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The storm had been raging for hours before Teddy finally deigned to speak to him.

Not that Charlie was surprised—Teddy had been doing his best to ignore him ever since he started working on the reserve four months ago—but fuck if Charlie wasn't bored out of his skull. He'd never minded storms much as a kid—unless they happened during a Quidditch match— but ever since he'd started working with dragons Charlie had learned to dread them and the mandatory lockdown they led to. Because dragons loved storms, and that love made the already wild and dangerous beasts even more untamable. It wasn't safe to leave the protection provided by their warded buildings until the storm passed, which meant that whenever one blew in, all the handlers had to find the nearest shelter and hunker down until the skies cleared.

Charlie had been out for an evening stroll when the wind started howling and rain began to fall fast and furious. He'd been working on the reserve for just about thirty years so he knew not to faff about and made for the nearest building—the command centre—with due haste. They always had at least one handler manning the station there so Charlie had figured at least he'd have some company for the duration of the storm. Of course, he'd not realised Teddy was the recruit on duty. Maybe Charlie would have risked the extra minute it took to head for the mess hall instead if he'd known.

But no, that was a bloody lie. Teddy might have a Billywig in his bonnet about Charlie for some reason, but Charlie had felt helplessly drawn to him from the moment he'd arrived at the reserve, with his multi-coloured hair and the hoop in his eyebrow that was constantly glinting in the sun like the glitter of a Snitch. Charlie had already known Teddy was coming, of course. He wasn't on the hiring committee but there were no secrets on a dragon reserve. And if he'd not heard it from his colleagues, he'd have known from the letter Harry had sent him asking Charlie to look out for the boy. Apparently Teddy had a bit of a… preoccupation with dangerous and deadly creatures—a fascination borne of learning his father had been a werewolf—and Harry was worried his interest might lead to him taking unnecessary risks. Charlie had snorted out loud at the letter; as if Harry had any room to talk given the risks he'd taken when he was much younger than Teddy. It had been a few years since Charlie had been able to make it home for Christmas, but he remembered Teddy with a vague sort of fondness, recalling the way he'd hang on Charlie's every word as he told tales of the reserve. So Charlie had promised Harry he'd keep an eye on the lad, though the first time he saw Teddy dusting himself off post-Portkey, Charlie had known those eyes he'd be keeping on him would be more from desire than necessity. Teddy Lupin was all grown up and could clearly take care of himself.

He'd made Charlie weak in the knees from the get-go, with his comfortable confidence and easy charm. Charlie had always had a thing for the mouthy ones, and the way Teddy's arse filled out those fire-proof leather trousers he favoured didn't hurt, either. Teddy fit right in at the reserve from day one, displaying the fervent obsession with dragons that was practically a job requirement and never complaining about the shit jobs he was stuck with as the newest handler. Charlie hadn't had a chance of resisting Teddy—not when he was practically Charlie's dream bloke—but it seemed Teddy wasn't so similarly captivated by him.

He didn't seem to actively dislike Charlie or anything, but Charlie didn't think he was imagining the walls Teddy had erected between them. While he joked and bantered with the rest of the dragon handlers, with Charlie he was unfailingly, frustratingly professional. At first Charlie had worried that maybe he'd managed to pick up on Charlie's infatuation and his distance was a way of signalling his disinterest, but there wasn't so much as a whiff of discomfort on Teddy's part that would make Charlie think that was the case. In the end, Charlie figured it must have something to do with their pseudo-familial connection. Perhaps he just couldn't get past seeing Charlie as some kind of uncle-figure. Or maybe he knew of Harry's request that Charlie keep an eye on Teddy and resented it.

Whatever the reason, Charlie had done his best to respect Teddy's evident desire for some space, even if it was a bit of a bummer to miss out on the camaraderie Teddy seemed to share with everybody else. Working as closely, and in such intense situations, as the handlers did, they were really all like family—a slightly incestuous family, true, but a family nonetheless. The lack of sociability would have bothered him from anybody on the team, but it was especially disappointing coming from a person Charlie felt so drawn to. True, Charlie wouldn't have said no to getting Teddy in his bed, but he'd be more than content with friendship. Given that it looked like Teddy was planning to stick around for a while, Charlie just had to hope he'd eventually relax around him.

Perhaps the storm would help speed things up.

"Whatcha reading?" Teddy asked casually, as if he'd not spent the past several hours ignoring Charlie's existence. He sauntered over to the sofa Charlie was lounging on and leaned against a nearby table. He'd been alarmed when Charlie had burst into the command centre several hours ago, clearly displeased that Charlie would be locked in with him for the duration of the storm. After that first initial shock, he'd fallen back on his usual cool indifference, making vague excuses before disappearing into the tiny office and leaving Charlie disappointed and alone. The reserve was good about staying up to date on all of their paperwork, and evidently Teddy had finally managed to work his way through the tiny backlog and was finally bored enough to interact with Charlie. Charlie probably shouldn't have felt so excited about it.

Charlie smiled wryly over at Teddy, tilting the magazine so that he could make out the Quidditch players zooming around the cover. "Seeker Weekly," Charlie replied before tossing it on the side table—he'd already read through it twice. "I used to play Seeker back at Hogwarts. Almost went pro before deciding that dragons were my real calling."

Teddy appeared to be reluctantly intrigued, leaning forward slightly as he gave Charlie a subtle once-over. Charlie knew his stocky, muscular frame wasn't the usual Seeker's build, but it hadn't ever stopped him from catching the Snitch. If he didn't know better, Charlie might have said that was appreciation glimmering in Teddy's eyes. Probably just a trick of the lightning outside the window, which illuminated Teddy's face in stark white flashes. It made him look almost otherworldly, a bit strange and a bit dangerous; Charlie had always been drawn to deadly and unusual creatures. He reached for the bottle of Firewhisky he'd grabbed after Teddy had abandoned him earlier—there was alcohol stashed in just about every building on the reserve if you knew where to look—and took a long swig to prevent himself from reaching for Teddy instead.

Teddy's gaze was intent upon him, watching Charlie's lips as they wrapped around the neck of the bottle and following the bob of his throat as he swallowed the burning whisky. Was that interest glimmering in his eyes? Or did Teddy just want a drink?

Charlie offered him the bottle when he finished and Teddy took it with a sheepish smile. "Cheers. I didn't realise there was any alcohol stashed away in here or I probably would have broken into it already."

"Gotta put in at least five years before you get to know where all the hiding spots are," Charlie replied as Teddy took a generous swig, then another. Charlie raised an eyebrow. "Is it so difficult being stuck in here with me you've got to get bladdered to survive it?"

Teddy froze and for a moment Charlie wondered if he was going to deny it and pretend that he'd not spent the past four months doing his best to subtly avoid Charlie whenever he could. But then he wilted and flashed Charlie a self-deprecating smile as he took another draught from the bottle and passed it back to Charlie.

"Noticed that, did you?"

Charlie quirked a generous smile. "Hard not to, what with you going out of your way to be chummy with every Tom, Dick, and Harry except me." He waved the bottle dismissively when Teddy grimaced and winced. "It's all right, I get that you probably see me as some old pseudo-uncle, and it's always complicated working with family—"

"We're not even related!" Teddy burst out, sounding so emphatic Charlie wasn't sure if he should be offended. But Charlie had never been one to jump to outraged conclusions, so he simply raised a single eyebrow and stared, watching as Teddy's shifting hair settled into a shocking pink that matched the flush darkening his cheeks.

"Not by blood, no," Charlie said slowly. "And Godric knows I wasn't around much while you were growing up, not the way my siblings were." Teddy peeked a look at Charlie through the hot pink fringe dangling in front of his eyes, and Charlie's breath caught before he continued, "So if that's not it, care to share why you've been avoiding me?"

Teddy hesitated, his expression resolving into an endearing mixture of shy and determined. "I know you didn't visit all that often, but it's not like you possibly could have missed my embarrassingly massive crush on you."

Charlie's eyes widened—that had not been what he was expecting. But no, now that Teddy mentioned it, Charlie hadn't missed the way little Teddy would follow him around with stars in his eyes whenever Charlie visited. But given the boy's obsession with magical creatures, Charlie had mostly put that down as due to his curiosity about Charlie's work with dragons, not Charlie himself.

"I wasn't exactly subtle about it," Teddy continued with a self-deprecating smile. "I've been a bit… embarrassed. Especially because you still look like"—he waved a hand vaguely in Charlie's direction, his hair somehow turning even pinker—"and I'm just this little kid who used to trail around after you like a pathetic Crup every time you visited. I wanted you to see me as a serious colleague, as an adult."

"Trust me," Charlie said with an amused huff, "when I look at you I definitely don't see a little kid."

Teddy's head shot up, his gaze meeting Charlie's as his hair began to flicker back to its usual teal. "No?" he asked hopefully. "What do you see then?"

Charlie gave him a hungry smile, pleased at Teddy's responding shiver and the way his eyes dilated in response. "I see a gorgeous, talented young man who loves dragons almost as much as I do, and who seems determined to drive me to distraction with his obscenely tight leather trousers." Teddy grinned at him, delighted, and Charlie couldn't help but smile back. "And you?" Charlie asked, running his thumb along his lower lip just to watch Teddy avidly follow the motion with his eyes. "Do you just see some bloke past his prime that reminds you of some embarrassing childhood crush?"

"Fishing for compliments?" Teddy asked with a cheeky grin. He pushed off the table he'd been leaning against and prowled closer, standing between Charlie's spread knees and looking down at him. "Don't pretend you don't know exactly how fucking fit you are."

Charlie growled, officially done with playing this game and ready to finally get his hands on Teddy. He tugged him down into an ungainly sprawl across his lap and then kissed him for all he was worth. Teddy moaned enthusiastically, scrambling to settle himself more securely on Charlie's broad thighs as he kissed back with a skill that really shouldn't have been as surprising as it was. Charlie would have hardly been the first bloke to notice how bloody gorgeous the boy was.

There was so much Charlie wanted to do with Teddy, he hardly knew where to begin. The kissing was a good start—great, even—as was the feeling of Teddy warm and solid in his lap. His pert little arse wriggled atop Charlie's dick as he rubbed his own erection against Charlie's stomach, and Charlie groaned and kissed Teddy more fiercely, giving himself up to the moment; this would do quite nicely for round one.

Teddy seemed to be in perfect agreement, clearly eager to get off as quickly as possible going by his frantic humping motions and the way he was all but devouring Charlie's lips. His hands were in constant motion: running through Charlie's hair, giving his biceps an appreciative squeeze, holding on to Charlie's shoulders for dear life as he undulated on top of him. It was maddening and hot as hell, and Charlie gave as good as he got, sliding his hands down the sleek contours of Teddy's spine, grabbing onto the jut of his hip bones and pulling him down more firmly into Charlie's lap so that he could grind his aching cock up against that beautifully perky arse. Next round he was tearing these damnable leather trousers right off of Teddy and getting a good look at that arse. He was going to look and touch and taste until Teddy begged him for more, but for now just the feel of it encased in leather and sliding over Charlie's dick was more than enough to send him perilously close to the edge.

Above him, Teddy began to tremble, his hips rabbiting faster until he let out a sudden, strangled cry as his hands grabbed fistfuls of Charlie's shirt. He mouthed lazily at Charlie's neck as he continued to shudder in Charlie's arms, clearly experiencing the aftershocks of his orgasm, and the feeling of him so boneless and compliant was surprisingly heady. He didn't whisper a word of protest as Charlie tightened his grip on Teddy's hips and began to thrust up against him faster, harder, chasing his own climax which was, thankfully, not far off. Soon, he too was spilling in his pants, blissful lethargy spreading through him as he sank back against the sofa.

"Are you always this out of it after you get off?" Teddy asked several moments later, his voice amused. Charlie opened his eyes, looking up into Teddy's smiling face, and grinned back at him.

"I'm conserving my energy."

Teddy raised an eyebrow. "Oh?" Outside, a bright flash of lightning was quickly followed by the rumbling boom of thunder, and then the guttural roars of several dragons in flight. Teddy shivered—it had taken Charlie years before the sound of a dragon roaring stopped sending a primal tendril of dread snaking through him—and Charlie gave him a wicked smile.

"The storm's still raging, as are the dragons, which means we're still stuck inside…" He trailed his fingers down Teddy's back, slipping them beneath the hem of his shirt and sliding them suggestively along the waistband of his leather trousers. "Any ideas on how we could pass the time?"

Teddy laughed and leaned down to kiss Charlie, wet and filthy and full of promise.

"Yeah," Teddy breathed. "I've got a few."