Author Notes: OK, so here's the beginning of a sequel to Volunteers, my fic written for the livejournal community hdsbeltane. Trust me, it really won't make much sense if you haven't read Volunteers.

Author Notes for those who already read Volunteers (or who decided to read this fic anyway against my advice): Volunteers was written pre-DH, and this sequel was started pre-DH, so it's somewhat non-compliant with DH. You can still make it fit if you squint and tilt your head sideways (and pretend the word Epilogue never graced a single dictionary), except for the fact that Fred Weasley is very much alive. Also: JKR said in post-DH interviews that the Malfoys stayed out of Azkaban because they smooth-talked their way out of trouble by pointing out that in the end they actually helped Harry to win. With all due respect to the Scottish lady in whose garden we all play, in my world nobody talks that smoothly.

Thanks millions to scrtkpr, for wonderful beta. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Chapter 2 will be heading in your direction soon, I hope.

ooo000ooo

Date: May 2
From:
To:
Hi,
The Ministry wants me to file a report on the festivities; do you want to get together to discuss that?

Date: May 2
From:
To:
Sure, sounds good.

Date: May 2
From:
To:
Is Friday night all right, maybe around 7? Alec would like it if you brought Ben too.

Date: May 3
From:
To:
See you then.

ooo000ooo
May 4

"You're going to stay too, Dad?" Ben asked as Draco helped him out of his bath.

"Yes, I'll be there. You'll go play with Alec, and I'll be with Harry."

"What are you going do?"

'Hopefully, also play,' is not what you want to say out loud. "Talking about Beltane," Draco said, drying Ben off and avoiding the newest scab on his knee.

"But isn't it over now?"

"Yes, but we have to write a report on it."

"Why?" Ben asked, his voice muffled by the towel Draco was rubbing over his head.

"Well, the Ministry wants to know if everyone behaved all right, if anyone let the Muggles see things they shouldn't."

"Did they?"

"Not much. Most people behaved pretty well. Here's your underwear."

"Did I behave?"

"Yeah, you were good. It would've been better if you'd stayed put when I went to talk to those witches who were trying to use Muggle cameras, but you didn't go very far. Here's your trousers."

"They were pretty funny, weren't they Dad? Imagine getting angry that the pictures didn't move!" Ben giggled as Draco helped him into his trousers. Draco smiled.

"Can I play for a long time?"

"Probably."

"Can we stay for dinner?"

"Erm. I don't know."

Draco pulled Ben's jumper over his head, irate at his own uncertainty and ridiculously jittery nerves. Were they staying for dinner? How long did Harry expect them to visit? And what would they do, once they were done with Beltane? The report excuse was pretty flimsy, seeing as how there really hadn't been anything of note other than an accidentally dropped dungbomb and the stupid witch who'd turned an old Muggle man's cane into a snake. Oh and the incident with the goat that ate a Portkey, which he was sure the Aurors had reported already.

He sighed, only half-listening to Ben's chatter as he finished dressing him, then went to get changed. Like this was a date, instead of a work-related meeting and opportunity for their kids to play together. Not that different from the last few Beltane meetings they'd had, if Draco was honest with himself. He hadn't dressed up, necessarily, but he had taken just a bit more care than usual with his appearance.

Hm...Muggle or wizard clothing? Blue or grey shirt?

"Dad? Can I bring my Gameboy?"

"Ben, remember it's a magical household," he said patiently. "Electronics won't do well there."

"Right," Ben said, disappointed, and turned to put his Gameboy away, wincing as he banged his knee. Draco reached for his wand.

"Come, stand still and I'll fix that for you."

"What if Mam asks how it got better?"

"Your mum didn't see you scrape it," Draco reminded him absently, concentrating on the small scrape and grateful he'd obtained permission to use magic for healing spells; amazing, how many small injuries children got.

Maybe he and Harry could talk about that. Adventures in parenting. How... romantic.

Of course, they might do more than talk. And if they did - unlikely, considering the kids would be there, but possible - what would they do? What did Harry want from him? It had seemed pretty straightforward Beltane night, but now...

Harry had invited him over, Draco reassured himself. Told him to bring Ben. There had been nothing in his e-mails that suggested he was thinking about what had happened Beltane night, but if Harry had regretted their actions in the cold light of day, he wouldn't have suggested getting together for the report, let alone asked Draco to bring Ben along. Right?

Beltane night. Draco sighed, his mind going back to that night, as it had been doing rather obsessively for the last three days.

God, those kisses had been incredible. After thinking about Harry in his arms for so long, the reality had been much better, because reality tasted like Butterbeer - Butterbeer! - and smoke from the Beltane fires, and held the possibility of so much more. Reality tasted like anticipation and pleasure and throwing caution to the wind, reaching for something he wanted, as he hadn't allowed himself to do for so long...

And as much as he'd forced himself to remember that he had responsibilities, that he shouldn't jump to conclusions or imagine a future of any kind, his libido was way, way ahead of him. That night, he'd been just about ready to come, right there in front of the Beltane fires, with Harry's hair spilling over his fingers, the small sound he'd made in his throat, the way he'd moaned... and it was so hard to forget that, so hard to ignore the way his body felt every time he thought of that night. How he'd felt that night, hours later, driving into Dublin exhausted and putting Ben to bed and still unable to go to sleep without taking care of the aftereffects of those embraces. And then he'd still had vivid dreams, both nights after that, and it was just-

Draco blinked, registering that Ben's permachatter had paused and that he was looking at Draco expectantly. "Sorry, what?"

"When will Mam be back?" Ben asked. "Does she know we're going to visit Harry and Alec?"

"Erm, I don't know. You know she went to negotiate that contract in Kerry."

"I want to tell her about Beltane. I want to tell her I'm going to see Alec again. Are you going to date Harry? She wants you to."

Draco sighed. "Ben, this is... a difficult situation. I'd rather not talk to your mum about it yet, OK?"

"Are you dating Harry?"

"I'm not sure."

"How can you not be sure?" Ben frowned, puzzled. "Mam's always sure when she's dating someone."

Yeah, for the entire week it usually lasts, Draco thought to himself, and pushed his glasses up nervously. "It's hard to tell. We're just friends right now."

"Like me and Alec?"

Draco hid a smile. "Sure." Right. "Now go get your shoes and off we go."

Just friends.

Or not. The one thing he was sure of was that he did not want to be just friends with Harry. He wanted... he wanted everything. The whole package, Harry in his bed, in his life, Butterbeer, magic, Kara off his case about finding a steady man, and Ben happy with all of it and miraculously untouched by any controversy.

And he was terrified of the entire package. Discovery. Being rejected. Getting hurt. Ben getting hurt.

Of course what his brain - and other parts - kept focusing on was not safety, or the future, or bad publicity, or whether he could by some miracle actually have some sort of meaningful relationship for once in his life. No, it was sex. A lot of sex. Because with any luck, he might end up having sex, sometime in the foreseeable future. With a wizard. After a distressingly long dry spell, it was too much to hope that he wouldn't be thinking about it all the time, like a pathetic randy teenager instead of a college music professor and father of a five year old boy.

So he was thinking about it, and dreaming about it and waking up with stained sheets. And he kept thinking that this was different from anything he'd experienced before, damn it, so bloody different, because this time it mattered; this time was two years after the last time he'd had a man in his bed, because the physical release he found with Muggles was too empty without some kind of connection.

Of course if he hadn't been a pathetic sap who decided to forego perfectly acceptable Muggle blokes for two years, maybe he wouldn't be so nervous contemplating becoming intimate with somebody he cared about, because that somebody was pretty much a virgin as far as men were concerned, and would probably be looking to Draco to bring some experience to the table, and...

And, sadly, Draco didn't have much experience either. Two bouts of brilliant but somewhat abbreviated frantic sex with Theo Nott before leaving Hogwarts, then five Muggles who'd briefly shared his bed, let him top, given him some rather spectacular blow jobs and taught him to do the same. Never spent the entire night with a lover. Never bottomed.

Harry probably thought Draco knew what he was doing. Sorry, not even close.

That could prove awkward. There was no question of telling Harry, but...

Maybe he should skim through a few of his Wicked Wizard magazines and actually read the articles in there; maybe they could give him some ideas...

ooo000ooo

"Hello, Ben - Alec's in the-" Harry began, but Ben had already scurried off to Alec's room, with barely a wave in Harry's direction. Harry and Draco smiled at each other.

"Doesn't waste time," Harry said.

"Doesn't waste a moment," Draco said. Harry looked a bit hesitant, and Draco figured he did too. Because how, exactly, were you supposed to greet somebody with whom you'd developed a cordial working relationship, three days after you'd had your tongue on his tonsils?

Harry drew a little closer - but whatever he was going to say or do was spoiled by Alec running into the front hall.

"Draco look! Look! I'm going to audition for a choir in London!" he yelled, waving a piece of paper at Draco and pulling him towards the living room. Harry looked nonplussed for a moment before he smiled at his son.

"All right, go ahead and tell him," he said good-naturedly. "I'll get the report out," he told Draco, going to the dining room table.

ooo000ooo

"So, that should be it, then," Harry said some time later. They'd been at it for about an hour, chatting casually about the events of Beltane in meticulous detail while adroitly avoiding any mention of what had happened at the end of the day. It was nice. Comfortable, mostly. Also a little nerve-racking because Draco kept wondering what he should be doing or not doing, saying or not saying... and now Harry was sealing the report, and putting the report away, and really, there was nothing else to say that wasn't casual.

Harry got up. "I'll go put this away - d'you want tea or something? I've got some stuff from Diagon Alley." He headed for the kitchen and Draco followed him and stood at the doorway for a moment to gather up his courage. He swallowed hard, suddenly quite sure that somehow this had all been a mistake, a misunderstanding, because they were right back to what they'd been before Beltane; polite acquaintances and possibly friends. And the conversation he'd had with Ben - not to mention the thoughts he'd been having lately - seemed terribly presumptuous.

The boys' voices sounded very far away as Draco came closer to Harry. Not sure what he was doing, just knowing that somehow he had to reassure himself that what they had now was not just a tentative friendship, but a continuation of what they'd begun on Beltane night. Startled a bit as Harry jerked slightly, looking up at him with apprehension in his eyes. Draco moved back slightly, barely having time to register his dismay before Harry moved towards him.

"Sorry," Harry murmured, and they both laughed a bit as they bumped into each other. Harry swallowed nervously. "Caught me by surprise, that's all."

Draco moved closer, feigning confidence he didn't feel, and let himself relax as Harry bridged the distance between them and their lips met.

Oh, that was all right, then. He breathed deeply, enjoying the scent of Harry's cologne, some kind of woodsy scent, and drew his hands through Harry's hair. Smiled as Harry cupped his cheek and their tongues met, and it was warm and comfortable and just a bit, erm, stimulating and... who knew how long the boys would be occupied, but maybe they could just keep doing this as long as they were-

"Daddy!"

... bugger.

"Alec lost his Snitch!" Ben cried as the boys raced into the kitchen, and Draco knew exactly how Alec felt.

Draco and Harry moved away from each other and Draco surreptitiously adjusted himself, catching Harry's grin as he saw the gesture and smiled ruefully. He waited patiently, thinking of icicles and cabbage soup and Dolores Umbridge to get rid of the uncomfortable tightness in his pants, as Harry retrieved the toy Snitch, reminded Alec of the rules for playing with it (playroom door closed, thank you very much) and gently led him back down the hall.

It was probably a good thing they'd been interrupted, Draco thought as he waited. They should probably go slowly. Not a problem; he had been celibate for two years, and Harry had been more or less celibate for four and a half years - longer, if his wife had been like most women at the end of her pregnancy - and they could probably wait a little while longer.

Finally the boys were back in the playroom, hopefully occupied for the next little while, and Harry came back to the kitchen with an expression on his face most appropriate for talking to a Healer about an embarrassingly placed boil.

"I, erm, think maybe we should talk about, er, this, before - erm, we should talk."

Draco sighed. "We probably should, yeah. Better now than later." He ran a hand over his hair nervously. Bloody hell, if it wasn't for Ben... he felt annoyed at his son for a moment before bringing himself up short. Bad enough that he was pursuing this insane attraction in the first place; to resent Ben because he had to be careful doing so was ridiculous.

Harry cleared his throat. "You said, at Beltane, that you needed this to be discreet. Is this all right? You and Ben here, nobody else needs to know?"

Draco nodded. "I'd like to see where this goes, but I really can't afford to be out about it. This has to be kept secret, as much as possible. For Ben's sake. I can't make news, and he can't be near me in public too much, or he'll be recognized if I do make news."

Harry frowned. "You didn't mind people seeing you with Alec and Ben at Beltane."

"Ben doesn't look like me, and I was there in a very low-profile position. You know there weren't very many wizards there, and most of them had no idea who I was. Kara was there too, keeping Ben out of trouble for a lot of the day, so I doubt many people even noticed he was there with me."

"Fair enough."

"Have you talked to Alec about being discreet?"

"I didn't need to say much. He's realized it's not a good idea to talk about..." Harry hesitated. "Erm, about you." Draco raised his eyebrows. "There were... things said about you. By the Weasleys. Before Beltane, when they found out I was working with you."

Draco winced. "What did you tell him?"

"I told him we weren't friends at school but that people changed, and I said some people didn't realize you'd changed." Harry looked extremely uncomfortable. "I said some of them had their own reasons for feeling the way they did about you."

"Like Bill Weasley?" Draco guessed.

"Erm, no. He knows we volunteered together, but hasn't said anything about it. I'm not terribly close to him, but we do work together. I don't think it would be fair to just ignore his feelings if we..." he trailed off and looked away. "And it's not just him, either. The Weasleys... they're my family, as much as anybody can be. Ron reminded me of that."

"Of what?"

"That I'm an honorary Weasley for life."

Draco winced again.

"Yeah, I told him that might be reason enough for you to decide not to get involved with me," Harry said with a slight smile.

"I take it he knows?"

"That I'm attracted to you, yeah. So does Hermione." Harry looked like he wanted to say more, then thought better of it.

"What did they think?"

Harry shrugged. "They weren't happy."

"Were you surprised?"

"Well, no. I mean, it would've been nice if they had approved, but it's hardly surprising they didn't."

"D'you think we should be discreet around the boys too? To avoid Alec saying anything he shouldn't to the Weasleys?"

"I don't think there's much point," Harry said wryly. "Remember, they figured this out before we did."

"I did tell Ben that I didn't know if we were dating."

"Oh." Harry blinked. "Erm... well, I'd like us to."

Merlin, so would I, Draco thought fervently, firmly squashing down the desire to touch Harry again. Pull him close, breathe in his cologne, taste his lips - he could almost feel the imprint on his body of what they'd been doing when the boys interrupted them, and he wanted so much to - no. Talk first, grope later. Hopefully. He forced an even tone on his voice. "Not sure you can really call it dating, if you never go anywhere."

"Never?"

"I'm serious about that. No going out in public, except to Muggle places. I'd also rather not have anything personal in e-mails or owls."

Harry raised his eyebrows.

"It's not paranoia if there really are people watching you," Draco said evenly. "My parole officer has permission to read my mail. He does so, regularly."

"Don't Aurors have some kind of code about what they can and can't reveal?"

"Yes, they do. Many of them also hate the Malfoys. I don't particularly want one of them to forget his professionalism and send a little note to the Prophet."

"But... you are allowed to date, aren't you?"

"Of course. But I'd still rather they not get wind of it. It's not that we're doing anything wrong, and if you were anybody else, I doubt anyone would care. But you? That's a very different story."

He thought for a moment about explaining that twice a year he was obligated to undergo Veritaserum questioning about his activities and to submit a report to his parole officer detailing any significant personal developments in his life... but that wasn't for a few months yet. Who knew whether this would even be an issue then.

He took a deep breath, forced the words out. "You know... this is probably going to be a lot of trouble. It would probably be a lot simpler to just back away." He waited while Harry mulled it over, quashing his own nerves, knowing he really couldn't blame Harry if he chickened out.

"I know what it would be like to not pursue this," Harry said slowly. "I've spent four years not pursuing anything. I didn't die when Ginny did, you know. I've mourned her long enough."

"You could find somebody else."

"I'm not terribly enthused at the prospect, believe it or not. Besides, it's hard to date anybody when you're a single parent."

"You're not serious; there must be hundreds of witches who'd take you and Alec in a heartbeat."

"I won't date a woman again."

"Wizards, then," Draco said impatiently.

"Probably. None I could trust."

"And you trust me?"

"I do," Harry said simply.

"A lot of people wouldn't understand placing any trust in me."

"I'm not a lot of people." Harry cleared his throat and seemed to brace himself again. "And speaking of trust. Erm. I, I told you a bit about that I've never - other than Ginny, I haven't really, erm. I don't have much experience."

Draco nodded.

"That... doesn't bother you?"

"No. I haven't been with anybody for a while, either. What about the two Muggles you were with?"

"Didn't go too far. I didn't even know their names." Harry sighed. "It... it was good. I mean, I knew I wanted to be with a bloke, but I didn't know if - you know, if it would be too different, or what."

"I take it the Weasleys know you're bisexual?"

"Yeah, of course. For years."

"How did it come up?"

Harry chuckled. "Erm, Ginny made some comment about Lance Poffle-"

"The Puddlemere Chaser?"

"Yeah, and I guess I was a bit over-enthusiastic agreeing with her. They all started looking at me funny. Ron made some comment about me fancying Poffle, I mentioned his crush on Viktor Krum, things got a bit tense, then I said something like, 'So what if I do fancy him?' and Ginny said, 'Hermione, you owe me a Galleon.'"

"What?" Draco laughed.

"They'd actually had a bet that I liked to look at other blokes. My best friend and my girlfriend. A bit embarrassing, that was." Harry chuckled again and shrugged. "I knew it wouldn't be a big deal to them. Charlie Weasley's gay, out since second year; nobody cares."

"Wasn't he Gryffindor Quidditch Captain?"

"Oh yeah, nice lean Seeker's build, too," Harry grinned. "That fueled a few fantasies, believe me, when I met him."

"I bet."

"Hermione really approved of how the wizarding world seemed a lot more blasé about that kind of thing than the Muggle world."

"I can imagine," Draco said grimly.

"Bit of a shock to you when you came to live here?"

"Bit of an understatement. The tizzy these people get into based on whose pants you want to get into. It's baffling."

"Yeah, I remember my cousin used to tease me by implying all sorts of things. Once I'd found out the wizarding world couldn't be arsed to care, I just found it amusing."

Draco chuckled. "Wish I could've seen it that way. Not that it's that big a deal at the college, or with most of the people I spend time with. But Kara's family - her father, actually - are incredibly unpleasant."

"Really?"

Draco shrugged. "I'm used to it. It's just a matter of being discreet."

"I suppose so. Like being in the wizarding world?

"Pretty much."

Harry hesitated, then spoke in a rush. "What if you do come back to the wizarding world? For real, and not just for Beltane?"

Silence.

"Do you want to?"

Draco hesitated. "Yeah," he said reluctantly. "Ben really wants to as well. I was thinking of getting to know some of the local wizards. At Brigid's Cross - that's Dublin's Diagon Alley-"

"Yeah, I've been there. Nice shops."

"And then once I know them a bit better, maybe bring Ben in. That way people will get to know him. I haven't really worked out all the logistics yet, but publicity can't be part of it. And," he gazed steadily at Harry, "you can't be part of that. Not publicly. You know what somebody like Rita Skeeter would do with this story. The Boy Who Lived and a Death Eater? It would be front page."

"I know."

"I don't want Ben to find out like that. I suppose I'm looking to keep him safe as long as possible."

"Well what if we put a glamour on you or something, if we're out somewhere-"

"We can't," Draco interrupted.

"What?"

"I can't. I can't hide who I am, I can't hide my Dark Mark, or change my name, or move away, or anything like that. You can, and so can Ben, but one condition of my parole is that I live with my name and face and Mark forever. On the British Isles. Nothing I can do about it."

"That's... that'll put a strain on things when Ben's older. If he gets in Hogwarts."

"I know."

"D'you think he will?"

Draco shrugged. "He's got some magic. Don't know just how much yet, unfortunately. He's made a few things move, made a few lights pop when he was angry. And Kara gets a bit suspicious by how well he can find things sometimes."

Harry smiled slightly. "Yeah, Alec's done some things like that. It's nice, though. I'm so glad he can do all of that without being punished for it."

Draco frowned, wondering who on earth would think to punish a child for magic. Harry's expression didn't invite questioning, though, and he moved on. "You know, it's odd, I'd never really thought about the logistics of having a half-blood child, especially one raised by a Muggle mother with no idea of magic. I've no idea what I thought Muggle-born children did. It's been eye-opening, to say the least," he said dryly. "I feel like I'm flying blind half the time."

"You know, you can't be unique in this. There's got to be other parents of half-blood children who could help you figure some of this out."

"I don't know any."

"Well Hermione's got some experience growing up in a non-magical house. Of course she didn't have to hide it, but she's done a lot of work with half-blood and Muggle-born kids. She might..."

Draco kept his face blank, searching for a polite way to say Are you completely mental, but none presented itself.

Harry cleared his throat. "Or not."

"Erm, probably not."

"Yeah, she's a bit busy with the baby."

"Yeah."

Harry put a hand on his arm. "If this works, though... you know you'll come into contact with her. With her whole family." Draco looked away uncomfortably, acutely aware of Harry's hand on his arm. Harry paused for a moment, then quietly said, "Do you think, since this is sort of a date, that anything more than talking would be appropriate?"

They slowly drew together again, and Draco smiled. This felt better. Much better. He kissed Harry deeply, smiling as Harry moaned and immediately flushed.

"Sorry. 'Sbeen a while," Harry murmured, a bit embarrassed.

"What, since Wednesday?" Draco teased.

Harry rolled his eyes. "This is new for me, all right?"

"I know. For me too," Draco said, and leaned in again. Oh, Merlin, that felt good. So bloody good, and it was just horrible that the kids were right down the hall, liable to interrupt at the most inopportune moment, because right now what he wanted more than anything was to run his hands through Harry's hair and do something, anything, other than simply kiss.

"Mm," Harry moaned, pulling him closer, and they gave themselves over to their impulses, Harry's heart beating fast against Draco's just as it had the other night. Harry's fingers caressing Draco's face, his lips teasing, tongue slipping into Draco's mouth, and Draco shivered with pleasure. He choked back a cry as Harry moved to the side of his neck and did something with his tongue that sent sparks through Draco and made him tighten his hold on Harry's shoulders. And he would've felt embarrassed at how quickly he got hard from just a little tongue, except he was much too hard to feel embarrassed. He groaned, fingers skittering over Harry's back, body pressing against him, wanting as much contact as possible - Harry was hard too, they pressed together, Draco's back digging into the counter behind him, Harry's thigh between his own, impossibly warm, he was aching to undo Harry's clothes-

Bloody hell, he'd better think of something unarousing to bring things down a bit or before he knew it he'd be trying to bend Harry over the counter.

He's a step away from bending you over the nearest rock and taking you without lube, Kara had said at Beltane, and that image was certainly not helpful.

"Dad!" Ben yelled breathlessly, and Draco and Harry broke apart hastily as he ran into the kitchen. "Alec says that he's done some magic before! Can he do it now?"

Draco contemplated hitting his head against the wall in frustration at the sudden distance between himself and Harry, and startled a bit as Harry put a hand on his arm before turning to Ben. Harry was flushed, and his chest was heaving slightly, but his voice was remarkably steady.

"He can't just do it whenever he wants, Ben. Most people can't control their magic until they're a bit older."

Alec had followed Ben into the kitchen. "I told you," he said. "Daddy's got a friend who even thought he was a Squib for the longest time."

"Longbottom?" Draco asked. He realized Harry's hand was trembling a bit and covered it with his own, squeezing it slightly.

"How did you guess?"

"I have a talent for spotting the shockingly obvious."

Harry chuckled.

"What's a Squib?" asked Ben.

"It's somebody who doesn't have magic. Even though their family's wizards." Alec cocked his head to the side, gazing at Harry and Draco. "Were you kissing?" he asked curiously.

Draco abruptly felt sorry for Kara and her many girlfriends and reminded himself of what she had said many times: at some glorious age, children stopped being innocently curious about public displays of adult affection and became intensely embarrassed at the mere thought, avoiding it if at all possible. Draco would've cheerfully killed for a spell to bring the boys to that stage of development right now.

"Yes, we were," Harry said, his tone casual despite the almost maroon flush on his skin. "Would you mind going back to your room, so we can continue?"

"OK. Let's go back to the Snitch," Alec said, and the boys ran back out.

Harry took a deep breath. "I think maybe we should actually get that tea I mentioned. And sit down. On, erm, opposite sides of the table."

Draco laughed shakily. "Good idea."

Harry turned to the cupboard, taking out a carton of tea. "I don't suppose you'd be up for trying this again some day when the boys are at someone else's house? Or maybe just heavily sedated?"

Draco chuckled. "Yeah, I can probably be talked into that." They exchanged a wry grin and settled down to tea.