Chapter Forty-Two: Tuesday Afternoon

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 and CoquetteKitten

 

The walk across the castle was segregated by gender, with Draco and Harry walking ahead and the girls trailing as far back as possible so they could catch up in private.   Hermione would have happily walked arm in arm with her friend except for the fact that she reeked of sex, and said as much. She omitted the fact that she had born witness to a portion of the act itself.

 

Ginny huffed, but took out her wand and Scourgified her face and torso. “There – happy?”

 

“Yes, that’s much, much better. I can breathe through my nose now. Thank you.” Hermione took a deep breath and looked at the redhead curiously. “What was quarantine like in the Great Hall?”

 

“Completely unremarkable. We all queued up by house and answered a bunch of questions, and then got sorted into priority groups.”

 

“What kinds of questions?”

 

Ginny snorted “Well, the first one was ‘have you had sexual relations with Ronald Weasley in the past year’.”

 

Hermione laughed, imagining Ginny’s reaction to that. “What happened then?”

 

“I may have gotten a bit screechy, but the important thing is I didn’t get asked any more questions. I was sent for immediate screening, bumped into Luna, and we shared a cot. She’s quite clever, you know.” Her tone was thoughtful for the last part.

 

“She’s something; I’ll give her that much. What will you three do now?”

 

“Well, that all depends on you, I guess – are you planning to stay?”

 

Hermione felt guilty at once, knowing Harry was bound to remain if she chose to do so. “I don’t know for sure, but Lucius said he wants to free Harry of his duties as chaperone as soon as possible. Draco made it sound as if that might even happen today.”

 

Ginny nodded thoughtfully. “We’ll probably go to Grimmauld Place, then. I sent mum an owl before I went to the courtyard; hopefully she’ll be able to send a note soon.”

 

“Do you know when they were contacted about Ron and the . . . bug?”

 

“Madame Pomfrey came to assure me that the Headmaster contacted the Burrow straight away, and they all went to St. Mungo’s immediately. My guess is they’re all fine, since Ron’s been at school except for that quick visit last weekend.”

 

“Your poor mum.”

 

“Please – we’re talking about my mum. First she’ll make sure everyone else is okay, then she’ll kill Ron, and then she’ll go make a cake or something. She’s indomitable.”

 

“Ginny! She’s still getting over the fact that Ron is probably being weeded from the family, and now she has to deal with the fact that he spread a highly contagious STD all over Hogwarts! I think she might not make any cakes for a while.” Speaking of cakes . . . I wonder how involved Molly was going to be in the execution of her plans for my wedding.

 

“Hermione, listen. I’m not saying she won’t be upset, but my mum doesn’t sit around and cry. She takes action, works it all out of her system, and then she’s done with it. And then there’s the Weasley covenant – it will be there to comfort our family, especially mum.”

 

Hermione wasn’t convinced, and Ginny continued, “I can think of one thing that she’d really like, though . . .”

 

“What?”

 

“Well, I wouldn’t want to pressure you – but it couldn’t be done without you . . .”

 

“Anything! I’d love to help your mum any way I can, Gin.” The thought of a less-than-vibrant Molly filled Hermione with protective concern.

 

The redhead had a suspiciously triumphant gleam in her eye. “Great! Invite her over for another breakfast as soon as she’s able to attend!”

 

“Are you out of your mind?!” Hermione’s outraged shriek drew the attention of the two wizards walking in front of them. Draco slowed until she caught up with him and drew her under his arm, against his side.

 

“And invite Minerva and Astoria as well – she adores those two. What?” Ginny looked at Hermione with wide eyes. “It would mean the world to her, and you said you wanted to help . . .”

 

“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” Draco’s soft, low voice and inherent scent steadied her somewhat. She pushed her nose against his robes, filling her lungs with the fragrance of her Amortentia.

 

“I was just talking with Ginny about doing something nice for Molly.”

 

Ginny exclaimed, “I knew you’d do it! Thank you!”

 

“Wait a—“

 

Her wizard interrupted her. “I think it’s a wonderful idea, Hermione.”

 

Just as Hermione was about to argue that she hadn’t actually agreed to anything, Harry, who had dropped back to the group just now, asked her, “Did I hear you say you’d do it for us?”

 

Ginny was motioning to Harry, shaking her head in quick, sharp motions. Hermione, confused, responded, “Do what, exactly?”

 

“Harry—“

 

He talked over Ginny’s protest. “Errrrr, keep Molly busy for part of tomorrow. Wasn’t that what you were talking about? We’d like to,” here he looked apologetically at both Draco and Hermione, “you know, christen Grimmauld. And once Molly hears we’re moving in, she’ll be rearing to help clean the place up.”

 

Hermione rounded on her friend, her voice rising slowly but steadily throughout her speech until she sounded uncannily like Ginny herself. “Let me just get this straight, Ginevra: you just manipulated me into agreeing to navigate another ‘informational breakfast’, which is nothing less than a conversational minefield consisting of your mother’s sexual exploits, Minerva’s slightly inebriated innuendo, and Astoria’s twisted, inquiring mind, so that you and Harry and Luna can screw each other’s brains out on every surface of your new residence?! You’ve all but sentenced me to another lesson in oral sex, followed by a demonstration of orgasm by erotically tied rope!”

 

The hall was so silent after her outburst that they practically heard the Grey Lady pass through the wall beside them, eyeing Hermione speculatively. The curly-haired witch stomped her foot, yelling after the ghost, “Your entire house is so deviant, I’ll bet there are orgies in the common room!”

 

Draco looked amused, Harry sheepish, and Ginny resigned. The redhead finally said, “You don’t have to do it.”

 

“Just knock it off, Ginny. You’ve played your hand well, and I’ll do what I said I’d do. No more games.”

 

“Agreed. And thanks.” Ginny sounded sincere, and Harry nodded in fervent agreement.

 

“Don’t you dare thank me for walking into your trap! You owe me.

 

They had reached the revolving staircase to the Headmaster’s office, and her friends showed no signs of following them upward. Draco turned to Harry. “Would you mind coming up for a moment? We have a few ends to tie up before you’re officially done.”

 

Ginny looked relieved. “Well, much as I‘d love to stay, that’s my cue to leave.”

 

The curly-haired witch gave her redheaded friend an affectionate squeeze. She murmured quietly, “You’re my best friend, you know.”

 

When Ginny echoed the sentiment, Hermione added, “And you owe me. Don’t forget it.”

 

“Yes, yes – I owe you. But don’t forget the part where you’d be a mess without me! See you soon, and don’t leave school without at least sending a note!” She darted off, presumably to the courtyard and Luna.

 

At the top of the stairs, they paused just outside the open door when angry raised voices reached their ears, one of them obviously belonging to a seething Lucius. The three students stood uncertainly in the doorway, listening to the loud conversation. The argument stopped as Professor Dumbledore walked around the corner to greet them with a look of relief on his face. “Ah, I have been expecting you. Come in, come in!”

 

They followed him into the office, and Hermione was surprised to see Professor Vector standing in a defensive position, hands on hips and a terrible scowl on her face. The conversation seemed to be coming to an end. Lucius’ eyes went straight to Hermione, but he addressed the professor in a tone that brooked no argument. “I expect to see you in London in three weeks. You may contact Horace Graves if you have any questions.” He nodded briefly to Harry.

 

Professor Vector exhaled peevishly through her nose. “I’m not your lackey!

 

“”On the contrary, Septima – you will answer to my beck and call until September, per the punishment Albus has set for you.” Hermione recognized her wizard’s dangerously soft purr, and if she hadn’t been so distracted by the fact that Lucius was slowly walking toward her, she might have been tempted to warn her teacher of the danger she was in.

 

Professor Vector sounded downright petulant. “It’s not a punishment, Lucius – it’s a performance incentive plan! He said so himself!”

 

“Call it what you will. I shall see you in Horace’s office in three weeks from today. I believe we are done here.” He dismissed the older witch completely as he reached Hermione, executing a low bow over her proffered left hand.

 

Septima Vector turned to the Headmaster, who had busied himself at his desk with a stack of Owl Post. “Albus, please don’t do this! Surely there is something else—“

 

Professor Dumbledore raised a hand in a halting gesture, effectively silencing the professor. “I’m afraid there isn’t, Septima. If you are truly unhappy with my decision, you may of course address it with the board of governors.”

 

She squawked. “But he,” she jabbed a finger at Lucius, “is the chairman of the board!”

 

Lucius took a deep breath and worked his jaw muscle for a moment. Without turning toward Septima Vector he answered her in a tense, clipped fashion. “Then I suggest you do not try my patience. Good day, Professor.” With that, he pulled Hermione into his arms, disregarding the others, and kissed her soundly.

 

Hermione’s senses dulled to everything but the feel of her wizard – his arms held her close, his fingers curled around her sides, and his mouth — dear, sweet Merlin, his mouth! He pressed his mouth to hers forcefully, claiming the kiss she’d denied him earlier. Lucius did nothing half-heartedly, and although he seemed to be keeping their audience in mind, his lips and tongue moved against hers until she was in danger of melting into a puddle of goo at his feet. When they finally broke apart, the young witch was breathless.

 

The only sounds were of the Headmaster’s quill scratching across a piece of parchment and the slam of the door. Apparently, Professor Vector had taken the hint. Hermione looked around, blinking away her fog of lust. Harry was grinning, but Draco looked positively aroused. She held his gaze as she stood in Lucius’ embrace, shocked when her first impulse was to beckon him close enough for a kiss. Just like my dreams. Blushing, she dropped her eyes. Lucius broke the brief silence. “Now to the next order of business. Mr. Potter, I’m very glad to see you. Your help during our courtship has been invaluable.”

 

He nodded toward Harry again, and the two shook hands in a formal way. Hermione rolled her eyes at the gesture and dragged Harry down for a fierce hug. “Thank you, Harry! I . . . I’m so very pleased to think of you as my brother.”

 

She turned toward Professor Dumbledore, who had stopped working as soon as the professor had exited the office. “Thank you, sir, for representing me all these years without me even knowing it. And for getting me to accept the war-stake, although I still don’t approve of your methods.”

 

The Headmaster gave a knowing smile. “I wish you the greatest happiness, Miss Granger.” He paused for a moment and then turned to Lucius. “Perhaps we should begin?”

 

A short ceremony followed, during which Harry was absolved of his duties. Her wizards presented him with a small sealed chest, which he opened at their urging. Inside, wrapped in sheets of the finest vellum, was a relatively small, obviously old, book. Harry opened it carefully and his eyes nearly bugged out of his head. He thanked Lucius and Draco profusely, and Hermione was instantly intrigued. She looked at Draco, who responded with a look that plainly said ‘don’t ask now’. It took her a moment, but comprehension dawned eventually. Must be sex-oriented. Well, that’s a fitting gift for Harry. Well done, Lucius. She made a note to ask one of them about it later.

 

Whatever Harry had seen in that book lit a fire under him, because he wasted no time in taking leave of them, adjusting his trousers along the way. The Headmaster made his own excuse of needing to Floo Aberforth and reminded them that he would be in his rooms should they need anything. Suddenly Hermione was alone with her wizards.

 

Lucius reached out his arms toward her, and she went back to them willingly. He leaned his chin on the top of her head and sighed heavily. After a moment he said quietly, “The school is closed except as a place of quarantine, and Albus has agreed that you should come to the Manor with us. I require you both to pack and be ready to depart as soon as possible. We are only awaiting the arrival of the new chaperone.”

 

Draco nodded. “I’ll begin at once. It should take no more than an hour at most. Then I’ll hunt down the Ice Queen and bring her back with me.” He left the office immediately, but not before leaning in to where she was snuggled into Lucius’ chest and kissing her until she was dizzy. The three of us together, just like my dreams. The temperature in the room seemed to spike with this thought, and she felt her cheeks flush with something other than embarrassment.

 

“Unfortunately, since you sent Harry on his way with what could only be some ancient form of pornographic material, I’m stuck in this office until the new chaperone shows up.” I’m surprised Lucius didn’t think of that. She added, “Who’s the ‘Ice Queen’?”

 

He chuckled, and the sound traveled from his chest through her body. “It was an old copy of the family compilation of sexual positions and erotic technique. Nothing so crass as pornography, pet. And I have plans for you that do not involve packing, if you are interested.” His hands ran up and down her back lightly several times.

 

Lucius has plans for me. “That depends; you’ll have to tell me more. Start with the ‘Ice Queen’, please.” Hermione arched her back under his touch as a shiver ran along her spine.

 

He walked her backward until she bumped into one of the high windowsills lining the alcove and lifted her to sit on it. “Your chaperone’s personality leaves something to be desired as far as Draco and I are concerned, but she is extremely competent.”

 

Hermione’s nose wrinkled, and she looked up at Lucius. “Will I hate her?”

 

He laughed again. “Perhaps, but you need only endure her until we are wed. Besides, I am not inclined to make things altogether pleasant for you after your repeated flouting of the rules.”

 

Comprehension dawned on her. “The ‘tower’ you mentioned was a metaphor, wasn’t it – and she’s part of it.”

 

“Very good, my prize. And if you stray so much as one room away from your chaperone, I shall fit you with a collar and bell.” He leaned to press a soft kiss to her mouth. “Do not test me.”

 

“Who’s going to do the packing, and what will I be doing?” Hermione reached around the back of Lucius head and unclasped his hair so that she could run her fingers through the thick, pale blond locks.

 

Lucius gave a soft moan of pleasure as her fingernails dragged gently along his scalp. “Permit me to send a house elf to box your belongings. I wish to spend your time in more rewarding ways.” He kissed her again, his lips and tongue teasing hers until she was slightly dizzy and clinging to him for support.

 

“I suppose that would be all right, but my books need to packed carefully!” Even under the influence of Lucius, her books came to mind. “Oh, and—“

 

He silenced her with another hungry kiss, finally pulling back to call out quietly, “Trinket!”

 

There was the unmistakable ‘pop’ that accompanied Apparition, and a rather smartly clothed house elf curtsied before them. “Trinket is here to serve the Lord and Lady, sir!”

 

“Please go to the Lady’s current room and pack her belongings. They should be taken to her room at the Manor as soon as possible. If you require help, please call for Bowly.”

 

“Trinket requires no help! Trinket will do as her master asks at once!” With another ‘pop’ the little elf was gone.

 

They’ve given her clothes! Hermione’s mind was whirring away. Normally she would balk at the mere idea of asking a house elf to serve her, but obviously this Trinket was free to do so by choice. She looked at Lucius speculatively. “I don’t suppose she could find the book you gave me? I had it with me the night . . . that is to say, I had it until yesterday afternoon, and then it went missing.”

 

Her wizard narrowed his eyes. “Along with your wand.”

 

“Errrr, yes. I don’t suppose there’s some way I can get it back any time soon?”

 

“We will contact St. Mungo’s later tonight regarding your wand. As for the book, I will ask Albus for help in retrieving it before we leave.” He raised a hand and rubbed his forefinger against her bottom lip. Rub, rub, rub. “Enough talk, pet.”

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