Chapter Sixty-Three: Thursday 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.

 

“Alright, ‘Mione. Time’s up, start talking. I want to know everything that I’ve missed since the shower yesterday!” Ginny stood in the doorway of the bathroom, arms crossed and face set in a replica of Molly Weasley’s don’t-mess-with-me look.

 

Hermione allowed herself one last sigh before acquiescing to the inquisition. She wasn’t sure at all how she felt about sharing the most recent things she’d been up to with her wizards. I’ll go slow, and stay within my comfort zone. She won’t know if I omit some things. “Very well. After you left, Draco and I went to the library to research-“

 

The good stuff, you twit!” Her redheaded friend crossed to the tub and plunked down on its edge, leaning over Hermione in a threatening manner. From the far end of the enormous tub, Fleur snorted delicately.

 

“I’m getting to it! Honestly, don’t you have any appreciation for backstory?” Hermione ignored Ginny’s intimidation tactics and slowly rinsed the conditioner from her hair, enjoying what power she had in the situation. “Obviously not. Fine, abbreviated version: Draco admitted he liked traditional runes – as in, rings – and-“

 

She was interrupted by a series of shrieks. “Merciful- . . ! Mother of- . . ! Hermione Jean Granger, you cannot skip over a thing! Now, go back and start at the beginning, and tell us everything.”

 

The blushing witch couldn’t decide if she should be irritated or amused, and finally settled on the latter. There’s no getting out of this, is there! “As I was trying to say before: after you left, Draco and I went to the library to research . . .” The story of the library trip took much longer this time, especially in light of the fact that Hermione was definitely stalling. She shot Ginny a withering glare each time she shrieked or tried to interrupt.

 

Surprisingly, Fleur participated in the narrative several times. As Hermione described the brief stop at the very top of the library staircase, the chaperone interjected with a deep blush, “Then they began to plan their christening of the library. It was really . . . hot.”

 

Hermione raised an eyebrow at the normally reserved blonde. “I didn’t realize you were paying attention, Miss Daydream! And speaking of hot, I couldn’t help but notice the interaction between you and those three wizards in the Great Hall.”

 

Fleur closed her eyes, her blush taking an even darker hue. She ducked back under the water and emerged with a smile. “It’s true, what they say – it’s as if we’ve been made for each other.”

 

“What about the twins?” Ginny’s voice sounded almost sharp, although Hermione recognized her friend’s main emotion as concern. “Don’t forget, there are two more men in the family, and you haven’t even met them.”

 

The chaperone nodded, an uncomfortable look passing quickly over her lovely face. “I promise you that I will give each of your brothers equal consideration, if my father even gives their stake precedence . . .” her voice trailed off, and she questioned softly, “Where is he, and why hasn’t he responded to anyone?”

 

“Let’s not worry about what we can’t change, Fleur. Trust the covenant – the Weasley magic wants you and, if it’s anything like that of the Malfoy family, it’ll get you.”   Sensing a need to redirect the conversation, she reached for a terry robe and added, “And speaking of Weasleys, I’d say Bill’s inner wolf approves of you!” She looked over her shoulder at Ginny as she stood from the tub. “You should have seen him, Gin – he actually sniffed her!”

 

The comment had the desired effect – Fleur giggled and Ginny snorted. “He’s a latent lycanthrope, and Charlie’s a dragon keeper – it figures those two would need a witch with some magical creature blood running through her veins – but what about Per- Hand of Merlin, Hermione!” Ginny’s hand arrested the fall of the robe around Hermione’s body, baring her backside to the redhead’s inspection. “Obviously you have a lot more to tell us!” Hermione whirled around, tugging at the left side of her robe, which was held firmly in the redhead’s grasp, and the end result was that her friend saw . . . pretty much everything. “Circe’s left tit!”

 

Ginny’s expletives caused the curly-haired witch to pause for a moment. “So that’s where those expressions come from. Huh.” She secured her robe, then noticing the glazed, heated look in the redhead’s eyes, asked half-heartedly, “I don’t suppose you’d rather know what Fleur thinks of Percy . . .”

 

Ginny wavered, glancing between the other two witches with narrowed eyes. “Well, actually I do.” She pinned Fleur with a warning look. “But I’ll get back to that after you explain the fact that you have both a handprint on your arse and a traditional rune! The Malfoy wizards work very fast.”

 

Affronted on their behalf, Hermione rushed to her wizards’ defense. “Lucius and Draco let me go nearly the entire two-week engagement without my rune because they didn’t want to go too fast. I had to pretty much drag the information out of Draco, and in the end it was me who wanted a ring.”

 

“And the spanking?” Ginny’s eyebrow was raised, giving her a cynical expression. “Don’t tell me you fought for that, too!”

 

Oops. I walked right into that one. “Errrrr . . . “ she hemmed, blushing nearly as dark as Fleur had in the Great Hall earlier. Reaching inwardly for a fortifying helping of Gryffindor courage, she came across something far more effective: a tiny blossom of pride in this new part of herself. It caused her to straighten her posture and return Gin’s direct stare. “Actually, I did.” She leaned close to her friend and whispered, “And I liked it.” Then she blushed deeply.

 

If Ginny was shocked, she hid it well. In fact, the only reason Hermione was sure it was so was because her friend blinked slowly several times and then turned to Fleur, seeming to forget she hadn’t heard anything at all about the rune ceremony or the events leading up to Hermione’s smacked arse. “What about you and Percy?”

 

The lovely chaperone had followed Hermione out of the tub and now stood nearby, wrapping her hair in a towel. She gave a genuine smile that highlighted her full lips and perfect teeth. “Bill is intense, and Charlie is charming, but Percy – Percy is very sweet, and . . .” here her sweet smile warped wickedly, and suddenly her Veela heritage peeked out at them. “I would like to tie him up and spank him. He has the face for it, you know?”

 

“Wh . . . wha . . . what?” Hermione gasped, torn between shock and amusement.

 

Ginny wore an expression of surprise. “Oh, Fleur – you and I may have more in common than I thought!” At Hermione’s questioning look, she simply said, “She’s a switch witch.”

 

“I don’t even . . .” The curly-headed witch made her way to the dressing room, her friends on either side of her.

 

Fleur shrugged, looking very self-conscious all of a sudden, and twitched an eyebrow in her direction. “Sometimes I wish to be controlled, other times to control. I don’t expect you to understand, as you seem to like being dominated by your wizards all the-“

 

Hermione cut her off. “Hold it right there – I don’t let them boss me around!” Much. “And ‘switch witch’?” She sat down with a wince at her dressing table. The hot bath had felt marvelous as long as she stayed still, but now her backside was feeling decidedly tender.

 

“No, we know you’re your own witch, ‘Mione. What she means is that you like to let them be in charge – especially when you’re together, if you know what I mean,” Ginny offered with an exaggerated wiggle of her eyebrows. “It’s just a term used for women who like to alternate between being the dominant sexual partner and the more submissive one.”

 

She thought about that as she began to get ready for the second time that morning, smoothing her curls with Sleakeazy’s potion and wand drying them. It’s true – I do like to let them take charge. It’s liberating not having to make all the decisions and be the responsible one all the time. And I know they care so much for me that most of their decisions are based on my desires and well-being. Lucius was by far the more aggressive of the two, but Hermione suspected that Draco was made of similar stuff under his gentler exterior. I like that they know what they want, and that they’re aggressive about getting it. “I see. I can’t even imagine trying to dominate Lucius.”

 

That got a loud snort out of Gin, who was rifling through the nearest closet. “He’d put you over his knee for even thinking such a thing! Oh, I gave these to you as a shower present – wear these today.” She held aloft a pair of knickers that seemed to be constructed entirely of a few pink ribbons.

 

Hermione smirked, knowing full well that her elder wizard would never lay a hand on her unless she allowed him. It wasn’t something she wanted to advertise, though, as it was part of the game. In fact, the thought of Lucius giving her another spanking sent a jolt of desire through her system, and she decided it was time to think of something else. “Sure, Gin. Just set them aside.” She turned to Fleur. “So basically you like Percy because he’d let you be in charge.”

 

Her chaperone, who was seated on the couch slathering lotion on her long, pale legs, nodded. “That, and he has beautiful eyes.”

 

“Just remember, you haven’t met the twins yet,” Ginny reminded her sternly. The blonde witch nodded. “I can’t imagine what’s so important that it’s keeping them from meeting you.”

 

The young witch was glad to see the two of them talking so easily. Ginny Weasley could be a hard nut to crack, but somehow Fleur had managed to get through her defenses in record time. I wonder if I had anything to do with it. Thought of being such a positive influence made her smile. Just then her stomach growled loudly. “Is anyone else starving, or just me?”

 

“I am, too,” replied Ginny, “I want real food – and lots of it.” Fleur hummed in agreement and began drying her long hair.

 

Hermione nodded, wondering what was on the menu and then deciding to take charge as she was supposed to do. “Trinket!”

 

The housekeeper appeared instantly, as if she’d been waiting for the summons, and she held a small bottle in her hand. “Here is the Lady’s balm! Master says to-“

 

“Yes! Thank you very much!” She avoided looking at Ginny, who appeared to be trying not to laugh. “I’ve got it.” Her stomach growled again and she continued, “Trinket, in light of the morning’s . . . events, perhaps we should have brunch instead of just breakfast – something a bit more sustaining. Will you please see to it?”

 

The house elf lit up, clasping her hands ecstatically. “A Mistress with powerful magic, who defeats her own enemy and keeps the House dining schedule in mind – oh, Trinket has never served such a perfect witch!”

 

“Errrrr, thank you.”

 

Trinket’s ears dropped a fraction, and a concerned look washed over her face. “The Master would not be pleased with Trinket for that.”

 

“Why ever not? You didn’t say anything . . .” Hermione trailed off at the house elf’s suddenly abject expression. “What’s wrong, Trinket?”

 

Master defeats the enemies of this House,” The little creature whispered worriedly.

 

Hermione’s smirk couldn’t be contained. “Oh, really. Well, Master was nowhere near the wand fight this morning when Lady defeated the enemy.” This only seemed to bother Trinket more. Sweet Circe, I’m going to have to . . . Out loud she said sternly, “Trinket, as your future Mistress I forbid you to tell Lucius any part of this conversation. Ever.”

 

A look of awe crept over Trinket’s odd little face. She nodded, whispering, “Never was there such a perfect one.” Snapping out of her daze, she added in her normal happy tone, “Yes, Lady! “ Did she just wink at me? Gracious and merciful Merlin, I am in cahoots with a house elf against Lucius Malfoy. “Brunch will be served in twenty minutes!”

 

The housekeeper Disapparated with an enthusiastic crack, and Hermione turned back to her friends with a satisfied smile. “Well, then – let’s get going!” She applied a few beauty charms, much to Ginny’s approval, and slipped into the skimpy knickers thrown at her head by her friend (after applying a liberal coating of the soothing balm Lucius had sent). It brought back a recent memory, of leaving the Headmaster’s office to find Ginny and Harry going at it like rabbits in heat at the base of the stairs. I threw Ginny’s knickers at her just like that. She glanced at her and found the redhead grinning, probably with the same memory. Another thought struck her. How does Ginny have any knickers left, with all the tearing and throwing that Harry seems to enjoy? It wasn’t much different than her own problem – the fact that her wizards seemed consumed with the idea of stealing hers at every opportunity – and she said so to her friend.

 

“It’s simple – just use a sticking charm,” offered Ginny. She was rifling through another closet. “Are you sure you want to wear that boring taupe thing? I mean, it’s very tasteful and expensive looking, but . . .”

 

I’ve told her pretty much everything else – how hard is it to say that it’s nearly transparent to my wizards? Right. “It’s an heirloom engagement gown, and yes I’m wearing it.” She picked up the dress, silently asking her friend for help putting it on.

 

Both Ginny’s and Fleur’s faces morphed into impressed understanding, and Ginny said, “Oh, well you should have just said so.” She gathered up the flowing skirt and held over Hermione’s head.

 

The curly-haired witch slipped out of her robe and let the gown flow down her body, navigating the delicate straps carefully. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Fleur go to the closet holding her own clothes and take out one of her modest black dresses. “Speaking of which, how do you think Lu was able to see through it? She saw my red bum and-“

 

“I wondered what she was on about!” Exclaimed Ginny. “Well, I guess I’m not really surprised – since she got pregnant she’s been all kinds of spooky. She makes predictions at the drop of a hat, and she’s right every time! I guess she’s seeing through enchantments as well.” She just shrugged as if to say, ‘well, that’s Luna for you’.

 

Hermione offered curiously, “She’s made two comments about you and my gifts, and then another about tonight.”

 

“What gifts?” Ginny zipped the dress closed in the back. “Here, Fleur – let me help you with that tie.”

 

Hermione felt a surge of anxiety and tried to fight it down. “I realized I don’t have wedding gifts to give Lucius and Draco, and I was planning to ask you to go shopping with me and Fleur in Diagon Alley this morning. Obviously that didn’t happen, and now it’s occurred to me that Lu was trying to tell me something.” She scrutinized Ginny, pondering her friend’s best attributes. She’s generous, hard working, and creative. “You’re the most creative witch I’ve ever met – what kind of gift can I give in this short amount of time?”

 

Ginny blushed under the warm praise. “Let me think about it. If Lu said whatever it is will work, then I’m sure the idea will come to me in time. Now for the love of Merlin, can we please go eat?” She began walking to the outer room.

 

Fleur was just tying her hair back in a hurried braid, following the redhead as she did so. A few days ago, it would have irked Hermione no end that her chaperone could put so little time into her appearance and reap such a fantastic result, but now she was grateful. Hermione took one last look in the looking glass. She could see the naughty knickers plainly, and wondered how long it would take one of her wizards to feel the need to confiscate them. Right – sticking charm! With a grin at Ginny, she lifted her skirt and aimed her wand at the handful of ribbons, fastening them to herself. Let’s see what they think of that. Then, dropping the skirt and smoothing it down with gentle hands, she hurried after her friends.

 

They arrived at the Morning Room a few minutes early to find it empty of people. Further inspection showed that Molly and her boys were on the veranda, and the three witches joined them. Bill all but prowled over to Fleur, his eyes glinting dangerously in the late morning light, and began talking in an intimately low tone that invited no interruption. Ginny went to her mother, who was talking with Percy, and Hermione looked around for a moment before spying Charlie leaning against the side of the Manor. She went to him, not wanting him to feel left out. “Hello again, Ch- errrrrrrr, Mr. Weasley!”

 

He grinned at her and threw in his customary wink. “Morning, love. Get all the dungeon dust out of your knickers?”

 

The curly-haired witch snorted indelicately. Charlie was . . . Charlie. “Wow, I forgot what a silver tongue you have. Is that how you’ve been wooing Fleur?”

 

“Of course. That, and telling her about the dangerous life of a dragon keeper.” He looked over her shoulder, acknowledging someone behind her with a cocky lift of his chin, and then returned his startling blue-eyed gaze back to hers. “I’d be happy to fill that insatiable mind of yours with dragon lore, too, if you’d like.”

 

His eyes are gorgeous, but they’re the wrong blue. She conjured up a mental image of her wizards’ eyes for comparison and found them infinitely superior – Lucius’ glacial blue, and Draco’s ever changing ocean hues. Outwardly Hermione laughed and rolled her eyes. “In other words you’ve been relying on your looks and charm.”

 

Charlie was looking over her shoulder again and by the way his eyes were tracking, whomever he was watching was approaching them. He grinned again, cutting his eyes to her as he replied in a slightly louder voice, “Are you saying I’m handsome and charming, ‘Mione?”

 

She felt a hand wrap around her waist and pull her back against a lean, hard-muscled body. “Hello, little witch.” Draco’s head came down beside hers, his husky voice murmuring in an intimate pitch. Hermione turned her head to catch his gaze, but he seemed to be locked in some kind of staring contest with the redheaded wizard in front of them.

 

She continued her conversation with Charlie. “I’m saying you’re incorrigible, and you should know that Fleur tends to have a low tolerance for nonsense.” Draco’s hand moved from her waist to her stomach, his thumb rubbing back and forth over the base of her sternum. It was a fairly innocent hold, almost sweet, and yet Draco’s tense body behind her spoke of an entirely different emotion. Hermione fought the urge to shiver. She’d encountered jealous Draco before and found him incredibly arousing.

 

Charlie chuckled, not intimidated by the show. “Easy, cousin — you’ve won her already.”

 

Draco wasn’t abashed at having been called out on his possessive behavior in the least. His hand slid up until it nearly cupped her breast as he straightened to his full height and replied cockily, “Exactly. And now I’m claiming my prize. Will you excuse us, cousin?”

 

“Why not – I might find a prize of my own somewhere around here,” the redhead grinned confidently and wiggled his eyebrows, eliciting another snort from the curly-haired witch. He pushed off the wall and headed toward the far edge of the veranda, where Fleur was listening intently to whatever Bill was saying.

 

Draco slid his hand down and around to the small of Hermione’s back and, with gentle but unyielding pressure, guided her to walk with him. “Would you care to see the maze before brunch, Miss Granger?”

 

“Draco, that was a bit unnecessary,” she said in a reproving tone. “You know Charlie is like a brother to me and that we were just talking.” They were heading away from the veranda now, across the lush lawn.

 

“Wrong on both counts, sweetheart,” he countered with a dark expression on his handsome face. His free hand sought hers and he wove their fingers together.

 

It was a very good look for Draco, and for a moment Hermione was distracted from his words as she drank in the sight of him. Then her brain caught up to her hormone-addled body. “Wait, what?”

 

The blond wizard led them to the opening of the maze, pausing to brush his hand, entwined with Hermione’s, against the nearest hedge. “Hold on.” Draco seemed to sense a reaction from the huge privet, because after a moment he continued on into it. It was obvious he was taking her someplace specific, the way he cut through sections quickly. “It was necessary, and none of the Weasley men think of you as a sister. Until Fleur’s father gives their stake precedence and she in turn accepts it, they will continue to regard you as a bespoke witch – especially because there are five of them, and she can only choose up to four. They’d be fools not to.” His hand ran up and down her side, pulling her against him as they walked. “Duels have been fought in similar situations.”

 

The perfectly manicured hedges rose high above their heads, cutting out the sounds of the nearby veranda. Hermione broke from Draco’s side, pulling her hand from his. “But I’ve taken your rune – I wear your ring!”

 

He caught her hand again easily, pulling her around one last corner to a tiny courtyard with a fountain. A stone bench stood near it. “And if anything were to happen to both Lucius and me, you’d be free for the pursuit.”

 

Hermione was shocked by his insinuation. “Surely you’re not suggesting . . . They’d never!” She glanced around, failing to notice that Draco had stepped close in front of her until his hands settled on her shoulders.

 

“No, they wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not thinking it. Hermione, their covenant wants a bespoke witch and will remind them of the fact until one accepts them.”   His fingers traced patterns on her bare skin, sending a frisson of pleasure down her spine.

 

He leaned down, brushing his lips against hers. “You’re not their sister, and don’t forget it. Now,” he plied her mouth with one teasing kiss, “I have a job to do.”

 

It was a lot to think about, but right now she simply wanted another one of those wonderful kisses. Her brain was quickly filling with a fog of lust, which was already impairing her thought processes. Hermione followed his retreating lips, trying to capture them again. “What job?”

 

“Stop talking.” He kissed her again, this time holding her head in place with one hand as he moved his mouth against hers. Draco’s lips sucked and nipped hers, and his tongue pushed repeatedly between them to mate with her own. Hermione’s entire body responded eagerly, desire spreading through her limbs and causing them to wrap around her wizard. Meanwhile, his other hand had run down her back to grip her backside.

 

“Gentle!” Hermione gasped against his lips, wiggling her bottom away from his hand. “It still smarts!”

 

She felt his mouth move into the shape of a smirk. “Shall I make it feel better?” he murmured. Draco let go of his hold on the back of her head and dropped both hands to her hips, towing her along as he walked backward to the bench. He sank down onto it, drawing her to stand between his legs.

 

He moved his attention to her neck. “We should head back to the- Draco!” The last word was practically yelped. Hermione barely noticed he had worked her skirt up to her waist until he grasped one of her legs behind the knee, bending it, and yanked it over his own so she half-straddled him. Mother of Magic, I want him right here and now. She struggled against the desire to surge forward and push her hips against his.

 

“Nonsense, we have at least ten minutes.” He was still holding her skirt up in one large handful, and now he was looking down at the pink ribbons charading as a pair of knickers with heavy-lidded eyes. His other hand traced the edges of the grosgrain fabric almost reverently. “I want these.”

 

Hermione leaned forward and pressed her mouth to his once more. “Mmmmm.” He was breaking the kiss, dropping his mouth to her neck and then down her clavicle, over the curve of her breast. Her brain finally interpreted his last sentence. “No.” She pushed the strap of her gown off her shoulder and directed his head to her bared nipple without conscious thought, groaning as he closed his lips around it.

 

His hand was pushing between her legs, fingers rubbing back and forth until she squirmed and gasped with pleasure. He gave a tug on one of the ribbons and when it didn’t budge, released her nipple and let his cool breath fall over the wet, sensitized flesh. “Give me your knickers, little witch.”

 

Hermione grabbed a handful of his soft, pale hair and, none to gently, tried to bring his head to her other breast. “By my calculations I’ve lost six pairs just this week, Draco. These are . . . oooh . . . staying on. Nnnnnngh, yes, please. Don’t stop.”

 

He was toying with her pierced nipple now, flicking it with his talented tongue and then nibbling on the erect peak. He looked up at her through his thick, dark blond lashes. “No, they aren’t. They’re coming off right now.” Draco sat up straight and drew her against his torso. Hermione didn’t even realize she’d climbed the rest of the way onto his lap until he growled and grabbed her hips, grinding his erection along her seam. “You owe me, sweetheart.”

 

“No I- Gaaaaaaaah.” She momentarily lost all motor skills as the physical thrum of desire intensified even as her brain whirred to life, working out how she was indebted to him.

 

Draco elaborated in a murmur against the corner of her mouth, strong fingers still tugging at her knickers, “I stayed up all Monday night brewing potions for you, and you said you’d make it up to me.” He moved her against his hard shaft again and added roughly, “And I want your knickers.”

 

If Hermione hadn’t been caught in such a maelstrom of want and need, she might have seen the humor in her nineteen-year old fiancé’s almost childish attitude. However, she was unaware of it as she squirmed in his lap and pressed her mouth to his. In that moment, she would have given him the gown she was wearing if it meant that he would keep touching her this way. When his hands left her hips to cup her bare breasts she said breathlessly, “Fine. Second level Sticking charm. But you owe me some knickers, Mr. Malfoy.”

 

He must have used the counter-spell wordlessly, because she felt the ribbons relax, and then the fingers of one hand slipped under them to move through her slick folds. Things unraveled fairly quickly at that point. Draco groaned, and the sound went straight to the places he was touching. Hermione nearly tumbled from his lap in her haste to rid herself of the knickers, and a wild-eyed Draco gathered her in his arms and pushed her flat down on the stone bench. He was hovering over her, his hips just coming to rest between her spread legs, when the far off sound of a bell ringing insistently cut through their bubble.

 

Draco froze. Then his expression became absolutely pathetic and he dropped his head to the bench beside Hermione’s head for a moment. He was muttering something that sounded like a string of extremely foul words, and Hermione couldn’t help but giggle. He looked at her incredulously, and she just shook her head with a frustrated smile.

 

Draco came to his senses at that point. He sprang off her, helping her to her feet and righting her gown. “Merlin, sweetheart – I don’t know what came over me. Please accept my apology, I-“

 

Hermione silenced him by pulling him down for a chaste kiss. “You didn’t make me do anything I didn’t want to do, Draco. I just wish I had better self-control around you.” He looked as though he was about to disagree with her, so she added, “If you feel that badly about it, you could always give me back my knickers.”

 

He stuffed them into his pocket and grinned cockily, the effect only slightly ruined when he winced and shifted uncomfortably. “I thought we agreed that they’re mine.”

 

“Do you need a minute before we start back?” As much as her own body was screaming for release from the built up tension, she couldn’t help but think it must be far more unpleasant for Draco, who had a veritable pole lodged in his trousers. “I could talk about Arithmancy.”

 

He gave her a loving smile that made her heart feel as though it would burst with happiness. “Yes, please.” Draco took the hand she offered in his much larger one, and the two set off toward the Manor as Hermione waxed eloquent on the finer points of Arithmantic ethics.

 

They arrived back on the veranda just as everyone else had begun filing through the door, and exchanged looks of satisfaction at their excellent timing. As they entered the Morning Room a stray thought crossed her mind, and she asked quietly, “What job did you have to do, Draco?”

 

Draco looked down at her, an arrogant smirk on his handsome face as his eyes moved over her face. “Nothing that needs mentioning. Come on, Lucius looks impatient.” He led her to the large round table where the elder Malfoy stood tapping his elegant cane against the back of a chair.

 

The elder Malfoy was looking at her with an approving air as he kissed her hand, and then he shared a private, satisfied look with Draco that made Hermione instantly curious. He certainly likes what he sees, so it can’t be that I have something on my face . . . “Is there something I should know?”

 

One was drawing out her chair and the other was directing her to it, and within seconds she was seated with a napkin in her lap. “You look radiant as ever, pet.” Lucius addressed the gathered guests, who were still milling about in small groups. “Will you join us?”

 

There was a brief moment when she caught Percy glancing her way with an odd look on his face and she looked away quickly to find Charlie doing the same thing, but then Trinket began serving the first course, and she forgot about it. Small conversations went on around the table, and snippets carried across the wide circle. Lucius had sat on her left as seemed to be his custom, and at some point his right hand had come to rest at the juncture of her thigh. The size of his hand meant that it encompassed a great deal of that limb – the palm draped over the top, and all four fingers settled deeply between her legs. Hermione tried to ignore the fact that his pinky finger was nearly between her lower lips, and kept her focus on food and faces. He seemed to be having a riveting conversation with Luna and Harry, who sat to his left.

 

Meanwhile Charlie regaled his half of the table with the mating rituals of Norwegian Ridgebacks, much to everyone else’s amusement. Fleur hung on to his every word, and Molly looked equal parts over the moon at the recent turn of events and utterly appalled at her second-born’s roguish conversational style. He turned to the blushing blonde witch at one point and asked with a devilish smile, “Did you know a female dragon will purr if you touch her in the right spot?”

 

“Charles Arthur Weasley! You mind your manners at the table!” Molly’s relatively quiet shriek of disapproval got even Charlie’s attention, and he apologized by way of a good-natured grin and shrug. Fleur seemed to have difficulty breathing at that point, and Percy leapt from his chair with astonishing grace, racing to her and filling her water goblet. Hermione couldn’t help but think how much the twins would have enjoyed commentating the odd spectacle, and turned her attention to the last bite of pastry on her plate with a small grin.

 

Trinket was just directing the serving of the second course – smoked salmon crepe and some heavenly sort of prosciutto mille-feuille pastry – when she sensed more than heard a disturbance to her right. There was a fig sauce being passed for the pastry, and Draco was in the act of holding it out to Bill, his right hand nearly under the other wizard’s nose. Bill had tensed, his nostrils flared, and he was looking at Draco murderously. His voice was fairly civil, though, as he rumbled, “Cousin. There’s no need for such tactics.”

 

“You don’t like fig sauce?” Draco, on the other hand, sounded smugly happy. “I was certain you would. I must admit that it’s a favorite of mine – I’d have it on everything if I could. If you’re sure, though . . .” Her wizard returned the sauceboat to the table near his plate.

 

Hermione murmured in a low tone, “What’s going on, Draco?”

 

She watched as the smirk on his face morphed to an expression of almost suspicious innocence. “What do you mean, sweetheart?” He leaned toward her, brushing her cheek with the fingers of his right hand. “Just doing my job as host.”

 

His touch was tender, and Hermione leaned into his hand with a small sigh of contentment. As she inhaled against his skin, though, she caught the distinct, lingering scent of her own arousal on his fingers and her eyes widened in comprehension. He said he had a job to do, and then he kissed me silly and touched me. Lucius was pleased because I looked like I’d just been snogged – that’s what Percy and Charlie noticed. And Draco knows Bill’s senses are heightened, especially around the full moon – he wanted to him to know that we . . . Circe, Mother of Magic . . . She swung her head back towards her younger wizard, eyes narrowed in annoyance, and opened her mouth to retort, when his words in the maze came back to her. He’s defending what’s his, and I’d do the same if there were another girl who was interested in him. At the edges of her awareness the covenant seemed to purr softly. Hermione’s scowl softened into an amused grimace, and she leaned closer to whisper, “Consider your job done. Bill doesn’t want fig sauce.”

 

Draco grinned and dropped his mouth to her ear, moving his lips against the lobe. “I do. I want it all the time.” As he drew away, he added, “And he never said he didn’t want it.” He raised an eyebrow meaningfully and draped his long, strong left arm over the back of her chair, letting his fingers brush over the bare skin of her shoulder.

 

Hermione was grateful when Trinket announced the third course, and attacked her steak roulade with gusto. It was nice to have something to think about other than the fact that her younger wizard had just taken a turn hosing her down with his testosterone. Lucius had been attentive throughout the meal, despite his apparently engrossing conversation with Luna and Harry, and now he turned his complete attention to her. “Try this, my prize.” He held his fork aloft, waving it in her direction.

 

“What is it?” His plate looked different than hers, and Hermione deduced that she’d missed some of the dishes during her brief bubble with Draco. She opened her mouth and leaned toward the proffered forkful eagerly. “Mmmmmmmmm. Soooooo good, Lucius. More, please.” She looked at him expectantly.

 

Amidst the ongoing conversations there was a cough from somewhere across the table, but she barely heard it as Lucius picked up the next bite of egg and toast with his fingers and pushed it into her waiting mouth. Rub, rub, rub. His fingers wiped the crumbs from her lips in that sensual rhythm to which she’d been conditioned. She closed her eyes and squirmed in her seat as her body responded, only to find that her movement had drawn the fingers of his right hand yet further into her folds, the delicate fabric of her gown the only barrier between them. “What a hungry little witch you are.”

 

Hermione opened her eyes to find Lucius grinning down at her wolfishly. She was pondering how rude it might be considered if she were to climb onto his lap when Ginny leaned and caught her attention. “‘Mione, I’ve got it!”

 

Sheforgot about the hand between her legs and bolted forward to see around her elder wizard. The change in position sent a jolt of sensation to her already throbbing flesh, and she gasped. Recovering quickly, she addressed her friend. “About the . . . thing we talked about?”

 

Lucius began to move his fingers in a deliberate rhythm over her clitoris and at the same time engaged Charlie in conversation about his recent transfer to the Welsh dragon reserve. Ginny was beaming broadly. “We can talk about it in your room after the meal.” She called across the table to the chaperone, “Did you get that, Fleur?”

 

The Frenchwoman nodded and jumped slightly in her chair. Hermione had only to sneak a peek at Charlie’s naughty smirk and Fleur’s blushing smile to know that he had managed to touch Fleur in a less than innocent way, but it was hard to see much of anything because of the height of the table, the ornate centerpiece of flowers, and the tablecloth. I wonder if it’s completely open season until the consideration, or if Charlie’s just going to push the boundaries. Well, it is Charlie . . . Just then Lucius added a few more less-than-innocent touches of his own, and Hermione tugged at his sleeve. She murmured, “Please stop, Lucius. You’re driving me crazy and I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of everyone.”

 

His eyes were twinkling down at her, but he nodded and slid his hand to a slightly more appropriate place. Turning to address the rest of the table, he said, “I wonder if any of you would like to see the rose garden. I’m sure we can arrange for the last course to be served there, if anyone is still hungry.” As he spoke the last words his eyes trailed down to Hermione, and she blushed deeply.

 

There was a chorus of agreement, and Fleur seemed especially excited. “You must see the golden roses – they’re bewitching!” In her eagerness, she grabbed hands with both Bill and Charlie, only to drop them like hot coals when she realized what she’d done.

 

As they began to stand and leave the table, a small owl fluttered though the French windows and dropped a letter onto Hermione’s plate. Draco offered the bird a piece of steak as she opened the parchment. It was from Astoria, and simply read,

 

Dear Hermione,

My wedding shower is at nine o’clock this morning, and I hope very much that you are able to attend. I am very sorry for such short notice, but I spent all of yesterday in restraints and was unable to send it earlier.

Much love,

Astoria

P.S. Agamemnon just returned with this note unopened, and so I hope that everything is all right at Malfoy Manor. I am sending him again with orders to wait for a reply.

 

“He wouldn’t have been able to get through the wards earlier,” remarked Draco, feeding the bird a piece of steak. “You can write a reply in Lucius’ study while the others are in the garden, if you like.” He placed a hand at the small of her back and guided her to where Lucius stood a few steps away.

 

They walked across the Manor in the way that was becoming customary for them – Hermione’s left arm drawn through Lucius’ right, and Draco’s left on the small of her back. Around them pleasant conversation continued, interspersed with suggestive comments from Charlie and an ongoing list of delegated chores from Molly. Harry looked ridiculously happy, but then again he was walking with two beautiful women who both seemed to have a hand down the pockets of his trousers. Percy was glowing as he talked to Fleur about his job at the Ministry, and Bill talked with Lucius about the current exchange rate at Gringotts. Once again Hermione was reminded of how lucky she was to have good friends and an entire family that considered her one of their own. And my wizards! Merciful Merlin, I‘m going to have my own family now.

 

The others followed Fleur into the rose garden and were instantly transfixed as a large group by the rosa expugnator. All except for Luna, of course, who turned to look at Lucius approvingly before she wandered out into the garden on her own.

 

Hermione set to work on her letter right away; at least, she did as soon as she’d batted both of her wizards away and ordered them to leave her alone until she was done. It was a short note – Draco looked positively pathetic as he watched her from his place on one couch, and there wasn’t much to say except that she was sorry and that an unwanted visitor had caused the wards to go up. She sealed the parchment and handed it off to the owl, watching it fly out the French windows and over the enchanted group of people in the garden. “Whatever happened with Pansy this morning?” She asked to neither wizard in particular as she went to them.

 

Draco tugged her impatiently down across his long legs, and she curled up against him with a happy sound. Lucius was watching them from his chair on the other side of the hearth, and Hermione beckoned for him to join them. He complied, answering, “The fool took her back, and she won’t get out again. Apparently he ignored the fact that she was an Animagus the first time.” He sat beside Draco and reached a hand to run lightly down from her throat to the curve of her breast. “She’ll finish her treatment and face charges of malicious destruction of property from the Ministry.”

 

Since the rune ceremony Hermione had become increasingly aware of a desire to share time with both of her wizards at once, in both social and more intimate settings. Images from the previous evening had replayed in her mind on a loop, and she knew that her wizards seemed to feel the same way. They’d initiated several situations in which all three of them were in some form of sensual embrace, and this moment felt similar. A wave of arousal washed over her. “That’s good.” She lifted one arm to wrap around Draco’s neck behind her and pulled Lucius down for a kiss with the other.

 

Draco groaned, and the sound vibrated through her body in a fantastic way. His hands wound higher around her torso and found her breasts, kneading and catching her nipples between his fingers in a slow, torturous rhythm. Hermione pushed into his touch just as Lucius pushed his tongue between her parted lips. Her younger wizard was murmuring huskily against the top of her head. “This gown leaves nothing to the imagination, sweetheart, but I still want to take it off you. Would you mind if I did that, Hermione? If I laid you bare to our eyes and hands?”

 

She made a strangled sound, and Lucius pulled away with a satisfied look. He ran his eyes down to where Draco’s hands still moved. “Perhaps we should wait for a more opportune moment for that. For now, will you let us see our rune?” Hermione nodded in a dazed sort of way, dropping her hold on their necks and pushing the straps from her shoulders. Draco drew the delicate fabric down as Lucius watched with heavy-lidded eyes, his hands returning to their former positions as soon as he’d accomplished the task.

 

While Draco’s fingers worked her breasts, Lucius’ silky voice worked various other parts of her body. “Draco, have you ever in your life imagined such pretty, round tits? Do you find yourself in a constant state of wanting to touch and taste them? To pluck at them until our witch cannot contain the sounds of her pleasure?”

 

That was happening right now. Hermione moaned their names in no particular order and tipped her head back so that she could kiss Draco. She felt Lucius push his brother’s hands away, felt Draco’s protest against her lips, and then an overwhelming jolt of pleasure as Lucius pinched her pierced nipple between two fingers. It caused her to break away from the kiss with a wild sound. “Nnnnnngh!”

 

As was often the case with her brain, it whirred to life at an inconvenient time. A thought had cut through the haze in her mind, and now her curiosity reared its head. She tried to control her ragged breathing as she asked, “Why does it feel different?”

 

Draco tugged her head back and captured her mouth again easily. “Hmmmmm?”

 

Hermione broke the kiss again and sat up, taking each of her wizards’ still-wandering hands in hers to keep their attention. “When you touch my rune, it feels different.”

 

Their interest was piqued, although both were still wild-eyed. Lucius reached out and stroked a finger over the rune, sending a powerful jolt of pleasure straight to her core. “Gaaaaaaaah!” When she was able to open her eyes, she found him watching her intently.

 

“My turn, sweetheart,” said Draco, and he repeated Lucius’ action. Hermione smiled as the much subtler but still pleasing sensation traveled through her body. Her younger wizard had been observing her expression closely and his face fell slightly. “It doesn’t feel nearly as good, does it?”

 

It had been more of a statement than a question, but Hermione rushed to reassure him. “It just feels different! Less . . . powerful. But maybe that’s how it always is?” She cast a glance at Lucius, who looked thoughtful. “Lucius?”

 

He looked between her and Draco for a few long moments, and then stared at her left breast. “I know nothing of this rune, as it has only chosen one other bespoke witch – and she was the first Wife to the House of Malfoy. Perhaps it has preferences in magical signatures.”

 

Pulling her straps back to her shoulders and righting her bodice, Hermione peeked at Draco from the corner of her eye. It looked as though he was schooling his features into an expression of acceptance, and she turned back to Lucius with a small frown. “Is that common?”

 

He returned her expression, standing from the couch as he did so. “In truth, I have no idea. Perhaps I should pay a visit to Grand-père Louis.” At her confused look, he added, “The keeper of the Malfoy runes.”

 

Oh, the painting that wouldn’t speak to me. “Right now?” Because I wouldn’t mind going back to what we were doing before . . .

 

Her wizards seemed to be far better at compartmentalizing than she was, because Lucius had already lost his previous wild-eyed look, and Draco had flopped back onto the couch in an obvious fit of melancholy. The elder Malfoy was looking at the younger one with a concerned look. “Yes, I believe I will do so at once. Draco, will you please make my excuses to our guests?”

 

“Of course, Lucius.”

 

Hermione watched Lucius leave his study and crawled back onto Draco’s lap, straddling him and standing on her knees so that she was looking down at him. “I’m sorry. Should I not have said anything?” At his lack of response, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him softly. “Why does it matter if it feels different, anyway?”

 

Draco looked up at her, a wretched look marring his handsome features. “It matters because I want to be the one that makes you sound and look like that when I touch your rune.”

 

“You do, Draco!” Hermione kissed him again, trying to convey the depths of her feelings. “And it’s only that one part that’s different. When you touch me . . . every place else . . . it’s every bit as powerful.” She fought the blush that was creeping up her neck.

 

His head dropped back on the couch. “You don’t have to humor me, Hermione.”

 

“Oh, Draco!” Hermione couldn’t help the little laugh that escaped at his desire to sulk. “You silly snake.” An idea struck her, and she ran a hand down his marvelous chest to his tight stomach.

 

She trailed her fingers along the waistband of his trousers, dipping them under the soft wool fabric until he opened his beautiful eyes and raised his head. “What are you doing?”

 

Hermione adopted the ridiculously innocent expression he’d used on her at lunch. “Nothing. Why do you ask?” One forefinger fiddled with his trouser button. “If you pout like that much longer, a little owl is going to come along and build a nest on your bottom lip.” She sucked said lip between her own, even as her fingers wriggled farther beneath his waistband. “The covenant doesn’t seem at all concerned about it, Draco. And anyway, I have a feeling Lucius would move a mountain with his bare hands to make you happy. Let’s not worry about it right now.” She kissed him the way that he had kissed her earlier in the maze – with a hunger that built slowly.

 

Draco’s mouth twitched under hers, as though he were trying not to smile. He pulled away, murmuring, “I know what you’re attempting to do, and it’s not going to work.”

 

She pulled away and grinned. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mr. Malfoy.” The button of his trousers slid from its hole, and she used both hands to work his zipper down. Finding a rapidly tenting pair of boxers below, she admitted, “I also have no idea what I’m doing right now.” Her heart was racing, and Draco’s breathing seemed to match it.

 

Her fingers sought out his hardening erection through the cotton fabric, running over its shape inquisitively. Draco’s eyes had crossed slightly, and his mouth had dropped open. “Don’t stop, please.”

 

She recognized her own frequent plea and took courage from the fact that he was enjoying her attentions. Hermione pushed his trousers further open so that she could watch what she was doing. Her hand went back to his shaft and wrapped around it experimentally. Eyes darting up to his in shock, she blurted, “It’s enormous!”

 

Those two words did more to bolster his mood than anything else she done so far. He looked quite smug, in fact, until Hermione wiped the look off his face quite accidentally by giving his penis a firm squeeze. Noting that he had been reduced to his former unfocused expression, she repeated the action and elicited a strangled curse from her wizard. “Shit. Circe . . .”

 

“It’s Hermione – get your deities straight,” she murmured. Her courage inflated even more, she worked down his boxers until the giant thing sprang free, and she wrapped as much of her hand around it as possible. “Show me how to touch you, Draco.”

 

His hand came up around hers. “Like this. Oh, yes.” He screwed his eyes shut and seemed to be holding his breath. Hermione continued to move her hand over him as he’d shown her, and now Draco was thrusting into her grip and trembling beneath her. She spent the next few minutes taking mental notes of what caused the deepest groans and biggest thrusts, until he gasped, “I can’t . . . Watch out . . . Hermione!” His shaft pulsed in her hand, and then there was a surge of ejaculate running down her fingers and his shirt. He dropped his head back onto the couch. Hermione practically glowed in triumph at having brought her fiancé such pleasure so quickly. When he was able to focus again, he looked at her with languid eyes. “If I didn’t feel so good right now, I’d be embarrassed at my performance.”

 

“I thought you did wonderfully.” She bit back the grin that threatened to take over her face. Draco pulled her down for a kiss that made her toes curl. Beneath her wet fingers, his erection began growing again. She pulled away and raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “Already?”

 

Draco treated her to a lazy smile paired with a devastating twinkle. “Do you know how long I’ve fantasized about you doing that to me?” He kissed her softly, sweetly, seductively. “And yes, already. Make me come in your hand again, Hermione. Please?”

 

She lowered her mouth back to his and wrapped her hand around his shaft, preparing to do just that when Luna wandered back into the study. The two froze awkwardly as she beamed their way. “Oh hello, Draco, ‘Mione. Don’t stop on my account. I just came in to say that it’s time to get started on Ginny’s project. It’s going to take some time to get done, and by then Lucius will have figured it out. You’re going to be very busy!”

 

Hermione dropped her head to Draco’s shoulder, mortified to have been caught in her current position regardless of the fact that it was by Luna. Her wizard, however, straightened his posture, arms wrapping around her protectively as he asked their friend, “Lucius will have figured out what, Luna?”

 

She just smiled again and shook her head. “I don’t think I’ll ruin the surprise. Come on, let’s go get the others.” She began making her way out to the rose garden again.

 

Hermione, realizing that a crowd of Weasleys and her chaperone were about to walk in on them, all but leapt off Draco’s lap. “Hurry up – she’s gone to wake them all up!”

 

Draco staggered to his feet, trying to tuck his raging erection back into his trousers. “This is all your fault, little witch.” He was smirking madly and looked immensely pleased, and Hermione was relieved that his mope seemed to be over. He performed a quick Scourgify on himself and his clothes and had just buckled his belt and sank back down onto the couch in a casual pose when the sound of voices carried through the French windows.

 

Hermione sat down beside him and examined her still-wet fingers. I just made my fiancé come in my hand and beg for more. The thought made her smile again. She whispered his name, “Draco.”

 

The others were milling through the French windows now, Ginny heading straight for her with excitement etched on her face. Hermione took one last, longing look at her wizard only to find him staring at her wistfully. On impulse, she raised one wet finger to her mouth, sucking it clean, and watched Draco’s expression morph to one of reverent worship.

KeyBackKeyNext