Chapter Twelve: Tuesday Morning

The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic, and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.

Beta credit: bunnyhops gave this pitiful story its first once-over.  CoquetteKitten gave it another excellent editing recently.

 

When she woke the next morning, Hermione spent more than an adequate amount of time getting ready for the day. The idea that Draco, and possibly Lucius, would see her at some point caused her to ramp up her normal regimen. She had loosely knotted her hair up off her neck with the aid of the Malfoy’s gift.   The weight of the beautiful hair comb at the back of her head was a constant reminder of her evening with Draco. Now, as Harry walked her down to the Headmaster’s office for her breakfast meeting, she felt prepared for anything the day might hold.

 

Minerva and Astoria were already seated at the table by the hearth, just as they had been yesterday. Today, however, Hermione needed no invitation. She sat down and filled her plate, and the three ate in comfortable silence for some minutes. Astoria was the first to talk.

 

“You know, Hermione, you’re going to have a lot of people suddenly wanting to be your friend when this is announced. You should prepare yourself.”

 

“Why would my marriage change my social standing?”

 

Minerva jumped in, “You’ll be House Wife to the closest thing English wizardry has to royalty. Have you never noticed the way Draco is treated like a prince? That extends beyond the walls of Hogwarts, my dear. Astoria is right, you should be prepared for a rush of attention.”

 

At this point, there was a knock on the door, and Minerva went to answer it. Apparently she was needed somewhere urgently. “Girls, I must go see to this. Astoria, you are Hermione’s chaperone in my absence. Albus is in his rooms, of course. Knock on the door if you need him.”

 

After nodding at the professor, Hermione turned back to Astoria. “I’ll be gone from here by the time I get married, and then I’ll be with the . . . with my . . . with them. And if they’re the ones who are so important, who’s going to bother with me?”

 

“Hermione! Once the honeymoon is over, the Malfoys will be dragging you all over the magical world – they’re going to want to show you off in every magical city that has a decent hotel. You’ll meet the pureblood crowd, the business crowd, and anyone else who happens to frequent the same social spots. As the Malfoy wife, you’ll be considered influential. Anyone with an interest in your family will see you as their way in.”

 

“That’s ridiculous. I don’t want that! Let’s talk about something else,” she ordered in a panicky voice.

 

“Okay. Oh – I’ll bet the sex will be amazing, Hermione! Can you just imagine Lucius in bed?” Astoria’s eyes were gleaming as she spoke, and Hermione was so taken aback by the statement that she completely missed her friend’s artful diversion.

 

Hermione had felt a stab of some new, unknown emotion at her new friend’s interest in the Malfoys. It was brief but sharp, and felt almost like possessiveness. She tried her best to shake it. “Astoria! How can you even . . . isn’t that a bit wrong, that you’re thinking about sex with my wizards? Why don’t we talk about your wizards? I don’t know the Notts, outside of Theo.”

 

Astoria looked chastened. “Sorry, I know that must seem inappropriate. All right, then, my wizards; I’m betrothed to the three Notts: Theodore Sr., Theo, and Nicholas, who’s a seventh year. I’ve known them most of my life, and was thrilled when I was given their stake. It’s the most perfect fairytale ending.”

 

She certainly looked enamored with the Notts. She continued, “I’ve always had the hugest crush on Theodore. As a child I followed him around for years at social functions, demanding to sit on his lap. He recognized me as bespoken quite early, and was always very kind. When I went off to school, I was put on the train with Theo and Nick and we fought the whole way to Hogwarts. We couldn’t stand each other for the longest time! That changed when I turned sixteen, and shortly after that, they cast their stake.”

 

“What was it like, before you recently accepted?”

 

“Honestly? I enjoyed it. The boys alternated between flirting and sulking, and Theodore wrote to me regularly. They never let me forget that they wanted me, and they did whatever necessary to keep others at bay. I knew I belonged with them; I just needed some time to grow up. Now I can’t wait to be with them. That doesn’t mean I have forgotten the delectable Malfoy men! Now you tell me something.”

 

“Draco and I met to study in the library last night.”

 

“Ooh, sounds cozy! I suppose your chaperone was there?”

 

“Yes, but mine’s Harry, and he’s the most depraved man in this castle.”

 

“What, The Boy With His Hands Up Two Skirts is depraved?” Astoria giggled.

 

Hermione decided that it was only fair to tell the blonde witch more. She said, “Draco and I kissed at our visit yesterday afternoon, and he tried to kiss me again last night. I can’t believe how amenable I am to the idea of being with him. It’s like I rally all my logic, and then when I see him it all turns to mush.”

 

“You’ll feel that way about Lucius, too, as soon as you get to know him. It was meant to be. When I kissed Nick at the acceptance ceremony, I think the earth stopped turning for a few seconds. And last year, I could have kicked him in the you-know-whats.”

 

“You’re probably right.”

 

“Probably? Hermione – that yummy, yummy wizard is going to spend the next week visiting you with the express purpose of breaking down your resistance. He’ll murmur sweet nothings in that sexy drawl of his until your eyes will cross. He’ll run his fingers through your hair, and up and down your back until you purr with pleasure. He’ll set a trap to steal a kiss and you will be caught in it.”

 

Astoria’s imagery was incendiary, and it felt as though a small flame had been lit inside her.

 

The meeting broke up shortly after that when Minerva returned from her task. She escorted Hermione to the doorway of her first class. The young witch paused to collect her thoughts and jumped when someone touched her elbow. Tugging away from the person, she spun around to face him or her. It was Draco.

 

“Sorry, but you didn’t hear me address you.”

 

“D– ummm, hi! What are you doing here?” She glanced around the halls and realized passing time must be almost over, as only a few students scurried past them. Then she leaned into the DADA room and caught the teacher’s eye. He was new this term, and Hermione couldn’t be bothered trying to remember his name. He knew far less about the subject than she, and as much as admitted this to her when they first met. Since she had passed her N.E.W.T. for this class two years ago and had taken it merely to practice her skills, it didn’t seem much of an issue. Still, he was a teacher and might count as a chaperone . . .

 

The young wizard sitting at the teacher’s desk immediately recognized her plight. He tried to look authoritative and held up three fingers. The Headmaster must have told the faculty about me. Whew. Three minutes. That’s actually quite generous — I wonder if anyone would notice if Draco kissed me . . . She physically shook her head to clear her thoughts.

 

Draco had been speaking, and she only caught the tail end. “ . . . is that all right?”

 

She looked up into his face, and all the little things she had been cataloging about him came to mind. He’s so tall and handsome. His shoulders will be as broad as Lucius’ once he fills out a bit. What lovely eyes he has – they’re like the sea the way they change color. His skin is pale as milk; and his mouth – sweet Circe, his beautiful, beautiful mouth . . . what is he saying? Am I drooling? She tried to focus on Draco’s words, still watching his mouth.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

“I need to kiss you. I mean! What?!”

 

Draco looked up and down the hallway and into the classroom before pulling her to the side of the doorway. He took her face in his hands and pressed his mouth to hers once, twice, three times. The little flame that Astoria had helped light inside her grew. Her hands reached his head and wove into his hair just as he was pulling away. He was grinning happily.

 

 

“I have to go. There’s to be a visit at lunchtime. Have Harry bring you to the Headmaster’s office.”

 

Then he was gone, leaving Hermione in a state unfit for class. She took the remaining time to calm her breathing and center her thoughts. When she walked into DADA ninety seconds later, she looked her usual collected self, but her mind was far away in a library alcove alone with Draco Malfoy.

 

She managed to avoid getting hurt during the two-period class, although her dueling partner hit her full-on with a particularly well-aimed babbling curse. Honestly, who uses that curse in self-defense? Their professor couldn’t seem to get the counter-curse right, and since she was in no physical danger, sent her on her way with his apologies. Harry seemed to be wrapped in his thoughts when he met her at the door, and guided her to her visit without a word. She kept her incessant talking to a quiet mutter all the way to the Headmaster’s office and hugged her ‘brother’ good-bye. At least I don’t have to listen to myself go on – my mouth seems content to run on its own. I wish Harry had paid attention long enough to help me – it’s not as though he doesn’t know how!

 

Hermione took a deep breath at the door. One of the wizards present would know the counter-curse and quickly ease her plight. She entered, mind elsewhere and not even struggling to keep quiet. She could feel her mouth moving even as she tried to smile at her wizards and the Headmaster. As usual, the office was ridiculously warm. She shed her robes quickly, revealing her uniform. Who knew a uniform could look so nice?

 

Lucius and Draco greeted her even as the words tumbled from her mouth. This is an excellent opportunity to think about something other than the fact that I could be saying something regrettable. Sweet Circe, but my mouth is moving at an astonishing rate.

 

“I’ve just come from DADA and sweet merciful Merlin the new teacher is completely inept. I cannot believe my partner thought a babbling curse might be effective in a duel, but then again it did keep me from annihilating her as usual. My mind just wasn’t functioning. I mean, it was, but it wasn’t even in the classroom! All I could think about was kissing Draco and Lucius’ hands and how heavenly you both smell! Do you taste good, too? I might steal a lick sometime, just to see. Oh! I’ve been thinking about the binding vows, and maybe it isn’t so bad if they’re meant literally, because I’ve tried to imagine you two all wet and in the tub with me-”

 

Here she stopped speaking abruptly and heaved a relieved sigh. Lucius stood frozen before her, wide-eyed. Draco, too, was in a similarly motionless state, and his mouth hung open a bit. Good heavens, I wonder what I was babbling on about!   Professor Dumbledore lowered his wand and cleared his throat.

 

“That’s better. Miss Granger, thank you for accommodating the Malfoys at such short notice. In light of the time, I have ordered lunch to be served here. Won’t you all join me?” He gestured toward the heavily laden table by the hearth.

 

The spell seemed to be broken then; her future husbands regained mobility and moved slowly toward the table. They both looked a little dazed still, but one pulled out her chair for her and the other draped a napkin across her lap. The meal began rather quietly. Hermione’s nerves had finally had enough.

 

“I seem to have said something offensive while under that curse. Please forgive me?”

 

Lucius met her eye, and she noticed that his eyes were smiling. “No offense was given at all, lady. You simply caught us off guard. Fortunately we weren’t dueling at the time. Speaking of that, please tell me about your new teacher.”

 

What did I say?! Oh well, surely Dumbledore knows how terrible whatshisname is . . .

 

She replied, “Well, he’s very young, and it’s not exactly a job for the faint-hearted. I’m sure he’ll hit his stride soon. Hopefully.”

 

Lucius countered, “Not every dark arts defense scholar is fit to teach that subject. The school was lucky to have had Severus, even for just that one year. He was a brilliant man.”

 

Draco agreed, adding, “Did you know he was my godfather?”

 

They continued in that vein, and it wasn’t for several minutes of pleasant conversation that Hermione realized Lucius had steered them adeptly from whatever had stunned them earlier.

 

After lunch had been cleared, Dumbledore sat down at his desk with a large pile of owl posts.   Lucius took Hermione’s hand in his and led her to his customary spot. She sank to his knee without prompting and felt his warm, strong hands wrap around her. They’re so large they almost wrap the entire way around me. I feel safe here.

 

“My lady, I lied earlier.” The wizard had lifted one hand to her head and toyed with one of her wayward curls.

 

“About what, Mr. Malfoy?”

 

“When I said you gave no offense. In truth, the words you spoke under that curse cut me to the core,” he was trying to keep from smiling, she thought, and doing and excellent job of it, “and I crave recompense.”

 

Hermione saw where he was leading and followed willingly. It was an enjoyable game with Lucius.

 

“Will you tell me how to make it right?”

 

“Perhaps a token of your affection might soothe my heart.”

 

She bit her lip in an attempt to keep a straight face. “Of course, like a lock of my hair, or maybe my handkerchief, or-”

 

“You are a minx.” He said the word in a complimentary way, and Hermione believed him. After all, he seemed to enjoy teasing. She blushed even as she began to lean toward him. Lucius was keeping very still except for his eyes, which glanced from hers to her mouth. She kissed his cheek twice and he pulled her to her now-favorite position, tucked under his chin with his strong arms wrapped around her.

 

“One day soon you will miss your mark.”

 

He’ll murmur sweet nothings in that sexy drawl of his until your eyes cross. She inhaled his scent and smiled into the collar of his robes. Astoria was right. “Undoubtedly, Mr. Malfoy. I think that will be the day to begin using your given name.”

 

Lucius chuckled, and the young witch felt the vibrations travel from his chest through her own body. “Then I hope you continue offending me so sorely, that we may test your marksmanship.”

 

His hand stroked over her hair and down her back. He’ll run his fingers through your hair, and up and down your back until you purr with pleasure. “Now, tell me about my hands. You seem to like them enough to have complimented them earlier. What is it about them, hmmmm?”

 

His fingers were softly stroking patterns across her back and sides, causing her to sigh pleasurably against his neck. His words suddenly registered in her head, and she struggled feebly to sit up. Lucius was having none of it and held her in place with another laugh.

 

“Wait, what? What did I say earlier?” She had ceased trying to escape and was back against his shoulder.

 

“Tell me about my hands, witch,” he murmured into her hair. His fingers roamed to her sides and lightly tickled.

 

Hermione clamped down on a shriek of laughter, and Lucius drew his head back enough so that he could look her in the eye. “My hands?”

 

There was no escape. The young witch took one of his large hands into both of hers, learning its shape and texture. Her voice was quiet when she spoke. “They’re so much larger than mine. Look – you can fold your fingers down over my mine most of the way.” She had aligned their palms to show him.

 

“What else?”

 

“Hmmmm . . . they’re warm, and the skin is soft. You must not do much manual labor . . .?” Her eyes turned up to his questioningly.

 

He was looking at her with an incredulous sneer. “I am a businessman, dear lady. I employ others to do my work for me.”

 

Hermione looked back down at the hand she held. “Your hands are very gentle when you touch me.”

 

“Always,” he murmured, then added, “You forgot talented.”

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“My hands are very talented. I look forward to showing you the many things they can do.” His hand had taken both of hers by the wrists and drawn them to his lips, but he kept his gaze locked with hers.

 

Hermione was blushing furiously. He’s going to show me what he can do with his hands . . .I cannot believe he just said that to me . . . I think I want him to show me . . . Lucius’ eyes devoured her face briefly, then he shut his eyes and swallowed. “You test my limits, Miss Granger. Perhaps you will tell me about your other teachers, now?”

 

Their former conversation resumed as Hermione played with a button on Lucius robes. They didn’t so much as pause until the bell rang. Her intended husband (how would she differentiate between them – older husband? First husband? She wondered if there were established terms in place) sighed and helped her to her feet. The kiss he placed on the back of her hand was lingering, and he didn’t relinquish her hand until she rose on her tiptoes and pulled him down for one last kiss on his cheek. He’ll set a trap to steal a kiss and you will be caught in it. I want to kiss Lucius Malfoy.

 

Draco was wandering the office aimlessly. She came up behind him and tapped his shoulder. “Sir, are you looking for something?”

 

He gave an almost smile and his eyes beamed at her. “Found it.”

 

“Hi.”

 

“Hello.”

 

They stood and smiled at each other for a few moments until Lucius bade them both good day and left. Then Draco pulled her by the hand to the alcove and transfigured the chair into their preferred seating arrangement. They sank into it side by side, quite literally — the couch seemed to be even smaller this visit.

 

It seemed that, as was their habit together, the two became instantly nervous. They blurted out simultaneously,

 

“What-”

 

“Sorry!”

 

You g-”

 

The tension disappeared immediately, and Hermione gestured for her wizard to speak first. He blushed and glanced down at her hand, then tangled his fingers with hers.

 

“About what you said earlier, I wondered if you had any questions.”

 

“What did I say earlier?”

 

Draco paused, still not looking at her. “When you were under the babbling curse, you mentioned the binding vows. Do you still have questions, or did Lucius already answer them?”

 

Great and merciful Merlin, did he just say what I thought he said? That I was babbling about the binding ceremony. Kill me now, since you didn’t kill me then. The young witch tried to remind herself that, to pureblood wizards, this topic was, as part of their culture, perfectly acceptable. Except for Draco, who was as inexperienced as she.

 

If Hermione had interpreted correctly, Draco was trying to hide the fact that he was jealous of Lucius’ time with her. She felt a new tenderness for the young wizard, and she leaned down to his shoulder and kissed it. Then she laid her head on the same spot and drew her legs up to curl against his. Their hands, still intertwined, rested on her knees. Maybe Draco and I can talk about this more easily if we employ Lucius’ no-eye-contact tactic.

 

“Lucius and I don’t talk about the courtship, or being married. Mostly he asks me about my day and teases me. I think he’s trying his best not to frighten me away.”

 

Draco said quietly, “That sounds like him. He can be very intense, and I think at this point that would frighten you. And he is a terrible tease.”

 

“You love him very much.”

 

“Yes, I do. You will, too, soon. He’s the best man I know.”

 

“How do these kinds of marriages work? In monogamous ones, people get jealous and fight. Is that magnified when there are more husbands?”

 

Draco’s fingers were running over her knee, causing little shivers to run through her. “Jealousy isn’t exclusive to marriage, nor are fights. They occur wherever they’re allowed, I think. I won’t let them rule our marriage, nor will Lucius. Are you trying to ask if I’m jealous of him?”

 

“I don’t know . . . maybe?”

 

“No, I’m not. Of your time, yes. I want you all to myself. Then again, so does he. That will change when we can be together. No more chaperones, no more visits – just the three of us at Malfoy Manor.”

 

She shivered slightly at that thought. “I do have questions about the things you vowed at the ceremony, but I’m not sure if I can bring myself to ask you.”

 

“All right. Ask whenever and only if you want, or talk with Astoria – although I don’t know if the Nott vows were similar to ours.”

 

“How about if, for now, I just ask when the wedding will be?”

 

 

“Saturday evening after graduation, unless . . .”

 

“Go on.”

 

“Unless you’d be willing to forgo the graduation in favor of an earlier wedding. We could be wed on Friday, under the full moon.”

 

She’d heard of full-moon weddings. Held on the eve of the moon’s waxing, they could be of great portent, full of old magic, and were a favorite among pureblood families. Hermione raised her head to look at the young wizard. His handsome face was set in preparation of disappointment. “It’s completely up to you – whatever you want.”

 

He would let me ruin a tradition just so that I can hear my name called and honors announced. They’ll do that anyway, even if I’m not there. “I’d like a full-moon wedding. I don’t know much about them – we could research them in the library sometime soon?”

 

Draco’s face lit up like the sun, and his smiled stretched across his face. “Absolutely.”

 

On impulse, Hermione leaned forward and kissed him. He made a contented sound and held the back of her head with his hand, holding her in place. She leaned her hands on his chest and forgot about everything except the synchronized movement of their lips. The bell rang, signifying the end of the visit, and the two reluctantly separated at the office door. The visit had lasted only ninety minutes.

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