Author's Note: This was just a little story that came to me one evening and I couldn't stop until I got it out on paper. It reminds me a bit of Eyes Wide Shut, only I hope to have removed some of the inherent creepiness of that film, and of course, Harry and Draco are sexier than Tom Cruise on any day. Thanks to Deb and Shannon for their beta work on this story.

Summary: Harry had the feeling that once he stepped through those doors, his life would be irrevocably changed.

"Leaving already?" Ron called, making Harry turn around to face his friend and colleague. He'd been trying to sneak away without having to have the same discussion they'd already had several times over the last week, but sneaking wasn't Harry's strong suit.

"Er, yeah. Ginny made me promise not to work late tonight, the party and all, you know?" Harry prompted, hoping in vein that Ron would leave it there.

"Right," Ron replied, as if he'd only just remembered. "You've got this big secret party you're going to and I'm not allowed to know anything about it."

"Are you upset because I haven't told you anything about it, or because you weren't invited?" Harry asked, a little sharper than he usually was with his best friend.

"Both," the man pouted. "I don't get it. I'm always going to events with you two. What's so special about this party?"

"I wish I knew, Ron," Harry sighed. "It was all your sister's idea, not mine, so blame her."

"Ginny won't say anything either. It's like I'm being blacklisted. Did I do something at the last party that I don't remember?" he asked. Clearly he'd been searching his memory for anything he might have said or done to offend the wrong person, but Harry just shook his head. Ron was usually on his best behavior at the Ministry balls and other galas they attended, even after a few drinks he didn't get too obnoxious.

He wished he could send Ron in his place, but that would prove…awkward.

"I assure you that this isn't your kind of thing, Ron. I'm not even sure its mine," Harry pointed out.

Ron sighed and pursed his lips, obviously not wanting to give up the fight, but unsure what else to say. "Fine. Go have fun without me. See if I care," he huffed at last and turned to make his way back to his cubicle.

Harry gritted his teeth and clutched his hands into tight fists. He wished his best friend would knock off the bad attitude. It wasn't as if Harry was excluding him on purpose. He had half a mind to just tell the redhead exactly where he and Ginny were headed that night just to solicit a bumbling apology from the man. Harry thought that after their escapades at Hogwarts, two years of Auror training and three years as partners, Ron might understand that Harry wasn't the attention seeker that everyone still thought he was. But it seemed that even his best friend was fooled by the media's portrayal of him as Harry Potter, Professional Hero and famous Auror.

Either way, he didn't have time to sooth his partner's bruised ego, so he turned around and made his way to the central lifts. When the car finally arrived, he stepped in without thinking and immediately cursed himself. He'd been too distracted to realize that the car he'd stepped into was going down and not up, and he'd have to ride it the whole way. By the time he reached the archival floor, he was alone in the lift and tapping his foot against the floor in his impatience to get to the floo network already. He wasn't eager to go to the party, but he wasn't eager to get into another argument with Ginny about his tardiness either. Besides, the sooner the night began, the sooner it could be over.

Just as the lift was about to start its assent to the main floor, a hand shot out and stopped the doors from closing and a familiar man stepped into the car with Harry. "Ducking out early, Potter?" Malfoy asked, his drawl as smooth as ever.

Harry narrowed his eyes, preparing for an argument, but remembered a moment later that there was no reason for such a fuss. He and Malfoy had got on fine since the war. The wealthy heir to the Malfoy fortune had taken a job in the Ministry's legal department, or so Harry assumed by the kind of files the blond was always toting around and the dull conversations they usually had about them.

"For a change," Harry replied. "I have a party tonight," he added, wondering why he'd felt the need. Perhaps he still felt as though he had to show up his former rival by making his life seem more exciting than it really was. Although, in truth, he wished his life were as tame as Malfoy's and that he only had to worry about a weekly caseload and not have the expectations of the world on his shoulders every day.

"Delightful," Draco replied, a hint of sarcasm in his tone. "Whisking the crimson bride out for a night of dinner and dancing?"

"Something like that," Harry muttered to himself more than Malfoy. He was dreading tonight, more than he had ever dreaded an event in his entire life. He'd happily glad-hand a thousand Ministry diplomats than attend this particular party tonight.

"If it's a party, why do you look like you're about to face a firing squad?" Draco asked, a faint smirk to his lips.

"Is it that obvious?" Harry asked with a wince.

"It is to me," the blond replied easily. "One must know their enemy better than they know themselves, after all," he added, smirking fully now.

"Right," Harry sighed, rolling his eyes.

"Is there something I could do to help?" Draco asked, his tone belaying no humor. "I could come up with a case that keeps you at the office too late to attend this dreadful soirée."

"I appreciate it, but I promised Ginny," Harry began, but suddenly widened his eyes comically. "Did the incomparable Draco Malfoy actually offer unsolicited assistance?"

"It's been known to happen," Draco replied dryly.

"When?" Harry asked, unable to hide his grin.

"I'll have you know I'm quite helpful to everyone in my office," the blond replied, his haughty schoolboy tone returning in full force.

"But never to me," Harry pointed out but only received a shrug in reply, and if a shrug could be graceful, Malfoy achieved it.

"I just can't believe you're shirking your Auror responsibilities and leaving early," the blond said, changing the subject. "Aren't you afraid you'll lose sleep over breaking the rules?"

"I break more rules than you might think, Malfoy," Harry informed him as the door to the lift finally opened and revealed the bustling entrance hall.

"I know," Draco replied with a wink.

Harry simply blinked and stared for a moment, wondering if he'd imagined the wink, and if not, why the bloody hell Draco had done it. When no answer seemed plausible, Harry scurried off toward the Floo network before he got trapped on the lift for another tour of the Ministry building.


Harry loved to feel the hum of the engine as he accelerated. Driving a Muggle car gave him the same thrills as flying a broom, especially when he could find open, curving roads like the one he was on tonight. He felt free of worry, free of guilt and best of all; free of the expectations the wizarding world had planted on his shoulders without his permission.

He had hoped that vanquishing Voldemort would have been the last sacrifice he'd need to make for the world that so thoroughly judged him, but he'd been mistaken. Now, more than ever, the public seemed to make Harry their savior, building him up to be something so magnificent he could never hope to attain it in reality. He was human, he was fallible, his blood would pour just as freely from a wound as anyone else's, but no one seemed to believe that. They all saw the hero, no one saw the man.

"I don't understand why we couldn't have just Apparated," Ginny grumbled as she clung to the edges of her seat.

Harry ignored her dramatics. This fine, precision automobile had seven layers of shield charms that would protect the car and its occupants from everything from a fatal crash down to a simple dent from someone opening their door too close. Ginny knew good and well that she was perfectly safe. She was simply being impatient. Why she was so eager to get to this party, Harry would never understand.

"You know, most women would love for their boyfriend's to own a car like this," Harry told her instead.

"Fiancé," she corrected, as she often had to do. It seemed as though Harry hadn't caught on yet that a wedding was imminent. "And I'm not most women."

"Clearly," Harry mumbled, but swiftly changed topics before she could grow defensive. "You look beautiful tonight, Gin. What do you say we skip this party and go out to dinner, just the two of us?" he offered. His girlfriend was wearing a glittering golden gown that seemed to flow over her body like water. Low cut and clinging to every curve, the dress left little to the imagination, especially with the slit that started at the floor and ended at her hipbone. If Ginny crossed her legs just right, there would be no mistaking her lack of undergarments.

"Harry," she sighed, her tone full of the same exasperation Harry had felt with Ron earlier that day. "I thought we'd been over this and decided this party would be the best thing for our marriage."

"Actually, you decided that," Harry replied bitterly. "I still don't understand why you won't let me fulfill these fantasies of yours."

"You're talking as if you don't have illicit fantasies of your own," she quipped.

"Maybe that's because I don't," Harry replied. "At least, none that you can't partake in."

"Are you trying to make me feel guilty for a fantasy I can't control? At least I'm trying to do something about it before we get married, and it's not as though it can be considered cheating when you'll be off with another woman."

"Would you at least tell me what it is I can't do for you?" Harry asked, an edge of pleading to his voice. He hated knowing that his future wife had needs he couldn't meet.

"After tonight it will make no difference. I'll get it out of my system and I won't have you judging me about it for the rest of our lives," she replied quietly.

"How do you know it'll just go away?" Harry asked.

"People always want what they can't have, Harry. Logic dictates that once I get it, I'll no longer want it. Just look at it as one last fling before we tie the knot next month," she reasoned.

"I'm still not comfortable with this," he muttered.

"Well, I'm not comfortable in your car, so I think we're even," she huffed.

"But I've tried to explain to you why I bought this car," Harry pointed out. "It's not the same at all."

"You told me that it makes you feel like 009 when you drive it," she rebuked. "That's hardly an explanation."

"007," Harry corrected, "And if you sat down and watched the films with me, you might get it. The Vanquish is the epitome of a Bond car."

"I'm not arguing with you about this again," she sighed. "I'll accept that you need this car if you accept that I need my freedom for this one night."

"I've accepted it," Harry sighed, tightening his grip on the steering wheel. "I just don't like it."

"Well, I'm sure you'll thank me later after you've had your own wild night of freedom," she replied, placing her hand over Harry's knee and squeezing gently.

"I'm never free," Harry whispered, but Ginny didn't hear him as they pulled into a driveway flanked with towering wrought iron gates. There was a large, gilded 'E' on the front of each one, and Harry swallowed thickly as he thought of what laid ahead.

The car rumbled to a stop in front of a massive, redbrick manor and suddenly Harry's heart was in his throat. The building was ordinary enough, not even as grand as some of the Ministry homes he'd been to, but something ominous lurked inside and Harry had the feeling that once he stepped through those doors, his life would be irrevocably changed. He didn't know why, he just felt it in his gut, which was usually a good sign he was right. He'd had the same feeling when he first stepped onto the Platform of 9 ¾ and again each time he faced off with Voldemort and he'd yet to be wrong. Misguided as to the source, perhaps, but wrong? Never.

"Gin," he whispered. He knew his voice was shaking and he didn't care. "Let's not do this, let's go home and spend the night in."

"Harry," she replied levelly, offering up her most patient smile, "It will be fine. Trust me."

Before he could protest, she slipped on her mask – a curving gold brocade with crimson feathers that rose up from the brow and then cascaded down to mingle with her fiery hair – then got out of the car. Harry took a deep breath and contemplated for a moment just driving away and leaving her there. She was perfectly capable of Apparating home after all, but Ginny stood by the passenger door and waited for her boyfriend to escort her into the party, so Harry reluctantly slid his own mask on and went to her side.

Arm in arm, the couple went inside to meet their fate, whatever that was.


Twinkling music and glittering lights met them at the door. Mirrors flanked each side of the entrance and Harry took a moment to glance at his reflection. His robes were deep pewter in color and trimmed with tiny peacock feathers. His mask was the same – Ginny had chosen it because she thought the green in the feathers brought out the emerald quality of Harry's eyes. He felt ridiculous, but no more so than usual. He thought that wearing a mask would make him feel like he was hiding, but he felt no different at all.

A woman greeted them at the entrance and asked to see their invitation. Ginny pulled a thick silver card from somewhere in her barely-there dress and handed it to the woman. Harry knew that it only had one word printed on it in thick, black ink. 'Erotes'. It was the name of the organization – or cult, depending on how one looked at it – that threw these gatherings. Once a month, the members would come and invite whomever they liked and everyone would meet at this manor and have a night of frivolous debauchery. It made Harry slightly ill to think of it, and he had no idea how he'd gotten on anyone's list to even receive an invitation, but he had.

He regretted the day he'd gotten the small card and regretted even more that he'd told Ginny about it. He hadn't known what it was, but she had. Apparently it was an honor to be asked to attend the Erotes' ball, but the organization was so secretive, that no one even knew who to go to in order to solicit an invitation.

After doing a bit of research, Harry decided he could have done without.

The woman returned the card back to Ginny, who then made it disappear within the folds of her gown once more. "I am Eros, keeper of the House of Masks, and I welcome you among us," the woman said, bowing slightly at the waist.

She was a lovely woman. Her olive skin seemed almost iridescent in the faint light of the entryway, and her dark hair had a purple sheen to it when she stepped up to grasp Harry's hand. Eros wore a simple, white dress that draped around her as if it were made of light itself, and despite the translucent quality, Harry found that he couldn't actually see anything through it - a trick of the shadows, he supposed, or maybe even a glamour.

"We only have two rules," the woman said after she'd kissed both their hands. "Never remove your mask, and never give out your true name. The House of Masks is all about freeing your desires, and most cannot have true freedom without the mask."

Harry couldn't have true freedom even with the mask, but he refrained from arguing with the strange woman and simply nodded that he understood the rules. "So, now what?" he muttered, and the woman smiled warmly at him.

"Do you know your desire?" she asked, and while Harry stared at her blankly, Ginny nodded. The woman placed her fingertips against Ginny's temples and after a moment, smiled. "Yes, you'll find your place here," the woman told her.

Harry didn't understand. She didn't point to a map, or give directions of any kind, but Ginny turned to him, shot a brave smile his way, and strode off in the direction of the main staircase. Harry watched her until she disappeared around a corner and then he focused on the hostess. "How did she know where to go?" he asked.

"I showed her," the woman replied simply and refused to say more. Instead, she reached for Harry's face and touched him the same way she had his girlfriend, but no directions left her lips. "Your desires are deeply hidden, even from yourself," she said at last. "You don't even want to be here."

"No," Harry said simply, figuring there was no reason to lie. "I don't."

"Come with me. We shall find what you seek," she told him, holding out her arm for him to take.

They didn't go up the stairs the way Ginny had, but she led him to the left of the grand staircase instead. They entered a room that was clad in burgundy. The walls were covered in brocade fabric, the chairs a gaudy velvet and from the ceiling hung golden chandeliers. Harry got the impression that this was what the Gryffindor common room might resemble, if Hogwarts were a brothel.

Music filled the room, soft and sweet, but there were other noises too, lusty pants and moans that made Harry want to avert his gaze. He couldn't see much though, even if he stared, because the shadows seemed to linger everywhere. He would occasionally catch glimpses of exposed flesh, or a lacy undergarment, or the corner of a mask, but most of the couples within this room were shrouded with a mystery Harry found himself thankful for.

"Here you will find the reluctant exhibitionists. The people who want the illusion of prying eyes and the illusion of privacy all at once," Eros informed him.

"Seems a bit ridiculous to me," Harry muttered. "You either want one or the other."

"Are things truly so black and white with you, Sir? Are you incapable of seeing gray?" she asked.

"I don't believe in gray," Harry replied. "There is right and there is wrong. There is no in between."

"That's the saddest thing I've ever heard," Eros said, and then she was trailing along to another room, gesturing for him to follow.

Harry had to scurry to keep up with her long-legged stride, and when she stopped, he nearly ran right into her because he was completely distracted by what the room contained. There was one large bed in the center of the room, but Harry could make out no details about the piece of furniture, because it was covered in writhing, naked bodies. Harry counted twenty before he gave up, there were just too many limbs to decipher what belonged to whom, but everywhere he looked was a cock disappearing into a hole, or a tongue flicking out to taste a bit of flesh or fingers pinching an erect nipple.

What was wrong with wanting one pair of hands, or one pair of breasts or one pair of lips? "I'd like to move on," he muttered, and the woman looked at him with pitying eyes before leading him into the next room.

"Even if it's not your desire, can you not accept that it might be someone else's?" Eros asked when they were back out in the hall.

"I don't see why it matters if I do. The point is, I don't have these fantasies. My girlfriend is upstairs doing Merlin knows what, with Merlin knows who, and all I want is a quiet life and sex with Gin-" he began, but she cut him of with a scathing hiss.

"No names," she reminded him harshly. "Not hers, not yours, not while you're in my house."

"Fine," Harry balked, feeling like a scolded child.

"Miss Eros," a voice called from further down the hall, and the woman turned to smile at a young blonde who was as nude as the day she was born, save a sapphire blue mask that shielded her face. "There is a man who wishes to see you. He has a special request."

"I'll be with him in a moment," Eros replied before waving her away and turning back to Harry.

"Will you be alright on your own?" she asked, and Harry rolled his eyes.

"Fine. I'll be fine," he assured her. She looked at him skeptically for a moment and then left, following the path of her employee, or servant, or whatever the girl had been.

Harry just stood there for a moment, not sure what to do. He looked to his right and saw a door labeled 'Dungeons' and decided to steer clear of that. Severus Snape in black leather bondage gear came to mind and he shuddered and cringed. Before he could stop, he found himself climbing the main stairs and he realized what he was doing at once. He was searching out Ginny. He wanted to learn about her fantasies since she wouldn't tell him herself.

Along the corridors, it seemed people had abandoned the rooms in favor of fucking right there in Harry's path. He had to actually step over one couple that seemed to never even notice Harry was there as the man thrust into the woman below him. It wasn't until he came to a wide landing and another staircase that he realized he might never locate Ginny before the night was over.

At a loss, Harry wandered the manor, shaking his head politely at the women and men, who approached him. He didn't want any of them; he didn't want any of this at all…until he saw him.

The man was fully dressed, as Harry still was, and leaning against the wall in one of the rooms Harry entered, still hoping to come across Ginny somehow. The stranger was taller than Harry, with tousled blond hair that fell over his ivory mask. His robes were so white they practically glowed, and Harry reckoned that was what stole his attention. In a manor filled with darkness and shadow, the man's gleaming robes stood out like a beacon. His skin was nearly as pale as his attire, making him look like a stoic Grecian statue made of the finest marble.

He followed the man's gaze as he stepped closer, and frowned at the sight. It was just another couple fucking roughly in plain sight, but he paused and watched as the other man was, and noticed that this, in fact, was different somehow. There were two men, with glittering black masks and they seemed to know one another's bodies as if they were twins. Perhaps they were, for they both had long, silky blond hair, and lightly tanned skin and similar physiques. The first was being taken from behind, pounded into the chair he leaned against with reckless abandon. They moaned in chorus with one another, and occasionally the taller of the two would lean around and capture the other man's mouth.

Harry couldn't seem to look away, enthralled in the men's rapture and the intoxicating scent of sex in the air. None of the other displays that night had affected him at all, but standing there, staring at the two men lost to wanton passion, Harry found himself aroused.

Finally he tore his gaze free of the men, but his eyes found their way back to the gentleman leaning against the wall. The pale stranger was still staring, but his metallic gaze was no longer for the two men in front of them, it was all for Harry, and he thought he sensed hunger there.

Harry wanted to turn, to flee, to call out to his girlfriend that it was time to go, but his feet were rooted in place, even as the man left his spot against the wall and began striding toward Harry. Those gray eyes never left Harry's as the man approached, and when the pale hand extended to grasp Harry's, the Gryffindor didn't hesitate for even a moment to take it.

"I don't believe I've seen you here before," the man said, his voice rich and languid.

"I don't see how you would know," Harry scoffed. "I've never seen so many dark corners in my life."

A subtle smile curled the man's lips, and Harry caught his breath. He knew this man…but he couldn't seem to place him at all. "I know what you mean. I'm reluctant to come to these things myself, but I keep hoping that one day I'll find what it is I'm looking for."

"I take it you haven't yet?" Harry asked, and the blond shook his head.

"Not yet, but perhaps…." His voice trailed off and he simply smiled at Harry, warm and inviting. "Still, you can't possibly see a show quite like this anywhere else, and it certainly beats sitting at home alone in the dark."

"I suppose," Harry replied noncommittally. The men in the chair grew increasingly louder in their passion, and Harry found himself moving closer to the strange blond, wanting to be able to hear him over the lusty couple. "Although, to be honest, I think I'd prefer a quiet night at home over watching other people enjoying themselves…this much."

Harry knew he was blushing, and any hope that the dark room kept it hidden was lost when the stranger reached up and ran his knuckles along Harry's cheekbone. "Adorable," he whispered. "If there is one thing lacking in this place, it's modesty."

"I've noticed," Harry muttered. "So, why aren't you joining in the fun?"

"I never do," the man replied. "I just watch, explore, and wait."

"What are you waiting for?" Harry breathed, because the blond had moved even closer and Harry noticed that he smelled like hot vanilla and fresh tangerines.

"You, I think," the man replied and even though he knew it was a line, and an obvious one at that, Harry found himself hooked. It wasn't the man's words that captivated him though; it was the lips he used to speak them.

So, when the blond leaned forward, and pressed those lips tentatively to Harry's, he didn't resist. In that moment, he couldn't have cared less what his future wife was up to, and he didn't think about the fact that he'd never kissed another man before, and he certainly didn't speculate as to where that kiss would lead. All he focused on were the wet, pliable lips against his, and the firm tongue that darted forward, tasting him.

Harry heard a long, guttural moan and it took him longer than it should have to realize the noise had come from his own throat. He could feel the stranger smiling against his lips, and vaguely acknowledged the he had no business kissing a man whose name he didn't even know, but he quickly shoved that thought aside and instead thought about what else that mouth could do. The arousal he'd felt watching the other men fuck in the corner had been nothing compared to the lust he felt now.

"Mmm, yes," the blond whispered when they broke apart, which was only inches away from where they'd been before. "I suspected that you would taste as delicious as you look."

"I'm wearing a mask," Harry pointed out, pursing his lips in mild amusement.

"Aren't we all," the man muttered vaguely and Harry couldn't help but smile. Whether he realized it or not, the blond stranger had echoed a feeling that Harry had been having all night, and perhaps all his life.

"Are there private rooms in this place?" Harry found himself asking the man before he could stop himself.

A blond eyebrow arched up over the white mask the man wore and he smirked. "There are. Why do you ask?"

This was his chance. Harry could turn away now and wait out by the car, or he could be bold and free, as Ginny had told him, and take this new experience wherever it might lead. His heart thrummed with the tension between them, even with their bodies pressed so close, Harry didn't feel like it was close enough. "I think I'd like to use one," he breathed at last and the blond caught his lips in another kiss, this one fiercer than the last.

"Follow me," he whispered, gripping Harry's wrist tightly as he led him along. They wove through several corridors, each with lewd acts being conducted all around them, but the blond's eyes never strayed from their path for even a moment. When they came to a closed door, the man paused and gave Harry his full attention. "No one would fault you for leaving now. There is something…special about you…and I would certainly feel that I was missing out if you decided to go, but I want this to be what you want, not just what I want."

Harry's tongue flicked out to wet his lips because his mouth felt abnormally dry. He'd already made his decision, so he reached for the handle and pushed the door open, smiling inwardly as the blond's eyes clouded over with unhinged lust.

The room looked untouched, even the bed was pristine with freshly fluffed pillows and crisp, turned down sheets. Harry thought that if he looked hard enough, he might even find a mint. The thick, purple curtains were drawn, leaving the room in looming shadows until the blond lit a few of the candelabras that littered the space. Harry felt warmed by the soft glow, and more excited than he knew he should be. Part of his mind was screaming at him for the very wrongness of where he was and what he was about to do, but as Ginny had said, this was what they'd agreed upon. One final fling before they walked down the aisle in a few week's time.

Harry's stranger took his hand and led him over to the bed, pressing him gently against the post of the footboard. The blond kissed him again and it was tender and lingering, driving Harry crazy with want. Harry's hands went to the edge of the man's mask, his fingertips trailing the flesh of his cheek just below it and then lower to cup his jaw. He loved the way this man's lips felt - wet, eager and yearning.

When the blond gripped Harry's chin to tilt it up and allow better access to the smooth expanse of his throat, mouthing and nibbling a path to his collarbone, Harry groaned and went nearly limp. The blond responded with a throaty purring noise that managed to make Harry harder than he thought possible. His path continued slowly, tenderly until the fingers of the blond's other hand rose up to start divesting Harry of his robes. Suddenly the hunger Harry had sensed in the man at their initial meeting transferred to Harry and all he wanted was to be devoured.

His ardor grew as his own hands began working at the intricate buttons of the blond's clean white shirt, his eyelids fluttering at the sensation as his fingers fanned along the smooth chest underneath the fabric. In his excitement to rid the man of his shirt, Harry tore the last few buttons away, grinning triumphantly as they made a soft clattering noise on the wooden floor below. The blond lifted an eyebrow archly and smirked, making the blood burn hotter through his veins. He knew those lips, he just couldn't think of why.

It didn't matter a moment later though, because the blond's nimble hands had freed him of his trousers and Harry was suddenly more exposed than he'd ever planned to be that evening. The blond took a step back, his own pants partially undone, and made a little twirling gesture with his finger. Harry blushed furiously, but obeyed the man's wishes, turning in place so that the blond could see him from every angle.

"Magnificent, absolutely magnificent," he complimented, which only fueled the heat in Harry's cheeks.

"Alright," Harry huffed with embarrassment. "Your turn."

The blond bowed at the waist, and shot Harry a brilliant smile before returning to his full height and letting the trousers drop where he stood. He was every bit as stunning as Harry had thought he would be, and as the blond turned around – making a show of it for Harry's benefit he was certain – Harry could hardly keep his jaw from gaping at the other man's beauty.

He managed to control his mouth, but he couldn't control his hands, and before he could help it, Harry crossed the space between them and pulled the blond against him. The sensation of flesh on flesh was exquisite, and Harry leaned in to kiss the man again, relishing in the feel of his pliable lips and darting tongue.

Harry found himself being maneuvered back toward the bed, their lips never parting, until he fell, sprawling against the cool, satin sheets. The blond climbed on top of him, stalking Harry like a graceful cat, before leaning down to capture his lips once more. Harry trailed his hands along the man's back while the blond deepened the kiss, stopping only to move lower and lower still until that clever tongue was trailing along Harry's chest and stomach.

"Tell me you name," the blond whispered, and all of the tension Harry had lost came screaming back at him. This wouldn't be the same if he knew whom he was cheating with. He recognized the man well enough that he knew the blond had been in his life somewhere, only Harry couldn't put the puzzle pieces together, and part of him hoped he never would. Could he look that person in the eyes later on, knowing what they'd done this one night in this odd manor? What if the blond changed the moment he realized he was seducing the famous Harry Potter? So many people wanted him for his fame and fortune, his celebrity status, or even for his lofty position within the Ministry. He felt free in the fact that this man was ignorant to all these things and yet wanted him regardless.

"Won't that ruin the illusion?" he whispered, threading his fingers through his lover's silky blond hair.

The man frowned slightly and shrugged. "I prefer honest reality over illusion. I liked you because you seemed so much more tangible than the rest."

Harry's heart flittered about wildly in his chest at the words, such a perfect mirror of his own thoughts, although in this instance, he was still too afraid to let go of his mask. He didn't want this to end. "Isn't there a rule against exchanging names?"

The blond pouted slightly, but nodded and simply gazed at Harry for a moment before his mouth locked with his again. "I feel like I know you already," he whispered against Harry's lips.

"All the better reason to keep it a secret, hm?" Harry breathed. He could tell the blond didn't agree, but he didn't utter another word as they moved together in a tangle of heated limbs. When the blond shifted downward, his face hovering just above Harry's weeping cock, the Gryffindor swallowed thickly and held his breath.

A shiver ran through him when the blond's tongue connected with the throbbing flesh, swiping a hot line down the underside of Harry's cock. "Godric," Harry rasped, flushing as the man glanced up at him with speculative eyes. He realized all at once that he'd given away the fact that he was a Gryffindor with that one muttered word, thereby narrowing down the possibilities of who he was to a much smaller pool. But then the blond took him fully into his fiery mouth and all regret from his slip was lost.

The blond had him arching and groaning and losing all of his faculties in mere moments with the talent of his mouth and hand. Harry twirled his fingers through the man's silken locks, bunching and pulling occasionally as he rode the pleasure the blond created within him. He was close, oh so close, and his pale stranger must have sensed it, because Harry suddenly found himself bereft of all touch and whimpering at the loss. "Patience," the blond whispered and Harry practically snarled at him to keep going.

A subtle smirk curved the man's lips as he lowered himself once more to Harry's cock, but the hand that had been previously stroking his shaft and dipping lower to cradle his balls, had maneuvered lower still, and Harry felt a single digit circle his entrance. His body went rigid and the man seemed to notice because he rose up and away from Harry again, staring down in wonderment.

"Is this…have you ever been with another man before?" he asked, his voice husky and filled with awe. Harry could only shake his head, words failing him completely in his embarrassment. The blond leaned up and kissed Harry deeply, letting their flavors combine on his tongue and shifted to whisper against the shell of Harry's ear. "Well, I'm flattered and honored," he breathed, sending a shiver down Harry's spine. "I promise to be gentle."

Harry sighed, the tension leaving his limbs, and he gripped the blond's wrists and squeezed. "Don't," he rasped. "Don't be gentle."

Those stormy eyes darkened with lust and he kissed Harry again, rougher this time, as if to prove he understood, before sinking back into his previous task.

Harry hadn't heard the spell that slicked the man's fingers, but he felt the effects as the first digit breached him and pushed slowly inside. He cried out, first in pain but that quickly melted into a dull ache as the blond caressed a spot deep within him that made pleasure rain down on him like a monsoon. When the second finger joined the first, Harry lost his mind. Brilliant white stars broke out behind his eyelids and blinded him. Fireworks seemed to explode in his ears and all he could feel was a warm, shuddering buzz coursing through his body as he came.

When he opened his eyes –which could have easily been a single minute or a hundred hours later – the blond was licking the shaft of his softening cock and grinning smugly up at him. "You're gorgeous when you come," he whispered. "So free, so beautiful."

Harry could only hum his approval as the tendrils of his orgasm decreased their tight hold and started to fade. Then the blond twitched his fingers, which were still buried inside of Harry, and his arousal redoubled, chasing the vestiges of his orgasm away as his body begged for more.

Unbelievably, Harry's erection was fully fledged within moments, which seemed to thoroughly please his new lover. When the man removed his fingers to line his cock against Harry's stretched entrance, Harry found himself trying to impale himself on the man's length. He'd never before felt so greedy for pleasure, so hungry for someone's touch.

The blond obliged him without a word, sinking as deep as Harry's body would allow and they both cried out from the feel of it. It was a significantly larger intrusion than the fingers the blond had used before, but Harry found himself adjusting to it more quickly than he'd expected and wondered if the blond had cast another spell that Harry hadn't heard. Still, he couldn't possibly complain when he felt the man thrust into him more rapidly, going deeper and deeper each time.

Harry gripped the blond's thighs and writhed beneath him, intoxicated by each blissful stroke. He'd never felt anything like it, and in that moment, he never wanted to feel anything else besides the languid pound of his lover inside of him. Harry was lost in a sea of fuzzy delight, and those piercing gray eyes were the only things keeping him grounded. The orgasm built slower this time, starting at his toes and curling its way up his body until it exploded through him.

He vaguely heard the blond hiss and shout, and felt the man fill him with his seed. Then suddenly Harry was up and toppling the blond backwards, smothering his face, neck and chest with suckling kisses. His lover shuddered, as the movement drew him in deeper over already tender flesh, and then the blond chuckled, stilling Harry's frantic movements with his long fingers twined in Harry's ebony locks.

The blond flipped them easily, pining Harry's arms above his head with one hand and running the other along Harry's side. He could still see heat in the blond's covetous gaze, but it had a different lilt to it than before, softer, sweeter, less urgent. "You won't be coming back here again, will you?" the blond asked after a long, comfortable silence.

"No," Harry whispered, trying to wipe the regret from his tone. "You?"

"I don't see the point anymore," the man replied before they fell into another half-dozing quiet.

The blond's fingertips trailed through the sticky mess Harry had made of his own stomach, and drew pictures of swirling lines in the cooling fluid. Harry was content to lie there in the man's arms, his mind like static on a Muggle telly. This was how he wanted to feel all the time. Wanted, needed, but for the right reasons. This man, this beautiful stranger knew nothing about his fame, or his past, but he wanted to share himself nonetheless. He wanted to give Harry joy and pleasure and asked for nothing in return.

But Harry wanted to give him something anyway.

"Do you still want to know my name?" Harry asked, his voice thick with the sleep he felt creeping into his brain.

"I do," the man replied, "But wouldn't that break the rules?"

"I break more rules than you might think," Harry replied, and he could feel the blond pause above him, hear all the air leaving his lungs in a rapid whoosh.

"Potter?" the man whispered, and Harry's eyes flew open at the sound, all remnants of sleep cleared from his bones. There was only one man who could say his name that way. One man who could turn his entire world upside down at will.

Harry swallowed thickly as dread washed through him, banishing all the lovely sensations he'd been indulging in before. He should have kept his mouth shut; he'd known this would change everything. "Take off your mask," Harry demanded, though his voice was still a whisper.

The blond blinked, and Harry could tell he was wincing beneath his mask, but he made no motion to do as Harry had asked, so Harry reached up and tore the mask away himself. Harry's bottom lip trembled, as he looked upon the face of his long-time rival, a man whose gaze now held so much more than it had just hours ago when they met in the lift.

"Please tell me this isn't happening," Harry whispered, raking his hands through his hair as he scurried to the edge of the bed, away from Draco Malfoy. "Please tell me I didn't just have sex with you."

Draco's jaw set into an offended frown, but Harry could see the pain in his eyes. "I assure you that I'm just as appalled," he bit out.

Harry ignored the insulting tone and struggled into his trousers, his mind reeling in confusion. "This wasn't supposed to happen," he mumbled to himself. "I…" his voice trailed off but his eyes snapped up to Draco's, his breath coming in shallow gasps. "I want you so much," he whispered, knowing it was true the moment he said the words aloud, "but this was only supposed to be one night. One final fling before I-"

And his heart stopped as he remembered Ginny.

"I have to go," Harry told Draco abruptly and slid his mask into place as he fled the room and renewed his search for his fiancée.

It wasn't difficult to locate her, but once he did, he wished he had just waited for her by the car. At first he wasn't sure it was Ginny, her golden gown had been stripped from her body, but her mask was still in tact, the crimson feathers still tangled in her red locks. She was on her hands and knees, being fucked at both ends by two total strangers who seemed to be trying to drill through her. Harry might have broken it up, fearing for her safety, but her moans made it clear to Harry that she was enjoying every minute of it. All he could do was stand there, gaping, wondering how he had ever pleased her if this was the kind of attention she craved.

The air around him filled with the scent of vanilla and citrus and Harry knew it was Draco who had come to stand behind him without having to turn and look. He realized then that he would be able to sense the man's presence that way from now on, knowing Draco as he now did. He was disturbed by how little that fact bothered him.

"We were supposed to get married in three weeks," Harry whispered to himself more than Draco, his tone sounding more resolved to a different fate. They stood far enough from the light of the doorway that Harry wasn't worried about being discovered. Besides, Ginny was a bit distracted. "How am I supposed to compete with that?" he asked, gesturing at the threesome in front of them. He didn't care if Draco answered him, because he didn't think there was an answer. Not one he would believe at least.

And Draco must have known that, because he didn't answer him. He simply stepped close, his chest resting against Harry's back, and twined his arms around Harry's waist. The Gryffindor felt comfortable there and he found himself leaning into the blond's embrace. "Can she compare with this?" Draco asked instead, his voice deep and thrilling against Harry's ear.

"No," Harry breathed without hesitation, and even as he said the words he knew what he wanted, and it wasn't Ginny. The war, the Weasleys and Harry's own fear had driven him to Ginny's arms, and he was sure now that the same had happened to her. She didn't want him the way a wife wanted a husband, she wanted him in the way anyone wanted to be safe and secure. They were the same in that respect even though they were different in so many others.

He turned in Draco's arms, facing his new lover and knowing now exactly what lay under the mask. Harry knew their connection was stronger than anything that might come between them. Looking into Draco's stunning eyes, he couldn't believe he hadn't noticed this sooner. Harry kissed him, and the kiss was different this time, because it was filled with a sense of intimacy and knowledge it couldn't have held before.

"Hmm," Draco sighed when they parted for breath. "So, was this love as first fuck?" he quipped, smirking with lips that Harry now knew the texture and flavor of. Somehow that knowledge made the blond's expressions less infuriating.

"Who said anything about love?" Harry asked, his eyes sparking with triumph when Draco flushed. "But, it might be something like that."

Draco smiled then, and it was like nothing Harry had ever seen before. It was brilliant and warm, like a sunrise and a sunset all at once and it had Harry's heart fluttering all over again. When their lips met again, Harry lingered as long as he dared, feeling the sense of freedom and contentment he'd always wanted to feel, and it suddenly made perfect sense that it would be Draco Malfoy that gave it to him.

Savoring the kiss to the end, Harry eventually threaded his fingers through Draco's waiting hand and allowed himself to be led down the stairs and away from an old life. As they passed the hostess at the door, Harry paused, transfiguring one of the feathers from his mask into a bit of parchment, and scribbled a short note. It simply read 'we need to talk'.

"Would you give this to the woman I arrived with?" Harry asked, and Eros nodded, a playful smile on her lips as her gaze took in Draco and their joined hands.

"I see you found something after all," she observed aloud. Harry looked up into Draco's tender gaze and nodded.

"I did."

"And you," she added, glancing at Draco. "I wasn't sure you would ever find something that suited you."

"I have very discerning tastes," Malfoy drawled.

"So I see," she sighed. "I will pass the message to your lady friend," she said and then seemed to shimmer out of sight. Harry shook his head and chuckled lightly.

"I'm never coming back here," he told Draco as they left.

"You'll never need to," the blond replied with a wink that Harry now understood completely. "Mighty, Salazar," Draco breathed, his eyes wide. Harry followed his gaze to the silver Aston Martin that still graced the driveway and he groaned inwardly, figuring Draco would put up a fight before getting into a Muggle car.

Had he still been floating ignorantly in post-coital bliss when he decided to choose Draco over Ginny? Was this all a mistake? Was he just bound to repeat the same arguments and the same fights with Draco as he did with her? But his worries were quelled a moment later as Draco ran his hand reverently over the car's smooth hood. "I've always wanted to ride in one of these!" he shouted, his voice filled with boyish excitement. "Say what you want about Muggles, they know how to travel in style."

Harry laughed harder than he had in a long time, relief and fondness flooding his body as Draco eagerly climbed into the car and Harry joined him on the other side. The moment they were concealed behind the Vanquish's tinted windows, Harry tore off his mask, smiling as Draco followed suit. Leaning over, Harry kissed Draco deeply and could feel the blond's longing bubbling over into need.

Throwing the car into first gear, Harry beamed across at his lover, eager to get them back home. "I think I'm going to enjoy living without a mask," he whispered as he peeled down the driveway and into a new life.

Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. As usual, the header image for this story and all my others can be found on various places around the web. My website, LJ and Facebook account being a few. I'm also on Twitter and have a yahoo group for anyone interested in constant story updates.