Took the Chance to Discover You . magique
Blaise/Neville, Neville/Hannah | Harry Potter | NC-17 | romance, pwp | ~4400 | course language, sex scene, infidelity, mentioned violence of a parental figure on their adult step-child / spoilers up to DH, for JK's post-book interviews & one tiny one from Pottermore
This is the first time it's pre-meditated.

Title is a line of lyrics from Sexual Lifestyle by Strange Talk.
Timeline-wise, this follows If I Had Have Listened by approximately two weeks, I think, and precedes Remedial Denial by, um, 2 and a half months? Something like. There will probably be 2 or 3 more stories in the STA Redux universe. But, uh, there may be more or less depending on, you know, things.
As always, concrit and spelling/grammar nitpicking welcome!

This is the first time it's pre-meditated. On Tuesday, after they'd—afterwards, Neville had said, without thinking about it, without really even meaning to, "I want to see you again," and Blaise had smiled charmingly and said, "I'll figure something out."

So now it's Thursday and Neville is entering a Muggle hotel room. He eyes off the minimalist décor and the enormous starched bed and the floor-to-ceiling windows and says, "I think this feels worse."

Blaise sighs—he's been getting less and less tolerant of Neville mentioning his relationship, even obliquely. "If you relate this in any way to prostitution I'm going to punch you," he says, wandering over to sit on a couch so white Neville isn't sure it's meant to be used. "I wasn't sure you were coming."

"Sorry," Neville says, following to sit gingerly beside him. "Couldn't get away any earlier."

"Any particular reason?"

"The Screechsnaps were making a bit of a fuss," Neville says. "They always get a bit moody when I pay too much attention to the other plants."

"How many sentient beings are you stringing along right now then?" Blaise asks, amused.

"Actually we still don't know the extent of magical plant sentience," Neville corrects him automatically. "There's a bit of contention about it, really, since people are always lobbying the Ministry to have all sorts of laws passed about—er, sorry. I get a bit excited when I talk about all this."

Hannah's never enjoyed Herbology, in practice or theory, and she's always found his tangents a bit dull, so he's expecting the same response from Blaise. He's a little surprised when Blaise says, "No, go on, it's fascinating."

"Oh!" Neville starts. He flounders, not sure where to start now he's stopped, and then catches the thread again; "Well, they want more tests done and cruelty prevention laws passed, which I suppose I might understand if I weren't in the field. But, I mean, you can tell they—the, er, the plants, I mean—you can tell they don't mind you doing it. They like being useful and they like being looked after. Or, well, the Fanged Geraniums don't, but they don't like anything."

"What do they want changed about how plants are handled?"

"Basically, they think that until the time when sentience can be proved or disproved, we should be taking the precaution of allowing magical plants to grow without interference. So Herbologists would lose their jobs if they continued to work with magical plants."

"How badly would laws like that affect the rest of the Wizarding World though?" Blaise asks. "I imagine it would have an impact on the Potions industry too, of course."

"Exactly!" Neville exclaims, pleased. "And that has a knock-on effect on St. Mungo's and its subsidiaries; it would take us years just to catch up to Muggle medicine again, let alone to where we are now. Everyone really does forget how important Herbology is."

Blaise slides a foot across the couch and tucks it under Neville's thigh, looking thoughtful. "Why aren't you doing this for a living? You're clearly passionate about it."

Neville shrugs. "I want to start my own nursery, but I can't really afford it yet. I wouldn't want to borrow the money off Gran—not that she'd trust me with it if I asked—and Gringotts has such high interest rates, it's not worth risking a loan to start with," he says. "I'm saving up though; it should only be a year or so before I have enough."

"I didn't think you were the Auror sort," Blaise comments.


"Well, you obviously hate it." Blaise raises a brow at Neville's bewildered expression. "I didn't read that wrong, did I? You're just not very…Potter."

"No, you—actually, you're right, I just. What do you mean, I'm not like Harry?"

Blaise waves a hand, somewhere between dismissive and illustrative, and explains, "Guys like Potter, they need to always be saving people. You don't strike me like that—oh, don't make that face, it's a compliment. Maybe it's not a very Gryffindor perspective, but we can't all be put on this earth to be constantly heroic." He wiggles the toes under Neville's thigh and adds, smirking, "Not that I don't wish I could've seen you in the final battle. I've heard you were very dashing."

Neville flushes. "I just did what had to be done."

"You actually believe that," Blaise says with a sort of horrified awe in his tone.

"Heaps of people there would've done exactly the same thing," Neville says. "I just—Harry told me to kill the snake, so I killed the snake."

"Yes, I imagine it was exactly that straight forward," Blaise says.

"I just—" Neville always has trouble putting his discomfort about the public reactions to the final battle into words but, for all his snark, Blaise listens to Neville and Blaise gets him, so he tries awkwardly to explain it. "Everyone acts like I did so much, like all the others didn't do just as much or more, but the only difference between me and them was that people saw what I did."

"Sure," Blaise says, "but that doesn't mean that you weren't impressive. You're acting like you're getting credit for something you didn't do."

"Could we talk about something else?"

Blaise looks, briefly, like he wants to object, but he leans his elbows on the armrest behind him and says, "If you'd like, we can skip ahead to the sex part of the evening."

"No, I. I like this. I'd just really rather not talk about the war."

"Fine," Blaise says. "Tell me about your day."

Neville sighs. "It's not very interesting. I did paperwork all morning and spent all afternoon with Redley on an assault."

"Redley? Why is that name familiar?" Blaise wonders, frowning.

"I don't know, I don't think I've mentioned her before. She usually works with Mugwort, but he's got some huge lead he's following up and I suppose Robards doesn't want both of them wasting time on it if it turns out to be nothing."

Blaise sits up a little straighter, his lip curling derisively. "Oh, of course," he says. "Phineas Mugwort, who seemed to think he'd catch Mother if he yelled loudly enough. He did have a little woman trailing after him like a stray crup. What's he working on then?"

Neville supposes he should really protest that comment, since Mugwort and Redley are his colleagues, but Blaise has the dynamic of their partnership about right. Redley's always been a nice enough person alone, but the moment Mugwort's in the room she loses interest in anything else. Neville's wondered since he started if they might be a bit too dysfunctional to be an effective team.

"Even if I knew I couldn't tell you. It's all very hush-hush though. He's been in and out of the office and having secret meetings with Robards for weeks now, but no one knows what he's doing," he says.

Blaise hums thoughtfully.

"What do you do anyway?" Neville asks. "You haven't said."

"That's because it's not at all glamorous yet," Blaise says, rolling his eyes. "I'm almost a lawyer; I'm apprenticing at a family law firm, which at this point mostly involves the dull jobs my superiors don't want to do, coffee runs, and fetching tissues for an array of overly emotional clients."

"How long until you finish that then?"

"It should only be a few months, unless the firm decides to drag it out. They were reluctant to take me on to start with, and I wouldn't be surprised if they baulk at paying me anything but minimum wage." Blaise, seeing Neville's confusion, elaborates: "I was a Slytherin. These days, that's not exactly a desirable trait in new employees. Especially not Slytherins who were at Hogwarts during the war."

"That's awful," Neville says, but Blaise says, unconcerned, "That's life. For a lot of us, it's probably at least partly our own fault. I'm not saying it's reasonable, but it doesn't surprise me that most people associate Slytherins with the Dark Lord."

"Did you know you'd be in Slytherin before the sorting?" Neville asks. He remembers the terrifying first trip on the Hogwarts Express, wondering if he'd get sorted at all, wondering if the Sorting Hat might not just find out that his magic had been a fluke and that his letter had been a mistake.

"Mother was at Beauxbatons so I didn't really have the same attitude about it as everyone else," Blaise says. "When she bothered to look into it, she decided that my being a Ravenclaw would best suit her tastes so, naturally, I begged to be anything but."

"Gran said she was so pleased I wasn't a Squib she didn't care what house I ended up in," Neville says.

"I expect she was pleasantly surprised."

"She thought I was lying at first," Neville tells him. "But then, I couldn't really believe it myself. I must've spent at least five minutes trying to convince the Sorting Hat I couldn't be a Gryffindor." He shrugs and adds, "Actually when Voldemort put the Hat on my head in the battle, it was pretty smug about that."

"It must not get much confirmation of whether it's got someone right or not. After all, you and Potter are the only ones who've had it on more than once in about a century," Blaise says, smirking.

Neville grins. "That's true."

Blaise runs his fingers along the hem of the couch's backrest and gets a look in his eye that Neville is starting to link with bad, bad things. "You know, I was thinking," he comments, "about how you said that other week you haven't experimented much sexually."

Neville blushes hotly. "Why were you thinking about that?"

Blaise laughs. "Why do you think I was thinking about that?" He makes a crude gesture with one hand that only makes Neville's face get warmer, saying, "Oh, don't tell me you don't do that either. I suppose you'll say you don't have any kinks either next."

"Er," Neville starts, but Blaise doesn't need to hear the rest to get it.

"I don't believe you," he says, still smiling. "How can anyone go through puberty without learning a few of their own kinks?" Off Neville's shrug, he insists, "Come on, you didn't have any go-to wank fantasies?"

"I don't remember," Neville says, and Blaise snorts sceptically and says, "You're a terrible liar."

"I don't," Neville maintains.

Blaise frowns and gets up to sit on the coffee table in front of him so they're eye-to-eye. "Neville," he says seriously. "Sex isn't something to be ashamed of and you aren't going to scare me away. I mean, you realise that you coming up with something I haven't done before is a little unlikely, right?"

Neville looks away. "I just—I don't know, there was one that I—"

When it becomes clear, he's not going to say any more, Blaise leans forward, brushing his fingers against Neville's knee through his trousers, and prompts, "Where were you? Just close your eyes and describe it. What room are we in?"

Encouraged, Neville squeezes his eyes shut and pictures it: "It's—the Gryffindor common room. At night. And there's, there's no one around."

"Okay, keep your eyes closed until I say," Blaise says, and then murmurs something under his breath.

"Why? What are you doing?"

"Trust me, okay? Now tell me where we are in the common room?"

"Blaise, really," Neville starts, but Blaise makes a protesting little noise, so he says instead, "By the fire. I'm—I'm sitting in one of the armchairs and you're—"

The light changes behind his eyelids and he can feel Blaise crowding into the space in front of him. Neville can feel breath ghost against his mouth as Blaise says, "Like this? Or maybe…" The couch shifts around him and something is touching along the outsides of his thighs. A hand pushes at his chest until he's leaning against the couch's back—it goes up higher than he expected. "Maybe like this? Neville, open your eyes."

Neville opens his eyes. The first thing he sees is Blaise, kneeling over him, his hand still touching Neville's chest, with firelight flickering red and orange across his features, but behind him—

They're not in the hotel room anymore. A silently crackling fireplace dominates the nearest wall, scarlet tapestries hang from stone walls, there are squashy red and gold armchairs around them, and, when Neville checks over his shoulder, he glimpses tables and chairs, a bulletin board with fuzzy messages pinned to it and two doors that he imagines must hide identical spiral staircases leading up to dormitories.

"I've only been in your common room a few times, so I'm making a lot of stabs in the dark here. It's close enough though?"

"Yeah," Neville breathes. There are lots of little errors—the tapestries are covered with muddled nonsense images, the fireplace is of a different design, colours and shapes and placements are slightly off—but this room, at a glance, could be mistaken for the Gryffindor common room. "This is amazing."

Blaise looks like he can't decide whether to be pleased or indifferent. "It's a fairly basic illusion. I'm not that strong at them, but it should last a while if you don't pay it too much attention."

"No, this is—Blaise, this is incredible," Neville says, awed. He reaches up, his fingers soft on Blaise's cheek, and draws him into a slow open-mouthed kiss.

Blaise settles more heavily on Neville's lap and his hand slides up to squeeze Neville's shoulder. There's a little scrape of teeth as he mutters something inaudibly into Neville's mouth, too intent on continuing the kiss to bother with speaking properly; Neville tries to pull away to ask, but Blaise follows him determinedly and grinds his hips against Neville's hardening cock.

Neville moans, rutting up helplessly, and his feet stretch out across the floor. His fingertips find the bottom of Blaise's ear; they run around the shell of it and then over Blaise's short hair.

Blaise turns into the touch. His whole body curves forward and he presses his face into Neville's neck, sucking gently at the tendon running down his throat. "What—what next?" he manages, his voice hitching when Neville finds a sweet spot on his hairline.

"Hmm?" Neville wonders, leaning forward to find the spot with his mouth.

"In your fantasy," Blaise gasps. "What happens?"

"It was always a girl before," Neville says. He's so high on the easy, open responses Blaise makes to his ministrations, that he barely has room for the shame from before. "So—so she'd ride me."

Blaise groans low in his throat. "Jesus, Neville, you have no idea what you sound like."

They frot aimlessly until Blaise drags himself away. "No. No no no, there is a plan here," he says like he's trying to convince himself. Neville touches the curve of Blaise's waist, his hip, down his thigh. The firelight throws Blaise's cheekbones and the line of his jaw into sharp relief, so Neville touches these too.

"Neville," Blaise admonishes, leaning farther back. "If you want to fuck me properly, you've got to stop doing that."

Blaise looks around—at the armchair beside them, the chipped old end table, the roughened coffee table—and swears. He stands ups and looks again, then bends down to pick up his wand off the floor and uses it to cast a quick Accio.

While he does this, Neville shucks his trousers and pants. His cock tents under the long button-down shirt he'd worn for work, the tip leaving a wet spot in the fabric.

Blaise smiles approvingly, unfastening his own trousers and shaking them off his feet before he settles back over Neville's lap. He touches Neville through the shirt, a gentle tease, and looks up at Neville through his lashes. "I want you to prep me this time," he says.

"I—" Neville says, but he lets Blaise dribble lube over his fingers. They hadn't fucked like this the second time—Blaise had taken their cocks in his hand and they'd rutted against the wall by the top of the stairs in Neville's house—and on Tuesday Blaise had fingered himself open slowly until Neville itched to touch him.

His blunt fingers search out Blaise's arsehole and he works one inside. Blaise takes it easily, but his face has taken on an already familiar expression of concentration to keep himself relaxed. Neville pushes his finger deeper, fucking Blaise with it with short, controlled movements until Blaise shifts and says, "More."

He slips the second finger in, but he's being too careful for Blaise, who tries to grab at Neville's wrist to speed him up. Neville bats his roving hand away, but complies, matching the twitching thrusts of Blaise's hips. He must find Blaise's prostate, because Blaise's head falls to lean on Neville's chest with a moan.

"Fuck, Neville, if you don't—" but Neville's adding a third finger eagerly.

"You ready?" Neville asks, once Blaise's face has started to relax again, and Blaise nods sharply, letting out a frustrated groan when Neville pulls his fingers out.

The next moments are something of a blur—Blaise is rolling a condom onto his cock; murmuring, shifting, touching the tips of his fingers to the corner of Neville's mouth; and finally, finally, sinking onto Neville cock.

Neville moans shallowly and grips tightly to the armrests. Blaise bites his lip and lifts his hips slightly before swallowing Neville to the hilt. "Shit," he groans, and rocks forward, bumping his cock against Neville's stomach.

The tight slick heat of Blaise around him makes Neville feel out of control. "Blaise, I need—I need—" but Blaise licks into Neville's mouth and kisses him silent.

He continues the rocking motion as he kisses first the corner of Neville's mouth, next his chin, his jaw, down his throat; he sucks at the soft spot in the vee of his collarbone, for long enough that Neville has to gather himself enough to protest: "You can't. Blaise. You can't leave a mark."

"It's fine," Blaise mutters, running his tongue up the bone, "I think—I'm pretty sure I remember the spell," but he undoes Neville's shirt, one button at a time, and presses shorter, more chaste kisses as far down as he can reach.

Neville tries to reciprocate, running his hands up Blaise's sides and trying to pull Blaise's own shirt up, but Blaise wriggles away. He takes Neville's arms by the wrists and presses them to the armrests, smirking when Neville protests.

He puts his mouth to Neville's ear, mouthing the lobe, and says, "Just sit there and enjoy yourself."

After that, Blaise's rocking speeds up into short fast thrusts. Neville's hips snap upwards to meet an increasingly unsteady rhythm, until Blaise's hips stutter to a stop, with Neville's balls-deep inside him, and his hole squeezes around him. That final stimulation pushes Neville over the edge, and he comes. He feels the moment Blaise follows—his thighs shaking, Neville's name on his lips, and the wet spurt of come making a mess of their shirts.

Blaise levers himself off Neville's softening cock and leans forward, resting his forehead against Neville's. "Jesus, my legs are going to be sore tomorrow," he says, and Neville realises the illusion has started to lift. The room around them is an odd mix of the hotel and the common room, the wall of windows is starting to regain its transparency, and the lights are brightening again from the almost-darkness of before.

Neville grins. Now that he's allowed, he rubs his hands up Blaise's legs from ankle to hip. "Thank you for doing that," he replies, pressing a quick kiss to Blaise's mouth.

"I wasn't exactly putting myself out," Blaise says, a smile curling only the corners of his lips, "but you're welcome."

He stands slowly, looking a bit ungainly, and looks around the room. "Didn't last as long as I thought it would though," he says of the illusion. He scratches absently at his stomach and his shirt rides up enough that, with the lighting back to normal, Neville can see a blackish-purple bruise near his navel.

"Where'd you get that bruise?" he asks curiously, because it hadn't been there on Tuesday, and Blaise stops short, stiffening minutely.

Blaise tugs the shirt back down and rolls his eyes at Neville. "I don't know, I probably bumped into something."

This excuse would probably make perfect sense if they were talking about Neville, or if Neville was capable of turning off the instinct that says the bruise is shaped like a fist. Neville shakes his head disbelievingly and says, "It's an odd spot to have bumped." He tries a little self-deprecating smile. "I'd know."

"Sure. Now forget about it; it's nothing," Blaise says.

"It looks like you've been punched," Neville blurts. He feels bad for saying it when Blaise is obviously starting to get cross, but he doesn't want to let it go.

"Neville," Blaise says, condescending, "I think that your being an Auror is making you see things that aren't there."

Neville's brow furrows. "Then why are you hiding it?"

"I apologise for not realising I was your personal strip show, Longbottom," Blaise snaps. "Excuse me for not taking my top off, do you want a refund?"

"Why do you do that?" Neville demands. He stands up sharply to meet Blaise eye-to-eye. "Why is it so hard for you to understand that I'm just concerned?"

"Maybe I don't need your concern. I might not be a war hero like you, but I can look after myself."

"I can't just stop being concerned because you want me to!" Neville says. "It doesn't work like that!"

Blaise crosses his arms, glowering, but doesn't respond for long enough that Neville deflates slightly and says, "Blaise, why won't you tell me what happened?"

"Because it's not a big deal! I know what you're like, Neville, you'll take it and turn it into an issue and, honestly, I'd had enough of being constantly pitied when I was a child." Blaise collects his trousers and shimmies into them as he speaks. "But if you must know, I had a minor disagreement with Mother's husband yesterday."

"Minor?" Neville exclaims. "He hit you!"

"Thank you, that's exactly what I was talking about," Blaise says bitterly. "I'll just be leaving then."

"Blaise," Neville says, stepping forward to stop his exit, but Blaise shakes him off, sneering.

"I might not be able to stop you pitying me either, but I'd really rather not be subjected to it," he says, and stalks out.

The door slams so hard behind him that Neville flinches. He covers his face with his hands despairingly and goes to help himself to the mini-bar.

When he gets home, the lights are on and Hannah's curled up by the fire in the living room with a book. "I hope it's okay that I let myself in," she says brightly, "but I did just get back yesterday and I wanted to see you again! I've missed you!"

Neville smooths down his shirt awkwardly and feels shame like a physical weight welling up in his stomach. "No, it's—it's fine. Sorry I wasn't home."

Hannah smiles and dog-ears her book to put it aside. "Come and sit down, I feel like we haven't spoken in yonks."

He goes to sit next to her and she leans over to give him a peck. "You smell like you've been drinking, Neville," she says, frowning. "After-work drinks on a Thursday?"

"Y—yeah," Neville lies. "I, uh. Harry wanted to have a chat, so we went to the pub. Lost track of time, you know."

Hannah laughs, but she's cut off by a yawn. "Oh, sorry, Nev, I think I'm ready for bed. Are you coming up?" she asks. Her eyes are shining and her hair is flickering red and orange in the firelight and Neville has never felt so sick and horrified with himself in his life.

"I will in a bit. I just need to check on the Screechsnaps."

"Okay. I'm still jetlagged so I might have nodded off by the time you're done," Hannah says. She kisses him again, rubs his shoulder, and stands. "G'night, Neville. Love you."

For a while after her footsteps retreat upstairs, he sits very still. He ends up wandering into the kitchen and pouring himself a glass of water from the tap; most of it he drinks, the rest goes into the potted plant on the windowsill, which sighs and shivers delightedly.

Neville stares out the window, reluctant to go upstairs to lie next to Hannah for the first time since he'd started sleeping with Blaise; he can see most of the garden from here—the Fanged Geraniums will need pruning again soon, a lot of the plants' Envirospells have to be redone this weekend—and his tawny owl, Douglas, who'd been a gift from Gran after his first day as an Auror, is hooting softly from his perch in one of the trees.

Neville's thoughts turn inevitably to his argument with Blaise. He glances up at the ceiling, feeling another wrench of guilt, but finds a piece of old parchment and a quill and scribbles out, sorry about this evening. He thinks about it, starts to add, maybe we s, crosses it out and writes, I want to, but ends up crossing that out too and simply scrawling NL underneath it.

He goes out into the yard quietly, with a treat for Douglas and a ribbon to attach the letter. "It's for Blaise Zabini," he whispers as he ties it to Douglas' leg. "You can find him, right?"

Douglas snaps the treat out of his hand and, with a scornful hoot, takes off into the night. Neville almost stays up to wait for a reply but, even if Douglas were reliable enough with Neville's mail that he delivered it without any pit stops on the way, Blaise was furious when he left so Neville probably shouldn't expect a reply at all.

He groans, wishing that didn't make him feel so disappointed, and trudges upstairs to bed.