
Aftershocks shook his body as he was crushed under The Moon's collapsing body, The Moon's lips moving against his ear. He heard the name "Harry" murmured over and over.
"Just like the memory," Harry whispered, Snape's pleasure-contorted face sharp in his mind as darkness took him.
Harry awoke the next morning in his own bed.
He stretched experimentally, trying to remember what had happened after he'd fallen asleep, but it was useless – he had no memory of getting home and going to bed. Strangely, he didn't feel sore, either. He got out of bed, pulled on his robe, and went to the bathroom to shower.
As he hung the robe on the hook behind the door, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror.
"Had a good night, ducky?" the mirror asked.
"Yeah," he said, tracing the dark love bites that progressed from his neck to his nipples. "Yeah, a really good one." He smiled.
The smile had faded by the time he reached the Ministry later that morning.
Dawlish threw the day's Prophet on his desk. It showed Harry and The Moon sitting in Whispers' restaurant; the headline read 'What's for Dessert, Harry? (Details of romantic menu on page four)'.
"Nice perks, wouldn't you say?" Dawlish snapped. Have you learned anything new, Potter?"
"I'm not trying to take advantage of the situation, sir," Harry said defensively. "And no, I haven't learned anything new. I've told you, the publicity makes it nearly impossible."
"Ever heard of a thing called a Glamour Charm? Polyjuice Potion? Hell, Muggle make-up or a hat to cover that damned scar? There's no reason that you can't access the grounds as someone other than Harry Bloody Potter!"
Harry grit his teeth together. "Yes sir. Thank you for the suggestions, sir. I'll get right on that, sir."
Dawlish glared. "All of our investigations are hitting dead ends. Hogsmeade is a wash – the business that we investigated was doing an illegal owl-order potions business, but no Galleon laundering. The docks see more illegal activity than Knockturn Alley, but none of it seems to be related to Galleon laundering. That leaves us with London and Diagon Alley as our two best bets, which means it's between Whispers and Fortescue's. And of the two of them, I know which one seems the better bet to me!"
Harry had the grace to be ashamed. "You're right, sir. I'll try some of those disguises that you've mentioned. But wouldn't it make more sense to send someone else in, too? I can provide a distraction while someone else uses the opportunity to search the premises."
"We've got too few people to do that," Dawlish said. "You're on your own. You're just doing an investigation. Only one person needed for that kind of job. At least, for everyone else it seems like one person is all that's needed."
Harry wondered if Seamus was getting the same bollocking for the Fortescue's investigation that he was getting for Whispers. Lazy sod, probably just sat around eating ice cream all day. Harry sighed. "Yes, sir. Am I dismissed?"
"Get out of here. Go do some work for once," Dawlish said, waving Harry out of the office. "And Potter! Move that damned Watch-em!"
Fuck the Watch-em, Harry thought. He'd had a good look around, but hadn't found it. Some club member had probably nicked it. Hope they're getting some satisfaction out of it, he thought viciously.
Harry wandered into the conference room. A knot of people was gathered around the Watch-em spell in what seemed to be shocked silence. It seemed to be quite a large group – all of the junior Aurors were there, including Seamus and Hannah Abbott, as were several of the senior Aurors and one or two Hit-Wizards. Harry frowned. There seemed to be an awful lot of people from other departments there, too.
"What's going on?" Harry asked.
The surveillance spell they were watching ended abruptly and the group scattered. Several of them were quite red and wouldn't meet Harry's eyes as they hurried past him and exited the room.
"Nothin'," Seamus said, bright red. "Just a routine," he glared at Hannah, who started to snigger, "a routinesurveillance."
"It can't be too confidential if you're letting other departments in to see it," Harry said.
"Oh, them. They were here, 'cuz –" Seamus seemed to be at a loss for words.
"Because we had a bet going on it, and nobody trusted us," Hannah said, grinning.
"Yeah! That's it!" Seamus said quickly.
"Oh." Ever since he'd taken on the Whispers assignment, Harry felt out of touch with his colleagues. Not that he'd often taken part in the office's betting pools, but still … "Did you win?" he asked, striving to sound jovial.
Seamus shot him a dirty look. "No, more's the pity," he grumbled.
"Er, sorry," Harry offered.
Hannah burst into laughter. "See you," she managed to say as she left the conference room, nearly doubled over and clutching her stomach.
Harry watched her stumble down the corridor and then turned to Seamus. "What's wrong with her?"
"She effin' won the pool," Seamus said, his blush fading. "She's just gloating."
"Oh," Harry said, nodding sympathetically. "How's Fortescue's going?"
Seamus rolled his eyes. "They're a bunch of bloody lunatics, I'm thinkin'," he said. "Safe filled with ice cream recipes and money layin' around for anyone to grab. No sense amongst the lot of 'em."
Harry's heart dropped. That didn't sound like the kind of business that would be a front for the Galleon scheme. Which meant he needed to infiltrate Whispers' offices as soon as possible.
"Oh, and I'm sorry, mate," Seamus continued awkwardly. "Hard luck."
"Sorry? For what?"
Seamus looked panicked. "Er, nothin'." His eyes darted to a discarded Prophet.
Harry picked it up. It was folded to an inner page, where the headlines read 'Jilted Weasley Spotted in a Romantic Clinch with Gregory Goyle, Son of Former Death Eater'.
"Yeah, well, be seein' ya," Seamus muttered as he hurried out of the room.
Ginny was dating Goyle. Harry sat and stared blindly at the article, the words making no sense even though his eyes scanned them over and over. The couple looked out at him from the picture, Ginny glowing and Goyle confused but pleased. The photo-Ginny waved a bit and smiled.
The pairing made no sense to Harry. Ginny was smarter than that. She'd hated Goyle, just as she'd hated Malfoy, just as she'd hated all Slytherins: Ginny tended to hate groups of people as opposed to individuals. Yet here she was, undoubtedly with Goyle, with the expression on her face that Harry used to see when she looked at him. She hadn't ever been good at hiding her feelings; he didn't think for a moment that she was acting. She was genuinely happy.
The hole that Harry expected to open up inside of him stayed firmly closed.
Not given to introspection, it took him a few moments to realise that he wasn't angry, or frightened, or even particularly motivated to seek Ginny out. In fact, strangely, he felt a deep sense of relief.
He'd never have been able to make Ginny happy. Now he didn't have to. Which meant that he wouldn't have to live with feeling guilty for constantly failing her for the rest of his life.
"Thanks, Gin," he whispered.
Harry smiled. He was free. Free to pursue The Moon.
Who's probably neck-deep in a Galleon laundering scheme, he suddenly thought. His smile faded and he buried his face in his hands and groaned. Sex. That's all it was. Just sex. Sex so that he could break a case.
The place inside him that had stayed closed for Ginny opened then.
An hour later, Harry closed the Whispers file and sat back in his chair.
Malfoy and a silent partner named Simon Smithwraith owned Whispers, with Smithwraith holding the controlling interest. Harry was surprised by how many Whispers employees he knew, many of who had gone to Hogwarts with him. Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, Slytherins – and not much turnover, either. Either the jobs were good or they were all getting paid extraordinary wages. He'd have to make sure to look for payroll records when he broke into the administrative offices.
He also needed to know more about Smithwraith, but that was an easier proposition. Scribbling a quick note on a piece of parchment, he folded it into a paper plane and Charmed it to fly to records with his request.
Harry glanced at the clock that Ginny had insisted he hang in his office – the majority of the face covered by the words 'Time to GO HOME!!' – and saw that it pointed at a tiny wedge labelled 'Time for Tea.' "Good idea," he muttered.
There was a crowd around the teacart when he entered the corridor.
"There's somethin' strange goin' on at Fortescue's," Harry overheard Seamus say. "I've seen a white-haired geezer hangin' around – dunno who he is, though. Couldn't get a good look at his face."
Harry reached the cart. "White and two sugars," he requested and then looked around as the crowd fell silent. Accepting his cup from the wide-eyed tea boy, he took a sip and looked around.
Seamus stood next to Dawlish, and there was Alastor Gumboil and the longhaired fellow –Williamson, Harry thought – from the Hit-Wizard Squad. Harry was surprised to see Mr Robards there too. What was the head of the Auror Department doing getting his own tea?
"Anything I should know about?" Harry asked.
Dawlish frowned. "Don't you have work to do, Potter?"
Harry dropped his eyes to hide his anger. "Yes, sir." More secrets, obviously. He started to walk away when suddenly he was poked in the back of the head. He turned and dodged just in time to keep a paper plane from poking him in the eye. Plucking it out of the air, he opened it. A slip of parchment slipped out and he bent to pick it up as he read the message.
Harry frowned as he slowly walked back to his office. According to Ministry records, Simon Smithwraith didn't exist. Not in the wizarding world, not in the Muggle world. He looked down at the slip of parchment that had fallen out of the note.
"Fuck," he whispered.
In his hand was a photo of the Whispers Quidditch pitch, Malfoy, Parkinson and Goyle unmistakable as they stood around a tall, rangy man with his back to the camera. 'Smithwraith?' was scribbled in ink across his image. The man in the photo turned his head, though not far enough for Harry to get a look at his features. But it didn't matter. He knew who he was.
Wind ruffled the long white hair of The Moon. He crumpled the two pieces of parchment, hesitated, and dropped them into a nearby wastebasket.
The basket rustled and belched, but Harry was already gone.
Harry strengthened his Disillusionment Charm, checked to make sure his glamour was holding and slipped into the gardens that surrounded Whispers.
He thought the administrative office should be somewhere behind the main club. He headed in that direction, staying alert to any signs of activity.
As he searched, he thought about everything he'd learned since he'd been assigned to Whispers. He'd known from the beginning that this was just a job. When the hell had it changed? Was it the mask? Did the masks have some kind of lust charms that acted on the wearer? But if so, why hadn't he acted on it with someone else? Was it only The Sun? Was it more than a marketing scheme? Was there some kind of crime going on, maybe a trap of some sort, either separate from or relating to the Galleon-laundering scheme?
If so, Harry thought, I'll be damned if I get caught in it.
A sudden flash of white in front of him made him duck behind a bush.
A man stepped onto the path, slipping silently towards the nearest building. His white hair was pulled back; his clothing was severe and black.
Harry followed, trying to catch a glimpse of the man's face.
The Moon moved swiftly, stalking down the path in a way that was eerily familiar to Harry, who hurried after him as soundlessly as possible. The path changed from gravel to pavement, with bright Flutterby bushes lining the walkway. They trembled as The Moon walked past, but he ignored them and entered the building through a set of glass doors.
After pausing to make sure that nobody was around and that The Moon was out of sight, Harry followed, the slight rustling of the bushes setting his teeth on edge as he waited for someone to leap out from behind them. He breathed a sigh of relief when the doors closed behind him and no one appeared.
A sound echoed down the corridor on the left. Cautiously, Harry peered around the corner.
The empty corridor looked like it stretched forever, but Harry quickly realised it was an illusion, as he found himself walking up a small incline while the ceiling sloped down and the walls closed in. About halfway along the corridor, Harry could see another glass door that led to a brightly lit room.
A goblin corridor. The lower levels of the Ministry were riddled with them, but Harry had never seen one outside of the Ministry building. At the Ministry, they were used by the goblins to discourage wizards and witches from following them to their departments, and there were rumours that several led to secret passages that ran all the way to Gringotts. Harry grimly wondered if this one did, too.
He slipped along the corridor towards the glass door.
By the time he reached it, he had to crouch to avoid hitting his head on the ceiling. Luck was with him; the door was slightly ajar. He peered into the room.
Inside, the room was the size of any office, with normal ceilings, floor and walls. There was a large table at one end, littered with teacups, spoons, a very large bowl of fruit, several discarded Daily Prophets and what looked like a box from Madam Goldbread's Bakery in Diagon Alley. The opposite end was filled with a massive desk, several large Security Balls lined up along its length. The Moon sat at the desk, peering into one of the Balls.
Harry entered the room soundlessly, removed his Disillusionment Charm and aimed his wand at The Moon's back. "Turn around, nice and slow, hands away from your wand."
The Moon turned.
Harry gasped, his wand wavering. "Snape!" He felt faint with shock, like his body was frozen in place.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" Snape said, his voice nothing but a hoarse whisper. "This is private property."
"I – I saw you die!" Harry's heart pounded wildly. "I saw Nagini kill you!"
"Potter?" Cursing, Snape drew his wand and threw a Locking Charm at the door. He aimed his wand at Harry. "Is that you?"
"You're dead," Harry repeated.
"Idiot," Snape said furiously. "Drop your wand!" Unthinking, Harry automatically let go of his wand; there was a sharp rattle as it hit the floor. "You unmitigated fool! Do I look dead to you? And take off that hideous glamour."
"I let you fuck me," Harry said, stunned.
Snape rolled his eyes. "Yes, of all of the facts pertinent to the situation, that one is most important. Finite Incantatem!"
Harry ignored the tingle of magic as the glamour faded. "How did you survive?" he asked.
"I'm the one asking the questions," Snape said.
"But –" Harry said.
"And I've got the wand." Snape gestured with it. "Move away from yours. Now."
Harry blinked and inched away, surprised that he could move. He eased his way closer to the table; his initial shock seemed to be wearing off.
"Your hair is white," he blurted.
Well, maybe the shock hasn't worn off completely, he thought, wincing inwardly.
"How you managed to survive the Dark Lord, I have no idea," Snape whispered in exasperation. "Now tell me, you fool, why are you here?"
Harry eyed Snape's wand. It was distressingly steady. "Er, because I'm gay?" He yelped as Snape threw a Stinging Hex that connected with his arm. "Hey, that hurt!"
"You'll hurt more if you don't answer me."
Harry stared at Snape, thinking furiously.
Too late, Harry tried to turn away, but Snape was already in his mind. Images flashed through his thoughts: Ginny's furious face, adjusting his tie in the mirror, The Moon's dark eyes, the burn of his arse as it was being spanked, Dawlish's office – he tried to think of something else, but Snape was already examining the memory.
Harry staggered as Snape released his mind.
"I always thought that Dawlish was a fool," Snape said. "Perhaps I was wrong, although I'll need further proof. Galleon laundering, is it? And you think that it's happening here at Whispers?"
"You've got a goblin corridor right outside the door," Harry said, pressed back against the table. "Not a very standard office design. Why would a gay club need a back door to Gringotts?"
"It was just installed yesterday – your fame is paying off handsomely, Potter."
"Likely story," Harry replied. "And why are you still whispering? You don't need to disguise your voice any more, you know."
Snape's eyes flashed. "Perhaps you remember the large snake that tore out my throat?"
Harry's eyes widened in shock. "I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I really liked your voice – when you weren't screaming at me, that is."
"I regret that I can't scream at you now. What other businesses were you investigating?"
"All of the rest of them were dead ends," Harry said. "This is the only place where there was both money and organisation."
"In your memory, you asked Dawlish if you could be transferred to another investigation," Snape said slowly. "Would Fortescue's be one of the locations on your list?"
Harry was so busy trying to look innocent that he never saw Snape's stunning spell.
Part Three. In Which Schemes are Uncovered, Rescues are Made and Endings are Happily-Ever-Aftered.
Harry regained consciousness and immediately panicked. He had no idea where he was, just that wherever it was, he was curled into a little ball and what felt like walls pressed in at his shoulders and arse. His eyes were closed and he couldn't move.
Snape had Petrified him. The bastard. He waited anxiously, straining to hear a noise – any noise – that would let him know where he was and if he were safe.
He wasn't sure how long he lay there before he heard voices coming closer. A door opened and he could hear footsteps enter the room.
"I hate this new corridor. My robes are getting wrinkled where I have to bend."
"Stop complaining. You can buy the entire British textile industry if you want. You'll be richer than your father ever was."
Malfoy and Parkinson. He was still in the office. Helpless, he waited for discovery.
"At least I make my money honestly." Parkinson snorted and Malfoy sounded thoughtful. "Mostly." There was the sound of chairs being moved. "I like the idea of buying textiles, though. We could do a line of Muggle clothing with the Whispers logo and I could make money off both ends of the deal."
"Oh, shush, Draco. Come on, help me. We've got to get these copied before Snape comes back as well as get the deposit ready."
"I'll count the money, you make the duplicates. By the way, did you hear? Creevey said he had to strengthen the soundproofing spells on the room that Snape and Potter use – he said there were dozens of men in the hallway outside trying to use sound amplifying spells. Merlin, Potter is loud."
"Some people get turned on by loud people. Oh. Wow."
"What is it?" The clink of coins stopped. "Holy fuck. Wow. I wish I'd had the sense to use the Sun mask on Snape a long time ago if that's what he does to Potter while he's wearing it."
"Draco, do you ever think before your mouth opens?"
"What … ? Oh, the gay thing. Well, it's just you and you know I'm not, so it doesn't matter. Damn! For an old man, he really has some power, doesn't he?"
Harry couldn't believe it. Malfoy and Parkinson were watching a surveillance spell of him and Snape – in the bedroom, from the sound of it.
"I think we'd better put this one up for auction, Pans. Think of the money!"
Not only watching it. They were going to sell a copy. Harry couldn't ever remember being so furious.
"Think of what would happen if Snape found out, you idiot! A single discreet buyer is better."
"How about this? We set up the auction through a dummy business in Hong Kong – I've got some business contacts over there that will give us what we need for a cut of the winning bid."
Revenge on Finnigan tumbled down to the bottom of Harry's list as he began to plot what he'd do to Malfoy and Parkinson.
"That could work. We'd better send this along to the vault with the deposit, then."
There was a period of silence. Harry could hear faint noises; he was horrified to realise that it was the spell recording of him and Snape. Oh god, he was loud, wasn't he?
"You know, Draco, maybe the Weasley bint isn't so stupid after all. Potter seems pretty enthusiastic for a straight man."
"I still don't know what Goyle sees in her," Malfoy muttered. "Though I bet she's after his cock. Goyle's hung like a horse."
"Maybe. Personally, I think Greg's just easier to boss around than Potter was. Weasley's a control freak if I ever saw one."
"As if you aren't. But you may be right. I'd better have a talk with him, just in case." Malfoy sounded almost concerned.
"Greg can take care of himself. Besides, I think he may rather like the bossiness, myself. Merlin knows you trained him well all those years."
"I'm not bossy! Well, perhaps a bit, but not in a bad way."
"Look at the time! We've got to get that deposit put together. The goblins will be here in a bit and you know how cranky they are if you keep them waiting."
"Snape is brilliant. The Sun and Moon masks were genius when he planned to use them to snare Kingsley, but getting Potter? New realms of brilliance! I can't believe how well it's paying off. As soon as Snape gets his formal pardon, we're set for the rest of our lives."
Malfoy and Parkinson fell silent, and all Harry could hear was the sound of money being counted.
He thought furiously. The set up for a successful laundering scheme was perfect. Snape had a marketing plan that brought in enough money to justify a large increase in income to the casual observer, coupled with direct deposits via goblin couriers to Gringotts, which was notoriously discreet and from which it would be nearly impossible to pry information. Harry bet that there were business expansion plans in place – Malfoy had just mentioned a textile venture – that would allow large amounts of money to flow out of the accounts. And on top of that, Malfoy and Parkinson had added a layer of income from illegal sales of sex surveillance – at least the ones of him and Snape – to provide a disguise for anything obviously wrong. It would be so easy to hide huge amounts of illegal flow-through drug money with a business like Whispers.
But why do I think it's all wrong? Harry thought to himself.
As much as he wanted to think otherwise, he had to admit to himself: it was because he trusted Snape. Though nearly five years had passed since Voldemort's defeat, Harry just couldn't believe that Snape had changed from the sneaky bitter sod who spied into a sneaky bitter sod who stole.
A series of rhythmic vibrations under his body turned into the sound of more footsteps and something that squeaked in a high, metallic tone, this time from the direction of the Gringotts end of the corridor. Harry heard the door open.
"Grickleshack! Snodbottom!" Malfoy said. "Welcome! We're just finishing up. I hope you brought a big cart today."
"The arrangement was for two sharp," a grating nasal voice replied. "If you're not prepared to make a deposit, we have other things to do."
"We're ready," Parkinson said. Harry heard the sound of coins being swept into a bag. "Here's the last of it."
"Well? Load it in."
There was the sound of heavy objects being dropped into a cart while the goblin muttered. After a short pause, the goblin said, "Allowing for a tare of two hundred Galleons for the cart, it looks like your deposit today is eleven thousand ninety-two Galleons, thirteen Sickles and seven Knuts."
"Eleven thousand ninety-three Galleons," Parkinson corrected.
"One of the Galleons in the third bag you submitted was counterfeit," the nasal voice said.
"Damn," said Malfoy. "We need to have Bulstrode use a Verity Charm from now on. Fine, we agree to the eleven thousand ninety-two Galleons."
"And thirteen Sickles and seven Knuts," a high-pitched voice squeaked.
"Yeah, yeah," Draco said impatiently. "We agree."
"Do you want to deposit him, too?" the squeaky voice continued.
There was a shocked silence. Harry could tell that they were looking at him.
"Potter?" Malfoy said.
"No, he's not for deposit, but this is," Parkinson said. "Nobody but Draco or I can take this out of the vault, understand? Here are ten Galleons for your trouble." Her words were hard as dragon's scales. "We'll take care of him."
"As you wish," the nasal voice said. There was a creak of overloaded wheels followed by a rumble that moved out the door and down the corridor.
The room was silent until Harry heard a faint sound like a vault door slamming closed.
"What do we do with him?" Draco immediately asked.
"Shh. Let me think," Parkinson said. "He's Petrified. Snape was coming from this direction when we met him on our way here. He was in a hurry."
"Should we be talking about Snape in front of Potter?"
"Too late now. We were watching the surveillance spell, Draco – I think that Potter probably knows by now that the professor was the man in bed with him."
Draco cursed. "We need to find Snape."
"He was headed to Diagon Alley."
"I'll go find him. You deal with Potter. Keep him here until we get back." There was the sound of the door opening and closing. Footsteps walked up to him and stopped.
"I should just leave you Petrified," Harry heard Parkinson mutter. A moment stretched to two, then Harry heard, "Finite Incantatem!"
Harry drew a deep breath.
"Get up. And no funny stuff, Potter."
Awkwardly, he rolled to his hands and knees and then stood. He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at Parkinson, who had her wand pointed at him. "Thanks," he said. "I hate being Petrified."
Parkinson ignored him. "Over there," she said, gesturing with her wand. "Sit."
Harry sat in the chair that she'd indicated. "I'm glad Snape's alive, you know," he said quietly. "Do you know what happened to him?"
She looked at him suspiciously. "He was bitten by a snake," she finally said.
"I know. I was there," Harry said. "He died."
"You were there and you left him!" Harry gasped as she slapped him. "You bastard!"
Harry put a hand to his face; he could feel his skin burn where she had slapped him. "There was so much blood. I didn't think anything could be done. And I needed to kill Voldemort. He died … " Harry's voice suddenly caught in his throat and he couldn't continue.
"Yeah, well," Parkinson said after a moment, clearly uncomfortable. "You might have tried."
He shook his head. "Not enough time. Too many had died already. It needed to stop." He looked up. "What happened after that?"
"Why aren't you trying to get away?" she asked suspiciously.
"The rest can wait," he said, shrugging. "Snape's long gone by now." The thought hit him like a blow. "Oh god, he's gone," he whispered.
"You're pathetic." She huffed and lowered her wand. "This is madness. Do you want a cuppa?"
He nodded. Snape. Strange to think that Snape had put that cock, the one from his memory, into Harry's body. Strange to think that he had kissed Snape's thin lips, run his tongue over Snape's crooked teeth, listened to Snape's hoarse whisper saying his name.
A hot cup was thrust into his hands. "Drink," Parkinson commanded.
"Thanks." Harry sipped the tea – it was milky and sweet, just how he liked it. He frowned and looked at her.
She shrugged. "All men like it like that." Keeping her wand out, she pulled a chair to the table and sat across from him. "Don't try to get away."
"I won't." He took another sip, then put the cup on the table and pushed it away. He leaned towards Parkinson. "I need to know what happened," he said.
"Could you be a bit more specific?"
"When – when he died."
Parkinson looked at him. Finally she sighed. "Fine. Remember when the students were all given the opportunity to leave Hogwarts, before the final fight? When that bitch McGonagall said the professor had done a bunk and told the Slytherins to get out?"
Harry nodded. "You wanted to turn me in."
"Of course I did – everyone expected it, and there were spies everywhere. We needed to protect ourselves if Voldemort killed you. We knew we'd be safe – bored of course, but safe – if you won. Though you didn't have a Niffler's chance in an empty Gringotts vault, of course."
Harry snorted. "Of course."
"Well, Snape had told us to take any opportunity we could to get out of the castle. That last year, seventh year, he made all of the Slytherins learn healing spells in return for making sure that none of us had to take the Mark. He made us promise to help people if the fighting got bad. Slughorn helped by teaching us how to brew healing potions. We Shrunk them all. By the time we left the castle, every Slytherin weighed nearly twice as much as usual, we were so loaded with bottles of potions."
"Voldemort was defeated. Did you actually use them?"
"Of course we did," she snapped. "Once we knew who won. Are you going to let me tell my story, or do you prefer to keep acting like a House bigot?"
Harry flushed. "Sorry."
"You should be." She tossed her head. "Well, the Carrows were constantly after Snape that entire year. He was poisoned a couple of times, you know, but he had a special bezoar that he'd spelled so that it could be used over and over again. But Draco, Millie and I all thought that it was just going to be a matter of time before something happened that he hadn't planned for. So we Tagged him."
"Tagged him? That's classified Auror spell casting! How did you learn it?" And why didn't I ever get the chance to learn it before I got to the Ministry? he added jealously to himself. It would have come in handy.
Parkinson gave him a pitying look. "Please. Anyway, so we Tagged Snape. And just a little bit after we got to Hogsmeade, the Tag Spell went off. Millie and I followed it to the Shrieking Shack and pried some boards off a window to get in. Then we found the professor."
"He was still alive?"
She nodded. "But barely. The bezoar had helped with the poison, and he'd taken some Blood-Replenishing Potion, but it wasn't enough. So we gave him Resurrection Potion."
Harry's jaw dropped. "How –?"
"Slughorn and Snape collaborated, of course. They're both brilliant, you know," she said with great pride. "The problem is, you have to give it at the moment of death. Millie and I panicked because we thought we were already too late, so we poured it down his throat."
Harry shuddered. "And he survived?"
"Barely," Parkinson whispered. She cleared her throat and lifted her chin. "But he did. His hair went white and his throat couldn't be completely mended, but all in all, not a bad price for him to have paid. We smuggled him into Hogsmeade, hid him at the Three Broomsticks, and waited. Once Draco and his parents left Hogwarts, we contacted them. Lucius and Narcissa took Snape to Europe with them."
"When did he come back?"
"As soon as he was fully healed. He talked to Draco, Draco talked to Greg and me, I talked to Millie and we all decided to pool our resources and build a business together. Snape put up most of the money, Draco put up the rest of it, I came up with the idea and the name, and Millie oversaw the design and management. And here we are."
"I wonder where Snape got the money," Harry said, thinking of European drug syndicates with dread.
"Dumbledore's will," Parkinson said promptly. "Dumbledore left everything to him. Now," her voice went hard, "it's your turn, Potter. What are you doing here?"
Harry studied Parkinson's face. It still had a hard, brittle quality to it and he knew that he could never trust her with his own secrets. But she was obviously loyal to Snape. He made up his mind. "Whispers is the perfect set up for anyone who wanted to hide financial transactions, wouldn't you say?"
Parkinson's eyes widened. "Laundering?" Her eyes lost their focus as she thought, then she shook her head. "No. Fortescue's."
"Fortescue's?" Harry couldn't believe it.
"Of course," she said with a frown. "The new owner is a member of the Italian wizarding syndicate, everyone knows that. That's why the original Fortescue left, you know – the syndicate wanted a foothold in Diagon Alley. It had nothing to do with the Dark Lord. I hear Fortescue's living high in the Bahamas on all of the money the syndicate paid him for the shop."
"Fuck!" Harry leapt to his feet, spilling his cold tea all over the table. "Where's my wand? I've got to get there!"
"Oh! This is silk, you idiot! Now you've got tea all over it!"
Harry saw his wand sitting near the Security Balls; how Malfoy and Parkinson had missed it earlier, he didn't know. He grabbed it only to be stopped in his tracks when Parkinson threw herself across the doorway.
"Stop right there!" she said, pointing her wand at him.
It all came together in his head: the teacart with Senior Aurors and Hit-Wizards, Seamus's remarks about a white-haired man, Dawlish's brush off. "They're raiding Fortescue's!" he shouted.
"So what?" Her wand didn't waver.
"I sent Snape there."
Parkinson blinked and then stepped away and lowered her wand. Harry rushed past her and out the door, hunching and shuffling along the corridor until it dropped far enough for him to straighten and start running to the Apparition point in the Whispers courtyard.
When he got to Diagon Alley, Harry scanned the streets for any sign of disturbances that might indicate that the raid had started. He breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing nothing more than the normal bustle.
He wove in and out of people, ignoring their stares, until he reached Fortescue's. The store had been restored to its former glory by the new owner, and rumour had it that a huge list of new ice creams had been added to the flavours he remembered so well from his years at Hogwarts. A few people sat at the outside tables, eating ice cream and staring at Harry with great interest.
He frowned and ran his hand through his hair, then entered the store.
"Mr Potter!" said a rotund little man with a red face and the longest black mustachios that Harry had ever seen. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Carmine Fortescue, the new Fortescue," he said with a wink. "I am so honoured by your presence in my humble shop! Come, let me find you a table!"
Before he could politely refuse the little man, Harry found himself whisked to a table that suddenly sprouted a huge chocolate sundae. He squirmed as the man very thouroughly spread a napkin across Harry's lap, tucking it into place in the most embarrassing spots. "Er, it's nice to meet you but my napkin doesn't need anymoretuckingthankyou!" He pushed the man's hands away with an embarrassed grin. "I'm just here to meet a friend," he explained.
"Ah! Friendship! A glorious state of affairs!" The little man beamed.
"Um, yeah," Harry said. "Look, would you mind if I had a look around for him?"
"But your ice cream!"
"Maybe next time," Harry said. He stood and offered his hand. "It was very nice to meet you. Thank you for the ice cream."
He had to pull fairly hard to escape the little man's fervent handshake.
As he looked through the shop, he was surprised to find out how much the interior had changed since he'd last been there. Instead of a single huge room full of small tables, the shop was now full of small rooms with tiny tables. Most were empty, although one – a little larger than some of the others – was occupied by several men who looked up with suspicious eyes when he peered inside.
Snape didn't seem to be anywhere. Finally, when Harry thought he had looked through all of the rooms, he approached a door with a sign that said 'Impiegati Soltanto.' Looking over his shoulder, he slipped in and nearly knocked Snape over.
"Shh!" Snape hissed.
"You're not an employee," the door announced. "This door is for employees only. Can't you read?"
"He's blind and deaf," Snape said. He dragged Harry away from the muttering door. "What are you doing here?"
"Looking for you. Come on, we've got to get out of here."
"You go," Snape said, releasing Harry. He stepped back.
"There's going to be a raid," Harry said. He bit his lip, aware that he'd just broken the vow he'd taken as an Auror not to use Ministry information for personal gain.
Snape seemed aware of Harry's transgression as well. "You shouldn't be telling me that," he said.
"I already told Pansy Parkinson," Harry admitted.
Snape took another step back. "You should leave now, Potter."
"Wait," Harry said, his mind racing. Something suddenly occurred to him. "The door. It – listened to you. But it should have yelled at you, too … "
" … unless he was an employee." Harry felt a wand press into his back and recognized the new owner's voice. "Put your hands up, Mr Potter, while I relieve you of your wand."
Harry put his hands up and glared at Snape. "You work for him," he said accusingly.
"It would appear so," Snape whispered with a smirk.
"Enough. Snape, get the others out," Fortescue said. "I'll put him somewhere out of the way."
Snape inclined his head and left. Fortescue prodded Harry forward. "Through that door, please, Mr Potter."
Harry opened the door in front of him and walked into the next room. It was huge, obviously made of wizarding space, housing magical machines that reminded Harry strongly of the devices that he'd broken in Dumbledore's office at the end of his fifth year, multiplied many times in size. Their footsteps echoed as they crossed the enormous space.
He couldn't believe it. Snape worked for Fortescue. It just didn't make any sense. Yet Snape had just let Harry be taken prisoner. There didn't seem to be any other way to interpret his actions. Snape was a member of the syndicate that Harry was assigned to investigate.
But maybe his involvement in the syndicate wasn't so strange. Snape survived the war. Harry had told everyone about his role in defeating Voldemort. Any other person would have come forward and claimed their just recognition. Snape could have had his job back, maybe even Hogwarts, since McGonagall had been reluctant to become Headmistress. Something must have kept him from doing that.
With a sinking heart, Harry realised that Snape's actions really were consistent with someone who had become involved with criminal activities. And if that were true, what would Harry do? Would he arrest him and turn him over to the Ministry? Or would he look the other way?
He bit his lip as he realized that there was only one decision that he could make.
A sharp prod brought him back to his situation. They'd reached the other side of the huge room; before them was a series of doors. "Our storage rooms," Fortescue said. He opened the nearest door. "Inside."
Harry walked to the door and stopped on the threshold, hugging himself. "Cold," he said, his teeth beginning to chatter.
"We're good at Freezing Charms around here," Fortescue said. "Inside, please."
Fortescue's genial face contorted. "In, or I'll use an Unforgivable on you."
"Actually, that doesn't sound like a bad alternative at the moment," Harry said. "I really, really hate the cold. Do you have anything in a nice Cruciatus Curse instead?"
Fortescue aimed his wand and took a deep breath, but before he could cast a curse, Harry heard a voice shouting, "Drop it, fat man!"
Suddenly the room erupted with noise and wild magic. Harry ducked as a spell ricocheted past him. "Seamus!" he shouted, running after Fortescue, who had dodged behind a machine with more speed than Harry had imagined he'd have. "He's got my wand! Help the others, I'll get Fortescue!" Catching a glimpse of movement to his left, Harry raced towards it.
"Stop there, Fortescue!"
A spell flew past his head and Harry dove for cover. Suddenly he was spun and slammed into the side of the machine he'd hidden behind. "Snape," he gasped as he saw his attacker. His anger flared. "You bastard! I trusted you!"
"What did I tell you about trusting?" Snape whispered angrily. "Will you never learn?"
"I learned," Harry said, struggling to break Snape's iron hold. "Every time you taught me, I learned. It's not my fault that your lessons are fucked up!"
"Look at you," Snape sneered. "No wand, no plan, no idea how many enemies surround you, yet you run blindly into danger with as little disregard for your own life as you'd have for a Flobberworm."
They both ignored an errant spell that struck the machine next to them, melting a portion into slag.
"Better that than hiding behind a mask and a faked death," Harry snapped back. "All of the good that you could have been doing over the past few years, and instead you throw everything away and take a job with the Italian syndicate!"
"The money is good," Snape said. He smiled nastily.
"And so is Dumbledore's," Harry retorted. "Don't try to tell me you're poor, 'Simon Smithwraith.' You're rolling in money!"
"All tied up in Whispers." Snape glared. "Maybe I need some liquid assets."
A rainstorm appeared over their heads and they scrambled to keep from drowning in the downpour. They paused a few feet away in a dry spot.
"Seems to me that an awful lot of liquid assets fit into a Gringotts cart!" Harry said.
"You seem to have a dangerous amount of knowledge at your fingertips, Potter." Snape's whisper took on a dangerous edge. "Do you think it wise to taunt a man when you're accusing him of crimes?"
"If Dumbledore were alive –"
Snape yanked Harry out of the way of a particularly nasty-looking Buzz Saw Hex.
"Well, he isn't!" If Snape could shout, he'd be doing so, Harry thought. "In fact, I killed him. Murdered him in cold blood, no wand, no chance to fight back."
"Don't give me that – I saw your memories."
"You silly, blind little fool!"
Harry pulled Snape to the ground to dodge an Incarcerous.
"No!" Harry shouted, then repeated, "no," more quietly. "It's no use, Snape. Yeah, I know that I tend to act before I think, but you can't make me believe that you're about to kill me like you killed Dumbledore."
"Not you. Not that much. If you were really that weak, you'd have never survived. Dumbledore would have had you killed or imprisoned just as surely as Voldemort would have. Besides," he said, his confidence growing, "you're standing here arguing with me rather than taking me prisoner. Not a very smart move for a syndicate man. So tell me what's really going on."
Snape glared. "You're an Auror, Potter. You're the last person I would ever tell."
Harry suddenly wanted nothing more than to capture Snape's face in his hands and snog the man senseless until he spilled all his secrets. "You've got to trust someone," Harry said. "Are you willing to take a chance on me?"
Snape paused. Harry met angry black eyes and opened his mind. He felt the lightest of brushes before Snape turned away.
They sat in silence, surrounded by the sounds of Aurors shouting and Fortescue's men cursing.
Snape abruptly began to speak. "Several months ago, Lucius Malfoy asked me to bring a package to Fortescue, but to keep it quiet. It was spelled with a curse if opened by the wrong person, but Lucius assured me that was because it held secret Muggle ice cream syrups acquired," – stolen, thought Harry – "from a certain well-known gelato company in Italy. One favour led to another, until I was making regular deliveries between Europe and Fortescue's."
A Freezing Charm crackled near them; they slithered further under the machine. Snape continued.
"I wasn't a fool; I knew that Lucius was involved in more than mere corporate espionage. But by then, I also knew that my only chance to disassociate myself with whatever scheme Lucius had undertaken was to wait for an opportunity to learn more. Then, depending on what I'd learned, I could decide what would be the most prudent action to take."
"In other words, whether there was some profit to be made from the information that you had," Harry said.
"Your words, not mine. Do you want to hear this or not?"
"Yeah, I do. Sorry. I'll shut up now."
"As if I believe that you can control yourself to that extent. Now be quiet and listen." He pulled Harry closer. "I was given access to Fortescue's back rooms so that I could drop off the package in his office each time I returned and leave none the wiser. However, one day when I stopped by with the package my visit happened to unfortunately coincide with a dispute between Fortescue's colleagues over a game of Gobstones. One thing led to another until I found myself crouched under Fortescue's desk in order to escape a particularly nasty spell battle fought in the very tight confines of the office. A spell hit the package and I was showered by miniature Galleons."
"I thought the package was cursed," Harry said.
"It was. The battle came to an abrupt halt when the man who cast the errant spell lost the upper half of his body. Which left me in an awkward position. Fortescue had to choose whether to kill me or trust me. Like any sensible man, he did something in between – he let me live, but threatened to kill Draco and the rest of my partners at Whispers if I betrayed him."
"You're an idiot to have trusted Malfoy," Harry said.
The sound of the battle seemed to move farther away.
Snape frowned. "I'm insulted you'd even think that I'd be that stupid. No, I never trusted Lucius, but frankly, after Voldemort, the syndicate didn't seem to hold quite the same terror for me, especially after I had seen what a pathetic group of imbeciles they were. First year Hufflepuffs radiate greater menace, believe me."
"Then what was all that back there when Fortescue cornered me?"
"I had the latest package on my person. I needed to put it someplace safe until this silly mess is straightened out."
"Huh. That's simple enough," Harry said. "Do you think you hid the package well enough?"
Snape hesitated. "Perhaps it could be better hidden."
"In other words, you stashed it and ran back to save me." Harry grinned.
"I said no such thing." Snape pulled Harry's wand out of his back pocket. "I merely preferred to give this back to you before you got yourself killed without it. I've worked too hard to keep you alive for the past few years for my efforts to be defeated by an inept cadre of ice cream Mafiosi."
Harry's smile got wider. "I'm not even going to ask you when you stole that from Fortescue, but I want you to teach me the spell as soon as we're finished here. Look, if the package is that vulnerable, you need to get out of here and hide it somewhere safe."
Snape nodded. "I think that would be wise." He glared. "Stay out of trouble, Mr Potter. I shall be quite annoyed if I have to rescue you yet again."
Glancing around, he slipped off between the machines.
Ridiculously happy, Harry turned his attention back to the battle between the Aurors and Fortescue's men. He could hear fighting behind him, so he raised his wand and circled back to help as he could. He heard Seamus shouting instructions somewhere above him; from the way he continued to shout, it didn't sound to Harry as if anyone were following them. He looked up.
Seamus was on a platform at the top of one of the machines, which was shuddering and belching, its spells active. He'd obviously thought that he'd have the advantage of height, but it was plain to Harry that Seamus hadn't taken into consideration the lack of cover his perch offered him. He was pinned down by two attackers, crouched with his arms over his head as spells pelted the air around him.
Harry crept up behind the nearest attacker and cast a non-verbal Incarcerous. He knelt to check the bindings when suddenly he heard a cry from above. He looked up in time to catch a glimpse of Seamus's body as it fell into the machine.
"Seamus!" he yelled. He sprinted towards the machine, dodging curses, and swarmed up the ladder. He paused at the top to Stun the second attacker, then peered over the edge of the machine. "Seamus!" Below him, he could see Seamus half-submerged in brown liquid.
"My trousers! Harry, the fekkin' machine ate my trousers! Augh! And my pants! It ate my pants, too!"
"Use your wand!"
Harry cast a Levitation spell, but it seemed to flare and crumple before it reached Seamus. "Damn! Hold on! The machine is shielded!" Harry paused to figure out what to do.
Seamus hadn't exaggerated his danger. He had managed to climb out of the liquid and now clung precariously to what looked like a piston that was churning a pool of butterbeer-smelling liquid into froth. Every time the piston went down, a huge paddle swung around, narrowly missing Seamus.
"It's effin' cold and slimy in here," Seamus shouted. "Get me out!"
Harry tried to cast a Summoning Spell, but again, the magic faded before it accomplished its task. He stuffed his wand into its holster. "Hang on, I'm coming down to get you."
"Be careful or you'll have us both in," Seamus said. He yelped as he slipped, but managed to catch himself again.
"You won't be able to reach him on your own," a hoarse whisper said behind Harry. He whirled.
"Snape! You were supposed to get out of here!"
"I knew your incompetency would rear its head if I left you on your own. I've hidden the package in the cash register – they'll never to think of looking in there. I doubt it's been opened in years. If I anchor myself around this spigot," Snape said, "I can lower you down far enough to reach him."
"You can't pull us both back up," Harry said.
"I can keep you from falling further."
Harry glanced down at Seamus. "Right," he said, pulling his shirt over his head. "Tie yourself off with this."
Snape glared at him, then aimed his wand at the shirt and Transformed it into a sling. "Don't be an idiot if you can possibly help it. You're the one who needs the harness. Put that around yourself. I can anchor myself with magic here; the shield only extends over the vat itself."
Harry hesitated a moment and then nodded, slipping his legs into the sling. He handed the anchor rope to Snape, who had attached himself to the side of the machine. When Snape took the rope, Harry put a hand on his.
"Thanks," he said quietly.
"It's a habit that I intend to break," Snape whispered. He pulled his hand away and cast a Knotting Charm, securing the rope.
"Saving you from yourself. Now get down there."
Harry grinned, surged forward, kissed Snape and then swung his legs over the side of the vat and started climbing down before Snape could react.
"Seamus! Hang on! I'm nearly there," he said.
Harry dangled head first above Seamus, leaving his arms free to grab Seamus around the chest. He fervently hoped Seamus wasn't too exhausted to grab back. Timing his grab for when Seamus was at the apex of the piston's stroke, Harry shouted, "Let go and grab on to me!"
Seamus let go. For a moment, Harry could feel him slipping from his grip; he tightened his hold and pressed his face into Seamus's body. The moment passed, as Seamus squirmed around enough to grab him around the middle.
"You okay?" Harry mumbled into Seamus's stomach.
"Other than hangin' bare-assed naked with your gay mouth way too close to my bits and bein' covered with butterbeer and ice cream, I'm fine," Seamus grumbled. "By the way, who's holdin' you up?"
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph," Seamus cursed.
"He won't let us go," Harry promised. "He's on our side."
"He's dead, Potter," Seamus said. "Or at least that's what you told everyone after the War."
"I thought so, too, but I was wrong. He's alive."
"I bloody well hope so," Seamus replied. "Oh, Christ!"
Harry was suddenly enveloped by a flood of white foam. A moment later it was gone, leaving them coughing and choking.
"Fuck me if I'm ever eatin' another float again," Seamus spat. "Bloody whipped cream."
Harry grinned against his stomach. "Wait 'til the cherries," he said.
"You're a disgustin' man, Harry Potter," Seamus said. "Look, I'm gonna try climbin' the rope some. I want to see what's happenin'." He started squirming and grabbing Harry's body in awkward places.
"Hey, watch it!" Harry said. Suddenly he found himself face to face with Seamus's bits. Harry closed his eyes and scrunched up his face. Maybe he wasn't so gay after all. "Move, you idiot," he said.
"Don't you go getting' any thoughts," Seamus said, then shouted, "Hey! Help! Help! Over here!" Harry heard him curse some more. "What the hell is Malfoy doin' here?"
"You can see? What's happening?"
"Well, Malfoy's screechin' like a banshee – Dawlish's grabbed him. There's spells flyin' all over the place and – oh, that's nasty – Fortescue turned on the split makin' machine and bananas are flyin' everywhere! Wow. That had to hurt! It looks like … yeah, everythin's under control. We got 'em." His voice was full of satisfaction. "That's a good job done, then. Hey, I just realised – this was my assignment. Reckon I'll get a promotion for breakin' the ring?"
It was a close thing, but Harry managed to curb his desire to drop Seamus back into the machine.
Covered in whipped cream and cherries (which had poured in just as the Aurors pulled them out of the machine), Harry and Seamus slowly clambered down the side of the machine. Harry looked up to see the words "Float-o-Magic" flashing in bright lights just over his head. He snorted. Seamus was right, he never wanted to see another ice cream float again. Or drink another butterbeer.
He looked for Snape. Spotting him standing in the shadows of another machine, he walked over and stood silently by his side, watching the chaos around them.
Within moments, it was all over. Aurors dragged combatants from vats of fudge, marshmallow and pumpkin. Snape pulled Harry out of Hannah Abbott's way as she yanked along a wailing, cherry-red figure who Harry recognized as Fortescue only by his long mustachios, which dripped little trails of pink goo in their wake.
"Draco," Snape said, and Harry turned.
Dawlish knelt over Draco's prone body, frantically loosening his clothing. Snape dragged Harry over to them in time to hear Dawlish mutter, "Don't you dare be injured, Malfoy – the department couldn't afford the lawsuit."
"You'll be lucky with just one suit filed against you," Snape whispered vengefully. "You've endangered the lives of dozens of innocent bystanders with your idiotic raid. Not to mention that you nearly lost a junior Auror in the process."
"Two junior Aurors," Harry corrected. Seamus had been in danger there for a while, too. "You forgot Seamus."
"I did not forget Mr Finnigan," Snape said. "You get into trouble simply by breathing, not because of your status as an Auror. Under any set of circumstances, your near-death is a matter of course, Potter."
"So I don't count?"
Snape ignored him and knelt by Dawlish's side. "Draco, you little fool. Enough dramatics. Get up."
"Professor?" Draco's voice was so faint that Harry had to lean forward to hear it. "What happened?"
"Nothing. You even managed to escape with your clothing undamaged, which is more than anyone else can say. Now get up."
"You've got everything under control here, it looks like," Dawlish began to say, looking as if he wanted to be anywhere but where he was. "I'll just go –"
"NO!" Draco cried as he sat bolt upright and wrapped his arms around Dawlish's waist. "Please. I need someone strong to help me recover from the trauma."
Dawlish's eyes bulged. "Er," he said.
Draco nuzzled his chest. "You'll do nicely," he murmured. He looked at Snape, his eyes evil and gleeful. Snape snorted, shook his head, and stood.
"I hope you know what you're doing," he said. Draco smirked.
Dawlish nodded vigourously. "I've had medi-aide training. It's required in the Aurors."
Harry had the feeling that he'd missed something, since he was pretty sure that wasn't what Snape had meant. He shrugged philosophically and pressed close to Snape, who slipped an arm around his waist – and then hurriedly removed it.
"You're soaking!" he said. "And sticky. Go away, just – go and clean yourself up, Potter. Honestly."
"Say," said Dawlish, his customary frown appearing. "Aren't you supposed to be dead?"
"Quite obviously not. A ghost wouldn't have to deal with Potter's sticky hands," Snape said, looking at his soaking shirt in distaste.
"We've had reports of a white-haired suspect seen around these premises, Snape," Dawlish said. "I think you'd better come to the Ministry with me."
"Er, sir, if I could have a moment?" Harry said, glancing anxiously at Snape and making a shooing motion. "I think I have some information that you'll find helpful under the circumstances."
He steered Dawlish away to give Snape a chance to escape. When he looked back, Snape was gone.
"You see, sir, Snape has been helping me with my investigations … "
Harry had thought he'd never get all of the ice cream washed off him, but after an hour of scrubbing and numerous Cleaning Charms, he thought the last traces of stickiness had finally vanished. He ran a quick hand through his hair, peered at himself in the mirror, and Apparated to Whispers.
"Hi, Harry!" Dennis called as he walked in. "Good to see y– Hey, you need a mask to go in there!"
Harry ignored him and walked into the main club through the crowds of men in masks, knocking on doors and peering into rooms. Snape wasn't in the restaurant or any of the Jacuzzis; he wasn't in the bathrooms or on the Quidditch pitch or in the office. Harry ran back outside and searched the grounds, but he wasn't there, either. Everywhere, men watched and whispered.
After an hour's futile search, Harry finally admitted defeat. He walked back to the foyer, found a chair that commanded a view of all of the doors into the club, and sat down to wait.
"Psst!" A Ferret poked its head out of the potted plants next to his chair.
"Not interested," Harry said shortly.
"He's in your room," the Ferret said. "Not that you'll thank me. Ingrate." The Ferret vanished.
Harry stared at the place where the Ferret had been, then leapt to his feet and bolted into the club.
A moment later, Draco Malfoy stepped out from behind the plants with a smirk on his face. As he left the foyer, he threw a mask back into the fountain. "Creevey," he said, taking Dennis by the shoulder, "if you see Pansy, tell her we've got a windfall and send her to the office."
Harry slipped into the room, closing the door behind him. He paused.
Snape sat in the chair in the corner, legs crossed and fingers templed under his chin. "Would you have anything to do with that?" he asked, his whisper deceptively benign. He nodded his head towards the bed, upon which a small round object rested.
Harry paled. It must be the lost Watch-em. "Where?" he asked weakly.
"Let us simply say that very little was left to the viewer's imagination," Snape said. "I suspect we'll be starring in many Devious Viewing Device spells."
"In bedrooms across the country," Harry said miserably.
"Across the continent, if I know Draco," Snape muttered.
"Sorry," Harry said. "Wait. Draco?"
"So I'd initially assumed, since I doubted you could perform convincingly if you knew it was there. Why do you ask? Would that device perhaps be of Auror origins?" The temperature in the room, unwelcoming from the moment Harry had entered, plummeted.
"Maybe," Harry admitted. "I sort of lost one the first time I was here. Oh god," he groaned. "The surveillance room. Half the Ministry's already seen us."
"Your incompetence doesn't surprise me. Speaking of things already seen, did I hear you refer to some memory last night as you fell into post-coital torpor?"
Harry walked over to Snape and looked down. "Yeah. I've been meaning to talk to you about that. Who was the person who thought about fucking a man when he was supposed to be giving me the memories that I needed to defeat Voldemort?"
"Mine?" Snape looked surprised and then frowned. He stood. "I don't know, Potter. Could it be that I was dying? That a fit young man was bent over me, looking deep into my eyes? That I'd always wondered –" Snape stopped abruptly.
"Wondered? Wondered what?"
Snape stared at him through narrowed eyes and remained silent.
"I bet I can guess," Harry said. He took a step towards Snape. "You wondered what my lips would feel like if you kissed me."
Snape's eyes narrowed further. Harry moved closer.
"And then you wondered what my hair would feel like under your fingers," he said quietly.
Snape glared furiously.
"And then," Harry whispered, pressing against Snape's stiff body, "then you wondered what it would feel like to fuck my tight, virgin arse." He ghosted his lips across Snape's mouth. Snape pushed him away and Harry grinned. "You were jealous of the thought that I had a memory of someone else. Admit it."
"I wasn't jealous," Snape said, crossing his arms. "I merely don't like my lovers thinking about someone else when they're with me."
"Your lover. I like the sound of that," Harry said, his grin fading and heat building in his groin. "Let me take your clothes off."
Harry put his hands on Snape's chest and gently pushed him to the bed. Snape looked up, all silver and black and wicked.
"You're so sexy," Harry said. "Though you're a bastard, too, of course."
"I don't have time for this," Snape said abruptly. "You're nothing but a confused adolescent."
Harry pushed down on his shoulders, keeping him on the bed. "No. Not an adolescent. Not anymore." He slid his hands around to the collar of Snape's robes and slowly began to unbutton them. "I'm The Sun. You're The Moon. Someone once told me that we're fated to find each other."
"Someone else once said that this was all simply a clever marketing ploy."
"That someone was wrong." He pulled apart Snape's robes and started on the shirt underneath. Snape's skin was cool to the touch, dry and supple; Harry ran his fingertips over the scars on Snape's exposed throat, eliciting a shiver from the man. "That may be how it started, but it's ours now. That's all that matters."
"You're a fool if you believe that," Snape whispered.
"I know you," Harry continued. "Who you are when we're together." He sat next to Snape and slipped the open robes and shirt from his shoulders. He pushed Snape back with gentle hands, until they both lay on the bed. Harry leaned over Snape and planted a kiss in the hollow of his throat. "You're a tease, a challenge, a bastard, and so, so sexy," he said, punctuating each word with another kiss. "You act like all you do is take, but you give even more."
"More self-delusional idiocies," Snape said. He gasped at the touch of Harry's lips to a dark nipple.
"Not when I'm with you." Harry pinched the nipple and twisted, pleased with Snape's response. "When I'm with you, I'm The Sun. I burn until nothing is left but truth, nothing but you, and me, and what we are together."
"How exceptionally mundane."
Harry grinned. "I'm pleased with it, myself," he said. "Maybe I'll become a poet." He unbuttoned Snape's trousers, refusing to be cowed by the furious black eyes glaring at him. "Up." Snape lifted his legs and Harry stripped him of his remaining clothes.
He caught his breath. "Just lay there a minute," he said. "I need to look at you."
What Harry saw sobered him. Snape's throat was a landscape of scars, scars that must have been hidden by the glamour the Moon mask had cast. His chest was slightly sunken, his ribs prominent under a sparse layer of silver hair that thickened as it crept down his stomach towards his groin. His shoulders and arms were ropy with muscle, his stomach concave, his thighs surprisingly well-defined and covered with coarse silver hair that ran down his legs. All in all, a middle-aged body, reflecting a life bereft of luxury or safety.
In the midst of the silver lay a sizable cock draped over one thigh, stirring even as Harry watched. He was suddenly aware of Snape's blood in a way he'd never been before – last seen poured over the floorboards of the Shrieking Shack, now running strong and passionate in Snape's veins once again. Under the weight of Harry's avid gaze, it filled Snape's cock until it lifted, proud and tight, begging for Harry's touch.
"I want you," Harry whispered.
Snape's eyes blazed.
Harry took off his own clothes and dropped them on the floor. He crawled over the bed until Snape was beneath him, looking up at him with wary eyes. Though Harry wasn't touching him anywhere, he was aware of the heat rising from Snape's body. Slowly, he lowered himself, stretching out until he lay on the length of Snape's body, his legs falling to either side of Snape's and his knees digging into the bedcovers.
He set a slow pace, rubbing against Snape, trapping their cocks between their bodies, his hips pressing into Snape's groin in an unending undulation. Snape wrapped his arms around Harry and Harry lowered his mouth to Snape's, closing his eyes to more deeply explore the kiss. Tongues lazily rubbed and caressed, strong and soft; Harry moaned and feasted. Snape's teeth may be crooked, his nose might get in the way, his hair may be greasy silver instead of greasy black, but he was breathing, his heart beating in tandem with Harry's, his cock hot and hard against Harry's belly. He honestly couldn't imagine finding anyone who could challenge and sate him as deeply as this difficult and irascible man could. He dug his hips in harder and tangled his hands in Snape's hair to bring his mouth closer.
After a few moments, Snape slowly rolled them until Harry lay underneath, Snape rubbing against him with the same slow, powerful stroke that Harry had used. Snape's weight anchored Harry; he could feel Snape's sharp hipbones grind into his abdomen, his hairy thigh hard against Harry's aching cock. Heat built until he could feel his heart pounding deep and hard, each beat bringing him closer until he gasped and poured his climax wet and hot into the space between their bodies. Snape followed him a few moments later, groaning into Harry's mouth.
After a pleasant period of warm stupor, during which he found Snape's absent-minded caresses more comforting than he would have ever believed, Harry said softly, "I was going to turn you in."
Snape turned his face and whispered into Harry's hair, "I know, you fool. You're ridiculously transparent."
"What took you so long to get back here to Whispers tonight? I told Dawlish that you were to be released immediately and he promised he would."
"I had to obtain Draco's release. Dawlish found him when Draco was on his way to warn me and promptly assumed that he was involved in the Galleon laundering. Not that Draco was eager to leave – he was making eyes at Dawlish in a way entirely inappropriate to a Slytherin."
"Dawlish?" Harry asked, astonished.
"When I pointed out his appalling behaviour, Draco told me, quote, 'I have to be obvious in order to get his attention – he's about as aware of his surroundings as a Quidditch referee,' and 'did you see how hung he is? When he was pressed against me during the fight…' at which point he trailed off and assumed the most irritatingly vacuous look I have ever seen upon a Malfoy face. Then he confirmed what we've all known since when, at age two, he refused to wear the colour blue ever again – yes, he is gay. I expect he'll be joining Muggle pride parades as soon as he can determine how to make a profit from them," Snape finished, his lip curled in distaste.
"We can skip the parades," Harry said. "Unless Quidditch teams are throwing sweets to the crowds, of course," he added reflectively.
"Unlikely to ever happen at a Muggle parade, I would think. To change the topic – I find it hard to believe that the entire Auror Department kept the placement of your surveillance device secret from you. Are you sure you don't have a unconscious desire to be an exhibitionist?"
"You wouldn't find it so hard to believe if you knew Seamus Finnigan the way I do," Harry muttered. He smiled. "But I've got him, now."
Snape nuzzled his hair. "Do tell."
"There were Watch-ems all over Fortescue's during the raid," Harry said, squirming closer to Snape, who put his arms around him. "His bare-arsed escapade in the Float-O-Magic should be making the rounds of the office right about now."
"I despair for the security of our world," Snape said. "Perhaps Draco can influence Dawlish enough to make the drastic improvements needed to attain even a minimal level of competence in the Auror Department."
"Like you'll be doing with me?" Harry teased.
"No. You'll be too busy appearing with me at the openings of Whispers in Sydney, Paris and New York. Pansy has already cleared your calendar with the Ministry, I imagine."
Harry gave the idea some thought and found it actually sounded pretty good to him. "All right," he said. "I can do that. Will I have to learn French?"
"Of course, you cretin. We'll begin with 'soixante-neuf'."
"Here, let me show you."
As Snape pushed him into position, Harry grinned. He thought he'd probably enjoy learning French from Snape. Amongst other things, of course.
Squirming happily, he commenced his first lesson.