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Sometimes, I wonder if Draco has ever suspected her.

Or me, for that matter.

He’s not exactly what I would call the most observant of people. I mean, it took him twenty-five years to figure out that his own son was gayer than a matinee performance of Prescilla: Queen of the Desert, and that he had spent the past year or so giving some bloke just as Australian as the famed Muggle musical (and boy is it ever Australian. Scorpius made me see it with him in Muggle London no less than five times, and after every performance I wanted to go backstage, punch the lead actors in their stupidly bonzer faces and tell them that the word ‘solo’ is pronounced ‘so low’, not ‘soul oh’. But anyway, I digress) a solid rogering on frequent occasions.

So given how long it took Draco to realise that the looks Scorpius and Bruce gave each other during formal occasions lingered for far longer than the heterosexual norms generally dictated, I figure that it is probably safe to assume he has no idea that his son’s best friend is fucking his wife.

After all, with Scorpius it was kind of obvious. I like the guy about as much as a straight bloke can like a gay bloke without the straight bloke feeling the need to question himself, but he is so not subtle. While the rest of us spent our Hogwarts years charming our posters of pin-up models from Witches Illustrated to look like group photos of our favourite Quidditch teams to any Prefect or teacher, Scorpius was hanging those weird Muggle posters (those ones that don’t move, like, at all) of ABBA on his walls. That was of course until he got a bit more adventurous and started doing the same thing as us, only with pictures he’d cut out of the latest issue of Wizard’s Health. Scorpius’ love for Muggle musicals is also well-documented, with his favourites being Mamma Mia and the aforementioned Prescilla. I once suggested we go to see Phantom of the Opera, and his response was that he did not want to pay X number of Muggle pounds for the music alone, fabulous though it is, and that he always insisted on both over-the-top acting and stunning, colourful costumes whenever he shelled out money for a musical. Really, given all of the extremely blatant signs, you would have thought that Draco would have gotten a clue.

But with me and Asteria, it’s not obvious at all. How can it be? I am Albus (although you can call me Al, thank you very much) Severus Potter, for fuck’s sake. Being the spitting image of my father has always been a plus when it comes to wooing the ladies, and I have that delightful Slytherin bad-boy image to boot. There are not many witches in the Wizarding world that don’t want to shag me, and any girl that wasn’t interested was of questionable sexuality at best. And until now I have always made sure that any girl lucky enough to have gotten a piece of this side of perfection, never had it for longer than a week. Asteria, on the other hand… it’s not that she isn’t hot, because believe me, she is. It’s just that her image is the exact opposite of that of an adulterer. She married Draco at the ripe old age of 23, and three years later gave birth to a son that she spent the 25 years after that caring for. She attended every Ministry function, every ball, every dinner, arm-in-arm with her husband and looking as happy and resplendent as though she was a dizzy, young femme completely in love. She has always been the pinnacle of fidelity within our relatively small Wizarding world, which is why it was so out-of-the-blue and surprising when she approached me that first time.

Let me think, when was it? Oh, Merlin, it was just about a year ago now, give or take a few weeks. Scorpius had been dating Bruce for a month or so, and they were still well in their if-I-had-the-energy-I’d-shag-you-24/7 phase (mind you, sometimes I think they’re still in that phase now).

I’d gone to Malfoy Manor for lunch. It’s a pain in the arse to get there (getting through the several-century-old security system takes serious skill and at least half an hour), but it’s worth it for the lunches their kitchen elf creates for us. If I weren’t so worried about my mother flogging me (which she would still do, despite my being twenty-five) I’d say that Fobby’s feasts were better than Grandma Weasley’s, and that’s one hell of an accomplishment.

Anyway, we were in that post-lunch stage of sitting in Scorpius’ living room with cups of tea (containing about five tablespoons of sugar and half a pint of milk, in his case) and a chess set on standby, when some ridiculous Muggle contraption Scorpius had bought himself a few months ago started vibrating (I know; kinky) and singing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at us.

“Subtle,” I commented.

“Fuck off,” was Scorpius’ reply as he poked at his device, held it to his ear, and started talking to it. I distinctly remember shaking my head and wondering how Draco, between Scorpius being Sorted into Ravenclaw, being addicted to all things Muggle, and now having a new boyfriend (not that Draco knew about him at the time), hadn’t seen fit to completely disown him. He must seriously love the little poofter.

Not that I could blame Draco for that. Scorpius is many flavours of awesome.

“That was Bruce,” Scorpius declared, poking the device once more and sliding it into the pocket of his designer trousers (also Muggle, I’d wager).

“Oh yeah?” I couldn’t fail to notice the smile on Scorpius’ face. Cheshire Cat, eat your heart out. “What was he ringing about? Has he had the biggest hard-on in the world since this morning, and he needs you to come over and sort it out quick-smart, because it is beyond the might of even the raunchiest of porn?”

Scorpius ran a not-nearly-embarrassed-enough hand through his white-blond hair. “Err, yeah, pretty much, actually.”

“Why am I not surprised?”

“Because you’re kind of like Bruce, except you’re the straight, brunette, total-and-utter arsehole version.”

“I think I’m flattered. Should I be?”

“Absolutely.” Scorpius looked at his watch. “All right, I’m going to have to go and, er, see to this—“

“I’m sure,” I interrupted. “It’ll be an utter drag, of course, but someone has to do it.”

“Exactly.” Scorpius gave me one of his most evil smiles. Sometimes I forget how Slytherin-ly he is, through all the Muggle-loving and being-generally-a-really-nice-person-ing. “Anyway, can you let Mother know where I’ve gone? She’ll probably come in here soon enough, but if I go and look for her in this place I could be looking for half an hour, and Bruce says he, er, needs me urgently.”

“He’s not the only one in need,” I remarked, casting a fleeting look at the centrepiece of Scorpius’ trousers. I’ll spare you the intimate details. Let’s just say that Scorpius generally likes his trousers tighter than the British norms to begin with, but at that moment they were looking borderline uncomfortable.

“Stop it, Al,” he said, standing up and facing away from me so I couldn’t see (prude). “Am I this mean to you when you’re horny?”

“Well if you stopped wearing such ridiculous trousers I wouldn’t have noticed, would I?”

“Bullshit,” Scorpius answered. “You’re Albus Severus Potter. If it’s got even a distant relation to sex, you notice.”

I considered rebutting that, but there was little point. He was absolutely correct, after all.

“Anyway, if you could stay here until Mum turns up and let her know where I’ve gone, that’d be great,” Scorpius said.

“Can I tell her the truth?” I asked.

“Go ahead,” Scorpius answered. “She’s not the oblivious parent. Actually, I should probably take the condoms she gave me the other day.”

“Your mother gets your condoms for you!?”

“Not normally, but these ones were strawberry-flavoured! As if I’d say no.”

I shook my head. “Scorpius, if you were any more gay you’d literally shit rainbows.”

“How do you know I don’t already?” Scorpius blew me a kiss (doing nothing to help his stereotype in the process) and left the room. I proceeded to spend the next ten minutes wondering how badly my image would be affected if I started carrying condoms with me. Doing so would help me score Muggle birds, but it would also make me seem like a Muggle-lover, which might not fly well with the bitchier of the former Slytherin hotties.

I think I’d gotten to the stage of considering Concealment Charms when Asteria walked in, and I had to do some quick trouser rearranging. There was no doubt among any of the boys at Hogwarts that Asteria Malfoy was the hottest MILF we knew of (my own mother, disturbingly, coming in second), and her status had not wavered in the eight years I had been out of school. She is tall – about 5’9”, I think – with light blonde hair falling past her shoulders in soft waves, and flawlessly pale skin with hardly a wrinkle on it, despite her being in her early 50’s. I’ve never objected to women carrying extra meat on them, but Asteria is not a voluptuous beauty. She’s more the long and slim type, like a model, but with a surprisingly substantial rack. In the years I’ve known her she has always been a keen wearer of Muggle clothing, and that day she was in a red off-the-shoulder top and a pair of tight-fitting dark denim jeans of the exact calibre that Scorpius probably had a dozen of in his own wardrobe. However, while in my not-so-humble opinion Scorpius’ trousers made him look like a tosser, his mother’s trousers made her look sexy.

Not that she needed the help of any pair of trousers to achieve that feat.

“Hi Al,” she said, taking a seat next to me and pulling Scorpius’ cup of tea (now probably cold) towards her. “Where’s Scorpius?”

“Getting shagged by his boyfriend,” I answered, picking up my own cup. I figured I might as well drink it before I go. “He wanted me to stay here and let you know.”

“Fair enough.” Total nonchalance. If I’d told my own mother that, I don’t know, James had gone to spend a few hours in Pussy Town, she would have … well all right, she probably would have said something pretty similar, or made some comment along the lines of “that’s my boy!”, but Grandma Weasley would certainly have scolded me for talking about ‘the act of two people physically expressing their love for one another’ in such a cavalier fashion, then insisted that I bring my brother back so that he could say that the girl in question was definitely a nice bird and that he definitely had been dating her for at least three months.

“So how have you been, Al?” Asteria asked, after having taken a sip of tea, made a face, cast a Heating Charm on the tea, and tried again. “Are you still going out with that Larissa girl?”

“Nah,” I answered. “She sounded a bit too interested in ‘settling down’ for me. I’m not really ready for that yet.”

“Mmm.” Asteria took another thoughtful sip of tea, and then said, “I’m kind of glad to hear it. She was out of your league.”

“That’s very nice of you to say, Asteria,” I thanked her, although I didn’t think it that nice a comment. Asteria was merely stating fact, after all.

“If you say so.” Evidently she also considered her previous statement factual rather than complimentary. She put her cup down, leaned back on the lounge on which we were both sitting, and faced me. “You’re an interesting one, aren’t you Al? To be perfectly honest, I don’t think there are many people in your league.”

Again, fact, but I couldn’t understand why she was pointing it out. “Well, perhaps not,” I agreed (modesty is a virtue, so occasionally I pretend like I have it), “but I don’t mind, er, ‘lowering’ myself sometimes, to show a nice woman a good time.”

“How courteous of you,” she said, inspecting her fingernails. “Although, there are some women you could show a good time, who are in your league.”

“Oh yes?” I asked, curious. Maybe she would point me in the direction of some other incredibly hot MILF who had been recently divorced and was currently hornier than an unneutered cat during the springtime. “Like who?”

“Like me,” she answered, and the next thing I knew she had sprung forward and was kissing me. Well, I say ‘kissing’, but it was really more like she was molesting my mouth. Or at least it was throughout that initial quarter of a second or so, during which I was too surprised to respond, consensually or otherwise. A quarter of a second was about how long it took for my cock to wake up, realise what was happening, and conduct me towards kissing her just as aggressively back.

I know. Slow, right? Maybe I’m getting old. To be fair though, it was a complete surprise. I’m Merlin’s gift to women, let’s not beat around the bush here, but Asteria Malfoy had never before presented herself as someone who would be interested in fooling around with me, or with anybody who wasn’t her husband. She’d always seemed far too put-together and noble and good (much like her son, really) to want to enter the murky waters of infidelity. Either I had completely misread her character, or she was shockingly good at presenting herself as somebody she’s not.

After that quarter-second of initial surprise, however, I can’t honestly say that I was bothered either way. I’m a quick study; good at taking new discoveries on board. Particularly if they are advantageous to me.

As we broke apart to intake some necessary oxygen, Asteria started to unbutton my shirt. “So here’s what I’m proposing,” she said, as casually as she would if we were two friends having lunch at a café, discussing the week’s curious weather changes. “I think you’re probably one of the most attractive young men I’ve ever seen in the Wizarding world, despite how much you look like your father (I considered being insulted on Dad’s behalf for a moment, then decided against it. He’d never managed to figure out how ugly those glasses frames of his were), and I know you’re attracted to me too. I say we act on our attraction for each other, whenever we can, or want to, and not let such trivialities as me being married or you being my son’s best friend get in the way. Does that work for you?”

Had she given me time to reply, I probably would have made some smart-arse comment about where I should sign, and would her left buttock be suitable? As it was, right after she finished talking she started kissing me again, and my reaction (a boner so magnificent I wish I could have taken pictures of it) was probably a good enough sign of my consent for her.

That first time was … educational, to say the least. I knew Asteria fairly well, having been her son’s best friend for the past 14 years, but this was obviously ‘getting to know her’ on a whole new level. She had never been a particularly prudish woman, but she had always been proper, and sometimes quite formal, in my presence. When I was a teenager and had imagined shagging her (like I imagined shagging any 16-to 60-year-old human with a working vagina that I came across back then), I always imagined her as being quite demure and vanilla. I really couldn’t have been more wrong. I mean, she didn’t exactly bring out the bondage leather that first time, but when she was lying on her Persian rug, spreading her legs wide open and begging me – fucking BEGGING me – to shag her, I knew that I was dealing with no vanilla-style submissive.

She looked fucking amazing too. Again, I wish I could have taken pictures (not that we haven’t since). She was lying under me, her hair fanned around her head, her breasts bouncing up and down as she pushed her hips against mine, meeting me thrust for thrust.

The best part of it, though, was how she was so hot for me that she came first.

I love how hot she is for me. I’ve had more than my fair share of girls in my time, and they’ve all been really into me (again, how could they not be?), but none have been as unfailingly hot for me as her. It never takes her long to come with me, and she has never failed to come before me. I’m good, believe me, but I’ve never been this good. I love knowing that my touch makes her come completely undone. I love how much she aches for my cock, and I especially love knowing that whenever Draco fucks her, she’s thinking about me.

Not that she’s ever told me that. But she must be. She’s certainly told me how much better I am than her husband often enough. She says it in particular when we’re having sex in some way that Draco would not consider doing, in this or any other lifetime.

Actually, the first time she said it was about three months after that first time. Asteria had asked me to come to the Manor straight from work, and when I arrived she took one look at my work clothes (slightly damp from the outside rain, and muddy from that bloody Malfoy security system), tutted, and told me to have a shower. I considered refusing, but I was pretty cold from the outside rain and therefore not really in much of a position to say no.

I entered the shower, turned on the taps and sighed in pleasure as the spray of gloriously hot water hit my frozen skin. A few moments later I heard the shower door open, and there she stood before me, naked and ready. To slam her against the shower wall and start devouring her tits was the work of the moment.

“Ohh, yes…” she moaned, leaning against the shower wall. “You’re so much better than my husband.”

“In what way?” I asked, but only after I’d given her right nipple the literal tongue-lashing I’d thought it deserved.

She smiled coyly at me, her hands coming to rest on my buttocks as I took one of her long legs and placed it around my waist.

“Well,” she answered me, pulling our groins closer together, “you’re much BIGGER than him, for one…”

Call me insane (because Hell, Lily calls me insane often enough), but my cock twitched when she said that, and I swear it twitched because it had heard her compliment and wanted to take some sort of bow.

She must have felt my cock’s enthusiastic recognition of her flattering prose, because the next thing she did was ask me to lift her up. I hoisted her onto my hips, and she managed to reach up and grab on to the top of the shower wall behind her. She pushed her hips against mine, and with some manoeuvring (it’s a harder position than porn makes it look, let me tell you) I managed to get the evidence of my superiority inside her. She let out a loud groan, and the noise echoed around the bathroom. Thank Merlin nobody else was there.

I continued to drive into her. Fuck, she was so tight against me. It turns me on just thinking about it. She tipped her head back, letting the stream of water fall in rivulets down her shoulders and chest, and as I worked my cock in and out she kept on emitting these incredible sounds of ecstasy. And you all have no idea how hot the sounds she makes are. They’re enough to make me want to borrow some of that absurd Muggle sound-recording equipment Scorpius owns, turn it on before we shag, and maybe not tell her about it because that might make her shy, or something.

As always, it did not take her long at all to come. I have it at maybe a minute, give or take a few seconds. When she did come, the noise of elation she made coupled with the tightening of her muscles around me, was more than enough to make me follow suit. As we both came back to Earth, I remember wondering whether or not she would have preferred to have gone on for a bit longer. After all, didn’t most women like to take their time with sex?

Perhaps Asteria is not like most women. After she let go of the shower wall and slid back to the ground, she smiled at me and said, “You’re definitely so much better at this than my husband”.

Not that I would wager Draco is necessarily that bad in the sack. Certainly in terms of cock size, he can’t be that small. I’ve seen Scorpius in the shower many times, and let’s just say that Bruce has little to complain about. Maybe Draco doesn’t know how to use what he’s been given. I, on the other hand, am both hung like a horse and knowledgeable in how best to wield it to the satisfaction of any lady companion.

And never has my size and capabilities been more useful to me than now, with Asteria. The sex with her is some of the best I’ve had, without question, but good sex is not difficult for me to acquire. What I get with Asteria that I get with nobody else, is power. The power I have over her is the sort of power I’ve been craving for years. Call it the Slytherin in me. It’s intoxicating, knowing how much power I have over her, knowing that whenever she calls me she’s desperate for me, and that I get to choose whether to go over and tend to her, or leave her to deal with it using nothing but her right hand and past memories of us together.

Admittedly I have not yet refused her. But knowing that I can refuse her? That’s power, right there. And it’s not as if I don’t execute my power when I’m with her. I’m always the dominant one, and most of the time when we fuck, we do it my way: hard and fast, with little-to-no concern over the other person’s safety. That’s the way I’ve always liked it.

Occasionally, however, I’ll let her choose how we fuck (because I am just that generous). There was this one time, for example, about six months ago. I remember it really well, because it was the first time she’d asked me if I could come to her office. Normally she asks me to come in the evenings or on weekends, and always whenever Draco’s off doing some work-related thing and Scorpius is staying with Bruce (which was pretty much all the time by then, and yet he still hadn’t moved out of the Manor, the sentimental moron). But this time she Floo’d me in the middle of the day, when I was at work, doing filing in my boss’s office. I knew when she asked me to go that I was going to get a right telling off from my boss afterwards, but I decided after maybe half a second’s deliberation that it was well worth it. I mean, this was office sex with Asteria we were talking about, here. As if I was going to say no.

“This is a bit cliché, isn’t it?” I asked upon my arrival.

“Is it?” Asteria asked, standing up and moving to sit in front of her desk. “It’s not like I’m some high-up manager of some global company, and you’re my voluptuous, large-breasted secretary.”

“Fair point, that … wait? How come I’m the secretary?”

She didn’t answer me. To be fair she had just taken off her blouse, so it wasn’t as though she needed to. She was perched on the front of her desk in her bra and fairly short skirt, one leg crossed over the other, a knowledgeable smirk adorning her face. She was no fool – she knew exactly how provocative I’d find that position.

I smiled and sidled up to her. Her smirk turned into a slight pout, and suddenly I had the strangest desire to kiss her. Strange, because for all of the love-making we do, neither of us is particularly fond of the kissing side of things. But anyway, I lowered my head and our lips made contact, and for a brief moment the kiss we exchanged was soft, and kind of careful; definitely not the sort of technique I normally execute when snogging a bird, but it was surprisingly enjoyable, truth-be-told.

Soon enough, however, I felt her lips apply more pressure and her hands on my belt, and immediately the baton of the sex relay changed hands from my brain to my dick, and now my every action was to be controlled by it, or rather by its one very loud thought: Fuck her. NOW.

I can’t be sure, but I think a growl escaped my mouth as I reached past her and swept the contents of her desk onto the floor. I backed her onto the now-clear surface and pushed that fantastically short skirt of hers a few inches up, where I noticed something I was definitely not expecting.

“Did you leave the house without pants on?” I asked.

“Certainly not,” she answered. “I just did a little … preparation … before I Floo’d you. I like to be ready for you, you see.”

“Merlin,” I breathed. I ran a finger down her slit, marvelling at the wetness already there, before moving back up to her clit and pressing it. She gasped.

“You’ve done very well,” I praised her, adopting the dominant role that we’re both very fond of. “So well, in fact, that I’m going to let you choose how you’d like to have sex today. You may either be made love to, slowly, carefully and with a gentle touch on my part, or you can be fucked hard and fast. The choice is yours.”

She needed no time to deliberate. “Hard and fast,” she said, trying to press herself into the finger that lingered on her clit.

“As you wish,” I answered, and I grabbed onto her hips, then started ramming into her. As I thrust in and out I rubbed furiously at her clit. She cried out in obvious joy, and as my movements increased she grasped the edge of the desk behind her as well as she could, pushing hard against me and matching me stroke for stroke.

As I watched her come (first, as always), and even as I came (straight after, again, as always), a small part of me felt disappointed that she hadn’t opted for the more gentle approach.

Just because I’ve never really tried it before, of course. That kiss we’d shared before had made me somewhat curious. And at the time I’d figured that if I was going to try gentle sex with anyone, it would be with Asteria, because we are under no delusions that what we do has anything to do with gentleness or, Merlin forbid, love.

That was what I’d figured at the time, anyway.

Eugh, love. Scorpius talks to me about love sometimes. He never used to, before he met Bruce. He’s a smart bloke, after all (Ravenclaw, hello), and before he met Bruce he was of the intelligent opinion that love was one of those lovely fantasies that appealed to people who spent an unhealthy amount of time (as in, any time) indulging in those fantasies, but nothing more than that.

Now that he’s got Bruce it seems as though love is constantly on his mind, and it’s only because he knows that I’ve still managed not to have turned completely bonkers that he hasn’t discussed this with me more often.

“It’s amazing, Al,” he says to me. “Because you care about someone else more than you care about yourself, and when they care about you as well, that’s the nicest thing ever. That must be why so many people are into the whole ‘love and be loved’ thing.”

“Whatever,” I normally say, perhaps with a nonchalant sip of my tea to effectively punctuate my statement.

Scorpius will then shake his head at me. “I can’t criticise you, since I felt the same until I met Bruce, but seriously Al. Have you ever been in love before?”

“Nope,” I always answer, “and I never intend to be, either.”

And, bugger it, I thought Asteria felt the same way. I’m sure some people would argue that she loves Draco, but fuck that. As if you can be in love with someone that you’re cheating on with someone half their age. Mum’s told me about ancient Pureblood marriages; they are always arranged, and there’s rarely much love there.

And, of course, love is fucking stupid. Considering how Asteria is pretty much perfect in every way, it really shat me to discover that her opinions about love are as ridiculous as Scorpius’.

Maybe even more so.

I should explain. Last week she invited me over. It had been a few weeks since we’d seen each other, and when she Floo’d me I said “yeah, I’m there” before she had a chance to open her mouth. I made it to her front door half an hour later, cursing that bloody security system with all the might I had, and knocked on her door. She opened it, took my hand, and we sprinted to one of the twenty-three or so spare bedrooms in the Manor. I’d probably been in that one before, but I was too hot for her to pay much attention to the room’s ambiance.

I slammed the door shut (unnecessarily, since we were the only ones in the house, but old habits die hard), and we started kissing, her gasping something about us only having an hour or so before Draco came home, before I shut her up by kissing her again. I really fucking did not want to hear about Draco right then. At that moment, she was mine.

We tore off each other’s clothes with reckless abandon, which probably wasn’t a great idea on my part, since her outfits can normally cost well over 500 Galleons and Reparo is very selective about what it will work on. But right then I really didn’t care, and I don’t think she did either.

When we were both completely naked she slid onto the bed, pulling me with her and begging me to, please, make her come, because she couldn’t wait. I briefly considered driving into her and making this last for less than a minute, but dismissed the idea fairly quickly, deciding to go about it in a way that would be nicer for her.

I slid down her front, tweaking her nipples just the way she liked it (if her moan of pleasure was any indication), kissing her chest, stomach, and finally reaching the junction between her thighs. Using my right index finger I applied just the slightest amount of pressure on her clit, and she just about shrieked with want. I don’t know if I’d ever seen her so horny before, and that was seriously saying something.

Opening her up, I inserted two fingers into her. She doesn’t exactly have the vaginal opening’s version of the Grand Canyon happening down there, but she’s so used to being shagged by my other much larger appendage by now that my two fingers caused her no problems whatsoever. She was so wet I almost wondered if she had made herself come first, before contacting me. And then I had to stop thinking about that, because the mental image of her jerking off is probably the most distractingly sexy thing I’ve ever envisioned.

I started to work my fingers in and out of her, and her answering “oh Merlin, yes”s were enough to assure me that I was doing well. Then I felt something brushing my hair. Looking up, I saw that her hand was on my head, and before I could question her she was pushing my head down, bringing me face-to-face with her clit. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what she wanted. Using my tongue this time, I again applied pressure to her nub of pleasure. I gently tickled for a few moments, until I heard her say “Al, please!” I love it when she begs. I then used my tongue in earnest, licking at her clit as though it was some sort of delicious lollipop I had less than a minute to finish before it was taken away by some authoritative figure. I was not remotely surprised that it only took about ten seconds of this for her to give her loudest groan yet and topple over the edge.

I continued working my magic (because that’s what it is, people, and as a wizard I know magic when I create it) until her waves of orgasm died down. When she stopped shaking I pulled myself away and came back up to look at her face, which was flushed and shiny with perspiration.

“Now,” I said, taking one delicate wrist in each of my hands and pulling them above my head, “I’m going to fuck you, so hard, that you won’t be able to walk straight for days. Tell me you want it, Asteria. Tell me.”

She didn’t respond for a moment, as she was still struggling to control her breathing. I wondered if she would say that she did not want it. That would certainly be a first. But if she did say that, how would I react? Would I be pissed off? Would I force her to do it anyway? For all of my being-an-absolute-bastard-ness, I’ve never forced myself on a woman before. But other women have not been Asteria.

Or would I, maybe, take it in my stride?

Asteria pulled me out of my reverie with a whimper. I felt her hips wriggling underneath mine, and then her legs were wrapped around my waist.

“I want it,” she breathed. “I want it so much. Fuck me, Al. Just fuck me.”

I grinned at her, took aim, and pushed in with one hard, long thrust. I felt her arch her back and push against me, encouraging me to do it again. I pulled back, until I was almost completely out of her, then pushed back in with equal force. Then I did it again, and again. Her legs tightened around me, and as I moved faster she shut her eyes and continued to whisper for more, more, more. I gave her my all, as I was wont to do. I felt myself get closer, and as I neared my peak her eyes flew wide open and she shrieked, her orgasm, as always, arriving before mine. I felt her walls spasming around me and I was over the edge too, shouting out her name as I shot my load into her. I continued to push, trying to get as much out of my orgasm as possible, until it was over, and I was spent.

I collapsed on top of her, breathing heavily. She placed a gentle hand on my shoulder, keeping her legs wrapped loosely around me. I could feel my heartbeat, fast and erratic, and wondered if she could feel it too. She felt warm underneath me, all soft breasts and flushed skin, messed-up hair and sweaty face, and as I looked at her my heartbeat calmed down. At that moment, I felt as though this, here, with her, was all I could ever need, or want.

“I love you.”

My eyes snapped open. I had not realised I’d closed them, but I must have done. They couldn’t have been closed for long, though, because she was still there, underneath me, wearing an expression of slightly-more-than-mild surprise that I imagine would have been perfectly mirroring my own. Had I just heard what I thought I’d heard?

“I’m sorry,” she spoke up, after we stared at each other for an uncomfortably long time. “I didn’t think—“

“Perhaps I should leave?” I suggested, making to move off her.

“Oh,” she answered, taken aback. “Well, yes, if you want.” She removed her legs from behind my back.

“I do.” I slid off her, stood up, and searched the room for my trousers. They were lying near the door in a crumpled heap. I pulled them on, not bothering with the zipper or anything, and started the hunt for my remaining garments.

“Al, wait,” she said, just as I’d found my second sock. I reluctantly turned to face her, not really wanting to hear what she wanted to say but figuring I should be gentlemanly.

“It’s really … it’s nothing to be frightened about,” she said, not looking as though she believed what she was saying in the slightest. “When two people do what we do, as often as we do, it’s to be expected that one of them will fall in love with the other. You really don’t have to—“

“It may be expected for you,” I cut her off, pulling on my shirt, “but I never expect people to say they’re in love with me. Love is a bunch of nonsense. What were you thinking, Asteria, saying that? I thought you believed the same way I did.”

She blinked at me. Far from being insulted (which I was expecting), she appeared confused. “Al, I think you’ve got this wrong. It was—“

“I don’t want to hear it, Asteria,” I interrupted her again, making for the door. “I’ll talk to you later.”

That happened a week ago, and I’m still pissed off about it. This was so not what I had signed up for a year ago. She had wanted a fuck buddy – someone to give her what Draco evidently couldn’t give her in the bedroom – and that’s what I’ve been doing. She has never before indicated that she wanted anything else from me.

Damn it. If she’d known that she might have fallen in love with me, she shouldn’t have come to me in the first place. She should have just asked Draco to grow some genitalia and learn how to use them. Then she can be in love with him instead. Or, fuck it, if she finds she can’t love Draco, just divorce him altogether and find someone who can give her all the sex Draco can’t give her, and also the love that I can’t give her.

It’s ridiculous. The very notion of love is insane. How can a person give themselves up so completely to another person? People are selfish, after all. People always care about themselves more than they care about others. Deluding yourself into thinking that a person could care more about you than about themselves is asking for all sorts of co-dependency bullshit to come rolling your way.

Although, Scorpius says that love isn’t about expecting someone else to care more about you than yourselves. When I made this claim he laughed and said that was a very me-like way of thinking. Love, he says, is when you care more about a certain person than yourself, and would do anything for them, regardless of whether it is what you want to do yourself, and regardless of whether they feel the same way about you.

And, no offense to Scorpius or anything, that sounds like an extremely pathetic way of living. I couldn’t imagine caring about somebody so much that I’d do something for them that I did not want to do. I care a lot about James and Lily, about Mum and Dad, and indeed about Scorpius, and I would do a lot for them, but I wouldn’t do something for them that I did not want to do. If I was asked to take my mother to St Mungo’s because she fell down the stairs and wasn’t breathing well, I’d take her there quick-smart because I’m the sort of selfish bastard who doesn’t want his mother to die. If, however, Lily asked me to de-gnome her garden on a rainy day, I would tell her to fuck off, because I’m also the sort of selfish bastard who doesn’t want to catch a cold.

Asteria is no exception to this rule, even though I care about her a lot as well. Whenever we’ve met it’s been because I have agreed to go to her, and whatever we do in bed we do because it’s what I want to do. I’ve never done anything I’ve not wanted to do for Asteria.

But, wait. That’s not entirely true, is it? There have been times when I’ve been quite lenient with her. I’ve let her choose locations, I’ve let her choose times, and I’ve even let her choose how she wants to be fucked sometimes … well, no. Often. Of course whenever I let her choose she chooses the same rough style of shag. Even at times when I didn’t want it.

And, actually, now that I think about it, there were times that she would call me, often the day after times when she’d been particularly inconsiderate of the tender relationship between her talon-like fingernails and the outer layers of skin on my arse, asking me to come to her. She also calls on days when I would be at work, needing to finish something, and genuinely worried that I would, you know, be fired, if I left. Come to think of it, it is always her that calls me. I’ve never called her. I’ve always been the one who waits for her to call. And sometimes, like last week, that would result in the odd occasion of me being so desperate for her that I can’t sit still.

But even when I don’t want to go to her, I go. And I’ve never questioned it before. I’ve always felt as though I’ve had the choice to go or not go to her, but is that true? Did I ever have a choice? Maybe I did, but I never thought of it that way. It was just a case of me figuring that of course I’d go. If it’s for Asteria, of course I’d go. If she wants to do it on the balcony when it’s bucketing down rain (a particularly memorable Saturday afternoon), then of course I’d do it, despite my hating ever being too cold. If she wants to do it rough when I want to do it slow, then of course I’ll do it rough.

Because it’s for Asteria.

Am I going insane here? Was I always like this? Why does it matter if it’s what Asteria wants? I shouldn’t have to risk getting the sack or suffer in the freezing rain for her. I never had gone to that trouble for any other girl, so why does it matter with Asteria?

But it does matter, with Asteria. It matters a lot, to me. It matters to me that she’s satisfied, and that she’s happy. It matters to me that she knows she can call me, whenever she needs me, and I’ll always, always be there for her. When she’s with me, I want her to feel satisfied, and happy. That’s all I’ve wanted for quite some time.

And as for me, and what I want, it’s true that normally I would not want to be fired or catch pneumonia or whatever, but when it involves Asteria neither my health nor status of employment seems to matter to me anymore. All that matters is that her desires are met. And if, from my meeting her desires, I get some small amount of gratitude from her, it makes any risk I take more than worth it.

Maybe I should not have been so angry when Asteria said that she loved me. But it was a surprise, and such a horrible time to spring that surprise. I was lying there, on her, listening to her breathe, feeling her under me, her legs still around her waist, thinking about how beautiful, how amazing, how funny, how smart, how wonderful she is. I must have shut my eyes then, because I remember blackness, then I remember something, some sound, escaping my lips…

And then I opened my eyes again.

Oh … oh Merlin. Oh, fuck. What was it Asteria said to me? ”Al, I think you’ve got this wrong”? Did I get it wrong? Was it really Asteria who had said “I love you”?

Or was it me?

She’s at work. I know that much. I hurl myself in front of the fireplace, throw in a handful of Floo Powder, shove my head inside and bark out the address. When the world stops spinning I am looking into her office. She is sitting at her desk, quill poised on some doubtlessly important piece of parchment, staring at me.

“Al?” she asks, uncertainly.

“Hi,” I answer, somewhat breathless. She is wearing her light grey suit; the one with the skirt that makes her legs look six feet long and leaves little to the imagination.

The sight of that suit would normally induce feelings of lust in me. But now, I instead feel this swirl of emotion at seeing her in clothing I know so well; in seeing that she is unchanged. I want to draw her in my arms and hug her, and never let go of her.

“I didn’t call you,” she says, kneeling carefully in front of the fireplace.

“I … I know,” I answer. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to … to apologise for running out on you, last week. I feel terrible about it. It was rude of me, and I was wondering if maybe, I could take you out to dinner or something, after work. You know, to apologise?”

Where did I pull that from? The last time I asked a girl out was when I was seventeen, she was a virgin, and I knew that getting enough wine into her would help her to lose those pesky inhibitions of hers and help me attain the coveted trophy of her knickers. I probably still have them in a box somewhere.

I watch Asteria as she considers my offer. She is biting her lip, looking at her knees, thinking. Another strong emotion floods through me as I watch. This time I want to hug her to me again, and kiss her, softly and slowly. I want to explore her mouth, maybe run a hand or two through that amazing blonde hair of hers. I want to take my time with her, make her feel beautiful and wanted.

Loved, in other words.

“I don’t think that would be the greatest idea, Al,” she says, snapping me back into reality like the mightiest hit in the face by the wettest of fish. “Draco normally expects me home at a certain time, and he might get suspicious if I’m not there.”

Another strong emotion. This time it is highly unpleasant. It’s as though every time I’ve felt hurt or betrayed in my life (not that those are two emotions I have experienced much of in my time) has culminated and hit me all at once. So yes, hurt and betrayal are there. But there is also a strong surge of fear, because in replying in that way she has confirmed what I was hoping she would not confirm. Because now it is clear that it wasn’t Asteria who said those horrific words last week. It was me.

And I am the one who has failed what I believe in.

Because I am in love with her.

“Oh,” I find myself saying to her now. “Okay, that’s fine.”

“It’s all right, Al,” she says, playing with a lock of her hair. “I forgive you. In fact, you can come over now, if you like.” She now smiles evilly at me. “In fact, why don’t you come over, and give it to me good and proper?”

I smile back at her, and sever the connection. The pain I’m feeling threatens to overflow. I clutch at my chest with one hand, and bury my face in the other. For a moment I feel as though I am going to cry.

But no. I stand up, release my chest and face, square my shoulders, and stand proud. This is not who I am. I am not somebody who lets stupid emotions overtake him. I am Albus Severus Potter, for fuck’s sake. Nothing, not even this, will beat me.

With that, I take some more Floo powder, arrange my face into its most sexually predatory smirk, and step into the fire. This is for Asteria, after all. This is to give her what she wants.

Because this is what I always do.

This is who I am to her.

Nothing more.