The Cinnabar Sling, a story from Not Groom Lake
by Dingochow

The American Facility is not at Groom Lake, Nevada, though at lot of effort has gone into making sure that anyone who even suspects it exists "knows" that's where it is.  That's why whackjobs, idiots, conspiracy theorists and the so-called Illuminati call it that, and why the people who actually work there call it what they do.

Not Groom Lake.

At the time, the head of IT at Not Groom Lake was a tall, skinny guy with a long greasy black ponytail and really huge nose.  People called him the Spider, and he was a Brit.  He was also about five kinds of genius, and famous even at NGL, where pretty much everyone is a braniac and likes to show it off, as the most ill tempered, sarcastic, polysyllabic bastard on the place.

The Spider didn't like boys.  Not officially.  What Spider liked was men, men fairly close to his own age, say between thirty and fifty or fifty-five, men who were just as jaded and kinky as he was.  No soppy stuff, no wide eyes gazing up at him in admiration, no sexually charged hero worship or passionate eagerness to learn.  Spider liked pickups and casual meetings, or, at the very most, he might tolerate what the younger generation called "friends with benefits".  He certainly didn't want to be anybody's first time, much less his first love.  Talk about scarring some poor innocent little bastard for life.

Spider was a piece of work, but even he wasn't that much of a jerk.

But in spite of this, it was pretty well accepted around Not Groom Lake that if you wanted something rather special in the way of mission data,  or to "borrow" experimental hardware, or had some other urgent need for a favor only the Spider could grant, your best approach was to send your request via the prettiest young man you could round up.  You might get what you wanted, and your messenger would probably come back more or less intact.  Rumor around the place was that the Spider had once been a schoolteacher, which was why he liked to look but never would touch.

Spider knew about this rumor, too, and never bothered to acknowledge it.  What he did acknowledge, if only to himself, was that the grapevine at NGL was somewhat more accurate than others he had known.  The Americans did a few things right, and recruiting at their Facility was on a par with their barbecued beef ribs and carnitas with guacamole.

Part 1

There was always a boy, the Spider thought with satisfaction as he leaned back in his mesh chair in the center of his toroidal "work station".  (Trust the Americans to refuse to call a desk a desk.)  Every few months an assortment of new recruits and transfers arrived, and there always was one boy among them who seemed designed by chance to serve his secret pleasure. And the new one always seemed to show up just as he'd lost interest in every fantasy his depraved imagination could devise about the current favorite.

His luck continued to be excellent.  This specimen was particularly succulent, a veritable incubus with sun kissed fair skin, a sweet, impish face, and a sturdy, compact little body.  Spider sighed invisibly; he liked his young imaginary lovers on the small side, just the right height to tuck up under his chin … and why shouldn't he mentally cuddle them? That was precisely the function of sexual fantasies: to indulge one's disgusting tastes for activities one would never practice in real life.

Such a lovely boy it was, with a mop of messy dark hair, the upper layers bleached to a rich dark brown, and those bright green eyes. He'd always had a (comparatively) soft spot for eyes that were genuinely green.  If this one had any fault, it was that he was perhaps the slightest bit too old, twenty three or twenty four…the Spider could, of course, insinuate himself into his personnel file and find out all the pertinent details, but that was something he never did.  He was interested in a masturbatory fantasy, not in a boy.  Or, more properly, not in a young man.  Merlin forbid.

Harry Hartsfield.  That was his name,  the new boy.  The Spider couldn't avoid learning that much, or that Hartsfield was supposed to be someone special from across the water who'd come to Not Groom Lake because he wanted to Forget.  Spider could almost sympathize with parts of that.  He was no one special, but he was from across the water himself, and had found a long stint in the great American desert a great aid in forgetting (with a small f, of course) his own problems.  He'd liked it so much he'd decided to stay.  Would Hartsfield do the same?  Spider watched the soft golden curve of his neck against the pure black of his thin t-shirt  and had to admit it would do a lot for the scenery.

"Excuse me?"

"There's no excuse."  Hmm.  London and Surrey, overlaid with Scotland and, already, a little bit of the local twang.  The Castle, then, and not too long ago.

"Heh.  Sorry.  They said you didn't suffer foolishness gladly.  You're the one they call the Spider, right?"

"It's fools I don't suffer gladly.  Are you a fool, Mr. Hartsfield?"

"Maybe. You tell me, Mr. ….?"

"Just Spider will do. No need to share all my secrets with impetuous youth."

"Even if Impetuous Youth is really, really curious?"

Flirt with me, will you, Green Eyes?  Didn't your mama teach you not to poke a manticore with a pointed stick?  The Spider shook himself hard, mentally.  The boy was flirting because he was beautiful and strong and all the world was, quite rightly, at his sports-sandaled feet.  Not because he had a perverse taste for stringy, leathery, ugly gits who were old enough to be his father.  Nobody was that twisted at such an age.

More's the pity.

"Impetuous youth would do better to state its business and go bat its eyelashes at someone less likely to set them on fire with a single word."

"Yes, Spider.  I need to see the records for any ritual summonings reported as taking place in the state of Georgia between 1950 and 1979.  The detailed records."

"Ah, the Shadowjumpers have set the new boy on the trail of Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, have they?"  The Spider took down the necessary details. "Ten minutes, cubicle 14."

"Thank you very much, Spider."  Polite, subdued: the Spider was almost sorry.  Then the shaggy dark head came up … "Oh, and Spider?"

"Yes, Mr. Hartsfield?"

"That single word you were mentioning?"  The boy held a bit of scrap paper between the first two fingers of his free hand.  "That would be incendio."

The Spider was oddly mesmerized by the tiny flash and wisp of smoke.  Also by the smirk, and the delighted green eyes.

"Try that trick in my library again, Mr. Hartsfield, and I'll have you Removed for attempted vandalism."

No reply, just a grin and an undignified scamper and the Spider sending the files to research cubicle 14.  Incubus indeed, with his fire and smoke.  But those green eyes were more than devilish.  There was depth in them, and they reminded Spider, all unwilling, of something sweet he had lost a long time ago.

Things went on that way for some time: the Spider contemplating the boy, the boy playing at flirting with the Spider, and the Spider enjoying it more than he was willing to admit even to himself.  He was willing to admit, if only to himself, that the possibilities this situation presented for fantasy were excellent, as was the resulting masturbation.  He even went back to his roots in the chemistry lab and concocted a new lubricant which he privately thought of as Harry Hartsfield's spunk, and he spent many happy hours exploring variations on the theme of Hartsfield ejaculating on him (delectably filthy!) then watching as he stroked himself to climax with the resulting mess.  The green eyes always went wide with lust at the sight of that …

Professionally, there was a little bit more of the Things Man Was Not Meant to Know business than the Spider thought was entirely useful, but then he was biased.  Where he came from Man Needed to Know Just About Everything, and if some of the Things he'd learned had driven him mad, they had done it so thoroughly that he'd never noticed.

Most of the increasing number of research requests on the subject were brought to him by Hartsfield, which gave them even more opportunities to exchange mock compliments and genuine insults.

The Spider refused to consider the possibility that the insults were growing very very slightly less genuine.

There would never have been anything more to it but flirting if the idiot Shadowjumpers hadn't sent young Hartsfield out to work a shift at the Field Office in Santa ____ , dealing with walk-ins from the general public. This was the polite way of describing the evidence brought in by civilian whackjobs who wanted their anomalies investigated.  The Spider thought that the vast majority of these anomalies were in the heads of the general public themselves, and he enjoyed telling them about his opinions in detail, which was why he never worked at the Field Office any more.

But White Buffalo insisted that every so often the general public ran across something genuinely interesting or valuable, and that it was also wise to keep an eye and an ear on what the whackjobs were up to.  So selected junior members jounced the 250 miles (each way) every week in NGL's ever changing assortment of disreputable four by fours, and brought back truckloads of what Spider considered to be the very definition of 'crap'.

Hartsfield brought back, among other useless items, a stack of videotapes.  Beta videotapes.  Of course, the only working Beta VCR on the place was the one in the Spider's media lab, so the boy sat there for several days, watching the tapes and sniggering at Spider's sarcastic comments.

One of the tapes was something White Buffalo would definitely have found genuinely interesting, if she had ever gotten to see it.  It was a recording of a ritual summoning by some obscure and nasty cult.  Unfortunately, they were an cult that had somehow gotten their hands on a genuine grimoire of some kind, possibly the annotated version of the  New York Codex, and managed to summon … something.

It was a nice clean tape.  It was a very powerful ritual.  It destroyed the only working Beta deck at Not Groom Lake, and filled Spider's media lab with ambulatory mushrooms, very large ambulatory mushrooms with extremely poor attitudes.

There was no one nearby to fight them but the Spider and young Mr. Hartsfield.  They tried hitting the fungoids with chairs and squirting them with all three types of fire extinguishers, but they only grew more numerous and agitated.  The actually seemed to enjoy the halon.

There was nothing for it but to bring out the metaphorical big guns.  The Spider reached for the small of his back, under his polo shirt and NGL hoodie, and drew his wand.  He was a wizard, and a powerful one,  and he strongly disliked  advertising the fact, but he had no real interest in ingesting spores and becoming a fungus, either.

Fire jets, jets of proper magical fire that burned only what they were aimed at, seemed to be the appropriate weapon.

It was actually a moment or two before he noticed that his own silver fire, with its attractive green accents, had been joined by even larger jets of gold laced with red.  He looked over his shoulder to see Harry Hartsfield, his own wand out, blasting away at a large fungus with a cheerfully ruthless grin on his pretty face.

"Incendio, Mr. Hartsfield?"

"Incendio, Spider.  Sorry about your VCR."

"You'll be hunting for a replacements at every flea market in the country."

"It's a date."

They killed what seemed like several thousand fungoids before the assault team took over. Oddly enough, they both slightly disappointed.  They could have finished the job themselves, easily.

Part 2

It had been a long time since the Spider had gone into combat.  He was support staff now, dammit. But he had been a soldier once, and apparently it wasn't a skill set one easily lost.  What he had forgotten was the jangly, wired feeling that came afterwards. He'd forgotten he wouldn't be able to sleep.

Which was why he was sitting alone in the senior members' lounge  a little while after midnight, drinking decaf in his pajama bottoms and a faded All Blacks jersey a long ago acquaintance had left behind in a motel room after a particularly memorable weekend.  Yes, the Spider had once done a New Zealand  rugby player.  He was secretly rather proud of that and only wore the jersey when he was in a certain kind of good mood.

The good mood faded quickly as the door squeaked open.  Who else dared, who had a right, to interrupt his thoughts at a time like this?

Well, perhaps Hartsfield did, though by strict interpretation of the rules he should be enjoying his post combat insomnia in the junior lounge.  Was it the strange hour or the shared experience that made the Spider so unnaturally generous as to not drive the boy away with a sharp word? Or was it the very pretty sight he made, padding through the doorway in nothing but a skimpy little white T-shirt and pale blue flannel pajama trousers decorated with out of season snowflakes?

Demons, such as incubi, are nothing but fallen angels, as Spider knew very well.

The boy took a coffee and some kind of stale pastry, and sat down companionably enough.  He didn't say anything for a long time, just broke the pastry into pieces and systematically shredded it.

There was some tension in the air, but it wasn't entirely unpleasant.  The Spider got up to pace a bit, and that started the boy talking.

"You know, Spider, this is the first time we've ever been alone together.  When we weren't fighting evil funguses, I mean."

" 'Fungi'. Or 'fungoids', perhaps, since the fungi with which I  was previously familiar don't tend to attack humans in tactical formation. Regardless, there is no such word as 'funguses'."

Hartsfield was looking up at him in a disconcerting way.  Green gaze. Mischief, certainly, and power, but maybe something else as well.

"Wow," said the boy in an oddly husky voice, standing up directly in the path of the Spider's pacing.  "Nothing fazes you, does it?  We fight off an invasion, almost get ourselves fungusized; I know that's not a word, so shut it, and here you are, calmly correcting my grammar.  It makes me want … it makes me want to kiss you."

"Having your grammar corrected arouses you?  Your schooldays must have been a perpetual torment."

"I'm lucky you weren't one of my teachers."  Hartsfield stopped the Spider in his tracks with one hand on the center of his narrow chest, which was rising and falling rather more rapidly then it should.  He should remove the hand, grab the bony (delicate!) wrist and fling it aside; playful banter was one thing but this clearly crossed the line into inappropriate conduct … "But I'm pretty sure there's lots of stuff you could teach me now."

The boy's other hand slid under his long damp hair to rest on the nape of his neck.  Both hands were warm, entirely different warmths, one through the thick jersey, the other on his bare skin, Merlin, the boy's fingers were on his skin, stroking one of the knobs of his spine.

Firmly, and with great assurance, Harry Hartsfield rose up on his toes and kissed him on the mouth.  The Spider did not generally like kissing, filing it under "sentimental nonsense",  though he had indulged in it on occasion when a partner particularly wanted to.  At those times the other man's pleasure had at least made it interesting, even if he hadn't thought much of it himself.

This was utterly different, a slippery friction of erogenous mucous membranes that was every bit as quiveringly delicious as … as other stuff.  As Harry would say.  Incoherent, are we, Spider?  Ah, but the boy's tongue is in my mouth, small, quick, eager.  Hot little tongue.

There's a banal observation.

But it's such a hot little tongue.

The Spider dipped the boy expertly and took control of the kiss.  The hot little tongue wrapped around his long one-did it feel cool to the boy, he wondered, like a snake?-and he thrust against it, quick slick thrusts … this was delectable.

Hartsfield moaned onto his tongue, then broke the kiss, panting softly against Spider's neck.  Spider wiped his mouth with one hand. His lips felt odd, sticky and swollen.  His other arm was wound around the boy, holding him solidly against him.  When had he done that?  When had the incubus wrapped his own arms around the Spider's neck?

They were embracing.  In the senior members' lounge.  This was beyond inappropriate.  It was unacceptable. It was unconscionable.

He put his hand on the boy's shoulder to push him away, opened his mouth to release his disgust in a torrent of vituperative polysyllables.

The boy purred and wriggled, Spider's hand slid down his back, firm and silky through the thin cotton shirt, and there was the tongue again.

Hot mouthed fallen angel.  Spider turned the boy slightly without breaking the kiss and started to stroke his chest. His fingers slid across a little bump, tight and tense.  Hartsfield made a happy sound and sucked eagerly at his tongue.

He pinched the nipple, perhaps a bit harder than was entirely prudent on such brief acquaintance, but the incubus just hissed and arched his back, shoving a very promising package up against the Spider's thigh.  Not so little, either … say medium sized, quite generous, really, on such a small body.  He was kissing Harry Hartsfield while said Harry Hartsfield humped his leg.  Unbelievable.

Was it worth abandoning this particular fantasy for a single night of reality?  The object in question was certainly willing enough, and old enough to make it legal if not exactly ethical. Almost sure not to end well, of course, but when had anything even half so potentially pleasurable ever ended well for him?  Even a tenth, a hundredth …

The boy had somehow let go of his neck while wriggling even closer.  He was sliding a hand up the back of his jersey.  The inside of his arm was so soft ... the very, very softest thing Spider ever remembered feeling, rubbing up against his spine    He abandoned the nipple he was tormenting and groped for his own drawstring.

He was going to get his pajamas down and Hartsfield was going to be on his knees and sucking and it was going to happen now.

No, it wasn't.

He didn't shove dramatically, as if the young man's tender body was suddenly dripping with acid, or some other overblown metaphor.  He simply pulled back his tongue, dropped his hands, and stepped aside.  The boy almost fell, then recovered gracefully.  He looked slightly dumbfounded.

"Hey! I was enjoying that!"

"Immaterial. This is most unwise, Mr. Hartsfield.  We are breaking several of this institution's rules, while also committing a breach of professional ethics and creating an aesthetic abomination."

"OK …OK… I know that senior members aren't supposed to 'fraternise' with the juniors.  Even though I've only been here for about three weeks, I already know of four other couples and a group of three who are breaking that rule all over the place."

Spider had been there for 15 years and could think of more than a hundred examples, and of at least a dozen that were currently ongoing. Although the group of three had somehow escaped his knowledge ...

"So called public displays of affection are also forbidden.  Not to mention that this lounge is our of bounds to junior members."

"So we'll go to your room! Or mine.  I suppose the 'professional ethics' thing is you involves you being some kind of mentor to me, though I don't see why you can't mentor me in the erotic arts as well as in research and analysis - you seem to be just as much of an expert in that.  But what in the hell is an 'aesthetic abomination', and how are we creating one just by snogging?"

"Your ignorance amazes me.  You've never encountered the word "aesthetics" before?  Have you never so much as attempted a crossword puzzle?"

"I know what aesthetics means-something to do with art, right, and beauty?  How things look."

"That is more or less correct.  Aesthetics is the understanding and appreciation of beauty.  You, Mr. Hartsfield, are a very aesthetically pleasing man. You are also an ignorant and impulsive young fool, but you are very aesthetically pleasing."  The ridiculous look of pleasure in those green eyes broke something inside the Spider, and he found himself saying far more than he intended. "I, on the other hand am not.  I am absurdly tall and absurdly thin.  My nose is far too large for my face, my hair is lank and always slightly greasy, my skin and teeth are both yellow, and my overall posture and expression reveal nothing more than my evil temper and general contempt for the human race.  I am also old enough to be your father.  The image of the two of us, unclothed, in a moment of  physical intimacy, is too repulsive for words."

"Wow, you really have a shitty self image."  Hartsfield had the gall to sound both amused and concerned, and even slightly affectionate.  "For the record, I'm really, really hot for blokes who are a lot taller than I am. If you're skinny, it just makes you easier to wrap myself around. Your hair is great, long and sleek, and you just washed it, so it's not greasy now.  I don't care what color your skin is; it feels wonderful, and your teeth could be purple as long as you can kiss like that."  The boy took a much needed breath. "Let's see, what's next? Oh, the evil temper and general contempt … I'm not scared of the temper, and while you may have general contempt, for humanity, I don't think you hate me all that much. But if it makes you feel better to pretend that you do, you can go right ahead."

The boy stepped close again, so close that Spider could feel the heat coming off him.

"As for being old enough to be my father, well … that's what I like. You probably already know this, since you know everything, but my parents died when I was a baby, and my aunt and uncle lost custody of me when I was five or so… After that I was raised by my godfather and his partner-his male partner-and my first crushes were always on their friends, not on boys my own age.  I always knew I'd be with an older man."  Both small hands now, side by side on Spider's chest.  Green eyes lifted up.  "So come on.  No more excuses.  Take me back to your room now, OK?"

"No."  An instant of heartbreaking disappointment on the face of the incubus: Spider was never sure, even years later, if he changed his mind at that moment, or if his fall was predetermined.  "Not my room.  If you want me so badly, take me to your bed."

Part 3

Grin, quick kiss, and the Spider found himself dragged forcibly through once familiar corridors to a room only three doors down from the one he had lived in as a junior.  This bed was saggy rather than hard and creaky like the one in his old quarters, but it was double sized and the sheets were fairly clean and really, what else did one need?  Well, perhaps a lubricant of some kind. Hartsfield actually had a tube in full view on his nightstand.

"Expecting visitors, Mr. Hartsfield?"  The boy looked at the tube of surgical jelly and blushed.  Charming.

"No. There hasn't exactly been a parade through here, if that's what you're suggesting.  If I'd thought there was any chance anyone might be coming over, I would have put it away." He paused, then went on, shyly.  " I just like it, you know … when I'm alone. Makes it more fun.  Don't you think so?"

The Spider sat down on the bed and pretended to consider the question.  "An intriguing concept.  Perhaps you could give me a demonstration?"


"I think that even with your limited vocabulary, you must have understood the question."

"You want to watch me …?"

"Masturbate. Yes."  The Spider leaned back on his elbows and smiled up at the boy, feeling pleasantly perverse and rather predatory.  "Show me.  Show me how you like to be touched."

The boy was staring at him with wide green eyes.  His blunt fingers toyed with the hem of his worn little T-shirt.

"No … leave the shirt.  Take everything else off."  Pale blue flannel feel away from strong, toned, and surprisingly hairy legs.  He might be young, and still quite boyish in his manner, but Hartsfield was clearly a grown man.  A bubble of guilt that hadn't quite risen to the top of the Spider's consciousness popped and disappeared, leaving him even gladder that he had taken what was being offered.  They might  play a game of debauching innocence, but it was only a game.

Then there was Hartsfield's prick, rising from a forest of thick black hair; definitely fully mature and eager to be put on display.  It was worthy of the finest art gallery, sweetly pink and arching, its wide gleaming head peeping out from the delicate rim of its loose hood.

"Aaah.  That's lovely. I've spent far too long in America," said the Spider.

"What?" said Hartsfield, looking down at himself and touching his foreskin with one finger, almost shyly. "Oh yeah.  I've noticed that.  Is everyone here cut?"

The Spider only nodded, as the touch seemed to remind the boy what he was supposed to be doing.  He picked up the tube of lubricant and squirted a long, clear stripe of it down the length of that pretty, pretty tool, then began stroking himself.  The Spider couldn't tell if he was being tentative, or whether he just liked to start slow, to tease himself.  He was certainly teasing his audience rather effectively.

To avoid an embarrassing occurrence in his own pajamas, Spider began a mental catalog: he likes to slip a fingertip under his foreskin and run it around; he'd probably respond nicely to the same move with a tongue.  He rubs the vein, he palms the head and rubs it in circles; he likes it slick, he squeezes his balls firmly enough to make himself squeal.  Or maybe he's just a filthy-minded little exhibitionist …

The Spider grabbed Hartsfield's upper arms and tossed him onto the bed.

"Didn't like the show?" the imp enquired, grinning until his guest shut him up with his mouth, while yanking down his own pajama bottoms.  Once he got Hartsfield's well lubricated hands down where they belonged, the Spider slunk out of his jersey.  Their kiss broke on the hem. "I'm not the only naughty boy who didn't wear his smalls tonight, am I?" Hartsfield whispered.   You wanted me to see your wonderful big thing.  You wanted me to play with it."

All the clever, sarcastic remarks the Spider could have made, but what came out was "Touch me."  And clever hands were wrapped around him, exploring him softly for what felt like a perfect hour, and then a tongue that he thought he knew fairly well already was doing something rather unexpected to his slit, and he had to flip the incubus over onto his back, fast.

He held those slick, wicked hands tightly in his. "Cheating, are we, Mr. Hartsfield?  I don't recall saying anything about using your mouth."

"Better keep that monster of yours from tasting so good, then."

"Flatterer."  Spider transferred the two greasy paws to one of his-one of the great joys of having really large hands and feet-and used his free hand to shove the boy's t-shirt up to his armpits.  His chest was smooth and his nipples looked as good as they'd felt,  crinkled and pink.  He suckled one, and then the other, flicking them with his tongue and nipping gently at the very tips.  Hartsfield made very satisfying sounds when he was pleased.

Then down his belly-dark hair starting just under his ribs and thickening as it passed his navel, which was enchanting under Spider's tongue, into a perfect treasure trail leading down to his groin.  Balls first, rounded and firm in their tender little pouch, tongue them, rub them together, and then, as the boy was driven to the verge of gibbering madness, descend on his prick with everything you've got.  Spider licked the lube away  with long methodical strokes, then proceeded to try all the techniques suggested by his previous observations.

Hartsfield had a meltdown.  At first he was chatty; the phrases "suck me, you bastard" and "do me with your mouth" taking on the aura of magical incantations, but he was soon reduced to whining, then to whimpering and finally to panting and soft sobs.  His orgasm seemed to last forever.

The Spider had missed somewhat on the taste when creating his concoction, but he'd been spot on with the texture.

Afterward he slid up onto the boy and was thrusting idly against the soft skin between his thigh and groin. The imp whispered in his ear.

"Fuck me now?"

"A most hospitable invitation.  I would be very happy to oblige you."  There was a moment of surprise, almost awe on Hartsfield's face as Spider petted his arsehole with two greasy fingers and then slipped one inside, a moment when the Spider almost wondered if this might be the first time.  But he pushed the thought aside, lifting the strong young legs and draping them over his shoulders. Even if the boy wasn't promiscuous, as he claimed, he must have some experience to be so bold as to attempt to seduce someone so much older and nastier.

Well, a bit more than attempt to seduce, if anyone was interested in being honest with himself at a time like this.  The Spider wasn't.  He did try to be as gentle as possible, on general principle, and Hartsfield opened up for him beautifully.  He slid inside with a most distracting feeling of coming home, and it took him a moment to put his focus back in his work. When he was sure the gasps were more of pleasure than of pain, he let himself step out a bit, shifting his hips until he hit the sweet spot.  The frisky young prick, hard again, bounced between their bellies.

"Bloody hell."

"Such language.  Are you enjoying yourself, Mr. Hartsfield?"

"Yesss...  But  …considering … where you've got your prick … maybe you should call me… Harry."

"Come for me, then, beautiful Harry."

A second set of spurts, more sweet pearly spunk, and deep deep spasms that squeezed the Spider to peaks of delight and brought him, at last, over the edge.

It was so warm, afterwards.  Soft skin, nuzzling, petting, whimpers.  Whose whimpers?   Rousing himself, Hartsfield, no, Harry, wiped them off with a crumpled old towel, crusty with who knows what, that he pulled out from under the bed.  Disgusting, but appropriate to the setting.  Then the boy slid out of his t-shirt and draped himself over Spider's body, tucking his silky head neatly under his chin.  Spider let him stay a while, far longer than he usually let his playmates take such liberties, but when he started to snore softly, Spider slid him off, quite gently, onto his own pillow.  This was his cue to exit.

"Where are you going?"

"To see out whatever's left of the night in my own room.  You've had your fun, Mr. Hartsfield.  Put that notch on your bedpost in the morning, and sleep well.  You've earned it."

The boy rolled over and reached out.  His hand was very strong, for something so small.

"Don't be stupid.  You're staying here.  And you call me Harry now, remember?"

He tugged, and to his surprise, the Spider let himself be tugged.  He settled on his back  again, and the boy wriggled against his side, nuzzling his shoulder with a contented snuffling noise.  It was only the logic of mechanics that made the Spider loop his trapped arm around the warm, solid body.  Fingers wandered down his chest, brushing his nipple, sliding against his ribs.  And the touch on the inside of his other elbow told him, as clearly as a voice, to put that around me too, please.

"You're not a notch," said Harry to Spider's collarbone, "and this isn't a just a one time thing."

"Don't I have anything to say about that?"

"Nope.  We're friends now.  And I want you to do me lots."

Soft spot.  Green eyes.

Do me lots.

All right.

Part 4

The morning after wasn't as awkward as the Spider had feared.  He disentangled himself from the sleek, musky limbs without waking Harry, found his clothes without a light, and had enough common sense to go to the library instead of to his room.  When his colleagues came on shift, they found him crouched over his console in sleeping attire, just as if he'd gotten up in the night to work on a problem.

Which was only the truth. He had gotten up in the night, and if he hadn't had a problem before, he certainly had one now.

It didn't help matters that White Buffalo called him into her office later that morning.  Privately, he thought of the Coordinator (ridiculous title) as the Headmistress, and he felt very like a schoolboy caught in serious naughtiness as he approached her desk.  It was all he could do not to stare down at her thickly piled native rugs and shuffle his feet.

But all she had for him was unaccustomed praise-he'd never worked so well with any of the juniors as he had with young Hartsfield, and their joint effort against the fungoids was worthy of a commendation.  They obviously made a good team, she suspected they had a great deal in common personally, and if they wanted to cooperate on future projects, she would tend to look favorably on applications from either of them.

Then she wanted his opinions on a set of pipestone carvings retrieved from an Ohio Valley mound being leveled to make a golf course.  He looked at her across a menagerie of little birds and beavers and wondered what was going on behind the wrinkled face, white braids, and beaded headband that concealed the second cleverest, most conniving mind the Spider had ever known. (Counting himself as the third.)  She might look like a professional Indian, hawking native crafts and  posing for photos with tourists,  but he was sure she saw secrets he could easily conceal from anyone else.

The birds were real, but all but one of the beavers was a fake.  White Buffalo let him go with only a cup of excellent coffee and a pat on the shoulder.

He decided, several days later, that he wouldn't bother telling the Headmistress about his and Hartsfield's continuing project.  Hartsfield's creative thinking, his willingness to accept guidance,  the cleverness of his fingers in tight places, and his eagerness to learn (to find the Spider's prostate), all might suggest a great deal about his potential as an investigator.  But Spider kept it to himself, along with the sweetness of Harry's throat under his lips, and the tender way the boy curled against him in his sleep.

Part 5

Why, Harry had asked him more than once, does everyone call you 'the Spider'?  He'd never answered, assuming even the young idiot had enough brains to deduce it for himself eventually.  But normally he was never happier than when he was in his big mesh chair surrounded by his monitors, suspended in the center of his web of information.  His long fingers twitched on every thread, knotting them together in patterns as elaborate as the central metaphor, creating elaborate traps in which to snag previously unimaginable conclusions.

Harry's bed was currently providing a rather attractive competing venue, but the Spider was still content enough to be at work.  The results of his private standing searches spilled onto his personal monitor.

Hmm.  Junior Member Harry Hartsfield had requested a secure videophone link to a UK code, the stated purpose being "domestic visit".  Domestics didn't normally call for secure links, "secure" in Not Groom Lake terms being a synonym for "adamantine fortress".  The normal links, comparable to diplomatic Ultra channels, were usually considered good enough for calling home to talk to one's mama.  Or to one's papas,  in Hartsfield's case.

The Spider found himself curiously interested in these two middle aged (presumably) British (presumably) queers who had brought up his young lover to be the charming little slut he was he was today.   It would be easy enough to take a quick peek at them, "secure" not meaning "secure from the man who set up the cryptographic systems".   Spider was not accustomed to gross self deception, so he did not promise himself to stop at a quick peek.

So when Hartsfield sat down at the secure console his assigned cubicle at midday, (a convenient after supper hour back in the green and pleasant land) his video and audio feeds were also arriving at another console in the Spider's second most private office.

There was no suspense, no slowly developing sense of impending doom.  The world just crashed down on the Spider's not terribly innocent head.

The boy's greeting was peppy and enthusiastic, both filial and friendly.  He clearly adored his "goddads" and was eager to share all the secrets of his happy little heart

"Hi, Sirius!  Hi, Remus!"

with the two (surviving) people that the Spider, when he bothered to think about them, still hated most in the entire world.

They looked good, he had to admit that.  Black had always been gorgeous (and well he knew it), and the years had been kind to him, leaving his face barely lined and putting just enough grey in his dark hair to set off his eyes and give him an undoubtedly entirely unearned air of dignity.

Lupin was almost entirely silver headed now, and rather more tired looking, hardly unexpected after all these years of monthly transformations.  But he was just as gently handsome as ever, with the look of piercing intelligence in his gold flecked eyes that had gotten the Spider into so much trouble, once upon a particularly horrible time.

The purebred bully and his pet werewolf.  And young Harry, growing up happily at their feet in what looked like a pretty magical cottage somewhere in the pretty magical countryside.

Harry.  Oh Merlin.

Spider had to shut his eyes and swallow rather suddenly to avoid being sick on his own feet.

Harry Hartsfield my skinny arse. His lively little bedmate was none other than the famous Harry Potter.

"Lily … I'm buggering your son …"

What would she have thought, his dear girl, the best friend a homely, antisocial little swot of a shirtlifter could ever have?  He liked to think that if she had lived they would still be friends.  Even after she married Black's repulsive sidekick Potter, she had always made time for him, though she had to do it secretly …when she died, something of the light of the world had gone out.

And it had only been rekindled for him when Harry bounded into his life.  He should have recognized the eyes.  Lily's green eyes.

What would she have thought of this, of seeing her son nestled in the arms of her old friend?  Honestly?  Spider was confident it would have depended entirely on Harry.  If she had been confident that he was happy, that he was well-treated, she would have been genuinely content.

Black and Lupin, on the other hand, would rip him to shreds in the name of the late James Potter, or die trying.

He snapped off the feeds.  He didn't want to see, or hear, what happened when young Potter told his "goddads" all about his new boyfriend.  He had no idea if Harry knew his original name; he might not use it here but it was hardly a well-guarded secret.  But it didn't really matter; a moderately accurate description would provide the canine duo, who were not completely stupid, with sufficient information to fuck up his life beyond repair.

He braced himself for what was coming.  Would it be a stormy confrontation, or a red faced little breakup, or simply a scrawled note saying I don't think we should see each other any more?  Dammit.  This was the last time he ever had sex with anyone more than once.

But Harry came along at his usual time, and poked curiously through everything on his desk until he was ready to leave, just as if this was an ordinary Thursday and he was going to try to wheedle the Spider into taking him to Make Your Own Pizza Night at the North End Commons.

"How was your call home, then?"

"How did you know? ...oh yeah; you're probably the person who approves the requests and puts the lists together.  It was fine.  Everything's OK there.  One of my goddads might be teaching at the Castle next term-Potions.  He's really a good teacher."

Holy cat's triple tails.  He sincerely hoped the boy was talking about Black-Lupin had always been a disaster in the lab.  He really should let the topic drop, but his mouth seemed to be momentarily out of his control.

"And what did they say about your …private life?"

"Cripes, Spider, what do you think I am, a teenage girl?  They asked, of course, because they're nosy, and I did tell them I was seeing somebody, and that he was older, and assigned here, but I didn't give them any hot and sweaty details. So don't worry about it.  Your precious privacy is intact.  Remus did say to be careful, but that's just a dad thing."

"Good advice, however."

"You'll never hurt me, Spider."

Don't be so sure, little Green Eyes.  Don't be so sure about that.

They made a large pizza with mushrooms and onions, plus pepperoni on Harry's half and bacon on the Spider's.  And Spider promised himself that the boy would never learn the truth from him, and when the inevitable happened, he'd try to behave with a little bit of dignity.

Part 6


"Yes, Mr.  Hartsfield."

"Where are you?"

"If you're coming down the grey staircase, I'm in the third stack on your left.  'Animagi through Annual Plants'."

He could almost hear the wretched boy's lips move as he read the cards on the ends of the long sections of shelving.

"Here you are.  This is totally amazing!  I've never been down here before."

"That's because the NGL library is a closed stack institution: library staff only. Which means the IT staff, since we have no proper Librarian, which in turn is a long story unfit for your youthful and innocent ears.  The stairwell doors won't open except for unauthorized personnel."

"They let me through."

"Technically, no.  What they let through is the object you are carrying.  Who sent  you on this particular errand?

"White Buffalo.  She called me into her office and everything."  The awe in the boy's voice was rather touching.  The Headmistress's office was an impressive setting, being filled with all the artifacts the old drama queen had collected in a very long and adventurous career.  Not more than a third of them were outright frauds, and there were some things up there that scared even the Spider.  "She said you'd be down here and I should bring this right to you and not stop to look at it."  The boy held out a large, flat rectangular package wrapped in heavy brown paper and sealed in a plastic zipper bag.

"Interesting. What is it?"

"How should  I know?  I wasn't supposed to look at it."

"So of course you did."  The boy colored up very prettily.

"Well, yeah.  It's a book, which sort of makes sense in a library.  Grey leather binding and a whole bunch of big metal straps holding it shut.  I don't know what it's called, because the title's in a language I can't read-I don't even recognize the alphabet-and I have no idea what's in it, because I can't get it open."

"Which is obvious, since you still seem to have all your fingers.  Hand it to me.  Very carefully please."  Hartsfield suddenly handled the package as if it was going to explode at any instant, as he should have been doing all along.

The Spider carried it to a large work table set in a gap between the stacks, and gingerly unwrapped it.  Then he took out his wand and ran a standard battery of detection and investigational spells, "Oh, yes.  This should be of some interest to you, Harry.  It's one of the few remaining print copies of the New York Codex."

"What language is that?"

"Anglo-Sumerian.  And no, I can't read it-I don't think there are more than two or three people alive today who can. Unfortunately, this particular copy was heavily annotated in English by someone who could, and it's caused a lot of trouble, including those fungoids we encountered a while ago."

"Whoa, this is where that ritual came from?  Yuck!"  Hartsfield took several steps back until he backed into 'Baal through Bakerloo'.

"Don't worry.  You are safe from further fungal incursions unless you actively follow the rather unpleasant instructions  on page 154, and I can assure you that even you are unlikely to do anything like that by accident.  I'm not even going to open it today.  It's going on ice for at least a month before I even try to catalog it."

The Spider pulled a large red and white plastic box and a roll of duct tape out from under the table.

"Spider, that's a picnic cooler."

"That's something that looks like a picnic cooler, and it works on a rather similar principle.  As you know, magical items recharge themselves, so to speak, by absorbing particles of free magic from the surrounding environment."

"Sure, everybody knows that."

"What most people don't know, Impudence, is that malign magical items, such as this book, absorb large quantities of particles of a certain type, and depriving them of those particles will damp their powers, making them much easier to store and handle.  Boxes such as this one are designed  to block those particles.  I insert the Codex, like so, close the lid,  and seal it up …" The Spider demonstrated, strapping the lid down with about twenty feet of sticky silver tape.  "And in a month or two it won't be able to give anyone more than a severe burn.  It will be much more amenable to being opened and cataloged, and eventually shelved in one of our saferooms."

"Putting it on ice will cool it down.  That's … cool."


Part 7

Reaching up above his head, the Spider turned out the work light over the table.

"Say, Spider."  Harry was perched on the edge of the table, giving him a suspiciously lascivious look.


"You work down here a lot, don't you?

"Several hours a week, certainly.  Why?"

"I was just wondering … have you ever come down here?"


"You know, had an orgasm … you ever rub yourself off in one of those dark corners … or dropped your pants for someone, so he could go down on his knees and suck you?"

"I may have indulged, once or twice, in the first activity."

"Yeah, I bet you have … you love to stroke that gorgeous thing of yours and you do it every chance you get.   Not that I blame you. But you've never let anyone kiss it, never come in anybody's mouth with all these creepy books all around?"

"Sorry, Mr. Hartsfield.  Surprisingly enough, the library stacks are not full of horny people waiting in line to perform oral sex on me."

"They are today." Hartsfield slid off the table and made a beckoning gesture.  The incubus led Spider between two of the stacks so they were out of sight of the stairwell, took both his hands and put them on his own belt buckle. "Show it to me, Spider, please.  I haven't seen it in so long."

"You had it shoved up your hungry little arse not three days ago, you insatiable little slut," said the Spider as he unbuckled his belt.

"That was then, this is now.  No, don't just pull it out … push your trousers all the way down, down to your ankles, yeah."  Hartsfield dropped to his knees, his breath hot little puffs on Spider's swelling, sensitive genitals.  Behind him, something rustled.  Did they have rats again?  Oh, who cares … "That's right, I want to be able to see everything,  get at everything.  Lick your balls, touch your arse."  Strong fingers carded through the hair on his buttocks, then grabbed both cheeks and squeezed them hard.  The Spider made an undignified sound.

Behind him, something buzzed.  Bugs, too.  Oh, Merlin.

The boy cupped Spider's stiff prick in both hands, rubbing the soft head against his soft cheek. "Mmmm.  Like satin.  Hard and soft at the same time. You know, Spider,  I love doing this on my knees best of all."

"Do you now, Harry?"

"Yep.  I love being face to face with it, with you looming over me. Sometimes you pet my hair … yeah.  Like that.  That's nice." Something moved on the shelf behind him, and the Spider almost turned to look at it.  But somehow the boy stroking and praising his penis, and the feel of said boy's mop of silky hair under his hands, seemed just slightly more important.

It wasn't, he reflected later, like he was a real Librarian.

"It's so big, and the head's such a beautiful purple, and you make that gorgeous noise when I do this …"  Harry lapped at the big vein, oh that hot little tongue, something thin and scratchy rubbed against his back.  What the hell was that, and then oh Harry was opening his mouth and his foreskin pushed back against that plump upper lip and who the fuck cares.

The imp was getting better and better at this … Spider had been surprised by how unskilled he'd been at first, although enthusiasm, admiration and a kind of innocent tenderness in his approach had more than made up for it. And he was a fast learner.  Harry took a long breath,  Spider felt him open his throat, and oh he was taking him deep, deeper than he'd ever managed before.  Twinge of guilt at how good it felt when the boy gagged slightly around the very tip.  Thump as a book hit him in the back of the head.

What the HELL??

Harry lifted his head, a distractingly sexy thread of saliva connecting him briefly to his lover.  The Spider's wet prick slapped sloppily against his thigh.  The air was full of books.  They were leaping from shelf to shelf, diving for the floor; some of them looked like they were attempting to take flight.

"Spider …"

"This is why one doesn't usually make love in the stacks."  Make love?  Had he just said the words "make love" to Harry Hartsfield?  Fucking, that was what they were doing, just a friendly little mutual indulgence… then he looked down at the boy and realized the poor little bastard was afraid.

An unabridged dictionary sailed by his ear, though there was hardly room for it to pass.  The Spider decided he was afraid too.  He yanked up his pants and ran for the stairwell, Harry less than a step behind.

They slammed the fire door behind them, climbed two more flights and slammed too more doors, before the Spider stopped to rest against the concrete block wall. Harry collapsed against him, still breathing fast, his lips still enchantingly red and swollen. Spider couldn't help feeling a long quiver of regret over what had had the potential to be a truly epic act of fellatio.

Harry was, shockingly enough, not thinking dirty thoughts.  "Spider. What the hell happened back there?"

"As I said, a demonstration of why it is unwise to have sexual relations in the stacks of an arcane library.  Magical energy and sexual energy are not unrelated, you know, and magical books in close quarters can raise the ambient level to point where sexual excitement can create a … minor disturbance."

"Yeah … that's what it was.  But you said you'd jerked off down there, before."

"Apparently, masturbation, as a solo activity, does not create a large enough burst of energy."

"But the two of us together were too hot!"

Damned if the little pest didn't look proud of himself.  Of course, he wasn't going to be the one reshelving all those books.  Or was he?  The Spider could get White Buffalo to assign him to the library temporarily, but he'd have to come up with a convincing reason …

"Spider.  Earth to Spider."

"Yes, Mr. Hartsfield?"

"If you knew it wasn't safe, why did you do it?"

That was the question, wasn't it?

"Am I just too sexy to resist?"

"Egotistical little boy."

"Dirty old man."

"It's unwise, Mr. Hartsfield, to tease a powerful wizard after you left him hanging in the middle of a blowjob."

"I would have finished you off.  It was you who ran away from the flying dictionary."

The Spider backed the boy up against the wall, bracing himself with his hands on either side of the unruly little head.  "You asked me a question earlier, didn't you, Harry?" he asked in his best bedroom purr. The boy nodded.  "You asked me if I'd ever been sucked off in the library stacks didn't you?"  Flush, eager nod. "Let me ask you a question now.  Have you ever been sodomized in a stairwell?"  Head shake.  "Would you like that?  Would you like me to fuck you right here, up against this wall?"


"Yes, what?"

"Yes, please.  Spider.  Sir. Yes, I'd like you to fuck me in the stairwell."

"Very well.  Your turn to drop your trousers around your ankles. Then turn around and lift up your shirt. Press your face and chest up against the wall."  So cooperative, Mr. Hartsfield.  He caressed the tantalizingly exposed arse. "Doesn't that feel lovely, Harry?  Your tender little nipples pressed up against that cold, hard, rough, concrete wall?  Think of how they'll rub as I pound you into it.  Will the wall be rough enough to make them sore, to rub them to blisters? "

"Oh yeah, please …" the boy whined and spread his legs, as Spider retrieved his emergency lube from his pocket.  He decided to make this one extra wet: hot, slick thrusts as a counterpoint to the rough wall, and a fistful of lube to bring his Harry off right along with him.

The boy, the wall, tight clench, oh ripples of muscle and the pleasure, the pleasure of the handful of hard, twitching prick, pleasure almost as intense as his own thrusting,  fucking his boy, jerking his boy … his …own … boy.

"Harder, Spider, harder, fuck, I love you."

"My Harry.  Mine."

They'd spoken at exactly the same time, and Spider sincerely hoped that Harry's yell had drowned out his own whisper.  At least he hadn't said the precise word, but he may have thought it awfully loudly.

"Look.  I came all over the wall."

"So I see.  Very impressive."

"And look at my nipples.  Not quite rubbed to blisters, but they're all pink and sore."  The boy held up his shirt with one hand and fingered the abused little nubs with the other. "Want to kiss them and make them all better?"

"Don't be absurd.  Idiot boy."

"C'mon.  Aren't they pretty? And so sensitive … hey, don't bite me."

Part 8

The Spider went back down to the stacks a few weeks later. All the books had been reshelved, mostly by a sedately professional Junior Member Hartsfield, assigned to a weeklong library internship by White Buffalo.  The Spider hadn't told her why he wanted this particular assistant for such a short time, but he would not bet against her knowing perfectly well.  She certainly seemed amused by the entire situation.

The Codex had been "on ice" all that time, and it should be settled down enough to permit itself to be cataloged.   This was a state of the art arcane library after all, full of  Forbidden Books with grim capital letters, and even if NGL lacked a full fledged capital L Librarian (and how long would <b>that</b> position stay open?) there was no question that the regular IT staff was fully capable of carrying on with routine tasks.

He set up the  work table with both his laptop and a set of blank cataloging cards and a quill and ink, some of the older books being touchy about being described digitally, and lifted the Codex gently out of the cooler with both hands.  It felt disturbingly warm, and at first the Spider just assumed the worn binding was leaking slightly, but then it began to get hotter directly under his hands and a slimy softness moved against his palm, oh no, oh shit, not a brain eater
Everything was black and somebody was peeling something slimy off his face.

"Hey, Spider."  Harry, of course.


"Just stay quiet … you got bitten by a brain eater."

"Brain eaters do not have teeth."

"OK, a brain eater tried to scrape your brain out through your ears and the roof of your mouth with its 'scraping organ' which I think is sort of its … penis.  Which is utterly disgusting.  I prefer to think of it as being bitten."

"Squeamish. Are they all dead?"

"There was just the one.  Which is plenty.  But yeah, it's dead.  I remembered they can't live in the presence of mercury, so I stabbed it with the barometer."

"You stabbed it with the barometer."

"Yeah, it was that or call up to the infirmary for a rectal thermometer and I really didn't want to wait.  I think your brain is sexy."

The Spider staggered to his feet, drawing his wand from the sheath in the small of his back.  "Mr. Hartsfield, if you could please shut the fuck up!  I am not currently interested in flirting with you, nor in listening to your allegedly clever jokes about the arsehole!"

"You usually are."

"Shut up and think about the damn brain eaters.  In your extensive study of the species, did you ever come across the fact that they always appear in groups of sixteen?"

"Then there are …"

"Fifteen more of them out there, just waiting to scrape your brain out with their pricks.  If they can fucking find it!"

It was a very long afternoon.  They used a combination of detection spells (Spider) and accio (Harry) to find each of the brain eaters, then a combination of the Cinnabar Sling, an American mercury generation spell Harry hadn't  known before (but he damn well knew it afterward), and basic movement charms to impale them on needle jets of mercury.

Then there was a whole range of HazMat spells for Harry to practice while the Spider sat quietly for a while with his head tilted back and a large conjured icepack over his substantial nose.

They concluded by regretfully destroying (at least on the Spider's part; Harry seemed to rather enjoy it) the shattered, mercury soaked remains of the Codex.  The leather and paper disintegrated completely, and the metal corners and straps melted into a very small puddle with a single bubble rising in it.  This, in turn, hardened almost instantly into a little blob with an odd hole through the center.  Harry seemed fascinated by the small shiny object, poking it with his wand and eventually picking it up and putting it in his jeans pocket.  Little weirdo.

Finally, they were sitting side by side.  The stacks were very clean and very quiet.  Harry leaned against Spider's shoulder and took a deep breath.

"You smell so good.  You almost died."

"If you say so.  And, yes."

"Want to go to the stairwell?"

"All right."

Part 9

They leaned against the wall and kissed for a while, idle and tender.

"How did you know all that stuff about brain eaters and …stuff?"

"I read, I pay attention, I remember.  Brain eaters are one of the rarer species of pests in magical storage facilities, but they are far from unknown."

"They hate mercury."

"Werewolves hate silver."  The Spider stiffened and Harry looked up curiously.

"Why did you say that?"

Suspicion in the boy's voice … how could he make such a mistake? One misstep could cost him all of this, lush body, clever mind, bold heart,  sweet … sweet everything.

"I was just thinking of all the creatures that have similar weaknesses to pure elements and simple compounds.  Mercury, silver, iron, tungsten, salt."

"Iron is fey folk. What's tungsten?"

"Behemoths and landsharks."

"And salt?"

"Garden slugs."

"Heh.  You know everything."

Spider put his lips to Harry's ear.

"I know all kinds of things, boy."  Ah.  Perfect. That tone of voice shut down the curiosity monster, replacing it with the more amenable, and much more entertaining, do-me-now monster.  Harry melted against him, lithe strong arms tight around his ribs.

 "Things Man Was Not Meant to Know …"  The boy's whisper was pure sex, breathing warm against his mouth and then their tongues were tangling.

The Spider backed the boy up against the wall, coaxed his legs apart with his knees, and started working on his belt buckle, all without breaking the kiss.

"No!" Almost a squeak …

"No?  Are you going to resist me, boy?  Do you want me to force you?"  Delicious tremble in the tender belly, oh, this was getting better and better.  "We'll need a safeword … you do know what a safeword is, don't you?"

"Yes, I do; I'm not a total innocent, and we can play like that later if you want.  Sounds like fun. But right now, right now I want to go to your room, Spider.   I want to suck you while you sit naked in your desk chair. I want you to fuck me in your own bed.  I want to come all over your pillow so you'll smell me every night no matter how often you wash the sheets.  C'mon-we won.  Victors in battle, you old bastard.  I want to give you the traditional prize."

"Ah, a laurel wreath.  Or a tasteless gold medal on a multicolored ribbon."

"I'll wrap my legs around your neck instead."

The Spider was still a little shaky from the fight.  That was the only explanation he was ever able to offer himself for what happened next.  He was a little shaky from the fight and the sudden image of Harry in his bed, on his back, legs in the air, fingering his pink nipples as his beloved godfathers' schoolboy enemy thrust deep and slow into his very willing little bottom … well, that image pulled enough blood away from his brain that he did something incredibly stupid.

He took Harry back to his room.

He hadn't completely lost control. He did manage to take a few precautions. The Spider kissed Harry again, up against the door, while he did a little wandless work on the wards, then he flipped a quick blanket concealment spell over his personal belongings as they slipped inside.  A little mood lighting, and the big room was barely more than a candlelit monk's cell: plain cream colored walls, a large but plain bare desk,  a wooden desk chair and plain armchair.  If the damnable boy would only keep his attention where it belonged, in the broad bed with its simple linen sheets and sheep's grey blanket, its plump pillows ready to be piled up underneath his pretty arse, everything would be just fine.

But when, ever, had this particular incubus ever stayed where he belonged?

"Hey, Spider, don't you have any stuff?  C'mon-an old swot like you has to at least have some books.  You holding out on me?"

The boy had his wand out before Spider could restrain him. He spent a fractional moment wishing for the other wand, and other kinds of restraints, then threw up the heaviest shields he could manage, under the circumstances.  Even under the circumstances, they were modestly spectacular, the magical equivalent of reinforced concrete, razor wire and high voltage electricity.

Harry went through them like wet tissue paper.

You've been buggering that in stairwells and broom closets, old man?   You're insane.

"There they are.  I just knew you had like a zillion books.  Magic ones, too.  I recognize some of these.  Potions?  Herbology?"  The boy zoomed enthusiastically around the overfilled book cases that now lined the walls.  As long as he stuck to the books …

"Hey-photos!  You went to Hogwarts!  I mean 'the Castle'. Why didn't you say? There's the Headmaster, and Professor McGonagall-hi, Kitty!"  He waved at the image of Minerva like an idiot, and she waved back. "She looks so young. And here's some of your fellow students …you were a Slytherin, like that's a huge surprise. I don't recognize anybody, but then, I suppose I  wouldn't.  You were way ahead of me, maybe ahead of my goddads, even …oh."

Perpetual motion stopped stock still in front of a small photo in a silver frame.  A lovely  girl, her red hair falling in waves around her face, smiled at Harry, her eyes as green as his own.

"Spider … that's my mum."  The boy turned on him, excited and fierce.  "I've seen lots of pictures of her at school.  I'd recognize her anywhere.  Why do you have a picture of my mum, Spider?"

"She was my friend, Harry.  Probably my best friend at Hogwarts.  I loved her very much."

"Did you ever … were you …?"

"No. Never.  I've always been bent."  The boy sighed with absurd relief.  "She was my friend, as I said.  Almost like a sister."

The boy touched the photo, tenderly.  The Spider could almost hear his thoughts; he was older now than Lily had ever lived to be.  He reached out, whether to comfort the boy or stop him from exploring further he did not know, but in the end he let his hand drop back to his side.

The boy was standing  by the desk now, looking at the framed certificate Spider could never bring himself to hide, much less throw away.

"Potions Master …" Harry slowly translated.  His Latin really was shockingly poor. "You told me you were a chemist."

"It amounts to the same thing."

"Severus … Snape."  The boy was out of practice at picking his way through Ministry calligraphy, and the Spider could feel the fractional instants ticking away before the big reveal.  "You're SNAPEThe Snape, the one who was in my mom's and dad's and my goddads' class?  The greasy git?"


"Merlin's red hot magical crap.  I've been sleeping with Snivellus!"

Harry began to laugh.  He really was his father's son, as well as his mother's.

That was it, then.  The one thing, perhaps, that Man Really Wasn't Meant to Know.  Snape picked up his jacket and left the room, and the peals of laughter that still, somehow, sounded unbearably sweet.

Part 10

It took a few days for Snape to step at least partway back into his identity as the Spider, and he knew he would never really be comfortable there again.  He worked from his office, seeing no one, communicating by email and scribbled note.  And Harry got neither.

Not that the boy didn't try. He was determined to follow through on the wonderful pranking opportunity his foolish old sex toy had handed to him on a literal silver platter.  He visited, he emailed, he called, he slid notes under every door he could find. He left little presents in strange and clever places.  He sent messages, written and verbal, with everyone at Not Groom Lake he thought the Spider might possibly respect.

The last straw was somehow persuading the Headmistress herself to call Spider in to her office and "suggest" that he "behave reasonably".  He reminded her that his job description did not require him to respond to illicit overtures from the junior staff in his off hours, and his own logs proved that Harry's official requests had been treated with the same efficient nastiness as everyone else's.

It was oddly satisfying to see White Buffalo shake her old head, wondering how the boy had gotten around her that way.  At least he wasn't the only one who was susceptible.

Harry might be utter, stubborn persistence, a trait which rose naturally in him from both his parents.  But in the Spider he had found an immovable object to match the irresistible force of his power and charm.  There was nothing the Spider wouldn't do to prevent the remaining Marauders from completing their last, best prank.  They may have raised a whelp clever enough to find a way to break Snivellus's previously non-existent heart, but he wasn't going to give them, or said whelp, the satisfaction of seeing him fall apart.

The hell with this.  The hell with Harry bloody Hartsfield, or whatever fool name he was going to answer to now.  The hell with the soft hide and the pretty pink prick and the silky, shaggy head pillowed so trustingly on the bony shoulder of moldy old Snivellus.

The hell with the green eyes.

The Spider just needed to get laid.

There was one bar, out on the edge of the desert, where men congregated who shared certain personal tastes.  He took his favorite seat, ordered a whiskey, and soon enough there was a cowboy, a tall one, with broad shoulders and wavy grey hair cropped around his neck.  He had a big, high arse, rather appealing wrinkles around his bright blue eyes, and an even more appealing bulge in the front of his dusty jeans.

"You're the fella they call the Spider, right?"


"They call me…"

"Shut it.  I don't want to know, and you don't want me to." The Spider tossed back the last of his drink. "Because I don't do what I'm about to do with you with people whose names I know."

It took the cowboy a moment to think this through, then a narrow, predatory grin spread across his leathery face.  His teeth were white and sharp and the Spider's prick rose against his zipper.

"Get it, do you?"  Spider twitched him a grin of his own.  "I don't socialize much, so when I do, I like to make it count."

The cowboy leaned over him, attempting to loom and being moderately effective at it. Spider was a good judge of looming. "Make it count, huh, boy?  Well, here's a number for you-nine and half."

"Nine and a half?"

"As in inches.  As in thick and hard and ready to make you howl, ya old coyote."

The cowboy adjusted himself behind his soup plate of a belt buckle.  Even accounting for barroom exaggeration, he was …substantial.


"Back of my truck.  On yer hands and knees and this thing," He ran a hand over his own crotch.  Very substantial indeed.  "shoved right up yer tailhole.  Make ya howl.  Like I said."

Outside, the parking lot was alive with suicidal insects gathered around the lights.  The Spider stood with his hand on the tailgate of the indicated truck, but to his surprise, the cowboy shook his head.

"Let's drive a little-don't want all these pissants" He indicated the clumps of men gathered around their bottles. "ogling the goods."

The cowboy drove a half mile or so out into the desert, one hand on the wheel and the other moving restlessly over Spider's body.  He arched his back, spread his legs and tried to relax as the cowboy groped him, rubbing roughly over his nipples and squeezing his prick through his jeans.  This was good.  This was what he wanted.

The cowboy had his big ass up against the door of the truck and his jeans around his thick thighs.  He was, the Spider reflected as he opened his mouth, that very rare thing, a scrupulously honest man.  He had everything he'd promised, and more. And then he had most of it down Spider's throat.

He let Spider suck him for a while, thrusting just often enough to remind him who was in charge.  Spider tasted, luxuriated, lapping the full length of that long, long vein and tracing the rim of the head, then swallowing the whole thing, choking on it.  Oh, this was Lethe; this was the way to forget.

It was almost too soon when the cowboy lifted him up.  "Strip."

"Why?  Just bend me over and do it."

"'Cause that's how I like 'em: bare assed in the moonlight. Now, strip."

That's how Spider ended up naked on a pile of feedbags and tarps in the back of a pickup, face to the floor, arse in the sky and a grizzled cowboy kneeling between his legs, stroking his buttocks with big, calloused hands.

"Oh yeah.  All spread out and waitin' fer me."

Then fingers were probing him.  Big fingers.  Oh, yes, Vaseline: a stiff, unforgiving lubricant, just slick enough to keep his arse from being torn to shreds without making things easy for either of them.  Perfect … oh give it to me, fuck me.

He felt every inch, every brutal inch, stretched slowly, cruelly, wonderfully, and it was burning … pain and pleasure climbing in a spiral.  Sliding out slow, all the way out, then shoving in again, over and over, until the Spider was soaring on endorphins and relaxed enough to let him get on with it.  He'd been afraid the cowboy would be a talker, but aside from a little muttering about "tight" and "hot" and "cream", he shut up and let the Spider concentrate on being mounted like a bitch and fucked hard.

The blunt, savage pounding, pounding on his prostate, oh yes, a big, hard prick beating all that love nonsense out of him. Who needs all that soppy stuff when he can have this, when he can couple with a stranger like a wild beast, under a desert moon?

It was almost disappointing when the cowboy reached around and fisted his prick; it had been so good just to take it, just to glory in being used.  But the harsh, dry hand felt wonderful, hard and unmerciful, and when he twisted Spider's foreskin it made him spill all over the musty burlap with that tree trunk shoving him wide open.  That was it.  That made him howl.

"Yeah, oh yeah, come for me,  squeeze it out of me…"

The cowboy was heavy on his back, then he pulled out and it hurt enough to make the Spider gasp.

"Dammit.  You come good and hard, boy; I thought you were gonna twist it right off. " Contented sigh. " And you look mighty nice like that, ass in the air with my spunk drippin' out of you."  The cowboy ran his hand through the Spider's arsecrack, spreading the sticky stuff across his bum and then spanking him once, hard.  The Spider grinned into the rags.

"Can I buy you another drink, maybe some dinner?"

"No, thank you."

"At least  let me drive you somewhere."

"No need, I can walk home from here."

"You sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure."

"See you around then?"


Not if I see you first, thought Spider as he walked, rather gingerly, into the scrub.  You seem like you might possibly be a decent human being. You deserve better than me.

As he slipped through the senior members' gate he was appalled, but not surprised, to find Potter (or Hartsfield) waiting for him.  Trust the boy to spoil his perfectly satisfactory evening with another clumsy attempt to make a fool out of him.

"How could you?"  Had the boy been crying?  Was he drunk?  Possibly both?

The Spider walked on across the dusty gravel of that compound.

"Answer me … how could you?"

Spider's boots kept crunching on, and then magic grabbed him and lifted him … Levicorpus.  How lovely.  And an American style Ring of Force and Silence all around him.  White Buffalo must have taught him that one.

"Dammit, talk to me.  Tell me how you could do that, after what happened, what happened between us."

"This is assault, Mr. Hartsfield.  Or Mr. Potter. Whichever you prefer.  Using offensive magic on a fellow member is a Removal offense."

"Do you think I care?  Do you think I give a pile of goat turds whether your crazy friends ever let me back into their collection of quonset huts and wigwams in fucking Cactus Flats???"  The boy was still crying, and the Spider's heart broke into a few extra pieces in spite of everything.  "I hope you all end up bleached bones in the middle of this stupid heap of rocks."

He kicked said rocks for emphasis, and his control slipped just enough for Spider to break the levicorpus and drop to his feet in the middle of the Ring.

"Just tell me, Spider, please.  How could you do it?  Go to that disgusting pub, and let that man touch you in a truck, and then take off all your clothes and …"

"Spying, Mr. Hartsfield? An ill advised practice, that, wherein the spy often sees things he doesn't wish to see.  As for the rest, I happen to know for a fact that you are quite familiar with the practice of  buggery. You should be able to recognize it when you see it."

"But you … you …"

"Went out and had a pleasant social evening.  Now, if you'll excuse me, the hour grows late."  The Spider stepped through the remnants of the Ring.  "Good night,  Mr. Hartsfield."

The boy was sobbing, and walking past him was one of the hardest things the Spider had ever had to do.  He felt proud of himself for doing it, of course, but there was now a nasty little worm in his head that made him think that maybe he'd fucked up rather badly.

He hated worms.

Part 11

A week went by, then two. Hartsfield, or whoever he was, stopped sending the Spider notes and little presents, though he still made the occasional attempt at conversation.  The Spider still refused to talk to him, but the fierce emotion was gone.  It was just  a habit now, ignoring the boy, and there were definitely moments when he felt a twinge of … something.  What language, he wondered, had a word for a stubborn man just beginning to regret his own stubbornness?

When the infallible Not Groom Lake grapevine passed him the news that Hartsfield had been ordered back to the old country to take a teaching position at the Castle (a position for which he was undoubtedly completely unqualified, but such is the power of celebrity), the Spider was deeply relieved.  He'd been right, after all, not to make peace.  One broken heart was survivable, barely.  A second would certainly have finished him.

Still, the thought of a Not Groom Lake without Hartsfield's green eyes was enough to drive the Spider up into the hills on a long, solitary hike.  He found a spot to sit, on the edge of a small cliff, with a fine, desolate view that was appropriate, he thought, for contemplating the rest of his life.

Why, then, he wondered, was he not quite surprised when he heard footsteps behind him?

"Mr.  Hartsfield, we have to stop meeting like this."

"How did you know it was me?"

"I am a master of powers arcane, in case you have forgotten. Or perhaps I simply smelled you.  Is this a chance encounter, or are you pursuing me yet again?"

"I followed your tracks.  Nobody else here has such big feet."  The Spider grunted in a vaguely insulted way.  "Nobody human, anyway. And you're wearing those boots, the ones with the ripple pattern on the soles and the melt mark across the left heel.  They make pretty distinctive marks."  The boy paused.  "I like those boots.  Can I … may I sit down?"

"As far as I know, these are public rocks."

Hartsfield sat down, making himself comfortable with soft little shuffles and adjustments.  The Spider, very determinedly, didn't remember other times when the boy had settled down beside him.  Hartsfield passed him a water bottle. His nails were bitten down to the cuticles. He was wearing a closefitting bright green shirt.  The Spider took a few deep breaths.  In the distant sky, two extremely large birds circled each other.

"Are those, are those thunderbirds?"  The boy sounded utterly amazed.

"Yes. This is their courting behavior. You picked a lucky to time to visit.  The male and female normally have widely separated hunting territories,  but they come together every ten years or so to nest and lay eggs.  They will stay mated for a year or two, until the young are ready to fend for themselves, then they will go their own ways again."

"That's sad."  The thunderbirds brushed wingtips, circled around again, then flew for a while side by side. "They seem to really like each other.  I wish they could stay together all the time."

"Sentimentalist. Or are you attempting to draw some sort of analogy?"

"You mean, do they remind me of us?  Sort of.  We stayed together for a while, but …"

Dammit all.  There was going to be a scene.  Maybe he could head it off by being 'generous'.

"Then you went back to Britain, and that was the end of the story.  It's all right, Harry. You're hardly the first young man to go abroad and have a brief romantic adventure with a highly inappropriate person.  Laugh about it with your godfathers if you like; it won't do me, or your mother, any harm.  You may even find that I've taught you some things that you find useful later."

"That's crap and you know it.   Besides, I'm not going back to Britain."

"Of course you are.  You're a hero there, the premier celebrity.  If you don't like the job they offered, ask for another one; I doubt there's anything that would be denied to you."

"Which is why I'm not going.  I don't want to be Harry Potter, Boy Hero.  I feel like I've started fresh here-everybody knows who I am now, and nobody cares.  I'm hardly the weirdest thing on the menu at Not Groom Lake."  Spider had to admit that this was true.

The boy went on with his big speech.  He'd clearly prepared it, and there was no stopping him. "I like being Harry Hartsfield and I want to keep right on being him.  And there's one more thing.  I like you, too.  In fact, I think I may be in love with you.

"I don't care what your name is, or whether my dad and Sirius hated you when you were all kids, or whether Sirius was jealous of you over Remus and treated you like crap, or any of that. And I certainly wasn't going to turn against you because of it, or make fun of  you or anything.  Just because they still care about all that old junk doesn't mean I give a fuck.  If I did laugh, that night, it was just because it is a pretty big coincidence and I thought it was funny.

"I do care that you loved my mum, that she was your good friend who died when she was young, but I only care about that because I'm sorry you lost her."

"I'm sorry you lost her, too, Harry."

"See?  It's something that we have in common, not something that should keep us apart. I think we just need to talk this out.  Don't shake your head at me, Spider.  We're not just good in bed; we're friends, and we're comrades, proven in battle. Anyway,  I have a right to speak my piece.  I've earned it."

The Spider couldn't resist glancing down at him. Those green eyes weren't Lily's.  They were part of her, part of something he'd loved and still loved, but they were Harry's eyes.  His rounded throat gleamed like ivory against the green cotton of his shirt collar.  There was an unfamiliar black silk cord around his neck, holding, no doubt, some romantic and highly dubious talisman.

The Spider's throat was dry. He looked up, watched the circling avians.  He wished more than anything that he was a thunderbird.

It was as if the earth was shaking underneath him.

It wasn't his galloping heart, or the strong feeling that he was teetering on the edge of doing something very, very foolish.

The earth really was shaking.

"Earthquake!", bawled Hartsfield, who rather sensibly started running away from the edge of the cliff.  The movement was too linear for an earthquake, almost like a train running under their feet … almost exactly like a train.  Merlin's lowhanging balls!

"Hartsfield, you IDIOT!  Did you bring a piece of stray magic up here?"

"Stray magic-what's stray magic?"

"Human-made magic that isn't keyed to anyone's individual signature, you undereducated twit!"

"I've got my wand," Harry shouted, jumping from rock to rock as they danced under his feet.

"Which is keyed to you!  What else?"

"I've got this …" The boy tugged at the cord around his neck.  "That melted thing that was left after we blew up the book. I kept it: it was so pretty …"

"You fool!  Cast a spell on it!"

"What?  Which spell?"

"Any spell!  Just pick one!"

Hartsfield had his wand out ... "Purpure!"  The little metal blob and its cord both turned a bright metallic purple.  What a bizarre choice, thought the Spider, as the noise and vibration continued, but stopped increasing.

"Come here, boy."  He held out his hand to Harry, who managed to stumble over and grab it tightly.  Even under the circumstances his strong grip felt quite good.  Spider had to shout to be heard. "Pay attention, and stick with me like a burr.  Stand still until I run, and then run with me, just as fast as you can."

"Sure, Spider …. AUUUUGH! What the bloody hell??"

Ahead of them and to the left, a hole opened in the hillside and bugs the size of small automobiles began rushing out in single file.  They were grey, segmented, running on many legs, huge pillbugs following each other far too closely for safety.  They charged Harry and the Spider, but the taller man stood very still, counting under his breath.

Then he ran like stink, dragging the scuffling boy after him.  The bug things followed.  Spider jinked hard, leading them in a wide arc, then he crossed the bugs original path just as the last one emerged from the hole.  The first bug in line began chasing the arse of the last bug.  They were wheeling around in a huge circle, and Harry and the Spider were outside it, breathing hard.

"Neatly done," wheezed the Spider. "If  I do say so myself."

"What the hell are those things?"

"Local fauna.  They have a native name (huff) but we call the phenomenon a Mystery Train.  They're scavengers (huff)  attracted by stray magic (huff) anything not linked to a living signature."

"They eat magic?  Or dead wizards?"

"Both, I think."

The confused Mystery Train was an impressive sight.  Even the thunderbird pair seemed interested.   The ring of disgusting grey bugs started speeding up.

"We should take cover, Mr. Hartsfield."

The bugs chased each other faster and faster.  One of the thunderbirds made an enormous caw.  The speeding bug wheel broke apart, individual bugs scattering across the landscape by centrifugal force or centripetal force or whatever the hell it is. One of them hit the rock that Harry and the Spider were hiding behind and rebounded away across the gravel.

"Wow," said Harry. "Did you that was going to happen?"

"I certainly hoped it would."

"More Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, I suppose."

"No, just a simple arcane desert creature.  Somewhat more dangerous than a rattlesnake, but less so than a thunderbird. Just business as usual here at Not Groom Lake.  Any member of staff who lets himself be hit by a Mystery Train is unforgivably lax."

Harry raised his hand. "That would be me."  He peeked over the top of their rock and grinned.  "But hey, at least I gave the courting couple a nice meal out."

The thunderbirds had landed and were hunting down the stunned survivors of the Mystery Train.  Their legs were long and their claws were cruel and their beaks were yellow and as long as Harry was tall.

One thunderbird impaled a particularly delicate morsel and offered it to the other, bowing and spreading his, or her, wings out along the ground.

Harry shifted closer to the Spider and slid his arm around his waist.

"If I had a piece of dead monster, I'd give it to you."  Spider didn't reply, but he dropped his own arm to fall, seemingly carelessly, around the boy's shoulder.

"I'm not particularly partial to monster.  But thank you for the sentiment."  And he pulled the boy close to his side, and gave him a gentle squeeze.  That little amazed sound was better than an entire dead monster.  Possibly several.

"I could really learn to love this place."

"I thought this was Cactus Flats, a stupid heap of rocks?"

"It's growing on me. But if I stay, I'll have to stick really close to you for a long time;  I may never be able to fend for myself out here. So you're probably going to have to let me love you, too."

It would be so easy just to lean in and kiss the boy, for one of them to lie down among the stones, cushioned with the other's discarded clothing, and let the joining of their bodies mask their troubles.  But if this was going to be what they both now clearly hoped for, he needed to take the more difficult road.

"What about all those things you needed to talk about?"

"You really want to talk?"

"If it's truly necessary, I will submit."

"Funny.  But I think I've said everything I needed to say …." Long pause.  The Spider wondered what he was going to add.  "Why did you do that, with the cowboy?"

What a very odd question.  The Spider had been in the mood to be fucked; the cowboy was an attractive man who wanted to fuck him.  What further explanation was needed?

"I was acting on a fantasy, I suppose.  His fantasy happened to be the reciprocal of mine, so we had a mutually satisfying encounter."

"Even though you loved me?"

"That was immaterial, since I was sure at the time that you thought of me only as a figure of fun."

"Which would be worse than hate, for you. You were trying to forget, then?  Doing somebody different from me, doing different stuff with him?"

"If you want to put it that way, I suppose I was."

"You never let me fuck you."

"You never indicated that you wanted to."

"Would you let me, if wanted to?"

"Most certainly."

"Man, I wish we had some lube!  I'd do you good,  right here.  The thunderbirds could watch us."

"Look in my knapsack.  I have a comprehensive first aid kit."

"First aid … I'll give you some first aid."

Which is how the Spider ended up belly down over the rock, wrists tied together over his head with gauze bandages, with Lily's son stroking him open with fingers coated in antiseptic ointment.  I hope it's all right with you, dear girl; you know that'll I'll do my best to keep him safe, and maybe even somewhat happy …

"Quit messing about, boy  and bugger me already."

"Yes, sir, Professor Snape."

"Call me that again, young Potter, and those will be the last words you ever say …oh, fuck, that's good."

"So tight, Spider, you're so tight, so soft inside.  So good."

"That's it, Harry, right there …"

The thunderbirds took off with melodious cries.  Spider hoped they circled overhead for a long time, enjoying the view.

"I just want to stay here forever."

"You may, after you untie me, and put your clothes back on."

"But I want to feel you, skin to skin.  I don't care about the sand."

"Maybe not, but you ought to care about the sun.  You've had considerable … exposure already, and sunburn in certain delicate places is no joke."

Harry shuddered dramatically. "Yes, Spider."

Dressed again, they wrapped their arms around each other, and then their legs.  They must have looked utterly ridiculous, and the Spider chuckled.

"What's so funny, then?" Harry petted his back. "Us, I bet.  You still think we look funny together."

"Yes.  We are absurd in every way."

"So what?"

He had no answer to that, so he cuddled his Harry and kept his mouth shut.  They stayed on the mountain until sunset, and then they went back to the Spider's room.

"Hey, Spider, do I look cute in this?"

"I have no intention of feeding your appalling ego, Mr. Hartsfield, nor of encouraging you to rummage through my wardrobe."

"You want me to take it off?"

"That won't be necessary.  Just come here."

Harry looked absolutely adorable in nothing but the old All Blacks jersey.  His sweet little round ass, all rosy from the sun, peeking out from the dark shirt tails, and those green, green eyes …  he literally took Spider's breath away.  Not that he would ever tell him that, of course.

The Spider didn't like boys, not officially.   If he did happen to, possibly, be even remotely considering the idea of being in love with Harry-- well, there was no need to make a fuss about it.

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