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burned out flames should never reignite (but i thought you might)

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“May I help you?”

Charlie raises his head at the voice, his eyes locking with the clerk’s for a moment before falling back to the rack of blouses before him. His response is automatic, practiced. It rolls off his tongue without thought. “No, thank you.”

The clerk stays put. Charlie can feel her gaze on him, can feel her watching. When it stretches on a moment too long, he glances back at her, his eyebrow raising in a silent question. She’s got an odd look on her face—like she wants to ask something, or push the matter—but all she does is shake her head slightly as Charlie stares, turning away from him with pursed lips.

Charlie waits until the click of her heels fade before returning to the clothing display in front of him. By now, he’s used to this—has grown accustomed to the attitudes of high-end retail workers, to the way they look at him as if the only possible reason he should step foot into their store is to ask for directions to places where his kind fit in. Four years ago, it had annoyed him—had made his blood bubble in a way he’d almost forgotten, had had his fingers curling around his wand, a hex pushing at the back of his teeth, sitting on the tip of his tongue. Since then, he’s forced himself to learn how to control the anger—how to repress it.

Getting himself kicked out had never been an option, and it still isn’t one today.

Objectively, he knows the whole thing is ridiculous—knows that spending half his holidays going from store to store, waiting and wishing to ‘accidentally’ run into someone isn’t the best plan in the world. It’s pathetic at best and creepily obsessive at worst, but Charlie can’t help himself, can’t shake the thought that maybe—maybe—he might get lucky this time. That he might just see her again.

He hasn’t stopped thinking about Pansy since the night she’d broke it off. He’d gone back to Romania not long after—had thrown himself into his work, labouring away each day until grief and heartbreak had morphed into exhaustion—but he’d never forgotten the time they’d shared. It’d been exhilarating, freeing. Had made him feel alive in a way little else did.

He still remembers their first night together. It was mere weeks after the Final Battle, and he’d snuck away to a bar, unable to sit at home any longer. Everywhere he’d looked had had a reminder of what they’d lost, and it’d clawed at him—had made it hard to breathe. He’d left in a flurry of unanswered questions, but he hadn’t cared, had needed to get out. The late-night air had been harsh but refreshing against his frame, and he’d walked in it for what had felt like hours.

He hadn’t had a destination in mind, but the bar had seemed like a good idea when he’d passed it.

Two hours later had seen him in a backend alley, Pansy’s short hair clutched in his hand as she lowered herself to the dirty floor. He’d fucked her mouth—had held her head in place with a grip that had to have hurt, the hard length of his prick pushing past her lips and down her throat. He’d made her choke, had made her pretty makeup run with spit and tears, and it’d been beautiful. Gorgeous. Intoxicating.

He’d been hooked from the very start, and his infatuation had only grown over the few months they’d spent together. He almost hadn’t believed it when she told him she was moving.

A study opportunity, she’d said. Something about Italy and fashion and it’s the best I’m going to get. Charlie can’t really blame her for leaving—Pansy’s options had been severely limited after the war, and she’d have been an idiot to give up a chance at her dream job—but it had still hurt to watch her go. Had still been a shock to his system.

Now, Charlie sighs at the memories. He hasn’t seen her since their last night together, and thinking about her always brings forth a mix of affection, longing, and disappointment. He has no idea where she is anymore—can’t even say if she’s back in England—but he refuses to give up, even if he thinks that sometimes he should.

Walking further down the aisle, he eyes the expensive garments hung up. It’s all things he thinks Pansy would wear—form fitting pants crafted with sleek fabrics, dress robes decorated with metallic stitching and silk lining, winter coats with fur collars and long tails. There’s a row full of tight, knee length skirts, and Charlie steps toward it, his hand reaching to touch. More memories flood his mind as his knuckles ghost over the soft material, this time causing him to adjust his robes—make sure his crotch is covered by the flowing fabric.

The skirts had always been his favourite, and Pansy had known—had used it against him. He’d lost count of how many times they’d sat together while out, his hand resting atop her thighs under the table, fingertips brushing over the hem. He’d push the fabric up—would slide his hands under the cloth and over smooth skin, up until his fingers had reached the fabric of her knickers.

He would tease her, would watch from the corner of his eye as she squirmed. She was always so beautiful when she was trying to keep quiet, and Charlie loved it—loved how desperate it made her, loved how the teasing would always lead to explosive, mind-blowing sex.

There’s a rustle as someone steps past him, an elderly lady and her daughter stepping toward the back of the row. Charlie steps out of their way, walks toward an empty area of the store. It’s the one thing he enjoys about high-end retailors—their stores always offered a semblance of peace amongst the chaos of holiday shopping.

As he turns, a flash of dark hair catches his eye. Charlie doesn’t expect it to be anything, but his heart still races at the sight, his stomach tightening with anticipation. Holding his breath, he turns to do a double take, comes face to face with—

Brown eyes. Achingly familiar brown eyes. Charlie stills—exhales in a slow, quiet sigh. He doesn’t quite believe it.

Pansy stands in the shop’s entryway, her eyebrows raised in surprise as she looks to Charlie. Her winter cloak is dusted with white, the snow a stark contrast to the black fabric, to the dark locks that now fall down her back. A gloved hand is raised out toward the display of organic face lotions, her arm halted and hovering in mid-air.

All at once, every buried emotion rises to the forefront of Charlie’s mind. He feels that fire reignite in the pit of his stomach—the same fire that had flared back when they’d first met, when they’d first started dating. From the look in her eyes and the expression on her face, Charlie guesses that Pansy’s experiencing the same thing.

Pansy is the first to collect her wits. Charlie sees her shake her head, as if to clear it, before walking in his direction. There’s purpose in her stride, a familiar type of determination. It makes Charlie’s lips pull to a grin.

He doesn’t think much once Pansy’s in touching distance. One moment she’s there—barely a few meters in front of him—and the next she’s in his arms, his hands splayed out over her back, his embrace warm and tight and emitting an aura of finally. He breathes deeply, inhaling the scent of her; his face all but burying in the crook of her neck.

It’s over quicker than Charlie would like, but Pansy’s touch is affectionate—her hold just as tight as his—and it eases his apprehension.

“What are you doing here?” Pansy asks once they part. She doesn’t go very far—is held in place by Charlie’s hand lingering on her elbow. “I thought you went back to Romania.”

“Home for Christmas,” Charlie answers. He glances around the store, quickly trying to formulate an excuse for why he’s in this particular shop. He doesn’t think he can tell the truth, thinks I was hoping to run into you might come off the wrong way. “We still need a present for Mum,” he says eventually. “Bill wanted to get something nice.”

Pansy arches an eyebrow, her lips twitching as if she might laugh. “A present for your mother,” she repeats, her tone laced with amusement.

“Yep.”

Pansy looks toward the current display in front of them, her eyes lingering on the mannequin adorned with lacy, pale pink underwear—the style most definitely meant for those in a younger age group. “I’m not sure how well received lacy knickers will be,” she says, and this time she does smile, her eyes twinkling under the too bright light of the store.

Charlie hides a grimace, only now seeing them. “No,” he says slowly, agreeing. “Maybe not these, then.”

“You could always buy them for me instead,” Pansy suggests, and her voice is lower than it had been before. She smirks at him, now—mischievous and coy—and Charlie feels the flame inside him roar.

“Oh?” he says, matching her tone. “You’d have to try them on first. Make sure they fit.” He reaches a hand out, nicks a pair off the shelf without really looking. “I’m sure we can find a dressing room in here, somewhere.”

There’s no mistaking what he’s suggesting, and Pansy grins, her hand linking with his. “I think there’s one this way,” she tells him, pulling him through the store with a glint to her eye.

Charlie follows, excitement bubbling in the pit of his stomach. The rest of the store fades to a blur as they move through the aisles, passing by other shoppers without care. Pansy brings him to a row of rooms near the back, each big enough for the two of them to fit. Glancing either way, Charlie makes sure no one’s looking before nudging Pansy inside.

All pretences drop the second they pull the door shut. Pansy locks it, turning the knob while Charlie places a quick silencing spell on the room, and then they’re on each other—hands clutching at bodies in a way they haven’t in years. It’s needy—desperate.

A quiet gasp falls from Pansy’s mouth as she’s pushed against the wall of the dressing room, and it brings a smile to Charlie’s face. He’s missed that noise—has missed bringing it out of her. Reaching forward, he parts Pansy’s winter cloak and pulls it from her shoulders, throwing the fabric to the side without care. It catches on a hook as Charlie reaches for Pansy’s body, his fingers clenching in the material of her robe and hiking the fabric up around her waist.

“I’ve missed this,” Charlie breathes, the words escaping in a warm gust of air that trails over Pansy’s ear, the sensation sending gooseflesh down the back of her neck and across her arms. “Missed you.”

“I know,” Pansy agrees, her words rushed and laced with want. “I know. I—I missed you, too.”

Charlie kisses her now, lips moving in a slow, gentle touch. He trails kisses from her mouth to her jaw, down her neck, across her throat. Pansy dips her head back, gives him better access to the sensitive flesh, and Charlie takes advantage of it. He nips at the skin, his teeth grazing her throat, biting down the low V-neck of her robe. Small, bright red marks are left in his wake, tainting the flawless skin.

Pansy gasps again at a particularly harsh bite, her upper body arching under Charlie’s touch, and Charlie chuckles—pleased with himself.

“You like that?” he murmurs. The words are accompanied by the press of fingers, his free hand making its way over Pansy’s thigh, up to her wet cunt. He slips a finger under the fabric of her knickers, pushes them aside, and presses into the warm heat. Wetness coats his finger, and Charlie grins again—wicked, this time. “Already so desperate,” he murmurs, his own arousal evident in the hoarseness of his voice. “Bet no one else fucked you like I did.”

Pansy moans, soft and sweet. “No one.”

Charlie slides his thumb up to press against her clit, his lips kissing the shell of her ear. “Good,” he says, pleased when the word sends a shiver down Pansy’s spine. “That’s my job, isn’t it?”

Pansy nods, an arm curling around Charlie’s shoulders, her fingers clenching around the curve of his arm. “Yes.”

Charlie hums quietly. “Do you want me to fuck you in here?” he asks. “Want me to eat your pretty little pussy and open you up, get you ready for my cock?”

“Yes.”

Charlie pulls away from her, his hands reaching for his own clothes. He pulls his robes off without care and leans forward to kiss Pansy once he’s left in only his trousers, his fingers tearing at Pansy’s clothes as he works her mouth open. His cock twitches once he sees her standing in only her knickers, her tits pushed up and covered by a sheer, black bra.

“Still beautiful,” he says as he drops to his knees, pleased when it brings a smile to Pansy’s face.

Charlie wastes no time. They’re in a public dressing room and he has no patience nor desire to drag it out—thinks they’ll get the chance to do that later. He rips off Pansy’s knickers, places the soaked fabric into his back pocket, and inches forward, the tip of his tongue dipping between her folds. He laps at her, tastes her in a way he hasn’t in a long time.

“Fuck,” Pansy gasps, her hands fumbling for something to hold on to. Charlie hums when one tangles in his hair, two fingers joining his tongue, and Pansy swears again.

He slips his fingers inside her cunt, works her open as his tongue flicks against her clit, the pressure unrelenting. He holds her steady with his spare hand, his fingers curling around the flesh of her thigh, and continues to suck and lick until she’s a panting mess above him. He doesn’t stop until he hears the tell-tale signs of an orgasm forming, and even then, he doesn’t let up, just switches his fingers with his tongue.

Pansy comes first with a silent cry, her body arching into Charlie’s touch. Charlie licks her through it, laps at her juices until Pansy is pushing at his shoulders, her legs shaky and her face flushed.

Reluctantly, Charlie pulls away. He presses against the bulge of his trousers, eases some of the ache of his cock. Getting to his feet, he leans forward to kiss Pansy, allows her to taste herself on his tongue.

“Knees,” he says, words mumbled against her mouth. “Get on your knees.”

Pansy does, sinking to her knees and settling on the floor in front of him. She opens her mouth, tilts her head back, her tongue swiping across her bottom lip. Charlie pulls his cock from his trousers and pushes his pants down to mid-thigh, his hand pulling at his prick, smearing the precome collected at the tip. His cock is bright red and leaking—begging for someone to pay it attention.

Stepping forward, Charlie places the tip against Pansy’s tongue. She swallows him down without preamble, red-painted lip stretching wide to suck his length into her mouth. Charlie groans, his hands reaching to settling on her head, his touch instructing her movement.

Pansy licks the underside of his shaft, her tongue trailing over the vein, up to circle the head. Charlie’s hips buck, a string of swears falling from his lips as Pansy sucks his cock.

“You’re so good at this,” he breathes, stifling yet another groan as his cock hits the back of Pansy’s throat. “My favourite little cocksucker.”

Pansy moans at the words, the vibrations sending a spike of arousal up Charlie’s spine. Charlie tightens his hold of her head, presses his hips forward forcefully.

“Come on, baby,” he urges. He stares down at Pansy, watches as she lets her eyes flutter shut, as her mouth leaves a glistening string of saliva across his cock. “Wanna fuck you.”

Pansy moans again, and Charlie yanks her head back, pulls her off him. Hand curling around her arm, he urges her upward, helps her get to her feet. “Here,” he says, and then he’s turning her around, helping her bend over.

A mirror covers one wall of the dressing room, and Charlie motions for Pansy to brace herself against it. He watches as she does, her hands pressing against the wall while she parts her legs. It gives him the perfect view of her arse and pussy, and Charlie can’t help himself. He slaps one of her plump cheeks, the flesh jiggling beneath his touch, and grins at the answering whimper.

Standing in front of the mirror like they are, Charlie has the perfect view of her face. Pansy can see him, too—can easily meet his eyes in the reflection. It only makes it all the more arousing.

Hand settling on the base, Charlie guides his cock to Pansy’s waiting cunt. They both moan as he slips inside, a string of obscenities falling from Charlie’s lips as he watches Pansy’s tight, wet heat engulf him. He curls his hands around her hips, pulls her back on his cock until he’s buried to the hilt, and then starts rocking.

It’s only slow for a second, only gentle while they adjust. Once they’re securely positioned, once Charlie finds a rhythm, he fucks her without caution. Every pent-up emotion is released through the thrusts of his hips, every thought from the past four years seen in the way his hands clutch Pansy’s body, the way he holds her close.

He keeps his gaze locked on her face in the mirror, watches the way it moves with pleasure—the way her mouth falls open, her eyes shut. She speaks to him, tells him how good it feels, how she’s missed him. Tells him to go faster, harder, yes, there, fuck.

“So good,” Charlie groans, slamming into her. He tightens his grip, pulls her hips back as he thrusts forward. “You take my cock so well, baby. So well.”

His cock glistens with her arousal, and when Pansy starts to clench around him, one of her hands working her clit, Charlie can feel his orgasm forming. He snaps his hips faster, his rhythm erratic, now. Desperate.

“Tell me,” Charlie breathes. When he speaks again, his voice is a growl. “Tell me how good it feels.”

“Amazing,” Pansy answers, her voice breaking off mid-word. She meets his eyes in the mirror, holds his gaze as she talks. “So fucking good, Charlie. Yo—ah—your cock feels so good in me. So bi—”

Charlie comes, not bothering to pull out, and Pansy follows a moment after. He fills her cunt with his come, moans as she clenches around him, the both of them shaking with pleasure. He pulls out a moment later, watches as his come drips from her opening, the sight making him groan again. Bringing a hand forward, he dips a finger back into her pussy, massages the come into her thighs as he helps her stand.

Pansy whines at the sensation, overstimulated, and Charlie turns her around, leans forward to kiss the noise away. The kiss is slow compared to the rest—his touch is gentle, tender. Pansy’s arms curl around his neck, her forehead brushing his.

“Do you want to come home with me?” she asks, her voice surprisingly soft, and Charlie laughs—low and breathy.

“You have to ask?” he says, kissing her again.

They pull apart a moment later, reaching for their discarded clothing. They dress quickly and silently, the both of them still catching their breath. Pansy murmurs a cleaning spell, but it’s hardly enough to rid them of the stench of sex; to make it look like they haven’t just fucked each other in a public dressing room.

Charlie grins as he reaches for the lock, glancing back to Pansy as she pulls her winter cloak back around her shoulders, one hand wiping the sweaty strands of hair from her forehead. “What do you think,” he starts. “Make a run for it before we’re banned for life?”

Pansy gives him a look full of fond exasperation, her lips twitching as if to grin, and all it does is widen Charlie’s smile.

Seconds later, while they’re running through the store, hands intertwined and smiles on their faces, Charlie vows never to let Pansy go again.