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Title: Law of Averages
Author/Artist: ???
Prompt: #126 Harry wants to be loved. He begins to enter different creature societies, hoping to meet and be chosen by someone who mates for life. He is surprised both by who pursues him and the fact that he is the submissive in the relationship.
Pairing: It’s a surprise! Highlight to read, if you really must know. Harry/Blaise, Harry/OMC, Harry/OFC
Creature: Veela, Merpeople, Naga, Vampires, Werewolves, Incubi and Succubi
Word Count/Art Medium: 19,243
Rating: NC-17, most definitely
Warnings: (highlight to read) *slash, het, monster cock, light bondage and D/s, rimming, talk of mpreg (though no actual mpreg), dirty talk*
Disclaimer: This creation is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc. No money is being made, no copyright or trademark infringement, or offense is intended. All characters depicted in sexual situations are above the age of consent.
Notes: Thank you to my awesome beta, AK, for tackling your first slash piece for me! It was certainly a hell of a way to introduce yourself to the genre (can we call slash a genre? Oh, whatever). Thank you to the prompter for suggesting this story. I had more fun writing it than I’ve had in a long time, and there may or may not be a sequel in the future with the mpreg you expressed an interest in.
Summary: Harry is fed up with being used and emotionally abused by the long line of lovers he’s chosen in the past. A conversation with Ron makes him think that maybe he should let the lover choose him. He never would have anticipated where this path would lead him.


Harry took a pull of his beer and tried to remind himself that he was better than sulking over a drink. He was Harry Potter, Savior of the Wizarding World. He didn’t need a relationship to make him happy or prove his self-worth. He’d done that already. Except that he very much wanted a relationship. And now he was all alone. Again.

Harry gave a side-long glance to Ron. All right, so he wasn’t completely alone. He had Ron.

They were in a pub in south London, getting very pissed after Harry’s disastrous break-up with his latest girlfriend, Fanny. He’d found her in their bed with her fanny on some other bloke’s tongue. The resulting scene hadn’t been pretty.

“It’s too bad you can’t get a veela to fall for you. They’d never cheat,” Ron said, patting Harry on the back harder than was strictly necessary.

Harry coughed into his glass and turned bemusedly to his friend. “What do you mean?”

“Veela mate for life. Once they find their partner, they never leave them. You never wondered why Fleur stayed with Bill, even after the war?”

“I never really thought about it. I just thought she loved him.”

“Well, she does of course, but he’s also her mate. The pull isn’t as strong for her, I don’t think, since she’s only part, but the two of them getting together wasn’t an accident, that’s for sure. Once they met, that was it, really.”

“Do all veela do this?” Harry asked, sitting up. An idea was forming in his head, but he wasn’t going to get excited about it until he had more information.

“Yeah, I suppose. Why?”

“Just curious,” Harry mumbled, hiding his blush behind his beer. He downed it, nearly choking in his effort to drink it down as quickly as possible.

-

A memo to the Creature department would have got him the information he needed quickly and easily, but Harry learned early on that sending memos about personal information was never a good idea. They always ended up published in Witch Weekly or Diagon Alley Daily or some other celebrity rag that made Rita Skeeter look like a reputable news source. And so, it was several weeks before Harry was able to find a legitimate reason for lurking near the Department of Magical Creatures’ information board, searching for information on veela behavior. The images inside came close to putting him off the idea entirely, but he stubbornly ignored his misgivings and found a pamphlet about a local veela society with contact information and a monthly schedule. He was just venturing a look at other creatures when a pleasant voice nearly shocked him out of his socks.

“Can I help you with anything today, Mr. Potter?”

Harry turned to find an older brunette standing behind him, a warm smile ready for him. He stammered, “Er, no, just waiting for a file from Heavensby. Thanks, though…”

“Evelyn,” she supplied quickly.

“Evelyn, thank you. I’ll just… could you maybe have Heavensby send the file on to my office? I’ve a meeting I just remembered I have to be at right now.”

“Of course, Mr. Potter. I’ll tell Mr. Heavensby immediately. Enjoy your meeting.”

“Er, thanks,” Harry mumbled as he shuffled away and hurried out of the department.

-

Harry approached the meeting hall with trepidation. He had managed to secure an invitation through Fleur, whom he had sworn to secrecy. Fleur had only smiled and patted his cheek and told him she was glad he was finally taking his love life seriously. The venue was incredibly posh, all gold statues and marble floors that made Harry feel terribly under-dressed for not having worn a tuxedo. He began feeling dizzy before he even entered the meeting room, and it only got worse as he stepped through the doors and into a sea of veela men and women. The room was full of beautiful veela, primped and dressed in the most elegant of robes. They glided about the room like a wedge of swans, stunning and untouchable. He felt a terrible urge to announce who he was and what he had done for the Wizarding World, but he managed to suppress the urge with a great deal of willpower.

Harry had made it all the way to the refreshment table before anyone noticed him. There was a soft murmur of voices, and then several veela were standing in a semi-circle around him. “Are you Mr. Harry Potter?” one asked, her voice melodious and light.

Harry managed to nod, having to bite his tongue to not burst out with a boast of his being the youngest Head Auror in Ministry history. A second veela took his arm, smiling at him and flooding him with desire. “We are so pleased that you have come to see us, Mr. Potter. May we call you Harry?”

“Yes, please, call me anything you like,” Harry said, just managing not to stutter. He felt very hot around the collar with so many beautiful women smiling at him.

“What brings you to our meeting tonight, Harry? You have no veela blood that I can sense,” a third woman asked, stepping to his other side and putting a hand on his shoulder.

“I want to find someone to love me unconditionally and someone I can build a life with. I want to be married and have children and grow old with someone.” As soon as the confession was out of his mouth, he was shocked that he had said it. Harry was never this forward about his desires. What if they went to the Prophet?

“That sounds like a lovely idea. Why don’t we sit down over in this corner and get to know each other better? Any one of us would love to be what you are looking for, don’t you agree, ladies?” The first asked, indicating a corner seating arrangement with one delicate hand. There was a tittering of agreement, and they herded him over to a settee and two of the women wedged onto it with him, while three others sat at his feet, looking up at him with looks of admiration.

“Have I told you I was named the youngest Head Auror in Ministry history?” Harry asked, feeling dizzy and a little drunk off their pheromones.

“I thought I read about that in the newspaper. Do you enjoy being an Auror? It’s an admirable career,” veela number three asked, her fingers buried in his hair as she sidled closer to him on the settee.

“I love it. And I make a lot of money doing it, too. I could take care of you. Buy you beautiful things, give you a lovely manor, provide for our children.” He was too far out of it to realize what he was saying, but the veela all smiled encouragingly.

“Would you make love to us every night, like we want?” the second asked, her hands trailing up his thighs over his trousers as she knelt up to get closer to him.

“Of course. I would never leave your bed if you didn’t want me to. You’re all so beautiful. I would slay a dragon just to have you. I killed Voldemort. Did you know that? I spent months on the run, looking for his Horcruxes, I let him kill me, and then when there was nothing left of his soul but what was in his body, I killed him. I would do it again for you, if you wanted.”

“Would you become Minister for Magic for us?” the fourth girl asked—or maybe the first? He couldn’t tell anymore.

“Yes,” Harry said quickly. He felt lips on his throat and turned his head to be kissed by the softest lips he had ever tasted. A delicate tongue slipped between his teeth, sliding against his before drawing him into her mouth. The fingers in his hair clenched, tugging him from the intoxicating kiss and dragging his mouth to that of another. This mouth tasted just as sweet, and he found that he couldn’t distinguish between them. A moment later, he found that he didn’t care.

Moments, or possibly hours, later a male voice broke through the haze of pleasure he’d fallen into and the bodies surrounding him fell away amid many complaints and dark looks. Harry blinked down at himself to find his clothing wrinkled and his shirt un-tucked. He felt as though he was just coming up from a session with hallucinogenic potions and had to shake himself of the airy, disoriented feeling. He looked up to find a beautiful male veela standing in front of him, his mouth moving as though he were talking. Harry eventually decided that he was.

“I apologize for the ladies. They were overly excited about your celebrity status and took advantage of you. May I offer you a refreshment to make up for their misconduct?” the man asked, offering Harry a hand up.

Harry took the hand and allowed the man to help him to stand, quickly working to tuck his shirt back in and straighten his clothing. “Thank you. I’m sorry I let them get carried away. I didn’t realize what I was doing.” Harry frowned at his own words, looking down at himself again to see his shirt unbuttoned nearly to his navel and lipstick marks trailing down his chest. He buttoned the shirt up, blushing. It was an effort to look the other man in the eye afterward.

“My name is Armand. Would you like something to eat? I saw you heading that way when the ladies intercepted you. Come this way and we will make you a plate.” He put a hand to the small of Harry’s back without giving Harry time to agree and ushered him over to the refreshment table.

Harry walked with him, still feeling light-headed and a little bit nauseous. Had he said the things he remembered saying? Could he prevent himself from saying more? He felt compelled to speak to the man, tell him who he was and what he did for a living, but thankfully the compulsion wasn’t as strong. “Armand, thank you for helping me. I don’t think I should stay, though.”

“Nonsense. I do not want you to leave with such an unpleasant impression of us. And besides, I was hoping to get to know you myself.” The smile Armand gave Harry was much more sensual than his previous bright smiles. It made Harry’s insides go funny, and he reluctantly agreed to stay.

He soon found himself at a small table with Armand’s chair snugly pulled up to his side. Armand had his hand on Harry’s thigh and was talking quietly to him. “Might I ask what brought you to the Veela Society? You are not of veela descent.”

“No, I thought maybe one of the veela would want me for a mate. I want to find someone to spend my life with, but it’s hard with my name and my career.” Harry answered, satisfied that he hadn’t said anything that he wouldn’t ordinarily say.

“You are looking for a life partner, then?” Armand asked, his fingers sliding up and down Harry’s thigh. There was a brief moment where Harry thought he might be capable of falling in love with this veela, but then a look flashed over Armand’s eyes as another veela passed their table, and Harry was reminded too much of Malfoy.

“Yes, but I don’t think I’ll find him or her here. I don’t really like how I feel under veela pheromones. I’m sorry. You seem like a very nice man, otherwise.”

Armand frowned, and Harry’s insides fluttered again, regretting having said something to upset the veela. “Are you sure you wouldn’t want to try? Maybe for one night?” The hand slid to Harry’s groin, rubbing over his burgeoning erection.

Harry hesitated, torn. He generally didn’t do one-offs. And yet. The hand squeezing gently at him felt very nice, and it had been far too long since he’d had sex, even longer since he’d been with a man. “Er… maybe for the night wouldn’t hurt anything.”

Armand grinned, leaning in to kiss him. His kiss felt oddly similar to the veela women, soft and seductive. The veela didn’t even have any stubble. It felt odd, but nice, and Harry let himself give in to the pheromones without worrying about what he might do.

-

Harry awoke in a strange bed the next morning, the silk sheets slippery and cold, even with another body there to warm them. He was curled around a slim figure, naked as he was. It took him a minute to remember what he had been doing the night before. He slid a hand up his bed partner’s chest, feeling the thin, flat chest of a man. He vaguely remembered going to bed with this man, having the man above him, lowering himself down slowly and moving in the slow, sensual way he was used to feeling with a woman. It had been disorienting, not only because of the pheromones, but also because it had felt so strange in comparison to his other encounters with men. They were usually rougher, more insistent, a little dirty. The veela had felt nice, but not what he had expected.

“Good morning,” Armand said, pressing back into Harry.

“Hi,” Harry said, feeling awkward. He glanced at the clock on the nightstand and wished that it wasn’t Saturday. If it had been a week day, he could have made an excuse about being late for work and left. As it was, he had no plans. And, if memory served, he had told the veela that as they were tumbling into bed the night before.

“Are you feeling any more amenable to being a veela’s mate?” Armand purred, shifting around to reach Harry and begin kissing his neck.

Harry was saved having to answer by an insistent owl rapping its beak on the window. Both turned, and Harry recognized Hermione’s owl, Mercury, and jumped out of bed to let the owl in. “Sorry, this is my best friend’s owl. She wouldn’t be sending me something this early on a Saturday if it wasn’t important.” That was a lie, but Harry didn’t care. Mercury gave the veela still in bed a reproachful look as he landed on Harry’s arm and held out a talon to deliver his letter.

Harry opened it quickly and was shocked to see what was inside. It was the front page of the Prophet, with a massive picture of Harry on a settee, being set-upon by a flock of veela women. He looked very pleased in the photograph, if a little dazed, and he was giving as good as he got. The headline read: CHOSEN ONE CAUGHT IN VEELA ORGY!

“Fuck me, are you serious?” Harry blurted out, staring at the headline in disbelief. He glanced down the article, only to find a second, smaller picture at the bottom of the page of Armand leading him out of the meeting hall, a significant tent in his trousers clearly visible in the photo. Harry balled the page up in disgust. “Fucking attention-seeking veela. I should have never gone to that meeting. You planned this, didn’t you? I came to you looking for someone who wouldn’t use me for publicity, and what do you lot do? Sell lies to the paper as quick as you can! No wonder no one can love you without being coerced by magic.” Harry threw the balled up paper at Armand and Summoned his clothes.

Armand’s hair stood on end, and he snatched up the paper, giving it a quick look before screeching. “I did not plan this, you conceited prat! How could I have, when I spent all night trying to come on your pathetic, little cock?” Armand’s nose was beginning to elongate as Harry shoved his clothes on, but Harry was too angry to notice the warning signs.

“Oh, like I enjoy that slow shite?! I might as well have gone home with a girl, you poncy git!” A swoosh of sound was all the warning Harry had before a ball of fire flew past his head. He ducked, cursing, and scrambled for his wand.

“You ungrateful shit! Those veela could have convinced you to marry them and you would have done it without question, but I saved you from them, and this is how you repay me? I should eviscerate you!” Armand threw another fireball, aiming better this time, but Harry had found his wand and managed to throw up a shield before the ball of flame hit him square in the chest.

“I’d like to see you try! I wasn’t lying about being Head Auror, you twat. I’d have no difficulty at all arresting you for assault if you don’t stop trying to burn me,” Harry barked as he tugged his shirt down so hard he felt the seam give.

“Then, get out of my flat! I don’t need accusations thrown at me by sub-par one-offs.”

“Gladly!” Harry picked up his shoes, not bothering to put them on in his hurry, and stormed out of the room. It took him a moment to find the door, but he managed to slam through it and Apparate away just as the sound of a third fireball hit his ears.

Hermione was waiting on his sofa. “What on earth have you been doing? Why were there photographs of you at a Veela Society meeting? What sort of business could you possibly have had there? And why did you let those women all over you like that? Didn’t you think that it might get back to the papers? Do you know what sort of gossip this is going to cause, Harry?” she demanded, standing up to express her frustration with wild hand gestures. Harry hadn’t seen her so worked up since they gave Romilda Vane a promotion over her at work.

“Calm down, Hermione. I wasn’t expecting it to get in the papers. They seemed like a really close-knit society. I only went to see if I could meet someone. If I’d known what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have gone.”

“Were you meeting an informant?” her voice was only slightly less annoyed, but it was obvious that she wouldn’t like his answer if it wasn’t an affirmative.

He didn’t look at her as he muttered, “No.”

“Then whom were you looking to meet?”

“I don’t know… Someone nice, I suppose. To go out with.”

This elicited the sigh to end all sighs and Hermione flopped back onto the sofa. “I swear to Merlin… It’s like you look for the stupidest thing you could possibly do…” she muttered to herself, tugging at her already frizzy hair and making it stand out more. She turned to him with an expression that was barely containing its frustration. “Why would you ever think going to a Veela Society event would be a good place to meet someone? You’ve met Fleur.”

“Yeah, Fleur helped me get the invitation, actually. I got the idea from Ron. Well, Ron didn’t know I was doing what I did, but he told me about the veela mating for life.”

“That’s a myth. They don’t really mate for life any more than wizards do.”

“No, they do. I read up on it before I got the nerve up to go. They just… it was a bad idea. I know that now.”

“And did the article get it right that you went home with the man who was pulling you out of the door?”

“Yeah. It wasn’t what I was looking for, though. He was too… girly.”

“Every woman you’ve ever dated has been girly.”

“Yeah, but I like guys who are, you know, guys. I wouldn’t date a masculine woman, either.”

“Well, that isn’t the point. You should never have gone to veela looking for a…” She paused, frowning. “Wait, were you looking for someone to marry?”

Harry scuffed his toe on the hardwood, feeling embarrassed and very, very stupid. “Not necessarily marry, but er… I, um… I’m sort of tired of people using me. I was looking for someone who would want to be with me for myself.”

“And who wouldn’t cheat on you or sell your sex life to the celebrity rags?”

“That, too,” he answered lamely.

Hermione gave him a look. It was not a nice look. “Harry. Look, I know you’re still upset from Cynthia, but really, things will get better. You will meet someone new and forget all about her. You don’t need to go to extreme measures to find someone. You just need to be patient. Otherwise, situations like this happen.” She held up a copy of the Daily Prophet.

Harry winced. “I know. Like I said, I hadn’t expected anything like that to happen. They sort of bombarded me. And they used the allure stuff they’ve got. I could barely think, let alone control my actions. It was horrible, really.”

“I don’t remember veela being particularly aggressive, though, and these women are very clearly out for you. What happened?”

“They recognized me? I think they just wanted to see if they could bag the Chosen One. Like every other female I’ve ever slept with.” He slumped onto the couch next to Hermione, burying his head in his hands.

“And the guy… did he… coerce you?” she asked, her hand touching his shoulder tentatively.

Harry frowned, turning to her in confusion. “Huh?”

“The man you slept with, did he coerce you?”

His eyes grew big in understanding, and he immediately shook his head. “No, no, definitely not. I wanted to go with him. I just didn’t particularly like it, or him afterwards.”

“Thank goodness for that. At least now you know better, don’t you? You need to be patient. I know how much you want to meet the right person and start a family, but you can’t force things like love. You have to let it happen naturally or it will never be right.” She rubbed his back and kissed his temple gently. “Promise me you won’t do anything this stupid again?”

“I didn’t think it was stupid to try, but sure. I’ll be patient. I don’t have to like it, though, do I?”

“No one ever does.” Harry leant his head into her shoulder and she stroked his hair for a long time while they both listened to the sounds of traffic on the street. It calmed Harry down, but it didn’t convince him.

-

The damage caused by the article was more serious than Harry had originally anticipated. He had had to hold a press conference to explain what had happened and deny the allegations that he had partaken in a public veela orgy (or any orgy at all). There had been many outlandish questions about his personal life, none of which he was comfortable answering, and the string of articles debating what had really happened ran for three weeks. Linus Trowlsmith, the new Minister for Magic, had held Harry hostage in his office in strict lecture for three of the most mind-numbingly boring hours of Harry’s life. All of it piled together triggered a headache so severe that Harry had had to take a double dose of Pain Reliever Potion.

When he came home the next afternoon from work, there were five owls waiting patiently along the railing of his balcony. They couldn’t have been fan mail or howlers because those automatically got routed to a storage facility in Bath, but none were owls Harry recognized. He opened the balcony doors and let them in, each dropping a letter on his coffee table before finding a place to perch inside the flat. They all required responses, then.

Harry picked up the top envelope, made of thick expensive parchment and elegantly addressed to him. He quickly opened it, curiosity getting the best of him, and was surprised to find an invitation inside from the Most Regal Order of English Vampires.

To Mister Harry Potter,

We were delighted to read that you have developed an interest in creature societies, Mr. Potter. The Most Regal Order of English Vampires takes great pleasure in welcoming guests and new members. It is our greatest wish that you would join us in our next gathering on the 9 March 2007 at seven o’clock in the evening. The gathering shall be held at the home of our illustrious leader, Sir Eldridge Cuttlebloom, located in Dover.

Sincerely,

The Most Regal Order of English Vampires

Répondez s’il vous plaît.


Harry stared at the invitation for several minutes without really understanding what he was reading. There were other societies? They also met? They wanted to meet him? Would he have to let them drink his blood? That didn’t sound appealing.

He set the invitation down and looked to the next one. Merpeople. He made a face. Did they even have compatible anatomy? They must, otherwise why would they be asking him to come? He set it on top of the vampire invitation and moved on. There was one from the werewolves, the incubi, and the naga. Harry wasn’t even sure what a naga was, but the snake on the letterhead intrigued him. He couldn’t speak Parseltongue anymore, but he’d kept the affinity for snakes.

Fifteen minutes later he was slumped on his sofa, looking at five invitations from five different creature societies, all vying for his time. He had promised Hermione that he wouldn’t go to another meeting, but she would forgive him if he went back on his word in this. Especially if he managed to find a partner out of the ordeal. He supposed he was relatively safe with them all, at least if he made it clear that someone knew where he was going when he went to their meetings. He would have to make them sign a confidentiality agreement so he didn't have to worry about the media. He did not want to go through another 24-hours like the one he had just had.

He still wasn’t entirely comfortable with vampires or werewolves, so he decided to wait on going to their meetings, but he said yes to the merpeople, curious to see what they were like, and the naga, after looking them up in his old copy of Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them—the book told him they were humanoid snake creatures with scales and forked tongues and an ability to speak Parseltongue and unhinge their jaws to swallow food whole. The succubi and incubi he ultimately decided to hold off on as well. A creature that fed off sexual energy didn’t sound like the mate-for-life type.

-

The gathering of the British Society of Merpeople was held at a private lake near Keswik. The invitation had indicated that he should bring swim shorts, unless he preferred to swim in the nude. Harry, of course, did not, and so he wore the shorts under his robe and kept a shrunken towel in his pocket for later. He got the coordinates wrong and ended up in Whitehaven and ended up a little later than he would have liked.

The woman who greeted him was all smiles, though, and she didn’t look anything like the merpeople Harry had encountered at Hogwarts. She was tall with long blue hair that flowed down her back in a curtain, sea-green eyes, and slits down her neck that were obviously gills. She was shirtless, a fact that would have distracted Harry, except that her skin was covered in pale green scales that could have been mistaken for clothing. “Mr. Harry Potter, how lovely of you to join us. We had thought perhaps you might have changed your mind. I am Loathlia, leader of our society. I am very pleased to meet you.”

She shook his hand, her slick scales scraping against his skin oddly. Harry let himself be led by her towards the water as she spoke to him. “Refreshments are available to the right, and of course there is gillyweed available, should you choose to enter the water. I hope you will. There is music above for your enjoyment, but the truly excellent musicians are below, as are the majority of our members, who are all excited to meet you.”

“I had thought to. I’m not the best at it, but I like to swim,” Harry answered.

“Excellent! I will direct you this way, then.” She took him by the arm and brought him over to the refreshment table, where she handed him a cup with a wad of gillyweed soaked in a mixture of gillywater and vodka. The slimy feel of the weed down his throat was made better by the strong alcohol content. While the change overtook him, Loathlia directed him to the water and helped him remove his robes without asking his permission. He would have minded the intrusion if she hadn’t been so beautiful. She waded with him into the water, not showing any signs of shock at the temperature. Harry could barely feel his legs for the frigid water. He was surprised there wasn’t any ice floating near them. She grabbed his hand, pulling him underwater before he was ready. Thankfully, the gills had already fully formed and he was able to breathe without trouble.

He was stunned at his first glance of her underwater. Her supple legs had transformed into an iridescent tail with soft, flowing flippers that floated in the water like silk. The glow from the underwater orbs made her already attractive features hauntingly beautiful. It was difficult for Harry to look away long enough to see where he was going as he followed her down into the depths of the lake. There was a band underwater, music flowing into his ears as easily as the water flowed across his body. The lake was well-lit by underwater orbs, creating a path down to the sandy bottom, where an area had been marked out with glistening stones and cleared of plant life. As Harry looked around the meeting area, he recognized the merpeople he was used to seeing, their greyish skin glowing in the light. They made an odd contrast to the beautiful Loathlia. There were others like her, and yet other breeds of merpeople, both attractive and not. There was only one other human that Harry could see, a plain woman in her forties wearing an ill-fitting bathing costume. She was trying to talk to a beautiful Merman, but was only succeeding in creating a long line of bubbles, floating up to the surface.

Harry decided he would do as little talking as possible. The merpeople obliged him by asking him questions about his interest in music. “I don’t listen to much music, really. I don’t have time for it with work. I like music, though. The band is lovely,” he tried to answer. His words were mostly bubbles with only a decibel or two of sound. The merpeople seemed to understand him anyway.

“That is a shame. We are very fond of music, especially singing. Are you a gifted singer?” Loathlia asked, roping her arms around his waist and smiling up at him hopefully.

Harry snorted and wound up with the uncomfortable sensation that he needed to blow the water from his nose. “I’m rubbish at singing, sorry. I sound like a dying cat.”

“That is unfortunate. Would you like to hear me sing?” she asked, one of her hands sliding down to cup his arse.

Harry pulled away, not expecting such forward behavior, only to back into the naked chest of another mermaid. This one wasn’t as pleasant to look at as Loathlia. “We could sing one of our ancient ballads for you, the Ballad of Riel the Righteous. It is very beautiful.”

“I’d love to hear it,” Harry answered. He tried to smile at the mermaid, but her appearance unnerved him, as did her hand tracing his abdomen.

Merpeople gathered close, grinning at each other in excitement. The band changed to a deep, slow melody that reminded Harry of the old songs Hagrid used to sing when he’d had too much Firewhiskey. The group began to sing a sad song of love lost and battles fought and death and loneliness. It made Harry’s heart heavy.

When they finished, Harry found himself surrounded by merpeople, all clamoring to know what he thought of the song. He struggled for words. “It was, er... nice. You all have beautiful voices.”

There was a chorus of thanks, and more hands caressing his chest than he thought there had been merpeople around him. He blushed and tried to tread backward to create distance, but found himself falling into a female chest instead. They all tittered at him and cooed over his hair and his naked chest and his webbed hands and flippered feet. And they made him dance, an odd series of hip twists and flips that left him dizzy.

Or at least, he had thought that was what was happening at first, until he took his first gulp of water that wasn’t welcome. He gasped, fighting for oxygen, groping at his now smooth neck. He looked at his hands to find the webbing receding and his flippers transforming back into feet. He tried to kick to the surface, but one of the mermaids was holding onto his shoulders and giggling, not realizing what was happening. He fought against her, fighting to get to the surface and air. His lungs were screaming pain, burning with the massive intake of water. Without the flippers, he was slow to swim and the meeting area was much deeper down than he remembered swimming, distracted as he had been. He swam as hard as his legs could propel him, but the harder he swam, the heavier they felt. A few meters from the surface, his limbs stopped all together and a peace came over him as he fell into oblivion.

He awoke choking, coughing up lungfuls of water. There were a dozen worried faces hovering over him, exclaiming over him and apologizing for forgetting to give him more gillyweed. He rolled to the side, coughing as though his lungs would come up at any moment, bile dripping down his chin. He felt terrible, his chest burning from the inside out, and so exhausted. He slumped to the side of his own spit, huffing, sucking in as much oxygen as he could. It took a while to settle his body’s unrest. Meanwhile, the mermaids were checking him over with hands, asking him questions his throat hurt too much to answer, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. He let them coddle him until he could no longer stand it, and then he gently pushed them away.

“Thank you very much,” he rasped, struggling to stand with so many bodies on him, “for your hospitality, but I think I should go. As kind as you all are, I don’t think your society is for me.”

“Oh, but you can’t leave now! Not after having nearly drowned. We don’t want you to leave us with such a poor impression of us.” Loathlia exclaimed, trying to take his hand to hold him back.

Harry grabbed his robe, stepping back from her. “Thank you, but I really must be going.” He Apparated away with an apologetic smile. He collapsed onto his sofa, careless of the wet patch he was leaving, and dropped his head to the back of the sofa. Maybe Hermione was right.

-

After the mess with the merpeople, Harry was a bit wary of what the naga would be like, but he still wanted to find the One, so he went to the meeting anyway. The picture in his magical creatures book hadn’t been clear, or it was simply inaccurate, because the creatures had looked much more human than the three naga who greeted him did. In fact, they were all bald and without noses, and their forked tongues flicked out at him as they said hello in Parseltongue.

Harry forced a smile. “Hello, nice to meet you. Could you speak English, please? I can no longer speak Parseltongue except for a few words.”

“Oh, that is too terrible. Parseltongue is such a distinguished language. Did you simply forget it? We could give you all the practice you need,” the female-looking one in the middle asked, her brows furrowing in what must have been concern. Harry tried to focus on her face, but her pale skin made her look too much like Voldemort, and it unnerved him.

“It was a trait I got from Voldemort when I was a baby. It died with him. It was the only bit of that situation that I liked.” That was a lie. He didn’t like anything about Voldemort or their connections, but he wanted these people to like him.

“Well, it shouldn’t cause too much difficulty. Everyone here speaks English.”

“Except Eduardo. He’s from Colombia. I don’t supposed you know any Spanish?” the man on the right asked, his obsidian scales making it easier for Harry to look at him without seeing Voldemort.

“Not as such, no.”

“Well, we shall interpret if the need should arise. Care for a drink?”

“Yes, please!” Harry answered with probably more enthusiasm than was proper.

He was soon ensconced on a sofa with a naga on either side of him, and two more bookending a witch and wizard on a longer sofa opposite. Normally, the lack of personal space might have bothered him, but he was one drink down and had another in hand, and cared little about the snake-creatures’ close proximity. One of the humans was asking questions, and Harry was paying close attention to the answers.

“Do you have monogamous relationships?”

“Not particularly, no. We have a season for mating where we choose a select few humans, preferably wizards and witches, to mate with. We will stay with them until the birth, but that is the group as a whole, not individuals,” answered the naga next to the witch.

“What do you mean, the group as a whole?”

“Our group chooses a selection of humans. We mate with them during our season, take care of them until they give birth to our young, and then we care for the young. The humans may choose to join us for multiple seasons, but few ever do. The pregnancy can be taxing on the body.”

“Again, when you say the group, do you mean these humans have sex with multiple members of the group during the season, or just one member for each human?”

“Multiple. We go into a mating frenzy at the height of the season. It is quite thrilling.” The man speaking’s tongue flicked out and licked the witch’s cheek, making her shiver in pleasure.

“You take wizards, too? How does that work?” Harry found himself asking. He already knew this wasn’t what he was looking for, but he was still curious.

“Naga are incredibly fertile. Even individuals who are otherwise unable to conceive are capable of becoming pregnant with us. Are you considering joining our season, Mr. Potter? I can tell you now that we would be delighted to have your strong genes in our line.” The lascivious look the naga gave him was more unsettling than arousing.

Harry shifted in his seat. “I don’t think so, but thank you for the compliment. I’m looking for a single partner. I am curious, though. Is the er... carrier parent involved in raising the, er... young? The way you phrased it made it sound like they weren’t.”

“They may visit if they so choose, but it is not encouraged. Our young are born in snake form and do not develop human characteristics until they reach their majority at seventeen.”

“Is that why there weren’t any naga at Hogwarts?”

“Yes. They learn our magic in the nest.”

“Interesting to know. Thank you.” Harry smiled at the naga and took another drink, turning his attention to the witch, who had continued with more questions. Harry had a feeling that she very much wanted to be a part of a season. He himself couldn’t understand it. If he was even open to pregnancy—let alone group sex—he wouldn’t want to give up any of his children, snake-formed or not. He listened and conversed politely for another hour before finding an excuse and slipping out, disappointed that he had once more not found a partner.

-

Another week of sleeping in a cold bed and Harry was reconsidering the vampires and werewolves. He re-read their invitations, looked up descriptions of mating rituals for both. Werewolves definitely had mates, vampires the books were less certain about. Nothing more had reached the papers about his attempts to find love, luckily. He decided to risk both and sent them each an acceptance owl.

He found himself at the front door of an elegant Manor outside of London three weeks later. “Welcome to my home, Mr. Potter. It has been so long since our last meeting,” Sanguini greeted him, sliding his cloak off his shoulders for him and handing it to a butler. Harry had not anticipated meeting Slughorn’s friend here and was surprised to see the lanky vampire at the door.

“It’s nice to see you again, sir,” Harry smiled at him. Though the vampire had unnerved him, Luna had liked him and he always thought her an excellent judge of character.

“You have grown up since I last saw you, and well, I must say.” His eyes swept over Harry in an appreciative way. Harry had to fight a blush. It was always awkward for him when people he had seen as adults while he was a child recognized him as an adult himself. Even at twenty-six, he didn’t know how to handle the equal footing, at least not in social situations.

“Thank you. You look nice, as well.”

“As always. Come. I will introduce you to my brethren. They are all interested in meeting you.” He swept a hand towards the room across the entrance-way and escorted Harry there with a hand to his back. Harry noted that there were more humans here than there had been at any of the other meetings combined. The vampires treated them with varying degrees of respect, some talking to them as though they were precious while at least one kept a human leashed at his feet. Sanguini laughed and waved them off when he saw Harry looking at the odd couple. “Do not mind them. Alayna will play her games. I can assure you the human has given his full consent and enjoys the play as much as she does.”

He led Harry toward a group of bored-looking vampires. “These are the members of the inner coven of our clan. Sigurd, Anpu, Lo Chin, Margaret, Lionna, and Matheus. Meet Mr. Harry Potter.”

Harry shook their hands, trying not to blush as the Middle Eastern vampire Sanguini had called Anpu kissed the back of his hand with an inviting look and flash of fang. Harry didn’t know whether to be creeped out or turned on. “It’s nice to meet you all. Thank you for inviting me to your party,” he said, smiling at all of them. With the presence of so many humans, he felt a bit more at ease than he had at the other meetings.

“It is our pleasure to have you,” the man who looked like a Viking named Sigurd said. He had a thick Scandinavian accent and a thicker head of long blond hair, braided down his back. He had a massive build, at least seven feet tall and at least seventeen stone of pure muscle. He eyed Harry as though he wanted to eat him, which very well could have been the case.

Harry smiled nervously and asked Sanguini if he’d seen Slughorn lately.

The night turned out to be far more pleasurable than he anticipated. He was aptly supplied with whiskey and surrounded by vampires at all times, asking him questions and telling him about their long lives. He was surprised to learn that Anpu had been council to Tutankhamen, and that Lionna had modeled for Raphael.

“Did you ever get to meet Michelangelo?” Harry asked her.

“Oh yes, but he was not pleasant. He smelled like a corpse, which for the time period was quite an achievement. Bathing has come such a long way since then. He was never in a happy mood when in the same room with Raffaello, though I understood from others that he could be charismatic when he wanted to be. My Master had wanted to turn him, but he refused. It is quite a sad thing.” Lionna’s smooth forehead crinkled just at the nose and her perfect cupid’s bow lips turned down a tiny bit. Harry thought it was the closest she came to frowning. Thought she was stunningly beautiful, she was not the most expressive creature.

In the pause that followed, Sigurd leant into Harry as though to whisper, although his booming voice was much too loud for that. “It would be my particular pleasure to have you.” His tone said he wasn’t referring to dinner. Harry blushed. “You remind me of my lover, Alric. I have not seen him in 500 years.”

“500 years? What happened to him?” Harry asked, hoping to stall the innuendo. This man was much too big for him.

“He was killed by hunters in the Orient.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Did you love him very much?”

“With all of my soul. It is why I would very much like to have you. Your smell is the same. Your face, the way you smile. The fetching blush. I want to know if your taste is the same, as well. May I taste you?”

“Oh, um... I... er, well...” Harry stumbled, trying to think quickly. He had heard interesting things about vampires bites, and he supposed he could trust the ancient not to drain him. He had told the clan that his friends knew where he was going—that had been a lie, of course, but it would keep him safe. Even though the man’s size worried him, there was no point to his coming here if he wasn’t willing to be fed from. What would it look like if he rejected the first request for blood? “Just a little one, maybe. I don’t want to turn into a sloppy drunk.”

Sigurd smiled, taking Harry’s wrist gently in his large hand and bringing it to his mouth, face-up. Harry watched with trepidation as his fangs elongated before his lips sealed over Harry’s skin. He started with a gentle lick that sent a tiny shiver down Harry’s arm. It felt nice. The fangs puncturing his skin hurt, but only for a moment before a feeling of euphoria overcame him and he melted into the vampire. A strong arm encircled his waist and pulled him close as the Viking began to suck blood from his wound. The contact lasted for only a moment before his tongue was lapping at the wound. Harry could feel the skin knitting back together. When Sigurd let his wrist go, the skin was clear.

“It is not quite the same, but you fit so well in my arms. Did you enjoy the feeding?”

“It was nice,” Harry said, still a little buzzed from the high. He hadn’t expected to like being made to feel as frail as a ragdoll, but he liked the security of the large body against his. He still tried to gently remove himself from Sigurd’s arm and was let go. “Was your lover a vampire?” Harry found himself asking. He hadn’t thought he would be interested in this hulking man, but the feeding had mirrored the stories he had read in incident reports.

“Yes, of course. Would you not want to become a vampire? There is power and strength. You are a warrior. I know you would do well as a vampire.”

Harry took a deep, calming breath to quell the panic at the very idea. “I would want to stay human, actually. I’m not afraid of death, and there are many people I wish to see again. I don’t know if I would be able to see them if I became a vampire.”

“But you do not know if you will see them now. There is no certainty in death.”

“No, I um... I’m certain about death. I plan to keep my heart beating, if it’s all the same.”

“Sigurd is very old and little understands the desire to remain human. You will have to forgive him his persistence. He is not accustomed to being told no,” Margaret chimed in, stepping up to Harry’s other side and flicking her wrist at a waiter to bring Harry over more wine.

“Humans are fragile. They break,” Sigurd insisted

“Yes, of course they do under you, Viking. I have never broken a human.” She flashed Harry a smirk and raised her glass of bloodwine to him. “I can understand your desire to be human. I did not have a choice in my own turning, and it was many decades before I was able to come to terms with it, and eventually be grateful to my sire for the gift she has given me. I myself do not require my lovers to take my blood in order to warm my bed.”

“That’s kind of you,” Harry said, taking a drink to hide his displeasure with her wording. He did not want to be a warm body for a creature to feed from and have sex with. He wanted a partner.

“I can see the idea does not interest you. You are particular in your tastes, I can see.”

“Enjoying being treated as an individual and not a plaything is the sign of an independent mind. For someone as enterprising as Mr. Potter here is, it is an unsurprising, yet admirable trait. Vampires once worshiped humans. Instead, now they are treated as food,” Lionna said. Harry liked her the more he talked to her. Margaret scoffed at her and walked away without a second glance at Harry.

“Humans used to be worshiped by vampires? Is that true?” Harry asked, turning to Lionna.

“Absolutely. There was a clan living in Russia that believed humans were our gods. My Master was a member of this clan for many years.”

“Is your master still alive? You speak a lot of him.”

“Yes, he lives in New York. He likes the bravado of Americans; he says it gives their blood a delicious tang. I think it makes them taste sour.”

“How do the English taste?”

“Dry, like a very old Merlot.”

“It is an acquired taste,” Sigurd said.

“Mmm, it is indeed. I would like to taste yours, Mr. Potter, to see if it is as good as the look Sigurd has been giving you indicates that it is.”

Harry’s eyes flicked to Sigurd. He was still looking at Harry as though he were a tasty treat. Harry took another drink of his glass. “All right, why not? Just, again, not a lot. I’ve had more wine and less food.” He offered his wrist, but she bi-passed him and leant into his neck.

“I prefer the throat, more intimate, don’t you think?” The smell of her perfume overwhelmed him as she bit into his artery and began to drink. Her hair was right under his nose, piled high with curls as it was, and it smelled like lilacs and roses and fresh air. But there was more to her, a tangy, coppery smell of blood. The feeding was as pleasurable as it had been with Sigurd, and it hurt less than his had. She pulled back after a moment, licking his punctured skin until it healed, and a little while afterwards. “Delicious. I would take you home and make love to you,” she whispered in his ear.

“Would you make me your mate?” Harry whispered back, his fingers unconsciously sliding into her curls.

She met his eyes with fathomless black depths and smiled. “I might. A companion could live for many lifetimes without having to be turned. Would you want that?”

Harry hadn’t known that; he had just read that vampires chose their own mates. The books had been vague about the logistics. “I would have to think about it. How many lifetimes are we talking about and are they wizard lifetimes or Muggle?”

“I knew a vampire once whose companion was 256 when I met him. He died three years ago at 375. I have heard of other companions living longer. Of course, you can choose to leave my company in the future, if you so desire. If you are past the natural age of your life, you will die. I know several companions who have chosen this path.”

“Would I age?”

“No, not at first. You might grow more distinguished as the centuries pass, but you would not become an old man.”

“If it is a mate you would like, I would take you this way, as well. A companion is less fragile,” Sigurd interrupted. The eagerness on his face made Harry feel funny things in his stomach, knowing that this man didn’t want him because of his name or position. As lovely as Lionna was, he couldn’t be assured of the same from her. Of course, he also knew that Sigurd wanted him for his resemblance to the Viking’s former lover, and still not for himself.

“Thank you, but I think I will go with Lionna. It was nice to meet you, and I did enjoy the feeding.” He squeezed the man’s shoulder in apology, or at least tried to, but the muscles were too thick.

Before he knew what was happening, he was being swept up in massive arms and kissed to within an inch of his life. It was not unpleasant to say the least. He kissed back, having nothing else to do, clinging to neck muscles thicker than his thighs. Finally the Viking pulled away, giving Harry an earnest look. “You will contact me if you decide you do not like Lionna’s bed. I will have you whichever way you like.”

“I... yeah, I’ll owl if it doesn’t work out. Thanks,” Harry said awkwardly. He was set back on his feet, a little dazed from the kiss.

Lionna took his hand, leading him away from Sigurd and towards the front door. When she turned to him on the front step and pulled him in her arms, he was expecting Apparition. “Hold onto my waist, and I will give you a treat.” Harry did as instructed and immediately found himself shooting up into the air. He clung to Lionna, shocked to find the ground several meters below their feet. He grinned at Lionna and couldn’t help but kiss her. A tiny moan escaped her mouth as she sucked his tongue in and dragged a fang along it, drinking up the drops that fell. The saliva healed the wound quickly as her tongue stroked his. He kept his eyes open as they kissed, watching the earth pass below them. It was thrilling, holding a woman in his arms while the world passed underneath him. He and Ginny had made-out once on broomsticks, but that had been nerve-wrecking and horrible. This was brilliant!

It was over too soon, and they were standing on Lionna’s front steps. Lionna kissed him one last time, her eyes dancing as she looked at him. “Did you like the flying?”

“I loved it! I’ve always wanted to try flying without a broom, but I can never get the concentration down.”

“Well, with me you will not have to. Come, let us to bed. I am very interested to see what you have under all these clothes.” She took him into the house and upstairs to a bedroom done in white lace and rich golds and pinks. She took her time undressing him, peeling away each layer slowly, provocatively.

Once naked, she pushed him into a chair and climbed into his lap, taking his mouth in another kiss. He caressed her hips, surprised at how thin she was underneath all the petticoats she had been wearing. He trailed fingers down her belly to her sex, rubbing his forefinger over her clit. She moaned into his mouth, rocking her hips over his hand, reaching down for him. He was already nearly hard by the time she had him in hand, and a few strokes was all he needed to be ready. She shifted her hips to align herself and slid down onto him. She wasn’t as warm or slick as he was used to, but the tight clench of her was perfect. They began a slow rocking, gradually building to orgasm.

She buried her fingers in his hair and pushed his head to the side so that she could sink her teeth into his neck. There she drank deeply as she continued to rock over him, thrusting down harder as the blood flowed from his neck. He clenched her sides, unable to stop himself from coming with such a bombardment of pleasure. She continued to move over him even as the last tremors of orgasm left him, and he focused on her pleasure, rubbing her clit, squeezing a nipple between his fingers. Her breast fit perfectly in his hand, soft and supple. At last she closed the bite and dropped her head back, shaking and crying out in orgasm.

As she collapsed on his chest, he petted her hair, holding her close to him. He picked her up easily in his arms and brought her to bed, settling her down and lying next to her. He wanted more from her, more kisses, more caressing, more pleasure, but he was too tired and starting to feel weak from blood loss. He kissed her one last time and fell asleep.

The bed was cold when he awoke. A note lay on the pillow next to him. Thank you for the gift of your blood. I do not find that I desire a companion at this time. There is breakfast available for you. I wish you luck in your search. - Lionna Sigurd’s contact information was listed at the bottom of the note, but Harry already knew he wouldn’t use it. He slumped against the pillows in defeat. This one he had really liked. And the flying had been amazing.

-

Harry stood at the edge of the forest, hoping against hope that these werewolves were more like Remus and less like Greyback. The last thing he needed was a group of feral werewolves looking to mate with him and possibly turn him. He wasn’t really in love with the idea of werewolves at all, but the alternative was incubi and succubi, and they gave him even less confidence in finding a partner. He took a deep breath. Let it out. Took another.

A yelp from the distance made him jump. He walked forward, using a Point Me spell to find the direction he should be going. The spell made a Lumos impossible, so he had to walk in the dark. He had done this before on countless missions, and he wasn’t frightened. At least, not until he heard the howls. Fuck, the last thing I need is to be turned into a fucking werewolf. Hermione will kill me, he thought as he hurried closer to follow the Point Me spell more quickly. Finally, he found himself at the edge of a clearing lit by nothing but moonlight.

The moon wasn’t full, but it might as well have been for the behavior of the creatures in front of him. There were groups of weres rolling around in the dirt, growling and wrestling each other. A pair on the outskirts were rutting together like dogs. A group of children were eating near where he stood, ripping nearly raw beef from the bone. Harry’s stomach turned at the sight.

He canceled the Point Me spell, but didn’t Apparate away. He had to be sure that nothing illegal was going on or he would be responsible if there was an incident report later. A few more minutes of observation and he determined that though the behavior was disgusting, to say the least, it was not illegal. Well, the sex act was, but he was going to look the other way on that. If he was planning on arresting any of this lot, he’d need a team to do it.

-

This was his last resort. If he didn’t find anyone here (and he wasn’t very enthusiastic that he would, given the nature of these creatures), he was giving up on relationships for the time being. He was tired of the constant disappointment and the emotional roller coaster that had become his life.

The gathering was being held at an incubus’ manor house in Devon. Harry was greeted by a house-elf and led through the enormous home, down a flight of stairs to a long corridor with very little decoration. Harry began to worry that he was being led to his death when music reached his ears, a sensual beat that seeped into his skin. It grew louder as they drew closer to the door, as the temperature rose from dank chill to tropical humidity. The house-elf opened the door, flooding the corridor with golden candlelight and more of the bass-heavy music that was already invading his senses. Harry nodded at the elf and entered.

He had barely had time to look around the room before a man was standing in front of him, invading his personal space and pressuring him backwards into the wall. The man was taller than him, dark-skinned and fit. Harry could tell because the man was shirtless, his skin glistening in the dim lighting. Harry’s eyes trailed up to the man’s face, chiseled and gorgeous, with deep brown eyes that flashed red as they made contact with Harry’s. Harry momentarily lost his breath, and himself, staring into them. He was so overwhelmed by the man that he didn’t recognize him at first.

“Potter, how lovely to see you again. You’re looking very well,” the man greeted him in a deep, rich voice that sent shivers down Harry’s spine.

“Zabini?” Harry managed, finding it difficult to get his brain working again.

“Indeed. It’s been far too long. I hope the rumors are true and you’ve come looking for a mate.”

Harry’s face grew hot, and he had to look away to calm himself, but it was nearly impossible with Zabini standing so close. The man smelled of honey and exotic spices and sex, and it turned Harry on more than he was comfortable with. “What rumors?”

“There are rumors all around the creature societies about your society-hopping. We were beginning to feel slighted by your not visiting us. Obviously, you were saving the best for last. And I am so pleased that you have finally decided to see us.”

“I... why? You’ve never really been a fan of mine...” Harry finally managed to ask as the fuzz in his brain began to settle. No matter how distracted he was by Zabini’s seduction, it was still true that he didn’t like Zabini. He just had to remind himself why.

Zabini lifted one hand off the wall where it had rested next to Harry’s ear and stroked his cheek with his knuckles. His eyes flashed red again before briefly closing as he touched Harry’s skin. “Situations change when there is no longer the stress of a war to deal with and one’s birthright has finally asserted itself.”

“And I’m supposed to forgive you for what you did then?”

“No, I do not expect your forgiveness, nor do I require it at the moment.”

“Right, thanks, but no thanks.” Harry gathered his willpower around him like a cloak of protection and managed to slip out from under Zabini’s arm, intending to introduce himself to the other incubi and succubi. He only managed three feet before Zabini’s hand grabbed his wrist and stopped him.

“I’m not finished with you yet, Potter. Come back here and play with me.” He pulled Harry closer again, but Harry resisted.

“You’re a biggot and a manipulator. I’m trying to find someone to be with who is the exact opposite of you. Leave me alone.” Harry glared at him and snatched his arm away. Zabini surprisingly acquiesced, holding his hands in front of him in surrender. Harry turned from him and got a better look around. The room was dimly lit and much warmer than Harry remembered any dungeon he’d ever been in being. Richly colored silk hung from the walls and draped from the ceiling, hiding the stone and creating an Arabian atmosphere. There were large square inlays in the floor covered in pillows and, at the moment, people. Loads of scantily clad people doing loads of very interesting—and very sexual—things with each other. The indignation he had built against Zabini melted in the face of the heat creeping down his belly at the sight of couples and threesomes and foursomes kissing and touching and writhing together.

A glass of dark red wine appeared from behind him as a hard body pressed against his back and lips pressed to his ear. “I’m only manipulating you in that I am aware of exactly how attractive I am, and I enjoy using my sex appeal to get what I want. I am a bigot no longer. Finding out that one is only half-human has a tendency to wipe away all former prejudices.” Zabini’s voice in his ear did terribly wonderful things to his nether regions. He fought the sensations, determined not to be swayed.

“Words. Just words. And I’m not drinking anything you give me. I’ve avoided much more cunning moves than that, thank you.”

“Yes, I know. That is why it is simply wine. Elf-made 1764 vintage. It rolls across the tongue in the most delicious way, just the way I imagine your come will feel against my tongue. Drink it. It will relax you.” Zabini dragged his tongue up Harry’s nape, eliciting a shiver from him.

Harry nearly melted at the touch, but he managed to stay up-right and mostly clear-headed. He would not give in to Blaise Zabini. He had better standards than that. “No thank you. I’ll get my own drink, when I want one. Leave me alone, Zabini.” He stepped out of the incubus’ space and walked over to a group of people standing near one of the pillow insets, talking, but not doing anything overtly sexual.

“Mr. Potter, what a wonderful surprise. We had been wondering if you would visit...” the succubus greeting him trailed off, something behind him catching her attention and quieting her. He felt a presence at his back again—Zabini, he thought grudgingly. The man did not take rejection well.

“Thank you for making our guest welcome, Innana,” Zabini said, his voice dark and a little threatening. Harry glanced back at him with annoyance only to be shocked by the violence in his expression as he looked at the succubus. His expression softened as he turned his eyes on Harry, the threat turning to warmth and pleasure. “You forgot your wine. You won’t find such a lovely vintage among the refreshments, I can assure you. Why don’t you come and sit with me. We can discuss precisely what it is you think I did during the war that could warrant a need for forgiveness?”

Harry scoffed at his words, his frustration with Zabini turning to annoyance. “You’re not going to let me talk to anyone else, are you? Can’t you just take no for an answer and leave me be?”

“Normally I am repulsed by rejection, but not in this case. You came here to find a mate; you have found one. You won’t find another.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I have already claimed you as mine. Isn’t that right, Innana?” His eyes flashed danger to the woman who had greeted Harry. The succubus looked at the floor, stepping back a pace, as did the others in her circle. The move proved to frustrate Harry more. His last chance to find someone to take him as a mate was being snatched out from under him.

Zabini’s eyes turned back to his face, warm once more as though he didn’t notice Harry’s displeasure with him. “There, you see? At this point you have nothing to lose by acquiescing to me and everything to gain. Come with me and we will get acquainted, and I can show you that I am in fact precisely what you need.” Blaise’s arm went around Harry’s waist, his hand slithering underneath Harry’s shirt to caress his skin with hot fingers. The touch sent tingles up Harry’s spine.

Harry stood his ground, glaring. Blaise raised a brow. “I won’t ask again. Come this way with me now.” He pulled Harry away despite Harry’s protests, taking him to a more secluded collection of pillows and sitting him down. “You are going to be quite amusing to train, I can tell already.”

“I’m not a pet, and I’m not interested in being with you,” Harry insisted as he tried to squirm out from under Zabini’s arm. Zabini acted as though his efforts were that of a small child and below his notice.

“But you are, I can smell it in your scent, taste it on your skin. The desire is mutual, I can assure you. I recognized you as mine before you even walked through the door.” He brushed a fingertip down the bridge of Harry’s nose, licking his lips in a disturbingly provocative manner.

“Really, and how’s that?” Harry asked, managing to sound unconvinced despite his pounding heart.

“I could hear your heartbeat, just as I hear it now, so quick to speed at my touch.” His fingers trailed down Harry’s jawline to caress his collar bone, and as though to prove Zabini right, Harry’s blood pressure rose again.

Harry was beginning to have difficulty thinking again, but he still managed a bit of incredulity. “I’m supposed to believe you could hear my heart beating from a distance, with this music playing, and through a solid two inches of wood? I don’t think so. You aren’t a vampire.”

“You are correct. I am something better. Incubi hearing is not particularly well-developed as a vampire’s, except in the case of one’s mate. It is one way that we are alerted to our mate’s presence, as well as how we determine our mate’s well-being and general mood.”

“You can tell my mood, and yet you still won’t let me go?”

Blaise moved in so that Harry could look directly in his eyes, dark red and burning with an intensity Harry very rarely saw, and had only ever seen directed at him in hatred. This was a passion full of hunger and desire and lust so overwhelming that it took Harry’s breath away. “I will never let you go.”

Harry didn’t know what to say. If it had been any other person—well, any other non-Voldemort-supporting person—looking at him that way and saying these things, he would already be suggesting they find a bed for the night. But it was Zabini, who had spouted horrible things about his closet friends, thought Muggle-borns and half-bloods were beneath him—thought everyone was beneath him— and who had fought for Voldemort during the war. He couldn’t be with someone like that.

Zabini settled back against the pillows, his expression turning contemplative. “How much do you actually know about me, Potter? The last time I saw you, we were both still in school robes. I cannot recall a single conversation we have ever had.”

“I know you supported Voldemort. You think Muggles, Muggle-borns, and half-bloods are disgusting vermin. You fought against me in the war.”

“I did no such thing, and while I might have previously expressed those beliefs, I no longer believe them to be true. As I said before, discovering that one is mostly a magical creature has a tendency to change one’s perspective.”

“I heard you talking to Malfoy about Voldemort.”

“I said many things to Draco to appease his fanatical opinions. As a teenager, Draco was very difficult to dissuade and a veritable nuisance if you disagreed with him. I’m sure you understand that quite well. I’ll remind you that while you could simply hex him and walk away, I had to share living quarters with him. However, what I might have said to Draco aside, I did not fight against you or the Order during the war. I did my best to stay neutral. If I had fought against you, wouldn’t I have spent time in prison? Or, at the very least, been brought up on charges of treason.”

“And that’s supposed to endear you to me? Voldemort managed to destroy our society with only a year in power. What would the Wizarding World, or Britain as a whole, have looked like if he had won?”

“Doubtless, it would have been unpleasant, but I had plans to move to the Continent if events turned against my liking. My mother had already gone there, and I was intending to join her as soon as my education was completed.”

“And what about me? If Voldemort had succeeded, your supposed mate would be dead.”

“If the rumors are true, you were.”

“How do you...?” Harry shut his mouth abruptly. He had all but confirmed that whatever rumors Zabini had heard were in fact true. He had never made this knowledge public before, and he wasn’t looking to now.

“I know many more secrets than yours, fear not. I only reveal what is advantageous for me to reveal, and now that I know what you are to me, I will never reveal anything about you. As for the Dark Lord desiring your death, at the time I did not even know what I was; I certainly knew nothing of our connection. I had nothing to lose on either side of the conflict. My mother was safely abroad, and I had no other living soul to care about. I had played my neutrality well and could be assured that my life would not be forfeit regardless of the war’s outcome. There was no reason for me to fight and every reason to abstain.”

“What a terrible way to go through life. How could you ever think I would want to be with someone so cold and unfeeling?”

“I can assure you that I am neither cold nor unfeeling. I can be quite hot, indeed,” Zabini purred, dipping his face to lick a line down Harry’s throat. His skin was indeed warm to the touch.

Harry managed to hold back the moan in his throat and persisted in speaking. “You might be full of lust, but that doesn’t make you a good person. How could you sit back and watch your friends and classmates die?”

Zabini sat back once more and studied Harry as though trying to understand him. “What other people choose to do with their lives is their own business. I am more interested in self-preservation than in anything else.”

“That’s very selfish.”

“It is. I will not apologize for wanting to save my own life above any other.” Zabini’s lip quirked upwards. “Although there is one other I would cherish above myself.” He toyed with the collar of Harry’s shirt, unbuttoning the top-most button with a flick of his nimble fingers.

“I’m supposed to believe that?”

“Perhaps it will take a bit of convincing, but yes. Is this not what you have been looking for by visiting the various creature societies?”

“Not exactly. I want a partner, an equal, not someone who treats me like a pet. I’m a successful adult, the highest-ranking officer in the MLE. I deserve to be treated with respect.”

“I do respect you and your position. But I do not believe that you are looking for an equal. You are looking for someone to take care of you, to take care of your needs the way you take care of everyone else’s. I will do that for you, and much more, but making sure that your needs are met does not require me to be selfless on the part of society. It only requires me to be selfless for you, and as fulfilling your needs also fulfills mine, I see no hindrance in my doing so.”

“I don’t need to be taken care of or coddled like a child. I can take care of myself.”

“I can see that it will require effort to convince you. Would you be willing to give me one night to prove myself to you? One night where you allow me free rein to do as I please with you? I promise to only give you pleasure and fulfillment.”

“Of course, because a Slytherin always stands by his word.”

“Would it appease you if I were to make an Unbreakable Vow promising not to hurt you?”

“How am I supposed to trust you if I know the only reason you’re not hurting me is so that you don’t die?”

“I only want your pleasure, love, I can assure you of that.”

Harry thought about the proposition. Would it really hurt him to give Zabini a chance? Zabini was right that Harry didn’t know much about him, and as long as Harry kept his heart on guard, there was no reason not to at least try. Zabini had certainly put a stop to any other prospects for the evening. “I’m not doing anything like that.” Harry pointed to one of the several couples and three- and foursomes in various states of sexual activity.

“I wouldn’t share you unless you asked, and probably not even then. As you have already said, I am quite selfish.”

“I was also talking about the exhibitionist aspect. I’ve been in the news rags enough for one year.”

“Even if anyone here was interested in talking to the gossip magazines, the wizards sign a confidentiality agreement before entering the meeting site. We only did not have you sign one because you had one of your own.”

“And the incubi and succubi?”

“We do not reveal the secrets of our members or their lovers.”

“Good.” Harry relaxed a little and looked at the wine Zabini had set behind them. There were two glasses, both dark red and inviting.

Zabini took the glass closest to Harry and drank from it, making a satisfied sound as the wine touched his lips. “Delicious, and poison-free.” He smiled at Harry and held the glass out to him.

Harry finally accepted it and sniffed it, surprised by the sweet scent. Usually people assumed he liked the drier wines. He took a hesitant sip and couldn’t help the exclamation of pleasure that burst from his mouth. “That’s the best wine I’ve ever tasted.”

“I thought you might like it.” Zabini’s fingers trailed up his neck and into his hair, combing through it as he leaned in closer and began to kiss Harry’s neck.

Harry swallowed a large gulp of wine to quell his nerves. “Tell me more about incubi. When you say I’m your mate, what does that mean, exactly?”

Zabini answered without stopping his kisses. “An incubus and mate relationship is a complicated one. Incubi are instinctually polyamorous. We are attracted to any and all arousal and sexual activity for sustenance, but there is one, or occasionally two, who are a particularly fine vintage, much like your wine. This person is particularly well-suited to the incubus in question, and is the only other being with which the incubus could produce full-blooded incubus young.”

“In this scenario, am I having the babies? Because I’m not really comfortable with that,” Harry interrupted. After the discussion with the naga, he’d decided that he didn’t want to give birth to his own children if another alternative could be found. It was highly dangerous for men, and also disturbing to think about.

Zabini lifted his head to look Harry in the eyes. “Not necessarily, no. It’s an... unusual process. I could explain it to you, but you might not want to touch me afterwards, and I very much want to continue to touch you.” To emphasize his point, he maneuvered Harry into his lap, his hands roaming under the back of Harry’s shirt. Harry could feel the incubus’ erection under his thigh, long and thick under the folds of his silk trousers. Harry’s brain momentarily shut down as he imagined wrapping his lips around it and trying not to choke on it as Zabini fucked his mouth. He took another drink of wine to calm his arousal at the thought.

“I guess it isn’t important right now.”

“No, it isn’t. As I was saying, an incubus’ mate is the only creature he can produce a full-blooded incubus with, making this individual extremely important to the incubus. The natural instinct to be polyamorous is suppressed, and it becomes the incubus’ job to acquire, possess, and care for his mate.”

“Possess?”

“Fuck. As often and in as many ways as we can.”

Harry blushed. He wasn’t entirely sure why—he had no problem talking about having sex—but perhaps it was the fingers that had snaked inside his trousers and were currently caressing the crack of his arse. “Is your mum a sucubus?” he asked, gulping more of the wine.

“How else do you think she convinced so many men to marry her?”

“Does it not work the same for them and their mates as with incubi?” Harry squirmed as the fingers delved deeper into his trousers, squeezing his arse cheek gently.

“It is much the same. Why do you ask?”

“You’re mother had a lot of husbands...”

“Ah, yes, she does bore easily.”

“But I thought you wanted to take care of your mate? Does that mean you have sex with them and then ‘take care of them’ like an organized crime family?”

Zabini chuckled, a low, seductive sound that worked its way into Harry’s mind and found a home. “Mother’s husbands met several unfortunate accidents because they were not her mate. My biological father was killed during the first war with Voldemort, while Mother was still pregnant with me. It is why we have always stayed neutral in the war, despite Mother’s prior allegiance to Voldemort.”

“But I thought you said you wouldn’t have cared either way.”

“I said I could have found a way to survive unharmed either way.”

“Could your mother find another mate or is it a fixed thing?”

“It is possible, though unlikely. It is rare for an incubus or succubus to have multiple mates.”

“What happens if they do?”

“I do not understand the question,” Zabini said, eyebrows furrowing.

“If you were to have two mates, what would happen if you found them both? Would you be able to choose which one you wanted to be with?”

“If I find another who affects me the way you do, then the other person will be integrated into our relationship. I would care for the other the same way I care for you, and I would hope that with time the two of you would become friends and lovers yourselves, but it would not affect my affection for or care of you. As I said, it is very rare, and has only ever happened to couples who require a third in order to sustain their sexual well-being.”

“So, it would only happen for us if that’s what we needed to have happen in order to be happy together?”

“Correct.”

“So the people over there are not mated, then? They’re just having sex to have sex?” Harry turn away from Zabini to point to the threesome and foursome that he saw had merged into an orgy across the room since he’d turned his back to the room when Zabini pulled him into his lap, all parties naked by now and engaged in vigorous sexual activity. The sight and sound of them both aroused and repulsed Harry. He turned back to Zabini

“No, they are here merely for entertainment and to allow the incubus and succubi to feed. They are frequent visitors.”

“Have you ever... fed from them?” Harry was hesitant to describe the exchange of energy. Referring to sex as food just didn’t sound right to him.

“I have, multiple times. They are enjoyable both as entertainment and as food, but they pale in comparison to you. You... well, let’s just say you taste like the most delicious delicacy I’ve ever had, and I haven’t even fully had you yet.”

“Am I just a meal to you?’

“As of the close of this evening, you will be my lover, precious and irreplaceable. It is true that I obtain sustenance from your touch and the taste of your skin, but you are much more to me than mere food. The animals rutting in the corner are food. You are my life.”

“And what happens if I decide that I don’t want to be your mate?”

Zabini stiffened, his eyes stern and dark as he made eye-contact with Harry. “I die,” he stated plainly.

Harry stared at him. “What?”

Zabini continued to look at him seriously for a moment before cracking a blinding smile. “You look devastated, love. I had no idea you cared so much. Fear not, I would be extremely unhappy and probably pursue you from now until the end of time, but I would not die. A mate is a preferred partner and a reproductive necessity, but he or she is not a biological necessity.”

“But you would make sure I didn’t see anyone else, like you did earlier?”

“Absolutely. You are mine,” he stated with finality.

Harry found that he liked the possessive, unquestioning statement more than he thought he should. While he had been looking to be a mate for someone, he had never thought to be someone’s possession. Bill and Fleur had an equal partnership, neither dominant over the other, and Harry had thought he wanted that. But Zabini’s domineering manner and refusal to accept anything but Harry’s total acceptance of him made Harry feel warm and nice and more turned on than he ever had in his life.

“Have I exhausted your questions for the time being? I can understand why you are considered such a good Auror if you interrogate everyone this way.” Zabini’s eyes glittered with mirth as he tickled Harry’s side. Harry was more ticklish than he liked to lead on and had to fight not to giggle like a school girl.

“I want to make sure you aren’t going to throw any insane bombshells at me after I’ve already invested in this. I’ve had too many failed relationships. I have to protect myself.”

“Have I shown you to be worthy?”

Harry bit his lip. “I’m still deciding.”

“Well, in the meantime, I hope you do not mind my taking a liberty.” He leant in, capturing Harry’s bitten lip and sucking until Harry’s toes curled in his shoes. The kiss escalated from there, Harry’s mouth opening to his tongue as Zabini pulled him in tighter. Harry set his glass behind them and ran his hands down Zabini’s chest, feeling the tight muscles under his fingers. Zabini’s skin radiated heat and intermittent electric shocks that felt similar to when Harry stuck his finger in a light socket when he was a toddler, except that where he had felt residual pain before he felt only pleasure and excitement now.

The kiss went on for so long that Harry lost track of where he was until a particularly loud cry from across the room jolted his memory, and he pulled away to find himself on his back with Zabini on top of him and his shirt completely unbuttoned. “Could we do this somewhere more... private?” Harry asked as he tried to sit up on his elbows. Zabini’s hips were resting heavily against his spread legs, weighing him down and making it difficult for him to move. Despite this, he found he liked the way they fit together.

“Gladly.” The hand that had been working his trouser buttons free snaked around his back and held him close as the room disappeared around them and they reappeared atop a luxuriously comfortable bed. Harry touched the bedding experimentally and found himself laughing.

“Do you own anything that isn’t silk?”

“In the winter, there is velvet,” Blaise answered, smirking as he pushed Harry’s shirt down his arms and off. He tossed it off the bed without losing eye contact with Harry, and then they were kissing chest to chest and the feel of electricity was all over his skin. Harry’s arousal took over and all he could think about was seeing Blaise naked, feeling his naked skin rubbing against Harry’s own.

“Want to see you naked,” he mumbled against Blaise’s mouth, pushing the silk trousers as far down his arse as he could reach, pinned as he was. Blaise lifted up and allowed Harry to push them all the way down to his knees, where they were kicked off. Harry’s eyes trailed down his defined abdomen to the gloriously large cock standing at attention. His eyes glazed over and he pushed Blaise onto his back, wanting to get a closer look at it. Blaise let himself be pushed, watching Harry with lust-red eyes.

Harry crawled over his legs, one hand gently touching the underside of the beautiful organ. It was massive, reaching well past Blaise’s belly button and easily as thick as Harry’s wrist. It was darker than the rest of Blaise, glistening with pre-come and some sort of slick substance that Harry nearly confused for lube. But what most captivated Harry about it wasn’t its size; it was the hard, blood-red nodules that ran up the shaft in four neat, asymmetrical lines. Harry cautiously prodded one to find that it was hard as bone, but smooth, like the surface of a tooth. “What are these?” he asked, caressing the protrusion with his fingertip. Blaise’s eyes fluttered shut and his breath caught.

“Pleasure enhancers,” he said as his fingers gripped the bedding. Harry watched his breathing speed up as Harry’s finger lazily traced a line up the bumps to flick at the underside of his head.

Harry leant forward to give an experimental lick. They were as smooth on his tongue as his fingers, but licking them made Blaise groan, which was better than the touching. “Do they have any other purpose?” he asked, licking teasing trails up to the head.

Blaise’s fingernails lengthened, digging into the bedding sharply enough to tear. “Only in reproduction,” he managed to say between clenched teeth.

Harry rewarded him for holding back when it was clear that all he wanted to do was fuck Harry’s mouth, and did what he had been imagining doing since feeling the erection against his clothed thighs earlier. Blaise’s pre-come was sweet on Harry’s tongue, like the wine, and Harry sucked hard on the head to get more of it, causing Blaise to buck his hips. He rode out the movement, working his lips further down the shaft. There was no way he would be able to deep-throat him, or even to take more than a few inches of him, but Harry did his best. He wrapped his hands around the base and went to work, sucking hard, exploring every crevice with his tongue. He loved it, loved the taste of Blaise’s skin on his tongue, loved the way the bumps felt against the roof of his mouth, loved the sounds Blaise made as he struggled not to grab onto Harry’s hair and thrust.

He only pulled back when Blaise’s hands gently lifting his head made him. Blaise pulled him up for a kiss, rolling him onto his back in the process. Harry lamented the loss of the overwhelming presence in his mouth, but wrapped his arms around Blaise’s neck anyway and kissed back. Blaise’s hands made quick work of his trousers, the nails having retracted to normal human length. They scratched dull red marks down Harry’s thighs as his pants were stripped away. “Your mouth is exquisite, but I do not want to waste my first orgasm there. Lie back and let me look at you.”

Harry settled back into the pillows, eyes riveted to Blaise, dark skin glistening with sweat and streaked with dark red swatches of skin that Harry hadn’t remembered being there before. He reached out to touch one along Blaise’s cheekbone, and Blaise turned his head to kiss Harry’s fingers. His cock looked impossibly bigger than it had at first sight, bobbing between Blaise’s legs as he arranged Harry’s limbs to his liking. Harry didn’t even notice that his hands were being tied above his head until the last knot was tugged tight. Silk again, he noticed, easy to slip from if he so chose. He decided to stay where Blaise put him, curious to see what Blaise would do with him now that he was at his mercy.

Blaise started off just looking, eyes roaming over Harry’s exposed skin with bald hunger. No inch of Harry’s skin went un-scrutinized, and none was met with disapproval. By the time Blaise had looked his fill and began to explore Harry’s skin with his mouth, the red streaks across his skin were bright, like heavily oxygenated blood. He started with Harry’s feet, licking up the soles and sucking on each toe in turn. Harry had never had anyone suck his toes before and hadn’t thought he would like it, but the way Blaise’s tongue flicked out between them was too erotic not to enjoy. Blaise moved up his legs, somehow finding all the most sensitive spots and exploiting them until Harry moaned and clenched at the fabric tying him to the bed. The lips traveled up his hip bones and across his stomach, pausing to flick inside his belly button. Harry watched him move, unable to look away from the red eyes that met his and the red streaks across chiseled cheeks.

“Your skin is red. Is that normal?” he asked.

Blaise glanced down at his own stomach and back up to Harry, his lips turning up into a smile that was pure sex. “It’s a sign of our mutual arousal. The more sexual energy we exchange, the brighter the color.”

“The brighter the color, the more you’re feeding from me?”

“Something like that.” Blaise’s mouth fell to Harry’s nipple, his tongue tracing around it in lazy circles. Harry cried out, arching his back to get closer. Having his nipples played with was nearly as stimulating to him as a blowjob. “You like that, do you? What about this?” Blaise bit down hard.

“Fuck!” Harry yelled, jerking back into the headboard. He squirmed as Blaise’s tongue soothed his sore skin, before biting down again and tugging. Harry’s vision was pure white for a moment. He had had his nipples bitten before, but it had never felt like this.

“Good?”

“Amazing... do it again.”

Blaise did with a grin, tugging harder with each bite, and Harry’s went blind with pleasure for a while, awash in a sea of tingling nerves. He came back to himself when Blaise pulled away, his mouth traveling south again in a direct line to Harry’s groin. This time, he didn’t skip over Harry’s straining cock, but instead gripped it in a gentle hand, licking up the underside of it, making Harry shiver. “You have such a lovely cock. I could spend all night looking at it.”

“I’d rather you sucked it,” Harry panted, pulling at the ties once more.

Blaise chuckled, the hot breath tingling up Harry’s shaft. “Would you? I shall have to oblige, then.” He took it to the root without further warning. Harry’s toes curled and his eyes shut tight at the shock of suddenly being totally engulfed. While he was nowhere near Blaise in size, he knew he wasn’t small by any stretch, and no one had ever deep-throated him before. Blaise sucked at him as though it were his favorite thing to do in the world, and it drove Harry completely mad.

By the time he pulled away and moved lower down, devoting time to Harry’s balls before flicking his tongue across Harry’s tight entrance, Harry was already hoarse from crying out and was mildly ashamed of the outrageous things coming out of his mouth. “Mmm, do you talk like a filthy little whore in bed all the time, or am I just special?” Blaise asked, his fingertip rubbing over Harry’s hole before slipping inside.

Harry thrust as best he could against the finger, begging for more. “Special, so special. Oh fuck, please, more.”

“As long as you keep talking, I will do whatever you want of me, love.” He thrust his tongue into Harry alongside his finger, stretching him further. The tongue seemed to elongate inside him, or at least it reached further than Harry would have thought possible. There was no pain, no burning, just pleasure. He felt looser, the longer Blaise rimmed him, and also more desperate to be taken. Harry had never wanted a cock inside him so badly. He wasn’t even concerned at the size of it or the fact that he hadn’t been stretched by one in several years and was probably impossibly tight. He would endure whatever excruciating pain was to come, if only to feel the fullness inside.

“Please,” he begged, pulling on the chords restraining him.

“Patience,” Blaise murmured, leaning over the side of the bed to retrieve a glass jar. Harry arched up, wanting to get skin contact back. Blaise was back a moment later, kissing Harry’s lips. His finger slid back inside Harry, spreading liberal amounts of lube. “Are you ready?” he breathed. Harry nodded, rising up to kiss Blaise again. “Stay still, I don’t want to hurt you.” He sat up, pushing Harry’s knees up to his chest and as far apart as they could stretch. Harry tried to stay still as he watched the massive head near his entrance and push slowly forward. There was resistance, but not much, and then the head was in. Harry took deep breaths, trying to relax, but he was so tense with anticipation that it was difficult. Blaise leant over to kiss him again, pushing another agonizingly slow inch inside. “You look so sexy, spread out for me like a Christmas feast. Do you want me inside of you?”

“Yes!” Harry gasped desperately, wriggling his hips to get more. Blaise obliged him, pushing the first two ridges into him with effort. Harry cried out, unable to control himself. The ridges were overwhelmingly stimulating pushing into him. Another inch and they were rubbing his prostate, leaving him incoherent. He took deep breaths as Blaise continued the slide into him, every centimeter a slow torture meant to drive him mad. The ridges only served to make him hyper-sensitive. He felt ready to explode with every slide of one inside him.

Finally, long minutes later, Blaise was settled completely inside him, cradling his shoulders and kissing him as though he were oxygen and Blaise was suffocating. Harry felt so full, so complete. Blaise was so hot inside him, and so big. He thought he might fall apart at any moment, and that if he did, Blaise would pick up the pieces of him and put him back together. He was trembling from the need to come, but Blaise held him still as he plundered his mouth.

After what felt like a lifetime, Blaise finally sat up, holding onto Harry’s hips to slowly slide out again, ridge by ridge. He took his time pushing back in again, just as slow, just as toe-curlingly good. He watched Harry as he moved, gaze bright red and entirely focused on Harry. No one had ever looked at Harry that way, as though he and not some cut-out version of him, was the most important person in the universe. Blaise pushed into him with a little more speed and force, and Harry’s eyes rolled into the back of his head and he came harder than he had ever come in his life. He convulsed with aftershocks of pleasure, squeezing Blaise’s shaft uncontrollably, trembling. Blaise massaged his stomach, smoothing the come all over Harry’s skin, before licking it off his fingers.

Harry was already hard again before Blaise thrust again. The thrusts came more quickly now, the passage loosened by orgasm and stretching. Blaise’s hips snapped back and forth as he began fucking Harry harder, demanding pleasure from him and giving it in return. Harry pulled at his bonds, wanting to touch Blaise, to wrap his arms around him and hold on tight as he got the fucking of his life. Blaise’s hands held tight to his shoulders as he took him, possessed him the way he had said he would. Harry lost track of time as he gave himself over to Blaise.

Too soon it seemed, Blaise was pausing, his entire body trembling as he came inside Harry in hot, forceful bursts that tumbled Harry over the edge of another orgasm. Harry opened his eyes a few moments later to Blaise kissing his stomach, licking up Harry’s come as he made his way down. Harry blinked, confused. He must have blacked out because he didn’t remember Blaise pulling out. “Mmmm, love, you taste as good as I thought you would.” Blaise licked a long line up Harry’s belly. “You’re trembling. Did I have that nice an effect on you?”

Harry was still dealing with aftershocks, twitches of pleasure. “I...” he tried to answer, but found himself without the words to describe it.

Blaise grinned, lifting up on his hands to hover over Harry’s face and kiss him. “Rest, I think. And maybe food, hmm?” He massaged up Harry’s arms, loosening the strained muscles, but making no effort to untie him. Harry tried to calm his twitching body, but it was difficult. He could still feel Blaise inside him, even as the incubus stretched half across the bed to reach for a wine glass for him, full of the fruity wine he’d had before. Blaise fed it to him in careful sips. The alcohol served to relax his nerves enough for him to settle back into the pillows piled at his back.

A meal of finger foods appeared at the side of the bed, and Blaise chose a cube of cheese and fed it to Harry. Harry chewed thoughtfully and swallowed before saying, “That was incredible. No wonder people come here month after month to be used like whores.”

“What we just did is not what happens between the cattle and my brethren. This was special, sacred. It was a merging of souls. If you had had sex with any of the others,” his teeth clenched for a moment and violence flashed in his eyes, “it would not have been like this. This was ours alone.”

“Part of the mate thing?”

“Indeed.”

Blaise smiled, rewarding Harry with another cube of cheese. “You must eat or you will grow weak and anemic. I want you to remain strong for me, so we can continue on. Don’t you want that?”

Harry nodded, sucking at Blaise’s fingers as he accepted the food. “Can I ask a question?”

“Absolutely, love,” Blaise answered, feeding him another cube.

“You said the bumps on your cock are used in reproduction. How?”

Blaise paused, pushing sweaty hair from Harry’s face. “Are you sure you want me to answer that? It isn’t pleasant.”

“Yes. I want to know what I’m getting into.”

“I knew I could sway you,” Blaise said with a smile, leaning closer to kiss Harry gently before feeding him a shrimp. “The ridges first act as lubricant dispersal, which you have already had the pleasure of enjoying. When a mated pair are having sex with the intention of conceiving, during orgasm the ridges grow into spiked barbs that latch onto the mate’s inner walls, ensuring that the couple is unable to pull away from one another until the sperm has been delivered. It can be painful, but it is only a temporary pain, and the result is a child.”

“That sounds horrible.”

“Agreed. You wonder why I didn’t want to explain it to you earlier?”

“Is that why there are all those stories of incubus sex being extremely painful? The stories were part of the reason I took so long to come to the meeting.”

“That, and not all incubi choose to use the lubricant. Even if I were to be with a female, her lubricant is not nearly enough to make sex with me painless. There is a muscle relaxant in my fluids that eases passage. It is not always used.”

“Is that why it didn't hurt? I thought it would tear me up, but it didn't."

“Yes. I also used a lubricant that includes a pain reliever, so that if there was pain, it would be dulled. I will use a healing salve on you when we have decided to go to sleep.” The look Blaise gave him told Harry that wouldn’t be happening for quite a while. Harry accepted the canape and didn’t argue.

-

Blaise laid next to him, head propped up on his hand as he used the other to trace the bite marks on Harry’s chest. Harry watched him with apprehension. The evening had been all Blaise had promised and more, the best sex he had ever had; he had even enjoyed the domination, the restriction of being tied up and at another’s mercy. While he hadn’t expected it, Blaise had been right about Harry enjoying being taken care of, and Blaise had done an excellent job of taking care of him. In theory, Harry should have been incredibly happy. He had found a mate, someone who wanted to be his, and only his, forever. And yet, there was still that small voice in the back of Harry’s head insisting, doubting this path, doubting Blaise, doubting Harry’s own ability to make decisions intelligently. It all felt a bit too perfect, a bit too much like a dream, to be real. There had to be a fatal flaw somewhere, some devastating situation that would serve to break Harry’s heart.

“I still can’t trust you,” Harry finally said, after more than ten minutes spent watching Blaise touch him.

Blaise’s mouth turned up in a smile. “You will.” He kissed the corner of Harry’s mouth and pulled him closer, burying his nose in Harry’s hair.

-

Harry was exhausted by the time he finished the last of the paperwork for the Collins transfer. He had been at the office for sixteen hours and not one of them had been spent in any semblance of peace. He stood, lifting his arms above his head in an effort to stretch his back and groaning loudly at the relief of stiff muscles. Some days he would give anything to be back in the field and not hunched over a desk all day. If he wasn’t careful, he was going to get fat. He grabbed his cloak, not bothering to put it on, and headed out in search of the nearest Floo.

His flat was unexpectedly occupied when he tumbled in, the lights on and the entire place smelling of freshly baked bread and roast chicken. He dropped his cloak on the sofa and headed toward the kitchen in confusion. As he reached the door, Zabini appeared, leaning against the door frame. “Evening, love.”

Harry stopped in his tracks and stared. Zabini was dressed simply, in tight designer jeans and a t-shirt, but he still took Harry’s breath away. In the two days they had been apart, Harry had managed to convince himself that Zabini had been lying about all that mate bullocks to get him in bed, that their night together hadn’t really meant anything, even though Harry could still feel the ghost of Zabini’s cock inside him and his hands running along Harry’s skin when he closed his eyes. Harry pulled his ragged thoughts together. “What are you doing in my flat?”

“Dinner. And afterwards I intend to convince you to let me fuck you very... very... well.” Zabini’s arm snaked out and pulled Harry closer and into a kiss. Harry succumbed to it for a moment, forgetting himself under the intoxication of Blaise’s lips.

He came to his senses as Blaise’s hand trailed up his back and pulled sharply away. “You broke into my flat. That’s a violation of my privacy and trespassing. I should arrest you.”

“Or you could relax and come sit down and let me feed you the most delicious meal you have ever eaten. I brought more elf-made wine. I know how much you loved it.”

“I don’t drink on work nights,” Harry answered stiffly.

“But you do fuck, yes?”

“Zabini...”

“Blaise. You are my mate. You should call me by my first name.”

“I’m not doing this, Blaise. I told you I can’t trust you. Breaking into my home doesn’t help your case.”

“I did not break in. Your wards let me in without protest.”

“I don’t believe that.” Harry flicked his wand out of its holster and checked his wards. They were sound, intact, and untouched. He stared again at Blaise. “How...”

“I am an incubus, you are my mate, and we have been intimate. Your essence is as much a part of me now as my own. There is nothing that could keep me from you now.”

“And you took full advantage to invade my personal space?”

“I’m looking to invade considerably more than that.” Blaise leant in for another kiss, but Harry dodged him.

“This isn’t all right, Zabini. Yeah, we’ve had sex, but that doesn’t give you a right to enter my flat without my permission, and it certainly isn’t making me trust you or want to be with you.”

Blaise sighed softly, his shoulders drooping. He looked genuinely distressed that Harry wasn’t pleased with his actions. “I wanted to surprise you. I do not... express my emotions well. I had thought to be romantic.”

Harry’s anger deflated. He glanced around Blaise’s shoulder to see the kitchen table, covered in an elegant tablecloth and an impressive spread. His tiny second-hand table had never looked more posh. Harry frowned. Blaise could have simply lain in Harry’s bed naked if all he wanted was to use Harry for sex. Instead, he had chosen to feed Harry, leaving himself much more open to rejection. A naked Blaise in his bed would have been much more difficult to turn away. Perhaps he should give the incubus the benefit of the doubt. “Did you cook?”

“I wanted you to enjoy the meal, not vomit upon first taste.”

Harry smirked. “Not much of a cook, then?”

“That’s why I employ house-elves. I promise it is much more edible than I could ever make.”

“I guess I could try it...”

Blaise cupped Harry’s face and pulled him into another kiss, sweeter and deeper than the last. His touch sent electricity through Harry’s veins, jolting his tired muscles with energy. Harry’s hands fell to Blaise’s hips as the kiss went on until Harry’s stomach growled, and they finally pulled apart with a peck. “You are the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on,” Blaise murmured, his eyes blood-red with lust.

Harry blushed. “Thanks.” He let Blaise sit him in a kitchen chair and prepare his plate for him. The food was as delicious as promised. Harry groaned aloud at the first bite of chicken. “This is gorgeous!”

Blaise smiled, watching him eat. “I did promise an earth-shattering meal.”

Harry continued tucking in, losing himself in the meal for a bit before starting a conversation. Blaise wasn’t eating much, he noticed, but then Blaise had told him that he got the majority of his sustenance from sexual energy. “So, what do you do all day? Do you have a job?”

“I manage private investments and oversee a small business in Knockturn Alley.” Harry gave him a look. “Nothing illegal, of course. It’s an after-hours establishment that serves alcohol and caters to a select... male clientele.”

“It’s a gay bar?”

Blaise’s eyes shuddered closed for a moment, as though hearing the phrase offended him. “It is more of a private club than a bar, if you must call it that. The Bear and Pony. Perhaps I will take you there, if you would like to go.” He smiled, his hand snaking out to slide up Harry’s thigh.

“Maybe.” Harry wasn’t going to agree to more dates until he was sure he wanted to be with Blaise. He left the hand where it was though as he turned back to his plate. Conversation moved along at a steady pace, and Harry relaxed and began to enjoy himself. Despite his exhaustion from work, he found that he wanted to keep talking, even as Blaise gathered him in his arms like a fair maiden in an Arthurian legend and took him to bed.

He didn’t kick Blaise out bed the next morning, nor the many mornings that followed, until he could no longer deny what was happening.

-

“Is this true, Harry?” Hermione asked, holding up the latest edition of Alohamora, a picture of Harry leaving a restaurant under Blaise’s arm splashed across the cover. The picture had been taken two nights ago, but Harry hadn’t seen any cameras then. The headline read “THE SAVIOR SEEN WITH SEXY SUCCUBUS.”

Harry handed Hermione a wine glass and sat in his favorite chair. “He’s an incubus. Succubi are female.”

“Harry.”

“Yes, it’s true. I’ve been seeing him a few weeks now. He’s having dinner with us tonight, but he’s coming late so that I could tell you first.”

“How on earth did this happen? I didn’t know that you knew Blaise Zabini,” Hermione asked, leaning into Ron’s arm and resting a hand on his thigh.

“I ran into him.” Harry looked down at his drink to avoid Hermione’s gaze.

“Where?”

“Around...”

“Harry. Where did you meet him?”

“The EAIS. He was kind enough to accept our invitation. One look at him and I was done-for.” Blaise answered for Harry as he walked in through the kitchen door and propped himself on the arm of Harry’s chair. Harry rolled his eyes, but let Blaise kiss him anyway.

“I thought you were going to wait,” he murmured against Blaise’s lips. Blaise only smirked and pushed Harry’s fringe away from his eyes.

“What’s the EAIS? I can think of a few entities that match the acronym.”

“The Euoprean Association of Incubi and Succubi. I was last month’s host.”

The look Hermione turned on Harry was threatening. Ron scooted a few inches away from her on the couch, sensing danger. He looked supremely uncomfortable with the entire conversation. “You promised me you would give the creature thing up! It isn’t safe, Harry.”

“He has given it up. I can assure you that he is nothing but safe with me, and I won’t be letting him out of my sight. Ever again.” Blaise never took his eyes from Harry’s, even as he addressed Hermione.

“He’s right, Hermione. I’m done looking for someone.” Harry smiled up at Blaise, a flutter of happiness finally settling in his stomach. “I’ve already found him.” Blaise leant down to kiss him again, headless of Ron’s moan of pain in the background.



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