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Albus stood in front of the on the dark ebony desk and looked at this feet. The large grandfather clock ticked gently in the quiet room, echoing through the tense silence. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Albus swallowed, trying to stand as still as he could, and keep the expression on his face as downcast and contrite as possible.

He was in so much trouble.

Across from him, The Master sat in his high backed chair, the dark leather shining like polished wood in the lamplit room. His gloved hands rested on the wood of the desk, fingers splayed, his day’s correspondence gathered neatly between them. A peacock feather quill sat to his left, in a deep indigo inkwell. The Master’s thick hair was pulled back neatly, as always, a small cord of dark, worn leather holding it together at the nape of his neck. His face was expressionless, bar the slightest downward tilt of his lips, the arch of one lazy brow, and the faintest colour on his pale cheeks as he regarded Albus steadily.

He was absolutely seething.

“Albus,” he said in a quiet and polite tone, and Albus felt his breath hitch. Oh, he’d really done it now. He bit his lip and kept his eyes on his toes, which peeked out from the bottom of his silk skirts. He’d painted his nails earlier that week, a shimmering opal white that matched the mother of pearl unicorns dancing on his bed frame. He stared now at the tiny chips in the varnish, trying to keep his breathing quiet and measured.

“Pray, tell me. How long have you been living here, in my tower?” The Master said conversationally, his voice so low and soft Albus would have leaned in further to hear him, had he dared to move. He swallowed audibly, and frowned, peeking up at The Master’s stony expression through the curtain of his hair.

“Um,” he mumbled, frowning as he counted in his head. “I have been here for seven months, three weeks, and thirteen days, sir.”

“Goodness, has it really been so long?” The Master said, his voice colder than the grey stone beneath Albus’s feet, and the expression on his handsome face tight. Albus stared, then remembered he was being contrite and downcast, and flicked his eyes back to the ground before nodding. He shouldn’t stare. It might look bold, or insolent, which, well, Albus had been called those things so many times he had once suspected they actually were his middle names, but now was not the time for that. He really was in a lot of trouble. He focussed on Master Malfoy’s voice.

“I wonder, can you remind me, Albus. How was it that you came to be here?”

Albus blinked, then cleared his throat. That was a hard one to answer. He thought for a moment, heart racing, then settled on, “because you found me in the forest?” He risked looking up at The Master's’ face, and saw his expression momentarily soften.

It wasn’t wrong. Albus had been freshly eighteen when he’d fancied himself on a quest, and ran away from his cruel and stupid Great Aunt and Uncle. He was going to find a prince and rescue him perhaps, or scale a mountain and slay a dragon, and sleep in it’s place atop its jewels and gold and the bones of it’s previous challengers, a wealthy and beautiful princess at last. He’d packed his meager belongings into the pockets of his brown and ugly dress, and wrapped the photo of his missing parents around his only gold galleon. Lastly, he’d grabbed the little daisy crown his father had made him the day he’d left when Albus was seven. The soft petals were preserved by his father’s warm and powerful magic, and it was Albus’s most treasured possession, tucked away safely in his pocket.

He had snuck out in the dead of night, the light from the moon lighting his way as he chatted happily with the moths that followed him. This would be the beginning of his adventure.

It hadn’t quite gone to plan. Really, the name should have been a give away; as soon as he’d stepped into The Forest of Large and Horrible Things, Albus had encountered trouble. First, a kindly group of men had offered him food and rest by the coals of their campfire, which he’d gladly accepted. It didn’t take long, though, for them to reveal they were thieves and lusty cads―highwaymen on the run―who wanted to steal his few possessions, as well as something else of his, which was really not on offer, thank you very much. He’d escaped easily enough, by throwing his golden coin and distracting them, but he’d lost his cloak in the process. His dress was ripped now, too, letting the cold seep in. He comforted himself with the thought that at least one of those men was going to be the last of his bloodline, after Albus had kneed him in the groin. And even then, Albus had remained optimistic about his adventure. This would all still be ok.

He’d walked along the curving path as fast as he could, humming to comfort himself―and strolled right into the middle of a den of hungry and filthy trolls. Albus had never considered being made into soup as a way he might die, but he found that faced with it now, he was really, really against it. He struggled against his ropes, fearing the worst, until a small mouse had crept up his leg. It scuttled up the inside of his dress and onto his shoulder, where it whispered:

“I’ll get rid of these ropes, if you take me with you! I hate it here. They make me clean their ears!”

Albus had agreed in a heartbeat, and the tiny mouse had chewed through the grey rope around his wrists. They’d snuck away while the trolls were arguing about whether he would be best paired with a red or white wine, and he hadn’t looked back, his new companion happily chattering and making a nest in the folds of his bodice.

He’d been sure that would be the worst of it, especially when he’d encountered a warm and sweet cottage, and been invited in by the kindly old woman who lived there. She’d offered him mulled wine and biscuits, and let him rest his feet by her fire. Albus had been so tired and cold that he’d agreed without a second thought. But as she’d swept away to prepare his meal, a small brown spider had dropped down from it’s web, and hissed ‘pssst!’ until Albus had finally looked up.

“You need to leave! The wine is poisoned. She’ll turn you to jade, and keep you in her garden with all the other beautiful things! I’ve seen her do it. She’s a collector!”

Albus and the mouse had both squeaked in alarm. He liked jade―it matched his eyes―but he didn’t want to be it! He stretched out a finger, letting the spider hop on, and then legged it out of there so quickly he didn’t have time to grab his boots. He ran so fast, he didn’t even notice when the crumpled photo and his precious daisy crown fell out of his pocket and onto the damp forest floor.

He ran, and ran, until he reached a clearing, his breath gone and his legs shaking. He sat on a rotting, fallen log which was covered in soft moss, and stared miserably at the ground ahead of him. This was not what he had expected. Where were the princes? Where were the beautiful and frightening dragons, hoarding their gold? This forest wasn’t full of quests, just horrible creatures that wanted to eat him, or collect him, or rob him of all he had. They sat there with their heads in their hands, the princess, the mouse, and the spider, until Albus began to cry silently. He was never going to get out of here; he couldn’t even see the path anymore. He was never going to be a princess in a castle with gold and a talking mirror, a lake full of swans and purple eels, and pearls and ribbons to weave into his hair. He would never eat roast duck from a silver plate, and bathe every night! He was going to die in here, stupid and hungry, and wearing a hessian dress the colour of dirt. He’d been better off cleaning his Great Aunt’s floors. He wiped his eyes, and curled up on the ground in front of the log, hoping that nothing would find him in his sleep.

Albus was so tired, he didn’t even wake up when someone did find him, their boots crunching over the twigs and leaves of the forest floor. The figure stood over him, a small daisy crown dangling from their gloved fingers, before they picked Albus up and carried him off into the night.

“The forest is no place for a princess.”

Albus had woken up here, in the biggest castle he had ever seen, in a room with a black wardrobe full of dresses and skirts and veils, and a bed full of soft pillows, with shelves full of books and games. A room of his own! And no one here he had to share it with, no one but him and The Master. The Master, who had plucked him off the ground and dropped him onto silken sheets, who wasn’t quite a prince nor a dragon, but something better altogether. The Master who always looked away when Albus smiled at him, who was tall and handsome and cold, so cold, but who Albus was sure could be warmed, if he could only get his attention.

It had taken him seven months, three weeks, and thirteen days, but he had The Master’s attention now, he thought with frightened glee as he peeked back up at the man sitting across from him. The Master looked very, very cross again. But this was ok. Albus just had to play this right, and maybe Master Malfoy would stop looking cross altogether―and let Albus make him look something else entirely.

The Master drummed his fingers against his desk in a soft rhythm, regarding Albus silently. Albus fidgeted, then stopped quickly when he heard The Master’s fingers still with a loud thump of leather on wood.

“And do you remember then, Albus,” he asked in a low, angry voice, “even though it was so very long ago, and you were so tired and lost and cold, what I told you that first night?” He narrowed his eyes. “Do try your best to recall,” he spat out. Albus recoiled; perhaps he had misjudged this. He’d never made The Master sound quite that mad before.

“That I’musn’g’intod’ngeons,” Albus murmured unhappily.

“I’m sorry, Albus, what was that?”

“That I mustn't go into the dungeons,” Albus repeated more clearly.

“Correct. That was the rule I told you, wasn’t it?” The Master smiled unkindly. “And can you remember if there were any other rules?”

Albus stared at the floor and said nothing.

“Albus?”

“No,” Albus mumbled.

“No, what?” The Master snapped.

“No, sir. There weren't any other rules.”

“Correct, again. What an excellent memory you have. There was only rule wasn’t there? You can go wherever you want in the castle. You can ask me for whatever you want, you can walk in the fields and the forest nearby, you can dance and drink and have the finest jewels for your littlest fingers and your biggest toe, and you can even,” The Master took a deep breath, his voice rising, “leave whenever you want. Should you want,” he clarified, shifting slightly in his seat. Albus fought a smile at the sight of it, crowing inside. I knew it, he thought. He does want me here.

Albus squashed that down, though. He needed to look contrite, or this was not going to work. He was tiptoeing along a knife’s edge here, one he’d been sharpening slowly for weeks now, and the faintest wobble would have him split in two―and not in the way he was hoping.

“As I say. You can have anything you desire,” Master Malfoy went on, straightening in his seat and fixing Albus with a piercing glare. “But you cannot. Go. Into. The dungeons!” he hissed, nostrils flaring. “Was that understood?”

Albus nodded, eyes wide.

“Tell me then Albus. What did you do today?” The Master queried politely, and Albus struggled not to fidget again.

I―’ Albus considered asking which part of today The Master meant specifically, but he decided against it. He was already skating on the thinnest of ice, and he had to play this just right, or it was all going to go explosively wrong and he’d end up without supper, or company. Or worse―he’d be expelled from the castle. He shivered at the idea.

“I went into the dungeons?”

“You did,” The Master agreed coldly. Albus wondered if he should say more, when The Master spoke again.

“Tell me, do you not like it here?”

Albus head whipped up. “Wha―yes! I like it here. I love it here, sir!” he added in a rush.

“And do you wish to stay here?”

“Y―yes,” Albus answered, feeling real fear creep into the pit of his stomach. Of course he wished to stay here. The Master wouldn't―he couldn’t―

“Then, why, dear princess,” The Master stated, interrupting Albus’s thoughts. “Did you go and break the only rule I gave you!” The Master yelled, slamming his palms on the desk. His voice reverberated around the room, as the tiny inkwell wobbled on its little copper legs, then fell to the floor with a crash. The Master barely even blinked. Albus stared back, breathing fast, trying to ignore the little trickle of arousal stirring in the base of his spine, the backs of his legs. The Master was so terrifically angry, his face flushed and a few strands of pale, fine hair escaping the leather cord. Albus breathed in shakily, then spoke quietly.

“There was a snake, sir―”

“A snake?” The Master hissed.

“Yes,” Albus continued shakily. “It, it told me that. That…” Albus trailed off embarrassed. Now he had to say it out loud, he felt foolish for believing that horrible black adder. But at the time, it had made perfect sense, and he had been seething with jealousy, with envy―

“What did this snake say, Albus! Tell me now, or so help me―”

“That there was another princess down there!” Albus shot back, and then blinked at the shocked expression on The Master’s face. Whatever he had thought the snake had told Albus, it clearly wasn’t that. Albus set his jaw, ready to be called a fool and a brat and an insolent boy, but it never came. The Master stared at him in quiet surprise, his anger having faded somewhat by the shock of Albus’s response. Albus stared back in sullen confused silence.

“You thought...there was another princess there?” he asked softly. Albus sighed, shoulders sagging and the fight leaving him somewhat. It had been rather stupid of him to believe the snake, but at the time…

“It said there was another princess, in the dungeons. And that they had a bigger room, and more dresses, and a chess set with pieces the size of horses, and that―” Albus swallowed and looked away, feeling his face heat up. “That you spent time with them. Lots of time.”

He shifted slightly on his feet and stared at the oozing ink on the floor. That wasn’t what the snake had said exactly; it had gone into a lot more detail about the kind of time The Master was spending with this other princess, who had auburn tresses and skin as soft as silk, and who could play the harp so beautifully all the birds of the forest stopped to listen. Albus sniffed. He could probably play the harp too, so beautifully all the birds of the forest dropped dead, if he had lessons. He just didn't want to.

“And you believed it. You were jealous,” The Master stated quietly, and Albus nodded, feeling beyond foolish and miserable. The Master didn’t sound angry anymore, which was probably because he was thinking of how to get rid of this idiot teenager as fast as he could. Another princess indeed, Albus thought ruefully. How gullible could he be; princesses don't live in dungeons.

Albus had realised the snake had been lying as soon as he had walked in. There were no auburn haired beauties down here, just dust, and endless shelves of old bottles, broken toys, and a large ebony pensieve in one corner. Albus had crept over to it, curious beyond belief to see what The Master might keep in there, what he might have forbidden Albus to see. He had just looked inside, seen the brightest glimpse of red and amber flames, felt the dull roar of them around him. But before he could really see what was happening, he was wrenched out, and found himself staring up at Master Malfoy’s furious face, before being marched up to his office. Where he was now standing, staring at his sparkly toes, and feeling every bit the idiot he was. No wonder The Master didn’t want to spend the night with him, even if he wasn’t spending it with another princess. Even though Albus wanted him to so badly.

“I ought to send you away,” The Master said quietly, and Albus looked up in alarm.

“No!”

“What action should I take then, my fair guest, considering you have broken my one and only rule?” The Master sounded calm and measured once more, his voice quiet and even, and Albus felt his heartbeat speed up. Surely The Master wouldn’t―surely he would let Albus stay! Albus swallowed, panic rising in his throat, as he decided to give up the presence and play his best card. He was sure The Master didn’t want him to leave. He can’t have imagined the looks he’d seen him casting his way, when he thought Albus wasn’t looking. But Albus was always looking.

“Do you… Want to send me away?” Albus said coyly, looking up through his fringe in a way he’d seen the women do on the covers of his Great Aunt’s books, the ones she didn't know Albus had found and read. He immediately regretted it. His breath caught as he watched The Master’s eyes narrow and darken, the line of his jaw hardening as his clenched his teeth. He leaned forward, his hands creeping across the surface of the desk, and he regarded Albus silently and coldly.

“I do not enjoy being played with, princess,” he hissed, and Albus fought back a small sound. This was it. Now or never.

“I do,” he said as loudly as he could, which was nevertheless a ghost of a whisper. He bit his lip, feeling exposed and excited and frightened all at once.

The Master stared at him, something like shock mingling with anger and surprise in his eyes. He sat back, and Albus let the fear and exhilaration churn in his gut.

“Is that so,” The Master asked. Albus tried to nod but only managed to jerk his head as The Master stood and walked around the desk, the heels of his boots clipping with each slow step. Albus wasn’t short, but The Master was a good head taller than him, and when he looked down at him like he was right now, Albus felt as small as a child. He shivered, goosebumps trailing up his spine and down the back of his arms. The Master watched him silently, and he shivered again, heat pooling in his thighs and his groin as he struggled not to fidget.

“I ought to send you away,” he repeated in a cold tone, and Albus did make a sound, a small and pathetic thing. He wanted to shout no, again. This wasn't what he wanted. He didn't want to be sent away, back to the swamps and the crones and highwaymen. He wanted to stay here with The Master. With The Master.

He pressed his lips tightly together and fought not to make a sound. The Master was standing so close to him now he had to tilt his head back to keep eye contact, but he was determined not to look away. He held his gaze―green eyes locked on blue―his own widening as the Master's gloved hand came to brush ever so slightly against his cheek. His expression didn't change, still hard, cold, seemingly unforgiving, but he toyed with a thick curl of Albus’s hair, before sweeping it off his shoulder.

“I ought to punish you,” The Master whispered, and Albus did groan. He could feel his cock thickening between his legs, becoming hard, as he clenched his thighs and bit his lip.

“Anything,” he breathed. “Just don't send me away.”

The Master moved his hand to Albus neck, the smooth leather brushing over his Adam’s apple. He leaned down slightly.

“Anything?”

“Yes.”

“That's a very dangerous thing to offer someone, Albus. Are you sure?”

Albus nodded, pulse racing. The Master tightened his grip momentarily on Albus throat, his eyes fluttering closed, then opening again.

“Then bend over, princess.”

Albus swallowed thickly, his eyes widening.

“Ben―bend over?” he repeated. The Master’s lip curled.

“Yes. You need to be punished.” The Master ran his hand down Albus’s front, toying with the lace ties of his dress. He pulled one out slightly, then let it go again, like a cat playing with a string.

“I want you to lift up your dress,” The Master said, stepping even closer. Albus could hear his own breathing now, loud and harsh. The Master felt hard against him, his expression blank but the colour high on his face again, a dangerous amusement in his eye. “And bend over the desk,” he whispered.

Albus gasped, blinking fast. That was―that sounded―he could do that, he thought dizzy, fear and excitement taking turns to run through him. Not breaking eye contact, he bent his knees slightly, gathering up the soft folds of his dress. Lavender silk, today, with yellow flowers embroidered on the bodice. Up and up he gathered the skirts, clutching them over his chest. He felt the chill on his ankles, and then his knees, as he stared at The Master in wary anticipation. He knew what would happen now. He’d been punished before, with the wooden spoon. Although never on bare skin, and never...never like this, he thought dizzily.

The Master raised one pale brow. “The desk, princess.”

Albus shuffled backwards, still clutching his bouquet of silken skirts, then leant over it, his elbows on the hardwood. The angle left the ends of his skirts still covering his backside, the silk brushing against the skin tantalisingly. His cock was more than half hard now, and he shifted to get more comfortable on the desk, as comfortable as he could in this position. He heard The Master hum approvingly behind him.

“Spread your legs.”

Albus felt his face heat up as he shuffled one foot and then the other outwards, toe first then heel. He felt exposed, the cool air of the room at the tops of his thighs, as he leant over The Master’s sturdy work desk. He gasped as he felt the leather of The Master’s glove trail over the hem of his skirts, over the swell of his bollocks and then back again, before lifting the material up. Albus felt his face flush further. He wasn’t wearing undergarments; he never did. He heard The Master hum again, so softly he might have missed it, then felt his gloved palms rest over the curve of his arse.

“Now. Count.”

Albus blinked. Count what? he thought, then felt all the breath leave him as The Master’s right hand landed on his arse cheek with a loud slap. Eyes wide, he exhaled shakily, his cock twitching against the folds of his dress. The Master rested his hand on the place he’d just slapped, clenched it slightly before leaning down to whisper into Albus’s ear.

“That’s one.”

He leaned back again, trailing his fingers over the small of Albus’s back, then removing his hand entirely.

“Now. Count, Albus,” he repeated quietly, and Albus braced himself, gasping again as he felt that soft leather land hard against the meat of his backside.

“Two,” he exhaled shakily.

Slap.

“Three.”

Slap.

“F―four!”

“Good, Albus. Good,” The Master said roughly, pulling the material of Albus’s dress up higher, and switching to Albus’s left cheek.

Slap.

“Fiiive!”

Slap.

“Uh―six!”

Slap.

“Se―seven.” Albus fell forward onto his elbows. The skin of his arse felt raw and tender, The Master’s hand resting against it, before pulling back again and―

Slap.

“Ei―uhh―ght!”. Albus gasped his voice high and reedy. The Master made a soft sound behind him, running his hand up Albus’s spine to the base of his neck and then back down again.

“Almost done, Albus,” he crooned, and Albus almost whimpered, in disappointment or relief he wasn’t sure. His cock felt as hard as it had even been, his arse on fire, and his face was overheated and damp. The Master smoothed a hand down his hair, brushed it aside then ran his lips around the shell of his ears as he leaned down once more.

“Keep counting, princess.”

Slap.

“Ni―Ni―”

“Nine,” The Master finished for him gruffly as Albus sagged against the desk, nodding weakly. He felt the Master move slightly behind him as he pulled his glove off with his teeth, and then―

Slap.

“Ten!” Albus ground out, feeling the heat of The Master’s bare hand against his own bare skin.

“Ten,” The Master repeated, running his hand gently over the reddened skin. “That’s ten, princess.” His voice sounded harsh, rough, and his breathing loud as he rested his other hand between Albus’s sweat-damp shoulder blades. Albus breathed in and out again, struggling to get enough air into his lungs. He was hot, and sore, and hyper aware of the gentle press of The Master fingers on his slapped skin, on his clothed back. He was so hard, leaking against the soft silk of his dress, but he daren’t move. The Master tightened his grip slightly, and Albus twitched, wincing slightly. He heard Master Malfoy make a soft sound behind him.

“I hurt you,” he stated gruffly, before stepping back and away. Albus whined at the loss of contact, wanting to protest that he was hardly hurt. He felt wonderful, and hardly punished in the slightest. Although, he thought giddily, he might keep that last bit to himself. He twisted around, trying to see what The Master was doing, when he felt strong hands push him back against the desk firmly.

“Stay still.” Albus looked forward again, and heard the click of The Master’s knees, before he felt―

“Ahhh!” He breathed out as he felt the soft glide of lips over the reddened flesh of his arse cheek, the hot swipe of a roughened tongue over the same area. He felt his hips jerk, then tried to still them, as The Master kissed and licked his way over the bruised skin. Albus sighed, overwhelmed, as he felt the strangest tingling sensation, the faintest rush of magic, and then a glorious cool sensation followed. He moaned softly, biting his lips as The Master moved to the other cheek, kissing that cool and healing magic into his skin. Albus felt his hips stutter forward again, involuntarily, and this time The Master didn’t stop him, moaning softly himself. He kissed the last bruise away, licking a broad swipe over it. Albus gasped a strangled sound as he felt The Master’s tongue move between his cheeks.

He rested his face on the cool wood, scrunching his eyes shut and trying to believe this was happening, as The Master pushed his tongue against his hole. He pulled back, whispering a quiet spell, then pushed again harder, his tongue slipping inside. Albus opened his mouth, no sound coming out as he pushed his hips back. The Master was...The Master’s mouth was…ahhh! He pushed back again, rubbing his cock against the material between him and the desk, moaning softly as Master malfoy's tongue prised him open, his fingers splayed on his cheek, holding him open.

He lay face down on the desk with his skirts up high, The Master’s face buried between his cheeks and his cock leaking onto his dress. The pleasure ratcheted up slowly until he couldn’t stop himself from grinding back against that tongue, forwards against the desk. He couldn't stop moaning if he tried, the vibrations of The Master’s answering groans spurring him on. He’d never felt anything like this. He'd never imagined The Master would do this with him, and now, he didn't want it to stop.

He whined pitifully as he felt The Master pull back, and stand up, wiping his mouth on the back of his still-gloved hand. Albus leaned over his shoulder, face red and eyes wide.

“Please, Master,” he begged, not sure what he was asking, but hoping The Master would know all the same. Master Malfoy shut his eyes briefly on a low groan of his own, then opened them and looked at Albus fiercely.

“Come here,” he growled, winding his arms around Albus’s waist and pulling him upright and roughly back against his own. Albus blinked dizzily at the sudden change of position, at the cool air on his aching cock. He dropped his head back, his mouth falling open as The Master wrapped his palm around his cock, and pumped it once, twice, three time, before Albus felt his whole body tense, pleasure coiling inside him as he came harder, and farther, than he’d ever thought possible. Albus watched his come land across The Master’s papers, his letters, all the way to the fine leather of his high-backed chair. He gasped and sagged back in The Master’s arms, blinking rapidly ashe tried to catch his breath. Behind him, The Master chuckled softly.

“Have you learnt your lesson?” he whispered gently, his breath gusting over Albus’s ear, onto his overheated cheek. Albus nodded weakly.

“And are you going to break my rules again?”

“N―no.”

“Good, princess. That’s very good. You may go now,” he said quietly. Albus straightened his skirts, feeling disappointment settle in his stomach at being dismissed so quickly. It lurched when he looked up and saw the heat in The Master’s eyes as he watched him. He stepped towards Albus again, crowding him, and Albus leant back against the desk. He breathed in sharply as he felt the hard length of Master Malfoy’s cock against his thigh. The Master moved again, just the faintest pressure to let Albus know it was there.

“I will come to you later,” he whispered against Albus’s lips, and Albus sighed, leaning forward so as to deepen the kiss. The Master stepped back again, a smile almost playing around his lips as he smoothed down the front of his shirt. Albus nodded giddily, trying not to smile back. He gave up, and beamed, wobbling back onto his feet.

“Okay.” Albus bit his lip. “I mean Okay, sir.”

The Master’s lip twitched. For the briefest moment his face tilted into a smile, before he quickly schooled it into something more sombre. His eyes remained the same though, smiling down at Albus. Albus felt his heart pitter-patter in his chest, as he gathered his skirts around him and curtseyed gently. He blinked his eyes wide, blushing fiercely, and scurried out the room before The Master could mention it. He’d curtseyed? He’d never done that before. He felt his face heat up. He’d never done any of that other stuff before, either, he thought with wonder. Nothing like what The Master had done, with his tongue, his hands. Albus suppressed a shiver, leaping up the last stairs two at a time, until he reached his room. He threw himself onto his bed in a happy pile of billowing skirts. Later, The Master had said.

“Later,” Albus repeated happily at the ceiling, kicking his leg out happily, then made a face. He swung himself upright again, removing a small weathered book from under him. He looked at it, then tossed his birding journal, a birthday gift from The Master, onto the floor. When was later exactly? Before supper? After? In an hour? Less? Albus shifted slightly where he sat, his rear still tingling from The Master’s hand. He bit his lip, thinking, then hopped up, and pulled his dress over his head as he padded over to his bathroom. He dropped the dress in a heap on the floor, then whispered the spell The Master had taught him to turn the taps on. The room began filling with sweet smelling steam as Albus stepped into the tub, and sighed happily.

He’d best be ready for later.

***