A/N: I want to sue Christina Hendricks for being such a massive distraction. She is affecting my overall productivity, and has made me fixate on redheads again.
Harry was not a superstitious person. He didn't treat mirrors with special reverence or make a point to never pass beneath Mistletoe without a kiss. He prided himself on being a level-headed, rational adult. Really, growing up with Hermione, it would've been a psychological miracle for him to turn out as anything else, despite the sometimes-insane events that surrounded him throughout his formative years.
However, he maintained two exceptions to this rule. One was Halloween, on which nothing good had ever happened to him (last Halloween had been marked by the discovery that Hannah Abbott, his girlfriend of three years, was cheating on him with his partner at the Auror Department, Sean Sullivan), and the other was the number 13.
Unlike Halloween, his teeth-on-edge reaction to the number was completely uncalled for. He just didn't like it, and never made contact with the number unless absolutely necessary.
Tonight there was no avoiding it. It was Halloween, and he was on forced leave. His boss accused him of working himself to death and booked him a weekend trip to Berlin without so much as a by-your-leave. So here he was, still dizzy from the International Portkey, standing at the front desk of a 5-star hotel.
They were booked to the gills except for one room, a suite with a single bed. It had a nice view and complimentary breakfast in the morning. The only other guests on the floor were middle-aged business men and elderly holiday-makers enjoying the off season, so it was sure to be quiet. The problem? It was Room #13.
There was no hope for it, so he submitted to the heavy hand of fate and made his way to the elevators. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted the gleaming bar, lit softly with red-shaded lamps. The bartender caught his eye and smiled in welcome. He decided that, tired though he was, he was just awake enough for a few solitary drinks. It would raise his spirits and hopefully help him forget his childish fear of the combined harbingers of bad luck.
He set his over-night bag, leather and made by some famous designer he'd forgotten the name of (Post-War, he'd been showered with gifts from a great many famous people out of gratitude for his services), on the floor beside his stool and ordered a dry martini.
There was a salty-looking man wearing an eccentric tie sitting at the other end of the bar talking to a young woman of barely-legal age. They were the only other people there, and Harry let himself relax.
Forced vacation or not, he really did need a break. It would be nice to do next to nothing for three days. Maybe he'd go out once or twice, see some sights, but he'd probably spend most of the trip lying in bed watching telly and doing crosswords.
His drink was chilled to perfection, flakes of ice floating on the surface. Soft jazz played from hidden speakers, and the other patrons murmured in low voices. The stool was comfortable, and the rungs were at just the right length for him to comfortably hook his feet through them.
He let out a sigh, and felt tension leave his body.
And then someone clapped a hand on his back, almost knocking him off his stool and sloshing his drink over the rim and onto the front of his trousers.
"Harry Potter! What a pleasant surprise!"
He bit back the sharp comment he was about to make about watching yourself and slowly wheeled around to see none other than Charlie Weasley grinning down at him. God, Charlie was tall. A new scar ran neatly from one cheek to the other, drawing a horizontal line across his nose, which was slightly crooked from being smashed more than once.
He returned the grin, "Charlie! It's so good to see you!"
Charlie's eyes dropped to his crotch, where his Grey Goose was soaking into his trousers, leaving a sticky (and cold) mess.
"Oh my god, was that my fault?"
Harry tried to wave aside his apologies, but before he knew what was happening Charlie was dabbing at his groin with a cloth napkin from the bartender and apologizing a mile a minute. Harry froze and began a mental mantra that went something like this: oh god, oh fuck, don't get hard, oh god, oh fuck…
God was listening, and he managed to keep his body within his iron grip until Charlie finished and gave the napkin back to the smirking bartender. It had been a long time since he'd been touched like that, no matter the intent behind it, and he was honestly afraid that he would embarrass himself. Other than Ron, he didn't see the rest of the Weasley family very often anymore these days; he was usually too busy with work, and too tired when he wasn't on the job (his hero status meant that he was always the Ministry's first choice for the long and difficult cases). It wouldn't do to have their first news of him in months be that he'd gotten an erection after Charlie spilled vodka on him.
It'd been years since he'd last seen Charlie, and he had no idea what he'd been up to lately.
"So, Charlie, what brings you to Berlin?"
Charlie sat across from him and ordered a Scotch and soda before answering, "Business and a little bit of pleasure too. A friend of mine figured out how to adapt Muggle film to operate around magic. I tested it out for him by making a documentary on the modern species of dragons. I'm hoping to raise awareness about how endangered they are now, thanks to being hunted for so long, and get people to stop using dragonhide and use alternatives instead."
"Oh," was all Harry could think to say for a moment. But then he asked, "That sounds like work. What's the pleasure part you mentioned?"
"Well, I was hoping to hit things off with someone I've been working on the project with long-distance. We had a little, ahem, flirtation going on. But there weren't any sparks when we met face-to-face, so I'm left bereft."
Harry patted his arm and took a sip of his new drink, courtesy of the bartender.
Charlie shrugged, "C'est la vie, you know?"
They listened to the jazz for a while, Charlie humming along. Without need, he told Harry that they were playing one of his favorite songs. Harry just nodded and tried not to wonder how he'd missed how attractive Charlie was the last time he'd seen him. He supposed that it was probably because he had just defeated the Dark Lord and wasn't thinking straight.
Harry then tried not to think about the fact that Charlie was attractive at all, because God had obviously moved on to other supplicants and left him in the grip of a sudden hormone hurricane. Perhaps Charlie emitted extra-strong pheronomes? It would certainly Harry's increasing need to tear his clothes off. And dear god, would be just stop humming already?
Charlie paused humming to sip his drink, and then said, "This scotch is unusually good. Oh, I forgot to ask you what you're doing here. So, which is it? Business or pleasure?"
Harry waved a hand, "My boss forced me to go on vacation. He said I was working too hard and that it would be a waste if I didn't maintain myself properly."
"Ah. Your boss is right. You look tired."
He reached out and flicked a piece of Harry's hair, which needed cutting badly, "Even your hair is drooping, and I didn't think that was possible."
Harry snorted and batted him away. Charlie persisted and then ruffled his hair into a perfect mess just like he did the day they first met all those years ago at the World Cup.
"You've grown up, Harry. If it wasn't for that hair, I wouldn't have recognized you at all. You changed your glasses and everything. Here you sit a sophisticated little man with a martini and all."
He laughed and made to ruffle his hair again, but Harry was faster this time and caught his wrist. It was warm and the veins that stuck out throbbed pleasantly beneath the tips of his fingers. He blushed, somewhat against his will. He didn't notice the way Charlie's pupils dilated, or that his breath quickened.
Releasing his wrist, he picked up his glass and took a rude gulp. Charlie followed suit, and they made small talk about what their mutual friends had been up to for the past near-decade. Charlie assured Harry that no one in his family was upset with him for how he reacted to Ginny going lesbian completely out of the blue and breaking off their long engagement to run off with Gabrielle Delacour. Harry had flinched at the reminder and excused himself to the bathroom after that was brought up.
He threw up in the bathroom, washed out his mouth, and returned as quickly as possible so that Charlie wouldn't think anything was amiss.
He hadn't thought about Ginny's bizarre betrayal for years, and had honestly believed that he'd long ago drowned any sadness he may have had about it in work and Fire-whiskey. Apparently, that was not the case.
Ordering a grand total of five-six-seven drinks over the course of their conversation, he was feeling more than tipsy by the time Charlie pointed out that it was almost four in the morning. He made to stand and nearly toppled over onto his arse. Charlie caught him at the last minute, and they swayed together as they tried to establish some kind of common equilibrium.
The bartender, a different one from before, escorted them to the elevator and wished them a good morning.
Harry had already punched in his floor by the time he realized that Charlie hadn't pushed a second one. He decided that they must be staying on the same floor. The elevator lurched, and he stumbled into Charlie's arms.
Charlie didn't let go until the elevator stopped, chirped, and opened its doors. The lighting in the halls had been dimmed, and Harry had to squint to read the numbers. He found 13 after several pacing up and down the narrow hall, and Charlie murmured,
"Ouch. Unlucky you."
Harry hummed, barely registering the number that normally sent chills down his spine. He unlocked his door and stepped inside. Charlie came in after him, closing the door with a click. He came to stand chest to chest against Harry. Harry blinked his eyes. "What…?" and then his sleepy and very drunk mind pounced upon a still-functioning brain cell and ordered it to make sense of the situation. When it finally did, a slow smile curved his lip. He curled his hand into the collar of Charlie's blue polo shirt, which brought out his eyes so wonderfully, "Why, Charlie, don't you have a room of your own?"
Charlie grinned and slowly shook his head. Harry bit his lip, looked Charlie in the eye, and then kissed him. He tried not to think about what would happen come morning, and instead thought about making this the best kiss of Charlie's life. Then Charlie gripped both sides of his head in a sudden dizzying move and mashed their mouths together in a way that completely destroyed the tentative rhythm Harry had been trying to establish, not that Harry was in any mood to mind.
Clothes were fumbled with as clumsy hands tried to smooth and caress as much flesh as possible, and someone tripped and dragged the other down onto thick expensive carpet.
Harry's last coherent thought was that there was something really delicious about being naked and lying on something soft, no matter the circumstances.
Lips pressed together, hands gripping, hips seeking and meeting. It was glorious, and Harry went straight to sleep as soon as it was over. Charlie was still crushing him, still inside him, his lips sleepily mouthing the side of his neck.
And when they woke up the next morning, Harry was horribly embarrassed for all of the two seconds it took Charlie to kiss him again. He supposed that the number 13 wasn't all that unlucky after all, and neither was Halloween, if he was around both when he first tumbled into the arms of the man he married four years later.
Just me being silly.