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The Unbound Principles of Feverfew

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“Harry!” the familiar voice called as Harry emerged from the apothecary on shaking legs. Harry looked up, his head pounding, and squinted to see better, even though he already knew who it was.

“Neville,” he said in greeting. Even his own voice made his head throb. He placed a hand over his eyes and squeezed his temples. There was the sound of Neville stopping short an arm’s length away.

“What happened to you?” he asked incredulously.

“Antidotes,” Harry managed to say. “Had to brew them. Didn’t know what we were supposed to brew them for until we’d been poisoned already. ‘Cept most of us weren’t poisoned, we got Amortentia - you know how fussy that antidote is, try brewing it when it feels like your brain’s on fire and your pants are too tight -” Harry cut himself off with a cough. “Anyway. Tad too much calendula oil, left me with all manner of unbound principles, which feels remarkably like the worst hangover you’ve ever had. Not to mention that the antidote leaves you feeling like your lover just kicked you in the balls and left you for another man.”

“Rubbish day, then?” Neville offered. Harry managed a grimace that was almost a smile.

“You could say that.”

“Well, you know the best stabiliser for Amortentia antidote, right?” Neville asked, stepping forward hurriedly as Harry tried to take a lurching step away from the wall.

“Yes, but I’ve never felt less like heading down to a night at the pub. Besides, I think all the Auror candidates are studiously avoiding each other right now, myself included…” Harry scrunched his eyes shut in mortification.

“It could be worse,” Neville suggested. “You could have failed to make your antidote entirely and woken up at St Mungo’s two days later with the notice that you’ve been put on probation for the remainder of the training program.” It was amazing how cheerful he could make such a bitter statement.

“Neville, you had about two minutes start to finish to be able to make your antidote, including classification. That was just bad luck, that you got that one, I don’t even think I could have -”

“You don’t need to try and make me feel better,” Neville pointed out. “It was months ago and as I recall, you’re the one stumbling about with your head splitting. If the pub’s out, can you make it to my flat? It’s not far, you’ve been there before, and I’ve got…” Neville’s brow furrowed as he tried to take inventory of what he had in his cabinets.

“Swill,” Harry offered. “I believe the word you’re looking for is ‘swill.’”

“Absinthe is fantastic, and you are an uncultured swine,” Neville said loftily. “Besides, I have whisky too, for when my uncouth mates who can’t appreciate a good herbal concoction come to call.”

“I’ve been appreciating herbal concoctions for the last four hours,” Harry muttered. “I’m done appreciating. I want to go punish some. Let’s go.”

- -- --- -- -

“To your good health,” Neville said, plunking down a tumbler of dark amber liquor. Harry picked it up and sniffed it curiously.

“Whoa. What is this?”

“Greywhisker Eighteen,” Neville responded. “Mead-matured. No fiddling about with sherry casks for me.”

“This is what you give guests?” Harry asked, eyebrows raised in surprise.

“No, it’s what I give friends,” Neville responded, “Particularly ones who have had a truly terrible day.” He lowered his voice. “If it makes you feel better, it’s a family friend that owns the distillery. I cut my teeth on this stuff. They make sure I’ve always got a bottle around, on the house.”

It did make Harry feel better; if memory served, just the glass he was holding would have cost an alarming number of galleons at a pub. He brought it to his nose again and inhaled deeply before taking a sip. The alcohol went to work immediately, and Harry could almost imagine it binding to the tiny particles of potion the antidote had left behind in his bloodstream and rendering them impotent as his head stopped pounding almost at once. He sighed in relief and smiled for the first time since he’d taken that goddamn potion that afternoon.

“This,” he said, gesturing with the tumbler, “was exactly what I needed.”

“Thought it might be,” Neville said, grinning and taking a sip from his own glass. “So aside from today, how’s academy been going for you? I don’t see you much anymore since I left advanced track.”

“Decently,” Harry said thoughtfully after another sip. “I still think I’m at a disadvantage, not having done seventh year. I have to work twice as hard just to keep up. Whoever put me on the advanced track wasn’t in their right mind.”

“No, whoever put me on the advanced track wasn’t in their right mind,” Neville corrected. “I stuck a big knife into a snake, that doesn’t make me qualified to skip a year of academy. You’d have been bored going the regular pace, but it works a lot better for me.”

“To each their own, I suppose,” Harry said, swirling the liquor in his cup. “God this is good. Where has it been all the other times I’ve visited?”

“If you ask for a butterbeer, I’m going to give you a butterbeer,” Neville said defensively, grinning.

Harry absently tugged at his collar. The alcohol on an empty stomach was apparently getting to him rather quickly; he could feel a warm flush starting at the back of his neck and, oddly, his pulse started to quicken. Usually alcohol lowered it. “You still seeing that one bloke?” he asked conversationally, taking another long sip.

“Nah.” Neville almost looked embarrassed. “He decided he apparently wasn’t as gay as he thought he was.”

“Tough luck,” Harry commiserated.

“You know how it is.” Neville shrugged. “You and Ginny still on the outs?”

“I do not see that particular relationship ever picking up again,” Harry said delicately. It really was very warm in here. He shifted uncomfortably and reached up to undo the top button of his shirt, only to discover it was already undone. As his fingers brushed the bare skin at his throat his entire body seemed to tingle, and then the sensation rushed inward to his groin in a swoop that made him gasp.

“Harry? You all right?” Neville sounded concerned.

Comprehension clunked into place and Harry closed his eyes. “No.” Seven colours of hell, how could he have been so stupid? “First rule of potioneering?”

Neville furrowed his brow quizzically. “Never mix draughts?”

“And what did I just do?” Harry held up the mostly empty tumbler of whisky, trying desperately to ignore the alarming rapidity at which he could feel his cock beginning to strain against the confines of his jeans.

Neville stared blankly for a moment, and then his jaw dropped. “Oh. Oh God. The unbound principles.”

Harry nodded, mortification warring against the unnatural lust that had begun twining its way through his veins. He covered his face with his free hand as best he could, unable to bear looking Neville in the eye. The alcohol had, in fact, worked wonders to get the lingering traces of the antidote out of his system, but he had not taken into account the fact that his antidote had not worked completely. His headache had gone away, not because of the alcohol, but because with the antidote out of the way, the unbound principles that had caused the headache were being metabolised. Rapidly.

But… it did not feel like the Amortentia had. That had been a complete takeover of his mind, rendering him unable to function hardly at all. This was… almost a lazy, low-level arousal. He rubbed his eyes. “I should go,” he said weakly.

“Um,” Neville said, and his tone sounded like he really did not want to, “You… probably shouldn’t be Apparating under… er… the influence.” He scratched the back of his head, determinedly looking everywhere but at Harry. “It doesn’t go well,” he finished simply.

Harry decided to listen to the voice of experience, although the knowledge that Neville had had that experience to speak of was oddly intriguing. What? No. Harry shook his head hard, dizzying himself. “Have you got a fireplace then?”

Neville paled. “I’m out of Floo Powder,” he said helplessly. “I meant to get some tonight, but…”

“Great,” Harry said, leaning back in the chair and ignoring the way the fabric of his pants shifted against him. God, that was distracting. He took a deep breath and reached down to adjust himself - there was no point in hiding it - and nearly had to stifle a gasp as his hand made contact. Bloody hell, what had this potion done to him? Everything was stupidly hypersensitive, there was no way he should have been able to get that much of a reaction through his jeans and pants -

Neville gestured abruptly at a door, covering his eyes with one hand. “My bedroom. Top drawer of the nightstand. Just… go take care of it.” And we will never speak of this again, his tone implied heavily.

Nodding curtly, Harry wordlessly excused himself.

- -- --- -- -

Neville sighed in relief as he heard his bedroom door click shut behind him. It was possible that he may have more uncomfortable encounters later in his life, but thus far, that had definitely been the worst he’d ever experienced, not least because the sight of Harry lounging back in his chair, flushed with arousal, had gone straight to his own cock, which had begun to take a very intense interest in the proceedings.

He wondered if he had enough time…

No. Absolutely not. If Harry came out and found him, dick in hand -

His mind went in two different directions at that point, one down a rather humiliating path and the other down an entirely opposite one that made his cock twitch. He bit his lip, hard, the pain bringing him back to the present, where he scolded himself for thinking the latter scenario was even a possibility. Leaning forward, he plucked a magazine from the coffee table and began perusing it with a diligence so contrived it made him wince.

There were no sounds coming from his bedroom. Was that good or bad? Good. Definitely good. An article about wild magic. Interesting, yeah? Wait, what was that - a noise? Oh, look, an advert for a self-cleaning cauldron. Only twenty Galleons. No, that was definitely a noise, definitely a grunt of some sort - THE MOUNTAINOUS REGION IN THE MIDDLE OF NORTH AMERICA IS RIFE WITH WILD UNTAPPED MAGIC -

“Sod it all,” Neville muttered, tossing the magazine to the table and undoing his zip.

Normally he was very efficient at this, particularly when he was as randy as he currently was, but he could not resist stroking himself more slowly than normal, ears straining to hear the muffled sounds Harry was making from his bedroom. God, Harry. Wanking in his bedroom. Was he on the bed - his bed - or sitting on the floor? Or standing? The mental image of Harry sitting on the edge of his bed, knees spread, tugging frantically at his cock, head swelling as he found his release -

Neville nearly forgot he was not alone in the flat and had to stifle a low moan as he came, the desire to make it last outweighed by the urgency to finish before Harry did. He let out a shaky sigh, cast a whispered cleaning charm, tucked himself back into his jeans, and zipped up, resigned that he would spend the next several weeks trying to convince himself that he had not wanked to the thought of one of his best friends. That just wasn’t done. More determined now than ever to pretend nothing was amiss, he picked up the magazine again and started reading the article about wild magic in earnest.

So intent was he on maintaining his innocent facade that it was not until he’d reached the end of the five-page article that it struck him: Harry was taking an awfully long time.

Normally, the thought of approaching the bedroom door would have been completely out of the question. But Neville had heard horror stories about incorrectly mixed potions, and the slow poisoning that could occur. Not to mention that unbound principles - the bits of magic that had become detached from their potion reagents - could be dangerous and unpredictable without the structure of the potion to direct them. If Harry was actually unconscious and needed medical attention…

He debated with himself for a solid five minutes, during which he could not hear anything from the bedroom, and finally reached a decision.

“Harry?” he called through the door, knocking lightly. “Harry, you all right in there?”

There was a very long pause, and Neville was about to open the door when the response came. “No.”

Heart in his throat, Neville put his hand on the knob. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”

“I’m - not exactly, no.” He sounded out of breath.

“Well, what is it?”

There was another very long pause. “I can’t.”

Neville blinked. “Can’t what?”

The sound of a throat being cleared pointedly.

“Oh.” He swallowed. “Well, there are worse things?”

“Just get in here.”

Neville’s stomach simultaneously jumped and had the bottom drop out. “What?”

“I don’t want to talk through the door.”

“Oh. Right.” He turned the knob and had opened the door before he even stopped to consider whether Harry had put himself away or not. The thought did not occur to him until he was already halfway through the doorway and seen Harry sitting on the edge of the bed, a pillow in his lap, looking so thoroughly debauched with his shirt halfway unbuttoned and jeans around his ankles that Neville swallowed to keep himself from licking his lips.

Now that he was in here, though, he had no idea what he was supposed to do or say. Harry looked absolutely humiliated, his eyes dilated so far Neville could not see nearly any green at all, though his own eyes kept flicking to Harry’s bottom lip where teeth marks were clearly visible. Fuck, Neville, focus.

“I keep getting to the brink,” Harry said suddenly, his cheeks reddening, “Just about over the edge, and then it just… goes away. Only it leaves me…” He sighed heavily in frustration. “Let’s put it this way, if I don’t come soon I’m going to go absolutely mental.”

“Okay,” Neville said stupidly. “So, um… good luck?”

Harry shook his head, taking up a very serious study of his knees. “I don’t think I can. I think - I think I need help.”

“O… kay,” Neville said again, slowly. “Like, St Mun -”

“No!” Harry sounded suddenly frantic. “No, I can’t - I meant -” He seemed unable to go on and instead gestured aimlessly. “I think - I mean, Amortentia either wears out on its own or its effects are broken if you’re - er - with someone…”

Neville did not know how long his jaw had been hanging open before he noticed. “You mean me.”

“You don’t have to, I - Christ, this is…” Harry rubbed his face briskly with both hands. “I wouldn’t ask if - it’s just I can’t leave like this, and I’m honestly about to fly apart and maybe if it’s someone else the magic will just let me go…” He either ran out of breath or words to say, because he trailed off.

Neville took a breath to steady himself. All right. Fine. He could be cool about this. “What do you want me to do?” He asked in his best approximation of calmness.

Harry looked both relieved and more horrified at the same time. “I thought maybe - maybe you could just -” he made a gesture that made his request perfectly clear - “and see if that does it?”

“Oh. Um. Right.” Fuck. Neville could feel his cock taking an interest in affairs again, and why shouldn’t it? Because Harry was a friend, that was why, and Neville was just doing him a favour. That was all there was to it, so it could just go back to sleep or fall right off for all he cared. “How do you want to do this?”

Harry stared. “What?”

Neville gestured uselessly. “Positioning. D - d’you want to lie down and I’ll…” He momentarily buried his face in his hands. “If we can’t actually talk normally we’re never going to get anywhere.”

“Agreed,” Harry said faintly.

“Can we just agree that we’ll be as matter-of-fact about this as possible and use memory charms later if we need to?” Neville was not entirely sure he had it in him to be detached and clinical, not when he was moments away from having a half-naked Harry reclining back on his bed waiting for Neville to jerk him off, but he could damn well try.

“Yeah. Okay. Why not?” Harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “If the past half hour is anything to go by, you’re going to need to be comfortable. So… however you want to do it that won’t give you a muscle cramp.”

Licking his lips nervously, Neville nodded. “Right. Lie back, then. And I’ll… position myself.” He nearly winced at how awkward the words sounded, but it really couldn’t be helped. He wasn’t used to verbalising what he was going to do. Or, rather, he was - or had been getting used to it - but definitely not using terminology Harry would be comfortable with, and if there was a less appropriate time or situation for dirty talk he was hard-pressed to think of it.

Looking more than slightly terrified, Harry swung his legs around so he could recline back, moving the pillow from his lap to place behind his head and revealing his cock for the first time. Neville nearly whimpered. It wasn’t that it was an impressive cock - decidedly average-sized, in fact, which immediately made Neville feel better about his own decidedly average-sized member - it was that it was attached to Harry, someone that Neville had to admit he’d been inexplicably attracted to for some time, though for the sake of friendship he’d ignored it. And it was so hard that the head was nearly flushed purple, and Neville imagined that he could see it pulse with Harry’s heartbeat as it pressed against the dark trail of hair leading down from Harry’s navel.

So. Comfortable, Harry had said. Horribly, wonderfully dirty thoughts aside, that was going to mean straddling his legs. He was not exactly a stranger to the notion of getting a partner off, was in fact rather good at it, and that was by far the most convenient angle to do it from. Before he could second-guess himself, Neville hoisted one leg over Harry’s body and settled himself on Harry’s thighs.

“Oof,” Harry said, eyes flying open.

“Better angle,” Neville said shortly, a moment of self-doubt flashing in his chest.

“Oh. Right.” Harry screwed his eyes shut again. “Carry on.”

Feigning far more confidence than he actually felt, Neville reached out and wrapped his hand around Harry’s cock, trying very hard to ignore the hissing sound Harry made as he began to stroke it. Slowly, at first, with a careful eye on Harry’s face as he increased the speed - he had no idea what Harry liked and this was, after all, about him.

Now that Neville was here, everything had suddenly become surprisingly less awkward, at least for him. This was what he was good at - bringing a partner off. He’d never actually gone much further than this with anyone, but the time he’d spent doing exactly this hadn’t been for naught. He could even ignore his own straining cock pressing against the denim of his jeans, because he had a focus now, and that focus was Harry.

And Harry was playing the part beautifully. Eyes still closed, his jaw had gone slack, his head canted back against the pillow, his hands clenching in fists in Neville’s bedsheets. He was not sweating, exactly, but his skin had that fine sheen of perspiration that only really showed up during sex, and his breathing was almost hard and fast enough to be called panting. Neville was sure that if he hadn’t had most of his weight on Harry’s thighs, he’d be thrusting into Neville’s hand out of desperation - he was trying, that was for sure, but couldn’t get much actual movement with his hips pinned like they were. God, but he made a lovely picture, a perfect portrait of searing neediness and arousal.

Suddenly, with a shuddering gasp, Harry froze, arching his back, his eyes popping open. “Dammit!” he said breathlessly, slumping back to the sheets dejectedly. “I can’t…” he reached up with both hands to run them across his face. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled, humiliation tinging the edge of his voice, “I… this goddamn potion, I don’t know why…”

A tiny spark of an idea sprang into existence in the back of Neville’s mind, but… no. He shook his head to clear it.

“What?” Harry asked.

“Sorry?” Neville asked, startled.

“You looked like you just thought of something. What was it?”

Neville felt his eyes widen. “No, it’s - it was nothing, it’s a stupid idea.”

Harry sighed explosively in frustration. “Neville, I’d be ready to do just about anything right now.” The breathlessness of the words only seemed to underscore his meaning, and Neville swallowed.

“Well… I mean, I’m not very good at Potions. But I know something about the principles of the herbs that are used in Amortentia, and they’re the ones that are most likely be become unbound in a bad antidote. Erm, it’s not the Deadnettle that’s floating around, else you wouldn’t be having this problem. Or, well, maybe it’s a bit of the Deadnettle, to incite the lust…” Neville tilted his head to the side, thinking. “That makes sense; Deadnettle could probably arouse a stick. But what’s probably the problem is the Feverfew.”

Harry was staring blankly. “Neville, you’re doing it again.”

Neville blinked. “Doing what?” It was only then that he realised he was still straddling Harry’s thighs, and that his hand had absently begun stroking Harry’s cock again while he’d been lost in thought.  

That apparently hadn't been what Harry had been referring to, however. “Assuming I know what you’re talking about. Which I don’t at the best of times, but right now it’s really difficult to focus.” As though to emphasise the point, Harry’s cock twitched in Neville’s hand. Neville swallowed.

“Right. Um. Feverfew is what causes the emotional attachment - or, rather, the craving for the emotional attachment, which presumably the person who gave the victim the potion is supposed to supply, fulfilling the demands of the potion.” What he was really trying to say clicked into place, and he could feel his cheeks grow hot. He let go of Harry’s cock and carefully placed his hands on his splayed thighs. “Um. I don’t think this is going to work this way.”

Harry stared. It looked as though he had worked it out, too. “It can’t just be one friend doing a favour for another.”

Neville shook his head. “I could be wrong,” he said hurriedly. “But… I think it needs to actually be something… passionate.” He’d have looked down in embarrassment, but that would have given him an eyeful of Harry’s cock, which didn’t seem appropriate at the moment, so he kept his eyes on Harry’s face. “And you’d have to enjoy it, I think, otherwise it won’t do anything.”

It was very quiet for a moment. Neville was starting to wonder if he should get up and go for a Healer when Harry sighed heavily.

“Do it,” he said shortly.

Neville stared. “Do what? I mean - I can’t just make you like it, and I think that’s going to be what’s required, otherwise you’re just lying there taking it and that’s not -“

“I would like it.” Harry swallowed. “Very much.”

Neville froze. “What… exactly are you saying?”

“I was still trying to work it out for myself, but I think it’s been made quite clear at this point - Ginny was right. I’m not… I don’t think I like girls.” Harry stared straight up at the ceiling, avoiding Neville’s eyes.

“Oh.” It was woefully inadequate, but Neville could honestly not think of anything else to say.

“Which makes… this… suddenly very different.” Harry gestured feebly.

“Yes,” Neville agreed, “Very.”

“But still doesn’t solve the problem at hand. Emotional attachment, right?” Harry closed his eyes, the frustration evident on his face.

Neville debated with himself for a short moment. This was not the right time or place, at all, but… “I… could possibly be persuaded to be emotionally attached,” he said hesitantly, his heart pounding.

One of Harry’s eyes popped open. “Come again?”

I just might. “I… er… I wouldn’t be pretending. To be emotionally attached. I… kind of am already.” He licked his lips. “And maybe that would be enough, so long as… erm, so long as I do a good job.”

Both of Harry’s eyes were open now, and he was staring. “Okay,” he said finally. “We’ll talk about it later. Right now…” he closed his eyes again, his hand going to his cock and pulling at it desperately, “God, Neville, just do what you have to to make me come.”

Neville’s mouth went dry. “What - what don’t you want me to do?” he asked faintly. “What’s off-limits? I -“

“Nothing,” Harry interrupted. He opened his eyes and looked straight into Neville’s, and Neville noticed again how blown wide the pupils were. “I don’t think you understand how badly I need this.”

“Nothing?” The word was shaky, but his body already seemed to understand what was about to happen, because almost of its own accord Neville’s hand had gone to palm his erection through his jeans.

“Nothing,” Harry confirmed. He seemed to hesitate, his hand pausing in its steady pulling. “I trust you.”

I trust you. Those three words were possibly more important than the other three words that usually preceded what they were about to do. Neville wondered if Harry knew how much they meant.

Impulsively, Neville leaned forward, an elbow on either side of Harry’s shoulders to hold him up, and hungrily caught Harry’s mouth with his own. Harry stiffened in surprise at first, but then relaxed, his lips softening and then parting, tongue flicking out against Neville’s lips, sending a hot thrill down Neville’s spine.

He allowed himself to get lost in the kiss, lowering himself carefully atop Harry, desperately wanting to press his entire body against him. He could feel Harry abandon his own cock in favour of undoing Neville’s belt buckle, and the knowledge sent another thrill spiraling through him, this time making his cock twitch against the loosening confines of his jeans as Harry undid the button and the zipper, hands moving frantically as they pushed down the jeans and boxers, blessedly freeing Neville’s erection. Neville paused for just a moment to push the jeans down his thighs and to the floor and toe off his socks, urgency making him clumsy.

At some point Harry had already kicked off the jeans and pants that had been around his ankles. Naked from the waist, his shirt half-unbuttoned and twisted around his torso, glasses askew on his face and hair tousled against the pillow, Neville was fairly certain he’d never seen anything more arousing in his entire life. Desire to divest himself of his own shirt lost to the sheer need to press himself against Harry and he practically dove at him, not so much kissing him as snatching his lips against him wherever he could make contact - cheek, earlobe, neck - his sweat did not taste salty, but somehow oddly sweet -

That gave him pause through the haze of lust. Sweet? How could that be? His tongue dashed out to taste again, earning a moan and an upward roll of the hips from Harry as Neville made his way around his neck, lapping against Harry’s Adam’s apple -

The realisation snapped into place at about the same time he felt an urgent, nearly unnatural stab of desire in his groin. “Oh!” he gasped. “Oh, fuck. Harry, you’re sweating it out.”

“Hm?” Harry didn’t seem to want to stop the motion of his hips, thrusting up against Neville and making Neville gasp - things suddenly seemed a lot more sensitive than they had been even a few seconds ago.

“Your sweat. You’re sweating out whatever - unf - whatever principles are in your system and you just - you just dosed me and -” Neville closed his eyes and reveled in the heightened sensations. “You know what? I don’t care.”

God, if this was what Harry was feeling like, it was no wonder he’d given Neville carte blanche permission to do whatever he wanted. Even just grinding his cock alongside Harry’s was enough to make his balls tighten with urgency, his eyes rolling back in his head at the dizzying pleasure of it. He reached between them, taking both their lengths in hand, which earned him a gasp from both Harry and himself and he began stroking helplessly, with no thought to rhythm or speed, just wanting, wanting to come, knowing if he didn’t he’d boil over -

The clenching heat slipped away like water through a sieve, its sudden absence wrenching enough to make Neville draw in a sharp breath. The urgency went nowhere, was perhaps even sharper than before.

“Oh God,” he said helplessly, still pulling at their cocks desperately.

“Yeah,” Harry said faintly. “It’s like that.”

“How are you still able to think?” Neville groaned. He was having trouble putting two words together. He had never felt this way before.

“I honestly have no idea.” A hand joined Neville’s and they both worked a slow rhythm together for a few moments before Neville took a deep, shaking breath.

“I think we’ve established that this isn’t enough,” he said, the words feeling thick.

“I know,” Harry replied, “But… I can’t not…”

Neville understood completely. The thought of not having contact with his cock was maddening. And yet, if it was going to be fruitless…

Some part of him knew that making this decision in the mental state he was in was a mistake, but he somehow knew he would not regret it. “You said I could do anything.”



There was just a moment’s hesitation  in Harry’s eyes as he looked up at Neville above him. “Yes.”

“Harry, it’s important that - I know it’s practically impossible right now to think it through, but - it’s important…” He was struggling with the words, especially as he could feel himself drawing ever closer to an orgasm that would never happen, but he tried.

Harry took a deep breath and his hand faltered for a moment. “I know. I know it’s important. I just - I can’t -” He drew his hand away entirely, grabbing Neville round the wrist and pulling his hand away as well. Harry continued taking deep, steadying breaths, eyes wrenched shut, as though thinking was a truly monumental task. Neville knew it was; he was having the same problem, his cock already aching for release, leaking a pearly strand that he longed to reach down and spread around the head with his thumb -

“I think,” Harry said, interrupting that line of thought, “that if I’m going to do this, I’m glad it’s with you, because you understand how important first times are.”

Neville nodded. “It’s - erm, that is, it’s mine as well.”

Harry looked surprised. “I didn’t - no idea -“

“I know.”

“I mean, it’s not the first time I’ve - but it is if - er - how are we going to do this?” Neville couldn’t tell if the flush in Harry’s cheeks was from embarrassment or arousal.

This was something Neville had thought through previously, back when he and his previous boyfriend had been drawing ever closer to actual sex. Had thought through extensively, actually. “I’ll show you what to do. And then you can follow my lead.”

Harry reached up and clasped the back of Neville’s head, bringing him down for a fervent kiss. “You’re making this a lot less terrifying than it would be any other time.”

“Either that or you’re so desperate to get off -“

“No,” Harry interrupted. “It’s not that. Well, not completely that. I’m… I am glad it’s you.”

The warm glow in Neville’s chest was possibly the only thing aside from pure animalistic lust he could feel right now. He kissed Harry back, trying to ignore the urge to make it passionate, trying to make it tender instead. He wasn’t sure if he got it across, but he hoped so.

The lubricant he had told Harry to use was still open on his nightstand. He sat back on his heels, still straddling Harry’s thighs, and reached over to pick up the bottle. The knowledge of what he was about to do made his head spin, even though he had at least been this far with someone before, and he knew what he was doing for the next step, but after that… knowing he wasn’t just going to be playing with Harry for the sake of pleasure, but actually preparing him…

He leaned over, fishing around in the jumble of jeans on the floor until he found his wand. Harry jerked at the sensation of the cleansing charm, reaching down to clap a hand over his arse. “What was that?”

“Cleansing charm. Um, kind of important.”

“Ah. It felt… interesting.” Harry went back to slowly stroking his cock. “Kind of good, actually.”

That was a good sign, although really, anything probably felt good to Harry right now; Neville was fairly sure he’d feel like coming just by standing under the shower and feeling the warm water run down his back, he was so hypersensitive. Even the thought of it made him shiver and his cock jump. God, if he felt like this after only one magically denied orgasm, he couldn’t fathom what Harry must be enduring.

He settled himself between Harry’s thighs, raising one up so his leg was bent and splayed off to the side, exposing Harry’s puckered hole. Licking his lips, he reached down with one slicked finger, his right hand closing around his own cock so it would stop demanding so much of his attention. He wanted to do this right.

Harry drew a sharp breath between his teeth as Neville pushed lightly against his entrance, not intruding yet, and his hand moved faster along his shaft. “Fuck, that’s… that’s nice,” he said, shifting as though to push against Neville’s finger. “I didn’t think it would be, but…”

That was incredibly encouraging. Feeling a good deal more confident, Neville slowly pushed in, drawing his finger in and out slowly, to the first knuckle, the second, watching Harry’s reaction carefully, not wanting to make it hurt but oh, God, the urgency, the fucking desire to bury himself in him - he stroked himself with the same rhythm and when Harry started rocking against his finger he added a second. Harry grunted but did not stop moving, bearing down and drawing Neville’s fingers further inside. The expression on his face could almost be concentration, as though he were trying to memorise the way this felt.

Slowly, so slowly it made his cock ache with need, he scissored his fingers, stretching the tight ring of Harry’s muscles as gently as he could. At first the muscles clenched in complaint, but after a few moments they fluttered, relaxing, Harry hissing a sigh of either relief or pleasure. Fairly sure now that Harry was loose enough to appreciate what he was about to do, Neville quested within him, looking for that one spot -

Fuck!” Harry exclaimed, shuddering, arching his back.

Neville grinned. “Found it, did I?”

“That’s - fuck that’s good, that’s my…?”

“Prostate,” Neville supplied, drawing his fingers along it again and relishing the impressive reaction it earned. He could not help increasing the speed at which he tugged at his own cock as Harry did the same, though Harry did so with far more desperation than he did.

“Shit, that makes me want to… want to…” Harry threw his head back against the pillow and let out a long, strangled groan of frustration. “God fucking dammit!”

Neville’s right arm started to complain - he usually performed this motion with his left, but he was so close… so…

And then, much like Harry, he wasn’t. He felt like uttering the same oath.

“Do it,” Harry said, almost demanding, drawing his other knee up and spreading his legs wider, bringing both knees as close to his chest as he could. “God, just do it, Neville, please.”

Neville did not need to be told twice. He withdrew his fingers from Harry - not before running them across his prostate once more, for the sheer sake of watching him shudder again - and reached for the bottle of lubricant.

If he didn’t know better, he’d say his cock was harder than it had ever been before, and it ached as he ran his hand over it, lubricating it generously before he lined himself up with Harry’s entrance. “This’ll hurt,” he said, nearly gasping at how close he was, nudging against the puckered flesh with his overly sensitive head. “I’ll try to - but - I don’t know if -“

The jumbled words only barely made sense to him, but they must have to Harry, or else he was just as helpless in the throes of passion as Neville was, because Harry reached down, planted a hand firmly on Neville’s arse, and pulled him forward.

Neville swore, stars dancing before his vision. It had been a good thing the angle had been right, otherwise - but no, it had been perfect, and he sank the rest of the way into Harry, slowly, reveling in the feel of the ring of muscle sliding along his shaft. Deeper inside it opened up, wasn’t as tight, but where that ring of muscle held him - he didn’t have words, so an incoherent moan would have to do.

Fully seated, he stopped, both he and Harry gasping as they became accustomed to the sensation. Harry’s hand had stilled on his cock, no longer stroking but just gently squeezing, his eyes closed and eyelids fluttering.

“You okay?” Neville asked breathlessly.

“Yeah,” Harry responded. “Brilliant. God, I…nnng.” He clenched, and Neville’s hips snapped forward reflexively, causing them both to moan.

Neville drew out in an experimental stroke, head canting back as he thrust forward slowly, carefully, again not wanting to hurt Harry but he was holding onto his control with the barest of threads -

He must have hit against Harry’s prostate because Harry spasmed beneath him and he let out a wordless shout, echoed by Neville as he felt the other man clench around his cock almost painfully, and the last remnant of self-control he had fled. He lowered himself to his elbows again, snaking one hand underneath Harry’s back to press himself to him, and began thrusting, driving himself in and out of Harry with nothing even resembling a steady rhythm. Against his stomach he could feel Harry’s hand flying over his cock, his other hand pressing against Neville’s arse as though to push him deeper. Neville tried to duplicate the angle that had got such a reaction, using Harry’s desperate sounds as a guide, and once he had found it he tried to keep it, each thrust building up the inexorable tightness building up in his balls and he knew, somehow, that this time he wouldn’t be denied -

“Oh, fuck,” Harry groaned. “Fuck, Neville, I’m - I’m close - closer than - than…”

Neville increased his speed, battering his blunt head against Harry’s prostate with reckless abandon, feeling that same hot buildup -

“Fuck. Fuck, I'm gonna, I’m coming, I’m coming I’m -”

Harry’s words dissolved into breathy cries and Neville could feel Harry’s release against his stomach and chest, hot and slick and he spasmed around Neville’s cock, grinding down as though to take Neville inside him more and oh fuck -

One last clumsy thrust and he came, hard, his orgasm ripping straight back from the base of his spine, almost a pain as he pressed himself against Harry’s arse, frozen as he came, longer than he ever had before, wave after wave of eye-rolling pleasure that curled his toes and tingled through his skin…

He did not know how long he’d been collapsed atop Harry when he blinked and carefully withdrew his spent cock, now blessedly softening, satisfied at last. The urgency that had blacked out the rest of his mind had receded and left him with a bone-numbing exhaustion as he flopped down next to Harry on the bed.

“Wow,” Harry said after several minutes spent doing nothing but catching their breath.

“Yeah,” Neville agreed. He fumbled on the nightstand for his wand and managed to screw up the concentration to clear away the mess they’d made before it became sticky.

They lapsed into silence again, and as the seconds ticked by, doubt began to snake its way into Neville’s consciousness.

Shit. What had he just done?

Harry shifted beside him on the bed, though whether to get away from Neville or closer to him, Neville couldn’t tell. He groaned. “I’ll definitely be feeling that tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry,” Neville said quickly, dread beginning to bloom in his chest. In the clarity that the lust had left behind, everything seemed like such a horrible idea. “I -“

“No, no,” Harry said, turning over to face Neville. “I mean - in a good way.”

Neville stared. “Really?”

“Really.” Harry swallowed as he raised himself up on an elbow, supporting his head with one hand. He reached out with his other to squeeze Neville’s shoulder. “I…” he blushed, looking down at himself. “This was amazing,” he blurted. “And now you know that’s not the potion talking.” He looked back up into Neville’s eyes. “I know that was important to you.”

“I… yeah, it was,” Neville stammered.

“I wanted it,” Harry continued, the grip on Neville’s shoulder getting more urgent. “Even before today. Ginny knew it, even if I didn’t, really, that’s why we broke up. It wasn’t just the potion. You have to believe me.”

“I… do. I think.” Actually, it sounded a whole lot like Harry was trying to convince himself. “Do you?” he asked before he could think, and at the look of confusion in Harry’s eyes, he wished he could bite back the words.

“Yes,” Harry said finally. “Otherwise I wouldn’t still want to do this.”

And Harry caught the back of Neville’s head and brought it close, lips pressing against Neville’s softly, hesitantly. It had none of the heat or ardour or near violence of their kisses while they’d been locked in the grasp of need, but it still made Neville’s heart skip a beat. He reached around and drew Harry nearer, letting himself melt against his lips, a slow, languorous kiss rife with exhaustion and satisfaction.

He lost track of how long they spent, slowly and thoroughly exploring one another’s mouths and tastes, calming down by measures until Neville finally came to the conclusion that he’d been right. He didn’t regret it.

“Now,” Harry said, pulling away and flashing a shy smile, “I do believe you said something about letting me follow your lead.”

Neville’s astonished answering smile made Harry’s widen and he pushed Neville’s shoulders, throwing one leg over to straddle Neville as Neville had done to Harry not so long ago. “As I recall, it starts something like this.”

- - finite - -