Chapter 4 : A Story
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"Take me back."
"That'll depend on if you're still as good as they say," he murmured, pulling Skander to him and initiating a forceful kiss.
He let Skander push him backwards onto the bed before rolling over, pinning the rarely surprised Dolohov underneath him, and taking charge. Skander didn't protest, he only pressed himself harder against Hugo's chest.
Hugo didn't let them go all the way; he pushed away before things could actually happen and they lay side-by-side, breathless and wanting, but Hugo would make the man wait, have him close to snapping due to the anticipation. It would be worth it in the end.
"Still as domineering as ever, Hugo," Skander said quietly once he had gotten his breath back. He turned his head, then his entire body, so that he was lying on his side, and watched Hugo's chest rise and fall. "I've missed that."
"Well, you've known where I was," he pointed out a little harshly. "You could have come a long time ago."
"I didn't think you'd want me to," Skander admitted, wisely keeping his distance. "I stayed away until it became too hard. I had to see you."
He held his breath, waiting for Hugo's next move, and was thankful to note that Hugo, after turning on his side to face Skander properly, wasn't going to do anything else.
"How did you know I was here?" he asked softly and he didn't just mean Skander, but the Aurors as well. They shouldn't be in Miami. "I was so careful."
"I remember you talking about this place in school; you wanted to be able to live in a place where it was actually sunny when you went to the beach, you wanted to set up shop here, you said," Skander told him, remembering what he'd been told. And Hugo remembered it, too.
"So, a couple of months after you disappeared from England, I researched you; I took you literally and I found your shop," he finished with a shrug.
"And my name," Hugo added bitterly. "You weren't surprised when Jess introduced us."
Skander shook his head. "No. When I saw your name and business in the city you loved most, it struck me that law enforcement is either completely dense or your family are trying not to look for you, because they're the most obvious factors to look for and it makes you easy to find."
Hugo tried not to laugh at Skander's reasoning; was he coming up with another lie on the spot or was this his subconscious helping to cover his ass once he knew that Hugo knew everything? He didn't know. He was not easy to find; he'd made damn sure about that.
Except he hadn't; he'd forgotten how much he'd shared with the man by his side, back when they were together. It had been easier to just share them with Skander, he'd only have read them in Hugo's mind anyway. His damn ability made sure of that. That was probably the deciding factor for his father and uncle with letting Skander help... If they knew about it, that was.
"My family only know that I like being called Matthew, no one knows about Granger. It's too obvious and I'm smarter than that; they overlook it," Hugo replied with a grin. "Why would they look into real, honest jobs when I'm a criminal? I doubt people even click on that I was in university while doing what I did, or that I have a history degree. And you were the only person I ever told about Miami," he half lied. He'd told Albus and Louis, but not until he was already in the city. He'd been here two days and was at the beach with a drink when he'd finally called them. Lily didn't even know.
"I'm honored, thank you," Skander said, doubt just barely concealed on his face. He knew that he was closest with Al, Louis and probably Louis' brother Nick, too, Hugo knew that. But Skander also knew that Hugo liked to keep secrets from everyone, included his closest friends. Skander himself had been one such secret, apparently he deemed Miami to be another.
"So, what now?" he asked uncomfortably, changing the topic. They'd never been together in public before; it was strange even though they both had purposes for doing so.
"Now?" Hugo asked. Skander nodded.
Hugo smiled; what he had in mind would be perfect for his plan. He'd make the Aurors doubt while he broke Skander. He'd have them believing that Skander truly loved him again before the job was done, any evidence he gave them would be considered unreliable and unusable.
He'd be the best boyfriend they'd ever see.
"Now I show you Miami."
They met in the lobby fifteen minutes after Hugo gave his instructions, showered and changed, in smart yet still comfortable clothing since Skander was less used to the heat than Hugo was. The wind was cool and the sun was low, though not yet ready to set; in light pants and t-shirts, they were able to stay relatively cool in Florida's summer heat.
They turned right once out of the hotel, Hugo pointing in different directions, telling Skander where he could find things he knew the man would be interested in. The look of surprise on Skander's face told Hugo that he genuinely hadn't thought he'd remember any of his favorite things and Hugo wanted to laugh, scoff and wish it was true all at the same time - he wished he didn't remember this stuff. Hugo liked to blame it all on his eidetic memory, but he knew it was also because he'd cared for Skander once, fallen for him.
Well, not this time, he reminded himself assuredly.
"So, where are you taking me?" Skander asked curiously, glancing around the street they were in; it was filled with bars and restaurants. The hotel they were staying in was one of the most expensive, owned by a millionaire developer. It was his biggest and most successful in his chain; it made sense to be centered around places tourists would frequent. "If you really wanted to show me Miami, we'd be driving not walking."
"You know me so well," Hugo muttered, stopping at the end of the street. He pointed to the restaurant right across from them, a large, fancy looking place with seats inside and out, and nodded. "That's where we are going. I don't know about you, but I am hungry."
"I'm famished," he replied, following Hugo to the restaurant.
The waitress who met them smiled, recognizing Hugo immediately and greeting him like an old friend, and showed them to a table under the awning. She handed them menus and offered them drinks, said she'd be back with their beers when they ordered and left them alone. Skander finally felt like she was giving him back his air.
"She seems friendly," he said.
"Greta? She is," Hugo agreed. "I come here a lot. She's a model. Or she wants to be a model, I can't remember."
"Is that why we didn't have to wait? Because you come here a lot?"
Hugo shrugged. "Could be. Or it could be because I called them before we left and booked a table. I'm good, Sky, but I can't do the impossible. I still have to wait for things. Be patient." He gestured to the restaurant. "And book a table."
"If we were in Russia, all I'd have to do is snap my fingers," Skander countered with a smirk.
"That's because Dearest Daddy Dolohov distanced himself from his crazy ass uncle and made sure he couldn't be implicated in the war as he made his riches," Hugo scoffed. "He plans, your father. He's always three steps ahead of everyone else. I respect that."
"How many steps ahead of law enforcement are you?" Skander asked with grim smile.
I'm talking to law enforcement right now and I'm still about five steps ahead.
"I guess we'll see. But it's been nine months, so I'm not exactly waiting for them," Hugo answered with a grin, his eyes wide and bright with excitement, Skander was quick to note. Hugo pretended not to see the frown.
"Don't you think that's a little reckless?"
"You know me, Sky; I'm a live in the moment kind of guy," he said just as Greta came back to take their food orders.
By the end of the meal, dessert and all, Skander could see why Hugo came as often as he did; the food was delicious. He'd ordered the fish, but definitely had to come back to try something else. Skander tried to keep the conversation on business during their meal, asking questions about the antiques store and the private clients who pay him to collect things of historic value, but it only lasted ten minutes at most. He'd forgotten how good Hugo was at deflecting; he changed the subject so successfully that they'd been talking about a beach party for a good fifteen minutes before Skander caught on.
He said nothing, though. He still needed to know so much; the store itself was clean, he was sure, but he need to know about the private clients and Hugo's personal life, the hotel he'd chosen to stay in. Hugo Weasley was a conman, pure and simple, and everything he did was deliberate and planned to the last detail. He chose Miami for a reason, he chose the hotel for a reason and he was acknowledging Skander for a reason.
He was deflecting because he was suspicious. He knew something or he wanted to know something.
Be careful, Sky, he told himself.
And he knew how - the questions would stop, no matter what Potter and Weasley said. They could kick and scream for all he cared. He knew Hugo best and he'd do things his way. Hugo was suspicious, but once he'd asked his own questions, Skander was sure he could get Hugo to open up. Hugo would be telling him things himself soon enough. The Aurors just had to wait.
Hugo paid the bill, not letting Skander see the price; he just handed a credit card over.
"How can you afford this life?" Skander asked his last, but most innocent, question. He was dying to know. Because there had been no sign of criminal activity from him. Except for the name on the credit cards, even the money was legal.
"I have my sources," Hugo said mysteriously. "Come on."
They turned left rather than right to the hotel, meeting crowds of people ready to party. There were already lines into clubs, short compared to how it could get later, and music blending between the nearby clubs when the doors opened.
Hugo stopped outside the front of a popular one, Heat, shaking his head when Skander asked if they were going to wait in line. Instead, he took the man's hand and led him inside. Skander watched in amazement and fascination when the bouncer just let them past, before guessing that Hugo had probably known the owners and/or staff since he got here. Connections got you everywhere, Hugo used to say.
I bet he still does.
Hugo pushed past the dancers, one heated, sweaty body after the other, until they got to a door near the bar, almost hidden from view.
Well, they certainly got the name right.
It was only when they were through the door, up the stairs and Skander watched Hugo take a seat at the desk did he truly understand what was going on. He'd found one of Hugo's reasons for having money.
"You own this club." Hugo's grin was answer enough. Skander looked around the room, pretending to be interested in the pictures on the wall, then stopped at the large window which allowed them to look down at the club. "How did you get this? A club requires business stuff I don't even understand and money you didn't have. You were running from the law, Hugo. How are you running a club?"
"I have a partner. He took my idea and made it happen for me; I just run it. And own half of it," Hugo said.
"A partner. Will I get to meet this partner of yours?"
Hugo shook his head. "He's a silent partner. He travels, has other things to deal with. He checks in from time to time, always a phone call."
"Such a shame," Skander muttered, taking a seat across from Hugo. He hadn't stopped grinning since he'd planned dinner; it was starting to unnerve Skander. "So, businessman Hugo - the store, the clients, the club; what else do you have to keep you busy?"
"A life in the bedroom," he smirked. "Did you expect me to remain celibate after you left?" he laughed wickedly when Skander grimaced.
"Good. So, what do you do back in England?"
Skander noticed that England apparently wasn't home to Hugo, probably because it wasn't home to him either, Russia was, but Skander was born in Russia and Hugo was English. He wondered briefly if Miami was home before answering the questions he'd known would come.
"I'm a freelance private investigator."
"Law enforcement, interesting," Hugo said, still grinning, and sat up straighter. "Have you ever worked for my family?"
"Nope," he popped the P, "they don't like me. They never have, but now they think that I'm to blame for you turning to a life of crime. They're another reason why I had to get away."
"Next time you see them, please feel free to tell them that they're goody goody bullshit drove me to it. Stealing things was way more fun."
Skander couldn't help the laugh that came out. "I look forward to seeing the looks on their faces when I tell them," he said honestly, imagining their faces clearly in his mind. "Anything else?"
Hugo seemed to pause and think about that before answering, which confused Skander. "This would mean you're not staying, if you'll be able to tell them this. Do they know where you are?"
Skander ignored the odd look in Hugo's eyes and shook his head. Hugo was always odd to him. "No, they don't know. Yes, it would mean I'm not staying. I told you, this is just a holiday. But holidays can be extended if they have good reason to be."
Hugo considered his words, then nodded once, and Skander knew for sure that the man was suspicious of something. If he wasn't careful, they were both going to fall. Because there was way Skander was going down in whatever game was being played without Hugo coming with him.
"Then tell them this: it started when I was six, long before I met you. Those people at Mum's charity events had such big pockets and I just... helped myself." Hugo leant back into his chair, folded his arms across his chest and smiled. "I was told to, after all."
A/N: New chapter. I'm really glad I wrote a plan to stick to, I hope chapters will be more consistant now. :)
I made up the name of the club for the purpose of this story. If there is one by that name, it is purely coincidental.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think. :)
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