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“Holy shit.” Draco collapsed onto the bed next to me. “Holy shit, Astoria.”

I cleared my throat, and his head snapped around. “A little help here?”

“Fuck. Sorry.” He grabbed his wand off the bedside table and tapped it to the green tie that bound my wrists to the thick oak headboard of his bed. The knots unraveled, and I pulled my hands loose and stretched my arms above my head. When I opened my eyes, he’d rolled onto his side and was studying me. His face was covered in sweat, and his gaze was even more intense than it usually was. “Was that okay?”

I let out a whimper. The shock waves hadn’t quite stopped coursing through me, and my entire body was tingling so much that the feel of his black silk sheets against my back was almost overwhelming. When he put his arm around me, though, I rolled onto my side and molded my body to his. Our fingers intertwined over my stomach, and he hooked his foot around mine. We lay there for a few minutes in silence; my heart took awhile to stop hammering, and his chest was still heaving behind me.

He cleared his throat. “So - so that was okay?” I nodded. “Okay. I - good. Would you - would you do that again, then? Not every time, but -”

“Yes.” I rolled over, and his lips curled upward as I pressed mine against them.

It wasn’t enough to convince him that further clarification really wasn’t necessary, though. “You’re really not just humoring me?”

I didn’t have a history of sugarcoating things, so it was occasionally obnoxious to have to reassure my boyfriend that I did indeed mean something I’d just said. It was also vaguely comforting to know that he cared so much. “Have I ever humored you?”

“No,” he admitted.

“Well, I’m not going to start now.”

He pulled his hand away from me to brush his very damp blond hair out of his eyes. I felt myself smile without really meaning to; there was something about the gesture and the insecurity behind it that was vaguely endearing, especially since he had more experience with both relationships and sex than I did. “Okay,” he said after a moment. “I just - I just wanted to make sure, because - I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. I mean, I don’t need to tie you up. I like fucking you without that.”

“I’d noticed.”

He hesitated, and then he said, “So you don’t - like - hate me? For any of the things I said?”

“Of course not. I like the things you said.” I rolled over to look at him. “Why do you always ask me that? You know I don’t hate you.”

He made a face. “I just - I love you, and I don’t think I deserve you.” I sighed, and he leaned in to kiss me. “That’s all.”

I wound my arms around his neck and kissed him back. “I’m not sure you deserve me, either.” He rolled his eyes and sat up.

“There it is. I’m hungry. Do you want something?”

It was well after 11 by the time we ventured out to the bar. The night was cool without being truly cold, and there were only a few people still out. I vaguely noticed the two men across the street, but I didn’t think anything of it until I felt Draco stiffen next to me.

“Keep walking,” he muttered, reaching out to grab my hand. “Just keep walking.” When I looked up at him, he let his eyes flicker in their direction before focusing back on me. He slipped his free hand into his jacket pocket, where I knew he had his wand.

I tapped my middle finger and thumb together three times. The magical catch released my wand from the sheath on my arm, and I caught it before it could slide into view. “Who is that?” I asked him in an undertone. Before he could answer, the two men started ambling across the street. They didn’t so much as glance at us, but if Draco thought that they were focused on something other than each other, I believed him. We were just starting to speed up when one of the men called, “I’m surprised at you, Draco.”

Draco’s wand was out of his pocket and pointed at the man before he’d finished talking. “What are you surprised at, Dominic?” His voice was cool and composed, and his hand as he pointed his want toward them was steady.

The death grip he had on my hand belied his nonchalance.

The men came to a stop a few feet away from us. The taller one smiled. “I’d have thought you’d like your blood dirtier these days.”

“Mm.” Draco didn’t rise to the bait - his tone was almost bored. “I can swallow the bile enough to keep my ass out of Azkaban. I still have standards about where I stick my cock.”

When I’d first started spending time with him, I would have believed that he really felt that way. Now I knew he didn’t, but it was still jarring to hear; it was something he would’ve said back in school. I’d hated him then.

The men both laughed, but there wasn’t any humor in it. I let my wand slide into my hand and raised it - I had no idea who either of these men were, but they made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The one who’d spoken had broad shoulders, large hands, and a face pock-marked by dragon pox. The other man was thinner, but the way he moved and the way he looked at us - especially me - felt like a predator sizing up his next meal. His beard was so full that it was a little hard to pick out many identifying characteristics on his face. I could see his eyes clearly, though - they looked almost feral.

I tightened my grip on my wand.

“I suppose as long as a blood traitor keeps quiet, she’s better than a Mudblood,” the thinner one said. “Is this one mouthy?”

“Not when I don’t want her to be.” Draco sounded dismissive. “She does what she’s told.”

The bigger man glanced at me. “Don’t think she liked that,” he told Draco. Draco didn’t look at me, but I wished I had a better poker face. “Sweetheart, if he’s not treating you right, you can always come with us.”

I opened my mouth, but before I could speak, Draco spat, “I’m a Malfoy. I don’t share, and I’m not done with her yet.” Even though I knew it was an act, his tone made my blood run cold. “What do you want?”

The thinner man glanced up at the moon. It was nearly full. Draco didn’t follow his gaze, but his grip on my hand tightened. “We just happened to see you and thought we’d have a word. You’ve helped that bitch’s brother lock up a lot of our friends, you know.”

I’d wondered whether they were werewolves - they had that look about them, somehow - and the crack about my brother confirmed it. There still werewolf separatists who had found the post-war wizarding world’s hostility to indiscriminate murder and assault inconvenient, and my brother’s department had captured a lot of them. Draco had used Polyjuice Potion and the dismissive sneer that was still second nature to him to trick a few others into a confession, which probably explained the antipathy they were feeling - though not how they’d found his flat, which was something he took extreme magical and logistical measures to avoid.

“I’m not losing sleep over it,” Draco said. “We lost the war, or didn’t you hear? If you can’t play the part until the backlash blows over, that’s your problem.”

“We lost the war?” the bigger one asked. “You didn’t lose shit, traitor.”

“I prefer a pretty pureblood girl to suck me off whenever I want to a cell in Azkaban, thanks.”

The smaller one tensed, and Draco yanked me back just as the other man sprang forward. “Stupefy!” The spell hit the man squarely in the chest. It had no effect. “Shit,” Draco snapped. “Astoria -”

I aimed my wand at the lamppost rather than the man. It came crashing down and hit him squarely on his right shoulder - he dropped like a stone just as the bigger man shoved past Draco to grab me.

His nails were sharp, and his hold on me was hard enough that I could hear the fabric of my jacket tear. His clothes smelled like dried blood and dirt, and when he smiled, I could see shiny white teeth. Some of them looked like they’d been filed down, and his breath smelled vaguely like the rotten leftovers I’d forgotten in the back of my brother’s cold box for three months. “Let’s see you help the Ministry now,” he snarled to Draco as he raised his wand. I realized that he was about to Apparate, and I felt a cold fury rising up in my stomach.

If some spells bounced off his friend, they’d probably bounce off him - but I thought I knew that some wouldn’t. “Imperio,” I snapped, pointing my wand at his foot and hoping that would be enough.

His grip on me immediately slackened, and I stumbled away. I doubted my spell would have held for long, anyway, but the big man’s eyes were already starting to clear. Just as I started to raise my wand again, Draco reached out to grab my arm. A second later, I felt a familiar jolt in my stomach. When I opened my eyes, we’d landed in a smattering of trees that I didn’t recognize. Light flared into the tip of my wand, and I darted my eyes across our surroundings, waiting for someone else to step out from behind the trees. I could feel my heartbeat in my ears.

I heard Draco mutter something behind me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a silver shape explode out of his wand and dart into the underbrush. “Check that no one followed us,” he said. His voice was so soft I could barely hear it. “I’ll cast the protection spells.”

When I’d established that we were alone, I tapped my wand against the bracelet I wore around my wrist twice. Draco finished the protection spells just as I finished whispering the message to send to my brother. “We’re alone,” I told him when he opened his mouth. “I’m sure. Why did you Apparate us away?”

He wrapped his arms around me rather than answer. His grip was so tight it was hard to breathe, and while he’d sounded largely composed when he’d told me to check for followers, I could feel his heart hammering underneath his heaving chest.

I returned the hug, though with much less force. “I’m okay,” I said into his sweater. “Draco, I’m fine.”

His hold on me tightened. “I’m sorry,” he said into my hair. “I’m sorry I said all of that. I didn’t mean it, I swear I didn’t. I love you.”

“I know you do.”

When he spoke again, his voice was thick. “I’m going to kill them,” he spat. “I’m going to fucking kill them.”

A twig cracked nearby. Draco immediately put his arm out and stepped in front of me. “It’s me,” a vaguely familiar voice called. “The password was Pureblood.”

I glanced at Draco. The relief on his face as he lifted some of the protection spells was obvious, which made me feel a little better. “You fucker,” he called back. “I still can’t believe you got away with that stunt.” He raised his wand higher, and the shadow moving toward us was illuminated.

“You didn’t turn us in,” Harry Potter pointed out as he approached us. His hair was flattened on one side, but his eyes were alert.

“I was twelve, how was I supposed to know what Polyjuice potion looked like?”

Sometimes, the things Draco alluded to made me really curious. Even through the fear, this was one of them. “Whose wand was I using at the Battle of Hogwarts?” Harry asked.

“You fucker,” Draco repeated. “Mine.”

I twisted around to study Draco’s face. “Why was -”

“Why the fuck aren’t they in Azkaban?” he snapped at Harry. “And don’t tell me to calm down. They were going after my girlfriend.”

Harry glanced past Draco at me. “Brendon and Parvati are dealing with them now,” he said. “Then we’ll evaluate whether there’s any additional threat.” Draco made a disgusted noise and opened his mouth, but Harry cut him off. “That cottage you stayed in before is empty. Go there and make one of you Secret Keeper. You have that coin with you?” Draco nodded. “Good. We’ll touch base using that sometime tomorrow. Probably -”

“The afternoon,” Draco said. “Yeah. I got it. Good luck, Potter.”

There was a loud crack, and Harry vanished. I felt Draco’s hand close around my elbow, and before I could say anything, there was another tug at my stomach. When we landed on the doorstep of the cottage, I fell to my knees and vomited up everything in my stomach. As soon as I was done, I scrambled into the house. Draco slammed the door behind me.

“Bathroom’s -”

“I remember.” I snapped. “You could have warned me before that one, you know.”

“Sorry.” He didn’t sound at all apologetic.

I slammed the bathroom door behind me. Last time I’d been here, I’d been too off-kilter to think about conjuring a toothbrush and toothpaste. This time, I wasn’t.

Once I’d thoroughly washed the awful taste from my mouth, I studied myself in the mirror. On one hand, I could understand why he’d be more focused on safety than communication. On the other, I’d been there, too, and the idea that I needed to be more forgiving of him than he’d been considerate of me pissed me off.

When I got out, he was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands. When he heard my footsteps, he looked up. “I really am sorry,” he said before I could say anything. This time, he did sound sincere. “I should have said something. It’s not - it’s just - I was just scared, and I panicked.” When I didn’t respond, he swallowed hard. “Can you come sit with me?”

He looked about as miserable as I felt. My misery wanted company, so I plodded across the room and sat down next to him.

After a moment, he asked, “Can I hold you?”

“Yeah,” I said after a moment. “Please.”

He immediately swung his leg over to rest on the back cushions and pulled me into his arms. “I’m sorry,” he said softly. “For snapping at you. I know that you were scared, too.”

“I don’t like being pushed around.”

“I know.” He sighed and buried his face in my hair. “I don’t want to push you around. I just… I kind of panicked, and I don’t really know. You’re my best friend.” He took a deep breath. “And I’m sorry for what I said to them. I swear, I didn’t mean any of it.”

“I know.”

“I really didn’t - it wasn’t - Astoria, really, it was just me panicking.” I didn’t say anything, and he sighed. “If it happens again, I’ll try to keep a more level head. I promise.”

“You usually do.” I’d seen him deal with actual assassination attempts with much more composure than he’d had that evening. “What happened?”

He shook his head. “You’re my best friend,” he said again. “Look, I - I  don’t have a lot of practice protecting other people. Apparently I don’t do it very well.” Before I could say anything, he added, “I’ll talk to Brendon or Harry about… doing it better.”

“Okay,” I said after a moment. “You should.”

“I will. I promise.” He buried his face in my hair and took a deep breath. “I love you. I’m just glad you’re okay.” We sat like that for a few minutes.

Then the silence started to get stifling. “Can I ask you something?”

“Mm.”

“It’s totally unrelated to all of this.”

“Even better.”

“Why was Harry Potter using your wand at the Battle of Hogwarts?”

Draco let out a very loud snort. “Oh, that.” I swiveled around to look at him. “He and Granger and Weasley got caught by some snatchers and brought to my parents’ manor while I was home for Easter. I hedged about whether it was really him and got my wand stolen for my trouble.” My confusion must have shown on my face, because he added, “When our old house elf broke them out.”

I thought about that for a moment. “That… that really doesn’t clear anything up, you know.”

He shrugged. “I guess you had to be there. It was a shitty place to be, though, so count your blessings.” I opened my mouth, and he said, “Shittier than Hogwarts. Trust me.”

I doubted that, but decided to drop it anyway. The story didn’t sound as funny as I’d been hoping it would be. “What stunt, then?” He cocked his head to the side. “The Polyjuice thing.”

He rolled his eyes. “Oh, that.” You heard about the students being petrified, right? It was the year before you started.”

“Of course. My parents were worried about Daphne - that was before she really fell in with - you know, your crowd, so they were afraid she’d get targeted for being in a blood traitor family.”

He winced. I usually would’ve restrained myself from making that dig at him, but I was still frustrated about his apparating without warning me. “Yeah, well. Potter thought it was me setting the monster on people, so Granger brewed up some Polyjuice Potion, and then Potter and Weasley snuck into the common room disguised as Crabbe and Goyle.” The look on my face seemed to restore some of his humor. “Yeah. They started to change back before they left, and when I found the real Crabbe and Goyle, they didn’t remember it - but I kind of thought they just got hexed or something. I only realized what had actually happened when we were in our fourth or fifth year, and by then, it was too late to get him in trouble for it.”

“How’d anyone brew up Polyjuice Potion? You were second years.”

He shrugged. “Yeah, well, Granger’s - well, herself. You never had classes with her - just trust me. She’s insufferable. Anything else?”

I thought about it. “Yes, actually. It’s less funny, though.”

“We’ve had that kind of night. Go ahead.”

I sighed. “Do you know who cursed Eliza?”

I could feel his body get tense, and his face closed off. My friend Eliza had been stuck in St. Mungo’s since the summer after the war ended. She was still herself, sort of, but the trauma had changed her, and she couldn’t deal with the outside world. I visited her sometimes.

He’d said it hadn’t been him when I’d brought it up, but I’d always hesitated to ask him whether he knew who did cast the curse that left my best friend bleeding out in the hallway during that awful, awful year - I was afraid he’d know the answer. Right now, though, it somehow felt important to know. “No,” he said after a moment, and I felt a weight lift off my chest. “I could probably guess if you wanted me to, but unless you really want me to, I’d rather not.” After a moment, I shook my head, and he let out a sigh of relief. “Good. It’d just be a guess, anyway - most people really did avoid me, you know. Even people on my side.”

“Why?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know.”

I was pretty sure he did know, and having heard the way he’d talked to those men tonight, I suspected that I knew, too. One thing about him hadn’t changed since we’d been in school - he was still good at making people seem small and insignificant when he wanted to. The authority with which he’d said “I’m a Malfoy. I don’t share” had been very convincing - if I hadn’t seen him sobbing about the war, I probably would have believed that it was real. A dismissive “I don’t have time for this” coming from someone with a dark mark probably would have cut wannabe-Death Eaters to the core.

I let it go. “You know how my brother told me that someone from your year was stuck in the hospital, too? From - from being shell-shocked from the war? But they got out?” He nodded. “Do you know who that was?”

He relaxed a little. “Oh - yeah, I do. She was a Gryffindor - Lavender. I don’t know if you’d have known her.” I shook my head. “Yeah. I don’t know her well, really - she never had time for Slytherins, and she was in that club - you know, Potter’s club. She was in St. Mungo’s for awhile, but she’s been working in that new division, where they’re dealing with acromantulas and stuff, for a few years now.” My eyebrows went up - that wasn’t what I’d have expected from someone shell-shocked by the war - and he shrugged. “Yeah, I don’t get it, either. Potter said it’s because Finnigan’s running it - he was a good friend of hers at school, and he kind of badgered her into it after she got out. As far as I know, she’s doing okay, though. Anything else?”

I considered that. “Tell me something I don’t know.”

We usually played that game - if you could even call it that - when we were drinking. It was a nice way to share things you felt a little uncomfortable sharing. We weren’t drinking right now, but he thought about it for a minute and then answered me anyway. “You know when you stayed here with me the first time I was hiding out here - before we were dating, I mean? When you had that nightmare?” I nodded. “Well, I was still awake when you started screaming, because I kept thinking about us almost kissing and I needed to… take care of something.”

“Oh.” I absorbed that for a minute and tried to remember whether I could remember any bulges beneath his trousers. I didn’t think I could. “Were you still - I mean -”

He laughed. “No, I was done and actually getting ready to go to sleep. You scared the shit out of me, though. Tell me something I do know.”

I considered him. “I love you,” I said after a moment.

I didn’t think he was conscious of the smile that spread across his face every time I said that. “Why?” he asked after a minute. “Don’t get me wrong - I’m happy about it. I just don’t get it. You hated me.”

“Yes.”

“Really hated me.” I nodded. “Like… I keep expecting you to change your mind, and you just… don’t.”

I sighed. “I don’t know. I can’t articulate why. I just do. I guess it’s mostly just that you’re a good person, and you also never raped or murdered anyone before becoming a good person.”

He grimaced. “That’s a low bar.”

“Being a good person isn’t. It’s hard to be a good person.”

“It doesn’t seem that hard for you.” I shrugged, and he pulled me against his chest. “I’m could have handled tonight better, and I know I that, but you wanted to know what happened? That’s what happened. You’re my best friend, and I love you, and I don’t want you getting hurt or - or dying - just because I barged into your life when you were just trying to have a quiet drink in the Three Broomsticks.”

“I wasn’t happy at the time, but I’m glad you did.”

“Yeah.” He started to run his fingers through my hair. “Me, too.”

I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the sensations traveling up to my scalp, which were already starting to make my skin prickle in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

The revelation about what exactly he’d been doing the first night I’d spent there was tugging at me. It shouldn’t have really been a surprise, but I hadn’t realized it, and now I was mulling that over in my head. “How often did you think about me before that night?” I asked. “When - like that, I mean.”

His fingers stilled. “Do we need to have this conversation right now?”

“No, but I want to. Keep doing that, though. It feels good.” After a moment, he started twisting my hair around his fingers again, and I smiled. “That feels good.”

“I know.” I heard him swallow. “I - look, do we really need to get into this now?”

“You both said they’d give us an update ‘tomorrow.’ What am I supposed to do, just sit here brooding about our shitty night?”

“So you want to talk about my dick instead of your life flashing before your eyes.” I shrugged. “Fine,” he said after a moment. “A lot. I wasn’t keeping track of exactly how much, but a lot.”

“Was that why you started talking to me that day?”

“No.” His tone was vehement, which surprised me. “No. You just looked sad, and your brother had mentioned that you were having a hard time. That’s all.”

“So you didn’t even notice what I looked like.”

“Of course I noticed, Astoria, I’m not blind. But I wasn’t thinking about getting into your pants.” He pulled his fingers out of my hair and wrapped his arms around me. “I guess I started thinking about it over last summer, when you’d stopped acting like spending time with me - something you chose to do - was basically a form of torture.”

I winced. “Sorry.”

“The way your legs look in shorts didn’t help.” I swiveled around to glare at him, and he grinned. “Oh, come off it. I’m not saying that’s why I was friends with you. I’m just saying, I noticed.” He went back to my hair.

I was feeling relaxed enough that I didn’t even stiffen when he said, “I noticed earlier that - that there was a - a cut on your arm that wasn’t there a few days ago. What happened?”

I sighed. We’d generally conducted our relationship on the understanding that when I took my shirt off, he’d focus on my chest rather than whether I’d cut myself. It hadn’t been relevant in weeks, but that didn’t mean the agreement no longer held. “What, just because we’re fucking now you think you can ask me anything?”

He kissed the top of my head. “Yes. Just because we’re fucking now, I think I can ask you anything.”

His tone was considerably more dry than mine had been. If he hadn’t been asking this specific topic, I probably would have laughed. Since it was this topic, I didn’t. I did answer him, though. “I don’t know,” I said. “I just had a bad night, and I was too tired to struggle through it.” I sighed. “It’s hard to describe.”

“Can you try?”

This was a conversation I had always tried desperately to avoid, because I hated the way even alluding to it made people look at me. Draco hadn’t generally fucked up about it, though, so I actually gave it some thought. “I think - either you know or you don’t, and you don’t,” I said at last. “That’s probably a good thing.”

I could have healed it, of course. I hated feeling the roughness of half-healed cuts when I ran my fingers over my arm. But it was a familiar hate, and sometimes, there was comfort in the familiar. “It’s just - when my head is too full of thoughts and too many of them are about how much I hate myself and how no one will ever love me and how broken I am, it just… it just helps. It hurts, and it makes me hate myself… but the bad thoughts hurt more, and it makes them a lot quieter.”

He absorbed that for a minute. “Isn’t there anything else that does that?” he finally asked.

“No,” I said. “Other things can make me feel more okay abut having the bad thoughts or even make me forget them for a little while, but nothing else makes them go away.”

I knew that he wanted to ask whether he made the bad thoughts quieter. I was glad he stopped himself, because he didn’t. That just wasn’t the way it worked.

Now the silence between us felt heavy. I didn’t do well with heavy silences; sometimes I filled them, and sometimes I embraced every stubborn bone in my body and make the other person do all the work, but I never liked them.

Today was a filling-the-silence kind of day. “Why do you like tying me up?”

He didn’t object to the change in subject, but he did take his time answering. “I just like being in control, I guess,” he said after a minute. “Not - not like earlier tonight. That wasn’t - I just panicked. But I love being in control when we’re fucking.”

“You don’t want to - you know, hurt me, right?” I asked. When he didn’t respond immediately, I added, “I mean, like - you know, like how you tie me up, not - not in a mean way.” It was a little garbled, but he clearly got the gist of what I was asking. I’d genuinely been wondering about it since we’d first talked about whether we wanted to try him tying me up; I didn’t know that much about this sort of thing, but my impression was that people tended to like both.

He sighed. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his head fall back as he started to study the ceiling. “I don’t know,” he said finally. “No. I don’t like hurting people. I’m not a monster.”

“I’m not talking about -”

“I know you’re not.” He thought for another few minutes. “If the war hadn’t happened, maybe. Yeah. Not - not like you do to yourself. I hate what you do to yourself.” The visceral distaste in his voice relieved me too much to sting. I liked having my boyfriend tie me up; wondering whether he wanted to cut me had made me feel genuinely squeamish. “I don’t want to - to do that. It just - what does it say about me if hurting you at all gets me off? Even if you liked it?”

“I’m not sure it says anything about you. It’s - it’s different. I like you tying me up; I don’t want anyone else doing it.” He made a face. “And I mean, some kinds of pain always feel a little sexual, anyway.”

Judging by the sudden stiffness in his arms, he did not share my experience with pain, and I wished I hadn’t said anything. I didn’t know why seeing blood running down my arm felt sexual at all, even if it was mixed up with a lot of pain and shame. While he moved on without addressing it, I suspected he’d bring it up again at some point, even if it wasn’t tonight.

“I don’t want to want to hurt you at all,” he said finally. “It doesn’t even make sense. I love you. I feel awful when I hurt your feelings, and I’d never do it on purpose. I don’t know why this is different.”

“How do you want to hurt me?”

He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t need to. It’s - forget I said anything.” When I didn’t look away from him, he sighed. “Damn it, Astoria. I don’t know. I like - I guess I just like being in charge.” After a moment, he swallowed. “I don’t know. Sometimes - sometimes I think about you on your knees in front of me begging to suck my cock, or handcuffing you and fucking you until your wrists are raw. I want to tie you up and tease you until you scream and beg me to take you.” He groaned. “Fuck, I’m so hard right now.”

He’d kind of ducked the actual question - nothing he’d said seemed unusual enough to warrant this level of caginess - but maybe it was something that needed to come out bit by bit, rather than all at once. I could understand that.

And besides, we’d had a tough evening.

“Maybe we should go to the bedroom, then,” I suggested.

He grinned. “Maybe we should,” he agreed. “Go check the locks. I’ll make up the bed.”

Checking the locks wasn’t necessary, and we both knew it wasn’t - the Fidelius charm would be much more effective than even magically enforced locks - but it didn’t matter.

“Making me beg seems to be a theme,” I said when I’d gotten to the bedroom. His breath caught in his throat, and I stripped off my sweater and my shirt.

“I like it when you beg,” he managed to get out. His eyes were fixed on my chest.

I sank to my knees in front of him, and he groaned. “Please let me suck you,” I said softly, reaching up to unbutton his trousers. “Please, Draco, please.”

“Yes,” he sighed as I took him past my lips. “Oh, fuck, Astoria.” I felt his fingers threading through my hair as I started to bob my head up and down. “You love my cock, don’t you? You love how it feels in your mouth.” I whimpered. “Oh, fuck. Astoria, take your clothes off.” His shirt and sweater landed behind me, and he was already kicking his trousers off when I rose. When I joined him in the bed, he gently pushed my shoulder down. “Keep going.”

When my mouth closed around him again, he let out a sigh and started to thrust in time with me. I could feel my heart starting to race again. “You love how I taste, too, don’t you? You’ll do anything to get my cock in your mouth.” I could feel the pressure building for me, too, so I started to reach down to touch myself. “No.” He grabbed my wrist. “Not yet.”

My stomach gave a lurch. I’d discovered over the past few months that I really did enjoy it when he teased me.

I could feel him starting to get close when he said, “Wait - I don’t want to finish yet.”

I bobbed my head down again. His fingers clenched around my arm when he hit the back of my throat, and he let out a loud groan.

He was panting heavily when I sat up. “That wasn’t what I told you to do.” His voice was soft, and it made a very enjoyable shiver go up my spine. “You’re very bad, aren’t you?” He was still gripping my arm.

“Yes,” I breathed.

“I should punish you.” I felt another jolt of desire, and I edged closer to him. When his fingers touched my clit, I gasped. “You’re mine,” he murmured. I bucked my hips against his fingers, and he smiled. It was different than his normal smile in a way that made my heart start to race, and I whimpered into his shoulder. “I’m going to fuck you until you collapse. I’m going to take you until all you can do is move your hips with mine and beg me not to stop.” I felt his breath on my ear. “Beg me, Astoria.”

“Please don’t stop,” I gasped, digging my nails into his arm. There was a fog descending over my mind. “Please, Draco, please don’t stop.”

“Tell me you’re mine.” He started to thrust against my leg. “Tell me you’re mine.”

“I’m yours! Draco, I’m yours, just please -”

He used his free hand to grab my wrists, and I let out another gasp. “Is this okay?” he asked softly.

“Yes!”

He pushed my wrists down into the pillow. “You’re so wet,” he said softly, brushing his lips against my neck. “I love how wet you get for me.”

I squirmed against his grip. “Draco, please!”

The arm he was using to hold my wrists down was quivering, and I didn’t think it was from the exertion. “I really do love it when you beg me.” He let me go and pulled his other hand away. I squirmed at its absence and started to reach down. “Don’t move,” he said, reaching down to search the pockets of his trousers. “As soon as this is on, I’m going to fuck you, and I don’t want you to come yet.” I returned my hand to the pillow, and he smiled. “That’s better. Roll over.” As soon as I’d rolled onto my stomach, his hand covered my wrists again. “I said I should punish you, you know.”

His tone made a jolt of electricity go through me. “Yes,” I breathed. “Fuck, Draco, yes, punish me.”

“Spread your legs for me.” We both let out very loud moans as he entered me. “You’re mine.” The hand on my wrists pressed down a little harder, and I felt the pressure starting to build again. “Tell me how much you need me.”

“I need you!” I cried, grinding myself against the sheets. “Draco, I’m so close, please!” With that, he stopped thrusting, and I moaned in frustration. “Please!”

“Make me.” He leaned down to press his lips against the back of my neck. “Tell me what you want me to do to you. Beg me.”

I wasn’t completely used to dirty talk yet, but I wanted him much more than I was uncomfortable with it - and I doubted he’d even notice if I sounded ridiculous right now. “I want to take you in my mouth,” I told him. “I want to - I want to suck you until you come.” I could hear him starting to breathe faster. “I want you to handcuff me to the bed and fuck me until I scream.”

“Keep going,” he gasped when I hesitated. I didn’t think he was even aware that he’d started to thrust in and out of me again, albeit very slowly, but that seemed like it was probably a sign that he liked what I was saying.

I wasn’t sure what else to say. “I want you to tie my wrists together so tightly that I can’t get free even when you tease me until I cry. I want you to spank me while you fuck me from behind.”

He groaned and plunged into me. I gasped into the pillow, and his grip on my wrists tightened. The pressure was building to a fever pitch, and I tried to pull my hand free to touch myself. He immediately stopped moving. “Do you want me to -?”

“No,” I said after a moment, and he started to thrust again. “But you’re driving me crazy, and I’m so, so close!”

He pressed down harder on my wrists, and I wriggled my hips more. “Tell me if you want me to let you up,” he said, in a much more serious tone. “Otherwise, though, I’m going to keep teasing you.”

“Don’t let me up,” I managed to say. “But please, Draco, please, I’m so - I need -” He bent down to kiss my neck. When he brushed his lips right above my collarbone, I cried out. “You know how crazy that makes me!”

“That’s the point.” He switched to the other side of my neck.

Please!” I gasped. “Please, I need it, please!”

“Fuck, I love teasing you.” He pushed himself deep into me, and I let out another moan and tried to yank my hand free. He pressed down on my wrists harder, and I felt myself tighten around him. “Fuck, he panted. “Oh, fuck, yes. You’re mine, Astoria.” I moaned into the pillow. “Tell me you’re mine. Beg me.”

“I’m yours! I’m yours, I’m yours, I love you, please, please, I’m so close, I need - Draco, please!” His pace was starting to pick up. “Please!”

He loosened his grip enough for me to yank one hand free. I reached down, and a minute later, I was whimpering into the pillow as the vibrations pulsed through me. Just as they were starting to slow down, I felt him shudder, too. “Fuck,” he said after we’d both stopped gasping. “Holy shit, Astoria.” He pulled out of me and tossed the condom in the trash basket next to his bed. “That was…” Words seemed to fail him, because he collapsed next to me. I inched closer to him, and he wrapped an arm and a leg around me. “Fuck,” he said again, “Was that - it seemed like -”

“Yes,” I agreed, pressing my lips against his arm. “That was amazing.”

“Good.” He brushed his lips above my collarbone again, and I twitched. “I love you,” he said. “I love you so, so much.”

“I love you, too.” His grip on me tightened. “Fuck, you’re good at that. I love it when you tease me.”

“You probably couldn’t tell, but so do I.”