Author's Note:

Reviews and Comments: To darkhk: Thank you! Gabriel is a good name! To Zarathos Morgenstern: Thank you. To Cassiopeia Anastasia Black: Thank you! To the Mandalorian terminator: Thank you! Harry and Ginny are definitely oh so good together. Thank you! To Mutt N Feathers: Thank you! To scrappy8: Yes, Pansy was very mad. And nope, Harry and Theo totally don't flirt LOL. Thanks! To Nuno Neves: Thanks for loving my Greg and Pansy. I didn't expect people to love them so much and I'm very grateful for that! Yes, Harry and Ginny both love to ogle each other and they aren't ashamed to admit it. It was fun to write about soap operas with Bas and Tonks. Thank you! To jaccy3: Thank you! No, James wasn't working with Kane's mother. James Potter's Auror partner was Ian MacGregor in my Beginning Series. I brought MacGregor in as the Knight Commander of the MIA here in ASC. To pix25: Ha, Harry would be very awkward at that lol. Thank you! To danthebest66: Thank you and yes, it was Ian. To Stilly24: You think Theo is going to offer up one of his homes for Sebastian's parents? I think you might be right 😉. Thank you!

To Undead Gothic Princess: Thank you! I love the excitement! To Slaidback: This chapter was lemon meringue pie — um, thank you? To magentasharpie: I agree, Ginny is a very lucky woman! They are so perfect for each other and they just understand each other so perfectly. Thank you! To alix33: Harry and Theo flirting is cute, I agree. Thank you! To KingRajesh: Thank you for taking the time to read this story! Thank you for saying ASC is "probably the best non-canon/AU version of the story" you've ever read. I've really enjoyed making the Slytherins into real people and not punching bags so thanks for taking note of that. I really dislike character bashing. I personally do not like Snape's character, but writing him is vital to the story and I try not to show my dislike for them. Thank you for enjoying the Horcrux hunt and I agree. It was something that should have taken years and in canon did seem too rushed. As to the reason why Aurors are not using Unforgivables, that's because I don't agree with it, personally. Yes, sometimes you do have to fight fire with fire, but also, I'm Canadian and I believe in finding a more peaceful solution unless absolutely necessary. Aurors will kill if necessary, but they are trying to bring the Death Eaters in alive so that they can stand trial. Thank you!

To puttyman24: I'm glad Pansy and Greg made up as well, especially with the new baby coming! I hope Bas will be all right in Germany, too! Thank you! To ninaz08: Yes, Misha and Sorcha were both brought into FUVP a while back and he knows everything. Thank you! To ascfan: Thank you! We will see Snape again soon! To Sets: Yes, Jin is the Animagus. Thank you for saying that it's super sweet how Harry and Ginny can't get enough of each other, I think so. Yes, Theo is definitely thinking about offering his manor to Bas for his parents' anniversary. Jin doesn't know about the Horcruxes, but she's a smart witch and she's well aware that a dark wizard like him has obviously done some form of dark magic to attempt immortality. Durant is not an Animagus, no, and he hasn't tried. Zee, Tonks, and Harry all know that Misha works for the MIA, but yes, the KofAs are a complete secret. Thank you! To akshutalankar: You are correct. MacGregor was James' partner and he and his wife did adopt some of the werewolf children in my Beginning Series. I wanted to bring his character in again (at least the name). Thank you! To CherrySara: There are no late reviews! I love them all the same so thank you for taking the time! As to Ginny coming six times in one session, it was over the course of a few hours lol. Theo and Bas are not willing to admit they're falling for each other yet. As to if Theo will meet Bas' parents, we'll see. Thank you!

To saucyswimmer: It did take a lot of time to write out responses to them all, but I loved reading them and wanted to show you that I appreciated them. I loved showing Pansy so angry and Greg just flabbergasted that she wants him. Harry definitely takes very good care of Ginny and she of him. You hope Misha will be okay on this mission? We'll have to see. Theo does deserve a happy ending, but Sebastian has a high stakes job and with the war going on, there's no guarantees. We will see Romione soon and yes, Teddy is coming soon as well. Thank you! To EnigmaticEmperor: Greg is a mountain and I love Pansy trying to shove him over to no avail lol. No, no, let me be clear, Harry did not make Ginny come six times in twenty minutes. They were touching each other for a few hours. But it was when Harry finally entered her, that lasted twenty minutes. Every time he felt himself ready to come, he would pull out, take a second to catch his breath and then change their position to make it last. It was a really good few hours! 😏 Harry does love it when Theo calls him lover, not that he'll admit it. Yes, the KofAs exist, but it's a secret! The MIA is not going to try to capture Voldemort, but they do plan on spying. They know there's more going on here than they know. Bas' ex definitely deserves to be punched in the face. He has a few insecurities and he's falling for Theo and doesn't want to rush him because he knows that Theo loved Finn very much. It adds to Sebastian's insecurities that he has about himself, that he's not good enough. You think Rossi will die in the Nurmengard mission? Interesting. Thank you!

To ellyann13: Yes, MacGregor and his wife adopted some werewolf children in my Beginning Series. MacGregor trusts Rossi, but he also knows that working undercover for so long can sometimes make things a little more grey. He's not willing to risk anything. No, Misha isn't going to bring K, D, and J into FUVP. Theo is definitely thinking of some locations. As to not killing K, no promises. Thank you! To tim2604: Thank you! Yes, Greg definitely had it coming lol. What can I say? My niece and nephew are my world. I do use them as inspiration. Harry is definitely a sex god lol. He was very smug and very proud of himself and yes, he totally flirted back with Theo and won't admit it. Ian MacGregor was James Potter's Auror partner in the DMLE in my Beginning Series. He was married to a woman named Maria and they adopted two werewolf children after the war. I liked his character and wanted to somehow bring him into ASC so I made him the Knight Commander of the MIA. Thank you! To The Booknerds: Thank you! I think this is the best compliment: "every time I think I know where the story is going, you go and change it in the most marvellous of ways." Thank you! To George R: Thank you! To Guest: Thank you! To NatNat: I am finished writing up to chapter 352 at this point. I think it will probably end sometime between chapters 365-375 would be my guess. I'm not good with predicting those things though. I just write. Thank you!

To ravenclaw_rockchick: Aww, thanks for squeaking in excitement when I post a chapter! Ha, I loved that you ducked when Pansy started throwing things at Greg. Thanks for being attached to them. I wish Harry grew on trees. I agree with Dean and Neville as well, it's five in the morning, go away lol. Thank you for saying you wish Theo and Bas' relationship was in the books. To AQuickRead91: Thank you! Pansy definitely trying to beat up a mountain lol. To Hellpony: I love soap operas being so overly complicated and over the top. I loved Passions when I was in grade school and high school lol. Thank you! To marauders_mowopapr: Thank you! Bas does know who Misha is, yes. Thank you! To CorbanD17: Thank you! To briana_t: Yup, Pansy was legit trying so hard to beat up Greg to no avail. It's true, Harry and Ginny are very secure in themselves and in their relationship. They are past the petty jealousy stage and just love each other. I'm excited for Teddy to come as well! Thank you! To shuweet: Aww, thank you for saying that chapter 336 was like a warm hug! You think Theo will want to talk to Ginny about his feelings for Bas? He is a bit conflicted, but I also don't think he's ready to talk about them. As to your question, no. As listed above, I currently have up to chapter 352 written and I am only posting chapter 337. I am always very much ahead of what I am posting. I know what I have planned and do not adjust who or what I want to write about it based on people's responses. I've had plans for Greg and Pansy since the beginning and I did not expect people to like them so much so that was just a fun surprise. Thank you!

To BadWolfKris: Thank you! To Potterm1997: Thank you! Yes, I understand! Still some more light chapters in with the dark. Promise. To RhiaLynn: Ha, I don't know how I've made you root for Pansy, but I'm honoured. I didn't expect people to love her and Greg so much. I love how many people have fallen in love with my Gransy and my Theo. As to Rossi, yes, I did say that in a few author's notes, Rossi is one of my favourite characters on Criminal Minds and I love Joe Mantegna so I couldn't resist. Thank you! To TatiRena: Thank you for saying all of my couples are intense in their own unique way! I try hard to show that. Thank you! To Joyce Foesenek: I loved Pansy throwing everything at Greg. Thank you! To Mackie919: Thank you! To RiverFord: This is my world of ASC, my other series is called Beginning Series, so that's what I meant. Ian MacGregor was James Potter's Auror partner in that first series. Thank you! To katelyn453: Thank you! Yes, Harry was flirting with Theo and yes, he was in absolute bliss. Thank you!

To Bellmel: Pansy really does have balls. You're totally right, Draco is not the kind of person to shy away from confrontation, but one look at Pansy destroying his shit and he's out lol. He knows better than to confront her when she's like that. Hinny are so adorable. Thank you for saying how they make an epic sex session into a really sweet and lovely thing. They love to make each other happy. I love Harry and Theo's growing friendship and yes, Ginny is an honest friend. Theo knows that about her and he's not even upset that she stood him up to have sex with Harry because he knows it was an accident and he knows that she and Harry get in their own world. He just wants to know the naughty details lol. I loved having Sebastian and Tonks become friends and adding in a little soap opera drama was fun since Sebastian is the one who got her addicted to it. I'm so glad you love Sebastian and his best friends as well. As to Sebastian getting to see Theo's house, very soon! Theo is excited to give him the tour! Yes, I love the idea of Sebastian knowing Theo is rich but not really taking into consideration that he's rich. Obviously a "squillionaire" is the correct term LOL. Thank you very much!

To LordSmidgeon: I love that you had three dozen chapters to catch up on! Thanks for returning to my world. Harry and Ginny are gross in a good way LOL. I understand that. I love them becoming Animagi, but with everything going on, they just don't have the time to run out and play in their animal forms as much as they'd like to. Sometimes growing up sucks. Thank you! To idonthaveaname: Yup, Ian MacGregor who is the Knight Commander of the MIA. Thank you! To King Red: Theo is vers as he did switch it up with Finn, but he and Sebastian haven't done that yet. It doesn't mean they will and it doesn't mean they won't. Thank you. To Steelcode: Thank you! To PurpleLotus: Thank you! To Lyn31: I'm loving listening to your thoughts as you catch up! Sorry to have made you cry! To Astral Home: Thank you so much for saying that my writing of the second task was incredible! I hope you continue to enjoy the story! To Ceri: Thank you very much for saying that I'm great at keeping the flow of the narrative! To Sloopyqueen4: You're welcome for the smutty chapter! I am very sorry to hear your personal life has been sad lately, so you are very welcome. Thank you so much for saying the last chapter was "like walking into a warm hug of comfort, distraction, and love." You are too kind. Thank you!

To Shivani: I love that you remembered Ian MacGregor and thanks for cheering when he came. It kind of is like being part of an inside joke lol! I love that Pansy throwing things is like you haha! I was excited for the Gransy reunion, so thank you! J is the Animagus, yes, a wren. The plan in Germany is dangerous but the hard part will be watching and waiting. You're scared for Rossi? We shall see! Yes, that was some Hinny smut — just a smidge really. I love Harry and Theo and their growing friendship. Yes, the KofAs exist but shhh lol. Thank you for saying you love my fight scenes. I always stress a lot over writing them. This will not be a fight scene as you will see, but it is important. I love Tonks and Bas' friendship as well and their love for Hidden Passions that Sebastian got her hooked on lol. Ha, when you said it read like it's an actual show "and you're listening to your friends talk about it" made me laugh. Thank you very much! To creativebug1988: I know you are still slowly plugging away, but I am so very much enjoying your reviews! To AnaGPotter: I appreciate you coming back to comment! Thanks for saying it the chapter was perfect. Yes, Theo wants Sebastian to come see his home. I love how many people are worried about Rossi. Thanks for loving my Gransy! Thank you!

My posting schedule: Weekly.

Thanks to Dusk for her amazing editing skills.

As always, thank you very much for reading and please, please review!

Your reviews give me life! They give me inspiration! And they make me want to keep writing for more than just myself! Thank you for all of your continued support!


CHAPTER THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SEVEN:

The One Where The Snake's In the Cage

With His Three Sirens

Theo woke to the feel of soft kisses on his shoulder. He blinked in the darkness, turning towards Sebastian to find his lips on his. He brushed his hand over his wet hair.

"You showered? What time is it?"

"Just before six," Sebastian said. "I got up at four to go for my run."

Theo wrinkled his nose. "Four? What's wrong with you? That's the middle of the night!"

Sebastian chuckled, brushing his lips along Theo's throat. "It was early, yes, but my portkey leaves at eight and I wanted to make sure that I left plenty of time to fuck you properly before I have to go."

Theo's eyes darkened as Sebastian's hands roamed down his body. "Oh. Very sensible of you."

His long tongue teased his ear. "I certainly thought so."

Theo let his hands slide down Sebastian's naked back. He bit his bottom lip at the feel of his damp skin, the fresh pine scent of his soap in the air. He pressed his lips to Sebastian's shoulder, kissing across his collarbone and licking his lips before he rolled, tugging him so that Theo was on top.

Sebastian's lips curved when he was flat on his back. "Going to take advantage of me, Theo?"

"Terrible advantage," Theo said, kissing his way down Sebastian's chest.

Theo took his time, kissing his chest, his abs; trailing his tongue over each muscle, running his thumb over the v-lines at his hips. Sebastian's breath came out shaky. Theo smiled and trailed his mouth lower, making sure he kissed every inch of him before he tenderly licked the tip of his hard cock.

"How do you want me?" he whispered.

Sebastian's blue eyes darkened. "I want to be inside of you."

Theo's brown eyes twinkled as he nodded. He reached for the lubricant on the table and handed the bottle to Sebastian before he stretched out onto the bed next to him on his stomach. The feel of Bas' hands running over his back, touching his skin, made desire race through him. The man seriously had magical hands and when those hands began to knead his thighs as soft lips pressed against his bottom, Theo let a small moan escape his lips.

"I'm going to make you feel so good, Theo," Sebastian promised. "So good."

Theo started to say a sassy comeback, but Sebastian's tongue dipped into him and he groaned instead, his hips arching off of the bed to meet Bas' long, talented tongue. Merlin, the man didn't understand what the word "good" meant, because that tongue and those hands… it was fucking fantastic. By the time a lubed finger found its way into him, he was already rock hard and desperate for release.

"More," he moaned. "Bas… I need more."

Sebastian took his time, kissing and licking him as he added a second finger and Theo arched off of the bed again, unable to stop his hips from wanting to be closer to the man. Sebastian's large hand roamed up his back, stroking his spine into submission and Theo groaned.

"I'm ready, Bas. I'm so ready."

Sebastian kissed his bottom as he continued to finger him. "Not yet."

Theo gasped Sebastian's name when the third finger entered him, hitting that spot inside of him that made him light up from the inside out. He could feel how close he was and he didn't want to come, not before Sebastian was inside of him.

"Bas! Oh, fuck, Sebastian, please."

Sebastian's fingers left him and lips pressed against his arse, before he rolled him onto his back. He bent his head to kiss his tip gently, dragging his tongue over it and making Theo's eyes roll. "I want you on top."

Theo immediately straddled him, taking the lubricant and spreading it over Sebastian's length. Sebastian took his hand and tenderly sucked each finger into his mouth and Theo trembled. The intensity in those blue eyes as he cleaned off the edible lubricant from his hands had Theo closing his eyes in desire. Then Sebastian gripped his cock and Theo slowly lowered himself down onto it, taking all of him in. Sebastian's hands gripped his, their fingers intertwined as Theo began to ride him.

"Nrgh, so good," Theo gasped. "Oh, fuck, you feel so good!"

Sebastian's hips pushed up and into him and Theo tossed his head back in ecstasy. When Bas let go of his hands, he gripped Sebastian's hips to hold on. Then those big hands began to stroke him in time to his thrusts and Theo moaned wantonly.

"Bas… oh, Bas…"

"Come for me," Sebastian whispered. "You have to come first, baby."

Theo began to ride him faster, bouncing on him as he thrust forward into Sebastian's hands. He bit his bottom lip, trying to not lose his mind from the incredible sensations that Sebastian was making him feel. Merlin, the feel of this man… he made him feel so much and yet not enough and it terrified him. He stared into his blue eyes, watching the desire flicker in his irises and part of him still couldn't believe that this man desired him of all people. That this man wanted him.

Sebastian's thumb began to circle his tip, stroking the underside of his length while his other hand fisted around him, and Theo couldn't take it anymore. He cried out as he came, covering both of them before he found himself face down on the bed as Sebastian took him more powerfully from behind. Bas came and they both cried out, holding hands as they did.

When Sebastian finished trembling, he kissed the back of Theo's neck, collapsing on the bed next to him and kissing his way over Theo's shoulders and back. He kissed his temple as Theo turned to snuggle into his side.

"I should be back before the weekend. If everything goes to plan, I will be back by Friday."

"And if it doesn't go to plan?"

Sebastian cupped his cheek, kissing his lips softly. "Well, then I might be stuck there a bit longer. But it will."

Theo pouted. "You don't know that for sure."

"I do," Sebastian assured him. "I'm very good at my job, babe."

Theo ran his hands over Sebastian's arms. "I know, Auror Arsehole and all that."

"That's right," Sebastian said, his lips twitching. "What are you going to do today?"

"I don't know," Theo told him. "My plans all involved you and a bed."

Sebastian's eyes darkened. "And you have no idea how much I regret having to leave said bed."

Theo grinned. "Good. Maybe I'll go see Draco and Blaise."

"That sounds like a good idea. You've been missing them."

Theo nodded. "Yeah, I have." He looked over at the clock and pouted.

Sebastian kissed his pouty lips with a smile. "We have time to clean up in the shower. Come on."

Theo let him pull him to his feet as they padded into the bathroom and under the spray of the shower. They cleaned each other off, stealing kisses under the water, and when Sebastian knelt down before him and used his mouth, Theo kept his hands in his wet hair. He cried out Sebastian's name when he came before he was pushed against the wall, Sebastian's mouth locked on his as they kissed passionately.

By the time they dried off and headed back into the bedroom, Theo was already not wanting to say goodbye. He sat naked on the edge of the bed, unable to stop himself from pouting as he watched Sebastian get dressed. When Bas grabbed his go-bag from the wardrobe, he sighed.

"I'm going to miss you."

Sebastian turned to look at him. "I'm going to miss you, too."

"I want to ask you to stay and I know I can't."

He moved to the bed, his hand cupping Theo's cheek and brushing over his pouting lips. "I love that you want to ask. Sometimes with my job I have to go at the drop of a hat and sometimes I know in advance. I'm sorry. I don't want to disappoint you."

Theo shook his head. "I know. You're not disappointing me, not like you think."

He bent his head to kiss him, cupping his cheek as their lips met again and again. Bas brushed his thumb over Theo's bottom lip, his blue eyes staring into his. "Theo, I…"

"Have to go, I know," Theo said, standing up to hug him. "Be safe."

Sebastian nodded. "Yeah, I… yeah." He kissed Theo's lips once more. "I'll mirror call you later tonight."

"Okay."

"You can stay here as long as you want. You don't have to rush out or whatever."

Theo smiled. "I know. Hey, what about Oliver? Who takes care of him when you go?"

"Oliver is very self-sufficient," Sebastian assured him. "I have a charm on his food and water to refill every twelve hours. He'll be fine."

"Good," Theo said. "I don't want him to get lonely or anything."

Lips pressed against his forehead. "I have to go. Bye, Theo."

Theo's fingers held onto his shirt, pulling him back for one more long kiss. "Bye, Bas."

Sebastian's blue eyes raked over his naked body once more before he turned to grab his cloak from the back of the door. "Bye."

Theo heard the front door click closed and he leaned back on the bed to stare up at the ceiling wondering if it was acceptable to lie here until Sebastian called him on the mirror. Oliver hopped up onto the bed, rubbing his head against Theo's shoulder. He reached out to pet the cat and sighed.

Visiting Draco and Blaise was exactly the distraction he needed. He patted Oliver on the head before he jumped up to find his clothes, smiling at the thought of seeing his two best friends.

It was definitely the exact kind of distraction that he could think of.

~ ASC ~

Harry and Ginny spent Saturday morning out on the pitch with the Gryffindor team, running drills. The next match was in four weeks and they would be playing Hufflepuff, but Harry knew that Ginny was too busy thinking about next Saturday and her own second tryout for the Premier Quidditch Training Camp to be thinking about the upcoming match.

"What was it like?" Demelza asked as she stretched next to Ginny. "What happens when you make it into the camp?"

Ginny bit her lip, looking backwards between her legs at Demelza from where she was stretched out in the downward dog pose that was reminding Harry of exactly why he was fond of that position.

"If I make it into the camp, it still means a lot of work. If I'm lucky, one of the teams will be looking for more reserves for the season. Otherwise, unless a player is retiring or leaving a team, openings are hard to come by."

"Well, the Bats are looking for a new Chaser," Demelza said. "I heard that Danton, the bloke who replaced Angelina, is absolute shit."

"He is," Harry agreed, discreetly adjusting himself as he tore his eyes away from his girlfriend's fantastic arse to look at Demelza. "His contract is temporary I believe. They only signed him on for the rest of the season as a trial run. Good thing because John Danton is not the right fit for that team!"

Ginny frowned. "I just want to focus on getting into the camp."

"Angelina didn't attend the PQTC, did she?" Demelza asked.

Ginny shook her head. "No, she was lucky."

"Wood got her in," Harry said. "Our old captain. He's Keeper for Puddlemere United and when she mentioned that she was interested, he recommended her to some scouts."

"So, you can still get scouted without going to the PQTC?"

"Yes," Ginny said. "But attending the PQTC gives you more training and experience and helps you see what the leagues are really looking for. It's rare to get scouted directly into the league. Usually scouts give you a tryout for the PQTC."

Harry moved to stand next to Ginny as she stretched her arm out across her chest. He kissed her cheek. "And Ginny is going to kick arse."

Demelza smiled. "I wouldn't bet against her."

Ginny let out a slow breath and stretched her arms up over her head, standing up on her toes and then lowering back down. "But for now, we have to focus on our own practice. Time for a run, Captain?"

Demelza pouted. "Damn it, Ginny! Why can't you just accept my distraction and not let the mad Captain make us run up and down the stands?"

Ginny winked at her friend. "Because where's the fun in that?"

"I hate both of you," Demelza said.

Ron snorted as he finished doing his round of pushups. "Always knew I liked you, Robins."

Harry blew his whistle. "Last one back has to do an extra lap."

Ron made a rude hand gesture before he tossed his broom over the back of his shoulders and began to run up the Quidditch stairs, cursing Harry's name under his breath. Harry watched Ginny and Demelza run after Ron and he turned towards Wolf, Peakes, and Cootes to check on how they were doing, giving advice on their form. Wolf had perfected his pushups and sit-ups but still struggled with chin-ups while Cootes tended to get lazy when it came to anything that wasn't running or flying. Peakes just worked quietly, taking his time. It gave Harry hope for the match as his team was definitely in top form.

He blew his whistle a second time and called out that Ron and Ginny were both in the lead and Ginny picked up speed. Harry stood at the bottom of the stands and watched them and thought that this was one of the things that he was going to miss when he finished school. Not just Quidditch, but practicing with his team on a regular basis. He and Ginny would have to find a new place to go for runs. Maybe down on the beach by Black Cottage or around the makeshift pitch at Clevedon Court.

He hadn't realized that he was daydreaming until Ginny slapped his bottom as she ran by.

"Bloody Ron and his long fucking legs," she said, breathlessly.

Ron winked at her. "Better luck next time, shorty."

Ginny glared at him as Demelza and Wolf came running past them. Peakes followed a moment longer with Cootes taking up the rear. Harry ordered Cootes to do one more lap before they called it a day and ordered his team to the showers. He wrapped an arm around Ginny's shoulders.

"Great form out there, Weasley."

Ron grinned. "Thanks, Captain."

"You were great, too," Harry assured him. "Especially on that sprint."

Ron pulled his shirt over his head to wipe sweat from his face. "Oh, I know I was. It's always a good day when I beat Ginny."

Harry snorted as Ginny made a rude hand gesture at her brother. Ron grabbed his broom and kit and headed back to the castle to shower in his own dorm and Ginny turned to look at him.

"So, Captain, what's next on our agenda?" Ginny asked.

Harry pressed his lips to the top of her head. "Shower sounds like a good idea."

Ginny bit her lip. "Definitely a shower."

"We should probably shower together though," Harry said. "To save water."

"Of course," Ginny agreed, standing on her toes to kiss him. "To save water."

Demelza snorted. "We both know that you two showering together uses more water than saves it."

"Didn't ask you, Robins," Harry said.

Jack Wolf laughed. "But she has a point. Don't you two ever come up for air?"

"Mate, if I had a girlfriend that peng, I sure wouldn't," Jimmy Peakes declared, high-fiving Cootes in agreement.

"All of you, get lost," Harry said, trying not to laugh at his team's antics.

Demelza stuck her tongue out at them before hurrying off towards the changing room with the three boys on her heels. When Harry turned back to Ginny it was to watch her lick her bottom lip. His hand gripped her ponytail, pulling hard enough to tilt her head up to his before he captured her mouth for a long kiss. Ginny was smiling when he pulled away.

"What are you grinning about?"

"Just agreeing with Demelza," Ginny said. "Maybe showering together isn't the best choice."

Harry started to protest before he grinned. "You're right. Terribly unwise."

"It is?"

"Yes," Harry agreed, wrapping his arm around her and leading her towards the changing rooms. "I have a better idea."

Ginny gave him a look when he refused to elaborate. He urged her to grab her things and kept his arm around her as they headed back to the castle. Harry was surprised that he hadn't thought of using this space with Ginny yet, but to be fair, he'd only used it two or three times himself; he preferred to just take a quick shower when he was alone, or a long one if he needed a good wank. He led her up to the fifth floor, to the fourth door of the left of the statue of Boris the Bewildered and said: "Squeaky Clean."

The door opened and Ginny's eyes widened in surprise when he pulled her into the bathroom. He led her past the row of stalls with toilets and around to where the large swimming pool-like tub was sunk into the ground in the corner beneath the huge windows and the stained glass portrait of a Mermaid. Dozens of golden bath taps surrounded the entire tub each with its own jewel set in each tap.

"Wow," Ginny said, staring at the room. "How come you've never taken me here before?"

Harry shrugged, looking around the large bathroom. "To be honest, I've only used it twice. I usually choose showers over a bath, but I got access to it when I became Quidditch Captain. It's charmed so that once the bathroom is occupied, the door won't open for anyone else, which means, we have the place to ourselves."

Ginny's smile was quick before she knelt down to play with the taps. It only took a few moments before the room was full of different intoxicating scents as the tub filled with hot water and bubbles. Then she stood up, pulling her shirt over her head, followed by her sports bra. Harry licked his lips as he watched her shed the rest of her clothes and slip into the huge tub big enough for six grown men.

Ginny pulled her hair up into a messy bun before she sunk to her neck in the water. "Oh, Harry… this is glorious."

He grinned and undressed, slipping into the water with her. "I'm a tosser for not bringing you here eons before."

"Yes," she agreed, swimming over to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and locked her legs around his waist. "You'll have to make it up to me."

He kissed her in response, sighing against her lips as they held onto each other in the water. Harry was tall enough to reach the bottom of the tub, the tops of his shoulders still above the water. He slid his hands up from her hips, admiring the soft curves and tight muscles as his hands roamed higher to cup her breasts in his hands. He let his thumbs stroke her nipples as his mouth met and teased hers.

Harry felt like this was the kind of comfortable bliss that they'd both been missing. Here in this huge tub, he could take his time to hold her close, to worship her mouth and breasts in the way that they deserved to be worshipped. Kissing Ginny made him feel more alive than he could ever express; he gloried in the feel of those soft lips against his and her soft skin beneath his hands. When her hands slid down his back, he moved towards the edge of the tub, holding her against the side as they kissed fiercely. And when her hands slid down between them, to grip him firmly, he moaned against her lips.

"Been a while, don't you think?" she asked, kissing his jaw.

"Huh?"

"Since I really took the time to use my hands on you," Ginny whispered.

Harry's green eyes darkened. "You're a tease."

Ginny's hand was definitely teasing him now, slow strokes over him as she played with him in the water. "Always."

His slow smile made her grip him more firmly so he bent his head to kiss her breasts, flicking bubbles out of the way so that he could pull her nipple into his mouth. Merlin, the feel of those hands teasing him, stroking him… it was impossible for him not to react. The hot water was soothing around them, the steam and intoxicating scent of fragrance wafted around them and yet still, Harry could smell Ginny. That soft floral scent of her skin, the sweetness of her.

It only made him want more.

The longer they kissed in the tub, the more the bath grew colder and finally Harry's hands moved around her waist and he lifted her over the edge of the tub, lying her on the warm towels that were spread on the tile. Her feet were still in the water and when he hopped over the side to join her, she pulled him on top of her to kiss him more deeply.

Harry took his time, kissing his way over her skin, drying the water and bubbles away with a fluffy towel as she continued to stroke him. He kissed the crook of her neck as her hand worked him faster, using both of her hands now.

Oh, Merlin, Harry thought. Every time he thought Ginny couldn't do something to make him feel more amazing, she surprised him. With the way her small hands wrapped around him, the feel of her soft skin on his, the way her thumb teased his tip… he was coming undone. She had complete control over him and she knew it. His eyes met those chocolate brown ones, watching the desire flicker in her irises and when he let go, he cried out her name.

Ginny smiled, her hands leaving him to touch the mess he'd made on her breasts and stomach. "Feel better, Captain?"

Harry's breath was still a bit ragged, but he managed to nod, leaning down to kiss her. "Guess we need to get back into the tub."

Ginny grinned. "Guess we do."

His eyes darkened as he watched her fingers rub his release into her skin. "Fuck, Gin…"

He licked his lips, eyes on her motions and wondered if she felt the same intensity that he was feeling at the idea of her marking herself with him. Like she was making him hers in some way. When he pulled them both back down into the tub, he gripped her bottom with both hands, holding her close against him.

Ginny reached for the tap to heat the water back up, her mouth trailing over his neck. "We need to come here again."

Harry captured her mouth in his, the warm water soothing both of them as they kissed again and again. "The tub in the master bedroom in Somerset… not this big by any means, but it's definitely big enough for us to bathe together again."

Ginny smiled. "Good."

They kissed until the water grew cold a second time before Harry lifted her back out of the tub and onto the newly fresh towels that the bathroom dried and fluffed automatically to be warm and inviting. He kissed his way down her body, taking his time to kiss every freckle, every spot of skin, and when his mouth found her, she moaned his name, letting him take his time to get her ready for him.

When Harry finally slid home, they held onto each other, eyes locked together as they took their pleasure. They refilled the bath a third time so that they could clean up once more, both more than a little pruned. Then Harry helped her massage lotion into her skin, taking his time to massage every inch of her and making him incredibly hard for her all over again.

Ginny smiled and reached for his own face moisturizer that she'd made for him. Harry was rather fond of it. Not only did it make his face smooth, but according to Ginny it made his stubble beard incredibly soft. It smelt like citrus, pineapple, and apricots. There was something about the cupuaçu butter and almond oil that helped soften the hair on his face. He enjoyed using it even more when Ginny took the time to rub it into his face. They kissed again before they finally dressed and headed back up to Gryffindor Tower, hand in hand.

He wanted to convince her to sneak off somewhere, to pin her against the wall and snog her senseless for an hour or two before making love to her for a few days straight, but he didn't. They both had a lot of homework to do and Harry sighed as he reluctantly spread out in the common room with her to get started. Even doing homework with her by his side made him ridiculously happy.

And he couldn't keep the smile off of his face.

~ ASC ~

Theo stepped through the warding surrounding Wiltshire Manor, the sight of the huge manor sending warmth through him. He hadn't been here in much too long and the idea of stopping in to visit his friends was something that he desperately needed.

From dealing with Macmillan at the parole hearing, to finally feeling like he could be happy again, it really reminded him of the two men who he loved most in the world. He had just stepped into the entrance hall when Draco came down the stairs, his grey-blue eyes falling on him in surprise.

"Theo, as I live and breathe."

"Hasn't been that long," Theo teased.

"Long enough," Draco said, grinning when Theo merely threw himself into his arms.

Theo smiled when Draco's arms came around him. The sharp spicy scent of Draco's cologne was familiar and made him ache for his friend. "I've missed you."

"I'm pretty missable," Draco agreed.

Theo pulled back, shaking his head in amusement. "Still cocky, I see."

"Well, there's not much to do around here. How's your totally-not-gay-Auror?"

Theo's lips curved. "Really, really gay."

Draco snorted. "Told you. Have I mentioned how much I appreciated becoming two hundred Galleons richer?" When Theo only shot up two fingers, his lips curved. "Come on."

Theo followed him up the stairs, sending his Patronus to Blaise to meet them in Draco's room. Once inside, he immediately ran past the sitting room to jump up onto Draco's huge bed. Draco rolled his eyes but he plopped himself onto his bed as well, resting his back against one of the posts.

"Where's Blaise? I sent my Patronus."

"Probably having sex," Draco said.

"With himself?" Theo asked, raising an eyebrow.

Draco snorted again. "Sadly no, but that wouldn't surprise me. He's shagging Aeliana and Daphne."

"Do they know?" Theo asked, his eyes widening as the door to Draco's bedroom suite opened. "I mean, do they know that he's seeing both of them?"

"Pretty sure they do," Draco told him as Blaise came into the room dressed in black silk sleep pants and a white cotton tee shirt. "Do Greengrass and Ledbury know that you're shagging both of them?"

"Oh, they definitely know," Blaise confirmed, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively before he closed the door and made his way into the room. He sat on the bed next to Theo. "It's usually both of them at the same time."

Theo hugged him and Blaise hugged him back. "I missed you and your manwhore ways."

"Only Blaise would somehow get himself a threesome in a situation like this," Draco agreed.

Blaise leaned back against Draco's pillows, a smirk on his face. "Hey, offer's always open to join us. I don't mind sharing."

Draco's eyes narrowed. "And embarrass myself in front of two beautiful women? No, thanks. I'd take one look at your ugly arse and become limper than a wet noodle."

Blaise licked his lips. "Please. Even straight men want me."

Theo rolled his eyes. "How is it even possible that he became even more conceited?"

"I couldn't tell you," Draco said, his lips curving. "But how have you been? What's going on?"

"Nothing," Theo said. "Everyone is just kind of waiting for the Dark Lord to make another move after Hogsmeade. Harry says that it's coming soon and I think he's right. School is school. Just prepping for taking my NEWTs and spending every free moment that I can with Sebastian."

"Ah, the Auror who is totally not gay," Blaise said, his lips curving. "Draco and I definitely enjoyed our winnings. How are things going?"

"Amazing," Theo admitted, biting his bottom lip. "He's just… he's amazing, Blaise. He's kind and sweet and so sexy and the sex is mind-blowing; like he makes me lose my bloody mind and I can't think, all I can do is feel. I have never been shagged so good in my life! I mean, sex with Finn was amazing. He used his powers to make me hard again in seconds which was great, but Bas just… he drags it out; he makes it special. I can't keep my hands off of him. Not to mention that he has the most beautiful cock."

"Hey now, we all know I hold that record," Blaise said.

Theo smirked. "Bas is bigger."

Blaise snorted. "Lies."

Theo smiled. "Truth. It's gorgeous just like him. I met his friends and they're cool and fun and I met one of his sisters. I really like him."

"We're glad," Draco said.

"We figured that he had to be the reason that we hadn't heard from you," Blaise said, stretching his arms back behind his head. "Life here has been interesting with so many babies and witches."

"It's kind of becoming a little makeshift family," Draco explained. "Everyone has their own little bubble, but we usually all eat dinner together. It's kind of… nice."

"Minus the screaming babies," Blaise added. "I could do without them. Oh, and Goyle's here now."

"Sebastian told me that he was released from Azkaban."

Draco nodded, scratching his chest. "He tried to divorce Pansy. You should have see the fit she threw. She broke thousands of Galleons worth of art in my entrance way trying to hit him! I should send her a bill for the damages she did."

"Wait — he tried to divorce her? Why?"

Blaise shrugged. "Said he thought that it was what she wanted, but the thing is, he knocked her up again and didn't know. They're having another boy by the end of the summer."

"Wow," Theo said, trying to wrap his mind around that. "So… they aren't getting divorced?"

"Nope," Draco said.

"Parkinson actually loves the oaf," Blaise said. "Not sure why. It's not like he says much."

"Grunts a lot," Draco agreed. "That's probably why Pansy likes him so much. He never interrupts her when she runs her mouth."

Blaise snorted.

"So, why aren't you hanging out with your Auror today?" Draco asked. "How did we rank a visit from you?

"He had to work," Theo said. "Out of the country. He took a portkey this morning."

"Ah," Draco said. "So we're second choice."

"Well, I did say that the sex was mind-blowing," Theo teased. "Pretty hard to turn that down."

Blaise grinned. "I'd choose him too, then."

Theo smiled at his friends. Sitting here with them reminded him of how much he truly missed them. He missed sharing a dorm with them, having them in his classes, doing his homework. He just missed them.

"He loves to antique, isn't that funny? We've been three times now. We play board games and watch Muggle films and… I can't wait to spend time with him. He has this chubby blue cat named Oliver whom I'm in love with. He's such a sweetie, even though Bas says that he's a demon. He's not. I want him to meet you two, formally."

"We'd like to meet him formally, too," Blaise said. "Have to make sure he's good enough for you."

"He is," Theo told them. He let out a slow breath. "I told him everything. A-about Macmillan."

Draco frowned. "You did?"

Theo nodded. "The trial…"

Draco reached across the bed to touch his friend's leg. "He didn't get out. We saw the paper."

"No," Theo said. "He didn't. Bas was… he was just amazing. I didn't want to tell him, I mean, fuck, we only just started dating and the last thing I wanted to do was weigh him down with all of this bloody baggage and… I didn't want to relive it all again."

Blaise draped his arm over Theo's shoulders and tugged him into his chest. "We wish that we could have been there."

"I wish I would have cursed his balls off when I had the chance," Draco muttered, making Blaise high-five him.

"The written statements helped," Theo said, his cheek resting against Blaise's bicep. "But Bas… he had the Magical Intelligence Agency weigh in, but just having to stand up there and relive it all… to tell them everything that happened… it just felt like it was happening all over again. When I told Bas, I sort of broke down and… he helped me realize that I haven't really dealt with it."

Draco frowned. "Didn't you talk to that Mind Healer that Weasley recommended?"

"Yes," Theo agreed. "I did, but… not as much as I should have. Bas made me realize that Finn… he healed me with his magic."

Blaise raised an eyebrow. "Healed you how?"

"He wanted to make me feel better so he made the pain go away and I think by doing so, it stopped me from talking about it too."

Draco squeezed his friend's ankle. "What do you mean he took the pain away?"

"Fae magic is tricky," Theo explained, worrying his lip between his teeth. "Finn didn't want to see me hurting so he made it so that I wasn't. Bas said that it was like I forgot it, but I didn't and… he said that if Finn hadn't died, I never would have felt the pain of it again. He wanted to protect me."

Blaise nodded. "I can understand that. He saved you and he wanted to keep protecting you. I told him that you had bad dreams about your father and… well, you certainly stopped having those nightmares soon after."

Theo looked over at his friend in surprise. "You told him that I had bad dreams and he… of course he did."

"Does it bother you?" Draco asked. "I mean, I know that Finn did it out of love and out of some self-guided way of trying to protect you, but he kind of did it without your permission as well. Like… he forced his will on you."

Theo shook his head. "Finn didn't mean it like that and I won't fault him for it. It was nice to not… have nightmares and to not think about the bad things. I know that he loved me and that he was trying to help."

"What did Kane say when you told him about Macmillan?"

"He held me," Theo said. "He just… he just held me and told me that it would be okay. When I had a nightmare, he somehow took my mind off of it by holding me and telling me stories about stuff that he's done and… I'd fall back asleep and I would actually sleep really good. He makes me feel better."

"And Macmillan?"

Theo bit his lip. "I still have to deal with that."

"Weasley's Mind Healer comes here twice a week," Draco said. "Na'eemah Hickey. She takes appointments and talks to everyone here in private or group sessions. Some of the witches seems to like it. Baddock is doing much better since she started talking to him. Apparently Carrow did quite a number on him."

Theo nodded. "I think I want to start talking to her again, too. Not yet, but soon."

"Good," Blaise said. "Now tell us what else is new? We want to know everything we're missing stuck here in this manor."

"Nothing," Theo told him. "Just Hogwarts stuff."

"And?"

Theo grinned, glad to be here with the two men he considered brothers. "What do you want to know?"

"Everything," Blaise said. "Entertain us and I'll tell you about how I applied to the Lex Schola."

"Law school?" Theo exclaimed. "You'd be a great lawyer."

Draco snorted. "He really would be, wouldn't he? And I'll tell you about my run-in with Astoria Greengrass."

Theo raised an eyebrow. "Run-in? Did something happen between you?"

"If you mean, does she think that I'm a snob, then yes."

Theo laughed. "I knew I liked her." He made himself more comfortable on the bed. "All right, but let's feed me first. I missed breakfast."

Draco called for a house elf and Theo thought that it felt good to be back in the company of his family.

~ ASC ~

Pansy finished feeding Grayson before she gave him to Mitzy to take for a walk outside. She instructed the elf to keep him out until it was time for his nap before she sat on the side or the bed. Greg had been back for almost a week now and they hadn't really had any time to themselves. They'd talked at night… a lot. He told her about what it was like in the crypt and what he feared and what he worried about. She told him about coming here and how she'd made the choice to talk to the Aurors because she couldn't deal with what Lockhart was doing. When she said that Lockhart had somehow gotten away, Greg had taken her hand in his big one and comforted her.

That's what angered her the most about everything.

Pansy had stepped forward to come here, to save herself and her son and her husband and yet, Lockhart had still managed to escape. He had still somehow found a way to get away and it just wasn't fair. She missed her shop and her home and as happy as she was to be here and to be safe from it all, she just wanted her life back.

She sat on the bed now and waited for Greg to come out of the shower. She'd been doing what she could to make him new clothes since he couldn't borrow from anyone here and had nothing more than the outfit he'd been arrested in, but he still needed more and most of the material she had was lace and silk for lingerie, nothing for him to wear on a daily basis. There was only so much she could do with charms and altering on Draco and Blaise's outfits. And if she was honest, she hadn't been in a hurry to send out a house elf to buy him some clothes. It might be selfish, but she rather liked ogling his muscles. He stepped out of the bath now with a towel wrapped around his waist. He was still damp from the shower, his chest hair and beard glistening as much as the thick messy hair on his head and she licked her lips.

"Pansy, I still don't have any drawers to wear under my trousers. Can you please make me something? I feel oddly exposed going commando."

Pansy smiled at him from the bed. "I have a thong."

He frowned. "I'd rather not."

He moved towards the bed where his trousers were laid out and Pansy tugged at his towel.

"Hey!" he exclaimed, attempting to cover himself as Pansy placed her hand over his abs. "Where's Grayson?"

"Out for a walk," Pansy said, leaning in to kiss his damp chest. "A long walk with Mitzy."

Greg's blue eyes met hers. "Is he now?"

She squealed when he picked her up and dropped her down onto the sheets. He unbelted her robe, opening it to find her completely nude.

"Merlin…"

Pansy ran her hand down his bicep. "I've missed you. You've been back for over a week and we haven't…"

Greg bent his head to kiss her breast and she bit her lip.

"Greg… I want you."

He didn't answer her. Instead he shoved her further up the bed and spread her legs, settling his head between them and she cried out at the first stroke of his tongue. Merlin, it had been much too long.

Her fingers tightened in his hair as he used his mouth and fingers recklessly and when she finally felt it coming, she held him in place, ordering him to never stop and the orgasm tore through her. She screamed his name and when her body finally stopped trembling, she let go of his hair.

Greg kissed his way up her torso and then when he filled her, she sighed in contentment. When he came, she held his biceps and kissed him deeply.

Greg pressed his forehead against hers once they'd both caught their breath. "Thank Merlin I wanked in the shower or that would have been embarrassingly short for the both of us."

Pansy's lips curved. "You wanked in the shower?"

"Every morning," he admitted. "I… it's been so long since anyone's touched me and I just…"

Pansy pushed him off of her and straddled him in the bed. "Well, let's fix that, shall we?"

Greg let out a soft strangled breath when she began to gently stroke her hands over his arms, his chest. She moved in slow semi circles, taking her time as she kissed her way over him. She kissed her way over the scar on his chest, frowning. The scar looked much more serious than he had let on. He noticed because he cupped her cheek, turning her head to look at him.

"I'm fine. I promise."

"It looks more serious than you said."

Greg's blue eyes met hers. "I'm okay, Pansy. I promise."

She bent her head to kiss his scar again. He was okay. He was here and he was alive and they were together. That's what mattered. She kissed around his scar, down over his abs and lower and by the time she reached him, he was hard again and his breathing was heavy. She kept her hands on him, stroking him, teasing him; when he finished with a roar, she kissed him softly.

Pansy used her wand to clean them up before she snuggled into his arms. "Greg, I'm glad that you're home."

Greg held her close, his chin resting on the top of her head. "Me too. I promise I won't leave you again. For anything."

Pansy smiled. "Good. Don't."

When he started snoring a few moments later, she stayed wrapped in his arms, content. But she couldn't help but wonder just how much longer they would be forced to stay here, trapped in this house as they waited for this war to finally end and for their lives to get back on track.

~ ASC ~

Ron went straight up to the Head dormitory to shower after Quidditch practice. He liked having his own private bathroom to use and had no desire to stay back and share the Gryffindor change room with his team when he knew that he had his own place to spend his time.

Not to mention the fact that ever since Harry and Ginny had started shagging, he found them even more unbearable than usual.

It had come up in conversation yesterday rather unexpectedly, Ron had to admit. He and Harry had been chilling in the Head dormitory and Harry had let it slip that he'd missed class that morning because he'd been too busy shagging Ginny.

Ron stared at him. "Wait — you and Ginny are shagging?"

Harry nodded, the back of his neck heating as if he'd just realized what he'd said. "Er… yeah."

"Since when?"

"Since Valentine's Day," Harry admitted, his cheeks heating. "When we went to Somerset, it just sort of… happened."

"Bloody hell, mate! Were your balls blue?"

Harry threw a pillow at him. "My balls were not blue! We did other stuff. Lots of other stuff in fact. Loads and loads of other stuff. We were just… waiting."

Ron grimaced. "I mean, the fact that it's my sister makes me think that you should have waited longer, but on the other hand… about fucking time, mate."

Harry bit his lip. "It's bloody brilliant."

"So brilliant," Ron agreed. "Like nothing prepares you for how awesome it is."

"Definitely," Harry said, grinning stupidly back at his best mate.

Ron snuck a look over at him, his brow furrowing. "Wait — Ginny didn't pressure you, did she? Like you were ready to stop being a virgin?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "You think that she pressured me? Seriously, Ron?"

"You're innocent, Harry! I know what my sister is like! She's a menace! If she looks at you, you give in to anything she asks! She's corrupted you," Ron exclaimed.

Harry grinned. "I'm not complaining."

Ron snorted. "That I can see. I can't believe that you've been doing it for over a month and haven't told me."

"I didn't know if you'd um… I mean, she's your sister."

"Yeah well, but we can pretend she's not," Ron said. "And then you can tell me all the details."

"Who are you? Theo?"

"You wound me, Harry," Ron said, placing a hand over his heart. "Can't your best mate look out for your best interests?"

Harry grinned. "Always. I just… I don't know… it's private, isn't it?"

Ron's lips curved. "Yeah, it is. How many times have you, you know?"

"A lot," Harry said. "Like a lot, a lot. Like almost every day since."

"Every fucking day!" Ron exclaimed. "What are you two, fucking rabbits? Don't answer that, I already know your response."

Harry shrugged. "We're not rabbits, but there's… you know, the shower and the change rooms and my bed in the dorm and the library and a few classrooms and broom cupboards and Ginny's bedroom —"

"Ginny's bedroom!" Ron exclaimed. "When? Like when we are all at the Burrow? That's where you two disappeared off to after dinner! You went upstairs to bloody shag my sister!"

Harry blushed and bit his bottom lip. "It was her idea."

"You know I believe that," Ron said, scowling. "Bloody hell, Harry, is there anywhere safe in this school where you two haven't done the nasty? Like you even did it in the bloody library, seriously?"

Harry shrugged. "It was deep in the stacks and after curfew and no one was around."

Ron goggled at him. "Next you're going to tell me that you did it on a professor's desk."

Harry looked down at his hands.

"Bloody hell! Who? No, don't tell me. I'll never be able to look them in the eye again!"

Harry grinned. "Jealous?"

Ron shot up two fingers in response just as Ginny and Hermione came into the Head dorm. Ron turned to give his sister a disgusted look.

"You've corrupted him! How could you do that to my sweet and innocent best mate?"

Ginny raised an eyebrow. "What did I do?"

"He found out that we're shagging."

"Corrupted!" Ron exclaimed.

Ginny's lips curved as she grabbed Harry's hand. "Oh, well since he knows… want to go find some place new to do it?"

"La-la-la-la-la!" Ron yelled, putting his fingers in his ears.

Hermione rolled her eyes, pulling Ron's hands down. "Are you twelve?"

"He is," Ginny told her. "Now excuse us, I need my boyfriend. The Herald is empty and I want him to bend me over the desk."

"TOO MUCH INFORMATION!" Ron shouted as Harry left with Ginny.

Hermione had only shaken her head at him. "Like you've never bent me over a desk."

"It's different!" Ron insisted. "That's my… and he's my…" he shuddered. "Hey, how come we haven't done it in the library?"

Hermione's cheeks heated. "Maybe because you haven't asked."

Ron's eyes met hers and she'd winked at him.

Yeah, Ron definitely had to bring that up in conversation again, he thought. After all, they'd both rather enjoyed it when he'd gone down on her in the library… both times. He was happy for Harry and Ginny, he was, but he would be a lot happier if he didn't have to see their tongues meeting. He had a feeling that he knew exactly what they were getting up to in the Gryffindor changing room right about now which was only part of the reason he was thankful that he'd come upstairs to his own bath before he was forced to witness things that he would never be able to unsee. He really hoped that his sister had been joking about the desk in the Herald yesterday. He shuddered at the thought and finished his own hot shower in peace.

He was combing his hair, a towel wrapped around his waist when Hermione stepped into the bathroom to grab a scrunchie from the counter.

"Hey, where are you running off to?" he asked, turning to look at his girlfriend.

She was dressed in black tights and a long jumper in a deep plum colour. He watched her attempt to tame her hair back into a messy bun, leaving curls dangling at the base of her neck.

"The library," Hermione said. "I'm almost done with my Charms paper, but I want to get a head start on my Arithmancy project that's due in two weeks."

"I don't know why I asked," Ron said. "I already knew the answer."

Hermione smiled. "How was practice?"

"Good," he told her. "Harry ran us hard, but Ginny's mind was elsewhere. She's nervous about next weekend."

"I imagine she is." Her eyes moved over Ron's damp chest and his lips curved.

"See something you like, Mione?"

"I have to get to the library."

Ron grinned and leaned against the counter, his towel dipping dangerously low at the movement. "You sure? Because you sure don't look like you're in a hurry to get to the library."

Hermione's tongue snuck out to touch her top lip.

Ron crooked his finger at her and when she came to stand in front of him, he cupped her face in his large hands and bent his head to kiss her. Hermione's hands slid up his chest as her lips met his and he knew that he had her. Ron loved the feel of her hands on his chest, the way her palms stroked his skin and her nails tickled him drove him mad. When those hands moved lower, teasing the edge of his towel, he smirked against her lips.

"Take it off."

Hermione's brown eyes darkened as they met his and the towel dropped to the floor. Then her hand slid down his stomach and covered him, slow deliberate strokes making his eyes roll.

"I think I need a break," she told him. "I've been studying all morning."

"Breaks are good," Ron said. "Definitely take a break."

Her hand wrapped around him more firmly. "You should always be naked."

Ron grinned. "That can be arranged."

Hermione lowered herself to her knees and Ron's breath hitched. Merlin, he loved it when she took him in her mouth. She did so now, her eyes on him as she licked and kissed him, teasing him until he was fully hard with a mix of her mouth and hands before she stood up to kiss him again.

Ron lifted her jumper over her head, trailing his lips over her shoulders before he lifted her into his arms and up onto the bathroom counter. He leaned in to kiss her neck, admiring the slender shape of it as he kissed her soft skin. She was so beautiful and he loved that she really had no idea. He kissed her bare shoulders, pushing her bra strap down and smiling when she unhooked it for him (he really did hate those damn things) and he let his hands glide up her sides to cup her breasts in his hands. His large hands covering them, his thumb gliding over her nipples as her breath hitched.

Then he was spreading her legs even wider, lining himself up with her, and pushing inside. The sound she made spurred him on. Her arms wrapped around his neck as she rocked against him, both of them quickening the pace. Ron grunted at the feel of her, one hand sliding up her back to grab a fistful of those bushy curls and she groaned.

"Oh, Ron! Oh, Ron! Yes!"

They knocked his brush off of the counter along with a few other toiletries; neither of them noticed. Hermione's back turned on the water in the sink and Ron increased his speed, his pelvis slamming into hers as she cried out in ecstasy. When his thumb began to rub her over, she cried out in moments and Ron followed a minute later. Both were breathless as Ron stood there, still inside of her as her face buried itself in his shoulder.

"You should definitely take breaks more often," Ron said, slowly extricating himself from her and kissing her lips.

Hermione made a small sound of agreement in response. He lifted her arm from his shoulder, kissing the scar tenderly. She didn't try to hide her arm from him anymore, but he still knew that she was self-conscious of it. Her eyes were full of emotion when his gaze met hers and Ron kissed her forehead.

"I love you," she whispered.

Ron smiled and kissed her shoulder. "Well, that's lucky, because I love you back."

Hermione nuzzled her face against him. "I did want to work on my paper, but right now all I want to do is have a nap."

Ron wrapped her legs around his waist and turned to carry her back into the bedroom, crawling into the bed with her. "I definitely support a nap. It will be good for you."

Hermione looked like she was going to protest so Ron covered her completely with his body and kissed her until her eyes were glazed.

"Nap."

Her lips curved and she snuggled into him, sighing in contentment when he rolled onto his side and held her close. Ron thought it was turning out to be a pretty chill Saturday. Definitely something that they both needed. As Ron knew that once April hit, Hermione was going to be in mad exam preparation mode and nothing would stop her. He pressed his lips to her shoulder, wrapping them both up in the blankets and let his eyes close in contentment.

It was moments like this that he was looking forward to the most when the war was over (if it was ever over) and when it was, he wanted a future with his witch by his side.

He couldn't wait to distract her again when she woke up.

~ ASC ~

Draco was rather pleased when Theo decided to spend the night with them at the Manor. The three of them stayed up late into the night, talking like old times, as Theo filled him in on his new relationship with Sebastian Kane. Draco had a feeling that his friend wasn't quite aware of how hard he was falling for the MIA Auror and he didn't know how he was going to feel when he realized that he was falling.

Draco knew Theo almost as well as he knew himself. He knew that his friend was already very anxious to have Sebastian in his life just as much as he knew that he was doing what he could to not fall in love with him. No matter how irrational it was, Theo associated love with Finn's death and Draco knew that with Sebastian having the kind of dangerous job that he did, part of Theo would always be terrified that he was going to lose him just like he lost Finn. Draco hoped to Merlin his friend never had to grieve a lover like that again.

But seeing Theo and hearing about his life at Hogwarts, listening to him make plans for the future, only made Draco more annoyed with the fact that he was still stuck inside of Wiltshire Manor. He loved being back in England and he loved being in his family home. He was more of a homebody than he wanted to admit and was really enjoying just having the time to read and take long walks and enjoy himself, knowing that he was safe.

But another part of him was starting to get rather antsy about what was to come.

Blaise was talking more and more about his future plans. He wanted to become an advocatus, specifically an advocatus for the ICW which would allow him to practice law all over the world. It would allow him to travel and see the world while still living in Sicily as his home base most of the time. He wanted to be free to travel, he claimed. He wanted out of England at the nearest opportunity and was determined to do what needed to be done to escape it.

Not to mention that the whole Black Widow business was still gnawing at him.

Ever since Auror Lupin had come to speak to Blaise about what his mother had potentially been up to recently as well as the past decade caused Blaise to be more suspicious of his mother than ever before. He tended to agree that his aunt was the more evil of the two sisters and that his mother was very much along for the ride of her own survival, but he also knew what his mother was capable of. Draco knew how much that was to process as part of his own brain was still processing everything his father had done before ending up in the Azkaban Crypt.

Draco wanted to swear revenge on Crouch for killing his mother, but he knew that the devastation of his father over losing her was punishment enough. Lucius was going to be in prison for many years to come and not having the woman he loved to return to was taking a toll on him. Ever since he'd come to Wiltshire for safety, Auror Higgins had gone out of his way to make sure that his father received his letters and the ones that Draco sent back in reply. Draco found the correspondence soothing and made him feel a bit closer to the only family that he really had left.

Part of him still wanted to kill Crouch personally, but the larger part of him just wanted it all to be over. He wanted his life back. He wanted to be able to come and go as he pleased. And he wanted to give himself some kind of hope for the future.

As the Earl of Wiltshire (having inherited the title with his father's imprisonment), Draco technically was able to sit on the Wizengamot. He needed to figure out if he wanted to do more than just be an earl, if he wanted to find himself a job to keep himself busy like Blaise, or if he just wanted to coast along and help increase the Malfoy fortune through investments and business ventures. With the birth of the Black heirs, Draco no longer was entitled to the Viscount of Falmouth title and part of him was rather relieved about it. Carrying the title of earl was enough responsibility on its own. Lucius' letters had already started to inform Draco of some of the tasks that he would need to be responsible for including meetings with Gringotts, investors, the Ministry of Magic, and of course all of the committees that he was sitting on to replace his parents (or would be if ever managed to get out of hiding).

It was part of the reason why being stuck in Wiltshire was kind of enjoyable. As a homebody, he wasn't required to handle any of that while he was in hiding. Maybe it made him a coward, but hiding out and away from everything really did seem like the better plan for his life at the moment.

Draco spent hours pouring over family records, investments, and properties, trying to organize what his family owned and controlled. From the manor in France, the vineyard in Bordeaux, the house in Wiltshire, and Black estate in Sussex, it was a lot. As far as Draco knew, his grandmother was still living in Sussex, though Druella Rosier Black had disappeared years ago. She'd never gotten along with Abraxas and when it looked like a war was returning, she'd deserted the country, though Draco had no idea where she was staying. His only correspondence was the occasional postcard she sent.

She hadn't even returned when his mother had been killed.

Good riddance in his opinion. If she was going to run, he figured he'd let her go as far as she wanted as long as she stayed there.

Draco rubbed a hand over his aching temple. He swore the same migraine found him every time he even thought about making sense of all of the above. No, it was better to just stay here. To sit tight and to wait and see what came next. And for the moment, what came next was responding to his father's newest letter.

He made his way upstairs to the upper level of the library, thinking about sitting in his favourite spot to write his letter, unless of course someone was there again. Sure enough, the sight of her dark hair, pulled back in a glossy thick braid over her shoulder made him pause in his stride.

Astoria Greengrass was a bit of a puzzle to him.

It wasn't that she wasn't friendly, because she was. She ate dinner with them in the dining hall. She always had a smile for Daphne and Pansy and she adored little Grayson Goyle. She was friendly to the other Slytherins. She raised intelligent questions about assignments and now that the weather was starting to get a bit warmer, was often found sitting out in the gardens on a blanket with her schoolwork strewn around her.

She fascinated him.

When she wasn't busy doing schoolwork, she was in the library with her nose buried in a book or walking the gardens, her soft hands digging in the dirt. Draco did his best to stay out of her way as much as he could. She held some animosity towards him, though Draco wasn't sure if that was her predicament of being stuck here or something else entirely. He rather thought it was the first one, but part of him feared it was the second one.

"You can approach. I don't bite," she said, her soft voice startling him out of his thoughts.

Her voice held a lilt of amusement in it so Draco took a step forward, his shadow blocking the light from the window.

"I didn't want to disturb you."

"You're not," she said. "I was just finishing."

Draco nodded, eyes on the cover of the novel she was reading. Dumas, he noted, in the original French. "You know, you don't have to run off every time I come up here. The space is more than big enough to share."

Astoria's blue eyes met his. "I'm aware."

Draco's gaze dropped to her soft lips before he looked past her shoulder out the window. "It's raining so best to stay inside for the afternoon, I suppose."

Astoria raised an eyebrow. "Afraid of a little rain, Malfoy?"

"No," he said. "Not at all."

"I like to walk in the rain," she admitted, turning her gaze to the window. "I find it soothing."

"You'll catch a chill."

Astoria turned back to look at him. "Worried for me?"

"Well, you are my responsibility. Staying here with me, I mean and… well, with all of us, but I wouldn't want you to fall sick."

She stood up, tossing her braid over her shoulder so that it fell to her mid-back. "I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself."

Draco dropped his parchment and book on the window seat. "Would you like company?"

The question surprised him as much as it surprised her. She stared at him a moment before she shook her head.

"No, thank you. I wouldn't want you to catch a chill."

Draco watched her walk away, still unsure what had happened.

She was a mystery to him just as much as Daphne was.

Daphne… he still wasn't entirely sure why she had come to stay with him. She had a husband or a soon-to-be-husband (Draco wasn't entirely clear on the particulars). She wasn't hurt or harmed by anyone outside of the emotional trauma of her father selling her off like a common whore. Atticus Macnair was apparently a nice man and from what Draco remembered of him, that was true.

Whenever Lucius had business with the Macnairs, Atticus was always his first choice. He was a widower now, but Draco remembered his wife, Ursula. The woman had loved flowers and was the power behind the Herbological Association Garden Tours and events. They had a son and a daughter, Walden and Wrenly. Twins. Wrenly had died during childbirth two decades before Draco had been born and Walden… he was very different from his father. But according to Daphne, Atticus was kind.

Draco thought that he very well might be kind, but if she was in fact engaged to him, he did wonder how her future husband was going to react when he learned that she was spending all of her time riding Blaise's cock. The whole situation really confused him and he didn't entirely know what was going on. But it confirmed his suspicions that the rumours of the Greengrass bloodline were true — nothing good came from getting too close to a Greengrass. They were known to bring trouble along with them.

When he woke up later on that night, it was Astoria's face that flashed before his eyelids and all he could think about was that he needed to stay away from her. Not only had Daphne warned him away from her sister, but he knew one thing for certain — he needed to stay away from Astoria for his own good.

Nothing good ever came from getting close to a Greengrass, he reminded himself. The family had been cursed for centuries and it was best to stay as far from that bloodline as he could.

For both of their sakes.

~ ASC ~

Arriving in Berlin to check in with Knight Commander Karl Webber went as smoothly as Sebastian anticipated it would. The plan was in place and Nurmengard was being made ready for invasion.

They spent two more days outlining the plan, checking in with the prison guards and checking on the inmates. A few prisoners were moved around, leaving Grindelwald even more separated from the other prisoners than he already was.

"No one visits him," the head guard said when Jin asked if it was normal for Grindelwald to get visitors. "He used to have a lot of visitors. He was a charismatic and influential man in his day and people would come from all over, wanting to talk to him. It used to be hell to try to keep the madmen from getting too close. Dumbledore would stop by once a year to speak to him, but even he stopped coming over time."

Sebastian nodded. "And now?"

"Now, he sits alone in his cell. We give him some books to occupy his time, but after so many years of imprisonment and solitude, he's starting to go a little mad."

Jin met his gaze. "That could be both beneficial for us and not. If he doesn't give him what he wants."

Sebastian had to agree. If Voldemort showed up and Grindelwald didn't have the answers that he wanted, they had no idea how he was going to react. Knowing they couldn't attempt to assassinate him made it even more difficult. Sebastian was even a little worried about not being able to. If they did and the son of a bitch came back? He knew how much of an issue that would be and he didn't find it at all reassuring. Who knows what kind of dark magic the wizard had put into play? Misha Zacarias' warning had been clear and Sebastian was inclined to listen. The last thing they needed was to make things worse.

Rossi managed to get another message to them outlining that Voldemort had moved back the trip by one day and that they expected to be arriving at the castle around nine on Tuesday evening. So the evening before, Sebastian made himself comfortable in his hotel room with Durant and Jin after speaking to Theo on the mirror. He'd never been more thankful to have this communication mirror. He didn't understand how it had been just over three days since he'd left him naked in his bed and yet he missed him desperately as if he hadn't seen him in weeks.

"You tell him yet?" Durant asked, lifting out the takeout containers from the brown bag he'd brought over.

"Tell who what?"

Jin rolled her eyes, passing Sebastian utensils. "You know who what."

Sebastian looked down at his food. Jin had ordered him a bowl of chicken paprikash soup and it smelt amazing. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Sebastian, I've never seen you so over the moon over someone before," Jin said. "You have to tell him how you feel."

"No," Sebastian growled. "It's too soon for that. It's bad enough that I almost said it before I left and… Theo and I are taking things slow. He's been through a lot and we're still getting to know each other."

Jin raised an eyebrow. "You spend almost every night together."

"J, leave it, okay? I don't… I'm still working on what I feel."

Durant slapped his hand on Sebastian's shoulder. "You happy, mate?"

"Incredibly," Sebastian admitted. "Why do I have to rush things? We like hanging out with each other. After everything that just happened with that prick Macmillan's parole hearing and… he was so in love with that bloody fae and the last thing I want to do is rush him into something or worse, push him away. He's great, okay?"

"All that matters," Durant said, passing Sebastian a bottle of Wernesgruner. "Come on, let's have a drink."

They did, but Sebastian wasn't quite able to quiet his mind from the subject. The thing was, he wasn't entirely sure that he knew how he felt outside of the fact that he'd fallen hard for the Marquess of Norfolk. He looked forward to seeing him, to kissing him, to touching him. He loved listening to him ramble on about his day and he sure as hell loved pinning up against things and hearing that squeak emit from his throat. He loved spending time with him and it was because of all of that that he'd almost told him that he loved him.

He was equal parts regretful and thankful that he hadn't actually said the words aloud before he'd left for Berlin. It was too soon to be admitting those kinds of feelings to himself let alone to Theo. There was too much going on and Sebastian needed to focus on other things, like this castle and Voldemort's plans to infiltrate it just to speak to a prisoner.

He would think about Theo later.

It was why when Tuesday evening came around, he had pushed Theo completely out of his mind and focused just on the mission. Sebastian was good at pushing his nerves down once he was in position. He knew what he needed to do, what the mission was, and he was ready to set the plan in motion. He had told Theo the truth on Saturday morning — he was damn good at his job, but he also wasn't stupid and he wasn't afraid to admit that he was a little fearful at the thought of going into a room with Voldemort and a few of his Death Eaters and doing absolutely nothing.

Sebastian would be lying if he said he wasn't worried about this mission and what it entailed. It wasn't that he didn't trust Joseph Rossi, because he did, but to be so close to the darkest wizard in over a century and to be told to do nothing… that was a tough potion to swallow.

They spent two hours combing the castle, triple checking that everything and everyone was where they were supposed to be and then they waited. It was closer to ten before Durant's voice in his ear told him that people were approaching the castle. The communication piece in their ears allowed them to be in constant contact with each other with only a charm. It had been invented a century before and the MIA used the coms for all missions, each team being given a specific codeword to open and close the coms so that no one would be able to end the charm and lose communication unless they knew the code. It was up to the team's handler to set up the charm.

Sebastian listened to Zacarias' voice remind him to keep his mind open, but closed while he obeyed. Durant outlined the approach in more detail and Sebastian knew that Jin was already in position in her Animagus form of a wren, sitting in the tree near Grindelwald's window. When Sebastian finally saw them approach the castle, he did his best to keep his expression neutral. He needed to fight off this curse and keep his mind strong and ready to go.

Sebastian heard Misha's voice in his ear as the charmed communication piece warned him that they had just landed at the base of the mountain. He let out a slow breath as D and J both confirmed their positions. Sebastian waited and watched and it was only a few minutes before Rossi approached the gates with Voldemort and three other women he recognized as Bellarosa Zabini Bellatrix Lestrange, and Belladonna Brambilla. He watched Rossi Imperius the first three guards; afterwards, they made their way into the castle.

It took less than a minute for them to approach him.

"Excuse me, this is private property and visiting hours have long since passed," Sebastian said.

"Imperio!"

Sebastian did his best to internally fight the curse while staying composed. It was a much harder task than one could imagine. The sudden feeling of wanting to tell them everything; of waiting to be told what to do. It was such a feeling of lightness, of clarity, like everything he worried about was lifted from his shoulders. But Sebastian could feel the itch between his shoulder blades. He knew that it wasn't quite right and he shook off that feeling, keeping himself in position as he waited for the instructions from Rossi before he carefully led them through the gates of the prison.

He trusted Rossi. He knew that and Merlin knew he trusted his team, but no matter how much trust he had between them, it was still a very dangerous situation and he had to hope that he could do what needed to be done. But he kept his wits as Rossi ordered him to lead him to Grindelwald's cell. Sebastian turned to do just that, every part of his being telling him not to turn his back on them despite having no other option. He led them up the tall winding staircase to the tallest tower and unlocked the door, clearing the warding before he moved away to stand by the wall.

Voldemort led the way into the cell, Bellatrix hot on his heels. Bellarosa entered next, her eyes roaming down his body in a way that made him feel almost naked. Belladonna looked at him the same before she she licked her lips and then pressed those lips to his.

"Good boy," she whispered, stroking his cheek before she followed her sister into the cell.

When the door closed behind them, Sebastian let out a small breath and Durant's voice in his ear comforted him.

"All good, K?"

"Yes," he whispered back. "The snake's in the cage with his three sirens."

Durant chuckled in his ear. "Perfect. So, Bas, now that we're alone… how's your sex life?"

"Auror D," Zacarias' voice echoed over the com. "Now is not the time."

But it brought a smile to Sebastian's face as he kept his eyes on the door, not daring to move from the wall where he was ordered to stand. Now they waited and hoped that Yeona was able to ascertain what she could from her perch outside of the window.

They were waiting to find out exactly what it was that Voldemort thought Grindelwald could help him with.