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Ridiculous, Madcap

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When it happened, it was entirely unexpected. Which, well, no comment.

Harry was due at eight that night. John started cooking early – braised beef, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, green salad. He’d cooked more in the past three months than in the past decade, and he was getting pretty good, if he said so himself. Harry, when quizzed, made incoherently delighted noises over whatever was put in front of him, but John didn’t take that to heart. This was a guy who sponged up calories like a growing teenager; his dog was more discriminating.

Gard had made exactly one smirking comment about the fastest way to a man’s heart. John did not appreciate kitch greeting card nonsense applied to him. To them.

It was inaccurate, anyway. Harry had an artisan’s appreciation for the homemade and the hand-crafted. And John liked giving him things and watching him enjoy them. Food was perhaps the only area where Harry permitted him that pleasure without a hell of a fight, even now.

Not that the fighting wasn’t also a pleasure, in its own way. A good thing, too, since they did it a lot, in between – and often during -- dinner out on the back deck, or a warm afternoon on the lake, or even a night at the theater, once. They were good at arguing with each other. They’d better be, by now. The tension between them had aged beautifully, mellowing over the past few months into a warm piquancy. With fire underneath, of course. But that would never change.

It had been a good three months. John had applied himself to the business of courtship, and he thought, on the whole, he was executing it well. He was making Harry Dresden happy. Not a means. Just an end.

That wasn’t hard to do these days, to be fair. There was a lightness to Harry since he’d escaped the Winter Queen. A new lease on life, something like that. He smiled more, bit less. And he kissed John with open curiosity, playful and oddly sweet.

Or, more recently, with clinging urgency. John had patience to burn for Harry Dresden, as demonstrated frequently and often. Celibacy was not new; it had happened now and then from boredom or busyness or necessity, and he had no problem with Harry’s insistence on keeping them around – what was it? Hendricks had been laughing pretty hard through the entire ten second conversation, but John was pretty sure he’d said second base.

John could stamp down on his urges, stop the distracting flow of his thoughts. He could relegate desire to a quick orgasm in the shower after the gym, just another kind of bodily maintenance.

Except two weeks ago, a good night kiss had blazed suddenly out of control. They’d tripped sideways against the deck doors, clinched together, Harry’s hands up the back of John’s jacket. John had palmed the spare curve of his ass, squeezing until Harry hitched against him, groaning into their locked mouths.

It had been physically painful when Harry had pulled away that time, flushed and dazed, muttering disjointedly about how he needed to go. John’s only consolation was that it looked like it had been just as painful for Harry.

That, and the series of transparently edgy cracks Harry had made since then about cheerleaders and putting out too soon, and that appalling thing about cows and milk.

Like most things Harry did, it was absurd yet . . . affecting. John didn’t understand it, whether it was fear of sex or just venerating it into a position of ridiculous over-importance. They’d been more intimate the first time they’d met, from some perspectives.

Still. It mattered to Harry, and that made it matter to John. If Harry valued their first sexual encounter so highly, then John did too. Because if this was not merely physical to Harry, not just animal satisfaction, than there was a lot more on offer. A lot more to win, if John played his cards right.

And if there was something to win, John would win it.

It was always good policy to give Harry a cushion of tardiness, and John had planned the meal accordingly. But by 8:20, he’d moved past tolerance to irritated concern.

Also, the asparagus was going to go soggy if left out much longer.

John’s cell rang the second he put his hand on it to call Hendricks.

“Sooo,” Harry said through a crackle of static. “Funny thing happened on the way over.”

“Where are you?”

Hiss, crackle. “—same pier we used with your boat, you remember. And my car is—“ mumble mumble.

John suppressed the urge to shake his iPhone. “I can pick you up.”

“Thanks,” Harry said, and faded out again. “—so bring towels,” John caught, before the line went dead.

He left dinner to stay warm on the stovetop, and drove himself. It was a quick trip, this late on a Monday night, and not far to go. He didn’t immediately see Harry when he pulled into the deserted parking lot, but then a lean shadow detached itself from a brick wall. Harry strode into the light, long legs eating up the distance. John reached across to unlock the passenger door for him.

But Harry just leaned down, folding himself nearly in half to get his head into the Lexus.

“. . . Ah,” John said, eyeing him. “Towels.”

Harry was sopping wet head-to-toe. His coat looked like it weighed a ton. There was a spray of glossy green leaves tilted rakishly over the crown of his head, and one cheek was smeared with mud.

“Would you believe me if I said I was kidnapped by teenaged nymphs?” Harry said. There was a shiver of laughter in his voice.

“You? Absolutely.” John retrieved a towel from the back seat and passed it out to him. There were another five back there, along with a first-aid kit, a flare gun, and an assault rifle. Standard Dresden date survival kit, more or less.

Harry rubbed himself down vigorously, wringing out his clothes. John passed him more towels as needed, and finally Harry gave the rest up as a lost cause and slid damply into the passenger seat.

“Is that a . . . crown?” John said, eyeing the leaves still in his hair with fascination. He pulled back out onto the street, watching Harry in the mirror.

“Yeah, so I think I just got elected the nymph Pope or something,” Harry said. “I’m a little fuzzy on the details. Hey, you missed the turn.”

“You can shower at my place,’ John said. “I’m sure I have something that you can wear while I wash your clothes.”

“All right,” Harry said with surprising equanimity. It was explained a moment later when he added, “I’m pretty hungry, anyway.”

“Mercenary,” John said.

“You like it, I know you do,” Harry said. He delivered a flirtatious wink in the mirror, clownishly overdoing it. Then he proceeded to tell an improbably hilarious story of how he’d just gotten rolled for a magical favor by a pack of squealing adolescent nymphs. The whole thing sounded suspiciously like a sleepover prank spiraled way out-of-hand.

There was a guest suite on the ground floor, but John took Harry up to his own third floor bedroom instead.

“Just leave your clothes here,” he said, gesturing Harry into the dressing room. “I’ll put them in the wash and get you something else.”

He was consumed with purely practical thoughts for the next few minutes. He couldn’t do much for Harry’s leather coat except lay it out flat to dry. He did empty the pockets, though, confirming once and for all that Harry was a packrat and also very, very strange. The loose ammunition was messy if explicable, but eight handkerchiefs? A dozen tiny plastic bags with pebbles or specks of dirt or just road garbage in them? A doll-sized teacup?

John set everything aside on the dressing room counter and brought the clothes downstairs. Harry’s boots might be a loss. They would probably dry all right, but John suspected the mossy, unpleasantly metallic smell of the lake would linger.

He put the clothes in to wash, measured out detergent. He was bemused by the unfamiliar ritual; he couldn’t remember the last time he’d done his own laundry, let alone someone else’s. Oddly pleasing, actually.

He checked that the food was still warm, and opened a bottle of wine. Then he hurried back upstairs and dug out a pair of yoga pants and a plain black t-shirt. Neither would fit very well, but they would do. He left them in the dressing room. The shower was still running in the connected bathroom; John could hear Harry humming to himself over vigorous splashing. He spared a thought for his water heater, but it was three floors down in the basement, after all, and replaceable.

He was out in the bedroom staring at his shoe rack when the shower turned off. He seemed to own only black dress shoes and steel-toed boots. There was probably a pair of old sneakers around somewhere, but nothing would fit. John was deciding whether to send someone out for shoes when he heard Harry moving around in the dressing room. Hmm. Harry was illogically more accepting of impractical or silly gifts; this might trip his reflexive refusal to be bought, being pragmatic and quantifiable.

“Dinner’s ready whenever you are,” John called to him. “Your clothes will be done in an hour, though I’m not sure about your shoes . . .”

There was a quiet footstep behind him, and John turned. The domestic prattle dried up on his lips.

“Or we could just skip dinner,” Harry said, in a husky voice John had never heard before. He was standing tall in the dressing room door, a few strands of hair curling damply over his forehead. He was wearing nothing but a low-slung towel, one finger negligently hooked to hold it up.

It was like being sucker-punched by lust; it hit so hard it hurt. The neat compartmentalization exploded, and it all came pouring through at once.

“Um,” Harry said, pose of brazen confidence cracking. “If . . . if you want to?”

It was embarrassing to discover you could be all but drooling over a guy who was actually that dumb.

John wrenched himself out of temporary paralysis. He took three long steps and pulled Harry’s head down. Their mouths touched; the crackle was nearly palpable. Harry made a soft, yearning sound, and they seemed to snap together, magnetized. John turned them, walking Harry backwards. Harry shuffled along, his mouth still slanted over John’s, hands gripping convulsively at his back.

John drew away. They were both already breathless, and Harry’s towel was slipping, slipping . . .

“I want,” John said, barely recognizing his own voice. Then he lifted Harry around the waist – it was like he hadn’t eaten in weeks, for God’s sake -- and tossed him across the bed. He waited long enough to watch Harry sprawl gracelessly out, his eyes widening as he took John’s point. Then he came down over Harry with his full weight, his hands everywhere at once.

The towel was gone; Harry was an endless stretch of bare skin beneath him, flushed and warm from the shower. John kissed his mouth, his jaw, the shell of his ear, the hollow of his throat where he was sensitive and responsive.

They tussled gently. Harry rolled up and over him, long legs sprawled to either side. He pushed up on his hands, grinning goofily. He looked like this was as absurdly funny as getting kidnapped by nymphs, like John was another ridiculous, madcap wrinkle in his ridiculous, madcap life.

John pulled him down, and they kept rolling. Harry’s nipples hardened under his circling thumbs; his mouth softened, distracted, and his teeth lightly scored John’s lip.

Then he yelped, biting down more sharply. “Ow,” he said, shoving at John, “your belt—“

John went up onto his hands, disoriented and inelegant. “Sorry,” he said. The buckle must have hurt, digging into Harry’s bare skin like that. “You could fix it, you know,” he said encouragingly.

“. . . Oh,” Harry said, and reached for the buckle. He applied himself with studious concentration, his head bent, tongue peeking out the corner of his mouth. He paused when he got the belt open, flickered a quick glance up to John’s eyes, then looked back down and ran his knuckles over the bulge in John’s slacks. They both breathed in; John locked his elbows, forcing himself still.

Harry turned his hand, cupping him with maddening gentleness. He reached up with the other hand, cradling John’s dick between his palms. And then he waited, fingers moving softly, feeling John get hard for him. It didn’t take long.

John’s dick was bent awkwardly down, painfully confined. Harry rolled his hand once, stroking him, and John hissed between his teeth. Harry flashed him another look for that, mischievous and deeply pleased with himself. He snuck a hand down between John’s thighs, fingering his balls with a curious slant to his mouth. John widened his stance, letting him in. Harry squeezed his double handful, too gentle on his dick, too rough on his balls.

“Harry—“ John said, more threateningly than he’d quite meant to.

Harry’s face snapped into a look of intense focus; he scrabbled at John’s zipper, suddenly frantic. He nearly tore the button right off before he got it loose. He burrowed into John’s open fly two-handed, fishing his dick out with warm, rough fingers. Then he paused again, just looking. John’s arms were beginning to tire; he tensed his biceps, determined not to interrupt this.

Harry curled curious fingers around him. It was unfairly arousing, that dry, warm, encompassing grip. Harry touched a finger to the head of John’s dick, slicking the single bead of moisture and then chafing the pad of his finger back and forth, back and forth over John’s slit until he got another.

“Huh,” he said, grinning with open delight.

“My goodness,” John said. That single nettling fingertip seemed to be twanging directly at the tight-strung string of his desire. “It works just like yours and everything.”

“You have this vein popping out in your temple,” Harry said helpfully. “Wow, I don’t think I even get that when I set something of yours on fire.” He beamed self-satisfaction.

“You are a curse upon me,” John said flatly. “There’s no other explanation.” He sat back and stripped off his shirt, then knelt up long enough to kick off his pants and shorts. Harry watched the process, beatific.

John settled over him again, both of them bare this time. They shifted and adjusted, bodies finding their natural alignment. John was intensely aware of him – the arch of his ribs, the tickle of the hairs low on his belly, the heavy line of his dick pressed between them.

Harry put his arms up and around John’s back. “You like it, I know you do,” he said. There was no flirtation there now. Just confidence.

Three months was a really fucking long time. But enough time, apparently.

John kissed him again. He let his full weight sink down over Harry for a minute. He was too heavy to stay, but he wanted to feel Harry breathe so close it was like it came from John’s lungs, too.

They eased onto their sides. Their legs braided together, their hips lined up. John found Harry’s nipple again. He pressed it lightly between two fingers, leaning back to watch Harry’s face. Tighter, tighter, Harry’s breath hitched and a flush bloomed in his cheeks, tighter, he bit his lip, tighter, he whined, body flexing forcefully.

“Good to know,” John said, slowly easing off.

“. . . Yeah,” Harry said, in the tones of someone having a revelation. “Do that again.”

John switched to his other nipple. He rolled it between his fingers, working up to the tight pinch Harry wanted in slow stages. On impulse, he ducked down and swiped his tongue over the other, already swollen from his first pinch. Harry’s hand clamped down on the back of his neck, holding him in place. John applied his teeth, working the nipple between them, biting down as he pinched tighter until Harry was moving constantly against him, hips rocking.

John let him go, and Harry pulled him up by the hair into a messy kiss. He was breathing hard, his eyes wide and startled. He swiped his tongue over John’s lower lip, then ran his thumb along the same path, over and over until John’s mouth was sensitized and tender.

Harry pushed a hand between them, fumbled until he had their dicks cozied up together in his oversized palm. His mouth slid from John’s as he squeezed them, a thoughtful crease between his eyes.

John would have bet a large portion of his net worth that there was some crack about measuring contests incoming. Instead, Harry licked his lips and said, “What do you want?”

And there was a loaded question, at last. Harry had said, without ever saying, that he was pretty invested in whose dick went where in whom. On the one hand, that was absurd. John wanted to do everything with him in reverse alphabetical order, and then reprise mutual favorites until neither of them could get out of bed if they wanted to. His desires had boiled down over long years to elementals; he wanted the taste of Harry’s sweat, the tender weight of his balls to cradle, a spot high on his throat to bite.

On the other hand . . .

John was not ashamed to admit he’d been carrying an itch like some people would carry a torch. And that putting Harry Dresden on his hands and knees and fucking him until he came all over himself, and then more until he cried would be . . . extremely satisfying.

So many things to want. And so much time, it turned out.

“Let me put my mouth on you?” he murmured.

“Oh,” Harry said, flushed deepening. “That’s – yeah, okay.”

There was an interval of awkward untangling; John cut through it by the expedient of shoving Harry flat on his back and kissing down his belly. Harry moved helpfully at last, making room, and John settled down between his legs. He indulged himself, running his fingertips and mouth over all that undiscovered territory. He kissed the hollow of Harry’s hip, bit gently at the tendon connecting his thigh to his groin, scratched his nails up Harry’s legs against the grain of the coarse dark hairs.

“John,” Harry said, shifting restlessly.

“Mmm?” John said. He ducked down and kissed Harry’s balls, his mouth open, tongue working.

Harry’s thighs jumped under his hands. “Will you get on with it?”

“Mmm,” John said again. He wormed in closer, pressing into the intimate space behind Harry’s dick. He smelled like John’s own soap. A modern scent mark, but still primally satisfying. And under that, he smelled like a man.

John nosed down past his balls, licking inquisitively. Harry made an uncertain noise; his thighs flexed around John’s ears, squeezing like he might be trying to force John away.

John burrowed down further, mouth straining. The tip of his tongue touched more crinkly hairs, then, fleetingly, the whorled rim of his hole.

“Um!’ Harry said.

John sat up. He’d been playing it a little by ear, offering up a blowjob because there were few men out there who would want to turn that down. But now he was fired with a different purpose.

“Turn over for me,” he said.

“Uh!” Harry said. Then hot color flooded his face and his eyes narrowed in outrage. “But you said—“

John smiled, showing his teeth. “I never specified where,” he said. “Really, Mister Dresden, you should be more careful with the agreements you make.”

Harry’s look of incredulous outrage was warming. “You bastard,” he said. “I should have fucking known. What, do you have a lawyer on speed dial whenever you go to bed with someone?”

“With you, no,” John said sweetly. “Only the fire department.”

“I hate you,” Harry said, resorting to base emotions in the absence of a comeback that would hold an ounce of water. And he rolled over.

His back was unexpectedly beautiful. He was nothing but bones from most angles, but John could trace lean muscle from his shoulders all the way down to his hips. Harry’s hodgepodge discipline of magic and running and Aikido and staffwork and just bashing at things until they stopped moving rarely showed, at least not until it was happening to you.

It was clear right then, though. No gangly, underfed wizard in his bed, but a man who fought like an alley cat and usually won, and who had a reasonable chance of tossing John into a wall with or without magic. Oversized, disproportionate, improbable Harry Dresden.

John kissed the base of his spine, the flat plane right over his tailbone. He loved that spot on a man, always had. And you could only ever see it in this position.

Then he licked down Harry’s crack, rubbing the soft underside of his tongue all the way to his balls.

Harry yelped and levitated like he hadn’t known what was coming. John laid a forearm across the small of his back, pressing him down, steadying him.

He spread Harry open with the other hand and nuzzled into the spot just behind his balls, licking slowly. The skin was soft and tender there, untouched by sun or injury. John got it wet, breathing him in and lipping distractedly at the curve of his testicles.

Harry was saying, “oh, oh, oh,” quietly to himself. He was holding perfectly still, but a desperate tension trembled beneath his skin. John sucked gently at his balls, curious. He recalled not liking that, personally – it made his guts twist up uncomfortably, almost to the point of cramping. But Harry keened out a long, trembly breath at the touch of John’s mouth, and he didn’t sound like he wanted to curl away or kick out in defense.

John opened his mouth wide over Harry’s balls, carefully drawing them in. He licked at them, testing the give beneath the flat of his tongue. Then, on a hunch, he eased closer, relaxing the protective curl of his lips and setting his teeth into Harry’s skin. So gently, still, barely any pressure. Harry went abruptly silent; John didn’t think he was breathing. He was locked in place, not even a quiver escaping.

John held him there between his teeth for a long few ticks, breathing carefully. Then he eased his jaw, let go.

“Oh God,” Harry said explosively. A shiver seized him, traveling down his back and rocking him on his knees.

“Mmm,” John said. He spread Harry open and breathed across him where he was wet. Harry shuddered again – John could practically taste the way his nerves were screaming. Goosebumps popped up all down the insides of Harry’s legs.

John bent to do it again, delighted.

“Wait, don’t,” Harry said jaggedly.

John paused. “No?”

Harry’s breath rattled. “I don’t think I—I don’t want—“

John sat up. He was disappointed, a bit, to be denied this. An odd, unexpected desire, something he’d never done before. That had felt important, for reasons he couldn’t explain.

“No, I—“ Harry said, then quickly. “Just do it, don’t fuck around.”

John blinked. Then he bent fast enough to give himself whiplash, spread Harry’s cheeks, and pressed in. He found Harry’s hole with his tongue, tiny and clenched. He licked it fast, not teasing. Harry bucked; John leaned some weight onto an arm over his back and kept at him.

He circled tightly, then ran the flat of his tongue back and forth, back and forth. He could feel Harry opening up for him, slow, reluctant.

John came up for a quick breath, and when he went back down he flexed the muscle of his tongue and pushed it past the clench of resistance.

Harry tore away from him. John hunched there, panting; Harry was shaking in front of him, slung awkwardly forward on his knees, poised to take off.

There was a brief space of rushing breath. Then Harry slowly moved, easing into John’s hands again, back onto his mouth.

John kissed him in reward, then started over. He shouldered closer, pressing Harry’s thighs apart. Harry smelled like John’s soap here, too. Oh, Christ. Did he ever get himself off in the shower? Did he slick up with soap and touch his hole, think about things he wanted them to do?

John took his time, to hell with Harry’s bitching about anything less than full throttle. Harry had wanted slow for months; John was going to give him patience now, possibly until he choked on it.

John licked him, circling with the point of his tongue. Harry moved restlessly under his mouth, balanced unsteadily on his knees. He kept shying from John’s tongue, his breath hitching. When John lifted his head momentarily, he saw a line of red creeping down the back of Harry’s neck.

John rubbed a hand up and down the outside of Harry’s thigh. Runner’s muscle, strong but not bulky. He squeezed it hard, digging his fingers in to feel the flex of resistance.

He worked his tongue over Harry’s hole, wary of this indefinable internal struggle. Harry kept moving, unpredictable and jerky. He was breathing too fast, and once John heard him slap the mattress hard with his open hand.

At last, whatever it was seemed to ease. There was a give in Harry’s tension; it no longer felt as if something brittle in him might break. John kept at him, licking softly now. He waited until Harry was swaying minutely back into him, and then waited some more. Harry was still restless, but there was a new urgency to him.

Then he whined, just a quiet little catch on the exhale, needy. And that was it.

This time, John’s tongue slid easily into him. Harry’s whole body curved – his spine, his legs, John saw his feet flex, toes spreading. John withdrew, pushed in again. Harry made a sound that time, something rough deep down in his throat.

John found a rhythm. He fucked Harry slowly, lingering over the wet slide in and out. Every few strokes he pushed deep, flexing his tongue until it ached.

And Harry . . . fell apart. He jerked, uncontrolled, then seem to come unpinned piece by piece. John felt him tilt, heard his hands scrabble, then a curse muffled as if Harry’s face was against the bedspread. Then his right knee seemed to just fold up, and he pitched forward. John rode him down, amazed. Harry sprawled beneath him, desperate and shivery.

John went a little crazy. He hadn’t been holding back, precisely – he’d been in it to win it, because there was a long-needed victory on offer here. But now he was just in it.

He ate at Harry, working his tongue roughly. His mouth was tingling, his jaw aching, but he didn’t want to stop. Harry moved under him, rubbing off unevenly against the bedspread. He was making these incredible, unfiltered sounds, raw and cracked, muffled and then clear as he turned his head back and forth.

John groaned into him. Harry’s hole was wet and open for him now, clamping down on the tip of his tongue, then loosening up to let him deeper.

John was already as close as he could get, but he tried to burrow in all the same. He loved this – the power it had over Harry, the smell of his sweat. The intimacy, oh Christ, having his mouth on this tender, vulnerable place, the seat of so much uneasiness, maybe even shame. Knowing that he was the first to do this for Harry, that in all the world, only the two of them knew how much Harry liked it.

John groaned again, muffling the wet sounds he was making. He gasped in a quick breath, then went back down. And this time he bit at Harry’s hole, letting his teeth catch at the slicked rim.

Harry heaved up. He clipped John’s jaw, flailing drunkenly back onto his knees. John stayed with him on sheer stubbornness, crudely elbowing Harry’s thighs farther apart to keep his place. He bit again, wanting that same explosive reaction, and Harry yowled like a cat in heat.

He tilted, righted himself, then swayed. John lifted his head long enough to see that Harry was balanced on one splayed hand, the other hidden beneath him. His body jerked and bowed, even in the brief respite from John’s mouth.

Like hell. John reached under and slapped Harry’s hand away. He took over the grip on Harry’s dick,, already wet. John tested the weight, thinking in a frantic cascade of imaginings about having it slide across his tongue, about biting him there, too, just hard enough.

He jerked Harry fast and steady, and fucked him in counterpoint, as deep as he could with his aching tongue. It didn’t take long. Harry spasmed twice like he’d been electrocuted, a desperate tremor in his gasping breath. And then he came, his thighs, his hole clamping tight around John, keeping him in. John jerked him all the way through it, worming his other hand down to squeeze at Harry’s drawn up balls, force all of it out of him. Harry sounded like something had torn in his throat by the time he was done.

He slumped forward again, even less coordinated this time, careless of the wet spot. John stayed with him for a minute more. He lingered, kissing Harry’s hole softly, oddly touched by the sweet, easy give.

Then he crawled up over Harry, gulping in air, and fell over his back. Harry barely stirred, his head turning sluggishly. John kissed his spine, squirming up.

The sensitive head of his dick slid unerringly right up Harry’s crack, over the place where he was wet and open. John’s gut clenched, a sizzle arcing between his hips. He rocked involuntarily, sliding his dick up and down Harry’s crack.

“Hmm?” Harry said. He blinked like he was operating on a time delay. “Mmm,” he added dreamily, and hitched his legs wider apart, one and then the other with palpable effort.

The breath tore out of John’s lungs on a sharp exhale at that – it was an invitation, clearly.

And it was so tempting. Fucking him, yes, and specifically fucking him like this. John was keyed up to the point of pain; he would come down like thunder and lightning, rough on Harry’s tender lassitude.

But. No. Keep it. Fold it up, tuck it back into place. Savor the wait this time, because it would not be in vain. He could do that later; the first time he fucked Harry Dresden, John wanted him wild.

He wrenched himself away, rolling to one side. Harry flailed out a hand, making an inquiring noise.

“It’s all right,” John said.

“Ummm,” Harry said. Then, finally rediscovering words, “c’mere.” He tugged at John’s shoulder, floundering up onto his elbows.

John followed his lead, bemused. Harry maneuvered him with one hand, pushing and shoving until John got the idea and sat up on his haunches near Harry’s head. John was unreasonably charmed by this lazy, post coital, dictatorial Dresden.

Harry edged closer, angling his upper body so he could hook his forearms over John’s thighs. That put him up close and personal with John’s dick; his warm breath was a torment.

Harry wrapped a hand around him, squeezing. He stroked once, then made an apologetic face at John’s wince, and licked his palm wet. The visual was incendiary, even more so for clearly not being intentional.

Harry went back to his double grip, one hand around John’s dick, the other cradling his balls. Something about holding John in his hands like that seemed to please him. He was still smiling and soft-eyed from his orgasm, and he gave John such an openly admiring look, it was . . . flaying.

And then Harry leaned forward, tilting John’s dick down and slipping the head into his mouth.

“Jesus God!” John said explosively.

Harry’s mouth hitched tight for a second in a muffled laugh. John aborted a reflexive grab for his hair, and gripped the back of his neck instead. Harry held him in his mouth for a minute, sucking too softly, tongue moving.

He popped off and looked up again. “Uh, don’t really know what I’m doing here,” he said with a sheepish shrug.

John nearly said, neither do I. Which was absurd. Of course he knew what he was doing; he always knew what he was doing. Planning, foresight, personal responsibility, that was how he operated. In the boardroom, in the bedroom, and of course in the murkier recesses of his personal life, with the thing between them.

Yet here he was anyway, swamped and capsized and drowning.

“You’re fine,” he said. “You’re great. You’re – ah.”

Harry sucked him again, going down a little farther. Then he eased back, concentrating just on the head. John squeezed his eyes shut involuntarily, then forced them back open to watch.

Harry sucked him intently, his mouth soft and testing, a little uncertain. He gained confidence fast. Hard not to, with John reacting like a fifteen-year-old to every little thing he did.

It was dangerous to underestimate Harry Dresden. But he made it easy, playing the overgrown magical frat boy so well, even John sometimes forgot there was a razor sharp detective’s mind back there, an observer’s eye that missed nothing.

Harry’s tongue found John’s slit, lingered there. Then he flicked it fast, testing. John hissed, fingers digging into the back of his neck. Harry smiled around him and kept going, working his tongue like he’d done with his finger earlier. It was just as maddening, that single tickling contact. John felt the sweat pop up on his forehead, a prickling flush slide down his chest. The tendons in his neck corded, his thighs flexed. He strained up. Harry had him effectively pinned, but John pushed off his heels, getting another half inch into Harry’s mouth and holding himself there on trembling glutes.

“Harry,” he said, then had to pause to catch his breath. “Do you want me to come in your mouth?”

Harry stopped – the bastard just stopped, pulling off to think about it like it was some deep philosophical question. “I don’t know,” he said after an agonizing pause. “One way to find out, I guess.” And he went back down.

John grunted explosively. He dropped back onto his heels, then pushed up again in the tiny thrusts he was allowed. Harry let him, his mouth sealing tighter. He rolled John’s balls, watching everything with avid interest.

John came, straining up so hard he felt his tendons twinging. Harry took it; John dimly heard him choking a little, but he just didn’t have the ability to give his full attention. Oh, Christ, oh Christ.

Harry had eased off when John came back into himself. He was licking thoughtfully at his mouth. His used, slightly swollen mouth. John’s balls spasmed valiantly, pushing out a last trickle. Harry watched, head to one side.

“Hmm,” Harry hummed. He pillowed his cheek on John’s thigh, smiling to himself. John wanted to lie down, but he also didn’t want to break this bubble of contentment. So he stayed where he was, softly petting the back of Harry’s neck, smoothing down his hair.

After a long silence, Harry turned his head, took his time over kissing the inside of John’s thigh. Then he looked up. His face was serious.

John seized up from the lungs to the guts, he didn’t know why. Harry was about to say something, and John was suddenly unprepared for whatever his post-sex pillow talk might be. Did he joke? Was he tender?

It was like reaching out to catch something, and realizing only after that it was a grenade. John had worked for this, maneuvered for it, schemed for it, won it.

And then Harry had gutted him with the depth of his response, his uninhibited pleasure. What would it do if he bared his soul like he had his body?

Harry opened his mouth, then shut it again. He took another minute, considering. “. . . Okay,” he said at last. “Now I could really use that dinner.”

“. . . Oh,” John said. He let out a breath. Disappointment and relief mingled, an odd cocktail.

“We could always order in, if it didn’t keep warm,” Harry said. He was watching John carefully. Like he had been for the past three months, always weighing, always thinking.

It occurred to John far, far too late to wonder who exactly had been waiting for whom.

“. . . Of course,” John said, pulling himself together. “Whatever you want.”

The words came out naturally, without thought. Only after did they seem to echo. John’s lungs tightened, his body firing off signals of sourceless alarm.

“I know,” Harry said, unduly gentle. He kissed John’s thigh again. “Come on.”