Chapter Fourteen: Wednesday 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; also CoquetteKitten (whom I owe  some top notch chow mein)

 

Hermione woke early to the sound of an owl scrabbling noisily against her window ledge. When ignoring it didn’t work, she finally got up to take its delivery. It wasn’t until the window was opened that she realized how enormous the bird actually was. It was a full-grown eagle-owl, and, after dropping her letter at her feet, it flew to haughtily roost on one of her bedposts. She had nothing to offer it by way of payment, save some old chocolates, and the bird was unimpressed.

 

The young witch picked up the letter and ran her fingers over the heavy vellum, tracing the beautiful lettering on the front. It was addressed to Miss H. Granger, Gryffindor Tower, and the large wax seal was embossed with an ‘M’. This is from either Draco or Lucius. For a fleeting moment, Hermione wondered if a letter counted as a gift, and if she should open it without Dumbledore’s permission. Then her curiosity got the better of her, and she tore it open. It simply read,

 

Miss Granger,

Permit me the pleasure of your company at breakfast in the Headmaster’s office. Seven o’clock.

Yours,

  1. Malfoy

 

Mine. She mouthed the word several times experimentally. He’s mine. And he wants to see me this morning. Hermione sighed and glanced at her bedside clock; now to begin the chaperone shuffle. She sent Harry a Galleon message, 1 hr. pls., and shooed the owl out her window with a hastily scribbled reply to the affirmative.

 

It took nearly that amount of time for her to shower, wand-dry her curls, put on a bit of make-up, and find something to wear without Ginny’s help (and she ended up settling on her uniform in the end). When she descended to the commons, Harry was actually waiting for her, alone. They headed toward the door together.

 

“Where are the girls?”

 

He grinned smugly. “Sleeping. I think I wore them out last night.”

 

“Errr, well done, I guess. I wasn’t sure you’d even get my message. Thanks.” The two friends exited the tower and started along the castle hall towards the staircases.

 

“I needed to go to see Professor McGonagall before breakfast anyway, so it’s no big deal.”

 

“What about?” They’d managed to hop on to the top staircase just before it moved to its next location.

 

“I applied for a summer Auror apprenticeship a while back. There’s paperwork to fill out this week, and the professor’s going to help me with it.”

 

“I thought you were going to start that in the fall. It’s not like you need the money, Harry – your parents left you a small fortune! Why not spend the summer with the girls?”

 

Even though they were the only two living things in that part of the castle at the moment, Harry leaned in close to whisper in her ear. “Lu’s pregnant. We’ll move into Grimmauld Place after graduation, and then get married some time this summer. A job is just another part of growing up.”

 

Hermione knew she shouldn’t be stunned – after all, she’d witnessed them attempting to procreate several times in the past month despite her best efforts to the contrary. Still, the thought of her friends becoming parents took her by surprise. It’s only shocking because it’s not something I’ve ever thought about for myself.

 

“Congratulations, Harry! Does Molly know?”

 

“Yeah, we spoke to her Saturday, when she was here to see you. She’s over the moon; I am, too, actually.” He looked it.

 

He’s never had a family of his own – of course he’s excited. “What does Lu think?”

 

“She’s . . . you know how Luna is. I’ve never seen anything get her flustered. She just took it in stride, and began making talismans against odderknocks. Whatever they are,” he chuckled fondly.

 

“And Ginny?”

 

“Now she wants a baby, but I told them I wasn’t having two pregnant wives at the same time on our first go.”

 

“That makes sense.” It actually does. Harry’s going to be a wonderful husband and father. She voiced her thoughts to him. Harry smiled bashfully and playfully bumped her shoulder with his.

 

They’d arrived at the Headmaster’s office by now, and Hermione wished Harry good luck with his paperwork before pushing open the door. Lucius was hanging his hat on a rack and turned to her, bowing fluidly.

 

“Miss Granger.” He drew her into the office by her hand and led her toward the now-familiar hearthside table. “Pleasant day to you.”

 

He pulled out her chair, and when she as settled in it pushed her in. “Where’s Professor Dumbledore, sir?”

 

Lucius seated himself at her right, and was already pouring her tea. He nodded his head toward the open door to the Headmaster’s private quarters and winced. “He’s gone to change his socks. Apparently the ones he was wearing weren’t cheerful enough for a Wednesday.”

 

Conversation halted as the two filled their plates and began eating. Lucius angled his chair toward her, and alternately ate his breakfast and fed her bites from his plate. “Try this,” he would say, and brooked no refusal. She didn’t bother trying to decline his offerings after the first time. Lucius’ tastes in food were sophisticated, and Hermione was delighted with the new flavors.

 

He watched raptly as she chewed, swallowed and made approving noises, and for some reason this made Hermione blush. It was the most intimate act Hermione had ever shared with another person.

 

At one point, she didn’t quite catch the entire mouthful, and melted goat cheese ran down her lip to her chin. She was looking at Lucius when it happened, and saw his eyes darken before he blinked.   He stopped her hand as it moved to clean her face. Instead, he leaned forward, still holding her struggling hand by the wrist, and swiped the mess from her face with one of his fingers. Then he looked at her again as he cleaned his finger with one quick lick of his tongue.

 

Sweet Merlin. For one brief moment, Hermione felt a need to kiss Lucius. She imagined tasting the tangy sauce on his lips, and the thought made her dizzy. Desire sprouted within her and tentatively spread. A second later her heart began pounding, and she panicked. No! I’m not ready!

 

Lucius had already turned back to his plate, and was calmly eating as if nothing had happened. Maybe nothing did. Even as she thought that, she knew it was a poor lie. Astoria’s words came to her once again. He’ll set a trap to steal a kiss and you will be caught in it. I want to kiss Lucius Malfoy. Just not quite yet.

 

Professor Dumbledore joined them at the table shortly after, and talk turned to school, Lucius’ most recent business trip, and then the weather. It was the sort of talk that didn’t require one’s complete focus, and the young witch let her thoughts wander in between polite comments. Hermione was expecting the breakfast to end soon, when the Headmaster asked, “Have you talked with Hermione about the wedding ceremony?”

 

She was instantly attuned to the conversation. When she swiveled her head to look at Lucius, he was regarding her with a tender look. He answered, “Perhaps you will sanction some more time for us this morning, Albus?”

 

He didn’t wait for an answer. Lucius stood and held out his hand to Hermione, and she allowed him to lead her to their chair in the alcove. When he had sat down, she sat across his thighs and then wriggled up higher to lean against his shoulder. For the first time, she wrapped the arm closest to Lucius around his back, tucking it between his body and the chair. The robes he wore today had soft velvet lapels and collar, and so she absently stroked the material with the fingers of her free hand.

 

He brought his hand up to cup her cheek. “Draco tells me you have agreed to be married under the waxing moon next week.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“The ceremony will be held at the Manor, and your dress has been completed.”

 

“You’ve chosen the date, the place, what I’m to wear . . . has everything been decided already?” She struggled to keep her tone civil, even as she bristled at the idea. I never planned to just show up to my own wedding. I may have never thought about actually having sex with Ron, but I’d most certainly picked out our wedding flowers and my dress!

 

Lucius was speaking into her hair in a soothing voice, and the sensation slightly distracted her from her irritation. “Of course not, pet. Those decisions were based on the demands of the covenant, and it is traditional in pureblood families for grooms to give their bride her dress. Yours was begun when we cast our stake, and has been waiting for you some time now.”

 

By my hand she will be clothed. Tradition is going to be a royal pain in my backside. She raised her head to give him a warning look. “If my dress is horrid . . .”

 

Lucius laughed outright. “I give you my word, it isn’t horrid. For the short time you wear it, you will more than approve.”

 

“What’s left for me to decide?”

 

“Not having been a bride myself, I honestly cannot say. I suggest you talk with Molly Weasley or Minerva McGonagall about that. They’ll be more than glad to help.”

 

Hermione’s orderly mind sprang into action. “Surely it takes more time than a week to prepare a wedding? Shall I make a list? Do I have a deadline?”

 

“Prepare a list, and have it to me by this coming Sunday. You have only to tell me your desires, and I will see to them myself.”

 

Is he even talking about the wedding ceremony? The tendril of desire that had sprouted at the breakfast table spread a bit more. His finger was tracing her ear, and she shivered in pleasure. Lucius murmured, “The favor of a full moon, the safety of our own dwelling, and a bride clothed by her husbands’ hands. The covenant is pleased, and the ancient traditions will be satisfied.”

 

Hermione realized any irritation she’d initially felt at what she’d considered to be presumptuous decisions had been quelled by Lucius’ explanation and her own responding logic. Now, she found that she was instead filled with a sense of urgency and determination. The fact that she was given free reign to accomplish whatever she could in a week helped.

 

Lucius sighed deeply, and Hermione realized their time must be nearly up. She tried to stall. “What will you do today?”

 

He squeezed her to his chest in a quick, tight hug and planted a kiss on her temple even as he stood. She slid to her feet reluctantly. It had been a nice visit, and she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her wizard. My wizard. Mine. The words sounded more believable in her mind this time. His arms were still around her, and he leaned down so that his chin rested on the top of her head.

 

“I’m taking a Portkey to Paris for a meeting this afternoon, during which I will undoubtedly think of you. That reminds me, I brought you something. Albus has it over on his desk. May I give it to you myself?”

 

Hermione blushed, and couldn’t keep from smiling delightedly. “Yes, please. If that’s okay with the Headmaster.”

 

“I assure you, pet, that I will not lead you astray of your rules.”

 

His gift was a single rose and he presented it to her formally, bowing deeply. The romantic gesture made her giddy. She took it from his hand with trembling fingers. When Lucius stood to his full height, Hermione immediately pulled him back down to her level for a set of kisses on his cheek.

 

“Thank you! It’s lovely.” She added in a self-conscious voice, “It’s the color of your eyes.”

 

Lucius’ solemn mouth barely twitched, but his eyes danced playfully as he replied, “Perhaps it will help you to think of me, then.”

 

Great and merciful Merlin, I am marrying a twinkler. TWO twinklers. I might just die from a twinkle overdose. “Perhaps it will.”

 

Lucius left, then, and shortly after the Headmaster walked Hermione to the base of the stairs, past a pair of carelessly thrown knickers, to where Harry was sprawled with Ginny straddling his lap. His hands were locked on her hips, seemingly in rigor, as she rolled and bucked her hips against him. Harry’s face was twisted in agony, and if Hermione hadn’t known better she would have thought he was in pain. Seconds later, Ginny slumped against Harry, and he let his head fall back against the stone steps with a small thud.

 

The two finally noticed their audience, and Hermione rolled her eyes in aggravation. “Honestly, you two! I don’t need to see this right after breakfast!”

 

Harry opened his eyes and smiled blissfully. “Hi, ‘Mione.”

 

“Ah, to be young and in the arms of a beautiful man,” the Headmaster murmured to himself. He bid them all good day and returned to his office.

 

“Seriously! It was bad enough when you weren’t my chaperone, but can’t you at least restrain yourselves when there’s a chance Lucius or Draco might catch you? Oh, sweet Circe – he saw you, didn’t he? Lucius saw the two of you . . .”

 

Hermione closed her eyes in mortification then stormed over to the pair of knickers she’d passed on her way down the stairs. She balled them up in her fist and walked back to throw them at Ginny’s head. “Put those on! And go . . . do whatever it is you need to do so that we can head to class and pretend this didn’t just happen. Again.”

 

She took the opportunity to place Stasis and Shield charms on her rose, and then carefully slipped it into the pocket of her robes.

 

Apparently a quick Scourgify was sufficient for her friends, and within five minutes Hermione and a very mellow Harry and Ginny were on their way.

 

Draco wasn’t in Herbology this morning, and so Hermione took the opportunity to spend the entire class daydreaming of Lucius, who might well be daydreaming of her. Later, as she waited for Harry to meet her at the classroom door, she reflected on her morning so far. My best friend has knocked up one of his two girlfriends, and now he’s going to marry them both and start a sanctioned harem. I’m marrying two wizards in a little more than a week, and have four days to figure out what I’d like for the ceremony. I am forced to let Molly and Minerva help, because obviously I haven’t a clue about pureblood wizard weddings. Lucius can make my knickers damp simply by cleaning sauce off my face and licking his finger.

One last thought occurred to her as Harry bounded down the hall to her side. Lucius said I’d only be in my wedding gown for a short time.

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