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Grounding Harry

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Fuck.

Harry scowled. It may not have been the reaction of most who watched the sun as it set over the hills that spilled into the Irish Sea. But trying to ignore ten numb fingers, a pair of shrivelled bollocks, and one spectacularly frozen arse was seriously affecting his ability to appreciate the subtleties of nature’s beauty.

He worked out a cramp as he shifted and flexed, his beloved Firebolt bobbing precariously as he strained to spot the Snitch. Fog was gathering rapidly along the edges of the coast; buttressed between the Knocklayde Mountains and the briny deep, the pitch was certain to reach near zero-visibility conditions within the hour.

Buggering fuck.

“Hey, Potter! Four feckin’ hours, and the game’s still tied! Just think; if me an’ my mates win, you and I get to have another go at each other next week. It’s feckin' cla, ain’t it?!" Dónal Farrell, the youthful Seeker for the Ballycastle Bats, circled the air enthusiastically as he regaled Harry with a huge grin.

Harry grunted, the evidence of his exasperation forming a cloud in the frigid air. He reached up to tighten the straps of his goggles, swiping at the crystals which had gathered over the lenses.

“And if the Magpies win, you can follow us and the rest of the division champs on the WWN.” He gave Dónal a mock salute and pushed off, plummeting towards the Earth in his signature, death-defying spin.

The frenzied crowd roared as Harry drew near, lifting banners sporting his smiling image and waving triangular flags of black and white. There was no question that the Wizarding World’s Saviour remained the sports’ main draw, even though it had been twenty-eight years since his first professional start. Harry darted lower, letting the headiness wash over him as his nostrils filled with the familiar scent of loam and sweat, his adrenaline pumping as he skirted closer to the action.

That petty bit of one-upmanship, however, came at a cost. Harry decelerated, looping around the perimeter of the stadium several times in order to allow his ratcheting muscles to stretch. A shadow fell over him and he didn't have to look to know that Farrell was close behind.

The Magpie’s manager was waving his arms furiously from the sidelines. The vein in his right temple bulged dangerously as a bludger whizzed by, nearly knocking Harry off his broom.

“Potter! Stop taking the piss, ya’ worthless pillock!”

Harry snorted at Cormack's over protectiveness as he turned his attention back towards the pitch. It was difficult to make out the members of either team as the red and white insignia of the Bats became indistinguishable from that of the Magpies, both lost in a sea of black. Even the Magpies’ revamped, reflective uniform—designed to increase the team’s visibility for their aging Seeker—offered little advantage in the dimming light.

Harry snuck a glance towards the Owner’s Box. He couldn’t see past the Box’s privacy charms, but Harry had no doubt that its occupant was carefully studying his every move. Harry’s inability to match the brilliant, one-handed flight of his cohort on the Kestrels last week obligated the Magpies into playing this decisive game against the Bats. A loss here would force the team into a do-or-die playoff series, further jeopardising their spot in the European Cup.

The tip of the sun edged over the horizon as Harry’s throat tightened at the scrutiny. Soon, the skies outside the perimeter of the pitch would be blanketed in fog, making it virtually impossible to find the—

A sound fluttered into his consciousness… the beating of razor-sharp, paper-thin wings, the metallic hum which called out to him as through a sixth sense. Harry turned, catching a flash of burnished gold. His body reacted instinctively, conscious of Dónal’s surprise as Harry wheeled around, pursuing the Snitch with everything he had as the younger Seeker also took up the chase.

Harry’s blood pumped and his body sung as he gave in to his competitive edge. This is why he flew—why he still played, why he tolerated those vile glasses of wheat and knotgrass juice, why he plied his body with yoga and suffered through those barmy Mind-Healing sessions nearly every day. He leaned forward as the weight of the fog settled over his skin, his heart soaring as he pushed himself to the limit. The Snitch flitted in and out of sight, accompanied by the ominous sounds of whipping robes as Farrell pulled up alongside him.

For a brief second the twilight played tricks on Harry’s eyes, its rapidly changing colours and shifting luminosity refracting off the curvature of his goggles and throwing everything off kilter. Farrell took advantage of Harry’s hesitation and barrelled ahead, the quivering ends of his broomstick acknowledging Harry’s momentary indecision like a two-fingered salute.

“Bloody Hell!” Harry swore out loud as Farrell flew just above the treeline, the higher altitude affording him a better view of both Harry and the Snitch. Harry could fly lower—away from the stronger winds, although the glare from the sun meant there would be a short segment where he’d be flying blind.

He steeled himself; the match, the season, British pride, and his own legacy lay on the line. Every muscle stretched, every inch of him burned as the shouts of the crowd egged him on. He approached Farrell and the dense thicket of towering pines, mentally calculating the necessary angle and speed as he shot out in the direction of the setting sun.

Both Seekers strained with effort, the promise of victory so close they could taste it. Harry welcomed the lash of the freezing mist on his face, the thin air that burned through his lungs, the smell of his and Farrell’s desperation and determination. The younger Seeker let out a gasp as Harry inched past, their brooms nearly knocking into one another as the wind buffeted them about. The crowd’s shouting reached a fevered pitch as Harry reached, the tips of his fingers dancing at the edges of his gloves, just shy of the Snitch’s frantic wings. He felt invincible, revelling in the thrill of competition and just feeling alive until Farrell made one final push and snatched the Snitch—and along with it, Harry’s dreams and the championship season—right out from under his nose.

.~O~.

As the last of the spectators filed out of the stadium, the Magpies’ locker room was eerily quiet.

The door swung open. Draco used the opportunity to peek inside, but only saw a line of empty benches.

“Hey, Mr Malfoy.”

“Alfie. Ah…excellent job at defending the hoops. Chin up, the season’s not over yet.” The Keeper's dejected expression lessened a bit upon hearing the supportive words; Draco schooled his smile into something less encouraging, lest Alfie mistake his comment as an invitation to chat. “Is Harry still inside?”

“Yeah. Think he wanted some time alone. Took the loss harder than the rest of us. Blames himself for it, more than anyone else. Not that it was his fault, of course.”

“Of course.”

Alfie shifted his weight as he appeared to hesitate between politely continuing their conversation and seeking solace with the rest of the team at the nearest pub.

“Go along, Alfie,” Draco said, taking pity on the young man. “You should be with your mates, not standing in a half-deserted and ghastly-lit hallway with me.”

Alfie shot Draco a grateful smile before taking off with impressive speed, considering the afternoon’s five grueling hours of play. Draco slid off his gloves and took a deep breath as he straightened up to his full height. He was the first to admit to possessing a volatile temper, but Harry could pitch a fit as well as he. The combination had led to some spectacular confrontations—not to mention some brilliant shagging—over the years.

He pushed open the door. The air was thick with the soapy steam from the showers, yet it still smelled of disappointment and sweat. Harry was sitting quietly with his back turned and shoulders hunched, the towel from his shower drooped around his waist.

Draco drew his wand. He quickly cast an Auror-grade Colloportus followed by a Muffliato with the effortlessness of someone who’d had regular practise in utilising both.

“The Muffliato was entirely unnecessary," Harry intoned without lifting his head. "Especially since there’s not much to say.”

“Harry,” Draco said softly. He rounded the end of the bench, unable to hide his fondness when he saw the haphazard nature of Harry’s hair. It was just as full and untameable as ever, although the ebony strands were now tinged with shots of grey.

“Is this the part where you soothe my wounded pride with clichéd platitudes and inspirational quotes?”

“That’s a mouthful,” Draco said, letting out a soft snort. “And you know me better than that. Why would I would offer you a cliché when bon mots are more my style?” He took off his robe, making a show of smoothing the folds before draping it neatly over a nearby hook. “Merlin, it’s like one of those bloody Muggle saunas in here,” he griped, rolling up the cuffs of his sleeves as he sat.

Harry stretched out his legs, wincing from the movement. “My muscles appreciate it.” A drop of water hung valiantly from the hairs on his chest before falling, cascading down the planes of his stomach. Draco stared; even at fifty, the mere sight of Harry’s unclad body made his heart race a little bit faster.

“Cormack’s benching me the next game. Giving the starting position to Gwen. Didn’t even have the decency to tell me straight out—can you believe he actually blamed it on an 'owner-management decision?'” Harry’s lips thinned. “The fucking arse.”

Draco’s brow lifted. “Cormack or the owner?”

“Both.” Harry turned, his green eyes sparking with anger before their fire dulled, turning into something unguarded. “It was bound to happen, Draco. That’s twice this month that the other team’s Seeker’s beaten me to the Snitch. Now, instead of being a shoo-in for the European Cup, we’ve got to make it through the playoffs.”

“The team loves you, Harry. You’ve always given a hundred and ten percent; first person to arrive, last to leave.” Draco swallowed before barrelling forward. “Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your situation.”

Harry let out a sharp laugh. “You mean ‘retire.’”

“You're already the most decorated Seeker in modern Quidditch history,” Draco persisted. “Most wins, oldest to win a championship, longest playing streak, longest to hold a starting position. You're legendary. Besides, you know... all of that 'Saviour of the Wizarding World’ stuff.”

Harry sighed. “Gwen’s really good. She’s been starter material for at least the last two years,” he admitted. “And Geoff’s not that far behind.” His eyes narrowed at the thought of the Magpies’ third-string Seeker and Quidditch Weekly’s most recent centerfold. “And don't tell me you haven't noticed.”

“Of course I have; it’s in my nature to note such things.”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” Harry said as he gave Draco a playful swat. “Twenty-six years old, flawless skin, eight-pack abs, and an arse to die for. Sound familiar?”

Draco gave him an arch look. “Sounds like you’re the one who noticed. Besides, I’ve already called my free pass.”

“Aiden Shaw,” Harry huffed, rolling his eyes. “How original.”

Draco grinned. “Still gorgeous and utterly shaggable, though.”

“Could’ve happened, you know. I'm convinced he was giving you the once-over that time we were in that club in Barcelona.”

“Really, Potter,” Draco scoffed, although he couldn't hide his smile. “I had the hottest Quidditch player in the world at my side. Circe and Salazar, your spread in the 2002 May issue of Witch Weekly had been my wank fodder for months.” The corners of his eyes crinkled in mirth. “Besides, how could I follow through on my celebrity pass when you wouldn't claim one for yourself?”

Harry shot him a grin. “Any thoughts of a pass went out the window that night you took me home. Besides, you’d Crucio me if I ever picked someone, never mind take them up on their offer.”

“Bloody right, I would,” Draco said softly as he leaned forward. He traced his hand along the angle of Harry’s jaw, lingering for a moment over the salt and pepper stubble before thumbing the corner of Harry’s mouth. “You know I’d never either, right? Why would I, when I’ve already got everything I’ve ever wanted with you?”

“What about Geoff and his eight-pack?” Harry groused.

“Mr Bennington works very hard to stay fit and delights in showing off the fruits of his labour every chance he gets,” Draco said, laughing at Harry's affronted expression. “What? I may be fifty, but I still have eyes. And a pulse.” He took Harry's hand in his. “Which, may I add, never fails to respond to you.”

“Sop,” Harry said fondly, spreading his hand to cover Draco’s own.  He looked down at his battered body, shrugging his shoulders as he sighed. “For how long, though? I'm hardly in the shape I was in just a year ago. And once I stop training, I won't even have that.”

“You’ll still have everything that I love.” Draco’s eyes softened at Harry’s rare admission of vulnerability. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. This,” Draco said quietly, tracing the outline of Harry’s faded scar. “For your bravery and compassion and strength. For teaching me that no matter how difficult it may seem, we still have the power to make the right choices.”

The tip of his finger travelled lower, lingering at the corner of Harry’s eyes. “These,” he said.  “Because I could lose myself forever in their depths. Because they’re one of my favourite things to wake up to in the morning. Because at the end of the day, they always let me know how much you love me, even if I’ve been an utter berk.” Draco gently mapped the area where several faint lines had formed from years spent squinting against the wind and the sun.

Harry let out a soft snort, even as he let himself sink into Draco’s touch.

Draco hummed as he curled his fingers. He ran his knuckles along the curve of Harry’s cheek until the pad of his thumb rested against the fullness of Harry’s bottom lip. “This,” Draco said, hitching his breath as Harry swiped at his finger with the tip of his tongue. “Your unbelievable mouth. For the way you rally support for all your bloody causes. For the way you kiss me, like you can’t hold anything back.” He paused, gazing at the laugh lines which bracketed the sides. “And for these, because we earned them together.”

Harry made a small sound in the back of his throat as he wrapped his arms around Draco and pulled him close.

Draco turned his head, nuzzling his cheek along the curve of Harry’s bicep. The scent of Harry’s soap, the cedar and sage which perfumed the showers they shared nearly every morning, tickled his nose. “These,” Draco said, his eyes darkening as he gently nipped at the skin which had already lost some of the tautness of youth. “Your arms. Still powerful enough to hoist me around your waist. Yet soft enough on which to rest my head as I read each night.”

Harry entwined his fingers within the silken strands of hair that brushed the nape of Draco’s neck. “Of course I can still lift you,” he said, smiling. “You’re still as slender and pointy as ever. All leg.”

“You love my legs,” Draco purred as Harry murmured his agreement. He reached around to unwind Harry’s hand from where it rested on his shoulder, bringing it down and turning it in his own.

Draco made a tsk-ing sound as he poured a small amount of water into his palm and cast a spell. “These,” he said, smoothing the transfigured lotion which appeared over Harry’s worn and chapped skin, spending extra time on those fingers which remained stiff from gripping the handle of a broom. “The way your hands were made for mine. The way that they prepare my tea every morning, with the perfect amount of milk. The way in which they'd held me—reassured me—when the news of our relationship broke to the press.” His pupils widened as his gaze turned mischievous. “And the way in which they know exactly how I like to be wanked… how hard to stroke, how fast to go.” Draco lowered Harry’s hand down to the front of his trousers, his eyes fluttering shut as he swivelled his hips.

“You fucking tease,” Harry growled as Draco’s lips parted. He shifted closer, his breath hitching as he pressed the heel of his palm against Draco’s rapidly swelling erection.

“Come now, Potter. Are you really surprised, after all the years of being married to me? ” He nudged Harry’s legs apart, smirking at the promising bulge that tented the front of Harry’s towel before sinking to his knees.

“This,” he said, amusement spilling into his voice as his husband quickly cast a cushioning charm. His expression darkened as he tongued the faint scar on Harry’s chest, next to a dusky nipple. “From your run-in with that tree when you insisted on teaching me how to build a Muggle fire. For the night that I finally made one, and discovered just how beautiful it was to sleep with you, under the stars.”

"You’ll never let me live that one down," Harry groaned, his breath stuttering as Draco's head dipped lower. "It’s traditional to have a campfire when you’re making s’mores.”

Draco sniggered. “If I remember correctly, we enjoyed some non-traditional uses of chocolate that night as well.” He sank onto his heels, the whisper of his breath ghosting over the planes of Harry’s belly. “This. The way your muscles are displayed when you’re stretched out above me. The way they clench when you’re about to come.” His voice quieted as he touched Harry’s flanks, their formerly hard lines now less so. “For all the curry takeouts that we’ve shared, our twentieth-anniversary dinner at Le Cinq, and all those horrible, carb-laden Sunday dinners at home.”

“Don’t think I haven’t noticed you pilfering the leftovers.”

“Please,” Draco sniffed, “Malfoys don’t do leftovers. Especially ones with ragù alla bolognese.” He dragged his hands along the side of Harry’s hips, teasing the hem of the towel for a tantalising second before resting them on his calves. “Now do you really want to argue over the leftovers, or shall I get back to my point?”

“Your point...ahh, your point’s quite brilliant,” Harry responded, his face tightening momentarily as Draco pressed his thumbs into his sore muscles and began to knead. Harry murmured his thanks as the knots loosened. He straightened his knees, grimacing as the left one made an audible click.

“Your knees. Yes,” Draco reiterated as Harry lifted a brow. “Because you didn’t think twice before diving in to shield Teddy from that Hebridean Black. Because you put your love for your friends and family above everything else.”

“You’re my family, Draco. My best friend. I’d do anything for you.” Harry paused. “You have to admit, this has definitely put a damper on our sex life, though. You can’t tell me you don’t miss having me on my knees, in front of you.”

“That’s what cushioning charms are for, Potter,” Draco retorted, looking pointedly to his own. “Besides, I’ve benefited in other ways.” He leaned closer, undoing the knot which held the towel to Harry’s waist, the silver rimming his eyes fading to black at the sight of Harry’s thick and ruddy cock.

“I’ve grown quite fond of discovering all the different ways in which we’ve been able to pleasure each other.” He prised Harry’s thighs apart, which gave way to him eagerly. “You on your back, your fingers up my arse as we suck each other off. You discovering the pleasures of bottoming... the way your gorgeous face flushes when you ride me, stroking yourself.” He traced the vein on the underside of Harry’s prick with his forefinger, making a delighted sound as it hardened further.

“Weightless spells. Magicked dildos. Self-heating, long-lasting, multi-flavoured and multi-purpose lube. Our pensieve collection—Circe, may those wards be truly impenetrable.” Draco’s voice pitched lower, his gaze turning greedy and feral at the sight of the liquid which collected at the top of Harry’s slit. He pressed the heel of his palm against his own clothed erection and stuck out his tongue, moving forward to lap at the bitter fluid.

Harry’s eyes rolled as Draco’s wet lips circled his cock, the vibrations from his pleased hums causing Harry to shift lower against the edge of the bench as his hips gave an involuntary thrust.

“Draco,” he groaned. His hands reached out to steady himself as Draco expertly tongued the head of the glans. “Gods, fuck...how do you even...?!”

Draco chuckled. Twenty-five years ago when they had tumbled into each other’s arms after a particularly heated pickup game that had left everyone else gaping, there was no way either of them could have suspected that a volatile fuck consummated in the loo of the Leaky Cauldron would lead to over two decades of... well, mostly blissful domesticity.

He undid his own trousers as he took Harry deeper into his mouth, making a show of tonguing the length of Harry’s shaft. He knew how debauched he looked when his lips grew slick with spit and swollen. How the pinkness set against the cool paleness of his face drove his husband wild. How trailing the tips of his nails along the inside of Harry’s thigh, with just enough pressure to mark, could cause those muscular legs to tremble. How the sight of his nose pressed up against the curls surrounding the base of Harry’s engorged prick, his slim hand flying frantically over his own cock would inevitably cause Harry to lose any remaining semblance of coherence.

“God, babe, your mouth... fuck!” Harry’s hands gripped the bench, his knuckles turning white as his forearms strained and his toes curled, his hips snapping forward as he let out a strangled cry.

It was the only warning that Draco received, but by now he knew exactly how Harry’s cock twitched, how his breath hitched, and how his voice rose to that needy, keening pitch as he was about to come. He swirled his tongue once more as his throat flexed in response to Harry’s frantic thrusts, opening himself to the thick and bitter come that flooded his mouth. His own hips pistoned into the circle of his fist, his indelicate grunts echoing through the room as Harry reached out. It was the merest graze of his fingers against Draco’s cheek which caused Draco to come, the evidence of his release splashing against the legs of the wooden benches.

Harry’s cock slipped out, its softening form resting deliciously against his thigh as they sat in silence for a minute, save for their panting breaths.

“Thank you,” Harry said simply, his voice raw. His hands reached down to grab the end of Draco’s tie, twisting it into a silken knot in his fist as he drew Draco up for a fierce kiss.

“I love you, Potter,” Draco murmured when they finally came up for breath. His fingers lazily traced the shape of Harry’s reddened lips. “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”

“I love you so much, Draco,” Harry breathed. “More than I ever thought possible. More with each and every day.”

“Even if I’m a fucking arse of an owner?” Draco asked with a smirk.

The rejoinder earned him a well-practised eye roll. “Even then,” Harry agreed. The smile slid off his face. “You and Cormack are going to offer Gwen the starter spot next week, aren’t you?” he asked, his voice suddenly quiet.

Draco remained silent as a form of his assent. They had promised each other long ago to never lie to one another. Not in the areas where it truly mattered.

“Perhaps it is time for me to retire,” Harry admitted reluctantly. “Even if Cormack doesn’t relegate me to third string status right away, Geoff won’t be sidelined for much longer. God knows, my body can’t keep up with someone like him, as much as I’d like to.”

“But you have experience. And more than anyone else I know, you have heart.” Draco stood, brushing off an imaginary speck of dust from the cuff of his shirt. “Cormack has informed me that this is very likely his last season. Gave me a string of excuses: the travel schedule’s too rigorous, he misses his grandchildren, the years are flying by, and he’s not getting any younger. That sort of thing. The selfish bastard.” He looked at Harry intently. “Where does he expect me to find a manager who’s not only experienced and well-respected, but whom the team would love on such short notice?”

Harry looked thoughtful. He stood, then took a step forward, settling his hands along the sides of Draco’s slim hips. “What other qualifications would this potential manager require?”

“They must look fabulous in black and white. Considering I just paid a fortune for those bloody uniforms.”

“Anything else?”

“Prior Seeker experience would be an added plus,” Draco said weakly as Harry pulled them closer together. “Since we have two young players who would benefit from a knowledgeable mentor.”

“What else?” Harry asked, his lips ghosting over Draco’s mouth.

“Someone who enjoys being by my side. Who likes me for who I am, who accepts me despite my faults. Who doesn’t mind that my hair has grown even paler, or more peaked. Who can handle my temperament, is willing to give up their share of the closet space, who will indulge my mother’s constant requests for weekend tea.”

“I noticed you didn’t mention anything about your arse.”

“What’s wrong with my arse?!” Draco asked, snapping around with a horrified expression.

“Absolutely nothing,” Harry laughed. “Merlin and Morgana, it’s bloody brilliant in its perfection.”

“Well,” sniffed Draco, somewhat mollified. “Glad you noticed. Because my new manager might have to engage in a bit of arse licking once in awhile. Especially if they happen to cock things up.”

Harry squeezed his hand. “I can manage that,” he said, suddenly serious.

Draco held his breath. “Which part?”

“All of it. Especially the bits about the arse licking and the cocking up.”

“I can live with that, too,” Draco smiled.

Harry shuffled closer. “You offering, Malfoy?”

“You accepting, Potter?”

Harry kissed Draco. His soft lips moved assuredly over Draco’s yielding mouth with a passion equal to that which they had first experienced twenty-five years ago. But when he pulled back, his brilliant green eyes were also filled with a depth of love and acceptance that could only come from a lifetime of togetherness.

“I do, Draco.” The gold band on Harry’s finger glinted proudly in the light as he laced their fingers together. “Always and forever. As long as it’s with you.”