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.
When the accompanying tilt-and-spin sensation of Side-Along had passed, Hermione turned to her friend to speak, but was interrupted by a suddenly uneasy-looking Fleur. “Hermione, I shouldn’t have provoked you like that. You’re not a child, and you’re certainly allowed to act on your feelings without my commentary.”
The young witch’s heart gave a tight squeeze of affection for her chaperone. She’s afraid she’s going to lose her first real friend. “Fleur, you’re very good at winding me up, but then again I’m very impatient and easily annoyed. I know you’re doing it in fun.” Most of the time. Fleur still looked anxious, and Hermione continued, “Are you offended when I tease you about the Weasley wizards?”
The Frenchwoman gave a small, shy smile. “No, it actually makes me feel . . . as though I’m a part of something. I don’t really know how to express it.”
“Yes – you’re part of a friendship! The way we interact with each other shows that we’ve grown close.” She reached out and clasped Fleur’s hand firmly. “And in case you didn’t notice, I’m friends with Ginny Weasley, who substitutes insults for compliments on a regular basis. I’ve been conditioned to equivocate constant irritation with love.”
Fleur nodded happily, squeezing Hermione’s hand. “I really like Ginny. If my father grants the Weasley stake precedence, I will have made two friends!”
Hermione’s heart squeezed again, this time because she herself knew exactly how lonely the world could be. I never had friends, either, before Harry and Ron, and then Ginny and Luna. “Oh, Fleur – you’re as silly as Draco sometimes! Regardless of whether you become a Weasley, Ginny and I will always consider you a friend. Don’t forget Luna, too. She might be slightly off her rocker, but Luna is wonderful!” Fleur flushed deeply and muttered something. Hermione asked, “What was that?”
“I said she’s flexible, too,” the chaperone repeated, wearing an expression that was both embarrassed and amused. “She and Harry, in the garden . . .”
The remark caused Hermione to give the most indelicate snort of her life, and the two witches collapsed against each other in a fit of hysterical giggling.
Just then Molly bustled in from the dressing room. “I heard that! And laugh all you want, but those two are giving me my first grandbaby. That means they can do whatever they like just so long as it results in babies.” She gave them each a meaningful look. “I expect lots of grandbabies from the both of you as well.”
I will not be . . . doing what Harry and Luna were just doing. At least with an audience. Hermione tried to work out the logic of Harry and Luna’s baby being a Weasley and gave up. Fleur had reverted to blushing furiously with a tiny smile on her lips. Then the rest of Molly’s words sank in, and she asked, “How will Harry and Luna’s child be a Weasley?” How would a Malfoy child be a Weasley?
The Weasley Wife crossed the room to stand with them and raised an eyebrow. “Don’t you tell me who my grandchildren are!” She broke into an excited grin and hugged the two young witches, kissing them both on the tops of their heads. At last she released them. “Now, I was promised a nice chat with one of my favorite girls.” She looked at Hermione expectantly.
Once again the curly-haired witch was lagging behind in the conversation, still caught up on the fact that Molly had all but ordered her to procreate. Somehow that didn’t bode well for the talk Hermione had all but begged for. “Errrrr . . .” she glanced at her retreating chaperone, thinking quickly. How much of a buffer would Fleur be in a potentially awkward conversation? She sighed. Probably not nearly enough.
“I’ll just be . . .” Fleur made a graceful motion with one hand and wandered off through the open French windows to the balcony, a dreamy look on her lovely face. They watched as she Transfigured a large, ornate vessel of roses into a poufy chair and sank into it.
“Well, where shall we sit, sweetheart? How about there, on the couches?” Molly led the way toward the small seating arrangement in the center of the large main room, where two small couches and a few chairs surrounded a low table. When they were seated next to each other, she asked brightly, “What was Fleur saying about being in the library at eight o’clock?”
Hermione considered the motherly witch’s mask of innocent inquiry skeptically. Draco told Fleur, and he probably wanted the boys to know. Chances are, Molly knows as well. Still, it’s sweet of her to pretend. “The rune that chose me – the one that I took last night – is part of a pair, it seems. Draco will mark me with the other tonight.”
“Oh, my dear – how thrilling! That’s very rare.”
Molly certainly wasn’t faking her excitement, and Hermione responded with a small, self-conscious smile. “Is that . . . I mean to say, it’s not weird or anything, is it?”
“Certainly not! Hermione, dear, every bespoke witch is different, and her rune – or runes, in your case – fits her magical signature. Runes and wands are very similar in that sense. Why don’t you tell me the history of the first one that chose you?”
Hermione’s hand rose unconsciously to her left breast. “The only other witch it ever chose was the first Wife of this House, and I guess there are no records. Draco had three runes reset, two of which happened to be the pair. The keeper of the runes didn’t say anything since he thought Draco chose them intentionally.”
The motherly witch gave a knowing nod. “I’m sure the covenant led him to do so in the first place, whether he knows it or not. We witches are often more intuitive when it comes to House magic, but our wizards’ blood is infused with it from birth. They follow its guidance without ever realizing it.” She patted Hermione’s hand. “Two runes, and in the traditional form, no less! I’m sure Lucius and Draco are practically beside themselves.”
Molly’s eyes grew speculative, and Hermione was torn between continuing the conversation about her runes and running as far away from it as possible. “It can’t be that unusual – Astoria had three, as I vividly recall.”
“No, she three piercings – didn’t you hear her specify that? I’m certain she only has one rune – it’s the norm, after all. Still, the things the Nott wizards get up to! I can only imagine . . .” She trailed off, a heated light in her eyes. That usually signaled it was time to switch topics, but Hermione really needed clarification.
She asked, bracing for Molly to take complete advantage of her continued interest. “Are people going to think I’m a deviant?”
Molly snapped out of her reverie. “Hmmmmm? Oh, Hermione! Oh, sweetheart!” She gathered the curly-haired witch into her comforting arms. “You’ve got to let go of this idea that certain views or acts are depraved or deviant. Tell me, this morning at breakfast when Lucius had you eating from his plate – now don’t look so shocked, surely you knew you had an audience! – did you find his taste in foods to be deviant?”
“No, of course not. He’s obviously experienced a much broader variety of foods, if only because he’s that much older than me,” Hermione argued in a superior tone, even as she shamelessly snuggled into her mother-figure’s side.
Molly continued in a low voice, gently stroking her fingers over Hermione’s curls, “And when he’s used that same life-experience to teach you something new about your body, or his – has the word ‘depraved’ come to mind?”
She shook her head with certainty. “Lucius isn’t deviant or depraved.”
“Did you like your spanking today?”
Hermione jolted upright and scooted to the other arm of the little loveseat. Is nothing a secret in this house?! “How do you know about that?”
“Other than the fact that the two of you spoke of it openly outside your bedroom, he dragged you to his study relatively alone after you’d defied his wishes and you returned to the Great Hall with a very sated look and a stiff gait.” Molly ignored the young witch’s spluttering, adding, “The only reason I know it was only a spanking was because you’re not yet wedded. Now answer my question.”
She drew a deep, calming breath. I invited Molly to have this talk. I brought up the subject. Molly is like a mother to me. Finally she said, “Yes.”
“And, knowing what you do now of that practice, do you think it to be deviant?”
“No! It’s not something I’m comfortable talking about,” she laid heavy stress on that word without any real hope of Molly picking up on it, “But I . . . I . . .”
“You liked it,” Molly supplied. “Well, of course you did! But I’m sure if someone had told you last week that your elder wizard was going to put you over his knee and slap you to orgasm, you would have classified it as a deviant act. The truth is, most witches like a well-administered spanking! And there are plenty of other things you’ll find are every bit as enjoyable, even though they’ll be new and strange to you. Just you wait until Lucius or Draco-“
Hermione interrupted quickly, “Got it! You’re saying that just because something is new or different, it isn’t necessarily depraved.” The fact that she didn’t have to look her mother-figure directly in the eye made it possible to see the light at the end of the conversation. “I’ll keep that in mind. Let’s, errrrr . . . let’s talk about tomorrow, please.” It occurred to her that she hadn’t yet blushed, and it seemed quite an accomplishment to her.
Molly turned toward her. “Tomorrow will be a very long day, for you, I’m afraid. The reception will start at the sun’s zenith and will continue until it sets. You and your wizards will stand and receive each of your guests, and spend the rest circulating amongst them.”
Hermione quickly calculated the length of time based on the current time of year. “An eight hour reception? That’s ridiculous!” Apparently Molly was serious, judging by the look on her face. “And obviously nonnegotiable at this point. What happens after that?”
“When the sun sets all the guests will leave, save for the ones who will attend the wedding ceremony. They’ll dine with Lucius and Draco while we eat together here and begin preparing you for the full-moon ceremony.”
Once again, Hermione was struck by how much the covenant had influenced her in the past two weeks. “I fully planned on researching those.” She sighed and finished in an ironic tone, “Instead I spent the time getting to know my wizards.”
Molly was laughing again. “I’m not sure how you would have researched that at school, sweetheart. It’s not something that’s written down for just anyone to read, although I’m sure the Malfoy library has something. Did you find time to read your book today, by the way?” She was looking at Hermione with another falsely innocent smile.
“Actually, Ginny told me your orders, and then she must have taken the book with her when she ran an errand for me. So, no – I didn’t ‘enjoy’ my book.” Hermione growled this last part, earning more laughter from her mother-figure. “I don’t see how that’s funny, Molly!”
“Oh, Hermione – any other witch would want to know what her dress looked like, or if there would be dancing at the reception! Instead, you want a book. Very well,” Molly twisted to look over her shoulder toward the other end of the room, dug out her wand, and then Summoned something from under Hermione’s bed, “Here you are – one book as promised. I’ll leave you be until it’s time to get ready, and in the meantime . . .”
Molly’s voice faded away as Hermione finally – finally! – held the Malfoy diary that Bowly had brought her so many hours ago. It wasn’t much larger than her hand, and she opened the leather cover carefully. On the inside page, in delicate script, was a name and a date: Yolande Malfoy, 1732. The date jarred a recent memory. This would be the House Wife to Louis’ sons! Hermione turned the page, applied a high-level translating charm to the obscure French dialect, and was instantly sucked into the story of another bespoke witch.
This day have I accepted the stake of Monsieurs Malfoy, and taken the rune of their most august House. Jules and Étienne themselves have marked my body, and for my part I did not protest in the least, though having been raised in a motherless state, I was without preparation. Victor and Claude, one and two years shy of the age of majority respectively, observed keenly.
It was Jules who, knowing of my sheltered state, taught me my own appetite during the ritual, whilst Étienne held me tenderly and whispered words of regard for my person. Together their words and caresses affected me in such a way that I became almost sick with need for something of which there was no name, and I broke into a sweat as if fevered, pleading for mercy until I experienced what I now know is called ‘the little death’.
Now I leave my father’s House in the company of Monsieur Therriot, my chaperone, and my fiancées for Languedoc-Roussillon as Wife-to-be of the House of Malfoy, with the passionate eyes of Jules fixed on me always and the compelling words of Étienne falling softly on my ears.
Hermione blinked and paused before turning the page. Well, that was a very old-fashioned way of saying that her corruption had begun. She wondered where Yolande had come from, and what her expectations had been of marriage. She was an ingénue like me. She read another page.
We arrived at Maison de Malfoy by Apparition. Madame Malfoy is quite young, and although her French is only passable it is pleasant to have the company of another woman. The younger Malfoy wizards returned at once to school, having been allowed to leave only for our acceptance ceremony. Jules and Étienne are most attentive always, their thoughts straying rarely from the appetites of which I was taught so recently. I have learned from Monsieur Therriot in his grandfatherly way that such things are natural and right, so long as the rules of courtship are followed. He dozes in his chair by the fire in the Great Hall, wishing only to be disturbed when meals are served, and even then he sleeps through the main course. My fiancées and I are pleased by this, using such freedom to become acquainted with each other in all manner of ways. When Madame Malfoy is not present, I find myself becoming increasingly wanton in my desires. Today I . . .
Hermione read the next several pages in an agitated state, reacting to the sensual words of her predecessor. Regardless of its original intent, the diary could easily be classified as erotic literature. She shook her head. When she’d asked for the little book, it had never occurred to her that the content might be other than strictly informative about Pureblood tradition and culture. She skipped ahead through several pages of steamy descriptions until she found their wedding:
Today we wed, the three of us, and began a new generation of the Malfoy family. Madame Malfoy woke me early and helped me bathe and dress, and we broke fast together, whilst she explained what was to come. Jules and Étienne gave me their marriage gifts – this diary and a pair of rune shields of such intricate work that they are obviously Goblin wrought. Jules himself put it on my person, although as his mother stood in attendance his actions were discreet. Then I put on the gown prepared for me, and was most pleased to see that my new shield was visible through the fine fabric.
Visitors came from many different places, and my feet ached from standing until I remembered to cast a Cushioning Charm on my slippers. There was a lavish dinner, followed by dancing well into the night, and when the moon rose Jules Apparated me away . . .”
Several pages of vividly described conjugal bliss later, Hermione snorted. Well, that just figures – I got the diary of a distracted witch who didn’t notice the details of her own wedding! She closed the little book carefully and looked around for Molly, noticing the time as she did so. It was already seven o’clock!
Hermione stood and walked to her dressing room, laying the diary down on the table. She turned to the bathroom, tugging off her garments (and performing a Bubblehead Charm to keep her hair dry) as she went. Under the hot spray of the shower, she considered what she’d read. Yolande’s experience was much like her own, with the exception that great sex, babies, and society parties were probably the highest aspirations the eighteenth-century witch ever had. That caused her to give a loud, pitying sigh, and she turned her thoughts elsewhere until it was time to get out.
Molly interrupted her musings. “Yoohoo! Here’s a cozy robe, sweetheart!” The motherly witch began siphoning steam out of the air with her wand. “Alright, now drop that charm and rub some oil into your skin. I expect you in the dressing room in five minutes. Hop, hop!”
Five minutes later, Hermione allowed Molly to herd her to the dressing table, secretly loving the Weasley Wife’s hands-on style of care. Her own mother had been similar, although not as overbearing, and often did things like brush Hermione’s hair while she studied. I want to be like them, so my children know how much I love them just by the way I touch them. Molly noticed the diary as she prompted the young witch to sit down. “Did you find out anything helpful so far?”
“Errrrrr, not exactly. This particular witch was a little preoccupied with sex without ever specifically using that word. Actually, I have a question for you. What’s a rune shield?” The words had no sooner come out of her mouth than she regretted them. Dear, sweet, merciful Merlin let her not know.
Merlin must have been busy with other requests. Molly beamed and began smoothing Hermione’s tangled curls. “Now, that’s the spirit, Hermione! Ask practical questions that are readily answered. Rune shields are much like jewelry – you received a gorgeous heirloom pair from Albus and Minerva!”
Hermione called to mind what, at the time, had looked to be a pair of elegant platinum and emerald chandelier earrings. “Circe on a . . . the Headmaster gave me . . . ” She trailed off weakly. “Please tell me that’s not weird.”
Molly made a scoffing noise. “Oh, you and your preoccupation with the word ‘weird’! Every father gives each daughter of his House a set. It’s very traditional, and Albus acted as your father when he negotiated the stakes during the war. And what a lucky witch you are, to be able to wear both! Where are they? You should try one on!”
“Absolutely not! But, errrrr, thank you for the information. Do I even dare ask if they have a purpose?” Please answer in five words or less and then be easy to distract.
“Well, of course they do! The tradition is one of the most ancient – and is something that could be easily researched. Better yet, ask that young wizard of yours!” When this answer didn’t seem to be enough for the curly-haired witch, Molly continued, “In Pureblood society, the rune is often heavily adorned, and it can be glimpsed through a witch’s gown. House runes are a point of pride for our wizards, and shields are as well – sometimes even more so.” As if reading Hermione’s mind, she added with a mischievous grin, “Those of us who wear our runes as marks on our skin have our own equivalent.”
Hermione blinked several times, processing Molly’s words. “If it’s all the same, I think I’ll forego the shields.”
“Oh, no! No, no, no – you’ll deeply disappoint your wizards, Draco especially! A younger husband always gives them as a wedding gift. No doubt you’ll receive a pair from him before the reception.”
Hermione’s chin came up, jaw set firmly, and a steely light shone in her eyes. “Obviously the purpose of them is to draw attention to a witch’s breasts, and I refuse to put myself on display – to be ogled. No rune shields.”
Molly rolled her eyes and heaved an exasperated sigh. “Hermione, you have got to stop assuming the worst about things! No one will be ogling anyone – that would be depraved. First of all, any Pureblood wizard in attendance will either be married or waiting patiently for his bespoken one. The unattached might cast an appreciative glance, but not inappropriately. And as for you not wanting to be on display: Hermione, every bride is on display. You’ll be no different- ah, ah, ah!” She held up a hand when Hermione tried to interject, and finished, “And you’ll find that you like it. I’ll say only one more thing on the subject: think very carefully before you reject such a gift from Draco. Talk to him first.”
Her tone was one of warning. Hermione nodded reluctantly, choosing not to pursue the argument for now. Molly had come for this talk at her request, after all, after a long day of working on her wedding reception – the least she could do was be respectful and listen to her advice. Besides, the last thing I want to do is hurt Draco’s feelings. She gave an inward sigh, wondering if there was any way around this tradition. Outwardly, she said, “Fine. I’ll talk to him about it.”
That seemed to be all that Molly wanted to hear, because she gave a satisfied smile. “Good girl. Now do your face and I’ll hunt down the white robes.” She left the young alone at the dressing table and turned to the wall of closets. Hermione carefully performed one of the beauty charms she’d learned from Ginny’s book, glad that her mother-figure was no longer hovering over her shoulder. With my luck she’d say something shocking at a critical point, and I’d put my eye out with my wand. When Molly did return, it was with an armful of heavy white satin. “Here you are, sweetheart! I’ll just go find Fleur.”
Hermione changed into the ceremonial robes, buttoning them from neck to foot with a flick of her wand, and walked to a nearby looking glass. The garment fell in heavy folds around her body, hiding her figure and trailing along the floor behind her. The sleeves were long and cut wide, and the hood, which hung down over her back, was long and pointed. I look like a sacrificial virgin. She could hear Fleur and Molly in the outer room and went to them. “I’m ready.”
Fleur gave an approving nod. “Very traditional.” She turned to Molly. “We’ll see you in the morning?”
The Weasley Wife nodded, and Hermione was struck once again by how grateful she was to the kind woman. She gave her a tight squeeze. “Thank you, Molly.”
“You have nothing to thank me for, sweetheart – it’s you who’s let me be part of your life. Thank you.” Her eyes were a bit teary, and she sniffed before pulling herself together. “That’s enough of that! I’ll be here right away in the morning. We’ll have a nice breakfast together here and get you ready. Plenty more time to talk then! Bye bye!” She shoo’d them with her hands, and Fleur took advantage of Hermione’s momentary distraction to Side-Along them to the corridor outside the library.
No sooner had the initial dizziness worn off than she rounded on her chaperone, intent on tearing into her for the irritating indignity. Fleur, however, was already dragging her along. “Honestly, Hermione! I thought you were looking forward to this, but no! You stand about, daydreaming like a witch in love!” She gave a small grin that was both endearing and slightly superior.
Hermione tugged her arm free of her friend’s grip as she kept up with her. “Just you wait until you have a chaperone of your own – they’re positively awful.” Their eyes met, and they each struggled to maintain a straight face the longest.
Suddenly the huge doors swung open toward them, and Hermione only had thought for the handsome wizard in dress robes waiting further inside the library. She swept ahead. Draco stood by himself, casting his eyes up and down her heavily robed body in open admiration. Then he held out his hand for hers as she approached, and everything else was forgotten.
“Good evening, Miss Granger.” He was looking down at her with a dazzling smile, and the world tipped on its side for a moment. “Will you visit with me for a while?”
He was already leading her to the main seating area near the staircase. “Shouldn’t we be heading upstairs?” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Fleur already ascending to the site of the ceremony.
Draco stopped at a small couch and gestured for her to sit. “Not yet. Lucius said he didn’t mind.” The satin robes were slippery, and Hermione wrestled with them for a moment before successfully managing to stay put on the leather cushion. He sank down beside her, looking at his hands with a shy smile. “I wanted to have you to myself one last time before . . .” he trailed off, and she placed her hand on top of his much larger one. It seemed to give him encouragement, because he continued, “Tomorrow we won’t see other until just before the reception, and then we’ll be surrounded by crowds all day. Then you’ll go off to do whatever it is witches do before a full-moon ceremony, and Lucius and I will dine with the wedding party. Then we’ll be together in a crowd again, and after that . . .” He looked up at her, his ocean-colored eyes the stormiest she’d ever seen them. “I just wanted to be with you. Is that alright?”
She nodded with a deep blush, thinking of what he hadn’t said just then. And then I’ll go to Lucius’ bed. And then to yours. “That’s a lot of ‘thens’, isn’t it?”
He treated her to an almost-smile, whispering, “Sit here with me. Let me hold you, Hermione,” and as he said the words, he held out the arm closest to her. She closed the distance between them, curling against his side. Draco gave a deep sigh of contentment as he drew her head down to his chest.
His scent assailed her nostrils, causing her curiosity to rear its head, and she wrestled against his hold to sit up. He was having none of it, though, and only tightened his grip, until finally she said in muffled tones against his robes, “Oof. I want to talk to you, Draco. Let go!”
He pretended not to understand her, but eventually gave in to her squirming and allowed her sit up partially. Hermione twisted around on the couch so that she was now facing him, and rested her hands on his chest. “I’m not going anywhere. I just had a question.”
Draco’s eyes were twinkling. “Hermione Granger doesn’t know something?”
She narrowed her eyes even as she smiled. “I just wondered how it is that you and Lucius can both smell like my Amortentia.”
“And what does that smell like?” His finger barely brushed her cheek, sending a shiver down her back.
Hermione closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. “Like . . .” Were there words for it? She searched her brain for apt descriptors, finally offering lamely, “ . . . like an ocean breeze without the salt. Like water.”
He laughed softly and teased, “Is that even a smell?” His hands moved her curls aside and came to rest on her back.
“It’s the most perfect smell in the world, and if I could I’d bathe in it,” she countered with a smile.
“Hmmmm. That’s worth imagining. What else don’t you know?” Draco asked softly. “Surely you have more burning questions that can’t be answered.”
Hermione poked a finger into the hard muscle of his upper arm. “Be careful, Mr. Malfoy. I’m not a witch to be trifled with.” She slid her satin-clad arms up over his shoulders and then wrapped them lovingly around his neck.
His eyes lit up at that, as if he were going to do just that, and so she was surprised when he said, “I asked Trinket for trifle again. She promised she’d make a special one for us tonight.”
The curly-haired witch snorted softly. Why am I surprised that my nineteen year-old almost-husband can be sidetracked by the thought of food? “I’m sure it will be lovely.”
His fingers began tracing intricate patterns on her bare upper back. “Speaking of lovely, I like the way you smell too, little witch.” To prove his point, he leaned his head and took a deep breath near her temple. “But I can easily describe your scent: it’s warm, soft girl and bubbles, with a hint of old parchment and ink.”
Hermione’s eyes, which had drifted closed in pleasure, opened at his words. She regarded the handsome blond wizard quietly before speaking, and when she did her voice was laced with wonder. “How did I miss noticing you all those years, Draco?” His face morphed into an expression of intense happiness, and she sat up to press a soft kiss to his beautiful mouth.
Neither seemed inclined to turn their visit into a pursuit of physical desire, and when their mouths broke apart, they simply sat quietly in each other’s arms for a time. Hermione’s slippery robes began working against her at that point, and she fought with them until Draco murmured, “Come here, sweetheart.” He patted his lap, holding out his arms to her again.
Hermione went to him gladly. She perched across his thighs and curled against his chest again, resting her head on his lean, broad shoulder. “Tell me something no one else knows about you.”
She could almost hear his brain spinning, and imagined his brow was now furrowed. “My fantasy Hermione had two runes.” A peek at his face showed his expression morphing quickly from concentration to regret. He squeezed his eyes shut. “That probably wasn’t something you needed to know.”
“Draco, look at me!” It was hard to maintain eye contact at the moment, but she struggled through her momentary discomfort. “Knowing that you think about me that way, and have for a long time, makes me feel . . . desirable. But why two? I would have thought you’d prefer the norm,” Hermione pressed. She must have unconsciously raised her hand to her left breast, because when she followed Draco’s gaze, she saw it there. She withdrew it immediately, but his eyes remained fixed on the front of her robe.
He shook his head and raised a hesitant hand to the left side of her chest, pausing before gently stroking his forefinger over the lush orb. Looking up at her, he replied, “I don’t expect you to understand, sweetheart, because it’s a-“
“A Pureblood thing. Right,” she finished with a somewhat despondent sigh. “I’m beginning to hate that answer, you know.”
“I was going to say it’s a wizard thing.” Draco’s finger made another pass over her breast, this time lingering on her rune. He repeated the action again as he spoke. “At the beginning of fourth year I became exceedingly aware of your body, and the Muggle clothes you wore back then only accentuated it. You were all long legs and tight little arse, and then these began to grow right in front of me.” He looked up at her, his eyes beginning to darken as she watched. His words seemed to give him confidence, because he no longer looked uncomfortable. Hello, cocky Draco. “Do you know Hermione, that when you walk quickly your breasts bounce? I’ve known that since fourth year, when you had to lengthen your stride to keep up with Krum at the Yule Ball.” His hand flexed over the soft flesh. “It’s been very hard to keep from staring at your chest since then.”
Hermione drifted toward Draco even as she asked, “What does that have to do with runes?”
He closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against hers with a pleasurable moan. “I should think it’d be obvious.” His hands roamed over the parts of her body he’d just mentioned, one running up over her thigh to grasp her backside and the other resuming its place at her breast.
“Mind where you put your hands and answer my question,” she urged with a girlish squeal. Draco seemed to be dancing around the issue, and the young witch was now determined to get to the bottom of it.
Draco made a frustrated sound. “If I tell you, what will you give me?”
“I’ll let you mark me with a second rune.” She narrowed her eyes at him, resisting the light fog of lust that was swirling in her mind.
He dropped his head onto her shoulder. “You’re going to make me tell you.” At her firm nod, cocky Draco reverted to earnest, blushing Draco, and he mumbled, “PlayWitch models posing as Purebloods have both nipples pierced.” It wasn’t what she’d expected at all, and she must have looked shocked because her wizard added dismally, “The boys’ dormitories were full of PlayWitch posters, and I wasn’t prepared at first. I learned to avoid them, but it only took a few glances to plant the idea.”
He’s looking at me as though he’s afraid I’m going to hex him. Hermione’s mouth twitched. Her fragile feminine ego battled with her sense of humor briefly, but then curiosity took over. It didn’t escape her that he’d said piercings rather than runes, and she asked, “Why wouldn’t they just have one?”
“Hermione, two is unbelievably hot,” he groaned.
His boyish answer sounded like something Harry would have said, and she snorted. “Draco, have you been looking at dirty pictures of naked women?”
A self-conscious chuckle emanated from deep in his chest and reverberated through her body. “The first time was when I walked into Adrian Pucey’s room. I saw someone waving to me out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look, and then looked away as fast as I could. It happened more than I’d like to admit over the years. Lucius was adamant that I not sully my mind with images of other witches, and I knew he was right.”
“If I ever catch you waving back at a nude poster . . .” She opened her mouth to snicker, and he swallowed the sound with a kiss.
“I wanted one of you, Hermione. I used to imagine there was one on the inside of my bed’s canopy.” He pulled her closer and kissed her again.
Hermione pulled back slightly, strangely fascinated by the idea. “What did it look like, in your mind?”
He swallowed thickly, his ocean eyes now dark and stormy. “You, with nothing on but my opened Quidditch robes, riding my Firebolt. Two runes showing that you were mine, decorated with shields I’d given you. Do you have any idea how many times I came in my own hand to that image?” Draco’s erotic description hung in the air between them for a second. The fog of lust was thickening around her brain, and a heavy thrumming had begun deep inside her, pulsing along each nerve. “And now you’ll be my very own PlayWitch,” he murmured before he kissed her again hungrily.
When they finally broke apart to breathe, he murmured against the corner of her mouth, “I have a gift for you.” He reached for something on the nearby side table.
Through the haze in her brain, she recalled her conversation with Molly. Sweet Circe, he’s going to give me his wedding gift now, and then expect me to wear them tomorrow! She thought about the motherly witch’s advice to talk with Draco before rejecting his tradition. Hermione took a deep breath, clearing her mind as much as possible of both preconceived ideas and the addle of lust. She sat up slowly.
Draco held a small velvet pouch. He loosened the drawstring and, into his free hand, tipped out two large, sunburst-shaped pieces of ornate, silver, openwork filigree set with tiny green stones. Had she not known what they were, she would have assumed them to be large earrings – they were bigger than Galleons, and beautiful, and, judging by the heavy-lidded yet solemn look she was getting from her fiancé, very important. She reached out a tentative finger and brushed it over the beautiful thing. Finally she said, “They’re lovely.”
“I had these cast at the same time as your runes. They’re always made in pairs, although only one is used.” He was holding them out, offering them to her on his palm, all the while holding her gaze. “It’s a traditional gift, symbolizing a wizard’s protection of his bespoke witch. She wears it in honor of him.” They gleamed at her from where he held them, but she couldn’t look away from Draco’s hopeful expression. “Will you wear them for me on our wedding day?”
For one brief moment a gleam of cunning shone in the blond wizard’s blue eyes, and Hermione wondered if his artless conversational style could have been a carefully constructed ruse. Did he set that entire thing up? She considered the idea for a split second, but now his gaze held hers with a look of guileless hope. And even if he did, I don’t know if I can say ‘no’. Honestly, when Draco looked at her like that, there was very little she wouldn’t agree to do. Still, she resisted. She picked up a shield, tracing the filigreed pattern. “First tell me more about these things.”
Draco looked as though he’d anticipated her counter. “The tradition is so old that it’s difficult to separate history from legend. It’s said that when the Wives of the ancient Houses were first marked with runes, the men of that time desired the marked witches for themselves. There was a war, and the Pureblood wizards shielded the breasts of every witch in their household, thus hiding their Wives in plain sight. The war was won by the Houses, and all the witches cast away their shields save for the bespoken ones, who continued to wear them in honor of their husbands’ valor and cunning.”
Hermione looked down at the ornament. “That’s fascinating.” She looked up at her wizard again. “And Pureblood witches still wear these?”
He shook his head. “Only House Wives, and at every Pureblood function. Although,” Draco held the shield in his own hand up to her left breast over her dress, “if I had my way, you’d wear them every day.” He handed the pretty thing to her, then shifted uncomfortably beneath her.
Hermione had been trying not to notice the hard bulge, which had begun pressing against her hip quite some time ago. After all, one of them needed to keep their wits about them in this conversation! “They may have started as a means to hide runes, but obviously over the years they’ve become a bit of a hang-up themselves, Draco,” she accused, softening her argument with a smile. She looked back down at the set of shields now in her hand.
“Say you’ll wear them, sweetheart.” He nuzzled her temple and kissed a trail down below her ear. “Honor me by wearing the symbol of my protection, little witch.”
He could have asked her to go topless to their reception and she would have tried to consider it with an open mind at that point, especially when his mouth moved to the skin of her neck. Hermione raised a hand to his head, running her fingers through his soft, platinum hair. “It sounds as though I should probably say yes. Ohhhh, that’s nice.” Desire was once again coursing through her body, and she moved to straddle his lap.
Draco’s firm hold on her prevented that. He broke away from her throat, straightening up so that she had to look up at him again. “Is that a yes, Hermione?”
The curly-haired witch nodded, and when it was clear he was waiting for a spoken answer, replied, “Yes, I’ll wear your rune shields for you.”
He gave an exultant smile, sliding her gently from his lap and standing with a hand outstretched to her. “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go finish what we started last night!” No sooner had she given him her hand than he was yanking her to her feet, causing her to tumble laughingly into his arms. He tipped her head back even farther by a handful of curls and gazed down at her. Cocky Draco was back, and he gave her a confident, knickers-dampening smirk. “I’m going to mark you as my own, and you’ll be crying out my name as I do it.”
Lucius was waiting at the top of the staircase in one of his ubiquitous wingback chairs. He stood as they approached, extending a hand toward Hermione in that now-familiar gesture, and she responded in kind. He pressed a lingering kiss to the back of hers, where the silver handmark was half-faded. “Good evening, pet. Draco.” He drew her arm under his just as Draco put his hand on the small of her back from the other side, and then they walked to the site in their usual tangle of limbs. Lucius exchanged a quick look with Draco over her head. “Did you enjoy your visit?”
Neither of them bothered responding because it was time to begin the entrance ritual. Fleur called out the first question from her station, an impassive expression on her beautiful face. This time, Hermione listened silently to the exchange, enjoying and understanding the tradition. Within, the site was exactly as it had been before, and the low table laden with food beckoned welcomingly.
Hermione’s stomach rumbled in appreciation, and she all but dragged her wizards to the floor cushions. Draco hadn’t even fully sat down on her right when he began lifting the covers from the trays, spreading the aroma of apricots and cardamom through the air. “Ho, ho – Topsy cooked tonight! Lamb stew is her specialty!” He began spooning rice into bowls, and Lucius took each one in turn and topped it with the thick, meaty dish. At his direction, Hermione sprinkled almonds over the top of each. Their informal style meant that since everyone’s meal was plated at once, they could begin eating immediately, and for a while there as no sound except for the clink of silver against china.
Hermione finished first. Her attention was divided between Lucius, who ate in a slow, elegant manner, and Draco, who as usual managed to use his hands as much as possible as he consumed multiple servings of epic proportions. As he finished his last bowl, he caught her watching and winked playfully. She leaned back into Lucius’ arms with a sigh. Where does he put all that food? “Did you leave room for trifle?”
At the word, Draco’s eyes lit up. “I always have room for trifle.” Lucius had begun running his fingers through Hermione’s curls, causing her to moan in appreciation. The noise caught Draco’s attention, and he added in a considering tone, “Of course, we could always have it later.” He leaned forward and kissed her, tasting of the cinnamon, cloves and ginger used to spice the stew. When he pulled away, all the desire she’d fought during their earlier visit rushed back through her.
“Dessert is always made better by anticipation,” agreed Lucius. He tugged her hair until she turned toward him. “In the meantime, there are other sweet things to be tasted.” He pressed his mouth to hers, sucking at her bottom lip until she opened to him, and then thrust his tongue slowly against hers. The same combination of spices filled her mouth, and she gave another small moan.
When they broke apart breathlessly a minute later, the young witch gasped, “The trifle can wait.” She looked at her younger wizard again, heart pounding, waiting for his lead.
Draco was looking at her intently, his eyes growing darker by the second. “Are you ready?” At her nod, he stood and drew her up with him. He drew his wand and then the remaining two runes from a pocket of his robes.
Lucius was leaning in behind her, his hands on her hips and his mouth moving against her cheek. “You look quite tempting in these virginal robes, pet.” He pulled her back against him. “Enjoy wearing them this one last time.” She leaned back against him, letting his voice and words feed her growing arousal.
Draco held out his open hand, on which sat the two tiny, jeweled bars. “Let it choose you, sweetheart.” She raised her hand to his, and once again Hermione felt the power of the Malfoy runes.
She let her forefinger hover over one, feeling the magic begin licking along her skin. Suddenly it stopped, and it was as though the rune’s power retreated from her. “Not that one.” Lucius reached up a hand and removed the one she indicated, and in its absence the power of the second rune flared forth. As though there was a physical draw, Hermione’s finger came down heavily on it, and it latched onto her skin just as its mate had yesterday. “Oh.” She uncapped it and held it up between her fingers. “This one.”
Draco leaned down and kissed her again, at the same time unbuttoning her robes with a flick of his wand. He pushed the heavy satin fabric off her shoulders, and as his tongue pushed into her mouth, his hands moved over her bare torso. She gave a squirm of pleasure as he began tormenting her right nipple, rubbing it into a stiff peak. “Mmmmm. Mmmmm!” His mouth moved against hers, swallowing her sounds, and her body thrummed.
At some point one of Lucius’ arms had wrapped around her, pinning hers to her sides, and his free hand stroked down her stomach and slid between her legs. His silky voice murmured in her ear, “Such a lovely pet should be adorned with jewels.” He was pushing his fingers through her folds now, teasing her clitoris until she writhed against him, caught between the feel of her younger wizard’s mouth on hers and her elder wizard’s talented hand. “If you promise to keep your arms still, I’ll put my other hand to better use, sweetling.”
Draco broke their kiss. He panted against her cheek, “Walk me through this, please, Lucius.”
The elder Malfoy continued murmuring in his lazy drawl as if he were still speaking to her, his hands quickly establishing a torturous rhythm on her body: dip, stroke, flick, repeat. “Step one: tease our bespoken one until she pleads for release. Have we accomplished the first step, Draco?” There was a groan against her neck. “She is wet and willing, but not begging. Talk to our witch. Tell her how you long to bend her over every desk in this library and take her from behind, her skirts pushed up and bodice pulled down so that you may take your pleasure from her lovely body.” Lucius’ hands moved between her legs and over her rune all the while he talked, and Hermione moved against them shamelessly. At his words a coil had begun to wind in her gut, and she applied her focus to it.
Draco’s rough voice picked up where Lucius left off. He spoke against her skin, slowly sliding his mouth down over her collarbone. “I want you, Hermione. I want you repeatedly and for the rest of my life.” She made another sound of desire at her clever wizard’s words, arching into the feel of his mouth. His lips moved against the inner curve of one breast, and she moved in an attempt to tempt him with one nipple. He took the bait but continued teasing her, speaking lightly against the aching bud. “This summer we’re going back to Hogwarts, and I’m going to have you naked in my old bed.”
“Draco-o-o-o,” she moaned helplessly, and finally his mouth latched onto her. The coil wound tighter, demanding both more pleasurable torture at Lucius’ hands and also release. “Lucius, please.”
Lucius’ hands worked her body mercilessly, and the noises she made were louder and more desperate. His voice was rough now, too, as he said, “Step number two: mark our witch. Take the rune from her. Do you remember the incantation?”
Draco’s fingers closed around the tiny bar in her hand, and he drew away from her slightly. Hermione was focused almost solely on the delivery of her body’s demands by this point, her eyes squeezed shut, and she barely heard the words chanted by her younger wizard. She felt a hard tug at her right nipple and then the unmistakable pulse of magic in the air around her. The coil within her had reached its capacity for tension, and suddenly it released with fury. Her orgasm broke free and she fell through intermingled layers of magic, pleasure, and relief. It went on in waves, and she slumped in Lucius’ arms for a while. Eventually, just as last night, her wizards roused her so that she could close the ring. This time she knew how to do it, and slipped the jeweled cap into place without effort. Then, feeling distinctly under-dressed, she began to pull the white robes back up onto her shoulders.
Draco put out a hand as if to stop her, imploring, “Please don’t cover up. Let me look at you for a while longer.” He pulled the fabric from her hands, sliding it back down the crook of her elbows. “Surely there’s no need for this.” Behind her Lucius made a sound of agreement.
The curly-haired witch was only able to meet his heavy-lidded gaze briefly before she dropped her eyes and breathed a self-conscious laugh. “That’s easy for you two to say – you’ve still got all your clothes on!” She shrank in on herself, as if to physically hide her naked state.
“If it will convince you to stay as you are,” her younger wizard all but tore his outer robes off, flinging them heedlessly behind him and yanking at his tie, “I’ll gladly take some of them off.” He wrestled with the slim piece of fabric until it was loose enough to fit over his head and then began ripping open his shirt, sending shirt studs flying everywhere.
As his chest came into view, Hermione’s attention was drawn from herself. The curve of a pectoral peeked at her, and she stepped toward Draco eagerly. “Let me help.” Less than a minute later he was bared to the waist and pressed flush against her. Something hard and familiar was jutting into her abdomen. My poor wizards – why am I the only one who ever has any fun? She looked over her shoulder at Lucius, who was looking at her backside with a pleased expression and slowly removing his outer robes.
Hermione paused, torn between wanting to go to him and wanting to stay where she was. With her front hidden from plain sight against Draco she felt much less vulnerable, and knew that the security would fade as soon as she stepped from him. At least I had my knickers last night. She glanced around the small site for a moment, looking for something stretchy to Transfigure, and finally just tied the long sleeves of her robes around her waist. She turned toward her elder wizard.
Lucius seemed to understand her plight. The look in his eyes had softened to one of tenderness, and he smiled as he methodically popped the studs from his high-collared shirt. Hermione stepped to him and helped as she had with Draco, this time savoring the act of undressing one of her fiancés. When he finally stood before her bare-chested, she tugged him down for a sweet kiss, whispering afterward, “How long can we stay here?”
He pressed his lips to hers again and ran his hands along her back. “As long as we like.” Lucius was as aroused as Draco, and Hermione put her hand on his hard shaft over the soft wool of his trousers. He inhaled sharply. “Perhaps it’s time we had our dessert.” Her hand flexed at the suggestive comment, but he quickly removed it and managed to clarify between clenched teeth, “Trifle.”
Oh, for Merlin’s sake! There was the sound of Draco gathering spoons behind her, but she held Lucius’ gaze. “I really don’t like that portrait.”
His eyes twinkled as he pulled her down to the couch. “Come, sit on my lap and feed me, and I’ll make you blush.”
He did, too, and Draco joined in the moment he sank down beside them with the trifle in his hands. It quickly became a game, wherein mouthfuls of the decadent dessert were given both as rewards for making her blush and as consequence for blushing. Hermione was spoon-fed a tremendous amount of the pudding in a very short period of time, as were her wizards. What started out as a means of diversion on Lucius’ part, however, backfired on the elder Malfoy, because none of them paid attention to the fact that it was soaked in brandy until it was too late.
The main result was a far, far less inhibited witch. Over the course of eating the trifle, she’d slowly moved from sitting on Lucius’ lap; to sprawling across both of them; to straddling Draco and pushing his head down to rest on Lucius’s thigh so that she could spoon-feed her elder wizard. They’d watched her in fascination with glazed eyes. She knelt over Draco’s stomach, leaning to bring a bite of brandy-soaked cake to Lucius’ mouth. It crumbled as it met his lips, dropping in pieces onto his chest and stomach. “Oops.” Draco’s hands moved up her sides as Hermione leaned lower and began cleaning up the mess with her lips and tongue. As her mouth met Lucius’ skin, Draco’s closed around her new rune, his tongue flicking back and forth against the jeweled ends of the ring. “Nnnngh. Don’t stop, Draco.”
Lucius shifted underneath her, disturbing Draco’s position. “I thought we agreed it isn’t nice to tease, pet.”
Draco made an irritated noise and growled, “Stop moving, Lu.” The words were slightly garbled, as his mouth was still attached. “So perfect, Hermione.” He untied the robes from around her waist, letting them fall with a soft, heavy sound to the floor.
She looked up at Lucius with eyes half-crossed in pleasure, licking cake from her lips. “Who’s teasing? I just want to clean you up, Lucius.” His stomach was begging to be touched, and she dropped a row of wet kisses down the trail of hair by his navel. “Mmmmm. I like the way you taste.” Her downward descent put more of her chest in contact with Draco’s mouth, and he groaned and squeezed her backside.
Lucius’ hand wound through her hair, gently pulling her head up. “I think it’s time to leave this place.”
Her eyes narrowed in displeasure as she sat up abruptly, interrupting Draco once again. “We haven’t finished with dessert yet, Lucius.” She reached to the floor beside the couch for the small trifle bowl and held it out to him expectantly. “Give me a mouthful of cream.” When his mouth dropped open slightly she added, “Please?”
Draco pulled her back down so that her dangling breasts were above his mouth once again. “Be good, little witch.” He latched onto the other this time, causing her to groan and buck against his stomach.
Lucius scooped up a spoonful of custard and cream, pushing it into her mouth with a dark look on his face. He set the spoon down out of her reach. “You’re playing with fire, pet.” His other hand still held her hair in a firm grip.
Meanwhile, Draco’s large hands curled over her backside, reaching between her legs to press and rub in a blissful rhythm. “Oh, Draaaaco.”
She licked the excess from her lips and reciprocated as best she could, only without a spoon that meant dipping her fingers into the bowl and pushing them, jelly-covered, into Lucius’ mouth. He sucked them clean, his eyes closed tight, and his other hand wove through her hair as well.
Between his grasp of her hair and Draco’s mouth latched to her breast, she was stuck in an odd position with her head nearly in Lucius’ lap and her bottom thrust into the air above Draco’s stomach. She turned her face and found herself looking directly at the enormous tent in her elder wizard’s trousers. She ran her nose along the length of his erection and twisted her neck to look up at him. “Is the fire here, Lucius? Do you need me to put it out?” Hermione kissed the hard, wool-covered shape once, and then brought one hand up to give it an experimental squeeze.
Lucius squeezed his eyes shut even tighter and tugged on her hair. “Hermione, you must stop. I am not in complete possession of my faculties at the moment.”
Draco moved his hands around to the outside of her hips, trailing his fingers inward along her thighs until he reached her wet folds, pushing her legs as far apart as he could. He released her nipple, only to rumble against it, “You’re so wet, sweetheart.”
The young, somewhat intoxicated witch returned her attention to the issue at hand. She watched the elder Malfoy’s face as she stroked his shaft again, watching his jaw clench and his lips draw back in a silent snarl. “I don’t think I want to, Lucius.” Her fingers ran up and down the fly of his trousers several times and finally settled on the button. She slipped it from its hole, watching his face all the while, then dragged down the zipper slowly and stole a peek. Underneath his trousers Lucius was wearing silk boxers, which did nothing to hide the enormity of his erection. Captivated, Hermione tried to wrap her hand around it. She looked up at him again. “Mother of magic – this thing is gigantic—oh, that feels soooo good, Draco!”
Her young wizard had begun running one clever finger around her clitoris in a circling motion. She was vaguely aware that he was moving underneath her, sliding his head from Lucius’ thigh and kissing his way slowly down her stomach as she pulled down the soft fabric separating her from the object of her interest. As it was uncovered, Lucius finally reacted. He pulled her hair gently until she was forced to look up at him, and she saw that his expression was no longer tormented. He gazed down at her, his eyes burning with intensity, and then directed her attention to his rigid penis. “This is my cock, pet. Learn it well.”
Hermione spent the next few minutes studying this new body part as keenly as possible, considering that Draco’s worshipful mouth had by now worked its way to her hipbone. His fingers rubbed and swirled, and she moved against them unconsciously. He spoke into her skin. “Such a sweet, wet girl. My Hermione.”
She ran her fingers lightly along its length from the heavy testicles and dark blond curls at its base, up over the frenulum to the weeping tip. Lucius released one hand from her hair and placed it over hers, squeezing it gently. “I said no teasing.” His normally mellifluous voice was gruff. “Move like so. Run your thumb along here.”
She obeyed his instruction and watched in enthrallment. “Does it matter that I can’t reach all the way ‘round it?”
Draco sucked and bit at the skin below her navel, as Lucius answered raggedly, “Mmmmph.” He gave a low groan. “It needs wet. Use your spit.” Hermione lowered her mouth and swiped her tongue where her thumb had been, gratified to hear the elder Malfoy lose another bit of control. “Fuck.”
Draco pulled at her hips, raising them slightly higher and forward until she felt his warm breath on the inner crease of her leg. “I need to taste you.”
As her younger wizard ran his tongue over her inner folds and began speaking against them, Hermione moaned loudly and Lucius thrust in her hand. He ordered gruffly, “Lick your lips and open your mouth.” When she complied willingly, he added, “Take me down, my lovely one.”
Draco’s mouth connected with the nub of nerves he’d already teased swollen and throbbing just as Hermione lowered hers to Lucius’ member. She gasped as Lucius pushed the tip of his shaft between her parted lips, and he gave a feral growl.
Much of the detail of the following minutes was lost in a blur of hands and deep voices and the feel of that thick member in the cavity of her mouth. Lucius held her head, his trembling hands woven into her curls, but didn’t control her movement. She heard him crooning words of encouragement as she bobbed and licked and sucked inquisitively, learning to please him and enjoying the lesson. His breathing quickly became loud and uneven, and from his mouth streamed a quiet flow of profanity mixed with words of glowing praise.
Four hands touched her reverently, two voices called out her name, and then there was pleasure – indescribable pleasure – when Draco sucked her clit into his mouth and Lucius reached under her to tug at one nipple. Hermione’s attention had been split enough that, for the first time, she hadn’t followed the build-up to her climax closely. The suddenness and force of this one took her by surprise, causing her to take Lucius’ cock deeper into her mouth and throat than she had to that point. Her body continued shuddering in ecstasy as he cried out, releasing into the back of her mouth. She swallowed reflexively and raised her lips from him with a wet, audible pop, attempting to process what had just transpired through the agreeable haze of alcohol hanging over her.
Draco rolled them over so that Hermione was now lying on her back, looking up to see Lucius wearing a very sated expression. Meanwhile Draco slid up her body slowly, lips and chin still wet with her arousal fluid, and fell heavily on top of her, sending her into a fit of giggles. “Oof.” Draco was unbelievably heavy! He was also still unbelievably aroused, judging by the hard shaft now aligned with her seam. “Draco, I can’t breathe.” He raised his chest slightly, and she used the opportunity to wrap her legs around his waist, fitting them even more closely together. He rutted against her roughly several times, eyes closed in concentration, and then groaned deeply in obvious release. She watched him closely for a moment, and then commented, “You’re blurry.”
Draco grinned and gave her a wicked kiss that tasted slightly odd. “You’re drunk, little witch. I’ve had a little too much alcohol, too.”
She stared up at him curiously. “What in Circe’s name have you been eating?”
Above them, Lucius chuckled. “Up you go, Draco and clean yourself up. And you, pet,” here he hoisted her up against him, “will help me get you dressed.”
She swayed as her body was raised to a vertical position, the room following her in a slightly delayed manner. “The room was just sideways,” she remarked, adding solemnly, “That often happens when I’m with a Malfoy wizard.” Beside her, the elder Malfoy drew up the zipper of his trousers, and this set Hermione off into another round of giggles. “Lucius, you might not be able to tell Louis that you kept your pants fastened, but Draco can!”
Draco laughed from somewhere behind her, while Lucius attempted to set her on her own feet. She slid down the front of him to her knees, her face grazing his groin. This set off a fresh round of giggles. He gave a deep chuckle and hoisted her up again. “I did not foresee the need for Sober-Up, unfortunately. When we leave the site, I’ll summon Trinket. Come, Draco. Let’s get our bride-to-be dressed and to her chaperone before she knocks her head on the floor or worse.”
She was a giggling, limp noodle in their arms and offered no help whatsoever. Eventually the two of them got her into her robes. Draco buttoned it up with a flick of his wand, pressing a kiss to her forehead as she flopped in Lucius’ arms. “I love trifle!” She practically sang. “And I love Trinket! Oh – and I love you, Lucius! And Draco! I love you as well!”
Hermione dozed off when Lucius swept her into his arms and only woke when some irritating person began shaking her shoulder relentlessly. She found herself still in Lucius’ arms, only now they were on the ground floor of the library, on one of the couches. Fleur was holding out a small dose cup of what could only be Sober-Up. The curly-headed witch wrinkled her nose but drank it up, feeling its effects begin almost immediately. After a few minutes she sighed and looked around, noting that Draco’s hair was standing on end and Lucius’ shirt was mis-buttoned. Fleur sat across from them on the opposite couch. The curly-haired witch murmured, “That was some trifle.”
Lucius gave a rich, full laugh. “Indeed. I can see why Draco was so adamant about keeping you from alcohol at school.”
She scowled at him. “As I recall, I wasn’t the one stuffing it down my throat.” Draco snickered, and she realized her gaffe. Despite her quickly sobering state, it struck her as terribly amusing, and she exclaimed through her own laughter, “Oh, that was a good one, wasn’t it!”
Lucius nodded with a grin and planted a kiss on her nose. “As loathe as I am to part with you, pet, it’s time to say goodnight.” For some reason his words caused her stomach to flop nervously. I’m getting married tomorrow. I’ll be entering a new society tomorrow. She must have looked like she suddenly felt, because he wrapped his arms around her protectively. “My love, look at me.” She obeyed, to find him regarding her in that surprisingly tender way of his. I wonder if anyone else in the world knows how gentle Lucius Malfoy can be. “Tomorrow is simply the continuation of what we have already begun. I will stand at your left, and Draco at your right, and the three of us will celebrate having found each other at last.” He kissed her chastely several times and added, “And we will finally ship both Molly and Miss Delacour away for a while.”
Hermione leaned against him, holding herself close with great big handfuls of his robes. She inhaled his scent and filled her lungs with it before nodding in answer. “Goodnight, Lucius. I love you.”
He pressed a last kiss to the top of her head and breathed her words back to her. In a louder voice he said, “Now go find Draco, before he starts moping.”
Draco had wandered a few feet away to the foot of the stairs and stood with his back to them. Hermione went to him, climbing onto the first step to even out their heights a bit. He put his hands on her waist and smiled. “This reminds me of saying goodnight to you at the base of Gryffindor Tower.”
“I was thinking the same thing.” She glanced around. “Except there’s no Ginny here to tell me how lucky I am to have such a romantic wizard.”
He raised an eyebrow and leaned closer to her. “I’m romantic?”
“Very. It’s because you’re a talker.” At his questioning look, she explained, “You’re very good with words.” And your hands. And mouth . . . She shook her head briskly. “You know exactly what I mean!”
He smirked happily. “I plan to talk to you for the rest of my life. Prepare for lots of romance, lucky witch.”
Hermione laughed softly. “Oh, Draco.” She brought her hands, which had been resting on his forearms, up to the back of his neck and looked up shyly. “I am a lucky witch.”
Draco’s pleased expression morphed into one of reverence, and he leaned in further, speaking against the corner of her mouth. “I love you, Hermione.” He kissed her in an unreserved, unhurried way that made her toes curl, and when he pulled away they were both beaming. “Goodnight, little witch.”
Hermione grinned madly. “I love you, too. Goodnight.” Before she was tempted to return to his arms, she hopped off the step and made her way to Fleur, who was waiting patiently nearby.