Thank you again for all the reviews! This is the last chapter of Flare. Here's hoping for your enjoyment of the story, and that you come along for even more stories in the future.
Chapter Fifteen—Flare and Shine
Malfoy's bed was bigger than it had any right to be, but Harry didn't laugh. After all, his wings had been bigger than they had any right to be, and Malfoy had still thought they were beautiful instead of laughing.
Harry didn't appreciate the wings in the way that he knew Malfoy would have liked him to, but he was, perhaps, growing to appreciate other people's appreciation more.
He squirmed into the center of the bed and lay on his back, watching Malfoy's eyes widen to gratifying proportions and scratching his own itch to lie that way. He pushed his shoulders into the blankets and sighed. If he hadn't felt the first hardening at his groin and the urge to wish Malfoy out of his clothes now, he thought he could have gone to sleep this way.
"You look—natural there."
Harry opened one eye, not realizing until then that he'd had it closed, and looked at Malfoy. He was bending close to Harry, his mouth slightly open. He closed it as Harry watched, only to catch his lip between his teeth and worry it. His swallow was loud and audible in the quiet room.
Harry reached out one hand towards him. Malfoy came to him, taking it and rubbing his fingers over the back in what looked almost like awe, swallowing again when Harry leaned in and kissed him. Harry drove his tongue deep, determined to show Malfoy that they both wanted this equally, and if Malfoy was going to think him some fragile little toy, then he should think again.
It worked. Malfoy's hand curved tight around his hip and down, and hung on. Harry hummed happily as Malfoy's fingers dug into his skin and Malfoy's tongue dug into his gums, and then Malfoy was pulling back, shaking his head, saying in a thicker voice than he'd used the first time they had sex, "Get this off, I want this off now." His hand plucked hard at the shirt Harry wore, as if it was the only thing standing between his cock and Harry.
Harry laughed at him. "Your wish is my command," he said, and pulled out his wand to Vanish it. He followed it with his boots and pants and trousers, and lay back, spreading his legs. Malfoy made a choking noise.
"You're—not shy," he said, starting to shed his own clothes in a way that looked like a snake shedding its skin. A graceful snake, Harry had to admit. It wasn't a bad comparison, although he thought Malfoy might have taken it that way if he said it aloud.
"No," Harry said, and rolled up onto one elbow to look his fill at Malfoy's pale skin and the way it flushed. He thought that was a detail he hadn't properly admired the first time. "I learned how to stop being shy after the war. The first time I slept with someone I didn't consider a lifelong partner was a revelation. I could stop waiting around for marriage and enjoy myself, and life would still go on."
"That's," Malfoy said, and had to pause to think about his words, or perhaps just about the best way to wrestle his boot off. "Not really romantic."
"Not hardly." Harry looked at Malfoy's cock and made sure the git saw him licking his lips. That made Malfoy's hips thrust once, a shallow motion that called forth a smile from Harry again. He reached out and curled his fingers around the tip of the cock, drawing them forwards so that they slipped off the end. Malfoy bowed his head and grunted, turning to deliberately shallow breathing that Harry thought was meant to control his urge to come too soon. Harry smiled innocently at him and continued to stroke, though he turned it to almost intangible finger-taps as he got near the head. "I stopped being that way. You have a pretty good glimpse of the person I am in the way I reacted to the wings. Hasty, proud, quick to think that people are insulting me. Are you sure you want someone like that?"
Malfoy bent down and kissed him again, and Harry returned it hard enough that Malfoy looked dazed when he pulled away. Malfoy licked his lips, letting his tongue linger on the swollen spots along them. Harry was the one who thrust forwards this time, involuntarily. Malfoy's mouth smiled, but his eyes were shadowed. "You're talking about more than just fucking you?"
Harry nodded. "We can fuck casually if you want, and that's something I'd like to do. But if you want something more than that, then we still don't know each other, and you've shown that you can get really impatient with the way I really am. The same with me. This isn't a romance."
"What I told you about wasn't romantic, either," Malfoy said in a low voice, and finally kicked the last of his clothes off. "That I wanted you as some kind of—of image or inspiration."
Harry snorted. "Not even romantic enough to warrant that last word, as I think I told you at the time." He reached out and let his hand hover in front of Malfoy's groin, not touching as he looked up and caught the solemn grey eyes. "So. We're not in love. This isn't the beginning of a lifelong partnership, at least not without a hell of a lot of change or getting used to things. I may call the wings sometimes, but I won't have them all the time, and I'm still going to argue and fight with you. Can you live with that?"
Malfoy's smile was as dazzling as the evening star, and Harry thought, as Malfoy abruptly pressed him back into the bed and bit his neck, that the prat should have just walked up to him in hospital and showed him that. It would have got him what he wanted much faster than any amount of time complimenting the wings. "Yes," Malfoy breathed, and flexed down so that their cocks brushed together.
Harry moaned. That felt bloody good. He reached up, with no time for patience and no time for tact, and tried to pull Malfoy all the way down, so that he was actually lying on top of Harry instead of just hovering there like some damn great bird. I thought I was supposed to be the one with the ability to hover, Harry thought, and snickered.
Malfoy didn't respond to either the laughter or the pull, instead just floating in place with his eyes bright and his breath coming fast. Then he grabbed Harry's hand and brought it to his mouth, licking a quick stripe up the palm.
"Do you want to fuck me this time?" he whispered. "With you on your back and me above you, as you had to be when the wings were there? We could do anything we wanted."
Harry smiled, and he didn't care if Malfoy knew the smile was less for his words and more because he had heard Malfoy, at last, acknowledge that the wings weren't one-hundred-percent perfect and pure and beautiful. "I like to be fucked," he said, and paused to savor the flush that came to Malfoy's cheeks at those words, and the way his eyelids drooped. "I'll be perfectly happy on my back this time—it's not like I've had many chances lately to lie on it—and with my legs over your shoulders, my ankles up around your ears—"
Malfoy bit his palm this time, strong enough to make Harry's hips lift, and then shook his head and reached out to pick up lube from somewhere, his eyes dilated to the point that it was hard to hold them. "Don't say things like that," he whispered. "You make me want to come, and I don't want that to happen until I'm in you."
That made Harry want to come, and he squirmed impatiently around on the bed, trying to help Malfoy slick him up until Malfoy made a horse-like sound and grabbed his hips to hold him still. Harry endured Malfoy putting a few fingers in him, but then kicked the lube out of his hand and spread his legs pointedly.
"Not romantic," Malfoy said again, grabbing Harry's thighs and lifting them. Harry tossed his head back, sighing as he felt the stretch and burn in his muscles, and the strength of Malfoy's shoulders, where his ankles settled themselves.
"I like to be fucked," Harry repeated, because he thought it might make Malfoy move a little faster.
It did, or at least it didn't hurt. Malfoy thrust home, no fucking about, just fucking, and Harry's head hit the pillow once, and he drew blood from his lip biting down on it. Malfoy paused for the flicker of a second, but Harry nodded to him, and Malfoy began to fuck him, drawing away, plunging back in, swearing and crying out, and doing all the other things that Harry enjoyed the most.
It was good to find a partner like this, he thought. Someone who would trust him enough to go ahead with what Harry liked. He'd had a few men in bed who wanted to go so slowly that Harry had at last suspected they were afraid of damaging him, the wizarding world's precious Savior.
Malfoy knew he wasn't that, wasn't like that. Malfoy had seen him pulling bloody feathers out of his body and crying and raging and bouncing around on his knees while he laughed like a madman. Malfoy might not have any idea what he'd let himself in for yet if he planned to become Harry's permanent partner, but at least he wasn't prey to one particular kind of delusion.
He carried on making a good case for himself as he snapped his hips forwards, as he closed his eyes, as he exhaled in pleasure and bit Harry so hard that Harry knew he was trying to share the sensations coursing through his own body. Harry reached up and snagged a hand in his hair. His body shook with the constant surge of Malfoy's pounding, and he could feel the cock inside him in a way that didn't often happen, and he thought he could watch Malfoy's eyelids quivering with the force of his feelings for hours and be happy.
He turned his head to the side, bringing his mouth as near Malfoy's bobbing head as he could, since kissing him was out of the question at the moment. "Draco," he breathed, the word welling out of him in the same involuntary way that tears or blood would come. "Draco."
Malfoy was gone, climaxing with a wail, shooting deep and hard enough that Harry hissed with the pain. But he had a thick pillow behind him, and those ridiculous thick sheets around him—honestly, being on this bed was like being on a thick hump covered with velvet-green moss—and he could bear it.
Malfoy heaved and sobbed, seeming as if he was trying to keep himself from softening inside Harry, without success. Harry whined and shoved himself down, fucking his body steadily for a minute. He was almost there—he thought he could get there with a little more pressure, a little more—
Malfoy reached out and brushed his fingers down Harry's cock, not hard, with just enough pressure, just enough.
Harry was gone in turn, shooting high, falling low, and coming so much and so long that it seemed ridiculous, obscene. He could feel Malfoy's triumphant grin against his ear and turned his head to laugh at him.
"You made me come," he muttered. "You're proud of that?"
Malfoy didn't answer until he'd eased Harry's legs off his shoulders and pulled out of him. Then he leaned over him and studied him so much Harry wondered what unfortunate resonances his innocent little question had. Malfoy's eyelids flickered once before he looked away and sucked on his lower lip.
"You have no idea how proud," Malfoy said. He hesitated. "Will you call me—what you called me a few minutes ago?"
Of course Harry knew what he meant, but he made a little puzzled face as if he didn't before he reached up. Then he saw the nervous flickers along the corners of Malfoy's eyes, and relented. For whatever reason, this mattered a lot to Malfoy, and sometimes—maybe not all the time—Harry could do something just because it mattered to Malfoy.
"Draco," he said.
The kiss Malfoy gave him then seemed to steal all the air in his lungs and replace it with more air, of Malfoy's making.
Harry knocked on the door of Malfoy's flat, waited a few minutes, and then knocked again. He knew the great git was home. He had gone to hospital, and Malfoy's apprentices had informed him that he'd already left for the day. That left home, as far as Harry knew. Of course, he could also have gone to visit his parents or out for dinner or something, Harry acknowledged now, when it would probably have done him more good to think about it a while ago. It wasn't as though Malfoy's life revolved around him, particularly when they still weren't any regular kind of lovers.
Oh, they spent time together. That was inevitable, when they were—whatever they were. People who told each other stories about Potions theory and Auror work, who were connected in some weird way. Malfoy mattered to Harry because he'd helped him, and because he was maybe the one person Harry knew in the world who had stared at him but in a way that made it never intrusive, like the worship of so many people was.
Harry didn't think he'd call what they had a relationship. A friendship, maybe, except that they'd fought the other night about Malfoy's attitude towards Hermione and Harry had ended up storming out. And the day before that, he had made a casual remark about Azkaban that had knocked Malfoy into a high-flown rage about his father. Harry hadn't meant anything with his remark, but tell the Slytherin Who Lived to Find Insinuations in Innocent Comments that.
Harry rubbed his mouth with one hand and grinned a little ruefully. Ron and Hermione had both asked him what in the world he thought he was doing, and he hadn't been able to answer them. He shrugged with one shoulder. Well, if this didn't work out, it didn't work out. But so far, he didn't want to give up on it.
Harry turned around with a little blink. "Think of the devil," he said. Malfoy had arms loaded with groceries from one of the shops in Diagon Alley, at least if the bags and jars really held food and not Potions ingredients. "Do you want me to take some of that?"
Malfoy arched a jaundiced eyebrow and turned to the side so that Harry could reach some of the things in his arms. "As long as you think you can do it without dropping them."
Harry snorted and balanced a jar on the flat of his palm just to show that he could. "Youngest Seeker in a century, remember? I'm a miracle of balance and coordination."
The jar wobbled, but Harry caught it before it could fall, instead of having to dive after it. He raised an eyebrow at Malfoy and nodded. "If I wasn't one," he continued, as though Malfoy had argued with him, "then that would have smashed on the floor."
"Sure," Malfoy said, with enough burn behind his voice that Harry flinched a little, and kept handing the bags to him. Harry noticed that he'd got rid of the vast majority before he opened the door and stepped inside the flat. Harry followed, juggling, and put them down on the floor and counters in the kitchen. Malfoy had a kitchen that looked like a vision out of a fairy tale, especially because he could whisk his wand and send his food careening anywhere he wanted it. Harry wondered if he ever cooked in here.
He took another glance at the handsome cabinets of white wood, the heavy locks on some of the doors, and the high shelves, up against the walls where they wouldn't dump their contents on anyone's head. He nodded. It should work. He shut his eyes and concentrated.
"Potter, if you think—"
Malfoy fell silent. Harry knew why, but he continued concentrating until he was sure it had worked, until the weight and the warmth had come back, before he opened his eyes to see.
Malfoy's eyes were bright and glazed, fixed on the wings that stood up against the walls, feathers brushing just enough that they could brace Harry if he wanted to move. He had learned to control them that much. They weren't going to smash anything around him, because he had told them not to. Harry flapped his wings, a small slap of the air that cleared out a little of the staleness and would have cleared out the dust if such an enormous ponce as Malfoy had any, and then turned around and faced him completely.
"Is this the first time you've summoned them since I gave you the potion?" Malfoy's voice was low. He reached out towards the right wing, then stopped with his hand poised in the air and one eye on Harry.
On my face, not my wings, Harry thought with some satisfaction, and nodded. "It is. There's—there's not much I can say that I haven't already said, except thank you again for the potion." He pointed the wings towards Malfoy, angling them a little so Malfoy could reach them. "And that you can touch them, if you want."
Malfoy's hand was buried in feathers in an instant. Harry tilted his head back and let himself enjoy the uncomplicated pleasure for once, just as he had let himself enjoy the way Malfoy fucked him. This wasn't perfect, this wasn't the complete acceptance Malfoy wanted or the complete vanishing of the wings from his life that Harry would have preferred, but it was theirs, it was compromise. Harry suspected their compromises would just always be more thorny than the majority of those made by other people.
"I—you're not going to keep them out for me," Malfoy said.
Harry shook his head and opened his eyes. He had to say the right thing now, he knew it, but he wasn't as worried as he might have been before about making a mistake. So far, Malfoy was willing to give him chances to keep coming back and trying. Harry appreciated that. And if he could give Malfoy a chance after what he'd said about blood prejudice the other night, then Malfoy could give him some, too.
"No. But sometimes, it might be nice to fly without a broom. Sometimes, it's nice to have you touch them." Malfoy's hand shifted when he heard that, and Harry sighed as the pleasure ran like lines of fire down the veins of the wings, straight towards his groin. "Sometimes, I might bring them out so that you can touch them. Just not all the time, because I don't want to. That's the part I was wrong about. I thought that either what I wanted was all-important or what you wanted was. But what we want is most important, and if we want to grab and snatch at it, we can. And if we want to give each other gifts sometimes, that's all right."
He reached out and took Malfoy's wrist in his hand, touching it with the same ferocity that Malfoy was touching the wing. Because he was not going to be left out of this, left behind. If Malfoy acted possessive of him, then Harry would get the same privilege with Malfoy.
"And sometimes," he murmured, "I might want to go flying with you."
There were long, tense moments when Malfoy didn't seem to breathe at all and Harry thought he might die of oxygen deprivation. Then Malfoy let his breath out with a gasp and shook his head. "What about the wings being ugly and making you look like a freak?" he demanded. "I saw your celebration when you finally put them away. You weren't joking. I think you still think that they're ugly."
Harry shrugged, which made the wing bob under Malfoy's hand, which made Malfoy shiver in interesting ways. Harry would remember that.
"I can change my mind," he said. "Slowly. And I can let you have some of the things you want, always with the reminder that I can take them away again if I want to. You're not forcing me to do anything, Malfoy. Don't think you are. You gave me the choice to put the wings away, though, and I can respect that. Sometimes I might want to go flying with you, and sometimes I might want to say fuck you and never show them to you for a month, and sometimes I might want to say I'll fuck you with them out. That's just the way it is. From day to day, you don't always know what mood you're going to be in, what you're going to feel like doing. It's the same way with me."
Malfoy was silent so long that Harry wondered if he would refuse. Harry was aware of a nervous tick in his throat, of how he didn't want him to. But that was Malfoy's decision to make, so all Harry did was swallow, carefully, and wait.
"Say my name," Malfoy said.
Harry knew what he meant. "Draco," he said, and brought the wings out in a broad, sweeping gesture, hitting the wall a little but not injuring them, so that he could fold the wings around Draco's back.
Draco's breath came out in another stuttering gasp, and he braced himself with hands on Harry's wings. Harry shivered and stamped a foot. The pleasure of having one wing touched was nothing next to the pleasure of having both of them touched at once.
"And you said," Draco said, struggling to get his breath and his voice and his composure back, "that you weren't romantic."
Harry pulled him close, and waited until the moment Draco's eyes were open, looking at him. "I lie," he said softly. "A lot, sometimes. Which can also be romantic, if not the stuff of a grand romance."
Draco kissed him hard enough to bruise, and worked his hands into the feathers of Harry's wings, and Harry pulled them in, pulled him closer, tighter, embraced both himself and Draco, until there was nowhere they could look that didn't shine.
So it might work out.
That's good enough.