elfflame

May 2016

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K_K Fic: Lonely Hearts - Charlie/Teddy, NC-17

So the Kinky Kristmas reveal went up at [info]daily_deviant yesterday, and I discovered the lovely writer of my gift, Blood-Red and Bitter-Sweet (Regulus/Scorpius, NC-17) was [info]leela_cat.

My own piece was written for [info]mindabbles.

From: [info]elfflame
Title: Lonely Hearts
Characters/Pairings: Charlie/Teddy
Rating: NC-17
Kinks/Themes Included: Dirty Talk (in letter format), cross-gen
Other Warnings/Content: Teacher!kink, a bit of bondage
Word Count: ~5700
Summary/Description: Teddy's got a crush he'll never act on, so his best friend suggests he place a personal ad in the Prophet.
Author's Notes: Never tried out this pairing before, but it was cute and fun. I tried to keep the sexy talk light, but the teacher kink just came to me. Hopefully that won't be too much of a turnoff. I hope you enjoy it, Giftee. :) Thank you to my usual beta, who shall remain nameless until after the fest. I have calculated out ages for them at 47 for Charlie, and 21 for Teddy in this story.


20+ YGW seeking OGW, 40+ for companionship and possible LTR. Must be located in England, or planning to locate there, preferably in or near London. If interested, Owl Wolfcub.


It was stupid, Teddy thought. He was an attractive man, and personable. Everyone talked about how wonderful he was. Everyone liked him. So why was it that he couldn't find anyone he wanted to stay with? The closest he'd come to that was Victoire, but she'd been the one to explain to him just why they wouldn't work out as a couple—he was gay. After all, they were more likely to discuss the fitness of the male Quidditch players than he was to watch the passing pretty girls like most boys his age. She'd been kind about it, but he'd been horrified at first. They were still best friends, and now they were both looking for a man of their own.

So why was it so hard, if he was such a great guy? Surely there should be someone out there for him. But this one was too young, that one too giddy, the next one too slender. No one fit his needs.

It had been Victoire's suggestion to put the personal ad in the Prophet. There was a growing selection of personal ads there now, and one of her friends found herself a husband through an ad, so they knew it could work. If he let it.

He'd taken a long time to figure out what he wanted, and then what to say in the actual ad. The Older Gay Wizard was a bit of a surprise when he'd realized it. It had taken a while to realize that all the guys he'd found himself drawn to most were those who were at least ten years older than him. Finally he realized the reason he'd been avoiding the fact: he'd been suppressing his desire for a particular uncle of Victoire's. Approaching him would have been just too awkward, and if it went wrong or Victoire reacted badly he simply couldn't stand the thought of losing her as a friend. So instead, he'd followed her advice and written the ad up. Now all he could do was wait and see what he got in response, and hope the men who responded weren't too creepy.

* * *


Charlie stared at the ad, frowning, reading it for the third time. If he hadn't known better, he'd have thought it was written just for him. After all, he'd always been attracted to Vic's little friend Teddy, though he knew acting on that would be a bad idea. Maybe dating another young man would take away the temptation. It couldn't hurt to try.

Even better, the other man was either in or near London. The new shop Charlie was setting up was located along one of the new lanes branching off Diagon Alley—number two, Antic Alley, right next door to Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, where George had relocated after the rebuilding. That meant he was usually in London, and finding someone who preferred the city to the new Wizarding communities cropping up around the country would make things far easier for him.

That didn't mean it was a good idea, and Charlie spent more than a day distracted by his thoughts, debating whether or not he should respond to the ad. Finally, in a fit of frustration, born of the realization he had completely ignored all of his shop business for the day, Charlie threw on his favorite and well-worn black dragonhide jacket and set off for Grimmauld Place. He just needed to talk this out with someone objective, and unlike the rest of his family, Harry was always helpful to talk to. He listened without judging, no matter how close to the issue he was. Well, most of the time. There had been that argument with Ginny a few years ago when she'd wanted another child, and they'd been on the verge of breaking up. Molly had managed to talk them out of it, though.

Luckily for him, he knew Harry was off this week, recovering from a minor injury requiring a few days downtime. All Charlie could do now was hope his sister wasn't home. At least he could count on his niece and nephews being gone. School had started just the week before, so the house would be blessedly free of kids, something that Charlie appreciated quite a bit in his immense family.

The door opened just as Charlie made his way to the foot of the stairs, and Harry smiled. "Charlie! What brings you by so early in the day?"

Charlie grinned back. The only family member he felt more comfortable sharing his secrets with was Bill, but since Bill and Fleur were off in France at the moment, Harry was definitely the best choice. "In need of a little distraction. Maybe an opinion or two, if you're willing to offer it?" he asked, making it to the top of the stairs and clapping a hand on Harry's shoulder. "How's the hip?"

"Recovering. Ginny's still angry that I refuse to take a desk job, but you know me. What would I do at a desk? It'd drive me spare in a week. I'm climbing the walls as it is, so any distraction right now sounds great." He led the way in, and the two men settled in his private study. After a little more small talk, Harry met his eyes. "Okay, out with it. You're no better than Ron at hiding something when it's bothering you, so what's up?"

Charlie sighed. "Debating with myself. Found an ad the other day in the Prophet, and I can't stop thinking about it."

"Rival tattoo parlor opening?"

"No, nothing like that. Actually, I'd welcome a challenge. No. It's more personal." Charlie hesitated. His sexuality wasn't something he tended to talk about with family. Bill knew. So did Ginny, which meant Charlie was fairly sure Harry knew as well. Heck, he was sure most of the family did—aside from Percy, anyway. That didn't make it easier to talk about, though.

"Have you met someone?" Harry asked him, leaning forward. "Gin mentioned your last partner refused to move with you. I know it's been rough, but maybe this one will work out better?"

Charlie smiled, shaking his head. Olaf had been a good friend, but nothing more, despite what Ginny had believed. "No. I mean…" Where to start with Harry's assumptions? "I haven't had a partner in years. And Olaf and I were just really good friends. It was never love." There. See how Harry responded to that. If Charlie was right, he'd tell him about the ad.

"Ah. So is it someone new, then?" Harry asked, sitting back.

Relaxing, Charlie shook his head. "Not exactly anyone, yet. Like I said. I saw an ad. A want ad. But I can't decide if it's a good idea to respond."

"Why? Is it someone you know?" Harry asked, looking intrigued.

"That's the thing. I don't know. I don't think so."

Harry nodded. "But he does remind you of someone?"

Charlie sighed, nodding. "Yeah. Hopefully it's not him, because it could open up a whole can of worms I'm definitely not ready to deal with."

"Like Molly finding out?"

With a laugh, Charlie nodded. "Yeah, I guess that would be one. Though mum does have quite the blind spot when it comes to my sexuality. She still asks me every year when I'm going to settle down and have a few kids of my own."

Harry grinned. "She's tenacious. But she's also incredibly accepting. Why don't you tell her, Charlie? I'm sure she'd love you no less."

Charlie frowned, shaking his head. "I couldn't. I wouldn't know what to say. Besides, it doesn't matter. It's not like I have a partner to introduce her to yet."

"Yet," Harry agreed. "If you answer this ad, and if it works out…"

"Well, I'll cross that bridge when it comes," Charlie said. "I have to decide if I should."

"Why not?" Harry asked. "After all, if it turns out to be who you fear, you can back off, and no harm done. If you have good chemistry, though… Well, we all want to see you happy, Charlie."

"I can be happy without someone, Harry."

"Maybe that's true, but I've always thought you were waiting for something. Maybe this is your chance to find it. What harm can it do?"

* * *


The owl arrived the next morning.

Dear Wolfcub,

Your ad drew me in when I saw it, and I can't find a reason no to respond, though I struggled to admit to myself I didn't really have an issue with the age difference.

I am a businessman with a shop I'm working to open right off Diagon Alley. I returned to England a few years ago, and I haven't had the chance to find someone to spend more than a few hours with. I'm not particularly picky about my partners, so long as they're male and fit.

I'm in my mid-to-late forties, of average height, with more than a few marks from life over my body. Some of my own devising, some of life's making. My former life before returning to England was a bit rough, and I have several job-related scars, as well as from my role in the war, which I did play a small part in.

My extended family is quite large, and I have many nieces and nephews. It's because of my family I decided to return to England, though I was happy on the continent. Still, my mother is pleased to have me here at home. Now all I'm missing is someone in my life. It has been some time since I had a partner in anything more than a casual way, but I think it would be nice.

If this were to work out between us, I would hope you would be comfortable with dealing with them, as I'd eventually want you to meet them. Something to keep in mind. If facing my family is a deal-breaker, I thank you for reading this far. If not, I'd love to learn more about you. What exactly are you looking for?

Hoping to hear from you soon,
Bala Dresor


Teddy'd gotten a few more letters in response to his ad, but most left him feeling soiled with how graphic they'd been, and one had been a howler from some old woman who'd screamed at him that he should be ashamed at himself for his depravities before he'd blasted it to pieces. It was refreshing to read one from someone who sounded almost normal. In fact, he sounded almost too good to be true. He ended up reading through it once more before setting it aside.

He wondered at the name for a moment before realizing it was probably a pseudonym like his was. After all, that was what most people did when they initially answered ads like this, wasn't it? Teddy couldn't help but wonder what the man's true name was. Part of him couldn't help but hope the large family he mentioned were all redheads, or at least mostly. God, what he wouldn't give for this to be from Charlie. Teddy shook his head, then stood. It was just as likely to be some wizard he didn't or barely knew. After all, since the war, family sizes had grown greatly, everyone doing their part to repopulate the depleted Wizarding population.

Best to find a presentable outfit and get ready to go. He could answer it when he got back. He'd promised to drop by to visit Harry for lunch today, so he couldn't afford to think about his response right now, or he was absolutely sure Harry would read it on his face. Harry knew Teddy was gay, but that didn't mean he had to know details.

He pulled on jeans and a favorite T-shirt. It had a band logo on the front for a group called the Sex Pistols. He'd not heard of them before he'd found it, but now he loved to listen to them—when he was in a certain mood. It was one he'd inherited from Harry's collection of Sirius's clothes. It was one of the things he and Harry bonded over. Their fathers and their best friend. He owned so few belongings of theirs, so he took very special care of all of them, especially this. After all, the shirt was older than Harry, and Teddy wanted to own it for a good long time.

He pulled on a plaid shirt over the t-shirt and a light leather jacket. It was already starting to cool off outside, and he didn't want to get sick because he thought he could handle the cold. It was a long walk from his little flat near Diagon Alley to Grimmauld Place. Still, it would give him time to think.

Closing his door behind him, he hopped down the steps of his building, then made his way toward Grimmauld place, lost in thoughts of redheads and scars and a few tattoos he'd glimpsed on Charlie's arms over the years. Only when he'd reached Grimmauld Place and turned down the block to Harry's house did he shove the thoughts to the back of his mind. When he got home, he could dream more. Maybe even a wank before he wrote to the man. Might clear his mind a little.

Harry was waiting in the drawing room for him, a book spread out on his lap. "Teddy. It's so good to see you." He set the book aside, and rose to give him a hug, clapping him on the shoulder. "How are things? Settling in all right at the flat?"

It was Harry's gift to him on his coming of age—he helped Teddy sign for a lease for his own place. It had taken a while to find the right flat, and also lots of coaxing on both his part and Harry's to convince his gran he would be fine on his own.

"Yeah. It's nice." He enjoyed having a place where he could do anything he liked without bothering anyone else, but he did miss his gran. Not that he would say so to her. "Just a little quiet."

"Ah, well, you'll get used to it. You can always have friends to stay… or a boyfriend?"

Teddy chuckled. Ever since he'd told Harry where his preferences lay, the other man had been cautious about asking. Never once did he react badly, though, or let Teddy think their friendship would be any way different from how they always had been. "None yet," he said with a smile. "But I decided to try something new."

"Oh? What's that?"

"Vic suggested I place an ad in the Prophet. That way at least I can get a few responses, see what's out there."

A strange look crossed Harry's face. "Oh? Today?"

Teddy shook his head. "About a week ago, actually. Got some strange responses. As well as a few creepy ones. There was one, though. He sounds sane. Like maybe we could get on. I hope."

"So you're going to meet him?"

Teddy realized he hadn't decided that for himself yet. Did he want to meet a man who might be far stranger than he sounded on paper? "I don't know. I was planning on responding. Seeing if we can get on before we meet in person. What do you think?"

"Well, if he sounds good, it might be worth it to invite him somewhere public," Harry said. His expression still seemed off to Teddy, and rather than let Harry worry about it, Teddy decided to reassure him.

"If you're worried that I'll just meet him anywhere, or let him do anything to me, you don't have to, Harry. I'll be careful. I promise."

Harry smiled. "I know you will."

* * *


Dear Bala,

I assume your name to be a pseudonym, as all the other letters have been obvious ones so far, though I am uncertain with yours. If it is your true name, I do apologize. It is a very nice name, though odd for an Englishman, which I suspect you to be, given the fact that you say you have family here you returned for. Perhaps it is a family name? If you would rather not say, I quite understand, but I find myself quite curious about you.

I come from a small yet large family, myself. My immediate family is only myself and my grandmother. My parents died in the war, so she raised me. But through my godfather, I have many aunts and uncles, all who helped my grandmother raise me, and their children are much like cousins to me. Albeit much younger cousins.

I admit to having little experience with other men. Only a few quick handjobs and snogging sessions at school, and a couple of one-night-stands that are better off forgotten. No one fits the image of what I want. I was uncertain what I was looking for myself. It was only in sitting down to write my ad that I really began to understand myself. I am young, and mostly inexperienced. I would love an older lover who could lead the way. Mostly I am hoping to find someone who can become more, provided we are compatible. Age seems to be my major interest at the moment. I cannot guarantee it always will be, but it is for now, so there you are.

I do have a fondness for larger men. I am tall and slender, but the men I find myself gravitating towards all tend to be more muscled than I. It isn't a must-have, by any means, merely something I have noticed about myself.

As young as I am, I'm still deciding on everything. For all I know, I may decide to leave England myself somewhere down the road. At the moment, though, everything I know is here, and I love England far too much to want to leave for anything more than a holiday. A long holiday, perhaps, but I would always want to return home. I can't imagine a time when I would not.

I am not sure what else I can tell you. Please do write again, if you are still interested. You sound quite nice, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Cordially,
Wolfcub


Charlie's emotions rose and fell as he read the letter; one moment grinning, the next frowning.

He set it down, staring off out the window, where rain spattered the glass. Between the comment about Wolfcub's family, and the mention of being raised by his grandmother, Charlie couldn't help but picture Teddy. It took everything he had to convince himself it couldn't be him. There might be similarities between the two young men, but Wolfcub deserved to be considered on his own merits, not because he reminded Charlie of someone else.

Still, perhaps he could have someone who was what he wanted? After all, Wolfcub seemed to be everything he wanted, and appeared to want someone just like him. It certainly wouldn't hurt to take things a little farther. He sounded clever enough, and maybe between that and the fact they mirrored each other's needs so far, this might actually be worth pursuing.

Charlie glanced down at the note once more and smiled. Perhaps it was time to take this to the next step. He was getting out a pen when someone knocked. "Be right there!"

He opened the door to familiar greying black and messy hair, and bright green eyes. "Harry! What brings you here tonight?"

"Just passing by. I thought maybe we could talk?"

"Of course. Nothing wrong with Gin or the brats, I hope?"

Harry laughed. "No. They're all just fine. Actually, I was curious about your ad bloke. How's that moving along?"

"Funny you should ask," Charlie said. "I was about to answer his letter."

Harry glanced toward the table, where the letter lay open. "Yeah? So… well, then? He seems like what you want? You weren't too sure before."

What was eating Harry? "Well, we've only written a couple of letters, but I was about to suggest we could find a place we to meet. I think we could get on well, actually. Why?"

"Just curious."

"Okay, Harry. Out with it. What's up? You aren't usually nosy. At least, not like this. This is usually more mum or Gin's prerogative."

Harry sighed. "I… might know who he is."

Charlie wanted to shake him until Harry spilled, but he held himself back. After all, what if it were someone he didn't want? Malfoy? Or worse, one of his nephews? Sure, most of them were too young, but he wouldn't put it past them to try something like this. "Do I want to know?"

"I don't know for sure, to be honest. Promise me you'll be careful? If he's not who you want?"

Charlie frowned. What did that mean? "Harry… who do you think it is?"

Harry muttered something Charlie couldn't understand, then met his eyes. "Look, just promise me, okay?"

Charlie sighed. "Fine. But if it turns out to be Malfoy…"

Harry laughed, and Charlie couldn't help but grin. "I highly doubt it. He'd have some high-priced matchmaker for that. He'd never leave something that important to chance."

Raising an eyebrow, Charlie noted mentally Harry wasn't denying the fact that Malfoy could be light in the loafers, despite being married and a father, but he stored the fact away for later. "I promise whatever happens, I won't hurt the bloke, okay? If he turns out to be the one, I promise you're the first I'll introduce him to, okay?"

There was a worried expression on Harry's face again, and Charlie wondered who would Harry be so protective about. The boys were far too young, surely? Unless it was a joke of some sort? Harry nodded. "All right." He managed another smile. "Don't mind me, Charlie, I want things to work out well for all involved, that's all."

"So do I, Harry," Charlie murmured. "So do I."

* * *


Wolfcub,

I think we can both agree we seem to be interested in pursuing this, don't you? But before we meet, I'd love to know one more thing: I mean, when it comes right down to it, sex is important to me, as I hope it is to you as well. There are so many variations of sex that might lead to problems, don't you agree?

Personally, I like a bit of rough sex. Holding a guy down, a little biting, roughhousing in bed, that kind of thing. Wouldn't mind light bondage, either.

So, what do you think of that? I'd love to hear about your likes and dislikes more before we meet in person. Just to be sure this is a good idea.

Fondly,
Bala


Teddy felt himself squirm again as he read Bala's new letter, his heartbeat speeding up as he read the words "meet in real life." Bala wanted to meet him. And he wanted to meet Bala. He couldn't believe how well this had worked.

First, though, there was a letter to write.

* * *


Bala,

I agree. We should meet, and preferably soon. But not without deciding if we are compatible in this.

Like I said, I haven't had a whole lot of experience. I admit to having a schoolboy fetish. I want a stern "teacher" who's willing to take a strong hand with me and teach me everything I need to know. I would need a strong hand; someone willing to put me in my place when I was a bad boy, who would know just how to handle a bad boy like me.

I admit part of wanting an older man is to have someone who does already know that sort of thing, so they can teach me. And part of having a stronger man is so he can hold me down, press me into the bed, and make me feel out of control.

So far everything you've mentioned sounds perfect, and definitely doesn't put me off at all. I hope you'll feel the same.

Fondly,
Wolfcub


Maybe Charlie had never considered playing a professor before, but suddenly all he wanted was to stand over this boy and glower at him the way Snape had done during his schooldays, and speak in that low growl about how useless the boy was, and obviously they would have to go over the lesson again from the start. As many times as it took for him to get it right. He could imagine the boy squirming where he sat in his uniform, looking up at him with wide eyes.

Charlie gave in to the temptation and unzipped his jeans, reaching into them and pulling himself out, stroking slowly as he let the image unfold. The boy would complain, so Charlie would tell him go stand in a corner. And if he couldn't stand still, well, then he'd have to pull down his trousers. He groaned at the thought, stroking faster.

He couldn't help but imagine the boy's arse. It would be perfect, and he wouldn't be able to resist moving behind him to stroke it. Maybe he would even drop to his knees, giving it a soft bite before he pulled him apart. And then… oh, that was when he would lick over his arse. He'd always loved doing that to guys, and the thought that Wolfcub might never have even experienced that made the thought even more hot. He would lick over the centre of him, then below before dragging his tongue up over him again and again until the boy moved. He would swat him when that happened, though he wouldn't punish him for his cries. Those he wanted to hear. He wanted to hear his voice grow higher with each lick, and then break when he couldn't stand it any longer. Only once he had would Charlie relent.

He would pull the boy out of the corner, gesturing for him to drop to his knees so Charlie could press his cock past those pink lips (and he was sure they were pink and full and they would be glistening from how the boy had been licking at them after every bite as he tried to hold in his complaints). Then he would show the boy how to suck him, slow and careful, tugging at his hair when he felt the scrape of teeth, but only then, and only to feel the sleekness of it (and he was sure it would be sleek and long, long enough for him to wind his fingers in).

With only a few strokes, Charlie was coming over his hand with a grunt. Damn, he wanted the boy this much already, sight unseen? Maybe it was time.

* * *


Wolfcub,

I must admit, the picture you paint is enticing, though I wouldn't have thought of it on my own. I can see myself teaching you and perhaps giving you a punishment or two when you fail or step out of line. I would have to be very stern. Show you how to use your wicked back-talking mouth for other things, perhaps? I would keep you long after class, I think. And when you left, you would be well schooled in how to please me.

I can definitely see myself taking to this scenario all too well. I do think we would be a good match. I think I'm ready to meet you. That is, if you are ready as well? Someplace public, perhaps? I assure you, I'm no danger, but I could say that until I was blue in the face, and you would have no way of knowing it were true. I'd far rather you feel comfortable when we meet, regardless of whether you trust me or not. Any ideas?

Very fondly,
Bala


Bala wanted to meet him. Bala wanted to meet him? Now? Teddy felt panic overtake him. He'd agreed before, but suddenly, all he could think of was how badly this could go. What if Bala took one look at him and turned back around? Worse, what if he was as bad as all the other dirty old men who'd responded, just not on paper? What if it didn't work out?

Teddy had to set the letter aside and go for a walk. It was all too much. He wanted to have someone so badly, but if this backfired…

He ended up at Victoire's flat, which she shared with her best friend from Hogwarts. Lianne smiled when she saw him. "Vic, it's your boooy-friend!"

Teddy rolled his eyes at her. "We haven't in well over a year, and you bloody well know it, Li."

Victoire came into the hallway as he entered the flat. "Teddy. How is it going?"

He glanced at Lianne, then at Vic. "Come for a walk with me?"

"Uh oh," Lianne said. "Something wrong? I can do the shopping, if you need to be alone?"

Vic looked at Teddy, taking in his disheveled appearance, nodding at her roomate. "If you don't mind, Li, please?"

"I wouldn't have asked if I did, Vic. Half hour be enough time? I could go get us all lunch…"

"Half hour will be fine," Teddy said, managing a smile. "And thanks."

"No problem." She hurried to the kitchen, and returned a moment later with a bag slung over her arm. "Any last requests?"

"If you forget something, or I think of anything else, I can go later, Li. Thanks."

She gave them both a wave as she closed the door behind herself. Vic took Teddy's arm and led him down the short hall to the living room. "What's wrong? Did someone do something?"

Teddy sat in a chair that would allow him to see out the window so he could avoid her eyes, waiting until she settled across from him before answering. "No. Nothing like that. I haven't met any of them yet." He glanced at her, then quickly looked away again. "I just… what if this doesn't work, Vic?"

She huffed. "Have you tried yet?" she asked.

He shook his head.

"Stop contemplating failure, stupid. What if it does work?"

The thought made Teddy's heart flutter. What if it did? "I d-don't know."

"What have you got to lose, Teddy? I take it he wishes to meet?"

Teddy nodded mutely.

"So go. If he's not right, say thanks but no thanks, then try again. All right?"

It was exactly what he needed to hear. Teddy smiled at her. "Thanks, Vic. I don't know what I'd do without you."

She snorted. "Nothing, apparently. Now come help me make lunch."

* * *


Bala,

You're right. We should meet. I think the Leaky Cauldron's the best place, don't you? Is there a particular day you would prefer? I'm free most afternoons around three. I could be there tomorrow, if you liked.

Wolfcub


Charlie quickly drafted a response. Tomorrow. Finally, he'd find out who his mystery bloke was. He wondered whether it would be obvious why Harry was worried when he met him, then decided he had bigger things to worry about. Like what to wear.

He spent the rest of the day finding an outfit that wasn't too flashy or casual, and then worked out for a while to relax himself. No better way to distract himself, at least not without being back at the preserve.

The next morning dawned bright and clear. No fog, no rain, even the temperature was nice for an autumn day. Charlie whistled as he worked at putting up the drawings of tattoos in his shop, having lunch with George before spending the rest of the day planning his big opening. If tonight worked, everything in his life would be perfect. When he'd decided to return to England, he'd been so sure that he'd regret it within a month, but now everything was coming together. If this Wolfcub didn't turn out to be the one, maybe he'd try his hand at an ad himself. There had to be someone out there for him.

When he entered the Leaky Cauldron, the after-work crowd was light, but it was definitely beginning to gather. Few heads turned when he opened the door, and only one was young enough to possibly be his Wolfcub. For a second, he felt the bottom drop out of his world. Teddy.

Teddy's hair was flickering from gold to red to brown as he looked at Charlie. His eyes shifted behind Charlie when the door opened once more, then returned to him. When Charlie walked toward him, it stalled at a bright cherry red, and his eyes grew round. Charlie settled across from him before speaking. "Wolfcub?" he asked. Maybe it was all in his head?

"Charlie? You're… Bala?"

Relief washed over Charlie, then joy. "You're not dating Victoire, then?" Teddy shook his head mutely, and Charlie felt a fool for waiting. "If I'd known, I'd have asked, Teddy. I didn't know you liked older guys." Now everything was making sense. Harry's worry, the letters, even Teddy's need for an older man. Didn't they say when you lost your father so young, you often ended up with a fixation in your romantic life later?

"It doesn't bother you? Knowing who I am? I mean… we're practically family. Vic… Harry… the kids. What will they say?"

"Does it matter?" Charlie asked him. He wanted to reach out and touch him. Even better, kiss him, and find out if those soft lips were every bit as good as he'd always thought. "It isn't about them, Teddy. This is about us. What we want. If you don't want it…"

"I…" Teddy's eyes only met Charlie's when he answered finally answered. "Of course I want it. You." He took a deep, shuddering breath, his voice softer when he spoke again. "You're the one I've wanted for a while now. I could hardly tell that to Vic, could I?"

Charlie grinned, then stood. "Maybe. Maybe not. Something tells me we'll be finding out her reaction eventually." Because if Teddy wanted him as much as he'd wanted Teddy… Well, this was definitely going to be more than a flash in the pan. "Come on." He held out his hand. "Let's take a walk." And hopefully find someplace private to steal a snog or two and test those gorgeous lips properly. Grinning wider when Teddy rose and took his hand, Charlie tugged him close. He definitely couldn't wait.

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