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Exceeds Expectations

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December 1931


Where shall we go on holiday this year?




Have you ever been to Tibet?




Oh yes. Dreadful place. Rather a great deal of yak butter. The tea is horrible as well. I was thinking Surrey. Or Rio.




Canada it is, then




Why Canada?



Why not?


Whatever is in Canada?


I don't quite know, but it will be an adventur. –A


I believe it's "adventure". –H


Not if one does it correctly. –A


The holiday hadn't begun at all well, what with the Apparating mix-up, and the incorrect destination, and the large creature that Horace later learnt was called a moose. There was a strange thirty minute period in which he was forced to wander about town, looking for Albus, as they had got quite separated after they had left the Ministry. By the time Horace had discovered the pub, Albus was in deep conversation with a hairy looking gentleman sporting the largest muttonchops Horace had ever seen.

"So all you have to do, is dump the whiskey in the glass…" the man said, slamming his tiny glass into the larger one, then tipping the whole thing up to drink in one fell swoop.

Horace tried not to let his jaw drop. He wasn't much of a drinker, and if this were what holidays in Canada were like, he would have to steel himself for days of hangovers.

Albus shook his head and sipped his whiskey. "Logan, my friend, you are indeed a brave soul," he said.

The man shrugged.

"Albus!" Horace called, shuffling closer to them and regretting that he had dressed in rather festive bright colours. Canadians were a rather drab lot. Or perhaps it was because merely going outside required five layers of clothing. But after all, it was Christmas, and he was pleased to be in another country with Albus, whose acquaintance he had tried to foster for the past five years, ever since they had begun teaching at Hogwarts.

Originally, his many attempts to befriend or otherwise impress his colleague hadn't necessarily been met with disdain, but neither had they been treated in such a manner that he might have called enthusiastic. Horace didn't quite know what he had been doing wrong, and, until several months ago when Albus had suddenly seemed to show an interest in him. Several after-hours talks about the fireside had transformed them into fast friends, and when the holiday break had drawn near, Albus had suggested a joint holiday, filled with food, adventure and drink. Horace could hardly say no.

Albus's choice was eclectic, just like everything about him, and it was well known that he had forgone the traditional world tour after matriculation, though the reasons for doing so were still regarded as mysterious. Horace could hardly blame him for wanting to adventure out to places abroad in the face of such a deficit. And so he had indulged his friend.

What he had expected, he wasn't quite sure. But he did know that he had been in Canada for a hour, his bags still shrunk in his pocket, his Muggle clothes so unfamiliar as to be uncomfortable, and in desperate need of a drink. And a hot bath. Or both. Perhaps a posset.

Albus finally spotted him and waved, then raised his hand to the bartender. "Another one, my dear man. My compatriot and I are on holiday." He rolled his hand in a scrolling gesture. "And one for our new friend as well."

The bartender poured another pint from the tap and set it in front of him. Horace gave it an experimental sip—it wasn't very good, actually. In his experience, most beer he managed to get hold of in the Muggle world wasn't very good. Perhaps it was prejudice on his part, but he regarded it as a harmless preference.

"My friend Horace is a Master Potions Extraordinaire," Albus drawled, clapping a hand on Horace on the back so that he staggered into the bar rail.

The bartender raised his eyebrows. "Is that like some sort of cocktail expert?"

"Of a sort," Albus answered before he could say anything. "Come now, Horace, brew us up something magical."

Surely he didn't mean actually magical. Nonetheless, Horace could never turn down a challenge. He clapped his hands together. "Very well then. Let us see what we have to work with."

The bartender slapped a few bottles on the table. "All I got is whiskey, sloe gin, and a half-bottle of peppermint schnapps."

Horace smiled. "Very well. Let's begin."


Albus knew where their cabin was, and he managed to guide them there with little difficulty. Thanks all the gods they didn't have to Apparate to get there, because Horace would have splinched himself six ways to…many days, actually.

When they stumbled in the door and lit the candles and fire, Horace glanced about the room: small and cozy living area with a fireplace and settees, armchairs. Stove in the corner. Doorway that led off presumably to bedrooms and/or plumbing facilities. It was a great deal smaller than anything he ever stayed in, except for a brief affair with a Malaysian boy who had lived in a one-room hut with his three brothers.

He shrugged off his coat and hat, unshrunk his luggage and set about warming his hands at the fire before sitting down on the settee closest to the fire, a puff of dust rising when he flopped down. Albus puttered about in the small makeshift kitchen, presumably in search of an aperitif. Not that they had eaten anyway, aside from a surprisingly good selection of pickled items at the pub.

"I think they left a bottle here," Albus said, carrying in two tumblers and an opaque brown jug. Horace leant forward before realising that his scarf was still twined around his throat and was doing a good job of trying to kill him. He dug his fingers in between it and his neck and tried not to smile too widely. His mother had always told him that his smile was terrifying.

"Perhaps some home-made whiskey? I have heard they make a strong liquor from the beams of the moon in the Americas," he said absently. The room wasn't spinning, but that last drink he had made with the sloe gin had been a little bit of a mistake. Their new friend, Jack Logan, had seemed to enjoy it, though. Before the fisticuffs had started, anyway. He and Albus had got out of there just in the nick of time, rather.

Albus wagged the bottle back and forth. "I was told by the gentleman at the supply store that this is a regional delicacy." He pulled the cork out with a low-pitched pop, then poured a small amount into two glasses. Horace finally managed to disentangle himself from his scarf and throw it nowhere near the roaring fire.

Albus handed Horace a glass and sat next to him on the settee, a respectable distance allowing for the shortened length of the furniture. His purple suit glimmered a little in the reduced light, and his hair had started to grow out over his shoulders, not entirely unbecoming. His face hadn't yet gained enough lines to start to age him, and when he smiled, he almost looked boyish still. Horace swallowed a small lump in his throat and looked down into his glass.

"I must confess, Albus, that as of late, I have wondered about your sudden interest in me," he said, the liquor prising the words out of his mouth. "Not that I'm not flattered," he continued, sipping from the glass Albus had poured for him. But—Merlin's balls, what is this?" he sputtered. The cloying liquid coated his mouth and tasted of nothing but sugar.

Albus read the label. "Maple syrup."

Horace inspected his glass. "I don't think this is meant to be drunk," he said.

Albus sipped from his own glass and rolled his eyes before setting it down. "I am beginning to agree with you. Perhaps this has some other purpose." He leant forward on the settee, his face coming disturbingly close to Horace's. "You were saying that you were flattered…?"

Horace stared at the lips very close to his face. Any closer and he might just kiss them, and that might not have been welcomed. "I was saying, what?"

Albus crossed his legs so that his foot intersected with Horace's calf. Sometimes in the past few minutes he had doffed his boots, and Horace could see the arch of his foot under the polka-dotted socks.

"You were about to express some confusion as to why I have suddenly turned my attentions to you," Albus told him, eyes as earnest as they were when engaged in a conversation at the staff table. Infuriating and confusing. How to broach a subject more salacious?

Horace drained his glass before remembering that the contents were heinously unpalatable, and he had to pause a moment to force the viscous liquid down. "Well, I what I mean to say is that, I…we've not been familiar for very long, and it is surprising that you would take an interest in spending time with me outside of school arranged meetings…" He was somewhat at a loss, and only remained more so as Albus's head rolled a little bit, as if he was aiming his lips right for Horace's mouth.

"Because I have been doing some research," Albus said mildly, leaning back, his face now a safe distance away with the rest of him. One of his arms reached down and dug into a small satchel at his feet. Horace blinked, wondering if it was getting warmer in the room, or if his internal thermometer was simply malfunctioning. Albus had in no way propositioned him in the slightest, and indeed, he wasn't quite sure where the man's preferences lay, but something inside him stirred with Albus's innocent act of searching his bag.

"Research, you say?" Horace scratched out. It was just as likely that Albus would try to ply him with his philosopher's stone research again.

There was a small clinking sound, and then Albus sat back, dangling the object from his hand and smiling. "Yes. Quite."

Horace watched the tubing swing and caught his breath. "Oh."


Horace adjusted his grip on the arm of the settee and rocked his arse back and forth in the air.

There were many things he wanted to say about this whole scenario. He'd never once engaged Albus in any kind of romantic or sexual endeavour. They'd never even kissed, and yet here we was, on hols, quite a bit drunk, naked, arse in the air, letting the man slip a rubber tube into him.

The settee was close to the fire, but it only heated one side of him. The other side of him was cold, shivering, and open to the currents set moving by Albus's preparations. Horace closed his eyes and tried to imagine the movements, but even focusing on that was too much. His cock was already hard.

Albus slipped a finger, slick with something, in his arse and probed experimentally. "I haven't decided on how much to give you," he said cheerfully. One finger joined the first. "I understand that you have a solution engineered for this."

Horace let Albus's other hand prod him further forward, until he was face-first in the settee cushions, shins pressed on the arm, toes hanging over the edge. His arse felt so very exposed, still half-warm, half-cold. The hair on his arms and legs stood on end.

"I have—" he started, but closed his mouth when Albus landed a smack on his rump.

"As I have mentioned before," Albus told him, withdrawing his fingers, "I have done research."

The tube was one of the few things that he had ever purchased from a Muggle store. The Dragon hide bag that held the fluid was one of his own devising, as was the plug that Albus fitted into his anus, rolling the cold metal back and forth in a circle. He hadn't heated it, and it felt as if he'd put it out in the snow.

"Dragon blood, gillyweed extract, and something I wasn't able to discern, it's so minute in your mixture," Albus said into his ear, and the slide of his hair on Horace's shoulder was unmistakable.

"Acromantula venom," he scratched out. His throat was so very dry. He thought of asking for something to drink, but he had a feeling that Albus's mood might lead him to offer more maple syrup.

He wasn't surprised about how things had happened, and of course, with the lubricating influence of alcohol, they had moved faster than Horace had thought. He'd imagined a few romantic chummy nights, perhaps some oral stimulation. It usually took years to work up to this portion of the menu unless one was dining with fellow connoisseurs.

Or perhaps his understanding of Albus was extremely uninformed. Well, quite obviously.

Albus bent back and fiddled with the plug, probably attaching the tubing. "Ah, Horace, you exceed expectations," he said with fond admiration. "Small enough to entrance and not kill. Truly worthy of a potions master. Wingardium," he added, most likely levitating the bag into the air to let gravity do its job. Some things didn't need magic to work.

The first rush of fluid hit him like a warm cascade—it was always a shock, not jolting, but surprising, almost humiliating. He'd got used to the plug and didn't fight it, but the fluid hitting his insides was a rush, always a bit shaming, but not anywhere near what it might become.

"I have to admit, I've never done this before," Albus said, and when Horace turned his head, opened his eyes, he watched Albus remove the rest of his clothes in front of the fire, everything except the socks. On any other man it might have been ridiculous. On him it was somehow frightening. Horace admitted to himself that he didn't know, hadn't known what the man he'd gone travelling with was really like. Here he was, end over arse, bowels slowly filling with liquid, and a man whom he suspected would one day become the most important wizard in Great Britain stood before him, his body silhouetted by the fire light, His hair fell in dark auburn waves, short beard neat and trimmed, eyes shadowed by the darkness.

Albus clasped his hands in front of himself for a second and rocked on the balls of his feet. "But I have always been a very quick study," he added, reaching towards him to place the clip in his hand on the tubing. The flow stopped, Horace could feel it end, but everything just held in place. He tried to clench around the plug after the initial relaxing. He had begun to cramp low in his belly, and when he arched his back to relieve it, Albus reached under and rubbed the sore spot, tsking.

"I would imagine it's a lot to take in," he sympathised, then his other hand unclipped the tube and the flow started again, Horace groaned and relaxed more. Albus's hand stopped rubbing and found Horace's cock. "You are an admirable soul, Horace."

It was impossible to say how much fluid he took in, Horace knew, even though he was a Potions Master and was familiar with the amounts that could go in anything; when one wasn't looking at the bag, every second felt like a minute, every ounce felt like a litre. It was warm, blissful, frightening. He knew that he could just sit up, say no, end this. But he'd passed the point where it would be neat. That was the point really, he understood, every time he did this.

There was only one way for this to end, and it could be graceful or horrible. He closed his eyes and, listening to Albus hum to himself, felt the man's hand on his arse, the other fisting his cock. Horace wondered if Albus was hard. He wondered if Albus would fuck him after. He wondered if Albus would fellate him. The night was far from young, but the holiday was wide open, much like himself, if he gave the matter thought.

Albus clamped the tubing again and leaned himself over Horace to cover his back with his chest. He was cold, this side of him that had been turned away from the fire. His arse had to be on fire.

"You're so very trusting, Horace," Albus said into his back, his lips touching down for a kiss. Horace felt so very full, and everything in him centred on the lower half of his body. If he had fingers, ears, arms, he couldn't feel them. "That's an incredible trait, actually." He licked at Horace's back, and Horace could only tell because of the coldness on that patch of skin. He curled his fingers, catching the edge of one of the settee cushions and bringing it up towards him.

Albus slid off his back and opened the tubing wide, and the surge of fluid caught Horace by surprise, it happened to quickly. He sucked in a breath, but what he really wanted to do was breathe out, expel everything inside him from every hole in his body. The venom was entering his blood, and something swam in the corner of his eye, colors and stars partly born of hallucination, partly borne of impending unconsciousness. If he let it all go, if he passed out, fainted, he'd lose control of everything, and what would Albus think of him then?

"It makes sense, you know," Albus said as he toyed with the bag, making the fluid move faster, harder by squeezing. "You have to fight the venom and win, or it will cost you everything in this moment here, won't it?"

Horace felt his eyes tear, but it was unclear why. It would have been anything, any pressure, picked from the basket in front of him, or rather, in him.

He clenched when Albus removed the tubing, his hand presumably on the gasket in the centre of the plug. The bag and its attachments landed off to the side with a flat slap. He pressed his forehead into one of his outstretched arms, trying to breathe slowly and shallowly. In the back of his mind, he heard the same song that he always did when he did this, a soft lullaby that he never remembered his mother ever singing, but he'd come to associate with this rare experience. It was like pine needles and the feel of a wave hitting the sand on the shore when he laid with his back to the ground.

Albus rimmed his arse with his finger, around the plug, then rolled the metal and twisted it out quickly, just as Horace clenched impossibly around it, trying not to let anything else out. It was always a terrifying moment, this final second that would show who had won, himself or his body. Albus tossed the plug off with the bag, and hummed something affirming. Horace smiled into the velvet cushion under him.

His legs didn't want to work, and he almost lost it when he sat up a little, sliding his shins over the edge of the settee, his whole body following in a backwards seesaw. Albus rounded and faced him, his body pale and hard, the kind of body one got through forgetting to eat and long walks out in the wilderness, swims in a lake with a giant squid. His cock was hard, and Horace wanted to reach for it, but when he lifted a hand Albus lowered it again, gripping it loosely.

"Enough time for that later," he said, his eyes twinkling when he walked around behind him. Horace had no doubt that would hold true.

Albus guided him backward, one hand on his arm, the other on his waist, until his bottom contacted with the rim of something, a bucket perhaps. Horace felt everything on his skin acutely—the tears running down his face, the sweat sheeting his back and the one lone drop that trailed down his spine. His hair tingled at the root, and his fingers spasmed relentlessly. He clenched his arse tight and let his weight fall with his center of gravity.

"And now, Horace," Albus whispered, working his cock in one hand and supporting him with the other. His hair tickled Horace's neck, his thin beard scraping the side of his face when the words were almost painted into his ear, and he unclenched himself from his head to his toes and let go.

Albus twisted his weight to shift in front of him, kneeling down in front by his knees and drawing his mouth down onto Horace's cock, taking in his come with long tongue strokes.

He was finished. Everything in him was empty, and the sense of hollowness filled him so completely he wanted to hold onto it forever, never put anything into his body ever again. He wanted to be forever light, Albus laving his cock with his tongue, his hands clenched in Albus's hair.

"Oh my," Horace murmured, when he fell off the bucket and pressed his forehead to the floor. Behind him, he heard Albus using cleansing charms as quickly and quietly as possible.

"That was an experience," Albus said gravely, his face swimming into view when he crouched down on the floor next to Horace. "I do hope that you weren't disappointed."

Horace stared at his face, eyes so very serious, one hand on the carpet, the other fluttering above Horace's shoulder as if he wanted to touch him, but wasn't sure if he should.

Horace gave him a weak smile. "Exceeds Expectations, Albus," he croaked. Dear him, he had better get a drink of something soon. His throat felt so dry it might stick together. "I believe I saw a washing tub in the other room when I disrobed earlier."

Albus's hand finally settled on his shoulder and he tilted his head. "I believe you did."


"I was thinking," Albus said, raising one hand languidly from the water. "We should do some sort of academic project in the spring."

Horace thought of the prospect of it, a joint paper with both their names on it. How lovely that would be. And of course, if there were to be more evenings, even weekends such as this one, the experience would be without equal in many respects. "Of course," he answered. "Do you have anything in mind?"

Albus let his hand drop into the water, one of his knees drawing up so that he could lean into Horace and grasp his already hardening cock. "What do you know about Horcruxes?"