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Because He Said He Loves You and You're Not Ready to Say It Back Yet

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"I love you," he says, like it doesn't cost him anything to say it, like cracking open his ribs and handing you his heart is as easy as breathing.

You know better.

You kiss him, then, a messy press of lips and harsh, panting breaths. It's hot and heavy and consuming to cover the sound of the words you don't say back.

Can't say back.

You hope he doesn't notice, but you wouldn't bet on it. He's an Auror, so much more perceptive than people give him credit for, and he knows you. He knows you better than you'd like to admit. Knows you better than you wish he did. So you hope he understands why you're tearing off his clothing and pressing him back against the bed, keeping your lips occupied with things other than speaking.

Love is powerful, dangerous. If anybody in the world knows what it can do, it should be him. You don't understand how he can be so free with it, so careless and generous. Part of you wants to scream at him, ask him how he could be so stupid, demand to know what on earth would possess him to fall in love with somebody like you. You satisfy yourself with biting at his mouth instead, tugging at the soft, vulnerable flesh of his bottom lip until he bucks and moans beneath you.

Doesn't he understand that you could destroy him? Is his faith in you so strong that he thinks you won't?

Holding Harry Potter's heart is a powerful thing, and with great power, comes great responsibility—isn't that how the saying goes? You've never been good with power, not great with responsibility either. You're weak and greedy, selfish and lazy. You know this about yourself, now. Best not to be tempted. Better to stay far away from the darkness and bask in the glow of the always-watchful sun.

How silly of you to forget that shadows can't exist without the light.

He's the brightest fucking light you've ever seen.

The room is hot and dim. It would be silent but for the sounds of your heavy breaths and desperate whines. Your hands and lips wander over tan, glistening skin. He feels so good. He always feels so good. His emerald eyes are hooded and dark, emotion pooling so close to the surface. He's open to you, utterly, completely. Something inside you shudders and snaps, a cord pulled too taut. It starts to unravel.

You can't bear to see him.

You can't bear for him to see you.

He rolls over without protest at your gentle command. You like his face: those one-of-a-kind eyes, that clever mouth, the strong jaw, and even that hideous scar. But as much as you like looking at his face, you like him best like this. There's something so graceful, strong, and strangely vulnerable about the slope of his spine, the arch of his exposed neck, the swell of his arse. It never fails to inspire something feral and possessive in you, a feeling of wild desire surging deep inside your chest. You hope the tidal wave of passion will flood out all the messier emotions wreaking havoc in your gut.

It works, and it doesn't. The lust is there, near-blinding in its intensity, but it only seems to magnify everything else, until you're certain that the human body wasn't meant to contain so much feeling without going mad.

You kiss up his back, tilt his head to kiss his mouth, hope that he can't feel your hands shaking, pray that you can burn off some of this emotion before it burns you up from the inside out.

You're hard, have been since he said those three little words, since he shared his secret with such confidence and clarity. Wetness smears against the small of his back, and you slide slickly against the fevered skin. You want to be close to him, as close as you can get. You want to crawl inside of him, exist in the beat of his heart and the rush of his breath.

You sit back to admire him, run your fingers over his familiar hills and valleys. It's instinct when you pull his cheeks apart and slide between them. He shudders, thighs flexing, arse clenching. He feels incredible, but it's not enough.

It's never enough.

It's not until you're settled on top of him—your chest plastered against the smooth skin of his back—that the beast inside you purrs with satisfaction. You press between the perfect mounds of his arse, hot and slick and tight. With a pleased sigh, you lace your fingers with his and begin to move against him. He arches to meet you, matching you thrust for thrust, just as he always does.

The air shimmers. Your pulse races. Blood pumps overtime as friction pushes you closer and closer to a glorious end. Harry cries out beneath you, his body tensing, his fingers spasming in your hand.

He comes, and you follow, because you always follow him, Salazar, fuck, anywhere, everywhere.

Pleasure, and then thrilling, terrifying, exhilarating knowledge bursts through you, exploding out like a curse through your veins. You sag against his back with the nerve-wracking weight of it.

You cast a careless cleaning spell. It's not like you to be careless—he'll notice that—but it can't be helped. You're wrung out, bone-deep exhausted in every conceivable way, and you're half-surprised you manage to tap into your magic at all.

He curls around you, a protective shield, ready to defend at a moment's notice. But who's going to protect you from him?

Who's going to protect him from you?

You feel the dangerous words bubble up, clawing at your throat like razors, begging to be set free into the world. Once they pour out of your mouth, you can't suck them back in. They'll become living, breathing things, monsters in a pretty package, Veela luring you both in, waiting to strike.

You pull him tight against you, until his legs slot between yours and you feel the brush of his lips against your neck. His hand slides over your heart, and his breath sounds desperate and vulnerable to your ears as it shudders against your skin. Your own breath hitches and stutters, refusing to settle and even out, matching the violent throb of your heart beneath his warm, steady hands.

He has good hands, solid and sturdy. You think that maybe your heart would be safe in them, protected by rough palms and nimble fingers. But thinking isn't the same as knowing, and it's a big risk to take. Too big.

You stay silent and hope he understands.