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Unexpected Turn

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July 2006

I slammed down on the brake pedal of the hired Jaguar, skidding to a stop as the recorded voice told me to turn right, which would have been fine except there was no paved road. All there was were the remains of a gravel lane that disappeared into nothingness. The arrow on the car's built-in sat nav system was clearly telling me to turn onto the gravel road.

I'd been driving for hours, starting in Denver, through Wyoming, and now, finally, in South Dakota. The trip had been filled with miles of nothingness, especially the past three hours. Wyoming at least had had interesting rock formations, valleys, and dry-wash riverbeds. Now all there was were rolling fields grass. Not the respectable maintained grass like back home in Wiltshire. This grass was two or three feet tall, and undulated in endless waves of a green sea.

Without bothering to move the car to the side of the road - I hadn't seen another vehicle in nearly an hour - I got out of the car and stretched. The car had been designed for speed and tight turns, not for the comfort of six-foot tall drivers. It had taken me a while to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road, and even longer to get used to changing gears with my right hand, but I'd mastered it. I dragged my hand through my hair, this morning's drive with the top down had ruined any sense of order.

It was my own bloody fault. The distance I'd traveled so far was the equivalent of London to Edinburgh. When I had planned this madcap trip, I had thought it would be a romantic grand adventure filled with sexy men in cowboy hats. I'd even dared to hope for gorgeous arses in chaps. Instead, I'd endured "expressways" filled with articulated lorries, tobacco-spitting truckers, and miles of nothing.

I wiped the perspiration from my forehead with my sleeve and wondered why my long lost cousin had decided to move from the green fields of England to somewhere in this wasteland. My mother had warned me that it was a wild-goose chase but had agreed that there was no better time for me to leave the country.

"Go to America, and by the time you get back, all this unpleasantness will have been forgotten," she had said, tossing the tabloid with my photograph printed on the front page on my desk. If there was ever a photograph one didn't want one's mother seeing, it was that one.

Having been caught in flagrante with German football star and former boyfriend Viktor Krum had not been my most shining moment. The fault, I was certain, lay with Viktor and his piss-poor stats and his burning need to stay in the limelight. He'd called me up and suggested a rendezvous for old time's sake. Little did I know that there was a photographer secreted away in the locker room. That they'd actually dared to not only photograph but publish the photos of me on my knees, sucking Viktor's cock in the showers - albeit with barely-adequate blurring - had been beyond the pale.

Regardless of why it had been done, I had not been able to step outside my flat or office without being harangued by reporters and photographers. The scoop of catching the gay bachelor of the year in an intimate tryst with a not-yet-out football star had sold thousands of papers and the reporters were clamoring for more. Leaving me to deal with the mess, Viktor had flown off to his next match, where he'd given a press conference declaring himself out and proud. Bloody German. My knees were still bruised.

So here I was, in the middle of the American west on a wild-goose chase, hoping that, by the time I returned the following week, things would have calmed down.

According to the navigation system I was only fifty miles from my destination, if the bloody thing was accurate, which I seriously doubted. The only good thing about the drive had been the delicious speeds I'd been able to reach in the convertible. The deserted roads had been a perfect track and the car's V8 engine had allowed me to push the speedometer to go nearly a hundred miles per hour, something I'd never be able to do back home. The smooth tight turning of the car was as close to flying as one could get while still touching the ground.

Walking to the centre of the road I turned in a complete circle: there was nothing but grass intermixed with purple and yellow wildflowers for as far as I could see in any direction, except for black asphalt of the road I'd been following and the gravel of the crossroad that disappeared into the horizon, without a tree or building to obstruct the view.

At the edge of the road I unzipped my fly and pissed into the ditch. At least there was no danger of photographers hiding behind trees trying to catch my cock in action. As I zipped up, I caught a glimpse of metal hidden in the weeds along the side of the road. I kicked away the weeds-it was a road sign, rusted and bent. East Hogsmeade Road. This really was the turn that would take me to Hogsmeade.

The rumours about Sirius Black being mad must be true if he lived hidden away in this forsaken place. Either that, or he'd moved away years ago. The only way to find out was to get back in the car and check his last known address.

Heat rising from tarmac was making me sweat; at least the car offered air conditioning and music. I'd had to close the convertible top, the afternoon sun proving too much for my fair skin. I double-checked the sat nav. I was to drive thirty-four miles east before turning north again, and finally I would be within a few miles of Hogsmeade. It was my own fault for approaching the town from the southern route, there was a major highway to the east that led to the town but it would've been a hundred mile detour to take it.

I put the car in gear and made the turn. Pressing down my foot on the clutch and accelerator I shifted into gear and the high-powered car immediately fishtailed on the gravel. I swore as I fought for control over the car; there would be no speeding down this road.

It was endless.

In England, fields were sensible, even idyllic. Neatly organised crops with their occasional hedgerows created a pleasing checkerboard effect. Not here. I drove on the gravel road for five, ten, fifteen miles with nothing but barbed wire fencing on either side and acres of grass and random herds of cattle in the distance. Surely if there were cattle there must be people around somewhere, but I saw no signs of even a telephone pole.

A quick glance at my mobile showed I still had no signal, I couldn't even call Blaise or Pansy to pass the time. I reached for my water bottle and took a long sip. If I had known what I was going to be in for, I would have purchased more at my last petrol stop. The bottle slipped out of my hand, spilling water everywhere. Cursing, I grabbed for it.

There was a sickening crunch as the car jerked. I slammed on the brakes, the car stalled to a stop. Heart pounding, I looked in the rearview mirror. I couldn't see anything but my own dust trail. Praying that I hadn't hit an animal, I walked to the back of the car. A large rock was in the roadway twenty feet back. Closing my eyes in relief at not having hit something living, I gave myself a minute to regroup before getting back in the car. Twenty more miles. I could do twenty more miles on this road.

Chiding myself to drive more carefully, I focused on the nuances of difference in the landscape as the miles passed. In the distance there were the deep purple shadows of tall hills, a welcome sight after the flat prairie. The tyres rumbled as I drove over another metal livestock grate, and I glanced to check the fuel gauge. It was fine but the temperature gauge seemed to have risen slightly.

A little more anxiously, my fingers tapped a rhythm against the steering wheel as I kept one eye on the road and the other on the gauge. There was no doubt that the engine temperature was rising towards the red zone. I tried to assure myself that the dial was faulty but the distinct smell of hot oil proved that it was not. I slowed the car until it was practically crawling, but the gauge continued to rise. Hoping to relieve the strain on the engine, I shut off the air conditioner and opened the convertible's roof. Glancing over my shoulder to make sure the roof had gone down securely, I saw the black smoke mixing with the dust trail.


I stopped the car and almost immediately black smoke emerged from around the edge of the front hood and from underneath the car. The idea of being trapped in the car with it on fire had me reaching to release the seat-belt. I had a moment of panic when I couldn't undo it until I remembered the latch was on the other side and I scrambled free of the car.

Smoke rose in a thick black plume, tainting the cloudless blue sky; heat was radiating from the car. It may have been my imagination but I thought I could hear the crackling sound of fire. Backing away, lest the whole thing burst into flames, I gave a scream of rage. The damn thing had had one job: get me to and from Hogsmeade, and it had failed.

There was no signal on my mobile. I couldn't even call the 24-hour hotline that the agency had promised would be available.

The trail of smoke was disappearing in a whisp. Maybe turning off the engine had been enough to stop whatever had happened. I wasn't confident enough to get any closer to the car though. Futilely, I turned in a circle, hoping to see some sign of civilization. What was I going to do? It was too far to walk in either direction, I'd never make it to the main road before dark, or even dawn. And the chances of another car coming along this track was absolutely nil.

The sun was not helping. I looked down at the linen shirt and trousers I was wearing. Perfectly appropriate for a summer day, but I'd been warned by the man at the agency that the temperatures could drop significantly at night. I had luggage in the boot but it would slow me down if I tried to walk with it. Walking my way to somewhere where there would be people seemed impossible, but what hope was there of another vehicle coming by this day or even this week? I only had a half bottle of water and a bag of crisps.

Not to mention the wild animals that may be lurking, just waiting for a tasty Englishman to wander ignorantly past their den. What animals lived in western America? Bears? Buffalo? Wolves? That was it. I was going to die of dehydration, with a pack of wolves circling my body.

This was all wrong, I chided myself. Malfoys don't panic. I'd certainly been in worse spots. I just needed to think clearly.

The smoke had stopped. Maybe the engine needed to cool down and then it would be fine. I would wait fifteen minutes and then try to start it, I decided confidently. It would start and I would drive very slowly so as not stress the engine. I checked my watch to make sure I gave the car a full fifteen minutes to cool down.

Beads of perspiration rolled down my chest and I tugged at my shirt in a feeble attempt to cool myself. There was no shade to be had, no picturesque clump of trees next to a lake, like one saw in the American westerns. Wishing for even a hat, I went to the boot and dug out the minute tube of sunscreen I'd bought. Applying it to my face, neck and arms, I still feared my pale English skin was destined to burn to cinders before I could be rescued.

There was nothing to look at but the fields of grasses and the patches of brilliant purple and yellow flowers, the blossoms swaying heavily amongst the grass. A buzzing filled my ears. At first I didn't realise what it was. All I could hear was the lack of sound - no automobiles, or car horns, or people talking.

As I listened more carefully I realised that the buzzing was drone of the bees dancing from flower to flower, collecting nectar. I became aware of the constant rustle of wind through the millions of blades of grass. It took me longer to discern that the chattering was coming from grasshoppers. One grasshopper made hardly any noise but there must have been hundreds, if not thousands, of grasshoppers rubbing their wings together and nibbling on the grass blades.

Checking my watch, I saw that only ten minutes had gone by. I sat on the ground, the car providing the only sliver of shade. I was thirsty but didn't dare drink the last of the water.

A flicker of movement caught my eye and I stood up. Unbelievably, a plume of dust was coming down the gravel road, moving closer and closer. A big white American pick-up truck emerged from the dust, barreling towards me. The kind of truck that had bullied me along the motorway as I'd sped out of Denver. I feared it was an hallucination of my heated brain until it slowed to a stop in front of me.

The door opened and the driver emerged, a gangly blond man in faded jeans, a long sleeved white t-shirt, and American cowboy boots. He wore a thick belt with a knife hilt sticking out from a holster instead of a pistol.

"Having car trouble?" The man called out as he walked towards me.

I had to bite back my natural inclination for sarcasm in favor of a more grateful greeting, "Yes. Indeed. My car seems to have broken down."

"English, are you?"

No. Russian, I thought. "Yes."

"I was about ten miles away, saw a bit of smoke and thought I'd better investigate, make sure it wasn't a wildfire." The man held out his hand, "Neville Longbottom."

"Draco Malfoy," I said as I shook his hand. I couldn't help but notice the band of gold on his ring finger. "Dare I hope that you are a mechanic?"

"Afraid not. I can fix a flat tire or dead battery but judging by the smoke I saw from the next road over, it looks like your problem is a bit more serious." Longbottom looked from the car to me. "What the heck are you doing out here with a car like that?"

What the 'heck' kind of name was Longbottom? "Attempting to get to Hogsmeade." I said stiffly. "In what clearly was a fool's errand."

"No one's taken this road to get there in ten years. We all go by the new highway," He shook his head. "Only folk I know who go this way are kids out racing and the rancher whose pastures these are, and he isn't likely to run his fences more than once a month."

"Right." I was growing rapidly tired of this conversation and the temperature wasn't getting any cooler. "By any chance does your mobile work? I have roadside assistance available if I can alert them to the problem."

"Mobile? Oh, you mean cell phone? Nope, afraid mine doesn't work out here." Longbottom eyed the car again, "Any idea what's wrong?"

"I suspect it overheated. The temperature gauge showed it was running hot and then the smoke appeared. I was just about to try to start it again."

"Sounds like a good idea, if it starts I can follow you to make sure you get to the highway."

Leaving the driver's door open I sat down and attempted to start it. The engine gave a painful squeal and then stopped with a grinding finality.

"I'm just a botanist but it doesn't sound like that engine is going to start anytime soon. Best I can do for you is give you a ride to my friend Harry's place. He's a mechanic."

I looked from the Jaguar that I'd practically signed away my first non-existent (and unlikely) child to rent and his battered pick-up truck. "I shouldn't leave the car. Perhaps you could alert him to my situation and tell him where I am."

Longbottom shook his head and laughed, a flash of white teeth in his tan face. "It will take nearly an hour to get to Harry's from here. I need to get back to town myself. Don't worry, nobody's going to be coming by to mess with your car."

The heat and thirst was making my head throb, staying on the roadway was not really an option anyway. "Right. Fine. I'd be obliged if you would be so kind as to take me to, erm, Harry's."

"Great. Why don't you close up the top and grab what you need from the car. You'd better put your hazards on. The car will likely be here overnight and sometimes the local kids do speed along here."

Sitting back in the car I closed to top, glad that the battery was still working well enough to do that. With the top secured, I went to the back of the car to retrieve my satchel and suitcase from the boot. I was eager to finally be away from this place. Slamming it closed and locking the car with the fob, I'd only taken two steps when I heard Longbottom hiss, "Stop. Don't move."

I started to ask why when I saw him staring at a spot on the ground just past my foot. I twisted around to see a coiled snake by the wheel of the Jaguar. It was dusty gray with a raised black diamond pattern. Its triangular head was raised and I had to swallow back a wave of bitter nausea as its unblinking black eyes stared straight at me.

From the corner of my eye I could see Longbottom fiddling with something at his belt and before I could protest there was a flash of silver whooshing inches past my chest and a fierce rattling sound. I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for the strike.

It didn't come.

I opened one cautious eye. The snake was pinned to the ground by a ten-inch knife blade. Its body was writhing but the knife had caught it just past its head and nearly taken it off.

"Have to be careful out here. Lots of snakes. He was probably taking a nap in the shade of your car and shutting the trunk woke him up," Longbottom said as he walked towards me. He casually freed the knife from the road and with a strong flick of his wrist sent the snake's body sailing into the ditch. He proceeded to wipe the knife clean on the grass and put it back in its holster, all before I'd found the ability to breathe.

Longbottom grabbed my suitcase and I had to hide my wince as he took it and tossed the custom-made green leather Valextra case into the open truck bed.


Nodding, I forced myself to walk towards the truck, alert for more snakes. I headed to the right side door but stopped at Longbottom's laugh. "If you don't mind, I'll drive."

Too shaken to even blush at my own mistake, I walked around to the other side. The truck's cab was up high and I had to step up on the running board before sliding into the cab. The compartment was spacious compared to the tight fit of the Jaguar and I stretched my legs out with relief.

"Thirsty?" He held out a bottle of water. "You want to always be sure to have water with you when driving out here."

I took the water gratefully and drank half of it. Longbottom pressed down heavily on the accelerator and the truck leaped forward with a loud diesel growl. Looking out the back window, I could see the Jaguar disappear from sight in a cloud of dirt, and my luggage bouncing in the back of the truck. Blaise would never believe me, even if I live long enough to tell him about this adventure.

"So what were you doing out here. Can't just be sightseeing." Longbottom asked, giving me a side-glance.

"What makes you think I'm not a tourist?" I asked, annoyed at the assumption.

"No tourists roam around lost abandoned roads in western South Dakota in a Jaguar." He said with another glance my way. "Especially not Englishmen in suits."

Right. Well. "I am looking for a relative that my family lost touch with," I said reluctantly.

"I grew up near Hogsmeade, maybe I know them. What's the name?"

"The family name is Black. Sirius Black, is my mother's cousin." It made sense that a town as small as Hogsmeade obviously was that everyone likely knew everyone else. "Have you heard of him?"

Longbottom shrugged. "Not anyone who is living in Hogsmeade now, I can tell you that. Why do you want to find him?"

"That is personal." I needed to change the topic; I didn't want to air my family history with random strangers. "What do you do?"

"Botanist. Working for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture this summer. I was out conducting an invasive species census."


"I'm checking fields for invasive species of grass and other undesirable plants. They can force out the native plants and that affects the food supply for the animals that live off the land. I just do this in summer. During the rest of the year I teach botany at the local community college."

After the first twenty minutes of driving we had exhausted the chit-chat, I gave a sigh of relief when he turned on the radio and I had an excuse to stop talking. I poured a little water on my handkerchief, even lukewarm the water felt refreshing as I wiped the road grit from my face and hands. Hopefully it wouldn't be too long until I could check into the Hogsmeade Inn and take a shower.

At last we came to a blacktopped road and he turned north. "Harry's is about four miles up, nearly at the start of the hills."

"You mean the Black Hills? I read about them on the flight over."

"Yep. They start here and run north for over hundred miles. If you'd stayed on 16 about another five miles you would've come to the turn-off for this road."

"Well, the sat nav told me to turn there." I said with a casual shrug, already writing my letter of complaint to the rental agency that had provided me a car with such outdated navigation software. There was a lot more road traffic on this paved road and I was surprised at the number of motorcycles traveling along it.

The station was at the crossroads of another gravel road. It wasn't any place I would've dared stopped at if I'd had any say. The building had faded, battered metal siding. There was only one petrol pump on the concrete drive, a weathered cardboard sign taped to it declaring that it was out of order. In the windows of the station were tattered posters advertising for spark plugs and tyres that looked like they hadn't been changed in over a decade. I stared up at the peeling painted sign proclaiming the business to be Black's Towing & Service, S. Black, Proprietor.

"S. Black. As in Sirius Black? Why didn't you-"

Longbottom put the truck in neutral and took off his seat belt. "This is Harry's place. Any question you have about Sirius you need to ask him. I don't mess around in other folk's personal business."

I deserved that but I could've spent the time in the truck preparing to meet my long-lost cousin. It had never occurred to me that I would actually find Black at the end of the journey. Who Harry was to me, I intended to find out. Did Sirius have a child?

The doors to the double garage bays were open and the sound of a power tool nearly drowned out by the rock music poured out of a grease covered radio resting on a stool.

Longbottom set off in that direction and I followed him. In the garage a heavy-duty tow truck was hoisted up on the hydraulic lift, its tyres off and a man standing underneath, working on it. A large scruffy black dog stood guarding the open door. Longbottom gave the dog a pat and walked past it but as I attempted to follow, the dog lifted his head and growled.

"Harry, got a customer here for you." Longbottom shouted as he hit the off button on the radio. The dog didn't take its eyes off of me.

"That you, Neville? I thought you had some important meeting up at the college?" The sound was muffled as the man ducked his head as he came out from underneath the truck.

"Got detoured on my way there. This fella's car broke down."

Harry walked towards us, lifting his white t-shirt to wipe the sweat from his face he exposed a tanned six-pack with a beautiful deep v-cut that disappeared into low fitting jeans, the trail of hair from his navel to groin making my cock twitch. My gaze lingered at the promising bulge.

A slight cough from Longbottom made me realise with a flush of embarrassment that I had missed something important, I looked down to see the mechanic was holding out his hand to me.

"Let's try this again, I'm Harry Potter," the mechanic said with a lopsided smile. His hand was stained with grease, but this wasn't the time for squeamishness. I shook it firmly and felt a shock at the feel of his strong grip that lingered in mine.

"What happened to your car?" Potter asked, leaning against the doorway. The dog had plopped down at Potter's feet and was eyeing me suspiciously.

"Sorry, right. Draco Malfoy. I need a tow, erm, that is my car broke down and I need it towed and fixed." I cursed to myself as I fumbled to find the words. It was hard to know what was more distracting, the way his damp shirt clinged to his chest, the gorgeous drawl of his American accent, or his overgrown dark fringe which was covering his eyes making my fingers itch to sweep through it. The snug fit of his jeans and grease-stained hands just sealed the deal: he was my fantasy American cowboy come to life, all he was lacking were the cowboy hat and boots.

"What happened to the car?" Harry said, forcing my drifting thoughts back to the task at hand.

"Right. The temperature gauge showed that it was running hot and then smoke started coming out from under the bonnet."

"Bonnet? You mean the hood? The front of the car?

"You haven't heard the best of it yet, Harry. It's a Jaguar, and guess where I found him." Longbottom grinned and answered the question himself. "Halfway down Hogsmeade road."

He stared at me, his green eyes wide. "You took a Jaguar on a forty-mile gravel road?"

"The navigation system I was following told me to turn and I did." I said, gritting my teeth. It did sound incredibly stupid but I didn't know there'd been an alternative.

"Jags have built-in GPS systems, right? I'm guessing it either has very outdated maps or a setting got changed. No one takes that road anymore."

"Fine. I shouldn't have taken it., the question is, can you help me?" I looked past the two men to the tow truck up on the lift. "Clearly you are having problems of your own."

"Just replacing the brake pads, almost finished. Tell me what happened. An engine doesn't just start smoking out of the blue. Did you hear any noise? Rattle? Whirring noise?"

"Like I said, it was running hot so I turned off the air conditioning and slowed down but it went nearly to the red zone before the smoke started."

"Anything happen before that?"

I thought back and remembered the rock, the bloody rock. "I hit a rock, didn't see it in the road, but that was well before I noticed any problem."

Harry grimaced. "With the way the Jags ride low, it probably scrapped along the bottom, may have punctured the oil pan, oil started leaking. Depending on the size of the puncture, it could have taken a bit of distance before it affected the engine. An engine running hot with leaking oil could cause the smoke and make it fail."

"Can you fix it?"

He shook his head, "I'd love to but first you can't tow a car like a Jaguar with a hook, it would drag. Needs a flatbed, and I can get one of those but my tools aren't the right gauge for British cars. Is this your car or-"

"I hired it from an agency in Denver."

"I bet any outfit renting out high-end cars won't want anyone but their own people touching it." Harry slid his hands in his back pockets, the move tugged down his jeans lower and I willed them to expose more of the tantalizing glimpse of abdominal muscles. I looked up to see them both staring at me.

The agency. Right. There was the emergency number they'd given me. I pulled out my wallet and found where I'd stuck the business card for the agency. "You're right, of course, they gave me a number to call, with the excitement, I forgot." I checked my mobile, still no signal. "Could I use your telephone? Mine…" I held it up as if they could see the lack of bars.

"Sure, in my office." Harry lead me through the doorway to an office that looked like it would've been the retail part of the station when it was still selling fuel. There was a large desk covered with catalogs, papers and Harry's half-eaten lunch. An old fashioned push-button phone sat on the middle of it.

The agent I spoke to was clearly not pleased to hear about the condition and location of the car but was too well-trained to risk losing a customer. He put me on hold and I looked over at where the two men were talking. Longbottom was kneeling down, scratching the dog's belly and Harry was standing next to him.

The mechanic was scruffy, dirty and…and unlike anyone I'd ever been tempted by before. Why was it that every nerve in my body was tingling? I wanted to see more of him. The whole time we'd been talking I'd been keenly aware of him, fascinated by the smear of dirt down his left cheek, desperate to find out if he smelled as sexy as he looked, my fingers itched to rake through his tangle of black hair.

That delicious peek under his shirt: there hadn't been a hint of an underwear waistband. Was he not wearing any? The thought sent blood flowing downwards. I could see myself on my knees in front of him and finding out for myself what he had packed into those jeans. Turning my back so I wouldn't be noticed, I adjusted the lay of my cock, pressing the palm of my hand against it to suppress its half-hard state. Behind me I could hear Harry and Longbottom talking in low murmurs.

Finally, the agent came back on the line, even less cooperative because he couldn't find the road on his maps. I had no choice but to ask Longbottom to explain to man exactly where the car was and Harry came closer, too. I handed the phone to Longbottom. It was only then that I remembered the reason that I was even in this situation.

Grateful to have something to focus on talking to Harry about, I turned to him. "Is this your business?"

"Yep." Harry looked at him curiously. "Why do you want to know?"

"I noticed it was called Black's...and you said your name was Potter."

"My godfather started the business, I took over for him." Potter said as he turned to tidy the desk, throwing the lunch in the garbage and straightening the stack of bills. It gave me the chance to admire his tight arse, and to take a deep sigh of relief that he was not related to me by blood.

Trying to stay focus and not stare at him, I went on. "I came here on the request of my mother, she wanted me to find a long-lost family member, Sirius Black."

He put down the papers and turned to look back at me, his green eyes suddenly not so friendly as he gave me a hard stare. I met his eyes without flinching. It gave me the chance to study his face. He had a jagged scar on his forehead, hidden behind the thick thatch of his fringe. Even set in a stern line his lips looked delectably kissable.

"Sirius is a relative of yours?"

"My mother's cousin, making him my first cousin, once removed. There was a fall-out in the family and contact was lost. My mother hopes to rekindle the relationship and I have a business proposal that I would like to present."

"I'm afraid that you'll have to tell your mother that the gesture came too late. Sirius has been gone for over ten years." He turned and walked away and I started to follow but was stopped by Longbottom who handed me the phone. Right, the bloody car.

It took ten minutes of fruitless arguing but in the end it appeared my only option was a return trip to Denver with the agency's tow-truck driver. The agency would not loan me another vehicle because of the 'catastrophic damage to their most-prized vehicle.' I had to restrain myself from slamming down the phone during the agent's lecture.

I was stranded in a filthy car garage in the middle of nowhere with no way of returning to Denver except as a passenger in a tow-truck that wouldn't be arriving to the next day. I stared out the window where I could see Longbottom was pulling my suitcases out of the back of his truck. He was getting ready to leave.

Hoping that he might be able to give me a ride into town, I went outside. He stood by the open door of his truck, one foot on the running board.

"I appreciate your help, for the ride and for the erm, snake-killing." I said with an involuntary shudder as I remembered the coiled snake.

"No problem. They are going to come for the car?"

"In the morning."

"Afraid I'm already late for a meeting, talk to Harry. He can probably get you set up. Hogsmeade is only a few miles further."

I hid my grimace, courtesy demanded that I not ask any more from him and I gave a half-hearted wave as he pulled out of the drive.

Looking back at the garage, I hoped I could get Harry to take me in to town to the hotel. Maybe I could warm him up to telling me what happened to Sirius Black. Mother would want to know, and after traveling so far, so did I.

The tow-truck had been lowered so that Harry could put the tyres back on. He was rolling the first one into place as I walked through the doorway. His arm muscles flexed and strained as he lifted the tyre that must've weighed over a hundred pounds and forced it into place, turning it until it was aligned properly.

A pneumatic wrench was on a red wheeled tool cart. He fitted on the first wheel nut and secured it with a high pitched squeal, and worked until all the bolts were tightened in place. Every move Harry made was done with economy and confidence, and despite the derelict appearance of the garage from the outside, I had the feeling he was good at his chosen profession. I wondered how old he was. It seemed that we were likely near the same age and I'd just turned twenty-six the previous month.

Harry stood up and picked up the water bottle and drank from it. My own mouth went dry as I admired the line of his throat as his adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed, his lips wrapped around the mouth of the bottle.

Christ. He was gorgeous and I couldn't help but think how good he'd look with those lips around my cock. He tipped his head farther back and poured the water on his face, the trails of water running down his neck, cheeks, jaw; and I held my breath, unable to take my eyes off of him.

Harry did a half turn and saw me watching him, a smile flashing across his face before he lifted his shirt and used it again to wipe his face. Had he never heard of a towel? This time he took his time and lifted it high enough that I could see his pecs and nipples, the dark smattering of chest hair. I'd already been caught staring so I figured it didn't matter if I admired it a little more. He didn't seem to mind my gaze as he smiled and ran his hand through his hair.

"Needed to cool off, it's a hot one today. What did they say? Are they sending someone out to pick up the car and bring a replacement?"

"Not quite. They are sending someone to pick up the car tomorrow, but they won't replace it, so unless I want to be stranded here without a vehicle, I'll need to ride back with their driver. I was hoping you would be willing to take me into Hogsmeade to the hotel for the night. And I need to figure out a way to get out to the car in the morning."

Harry picked up a blue rag from the red work cabinet and wiped his hands on it. "I'd be glad to give you a lift in to town. Do you have a reservation at the hotel?"

"No, I didn't think there'd be a need." How many people traveled to Hogsmeade, South Dakota?

"Not usually, but Sturgis begins in a few days and the bikers are already starting to pour in from all over. Every hotel within a hundred miles fills up, even ours."

What on earth was Sturgis? Why was it that every conversation I'd had in America required a translation? Harry must've seen my confusion because he continued, "Sturgis is a motorcycle rally, brings in bikers from all over the world. Something like four hundred thousand people attended last year."

And that explains why there were so many motorcycles on the motorway, I thought. I knew it would be grasping at straws but I didn't know what else to say, other than begging for a place to sleep. "Perhaps there might be a cancellation-"

"We can call to be sure, but I'd be glad to put you up for a night. My place isn't much, but to be honest, neither is the Hogsmeade Inn."

"I don't want to put you out." I protested out of form but my cock was telling me to take what was being offered.

"Not at all, glad to have the company." His eyes flicked down my body as he spoke, and a frisson of heat travelled straight to my groin as he let his gaze linger before looking up again. "I need to do two more tyres on the truck, and then get cleaned up, do you mind waiting?"

"No, not at all. I could use a little cleaning up myself." I looked down at my soiled, sweat-stained shirt. "Perhaps I could use your restroom?"

"You can, or if you want, I have a shower rigged up out back. It's crude but it gets the job done."

"Anything would be fine." I felt so grimy that I didn't care if it was a watering hole in a pigsty, well, maybe not that. I just needed to wash and put on some clean clothes, especially if that look meant what I hoped it had.

"It's out the back door, can't miss it. There are towels on the laundry line that should be dry." He motioned towards the open back doorway where the dog was sleeping in a pool of sunlight. "It's a barrel shower, holds fifty gallons. All you have to do is pull on the rope to get water."

"You're sure you don't mind?"

Harry shook his head. "Don't mind at all but I was thinking..." He hooked his thumbs in his front belt loops, I sucked in my stomach as the move revealed the trail of dark hair leading downwards. "Maybe you could give me a hand in here, and afterwards we can get cleaned up together. Save water."


I licked my lips that were suddenly dry, as I mentally ran through his words to make sure there was no mistake about his meaning. But there was no misinterpreting when he leaned back against the truck, his hand stroking the denim outline of his cock.

"I'm very handy." I winced at my words, but Harry didn't seem to mind as he thumbed the top button of his jeans. It took me four steps to cover the ten feet separating us. Our hands met at his fly and I brushed his aside, stroking him through the thick material of jeans. "Allow me," I said as I knelt in front of him.

I felt his cock with my tongue and mouth, feeling him hardening through the barrier of fabric. He wasn't fully erect yet, but was well on the way. I gave a growl of approval when I realised that he wore button-fly jeans. I used the palm of my hand to tease and stroke him. There was no need to rush. I loved this moment, not knowing what would be revealed. Thick and short, or long and slender? A cock that turned deep red when erect or one that was more of a pale pink like mine?

Inhaling deeply, the metallic smell of grease and oil mixed with a more earthy musky scent. I rubbed against his balls, feeling them tighten through his jeans. Shifting to a better position, I mouthed him through the material. He gave a loud groan as my fingers started undoing buttons.

I moved slowly, licking each salty inch of revealed flesh. His cock was fully hard now and I knew it must be aching, just as my own needed release. His patience gave way with still one button to go. He shoved down his jeans until he was he was completely exposed. Ignoring his cock, I buried my nose in his balls, which were thick and sweaty as I lapped at them. He writhed beneath my touch and I pressed my arm against his torso, holding him steady.

A sound of car horn from the road had me pulling away in alarm, but Harry put his hand to the back of my head, keeping me in place as he said, "Guard, Padfoot." There was a black flash as the dog raced through the garage out the front bay.

I sucked on his balls, alternating between them, as I teased him with my tongue until he was panting for more. Only then did I move up to his cock, licking a slow stripe up as I did. Dripping with precome, it was deliciously thick, and I gave a growl of appreciation. He was circumcised as I'd expected, and I held him with my left hand, stroking him as I looked up to make sure he was watching. The edge of his shirt blocked my view of his face.

'Take off your shirt."

His eyes widened and but he straightened up, pulling it off and revealing the taut muscles and trail of hair from his navel to his groin. Resting one hand against the truck, I held his cock steady with the other. Looking up, I held his gaze as I swallowed him, taking him to the hilt. I heard him swear as I ran my tongue along his cock. Fuck, I loved this.

Stroking him with my mouth and hand, vaguely aware of the burn on my knees against the dirty cement floor, the trickle of sweat between my shoulder blades, I wanted this more than anything. I took him deep again. I wanted him to fuck my throat, to make him lose control, but his firm grip on my hair loosened and he stopped me.

"Not yet," he said, running his thumb along my cheek. He tugged on my arm to get me to stand up.

We stood looking eye-to-eye, mere inches apart. As he licked his lips and I leaned forward to suck on his lower lip, before kissing him. He ran his tongue over mine and I knew he was tasting his own pre-come. I felt a shiver go through him and then he buried both hands in my hair, forcing us together as I tried to keep up with his hot tongue and lips. Our teeth clashed and I tasted blood on my lip but I didn't care as we ground together. My hands were on his arse, pulling him closer as his hot breath and lips assaulted my lips, jaw, neck.

"Christ, I need to feel you." He whispered hotly, his fingers fumbling with the buttons on my shirt.

"Rip it." I said, wanting to feel his skin against mine. He didn't hesitate as he yanked my shirt apart, buttons skittered across the garage floor. I freed my arm from the sleeves of my shredded shirt and his hands already sliding to my fly, drawing down my trousers and silk boxers as he growled, "Turn around."

There were no thoughts of denying him, even though I was naked with my trousers pooled around my ankles in a service station garage with a busy roadway a few dozen yards away. I'd never been more turned on. My hands splayed against the truck, and I braced my arms. My arse muscles tightened reflexively as he ran his hands over my buttocks and I to bite back a moan of need as his thumbs trailed down my crease. He tugged at my hips, pulling me against him.

"What do you want?" He asked, his body pressing hard against mine. I could feel the cold press of his open zipper against my skin, the heat of his cock as he teased me with it. I shifted my legs as far as I could, my head buried in my folded elbows pressed against the truck as I showed him what I wanted with a thrust of my hips. He paused and I could feel his hot breath against my neck. "What do you want?" he repeated.

I wanted him to fuck me. Wanted to feel his cock inside of me, but that required condoms and lube. Mine were in my case. Too far away. "Rim me. Fuck me. Just do something." I said desperate and not caring how needy I sounded as I pressed back against him.

He gave another laugh, low and sexy as fuck. "How about both? How about I rim you, open you up with my tongue, then fuck you," he murmured against my neck as his thumb pressed in just far enough to make me burn. I groaned my agreement, biting my lip to keep from begging.

He tortured me as he took his time. Shivers of anticipation went through me as he kissed and licked his way down my spine, his hands stroking and taunting me until he was on his knees. Then his tongue was at my entrance and he finally began his assault.

His hands spread my cheeks wider and I rested my forehead against the truck squeezing my eyes shut as I felt him start in earnest. Panting, I begged for more as his tongue teased me. He worked me, opening me up. I arched my back, pushing against his tongue. It had been too long since I had had such a need to be owned by someone. My own cock was weeping and I reached down with my right hand. His hand surrounded my own and I was trapped in heaven and hell, thrusting back and forth from his tongue to his fist.

"I want your cock. I have condoms in my case." I said through gritted teeth. I didn't want him to stop what he was doing, but I needed so much more. He stood up, his hands trailing along my sides as he kissed the nape of my neck, and then he was gone.

"Be right back." He said over his shoulder as I turned to watch him crossing over to a motorcycle parked in the second work bay and flip open one of the storage compartments. I pulled off my shoes and kicked off my trousers, I was more exposed than I'd ever been in my life and I couldn't make myself care. I wanted this more than I had ever wanted anything before.

He showed no self-consciousness either as he walked back towards me, his jeans spread open and his erect cock proudly exposed. His chest had a thin mat of dark curly chest hair. He held up a condom and tube of lube. "Against the truck or…?"

Not bothering to answer, I turned and braced my arms against the truck as he slipped on the condom. There was a snick as he opened a tube of lube. His left hand reached up to thread his fingers through mine, and I could feel the cool press of his lube covered cock against me and I was willing myself not to tense when he whispered into my ear, "What did you say your name was?" at the same time that he breached me, in one slow, steady slide that made me bite my lip to keep from crying out. He paused, letting me stretch, catch my breath.

"Malfoy. Draco Malfoy." I managed to gasp, squeezing his hand tight. I could feel the heat of his flesh against mine, we were both sweaty and the afternoon sun was pouring in through the open door. I knew that even with the dog guarding the entrance, anyone who pulled up would see us, and I was more turned on by the idea than I should've been.

"Pleased to meet you, Draco Malfoy. My name is Harry, just in case you forgot."

I gave a laugh that quickly turned into a moan as he started to work me open with long, confident strokes. Closing my eyes, I bit my lip until the sensation transitioned from burn to pleasure. His arms surrounded me and I could feel the heat of his panting breath on my neck as he fucked me.

"So, fucking tight, bloody English ass," he nipped at my ear, and I needed the flicks of pain to keep my focus. "You wanted to get fucked as soon as you walked in the door. Wanted my cock."

"I wanted to suck your cock, this is just a bonus." I managed to respond as he reached around and began to stroke me, so that I was again barraged with sensations from both sides.

Fucking in bed is nice. Soft mattresses, no bruised knees. The sweet smell of linens and pillows, along with headboards that are handy for all sorts of things. None of those advantages, however, compares to getting fucked against a tow-truck on a hot July afternoon in the middle of South Dakota.

Still up on the lift, the truck was rocking with each stroke, and at that moment I didn't care if it came tumbling down on us. Every nerve in my body was alive, and I wanted it to go on until my legs couldn't hold me up. Harry's breath began to catch and his hands caught my hips, holding them steady as his rhythm started to falter. I clenched my arse as he shouted, swearing loudly, and came with his fingers digging into my hips.

I waited as he recovered. He took a few more slow thrusts, his ragged breath easing as he pressed tight against me. I fought back a whimper when he pulled away. He rested his head against my back.

My cock was hard and aching but my legs were shaking and I had to turn and lean back against the truck. His legs straddling mine, chest still heaving. We were both dripping with sweat and I couldn't care less as I stroked my cock. He looked down, his hand slipping over mine.

Unlike most American cocks, mine was uncut and I could see the fascination in his face as he watched my foreskin pull back. "Fuck, that's gorgeous." His hand was stained with grease and deeply tanned in complete contrast of my own pale skin, he started stroking with me. I didn't want to come yet, if this was going to be our only encounter I wanted to make it last as long as could, but then I felt him reach around and his fingers were sliding into me, hitting the exact spot needed to push me over the edge, making me arch as my balls tightened and I couldn't hold back any longer.

My vision blackened as he milked the orgasm out of me, coating our hands and stomachs. I buried my face in his neck, the feel of his stubble against my cheek. We stood supporting each other as our breath slowed back to normal and I became aware of our surroundings. The uncomfortable press of the truck against my back, the muted roar of the traffic on the highway, the sticky discomfort of come.

Harry's eyes were still closed, and I felt as he took in a deep breath, his chest moving, hot and sticky, against mine, our heartbeats seeming to beat in tune. "How about that shower?" I asked reluctantly, wanting to get clean before the sweat dried and the itch began, but not wanting the moment to end.

Harry gave a low chuckle as his hands ran down my rib cage, making me shiver despite the heat. "I suppose we can't stay like this much longer or we'll get stuck together."

With no sign of self-consciousness he stepped away and began to strip off his jeans, pushing them down before realising he was still wearing his workboots. Bare-assed, he bent over and used my arm to balance himself as he untied the laces with his hand and toeing off the boots before freeing his legs from his jeans.

"This way," Harry said with a grin, tugging my hand and led me out the backdoor. The first thing I saw was an old battered pickup truck, the grass growing underneath it showing it hadn't been moved in months, if not years. Beyond the truck was a clothesline strung between two posts. Harry went over and took down two towels and a washcloth, tossing the pegs into a bag that was hung on the line.

Also on the line were about two dozen pairs of cotton boxer briefs in a rainbow of colors. Harry saw where I was looking and gave a lopsided grin. "I don't usually go commando while working. Ran out this morning."

"You should do it every day, it's fucking hot." I said as I walked gingerly over the coarse grass. It was cutting into the soft flesh of my bare feet and I tried to not wince as we walked towards the shower. Never before had I showered outdoors, and definitely I had never walked around naked in someone's back garden. This was nothing like the back gardens I knew in England, not even those in the deepest countryside. There was nothing but fields and the distant hills here, the sun burning overhead in the endless blue sky.

The shower was a large black plastic barrel resting atop a sturdy-looking scaffold ten feet off the ground. A hose led from the barrel to a showerhead mounted on one of the posts. There was a wood slatted platform on the ground to stand on and a wide tree stump served as a table, with shampoo, soap and a razor.

"It should be warm, if not outright hot, if the sun has been doing its job," Harry said as he tossed the towels on the stump.

I couldn't meet his eyes as he pulled me onto the platform, the blind adrenaline and heat of our encounter had faded enough that I was keenly aware that I'd just been fucked by complete stranger. This was nothing like the pulls in a club where you have a quick hand job or blow job and walk away.

Whether he realised what I was feeling or not, Harry slid his hand around my neck and pulled me to him, reaching up and kissing me full on the lips, our naked bodies touching from toes to chest, he drew back to see my reaction, his intense eyes staring at me questioningly, before leaning in again and I opened my mouth to his.

It was like Sunday morning kisses after a night of bed-romping, teasing and tasting when the passion has all been exhausted. I felt him reach up and fumble for something and it was the only warning I had before water started cascading down on top of us.

It was hotter than bathwater but there was barely room enough for both of us under the gentle flow of water. He moved in front of me, leaning back against me and we both lifted our faces into the water. Except for the warmth of the water, it felt like when I was a child, lifting my face into the rain. I ran my fingers through my hair, letting the water soak in and then, with just a moment's hesitation, did the same to Harry. The water was rolling over his black wavy hair and I slid my fingers into it, running my fingers through gently to avoid snagging it until it hung wet and thick around his face.

He shook his head, scattering water in all direction and laughed at me as I backed away. "You should see Padfoot when he is under the shower."

I cocked my head at him. "Do you often shower with your dog if you aren't showering with strangers that you've just fucked against your truck?"

"For the record, I don't usually fuck strangers against my truck, but I do, on occasion, shower with my dog." He reached for the washcloth and held it up to soak it before sliding it down my chest, sucking and kissing my shoulder as he did so. There were grease marks on my hips from his fingers and he took a bar of green soap and the washcloth and rubbed at them in a circular stroke, wiping them away.

Beyond the whole, naked outside thing, the shower together was so intimate, so foreign to me, that I was at a loss to understand why it didn't feel strange. I'd had more than my share of casual encounters, but not one who made me feel like we'd been together for years instead of minutes.

Deciding not to talk myself out of enjoying it, I took the washcloth from his hand and returned the favour. He put his hands on my hips and closed his eyes as I rubbed the cloth along his chest, abdomen, groin.

We repeated the washing to each other's back, his hand rubbing the washcloth along my arse, as he pressed kisses along my shoulder blades.

"I should turn off the water, don't want to run out while we shampoo." Harry said and he reached up and untied the rope that I hadn't noticed, it tugged up and then stopped, the tennis ball tied at the end of it swinging. "There's a valve inside the barrel, pull on the rope and tie it off to let the water flow."

The whole design was ingenious and I told him so as he squirted shampoo on my hand and then his own. "It is Sirius' design, I just replicated it when his wore out."

Sirius. My cousin, and the entire reason for my trip that I had somehow managed to forget about the time I'd dropped to my knees in front of Harry.

"What happ-"

"Later." As he shampooed his hair, the suds ran down his tan chest and my cock gave a twitch of appreciation. Ignoring it, I shampooed my hair, liking the smell of rosemary and mint in the soap. When we were ready he turned on the water again and we stood and rinsed.

He handed me a towel and I started to dry off, the line-dried towel smelled like the prairie that had been growing along the roadside. There was a separate lawn hose running up to the top of the barrel that I didn't notice until he turned on the tap and I could hear the water running into the barrel. "I always refill it so that the water can start warming for the next shower. Get pretty annoyed with myself the day after I decide to do it later, inevitably I forget to do it and end up having to take a cold shower."

"You do have a bathroom in your home, don't you?" I wrapped the towel around my waist, it seemed rather prudish since he was walking back towards the garage bare arsed.

"I do, but it is nice to wash off here and not ride home dirty. Do my laundry here, too. Easier to tend to it during the day than at night." Harry stopped at the clothes line and took down a pair of red cotton boxer-briefs, again using my arm for balance he slipped them on. He looked like a model in an underwear advertisement, the kind that showed men out in nature wearing nothing but their muscled, oiled body and briefs. The kind of ad that had convinced me when I was fourteen that I might be a little gay.

As we walked into the garage I was blinded by the darkness of the garage after the bright sunlight. I stood blinking as my eyes adjusted. Harry opened a cabinet and pulled out a pair of jeans and t-shirts in it, all well-worn and faded.

I'd left my suitcases in the office, and painfully cognizant that Harry was watching me as I walked through the garage with just the towel around my waist. Flipping open the lid I contemplated what would be suitable for a post-coital evening spent with an American mechanic.

Lacking anything close to appropriate I pulled out the black pair of jeans that I'd gotten for clubbing because of their tight fit that didn't hide anything. A black silk shirt, a pair of green Italian leather half boots with silver metal tips, a belt with a silver buckle finished my outfit.

When I walked back into the garage, Harry was standing dressed just in his jeans and work boots, talking on his phone. "I don't have the plate, Dennis, but I can guarantee it is the only Jaguar on Hogsmeade road. Hold on a sec." He motioned to me come over, holding the phone to his chest. "Did you turn the hazards on?"

I nodded and he went back to talk on the phone, but not before giving me a head-to-toe look and an approving wink. The dog was stretched out at Harry's feet, panting heavily. "That'll do...okay, oh, and one more thing cross me off for tonight. I'll let Charlie know…okay, to you later."

He disconnected the call and immediately made another one. "Hey Charlie, it's me. Is it okay if you are first on the call list tonight? Something came up and…" I looked over as a flush rose on Harry's cheeks. "Yeah, like I would tell you that...will you…thanks, I owe you one. I let Dennis know, okay. Talk to you later."

"Sorry," Harry said as he slid the phone in his pocket. "Tonight was my night for answering the sheriff's call if they need a wrecker."

"Do you often get called out?"

"Not really, can go stretches of a week or more without and then two or three bad accidents in one week-end."

We looked at each other, and as his green eyes studied me, I had the sensation he was as at a loss as I was. This was completely unknown territory for me, I'd never reacted to someone like this before. It wasn't like a one-off, those are over and you are finished. This time I still had a strong need to be close to him and I had no idea what was driving it.

"What do we do now, Harry Potter?"

He gave a laugh. "Right. I still need to finish with my truck." He motioned at his lack of shirt. "That's why I didn't get dressed all the way. No point of putting on a clean shirt that would just get filthy."

"Can I help?" I said it automatically, even though I'd never changed a tyre in my life.

He raised his left eyebrow. "In that outfit?"

"I didn't pack for-"

"I don't suppose you did." He stood up and motioned towards the office. "Have a seat in there. There aren't many magazines but you're welcome to read whatever I have. All I need to do is get the last two on, won't take long."

I didn't want to wait in the office. I spotted a broken-down bar stool in the corner of the garage and pulled it over. Hooking my heels on the lowest rung on the stool, I sat back to watch Harry. The muscles on his back and shoulders rippled as he hoisted the tyre and I wondered what he would do if I got behind him and ran my hands along them. The jeans he'd put on were tighter fitting than the previous pair: clearly not intended to be worked in, they fit his arse perfectly.

When he moved the red utility cart I saw the clothes I'd discarded in our haste to strip. Examining them, I realised that they were ruined, there was no point in trying to save them.

I went to throw them into the bin next to the workbenches. The lack of clutter and cleanliness of Harry's workspace was rather telling: every tool had a designated spot and was put away clean, the surface was free of debris. The neglected appearance of the outside of the building appeared to be part of a deception. I eyed Harry, clearly there was more to him than his good looks and brawn.

By the time I sat back down there were streaks of black from the tyres on Harry's arms and chest and his hands were again filthy. He picked up the pneumatic wrench and tightened the wheel nuts, working his way in a criss-cross pattern until they were all secured. The sound was not unlike the terrible electronica music at the clubs that Pansy favored. I tried to imagine how Harry would fit in a place like that, what he would look like dressed for a night of clubbing, his black hair slicked back with gel. It would be hot, but not as hot as he looked right now with his muscles pumped and grimy from honest work.

"Done," Harry said, standing and brushing off his hands on a towel. Walking over to the wall he pressed a button and the truck lowered to the ground. "I'll just clean up at the sink a little and we can be on our way." At the sink in the corner of the garage and used another bar of the thick green soap and a nail brush to clean his hands and then scrubbed at the tyre marks on his chest with a wet towel. My fingers itched to help him.

He flipped open the clothes cupboard and took out a red t-shirt and pulled it on. In gold letters stretch across the chest it declared, "Carpe Diem."

"Did you have just the one suitcase?"

"And a satchel."

"Hmm. We'll have to see if we can make that fit on my bike," he said. "Grab them and I'll get my laundry. I'll be right back." The dog loped after him and I was looking at the big touring size motorcycle with Harley-Davidson emblazoned in chrome letters against the black fuel tank.

He was back in under two minutes, carrying a canvas sack filled with his underpants. "This I can put in the saddlebags. And I think we can strap your cases to the rack."

The cases did fit, and I ignored how the bungee cords scuffed the leather: at this point I considered it just another battlescar. More proof to show Blaise and Pansy that I wasn't making the whole thing up. He wheeled the motorcycle out to the drive and disappeared into the building one more time, coming out with two motorcycle helmets. He handed them to me before going locking and bolting the doors.

The dog sat down next to the cycle, it's tail thumping wildly on the pavement. Harry squatted next to him and scratched his ears affectionately, before standing up and saying "Okay, Padfoot. Home" The dog gave a deep woof and raced off in a flash of black behind the building.

"He just takes off?"

"Yep. Nothing between here and my place but the river and a few fences." He picked up his helmet. "Have you ridden a motorcycle before?"

"No, not like this." I was pretty sure zipping around Rome in a scooter would not be could considered experience.

"It's easy. Just hold tight and lean with me, I lean left, you lean left. I go right, you go right." He gave a grin and slipped on his helmet. I did the same and was sure I looked like a fool, he had the bulk to not look like some giant marshmallow head atop a stick figure.

He gave me a thumbs up and flipped a switch on his helmet and reached over and did the same to mine. "Can you hear me?" His voice was in the helmet and I jerked back before realising it was speakers so we could talk without shouting.

"Yes, can you hear me?"

He gave a nod. "My place is two miles down the road, won't take long." He swung his leg over the bike easily and looked at me. "Climb on."

Like getting on a horse, I thought. Except my jeans were not designed to straddle a motorcycle. I could hear Harry chuckling as I tried to adjust myself and I would've cursed him if I wasn't afraid that my voice would be an octave higher.

"We can take the truck." He offered and I shook my head. With the cases behind me and him in front there wasn't much room. "Don't be afraid to get close." He shouted as he revved the engine. "Hang on."

The whole bike was vibrating and I wrapped my arms around him as he rolled it forward, off the kickstands. "Ready?"

I squeezed his waist rather than bothering to answer and he shifted the clutch and his foot pushed down on the pedal and we were flying down the road. It would have been less painful if I hadn't just been fucked and wasn't wearing jeans tighter than a virgin, but I was pressed up against him, my cock rubbing against his arse and if there'd been an inch of space in my jeans I'd would have come right then.

Instead, I leaned in close and listened to him through the speakers pointing out different things in the distance. Before I knew it we were turning right onto a gravel road and he slowed down, carefully following the rut in the road. Gravel sprayed out the back and even at the slower speed I could feel a whole new vibration to the bike as we headed up into the hills I'd seen in the distance from his shop. Pine trees dotted the hillside, growing thicker as we headed up.

"Padfoot." Harry said, pointing at a flash of black in the distant field. The dog was racing us home. "One of these days he is going to beat me."

Home was a two-storey red stone house with a wide porch that faced out towards the prairie. There was no traditional lawn, just thick prairie grass. An old blue pickup truck was parked under a cottonwood tree and Harry drove past it to a large shed, its doors wide open. He drove straight into it and cut the engine. Silence at last. I took my helmet off and waited as he climbed off.

I winced at the thought of getting off the bike, but staying on was a worse thought so I gritted my teeth and swung my leg over. I couldn't hold back a yelp as my arse protested. "If we do this again, I'm riding naked, it would be less painful."

"Actually, it's not. Chaffing," Harry said with a laugh and undid the straps on the luggage. "Don't know about you, but I'm starving."

"On that we agree." I took the cases off the rack and he opened up the saddlebag to pull out the sack with his laundry.

He turned the doorknob and the door swung open. "No need for locks out here," he commented over his shoulder as we walked in.

The house was old, but the kitchen had been renovated. It still had an old-fashioned feel with a big country sink and a large range and cooker, but the cabinetry looked to be nicely restored original solid wood, not cheap MDF. The flooring was polished, wide pine boards that had the worn look of having been there since the house was built. The new appliances didn't look to be high end but I wouldn't expect them to be, I always had to remind my team when we were starting a project that the improvements needed to fit the market, no use putting in top-line improvements if the property was never going to get the value back.

"This is nice." I said accusingly, as he'd led me to think that he lived in a shack.

"It's home. Been working on it for the past year or two, learning as I go. Haven't finished all the rooms but the kitchen I did first. My bedroom was second." He looked at me and there was the same connection as when we'd met a couple of hours ago. I knew I was going to see it.

"Did you grow up here?" I asked, wondering how a mechanic in his mid-twenties could afford his own business and home.

"I came to live here when I was eleven." Harry opened the refrigerator. "Beer? And it looks like the tabbouleh is still good, how about that with some crackers until the steaks are ready?" He pulled a bowl out of the fridge and then opened the freezer and pulled out a paper-wrapped package. "I'll thaw them a little in the microwave and then we'll have to wait for them to come to temperature."

I nodded absentmindedly, looking around as he put the steaks on a plate. He'd lived here as a teen, with his godfather, but not his parents. And wherever else he lived he hadn't considered it home. Wanting more answers but knowing it wasn't the time to question him, I took the bottle of beer that he held out to me. A pale ale from a brewery I'd never heard of before. I took a swallow, needing the refreshment as we went onto the deck that was in washed with late afternoon sun.

A round red-metal grill was on the deck. He fussed with it. filling it with charcoal and sliding an electric charcoal starter underneath the coals and plugged it in.

"Sometimes I wish I had a gas grill, but the taste is better off of coal. At least we have the tabbouleh to tide us over until the steaks are done. My friend Luna makes different vegetarian things for me and drops them off every few days. I think she thinks all I'd eat otherwise is red meat."

"Is she right?"

"Probably." Harry admitted with a grin as he led the way to the heavy wooden chairs that were set out. He put the tabbouleh on a little table between us and I tentatively scooped some onto a cracker and tried it. It wasn't bad, was actually pretty good, the sharp bite of lemon and garlic was balanced by the parsley, and the bulgur was firm and nutty, not mushy like the shop-bought variety, and it went well with the beer. We both dug into it, my stomach was grateful for food.

The edge off my hunger satisfied for a little while, I sat back and looked at Harry. "So where did you live before you moved here with Sirius?" I wanted to ask what had happened to his parents but it didn't feel like the right time to ask.

"Why did you come here looking for Sirius?" Harry countered, rolling his beer between the palms of his hands.

"He's my cousin-was my cousin," I corrected myself. Harry gave a flinch when I said 'was'.

"He left England over twenty-five years ago. Why do you care after all this time? You probably weren't even born yet."

"My father died recently, and in going through his papers my mother discovered correspondence that he'd hidden from her, indicating that Sirius was in Hogsmeade."

I was grateful that Harry didn't offer any platitude about my loss. "Why would he have hidden it?"

"Because he was a bit of a bastard." I took a sip of beer and set it down. "I have no doubt he was saving it to use against her, and for whatever reason, never got the chance."

Harry opened his mouth to say something but instead was pushed back into his chair as he was attacked by a large shaggy rug. A large, wet, shaggy rug. The dog licked his face and left muddy foot prints on Harry's shirt as he frantically tried to climb into his lap.

"Down, Padfoot, down. We have company." Harry protested, half-heartedly pushing him away with one hand and holding his beer out of the way with the other. I reached over and rescued the beer, watching as the two tussled for a few minutes. Finally, Harry clapped his hand firmly and the mangy mutt sat on the decking in front of Harry, his ears perked as if waiting for the next command. "Good boy. Dinner." The dog's claws chattered and slid against the decking as he raced into the house.

"I'll feed him and then get started prepping the steaks, the coals will take a bit longer." Harry said, standing up and brushing at the pawprints on his shirt and only succeeding in smearing them. "And I'll put on another clean shirt." There was a loud bark from the house and Harry gave an apologetic smile and disappeared through the door.

Frustrated that the conversation had been shut down just as it was getting somewhere, I followed him in. The dog was laying on his haunches next to a cupboard door, his tail thumping wildly on the floor as Harry walked over and the opened it. He started scooping dry dog food into a dog dish the size of a mixing bowl.

"Anything I can do?"

"If you want to you could season the steaks. Or just grab another beer and go back on the deck and enjoy the view."

"How do you like them seasoned?"

Harry brushed past me, carrying the dog's water bowl to the sink. "I'm simple, salt, pepper, maybe some granulated garlic. It is in the spice drawer down there." He pointed with his elbow as he rinsed and filled the bowl at the tap and then setting it back on the floor. Padfoot seemed to be enjoying his dinner, judging by the way he was wolfing down the kibble, causing the dish to skitter across the floor.

"I'll be right back," Harry said over his shoulder. He disappeared down a hallway, pulling off his shirt as he went back. I was tempted to call him back and tell him to skip the shirt, but we had things to talk about and it would be better to stay focused.

The steaks were thick rib-eyes with beautiful red and white marbling. I'd heard about the Angus beef in this region and my stomach gave a growl at the thought of trying it. I found the coarse salt and a pepper grinder and lightly seasoned the steaks on both sides. Smelling the steaks, the dog had abandoned its meal and had taken position leaning against my leg, leaving a coating of dog hair on my black slacks.

Harry strolled back into the kitchen. He'd changed into a dark green polo shirt that emphasised the green of his eyes and delicious dark stubble against his tanned skin. Unlike the other faded shirts he'd had on, this shirt had a fresh out of the box look, the sleeves still fit snug against his biceps. He must have tried to tame his hair, the thick curls were still running wild but a little more controlled than before.

"I'll throw together some sort of salad, and I think I have some bread that is still okay," he said, already opening the refrigerator and pulling out lettuce, carrots, red pepper, and mushrooms.

"No fungii," I said as I tried to brush the dog hair off of me.

Harry's head popped up and he gave me a grin before putting the mushrooms back before standing. "That is it for salad-fixings." He looked doubtfully at the collection.

"It's fine. I don't want to put you out." I washed my hands in the sink and pulled a bowl out of the drainboard. "Want the salad in here?" Harry nodded and I started rinsing the lettuce.

"For a rich prat who trashes Jaguars, you seem to know your way around the kitchen--" Harry cut-off and started to apologise and I waved him off.

"I've been called worse. I've been living on my own since I left school, and as much as I like going out to dine, I also like staying at home. I took a few cooking courses because I couldn't live on just cheese and pickle sandwiches."

"Oh. I love those." Harry said as he got the bread out. It was a loaf of french bread and he tapped it dubiously.

"I don't mean American pickle-"

Harry flipped open a cupboard and held up a nearly empty jar of Branston original. "I order it online."

"You must've learned that from Sirius."

"He lived on them. Always made them for my lunch when I was in school, I used to have to beg for a PB&J like everyone else had." Harry pulled out a chopping board and started slicing thin slices of red pepper.

"You never answered me when I asked. Why did you live with him? What happened to your parents?"

Harry swore as the knife slipped; he gave a me an annoyed look before starting to cut the pepper again. "My parents were killed in a house explosion when I was almost two. Sirius was legally my guardian but he couldn't be found, so I was shipped off to a foster family. Sirius didn't find out about what had happened to my parents until much later. By the time he came back he had to battle the foster care system to get me released."

"I'm sorry, I didn't-"

"I never talk about it. But you're Sirius's family and it-" Harry broke off and turned his back to me as he stalked over to the refrigerator and pulled out two more beers. "I'm going to check on the coals." He left a beer on the counter and went out through the open door. The dog who'd been stretched out on the floor disappeared with him.

Giving time for him to collect himself, I finished putting together the salad and sliced the bread, slathering the slices with butter to make up for the staleness. Finding some foil paper I wrapped it up in the bundle. It could warm on the grill while the steaks were cooking. I left it all waiting ready on the counter and went to find him. I didn't have to look far, he was sitting on one of the chairs on the deck, the dog half in his lap as he pet him. Harry didn't look up when I sat down next to him, but the dog gave a low growl.

"I didn't mean to upset you. Sirius Black has always been a larger than life character to me. The one man who had the daring to defy my father and his own. They were part of a...criminal organization. Sirius refused to join and left the country to escape."

"And that was over twenty-five years ago. Why try to find him now?"

"My mother has always felt bad about what had happened to her cousin, but my father...he was intimidating. She finally left him a few years ago. He died this spring and to both of our surprise he had left everything to her. When she was going through his papers, she found that he knew where Sirius had gone when he left England. I came in hopes of finding Sirius."

"Your father didn't try to pressure you into the family business?"

I snorted. "Father stopped speaking to me when I was sixteen. He discovered me with a friend in our pool...we weren't swimming. He cut off my funds as soon as I turned eighteen."

"Ouch.." Harry scratched the dog's ears. "You've seem to have come out on top though."

"My mother was able to set enough aside without father knowing so that I was able to go to university. When I was twenty-one I could access the small trust my grandmother had set up for me. I invested in real estate. I buy dilapidated properties and turn them around to sell. Which is the other reason I was trying to locate my cousin, aside from the desire to deliver my mother's letter."

"What do you mean?"

"Did he ever mention that he owned property in London?" This was the crux of the reason for my visit and my hand tightened around the beer bottle.

"What? How is that possible?"

"Sirius was the last surviving member of his line of the family."

Harry shook his head. "Sirius said he'd been disinherited, that they'd been a bunch of toffs that hadn't approved of him."

"That may have been the case, but he was never officially disinherited."

"So what does that mean? What would he have inherited?"

"A five-floor terraced home in London."

Harry laughed. "What? But who… has it been sitting empty for two decades? It must be a wreck by now."

Funny how he narrowed down to the specifics so quickly. "Yes and no. There was an inheritance along with the property, not huge but enough to pay the council tax and the solicitors who have been overseeing the property. They ensured that the roof didn't cave in and kept squatters out but those funds are rapidly becoming depleted. The firm tried over the years to locate Sirius to no avail. They recently contacted my mother to find out if she wanted to have him legally declared dead, as she is the only other known kin. Before she'd made her decision about it, she found the slip of paper with his location in America. She took it as a sign to try to locate him and sent several letters but didn't get a response."

"Ah. Threw them out without opening them. Sirius had turned his back on England, I didn't think he'd want me messing in his family business now that he is gone and unable to defend himself."

"What happened?" I knew Sirius to be my mother's age, it was unlikely that he'd died of natural causes.

"I suppose you deserve to know that...I killed him." Harry gave a half-laugh at my stunned expression and pushed the dog off his lap. He walked over to the deck railing.

"No." I'd only known Harry Potter for a few hours but I knew he was not the kind to kill; thanks to my father I was all too familiar to the unsavory types to whom human life was a commodity that could be taken at the flick of a knife. I went over to where he was standing. "I don't believe it."

"As good as. I was young and stupid and he died because of it." He nodded towards the east. "Right over there about four miles. There is a box canyon, great for camping, unless there is rain up north. If it rains the river that goes into the canyon floods and can washout everything in its path into an underground river channel."

I put my hand on his shoulder and he didn't try to brush it off. "He'd gone into the next county with the wrecker to retrieve a car and I was working alone at the station-back then we were still selling gas. I'd sold some to a family that said they were going to be camping in that canyon. Couple hours later I saw a big storm coming in, so I decided to play hero." He stopped talking, his shoulders shuddering under my hand. I waited as he took a few deep breathes before he could continue.

"I called some buddies to help, left Sirius a note and we raced off on our dirt bikes to warn them. We made it into the canyon and found the family. But I'd underestimated how fast the storm was moving. We were trapped with them. Sirius got home, saw my note and called the Sheriff's department, which is what I should've done."

His voice dropped and I had to lean in to hear him. "We were stuck on a rock face and Sirius was helping run the ropes. I was the last one out and I turned to look at Sirius, and he just disappeared. The section of the cliff that he was standing washed out and he fell backwards into the river. The water just consumed him and he was swept into the underground channel. Never found his body. I killed him."

He was staring down at the ground, refusing to meet my eye. I lifted his chin with my fingers so that I could see his face. "How old were you?"


"You couldn't have known-"

Harry reared away from me. "It doesn't change the fact that he died because of me. Took me a long time to learn to live with that guilt."

He may have learned to live with the guilt, but I doubt he ever forgave himself. "What happened after that? Did you go back to a foster family?"

Harry swore and shook his head, "I never would've even if they tried to make me, but I got lucky. A friend's family petitioned to be able to take me in. I lived with them until I finished school. Got certified in auto mechanics and re-opened Sirius's shop that he'd left to me along with the house. Even after he died, he was still looking after me."

My stomach made a large growling noise and Harry laughed with embarrassment. "I forgot about the steaks. I think we both need to eat."

Harry walked back into the house and I stood staring out at the garden and the wooded land beyond it, absorbing what he had just inferred. Harry Potter, the man I'd just fucked around with, was Sirius Black's heir. It shouldn't have taken me so long to reach this conclusion. Harry was living in Sirius's house, and was running his business. My brain had let my cock rule it. How was I supposed to sit down to negotiate a property sale with him now?

Beyond that, I was taken by what he'd told me of his life. I had no doubt that Harry had had an even rougher childhood than he had let on. We were completely unlike, so why was I still so attracted to him? I'd had more than my share of one-night stands and club pick-ups. This wasn't anything like any of those experiences. The connection between us was stronger than anything I'd felt with anyone else.

Harry came out with the steaks and packet of bread. Using tongs he placed the steaks on the hottest part of the grill, the meat sizzling as soon as it touched the metal grate. My mouth watered at the sight and sound. He closed the cover on the grill and turned to face me. His cheeks were flushed deep red, and I didn't think it was entirely from the heat of the grill

"So, what now?"

"You're Sirius's heir, aren't you?" I said as he walked towards me, and I had the impression of a lion approaching its prey, ready to pounce.

"Yes." Harry stopped inches from me.

"That puts us in a bit of a difficult position." I was having trouble keeping my eyes away from his lips. I wanted to kiss him and was mentally cursing the fact that my brain wasn't letting my cock decide what should happen.

"Don't see why. I was his heir a couple of hours ago. Nothing has changed."

"Except that I also came to do business with Sirius, which means that-"

"You don't think I hadn't already figured that out?" Harry smiled and I realised just what a fool I'd been. "No reason for you to fly five thousand miles to deliver a letter. Obviously there was something you wanted from Sirius, but the thing is there is nothing I need from you so I don't see why we can't still fuck."


"If you are going to be gone tomorrow, we have a lot to accomplish tonight."

He slid his hands under my shirt, his fingers cool against my chest. I knew he could feel my heart racing and I wanted to say fuck it all and just accept what he was offering. Fortunately the dog provided the needed distraction, as it started barking at the grill.

Harry pulled back. "To be continued. I must have the only dog who is also a timer for grilling steaks. I'll flip them. There's some red wine under the sink, see if there is anything to your liking."

We sat at the table on the deck to eat, sitting facing out so we could watch the colors as the sun setting behind the hill. The land was lit golden with the long shadows, with the streaks of purple and pink clouds. It made Harry's colouring, the blackness of his hair, green eyes and tanned skin all the more vivid.

On impulse I took out my phone and took a photograph of him, holding his wine glass and smiling into the lens. Then one of the both of us.

Harry did the same with his phone. "This will give me proof that this wasn't an erotic dream I had after staying up too late watching porn."

"Watch a lot of porn do you?" I gave a grin as I cut a thin slice of steak. Despite our distractions it was grilled perfectly, a deep pink in the middle and so tender it made me moan with pleasure as I chewed it.

"I'm a gay man living in the middle of western South Dakota where the nearest town has only three thousand people and everyone knows everyone's business, of course I watch porn."

"How do you manage? What do you do when you have to have some?" I hadn't even given it a thought, no wonder he'd jumped my cock the minute I'd walked in.

"I take a ride into one of the bigger cities. Grindr is a gay man's friend here, but it is still a risk. Pretty conservative state. You have to watch sadistic homophobes who aren't opposed to using Grindr to find victims. Matthew Shepard was left for dead just a couple hundred miles from here."

I'd heard of the horrible death of the gay college student and gave a shudder. "Why do you live here then? Why-"

"It is home. My only real home. I have friends here and thanks to Sirius I don't have a mortgage. I only work as much as I need to pay the bills and sack enough away for later. If I moved to a city, I'd have to work for someone else and wouldn't have this..." He motioned out towards the prairies and the hills beyond. "I'm only twenty-five, it might change when I'm older but for now I make do alright."

"What if something changed?"

Harry shook his head. "I don't deal in things like what-ifs or lottery tickets. You miss out on all the good things. Looked what happened today. Slow day at work, decide to finally replace the truck's brakes and you walked into the shop."

"But I'll be gone tomorrow." I looked down at my glass, swirling it and watching as the purple liquid rolled in the glass. I didn't know how I felt about that, this felt like the first date with someone that I wanted to get to know, not the interlude during an extended one-night stand.

"I know, but who knows what the day after tomorrow will bring. Maybe a Swedish downhill ski team bus will break down just outside my shop."

"I think I saw that porn."

"It's a good one." Harry pushed back his plate even though he hadn't finished his steak.

"What if it isn't a what if," I winced as I heard what I had said. "I you have any idea of what a large house in London is worth?"

"My guess is it is worth a hell of a lot if it brought you out here, ready to impress with your rented Jaguar and fancy suit."

The suit that was currently in a rubbish bin because I'd ruined it whilst giving him a blow-job. "Easily over a million pounds."

Harry laughed. "You mean, after it is fixed up?"

"No. I mean right now. In its current condition, sight unseen. After it is modernised, it could be worth three or four times that, if it is done right."


"What do you mean, okay?"

"It means, just that, okay. You told me about it. I'm going to have to think it over. Do my own research and then decide what I want to do, but nothing we do in this house tonight is going to change any decision I make so I think we should both forget about it for now."

"I just told you that you could have a million pounds in the bank and you don't care?"

"Do I care about a piece of property in London that has been sitting empty for two decades that I didn't know existed ten minutes ago? No, I don't, it is far less important than whatever this is happening between us right now." Harry's voice dropped an octave as he talked and my cock that had been playing nice throughout the whole conversation suddenly woke up.

I coughed, suppressing the urge to press my hand against my rising erection. "Don't you think-"

"No, I don't think." He tipped his head to look at me. "Are you planning on scamming me out of it?" I shook my head. "Of course you aren't, if you'd wanted to do that then you and your mother would've claimed the property without you coming to America to investigate an address you'd found on a scrap of paper." He stood up and looked at my plate. I'd barely touched my steak. "Are you done?"

I nodded and he picked up both plates. "I'll put these in the fridge. They'll be good with eggs for breakfast or maybe we'll need a midnight snack, after."

After. I stared at him in amazement. "You're serious? It doesn't change anything?"

"Not in my book, what about yours?" He didn't wait for my answer but turned to go back into the house. I stared at his disappearing back. I'd never met anyone like him before. Did it change anything?

I wanted to fuck him as much now as I did when I had first seen him in his garage.

I picked up our wine glasses and followed him into the kitchen. He was putting the steaks in a glass storage container and put them in the fridge. The plates went in the sink and he turned to look at me. "My bedroom is upstairs, or there is a guest room down the hall. Your decision."

I took him in, his arms casually folded as he leaned against the sink. There really was no decision to be made. I picked up my suitcase. "Lead the way."

The stairs were at the end of the corridor and Padfoot raced ahead, but Harry called out to him. "Stay. Kitchen." The dog whimpered but when Harry repeated the command he padded back into the kitchen. I let Harry go in front just so I could watch his arse as he went up the stairs.

"He's well behaved."

"He's amazing. I found him when he was about a year old, probably abandoned by his previous owners. He was near death but getting him healthy again helped me, it was pretty soon after Sirius died."

I set my suitcase down and looked around the room. It wasn't huge, but it was tidy, with cream walls and natural brown wooden trim. Centered against the far wall between two windows was a large bed with iron and wood slats on the headboard, and a brown and black patterned comforter thrown over it. The room had the same refinished pine floors as in the kitchen, with two area rugs on either side of the bed.

Harry stood in the doorway, his hand hesitating next to the light switch. On or off. He turned on the switch that lit the light on the ceiling fan but dimmed to where it was enough to see but not much more. The confidence that he'd shown downstairs and at the station was suddenly absent and I wondered how many men he'd brought up here.

"Nice bed." I took a step towards Harry, trapping him against the dresser. He put his hands on my waist as I tipped up his chin towards me, the height difference wasn't much, a few inches, just enough that I had to bend my head slightly to kiss him.

I usually don't have patience for kissing but with Harry the usual rules didn't seem to apply. I could feel his tension easing as I rubbed my hand along his back. His hand was in my hair, pulling us together and I bit and nibbled at his lower lip, stroking my fingers along his jawline and feeling the rasp of his whiskers. "I have a question for you." I whispered in his ear, nipping at the lobe.

He pulled back to look at me. "What?"

"Would now be a good time to ask you if you bottom?" Harry's chest shook with laughter and I lifted my head to grin at him. "Is that a yes or a no?"

"That's a hell yes." He said as he tugged my shirt free. I leaned back to give him room as he went next for my belt, his hands slipping the leather off and dropping it on the floor.

My own hands had forgotten what they were doing until he started on the buttons of my shirt. I reached down and yanked it open, heedless of the buttons, they skittered across the room. He looked at me and laughed, "That is the second shirt you've ruined."

"Fuck the shirt. Skin. Now." I tugged at his shirt, he lifted his arms and I pulled it off and threw it on the floor. He pushed me backwards, towards the bed. I went willingly, undoing the button to his jeans as I did. The mattress hit the back of my leg and I scooted onto the bed, with him climbing on top of me, his leg pressing between mine as we both fumbled to unzip each other's jeans.

"Time out." Harry said as he pulled back, getting off the bed and unzipping his jeans and tugging them off, hopping from one foot to the other to free himself. Laying back on the bed, I attempted to escape out of my own jeans, cursing as they caught on my ankles. He reached over and pulled on the hem, freeing me. "Skinny jeans can't be good for one-offs in clubs." He said as he climbed over me, his arms braced on either side of my head.

"Nor for motorcycle rides, but they make my arse look amazing." I had to remember to breathe. He was inches away, deliberately holding himself above me in a full-press either as a show of strength or because he had more restraint than I did. I ran a single finger along his erect cock. My finger swirling and collecting the creamy pearls weeping from it, delivering it to his parted lips.

"Christ," he said as he bent his elbows and lowered himself towards me. Tongues twining. Tasting. God, it was hot. Despite a breeze through an open window and the ceiling fan the room was warm and we were already sweating, his dark fringe was clinging to his forehead.

"Condoms and lube are in the drawer." Harry said, and he started to reach across the mattress. Although he was stronger and heavier than me, his stretch let me take advantage of the moment and flip him on his back.

"No, reason to rush. We've got all night." I straddled him across his torso, capturing his wrists and pressing them to the mattress. He could've easily tussled me and won, instead he stretched back against the mattress, his chest heaving in anticipation.

There are different kinds of encounters you can have with someone. There are the quick-against-the-wall pulls in a club where you only want to get off and if the other bloke comes too, that's fine, but you'll forget their face before you've zipped your trousers back up. There are the comfortable shags with someone you know, where the pleasure is in the mutual goal of getting off and satisfying your partner. Then, there is the last kind, the kind I'd never had before, when your entire need is to please him.

He looked gorgeous, stretched out before me. His green eyes were dark with desire. I wanted to taste every inch of him. I leaned down and kissed him along his jawline, loving the rasp of whiskers, the beating of his pulse under my tongue. He growled and tried to pull his wrists from my grasp. Pulling back I shook my head at him. "Hmmm. I don't think so."

"What?" Harry asked, as his fingers wove through mine.

"Scoot up." To my pleasure, Harry didn't argue but wiggled his way closer to the headboard. I wrapped his left hand around the slat of the head board, and then the same with his right so his arms were stretched over his head. "Don't let go."

"Kinky," he said with a grin that disappeared into a moan as I ran my hands slowly along his arms, following the taut lines of his muscles. Leaning forward I licked along the corded lines of his bicep, loving the heady taste of salty sweat against the heat of his skin. "Oh, fuck." Harry said as I nuzzled and tasted his arm pit. "Oh God, that …" whatever he was going to say was lost. He rose up, his shoulders jackknifing as my fingers tweaked at his nipple.

Tsking him as I pressed his shoulders back down to the mattress. I moved to his other side, taking my time and stopping to suck the inside crease of his elbow before moving to his collarbone, inspecting every inch of the the gorgeous gaps made by his upstretched arms.

I moved down his chest, sucking and laving his nipples, before moving lower. He had stopped trying to articulate words and was just making grunts and groans as my hands and mouth savored every inch of him. Following the tantalizing line of hair leading to his groin, I took my time licking at the precome that had seeped from his cock. My own was aching with neglect, but I wasn't done yet. I wanted him as wrecked as he'd made me when he took me against the truck.

The sounds of his pleasure blended with the rattle of the ceiling fan and the whisper of the breeze through the open window, as my fingers memorised the feel of his skin under mine. I stroked and kissed the inside of his thigh. I kept him on the edge, until he was whimpering, begging me, his arms shaking the headboard as he writhed under my touch.

Harry gave a moan of relief when I finally reached for the lube and condom although I still took my time, stopping to slide a pillow under his hips. I didn't object as he let go of the headboard to clasp his knees, pulling them up, exposing himself to me. My fingers were trembling as I prepared him, and I was afraid I wouldn't last long.

I didn't want to look away from his face, not wanting to forget a moment: the biting of his lip as he exhaled slowly and willed his body to let me in, the gorgeous flush on his cheek that I hoped wasn't just from the heat in the room. His fingers tightened in mine as I took him deep. Gasping at the drive to pump into him, but waiting, wanting.

"God, yes, move," Harry demanded. I flexed my hips, pulling out partly and then driving in hard. His eyes flew open in a flash of green and held mine, his legs tight around my waist.

My legs fought for traction in the bedding as we started moving together, finding our rhythm. I wouldn't last long, we were both too close. I leaned forward to kiss him, needing to taste him. He burrowed his hands in my hair, tugging me closer. And I lost track of everything as my world turned white, hearing his cry and knowing he was coming with me.

The desire to never move was countered by the oppressing heat and sticky discomfort of drying come; Harry gave a sound of half-protest as I moved off him. He had his arm covering his eyes, his chest still heaving from the moment. We lay stretched out on our backs on bed, panting, heads against the pillows, his leg still tangled between mine. The breeze from the ceiling fan felt cool against my skin and I fought to gather my scattered thoughts.

"I...that was good," Harry said, running his hand over his face. "Christ, that was good."

I gave a snort and turned on my side to see him better. He still had come on his stomach and I reached down and snagged his shirt, using it to wipe us both a bit cleaner. "If that only qualifies as good, you Americans have a much tougher grading scale than England," I said as I tossed the shirt back to the floor.

"Okay, fucking amazing would be better." He stifled a yawn as he reached down and pulled the sheet over us. It smelled of the prairie, fresh and clean. He threaded his fingers through mine, "Exhaustingly amazing."

It was dark when I next woke to the sound of a toilet flushing down the hall and my bladder had an equally strong need to be relieved. My mouth was gummy and disgusting and I realised I hadn't brushed my teeth. Reluctantly I stood up and rummaged through my bag to find my shaving kit.

Harry came back into the room, Padfoot padding in behind him, his paws clicking on the wooden floor. He saw me standing and gave a wave towards the door as he yawned. "Bathroom is down the hall." Not bothering with pyjamas or underpants, he climbed back into bed. The dog settled on the floor next to the bed with a prolonged grunt.

The remodeling project obviously hadn't gotten to the bathroom, it was a cramped space with dated pink ceramic tiles that contrasted dramatically with the avocado green color of the sink, tub and stool. Harry had managed to find a pink and green striped shower curtain but the whole bathroom needed to be torn out, no wonder he preferred to shower outdoors. I resisted the urge to snoop into any drawers as I brushed my teeth. The mirror on the medicine cabinet was clouded, so that I could barely see my own face.

The renovations that he'd done to the kitchen and his bedroom must have taken most of his income, even if he'd done all the work himself. I looked around again at the bathroom, with its cracked tile and the clouded mirror and wondered what the hell I was doing there. We lived worlds apart, not just counting the miles.

He was asleep by the time I got back to the room, curled on his side, the bedding pulled up only halfway. I got into the bed carefully to not jar him awake, but lay on my side watching him sleep. Who the hell was Harry Potter and why had this happened? I'd never had sex like that before. My mind unwillingly latched onto the memory of Pansy sharing, in nauseating detail, her sex life with her boyfriend. She clicked her nails and said, "Not fucking, it was making love, darling. There's a divine difference, and someday you will figure it out."

This was a one-night stand with extenuating circumstances, I told myself firmly. That is all that it is. I was stuck here, and that was the only reason I was spending the night. Which did not explain why just the sight of Harry sleeping, with his face relaxed in slumber, his lips slightly pursed as he breathed in and out, made my cock ready to go again. I had to suppress the urge to roll him on his stomach and take him again, watch his body as it tensed and woke with me inside, and feel him start to move with me.


I was leaving in just a few hours. Harry and his dog and his outdoor shower would be in the past. It was easy to think the words but harder to believe them. I pulled the comforter up, covering his chest and turned resolutely, my back to him.

I woke dreaming of a mouth on my cock, taking it in whole as it grew hard in a velvet soft mouth. Drowsily I reached down, still dreaming, to stroke myself and my hand touched someone's hair instead. I started to sit up and Harry's hand pressed against my stomach, urging me to stay still as he shifted and started to lick and suck in earnest. I lay back on the pillow, hands caressed his hair, brushing back the tangled curls so I could watch his mouth at work. His whiskers brushed against my balls, my inner thighs and I had to bite my lip at the stimulation.

My balls drew up tight as he pressed his heel of his palm against my perineum, his fingers teasing my entrance. I cried out in warning, and he took me in, letting me fuck my release into his mouth. I sagged back against the pillow and he climbed up next to me, wiping his mouth on his back of his hand. I turned his chin with my hand so I could kiss him, my tongue tasting my own come on his tongue, lips.

I reached for his cock, wanting to return the favor but he batted my hand away. "No need, couldn't hold back." He said with a sheepish grin, and I was even more turned on.

"I must say I like this way of waking up, much better than alarm clocks. I guess I should make breakfast, then, since you did all the work." I said, trailing my hand down his chest, liking the masculine dark mat that it formed, just thick enough to shout testosterone without being too heavy. I could feel the warm pound of his heartbeat under my fingers.

"Not likely, I don't have guests very often, I'm not about to shirk my host duties, besides that wasn't work, not by a long-shot." He kissed me and got up. "I need to clean up though. I'll shave and shower and then get start-"

"Don't." I shook my head at him. I sat up so I could run my hand down his face, loving the rasp of his whiskers against the palm of my hand. "Don't shave. I like it."

He quirked his head at me and gave a shrug. "I'll put off the shave, just take a shower to rinse this off. I'd ask you to join me but there is hardly room in the bathroom for me."

Waving him off, I laid back on the bed and enjoyed the sight of his naked arse walking out of the room without a sign of lighter skin. He must spend a lot of time outside nude. I could easily see him out on his deck, sunning himself in the buff. Bloody hell. I'd never gotten off so many times with one man in such a short amount of time. I'd just come and already I was fantasizing about ploughing him against the railing of his deck.

I could hear the water running and supposed I should get dressed. I flipped open my suitcase and hesitated at what I could wear. Nothing seemed appropriate. Reluctantly I pulled out a pair of ecru linen trousers and white cambric shirt. Leaving the shirt untucked, I rolled up the hem of the trousers. It would've been fine for a morning-after at a beach house on the Mediterranean, but here it seemed painfully contrived, but I'd brought little better.

The dog was lying next to the closed bathroom door. He lifted his head as I walked past. I went downstairs and into the kitchen. The dishes were still in the sink, wine glasses standing half-full on the island. I rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher and dumped the wine. Looking around, there was no coffee-maker but Harry had an electric kettle on the counter so I filled it with fresh water and plugged it in.

Harry came downstairs, his feet making a light tap against the steps as he ran down them. "Hey, you didn't have to do the dishes," he said as he came in the kitchen, the dog on his heels.

"I just tidied. I was going to make coffee, but I didn't see any." I waved at the kettle that was already steaming.

"Oh, I drink tea. Is that okay? I have co-"

"Tea would be wonderful." I sat down on one of the bar stools and watched as he moved around the kitchen. His wet hair had just been finger combed. He was wearing another t-shirt. A black one with "Sturgis" in red flame letters across the chest. His jeans were tight against his thighs and I could see the exact lay of his cock under the taut fabric. The dog was by the door and Harry went over and let him out, leaving the door open and a cool breeze swept in.

"It is the nice thing, as hot as it is during the day, it almost always cools off at night." Harry commented as he went to the refrigerator. "Eggs and last night's steak, okay? How do you like your eggs?"

"Any way is fine. Scrambled is easiest."

His phone rang and as he went to answer it. The kettle water had heated so I poured water into the teapot that Harry had prepared as he talked on on the phone. "Yeah, Neville, he's still here. Truck is coming up from Denver to get the car and he's riding back with them…nah, I don't feel's Ginny feeling?

As I poured the tea into the mugs Harry finally was off the phone. "Sorry, that was Neville. No doubt checking to make sure that you weren't a serial killer who was having my kidneys for breakfast."

"That's ridiculous. I can't abide kidneys."

Harry laughed, "Can you be English and not like kidneys? I thought it was a requirement, like drinking tea."

"You'd be amazed how our standards have fallen."

Harry gave a laugh as he pulled out a wooden chopping block and started slicing the steak in thin slices. His jeans cupped his arse perfectly and I wondered if I could persuade him to put off breakfast long enough to bend him over the table.

"Anything I can do to help?"

"I've got it, just relax."

I sat back down at the table, my arse giving a pleasant twinge of pain that reminded me just how hard Harry had worked me over the afternoon before. A phone gave a buzz of an incoming message and I looked at Harry's. He shook his head, "Not mine."

Realising I'd left it charging in the hallway I went back and found it. There were a slew of messages I'd missed: two from my mother, four from Pansy and Blaise, and three from my assistant, Stephanie. That did not bode well: Stephanie wouldn't bother me on a trip unless it was urgent. Worried, I reluctantly opened her first message.

Call me. Connors is making a fuss about contract.

I quickly pulled up her next message. It had taken a month of negotiations to get the owner of the four-flat building to sell to us. That he was backing out days before the final sale was unacceptable. I already had a crew lined up to start the renovations the minute the sale was completed.

Connors refusing to discuss. Says he won't do business with a perv. (his words, Boss, not mine).

Cursing Krum and the bloody tabloid photos, I opened her last message.

Connors says he wants new terms (obviously more money and ?). When are you coming back?

I slammed the phone down on the table and Harry looked up from whisking the eggs. "Bad news?"

"Could be, but nothing that I can fix from here." I tapped a message back to Stephanie to check with legal for our options, a step I was sure she had likely already taken. "The owner of a property that my company is in the process of purchasing is being difficult. I'll have to deal with it as soon as I get back."

"Oh. Guess it is a good thing you are heading back. What time did they say they'd be here?" Harry asked, his back to me as he pulled out a frying pan from a cabinet.


"The truck coming to get your car." Harry half turned to look at me. "You said they were sending a truck this morning."

"Oh. Right. I think they said it would be around eleven." I glanced at the clock above the sink, it was already nine and it would take nearly an hour to get to the car. My stomach twisted at the thought of leaving. It was too soon.

I hadn't ever met anyone like him before and he fascinated me… from the first moment I'd seen him there'd been a connection between us. To just walk away seemed wrong but I knew this could be nothing more than a fling, that was obvious even if we didn't live five thousand miles, we were as different as denim and silk.

Harry had turned back without comment to the cooker and was stirring the eggs. An unfamiliar feeling of self-consciousness filled me. Maybe the connection I was feeling, need for him, was all on my side. How often did he do this? Take someone in and fuck and make them breakfast and send them on their way? Maybe he was just as glad to see me go.

Giving no sign of what he was feeling, Harry turned and walked to the table with two plates piled with eggs and steak, despite my worries my stomach rumbled in appreciation of the food. He didn't say much as we started to eat. Maybe it was for the best. Get this over with and get back to my real world.

As if on cue my phone buzzed. I answered it and it was the tow truck driver telling me he would was an hour away and needed me to be there with the keys to the car. I relayed the information to Harry, he only nodded and but I could see the muscles in his jaw clenching.

"We never talked about what you want to do with the Black property." I said, as I fiddled with my fork. I was starving but had absolutely no interest in eating. I needed to focus on business. I hadn't come here for mind-blowing sex.

"The Black...oh the place in London." Harry said through a mouthful of eggs. He shrugged and swallowed. "Leave me the info for the London lawyer, I'll have my lawyer write a letter and start the process. Don't know anything about British probate laws, could take a long time just to establish that I'm Sirius's heir. Plenty of time to think about what to do with the property while the lawyers do their thing."

It occurred to me that he could completely block me out of the project. I may be the bearer of the news that he'd was an heir to a London property but he was under no obligation to sell it to my company. I'd wanted entrance to that house for as long as I could remember. The tales my mother had told of her adventures there had been my favorite nighttime stories.

Standing up I went over to my satchel and pulled out the binder that my team had put together. I set it down on the table next to Harry. "This is the proposal I was going to offer Sirius. It's a good blind offer, but since I haven't been allowed in the house it can be improved on once we assess the condition and how much work needs to be done. It includes all the information about contacting the solicitor for the estate, Scamander is his name."

Harry looked briefly at the oversized manilla envelope sealed with blue ribbon. "Okay. I'll look at it later."

Later. It was only fair. There was nothing there that couldn't be discussed over the phone or via email. He would want to talk to his lawyer. Do his own research into what he should do with the property. I was confident that he couldn't get a better offer from any of my competitors and he would be a fool to just sell it outright on the open market and he wasn't a fool.

Harry stood up, his chair skidding back against the wood floor. He carried our plates over to the sink. "We'll take my pickup. Too slow going that far on gravel with the bike. If you want to get your bags, I'll meet you out front."

It took exactly thirty seconds to retrieve my toothbrush and close up my suitcase. The bed was still unmade, the covers thrown back and my stomach gave a flip as I remember waking up to Harry on my cock. I grabbed the cases and headed down the stairs, scowling as they banged against the railing.

Harry was leaning against the pick-up truck, he'd put on a cap that shadowed his face and didn't say anything as I tossed the luggage in the open back of the truck that already held two tyres. "Up, Padfoot." Harry clapped his hands and Padfoot leapt into the truck bed, landing on my luggage, leaving a smear of muddy pawprints on the leather. Harry gave a wince but I waved it off.

We got in the truck and the diesel engine roared to life as Harry put it into gear and I watched the house slipped away in the passenger side mirror. As easily as we'd talked yesterday, there was nothing left to say. After ten awkward minutes of silence Harry fiddled with the radio and country music filled the cab.

Yesterday, driving down the gravel road had seemed to take forever, today I wished Harry would slow down but he pressed hard down on the accelerator, leaving a thick dust trail behind us. Padfoot was up against the cab, poking his head around the corner of it to sniff at the wind.

All too soon the car came into view. The clock on the dash showed that we were fifteen minutes early, there was no sign of the tow truck as Harry brought the truck to a stop. The silver car was completely covered with reddish-gold dust, right where I'd left it.

Harry released his seatbelt but didn't make any move to get out, his hands gripping the steering wheel tightly. I wished he'd take off his sunglasses, I needed to see what he was thinking under the cover of his hat and shades.


"Don't. Just-" he got out of the truck and slamming the door shut making the truck shake as he stalked off. He stopped twenty feet away, his back to me. Padfoot jumped out of the back and ran over to him. Harry pushed him away and the dog backed up with a whimper.

Not sure what I'd done wrong, I got out and walked over to him. Without any shade or clouds in the sky the sun was brutal. I could see the beads of perspiration on his neck and the back of his t-shirt was already wet with sweat.

"I know you have to go. There's obviously no future. All we had was this and it is over." Harry spoke without turning around, staring out at the waving field of grass. "I just wish..."

My shoulders slumped as I let out a chestful of air that I hadn't realised I'd been holding. "I wish I could stay but..."

"I know." Harry turned to face me, but he looked at my chest rather than my face. "It was good. I just want you to know that…I don't regret any of it."

In the distance I could see a cloud of dust rising from the road. The truck was coming fast. I wanted more than anything to say I could stay, but if I stayed now it would only be worse when I had to leave later. Better to make a clean break.

"It was definitely good. The best-" I wanted to say more but the tow truck was already pulling up. Harry stepped away and called for Padfoot.

The next half hour was filled with bureaucratic nonsense as the driver insisted on photographing the car from every angle, and then had the nerve to ask Harry to help get the car up on the man's flatbed trailer.

I protested on Harry's behalf but he insisted on helping. Too soon the car was loaded, and I stood five feet away from Harry not sure what I could do or say. I wanted some privacy, to somehow make time stop so that this moment didn't have to be the last one. Instead, Harry just gave my hand a brief shake, and I had no choice but to climb into the passenger seat of the tow truck. The driver had never turned off the engine and the truck leaped into gear before I'd even fastened by seat belt. I twisted around to look out the back window but all there was to see was a cloud of dust.

December 2006

The traffic was doing nothing to improve my mood, the cab had inched forward a mere twenty feet in the past five minutes. "Pull over," I snapped at the driver even though it wasn't his fault that London traffic was its usual snarl. The day had already been a disaster, I would rather battle the sleet and gale force winds for two blocks than sit in the car for another twenty minutes waiting for the traffic to move.

I was still struggling with my umbrella in the wind when my phone rang. Cursing, I looked to see who it was and felt a renewed surge of rage as my blood pressure surge as I answered the call.

"This is Malfoy…Don't even try...Don't. Weber, I was just at the job site. You sent an incompetent apprentice to work the job with no supervision. That is beyond irresponsible...stop, don't give me excuses. Your apprentice used liquid nails to seal the bloody pipe joints. Everything needs to be ripped out and redone…the inspection in two days. Either you get a team of proper plumbers in there by three this aft or you'll never get another job from us." I ended the call without bothering to listen to his response. Shivering with cold I set aside decorum and ran the last block to my office building, hardly caring that my shoes were well-ruined by the puddles.

Yanking the door open, I jammed the useless umbrella into the holder, before stopping and forcing myself to take a few deep breaths to keep from lashing out at the next person who crossed my path.

This winter had simply been too much, it was just two weeks into December and I was fed up with dealing with crooked subcontractors, the cold and wet and everything that was England in winter. There was nothing to done but push on though. Shrugging off my overcoat, I pushed the negative thoughts out of my head: I had a business to run.

Stephanie started to stand as I walked into the office and I motioned her to sit down. "Call Goyle. Tell him that I gave Weber until three to get a crew together. If they are even a minute late he isn't to let them on the site, have him call Simon Warner in for it. And give me a list of any other jobs Weber has coming up with us."

"Yes, sir. Today's mail and messages are on your desk. And Pansy called, she cancelled her four o'clock with you. She has a lead on a new stager and headed out to Camden to check them out."

I snorted at that news. Pansy was much more likely curled up in bed with her boyfriend who was just back from his trip to Italy. It was just as well she had canceled, I was in no mood for her narrow-eyed analysis of what might be the source for my 'doldrums' as she called them.

"That's fine, thank you, Stephanie."

"Yes, sir. Would you like a cuppa?"

"Only if you are making some for yourself." I walked into my office and shut the door with a sigh of relief. Loosening my tie I wandered over to the window. The sleet had turned to rain and was running down the glass in trails. The sky was a relentless grey and I was willing to give away my season seats at the Royal Opera House for just a single day of sunshine.

Unwillingly my mind went back to six months earlier, when there had been a day filled with sunshine and blue sky. And a dark haired devil. I pressed my forehead against the cold wind and remembered the feel of Harry as we'd fucked against his truck. That gorgeous sensation of being filled completely and the rest of the world becoming unnecessary.

Hell, I was getting maudlin. I turned my back on the window. I sat down at my desk and looked down at the neatly stacked piles of mail, the envelopes already opened by Stephanie. The large manilla envelope on the bottom of the pile caught my eye, I pulled it out. The Air Mail stickers and foreign stamps announced it was from America even as I looked at the return address: Hogsmeade, South Dakota.

My hand was shaking as I pulled the thick stack of papers from the envelope. It was the offer I'd left with Harry. There'd been no communication from him regarding the property and my attempts to get information from the Black family solicitors had failed. It had been six months,, I'd assumed that Harry had decided to either forget about the house or had decided to work with another management company.

A letter on a legal firm's letterhead was paperclipped to the top of the contract.

Dear Sir,

Enclosed please find the original offer you proposed to Harry Potter in July, 2006. As most probate questions have been resolved, Scamander & Son expects that Mr. Potter will be given possession of the Grimmauld Place property in early January.

In preparation for this event, I listed the changes necessary to the contract to best serve my client's interests. Please let us know If these changes are amenable.


Hermione Granger


Flipping through the three pages of proposed changes that Harry's lawyer had listed. A few I couldn't consider yielding on but the rest were fairly reasonable. There was a knock and Stephanie came in with a mug of tea. She set it on my desk, earl grey with just the right amount of milk. "Thank you, Stephanie," I said automatically.

"How about that contract from America? Must say I expected you to be doing a jig around the room after seeing that one? I know you've had your eye on that house for years."

Forcing myself to look up and feign a smile, I nodded. "It is good news."

"Will you want me to run that over to legal? See if they will go for those changes?"

"I'll take it over. No interruptions please, Stephanie." I waited until she'd left the office, closing the door behind her before slamming my fist down on the contract. Not a word from Harry in six months and then he has his lawyer send legalese and nothing else.

Unable to sit still I walked back over to the windows. The rain was still coming down, hitting the window in spits and spatters against the glass. Of course he just had his lawyer send the contract. We'd both known it couldn't be any more that what it had been. I should be grateful that he was even going to agree to let us do the work. All things considered, it might be better for both of us if he had.

June 2007

We couldn't have had a better day for the first showing, I thought with satisfaction as I walked down Grimmauld Place towards Number 12. The sun was shining, the carefully placed planters on the front stoop were filled with summer color, the blooms waving in the gentle breeze.

The front entranceway was a warm creamy butter color that continued down the hallway until it opened up in the grand staircase that wound upwards to the skylight that sent a rainbow of light throughout the space. The original stained glass skylight with the Black family crest, a frightening raven, had been replaced by one that would be more saleable. The new one had a large blue and red medallion that captured the light and drew one's eye upwards. It was my favorite piece in the house and had been worth every pound.

I was anxious to hear from Pansy how the showing had gone, but she wasn't in the the formal dining room or in the sitting room but she'd left her silk shawl artfully draped in over the back of the yellow shot-silk settee. Pansy had worked with the staging designer to ensure that all the furniture leased would showcase the potential of the house.

Thinking she would likely be upstairs showing a group through the bedrooms I headed towards the staircase when I heard her voice coming up the basement stairwell. Stepping back into an alcove I listened to her trying to convince a couple of the benefits of a basement kitchen as she walked them to the front door.

I headed down to the kitchen, knowing that Pansy had seen me and would return. There had been much discussion about moving the kitchen to the ground floor but the attraction of all the original fixtures and cabinetry had made the final decision easy. The old servants entrance to the kitchen down rickety old steps had been dug out and allowed us to create a full length window and door on one end of the long narrow space.

The immense wooden table was original to the house, it must have been built in the room because it was too large to remove. The surface was battered, with a hundred years of wear and tear. It gave the room character along with the refurbished World War II era-AGA and a fireplace so large that one could stand in it without needing to crouch. The kettle was hot, so I prepared two mugs of tea.

Pansy returned, her heels clicking on the hardwood floors. "Darling, I told you that this kitchen would be hard sell." She said as I handed her a mug. She took it with a flash of scarlet nails. "I'm completely drowning in tea. You owe me a proper drink and dinner after the day I've had. Can't tell you how many times I did those stairs all the way to the top." She toes off her heels and sank into one of the benches at the table.

"It won't be for the right buyer. How many came through?" There was only fifteen minutes left before the showing was officially to end, anyone who meant business would've been through.

"Just over seventy, fifty-some agents and a couple-dozen looky-loos, not bad for a first day." she said with a shrug. "There is one still upstairs, last I saw him he was on the third floor. I doubt he is serious. His clothes definitely didn't scream money, but you never know with Americans."

"An American?" I look towards the stairs, as if the person would be standing there. "What did he look like?"

"Fit, nice looking if it not for his mess of black hair..:" I was taking the steps two at a time before she'd even finished. "Where are you going?" Pansy called up to me.

I found him on the top floor, looking out the window of the back bedroom. Even from the back, I knew it was him. The breadth of his shoulders, the tangled head of hair, and gorgeous jean-clad arse, all of which had consumed my dreams for the past year.


His hand holding back the sheer curtains dropped and his black tee-shirt stretched as he tightened his shoulderblades, lifting his head before he pivoting to face me. He was just as gorgeous as I remembered him in my fantasies. Except I wasn't dreaming, he really was standing before me in a tee-shirt and jeans that were tight enough to show his muscled thighs and the tips of his scuffed cowboy boots.

"Hey, Draco." He attempted to smile but it looked more like a grimace and I couldn't help but notice his hands fisted by his side. He looked like he wanted to be anywhere but in a room with me. Maybe he didn't, maybe he'd just wanted to see his godfather's house and hadn't wanted me to know he was in town.

"Why … when did you arrive?" We were standing fifteen feet apart but it could have been five thousand miles.

"Uhm, I got here on Thursday night."

Two days. He'd been in London two days and he hadn't contacted me. I swallowed against the gorge rising in my throat. Of course he hadn't, because it is always bloody awkward seeing a one-night stand after the fact. I pasted on my best salesman smile as I tried to collect myself.

"Have you seen already seen the rest of the house? This was Sirius's bedroom. His brother's was down the hall. We considered knocking down the wall and making it a master suite but in the end decided the future owners wouldn't want to go up that many flights of stairs to bed." I was babbling, couldn't stop the word vomit from coming out of my mouth as I tried to tame my body's reaction to having Harry finally in the same room - a bedroom none the less - and knowing he wasn't interested.

"I knew this was Sirius's. He used to tell me about this view. Wishing he could leave it all behind and just fly out the window and follow the river to the ocean and never stop." Harry had shoved his hand in his jean pockets and was leaning against the window frame. He was staring down at the ground, chewing on the inside of his lip.

"You should've told me you were coming," The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them.

"I wasn't sure if you'd...I wasn't sure." Harry said. "You look good. I's good to see you."

Whatever I might've responded to that was lost as I heard the staccato taps of Pansy's heels coming up the stairs. The woman could move when she was motivated. I stepped fully into the room and swung the door shut. Harry's eyebrow shot-up, and I waved vaguely at the door. I had not doubt she would listen at the door but I didn't want her bursting in on us. "Pansy...she-"

"Draco Malfoy, the bed and linen were leased. Do not ruin that bed." Harry's eyes went wide with alarm at the sound of Pansy's voice on the other side of the door. "And if you think you are going to be able to get away without explaining yourself, think again. I still expect that dinner and drink and you'd better bring your platinum card." I shuddered at the thought of how that conversation would go as we listened to the sound of her heels tapping back down the staircase. When I'd returned from America I'd never mentioned what had happened between Harry and I to her or Blaise.

Harry blinked and shook his head, "Who the hell was that?"

"Pansy Parkinson, former friend." I said through my teeth as I fought to find my balance again. I never expected to see Harry again, let alone be standing in a bedroom with him. That he looked just as fit and gorgeous as he had been a year ago was making it difficult to breathe. "How are you?"

"Good. I'm good. Thought I'd have jetlag, but it hasn't been too bad." He raked his hand through his hair and a thick clump of fringe fell forward over his eyes and I felt my cock give a reflexive twitch.

"That's good." I cursed the idiocy of my tongue. "Are you hungry? I mean, would you like to have dinner?"

"Is it dinner time already? My internal clock is off…" Harry turned to look out the window that where the sun was still high in the sky. It was barely four in the afternoon.

"I, no, I guess it isn't, but we could do something else until it is time." Realising it sounded like I wanted to have sex, I hastily added. "I could show you around. See the sights or go to a pub for a pint."

A smile lit up Harry's face. "A beer sound great."

I let out a breath that I hadn't realised I'd been holding. "Great. Have you seen enough of the house? I interrupted you."

"No, I'd seen it all, just came back here to get one more look of Sirius's room."

"Is it difficult for you? Knowing you are selling off Sirius's old home?"

"No, because this was never his real home. He told me enough that I know he hated it here...but he was always proud that he was British and this house is part of that, so…" Harry shrugged. "I think he would have liked to see it fixed up like this."

"I'm glad you like it." I looked around the room, at the carefully selected sage green walls with white-painted woodwork and embroidered sheer curtains.

"What would folks think back home if they knew I owned a million dollar home." Harry shook his head and I felt the urge to roll my eyes, of course he hadn't told anyone about the house.

"Four million pounds, and knocking on that mahogany wood door frame, you won't own it for much longer." My bank agent was already sweating at the size of the loan for the remodeling. "Have you thought about what you are going to do with your portion?"

"Don't know. I imagine it won't change much." Harry said, his hands fiddling with the curtains.

And it wouldn't, he was going to be a millionaire whether one counted in dollar or pounds and he was dressed in faded jeans, t-shirt and a pair of cowboy boots that had seen better days a decade ago. And I couldn't imagine him any other way. He'd go back home and take showers with his dog behind his garage and I would be here, wearing suits and pretending I cared about the next property I sold.

"Let's go for that pint." If we stayed in this bedroom any longer I doubt I'd be able to keep my hands off of him.

We locked up the house and I was relieved that Pansy had actually left and wasn't lurking outside. Harry turned back to look at the house and our shoulders brushed together as I stopped to stand next to him.

"Hardly the same place from what it looked like last year." I said. "The stonework was filthy. The scaffolding was up for weeks for the workmen to clean and repair it."

"Sirius hated the house, but just because of what his family was like. How they treated him. I think he would've liked to seen it as it now. Hopefully a family will live here and make happier memories."

"My mother said almost the exact same thing. She had memories of coming here as a child, saying it was such a dark house, that she hated it except for Sirius. It is one of the reasons we went with all light paint color shades. Lift the weight off of it."

Harry nodded, and I had the urge, the need to touch him, to feel him. I resisted though, he hadn't given any indication that he wanted to resume where we'd left off a year ago. Did he regret our time together or was he simply not interested anymore? "There's a neighborhood pub down the way that isn't too dodgy."

"I…" He looked at me and I had a surge of hope that he was feeling the same need that I was, whatever had happened between us a year ago wasn't over yet. "That sounds good."

We started down the pavement making our way past mothers pushing prams heading to the park across the street from the house. My arm occasionally bumped against Harry's, sending me a tingle of awareness down my spine. Perfect London weather is rare and distracted by Harry I didn't notice the gathering clouds until the first drops of rain started falling.

The light sprinkle turned to a downpour and I tugged on Harry's hand and we ran the last hundred yards to the pub. I pulled open the heavy door and hastened Harry inside. The regulars looked around from their pints and I knew we likely were an odd mismatched sight but didn't care. I was soaked and Harry was wiping his face dry on his sleeve. I looked down at my ruined suit in despair.

"What is it about you and my clothes being ruined?"

"Can't blame me this time." Harry said with a hint of a smile that disappeared as he watched me take off my suit coat. I might have taken his frown the wrong way if I hadn't seen the flare of desire in his eyes as I rolled up my shirt sleeves.

"Are you going to be okay? Your t-shirt is soaked." The black material wasn't see through but there was no missing the way wet fabric clung to his chest and showed his pecs.

"I'm fine, I run warm anyway." Harry said as he pushed his wet hair back from his eyes, I didn't want to think what my own hair looked like. I always look like a drowned ferret when just out of the shower.

Of course, he was warm, the man had been like a furnace in bed. I licked my lips at the memory and tried to focus. There was a table in the corner and I led us over to it. "What would you like?"

"Anything you are having will be fine."

I ordered two pints of bitter at the bar and brought them back to our table. I'd grabbed a couple bags of crisps, just to have something to do with my hands. Harry picked up his glass and took a long drink, his adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed. He set down the glass on wooden table and leaned back in his chair, pulling at his damp shirt.

"That tastes good. I've tried a few different kinds of beer since I got here. Sirius was always talking about how he couldn't find a decent ale in America, but here they taste a bit flat."

"Can be I suppose, compared to American brands which struck me as a little too fizzy." I tapped my knuckles nervously on the table. "Why didn't you tell me you were coming, Harry?" I hated having to ask but I needed to know.

He straightened up so abruptly the front legs of his chair thudding to the floor with a bang. " was kind of a spontaneous decision when I got the email that it was ready to go on the market from your assistant. I wanted to see the house for myself before it was sold."

"Yes, I get that, but why didn't you…"

"I wasn't sure." Harry looked towards the bar and dropped his voice. "No one wants to be the guy who doesn't know it was just supposed to be one night."

"I never thought of you as just a one night stand." I hissed, louder than I'd intended and I saw a couple old men seated at the bar turn around and give us a curious look.


His cheeks blushed red and I reached across the table, taking his hand in mine, not caring if the busybodies at the bar saw. The feeling of Harry's rough, calloused fingers in mine reminded me all too well of our time together. "The only reason it was one night was because I had to leave."

"I thought…" Harry's voice cracked. "After you left, I googled you, couldn't help myself. I saw-"

"Oh god. You saw those damn photos, didn't you?"

"Yeah, well." He shrugged. "I figured I'd just been another fuck to you."

"No. Not at all. Those photos...Krum and I have known each other since school, we'd get together sometimes if we weren't seeing anyone else. Then, he set me up in that locker room and I had no idea until the photos were published. Haven't spoken to him since."

"Oh. I suppose I shouldn't have assumed...but…"

"But we still live five thousand miles apart." I said grimly. Dropping his hand, I picked up my beer and drank deeply.

"Not right now we're not." Harry said, looking down at the table. My heart skipped a beat as I felt the press of his knee against mine. "Though it may kill me." He muttered more to himself than me.


"You." Harry looked up, his green eyes, showing his desire with startling clarity. "When you left, you ruined me. I went back home and you were everywhere. My sheets smelled of us together...I could even smell your cologne in my helmet. Hell, your handprints were on my bloody tow truck from when we…" He flushed a deep red and I was immediately taken back to that hot afternoon, my hands pressed against the truck as he took me. None too subtly I reached down and adjusted myself under the table.

"I…" There was nothing to say to that but the truth. "I've never regretted a decision more than the one I made when I got in that truck and and left you on that godforsaken road."

He swallowed hard and I had the indecent urge to lean across the table and kiss him. "So what do we do?"

"We go back to mine and figure things out." I set down my half-empty pint glass and stood up.

Harry nodded and pushed back his chair. I had the urge, the need, to touch him, to feel him. Not caring what anyone in the pub thought, I reached down and threaded my fingers through his and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. The smile he gave me made it worth the risk. "We could catch a cab or just walk, it looks like the rain has stopped, and my flat is not terribly far."

"I…" He looked at me, and I knew he was feeling the same thing I was, the uncertainty and the need to be sure that this was something more than just sex. "Let's walk? After sitting that long on the flight I'm still a little restless."

He hadn't let go of my hand, and it was with a pounding heart that I started down the pavement with Harry by my side, our arms swinging gently together. I was glad that he wasn't worried about what anyone would think or say.

We walked, leaving the affluent neighborhood around Grimmauld Place and headed down the busy street. The pavement was filled with Saturday shoppers with their trolleys and the ever-present lost tourists staring from their maps to the street signs with befuddled faces.

On impulse I turned down the side street that let us walk along the the canal, it wasn't the most direct route to my flat but I wanted him to see that London wasn't just pavement and crowds. The leaves of the trees planted along the canal path were still dripping from the rain shower and we had to dodge around the puddles along the way.

Harry stopped in surprise as he saw the canal with its colorful long-boats. "What is this? It isn't the river."

"It's the Regent's Canal, it connects the Thames to the other canals. Used to serve an industrial purpose, but now it is just used recreationally." We stopped to watch one of the boats navigate under a low bridge, the mother onboard calling to her children to "keep your heads down or you'll get spiders in your hair." Harry gave a laugh as the children squealed and I took advantage of the moment to study his face. His eyes were even more green than I remembered and even though it was only mid-June he was already tanned.

Still laughing, Harry turned to look at me. His lips parting as I tugged him closer, draping my arm around his waist, and sliding a finger through his belt loop. He leaned into me, his body warm against mine. There were things that needed to be said, decisions to be made, but for now this was enough.