A few days passed before Hugo spent more than five minutes with Skander Dolohov again, having made sure he'd kept as far away from the man as he could until he knew of his intentions. And he hadn't figured them out yet, so to say that he wasn't pleased to see his tormentor walking towards him would be an understatement.
He couldn't help but watch, though, unable to take his eyes away from Dolohov's toned abs and strong arms, half concealed through the open, sleeveless jacket. He'd made some changes since school; he was far from buff, Dolohov wouldn't even dream of putting his body through that, but he had definitely worked hard to look as good as he was. He'd worked out since his late teens, keeping fit for Quidditch; he'd been good looking then, but now?
Hugo's usually quick, brilliant mind came to a sudden stop. He couldn't remember the last time that had ever happened.
He managed to tear himself away from the man when he felt eyes burn into his back. Turning around hesitantly, though he wasn't sure if his hesitance was because he didn't want Dolohov surprising him or because he just didn't want to look away, Hugo scanned the hotel's overly large poolside for his own watcher.
...And found the guy from the elevator.
He wasn't as good looking as Dolohov, Hugo was regrettably quick to notice; his features were too sharp and he looked like he lived in a gym. The man was nice, Hugo deduced, but not his type. The smile he was receiving promised one good night and it was a night he could accept, because he knew it would drive Dolohov crazy. It wasn't exactly using the guy if he wanted Hugo for a night, too. Then again, Hugo didn't care either way.
Dolohov reached him first.
"Good morning, Matty," he said cheerfully, stretching his towel out on the plastic blue padding that covered the sun lounger and lying on top. He straddled the lounger, carelessly throwing a leg over each side, and kicked off his shoes. He stayed in that position, folding an arm behind his head to use as a pillow while his other fixed his black sunglasses. He turned to Hugo then, a cheeky, I-want-something smirk on his beautifully deceptive face, and Hugo hated him. He couldn't see the man's eyes, couldn't tell truth from lie with those damn glasses.
Which was most likely why the man was wearing them.
Hugo didn't return the greeting. He pointed to the sun lounger Dolohov had claimed. "That lounger's taken."
"Really?" Dolohov asked, feigning surprise. Given how much Hugo had been avoiding him for, he knew Dolohov had been expecting excuses to get rid of him. He shrugged. "Well, it's mine now. Who's the guy?"
Hugo followed Dolohov's gaze, quickly spotting Elevator Guy walking their way, only this time he looked slightly confused and focused on the unwelcome man by Hugo's side a number of times. Hugo couldn't help the barest of smiles that came about when he realized that potentially being with someone was in no way stopping Elevator Guy from coming over.
"I guess we'll find out," Hugo answered his question softly, too focused on his new 'friend' to see Dolohov's mood change.
Elevator Guy finally stopped in front of them, trying to lean casually against the umbrella that stood between the two sun loungers to shade the three men from Miami's harsh sun. But he was too heavy, too much muscle was pressed against the pole, and he pushed it sideways lightly before catching it and standing up straight.
"Hey," he murmured, a slightly husky tone to his Midwestern accent, and smiled cheekily. It didn't get to Hugo like Dolohov's did, but it did make him look more attractive and Hugo smiled back.
"Hey," he replied, holding out a hand. "I'm Matthew."
"Carter," Elevator Guy said, returning the handshake. "It's nice to finally have a name to go with a face."
Carter's grin only widened when Hugo answered him, acknowledging the flirtatious edge to his voice. He reluctantly turned to Dolohov. "And your... friend?"
Dolohov sat up straight and moved closer, his smile returning by the time Hugo faced him. "I'm Skander, Matthew's boyfriend."
"Ex-boyfriend," he corrected quickly, ignoring how Dolohov stressed his name, the clear warning that said he could tell everyone the truth in a moments notice evident, and the hand that slowly stroked his lower back. "We have nothing to do with each other anymore."
"Clearly," Carter said, looking unsure.
Hugo discreetly pushed Dolohov's hand away and stood up, stopping right in front of the other man. He made sure they were visible, that Dolohov could see his finger graze Carter's chest and play with the hem of his swim shorts.
"He's just here to visit the city, came over to say hi for old times sake," Hugo murmured, enough promise in his tone to reassure the man. "But I want to talk to you."
Carter's smile quickly returned and in his eyes, Dolohov was all but forgotten. "I'm glad. Why don't I get us some drinks?"
"I'd like that."
Hugo watched him walk away, in the direction Dolohov had come over, and turned his smirk on the thorn in his side. "You can go now."
"But I'm having so much fun, meeting new people," Dolohov argued. "You can't send me away now, Hugo."
"No," he agreed. "But I can call security, tell them you're harassing me. I've gotten to know the staff pretty well while I've been here."
He expected Dolohov to drop his smile, maybe glare or even yell. But he didn't. Instead he glanced at Carter, stupid smile still there, and put his shoes back on before rising to his feet. "Two can play at this game, baby."
"Where are you going?" Hugo called to his retreating back. "Dolhov, don't you -"
He didn't finish his sentence; the words died in his throat the moment Dolohov stood next to Carter. He leaned in too close, Hugo was unable to see what they were doing, but judging from the way Carter followed him so easily, he could guess what had been said. The barriers fell and anger flooded through his veins; Dolohov would not get away with stealing his man. He had to get Dolohov back, make him pay. He had to find out what the man wanted.
He had to make a call.
Hugo stayed by the pool for most of the day, knowing it was foolish to hope Carter would be back any minute but doing so anyway, until the clock on his iPhone told him it was five o'clock exactly and it was time for him to make his call. He picked up his belongings, leaving his empty wrappers from lunch and his beer bottles on the table, as well as Dolohov's towel. Maybe the staff would throw it away along with his rubbish.
Jess was just moving behind the front desk when he entered the hotel, her blouse untucked slightly and her work jacket off. She looked up as though knowing she was being watched and smiled, using one hand to wave and the other to push her wavy brown hair back.
"I need a favor," he said softly the moment he reached the desk. Jess nodded and leaned closer to him. "I need you to tell Max I'm coming to see him."
Jess' eyebrows raised in surprise and she pushed back a little, ready to grab the phone. Max was head of security at the hotel, he would be in his office watching the security monitors right now; Jess had a feeling she knew who Hugo was looking for her, he could tell.
"What's Skander done?" she asked, sighing as she dialed the number.
"That's what I want to know," Hugo muttered, turning to walk away. They shared a look and he went into the elevator. He was jumpy all the way up to his room, anxious to get his answers as soon as he was able. Hugo fumbled with his card key for a moment before opening the door to his room, rushed his shower and threw on the first things he found - an old pair of loose-fitting jeans and a light, white shirt. He kept the buttons open, knowing that that and the air conditioning would keep him cool, grabbed his wallet and made his way back downstairs.
Another nod from Jess told him that Max was waiting for him in his office. He took out his phone; it was almost twenty past five now, twenty past twelve back in London - they'd be having lunch right now.
He found the number easily and called it. It answered on the second ring.
"Hey, cuz. Miss us?" the voice said jokingly.
"Every damn day," Hugo replied, playing along. "I take it you're alone, Louis."
"We are." Hugo knew than that Albus was with Louis, just like he'd guessed. "What's up?"
He pushed open the door to the staff area and followed the hall to Max's office. The staff rooms were basic compared to the rest of the hotel; plain white paint covered the walls and the mixed smells of cleaning supplies from the maids' carts seemed to fill the hall. It burned Hugo's nose and he wished he could hold his breath.
He got straight to the point. "Why is Skander Dolohov here in Miami?"
He hoped Louis wouldn't know, that he'd promise to find out and call him back, because if he cousin had known then surely he'd have called to warn him. But he didn't make that promise; he was silent for a while, so silent that Hugo was sure that if he paid close attention, he'd hear his cousin's heart beat madly in his chest. Hugo had caught him off-guard.
"Ah," he eventually answered.
"Ah?" Hugo growled. "You knew he was here and all you can say is 'ah'? What the fuck, Louis?"
He frowned when he heard mutters and the sound of something banging. Then Albus' voice was heard. "He's working for our dads."
Hugo stopped at the door, his hand frozen against the wood, and played Albus' words over and over in his mind until he was sure they were going to drive him crazy. "He's what?"
"Working for our dads," Albus repeated calmly, as though he was talking about the weather.
"No," he muttered, more to himself than to his cousins. "He can't be. He's not an Auror and no way would they hire him, no matter how good a private investigator he is. They hate Dolohov and his family."
"Well," Albus paused. "No, I'll give you back to Louis. I don't work for the Ministry, he knows more than I do."
Hugo used the time they took to take back phones and finish eating to enter the office. Max was watching the door, waiting for him. He was an older man, mid forties, and a tired look in his eyes that told people he'd seen too much as a detective. But he didn't let it get to him; he had a relaxed, easy-going smile unless you really pissed him off, which Hugo never did, and had grown fond of Hugo, or Matthew, was always ready to help him out. Even though he pretended he wasn't.
"Hey, Matt," he greeted with the same relaxed smile. "Jess said you want to see me."
"I do," Hugo nodded, moving his phone away from his ear a little, so his cousins would know he wasn't speaking to them if they heard him. "Mostly because I need to look at your cameras."
"I don't know, Matt," Max replied nervously. "What do you need them for?"
"Come on, Maxxie, I'll make it worth your while," he said with a smile of his own, crouching down so that they were near enough face-to-face and waving a hundred dollar bill in his hand. But Max didn't budge, he wouldn't be bribed and Hugo knew he had to tell him the truth. Mostly. He sighed, "There's a guy here, my ex. I haven't seen him in years, then all of a sudden he finds me and talks about wanting me back. I just want to know where he is now, so I can avoid him, and maybe see if the cameras picked up something that'll tell me why he's here. Because it can't be for me. Please, Max."
They stared each other down for a few minutes, a questioning look in Max's eye, a pleading one from Hugo, until he stood up. "Put the money away, kid. I'm getting a drink, be done when I get back."
As soon as the man was gone, Hugo fell into the now vacant seat and pressed his phone to his ear again. "Still there?" he asked, going through the videos in case Dolohov had decided to leave his room.
"I'm here. Nice story, by the way," Louis added. Hugo wondered if he was smirking. "You play the part of nervous ex very well. I almost believed it."
"I am nervous, Louis, Albus told me he's working for our dads," Hugo reminded him unhappily. "Who knows how long I have before they try to get me and I have to run? There you are."
"Hmm?" he heard his cousin mumble.
"I found Dolohov in one of the cameras," he explained distractedly. "He's on one of the customer phones. If he's working for the Aurors, he must be talking to my dad or Harry. He doesn't know anyone else. Why is he here and how did he know I was here?"
"The first question I can answer," Louis promised quickly. "They wouldn't let me be the one who came with them, it had to be undercover, so you wouldn't suspect the Aurors were watching. So, I told them to get Dolohov because he knew you better than anyone and because of who he is and the history there, you wouldn't suspect he was working with them.
"What I didn't tell them," he continued. "Was that you wouldn't trust him at all or how he knew you so well. Nor did I tell them that you wouldn't trust him at all and would probably call me. I also didn't tell them that you could break him, so even if you didn't call me, you'd get your answers eventually. I think that Dolohov cares about you more than he let's on; I figured he'd tell you before you got caught. Either that or he'd get sick of the Aurors soon enough and let you go to spite them. He doesn't have a lot of patience and he doesn't like Harry and Ron."
"Then why agree to this to begin with?" Hugo asked, still watching Dolohov on the monitor. The answer came to him quickly. "Because he's always wanted to be an Auror. He's trying to prove himself. It's whether he really can that's the problem."
"Yep," Louis agreed. "They want him to get to you, to get the evidence they need to bring you back to England and lock you up. You made a bit of a mess back here with that guy, not like you to make a mess; our family can't pretend you aren't a criminal anymore."
"Shit," he muttered, remembering his mistakes, the reason he'd run from home in the first place. "Why can't you answer the second question?"
"Because I don't know," Louis replied regretfully. "I got Dolohov like Harry asked and they asked him how he could help and if they could trust him. He didn't answer them, but as soon as they turned around, saying it was a waste of time, he dropped the bombshell. He gave them information no one's been able to retrieve - he said 'Hugo's in Miami'. It shocked us all. I have no clue how he knew."
"Shit," he repeated. Dolohov was better than he'd thought, than he wanted the man to be really. But Louis was right about one thing; Hugo could break him. Now he had more of a reason to. He watched Dolohov hang up the phone and walk away from the camera. Another showed him getting into the elevator. Hugo rubbed his eyes and pushed his fringe back. "Don't worry, Lou. I know what to do. I would have appreciated a heads up, though."
"Couldn't do that," was all he said.
"Why?" Hugo asked tiredly.
"Because we're being watched, too. Just in case. You're lucky we can talk now," Albus told him, back on the phone. The number of swear words that left Hugo's lips surprised even them. "Hey, Hugh," Al said once he'd calmed. "How's that pretty receptionist? Jess?"
Hugo rolled his eyes, even though his cousin couldn't see. "She's just dying to see you, Al. I'm hanging up now, I have a man to destroy. Bye guys."
A quick good bye from them both and Hugo hung up, getting to his feet the moment the door opened. "Get anything useful, kid?" Max asked.
Hugo nodded and patted the man's shoulder. "Oh, yeah. He was right; he's definitely here for me."
"What will you do?"
Hugo paused to think, his mind already working, and he had the beginnings of a plan within moments. He smiled, "I'll give him what he wants."
Jess jumped the moment she turned around, not expecting Hugo to be standing back on the other side of the desk. "Jesus, Matty. Will you stop doing that?"
"I need Dolohov's room number," he said, not giving her the apology she'd long given up wanting from him every time he did something. "It's life or death."
"Meaning?" she asked nervously.
"Meaning he'll live another hour if I have to go looking," Hugo whispered, smirking. A little louder, he continued, "I need to talk to him about why he's here."
"You figured it out then?"
Hugo nodded, telling her the same thing he'd told Max. It was the most honest thing he'd told anyone while in the city, even if the reason for it was wrong. "He wants me back, in England."
"Oh," Jess said quietly. She went to the computer and discreetly checked the guest accommodations, knowing it wasn't really information she was allowed to give out. "Room 1013."
"Thanks, Jess," he said sincerely. And to make up for scaring her, he added, "Albus asked about you, by the way."
It made her grin, just like he'd wanted her to, and he left her to think about it. Or rather him.
Skander leant against the window, his arms folded stiffly across his chest, and he watched. His view was of the back of the hotel; the pool was on the right, people were still sunbathing on the loungers and cooling off in the pool, and the bar was on the left. People were already starting their Friday night drinking.
Skander watched them and waited and never once saw Hugo, he hadn't since five o'clock when Hugo had left the poolside.
It was only a matter of time before his anger over stealing Carter away tipped Hugo over the edge and he found his room. He and the receptionist seemed close, he'd get the room number easily enough.
It was the forceful knocking on the door that forced Skander away from the window, not Carter's pointless drivel about the television and the constant questions about what he was planning with Hugo. He'd welcomed leaving the room to call Harry Potter about his nephew's lack of criminal activity.
"That him?" Carter asked, looking disappointed. Skander knew it was because he knew if he had stayed with Hugo, he'd have had sex, not stuck in a hotel room doing nothing. He wished he'd stayed, but Skander had all but threatened him to stay away from Hugo, telling the man that he was with 'Matthew'.
Skander threw him his shirt. "You know what to do."
Nodding dejectedly, Carter got up and opened the door before throwing his top back on. From his place at the window, he could see Hugo's jaw tighten, his eyes narrow, and he stepped back for Carter to pass, saying nothing.
Hugo slammed the door shut, his eyes locked with Skander's; he'd never seen the man so angry and he'd seen him with his family. That was when Skander knew that something else was going on; Hugo wouldn't be this mad over a guy.
"So, how was he?" he asked mockingly.
"For me to know," Skander played along, his smile playful and teasing. He moved away from the window to stand in front of Hugo. "He's a fitness instructor, a little clue for you. He's from the windy city. Did you know that? He came here all the way from Chicago to have a little fun."
"Why are you here?" he said, choosing to ignore Skander's dig. He spoke slowly, his voice low. "No bullshit, Sky."
"I already told you," Skander replied loudly, trying hard not to yell. Because he wasn't angry with the man, not in the same way Hugo obviously was. He just wanted him to listen, even though some of his words were half truths and some were outright lies. "I came here for you, I found you because want you back."
"You really expect me to believe that?" Hugo cried incredulously. "You haven't spoken to me in years and another guy just left your room! You don't want me, so why are you here?"
Skander's only answer was one Hugo honestly hadn't been expecting; he put everything he had into the kiss, dominating Hugo so thoroughly that he left them both breathless, yet demanded more. He pushed the youngest Weasley up against the wall, holding him tight to make sure there was no room for Hugo to move away.
"I never slept with him," Skander muttered when he pulled away, more to do with embarrassment over admitting such a thing than breathlessness, but it was the most honest he'd been since setting foot in Miami and if it helped him get closer to Hugo, he'd take it. "I just wanted to make you jealous. I just wanted you to see that I'm here for you. I was an idiot in school and I regret how we ended. You have no idea how much."
He pushed his hands through Hugo's hair, curling the soft, brown locks around his fingers. "We were amazing together, we can be again. Take me back, Hugh. Please."
Maybe it was the pleading tone Skander had perfected and the use of the word 'please' that spurred him to continue with his plan now rather than make Skander sweat a little first, because Hugo pulled his former, now current, lover back to him, sharing a deeper kiss than before now that Hugo was kissing back. It was a silent agreement between them, a yes to Skander's plea, an unknown seal for what was to come.
Hugo definitely had a plan and he'd pretend to believe the man's lies to follow through with it. Skander Dolohov wouldn't know what hit him.
A/N: Yay, a new chapter. I hope you enjoy this chapter. It's fun writing my manipulative boys. :D