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10 March 2016 @ 08:00 am
H/D Fic: Not Just When You Want to Be - Chapter 9  
Title: Not Just When You Want to Be
Author: gracerene
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Draco/Harry, Draco/Astoria, Harry/Ginny, background Ron/Hermione, mention of Draco/OMCs
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~4,900/~37,000
Content/Warnings: post-war, post-hogwarts, auror Harry, professional Seeker Draco, blow jobs, fingering, first time, anal sex, rimming, intergluteal sex, comeplay, switching, fuck buddies, epilogue-compliant
Summary: More than a year after the end of the war, fate seems intent on pushing Harry and Draco together.

Read on AO3

Previous Chapter on LJ

Chapter 9

It was quiet when Draco Apparated into Grimmauld Place. Too quiet. It sent a strange shiver down the back of Draco's spine, but he shook it off. How bizarre. The old house didn't normally make Draco feel out of sorts. Draco crept quietly across the room, instinctively muffling his steps to keep in line with the stillness. Harry might not even be home—he wasn't expecting Draco, afterall.

Harry had mentioned the previous week that he missed having an excuse to try out new places to eat in Muggle London, now that he was no longer dragging Draco out for secret lunches. He looked so damned adorable when he pouted, and Draco found himself suggesting that they meet up for dinner after a strategy session with his team. Draco had planned on Apparating to the pizzeria that Harry had chosen, but his meeting had finished early. He figured he might as well drop in on Harry and see if he was up for a little…exercise to build up their appetites before dinner.

The faint tinkling of glasses drifted up from the kitchen, almost terrifyingly loud in the dead quiet. Draco's heart raced, and he silently chastised himself for his jumpiness before following the noise. He was so absorbed in his surprising uneasiness as he walked down the stairs, that he almost missed the sound of voices. He froze with his foot on the bottom step. Now that the kitchen was just around the corner, he could clearly hear that Harry was talking with a female, young by the sound of her voice. Draco looked up at the mirror hanging over the informal dining table, and caught a glimpse of fiery red—Ginevra. He took a shaky breath. It was a good thing he had caught their voices when he had. Draco had no clue how he would have explained his presence in Harry's house.

He turned to creep back up the stairs, but then his ears picked up on Ginny's softened, urgent tone as she murmured, "Actually Harry, I didn't come over here just to catch up. There's something important I wanted to talk to you about."

Draco paused. He knew that the right thing to do would be to head back up those stairs and meet up with Harry in a few hours at the restaurant as planned. But he was burning with curiosity. Harry didn't talk much about Ginny unless prompted, and while part of Draco was glad for it, it made him feel like he was facing an opponent he didn't understand. He frowned. No, not opponent. Ginny Weasley and him were not fighting over Harry like a pair of dogs with a juicy bone. Harry and her were no longer together, and Draco didn't have any claim on Harry anyway. Still, he wanted to know what it was that made her look and sound so serious. With a twinge of guilt, he cast a Disillusionment spell on himself and stayed on the lower step, watching Harry and Ginny's conversation through the mirror.

"You know you can tell me anything, Gin."

Draco's heart squeezed at the easy affection in Harry's voice as he shortened her name. For Merlin's sake, wasn't Ginny already a nickname? Was it really necessary for Harry to shorten it further? She looked across the counter at him with soft eyes and something hard lodged itself in Draco's stomach.

"I know. I wasn't sure if I should tell you at first, but...I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. About you. About us." The hard knot in Draco's stomach grew larger. "I know that we called things off after the war, and that was the right decision. I've grown up a lot these past few years. I made a name for myself in Quidditch, something that's all my own. I've made new friends, and seen old friends, I've dated and lived my life. It's been good, great, everything I needed. But…"

"But?" Harry coaxed when she failed to continue. His voice was patient and gentle, and Draco felt a surge of irrational hatred towards Harry for his kindness.

"But something's always been missing. You've been missing. I'm—" She looked away for a moment before turning back towards Harry, eyes blazing. "I'm in love with you Harry, I never stopped loving you, and I'm ready for us to be together. I want to be with you." The knot grew larger still, weighing Draco down and twisting up his insides with the heft of it.

Harry looked stunned, his eyes wide open in shock, before his face creased into something hesitant and unsure. He opened his mouth and Draco held his breath, needing to hear Harry's response—his tender rejection—but no words came.

Ginny smiled, soft and a touch wistful. "I know it's a lot. You don't have to decide right now, I'm not giving you an ultimatum."

"I know, Gin. It's just...wow. That's not what I was expecting. I didn't even know you'd be considering this. I thought you were seeing that bloke...Peter?"

Ginny gave him a puzzled look. "That was over six months ago."

"Oh," Harry murmured, his voice faint. "I—" He broke off again, seemingly unsure of how to proceed.

"It's alright, really. I already know you've been seeing someone. Or maybe it's several someones."

Harry once again appeared stunned, and Draco was sure he didn't look much better. His heart was rabbit-fast, the urge to run flooding through his body. Ginny didn't know about him, only that Harry had been seeing someone. Surely if she knew who Harry had been seeing, she would not be looking so calm.

"What?" Harry finally managed to choke out.

"Oh, come on," Ginny laughed. "You didn't really think you were fooling anybody, did you? You don't date anybody for ages after we call things off, and then all of sudden you're 'busy' most nights doing the ever-so-specific stuff. We've all been dying to know, but we figured you'd talk to us when you were ready. Of course, it's been more than a year now, and still not a word..."

Harry's expression was creased with guilt. "It's not like—only—I wanted—but…"

"I don't need to know. Truly. It's none of my business. I only mentioned it, because it's part of the reason why I waited so long to tell you this. I've been thinking about us for awhile now, but I didn't want to overstep if you were seeing somebody. I thought maybe you knew how I felt, and were trying to spare my feelings." She blushed, running her fingers through her long hair. "But I talked to Ron and Hermione, and they said you hadn't told them about who you've been seeing either. I knew that if it was serious, you'd have already told them, and….I didn't want to wait any longer. I wanted you to know how I felt." Ginny hadn't said anything that Draco didn't already know, so why did he feel faint from the pain of her statement? Draco looked down at his stomach, half-expecting to see a bloody, gaping hole where the leaden mass had surely torn free of his body.

Harry smiled at Ginny, a fond, familiar smile that Draco had not ever seen before—at least not directed towards him. Harry walked around the counter and pulled her into a big hug, whispering something into her hair. Draco thought he might be sick. No, really, he could feel that afternoon's salad roiling around in the pit of his stomach.

"I won't wait forever," Ginny murmured, almost too low for Draco to make out, "but I'll wait for awhile. I know I've been thinking about this longer than you have, and I don't want you to jump to any particular decision before you're ready. If we do this...I'm thinking about forever. I want you to be serious, too. I know that you still love me. I think that we could build a life together."

Harry nodded slowly. "I've got a lot to think about, and I promise, I will think about it. I do love you, Gin. Whatever happens, I'm always going to want you in my life."

Ginny smiled and said something in return, but Draco couldn't hear it over the ringing in his ears. He had to get out. He had to leave. Right now.

Draco fumbled up the stairs, pulse pounding. He only stopped to breathe once he set foot in his familiar wing of the Manor. Only he wasn't breathing, not really. It felt like something was lodged in his windpipe and each shaky inhale barely brought in enough oxygen to sustain him. He closed his eyes, focusing on calming his frantic heart and rising panic. It took several minutes before he finally relaxed, his breaths steady and even as he leaned against the stone fireplace.

Draco was panicking over nothing. All that had happened was that Ginny had said she wanted Harry. That didn't mean anything had to change. Harry certainly hadn't jumped into her arms. No, he had been kind and considerate, but Draco had seen the hesitation in his eyes, the uncertainty. Draco knew that Harry felt something for him, something that Draco was pretty sure was love, or at least something close to it. And Gryffindors were all about love, weren't they? Of course, Harry loved Ginny, too. More than that, he loved the life that Ginny could give him. With her, he could have everything he'd ever wanted. He could have a family.

By the time he showed up at the pizzeria a few hours later, Draco had managed to get his emotions mostly back under control. He did his best not to think about the conversation he had overheard. He tried not to wonder if Harry would even show up for their date. Perhaps he had already made his decision.

Harry was at the table waiting for him with a wide—if somewhat strained—smile. Despite his determination to move on as if nothing had happened, Draco didn't quite manage to tamp down the frantic energy sizzling beneath his skin. He knew he was more animated than usual, but he couldn't seem to stop himself from talking and moving. Harry gave him a few puzzled glances, but otherwise seemed content to let Draco steer the evening. Draco didn't let his mind linger on what might be preoccupying Harry's mind so much that he would let an opportunity to tease Draco pass him by.

Draco was sure the food was excellent—the restaurant was much nicer than the ones Harry used to drag him to—but Draco could not remember a single bite. He knew that he'd eaten, but the subtle flavours had been completely lost on him, absorbed as he was with thoughts of Harry, interspersed with thoughts of how he should not be thinking of Harry. The energy buzzed around inside of him, swirling and coalescing into something urgent and desperate.

A flicker of light from the candle on their table caught the frame of Harry's hideous glasses. Draco was overcome with the sudden desire the remove them, the better to see the particular green of Harry's eyes. It was such a crime that Harry hid those startling, arresting eyes beneath such atrocious lenses. Absently, Draco's mind filtered through different styles, wondering what types of frames would suit him best, and if he would let Draco take him out for a new pair. The realisation that that was an act for a partner to do, had the energy clawing at his skin.

Draco would never take Harry for a new pair of glasses. It had been a ridiculously sentimental desire, and Draco was beginning to understand that it had not been the first. There had been so many similar, fleeting thoughts that had run through Draco's head during his time with Harry. He hadn't meant to be thinking of a future with him, but it seemed that it had happened all the same. Even though he'd known, intellectually, that this would not last, his heart had firmly refused to listen. Now he was stuck, Ginny's words echoing through his head, giving him and Harry an easy way to end things that Draco didn't want.

Draco still wasn't sure what Harry wanted.

They paid their bill and took the long way back to Grimmauld Place. They walked through the streets of London, and all the while, Draco wondered what was truly in Harry's head, in his heart. Harry had not said yes to Ginny, but he hadn't said no, either. He was here, with Draco, and surely that had to count for something. His body was loose and relaxed, a soft smile pulling at his lips as he walked too closely to Draco, their fingertips brushing together. The night was crisp and cool, but Harry was a bright, hot presence beside him.

It occurred to Draco then, that he could tell Harry how he felt, right now. He could slip his hand into Harry's strong, calloused one, and tell him that it was no longer just sex for him. He could say that he had never felt about anybody the way he was beginning to feel for Harry. He could tell him that he loved him. He could ask him to stay.

Yes, he could do all of that, but then what? He pictured the look of embarrassed pity on Harry's face as he stammered out a stilted excuse. Draco cringed as he so perfectly imagined the painfully sincere tone of Harry's voice as he said that he liked Draco's company too, but that he could hardly be expected to love him. After all, Draco was a man and an ex-Death Eater. He was a coward and a bully and though he may be good for a bit of fun, he was not the sort of person that could ever capture the heart of somebody like Harry Potter.

Worse, though, was imagining what might happen if Harry lit up at Draco's confession, dragging him into a passionate embrace as he returned Draco's sentiments. Maybe they would have a few weeks or months together where it would all be worth it, before Draco would have to see Harry's fond gaze harden with resentment. Harry thought his fame was difficult to manage now, when he was the darling of the wizarding world? It was nothing compared to the unending tide of vitriol that Harry and Draco both would have to deal with once the world found out just who he was involved with. And that was strangers. Harry hadn't even told his closest friends and family about his association with Draco, knowing that their reaction would be less than positive. Draco couldn't be sure that Harry would receive support from that arena, from the friends that meant so very much to him.

Not to mention the fact that Draco could never give Harry the family he wanted and deserved. His parents were hardly going to welcome Harry with open arms, and Draco couldn't exactly give him children.

How long would they last before the shine of young love began to fade under the harsh light of reality? Draco would rather Harry let him down easy now than have to live through having him truly, only to lose him later. By then, the damage would have already been done to Draco himself, and there would be no way for him to retreat back to his family home to lick his wounds. He would be without family or means, without friends, and likely without a job once the League found out about his preferences. Quidditch had always been quite the boy's club, as the Harpys founder would be more than happy to attest to, and Draco was already on thin ice given the Malfoy's involvement with the Dark Lord. Harry might be able to survive the scandal given his current credit in the wizarding world, but Draco knew that homosexuality would be one black mark too many on his own name.

Draco shivered and pulled his hands into his pocket. He held his tongue, and the energy burned.

When they reached Grimmauld Place, Draco was vibrating with tension and words left unsaid. He didn't even let Harry fully take off his coat before he was on him. It reminded Draco of that first time, when he had pressed Harry up against this same heavy door and sucked him off. But that would not be enough now. Draco wasn't sure if he would ever have enough.

With an eager grin, Harry Apparated them both up several floors to his bedroom—a room that Draco was now achingly familiar with. They discarded their clothing as they stumbled towards the bed, Harry's fingers quick and nimble as he undid the buttons of Draco's shirt.

Finally, blissfully naked, Draco slid back onto the mattress, pulling Harry down on top of him. He squeezed Harry's arse, blood pounding at the moan and shiver Harry gave in response. Draco dragged his hands up the firm planes of Harry's muscled back, reveling in the hard, sharp lines of him. His mouth was urgent against Draco's, demanding he open up beneath him. Draco acquiesced. He let Harry kiss him breathless, moving his body up to meet Harry's commanding thrusts. It felt good, rocking together with Harry, letting their urgency gentle as they kissed and touched. How could either of them ever think this was only sex? Almost all of Draco's previous partners had been casual assignations, and none of them could compare the burning inferno of passion and emotion that was so evident every time he and Harry came together.

They moved with each other for a long while, arousal pooling lazily between them as their cocks slid slickly together. Harry moved to roll over, but Draco held fast. Normally he wouldn't bat an eyelash before flipping Harry over and burying himself deep inside Harry's beautiful arse. But tonight he wanted something different. He needed something different.

He bit his lip and spread his legs suggestively. Harry's eyes widened. Draco grabbed the lube and took Harry's hand, wrapping his fingers firmly around the bottle.

"Are you sure?" Harry asked, his eyes flicking curiously between the bottle in his hands and Draco's face. They had never done it like this before. Draco had mentioned once, when they had first started fooling around, that he had never been wild about being fucked. Harry never pressed the issue once they'd finally made it that far themselves. Harry clearly enjoyed taking it, and he was so damned chivalrous that he would never suggest switching things up if he thought it was something Draco wouldn't enjoy. Draco thought he might enjoy it now. With Harry.

"Yes. I want you to fuck me, Harry."

Harry shuddered and nodded eagerly as he settled back between Draco's thighs. Draco knew Harry had never done this before, but he'd had it done to him enough times by now, that he'd have a good idea of the basics. While Harry fiddled with the lube, Draco grabbed a pillow and arranged it under his arse. His hands shook, and he fisted them in the bedsheets to hide the nervous tremors.

It had been years since he had let somebody have him, and he hadn't done it more than a handful of times. Draco didn't dislike it precisely, but it had never seemed to feel as good for him as it did for the men he'd fucked. Mostly though, he didn't like the way it made him feel, splayed open and vulnerable, every ugly facet of his soul bared as he took another man inside of him. It was unbearably intimate, and it wasn't something he felt comfortable doing with any of the anonymous Muggles he had picked up in dingy clubs.

Harry wasn't an anonymous Muggle, and it seemed to Draco that Harry already knew all the darkest parts of him. Slick fingers slid down the cleft of Draco's arse, and he did his best to relax as a single digit slid inside. He wanted this, he wanted it with an intensity that shocked him. He wanted every part of Harry, wanted to feel him in his very soul. He wanted some of that pure goodness to rub off on him, as if the shadowy corners inside him might disappear if only exposed to Harry's inextinguishable light.

"This okay?" Harry asked. Harry's eyes glowed as they watched his fingers move in and out of Draco's arse. The fingers twisted and stroked, hesitantly, tenderly. A dull, pleasurable sensation filled Draco up, a feeling made vibrant by the knowledge that this was Harry doing this to him, and the weight of Harry's eager eyes upon him. Harry's cock was huge and heavy between his thighs, and Draco was torn between the urge to moan with desire and laugh in giddy fear. Somehow, he had forgotten how well-hung Harry was. It didn't appear that Harry had though, given the very thorough preparation.

Draco exhaled and nodded, letting his hips open up and relax into the probing sensations. Letting his body pick up the easy rhythm of Harry's fingers.

When Harry finally leaned over Draco, biting his lip in nervous concentration as the tip of his cock kissed Draco's entrance, Draco thought he might actually lose his mind with wanting. He reached back to grab Harry's bum, startling Harry into pressing forward. His cock split Draco open. Draco's ears rang with the pain of it, his rim stretched wider than it seemed inclined to want to.

"Are you alright, should I stop?" Harry paused, concern etched on his face.

"Yeah, yes, I'm fine," Draco breathed out. He shifted his hips, and Harry slid a little further inside. It would get better, Draco knew it would, and this was hardly the worst pain he'd ever suffered. He would suffer far worse for Harry anyways. The thought left him breathless. Though maybe that was the feeling of Harry bottoming out, and the realisation that every solid inch of him was firmly buried inside of Draco.

Harry held his hips perfectly still, his eyes squeezed tightly shut and his breathing already ragged. He was far from the relatively inexperienced man that Draco had brought to his bed over a year ago, but this was still the first time he had ever fucked anybody. A wave of fierce and possessive gladness swept through him. Draco would always be the first.

Harry seemed to gain a measure of control over himself, still keeping mostly still, but lowering his mouth to press soft, fluttering kisses across Draco's chin, before capturing his lips. The kiss was slow and achingly sweet. Their tongues danced together, lips sliding in concert. Draco focused on the pleasure of Harry's mouth, letting the burn fade to the background. He noticed Harry was shaking, faint tremors vibrating through his muscles with the strain of holding back. For Draco.

"Are you alright?"

Harry's eyes opened and his brows furrowed. "Shouldn't I be asking you that?"

"There aren't any rules for sex, you know. We can both ask."

Harry gave a strained laugh. "Yeah, I'm alright. Never better. Trying not to come before I even get started is all. You?"

"Good...better. I 'd forgotten how big your cock was."

Harry raised his brows. "Should I be insulted?"

"That I said you have a big cock?"

"That you forgot about it."

That startled a bark of laughter out of Draco, and the movement caused a dull flare of pain to radiate out from his arse and lower back. "Well, I'm certainly not forgetting about it anytime soon. In fact, I think I may be remembering it for days." Draco was grateful he didn't have training again until next Monday; riding on a broom was probably going to be very uncomfortable for the next couple of days. Smiling, he pressed himself back against the bed, arched his hips as much as he could, and hitched his arse back in clear invitation.

Harry flushed, and his bright eyes went dark at the friction. "I'm not sure I'll be able to last very long. Or that I'll be any good."

"You'll be fine. Everything else we've done so far has been good, hasn't it? It's your first time. Do what feels natural." Draco opened his mouth to keep going, to say that it didn't matter if Harry didn't last long, that he could make it up to Draco the next time Harry fucked him, but nothing came out. They might not do this again. This might be the only time that Draco ever felt this particularly ruinous pleasure.

Harry didn't notice Draco's indecision. His face screwed up in concentration as he slid halfway out, before gently nudging back inside. His hips jerked and stuttered as he began to move, attempting to slip into a rhythm. He twisted to thrust harder, and Draco winced.

"Slower," he advised. Draco gripped Harry's eager hips and pulled him into a rolling, gentle pace that he met with soft swings of his hips. Harry's cock rubbed against Draco's prostate and he let out a shaky, pleasurable sigh. He might not be overly sensitive, but the pressure still sent easy waves of delight tingling down to his toes. "There we go, that's it."

"Yeah?" Harry asked, eyes open and eager. "Like this?" He moved slow and steady, gaining depth, but keeping the pace gentle and even.

"Just like that. I—ah—I don't like it as hard as you do." He smiled shakily up at Harry, pleased that even now, with his prick in Draco's arse, Draco could still make him flush. "This is perfect."

It was. Draco could feel each thrust deep inside of him, as if they were piercing his heart. Every pulse reverberated throughout his body and set his nerve endings alight. Braced on his arms above him, Harry's face was just out of reach, but his blissed out expression was more than visible. He looked at Draco with naked adoration, and Draco's heart caught in his throat. Draco tried to tell himself that it was just the fucking, that Harry was only looking at him like that because his dick had never felt better. He knew it was a lie.

His fingers dug into the flesh of Harry's arse and thigh, trying to keep himself grounded as the intensity of the moment threatened to carry him away. Every thrust of Harry's cock inside of him seemed to strip away another layer of defense, leaving him more naked than he'd ever been in his entire life. He wondered if Harry could see it in his eyes, if Harry was even looking for it. Draco felt as if every thought he'd ever had must surely be on display, even without the use of Legilimency.

Draco wasn't sure how long it lasted, how long they fucked as if the ride itself was its own reward, with no orgasmic end destination in mind. Their bodies glistened with sweat, the slide of flesh made slicker and hotter. Draco's rim felt swollen and sore, even as he craved more, as he prayed for it to never end. It wasn't that the fucking felt so much better than he remembered on a strictly physical level, but the addition of the emotional connection and intensity, the desire to give Harry this last bit of him...it took Draco to near euphoric heights.

He came with a cry, with Harry's name on his lips, his cock erupting against the hard planes of their grinding stomachs. Harry's own eyes fluttered as Draco's channel rippled around him, and a few thrusts later he stilled, fingers curling into the sheets by Draco's head as he reached his own peak. Draco imagined he could feel it, could feel the hot gush inside of him as Harry marked him as his own. He shivered in primal satisfaction; the aches and pains he could already feel coming over him were well worth it. When everything ended, at least Draco would always have this. He would always have the memory of Harry around and inside of him. He would forever know what it felt like to truly be one with somebody, if only for an instant.

Harry slipped out of him with the greatest care, cleaning him up and massaging the faint ache out of Draco's calves with beautiful tenderness. They were silent, as if the both of them were afraid that speaking would destroy this pretty dream and bring them back down to reality.

Draco wondered what Harry was thinking about, as they curled up together under his faded maroon sheets. Was his mind on Ginny and her tempting offer? Was he considering a life with her even as the scent of sex still lingered in the air? Or maybe he was thinking about Draco. Thinking about why Draco had suddenly decided to offer his arse, about what Draco had really been offering, about whatever he might have seen in Draco's too-open expression while Harry fucked him.

Whatever it was, it kept Harry awake for long hours, staring up at the ceiling as Draco curled sleeplessly on his side, pretending not to notice that Harry had wasn't fast asleep. It felt stilted and cold compared to the blazing warmth of their earlier coupling. Even that though, the slow intensity, the simmering desperation and swell of feeling...it had felt like the beginning of the end. It had felt like goodbye.

Next Chapter on LJ
 
 
 
kerrilee75kerrilee75 on March 10th, 2016 05:59 pm (UTC)
Grace, that ending!!! Oh, my heart. What a beautiful love scene. It's one of my favorite things when Draco finally bottoms for Harry and it was so perfect here.

I wasn't sure I could be patient enough to read this one chapter at a time but now I'm not ready for it to end tomorrow!
wicked smut goddessgracerene on March 10th, 2016 07:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really love when the top/bottom dynamics have some sort of deeper meaning, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted this scene in here to say all the things that Draco can't.

Two weeks definitely isn't all that long in the scheme of things! It's so weird to think I'll finally be finished posting this tomorrow!
Melissa Rose_melodic_ on March 10th, 2016 06:14 pm (UTC)
Ahhhhh my heart hurts, it aches!!! My darling Draco getting hurt is nearly more than I can handle... and I yet I can't "put it down" as in my phone, when I read your newest chapters haha <3
wicked smut goddessgracerene on March 10th, 2016 07:18 pm (UTC)
This is definitely not a fluffy fic! But I'm glad it's addictive! ;)
Amillaeyro on March 11th, 2016 01:39 am (UTC)
jfikdslajfi;osdjifdsjk.

So, I saw this the second you posted it, but couldn't read it because... life. It's been killing me ever since and now, I've finally read it, and I don't know what pain is worse >.<

OH MY GOD WOMAN! That's the most gorgeous making love scene ever, which is why it hurts SO DAMN MUCH.

as if the shadowy corners inside him might disappear if only exposed to Harry's inextinguishable light.

I mean, I can't even. WAAH!

My heart is just breaking for them, but particularly Draco right now. You are Queen of all the feels! *prostrates self at your feet* ♥

*with cookies to fuel the writing of the 25-years-later-happy-ending* XD!
wicked smut goddessgracerene on March 11th, 2016 01:54 am (UTC)
Oh no! Well, I'm glad you finally got some time to read the chapter, even if it hurts!

That was one of my favorite lines, so I'm glad that one stood out for you, too. <3

Haha, I feel like my feels skills usually only extend to smut, so I really enjoyed stretching myself in an angstsier direction here.

Aaand, I'm totally supposed to be working on another project write now, but I officially imported my sequel outline into a fic google doc yesterday, and wrote out the prologue! My goal is to for sure have that written by the end of the year, and hopefully sooner if I can swing it. :D

And thanks again, darling! I did my final reread of the last 4 chapters all at once, and I was pretty exhausted, which I think has been made clear. I appreciate you catching those little things. :D