Chapter Forty-Nine: 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: Brightki and CoquetteKitten.

 

 

Hermione was momentarily saved from the consequences of her actions when a noise nearby startled them both. Lucius stepped away from her and, turning slightly away from the entrance to the alcove, gracefully pulled his pale hair back into its habitual queue. She couldn’t help the quiet laugh that bubbled up when she realized her knickers were still dangling from her hand. “Lucius!” She whispered, and when he glanced at her, flung them towards him.

 

His reaction was automatic and sensual. Catching the slip of silk in one large hand, he crumpled it into a tiny ball and raised it to his face. Then pressing it to his nose, he inhaled through flared nostrils. The young witch was instantly aroused. He stalked back to her, leaning down to speak close to her mouth. “I would be very careful if I were you, pet. It isn’t wise to toy with unforeseeable forces.”

 

Her merriment persisted. “Like nature? What – you mean you’re going to strike me with a bolt of lightning, Lucius?” Actually, I could picture him doing that to someone. The thought was somewhat sobering.

 

Lucius slipped the small garment into a trouser pocket. He fisted his hands in her curls and gently tipped back her head so that she was looking directly up at him. “It is unkind to tease without fulfillment.”

 

The light pull of his fingers in her hair sent goose bumps of pleasure running along her skin. “I did get a bit carried away, didn’t I? Won’t you let me . . . do that for you?“ Hermione had been thoroughly enjoying what they’d been doing, and her body was thrumming with a pleasant amount of want. Lucius would only have to say the word, and that feeling would morph into instant need.

 

The elder Malfoy made a warning sound. “This is neither the time nor the place, although your willingness to please me is most gratifying.” He kissed her tenderly, covering her mouth with his own in slow, worshipful movements. “If I manage to survive until our wedding, I will be the happiest wizard in the world.”

 

“I still don’t understand why you think denying yourself any fun is a good idea,” she grumbled. “Does it have something to do with your rules?” When he answered only by moving his mouth along her jaw to nip her ear, she exclaimed quietly, “It does, doesn’t it!”

 

Lucius kissed the tender spot just under her ear and sighed against her skin. “I constantly forget how much you don’t know about the traditions of pure-blood wizardry. As head of our House, I am forbidden to indulge myself in that form of pleasure until after you bear the Malfoy rune. It’s to prevent me from taking advantage of you before you have fully committed your heart and mind to our union.”

 

Hermione pulled away enough to give him a look of dismay. “And I just delayed it. Would we have done it earlier if we hadn’t been caught up in the quarantine at school?”

 

“If you had not just learned about the existence of war-stakes and House Wives, we would have held the rune ceremony at the end of our binding vows. That is usually when it’s done.”

 

That’s why Astoria had such a head start on me. “But why didn’t you tell me sooner?” She raised her hands to cup his face, rubbing her fingers gently along the strong bones of his cheeks.

 

He turned his head enough to kiss the side of her hand. “Didn’t you feel rushed these past two weeks as it was? What kind of fiancé would push the woman he loves beyond the limits of her own comfort simply for his own pleasure? Draco and I agreed to follow the natural course of events and not overwhelm you with everything at any one time.”

 

“But if you had told me, I wouldn’t have asked you to move it to this evening. Lucius, I’ve changed my mind, I-“ She gripped the front of his robes.

 

He shook his head firmly. “No, pet. You may not have understood the ramifications of your choice, but you made it nonetheless and against my counsel. Now you will keep your word even if it means suffering consequences. You must learn to trust that the decisions I make for our House are carefully considered. They are in the best interests of our family.”

 

Hermione dropped her head against his chest in frustration. Then she raised it quickly to say, “I hope you realize this is completely your fault. I have never been impulsive until I accepted that stake. Now, suddenly, I’m making one rash decision after another!”

 

“Perhaps you should apply your prodigious mind to the correction of that shortcoming.” He was twinkling at her, and she managed a small smile as he pulled her tightly against him for a lingering kiss.

 

She was reminded immediately of her mistake. She drew away from his mouth. “But I won’t be the one who suffers!”

 

“Oh, I think you will,” Lucius murmured against the skin of her neck. “I have some time before I leave to give you a taste of your own medicine. Shall I start now? I know how much you like to play games . . .” He ran one hand up her back, over her shoulder, and down to the front of her sundress. His fingers traced over the curves of her breasts. “Shall I touch you until you beg for more, pet?” They barely skimmed her hardened nipples, moving on down to her stomach. As her body broke out in resultant shivers he whispered in her ear, “I think I shall tease you and make you so very wet, and elicit such pretty noises from that mouth.” His hand ran down over her mound, following its cleft between her legs, which spread of their own accord for him. “And then I shall take you back to your chaperone and watch you squirm until I go.” He covered her mouth with his, delving his tongue between her lips.

 

Hermione’s brain registered his words, but her body responded before she could even try to stop it. She leaned back over his arm, hands once again gripping his hair as she kissed him passionately. Her torso pushed up against his, and one of her slender legs wrapped around his corresponding thigh. Whatever you want, as long as you touch me. Yes, please.

 

Lucius was backing her up now, and she followed his direction blindly until she felt the curving wooden frame of a tall arch behind her. The redolent fragrance of the roses washed over her. His lips moved against hers hungrily, and she could feel that he was smiling. A hand was unbuttoning the front placket of her dress, and the other was raising its skirt. “I’m going to touch and taste your bare skin now, my prize. Would you like that?”

 

Her answer was inarticulate. Lucius kissed down her neck to the shallow valley between her breasts. He kissed and gently sucked across the curves of lush flesh, ignoring her nipples. Hermione tried to steer his mouth to one, but he chuckled darkly and pulled away. “Such a needy girl already, and I’ve only just started.”

 

He was sliding a hand up her bare thigh to the apex of her legs, and Hermione gasped when his fingers parted her labia. They explored her inner crevices, swirled around the wet entrance of her channel, and teased the hood of her clitoris. Her hips bucked, pushing herself against his hand. Lucius swiped his tongue over one tightened bud, only to draw back. At Hermione’s noise of frustration, he murmured against the corner of her mouth. “Would you like more?”

 

“Mmmmmmm, yes!” Somewhere inside her head there was the faintest thought that perhaps she shouldn’t succumb so easily, but it disappeared in a fog of pure pleasure when her wizard lowered his mouth back to her breast and latched his lips around her nipple. Her body had begun pulsing to the syncopated rhythms of want and need, and she felt the wetness of her arousal drip to the bare skin of one thigh. “Luciussss . . .” That increasingly familiar coil of pressure had begun to wind deep within her abdomen, and every nerve hummed with sensory pleasure.

 

His clever fingers were spreading the fluid around the sensitive flesh within her outer walls and upward to her clitoris. When she tried to increase the stimulation by moving against his hand, he released his mouth from her breast. “Perhaps just a bit more?” He directed his lips to her other nipple and increased his attention to the hood of her clit. Hermione moaned his name quietly and writhed in the embrace of the arm that wrapped around her waist. Suddenly Lucius pulled away from her breast with a wet, smacking sound and withdrew his hand from between her legs. He raised his glistening fingers to his mouth and slowly sucked them clean as she watched with heavy-lidded eyes. “We should go and find our chaperone now.”

 

Hermione made a sound of disbelief and then realization struck her. She covered her eyes with one hand and groaned. “This is my own doing.”

 

Lucius took her hand and pressed it to the erection that strained against the front of his trousers. “It may be poor consolation, but I torture myself as well.” He removed her hand away almost immediately, raising it to his lips to press a kiss to the dragon handmark. Lucius seemed to have a change of heart, because he looked at her with a guilty expression and said, “I cannot leave you like this.’

 

Her body ached for release, but her mind was in control once more. “No – absolutely not! I have nothing to complain about; after all, I’m the one who thought delaying the rune marking was such a good idea. Me and my silly games! Oh, my love – this is how you feel every time we part, isn’t it?”

 

He kissed her nose as he buttoned up the front of her dress. “The agony is exquisite, is it not?”

 

“We’ll finish this tonight.” The curly-haired witch pressed a kiss to her wizard’s chin.

 

Lucius grinned wolfishly. “Lady, the things I will do to you . . . I am planning even now.” His eyes were wild. She recognized the words from their Friday night visit and squirmed, trying to relieve the pleasant ache between her legs.

 

Hermione bit her bottom lip as she smiled back, trying to ignore the coil that had been left partially wound in her gut. “I think it’s obvious I’m no longer overwhelmed by this engagement. It’s time to tell me everything I need to know.”

 

Her dress was buttoned, and now he was smoothing her hair behind her shoulders and kissing her nose once more. “That’s what I have been waiting to hear. We will begin immediately. Molly would be a wealth of information, pet. She could at least begin, and then Draco could continue. I will see what I can find for you to read, as well.”

 

“I like the way you teach me, though. Molly gets so easily sidetracked.” she protested, thinking back to their initial conversation about runes minutes ago. You stayed on task even when I was holding you by your . . . Errrrr.

 

Lucius chuckled. He seemed to be thinking of the same thing. “Your approach to learning is very tactile. However, begin this morning with Molly. Now, we should walk a bit to collect ourselves before we return to Mademoiselle Delacour.” He held out his arm courteously and she took it with a grin.

 

The two spent the next ten minutes walking along the curving paths, arm in arm. Slowly Hermione’s lust-addled state abated, as did her flushed cheeks and kiss-swollen lips. Lucius appeared to have himself under control as well by the time they wandered back toward the study doors. The chaperone was still standing before the bed of glowing golden roses, a dazed expression on her lovely face. Hermione couldn’t help herself, calling out with as straight a face as she could manage, “Honestly, Fleur – there are other roses in the garden to look at besides those! Are you coming along or not?”

 

“What? Oh, sorry. I was just . . . What’s so funny?”

 

“Errrrr, nothing. Lucius, will you show us more of your flowers this morning?” Hermione turned them both around quickly, gesturing for Fleur to follow. The trio wandered along a different path, further into the garden, and Lucius guided the tour conscientiously. Fleur was entranced by the roses. She walked ahead of the other two, moving from bed to trellis to arch in delight. Eventually they heard Draco calling to them from entrance to the study.

 

“By the Argutia,” the elder Malfoy replied. His relatively quiet voice could never have carried so far without some form of magic, and Hermione had a fanciful thought that the flowers themselves acted as a communication line. She shook off the odd idea and reached out toward a heavy patch of bright yellow vine roses trailing from an overhead arch. Just being near the blooms amused her for some reason, as if they had just made a clever remark. Argutia means wittiness. Lucius certainly names his plants aptly.

 

Draco was rounding the corner just behind them. He took advantage of Fleur’s preoccupation and kissed Hermione within an inch of her sanity. “Good morning, little witch,” he murmured against her lips. “Did you know we’re going to spend the day together?”

 

Hermione laughed softly. “Only if I survive my visit with Molly and Minerva.”

 

He straightened and draped an arm over her shoulders, and they trailed beside a smirking Lucius along the path. “I hear Astoria’s coming as well. Perhaps she’ll even the playing pitch.”

 

Hermione wrinkled her nose. “I can’t decide how I feel about that. No doubt she’ll have learned some new sexual practice that will send Minerva running for the drinks cupboard and lead Molly down a steamy path in Memory Lane. Meanwhile, I’ll be blushing furiously and trying to maintain order. Still, I like her, and she’s given me perspective.”

 

“That sounds like the Tory Greengrass I’ve heard so much about,” remarked Lucius. At Hermione’s questioning glance, he continued, “Theodore has talked about her incessantly over the years, and she seems to be an archetypical Ravenclaw.”

 

His comment struck a chord within Hermione’s brain. She exclaimed, “I knew it. And I was probably right about the orgies, too.”

 

Lucius and Draco both laughed. “The witches of Ravenclaw do have a certain reputation within the pure-blood circles for their proclivities,” the elder Malfoy offered vaguely. As they’d walked, he’d been clipping roses. Now, as they curved back toward the house, he had a large bunch in his hands. Fleur joined their group, pointing out possible blooms to add to the bouquet in her bossy way.

 

“Lucius, doesn’t it bother you to cut them? The flowers, I mean.” She gestured to the bouquet.

 

He smiled, seemingly pleased by her question. “They are meant to be enjoyed.”

 

“But you treat them as if they’re more than plants . . .” Hermione trailed off in confusion.

 

“Here on this land, they are more. At the same time, they are still only plants, and much of their care involves cutting them in some way or another. Tomorrow, another bloom will have replaced each one I took this morning.” He turned to the younger wizard. “Draco, did you have a chance to look at the schedule I drew up?”

 

“Yes, and I’m sorry you have to make those two trips. Couldn’t Bertrand or Achille have gone instead?” He added for Hermione’s benefit, “Cousins of ours who happen to serve on the board of directors for Malfoy Industries. There are many people who help run our businesses, but those two hold nearly the same power as Lucius.”

 

“They will be on their own for some months after the wedding. I agreed to do this for them.”

 

Draco smirked. “You know they’ve probably already checked into a spa to prepare for the wedding reception. Achille especially – he’ll try to look at least twenty years younger.”

 

Lucius nodded with a knowing smile, returning to their original conversation. “And you don’t mind overseeing the comings and goings of the work crews? Molly won’t be easily dealt with, Draco.”

 

“I’ll have Hermione to help run interference.” He dropped a kiss onto the top of her head. “Shouldn’t we be talking about our rune ceremony, though? We’ll need to fit it in before you leave.”

 

Hermione explained quickly, “That’s been moved to tonight.”

 

Draco raised an eyebrow questioningly. “That means you’ll be spending the day inside the house.”

 

Hermione stopped short. “What?! But it’s going to be gorgeous outside, and I want to see-“ Her indignant response was interrupted by Lucius.

 

He tutted. “No, no, no. He’s right – the Weasley wizards are running loose around the grounds for the next two days, and you will stay away from them until you have been marked.” When she glared at him furiously, he added with a warning look, “Can you manage to behave yourself?”

 

“Yes, Lucius,” she ground out between gritted teeth. That’s the LAST time I try to control him. Worst idea ever. “I will behave myself.”

 

He gave a smug nod. “Excellent. Eventually you will learn that I do not give orders and make schedules simply to inconvenience others, especially my family.”

 

Draco was thoroughly amused, and the sound of his quiet, throaty chuckle diminished her frustration somewhat. He wound his arm around her waist, pulling her against his side. “We’ll just have to explore the house together.” The idea of wandering through the Manor with Draco was better than any fantasy plot she could have dreamed up, and she swallowed the drool that collected in her mouth.

 

“Oh, yes – there are so many places I haven’t yet seen! We can begin right after the breakfast!” Piped Fleur, who had been silent to this point. She had an almost eager expression on her lovely face, and Hermione was brought back to earth instantly. Great. I’m stuck in the house and I have to put up with Mademoiselle BossyPants.

 

She smiled feebly.   “Sounds incredible.”

 

They had reached the steps to Lucius’ study, and he led them through the doors. At his desk he paused and looked at Draco speculatively. “There is the issue of who will get the pleasure of showing Hermione the library.” At the younger wizard’s noise of disappointment, he continued in mock outrage, “As I thought. You were going to bring her there without me, weren’t you!”

 

At the mention of the word, Hermione’s entire body began vibrating with anticipation. “The library? When can I see it? Can we go now? Please say yes!”

 

The two men turned to her with expressions of affectionate amusement. They shared a look, and Lucius summoned Trinket. The little house elf appeared at his side. “Good morning to the Lady and Masters! Good morning, Mistress Delacour!”

 

“These flowers are for the Morning Room. And would you please bring tea to the library?”

 

“And coffee!” Demanded Fleur in a desperate voice. When the Malfoys both looked at her with raised brows, she added uncertainly, “Please?”

 

Trinket Disapparated with an enthusiastic crack of magic, and Lucius led the small group across the house. He and Draco pointed out various rooms and objects of interest. Hermione wanted to pause at each item, curiosity nearly eating her alive, but she was kept in check by her two wizards, who had ensnared her in a tangle of their arms. Their trek followed the ground floor of the Manor but seemed circuitous, and at one point Hermione was sure they’d already passed through one room at least once. She said as much, and Fleur replied from slightly in front of her, “The last time I was here I spent a great deal of time being lost in this house. Once you can visualize the rooms, it’s easier to Apparate here and there.”

 

“That’s a terrible idea!” Interjected Draco, although to Hermione he added quietly, “Unless you’re in a hurry.”

 

Eventually they approached a set of high doors set under an ornate carving of the Malfoy crest. Draco and Lucius each took hold of a heavy handle, pausing to look at Hermione. “Are you ready, pet?”

 

The doors swung open, and at the sight of what lay within Hermione immediately swooned. Luckily Draco caught her just as she pitched sideways. He swept her off her feet and carried her through the entrance, saying, “Welcome home, sweetheart.”

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